Wednesday, 3 June 2015

An Italian feast will take place later this month at NUI Galway as part of the ITALIAN ART & MEDICINE seminar where guest lecturer Professor Alessandro Riva from the University of Cagliari, Italy and founder director of the Museum of Susini’s Anatomical Waxes*, in Cagliari, will discuss the artistic and scientific value of Anatomical wax modelling in Italy in the 18th-19th centuries. The seminar and free gastronomy reception will take place on Wednesday, 24 June, 2015. This open symposium will focus on interlinking aspects between art and medicine in Italy between the 18th and 20th Centuries. The event is not necessarily for specialists and it will be of interest to a wide audience. The organisers include the NUI Galway staff Dr Fabio Quondamatteo and Prof Paolo Bartoloni, along with the Galway Clinic Consultants Dr Antonio Terranova and Dr Fabio Bartolozzi, who are all also part of a Cultural Group called Italiani a Galway (www.italianiagalway.com). The symposium will feature expert presentations including current Professor of Italian Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Paolo Bartoloni, who will present on relations between Literature and Medicine and the former Professor of Italian Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Catherine O’Brien, will talk on aspects of illness in the life and work of Amedeo Modigliani. Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Dr Fabio Quondamatteo said: “The organisers are tremendously proud to announce that an exhibition of high definition images of the Susini’s Anatomical Waxes will be associated with this event and that this will be the first time all the images of the Cagliari Collection are exhibited outside Italy. The Organisers are also extremely grateful to the University of Cagliari and in particular to its President Prof Maria Del Zompo, for facilitating this and for their enthusiastic support for this event.” An Italian gastronomy reception will begin after the presentations, which is generously sponsored by local eateries and businesses including Mona Lisa, Il Folletto, Il Vicolo, Pizza Pasta Napoli, Da Roberta’s, Poppyseed, and Moycullen McCann’s Supervalu. Starting at 3pm on 24 June, admission to the event is free however registration is a must before 15 June. Please visit www.conference.ie for online registration. ENDS

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A research seminar takes place in NUI Galway today focussing on sexual health research with university students, and in particular the issue of sexual consent. The seminar, ‘Sexual Health and Alcohol Use: The Need for Evidence-Based, Theory-Led Strategies to Address Sexual Assault and Promote Active Consent Among Young Adults’ is organised by the School of Psychology at NUI Galway in conjunction with Galway Alcohol Forum and Healthy Cities Initiative. The results of multidisciplinary research carried out across several institutions in social marketing, theatre and drama studies, and psychology will be presented at the event. This includes survey data from approximately 1,500 students across two institutions on sexual assault, on how consent is typically expressed, frequency and comfort of engaging in different sexual activities, associations between alcohol use and sexual behaviour, and other topics in the sexual health field. “We wish to promote the idea of consent being active, on-going, and clearly expressed, as our research suggests that it is currently a grey area for many students”, explains Dr Pádraig McNeela, Lecturer at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. “It is important to consider how this lack of clarity might contribute to the problem of sexual assault, and a culture that might perpetuate gender-based harassment and violence. It is also essential that we promote a positive approach to sexual relationships where people feel confident to express their preferences and make informed decisions.” In addition, it will show how these quantitative findings, when combined with qualitative exploration of attitudes and expectations for consent, have the potential to be employed in new strategies that promote active consent. Specifically, the seminar will report on a community theatre project that inspired students to create a dramatic representation of the ‘grey areas’ associated with consent; and the ‘Smart Consent’ workshop that brings students into contact with theory and evidence using innovative techniques. In addition to funding from the Galway Alcohol Forum, the researchers have the support of the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme, NUI Galway Students’ Union, NUI Galway Student Services, and the Confederation of Student Services in Ireland. “We also hope to discuss these initiatives in light of social marketing survey findings demonstrating that, for students, sexual health is a key priority that requires action,” added Dr McNeela. -ends-

Thursday, 4 June 2015

NUI Galway students’ car excels in international energy-efficiency competition A team of NUI Galway engineering students have achieved the equivalent of 8,000 miles per gallon in the Galway energy-efficient car (the Geec), which they designed and built. The team returned last week from Rotterdam, where they raced the car in the European round of Shell Eco-marathon, a global competition to find the world’s most fuel-efficient and energy-efficient cars. Team NUI Galway was the first Irish entry ever to participate in the event. At Shell Eco-marathon Europe, a future generation of engineers and scientists aged 16-25 from 26 countries in Europe and beyond competed against each other. With Rotterdam as the host city, Shell brought the competition closer to the public with a fit-for-purpose street circuit. The Geec, a three-wheeled battery-electric car, completed four 16km competition runs of 10 laps each on the urban track. The winners were the teams that could drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 litre of fuel or (in the Geec’s class) 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity. The Galway energy-efficient car’s final energy consumption score was equivalent to almost 8,000 miles per gallon – over 100 times more efficient than most cars on the road. “We aimed to break the barrier of €1 for a Galway-Dublin drive, but the finished Geec would use just 13 cent,” said Dr Rory Monaghan, NUI Galway, one of the team’s mentors. “We have learned an awful lot about how to design, build and drive an ultra-efficient vehicle. This is just the beginning.” The car has been in development for two years, and the final success wasn’t without incident. “Early on in Rotterdam, the car’s power electronics failed during testing,” said Geec team member, student Barry Flannery, from Oranmore, Co. Galway. “It was scary, but we managed to work through the problems step by step and achieve an incredible score.” After three runs the Geec’s best score had risen to 202 kilometres per kilowatt-hour. The NUI Galway team decided to go all-out on their final run, made overnight modifications to the drivetrain, and planned a new driving strategy. The risky approach paid off – the Geec’s score jumped to 287 on the final day of competition, to finish 23rd out of 51 in its class. “Using the brake negatively affects the efficiency of the car,” explained student Maryrose McLoone, from Glenties, Co. Donegal, who drove the Geec on the final run, “so it was important I was able to manoeuvre between other cars while also driving efficiently and safely. I had to stay aware of my lap time, my motor speed and other cars around me.” Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, was hugely proud of his students: “To finish on the top half of the leader board is a truly great achievement by NUI Galway students in this our first outing in this event. I’m delighted for all who have been directly involved in this tremendous project.” Shell Ireland’s Managing Director, Ronan Deasy, said the Geec team had made a big impression with the organisers and other competitors at the Rotterdam event. “Their energy, enthusiasm and professional approach, meant that Ireland’s first entry in the Eco-marathon was really noticed and positively commented upon. The Geec team’s result was fantastic and sets them up well for next year’s competition in London,” he said. The Geec team was generously supported by Shell E&P Ireland, Wood Group Kenny, Belcross Enterprises, Central Bearing Supplies, Smurfit Kappa, Sinbad Marine, Maxon Motor, QuickTec Computers, and Enform Plastics. For more information on NUI Galway’s eco-car, please visit the team website, www.theGeec.ie, find theGeec.ie on facebook, or follow @theGeec on twitter. ENDS

Friday, 5 June 2015

Two engineering students from NUI Galway have been selected as delegates to represent Ireland at the International Student Energy Summit (ISES) from 10-13 June. The event is a global forum focusing on sustainable resource management and the role that students will play in defining the future of energy development. ISES targets international, multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students interested in energy. ISES takes place every two years at academic institutions around the world. Billy Delaney from Newbridge, Co. Kildare and Kate Kerrane from Thurles, Co. Tipperary will travel to Bali to attend the event. Both are undertaking a Bachelor of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway and are active members of the Energy Society on campus, which organises Ireland’s only student run energy event, the annual Energy Night. NUI Galway’s Dr Rory Monaghan is Director of Energy Systems Engineering Bachelors and Masters Degrees: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our student energy leaders to plug into the global sustainable energy community. It puts NUI Galway, which is already at the forefront of student involvement in Irish energy issues, on the map globally, and will no doubt be of great benefit to Billy and Kate in the future.” ISES 2015, “Connecting the Unconnected”, is being hosted in Bali, Indonesia, by the Bandung Institute of Technology, which is the oldest technology-oriented university in Indonesia. The conference itself will consist of keynotes from leading experts and thought leaders, panel sessions designed to encourage debate, specialised breakout sessions and interactive program elements to give students hands on experience. The students, who will start their final year of the four-year degree in September, are currently on placement as a part of their course. Billy is completing his placement in Arup and Kate is in ESB Networks. “We are very grateful for the sponsorship and support they have received from our placement companies and also from the College of Engineering and Informatics and the Societies Office at NUI Galway, to avail of this opportunity”, explained Kate Kerrane. “We would not have been able to take this opportunity if it wasn’t for such support.” You can follow the journey to Bali on twitter, @delaney_billy and @k8kerrane. -Ends-

Friday, 5 June 2015

It is with sadness that NUI Galway noted the passing of noted folk-singer and collector Jean Ritchie earlier this week. Jean Ritchie, who brought hundreds of traditional songs from her native Appalachia to a global audience, died at the age of 92. In 1996 the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, under the auspices of Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín of the University’s History Department, acquired the Ritchie-Pickow Photographic Archive, along with tapes of sound recordings. These included many of the singers and musicians that Jean recorded as part of a project to trace the roots of many of the songs and tunes she would have grown up with in the Southern Appalachians. The photographs were taken and the recordings made by the US husband and wife team, George Pickow and Jean Ritchie on visits to Ireland in 1952 and 1953. Jean Ritchie, singer, folklorist and dulcimer player was born on 8 December 1922 in Viper, Kentucky. She was the youngest of a family of 14 children, known as 'The Singing Ritchies'. Jean graduated from the University of Kentucky and in 1952 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to enable her to research the origins of her family's songs in Great Britain and Ireland. Ritchie's late husband George Pickow, a photographer, accompanied her and they spent approximately eighteen months recording folk songs and traditional musicians and taking photographs. The photographs include images of many well-known uilleann pipe players, such as Seamus Ennis, the McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; vocalists, including Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin from West Cork, Sarah Makem and story tellers, such as Paitsín Faherty from the Aran Islands. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne: “We in NUI Galway are deeply honored by our association with the late Jean Ritchie and George Pickow. Their names will forever be associated with NUI Galway, through the deposit in 1996 of the very significant collection of George's photographs and Jean’s sound recordings made during Jean’s Fulbright year in Ireland and Britain in 1952-53. This is a unique folk collection, linking the Irish song tradition and that of Appalachia. The Ritchie-Pickow collection is of considerable interest to scholars and researchers, and forms an integral part of the James Hardiman Library's Archives and Special Collections.” Building on the Ritchie/Pickow archive housed in NUI Galway's library, The ‘Jean Ritchie Scholarship’ was launched last February during a visit to Berea College, Kentucky, by Mary McPartlan, Traditional Artist in Residence and University teacher and Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs, NUI Galway. The Scholarship offers a full tuition waiver to one outstanding Berea College graduate pursuing a one year MA programme in NUI Galway. Permission was granted by Jean Ritchie and her family to name this scholarship in her honour during the visit. Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam uasal ENDS Tugann OÉ Gaillimh ómós do Jean Ritchie Is oth linn a chloisteáil anseo in OÉ Gaillimh gur bhásaigh an t-amhránaí tíre agus an bailitheoir amhrán Jean Ritchie níos túisce an tseachtain seo. Bhásaigh Jean Ritchie in aois a 92; roinn sí na céadta amhrán traidisiúnta óna Appalachia dúchasach le lucht éisteachta domhanda. Sa bhliain 1996, faoi choimirce an Ollaimh Dáibhí Ó Cróinín ó Roinn Staire na hOllscoile, ghlac Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin seilbh ar Chartlann Ghrianghraf Ritchie-Pickow, mar aon le téipeanna de thaifid fuaime. Chuimsigh siad seo go leor de na hamhránaithe agus na ceoltóirí a bhí taifeadta ag Jean mar chuid de thionscadal a bhí sí ina bhun le déanamh amach cé as a dtáinig go leor de na hamhráin agus na tiúineanna ar fhás sí aníos leo sna Sléibhte Apaláiseacha Theas. Ar chuairteanna go hÉirinn i 1952 agus 1953 a thóg an lánúin phósta as Meiriceá, George Pickow agus Jean Ritchie na grianghraif agus na taifid. Rugadh Jean Ritchie, amhránaí, béaloideasóir agus seinnteoir dulcaiméara ar an 8 Nollaig 1922 in Viper, Kentucky. Ba í ab óige de cheithre pháiste dhéag ar a dtugtaí na ‘Singing Ritchies’. Bhain Jean céim amach in Ollscoil Kentucky agus sa bhliain 1952 bronnadh Scoláireacht Fulbright uirthi le cur ar a cumas taighde a dhéanamh ar bhunús amhráin a muintire sa Bhreatain Mhór agus in Éirinn. Bhí fear Ritchie, George Pickow, grianghrafadóir, atá é féin anois ar shlí na fírinne, ina cuideachta. Chaith siad thart ar ocht mí dhéag ag taifead amhráin tíre agus ceoltóirí traidisiúnta agus ag glacadh grianghraf. Cuimsíonn na grianghraif íomhánna de phíobairí iomráiteacha cosúil le Seamus Ennis, an McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; amhránaithe cosúil le Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin as Iarthar Chorcaí, Sarah Makem agus scéalaithe cosúil le Paitsín Faherty as Árainn. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is mór an onóir dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh go raibh ceangal againn le Jean Ritchie agus le George Pickow, atá beirt ar shlí na fírinne anois.  Beidh ceangal idir iad féin agus OÉ Gaillimh go deo, mar gheall ar an mbailiúchán an-suntasach a cuireadh ar fáil i 1996 de ghrianghraif George agus de thaifid fuaime Jean a rinneadh an bhliain a raibh scoláireacht Fulbright ag Jean go hÉirinn agus go dtí an Bhreatain Mhór in 1952-53.  Bailiúchán tíre uathúil is ea é seo, a dhéanann nasc idir traidisiún amhránaíochta na hÉireann agus traidisiún Appalachia.  Bíonn an-spéis ag scoláirí agus ag taighdeoirí i mbailiúchán Ritchie-Pickow, agus tá sé mar lárchuid de Chartlanna agus Bailiúcháin Speisialta Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin.” D’fhonn forbairt a dhéanamh ar chartlann Ritchie/Pickow atá i leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh, seoladh ‘Scoláireacht Jean Ritchie’ i mí Feabhra seo caite le linn do Mary McPartlan, an tEalaíontóir Traidisiúnta Cónaitheach agus teagascóir Ollscoile agus Anna Cunningham, an Stiúrthóir Gnóthaí Idirnáisiúnta, OÉ Gaillimh a bheith ar cuairt ar Berea College, Kentucky.  Clúdaíonn an Scoláireacht costas iomlán an teagaisc do chéimí amháin den scoth in Berea College atá ag tabhairt faoi chlár bliana MA in OÉ Gaillimh. Le linn na cuairte thug Jean Ritchie agus a teaghlach cead dúinn an scoláireacht a ainmniú in ómós di.  Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam uasal CRÍOCH

Monday, 8 June 2015

· Project is 4th clinical trial funded by EU testing next-generation stem cell therapy discovered by NUI Galway spin-out, Orbsen Therapeutics A new €6 million research project (NEPHSTROM) has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme to evaluate the clinical safety and efficacy of a next-generation cell therapy discovered by Galway-based Orbsen Therapeutics, to combat diabetic kidney disease. The project will be led by Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. The four-year project will test the next-generation stromal (stem) cell therapy, called Cyndacel-M, in a four-site clinical trial treating patients in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Italy The ‘stromal’ cells will be purified from healthy donor bone marrow using Orbsen Therapeutics’ patented technology, and expanded into multiple ‘off-the-shelf’ doses for clinical use. By 2016, first-in-man trials will see the stromal cells injected into patients with diabetic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is marked by the gradual destruction of kidney tissue over time and is a major cause of sickness and death in the EU. Inflammation (the body’s immune response where blood flow increases to tissue causing swelling) plays a large part in the majority of kidney disease and this can lead to kidney damage, scar tissue formation (fibrosis) and loss of kidney function. Diabetic kidney disease is a common complication of diabetes mellitus, and it is estimated that by 2040 it may affect in the region of 200 million people. In most cases of diabetic kidney damage there is no effective medical treatment. The mainstay treatments are drugs, dialysis and kidney transplants, all of which have significant costs and only provide limited protection against adverse outcomes. The ambitious new research project called NEPHSTROM (Novel Stromal Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease) is a collaboration of 11 European partners (www.nephstrom.eu) and builds on pre-clinical research carried out in an existing EU-funded project known as REDDSTAR (www.reddstar.eu). REDDSTAR is also coordinated by Professor Timothy O’Brien and funded by the EU Framework 7 programme. NUI Galway’s Professor O’Brien comments: “If predictions prove correct, then our healthcare systems are facing a huge task in managing the complications caused by ever-increasing numbers of patients with diabetes mellitus. Chief among such complications will be kidney disease, which has a huge financial cost in terms of current treatments, and takes a massive personal toll on patients. Diabetes is currently the most common cause of end stage kidney disease resulting in the need for dialysis or transplantation. We are confident that by harnessing the most modern approaches in stromal cell therapeutics there may well be a way to halt the progression of diabetic kidney disease using this therapy.” Spin-out company pioneering next-generation stromal cell therapy NEPHSTROM will assess next-generation stromal cells that are purified using a patented method developed by Orbsen Theraputics, a spin-out from NUI Galway. Orbsen Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Stephen Elliman - who discovered the Cyndacel technology - explains: “NEPHSTROM is Orbsen’s forth clinical trial funded by the European Commission in the last three years. The data that led to the NEPHSTROM approval was developed via independant testing of Orbsen’s Cyndacel-M in the laboratory of Professor Hans-Joachim Anders at the Ludwigs-Maximillian University in Munich within the REDDSTAR EU network – highlighting the success of that first project. Cyndacel-M represents a significant advance in terms of stromal cell purification and safety. Whereas competitor technologies are based on a 50-year-old isolation technique, which produces a mixed group of cells for therapeutic use, Orbsen’s Cyndacel technology permits best-in-class purification, which we predict will lead to better safety and efficacy outcomes for patients.” NEPHSTROM will also develop and validate a new combined manufacturing platform that improves the consistency and reduces the cost of the Cyndacel-M therapeutic to a level that enables its routine clinical use. The project will develop the first “closed-automated” GMP method of stromal cell isolation and expansion that will expand the Cyndacel-M therapy to clinically and commercially relevant numbers. The project will establish an EU network of four GMP cell-production centres, using these technologies, to produce large amounts of therapeutic agent in a consistent manner, following shared protocols. This will be critical to upscaling, delivering the multi-centre trial in NEPHSTROM and meeting the demand for cells in more advanced clinical trials. Cyndacel-M will be manufactured in GMP production centres in Galway, Leiden, Birmingham and Bergamo. First-in-man clinical trial In the second year of the project, a clinical trial will take place in Galway, Belfast, Birmingham and Bergamo, among 48 patients. The placebo-controlled trial will see Cyndacel-M injected into the patients’ bloodstream. Results will be measured in terms of improvements in kidney performance as measured by urine and blood samples. If successful, the researchers will see the disease significantly slowed or halted altogether. One of the world’s most renowned experts in kidney disease, Professor Giuseppe Remuzzi, from the Istituto Di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (IRFMN, Bergamo, Italy), will lead the clinical trial across the four centres, set to commence in May 2016. According to Professor Remuzzi: “The core of the NEPHSTROM project is the first-in-man clinical trial with innovative stromal cell therapy in patients with diabetic kidney disease. The clinical experience with stromal cells is still in its infancy, mainly focused on developing novel therapeutic solutions for patients with bone marrow or organ transplantation as well as for those with a small number of autoimmune diseases. Nobody so far has attempted to provide evidence that this cell-based therapy is capable to halt progression of diabetic kidney disease in humans. The NEPHSTROM clinical trial has adopted an approach similar to that pursued to explore the pathophysiology of rare conditions. It is a small but intensively studied clinical trial which will allow determination of the effective dose of Cyndacel-M cells, and how they might function to protect the diabetic kidney. The complementary skill, expertise and human resources of the four European participating centres contribute to create a strong and critical network to document the clinical feasibility of this innovative therapy, eventually providing the background insights to design future larger clinical trials in diabetic patients with kidney disease.” NUI Galway’s Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) - which is the only licensed cell manufacturing facility in Ireland - the Galway Blood and Tissue Establishment at UHG which is licensed to procure stem cells, and the HRB Galway Clinical Research Facility which has specialised facilities for stem cell clinical trials will play crucial roles in the Galway arm of this multicenter clinical trial. -ends-  

Monday, 8 June 2015

A team of 47 students from NUI Galway were recently awarded the runner-up prize at the prestigious 2015 Enactus Ireland National Competition for Social Entrepreneurship. Enactus is an international, not-for-profit organisation which provides a platform for third-level students to create community development projects, while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders of the future. The national competition is an annual event where students come together to present their projects to show how they are transforming lives through entrepreneurial action. NUI Galway was one of the founding university teams of Enactus Ireland and this year marks its fourth year of involvement. Teams from Ireland’s seven universities and Dublin Institute of Technology gathered in Dublin to compete to represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup, which will be held this year in October in Johannesburg, South Africa. Michael Campion, Faculty Advisor to the NUI Galway team said: “It’s been a privilege to support the Enactus team as they worked on a set of projects which have made a significant impact in empowering some members of the community. From working with young people with mental health issues in developing a vertical garden, to creating a training programme for catering staff to become aware of how to better respond to people with basic day-to-day communication challenges. These students channelled their creativity and passion to develop fabulous, sustainable solutions. To make it all happen, they partnered with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the HSE, Croí, Café Togo and Aramark. Taking the runner-up prize in the competition is a great recognition of all the hard work that the students have put in over the past year, something that is not easy while balancing with their academic studies. They are a credit to themselves, their families and to NUI Galway.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Professor Svante Pääbo, the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences will hold two special Neanderthal-related events organised on the eve of NUI Galway awarding an Honorary Degree to Professor Svante Pääbo, Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people. The first event by Professor Pääbo is a lecture on Archaic Genomics, which will take place on Thursday, 11 June at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre, Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway. Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo is a founder in the field of palaeogenomics, the study of ancient DNA preserved in fossils. He first began this work studying ancient Egyptian mummies, before progressing to much older extinct mammals. In 2010 his research team made scientific history when they published the first draft genome sequence for Neanderthals. This was followed up with the discovery of a completely new, and hitherto unknown group of humans (Denisovans) based on DNA extracted from a c.41,000 year old fossil finger bone found in a cave in Siberia. Professor Pääbo has received numerous prizes and awards for his work and his research has captured the wider public imagination. In 2007, Time magazine included him in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. On Thursday, 11 June at 6pm, NUI Galway will launch a new museum display, William King and the Naming of Neanderthal People. The display will commemorate former NUI Galway Professor of Geology William King’s achievement and also tell the story of our closest evolutionary relatives, the Neanderthals. The study of human evolution began in earnest in 1863 when William King, Professor of Geology at Queens College Galway, proposed the name Homo neanderthalensis for fossil human remains discovered in the Neander Valley of Germany. His suggestion was both extraordinary and revolutionary for its time. To his lasting credit, King remains the first scientist to name a new and extinct species of human. The launch will take place in the James Mitchell Geology Museum in the Quadrangle on campus. To coincide with these events in NUI Galway, the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, through the Royal Irish Academy, has published a paper by event organiser Dr John Murray and his colleagues highlighting William King's contribution to the early study of human evolution. It has been made freely available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/IJES.2015.33.1. Dr Murray said: “William King's suggestion that Neanderthal people represented a separate species from ourselves sparked one of the longest standing debates in human evolutionary studies: how precisely are Neanderthals related to modern humans? Professor Pääbo has done more than any other scientist in the modern era to tackle that question head-on.” Professor Svante Pääbo will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on Friday, 12 June. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Protecting children and early interventions that can keep children out of state care will be the focus of a two-day conference which opens tomorrow. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 7th Biennial Family Support Conference on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 June. The conference is called ‘Building Family Support Systems’ and will touch on topics from concealed pregnancies to child-to-parent violence, with a special talk by Garry Hynes, the multi-award winning theatre Director. The focus of the event is a new programme of prevention and family support from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Known as ‘Meitheal’, the programme aims to put in place a system for protecting children, preventing problems in their lives and supporting their parents and families the system will involve local networks of services working together to help families before problems require their entry to the Child Protection system and acting as a ‘step-down’ support for families exiting that system. The new programme also emphasises supporting parents, and encouraging active participation by children, young people and parents in decisions affecting them. The conference will stimulate debate on a number of opportunities and challenges concerning the nature of family support including the interface between child protection and strengthening children’s rights and participation, both learning from and informing the experience of other jurisdictions. Keynote speakers from the US, UK and Ireland and from UNICEF’s prestigious Office of Research-Innocenti will lead the discussions, while Irish and international practitioners and researchers will provide 30 workshops on key conference themes. Following the tradition of introducing a perspective from a leading figure in wider society, Garry Hynes, the multi-award winning Artistic Director of Druid Theatre and NUI Galway Alumnus, is the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre’s special guest this year. Gary will offer some unique insights on life, family and civic society in drama and in Ireland. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre NUI Galway, commented: “We have for the first time, since the foundation of the State, a commitment to embed support structures for families in local communities, so that when children and parents need help they know where to get it and more importantly they get what they need, when they need it and where and how they need it. If Tusla get this right, it will transform the Child Welfare system, so that the right of children to be protected and to a family life can be fully realised. At the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre we are delighted to be Tusla’s research partner in this exciting new venture.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. The full list of conference plenary speakers includes: Ms Jasmina Byrne, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti. Dr John Canavan, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Dr Deborah Daro, Chapin Hall, University of Chicago. Professor Nick Frost, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University; Professor Nóirín Hayes, School of Education, Trinity College, Dublin. Professor Ursula Kilkelly, School of Law, University College Cork. -ends-

Monday, 15 June 2015

NUI Galway will hold the 19th annual Health Promotion Research Centre Summer Conference on Thursday, 18 June in Áras Moyola. Plenary lectures, workshops, oral and poster presentations will explore the importance of health literacy and how it can be enhanced as a priority area for health promotion. The ‘Healthy Ireland’ Framework identifies health literacy as a priority action to empower people and communities for improved health and wellbeing. Health literacy is linked to literacy and is about people’s knowledge and ability to access, understand, assess and apply health information in order to take decisions in everyday life to improve their health. The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on how health literacy can be strengthened, including the implementation of interventions across sectors that will promote the health of the citizens of Ireland. Dr Rima Rudd, Harvard School of Public Health, will deliver a lecture on new developments in health literacy and policy implications. Dr Rudd said: “Health literacy research challenges us to consider how we can make health information more accessible and health services easier to navigate.” Dr Geraldine Doyle, UCD School of Business in UCD will focus on health literacy research in Ireland and internationally. Dr Doyle has been involved in large European surveys and studies on health literacy and said: “Having generated first time data on the measurement of health literacy, it is now important that national and EU monitoring of such health literacy measurement continues over time. Strengthening health literacy, at both individual and health system levels, offers a simple solution to the cost of health care provision and for the sustainability of health care systems.” During the conference lectures will be also be delivered by: Dr Graham Kramer, GP and National Clinical Lead in Scotland for self-management and health literacy, who will describe the health literacy policy in Scotland; Inez Bailey, Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency, who will deliver a lecture on the evolution of health literacy policy in Ireland and the challenge of implementation; and Dr Jo Protheroe, General Practice, University of Keele, England, who will describe the process of moving from research to practice, using examples from Stoke Public Health. Oral and poster presentations and skills based workshops will also feature during the day, giving every delegate a chance to network and meet with the speakers and colleagues. Dr Jane Sixsmith, Director of NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre and Chair of the Annual Conference 2015, said: “The conference is a key event in the Health Promotion calendar in Ireland and it provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the promotion of health towards a Healthy Ireland for everyone. The conference is relevant to practitioners, researchers and policy makers.” -Ends-

Monday, 15 June 2015

A research project into ageing at NUI Galway is looking for additional participants to take part in the study. The study is part of a larger ongoing project in NUI Galway, which commenced in 2013, exploring the functions and effects of music listening with younger and older adults. The project is seeking participants aged 60-85 years to join an experimental study on the effects of listening to music. Volunteers will spend 2-3 hours in the lab carrying out a variety of verbal and numerical tasks while listening to music and having their brain waves measured by electroencephalography (EEG). Prior to the lab session volunteers will also complete a questionnaire measuring their typical uses of music, personality and wellbeing. Jenny Groarke, a musician and PhD student at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, said: “We will examine whether listening to music improves psychological functioning across a range of domains, which we hope can be used to benefit older adults in the future.” “Findings emerging from these ongoing studies are suggesting that one of the primary reasons people listen to music is to regulate emotions. There is evidence that older adults are more skilled at emotion regulation, and that positive and negative emotions can have a range of effects on physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive functioning. Our research is highlighting that individuals also use music to optimise their abilities - such as boosting performance at work, and during sport or exercise. An important aim of the experiment is to determine if listeners beliefs about music’s positive effects can be confirmed in the lab,” Jenny continued. Through her research, Jenny has already discovered some differences in music listening between younger and older adults. These are outlined in an upcoming paper to be published in the Psychology of Music journal. Interestingly, older adults typically used music to experience a sense of connection with significant others and to lessen feelings of social isolation, whereas younger adults focused on the use of music for bonding in social settings, and adapting to crowded public places. The Galway native was inspired to study the link between music and well-being in older adults by her late grandfather Jimmy Dooley, who sang in the Augustinian choir for more than 65 years and played the drums in the Galway Bay Jazz band in Busker Brownes every Sunday. She has also set up a business, Sing-Bang Music Workshops, which brings music workshops to nursing homes to improve memory ability, happiness, and quality of life in elderly adults through group music making. Those interested in participating will need to complete the questionnaire of adaptive music listening functions, and sign up for the experiment here at http://sgiz.mobi/s3/AFML. Alternatively a paper version of the questionnaire can be requested from jenny.groarke@gmail.com or phone 086 0333 033. For more information on volunteering for the research visit www.adaptivefunctionsofmusic.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Dr Gerard Wall, a Senior Lecturer in NUI Galway’s Microbiology and CÚRAM, the SFI-funded Centre for Research in Medical Devices, has been awarded a Fulbright-Marine Institute Scholar Award to carry out research at the University of Wyoming, US. Other Fulbright recipients included three NUI Galway graduates, Emma Lowry, Méabh Ní Choileáin and Séamus O’Sullivan. A total of 31 Scholarships were announced recently at an event hosted by the Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. and the US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley. Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and US governments and provide Irish students, scholars, and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture, and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States. Dr Gerard Wall, a Senior Lecturer in NUI Galway’s discipline of Microbiology and the SFI-funded Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), has been awarded a Fulbright-Marine Institute Scholar Award to carry out research at the University of Wyoming. Dr Wall’s research involves cloning and exploiting antibodies, derived from the human immune system, in medical devices and drug delivery applications. While based at the University of Wyoming, he will work to develop a novel, handheld sensor device, based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy, for point-of-care toxin detection. The technology platform will initially be developed for marine monitoring but will also be applicable to rapid identification of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in human serum and saliva. Dr Wall’s current research in Microbiology and CÚRAM encompasses targeted drug delivery and materials functionalisation programmes. He currently coordinates an EU-funded research programme on cardiovascular stent development, with partner groups in materials science, stent production and cardiology in Poland and Slovakia. Here the goal of the cross-sectoral consortium is to design and produce cardiovascular stents with increased biocompatibility in the body, leading to a reduced frequency of complications such as stent re-blocking. Emma Lowry from Glasnevin, Dublin has been a secondary school teacher in Dublin’s Gaelcholáiste Reachrann for seven years. Emma graduated from NUI Galway with a Dióploma sa Iarchéime Oideachas and Master’s in Language Education and has a Degree in Irish from University College Dublin. Emma will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Montana. Méabh Ní Choileáin studied Applied Communications at NUI Galway and is a recent graduate of St. Patrick’s College, where she qualified as a primary teacher. She currently works as Children’s and Education Editorial Assistant for Penguin Books, London. Méabh, from Ranelagh, Co. Dublin, will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. Séamus O’Sullivan from Listowel, Co. Kerry, graduated with a BA in English and Modern Irish from NUI Galway in 2013 and went on to complete an MA in Modern Irish at UCC in 2014. During his BA he completed a year-long apprenticeship in creative writing funded by Forás na Gaeilge. He will be the first Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Idaho State University.  US Ambassador Kevin O’Malley said: “Year on year US and Irish Fulbrighters provide a fascinating insight into the direction of global research in a wide variety of fields. This year we have seen a particular increase in research in the areas of health and technology. The Fulbright program provides a unique platform for international scholars to break new ground, to collaborate with other world class researchers and to make a difference.” The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Monday, 31 August. Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website, www.fulbright.ie, for more information. All applications for the 2016-2017 academic year will be due on Friday, 30 October. -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Dr Jim Browne, President National University of Ireland Galway We are deeply saddened and heartbroken to hear of the Irish students lost in the devastating tragedy in Berkeley, California. This untimely loss of life has shocked the University communities across Ireland and we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to all of their families, classmates and friends at this time. The University also wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to our colleagues at other Institutions who are in mourning at this time. We also offer our support, through whatever means possible, to our students who may have been injured or affected by this tragic incident and a book of condolences is now on the University website http://www.nuigalway.ie/berkeleytragedy/ A book of condolence has also been opened by the Mayor of Galway in the City Hall. Flags at NUI Galway will be flown at half-mast today in honour of the students and all those involved in the tragedy. May these young students rest in peace.               ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh Is mór an brón agus an briseadh croí atá orainn i ndiaidh dúinn an scéal a chloisteáil maidir leis na mic léinn Éireannacha a cailleadh sa tubaiste tragóideach in Berkeley, California inné. Goilleann an tragóid seo go trom ar phobail na n-ollscoileanna ar fud na tíre agus ba mhaith linn ár gcomhbhrón a ghabháil le teaghlaigh, comhghleacaithe agus cairde na mac léinn a cailleadh. Gabhaimid comhbhrón freisin lenár gcomhghleacaithe in institiúidí eile atá faoi bhrón ag an am seo. Tabharfaimid tacaíocht, ar aon bhealach is féidir, do mhic léinn na hOllscoile a gortaíodh sa timpiste nó a bhfuil ag fulaingt dá bharr, agus tá leabhar comhbhróin ar shuíomh gréasáin na hOllscoile anois: http://www.nuigalway.ie/berkeleytragedy/ Tá leabhar comhbhróin curtha ar fáil ag Méara na Gaillimhe freisin i Halla na Cathrach. Beidh brataigh OÉ Gaillimh i lár crainn inniu in onóir do na mic léinn a bhí páirteach sa tubaiste. Suaimhneas síoraí dá n-anamacha.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

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

Friday, 19 June 2015

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

Friday, 19 June 2015

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

Monday, 22 June 2015

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

Monday, 22 June 2015

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

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

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

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

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

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

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

Monday, 29 June 2015

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

Monday, 29 June 2015

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

Friday, 1 May 2015

More than 100 pupils from primary schools in Galway had the chance to experience the wonderful world of science recently and learned that science is actually fun. The students from Claddagh National School, Scoil Shéamais Naofa, Barna, Mercy Primary School and Gaelscoil Riada, Athenry all participated in Challenge Science 2015, which was supported by Boston Scientific and held in NUI Galway. The budding scientists were assisted by business volunteers from Boston Scientific, who held workshops on Forensic Science, Defence against Disease, Careers in Science, Technology and Engineering, and they were also treated to a tour of the Science Department and Campus at NUI Galway by student volunteers from the ALIVE programme. The workshops provided an appreciation and greater understanding of the ever evolving world of science.  The event was opened by Professor Donal Leech, Dean of Science at NUI Galway, who welcomed the students to the University: “NUI Galway is delighted to host ‘Challenge Science’ which is hugely valuable in developing an interest in science. I hope to see some of the pupils back in NUI Galway in the future as science students or even working in the Science or Engineering departments at the campus.”  “The workshops with the Boston Scientific staff really helped the students to realise that you can take several different paths in order to work in the field of science. The teams also showed that science can be so enjoyable and we heard lots of excitement and enthusiasm in the workshops today, as the students vied against each other to be No. 1 forensic detective! Thanks to Boston Scientific for inspiring all of our young minds”, said Inez Riordan, Vice-Principal, Claddagh National School. Siobhan Murphy, Senior HR Business Partner at Boston Scientific, Galway, said: “It’s great to see so many young people with an interest in Science and Technology as it’s important to develop and keep up STEM subjects in Secondary School. I’d like to thank the teachers for supporting and bringing the students to this event and for helping to develop an interest in STEM at a young age, particularly given our location here at the Medical Device Hub here in Galway” -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The first European Training School on Clinical Trial Design and Management opens at NUI Galway today, in a concerted effort to accelerate the translation of new medical devices from research bench to patient bedside. The event will run until Friday, 8 May. The European Training School on Clinical Trial Design and Management has attracted senior academic and industry-based researchers from all over Europe to Galway, with the common aim of understanding the clinical trial process. These researchers see the trial process as the final hurdle in bringing their novel medical devices to the market, and more importantly, to the patient. The European Training School is organised by Dr Martin O'Halloran, a Medical Device Engineer at NUI Galway. Dr O'Halloran is Vice-Chair of a large European network called MiMed, whose aim is to accelerate the clinical evaluation and commercialisation of novel medical devices. This unique network is composed of over 190 researchers from 24 countries. Dr O'Halloran said: “Millions of Euro are spent every year on European medical research, but how much of that research actually makes it way to the patient? What percentage of that funding makes a tangible impact on patient care? As researchers, we have a responsibility to ensure that new discoveries in the lab make their way into clinical practice, and have a real societal and economic benefit. Training schools, such as the one being held at NUI Galway, are one important mechanism to make that happen.” The training school is supported by the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, which will provide practical solutions to the challenges involved in designing and managing a clinical trial. During the week NUI Galway’s Professor Martin Leahy and Professor Mark Bruzzi will address the training school describing their experience in the medical device industry, and their success in translating medical research to have a real and tangible impact on patient care. Dr O’Halloran continued: “With the strong culture of medical device start-ups in Galway, the recent establishment of the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), and new Clinical and Translational Research Facility about to open, NUI Galway is in a very strong position to lead these important European initiatives.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

NUI Galway graduates seeking employment are invited to a unique graduate support event on Thursday, 14 May. The ‘Kick Start your Job Search’ is a free event and will run from 9.30am to 1pm in IT 250, IT Building and 2-4pm in the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway. Organised by the Career Development Centre, the event will focus on effective CVs, interview skills, and being creative in the job search process, including a tailored workshop on using LinkedIn effectively. Interactive workshops will challenge and motivate participants to review their current approach to their job search and a panel discussion with employers from various sectors will give insights into job search strategy and what candidates can do to enhance their job prospects. Current vacancies and employers attending who have current opportunities will also be on display. There will be a limited number of one-to-one appointments available in the Careers Clinic in the Career Development Centre in the afternoon. Josephine Walsh, Acting Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, said: “We look forward to working again with our recent graduates and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and get their job search on track.” Details of the full programme are available on www.nuigalway.ie/careers, where graduates who are interested in attending the event can also book a place for the event. -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

NUI Galway has appointed David Murphy as its new Director of Technology Transfer. The Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway is responsible for supporting innovation and commercialisation on campus. Supports are provided to both NUI Galway researchers interested in exploring the commercial potential of their inventions and to businesses at a range of development stages, from start-ups looking to grow, to multinationals looking for research opportunities. Most recently David was Vice President for Innovation, Communications and External Relations with Fidelity Ireland where he established their European center for applied technology, corporate social responsibility and communication programs as well as leading R&D incentive, innovation, patent, and academic collaboration programs. David joined Fidelity Investments in 2004 as site leader for Fidelity’s Galway facility with responsibility for business development and software delivery programs. Prior to joining Fidelity, David worked in a number of international engineering positions for Lotus Development (now IBM), Microsoft Corp, and Siebel Systems (now Oracle) where he was group director responsible for European and Middle East international product engineering. “As an experienced executive David will bring to the team a wealth of knowledge accumulated through a very interesting career. He comes with senior leadership proficiency and expertise in technology, innovation and external relationships with industry,” said Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway. Speaking about his appointment David said “I am delighted to join an institution which has such a strong tradition and contributed so much to our society for over 170 years. The Technology Transfer Office in collaboration with SFI, Enterprise Ireland, our researchers, and industry partners will continue in that tradition by advancing new discoveries that will deliver real, positive societal impact. This is an exciting time to be involved in innovation. The combination of world-leading research, financial supports, access to global partners and markets allow us a great opportunity to develop and disseminate new knowledge. I look forward to working with staff, researchers, and students to achieve the ambitious research targets outlined in NUI Galway’s 2020 Vision.” David is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Ulster, and NUI Galway where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Master’s Degree in Technology Management. -ends-

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Postgraduate Course of the Year in IT Award’ at the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2015 which took place in Dublin recently. This year, the prize was awarded for the University’s Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream). Judges commented on the strong links the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream) has with leading ICT companies who are partners on the programme. These partners are actively involved in the recruitment, course design and delivery which makes this programme unique among other equivalent programmes. Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley, said: “Over 90% of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream) secure immediate employment as a result of being on the programme. We have experienced huge demand among applicants and employers to participate with the programme, and this has helped attract the highest calibre students from third level institutions all over the country. NUI Galway is now seen as a leading partner for ICT companies who wish to develop links with our training and research activities.”   Some of the industry partners involved with the Higher Diploma in Software Design & Development (Industry Stream) include: Cisco, IBM, Avaya, Insight, SAP, Storm Technologies, Fidelity Investments, Schneider Electric, Aspect Software, Sogeti, Ericsson, Netfort and Arc Energy. Companies or potential applicants interested in applying to participate in the programme can contact Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie for more details. -Ends-

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A survey of 1,000 people is being carried out door-to-door across the country by NUI Galway researchers to find out the views of Irish people with regard to health and wellbeing. Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), the study is led by Professor Ciaran O’Neill, a HRB Research Leader, at NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics. “We are really hoping to tap into some valuable information – the preferences of the public with regard to health and wellbeing. The public are the consumers of healthcare and health services in Ireland, and we want to hear first-hand their points of view to help improve decision-making at a national level.” The Health and Wellbeing Survey will take participants through a computer-based questionnaire, which will ask them to imagine different health scenarios that might face individuals such as themselves. This survey explores five dimensions of health: mobility, self-care, pain, anxiety and the ability to undertake usual activities (work, study, housework, pastimes, etc.) and aims to establish which dimensions of health the Irish people value most. When a decision is being made whether to fund a new drug or other treatments in the Irish health system, decision makers look at the costs and benefits of the new drug or treatment. Benefits are typically assessed in terms of gains in both length of life and quality of life, based on data from clinical trials. The results from this Health and Wellbeing survey will be available to help measure gains in quality of life, enabling decision makers to draw on the preferences of the Irish public when making important healthcare decisions. “From this study, we hope that a clearer understanding of the preferences of Irish people for different dimensions of health will emerge. We also want to establish a better picture of what factors underlie differences in peoples’ preferences. This will be useful when considering whether to adopt a new technology, where policy makers weigh up the costs and benefits of new technologies relative to those, for example, in current use”, explained Professor O’Neill. NUI Galway researchers have already visited eight locations, four in Dublin and four outside Dublin. The response from the public has been excellent, householders have engaged with great interest in the survey and the feedback from participants is very positive. The research team will continue to visit randomly-selected homes, representing a cross-section of society, all over Ireland over six months. The research team will carry NUI Galway identification and will call to homes between 10am and 8pm. -ends-

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The ‘Pint of Science’ international Festival will take place in Galway from 18-19 May. During the Festival a fantastic line of up of scientists will engage the public with the latest in science research in an accessible format. ‘Pint of Science’ is the largest festival of science globally, running concurrently in multiple pubs across eight countries in 50 cities. More than 20 leading and developing scientists, mostly from NUI Galway and affiliated institutes and centres, will meet the general public to talk about the research advances in their field. Panel discussions will follow presentations from three to four researchers on each night. A wide variety of topics will cover recent progress in understanding human diseases, technologies to treat them, as well as the impact of technology on the future of our society and the role of water in our lives and in our future. Created in 2012 by a group of UK postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, ‘Pint of Science’ is a non-profit organisation involving scientists on a voluntary basis. Internationally it takes place in the UK, USA, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia. Established in 2013 by Seán Mac Fhearraigh, ‘Pint of Science Ireland’ is running for the second time in Dublin, and for the first time in Galway and Limerick. A detailed programme of ‘Pint of Science Galway’ covering the themes human body, technology and planet Earth is available at www.pintofscience.ie or follow ‘Pint of Science Galway’ on Facebook. Tickets are free and must be booked online to attend. -Ends-