Monday, 13 April 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture 2015 will be delivered by the Right Honourable Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland on the topic of ‘The role of the judiciary in the vindication of human rights’. The event, which takes place in the Aula Maxima at 8pm on Friday, 24 April, will be chaired by the Chief Justice of Ireland, Ms. Justice Susan Denham. Announcing the event, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “It is a great honour for the School of Law at NUI Galway to host the Chief Justices from both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland for our Annual Distinguished Lecture. We hope that this event will be an opportunity for our students and alumni to hear from two outstanding jurists who hold the highest judicial offices at a critical time for both of their legal systems.” Previous speakers in the Annual Distinguished Lecture series include: Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University; Judge John T. Noonan of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh University; Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK Supreme Court; Ms. Justice Catherine McGuinness of the Irish Supreme Court; and Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly of the Irish Supreme Court. The event is held on an annual basis to mark the end of the academic year and is open to students and graduates of the School of Law, NUI Galway as well as interested members of the public. -Ends-  

Monday, 13 April 2015

€8.3 million Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) funding grant will: Help young people and families get supports early and at local level Embed MEITHEAL - Tusla led national practice model Promote enhanced interagency cooperation Tusla – Child and Family Agency today (Monday 13th April 2015) announced details of a comprehensive programme of early intervention and preventative work. The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) Programme will take place over three and a half years (2015 – 2018) and will embed early intervention and prevention within the Agency.   The aim of the programme is to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating through building sustainable intellectual capacity and manpower within Tusla and partner organisations to perform early intervention work. The work is being made possible as a result of a once-off non-discretionary grant of €8.3 million from Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) and is supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, TD says: "This extensive programme builds on the change of emphasis in the development of child welfare and protection services over recent years. It constitutes a significant step in achieving the policy objective of moving towards a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention rather than crisis management. This was a key rationale for the Government's establishment of the Child and Family Agency at the beginning of 2014 and is clearly reflected in the statutory responsibilities it has been assigned. I commend Atlantic Philanthropies for the substantial support it is providing to the programme and thank it for the very considerable investment it has made to the cause of developing parenting and family support services in Ireland over many years. I wish Tusla well in the important and challenging work that lies ahead" President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said at the launch: “Our University is very pleased to be centrally involved in the efforts of Tusla: Child and Family Agency to develop a robust and effective Early Intervention & Prevention Work Programme. Parenting and family support is a key element of all aspects of Tusla’s Child and Family Services Work, including social work activity, early years support, community-based youth work, foster care, residential care, special care and services to women in domestic abuse situations.Supported by a major investment from Atlantic Philanthropies’ NUI Galway will work with Tusla to support the national implementation of a new Prevention, Partnership and Family Support model through the research and evaluation expertise of our UNESCO Child and Family Research Centreand through the project management expertise of Galway University Foundation.  This is a truly transformative project which goes to the heart of developing effective supports for children and young people in Ireland. Our leading researchers, working with social and community partners will produce high-calibre research and public policy which will have positive societal impacts.” Norah Gibbons, Chairperson, Tusla explains: “The AP grant is a once in a generation opportunity to change how we do child protection and family support. It will enable Tusla to build sustainable capacity to deliver early intervention and preventative work, which would not have been possible without the support of AP. “Importantly, it will create space to develop and embed a new way of working without detracting resources from existing services to children and young people at risk.” Throughout the programme of work, emphasis will be placed on the training and building of capacity within Tusla and external partners.  This will include the development of a strategic approach to commissioning children’s services from the community and voluntary sector.  The approach will ensure that resources available for children, young people and families are used in the most efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way.  The rollout of Meitheal, the national practice model for family support led by Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is a key component of the work.  The model enables children, young people and their families to get supports locally when needed through a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion with Tusla. Commenting Fred McBride, Chief Operations Officer Tusla says “The primary aim of the programme is to stop problems getting worse or, indeed, to stop problems arising in the first place. Tusla is acutely aware of the need to provide accessible services to children, young people and their families who are not at crisis point. “This will be achieved through the provision of parenting and family supports designed to prevent problems from arising or from escalating.   These supports will be delivered by a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. “It also involves the creation of 26 new posts, 24 of which Tusla has committed to maintaining after the initial three year period which will ensure the continuation of the programme in the long-term.” International evidence shows that effective early intervention and preventative strategies are a core feature of the lifecycle approach to preventing poverty and disadvantage and Tusla remains committed to constantly improving our services to ensure the best outcomes for children, young people and families. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Popular North Sea fish such as haddock, plaice and lemon sole could become less common on our menus because they will be constrained to preferred habitat as seas warm, according to a study published this afternoon in Nature Climate Change and authored by a team including Professor Mark Johnson of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. The team took survey data dating back as far as 1980 and used the change is distribution between decades to derive predictive models. In the last 40 years the North Sea has warmed four times faster than the global average and further warming is predicted over the coming century. The North Sea is associated with fish landings valued at over $1 billion, leading to great interest in how changing environmental conditions will impact on commercial species. Fish distributions are limited by a number of factors, including water temperature, and some species can only thrive in certain habitats and depths. The research developed models that combining long-term fisheries datasets and climate model projections to predict the abundance and distribution of the consumers’ favourite fishes over the next 50 years. As the North Sea warms, species appear to choose habitat of a suitable depth over the benefits of moving to cooler waters. Due to higher temperatures in the future, many of the species studied are may reduce in relative abundance. “The modelling technique we used allowed us to look at important variables as we try to predict what will happen should the North Sea continue to warm. It turns out that the right depth is more important than temperature, so that the fish are more likely to stay where they are than move. This will mean that populations will be living at higher temperatures, with the effect of this depending on how well species can cope with the warmer temperatures”, explained Professor Johnson. The modeling technique used in this analysis performed remarkably well when tested on available long-term datasets. This provides real confidence in the model’s ability to predict future patterns of fish distributions around the UK and similar processes may be at work around the coasts of Ireland. Louise Rutterford, postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter, said: “Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea. We provide new insight into how important local depths and associated habitats are to these commercial species. It’s something that is not always captured in existing models that predict future fish distributions.” Dr Steve Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter, said the findings are important for both consumers and the fishing industry: "We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades. Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable fisheries, we need to move on from haddock and chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration.” ‘Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas’ is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. ENDS

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 www.inmo.ie   after the press conference.    -Ends-  

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 www.nuigalway.ie/opendays and plan your day or call 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie for more information. -Ends-

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-

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 www.debatingscienceissues.com. -Ends-

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-  

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-   

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 https://www.facebook.com/theGeec.ie or www.theGeec.ie. -Ends-

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

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: www.gatetheatre.ie/section/IRISHTHEATRICALDIASPORACONFERENCEGATETHEATRE. ENDS

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-

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thought leaders from the seemingly disparate worlds of human rights and the arts will come together for the Galway International Summer School on the Arts and Human Rights from 9-11 July. This landmark event, a world-first, is hosted by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, and will take place in the days immediately before the Galway International Arts Festival. Bringing together arts and human rights practitioners and others interested in the topics, events will take the form of panel discussions, exhibitions and performances. There will also be three parallel workshops on the topics of literature and human rights, the visual arts and human rights, and music and human rights. The Summer School is co-directed by Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and Dr Dominique Bouchard, Curator at the Hunt Museum. The organisers envisage that the event will provide a platform for cross-fertilisation of ideas from the two disciplines of the arts and human rights, both of which are strongly aligned with issues such as social justice, cultural expression and cultural freedom. The summer school, which is currently open for enrolment, will follow the theme of ‘Belonging’ as seen from an arts and a human rights perspective. The opening speaker will be United Nations’ leading expert on human rights and culture, Farida Shaheed (the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights). Among the other speakers are: Professor Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna; Dr Guido Gryseels, Director Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium; Julian Fifer, Musicians for Human Rights; Vered Cohen Barzilay, Founder and Director of Novel Rights; Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway; Mary Lawlor, Founder, Front Line Defenders; Professor Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University, Australia; Professor Paul Seawright, Professor of Photography and Head of Belfast School of Art at the University of Ulster; Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Rita Duffy, Artist; Dr Neil Jarman, Director of the Institute for Conflict Research, Belfast; Katerina Šedá, Artist; Jennifer Johnston, Novelist; Barbara Bukovska, Article 19; Leila Doolan, Film maker; Dominic Thorpe, Artist; Vincent Woods, Poet and broadcaster; and Susan McKay, Author. As part of the Summer School, a unique exhibition will be mounted at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway City, the 1949 UNESCO photographic exhibition illustrating the then recently adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This exhibition toured the world at the end of the 1940s to build awareness and understanding of human rights. The exhibition will go on from Galway to be shown at UN headquarters in New York. Side by side with the 1949 exhibition the winning images from a new photographic competition, The Galway International Human Rights Photographic Competition will be displayed. This competition will invite images that depict the situation of human rights today. NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library will also mount an exhibition to run during the days of the Summer School. ‘Staging Belonging’ is a digital exhibition from the Theatre Archives of the University’s Library. The Summer School will also incorporate performance. Confirmed performers include: Ariel Dorfman’s “Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark”, directed by Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. ‘Tell me your Story”, The Irish Traveller with Music and Song’ with music from Uilleann Piper, Mickey Dunne; Brid Dunne on fiddle; Carl Hession on piano; songs by Mary Mc Partlan and narration by Donncha O’Connell. Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited to have developed this world class and unique event. The interaction of the arts and human rights is neglected and the practitioners in both areas need to get to know and understand each other much better. There is no better a place to do this than the city of Galway with its fantastic record in the arts and the University’s international reputation for human rights research, teaching and advocacy.” Dr Dominique Bouchard, Co-director of the Summer School, said: “Museums and contemporary art are exploring the relationship between art and social justice and the summer school offers a rare opportunity to contribute a new dimension and to help drive that dialogue. We hope the summer school will provide artists and human rights practitioners not only a chance to work together, but also the opportunity to challenge each other. The format of the programme is intended to maximise interaction and we look forward to the surprising outcomes which will no doubt emerge from such an experimental approach to these areas.” For more details, to register or to see the full list of speakers visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=418. -ends-

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

 The voice of the child is not being heard in areas of such as education and decisions about where a child lives Parents spoke of children being excluded from mainstream schools because of “health and safety concerns” A new report on access to justice for children with cognitive disabilities in Ireland has been published by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. The project focused on access to justice in three main areas of a child's life: education, decisions about where a child lives and the criminal justice system. One issue raised by the report was that the child’s voice was often not heard in proceedings. Existing laws are not interpreted or used consistently to accommodate for the voice of the child in Ireland, according to the report. Interviews with experts consistently showed that cultural and attitudinal barriers often operate to exclude children with cognitive disabilities in non-criminal proceedings. The report’s co-author Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Acting Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway, said: “We need to involve children with disability. The mantra should be ‘nothing about us without us’. Access to justice for children with cognitive disabilities in Ireland would include first and foremost access to education (including mainstream education) and educational supports for children with cognitive disabilities. Importantly, children with cognitive disabilities should be meaningfully involved in decision making about where they attend school. The appeals procedure should include views of the child and have the requisite supports to enable a child with a cognitive disability to do so.” Jennifer Kline of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at NUI Galway, who co-authored the report, said, “Children with disabilities face real barriers, for example, in term of inclusive education. Parents spoke of children being excluded from mainstream schools because of “health and safety concerns” which they found very hard to contest. The key barriers identified included the timeframe for complaints and the lack of support to make a complaint. Also of concern were delays and inaccessibility of hearing processes, and retaliation for complaints made.” The report is part of an EU funded-project involving similar studies in Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and the United Kingdom. The project gathered data in these EU countries on access to justice for children with mental disabilities and developed standards in relation to protection of privacy, child participation, accessible information, legal representation and protective measures. As well as promoting this research, it developed training and educational materials for use by policy-makers, the judiciary and the police. -ends-

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Academics and employers name the world’s top universities in 36 disciplines NUI Galway has come out strong in the QS Rankings by Subject 2015, scoring in all 30 subjects and achieving a ranking in 9 subjects, an improvement from 4 in 2014.  In the nine subject areas, NUI Galway makes the Top 150 in History and the Top 200 in Computer Science & Information Systems, English Language & Literature and Earth & Marine Sciences. Five more subject areas are ranked in the top 200-350 range. Domestically, NUI Galway performed well and is ranked second in Ireland in Earth & Marine Sciences and third in History, Mathematics and Computer Science & Information Systems. Subject Rankings: English Language and Literature (151-200) History (101-150), third in Ireland Computer Science & Info Systems (101-150) , third in Ireland Engineering - Electrical (251-300) Medicine (201-250) Biological Sciences (201-250) Chemistry (251-300) Mathematics (301-350), third in Ireland Earth & Marine Sciences (151-200), second in Ireland Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway spoke of the relevance for subject rankings and how it important it is to see NUI Galway improving its ranking from 4 subject areas to 9 subject areas. “Across the globe NUI Galway graduates value their alma mater featuring in global rankings as it provides employment opportunities especially across Asia and the US where Rankings are a relevant feature of job applications. The QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world and we are consistently improving our position on this global platform which is testament the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years.” The fifth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, released today on TopUniversities.com, features a record-breaking 36 disciplines making it the largest ever ranking of its kind. The expert opinion of 85,062 academics and 41,910 employers informed the results, alongside the analysis of 17.3 million research papers and over 100 million citations (Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database). Ten Irish Universities feature in these rankings, taking up 88 places across the tables. Of these, 69 are within the Top 200. Compared to last year’s performance, 36 places maintained the same 2014’s position a further 22 have moved up, 14 are new entries and 16 dropped. American universities dominate in terms of the number of subjects in which they lead, just as they do in all the global institutional rankings. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continue to take the lion’s share of top places, leading in 21 subjects between them. However, UK universities have improved their positions overall, with six separate institutions leading in at least one subject. Fifteen different institutions top at least one of the subjects covered in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2015. Ben Sowter, QS head of research says: “The growing number of academics and employers all around the world who take part in our polling has enabled us to expand the exercise considerably. We hope to cover even more subjects in future because we are keenly aware that students want to know about the course they plan to take, as well as the standing of the university.” Sowter continues: “While US and UK remain the dominant players, our ranking shows that academic excellence is widely distributed around the globe. The 894 universities ranked in at least one subject are based in 60 different countries. The 200 universities we list for business, for example, are in 32 nations, and the 400 we rank for medicine in 47.” ENDS

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) is recruiting participants aged 55 or over who are living in Galway city and county to participate in a free, short course. The new programme, Touchstone, aims to develop the skills and knowledge of people who wish to play a part in helping to make their communities more age friendly. Touchstone will run over six weeks, with each weekly session lasting around two hours. Initially, the course will be held on two different days each week, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wednesday course will run in the mornings starting on 20 May, with the Tuesday course running in the afternoons starting on 2 June. Lunch provided during each session. Participants will develop new skills, explore a range of interesting and topical issues, as well as carry out practical projects. No previous experience or qualifications are required. All sessions will be held in the new Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building on the Upper Newcastle Road next to the University’s park and ride car park. The course is led by a team based at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, with input from Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity and Third Age. Touchstone has been developed by the Active Aging Partnership and also involves the cooperation of Age Friendly Ireland. For more information, or to register for the course, please contact Ann Marie Atkins, Touchstone Galway Co-ordinator at 086-0261408 or annmarie.atkins@nuigalway.ie. Places are limited and will be allocated on first-come, first-served basis. -Ends-

Thursday, 30 April 2015

‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative encouraging student-to-student mentoring Thursday, 30 April, 2015: Over 70 students were awarded their ALIVE certificates for participating in ‘Seas Suas’, NUI Galway’s innovative student-to-student mentoring programme. ‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative between NUI Galway’s Student Services and Students’ Union designed to encourage students to be proactive in helping fellow students. It aims to improve the health, well-being and engagement of students, enabling them to get the most out of their time at NUI Galway. The objective of the ‘Seas Suas’ Programme is to encourage students to be more observant of fellow students in need of help and to increase motivation to help fellow students. The programme, which is based on the Bystander Model used in the University of Arizona, aims to help students to develop skills to safely respond and expand a culture of support and care in the University’s community. Student volunteers from a range of academic disciplines in NUI Galway completed training sessions on topics such as mental health, alcohol, sexuality and suicide prevention, and volunteers were trained about how best to safely respond to such issues. Training includes gaining knowledge about challenging issues and corresponding supports, developing strategies for effective helping, and learning skills to intervene safely or refer appropriately. After training, volunteers were encouraged to put the aims of ‘Seas Suas’ into action in a variety of ways. Volunteers are currently contributing to a number of specific events such as the Green Ribbon Campaign promoting mental health, helping with the Exam Support Team and preparing for Student Orientation Week in September 2015. The ‘Seas Suas’ Programme has successfully developed sustainable partnerships between students, staff and external agencies. Father Ben Hughes, Dean of Chaplaincy Services and ‘Seas Suas’ Project Leader at NUI Galway, said: “It is really encouraging to work with generous young people who are willing to learn new skills so that they can successfully negotiate challenges and help each other manage life more effectively.” The Award Ceremony was also the occasion to recognise six courageous students who received ‘Seas Suas’ Medals of Honour for heroic acts of intervention. These six have demonstrated the value of human kindness and proactive concern for other reflecting the ethos of Vision 2020, NUI Galway’s Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2020. For more information on the Seas Suas programme contact Fr Ben Hughes, NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy Services at chaplains@nuigalway.ie or 091 49 5055. -Ends-  

Monday, 2 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Mountaineering Club Maamturks Challenge will take place on Saturday, 18 April. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the challenge, this hillwalking event is considered one of the toughest in Ireland, covering 24.3km over tough, mountainous terrain with a total ascent over the course of the walk of 2,336 metres. First organised by Mountaineering Club members in 1975, it comprises of a route covering the full Maamturks hill range in Connemara. Typically participants start the walk at 5am at the base of Corcóg, to finish 8-11 hours later in Leenane. Along the route, NUI Galway Mountaineering Club crew, with the Galway Radio Experimenters Club will be at eleven checkpoints watching over participant’s safety and wellbeing, supported by the Galway Mountain Rescue Team. NUI Galway Mountaineering Club Captain, Cathal Breathnach, said: “This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the event. This is definitely a milestone in the history of the Mountaineering Club; it is a great accomplishment that each year, a dedicated team of volunteers have organised this event for the general public.” To celebrate the 40th jubilee and recognise the volume of organisation and voluntary work required to make this event such a success, the Club aim to make a documentary about the Challenge. This documentary will be shown during a special commemoration ceremony after the walk in Leenane Hotel. Cathal continued: “We have reached capacity for the Maamturks challenge, but we would like to invite all who are, or have previously been, involved in the Maamturks’ Challenge to attend the celebrations in the Leenane Hotel, at 8pm.” Participation from past members of the organising committees, past participants, and members of the public are encouraged to submit photos, stories and anecdotes from the past 40 years for inclusion in the documentary. For more information on the Maamturks Challenge visit http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/. To submit material for the documentary please email maamturks@nuigmc.com -Ends-

Monday, 2 March 2015

Six NUI Galway academics were among the recipients of the inaugural Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant Awards, which were presented at a special ceremony in Academy House in Dublin recently. Funded by the Academy, the Charlemont Grants are designed to act as a career springboard to assist scholars in strengthening their international mobility and developing international collaborative networks. These are small grants, with high impact, and are complimentary to larger programmes offered by other funders including the Irish Research Council and SFI. The NUI Galway recipients were: Dr Margaret Brehony, Centre for Irish Studies; Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, History; Dr Eoin Daly, School of Law; Dr Jessica Hayes, REMEDI; Dr Martin O'Halloran, NCBES; and Dr Anuradha Pallipurath, School of Chemistry. Grants are available for short visits to any country to support primary research in any subject area. The duration of visits is generally between one week and six weeks in length, the key objectives being to initiate one-to-one collaborations, explore opportunities to build lasting networks and gain access to ideas, research facilities, and complementary equipment. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; or for visits by or to partner scholars. The 2016 call for applications will open in early autumn, for further details please visit www.ria.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

NUI Galway Radio Society is delighted to announce the second National Student Radio Conference will take place in NUI Galway on Saturday, 7 March, 2015. The conference is supported by Craol, the representative, co-ordinating, lobbying, training, & support organisation for Irish Community Radio; NUI Galway Societies’ Office and Flirt FM 101.3. Covering areas from imaging to sound art and from sports to music journalism, the conference will see; Chris Greene (2fm & 4OD), Shane O'Connor (BBC 5 Live & Peanut Productions), Joyce Ní Chionnaith (Raidio na Life), Louise Clarke (iRadio), Tweakel, La Cosa Preziosa (Sound Art & Field Recording), Team 33 (Newstalk), Ros Madigan (GoldenPlec), Denzil Lacey (ZAVA Media & 4FM) and Mary O'Malley (RTÉ's Sunday Miscellany) talk to student radio producers and enthusiasts from all over Ireland. Special surprise events will also be revealed on the day. Tickets for the conference can be found on Eventbrite.ie. Groups of 10 or more people can purchase tickets at a reduced rate. Ticket holders will be given a welcome goodie pack, lunch and admittance to the post conference social. Also included is entrance to a pre-event taking place on Friday March 6th for those travelling to Galway early. For more information on the conference visit http://www.nsrc.ie/ https://twitter.com/NSRConference                    hello@nsrc.ie https://www.facebook.com/nationalradioconference?fref=nf -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Recently published research, which looked at the cost thresholds for relatively expensive new drugs in the UK, will be discussed at NUI Galway on Friday, 6 March. Professor Karl Claxton from the University of York will speak at an event hosted by NUI Galway’s Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group. Professor Claxton’s talk, ‘Methods for Estimating the Cost-Effectiveness Threshold for NICE and the NHS’ will take place at 2pm in Lecture Hall 1 of the Cairnes Building on the North Campus of NUI Galway. “While the research is based on British data, its findings are very relevant for Ireland given that the HSE uses a very similar system to the NHS for deciding which new drugs are to be reimbursed,” explained Mr Brendan Kennelly, Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway. “Every public health system has to cope with a limited budget and has to decide how to use the available resources to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all the people that are entitled to use the system. This is a very challenging decision involving important questions about ethics, values, measuring health, and opportunity costs.” Health economists have developed a concept called a Quality Adjusted Life Year (commonly known as a QALY) to help this decision making process. A QALY is equal to one year of life in perfect health. When public health systems decide whether or not to reimburse a pharmaceutical company for a new drug they often refer to the cost per QALY of the new drug. In February, a group of leading health economists at the University of York produced important new research on this issue. A team, which was led by Professor Karl Claxton, estimated the effects of changes in NHS expenditure on the health of all NHS patients. The results indicate that £13,000 of NHS resources adds one Quality Adjusted Life Year to the lives of NHS patients. It suggests that the NHS offers much better value of money that was previously thought. Currently in the UK, the National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) uses a threshold of £30,000 per QALY to judge whether the health benefits offered by a new drug are greater than the health likely to be lost elsewhere because of the additional cost imposed on the NHS. The York research shows that this threshold is too high and as a consequence the approval of new drugs at current prices is doing more harm than good to NHS patents overall. In Ireland, the maximum that the HSE will pay for a new drug is around €45,000 per QALY. This has led the HSE to reject certain drugs as being too expensive relative to the health benefits that they produce. “The recent controversy over the cost of Soliris, a life-saving but very expensive drug for people with a rare blood disorder, is just one example of the difficult choices that public health systems have to make on a regular basis,” says Mr Kennelly. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

NUI Galway students perform ‘A Poem for Ireland’ shortlist in Galway city centre Students of Irish and of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway recently brought poetry out of the lecture halls and onto the main shopping street in Galway city for the pleasure of unsuspecting shoppers. Students recited a selection of verses from poems shortlisted in RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. These included poems by W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Paula Meehan and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. This flashmob style event, which also included a number of musicians, aimed to encourage the general public to engage with the ten shortlisted poems and to cast their vote in the national ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. To view the flashmob event on Shop Street visit http://youtu.be/Cv9jNnUrnTo. Event organisers Dr Rióna Ní Fhrighil, Gaeilge lecturer at NUI Galway, and Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, believe that there are many ways to engage with poetry. Beyond the act of reading, poetry can be made accessible through performance. Their students performed poetry on a busy city street to remind people that poetry is for everybody. One of the poems shortlisted for RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ is ‘Filleadh ar an gCathair’ by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. Ailbhe is a graduate of NUI Galway, and currently lectures in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the University. For a full list of the 10 shortlisted poems and to vote for your favourite poem, see www.rte.ie/apoemforireland. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A research showcase, “The Brains behind the Breakthroughs”, will be hosted by the NUI Galway Neuro Society at 7pm in the Westwood Hotel on Monday, 9 March. This free public seminar will showcase the depth and scale of brain research being conducted in NUI Galway. Designed specifically for a lay audience, it promises to give an insight to the life of a neuroscientist and the approaches being taken to tackle some of the biggest questions about the brain. Professors, senior research scientists and students will present a variety of perspectives on their current areas of research which range from increasing our understanding of pain and brain pathology to the latest in medical neuroimaging and genetic studies. Professor David Finn will introduce proceedings as head of the Galway Neuroscience Centre which represents the multi-disciplinary research groups focused on neuroscience in NUI Galway. Auditor of the NUI Galway Neuro Society, Michelle Naughton, adds: “This event is for anyone who is curious about the brain and what we have still yet to learn about it. With many exciting new developments in the field of neuroscience, this showcase will demonstrate the substantial research being undertaken in NUI Galway to advance our current knowledge.” As an additional Brain Awareness Week event, on the 11th and 12th March, NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will be holding an exhibition in the Aula Maxima aimed at teaching secondary school students about the brain and disorders of the nervous system. This event is being hosted to celebrate, Brain Awareness Week (9-15 March), which is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. It is a worldwide celebration of the brain that grows more successful every year. For more information contact neuro@socs.nuigalway.ie or check out the NeuroSoc NUI Galway facebook page. -ends-

Thursday, 5 March 2015

NUI Galway will this week submit its opposition to proposals in the 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. Increases in research activity have seen a surge in the numbers of international staff. International student numbers have grown significantly, to the extent that NUI Galway now has the largest proportion of international students of all the Irish universities. Foreign students are a great benefit to the local economy, supplementing the flow of income generated by the increased number of Irish students. University buildings have expanded, creating high-quality infrastructure for increased student numbers and research activities. The University’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 will reflect a drive to maintain the dramatic improvements and enhance its national and international standing. All these developments are under threat. The last decade has seen an investment of €400m in capital development by NUI Galway and this has been undertaken with a purpose: not just to build a successful university, but to continue a lengthy pattern of interaction with Galway and its citizens, providing graduates to support the growth of high-quality local employment and engaging in research activities which connect both with local industry and with the rich culture of Galway city and the region. 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. If in recent decades the University and the city have grown hand in hand, we are now threatened with the prospect that both would face a future of relative decline. The University is proud of its unified campus which has emerged as a result of decades of planning and forethought. The campus sees teaching and research buildings intermingled, sports facilities readily available to students, and University lands providing a major recreational facility for all. The University will therefore strongly object to current proposals and call for alternative options for the future of Galway transport planning. ENDS OÉ Gaillimh ag cur in aghaidh Thionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh le hagóid fhoirmiúil a dhéanamh an tseachtain seo in aghaidh na moltaí atá i dTionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe. Tá an Ollscoil ar cheann de na fostóirí is mó sa chathair, agus í i gceartlár shaol na cathrach agus an réigiúin máguaird. Tá os cionn 20,000 duine, idir mhic léinn agus chomhaltaí foirne, ag staidéar nó ag obair ar an gcampas agus €400m infheistithe ag an Ollscoil le deich mbliana anuas i bhforbairtí caipitil. Creideann an Ollscoil gur láthair thar a bheith tarraingteach é campas na hOllscoile faoi láthair do mhic léinn agus comhaltaí foirne as Éirinn agus thar lear, agus go ndéanfaí dochar as cuimse don champas dá nglacfaí le haon cheann de na cúrsaí bealaigh atá molta do Sheachbhóthar na Cathrach. Tá méadú mór tagtha ar líon na gcomhaltaí foirne ón iasacht atá san Ollscoil le tamall de bharr méadú ar an méid taighde atá ar bun. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar líon na mac léinn ón iasacht, agus OÉ Gaillimh anois ar an ollscoil Éireannach a bhfuil an sciar is mó de mhic léinn idirnáisiúnta i mbun staidéir inti. Tá an-tairbhe le baint ag an ngeilleagar áitiúil as na mic léinn ón iasacht, agus cuireann siad leis an ioncam a thagann isteach sa chathair ó na mic léinn Éireannacha.  Tá méadú tagtha ar na foirgnimh san Ollscoil agus bonneagar den scoth anois ann le haghaidh na mac léinn agus na ngníomhaíochtaí taighde atá ar bun, agus méadú seasta ag teacht orthu sin. I bPlean Straitéiseach na hOllscoile, 2015-2020, beidh béim ar an rún daingean atá ag an Ollscoil leanúint den dul chun cinn láidir atá sí a dhéanamh agus an seasamh náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta atá aici a neartú tuilleadh. Tá contúirt anois ar na forbairtí seo go léir. Le deich mbliana anuas, rinne an Ollscoil infheistíocht €400m i bhforbairtí caipitil agus is le cuspóir soiléir a rinneadh é sin: ollscoil a mbeadh rath uirthi a thógáil, agus lena chois sin leanúint den dlúthcheangal atá ag an Ollscoil le Gaillimh agus muintir na Gaillimhe – céimithe oilte a chur ar fáil ar mhaithe le fostaíocht áitiúil ar ardchaighdeán mar aon le gníomhaíochtaí taighde a chur chun cinn le go mbeadh ceangal ann le tionscail áitiúla agus le cultúr luachmhar chathair na Gaillimhe agus an réigiúin trí chéile. An fás fisiciúil atá tagtha ar an Ollscoil, rinneadh é a phleanáil go mion le cúpla scór bliain anuas. Ceannaíodh talamh in imeacht na mblianta i gceantar an Daingin agus dá thoradh sin bhí a dóthain achar talún ag an Ollscoil i gcomhair foirgnimh nua agus áiseanna spóirt araon. Is lárionad oideachais é an campas comhtháite seo agus os cionn 17,000 mac léinn i mbun a gcuid léinn ann. Tá ardú ag teacht chuile bhliain ar sheasamh na hOllscoile sa rangú domhanda – is toradh é sin ar an bhfeabhas mór atá tagtha ar chúrsaí taighde agus ar fheidhmíocht na hOllscoile trí chéile. Chuirfeadh na moltaí reatha isteach go damanta ar dhul chun cinn na hOllscoile. D'fhás an Ollscoil agus an chathair in éindí le blianta fada anuas, ach tá an baol anois ann gur meath atá i ndán dóibh araon. Tá campas comhtháite ag an Ollscoil mar thoradh ar phleanáil agus fadbhreathnaitheacht le blianta fada, agus í an-bhródúil as an gcampas sin. Tá foirgnimh theagaisc agus thaighde fite fuaite ina chéile ar an gcampas, tá áiseanna spóirt ar fáil do na mic léinn gan stró, agus tailte na hOllscoile ar fáil do chách mar áis mhór áineasa agus caithimh aimsire. Tá rún ag an Ollscoil, dá bhrí sin, agóid láidir a dhéanamh i gcoinne na moltaí reatha agus iarrfaidh sí ar na húdaráis roghanna malartacha a chur chun tosaigh i dtaca le cúrsaí iompair i nGaillimh don aimsir romhainn. CRÍOCH

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Research published in Cochrane Review Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a non- pharmacological intervention for patients with Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD) and its effectiveness was confirmed in a Cochrane Review which has generated major interest across the world. The review was led by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the National University of Ireland Galway. The team consisted of Bernard McCarthy, Dr Dympna Casey, Professor Declan Devane, Professor Kathy Murphy, Edel Murphy and the internationally renowned Canadian pulmonologist Dr Yves Lacasse. The two-year project brought together the findings of 65 randomised control trials involving 3822 participants for inclusion in the analysis. COPD is a chronic lung disease that causes obstruction in breathing. This results in persistent and progressive breathlessness, productive coughing, fatigue and recurrent chest infection. Worldwide, COPD is a major cause of long term health issues. The World Health Organisation projects that by the year 2030 it will be the third most frequent cause of death globally. There are around 110,000 people in Ireland diagnosed with COPD, but it is estimated that a further 200,000 people living with the disease who have not been diagnosed. COPD affects the quality of peoples’ life but pulmonary rehabilitation can make a difference. Bernard McCarthy, NUI Galway, the lead author explains: “At this time, COPD is an incurable, life-limiting condition that is associated with significant economic costs due to progressive disease severity and frequent hospital admissions and readmissions. Our findings from pooling all the international research demonstrate that pulmonary rehabilitation has a significant positive effect. Pulmonary rehabilitation which includes exercise as a key component and may also include assessment, education, psychological support and dietary advice, has been shown to relieve breathing difficulty and fatigue and improves individuals’ sense of control over their condition. These all lead to a better quality of life for individuals with COPD, facilitating them to re-engage with their normal lives.” The authors concluded that these improvements from Pulmonary Rehabilitation are clinically significant. In addition the volume of evidence is now so convincing that “additional randomised controlled trials are no longer warranted.” What we now need, according to the team, is to investigate the components of pulmonary rehabilitation essential for best outcomes. “It would be good to investigate the ideal programme length and location, the degree of supervision and intensity of training required, or how long treatment effects persist.” The team also found some tentative evidence that “there is a difference between hospital-based and community-based programmes, which now requires further study.” Some authors of the report were previously involved in the PRINCE study which was completed in 2012 in conjunction with Irish general practices. The PRINCE (Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environment) study was funded by the HRB, and consisted of a two-armed randomised cluster trial. In one arm (intervention group), persons with COPD received a structured education pulmonary rehabilitation programme, while the other arm (control group) received usual care. At the time, the study was one of the largest pulmonary rehabilitation trials conducted in primary care. This recent Cochrane Review informs the global community of professionals working in this field about the potential for helping patients with this debilitating illness. Bernard McCarthy added “We must reinforce that prevention is the priority, focusing on measures, such as smoking cessation. Our findings gives hope to those suffering from COPD worldwide who are currently housebound and reluctant to engage in routine activities of living due to the limiting natures of this condition. For them Pulmonary Rehabilitation might be a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” -ends-

Monday, 9 March 2015

Against stiff international competition, NUI Galway has to date secured several conference bids and will host 18 international conferences in 2016 with over 5,000 international delegates confirmed to attend. This is an increase of over 250% on 2014 international conference visitors to the University and is expected to boost the local economy by up to €7m.   In the past year, NUI Galway hosted over 100 events on campus attracting in excess of 12,000 delegates while over 52,000 summer visitors stayed in University residences attending a diverse range of events. A large percentage of conferences which take place on campus are hosted by University Staff in support of Government strategy to attract more international visitors to the country. Conferences can have a significant impact on the local economy with the average spend by an international conference delegate valued at €1,400 according to figures by Fáilte Ireland, more than twice that of a leisure tourist. Speaking about the University’s success in attracting international conferences, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “The University has built a strong reputation for successfully hosting major international conferences in recent years. The excellent facilities and services available to support world-class events together with our experienced conference team have helped in securing several major International Conferences up to 2020. We look forward to hosting these major events on our campus. The impact of this will be twofold; bringing real academic benefits for the University – networking, reputation and peer review, while also having an enormously important economic benefit to tourism and business in our region.” Dr Browne recently secured the bid to host the 2016 European University Association Conference in Galway, welcoming over 300 University Presidents, Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and senior staff from European universities. Ann Duggan, Manager of Commercial Services at NUI Galway, said: “Conferences and events are now a regular feature of campus life at NUI Galway. World-class conference and meeting spaces, restaurants, accommodation and support services, complemented by a professional and dedicated event team have positioned NUI Galway as a leading destination in the international events marketplace.” For more information on the range of support and services available for international events hosted at NUI Galway, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/events or contact Patricia Walsh by emailing tricia.walsh@nuigalway.ie or calling 091 493467. -Ends-

Monday, 9 March 2015

One of China’s leading human rights lawyers will speak at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway on Monday, 16 March. He is in Ireland on a national speaking tour organised by Front Line Defenders, the international foundation for the protection of human rights defenders. Dr Teng Biao, currently at Harvard University as a Visiting Fellow, has been at the forefront of the human rights movement in China for over a decade. In 2003, Dr Teng helped found the Open Constitution Initiative, an organisation consisting of lawyers and academics that advocates the rule of law and greater constitutional protections in China. He holds a PhD from Peking University Law School and practised law in Beijing prior to the revocation of his law license in 2008. Dr Teng will be speaking about his experience of trying to use the law to defend the rights of ordinary people. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is pleased to host Dr Teng for this public event where he can engage with Galway residents and with the Centre’s thriving human rights community. The organisers look forward to hearing him speak on his work and on the human rights situation in China. The event takes place on Monday 16 March, 5.15pm at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway (opposite the Cathedral). -ends-   

Monday, 9 March 2015

A new book, which takes an in-depth look at the emerging field of policing social media has been published by the Managing Director of Digital Training Institute, based in NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre. Authored by Joanne Sweeney-Burke, Social Media Under Investigation, Law Enforcement and the Social Web takes and in-depth view of An Garda Síochána’s adoption of social media and benchmarks this against international best-practice. Joanne’s knowledge on this emerging niche area has earned her an invitation to speak at the SMILE conference (social media, the Internet and law enforcement) in Phoenix, Arizona in April. The entrepreneur has also launched an online training school for police forces called LEO (law enforcement observer) which will offer officers worldwide the chance to learn from the best. According to Joanne: “The book has taken me 18 months to research and write and I actually really enjoyed the process. The motivation to combine policing and social media came from my background as a broadcast journalist and my skills as a social media and digital marketing practitioner. I am so excited to be able to bring my knowledge to the United States in April and get first-hand knowledge of the experience there. In fact it may even provide research for a second edition of the book.” Joanne has found the support received by NUI Galway and the University’s Ignite Technology Transfer Office invaluable in progressing her ambitions. Media Box was her first business, Digital Training Institute her second. Last year she began work on a dedicated eLearning course for young people called Young Minds Online, which was co-authored by her daughter Sophie, now a first year accountancy and commerce student at NUI Galway. Young Minds Online is part of new edtech startup Webiket, which was formed with fellow entrepreneur Lisa Wright. This company provides a suite of eLearning courses to young people, parents and professionals on how to protect their cyber wellbeing online. Joanne featured as a finalist on TV3’s ‘The Apprentice’ in 2011 and holds a total of 10 academic and professional qualifications, including a Masters in Journalism from NUI Galway. NUI Galway Business Development Manager Fiona Neary said: “The Ignite Technology Transfer Office would like to congratulate Joanne Sweeney-Burke on the launch of her new book. Joanne is a pleasure to work with in the Business Innovation Centre and as a successful entrepreneur she had a great ability to nurture creative thinking, put action-plans in place and get the job done. We look forward to seeing what’s next from Joanne.” -Ends-     

Monday, 9 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Harry Potter Society will hold a three-day convention dedicated to Harry Potter fans. PotterFest Galway, Ireland’s only Harry Potter convention, will take place from 13-15 March in Áras na Mac Léinn at NUI Galway.  Visitors of all ages are invited to attend and will have the chance to experience the magic of the Wizarding World here in Ireland. NUI Galway will be transformed into Hogwarts for three days of magical fun, with a huge variety of events such as Potter-themed games, cosplay competitions, panels, classes, role-playing workshops and guest speakers on everything Potter. Guests will be sorted into their perfect Hogwarts House and attend classes in all of Harry’s favourite subjects, from Potions, Transfiguration and Herbology to Defence Against the Dark Arts. The cast and crew of ‘Mudblood and the Book of Spells’, an upcoming original Harry Potter fan film set in Manchester, will be giving a behind-the-scenes sneak peak of what to expect from their movie. Sunday is Mothers’ Day in the Wizarding World too; the occasion will be honoured with a Mums of Potter Panel, as well as a Tea Party with Mrs Weasley. On Sunday there will be a chance to learn and try out playing Quidditch with the Galway Grindylows, Ireland’s first Muggle University team. Pre-registration for PotterFest Galway 2015 is now open on Eventbrite.ie, with standard day tickets costing €10, while full weekend tickets are €15. Special concessions are available for families and children under 12. Tickets will also be available at the door throughout the weekend. For more information please contact Isabella De Luca, PotterFest Galway at potterfestgalway@gmail.com or 087 750 4377, or visit www.potterfestgalway.com. -Ends-