Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Second Annual National Remote Working Survey Shows 95% In Favour of Working Remotely

>Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission shows that 47% of team managers find no difference between managing their team remotely compared to onsite while 44% say it is more difficult to manage the team remotely.   Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission have published summary data from the second annual national remote working survey in Ireland. The survey gathered responses from over 6,400 employees, examining their experience of remote working one year after lockdown. This is the first national survey to attain managers’ views of the impact of remote work on their team. Over 2,100 managers gave their views on managing teams remotely and their plans for remote work post pandemic. Led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Noreen O’Connor at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at the Western Development Commission, the survey found that, among those who could work remotely, 95% were in favour of working remotely on an on-going basis to some extent. The majority of those, 53%, said they would like to work remotely several times a week, 32% said they would like to work fully remotely and 10% several times a month. Those who would like to work fully remotely (32%) has increased substantially from the first national survey conducted by the NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission team in April 2020 when it was 12% in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. The overwhelming majority (95%) is a significant increase from the 83% who wanted to continue to work remotely for some or all of the time in the 2020 survey. Conversely, only 5% indicated that they did not wish to work remotely to any extent – a drop from 16% who gave that response a year ago. The number of respondents working fully remotely fell from 87% in April 2020 to 75% at the end of April 2021 as there was more of a mix of onsite and remote (20%) in the latest survey. The survey found that 24% of respondents said they would consider relocating based on their experience of remote working since Covid-19. A further 9% said they had already moved and the West (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), the South-west (Cork and Kerry) and the Border (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) were the top regions respondents have relocated to. 14% said they may consider moving, while just over half (53%) said they would not consider relocating. According to the survey the top three advantages of working remotely are: greater flexibility, makes life easier, and increases productivity. Interestingly, in the context of work-life balance, 51% of respondents said that they work more hours when they work remotely compared to working onsite while 45% say they work the same hours. It is interesting to note that 44% of team manager respondents believe that remote working positively impacts the productivity of their team while the same proportion (44%) believe that remote working makes no difference to the team’s productivity. 12% believe remote working negatively impacts their team’s productivity. Three-quarters of organisations had not decided how their teams will work post pandemic. Of the 25% who had decided, 78% will work to a hybrid model. 36% of organisations who have decided to work to a hybrid model expect employees to be onsite for two days a week and 23% said three days a week.  The study found that 45% of team managers believed they did not get the training required to manage their team remotely, while 36% indicated they received basic training. One in five (19%) reported that they received sufficient training. Speaking about the second annual national survey, Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The second annual NUI Galway/Western Development Commission national remote working survey has, once again, gained huge interest with over 6,400 responses. We added a new module asking questions about managing teams remotely for those who have people management responsibilities. To our knowledge, the latter forms the first national survey to gather information about team manager perspectives. It is interesting to see that the appetite for fully remote or hybrid working is the preference of the vast majority of respondents.”     Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “The findings of the national survey indicate once again that there is a clear appetite to continue to work remotely. This will mean significant change for the way in which people work and the way that organisations support that work. The rollout of the National Hubs Network of more than 400 hubs will offer a suitable workplace close to home. A key challenge for leaders in organisations will be ensuring that people that choose to work remotely are treated equally in terms of development and promotional opportunities.” The research team has expedited the analysis of initial summary findings of the second annual national remote working survey, which are available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites. Further publications will also be made available. The report and key statistics from the first national survey in April 2020 are also available on these websites. To view the second annual survey report and accompanying infographic information on the Whitaker Institute’s Project page, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/project/remote-working-during-covid-19-irelands-national-survey/   -Ends-


News Archive

Monday, 17 May 2021

Minister O’Gorman announces joint research project with NUI Galway into Language, Terminology and Representations in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ NUI Galway to lead research project on 'Language, Terminology and Representations' in Mother and Baby Homes Project will implement one of the recommendations made by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes subcommittee on ‘Terminology, Identity, and Representation’ The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today announced a joint research project into “Language, Terminology and Representations” in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ with researchers in NUI Galway. The project was recommended by the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum. A funding call was then initiated by the Department under the Irish Research Council COALESCE Research Fund in 2019, for which researchers from NUI Galway were successful. The project will examine language, terminology, and representation of those directly affected by the Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions in twentieth century Ireland, as addressed by the recent Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. In responding to the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation, the Government approved the development of a Strategic Action Plan encompassing a suite of measures.   In announcing the award, the Minister stated: “This study is a direct response to recommendations made in the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions and has also formed part of the Government’s response to the Final Report from the Commission of Investigation. The aim of the project is to highlight the stigmatising and labelling language that has been used in the past and to provide guidance for stakeholders as to how to address this issue into the future.” Minister O'Gorman added:: “There is a particular challenge in Ireland to find ways to adequately address failings in the past. While this is an important project alone it is a part of the Government’s wider action plan in response to the Commission’s report. This collaboration should help to inform responses by my department and related agencies in the future that avoids further victimisation and labelling. It may chart a path for an explicit social and historical justice approach that can be applied to this, and related areas of concern.” The research team led by Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from the Tuam Oral History Project at NUI Galway, will hold four public consultations. The Steering Committee will include four members of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum – Rosemary Adaser, Bernie Harold, Alice McEvoy and Adrian McKenna. Professor McGregor and Dr Buckley from NUI Galway have stated: “The approach to the project will be informed by the views of survivors. It will be collaborative and will take its lead from those directly affected by the issues. We are looking forward to working with the project group to produce recommendations and a glossary of terms that acknowledge the lived experiences of those who have spent time in the relevant institutions and drawing from international evidence.” Ends

Monday, 17 May 2021

ONK Therapeutics Enters into a Research Agreement with NUI Galway to Support Optimization of its Dual-Targeted NK Cell Therapy against AML  Agreement with NUI Galway, supervised by leading expert in the cellular environment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), Dr. Eva Szegezdi Funded by ONK Therapeutics, the research will support engineering and optimization of its dual-targeted NK cell therapy candidate for AML (ONKT104) Aims to explore the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the cancer microenvironment in the context of AML ONK Therapeutics Ltd, an innovative natural killer (NK) cell therapy company, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) which provides access to unique expertise in evaluating the cancer cell microenvironment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and targeting of AML stem cells in models mimicking the bone marrow microenvironment. The research will support the optimization of ONK Therapeutics’ dual-targeted NK cell therapy program, ONKT104, being developed for the treatment of AML. ONK Therapeutics will fund a year-long research program in the laboratory of Dr. Eva Szegezdi, lecturer in Biochemistry, NUI Galway, Head of the Blood Cancer Network Ireland. She has particular expertise in the AML microenvironment as well as cell death pathways, especially those initiated by ‘so-called’ death ligands (e.g. TRAIL) used by effector immune cells.  AML is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. It is estimated that some 21,000 patients in the US and 18,000 in Europe are diagnosed with AML each year. It has a high unmet medical need having the lowest survival rate of all types of leukemia. ONKT104 is a dual-targeted NK cell engineered to express a humanized scFv targeting the leukemic stem cell antigen CLL-1 (also known as CLEC12A) obtained through an option license agreement from Cellerant Therapeutics, together with ONK Therapeutics’ proprietary high-affinity TRAIL variant, targeting death receptor 4 (DR4). CLL-1 is selectively expressed on leukemic stem cells with no expression on normal hematopoietic stem cells, which ensures safer targeting and a lower risk of prolonged toxicity to normal bone marrow cells.  In pre-clinical research studies, a monoclonal antibody therapy targeting CLL-1 has revealed potential efficacy against AML cells and shown to be effective in reducing AML burden in a xenograft model. In addition, a CLL-1 CAR-T cell model has shown promising pre-clinical activity and has recently entered the clinic. ONK Therapeutics believes its dual-targeted NK cell therapy approach may have several advantages over a CAR-T approach including shorter persistence of NK cells, reducing the risk of sustained neutropenia; proven inherent anti-AML activity of NK cells; the reduced likelihood of toxicity due to cytokine release syndrome or neurotoxicity; and the logistically simpler allogeneic, off-the-shelf nature of NK cells, reducing time to treatment once suitable patients are identified. AML is a very challenging disease in which to achieve sustained, long term disease control due to the high plasticity and adaptability of AML stem cells, and the tendency for resistant cells to emerge and grow. In addition to targeting CLL-1, this project will evaluate multi-targeted approaches by combined targeting of other leukemia stem cell antigens. ONK Therapeutics’ founder and CSO Prof Michael O’Dwyer said, “Alongside our in-house research, the project team at NUI Galway will explore construct design, as well as the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the context of AML strengthening our ONKT104 program. The aim is to select an optimized candidate to take forward into clinical development as a treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory AML.” Dr. Eva Szegezdi said, “The project will evaluate different constructs that may be able to achieve synergistic killing of cancer cells and reduce the emergence of disease resistance. These include the co-expression of CARs targeting other AML antigens, in addition to CLL-1, such as CD96, TIM3, and CD38 alongside the TRAIL variant.” ONK Therapeutics was formed based on technology and intellectual property developed at NUI Galway by Prof. Michael O’Dwyer, who retains his academic position as Professor of Haematology, Consultant Haematologist and HRB Clinician Scientist, alongside his role at the company. Over the past 12 months, ONK Therapeutics has expanded its team and operations at its headquarters and R&D facility in Ireland’s med-tech hub in Galway, where it now has 16 employees, with an additional 5 employees based in its US subsidiary in San Diego. -Ends-

Friday, 14 May 2021

A total of 452 cases relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17 Research from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway has been published in a new report. In 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, requested Tusla - Child and Family Agency, to commission new research into the number of children who have been subject to a Section 12, meaning that they have been removed to a place of safety by an Garda Síochána. Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 is invoked when a member of An Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that (a) there is the immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child and (b) it would not be sufficient for the protection of the child from such immediate and serious risk to await the making of the application for the emergency care order by Tusla under section 13. The research, led by Dr Carmel Devaney, Dr Rosemary Crosse, Dr Leonor Rodriguez, and Dr Charlotte Silke of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, was infomed by anonymised data on 452 Section 12 incidents during the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, and 28 semi-structured interviews with Tusla staff. The research found that: A total of 452 Section 12s relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study. The majority of these children and young people were subject to one Section 12 in this time period. For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours. This evidence suggests a strong need to increase the provision of early intervention parent and family support services for children, young people, and families, to reduce vulnerability and to respond to needs in a timely manner, and avoiding the need for one or more Section 12s. A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17. Such findings necessitate further exploration of the needs of this age group (who have the highest incidence of Section 12s) and provision of appropriate resources and training for staff of both Tusla and An Garda Síochána on responding to the needs of this group. Lead author of the report, Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: "This research highlights a need for increased emergency placements for young people who have been removed to a place of safety by An Garda Síochána. It also emphasises the need to support parents and young people at an earlier stage so that this type of situation does not arise. Critically, it recommends giving An Garda Síochána the power to access support from extended family members in these circumstances, which would lessen the use of inappropriate placements for children and young people." The research commission request arose after the publication of ‘Audit of the exercise by An Garda Síochána of the provisions of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991’ prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon for the Garda Commissioner in 2017. This report did not audit Tusla’s actions after invoking Section 12, however, a number of the recommendations within the Shannon Report related to Tusla policies and procedures in relation to Section 12 and Section 13 of the Child Care Act 1991. The full report and an executive summary of 'Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991' can be read in full at: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/.   Feedback and further queries on the report can be emailed to the National Research Office at trc@tusla.ie. -Ends-


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