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Maire Geoghegan-Quinn Launches NUI Galway Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn Launches NUI Galway Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development-image

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

NUI Galway’s Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development was officially launched by Dr Maire Geoghegan-Quinn recently. Offering a range of part-time, flexible programmes for adult learners, the Centre combines the best in educational technologies to provide an education that meets the personal and professional needs of adult learners. Commenting on the changing education landscape, Centre Director, Nuala McGuinn said: “The way people are learning has to change to respond to people’s lifestyle and their working circumstances. Workers are commuting long distances and working irregular hours so the challenge is to be able to respond to their needs in a flexible manner.” Maintaining all that has been the hallmark of Adult Education since its early days of outreach education in the 1970s the Centre has refocused its services in line with the University’s new strategic plan. One of the objectives of the new plan is to grow the range of flexible programmes and increase the overall percentage of adult learners at the University to 20% by 2020. Speaking at the launch Dr Maire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Lifelong learning is important for adults and an essential requirement in a person’s working life. Never before has the need to re-skill, up-skill and convert to new roles throughout our working lives been as important as it is today. At European level, a government target to is to have a 15% representation of adult learners in higher education and I would like to congratulate NUI Galway on its strategic objective to go beyond this target.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “The University’s long history in the provision of adult education programmes, which saw lecturers travelling to outreach locations late in the evening to bring university education closer to their homes. There has been a huge advance in teaching technologies and flexibility available to adult learners both in the range of courses on offer and the modes of delivery used. I would like to congratulate the Centre on their work to date and also on their recent achievement under the Springboard programme where NUI Galway received over 100 places as part of the Springboard and ICT Skills incentive.” Programmes in Innovation Management, Technology Commercialisation, Lean and Quality Systems, Medical Device Science and Automation and Control are now offering funded places for the unemployed providing an opportunity to re-skill and return to the workplace. For more information contact the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at adultlearning@nuigalway.ie or 091 495241, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-

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Public asked for their ideas about wellbeing in Galway City

Public asked for their ideas about wellbeing in Galway City-image

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Members of the Galway City Community Network and interested members of the public are invited to a unique workshop on Saturday, 6 June, which will focus on wellbeing in Galway City. Organised by the Galway City Community Network (GCCN) and NUI Galway, the aim of the interactive event is to develop a ‘Statement of Wellbeing’ for current and future generations in Galway City. The workshop runs from 9am – 1pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. While traditional economic models have often equated wellbeing with economic growth, new research is showing the importance of the wider question of what really matters in life. This in turn has triggered an ongoing debate about how best to measure and foster individual and societal wellbeing. Tommy Flaherty, GCCN Chairperson said: “Wellbeing is something we should all be aiming for. It is more than the absence of ill-health. It is about how we plan our communities, our cities, and our environment so we can have a sense of wellbeing. We want to get individuals, groups and organisations from the community, voluntary and environmental sectors in Galway involved. We want them to share their visions for how we can embed wellbeing in Galway city for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.” The workshop will use a technique called ‘collective intelligence’ to allow the gathering and structuring of ideas to inform the wellbeing statement. Michael Hogan, co-leader of the Health and Wellbeing research group at the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway said: “Galway is such a wonderful place, we’re so delighted to be able to contribute to the great work that is ongoing across the city. Our role at this collective intelligence event is to act as facilitators - the people who come to our event have all the intelligence.” Michael Hogan added: “This work is difficult in part because when many minds converge on the issue of understanding and promoting wellbeing, many different ideas emerge and research is slow to establish coherence. Increasingly recognised as important is empowering groups to work together to establish a shared vision of wellbeing that they can act upon – and promoting systems thinking in groups such that they can understand how their different wellbeing objectives relate to one another. Notably, international best practice suggests that understanding well-being and developing well-being actions is best approached by focusing on the key strategic objectives and goals that guide our collective efforts to enhance wellbeing.” International perspective will also be brought to the event with the participation of Professor Benjamin Broome of Arizona State University. Commenting on the logistics of the event, Ann Irwin GCCN Co-ordinator, said: “The workshop will consist of six working groups of about 20 people each. In the working group participants will be asked to brainstorm a series of ideas that will eventually lead us to a Wellbeing Statement for Galway. This process will be facilitated by an experienced facilitator and start at 9am. Anyone interested is asked to register using the online registration process as soon as possible as there is a trigger question that all participants are asked to answer before the workshop. This enables the facilitators to prepare the session. All the details are on the website www.galwaycitycommunitynetwork.ie.” Galway City Community Network is the Public Participation Network for Galway City which ensures extensive input by organisations and groups in the community, voluntary and environmental sectors into local decision and policy making bodies including at local authority level. -ends- 

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NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Award-Winning Software Development Programme

NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Award-Winning Software Development Programme -image

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 19 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was recently awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland. 90% of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with 19 leading IT employers which enable graduates to re-skill for employment in the software development area. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority, given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants therefore, pay no fees, only a student levy of €224. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region. The course also involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start a career as a software developer. The industry partners include Avaya, IBM, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Howley, NUI Galway Course Director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from engineering, maths and science backgrounds, to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners. They will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill. The highly intensive programme is designed to begin software development from scratch, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to code and realise that this is something they potentially have a flare for. People with technical or strong numerical backgrounds often perform best in these types of programmes and we strongly encourage applicants who have strong maths skills. This could be a strong maths result from their leaving cert or from certain modules in their undergraduate degree. This isn’t essential, but often indicates a strong problem solving and logical skillset.” Dr Howley continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The progamme is now highly respected among many of Ireland’s leading employers and many of our graduates are receiving multiple job offers before they even complete the programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a Level 8 degree or alternatively those with a Level 7 degree and some relevant industry work experience. The programme is ideal for those from a Mathematics, Science or Engineering background, and who relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through www.springboardcourses.ie, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry.  Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable. Deadline for final applications is Friday, 15 June. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Minister English Announces €1.5 Million Funding for Research on Next Generation Imaging for Smartphone Cameras

Minister English Announces €1.5 Million Funding for Research on Next Generation Imaging for Smartphone Cameras-image

Monday, 25 May 2015

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, today announced funding of €1.5 million for a new research project at NUI Galway which will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras. Delivered by the Department of Jobs, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the funding is part of SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme and includes a €750,000 industry contribution from Galway-based computational imaging company FotoNation.  The research project will run for 4 years and will sustain positions for six PhD researchers and three post doctorial researchers. Commenting about the announcement, Minister English said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to identify strategic opportunities based on emerging global trends. Social media content is becoming increasingly visual with huge growth in the amount of photos and videos now being shared online. This trend is driving strong demand for advancements in smartphone camera technology. This demand presents a strong strategic opportunity for Ireland in the years ahead, and that’s why funding for a project like this through SFI is enormously important.” Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway commented: ”We are delighted to be associated with this ground-breaking applied research and to be partnering with FotoNation, which is the global leader in smartphone image analytics. Our academic researchers are pioneers in this new industry and we are committed to supporting close-to-market R&D as the foundation for future economic growth in Ireland.” Dr. Peter Corcoran, Principle Investigator on the project said: “This proposal provides a unique opportunity for engineering PhD researchers at NUI Galway to work on research topics driven directly by the future needs of the global consumer electronics industry. Many of these researchers will have opportunities to engage with, learn from, and contribute to an industry-leading innovation and intellectual property development process. This forward-looking research partnership is a bold step towards the future of PhD education in Europe. ” Dr. Petronel Bigioi, General Manager of FotoNation added: “FotoNation has a long history of innovating and advancing state of the art in image processing. Over 2 billion digital cameras and smartphone devices are powered by the imaging technologies designed by FotoNation engineers. This collaboration with NUI Galway will allow us to continue our quest for innovative solutions to technical issues associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras. ” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, also welcomed the announcement: “SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme is specifically aimed at funding compelling research opportunities of scale with strong potential for delivering economic and societal impact to Ireland. The explosion of imaging technology globally creates very clear opportunities for Ireland and we are pleased to be in a position to support Dr. Corcoran and his team at NUI Galway in helping to position Ireland as a leader in research and innovation this area.”   SFI is focused on building strategic partnerships that fund excellent science and drive that science out into the market and society as part of its Agenda 2020 strategy. These partnerships enhance the delivery of SFI’s strategy through leveraging its investment and capability to the maximum extent possible. The SFI Partnership Schemes aim to provide a flexible mechanism by which SFI can build strategic collaborations with key partners such as industry, funding agencies, charities, philanthropic organisations or higher education institutes (HEIs) with the goal of co-funding outstanding opportunities.  About FotoNation FotoNation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSRA), is giving life to computational imaging by merging technology with emotion. With technology in more than 60 percent of global tier-1 smartphones, FotoNation develops technologies that serve the computational imaging space for handsets and cameras, as well as the automotive, surveillance, security, and augmented reality markets. The creation, of the next generation of computational imaging algorithms is our mission. The art of engineering new ways to reach the highest possible performance while keeping system requirements to a minimum is our core skillset. FotoNation has a long history of innovating and advancing the state of the art in image processing. More than a decade ago, FotoNation was the first to integrate a commercially successful computational imaging solution into an embedded mobile device. Today the company remains the unchallenged leader in computational photography and computer vision. Nearly 2 billion digital cameras and smart devices are powered by the imaging technologies designed by the sharp minds and passionate hearts of FotoNation engineers.  For more information visit www.fotonation.com. ENDS

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Galway Celebrates National Volunteering Week

Galway Celebrates National Volunteering Week-image

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Last week Volunteer Galway, NUI Galway’s volunteer programme ALIVE, and GMIT joined forces to celebrate National Volunteering Week, encouraging people of all ages to think about how they can get more involved it their local community as a volunteer. Research has shown that not only does volunteering have a positive impact on the local community, but volunteers themselves also benefit through acquiring new skills, increasing their employability and improving their mental health. “The aim was to get as many people as possible volunteering. There are many ways to help out in your community and we can provide advice and support around this.” said Donncha Foley of Volunteer Galway, who has developed workshops for organisations seeking to take on volunteers. Sam O’'Neill, GMIT Students Union President and Irish Heart Foundation volunteer, said: “It is fantastic to see so many students volunteering throughout Galway and beyond because of this initiative. They are being shown the value of volunteering, not just for themselves in terms of boosting their employability, but also the benefit it has to society as a whole. Volunteers may not be paid but the work they do throughout the year is priceless.” To mark the 2015 National Volunteer Week, the Galway City and County Age Friendly Older Persons Council met with students from GMIT and NUI Galway. Joan Kavanagh Chairperson of Galway Age Friendly, said, “We have seen a great opportunity through volunteering for intergenerational collaboration across the city between all age groups committed to fostering a city committed to addressing social justice.” The ALIVE programme at NUI Galway harness, support and reward student voluntary activity across the University, Galway city and wider communities to develop their own practical skills and civic awareness. Volunteer Galway provides information and advice to people interested in volunteering, by advertising volunteer roles on behalf of community organisations and charities, and by helping members of the public to find suitable volunteer roles. Volunteer Galway also assists organisations in recruiting and managing volunteers. -Ends-

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NUI Galway treats first patient in the world as part of clinical trial for promising new treatment in acute leukemia

NUI Galway treats first patient in the world as part of clinical trial for promising new treatment in acute leukemia-image

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

NUI Galway has announced that a patient attending University Hospital Galway is the first patient worldwide to start treatment in a clinical study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an investigational drug candidate for sufferers of acute myeloid leukemia. The announcement was made today and co-incided with International Clinical Trials Day. Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults, and it is estimated that there were over 18,000 new cases and over 10,000 deaths from the disease in 2014 world-wide. Unlike other cancers that start in an organ and spread to the bone marrow, AML is known for rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that gather in the bone marrow and as a result, impede normal blood cell production. While leukemic cells move into the blood, the lack of normal blood cells can cause some of the symptoms of AML such as anaemia and increased risk of infections or excessive bleeding. Current treatment options for AML are chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation, both of which can destroy cancer cells but do not reduce the related side effects. The investigational drug candidate in the Phase 1/2 clinical study in Galway is being developed by US based company GlycoMimetics, who are exploring the clinical use of the drug candidate in blood cancers. The company announced last week that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug designation to GMI-1271 for treatment of AML. Professor Michael O’Dwyer, NUI Galway, Principal Investigator on the study, stated that: “Based on preclinical data and on a favourable safety profile in healthy volunteers, we believe that GMI-1271 has the potential to be an important new therapy for people with certain blood cancers. It seems that the therapeutic agent in this potential treatment can reverse resistance to chemotherapy which is caused by AML cells’ ability to bind to a receptor called E-selectin in the bone marrow.” NUI Galway’s key strategic research priorities include Cancer Research, Regenerative Medicine and Medical Devices. The University is due to open a new facility for patient-centered clinical research and first-in-man clinical trials, as well as translational research, in the coming months. Ends

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