Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced

Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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

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O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway

O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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

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

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

Monday, 20 April 2015

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

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NUI Galway Unveils Ireland’s Most Energy-Efficient Car

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

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

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

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NUI Galway Students say No to N6 Bypass Routes

NUI Galway Students say No to N6 Bypass Routes-image

Thursday, 23 April 2015

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

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Friday, 24 April 2015

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


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

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

Monday, 27 April 2015

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

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Galway International Summer School on the Arts and Human Rights

Galway International Summer School on the Arts and Human Rights -image

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

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

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Report highlights issues regarding access to justice for children with mental disabilities

 Report highlights issues regarding access to justice for children with mental disabilities-image

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

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

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NUI Galway Increases Ranking Position in QS Subject Rankings

NUI Galway Increases Ranking Position in QS Subject Rankings-image

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

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

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