Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The award marks a commitment to the increase of both female senior leadership roles and male student intakes in Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been awarded a departmental Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of their commitment to advancing gender equality in nursing and midwifery in higher education, and in creating cultural change within the University. The award represents the School’s strong commitment to equality and highlights the work undertaken within the School to identify gender equality issues, such as the underrepresentation of men in the discipline alongside under representation of women at senior grades.  NUI Galway Vice President for Equality and Diversity, Professor Anne Scott, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear of the awarding of the Athena SWAN Bronze Award for colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. To have managed to get the Athena SWAN application successfully completed and submitted was a significant achievement in a really difficult year for many. To successfully achieve Bronze accreditation is definitely ‘the icing on the cake’. Nursing and Midwifery is our first predominantly female school to apply for and achieve Athena SWAN Bronze and will serve as a very effective model as a number of our other predominantly female disciplines work towards Athena SWAN accreditation.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Executive Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “I am very proud to have the School of Nursing and Midwifery awarded the Bronze Athena SWAN award. This is a clear recognition of our College’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, and to increasing equity in both healthcare education and practice. This award, along with the existing  School of Medicine Bronze Athena SWAN award, is aligned with our College’s goal to prepare healthcare practitioners to be the best in their field, and to support our local communities. This has never been more apparent than during the pandemic. Our staff and students have shown real resilience and excellence in providing critical services to our communities.” Following the announcement of the award, Professor Dympna Casey, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “I look forward to supporting the implementation of our Action Plans to generate an environment where all staff feel they have opportunities to reach their potential irrespective of gender. Nurses and midwives make up more than half the global healthcare workforce, and approximately 90% of the nursing workforce worldwide is female, providing care to individuals of all ages and in all settings. "However, gendered issues continue to impact our professions- for example social gender norms, gender bias and stereotyping hinder women taking on leadership roles, while gender norms, biases and stereotypes also hinder the recruitment of men entering the professions. In the pursuit of gender equality in nursing and midwifery, we therefore need to address both male under-representation and female progression. This award marks the School’s engagement with both the ‘leaky pipeline’ of female senior leadership, as well as increasing male student intake into Nursing and Midwifery.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

The University’s MSc in Medical Physics has received re-accreditation until 2025 from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes This year, NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics will celebrate 20 years of providing first-class education, with a large number of EU and non-EU applicants having accepted places to commence the course in September. This week the course also received re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programmes (CAMPEP) until 2025. Initially accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, UK, in 2015 NUI Galway’s MSc in Medical Physics was the first European MSc programme to be awarded accreditation from CAMPEP, and the second programme worldwide outside North America. The MSc in Medical Physics programme is designed to meet the demand for qualified medical physicists. It is primarily geared toward training for physicists in the application of radiation physics in medicine but maintains a reasonable exposure to key aspects of clinical engineering so that students receive a comprehensive knowledge of the application of physical sciences and engineering to medicine. Past graduates have also pursued roles in further academic research and in the medical technology industry. The requirement for medical physicists to have appropriate training is increasingly recognised worldwide, with both the European Commission and professional bodies worldwide have issued guidelines on this training. One such body is CAMPEP, which is supported by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American College of Radiology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, Canadian Organisation of Medical Physics and the Radiological Society of North America. Being awarded a degree from a CAMPEP accredited MSc is a condition of entry into CAMPEP Residency training programmes in the USA and Canada and is also an indication of the quality of the programme. Dr Christoph Kleefeld, Clinical Director of the MSc in Medical Physics, NUI Galway and University Hospital Galway, said: “The re-accreditation of the MSc in Medical Physics programme in North America underlines the high quality of the course and further enhances its international reputation attracting students not only from North America but worldwide.  At the same time, the accreditation creates opportunities for our graduates to pursue careers in the US and Canada.” In the last five years, the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway has seen a 100% increase in the average student intake per year, compared to the first ten years. This growth opportunity materialised in part due to the demand for qualified Medical Physicists, and also the North American accreditation of the programme by CAMPEP. Sustaining this remarkable growth will be challenging as the programme has a very strong emphasis and input from clinical physicists. With increasing student numbers and more recently the global pandemic it has been very challenging to ensure clinical access, and the recent growth has been facilitated by national and international collaborations with hospitals and research institutions. Dr Mark Foley, Academic Director of the MSc in Medical Physics, NUI Galway added: “This MSc programme is an excellent example of a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional effort. The success of the programme has been driven predominately by the tremendous efforts of the hospital physicists supplemented by University staff. I must acknowledge the vision of our colleague the late Professor Wil van der Putten, a former Adjunct Professor of Medical Physics who was a key figure in Medical Physics education and establishing the UHG and Galway links in the early 2000’s. It was a pleasure for me to establish and name one of our three scholarships after Wil.” Information on CAMPEP can be found at www.campep.org, and further information on the MSc in Medical Physics at NUI Galway is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/medical-physics.html -Ends-

Monday, 29 March 2021

Students from NUI Galway have developed a unique initiative to support people in high risk groups during the Covid-19 pandemic by sending parcels to help ease isolation. The Build-a-Box campaign is being run by the University’s occupational therapy students, in partnership with COPE Galway, Galway City Partnership and a local Deis primary school. The charitable initiative was designed and brought to life by third year undergraduates in the service-learning module Community Engagement, with the aim of mitigating isolation and the impacts of social distancing and cocooning for some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Around 100 boxes filled with items to reduce the negative effects of confinement are being delivered to older adults living alone, women in Direct Provision, homeless women and children with additional needs and in lower socio-economic groups. Commenting on the initiative, President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: "In the context of ongoing clinic​al and academic demands, we commend our occupational therapy students for helping to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Initiatives such as the Build-a-Box campaign emulate NUI Galway’s vision and values of openness and respect, of our students and staff as citizens connected to and contributing to community and society in Ireland and internationally for the public good." Dr Sinéad Hynes, lecturer in Occupational Therapy in NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Loneliness and isolation are significant issues for many people, particularly older people, and this has been further exacerbated by the pandemic. The students have taken ownership of this project and partnered with community organisations, which is especially difficult when working remotely. It is our hope that the Build-a-Box campaign might be one way in which we can support those in our society who may be more severely impacted by the restrictions.” Dr Hazel Killeen, also a lecturer in Occupational Therapy at NUI Galway, said: “In tough times our students responded with great compassion to very vulnerable people in our community. They showed a willingness to overcome the barriers of organising all aspects of a very practical project through virtual means. This was more than a grade for them, they wanted to be part of the solution, and did so with heart.” Occupational therapy student Maria Stapleton, from Loughrea, said: “It was really interesting to learn about the impact of the pandemic on different vulnerable groups, and working with the community partners gave us a different perspective on the effect it has had.” Fellow student Lorraine Moloney, from Corrandulla, added: “The Build-a-Box campaign was a rewarding and challenging experience. It gave me a better understanding of the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable groups, while providing our class with an opportunity to address these issues and make a difference in their lives.” The Build-a-Box project is supported by funding from the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway, with the boxes provided by Carabay Packaging. Ends

Monday, 29 March 2021

30% Club Scholarship aims to advance female leadership and executive representation in business organisations  Following the recent announcement of their global AACSB accreditation (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics are now accepting applications for its 30% Club Scholarship for September 2021. Now in its fourth year, the scholarship aims to advance female leadership in business organisations and is a key influence in the increased number of female participants applying to and joining the University’s MBA programme.  The 30% Club Ireland was officially launched in January 2015 with a goal to achieve better gender balance at all levels of business in Ireland. The 30% Club believes that gender balance on boards and executive leadership not only encourages better leadership and governance, but further contributes to better all-round board performance, and ultimately increased corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders.    MBA Programme Director, Martin Hughes, said: “We are delighted by the continued partnership between the 30% Club and the NUI Galway MBA programme in promoting female leadership in all fields of business. Each year, we welcome a high calibre of female candidates to the MBA programme, with the aim of supporting and contributing to greater representation in management education for women. We congratulate Sharon Fahy and Sharon Walsh on their accomplishment as this year’s scholarship recipients and commend them as ambassadors of female leadership amongst our impressive female MBA members.”    In 2020, the 30% Scholarship, worth in excess of €13,000, was jointly awarded to Sharon Fahy, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Medtronic and Sharon Walsh, Vice President, Technology Management at Fidelity Investments. Sharon Fahy said: “As a leader in a global Medtech company, inclusion of diverse perspectives is central to the success of my role.  Completing an Executive MBA with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, has introduced me to a diverse network with a wealth of experience from a wide range of professional backgrounds. I am humbled and honoured to be a recipient of the 30% Club scholarship. The need for a diverse workforce, where inclusive practices and flexible work arrangements allow females to lean-in, continues to be of critical importance, and the 30% Club provides a great platform for raising this awareness.”  Sharon Walsh said: “I am very grateful to be the recipient of the 30% Club scholarship in partnership with NUI Galway for the Executive MBA.  Diversity in leadership is good for business, and organisations that are led by inclusive and diverse leadership teams make effective decisions that deliver better results. Working for a company that is committed to increasing the diversity within our company at all levels, obtaining an MBA with close to fifty percent gender representation on the program, and receiving support from the 30% Club represents the positive collective change needed for inclusion and diversity in business.  I have been fortunate to have a very successful career in the finance and technology industry spanning two continents. To now study alongside like-minded, multi-cultural, established professionals with a diverse set of expertise across many sectors is an opportunity for a transformational experience. I am very appreciative to the 30% Club, NUI Galway, and Fidelity for their collective support.”    Martin Hughes continues: “2020 has been a stellar year for female participation in the NUI Galway MBA programme. Of our 26 Year 1 class members, 12 are female, demonstrating the space that exists for greater diversity in management and leadership. With gender parity achievable, we are eager to sustain equal opportunity for female leaders looking to expand their professional development. We look forward to our continued relationship with the 30% Club into the future.”  Applications to the 30% Club Scholarship and the other MBA scholarships on offer are now open. For more information on the scholarship application process, or to submit your application please contact Michelle Lantry, MBA Programme Administrator at mba@nuigalway.ie.   NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics will also hold its MBA Open Evening on Wednesday, 21 April, at 6pm. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3sdfd2M. Further information on the MBA programme at NUI Galway is available at https://www.nuigalway.ie/mba/.   -Ends- 

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

CARE CONNECT project aims to build on the successful 'ICU FamilyLink' platform in the absence of healthcare face-to-face support during the pandemic Children in Paediatrics have already nicknamed the social robot "SuperMario!" Platform aims to provide support to critical care settings, end-of-life situations, and vulnerable patients that rely on family for support Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, supported by global technology company, Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration programme, are launching the CARE CONNECT project that will see social robot 'MARIO', used alongside a video-conferencing platform to improve patient-family communications in Paediatrics. During the first wave of Covid-19, a bespoke video-conferencing platform called 'ICU FamilyLink' was successfully implemented at University Hospital Galway to connect patients in critical care to their families. The CARE CONNECT project aims to build on this successful pilot and extend beyond the Intensive Care Unit to other healthcare settings impacted by Covid-19 while also looking to the future use of telemedicine in Ireland post-pandemic. Existing technology, including teleconferencing platforms, social robots, and digital tools, have been rapidly adopted since Covid-19. Due to Covid-19, visiting restrictions were introduced in healthcare settings worldwide. These pandemic-related restrictions create a problem as regular face-to-face communication is severely impacted. This problem will likely last for months, even years, due to the unpredictable nature of Covid-19. While restrictions may fluctuate, physical visiting will probably be limited in comparison to pre-pandemic times. Therefore, the need to create effective alternative modes of communication across multiple healthcare settings is immediate, urgent, and, unfortunately, a long-term need. Professor Derek O'Keeffe, CÚRAM Investigator and project lead at NUI Galway explains: "The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted patient's families from visiting them in hospital and healthcare settings and therefore isolating them from their loved ones. Communication is a vital part of providing medical care and addressing patients' biopsychosocial needs and their families. This is particularly important in critical care settings, end-of-life situations, and vulnerable patients who rely on family support. It is widely accepted in clinical care that effective communication is key to reducing the psychological burden for patients and their families and patients. "The CARE CONNECT project also builds on our NUI Galway experience in healthcare robotics using the MARIO platform, which was an EU funded project led by my collaborator Professor Dympna Casey. Our first study will be using social robot MARIO with our video-conferencing platform to improve patient-family communications in Paediatrics, where the children have already nicknamed him "SuperMario"! We will examine the efficacy of using our system to remotely educate parents and family members about the management of newly diagnosed acute medical conditions, such as Type 1 Diabetes." Dr Aoife Murray, clinician-researcher and a NUI Galway BioInnovate Ireland alumna, who was part of the ICU FamilyLink core team, says: "The key to the successful implementation of telemedicine and digital solutions is tailoring the solution to meet patient's and healthcare provider's needs. The Medtech and Technology ecosystem in Galway and longstanding relationships with University Hospital Galway create the perfect environment to develop and test technology to ensure it is effective and appropriate for a healthcare setting." Shane Heraty, Cisco Country Manager, Ireland and Scotland, said: "Helping people remain connected throughout this unprecedented time, and in these challenging circumstances, is something that we are incredibly proud of. This project and our partnership with CÚRAM brings the perfect blend of expertise together to enable us to have a direct and significant impact on patient wellbeing. "We are committed to building a digital and inclusive society, and having successfully implemented the ICU FamilyLink project at the start of the pandemic, we welcome the opportunity to build on it to bring the platform to a broader patient group." For more information about CÚRAM visit www.curamdevices.ie or Follow on Twitter @CURAMdevices. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Study reveals life-threatening complications for patients requiring respiratory life support Some 40% of critically ill patients who undergo tracheal intubation to support their breathing suffer a life-threatening complication, research from NUI Galway has revealed. The study, published today in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 2,964 critically ill men and women. It was carried out across 29 countries from 1 October 2018 to 31 July 2019 to determine the risk of adverse events arising from the invasive procedure. John Laffey, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at NUI Galway and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at University Hospital Galway, was co-author of the study. “Placing a critically-ill patient on a ventilator is one of the most common forms of life support we can offer someone in intensive care,” Professor Laffey said. “But in order to provide this treatment clinicians have to perform tracheal intubation - an invasive procedure where a tube is inserted via the mouth into the windpipe. “A better knowledge and understanding of the complications associated with this procedure is of particular importance as we respond to the impact of Covid-19. The pandemic is forcing us medics to do far more of these procedures than usual and understanding the associated complications is the first step to finding ways to avoid them in future, and hopefully reduce the risk to our patients.” Findings from the INTUBE research study have been presented by Professor Laffey at the Society of Critical Care Conference. Key findings included: :: 45.2% of patients experienced at least one life-threatening complication following intubation. :: Some 42.6% of patients suffered severe cardiovascular instability. :: 272 patients, 9.3% of those in the study, suffered severe hypoxemia or very low oxygen levels. :: 93 patients, 3.1% of those in the study, suffered cardiac arrest. :: Patients who were at highest risk of life-threatening complications had hemodynamic instability prior to intubation. :: Successful tracheal intubation on the first attempt at the procedure was associated with a lower risk of complications compared to repeated intubation attempts. Professor Laffey added: “As clinicians we have relatively limited information on complications associated with tracheal intubation, how they affect our patients and how we can minimise the risk. “Our research shows a surprisingly high incidence of life-threatening complications associated with the procedure - with almost half of patients affected in this way. More importantly it shows that some of these complications might be potentially preventable with different approaches and that we can improve outcomes for patients undergoing these high-risk procedures. “A particular concern is that our research showed that patients who suffered an adverse event related to intubation were more likely to die either in the intensive care unit or within 28 days of the adverse event.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Physician with Saolta University Healthcare Group, said: “Clinical research in intensive care units is challenging but it is critically important to guide clinical practice and is essential to improve survival rates. Studies like this have a major impact on clinical practice and of course the relevance of this study is accentuated as a result of Covid.” Kevin Clarkson, Clinical Director of Critical and Perioperative Care at the Saolta Hospital Group/University Hospital Galway, said: “This international observational study, in which NUI Galway and Saolta Hospital Group investigators played a lead role, emphasises the ongoing need to invest in postgraduate training, equipping and simulation in this hazardous environment. “The study sheds light in areas of practice that need improvement and will likely lead to better patient outcomes. Specifically, instruments to facilitate tracheal intubation and use of equipment to detect carbon dioxide in a correctly placed breathing tube are clear opportunities to reduce risk. Training opportunities at local University Hospital level, regional groups and national training body programmes are vital along with participation in research such as this to highlight the needs of critically ill patients from the outset of their acute illness.” Ends

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

NUI Galway has become a Centre of Excellence as part of Basketball Ireland's ambitious plans for 10 Centres of Excellence, which will be located nationwide. NUI Galway and Ulster University in Jordanstown are the first two universities to have confirmed partnerships with Basketball Ireland this month.   NUI Galway's Centre of Excellence will provide access to expertise, such as strength and conditioning, sports medicine, sports psychology, diet and nutrition, sports management and administration, coach development and training. It will also have media and meeting facilities. This Centre of Excellence will be used as a national training camp for international sides, along with Basketball Ireland academies. There will also be the ability to host international fixtures, national senior competitions, intervarsity competitions, along with local schools cups and blitzes. Mike Heskin, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited about this new partnership with Basketball Ireland’s High Performance Programme. The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland, involving both domestic and Olympic sports. We are certain these partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to achieve their athletic goals. We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Basketball Ireland to build on the existing relationship." Basketball Ireland CEO, Bernard O’Byrne, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with NUI Galway who have wonderful facilities and a proven track record in sport, developing athletes for elite competition. This Centre of Excellence is a major infrastructural initiative by Basketball Ireland to deliver world-class facilities and will give our international players and teams the best chance of success when they compete. These Centres of Excellence will be geographically spread, meaning there will be top of the range resources available to the local basketball communities in every corner of the country. We want everyone participating in the sport to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We have seen a surge in interest in basketball in Ireland and we are determined to continue its growth.” See a short video announcing the partnership here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT2ZTUaDtJc. For more information on NUI Galway Sport Follow on Twitter @NUIGalwaySport, Instagram @NUIGSport, and Facebook at NUIGSport https://www.facebook.com/NUIGSport. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

NUI Galway research shows novel policy changes from the onset of the pandemic helped engender support for public health measures Public trust in Government soared in 2020 as a result of policies to improve income protection during the Covid-19 crisis, research from NUI Galway has revealed. Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Established Chair in Social and Public Policy at NUI Galway, examined how social protection was funded during the pandemic and how the protection of people’s purchasing power led to increased support for Government and public health measures. The research, which has been presented at both the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, looked at social policy responses to the Great Recession of 2008-2012 and the Covid-19 crisis and assessed their impact on preserving living standards in Ireland. Data showed public trust in the Government reached a low of 18% in 2009, whereas the efforts taken in 2020 to protect people’s purchasing power saw the same measure reach a peak of 66%. We find that trust in government saw a big rise between 2019 and 2020 and the growth continued before it plateaued into 2021. Professor O’Donoghue said: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Ireland’s economy and public finances has been deeper, faster and more broadly felt than the devastation wreaked by the financial crises that swept Europe from 2008 to 2012. “But rapid response and novel initiatives to protect living standards of a large proportion of the population ensured trust in Government and backing for difficult but necessary public health measures.” The research paper, published by the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, identified a number of issues around the building of public trust, including: :: Welfare generosity and coordinating private institutions enabled the protection of purchasing power or capacity to spend. It was a demonstration of “in it together”. :: The inadequacy of the existing social protection system was acknowledged at the onset of the crisis. New more generous policy instruments were introduced to insulate citizens from the shock and more than 900,000 people drew upon Covid related payments in May 2020. :: Due to the importance of non-discretionary spending - housing costs, child care and commuting - policies were targeted at the private sector such as mortgage interest deferrals, rent freeze and non-completion of child care contracts. Transport savings added another layer of protection right across the income distribution, unlike in the financial crisis, where every decile saw a reduction. :: The reforms created political sustainability as more have a stake in the system that was there when they needed it. :: Improving trust made it easier to get cooperation among the public and the transmission rate of the virus under control. There was a 14% increase in Trust in Government between 2019 and 2020. There was a 54% fall in Trust in Government after the 2008 crash. :: The European Central Bank took a faster more sensitive approach to providing liquidity in the pandemic. Ireland’s good track record since the 2008 crash ensured the state could avail of lower interest rates and cheaper borrowing. :: The IMF have reported that Ireland, as a % of GDP, spent the 8th highest of 24 European countries reported. The European Commission found that only four other European countries had welfare policy impacts that had a greater impact on disposable income (Austria, Germany, Latvia and Malta). Professor O’Donoghue added: “The extent of the Covid-19 crisis posed significant challenges to Ireland’s welfare state due to the number of people who suddenly became unemployed, the higher share of all family members losing their job and a higher share of middle class families out of work. “In an era of volatility in relation to climate change, globalisation and ageing, there is an ongoing need for institutions to protect people from economic swings to provide confidence in future and enhance trust in institutions.” The study forms part of a Health Research Board funded research programme on the Covid-19 response. Ends

Monday, 22 March 2021

Hypertension affects in excess of 50% of people over 50 years of age in Ireland   Lifestyle change is a critical element in blood pressure control Hypertension control is only effective when the individual understands their condition and are empowered to take action New research completed by NUI Galway, Croí­ - the West of Ireland Cardiac and Stroke Foundation, and the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, has explored the impact of a structured hypertension educational intervention programme on patient knowledge, lifestyle behaviours and blood pressure control. The study, published in the international medical journal SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, found a significant improvement in hypertension knowledge and awareness and a measurable increase in blood pressure control. First author of the paper Dr Haroon Zafar, Programme Lead for the Masters in Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine at NUI Galway, and Science Foundation Ireland and Irish Research Council funded Principal Investigator, said: “Hypertension (raised blood pressure) is an increasingly prevalent condition in Ireland, affecting in excess of 50 per cent of those over 50 years of age. While many people undergo adequate clinical treatment, their standard of blood pressure control still remains sub-optimal mainly due to poor medication adherence fuelled by poor awareness level. “Providing a tailored educational intervention programme can have a positive impact on hypertension control, knowledge and self-care management within community-based settings. With upward trends for hypertension and cardiovascular disease across Ireland, the need for a new model to effectively treat and control hypertension among the Irish community becomes indispensable.” Over 100 participants from disadvantaged/underserved communities in County Mayo participated in the study. Participants from the interventional group were invited to attend the structured interactive educational programme on lifestyle management of hypertension. The aim of this session was to create knowledge and awareness on hypertension and was delivered by a multidisciplinary group including a Specialist Nurse, Dietician, Physiotherapist and Cardiologist. Educational topics included understanding and taking control of blood pressure, the effects of exercise and diet on blood pressure, smoking cessation, stress management, and current medication updates and adherence. Eligible participants (adults of 40 years and older) with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intervention group. The control group were given standard care, which included blood pressure and Body Mass Index measurements, lifestyle guidance, and referral to General Practitioner in accordance with European Society of Cardiology guidelines, and the interventional group received an educational session to improve knowledge and understanding of hypertension. A follow-up assessment was conducted for all participants four-six months after the educational interventional programme. Participants from the intervention group showed higher blood pressure reduction by the end of the study on each of the four measured blood pressure indicators (SBP-R, SBP-L, DBP-R and DBP-L), compared to participants from the control group. The educational session provided to intervention participants also raised their awareness level regarding hypertension and the importance of exercise in controlling hypertension along with reduction in alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking altogether. Professor Faisal Sharif, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at University Hospital Galway and senior author of the paper, said: “The study highlights the importance of patient empowerment and engagement in management of chronic diseases such as hypertension. Through patient education we can achieve superior clinical results by modifying the patient’s behaviour. Further, larger studies are required to confirm this effect. Also, it will be interesting to assess the long-term effects of patient intervention on clinical outcomes.” Neil Johnson, Chief Executive of Croí - the West of Ireland Cardiac and Stroke Foundation, and the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, commented: “Raised blood pressure remains the biggest single risk factor for heart attack and stroke, which constitute the leading cause of death and disability in Ireland and across the world. Effective treatments for high blood pressure are readily available and relatively cheap. However, a critical element in blood pressure control is lifestyle change which is only effective when the individual understands their condition and are empowered to take action. This research study confirms the significance of patient empowerment through education and it’s a good example of the significant impact of the work of Croí in the local community.” The research was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Global Medtronic Philanthropic Foundation and an Irish Research Council New Foundations Grant. A copy of the full study, published in the journal SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine is available at: https://bit.ly/3cIkLfc. -Ends-

Friday, 19 March 2021

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, has announced two new tripartite partnerships as part of the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. These partnerships will develop new technologies to treat cardiovascular disease and create new mechanisms for large-scale transport of high-quality therapeutic cells. The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a unique initiative involving funding agencies across three jurisdictions: the United States, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the goal of increasing collaborative Research and Development amongst researchers and industry across the three jurisdictions. This collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovations that are transferable to the marketplace or lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention, or healthcare. Dr Siobhan Roche, Director of Science for the Economy at SFI, said: "I am delighted to announce these two new partnerships involving CÚRAM. Our national SFI Research Centre network puts Ireland in a firm position to meet and respond to global challenges. International collaborations between leading research institutes such as these can accelerate innovation and create valuable global healthcare advances. We look forward to sharing their successes." The first partnership is the Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership, driven by a shared understanding of the fundamental need to develop regenerative medicine technologies to treat cardiovascular disease. The primary approach of cardiac tissue engineering is to create cardiac grafts that can be efficiently implanted, regenerating the tissue and giving rise to a fully functional heart without causing side effects. Recently, there has been considerable effort to develop functional scaffolds that are designed for cardiac repair. These scaffolds help recreate or mimic the body's environment to allow cells embedded in the scaffolds to reach their full biological potential. Beyond developing engineered scaffolds for repairing cardiac tissue, the ability to scale-up the fabrication of these scaffolds is critical to their successful translation into everyday clinical practice. Professor David Bishop, Director of the CELL-MET ERC at Boston University, said: "The creation of functional engineered cardiac tissue with electromechanical properties that mimic the human heart on a scalable platform has the potential to transform the treatment of chronic heart disease. The fabrication of scaffolds is an interdisciplinary challenge combining chemical, biological, and physical properties." Professor Gerard O'Connor, School of Physics, NUI Galway, explains: "Of all of the causes of cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease remains a major cause of death worldwide. Cardiac tissue and cells damaged during a heart attack, for instance, cannot regenerate and are usually replaced by fibrotic scar tissue, which means that the only option for patients with end-stage heart disease is whole heart transplantation. Tissue engineering holds enormous promise for restoring functionality in these scarred regions of the damaged heart." The Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centre (ERC) for Cellular Metamaterials (CELL-MET), headquartered at Boston University, CÚRAM the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, and the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM) at Queens University Belfast. The Global Cell Manufacturing and Delivery Partnership is the second new collaboration for CÚRAM under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. For this three-year project, CÚRAM is collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centre (ERC) for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), headquartered at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM) at Queens University Belfast. The aim of this research team's partnership is to use their combined expertise in biomaterials, characterisation and production of clinically-relevant cell types, to develop the technology to allow for the transport of high-quality, therapeutic cells at room or ambient temperature. The partners will scale-up, model and test a hydrogel-based system and make it clinical trial-ready. Professor Garry Duffy, CÚRAM project lead and Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway, said: "Cell therapies represent the next generation of therapeutic products that have the potential to regenerate damaged or degenerating tissues and treat a broad range of chronic illnesses. One of the global challenges that need to be resolved in order to make these therapies broadly available is the challenge of how to transport and distribute these cells. The key aim of this partnership is to develop a system that will allow us to transport cells for several days in ambient conditions, eliminating the need for cryopreservation for transport." Cryopreservation, which is currently required to transport cells, can negatively affect cell potency. Ultimately this partnership aims to solve a critical challenge of transportation and distribution to improve access to and reduce the cost of these therapies globally. Professor Krishnendu Roy, Director of the NSF ERC, Georgia Institute of Technology, said: "This partnership builds on CMaT and CÚRAM’s complementary expertise and brings together existing industry and academic networks and infrastructure to address a significant unmet need in cell therapy manufacturing and supply-chain. Low-cost, ambient temperature transport of cellular therapies with minimal cold-chain requirement is a global grand-challenge, and by coming together under this partnership, we hope to develop the technical and regulatory knowledge required to address it and improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness worldwide." This unique partnership's broader implications will be the stimulation of an innovation network between the US, Ireland, and the UK in cell manufacturing and cell therapies transport. This project will provide the groundwork for the realisation of greater access to cell therapies and nurture a climate of innovation and creativity in research-led, clinically informed, and industry influenced problem-solving for cell manufacturing. -Ends-

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Chuir OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe fáilte roimh fhógra an Rialtais inniu maidir le maoiniú €4.3 milliún don Cheantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta i nGaillimh. Tá forbairt Oileán Altanach agus Oileán an Iarla mar lárionad de Cheantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta ina croílár de phlean na Gaillimhe chun na hacmhainní go léir atá ag Gaillimh a nascadh le chéile. Is éard a bheas sa Cheantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta ná campas cois abhann mar chuid d’athghiniúint uirbeach chathair na Gaillimhe mar aon le spás mór cultúrtha agus taibhithe, agus aithneofar ról na hOllscoile mar institiúid chultúrtha náisiúnta agus an cion atá déanta aici ar son na Gaillimhe mar Phríomhchathair Cultúir. Sa phlean claochlaitheach seo freisin tá an méid seo a leanas: Spás taibhithe chun saol ealaíona na cathrach a shaibhriú agus cruthaitheacht na rannpháirtíochta cultúrtha a fhorbairt. Mol nua nuálaíochta agus campas cois abhann chun an chuid seo de Ghaillimh a athghiniúint agus na naisc idir gnó, taighde agus cathair bheo a neartú. Fearann poiblí nua do gach duine a chónaíonn sa chathair nó a thugann cuairt uirthi. Glasbhealach ó Ghaillimh go Conamara a leathnú tríd an gcathair agus campas na hollscoile, go Maigh Cuilinn, Uachtar Ard agus siar go dtí an Clochán. Beidh dhá limistéar ar leith san fhorbairt a bhaineann leis an gceantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta – Tuaisceart agus Deisceart. Beidh eispéireas, atmaisféar agus dáimh áite ar leith ag baint le gach ceann acu. Cuimseoidh limistéar an Tuaiscirt Foirgneamh Acadúil, a athneartóidh ról agus cion OÉ Gaillimh don chathair agus don réigiún, ionad cultúrtha ilchuspóireach, agus óstán a bheidh nasctha leis an ollscoil go fisiciúil agus i dtéarmaí úsáid pleanáilte agus úsáid atá comhtháite leis an teagasc. Bainfidh an limistéar frámaithe le réimse poiblí inbhuanaithe chun tacú le rannpháirtíocht leis na huiscebhealaí agus le tírdhreacha nádúrtha na timpeallachta uirbí seo. Tá dhá phríomhlimistéar ghníomhaíochta i Limistéar an Deiscirt. Le haghaidh a thabhairt ar an ngá atá le tuilleadh tithíochta i gceantar uirbeach, beidh Baile Uiscebhealaí cónaithe i Limistéar 1. Is i Limistéar 2, na Muilte athfhorbartha, a bheidh an t-ionad Nuálaíochta, Saotharlann Chathrach, Ionad Oideachais Aosaigh OÉ Gaillimh, ionaid for-rochtana agus taispeántais lonnaithe chun cruthaitheacht agus rannpháirtíocht an phobail, agus a lán spásanna sóisialta nua eile, a spreagadh. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, leis an Roinn Tithíochta, Pleanála agus Rialtais Áitiúil, agus leis na páirtithe leasmhara go léir a cheadaigh an t-iarratas seo, céim thábhachtach sa tacaíocht don tionscadal riachtanach seo i nGaillimh agus ar a son. Is céim mhór chun tosaigh í seo i gcéim phleanála an Cheantair Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta nua seo. Ciallóidh sí go mbeidh Saotharlann Chathrach ann mar aon le spás cultúrtha agus taibhithe ilchuspóireach a dhéanfaidh athrú ó bhonn ar Ghaillimh agus ar an réigiún níos leithne, le maireachtáil ann agus le bheith ag obair ann. “Tá OÉ Gaillimh tiomanta do leas an phobail agus tagann an fhorbairt seo go mór leis an éiteas seo agus lenár mbunluachanna: Oscailteacht, Meas, Inbhuanaitheacht agus Barr Feabhais. Agus na luachanna seo mar threoir againn, leanfar ag forbairt an phlean d’Oileán Altanach, a dtacaíonn an maoiniú seo leis, tar éis dul i gcomhairle lenár bpobal áitiúil. Tar éis an fhógra maoinithe seo, táimid ag tnúth le tuilleadh rannpháirtíochta lenár bpobal chun an tionscadal is fearr agus is féidir inár réigiún a sholáthar, dár ré.” Déanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe teagmháil iomlán leis na páirtithe leasmhara go léir. Rinneadh comhairliúchán poiblí tosaigh cheana féin agus leanfar le tuilleadh comhairliúcháin le páirtithe leasmhara le linn an phróisis. Dúirt Brendan McGrath, Príomhfheidhmeannach, Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe: “Táim an-bhuíoch den ghrúpa iontach daoine a chomhoibrigh agus a d’oibrigh ar bhealach chomh díograiseach sin ar an tionscadal seo. Is toradh iontach é seo do Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe agus don Chathair agus déanfaidh an scéim seo athrú ó bhonn ar an gcathair agus ar an réigiún. Táimid ag tnúth le bheith ag obair le OÉ Gaillimh agus leis na páirtithe leasmhara go léir ar phleananna chun Ceantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta den scoth a fhorbairt do Ghaillimh.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin gCeantar Nuálaíochta agus Cruthaitheachta féach: www.nuigalway.ie/buildings/nunsisland/. -Críoch-

Thursday, 18 March 2021

A joint investment of €13.5 million was today announced through a tripartite research and development partnership between the United States, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The seven awards will support more than 60 research positions across 14 research institutions, for three to five years. CÚRAM based at NUI Galway will collaborate in two research projects. The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership, launched in July 2006, is a unique initiative that aims to increase the level of collaborative Research and Development amongst researchers and industry professionals across the three jurisdictions. The programme involves multiple funding partners across the three jurisdictions, working together collaboratively to support the most excellent and impactful research. The funding agencies involved in the awards announced today (17 March 2021) are Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Health Research Board (HRB) in the Republic of Ireland; the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA, and the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (HSC R&D) and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland. Welcoming the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme continues to support and encourage strong collaborative relationships between our countries. It recognises and highlights Ireland’s significant scientific standing internationally and the societal and economic benefits that can be realised when we work beyond our borders. I wish all of the partners every success in this important collaboration.” The programme, which uses a ‘single-proposal, single-review’ approach, focuses on prioritised thematic areas, including sensors, nanoscale science and engineering, telecommunications, energy and sustainability, and health. The Irish components of research projects in the area of health are jointly co-funded by SFI with the Health Research Board. Professor Garry Duffy, CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is partnering with Queen’s University Belfast and the Georgia Institute of Technology (US) led NSF Engineering Research Centre for Cell Manufacturing Technologies to develop a Global Cell Manufacturing and Delivery partnership. The team aims to develop technologies to allow ambient transfer of complex cell-based therapies for chronic disease including heart disease and non-healing wounds, which could reduce the costs of cell products while maintaining their safety and potency. The partners will scale-up, model and test a hydrogel-based ambient transport system to make it clinical trial ready. Professor Gerard O’Connor, CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway,is working withQueen’s University Belfast (NI) and Boston University (US) in a Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership to create a functional engineered cardiac tissue with electromechanical properties that mimic native human myocardium on a scalable laser-enabled manufacturing platform with the potential to transform the treatment of chronic heart disease. Commenting on the awards, Health Research Board Chief Executive, Dr Mairéad O'Driscoll said: “Health research makes a real difference to people’s lives. We’ve seen how the recent pandemic has sparked huge public interest in both health and research. The HRB plays an essential role in advancing research, and is committed to supporting highly innovative international collaboration through the US-Ireland R&D Programme. I welcome the announcement of these new awards, which will generate health benefits in Ireland and internationally.” In congratulating the researchers on these awards,Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director,  Health and Social Care (HSC) Research and Development, Northern Ireland, said: “More than ever, we can see the immense value of international research collaboration, as supported by the US Ireland R&D Programme. This bringing together of researchers from across Ireland and the US is strengthening knowledge transfer and improving health outcomes with global impact.”   Trevor Cooper, Director of Higher Education in the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership supports ground-breaking trans-Atlantic research which will help to further develop Northern Ireland’s research and innovation capabilities, driving competition with the potential to deliver significant economic impact.” For more information on the programme, visit https://www.sfi.ie/funding/funding-calls/us-ireland-rd-partnership/. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

International research partnership hopes to bring new cell therapy to clinical trial for severe cases of COVID-19 and other ARDS patients within the next year CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has announced a new research partnership with US-based biotechnology company, Factor Bioscience Inc., to develop and test a new cell therapy for people with severe COVID infections and other serious respiratory illness. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in resurgent waves globally, and effective therapies are urgently needed. Most people who die of COVID-19 die of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This devastating inflammatory condition causes the lungs to fill with immune cells and fluid, ultimately making oxygen transfer to the blood impossible. Professor John Laffey, project lead and CÚRAM Investigator, NUI Galway, said: "In recent years, stem cells have been rapidly advanced to testing in clinical trials as a way of treating ARDS caused by, for example, a bacterial infection. However, because of the way these stem cells are prepared from adult human tissues and because there is a limit to the volume of cells that we can produce, the consistency of these cell products and the availability of large doses has always remained a challenge until now. "Our partners, Factor Bioscience, a long-time collaborator of CÚRAM, has developed a novel type of stem cell with almost unlimited production potential. As part of this project, these stem cells will be produced at the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland at NUI Galway, and then tested in CÚRAM laboratories. Ultimately we hope to bring this exciting new cell therapy to a clinical trial for severe cases of COVID-19 and other ARDS patients within the next year." Matt Angel, co-founder and CEO of Factor Bioscience, who leads the development of their core technologies, said: "Building clinical and academic partnerships like this one is critical to our mission. We have an excellent relationship with CÚRAM, and this project brings the perfect blend of expertise together enabling us to have a direct and significant impact on patient health. "Factor Bioscience has developed a fast, highly-efficient method for reprogramming somatic cells to a pluripotent stem-cell state, a key invention now recognized by several patents. This technology, which enables the production of patient-specific cells for transplantation, has wide-ranging applications in personalized regenerative medicine." Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the partnership, saying: "The SFI Research Centres programme positions Ireland as a global leader in innovative scientific research. Investment in centres like CÚRAM has ensured that Ireland is well positioned to respond to the COVID-19 challenge with agility and speed. This sector will be greatly strengthened by the level of cooperation and new partnerships that have been built as a result." The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) at NUI Galway is the only licensed cell manufacturing site in Ireland. Within this custom-built centre, the CCMI team produce stem cell products that are used in human clinical trials designed to test their effectiveness in a range of life-limiting medical conditions. Professor Frank Barry, a collaborator on the project at the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland at NUI Galway, with over 25 years of experience in cell therapy, says: "This project is a clear example of our commitment to addressing the world's major health challenges by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments." This current project is CÚRAM’s second collaboration with Factor Bioscience Inc. CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre to develop diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. In doing so, the Centre partners with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

Project will target development of next generation Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for customer experience solutions The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway has joined forces with US-headquartered Avaya, a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, in a new collaborative research programme to develop and test the next generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The research programme will explore the development and deployment of new types of machine learning AI that is expected to deliver more advanced automation and data mining in contact center applications. The joint research can help Avaya implement smarter and faster AI capabilities in its communications and collaboration solutions, to deliver exceptional customer experiences and improve operational efficiency. Professor Mathieu d’Aquin, Site Director for Insight NUI Galway and Principal Investigator on the project, said: “Hundreds of millions of people around the world are consumers of ever-improving AI, developed in the hope of making their experiences better while simultaneously improving business efficiency. Essentially the research we will conduct and systems we will test, thanks to the partnership with Avaya, is all part of making those improvements.” Mike Conroy, vice-president of R&D at Avaya, said: “Our plan in partnering with Insight, one of the largest dedicated Analytics & AI Research centres in Europe, is to develop next generation customer experience through better real-time insights and context powered by new AI methods. By partnering in this project with Insight at NUI Galway, we can help our customers and end users realise even greater levels of augmented AI experience across seamlessly blended automated and assisted customer engagement channels.”  Professor Mark Ferguson, Science Foundation Ireland Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the announcement. He said: “Insight SFI Research Centre for data analytics is part of the world-leading SFI Research Centre network which develops industry partnerships and promotes collaborative research with Irish academic institutions, stimulating valuable knowledge exchange. This elevates Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence with impact while developing a competitive edge in emerging technologies with real-world business applications. We look forward to the opportunities that this collaboration will create.” Ends 

Monday, 15 March 2021

A key finding from the report found that all independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting Irish language programming is seen as a risk for commercial radio Despite a lack of resources stations identified opportunities for development in relation to podcasting, social media and educational initiatives NUI Galway has conducted new research, the third phase of a project into the use of the Irish language on all of Ireland’s licensed radio services with the exception of stations broadcasting exclusively in Irish. The report was published today (15 March 2021). The aim of the report, which was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), was to investigate the views of station representatives on the obstacles to and opportunities regarding Irish language radio programming in the future. One of the main findings from the report revealed that all independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting. Key conclusions from the research: Irish language output among the stations sampled remains low and is broadcast mostly at off-peak hours. There is considerable variation in the amount of Irish language output and no appreciable difference between stations serving the Gaeltacht and those with no Gaeltacht district in their franchise district. Despite this, some stations have built successful Irish language programmes over a long period and are positive about further development of material in Irish. Irish language programming is seen as a risk for commercial radio. All independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting. The challenge is particularly acute for community radio due to its voluntary nature. Radio stations would welcome external partnerships and closer collaboration with Irish language organisations/schools to assist with programming and content. Lack of resources and time was a commonly cited obstacle to developing Irish language content but many stations identified opportunities for development in relation to podcasting, social media and educational initiatives.  Stations covered in the research were a mix of commercial, public service, regional and community radio stations including: Athlone Community Radio; Flirt FM; Galway Bay FM; Highland Radio; iRadio NEAR FM; Newstalk; Ocean FM; Radio Kerry and RTÉ radio services other than Radió na Gaeltachta. Representatives from all of the stations were interviewed for the report and case studies were carried out on three stations, Newstalk, Radio Kerry and NEAR FM. Recommendations from the report: The Irish language organisation Oireachtas na Gaeilge should receive more long-term support for its work in developing radio output in Irish. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to articulate more clearly the work of its Irish language team and develop training and work placement opportunities. The possibilities of sharing existing programmes or creating new syndicated content in Irish should be explored. Following Covid-19, broadcasters should seek sponsorship for Irish language content. Funding for original Irish language audiovisual content should be covered in the new Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill. The Broadcasting Act should be amended to ensure that all radio stations produce their own Irish language content for broadcast and on digital platforms. Stations covering Gaeltacht should have more material in Irish. Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway and author of the report, said: “This report shows that while there is some high quality Irish language programming on radio stations broadcasting in English, output in Irish remains very low on most of the country’s radio stations, including those broadcasting to Gaeltacht areas. “The sector as a whole requires additional support and guidance with developing Irish language material and there is an opportunity for greater collaboration with Irish language organisations. New legislation about online safety and media regulation currently being discussed provides an opportunity to deal with these issues and ensure a central place for Irish in the future media landscape.” The first two phases of the study aimed to investigate how legislative provisions and regulatory guidance about the Irish language were reflected in radio programming. Successive Broadcasting Acts since the late 1980's have contained provisions requiring that the Irish language must be considered during the licensing process. Furthermore, the BAI and its predecessor organisations have consistently included the promotion of Irish language programming in their strategic plans over the past 30 years. BAI Chief Executive, Michael O’Keeffe, said: “The BAI welcomes the ongoing research into the use of Irish Language on Irish Radio services which was conducted by Dr John Walsh in association with NUI Galway. The BAI was very pleased to have provided funding support for this third phase of the research project which focuses on the challenges and opportunities of Irish language programming, as articulated by station managers and representatives who have first-hand experience of delivering Irish language programming within station schedules." “The research findings raise some interesting points in relation to Irish language programming commitments. While it is clear that there are certain broadcasters who are active drivers for improvement and commitment in the area of Irish language programming, challenges in the delivery of this programming remain to be addressed across the sector as a whole. The BAI thanks Dr Walsh for the work put into the project, especially given the challenges presented by Covid-19, and congratulates NUI Galway on its support for this valuable research.” To read the full document 'Research on Use of the Irish language on Radio - Phase 3' see: https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/16584 and www.bai.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

Ceann de na torthaí is mó a bhí ar an tuarascáil ná go dteastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta don chraolachán Gaeilge ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách   Ceaptar sa raidió tráchtála go mbaineann baol le cláir Ghaeilge   In ainneoin easpa acmhainní feiceann stáisiúin deiseanna forbartha maidir le podchraoladh, na meáin shóisialta agus tionscnaimh oideachais Tá taighde nua déanta ag OÉ Gaillimh, céim a trí de thionscadal ar úsáid na Gaeilge ar sheirbhísí raidió ceadúnaithe na hÉireann ar fad seachas stáisiúin a chraolann i nGaeilge amháin. Foilsíodh an tuarascáil inniu (15 Márta 2021). Ba é aidhm na tuarascála, a bhí maoinithe ag Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann (BAI), ná breathnú ar thuairimí ionadaithe stáisiúin maidir leis na constaicí agus na deiseanna a bhaineann le cláir raidió Ghaeilge sa todhchaí. Ceann de na torthaí is mó a bhí ar an tuarascáil ná go dteastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta don chraolachán Gaeilge ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách. Na Príomhchonclúidí ón taighde: Tá an méid Gaeilge a bhíonn le cloisteáil ar na stáisiúin shamplacha fós íseal agus ní chraoltar í den chuid is mó ach taobh amuigh de na buaicuaireanta. Tá éagsúlacht mhór sa mhéid Gaeilge a bhíonn le cloisteáil agus níl aon difríocht shuntasach idir stáisiúin a fhreastalaíonn ar an nGaeltacht agus iad siúd nach bhfuil aon cheantar Gaeltachta ina gceantar ceadúnais.  Ina ainneoin sin, tá cláir rathúla Ghaeilge ag roinnt stáisiún le fada an lá agus tá siad dearfach maidir le tuilleadh forbartha ar ábhar i nGaeilge. Ceaptar go mbaineann baol le cláir Ghaeilge do raidió tráchtála. Teastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách le craolachán Gaeilge. Tá an dúshlán níos mó arís do raidió pobail mar gheall go bhfuil siad ag obair ar bhonn deonach. Chuirfeadh stáisiúin raidió fáilte roimh chomhpháirtíochtaí seachtracha agus roimh chomhoibriú níos fearr le heagraíochtaí Gaeilge/scoileanna chun cabhrú le cláir agus ábhar. Ceann de na constaicí is mó a bhíonn roimh stáisiúin is ea easpa acmhainní agus ama chun ábhar Gaeilge a fhorbairt ach dúirt go leor stáisiún go raibh deiseanna forbartha maidir le podchraoladh, na meáin shóisialta agus tionscnaimh oideachais.  I measc na stáisiún a bhí san áireamh sa taighde bhí meascán de stáisiúin raidió tráchtála, seirbhíse poiblí, réigiúnacha agus pobail lena n-áirítear: Athlone Community Radio; Flirt FM; Galway Bay FM; Highland Radio; iRadio; NEAR FM; Newstalk; Ocean FM; Radio Kerry agus seirbhísí raidió RTÉ seachas Raidió na Gaeltachta. Cuireadh ionadaithe ó na stáisiúin go léir faoi agallamh don tuarascáil agus rinneadh cás-staidéir ar thrí stáisiún, Newstalk, Radio Kerry agus NEAR FM. Moltaí ón tuarascáil: Ba cheart go bhfaigheadh an eagraíocht Ghaeilge Oireachtas na Gaeilge tacaíocht níos fadtéarmaí dá cuid oibre ag forbairt aschur raidió i nGaeilge. Ba chóir d’Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann soiléiriú a thabhairt ar obair a fhoirne Gaeilge agus deiseanna oiliúna agus socrúcháin oibre a fhorbairt. Ba cheart a fhiosrú an bhféadfaí cláir atá ann cheana a roinnt nó ábhar sindeacáite nua a chruthú i nGaeilge. Tar éis Covid-19, ba cheart do chraoltóirí urraíocht a lorg d’ábhar Gaeilge. Ba cheart maoiniú d’ábhar closamhairc nua Gaeilge a chumhdach sa Bhille nua um Rialáil Sábháilteachta agus Meán Ar Líne. Ba cheart an tAcht Craolacháin a leasú chun a chinntiú go gcruthaíonn gach stáisiún raidió a n-ábhar Gaeilge féin le craoladh agus ar ardáin dhigiteacha. Ba chóir go mbeadh níos mó ábhar i nGaeilge ag stáisiúin a chlúdaíonn ceantar Gaeltachta. Labhair an Dr John Walsh, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in OÉ Gaillimh agus údar na tuarascála mar seo a leanas: “Cé go bhfuil roinnt cláracha Gaeilge ar ardchaighdeán le clos ar stáisiúin raidió a chraolann i mBéarla, léiríonn an tuarascáil seo gur beag Gaeilge a chraoltar ar stáisiúin raidió na tíre, stáisiúin a bhfuil limistéar Gaeltachta ina gceantar ceadúnais san áireamh. Teastaíonn tuilleadh tacaíochta agus comhairle maidir le forbairt ábhair Gaeilge ón earnáil raidió tríd is tríd agus tá deis ann tuilleadh comhoibrithe a fhorbairt le heagraíochtaí Gaeilge. Faoin reachtaíocht nua faoi shábháilteacht ar líne agus rialáil na meán atá á plé faoi láthair, is féidir déileáil leis na ceisteanna seo agus áit lárnach a chinntiú don Ghaeilge i dtírdhreach na meán amach anseo.” D’fhéach an chéad dá chéim den staidéar le himscrúdú a dhéanamh ar an gcaoi ar tugadh aitheantas do na forálacha dleathacha agus don treoir rialála maidir leis an nGaeilge i gcláir raidió. Tá forálacha sna hAchtanna Craolacháin a achtaíodh ó dheireadh na 1980í inar éilíodh go ndéanfaí breithniú ar an nGaeilge i rith an phróisis ceadúnaithe. Anuas air sin, tá cur chun cinn na Gaeilge curtha san áireamh go leanúnach ag Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann (BAI) agus ag na heagraíochtaí ar tháinig sé i gcomharbacht orthu ina bpleananna straitéiseacha le 30 bliain anuas. Seo mar a labhair Príomhfheidhmeannach an BAI, Michael O’Keeffe: “Cuireann an BAI fáilte roimh an taighde leanúnach maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge ar sheirbhísí raidió na hÉireann atá déanta ag an Dr John Walsh i gcomhpháirt le OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí an-áthas ar an BAI tacú i bhfoirm mhaoinithe le tríú céim an tionscadail taighde seo ina ndírítear ar na dúshláin atá roimh chláir Ghaeilge ar an raidió, chomh maith leis na deiseanna, mar a chuir bainisteoirí agus ionadaithe stáisiúin in iúl iad, arb iad is fearr a bhfuil taithí acu ar chláir Ghaeilge a chraoladh laistigh de sceidil stáisiúin.” “Tarraingíonn torthaí an taighde seo aird ar roinnt pointí spéisiúla i ndáil le tiomantais atá déanta maidir le cláir Ghaeilge. Bíodh is gur léir go bhfuil craoltóirí áirithe ann a chuireann rompu go gníomhach an soláthar clár Gaeilge a fheabhsú, tá dúshláin san earnáil trí chéile le sárú i gcónaí maidir leis na cláir seo a sheachadadh. Glacann an BAI buíochas leis an Dr Walsh as na hiarrachtaí atá déanta aige leis an tionscadal seo, go mór mór i bhfianaise na ndúshlán a bhain le Covid-19 agus tréaslaíonn sé le OÉ Gaillimh as an tacaíocht atá tugtha aige don taighde luachmhar seo.” Chun an doiciméad iomlán ‘Taighde ar Úsáid na Gaeilge ar an Raidió – Céim a 3’ a léamh, féach: https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/16586 agus www.bai.ie. -Críoch-

Friday, 12 March 2021

NUI Galway and Galway City Council welcomed today's announcement by the Government of funding of €4.3 million for the Innovation and Creativity District in Galway. The development of Nuns’ Island and Earl’s Island as the focal point of an Innovation and Creativity District is at the heart of Galway’s plan to connect all of the resources that give Galway its vast potential. The Innovation and Creativity District will incorporate a riverside campus as part of the urban regeneration of Galway city along with a landmark cultural and performance space, acknowledging the University’s role as a national cultural institution and its contribution to Galway as a Capital of Culture. This transformative plan also includes: A performance space to enrich the artistic life of the city and unleash the creativity of cultural engagement. A new innovation hub and riverside campus to regenerate this part of Galway and strengthen the linkages between business, research and a living city. Enhanced public realm for everyone who lives in or visits the city. Expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway through the city and the university campus, to Moycullen, Oughterard and on to Clifden. The Innovation and Creativity district development will consist of two distinct areas – Northern and Southern. Each will offer a distinct experience, atmosphere and sense of place. The Northern area will comprise of an Academic Building, reinforcing NUI Galway’s role and contribution to the city and region, a multi-purpose cultural venue, and a hotel connected to the university both physically and in terms of planned usage and integration with teaching. The area will be framed within sustainable public realm to support engagement with the waterways and the natural landscapes of this urban environment. The Southern area has two key zones of activity. Addressing the need for more housing in an urban area, Zone 1 will have a residential Waterways Village. Zone 2, the redeveloped Mills, will be the location for the Innovation centre, City Lab, NUI Galway’s Adult Education Centre, outreach and showcase venues for inspiring creativity and community engagement, and a host of new social spaces. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “I would like to thank Galway City Council, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and all of the stakeholders who have approved this application, a milestone in supporting this vital project in and for Galway. This represents a major step forward in the planning phase of this new Innovation and Creativity District. It supports the creation of a City Lab and landmark multi-purpose cultural and performance space that will be transformative for Galway and the wider region, both to live and work in. “NUI Galway is committed to the public good and this development very much speaks to this ethos and to our core values of Openness, Respect, Sustainability and Excellence. With these values as our guide, the plan for Nuns’ Island which this funding supports will continue to be developed following consultation with our local community. Following this funding announcement we look forward to further engaging with our community to deliver the best possible project of our region, for our world.” NUI Galway and Galway City Council will engage fully with all stakeholders. An initial public consultation has already taken place and further consultations with stakeholders will continue throughout the process. Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive, Galway City Council, said: “I am very grateful to the fantastic team of people who collaborated and worked in such a committed way on this project. This is a fantastic outcome for Galway City Council and the City and this scheme will be truly transformative for the city and the region. We look forward to working with NUI Galway and all stakeholders on plans to develop a world-class Innovation and Creativity District for Galway.” For more information about the Innovation and Creativity District see: www.nuigalway.ie/buildings/nunsisland/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Three CÚRAM PhD graduates; Paolo Contessotto, Juhi Samal and Mark Fernandez, have been awarded the Julia Polak European Doctorate Award 2021 of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB). The three PhD graduates will be presented with their awards at the General Assembly of the next ESB conference to be held from 5-9 September 2021 in Porto. They are the latest CÚRAM graduates at NUI Galway to receive this acknowledgement, following in the footsteps of six earlier CÚRAM alumni. The award is given by the ESB council and presented annually at the conference event. Candidates nominated for the award needed to demonstrate that they have received high standard research education and training at a European level in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and that they are also able to produce scientific results deserving recognition by being published and accepted in high-quality journals and conferences. Candidates will have had to spend at least one month of research work in a country outside the country of their home institution, have produced at least two peer-reviewed international publications as the first author and have participated at least twice at an international scientific meeting as presenting author, during their PhD. Dr Contessotto's PhD research focused on developing an injectable hydrogel to repair the heart muscle after a heart attack. His research has recently been published in the prestigious Science Translational Medicine Journal and has received extensive media coverage. Dr Samal's research focused on investigating several biomaterial constructs for therapeutic delivery and enhanced graft survival in the brain, which resulted in three research publications and grant funding success. Both were supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM based at NUI Galway. Dr Manus Biggs supervised Dr Fernandez's doctoral research that focussed on developing a synthetic fibrous scaffold to promote tendon repair. The technology developed was specifically designed to address the biological, mechanical and adhesions issues in rotator cuff tendon repair and used electrospinning to generate a highly structured and porous scaffold made from an inert synthetic polymer. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: "It is very gratifying for any researcher to have their work recognised in this way, and I'm extremely proud that CÚRAM graduates continue to be acknowledged for the quality of their training and research outputs. All of our researchers put extraordinary amounts of energy, time and effort into their work, and I'd like to congratulate Paolo, Juhi and Mark on this award which they richly deserve." Since its establishment in 1976, the ESB conference has been a significant event for the biomaterials science community. ESB 2021 will once again bring together all major disciplines of biomaterials science and enabling participants to network with colleagues, establish new collaborations, exchange knowledge, and discuss recent advances in emerging biomaterials-related topics. CÚRAM's research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46 million reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021 demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations and the education and training of high-quality graduates for the sector. For more information, follow on Twitter @CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie  -Ends-  

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

University develops an ambitious roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2030 NUI Galway has unveiled its second sustainability strategy. The NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 was officially launched today (9 March 2021) by Dr Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of the Elders. It sets out an ambitious vision to lead the transition to a sustainable future by embedding sustainability in the University's culture, operational policies, governance structure and empowering its communities to be champions of sustainability. The strategy's objectives are embedded in a Learn-Live-Lead ethos that guides its sustainability efforts. The strategy was developed by the Community University Sustainability Partnership (CUSP) team, chaired by Professor Jamie Goggins, following campus wide consultation. The Strategy identifies 25 key measures of success organised around six themes: Research and Learning; Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Nature and Ecosystems; Health and Wellbeing; Built Environment; Governance and Leadership. Key sustainability measures include: Research and Learning: Integration of sustainability across all university education programmes by 2023. NUI Galway currently offers over 230 courses that cover environmental and sustainability content. Energy and greenhouse gas emissions: Improve energy efficiency by 45%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% and 20% of electricity to come from renewable sources, by 2025. Nature and Ecosystems: Become an exemplar in biodiversity related research and learning with the implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan. Built Environment: By 2025, reduce food wastage by 50% and water consumption by 10%. Health and Wellbeing: Help students and staff attain full physical, social, sexual and mental health and wellbeing. These include achieving a tobacco free campus by 2021, a Healthy Campus status by 2022 and reduce year on year, the level of harmful drinking among students. Governance and Leadership: Develop an ambitious roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2030. Sustainability has been gathering momentum as a core value at NUI Galway for a number of years. The university launched its inaugural sustainability strategy for the campus in 2017. This was followed by the appointment of the University’s first Sustainability Officer, Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, in September 2019. Some of the major milestones reached as a result of the first strategy include: academic staff embracing sustainability as part of the curriculum; becoming a Green Campus Ireland awarded site; exceeding the Public Sector 2020 Energy Efficiency target of 33%, reaching the University's target of 40% in 2020; becoming the first Green Lab certification in Europe; and managing the campus grounds in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Dr Mary Robinson, commented: “It is heartening to see NUI Galway stepping up and shaping a future that has sustainability at the core. It is incumbent on universities to act on the single greatest challenge our society faces. Through your learn-live-lead approach - advancing sustainability through your teaching and learning, research, actions and impacts - you can play a leading role in the transition to a more sustainable future. By unleashing sustainability potential in the leaders of tomorrow, you can extend sustainability beyond the campus wall and into our communities.” Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the CUSP Advisory Board, said: “We are living in a time of great threat to the sustainability of our planet. Today we are putting in place a strategy that sets out our vision and commitment to lead the transition to a sustainable future on our campus, in our city and around the world. The strategy has been a collaboration involving academics, students and professional staff right across the University and in the wider community. It is only by coming together that we can achieve the future we want.” In December 2019, the university further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability at an institutional level by signing the Sustainable Development Goals Accord. Most recently NUI Galway was announced the winner of the Sustainability Category of the Galway Chamber Awards, recognising the University’s commitment to extend sustainability beyond the campus walls and into local communities. NUI Galway Student's Union President, Padraic Twoomey, said: “When it comes to Sustainability, the students' voice was loudest. We will inherit this planet and want to make sure that it's one that we can live in. Too long as a society we left things just go by without change and we hope with pushing for sustainability within the college we can make waves for the future.” Read the full Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/NUI-Galway-Sustainability-Strategy-2021-2025.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

Forbraíonn an Ollscoil plean oibre uaillmhianach do neodracht charbóin faoi 2030  Tá an dara straitéis inbhuanaitheachta seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh. Sheol an Dr Mary Robinson, iar-Uachtarán na hÉireann, iarArd-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine agus Cathaoirleach na Seanóirí Straitéis Inbhuanaitheachta OÉ Gaillimh 2021-2025 go hoifigiúil inniu (9 Márta 2021). Leagtar amach sa Straitéis fís uaillmhianach chun todhchaí inbhuanaithe a bhaint amach trí inbhuanaitheacht a leabú i gcultúr, i bpolasaithe oibríochta agus i struchtúr rialachais na hOllscoile agus cumhacht a thabhairt dá pobail a bheith ina seaimpíní inbhuanaitheachta. Tá cuspóirí na straitéise leabaithe in éiteas Foghlaim-Mair-Spreag a threoraíonn a hiarrachtaí inbhuanaitheachta. D’fhorbair foireann na Comhpháirtíochta Inbhuanaitheachta Pobail agus Ollscoile (CUSP) an Straitéis, a raibh an tOllamh Jamie Goggins ina chathaoirleach air, tar éis comhairliúcháin leathan ar fud an champais. Aithnítear sa Straitéis 25 príomhbheart rathúlachta bunaithe ar shé théama: Taighde agus Foghlaim, Fuinneamh agus Astaíochtaí Gás Ceaptha Teasa, Dúlra agus Éiceachórais, Sláinte agus Folláine, Timpeallacht Thógtha; Rialachas agus Ceannaireacht. I measc na bpríomhbhearta inbhuanaitheachta tá: Taighde agus Foghlaim: Comhtháthú inbhuanaitheachta ar fud chláir oideachais uile na hollscoile faoi 2023. Faoi láthair, cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 230 cúrsa ar fáil a chuimsíonn ábhar comhshaoil agus inbhuanaitheachta. Fuinneamh agus Astaíochtaí Gás Ceaptha Teasa: Feabhas 45% a chur ar éifeachtúlacht fuinnimh, astaíochtaí gás ceaptha teasa a laghdú 15% agus 20%  de leictreachas le teacht ó fhoinsí in-athnuaite, faoi 2025. Dúlra agus Éiceachórais: A bheith mar eiseamláir i dtaighde agus i bhfoghlaim a bhaineann le bithéagsúlacht le cur i bhfeidhm an Phlean Gníomhaíochta Bithéagsúlachta. An Timpeallacht Thógtha: Faoi 2025, cuir amú bia a laghdú 50% agus úsáid uisce a laghdú 10%. Sláinte agus Folláine: Cuidiú le mic léinn agus le comhaltaí foirne sláinte agus folláine choirp, shóisialta, ghnéasach agus mheabhrach iomlán a bhaint amach. Ina measc seo tá campas saor ó thobac a bhaint amach faoi 2021, stádas Campais Shláintiúil faoi 2022 agus leibhéal an óil dhochraigh i measc na mac léinn a laghdú ó bhliain go bliain. Rialachas agus Ceannaireacht: Plean oibre uaillmhianach a fhorbairt do neodracht charbóin faoi 2030. Tá borradh tagtha faoin inbhuanaitheacht mar chroíluach in OÉ Gaillimh le roinnt blianta anuas. Sheol an ollscoil a céad straitéis inbhuanaitheachta don champas in 2017. Ina dhiaidh sin ceapadh an chéad Oifigeach Inbhuanaitheachta san Ollscoil, Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, i Meán Fómhair 2019. I measc cuid de na spriocanna móra a baineadh amach mar thoradh ar an gcéad straitéis tá: foireann acadúil ag glacadh le hinbhuanaitheacht mar chuid den churaclam; Gradam Campas Glas na hÉireann bronnta orainn; ag dul thar sprioc Éifeachtúlachta Fuinnimh 2020 na hEarnála Poiblí; an chéad deimhniú Saotharlainne Glaise do shaotharlann san Eoraip; agus tailte an champais a bhainistiú de réir Phlean Uile-Éireann um Pailneoirí. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Mary Robinson: “Tugann sé ardú misnigh dom OÉ Gaillimh a fheiceáil ag teacht chun cinn agus ag múnlú todhchaí a mbeidh inbhuanaitheacht mar chroílár inti. Tá sé de dhualgas ar ollscoileanna gníomhú ar an dúshlán aonair is mó atá roimh ár sochaí. Trí bhur gcur chuige Foghlaim-Mair-Spreag – inbhuanaitheacht a chur chun cinn trí theagasc agus foghlaim, taighde, gníomhartha agus tionchair – is féidir libh ról ceannasach a bheith agaibh san aistriú chuig todhchaí níos inbhuanaithe. Trí acmhainn inbhuanaitheachta a fhorbairt i gceannairí na todhchaí, is féidir libh inbhuanaitheacht a leathnú níos faide ná ballaí an champais agus amach sna pobail.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí OÉ Gaillimh agus Cathaoirleach Bhord Comhairleach CUSP: “Táimid ag maireachtáil i dtréimhse ina bhfuil bagairt mhór ar inbhuanaitheacht ár bplainéid. Tá straitéis á cur i bhfeidhm againn inniu a leagann amach ár bhfís agus ár dtiomantas chun aistriú chuig todhchaí inbhuanaithe ar ár gcampas, inár gcathair agus ar fud an domhain. Is comhpháirtíocht a bhí sa straitéis idir lucht acadúil, mic léinn agus foireann ghairmiúil na hOllscoile agus an pobal i gcoitinne. Is trí theacht le chéile a éireoidh linn an todhchaí atá uainn a bhaint amach.” I mí na Nollag 2019, léirigh an ollscoil arís a tiomantas don inbhuanaitheacht ar leibhéal institiúideach tríd an gComhaontú Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe a shíniú.Fógraíodh go raibh an bua le gairid ag OÉ Gaillimh sa Chatagóir Inbhuanaitheachta de Ghradaim Chumann Tráchtála na Gaillimhe, rud a thugann aitheantas do thiomantas na hOllscoile inbhuanaitheacht a leathnú níos faide ná ballaí an champais agus amach sna pobail áitiúla. Dúirt Uachtarán Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn OÉ Gaillimh, Padraic Toomey: “I gcás na hInbhuanaitheachta, ba é guth na mac léinn ab airde. Gheobhaimid an pláinéad seo le hoidhreacht agus ba mhaith linn a chinntiú gur féidir linn maireachtáil ann.  Le fada an lá mar shochaí d’fhágamar rudaí ar an méar fhada agus tá súil againn agus inbhuanaitheacht á cur chun cinn sa choláiste gur féidir linn athruithe móra a dhéanamh don todhchaí.” Chun níos mó a léamh faoi Straitéis Inbhuanaitheachta 2021-2025 féach: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/NUI-Galway-Sustainability-Strategy-2021-2025.pdf. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Ireland’s first free tax clinic has been set up in NUI Galway to educate students about their entitlements, obligations and how to manage their tax affairs.  The pioneering initiative will see tax students in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics work in partnership with teaching staff and professional, external tax advisors in providing an online and confidential service. The NUI Galway Tax Clinic is being established initially to assist the University’s students, with a view to extending its services to community groups which are unable to access or afford tax information.  The service will run for at least six weeks at first, offering practical tax information and support to students with tax concerns and queries arising from a change in their circumstances, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Emer Mulligan, Director of the clinic and Personal Professor in Taxation and Finance at NUI Galway, said: “The backdrop to this clinic is justice. It’s about helping under-represented people.  “The focus of the clinic is tax education and through that we will help a number of people who would not have realised they had an entitlement to certain tax credits and potentially a tax refund, as well as others whose credits were not allocated correctly, or have multiple jobs or were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). “Our mission is to inform and support marginalised citizens in their tax compliance in a free and confidential setting. Plans are underway to extend the service to marginalised community groups in the Galway region.”  A pilot tax clinic was trialled in NUI Galway last year where around 60 students received personal tax information and support. A number of external tax advisors were involved in running the pilot, with PwC one of the first to come on board. Florita Dolly, PwC Tax Advisor, said: “This exciting new initiative seeks to make taxpayer assistance more accessible and available to marginalised communities and the wider student population. PwC Galway are delighted to be supporting this initiative.” The NUI Galway Tax Clinic will also see students earn valuable real-world experience working with professional advisors, including some NUI Galway alumni who are working on a pro bono basis.  Students seeking advice at the clinic will be asked to consider if they are aware of tax credits they are entitled to, including for tuition fees, flat rate allowances, medical expenses, or being a single parent or home carer. It also asks if they have been employed in the previous four years, if they work multiple jobs, if they received the PUP and know how it is taxed and if they are planning to go overseas. Professor Mulligan was inspired to set up the country’s first tax clinic after learning of the success of initiatives in the USA and Australia where they have expanded and secured support from tax authorities with most of the clinics affiliated with academic institutions.  Tax advisors who want to support the initiative and students seeking support can visit nuigalway.ie/taxclinic or email Dr Maggie O’Neill, Tax Clinic Coordinator taxclinic@nuigalway.ie Ends

Monday, 8 March 2021

NUI Galway report highlights trends in children’s health behaviours over 20 years HBSC study reveals an overall decrease across all substance use measures; an increase in young people reporting pressure from schoolwork; and more children report feeling low 5.3% of Irish children aged 10-17 said they were smoking in 2018, compared to 22.6% in 1998 In 2018 19% reported they had ever been drunk, compared to 33% in 1998 8.5% reported in 2018 they had used cannabis in the last year, compared to 12.3% in 1998 44.3% reported feeling pressured by school work, compared to 32.9% in 1998 34.3% reported feeling low about every week or more frequently, compared to 23% in 1998   Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan today launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Trends Report 1998-2018 (HBSC). The report was led by senior researcher Aoife Gavin in collaboration with the HBSC research team at the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway. Compared to the findings from 1998, the study found fewer children using substances, more than half of children exercise regularly, more children are feeling pressured by school work and more children report feeling low. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe. It runs every four years. In 2018, 45 countries and regions participated, collecting data on health behaviours, health outcomes and the social contexts of children’s lives. The study compared findings of health behaviour in school-aged children from 1998 to 2018. Health risk behaviours – An overall decrease across all substance use measures.  :: Fewer children report currently smoking – 5.3% in 2018, compared to 22.6% in 1998. :: Fewer children report that they have ever been drunk – 19% in 2018 compared to 33% in 1998. :: Fewer children report cannabis use in the last year – 8.5% in 2018, compared to 12.3% in 1998. Positive health behaviours – An overall improvement among young people :: More children brushing teeth more than once a day – 70.1% in 2018, compared to 57.6% in 1998. :: More children always wearing a seatbelt in car journeys – 81.4% in 2018, compared to 41% in 1998. :: The proportion of young people doing vigorous exercise four or more times a week has remained stable – 52.1% in 2018, compared to 52.6% in 1998. Launching the report, Minister Frank Feighan said: “I welcome the publication of this latest report from the Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study. This international project has provided us with essential data which has helped to shape and inform policy relating to the health and wellbeing of our children and young people. “This new Trends report gives us a wonderful opportunity to take stock, both of the many very significant improvements to our children’s health, and of those areas where we have not, perhaps, made as much progress as we would have liked. The information contained in this study will be of great importance in terms of future planning and policy direction regarding children’s health.” Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman T.D. said: “Ireland is headed in the right direction when it comes to the health of young people, and it is clear that past Government initiatives to support healthy choices are having a positive impact on reducing alcohol consumption and smoking, helping to keep our young people safe. “The research also suggests that an increased emphasis is needed around supporting the positive mental health of young people, and following the impact of Covid-19, this is an issue that may become more prevalent. In February, my Department launched the Supporting Children Campaign which aims to outline the supports available for children and families during the pandemic. We have also increased funding for youth services in 2021, in recognition of the positive impact youth work can have on young people’s lives. “Thanks to the HBSC research team in NUI Galway and the contributions from young people, we now have a valuable piece of research that will help to inform future healthy living initiatives aimed at improving the lives of children and young people in Ireland.” Commenting on the findings, Co-Principal Investigator Dr Colette Kelly from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This report is the culmination of many years of work, and brings together some good news about the health behaviours of Irish children with a sustained decrease in substance use for example. “There is a continuing positive trend in children communicating with parents and reports of good places in the local area to spend free time. The report also highlights areas in need of improvement in particular more young people are reporting that they feel pressured by school work and there is an increase in the proportion of children who report feeling low. The report provides a breakdown of age, gender and social class patterns which provide more in-depth information on each of the indicators.” To read the full report, visit - http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/healthpromotionresearchcentre/hbscdocs/nationalreports/HBSC-Trends-Report-2021.pdf Ends

Monday, 8 March 2021

Leagtar béim i dtuarascáil OÉ Gaillimh ar threochtaí iompraíochtaí sláinte leanaí thar 20 bliain Léiríonn an staidéar HBSC go bhfuil laghdú tríd is tríd sna táscairí úsáide substainte ar fad; méadú ar líon na ndaoine óga a thuairiscíonn brú a bheith orthu de bharr obair scoile; agus tuairiscíonn níos mó leanaí go bhfuil siad in ísle brí Dúirt 5.3% de leanaí Éireannacha idir 10-17 mbliana d’aois go raibh siad ag caitheamh tobac in 2018, i gcomparáid le 22.6% in 1998 In 2018, thuairiscigh 19% díobh go raibh siad ar meisce am éigin, i gcomparáid le 33% in 1998. Thuairiscigh 8.5% in 2018 gur úsáid siad cannabas le bliain anuas i gcomparáid le 12.3% in 1998. Thuairiscigh 44.3% go raibh brú orthu mar gheall ar obair scoile, i gcomparáid le 32.9% in 1998 Thuairiscigh 34.3% go raibh siad in ísle brí gach seachtain nó níos minice, i gcomparáid le 23% in 1998 Inniu, sheol an tAire Stáit a bhfuil freagracht air as Sláinte Phoiblí, Folláine agus an Straitéis Náisiúnta Drugaí, Frank Feighan T.D. an tuarascáil ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Trends Report 1998-2018’ (HBSC). Ba í an taighdeoir sinsearach Aoife Gavin a stiúir an tuarascáil i gcomhar le foireann taighde HBSC san Ionad Taighde don Chothú Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh. I gcomparáid le torthaí 1998, fuarthas amach sa staidéar go raibh níos lú leanaí ag úsáid substaintí, go mbíonn níos mó ná leath na leanaí i mbun aclaíocht rialta, go mbíonn níos mó leanaí faoi bhrú ag obair scoile agus go ndeir níos mó leanaí go bhfuil siad in ísle brí. Staidéar tras-earnála é an HBSC a dhéantar i gcomhar le hOifig Réigiúnach na hEagraíochta Domhanda Sláinte don Eoraip. Déantar é a reáchtáil gach ceithre bliana. In 2018, ghlac 45 tír agus réigiún páirt, ag bailiú sonraí ar iompraíochtaí sláinte, torthaí sláinte agus comhthéacsanna sóisialta a bhaineann le saol leanaí. Rinne an staidéar comparáid idir torthaí iompraíochta sláinte leanaí in aois scoile ó 1998 go 2018. Iompraíochtaí riosca sláinte – Laghdú tríd is tríd sna táscairí úsáide substainte ar fad.  :: Tuairiscíonn níos lú leanaí go bhfuil siad ag caitheamh tobac faoi láthair – 5.3% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 22.6% in 1998. :: Tuairiscíonn níos lú leanaí go raibh siad ar meisce am éigin – 19% in 2018 i gcomparáid le 33% in 1998. :: Thuairiscigh níos lú leanaí gur úsáid siad cannabas le bliain anuas – 8.5% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 12.3% in 1998. Iompraíochtaí sláinte dearfacha – Feabhas tríd is tríd i measc daoine óga :: Tá níos mó leanaí ag scuabadh a gcuid fiacla níos mó ná uair amháin sa lá – 70.1% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 57.6% in 1998. :: Tá níos mó leanaí ag caitheamh crios sábhála i gcónaí ar thurais ghluaisteáin – 81.4% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 41.0% in 1998. :: D'fhan céatadán na ndaoine óga a dhéanann aclaíocht bhríomhar ceithre huaire nó níos mó sa tseachtain seasmhach – 52.1% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 52.6% in 1998. Ag seoladh na tuarascála, dúirt an tAire Frank Feighan: “Fearaim fáilte roimh fhoilsiú na tuarascála is déanaí seo ón Staidéar ar Iompraíocht Sláinte Leanaí in Aois Scoile. Chuir an tionscadal idirnáisiúnta seo sonraí riachtanacha ar fáil dúinn a chuidigh le polasaí a bhaineann le sláinte agus folláine ár leanaí agus ár ndaoine óga a mhúnlú agus a threorú. "Tugann an tuarascáil seo ar Threochtaí deis iontach dúinn machnamh a dhéanamh ar an iliomad feabhsúchán thar a bheith suntasach atá tagtha ar shláinte ár leanaí, agus ar na réimsí sin nach bhfuil an oiread dul chun cinn déanta againn iontu agus ba mhaith linn. Beidh an-tábhacht ag baint leis an eolas atá sa staidéar seo maidir le pleanáil don todhchaí agus an treo a ghlacfaidh polasaithe i ndáil le sláinte leanaí. "Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le foireann an Ionaid Taighde don Chothú Sláinte, leis an Eagraíocht Dhomhanda Sláinte agus leis na daltaí, na tuismitheoirí agus an fhoireann sna scoileanna a bhí rannpháirteach arb í an tuarascáil luachmhar seo toradh a saothair.” Dúirt an tAire Leanaí, Comhionannais, Míchumais, Lánpháirtíochta agus Óige, Roderic O'Gorman T.D.: “Tá Éire ag dul sa treo ceart maidir le sláinte daoine óga, agus is léir go bhfuil tionchar dearfach ag tionscnaimh a bhunaigh an Rialtas roimhe seo chun tacú le roghanna sláintiúla maidir le hól alcóil agus caitheamh tobac a laghdú, rud a chuidíonn lenár ndaoine óga a choinneáil slán. “Tugann an taighde le fios freisin gur gá béim níos mó a chur ar thacú le meabhairshláinte dhearfach daoine óga, agus mar gheall ar thionchar Covid-19, d’fhéadfadh an fhadhb seo éirí níos forleithne. I mí Feabhra, sheol mo Roinn an feachtas Ag Tacú le Leanaí a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige eolas a thabhairt faoi na tacaíochtaí atá ar fáil do leanaí agus do theaghlaigh le linn na paindéime. Mhéadaíomar an maoiniú atá ar fáil do sheirbhísí óige in 2021 freisin, mar aitheantas ar an tionchar dearfach is féidir a bheith ag obair óige ar shaol daoine óga. “A bhuíochas le foireann taighde HBSC in OÉ Gaillimh agus le haiseolas ó dhaoine óga, tá píosa taighde luachmhar againn anois a chuirfidh treoir ar fáil chun tionscnaimh maidir le saol folláin a chaitheamh a fhorbairt amach anseo atá dírithe ar shaol leanaí agus daoine óga in Éirinn a fheabhsú.” Ag trácht dó ar na torthaí, dúirt an Comh-Phríomhthaighdeoir, an Dr Colette Kelly ón Ionad Taighde don Chothú Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is toradh é an tuarascáil seo ar bhlianta fada oibre, agus tá roinnt dea-scéalta le sonrú faoi iompraíochtaí sláinte leanaí Éireannacha, mar shampla tá laghdú leanúnach tagtha ar úsáid substaintí. Tá treocht dhearfach leanúnach ann maidir le leanaí ag caint lena gcuid tuismitheoirí agus tuairiscí ar áiteanna maithe sa cheantar áitiúil chun am saor a chaitheamh. Cuireann an tuarascáil béim freisin ar réimsí ar gá feabhas a chur orthu, go háirithe tá níos mó daoine óga ag rá go mbraitheann siad go bhfuil brú orthu mar gheall ar obair scoile agus tá méadú ar líon na leanaí a deir go bhfuil siad in ísle brí.  Soláthraíonn an tuarascáil briseadh síos ar phatrúin aoise, inscne agus aicme sóisialta a chuireann eolas níos doimhne ar fáil maidir le gach ceann de na táscairí.” Chun an tuarascáil iomlán a léamh, tabhair cuairt ar:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/healthpromotionresearchcentre/hbscdocs/nationalreports/HBSC-Trends-Report-2021.pdf Críoch

Monday, 8 March 2021

NUI Galway spin-out Aquila Bioscience develops groundbreaking solution ProShield technology maximizes protection for reusable masks and helps to reduce waste and plastic pollution from disposables A medical technology spin-out company at NUI Galway has developed a groundbreaking new barrier spray making re-usable masks up to 99% effective at blocking airborne pathogens and particles. ProShield has been developed by scientists and researchers at Aquila Bioscience to create a safe, nanofibre protective coating on material, an added defence against airborne pathogens. Inspired by the development of its first product, the ABD Device, a novel decontamination wipe, Aquila Bioscience successfully applied its signature Pathogen Capturing Technology (PCT) to ProShield, an environmentally conscious, alcohol free, safe spray. PCT is inspired by nature and is based on glycoscience, the study of protein and carbohydrates. It contains microscopic Velcro-like structures specifically designed to bind and neutralise harmful pathogens. David Murphy, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, NUI Galway, said: “Timing is everything. Aquila Bioscience had developed the technology and now, in less than 12 months, they have developed a range of exciting products to address the global need for protection against Covid-19 and other pathogens. This remarkable journey is testimony to the expertise and dedication of the company, and the entrepreneurial environment at NUI Galway.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, founder of Aquila Bioscience, said the innovation was also driven by the need to increase protection of reusable masks, to reduce dependence on disposable masks and ultimately to protect the environment by reducing plastic waste.   “With growing awareness of waste created by single use PPE and the toll it is taking on the environment, it is imperative that we develop innovative, environmentally conscious products that are safe to use and effectively protect users,” Professor Joshi said. “Due to an exponential rise in the number of disposable masks used daily, there has been a huge surge in ocean pollution worldwide. Discarded plastic masks end up everywhere - roadsides, fields, lakes, rivers and all the way to the oceans, getting tangled up in wildlife along the way. They can take hundreds of years to slowly degrade into microplastics which are then ingested by marine life. “People should be advised to wear reusable face masks and now we have a technology, inspired by nature, to improve protection from fabric/cotton masks by blocking up to 99% of airborne pathogens.” The ProShield scientifically developed technology was tested for its efficacy using a variety of fabric materials and its ability to capture and block airborne pathogens. The results showed that ProShield dramatically improves the efficacy of the fabric material to block pathogens by between 94% and 99.5%.  ProShield is the second pilot product developed and released by Aquila Bioscience and is alcohol free, eco-friendly and safe for all to use. Ends

Friday, 5 March 2021

AONTAS Star Award recognises University collaboration with Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network  A Community Education programme at NUI Galway has won a national AONTAS STAR award after supporting adult learning for more than 20 years.  Power in Participation, a collaborative project involving the University and Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network has been recognised for its work with Travellers.  The project saw 24 members of the Traveller community graduate with a Diploma in Community Development Practice. Lecturers Dr Deirdre Hardiman and Dr Helen Casey have worked in Community Education in NUI Galway for more than two decades, advocating for the continued provision of educational and learning opportunities, both on campus and on an outreach basis, in order to widen participation in higher education. Dr Hardiman said: “The project was designed and implemented with students at its centre and this community education approach is essential to ensure social inclusion and empowerment.” Dr Casey said: “This model of Community Education can be rolled out nationwide and there have been discussions with a Traveller group in the Midlands about a similar project. It is about putting people at the heart of change. “The knowledge and lived experience of the diverse student group also added to the learning of the diploma course and showcased the skill within to take up community work in the future.” Power in Participation was honured at a special online event for the AONTAS STAR Awards. They won in the Third Level Access and Engagement category, sponsored by Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).  A key focus of the project is promoting access to educational opportunities and widening participation in higher education for under-represented groups. Martin Ward, of the Galway Traveller Movement, said: “Everyone involved in the project committed to ensuring that no-one was left behind for a second time on their educational journey. This meant supports were tailored to an individual’s needs and mostly delivered through a buddy-buddy system. It is a huge boost to see our project recognised by Aontas.” Pat Tobin, of Community Action Network, said: “Leadership is essential for social change and this tailor made course was one of the best examples of collaboration in action.” The project examined the impact of the outreach NUI Diploma in Community Development Practice on the personal and professional lives of programme graduates.  Nora Mongan, programme graduate, said: “There is a need for more of these projects that deliver results for communities who were left behind in education. It’s not good enough just to say we are inclusive and sit back. There needs to be a lot of outreach work done to ensure engagement happens especially for those who had a bad experience in the education sector in the past.” Colie Sweeney, also a programme graduate, said: “As students we are extremely proud to have won the Aontas Star award for this project as we had meaningful input into the design and delivery.” Ends

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile, the University’s Governing Authority. Dr Geoghegan-Quinn, a former government minister and European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, was unanimously selected at the first formal meeting of the new Údarás on Thursday 25th February 2021. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “It is a privilege for NUI Galway to have someone of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s calibre as chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile. She has all the attributes for excellence as chairperson of Údarás and I am delighted that she has agreed to accept this role for our university, our students and our staff. “Dr Geoghegan-Quinn’s wealth of experience and knowledge nationally and internationally, in public policy and reform, in research and in diversity, will be a huge asset as we set out to implement our strategic plan Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, which she helped develop, and as we ensure good governance of our University and strive to deepen existing connections and build new relationships.” Dr Geoghegan-Quinn’s term as chairperson runs for four years from March 1st 2021 until 2025. She said: "The honour in this appointment is obvious. So is the scale of the task. The pandemic has accelerated the urgency to create a new kind of University that accommodates distance while creating a community of scholarship, creativity and ambition, that combines respect with openness to new and different thinking, that sees diversity as a strength and as a never-ending project." Ends   An Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn ceaptha mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile, OÉ Gaillimh D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn ceaptha mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile. Roghnaíodh an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn, iar-aire rialtais agus Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, d’aon toil ag an gcéad chruinniú foirmiúil den Údarás nua Déardaoin, an 25 Feabhra 2021. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is pribhléid é d’OÉ Gaillimh duine de mhianach an Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn a bheith mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile.  “Is iontach an acmhainn dúinn taithí agus saineolas an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn maidir le, mar shampla, leasú polasaí phoiblí, le tacú le taighde agus le cur chuige na hilchineáltachta agus muid ag iarraidh ár bplean straitéiseach Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, ar chabhraigh sí lena fhorbairt, a chur i bhfeidhm. Beimid in ann a chinntiú go mbeidh bainistíocht na hOllscoile á stiúradh agus déanaimid ár ndícheall na naisc atá ann cheana a dhoimhniú agus caidrimh nua a thógáil.” Mairfidh téarma an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn mar chathaoirleach ar feadh ceithre bliana ón 1 Márta 2021 go dtí 2025. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá aici: “Is léir gur onóir an ceapachán seo. Is léir freisin gur tasc ollmhór a bheidh ann. Chuir an phaindéim dlús leis an ngá atá le hOllscoil de chineál nua a chruthú a fhreastalaíonn ar achar agus san am céanna a chruthaíonn pobal léinn, cruthaitheachta agus uaillmhéine, a thugann meas agus oscailteacht le chéile do smaointeoireacht nua agus dhifriúil, a fheiceann éagsúlacht mar láidreacht agus mar thogra gan chríoch gan deireadh.” Críoch

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

University awarded AACSB Accreditation for excellence NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has secured global recognition for excellence with accreditation by AACSB International - the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The prestigious international award followed a rigorous assessment and quality review process over a number of years, which included developing and implementing a strategic plan to align with AACSB standards. NUI Galway now counts itself among 876 universities to have secured the stamp of approval, with the University in the same bracket as Harvard, Manchester, Aalto, Northwestern, Berkeley, Stanford, Warwick, Insead, Monash and UCD. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Achieving this accreditation is recognition of the global standard that J.E. Cairnes School of Business School & Economics has met in specific and recognisable measurements of business education excellence, including areas such teaching, research, curricula development, and student learning. This accreditation demonstrates how our faculty and professional staff have demonstrated our core university values in their activities, and how we ensure continuous innovation in delivering the highest quality of business education to students.” Professor Geraint Howells, Executive Dean for the College of Business Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “Over the past number of years, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has shown great innovation across its programmes, quality assurance processes, internationalisation, student recruitment, partnership development and industry engagement. I would like to applaud the entire Business team for their participation in securing this global accreditation.” Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, said: “AACSB accreditation is awarded to only the best universities. This incredible success enhances our reputation as one of the best business schools in the world, and we will continue to innovate and expand as part of our new strategic plan moving forward.” AACSB commended the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics for its growth and development over the past five years, delivering excellence in business education, research and impact. Significant achievements include more than 100 international partnerships with universities. The expanding network offers students extensive international study and research opportunities, internationalisation and diversity at postgraduate level. The partnerships are also resulting in a globalised classroom and learning experience with more than 40 nationalities represented in the J.E. Cairnes School, as well as world-leading research which significantly impacts business and public policy. The standards sought by AACSB require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; student, faculty, and staff as active participants; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement. Confirming the accreditation Stephanie Bryant, AACSB Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer, said: "NUI Galway’s commitment to earning AACSB accreditation is a true reflection of their dedication – not only to their students, alumni network, and greater business community, but to the higher education industry as a whole.” AACSB accreditation is valid for 5 years, when a subsequent reaccreditation visit to NUI Galway will take place. Professor McCarthy added: “AACSB is a reflection of the transformational work that is taking place throughout our School. I would also like to acknowledge Dr Tom Acton, former Head of School, and our dedicated Accreditation Team comprising of Professor Willie Golden, Niamh Corcoran and Michelle Bradley, who led our School through this accreditation process over the past number of years.” Ends

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Jim Livesey as Vice-President for Research and Innovation. Professor Livesey joins from the University of Dundee, where he served as Dean of Humanities since 2014. Hailing from Cork City, Professor Livesey holds two degrees and a Masters in History from UCC, and a PhD in Modern History from Harvard University. Since then he has had a varied career, with posts at Harvard, Trinity, and Sussex as well as research and visiting appointments in France, the US, and China. He will bring his global experience, and his background in research leadership, to bear on the strategic development of NUI Galway. Professor Livesey is a global historian, whose research focus centres on the transformative effect of new kinds of knowledge for collective action. His work has examined the process of democratisation, the creation of the concept of civil society, and most recently, looked at science, technology and finance in provincial Europe. He refers to himself as an applied eighteenth-century historian, and his research has opened doors for partnership-based work in the Creative Economy, particularly as Co-Director of Dundee’s InGAME: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise. The £11.5 million creative research and development centre is based on the experience and expertise surrounding the Scottish city’s games cluster. Professor Livesey will now lead NUI Galway’s research and innovation mission, building on the university’s significant successes in recent years. He takes on the new role just as the EU’s Horizon Europe funding programme for research and innovation launches, where the university will look to build on its success in the Horizon 2020 programme. Professor Livesey commented: ”I am delighted to take on this responsibility at NUI Galway. I’ve admired the creativity and quality of the research here for many years. The values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence that animate the university are solid foundations on which to build research of global significance, with national and regional impact. I look forward to working with the research teams in the university as well as regional, national, and international partners as we identify where Galway can make the greatest contribution to research across the domains.” NUI Galway has over 2,500 staff and students engaged in research across multiple disciplines, and an international reputation for being research-driven. The university has significantly developed the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape, including business incubation and spin-out activity. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "We warmly welcome Professor Jim Livesey to NUI Galway and look forward to working with him in our collective contribution to our university community and for the public good as we embark on the next chapter of our research journey as a university. "Professor Livesey brings immense experience in research management, grant capture, and stakeholder engagement to his new post. He has extensive experience of international research collaboration and of researcher development. He will offer a strong voice representing the research community in the university’s senior management as well as among policy makers nationally and internationally. Given his track record of high quality research and publication, he will promote excellence in research and innovation, respect for the evidence, openness to developing and disseminating new ideas and sustaining our research culture and institutions, true to the university’s values.” Prior to joining the University of Dundee as Professor of History in 2013, Professor Livesey undertook academic roles in the University of Sussex, Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin in the fields of  Global History, French History, Atlantic History, Intellectual History, Creative Economies Research.  To hear more about Research and Innovation at NUI Galway visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has joined a multidisciplinary team of experts across Ireland and the UK to devise new ways of supporting families to have smoke-free homes. Physicist Dr Miriam Byrne will work with researchers in seven universities to inform the development of future interventions and support mechanisms to help reduce smoking in the home, given the health risks particularly to pregnant women, babies and children. Dr Byrne said: “Secondhand smoke has long been known as a danger to health, particularly for young children and pregnant mothers. Despite knowing the risks, and that it is a more serious issue in poorer areas, there is no recommended approach to tackling this issue and to encourage families to have a smoke-free home. “It may also be the case that restrictions introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19 have exacerbated the problem due to the amount of time families have been housebound, particularly in the colder and wetter months.” The Smoke-free Homes Innovation Network’s (SHINE), led by University of Stirling, Scotland and University College Dublin, brings together a multidisciplinary team – including tobacco and social science expertise – with the aim of broadening knowledge and understanding as to why smokers in the UK and Ireland continue to smoke in the home and what can be done to support them to create a smoke-free home. The network will explore smoke reduction strategies within homes, including initiatives to encourage smoking at the back door, with the window open, or with the cooker extraction fan on. Dr Byrne said: “The network and the high-level expertise of those involved will be crucial in helping to develop thinking on the issue and accelerate initiatives on policy, research and practice.” The SHINE network noted that previous research shows second-hand smoke exposure varies significantly with socio-economic circumstances. In Scotland, 15% of children living in poorer areas are exposed, compared to 1% of those living in wealthier areas. Researchers will take account of these wider challenges to understand the best interventions and support mechanisms for smokers, and any barriers to smoke-free homes, particularly for people living in less wealthy areas. They will address why, when and where people in Ireland and the UK continue to smoke within the home, what prevents them from creating a smoke-free home and what can be done to support them in making changes. The network is funded by the Irish Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK. Ends

Monday, 1 March 2021

Physicists outline why energy-efficiency home improvements could solve one issue while creating another Ireland’s residential retrofitting programme should ensure ventilation is carefully considered to avoid an increase in levels of radon gas in homes, researchers at NUI Galway have found. A team from the University’s School of Physics conducted one of the first studies of its kind to quantify the impact of improved energy-efficiency and airtightness on radon – a radioactive, odourless, colourless and tasteless gas. With the Government having set a target of 500,000 homes to be retrofitted by 2030, the physicists used advanced computer models to predict how radon levels would be affected by improvements within different types of dwellings.  Overall, it showed that if appropriate ventilation measures were not considered during the retrofitting process, there is a potential for radon levels to more than double. However, the study also showed that when appropriate ventilation measures were implemented during the retrofit process, radon levels could be reduced below the initial levels. The study was carried out by Dr James McGrath and led by Dr Miriam Byrne, both of NUI Galway, as part of research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has been published in the international journal, Building and Environment, a leading research journal in the field.   Dr McGrath, of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: "It is important that in our drive to make our buildings more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that we do not introduce additional risks of negative outcomes. "The research findings highlight that radon, and indoor air quality overall, needs to be given due consideration as a key element of any proposed retrofitting works." Ireland has a higher radon level than the global average. The gas is a known carcinogen. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Ireland and is linked to approximately 300 lung cancer cases every year.  The NUI Galway study examined a combination of different houses - bungalow, semi-detached and terraced dwellings; outdoor locations - suburban, rural and coastal regions; dwelling ages; and various ventilation measures.  It also examined how airflow is altered through retrofitting and energy efficiency improvements like increased wall and attic insulation, new windows and doors and draught prevention. Dr McGrath added: "The results have important policy implications, highlighting that radon needs to be given appropriate consideration during the retrofit process. It is essential that people realise radon is only a problem if ignored. Radon remediation methods are often straightforward and inexpensive with the potential to significantly reduce levels of what is a potentially dangerous gas."  The NUI Galway research team also noted that the only way to ensure that a home does not exceed the reference level after energy improvements is to carry out a radon test.  Ends 

Monday, 1 March 2021

NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and GRCC launch “Start Here”campaign that will provide tools on how college staff and students can support someone who discloses sexual violence or harassment to them NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, the Union of Students in Ireland and Galway Rape Crisis Centre have launched an eight-week “Start Here” social media campaign. This national campaign empowers college students and staff with basic information to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment. It was launched online today (1 March 2021) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD. The new “Start Here” campaign tools include a downloadable card of tips on disclosure, a series of short videos that work through the tips, and open access to Active* Consent’s 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment based on further data gathered from the Sexual Experiences Survey carried out in 2020 by the Active* Consent team and Union of Students in Ireland. Active* Consent and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have partnered with Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) to turn these findings into a set of tools that could be disseminated and amplified online to give college students and staff access to key information. Over the next eight weeks, “Start Here” will offer: Basic do’s and dont’s of receiving a disclosure Key information on support services and how to access them nationally Current research statistics on college students’ experiences of sexual violence and harassment Open access to Active* Consent’s self-guided 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment The opportunity to access online student-tailored disclosure training by Galway Rape Crisis Centre Ongoing interactive content diving deeper into all of this information in detail through quizzes, stories and other forms of direct engagement Minister Harris stated: “I would like to pay tribute to NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre for developing the “Start Here” campaign. My Department is determined to tackle sexual harassment and sexual violence in our Higher Education Institutions and this eight-week social media campaign will help empower students and staff with information and advice on how to respond practically and compassionately to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment” Charlotte McIvor, co-lead of Active* Consent and lead on this campaign with Alexandra Black at NUI Galway, said: “Key to Active* Consent’s mission is doing the research and then creating tools and experiences that build knowledge and engagement for students and staff regarding consent, sexual violence and harassment. “Start Here” meets this aim by taking an intimidating topic for many and translating it into sound bites and concrete steps that college staff and students can make use of in the real world.” As part of this launch, Active* Consent also announced the full details of their staff training programme which is now accessible, including a 15-minute animation to introduce all college staff to basic information about consent, sexual violence and harassment and a First Point of Contact training programme created in partnership with Galway Rape Crisis Centre. Union of Students in Ireland President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “USI is delighted to partner with the Active* Consent team on this national campaign aiming to advise students on how to best support their friends or classmates during and after a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment. The results from the Sexual Experiences Survey emphasised the crucial role friends and other peers play when it comes to supporting survivors of sexual violence and assault. The main objective of this campaign is to provide students with practical knowledge and understanding of how to support someone who discloses to them. This campaign has the potential to make a significant impact on creating a supporting environment for survivors of sexual violence, assault and harassment.” Cathy Connolly, Executive Director, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, said: “Galway Rape Crisis Centre has been supporting survivors of sexual violence for almost 40 years. One of the key things we have learned is that the response a survivor receives when disclosing their experiences can have an impactful and long lasting effect. GRCC are delighted to be partnering with the Active*Consent team and the Union of Students in Ireland on this national campaign. The campaign aims to give students and young people access to information on how to best support their friends and themselves when a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment happens, and offers the opportunity to build further skills in this area. Part of GRCC’s mission is to work towards ending cultural and societal tolerance of sexual violence and this campaign is a positive step in this direction.” Active* Consent is funded by Lifes2Good Foundation, Rethink Ireland, NUI Galway, Higher Education Authority and Department of Education and Skills. To track the campaign on social media, follow Active* Consent on: Facebook: Active Consent at NUI Galway; Instagram: @activeconsent; Twitter: @activeconsent and use the hashtags: #StartHere #IBelieveSurvivors. To view the "Start Here" elearning module see: https://activeconsent.usi.ie/training/#/ and to access the campaign website visit: www.nuigalway.ie/activeconsent/start-here/ For more information about the “Start Here” Campaign or how to work directly with Active* Consent, email activeconsent@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 1 March 2021

NUI Galway hosts series of online events and special documentary launch ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ charts ambitions and experiences of students   Traveller students at NUI Galway have taken to the screen to share their experience of studying at university and to encourage others in the community to aim high in education. The short documentary ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ has been produced as part of the efforts by the University's Access Office to support Travellers as role models and their participation in education. The film was released as part of today's events to mark Traveller Ethnicity Day, which was launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, T.D., and attended by President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.  The documentary features compelling interviews with students as they reflect on their experiences and pursuing goals. Anna Keane was an early school leaver who always felt education was for other people. “It was very daunting, being honest. It was kind of that imposter syndrome. Do I belong here? Am I able to do this? “I don’t feel I am a role model but if I am that’s a nice thing to feel. I just hope our stories inspire anybody out there watching.” Jason Sherlock, from Galway, is a final year BA Arts and Economics at NUI Galway. “I was kind of hiding my identity through secondary school. I felt it was the only way for me to get through it. I wasn’t sure would people be comfortable with me if I said who I was, my identity,” Mr Sherlock said. Emma Ward is 18, from Athenry, and the first in her family to go on to third level education. “I just want to do something with my life, even though I’m in a wheelchair. I don’t want to let it define me. I’ve never let it define me,” she said.  Ann Marie Ward works with Glionndar Community Group in Athenry and studied a Bachelor of Community, Youth and Family Studies. “We got other education that you could not buy at university. Our parents instilled in us the ability to see other people for being themselves and to not be judgmental.” The documentary was filmed and edited by Dawid Piotr Szlaga of Wild Island Pictures and part-funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in support of Traveller Pride Week. Within the EU, Ireland has one of the highest participation rates for third-level education. However, a Government report from 2019 cited recent studies that found there are only 61 Travellers in higher education. Approximately 1% of Travellers have a third-level education. Owen Ward, programme coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre, last year became the first Traveller to sit on a university governing authority in Ireland. “Traveller students in third level are pioneers. We don’t have to give up our cultural identity for academic achievement. It is an asset. Younger students need to see the value in that and use it,” Mr Ward said. "Understanding and providing for the particular needs of Travellers as they seek to access and progress in higher education is critical to ensuring that the Traveller community can fulfil their potential through education especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. “At NUI Galway we work hard to make this a reality. However, I believe that within a national context, a whole education approach is important for enabling participation by Travellers in higher education. That is why we need a National Traveller Education Plan.” Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a proven track record of widening participation of Travellers in higher education. In 2018, there were 61 Travellers in higher education with approximately 20 of them studying at NUI Galway. In the same year, the Mincéirs Whiden society, the first Traveller student society was established and NUI Galway is the only university to include Travellers for the University of Sanctuary scholarships.” The documentary can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr98Es1pGUtMJxyT3RrWWug Ends

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has joined forces with a new European network to accelerate clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines. The EU VACCELERATE project connects all stakeholders involved in vaccine development on the continent in order to speed up the next two phases of vaccine trials for Covid-19. Some 21 countries are involved as part of pandemic preparedness on a pan-European scale, creating the backbone of a new structure to coordinate the fast and effective testing of vaccine candidates. NUI Galway lead, Professor Declan Devane, Deputy Dean of the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “We are delighted to play our role in enhancing Ireland’s capacity to conduct vaccine clinical trials for coronavirus and beyond. “Our role in VACCELERATE focuses on two particular areas - a living mapping and living systematic review of global Covid-19 vaccine trials of which there are currently 164, including 104 which are recruiting participants, and secondly an exploration of the barriers and facilitators to vaccination uptake in adults internationally.” The VACCELERATE project is led by the University Hospital Cologne, Germany and involves 26 partners from 16 EU-member states and 5 EU-associated countries, with other countries encouraged to join. NUI Galway and UCD are the Irish partners in the network, with funding provided under EU Horizon 2020. VACCELERATE will coordinate phase 2 & 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in all EU-member states and EU-associated countries under one strategic-scientific umbrella. The network will link capable clinical trial sites, expert knowledge and promote transparent exchange of expertise in the vaccine development field. An important step in building this network is identifying clinical trial sites, 200 of which have already been identified, and laboratories with the capacity to perform vaccine clinical trials. VACCELERATE will also facilitate access to vaccine trial volunteers by setting up volunteer registries at https://www.vaccelerate.eu/volunteer-registry/index.html The project will promote harmonised acquisition, open exchange and consolidation of data for enhanced analysis across trials. This cooperation will generate solutions for characteristic problems in vaccine development that emerge in a pandemic and find answers to identified pressing public health questions. The European Commission is aiming to use VACCELERATE for the long-term increase of vaccine development capacities. Ends


Featured Stories