NUI Galway launches Civic Engagement Book Collection

NUI Galway launches Civic Engagement Book Collection-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and James Hardiman Library’s Civic Engagement Book Collection will be launched by Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience, in the Library foyer on Thursday, 8 November at 3.30pm. This collection of books incorporates diverse aspects of civic engagement and contains books from a wide range of disciplines and will act as a central reference point for all materials in this field. It is envisaged that this collection will be a valuable resource to those who seek to integrate and promote civic engagement within and without the University. Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Project coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway continues to highlight its leadership in the area of university engagement with community through civic engagement. We at the CKI are delighted that the James Hardiman Library has established itself as a site of knowledge and resource excellence that will enable our student and community populations to learn broadly about aspects related to this area through this collection.” Civic Engagement is a strategic priority for NUI Galway and through the CKI the University works to promote greater civic engagement through its teaching and research. This is reinforced through the use of service learning, community based learning, volunteering and research. To visit the James Hardiman Library website go to -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network

NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Economics Discipline in the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics has established a new network - the NUI Galway Economics Graduates Network – in order to establish closer links between the Discipline and its graduates.  The Economics Discipline is proud of its association with its graduates many of whom have gone on to make a significant contribution in different areas of business, economic and public life in Ireland. The Economics Discipline at NUI Galway has itself made significant strides in recent years in regard to both research and teaching and prides itself on being an influential  force within the economics community in Ireland and internationally. The network will be launched in Lecture Hall 1, St. Anthony’s, NUI Galway between 4pm and 7.30pm on Friday, 2 November. The event will begin with a talk delivered by Max Watson on Financial Integration in Europe: Lessons from Ireland. Mr Watson is a Fellow of Wolfson College, and is also the Director of a research programme on the Political Economy of Financial Markets at the University of Oxford. He has served as a Director of the Central Bank of Ireland, and co-authored a report for the Oireachtas on the sources of Ireland's Banking Crisis. Following Mr Watson’s talk, the network will be formally launched with remarks from representatives of the University, the economics discipline, employers, and former graduates. The launch will feature an outline of a mentoring programme that is being introduced this academic year. The goal is to pair around twenty former graduates now employed in prominent positions in leading private and public organisations with twenty of the current students. The mentoring programme is just one part of a broader programme of activities designed to make it easier for graduates in economics to make the transition to the workplace. For further information please contact Brendan Kennelly, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. Email: -ends-

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Scientists Informed by General Public Regarding Gene and Stem Cell Therapy

Scientists Informed by General Public Regarding Gene and Stem Cell Therapy-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Report to be published on 2 November A cure for osteoarthritis would be a sensation. Many international research teams are working towards this goal, but few, if any, of these groups have asked the ‘target group’ of their research, patients and interested lay people, for their opinion. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have led the Irish effort to hear the views of the ordinary patient member of the general public. The speakers of the patient and citizen panels will officially present their report to Marian Harkin, MEP at 5pm this Friday, 2 November in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. Members of the general public, political and scientific communities and the media are expected to attend. The research was run by a project called GAMBA (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis), which asked osteoarthritis patients and citizens to participate in an intensive dialogue and to evaluate their EU-funded research. A series of discussion panels took place in Germany, Switzerland and in Galway and surprisingly, the opinions generated by the five panels involved are quite similar, despite different professional and cultural backgrounds. Involving end users at the early stages of research is a novel and exciting approach which could lead to better understanding and acceptance by the public and also gives valuable insights to the researchers themselves. Researchers at REMEDI in NUI Galway were joined by 17 patients and 10 interested citizens, aged between 19 and 78. Over the course of four days the volunteers were given comprehensive information. Researchers, journalists, ethicists, surgeons and health professionals from NUI Galway, and elsewhere in Ireland and the UK, joined them to discuss the opportunities, risks and the ethical aspects of adult stem cell and gene therapies and nanomedicine. The resulting report emphasises the need for more research in osteoarthritis, allied with a responsibility for researchers not to raise false hopes in patients. Panels expressed concerns about the ability of ethics committees to assess complex topics under time pressure with the Irish citizen panel called for a peer review system. All panel groups were adamant that good communication between research teams and between researchers and the public was of utmost importance and stressed that successes and failures in research needed to be published. All panels also thought it was important not to neglect research into the causes of osteoarthritis and to also explore alternative and complementary medicine. Overall, the Irish participants were the most positive in the evaluation of the process with the final outcome a tentative endorsement of the GAMBA approach. “Our experience with the Galway panels was very positive and rewarding.  The dialogue challenged us as researchers to be more thoughtful about research questions and ethical standards, to place the patients centre stage and engage with the public in general as we develop novel therapies for the medicines of the future,” says Dr Mary Murphy, the GAMBA leader at REMEDI.  -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone-image

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 8 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and our Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which is brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Dublin, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or . ENDS

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Viscus Biologics Awarded Biomaterials Commercialisation Licence by National University of Ireland Galway

Viscus Biologics Awarded Biomaterials Commercialisation Licence by National University of Ireland Galway-image

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Viscus Biologics LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, has secured an 18-month option to conduct further research into the development and commercialisation of a new tissue repair material developed by the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at National University of Ireland, Galway.  Research on the technology is being carried out by Viscus Biologics at its facility in Cleveland, Ohio. The technology is the result of ongoing research at NFB to develop novel biomaterials for soft tissue repair in reconstructive surgery and chronic wound healing. The new technology, called cholecyst-derived extracellular matrix (CEM), is derived from a gallbladder from which the native cells have been removed to leave behind a mesh-like collagen structure. This structure may then be stabilised by various chemical techniques. The nano-topography of the CEM makes it ideal for supporting new cell growth while its mechanical properties ensure that it has the strength and elasticity required for tissue repair. Furthermore the CEM is completely reabsorbed by the body over time, making further surgery for its removal unnecessary. Some of the initial work was funded by Enterprise Ireland and subsequently by Science Foundation Ireland. Viscus Biologics is affiliated with Galway based Proxy Biomedical, Ltd, a leading innovator in the development of next generation medical products using proprietary biomaterials technology. “We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with NFB and look forward to developing the full potential of the cholecyst technology developed by Professor Pandit,” commented Dr Thomas Neenan, President and CEO of Viscus Biologics. “Our Irish parent company, Proxy Biomedical, Ltd has enjoyed a long a fruitful relationship with National University of Ireland Galway, and we look forward to a similar productive relationship as we bring innovative technology such as the cholocyst platform to the market.” Viscus Biologics’ products provide surgeons with a variety of innovative surgical products with three-dimensional structures and properties similar to those found in native tissue.  The company’s first product ALLOMEMTM (human peritoneal tissue) is currently marketed in the US.      NFB, which was established with funding from SFI under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. -ends-

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September 2012

NUI Galway Students Win Four International Undergraduate Awards

NUI Galway Students Win Four International Undergraduate Awards-image

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Winners were selected from almost 4,000 submissions from 180 institutions worldwide Four NUI Galway students are winners of the 2013 Undergraduate Awards - an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research. A further five NUI Galway students were highly commended. Marcus Byrne was announced winner of the Classical Studies and Archaeology category award for his paper entitled Inferring Status From Early Bronze Age Burial whilst Aisling Ní Churraighín secured a win in the Irish Language, Literature and Folklore catergory for her essay Seán Ó hEochaidh – Bailitheor Béaloideasa in Iardheisceart Thír Chonaill sna 1930aidí: Léargas ón Dialann.  Joining them as winners were Khai El Baba Jones in the Philosophical Studies and Theology category with his essay Faith in Kant: The religiosity of moral faith and its relation to ecclesiastical faith in Kant’s thought and John Birrane for his essay on Is There a Need for Positive Psychology?which bagged him an award in the Psychology category. John’s essay not only won the Irish category for Psychology, but also won the overall international award. Judged by a panel made up of academics and industry experts from each field, the winning essays were selected from almost 4000 submissions in over 180 colleges and universities across the globe, to be named the best undergraduate in their field. Congratulating the students, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "The success of these talented students highlights the high quality of study which our undergraduate students are engaged in.  Their success in these Awards will undoubtedly add lustre to their academic development, as well as underscore NUI Galway’s increasing profile as a centre of world-class research and teaching".  He continued by wishing them continued success in their academic endeavours. The four winning NUI Galway students, along with the 39 other UA winners, will be brought to Dublin for the UA Summit from 13-15 November.  Highly Commended students will also have the opportunity to attend the Summit by purchasing a ticket to the three-day event. The Summit is designed to celebrate these outstanding students from across the world, and to inspire them with speakers assembled from a diverse range of backgrounds. For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2013 Undergraduate Awards, please see -Ends-

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NUI Galway Lecturer Wins MIT Innovation Award for Research on Ideas

NUI Galway Lecturer Wins MIT Innovation Award for Research on Ideas -image

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Research identified the key distinction between ‘idea scouts’ who introduce new ideas and ‘idea connectors’ who help make them a reality. NUI Galway Lecturer in Business Information Systems Dr Eoin Whelan is the winner of the prestigious 2013 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Technology Review for the ‘most outstanding’ article published on Enterprise Social Media. The article titled ‘Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation’ is authored by Dr Eoin Whelan, Salvatore Parise, Jasper de Valk and Rick Aalbers. They examine how companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Genzyme, General Electric and Intel are often acknowledged innovation leaders. The authors argue that others have failed to match them because the mix of external and internal ideas for innovation doesn’t happen as efficiently. The authors identified, and mapped, the mix of real-life and virtual connections that go into bringing an idea to fruition. They identified ‘idea scouts’ who, often sourcing information on the web, combine that with their company’s expertise to come up with an idea. The authors also identified, however, ‘idea connectors’ who have the interpersonal skills and informal contacts to get the buy-in to make those ideas a reality. Interestingly ‘idea connectors’ aren’t necessarily employed as such, or can come from any level, senior or junior, in the organisation. Dr Eoin Whelan said, ‘we’re very honoured to receive this prestigious award, and hope that it will focus further attention on our research in social media in enterprise. The research is, we feel, of particular benefit to senior managers and R&D leaders to identify, encourage and reward the idea scouts and connectors for their work in bringing ideas to life.”  A member of the award winning NUI Galway Cairnes School of Business, Public Policy and Law, Dr Whelan, from Portlaoise, Co. Laois, lectures in Business Information Systems, and his research focuses on how technologies such as social media and big data both enable and constrain organisational innovation and productivity. The NUI Galway Business Information Systems degree course in the Cairnes School is one of only eight European undergraduate programmes to receive five-year EPAS (European Foundation for Management Development) accreditation. -ends-

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Packed Programme for Friday’s Sea2Sky Generating Huge Interest

Packed Programme for Friday’s Sea2Sky Generating Huge Interest-image

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

There has been huge interest in the free research festival, Sea2Sky on Friday 28 September, according to organisers NUI Galway. With free access to the ‘Accelerating Science’ exhibition in Leisureland, over 40 stands in the Galway Bay Hotel showcasing local research, and open access to the Atalantaquaria, interest is high. While school visits will take place throughout the day, the public are invited to attend the event from early afternoon. Celebrating the natural physical world from the marine, through the atmosphere to space, the free, family event will see hundreds of researchers share their work with the public. For those with an interest in space and astronomy a Science Cafe discussing the topic "Is the future of Space Human or Robotic" will take place in the evening where expert panellists in Galway and Cork will discuss the topic during a live link-up with former NASA astronaut Dan Tani in California.    There will also be a Planetarium Show with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and 3D Tours of the Universe, while Galway Astronomy Club will provide guided use of telescopes to view night sky. For matters marine, local scuba divers are to give an exhibition in the aquarium, the Marine Institute will showcase their Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and a Japanese Oyster Farmer will speak in conjunction with the Galway Oyster Festival. Thousands are expected to visit Salthill in Galway on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. “We had over 10,000 visitors last year, as the event spills out onto the Prom in Salthill, we blend research and science with art and innovation at this event. We have puppet shows, art exhibitions made from recycled materials, murals, flying fish, and a photo competition”, explains chief organiser, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer, a lecturer in physics. Sea2Sky is part of European Researchers Night, which takes place on Friday, 28 September, across 800 venues in 320 cities. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, will officially open the Irish event. Sea2Sky is organised by NUI Galway, with huge support from partners the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork. As part of the European Researchers Night 2012 organisers of the Sea2Sky event are asking all young photographers to submit photographs to the free competition entitled ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’. Open to students of all ages across Irish primary and post-primary schools, the aim is to encourage talented young photographers to capture unique moments incorporating marine, atmosphere and astronomy. To view the full day and night programme, or for more information about the photography exhibition, visit -ends-

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Irish Scientist Takes on Incurable Cancer with HRB Award

 Irish Scientist Takes on Incurable Cancer with HRB Award-image

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Health Research Board (HRB) has announced it is to invest €11 million to build the capacity of research leadership in hospitals through its clinician scientist programme. One of the clinician scientists chosen is Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway and Consultant Haematologist, University Hospital Galway, who will head up a €1.7 million project. Professor O’Dwyer aims to increase our understanding of the white blood cell cancer called Multiple Myeloma (MM). Despite major advances in treatment, MM remains incurable, and in patients with high-risk disease, who account for up to 25% of patients, life expectancy is less than three years. MM is the second most common blood cancer in Ireland with approximately 250 new cases each year. It typically affects older individuals with two thirds of patients over 65 years of age and as the population ages the incidence and prevalence is increasing. Throughout the lifetime of this programme Professor O’Dwyer, in collaboration with NUI Galway’s and Trinity College Dublin's Professor Frank Giles, will make emerging new therapeutics from all sources available to myeloma patients in early phase clinical trials through the HRB funded Clinical Research Facilities. Ultimately however, the goal is to translate their own laboratory findings to the clinic for the benefit of patients.  “Our goal is to discover new ways to reduce the ability of the cancer cell to move to other sites within the body and identify new ways to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs”, explains Professor O’Dwyer. “Ultimately, the laboratory findings will be applied to the clinic with the intention of improving treatment options for MM patients.” According to Enda Connolly, Chief Executive of the HRB: “The best hospitals in the world have research at their core. The HRB Clinician Scientist Awards is part of our strategic aim to develop a culture of research and innovation in the health services, both for the benefit of patients and the Irish economy.” Professor O’Dwyer will work with a network of scientific experts in NUI Galway and elsewhere around Ireland. Co-applicants on the grant are Professor Afshin Samali, Professor Lokesh Joshi and Professor Corrado Santocanale of NUI Galway, Professor Paul Browne of Trinity College Dublin and Dr Irene Ghobrial of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Additional academic collaborators include the Myeloma Ireland Consortium and the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona as well as several industry partners. The Science Bit Professor O’Dwyer and his team plan to focus on two particular aspects of multiple myeloma biology. These are the vulnerability of plasma cells to excessive protein loads causing a phenomenon known as ‘ER stress’ and the role that glycosylation plays in the interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrow microenvironment and vasculature, allowing them to traffic or metastasize from one location to another.  Myeloma cells produce vast amounts of protein antibodies, which are assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum or ER. Excessive levels of protein are toxic, leading to ER stress and cell death.  Myeloma cells are adapted to deal with ER stress by increasing the activity of a protective pathway involving the IRE1 kinase. The presumption is that blocking this pathway should make myeloma cells more vulnerable to ER stress.  A major focus of this program is the evaluation of IRE1 inhibition as a new therapeutic option for multiple myeloma.   Professor O’Dwyer and his team believe that the sugar coating or glycosylation status of myeloma cells plays an important role in trafficking, for example influencing the interaction between adhesion molecules called selectins and their ligands on myeloma cells. In this project they aim to explore the differences in glycosylation status between myeloma cells and their normal counterparts and their functional significance. They aim to identify novel new therapeutic targets, reducing the metastatic potential of myeloma cells and overcoming drug resistance.  They are also evaluating the myeloma activity of a novel selectin inhibitor. -ends-

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NUI Galway Students Win Four Undergraduate Awards

NUI Galway Students Win Four Undergraduate Awards-image

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Four NUI Galway students have been announced as winners of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards - an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research.  A further nine NUI Galway students were highly commended. Neasa O’Callaghan was announced winner of the prestigious award in the Ancient & Classical Studies category for her essay entitled “Mapping Europa from Antiquity to Present: Contrasting Images of an Abductee and Queen” whilst Isaac Burke secured a win in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences for his essay “Finding a non-broken circuit basis for the Orlik-Solomon algebra of an arrangement of hyperplanes“.  Joining them as winners were Cathal Kelly in the Engineering & Mechanical Sciences category with his essay“Phosphorous Removal From Wastewater Using Pyrrhotite” and Marek Bohacek for his essay on “Process timing and its relations to the perception of tonal harmony: an EEG study” which bagged him an award in the Psychology category. Panels of international academics assessed the 2890 coursework entries that were received from students attending third level institutions across Ireland, the USA, UK and Canada, and selected two winners per academic category. Congratulating the students, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "The success of these talented students highlights the quality of study which our undergraduate students are engaged in.  Their success in these Awards will undoubtedly add lustre to their academic development, as well as underscore NUI Galway’s increasing profile as a centre of world-class research and teaching".  He continued by wishing them continued success in their academic endeavours. The four winning NUI Galway students, along with the 35 other UA winners, will be brought to Dublin for the UA Summit, “a Davos for students”, from 7-10 November.  “This conference will serve as a three-day pop-up incubation centre for some of the world’s most exceptional young minds” said Louise Hodgson, UA Programme Director. “>From hands-on workshops and talks with inspiring young achievers, entrepreneurs and academics to networking events with top graduate recruiters, the UA Summit is going to be one of the most exciting student-focused events in Europe.” As part of the UA Summit, President Michael D. Higgins, patron of the Undergraduate Awards, will award the 39 winners at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony at Royal Hospital Kilmainham on 9 November for excellence and innovation within coursework at undergraduate level. The UA Summit will also include the Forum on Higher Education that will bring together edupreneurs and pioneers in the field of education to discuss disruptive education.  Speakers include CEO of the Wolfram Group and world famous TEDster, Conrad Wolfram.  For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards, please see ENDS

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