NUI Galway’s Summer Conferring

NUI Galway’s Summer Conferring -image

Thursday, 18 June 2015

NUI Galway today (18 June) conferred degrees on almost 260 students. Among that number, 61 were conferred with doctoral degrees. The largest cohort of students to graduate was over 120 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Among the cohort of medical students, Cillian McNamara from Ennis, Co. Clare received 5 out of 14 Final Medical Medals for his outstanding academic performance. Every year, NUI Galway awards the Final Medical Medals to the student who receives the highest mark in each subject area. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. It is very encouraging to see the number of research and graduate degrees which we are conferring today. These graduate numbers continue to grow. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer up to 4 times that number annually.” President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: “Our economy is clearly turning a corner. Have hope and courage. You have what it takes to make the difference to our society. The opportunities that you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous.” The President also remembered the Irish students lost in the devastating tragedy in Berkeley, California saying: “We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to all of their families, classmates and friends at this time. The University also remembers our colleagues at other Institutions who are in mourning. We think too of the injured students and we send our very best wishes for their full recovery.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University conferring a large number of graduates from Malaysia and Canada, among other countries. -Ends- Searmanas Bronnta an tSamhraidh in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnadh céimeanna ar bhreis is 260 mac léinn inniu (18 Meitheamh) in OÉ Gaillimh. Ina measc siúd, bronnadh céimeanna dochtúireachta ar 61 mac léinn. Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh bronnadh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO) ar bhreis is 120 ábhar dochtúra. Fuair Cillian McNamara as Inis i gCo. an Chláir, duine de na mic léinn leighis, 5 Bhonn don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis as 14 Bhonn dá fheidhmíocht acadúil. Gach bliain, bronnann OÉ Gaillimh Boinn Deiridh Leighis ar an mac léinn leis an marc is airde i ngach ábhar. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne le linn an tsearmanais: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslaím le gach duine agaibh. Ábhar misnigh dúinn ar fad is ea go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna taighde agus iarchéimeanna á mbronnadh againn inniu. Tá níos mó agus níos mó céimeanna á mbronnadh againn bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Bhíodh 50 céim dhochtúireachta in aghaidh na bliana á mbronnadh againn ag tús an chéid ach bronntar a cheithre oiread sin anois gach bliain.” Dúirt an tUachtarán leis na céimithe gur cheart dóibh aghaidh a thabhairt ar na blianta amach rompu le teann dóchais: “Is cinnte go bhfuil borradh ag teacht faoi chúrsaí eacnamaíochta. Bíodh misneach agus dóchas agaibh. Tá an cumas ag gach duine agaibh dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin. Níl teorainn ar bith leis na deiseanna atá agaibhse an cineál saoil is mian libh a chruthú daoibh féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh in bhur dtreo sna blianta amach romhainn.” Labhair an tUachtarán chomh maith ar na mic léinn Éireannacha a bhásaigh go tragóideach in Berkeley, California: “Ba mhaith linn comhbhrón ó chroí a dhéanamh leis na teaghlaigh, comhghleacaithe ranga agus cairde ag an am brónach seo. Tá an Ollscoil ag cuimhneamh ar ár gcomrádaithe in Institiúidí eile atá faoi bhrón. Ní féidir linn dearmad a dhéanamh ach an oiread ar na mic léinn a gortaíodh agus guímid go dtiocfaidh biseach orthu go luath.” Bhí roinnt mhaith mac léinn idirnáisiúnta i láthair chomh maith ag an searmanas, agus an Ollscoil ag bronnadh céimeanna ar lear mór céimithe as an Malaeisia agus as Ceanada, i measc tíortha eile. -Críoch-

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Civil society organisations comment as Assisted Decision-Making Bill passes Committee Stage

Civil society organisations comment as Assisted Decision-Making Bill passes Committee Stage-image

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill entered committee stage yesterday and came one step closer to becoming law. Over four hundred proposed amendments were motioned and debated by the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. A number of civil society organisations in Ireland felt that the Select Committee could have gone further to more fully secure the rights of older citizens and those with disabilities. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) at NUI Galway, stated that: “Our Centre has joined with a coalition of over 15 organisations representing people with disabilities and their families, older persons, mental health service users, and health professionals, to contribute to the development of the Bill. The coalition is pleased with the strong public consultation of the Department of Justice and Equality in the development of the Bill. But we remain concerned that the Department may have missed an opportunity to fully harmonise the Bill with current human rights standards.” Sarah Lennon from Inclusion Ireland stated that: “We are pleased overall with the commitment of the Department of Justice and the Justice committee to making this law responsive to the needs of Irish citizens. The sheer number of amendments reflected the extensive consultation with civil society organisations representing experts through experience in the development of the Bill. We want to continue working with the Department to create robust mechanisms truly harmonise the Bill with international human rights standards.” Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the Deputy Director of the CDLP stated that: ‘The repeal of the “wards of court” system has been a long time coming. The Ministry for Justice has rightly consigned the 1871 Lunacy Regulation Act to the dustbin of history. But there is a risk that residues of the old-style paternalism have remained. In particular, the Bill places too much emphasis on a person’s mental capacity. We don’t want a situation where people with disabilities and older persons are forced to get a mental capacity assessment to enter into support agreements under the Bill. Under the Bill a person will be ineligible to appoint an assistant for a decision if the person is seen to lack mental capacity. Yet the whole point of the Bill was to provide support arrangements precisely for people who would otherwise fail outdated and discriminatory mental capacity assessments. This shift is required under international human rights law. The UN Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities has been clear: mental capacity assessments must go.” Jim Walsh, of the Irish Advocacy Network, expressed concern that: “Assessing capacity will become the focus rather than understanding and facilitating individual support needs. Statutory bodies concerned with training care staff, we fear, will focus on how to question someone’s capacity rather than helping staff to address social support needs and support a person’s decision making.” Some mental health advocates are also concerned that the new advanced healthcare directives will be useful for physical health problems but will apply unequally to mental health service users. Fiona Walsh of Tallaght Trialogue commented that: “Physical health and mental health issues must be given equal respect. Under the current Bill, not even a government minister could make an Advance Healthcare Directive which would be respected in the event of a mental health crises that leads to involuntary treatment under mental health law.” Another area of concern related to informal decision-making powers. The term 'informal decision-maker' was removed in yesterday’s committee stage. However, advocates remain concerned that some of the troubling aspects of the provisions remain in place. Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, said: “The Minister for Justice rightly removed some of the excessive power inadvertently granted to informal supporters of people who believed that the person they were supporting lacked mental capacity. That provision would have allowed, for example, an older person to be placed in a home against their wishes simply because their adult child 'believed that the person lacked mental capacity'. Instead, we need to secure people’s dignity to take risks. But although the language has changed after the Minister’s recent amendments, we are concerned that some of these 'informal powers' remain in place. It is not enough to simply remove the term 'informal decision–maker' if the excessive powers remain the same.” Professor Quinn concluded: “All of us are shaped by the balance of protection and autonomy in law. The legal requirement to wear seatbelts is an example showing where autonomy ends and public protection begins. But the current Bill seems to say that for people with disabilities and older people, different rules apply in striking that balance. We need to move beyond 'special laws' for people with disabilities, just as we’re moving away from 'special schools' and 'special day programs'. True integration requires a commitment to equality.” -ends-

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Friday, 19 June 2015

NUI Galway based researcher Dr. Elaine Dunleavy receives €1 million funding from Science Foundation Ireland  President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has today received Dr Elaine Dunleavy, NUI Galway, as the recipient of the Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA) at Áras an Uachtaráin. Accepting the award, Dr. Dunleavy said, “It is a great honour to receive this award which will enable me to recruit talented researchers and further my research effort in stem cell biology. My approach will utilise genetic manipulations in fruit fly stem cells, combined with state-of-the-art high-resolution imaging, to investigate genes and molecules that impact stem cell identity. This research will drive the development of stem cell therapies and the use of regenerative medicine to improve diagnosis and treatment of an aging population in Ireland.” Dr. Dunleavy’s award will support her research in the field of genetics and will focus on gaining an increased understanding of how stem cells divide. Using state-of-the-art cell imaging techniques, data generated from this research will substantially improve our knowledge of mechanisms of genome stability in stem cells with implications for fertility, reproduction, aging, cancer and regenerative medicine. Commenting on the award, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said, “PIYRA recognises outstanding researchers who, early in their careers, have shown exceptional potential to become a research leader of the future and achieved significant research accomplishments in areas of fundamental national and international importance. This initiative is one of Science Foundation Ireland’s programmes to support a new generation of top-tier early career researchers and assist them to build internationally competitive research careers in Ireland.” PIYRA is Science Foundation Ireland's most esteemed award for researchers who have shown exceptional promise as possible future leaders in international research and are known for excellence in their field. Awardees are selected on the basis of exceptional accomplishments in science and engineering and on the basis of creative research projects that have attracted international acclaim. ENDS


Ignite Technology Transfer Office Eco-System Programme 2015 Success

Ignite Technology Transfer Office Eco-System Programme 2015 Success-image

Monday, 22 June 2015

The 2015 Ignite Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Commercialisation Programme ‘Ignite Eco-System’ at NUI Galway came to an exciting finale with five of the overall group presenting to a panel of expert judges. The final presentations were the product of an intense 10-week commercialisation training and mentoring workshop. Participants joined the programme at first with an idea, a new discovery or application of some form which they felt may have commercial potential. This potential was then explored, through research the opportunities were evaluated in order to allow each participant to determine the best course of action for their venture. Experienced coaches and mentors assisted in developing commercialisation roadmaps, detailing the next steps towards commercialisation. Participants benefitted from expert assistance in formulating their business models and value proposition and yesterday brought all of this together into impressive presentations to the judges. Awards were presented on the day to: Lisa Mullee, PhD Biochemistry NUI Galway Amir Shafat, Senior Lecturer of Physiology at NUI Galway Sweta Rani, Research Fellow, PhD Molecular Biology NUI Galway Aftab Iqbal, Research Associate, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway Frankie Conlon, MSc Marketing Practice student, NUI Galway The most striking aspect of the programme was the transformation participants made over 10 weeks. All participants joined the programme because they had little to no experience or knowledge on the commercialisation process. Participants came from academic backgrounds, all impressive and admired in the academic community, however their skillset did not necessarily contribute towards a competency in commercialisation. Something which was daunting at first, such as an elevator pitch, now comes naturally, giving the participants the knowledge and confidence to take their technology to the next step. Dr Amir Shafat, said of the programme: “It has shown me what is required to commercialise a technology. The programme has shown me a pathway that I would not originally have thought of. It was very well planned and executed, I highly recommend it to anyone interested progressing technology or business ideas.” Fiona Neary, Business Development Manager of Ignite TTO at NUI Galway and programme coordinator adds: “To see the progress made by these finalists is amazing. The group has been a joy to work with and I’m sure this time next year we will be telling the 2016 group about some of the successes this year’s class have gone on to achieve. Well done to all who took part.”   For more information about the Ignite Technology Transfer Eco-System please visit -ends-

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Launch of the Digital Irish Famine Archive at NUI Galway

Launch of the Digital Irish Famine Archive at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 22 June 2015

Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, recently launched the Digital Irish Famine Archive which is curated by NUI Galway. The Digital Irish Famine Archive is designed to make accessible eyewitness accounts of the Irish famine migration to Canada in 1847-1848 that would otherwise be unknown. It also pays tribute to those who cared for Irish famine emigrants. The archive contains the digitized, transcribed, and translated French language annals of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, or Sisters of Charity, who first tended to Irish famine emigrants, especially widows and orphans, in the city’s fever sheds in 1847 and 1848. It also includes annals from the Sisters of Providence and correspondence from Father Patrick Dowd, who worked alongside the Grey Nuns in the fever sheds, as well as testimonies from Irish famine orphans, such as Patrick and Thomas Quinn, Daniel and Catherine Tighe, and Robert Walsh, who were adopted by French-Canadian families. Launching the archive, Ambassador Vickers said: “It gives me great pleasure to launch the Digital Irish Famine Archive. The archive commemorates and pays tribute to the Grey Nuns of Montreal and people of French and English Canada, like Bishop Michael Power in Toronto and Dr John Vondy in Chatham, now Miramichi, New Brunswick, who gave their lives caring for Irish emigrants during the Famine exodus of 1847. It is especially fitting that we launch the digital archive on this day, after Montreal’s Irish community has just made its annual pilgrimage to the Black Stone monument, which marks the site of the city’s fever sheds and mass graves for six thousand Irish dead, and before the Irish Famine Summer School begins at the Irish National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon. The stories contained within the digital archive attest to the selfless devotion of the Grey Nuns in tending to typhus-stricken emigrants and providing homes for Irish orphans. In an age of increasingly desperate acts of migration, their compassion provides a lesson for us all.” President Michael D. Higgins is the patron of the Digital Irish Famine Archive. In his preface for the archive, he states: “During that bleak and terrible period of our history, an estimated one hundred thousand Irish people fled to Canada. It is impossible to imagine the pain, fear, despair and suffering of these emigrants, many of whom lost beloved family members on their journey. As a country we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Grey nuns, who cared for so many Irish widows and orphans who were left destitute, impoverished and alone in a strange country. This virtual archive is a very important project, which allows us to finally acknowledge the generosity and enormous humanity of those wonderful sisters whose great kindness and compassion, during one of the worst tragedies in our Country’s history, must never be forgotten.” The Digital Irish Famine Archive is curated by NUI Galway’s Dr Jason King. Dr King developed the archive in partnership with NUI Galway’s Moore Institute; Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University; the University of Limerick; the Irish National Famine Museum; the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation; the Ireland Park Foundation; the iNua Partnership; and the Irish Research Council. The Digital Irish Famine Archive can be found at For more information, please contact Dr Jason King at or -Ends-

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NUI Galway Law Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

NUI Galway Law Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship -image

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Mahmoud Abukhadir, a final year Law student at NUI Galway, has been awarded the prestigious Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship 2015. Each year, the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), in conjunction with the University of Washington, Seattle, sends an Irish law student as the Thomas Addis Fellow to Seattle for two months to get first-hand experience in human rights and public interest cases. The Fellowship offers the successful candidate: the chance to work with a public interest law centre at the forefront of social change in Seattle; hands-on experience of targeted public interest litigation, policy development and campaigns; attendance at a lecture series on American and International Public Interest Law at the University of Washington; interaction and networking with law students and high-profile practitioners working in Public Interest Law in the US. Mahmoud will also spend a period of the summer working as an intern in the Irish Superior Courts as part of the Chief Justice’s Summer Internship Programme open to Irish university law schools. In 2012, while a student on the Corporate Law programme in the School of Law at NUI Galway, Mahmoud was the winner of the A & L Goodbody Bold Ideas Competition for which he received a cash prize of €3,000 and an internship. Welcoming the announcement of the Fellowship award, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “On behalf of my colleagues in the School of Law, I congratulate Mahmoud Abukhadir on his success in being the 2015 recipient of the Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship. This is a highly prestigious award and a very valuable recognition of his considerable talents and accomplishments as an NUI Galway Law student. This reflects very well indeed on the School of Law at NUI Galway and we are all delighted to see one of our outstanding students do so well. We wish him every success for the future.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway Host International Accounting Conference

NUI Galway Host International Accounting Conference-image

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The topic of sustainable growth and competitiveness brought together practitioners and academics from 24 countries at the recent European Network for Research in Organisational and Accounting Change (ENROAC) conference hosted at NUI Galway. Guest speakers including Ray Cantwell, Senior Finance Director of Global Operations, Medtronic; Massimo Romano, Head of Group Integrated Reporting and CFO Hub, Generali S.p.a; and Nick Topazio, Head of Reporting Policy at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), discussed the need to highlight the creation of sustainable value for stakeholders within annual reports by focusing on forward looking information for companies, as opposed to simply reporting historical content. Speaking at the two day event, attended by 150 accounting practitioners and academics, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne commended the participants for stimulating the debate with regard to competitiveness and sustainable value as these issues were important for growth and competitiveness globally. Dr Browne said: “This conference highlights the importance of close links between the profession and industry with the academic discipline. The Accounting and Finance Discipline at NUI Galway continue to pioneer the way in disseminating research findings back to industry as this conference follows a number of recent workshops held by our accounting and finance faculty for practitioners.” Head of Accountancy and Finance Discipline at NUI Galway, Professor Breda Sweeney, commented on the close alignment between the themes discussed at the ENROAC conference and research carried out in the Discipline: “Through the Performance Management Research cluster based in the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change we have examined a range of contemporary issues such as the need for both efficiency and innovation in private and public sector organisations and how performance measurement systems can stimulate action and drive accountability.” The event was sponsored by CIMA’s General Charitable Trust, KPMG and Fáilte Ireland. -Ends-

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Major exhibition explores W.B. Yeats’ connections with the West

Major exhibition explores W.B. Yeats’ connections with the West-image

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A major exhibition celebrating the many connections W.B. Yeats had with the west of Ireland opens at NUI Galway tomorrow (25 June). NUI Galway’s Moore Institute and Hardiman Library will present ‘Yeats & the West’, an exhibition exploring Yeats’s life, work, legacy and deep connections to the west of Ireland. Rare artworks, books, original documents and exclusive film clips will feature in the interactive exhibition. Original watercolour sketches and oils by W.B. Yeats’s brother, the celebrated artist Jack B. Yeats, will also feature. The exhibition is part of Ireland’s decade of commemorations and the worldwide Yeats2015 series of cultural events marking his 150th birthday. The exhibition will run from 25 June – December 2015. Items on display will reflect W.B. Yeats’s attention to life, love, and landscape in Galway, Sligo, and beyond. ‘Yeats & the West’ details the many artistic collaborations that centred on Coole Park in Co. Galway between artists inspired by the western world. It follows the foundation of the Abbey Theatre in Galway, and Yeats’s work with J.M. Synge, George Moore and Edward Martyn, using exclusive materials from NUI Galway’s Lady Gregory Collection, the Abbey Digital Archive, and the Lyric Theatre Belfast. It explores his obsession with local poet Antoine Ó Raifteirí, and highlights the gifted artists of Yeats’s own family, whose pioneering work is showcased in exquisite handprinted books and in embroidery from Loughrea’s St. Brendan’s Cathedral. “William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature always looked west. For Yeats the west was the wellspring of songs, stories, folklore, artwork, drama, crafts; the foundation of the Irish imagination. It was also the landscape of his poetry and plays. Significant events of his life took place here; collaborations that formed his work were forged here. ‘Yeats & the West’ tells this remarkable story and considers what the west meant to him, and what that means for us”, explains Dr Adrian Paterson, a Lecturer in English at NUI Galway and expert on W.B. Yeats, who led the curation of the exhibition. The interactive exhibition features original watercolour sketches and oils by W.B. Yeats’s brother, the celebrated artist Jack B. Yeats, priceless Cuala Press volumes and broadsides, a wealth of visual material from artists and photographers from Fergus Bourke to Nicolas Fève, and rarely seen images and manuscripts from archive collections in NUI Galway and around the world. Through rare books, original documents, and artworks, and using modern touchscreens, recorded sound, and exclusive film, visitors will be able to take a tour of Yeats’s commitment to history, tradition, and new art, all under western eyes. Talks and special events feature throughout the exhibition’s spectacular run from June to December 2015. Yeats’s restoration of Thoor Ballylee, Galway, is seen alongside the construction of his own poetry, and the effects of revolution and civil war on his work and the west is put starkly on view with manuscripts from the National Library of Ireland, and rare books and photographs. Collaborations with his artist brother Jack B. Yeats are illustrated with newly exhibited sketches and exquisite colour prints. ‘Yeats & the West’ even tracks his furthest forays west, following him and the Abbey players as they cross the Atlantic and bring back with them a renewed idea of the breadth of the western world. “Through images, words, film, and sound, with interactive touchscreens, panels, and rich display cases, using valuable material from the University’s collections and from around the world, ‘Yeats & the West’ tells anew an old story: a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are”, added Dr Paterson, who serves on the Yeats2015 Steering Committee and Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society. The exhibition runs from June to December 2015 in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway with special events throughout. ‘Yeats & the West’ is supported by the Moore Institute, Hardiman Library, Galway City Museum, the National Library of Ireland, Loughrea Cathedral, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Yeats2015. -ends-

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New Initiative will Increase Industry Focus of Engineering and Informatics Degree Programmes

New Initiative will Increase Industry Focus of Engineering and Informatics Degree Programmes-image

Monday, 29 June 2015

In a significant development for engineering education, following extensive consultation with industry partners, NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has announced that the duration of the Professional Experience Programme (PEP) will be extended to eight months. The PEP involves students acquiring professional experience in their chosen speciality and will be applicable for the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Energy Systems Engineering, BE Electrical and Electronic Engineering, BE Electronic and Computer Engineering and BSc Computer Science and Information Technology degree programmes. This follows the successful implementation of the longer placement in the BE Mechanical Engineering and BE Biomedical Engineering. Students will now undertake work-placement in leading local, national and international high-technology companies from January to August, starting in 2016. NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has very strong links with industry, both nationally and internationally, and the decision to extend the duration of PEP was made in response to the growing demand from industry for longer work-placement, providing students with a broader range of industry-relevant skills and dramatically increasing their employability upon graduation. Increasing the duration of the work placement has been well received by companies. It affords students the opportunity to get involved deeper in the work they perform while on placement. Employers benefit by having a skilled student with them for longer which means that they can get students involved in larger projects and give them more responsibility. The PEP work-placement has been an integral part of these degree programmes for over twenty years. Commonly, upon completion of the PEP work-placement, students will continue to collaborate with their PEP employer through the industry-led research performed in their fourth year project. Speaking about the announcement Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said: “This is a very positive development for our students, as well as for employers and ultimately the Irish economy. By enhancing the practical learning experience which our students gain through structured work placements, we help to give them a competitive edge in the jobs market and boost their employability. In addition, having a student on work placement can be a real advantage to companies, particularly small enterprises, who can develop new opportunities within their business through research projects and other initiatives.” Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Our graduates are distinguished by their ability to adpat quickly to the professional work environment, wherever they work. Integrated workplace learning is a central feature of our undergraduate programmes in Engineering and Computing. Students have the opportunity to get significant work experience on an extended eight month PEP. While on PEP, the students also take online professional skill modules, delivered by the College. This enables us to enhance the professional work readiness of graduates, and allows our industry partners to participate directly in the training and evaluation of PEP students.” Companies that are interested in finding out more information in relation to the PEP can contact Career Development Centre on 091 493646 or -Ends- 

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PhD Students Graduate from NUI Galway’s Partnership with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

PhD Students Graduate from NUI Galway’s Partnership with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)-image

Monday, 29 June 2015

Recent crop research in Africa by NUI Galway PhD researchers has had a specific focus on food security and today sees the announcement of the first PhD graduates from an Africa-Ireland collaborative programme. Through a research and training partnership between NUI Galway and the world leading non-profit research organisation the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), advances have been made that contribute to global efforts to improve crop productivity, nutritional quality and resilience. IITA is one of the world’s leading research partners in finding solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. The first PhD Scholars have now graduated from the IITA-NUI Galway PhD Scholars programme. Over the past four years the three scholars have undergone a collaborative training programme and have been conducting their crop research between NUI Galway and IITA research stations in Kenya and Nigeria. The three PhD Scholars have each researched a particular challenge relating to three important staple crops, and have each made significant advances in their field:  Maize: Dr Girum Azmach  from Ethiopia has been conducting his PhD research, funded by Irish Aid, on developing more nutritious maize varieties that contain higher levels of vitamin A. Such biofortified crops are being developed by IITA and global partners to combat ‘hidden hunger’ malnutrition amongst the rural poor. Dr Azmach has returned to Ethiopia to contribute to the national maize breeding programme.    Bananas: Dr Mercy Kitavi  from Kenya focused her PhD research, also funded by Irish Aid, on East African Highland bananas, a staple crop of smallholder farmers in the Great Lakes region of sub-Saharan Africa. The research has revealed that all varieties of East African Highland bananas lack genetic diversity and are at high risk of being wiped out by new strains of the deadly banana wilt fungus. Dr Kitavi now works on capacity building in East Africa for sweet potato research.  ‌‌ Yams: Dr Gezahegn Tessema  from Ethiopia has been conducting his PhD research, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on understanding genetic diversity of yams, which are an important staple crop in Africa. The research has improved understanding of how yam genetic diversity can be better harnessed in breeding programs to make more resilient and productive yams to meet future challenges such as climate change. Dr. Tessema is currently working with IITA on developing improved cassava varieties for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The research of the three IITA-NUI Galway PhD Scholars was co-supervised by Professor Charles Spillane of the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Center (PABC) at NUI Galway and the world-leading IITA scientists Dr Abebe Menkir, Dr Melaku Gedil, Dr Jim Lorenzen and Dr Morag Ferguson. Professor Spillane commented: “The innovative crop research work of these three IITA-NUI Galway PhD scholars contributes significantly to the broader goals of IITA, NUI Galway’s PABC and Irish Aid, of conducting agricultural research for improving food security and nutrition in developing countries, particularly in Africa”. -ends-

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