Friday, 30 June 2017

NUI Galway publishes report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy that shows in 2016 the direct economic value of the ocean economy was €1.8 billion representing a 20% increase on 2014 NUI Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has published its fourth report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy as part of their ongoing process of collection and analysis of marine socio-economic data in Ireland. Results from the report show that in 2016, the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy was €1.8 billion or approximately 0.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), which represents a 20% increase on 2014 levels. Latest figures suggest that our ‘blue economy’ is performing better than the general economy. “This report shows Ireland’s ocean economy is experiencing sustained levels of economic growth both across established and emerging marine industries”, reports Dr Amaya Vega of SEMRU, based at the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway. Summary The ocean economy had a turnover of €5.7 billion in 2016. The indirect economic value in 2016 amounted to €1.57 billion, with a total direct and indirect value of €3.37 billion, which represents 1.7% of GDP. The ocean economy provided employment to over 30,000 individuals, full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2016. Established Marine Industries had a turnover of €5.3 billion and provided employment to 28,231 FTEs in 2016, representing 93% of the total turnover and 94% of total employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2016. Oil and gas exploration and production, marine aquaculture and tourism and leisure in marine and coastal areas, all experienced a significant increase in activity, with turnover, GVA and employment increasing across the sector in the 2014-2016 period. The shipping and maritime transport sector also exhibited increases, albeit of a smaller scale, across all three variables. Emerging Marine Industries had a turnover of €383 million and provided employment to close to 2,000 FTEs representing 7% of the turnover and 6% of employment in Ireland’s ocean economy in 2016. Advanced marine technology products and services and marine renewable energy experienced the largest increases in turnover and gross value add (GVA), while employment rose in all emerging sectors in the 2014-2016 period. Dr Stephen Hynes, co-author of the report and director of SEMRU at NUI Galway, points out: “Our latest ocean economy figures demonstrate that Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth is moving steadily towards its 2030 targets. The latest data demonstrates the growing influence of ocean related economic activity in our economy but it should also be kept in mind that the influence of the ocean on Irish society is even more pervasive than indicated by these figures. The ocean also provides key ecosystem services that underpin many of the identified marine industries and is integral not just to the economy, but also to our culture. SEMRU is currently also examining the value of some of these non-market benefits of the ocean.” The Marine Institute also welcomed publication of the report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy with Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO commenting: “The very latest figures on Ireland’s Ocean Economy from SEMRU at NUI Galway show that Ireland’s ‘blue economy’ continues to outperform the general economy. These very timely marine economic statistics are a key action of the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Strategy and are essential for evidence-based policy making and decision making. It’s really encouraging to see that established sectors are performing so well, and that emerging sectors such as advanced marine technology products and services and renewable energy are experiencing rapid growth in Ireland’s ocean economy.” ‘Harnessing our Ocean Wealth’ Targets: Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, published in July 2012, outlines a number of specific targets which seek to expand Ireland’s ocean economy. One of those targets aims to double its value to 2.4% of GDP by 2030. This 2.4% figure was based on a total estimate (both direct and indirect Gross Value Added) in 2007 for the Irish Ocean economy that amounted to 1.2% of GDP at that time. The total direct and indirect value of the Irish ocean economy is estimated in the new report to be €3.37 billion which represents 1.7% of total GDP in 2016. Based in the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway, SEMRU conducts research on a variety of marine related issues. The main research focus of the unit is on the economic importance of coastal and off-shore marine environments. This involves examining the economic utility of the marine environment (transportation, recreation) and ecological value (fisheries, aquaculture) derived from the productivity of associated ecosystems. The coastal and contiguous marine environment surrounding Ireland and the EU in general provides the geographical focus for the research carried out in the unit. Consideration of the human dimension in the management of marine ecosystems is also a critical component of all research projects undertaken. Since its establishment in 2009, SEMRU has been successful in attracting research funding to support the expansion of its marine socio-economic research programme. The unit is now a partner in a number of European-funded projects in the area of the socio-economics of the marine environment. Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report Series is carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and is funded by the Irish Government’s Marine Research Programme (Grant-Aid Agreement No. PBA/SE/16/01). The full report is available to download online at: www.nuigalway.ie/semru/publications.html. For more information on SEMRU, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/semru/. -Ends-

Friday, 30 June 2017

As current ransomware attack spreads, it is reported that cybercrime is estimated to have cost Irish companies €600 million in 2015, and this is projected to reach €1 billion by 2020 The growth of different cyberattacks internationally is providing a growing impetus for developing a national research initiative in cybersecurity in Ireland, which is being led by Dr Michael Madden of NUI Galway. This initiative, called S4 (Scientific Solutions for Secure Society), involves the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, the LERO Software Engineering Research Centre, and the Connect Centre for future research on networks and communications. By harnessing the synergies between academics, industry, state agencies, and international collaborators, Dr Madden and his colleagues aim to improve the country’s resilience to threats and contribute to the growth of this new employment sector. In recent weeks, a workshop held in Dublin that was attended by 70 industry and academic decision makers and influencers. Its goal was to understand industry research needs related to digital security and privacy research, and to connect industry participants with academics who can work with them towards identifying targeted projects of direct value to all. A Data Summit was also held in the Convention Centre Dublin, organised by the Department of the Taoiseach along with the Government Data Forum, where a panel discussion on ‘Cybersecurity in the 21st Century’ took place with people involved in the Cybersecurity research initiative. The following research pillars have been identified from the recent workshop and summit: (1) Artificial Intelligence for Security; (2) Web-Scale Security Analytics; (3) Edge-to-Cloud Security; and (4) Trust and Privacy Management. Dr Michael Madden from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Like all countries, Ireland faces significant digital security threats. More than half of Irish companies have reported a data breach in 2016. Cybercrime is estimated to have cost Irish companies €600 million in 2015, and this is projected to reach €1 billion by 2020, according to a PwC 216 Irish Economic Crime report in 2016. In addition, we have seen large scale data breaches experienced by multinational organisations internationally, such as Yahoo and JP Morgan, even before the recent disruption caused by this new ransomware.” A new ransomware attack, which is being referred to as Petya, is currently spreading internationally. Like the program WannaCry that caused very substantial disruption a month ago, Petya is one of the new breed of ransomware programs that attempts to spread itself across networks, whereas ransomware before WannaCry did not. Petya appears to be more sophisticated in attempting to use multiple mechanisms to spread itself. Like all ransomware, it scrambles all files on an infected computer and charges a ransom of $300 to provide keys to unscramble them. Dr Madden continued: “It is clear from the feedback received at the industry workshop on 12 June and the Cybersecurity panel discussion on 16 June that there is great capacity for closer academic and industry collaboration on security research, and many opportunities for growing this important area of research and the overall security ecosystem in Ireland.” Dr Madden advises not to pay the ransom if your computer is affected; initial reports on Petya have indicated that it may fail to decrypt files even after paying. “As always with ransomware, the best way to protect your computer is to keep software updates up-to-date and to ensure you have everything backed up, so that in the worst case, you can re-install Windows and other programs, and restore your important data (documents, photos) from backups. The leading anti-virus software vendors have also announced that they are able to detect and protect against Petya.” The S4 initiative involves academic researchers from NUI Galway, DCU, Athlone IT, Waterford IT, UCD, and UL. -Ends-

Friday, 30 June 2017

Some questions for local school children as NUI Galway marks World Asteroid Day Scientists from the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway marked World Asteroid Day today (30 June) with almost 100 students from 4th, 5th and 6th class at Educate Together National School, Newcastle in Galway. NUI Galway’s Centre for Astronomy is the chosen designated centre in Ireland by global organisation Asteroid Day to celebrate the annual international event, which is a global awareness campaign to learn about asteroids, the impact hazard they may pose, and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations from future asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day was co-founded in 2014, by Dr Brian May, astrophysicist and lead guitarist for the rock band Queen, Danica Remy, B612 President, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart and German filmmaker Grig Richters. Asteroid Day is held on 30 June each year to mark Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event, which devastated over 2,000 km2 of forest, an area the size of any major metropolitan city today. In 2016, Asteroid Day was declared by the United Nations to be a global day of education to raise awareness about asteroids, their role in our solar system and the need to use science and technology to increase our knowledge and ability to protect humanity from dangerous impacts and facilitate future exploration. More than 700 events in 190 countries around the world are taking place for Asteroid Day, with NUI Galway being the only designated centre in Ireland to host events. To celebrate the day, the NUI Galway scientists setup a day of themed workshops and activities with the 10-12 year-old students at Educate Together National School. The students also heard about two asteroids that are named after two NUI Galway astronomers, Professor Andrew Shearer and Dr Aaron Golden. Both asteroids are known as main-belt asteroids which are located between Mars and Jupiter, which orbit about 300-400 million kilometres from the sun. Both were discovered by the Swedish astronomer C.-I. Lagerkvist in 1979. Astronomers, Professor Shearer and Dr Golden work in the field of high-time-resolution astrophysics and image processing, and were responsible for the measurements of optical pulsations from two pulsars. Speaking about the event in Galway, Professor Andrew Shearer from the School of Physics and Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: “Asteroid Day is a wonderful opportunity to engage schools and community in an international scientific event. Asteroids, relics from the birth of the solar system give us a fascinating insight into what we are made of. Famous asteroids include the one which killed the dinosaurs. The question remains: are we still at risk from asteroids crashing into the earth?” School workshop and engagement activities include: The Size of the Sun – Arranging imagery of earth, sun and space objects in order of their size, their distance from earth and their temperature. By manipulating these images the students confronted their own mental models of space and time. Create a Rocket – The students constructed and designed rockets that were successfully launched! Using plastic soft drink bottles, cardboard, tape, and glue. Pasta Rover - Using only pasta and glue, the students designed planetary pasta rovers to travel down a ramp and then travel an additional one meter on a smooth, flat surface. The students used the same engineering design process that NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers use to improve their designs. Asteroid modelling clay and paper – The students shaped their own asteroid models out of clay and paper as part of a hands-on lesson to learn how asteroids form, what they are made of, and where they can be found in our Solar System. Snakes & Ladders Game - The classic snakes and ladders game was replaced by rockets and comets in this astronomy themed version. A challenging and interactive way to learn various astronomical objects while moving your way to the winning square as space travellers. Talk with an NUI Galway Physicist – A talk with an astrophysicist, Ray Butler from the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway to learn about the nature and threat of asteroids followed by a question and answer session. A public talk by Dr Ray Butler from the Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway entitled ‘Asteroids: Earth in the firing line’ will take place at the University’s Kirwan Theatre in the Arts Science Building from 7pm–8pm today Friday 30 June, to celebrate World Asteroid Day. Events for Asteroid Day 2017 are planned around the world and include participation this year from major space agencies: European Space Agency (ESA); Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) and NASA, America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where every day is asteroid day. Events will take place for all ages at science centres, planetariums, observatories, museums, schools, theatres, libraries, civic, government halls and town squares. Tune in to NASA Facebook live videos with 2017 Astronauts from Johnson Space Centre in Houston on 30 June, using the hashtag #NewAstronauts at: https://www.facebook.com/NASA/videos/10155270254981772/. To join NUI Galway’s celebrations of World Asteroid Day online, Follow @nuigalway and NUI Galway on Facebook. To view World Asteroid Day events on the global map visit: https://asteroidday.org/. -Ends- 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

As part of SeaFest 2017, which opens this weekend in Galway, NUI Galway will host several events to celebrate and highlight the importance of business development and research in the marine industry. A two-day Marine Trade Show will take place this week 29-30 June, in a purpose-built marquee on the grounds of NUI Galway, to coincide with the Digital Ocean Conference and Our Ocean Wealth Summit as part of SeaFest 2017. The Marine Trade Show will showcase some of the highly innovative products and services emerging from companies across all sectors of the marine economy. Over 60 organisations will display their products and services in the Trade Show marquee on the College Lawn and in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway where exhibitors will showcase their cutting-edge research and products that contribute to the marine industry. Participating industry exhibitors include; Microsoft Ireland, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Circular Ocean, The Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, Planet Ocean, Marine Institute – Ireland’s Digital Ocean, Diatec, InnaLabs, JFC Marine, RealSim Marine, Éire Composites Teoranta, Wood Group Kenny, Planet Ocean, Marine Institute – Ireland’s Digital Ocean and many more. On Friday, 30 June the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway will host ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit’. Now in its fourth year, the Summit forms a key part of the Government’s integrated plan for Ireland’s marine sector, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, and will bring together world renowned speakers, industry experts, business development agencies and the Irish business and marine research community for focused discussions on this year’s theme of ‘Rethinking Boundaries and Innovation for a Sustainable Marine Economy’. The Summit is sponsored by PwC Ireland. Speakers include Tom Kelley of award-winning global design and development firm, IDEO, who will inspire business leaders to engage in creative thinking and challenge perspectives to encourage new ideas and approaches on how Ireland can continue to transform its marine industry. Tom Kelley will be joined by a host of national and international thought leaders and industry experts including Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist of the Institute of International and European Affairs; Miguel Marques, Partner and Economist of the Sea, PwC Portugal; Terry Garcia, former VP National Geographic and CEO of Exploration Ventures; Andrew McDowell, VP, European Investment Bank; Wendy-Watson Wright, CEO of Ocean Frontier Institute Canada, and many more. The Digital Ocean – Ireland’s Marine Engineering and Technology Conference, will also be held as part of SeaFest 2017 and will take place on Thursday, 29 June. This event will build on the success of the inaugural Digital Ocean Conference in 2016 and will highlight how technology companies are driving new forms of innovation in Ireland’s blue economy. Ireland is internationally recognised as a leading hub for marine technology innovation due to its significant marine resource, its leading technology expertise and its world-class test-bed infrastructures. The conference will feature a selection of international marine technology companies; innovative Irish Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs); and Ireland's world-class technology and research centres. The programme will focus on specific opportunities for technology innovations to drive the global blue economy. A unique exhibition on Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole, Cold Recall – Roald Amundsen’s Reflections from the South Pole will continue to run in the main foyer of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The exhibition is based on images from the original lantern slides that Norwegian Polar Explorer Roald Amundsen used in public lectures about his expeditions through the Northwest Passage and to the South Pole. Amundsen was the first in the world to navigate the Northwest Passage and the first to reach the South Pole on 14 December 1911. Norwegian Polar history is closely connected to defining Norway as an independent state in 1905, and to Norway’s position as a state closely connected to the oceans and to polar regions. The exhibition runs until 8 July 2017. University President, Dr Jim Browne said: “NUI is delighted to partner with the Marine Institute in bringing SeaFest to Galway. We’re particularly pleased to be able to host the important marine conferences - Our Ocean Wealth Summit and Digital Ocean - here on our campus. These events, along with the Trade Show, bring together leading policy-makers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and academics to discuss the opportunities which Ireland’s marine economy offers.” President Browne, added: “NUI Galway is an international research leader in this field through the work of the Ryan Institute for Environment Energy and Marine research and the Whitaker Institute, where researchers at the Institute’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) analyse the economic importance of the marine environment for a range of national and international bodies. In addition to the two conferences, we’re especially pleased to host the Framm Museum’s month-long exhibition Cold Recall – Roald Amundsen’s Reflections from the South Pole in partnership with the Norwegian Embassy and the Marine Institute. I look forward to welcoming visitors to NUI Galway to enjoy the range of wonderful events on campus associated with SeaFest and I congratulate the Marine Institute on their efforts in bringing such a wonderful event to Galway this year.” SeaFest will take place from 30 June to 2 July with events for all the family throughout Galway Harbour. For full details about Our Ocean Wealth Summit, visit: https://www.ouroceanwealth.ie/ and Digital Ocean Conference, visit: https://www.smartocean.ie/digital-ocean . For full event details visit www.seafest.ie, follow @Seafest_ie, SeaFest 2017 on Facebook or download the SeaFest App for free. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wildflowers Encounter (Casadh)’, by internationally acclaimed choreographer and dance artist Maureen Fleming, will be presented at 8pm on 30 June 2017 in the O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway. Featuring original music by composer and musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire, this presentation is the first ‘encounter’ between these ground-breaking artists and is the culmination of Fleming’s Fulbright Scholarship in Ireland. The first 'Encounter (Casadh)' in Ireland will be presented at the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway by producer Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Perfoming Arts Manager at NUI Galway with direction, choreography and performance by Maureen Fleming, music composition and performance by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, videography by Colm Hogan, light and visual design by Christopher Odo. Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, will conduct an interview with the artists following the ‘Encounter (Casadh) presentation.  In lyrical, sculptural transcendence, Maureen Fleming invents surreal movement poetry that changes how we think of the human body. Fleming’s new monomyth: ‘Wildflowers’ is a series of vision poems inspired by the mythology surrounding the eternal, otherworld feminine of Ireland. The completed work will premiere at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre in New York City in autumn of 2018 and the O’ Shaughnessy in the Twin Cities in spring 2019. Fleming has spent a semester at the Centre for Irish Studies and at Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway on her Fulbright Scholar’s Award, where she taught her original dance form and studied sean-nós traditions of song and dance, developing new work incorporating aspects of Irish mythology and folklore. Fleming's ‘Wildflowers’ is a three-stage international collaborative project between choreographer and dance artist Maureen Fleming and composer and musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Research and development will begin with support from the Irish Arts Council Traditional Music Commission and the Fulbright Commission this summer and will develop through an ‘Encounter (Casadh)’ process where elements of set, light, music and choreography are staged and open to the public at various times and venues. Encounter (Casadh) is made possible with support from the Irish Arts Council Traditional Music Commission; Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs through the Fulbright Commission; Centre for Irish Studies and Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway; Arts in Action; and Galway City Council. -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

NUI Galway partner, Compact Imaging, teams with SRI International for development of improved detection of attempts to evade or deceive biometric security systems, such as fingerprint identification scanners NUI Galway and its partner Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) announced this week that SRI International (SRI) has selected its technology as a critical component in the development of ‘dynamic biometrics’ for improved detection of attempts to evade or deceive biometric security systems, such as fingerprint scanners. The development is being performed under a multi-year contract awarded to SRI as part of the US Government’s IARPA’s (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, National Intelligence Directorate) Odin Program.  The goal of the Odin Program is to develop advanced technologies to detect ‘presentation attacks’, as attempts to deceive biometric security systems are often called. Conventional biometrics, such as fingerprint, iris and face, rely on static surface images of human tissue. The case for improved presentation attack detection is clear. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 2015 the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) processed nearly 400 million people entering the US, almost 40 million of whom required a “secondary inspection” because of suspicious behaviour or adverse information in the primary screening process. Compact Imaging's breakthrough MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT) brings well-established, non-invasive, OCT (optical coherence tomography) imaging to high volume field applications that require small size and low cost, such as biometric security systems for identity authentication. MRO directly detects fake fingerprints, determines liveness and images tissue in depth to reveal sub-dermal fingerprints. These sub-dermal fingerprints, which can be collected from wet, worn or dry fingers, lie securely below the surface fingerprints that make up today’s biometric databases. Under the Odin Program, SRI is researching innovative dynamic biometrics systems and techniques to dramatically improve the presentation attack detection capabilities of biometric systems by imaging, measuring and analyzing real-time physiological responses of living tissue to external and internal stimuli. By analyzing such factors as changes in heart rate, perspiration and blood flow, the system will reliably detect whether these tissues are real or being faked. Compact Imaging’s MRO™ technology, which uses optical means to rapidly and non-invasively create depth images of human tissue, will play a key role in the suite of dynamic biometrics techniques SRI is developing. This project will capitalise on rapid advances in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), the world’s fastest growing medical imaging technology. The work is supported by the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) group at NUI Galway. The correlation mapping OCT algorithm provides the most secure approach to fingerprint biometrics, by imaging the pattern of tiny blood vessels which supply the fingerprint. Initial demonstrations of MRO’s sub-dermal fingerprint imaging capabilities were conducted in part in Ireland at Compact Imaging’s research collaboration with NUI Galway, a globally-recognised leader in OCT imaging of the micro-vasculature. The collaboration was initiated in 2012 and has successfully demonstrated MRO in a variety of applications from biometric security to non-destructive testing. Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Optics and Director of the Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) Laboratory at NUI Galway, directs the collaboration’s research efforts in Galway. Professor Leahy said: “We are delighted that Compact Imaging has been chosen by SRI for dynamic biometric authentication applications. Our collaboration with Compact Imaging to advance OCT and MRO has been an ideal partnership in which our team has provided substantial research for applications critical to society worldwide.” Professor Leahy added: “The security of personal data is a pressing global concern, as we are using fingerprints for everything from phone unlocking to security checks. Technology developed at NUI Galway is supporting businesses and governments to verify identities more rigorously to make our personal data more secure.”   “The NUI Galway team has made important contributions to the advancement of MRO. The miniaturization of MRO opens new high-volume markets to OCT’s powerful non-invasive imaging capabilities,” said Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging. -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway is hosting a half-day symposium on ‘Extreme Weather Events: Physical and Social Impacts’ on Wednesday, 28 June. Leading international and national scholars will participate in the event, which aims to improve the international scope of Irish climate change research to discuss research ideas and future projects. The symposium is keen to encourage cross disciplinary dialogues to ignite new ideas for future research collaborations across NUI Galway and beyond, looking at research opportunities into the science and impacts of climate change to understand merging Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, Climate modelling, Engineering, and Coastal Geomorphology with Social Scientific research. The event will provide postgraduate student research and networking opportunities for the next generation of climate scientists to exchange ideas and be exposed to state-of-the-art research. Commenting on the event, Dr Eugene Farrell, Lecturer in Physical Geography at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland’s identity is intertwined with the coastal and marine environment and we need to engage in an interdisciplinary discourse to address the physical and social impacts of a changing climate. Truly innovative interdisciplinary research requires formal and informal discussions to assess the potential for future collaborative work. It is invaluable for post-graduate students to be included in these discussions providing them with the opportunity to participate in a scientific meeting.” Dr Audrey Morley, Lecturer in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, added: “Ireland needs skilled personnel, who can advise on, organise and regulate an informed development of coastal, marine and climate resources and activities in Ireland, the European Union and worldwide. This conference will be part of the process of preparing and upskilling postgraduate students for that role. The workshop will provide a forum within which students can interact directly with a range of national and international professional and expert practitioners and gain exposure to key experts, networks and important contacts in academia and beyond. This will enhance the reputation and profile of our students, their employability and future scholarly success, as well as their ability to contribute to creating change in a challenging contemporary society.” Keynote speakers and their topics will include: Professor Alan Haywood, University of Leeds - Palaeoclimate Modelling of Extreme Events. Dr Conor Murphy, NUI Maynooth - Hydro-climatic extremes from the year 1700 to present: data rescue, reanalysis and documentary sources. Dr Christy Swann, US Naval Research Laboratory - Coastal Storm Events: Field observations of fluid flow, sediment transport and morphodynamics in the nearshore. Professor Michael Hartnett, NUI Galway - Modelling storm surges and coastal urban flooding. Dr David Serrano Giné, Rovira i Virgili University, Spain - Assessing social carrying capacity of vulnerable coastlines. A panel discussion on research opportunities and research directions. For further information about the event, visit: http://bit.ly/2svXPbl -Ends-

Monday, 26 June 2017

NUI Galway will host the 10th World Sponge Conference for five days this week, 26-30 June. This is the biggest event on sponges in the world and the first time it is being held in Ireland. It will bring together the youngest and brightest minds and international scientists from all over the globe to present their latest research findings on sponges, a group of common animals in our seas that have the possibility of yielding the next wonder drug for treating serious medical conditions. Sea sponges are an ancient group of animals that appeared more than 600 million years ago that have many of the same genes as humans. Scientists are taking advantage of sponges to isolate marine natural compounds from these organisms to develop medicines useful in the treatment of human diseases such as cancer. Scientists at NUI Galway and around the world have been carrying out research on marine sponges that have been discovered to produce toxins that can target a range of different cancers and other diseases and will share and discuss this research at the conference. These ancient sea sponges could hold the key to a breakthrough in a range of diseases and infections like MRSA. Very little is known about sponges despite them being important members of the marine environment stretching from the coast to the deep sea and from the Polar regions to the tropics. The conference will reflect on the main areas in which sponge biology is developing at present, as well as traditional research categories. It will also provide a platform to bring together industry and sponge science and explore how to further develop sponge natural products. There will also be discussion fora to address topics of particular interest or which are developing at speed, such as systematics, natural products and genomics. It will be an important venue for early stage researchers to communicate their work and meet with established international researchers. Professor Grace McCormack, Conference Chair and a Zoologist in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “The conference is the biggest gathering of this research community in its 40 year history. Galway has been a very attractive destination for scientists from all over the world. We have a jam packed programme with cutting-edge science being presented and it will form the basis of a book to be published later in the year. Sponges have developed an extensive array of chemicals to protect themselves against bacteria, viruses and attack by other organisms. One such compound formed the basis for the anti-HIV drug AZ used by millions of humans. Sponges may also provide sources of nanoparticles of silica for the biotech industry as well as other biomolecules such as collagens.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “We can learn so much from the natural world. Over 8000 species of sponge are currently described by science, and although these are simple organisms, they have outstanding attributes - such as the ability to regenerate. Our University, here on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, has a range of marine research underway, including the exploration of marine sponges in the treatment of human disease. This conference is an ideal opportunity to collaborate, exchange knowledge, and advance research in this field.” Keynote speakers include Professor Sally Leys, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta in Canada, whose group as marine biologists takes them on yearly research cruises to study deep-water glass sponge reefs in coastal British Columbia, and to study sponges in Norway, Panama and the Canadian Arctic. Associate Professor James Bell, a marine biologist in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. And several other leading international marine academics and researchers. The World Sponge Conference is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Marine Institute, NUI Galway and Fáilte Ireland. The conference will take place from Monday 26-30 June in the Arts Science Concourse at NUI Galway. For more conference details, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=489. -Ends-

Friday, 23 June 2017

The new O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance at NUI Galway, designed by Taylor Architects with Richard Murphy Architects, and built by local contractor Purcell Construction, has been voted Ireland’s favourite new building: it was the Public Choice in this year’s RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2017, which are announced later today at the RIAI annual awards ceremony. Now in their 28th year, the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are the premier architectural awards in Ireland. The Awards recognise excellence in design and the contribution made by architecture to society for everyone’s benefit. The public choice award was a particularly large category with a shortlist of 60 houses, offices, schools and colleges, heritage locations and public spaces to choose from. The O’Donoghue Centre building is a protected structure adjacent to the Bank of Ireland Theatre and the Bailey Allen Hall on the NUI Galway campus. Originally a bonded warehouse it had served as a munitions factory.  Its most recent use by the University was as engineering laboratories prior to the construction of the new engineering building.  The project involved the complete renovation and refurbishment of the building and provides a home for Drama, Theatre and Performance studies.    This pioneering Centre is a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It comprises of studio spaces, a classroom, and a workshop and rehearsal room that will have a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus. Speaking about the award, NUI Galway’s VP for Capital Project Keith Warnock, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that the O’Donoghue Centre is Ireland’s favourite new building. The design for the conversion of this nineteenth century industrial structure by Taylor Architects (Castlebar) and Richard Murphy Architects (Edinburgh), was crucial. The incorporation of the latest technology in the theatre space and elsewhere contrasts attractively with the solid stone walls which remind us of the building’s origins. This new state-of-the-art facility will act as a central hub for cultural innovation and creativity in the University and Galway City. The ‘Public Vote’ award adds to the growing appreciation of the physical infrastructure at NUI Galway and reaffirms our confidence in the programme of campus development we have undertaken over the last decade.” Just recently opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the building on Earl’s Island began life as a bleach and flax mill in the 1850s. It was then converted into a jute factory, became a bonded warehouse, a factory for making cannon shells during World War I and was occupied by the 6th Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers during the War of Independence. In 1935 it became Irish Metal Industries and was officially opened by Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on July 22 1935. The Centre recognises the generous philanthropic support of Galway businessman, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “As a resident of this fine structure we are thrilled to hear this news about the award and thrilled for incoming drama students who will get to study and perform in Ireland’s favourite building! This Centre has opened at a time when governments are beginning to understand the essential role of creativity in the wellbeing of their nations – and not only in the cultural sphere. There is growing evidence that creative arts contribute to our communities’ wellbeing, including our mental and physical health. And we’re also seeing evidence that business leaders recognise the importance of creativity as a key skill.” The award also adds to the accolades of the University in this particular public choice award having also taken the plaudits in 2012 for new Engineering Building. For further course information at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/  -ENDS-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

More and more research is pointing to the role the immune system plays in causing neurological disorders. Finding out how it fits with psychosis will be the focus of the annual Immune Function in Psychosis (iPsychosis) Meeting at NUI Galway on 29-30 June. The aim of this year’s conference is to link up researchers in the field, and establish a European network in the area. Topics covered will range from the genetics of immune function in psychosis to pharmacological approaches to treating inflammation in psychosis. Speaking in advance of the event Professor Gary Donohoe from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “The iPsychosis meeting will bring together international leaders in the field of psychosis research to discuss the role of immune function in the development of schizophrenia and related disorders. Generously funded by Science Foundation Ireland, this two day meeting will be an opportunity to review current knowledge, identify gaps and plan future research in this important area.” World leaders in the field who will speak at the conference include: Professor Oliver Howes, King’s College London Dr Tina Notter, University of Zurich Professor Norbert Muller-Ludwig, Maximilians Univeristy Munich Professor Hemmo Drexhage, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam Dr Golam Khander, University of Cambridge Professor Brian Leonard, NUI Galway Dr Golum Khandaker, Clinical Lecturer in Cambridge Neuroscience at University of Cambridge, said: “Research on the immunological basis of schizophrenia is at the cutting edge of research into the causes of this highly disabling disorder. A better understanding of the immunological basis of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders may lead to new treatments.” The conference will take place on Thursday 29 June from 8:30am-5pm and Friday 30 June, from 9am-5pm in room G065 of the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. For more conference details, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=499 -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway has won out over Oxford University to host a major international conference in 2021. The conference is the 11th European Solid Mechanics Conference 2021 – ESMC2021 – that will attract 1000 delegates to the University campus in July 2021, from across Europe and beyond. This will be the largest engineering or science conference that has ever been held at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway bid to host the conference won out over stiff competition in a bid from Oxford University at a ballot of the ESMC Committee, with the University coming out with 100% of the votes cast, and the decision was confirmed by the overarching Euromech Council at their recent meeting in St Petersburg. Solid mechanics is an area of study where mathematics and the principles of physics are applied to gain fundamental understanding on how different materials respond to forces applied to them: supporting the forces, deforming under the action of the forces, and ultimately fracturing. Solid mechanics is the bedrock of engineering design in areas such as mechanical engineering, civil and structural engineering, and biomedical engineering. It is a critically important element in the design and development of almost all products in these areas, such as aircraft, automobiles, buildings, bridges, and medical implants and devices. NUI Galway has a proud history of achievement in solid mechanics, and it is a topic in which the University currently has significant world class strength, spanning engineering and applied mathematics in particular. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and the ESMC2021 Conference Chair, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for NUI Galway, and it provides clear confirmation of our world class standing and reputation for excellence in engineering and physical sciences. The conference provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase the educational and research impact of the University, and of course our beautiful campus, to the world. In addition to a attracting a large international attendance, the conference will involve direct participation by local and national industry, particularly in the MedTech and manufacturing sectors.” The conference will have major positive implications for the international visibility of NUI Galway and Galway city itself. An event of this size will have strong benefits for the local economy with Fáilte Ireland statistics citing an average spend of €1,600 per overseas delegate attending a conference, three times that of a leisure tourist. Business Tourism is Irelands most lucrative and highest yielding tourism sector, it is worth €700 million to the Irish economy and sustains 20,000 jobs.  NUI Galway plays a major role in business tourism in the west of Ireland, hosting over 20,000 conference delegates in 2016 with an estimated revenue of €3.2 million to the local economy. 16 international conferences will be held in NUI Galway during the month of June alone. The University has a very high success rate in winning bids for international conferences and works closely with Fáilte Ireland and Meet in Galway to promote Galway and Ireland as a destination to host international events with events booked up to 2022.   -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Humanitarianism is in crisis. From Syria to South Sudan, Somalia to Yemen, war, insecurity, and the spectre of famine threaten the lives of millions of people. But how can history help with the response? A group of historians and aid workers will meet at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway from the 22-23 June for an Irish Research Council-funded workshop on humanitarian intervention in Somalia since the 1990s. The event is entitled ‘Humanitarian History: Reflections on Somalia’ and the groups aim is to re-insert history into discussions about the on-going humanitarian crisis in that region. What can we learn from the past? What did and didn’t work in the field? What factors shaped the practice of humanitarian aid? Such an approach is urgently needed. The Somalian crisis helped to re-define humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era. It altered understandings of humanitarian aid as a tool of international security, raised questions about NGO engagement with local politics, and offered massive logistical challenges in the delivery of aid. Its legacy still resonates, linking UNHCR involvement in the return of refugees from Dadaab in southern Kenya (home to more than 250,000 people) with the chaos and uncertainty facing arrivals in Greece. Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, Director of the MA History in the School of Humanities at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to collaborate with Trócaire on this project, and to welcome such a diverse group of participants to Galway. This workshop is an exciting opportunity to reflect on the contexts in which aid agencies operate, at home and in the field, the processes that have helped shape their activities, and the deep-rooted, and complex, power relationships that underpin them. More than that, however, it is also a chance to look forward. As we stand waist-deep in a worsening global humanitarian emergency in 2017, reflecting on Somalia's history, we hope, it will offer important insights into the future of aid.” The workshop’s keynote address will be delivered by Geoffrey Loane of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who was the Red Cross’s regional relief co-ordinator in Somalia in the early 1990s and later managed the International Red Cross response to the Rwanda genocide. Other participants include representatives from Trócaire, Concern, Médecins sans Frontières, Somalia NGO Consortium, the University of Manchester, Tufts University, and the Overseas Development Institute. Eamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, said: “Somalia is one of the most difficult situations in which Trócaire has ever worked. Since 1992 Ireland has been at the forefront of humanitarian support in Somalia. The support and aid that people in Ireland have committed to Somalia for over thirty years has saved generations of families. But children have grown into adults knowing nothing but war. It is difficult to watch how Somalia has been abused and neglected at a political and international level. This conference is a chance for humanitarians, global academic experts and Somali diaspora to reflect and learn from the past and look to the future of Somalia.” The workshop is being organised by the School of Humanities at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Trócaire and funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. For more information, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/humanitarian-history-reflections-on-somalia-tickets-34726296287 -Ends- 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A study led by scientists from the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) and the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, CÚRAM, based at NUI Galway, has developed a new type of implantable device to provide localised drug treatment and prevent infection. It has already proven effective against two types of major device infection bacteria. Publishing their results this week in the journal Biomedical Materials, the NUI Galway research team show that stabilised collagen scaffolds loaded with a particular antibiotic were able to prevent two infection causing bacteria, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis from forming. Lead author of the paper, Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis from NUI Galway’s REMODEL and CÚRAM said: “Implant infections remain a major healthcare problem. They can require long hospitalisation periods to disturb and treat bacterial biofilm formation. There can also be a need for additional surgeries to remove or replace the infected implant, which if not done in time may lead to sepsis. Although localised drug treatment, via an implanted scaffold has shown promise, the ideal scaffold cross-linking (to initially withstand the aggressive infection environment) and drug (to fight against infection) have not, until now, been found.” The NUI Galway research team, including Dr Gerard Wall of Microbiology and CÚRAM, first ventured to identify the optimal hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI) concentration that would offer suitable biomechanical, biochemical and biological properties. HMDI was chosen as it is a Food and Drug Administration approved cross-linking agent for collagen-based medical devices. They then loaded the optimally cross-linked collagen scaffolds with variable concentrations of the antibiotics Cefaclor and Ranalexin to identify the minimum effective concentration required to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis, two of the most frequently encountered bacteria in medical device infection. Dr Zeugolis added: “The development of our drug-loaded collagen device marks an important step forward. First, the sustained and localised delivery system that we developed avoids issues associated with systemic drug administration, such as antibiotic resistance. Further, we contributed towards finding a solution against a severe economic burden to healthcare systems internationally.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM commented, “CÚRAM’s goal is to develop affordable transformative solutions to improve quality of life for people suffering from chronic illnesses. Dr Zeugolis’ work continues to push towards this goal and will have real impact for patients and for the future medical device development.” To read the full paper in Biomedical Materials, visit: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-605X/aa6de0. -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway to host conversation with Wall Street veteran on ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’ The J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics and The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host a public event on the outlook for the global economy and financial markets entitled, ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’. President Trump has called for an overhaul of economic policies in the United States to boost growth. Nearer to home, Brexit negotiations have opened, but a bumpy road lies ahead. Meanwhile, the European economy is at last showing signs of recovery and European businesses are optimistic. In an intimate conversation, the Whitaker Institute’s Alan Ahearne will speak with Wall Street veteran and Fulbright Specialist Dr Michael Driscoll and NUI Galway’s Professor John McHale about the outlook for the global economy, exploring opportunities for Ireland in the current climate. Will President Trump's economic plan succeed in “making America great again”? Is Trump’s honeymoon with the stock market coming to an end? Is the election of Emmanuel Macron a turning point for Europe? The panelists will provide various perspectives - political, economic and more. This will be followed by an interactive audience question and answer session. Dr Michael J Driscoll is a Clinical Professor of Finance at Willumstad School of Business, Adelphi University in New York, a Fulbright US Scholar to NUI Galway, and former Wall Street executive. Professor John McHale is Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law at NUI Galway, and former Chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. Professor Alan Ahearne is Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, and former special adviser to the Minister for Finance. Dr Driscoll has been a frequent contributor to global media outlets such as Bloomberg, CNN and Voice of America.  Commenting ahead of the event, Dr Driscoll said: “Rarely have we seen a period in recent economic history where geo-political factors have the potential to have such a profound impact on markets. A discussion of Ireland and the EU and the political situation in the US is timely and relevant. Events over the last few years could have significant beneficial opportunities for Ireland and the Irish people in the context of the global economy and specifically between the relationships between the EU and the US.” Professor John McHale at NUI Galway, said: “For as long as I can remember it has been said that we are living though unusually uncertain times. But with Brexit, Trump and worries about the post-crisis future of growth, today’s economic environment does seem truly uncertain. With his deep knowledge as practitioner and analyst of the global economic and financial system, Michael Driscoll is perfectly positioned to interpret the major forces affecting the world economy and to give us a better sense of what lies ahead.” The event will take place on Monday, 26 June in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway from 6pm-7pm. A reception with light refreshments will precede the event and begin at 5.30pm. The event is free and open to the public, and those who wish to attend must pre-register at: http://bit.ly/2sVEK4W -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

An international team of US, Canadian, Italian, Finnish, French and Irish-based researchers, led by Professor Colin O’Dowd from NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, have conclusively shown that surfactants can significantly enhance cloud formation, ultimately increasing the cooling effect of clouds.  It is the first time a team of researchers have confirmed this hypothesis under natural environmental conditions, and encapsulated it in a robust theoretical framework. The study was published this week in the globally prestigious scientific journal Nature. Clouds and greenhouse gases act in tandem to balance the Earth’s energy budget thereby controlling climate. While greenhouse gases keep the heat within the earth system, whereby leading to warming, clouds reduce the amount of incoming energy into the system leading to cooling. An increase in availability of cloud nuclei (typically in the form of airborne haze particles) leads to more droplets in the cloud, making it more reflective and longer-lived, thus increasing its cooling effect.   Such enhancement in cloud nuclei abundance can occur through an increase in either their absolute profusion, or, their efficiency at forming droplets at lower water vapour humidities in the air. The most common and generally most efficient form of cloud nuclei found are water soluble inorganic salts (such as sea salt and sulphates)  however, if those were mixed or entirely made of organic compounds they would possess low water solubility and suppress the nuclei activity. The game changes, however, if surfactants are present in the organic mix. Surfactants are 'wetting agents' that lower the surface tension of water. They are also called surface-active agents, a substance such as a detergent that, when added to a liquid, reduces its surface tension. Although the role of surfactants in promoting cloud droplet formation was proposed two decades ago, it has been disputed for almost as long, with one camp promoting a significant effect and the other camp claiming that the surface tension effect is cancelled by the simultaneous reduction in the solute, or Raoult, effect which is driven by the dissolution of the salt ions in the solution. Current theories simply find that these two effects counteract each other so suppression of droplet formation by less-soluble organics dominates.   The international team pushed the experimental and theoretical boundaries of atmospheric science research to elucidate this phenomenon using state-of-the-art aerosol mass spectrometer in conjunction with the most advanced thermodynamic droplet model. In  simulating the cloud droplet activation process using mixed organic-inorganic nuclei, they revealed that surface tension can be lowered without triggering changes in the Raoult (solute) effect through a process known as liquid-liquid phase separation (essentially an organic-rich layer on the drop’s surface keeps the surfactants separated from the internal aqueous solution occupying the core of the droplet). The model was able to explain the tenfold increases in cloud droplet number concentration observed. They concluded that this phenomenon could be detected in many diverse environments throughout the world, reinforcing its role in cloud brightening and global climate cooling. Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, scientist at the School of Physics at NUI Galway and lead author of the paper, said: “This study represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of cloud droplet formation from both an experimental and theoretical perspective. The next challenge is to scale up this nanometer scale finding to the global level through the incorporation of the surface tension effect into global climate models.” Dr Darius Ceburnis, Mace Head Operations Manager at NUI Galway, added: “These advanced breakthroughs are only achievable through investment in continuous, realtime, and state-of-the-art measurements of Essential Climate Variables and Air Pollution at stations such as Mace Head, which is endorsed by the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme, and is one of the most advanced stations of its kind in the world. Mace Head is strategically located in a remote area to monitor how dirty the cleanest air has become. The publication in the most prestigious journal globally, Nature, is a reward for such an investment and is the second one in as many years.” The study was funded by the European Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency and the research was hosted at NUI Galway’s Climate and Air Pollution Research Facility at Mace Head in Carna, Co Galway, on the Galway-Atlantic coastline. To read the full study in Nature visit http://www.nature.com/nature.  For more information on Mace Head, visit: www.macehead.org. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ahead of the Leaving Certificate Change of Mind deadline on 1 July, NUI Galway will gather experts from across campus to help prospective students and their parents with their final CAO decision. NUI Galway is one of the first universities to provide this interactive platform of support to students and parents in making their final CAO choices.   The interactive broadcast will be streamed live on NUI Galway’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/nuigalway on Wednesday, 28 June, at 3pm. A panel of experts from across campus will assemble in the Aula to help students and parents with any outstanding questions on points, course choices, the registration process, accommodation options and support services.   Speaking about the CAO deadline, Mary Liddy, Deputy Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, “The final week before the 1st of July CAO Change of Mind deadline, is an important time for students to reflect and ensure they have made the right decisions in their CAO application. I will be joining The Big Decision panel to answer your questions on the application process and what is important to remember at this final stage of the application journey.”  The panel will be made up of representatives from all fives Colleges across the campus to answer questions about courses in Arts, Social Sciences & Celtic Studies, Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Business, Public Policy & Law, Engineering & Informatics or Science. Additionally the event will also feature representatives from Admissions, Accommodation and Support Service teams to provide essential information on all aspects of the application process and student supports.  With the final CAO deadline approaching, the decision process may seem overwhelming for both students and parents. Emer Casey, Student Counsellor at NUI Galway said “As a counsellor, I am very aware that students can get anxious when making big life decisions like this. I will be sharing some top tips in relation to the decision-making process and how to manage the anxiety that can be present at this time. These are useful tips that can help with any decision, especially one that seems daunting.”  Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions students will ever make. NUI Galway is one of Ireland's top universities for graduate employability. 96% of undergraduate students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. NUI Galway has risen in the QS World University Rankings for the fifth consecutive year, the only Irish University to achieve this distinction, now positioned in the Top 1% globally, according to QS. University rankings are designed to help prospective students make informed comparisons between leading universities around the world.  Join NUI Galway on Facebook live on 28 June at 3pm. Leaving Certificate students and parents will have the opportunity to post questions via Facebook comments to the panel during the stream. If you would like to pose questions in advance please email visit@nuigalway.ie.  -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

Summer School will discuss prosecuting the most serious crimes known to humanity and will include a special session on corporate crimes The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the School of Law in NUI Galway will host its 18th Summer School on the International Criminal Court for five days from 19-23 June. The International Criminal Court in the Hague is the world’s only permanent judicial body tasked with prosecuting persons for the most serious crimes known to the international community, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court has been operational since 2002 and has tried individuals from a number of African countries, including Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali, while the Prosecutor is currently examining potential crimes in Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq and Palestine. Since 2000 the Summer School at NUI Galway has welcomed leading international experts and practitioners to Galway to participate in this event and to analyse the progress of the International Criminal Court to date. During five days of intensive lectures delivered by leading specialists in the field, delegates are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, structures and activities. Key speakers at this year’s Summer School include Professor William Schabas, of Middlesex University and Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, widely regarded as the foremost academic expert on the International Criminal Court. From 2002 to 2004 Professor Schabas served as one of three international members of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Don Ferencz, a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and a Research Associate at the Oxford University Faculty of Law Centre for Criminology, who is the Convener of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression; and Dr Fabricio Guariglia, the Director of the Prosecution Division at the International Criminal Court and a highly experienced prosecutor who has been involved in numerous serious crimes cases. In October 1998 Dr Guariglia joined the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. According to Dr Shane Darcy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway: “The International Criminal Court is the world’s principal court for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and it is important that it can hold to account all those who may contribute to the commission of international crimes. Ending impunity and deterring future atrocities requires bringing the law to bear not only on the planners and perpetrators, but also those who benefit from serious human rights abuses.” The 2017 Summer School on the International Criminal Court includes a special session on corporate crimes, which will consider the prospects for corporate accountability at the Court, examine crimes such as pillage during times of armed conflict and assess the potential liability of those that finance or profit from international crimes. For further information on the Summer School visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=497   -Ends-  

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Geec 3.0 (Galway energy-efficient car), designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, recently jumped up the international rankings in the premiere global competition for extreme fuel-efficiency in cars, the Shell Eco-marathon Europe, in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. The students designed, built and tested version 3.0 of the Geec, and competed against top European university engineering schools in London. The global competition is a race in efficiency, not speed, where the winner is the car that completes the course using the least amount of fuel or energy. NUI Galway was taking part for the third time, and remains the only Irish competitor. This year’s track consisted of 10 laps over 15.7 kilometres, including a steep climb which previously caused trouble for many of the ultralight low-powered cars. This time, the Geec displayed total reliability and the team progressed quickly, surpassing last year’s score of 236 kilometres per kilowatt-hour on the second run. After a judicious change of motor and gears, and some late-night re-engineering for weight reduction, the team hoped to make a leap in performance. NUI Galway fourth-year engineering student Dylan Ryan from Tipperary, one of the design team leaders, said: “The last few hours before our final runs were the make-or-break point. We knew what score we could theoretically achieve, so it was a matter of whether we wanted to take a risk and start chopping weight out of the car, or use those last few hours to tune and optimise the car. We chose to optimise.” The Geec team completed 10 trouble-free laps with a record energy score of 354 kilometres per kilowatt-hour. This placed the team in a final 13th place of 41 competitors in the battery-electric prototype category, a jump from 21st place in 2016. In just three years, successive Geec teams have progressed from newcomer status to the upper tiers of the competition, where they now aim to compete amongst the most advanced ultra-efficient prototype cars in the world. The car’s performance is the equivalent to approximately 10,500 miles per gallon of diesel. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “The Geec project is clearly a great learning experience for the students involved, and a great opportunity to showcase the University internationally, and particularly the quality of the work underway in the College of Engineering and Informatics.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The Geec is one of the shining lights of success in the College of Engineering and Informatics, representing a wonderful collaboration between students and staff and across the engineering disciplines.” The Geec team consists of 20 students in Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Electronic and Computer, and Energy Systems engineering, from first to fourth year, mentored by lecturers Dr Maeve Duffy, Dr Rory Monaghan, Dr Nathan Quinlan and Dr Martin Glavin from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Engineering student Niamh Keogh from Oughterard in Co Galway is one of the two Geec drivers and also worked on analysis and design of the car. She added: “The Geec is one of the most challenging but rewarding projects I've participated in. Nothing compares to the thrill of getting to race the car after putting so much time and work into designing, building and perfecting it.” The Geec has been generously sponsored in 2016 and 2017 by the Tony Ryan Trust through Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Blackstone Launchpad, ÉireComposites, CADFEM UK & Ireland, ANSYS, Molex, GE, Tool Trays, David Nestor Freight Services, Enform Plastics, MathWorks and IPG Automotive.  To find out more about the Geec, visit www.theGeec.ie, or follow theGeec.ie on Facebook or @theGeec on Twitter.  -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

Fr Peter McVerry, a social justice activist and long-term advocate of young people and families who are homeless, has launched two new degree programmes – one full-time and one part-time under the academic stewardship of the School of Political Science and Sociology and supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Formerly known as the BA in Youth and Family Studies, the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice is a significantly enhanced programme delivered full-time over four years and offering a supervised and challenging eight-month work placement in year three. Dr Cormac Forkan, Programme Director, at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This course is for students who know that their career lies either in practice with children, youth and families or in implementing and shaping public policy.” The BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, a sister programme of the first, is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their understanding, knowledge and skills relevant to Community, Youth and Family work, in terms of both practice and policy. As a part-time programme, using blended learning methods of delivery, this programme is innovative in its approach promoting active learning in the workplace (paid and unpaid) with assessments based on real life situations in a practice environment. This collaboration between the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Centre for Adult learning and Professional Development will also allow students to move between full-time and part-time programmes where necessary, as well as ensuring a comprehensive range of choices are available for prospective students interested in working in the child, youth, family or community sectors. Speaking at the launch, Fr Peter McVerry, said: “Children, youth and family are the basis of society but we tend to think that they can function without any learning or supports or help and that the family can look after itself. I think it is hugely important that we invest in supporting families, in supporting children that are struggling. It is vital for the full well-being of society, so programmes like this are essential.” Fr McVerry continued: “As both of these two new programmes are run in association with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, it brings a professionalism. To have the learning that is provided here to people who are going out to work on the ground with children, young people and families is hugely beneficial. If we want to build a society that is safe, and secure and at peace and in solidarity with each other, we really have to invest in working with families and young people in a very professional way.” The programmes were launched at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre’s 8th Biennial Family Support Conference entitled ‘Rediscovering empathy; values, relationships and practice in a changing world’ . The focus of this conference was on the concepts of empathy and relationship based working as they relate to policy and practice with children, youth and families. For further information on the BA in Child, Youth and Family: Policy and Practice, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/youthandfamilystudies/ and for the BA in Community, Youth and Family Studies, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/adult-learning/courses/community-education.  -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at NUI Galway will host its 15th Annual Symposium on Higher Education on Friday 23 June. The event will explore a wide range of issues around the nature of the ‘scholarly community’ that is meant to be the hallmark of universities and other higher education institutions. The conference, entitled “Learning Communities, Collaboration, and Collegiality”, will try to explore what we mean by ‘learning community’ and ‘collegiality’. These questions are particularly pertinent in the current context of mass higher education, the pressures to focus on research outputs, highly constrained funding, and increasing workloads. Our systems of reward are often based on individual achievement which raises the question of how to build a more collective sense of academic citizenship. Participants will also discuss ways of supporting staff and students to work together to develop creative, collaborative solutions to some of these challenges, and to adapt to the changing nature of society and educational participation. Professor Iain MacLaren, Director of the Centre for Excellence and Teaching at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to be hosting such an event. Given the various challenges and pressures faced by contemporary higher education institutions, it is important for us to take time out to look at the impact on institutional culture, individual well-being, and academic achievement. This event provides just such an opportunity and brings together researchers, teachers, students, and support staff to tackle the issues collectively.” The conference will feature keynote speakers: Professor Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, University of Bedfordshire – Professor Kinman has researched extensively the working conditions in higher education and the issues of stress, and will highlight those factors that challenge attempts to flourish in academia and how to overcome them. Professor David Harper, Principal of Van Mildert College and Professor of Palaeontology, University of Durham – Professor Harper will describe how the college-based model of education, where undergraduate students spend time in ‘living learning communities’ can help with developing academic, personal, and professional confidence. Professor Catherine Manathunga, Victoria University, Melbourne – Professor Manathunga has researched issues around intercultural communication and education and will discuss how this impacts in the supervision of research students. FFlur Elin, President of the National University of Students, Wales – Ms Elin is an advocate of ‘liberating the curriculum’ and ways in which institutions can live up to the aspirations of being responsive and reflective of an increasingly diverse student population. Representatives from Céim, the highly successful student peer-learning initiative run by NUI Galway Student’s Union and the University. They will share experiences and innovations, and participate in workshops around educational leadership and professional development. The Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion with additional contributions from the research community by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, and a national student perspective from Jack Leahy from Union of Students in Ireland and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. To register, visit: http://tinyurl.com/celt17 The conference will take place at Áras Moyola in NUI Galway on Friday 23 June at 9.30am. -Ends-

Friday, 16 June 2017

How decision making impacts both business and science will be discussed at 36th meeting of the European Group of Process Tracing Studies in Judgement and Decision Making Decision making is part of everyday life. The science behind how and why we make certain decisions will be the focus of a conference at NUI Galway from 22-24 June. Studies on delayed gratification, consumer decision making and how our emotions impact our decisions will be discussed by world-leaders in the field. The 36th meeting of the European Group of Process Tracing Studies in Judgement and Decision Making (EGPROC) is an annual gathering of researchers investigating the fundamental psychological processes involved in decision making. For instance, how do we know what options are available to us and how do we compare these options when making decisions? To understand these psychological processes, researchers use a variety of technical approaches. Some researchers track how we move our hands and eyes during decision making. Other researchers measure brain activity during decision making. Some researchers even ask their participants to talk aloud when making complex decisions. In addition to presenting the latest advances in the field, the meeting aims to facilitate the transfer of best practice in these technical approaches across laboratories to support the development of the next generation of decision making researchers. Dr Denis O’Hora from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, says: “When we move as we are making decisions, it is possible for decision processes to affect our movements. This satisfies everyday intuitions. For example, negotiators and poker players claim to be attuned to ‘tells,’ early behavioural indicators of eventual decisions. The current conference goes beyond intuitions, however, using detailed experiments to highlight how we make decisions.” Conference organiser, Dr Arkady Zgonnikov from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, Irish Research Council Government of Ireland postdoctoral fellow, said: “To truly understand human decisions we believe it’s important to go beyond what we choose and look closely at how we arrive at our decisions. That’s what this conference is all about.” Dr Zgonnikov added: “We are especially proud to have as a keynote speaker, Professor Neil Stewart of Warwick University, one of the world’s leading experts on eye movements in decision making. Although the conference is relatively small, we are very excited to host it and we look forward to welcoming the participants to Galway this summer.” The conference is sponsored by the European Association for Decision Making (EADM) and will take place in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway on 22-24 June at 2pm. For full conference details, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=508 -Ends-

Monday, 19 June 2017

NUI Galway Students ‘Coachbook’ online platform wins €10,000 prize Paddy MacDonagh and Chris Bogues, both final year Bachelor of Commerce students at NUI Galway, have won the overall Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneurs of the Year Award and have been named ‘College Entrepreneurs of the Year 2017’. The winning entrants beat off stiff competition with their project ‘Coachbook’, an online platform for riding coaches to train horse riders remotely through live video streaming. The project started in January 2017 as part of the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module at NUI Galway (available to all final year students of Commerce, Business Information Systems, Information Technology and Engineering programmes) and has won multiple awards within the University throughout the semester. Dr Johanna Clancy, Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module lecturer, at NUI Galway, said: “I am very proud of our team and this wonderful achievement. Paddy and Chris are excellent ambassadors for NUI Galway. This module receives great support locally, where mentors from Galway-based businesses, multinational corporations and start-ups, guide our students in developing and refining their business ideas. This collaboration is invaluable and we are extremely grateful for the impact it has on the 400 students who take this module.” Paddy MacDonagh has worked with Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway since 2016. As a team, the Coachbook project utilised all the supports available through Blackstone LaunchPad to develop their business idea and take their project to market. Natalie Walsh from Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “It has been amazing to work with such a passionate team on such a novel and fantastic idea, and to see the students develop and learn from both inside of the classroom and through our programme on campus. Initiatives such as the Innovation Creativity and Enterprise module and our experiential programme in Blackstone LaunchPad is something every student should experience. The skills learned stay with our students for life.” The Student Entrepreneur Awards are part of a major drive aimed at encouraging students to start their own business as a career option. The substantial prize fund includes €35,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees which are available for winners to help them turn their idea into a commercial reality. In addition to the top prize, the winning team will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept. Brendan Flood, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Now in its 36th year, the Student Entrepreneur Awards attracted submissions from over 560 third level students from colleges across Ireland. This competition gives students valuable hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business. The calibre of applications clearly demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive across Ireland’s universities and colleges. Congratulations to all involved.”  -Ends-

Friday, 16 June 2017

If you are interested in advancing your qualifications to keep up-to-date with new business processes or wish to develop new skills to assist in achieving your personal or professional goals, there is no shortage of flexible course options to be showcased at NUI Galway’s upcoming Adult Learners Information Evening on Wednesday 21 June. Students will meet representatives from over 40 part-time programmes which will be showcased at the event. These include subject areas of Business and Management, Community Education, Adult Training and Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology programmes. Nuala McGuinn, Director at the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway, said: “With courses being offered through classroom-based mode, online or through a blend of both, flexibility and a range of student supports are guaranteed to all students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs.” Among the new programmes on offer at NUI Galway from September 2017, is the Diploma in Political Science and Sociology. This innovative programme explores issues affecting the modern world and political structures and policies, and is an ideal choice for second level teachers interested in teaching the new Leaving Certificate module ‘Politics and Society’ to Junior Certificate Level. The Diploma in Management is also new for 2017 and looks at the principles of contemporary management, and organisational psychology and behaviour in organisational effectiveness. “Through this programme, students develop essential negotiation and management skills and learn to apply this knowledge to a wide range of organisational settings”, explains NUI Galway programme coordinator, Eilis O’Regan. The popular BA in Humanities and Social Sciences is also on offer with a range of study paths in English, History, Archaeology, Languages, Irish Studies and Economics. While developing a deep understanding of these content areas, as part of the course students will also develop strong research, writing and analytical skills, and key transversal skills which will prepare them well for future promotion and employment. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Automation and Control and Lean and Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas. Study options are available at Diploma, Degree and individual module level. There are 60 free course places on these Diploma programmes under the Springboard initiative for unemployed and employed students.  As all occupations are becoming more knowledge-based, there is an increasing emphasis on Continuing Professional Development (CPD). These courses are ideal for learners who do not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for those who require a module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling. “Adult learners at NUI Galway can chose individual modules from a suite of standalone courses in Adult Training and Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Community Education, Social Care, Business and many others”, says Nuala McGuinn. Diplomas are also available in a selection of high quality language courses for adult learners. Students practice their chosen language through a variety of activities, such as guided speaking practice, listening comprehension activities, grammar and vocabulary exercises. Languages on offer include Gaeilge, French, Italian (via classroom mode and online), Spanish and German. Other related professional development opportunities are offered in Early Childhood Studies, Information Technology, Play Therapy, Community Education, Business and Adult Training and Education Studies.  The Career Development Centre at NUI Galway will provide free one-to-one career consultations on a first come, first served basis, from 5.30 - 7.00pm at the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway. For a full list of programmes and application details, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/adultlearning or phone 091 494066 to speak with a programme coordinator. Visit the Centre’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adultlearning/. -Ends-

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín from the Discipline of History and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, has been awarded the prestigious Parnell Fellowship in Irish Studies at Cambridge University for the year 2017-2018. The appointment is a Professorial Visiting Fellowship offered every year by Cambridge University to a distinguished Irish scholar or artist. The first such Fellow was (Senator) Professor Joseph Lee of UCC (1992-1993). The most recent Fellows include Professor Roy Foster, Hertford College, Oxford (2015-2016), and Professor Frank McGuinness of UCD (2016-2017). The Parnell Fellowship is a major award, with recipients nominated by the scholarly community of Cambridge University. The award is a peer-recognition of the highest distinction in the recipient's field of studies. Speaking about his Fellowship appointment, Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín at NUI Galway, said: “This is a very gratifying recognition of a lifetime's work in Irish Studies and honour for myself, for History in Galway, and for the University as a whole.” The prestigious nature of this Parnell Fellowship is a celebration of NUI Galway as a centre of excellence and of Professor Ó Cróinín’s individual contributions to world-class research in the fields of Early Irish History and Medieval Studies, Celtic Studies, and Computistics. The award offers a unique opportunity to carry out research in Cambridge, with its world-renowned manuscript libraries and company of first-class scholars. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The award of the Parnell Fellowship to Professor Ó Cróinín is a huge honour, recognising a career of leading work in a demanding field that studies the foundations of Irish culture and history. His contribution to academic life in Ireland and beyond has been immense.” The Parnell Fellow is hosted by Magdalene College. For more information on the Fellowship, visit: http://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/fellows/Visiting/ -Ends-

Thursday, 15 June 2017

NUI Galway is bringing together key investors for the launch of the ‘E-Health Research and Innovation Network’ today (14 June) as supported by the Irish Research Council. The focus of the event will be to establish and launch a Digital Health Research Network, which will act as a public interface for digital health stakeholders across academia, industry and healthcare.  The purpose of this launch is to bring key digital health stakeholders together to discuss, plan and begin the implementation of a national digital health research network with the aims of: Increasing strategic interdisciplinary eHealth Research and Innovation capacity in Ireland. Provide a platform for stakeholders to share digital research knowledge and resources Establish a collaborative network of interdisciplinary researchers and industry partners. To act, as a point of contact between research and industry. Act as a database for people to find digital health researchers and industry partners Foster links with international collaborators, national stakeholders to further develop the E-Health Research and Innovation Network. The Centre for Pain Research in the School of Psychology will host a one day Network Launch to discuss the challenges and the possible digital solutions to some of our most pressing health problems. The launch day will be divided into three key segments: Population Health, Research and Innovation and Funding and Sustainability. Each section will include talks from key contributors followed by a panel discussion. Speaking about the event, Dr Brian Slattery from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great opportunity for leading stakeholders in Research, Industry, and Healthcare in the growing Irish e-Health community to come together and establish an active network. The day will be attended by e-Health stakeholders across industry, research, and healthcare, and we have a fantastic line-up of contributors for the event.”   Guest speakers at the E-Health Research and Innovation Network Launch include: Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director of Health and Wellbeing (Health Service Executive) Mr Eugene Farrell, Head of Information Services, office of CIO eHealth Ireland (Health Service Executive) Dr Clyde Hutchinson, Innovation Lead, E-Health Ireland (Health Service Executive) Dr Deirdre Walsh, Insight and School of Health and Human Performance (DCU) Dr Gavin Doherty, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics (TCD), Co-Founder SilverCloud Health Dr John Dinsmore, Assistant Professor in Digital Integrated care and health Innovation (TCD) Ms Edel Murphy, Development Officer Primary Care Clinical Trials Network (Health Research Board and NUI Galway) -Ends-     

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway today conferred degrees on over 340 students. Among that number, 36 were conferred with doctoral degrees. The largest cohort of students to graduate was over 218 future doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Among this outstanding group of medical students, Aaron Liston from Monaleen, Co. Limerick received three out of 14 Final Medical Medals for his outstanding academic performance. Orla Hennessy from Kilmaley, Co. Clare received two out of the 14 Final Medical Medals and Sarah Gaffney from Salthill in Galway received two out of the 14 Final Medical Medals for their outstanding academic performances. 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: “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 four times that number annually.” Carmel Malone, Head of the School of Medicine said: “The graduation celebrates new doctors who have achieved outstanding results in a range of academic disciplines. Aaron Liston, a Limerick native, received gold medals in Medicine, Surgery and Radiology. Orla Hennessy from Co. Clare won gold medals in both Pathology and Psychiatry and Sarah Gaffney won gold medals in both Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Those students winning academic honours within the School of Medicine reflect the international and cultural diversity of the school.” International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University conferring a large number of graduates from Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Canada and the US, among other countries. -Ends-

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway event to showcase existing and emerging mobile, telehealth and connected health technology research and practices focusing on patient care, population health management and clinical outcomes The 3rd Annual mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will be hosted by the School of Psychology and the mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway, on Thursday 15 June 2017. The World Health Organisation estimates that 63% of deaths globally are health behaviour related, and encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles is highly desirable. The European Commission provides funding and urges Small Medium Enterprise businesses’ (SMEs) and academics to collaborate to develop evidence-based mobile technology for sustainable, citizen-centred care. For students, post-graduates, established and early career researchers, this dynamic and interdisciplinary event will provide an ideal platform to showcase existing and emerging mobile, telehealth and connected health technology research and practices focusing on patient care, population health management and clinical outcomes.   The overall theme of the conference will be on the use of effective methods of knowledge translation and specific efforts to bridge the gap between the scientific and commercial aspects of mobile and connected health. Building on the success of the 2015 and 2016 conferences, the mHealth Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference will bring together an impressive network of healthcare researchers, practitioners, policy makers, industry partners and those representing patient groups to address key issues in behavioural science, mobile health (mHealth) research and healthcare delivery. The mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway are delighted to be welcoming several leading and innovative experts in the area of mobile health that include: Professor Marie Johnston, University of Aberdeen, Dr Clyde Hutchinson, eHealth Ireland and HSE, Dr Frank Doyle, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway, Dr Ian Cleland, University of Ulster, Dr Kat Bradbury, University of Southampton, Dr John Dinsmore, TCD, Dr Marta Marques, University College London and Drs Dietrich Rebholz-Schumann and Martín Serrano from Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. NUI Galway’s Dr Jane Walsh, Chair of the mHealth Research Group at NUI Galway, said: “We are particularly delighted to have such a fantastic line-up of speakers joining us to continue the discussion on the role of behavioural science and mobile or connected health technology in healthcare and the future of mHealth in health-related practice, policy and research. The event will aim to promote the development of high quality multidisciplinary research networks through which NUI Galway can achieve the highest quality of scientific excellence working with international research leaders and all the various stakeholders in healthcare and industry.” This event is supported in part by the Irish Research Council, the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Health Research Board. To register, visit: http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=518 and follow on Twitter @MHealthConf   -Ends- 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host a training event on supported decision making in association with Cher Nicholson, a leading trainer in the area of supported decision making internationally and director of Asset (SA), on 15-16 June 2017. The event will focus on developing supported decision making skills through an interactive workshop for professionals. Cher Nicholson initially worked on a supported decision making pilot project in South Australia and has since worked internationally to develop a deeper understanding of Supported Decision Making.  The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is viewed as a key step towards enabling Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and is expected to fully commence later in 2017. This Act introduces a statutory framework for people to be supported in their decision making in all areas of their lives, to make legally-binding decisions about their personal welfare, property and affairs where their capacity to make decisions has been or soon will be called into question. The Act provides three types of decision-making supports that include: Assisted Decision-Making, Co-Decision-Making and court appointed Decision-Making Representatives and Orders. This is a radical change for Ireland so the discussion on supported decision-making is both pertinent and timely. The guiding principles of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 introduces the focus on the will and preference of the person. The workshop is structured to provide professionals with the framework to have a ‘purposeful conversation’ with an individual to elicit their ‘expressed wishes’ without bounds. It will provide the opportunity to explore the difference between expressed wishes, individual will and preferences and best interest approaches to supporting people. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “Cher Nicholson’s visit is extremely timely. Now is the right time to think through how we are going to operationalise our own Assisted Decision-Making Act. It is important that we optimise all the potential of our legislation to restore voice and choice to people with disabilities and to pay heed to best practice and innovation emerging from places like Australia.” Cher Nicholson has a broad range of experience and background with qualifications in Counselling, Mediation, Nursing, Financial Counselling, Clinical Supervision, and Workplace Assessing and Training. Having an acquired disability, and knowing how that can change others’ perception of her abilities, fuels her determination to help people with a disability believe in the possible, through the Supported Decision Making program that she has developed and now taken internationally. For more information visit: www.conference.ie or contact Mary Faherty at mary.faherty@nuigalway.ie or 091 495888. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Minister of State for Health Promotion to deliver opening address at 2017 NUI Galway Health Promotion Conference - ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’ NUI Galway will hold the 21st annual Health Promotion Conference on Thursday 15 June. The Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and the Association of Health Promotion Ireland will co-host this one-day event. The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on promoting workplace health and wellness through fostering a culture of health and addressing change at all levels in organisations. In line with the World Health Organisations ‘Healthy Workplace Framework’, the ‘Healthy Ireland Framework’ and the current development of a National Healthy Workplace Framework, this year’s conference theme will discuss ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace’. Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion will deliver the opening address, and commented: “The development of the Healthy Workplace Framework is a priority for my Department under the Healthy Ireland banner, and it’s aimed at assisting employers in both private and public sectors to provide a healthy workplace. We know work is good for our health and the workplace offers the perfect opportunity to promote health to a large audience. With almost two million people in employment in Ireland, this message can reach over half the population. Healthy Ireland is all about taking steps towards making Ireland a healthier nation and promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace is an essential part of that.” International and national keynote addresses will include Professor Dame Carol Black, University of Cambridge; Professor Paul Fleming, University of Southampton; Dr Paul Litchfield, British Telecom; Professor Anne Drummond, UCD; and Ms Biddy O’Neill, Department of Health. The conference programme comprises a mix of presentations, plenary lectures, workshops, and panel discussions from policymakers, researchers and practitioners alike. Professor Dame Carol Black will be asking, ‘Why does workplace health and wellbeing matter?’ and said in advance of the event: “The workplace has a significant role in addressing major problems surrounding physical and mental health and in supporting people with long-term disorders, enabling as many as possible to fulfil their potential. Effective workplace interventions can bring tangible business benefits including reduced sickness absence, improved productivity, improved quality of service, and relative reduction in the health-care cost and burden. Employers need to recognise the importance of shaping workplace cultures and norms in which supporting and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all members of the workforce has the highest priority. To do this, workplaces must establish a strong cultural lead and example in organisations, and strengthen management training in order to recognise and respond to the health needs of the workforce, and working more closely with other health supporting agencies, particularly Occupational Health and Primary Care.” This conference provides a platform in the exchange of ideas for research, policy and practice developments in workplace health promotion and wellness. It also provides the opportunity to explore how a culture of health and wellness in the workplace can be encouraged, measured and governed at all organisational levels. Dr Margaret Hodgins, Head of the School of Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Chair of the annual conference, said: ‘The workplace is a priority setting for Health Promotion in the 21st Century. The workplace is where almost two thirds of adults spend almost two thirds of their waking time. Psychological and physical health issues, including work-related stress and work-related musculoskeletal disorders, are widespread in our modern-day workforce. For example, levels of workplace stress are increasing rapidly. Factors such as poor work-life balance, increasing workloads, the ‘long hours culture’, poorly designed shift work, lack of communication, and inadequate systems for dealing with bullying and harassment all impact on levels of work-related stress.” For further information on the conference, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/hprc/. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

‘The Novel and its Wonders: An Evening with Andrea De Carlo’ The Black Gate Cultural Centre, Galway, will host an evening with renowned Italian novelist Andrea De Carlo on Wednesday, 14 June at 6pm. The event is being organised in collaboration with NUI Galway’s Italian Department and the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin. ‘The Novel and its Wonders: An Evening with Andrea De Carlo’ will be introduced by James C. Harrold, Galway City Arts Officer and will be followed by a conversation between Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway and Andrea De Carlo. The conversation will focus on the theory and practice of creative writing by looking at De Carlo’s latest novel The Imperfect Marvel (L’imperfetta meraviglia, 2016). The novel tells the story of the encounter between the Irish singer of a fictional rock band, Nick Cruickshank, and an Italian ice-cream maker, Milena Migliari. Nick and Milena seem to live perfect and fulfilled lives, both emotionally and professionally, yet gradually a sense of unease and longing creeps in, bringing them to question what they thought of as given certainties. Together, they come to discover that perfection is only temporary and impermanent. Andrea De Carlo was born and raised in Milan. After graduating in Contemporary History, he travelled extensively; living in both the United States and Australia. His first novel, The Cream Train, featured an introduction by Italo Calvino. Further to his literary career, De Carlo has also worked as an assistant to directors Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni and directed the short movie Le facce di Fellini (Fellini’s Faces) as well as  a film based on his first novel. With composer Ludovico Einaudi, he has written the ballets Time Out and Salgari. He has recorded two albums: Alcuni Nomi and Dentro Giro di Vento. De Carlo’s novels have sold millions of copies and have been translated into twenty-six languages. These include: The Cream Train, Cage and Aviary Birds, Macno, Yucatan, Two Out of Two, Techniques of Seduction, Lovebow, Uto, About the Three of Us, Here and Now, Pure Life, The Real Names, Windshift, Sea of Truth, Durante, SheAndHe, Villa Metaphora and Primitive Heart. The event is free to attend but places are limited. For further information, and to register your interest, visit: https://decarlogalway.eventbrite.com or the Facebook page ‘Italian Academy at NUI Galway’. For further information email paolo.bartoloni@nuigalway.ie or andrea.ciribuco@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-