Increased Places in Medicine at NUI Galway

Increased Places in Medicine at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 10 January 2011

There is good news for CAO applicants this week as the Medical School at NUI Galway has been allocated additional places on its flagship undergraduate Medical programme. Students applying to study medicine this February for a September 2011 start, will see an additional 19 places made available, bringing the total number of Medicine places at NUI Galway to 118, making it the second largest Medical School for undergraduate Irish and EU students in the country. Beginning with a base of 55 students, the Medical School at NUI Galway has seen unprecedented growth in its undergraduate provision, with numbers more than doubling since 2006. This growth in undergraduate numbers also reflects a decision on behalf of the University not to offer a Graduate Medicine programme, but to concentrate its efforts on undergraduate Medicine. Working with its strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, NUI Galway will provide undergraduate medical education for the West and Mid-West regions, and beyond, while the University of Limerick will provide Graduate Medicine opportunities for those with a first degree who are interested in studying Medicine. NUI Galway's denominated Biomedical Science degree, as well as its undenominated Science programme, provide an excellent first degree for students who may be considering the Graduate Medicine programme in the future. Speaking about this shared approach to the provision of medical education, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne said: "We are delighted to be working with our strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, to expand the provision of top class medical education in the West and mid-West regions. With the cooperation of all of the public Medical Schools and the Higher Education Authority, we will focus on providing an excellent undergraduate Medical programme while UL concentrates on the Graduate Medicine market". The quality of students studying Medicine at NUI Galway remains among the highest in the country with students outperforming competitors in national prizes and awards. NUI Galway's medical students recently featured prominently in the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Awards, winning 14 out of a possible 39 medals in this competition. The Henry Hutchinson Stewart Awards is a national, annual competition open to all NUI universities in Ireland. Top performing students in each subject area of Medicine are selected by their Professors and put forward for the Awards. Commenting on the increase in places on the Medicine programme, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway said: "This is great news not just for the Medical School at NUI Galway, but also for CAO applicants considering applying to medicine. We are delighted to be able to provide more opportunities for the country's future doctors, without compromising on the exceptional quality of medical education we have been providing for many years now. Recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as ground-breaking developments in our research activities, have positioned the Medical School as one of the top Schools in the country. Recent success in a number of Science Foundation Ireland Awards confirms the calibre of staff from all over the world who have been attracted to the Medical School, and ensures that our teaching is informed by high quality research." Much of the success of NUI Galway's medical students is attributed to innovative curriculum development and the commitment of the Medical School to the holistic development of its students, with the aim of producing well-grounded and well-rounded doctors of the future. One popular initiative on the Medical programme has been the development of Special Study Modules (SSM), which give students the opportunity to study a specialist area of interest in detail, with a wide range of areas to choose from, including Medicine and the Arts, Sports Psychology and Malaysian Culture and Eastern Medicine. Other recent initiatives include the setting up of a network of regional Medical Academies to cater for the increased number of clinical medical students at the University. The Sligo Academy was set up in 2009 and now has 40 students on clinical placement at Sligo Hospital, while the Letterkenny Academy commenced last week. As well as bringing clinical benefits to the patients of Sligo and Letterkenny Hospitals, the University hopes to commence capital developments on both hospital sites this year. An Academy will begin at Castlebar Hospital in 2012, while a joint Academy, shared with the University of Limerick, based at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe and Roscommon Hospital accepted its first UL students in 2010. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Graduate Named China's Excellent Scientist

NUI Galway Graduate Named China's Excellent Scientist-image

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

NUI Galway Graduate Professor Chun Chang Huang, was recently presented with the prestigious 'Excellent Scientist of China' Award in China. Chun Chang Huang is a Professor at the Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China. In the period 1990 to 1994, Chun Chang Huang carried out research in the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit at NUI Galway, under the supervision of Professor Michael O'Connell. Huang's research involved reconstructing various aspects of environmental change in western Ireland during the last 15,000 years, i.e. during the final stages of the last Ice Age and the present warm period. For this research, he was awarded a PhD degree in 1994 and subsequently published his main findings in international scientific journals. After his studies in NUI Galway, he returned to his native city, Xi'an, where he resumed lecturing and leading research into post-glacial environmental change — climate, hydrology, soil erosion, land-use history — in the Yellow River basin, including the Loess Plateau, northern China. As well as publishing books and many research papers in international and Chinese scientific journals, he has also been much involved with administration, both as Professor and Dean of the Faculty. Professor Chun Chang Huang says he is delighted with the award of 'Excellent Scientist of China' and that his experience at NUI Galway continues to mean a lot to him. Congratulating Professor Chun Chang Huang, NUI Galway's Professor Michael O'Connell of the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit said, "We are delighted that this highly prestigious award has been accorded to a former graduate student of NUI Galway for his contributions towards improved understanding of long-term climate change and human impact in both China and Ireland." ENDS

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December 2010

NUI Galway Research Highlights Harmful Effects of Noise Exposure

NUI Galway Research Highlights Harmful Effects of Noise Exposure-image

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Postgraduate research project recently completed in the School of Physics focusing on noise levels at Irish traditional music and Irish rock performances, has shown high levels of noise exposure among musicians and the potential for increased risks to hearing. This study also highlights the need for increased awareness training in relation to the harmful effects of repeated high noise exposure among musicians. Some of the results exceeded the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work. The data from the project shows that personal noise exposures of all the rock/pop musicians sampled exceed the 87dB(A) exposure limit value as detailed in the 2007 regulations and half of the traditional Irish musicians sampled exceeded the 87dB(A) exposure limit value. To obtain these results, Helena O'Sullivan, an MSc student with Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, measured noise levels at static monitoring points on the stage during the music performance, and ranged from 85 to 90 dB(A) during traditional Irish music performances and from 101 – 107 dB(A) during Irish rock/pop music performances. The personal noise exposure level of one band member (either the singer or the drummer) was also measured, and they ranged from 100 to 102 dB(A) for members of the Irish rock/pop bands and 88 - 95 dB(A) for members of the Traditional Irish music bands. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work, sets out an exposure action value of 85dB(A) and an exposure limit value of 87dB(A) for a daily or weekly personal exposure. These limits apply to people working in a noisy environment and do not apply to the general public. Workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels of 85dB (A) have an increased risk of noise induced hearing loss. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc in Occupational Health and Safety Programme at NUI Galway says: "The harmful effects of repeated exposure to high sound levels, have long been recognised, and much progress has been made in reducing noise exposures in many work environments. However, high noise levels and exposure to noise continues to be an issue for the entertainment sector. This project highlights the need for further investigation in the area." Using the data collected in the study, an estimate for the eight hour equivalent noise dose for comparison with the recommended guidelines in the 2007 regulations, was calculated. This estimate does not take into consideration other sources of noise exposure that the band members may have received at another point in their day, and so may be underestimating the risk. Results from a questionnaire survey, as part of the research, detailing experiences musicians report in relation to noise exposure show that 52% of respondents regularly experience a ringing sensation in their ears after a performance, and 60% reported that they do not use hearing protection. Helena O'Sullivan has just completed a one year taught MSc programme in Occupational Health and Safety at NUI Galway.   <iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> -Ends-

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NUI Galway Web Researcher Secures Funding From Google

NUI Galway Web Researcher Secures Funding From Google-image

Thursday, 16 December 2010

An NUI Galway Researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Dr Alexandre Passant, recently won a Research Award granted by Google to work on the next generation of mobile social networking applications. The grant will fund a team for a year, enabling them to combine theoretical research and implementation, which will make the product directly usable by end-users and advance the state of the art in the domain of social networking applications. A key element of the research will be the protection of privacy for users. In this recent round of funding, Google distributed 112 awards, for a total of more than six million dollars, and 29 percent of the funding was awarded to Universities outside the U.S.A including NUI Galway. Most social network applications are closed worlds, where you have to give your data to a provider such as Facebook in order to share this data with friends and the user cannot interact with friends on other social networks. Researchers at DERI have been working on SMOB, a microblogging framework as an alternative that enables semantic and distributed social networks. The result is that the user does not rely on a third-party provider, but owns their data and can share it with whomever they want. In the SMOB framework, distributed hubs communicate with each other to exchange the microblog posts and subscriptions in order to follow particular blogs or have others follow an individual blog, belonging to another user. Each user installs their own hub and the communication spreads from there. Dr Alexandre Passant, Unit Leader at DERI and Principal Investigator for the project, explains "With this Google Research Award, we will push the boundaries of this research to make such distributed networks as SMOB communicate directly between mobile phones, with a special focus on privacy. Our goal is to make users really control who they want to share content with, based on dynamic and in-the-cloud identification of people belonging to particular groups, for instance colleagues or family members, without having to subscribe to a service that will own your data. We will in particular rely on Google s PubSubHubbub protocol to do so, combined with our expertise in Social Networks and Semantic Web technologies." Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI says "The grant from Google shows the quality and relevance of Irish research, attracting more and more commercial interest. Our responsibility is to create the environment that makes it possible for the research to also transition into commercial reality, improving the lives of people, instead of staying solely in academia." -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students' Union Shop Scoops National Prize Two Years in a Row

NUI Galway Students' Union Shop Scoops National Prize Two Years in a Row-image

Monday, 13 December 2010

The XL Students Union Shop on the campus of NUI Galway has won the national prize for best Stationary Offering at Shelflife C-Store Awards 2010, held last week in Dublin. The shop was one of 23 outlets to pick up an award from amongst hundreds of local convenience store entrants from across Ireland. This is the second year in a row the shop has won this prestigious award. John Moane, Managing Director of BWG Foods Wholesale Division says, "It is confirmation of how well they understand their customer s needs. The team is very deserving of this industry accolade and they should take pride in displaying it alongside their other awards." Students' Union Shop Manager Liam Buckley says, "The staff and I are delighted to have won this award two years running. There is a huge effort in keeping the standards high in the shop and it is a great achievement by all that this has been recognised at a national level by winning the most sought after accolade in the retail industry." The ShelfLife C-Store Awards, now running for 11 years, were set up to recognise retailers and retail outlets that set the highest standards in the retail industry. ENDS

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NUI Galway Alumni Awards Gala Launched

NUI Galway Alumni Awards Gala Launched-image

Monday, 13 December 2010

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's 11th Annual Alumni Awards Gala, which will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall on Saturday, 5 March, 2011. Proceeds from the event will support the expansion of NUI Galway's Archives through the acquisition of new collections and the development of humanities programming for the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building. One of the highlights of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of the Annual Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievement among the University's more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. Six alumni awards will be presented on the night. They include: Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership; AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law; Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Engineering and Informatics; Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Seavite Alumni Award for Science. For ticket enquiries, contact Emma Goode in the Alumni Office on 091 493750, Tickets cost €100 per person. For further information on the event please contact JB Terrins, Director, Alumni Relations, NUI Galway. 091 495411 ENDS

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Ecologists Say Sustainable Farming Practices Help Protect Biodiversity

Ecologists Say Sustainable Farming Practices Help Protect Biodiversity -image

Monday, 13 December 2010

Work carried out by the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway have found that intensive farming practices have definitive effects on local biodiversity – where biodiversity includes all living organisms in, and their interactions with and within, an environment. At a recent talk held in NUI Galway, Dr. Mike Gormally of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research spoke of the challenges facing the unique biodiversity in the West of Ireland. The talk followed a significant breakthrough in negotiations in Nagoya, Japan at the end of October, when almost 190 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met to discuss a new global strategic plan for protecting biodiversity. Focusing on the effects of farming on peatlands and turloughs (disappearing lakes) in the West of Ireland, Dr. Gormally explained that sustainable farming practices are intrinsic to the protection of biodiversity, and that many native plant and insect species would suffer if sustainable agricultural practices ceased. Some of these species are found only in the West of Ireland and are a fundamental part of intricate regional food webs and cycles of life. Identifying climate change as another threat, Dr. Gormally stated that there would be "winners and losers" in Irish biodiversity if the effects of climate change were to continue in their current trend. "The Nagoya Agreement, recently adopted by the CBD, outlines 20 goals for 2020, to protect threatened habitats and to halt the disturbing rate of extinction of plant and animal species." explains Dr. Gormally. He adds, "In the west of Ireland, where we have really special habitats such as turloughs, peatlands, and the karst limestone found in the Burren, the biodiversity is unique and complex, and there is still so much to be understood and explored. We desperately need for loss of biodiversity to be globally recognised as a threat as potentially damaging for human health and welfare as climate change. Hopefully the protocol adopted at Nagoya will go some way to make that happen." Dr. Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute, says "The work of Dr. Gormally and members of his Applied Ecology Unit play an important role in assisting Ireland to address the targets outlined by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Climate change, urbanisation, misuse of our resources, and some modern agricultural practices can threaten biodiversity. With a better understanding of the interactions between flora, fauna and landscape, we could manage our land and resources in a way that maintains a healthy ecosystem while supporting a wide range of human activities." For more information contact: Dr. Michael Gormally, 091 493334 email: ENDS

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Druid and NUI Galway Announce Collaboration

Druid and NUI Galway Announce Collaboration-image

Monday, 13 December 2010

The West of Ireland has always been renowned for the central role played by the creative arts and NUI Galway has provided a breeding ground for the development of artistic talent in successive generations of students. Now, in a groundbreaking initiative, NUI Galway and Druid are coming together to form a partnership that will be crucial in maintaining and developing the performance arts of the region into the future. In an exciting new collaboration, NUI Galway will contribute to the development of Druid's next major theatre event (to be produced in 2012/13) while Druid, in turn, will develop a range of practice-led workshops and seminars including a series of Master classes for BA and MA students. In addition, in a move that highlights the new initiative, a Druid Director-in-Residence will be appointed who will co-ordinate the joint Master classes and workshops and offer classes and mentoring in various aspects of directing and stagecraft to NUI Galway students. These contributions will enhance two successful NUI Galway academic programmes: the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and BA Connect in Theatre and Performance. The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Mick Lally, Marie Mullen and Garry Hynes. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Commenting on the new partnership, NUI Galway President James J. Browne said, "We are very excited by this new and innovative partnership with Druid, which, I believe, holds wonderful opportunities for both organisations. For the University it represents a new creative thrust for our academic programmes in theatre and drama, which will be enriched by the talent and experience of a world leading professional theatre company. In turn we are able to play a role in Druid's ability to continue to present first class theatre for stages both here in Ireland and abroad." Garry Hynes commented that, "Back in 1975 NUI Galway helped Druid launch into the world with the provision of various facilities and continued to help us informally through the years. Now 35 years later we are at the beginning of a new and very exciting partnership. Without NUI Galway, and other partners, Druid simply would not be able to produce these major projects that have become such central events for our actors and our audience alike. Just as I - informally - took my first steps in the theatre in NUI Galway, I am now, through this programme looking forward to helping the emergence of the next generation of theatre makers from my alma mater." Druid would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Arts Council in funding the company's work and also the support of Culture Ireland in funding its international touring programme. ENDS

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NUI Galway to Host Seminar on Rural Ageing and the Recession

NUI Galway to Host Seminar on Rural Ageing and the Recession-image

Thursday, 9 December 2010

"An Age Old Problem - Where Now for Rural Services" The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway is hosting a seminar on rural ageing and the recession, in conjunction with the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), Irish Rural Link and the Rural Community Network Northern Ireland. The seminar, which is part of CARDI's Older People and the Recession Series, is taking place today, Thursday, 9 December and tomorrow, Friday, 10 December in the Martin Ryan Institute (Annex) at NUI Galway. This event will focus on ageing in rural Ireland, North and South, and will examine crucial issues of concern for researchers, policymakers and older people themselves about the impact of the recession. The keynote address will be given by Professor Norah Keating, Co-Director of Research on Aging, Policies and Practice, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Canada. It will also feature contributions from national experts in the fields of ageing research, policy and practice and will showcase findings from two CARDI funded research projects relating to ageing in a rural context. Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), says the event is particularly timely: "At a time when everyone is facing up to the new realities of economic uncertainty, it is useful to reflect on what works and what doesn't work in meeting the needs and aspirations of older citizens living in rural communities across Ireland. This seminar brings together some of the country's best people to help shape the future of rural services for a growing proportion of our population." Dr Roger O'Sullivan, Director of CARDI says, "Older people make up a significant part of the rural population of Ireland, North and South. This seminar not only addresses the particular issues facing older people in terms of accessing transport and other services but also takes a closer look at the positive contribution older people make to rural communities. The CARDI funded research projects which will be launched at the event underline the importance of listening to older people's voices when making decisions on rural policy and services in Ireland, North and South. Recognising the value of rural communities and older people who live in them will be especially important in the context of the difficult decisions about public spending that lie ahead." Dr Kieran Walsh, NUI Galway, will present findings from a CARDI funded project entitled 'Older people in Rural Communities: Exploring Attachment, Contribution and Diversity in Rural Ireland and Northern Ireland' focusing on case studies of the experiences of older people. The report, which was written in collaboration with colleagues at NUI Galway, Queens University, the Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack, is a part of a larger programme of work on rural ageing being pursued by the Healthy Ageing in Rural Communities (HARC) research network. Dr Aoife Ahern, University College Dublin, will also present a project exploring the issue of rural transport for older people. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Alumni Christmas Gathering

NUI Galway Alumni Christmas Gathering-image

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The NUI Galway Alumni Association invites all graduates, returning to Galway for Christmas, to the annual Alumni Christmas Gathering. Now in its sixth year, the Christmas Gathering is a great reason to return to campus and catch up with old friends over a glass of mulled wine and some mince pies. To ensure a festive atmosphere, the Orbsen Choir will be on hand singing carols to get everyone in the mood for Christmas. "Coming back to NUI Galway at this time of year is a wonderful experience, especially as a graduate. Unlike your time spent here as a student, there are no exams to worry about, and you never know who you'll bump into" says Mairin Gilvarry, Chairperson of the Alumni Association Board. "We encourage all graduates to come along, bring a friend and pass on the message to former classmates." The Christmas Gathering, a free event, will take place on Friday, 17 December, in the Quadrangle from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Please RSVP to Colm O'Dwyer, Alumni Office, on 091 493 750 or -Ends-

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