Friday, 5 March 2021

NUI Galway Power in Participation honoured for outstanding Community Education

AONTAS Star Award recognises University collaboration with Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network  A Community Education programme at NUI Galway has won a national AONTAS STAR award after supporting adult learning for more than 20 years.  Power in Participation, a collaborative project involving the University and Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network has been recognised for its work with Travellers.  The project saw 24 members of the Traveller community graduate with a Diploma in Community Development Practice. Lecturers Dr Deirdre Hardiman and Dr Helen Casey have worked in Community Education in NUI Galway for more than two decades, advocating for the continued provision of educational and learning opportunities, both on campus and on an outreach basis, in order to widen participation in higher education. Dr Hardiman said: “The project was designed and implemented with students at its centre and this community education approach is essential to ensure social inclusion and empowerment.” Dr Casey said: “This model of Community Education can be rolled out nationwide and there have been discussions with a Traveller group in the Midlands about a similar project. It is about putting people at the heart of change. “The knowledge and lived experience of the diverse student group also added to the learning of the diploma course and showcased the skill within to take up community work in the future.” Power in Participation was honured at a special online event for the AONTAS STAR Awards. They won in the Third Level Access and Engagement category, sponsored by Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).  A key focus of the project is promoting access to educational opportunities and widening participation in higher education for under-represented groups. Martin Ward, of the Galway Traveller Movement, said: “Everyone involved in the project committed to ensuring that no-one was left behind for a second time on their educational journey. This meant supports were tailored to an individual’s needs and mostly delivered through a buddy-buddy system. It is a huge boost to see our project recognised by Aontas.” Pat Tobin, of Community Action Network, said: “Leadership is essential for social change and this tailor made course was one of the best examples of collaboration in action.” The project examined the impact of the outreach NUI Diploma in Community Development Practice on the personal and professional lives of programme graduates.  Nora Mongan, programme graduate, said: “There is a need for more of these projects that deliver results for communities who were left behind in education. It’s not good enough just to say we are inclusive and sit back. There needs to be a lot of outreach work done to ensure engagement happens especially for those who had a bad experience in the education sector in the past.” Colie Sweeney, also a programme graduate, said: “As students we are extremely proud to have won the Aontas Star award for this project as we had meaningful input into the design and delivery.” Ends

News Archive

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Jim Livesey as Vice-President for Research and Innovation. Professor Livesey joins from the University of Dundee, where he served as Dean of Humanities since 2014. Hailing from Cork City, Professor Livesey holds two degrees and a Masters in History from UCC, and a PhD in Modern History from Harvard University. Since then he has had a varied career, with posts at Harvard, Trinity, and Sussex as well as research and visiting appointments in France, the US, and China. He will bring his global experience, and his background in research leadership, to bear on the strategic development of NUI Galway. Professor Livesey is a global historian, whose research focus centres on the transformative effect of new kinds of knowledge for collective action. His work has examined the process of democratisation, the creation of the concept of civil society, and most recently, looked at science, technology and finance in provincial Europe. He refers to himself as an applied eighteenth-century historian, and his research has opened doors for partnership-based work in the Creative Economy, particularly as Co-Director of Dundee’s InGAME: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise. The £11.5 million creative research and development centre is based on the experience and expertise surrounding the Scottish city’s games cluster. Professor Livesey will now lead NUI Galway’s research and innovation mission, building on the university’s significant successes in recent years. He takes on the new role just as the EU’s Horizon Europe funding programme for research and innovation launches, where the university will look to build on its success in the Horizon 2020 programme. Professor Livesey commented: ”I am delighted to take on this responsibility at NUI Galway. I’ve admired the creativity and quality of the research here for many years. The values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence that animate the university are solid foundations on which to build research of global significance, with national and regional impact. I look forward to working with the research teams in the university as well as regional, national, and international partners as we identify where Galway can make the greatest contribution to research across the domains.” NUI Galway has over 2,500 staff and students engaged in research across multiple disciplines, and an international reputation for being research-driven. The university has significantly developed the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape, including business incubation and spin-out activity. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "We warmly welcome Professor Jim Livesey to NUI Galway and look forward to working with him in our collective contribution to our university community and for the public good as we embark on the next chapter of our research journey as a university. "Professor Livesey brings immense experience in research management, grant capture, and stakeholder engagement to his new post. He has extensive experience of international research collaboration and of researcher development. He will offer a strong voice representing the research community in the university’s senior management as well as among policy makers nationally and internationally. Given his track record of high quality research and publication, he will promote excellence in research and innovation, respect for the evidence, openness to developing and disseminating new ideas and sustaining our research culture and institutions, true to the university’s values.” Prior to joining the University of Dundee as Professor of History in 2013, Professor Livesey undertook academic roles in the University of Sussex, Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin in the fields of  Global History, French History, Atlantic History, Intellectual History, Creative Economies Research.  To hear more about Research and Innovation at NUI Galway visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has joined forces with a new European network to accelerate clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines. The EU VACCELERATE project connects all stakeholders involved in vaccine development on the continent in order to speed up the next two phases of vaccine trials for Covid-19. Some 21 countries are involved as part of pandemic preparedness on a pan-European scale, creating the backbone of a new structure to coordinate the fast and effective testing of vaccine candidates. NUI Galway lead, Professor Declan Devane, Deputy Dean of the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “We are delighted to play our role in enhancing Ireland’s capacity to conduct vaccine clinical trials for coronavirus and beyond. “Our role in VACCELERATE focuses on two particular areas - a living mapping and living systematic review of global Covid-19 vaccine trials of which there are currently 164, including 104 which are recruiting participants, and secondly an exploration of the barriers and facilitators to vaccination uptake in adults internationally.” The VACCELERATE project is led by the University Hospital Cologne, Germany and involves 26 partners from 16 EU-member states and 5 EU-associated countries, with other countries encouraged to join. NUI Galway and UCD are the Irish partners in the network, with funding provided under EU Horizon 2020. VACCELERATE will coordinate phase 2 & 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in all EU-member states and EU-associated countries under one strategic-scientific umbrella. The network will link capable clinical trial sites, expert knowledge and promote transparent exchange of expertise in the vaccine development field. An important step in building this network is identifying clinical trial sites, 200 of which have already been identified, and laboratories with the capacity to perform vaccine clinical trials. VACCELERATE will also facilitate access to vaccine trial volunteers by setting up volunteer registries at The project will promote harmonised acquisition, open exchange and consolidation of data for enhanced analysis across trials. This cooperation will generate solutions for characteristic problems in vaccine development that emerge in a pandemic and find answers to identified pressing public health questions. The European Commission is aiming to use VACCELERATE for the long-term increase of vaccine development capacities. Ends

Monday, 1 March 2021

NUI Galway hosts series of online events and special documentary launch ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ charts ambitions and experiences of students   Traveller students at NUI Galway have taken to the screen to share their experience of studying at university and to encourage others in the community to aim high in education. The short documentary ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ has been produced as part of the efforts by the University's Access Office to support Travellers as role models and their participation in education. The film was released as part of today's events to mark Traveller Ethnicity Day, which was launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, T.D., and attended by President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.  The documentary features compelling interviews with students as they reflect on their experiences and pursuing goals. Anna Keane was an early school leaver who always felt education was for other people. “It was very daunting, being honest. It was kind of that imposter syndrome. Do I belong here? Am I able to do this? “I don’t feel I am a role model but if I am that’s a nice thing to feel. I just hope our stories inspire anybody out there watching.” Jason Sherlock, from Galway, is a final year BA Arts and Economics at NUI Galway. “I was kind of hiding my identity through secondary school. I felt it was the only way for me to get through it. I wasn’t sure would people be comfortable with me if I said who I was, my identity,” Mr Sherlock said. Emma Ward is 18, from Athenry, and the first in her family to go on to third level education. “I just want to do something with my life, even though I’m in a wheelchair. I don’t want to let it define me. I’ve never let it define me,” she said.  Ann Marie Ward works with Glionndar Community Group in Athenry and studied a Bachelor of Community, Youth and Family Studies. “We got other education that you could not buy at university. Our parents instilled in us the ability to see other people for being themselves and to not be judgmental.” The documentary was filmed and edited by Dawid Piotr Szlaga of Wild Island Pictures and part-funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in support of Traveller Pride Week. Within the EU, Ireland has one of the highest participation rates for third-level education. However, a Government report from 2019 cited recent studies that found there are only 61 Travellers in higher education. Approximately 1% of Travellers have a third-level education. Owen Ward, programme coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre, last year became the first Traveller to sit on a university governing authority in Ireland. “Traveller students in third level are pioneers. We don’t have to give up our cultural identity for academic achievement. It is an asset. Younger students need to see the value in that and use it,” Mr Ward said. "Understanding and providing for the particular needs of Travellers as they seek to access and progress in higher education is critical to ensuring that the Traveller community can fulfil their potential through education especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. “At NUI Galway we work hard to make this a reality. However, I believe that within a national context, a whole education approach is important for enabling participation by Travellers in higher education. That is why we need a National Traveller Education Plan.” Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a proven track record of widening participation of Travellers in higher education. In 2018, there were 61 Travellers in higher education with approximately 20 of them studying at NUI Galway. In the same year, the Mincéirs Whiden society, the first Traveller student society was established and NUI Galway is the only university to include Travellers for the University of Sanctuary scholarships.” The documentary can be viewed at Ends

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