Thursday, 21 February 2019

Sea lettuce seaweed strains show extensive variation in growth and metabolism, demonstrating a large potential for boosting biomass and metabolite yields in aquaculture in Ireland Researchers from the Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway have carried out a study aimed at identifying strains of seaweed which are good for aquaculture and agriculture in Ireland. The study discovered that sea lettuce, a fast growing seaweed with excellent nutritional value for animal feed and industrial uses could return higher yields when the right strains are used. This seaweed is also responsible for green tides in Cork and the East coast of Dublin. The year-long study which was published in one of the top 10 Plant Science international journals, Plant Physiology, analysed 50 seaweed strains of sea lettuce, mostly from Ireland and is the first study of its kind to be carried out. Sea lettuce plays a key role in coastal ecosystems and is of increasing commercial importance. However, physiological differences between strains and species have yet to be described in detail. Furthermore, the strains of Ulva (seaweed blooms) used in aquaculture usually originate from opportunistic collection in the wild without prior selection of best performing strains. As a result, efforts are required to detect the potential variability in growth and metabolic accumulation between seaweed strains to ultimately select the best performing strains, like sea lettuce, under certain environmental conditions. Lead author of the study, Dr Ronan Sulpice from the Plant Systems Biology Lab in the Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “This study is an important stepping stone towards the development of modern breeding approaches for seaweed aquaculture.” The sea lettuce strains were collected from around the coastlines of Co. Galway, Co. Clare and the East coast. Beaches included Roundstone, Derrygimla, Dog’s Bay, Clifden, Tievegarriff, Ventry Bay, Lahinch, Bunowen Beach, Eastern Scheldt (Netherlands), Tolka and Courtmacsherry beach. The growth, physiological and metabolic characteristics of 50 seaweed bloom strains were investigated in the laboratory, using a custom-made growth monitoring platform set by researcher Dr Antoine Fort. Mr Antoine Fort from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The study paves the way towards the domestication and breeding of elite strains of seaweed blooms (Ulva) for aquaculture, similar to what has been done for crop plants since the beginning of agriculture.” The researchers found a large natural variation for a wide range of growth and metabolic characteristics, with growth increases varying from 9% to 37% per day amongst strains. They also found that sea lettuce strains possess a unique diurnal growth pattern and primary metabolism compared to land crop plants, with higher growth rates during the night than during the light period. This sea lettuce was not primarily using starch and sucrose to sustain its growth at night, contrary to plant crops. Nitrates were accumulated during the night in the seaweed tissues, and nitrate accumulation and consumption was positively correlated with high growth. The large variability in growth and nutritional quality recorded amongst sea lettuce strains justify future efforts in strain selection for increasing biomass, metabolite yields and nutrient removal in the growing aquaculture industry. The next stage of this research will sequence the genomes of all the sea lettuce strains collected and analyzed during this study, and aims to identify the genes responsible for fast growth and high nutritional content, while extending the research to 300 strains of sea lettuce which be collected across Europe. The study was funded by the EU Horizon 2020 project, GenialG. To read the full study in Plant Physiology visit: http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/early/2019/02/12/pp.18.01513

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Four NUI Galway based programmes will engage 100,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2019 Four NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €400,000 through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme, to fund projects dedicated to educating and engaging with 100,000 members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in 2019. The funding awards were announced by Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, as part of a national investment of €3.6 million. NUI Galway Funded Projects Cell EXPLORERS (€298,778 funding award) Cell EXPLORERS is a successful science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities regionally and nationally, led by Dr Muriel Grenon. Originally developed in NUI Galway, it uses a unique model for sustainable science public engagement in 13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Ireland, including both universities and institutes of technology. The programme uses hands-on activities facilitated by local scientist volunteers to engage the public in the importance of science in society through a diverse set of activities, including school visits and science festival workshops. Since its creation, 1,200 enthusiastic scientists have directly reached 32,000 members of the public. This award will fund the activities delivered by the national network made of 10 existing and three novel HEI partner teams located in Connacht, Munster, Leinster and Ulster. These Cell EXPLORERS teams will run primary and secondary school visits in their geographical areas, reaching 15 counties nationally, including seven of the nine counties with low levels of SFI-funded STEM interventions. This award will allow more children to work as real scientists in Irish classrooms under the mentorship of local, approachable and inspirational science role models. More information about this programme can be found at www.cellexplorers.com. CÚRAM ‘Strength in Science’ Project (€47,650 funding award) CÚRAM researchers are teaming up with science teachers, PE teachers and fitness instructors to develop cross-curricular resources to increase secondary students’ interest in both learning science and participating in exercise. CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices. Physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for poor health and is now identified by the World Health Organization as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. In Ireland, physical inactivity is thought to be responsible for 8.8% of the burden of disease from coronary artery disease, and 10.9% of type 2 diabetes. Only 8% of female and 12% of male secondary students in Ireland receive the Department of Education and Skills recommended 60 minutes of Physical Education (PE) per week. Time pressure due to school work was the most common reason cited for the allocation of too little PE during school hours. By strongly linking PE lessons to the science curriculum, educators will hopefully not feel as if the time dedicated to PE was taking away from preparing for exams. Four lesson plan kits will be developed that are linked to the biology, physics and PE curricula. The kits will integrate CÚRAM research with the scientific effects of exercise on different areas of the body to prevent diseases such as vascular disease, stroke, neurodegenerative disorders and osteoporosis. Each kit will include a lesson plan for teachers, an 8 to 10-minute video and a flyer covering the topic for students to share with family members. The kits are planned to be launched in the autumn of 2019. Secondary schools in the Galway or Dublin area interested in getting involved in the project should contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie and more information is available at www.curam.ie. Bright Club (€49,797 funding award) Bright Club is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using comedy to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, mathematics, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public to talk about their research in an informal pub setting. Bright Club has been running across Ireland for four years with 50 live events and 150 academics trained, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. More information at www.brightclub.ie. ReelLIFE SCIENCE (€12,000 funding award) ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a science video competition which, since being launched in 2013 by Dr Enda O’Connell, has engaged thousands of science enthusiasts in more than 350 primary schools, secondary schools and community groups around Ireland. Participants are challenged to produce a short, entertaining and educational STEM video for the public, while developing their communication and digital skills. The best videos win €1,000 for their school or group and are screened at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway every year. Closing date for 2019 entries is Friday, 18 October and more information can be found at www.reellifescience.com. Speaking about the funded projects, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is committed to delivering extensive public outreach and education programmes in STEM activities. For several years now, our researchers from CÚRAM, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Cell EXPLORERS and Bright Club have provided these programmes to students, teachers and the wider public throughout Ireland to encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in a fun and engaging way, while highlighting the importance of STEM in addressing societal challenges. These funding awards from Science Foundation Ireland is testament to the level of excellence in NUI Galway’s public engagement initiatives to inspire the next generation of STEM scientists.” Speaking about the Programme, Interim Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, Margie McCarthy, said: “The SFI Discover Programme encourages people from all walks of life to become informed about, and engaged with, STEM. Through SFI Discover we harness the creativity of diverse engagement initiatives to motivate more people to explore STEM in meaningful ways, and we aspire to create a brighter future for Ireland together. The projects being announced are very exciting and I look forward to working with them to inspire our future scientists, engineers and innovators.” Science Foundation Ireland has invested in over 240 public engagement projects through the Discover Programme since 2013. This year’s funded initiatives are estimated to reach over two million people. 41 diverse initiatives will be supported by this year’s programme, with successful awardees being carefully selected through international peer-review. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

First University to bring Dress for Success to campus Sonya Lennon to Address 200 students Public roundtable discussion on Equality in the workplace   NUI Galway is teaming up with charity Dress for Success Dublin to promote gender equality ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, 8 March. Through the partnership, Dress for Success will provide advice on CV preparation and interview skills, in addition to advice and tips on professional clothing and styling, to Galway women preparing to enter or return to the workforce. NUI Galway will also work with the charity to provide policy guidance.    The two organisations will also hold a number of events in Galway focusing on community outreach: A roundtable discussion and media event on Equality in the Work Place, including issues around gender pay gap, to coincide with Dress for Success Dublin’s 2019 International Women’s Day campaign. The event will take place on Thursday, 7 March at 12pm and will feature Sonya Lennon, Founder and Director of Dress for Success Dublin; Dr Michelle Millar, Head of School of Political Science and Sociology and Senior Research Fellow at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; and Merit Medical’s Vice-President of European Operations, Mark Butler. To register for this free event, visit: bit.ly/equalityintheworkplace   On Thursday, 7 March, Sonya Lennon will address up to 200 students on First Steps to Success - Owning your Worth and Planning the Game Strategy. Students will learn how to develop their personal brand, understand their worth and optimise their career from the very beginning. The student focused event will be held in NUI Galway’s Human Biology Building from 4–5.30pm. In May, NUI Galway will host a community-focused outreach event to support women returning to the workforce. The Dress for Success Dublin Outreach Event will give women living outside Dublin the opportunity to access the services of Dress for Success Dublin. The service provides advice and interview clothing and appropriate work wear for women who are trying to return to or gain entry to the workforce. A team, including two stylist volunteers will dress up to 15 women on the day.  Professor Anne Scott, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to partner with Dress for Success Dublin to support our communities as we strive for greater equality in the work place and work to address issues such as the gender pay gap. The partnership will focus on a number of events for the entire community and is among a range of NUI Galway initiatives designed to promote gender equality. Sonya is a great ambassador for female empowerment and Dress for Success supports women from all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities to unlock their potential.” Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success Dublin, said today: “As a charity campaigning across all sectors to champion and advocate for workplace equality, we’re delighted, to have NUI Galway partner with us for the IWD2019 campaign, the first university to do so. It is great to see the work that NUI Galway have been doing, in moving towards full gender equality and we’re delighted to play our role, joining with them in this effort. We are also excited to have the opportunity, through this partnership, to work with women in the area seeking to enter or renter the workforce, empowering them economically and giving them the tools they need to succeed. “Through this series of events with NUI Galway, we’ll reach a diverse group of people including media, local businesses, the University students and local women in unemployment to tackle gender inequality in a multifaceted and holistic way.” Dress for Success Dublin is a charity that promotes the economic independence of women by providing career development tools and a support network, and campaigns for equality in the workplace throughout industries, and across the country. Since 2011, they have supported over 2,000 women with the professional clothing, skills and development opportunities they needed to secure employment and achieve success. 57% of the women who work with Dress for Success Dublin go on to secure employment, and 75% are where they want to be, whether that’s working or in further training and education.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Legal history will be made in March, as the Supreme Court will sit outside a courthouse for the first time since it returned to the Four Courts in 1932. This will also be the first time it sits in Galway and only the third time the court will sit outside of Dublin.  To mark this landmark occasion of the Supreme Court sittings at NUI Galway, the School of Law is organising a number of celebratory events: A public event, entitled ‘Women on Supreme Courts’, will take place on Tuesday, 5 March, as part of the University’s programme of events for International Women’s Day. The event will hear from current, former and international Supreme Court judges focusing on the contribution of women to adjudication in the superior courts. Speakers include: Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court Judge and Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority, Mrs Justice Matilda Twomey, Chief Justice of Seychelles and a graduate of NUI Galway’s School of Law, Mr Justice John MacMenamin and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. This event is free of charge and members of the public can register at www.conference.ie. The School will a deliver a series of (closed) student seminars in conjunction with members of the Supreme Court where students will have a unique opportunity to interact with the judiciary and academic law staff to address current issues such as consent in relation to sexual offences and other offences against the person, workplace bullying, the role of a Judge, tribunals of inquiry, disability in the courts, separations of powers, restriction and disqualification of company directors. On Monday, 4 March, the Chief Justice will deliver a speech on ‘The Common Law Post-Brexit’ to the legal community at an event jointly with the Galway Solicitors’ Bar Association Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “The School of Law greatly looks forward to welcoming the Supreme Court for its first ever sittings in the West of Ireland. The School of Law has developed with the local legal community an exciting programme of events for our law students and the public to mark this historic occasion.  This visit is an exceptional learning opportunity for our law students and the Chief Justice Frank Clarke is to be commended for initiatives such as this, which promote greater understanding of the role of the Supreme Court and the important work it does.” To find out more and to keep up to date with the events taking place visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/supremecourt/.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A high level conference on ‘Brexit and the Future of British-Irish Relations’ with leading figures in politics, business, journalism and academia will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 28 February and Friday, 1 March. The event has been co-organised by the University’s Moore Institute, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and the Mitchell Institute at Queen’s University Belfast. The challenge of Brexit has engulfed British politics for more than two years, with a major deadline looming for a withdrawal agreement with the EU by Friday, 29 March. Ireland has posed a particular source of difficulty during negotiations – as an EU member state sharing a border with the UK in Northern Ireland. Crucial questions will be addressed at the conference: Will a ‘hard’ Brexit impose a hard border on the island? Can a deal be struck that the Democratic Unionist Party and the House of Commons will accept? What is the fate of the Good Friday Agreement? Is the ‘backstop’ a necessity or will it prevent the UK’s departure from the EU? Participants include Mairéad McGuinness, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament; Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland; Lisa Chambers, TD, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Brexit; Steve Aiken, Ulster Unionist MLA; Angela Knight, former Tory MP; Professor Kevin O’Rourke, Oxford and author of A Short History of Brexit; Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, RTÉ and author of Brexit & Ireland; Carlo Trojan, former Secretary General of the European Commission and head of the EU task force on Northern Ireland; John McGrane, British and Irish Chamber of Commerce; and Professor Mary Daly, UCD/RIA. The conference will feature five panels with contributions from participants and a Q&A on:  The European Project Politics and Populism British-Irish Trade Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement and the Border The Future of British-Irish Relations In addition, Mairéad McGuinness will give a special address at 5.30pm on Thursday, 28 February as part of the event. Commenting on the event, Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Brexit is the crucial event of our times, with the potential to bedevil British and Irish relations for years to come. This gathering of distinguished participants is a vital opportunity to develop our understanding of the issues connected with this all-important redefinition of Ireland’s relationship with its key neighbour. Trade, peace, and security are all at stake in Northern Ireland’s role in Brexit.” Professor Patrick Griffin, Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, commented: “We are delighted to partner with NUI Galway and QUB on what is turning out to be the defining question for this generation of people living in Britain and Ireland. Addressing the challenges of Brexit will require imagination and many more of the sorts of discussions we hope to foster at this conference.” The event is free and open to the public, with registration on Eventbrite at: brexitfuturerelations.eventbrite.com. The two-day event will take place at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A workshop on the roles of producing in the creative arts is to be held at NUI Galway. Entitled ‘On Producing: Industry, Infrastructure and Cultures of Change’ the workshop will address a variety of issues, from job creation and employment conditions, to programme selection and proposals for advocacy and change in the creative arts industry. The workshop will take place on Monday, 25 February in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway. The event investigates the role of the producer and the processes of production with a particular emphasis on how change can be facilitated to occur in theatre and the creative arts. The workshop intends to examine producing from multiple perspectives and areas of expertise, including the history of producing, networks and training, hosting and touring, festivals and events, budgets and financial planning, the impact of identity politics at policy and decision-making level, and the development of storytelling content. Guest speakers and workshop facilitators include: Anne Clarke, Landmark Productions Jen Coppinger, Abbey Theatre Jane Daly, Irish Theatre Institute Craig Flaherty, Galway 2020 Julie Kelleher, The Everyman Louise Lowe, ANU Productions Una Nic Eoin, Prime Cut Productions Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín, Moonfish Theatre Roisin Stack, Theatre57 Dr Miriam Haughton, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway, said: “Producing is essential to the making of theatre and performance, and requires greater attention in theatre and performance scholarship, as well as further training opportunities. Producing is vital to the successful management, growth and legacy of single events, co-productions, touring, and festivals. Producing theatre and performance ensures creativity is central to social and cultural activity, as well as a financial stimulant for the wider economy.” As Galway prepares for the 2020 European Capital of Culture designation, creative arts graduates must be equipped with the skills of creative entrepreneurs to identify the opportunities and challenges that are forthcoming. Dr Haughton added: “However, recent studies and symposia, such as the Gender Counts report commissioned by #WakingTheFeminists and supported by the Arts Council, identify that certain value-systems continue to discriminate against women at professional level, resulting in less employment opportunities and less pay. Therefore, any study into the role of producing which fundamentally concerns the creation of storytelling for public consumption and circulation must include a dedicated focus directed at hiring practices, funding awards, and how and why certain stories get told and retold, while others become marginalised and/or dismissed. Furthermore, recent local and international revelations regarding workplace relations behind the scenes have highlighted the need for reviewing and strengthening workplaces cultures and labour relations policies as they pertain to the creative and cultural industries. These issues, and more, will be addressed at the event by the Producers leading the industry and advocacy for change.” Following the workshop, a new book by Dr Haughton, Staging Trauma: Bodies in Shadow, will be launched by Louise Lowe, ANU Productions. and Dr Cathy Leeney, UCD. Staging Trauma: Bodies in Shadow has been nominated for the TaPRA Early Career Research Prize, and investigates contemporary British and Irish performances that stage traumatic narratives, histories, acts and encounters. It includes a range of case studies that consider the performative, cultural and political contexts for the staging and reception of sexual violence, terminal illness, environmental damage, institutionalisation and asylum. This event is curated by the Feminist Storytelling Network at NUI Galway, and sponsored by the NUI Galway College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Research Support Scheme, Moore Institute, the Irish Society for Theatre Research, the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, and Gender ARC. For any further information relating to this event, please email Dr Miriam Haughton, miriam.haughton@nuigalway.ie or 091 494485.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

James Whelton, co-founder of Coderdojo announced as guest speaker NUI Galway’s School of Education will host the inaugural Irish Computer Science for All (CSForAll) Summit on Wednesday, 13 March. This one-day Summit will focus on curriculum, national and international trends and the importance of Computer Science in the Irish education system. Computer Science is an essential 21st century literacy skill for all students, and the CSforAll Summit - hosted by NUI Galway and supported by Google Ireland - will be of value to teachers of Computer Science and Coding, potential teachers of Computer Science and schools interested in offering the subject. The event is timely as Phase One of Leaving Cert Computer Science is well underway, with nationwide rollout planned for September 2020. Guest speaker at the summit is James Whelton, co-founder of the Coderdojo, who said: “Having worked with young people learning to code and my own journey coding from a young age, I'm delighted to support NUI Galway in organising this summit furthering the cause of education around Computer Science - which continues to substantially empower not just young people's future, but the future of our collective society! Sharing stories and learnings from the CoderDojo movement with that of formal Computer Science education - this Summit promises be a great conversation.” Computer Science makes the use of computers possible and underpins innovation in every industry. It is not just concerned with coding, but also incorporates the networks, data, and the impact of computing on society. The mission of CSforAll - a global movement started in the US - is to make high-quality computer science an integral part of every child’s school experience and it is a central resource for individuals and organisations interested in computer science education. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) will be represented on the day.  International experts Professor Aman Yadav from Michigan State University, USA and Professor Peter Hubweiser from Technische Universität München, Germany will tell of their experience in CS rollout. The Summit will also include primary and post-primary schools showcasing their work to date in coding and CS. Dr Claire Conneely, CS Education Programme Manager at Google will be among the featured speakers at the event. Dr Cornelia Connolly, event organiser and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The Irish CSForAll Summit amplifies the work of the key stakeholders nationwide engaged in developing computer science education. We are delighted to have the opportunity to host the first International Summit and support schools in their provision of CS education in Ireland. Having the key people together in one place is a wonderful opportunity and as the title of the day suggests, we will be ‘Coding the Future of Education’!” To register for CSForAll, or for more information on this free event, visit https://sites.google.com/view/csforallirelandsummit/home. Places are limited and early booking is advised.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Researchers from Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway in collaboration with DIT and UL have carried out a study in Co. Kerry examining how arsenic is distributed in the groundwater. The results have shown elevated levels of arsenic in the water chemistry caused by the underlying bedrock were above the Wold Health Organisation limits of 10 ppb (part per billion). The study was published in the open access journal, Frontiers in Environmental Science. A previous national study in Ireland in 2016, carried out by the same research team at NUI Galway found that certain regions across the country had elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater and again identified bedrock as a major controlling factor on the arsenic concentrations. On average in Ireland, groundwater used as drinking water for both public and private sources is at 25%. Arsenic is a chemical element that can occur naturally in many rock types. It can be very harmful to people and has been linked to developing lung, skin, and bladder cancer, as well as heart disease. Short term exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrohoea. In Co. Kerry, a relationship has been found between arsenic and groundwater and surrounding sandstones which indicates geology as a strong predictor of arsenic in groundwater. The Co. Kerry dataset forms an amalgamation of three datasets; drinking water supplies, well water grant applications and public groundwater sources, with the majority of samples coming from private sources. However, more targeted studies in the future will be needed to confirm this and further understand local-scale variations. Lead author of the study, Dr Liam Morrison, from Earth and Ocean Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Co. Kerry is one of the most intensively monitored regions in Europe in terms of assessing groundwater quality because of the presence of good analytical infrastructure and expertise within the local authority. This study showed the value of using a regional-scale groundwater chemistry dataset with an already-existing national approach from our previous national study to identify potential controlling factors on arsenic concentrations in groundwater. This research has paved the way for applying the methodology used in Ireland across Europe and further afield to assess groundwater quality. It also discusses whether groundwater chemistry sampling on this scale can assist in future mineral exploration, as well as developing high quality public and private water supplies.” This study has used an approach which integrates geological, land use and hydrogeological data in order to reveal potential controls of arsenic and other contaminants in groundwater which will be of interest to researchers in other regions around the world. With the growing body of secondary groundwater datasets being generated in Europe and elsewhere, the methods presented here will be of interest in the future, aimed at guiding future development and sustainability of good quality water resources. The study was carried out in collaboration with The Geological Survey of Ireland and Kerry County Council and was the research was grant-aided by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources under the National Geoscience Programme. To read the full study in Frontiers in Environmental Science, visit: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2018.00154/full -Ends-

Friday, 15 February 2019

NUI Galway student, Edel Browne has been named on the prestigious Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ Europe list for 2019. At 21 years old Edel is the youngest honouree in this year’s Science and Healthcare category. She has recently graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and is currently an EY Scholar pursuing an MSc in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (TechInnovation), at the University. The list features 30 honourees across 10 categories, all of whom are under 30 years old. Among those featured alongside Edel on this year’s list include actor, Daniel Radcliffe; musician, George Ezra and Irish rugby player, Peter O’Mahony. Edel was recognised for her work on a project called Free Feet Medical, a device for people with Parkinson’s disease, which began as a project for the BT Young Scientist Exhibition. She has also participated in the Washington Ireland Program, and has been heavily involved in student entrepreneurship at NUI Galway, where she has acted as Student Entrepreneur in Residence at LaunchPad, NUI Galway’s campus-based entrepreneurship program for the past three years. During her time with LaunchPad, Edel has been supported to develop her Free Feet business which addresses clinical challenge of treating Parkinson’s Disease and to also encourage other budding campus entrepreneurs. Under 30 honourees are judged on leadership and disruption; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century. “Four years on from its launch, the 30 Under 30 Europe list continues to be not only the defining measure of success for the region’s next generation of leaders, but also a source of empowerment for all honorees,” said Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes. “We’ve searched throughout Europe to identify 300 of the most revolutionary entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors in ten diverse sectors, who are changing the game throughout the region and across the globe.” Congratulating Edel NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Edel’s selection on this impressive list of ‘30 Under 30’ is a wonderful endorsement of her talent and acumen. Here at her alma mater, we are proud of her achievements and we look forward to her continued success. She stands as an example to all students of how to make a difference ‘in’ the world and ‘for’ the world. Her ingenuity, intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial skill combine to address the global challenge of Parkinson’s disease. And as an entrepreneur she has inspired and mentored many student innovators here at NUI Galway and far beyond.” Edel said: “It is a huge honour to be included in the Forbes 30U30 this year, since coming to NUI Galway in 2016 I have been hugely supported in every aspect of my journey both academically and through the LaunchPad with Free Feet Medical.  I am thrilled to represent the University and my city on the list.” -Ends-

Friday, 15 February 2019

Scientists and science enthusiasts will battle it out for a place in the national final of Famelab, the largest science communication competition in the world. This is the fourth time that a regional heat for the international competition will take place in Galway. The competition will be held on Thursday, 21 February, at An Taibhdhearc Theatre at 7pm and is free to attend. The contestants come from a variety of backgrounds, covering sciences from Physics to Biology. Presentations will cover a set of topics including “Blockchain”, “Rock and Roll and the “Right Hand Rule” and “A Threat to Modern Medicine”. The competing scientists will be given a total of three minutes each to explain their research, or any scientific concept, as clearly, simply and charismatically as possible, to a public audience and a panel of judges. This will be followed by three minutes of questions from the judges and the audience. Competitors are given the instruction that they can use ‘only what they can carry with them onto the stage’ to help illustrate their stories. Two finalists will be announced on the night and will be sent forward to a communications master class in Dublin on 22-24 March. They will then compete in the Irish final of Famelab which will be held in the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 11 April. The overall national winner will attend the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2019 and will compete in the FAMELAB International finals. The evening will be hosted by Professor Michel Destrade, Chair of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, previous winner of FameLab Galway and runner up of FameLab Ireland 2016. The panel of judges include: Paul Fahy, Artistic Director of the Galway International Arts Festival Laura Rigney, Director of Brigit’s Garden Laoise McNamara, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator, NUI Galway Brenda Romero, Game designer, artist and Fulbright recipient, Romero Games Entertainment during the interval will be provided by Ana Panigassi, winner of FameLab Galway 2017 and performer at Bright Club. Ana is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist specialised in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and now a full time Science Communicator and her dog, Little Jerry Seinfeld, guarantees she is very funny. Her Show ‘Horrible Histories in Women's Health’ has some interesting little stories about how women's health inventions came about and the science behind it.   To attend the FAMELAB Galway regional final please book your free ticket at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-2019-tickets-53541674590. You can also follow the Galway competition on twitter @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Three MedTrain research projects at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway have been selected for inclusion in the European Commission's Innovation Radar as ‘Key Innovators’. The aim of the Innovation Radar platform is to make information about EU-funded innovations from high-quality projects visible and accessible to the public in one place on a new platform. This will show citizens the many excellent technological and scientific advances being delivered by researchers and innovators around Europe, funded on their behalf by the European Commission. This initiative has the support of EU Members States and so far Ministers from 21 countries have signed the Innovation Radar declaration confirming their support for this initiative. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The Innovation Radar platform presents a valuable opportunity for our researchers to highlight the potential impact of their work. Making research information accessible to a wide public audience is a core element of the CÚRAM ethos. We welcome the inclusion of three of our research projects in the platform and hope to contribute more widely to the space in future.” The first of the awarded projects is being carried out by Dr Elaine Waters, supervised by Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, and will address the issue of biofilm infections of medical devices which resist antibiotics, causing devices to be replaced, thereby increasing hospital stays. It will develop new tissue-friendly carbohydrate coatings to prevent biofilm infections of implanted devices. The second project, led by Dr James Wilson, supervised by Dr Andreas Heise, will design a flexible, yet strong soft tissue implantable wet adhesive for tissue repair and regeneration. This technology represents the next generation of fully biodegradable bioadhesives with enhanced wet adhesion properties for the development of new clinical materials and advanced approaches in healthcare. The third of the awarded projects is led by Dr Tania Hidalgo Crespo, supervised by Dr Caitriona O’Driscoll, and will develop a novel, safe and effective drug delivery system. Successful delivery of therapeutic levels of siRNA to the brain, using this novel system, will facilitate the treatment of a wide range of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and brain tumours. The projects are being developed under the Horizon 2020 project MedTrain, a new Industry-Academia Training, Career Development, and Mobility Fellowship Programme in Medical Device Research and Development at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. MedTrain offers two-year fellowships to experienced researchers in the broad area of Medical Device Research and Development, including: tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials and drug delivery, glyco and protein engineering and neuromodulation. Information about each of the three MedTrain projects at CÚRAM included on the platform are accessible to the public via the new Innovation Radar platform, (accessed via a website or a smartphone app - iOS or Android).

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Film addresses issues such as do we always need consent and are men always up for sex? To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the launch of their new four-year programme earlier this month, the Active Consent research team at NUI Galway are premiering the third interactive short film in the Consent=OMFG series, John and Becky. The film shows a long-term couple who are having less sex than they used to in their relationship, and explores consent communication between established partners and the stereotype that men always desire physical connection.  Like the other films in the Consent=OMFG series (Tom and Julie and Kieran and Jake), the viewer experience of John and Becky involves making active choices for the characters at three key decision points in their story. With four possible endings, viewers experience firsthand the multiple directions sexual communication can go for this couple.  Active Consent researcher and film director Dr Charlotte McIvor said: “John and Becky portrays the complexity of negotiating consent even with long-term partners and the importance of ongoing and proactive dialogue around intimacy. We were interested in exploring how men may experience pressure to be intimate based on commonly-held stereotypes that they are always driven by sexual desire.” The Consent=OMFG film series is one of the tools that will be highlighted in the Active Consent Programme’s toolkit for third-level institutions that will be released in spring 2019. It illustrates the breadth of the approach being taken and complements the SMART Consent workshops that have been running since 2015. A theatre performance on consent will also be launched later in the year. Intended to be used in conjunction with the new Active Consent programme toolkit, the performance will be available for touring on a limited basis to third-level institutions in late summer and autumn 2019. Dr Pádraig MacNeela from the School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “Taken together, the training and resources available through the college toolkit will enable colleges to follow through on the commitment to support young people to make positive, active choices in what they do and do not want to consent to with their partners.” One in five college students in a relationship reported in a SMART Consent survey that they would find it difficult to tell their partner that they do not want to have sex, and a similar percentage said they would find it difficult to say a certain sexual activity is not making them feel good. The Consent=OMFG series can be viewed at www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg and on the YouTube channel, Consent is OMFG. John and Becky will be available from Thursday, 14 February.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The project uses heart-rate data to automatically generate and publish poetry If the heart could speak, what would it say? A new project at NUI Galway, launching on Valentine’s Day, aims to address this question with an unconventional approach to producing poetry. The project, Eververse, combines methods and tools from literary studies and computer science to automatically generate poetry that corresponds to a person’s biometric data, that is how fast their heart is beating, how deeply they are sleeping, and so on. Eververse sends biometric data from a wearable fitness tracking device to a custom-built poetry generator which uses algorithms to generate and publish poetry in real time, and 24/7, on the Eververse website. The form and content of the poetry is designed to change according to different physical sensations and experiences in the poet’s waking and sleeping life. For example, poetic lines decrease in length as the poet’s heart rate increases and breath contracts. Content, too, reflects bodily variations, as heightened-sentiment vocabulary is produced to reflect the emotional intensification of an increased heart rate, while dream sleep generates surreal images and vocabulary. Project leader and lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Justin Tonra, will generate a year-long poem using his biometric data. Dr Tonra said: “The project continues a long tradition of connecting the heart and the arts, and contemplating the relationship between an artist and the work they produce. It will allow us to think about the increasing presence of computer-driven automation in our world and what role it might play in creative and cultural artefacts. I hope, too, that it will produce some engaging poetry.” One of the more common ideas about poetic inspiration presents the poet as a creative vessel or conduit, taking the sensory input of the world into their bodies and minds, and producing poetic output in turn. In theories such as this, art collapses into the being and identity of the artist. W. B. Yeats famously articulated this conundrum, asking “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” Eververse is a conceptual response to this situation. By removing cognition from the process of creating poetry, the project creates a more explicit link between the abstract relations of artist and art. Here, the poet’s body, through its various motions and functions, literally determines the form and content of the poetry that is produced.  Eververse can be viewed from Valentine’s Day at http://eververse.nuigalway.ie/, which also hosts videos of a live performance at last year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature. The project is a collaboration between researchers from NUI Galway, the Moore Institute, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and Maynooth University, and has been funded by the European Association for Digital Humanities.

Monday, 11 February 2019

A new report into the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal study on children in care or children leaving care within the Irish context has been published by Dr Carmel Devaney and Dr Cliona Rooney of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. This study was commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with the support of the Irish Research Council. It arose from an action detailed in the Implementation Plan in response to the Ryan Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (2009). This study is based on interviews with researchers worldwide who have completed studies of this kind. It considers the financial and research challenges associated with completing research over time with children and young people who are in care or are about to leave care in Ireland. There are over just 6,000 children in care in Ireland with over 2,000 young people availing of aftercare services. A longitudinal study will provide, for the first time a comprehensive real time account of their experiences. The study found that there is a need for: An Irish longitudinal study on children in care to examine the experiences and outcomes of children and young people who have experienced the Irish care system (including residential and foster care) and to continue to trace this population as they progress out of care and/or aftercare and into early adulthood; That there is a need to compare the outcomes of children in care with the general population of children and the importance of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study in this regard; Awareness of the significant planning, governance, advisory, stakeholder buy-in and piloting phases required for such a project to ensure optimum implementation; Awareness of methodological barriers and enablers such as data management issues including access to administrative data, retention and attrition, ethical considerations, engaging often hard to reach participants and the community throughout the duration of the study and project management; A range of design and cost options to be considered and that longitudinal studies assist policy makers and service providers with data that focuses on the impact of childhood experiences on later outcomes. Dr Carmel Devaney said: “A longitudinal study with children and young people in care would provide a critical understanding of the needs and experiences of children and young people in and leaving care in Ireland. We have very little information on this transition currently. The move between care and aftercare can be extremely difficult for young people. The usual challenges of leaving home can occur, but often, the young person does not have a stable background to lean on for support or a network of people to lean on for support.” The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla will use the findings of this feasibility study to consider the possibility of commissioning a study of this kind. Tusla’s Corporate Plan 2018 – 2020 makes provision within its Research function to ‘support the ongoing consideration for a future commission on a longitudinal study of children in care’. For full report please see http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/media/unescochildandfamilyresearchcentre/documentspdf/Feasibility-Study-on-Longitudinal-Study-of-Children-In-Care-or-Leaving-Care-in-Ireland.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 11 February 2019

Expansion announced by Minister Heather Humphreys, TD and supported by Enterprise Ireland  Irish Technology start-up, Joulica, has today announced a significant expansion of its operations headquartered in Galway, creating 45 new jobs over three years. The jobs form part of Joulica’s growth strategy reinforcing Galway’s position as the driving force of Ireland’s Information and Communication Technology industry. The announcement was made today at Joulica’s headquarters at NUI Galway by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, together with Joulica CEO Tony McCormack and Mark Christal, Regional Entrepreneurship Manager at Enterprise Ireland. The development is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Founded in 2016 and based in the Business Innovation Centre on the campus of NUI Galway, Joulica has grown rapidly and enjoyed strong commercial success based on its expertise in the Customer Experience domain, real-time analytics and cloud-native software development. The high-skill jobs announced today will add 45 to the existing 25 staff currently employed by Joulica. Joulica is seeking experts in software, data analytics and business development to serve new product development opportunities in the US and Europe. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “I am delighted to be here at Joulica’s HQ today to announce 45 new highly-skilled jobs in Galway. This time last year, Joulica had 11 employees. Since then, they have increased that number to 25, and over the next three years, they will increase it again to 70. This wonderful achievement is a testament to the innovation and dedication of the team. Companies like Joulica are vital components of a robust regional economy, something that the Government is committed to supporting. I would like to congratulate Tony McCormack, Joseph Smyth, Diarmuid Leonard and the team at Joulica on this remarkable achievement and wish them every success as their business continues to grow.” Speaking at today’s announcement, Tony McCormack, CEO of Joulica said: “Today marks a significant landmark for Joulica and demonstrates the depth of talent available to innovative technology start-ups establishing R&D centers in Galway city. The success we have enjoyed to-date is a testament to the world-class talent and exceptional skills of the Joulica team, together with the unwavering support provided by Enterprise Ireland, our advisors and mentors.   From its inception, Joulica has been fortunate to work with global customers who are at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution. This opportunity combined with a deep understanding of the requirements that Enterprise customers place on high-scale, resilient software solutions gives Joulica a unique edge when it comes to accelerating innovation in large-scale Enterprises.” Mark Christal, Manager – Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said: “Innovation and being competitive is crucial for Irish start-ups to grow and build scale both here and on an international level. It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses are facing uncertainties and challenges that could impact their growth, and Joulica is an excellent example of a company that has stayed on the pulse and identified solutions to allow them to scale in international markets and realise their global ambition. At Enterprise Ireland, we are committed to supporting regionally-based companies like Joulica to plan, innovate and compete and we look forward to continuing our work with Tony and the team on their growth trajectory.”

Monday, 11 February 2019

The ‘Testostertones’ male voice choir from NUI Galway is delighted to announce it has been selected to compete at the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which takes place from 1-7 July,  is one of the foremost world festivals of music, dance and culture, and includes competitions showcasing choirs and dance troupes from across the globe. Each year it attracts over 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the week. Established in 1947, the International Eisteddfod promotes peace and goodwill between nations by bringing performers from all cultures and nations together through music. The festival is world renowned, having welcomed international music stars including Luciano Pavarotti who competed in the competitions as a boy and returned to perform as one of the most successful tenors of all time. This year, the ‘Testostertones’ will join international competitors from all over the world in a vibrant carnival of culture. They will perform a number of songs, including folk songs from the West of Ireland, in both Irish and English. Choir Director and NUI Galway graduate, Peter Mannion, said: “This is a wonderful experience for the singers. Performing at one of the world’s great music festivals will be a highlight for both the singers and their families. Representing NUI Galway and Ireland at the festival is an honour for the group and we will be performing a repertoire to showcase choral music from Ireland along with some music from the greatest ever composers.”  

Monday, 11 February 2019

Funding will support exploring commercial opportunities in ovarian and breast cancer, an autonomous lifeguard and search system, macroalgae health benefits and high blood pressure Five research projects from NUI Galway have received almost €600,000 from Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme. The programme provides project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, this week announced €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research. The researchers will demonstrate if their applied research project is technically feasible, and has the potential for further commercial development. NUI Galway Research Projects: Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineer, College of Engineering and Informatics – Awarded €129,995 for the ‘ImmunoCell’ project, an implantable device to help immune cells fight ovarian cancer tumours. Professor Michael Madden and Dr Enda Barrett, Information Technology – Awarded €124,367 for the ‘ALIVE (Autonomous LIfeguard and Vision Environment)’ project, an autonomous lifeguard and search system using computer vision and machine learning techniques to accurately detect people in noisy aquatic environments. Dr Adrienne Gorman, Apoptosis Research Centre, School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €128,440 for the ‘RIPK2 inhibitor’ project, validating promising protein inhibitors, as a new therapeutic option in triple negative breast cancer. Professor Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €123,956 for the ‘Blooms2Feeds+2’ project to develop processed seaweeds for blending into fish feeds in salmon aquaculture. The aim is to generate health benefits in both fish (welfare) and humans (nutrition, through higher salmon quality). Dr Haroon Zafar, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Awarded €91,205 for the ‘Smart Renal Denervation’ project to develop the feasibility of a novel device to provide real-time feedback to clinicians to verify the successful operation of Renal denervation to treat high blood pressure not controlled by medication. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway, said: “Our university has a great track record in knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. Our five new projects demonstrate this drive to maximize the impact of ideas and technology generated by our research. The depth and breadth of innovative technologies reflect the strengths of our region such as ICT, MedTech and marine.” Speaking of the awards, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “I am delighted to announce the recipients of the SFI TIDA Awards and commercialisation support for 38 research projects. The programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment. The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community.” Researchers funded through the TIDA programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator, which is an intensive five-day programme delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. This will support STEM researchers to develop skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking and facilitates mentoring and networking.  

Monday, 11 February 2019

CREATE: The Art of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond, is a free art exhibition developed by the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, taking place around the campus of UHG, that spotlights pregnancy and newborn journeys, the people who make them, and the research that impacts them. The exhibition will run from 2 - 28 February, and local breastfeeding groups in particular are invited to take in the exhibition. The exhibition touches on topics like perinatal mental health, bereavement and pregnancy loss, IVF, prematurity, labour and birth experiences, and breastfeeding, as well as exploring how health research helps women and newborns. The pregnancy and neonatal journey can be beautiful and scary, joyous and heartbreaking. It can be miraculous, frustrating, sought after or unexpected. It can be straightforward, or it can wind and twist through our lives. We think of it as nine months, but it can be years of trying. It can end unexpectedly. It can resonate for decades afterwards. In this exhibition, the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, a network of obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives and related professionals brought together to carry out research on women’s and children’s health, hope to highlight common pregnancy and newborn health issues and celebrate the impact of perinatal research on mothers and babies in Ireland and internationally. The exhibition provides a safe, non-judgmental space to explore these issues and listen, through new and existing artworks, to the experiences of women and the doctors, midwives and researchers who care for them. Some of the exhibition’s highlights include: The Other Side - A new work by Emma Sheridan that deals with her own experiences of perinatal mental health issues. A self portrait of sorts that captures how she felt following the birth of her first child – the exhaustion, the doubts, the terror. The artist writes: “I wanted the image to look, like me, as if it was disintegrating. For others to look into her eyes and say, that feels like me and not me alone. This painting is also full of hope and positivity. The colours are vibrant, I feel beautiful, I am owning all of it. Yes, I am tired and it is hard but I am no longer trying to be perfect and neither is this painting. It is me.”   The Children’s Remembrance Tree – A striking and colourful collaborative community project, led by the Bereavement team in Cavan Hospital. During a remembrance service in 2015, families were given colourful beads to hold on to – as a physical symbol of the baby or child families were there to remember, the grief they carried and the uniqueness of each story. After the service, the beads were collected and over the following three months were sewn onto the fabric by a local craft group with help from friends and family. The Tree, its branches, and its falling vibrant leaves, represents strength, family, the fragility of life, and the sense of belonging to a community and the support that brings.   Everyday Breastfeeding - This series of simple, black and white, hanging illustrations by Fiona Carey depicts everyday experiences of breastfeeding – the lovely, chaotic, precious, mundane, lived reality of it. While breastfeeding is the common theme, it is not the central focus of these images; it is simply one component of life as a parent of babies and toddlers. Sometimes, the images we commonly see of breastfeeding make it seem inaccessible and incompatible with modern life. Rarely do we see images of breastfeeding fitting in with work, family, exhaustion, eating, resting, socialising, travelling, sleeping, life. These illustrations portray modern women’s relationships to breastfeeding, as part of their modern lives, capturing the ordinary and extraordinary, the mundane and magical. This exhibition is supported by the Health Research Board through their Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award which aims to maximize the uptake of research findings into policy and practice. For more information, contact Cormac McAdam on motherandbabyexhibition@gmail.com or phone 01 4022548 or 087 2329101. The full list of artworks and events is available at www.hrb-mbctni.ie/create and www.hrb-mbctni.ie. Follow on Twitter @HRBMumAndBaby and www.facebook.com/HRBMotherAndBabyCTNI. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

State-of-the-art 429 bed student residence increases accommodation availability on campus Minister Seán Kyne T.D., Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands and Government Chief Whip, will today (Friday, 8 February) officially open the €35million state-of-the-art student residence, Goldcrest Village. Goldcrest Village, or Baile an Chíorbhuí, represents the first of two new purpose-built, on-campus student residences at NUI Galway. The 429-bed residence is located beside the existing, 764-bed residence, Corrib Village at North Campus. In September 2018, the first residents of NUI Galway’s newest campus accommodation complex moved into ‘Goldcrest Village’, named after the smallest bird in Ireland which can be spotted around the parkland campus. Speaking at the opening, Minister Kyne said: “The benefits of this new student accommodation will be felt far and wide. It provides students with quality, modern accommodation that will enable them to experience life on campus. It helps to ensure more accommodation for other households in Galway and it adds to the vibrancy of our city and county. I’m certain Goldcrest Village will provide comfortable and secure accommodation for students of NUI Galway for many years to come.”  Funded by NUI Galway with loan finance from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the residence has enhanced the provision of on-campus accommodation in response to the economic pressures in the housing sector and specifically the direct impact to third-level students. Goldcrest Village has also just been shortlisted for the Irish Construction Excellence Awards 2019 in the Commercial €10m + category. Speaking ahead of the launch, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The quality of our student experience is at the very core of our mission as a university.  With the development of Goldcrest Village, an additional 429 students now live on campus in comfort and safety.  This new home for our students represents a strategic response by NUI Galway to demand for housing in Galway and the need to provide on-campus student accommodation for our students, while also taking pressure off the Galway housing market. We look forward to the development of the second phase of this two-phase student accommodation project which it’s anticipated will be available in 2021 and provide an additional 680 places for our students on campus, bringing to almost 2,000 the numbers of students who reside on our campus.  We also join with our students in calling on our Government to continue to ensure equity and fairness in the housing market.” Goldcrest Village Goldcrest Village provides 12,500m2 of top quality student accommodation for 429 students and is comprised of 76 apartments, grouped around landscaped courtyards, each apartment containing four, five or six en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen/living area. All bedrooms have study desks and high-capacity Wifi, communal facilities, a 24-hour reception, a large common room area, a laundrette, and secure bicycle storage. Goldcrest Village provides nine (9) wheelchair accessible bedrooms, located on the ground-floor across all four blocks.  These accessible bedrooms have been designed according to best practice in wheelchair housing design to ensure they are totally accessible for disabled users. In addition, four disabled parking spaces have been provided. The project was designed by award winning Coady Architects in partnership with the UK firm Feildin Clegg Brady Studios and the construction was completed by Galway-based contracting firm J.J. Rhatigan & Co. ENDS

Thursday, 7 February 2019

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has welcomed a motion by Galway City Council and its elected body to recognise the need for investment in third level education given the continuing increase in demand for third level education. The motion passed on Monday 4th February stated: Act on the recommendations of the Cassells Report published in 2016 which sets out clear options for the sustainable funding of third level education; Provide the necessary investment in the next Budget (2020) to substantially increase the core funding per student which has fallen by almost half in ten years. The Council reported: “We recognise and assert that our third level graduates are an essential ingredient of economic growth and, unless investment in third level is increased, we will damage the future competitiveness of the Irish economy and of our society as a whole.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are grateful for this motion and for this recognition from the Council that the University is a major contributor to the city and that investment in third level is critical to our collective future.  “The numbers at third level nationally have increased more than seven-fold since the late 60s from less than 25,000 students attending third-level in 1969 to over 181,000 students now. The reach and reputation of our research has also increased immeasurably over that time. If society believes education and third level education in particular is a good thing then we need to find a way to pay for it” he added.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A new wave of Medtech companies supported by NUI Galway’s BioExel programme, Ireland’s first Medtech accelerator continues following the success of 2018 cohort Following on from the success of the inaugural 2018 NUI Galway BioExel programme, a second successful recruitment campaign was completed last December. A high calibre of applications were reviewed from across the globe and the final eight companies are now immersed in the 2019 BioExel accelerator programme.  BioExel offers €95,000 in seed funding to successful applicants along with six-months of intensive training, mentoring, lab space and supported interactions with potential investors. The programme allows participants to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is managed by MedTech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway. Fiona Neary at NUI Galway, said: “BioExel’s mission is to act as an honest broker between Medtech start-ups and the investment community bridging the gap between technology de-risking and raising investment. BioExel has positioned itself as an internationally recognised Medtech accelerator with the reputation of significantly enhancing indigenous Medtech start-ups by providing attractive seed investment funding and a pipeline of next generation Medtech start-up’s for Ireland.” Joe Healy, HPSU Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Ireland has a growing reputation in MedTech start-ups and the west of Ireland is renowned globally as a top medical device cluster. The sector is an important contributor to our economic growth and BioExel is uniquely positioned to provide essential support for the new innovative start-ups in this sector. We are delighted to continue our support for the programme, and the companies who take part as they take their first steps towards building scale and expanding their reach.” Joined by the funding partners last month at NUI Galway, the programme officially launched the new cohort of BioExel 2019 and enabled a great working session where partners and participants came together to share experiences and business opportunities. BioExel 2019 Companies: Áine Behan and Fred Herrera, CortechsConnect Ltd, an Irish based company developing a non-pharmacological Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) intervention. Visit: cortechs.ie Declan Trumble, Kudos Health, an Irish based company developing a Health and Wellness engagement platform. Visit: kudoshealth.com Idicula Mathew, Hera Health Solutions, a US based company developing a Biodegradable Female Contraceptive Implant. Visit: hearahealthsolutions.com Chris Duke and Michael Newell, Lifestyle Medical, an Irish based company developing Knee kinematics performance and rehabilitation technology. Liam McMorrow, Adelie Health, a UK technology and new Irish start-up, developing an innovative Smart Insulin Pen. Visit: adeliehealth.com Blaine Doyle, Glow Dx, an Irish company with an export market in place developing an Infectious Disease Diagnostic Platform. Visit: glowdx.com Rory Clerkin and Morris Black, Holywood Medical, an Irish based company developing Migraine prediction assay (predicts the onset of migraine) for preventative medicine in this space. Visit: holywoodmedical.com Damien Kilgannon, Sula Health, an Irish based company developing a solution in the area of Circadian Rhythm (Sleep) Disorder Treatment. Visit: sulahealth.com This new cohort of companies will take part in the BioExel accelerator programme until June 2019, preparing them to be investor ready or to have investment in place. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, and hosted by NUI Galway. For additional information please contact the BioExel team at bioexelinfo@nuigalway.ie or phone 087 6226240 or visit:  www.bioexel.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Centres for Doctoral Training to link world-leading SFI Research Centres and UK Higher Education Institutions  CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is one of seven SFI Research Centres to have received funding for Doctoral Training as part of a UK-Ireland joint initiative to invest €38.6 million in training future innovation leaders.  The award has been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation. The investment funding was announced today (4 February 2019) by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD. CÚRAM will work in collaboration with University of Glasgow, Aston and Birmingham, to establish lifETIME: an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine.  lifETIME will train future Engineering and Physical Science innovation leaders for the non-animal technology and regenerative medicine sectors. Those trained will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery. The lifETIME Centres for Doctoral Training will train 84 engineering and physical science scientists, clinical fellows and cell engineers across three world-leading centres that specialise in: fundamental bioengineering (Glasgow); microscale bioprocess translation/application (Birmingham and Aston); and medical devices (CÚRAM). 25 of these will be CÚRAM based. The first intake of students will begin in September 2019 with CÚRAM enrolling five students each year. Globally, a strong industrial and clinical need exists to create humanised, non-animal technologies, which are bioengineered, cellular, scaffolds/on-chip systems that can be used in therapeutic discovery, safety testing, functional validation and in some cases in the production of cellular therapies. To meet this need, there is an urgent need to train Engineering and Physical Science students to communicate effectively with, and work alongside, biomedical scientists, and vice versa, and such training will also drive innovation and contribute to the Irish and UK bioeconomy. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The establishment of this Centre for Doctoral Training in collaboration with colleagues at University of Glasgow, Aston University and University of Birmingham will produce the next generation of doctoral level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. This unique programme will train leaders who will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery.” Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “I am pleased to announce this new collaboration that will provide training opportunities for doctoral students in both the UK and Ireland. These new PhD training initiatives will provide opportunities for talented students in SFI Research Centres across Higher Education Institutions. Cultivating and maintaining positive research and development collaborations between the Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of the world, is a priority for the Irish Government, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is thrilled to be working with the EPSRC on this programme.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to collaborate with EPSRC on this excellent programme. Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships. The level of investment in the Centres for Doctoral Training is significant, and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers. I would like to congratulate the seven SFI Research Centres on their success in this programme and look forward to working with EPSRC over the coming years.” The Centres for Doctoral Training represent one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills, supporting over seventy centres that will equip the next generation of doctoral level researchers across Engineering and Physical Sciences. The seven joint awards between Ireland and the UK will enable doctoral students based in Irish institutions to benefit from training opportunities and collaboration with Higher Education Institutions in the UK.  -Ends- 

Monday, 4 February 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host ‘Women and Traditional Folk Music’, a one-day research symposium, on Saturday, 9 February, in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. Dr Tes Slominski of Beloit College, Wisconsin, a leading traditional Irish music and gender studies scholar, will deliver the keynote address. Her lecture ‘Shut Up and Play: Aesthetics and the Silencing of Social Critique in Irish Traditional Music’ addresses the connections between the aesthetics of silence and understatement in Irish traditional music, and the silencing of critiques about sexism, heterosexism, and racism in the Irish traditional music scene. Hosted by the music research network Comhrá Ceoil at the Centre for Irish Studies, in partnership with and in response to FairPlé, the symposium will provide an opportunity to explore, challenge and react to the experiences of women in traditional and folk music. The symposium will host an international field of presenters, including academics, musicians and singers, researchers and those involved with the archiving of traditional and folk music. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Lecturer in Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “In the context of recent social action movements, in Ireland and elsewhere, the question of equality in areas of cultural production and the workplace loom large. Responding to these initiatives, and in particular the work of FairPlé, which seeks gender balance in Irish traditional and folk music, this one day research symposium provides an opportunity to explore, challenge and respond to the focused theme of ‘Women and traditional folk music’.” Full programme details and registration available at https://www.facebook.com/events/455255418243576/ or email irishstudies@nuigalway.ie for further information. Admission is €20 or €10 student/unwaged.   -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Applications open to female engineering students NUI Galway is delighted to announce that applications are now open to undergraduate female engineering students for scholarships to attend a unique and challenging engineering summer academy at the Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. The Academy, offered to only 30 female students from 15 different countries, is a two and a half week intensive programme com­bining theory with hands-on practical experience in engineering, informatics and natural sciences. Speaking about the scholarships and the International Summer Academy, Mary Dempsey, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This is a super opportunity for young female students involved in the sciences and engineering. Those interested in pursuing a career or further studies in this area get a unique chance to broaden their technical and scientific knowledge, to develop international contacts and to experience learning in a creative and fun way.” The Academy programme is based around thematic areas of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Computer Sciences and Informatics. Specific subject areas look at issues such as Synthetic biology: promises and dangers for society; Molecular biology: forensic DNA profiling and its computational analysis; Special high voltage applications in modern day technology; What computer science can learn from nature - Evolutionary optimization algorithms and data mining; Importance of online privacy; and Human and computer interaction Six NUI Galway students secured scholarships from the University to attend the Academy since 2017, and Biomedical student Aoife Fitzgerald said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Coming from a biomedical background I learnt a lot about the field of engineering that I did not know before. It really broadened my knowledge and changed the way I think about a variety of topics. I met girls from all over the world, learning about loads of different types of cultures. It is an experience I will never forget. We visited so many different places here that I would love to return to again one day.” -Ends-

Friday, 1 February 2019

Public Consultation now open to inform the new City Quarter Masterplan NUI Galway and Galway City Council have welcomed the commitment of the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for the exciting regeneration of Nuns’ Island in the heart of Galway City.  The commitment supports a major planning exercise, to include a public consultation process which has now opened, to inform the preparation of a plan which will result in a strategy for a structured approach to regeneration of the lands at Nuns’ Island in Galway City, which is being prepared by internationally-renowned planners BDP, business strategy advisors Colliers International and quantity surveyors AECOM. The former industrial quarter is right in the centre of Galway and is set to be transformed by the masterplan into a new quarter that will enable the City to capitalise on its high-value ecosystem of innovation and culture to attract big multinational companies.   Community, educational, cultural, economic, start-up, environmental, residential and social uses will all be considered in the masterplan.  The plan is being developed as a collaborative venture between the University and Galway City Council. The masterplan encompassing 15 acres of Galway’s urban fabric will provide new spaces and give the City a centre-piece to confirm it as the capital for creativity, enterprise and quality of life. The waterways at the heart of Nuns’ Island have the potential to further enhance Galway’s reputation as a global landmark destination of quality. The first phase of the consultation process is now underway involving a programme of engagement with local residents, community and business groups, as well as other interested parties. This consultation process will inform the development of an integrated masterplan scheduled to be completed later this year. In welcoming the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We very much welcome this support from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund and are delighted to see an agreed vision that this part of our City has the potential to generate a range of community, economic, social, environmental and educational benefits.  This master-planning exercise will deliver fresh perspectives on the development of University lands and properties on Nuns’ Island. “Our dul chun cinn as a University is influenced strongly by the strengths of our hinterland and we welcome all views that will contribute to the long-term development of Nuns’ Island for the betterment of our community. This process will result in a plan with options for regenerating the area and we look forward to hearing the ideas of local residents, businesses, community groups and other interested parties as we collectively look to the future for this part of the City.” The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath said:  “On behalf of Galway City Council, I am delighted to see the further advancement in the development of the Nuns’ Island regeneration project and join with Professor Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway in welcoming the inclusion of this signal partnership project in the Government’s Urban Regeneration Development Fund. We have been working closely with our partners and colleagues in the university to bring the project to this point and we look forward to engaging with all the stake-holder communities in this process of consultation. Galway City Council is committed to the triple concept of ‘People, Place and Process’ and in Nuns’ Island we look forward to building on the established strengths embedded in this city-centre area and to drawing together the complementary strands of education, culture, heritage, business and the residential community to improve and develop the local area in the context of our vibrant, dynamic city and region.” The plan will be developed in partnership with Galway City Council as part of the commitments in Policy 5.1 of the Galway City Council Development Plan 2017-2023.  Submissions to the consultation can be made to: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie with more information available at www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland ENDS Fáiltíonn OÉ Gaillimh roimh mhaoiniú an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach Comhairliúchán Poiblí oscailte anois chun bonn eolais a chur faoi Mháistirphlean Cheathrú nua na Cathrach Chuir OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe fáilte roimh ghealltanas Chiste Athnuachana agus Forbartha Uirbí an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach i gcroílár Chathair na Gaillimhe.  Tacaíonn an gealltanas le mórfheidhmiú pleanála, a áireoidh próiseas comhairliúcháin phoiblí atá oscailte anois, chun bonn eolais a chur faoi ullmhú plean a chuirfidh straitéis ar fáil le haghaidh cur chuige struchtúrtha i ndáil le hathnauchan na dtailte ag Oileán Altanach i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Is iad na pleanálaithe a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu, BDP, na comhairleoirí straitéise gnó, Colliers International agus na suirbhéirí cainníochta, AECOM atá i mbun an phlean a ullmhú. Tá an t-iarcheantar tionsclaíochta i gceartlár na Gaillimhe agus tá sé mar aidhm ag an máistirphlean ceantar nua a dhéanamh de a chuirfidh ar chumas na Cathrach leas a bhaint as an éiceachóras ardluach nuálaíochta agus cultúir a bhaineann léi chun cuideachtaí móra ilnáisiúnta a mhealladh.   Déanfar an úsáid éagsúil a d’fhéadfaí a bhaint as an gceantar a mheas sa mháistirphlean, mar atá úsáid do chúinsí pobail, oideachais, cultúrtha, eacnamaíocha, gnólachta nuathionscanta, comhshaoil, cónaitheacha agus sóisialta.  Tá an plean á fhorbairt mar fhiontar comhoibritheach idir an Ollscoil agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe. Cuimseoidh an máistirphlean 15 acra de thalamh chathair na Gaillimhe agus cuirfear spásanna nua ar fáil agus cruthófar lárphíosa don Chathair chun í a dhaingniú mar phríomhchathair chruthaitheachta, fiontraíochta agus caighdeáin saoil. Tá sé de chumas ag na huiscebhealaí atá i gcroílár Oileán Altanach cur le cáil na Gaillimhe mar cheann scríbe domhanda don bharr feabhais. Tá an chéad chéim den phróiseas comhairliúcháin ar siúl anois agus mar chuid de táthar i mbun clár rannpháirtíochta le cónaitheoirí áitiúla, le grúpaí pobail agus gnó, chomh maith le páirtithe leasmhara eile. Cuirfidh an próiseas comhairliúcháin seo bonn eolais faoi fhorbairt an mháistirphlean chomhtháite atá le bheith curtha i gcrích níos déanaí i mbliana. Agus é ag cur fáilte roimh an bhfógra, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Cuirimid fáilte mhór roimh an tacaíocht seo ón gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí agus tá áthas orainn fís aontaithe a fheiceáil go bhfuil de chumas ag an gcuid seo dár gCathair réimse buntáistí pobail, eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, comhshaoil agus oideachais a chruthú.  Cuirfidh an cleachtas máistirphleanála dearcadh úr ar fáil maidir le forbairt thailte agus fhoirgnimh na hOllscoile ar Oileán Altanach. Tá tionchar mór ag láidreachtaí ár gceantair ar ár ndul chun cinn mar Ollscoil agus cuirimid fáilte roimh gach tuairim a chuirfidh le forbairt fhadtéarmach Oileán Altanach chun ár bpobal a fheabhsú. Mar thoradh ar an bpróiseas seo beidh plean ina mbeidh roghanna chun an ceantar a athnuachan agus táimid ag tnúth le smaointe na n-áitritheoirí áitiúla, gnólachtaí, grúpaí pobail agus páirtithe leasmhara eile a chloisteáil agus muid ag féachaint le chéile ar thodhchaí don chuid seo den Chathair.” Dúirt Brendan McGrath, Príomhfheidhmeannach Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe:  “Thar ceann Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, tá an-áthas orm an dul chun cinn breise a fheiceáil i bhforbairt thionscadal athnuachana Oileán Altanach agus cuirim fáilte, mar a rinne an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, roimh an tionscadal suntasach comhpháirtíochta seo i gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí an Rialtais. Táimid ag obair go dlúth lenár gcomhpháirtithe agus comhghleacaithe san Ollscoil chun an tionscadal a thabhairt go dtí an pointe seo agus táimid ag tnúth le dul i gcomhairle leis na pobail uile atá i gceist sa phróiseas comhairliúcháin seo. Tá Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe tiomanta don choincheap triarach ‘Daoine, Áit agus Próiseas’ agus san Oileán Altanach táimid ag tnúth le tógáil ar na láidreachtaí seanbhunaithe atá leabaithe sa cheantar lár cathrach seo agus chun na snáitheanna comhlántacha oideachais, cultúir, oidhreachta, gnó agus an phobail a thabhairt le chéile chun an ceantar áitiúil a fheabhsú agus a fhorbairt i gcomhthéacs ár gcathrach agus ár réigiúin bheoga agus dhinimiciúil.” Déanfar an plean a fhorbairt i gcomhpháirtíocht le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe mar chuid de na gealltanais i bPolasaí 5.1 de Phlean Forbartha Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe 2017-2023. Is féidir aighneachtaí i ndáil leis an gcomhairliúchán a dhéanamh chuig: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie agus tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ag www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland CRÍOCH

Friday, 1 February 2019

Scientists and engineers based at the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Ulster University, Coleraine have found that ship wrecks off the west coast of Ireland are acting as artificial reefs providing habitat for species more typically found in deeper waters or in canyons. It is thought the wrecks may be acting as refugia leading to improved species resilience to human impacts and climate change by increasing population connectivity. The recently unveiled Irish National Monuments Service Wreck Viewer lists the locations of more than 4,000 ship wrecks from a total of 18,000 records of potential wrecks in Irish waters giving some indication of the available infrastructure on the seafloor. In recent years, advanced technique scuba divers have started to dive on some of these wrecks located as deep as 150 metres but no deeper wrecks have been surveyed. Dr Anthony Grehan, School of Natural Sciences from NUI Galway and ocean scientist who made the discovery, said: “Divers report that wrecks are often festooned with corals and other species of epifauna. As such, the wrecks act as artificial reefs and given the quantity of wrecks in Irish waters, may make an important contribution to maintaining coral and other species by providing refugia and stepping stones for further colonisation or restoration of damaged habitats. By surveying these deeper wrecks we wanted to establish whether deeper reef forming corals could survive in shallower water.” A number of these wrecks lying in deep waters off the west coast of Kerry - beyond the reach of scuba divers - were identified using the Infomar wreck database and investigated for the first time by the team of SFI MaREI engineers and scientists led by Dr. Ger Dooly from the University of Limerick. Profiting from benign weather conditions at this time of year, the survey aboard the national Celtic Explorer (CE19001), successfully located and dove on two large - greater than 100 metres in length – wrecks using a newly commissioned University of Limerick Remotely Operated Vehicle nicknamed Étáin.  A high definition TV survey of one of the wrecks revealed that intact parts of the ship were indeed colonised by various colourful epifauna: anemones, solitary corals, oysters and brachiopods. The biggest surprise was finding a colony of the coral reef forming Lophelia pertusa, a stony coral species usually found below 500 metres or deeper in Irish waters. The colony was hanging from the apex of two plates where it was likely protected from fishing but still received a plentiful food supply. Speaking about locating the colony, Dr Anthony Grehan, NUI Galway, said: “This indicates that the species can survive in much shallower waters in Ireland than previously thought with implications for the design and management of marine protected areas and habitat restoration.  Indeed, recent scientific literature addressing ‘ocean sprawl’ points to some of the unexpected positive benefits of long-term structures found on the sea-floor. -Ends-

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Mary McPartlan from the School of Humanities at NUI Galway was honoured with the Ireland United Sates Association (IUSA) Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their achievements and demonstrated exemplary leadership in the IUSA alumni community. The award ceremony was part of the IUSA Conference and Alumni Awards held in Dublin last Thursday, 24 January. Mary McPartlan received the award in recognition of her professional excellence, her commitment to the Irish-US relationship, and her outstanding contribution to culture, education and music. The award was presented to Mary by Emmy-winning former CNN correspondent and anchor, Gina London along with a second recipient for the Emerging Leader Award, Ben English, co-founder and former CEO of the Dublin Tech Summit. Mary McPartlan received a Fullbright Scholarship in 2013 to Lehman College (CUNY) and Berea College in Kentucky. While in New York, she taught a module on ‘The History of Irish Traditional Culture and Women Traditional Singers since the 1950’s in Ireland’ and a series of lectures on ‘Irish Contemporary Plays and Playwrights’. She undertook research in Irish song material in New York and a study of the great American Folk singer and song collector, Jean Ritchie from the Appalachian Mountains, Viper, Kentucky. In New York she collaborated with the renowned jazz pianist, Bertha Hope, experimenting with American jazz and Irish folk music, culminating in a series of concerts and an album partly recorded in New York in 2015. During that time Bertha Hope came to Ireland to perform with Mary on two occasions. From her research at Berea College and her close collaboration with artists and academics in association the International Affairs Office at NUI Galway, Mary developed close ties between Berea College and NUI Galway, which culminated in the ‘Jean Ritchie MA Scholarship’ for a student from Berea College to undertake an MA at NUI Galway. The Jean Ritchie Scholarship is now in its third year and has firmly established a student exchange programme between Berea Drama Department and NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Performance, fostering deep academic and cultural ties between Ireland and the US. Along with her academic role, Mary is also the Creative Director of the hugely successful Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, where the creative arts are fully embedded into academic programmes and students from all disciplines across the country take modules, receive credits and experience excellence at an international level in all of the creative arts. Mary is also the producer of the University’s Medical Orchestra, formed in 2011. Mary is also a well-known professional singer, with albums including the critically acclaimed The Holland Handkerchief, Petticoat Loose and From Mountain to Mountain. She is also known for her outstanding contribution to traditional Irish music and has produced many significant national cultural events, including the TG4 National Traditional Music Awards, a twelve-part music series for TG4 founded and produced by the award winning theatre company, Skehana Productions. The IUSA Awards are bestowed upon alumni of US Government exchange programs who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen profession; who are committed to promoting the special relationship between Ireland and the US; and who have made an outstanding contribution to philanthropy to their communities or to greater society. The IUSA Annual Conference and Alumni Awards 2019 theme, ‘Looking Forward: US – Irish Relations, New Europe and New Challenges’ looked forward with hope and confidence to the challenges and opportunities ahead for Ireland along with prominent speakers setting out their view on the current state of the world and our potential future.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The 2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture, entitled Climate Change and the Financial System, will be delivered by Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 5 February at 5.30pm in the Human Biology Building, NUI Galway. Central Bank Governor Philip Lane will address the implications of climate change for the Irish financial system. All sectors will be affected by climate change, whether through exposure to weather-related shocks or the economy-wide transition to low-carbon means of production and consumption. These structural changes will require considerable investment by households, enterprises and Government to retrofit buildings and switch to low-carbon production techniques and transportation methods. The funding of this investment is just one of the challenges facing the financial system. In addition, it must cope with carbon-related market risks and credit risks, a reduction in the insurability of climate-vulnerable regions and activities and the tail risks of macroeconomic and financial instability. Given the scope and severity of these risks, addressing climate change is now high on the policy agendas of the central banking and regulatory communities. Accordingly, this lecture will outline the climate-related work agenda facing the Central Bank of Ireland.  Welcoming the 2019 De Brún lecture, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I’m delighted to welcome Philip Lane to campus for this important public lecture. Now recognised as one of the most pressing and urgent issues of our time, climate change is central to public policy across the globe. Addressing climate change through financial systems is one of the most powerful ways to effect policy reform and I look forward to learning more about the interventions required by this social imperative. I’m delighted that the theme of this year’s De Brún lecture reflects work undertaken here at NUI Galway, at the Whitaker Institute and in other research groups dealing with environmental and social change. Monsignor Pádraic de Brún, whose legacy we honour with this lecture, was one my predecessors as Uachtarán and a multi-disciplinary scholar – mathematician, linguist, poet. In that spirit, climate change will require multi-disciplinary inquiry and intervention from all disciples - science, social sciences, engineering and the arts - in order to address what is surely one of the most fundamental issues of our age.”  Philip R. Lane is the 11th Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council and chair of the European Systemic Risk Board’s (ESRB) Advisory Technical Committee. His research interests include financial globalisation, macroeconomics of exchange rates and capital flows, macroeconomic policy design and European monetary integration. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual and many other journals.   He was the inaugural recipient of the German Bernacer Award in Monetary Economics for outstanding contributions to European monetary economics, and the co-recipient of the Bhagwati Prize from the Journal of International Economics. He has also acted as an academic consultant for the European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, Asian Development Bank and a number of national central banks. This biennial public lecture is held in honour of Monsignor Pádraic de Brún who served as University President from 1945 until 1959. The memorial lecture, given by internationally renowned artists, experts and academics, have been running since the 1960s – among the most recognised of De Brún speakers was Professor Stephen Hawking who in 1994 gave a public lecture on “Life in the Universe”.  The lecture is open to the public and will be followed by a reception with refreshments. -Ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora de Brún 2019 le súil a chaitheamh ar Athrú Aeráide agus an Córas Airgeadais Is é Philip Lane, Gobharnóir Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, a thabharfaidh Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún 2019, dar teideal Climate Change and the Financial System. Reáchtálfar an léacht Dé Máirt, an 5 Feabhra ag 5.30pm in Áras na Bitheolaíochta Daonna, OÉ Gaillimh. Tabharfaidh Gobharnóir an Bhainc Ceannais aghaidh ar na himpleachtaí atá ag athrú aeráide do chóras airgeadais na hÉireann. Níl earnáil ar bith ann nach mbeidh tionchar ag athrú aeráide uirthi, bíodh sin trí nochtadh d'eachtraí suaite atá bainteach leis an aimsir nó tríd an aistriú atá ag tarlú ar fud an gheilleagair go dtí modhanna táirgthe agus tomhaltais ísealcharbóin. I bhfianaise na n-athruithe struchtúracha seo, beidh ar theaghlaigh, ar ghnólachtaí agus ar an Rialtas infheistíocht shuntasach a dhéanamh chun foirgnimh a athfheistiú agus chun aistriú go dtí teicnící táirgthe agus modhanna iompair ísealcharbóin. Níl i maoiniú na hinfheistíochta seo ach ceann amháin de na dúshláin atá roimh an gcóras airgeadais. Anuas air sin, ní mór dó déileáil le rioscaí margaidh agus le rioscaí creidmheasa a bhaineann le carbón, le deacrachtaí árachas a fháil i gcás réigiún nó gníomhaíochtaí atá leochaileach don athrú aeráide agus leis na rioscaí eirre a bhaineann le míshocracht mhaicreacnamaíoch agus airgeadais. I bhfianaise scóip agus dhéine na rioscaí sin, tá aird na bpobal baincéireachta ceannais agus rialála dírithe anois ar an gcaoi le dul i ngleic le hathrú aeráide agus iad i mbun ceapadh polasaithe. Déanfar cur síos sa léacht seo, dá réir sin, ar an gclár oibre atá roimh an mBanc Ceannais féachaint le haghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide.  Ag é ag cur fáilte roimh léacht de Brún 2019, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh Philip Lane go dtí an campas ar ócáid na léachta poiblí tábhachtaí seo. Aithnítear go forleathan anois go bhfuil an t-athrú aeráide ar cheann de na fadhbanna is práinní atá roimh lucht déanta polasaí ar fud an domhain. Ceann de na modhanna is cumhachtaí chun athchóiriú polasaí a bhaint amach is ea aghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide trí chórais airgeadais agus tá mé ag súil tuilleadh a fhoghlaim faoi na hidirghabhálacha atá de dhíth chun tabhairt faoin gceanglas sóisialta seo. Tá an-áthas orm go dtarraingíonn léacht de Brún na bliana seo aird ar an obair atá idir lámha anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, in Institiúid Whitaker agus i ngrúpaí taighde eile atá ag plé le hathrú comhshaoil agus sóisialta. Duine de na hUachtaráin a chuaigh romham ba ea an Moinsíneoir Pádraig de Brún a bhfuil a oidhreacht á hurramú againn leis an léacht seo, fear a bhí ina ileolaí – matamaiticeoir, teangeolaí, file. Sa chomhthéacs sin, beidh fiosrúchán agus idirghabháil ildisciplíneach ag teastáil – ó dhisciplíní na heolaíochta, na n-eolaíochtaí sóisialta, na hinnealtóireachta agus na ndán – chun dul i ngleic le ceann de na saincheisteanna is bunúsaí dár ré.” Is é Philip R. Lane an 11ú Gobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus é ina chomhalta de Chomhairle Rialúcháin Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa (ECB) agus ina chathaoirleach ar Choiste Teicniúil Comhairleach an Bhoird Eorpaigh um Riosca Sistéamach (ESRB). I measc na réimsí taighde atá aige, áirítear domhandú airgeadais, maicreacnamaíocht rátaí malairte agus sreabha caipitil, dearadh polasaithe maicreacnamaíocha agus comhtháthú airgeadaíochta na hEorpa. Tá ailt leis foilsithe san American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual agus go leor irisí eile. Ba é an chéad duine é ar bronnadh Gradam German Bernacer in Eacnamaíocht Airgeadaíochta air as a chion éachtach i réimse eacnamaíoch airgeadaíochta na hEorpa, agus bhí sé ar dhuine d'fhaighteoirí Dhuais Bhagwati ón Journal of International Economics. Tá tréimhsí caite aige chomh maith mar chomhairleoir acadúil do Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa, an Coimisiún Eorpach, an Ciste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta, an Banc Domhanda, an Eagraíocht um Chomhar agus Fhorbairt Eacnamaíochta (OECD), Banc Forbartha na hÁise mar aon le roinnt banc ceannais náisiúnta eile. Tionóltar an léacht phoiblí dhébhliantúil in onóir an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún a bhí ina Uachtarán ar an Ollscoil ó 1945 go 1959. Ealaíontóirí, saineolaithe agus acadóirí a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu a thugann an léacht cuimhneacháin seo atá á reáchtáil ó na 1960í. Duine de chainteoirí de Brún ab aitheanta dá raibh ann ba ea an tOllamh Stephen Hawking a thug léacht phoiblí in 1994 dar teideal “Life in the Universe”. Tá cead isteach ag an bpobal ag an léacht agus beidh fáiltiú ina dhiaidh, áit a gcuirfear sólaistí ar fáil. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a public event with members from the Tuam Home Survivors Network exploring the topic of ‘Archiving Personal Histories: The Tuam Mother and Baby Home’. The event, co-organised by the University’s Department of History and the James Hardiman Library will take place on Thursday, 7 February in Áras na Mac Léinn. The day will begin with a survivor-led workshop involving members of the Network, and staff and students from the University. The attendees are then invited to attend two panel discussions exploring the issues of collecting and archiving oral histories of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Speakers at the event will include Catherine Corless, Breeda Murphy, Catríona Crowe, Conall Ó Fátharta, Dr Barry Houlihan, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Dr John Cunningham, Professor Caroline McGregor and Dr Caitríona Clear. In the evening, NUI Galway’s President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh will launch ‘The Tuam Oral History Project’ in the foyer of the new Human Biology Building. The project, which is survivor-led, involves the collecting of oral histories from survivors of the Tuam home, as well as people from the local area or those with an interest in contributing to the project. The primary researchers are Dr John Cunningham and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from NUI Galway’s Department of History. The oral histories will be housed in the James Hardiman Library. Elaine Feeney will direct creative projects stemming from the recorded histories, which will be inter-generational, multi-disciplinary and involve survivors and contemporary artists. The creative project will also liaise with local schools and the wider community.  Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History, NUI Galway, said: “We hope that through this event and the wider project, the voices of survivors and members of the community in Tuam will be brought to the fore. We hope that the survivor-led approach and the creative element of the programme can be used in exploring experiences of other institutions. Historical justice is a key part of this, as these stories have relevance not only to Ireland but to a variety of countries and contexts.” Dr Barry Houlihan of the Hardiman Library states: “This seminar will discuss the role of oral history and survivor-led testimony as well as its importance for those seeking to make their stories and experiences heard. Archives and oral history provide spaces for reflection for present and future communities as well looking on the past. These testimonies will provide an important resource for access to private and public histories and experiences for future generations.” Following the launch, there will be songs from Padraig Stevens and poetry from Elaine Feeney. At 6.15pm, there will be a screening of Mia Malarkey’s documentary, ‘Mother and Baby’, followed by panel discussion involving Mia, survivor Peter Mulryan, Breeda Murphy from the Tuam Home Survivors Network and campaigner Eunan Duffy. To register for the event please visit https://bit.ly/2Rl7goJ. For more information or to contribute your story to the project please email tuamoralhistoryproject@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Details have been announced of NUI Galway’s 20th annual Gala Banquet, which will take place on campus. The 2019 Gala Banquet will include the Alumni Awards ceremony and will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Saturday, 13 April at 7pm. The highlight 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 recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s graduates worldwide. The awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of  outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Ireland’s first female Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Irish Olympians, Olive Loughnane and Paul Hession; Irish Rugby international Ciarán Fitzgerald; RTÉ broadcaster, Seán O’Rourke; and actress, Marie Mullen. The seven alumni award categories on the night will include:  Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Alumni Award for Business and Commerce Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport  Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Tickets can be reserved by contacting Louise Monahan, Alumni Relations at +353 91 494310 louise.monahan@nuigalway.ie to reserve your place. Tickets are €150 per person or a table of 10 for €1400.