Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology at NUI Galway is a co-author of a new study that found octopuses from deeper in the ocean had warty skin compared to their shallower smooth-skinned counterparts, with DNA sequences revealing they were the same species despite looking so different. The study was led by The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and is published today (8 October 2019) in the international journal, Bulletin of Marine Science.  Deep beneath the ocean’s surface, surprisingly cute warty pink octopuses creep along the seafloor. But not all these octopuses look alike. While humans love a good “Is your skin oily, dry, or combination?” quiz, members of one octopus species take variations in skin texture to a whole new level. Some have outrageous warts, while others appear nearly smooth-skinned. Scientists weren’t sure if these octopuses were even members of the same species, and they didn’t know how to explain the differences in the animals’ looks. But in this new study, scientists cracked the case: the deeper in the ocean the octopuses live, the bumpier their skin and the smaller their bodies. DNA revealed that even though the octopuses looked different, they were the same species.  Co-author of the study, Professor Louise Allcock, Head of Zoology, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, who analysed the DNA data, said: “We really weren’t sure what the DNA would tell us. Warty octopuses occur throughout the deep oceans of most of the world, including all the way down to the Antarctic, and there are real issues in determining the true number of species. From many locations we only have one or two specimens, because they live in really inaccessible habitats, so we had very little experience as to how much individuals of any given species might vary.”  Lead author, Janet Voight, Associate Curator of Zoology, Field Museum, said: “If I had only two of these animals that looked very different, I would say, ‘Well, they’re different species, for sure.’ But variation inside animal species can sometimes fool you. That’s why we need to look at multiple specimens of species to see, does that first reaction based on two specimens make sense?” To figure out if the smooth and warty octopuses were the same species, the scientists examined 50 specimens that were classified as Graneledone pacifica, the Pacific warty octopus. Plunging deep into the ocean in ALVIN, a human-occupied submersible vehicle, Voight collected some of the octopuses from the Northeast Pacific Ocean. The team also studied specimens loaned from the University of Miami Marine Laboratory and the California Academy of Sciences. They looked at specimens from up and down the Pacific, from as far north as Washington State to as far south as Monterey, California, and from depths ranging from 3,660 feet (1,100 metres) to more than 9,000 feet (2,700 metres) below the ocean’s surface. The researchers counted the number of warts in a line across each octopus’s back and its head and the number of suckers on their arms. They found that the octopuses from deeper in the ocean looked different from their shallower counterparts. The deep-sea specimens were smaller, with fewer arm suckers, and, most noticeably, bumpier skin than those from shallower depths. They found there weren’t two distinct groups; the animals’ appearances changed according to how deep they live. Comparing the octopuses’ DNA sequences revealed only minor differences, supporting the idea that they were all the same species, despite looking so different. Voight adds: “Sometimes when animals look different from each other, scientists can be tempted to jump the gun and declare them separate species, especially in the deep sea, where very little is known about animal life and scientists often don’t have many specimens to compare. But looking different doesn’t necessarily mean that animals are members of different species; take chihuahuas and Great Danes, which are both the same species of Canis lupus familiaris. Dogs’ different appearances are due to selective breeding by humans, but in the case of the warty octopuses in this study, their different appearances seem to result from environmental influences, because their appearance changes depending on where the octopuses are from.” Scientists aren’t sure why the variations in skin texture occur with depth. But they do have a hunch about the size difference. Voight thinks that these octopuses usually eat creatures from the sediment on the ocean floor, passing food from sucker to sucker and then crushing their prey like popcorn. “There’s less food as you get deeper in the ocean. So these animals have to work harder to find food to eat. And that means at the end of their lives, they’ll be smaller than animals who have more food. If you’re a female who’s going to lay eggs at the end of your life, maybe your eggs will be smaller”, says Voight. Smaller eggs mean smaller hatchlings.  Support for this hypothesis comes from the number of suckers on the males’ arm that transfers sperm packets to females. Earlier research by Voight found that male hatchlings have a full-formed arm with all its suckers in place. The researchers documented that the number of suckers on this arm was much smaller in males from greater depth, and Voight hypothesizes it relates to egg size. “The octopus hatchlings in shallower water, only 3,660 feet (1,100 metres), are bigger. Their eggs had more yolk. As the embryos grew, they developed farther inside the egg than the ones from 9,000 feet (2,700 metres), who were developing in smaller eggs. They had less energy to fuel their growth before they left the egg, so they made fewer suckers,” says Voight. Seeing these physical manifestations of octopuses’ food limitation provides a hint of how they might fare as climate change progresses and the octopuses’ food supply fluctuates. Voight notes that this study, which shows that different-looking octopuses can still be the same genetic species, could help researchers down the line trying to identify life forms in the deep sea. Remotely operated vehicles collect video footage of the ocean floor, and it can be used to estimate the number of species present, if known what they look like. That’s why, Voight says, it’s so important to examine specimens in person and use characteristics you can’t see on video to identify species boundaries. To read the full study in Bulletin of Marine Science, visit: https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2019.0039 -Ends- 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Professor Chris Stringer will deliver the fifth annual William King Lecture Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum London will deliver the fifth annual William King Lecture at NUI Galway on Thursday, 10 October. Professor Stringer, one of the most high-profile international experts on Neanderthals, will also be presented with the William King Medal at the talk for his contributions to our understanding of human evolution. The William King Lecture series was established in 2015 with the aim of honouring the scientific legacy of William King, the first Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Queen’s College Galway (as NUI Galway was then known). King made his own scientific history in 1863 when he first proposed the formal scientific name Homo neanderthalensis for Neanderthal people. Event co-organiser Professor Heinz Peter Nasheuer, Biochemistry, NUI Galway, commented: “William King would go on to become the first scientist to successfully name a new human species based on actual fossil remains. It was a remarkable achievement, and also an extremely important step in the early development of palaeoanthropology (the study of human evolution) in the Nineteenth Century.” Professor Stringer is Research Leader in Human Origins at London’s Natural History Museum, and is best known for his work on the Recent African Origin theory of modern human origins, and also with projects concerned with the ancient human occupation of Britain. He actively collaborates with a large and diverse international network of archaeologists, dating specialists, and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally. Planet Earth is effectively his field study area, and his research has addressed one of the most fundamentally important questions that can be asked in science – what does it mean to be human? The title of Professor Stringer’s lecture will be ‘The evolution and fate of the Neanderthals’ and he commented that: “The last ten years have seen many exciting developments in the study of Neanderthals – from how they evolved through to when they disappeared, including the remarkable discovery that most of us alive today have about 2% of their DNA in our genomes. In my forthcoming lecture in NUI Galway I will be presenting some of the latest evidence about these close relatives of ours.” To date, Professor Stringer has published over 400 papers and books, and his recent output has included ‘The Origin of our Species’, ‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story’ (with Rob Dinnis), and ‘Our Human Story’ (with Louise Humphrey). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He won the 2004 Rivers Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute and also the 2008 Frink Medal of the Zoological Society of London. More recently he was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Dr John Murray, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, and one of the co-organisers of the annual lecture series, said: “We are really delighted to welcome one of the world’s leading and most highly respected Neanderthal experts to NUI Galway. Professor Stringer is an icon to many in palaeoanthropology; his research on those most enigmatic of prehistoric people, the Neanderthals, has enlightened and inspired in equal measure. His investigations also continue in the spirit of work initially begun by William King here over a century and a half ago. The awarding of the King Medal to Professor Stringer, here in the institution where their formal scientific name was first coined, thus represents fitting completion of this scientific circle.” The fifth annual William King Lecture will take place at 7pm in the Human Biology Building and all are welcome to attend. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Study aims to discover problems that commonly arise in general practice such as missed or delayed diagnosis, and how such errors can be avoided in the future The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is conducting the ASPIRE study, which aims to involve patients in improving the safety of care in general practice. The research team are currently recruiting people who have previously experienced a medical error in general practice. People who are willing to take part in the study will be briefly interviewed about their experience either over the phone, or in person. A ‘medical error’ is described as an event which could have, or did, lead to harm for a patient receiving healthcare. This could include events like a missed or delayed diagnosis, incorrect drug dosage, inappropriate medication prescribed, a referral error, or a lapse in communication with the practice.  The overall aim of the study is to find out about problems that commonly arise in general practice and how they can be avoided in the future. It will allow the researchers to identify a number of contributory factors to errors in general practice, which will enable the design and implementation of future safety strategies to reduce patient harm. This will benefit both General Practitioners and patients alike. Professor Andrew Murphy, GP and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “Patient safety is a real priority for all general practitioners. It is important that the patient voice is also heard in this vital area.”  Caoimhe Madden, a PhD researcher in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, who is leading the study, said: “Unfortunately the patient perspective is often overlooked in patient safety research. However, we believe that patient stories can provide us with a valuable insight, and enable our understanding of what areas need to be improved upon in general practice.”  For more information or to participate in the ASPIRE study, please contact Caoimhe Madden, School of Medicine, NUI Galway at caoimhe.madden@nuigalway.ie or 091 495205.  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

NUI Galway student innovation hub LaunchPad has launched its programme of events for the year. The programme has gone from strength to strength on the NUI Galway campus with a community of over 7,000 student entrepreneurs trained since 2015.   Supported by a team of ten interns a key differentiator for the innovation hub is its approach to peer to peer engagement. Executive Director Natalie Walsh said: “Each year we hire a team of interns from across our campuses so that students can learn and develop from each other, in this year’s team we have current Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Chris McBrearty, who has worked with us for over a year and comes from a scientific background; Aaron Hannon, a recent Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund recipient and winner of the NDRC Ireland Fund Business Plan competition, who is a second year engineering student; Sarah Murphy a medical student who was a IBYE finalist in Sligo for her project Gridmathic a mathematic literacy aid; Charlotte Lucas, a final year Biomedical Science student who has with Cell Explorers helped to develop a science kit for use in the classroom called ‘Fantastic DNA’; and Heidi Schoenenberger, a PhD student working on developing a business to bring drama productions to primary schools.” A key emphasis of the programme is contributing toward the culture of entrepreneurship on campus and within the region.  Students participating in the programme gain transversal skills and in addition to now considering entrepreneurship as part of their career plan, in addition to being highly employable and filling roles on many sought after programmes both nationally and internationally. The innovation calendar features events, programmes and competitions open to students in Galway. Programmes in this year’s calendar include an EIT Health funded connected health programme, a start-up student week taking place in November and Student Ascent, a midway demo day of student innovation on campus.  The hub has also expanded the reach of some of its programmes by opening them up to third level students in the region.  Natalie Walsh continues: “We have had a huge response to our second level students programmes the Ideas Academy which was open to all second level students in the region, a natural next step for our hub is to engage more with the region and work collaboratively to contribute towards a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem with students at the heart if it, particularly as we see our student perform so well at national entrepreneurship award programmes. We also see our students developing a core extracurricular skillset that makes them very attractive to employers in the region with many of our Interns holding important innovation roles in their respective industries. “Our approach is to have an open door policy. We encourage entrepreneurs and potential mentors to get in touch with us and see how we can work together to train the next generation of entrepreneurs for our region.” -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

Following the recent announcement of newly appointed Business Professors at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway, the Cairnes School and Whitaker Institute will host the ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring the new professors. Alma McCarthy, appointed Professor of Public Sector Management will open the series on Wednesday, 9 October and will talk about - Attracting, managing, developing and retaining talent in the Irish public sector. The lunchtime event is free and open to the public. Professor McCarthy will reflect on the key learnings from her research in public sector organisations in Ireland and discuss learnings from international best practice including how best to attract and develop senior leadership capability. She will identify a number of opportunities and challenges currently facing public sector organisations in relation to human resource and talent attraction, management and development. Some of these challenges include the need to be forward-thinking and plan strategically to meet the changing socio-demographic trends of the next generation of public sector employees. Alma will also discuss how current demographic and societal trends are impacting public sector human resource management as well as reflect on the likely future trends that public sector organisations must plan for including changes in employee preferences for how they work, the impact of technology and changes in career expectations.   Drawing on over 15 years of expertise in the public sector, Professor McCarthy will be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin about her public sector research and work. Tomás is CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC), the state agency tasked with advising the Government on policy for the West, and has experience in senior management positions in other public sector organisations.  Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to launch this inaugural lecture series which will provide our newly appointed professors with the opportunity to engage students, colleagues and the general public in a frank discussion of issues that are crucially important for our country. The challenge facing the public sector to attract and retain talent is one such issue, with profound implications for our systems of health care, education, security and other areas of public administration.” Speaking about the event, Professor Alma McCarthy, NUI Galway, said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to be in conversation with Tomás Ó Síocháin discussing my research in the area of public sector management. The delivery of public services for our citizens is contingent on the capability, commitment and competence of our public sector employees and leaders and their ability to innovate and lead change. In turn, the delivery of quality services to the public is dependent on how well public sector organisations attract, manage and develop their talent. I will focus on this important area.” Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission, said: “Serving the public is a key challenge for public servants and for the public service. Changes in technology, the move towards a low carbon economy and the changing culture of work internationally are significant drivers of change. This is particularly the case for a sector that, at times, is seen as slow to change. In my experience, however, there is an appetite for change among leaders in the public service, and I very much look forward to hearing Professor McCarthy’s insights, and facilitating a broader conversation on this important topic.” The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 October from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/conversations-with-our-newly-appointed-professors-professor-alma-mccarthy-tickets-73785878549 -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell-O’Connor recently launched the NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme at Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla. The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme is an outreach component of the NUI Galway University of Sanctuary initiative and NUI Galway’s Access Centre. Universities and Schools of Sanctuary promote the welcoming of refugees, asylum seekers, Irish Travellers and other migrants into educational communities in meaningful ways. A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment that benefits everybody, including anyone in its community who is seeking sanctuary. Promoting and celebrating cultural diversity as well as promoting pathways into higher education is a core element of the programme. “Everyone involved in this programme will become beacons in the community and act as Ambassadors that promote and celebrate cultural diversity in addition to progression into higher education” said Minister Mitchell O’Connor. The programme is highly inclusive and participatory which will empower every student. Furthermore, students will celebrate their own and others cultural identity. In addition, it intends to support increased access and participation in higher education by entrants from socio-economic groups that have low participation in higher education. The NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator Owen Ward said: “Through the collaboration with the Places of Sanctuary Movement, Ireland, the NUI Galway Access Centre and the participating NUI Galway Access linked schools, a sanctuary will be created for all within each school that will ensure a levelling of the playing field for everyone. This programme will positively impact approximately 1,500 students this year.” Principals from Our Lady’s College, St Marys College, and Scoil Bhríde National School signed the commitment pledge to begin the process of becoming a designated NUI Galway School of Sanctuary.  The launch coincides with NUI Galway’s designation as the sixth third level institution in the country to be designated as a University of Sanctuary. -Ends-

Monday, 7 October 2019

As part of the ‘Spotlight on Research’ lecture series at NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, a lecture will be given by recently elected member of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Paolo Bartoloni on the topic ‘From “great” to violent: on contemporary art’.  The lecture will be held on Thursday, 31 October from 5-7pm, in room G011 in the Moore Institute. Professor Bartoloni will examine the question ‘How is art measured today, and is it possible to speak of contemporary art as “great”’? At the turn of the millennium many believed that art was simply commercially driven or its opposite, ephemeral. Postmodernism has often been blamed for the demise of “greatness” in art and the fading away of art’s enigma and complexity. And yet the postmodern bubble is supposed to have burst years ago, as far back as 2005, some believe. Professor Bartoloni will look at where are we, and what kind of parameters can be used to relate to contemporary art? And, does contemporary art still matter and has art turned from “great” to violent, yet violent to whom and for what purpose? By looking at a series of curatorial practices in the city of Florence, this lecture will rehearse some of these questions, focusing on the way in which local identity might be challenged and even violated by the assemblage of disparate art forms that bring about what the visual studies expert Nicholas Mirzoeff calls ‘neoculturation’. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Spotlight on Research series aims to highlight the world leading and ground-breaking research being undertaken across our College. Academics within the College have received national and international recognition for the research they are undertaking, including major awards and recognition such as the recent election of Professor Bartoloni as a member of the Royal Irish Academy, regarded as the highest academic honour in Ireland. This series provides a platform for us to recognise and bring these research achievements to the attention of both the academic community and the wider general public.” -Ends-

Friday, 4 October 2019

NUI Galway praised for driving an open, transparent culture of quality, and promoting equality and diversity Recommendation to mainstream best practice in support services to manage increasing student numbers and needs relating to international students, access, disability and mental health NUI Galway has successfully completed a review as part of quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland. A panel of national and international education experts conducted a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the university’s quality assurance procedures, highlighting examples of good practice which were seen to deliver positive benefits for students and staff, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years. NUI Galway was praised for: The openness and transparency of their self-evaluation process, publishing their report and sharing helpful case-studies. Driving a culture of quality to ensure that all staff have ownership of quality assurance and enhancement Promoting equality and diversity through the appointment of senior leadership in these areas, student work on gender recognition and achievement of the institution-level Bronze Athena Swan award Having conducted a full review of research activity and performance The positive contribution of professional support services such as its academic writing, career development, learning and teaching and researcher development centres The expert panel identified the following areas for improvement for the university: Consideration of the future role and development of the Quality Office with possible links to related support services such as its Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching, to share good practice and developmental activities Consideration of a direct reporting relationship by the Quality Enhancement Committee to internal academic governance bodies A review to comprehensively understand their programme development and provision Ongoing annual monitoring of individual school review outcomes to assess progress in achieving development goals Develop a system to mainstream support service projects that are successful and demonstrate impact thus managing increasing student numbers and the complexity of their diverse needs in the areas of international, access, disability and mental health  Professor Sibrandes Poppema, former President of the University of Groningen, chaired the expert review panel: “The Review Team was deeply impressed by the inclusive process of developing the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report, where staff and students were visibly involved, as well as by the format of the document, especially the integrated case studies. The open character of the process was reflected in the publication of the ISER on the external website. The institution has a clear direction and has taken commendable steps in developing an accessible policy and procedures repository, professional support services for the students, research quality improvement measures and internationalisation, equality and diversity, as reflected in the Bronze Athena Swan.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway welcomes this positive QQI review, its findings and looks forward to addressing the valuable recommendations as we embark on a new strategic era here at the University. The review acknowledged our openness and transparency throughout the self-evaluation process but also our commitment to driving a ‘culture of quality’ and promoting ‘equality and diversity’ throughout our community for the public good.  We take quality very seriously and value the confirmation of our compliance with quality assurance regulatory and statutory requirements. We commit to continuous improvement across the campus to meet the needs of our students, including our support services, our teaching and learning and our research agendas.” Through its CINNTE cycle of reviews, QQI assesses and reports on how effectively all 19 publicly-regulated higher education institutions are maintaining and enhancing quality in education.  The reviews explore how institutions have improved their teaching, learning and research systems, and how well institutions have aligned with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks.  Reports on University College Dublin, University of Limerick, IT Carlow and Waterford IT will follow in 2020. Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI highlighted the value of the CINNTE review process to the entire higher education system: “Every QQI CINNTE review is based on rigorous assessment by a panel of national and international experts of the quality of education provision across an entire institution.  Each one serves as a useful tool, allowing students to evaluate and have confidence in the quality of their education. The whole-hearted engagement of our HEIs with their expert panels, the examples of good practice so often brought to light, and the way in which subsequent recommendations are embraced are especially deserving of praise. Together, they ensure the student is situated at the very heart of the teaching and learning agenda.” Read the NUI Galway CINNTE report in full. Read the NUI Galway Summary Quality Profile. ENDS

Thursday, 3 October 2019

NUI Galway will host a conference to investigate the importance of the school environment for children’s learning, wellbeing and participation. Entitled ‘21st Century Schools: Inclusive, Flexible & Dynamic Learning Environments: The impact of physical design on student learning and participation’, the conference will take place on Monday, 7 October and is being hosted by the Galway Occupational Therapy Department and a collaborative forum of educators, educational psychologists, therapists and designers. The conference features national and international experts on learning environments and school seating, as well as examples of flexible design classrooms with innovative furniture design, presentations from local children from Scoil Cholmáin Tuairíní, Galway Educate Together National School and the Claddagh National School and an expert panel discussion on the application of research to practice. This conference will be of great interest to schools and school support teams in Galway and particularly any schools hoping to build, renovate or purchase furniture.  The conference also provides an opportunity for teachers and school support teams from health and disability services to learn and share knowledge together around this important area creating a real platform for ongoing change. A Teaching Council Research support grant is subsidising the event ensuring it is accessible to as many practitioners as possible. International and National Experts on Learning Environments and School Seating are presenting including: Professor Peter Barrett, University of Salford; Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway; Simon Dennehy, CEO, Perch Dynamic Solutions; Thomas Grey, leading member in the consortium tasked with developing the Universal Design Guidelines for Early Learning and Care settings; Richard Brennan, founder and past President of the Irish Society of Alexander Technique Teachers; and Mary Murphy of Occupational Health and Safety Services and Jan Van Haaren (Industrial Design and Display Screen Environment (DSE) Assessor. The conference will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) Building, North Campus. Registration for the event is available https://hse.clr.events/event/128423:learning-environments-conference or contact Michelle Bergin at Michelle.bergin2@hse.ie for further information. -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, a Nanoscientist from the School of Physics at NUI Galway is fundraising for the initiative Homeward Bound, a ground-breaking leadership programme for women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Homeward Bound culminates in a research trip to the Antarctica this November and aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape the planet. Launched in 2016, the inaugural programme culminated in the largest ever female expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound takes place over the course of a year, supporting women in science to significantly improve their clarity, confidence, shared vision and strategic capability. It helps women to take up leadership roles globally and to proactively contribute to a sustainable world both individually and collectively. At the end of the programme this November, Dr Fairfield and her cohort will travel to Antarctica, an iconic and challenging landscape that is experiencing some of the most severe consequences of climate change, with implications for the entire world. Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics at NUI Galway, says: “To solve societal challenges like climate change, we can’t ignore the talents of half the population, women, and especially at the leadership level. Research has shown that diverse groups produce better science, better business, and more creative solutions to problems. We don't just need diversity of people - we need diversity of thought.” This is the second expedition trip Dr Fairfield will make. In June 2017 Jessamyn completed a two-week Arctic Circle residency program on board a ship that brought together scientists and artists who together looked at ways of highlighting the importance of the Arctic and how the changes there will affect humanity. During the trip Dr Fairfield built a detector out of ice to capture energy from cosmic particles passing through. Homeward Bound was founded 10 years ago by Fabian Dattner (an Australian leadership activist and consultant), in collaboration with Antarctic marine scientist Jess-Melbourne Thomas. Together, they garnered the support of significant scientific bodies and women of influence, created a strong leadership team and teaching faculty to get the project off the ground. In 2015, the project went viral and the first leadership programme and Antarctic voyage took place in 2016. Dr Fairfield has opened a crowdfunding page to support this year’s programme and funds raised will go towards the Homeward Bound programme costs, which cover leadership coaching and tools, visibility and science instruction, and of course, the capstone voyage to Antarctica in November 2019 with 100 women in STEM from around the world. The programme is also funded in part by the Office of Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. For more about Homeward Bound, visit: https://homewardboundprojects.com.au/about/. Visit Jessamyn’s crowdfunding page at: https://chuffed.org/project/jessamyns-leadership-voyage-homeward-bound To read Dr Fairfield’s blog ‘In Search of Polar Perspectives’ visit: https://letstalkaboutscience.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/polar-perspectives-homeward-bound/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a seminar discussing the Pictorial Map of Galway on Thursday, 10 October from 2-5pm. Offering a bird’s-eye view of the city immediately prior to its surrender to Cromwellian forces in 1652, the map records in exceptional detail the life and times of its inhabitants. From the city’s defences, quays, public buildings and private residences to features such as the town gibbet, this map has an extraordinary story to tell. Printed on nine sheets measuring approximately 2m x 1.4m in total, the map survives in only two copies – one in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the other in Trinity College, Dublin. As part of the seminar, the map will be on display, giving attendees a very rare opportunity to see this treasure of Galway history which was donated to the library in 1852 by Lord Oranmore and Browne. The seminar celebrates the appearance of the Royal Irish Academy’s publication of Paul Walsh’s study of the map, Renaissance Galway: Delineating the Seventeenth-Century City, which has been produced by the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (www.ihta.ie). A formal launch of the book will take place afterwards in the Galway City Museum at 6pm, by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Mike Cubbard. During the seminar, a panel of experts will describe key aspects of the map. Areas of discussion include the fortifications, Irish-language place-names, conventions of map-making in the period, and the social and political history of Galway in the era in which it was produced. Speakers include: Professor Nicholas Canny; Sarah Gearty, RIA; Dr Pádraig Lenihan, NUI Galway; Dr Annaleigh Margey, Dundalk IT; Dr Bríd McGrath, Trinity College, Dublin; Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, NUI Galway; and Paul Walsh, author, Renaissance Galway. Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “The map of Galway appeared in a momentous era of conflict and political change in the city. This seminar gives us a chance to understand this history more intimately with the help of a range of leading figures.” The seminar will take place in Room G010 in the Moore Institute, Hardiman Building. Attendance is free and open to the public. To register visit https://bit.ly/2o3S3zJ. For further information contact: daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

An NUI Galway academic has contributed to a major new book on Brexit and Northern Ireland. Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, is one of 26 contributors to the study. The seminal and very timely book brings together distinguished ex-politicians, journalists, writers and academics from both sides of the Irish Sea to examine the conundrum of Brexit and Northern Ireland in terms of its potential political, economic, social and cultural implications. Contributors include former Progressive Democrat TD and junior minister Liz O’Donnell, former Irish ambassador Ray Bassett and editor and media commentator Roy Greenslade. In his chapter, entitled ‘A History Lesson for Brexiteers’, Felle argues that a failure to understand or give consequence to the Irish position in the corridors of power in Whitehall, combined with anti-Irish sentiment in sections of the British press have legitimised arguments in favour of a no-deal Brexit, According to Felle: “Large swathes of the British public have been conditioned for years by sections of the very hostile British press to be anti-EU, so it was perhaps no surprise the UK voted leave. That focus has now switched from the EU, in part, on to the Irish Government. The story is portrayed by the pro-Brexit press as one of the Irish being difficult and obstinate, and of the Taoiseach, and Tánaiste as pandering to republicans. The legitimacy of Ireland’s position is never given a moment’s consideration on the pro-Brexit press. “Brexit has caused a seismic schism in British society and its scars will be felt for a generation. It has threatened the fragile peace in Northern Ireland and the economic well-being and prosperity of nearly six million people on the island of Ireland.  The long-term damage to the British economy and society – no matter the outcome – will be monumental. A handful of newspaper editors have played with fire when it came to influencing public opinion and setting the agenda regarding the EU for years”, he argues. The book Brexit and Northern Ireland: Bordering on Confusion, is published in association with the Centre for Brexit Studies at Bermingham City University and is published by Bite-Sized Books later this month. The book is edited by ex-BBC journalist John Mair and Dr Steve McCabe from the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University. ENDS

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The PhD Scholarship is a collaboration between NUI Galway, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, and Branar Téatar do Pháistí NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies is pleased to offer one postgraduate scholarship in Early Years Performance to support full-time PhD research within the Structured PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies programme, commencing January 2020. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Wednesday 16 October. This fully funded PhD Doctoral Research Scholarship in Early Years Performance is an opportunity for a doctoral student to explore the area of the impact of live performance on early years’ children (0 – 6 years) in a national and/or international context working in close partnership with NUI Galway, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, and Branar Téatar do Pháistí. As Ireland’s flagship international arts festival devoted to children and families, Baboró places creativity for children at its heart and is committed to ensuring that every child can access enriching cultural experiences. This latest initiative builds on Baboró’s close affiliation with NUI Galway, which includes inputs into the University’s programmes across Drama, Creative Writing, Children’s Studies, Psychology, Child, Youth and Family Studies, Social Science, Human Rights and Marine Science.  Branar Téatar do Pháistí is one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies making innovative, high quality productions that inspire children and their families. The company tours extensively nationally and internationally every year. Branar also supports artists to make work for young audiences through tailored programmes of resource sharing and creates opportunities for children to explore their own arts practice in school settings. This research opportunity will follow a Creative Europe funded project, MAPPING, a pan-European project with 18 partners from 17 European countries running from 2018 – 2022, investigating the relationship between performer and early years audiences. The selected candidate will also have an opportunity to follow the work of Branar Téatar do Pháistí in the development of a new work for early years as part of the MAPPING project and will be given access to the annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, which takes place every October, and its year-round projects and team. Candidates may have a background in Psychology, Sociology, Children’s Studies, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Education or English. NUI Galway, Baboró and Branar encourage applications from researchers with a background in the performing arts, arts-in-education or research on the value of the arts, but this is not a prerequisite. The successful candidate will engage in teaching over the course of their PhD. Dr Charlotte McIvor, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, said: “Drama and Theatre Studies' collaboration with Baboró and Branar Téatar do Pháistí furthers our commitment to both theatre for children and young audiences and Irish-language theatre. NUI Galway's role in supporting this groundbreaking area of research as we try to reach and understand how to affect younger and younger audiences will yield dividends for not only our local arts ecology, but the wider national and international creative industries working in this area.” To see scholarship requirements visit https://bit.ly/2lEYqbC or to discuss relevant topics, please contact Dr Charlotte McIvor at charlotte.mcivor@nuigalway.ie. Closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, Wednesday, 16 October. -Ends-

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

NUI Galway collaborate with GMIT-led research to support policy on seafood safety and consumer health   A study carried out by a research team led by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) in collaboration with NUI Galway has resulted in the development of the world’s first scientific-based shellfish traceability tool. The research was recently published in two scientific papers in the international peer-reviewed journal, Science of the Total Environment. The study was led by Dr Conor Graham of the GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre in collaboration with Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute in NUI Galway. This unique tool used trace elemental fingerprinting of shellfish soft tissues and shells to identify the harvest location of blue mussels and scallops with 100% success, including mussels reared at two sites, located just 6 kilometres apart within the one bay. In addition, the trace elemental fingerprinting approach not only correctly identified the site of harvest of scallops but was also able to distinguish between harvesting events just six weeks apart, both with 100% success. Trace elemental fingerprinting is somewhat similar to genetic analyses except instead of identifying the variation in a number of genes to create a unique genetic identifier, trace elemental fingerprinting analyses how large numbers of trace elements contained naturally within the flesh and shells of shellfish vary uniquely according to growing sites. Although the shells of mussels and scallops are composed primarily of calcium carbonate, other elements are incorporated into their shells at relatively low levels as they grow, which is determined by the bioavailable concentrations of these elements in the surrounding water column in which the shellfish live. Lead scientist, Dr Conor Graham of GMIT, says: “In recent years’ consumers have become more food conscious seeking traceability of produce and while such tools exist for agriculture, until now no scientifically based system existed to trace both farmed and wild shellfish produce to their source. The aquaculture of shellfish such as mussels and oysters and the wild fisheries for scallops, razorfish and clams is a multi-million industry in Ireland supporting thousands of jobs in rural maritime communities around our coasts. This research aimed to create the world’s first scientifically based traceability tool for Irish bivalve shellfish (two shells) in order to promote this ecologically sustainable food.” Co-lead of the study, Dr Liam Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway said: “In the context of an ever-expanding human population, we are increasingly relying on seafood as a source of proteins and other essential nutrients. Shellfish from wild populations and aquaculture account for a significant portion of overall global production and this research collaboration was aimed at obtaining data to support policy on seafood safety, health and environmental protection.” The research was also conducted in association with the European Food Safety Authority, UCD and the Marine Institute. To read both papers from the study in the journal Science of the Total Environment, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719340987?via%3Dihub and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719322740?via%3Dihub -Ends-

Monday, 14 October 2019

Have you ever wondered what affects the occurrence of migraines? Psychologists at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology are interested in examining this phenomenon in adults from Ireland and the UK, and want to investigate the psychological factors that could contribute to migraines by carrying out an online study.  Estimates for the prevalence of migraine in Ireland vary roughly between 600,000 and 900,000. There is an estimated 1 to 1.09 billion people affected by migraine worldwide according to the most recent research from the World Health Organisation. While not the most common type of headache, migraine is estimated to be the most burdensome and merits further investigation from all disciplines.  The researchers plan to investigate the impact psychological factors such as attachment style, childhood experiences, dissociation, current stress, anxiety and mood has on migraine. They aim to collect responses from adults diagnosed with migraine from Ireland and the UK with a view to analysing and publishing the results.  The study is being carried out by Iain Mays, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Professor Brian McGuire, Co-Director for the Centre for Pain Research, and Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the Doctorate Programme in Clinical Psychology at NUI Galway. Dr Jonathan Egan, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, says: “Psychological factors are important in that they may influence how a person reacts to how a migraine headache is managed and whether they feel that they can access support or not. Stressful life events in childhood may predispose people to developing chronic health conditions including migraines and we want to research whether this is true in a large sample of people experiencing migraine in Ireland” Iain Mays, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “There is a growing awareness of the impact of migraine in Ireland. This has been documented with the publishing of the Migraine Quick Reference Guide by the Irish College of General Practitioners in February, along with important awareness campaigns such as Brain Awareness Week in March and more recently Migraine Awareness Week in September. This research hopes to contribute to our awareness and understanding of migraine by investigating possible psychological factors associated with the condition.” To participate in the online study and for more information please phone 091 492956 or visit: https://nuig-psychology.ie/index.php/693694?lang=en  -Ends- 

Monday, 14 October 2019

Students from NUI Galway had the rare privilege of hearing Irish folk legend Christy Moore discuss his lifelong research of song material, his songwriting influences and his journey as Ireland’s greatest folk singer. The event was part of the University’s annual Jean Ritchie Lecture which coincided with NUI Galway’s Arts in Action 2019-2020 programme launch. Now in its ninth year, Arts in Action offers NUI Galway students from all course disciplines ranging from Medicine to Engineering to Science, the unique opportunity to complete a ‘Creative Arts’ module as part of their academic year. Students can also attend the weekly free lunchtime programme of events featuring celebrated artists. Arts in Action Producer and Artistic Director, Mary McPartlan, NUI Galway, said: “What has always been important to NUI Galway is the natural connection that exists between the creative arts and the existing academic structures, providing students with access to continuous high-end international and professional arts in all genres, which also creates credit bearing opportunities in academic modules. This year’s programme also reflects the growing collaboration between NUI Galway and the many local and national arts organisations, bringing rich and rewarding performances to the students and staff on a weekly basis.” A strong narrative around the theme of this year’s programme is Ireland’s inextricable link with the islands both here and overseas, the country as an island in these uncertain times of Brexit and the possible return to a hard border, the arresting landscape, heritage and the Irish language. Drawing on Ireland as an island, Arts in Action will host a Celebration of the Blasket Islands in association with An Taibhdhearc. Suantraí na hInise/Island Lullaby is a unique and innovative music/theatre event. Composed and directed by Colm Ó Foghlú and featuring internationally renowned musicians Niamh Ní Charra, Noreen O’Donoghue and members of the Orchestra of Ireland it will include historical images and film from The Blasket Centre Archive. Representing islands off Scotland, England and Wales, performances include the English folk singer and musician Lisa Knapp and Irish fiddler player and composer, Gerry Diver. From the Shetland Islands, fiddle player Chris Stout will perform with Dundee harpist Catriona McKay. A strong line-up of Irish artists include comedian and actor Tommy Tiernan in conversation with RTÉ broadcaster, Vincent Woods, world class fiddle player Martin Hayes, renowned uileann piper, Paddy Keenan, composers and instrumentalists, Ulaid, and a concert of harp music with harpists Laoise Kelly, Grainne Hambly and Kathleen Loughnane. Arts in Action is also delighted to continue its association with TG4’s Molscéal and its development of the creative arts programme, presenting the 2019 Gradam Ceol ‘Young Musician of the Year’ featuring accordion player and Clarenbridge native, Conor Connolly and Guests. The programme will also continue its strong relationship with An Taibhdhearc presenting Airneán Árann, a concert featuring actor, Macdara Ó Fátharta, who was born in Synge’s Cottage in Inis Meáin and who translated a selection of the writings of John Millington Synge about the island. For this very special concert Macdara will be joined by his son, MacDara O Conaola, Galway poet, Mary O Malley, Inis Mór musician, Oisín Ó hIarnáin, Inis Mór singer, Treasa Ní Mhiolláin and Inis Oírr singer, Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola. Representing the culture of the Aran Islands the programme features a series of black and white photographs of the Islands from NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library Archives, along with a selection of bilingual poems curated by university academic and poet Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, depicting the landscape of the three Aran Islands. In January 2020, NUI Galway will host a European Capital of Culture Seminar curated by Dr Catherine Morris and Mary Mc Partlan, bringing together a panel of artists, cultural practitioners, teachers and students to explore the dynamic role of arts and culture in university education. The event will discuss how creativity features across the curriculum, how artistic practice can be taught, and how to assess artistic creativity in the humanities. Irish Theatre Institute will present the theatre production Fond Pageant. Written and performed by Daniel Reardon, the play is based on Reardon’s book of the same name, sparked by an unprovoked and inexplicable epileptic seizure suffered by Reardon while attending the opening night of Ulysses at the Abbey Theatre in 2017. Music for Galway will present a series of concerts featuring the best in Irish and international classical music that includes Venetian pianist Chiara Opalio, violinist Eoin Ducrot and Cork cellist Aoife Burke and Collegium choir will perform music from the Renaissance period under the direction of conductor Mark Duley. To download the full Arts in Action 2019-2020 programme and to book events, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/artsinaction/and https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/college-of-arts-nui-galway-17945074324 -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The Irish National Digital Experience (INDEx) survey was launched today (Monday, 14 October) by the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD. The survey is open to all NUI Galway students on taught programmes (undergraduate or postgraduate), who are aged 18 or over. Lecturers and other staff who teach are also being surveyed. Students and staff in Irish higher education institutions are being asked about how they use digital technologies in their learning or in their teaching. Each institution will be able to identify the particular needs of its own students and staff and get opinions on what to prioritise for the future. It will also give a detailed picture of the current level of technology use and which tools are available to users across the whole country. It is also part of an international study that will allow us to see how Ireland is positioned compared to other countries.  Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching at NUI Galway, Dr Iain MacLaren said: “The INDEx survey offers staff and students an opportunity to tell the institution how they currently use digital technologies, and share their expectations of how our digital environment should change in the future. It provides a fantastic opportunity for peoples' voices to be heard and ensure that our future strategy is well-informed.” The survey is a unique collaborative partnership between the institutions, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, and representatives of students and staff.  Dr MacLaren added: “This has the potential to be really helpful in so much of our work in the sector and so the higher the participation levels the better. If you only fill in one survey over the next few weeks, make it this one!”    The survey is completely anonymous and great care is being taken with ensuring that the data is secure and managed appropriately.  All queries on the survey should go to index@teachingandlearning.ie or check the website at: https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/index/  -Ends- 

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, is providing a workshop at Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, creating an opportunity for young people from ages 8-12 to explore the connections between science and art in a practical drawing workshop with Karen Conway, artist in residence at CÚRAM. Taking place in Ballybane Library on Friday, 18 October at 3.30pm, the free workshop Drawing on Science will explore vintage medical equipment and chemicals used in the past as Karen compares them to today’s devices and chemicals. Fascinating biomaterials and medical devices will be used to create drawings. Karen Conway has been selected to create the CÚRAM community art commission for the East side of Galway city, which is co-funded by the Galway City Arts Office. As part of her CÚRAM community art commission, Karen is working with Professor William Wijns, a world leading expert in Interventional Cardiology based at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. Ms Conway, said: “I am delighted to work with CÚRAM researchers to deliver a workshop which is part of the fantastic Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.” Places on the workshop are limited and booking is required by contacting Ballybane Library on 091 380590. The Drawing on Science workshop is supported by Galway City Council and Galway County Council. For further information, visit the Baboró website at: https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/drawing-on-science. For more information on Karen Conway, visit: https://karenconway.work/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The ‘Inaugural Professors In Conversation Series’ featuring newly appointed Business Professors at NUI Galway will continue its series with Kate Kenny, Professor of Business and Society on Wednesday, 23 October. Professor Kenny will talk about Whistleblowing and Business Ethics. The lunchtime event hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and Whitaker Institute is free and open to the public. What role does ethics play in business practice, in Ireland and internationally? Professor Kate Kenny will discuss insights from over ten years’ research into this question, with a focus on speak-up and whistleblowing. From the U.S. White House, to the Brexit referendum and Ireland’s policing and energy sectors, whistleblowing is rarely out of the news.  Meanwhile laws are changing across the world, with a new EU whistleblowing directive promising major changes for Irish organisations in the public and private sectors. Professor Kenny will identify resulting impacts, challenges and opportunities for organisations and citizens in Ireland, based on international experiences. Professor Kenny will be in conversation with John Devitt, Chief Executive and founder of Transparency International’s chapter in Ireland and Chair of the Whistleblowing International Network. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to co-host this inaugural lecture series which will provide our newly appointed professors with the opportunity to engage students, colleagues and the general public in a frank discussion of issues that are crucially important for our country. We all know from well-publicised recent episodes that whistleblowers are critical in the fight to weed out malpractice, unlawful and unethical behaviour from the workplace, and they need better support and protection.” Speaking about the event, Professor Kate Kenny, NUI Galway, said: “Business ethics is a hot topic at the moment, posing many challenges and opportunities for organisations. I am looking forward to discussing insights from my research. Having studied whistleblowing and speak up systems for over ten years, in Ireland and overseas, I am particularly delighted to be joined by John Devitt for this conversation. His continued work with Transparency International Ireland is central to supporting whistleblowers and advocating for strong legal protections, at European, international and Irish levels.” The event will take place on Wednesday, 23 October from 1pm-2pm in Room CA110 in the Cairnes Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. To book the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/ and search 'Whistleblowing and Business Ethics' or logon to:https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/conversations-with-our-newly-appointed-professors-prof-kate-kenny-tickets-75817579421 -Ends-

Thursday, 17 October 2019

New article in The BMJ focuses on the use of statins amongst people at low risk of cardiovascular disease and the need for better data to help shared decision making Findings from a five-year study on statin use led by Dr Paula Byrne and Dr John Cullinan, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway along with Professor Susan M Smith, RCSI, has been published today (17 October 2019) in the leading medical journal The BMJ. Statins are among the most commonly used drugs in Ireland and the western world. While originally intended for those who have suffered prior cardiovascular disease, they are now commonly used by people with no prior disease to prevent cardiovascular disease in the future. This is called primary prevention. This new research highlights that eligibility for statins has expanded considerably over the past two decades and that clinical guidelines have gone from potentially recommending statin treatment in a small minority of older patients, to recommending treatment in a majority. At present nearly two-thirds of Irish adults aged over 50 with no history of cardiovascular disease could now be eligible for statins, even though there are significant uncertainties regarding the benefits of these cholesterol-lowering drugs. To date, most studies have not differentiated between the impact of statins in those with and without cardiovascular disease, which makes it difficult for doctors to support patients when making decisions about taking statins. This new research explores the deficiencies in the available evidence. It shows that considerable uncertainty remains about the benefits of their use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and that the effects of statins in certain groups, such as women and the elderly, may differ from effects in middle aged men. In addition, the absolute benefits from statins for low-risk patients can be very small and patients may consider that they do not justify taking a daily medication or the risk of adverse effects. Overall the research shows that for lower risk categories, many people may need to be treated to prevent one serious cardiovascular event. In addition, the authors highlight that much of the data on the side effects of statins remain unavailable for independent analysis. The authors call for better data on both the benefits and harms of statins, in particular for low-risk populations, in order to better facilitate shared decision making. Lead author Dr Paula Byrne, SPHeRE Researcher, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Some patients may achieve very small reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease by taking statins. As a result, the individual patient and their doctor need to consider if these reductions justify taking a medication daily and the risk of side effects. From a societal perspective, we need to ask whether or not statin use in such low-risk people represents value for money in the health sector.” Co-author Dr John Cullinan, Senior Lecturer in Economics, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “In the context of overstretched healthcare budgets, the concept of overuse of medicines and low-value care should become integral to policymaking and reimbursement. We have highlighted one area of drug spending that warrants more careful consideration and would urge those responsible for the implementation of health policy and Sláintecare to seriously consider and deal with areas of potentially wasteful spending.” Co-author Professor Susan M Smith, RCSI, said: Given the on-going debate on the appropriateness of statin use in primary prevention, it is significant that the evidence to support this use is so limited, particularly for women. Doctors need more evidence on the benefits and harms of statins in low-risk individuals to support shared decision making with patients.” To read the full study in The BMJ, visit: http://press.psprings.co.uk/bmj/october/statins.pdf and https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5674 -Ends-

Monday, 30 September 2019

Seolfar an tionscadal taighde, Gaeltacht.net in Institiúid de Móra, Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin, OÉ Gaillimh, ar an 7 Deireadh Fómhair ar a 3pm. An cuspóir atá ag Gaeltacht.net ná líonra sóisialta a chur ar fáil do mhuintir na Gaeilge thar sáile le cuidiú leo dul i dteagmháil le foghlaimeoirí eile agus a gcuid scileanna teanga a fhorbairt. Ar an suíomh is féidir le baill próifíl a chruthú agus teachtaireachtaí a sheoladh eatarthu. Tá feidhm chasta ann ina féidir le baill teachtaireacht mheandrach agus físchomhrá a bheith acu. An mana atá ag Gaeltacht.net ná “Ceangail, Cruthaigh, Cothaigh”. Tugtar seans do na baill bualadh ar an líonra sóisialta ar líne, scileanna teanga a fhorbairt trí thascanna teanga cruthaitheacha agus cuidiú lena chéile dul i bhfeabhas. Leanfaidh an tionscadal ar feadh ceithre sheachtain. Ar Gaeltacht.net tá trí chúrsa ar fáil: Tasc An Lae, Dúshlán na Seachtaine agus Misean na Míosa. Cuirtear tascanna gonta simplí ar fáil d’fhoghlaimeoirí ar leibhéail A1 agus A2 (Tosaitheoir, Bunúsach) achan lá le linn an chúrsa. Dírítear isteach ar scil teanga gach aon lá – Dé Luain ar an éisteacht, Dé Máirt an léitheoireacht, Dé Céádaoin agus Dé Sathairn tá comhrá struchtúrtha curtha ar fáil. Déardaoin tá tasc scríbhneoireachta, fágtar Dé hAoine oscailte do smaointí na rannpháirtithe, agus úsáidtear Dé Domhnaigh le dul siar, athmhachnamh a dhéanamh agus aiseolas a thabhairt don fhoireann taighde. Sa chúrsa Dúshlán na Seachtaine beidh tasc dírithe ar fhoghlaimeoirí ar leibhéal B1 (Meánleibhéal) le déanamh gach Luan le linn an tionscadail. Ar deireadh, tá Misean na Míosa ann do dhaoine le hard-chaighdeán sa teanga atá sásta rud amháin dúshlánach a dhéanamh sa teanga i rith na míosa. Dúirt Ronan Connolly, mac léinn doctúireachta le Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh: “Braitheann rath an chomhphobail seo ar rannpháirtithe a bheith gníomhach, cuidiú lena chéile agus comhluadar a chothú ann. An dúshlán is mó le tionscadal mar seo ná daoine le Gaeilge mhaith a mholadh le páirt a ghlacadh nó a clárú mar “Chúntóirí Teanga” agus misneach a thabhairt do na foghlaimeoirí, an chuid is mó dóibh atá lonnaithe sna Stáit Aontaithe. Táimid ag súil le go leor cuiditheoirí agus rannpháirtithe a bheith páirteach sa thriail seo. “Teastaíonn ón taighde tacaíocht a chur ar fail d’fhoghlaimeoirí thar lear trí chóras bunaithe ar dea-chleachtadh an oideachais. Tá fáilte mhór roimh achan duine clárú ar an suíomh agus páirt a ghlacadh, agus cuirtear fáilte roimh aon aiseolas.” Ag an seisiún eolais ar 7 Deireadh Fómhair, pléifear an tionscadail taighde agus tugtar réamhspléachadh ar na tascanna atá romhainn sna seachtainí atá le teacht. Beidh an t-imeacht oscailte don phobal. Is féidir leat an tionscadal a leanúint ar Twitter ach leas a bhaint as #Gaeltachtnet. Mura féidir leat freastal, beidh seisiúin eolais ar line chomh maith – tuilleadh eolas ar fail ag Gaeltacht.net. -Críoch-

Monday, 30 September 2019

A new research project, Gaeltacht.net will be launched at the Moore Institute, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway on Monday, 7 October at 3pm. Gaeltacht.net provides a social network for Irish learners living overseas to help them make contact with fellow learners and to develop their language skills. Members on the site can build a profile and message each other. The site also includes a feature allowing for instant messaging and video chats. The slogan of Gaeltacht.net is ‘Connect, Create, Communicate’. Members are given the opportunity to meet on the online social network, develop their language skills through creative language tasks and help each other to improve. The project will run for four weeks. There are three courses available at Gaeltacht.net: Tasc An Lae, Dúshlán na Seachtaine and Misean na Míosa. Short, simple tasks are provided for A1 and A2 (Beginner and Elementary) learners every day during the course. Each day focuses on one language skills – Monday is listening, Tuesday is reading, on Wednesday and Saturday a structured conversation session is available. On Thursday there is a written task, Friday is left open for participant suggestions, and Sunday is used as a day to revise, reflect and offer feedback to the research team. In the course Dúshlán na Seachtaine there will be a task provided every Monday for learners at B1 (Intermediate) level to complete during the course. Finally, the Misean na Míosa is for those with a high level of Irish who want one Irish language challenge each month. Ronan Connolly, a PhD student with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The success of this community depends on participants being active, helping each other and fostering collaboration. The biggest challenge with a project like this is encouraging those with a good level of Irish to participate or register as a “Language Helper” and encourage the learners, the majority of whom are located in the USA. We are looking forward to many participants and helpers getting involved in this trial. “This research project aims to provide support to learners overseas based on good educational practise. Everyone is welcome to register and take part, and all feedback is appreciated.” At the information session on 7 October the research project will be discussed and there will be sneak preview of the upcoming tasks for the weeks ahead. The event will be open to the public. You can follow the project on Twitter by using the #Gaeltachtnet. If you are unable to attend, there will be an information session online also, additional details are available at Gaeltacht.net. -Ends-

Monday, 30 September 2019

As NUI Galway approaches its 175th year of providing academic excellence, over 6,000 students, parents and teachers are expected to attend the two-day event NUI Galway’s Open Days take place on Friday, 4 and Saturday, 5 October from 9am-3pm, with the main starting point being the Bailey Allen Hall. Students can expect to find information on the full range of undergraduate courses on offer with over 80 stands presenting for the two-day event, including four new courses for 2020 entry. The popularity of NUI Galway continues to grow with over 5,000 students choosing NUI Galway as their university of choice in their CAO applications in 2019. The University has experienced a year-on-year increase of over 5% in first preference applications, attracting 64% of all level 8 applicants from Connacht. Leaving Certificate, Fifth Years and Transition Year students are invited to attend, along with their parents, to find out why so many students choose NUI Galway as their university of choice. During Open Day NUI Galway’s university community comes together to host over 80 talks, information sessions, interactive zones and will be on hand to answer all questions. Current students will also be available to offer practical advice, lead campus tours, both in English and Irish, and will give prospective students a real sense of university life at NUI Galway. Tours of the accommodation options, the Alice Perry Engineering Building, the Nursing and Midwifery facilities, the Library and the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance will all be available throughout the day. The Bailey Allen Hall will host the main exhibition space where lecturers and students will be on hand to talk to prospective students and parents about all the courses on offer. NUI Galway will showcase four new degree courses for the 2020 entry: Law and Taxation; Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice; BSc Genetics and Genomics, and BSc Geography and Geosystems. Students will have the opportunity to speak to lecturers and course directors to find out exactly how these innovative courses will prepare them for dynamic and rewarding careers. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager has the following advice for parents “Starting university is a major milestone in any young person’s life, bringing with it many new challenges and exciting opportunities. The road to get there is one which requires careful planning and consideration, and parents won’t want to miss the Parents’ Talk at Open Day where there will be representatives from all the key student services and supports. Parents and students are advised to be well prepared with questions, and the goal should be to come away knowing if the University will be a good fit for the students’ requirements and ambitions.” A programme of talks, workshops and masterclasses will run throughout the day. Highlights including: Sport at NUI Galway Mature Students information session Drama Workshop Careers Information- Building your Employability Applying for a SUSI grant Access routes into Education, including HEAR/DARE and FETAC Engineering and IT interactive zone There will be representatives from NUI Galway’s Support Services team available to meet students and parents at Open Day, including representatives from the Career Development Centre, Accommodation Office, Disability Support team, and the Access team who can provide information on Mature students entry, HEAR/DARE and FETAC entry. There will also be representatives from SUSI Grant Scheme, and for the first year the Bailey Allen Hall will have a sensory friendly period from 2.30-3pm on Saturday, 5 October. To get the most out of the Open Days, which run from 9am to 3pm, visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks and full programme in advance at http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/programme/.  To find out more visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, phone 091 494398 or email visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 September 2019

Agus OÉ Gaillimh ar tí ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar shároideachas a chur ar fáil le 175 bliain, táthar ag súil go mbeidh níos mó ná 6,000 mac léinn, tuismitheoir agus múinteoir i láthair ag an imeacht seo a mhairfidh dhá lá. Reáchtálfar Laethanta Oscailte OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn, 5-6 Deireadh Fómhair ón 9am-3pm agus is i Halla Bailey Allen a chuirfidh a bhformhór tús lena gcuairt. Cuirfear eolas ar fáil do mhic léinn ar raon iomlán na gcúrsaí fochéime ar tairiscint, agus beidh níos mó ná 80 seastán eolais ann don imeacht dhá lá seo. San áireamh leo sin, cuirfear eolas ar fáil faoi cheithre chúrsa nua a mbeidh tús á chur leo in 2020. Tá an-éileamh ar OÉ Gaillimh i gcónaí, agus bhí sí mar chéad rogha ag breis is 5,000 mac léinn ar a gcuid iarratas CAO in 2019. Is ionann sin agus ardú 5% ar fhigiúr na bliana seo caite in iarratais chéad rogha ar OÉ Gaillimh, agus áirítear leis an líon iarratas sin 64% de na hiarratasóirí leibhéal 8 uile as cúige Chonnacht. Tugtar cuireadh do dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta, sa Chúigiú Bliain agus san Idirbhliain freastal ar an lá oscailte, in éineacht lena dtuismitheoirí chun fáil amach cén fáth go bhfuil OÉ Gaillimh mar chéad rogha ag an oiread sin mac léinn. Tagann pobal ollscoile OÉ Gaillimh le chéile ar an Lá Oscailte chun níos mó ná 80 caint, seisiún eolais agus zón idirghníomhach a reáchtáil, agus beidh siad ar fáil chun gach ceist a fhreagairt. Beidh mic léinn reatha ar fáil chomh maith chun comhairle phraiticiúil a thabhairt, turais den champas a threorú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, agus fíorbhraistint de shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh a thabhairt do mhic léinn ionchasacha. Reáchtálfar turais i rith an lae de na roghanna lóistín atá ar fáil, chomh maith le hÁras Innealtóireachta Alice Perry, na háiseanna Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais, an Leabharlann agus Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú. Is i Halla Bailey Allen a bheidh an príomhspás taispeántais, áit a mbeidh léachtóirí agus mic léinn ar fáil chun labhairt le mic léinn ionchasacha agus le tuismitheoirí faoi na cúrsaí atá ar fáil. Déanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh poiblíocht ar cheithre chúrsa céime nua a thosóidh in 2020: Dlí agus Cánachas; Dlí, Coireolaíocht & Ceartas Coiriúil; BSc Géineolaíocht agus Géanómaíocht; BSc Tíreolaíocht agus Geochórais. Beidh deis ag mic léinn labhairt le léachtóirí agus le stiúrthóirí cúrsa chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin gcaoi a ullmhóidh na cúrsaí nuálacha seo iad do ghairmeacha dinimiciúla agus fiúntacha. Seo a leanas an chomhairle do thuismitheoirí a bhí ag Sarah Geraghty, Bainisteoir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana: “Tréimhse chinniúnach i saol an duine óig is ea tosú in ollscoil, agus is iomaí dúshlán agus deis a bhaineann léi.  Ní mór pleanáil go cuí agus machnamh stuama a dhéanamh sula dtabharfaí faoin mbóthar seo agus moltar do thuismitheoirí gan Caint na dTuismitheoirí a chailleadh ar an Lá Oscailte, áit a mbeidh ionadaithe ó gach ceann de phríomhsheirbhísí tacaíochta na mac léinn. Ba cheart do thuismitheoirí agus do mhic léinn a gceisteanna a bheith réidh acu, féachaint le fáil amach an bhfeilfeadh an Ollscoil do riachtanais agus d’uaillmhianta an mhic léinn. Beidh sraith cainteanna, ceardlann agus máistir-ranganna ar siúl i rith an lae. I measc na mbuaicphointí, áirítear na cinn seo a leanas: An Spórt in OÉ Gaillimh Seisiún eolais do mhic léinn lánfhásta Ceardlann Drámaíochta Eolas faoi Ghairmeacha – Ag Cur le d’Infhostaitheacht Iarratas a dhéanamh ar dheontas SUSI Bealaí rochtana ar an Oideachas, HEAR/DARE agus FETAC san áireamh. Zón idirghníomhach Innealtóireachta agus IT Beidh ionadaithe ann ó fhoireann Seirbhísí Tacaíochta OÉ Gaillimh chun buaileadh le daltaí agus le tuismitheoirí ar an Lá Oscailte, agus áireofar leo sin ionadaithe ón Ionad Forbartha Gairme, ón Oifig Lóistín agus ón bhfoireann Tacaíochta Míchumais. Beidh foireann an Ionaid Rochtana i láthair chomh maith, agus cuirfidh siad sin eolas ar fáil faoi bhealaí rochtana do mhic léinn lánfhásta, mar aon le hiontráil trí HEAR/DARE agus FETAC.  Beidh ionadaithe ann chomh maith ó Scéim Deontais SUSI, agus  beidh tréimhse chéadfach againn den chéad bhliain i Halla Bailey Allen ón 2.30-3pm, Dé Sathairn, 5 Deireadh Fómhair. Chun an tairbhe is fearr a bhaint as na Laethanta Oscailte, a bheas ar siúl ón 9am go dtí 3pm gach lá, moltar do chuairteoirí breathnú ar amchlár na gcainteanna agus ar an gclár iomlán roimh ré ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/opendays/programme/. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ar www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, glaoigh ar 091 494398 nó seol ríomhphost chuig visit@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Thursday, 26 September 2019

NUI Galway’s School of Geography and Archaeology will host an event to kickstart local climate action that threatens the long-term future of Bertra Strand in Co. Mayo. The event is being run by the EU Aelclic Project on Tuesday, 1 October at The Tavern, Murrisk, Co. Mayo at 7pm. Located on the southern shore of Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, Bertra Strand and its dunes are in a precarious state. It has been pounded by a series of storms in the past decade with dire consequences. These and other pressures, especially climate change, threaten its long-term future. An integrated vision is needed for the future welfare of the whole coastal landscape, where the natural environment is inextricably linked to that of the local communities of Murrisk, Lecanvy and Belclare. To kickstart local climate action this event is being run by the EU Aelclic Project. Ongoing coastal erosion and flooding, a perceived lack of integration in planning and management to-date, and local jobs into the future are issues that have been identified in the area. Dr Kevin Lynch, School of Geography at NUI Galway, says: “We must capitalise now, on the surging political consciousness of climate-related threats that coastal communities have been highlighting for years. Locally led actions supported by responsible authorities can drive real change, if citizens act now.” The event will hear of international experiences from Professor Enzo Pranzini (University of Florence), Professor Bas Pedroli (Wageningen University) and Dr Maura Farrell (NUI Galway). Discussing good practices from Ireland and abroad it will demonstrate that solutions do exist that can be beneficial to the communities and the natural environment at the same time. The outcomes of the event are expected to be, a greater awareness of possible solutions and a solid commitment from those interested to work together to take action. In light of the recent school climate strikes it would be a particularly opportune time for younger concerned citizens to come along and have their voice heard. The event is free and open to everyone. There will be four 5-minute talks by the visiting speakers, with plenty of time for questions. This will be followed by an opportunity to speak to the experts over refreshments. The EU Aelclic Project is engaging local communities and stakeholders, local and national authorities and the academic community in a joint approach to managing and planning for this valuable landscape in the face of climate change, see www.aelclicpathfinder.com. Running parallel to the project work, Mayo County Council has developed a climate adaptation strategy for the county (see Climate Ready Mayo report on www.mayococo.ie). For more information about the event contact Dr Kevin Lynch, School of Geography, NUI Galway at kevin.lynch@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 495779. -Ends-

Thursday, 26 September 2019

NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices, will host a celebration of the centenary of Professor Thomas Dillon on Wednesday, 2 October with attendees from all over Ireland, and beyond. Professor Thomas P. Dillon, a former revolutionary, was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the then University College Galway (UCG) in 1919. A century later, and the scientific topics he started exploring, such as the study of carbohydrates and sugars, as well as research into Ireland’s seaweeds, are still relevant in today’s cutting-edge research that will be discussed throughout the day at the Thomas Dillon Centenary Symposium. The programme will also include a lecture from Dillon’s grandson, Professor Niall Dillon of Imperial College London. Niall is a renowned molecular biologist who is carrying out research on stem cells and early mammalian development and its relevance to cancer. The public event will begin at 5pm, featuring stories, science and dance. To begin the evening, there will be a “Threesis” challenge, where research students will present their thesis succinctly and engagingly in only three minutes aimed especially for a lay public audience, and a ballet piece performed by Youth Ballet West inspired by Dillon’s description of the “benzene ring” and choreographed by Ester O Brolchain. A historical lecture by Professor Dillon’s granddaughter, the author Honor O Brolchain at 6 pm will tell the story of “The ‘remarkable’ Thomas P. Dillon: chemist, revolutionary and professor”. Thomas P. Dillon, born in Co. Sligo, was working as assistant to Professor Hugh Ryan at UCD in 1912 when he met his future-wife Geraldine Plunkett, and through her Dillon met her brother Joseph Mary Plunkett and many others involved in revolutionary activities at this turbulent time in Ireland’s history. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers and acted as Chemical Advisor in the 1916 Rising. He and Geraldine were married on Easter Sunday 1916, and watched the Rising start from their window in the Imperial Hotel, O’Connell Street, where they were honeymooning. For his role working for republican candidates in the 1918 elections, Dillon was jailed in Gloucester for more than a year. Upon his release from jail, Dillon went straight to Galway for a job interview, keen to continue his scientific career and he was appointed Professor of Chemistry in 1919, a post he held for 35 years. He was an enthusiastic teacher and wrote the first chemistry textbook in Irish. He believed Ireland should be exploiting its natural resources, and his pioneering research in the fields of alginates (polysaccharides from seaweed) gained him an international reputation. Under his stewardship, the School of Chemistry became a magnet for students, including two of the first women professors of chemistry in Ireland. When he retired in 1954, he was succeeded by his former student Proinsias S. O’Colla, establishing a tradition of research in carbohydrate and glyco-sciences, which continues at NUI Galway to this day. As well as in the Schools of Chemistry and School of Natural Sciences, research into the role of sugars in biological processes and health is also a key component of various investigations taking place in CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices. This includes development of medical devices based on polysaccharides, very much in the spirit envisaged by Dillon himself. The med-tech industry is a major employer in the Galway region, and R&D in medical devices as well as carbohydrates as renewable natural resources has and will have a large part to play in the regional economy. Paul Murphy, Established Professor of Chemistry of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry says: “Dillon’s foresight in trying to develop useful products from carbohydrates is just as relevant, if not even more relevant today. Aside from the relevance to health, carbohydrates are highly renewable carbon stores and will certainly have roles to play in generating chemical feedstocks for making drugs or for the production of smart materials in future years. This is potentially very important for the future of the West of Ireland given our proximity to the sea and importance of agriculture to the region.” Honor O Brolchain, author and family historian said of her grandfather: “Referred to as ‘remarkable’ by diverse people, he was the kind of man you could, and would, ask to do anything, and he did – running an organisation, setting up a canteen, starting an Aid Fund and, in the case of Galway, enhancing and expanding a Chemistry Department, while fending off the violent extremes of the Black-and-Tans, and representing the University in 1935 in a debate on the uniting of Ireland. He was an interesting, complex and generous man.” The event is open to the public and will take place from 5pm on Wednesday, 2 October in the ILAS Building, North Campus, NUI Galway. Details of the programme can be found on www.dillonsymposium.wordpress.com and to register free attendance, visit: www.eventbrite.com and search for ‘Thomas Dillon’. The event is supported by CÚRAM, and The Royal Society of Chemistry Republic of Ireland Local Section. -Ends-

Monday, 23 September 2019

Caitlín Ní Chualáin, the 2019/20 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning on Tuesday, 1 October at 7pm. The free workshops will run every second week, taking place on the 1, 15 and 29 of October, and 12 and 26 November. Each workshop will take place in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. From an Teach Mór Thiar, Indreabhán, Caitlín cites her father, Máirtín Pheaits Ó Cualáin, a winner of Comórtas na bhFear at the Oireachtas in 1944 and 2001, as a major influence. She also draws on the rich tradition of sean-nós singers from the area. Caitlín won Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas in the years 2005, 2008 and 2014 and the coveted Corn Ui Riada, the premier competition for sean-nós singing at the Oireachtas festival in 2016. Cailtín can frequently be heard on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, where she also works as a journalist, and at concerts and workshops. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091-492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 23 September 2019

Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós in Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OE Gaillimh ag 7in, Dé Máirt, 1 Deireadh Fómhair. Beidh na ceardlanna a reachtáil gach dara seachtain ar an 1, 15, 29 Deireadh Fómhair, agus 12 agus 26 Samhain i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne. Is as an Teach Mór Thiar, in Indreabhán, Caitlín agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta a fuair sí óna muintir féin sa mbaile. Bhuaigh Caitlín Comórtas na mBan ag an Oireachtas sna blianta 2005, 2008 agus 2014 agus thug sí léi Corn Ui Riada, an príomhghradam don amhránaíocht ar an sean-nós i 2016. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 20 September 2019

First lecture in series features prominent activists and marks week of global action on climate change NUI Galway will host the first in a series of free public lectures on the theme of Climate Justice, co-hosted by the University’s Ryan Institute and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The event, entitled Climate Justice: Who’s Responsibility is it?’, will take place on Monday, 23 September at 6pm in the Aula Maxima. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, will open the event. Speakers will include: Niamh Garvey, Trócaire; Sadhbh O'Neill, Climate Case Ireland and Stop Climate Chaos; Saoirse McHugh, Green Party; Bulelani Mfaco, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland; Eddie Mitchell, 'Save Leitrim' and 'Love Leitrim' campaigns; and Kaluba Banda, Irish Aid Fellow and candidate on NUI Galway’s award-winning MSc Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The event is timed to coincide with several key events in Ireland and internationally, including the United Nations Climate Action Summit, the Global Climate Strike and the High Court judgment in Friends of the Irish Environment CLG v The Government of Ireland, Ireland and the Attorney General ('Climate Case Ireland'). Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “Climate justice is an urgent equality and human rights concern. Human rights lawyers and advocates need to hold states to account for the continuing failure to meet our legal obligations on climate change, and our obligations to future generations to address this issue now. We need to use the tools of human rights law, and the skills of human rights movements, to mobilise and to demand change, urgently and without further delay. Environmental destruction is a human rights issue of our age.” Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The 500 researchers in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are all deeply engaged in research and innovation activities to transition to a more sustainable future. Climate change and climate justice transitions are central to such sustainability pathways in Ireland and globally. Sustainability transitions will require transformative changes at scale across our societies and economies.  “It has been estimated that the richest 10% of the world¹s population are responsible for almost half of total lifestyle consumption emissions. At the other end of the income scale, the poorest 50% of people on the planet are responsible for only 10% of total lifestyle consumption emissions. While contributing the least to causing the climate change problem, it is the poorest & marginalised in our societies that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and shocks.” Professor Spillane added: “As the world¹s leaders assemble for the Climate Action Summit in New York, there are major action challenges to be addressed relating to distributive justice to strengthen the resilience of the most poorest and marginalised in society. While ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and ‘Reaching the furthest behind first’ has been a clarion call of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, it remains to be seen what scale of climate justice actions will be deployed by our governments and institutions towards such ambitions.” For more information see: https://bit.ly/2lIQZQu. -Ends-

Friday, 20 September 2019

Connecting Innovation and Healthcare in the West of Ireland  Minister of Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD and Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, officially opened the third national Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) on Monday, 16 September at NUI Galway’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research based at Galway University Hospital. Both the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, welcomed the arrival of the HIHI in the West. First launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD at its headquarters at University College Cork in 2016, Health Innovation Hub Ireland is assisting in the establishment of Ireland as a leading location for start-ups and expanding healthcare companies. HIHI allows easy interaction with hospitals and primary care centres. Collaboration between the health service and enterprise is leading to the development of new Irish healthcare technologies, products, and services.  The continued growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland and expansion into the west, marks a continued pattern of growth for the HIHI nationally. This expansion follows the October 2018 launch of the second office based at Trinity College Dublin on the St. James Hospital Campus. Nationally, Health Innovation Hub Ireland plays a unique role within the Irish healthcare ecosystem working at both ends of the innovation pathway - at the very earliest stage from ideation through to concept development and at the later stage of proof of concept in a clinical environment. In Galway, HIHI works closely with other Enterprise Ireland programmes including BioInnovate Ireland and BioExel at NUI Galway and leverages the medtech expertise within the University including the Translational Medical Device Lab, led by Professor Martin O’Halloran, CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices and the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, led by the HIHI PrincipaI Investigator, Professor Martin O’Donnell. HIHI Galway is at the cutting edge of excellence in healthcare, clinical and engineering research with easy access to experts and the next generation of innovators. Companies based in the West such as Ostoform and Feeltect are just a few of the companies benefiting from the HIHI’s unique ecosystem. HIHI - a national central hub to the health and innovation ecosystem  HIHI was established by Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation, and the Department of Health, supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). As a unique joint government initiative, HIHI offers companies the opportunity for pilot and clinical validation studies and provides the health service with access to innovative products, services, devices. HIHI works to impact Irish business and Irish healthcare in three key areas.  1. Industry: HIHI matches companies with relevant clinical teams, overseeing a study of each product in an Irish clinical setting.   2. Healthcare: HIHI is an open door to all healthcare staff to assess ideas to solutions they have encountered in their work. HIHI acts as mentors and advises on taking an idea and developing it into a service or product.   3. Education: Delivering a series of five HIHI workshops and a diploma in healthcare innovation, HIHI is embedding an innovation culture in Irish healthcare.  To date, HIHI has engaged with more than 256 companies and 160 healthcare employees to discuss their innovative ideas. HIHI issues an annual call but also welcomes direct engagement through any of its offices in Cork, Dublin and now Galway. Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD, commented: “As Minister for State in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I very much welcome the launch of the third national Health Innovation Hub Ireland here in NUI Galway. HIHI is a wonderful means of facilitating collaboration between all the various players involved in the health, enterprise and research sectors for the ultimate benefit of Ireland’s citizens. Galway, in particular, is a city that has both a thriving academic centre and a rapidly expanding MedTech sector.  I wish HIHI well in its endeavours and look forward to seeing the benefits of its work in the future.” Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway and HIHI Principal Investigator, Galway, said: “Based at NUI Galway we have multi-disciplinary award-winning teams in healthcare, clinical and engineering research at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research. Health Innovation Hub Ireland combines expertise from NUI Galway and the HSE to deliver projects in healthcare and industry. With a strategic location, embedded in the heart of the hospital, research and teaching, the Hub is a welcome resource to clinicians, researchers and companies.” Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD,commented: “I am delighted to see the expansion of Health Innovation Hub Ireland here in Galway, building on the Hubs in Dublin and Cork. This ground-breaking initiative between the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Health is supporting companies access healthcare experts and bringing new technologies to market as well as improving patient outcomes. Enterprise Ireland is supporting a vision of innovation in healthcare and supporting companies and innovators in healthcare to reach their potential.” CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, commented: “The HIHI facilitates a unique partnership between the health service and the enterprise sector to enable healthcare research and innovation will over time improve outcomes for patients. Critically, it gives staff working on the front line of the health service an opportunity to bring their ideas and proposals to the Hub that will ultimately improve outcomes for our patients. We are delighted that the Saolta Group and in particular University Hospital Galway is part of this initiative and I would encourage staff to share their knowledge and make proposals.” Speaking about the growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland: HIHI Principal Investigator, Professor John Higgins, said: “The opening of the Health Innovation Hub in Galway is another key step in making HIHI a truly national organisation following the extension from Cork to Dublin and now Galway. It is a prelude to the HIHI extending to the rest of Ireland. Throughout the healthcare system, if you have an idea or burning desire to bring about change, a solution or a wish to bring innovation in, the HIHI opens that door. The national presence of the HIHI is a testimony to industry and healthcare working together.” -Ends-