Monday, 17 February 2020

NUI Galway Science Initiatives Awarded €175,000 for Public Engagement and Education

Five NUI Galway based programmes will engage more than 100,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2020 Five NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €175,000 through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme, to fund projects dedicated to educating and engaging with 112,000 members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in 2020. The funding awards were announced by Secretary General of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Dr Orlaigh Quinn as part of a national investment of €5.12 million. The five projects include Bright Club, Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room, SpaceShip Earth, CÚRAM ‘Curios Young Minds’ and ReelLIFE SCIENCE. Speaking about the funded projects, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “It’s part of our culture at NUI Galway to engage, to connect and to communicate. Our researchers have an excellent track record in public engagement and have devised fun and engaging programmes to highlight the importance of STEM in addressing societal challenges. The support from SFI is particularly important in helping us to carry on inspiring minds.” Speaking about the Programme, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said: “I am delighted to see such a strong contingent from NUI Galway this year. The SFI Discover Programme encourages people from all communities, age groups and backgrounds to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). This is achieved by supporting a diverse range of engagement activities across Ireland, designed to help people explore STEM in meaningful and creative ways. All of the Discover projects are supported by a number of Higher Education Institutes, Research bodies, companies and councils. I congratulate the each of the teams and look forward to watching them inspire our future scientists, engineers and innovators.” NUI Galway Funded Projects Bright Club (€49,862 funding award) Bright Club is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using comedy to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, mathematics, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public to talk about their research in an informal pub setting. Bright Club has been running across Ireland for five years with over 70 live events and 200 academics trained, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. More information can be found at Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room (€46,542 funding award) Cell EXPLORERS is a successful science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities nationally. By using hands-on activities facilitated by local scientist volunteers. In 2020, with the support of the SFI Discover strategic partnership fund 2018 (€298,778), the programme will run school visits nationally with the participation of 13 teams based in 15 universities and institutes of technology. More information can be found at This year, the programme will also create a Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room to reach participants not normally engaged with STEM. Escape rooms, in which a group of participants solves puzzles to resolve a mystery and escape a confined space/situation, are a combination of intellectual challenge, hands-on experience and social gathering. The content will relate to modern biology and will be co-created with young people, teachers, scientists, and education specialists, including Escape Room artist Dr Ran Peleg from Southampton University. The Cell EXPLORERS Escape Room will be launched during Science Week 2020 in three distinct geographic locations and in one school, while kits will subsequently be circulated around the country making this project sustainable for several years. SpaceShip Earth (€39,200 funding award) Spaceship Earth will inspire, engage and educate teachers, students and the public about STEM through launching four high-altitude balloons from Ireland to the ‘Edge of Space’ and back on 4 May 2020 (May the Fourth Be With You - Star Wars Day). Space is an amazing way to enthuse people about STEM and, given the current justifiable concern for Climate Change, the ability of high-altitude balloons to carry student projects and cameras into the stratosphere (~30,000m), allows reflection on the uniqueness of our blue planet - Spaceship Earth. The Spaceship Earth format will engage students in real-world, project-based experiments, to develop collaborative problem-solving skills and a framework for asking and answering scientific questions. The project team (including NUI Galway/UL/Met Éireann) will work closely with participating schools for their first high-altitude balloon mission. This celestial pilot project proposal represents a new dawn of innovation for Irish STEM education and public engagement. CÚRAM ‘Curious Young Minds’ Project (€28,135 funding award) CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, together with community partners, scientists and artists will develop and deliver a series of hands-on STEAM workshops to families living under Direct Provision in Galway City with the ‘Curious Young Minds’ project. A creative approach to science learning will be at the core of the workshops, aimed primarily at children aged 4-12 and their parents. Workshop content will be designed in conjunction with participants to increase their interest in science as well as their confidence in learning about and exploring science topics. Workshops will be held throughout the year, exploring different science topics and culminating in the development of a STEAM toolkit which will be distributed to hundreds of families living in Direct Provision centres throughout Ireland. The contents of the toolkit will be developed directly by the children and parents participating in the workshops, making them the authors. CÚRAM’s Education and Public Engagement Programme ‘Breaking Barriers’ aims to forge collaborations between researchers and the community. More information is available at ReelLIFE SCIENCE (€15,000 funding award) ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a nationwide science video competition, which encourages young people and the general public to discover more about STEM and its impact on individuals, society and the environment, while developing participants’ creativity, communication and digital skills. Young people from schools and youth organisations are challenged to research a STEM topic and communicate it for the public via an engaging and educational three-minute video. The deadline for entries is Friday October 16th, and the best videos are awarded €1000 and are screened for the public at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway. Since being launched by Dr Enda O’Connell in 2013, ReelLIFE SCIENCE has enabled more than 13,000 young people from 400 schools and community groups all over the country, to engage with STEM in a novel way. More information about this programme can be found at Science Foundation Ireland has invested in over 440 public engagement projects through the Discover Programme since 2013. This year’s funded initiatives are estimated to reach five hundred and eighty thousand people. 47 diverse initiatives will be supported by this year’s programme, with successful awardees being carefully selected through international peer-review. -Ends-

News Archive

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

USI runs a Sexual Health Health Awareness campaign and launches a survey on campuses across Ireland Today the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched a Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) campaign running from the 10th -14th February. The campaign will include the launch of a ‘Sexual Experiences Survey’ with NUI Galway Active Consent, the distribution of 30,000 ‘SHAG Packs’, as well providing information on sexual health. The theme for this year is Sexual Empowerment amongst students. USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick says: “The main focus of this campaign is to promote positive attitudes towards sex and raise awareness of all aspects of sexual health. In Ireland, talking about sex can still be considered a taboo subject and USI believes it is important to break through these barriers and encourage people to practice safer sex and to look after their sexual health. The truth is that many young people do not receive adequate relationships and sexual education while in school and for many the first time they learn about their sexual health is when they come to college. The USI continues to lobby for a more inclusive and evidence-based RSE programme for primary and secondary schools to ensure young people have experience of these conversations before going to college. This campaign allows us to directly reach 30,000 students with information about masturbation, consent, abortion information and sexual transmitted infections.” As part of the SHAG 2020 campaign, USI and NUI Galway Active Consent are working together in launching a national online students’ survey for third level students; the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES). The survey is designed to gain an insight on students’ experiences of sexual violence, attitudes towards consent, and perceptions of HEI supportsand responses to sexual misconduct. The Sexual Experiences Survey will help to address the knowledge gap by surveying students across all HEIs in the Republic of Ireland affiliated with USI. Survey findings will be presented in a report later in 2020 that highlights priorities across the HEI sector for prevention, awareness, and skills development. Dr Lorraine Burke, NUI Galway Post-Doctoral Researcher, leading the survey implementation said: “The 2019 Department of Education Consent Framework identified goals for HEIs in supporting students’ positive sexual health and to contend with the problem of sexual harassment and violence. The Sexual Experiences Survey will make sure we get comprehensive, up to date information on our students’ awareness of services, the prevalence of negative experiences, and the positive role of students in supporting a culture of respect”. Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Senior Lecturer in Psychology in NUI Galway and Active Consent programme leader said: “The issue of sexual violence and harassment will only be addressed successfully when all of us join forces and act together. We are delighted to partner with USI to carry out this important survey. Each of us brings important strengths, and through collaboration with third level colleges we aim to get a full picture of positive and negative student experiences. Once we know that information we can use it to help target sexual health education and supports”. USI Vice President for Welfare, Róisín O’Donovan says: “USI is delighted to be launching this survey in collaboration with NUI Galway Active consent on this important topic for students. The last time USI did a national survey on consent was the ‘Say Something’ survey in 2013, so it’s time for more up to date data to be reflective of the student society at the moment in Ireland. We’re looking forward to gaining a better insight into students’ sexual experiences and how we can best move forward with the ‘Consent Framework’”.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Sheol OÉ Gaillimh ionad nua taighde le gairid, an tIonad um Theangeolaíocht Fheidhmeach agus Ilteangachas (CALM). Cuirfidh an t-ionad nua, atá lonnaithe in Institiúid de Móra do Thaighde sna Daonnachtaí agus sa Léann Sóisialta, deis ar fáil do thaighde idirdhisciplíneach i réimse na teangeolaíochta feidhmí agus an ilteangachais agus cuirfidh sé le feasacht ar shaincheisteanna a bhaineann le foghlaim teanga, próiseáil teanga agus ilteangachas in OÉ Gaillimh agus sa phobal i gcoitinne.  Léiríonn téamaí taighde CALM go bhfuil níos mó ilchineálacht teanga i bpobail in Éirinn, san AE agus ar fud an domhain. Bhí Gaillimh go mór mór luaite i nDaonáireamh 2016 mar an chathair is ilchineálaí in Éirinn, ó tharla go bhfuil an céatadán is airde de dhaoine nach náisiúnaigh iad agus os cionn 60 teanga sa chathair. Tá tionchar suntasach aige seo ar oideachas agus mar thoradh air sin tá go leor leanaí ilteangacha i gcuid de scoileanna na cathrach agus an chontae. Ina theannta sin, tá céatadán ard leanaí i dteiripe urlabhra agus teanga agus i seirbhísí sláinte gaolmhara eile sa chathair agus sa chontae agus ar fud na hÉireann, agus tá líon na ndaoine fásta atá ag úsáid na seirbhísí seo ag dul i méid chomh maith. Ó tharla go bhfuil Gaillimh suite in aice le Gaeltacht Chonamara tá nasc ag OÉ Gaillimh leis an daonra is mó in Éirinn a labhraíonn Gaeilge. Tá timpeallacht dhátheangach san Ollscoil agus úsáidtear an Ghaeilge go rialta i gcúrsaí acadúla agus i gcúrsaí sóisialta ar an gcampas. Tá soláthar oideachais trí Ghaeilge i measc aidhmeanna straitéiseacha na hOllscoile. ‘Beidh taighde ar an nGaeilge i gcroílár obair CALM’, a dúirt an Dr John Walsh, Léachtóir Sinsearach Gaeilge agus comhstiúrthóir CALM. ‘Is réimsí suimiúla taighde iad an t-athrú teanga sa Ghaeltacht agus an caidreamh idir cainteoirí dúchais agus ‘nuachainteoirí’ ó thaobh an ilteangachais, na sochtheangeolaíochta, an tsealbhaithe teanga agus na teiripe urlabhra agus teanga’. ‘Is forbairt shuntasach é seoladh CALM a chuirfidh le hinfheictheacht an taighde atá á dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh i réimsí na teangeolaíochta feidhmí agus an ilteangachais, a mhéadaíonn comhoibriú idirdhisciplíneach agus trascholáiste agus, dá réir sin, a imríonn tionchar ar mhic léinn agus ar an bpobal i gcoitinne’, a dúirt an Dr Laura McLoughlin, Léachtóir Sinsearach le hIodáilis agus comhstiúrthóir CALM. ‘Cuireann CALM deiseanna iontacha ar fáil chun cur leis na comhpháirtíochtaí atá ann cheana idir Disciplín na Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga agus Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr agus a chruthaíonn gur ionad barr feabhais i réimse an ilteangachais é OÉ Gaillimh’, a dúirt an Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Teiripe Urlabhra agus Teanga agus duine de bhunaitheoirí CALM. Ag an am céanna le seoladh CALM fógraíodh MSc nua in Ilteangachas Feidhmeach atá le tosú i Meán Fómhair 2020 agus a bhfuil sé d’aidhm aige ceisteanna a bhaineann le hilchineálacht teanga in Éirinn, san AE agus ar fud an domhain a phlé. Is é an MSc an t-aon chlár dá leithéid in Éirinn agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn ó chúlra éagsúla lena n-áirítear teangacha, na dána, na heolaíochtaí sóisialta agus teiripe urlabhra agus teanga. Tuilleadh eolais ag   Tuilleadh eolais: Críoch

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

NUI Galway also announce details of new MSc in Applied Multilingualism NUI Galway recently launched a new research centre, the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism (CALM). The new centre, which is based in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, will provide a platform for interdisciplinary research in the area of applied linguistics and multilingualism and increase the awareness of issues related to language learning, language processing and multilingualism within NUI Galway and the wider community.  CALM’s research themes reflect increasing linguistic diversity in communities in Ireland, EU and globally. In particular, Galway was identified in the Census of 2016 as the most diverse city in Ireland, having the highest percentage of non-nationals and over 60 languages. This has significant impacts on education resulting in many multilingual children in some of the city’s and county’s schools. In addition, there is a high percentage of children and a progressively higher number of adults in speech and language therapy and other related health services in the city and county and also across Ireland. The proximity of Galway to the Connemara Gaeltacht links NUI Galway to the largest Irish-speaking population in Ireland. The University offers a bilingual environment where the Irish language is regularly used in academic and social life. The provision of education through Irish is among the University’s strategic aims. "Research on Irish will feature strongly in the work of CALM", said Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish and Co-Director of the Centre. "Language change in the Gaeltacht and the relationships between native and ‘new’ speakers are interesting fields for research in multilingualism, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and speech and language therapy." "The launch of CALM is a significant development that will enhance the visibility of the considerable amount of research being carried out at NUI Galway in the fields of applied linguistics and multilingualism, increase interdisciplinary and cross-college collaboration and ultimately impact both students and the wider community", said Dr Laura McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer in Italian and CALM Co-Director. "CALM offers fantastic opportunities to firmly establish NUI Galway as a centre of excellence in the field of multilingualism", said Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy and CALM founding member. The launch of CALM coincides with announcement of the new MSc in Applied Multilingualism due to start in September 2020, which is designed to cater for increasing linguistic diversity in communities in Ireland, the EU and globally. The MSc is the only course of its kind in Ireland and is aimed at students from a variety of background including languages, humanities, social sciences and speech and language therapy. For more information on the MSc in Applied Multilingualism visit Further information: -Ends-

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