Thursday, 19 May 2022

Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes and following a healthier lifestyle from an earlier age could reduce risk of dementia in older age  NUI Galway teams up with Boston University and the University of Texas with study urging personalised rather than one size fits all approach to risk prediction International research led by NUI Galway has identified the most important risk factors for dementia in middle-aged and older people.  The study, which also involved researchers in Boston University, and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, examined data from 5,000 people to assess potential predictors for loss of cognitive function. The most important vascular risk factors for dementia were: at age 55 - high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus at age 65 - cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart attacks or angina) at ages 70 and 75 - diabetes mellitus and previous stroke at age 80 - diabetes mellitus, previous stroke and not taking blood-pressure lowering medication The study was published today in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and was led by Professor Emer McGrath, Associate Professor at the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Neurologist at Saolta University Hospitals. The researchers measured risk factors for dementia, including age, sex, blood pressure, use of blood pressure lowering medication, a history of cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation and diabetes mellitus. The patient data was sourced from thousands of people who took part in the US-based Framingham Heart Study. Risk factors were measured at mid-life (i.e. 55) and again at ages 65, 70, 75 and 80 years-old. Professor McGrath said: “Accurately predicting a person’s future risk of dementia could inform personalised approaches to risk factor and lifestyle modification to help reduce that risk. However, predicting this is challenging as the relationship between dementia and vascular risk factors such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease and stroke varies with age.” “We found that people who had diabetes at the age of 55 were four times more likely to go on to develop dementia than people who did not have diabetes at that age” “People with heart disease at age 65 were nearly twice as likely to later develop dementia as those who did not have a heart condition, while people with a stroke at age 70 were over three times as likely to develop dementia compared to those with no stroke”. “Our study shows that predicting a person’s risk of dementia needs to be very much tailored towards the individual, taking into account their age, sex, vascular risk factors and evidence of organ damage, such as previous heart attack or stroke.  “Based on this research, we should probably be looking at more individualised, age-specific dementia risk scores, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to dementia risk prediction.” According to the Alzheimer’s Association of Ireland, 64,000 people are living with dementia in Ireland. It is estimated that the number of people with the condition will more than double in the next 25 years to more than 150,000 by 2045.  Professor McGrath said: “Our research has important implications for dementia prevention at a population-level. Controlling vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus, adopting healthier eating habits and following an active lifestyle, particularly at the early to mid-life stage, could significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia down the line.” Professor Sudha Seshadri, co-author of the study, is Professor of Neurology and Director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio and Senior Investigator with the Framingham Heart Study.  Professor Seshadri said “At younger ages, vascular risk factors like blood pressure seemed more important. At older ages, the effects of long-standing exposure to risk factors in the form of organ damage, such as stroke, seemed to best predict risk of dementia.” “Diabetes has been identified as one of seven risk factors responsible for up to one-third of cases of Alzheimer’s disease dementia and represents an important modifiable target for dementia prevention at a population-level.” Ends

Monday, 16 May 2022

The scholarship, valued at €10,000 per student, supports undergraduate students from County Roscommon each year   Monday May 16, 2022: NUI Galway and the Jones family have announced the extension of the Pauline and Bunnie Jones Scholarship Scheme for 2022.    Supported by the Jones family of Tulsk, Co Roscommon, in honour of their parents Pauline and Bunnie Jones, the scholarship was established to encourage academic achievement and support students from the county who are enrolling in an undergraduate degree at NUI Galway.   Now in its third year, the scholarships are valued at €10,000 per student. They are awarded to four students - two from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown, and two others to students of any other secondary school in Co. Roscommon, who present the highest Leaving Certificate scores.   Speaking about the scholarship, Adrian Jones said: “We are investing in Roscommon’s future, in honour of our parents who made great sacrifices to invest in us. They both believed passionately in the transformative power of learning. Our father’s formal education ended at 12 but, in his 40s, he earned a Diploma in Social Studies, made possible by the dedication of Michael D. Higgins, then lecturing at NUI Galway. Our mother went back to NUI Galway, her alma mater, in her 70s to study Archaeology.” In 2021/2022, scholarships were awarded to: Gwen O’Rourke, Ciara Kennedy and Kellie McDermott of Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown; Shane Carr from Abbey Community College in Boyle; Michael Lohan, Vocational School, Roscommon; and Ronan Tumbek of Castelrea Community School. To be eligible for the award, students are required to have attended and sat the Leaving Certificate at any school in County Roscommon. They must apply for any full-time undergraduate course at NUI Galway through the CAO system, and upon receipt and acceptance of a CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Students are required to complete an expression of interest in the scholarship on or before Sunday, 1 August 2022. Full details of the scholarship scheme and the expression of interest form are available online: www.nuigalway.ie/roscommonscholarship/ Ends

Monday, 16 May 2022

NUI Galway is now accepting applications for its Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme. The merit-based scheme are valued at €1,500 per student and is open to all EU students undertaking a full-time Taught Masters Programme who have a first-class honours (or equivalent) in a Level 8 primary degree. NUI Galway offer 200 taught postgraduate programmes across all disciplines. Over 50 of the postgraduate courses are delivered fully online or via blended learning, so especially suit those who are working full or part-time, want to upskill, and enhance their career prospects. For the 2021–22 academic year, NUI Galway awarded 254 Taught Masters Scholarship towards student’s postgraduate studies. NUI Galway Masters student Emily Atkinson said: “The postgraduate scholarship is a fantastic opportunity that rewards and incentivises the hard work it takes to achieve first class honours. The scholarship allowed me prioritise finding the right postgraduate course for me, and to focus on my studies during my MSc Consumer Psychology.” Scholarship recipient Christina Gleeson said: “Without the postgraduate scholarship, it would have been more financially challenging to take on a Master’s degree after my undergraduate degree. The scholarship was a driving factor to not only achieve my goals in getting a ​first-class honours undergraduate degree in Psychology, but also it stood to me financially, and in feeling confident in my level of education going into my MSc in Clinical Neuroscience.” Applications are now open those starting graduate studies in September 2022, and the closing date for applications is 31 August 2022.   For more information on the scholarship scheme email postgrad@nuigalway.ie or visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate_scholarships/. Ends

Friday, 13 May 2022

NUI Galway has announced the first student to be awarded the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship.    Alan Donnelly, a native of Killala, Co Mayo, is a first year BSc Financial Mathematics and Economics student. During his fifth year in Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Crossmolina, Co. Mayo, he developed a suite of Digital Flashcards to help with revision when he was travelling to school on the bus.  The Digital Flashcards become very popular with classmates and teachers, Alan created a charity donation list, and students who donated were sent a copy of the cards. The Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship is funded through the generous philanthropic support of the Liffey Trust. The scholarship will help to support students in the University’s newly launched student innovation and entrepreneurship hub, IdeasLab. It will also help to promote the concepts of job creation, entrepreneurial development and education for life for undergraduate students commencing their studies.  Alan said: “I am incredibly honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship. I was very fortunate to have wonderful teachers in Gornor Abbey who supported my entrepreneurial spirit. Being a student in NUI Galway I can develop these skills further through working with the IdeasLab and the Consultants and Entrepreneurship Society.  “Through the award of the Scholarship, I am also connected with students from across Ireland through The Liffey Trust and I look forward to developing my knowledge and my network through all of these opportunities.” Alongside his studies at NUI Galway, Alan is actively engaged in the student entrepreneurship community working with IdeasLab and the NUI Galway Consultants and Entrepreneurs Society. Chairman of The Liffey Trust, Aidan Corless said: “Alan has what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and we are delighted to sponsor his journey through NUI Galway, who are leading the way in promoting entrepreneurs. Alan joins other Seamus McDermott Entrepreneurial scholars from other institutions and is now connected to our business hub in Dublin.”  The Liffey Trust was established more than 30 years ago and has been supporting entrepreneurs to establish and grow new businesses since then. The NUI Galway scholarship is named in honour of the founder of the Liffey Trust, Galway native Séamus McDermott, in recognition of his contribution to entrepreneurship in Ireland.  First year undergraduate students at NUI Galway can apply for a scholarship valued at up to €9,000 for the duration of their studies at the University. The next call for applicants will commence in October 2022.  For further information on the scholarship contact ideaslab@nuigalway.ie.  Ends

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

NUI Galway co-leads European dialogue highlighting its place as a world top 50 university for sustainable development  The planned regeneration of Nun’s Island in Galway City is to feature at a special event held as part of NUI Galway’s role in the European ENLIGHT University Alliance. The European Dialogue conference is hosted by Uppsala University, Sweden and co-led by NUI Galway and takes place this week, May 11-12, 2022 on the theme of Sustainable Urban Development. The conference will involve representatives from Galway City Council, the Western Development Commission and Galway Chamber as stakeholders in the development of the west of Ireland and Galway region.  This week’s ENLIGHT European Dialogue is an opportunity for the universities and stakeholders from across the nine regions in the partnership to connect, learn and reflect on novel approaches to the pressing challenge of sustainable urban development. Key sustainable urban development projects will be showcased and discussed, including NUI Galway’s partnership with Galway City Council on the regeneration of Nun’s Island to create collaborative cultural spaces. Professor Becky Whay, NUI Galway’s Vice President International, said: “The ENLIGHT alliance exemplifies NUI Galway’s commitment to openness and diversity in our University, creating international opportunities for students and staff, as well as connecting Galway and the wider western region with the ENLIGHT cities and regions. NUI Galway wants to excite our students and staff, attracting world class partners that better enable us to contribute to broader transformations at local, national and global levels and ENLIGHT is a key contributor to this.” NUI Galway is the number one university in Ireland and a world top-50 for sustainable development, according to the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings.  Paul Dodd, NUI Galway’s Vice President Engagement, said: “NUI Galway is building on the foundation of strong regional partnerships through ENLIGHT to enable deeper engagement on big challenges facing society.  “ENLIGHT affords us and our stakeholders a great opportunity to create a dialogue on sustainable urban development at a European level and showcase best practice in the university – a world top-50 for sustainable development.  “Our focus is also on learning from challenges being put forward by colleagues across the network and using these to form the basis for challenge-based education projects and research collaborations, and new opportunities for our students and staff.” ENLIGHT is a partnership of nine universities, supported by the Government and the European Commission, to build a platform for the creation a new type of European university campus where students and staff have increased opportunities for international study, training, teaching, research and sharing of services. The ENLIGHT University Alliance includes - NUI Galway; Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); University of Groningen (Netherlands); University of Bordeaux (France); Gent University (Belgium); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Gottingen (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Spain); Uppsala University (Sweden). ENLIGHT aims to collaboratively transform higher education, addressing societal challenges and promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement with the communities of the partner universities. Ends

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Sligo students at the University’s School of Law named Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholars Two NUI Galway law students from Sligo have been awarded special scholarships created in partnership between the global law firm DLA Piper and the University’s School of Law. Annie Forde, from Enniscrone, Co Sligo, and Joan Ighile, from Sligo Town have been named the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholars for the academic year 2021/2022. Both students are undertaking the undergrad degree Law (BCL), Criminology and Criminal Justice, at NUI Galway’s School of Law. The Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholarship is named after the Chairman Emeritus of the law firm who has family roots in the west of Ireland. It provides funding and support to enable and empower successful students to study a law degree at NUI Galway and is awarded in-part on academic merit. Maura Dineen, Partner at DLA Piper, met with the scholars on campus and shared interesting insights into her fascinating career advising domestic and international clients on tax matters. Ms Dineen said: “We are proud to partner with NUI Galway’s School of Law to support deserving students like Annie and Joan, as they pursue their studies in law. It was a pleasure to visit the campus, talk to the students about their experience and hear the positive impact the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper scholarship has had on their studies so far. We wish all of the students the very best in their studies and look forward to seeing what innovative thinking they contribute to the industry in the future.” Professor Martin Hogg, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to have the continued support by DLA Piper of two more students under this scholarship programme. The educational opportunities which these scholarships afford are highly valued by the School and by the scholars and we’re very grateful to DLA Piper for this investment in two lawyers of the future.” The scholarship supports scholars throughout their four-year law degree to the value of €2,500 annually (total value of €10,000 per scholar). It is open to first year students who are enrolled in one of NUI Galway’s five full law degrees and have a home address in the west of Ireland (to include all counties in Connacht plus counties Donegal and Clare).  Annie Forde said: “Studying Law at NUI Galway has been a highly enjoyable experience and I am grateful that DLA Piper are able to support me in my academic endeavours. This scholarship has had a positive impact on my life and I hope that in my future legal career that I can make a positive change in people’s lives.” Joan Ighile said: “This scholarship has given me the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy my study of Law at NUI Galway with lessened financial stress. It has been a great support to me, and I’d like to thank DLA Piper for their great generosity in continuing to support Irish students pursuing a career in Law." The Scholarship was launched in 2020 at NUI Galway following Terence O’Malley’s retirement from a highly-regarded legal career, serving in various roles including as DLA Piper's US Managing Partner, US Co-Chairman, and Global Co-Chief executive officer. The inaugural scholars were Ava Cullinan, Law (BCL) student from Kilrush, Co Clare and Emily Donnellan, Law (BCL), Criminology and Criminal Justice student from Maree, Co Galway. In addition to the scholarship, a separate annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary is awarded to a NUI Galway Law student achieving the highest grade in the University’s Law and Innovation module.  DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. DLA Piper established in Ireland in 2019 with offices in Dublin.  DLA Piper clients range from multinational, Global 1000, and Fortune 500 enterprises to emerging companies developing industry-leading technologies. For full details about this scholarship, including terms and conditions, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/dlapiperscholarship   Ends

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

NUI Galway has launched a short documentary - ‘From Tehran to Galway: Professor Afshin Samali’s journey from refugee to cancer research scientist’.    The production tells the story of Professor Samali, Professor for Cancer Biology at NUI Galway, who came to Ireland as a refugee in his late teens in 1985.  The short film highlights Professor Samali’s family’s experience escaping a conflict zone and their integration into Irish society.   In highlighting Professor Samali’s story, NUI Galway - a designated University of Sanctuary - hopes to inspire its community to be more accepting of cultural differences, open to new experiences and to better participate in welcoming our diverse community.   Professor Samali was born in Iran and is a member of the Baháʼí faith which advocates peace and unity and equality between men and women. As one of the Baháʼí leaders, Afshin’s stepfather was wanted by the authorities where he potentially faced imprisonment and execution, like other Baháʼí leaders.  Rather than denounce their religion, Afshin’s family abandoned their privileged life, raising money to pay smugglers to take them from Iran, navigating traitorous mountains, ravines and deserts, and negotiating with boarder control to Pakistan where they registered as refugees with UNHCR. As part of a group of 26 refugees, Afshin’s family as were resettled in Ireland in response to Ireland's humanitarian remit, and in December in 1985 the Samali family began their new life in Sligo.  Professor Samali said “I believe that we have interlinked responsibilities both to work on our own personal development and progress, and to collaborate with each other towards the betterment of our society. Education plays a central role in this dual moral responsibility as we develop our core values and a common vision for the type of society we want to live in. This belief has been a guiding compass in my personal journey.”  As a University of Sanctuary, NUI Galway has many entrance pathways and opportunities in higher education to support and inspire refugees.  In launching the documentary, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “The history of Ireland is a history of refugees. When NUI Galway was founded in 1845, Ireland was facing challenging times and our university made a profound and positive difference since in the progress of our region, the development of our nation and in international citizenship and human rights. Today, we continue that contribution of kindness by welcoming refugees to our university. The sharing of experiences enhances and positively changes both their lives and ours, as a university, as a community and as individuals.  “Consistent with our university’s values of Openness and Respect, Afshin’s journey as a refugee, illustrated so vividly in this documentary, is a truly inspiring example for all our students and staff alike. He has made an excellent contribution here, sustaining our mission in research, teaching and engagement. We are a better place for his presence and thank him for being here with us.”    Associate Professor Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, College of Science and Engineering, said: “Afshin’s academic contribution to our university has enriched both learning and research. His personal contribution has reinforced our core values and the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.  “The College of Science and Engineering remains committed to supporting our University of Sanctuary scholars and as part of our Diversity initiative, highlighting role models such as our inspirational colleague Afshin, whilst giving our students a safe space, hope and an impetus to succeed.” ‘From Tehran to Galway: Professor Afshin Samali’s journey from refugee to cancer research scientist’ can be view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbFrGUyMDPw.  Ends 

Monday, 9 May 2022

Session to outline options for Access Programmes and Foundation Studies Diploma courses NUI Galway is hosting a special information session for prospective students eligible for alternative pathways into university. The event will be open to anyone seeking advice on courses available through the Access Centre and for people applying for part-time courses as mature students. The information session takes place on Thursday May 12 from 6.30-7.30pm in the O’Flaherty Theatre, Arts/Science Building. It will focus on Access Programme or Foundation Studies Diploma courses in 2022-23. Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “There are several options available to prospective students who are looking for an alternative admissions route to NUI Galway and who may require some extra guidance in deciding on their educational pathway and we are here to help, guide and support. “Our courses are designed to provide students with a strong foundation as they progress to third level. We have some fantastic graduates who have come through our courses and have gone on to great things.” Representatives from the Access Centre and Programme Coordinators will be at the information session to advise and answer questions and to support those who wish to take that first step into third level education. The Access Centre is currently accepting applications from school leavers and mature students for its full-time Access Programmes and its part-time Foundation Studies Diploma courses in Science, Technology and Engineering, and Business, Law, and Arts. The Access Programme is designed specifically as an alternative admission route to third level education for people from socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented at third level. It aims to support students to build confidence in themselves and their academic ability, and to support them to reach their full potential through core modules such as academic writing, IT skills, study skills and education guidance. Students also get the opportunity to do taster courses as an introductory to university before choosing an undergraduate degree. The Foundation Studies Diploma courses are intensive part-time courses taught over 26 weeks. They are open to mature applicants, aged 22 or over, who are interested in applying for entry to full-time undergraduate courses. For more information and to register for the information session visit www.nuigalway.ie/access, or contact access@nuigalway.ie for further details. Ends

Friday, 6 May 2022

Research reveals how cells rewire to survive and spread   Scientists at NUI Galway have discovered how cells related to one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer can rewire themselves to have a better chance of surviving and spreading to other sites in the body. The breakthrough finding by the team at the Apoptosis Research Centre in the University shows that a specific cell behaviour - known as the IRE1 stress response pathway - adapts the metabolism of triple negative breast cancer cells. Afshin Samali, Professor of Cancer Biology and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Most importantly, our research at NUI Galway shows that in fact this cell behaviour can be reversed through the use of specialised drugs inhibiting IRE1.” The findings have been published today (6 May 2022) in the internationally renowned Nature Communications journal. The research focuses on cell behaviour in triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat forms of breast cancer. It accounts for about 15% of all breast cancers diagnosed and is more common in younger women.  Unlike other forms of breast cancer, there are no targeted therapies available for triple negative breast cancer. The research highlighted how fast growing tumours often experience nutrient deprivation - meaning they lack what is required to grow and spread. However, cancer cells can rewire their metabolism - often referred to as metabolic reprogramming - to compensate for a low availability of nutrients.  The team at NUI Galway, led by Professor Afshin Samali and Professor Adrienne Gorman, demonstrate for the first time how the IRE1 stress response pathway rewires cancer cell metabolism. It does this by altering the levels of a key enzyme in lipid metabolism, which in turn increases the resistance of triple negative breast cancer cells to low nutrient conditions that often occur in the tumour. The research also shows how this resistance can be reversed through targeted treatment.  Afshin Samali, Professor of Cancer Biology and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “The new era of precision oncology aims to tailor treatments to individual cancer patients. Here at NUI Galway, we have made a breakthrough and it is hugely exciting to identify new therapeutic target for triple negative breast cancer. “Our previous research showed that inhibition of IRE1 improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reduces relapse of this highly aggressive form of breast cancer. Building on that, we can now demonstrate that this same cell pathway works to create an environment which makes it easier for these breast cancer cells to survive.   “What our research also shows is that targeting IRE1, or switching off the response mechanism of IRE1, could be particularly beneficial for the many patients whose cancer cells rely on the specific metabolic reprogramming it induces.”   Professor in Biochemistry, Adrienne Gorman, said: ‘We are getting ever closer to understanding the intricacies of cancer. Identifying new therapeutic targets such as IRE1 that are part of the tumour’s support system is very significant in offering another way to combat cancer.’ Dr Katarzyna Mnich, one of the research team at NUI Galway, said: “This work has uncovered a previously unknown role for IRE1 in triple negative breast cancer and it shows we need further investigation into the biology of IRE1. Most importantly for patients, the research also supports further development of IRE1 inhibitors as therapeutics for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer.” The study was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme. Ends

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Teaching excellence at NUI Galway was celebrated at a special ceremony, where awards were presented to staff members for outstanding efforts in teaching. The President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and the College Awards for Teaching Excellence recognise the commitment of teaching staff who strive to ensure students at the University receive the best learning experience. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Today’s event is an important event in the University’s calendar. It is about recognising, demonstrating our appreciation, and rewarding the very significant teaching contributions made by our staff. “Excellence is a core strategic value of NUI Galway with an objective to respect and support the ambition of our students and staff and these awards recognise and celebrate that pledge. On behalf of the University community, I want to commend the recipients for their commitment to enriching the student learning experience, particularly during the recent times of using remote learning, alternative and innovative technologies to engage with our students.” Recipients of the 2022 President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence: Dr John Murray, School of Natural Sciences Ms Ursula Connolly, School of Law Dr Rónán Kennedy, School of Law Dr Lindsay Myers, School of Languages, Literature and Culture  2022 College Awards for Teaching Excellence: College of Business, Public Policy and Law:  Dr Rónán Kennedy; Dr Sheila Malone; Ursula Connolly College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies Dr Lindsay Myers; Dr Richard Hull; Dr Su-Ming Khoo College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Dr Leo Quinlan; Dr Sharon Glynn; Dr Yvonne Finn College of Science and Engineering Dr Attracta Brennan; Dr Eoghan Clifford; Dr John Murray Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “Inspirational teaching has always been a key feature of the learning experience at NUI Galway and I wish to congratulate both those receiving College Awards and the winners of the President’s Awards - it is a tremendous recognition of your commitment to enriching the student learning experience. I would also like to congratulate the awardees from 2019/20 and 2021 who were nominated and recognised during the pandemic. It is wonderful to be able to mark your excellence over the last two years. “All winners this year and over the previous two years demonstrated a passion for teaching, evidenced strongly by outstanding student feedback on their teaching methods and approaches.” The Teaching Excellence ceremony also celebrated the 2021 and 2020 awardees, who were announced during online events during the pandemic. 2021 President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence  Dr Giuseppe Zurlo, College of Science and Engineering; Dr Eamon Ó Cofaigh, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; Dr Lorraine Morgan, College of Business, Public Policy and Law; and Dr Maeve O’Rourke, College of Business Public Policy and Law Team Award: Dr Katrina Lacey and Professor Gerard Wall, College of Science and Engineering 2019/20 President’s Awards for Teaching Excellence  Professor Mary Dempsey, College of Science and Engineering; Dr Aisling McCluskey, College of Science and Engineering; Professor Frances McCormack, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; and Dr Ella Murphy, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Team Award: Therese Conway, Mike Hynes, and Professor Frances Fahy, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Ends

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Rinneadh Feabhas Teagaisc a cheiliúradh in OÉ Gaillimh ag searmanas speisialta, mar ar bronnadh duaiseanna ar chomhaltaí foirne i ngeall ar sháriarrachtaí teagaisc. Le Gradaim an Uachtaráin don Fheabhas Teagaisc agus le Gradaim Choláiste don Teagaisc aithnítear tiomantas na foirne teagaisc a dhéanann a ndícheall le cinntiú go mbeidh an t-eispéaras foghlama is fearr ag mic léinn na hOllscoile. Dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh: “Is ócáid thábhachtach í ócáid an lae inniu i bhféilire na hOllscoile. Is é is ábhar di ná an cion suntasach teagaisc atá déanta ag ár bhfoireann a aithint, ár mbuíochas a chur in iúl as, agus gradaim a bhronnadh dá bharr. “Is croíluach straitéiseach de chuid OÉ Gaillimh é an barr feabhais agus tá sé mar aidhm againn meas a léiriú agus tacú le huaillmhian ár gcuid mac léinn agus comhaltaí foirne agus aithnítear agus ceiliúrtar an gealltanas sin leis na gradaim seo. Ar son phobail na hOllscoile, is áil liom na buaiteoirí a mholadh as ucht a dtiomantais d’éispéireas foghlama an mhic léinn a shaibhriú, go háirithe le deireanas le linn úsáid na dteicneolaíochtaí malartacha, nuálacha a bhaineann leis an bhfoghlaim chianda lenár gcuid mac léinn a theagasc.” Buaiteoirí Ghradaim an Uachtaráin 2022 don Fheabhas Teagaisc -      An Dr John Murray, Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha -      Ursula Connolly, Uasal, Scoil an Dlí -      An Dr Rónán Kennedy, Scoil an Dlí -      An Dr Lindsay Myers, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr Gradaim Choláiste 2022 don Fheabhas Teagasc: Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí: -      An Dr Rónán Kennedy; an Dr Sheila Malone; Ursula Connolly Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, agus an Léinn Cheiltigh -      An Dr Lindsay Myers; an Dr Richard Hull; an Dr Su-Ming Khoo Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte -      An Dr Leo Quinlan; an Dr Sharon Glynn; an Dr Yvonne Finn Coláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta -      An Dr Attracta Brennan; an Dr Eoghan Clifford; an Dr John Murray Bhí le rá ag an Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Bhí scoth an teagaisc ina ghné bhunúsach den eispéireas foghlama in OÉ Gaillimh riamh agus is mian liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leo siúd a bhfuil Gradaim Choláiste á mbronnadh orthu mar aon le buaiteoirí Ghradaim an Uachtaráin – is aitheantas iontach é ar bhur dtiomantas d’eispéireas foghlama an mhic léinn a shaibhriú. Ba mhaith liom tréaslú freisin le buaiteoirí 2019/20 agus 2021 a ainmníodh agus ar tugadh aitheantas dóibh le linn na paindéime. Is iontach an rud é a bheith in ann an barr feabhais atá bainte amach agaibh le dhá bhliain anuas a cheiliúradh. “Tá paisean teagaisc léirithe ag gach buaiteoir i mbliana agus an dá bhliain roimhe seo, rud atá le sonrú in aiseolas mac léinn den scoth faoina gcuid modhanna teagaisc. Rinneadh buaiteoirí 2021 agus 2020 a cheiliúradh ag an searmanas don Fheabhas Teagaisc, a fógraíodh i gcaitheamh ócáidí ar líne le linn na paindéime. Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2021 don Fheabhas Teagaisc  -      An Dr Giuseppe Zurlo, Coláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta; an Dr Eamon Ó Cofaigh, Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; an Dr Lorraine Morgan, Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus an Dr Maeve O’Rourke, Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí Gradam na Foirne: An Dr Katrina Lacey agus an tOllamh Gerard Wall, Coláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2019/ 20 don Fheabhas Teagaisc -      An tOllamh Mary Dempsey, Coláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta; an Dr Aisling McCluskey, Coláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta; an tOllamh Frances McCormack, Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; agus an Dr Ella Murphy, Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte Gradam na Foirne: Therese Conway, Mike Hynes, agus an tOllamh Frances Fahy, Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh Críoch

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Researchers at three universities in Ireland, Scotland and Wales are joining forces to develop new tools for identifying drugs to treat multiple, currently incurable, neurological diseases. More than 40 different human disorders, including Huntington’s disease and myotonic dystrophy, are caused by an increase in number of repeated DNA sequence within the associated gene. The DNA sequence is usually less than 30 repeats in the general population but is more than 40 repeats in affected patients. The more DNA repeats a person inherits, the earlier the age at onset of symptoms and the worse the disease. Most interestingly, the repeat also grows in number throughout the lifetime of the individual, accelerating the disease process. Stopping the repeat from growing during an individual’s lifetime thus presents as a novel therapeutic approach. In this new project, the three teams will work together to develop novel technologies to monitor how the number of repeats changes in cells grown in the laboratory. This system will then be used to identify new drugs that slow the rate at which the repeat grows. The hope is that one such drug could then be used to treat multiple inherited disorders, including Huntington’s disease and myotonic dystrophy. Professor Bob Lahue, of the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, said: “There are several related neurological diseases, such as Huntington’s, for which we do not have treatments that can alter the course of the disease. The focus of the research in this project is to develop new technologies which allow us to better understand what causes these diseases.” Professor Lahue is leading the research and working with research groups at the University of Glasgow, led by Professor Darren Monckton, and at the UK Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University, led by Professor Vincent Dion. “We are very fortunate that Professor Monckton at the University of Glasgow and Professor Dion at Cardiff University are part of the efforts to learn more about these neurological diseases. The three of us have complementary strengths in a common cause to understand and combat disease-causing genetic mutations known as triplet repeat expansions.” The project is titled TRXassay - Development of a novel pre-clinical assay to detect triplet repeat expansions and is co-funded by the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP-RD) and by LoQus23 Therapeutics Ltd of Cambridge, UK.   Speaking on behalf of the EJP-RD, Dr Christine Fetro of the Foundation for Rare Diseases said: “The TRXassay was one of three projects selected for funding within the Rare Diseases Research (RDR) Challenges call led by Fondation Maladies Rares and EJP-RD. This collaborative project brings together academic innovators with an industry partner to drive rare disease research towards effective treatments, which is at the very heart of this European funding initiative.” Dr David Reynolds, chief executive of LoQus23, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting project with leading academics in the field. The project has potential to deliver assays suitable for discovering therapeutics to treat Huntington’s and other triplet repeat diseases.” Ends

Monday, 27 June 2022

NUI Galway has selected six projects by current and retired staff to showcase the breadth of the history of the institution.  NUI Galway was established in 1845 as Queen’s College Galway, and following construction of the iconic Quadrangle building, the University opened its doors four years later to the first cohort of just 68 students.   The six projects selected aim to draw on the history and heritage of the institution and to deepen its connection to the community and its focus on working for public good. Following the announcement of the six projects NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I am particularly pleased that these research projects are rooted in our university community in all of its diversity. They include research on the history of LGBTQ in our university, as well as that of the Irish Traveller community here. They draw on the collective memory of our retired staff, who hold so much institutional knowledge and social history of this place.  “The projects include the beginning of Irish language scholarship in the university through the figure of Tomás Ó Máille, as well as the development of our Library and archives – both of which set this university apart. And they engage students in using the most up-to-date technologies to record our current shape and size for future scholars.” The initiative to select six projects follows on from the celebration of the university’s 175th anniversary in 2020.  They are:  Culture and Citizenship: Tomás Ó Máille by Professor Lillis Ó Laoire and Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile  This exhibition celebrates the life and work of Professor Tomás Ó Máille (1880-1938), Galway's first Professor of Irish from 1909 to 1938. A folklore collector, linguist, newspaper editor, one-time Irish Volunteer and founding member of An Taibhdhearc, he is best known for his books An Béal Beo and An tIomaire Rua.  Ó Máille recorded hundreds of wax cylinders - recently digitized - of songs and stories from Irish speakers from every county west of the Shannon.  A key figure in the emergence of the modern Irish state, culture and citizenship are the cornerstones of Ó Máille's legacy.  The exhibition will run in the Hardiman Research Building from September 16 until December before touring. Exploring LGBTQ+ Lives at NUI Galway by Dr Declan Coogan and NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network Committee The key question this project will seek to answer is who/what were the people, places and events within or led by our university that influenced progress on human rights for LGBTQ+ people?  The project will also ask about the issues that remain to be resolved and co-develop strategies the university and partners might adopt to promote future progress.  MincéirsArchive – An Online Digital Archive of the Irish Travelling Community by Owen Ward, the Traveller History and Culture Sub-Working Group, Mincéirs Misl'd in Education Committee, Mincéirs Whiden Society, and Kieran Hoare, NUI Galway Library This is a digital archive of a growing collection of all types, complemented by historical documents and scholarly texts.  It will illustrate NUI Galway’s positive relationship with the Irish Traveller community, enhancing our university’s reputation as a champion for equality, inclusion and diversity.  The collection will include items from numerous archives and the team are making a public call for donations of historical materials linked to Traveller culture. History of the Library in 100 Objects by Marie Boran, Caitriona Cannon, Geraldine Curtin, Patricia Ffrench and Emma Goode, with assistance from Eimhin Joyce and NUI Galway Library The Library opened in 1849, with the distinguished scholar and historian, James Hardiman, as the first librarian.  One hundred objects will be chosen from collections - including books, manuscripts, archival collections, letters, photographs, newspaper issues, library furniture, stationery or artefacts - to tell its story. A Virtual and Tactile Record of the NUI Galway Campus Today by Eileen Kennedy and MakerSpace student volunteers Drone photography and photogrammetry will be used to generate a snapshot of the University campus as it stands, 177 years since its founding, and create a 3d virtual campus map. A Visual History Archive for NUI Galway: The Retired Staff Collection by Professor Jane Conroy, Professor Gerard Jennings, and Dr Séamus Mac Mathúna on behalf of the Retired Staff Association/Agallamh na Seanórach Drawing on private collections of photographs and film, this project will create a visual record of the University’s past. It will be the first university in Ireland to document and preserve its history and the history of its people and community in this way.  Ends

Monday, 27 June 2022

Tá sé thionscadal roghnaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh a raibh baint ag comhaltaí foirne reatha agus comhaltaí foirne atá ar scor leo chun stair na hinstitiúide a léiriú.  Bunaíodh OÉ Gaillimh sa bhliain 1845 mar Choláiste na Banríona, Gaillimh agus nuair a tógadh an Chearnóg aitheanta osclaíodh doirse na hOllscoile ceithre bliana ina dhiaidh sin don chéad chohórt de 68 mac léinn. Tá sé mar aidhm ag na sé thionscadal a roghnaíodh tarraingt ar stair agus oidhreacht na hinstitiúide agus a nasc leis an bpobal agus a fócas ar oibriú ar son leas an phobail a neartú. Tar éis na sé thionscadal a fhógairt dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá áthas faoi leith orm go bhfuil na tionscadail taighde seo fréamhaithe i bpobail éagsúla na hollscoile. Áirítear leo taighde ar an stair LGBTQ san ollscoil, chomh maith le pobal Taistealaithe na hÉireann anseo. Tarraingíonn siad ar chuimhní ár gcomhaltaí foirne ar scor a bhfuil an oiread sin eolas institiúideach faoin áit seo agus faoin stair shóisialta acu.  Áiríonn na tionscadail chomh maith spléachadh ar thús léann na Gaeilge san ollscoil trí shaol agus saothar Thomáis Uí Mháille, chomh maith le forbairt na Leabharlainne agus na gCartlann – ar gnéithe uathúla an dá cheann acu den ollscoil seo. Anuas air sin, déanfaidh siad spéis ár gcuid mac léinn a spreagadh trí úsáid a bhaint as na teicneolaíochtaí is nuaí chun go mbeidh taifead ar chuma agus cruth reatha na hollscoile ann do scoláirí na todhchaí.” Tagann an tionscnamh chun sé thionscadal a roghnú sna sála ar an gcomóradh 175 bliain den ollscoil in 2020.  Seo a leanas na tionscadail:  Cultúr agus Saoránacht: Tomás Ó Máille leis an Ollamh Lillis Ó Laoire agus an Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile Déanann an taispeántas seo saol agus saothar an Ollaimh Tomás Ó Máille (1880-1938) a cheiliúradh, arbh é an chéad Ollamh le Gaeilge i nGaillimh é idir 1909 agus 1938. Is fearr an aithne atá air as a leabhair An Béal Beo agus An tIomaire Rua agus bhí sé ina bhailitheoir béaloidis, ina theangeolaí, ina eagarthóir nuachtáin, ina bhall d’Óglaigh na hÉireann tráth, agus ar dhuine acu siúd a bhunaigh an Taibhdhearc.  Rinne Ó Máille amhráin agus scéalta ó chainteoirí Gaeilge ó gach contae taobh thiar den tSionainn a thaifeadadh ar shorcóirí céarach, agus tá digitiú déanta ar na sorcóirí sin le gairid.  Bhí Ó Máille ar dhuine de cheannródaithe stát nua-aimseartha na hÉireann, agus cultúr agus saoránacht ina mbunchlocha dá oidhreacht.  Reáchtálfar an taispeántas in Áras Taighde Uí Argadáin ón 16 Meán Fómhair 2022 go dtí mí na Nollag 2022, sula dtéann sé ar camchuairt. Iniúchadh ar an Eispéireas LGBTQ+ in OÉ Gaillimh leis an Dr Declan Coogan agus Coiste Líonra Foirne LGBT+ OÉ Gaillimh Féachfaidh an tionscadal seo leis an bpríomhcheist seo a fhreagairt: cé hiad na daoine, nó céard iad na háiteanna nó na himeachtaí laistigh dár n-ollscoil, nó a raibh an ollscoil i gceannas orthu, a raibh tionchar acu ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag daoine LGBTQ+ maidir le cearta an duine?  Déanfaidh an tionscadal cíoradh ar na saincheisteanna atá fós le réiteach agus forbróidh sé straitéisí a bhféadfadh an ollscoil agus comhpháirtithe eile glacadh leo chun dul chun cinn sa todhchaí a éascú.  Cartlann Mincéirs – Cartlann Dhigiteach ar Líne de Phobal Taistealaithe na hÉireann le Owen Ward, Foghrúpa Oibre Stair agus Chultúr na dTaistealaithe, Coiste Mincéirs Misl'd in Education, Cumann Mincéirs Whiden, agus Kieran Hoare, Leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh Cartlann dhigiteach í seo ina bhfuil bailiúchán ilchineálach ábhair. Táthar ag cur leis an mbailiúchán i gcónaí, agus san áireamh ann tá cáipéisí stairiúla agus téacsanna scolártha.  Féachann an chartlann le caidreamh dearfach OÉ Gaillimh le pobal Taistealaithe na hÉireann a léiriú, rud a chuirfidh le cáil na hollscoile mar eiseamláir den chomhionannas, den chuimsitheacht agus den éagsúlacht.  San áireamh sa bhailiúchán beidh míreanna ó chartlanna go leor agus tá glao poiblí á dhéanamh ag an bhfoireann ábhair stairiúla a bhaineann le cultúr an phobail Taistealaithe a fháil. Stair na Leabharlainne in 100 Réad le Marie Boran, Caitriona Cannon, Geraldine Curtin, Patricia Ffrench agus Emma Goode, le cúnamh ó Eimhin Joyce agus Leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh Osclaíodh an Leabharlann in 1849 nuair a bhí an scoláire agus staraí iomráiteach, Séamus Ó hArgadáin, ina chéad leabharlannaí.  Roghnófar 100 réad ó bhailiúcháin na leabharlainne, lena n-áirítear leabhair, lámhscríbhinní, bailiúcháin chartlainne, litreacha, grianghraif, nuachtáin, troscán leabharlainne, stáiseanóireacht nó déantáin, chun a scéal a insint. Taifead Fíorúil agus Tadhaill de Champas OÉ Gaillimh Inniu le Eileen Kennedy agus mic léinn Chúinne na Cruthaitheachta Úsáidfear grianghrafadóireacht dróin agus fótagraiméadracht chun íomhá a ghiniúint de champas na hOllscoile mar atá sé 177 bliain tar éis a bhunaithe, agus chun mapa fíorúil tríthoiseach (3T) a chruthú. Cartlann Amharc-Staire do OÉ Gaillimh: Bailiúchán na Foirne ar Scor leis an Ollamh Jane Conroy, an tOllamh Gerard Jennings, agus an Dr Séamus Mac Mathúna thar ceann Chumann na gComhaltaí Foirne ar Scor / Agallamh na Seanórach Ag tarraingt ar bhailiúcháin phríobháideacha grianghraf agus físeán cruthóidh an tionscadal seo taifead físiúil de stair na hOllscoile. Beidh OÉ Gaillimh ar an gcéad Ollscoil in Éirinn a dhéanfaidh a stair agus stair a comhluadair agus a pobail a chur ar taifead ar an gcaoi sin.  Críoch

Monday, 27 June 2022

New research by NUI Galway has found that cost of purpose-built student accommodation is a barrier to full participation in third level from prospective students.  The research compares rents and availability of university provided student accommodation in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and some European Universities.  The 68 page report shows that purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) offered by Irish universities is relatively costly, compared with universities in Northern Ireland and some European universities.  The report is available here. The research noted that the cost and extent of PBSA is of major concern to Student Unions and prospective students, and that it acts as a barrier to full participation from potential students, including those with disabilities, as well as some international students. The development of high cost, private, tax relief driven, investor-led PBSA is driving higher rents and lowering space and accommodation standards. This research was conducted Áine Dillon, BCL Law Student, and Professor Padraic Kenna at the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy, NUI Galway over the past year. It found that single occupancy rooms make up less than half the accommodation provided by Irish universities, with shared occupancy rooms most common in NUI Galway and University College Cork. Professor Kenna said: “It is a surprising finding that rents for university provided purpose-built student accommodation are so high in Ireland. These could rise even further due to current development costs. Without a capital subsidy to the university providers, it will be increasingly difficult to provide affordable new student accommodation. With that in mind, our report recommends the establishment of Student Housing Associations (Approved Housing Bodies) to provide affordable student accommodation.” The report advocates for low-cost, socially inclusive, disability friendly, digitally advanced, student housing. Access to affordable and good quality PBSA is a significant public interest issue, and one which will be highlighted as the new Technological Universities in Ireland begin to provide student accommodation. Ends

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

School of Health Sciences becomes ninth school in the University to achieve Athena Swan Bronze Award All three schools in NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences now hold Bronze awards  NUI Galway has reached a new level in advancing gender equality, with the School of Health Sciences securing the ninth Athena Swan Bronze Award for the University. The award recognised the commitment to advancing gender equality in health sciences for both staff and students, and in creating cultural change within the University.  NUI Galway Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Helen Maher, said: “All of us at NUI Galway are sharing in the congratulations for the School of Health Sciences. We are greatly encouraged by the progress our university has made on gender equality, particularly in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – where all three schools have secured bronze awards”.  “This latest award demonstrates that our efforts and our commitment on this unfinished journey are embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in our culture and our collective responsibilities.”  The Athena Swan Bronze Award represents the commitment to equality in the School of Health Sciences and highlights the work which has been undertaken to identify gender equality issues, such as the underrepresentation of men and understaffing in some areas and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. Professor Martin O’Donnell, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “We would like to congratulate the School of Heath Sciences in attaining the Bronze medal award, particularly the work of the self-assessment team. All three Schools in our College have now attained Bronze Awards, which demonstrates an important but initial step in our commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in our College and wider community.”   Professor Caroline McIntosh, Head of the School of Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “I am very proud to have the School of Health Sciences awarded the Bronze Athena Swan award. I look forward to supporting the implementation of our action plan to foster an environment where all staff feel that they have ample prospects to reach their potential.  “Our action plan lays the foundation for embedding equality, inclusion, and support within our School. A particular challenge for our School is the extreme gender imbalance- our professions are predominantly female with low male representation, which is clearly reflected in our own academic and student profile. Through the implementation of our action plan we aim to work towards greater gender representation in our professions while also addressing the more well-known gender equality issues associated with a predominantly female School.” Ends

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Minister for State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D. has today opened the international Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway. National and International experts are presenting on topics under the theme of this year’s event - “Health Inequality: Action for Change”. The annual Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway is in its 26th year and is co-hosted by the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health, the Association for Health Promotion Ireland and the Institute of Public Health.  Minister Feighan addressed the conference, saying: “The annual conference provides a great opportunity for more cutting-edge health promotion research, as well as expanding links between knowledge and implementation and broadening connections between researchers, policy makers and practitioners. Ultimately in society, everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.” The aim of the conference is to address health inequalities associated with socio-economic factors in Ireland and internationally, and the impact these factors have on life expectancy rates, mortality, chronic conditions depending on education, employment, income level, living environment and ethnicity.  The conference will hear how these factors have been exposed and amplified by the pandemic. This will be specifically addressed by Sir Michael Marmot, keynote speaker from the Institute of Health Equity in University College London.  Professor Margaret Hodgins, Conference Co-Chair, Health Promotion Research Centre and Discipline of Health Promotion, NUI Galway, said: “This conference is bringing together the best of NUI Galway and national and international experts on health inequalities to look to highlight cutting-edge research and innovation initiatives as well as to expand links between research and action, and to broaden connections among a diverse community of researchers, policymakers and practitioners. It will provide the opportunity to discuss meaningful action for change and to learn from the experiences of international colleagues.”  The conference will focus on reframing lifestyle approaches to health improvement to ensure they are underpinned by an approach that recognises and addresses the wider determinants of health. This is consistent with the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme, launched by the HSE in 2021 to address health inequity, a place-based approach that aims to focus on local areas in which health and wellbeing risk factors are particularly concentrated.  International and national keynote addresses include  Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity and advisor to the WHO Director-General on social determinants of health.  Professor Jane South, Professor of Healthy Communities at Leeds Beckett University, UK and the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, will explore the importance of community-centred approaches as a way of reducing health inequity. Professor Jennie Popay, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Lancaster University. Dr Helen McAvoy. Director of Policy, Institute of Public Health, Ireland. Greg Straton. Assistant Principal Officer, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Department of Health, Ireland. For further information on the conference and full programme details, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/hpconference  Ends

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

ICHEC (Irish Centre for High-End Computing) welcomes EU support for supercomputing  The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) at NUI Galway has been selected by the EU as the home for a new supercomputer. Ireland is one of five successful countries, along with Germany, Hungary, Greece and Poland, chosen to operate the next generation of European High Performance Computing. The announcement of EU funding is the first step in a process which will be completed subject to national co-funding arrangements.  President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The key benefit of a super-computing technology of this excellence is its capacity to model complexity and to radically expand our research opportunities. “Our core values at NUI Galway include openness and respect and computing infrastructure of this capacity will be a significant asset in that regard as it futureproofs our approach to research, respecting the evidence and making a major contribution to openly supporting the scientific research community in Ireland. It also fits with so many aspects of our research strategy, using data to support research and policy-making in the environment, marine, healthcare, and in supporting a good society.” Commenting on the successful bid Professor. J-C Desplat, ICHEC, said: “A new supercomputer, expected to be around 25 times more powerful than the current national supercomputer Kay, would provide a national competence development platform for both numerical modelling and for the next generation of data-centric techniques and platforms and, as such, accelerate the adoption of powerful new hybrid techniques embedding machine learning within mainstream computational science models and Grand Challenges.”  Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President Research and Innovation, NUI Galway, said: “The key feature of machine of this nature is its capacity to model complexity. As weather patterns change, as the future of distributed energy networks change, as we attempt to predict food supply needs of the future, we need a totally new kind of computing capacity to support our endeavours in these areas for the public good.” EuroHPC supercomputers will be available to serve a wide range of European users, including  the scientific community, industry and the public sector, powering new applications in a wide range of areas, from designing medicines and new materials to fighting climate change, they will advance science, boost the innovation potential of enterprises while ultimately improving the citizens’ quality of life. Ends

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Honorary doctorate awarded to world renowned creator of music scores for hit films and video games as university celebrates summer conferring  World renowned composer and conductor Eímear Noone was today awarded an honorary doctorate by NUI Galway.  The award-winning artist and creator of scores for 26 film and video game titles was conferred a Doctor of Music honoris causa at the university’s summer conferring. Almost 300 NUI Galway students were conferred at the ceremony. The largest cohort included more than 180 doctors who received their Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) degree. Eímear Noone said: “I am delighted to be getting this honorary Doctorate of Music and it’s particularly poignant that it’s the same year that the first students of the university’s Bachelor of Music are graduating from NUI Galway.  “To be honoured in my own home county, in Galway, is so meaningful and overwhelming. If I was to offer any advice to the graduates of today it’s this -  take the ‘don’t be bold’ that we are told as kids, and turn it on its head, and go out there and be bold.”  A world-renowned conductor and award-winning composer, Eímear Noone is based out of Los Angeles and Dublin. Originally from Kilconnell, Co Galway, she made history in 2020 when she became the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Academy Awards.  Eímear Noone has composed extensively for film and video games. Her portfolio of scores for 26 film and video-game titles has reached more than 100 million people worldwide and has won multiple industry accolades including the Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Video Game Score. The honorary conferring took place at a special graduation celebration for more than 150 former students who completed studies in 2021 and whose winter conferring was postponed, along with graduates who completed studies in 2020 and were conferred in absentia due to public health restrictions during the pandemic.  President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of the graduates on their hard work and achievement in challenging times. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will continue play its full part in developing graduates who make a profound difference in the world and for the world, and shape the future needs of our society. “I would also like to extend my congratulations to Eímear Noone. We are delighted to be able to recognise her outstanding contribution to the world of music and gaming.” Twelve Final Medical Medals were presented to seven graduates for their outstanding academic performance in the studies, with Dr Róisín Thornton from Corcullen, Co Galway receiving five medals. Every year the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences presents the medals to students who receive the highest grade in each subject area.  Ends

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Dochtúireacht oinigh bronnta ar dhuine a chuir ceol le mórscannáin agus le cluichí físeáin a bhfuil an-tóir orthu ag searmanas bronnta an tsamhraidh san Ollscoil  Bhronn OÉ Gaillimh dochtúireacht oinigh inniu ar Eímear Noone, cumadóir agus stiúrthóir a bhfuil clú agus cáil uirthi ar fud an domhain. Bronnadh Dochtúireacht le Ceol honoris causa ar an ealaíontóir seo a bhfuil go leor duaiseanna bainte aici agus a chuir ceol le 26 scannán agus cluiche físeáin ag searmanas bronnta an tsamhraidh san Ollscoil. Bronnadh a gcéim ar nach mór 300 mac léinn de chuid OÉ Gaillimh. Ina measc bhí breis agus 180 dochtúir ar bronnadh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir sa Chnáimhseachas (MB, BCh, BAO) orthu. Is in Los Angeles agus i mBaile Átha Cliath atá cónaí ar Eímear Noone, stiúrthóir agus cumadóir a bhfuil go leor duaiseanna bainte aici. Is as Cill Chonaill, Co. na Gaillimhe, di ó dhúchas agus rinne sí gaisce in 2020 nuair a bhí sí ar an gcéad bhean a stiúir an cheolfhoireann ag ócáid bhronnta Ghradaim Acadamh Ealaíon agus Eolaíochtaí na Scannán (Academy Awards). Tá ceol cumtha ag Eímear Noone do réimse leathan scannán agus cluichí físeáin. Tá níos mó ná 100 milliún duine ar fud an domhain tar éis a portfóilió de scóir scannán agus cluichí físeáin a chloisteáil agus is iomaí gradam de chuid an tionscail sin atá buaite aici, Gradam Hollywood Music in Media don Scór is Fearr do Chluiche Físeáin ina measc. Rinneadh an bronnadh oinigh ag searmanas bronnta céime ceiliúrtha ar leith do níos mó ná 150 iar-mhac léinn a chríochnaigh a gcuid staidéir in 2021 agus ar cuireadh a mbronnadh geimhridh ar athló, agus do chéimithe a chríochnaigh a gcuid staidéir in 2020 agus ar bronnadh a gcéim orthu in absentia mar gheall ar shrianta poiblí le linn na paindéime.  Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, déanaim comhghairdeas le gach céimí as an obair chrua a rinne siad agus as a bhfuil bainte amach acu ainneoin na ndúshlán a bhí le sárú le tamall anuas. Táimidne in OÉ Gaillimh diongbháilte de go ndéanfaidh an Ollscoil seo a cion féin le céimithe a oiliúint a fhágfaidh a lorg ar an domhan trí chéile, agus a bheidh in ann freastal ar riachtanais ár sochaí amach anseo. “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le hEímear Noone chomh maith. Is mór againn a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt don obair mhór atá déanta aici i saol an cheoil agus na gcluichí físeáin.” Bronnadh dhá cheann déag de Bhoinn don Bhliain Deiridh Leighis ar sheachtar céimithe as a fheabhas a d’éirigh leo i mbun staidéir. Bronnadh cúig cinn de na boinn sin ar Róisín Thornton as Corr Chuilinn, Co. na Gaillimhe.  Gach bliain bronnann Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte na boinn ar na mic léinn a fhaigheann an grád is airde i ngach réimse ábhair. Críoch

Friday, 10 June 2022

NUI Galway is celebrating the success of seven academics, researchers and graduates named among the 40 Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2022-2023. The Fulbright Programme in Ireland was established in 1957 and annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the US and for American citizens to do the same in Ireland. The seven NUI Galway Fulbright awardees are: Dr Sharon Glynn - Associate Professor in Pathology at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, and a Funded Investigator in CÚRAM. Dr Glynn’s Fulbright Scholar Award with be hosted at Houston Methodist Hospital Weill Cornell and is linked to breast cancer research. Dr Glynn will explore the use of multiplex spatial digital pathology to understand tumour microenvironment in patients with breast cancer responds to cancer therapy, and to identify factors that contribute to successful treatment response. She will also visit the Harper Cancer Center at Notre Dame University to build new collaborations.  Dara Kerins - Social scientist with a BSc (Applied Social Sciences) and Higher Diploma (Economic Science) from NUI Galway. Dara Kerrins has worked as a community development officer, a director/trustee of a marine conservation organisation, and an award-winning fundraiser for the humanitarian-aid organisation Concern, and has founded, and currently coordinates a sustainability initiative at NUI Galway entitled Glassary. Building upon his passion to help people through the development of a more safe, sustainable, and equitable world, he will use his Fulbright-EPA Award to undertake a Master’s programme in financial economics, before embarking upon a PhD in public policy in the years to come.  Dr Jenny Mc Sharry - Chartered Health Psychologist, lecturer in the School of Psychology and Assistant Director of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway. As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar at City University New York, she will complete “Student Experiences of Health Psychology in the US (STEP-US): A mixed methods study with US Health Psychology doctoral students and programme leads”. The project will facilitate the development of international recommendations to support students from a diversity of backgrounds in training as Health Psychologists and to become the future leaders needed to address global healthcare challenges.  Dr Ruth Melia - Senior Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead at HSE Mid-West, and a researcher on the use of mobile health technology in suicide prevention at NUI Galway. She is Principal Investigator on the SafePlan trial, a National Office for Suicide Prevention-funded study of mobile-based safety planning within Irish mental health services. Ruth is an Adjunct Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at NUI Galway, and provides teaching and research supervision to psychologists across institutions. As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar, Ruth will further her work on the use of Artificial Intelligence in Suicide Prevention with researchers at the Joiner Lab, Florida State University.  Aoibhín Sheedy - PhD student in Biomedical Engineering and CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Her PhD is funded by the SFI LiFTETIME CDT Programme and investigates advanced immunotherapy and delivery strategies to treat ovarian cancer. As a Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Awardee at the University of Minnesota, she will investigate the currently developed therapeutics at the Miller Lab through the device developed at the Dolan Lab in NUI Galway.  Ciara Shortiss - PhD student in the Anatomy Department and Regenerative Medicine Institute, NUI Galway. Funded by the Irish Research Council her research investigates viral gene therapy vectors to reduce the production of molecules in spinal cord injury scarring. The scar that forms after injury is one obstacle stopping nerve re-growth, preventing signals from being transmitted to and from the brain. Therapies that target multiple obstacles preventing regeneration show the most promise in treating spinal cord injury. As a Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Awardee at the Neurobiology Lab, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, Ciara will investigate combining her gene therapy with a biomaterial scaffold developed in the Mayo Clinic to further promote nerve growth after spinal cord injury.  Dr Eoin Whelan - Professor of Business Analytics and Society at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in the NUI Galway. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute d’Economie Scientifique et de Gestion, France, and a visiting researcher at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His research explores the psychology underlying engagement with interactive digital media. As a Fulbright-TechImpact Scholar in the summer of 2023, he will work alongside colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder to determine if an abstinence from social media, commonly known as a digital detox, is an effective intervention strategy for promoting a healthy way of life for teenagers.  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President, said: “I would like to commend the seven awardees on their achievement. NUI Galway has a proud history of excellence in education and research, and the internationally-recognised Fulbright Awards are associated with excellence and prestige. We are proud to have them represent our university. Fulbright made a big difference to my academic, research career and, as a Fulbright alumnus, I wish our awardees the very best of success in the United States.” The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Joe Hackett and the Deputy Chief of Mission, Alexandra McKnight, announced the Fulbright awardees on behalf of US Ambassador to Ireland Clare Cronin.  The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on August 31, 2022. Interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information. Ends

Friday, 29 January 2021

Third level partnership on research brings people's voices to the table NUI Galway is to lead a new network of universities to champion public and patient involvement in health and social care research. The Health Research Board, in conjunction with the Irish Research Council, announced the development of the new Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Network across seven universities and 10 partner organisations, some of which represent patients. With NUI Galway as lead, the network is being established to put the public and the patient at the centre of health and social care research. It aims to ensure that the next generation of graduates is familiar with Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and know how to incorporate it into their research. In the partnership, patients and members of the public will have the opportunity to work with research teams to decide what issues are important to focus on and how best to carry out research. A key goal will be to ensure that the voices of marginalised and disadvantaged groups are heard. The new network is being headed up by Professor Sean Dinneen, of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, and Edel Murphy, who is based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in the University. “The National PPI Network is a great opportunity for Irish universities to work together to re-imagine what health and social care research is all about and to involve our local communities as genuine partners in the research effort,” Professor Dinneen said. “Rather than adding a tokenistic patient voice to our research we have to take time to form, nurture and engage with a diverse group of individuals from our local community who can provide an authentic public and patient perspective on our research.” The network is building on an initial PPI Ignite Programme, which began in NUI Galway and other universities in 2017 and started the process of changing research culture. A national public advisory panel will be set up in the early phase of its work. The network will also explore innovative ways of involving patients and the public in research, identify best practice and look to measure the impact of PPI. An online hub is to be set up with the aim of connecting patients and members of the public who are interested in being involved with research communities who are seeking PPI partners.  An annual PPI Festival will be held along with outreach events to share resources, knowledge and experience. The network will also deliver training in PPI to researchers, the public, patients, community organisations, policy-makers and research funders. Deirdre Mac Loughlin, a member of the public advisory panel on NUI Galway’s initial PPI Ignite programme, said: “We are on a journey to bring Public and Patient Involvement in health research from concept to reality. These partnerships allow us to bring our lived experience to the research question and often bring a different dimension and perspective to the table. All of this helps to improve the relevance of the research. "Over the next few years we will help to drive PPI as an integral part of the research culture and broaden the number and diversity of active PPI contributors. Through genuine ‘PPI in Action’ the relevance of health research can be optimised and its benefits and trustworthiness be reinforced and promoted.” As part of the new initiative to develop the PPI Network, Dr Ruth McMenamin and Professor Martin O’Halloran have been appointed as co-leads of the NUI Galway PPI Ignite programme. The University will also strengthen ties with local partners such as Croí and the Saolta Hospital Group as well as working with international experts including Professor Derek Stewart (recently appointed Honorary Professor at NUI Galway) and Professor Carolyn Jenkins from the Medical University of South Carolina. Members of the public and patients with an interest in finding out more about Public and Patient Involvement can contact ppi@nuigalway.ie Ends

Thursday, 28 January 2021

⦁ Testing of next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines stretch from Alaska to Scotland  ⦁ Fatigue and static testing of tidal blade model designs completed for the largest tidal turbine in the world Over the past 12 months, a research team in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway have made a significant contribution to technology development in the marine energy sector, by delivering three full-scale structural testing programmes to de-risk blade components to allow for commercial and operational trials in Alaska and Scotland. The research team worked with industry partners Suzlon Energy (wind energy developer), Ocean Renewable Power Company (tidal energy developer), Orbital Marine Power (tidal energy developer) and ÉireComposites (wind/tidal OEM). Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites, said: “Our research collaborations with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has resulted in moving our blade technology from technology readiness level (TRL) 6 to 9 and the company has attracted commercial contracts for manufacturing tidal turbine blades, and securing these jobs over the long term. “For example, at the start of 2020, we worked on a testing programme with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and NUI Galway to de-risk the turbine blade components for the ORPC RivGen® Turbine that we were manufacturing in our facilities in Galway. Due to the successful completion of the structural testing of the turbine in NUI Galway, RivGen® has since been installed in Igiugig, Alaska, where it provides clean, predictable electricity for a remote community, which previously relied solely on energy generation from diesel generators.” Testing to prove tidal blade's twenty-year design life is a world first In 2020, ÉireComposites also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway. Through the SEAI funded SEABLADE and Horizon 2020 Marinet2 testing programmes in NUI Galway, a static load of 1,004kN (over 100 tonnes or equivalent to 10 double decker buses) was applied to a tidal turbine blade – the highest load to be reported ever in the world. Following this, the blade was subjected to fatigue testing to prove the blade’s twenty year design life, which is a hugely important step forward in the certification of tidal turbine blades required for full commercialisation. This achievement has had a major impact on the tidal energy sector, while demonstrating the advanced capabilities of the project partners. To date, the testing has validated the models used to design the blade and the manufacturing process, paving the way for Orbital Marine Power’s O2-2000 device to be deployed in 2021, where it will become the largest tidal turbine in the world. According to Finlay Wallace, Blades Manager at Orbital Marine Power: “Collaborating with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway and ÉireComposites to develop composite tidal turbine blade technology as part of the EU Horizon 2020 Flotec project opened up opportunities to prove the static and fatigue strength of a full sized composite tidal turbine blade structure through the Marinet2 and Ocean Era Net programmes. “We took on a close collaborative approach, working with the project partners during planning and execution of the test program. We were thrilled to successfully demonstrate the blade static and fatigue strength, validating our design approach for composite blades. This represents a critical step in de-risking the path for larger more powerful turbine blades with lower cost of energy.” Development of a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades In 2020, the MaREI team in the Ryan Institute and School of Engineering at NUI Galway also completed the EASME-funded €1.5 million LEAPWind Project, which was in response to Suzlon Energy’s need to develop a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades. New components developed at ÉireComposites are now undertaking full-scale operational trials on wind turbines in Scotland, which may result in the new component being used on all future Suzlon blades, where they currently have an installed capacity of over 18,800MW worldwide. That installed capacity is, on average, enough to supply the electrical needs of over 8 million households. Structural testing of components for preventing leading-edge erosion on wind turbine blades was completed at NUI Galway, including static and fatigue testing of representative sections of full-scale blades. According to Sandro Di Noi, Innovation and Strategic Research Manager at Suzlon Energy Blades Technology B.V.: “The cooperation and the results achieved within the innovative LEAPWind project increased the SE Blades Technology (knowledge about wind blades leading edge protection technology in an off-shore environment. “The successful static and fatigue testing of the leading edge protection component (known as LEP) on a representative full-scale blade performed at NUI-Galway delivered a professional and “ready to use” report. The results allows us to move forward with the thermoplastic LEP solution developed by ÉireComposites.” Local social impact in the West of Ireland Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites adds: “The collaboration with the team based in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has helped secure ÉireComposites’ long term viability and safeguard jobs in the Connemara Gaeltacht. This is as a result of a long number of years of working closely in partnership with researchers and academics in NUI Galway to foster an innovative ecosystem for lightweight high-performance large-scale fibre-reinforced composite structures across a range of applications, including aviation, space, marine and renewable energy – wind, tidal and river-current.” Professor Jamie Goggins, Principal Investigator in the SFI MaREI Centre and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 in 2020, together with our project partners we have made significant contributions to the marine energy industry, in particular through our collaborations with ÉireComposites, ORPC, Orbital Marine Power and Suzlon Energy. “Having already secured new collaborative research projects to develop and test the next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines we’re hopeful for another successful year in 2021. We are very grateful for the support of Science Foundation Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the European Commission through the H2020 and EASME-funded programmes. This has helped secure the reputation of the MaREI Centre as a world leader in design, modelling and testing of tidal turbine blades and blade components.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

NUI Galway becomes first third-level institution to commit to “campus-wide” promotion of leadership skills in partnership with LIFT Ireland  LIFT Ireland and NUI Galway have today (27.01.21) announced the first partnership in Ireland’s third-level sector aimed at improving leadership skills amongst students and staff. LIFT Ireland is an initiative to raise the level of leadership nationwide, working with organisations and individuals in a variety of settings to develop key leadership attributes. Current partners include ESB, Munster Rugby, Bank of Ireland, RSA Insurance, Vodafone, Dublin Airport, and over 100 secondary schools nationwide. LIFT’s partnership with NUI Galway is the organisation’s first formal partnership with a third-level institution. It will see more than 200 staff and students trained as LIFT facilitators by April. These facilitators will then go on to deliver the LIFT leadership programme to a further 1,500 staff and students at NUI Galway throughout 2021. As part of a pilot run in late 2020, LIFT has already trained 70 NUI Galway students and staff as facilitators.  The LIFT Model LIFT’s leadership programme is delivered through regular roundtable sessions, led by a volunteer facilitator. Each session focuses on one of eight key leadership values, such as honesty, competence, accountability, empathy, respect and positive attitude. The programme supports participants to develop these leadership attributes on an ongoing basis.  Commenting on the partnership with NUI Galway, Joanne Hession, founder and CEO of LIFT Ireland, said: “We work with students and staff across all levels of education, including in schools and further education settings. By working with education institutions, LIFT is aiming to instil strong leadership values in people from a young age, in the hope that they will take these values and practices with them as they move through life and through their careers. “We are delighted to be partnering with NUI Galway, a pioneer in its sector and the first of what we hope will be many third-level institutions to roll out LIFT across campus.” Also welcoming the partnership, the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to be the first university to be part of the LIFT programme in Ireland. Many organisations have already benefitted from the programme and, as a learning organisation, I’m particularly pleased that we’re the first university to be involved. “Leading Ireland’s future together is particularly important for NUI Galway and the LIFT programme does it in a way which is very much in tune with our values as a university.” To view a video of NUI Galway students speaking about their participation in the LIFT pilot partnership in late 2020, go to: liftireland.ie/nuig-first-thrid-level-lift-partner/"t-thrid-level-lift-partner/. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Iriseoirí an lae amárach - cúrsa seachtaine in iriseoireacht do scoláirí Idirbhliana a reachtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Beidh deis ag scoláirí Idirbhliana tabhairt faoi chúrsa nua iriseoireachta ar líne á mhúineadh ag cuid de phlúr na n-iriseoirí teilifíse, raidió agus digití. Reachtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh agus Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 an cúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach le comhairle ón gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) agus ón Roinn Oideachais. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar scoláirí in Iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus Lán-Ghaeilge ar fud na tíre agus beidh sé ar siúl ar an ardán Zoom idir 1-4 Márta 2021. Cuirfidh foireann ó chúrsaí meán agus cumarsáide OÉ Gaillimh agus iriseoirí RTÉ a chraolann ar TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus a sholáthraíonn ábhar d’árdáin digiteacha an cúrsa i láthair ar líne.  Roinnfidh an t-iriseoir físe agus fear déanta scannán, Seán Mac an tSíthigh a chuid scileanna agus a chuid taithí de bheith ag soláthar scéalta físe d’ardchaighdeán do TG4 agus RTÉ.  Tabharfaidh Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg cuntas ar na ceisteanna crua a chuireann sí ar dhaoine gach lá ar Adhmhaidin ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.  Glacfaidh na láithreoirí nuachta Eimear Ní Chonaola agus Siún Nic Gearailt páirt sna ranganna ag tabhairt léargais ar an saol laethúil sna meáin.  Clúdóidh Siún Ní Dhuinn ó RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie na dúshláin a bhaineann le scéalta a sholáthar d’ardáin ar líne. Tabharfaidh an cúrsa léargas freisin ar ghairmeacha sna meáin agus ar scéalta spóirt a chlúdach do phobal na hÉireann, dream a bhfuil spéis mhór acu ina leithéid. Dúirt an tOllamh Brenadán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá gnóthaí nuachta – gnóthaí bréag-nuachta, san áireamh – ina n-ábhar conspóide le cúpla bliain anuas, agus aird níos mó anois ag daoine ar fud an domhain ar thábhacht na hiriseoireachta i sochaí dhaonlathach ar bith.  Cosán atá sa chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach ón scoil go dtí an ollscoil.  Deis atá ann léargas ar leith a fháil ar shaol na hiriseoireachta go bhfeice scoláirí Idirbhliana an bhfuil siad ag iarraidh oibriú sa réimse sin nó nach bhfuil.  Agus is deis fosta atá ann eolas níos mó a fháil fá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus saol na mac léinn cois Coiribe.” Dúirt Ardstiúrthóir TG4, Alan Esslemont: “Tá an iriseoireacht Ghaeilge mar bhunchloch lárnach do sheirbhís TG4 agus cuireann muid fáilte roimh an gcomhoibriú seo le OÉ Gaillimh chun iriseoirí an lae amárach a spreagadh” Agus í ag fáiltiú roimh sheoladh an chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach, dúirt príomhfheidhmheannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin, ‘Cuirfidh an cúrsa nua seo gairm na hiriseoireachta faoi bhráid scoláirí na n-iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge agus cuirfidh sé ar an eolas iad faoi thábhacht iriseoireacht ar ardchaighdeán agus na deiseanna atá sna meáin d’iriseoirí le Gaeilge.’ Dúirt Stiúrthóir Cláir an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), OÉ Gaillimh, Aodh Ó Coileáin: “Is minic a thug an Chúirt Eorpach um Chearta an Duine ‘gadhar faire an phobail’ ar ról tábhachtach na hiriseoireachta.  Go deimhin, bronnann an Chúirt cosaint ar leith don phreas mar go bfhuil feidhmiú an daonlathais ag brath ar shaoirse an phreasa.  Anois, níos mó ná riamh tá iriseoireacht chruinn, chothrom, neamhchlaonta de dhíth ar phobal na hÉireann.” “Tá súil ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 agus an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta go dtabharfaidh an cúrsa nua léargas do scoláirí Idirbhliana ar ról  agus ar obair na meán agus go mb’fhéidir go spreagfaidh sé cuid acu tabhairt faoi ghairmeacha sna meáin amach anseo.  Tá an fhírinne tábhachtach in aon phobal” a dúirt Ó Coileáin Clárú don chúrsa agus breis eolais: Le clárú ba cheart do scoileanna teagmháil le peadar@cogg.ie le léirithe spéise agus nasc clárúcháin a fháil. Is í an Chéadaoin 10 Feabhra an spriocdháta do léirithe spéise ó scoileanna. Is í an Luan 22 Feabhra an spriocdháta le clárú. Críoch

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway hosts Iriseoirí an lae amárach - a week-long course in journalism for Transition Year students Transition Year students in Irish-medium schools are being offered a unique insight to journalism in an online course with some of Ireland’s finest television, radio and digital journalists and broadcasters. NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 are running the week-long Iriseoirí an lae amárach programme in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and the Department of Education. The course is aimed at post-primary students in Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools and will be held via Zoom between 1–4 March 2021. Each day a mix of material will be presented by a team drawn from NUI Galway’s media and communications courses and from journalists broadcasting on TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and producing content for online platforms.  Award winning video journalist and filmmaker Seán Mac an tSíthigh will share his skills and experience in compiling stories of a cinematic quality for TG4 and RTÉ. Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg will give an insight into packing the difficult questions into Adhmhaidin, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s flagship current affairs programme. Television news anchors Eimear Ní Chonaola and Siún Nic Gearailt will speak of the joys and the trials and tribulations of daily live broadcasting.  Choosing and presenting stories for online platforms will be covered by Siún Ní Dhuinn of RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie.  The course will also give an insight into following a career path in media and advice on providing stories for a sporting nation on GAA, soccer and horseracing will also be outlined and discussed. Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, said: “The last few years, punctuated by the catch-cry of ‘fake news’, have made us all more conscious of the importance of quality journalism. Iriseoirí an lae amárach enables Transition Year Students to see for themselves what journalism involves and it gives them experience that may help them decide if they wish to pursue a career in a field so vital to democracy and social justice. And it will also give them a sense of the opportunities offered by a BA at NUI Galway.” TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont said: “Irish language journalism is a core part of the TG4 schedule, and we welcome this collaboration with NUI Galway to encourage Transition Year students to consider a career in journalism.” Welcoming the initiative, chief executive of COGG Muireann Ní Mhóráin said: “This new course will present careers in journalism to post-primary students in Gaeltacht areas and in Irish medium post-primary schools throughout the country along with emphasising the importance of high quality journalism and informing students of opportunities through the medium of Irish in this area.” Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), NUI Galway, Aodh Ó Coileáin, said: “The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has compared the vital role of journalists to that of ‘public watchdog’. Accordingly, the Court has afforded the press the broadest scope of protection. Freedom of the press is one of the great gifts of a democratic society. Perhaps now more than at any point in our history, Ireland needs free, critical, impartial and independent media.” “NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta hope that this vibrant new digital course will give an insight to students and perhaps encourage some to choose education in journalism or some aspect of media and broadcasting. The truth always matters.” Registration for course and further information: Schools should write to: peadar@cogg.ie in order to express interest and receive a registration link. Wednesday 10 February is the deadline for expressions of interest from schools. Monday 22 February is the deadline for registration. Ends

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway student Sukanya Saikia has been selected as a Climate Force Ambassador for the upcoming International Antarctic Expedition in November 2021. Sukanya will be part of a group of 80 dedicated climate change fighters and environmentalists who will travel to the Antarctic for an intensive and immersive training program. Originally from India, Sukanya is a PhD student with the discipline of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. Her research investigates the climate change and urbanization impact on wastewater management systems. The expedition aims to train and inspire young leaders in up-to-date climate change, sustainability and clean energy skills, and to provide a platform to engage in discussion and exchange ideas with world-class climate and sustainability leaders and help build strong collaborations. Sukanya said: “I am extremely honoured and privileged to be selected for this once in a lifetime training. I am very passionate about climate change and sustainability issues and have been involved with such projects since 2013. I feel that for all the climate actions we do at an individual level, everything has acted as catalysts and manifested into this brilliant opportunity! I’m both excited and nervous and hope to get everyone’s support to complete this expedition.” Organised by 2041 Foundation, the expedition will be led by Robert Swan, OBE, polar explorer, environmentalist, and the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole which was the inspiration for the 2041 Foundation, an organisation he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the Polar Regions. The mission of the foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices. Sukanya’s supervisor, Dr Eoghan Clifford, Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great and a very exclusive opportunity for Sukanya. It will allow her to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. It aligns with her PhD research and will give her a broader perspective on climate change, and I look forward to hearing from Sukanya about her experiences when she comes back.” To find out more about Sukanya’s journey or to support her with the expedition visit her GoFundMe page at gf.me/u/zfzq2c. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Ireland’s energy sector to learn from Mallorca testbed  Researchers at NUI Galway are taking part in a green hydrogen research project in the Mediterranean which will help chart a path for the renewable energy enabler to be used in Ireland. Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca. In the process it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility. NUI Galway researchers Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, members of the Energy Research Centre at the University's Ryan Institute, will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands. Dr Farràs Costa, of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, said: “Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence. The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.” Green Hysland - Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total. Antonio Llardén, President of Spanish gas company and project coordinator Enagás, said: “Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance the decarbonisation process. Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.” Dr Thomas van Rensburg, of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “This highly relevant large-scale demonstration project is replicable on tourism dependent island economies around the world, including Ireland. Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition. The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.” Dr Rory Monaghan, of NUI Galway’s School of Engineering, said: “NUI Galway is an established leader in green hydrogen through research in other European projects. The research team will use its expertise in the technologies, economics, and public acceptance of renewable hydrogen to examine its role in the decarbonisation of island communities. We will help to create hydrogen value chains to maximise the economic and employment possibilities of hydrogen in Mallorca and other tourism-dependent islands closer to home. “The potential and ambition for Mallorca alone is huge. Take for example the 20,000 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions as part of this research - that is the equivalent of the energy use in more than 2,300 homes in a year.”  The Green Hysland project will evaluate the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen on Mallorca by examining human capital, well-being and energy security. It will seek to capture the economic value of low carbon tourism and identify skills and training programmes which are required to further develop the island ecosystem and replicate it to other regions. Ends

Thursday, 21 January 2021

NUI Galway breast cancer specialists contribute to international study on the identification of nine breast cancer risk genes Study includes analysis of more than 113,000 women worldwide This study defines the genes that are most clinically useful for the detection of breast cancer risk Breast cancer investigators in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway have collaborated on a pivotal international study into breast cancer risk which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine today (Wednesday, 20 January). The results of the study have identified that there are nine specific genes associated with breast cancer risk. Contributing authors Professor Michael Kerin, Chair of Surgery at NUI Galway, Director of the Cancer Managed Clinical Academic Network for Saolta University Health Care Group, along with Dr Nicola Miller, Lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, have directed the Breast Cancer in Galway Genetics Study (BIGGS) since 2008. DNA samples, which have been collected from 2,000 Irish patients and controls have contributed to the findings of this paper, and to numerous high impact publications in the past decade. Led from the University of Cambridge, the BRIDGES (Breast Cancer Risk after Diagnostic Gene Sequencing) study aimed to identify women at high risk of breast cancer and to develop sensitive and informative gene panel testing for the prediction of breast cancer risk. Gene panel testing is a technique in which a number of specific genes that are linked to a particular genetic condition are examined at the same time. Gene panel testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but there is only weak evidence for cancer risk association with many genes. The BRIDGES study tested 34 potential “risk” genes from 60,466 breast cancer cases worldwide and 53,461 controls (patients who did not have breast cancer) from 44 international studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The study found that variants in nine genes were associated with breast cancer risk (ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, BARD1, RAD51C, RAD51D, TP53). Professor Michael Kerin, who is also Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, a voluntary national charity that funds a comprehensive research programme at the Lambe Institute in NUI Galway, said: “With this study we can identify the members within families who have abnormal genes that puts them at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, and they can avail of strategies such as early screening and risk reduction surgery, in order to improve their life expectancy.” Professor Kerin said that the success of this research is testament to the power of bio-banking and the need to futureproof research:  “Having a set of bio-banked samples and the ability to closely follow up with these patients has enabled us to add value to international research studies and improve the knowledge base around breast cancer risk. “The BRIDGES study has revealed that changes which were thought to be unimportant in the well-known breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are significant, and this allows us to manage the risk of developing breast cancer in people affected by these gene alterations.” Acknowledging the support of breast cancer research charity funding, Dr Nicola Miller said: “This work highlights the importance of collaboration in breast cancer research in the generation of data of global significance. It helps to better define the genes associated with breast cancer risk. While we can’t change the genes we inherit, this knowledge will benefit patients undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility. We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute for funding the Irish contribution of this study.” The team, based in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway, are the only Irish investigators contributing to this study. Biological samples and data from the BIGGS group are part of the Horizon 2020 funded BRIDGES study. The NUI Galway BIGGS study has included 1,000 cancer patient samples and 1,000 population-based controls recruited specifically from hospitals in the West of Ireland since 2001 and from community/retirement groups in this region from 2001-2008.  A copy of the study, ‘Breast cancer risk genes: association analysis in more than 113,000 women’ in the New England Journal of Medicineis available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1913948.        This BIGGS research was supported by the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. For more information visit http://www.breastcancerresearch.ie/. See video with Professor Michael Kerin talking about the study at https://youtu.be/4s0q4asRTfs. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

A team of researchers within the Advanced Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway have discovered how human respiratory cells respond to the invading Covid-19 virus. The study, published in a special issue of the peer reviewed open access journal Viruses, identified the proteins and carbohydrates on these cells in response to infection from the coronavirus.  The researchers found that our respiratory cells act like well-tuned translators and respond to the invading Covid-19 virus by altering the presence of carbohydrates and proteins on the cell’s surface. The study also revealed that our response to Covid-19 infection is closely similar to how we respond to other viral pathogens.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences, said: “It is well known that all pathogens need the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates to attach to their host and infect. “The appropriate combination of this ‘molecular handshake’ determines how well all pathogens, including Covid-19, attach to our cells and the severity of the infection.  “Mutations cause minor changes in these protein-carbohydrate molecules and can alter the infectivity of the mutants and severity of the disease such as the UK, South African and Brazilian variants.” The research shows that in the Covid-19 virus the spike-glycoprotein (S-protein) is covered with carbohydrates and it binds to a protein (ACE-2 receptor) on human respiratory cells to start the infection. Dr Anup Mammen Oommen, Postdoctoral researcher, said: “These microscopic proteins and carbohydrates work together like molecular handshakes between the virus and human cells, this communication where carbohydrates are essential is often taken for granted, though is a key event for infection.”  Dr Stephen Cunningham, Research Fellow, added: “Like all viruses, Covid-19 virus also mutates as it goes through its host and multiplies. Being a RNA virus, mutations can be frequent with the infected cell not being able to correct. Some mutations are insignificant with no beneficial or detrimental impact to virus or host, however, some lead to changes in the virus’s proteins and carbohydrates that can alter how the virus interacts with cells during exposure and infection which in turn can determine severity of Covid-19.” The AGRC researchers at NUI Galway used a data science approach to provide an insight into how our cells modify the surface molecules and advance our understanding of the Covid-19 infection process. Professor Joshi added: “The research will also help us gain better insight on how our immune system responds to Covid-19 and the mutations in the virus, such as the variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. This discovery will lead to more informative biomarkers and identification of therapeutic targets to combat COVID-19 and future pathogenic agent infections.” The study has been published in the special issue of the journal Viruses and is available https://www.mdpi.com/journal/viruses https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/13/1/82. Ends