Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy has welcomed the publication of the Disabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. The Bill has been identified by Government as one of the final steps towards Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ireland signed the Convention in 2008 and has committed to ratify once reforms to bring our laws into conformity with the Convention have been introduced. Eilionoir Flynn, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said: “The Bill will introduce long-overdue reform in the areas of access to goods and services, jury service, electoral laws, and will establish national implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the Convention in Ireland. While the majority of the proposed provisions are to be welcomed, some serious human rights concerns remain.” The Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill states that several key amendments, including those on deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities will be introduced at Committee stage. These are key human rights issue for people with disabilities, mental health service users and older people; yet to date there has been no public consultation with these communities about the proposed legal changes. Jim Walsh of the Irish Advocacy Network said: “The fact that amendments are only being brought at Committee stage means that there will be less opportunity to debate the provisions. We call on the Department of Health and the Department of Justice to immediately publish their proposals for legal reform in this area and to engage in a meaningful consultation with those who will be directly affected by this part of the law.” The Bill makes important efforts to change jury service laws to eliminate disability-based discrimination which has led to many people (including members of the deaf community and people with learning disabilities) being deemed ineligible for jury service. However, the proposed wording would disqualify ‘a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have sufficient mental or intellectual capacity to serve as a juror.’ Fiona Walsh, Recovery Experts by Experience, said: “A more human rights-compliant approach would be to disqualify a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have the ability to perform the functions required of a juror, following the provision of reasonable accommodation.” The Bill designates the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to monitor the implementation of the Convention in Ireland and provides for the creation of an advisory committee, of which half would be members with disabilities, to guide the Commission in this work. Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland, said: “We are concerned that the Bill does not provide any additional funding to the Commission to carry out this work.  Further, in light of the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ which guided the negotiation of the Convention, we urge the Department of Justice to reconsider making lived experience of disability or mental health services a requirement for all members of this advisory committee and not just half.” It is critical that Ireland fulfils its commitment to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. Given Ireland’s length process to prepare for ratification, it should be possible to ratify without entering significant reservations and declarations. Maria Walls, a PhD Scholar at NUI Galway said: “We are gravely concerned that the Department of Justice propose to enter reservations or declarations on Articles 12 and 14 relating to equal recognition before the law and liberty. These articles are core to the spirit and purpose of the Convention and we urge the government to commit to their full implementation in line with the guidance provided by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dr Rónán Kennedy, a lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Law and a researcher in the Ryan Institute, has been appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a three year term. The role involves making recommendations to the Agency on a wide range of topics, including staffing, service provision, standards and guidelines, and research and work programmes. The Committee can also make recommendations to the Minister for Community, Climate Action, and Environment on the functions, financing, and activities of the Agency. Dr Kennedy’s research focuses on the relationship between information and communications technology and environmental regulation, and is currently leading a project to implement a blockchain-based currency for the Cloughjordan ecovillage. A graduate of NUI Galway, the King’s Inns, New York University and University College London, he has extensive practical experience in the information technology field, but was also Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Ireland, Mr Justice Ronan Keane, from 2000 to 2004. During this time, he was Editor of The Supreme Court of Ireland: A History, first editor of the Judicial Studies Institute Journal, and was involved in a number of initiatives to expand the use of information technology in the courts. Before joining the Law School at NUI Galway, he taught environmental law and public international law in the University of Limerick. Welcoming the appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “The appointment of Dr Kennedy to this critically important Committee of the EPA speaks highly of his established expertise as an environmental lawyer and is a very well-deserved recognition of the contribution that he makes as an academic of the highest probity. It is extremely gratifying to see another member of the School of Law associated with a public body building upon the connections already established by others with state bodies such as the Law Reform Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Researchers at NUI Galway have completed the first national statistical assessment of arsenic contamination in groundwater in the EU. The research points to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in private wells, particularly in the northeast and the southwest of Ireland. “Arsenic is not persistently elevated in groundwater throughout Ireland, but the presence of regional hotspots of contamination warrant further detailed investigations”, explains Dr Liam Morrison who led the study which has been published in journal Science of the Total Environment. The article was co-authored by NUI Galway’s Ellen McGrory in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency. The study drew on available datasets for arsenic, which can occur naturally in certain rock types and thereby affect groundwater. While there are studies focusing on arsenic within the EU, this study presents a statistical approach in determining the spatial distribution of arsenic at a national scale. “This methodology may be applied in other countries to help understand arsenic contamination of groundwater. The identification of potentially at-risk regions is beneficial prior to the commencement of groundwater source development programmes. If there is a potential high concentration of arsenic, then arsenic removal technologies could be used as remediation.” There are an estimated 200,000 private domestic and farm boreholes in Ireland. Recent studies have provided evidence to suggest that long-term low-dose arsenic exposure can induce varying chronic health effects. “These can vary from stomach upsets to more chronic ailments”, says Dr Morrison. In Ireland 25% of public drinking water is derived from groundwater sources rising to 100% in certain localities. Within Europe this figure rises to 75% and 51% in the United States. Funding for the study was based on research grant-aided by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources under the National Geoscience Programme 2007–2013. The full article can be read at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969716326377. -Ends-

Monday, 5 December 2016

 ‘I Like Beaches’ project to help tackle threat to Galway’s coast Galway’s identity is intertwined with the coast but how many actually understand how the coast works? The coast provides the city with so much including dramatic and beautiful scenery, food and employment, a place to play and exercise, rare and valuable natural habitats but the coastal and marine environments are increasingly coming under threat. To help tackle the threat and to promote awareness, students from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography teamed up with Galway City Council’s Recreation and Amenity Department and local residents and formed the ‘I Like Beaches’ project. ‘I Like Beaches’ aims to provide visitors and users of Galway City beaches access to scientific information about the coast, how it works, and what poses a threat to it. After a public workshop to discuss how best to promote the project, the team created new educational boards which provide information on beaches, dunes, waves and climate change. The first four signs were installed beside Grattan Beach recently and it is planned to install more signs near Ladies Beach and other Galway City beaches. The ‘I Like Beaches’ project was developed through NUI Galway’s EXPLORE programme, which links staff with students to support innovative and creative ideas to benefit the local community. The team, in partnership with Galway City Council, included two staff members, Dr Eugene Farrell and Dr Kevin Lynch, and five final-year undergraduate students Shaun Byrne, Jennifer Corbett, Jennifer Logan, Aisling Miller, and Michael Murphy from the Discipline of Geography. In NUI Galway the immediate impacts on the students who developed project management experience included: how to promote and market research activities; work alongside their lecturers; and work in different roles within a small team.   Dr Eugene Farrell, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, said: “With the privilege to pursue knowledge in NUI Galway comes a civic responsibility to share or use this knowledge in the community and we hope that public education and outreach projects such as ‘I Like Beaches’ are a positive step in this direction. We are especially grateful that Eamon Daveron and Eithne Murphy from Galway City Council’s Recreation and Amenity Department have been involved in every step of the project and hope that programmes like EXPLORE continue to be supported by NUI Galway.” Dr Kevin Lynch, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, said: “Our coasts are valuable yet fragile places. It is our responsibility to make informed decisions when it comes to managing them. Short-term gains like the seawall proposed by President Trump for Doonbeg in Co. Clare should not be valued greater than looking after our coasts over the longer-term.” The ‘I Like Beaches’ team and Galway City Council are also looking for feedback from the public. To leave feedback visit the ‘I Like Beaches’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ILikeBeachesGalway/.  -Ends-

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A team from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute has secured funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to gather new empirical research on the quality of Irish environmental policy integration. The research project will identify how to achieve a more cohesive environmental policy governance. Dr Brendan Flynn of the School of Political Science & Sociology and Pádraic Ó hUiginn from the BioÉire project were awarded funding under the EPA’s Research Sustainability Pillar. EPIIC (Environmental Policy Integration – Innovation and Change) is a one-year desk-study which will identify urgent pressures on integrated environmental policy across Ireland’s public administration system. Key cross-sectoral areas included are energy, emissions and climate change, waste, transport, agriculture, marine resources, public expenditure and the project will examine the possibilities for environmental policy integration to assist in addressing these challenges. The study will engage with national departments of state, the local and regional governance levels, and also specialist states agencies with an interest in sustainability. One of the more potentially interesting angles of the research will be to uncover lessons drawn from Northern Ireland and Scottish institutions, especially in the post-Brexit situation. Dr Flynn highlighted that: “We are very keen to hear from public officials who are interested in participating in this study, naturally in the key government departments, but also local authority directors of services for environment, waste, transport and serving and current or retired city and county managers.” Dr Brendan Flynn added: “Environmental policy integration can be defined as the systematic inclusion of environmental concerns into traditional environmental and planning laws or policies. It is about achieving a cohesive, greener governance, or conversely, about uncovering how environmental policies can be undermined through a lack of good co-ordination. This study will focus on a few key policy areas where there are cross-cutting issues and demands.” Research Fellow Pádraic Ó hUiginn outlined how: “EPIIC will take a focused look at reviewing the possibilities for EPI to provide mechanisms for low-cost practical application to overcome barriers to environmental policy implementation. We are also looking at how it could position Ireland to avail of opportunities in areas such as the EU’s Circular Economy Package, for example. The challenges are multi-dimensional such as climate action and energy de-carbonisation and require a number of government departments and state agencies to work together with a common purpose. An integrated approach to sustainability, through applying EPI could possibly generate more positive outcomes, much greater than the sum of the individual parts.” “EPIIC aims to give voice to those directly engaged in implementing environmental policies in key government departments, state agencies and local authorities. By making use of interview-based research with the policy experts dealing with these complex global challenges we aim to identify urgent pressures and also examples of best practice of policy implementation in Ireland,” added Mr Ó hUiginn. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/ryaninstitute/research/specialinterestgroups/epiicenvironmentalpolicyintegration-innovationandchange/ -ends-

Monday, 14 November 2016

Final year NUI Galway student invents service to see students get home safely A new service, Dash, will allow students to get taxis even when they have no cash, bank card or phone while ensuring the drivers get paid. Dash (Driving All Students Home) was created by NUI Galway final year Business Information Systems student Richie Commins and is currently available in Galway City and will be launched nationwide in January 2017. Richie, from Claregalway, Co. Galway, came up with the idea after being left in situations many times without the physical means to get taxis. Research carried out with the NUI Galway Students’Union verified that students often do not have the means to get a taxi at the end of the night leading to the safety of students being put in jeopardy. Students simply need to sign up for free at the website, www.dashcabz.ie/ and upload a photo of themselves and a bank card to pay for emergency taxis. Richie has designed a simple app for taxi drivers so even if a student gets into a taxi with nothing, all they have to do is tell the driver their name and four digit pin for the driver to view the student on the app. The driver verifies the student by their photo, sees their method of payment and takes them home at no extra cost. Richie said: “This is the very basic version. There are many more features coming early next year such as top-up, parent back up and the beacon button to let others know you’re safe even when you’ve no phone. Dash is planning a movement of safety across all campuses that won’t cost students anything extra and ensures taxi drivers get paid.” Richie did his third year student placement on campus with the Blackstone Launchpad where he developed the idea further. The University supported Richie to sign up hundreds of students to test the prototype with three local taxi companies Big O Taxis, Pro Cabs and Galway Taxis. After successfully proving the concept, he spent the summer months meeting student unions and taxi companies across the country. The app will be implemented in the coming months in all university cities. Luke Fitzpatrick, UCD Student Union said: “I genuinely think it is fantastic that taxis, unions and students are recognising the need for getting students home safe. It is something I personally stand behind and hope all Dublin taxis jump on board with Lynk, Xpert and so on.” Colin O’Mara,Cork Chamber of Commerce and Cork Taxi Co-op, said: “Cork Taxi Coop are delighted to be involved in ensuring the Students of today and tomorrow have the peace of mind to get home safely.”     An Garda Síochána will be supporting the initiative through their Campus Watch programme. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention,said: “The taxis that have integrated with Dash have really shown they care about students, and hopefully, all taxis will soon be branded with the safety Dash brings.” For further information on the initiative visit www.dashcabz.ie/. -Ends-

Monday, 7 November 2016

The first community-based social inclusion café to exist on a higher education campus in Ireland Saol Café at NUI Galway has been named the Friendliest Business in Ireland by the JCI Ireland Friendly Business Awards. Based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) in NUI Galway, Saol Café is a not-for-profit community project. No ordinary café, Saol Café brings together local community partners, SCCUL Enterprises and leading academics from within the Life Course and Society Institute, and has set the foundations for the first community-based social inclusion café to exist on a higher education campus in Ireland.  Saol Café focuses on employment for people within the community who would be traditionally marginalized. The aim to provide a strong foundation for those individuals by teaching them the skills and providing paid employment so they engage with the community in a working environment and have the confidence to make a difference to their lives through resourceful living, green issues, sourcing, cooking and sharing wholesome food. The JCI Ireland Friendly Business Awards, supported by Bank of Ireland, is a flagship business programme where JCI recognise the pivotal role small businesses play in the local community. The aim of the Friendly Business Awards is to celebrate the value these businesses bring to our local communities every day. Each summer sees JCI branches across Ireland run the JCI Friendly Business Awards. These awards were set up to recognise businesses that excel in serving the needs of the local community and play a vital role in its development. In August Saol Café were announced as the Friendliest Business in Galway in the Regional Awards. This propelled them onto the National finals where 50% of the final marks were decided by a public vote. 500 businesses took part in the awards and Saol Café emerged as the Overall Friendliest Business in Ireland. Annette Hassett, Operations Manager with SCCUL Enterprises, said: “The team in Saol Café are delighted with the Award it’s a tremendous accolade for a business that is just one year in operation. We promote inclusive employment and hopefully this Award will encourage other employers to consider hiring staff through supported employment models.” Menus are designed around produce available from local farms and artisan producers. Saol Café works with the local businesses such as Kinvara Smoked Salmon, Lizzy Jams and Chutneys, Galway Goats Cheese, Foods of Athenry, Sheridan’s Cheese, Juicy Lucy and Galway Food Company to name a few. Their food provenance is paramount, so time is taken to ensure the ingredients are from sustainable and ethical sources. Open to the public Saol Café, just off the Upper Newcastle Road in Dangan, brings a magical taste of the community into the heart of the ILAS and its welcoming atmosphere. Operating from Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 4.30pm and Fridays until 3.30pm, the café seats 40 and serves up healthy nutritious food catering for all tastes including Coeliac and Vegans. 80% of Saol’s produce is either organic, local or fair trade.  For further information, please see www.saolcafe.ie, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @saolcafe. -ENDS-

Friday, 28 October 2016

 International conference is opening event of ROSEnet, a four-year innovative collaboration between researchers and policy stakeholders across Europe Social exclusion of older people is a direct barrier to Europe’s social and economic development. That was the message from an international conference on ‘Old-Age Social Exclusion’ hosted today by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in NUI Galway. With consequences for individuals, families, and welfare and care systems in Europe, old-age exclusion involves multifaceted forms of disadvantage. It can, as a result impact on economic, social relations, services, civic rights and community areas of life. Presenting new research from different European and international locations, speakers at the conference identified key mechanisms of exclusion across these different life domains. Panel discussion members from European policy stakeholder organisations highlighted critical challenges and opportunities for social and public policy arising from social exclusion patterns and demographic ageing across Europe. The international conference was the opening event of a four-year innovative collaboration between researchers and policy stakeholders across Europe, entitled Reducing Old-Age Exclusion in Europe: Collaborations in Research and Policy, or ROSEnet. “Old-age exclusion undermines EU goals on Healthy and Active Ageing. But more than this, and because there will be an additional 17 million older people by 2020, it may mean that the European Commission’s target of reducing the number of people in exclusion by 20 million, by 2020, is unachievable”, said Dr Kieran Walsh, Acting Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, and Chair of ROSEnet.        “Currently, existing policy in this area can lack relevance for older people’s lives and is often not prioritised politically. It also rarely recognises how ageing and social exclusion patterns intersect to produce significant consequences for states and societies.” ROSEnet is funded by the European COST Association and aims to overcome critical knowledge gaps and fragmentation in research and policy to tackle social exclusion amongst older people in Europe and beyond.ROSEnet involves over 100 researchers and policy stakeholders from across 37 countries. Marking the first cross-national initiative of its kind, ROSEnet will produce shared cross-sector understandings of disadvantage in later life in order to direct the development of new policy and practice interventions for reducing exclusion in diverse European ageing societies. “It is only by sharing existing research knowledge and developing new collaborative partnerships between researchers and policy makers, that we can really begin to think about the best way to combat exclusion for older people, nationally and internationally”, added Dr Kieran Walsh. Over its four-year duration, ROSEnet will host a series of research and policy events across Europe and produce a series of related outputs and publications, including position papers, policy briefing notes and academic publications. The conference involved European and international researchers and key European-level policy stakeholders. It presented critical debate and analysis of state-of-the-art research and knowledge and explored new directions in policy development on exclusion in later life. Speakers focused on social, economic, service, civic rights, and community/spatial forms of exclusion, and in doing so will provide insight into the intersection of demographic ageing, recognised as a significant European issue, and social exclusion, a Europe 2020 priority. -ends-

Friday, 14 October 2016

Harnessing the knowledge of the Irish agriculture sector can significantly contribute to ending hunger and poverty for millions of people in the Developing World. Joe McHugh T.D, Minister of State for the Disapora and Overseas Development Aid launches the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD)   Such is the belief of the founders of an innovative new consortium that has brought the Irish agriculture and research sectors together with some of the country’s leading development charities, in a bid to leverage Irish know-how to increase agriculture productivity and combat hunger in the Developing World.         Founding members of the new Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD) are the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Irish Aid, Teagasc, Agri-Science departments at NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, along with leading international development charities Gorta-Self Help Africa, Vita, Concern Worldwide, Trocaire and Misean Cara, private companies such as Sustainable Food Systems Ireland and Greenfield International and leading farmer associations ICMSA, ICSA, IFA and Macra na Feirme. Dr Una Murray, Nua Consulting (left) and Dr Peter McKeown, Coordinator of MScCCAFS program at NUI Galway (right) at IFIAD Launch The successful trialing in Eritrea, one of Africa’s poorest countries, of a potato variety shipped from Ireland offered a tangible example of what the new forum could achieve, the official launch of IFIAD heard, at the RDS in Dublin yesterday. Consortium members, including Teagasc, the Irish Potato Industry, Gorta-Self Help Africa and Vita had introduced the Electra variety, and provided their Eritrean counterparts with technical support and assistance. Early results showed that potato yields had tripled for Eritrean farmers as a result. Last year, Eritrea became the seventh member of the Irish Potato Forum. Representatives from national and international agriculture, agri-business and development aid sectors attended the launch, which was addressed by Minister Joe McHugh TD, and by guest speakers including Dr Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Paul Winters, Director of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD). Derrie Dillon, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Manager, Macra na Feirme (left) and Kevin Kilcline, Coordinator of MScAgriBiosciences program at NUI Galway (right) at IFIAD Launch At the launch, Minister Joe McHugh TD said: “Bringing together Irish agricultural and development expertise in this way is a great opportunity for all of us. IFIAD will help us to collectively strengthen our partnerships and continue our work to eradicate hunger and poverty.” The Forum’s Chair, Dr Lance O’Brien, Head of Strategy and International Relations at Teagasc said: “this new initiative will create a platform to allow the knowledge, expertise and commitment of the Irish farming sector to be harnessed to deliver a more focused impact on addressing the challenge of food security in developing countries.”   Professor Charles Spillane, from the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre at NUI Galway said that “IFIAD is a much needed and timely initiative that has the potential to bring a more coordinated, coherent and impact-oriented approach to Irish agricultural policies, programmes, research and training focused on reducing poverty in developing countries” NUI Galway MScCCAFS students attending IFIAD launch; Kekae Kelebogile (South Africa); Rachael Murphy (Ireland); Lorna Born (South Africa) and Sarina Motsuki (South Africa) (from left to right).   Chief Executive of Gorta-Self Help Africa Ray Jordan said that upwards of 70% of people in the Developing World directly relied on farming for their survival. If even a fraction of the learning and successes of Irish agriculture would be transposed to Africa and other poorer regions, it would lift many millions of people out of extreme poverty.” Visit: www.ifiad.org for more information.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

- Call Open for Online Public Vote - NUI Galway has been shortlisted for two major national awards in the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards. The recently completed Mayo Medical Academy Building is shortlisted in the ‘Heritage & Conservation Award’ while the Clinical and Translational Research Facility has been shortlisted for the prestigious award of ‘Engineering Project of the Year’, which will be decided by public vote. NUI Galway’s HRB Clinical Research and Lambe Institute for Translational Research Facility by Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers, is based on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The co-location of these two facilities in one building means basic laboratory research conducted in the translational research facility can be evaluated in clinical trials in the clinical research facility and ultimately benefit patients faster. Some examples of the types of studies undertaken in the two facilities include: Predicting risk of breast cancer Stem cell trials Clinical trials in blood cancer patients How implantable medical devices can provide new solutions for patients To vote for NUI Galway’s Clinical and Translational Research Facility in the ‘Public Choice’ category you can visit http://bit.ly/votenuigalway Under the ‘Public Choice Award’ section tick the NUI Galway HRB Clinical Research & Lambe Institute for Translational Research Facility, and click ‘vote’. Opened in 2015 by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, NUI Galway’s HRB Clinical Research and Lambe Institute for Translational Research Facility is a world-class clinical research facility. At the opening An Taoiseach remarked that the facility “represents the point where research and healthcare meet – where “bench” meets “bedside”. The advances made by researchers and clinicians in this facility will undoubtedly lead to better frontline health outcomes and will ultimately improve patients’ lives.” The proximity of the University to University Hospital Galway enables direct patient access and collaborative trial input from the hospital Oncology/Haematology Clinical Trials Unit. The Clinical Research Facility will ensure that patients in the West and North West of Ireland have access to a number of new cancer therapies that would otherwise not have been available to them. This shortlisting adds to the accolades of the many new buildings across the NUI Galway campus including the new Engineering Building which won the accolade of ‘Best Public Choice’ Award in 2012. -ENDS-

Friday, 30 September 2016

#ShareASmile Building upon the success of last year’s Mental Health Week, NUI Galway’s Psych Society has been working with a large number of societies, local businesses and NUI Galway’s Societies Office to create an even more eventful and inclusive Mental Health week running from 3-7 October on campus. According to Soraya Matthews the Auditor of Psych Soc: “We were overwhelmed with the response to last year’s events and are looking forward to an even more positive, inclusive and eventful Mental Health Week, making the campus a friendly place to be.” This year Psych Soc are incorporating the initiative ‘What are the #LittleThings that we can each do for each other on a personal level as well as what societies can do to increase happiness’. The hashtag and campaign that will support initiative will be #ShareASmile According to the Psych Soc, "It is simple, but effective. Smiling at someone can boost their confidence, change their outlook of their day and encourage a conversation.” The message will be brought to students by placing #ShareASmile stickers on tea/coffee cups. Customers who receive these cups will be given their beverage for free from participating campus restaurants, giving them a boost for their day ahead and hopefully making it a happier one. The Psychological Society will also be distributing goodie bags containing treats and information about support services, which will include #ShareASmile & #SmileYouGotAGoodieBag stickers and creating a #LittleThings video to find out from students what the their #LittleThings are and what helps them to #ShareASmile. For further details on NUI Galway’s Mental Health Week see the website www.nuigstudents.ie, check out NUI Galway Psychological Society Facebook or call the Socs Box on 091 492852.  -ends- 

Friday, 30 September 2016

Minister Katherine Zappone to launch reports at NUI Galway today. Voices of children and youth, older people and people with disabilities central to the research. Revealing insights into six neighbourhoods in Dublin, Limerick and Galway are published today by NUI Galway.  With huge community participation, the research is the result of a three-year programme of work, the 3-Cities Project, by the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway. Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone T.D. will formally launch the research later today at the University. While the research included city-wide data-collection, the primary focus centred on six very different kinds of communities across the three cities. These included: the Liberties and East Wall (Dublin); Doughiska and Claddagh (Galway); and Garryowen and South Circular Road (Limerick). Dr Kieran Walsh of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway, said: “In the first study of its kind, our research looked at shared challenges and opportunities with respect to participation for three groups. We wanted to hear the voice of children and youth, older people and people with disabilities. They were central to the research process and we have learned so much from their experiences of living in these areas and how things like services and sense of community effect their day to day lives.” The research focused on these groups as, while they possess a diverse set of abilities and backgrounds, they can in some cases be susceptible to limitations in choice and mobility. “This is why local neighbourhoods are so important for such residents. Children, older people, and those living with disabilities spend so much time within the neighbourhood. One recurring theme is that as life goes on, people may have to regularly leave where they live to access services, whether that’s disability services or sports activities for older teenagers.” “We met some really engaging people who pointed out the good and bad of where they live. Neighbourhood change, major life events, local service adequacy, feelings of belonging and social cohesion. These all influence the capacity of the three groups to participate in a full and meaningful way”, continued Dr Walsh. The reports found that structural forms of disadvantage, as a result of political prioritisation, gentrification and development processes, and macro-economic shifts, can intensify the potential for poor participation in different areas of life. This included social relations, economic roles, cultural activities and civic participation.  The 3-Cities Project points to the need for future interventions and polices around development of voice-led multi-stakeholder partnerships, fostering collective ownership, integrative collision spaces, and neighbourhood asset planning for enablement across the life course. Suggested solutions are prominent in the reports. With regard to the development of ‘integrative collision spaces’ or spaces where people could meet and interact, Dr Walsh said: “We heard about the importance of the annual fair in Garryowen. We had the suggestion of a pop-up café in Lidl in the Liberties, or ‘retrofitting’ somewhere like Merlin Woods in Doughiska to offer social spaces for people. What is very clear is the enabling power of local neighbourhoods for potentially marginalised groups, and that participants in this research really emphasised how these settings can facilitate participation and, potentially, serve as a very important mechanism for societal integration.” Full copies of the reports are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/ilas/project-lifecourse/thethreecitiesproject/outputs/ -ends- 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Research published in today’s issue of Nature has provided new insights into the formation of tiny particles in marine air which ultimately have an impact on cloud formation, weather patterns and global climate. The international team, which included the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd and Dr Darius Ceburnis, gathered data from field stations on the west coast of Ireland, Greenland and the Antarctic. “Atmospheric aerosols are tiny airborne liquid or solid droplets or particles, ranging from nanometers to tens or even hundreds of microns in size”, explains Professor O’Dowd, Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies in the School of Physics and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. “They essentially act as condensation sites for water vapour leading to the formation of haze and cloud layers which ultimately help to keep the earth system from overheating. They do this by reducing the amount of solar energy passing through the atmosphere and absorbed by the Earth. An increase in the abundance of these tiny particles leads to more reflective haze and cloud layers. The end result of more reflecting haze and cloud layers is to partially offset the degree of global warming by greenhouse gases.” Professor O’Dowd continued: “For the first time, we have measured, at a molecular level the nucleation, or formation mechanism and the nucleating molecules forming these tiny particles, less than a nanometer (a thousand of a millionth of a meter in size), in marine air. Our experiments reveal that the formation and initial growth process is almost exclusively driven by iodine oxoacids and iodine oxide vapours and that cluster formation primarily proceeds by sequential addition of HIO3, followed by intracluster restructuring to I2O5 . These observations will help us understand the feedbacks between the marine biosphere and global climate change. The Mace Head atmospheric research station was the key experimental or ‘atmospheric laboratory’ facility leading to the new discovery.” Professor O’Dowd was recently award the Mason Gold medal by the Royal Meteorological Society, the Royal Irish Academy and the Appleton Medal by the Institute of Physics for his research into atmospheric composition and climate change. He is also ranked among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds’ by Thomson Reuters. The full paper ‘Molecular-scale evidence of aerosol particle formation via sequential addition of HIO3’ is published in today’s edition of Nature, with co-authors from: University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Germany; University of Eastern Finland, Finland; Aerodyne Research Inc., USA; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland. -ends-

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

With one in three women worldwide experiencing abuse, violence against women is a global epidemic. The economic cost of this violence will be discussed by current and former women Heads of State and Government at the UN Headquarters in New York today. Dr Nata Duvvury, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, will be acting as an expert advisor at the High Level Discussion on Economic Costs of Violence against Women (VAW). Dr Duvvury’s groundbreaking work on the costs of violence against women has gained international recognition, cited by Hilary Clinton, Mary Robinson, World Bank economist Caren Grown, by UN Women, and international donor agencies and cited in numerous journal articles. Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Duvvury said: “Violence against women is a fundamental human rights violation, a priority public health issue and a development issue with significant implications for economic growth. In studies in Australia, UK, or Vietnam where women’s labour force participation rates are high, the costs of violence are reflected in absenteeism and productivity loss. In Vietnam the productivity loss was equivalent to 1.79% of GDP. A study in the Peru on the costs to businesses estimated that overall 70 million workdays were lost in a year due to the impacts of violence on women’s and men’s absenteeism and presenteeism (being late, leaving early, not concentrating, etc.). Both the Vietnam and Peru studies found that intimate partner violence also had an impact on men, which is an important insight to highlight. Policymakers must recognise the ripple effects of violence against women across various sections of society and businesses, to understand that the effects/impacts of VAW do not stop at the factory door but seep into every nook and cranny of the production system. We need commitment from world leaders to invest to prevent and respond to VAW.” The panel was called by The President of the Republic of Lithuania, H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, as Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, to discuss the economic impact of VAW during the High Level Week of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2016. In addition to Dr Duvvury, Ms Jurgita Pečiūrienė, Gender Expert at the European Institute for Gender equality, will be presenting expert evidence. The panel includes Heads of State and Government and International Organisations including: the Presidents of the Republic of Chile, Lithuania, Malta, Croatia and the Prime Minister of Namibia; H.E. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General, The Commonwealth; Ms Sivana Koch-Mehrin, Founder of the Women in Parliaments Global Form; and Ms Laura Liswood, Secretary-General, Council of Women World Leaders. Building on more than 20 years of international engagement and gender-focussed research at the cutting edge of HIV, women’s asset ownership, nutrition and gender based violence, Dr Duvvury has made seminal contributions to the policy discourse on gender, equality, health and empowerment. At the High Level Discussion, Dr Duvvury will be making the argument that violence against women and girls has cumulative impacts over the life-time of individuals undermining individual capability resulting in overall economic loss over time.  -ends- 

Monday, 19 September 2016

NUI Galway, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, has begun a new research study, which is funded by the EPA, to measure the levels of a certain class of pollutants in Irish homes, schools, offices and cars. The research team is now seeking to recruit participants in Galway, Dublin and Limerick. The ‘ELEVATE’ study will measure levels of specific ‘persistent organic pollutants’ in samples of drinking water, indoor air and floor dust. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) represent a group of chemicals that are not easily degraded and so can accumulate and persist for long periods of time in the environment. The specific POPs of interest in the current study are brominated flame retardants and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The study will be led by Professor Stuart Harrad at the University of Birmingham, with NUI Galway as partners in the study. Research in Ireland will be conducted by PhD researcher, Nina Wemken under the supervision of Dr Marie Coggins in the School of Physics at NUI Galway.   Dr Coggins explains: “Brominated flame retardants have been used widely to flame-proof electronic goods, furniture, and other textiles. PFOS and related chemicals have been used to impart stain and dirt repellence in carpets, paper and packaging, to provide water repellence in garments and clothing and are used in firefighting foams. Currently, the health effects of many of these chemicals are not fully understood, however evidence suggests that, at certain levels, they may be harmful to human health. We will not study the health effects of these chemicals in ELEVATE, but as a first step our study will measure how much of these chemicals are present in different environment to assess the importance of different pathways to the overall exposure of the Irish population. These exposures will be compared to existing estimates of dietary exposure for Ireland to identify the relative importance of different exposure pathways to the Irish population. This is quite a comprehensive study and one of the first of its kind internationally.” Public Participation in the Study NUI Galway PhD student, Nina Wemken added: “For this study we are seeking participants from 30 primary schools, 30 offices, 30 homes and cars in Dublin, Limerick and Galway. We hope people will take part in the research study and help us find out more about POPs in the environments. For those who wish to participate, a member of the ELEVATE study team will visit the home/office or school and perform the measurements. The trained researcher will place a small device in one room for 60 days which will measure POPs in the air. They will use small, discreet, specialist equipment which should not interfere with the day to day activities. The researcher will also collect a sample of floor dust using a standard vacuum cleaner. Participants will also be asked to complete a short questionnaire, to provide brief details of the number of electrical appliances and the type of textiles etc. in your room. All samples collected will be analysed for their concentrations of brominated flame retardants and PFOS at a specialist laboratory at the University of Birmingham. For further information on ELEVATE visit: www.nuigalway.ie/elevate ENDS

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

NUI Galway’s Rover Society has collected over 900 sleeping bags at Electric Picnic in Stradbally to donate to homeless services around Ireland. Based off a successful scheme run by the Society last year which saw 1,200 sleeping bags being donated to the homeless service COPE Galway, the society hoped to collect a similar amount of bags this year. Hannah Jansen, Auditor of the Rover Society at NUI Galway, said: “One of the most challenging aspects of this project is the logistics of transporting so many sleeping bags across Ireland. This year, we received sponsorship from Windsor Motor Group Galway and RescuU who provided us with a transit van and box trailer respectively. We also received support from the boutique camping company, Pink Moon, who have kindly offered us sleeping bags from the festival for two consecutive years. Without the support of these local businesses, this project would never have been possible.”  This year the sleeping bags were donated to Darkness into Light in Dublin, and NOVA, a Limerick-based charity that provides emergency accommodation to families, children and single adults who are homeless. The remaining bags were donated to local scout and youth groups across Galway City. Riona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “This good work by the Rovers Society exemplifies all that is positive and socially aware about the students in NUI Galway. A big congratulations is due to Rover Society for this large undertaking and to all of the society members who in the last 12 years have raised over €2 million for charity and who have volunteered and worked with communities throughout the world.” The NUI Galway Rover Society is the Scout society at the University who aim to promote the outdoors but is also working towards a better community outreach. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

NUI Galway’s fifteenth annual Volunteering Fair will take place on Tuesday, 13 September in the Bailey Allen Hall, from 11-4pm. During the fair NUI Galway will launch the new national StudentVolunteer.ie website. Studentvolunteer.ie is a network of Irish Higher Education institutions that have come together to create an online resource to connect students and community groups, charities, schools, hospitals, public bodies and NGOs across Ireland. Studentvolunteer.ie is funded by each Higher Education member institution and Campus Engage Over 80 campus, local, national, and international NGOs, school and hospital programmes, charities and community and voluntary groups will be showcasing their work at the Volunteering Fair. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “StudentVolunteer.ie is an exciting new portal for young people to sign up to volunteer, manage all their community engagement and reflect on their learning for a campus recognition certificate. We created this together across higher education because students want to volunteer where they are from and now study. It is an exciting opportunity to promote community activity and we are delighted to see student volunteering grow through this easy online interface. NGOs are also welcome to add their volunteering roles addressing a wide range of issues from environmental, social justice, or children and youth to StudentVolunteer.ie for students across Ireland to see.” Volunteering Fair exhibitors include: Habitat for Humanity Ireland; Baboró International Arts Festival for Children; SERVE; The Hope Foundation; Music for Galway; Helplink Support Services; Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland; GOAL; Clean Coasts; Conservation Volunteers Galway; JCI Galway; the Kiltartan Gregory Cultural Society; and Yeats Thoor Ballylee Development group, amongst others. ALIVE - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience – was established at NUI Galway to build links between community groups and students. This has been achieved through community partnerships, events like the Fair, and an online website of volunteer opportunities. At the end of the academic year students can apply for an ALIVE Certificate in acknowledgment of their voluntary commitment which is awarded by NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. To date over 12,000 students have been recognised for their volunteering commitment to the Galway city community, the NUI Galway campus community and with international communities.  To book a stand or for further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/alive or email alive@nuigalway.ie.  -Ends-

Monday, 5 September 2016

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club and Aerogen, will host its fourth annual charity 8K Run/Walk on Saturday, 24 September at 10am. The popular event consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain route around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. Entry to the event is €25, with all proceeds going to Jigsaw Galway, the official charity partner. A special early bird rate of €20 is available before Friday, 16 September, with further discounts for group entries. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support service that promotes the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15-25, living in Galway city and county. Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals who are worried about a young person. NUI Galway Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, said: “We have been building on the success of our 8K event on campus each year, with over 700 participants in 2015. We are holding the race earlier this year, and we look forward to welcoming staff, students, alumni, friends and neighbours to the University campus on 24 September for another great event. Little things make a difference and 'The more you move the better your mood' is a key message in support of better mental health. Take this opportunity to enjoy our wonderful campus and show your support for Jigsaw.” To help participants prepare for the event, Aerogen will host a Sign-Up Day for anyone interested on Friday, 9 September from 12pm-2pm in the Insight Building at the front of the IDA Business Park, Dangan. Representatives from Kingfisher Club and Jigsaw will also be present to assist with sign-ups and answer any questions. Kingfisher Club is also organising meet-and-train sessions on Mondays and Wednesday from 1pm-2pm and 5.30pm-6.30pm departing from the Sports Centre on the NUI Galway campus. The sessions are free-of-charge and open to all. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website www.runireland.com/events/nui-galway-8k-0. Updates are also available on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGalway.8kRun. For further queries email nuigalway8k@kingfisherclub.com. -Ends-

Friday, 2 September 2016

Exercise4Health is back this October, helping the people of Galway take control of their heart health. This programme, designed specifically for those who due to a number of health issues are reluctant to engage in exercise, those who are new to exercise and those who see exercise as their medicine to engage in a meaningful, evidence based fitness programme.  “The programme has been very successful over the past year with many participants improving their cardiovascular fitness, decreasing their risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and overall participants are living healthier lives” said Croí’s Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist, Denise Dunne. Being physically active prevents and helps control a multitude of health problems, especially, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Exercise4Health provides a locally accessible fitness solution and opportunity for those with diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary disease; those recovering from stroke or cancer or those with breathing difficulties or other long-term health conditions, to commence a safe and beneficial exercise programme. The programme is ideally suited to anyone trying to reduce weight or indeed improve their overall health and wellbeing. The six-week rolling exercise programme is specially designed to suit all levels of current fitness. Prior to enrolling in the class all individuals will be assessed to ascertain current fitness levels. “The social interaction and group inclusion is also a vital part of the benefits of the programme, over the last year it has been a pleasure to see the many friendships develop between members of the group, with everyone enjoying a cup of  tea/coffee at the end of each exercise session” continued Denise Dunne. Croí, Kingfisher and NUI Galway jointly collaborate to bring Exercise4Health and are supporting World Heart Day on the 29 September. The Exercise4Health programme is starting back on Thursday, 6 October, and takes place in the Kingfisher Fitness Club at NUI Galway from 1-2pm every Thursday. For further information or to book a place call Croí now on 091 544310 -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

NUI Galway has launched a new sustainability initiative which aims to make the campus one of the greenest, smartest, healthiest and community-focused in the world.   The initiative is based on a Learn Live Lead approach where NUI Galway focuses on its core strength in teaching and research to learn about sustainability, analyses building performance and campus operations to live more sustainability, and connects to broader society to lead in translating sustainability to the wider community.  As part of the initiative, NUI Galway becomes the first university in Ireland to join the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) Sustainable Energy Communities Network. This ambitious initiative also includes a ‘Battle of the Buildings’ energy-efficiency competition and a new website to showcase sustainability teaching and research and to engage the campus community. Commenting at the launch, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be the first university in Ireland to sign up for this initiative. After my appointment in early 2014 as Registrar and Deputy President, I initiated a university-wide discussion on the future of NUI Galway among senior academics and senior administrators. One of the key themes identified in this process was to move the University towards the greenest, smartest, healthiest and community-focused third-level campus in Ireland with an ambition to be internationally recognised by 2025 for its culture and practice of sustainability. ” Professor Ó Dochartaigh continued: “The SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities Network is timely and fits very well with strategic developments in NUI Galway. For example, the NUI Galway Strategic Plan 2015-2020, Vision 2020 embraces the ideas of ‘creating a sustainable campus where all resources are used efficiently and where facilities are managed and services consolidated as efficiently as possible’ and recognises the need for ‘external engagement with an openness to partnership and a spirit of collaboration to define the NUI Galway approach’.” The Sustainable Energy Communities Network embraces an inclusive and community approach, across all sectors, to develop a sustainable energy system. To achieve this goal, SECs aim to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible and to develop decentralised energy supplies. By joining the SEC Network, NUI Galway commits to knowledge sharing with SEC members and to developing and implementing energy-saving initiatives. Membership of the SEC network offers many benefits to the University and its community partners, including the potential for energy and financial savings, community building through a partnership approach, and developing renewable energy technologies. Battle of the Buildings The first major project of the University’s sustainability initiative is the ‘Battle of the Buildings’, inspired by a similar competition run by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It aims to make students, academics and staff more aware of the energy use of campus buildings and to encourage energy-efficient behaviour through collegial competition. The first departments to battle off are engineering, nursing and business, all located in the north of the Newcastle campus. Details of daily energy use of buildings will be available online as well as on dashboards throughout campus. An energy training and awareness campaign will encourage students, academics and staff to make informed decisions about energy use that will reduce energy costs. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We have made great progress over the last 10 years in introducing clean and green systems into our buildings and thanks to the leadership of the Buildings Office we are becoming much more efficient in how we use energy and what types of energies we use. This launch recognises that to progress a sustainable energy system, a collaborative and concerted campus and community-wide commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable energy use is needed.” Professor Brown continued: “NUI Galway recognises the role of a sustainable third-level campus in the transition towards a sustainable community encompassing environment health, economy, community and culture. Sustainable energy use is a central pillar of campus energy policy and is the foundation for NUI Galway to become recognised internationally as one of the greenest, smartest and healthiest campuses.” Phelim Kelly, President of the Students’ Union, added: “This is a fantastic initiative where we can see a real partnership between students, staff and indeed the external community. I would like to thank everyone involved in their efforts to make people more consciously aware of the environment. It is brilliant to see staff and students collaborate with an aim to see a healthier, green campus and in doing so giving the University and wider communities an insight into the value of sustainable technologies.” NUI Galway has also launched a new website to collect all existing research, teaching, outreach and management relating to sustainability. This website includes dedicated pages for each sustainability project, a feedback mechanism for ideas for campus improvements, and links to teaching and research centres. New data platforms will be integrated in the website demonstrate key performance indicators relating to campus performance, such as energy use in each building. For more details on sustainability at NUI Galway, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability ENDS

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Tibetan Buddhist Monk to deliver public mindfulness classes at NUI Galway as part of the University’s ongoing initiative towards integrating a mindful culture As part of its ongoing initiative towards integrating mindfulness into the University’s culture, NUI Galway will host a day of Mindfulness classes with Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thubten. The classes are free and will take place in NUI Galway’s Aula Maxima Lower on Friday, 24 June, throughout the day from 8.15am to 5pm.   This month’s classes will focus on Transforming Emotional Reactions through Mindfulness. This will be followed by a reflection practice that looks at methods for gaining more freedom from limiting emotional patterns, as well as how to develop greater tolerance and mental resilience. Training in compassion will also be emphasised. Classes are open to all university staff and students, the general public, researchers, student counsellors and advisors, healthcare professionals, mindfulness practitioners, and anyone with an interest in mindfulness. The June class is the fifth in a series of monthly classes, which will continue over the coming months at the University. The purpose of the classes is to provide a thorough training in mindfulness, teaching new themes and reflection practices each month, which should be practiced in between modules. For those attending for the first time, there is an opportunity to cover the previous three sessions at the 12pm class. Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thubten is based at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfriesshire in Scotland and works with businesses, hospitals, schools, prisons and addiction centres, and counts among his clients such organisations as the NHS, Google, Morrisons, Clifford Chance and Linklaters. He has lectured on Buddhism and meditation at the universities of Oxford, Helsinki and Cardiff.  Commenting on what people can expect from the Mindfulness classes Gelong Thubten said: “The mindfulness training has been very well supported at NUI Galway and people are finding real benefit in their lives. It is great to see so many people gaining such a lot from these classes.” Class Schedule for Friday, 24 June, 2016: 8.15am – 9:00am 10.45am – 11.30am 12:00pm – 12.45pm (Beginners) 13.15pm – 14:00pm 17: 00pm – 17:45pm For more about NUI Galway’s Mindful Way visit: www.nuigalway.ie/mindfulway ENDS

Thursday, 16 June 2016

NUI Galway is involved with Ireland’s first ever Autism Registry, which was recently launched by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. The Registry will help identify the exact service needs for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by gathering vital information on a child’s diagnosis, development, medical and educational history. NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin and Autism Speaks are leading the initiative in response to a call for a registry from affected families. The pilot phase of the Registry will begin in Kildare/West Wicklow with hopes to extend it nationally later this year.  The data gathered will not only map out gaps in occupational health, speech & language and educational services but will also offer an important insight into the day-to-day realities for families living with autism. The Registry will also inform future academic research into the causes of autism and improved interventions. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway said: “The benefits of this Registry are far reaching, and it will allow us not only to demonstrate how widespread the condition is but to identify where extra medical and educational resources should be targeted. The Irish Autism Registry will serve as a national resource, targeted at the social, health, educational and long term needs of the Irish autism community.” Professor Louise Gallagher, School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin said:“I work with parents every day and know the immense challenges they face when it comes to access to the services they need for their child. The information gathered will allow us to identify the services that are lacking and to pinpoint exactly where they are needed. This will be the first step in helping children reach their full potential and in turn improve their quality of life.” An estimated one in 68 people worldwide has ASD, which makes it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and paediatric AIDs combined. Parents and guardians across Kildare/West Wicklow are encouraged to support the project by registering their child on the Autism Registry. To sign up, please email Sarah-Marie Feighan on feighans@tcd.ie or call 01 8962315 For more information visit www.iarb.ie ENDS

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy to deliver opening conference address NUI Galway will hold the 20th annual Health Promotion Research Centre Summer Conference on Wednesday, 15 June in Áras Moyola. The conference will explore the use of research evidence in developing and implementing inter-sectoral policy and innovative practice for health promotion.  Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion at the Department of Health will deliver the opening address. Minister Corcoran Kennedy said: “The Healthy Ireland Framework is the blueprint for how we will promote, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of our people. Health promotion research and practice will play a key role in empowering individuals, families and communities to look after their own health and wellbeing and make positive choices. They are also a key part of the cross-sectoral partnerships we need to build to address the determinants of health.” The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on the use of more effective methods of translating evidence into effective health promotion action. Bridging the gap between ‘what works’ and ‘what happens in practice’ will be a key focus of the conference. This meeting also marks 30 years since the publication of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (WHO, 1986) and celebrates 20 years of NUI Galway hosting the annual Health Promotion conference. Professor Don Nutbeam, Professor of Public Health, Sydney School of Public Health in the University of Sydney, will deliver the a keynote lecture on optimising the transfer of research evidence into healthy public policy and health promotion practice. Professor Nutbeam said: “We need to work with policy makers to understand more clearly the type of questions that need answering, and to continue to develop the research methods that deliver the best possible answers to questions of greatest public health importance.” Dr Gauden Galea, Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course, WHO Regional Office for Europe will present on strengthening the evidence base for action on health promotion in Europe. Other speakers will include Professor Corey Keyes, Department of Sociology, Emory University, Atlanta, United States, who will deliver a lecture on the need for the promotion and protection of positive mental health throughout the lifespan, with a particular focus on youth and students. Professor Jan de Maeseneer, Head of Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Ghent University will discuss community oriented primary care and provide examples of the integration of health promotion into public health and primary health care. Professor de Maeseneer said: “Community Oriented Primary Care blends daily activities in primary health care with the aspirations of health promotion in the context of public health.” Workshops on using research in policy and practice will also feature and include topics such as alcohol, mental wellbeing, child and adolescent health, partnerships for health, behavior change and health inequalities. Oral and poster presentations related to the conference theme will also be delivered, and together with the workshops provide every delegate a chance to network and meet with speakers and colleagues. A riverside walk or spin on a ‘Pedal Power’ bike is also on offer to enable delegates easy and accessible active opportunities. Professor Margaret Barry, Chair of the 2016 Conference and Established Professor at NUI Galway, said: “This conference brings together key players in health promotion policy, research and practice and together we will reflect on the impact of health promotion since the publication of the Ottawa Charter, consider successes and current challenges, and envision how we can shape the future of health promotion and strengthen evidence-based action for improved population health.” Since NUI Galway’s postgraduate Health Promotion programme had its first entry in 1993, there have been over 600 graduates from the Master’s and Postgraduate Diploma programme and a recent survey of past graduates indicated that the vast majority are working in Health Promotion posts or in related work. NUI Galway has also seen a significant increase in the number of PhD students in Health Promotion in recent years, including overseas students, with 21 currently registered on a full or part-time basis.  -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

NUI Galway Students prepare for Shell Eco-marathon 2016 NUI Galway’s ultra-energy-efficient car team, the Geec (Galway energy-efficient car), has teamed up with Mondello Park International Race Circuit, the home of motor racing in Ireland, to push the bounds of automotive energy efficiency. The Geec, which has been designed, built, driven and tested entirely by NUI Galway undergraduate students, will spend a day on the track at Mondello this Thursday (16 June). The car’s electrical, electronic and mechanical systems, as well as its drivers, will be put through their paces before travelling to London for Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) Europe 2016, the premier competition for student-built energy efficient vehicles. In 2015, the Geec became the first ever Irish team to participate at the Europe-wide event, finishing 23rd out of 51 teams in the battery electric prototype category, with an efficiency score of 287 kilometres per kilowatt-hour, equivalent to 8,000 miles per gallon. Driving the 2015 Geec from Galway to Dublin would use just 13 cents worth of electricity. The Geec 2.0 aims to improve on this performance through an aggressive campaign of vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamic improvements, electric drive optimisation and driver training. Testing at Mondello Park provides a truly unique opportunity for the NUI Galway students to put engineering theory to the test under realistic driving conditions not available anywhere else in Ireland. For Mondello Park International Race Circuit, the day of testing is a chance to play a key role in the shift towards a more sustainable future for mobility in Ireland. Nearly 40% of energy use in Ireland is for transportation, with 97% of this figure delivered by imported oil products. The widespread use of fossil fuels in transportation is responsible for the release of about one quarter of Ireland’s climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from transportation are second only to those of agriculture. The NUI Galway students of the Geec team are pushing the boundaries of energy-efficient transport technology. Shane Queenan, a final-year student of mechanical engineering and one of the car’s design team leaders, said: “Testing at Mondello Park is an ideal opportunity for us to fine-tune the performance of the car before we race in London. It will be truly rewarding to see the Geec running around Ireland's renowned motorsport circuit.” Dr Nathan Quinlan, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and one of the team’s academic mentors, added: “The team has made huge strides this year. The Mondello Park testing is the final preparation for SEM Europe, and will give the team invaluable knowledge about the car and experience of race conditions.” ENDS

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

US Disability Visionaries will reflect on Ireland's programme for government in the area of disability at International Summer School The world’s biggest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place in NUI Galway from 20-24 June. Hosted by the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, this the eighth such Summer School to take place at the University, and this year’s theme is ‘Civil Society Impacting Change’. The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to help them translate the generalities of the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. This School will look at some of the strategies that civil society has used to protect the rights and improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world. Over 140 delegates from nearly 40 countries are expected to attend this year’s event, including persons with disabilities and their families, civil society groups, as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Many of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform. This year it will be opened by Senator Tom Harkin and Judith Heumann of the US State Department. Senator Harkin was the lead sponsor of the famous Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) which triggered the disability rights movement around the world. Judith Heumann now acts as Assistant Secretary of State in the US State Department helping other countries develop their disability rights programmes.   Also speaking will be John Wodatch, Former Director of the Disability Section of the Civil Rights Division in the US Department of Justice; and Catalina Devandas, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Though designed to be pan-national in its scope, this year will afford a unique learning opportunity on how disability-related innovations in the new Irish programme for government can be mapped onto innovations already taken place in the US. The Summer School is in part supported by the Open Society Foundations. Registration for the Summer School remains open until Friday, 17 June and will cost €330. Further information is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/summer_school/about.html or contact jb.terrins@nuigalway.ie or 086 8252612. Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The 2nd Annual mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will be hosted by the mHealth Research Group and the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, on the Thursday, 16 June in the Arts Millennium Building.  Building on the success of its inaugural event last year, the mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will bring together an impressive network of healthcare researchers, practitioners and industry leaders to address key issues in behavioural science, mobile health (mHealth) research and healthcare delivery.  The mHealth Research Group was founded in 2014 by a diverse group of researchers and clinicians at NUI Galway. The main aim of the mHealth Research Group is to promote approaches to mHealth research, intervention development and implementation in practice that are appropriate, patient-centric, evidence-based and scalable. The conference will feature leading and innovative experts and guest speakers in the area of mobile health, including: Professor Susan Michie, University College London; Professor David French, University of Manchester; Professor Sean Mackey, Stanford University; Dr Beth Darnall, Stanford University, Dr Leanne Morrisson, University of Southampton; Dr Conor Linehan, University College Cork; Dr Felix Naughton, University of Cambridge and Avril Copeland, Founder of TickerFit.  For students, post-graduates, established and early career researchers, this dynamic and interdisciplinary event will provide an ideal platform to showcase existing and emerging mobile, telehealth and connected health technology research and practices focusing on patient care, population health management and clinical outcomes.  The overall theme of the conference will be on the use of effective methods of knowledge translation and specific efforts to bridge the gap between the scientific and commercial aspects of mobile and connected health.  Conference topics of interest include: improved access to healthcare related knowledge and information; diagnostic, communication and treatment support for patients and providers; timely and actionable delivery of public health information; remote monitoring of health conditions; personal health management including chronic conditions and greater access to education and training for healthcare professionals. The conference will feature interactive panel discussions, poster presentations and awards for best poster presentation including best student poster presentation. Dr Jane Walsh, Chair of the mHealth research group at NUI Galway, said: “We are particularly delighted to have such a fantastic line up of speakers joining us to continue the discussion on the role of behavioural science and mobile health technology in healthcare, and the future of mHealth in health-related practice, policy and research. This event will aim to promote the development of high quality multidisciplinary research networks through which NUI Galway can achieve the highest quality of scientific excellence working with international research leaders and all the various stakeholders in healthcare and industry.” The mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference is supported in part by the Irish Research Council, the Whitaker Institute and the Health Research Board. Registration for the conference is free and places are limited.  For more information, submission guidelines and to submit a presentation, please visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=470 Attendees at the mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference on June 16 are also invited to enjoy a second day of discussion, exploration and networking at the 20th Anniversary Health Promotion Conference also hosted at NUI Galway.  For further information, please visit the website: www.hprcconference.ie    ENDS

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

NUI Galway will host the 25th International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) Annual Conference, ‘Transitions and Transformations in Gender Equality’, from 24-26 June. Bringing together leading practitioners from the fields of academia, economics and social justice, the conference presents an opportunity to interact with preeminent feminist and heterodox economics scholars and advocates whose work covers a wide range of issues such as gender equality, gender and development, macroeconomic policy, capabilities and well-being. The IAFFE is a renowned international association that focuses on advancing feminist inquiry into economic issues. The conference comes at a time of growing economic and environmental instability across the world. In responding to these issues, the IAFFE members are engaged in critical policy discussions on gender equality at both national and international forums, providing a strong voice in critiques of neo-liberal paradigms, and advocating for an alternative vision of economics focused on equality, capabilities and well-being. Speakers will include: Bina Agarwal, a prize-winning development economist and Professor of Development Economics and Environment at the University of Manchester, UK Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science Diane Elson, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at University of Essex, UK Gita Sen, Professor of Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India, and Adjunct Professor of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health Alicia Girón, past President of IAFFE is a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment Speaking ahead of the event, chief organiser Dr Nata Duvvury, senior lecturer and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies, said: “This conference comes at a very critical juncture as the world is grappling with fragile economic recovery, a refugee crisis of unprecendented proportions, growing income inequality and deepening environmental crisis. Scholars, policymakers and activists will explore the ramifications of these challenges for gender equality and social justice as well as consider alternative sustainable solutions through gender aware macroecnomic policies, innovative social arrangements transforming the gendered nature of care work/social reproduction, and consistent application of human rights to design of programs and policies.” The Conference will open with a plenary on “Gender Equality in ‘Post-Recession’ Ireland” with contributions by Professor Sesma Ozar, President of IAFFE; Dr Anne Byrne, NUI Galway; Professor Kathleen Lynch, UCD; Dr Helen Russell, ESRI; and Orla O’Connor, National Women's Council of Ireland. A consultation roundtable for input to the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment will also be held. Alicia Giron, former President of IAFFE and member of the High Level Panel will provide an overview of the work of panel thus far. Another important high-level roundtable of special interest to policy makers, advocates and activists is on ‘Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals: are they transformative agenda?’. The roundtable discussants include Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, New School for Social Research and Member of UN Development Policy Committee; Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development at LSE Gender Institute; Professor Gita Sen, Indian Institute of Management; and Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data at the UN. On Thursday, 23 June, a pre-conference workshop will be held by the IAFFE, designed for scholars and activists new to feminist economics. Topics will include feminist economics methodologies, caring labour, diversity in economics, and global perspectives on gender and economics. The workshop will also provide career-building presentations and discussions, such as publishing feminist economics research and developing a media presence. This year’s conference is being organised by NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies with support from Fáilte Ireland, and NUI Galway’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society, Moore and Whitaker Institutes, Research Office, International Office as well as Galway University Foundation. For more information on the IAFFE Conference and a full list of the speakers visit http://www.iaffe.org/2016-annual-conference/ -Ends-

Thursday, 2 June 2016

NUI Galway’s CÉIM programme recently won the ‘Student Engagement Activity of the Year Award’ at the National Student Achievement Awards 2016. CÉIM is an academic peer-led support scheme for first year NUI Galway students studying the BA in Geography, the BA in Law, and Engineering. The National Student Achievement Awards recognise the contribution of individuals and groups from third-level education institutions across the island of Ireland. Presenting the Award to NUI Galway was Tom Boland, CEO of the Higher Education Authority, who said: “CÉIM is innovative and invigorating and shows a depth of work and understanding worthy of any project in higher education.” CÉIM was initiated by NUI Galway Students' Union in collaboration with the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics in 2013. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “CÉIM aims to support first year students to transition successfully to university, succeed academically, develop networks, and complete their studies. We are delighted that CÉIM has been acknowledged at a national level and we look forward to further developing the programme in collaboration with our students in the coming years.” CÉIM is based on the well-evidenced Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) model used in over 30 countries. Sessions, which are about collaborative learning, are student-led and about working in small groups to gain a greater understanding of coursework, prepare for exams and develop new skills. Amber Walsh Olesen, CÉIM Co-ordinator, NUI Galway Students’ Union, said: “First year students can sometimes be apprehensive about asking questions in lectures and don’t always know what is expected of them as independent learners. CÉIM is a structured programme where student leaders from higher years facilitate weekly study sessions for small groups of first year students, creating peer-led learning communities where it’s easy to ask questions.” According to Dr Eoghan Clifford, Academic Coordinator of CÉIM at NUI Galway College of Engineering and Informatics: “The impact to date of CÉIM is very encouraging with 80% of first years surveyed in 2014/15 saying it helped them settle into university and make friends. Regular CÉIM attendees achieved 9% higher grades in 2014/15 than irregular or non-attendees and were much more likely to pass the year. We can clearly see that interest among students in CÉIM has grown year on year, with 20% of first year Engineering students recently applying to be student leaders.” Due to the success of CÉIM, the programme was piloted in NUI Galway School of Law in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies in 2015 and will be further rolled out in 2016/17. NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Phelim Kelly, added: “Peer learning is not an activity that is traditionally associated with Students’ Unions and we’re delighted to be leading the way in this regard in Ireland. CÉIM is proof that there is a lot to be gained by students’ unions, university staff and higher year students partnering to support first years as they transition to university.” For more information on the CÉIM initiative visit www.su.nuigalway.ie/ceim. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Biomedical researchers from the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and CÚRAM at NUI Galway, in collaboration with clinicians from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin (OLCHC) have developed the first in Ireland synchronised beating heart cells from human pluripotent stem (iPS) cells made from skin biopsy. The research funded in partnership by REMEDI and the National Children's Research Centre (NCRC) aims to investigate the causes of unexpected sudden death from inherited cardiac conditions in young people, and to help test therapies that may reduce the risk of sudden death in survivors and relatives. The discovery of the genetic basis of inherited cardiac conditions, specifically the inherited rhythm disease known as Long QT Syndrome, has advanced our understanding of disease mechanisms and provided an insight into how we ultimately might ‘repair’ the genetic defect. The stem cell scientists at REMEDI in NUI Galway are now in a position to generate patient-specific heart tissue in a dish to test new therapies and treatments. To continue the next phase of this study NUI Galway is now seeking families affected by Long QT Syndrome to come forward for a skin biopsy on consultation with their doctor. The aim is to recruit both affected and unaffected family members to better understand what places one family member at risk and not another, preferably with the identified causative gene mutation in the family. Stem cell-derived heart cells have revolutionised our understanding of heart mechanical and electrical communication, coordination and function. Mature human heart cells cannot be grown outside the body under normal conditions, and do not lend themselves easily to scientific interrogation without placing the patient at potential risk. By utilising a skin biopsy sample from a particular patient, the scientists can engineer those same skin cells into heart cells through what is termed ‘re-programming’ and can then create an exact replica of that patients’ heart tissue in a laboratory dish. This allows researchers to understand in detail the particular patient’s disease and to test or develop therapies without placing the individual patient at any medical risk. New medicines can be tested on these cells for their effectiveness in preventing arrhythmias. Similarly, the genetic defect in the heart cell can be repaired through genome editing and this repaired heart cell can be then directly compared to the diseased heart cell in the lab. The stem cell study was initiated by Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of REMEDI and Co-Principal Investigator at CÚRAM in NUI Galway and Dr Terence Prendiville, NCRC Principal Investigator and the Department of Paediatric Cardiology in OLCHC. The research was carried out by Professor Sanbing Shen, Professor of Fundamental Stem Cell Biology and Post-doctoral researcher Dr Min Liu in the Biomedical Sciences Building at NUI Galway.  The researchers in NUI Galway have developed a highly skilled and technically specialised expertise in ‘re-programming’ skin cells into stem cells, and then, in turn, making heart cells out of those same patient’s stem cells. The beating heart tissue can be electrically and mechanically measured and recorded. The ultimate goal is to repair the genetic defect in the affected heart cells using new CRIPSR/Cas9 technology and return the heart cells to normal function. In collaboration with adult and paediatric cardiologists, the scientists at REMEDI will help define the burden of Long QT syndrome in the affected families and develop technologies to measure the effectiveness of therapies and genetic repairs in the dish prior to any human trial. Affected families with Long QT syndrome will be identified through the National Inherited Cardiac Conditions service delivered across the three campuses of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Cardiovascular Risk in the Young at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, and the Family Heart Screening Clinic at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. The families that are being selected at this early stage of research are patients with clearly abnormal electrocardiograms which are associated with a risk of sudden death, and a known causative gene mutation. Skin biopsy samples will be taken using punch biopsies at the research facility at NUI Galway with local anaesthetic, then subsequently grown in a dish and stored locally for further research. Skin cells are relatively simple to grow in a lab and lend themselves well to being ‘re-programmed’ to pluripotent stem cells by Nobel prize-winning technology applied at REMEDI. Once a patient-derived stem cell population has been generated in the lab, the next step is to produce beating heart cells using timed application of selective growth factors in a particular sequence using established research protocols. Beating heart cells in the dish can then be electrically measured using tiny electrodes akin to an electrocardiogram in a human patient. Skin samples are also being obtained from closely related but unaffected family members to allow a comparison between normal and diseased heart cells. Once the pipeline for generating patient-derived heart tissue has been robustly tested for Long QT syndrome, the same scientific technology will be used to explore other inherited arrhythmia conditions and cardiomyopathies. Professor Timothy O’Brien from NUI Galway, said: “We are excited about the potential to develop new therapies for children at risk of sudden death using this technology. The complete translational infrastructure for this work is now present in Galway and will be extended nationally with our collaborators in Dublin and throughout Ireland.”  Dr Terry Prendiville from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin said: “I meet families every week in the hospital from all over Ireland who have been affected by the sudden unexpected death of a loved one. Their first question to me is: “Could this affect my child?” Their next question is: “How do I keep them safe?” “Research such as this allows us to continue to push the envelope on developing medical therapies that safeguard against risk of sudden death.” Dr Jacinta Kelly, CEO of the NCRC said: “I would like to welcome this research which has arisen from an exciting partnership between the NCRC and REMEDI. We, at the NCRC, are looking forward to continuing to work with our colleagues at REMEDI to find therapies to address the issue of congenital heart defects in children.” If you would like to participate in this study and you have a diagnosis of Long QT syndrome with a known gene mutation, please contact Dr Terence Prendiville at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin for further information and eligibility criteria. Terence.prendiville@olchc.ie   ENDS

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

NUI Galway will hold the 14th Galway Symposium on Higher Education on Friday, 17 June in Áras Moyola. The Symposium, entitled ‘Theory and Practice: Researching Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’, will provide an opportunity to showcase research and scholarship in the area of higher education teaching and student learning. The one-day event will focus on three main themes: how to begin researching teaching and learning practice; recognising the scholarship dimensions of teaching and supporting student learning; and raising awareness of contemporary research into higher education at practice and policy levels. The format of the event will be a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions using a diverse set of presentation and workshop formats. Given the increasing interest in research-informed teaching and curriculum design, alongside the emerging national framework for continuing professional development, and changes to promotional routes in many institutions in the higher education sector, the event will be an opportunity for sharing ideas, debating issues and learning more about the sector. The keynote speaker for the symposium is Dr Saranne Weller, newly appointed Director of the Centre for Research Informed Teaching at London South Bank University. Speakers by videoconference will include: Professor Tina Overton, Monash, Australia, who has encouraged the growth of pedagogic research in higher education, and the Nobel Prize winner, Professor Carl Wieman of Stanford University, a key figure in science education and active learning. There will also be participation by colleagues from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning who will provide an overview of that organisation’s growing body of higher education research and its support of developing scholarship in this field. Professor Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of the Centre for Excellence and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to be hosting such an event and to be able to exploit our technological infrastructure to bring in speakers from around the world, giving us all a chance to participate in discussion and debate. Taking a research-oriented and scholarly approach to teaching and supporting student learning is a key to developing a professional approach and in highlighting how research and teaching work well together.” To register for the symposium visit http://celt16.eventbrite.com. -Ends-