Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Findings highlight over 13% increase in reported workplace bullying INMO to launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members  The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), in partnership with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland (NCI), has published findings of a large-scale survey of nurses and midwives in Ireland on the current levels of workplace bullying being experienced by its members. The survey, which provides an updated analysis of one conducted by the University of Limerick (UL) of nurses, in conjunction with the INMO, in 2010, highlights that over the past four years there has been an increase of over 13% in perceived incidences of bullying. The study was headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Some of the key findings are as follows: Over the past 4 years there has been a 13.4% increase in perceived incidences of bullying (the ‘likelihood’ of bullying); Almost 6% of respondents (nurses and midwives in Ireland) reported that they are bullied on an almost daily basis; The percentage of non-union members who experience almost daily bullying is almost double that of union members; and, Government cutbacks are a probable explanation for the significant rise in reported bullying between 2010 and 2014. According to Ms Sheehan: “The finding that almost 6% of respondents perceive to be bullied on an almost daily basis is very disturbing.  The personal consequences in terms of health, well-being and family relationships of people who experience workplace bullying are extremely serious.” Ms Sheehan went on: “Almost all organisations (93.5%) have a formal anti-bullying policy in place.  Clearly there is a significant gap between the presence and implementation of such policies.  There needs to be a fundamental culture change in hospitals and care facilities – a zero tolerance policy for any bullying must be implemented.  This must apply to all employees, no matter how senior, specialised and experienced.” Workplace bullying was found to have negative consequences both personally and professionally for example: Having more time off work through sickness; Thinking or talking about leaving the job; Decreased job satisfaction; Increased levels of stress leading to reduced performance at work; and, Actively searching for work elsewhere. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, INMO Director of Industrial Relations said: “Unfortunately this result is not a surprise as it confirms some of the information our members have been reporting to us. They believe the problem has been accelerated due to the effects the cutbacks in health care have had in the workplace, particularly as the activity levels have increased, hospitals are constantly overcrowded and staffing levels have reduced.  Employers need to be proactive now and become aware of trends and intervene early to ensure policies are fit for purpose and managers are trained to intervene early and appropriately.” The INMO will now seek an early engagement with employers on these issues and we will also launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members being bullied with key points as follows:                                                                                                S – Stay calm and walk away A – Act to document incidence F – Follow bullying procedures E – Engage support.   An Executive Summary of the survey on bullying in the workplace can be found on   after the press conference.    -Ends-  


NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Spring Open Day

NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Spring Open Day-image

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

NUI Galway’s annual Spring Open Day will be held on Saturday, 25 April from 10am to 3pm. The University will welcome thousands of CAO applicants, fourth and fifth year students, parents/guardians, mature students teachers and Guidance Counsellors to campus. The Open Day is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to learn more about the over 60 degree courses on offer at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and view the campus facilities. NUI Galway, one of Ireland’s top universities for graduate employability, increased its CAO first preference again this year, highlighting its popularity with Leaving Certificate students. With emphasises on careers and employability, the degree courses on offer are designed to develop students academically and professionally. NUI Galway’s partnerships and links with industry has played a huge part in preparing graduates for the workforce. Throughout the Spring Open Day lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands to answer questions on degree courses of interest, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. Degree course taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops a particular highlight. A wide range of short subject talks and career and sports talks, together with interactive Engineering and IT Zones will also form part of the packed programme for the day.  Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, the Engineering Building and tours of student accommodation. Popular highlights for parents will a ‘A Parent's Guide to University’ which will provide parents with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for their sons and daughters. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Attending the Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to get a taste of university life and to gain access to all of the information they need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” Talk highlights include: Scholarship schemes for 2015 including the NUI Galway Performance Points Scheme in Sports and Creative Arts. Career talks - “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Taster sessions designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway and will include: Physics – ‘A brilliant career from lasers to the Universe’, an interactive session with photonics, Android GoPhoton! Apps and more. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – an introduction to Medicine and the Healthcare Programmes. Arts – the new BA Joint Honours, BA Connect Programme in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies. NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. Currently ranked third of the Irish universities in international rankings, NUI Galway is only one of two Irish universities to be awarded the prestigious top rating of five stars in the latest QS Stars rating system. Five stars are awarded for exceptional developments in education, including teaching and research activity, as well as for top quality facilities. The University is also one of the top two universities in Ireland for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of new undergraduate students annually with the presentations of Excellence Scholarships valued at €2,000 to students who achieve exceptional Leaving Certificate results, while generous Sports Scholarships are awarded to high performing athletes. To get the most out of the Open Day visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at and plan your day or call 091 494 145 or email for more information. -Ends-

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Public Talk on Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950

Public Talk on Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950-image

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Piggins, Noggins & Hens Indoors The public are invited to attend a special lecture about how life was lived in cottages and farmhouses in Ireland from 1700–1950. The richly illustrated lecture will be given by Claudia Kinmonth, Ireland’s leading historian of indigenous furniture. The event takes place at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 22 April, in the Moore Institute Seminar Room (G010), Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. Dr Kinmonth will describe the main features of Irish farmhouse furniture, such as dressers, multi-purpose settles and beds. She will also explore her new research on small furnishings, before the advent of electricity and running water. These include vessels for carrying water or milk ‘piggins’, how they were made and how women carried them on their heads. The lecture will also describe how people tended young animals indoors, in the so called ‘byre dwelling’, and the adaptations this required. Dr Kinmonth will shed new light on drinking vessels (noggins), the dash churn for making butter as well as hen coops and ways of cooking over the open fire. Currently, Dr Kinmonth is a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at NUI Galway where she has been using special collections in the James Hardiman Library to expand her account of Irish furniture. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, spoke of the appeal of the upcoming event: “The talk will offer a unique insight into domestic life in Ireland from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. There are also going to be examples of small furnishings on display, which will be of particular interest to the audience.” The story of Irish furniture from 1700 to 1950 conveys a vivid sense of how life was lived at home in the cottages and farmhouses of rural Ireland. Ingenious and unique furniture designs were developed in the country and used by a majority of the population in this period. Dr Claudia Kinmonth is the author of Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950, published by Yale University Press in 1991, the standard work on the subject. Her book won two major literary awards. She is currently revising the book for a second edition and doing new research to expand it. The talk at 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 April in the Moore Institute Seminar Room is free and open to all members of the public. For further information contact 091 493902. -ends-

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Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced

Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Organ donations and embryonic stem cells will be themes in final debates The eighth All-Ireland Finals of Debating Science Issues (DSI) will take place on Wednesday, 29 April at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The competition originated at NUI Galway as a regional event. Through a process of single elimination, the field of 32 secondary schools narrowed to just four representing all four provinces in Ireland. Ballinrobe Community School will be one of four provincial schools competing at the Finals event. This is the first time that a school from County Mayo will represent the west of Ireland. Other schools competing in the Finals include: Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork; Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast; and St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth. This All-Ireland science debating competition encourages young people to engage in dialogue on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. On the day, there will be two semi-final rounds of debate focussing on the moral obligation to research with embryonic stem cells to develop new medical treatments. The winners of the two semi-final rounds will go on to debate the allocation of organs donated for transplantation. “Ballinrobe students have worked very hard in this competition, and to reach the finals, is a major achievement for them. Not only has it had visible effect on their confidence, but it has also elevated the level of interest in scientific issues across the school community,” said Eoin Murphy, science teacher with Ballinrobe Community School and NUI Galway graduate. Preceding the competition, all participating schools avail of a three hour workshop addressing an area of biomedical research and the surrounding societal and ethical issues. A workshop to highlight the implications and the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases was facilitated at the Ballinrobe Community School last year by REDDSTAR’s Dissemination Officer Danielle Nicholson, Coordinator of the Debating Science Issues project. The nine DSI partners in 2015: REDDSTAR coordinated at NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Amber at Trinity College; W5 in Belfast; INSIGHT at UCD; Cork Institute of Technology; and the University of Ulster, Coleraine. The DSI 2015 Finals have been supported by Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme project award. More information on the competition can be found at -Ends-

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O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway

O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

One of the most famous GAA clubs in Ireland, O'Donovan Rossa GAC Belfast, is teaming up with one of Ireland’s leading universities NUI Galway. NUI Galway is to become a club sponsor for the nextyear in a partnership that will promote both sport and education. Tipperary hurling manager and Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, Eamon O’Shea was in Belfast today for the announcement, along with the University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh. O'Donovan Rossa was represented by members of the clubs under-16 hurling and football teams who tried on their new kit. Speaking at today’s announcement, Professor O’Shea said: “It’s a real privilege to meet these talented young players. Investing in and fostering young sporting talent is very important. Not only does it improve outcomes on the pitch, but dedication to sport is later reflected in a commitment to education and developing a career. Sport can teach people so much, particularly in regard to focus, determination, resilience, team work and communication.” Sport is central to academic life at NUI Galway where students can avail of excellent facilities and over 50 sports clubs offer a chance to balance study with the best of sporting activities. Last month, O’Donovan Rossa tasted All-Ireland success when it won the Intermediate hurling club All-Ireland in Croke Park. The underage section of the club has been exceptionally strong especially over the past 10 years, with the minor teams winning the Antrim A finals in both footballer and hurling in 2014. Paddy Trainor Chairman of Rossa juvenile committee believes“Developing a strong link with a world-renowned institution like NUI Galway will ensure our underage teams will keep developing .We know that many of our young players will be going to university in the near future so it is great for them to have this positive connection with  third-level education.” The announcement comes at a time when universities in the Republic are becoming more accessible to students from the North. According to NUI Galway’s University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “The recent introduction of new A Level equivalences in the Irish system mean almost all courses are now within the reach of students with three A-Levels. Universities in the south, especially our own which is in the top 2% globally, have great reputations for excellent teaching and career prospects. Combined with low fees, the relatively affordable cost of living and its sheer proximity, NUI Galway is becoming an option really worth considering.” The O'Donovan Rossa under-16 team will tog out competitively in their new kit for the first time on Thursday to take on Glenariff in the Antrim under 16 hurling league. -ends-  

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NUI Galway signs Co-operation Agreement with Addis Ababa Science and Technology University

NUI Galway signs Co-operation Agreement with Addis Ababa Science and Technology University-image

Monday, 20 April 2015

NUI Galway has today signed a co-operation agreement with Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (AASTU), in which the Irish university will support its Ethiopian counterpart in establishing itself as an international hub of science, innovation, and education in East Africa. AASTU was founded by the Ethiopian government in 2011 with a mission to become a leading force in higher education in Ethiopia, a country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is part of Ethiopia's five-year Growth and Transformation Plan, aimed at developing Ethiopia from its reliance on subsistence agriculture to a capacity for market-led production and innovation. While Ethiopia is regarded among African countries as one of the favourites to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for primary education, it has yet to catch up with the African average in terms of tertiary education expansion and student participation. In 2013, through its Embassy in Dublin, the Ethiopian government approached NUI Galway to invite it to serve as a development partner to the new university. NUI Galway will assist AASTU in developing its institutional practices and programmes, and will share its expertise in areas such as academic administration, quality assurance, programme development, community outreach, industry engagement, and librarianship. There is also provision for staff and student exchanges. NUI Galway's Dean of International Affairs, Professor Brian Hughes said: “We are very proud to sign this agreement with AASTU. NUI Galway has a long history, and we have benefited greatly from the assistance of our colleagues around the world. We are privileged now to provide assistance to AASTU as it establishes itself as a new university. “Our engagement with AASTU will be very much a two-way partnership. Ethiopia is experiencing rapid social, cultural, and economic change and is embarking on an ambitious national development programme. We feel we have much to learn from working with our colleagues in Addis Ababa as they enter this new and exciting phase of Ethiopian history.” An NUI Galway delegation led by Professor Hughes is currently in Addis Ababa. The delegation includes Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs, Mary Ryan, Director of Academic Administration, and Dr Bryan McCabe, Head of Civil Engineering. In addition to engaging with colleagues at AASTU, the delegation will meet with the Ethiopian Government Ministries of Science and Education, and with the Irish Embassy. Today's signing ceremony was witnessed by the Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Aidan O'Hara. -Ends-   

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NUI Galway Unveils Ireland’s Most Energy-Efficient Car

NUI Galway Unveils Ireland’s Most Energy-Efficient Car-image

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Efficient enough to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 of electricity A super fuel-efficient car which is 20 times more economical than typical road cars was launched at NUI Galway today. It has been designed and road-tested by NUI Galway engineering students. Today (21 April) Connacht Rugby star Eoin McKeon officially unveiled the Geec and it was driven in public for the first time. The Geec (the Galway energy-efficient car) will represent Ireland next month at Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam on 21-24 May. This is the first time there will be an Irish entry in the long-standing competition, and the Geec team will compete with 200 other teams consisting of 3,000 students. The contest is open to future engineers and scientists aged 16-25, from over 25 countries. Success is measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity or 1 litre of fuel, thanks to their creative designs and technical know-how. The Geec will race in the prototype electric category. The three-wheeled car combines battery-electric drive with a streamlined composite body, a low driving position and low-resistance tyres. Designed from scratch to be as lean as possible, it is efficient enough to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 worth of electricity, or the equivalent of 1,700 miles per gallon. The team consists of students across the Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic and Energy Systems Engineering disciplines, with the full backing of the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics. The team has finished testing and tuning the car and will shortly ship it to Rotterdam for the competition. The car will have two drivers in the competition, Niamh Keogh from Oughterard, Co. Galway and Maryrose McLoone from Glenties, Co. Donegal. According to Maryrose, who is a fourth year mechanical engineering student: “The car looks great and is easy to drive. This has been a real hand-on learning experience for us all to get the car finished, and it’s a great success for all involved. now, the excitement is really building for Rotterdam.” Speaking at the launch Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to see students from our College of Engineering and Informatics participating in this competition that challenges students across the world to design build and race ultra-efficient vehicles. Never before has an Irish team competed in this event, but this has changed in 2015 with NUI Galway's contribution to the world of eco-friendly transport. This is a great team of students! I commend them for their work in the design, construction and racing of Ireland's most fuel efficient car and I really wish them well. This shows what our emerging engineers can accomplish, with the right support from the University and in partnership with local industry.” Ronan Deasy, Managing Director at Shell Ireland also attended the launch and said: “Shell Ireland is delighted to support NUI Galway’s Energy Efficient Car (GEEC). The Eco-marathon, which is 30 years old this year, is one of the most challenging engineering student competitions in the world. The GEEC team will compete with over 3,000 students from across Europe and I would like to wish them all the very best as they make their final preparations and look forward to hearing about their success in Rotterdam.” The Geec team is generously supported by Shell E&P Ireland, Wood Group Kenny, Belcross Enterprises, Central Bearing Supplies, Smurfit Kappa, Sinbad Marine, Maxon Motor, QuickTec Computers, and Enform Plastics. For more information on NUI Galway’s ultra-efficient car visit the team’s Facebook page at or -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students say No to N6 Bypass Routes

NUI Galway Students say No to N6 Bypass Routes-image

Thursday, 23 April 2015

President of NUI Galway Student’s Union has presented Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, the results of an online petition with over 3,500 signatures in support of the University’s opposition to proposed routes for the N6 Bypass. The students are in one voice with the University as facilities such as the Student Sports Centre (pictured) or the Dangan Sports Grounds will be destroyed. The ongoing online petition initiated by NUI Galway students, targeting current students, staff and NUI Galway’s Alumni, has reached over 100,000 people online since the campaign started 2 weeks ago. SU President, Declan Higgins said: “There can be little doubt that a number of the proposed routes would have a massively detrimental effect on our student body if they were to proceed. We are ever conscious of the need for our members to have full access to sports facilities and amenities during their time in university, and some of these proposed routes could have a massively negative impact on this. More creative thinking ought to occur within the NRA and the City and County Councils.” NUI Galway last month submitted its opposition to proposals in the N6 Galway City Transport Project. The University, which is central to the life of the city and surrounding region, is one of the major employers in the city; it hosts a population of over 20,000 students and staff and has invested €400m over the last decade in capital development. The University believes that what currently makes the NUI Galway campus an attractive location – for Irish and international students and staff – would be irretrievably damaged should proposed routes be accepted. The physical growth of the University has been carefully planned over many decades. A programme of land acquisition in Dangan has allowed the University to increase the area for new buildings while simultaneously acquiring space for sports facilities. The unified campus is now an educational base for over 17,000 students. The University continues to climb in world rankings, reflecting significant improvements in research activity and overall performance. Its progress would be severely disrupted by the current proposals. President Browne thanked the students for their support and paid tribute in particular to the Students’ Union leadership for taking such a serious interest in the plans affecting the campus for current students and for future generations of students, who it is hoped will enjoy the same benefits and facilities currently available to those attending the University. “NUI Galway is proud of its unified campus which has emerged as a result of decades of planning and forethought. The University sees particular benefit in an integrated campus which comprises of a mix of teaching and research buildings, allowing for interdisciplinary academic activity; it has invested in an array of sports facilities, readily available to students and staff – offering a healthy work-life balance; and the University believes that its grounds provide a major recreational facility for the campus, the city and for the wider community. The University will therefore continue to strongly object to current proposals and call for alternative options for the future of Galway transport planning.  I thank the students for taking the time out of their busy exam schedules to support their University in this way.  I also thank the many thousands of alumni who have endorsed NUI Galway’s opposition to the proposed developments.”   ENDS

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Major Conference will explore the legacy of the Gate Theatre in Ireland and beyond  Friday, 24 April, 2015: NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, together with the Irish Theatrical Diaspora Project (ITD) and the Gate Theatre, Dublin, will be presenting the first academic conference dedicated solely to the Gate Theatre. The conference features public talks, academic panels, and rehearsed readings of plays by Samuel Beckett and Bernard Shaw. Those taking part in the panels and talks include world experts on Irish theatre, the Gate and its history (such as Christopher Fitz-Simon, Nicholas Grene, Emilie Pine, Richard Pine, Paige Reynolds, Anthony Roche, and Elaine Sisson), as well as theatre practitioners associated with the Gate including Gate artistic director Michael Colgan and designer Joe Vanek. The two rehearsed readings, which are being presented with support from the Irish Research Council, feature well-known actors associated with the Gate. The reading of Beckett’s The Old Tune (a free translation of Robert Pinget’s French play La Manivelle) stars Barry McGovern, the great Beckett actor, and Bryan Murray, familiar from his star turns in Fair City, Strumpet City, Brookside, and The Irish R.M.; McGovern and Murray play two old Dublin codgers, exiled in England. The reading of Shaw’s World War I play O’Flaherty, V.C. stars Michael James Ford, known for his work on the Gate and Abbey stages and from productions that have toured across Ireland and the world. Ford is joined by three actors who have appeared in critically-lauded Dublin productions in recent years: Elliot Moriarty, Karina Power, and Hanna Tatschl. Speaking about the conference, NUI Galway Professor of Drama Patrick Lonergan stated that the event will provide a long overdue assessment of the Gate. “The Gate Theatre is one of Ireland’s great theatres. It has given the world many great actors, launching the careers of Orson Welles, James Mason and Michael Gambon, among many others. It has transformed our understanding of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, two of the great dramatists of the twentieth century. And it has premiered major Irish plays, notably Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! Our conference will give new attention to the actors, writers, designers and managers who have made the Gate what it is – from the era of Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir to Michael Colgan today.” This joint event with the Gate marks one of many links between NUI Galway and Irish theatre companies. In 2012, it launched a project to digitize the entire archive of the Abbey Theatre (a task that will be completed in 2016), and last year established the Druid Academy with Druid Theatre. It also has links with Galway International Arts Festival and many other companies. Its BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance is one of the university’s most popular programmes, and it recently launched new full-time and part-time MA programmes in Irish theatre, theatre practice, and playwriting. In advance of the conference, Michael Colgan, Artistic Director at The Gate said: “The Gate Theatre has always enjoyed a strong relationship with NUI Galway and welcomes the opportunity to further collaborate with the University on this year’s 12th Annual Irish Diaspora Conference.  We are honoured that the theme of the conference will be the history of the Gate Theatre and continue to be grateful to NUI Galway for their interest in the Gate and their continuous dedication to Irish theatre.” The conference takes place on 30 April and 1 May at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Attendance is free, but registration in advance is required. For more details regarding this free conference – including how to register – please visit: ENDS


Minister English announces over €30 million SFI investment in scientific research

Minister English announces over €30 million SFI investment in scientific research-image

Monday, 27 April 2015

Government funding will support 100 research positions working on 23 research projects involving 40 companies NUI Galway will lead three of the proposed projects and collaborate on a fourth Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD today announced over €30 million of research funding for 23 major research projects. The funding will be delivered by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigators Programme. The Programme will provide funding over a four to five year period, for 23 research projects involving over 100 researchers. Funding for each project will range from €500,000 to €2.3 million. Three of the projects are led by NUI Galway researchers, and in partnership with University of Limerick, are significantly involved in a fourth project. According to the NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi: ‘Research aimed at understanding osteoporosis, reducing the cost of drugs, treating wastewater and creating new modelling tools for industry will undoubtedly yield societal and economic benefits. The excellent performance of NUI Galway researchers in the Investigators Programme is to be applauded and testifies to the scientific excellence and relevance of on-going innovative research at NUI Galway.” Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., said: “This funding provides assistance to individual researchers to advance their investigations and address key research questions in sectors such as energy, medicine, food and nutrition, technology and agriculture. It allows researchers to further their careers and build partnerships with leading industry partners who also benefit from access to some of the leading academic talent on this island. The Investigators Programme is an important contributor to Ireland’s credentials as a research leader in a number of sectors.” The NUI Galway projects include: Dr Laoise McNamara, NUI Galway - This research project will advance understanding of mechanobiology to develop treatment approaches for bone pathologies. Tissues of the human body can adapt in response to mechanical forces by a cellular process known as mechanobiology. Although mechanobiological processes are fundamental to normal bone physiology and may play an important role in the development of osteoporosis, the role of mechanobiology in bone development and changes occurring during ageing are not yet fully understood. Moreover mechanobiological responses have not been targeted as treatments for osteoporosis, nor have they been sufficiently exploited to develop novel regenerative tissue strategies. Dr Alan Ryder, NUI Galway - Many drugs for human health are complex biological molecules like proteins which are made in living cells on an industrial scale. Both the cell food (media) and the protein products have to be carefully analysed to make sure that they are good and safe. Both media and proteins are very complex mixtures that are difficult to analyse. Here we will build a faster, cheaper, and non-contact way of testing using light to generate chemical information from these mixtures. This information will then be analysed using advanced statistical methods (chemometrics) and the results used to improve manufacturing, and reduce drug costs. Professor Vincent O'Flaherty, NUI Galway - This research targets new technologies for treatment of wastewaters from industry (food production) and households (sewage). The output will be a system for simultaneous purification of wastewater, production of renewable energy and recovery/recycling of valuable nutrient resources (phosphorus). The proposed system relies on microorganisms, which transform wastewater pollutants into a readily usable fuel (methane/natural gas) by digestion of organic matter. Methane provides a competitive low-carbon fuel source, which can be used for transport, home heating and electricity production. The proposed research will have positive impacts towards more sustainable food production, economic competitiveness and innovation, environmental protection and climate change. Professor Sean Leen of NUI Galway, in conjunction with Professor Noel O’Dowd University of Limerick – This project aims to develop new modelling tools for Irish industry for more accurate design and assessment of materials and structures. The focus will be on welds, which are the most common location of failure in engineering components. The tools will be used to provide tailored combinations of welding and heat treatment parameters, to design material structures at the nano-, micro- and macro-scale. Specific applications are the design for optimum grain size in power-plant steels and improved designs for steel pipelines used in oil and gas offshore platforms. The SFI Investigators Programme supports excellent scientific research that has the potential to impact Ireland’s society and economy. The 23 projects were selected by competitive peer review involving 400 international scientists after a call for proposals across a number of thematic areas of national and international importance. The awards include research in areas such as materials science, data management, medicine and pharmaceuticals, food and nutrition, agriculture and veterinary research and have links to 40 companies. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, added: “The SFI Investigators Programme provides important support to researchers in Ireland, creating employment opportunities and allowing them to leverage State funding to access additional funding streams, such as the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Their research focuses on areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, animal breeding and disease prevention, ICT and data storage, as well as bioenergy among other topics. These are areas that will make a difference to both Ireland’s economy and society.  All of the successful projects have been peer reviewed by international experts to ensure scientific excellence and we have funded every project deemed to be of the highest standard internationally.” -ends-

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