Tuesday, 19 March 2019

NUI Galway Staff and Students Celebrate the LGBT+ Community

: NUI Galway has introduced a number of new initiatives to celebrate and support the visibility and inclusion of the LGBT+ community in higher education. GigSoc, the LGBT+ student society, held the first Pride March through NUI Galway campus as part of a slew of activities for Rainbow Week. This coincided with the launch of the LGBT+ Ally Programme by the NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network. Rainbow Week is an annual event organised by GigSoc and this year’s celebration of the LGBT+ community on campus included several new events, such the Pride March and the launch of GigSoc’s first book which features contributions from NUI Galway students. GigSoc has also recently launched the ‘T fund’, with support from the Office of the Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. This project recognises the extra financial burden faced by transgender and non-binary students by providing funding to students of NUI Galway for financial costs related to social transition. Maeve Arnup, Co-auditor of GigSoc and student in the College of Arts, said: “Rainbow week is the biggest week of the year for GiGSoc. This year we had two huge successes. The first being the launch of our first small publication ‘The Queer Book’ which is a collection of LGBTQIA+ writings, artwork and photography made by the community and for the community, with all proceeds from the sale of the book going to support Teach Solais, Galway’s LGBT+ Resource Centre. The second success was hosting the first Pride March to ever take place on a university campus in Ireland.” Oissíne Moore, Co-auditor of GigSoc and student in the College of Arts added: “It’s amazing to see staff getting involved in the Pride March as it makes people feel that little bit safer knowing that staff are willing to march with us and support us.” Rainbow Week also provided the NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network with an opportunity to launch the LGBT+ Ally Programme. The LGBT+ Ally Programme at NUI Galway is a member-based initiative working towards increasing the knowledge, awareness, and support of LGBT+ colleagues and students. Staff who sign up to be allies are provided with resources and visible symbols of their support for the LGBT+ community. Dr Chris Noone, lecturer at the School of Psychology and Chair of the NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network, said: “The LGBT+ Ally Programme makes visible the support that exists at NUI Galway for students and staff who are members of the LGBT+ community. It shows that this is a welcoming place for people of all sexual and gender identities and that there is a community to connect with on our campus.” More information about the LGBT+ Ally Programme at NUI Galway can be found at: https://www.nuigalway.ie/equalityanddiversity/lgbt/ally/. -Ends-

News Archive

Friday, 15 March 2019

Research highlights gender and health implications of Extended Working Life policies in western countries  Members of the COST Action research network chaired by Dr Áine Ní Léime from the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, presented five policy briefs that represent the culmination of four years’ collaborative research into the gender and health implications of policies designed to extend working life, at the European Parliment on Wednesday, 6 March. The COST Action research network has 140 members from 34 countries across Europe and beyond from a range of disciplines including social policy, sociology, business, gender, economics and health research. The policy briefs cover: Age Management (2); Health, Employment and Care; Inclusion and Gender; and Pensions and Pension Planning. Dr Áine Ní Léime, Chair of COST Action and Principal Investigator of the research at NUI Galway, said: “With increased life expectancy comes the challenge of an ageing population and the associated increases in pension and healthcare costs. Governments are taking action in this area, for example raising the state pension age. In Ireland it will rise to 67 in 2021 and 68 by 2028. Changes in working life policy can have gender or health specific implications. Working longer in labour intensive jobs such as cleaning or construction can have negative health implications at an earlier age than for workers in other occupations. Older workers in precarious employment may find it challenging to find alternative employment as they grow older. “Women can be more heavily impacted than men by changes to working life policy. Women today often have lower pensions than men for a number of reasons: lower salaries, part-time work or taking time for caring responsibilities for family or children.” Introductory remarks at the event were given by Vice President of the European Parliament, Mairead Mc Guinness, MEP, Mr Lambert va Nistlerooij, MEP, Chair of the Subgroup on Active Ageing, European Parliament and Ronald De Bruin, Director of COST. The network presented key messages from six policy briefs led by Dr Jonas Radl, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain and Dr Nata Duvvury from the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway. This was followed by a policy roundtable involving European policy-makers and stakeholders affected by Extended Working Life from a gender and age perspective. Each roundtable participant spoke briefly about the gender and/or health implications of Extended Working Life policy from the perspective of their organisation. Policy messages from approximately 18 countries from the COST Action network highlighted the key policy priorities related to Extended Working Life in each country. Vice President of the European Parliament, Mairead Mc Guinness, MEP, said: “I am very pleased to have invited COST and NUI Galway to the European Parliament to share their research into gender and health implications of extended working life - an important and timely topic. The contribution of women is sometimes overlooked, particularly in rural areas and on farms, where their work is not always recognized or counted. A special thank you to Dr Áine Ní Léime, who is the principal investigator into the implications of extended working life and I wish her continued success in her research.” The research network was funded by COST Action IS1409 ‘Gender and health impacts of policies extending working life in western countries’, supported by COST. See: http://genderewl.com/.  COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation. See: www.cost.eu. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The University has already surpassed the 2020 energy improvement target of 33% NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh recently welcomed the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) CEO Jim Gannon to campus to sign the SEAI Public Sector Energy Partnership agreement. The programme commits the University to lead by example to meet and exceed the public sector energy efficiency improvement target of 33% energy reduction by 2020. NUI Galway is one of the first Irish universities to surpass the 33% target by recently achieving energy savings of over 34%. This result has been achieved with assistance from SEAI through funding for LED lighting projects, solar photovoltaic, energy efficient mechanical plant and electric vehicle charging points around campus. SEAI has also assisted with knowledge sharing and Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) schemes in association with  theHSE and other community groups. The University is continuing its efforts with an internal target of 40% by 2020. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Since 2006 the University has been very proactive in reducing energy consumption across the campus. I would like to acknowledge the University’s staff and students who have assisted with our Buildings and Estates department in exceeding the 33% target through ongoing energy awareness campaigns and energy upgrade projects on campus, thus helping NUI Galway lead by example to achieve greater energy reductions by 2020 on campus.” Jim Gannon, Chief Executive of SEAI, commented: “I’d like to congratulate NUI Galway, who have shown real leadership surpassing their 2020 energy saving targets and by setting even more ambitious plans for the future. Collectively, our public sector energy bill remains at over €600 million. But through energy efficiency and upgrade projects over the past few years, like those demonstrated by NUI Galway, the public sector has made recurring annual energy savings of €191million. We need to build on these successes as we look to not only reduce our consumption, but also move away from more carbon intensive energy sources.” Dr Frances Fahy,  Senior Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, will be one of the speakers at SEAI’s event 'Engaging People' in PortLaoise on Thursday, 14 March. The event will explore energy saving practices in the workplace and the target is the public sector and industry leaders. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Minister Bruton Announces US-Ireland tripartite center-to-center research between CÚRAM, Queens University Belfast and North Carolina State University Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, today announced that CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, will partner in a tripartite collaboration worth €1.7 million to conduct research into smart cardiovascular repair technologies, through the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. The project will be led by Dr Manus Biggs, Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, and CÚRAM researcher.   Speaking at a Science Foundation Ireland event in MIT, Boston, in the US, Minister Bruton welcomed the announcement of the US-Ireland Partnership, saying: “Ireland continues to be an excellent location for collaborative research. I am delighted to welcome this US-Ireland partnership which further strengthens the strong and historic relationship between both countries. It is a testament to Ireland’s scientific prowess, that we are working closely with top institutions across the world, generating valuable discoveries and innovations that can benefit societies and economies across the globe.”   The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, launched in July 2006, is a unique initiative that aims to increase the level of collaborative Research and Development amongst researchers and industry professionals across three jurisdictions: USA, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.   This tripartite center-to-center (C2C) research collaboration will be conducted in conjunction with the National Science Foundation-funded centre for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), led by North Carolina State University and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queens University Belfast. Its’ goal is to use combined expertise in advanced sensor systems, microanalytical systems, biomaterials, energy harvesting, and systems biology to transform current medical interventions and standards of care to research and develop externally-powered implants for continuous cardiovascular health monitoring.   Dr Manus Biggs will lead the research programme in Ireland in conjunction with collaborators Dr Martin O’Halloran and Professor Stewart Walsh at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, CÚRAM’s primary objective is to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable ‘smart’ medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs.   Commenting on the award, Dr Manus Biggs from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said:“This US-Ireland R&D Partnership award will facilitate exciting multi-disciplinary research between three centres of excellence in science and engineering. We look forward to working with our partners in the US and Northern Ireland on this critical healthcare need.”   Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death globally, resulting in close to 20 million deaths in 2018. However, despite evidence-based medical and pharmacologic advances the management of cardiovascular disease remains challenging, whether in the ambulatory setting where periodic disease monitoring has failed, or in the inpatient setting where readmission rates and morbidity remains high. It is estimated that 90% of cardiovascular diseases are preventable, yet there is an urgent need to develop strategies to reduce hospitalisations and readmission rates.   Rebecca Keiser, head of NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), said: “As our global community grows even more interwoven, we are presented with exciting opportunities and new challenges. We know the benefits of global cooperation, and we are proud to have supported some of the breakthroughs those collaborations have inspired. This partnership between the NSF ASSIST ERC, the DfE CCRCB Center, and CURAM SFI Research Centre will work on principles and technologies that are essential to develop revolutionary implantable sensors and monitoring devices to address cardiovascular disease and is an excellent example of the sort of breakthroughs that can come from our trilateral partnership with Science Foundation Ireland and the Department for the Economy.”   Addressing the award, Dr Darragh McArt from QUB, said: “The Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast is delighted to be involved is such a significant programme and connected to key partners in Ireland and in the US. Our abilities to harness cutting-edge technologies to monitor and alleviate diseases is paramount to our ambition to offer new paradigms for precision medicine.” Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics, QUB, added: “QUB has invested heavily in infrastructure and people to address the big data challenges in health. This programme will employ an innovative patient-centered data driven approach that will improve cardiovascular health and will also have relevance for other diseases.”   The invention of various cardiac sensors based on i.e. electrocardiograph (ECG) and blood pressure monitoring, offers new opportunities in cardiovascular diseases prevention through long-term monitoring of vital physiological signals. Work is currently aimed at improving these devices with a view to making the electronic–biological interface as seamless as possible, providing continuous monitoring of patients following surgery, revealing signs of surgical recovery or disease progression. This allows doctors to record physiological performance and deliver treatment, should the patient require urgent life-saving medical attention. Critically, bio-monitoring approaches that identify the synergy among electrophysiological, biochemical, and mechanical markers have been proposed by Dr Biggs as disruptive technologies for next generation solutions to cardiovascular disease.   Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme is a unique, cross-jurisdiction initiative, which fosters excellent scientific discovery. I congratulate Dr Biggs and his collaborators on this award, which highlights the benefit of scientific collaboration between researchers on the island of Ireland and across the Atlantic.”

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