Monday, 11 March 2019

Members of the public are invited to participate in a Citizen Science survey, and record their sightings of red squirrels, grey squirrels and pine martens Zoology researchers from the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway have teamed up with Ulster Wildlife and Vincent Wildlife Trust in seeking to determine the latest distribution of red and grey squirrels and the pine marten in Ireland. The group are inviting members of the public to participate in a Citizen Science survey, and record their sightings of the three mammal species during 2019. The results will allow the team to compare the current status of the animals with previous surveys conducted in 1997, 2007 and 2012. Since their introduction in 1911, the grey squirrel has spread throughout a large area of the island of Ireland. The red squirrel, although still quite widespread, has disappeared from many forests as a result of competition and disease spread by the greys. In the most recent survey in 2012, however, there were indications that the grey squirrel had retreated in certain areas, and this has been attributed to the recovery of another native species, the pine marten. The pine marten has made a considerable recovery in Ireland, since it became protected under the Irish Wildlife Act of 1976 and the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985. In the midlands of Ireland and Fermanagh, where pine martin densities are highest, grey squirrels have disappeared. It seems the grey squirrels are not able to cope with this predator, either because they are naïve to the dangers, or are becoming stressed when the pine marten is present. The native red squirrel on the other hand has lived alongside the pine marten for centuries, and although occasionally eaten, they can co-exist quite happily. In fact, with the loss of their competitor the grey squirrel, red squirrel numbers have increased and they have returned to woods where they had previously disappeared.   Dr Colin Lawton from Zoology in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway explains how the public can help: “We are hoping people all over the island of Ireland will take part in this conservation project. We have seen changes in the ranges of the red and grey squirrel and the pine marten in the previous surveys and it is vital that we keep recording their progress. This is a fascinating story where the recovery of one native species, the pine marten, has slowed the progress of an invasive species, the grey squirrel. The red squirrel, another native species, has shown signs of recovery as a result.” Conor McKinney, from Ulster Wildlife, added: “The public are absolutely critical for data collection on this scale and indeed for conservation efforts for red squirrels, pine marten and other species right across the island of Ireland. This is a superb opportunity for people to contribute to exciting new research by uploading their squirrel and pine marten photos and letting us know where they saw the animal, how often they see it and what it was doing.” This survey is being conducted with the support of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.  Members of the public can record their sightings using the 2019 All-Ireland Squirrel and Pine Marten Survey pages hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in the Republic of Ireland and CEDaR in Northern Ireland.  More information can be found on the survey Facebook and Twitter pages (both @squirrelsurvey) and the online survey can be found at www.biodiversityireland.ie.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Students from the College of Engineering and Informatics and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway will host Ireland’s second annual student-led, Galway Energy Summit 2019, with this year’s event focusing on the themes ‘Changing for our Climate and Can Technology Save Us?’ The summit is the only one of its kind in Ireland and shows that young people are driving this initiative and leading the way for change in Ireland. Companies such as ESB, Jaguar Land Rover, Mitsubishi Electric and Gas Networks Ireland will participate in the event, which takes place on Tuesday, 12 March in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Galway Energy Summit continues to put our students on the map of the Irish energy community. They really are leaders when it comes to engaging academic, industry and the public in this hugely important challenge our society faces. We see student movements springing up all over the world inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and her School Strike for Climate. To have any hope of not only coping with climate change, but continuing to grow and thrive into the future, we need highly motivated and passionate young people like those behind the Galway Energy Summit.” Panel Discussions and Events ‘Can Technology Save Us?’ – John Byrne, Head of ESB smart meter roll out. ESB plan to roll out a smart meter in every home this year. Ian Kilgallon, Gas Networks Ireland and Russel Vickers, Jaguar Land Rover will discuss the role of electric vehicles and connected autonomous vehicles in our future. Each industry will play a huge role in our future day-to-day lives. The discussion will be moderated by Kate Kerrane, former Energy Society Auditor at NUI Galway. ‘Changing for our Climate’ - Environmental scientist and Newstalk’s ‘Down to Earth’ co-presenter, Dr Cara Augustenburg will discuss the environmental aspects; Dr Mary Greene, NUI Galway will focus on social and community aspects; Tom Short will speak on behalf of the Irish Farmers Association; and researcher, Dr Paul Deane, MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, UCC will speak about the technical aspects and facts of climate change. The discussion be moderated by George Lee, Agricultural and Environment Correspondent for RTÉ News. A keynote speech by Niall O’Hara, ChangeX, hosted by Climate Cocktail Club. ChangeX partners with the world’s top social entrepreneurs to bring countless ways to improve communities. A truly inspiring organisation, their projects include ‘Plastic Free 4 School’ which helps schools avoid single use plastics, reduce waste and maximise recycling, and the ‘GreenPlan’ a new system that uses behavioural change to tackle climate change providing a clear framework outlining practical actions across several themes.   An Innovation, Energy and Careers Fair will provide delegates with the opportunity to speak to industry and organisations. The fair will bring together several energy experts, companies, start-ups, students and academics. Companies include ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, Mitsubishi Electric, and a number of organisations such as An Taisce Climate Ambassadors and Trocaire. Conor Deane, Director and Founder of Galway Energy Summit from NUI Galway, said: “Last year’s event was a huge success as we welcomed over 400 delegates to Galway ranging from students, industry, academics and the general public. The goal this year is to build on that success. This year’s theme ‘Changing for our Climate’ has never been as relevant, especially with the challenges Ireland faces for the future. The day provides a unique opportunity to gain knowledge in the area while networking with companies such as ESB and Mitsubishi. We welcome everyone to the West on the 12 March.” Caoimhe Culhane, a student at the Ryan Institute and Director of Galway Energy Summit: There was no doubt that the topic of climate change would feature heavily in this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report last October. I hope that this event will encourage people to make changes as we move towards a just energy transition. As an engineering student I realise it is important that a holistic approach is taken to combat climate change which is why I am looking forward to meeting people from many different disciplines and walks of life at Galway Energy Summit.” Galway Energy Summit’s main sponsors are ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, Mitsubishi Electric, MaREI and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. For full event details and free registration, visit: www.galwayenergysummit.ie. Refreshments will be provided and music from NUI Galway’s Medical Orchestra. Follow on Twitter @GES_2019.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Dr Heidi K. Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, will deliver a masterclass entitled ‘Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos’. Organised by NUI Galway’s MBA Alumni Association, the masterclass will take place on Tuesday, 12 March, at 6pm in the Human Biology Building, NUI Galway.   During the masterclass Dr Gardner will discuss how collaboration is not just a buzzword, but a business necessity. As the commercial, technological, competitive, and regulatory environments become increasingly complex, knowledge workers must collaborate across disciplinary and organisational boundaries to tackle those sophisticated issues. By teaming up to integrate expertise, workers can address problems more effectively and efficiently.  Otherwise, collaboration can be costly, risky, time-consuming, and painful.    During this event, findings from the research and how it applies specifically to attendees will be discussed. The masterclass aims provoke dialogue, raise and answer questions, and generally make the session as interactive as possible.   Martin Hughes MBA Director at NUI Galway said: “The defining feature of future knowledge work will be smart collaboration and we are delighted to welcome the highly acclaimed Heidi Gardner to address Galway Business and Law community.  We see this as a unique opportunity for Galway enterprise to explore the complexity and challenges of understanding and facilitating smart collaboration.”   Dr Gardner is author of the recently-released book Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos. Dr Gardner also serves as a Harvard Lecturer on Law, and Faculty Chair of the school’s Accelerated Leadership Program and Sector Leadership Masterclass executive courses. Previously she was a Professor at Harvard Business School.   Gardner’s research received the Academy of Management’s prize for paper with Outstanding Practical Implications for Management. She has authored or co-authored more than fifty book chapters, case studies, and articles in scholarly and practitioner journals, including several in Harvard Business Review. Her first book, Leadership for Lawyers: Essential Strategies for Law Firm Success was published in 2015. She was recently named by Thinkers 50 as a Next Generation Business Guru.   To register for the event visit https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/de38U95GL4337l.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Professor Mark Ebell, a leading general practitioner and researcher in the US, recently delivered a seminar on cancer screening, organised by the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, a collaboration between NUI Galway, RCSI and the Irish College of General Practitioners. Entitled ‘The potential benefits and harms of cancer screening – perspectives from the US Preventive Services Task Force’, Professor Ebell spoke about the potential benefits and harms of screening, an overview of how the US decides what cancers should be screened for, compared the national cancer screening recommendations of Ireland and the US and finally reviewed in some detail the key issue of over diagnosis as a harm. Professor Andrew W Murphy, Director of the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and Established Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, said: “Professor Ebell’s seminar was a great introduction to leading edge research internationally into ensuring that our cancer screening programs cause more good than harm. He provided practical advice onto how to achieve this. He highlighted that Irish cancer screening recommendations are currently congruent with best international practice – but need to be constantly reviewed.” During the seminar Professor Ebell noted that while there are many kinds of cancer, for only a few is there evidence that the potential benefits of screening outweigh the potential harms. While potential benefits are substantial for a small number of those screened (a death averted), all patients experience some degree of inconvenience, and many are subjected to the harms of biopsies and other follow-up tests. A new kind of harm, increasingly recognised and present with most kinds of cancer screening, is over diagnosis. As our technology has evolved, we are able to detect smaller and smaller lesions that may appear cancerous, actually do not behave like a cancer. About 1 in 5 persons who have a breast or lung cancer detected by screening would have lived a full life with the cancer never causing any symptoms (“overdiagnosis”). Professor Mark Ebell is currently a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia, and Editor-in-Chief of Essential Evidence and Deputy Editor of the journal American Family Physician. He is author of over 350 peer-reviewed articles and is author or editor of seven books, with a focus on evidence-based practice, systematic reviews, medical informatics, and clinical decision-making. Professor Ebell served on the US Preventive Services Task Force from 2012 to 2015, and in 2019 will be a Fulbright Scholar at RCSI in Dublin, Ireland. The seminar can be viewed at https://primarycaretrials.ie/resources/prof-markebell/.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

University will hold ‘My Amazing Brain’ exhibition and International ‘Brain Bee’ competition As part of the international Brain Awareness Week, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will hold a public information exhibit ‘My Amazing Brain’ on Tuesday, 12 March in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Over 300 transition year students from local schools will visit the exhibit to learn more about how the brain and nervous system work. The exhibit will consist of interactive displays where our visitors will learn about the brain in a hands-on way.  For example, there will be stations exploring hand-eye coordination through mirror writing, colour perception, optical illusions, brain waves using EEG and brain cell histology using microscopy. There will also be lots of general information and a quiz for the students to complete about the brain and brain disorders, via a series of large information posters prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of the NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre. The posters cover a variety of illnesses including: epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, pain, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury. Additionally, the Galway Neuroscience Centre will hold the first ‘Brain Bee’ competition in Ireland. The International Brain Bee (IBB) is a neuroscience competition for secondary school students. Its purpose is to motivate young men and women to learn about the human brain, and to inspire them to enter careers in the basic and clinical brain sciences. The world needs future clinicians and researchers to treat and find cures for more than 1,000 neurological and psychological disorders. Transition year students from local schools will compete to become the Brain Bee Champion. Speaking about the events, Dr Una Fitzgerald, Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, said: “The Galway Neuroscience Centre has been a partner in the global ‘Brain Awareness Week’ event for over ten years. Organised by Galway Neuroscience Centre members during March each year, the importance of this outreach activity cannot be over-emphasised. With NUI Galway’s ‘My Amazing Brain’ interactive exhibition and the ‘Brain Bee’ general brain knowledge quiz, we aim to peak the public’s interest in all things relating to the brain and we hope to inspire the next generation brain researchers.”

Monday, 4 March 2019

Today (Monday, 4 March) marks the launch of the first ever Annual Report of the Supreme Court and the visit of the court to NUI Galway, for court sittings and seminars with students. These events are a part of a drive by the court to bring about an increased visibility of the country’s highest court, along with transparency regarding its work, and an understanding of its role. The televising of aspects of the court in the past year is also part of the efforts to create a familiarity with and access to its work. In Galway the court will not only hear cases, but will also have professional development seminars with the legal professions and a host of interactions and seminars with the students of the School Law in NUI Galway. The Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke today said: “In publishing this inaugural report, it is hoped that the work of the Supreme Court, both inside the courtroom and outside, and both in Ireland and abroad, can be highlighted. I hope that the general public can gain a greater understanding of what it is that the Supreme Court actually does and its role in upholding the Constitution and the law.” He said that 2018 was a demanding and dynamic year with the Supreme Court determining 157 applications for leave to appeal, disposing of 128 appeals and delivering 91 reserved judgments.  Of the appeals disposed of, 67 were appeals brought under the reformed jurisdiction of the Court which has operated since the establishment of the Court of Appeal. The Court has now effectively disposed of its backlog of legacy cases.  In 2018, in order to assist the Court of Appeal, the Court also disposed of 42 cases which were returned to the Supreme Court having previously been sent to the Court of Appeal for determination. Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We are greatly honoured to welcome the Supreme Court to these historic court sittings at NUI Galway. This is the first time that the Supreme Court will sit outside of a courthouse since the Four Courts reopened in 1932, the first time the court sits in Galway, and only its third time to sit outside of Dublin. I would like to thank the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court for giving their time so generously by participating in seminars with our students.”  Dr O’Mahony continued: “The Supreme Court are to be commended for their initiatives to engage with the broader community and with our law students. This engagement demystifies the role of the Court, promotes the rule of law and the concept of open justice. The Supreme Court sittings on campus is a timely and fitting way to celebrate 170 years of teaching law and of legal scholarship here at NUI Galway.” The Chief Justice said: “It is important to stress that the work of the Supreme Court has evolved significantly in recent years. The establishment of the Court of Appeal in 2014 has changed the structure of the caseload of the Court. Each member of the Court is also engaged in extra-judicial work, outside of hearing appeals and delivering judgments. The Supreme Court of Ireland is a member of no less than ten European and International networks and participation in each of these networks requires extensive judicial resources.” This international work has increased as a result of Ireland becoming the major Common Law country in the EU, as the UK leaves. Also for the first time the court is publishing in the report, summaries and notes of the major judgements it gave throughout the year. This will create a ready reference and access to the jurisprudence of the court each year. The report also notes that it is now possible to file appeals and follow up work and submissions online to the Supreme Court for the first time. This e-court project has just gone live online, and promises ease of access and efficiencies for practitioners. The report can be viewed at www.courts.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 4 March 2019

NUI Galway’s Department of History in association with Galway City Council will host the inaugural Galway History Festival from 5-16 March. There will be a number of free talks, workshops and public events throughout the festival on campus and across the city with guests including Catherine Corless, Andy Irvine and many more. Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, one of the festival co-organisers, from the Department of History at NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited about the festival – particularly its diverse mix of speakers, panellists, chefs, and musicians. Our aim when putting together the programme was to reflect the rich history of this city and its surrounding region, as well as celebrating the fact that Galway has always been an internationally-connected place. We look forward to some thought-provoking discussions and debates, and hope there will be something on the programme for people of all ages and interests – from the panel discussions to the community and school’s events.” Mr Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, said: “Galway City Council is very pleased to be involved in the development of this significant new addition to our city’s cultural calendar. As part of our Creative Galway 2018 -2022 programme which receives funding from Creative Ireland, we are delighted to support the opportunity the Galway History Festival affords for a dynamic and accessible point of entry into Galway’s past for locals and visitors alike.” The festival opening will be held in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway on Thursday, 7 March, when Dr John Cunningham from the Department of History at NUI Galway will discuss the life of Tom Glynn (1881-1934) the son of a herdsman from Gurteen, Co. Galway, who became a notable radical journalist and anti-war campaigner in Australia. The talk will feature a performance by renowned Irish musician, Andy Irvine whose composition Gladiators was inspired by the work of Glynn and his friend Tom Barker. Galway has a long-standing reputation for its food. On Friday, 8 March at Galway City Museum, a panel that will include chef JP McMahon, Aniar and Cava, food historian Dr Regina Sexton, UCC, social historian Dr Ciara Breathnach, UL, and chef and food historian Áine Maguire, will trace the history of food in Galway and the West of Ireland from the eighteenth century to the present. The event will be held in Galway City Museum and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from NUI Galway will moderate the discussion. On Saturday, 9 March, a series of discussions will be held in the Black Gate Cultural Centre. The panels begin at 10am, when Catherine Corless, who came to the public’s attention for her research into the death records at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home will deliver a talk with Irish Examiner journalist, Conall Ó Fathárta who has carried out research on Ireland’s institutional past, from Bessboro Mother and Baby Home to illegal adoptions. They will discuss their research with Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley who is working on the ‘Tuam Home Oral History Project’ at NUI Galway, which is recording and archiving the testimonies of people who spent time in the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. The Atlas of the Irish Revolution was the Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year in 2017 and is the basis for the recent three-part series on RTÉ 1, ‘The Irish Revolution’. On Saturday, 9 March a panel, which includes two of the book’s editors, Dr Donal Ó Drisceoil and Dr John Borgonovo, UCC, will address the history of the Revolution in Galway, with contributions from Dr Tony Varley and Dara Folan from NUI Galway. The event will be moderated by Dr Mary Harris, NUI Galway. Galway in the 1970’s was a period of great innovation in the arts and cultural spheres, alongside upsurges in social activism and political radicalism. On Saturday, 9 March three veterans of this period, Ollie Jennings, co-founder of Galway Arts Festival, Evelyn Stevens, Galway Family Planning Association, and Seosamh Ó Cuaig, Gluaiseacht Chearta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta will discuss their efforts during that decade, and will reflect on changes since then. On Saturday, 9 March, a panel which will include contributions from Dr Catríona Crowe, Archivist and Historian, and Dr Eoin Daly and Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh from NUI Galway will debate what role history plays in twenty-first century society and politics. The panel will be moderated by Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, NUI Galway. A series of ‘Shop’ events will take place on Saturday, 9 March with renowned Galway businesses Powell’s, The Four Corners, Ó Máille’s, McCambridge’s and Anthony Ryan’s, telling the stories of how their businesses came to be and the successes that have led them to remaining in business today. Colm Powell traces the evolution of the business acquired by his father almost a century ago, while also introducing the historic building in which it is located. Anne and Ger Ó Máille will tell the story of their family business which has been selling homespun yarns and made-to-measure clothing since 1938; Natalie McCambridge will talk about the development of the ‘high class grocery, provision, wine and spirit establishment’ established by her grandfather, George McCambridge in the 1920s and Anthony Ryan will outline the history of the drapery store established in 1909 by his grandparents, Anthony and Katherine. Galway City is home to some of the most celebrated pubs in Ireland; with The Crane Bar being one of Galway’s longest established traditional music venues. Current owners, Mick Crehan and Maeve Joyce will talk about the history of their pub, and its role in Galway’s musical culture. Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell gifted the building today known as The King’s Head as payment for the execution of King Charles I. Join Tom Kenny from Kenny’s Bookshop and Gallery as he shares pictures and stories of Galway pubs. In theatre, The story of The Little Fish: A Musical Journey will tell the story of the promising indie band that were ‘The Little Fish’ and their journey through Galway’s golden-age musical scene. Members of the band will be there on the day to play some of their songs while reminiscing about their experiences as an up and coming rock band. St. Nicholas’s Collegiate Church is Galway’s most historic place of worship. Professor Steven Ellis from NUI Galway, and for many years a Churchwarden there, will give a short talk and answer questions on the history of St Nicholas’s and his association with its Anglican community since his arrival to Galway in the 1970s. A variety of community events will also be held during the festival; Dr Pádraig Lenihan, NUI Galway will give a talk on ‘Aughrim and the Boyne compared’; Dr Kevin O’Sullivan and Dr Barry Houlihan from NUI Galway will give a workshop for leaving certificate students on ‘Quiz the Historians: Advice on putting together a Special Project’; Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, NUI Galway will deliver a lecture on ‘The Real Saint Patrick’ and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley and Dr Tomás Finn, NUI Galway will give a workshop to primary school pupils on ‘How to interview your Granny (Grandad, next-door neighbour, auntie, uncle)’. For more information about Galway History Festival email galwayhistoryfestival@gmail.com, visit: https://galwayhistoryfestival.wordpress.com/ or follow on Twitter @historyatgalway -Ends-

Monday, 4 March 2019

CÚRAM is part of a new EU research project TBMED (Test bed for high-risk medical devices), which aims to support European Medtech companies in global competition by reducing the time-to-market of high-risk medical devices. An Open Innovation test bed for the development of devices of risk classification IIb and higher will provide expert support from an early development stage to the optimised transformation of prototypes into valuable and innovative products. The project has received €8.5 million in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and will run for a period of over four years. CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway is one of 13 European partners in the TBMED project, which sets out to tackle two of the most pressing issues in the EU healthcare system - the large variation in patient diagnosis and continually increasing costs which result in an urgent need to create and incorporate value in healthcare. However, new EU regulations regarding medical devices classified as high-risk impose great challenges especially on smaller European production companies which are the core target group of TBMED. In order to help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to deliver better care at more reasonable costs and enable them to face global competition by large suppliers, the consortium aims to develop an Open Innovation test bed focusing on the most challenging devices of high-risk classification IIb upwards. Commenting on the new project, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The TBMED research project will produce a real and lasting impact on patient access to emerging medical device solutions. Partnering in this project provides a valuable opportunity for CÚRAM to assist in strengthening the growth and development of SMEs in Ireland through the Open Innovation test bed’s unique approach.” Professor Thomas Ritter a Principal Investigator at CÚRAM and Partner in the TBMED, added: “This project is an exciting opportunity of delivering medical devices to patients suffering from serious diseases faster and more safely.” In a quality-by-design approach, the test bed will help companies to accelerate the development of medical devices, reduce their time to market and offer additional business management services. Counselling and advisory sessions with experts on clinical investigations and an advisory health technology assessment team, EUnetHTA*, who will make sure that important evidence on the safety and efficacy of the new devices and adequate comparators is generated during preclinical development. TBMED will use three case studies to build the test bed: GlycoBone®, keratoprosthesis and new magnetic nanoparticle devices to improve cancer treatments based on hyperthermia. The deliberate choice of three very different cases will facilitate the development of an Open Innovation test bed suitable for a broad range of applications in the field and turning TBMED into a one-stop-shop providing Medtech companies with open access at fair conditions. Iraida Loinaz from Fundación CIDETEC Nanomedicine, who coordinates the TBMED project, said: “We want to make our approach sustainable through the strategic involvement of existing European clusters and the use of collaboration opportunities. Our aim is to strengthen the growth and development of SMEs in many different regions and increase their chances of success by bringing them in contact with potential investors interested in new products.” The TBMED consortium comprises of 13 European partners from Spain, France, Ireland and Germany and is coordinated by the Spanish Research Institute CIDETEC. On 21-22 February 2019, the TBMED partners came together for the official project kick-off in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. The meeting was preceded by an open session on Wednesday, 20 February 2019 with participation from representatives of the local Basque government and the Basque Health Cluster. In addition to TBMED, the Horizon 2020 projects MDOT (coordinated by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany) and SAFE-N-MEDTECH (coordinated by Biopraxis, Spain), which pursue similar approaches in the development of test beds, will be presented. -Ends-

Monday, 4 March 2019

NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will stage Nobel Prize winning Italian playwright Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of the Anarchist in a translation by Simon Nye. The show runs from 7-9 March at 8pm with a special Sunday matinee on 10 March at 2pm. Considered a classic of twentieth century theatre that is both provocative and humourous, Fo’s political farce is made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the action and changes the setting to Ireland. Under the direction of a mysterious maniac the play sees a group of madcap policemen hilariously stage and restage a cover-up of the scandalous death of an anarchist during their police interogation into the bombing of a bank. Produced and performed by second year undergraduates of the BA Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, this production is an energetic clownish phsyical theatre piece that showcases the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers. The play is directed by Dr Ian R. Walsh, a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre and The Theatre of Enda Walsh. His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field, The Magic Flute, Orfeo ed Eurydice, The Wandering Scholar and Riders to the Sea. In 2016 Walsh directed the first full production at the O’Donoghue Centre when he staged Sophie Treadwell’s expressionistic Machinal to much acclaim. Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said: “Although the play was inspired by police corruption in Italy in the 1970s it speaks directly to the recently exposed corruption scandals of An Garda Síochana brought to light by the Charleton Tribunal. Thus we thought to transpose the piece to a cartoon verison of Ireland with the style of the production being one that sees the zany commedia dell’arte of Italy meet the absurdity of Father Ted. What is fabulous about Fo’s piece is how it manages to be challenging politically whilst still being very entertaining. The script also pushes the students in terms of physical characterisation, precision of movement and the creation of a presentational form of expression that runs counter to the dominant realist modes of acting with which they are familiar.” Tickets are €5 and available on the door and online at eventbrite.com at https://bit.ly/2IE0Zp5. -Ends-

Friday, 1 March 2019

At a signing ceremony in NUI Galway in the presence of the Chinese Vice-Minister for Education, the Ambassador of China in Ireland and the Mayor of Galway, NUI Galway has signed an agreement to establish a Confucius Institute and to formalise collaborative ties with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM). The new Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway (威大学中医与再生医学孔子学院) will integrate east and west, ancient and modern, Chinese and regenerative medicine in medical education and research. The research programme will aim to identify regenerative properties of Chinese medicines including the effects on stem cell biology.  The agreement follows recently established cooperation between NUI Galway’s regenerative medicine institute, REMEDI, and NJUCM and it paves the way for joint collaborations to integrate Chinese and Regenerative Medicine in the search for new treatments for conditions of unmet clinical need such as diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative diseases.  Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM) is one of the earliest established (in 1954) and renowned Chinese Medicine Universities in China, and has contributed substantially to global research and education in Chinese Medicine. In welcoming the announcement, Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “Global education, scientific research and clinical trials of Chinese Medicine are all needed to enable a worldwide translation of Chinese Medicine products.  NUI Galway and NJUCM through the foundation of this Confucius institute will enable collaborative research to be undertaken.  This research will occur in parallel with education and application of Chinese Medicine to practice in Ireland.” Professor O’Brien added: “Chinese Medicine has therapeutic effects for many conditions with unmet medical need by Western medicine. The NUI Galway Centre will teach Chinese Medicine but will also have a research goal to identify active products in Chinese Medicine.” President Ó hÓgartaigh speaking at the signing of the agreement said: “Since diplomatic relations began between China and Ireland 40 years ago, NUI Galway has had a close and strategic academic relationship with China. Today we work with Chinese partners across a range of areas and we host 165 Chinese students on campus. The establishment of a Confucius Institute is a major development for our University. We welcome the unique nature of this institute, which has at its core a partnership with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine which has enabled us to establish a Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway. Chinese Medicine is a treasure of Chinese culture and the Galway Confucius Institute uniquely combines the medical and scientific traditions of East and West. We share the hope that together our scholars and clinicians working in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in Regenerative Medicine and stem cell therapy will develop innovative treatments to improve healthcare for humankind.” NJUCM has previously established a Confucius Institute of Chinese Medicine in partnership with colleges in Melbourne which has largely focused on promoting global education in Chinese Medicine. The NUI Galway Confucius Institute will have a major emphasis on discovering regenerative properties of Chinese Medicine products. NUI Galway established the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in 2004, with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. With significant Irish and European investment in basic and translational research, REMEDI is currently involved in 7 EU clinical trials investigating the clinical application of stem cells in conditions of unmet medical need, using mesenchymal stromal cells manufactured from an EU-standard GMP manufacturing facility at NUI Galway and partner institutions in the EU. The Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway (高威大学中医与再生医学孔子学院) will be supported by global resources including Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters, to integrate Chinese and Regenerative Medicine to benefit the health status of mankind globally. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have just published a review paper which draws a link between the immune system and the development of debilitating necrotic skin wounds after envenomation (a bite or sting) by a broad range of venomous animals. Once confirmed by future experiments, it will have deep implications on how life-threatening necrotic wounds following envenomations by snakes, wasps, bees, ants, spiders, scorpions and jellyfish, will be treated by clinicians. This could impact some 500,000 patients every single year, all around the world. The review has just been published (26 February) in the journal Clinical Toxicology. Envenomations by snakes, wasps, bees, ants, spiders, scorpions or jellyfish are common throughout the world. In most cases, the venom impacts the victim’s nervous system, causing burning pain, stiffness and difficulty breathing. Occasionally, victims also develop necrotic wounds where bitten or stung, which are often inconsistent with the known activity of some types of venom. Those seemingly inexplicable wounds are notoriously difficult to treat, and sometimes result in deep scars, debilitating chronic pain and amputations. In addition to direct lytic activity of the venom, necrotic manifestations can also be either enhanced by, or caused solely by the victim’s own immune system in response to the presence of venom toxins through activated pathways of regulated cell death.   John Dunbar, lead author of the study and doctoral student at the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway, said: “Venom-induced necrosis is a well-known fact and most prevalent in Snakebite victims. Surprisingly, very little has been done to understand the mechanisms that drives necrosis, despite promising results from two particular studies published around two decades ago. Necrosis is something we usually associate with an attack on our cells by external forces.  However, in recent years, advances in biochemistry and immunology have helped identify and characterise a number of cell death pathways that are regulated internally by the cells own proteins. We’ve re-analysed those venom-related studies in light of these recent advances.” Dr Michel Dugon from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “Envenomations remain a leading cause of deaths and injuries around the world. Venomous animals kill over 150,000 and maim over half a million people every single year around the globe. Identifying and targeting specific inflammatory pathways to regulated cell death (try to determine the exact physiological events that cascade in a person’s immune system after a venomous sting or bite), may significantly reduce the severity of symptoms experienced by the victims. It is something that we will aim to address in the very near future.” This study suggests that in addition to the current therapies that specifically target the venom, further research should examine immune-suppression therapies as a way to treat victims. To read the full report in the Clinical Toxicology journal, visit: https://doi.org/10.1080/15563650.2019.1578367

Thursday, 28 February 2019

NUI Galway will host a number of public events in celebration of International Women’s Day which will take place on Friday, 8 March. International Women’s Day is dedicated to championing women’s achievements and driving gender balance around the world. On Monday 4 March, the LGBT+ Staff Network will host a public event entitled ‘Queer Women in Higher Education’ which will take place in the Arts/Science Concourse from 12:30-13:30pm. The aim of this event is to discuss the visibility of queer women at NUI Galway and other Higher Education Institutes by hearing first-hand stories from women on how gender and sexuality have impacted on their careers. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2NxMPVw.    The School of Law at NUI Galway will host a public event entitled ‘Women on Supreme Courts’ at 6pm in the Lecture Theatre of the Human Biology Building on Tuesday, 5 March. This event will mark the first visit from the Supreme Court to NUI Galway and will include a discussion on the contribution of women to judiciary in the Supreme Courts. Speakers on the day will include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, former Supreme Court Judge; Mrs Justice Matilda Twomey, Chief Justice of Seychelles and NUI Galway Graduate; Mr Justice John McMenamin and Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. A post-event reception will take place after the event in the ground floor lobby of the Human Biology Building. On Wednesday, 6 March, InnovateHER will present a public event entitled ‘NUI Galway Women in Innovation: Changing Perceptions and Inspiring Growth in Medtech’ from 12:30-2pm in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn. The aim of the event is to encouraging all who work within innovation, both male and female alike, to attend to network and learn from each other on the day. Lunch will also be provided. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2VjFJqi.   NUI Galway is also teaming up with charity Dress for Success Dublin to promote gender equality. On Thursday, 7 March, roundtable discussion and media event on Equality in the Work Place will take place from 12-2pm in the Aula Maxima Ground Floor. Speakers will include Sonya Lennon, Founder and Director of Dress for Success Dublin, Dr Michelle Millar, Head of School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway, and Mr Mark Butler, Executive Vice President of European Operations at Merit Medical. The moderator for the panel on the day will be Dave O’Connell from the Connacht Tribune. To register for this event, go to https://bit.ly/2GR4nLU.   Sonya Lennon will also address up to 200 students on ‘First Steps to Success - Owning your Worth and Planning the Game Strategy’ on Thursday. Students will learn how to develop their personal brand, understand their worth and optimise their career from the very beginning. The student focused event will be held in NUI Galway’s Human Biology Building and is open for both students and staff. On Friday, 8 March, the launch of the UWN Sheehy Skeffington Distinguished Lecture Series will take place.  The inaugural lecture “Standing up to injustice: my Sheehy Skeffington legacy”  by Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington will celebrate people who have shown the courage to call out injustice and who stood their ground against adversity. To register for the inaugural lecture visit https://bit.ly/2SChPo0. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

NUI Galway’s discipline of Social Work at the School of Political Science and Sociology is offering a new Postgraduate Certificate in Continuing Professional Development for Social Work for qualified social workers at various stages of their social work career. One of the courses in this programme of studies, The Non Violent Resistance in Practice course is also open to practitioners from other disciplines as well as social work, such as social care, mental health nursing, family support, psychology and counselling. The course will take place for five Fridays starting from 15 March to 12 April, from 10am-4pm at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway. The Non Violence Resistance in Practice course responds to the needs of practitioners in children and family services for an effective, evidence based and strengths-focused responses to the problems of abusive behaviour and violence in families. Dr Declan Coogan, lecturer in Social Work at NUI Galway, said: “The Non Violence Resistance in Practice course aims to deepen links between the campus and wider community in the West of Ireland, bringing together knowledge, experience and research to make a difference in families lives when abuse and violence takes place, especially in those families where children (under 18 years old) abuse their parents.” Practitioners interested in the Non Violent Resistance in Practice course must be employed as a qualified practitioner in social work or allied health and social care disciplines such as, for example, family support/ social care/ psychotherapy/ youth work/ psychology/ nursing (mental health). The closing date for registration is February 28. Completed application forms must be returned by then to joanne.oconnor@nuigalway.ie A variety of modules, including the Non Violence Resistance in Practice course, will be offered on a stand-alone basis and credits from these modules can contribute to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate (30 ECTS) or Diploma (60 ECTS). This means that social work candidates interested in earning academic accreditation must register for the certificate and pay the fee of €1,500. Alternatively, candidates can pay a fee of €500 as they take each module.  Practitioners from social work and from other disciplines may choose to pay an attendance only fee of €250. Participation in the course does not then earn academic accreditation and does not require candidates to complete assessment exercises (but attendance certificates can be made available on request at the end of the course). To apply for this course, other than the Non Violent Resistance in Practice course, applicants must have a CORU accredited professional social work qualification (level 8 or level 9) or equivalent. All details available about these courses can be found at www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/political-science-and-sociology/postgraduate-programmes/pgcertdip-cpd-social-work/ Alternatively search for social work CDP at NUI Galway using any search engine on the internet. For further information about these courses contact Dr Declan Coogan, NUI Galway, at declan.coogan@nuigalway.ie.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March. Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and formerly Secretary of State for the Environment, Governor of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, was Chair in 1998-1999 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, of which Maurice Hayes was a member. Following the deposit of his papers in NUI Galway in 2017, the James Hardiman Library will officially open the Maurice Hayes archive to scholars and the public. Maurice Hayes (1927-2017) was an eminent public servant who played a vital role in the search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His many roles included: Chairman of the Community Relations Commission from 1969 until 1972; Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive, 1973-74; member of the Secretariat of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, 1975; Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, 1987-1991; Independent Senator in Se­anad Éireann, 1997-2007; Chairman of the Ireland Funds; and member of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, 1998-1999 (the Patten Commission). Maurice Hayes had a particular ability to work with and engage people and parties of all persuasions. In addition to his achievements in Northern Ireland, Dr Hayes took a keen interest in Europe throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Irish Government’s National Forum on Europe, which operated from 2001 to 2009, and received the European of the Year award in 2004. He published widely, including a three-volume autobiography, had a strong commitment to the Irish language and was also a vital figure in Down’s GAA successes in the 1960s. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh speaking about the event said: “NUI Galway is honoured to hold the papers of the great Irishman and great European, Maurice Hayes. A scholar, a public servant, a peace-maker, Maurice was respected by all communities across the island of Ireland and his papers offer researchers and students a unique perspective on Ireland at a time of great social and political change. I look forward to welcoming his family to our campus for this occasion which will be marked by a perspective on Maurice’s extensive legacy in a memorial lecture by his friend, Lord Patten of Barnes.” The Maurice Hayes Archive consists of 64 boxes and covers his whole career, including speeches, correspondence, records and papers from his membership of various working parties, commissions, conventions and other organisations. There is also material relating to local government, the GAA, his time at the Department of Health and Social Services and source material for his autobiographies. The catalogue of the archive is at http://tinyurl.com/y2w2op39. The University holds a number of closely-related collections relating to Northern Ireland, including those of civil rights activist and human rights lawyer Kevin Boyle, intermediary Brendan Duddy and Provisional Sinn Féin leader Rúairí Ó Brádaigh. There are powerful direct connections between the Hayes papers and these other collections, most notably the private diary he kept of his role in public peace talks in 1975 at the same time as Brendan Duddy was keeping his diary of the secret talks with the IRA that proceeded in parallel. His papers will greatly enhance NUI Galway’s position as a centre for research and teaching on peacemaking, conflict resolution and the Northern Ireland Troubles. Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway commented: “Maurice Hayes played an enormously important role in public life in Ireland, North and South, over several decades. His contributions ranged widely but perhaps the most important were to Community Relations, allied to his genius for maintaining strong relationships with political and social forces across the political spectrum at a time of intense violent conflict in Northern Ireland. His archive will allow a new generation of researchers to explore the extent and significance of his influence and provide a new window into political and social developments in Ireland, North and South.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “It was a real privilege to get to know Maurice Hayes and to develop an understanding of his unique contribution to so many aspects of life in Northern Ireland and far beyond. The opening of his papers for research, teaching and general consultation at the James Hardiman Library means that his lasting legacy will be fully appreciated by all who make use of this important archive.” Registration to attend the Maurice Hayes Memorial Lecture on 12 March at 5.30pm is essential; please book at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/a-european-identity-some-reflections-on-the-career-of-maurice-hayes-on-the-opening-of-his-archive-tickets-56187526404.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics were awarded ‘Best College of Arts and Social Science’ and ‘Best College of Business’ respectively at the Education Awards 2019 which took place in Dublin recently. The Education Awards were established in 2017 to recognise, encourage and celebrate excellence in the third level education sector in Ireland.   An independent panel of recognised and expert judges awarded The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in their respective categories, commenting on the quality of programmes offered by the Colleges and their broader impact in the community through industry partnerships, collaborations and research.   Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “In the last 18 months, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies has launched a number of new successful undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as delivering innovative and impactful research with wider societal benefits. It is wonderful for the efforts of all colleagues in making this happen to be recognised at the 2019 Education Awards.”   Professor John McHale, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law, NUI Galway, said: “I'm delighted with the announcement that the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics won the Best College of Business award at the 2019 Education Awards. This incredible achievement is truly representative of the efforts of all colleagues and reaffirms our commitment within the University to creating transformational opportunities for our students.”   NUI Galway was also shortlisted in a number of other categories including ‘Best Education Outreach Award’ for NUI Galway Youth Academy, ‘Best Online Learning Experience’ for the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, ‘Career Impact Strategy Award’ for the Career Development Centre, ‘Best Marketing/Communications Team’ for the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and ‘Best Business and Third Level Institution Collaboration’ for Deloitte and NUI Galway.   For more information on the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/. For more information on the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Chris Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, will officially open the archive of Maurice Hayes at NUI Galway before giving a public lecture entitled, ‘A European identity: some reflections on the career of Maurice Hayes on the opening of his archive at NUI Galway’ on Tuesday, 12 March. Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and formerly Secretary of State for the Environment, Governor of Hong Kong and European Commissioner for External Relations, was Chair in 1998-1999 of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, of which Maurice Hayes was a member. Following the deposit of his papers in NUI Galway in 2017, the James Hardiman Library will officially open the Maurice Hayes archive to scholars and the public. Maurice Hayes (1927-2017) was an eminent public servant who played a vital role in the search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. His many roles included: Chairman of the Community Relations Commission from 1969 until 1972; Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Executive, 1973-74; member of the Secretariat of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention, 1975; Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, 1987-1991; Independent Senator in Se­anad Éireann, 1997-2007; Chairman of the Ireland Funds; and member of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, 1998-1999 (the Patten Commission). Maurice Hayes had a particular ability to work with and engage people and parties of all persuasions. In addition to his achievements in Northern Ireland, Dr Hayes took a keen interest in Europe throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Irish Government’s National Forum on Europe, which operated from 2001 to 2009, and received the European of the Year award in 2004. He published widely, including a three-volume autobiography, had a strong commitment to the Irish language and was also a vital figure in Down’s GAA successes in the 1960s. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh speaking about the event said: “NUI Galway is honoured to hold the papers of the great Irishman and great European, Maurice Hayes. A scholar, a public servant, a peace-maker, Maurice was respected by all communities across the island of Ireland and his papers offer researchers and students a unique perspective on Ireland at a time of great social and political change. I look forward to welcoming his family to our campus for this occasion which will be marked by a perspective on Maurice’s extensive legacy in a memorial lecture by his friend, Lord Patten of Barnes.” The Maurice Hayes Archive consists of 64 boxes and covers his whole career, including speeches, correspondence, records and papers from his membership of various working parties, commissions, conventions and other organisations. There is also material relating to local government, the GAA, his time at the Department of Health and Social Services and source material for his autobiographies. The catalogue of the archive is at http://tinyurl.com/y2w2op39. The University holds a number of closely-related collections relating to Northern Ireland, including those of civil rights activist and human rights lawyer Kevin Boyle, intermediary Brendan Duddy and Provisional Sinn Féin leader Rúairí Ó Brádaigh. There are powerful direct connections between the Hayes papers and these other collections, most notably the private diary he kept of his role in public peace talks in 1975 at the same time as Brendan Duddy was keeping his diary of the secret talks with the IRA that proceeded in parallel. His papers will greatly enhance NUI Galway’s position as a centre for research and teaching on peacemaking, conflict resolution and the Northern Ireland Troubles. Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway commented: “Maurice Hayes played an enormously important role in public life in Ireland, North and South, over several decades. His contributions ranged widely but perhaps the most important were to Community Relations, allied to his genius for maintaining strong relationships with political and social forces across the political spectrum at a time of intense violent conflict in Northern Ireland. His archive will allow a new generation of researchers to explore the extent and significance of his influence and provide a new window into political and social developments in Ireland, North and South.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “It was a real privilege to get to know Maurice Hayes and to develop an understanding of his unique contribution to so many aspects of life in Northern Ireland and far beyond. The opening of his papers for research, teaching and general consultation at the James Hardiman Library means that his lasting legacy will be fully appreciated by all who make use of this important archive.” Registration to attend the Maurice Hayes Memorial Lecture on 12 March at 5.30pm is essential; please book at http://tinyurl.com/y2j43jxz.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Honours announced ahead of Daffodil Day, March 22 Congratulations to Galway scientist Dr Aideen Ryan who has been recognised for her work in cancer research at the 2019 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards. The awards recognised some of the vital work being undertaken by researchers and support staff throughout the country, funded by the public donations to the Irish Cancer Society. Aideen won the top prize of Research Paper of the Year at the ceremony. She is currently a lecturer in Tumour Immunology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, having received funding from the Irish Cancer Society for research into bowel cancer in 2013. A native of Kiltomer, Aideen has worked on finding new ways to treat bowel cancer through immunotherapy – treatments that boost the body's natural defences to fight cancer. “Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in Ireland, so I feel privileged that my Irish Cancer Society funding has given me the chance to explore new ways to treat this disease and save lives,” she said. “Through my Irish Cancer Society fellowship I wanted to give more hope to people going through the most advanced forms of bowel cancer by exploring better treatments.  Since then I’ve used this experience to progress my research and continue the fight to stop this disease.” Aideen received the prize as an author of the scientific paper: ‘Stromal cell PD-L1 inhibits CD8+ T-cell antitumor immune responses and promotes colon cancer’, published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research. The paper was written by a team of authors, led by PhD researcher Grace O’Malley of NUI Galway. Other Galway-based colleagues who contributed include Oliver Treacy, Kevin Lynch, Serika Naicker, Paul Lohan, Thomas Ritter, and Laurence Egan; and from Queens University Belfast: Philip Dunne. Aideen was one of six people working in cancer research who described their work to a packed audience of family, friends and Irish Cancer Society supporters at the special awards ceremony held in Dublin’s House of Lords on Friday February 15. At the ceremony the Irish Cancer Society also announced that, thanks to the public’s generosity, it is on track to invest €30 million in cancer research in the decade up to 2020. Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said: “This decade has broken all records for cancer research in Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Irish Cancer Society has invested more money in life-saving research than ever before, finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. “In 2019 we intend to invest €2.3 million in cancer research, supporting the work of over 100 researchers around the country. This makes us the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland, but we can still do even more. “Every year we have to turn away researchers who come to us with potentially life-saving projects, simply because we don’t have enough funds to support them. Unfortunately, this means we may have had to turn down a potential breakthrough or cure. If we’re going to stop cancer this has to change. That’s why Daffodil Day 2019 needs to be the biggest one yet.” Daffodil Day 2019, proudly supported by Boots Ireland, will take place on Friday, 22 March. Members of the public are urged to get involved by volunteering as fundraisers and donating what they can on the day. For more see cancer.ie/daffodilday.

Monday, 25 February 2019

A new study undertaken by researchers at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway (UCFRC) assessed the attitudes and values of 700 12 to 16 year old youths in Ireland with regard to empathy, social values and civic behaviour. The study, funded by the Irish Research Council, also explored the degree to which such values and behaviours are promoted across Irish policy and curriculum. The research is among the first in Ireland to focus on the experiences of younger adolescents in relation to empathy and social values. Principal Investigator, Dr Bernadine Brady from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “As young people in Ireland are now exposed to a much wider array of influences than previous generations, it is important to gain an insight into their values and attitudes in relation to empathy, social responsibility and civic behaviour and to understand the factors that influence these values. Our research shows that parents, peers, schools, and local communities continue to have a strong influence on youth social values.” Overall, the study found that young people showed high levels of empathy and social responsibility values but low levels of civic behaviour (for example, offering to help someone at school, helping out in your community). Young people reported that while it is easy to feel empathy for others in society, it is more difficult to actively help or engage in prosocial responding. Some of the factors that inhibited young people from responding were not knowing what to do or fear of showing weakness. Girls scored higher than boys on measures of empathy, social responsibility, and civic behaviour. Taking part in civic education at school, experiencing an open classroom climate, and having parents and a peer groups that endorse pro-social values were found to positively influence young people’s values. Participation in youth work and extracurricular activities (including arts, music, and drama) was also linked to higher levels of empathy, social responsibility and civic behaviour. The study highlights a number of opportunities for Irish policy and curriculum support for empathy and social values. Despite the increasing support for Social and Emotional Learning, it found that academic achievement remains the key priority in the formal education sector. Social and Emotional Learning in schools, the study found, tends to devolve to a small number of interested teachers and they can be reluctant to use the active methodologies associated with such learning. The study recommended that more opportunities be provided to young people to engage in civic behaviour, such as social action projects or volunteering both inside and outside of schools. UNESCO Chair Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway, commented: “The current policy framework places the greatest emphasis on developing socio-emotional skills through the formal education system. Considerably more attention could be put on the role of informal and non-formal settings, such as home, youth work and community, in the development and promotion of empathy and related skills and values.” The research was launched in Dublin last Saturday, 23 February as part of a ten-year celebration of the award of the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement to NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan. UCFRC Patron, actor Cillian Murphy and Professor Pat Dolan co-hosted an evening of ‘in conversation’ pieces featuring a number of contributions from celebrated Irish artists including author Sally Rooney, poets Rita Ann Higgins and Louis de Paor, moderated by writer and broadcaster John Kelly. The theme of the event, Artists for Empathy, reflected the focus of the UNESCO Chair in extending the broader ethical education of youth in national and international settings in collaboration with UNESCO.            At the launch of the research, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Patron and Actor Cillian Murphy, said: “Empathy and related values and behaviours are so important across a range of areas in society and policy. I warmly welcome this research which places the spotlight on empathy among young people and helps us to understand how these values are shaped and promoted.” Welcoming the launch of the reports, Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council, said: “Research for policy and social progress represents a critical contribution of the research community. Cultivating new knowledge and evidence in this area is a very important part of the Irish Research Council’s mission and one we aim to further develop over the coming years through our funding programmes. By supporting and disseminating excellent research, and integrating it into policy and practice, we collectively foster better outcomes for all, not least for our children, young people and families.” To read the full reports from the study, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUI Galway recently welcomed members of the travelling community to the Access to Nursing and Midwifery Workshop to mark the Irish Traveller ethnicity celebrations. The workshop was held ahead of Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day which takes place annually on 1 March.  Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day marks the anniversary of Travellers gaining ethnic status, while celebrating Travellers culture and heritage including music, craft traditions and language. The aim of the workshop was to introduce the Nursing and Midwifery programmes, Pathways to University, and other student supports available at NUI Galway to the members of the Irish travelling community.  The Access to Nursing and Midwifery Workshop was organised by Owen Mac an Bhaird, a Professional Master of Education student at the University, in partnership with NUI Galway’s Access Programmes Office, School of Nursing and Midwifery, as well as the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity. This initiative was funded by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund.  NUI Galway’s Dr Bróna Mooney and Bernard McCarthy gave an overview of General Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, and Midwifery Programmes and a Nursing and Midwifery Skills demonstration. Mature Students Officer, Trish Bourke outlined the pathways available to access third-level education, while highlighting the strong network of supports for the student body that are available at NUI Galway.  Owen Mac an Bhaird said: “The main objective of this workshop is to empower members of the travelling community to enter third level education, while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. As a direct result from the workshop, five members of the travelling community have begun the process of student registration for the academic year 2019/20.”

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUIGalway and Ward and Burke Construction Ltd completes major international project to tackle wastewater sewer overflows in rivers and estuaries Researchers from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and the Galway-based civil engineering construction contractor Ward and Burke Construction Ltd, have completed a major sewer infrastructure project to tackle ongoing environmental issues associated with combined sewer overflows (CSOs). The partnership recently scooped a major prize for this project; Technical Innovation of the Year Award, at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards 2018. The academic-industry partnership was established to design and validate novel structures to alleviate wastewater discharges from combined sewer overflows which is a major source of pollution in rivers and estuaries in Ireland and abroad. This involved the design and build of a major new state-of-the-art model testing facility at NUI Galway, spanning the entire length of the laboratory, which is one of the largest in the country. One of their super sewer designs is currently well underway on the Thames River in London and is expected to reduce the overall project costs by approximately €3.4 million and project delivery time by 25%. (Video of scaled model of combined sewer overflow structure at NUI Galway here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTH-Xe0171o&feature=youtu.be). Environmental Concerns With populations set to grow by 30% in the next 30 years and climate change resulting in warmer temperatures, more frequent rainfall events and sea level rise, challenges in the water and wastewater engineering sector are greater than ever. Larger populations mean more water usage resulting in larger volumes of wastewater to treat, which in turn means greater costs for wastewater transport, storage and treatment. In addition, increased surface water run-off from the development of new housing and urban areas is being further augmented by climate change impacts of more frequent and intense rainfall and flooding events. Sandwiched between such irrepressible pressures is an already stressed and ageing water and wastewater infrastructure which is calling for innovative measures, leading-edge design and interdisciplinary collaborations between engineers in the field and engineers in research institutes to establish a climate resilient future for our infrastructure and economies. Existing Ageing Wastewater Collection Systems - a 150-year old Technology One of the most pressing environmental concerns for existing wastewater collection systems is their pollution of receiving waterbodies such as rivers and estuaries. One of the chief contributors to this problem is the combined sewer system, a 150-year old technology which was designed to collect and convey both rain water and raw sewage in one pipe. As these pipe systems fill with rain water running off houses and street pavements, these old systems tend to fill quickly and overflow to natural water bodies before reaching treatment plants. In years gone by, this approach was efficient and perhaps even acceptable. However, with ageing infrastructure not designed to cope with the stresses of modern day urban activity, natural watercourses are more frequently experiencing the discharge of raw wastewater from combined sewer overflows after only short spells of rain. Combined sewer overflows are considered by Patrick Decker (CEO of Xylem) to be one of the three major pain points currently in the water industry. Combined Sewer Overflow Structures The solution to this problem is to build so-called combined sewer overflow interception structures. The interception structure functions by capturing the wastewater before it discharges from a combined sewer overflow to the environment and redirects it to a wastewater treatment plant often via deep tunnel conveyance systems. Due to the complex patterns of urban growth combined with existing river systems, no interception structure site is the same and they therefore often require innovative design approaches.  Sean Mulligan, project manager and co-principal investigator from NUI Galway, said: “Unseen to the eyes of the public, raw sewage overflows occur continuously throughout the year. For example, 32 million tonnes of wastewater is released to the river Thames in London, while in the US, three billion tonnes of wastewater is released to rivers through combined sewer overflows annually. The effect is continuous significant damage to a river or estuary’s health, not to mention implications to public wellbeing. Given the ageing condition of these old sewer systems coupled with more stringent discharge regulation, the only solution is to intercept the overflows before discharge to the river and convey them to a treatment plant for cleaning. The research on these structures that our team has undertaken at NUI Galway has a massive impact on our day-to-day lives, that’s what makes it very interesting, challenging and worthwhile.” Michael Ward, director of Ward and Burke and a former NUI Galway graduate, said: “Civil engineering is an art and a science, contractors build infrastructure and train young engineers in the process, universities educate them, collaboration between the practitioners and academics is very productive for both parties. In the long run there is a residual when future students use the apparatus. Great engineers don’t stop learning in practice and smart construction continues to learn first and lasting principals.” Colin O’Neill, a part-time Master’s student at NUI Galway and design engineer at Ward and Burke Construction provided an essential link between academia and industry for this project being involved extensively in the model build and testing. Mr O’Neill adds: “Having an appreciation of the challenges involved in the construction of heavy civil projects from working in the industry, coupled with the skills I learnt from my Masters, was essential for me to work on a research project such as this and help bridge the gap between the industry and research.” With a growing economy and the growing emergence of the ‘smart city’ concept, it is more important than ever to bridge the gap that has developed between laboratory research and engineering in the field. Collaborations such as this between academia and industry are crucial to solving engineering challenges. Eoghan Clifford, co-principal investigator of the project and senior lecturer at NUI Galway said: “This project and indeed, the success at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, shows the need for novel solutions for challenges facing the water sector. In particular, with challenges such as climate change and demographics putting pressure on infrastructure, NUI Galway is delighted to work with innovative Irish companies such as Ward and Burke to design and test solutions to large infrastructural projects. The development of this large scale model shows the way forward for how new, sustainable and cost-effective engineering solutions can be developed and tested against various scenarios that may occur in 50 to 100 years’ time.” NUI Galway lecturer and co-principal investigator, Stephen Nash, added: “The project highlights the importance of having world-class laboratories and researchers. The expertise of our research group and technical support staff and space afforded by our hydraulics lab has led to a number of collaborations with engineering companies like Ward and Burke to assess new technology or test engineering solutions. This type of work helps NUI Galway to provide a first-class teaching experience to its students where they can learn from the real engineering projects that our staff are heavily engaged in.”

Monday, 25 February 2019

NUI Galway is calling all wanna-be-engineers to participate in a free full-day family event ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’, which will take place on Saturday, 2 March, from 10am–4pm in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway.  The Family Fun Day is part of the Engineers Week 2019 which celebrates engineering across Ireland. The Family Fun Day will provide plenty of science and engineering shows, movie screenings, workshops and hands-on activities that will inspire young (and older) people. Young and older attendees can engage with the ‘Ireland’s Ingenious Engineers’ show by Scientific Sue and explore the amazing scientific discoveries and engineering feats endeavoured by some of our hugely talented Irish Scientists over a period of 350 years. Designing (probably) the best drinking chocolate in the world, creating a cloud in a bottle, exploring colour changing vegetables, making ice-cream in a baggie and sending rockets sky high are just a few of the creative demonstrations that will be used by Sue on her historical scientific journey. The ‘Focus on Forces’ show will investigate compressive and tensile strength - using forces to escape from jail or sitting on a bed of nails! Magnetic force will be explored, static and current electricity investigated; A close look at the flight experiments, see yourself what is the fastest way to inflate the slide used for emergency evacuations! Families are encouraged to come and build their own wind turbine, investigate where water comes from and where it goes, explore the vast range of chemicals used in our daily lives (which typically end up going down our drain and into our environment!), interact with CoderDojo Ninjas to learn about programming, explore the GEEC: Galway Energy Efficient Car, relax at the free LEGO play area or learn about our rich engineering heritage. These and many other activities showing the world of civil, environmental, mechanical, biomedical and electronic engineering, and information technology will be available on the day. Families can watch ‘Dream Big: Engineering Our World’ narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges which celebrates the human creativity behind engineering marvels big and small from the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, and show how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. According to Professor Peter Mc Hugh, Dean of College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway: “Engineering is in every aspect of our lives; it allows us to live, communicate, travel, work, play, stay safe and healthy. By taking maths and science from the lab, engineers dream of, invent, design and build things that change the reality and future of all human beings.” Speaking about the Family Fun Day, Dr Jamie Goggins from the School of Engineering at NUI Galway and the MaREI Centre, said: “Children are natural engineers. They love to design and build things, using whatever they can get their hands on. With knowledge, innovation and creativity engineers change the reality and future of all human beings. Join us for the Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day and explore Engineering through exciting and fun hands-on activities and shows, as well as meeting with practicing engineers to better learn about the world around us, understand the role of Engineering in our lives and its impact on our future. All details about the Family Fun Day are available at www.nuigalway.ie/engineersweek  and bookings of free tickets can also be made through the website. Tickets can be booked in advanced for some shows, but it will also be possible to attend shows without pre-booking on a first-come-first-served basis on the day. For further information on ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’ contact Jamie Goggins jamie.goggins@nuigalway.ie, Magdalena Hajdukiewicz magdalena.hajdukiewicz@nuigalway.ie or William Finnegan william.finnegan@nuigalway.ie.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

MSc student’s ‘Refugees Are’ project, a news analysis platform that aims to map public opinion around refugees is one of five winners at global competition Suad Al Darra, an MSc student in Computer Science at the College of Engineering and Informatics in NUI Galway was one of five winners at the recent Techfugees Global Challenge competition for her ‘Refugees Are’ project, a platform designed to analyse negative narratives published globally about refugees. The Techfugees Global Challenge competition sought the most innovative new projects using technology to help displaced people, refugees and NGOs. The competitions project applications went through an international Jury of experts who selected 25 finalists from hundreds of applications, from 52 countries across the world. The projects were then pitched in front of an international Jury at the Techfugees Summit in Paris, which was opened by former Prime Minister of Greece and current Councillor at the World Refugee Council, George Papandreou. Suad’s project was one of five final winners. Suad Al Darra graduated as a Software Engineer from Damascus University in 2008 and worked for several international companies. She and her husband moved to Ireland in 2014 escaping the conflict in Syria and looking for a better future. She worked at Fujitsu laboratories at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics for two years as a Research Engineer and after that worked for UNICEF, analysing non-traditional sources of data and applying data science methodologies to incubate and develop data-driven prototypes that support emergency response. In 2017, Suad enrolled as a part-time student to the MSc in Computer Science (Data Analytics) within the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and also became a mother during that time. Stemming from her own personal displacement journey, Suad discovered the power of big data during her studies and entered her project in the Techfugees competition. Conor Hayes, Programme Director of the MSc in Data Analytics at NUI Galway, said: “Suad fashioned an award-winning data analytics project on a subject that is hugely relevant to the experiences of her own family and to the many other displaced families and people in the world. We are very proud of her and delighted that she could achieve this while a student at NUI Galway.” Speaking about her winning project Suad Al Darra, said: “The ‘Refugees Are’ project engages the public in classifying their news as ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ to raise more awareness in the language used by journalists and politicians when describing refugees and migrants. The goal is to tackle the problem of Xenophobia against refugees created by the media, which is negatively affecting their hope of integrating and starting a new beginning. I was curious to explore the messages found in the news and create an overview of it. I decided to explore the news using GDELT (Global Dataset of Emotions, Language, Tone), the biggest open source collection of news articles with high frequency and in over 100 languages. GDELT has been used previously in measuring refugee flows in Europe depending on media citation.” Suad adds: “This dashboard may potentially help organisations like UNICEF explore locations of countries with negative stories in their media, in order to better target the problem of Xenophobia with customised local campaigns or media training. It can also be useful to spread awareness and empathy towards migrants and refugees by allowing the public to participate in classifying the news as positive, negative or neutral and giving them the chance to understand refugees’ daily struggles and challenges. The next step is to add more daily news and to automate the process to make it a real-time dashboard plugged in directly to GDELT news.” UNICEF has identified media as one of the factors leading to Xenophobia against refugees. News ‘bubbles’ can polarise host communities and filtered information focused on refugees’ negative stereotypes can make communication and integration between refugees and host communities much harder leading to a disenfranchised isolated community. For more information, see: http://refugeesare.info/ Moved by the plight of refugees in Europe, Techfugees events bring together tech engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and startups with NGOs and other agencies in order to address the challenge of refugee migration in ways where the technology world can bring its considerable firepower. Techfugees has defined five main area of focus where technology can have a significant impact: Access to Rights and Information; Health; Education; Employment; and Social Inclusion. For more information about Techfugees, visit: www.techfugees.com and https://techfugeesummit.com/challenges.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

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

Thursday, 21 February 2019

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

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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