NUI Galway Law Lecturers Appointed to Law Reform Commission

NUI Galway Law Lecturers Appointed to Law Reform Commission -image

Thursday, 26 July 2012

NUI Galway law lecturer Tom O’Malley has been appointed by the Government to the Law Reform Commission. Donncha O Connell, also lecturer in law at the University, has been reappointed to the Commission. The Law Reform Commission is an independent, statutory body established under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975. Its purpose is to keep the law under review and to make recommendations for law reform in keeping with the changing nature of Irish society. Its scope was expanded in 2006 to include new projects on statute law restatement and the legislation directory. Tom O'Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Law and a practising barrister specialising in judicial review. He holds three first-class honours degrees from NUI Galway as well as the LL.M. degree from Yale University. He was a graduate fellow at Yale Law School in 1986-1987 and since then has taught at NUI Galway.  He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminology in 1992-1993 and earlier this year was Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. He has taught many different law subjects to degree level over the past 25 years including Constitutional Law, Contract, Land Law, Equity, Criminal Law, Criminology, Administrative Law and Evidence.  He currently offers two courses on the LL.M. (Public Law) programme, one on sentencing and penal policy and the other on criminal process. His main research interests are in the area of criminal law and criminal justice and he is the author of leading Irish treatises on sex offences, sentencing and criminal procedure. He has served on several committees and working groups at national and international level and is at present a member of the Steering Committee for the Irish Sentencing Information System. O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law as well as teaching postgraduate students in Processes of Law Reform and Advocacy, Activism & Public Interest Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Legal Aid Board.

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NUI Galway Student and Alumnus Compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games

NUI Galway Student and Alumnus Compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games-image

Thursday, 26 July 2012

London today welcomed the world to the Games of the 30th Olympiad. Among the 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events are NUI Galway student and alumnus, Paul Hession and Olive Loughnane. Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, commented: “We are delighted and honored to have students and alumni of NUI Galway representing Ireland on the world stage at the 2012 Olympic Games. Paul and Olive are world-class athletes of outstanding talent and are excellent representatives of the current generation of Irish sporting stars. On behalf of the University, I would like to wish them both the very best of luck and every success in London”. Paul Hession, Ireland’s fastest man is from Athenry and is a medicine student at NUI Galway. Twice a World Student Games medallist, Paul was awarded an NUI Galway Sports Scholarship for Athletics in 2000. Paul received the NUI Galway Sports Awards for Athletics four years in a row from 2002 – 2005.  At the Beijing Olympics, he narrowly missed out on a final place in the 200 metres and in 2010 made Irish athletics history as the first Irishman to make a 200m European sprint final. In early July he won the Irish 100m title and followed this with an excellent 20.54 for 200m in Lucerne - the fastest time by an Irishman this year. Olive Loughnane is from Loughrea, Co. Galway and is a graduate of NUI Galway.  Olive represented NUI Galway Athletic Club from 1993 to 1995 and was selected for a Sports Award in 1996. She also represented the Irish universities on numerous occasions and was a member of the National Race Walking Squad.  She became the first female Irish Walker to win a senior title at the British AAA’s Championship in Birmingham. A silver medal at the World Championship in 2009 and winning one of the rounds of the World Race Walking Challenge in 2011, Olive qualified for the Olympics by finishing first in Slovakia on a time of 1 hour 32 minutes and 40 seconds, a full minute ahead of her nearest rival. Her times have continuously improved over the years and this is her fourth Olympic Games. The London 2012 Olympic Games will commence today (Friday, 27 July) with the opening ceremony and will continue until 12 August, 2012. ENDS

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How to Survive an Ice Age

How to Survive an Ice Age-image

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Researchers have uncovered how animals in Antarctica managed to survive glacial periods thousands of years ago when sea-ice encroached on their habitats. DNA evidence indicates that sea creatures used a variety of techniques, from surviving in the deep sea, to retreating into pools of unfrozen seawater. Scientists hope that by looking back in time it will help predict the likely impact of global warming on the Southern Ocean. Natural climate cycles have caused massive glaciations on 40,000 and 100,000 year cycles over the past five million years. At times of maximum glaciation, sea-ice extended out into the Southern Ocean blocking sunlight from the surface waters, preventing phytoplankton from photosynthesising and hence cutting the food chain off at its source. Additionally, massive glaciers and ice-sheets extended far out onto the continental shelf, scoring the sea-floor and destroying the habitat of many animals. Biologists have never understood how animals in the seas surrounding Antarctica survived these Pliocene-Pleistocene glacial cycles. Was all the fauna of the Southern Ocean destroyed? Were animals able to seek refuge in the deep sea and recolonise from there?  Or did marine animals seek refuge outside of the Southern Ocean and recolonise Antarctica from other Oceans? In a paper published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers at National University of Ireland Galway and LaTrobe University in Australia provide the answer. Dr Louise Allcock, a zoologist from National University of Ireland Galway’s Ryan Institute, explains. “We found the answer in the DNA of animals that are found in the Southern Ocean today. I’ve been studying Antarctic octopuses for many years and looking at the patterns of variation in their DNA.  As I looked at other people's research on other animals, to compare their findings to my own, I noticed that there were some consistent patterns.  One of the patterns we saw was that some animals had very limited variation, with large numbers of individuals having exactly the same DNA sequence at a given gene region.  This is consistent with a population bottleneck - i.e., a massive reduction in the number of individuals in a short space of time. We can tie this with the survival of a tiny population on the continental shelf during glacial maxima. And, in fact, there's evidence from glaciology and other physical sciences that 'polynyas' - small areas free of sea ice - did persist during glacial maxima.” This wasn’t the only pattern that researchers found however.  By examining all the available published research they were able to identify at least four different patterns, each one relating to a different survival and recolonisation strategy. This improved understanding of survival mechanisms and the interpretation of molecular data will help scientists predict the likely impact of global warming on the Southern Ocean. According to Dr Jan Strugnell, of the Department of Genetics, at La Trobe University: “There has been a recent marked increase in the number of studies using DNA to try and better understand the processes that have shaped the evolution of different animal groups that live in the Southern Ocean.  By looking at all of these studies together, and taking into account their life history characteristics, we were able to detect patterns which give clues to how animal lineages have survived glacial cycles in the Southern Ocean.  The different patterns give signatures for survival in ice free refugia on the continental shelf for some animal lineages and for survival in deep sea refugia in others.” ENDS

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NUI Galway Professor Elected President of International Biometric Society

NUI Galway Professor Elected President of International Biometric Society-image

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Professor John Hinde, Statistics Group, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, has been elected as the next President of the International Biometric Society. The term of office will begin as incoming Vice-President in 2013, serving as President of the Society 2014-2015 and then a further year as outgoing Vice-President in 2016. The International Biometric Society is an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry, and allied disciplines. Originally founded in 1947 with Sir Ronald Fisher as President, the Society now has over 6,000 members in 30 different geographically defined regions across the world. It is responsible for publishing two major statistics journals and organises international and regional meetings. Professor Hinde has had a long association with the Society having served on the council for many years, and is the current President of the British and Irish Region. As International President, Professor Hinde will be responsible for both the governance of the Society and the promotion of its scientific and educational activities. He joins a distinguished list of biometricians who have served as President, but will be the first from an Irish University. -ENDS-

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June 2012

Career Opportunities in Extreme Sport Photography

Career Opportunities in Extreme Sport Photography-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media To celebrate the end of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race which finishes in Galway on 3 July, Inmarsat , the race technology partner, and the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway will present a major lecture on the successful delivery of ‘extreme sailing brought to life 24/7’ by the cameraman onboard each boat. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 5 Julyin the Galway Race Village, at 12-2.30pm. Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race will open the lecture with a discussion of the technology involved to report on the world’s most connected yacht race. He will reveal that broadcasters had initially wanted to embed their own journalists, but first contact with the harsh sailing conditions had quickly ruled that out.  Frostad admits that Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband technology has been “truly transformational” and he is looking forward to the arrival of Global Xpress, Inmarsat’s 50mbps new Boeing Satellite fleet in time for the 2014 Race. Knut Frostad will talk about the 1996 race when he was onboard Intrum Justicia and how there was a heated debate on whether competitors should have to carry broadcast equipment. Says Frostad: “In the 1996 race the compromise was equipment - or 200kg of lead. The race winner, Toshiba skippered by Chris Dickson chose lead and limited media engagement.   On Intrum Justicia, we took the media kit and renowned yachting photographer, Rick Tomlinson. We won the media battle with Sony sponsored kit delivering the first ever media picture from a Whitbread boat as we rounded Cape Horn. It was global front-page news with just 9.6 kbps connectivity, via Inmarsat C. Today its half a megabit from Inmarsat FleetBroadband and it has changed our sport.” Also presenting will be one of the world’s leading extreme sports photographers Rick Deppe. Rick’s previous work includes the Emmy award-winning series ‘Deadliest Catch’ and he was the winner of the overall Inmarsat Media Crew Member prize for the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race. He will explain the different areas of the media crew member and their extreme media-gathering role. “A successful Media Crew Member” Rick says, “must be editor, producer, journalist, photographer and diplomat to get the stories off the boat. It is business as usual very day, wind or windless, 24/7 news demands feeding”. One vital aspect of the job is building trust with the professional sailors on board for the successful delivery of materials for all sponsors. The lecture will give those present a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht to deliver high quality, dramatic and gripping material that brings the race alive for fans, sponsors and the media during the nine months of the event. Broadcast quality reality TV/reporting is a business critical to the future of sport sponsorship and in particular to this race. The opportunities for a career in extreme sport videography/reporting are exciting and growing within sailing as a result of innovative technology like Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband. Inmarsat FleetBroadband allows audiences around to world to get about as close as one can get to the race action (with HDTV clarity) without being on a competing yacht, as those who have been following the race coverage on TG4 will be aware. TG4’s Sports Editor Rónán Ó Coisdealbha will also be contributing to the session and will outline the importance of sport and the Volvo Ocean Race to the broadcaster.  The event is co-hosted by the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway, one of Ireland’s leading film schools offering a range of innovative programmes, including in Film Studies, Production & Direction, Screenwriting and Digital Media. Director of the MA in Film Studies Programme at the Huston School, Seán Crosson, says, “This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in film and television, and particularly the filming of sport, to learn more about the processes involved in capturing one of world’s major sporting events from those directly involved. The lecture will expose young film-makers, media students, and interested members of the general public to the dynamic and exciting career of the Media Crew Member aboard the yachts participating in the Volvo Ocean Race as well as the endless opportunities that Inmarsat presents traveling media crews and film-makers in capturing and relaying footage and information in the most extreme conditions.”   NUI Galway, as education partners to Volvo Ocean Race Galway, will also bring considerable experience to the end of race events in the field of volunteering. Working with non-profit event organiser Let’s Do It Global, NUI Galway will help recruit and train over 1,200 volunteers required to run the nine-day festival.  While admission is free to the lecture, places are limited at this event so anyone interested in attending should contact Dee Quinn in advance at or 091 495076 to book a place. ENDS   Deiseanna Gairme sa Ghrianghrafadóireacht Spórt Guaisbheartaíochta  Léacht Scannán Inmarsat i gcomhar le Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh Chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar dheireadh Rás Aigéin Volvo 2011-2012 a thiocfaidh go ceann céibhe i nGaillimh an 3 Iúil, tá Inmarsat, comhpháirtí teicneolaíochta an rása, agus Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston in OÉ Gaillimh chun oll-léacht a eagrú faoin tseoltóireacht ar a ndéanann na fir cheamara ar bord gach bád craoladh beo 24/7. Beidh an léacht ar siúl Déardaoin, an 5 Iúil i Sráidbhaile an Rása i nGaillimh, idir 12 agus 2.30pm. Is é Knut Frostad, Príomhfheidhmeannach Rás Aigéin Volvo, a chuirfidh tús leis an léacht le plé ar an teicneolaíocht a theastaíonn le tuairisciú ar an rás luamh is mó ceangal leis an teicneolaíocht ar domhan.  Inseoidh sé mar a bhí craoltóirí ag iarraidh a gcuid iriseoirí féin a chur ar na luaimh i dtús ama, ach nuair a tháinig siad i ngar do na cúinsí crua seoltóireachta nach raibh siad i bhfad ag athrú a n-intinn.  Admhaíonn Frostad go bhfuil teicneolaíocht FleetBroadband Inmarsat thar a bheith trasfhoirmeach, agus tá sé ag súil go mór le teacht Global Xpress, Satailít Boeing nua 50mbps de chuid Inmarsat, a bheidh réidh in am do Rás 2014. Labhróidh Knut Frostad faoi rás 1996 nuair a bhí sé féin ar bord Intrum Justicia agus mar a bhí plé teasaí maidir leis an gceist an mbeadh ar iomaitheoirí trealamh craolacháin a iompar nó nach mbeadh. Deir Frostad: “I rás 1996 bhí an rogha idir an trealamh nó 200kg luaidhe a iompar ar bord. Roghnaigh Toshiba, buaiteoir an rása faoi stiúir Chris Dickson, luaidhe agus beagán plé leis na meáin.   Ar Intrum Justicia, bhí an pacáiste meáin againn agus an grianghrafadóir clúiteach luaimh, Rick Tomlinson.  Is againn a bhí an lá i gcath na meán nuair a thóg an trealamh, a bhí urraithe ag Sony, an chéad ghrianghraf ó bhád Whitbread agus muid ag teacht timpeall Rinn an Choirn. Bhí sé ar an gcéad leathanach ar nuachtáin ar fud an domhain agus gan ach ceangal 9.6 kbps againn via Inmarsat C. Inniu is leath-mheigighiotán ó FleetBroadband Inmarsat atá in úsáid agus tá athrú ó bhonn déanta aige ar an spórt”. Déanfaidh Rick Deppe, duine de na grianghrafadóirí is clúití ar domhan ó thaobh an spóirt ghuaisbheartaíochta de, cur i láthair chomh maith. I measc na saothar atá curtha i gcrích ag Rick tá an tsraith ‘Deadliest Catch’, sraith a bhuaigh gradam Emmy, agus bhuaigh sé ollduais Inmarsat Ball de Chriú na Meán do Rás Aigéin Volvo 2008-9. Míneoidh sé na réimsí éagsúla a bhaineann le criú na meán agus an ról atá acu. Deir Rick, “le bheith i do Ball de Chriú na Meán (ball de chriú na meán) maith ní mór duit a bheith i d’eagarthóir, do léiritheoir, d’iriseoir, do ghrianghrafadóir agus i do thaidhleoir chun scéalta an bháid a roinnt leis an domhan mór. Bíonn obair le déanamh gach lá, is cuma má tá gaoth ann nó mura bhfuil, caithfear scéalta a choinneáil le nuacht 24/7.” Ar cheann de na gnéithe is tábhachtaí a bhaineann leis an jab tá muinín na seoltóirí gairmiúla a shaothrú ionas go mbeidh rath ar an tionscnamh do gach urraitheoir. Tabharfaidh an léacht léargas faoi leith ar céard is gá do thuairisceoir spórt guaisbheartaíochta a dhéanamh ar bord luamh rásaíochta ar fiú na milliúin dollar é chun ábhar ar ardchaighdeán, drámatúil agus spreagúil a chur ar fáil a dhéanfaidh an rás beo don lucht féachana, do na hurraitheoirí agus do na meáin ar feadh na naoi mí a bhíonn an t-imeacht ar siúl.  Beidh an-tábhacht ag baint le teilifís/tuairisciú réaltachta ar ardchaighdeán d’urraíocht spóirt amach anseo, go háirithe don rás seo. Tá na gairmeacha beatha a bhaineann le físghrafadóireacht/tuairisciú spóirt thar a bheith spéisiúil agus tá níos mó deiseanna anois ann i gcúrsaí seoltóireachta mar gheall ar theicneolaíocht nuálach cosúil le FleetBroadband Inmarsat. Tugann FleetBroadband Inmarsat deis do dhaoine ar fud an domhain a bheith chomh gar agus is féidir don rás (le soiléireacht HDTV) agus gan iad ar bord luaimh, mar atá feicthe acu siúd a bhíonn ag breathnú ar an rás ar TG4. Beidh Eagarthóir Spóirt TG4, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha ag labhairt ag an seisiún chomh maith agus déanfaidh sé cur síos ar a thábhachtaí is atá an spórt agus Rás Aigéin Volvo don chraoltóir.  Beidh an ócáid á comheagrú ag Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston, OÉ Gaillimh, ceann de na scoileanna scannán is mó cáil in Éirinn a chuireann réimse cláir nuálacha ar fáil lena n-áirítear Staidéar Scannán, Léiriú & Stiúradh, Scríbhneoireacht don Scáileán agus Meáin Dhigiteacha. Deir Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir an MA sa Staidéar Scannán i Scoil Huston, “Is iontach an deis í seo do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu i scannán agus i dteilifís, go háirithe scannánú ar spórt, chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi na próisis a úsáidtear chun ceann de na himeachtaí spóirt is mó ar domhan a chur ar scáileán, ón dream atá ina bhun. Tabharfaidh an léacht deis do lucht óg déanta scannán, do mhic léinn na meán agus don phobal eolas a fháil faoin ngairm dhinimiciúil agus shuimiúil a bhíonn ag Ball de Chriú na Meán ar bord na luamh a bhíonn páirteach i Rás Aigéin Volvo chomh maith leis na deiseanna iontacha atá ar fáil ó Inmarsat do chriúnna taistil meáin agus do lucht déanta scannán chun píosaí scannáin agus eolas a thaifead agus a chraoladh faoi na coinníollacha seo atá thar a bheith dian.”   Is comhpháirtí oideachais í OÉ Gaillimh le Rás Aigéin Volvo - Gaillimh, agus tá taithí ar leith aici ó thaobh imeachtaí deonacha de a chuirfidh go mór leis an staid deiridh seo den rás.  Beidh baint ag OÉ Gaillimh le hearcú agus le hoiliúint a chur ar breis agus 1200 oibrí deonach don fhéile naoi lá, i gcomhar le heagraí neamhbhrabúis na hócáide ‘Let’s Do It Galway’.  Tá sé saor in aisce freastal ar an léacht, ach tá líon na spásanna teoranta mar sin ba cheart do dhaoine ar spéis leo é teagmháil a dhéanamh le Dee Quinn roimh ré ag nó 091 495076 chun áit a chur in áirithe. -Críoch-

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German Summer School for Children at NUI Galway

German Summer School for Children at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NUI Galway is offering free German courses for children this summer. This new initiative combines learning and pleasure, giving children the opportunity to encounter German language and culture while having fun. The German summer school will be divided into two main parts, beginning with taster sessions taking place from 16-20 July, followed by a five-day intensive course from 23-27 July. The first week of the Summer School will consist of five one-day taster Sessions dedicated to expanding the children's knowledge of German language and culture. Children aged between 5 and 14 are invited to attend, with numbers restricted to 15 places per session. Each day will have a fun workshop on a different aspect of German language and involve a diverse creative activity, appealing to all age groups. Activities will include working with well-known German songs, producing a short film, and a treasure hunt which will take the attendees through a fictive Germany. During the second week of the Children's Summer School, NUI Galway is offering a five-day crash course for learning basic features of the German language. It is especially designed for children aged 10 to 12 (fourth, fifth and sixth class) who will soon be able to opt for a foreign language at secondary school. Students will be taught small groups where they will get an introduction to grammar, vocabulary and the structure of German by qualified native speakers. Tina-Karen Pusse, Lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway, said: “This is a fun, interactive course which imparts basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, using child friendly teaching methods with a lot of games and time for having fun in class. We are looking forward to meet many Galway kids here and we will show them how exciting it can be, to discover a new language.” As the teaching units are consecutive in the second week, students attend the course from Monday to Friday. The course is free to attend but there will be a €7 charge per day to cover lunch and course materials. For further information and registration please contact or visit -ENDS-

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Rise in Sea Levels and Temperature Predicted for Irish Sea

Rise in Sea Levels and Temperature Predicted for Irish Sea-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Irish Sea will experience a rise in sea levels of almost half a metre and significant changes in temperature according to new research published today by engineers at the National University of Ireland Galway’s Ryan Institute. The research suggests that by the end of the century the Irish Sea will be warmer with sea surface temperature increases of around 1.9 C. Such temperature increases may have significant impact on physical and transport processes within the Irish Sea, as well as implications for ecosystems and fishing. Researchers at the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway used the latest three-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling technologies to compute future changes. “The research presented in this paper is the first model-based projection of the Irish Sea future climate and in this regard it is the most comprehensive study of this region”, explains Dr Mike Hartnett of the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway. “The Irish Sea, being semi-enclosed, has a unique and complex geography, which influences its currents and our specific finding will help us better understand what lies ahead for these vital waters which link Ireland and the UK.” Warming in the deep channel in the western Irish Sea will be generally weaker with seasonal variability subdued due to a large heat storage capacity. The warming will be largely stored in the surface layer of the water column leading to strengthening of stratification and a considerable decrease in the thickness of the mixed layer. The consequences of this will be changes to water circulation, expected to be of particular relevance to fisheries, pollutant transport and the ecosystem. Dr Hartnett said: “Future changes to oceanographic parameters, flushing times and hydrodynamics of the Irish Sea are likely to alter the habitat and distribution of marine species; the finding of this research are therefore of great interest to ecologists and the fishery industry among others.” With potential sea level rises in the order of 0.47m coastal flooding due to storm surges is likely to be more severe in the future. Recent flooding events such as the 2009 flooding of Cork City illustrate the vulnerability of coastal communities. It is likely in the future that more extreme coastal urban flooding will occur. “This research confirms previous tentative estimates of sea level rise and also provides significant new detailed information regarding changes in temperature and water circulation patterns around our coast”, added Dr Hartnett. The research is published in this month’s edition of the science journal Continental Shelf Research. This research was carried out under funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland and the Higher Education Authority/Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions. -ends- 

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NUI Galway to Lead an EU Project to Develop ‘Bioartifical Organ’ for the Repair of Spinal Cord Injuries

NUI Galway to Lead an EU Project to Develop ‘Bioartifical Organ’ for the Repair of Spinal Cord Injuries-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Scientists at NUI Galway hope to develop a ‘bioartificial organ’ for the repair of spinal cord injuries. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at the University is leading an ambitious new €4.2 million European project, which someday may help people living with spinal cord injury. The aim is to create a polymer conduit infused with the stem cells and other supportive factors that will help heal patients with spinal cord injury. There are approximately 350,000 people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Europe today, and current treatment is highly limited. Most clinical effort is concentrated on rehabilitation and vast resources are directed to improving quality of life for these patients. “Put simply, bioartificial organs are those which are grown in a lab”, explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, a Science Foundation Ireland funded Strategic Research Cluster. “Around the world, researchers are trying to grow bladders, tissue or liver. With this particular project, we are looking to create a type of organ which would join-up a severed spine. This is frontier research, so we may be many years from success. However, our NeuroGraft consortium will bring together their synergistic expertise to develop cell seeded, functionalised bioartificial organs as valuable solutions towards spinal cord repair.” The novelty of the NeuroGraft proposal is that the functionalised multichannel conduit will provide physical, chemotropic, and neuroprotective cues which mimic the natural 3D cellular and molecular regenerative environment of the neural space. The NeuroGraft concept will be realised through the consortium, consisting of one academic and four industrial partners including groups from Vornia (Ireland), Stemmatters (Portugal), Biomatech SAS (France) and Obelis (Belgium). Regulatory advice is incorporated at an early stage in the development cycle, to facilitate the translation of the novel bioartificial devices to the market in as short a timeframe as possible. The NeuroGraft consortium will validate the safety, efficacy and biodistribution of the functionalised bioartificial organs developed in a pre-clinical model of spinal cord under GLP conditions. It is envisaged that these studies will facilitate progression to clinical trials of the technology (post project) and the development of a marketable product within six years of the completion of the NeuroGraft project. The project, called the “Development of Functionalised Cell Seeded Bioartificial Organ for Transplantation in Nerve Repair”, is funded by an EU-FP7 grant. Professor Pandit added: “We are delighted with the success of this proposal. This funding allows technology developed at NFB to be further developed so that it reaches the patients that have currently no such available treament. Over the years, we have established strong links with key industries and academic partners throughout Ireland, Europe and further afield that give us the capability to address tissue degenerative conditions or injuries through increasingly sophisticated biomaterial-based platforms, including those previously thought to be untreatable. This success is primarily due to the range of specialist expertise in biomaterials research that has been established under the Strategic Research Cluster programme funded by Science Foundation Ireland.”   -ends-  

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NUI Galway Celebrate James Joyce with Pre-Bloomsday Recital

NUI Galway Celebrate James Joyce with Pre-Bloomsday Recital -image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NUI Galway alumni and friends will celebrate the connection between James Joyce and Galway City with a pre-Bloomsday recital in Newman House, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin on Thursday, 14 June at 6.30pm. The recital is part of a series of  Bloomsweek recitals featuring Ireland’s leading classical guitarist, John Feeley, accompanied by NUI Galway graduate and James Joyce enthusiast, Professor Fran O’Rourke of UCD who will also be providing background information on Joyce. During the recital, Galway native John Feeley will be using will be James Joyce’s own guitar, which had been on display at the Joyce Tower Museum for the past 45 years. However, in the last year it has been carefully restored and it is now ready to be played again. The fact that Joyce studied in Newman House should also add extra resonance to the occasion. Professor O’Rourke said: “The guitar first features in Weiss’s iconic photograph of Joyce, taken in Zurich in 1915 and has been in the Joyce Tower Museum in Sandycove since 1967. Having heard a similar vintage guitar, it occurred to me that the Joyce guitar might be restored. I put the suggestion to Robert Nicholson, Curator of the Museum and with the expert work of Gary Southwell, it is now ready to be heard again.” Joyce was both an excellent singer and an accomplished musician, and music played a large part in his life and he incorporated it into almost all his works. Joyce’s major connection with Galway was through his wife Nora Barnacle from Bowling Green, just down from St. Nicholas’ Cathedral. Nora provided the inspiration in Joyce’s work for characters such as Molly Bloom, Greta Conroy and Anna Livia Plurabelle, among others. Joyce visited Galway and Nora’s family on several occasions and developed a deep interest and affection for the city and Joyce country which he maintained all his life. The recital is open to graduates and friends of NUI Galway. Tickets are €10 and are available online from NUI Galway Alumni Office, For further information contact the Alumni Office at 091 492721. ENDS

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Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education Conference at NUI Galway

Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education Conference at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The first international conference in NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, entitled Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education (SFGE 2012), will take place from 4-6 July. SFGE 2012 is Ireland’s first major geo-engineering conference since the European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering held in Dublin in 1987. Geo-engineering (or geotechnical engineering) is the branch of civil engineering associated with the engineering behaviour of soil and rock and encompasses the design of building foundations, retaining walls, slopes, embankments, excavations and tunnels. The conference title is a pun on the fact that foundation design is a key part of the work of a geotechnical engineer. Dr Bryan McCabe, Lecturer in Civil Engineering and SFGE 2012 Chair, said: “This conference will explore key challenges, both technical and pedagogical, faced in the education and training of students of geotechnical engineering and related engineering disciplines. This will be achieved through a series of presentations and facilitated discussion workshops. Active engagement with the significant body of teaching and learning research, accumulated over many years, is what will set SFGE 2012 apart from previous international conferences of this type.” Renowned international keynote speakers include: Professor Paul Mayne, Georgia Tech; Professor Steve Ressler, US Military Academy at Westpoint; Professor John Atkinson, City University, London and Coffey Geotechnics; Dr Brian Simpson, Arup Geotechnics, London; and Professor Rich Felder, North Carolina State University. During the three day event, Professor John Burland, Imperial College London, will also be honoured with an award for his lifelong contribution to education in geo-engineering and will deliver a special invited lecture. Professor Burland is renowned for his role in stabilising the Leaning Tower of Pisa. SFGE 2012 will also incorporate a workshop of the popular ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) programme which will have an appeal beyond geo-engineering to academics and practitioners in science and engineering. Those interested in attending can register online at For further details on SFGE 2012 contact Dr Bryan McCabe at 091 492021 or -ENDS-

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