Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Six new plays compete for the coveted Jerome Hynes One-Act-Play Award NUI Galway is celebrating Drama in many forms during its Theatre Week, which runs from 10 to 14 March. Now in its fifth year, the event showcases through theatre, literature and film, the many talents of NUI Galway students, societies and alumni. The week features the popular Jerome Hynes One-Act Play Series with six new plays. The playwrights have been mentored through the process and one of the highlights of the week will be the Omnibus Edition for all the plays, with an award ceremony of the coveted Jerome Hynes best play award on Friday, 14 March in the Cube Theatre at 6pm. Since the inauguration of the series in 2001, many of the playwrights have gone on to win national and international awards and acclaim and to see their work produced professionally, and many new theatre companies have emerged from the process.  This year the NUI Galway’s Centre for Drama will present Frank McGuinness’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra, running from 9-11 March at 8pm, with two 10am shows on the 10 and 11 March. Frank McGuinness will attend the Monday morning performance, followed by a talk. Theatre Week will also feature a schools outreach programme with Shakespeare Workshops from ThereisBear! Theatre Company. This vibrant young company, with its roots in NUI Galway, will bring the visiting students on an in-depth journey of the scripts of Macbeth, Othello and The Merchant of Venice. Bookings for the workshops and performance are still being taken for any interested schools. Cyclone Rep will make a welcome return to campus with their version of Julius Caesar, inspired by Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island where a forbidden copy of Julius Caesar helped Mandela cope with his confinement. Mandela’s inspiration has, in turn, inspired Cyclone Rep to revisit the play in an Irish context.  The time is 1981 and the place is Northern Ireland and an illegal copy of Julius Caesar is performed by prisoners struggling with their internment and the spectre of the hunger strikes. Drama will be plentiful with Dramsocs’ production of a new adaptation of George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984, directed and adapted by Chris Moran. It runs nightly at 8.30pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. As part of the Arts in Action Programme, Anam Theatre presents Granuaile. Directed by Sarah O’Toole, Granuaile will take place on Thursday, 13 at 1pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. The Galway University Musical Society (GUMS), who recently wowed audiences with their production of The Drowsy Chaperone in the Black Box, are setting themselves the task of casting, producing and performing a mini musical in 14 days. The GIG (Gay in Galway) Society is hosting a Variety Show with MC drag queen Pixie Woo. The week will also include an Improv night with Dramsoc and the Comedy Society, a series of theatrical films from Filmsoc and an exhibition by the Art Society in Aras na Mac Léinn. The India Society will be celebrating Holi, the Festival of Colours, on campus on Thursday, 14 from 3-5pm beside the IT building.  Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil and the end of winter and the coming of spring and is celebrated by putting coloured powders on friends, families and strangers alike. Festival Director and NUI Galway Societies Officer, Riona Hughes, said: “The week is an opportunity for us to welcome our friends in the wider community onto campus to celebrate the great tradition of drama in NUI Galway. We are delighted to welcome our professional guest companies and to afford our students and staff an opportunity to showcase their talents and the importance of theatre to the University. We will have three venues in operation and over 40 individual performances over the five days, new writing and new takes on the classics.” Information and tickets are available from The SocsBox, Áras na Mac Leinn, on 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Full details of each event can be found at www.nuigsocs.wix.com/theatreweek.     -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the third cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 208 primary school children from across Galway City and County received their certificates, with more than 1000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing children and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 600 children have graduated from a variety of 13 courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Italian to Mandarin, Philosophical Discovery, Psychology, Engineering, English Literature, History, Drama, Bio-Explore, Ocean Physics, and Information Technology. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth and fifth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University.  We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. NUI Galway is committed to the sharing of knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all.I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the university can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Prestigious JAG Trio to celebrate the memory of Emily Anderson and her link to one of the world’s greatest composers, Mozart NUI Galway and Music for Galway come together to celebrate the memory of one of Galway’s famous scholars, Emily Anderson, and her link to one of the world’s greatest composers, Mozart, with a concert on Friday 28th February at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway at 8pm. Performing on the night will be the prestigious JAG Trio, comprising of UK violinist Jack Liebeck, known to many as soloist on the 2011 Jane Eyre movie soundtrack, the internationally acclaimed viola player Alexander Zemtsov, and cellist Guy Johnston who returns to Ireland following his appearance as soloist with the RTE National Symphony at the National Concert Hall Dublin this January. They will be joined by Scottish International Piano Competition Winner Tom Poster. Emily Anderson was born in 1891 and as daughter of the President of Queen’s College Galway, Alexander Anderson, she grew up inside the very walls in which many of the Music for Galway concerts are being held, the Quadrangle of NUI Galway. Emily went on to study German in Berlin and Magdeburg, returned to Galway and worked for a brief time as professor of German at the college, before leaving for London to join the foreign office. Possessing a strong interest in music Emily Anderson eventually translated the full correspondence of Mozart and, ten years later, of Beethoven from German into English. To this day musicians, musicologists, film makers and music lovers all over the English-speaking world consult her translations when enquiring into the lives of these giants of music.  The programme this year will be dedicated entirely to Mozart and features the Divertimento, one of the finest string trios ever composed, his second Piano Quartet K 493, and Mozart arrangements of Bach Preludes and Fuges for string trio. Here is a chance to hear the best of music performed by international artists at the top of their game. Tickets are €20 / MfG Friends and Concessions €16 / students (full time) €6 and are available from Music for Galway 091 705962, Opus 2, No. 4 High Street, Galway or online at www.tht.ie Music for Galway gratefully acknowledges the support of the Arts Council. Ends.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Almost 80 students were recognised by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 27 February) at a special ceremony when they were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. Two students were also conferred with a Doctor of Medicine at today’s ceremony. All Colleges of the University were represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy.” Over 105,000 graduates have benefited from higher education at NUI Galway since it opened its doors in 1849. The next conferrings to take place at NUI Galway will be the summer conferring on Thursday, 19 June and the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 27 June. -ENDS- Searmanas Bronnta PhD in OÉ Gaillimh Ag searmanas speisialta in OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Déardaoin, an 27 Feabhra), bhronn Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, Dochtúireacht san Fhealsúnacht (PhD) ar bhreis is 80 mac léinn. Bronnadh Dochtúireacht Leighis ar bheirt mhac léinn ag searmanas an lae inniu chomh maith. Bhí céimithe ó gach Coláiste san Ollscoil i measc na gcéimithe sin ar bronnadh PhD orthu - Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí & an Dlí; Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; agus Coláiste na hEolaíochta. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach céimí as a gcáilíocht dochtúireachta a bhaint amach. Cuirimidne in OÉ Gaillimh romhainn go ndéanfadh an Ollscoil seo a cion féin le céimithe agus ceannairí a chur ar fáil a mhúnlóidh an todhchaí. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar líon na gcéimithe PhD le blianta beaga anuas chun freastal ar riachtanais an gheilleagair eolasbhunaithe agus nuálaíochta.” Tá céim bainte amach ag breis is 105,000 mac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh ón uair a d’oscail sí a cuid doirse i 1849. Beidh an chéad searmanas bronnta céimeanna eile ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh i rith an tsamhraidh – Déardaoin, an 19 Meitheamh agus is ar an Aoine, an 27 Meitheamh, a bhronnfar na Céimeanna Oinigh. -Críoch-

Friday, 28 February 2014

Calling all first year, final year and postgraduate taught students in NUI Galway add your voice to the National Student Survey between February 24th and March 16th Between February 24 and March 16 you are invited to have your say on StudentSurvey.ie. This is the first national survey of Irish students and is being carried out in all Irish Universities, Institutes of Technology and Colleges of Education around the country. The aim of the survey is to help enhance the quality of education Irish students receive by asking them in detail about their experiences, and it is important for the University to make sure that our students’ views are well represented. NUI Galway Deputy President and Registrar Professor Nollaig MacCongáil says, “Students are the lifeblood of both NUI Galway and every third level institution in the country. Your views as students will help inform the decisions NUI Galway make in ensuring we remain at the leading edge of research, innovation and learning.” For every submitted survey, the University will donate €1 to the NUI Galway Financial Aid Fund for students. StudentSurvey.ie comprises 100 questions and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. The survey is supported by the HEA, IUA and USI and was developed in response to a key recommendation of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030. The results will inform institutional and programme/course development, as well as national policy. Your answers could have a real impact on higher education in Ireland, so make sure to take the survey at: www.studentsurvey.ie -Ends-   A Mhic Léinn OÉ Gaillimh - Insígí dúinn céard a cheapann sibh! Tabhair do bharúil i Suirbhé Náisiúnta na Mac Léinn Iarrtar ar gach mac léinn sa chéad bhliain, sa bhliain deiridh agus ar chláir iarchéime mhúinte in OÉ Gaillimh Suirbhé Náisiúnta na Mac Léinn a líonadh idir an 25 Feabhra agus an 16 Márta Iarrtar ort do bharúil a thabhairt idir an 24 Feabhra agus an 16 Márta ar StudentSurvey.ie.  Is é seo an chéad suirbhé náisiúnta ar mhic léinn na hÉireann agus táthar ag tabhairt faoi i ngach Ollscoil, Institiúid Teicneolaíochta agus Coláiste Oideachais sa tír. Is é aidhm an tsuirbhé, cuidiú le caighdeán an oideachais a fhaigheann mic léinn na hÉireann a fheabhsú trí eolas sonrach a bhailiú uathu faoin dtaithí, agus tá sé tábhachtach don Ollscoil a chinntiú go gcloistear an méid atá le rá ag ár mic léinn. Dúirt Meabhránaí agus Leas-Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Nollaig MacCongáil, “Murach na mic léinn ní bheadh OÉ Gaillimh ann ná aon institiúid tríú leibhéal eile sa tír. Cuideoidh tuairimí na mac léinn leis na cinntí a dhéanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh lena chinntiú go bhfanfaimid ar thús cadhnaíochta ó thaobh an taighde, na nuálaíochta agus na foghlama de.” As gach suirbhé a líonfar, tabharfaidh an Ollscoil €1 do Chiste Cabhrach Airgid na mac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. 100 ceist atá ar StudentSurvey.ie agus níor chóir go nglacfadh sé níos faide ná 15 nóiméad an suirbhé a líonadh. Tá tacaíocht ag an suirbhé ón HEA, IUA agus USI agus d’eascair sé as príomh-mholadh na Straitéise Náisiúnta d’Ardoideachas go dtí 2030. Beidh impleacht ag na torthaí d’fhorbairt institiúideach agus forbairt clár/cúrsaí, agus do bheartas náisiúnta. D’fhéadfadh an-tionchar a bheith ag do chuid freagraí ar an ardoideachas in Éirinn, mar sin bí cinnte an suirbhé a líonadh ar: www.studentsurvey.ie -Críoch-

Friday, 28 February 2014

Pictured (l to r) NUI Galway REMEDI PhD student Stephanie Slevin who won First Prize for her poster "The effects of anti-TNF antibody therapy on blood monocytes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease", and Irene Calvo Asensio who won Second Prize for her poster "Hypoxia enhances the radio-resistance of mouse mesenchymal stromal cells", at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Irish Cytometry Society (ICyS) 2014 held at the Astra Hall, UCD last Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th February.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Letterkenny on Thursday, 16 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge) which is brand new for 2013-14. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Donegal, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Letterkenny is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Letterkenny, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne at: grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie or 087- 2440858. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The study will gather data from across the EU and identify both the pan-European factors that lead to the loss of a home and measures to counter homelessness Dr Padraic Kenna of the School of Law, NUI Galway will lead a major €1m EU-funded research project on evictions across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. The research will investigate the national legal frameworks and extent of evictions across Europe. The research will identify effective early intervention and preventative measures and create a profile of evicted households, risk factors and risk groups.  Patterns of evictions across all EU Member States will be analysed in the context of diverse structural factors including the economic crisis, welfare systems and legal practices and protections. The project, which will take two years, was awarded following a competitive tendering process by the European Commission. It will examine evictions from mortgaged, rental and other properties, with a focus on the right to housing within the context of national and EU law all areas in which Dr Kenna is a leading European expert. NUI Galway will lead a consortium of University and housing research agencies in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain. Dr Kenna, as Research Director/Principal Investigator will lead the network of national experts on housing law and policy across all EU Member States. The researchers will collate national and local data, as well as legal materials for the project’s report to the European Commission. Dr Kenna said, “In Ireland we have a deeply historical sentiment on evictions. Michael Davitt wrote that an eviction was the expression of the power of profit and of property over the right of a family. Today, an eviction represents the collision of basic human rights with property rights, and while the European Union is committed to the protection of human rights, the balance of these interests represents the contemporary fault line between market forces and people’s right to housing.” Measures to prevent homelessness within all EU Member States remain a priority for the European Commission. This project will collate and evaluate the most cost-effective measures which can be advanced to mitigate evictions across the EU. The project team will prepare reports and recommendations for the European Commission on best practice models, to monitor, alleviate and prevent evictions, within the framework of national and EU law and policy. Welcoming the announcement of this award, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said “This is a highly prestigious and worthwhile project led by my colleague, Dr Padraic Kenna. It is a concrete recognition of his standing as a major player in the field of housing law, rights and policy in Europe; and a great boost to his tireless and impactful work in this area at national and international level.” -ends-

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Insight, Centre for Data Analytics partnered initiative aims to encourage students on the island of Ireland to develop ideas and apps using publicly available data Tuesday, 07 January, 2014 The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is inviting primary, secondary and third level students to take part in an Island of Ireland competition to create apps from freely available and publicly accessible data. Individuals and teams of up to three participants can enter in one of two ways, either by submitting an idea for an app as a concept entry or by creating an app and submitting a working app using data from Census 2011. The aim is to develop ideas and create applications (apps) that will provide innovative and fresh ways of exploiting the Open Data available from the 2011 Census, in areas such as transport, housing and planning. January 31st is the closing date to register as a competition entrant and the closing date for concept entry or a working app entry is April 11th. Entry forms for teams of three must be signed by a teacher, lecturer or course instructor from the students’ educational primary, secondary or third level institution. Brendan Smith, Outreach Officer at Insight NUI Galway (formerly known as DERI) said, “Apps, in this case software that can operate on a mobile telephone or any other online accessible device, is a communications icon of our Internet age. We want to empower and up-skill our youngsters to learn how to make their own powerful modern technology applications from freely available data.” He added “Apps4Gaps promotes the ethos that the software thus created from the freely available social and economic data contained in the Census 2011 should be used to improve the lives of ordinary peoples, their communities or society generally.” Apps4Gaps is a partnership between the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in conjunction with the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Education Northern Ireland, Project Maths, Coderdojo and the Digital Repository of Ireland. Further Apps4Gaps information such as registration, datasets and rules as well as examples of civic apps that can be created from open data, can be found at www.apps4gaps.ie. -ends-

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Billy Lawless, Galway native and Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform Chair named among IrishCentral.com Top Ten Community Leaders   NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne congratulated Galway native and tireless advocate for US Immigration Reform Billy Lawless on being named as one of IrishCentral.com’s Top Ten Community Leaders for 2013. Billy Lawless is Chair of Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform and was described by IrishCentral.com as ‘a great activist on immigration issues, who made sure that Obama’s local Chicago operatives were well aware of the Irish American interest in reform. A tireless worker for new immigration legislation.’ NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne congratulated Billy Lawless describing him as ‘a great friend of NUI Galway who, along with his wife Anne a graduate of NUI Galway, has welcomed many NUI Galway visitors, students and alumni alike to Chicago over the years. His inclusion among the Top Ten Community Leaders is fitting recognition of his unyielding drive to secure immigration reform in the US.’ Billy Lawless has facilitated several NUI Galway events in his well-known Chicago restaurants over the years. His wife Anne (formerly O’Toole) graduated from NUI Galway with a BA in 1970. His wide range of contacts has proved invaluable in providing links for the University and alumni in the city. Billy Lawless and his family own and operate The Gage gastropub and other well-known restaurants in Chicago. They moved to the US from Galway in 1997 and opened the ‘Irish Oak’ in Wrigleyville in the city in 1998.   -ends-

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Health Research Board invests €9m in huge research initiative which will create 22 new research jobs 3 of the 6 HRB Research Leaders for Ireland are based in NUI Galway. Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Dr Molly Byrne and Dr Brian Maguire have been chosen as research leaders to deliver relevant and timely evidence that can be used in health care decision-making and are designed in consultation with leading healthcare decision makers. The Health Research Board (HRB) has appointed six new HRB Research Leaders as part of an €9 million investment to address strategic gaps and leadership capacity in population health and health services research in Ireland. Many of the research programmes are addressing areas which have traditionally been under-funded, but are crucial, such as health economics and biostatistics. All the research leaders will create a solid foundation of expertise and evidence to deliver better health, reduced health care costs and new approaches to care that benefit patients, care providers and the economy. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne congratulated Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Dr Molly Byrne and Dr Brian Maguire and said ‘this is a significant investment by the HRB to ensure that the work carried out by our research leaders helps society by helping decision makers make better choices. NUI Galway is focused on ensuring that our research improves the world around us through discovery and innovation, further education and greater choice.’ Teresa Maguire, Head of Population Health and Health Services Research at the HRB says ‘The HRB Research Leaders Awards are a significant investment to ensure that our health research community in Ireland are in a position to provide strong research and evidence in relation to current, emerging and often complex challenges in healthcare that of concern to decision makers, practitioners and policy makers. This funding for leaders at a senior level complements other investments made by the HRB in the last four years at early and mid-career level. The awards will also create 22 new research jobs as the HRB Research Leaders grow their existing teams to support the work programmes’. The six new HRB Research Leaders will deliver research programmes which will: - Develop an internationally recognised research group focusing on the design and evaluation of effective behavioural interventions that will improve our health. Focus on the need to maximise prevention and treatment strategies for the increasing numbers living with chronic conditions such as diabetes. Assess the impact of online psychological interventions for people with multiple illnesses including chronic pain. Improve the national infrastructure to be able to accurately count and compare the costs and cost effectiveness of non-acute health services in Ireland. Assess the costs and benefits of personalised healthcare interventions to assist decision making in a time of resource constraints. Use mathematical modelling and statistical techniques to interrogate large health information datasets to improve decision making in relation to provision of health care interventions.   -ends-  

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Closing date for applications now extended to 31January 2014 NUI Galway’s School of Education has announced that the closing date for applications for two new Masters level post-primary teaching qualifications has been extended to January 31 2014. The School of Education is accepting applications for both the new Professional Master of Education and the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas for the academic year 2014/2015, both commencing in September 2014. These two year full-time Masters programmes will replace the Professional Diploma in Education (formerly the Higher Diploma in Education) and the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas as the recognised postgraduate qualification for teaching (post-primary). Dr Mary Fleming, Head of the School of Education, said: “This move to Masters level post-primary teaching programmes is in line with best practice internationally. The new Professional Master of Education and the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programmes will provide an opportunity for the teachers of the future to engage with evidence and inquiry based reflective practice, as recommended by international research and the recent International Review of Teacher Education in Ireland. We at NUI Galway look forward to being part of this new era in initial teacher education in Ireland”. Applications are made via the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) at www.pac.ie, with the closing date now extended to Friday, 31 January, 2014. The programmes are professionally accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland for the purposes of registration as a post-primary teacher in Ireland and internationally. Further information on the new programmes visit NUI Galway’s School of Education website at www.nuigalway.ie/education. -ends-

Friday, 10 January 2014

Eleven MSc in Sustainable Resource Management Policy and Practice students at NUI Galway recently carried out surveys of the biodiversity found along the Sandybanks lane for Headford Environmental Group and the local community. As part of the project the students carried out habitat mapping, and recorded plants and animals along stretches of the lane. The taught MSc in Sustainable Resource Management Policy and Practice is a multidisciplinary course jointly run by NUI Galway and UL. As part of the project the students gave an informative talk and created a leaflet for people from Headford town to find out more about the lane’s biodiversity as they walk along the lane. -Ends-

Monday, 13 January 2014

NUI Galway is hosting a Mature Students Open Evening on Thursday, 23 January from 5-8pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle. The open evening is an opportunity to find out more about courses on offer, entry requirements, CAO application procedure, mature scholarships and practical student supports within the University.   The information evening is designed for people aged 23 and over who are considering embarking on full-time or part time undergraduate degree programmes in NUI Galway in the 2014/2015 academic year. Talks will be given by NUI Galway’s Careers Service who will help potential applicants to plan their future career, the Mature Students Officer who will guide on important dates and personal statements and by current mature students who will share their experience of retuning to study. NUI Galway’s Mature Students Officer, Trish Bourke, said: “Mature Students are a welcome addition to our growing population of undergraduate students. They bring with them vast life experience, a commitment to study and a determination to perform at an exceptionally high level. This is an excellent opportunity to speak one to some of the University’s senior lecturers who will inform you on the degrees themselves so you can make well equipped CAO choices.” Applications for third-level are done mostly through the CAO, which has a deadline of the 1 February, 2014.  Mature applicants for programmes in The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees at NUI Galway are required to register prior to 1February 2014 for the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) exam which takes place on Saturday, 8 March, 2014. For more information on future upcoming public information events see http://www.nuigalway.ie/mature/publicevents.html or email Trish Bourke at maturestudents@nuigalway.ie.  A Mature Students Guidebook is also available with further information at www.nuigalway.ie/mature. -Ends-

Monday, 13 January 2014

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Gearóid Ó Dubháin as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2014. A native of Ardmore, Connemara, Gearóid draws his dancing from both sides of his family. Séamus Ó Dubháin (or Séamusín Devaney as he is widely known) is a well-known sean-nós dancer, as was his father before him, Colm Ó Dubháin and his brother Joe. Annie, his father’s sister is also a renowned dancer. Sean-nós dancing runs through the generations, as Gearóid’s own brother Pádraig is known in his own right for his award-winning sean-nós style. Dancing was also in Gearóid’s mother’s family and the strength of this family background contributes to his own dance style and skill. Gearóid has been successful in many competitions including: Oireachtas na Samhnna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham and many others. Now teaching workshops to young and old throughout Galway, Gearóid also gives workshops and master classes nationally. Key to Gearóid’s teaching and performance philosophy is to keep faithful to the older dance style of his father, and this is apparent in his dancing. During his residency, Gearóid will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues in Galway. A selection of his repertoire will also be recorded to deposit in the Sean-nós Archive at the Centre for Irish Studies.  Sean-nós dance workshops will take place at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, commencing on Wednesday, 5 February. These workshops which run for five weeks are free of charge and all are welcome to attend. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends- Rinceoir Cónaitheach ar an Sean-nós 2014, ceaptha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, go bhfuil Gearóid Ó Dubháin ceaptha mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach ar an Sean-nós as seo go ceann bliana. D'fhás Gearóid aníos ar an Aird Mhóir i gConamara agus is ann a fuair sé a chuid steipeanna. Damhsóir sean-nóis cáiliúil é a athair, Séamus Ó Dubháin, nó Séamuisín Devaney mar is fearr aithne air. Bhí athair a athar, Colm Ó Dubháin, ina dhamhsóir ar an sean-nós, chomh maith lena dheartháir, Joe. Ina theannta sin, bíonn deirfiúr a athar, Annie, ag rince ar an sean-nós. Is damhsóir aitheanta é a dheartháir, Pádraig, a bhfuil neart duaiseanna bainte amach aige ar fud na tíre. Ní hamháin sin, ach bhí damhsa ar thaobh a mháthar freisin. Is beag an t-iontas, agus a leithéid de dhúchas aige, go bhfuil an rince de dhlúth agus d’inneach in Gearóid. Tá go leor duaiseanna bainte amach ag Gearóid mar dhamhsóir ar fud na tíre, ina measc tá Oireachtas na Samhna (2010), Craobh na hÉireann (2011), Féile na Mí (2006, 2008, 2010 agus 2012), Féile Chóilín Clesham (buaite cúpla uair), mar aon le neart comórtais eile.  Tá Gearóid i mbun ranganna damhsa ar an sean-nós le blianta beaga anuas, i gConamara agus in áiteanna eile i gContae na Gaillimhe. Go deimhin, tá máistir-ranganna tugtha aige fud fad na tíre. Tá sé tábhachtach do Ghearóid go gcoinneofar sean-stíl a athar beo sa sean-nós agus tá sé sin le feiceáil ina chuid damhsa. Beidh sraith de cheardlanna ar siúl ar feadh cúig seachtaine san Aula Maxima ag tosnú ag 7pm ar an 5ú Feabhra, 2014. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaíon, i bpáirt le hIonad an Léinn Éireannaigh, atá ag maoiniú an togra seo. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The 9th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 23 and 24 January. The event will see over 1,000 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,000 primary school children! The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments. Mícheál Ó Braonáin, a first-year medical student at NUI Galway and co-organiser of Sláinte Society, said: “We have had unprecedented demand for Teddy Bear Hospital this year, and are delighted that so many teddies and their owners can be accommodated. This is one of the biggest community outreach programs in NUI Galway, and it always proves to be a fantastic day, not only for the children but also the students who volunteer!” This year, 24 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them.  The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce, along with medical supplies from Cara pharmacy to help poor teddy recover. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the came from print that on campus and medisource pharmacy. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all.  It is one of the NUI Galway societies' most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -ends- Otharlann na mBéiríní á reáchtáil ag Mic Léinn OÉ Gaillimh Den naoú bliain as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh Déardaoin an 23 agus Dé hAoine an 24 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,000 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,000 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Mícheál Ó Braonáin, mac léinn leighis sa chéad bhliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comheagraí an Chumainn Sláinte: “Bhí an-éileamh ar Otharlann na mBéiríní i mbliana agus tá an-áthas orainn a bheith in ann freastal ar an oiread sin béiríní agus a gcuid úinéirí. Tá sé seo ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is mó a reáchtálann OÉ Gaillimh agus bíonn lá iontach ann i gcónaí. Baineann na mic léinn an oiread sásaimh as an lá agus a bhaineann na gasúir!” I mbliana, tá 24 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht orthu. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu.  Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Total Produce ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis ó Chógaslann Cara le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu féadfaidh na gasúir am a chaitheamh ar phreabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste ag cur siamsaíochta ar fáil. Tháinig urraíocht eile don ócáid ó Print That ar an gcampas agus ó chógaslann Medisource. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun  cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách.  Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

NUI Galway holds both the Irish Universities’ Rugby Union Maughan Scally Cup and the Kay Bowen Cup NUI Galway Rugby, has for the first time, won both women’s and men’s intervarsity rugby competitions this year, while the NUIG Rugby Academy have won the first trophy for the University at underage level. The men’s team are current holders of the Irish Universities' Rugby Union (IURU) Maughan Scally Cup, and the women’s squad won their Intervarsity honours, the IURU Kay Bowen Cup, in UCD in November. The NUIG women’s team did not concede a single try during, and remained unbeaten throughout the entire competition, while the men’s team held UCC scoreless in the final of the Irish Junior Intervarsities, which they also hosted in Dangan. Established in 2011, the NUIG Rugby Youth Academy also continues to go from strength to strength. The Youth Academy U13s squad and coaches celebrated success last season, as the first side to win an underage rugby trophy for the University. With many graduates from last season’s successful U13s, the NUIG U14 squad remains unbeaten this season. The U15s finished 3rd in their league and look forward with confidence to the cup which starts at the end of January All this reflects increased participation in rugby in NUI Galway. In recent seasons, NUIG Rugby has grown participation in rugby on campus significantly, and now fields four adult rugby teams. This includes a second men’s squad and an U20s team that participates in the South West Conference of the highly competitive Munster U20 league, as part of an amalgamated team with Corinthians RFC. Significantly NUIG U20s also played in the Conroy Cup U20 intervarsity competition this year, for the first time since 2005, and advanced to the play-off stages. NUIG men’s team’s next Connacht Junior League fixture is against Sligo RFC in Dangan on Sunday 19th January, kick-off: 2.30pm. There is a pre-match function in the Westwood Hotel for alumni and friends. For pre-match function tickets and further information, please contact Club Chairman, Dr Michael O’Mahony, 086-8339715 or Club Treasurer, Gearóid Ó Broin, 091-493115. The men’s side will play their next intervarsity fixture when they host touring American university side, Yale University RFC on Saturday 15th March in Dangan. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Most recent available data (2007) shows that 37% of Irish adults are overweight and a further 24% of adults are obese The Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway will host a one day conference on obesity on Friday, 17 January. Obesity is a complex, interdisciplinary problem that involves genetics, physiology, the environment, psychology, and economics. Economic factors have played a significant role in the development of the obesity crisis and economics offers many insights into various solutions to improve the crisis and to prevent more people from becoming obese. Keynote speaker, Professor John Cawley from Cornell University, will focus on several aspects of the economics of obesity including the economic contributors to obesity, the economic consequences of obesity, and economic strategies for treatment and prevention. Other speakers and topics to be addressed include: Professor Tim O’Brien, NUI Galway; An overview of the extent of the obesity problem in Ireland Dr Francis Finucane, NUI Galway; Cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery Brendan Walsh, NUI Galway; Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity in Ireland Michelle Queally, NUI Galway; Exploring individual preferences for obesity treatment and willingness to pay for treatments   Professor Fidelma Dunne; Obesity in Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes in Ireland Dr Anne Dee, Mid-West HSE; Economic cost of obesity in Ireland Professor David Madden, UCD; The distributional effects of a ‘fat tax’ in Ireland The conference will be of interest to researchers, clinicians and policymakers working in this area and will take place in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway. For more details please contact Brendan Kennelly at brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie or 091 493094. -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2014 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 14th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 1 March, 2014 in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 79 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O’Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. After a highly successful sporting year at NUI Galway, this year’s banquet will focus on sport. The winners of the five alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2014: Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB  - Norah Gibbons, Chairperson, Child and Family Agency.  Alumni Award for Business, Public Policy and Law – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Helen Ryan, Former CEO and Non-Executive Director of Creganna-Tactx Medical.  Alumni Award for Engineering and Informatics – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Michael McNicholas, CEO, Bord Gáis.  Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Professor Ray Dolan, Professor of Neuropsychology, University College London and Head of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology, London.  Alumni Award for Science – sponsored by Aramark  - Professor Gerald Jennings, Emeritus Professor, School of Physics, NUI Galway and former Director of the Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway.             Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their chosen fields. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to campus for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends   ENDS  

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) will host the research that has likely applications in materials science, meteorology and data analytics.   NUI Galway and Intel have signed an agreement to jointly conduct research on many core technology in High Performance Computing (HPC) and big data analytics. The research will be carried out at the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) in NUI Galway. The new parallel computing centre aims to significantly improve parallelism, scalability and efficiencies of existing High Performance Computing applications.  The agreement to establish the ‘Intel Parallel Computing Centre between NUI Galway and Intel’ was announced by NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne and Intel vice president and director of Intel Labs Europe, Martin Curley at a ceremony in NUI Galway. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said, “we in NUI Galway are proud of our long association with ICHEC, since its establishment and are very pleased to support their ongoing work. We believe that ICHEC’s mission is vital for Ireland and that its services are very important to academia and industry alike. Today’s signing is a wonderful example of the work of ICHEC. We are delighted to be working with Intel in this way and look forward to our continuing partnership.” Intel will fund the research programme led by director of the ICHEC, Professor JC Desplat. The programme will foster the uptake of current and next generation Intel many core technology, such as the Intel® Xeon Phi™ Coprocessor. “Intel is pleased to expand our Intel® Parallel Computing Centre program by collaborating with National University of Ireland, Galway and ICHEC,” said Intel vice president and director of Intel Labs Europe, Martin Curley. “This new centre creates an opportunity for Intel, NUI Galway and ICHEC to innovate and optimize applications which benefit industry and science in Ireland, Europe, and globally.” Principal investigator Professor JC Desplat said “ICHEC has been chosen for this programme following its track record of excellence in many-core solutions. We are delighted to be part of the development of this exciting new technology. As a country, Ireland excels in the effective use of high-performance computing, and today’s partnership consolidates that standing. The outcome of this ambitious programme will be improved software solutions in areas such as materials science, weather forecasting and data analytics.”       -ENDS-

Friday, 17 January 2014

Research by Dr Mary Corcoran was prompted by 2012 European Salmonella Agona outbreak resulted in over 160 cases of gastroenteritis in 10 countries.   An NUI Galway researcher has discovered that once Salmonella gets into a food processing facility it is very difficult to remove it. Microbiologist Dr Mary Corcoran attempted to kill Salmonella biofilms on a variety of hard surfaces, using three types of disinfectant. The research, to be published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that once Salmonella has established itself for seven days, it was not possible to kill Salmonella using three disinfectants, even by soaking the Salmonella in disinfectant for an hour and a half. The research found that all of the types of Salmonella studied were able to adopt the specialised biofilm lifestyle on all of the surfaces looked at. These included glass, stainless steel, glazed tile, concrete and plastic. It shows that the biofilm of Salmonella gets more dense over time, and becomes more firmly attached to the surface. The findings will serve as a warning to food processors in particular highlighting that once Salmonella gets into a food processing facility and has an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill it. Dr Mary Corcoran said “Food processing facilities must take strict care to keep Salmonella out of the clean areas where cooked foods get further processing and packaged, and ask whether disinfectants that are promoted as killing various types of bacteria are really as effective as claimed.” The research was prompted by the Salmonella outbreak in Europe in which over 160 people in 10 countries developed gastroenteritis from the Salmonella Agona strain of Salmonella. That outbreak was traced to meat from a major food-processing facility.  Dr Corcoran said “it seems that the outbreak entered into the environment in the part of the facility where meat that was already cooked was being handled, and it had survived and contaminated the cooked meat. Interested in finding out that Salmonella might have something special about it that makes it better at surviving in the environment of a food processing facility, we asked was it better at forming a dense biofilm, or was it more resistant to disinfectants than other Salmonella? We discovered it was not.” The three disinfectants used against Salmonella in the research were sodium hypochlorite (household bleach), sodium hydroxide, and benzalkonium chloride. The research shows that a lot of the time, the disinfectant may add very little, if anything, to good cleaning and appropriate food handling practices and that there is a need for more research to define better methods for killing Salmonella biofilm.”   -ENDS-

Thursday, 16 January 2014

 ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’ is theme of lecture with a response by Professor Gerard Quinn, NUI Galway School of Law The 2014 Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr Peter Sutherland and hosted at NUI Galway by NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning and President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne. Dr Sutherland will speak on the topic of ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’ and Prof. Gerard Quinn, School of Law, NUI Galway will respond. Dr Peter Sutherland is Chairman of the London School of Economics and the UN Special Representative for Migration and Development. He served as European Commissioner between 1985 and 1988, having been appointed as Ireland’s Attorney General by Dr Garret FitzGerald in 1981. NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning said 'Nothing delighted Dr Garret FitzGerald more than public discourse and the articulation and defence of ideas. In seeking to honour him, the Senate of the National University of Ireland thought it appropriate to initiate an annual series of lectures in his memory.   This year’s lecture by Peter Sutherland is on a topic that Garret would have found of great interest'.  NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture commemorates one of Ireland’s leading statesman and a former Chancellor of NUI.  We in NUI Galway are honoured to host the 2014 Memorial Lecture and look forward to welcoming Dr Peter Sutherland, a close and long standing friend of Dr FitzGerald, to campus for what promises to be a fascinating and stimulating address.” Professor Gerard Quinn, NUI Galway School of Law, will respond to Dr Sutherland’s view on ‘European Integration and the Taming of Nationalism’. The lecture will be held in the Aula Maxima at 6pm on Friday, 31 January 2014 and is open to the public, who can register at www.conference.ie   Advanced booking is essential as places are limited. The Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture is held annually by the National University of Ireland at constituent colleges. A former Taoiseach, Dr Garret FitzGerald was Chancellor of the NUI between 1997 and 2009, and had previously served as a member of the Senate of the University from 1972 until 1997. -ends-

Monday, 20 January 2014

Up to 500,000 children in developing countries go blind each year due to Vitamin A deficiency The NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) has been closely working with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the development of more nutritious and higher yielding crops for smallholder farmers in Africa since 2009. The NUI Galway – IITA research has now been published in the international scientific journal BMC Plant Biology. Vitamin A deficiency in the diets of the poor is currently a global health problem affecting millions of people in Africa and other regions of the world.  Vitamin A deficiency retards growth, increases risk of disease, and can cause reproductive disorders. IITA, Irish Aid and NUI Galway are engaged with the international Harvest Plus initiative of the CGIAR and national agricultural research systems to develop and disseminate new varieties of staple crops (e.g. maize, sweet potato, beans) that contain higher levels of essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc.  Up to 500,000 children in developing countries go blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency, with over half of these children dying within a year of becoming blind. For instance, in Malawi 73% of children currently do not have enough Vitamin A in their diets.  The high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency amongst mothers and children (particularly during the first 1000 days of life) perpetuates cycles of poverty. A key aim is develop even more improved maize varieties which have sufficiently high levels of vitamin A to impact on human health and which are high yielding under African growing conditions. Working closely with Prof. Charles Spillane (NUI Galway) and Dr. Abebe Menkir (IITA), a PhD student and maize breeder Girum Azmach has been conducting research between NUI Galway and IITA on development of vitamin A rich maize varieties for African smallholder farmers and growing conditions.   Working within IITA’s maize breeding program, Girum has identified combinations of naturally-occurring genes in maize lines that result in major increases of the level of vitamin A in the types of maize varieties that are grown by farmers and consumed by poorer households in Sub-Saharan Africa.   Girum has been able to screen and identify maize lines within the IITA breeding program that recorded as high as 17 microgram per each gram of a dry maize kernel. This concentration of provitamin A is much higher than that of commonly grown maize cultivars, which is mostly less than 2 micrograms per each gram of dry maize kernel. This means that IITA and other maize breeding programs in Africa now have access to lines that have levels of provitamin A that are necessary for biofortified maize varieties to reduce the levels of vitamin A deficiency amongst the poor in Sub Saharan Africa. The identification of these gene combinations and high vitamin A maize lines now allows IITA and national research programs to better develop vitamin A biofortified tropical maize varieties adapted to growing conditions and consumer preferences in Africa. IITA in collaboration with national partners in Nigeria has released the first generation of two pro-vitamin A rich hybrids and two open-pollinated varieties. An open-pollinated variety with intermediate level of pro-vitamin A was also released in Ghana in 2012. Seeds of the released pro-vitamin A rich open-pollinated maize varieties have been sent to Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone for testing, multiplication and deployment with the support from HarvestPlus and AGRA. The high vitamin A lines identified by Girum will be provided to national breeding programs in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Liberia for use to develop their own vitamin A rich varieties for smallholder farmers and the rural poor. Overall, the development of staple crops with improved micronutrient composition and content for African smallholders is set to contribute to both improving smallholder agriculture and prevention of maternal and child undernutrition in Africa. -ends-

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

NUI Click and Connect introduction to computer classes will resume again in NUI Galway on the week beginning 27 January. These classes, which are free to learners, have to date trained over 500 people in basic computing skills. Running for two-hours a week, four weeks in a row, the classes are aimed at those with little or no computer experience. The classes will cover topics such as introduction to the internet, online shopping and booking tickets, setting up and managing email, and using the computer in conjunction with a digital camera. Many of the class participants have never used a computer before, and the classes are run in a relaxed and fun way to encourage confidence in the “new surfers”. Student volunteers support the learners to practice their new skills in the college’s computer labs. Classes are small with a maximum of 12 people and there is usually one-to-one support from the student volunteers. Each learner is a given a supporting booklet with simple instructions so that they can practice their skills outside class times if they wish. All those who complete the course receive a certificate of attendance. Pat Byrne, Manager of Click and Connect and a lecturer with the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway, is delighted with the feedback received from those who have completed the programme. “Many of our learners have been older people who are finding that using the internet is opening up a whole new world to them. They are able access services easily and use email and Skype to communicate with friends and family both at home and overseas. Our learners are also delighted to be able to compare prices and shop online, and follow their hobbies too. Whether they are looking for a job or searching for a new recipe, access to the internet makes their life so much easier. Everyone can pick up these basic skills and our classes provide a supportive environment in which to do so”. The classes are funded by a small grant from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and are offered free to participants. For further information and to book a place on one of the classes, call 087 0571967 or 091 493332. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

NUI Galway’s Harry Potter Society will hold a three day convention dedicated to Harry Potter fans. PotterFest Galway will take place from 31 January to 2 February in the Bailey Allen hall at NUI Galway.  PotterFest is Ireland’s only Harry Potter convention and over 200 fans attended last year’s event. The event will offer a taste of Hogwarts in potions, astrology or defence against the dark arts classes. In the opening ceremony on Friday fans will be sorted into their houses and compete in games for the auror or deatheater teams. On Sunday there will be a chance to try out muggle quidditch and to watch a couple of matches. A fun-filled weekend is in store with talks from speakers from ‘Magic is Might’, Jennifer Trieu and Grainne O’Brien. There will be writing and cosplay (with Mez's Masquerade) workshops, an artist’s alley and a trader’s hall where artwork and merchandise can be purchased. There will be also a games room and other events. All proceeds from the event will be donated to charity. More information is available at www.potterfestgalway.com, facebook, twitter, and tumblr, or email potterfestgalway@gmail.com. Weekend tickets cost €15, and a day ticket is €10, with Friday only being free entry.  The NUI Galway Harry Potter Society is not associated with JK Rowling or Warner Brothers in any way. It’s a society created to show members’ appreciation and love for the Harry Potter series that played such a large part members’ childhoods. The Society has comedy Potter showings; table quizzes weekly competitions, Quiddich tournaments, book discussions, a Sorting Ceremony and so much more -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

In a unique development for Drama and Theatre teaching in Ireland, Druid Theatre Company and NUI Galway today launched a new Druid Academy, as part of a 10 year partnership between the two organisations. Part of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, the Druid Academy covers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, as well as PhD research opportunities.  The Druid Academy will provide training in drama that meets best international practice while also embedding the values associated with Druid Theatre into the teaching curriculum. Borne out of a vision of Galway as a location for the creation of excellent theatre, teaching in the Druid Academy will follow the Druid approach, focusing on ensemble as a mode of performance, rigorous critical analysis of theatre, by both practitioners and audiences, and an awareness of the importance of audience, in a variety of locations: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Speaking at the launch of the Druid Academy, Professor Patrick Lonergan, Head of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Druid Academy allows us to bring the best of the University together with the best of the Irish theatre world. Druid have for many years showed that Galway can be a wonderful place to create theatre – and that it can be an ideal base to bring new Irish drama to audiences all over the world. By working with Druid, we will be able to foster new generations of theatre-makers and playwrights, who will change the way we produce drama in Galway, Ireland, and the world”. Led by Tony Award-winning Director, Dr Garry Hynes, Druid staff will work alongside NUI Galway's Drama and Theatre scholars to provide world-class training in directing, design, playwriting, and many other areas of theatre studies. In a partnership that will see close integration between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama scholars, Dr Garry Hynes takes up the role of Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway, with Drama students benefitting from regular workshops and master classes with the renowned Theatre Director. The Druid Academy will also feature other Druid staff including the  Druid Director-in-Residence, Thomas Conway. Thomas, a practising professional director and dramaturge, will have particular responsibility for developing the performance elements of the Druid Academy. The Druid Director-in-Residence will play a key role in building relationships between Druid staff and NUI Galway Drama and theatre students and in developing the practice and performance aspects of the Drama curriculum. The Academy will also lead to the development of new courses, including three new MA programmes. These are in Irish Drama, Writing for Theatre, and Theatre Practice and Production. NUI Galway also offers a part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and has two very popular undergraduate Drama programmes. Students of the Druid Academy will gain a unique insight into the world of professional theatre when they get the opportunity to stage an annual professional-standard production, directed by the Druid Director-in-Residence.  Artistic Director of Druid, Dr Garry Hynes, said: “This is a very significant relationship not just for Druid but for Irish Theatre generally. I am really looking forward to working with my colleagues both in Druid and NUI Galway in seeing this relationship flourish". The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Marie Mullen, Garry Hynes and the late Mick Lally. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Three years ago that relationship was formalised into a strategic partnership that saw Druid and NUI Galway join forces to train the next generation of theatre-makers. Today that partnership moves on to a new level with the announcement of the Druid Academy. Commenting at the launch, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The development of Drama and Theatre Studies represents a natural fit for NUI Galway given the vibrant theatre world in Galway. Our Drama and Theatre offering has gone from strength to strength thanks to a unique collaboration with world-class theatre-makers like Druid.  The Druid Academy represents the culmination of a long and fruitful partnership between Druid and NUI Galway and provides our students with unique access to some of Ireland’s leading theatre-makers”. Students interested in finding out more about programmes in the Druid Academy should visit: www.nuigalway.ie/drama Ends

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will launch a new book, Econophysics and Physical Economics, on Thursday, 23 January at 2pm in the Cairnes Building on campus. The event will include a special talk with the authors, Professors Peter Richmond, Stefan Hutzler and Jurgen Mimkes. An understanding of the behaviour of financial assets and the evolution of economies has never been as important as today and Econophysics and Physical Economics looks at these complex systems from the perspective of the physicist. So called 'econophysics' and its application to finance has made great strides in recent years. For more than a decade, physicists have used the methods and tools based on statistical physics to analyse the complexities of not just natural systems but also financial and economic systems. The research was also stimulated by the ready availability of large data sets in the realm of financial markets. As a result new insights into the nature of financial market fluctuations and other inherent complex dynamics associated with the financial markets were being discovered. This stimulating research program has in turn led to novel approaches to economic theory informed by empirical observations and physical ideas, and continues to articulate an alternative framework for analysing economic systems. Authors Professors Peter Richmond and Stefan Hutzler of Trinity College Dublin and Professor Jurgen Mimkes, retired Professor of Physics at the University of Paderborn, Germany highlight and discuss these novel approaches in the new book, published by Oxford University Press. According to Dr Srinivas Raghavendra of the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Whitaker Institute, “The ongoing economic crisis has severely challenged the current dominant economic model that informs policy. I think a serious attempt to go beyond the established conventional framework has become an urgent necessity of our times. In this respect, Econophysics offers one such alternative framework to think outside the conventional mode and it would be to our benefit that we engage with it and critically examine what it offers.” For more information on the event please visit www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute or call 091 495971. -Ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has brought together 23 of Ireland’s leading human rights groups to adopt a common vision for human rights in Irish Foreign Policy. The Galway Platform on Human Rights in Irish Foreign Policy sets out the basic human rights standards and practices by which Ireland should be held to account in its dealings with other countries, as well as in its activities at EU and UN levels. The Galway Platform contains 47 specific observations and proposals to government in the context of the current consultation on a review of Irish Foreign Policy being undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. These are realistic and measured recommendations intended to ensure that Ireland holds true to the human rights commitments that it has freely entered into. The protection of human rights is integral to Ireland’s foreign policy and Ireland now has the opportunity to significantly enhance its capacity to promote and protect human rights worldwide as well as at home. The recommendations also emphasise the need for human rights to be mainstreamed across every aspect of foreign policy. For instance, the Galway Platform states that, “it would be unacceptable for the State to undertake any action that is inconsistent with the human rights standards by which it is held to account.” Professor Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said, “We are delighted that so many important human rights groups were able to come to Galway and agree on this wide-ranging road map for human rights in Irish Foreign Policy. Although the government is already getting a lot right when it comes to the promotion of human rights internationally, no one would dispute that it can do so much more. The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the other signatories are putting the Galway Platform recommendations to government so that Ireland can be an international champion of human rights to make us proud.” The Galway Platform has been signed by: Amnesty International Ireland, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork, Centre for Disability Law & Policy at National University of Ireland, Galway, Children's Rights Alliance, Community Workers’ Co-operative, Department of Applied Social Studies, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), Front Line Defenders, Gay & Lesbian Equality Network, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Irish Refugee Council, Liberia Solidarity Group, National Assembly of the Baha’is of Ireland, National Women's Council of Ireland, Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium, Pavee Point, Social Justice Ireland, Trocaire, University College Dublin, Human Rights Network and Women’s Human Rights Alliance. -ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Thursday, 30 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Cahir Road, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge) which is brand new for 2013-14.  “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Clonmel, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 24 January 2014

International Evidence indicates one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway is inviting the public to meet and engage in planning the future direction of the provision of services for those with autism in Ireland. ICAN, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and Autism Speaks, aim to develop an Irish Autism Registry and Biobank. Autism is a lifelong disorder and has profound effects on an individual’s social, emotional and cognitive development, and has implications for the family, state services and society at large. A Stakeholder Consultation Process is underway to take account of the needs and perspectives of individuals with autism and other related neurodevelopmental disorders and the perspectives of their families. As part of the consultation process there will be regional public consultation meetings held around the country, which all are welcome to attend. NUI Galway will host a meeting on the 28th January at the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at 7pm. For additional information on public meetings visit www.iarb.ie  International evidence indicates a significant rise in the prevalence of this condition, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an autism spectrum disorder. By way of comparison, these estimates represent more children are currently diagnosed with autism than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome combined. Dr. Geraldine Leader, Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research at NUI Galway commented, “The need for a registry of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental disorders will address critical questions concerning ASD and related conditions in Ireland, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive registry. This registry will serve as a national resource for research in the areas of health, education and social services and to inform policy development.” Clinical registries will gather clinical information and other data on patients to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research. Some of the best-known examples of registries are those that exist in Scandinavian countries where there are well-established patient registries for a variety of physical and mental illnesses and disabilities for many years. These well-organised registries provide critical data that are useful for the development of services and to identify critical research questions to be further investigated. The Development of a registry can address a range of research topics that may include: The scale of autism in Ireland across the lifespan. The behavioral health and medical needs of the Irish autism community. The impact of early intervention on later outcomes. Factors that influence successful school placement. Factors that influence improved quality of life among adolescents and adults with    autism. Planning for transitions in service delivery, e.g. from preschool to school and from school to adult services. -ends-