Friday, 15 February 2019

NUI Galway student, Edel Browne has been named on the prestigious Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ Europe list for 2019. At 21 years old Edel is the youngest honouree in this year’s Science and Healthcare category. She has recently graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and is currently an EY Scholar pursuing an MSc in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (TechInnovation), at the University. The list features 30 honourees across 10 categories, all of whom are under 30 years old. Among those featured alongside Edel on this year’s list include actor, Daniel Radcliffe; musician, George Ezra and Irish rugby player, Peter O’Mahony. Edel was recognised for her work on a project called Free Feet Medical, a device for people with Parkinson’s disease, which began as a project for the BT Young Scientist Exhibition. She has also participated in the Washington Ireland Program, and has been heavily involved in student entrepreneurship at NUI Galway, where she has acted as Student Entrepreneur in Residence at LaunchPad, NUI Galway’s campus-based entrepreneurship program for the past three years. During her time with LaunchPad, Edel has been supported to develop her Free Feet business which addresses clinical challenge of treating Parkinson’s Disease and to also encourage other budding campus entrepreneurs. Under 30 honourees are judged on leadership and disruption; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century. “Four years on from its launch, the 30 Under 30 Europe list continues to be not only the defining measure of success for the region’s next generation of leaders, but also a source of empowerment for all honorees,” said Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes. “We’ve searched throughout Europe to identify 300 of the most revolutionary entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors in ten diverse sectors, who are changing the game throughout the region and across the globe.” Congratulating Edel NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Edel’s selection on this impressive list of ‘30 Under 30’ is a wonderful endorsement of her talent and acumen. Here at her alma mater, we are proud of her achievements and we look forward to her continued success. She stands as an example to all students of how to make a difference ‘in’ the world and ‘for’ the world. Her ingenuity, intellectual curiosity and entrepreneurial skill combine to address the global challenge of Parkinson’s disease. And as an entrepreneur she has inspired and mentored many student innovators here at NUI Galway and far beyond.” Edel said: “It is a huge honour to be included in the Forbes 30U30 this year, since coming to NUI Galway in 2016 I have been hugely supported in every aspect of my journey both academically and through the LaunchPad with Free Feet Medical.  I am thrilled to represent the University and my city on the list.” -Ends-

Friday, 15 February 2019

Scientists and science enthusiasts will battle it out for a place in the national final of Famelab, the largest science communication competition in the world. This is the fourth time that a regional heat for the international competition will take place in Galway. The competition will be held on Thursday, 21 February, at An Taibhdhearc Theatre at 7pm and is free to attend. The contestants come from a variety of backgrounds, covering sciences from Physics to Biology. Presentations will cover a set of topics including “Blockchain”, “Rock and Roll and the “Right Hand Rule” and “A Threat to Modern Medicine”. The competing scientists will be given a total of three minutes each to explain their research, or any scientific concept, as clearly, simply and charismatically as possible, to a public audience and a panel of judges. This will be followed by three minutes of questions from the judges and the audience. Competitors are given the instruction that they can use ‘only what they can carry with them onto the stage’ to help illustrate their stories. Two finalists will be announced on the night and will be sent forward to a communications master class in Dublin on 22-24 March. They will then compete in the Irish final of Famelab which will be held in the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 11 April. The overall national winner will attend the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2019 and will compete in the FAMELAB International finals. The evening will be hosted by Professor Michel Destrade, Chair of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, previous winner of FameLab Galway and runner up of FameLab Ireland 2016. The panel of judges include: Paul Fahy, Artistic Director of the Galway International Arts Festival Laura Rigney, Director of Brigit’s Garden Laoise McNamara, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator, NUI Galway Brenda Romero, Game designer, artist and Fulbright recipient, Romero Games Entertainment during the interval will be provided by Ana Panigassi, winner of FameLab Galway 2017 and performer at Bright Club. Ana is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist specialised in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and now a full time Science Communicator and her dog, Little Jerry Seinfeld, guarantees she is very funny. Her Show ‘Horrible Histories in Women's Health’ has some interesting little stories about how women's health inventions came about and the science behind it.   To attend the FAMELAB Galway regional final please book your free ticket at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-2019-tickets-53541674590. You can also follow the Galway competition on twitter @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Three MedTrain research projects at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway have been selected for inclusion in the European Commission's Innovation Radar as ‘Key Innovators’. The aim of the Innovation Radar platform is to make information about EU-funded innovations from high-quality projects visible and accessible to the public in one place on a new platform. This will show citizens the many excellent technological and scientific advances being delivered by researchers and innovators around Europe, funded on their behalf by the European Commission. This initiative has the support of EU Members States and so far Ministers from 21 countries have signed the Innovation Radar declaration confirming their support for this initiative. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The Innovation Radar platform presents a valuable opportunity for our researchers to highlight the potential impact of their work. Making research information accessible to a wide public audience is a core element of the CÚRAM ethos. We welcome the inclusion of three of our research projects in the platform and hope to contribute more widely to the space in future.” The first of the awarded projects is being carried out by Dr Elaine Waters, supervised by Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, and will address the issue of biofilm infections of medical devices which resist antibiotics, causing devices to be replaced, thereby increasing hospital stays. It will develop new tissue-friendly carbohydrate coatings to prevent biofilm infections of implanted devices. The second project, led by Dr James Wilson, supervised by Dr Andreas Heise, will design a flexible, yet strong soft tissue implantable wet adhesive for tissue repair and regeneration. This technology represents the next generation of fully biodegradable bioadhesives with enhanced wet adhesion properties for the development of new clinical materials and advanced approaches in healthcare. The third of the awarded projects is led by Dr Tania Hidalgo Crespo, supervised by Dr Caitriona O’Driscoll, and will develop a novel, safe and effective drug delivery system. Successful delivery of therapeutic levels of siRNA to the brain, using this novel system, will facilitate the treatment of a wide range of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and brain tumours. The projects are being developed under the Horizon 2020 project MedTrain, a new Industry-Academia Training, Career Development, and Mobility Fellowship Programme in Medical Device Research and Development at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. MedTrain offers two-year fellowships to experienced researchers in the broad area of Medical Device Research and Development, including: tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biomaterials and drug delivery, glyco and protein engineering and neuromodulation. Information about each of the three MedTrain projects at CÚRAM included on the platform are accessible to the public via the new Innovation Radar platform, (accessed via a website or a smartphone app - iOS or Android).

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Film addresses issues such as do we always need consent and are men always up for sex? To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the launch of their new four-year programme earlier this month, the Active Consent research team at NUI Galway are premiering the third interactive short film in the Consent=OMFG series, John and Becky. The film shows a long-term couple who are having less sex than they used to in their relationship, and explores consent communication between established partners and the stereotype that men always desire physical connection.  Like the other films in the Consent=OMFG series (Tom and Julie and Kieran and Jake), the viewer experience of John and Becky involves making active choices for the characters at three key decision points in their story. With four possible endings, viewers experience firsthand the multiple directions sexual communication can go for this couple.  Active Consent researcher and film director Dr Charlotte McIvor said: “John and Becky portrays the complexity of negotiating consent even with long-term partners and the importance of ongoing and proactive dialogue around intimacy. We were interested in exploring how men may experience pressure to be intimate based on commonly-held stereotypes that they are always driven by sexual desire.” The Consent=OMFG film series is one of the tools that will be highlighted in the Active Consent Programme’s toolkit for third-level institutions that will be released in spring 2019. It illustrates the breadth of the approach being taken and complements the SMART Consent workshops that have been running since 2015. A theatre performance on consent will also be launched later in the year. Intended to be used in conjunction with the new Active Consent programme toolkit, the performance will be available for touring on a limited basis to third-level institutions in late summer and autumn 2019. Dr Pádraig MacNeela from the School of Psychology, NUI Galway, said: “Taken together, the training and resources available through the college toolkit will enable colleges to follow through on the commitment to support young people to make positive, active choices in what they do and do not want to consent to with their partners.” One in five college students in a relationship reported in a SMART Consent survey that they would find it difficult to tell their partner that they do not want to have sex, and a similar percentage said they would find it difficult to say a certain sexual activity is not making them feel good. The Consent=OMFG series can be viewed at www.nuigalway.ie/consent=omfg and on the YouTube channel, Consent is OMFG. John and Becky will be available from Thursday, 14 February.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The project uses heart-rate data to automatically generate and publish poetry If the heart could speak, what would it say? A new project at NUI Galway, launching on Valentine’s Day, aims to address this question with an unconventional approach to producing poetry. The project, Eververse, combines methods and tools from literary studies and computer science to automatically generate poetry that corresponds to a person’s biometric data, that is how fast their heart is beating, how deeply they are sleeping, and so on. Eververse sends biometric data from a wearable fitness tracking device to a custom-built poetry generator which uses algorithms to generate and publish poetry in real time, and 24/7, on the Eververse website. The form and content of the poetry is designed to change according to different physical sensations and experiences in the poet’s waking and sleeping life. For example, poetic lines decrease in length as the poet’s heart rate increases and breath contracts. Content, too, reflects bodily variations, as heightened-sentiment vocabulary is produced to reflect the emotional intensification of an increased heart rate, while dream sleep generates surreal images and vocabulary. Project leader and lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Justin Tonra, will generate a year-long poem using his biometric data. Dr Tonra said: “The project continues a long tradition of connecting the heart and the arts, and contemplating the relationship between an artist and the work they produce. It will allow us to think about the increasing presence of computer-driven automation in our world and what role it might play in creative and cultural artefacts. I hope, too, that it will produce some engaging poetry.” One of the more common ideas about poetic inspiration presents the poet as a creative vessel or conduit, taking the sensory input of the world into their bodies and minds, and producing poetic output in turn. In theories such as this, art collapses into the being and identity of the artist. W. B. Yeats famously articulated this conundrum, asking “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” Eververse is a conceptual response to this situation. By removing cognition from the process of creating poetry, the project creates a more explicit link between the abstract relations of artist and art. Here, the poet’s body, through its various motions and functions, literally determines the form and content of the poetry that is produced.  Eververse can be viewed from Valentine’s Day at http://eververse.nuigalway.ie/, which also hosts videos of a live performance at last year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature. The project is a collaboration between researchers from NUI Galway, the Moore Institute, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and Maynooth University, and has been funded by the European Association for Digital Humanities.

Monday, 11 February 2019

A new report into the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal study on children in care or children leaving care within the Irish context has been published by Dr Carmel Devaney and Dr Cliona Rooney of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. This study was commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, with the support of the Irish Research Council. It arose from an action detailed in the Implementation Plan in response to the Ryan Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (2009). This study is based on interviews with researchers worldwide who have completed studies of this kind. It considers the financial and research challenges associated with completing research over time with children and young people who are in care or are about to leave care in Ireland. There are over just 6,000 children in care in Ireland with over 2,000 young people availing of aftercare services. A longitudinal study will provide, for the first time a comprehensive real time account of their experiences. The study found that there is a need for: An Irish longitudinal study on children in care to examine the experiences and outcomes of children and young people who have experienced the Irish care system (including residential and foster care) and to continue to trace this population as they progress out of care and/or aftercare and into early adulthood; That there is a need to compare the outcomes of children in care with the general population of children and the importance of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study in this regard; Awareness of the significant planning, governance, advisory, stakeholder buy-in and piloting phases required for such a project to ensure optimum implementation; Awareness of methodological barriers and enablers such as data management issues including access to administrative data, retention and attrition, ethical considerations, engaging often hard to reach participants and the community throughout the duration of the study and project management; A range of design and cost options to be considered and that longitudinal studies assist policy makers and service providers with data that focuses on the impact of childhood experiences on later outcomes. Dr Carmel Devaney said: “A longitudinal study with children and young people in care would provide a critical understanding of the needs and experiences of children and young people in and leaving care in Ireland. We have very little information on this transition currently. The move between care and aftercare can be extremely difficult for young people. The usual challenges of leaving home can occur, but often, the young person does not have a stable background to lean on for support or a network of people to lean on for support.” The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla will use the findings of this feasibility study to consider the possibility of commissioning a study of this kind. Tusla’s Corporate Plan 2018 – 2020 makes provision within its Research function to ‘support the ongoing consideration for a future commission on a longitudinal study of children in care’. For full report please see http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/media/unescochildandfamilyresearchcentre/documentspdf/Feasibility-Study-on-Longitudinal-Study-of-Children-In-Care-or-Leaving-Care-in-Ireland.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 11 February 2019

Expansion announced by Minister Heather Humphreys, TD and supported by Enterprise Ireland  Irish Technology start-up, Joulica, has today announced a significant expansion of its operations headquartered in Galway, creating 45 new jobs over three years. The jobs form part of Joulica’s growth strategy reinforcing Galway’s position as the driving force of Ireland’s Information and Communication Technology industry. The announcement was made today at Joulica’s headquarters at NUI Galway by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, together with Joulica CEO Tony McCormack and Mark Christal, Regional Entrepreneurship Manager at Enterprise Ireland. The development is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation Fund. Founded in 2016 and based in the Business Innovation Centre on the campus of NUI Galway, Joulica has grown rapidly and enjoyed strong commercial success based on its expertise in the Customer Experience domain, real-time analytics and cloud-native software development. The high-skill jobs announced today will add 45 to the existing 25 staff currently employed by Joulica. Joulica is seeking experts in software, data analytics and business development to serve new product development opportunities in the US and Europe. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “I am delighted to be here at Joulica’s HQ today to announce 45 new highly-skilled jobs in Galway. This time last year, Joulica had 11 employees. Since then, they have increased that number to 25, and over the next three years, they will increase it again to 70. This wonderful achievement is a testament to the innovation and dedication of the team. Companies like Joulica are vital components of a robust regional economy, something that the Government is committed to supporting. I would like to congratulate Tony McCormack, Joseph Smyth, Diarmuid Leonard and the team at Joulica on this remarkable achievement and wish them every success as their business continues to grow.” Speaking at today’s announcement, Tony McCormack, CEO of Joulica said: “Today marks a significant landmark for Joulica and demonstrates the depth of talent available to innovative technology start-ups establishing R&D centers in Galway city. The success we have enjoyed to-date is a testament to the world-class talent and exceptional skills of the Joulica team, together with the unwavering support provided by Enterprise Ireland, our advisors and mentors.   From its inception, Joulica has been fortunate to work with global customers who are at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution. This opportunity combined with a deep understanding of the requirements that Enterprise customers place on high-scale, resilient software solutions gives Joulica a unique edge when it comes to accelerating innovation in large-scale Enterprises.” Mark Christal, Manager – Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said: “Innovation and being competitive is crucial for Irish start-ups to grow and build scale both here and on an international level. It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses are facing uncertainties and challenges that could impact their growth, and Joulica is an excellent example of a company that has stayed on the pulse and identified solutions to allow them to scale in international markets and realise their global ambition. At Enterprise Ireland, we are committed to supporting regionally-based companies like Joulica to plan, innovate and compete and we look forward to continuing our work with Tony and the team on their growth trajectory.”

Monday, 11 February 2019

The ‘Testostertones’ male voice choir from NUI Galway is delighted to announce it has been selected to compete at the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which takes place from 1-7 July,  is one of the foremost world festivals of music, dance and culture, and includes competitions showcasing choirs and dance troupes from across the globe. Each year it attracts over 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the week. Established in 1947, the International Eisteddfod promotes peace and goodwill between nations by bringing performers from all cultures and nations together through music. The festival is world renowned, having welcomed international music stars including Luciano Pavarotti who competed in the competitions as a boy and returned to perform as one of the most successful tenors of all time. This year, the ‘Testostertones’ will join international competitors from all over the world in a vibrant carnival of culture. They will perform a number of songs, including folk songs from the West of Ireland, in both Irish and English. Choir Director and NUI Galway graduate, Peter Mannion, said: “This is a wonderful experience for the singers. Performing at one of the world’s great music festivals will be a highlight for both the singers and their families. Representing NUI Galway and Ireland at the festival is an honour for the group and we will be performing a repertoire to showcase choral music from Ireland along with some music from the greatest ever composers.”  

Monday, 11 February 2019

Funding will support exploring commercial opportunities in ovarian and breast cancer, an autonomous lifeguard and search system, macroalgae health benefits and high blood pressure Five research projects from NUI Galway have received almost €600,000 from Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme. The programme provides project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, this week announced €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research. The researchers will demonstrate if their applied research project is technically feasible, and has the potential for further commercial development. NUI Galway Research Projects: Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineer, College of Engineering and Informatics – Awarded €129,995 for the ‘ImmunoCell’ project, an implantable device to help immune cells fight ovarian cancer tumours. Professor Michael Madden and Dr Enda Barrett, Information Technology – Awarded €124,367 for the ‘ALIVE (Autonomous LIfeguard and Vision Environment)’ project, an autonomous lifeguard and search system using computer vision and machine learning techniques to accurately detect people in noisy aquatic environments. Dr Adrienne Gorman, Apoptosis Research Centre, School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €128,440 for the ‘RIPK2 inhibitor’ project, validating promising protein inhibitors, as a new therapeutic option in triple negative breast cancer. Professor Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €123,956 for the ‘Blooms2Feeds+2’ project to develop processed seaweeds for blending into fish feeds in salmon aquaculture. The aim is to generate health benefits in both fish (welfare) and humans (nutrition, through higher salmon quality). Dr Haroon Zafar, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Awarded €91,205 for the ‘Smart Renal Denervation’ project to develop the feasibility of a novel device to provide real-time feedback to clinicians to verify the successful operation of Renal denervation to treat high blood pressure not controlled by medication. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway, said: “Our university has a great track record in knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. Our five new projects demonstrate this drive to maximize the impact of ideas and technology generated by our research. The depth and breadth of innovative technologies reflect the strengths of our region such as ICT, MedTech and marine.” Speaking of the awards, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “I am delighted to announce the recipients of the SFI TIDA Awards and commercialisation support for 38 research projects. The programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment. The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community.” Researchers funded through the TIDA programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator, which is an intensive five-day programme delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. This will support STEM researchers to develop skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking and facilitates mentoring and networking.  

Monday, 11 February 2019

CREATE: The Art of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond, is a free art exhibition developed by the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, taking place around the campus of UHG, that spotlights pregnancy and newborn journeys, the people who make them, and the research that impacts them. The exhibition will run from 2 - 28 February, and local breastfeeding groups in particular are invited to take in the exhibition. The exhibition touches on topics like perinatal mental health, bereavement and pregnancy loss, IVF, prematurity, labour and birth experiences, and breastfeeding, as well as exploring how health research helps women and newborns. The pregnancy and neonatal journey can be beautiful and scary, joyous and heartbreaking. It can be miraculous, frustrating, sought after or unexpected. It can be straightforward, or it can wind and twist through our lives. We think of it as nine months, but it can be years of trying. It can end unexpectedly. It can resonate for decades afterwards. In this exhibition, the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, a network of obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives and related professionals brought together to carry out research on women’s and children’s health, hope to highlight common pregnancy and newborn health issues and celebrate the impact of perinatal research on mothers and babies in Ireland and internationally. The exhibition provides a safe, non-judgmental space to explore these issues and listen, through new and existing artworks, to the experiences of women and the doctors, midwives and researchers who care for them. Some of the exhibition’s highlights include: The Other Side - A new work by Emma Sheridan that deals with her own experiences of perinatal mental health issues. A self portrait of sorts that captures how she felt following the birth of her first child – the exhaustion, the doubts, the terror. The artist writes: “I wanted the image to look, like me, as if it was disintegrating. For others to look into her eyes and say, that feels like me and not me alone. This painting is also full of hope and positivity. The colours are vibrant, I feel beautiful, I am owning all of it. Yes, I am tired and it is hard but I am no longer trying to be perfect and neither is this painting. It is me.”   The Children’s Remembrance Tree – A striking and colourful collaborative community project, led by the Bereavement team in Cavan Hospital. During a remembrance service in 2015, families were given colourful beads to hold on to – as a physical symbol of the baby or child families were there to remember, the grief they carried and the uniqueness of each story. After the service, the beads were collected and over the following three months were sewn onto the fabric by a local craft group with help from friends and family. The Tree, its branches, and its falling vibrant leaves, represents strength, family, the fragility of life, and the sense of belonging to a community and the support that brings.   Everyday Breastfeeding - This series of simple, black and white, hanging illustrations by Fiona Carey depicts everyday experiences of breastfeeding – the lovely, chaotic, precious, mundane, lived reality of it. While breastfeeding is the common theme, it is not the central focus of these images; it is simply one component of life as a parent of babies and toddlers. Sometimes, the images we commonly see of breastfeeding make it seem inaccessible and incompatible with modern life. Rarely do we see images of breastfeeding fitting in with work, family, exhaustion, eating, resting, socialising, travelling, sleeping, life. These illustrations portray modern women’s relationships to breastfeeding, as part of their modern lives, capturing the ordinary and extraordinary, the mundane and magical. This exhibition is supported by the Health Research Board through their Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award which aims to maximize the uptake of research findings into policy and practice. For more information, contact Cormac McAdam on motherandbabyexhibition@gmail.com or phone 01 4022548 or 087 2329101. The full list of artworks and events is available at www.hrb-mbctni.ie/create and www.hrb-mbctni.ie. Follow on Twitter @HRBMumAndBaby and www.facebook.com/HRBMotherAndBabyCTNI. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

State-of-the-art 429 bed student residence increases accommodation availability on campus Minister Seán Kyne T.D., Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands and Government Chief Whip, will today (Friday, 8 February) officially open the €35million state-of-the-art student residence, Goldcrest Village. Goldcrest Village, or Baile an Chíorbhuí, represents the first of two new purpose-built, on-campus student residences at NUI Galway. The 429-bed residence is located beside the existing, 764-bed residence, Corrib Village at North Campus. In September 2018, the first residents of NUI Galway’s newest campus accommodation complex moved into ‘Goldcrest Village’, named after the smallest bird in Ireland which can be spotted around the parkland campus. Speaking at the opening, Minister Kyne said: “The benefits of this new student accommodation will be felt far and wide. It provides students with quality, modern accommodation that will enable them to experience life on campus. It helps to ensure more accommodation for other households in Galway and it adds to the vibrancy of our city and county. I’m certain Goldcrest Village will provide comfortable and secure accommodation for students of NUI Galway for many years to come.”  Funded by NUI Galway with loan finance from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the residence has enhanced the provision of on-campus accommodation in response to the economic pressures in the housing sector and specifically the direct impact to third-level students. Goldcrest Village has also just been shortlisted for the Irish Construction Excellence Awards 2019 in the Commercial €10m + category. Speaking ahead of the launch, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “The quality of our student experience is at the very core of our mission as a university.  With the development of Goldcrest Village, an additional 429 students now live on campus in comfort and safety.  This new home for our students represents a strategic response by NUI Galway to demand for housing in Galway and the need to provide on-campus student accommodation for our students, while also taking pressure off the Galway housing market. We look forward to the development of the second phase of this two-phase student accommodation project which it’s anticipated will be available in 2021 and provide an additional 680 places for our students on campus, bringing to almost 2,000 the numbers of students who reside on our campus.  We also join with our students in calling on our Government to continue to ensure equity and fairness in the housing market.” Goldcrest Village Goldcrest Village provides 12,500m2 of top quality student accommodation for 429 students and is comprised of 76 apartments, grouped around landscaped courtyards, each apartment containing four, five or six en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen/living area. All bedrooms have study desks and high-capacity Wifi, communal facilities, a 24-hour reception, a large common room area, a laundrette, and secure bicycle storage. Goldcrest Village provides nine (9) wheelchair accessible bedrooms, located on the ground-floor across all four blocks.  These accessible bedrooms have been designed according to best practice in wheelchair housing design to ensure they are totally accessible for disabled users. In addition, four disabled parking spaces have been provided. The project was designed by award winning Coady Architects in partnership with the UK firm Feildin Clegg Brady Studios and the construction was completed by Galway-based contracting firm J.J. Rhatigan & Co. ENDS

Thursday, 7 February 2019

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has welcomed a motion by Galway City Council and its elected body to recognise the need for investment in third level education given the continuing increase in demand for third level education. The motion passed on Monday 4th February stated: Act on the recommendations of the Cassells Report published in 2016 which sets out clear options for the sustainable funding of third level education; Provide the necessary investment in the next Budget (2020) to substantially increase the core funding per student which has fallen by almost half in ten years. The Council reported: “We recognise and assert that our third level graduates are an essential ingredient of economic growth and, unless investment in third level is increased, we will damage the future competitiveness of the Irish economy and of our society as a whole.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are grateful for this motion and for this recognition from the Council that the University is a major contributor to the city and that investment in third level is critical to our collective future.  “The numbers at third level nationally have increased more than seven-fold since the late 60s from less than 25,000 students attending third-level in 1969 to over 181,000 students now. The reach and reputation of our research has also increased immeasurably over that time. If society believes education and third level education in particular is a good thing then we need to find a way to pay for it” he added.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A new wave of Medtech companies supported by NUI Galway’s BioExel programme, Ireland’s first Medtech accelerator continues following the success of 2018 cohort Following on from the success of the inaugural 2018 NUI Galway BioExel programme, a second successful recruitment campaign was completed last December. A high calibre of applications were reviewed from across the globe and the final eight companies are now immersed in the 2019 BioExel accelerator programme.  BioExel offers €95,000 in seed funding to successful applicants along with six-months of intensive training, mentoring, lab space and supported interactions with potential investors. The programme allows participants to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is managed by MedTech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway. Fiona Neary at NUI Galway, said: “BioExel’s mission is to act as an honest broker between Medtech start-ups and the investment community bridging the gap between technology de-risking and raising investment. BioExel has positioned itself as an internationally recognised Medtech accelerator with the reputation of significantly enhancing indigenous Medtech start-ups by providing attractive seed investment funding and a pipeline of next generation Medtech start-up’s for Ireland.” Joe Healy, HPSU Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Ireland has a growing reputation in MedTech start-ups and the west of Ireland is renowned globally as a top medical device cluster. The sector is an important contributor to our economic growth and BioExel is uniquely positioned to provide essential support for the new innovative start-ups in this sector. We are delighted to continue our support for the programme, and the companies who take part as they take their first steps towards building scale and expanding their reach.” Joined by the funding partners last month at NUI Galway, the programme officially launched the new cohort of BioExel 2019 and enabled a great working session where partners and participants came together to share experiences and business opportunities. BioExel 2019 Companies: Áine Behan and Fred Herrera, CortechsConnect Ltd, an Irish based company developing a non-pharmacological Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) intervention. Visit: cortechs.ie Declan Trumble, Kudos Health, an Irish based company developing a Health and Wellness engagement platform. Visit: kudoshealth.com Idicula Mathew, Hera Health Solutions, a US based company developing a Biodegradable Female Contraceptive Implant. Visit: hearahealthsolutions.com Chris Duke and Michael Newell, Lifestyle Medical, an Irish based company developing Knee kinematics performance and rehabilitation technology. Liam McMorrow, Adelie Health, a UK technology and new Irish start-up, developing an innovative Smart Insulin Pen. Visit: adeliehealth.com Blaine Doyle, Glow Dx, an Irish company with an export market in place developing an Infectious Disease Diagnostic Platform. Visit: glowdx.com Rory Clerkin and Morris Black, Holywood Medical, an Irish based company developing Migraine prediction assay (predicts the onset of migraine) for preventative medicine in this space. Visit: holywoodmedical.com Damien Kilgannon, Sula Health, an Irish based company developing a solution in the area of Circadian Rhythm (Sleep) Disorder Treatment. Visit: sulahealth.com This new cohort of companies will take part in the BioExel accelerator programme until June 2019, preparing them to be investor ready or to have investment in place. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, and hosted by NUI Galway. For additional information please contact the BioExel team at bioexelinfo@nuigalway.ie or phone 087 6226240 or visit:  www.bioexel.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Centres for Doctoral Training to link world-leading SFI Research Centres and UK Higher Education Institutions  CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is one of seven SFI Research Centres to have received funding for Doctoral Training as part of a UK-Ireland joint initiative to invest €38.6 million in training future innovation leaders.  The award has been made under a new partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation. The investment funding was announced today (4 February 2019) by Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD. CÚRAM will work in collaboration with University of Glasgow, Aston and Birmingham, to establish lifETIME: an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine.  lifETIME will train future Engineering and Physical Science innovation leaders for the non-animal technology and regenerative medicine sectors. Those trained will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery. The lifETIME Centres for Doctoral Training will train 84 engineering and physical science scientists, clinical fellows and cell engineers across three world-leading centres that specialise in: fundamental bioengineering (Glasgow); microscale bioprocess translation/application (Birmingham and Aston); and medical devices (CÚRAM). 25 of these will be CÚRAM based. The first intake of students will begin in September 2019 with CÚRAM enrolling five students each year. Globally, a strong industrial and clinical need exists to create humanised, non-animal technologies, which are bioengineered, cellular, scaffolds/on-chip systems that can be used in therapeutic discovery, safety testing, functional validation and in some cases in the production of cellular therapies. To meet this need, there is an urgent need to train Engineering and Physical Science students to communicate effectively with, and work alongside, biomedical scientists, and vice versa, and such training will also drive innovation and contribute to the Irish and UK bioeconomy. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The establishment of this Centre for Doctoral Training in collaboration with colleagues at University of Glasgow, Aston University and University of Birmingham will produce the next generation of doctoral level researchers across engineering and physical sciences. This unique programme will train leaders who will possess multidisciplinary, high-value skills in the design, creation and application of new non-animal technology platforms to accelerate therapeutic discovery.” Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “I am pleased to announce this new collaboration that will provide training opportunities for doctoral students in both the UK and Ireland. These new PhD training initiatives will provide opportunities for talented students in SFI Research Centres across Higher Education Institutions. Cultivating and maintaining positive research and development collaborations between the Ireland and the UK, as well as the rest of the world, is a priority for the Irish Government, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is thrilled to be working with the EPSRC on this programme.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to collaborate with EPSRC on this excellent programme. Ireland and the UK are key drivers of impactful, world-leading research and it is important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships. The level of investment in the Centres for Doctoral Training is significant, and represents our commitment to prepare graduates for careers in research and beyond, and the emphasis we place on progressing international alliances and global opportunities for our researchers. I would like to congratulate the seven SFI Research Centres on their success in this programme and look forward to working with EPSRC over the coming years.” The Centres for Doctoral Training represent one of the UK’s most significant investments in research skills, supporting over seventy centres that will equip the next generation of doctoral level researchers across Engineering and Physical Sciences. The seven joint awards between Ireland and the UK will enable doctoral students based in Irish institutions to benefit from training opportunities and collaboration with Higher Education Institutions in the UK.  -Ends- 

Monday, 4 February 2019

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will host ‘Women and Traditional Folk Music’, a one-day research symposium, on Saturday, 9 February, in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway. Dr Tes Slominski of Beloit College, Wisconsin, a leading traditional Irish music and gender studies scholar, will deliver the keynote address. Her lecture ‘Shut Up and Play: Aesthetics and the Silencing of Social Critique in Irish Traditional Music’ addresses the connections between the aesthetics of silence and understatement in Irish traditional music, and the silencing of critiques about sexism, heterosexism, and racism in the Irish traditional music scene. Hosted by the music research network Comhrá Ceoil at the Centre for Irish Studies, in partnership with and in response to FairPlé, the symposium will provide an opportunity to explore, challenge and react to the experiences of women in traditional and folk music. The symposium will host an international field of presenters, including academics, musicians and singers, researchers and those involved with the archiving of traditional and folk music. Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Lecturer in Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “In the context of recent social action movements, in Ireland and elsewhere, the question of equality in areas of cultural production and the workplace loom large. Responding to these initiatives, and in particular the work of FairPlé, which seeks gender balance in Irish traditional and folk music, this one day research symposium provides an opportunity to explore, challenge and respond to the focused theme of ‘Women and traditional folk music’.” Full programme details and registration available at https://www.facebook.com/events/455255418243576/ or email irishstudies@nuigalway.ie for further information. Admission is €20 or €10 student/unwaged.   -Ends-

Monday, 4 February 2019

Applications open to female engineering students NUI Galway is delighted to announce that applications are now open to undergraduate female engineering students for scholarships to attend a unique and challenging engineering summer academy at the Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. The Academy, offered to only 30 female students from 15 different countries, is a two and a half week intensive programme com­bining theory with hands-on practical experience in engineering, informatics and natural sciences. Speaking about the scholarships and the International Summer Academy, Mary Dempsey, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This is a super opportunity for young female students involved in the sciences and engineering. Those interested in pursuing a career or further studies in this area get a unique chance to broaden their technical and scientific knowledge, to develop international contacts and to experience learning in a creative and fun way.” The Academy programme is based around thematic areas of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Computer Sciences and Informatics. Specific subject areas look at issues such as Synthetic biology: promises and dangers for society; Molecular biology: forensic DNA profiling and its computational analysis; Special high voltage applications in modern day technology; What computer science can learn from nature - Evolutionary optimization algorithms and data mining; Importance of online privacy; and Human and computer interaction Six NUI Galway students secured scholarships from the University to attend the Academy since 2017, and Biomedical student Aoife Fitzgerald said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Coming from a biomedical background I learnt a lot about the field of engineering that I did not know before. It really broadened my knowledge and changed the way I think about a variety of topics. I met girls from all over the world, learning about loads of different types of cultures. It is an experience I will never forget. We visited so many different places here that I would love to return to again one day.” -Ends-

Friday, 1 February 2019

Public Consultation now open to inform the new City Quarter Masterplan NUI Galway and Galway City Council have welcomed the commitment of the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for the exciting regeneration of Nuns’ Island in the heart of Galway City.  The commitment supports a major planning exercise, to include a public consultation process which has now opened, to inform the preparation of a plan which will result in a strategy for a structured approach to regeneration of the lands at Nuns’ Island in Galway City, which is being prepared by internationally-renowned planners BDP, business strategy advisors Colliers International and quantity surveyors AECOM. The former industrial quarter is right in the centre of Galway and is set to be transformed by the masterplan into a new quarter that will enable the City to capitalise on its high-value ecosystem of innovation and culture to attract big multinational companies.   Community, educational, cultural, economic, start-up, environmental, residential and social uses will all be considered in the masterplan.  The plan is being developed as a collaborative venture between the University and Galway City Council. The masterplan encompassing 15 acres of Galway’s urban fabric will provide new spaces and give the City a centre-piece to confirm it as the capital for creativity, enterprise and quality of life. The waterways at the heart of Nuns’ Island have the potential to further enhance Galway’s reputation as a global landmark destination of quality. The first phase of the consultation process is now underway involving a programme of engagement with local residents, community and business groups, as well as other interested parties. This consultation process will inform the development of an integrated masterplan scheduled to be completed later this year. In welcoming the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We very much welcome this support from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund and are delighted to see an agreed vision that this part of our City has the potential to generate a range of community, economic, social, environmental and educational benefits.  This master-planning exercise will deliver fresh perspectives on the development of University lands and properties on Nuns’ Island. “Our dul chun cinn as a University is influenced strongly by the strengths of our hinterland and we welcome all views that will contribute to the long-term development of Nuns’ Island for the betterment of our community. This process will result in a plan with options for regenerating the area and we look forward to hearing the ideas of local residents, businesses, community groups and other interested parties as we collectively look to the future for this part of the City.” The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath said:  “On behalf of Galway City Council, I am delighted to see the further advancement in the development of the Nuns’ Island regeneration project and join with Professor Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway in welcoming the inclusion of this signal partnership project in the Government’s Urban Regeneration Development Fund. We have been working closely with our partners and colleagues in the university to bring the project to this point and we look forward to engaging with all the stake-holder communities in this process of consultation. Galway City Council is committed to the triple concept of ‘People, Place and Process’ and in Nuns’ Island we look forward to building on the established strengths embedded in this city-centre area and to drawing together the complementary strands of education, culture, heritage, business and the residential community to improve and develop the local area in the context of our vibrant, dynamic city and region.” The plan will be developed in partnership with Galway City Council as part of the commitments in Policy 5.1 of the Galway City Council Development Plan 2017-2023.  Submissions to the consultation can be made to: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie with more information available at www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland ENDS Fáiltíonn OÉ Gaillimh roimh mhaoiniú an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach Comhairliúchán Poiblí oscailte anois chun bonn eolais a chur faoi Mháistirphlean Cheathrú nua na Cathrach Chuir OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe fáilte roimh ghealltanas Chiste Athnuachana agus Forbartha Uirbí an Rialtais d’athnuachan Oileán Altanach i gcroílár Chathair na Gaillimhe.  Tacaíonn an gealltanas le mórfheidhmiú pleanála, a áireoidh próiseas comhairliúcháin phoiblí atá oscailte anois, chun bonn eolais a chur faoi ullmhú plean a chuirfidh straitéis ar fáil le haghaidh cur chuige struchtúrtha i ndáil le hathnauchan na dtailte ag Oileán Altanach i gCathair na Gaillimhe. Is iad na pleanálaithe a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu, BDP, na comhairleoirí straitéise gnó, Colliers International agus na suirbhéirí cainníochta, AECOM atá i mbun an phlean a ullmhú. Tá an t-iarcheantar tionsclaíochta i gceartlár na Gaillimhe agus tá sé mar aidhm ag an máistirphlean ceantar nua a dhéanamh de a chuirfidh ar chumas na Cathrach leas a bhaint as an éiceachóras ardluach nuálaíochta agus cultúir a bhaineann léi chun cuideachtaí móra ilnáisiúnta a mhealladh.   Déanfar an úsáid éagsúil a d’fhéadfaí a bhaint as an gceantar a mheas sa mháistirphlean, mar atá úsáid do chúinsí pobail, oideachais, cultúrtha, eacnamaíocha, gnólachta nuathionscanta, comhshaoil, cónaitheacha agus sóisialta.  Tá an plean á fhorbairt mar fhiontar comhoibritheach idir an Ollscoil agus Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe. Cuimseoidh an máistirphlean 15 acra de thalamh chathair na Gaillimhe agus cuirfear spásanna nua ar fáil agus cruthófar lárphíosa don Chathair chun í a dhaingniú mar phríomhchathair chruthaitheachta, fiontraíochta agus caighdeáin saoil. Tá sé de chumas ag na huiscebhealaí atá i gcroílár Oileán Altanach cur le cáil na Gaillimhe mar cheann scríbe domhanda don bharr feabhais. Tá an chéad chéim den phróiseas comhairliúcháin ar siúl anois agus mar chuid de táthar i mbun clár rannpháirtíochta le cónaitheoirí áitiúla, le grúpaí pobail agus gnó, chomh maith le páirtithe leasmhara eile. Cuirfidh an próiseas comhairliúcháin seo bonn eolais faoi fhorbairt an mháistirphlean chomhtháite atá le bheith curtha i gcrích níos déanaí i mbliana. Agus é ag cur fáilte roimh an bhfógra, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Cuirimid fáilte mhór roimh an tacaíocht seo ón gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí agus tá áthas orainn fís aontaithe a fheiceáil go bhfuil de chumas ag an gcuid seo dár gCathair réimse buntáistí pobail, eacnamaíochta, sóisialta, comhshaoil agus oideachais a chruthú.  Cuirfidh an cleachtas máistirphleanála dearcadh úr ar fáil maidir le forbairt thailte agus fhoirgnimh na hOllscoile ar Oileán Altanach. Tá tionchar mór ag láidreachtaí ár gceantair ar ár ndul chun cinn mar Ollscoil agus cuirimid fáilte roimh gach tuairim a chuirfidh le forbairt fhadtéarmach Oileán Altanach chun ár bpobal a fheabhsú. Mar thoradh ar an bpróiseas seo beidh plean ina mbeidh roghanna chun an ceantar a athnuachan agus táimid ag tnúth le smaointe na n-áitritheoirí áitiúla, gnólachtaí, grúpaí pobail agus páirtithe leasmhara eile a chloisteáil agus muid ag féachaint le chéile ar thodhchaí don chuid seo den Chathair.” Dúirt Brendan McGrath, Príomhfheidhmeannach Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe:  “Thar ceann Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, tá an-áthas orm an dul chun cinn breise a fheiceáil i bhforbairt thionscadal athnuachana Oileán Altanach agus cuirim fáilte, mar a rinne an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, roimh an tionscadal suntasach comhpháirtíochta seo i gCiste Forbartha Athnuachana Uirbí an Rialtais. Táimid ag obair go dlúth lenár gcomhpháirtithe agus comhghleacaithe san Ollscoil chun an tionscadal a thabhairt go dtí an pointe seo agus táimid ag tnúth le dul i gcomhairle leis na pobail uile atá i gceist sa phróiseas comhairliúcháin seo. Tá Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe tiomanta don choincheap triarach ‘Daoine, Áit agus Próiseas’ agus san Oileán Altanach táimid ag tnúth le tógáil ar na láidreachtaí seanbhunaithe atá leabaithe sa cheantar lár cathrach seo agus chun na snáitheanna comhlántacha oideachais, cultúir, oidhreachta, gnó agus an phobail a thabhairt le chéile chun an ceantar áitiúil a fheabhsú agus a fhorbairt i gcomhthéacs ár gcathrach agus ár réigiúin bheoga agus dhinimiciúil.” Déanfar an plean a fhorbairt i gcomhpháirtíocht le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe mar chuid de na gealltanais i bPolasaí 5.1 de Phlean Forbartha Chomhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe 2017-2023. Is féidir aighneachtaí i ndáil leis an gcomhairliúchán a dhéanamh chuig: nunsisland@nuigalway.ie agus tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ag www.nuigalway.ie/nunsisland CRÍOCH

Friday, 1 February 2019

Scientists and engineers based at the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Ulster University, Coleraine have found that ship wrecks off the west coast of Ireland are acting as artificial reefs providing habitat for species more typically found in deeper waters or in canyons. It is thought the wrecks may be acting as refugia leading to improved species resilience to human impacts and climate change by increasing population connectivity. The recently unveiled Irish National Monuments Service Wreck Viewer lists the locations of more than 4,000 ship wrecks from a total of 18,000 records of potential wrecks in Irish waters giving some indication of the available infrastructure on the seafloor. In recent years, advanced technique scuba divers have started to dive on some of these wrecks located as deep as 150 metres but no deeper wrecks have been surveyed. Dr Anthony Grehan, School of Natural Sciences from NUI Galway and ocean scientist who made the discovery, said: “Divers report that wrecks are often festooned with corals and other species of epifauna. As such, the wrecks act as artificial reefs and given the quantity of wrecks in Irish waters, may make an important contribution to maintaining coral and other species by providing refugia and stepping stones for further colonisation or restoration of damaged habitats. By surveying these deeper wrecks we wanted to establish whether deeper reef forming corals could survive in shallower water.” A number of these wrecks lying in deep waters off the west coast of Kerry - beyond the reach of scuba divers - were identified using the Infomar wreck database and investigated for the first time by the team of SFI MaREI engineers and scientists led by Dr. Ger Dooly from the University of Limerick. Profiting from benign weather conditions at this time of year, the survey aboard the national Celtic Explorer (CE19001), successfully located and dove on two large - greater than 100 metres in length – wrecks using a newly commissioned University of Limerick Remotely Operated Vehicle nicknamed Étáin.  A high definition TV survey of one of the wrecks revealed that intact parts of the ship were indeed colonised by various colourful epifauna: anemones, solitary corals, oysters and brachiopods. The biggest surprise was finding a colony of the coral reef forming Lophelia pertusa, a stony coral species usually found below 500 metres or deeper in Irish waters. The colony was hanging from the apex of two plates where it was likely protected from fishing but still received a plentiful food supply. Speaking about locating the colony, Dr Anthony Grehan, NUI Galway, said: “This indicates that the species can survive in much shallower waters in Ireland than previously thought with implications for the design and management of marine protected areas and habitat restoration.  Indeed, recent scientific literature addressing ‘ocean sprawl’ points to some of the unexpected positive benefits of long-term structures found on the sea-floor. -Ends-

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Mary McPartlan from the School of Humanities at NUI Galway was honoured with the Ireland United Sates Association (IUSA) Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their achievements and demonstrated exemplary leadership in the IUSA alumni community. The award ceremony was part of the IUSA Conference and Alumni Awards held in Dublin last Thursday, 24 January. Mary McPartlan received the award in recognition of her professional excellence, her commitment to the Irish-US relationship, and her outstanding contribution to culture, education and music. The award was presented to Mary by Emmy-winning former CNN correspondent and anchor, Gina London along with a second recipient for the Emerging Leader Award, Ben English, co-founder and former CEO of the Dublin Tech Summit. Mary McPartlan received a Fullbright Scholarship in 2013 to Lehman College (CUNY) and Berea College in Kentucky. While in New York, she taught a module on ‘The History of Irish Traditional Culture and Women Traditional Singers since the 1950’s in Ireland’ and a series of lectures on ‘Irish Contemporary Plays and Playwrights’. She undertook research in Irish song material in New York and a study of the great American Folk singer and song collector, Jean Ritchie from the Appalachian Mountains, Viper, Kentucky. In New York she collaborated with the renowned jazz pianist, Bertha Hope, experimenting with American jazz and Irish folk music, culminating in a series of concerts and an album partly recorded in New York in 2015. During that time Bertha Hope came to Ireland to perform with Mary on two occasions. From her research at Berea College and her close collaboration with artists and academics in association the International Affairs Office at NUI Galway, Mary developed close ties between Berea College and NUI Galway, which culminated in the ‘Jean Ritchie MA Scholarship’ for a student from Berea College to undertake an MA at NUI Galway. The Jean Ritchie Scholarship is now in its third year and has firmly established a student exchange programme between Berea Drama Department and NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Performance, fostering deep academic and cultural ties between Ireland and the US. Along with her academic role, Mary is also the Creative Director of the hugely successful Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, where the creative arts are fully embedded into academic programmes and students from all disciplines across the country take modules, receive credits and experience excellence at an international level in all of the creative arts. Mary is also the producer of the University’s Medical Orchestra, formed in 2011. Mary is also a well-known professional singer, with albums including the critically acclaimed The Holland Handkerchief, Petticoat Loose and From Mountain to Mountain. She is also known for her outstanding contribution to traditional Irish music and has produced many significant national cultural events, including the TG4 National Traditional Music Awards, a twelve-part music series for TG4 founded and produced by the award winning theatre company, Skehana Productions. The IUSA Awards are bestowed upon alumni of US Government exchange programs who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen profession; who are committed to promoting the special relationship between Ireland and the US; and who have made an outstanding contribution to philanthropy to their communities or to greater society. The IUSA Annual Conference and Alumni Awards 2019 theme, ‘Looking Forward: US – Irish Relations, New Europe and New Challenges’ looked forward with hope and confidence to the challenges and opportunities ahead for Ireland along with prominent speakers setting out their view on the current state of the world and our potential future.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The 2019 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture, entitled Climate Change and the Financial System, will be delivered by Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 5 February at 5.30pm in the Human Biology Building, NUI Galway. Central Bank Governor Philip Lane will address the implications of climate change for the Irish financial system. All sectors will be affected by climate change, whether through exposure to weather-related shocks or the economy-wide transition to low-carbon means of production and consumption. These structural changes will require considerable investment by households, enterprises and Government to retrofit buildings and switch to low-carbon production techniques and transportation methods. The funding of this investment is just one of the challenges facing the financial system. In addition, it must cope with carbon-related market risks and credit risks, a reduction in the insurability of climate-vulnerable regions and activities and the tail risks of macroeconomic and financial instability. Given the scope and severity of these risks, addressing climate change is now high on the policy agendas of the central banking and regulatory communities. Accordingly, this lecture will outline the climate-related work agenda facing the Central Bank of Ireland.  Welcoming the 2019 De Brún lecture, NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I’m delighted to welcome Philip Lane to campus for this important public lecture. Now recognised as one of the most pressing and urgent issues of our time, climate change is central to public policy across the globe. Addressing climate change through financial systems is one of the most powerful ways to effect policy reform and I look forward to learning more about the interventions required by this social imperative. I’m delighted that the theme of this year’s De Brún lecture reflects work undertaken here at NUI Galway, at the Whitaker Institute and in other research groups dealing with environmental and social change. Monsignor Pádraic de Brún, whose legacy we honour with this lecture, was one my predecessors as Uachtarán and a multi-disciplinary scholar – mathematician, linguist, poet. In that spirit, climate change will require multi-disciplinary inquiry and intervention from all disciples - science, social sciences, engineering and the arts - in order to address what is surely one of the most fundamental issues of our age.”  Philip R. Lane is the 11th Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council and chair of the European Systemic Risk Board’s (ESRB) Advisory Technical Committee. His research interests include financial globalisation, macroeconomics of exchange rates and capital flows, macroeconomic policy design and European monetary integration. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual and many other journals.   He was the inaugural recipient of the German Bernacer Award in Monetary Economics for outstanding contributions to European monetary economics, and the co-recipient of the Bhagwati Prize from the Journal of International Economics. He has also acted as an academic consultant for the European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, Asian Development Bank and a number of national central banks. This biennial public lecture is held in honour of Monsignor Pádraic de Brún who served as University President from 1945 until 1959. The memorial lecture, given by internationally renowned artists, experts and academics, have been running since the 1960s – among the most recognised of De Brún speakers was Professor Stephen Hawking who in 1994 gave a public lecture on “Life in the Universe”.  The lecture is open to the public and will be followed by a reception with refreshments. -Ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora de Brún 2019 le súil a chaitheamh ar Athrú Aeráide agus an Córas Airgeadais Is é Philip Lane, Gobharnóir Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, a thabharfaidh Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún 2019, dar teideal Climate Change and the Financial System. Reáchtálfar an léacht Dé Máirt, an 5 Feabhra ag 5.30pm in Áras na Bitheolaíochta Daonna, OÉ Gaillimh. Tabharfaidh Gobharnóir an Bhainc Ceannais aghaidh ar na himpleachtaí atá ag athrú aeráide do chóras airgeadais na hÉireann. Níl earnáil ar bith ann nach mbeidh tionchar ag athrú aeráide uirthi, bíodh sin trí nochtadh d'eachtraí suaite atá bainteach leis an aimsir nó tríd an aistriú atá ag tarlú ar fud an gheilleagair go dtí modhanna táirgthe agus tomhaltais ísealcharbóin. I bhfianaise na n-athruithe struchtúracha seo, beidh ar theaghlaigh, ar ghnólachtaí agus ar an Rialtas infheistíocht shuntasach a dhéanamh chun foirgnimh a athfheistiú agus chun aistriú go dtí teicnící táirgthe agus modhanna iompair ísealcharbóin. Níl i maoiniú na hinfheistíochta seo ach ceann amháin de na dúshláin atá roimh an gcóras airgeadais. Anuas air sin, ní mór dó déileáil le rioscaí margaidh agus le rioscaí creidmheasa a bhaineann le carbón, le deacrachtaí árachas a fháil i gcás réigiún nó gníomhaíochtaí atá leochaileach don athrú aeráide agus leis na rioscaí eirre a bhaineann le míshocracht mhaicreacnamaíoch agus airgeadais. I bhfianaise scóip agus dhéine na rioscaí sin, tá aird na bpobal baincéireachta ceannais agus rialála dírithe anois ar an gcaoi le dul i ngleic le hathrú aeráide agus iad i mbun ceapadh polasaithe. Déanfar cur síos sa léacht seo, dá réir sin, ar an gclár oibre atá roimh an mBanc Ceannais féachaint le haghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide.  Ag é ag cur fáilte roimh léacht de Brún 2019, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh Philip Lane go dtí an campas ar ócáid na léachta poiblí tábhachtaí seo. Aithnítear go forleathan anois go bhfuil an t-athrú aeráide ar cheann de na fadhbanna is práinní atá roimh lucht déanta polasaí ar fud an domhain. Ceann de na modhanna is cumhachtaí chun athchóiriú polasaí a bhaint amach is ea aghaidh a thabhairt ar athrú aeráide trí chórais airgeadais agus tá mé ag súil tuilleadh a fhoghlaim faoi na hidirghabhálacha atá de dhíth chun tabhairt faoin gceanglas sóisialta seo. Tá an-áthas orm go dtarraingíonn léacht de Brún na bliana seo aird ar an obair atá idir lámha anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, in Institiúid Whitaker agus i ngrúpaí taighde eile atá ag plé le hathrú comhshaoil agus sóisialta. Duine de na hUachtaráin a chuaigh romham ba ea an Moinsíneoir Pádraig de Brún a bhfuil a oidhreacht á hurramú againn leis an léacht seo, fear a bhí ina ileolaí – matamaiticeoir, teangeolaí, file. Sa chomhthéacs sin, beidh fiosrúchán agus idirghabháil ildisciplíneach ag teastáil – ó dhisciplíní na heolaíochta, na n-eolaíochtaí sóisialta, na hinnealtóireachta agus na ndán – chun dul i ngleic le ceann de na saincheisteanna is bunúsaí dár ré.” Is é Philip R. Lane an 11ú Gobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus é ina chomhalta de Chomhairle Rialúcháin Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa (ECB) agus ina chathaoirleach ar Choiste Teicniúil Comhairleach an Bhoird Eorpaigh um Riosca Sistéamach (ESRB). I measc na réimsí taighde atá aige, áirítear domhandú airgeadais, maicreacnamaíocht rátaí malairte agus sreabha caipitil, dearadh polasaithe maicreacnamaíocha agus comhtháthú airgeadaíochta na hEorpa. Tá ailt leis foilsithe san American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual agus go leor irisí eile. Ba é an chéad duine é ar bronnadh Gradam German Bernacer in Eacnamaíocht Airgeadaíochta air as a chion éachtach i réimse eacnamaíoch airgeadaíochta na hEorpa, agus bhí sé ar dhuine d'fhaighteoirí Dhuais Bhagwati ón Journal of International Economics. Tá tréimhsí caite aige chomh maith mar chomhairleoir acadúil do Bhanc Ceannais na hEorpa, an Coimisiún Eorpach, an Ciste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta, an Banc Domhanda, an Eagraíocht um Chomhar agus Fhorbairt Eacnamaíochta (OECD), Banc Forbartha na hÁise mar aon le roinnt banc ceannais náisiúnta eile. Tionóltar an léacht phoiblí dhébhliantúil in onóir an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún a bhí ina Uachtarán ar an Ollscoil ó 1945 go 1959. Ealaíontóirí, saineolaithe agus acadóirí a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta orthu a thugann an léacht cuimhneacháin seo atá á reáchtáil ó na 1960í. Duine de chainteoirí de Brún ab aitheanta dá raibh ann ba ea an tOllamh Stephen Hawking a thug léacht phoiblí in 1994 dar teideal “Life in the Universe”. Tá cead isteach ag an bpobal ag an léacht agus beidh fáiltiú ina dhiaidh, áit a gcuirfear sólaistí ar fáil. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a public event with members from the Tuam Home Survivors Network exploring the topic of ‘Archiving Personal Histories: The Tuam Mother and Baby Home’. The event, co-organised by the University’s Department of History and the James Hardiman Library will take place on Thursday, 7 February in Áras na Mac Léinn. The day will begin with a survivor-led workshop involving members of the Network, and staff and students from the University. The attendees are then invited to attend two panel discussions exploring the issues of collecting and archiving oral histories of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Speakers at the event will include Catherine Corless, Breeda Murphy, Catríona Crowe, Conall Ó Fátharta, Dr Barry Houlihan, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Dr John Cunningham, Professor Caroline McGregor and Dr Caitríona Clear. In the evening, NUI Galway’s President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh will launch ‘The Tuam Oral History Project’ in the foyer of the new Human Biology Building. The project, which is survivor-led, involves the collecting of oral histories from survivors of the Tuam home, as well as people from the local area or those with an interest in contributing to the project. The primary researchers are Dr John Cunningham and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from NUI Galway’s Department of History. The oral histories will be housed in the James Hardiman Library. Elaine Feeney will direct creative projects stemming from the recorded histories, which will be inter-generational, multi-disciplinary and involve survivors and contemporary artists. The creative project will also liaise with local schools and the wider community.  Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History, NUI Galway, said: “We hope that through this event and the wider project, the voices of survivors and members of the community in Tuam will be brought to the fore. We hope that the survivor-led approach and the creative element of the programme can be used in exploring experiences of other institutions. Historical justice is a key part of this, as these stories have relevance not only to Ireland but to a variety of countries and contexts.” Dr Barry Houlihan of the Hardiman Library states: “This seminar will discuss the role of oral history and survivor-led testimony as well as its importance for those seeking to make their stories and experiences heard. Archives and oral history provide spaces for reflection for present and future communities as well looking on the past. These testimonies will provide an important resource for access to private and public histories and experiences for future generations.” Following the launch, there will be songs from Padraig Stevens and poetry from Elaine Feeney. At 6.15pm, there will be a screening of Mia Malarkey’s documentary, ‘Mother and Baby’, followed by panel discussion involving Mia, survivor Peter Mulryan, Breeda Murphy from the Tuam Home Survivors Network and campaigner Eunan Duffy. To register for the event please visit https://bit.ly/2Rl7goJ. For more information or to contribute your story to the project please email tuamoralhistoryproject@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Details have been announced of NUI Galway’s 20th annual Gala Banquet, which will take place on campus. The 2019 Gala Banquet will include the Alumni Awards ceremony and will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Saturday, 13 April at 7pm. The highlight of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of the annual Alumni Awards. These awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s graduates worldwide. The awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of  outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Ireland’s first female Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Irish Olympians, Olive Loughnane and Paul Hession; Irish Rugby international Ciarán Fitzgerald; RTÉ broadcaster, Seán O’Rourke; and actress, Marie Mullen. The seven alumni award categories on the night will include:  Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Alumni Award for Business and Commerce Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport  Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Tickets can be reserved by contacting Louise Monahan, Alumni Relations at +353 91 494310 louise.monahan@nuigalway.ie to reserve your place. Tickets are €150 per person or a table of 10 for €1400. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NUI Galway and Galway 2020 are offering an exciting opportunity to get involved with the Galway 2020 digital programme through the ground-breaking initiative – Future Landscapes. Future Landscapes is an intensive four-week programme created in a collaboration between the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and Galway 2020, as part of the Galway 2020 digital programme. Run by Rachel Uwa of the internationally-renowned ‘School of Machines, Making and Make-believe’ based in Berlin, the programme will focus on enhancing physical and social landscapes through technology and exploring the potentials of Mixed Reality (MR). Taking place in May 2019, the programme is aimed at anyone involved in creative projects (such as architects, designers, makers, artists, musicians, performers), and researchers and students from Arts and Humanities at NUI Galway. Applications for the programme, as well as for a limited number of fee-waiver bursaries, will close on Wednesday, 28 February 2019. A technical background is not required to participate. Mixed Reality is the mix of real and virtual worlds where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. MR comes with various powerful features such as mapping physical surroundings, monitoring gestures, and language processing for voice recognition and more. Mixed reality directs a new way of working by offering ‘real-world, real-life’ experiences. Pokemon Go used these techniques to capture the public interest and brought MR into the mainstream. Creative uses of these technologies might involve augmenting Galway’s landscape to show a historical or literary perspective, or exploring Galway’s various social landscapes in creative ways. While various types of augmented and virtual reality systems have existed for some time, recent advances in mobile technology platforms provide us with more powerful ways of creating and sharing these experiences with a wider audience. In this workshop, participants will consider ways of enhancing both the landscapes that we can see around us, as well as those that are unseen, such as political or economic landscapes. Much experimentation is yet to be done by utilising the other capabilities of handheld devices to stream live data, communicate with others, and incorporate information from built-in sensors, and some of these will be explored throughout the programme.  David Kelly, Digital Humanities Manager at the Moore Institute for Research in Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway, said: “The programme is an exciting collaboration between the arts and humanities research community and the creative and technical communities. This project will help participants to develop skills to allow them to communicate their research in new and exciting ways. Mixed Reality is an emerging area that has lots of potential, which hasn’t been explored to its full extent yet. It’s important when we’re thinking about capacity building as a part of Galway 2020 and that the University’s community has the opportunity to be a part of it.” Marilyn Reddan, Head of Programme at Galway 2020, said: “Galway 2020 is delighted to be announcing this collaboration with the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and School of Machines in Berlin. Our programme is built on an exciting collaboration and partnership. We’re looking forward to this project, which will explore how Mixed Reality with the blend of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality changes the way users create, connect, and collaborate with a new holographic experience.” The project has been co-funded by Galway 2020 and by NUI Galway’s Higher Education Authority (HEA) project on Digital Literacy in Irish Humanities. For further information and application details, visit:  http://mooreinstitute.ie/event/future-landscapes/

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tomás Ó Neachtain, the 2018/19 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, 5 February, in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. Born and raised in Coilleach, An Spidéal, Tomás is part of a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. It is from his father, Tomás, that he heard and learned most of his singing, and indeed his father had learned from his father before him. His son Seosamh, a renowned sean-nós dancer and musician, was appointed as the first Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at the Centre for Irish Studies in 2009. The workshops are free and open to all. 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. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091-492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Ends- Ceardlann amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós, in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh  Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós san Ionad an Léinn Éíreannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 7pm Dé Máirt, 5 Feabhra. Rugadh agus tógadh Tomás i gCoilleach, sa Spidéal. Chaith sé seal i Sasana mar fhear óg, ach is sa Choilleach a thóg sé féin is a bhean chéile Nancy a gclann. Bhí an teach inar tógadh Tomás lán d’amhránaíocht agus thug sé leis go leor amhrán óna athair, Tomás, a shealbhaigh an traidisiún áirithe sin óna athair féin. Dar ndóigh, ceapadh a mhac Seosamh mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach Sean-nóis in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh sa bhliain 2009, an chéad duine riamh ar bronnadh an gradam sin air. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-512428 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 January 2019

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway will be involved in three key industry projects worth almost €5 million (€4.8 million) following the recent announcement of the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. CÚRAM teams, in collaboration with industry partners, will be driving disruptive innovation on the key areas of medtech and connected health. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “This funding of €4.8 million to CÚRAM research labs is a strong recognition of our pivotal role in the development of the next generation of medical devices and implants that target chronic illnesses. This funding is also a reflection of the close collaborative relationship we have with key industry partners with whom we will continue to work closely with on the development of these disruptive technology projects.” Partnered with industry, the AURIGEN project will see €5.9 million being invested in a solution for persistent Atrial fibrillation of the heart. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the US and Europe, significantly affecting the lives of those afflicted, causing symptoms that range from palpitations to fatigue, weakness and activity intolerance, and substantially increasing the risks of stroke, congestive heart failure, dementia and death. The consortium of AuriGen Medical (a BioInnovate Ireland spin out based at NUI Galway), the Translational Medical Device (TMD) Lab at NUI Galway and Tyndall, UCC have unique experience, expertise and proprietary technologies, which place this group in an unprecedented position to deliver a uniquely effective therapy capable of addressing both the stroke and arrhythmia risk associated with Atrial fibrillation.  The second project also sees the TMD-Lab partnering on the SMART CARDIO research project with AtriAN Medical who are also based at NUI Galway. The team will seek to develop and optimise ablation technologies for the minimally invasive treatment of particular cardiac disorders.   Dr Martin O’Halloran, Director of the TMD-Lab at NUI Galway, said: “These exciting research projects with a combined value to the TMD-Lab of almost €2 million are further evidence of NUI Galway establishing itself as a world-leader in ablation medical technology. The funding will bring an additional 10 senior post-doctoral ablation engineers to Galway, and in collaboration with our industry partners, will drive significant employment in the sector. The research will draw on expertise from both Engineering (Dr Adnan Elahi) and Medicine (Dr Atif Shahzad and Dr Leo Quinlan) from NUI Galway to deliver these disruptive technologies.” The third project, ARDENT II will create a new therapy for patients suffering from rhinitis, an inflammatory disease which presents as nasal congestion, rhinorrhoea, sneezing and nasal itching. Congestion and rhinorrhoea are the two most impactful symptoms on a patient’s quality of life, which are usually present lifelong. Affecting tens of millions of patients worldwide, an effective treatment does not exist for moderate or severe suffers, creating a multi-billion-euro opportunity for disruptive technologies. A consortium of Neurent Medical Ltd (a BioInnovate Ireland spin out) and the Biggs lab at CÚRAM will benefit from the €2.8 million in Disruptive Technologies Innovation Funding which will be invested in the development of a new medical device technology, to address this inflammatory nasal condition through an innovative neuromodulation approach. Dr Manus Biggs from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We are excited to work with Neurent Medical on the development of a novel approach to a significant global medical challenge. The commitment of the Irish government to the development of forward thinking disruptive technologies has the potential to place Ireland at the forefront of biomedical engineering research and development.” The Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, setup as part of the Project Ireland 2040 capital investment plan, aims to provide finance to projects that tackle national and global challenges in a way that will create and secure jobs into the future. -Ends-

Monday, 28 January 2019

NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 6 February, from 12-3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase all of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. The Postgraduate Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. There will be a number of talks including Application Practicalities, Employability, Research Funding Opportunities and there will also be a Personal Statement Workshop run by NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, stresses the importance of timing for those considering undertaking postgraduate study: “The current graduate jobs market is buoyant for NUI Galway postgraduates with an employability rate of 94% (in employment, training or further education), making this a good time to pursue a market driven and innovative Masters programme. Whether you wish to upskill, change direction or further your knowledge and expertise in a specialised field, NUI Galway’s 170 taught postgraduate courses at NUI Galway are designed to prepare graduates for the workplace of the future.” NUI Galway are launching a range of new postgraduate programmes for entry in 2019, including MSc Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence), MEd (Education Leadership), LLM International Migration and Refugee Law and Policy, MSc Cheminformatics and Toxicology, and Postgraduate Certificate in Health Promotion (Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes Prevention), amongst others. Information on all new programmes, along with NUI Galway’s other Postgraduate programmes, will be available at Postgraduate Open Day. To view NUI Galway’s new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book a place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or simply call in on the day.

Monday, 28 January 2019

NUI Galway will host a CAO information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Strand Hotel in Limerick on Thursday, 31 January from 7-9pm.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and the undergraduate courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and 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 its innovative programmes developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. NUI Galway is launching three new Arts degrees for enrolment in 2019. This includes a BA (History and Globalisation), BA Government (Politics, Economics and Law) and a BA Education (Computer Science and Mathematical Studies). The University will also launch a new degree in Law and Human Rights for 2019. At the information evening there will be a representative from each of the University’s five colleges available to answer questions about the programmes on offer, entry requirements, and placement and employment opportunities. Representatives from Shannon College of Hotel Management will also attend the event. Members of the Accommodation Office will be on hand to answer any queries about on-campus or off-campus options, including the new Goldcrest on-campus development, which sees 429 new beds this year, bringing the total of on-campus beds to 1193. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “Students choose NUI Galway as they want to study with the best academic and research minds in their field. They want to study in our new state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new Human Biology Building for medicine students and in Ireland’s largest engineering school, the Alice Perry Engineering Building. The location of our campus in the heart of Galway city appeals to students who want to live in a vibrant and creative city and who want to find a new home away from home. We look forward to meeting Leaving Cert students and their parents to explore if NUI Galway is the right fit for their third level studies.” With the CAO deadline for applications approaching on 1st February this is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to find out more about the opportunities at NUI Galway, and how to make the right CAO choice for them. For more information contact Caroline, Duggan School Liaison Officer on caroline.duggan@nuigalway.ie or 087 2391219.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

NUI Galway has been awarded almost €420,000 in funding for developing new technology for faster clinical detection and diagnosis of bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a key cause of mortality in Cystic Fibrosis patients. Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway received his award as part of a government investment of €10.8 million in Irish research funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG), announced by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD. With awards ranging from €376,000 to €425,000 over four years, the projects funded will support 20 researchers and a further 20 PhD students in the research areas of health, energy, environment, materials and technology. Many disease-causing bacteria produce proteins, which are known to interact with sugar molecules. These interactions will allow the design of useful sensors. Dr Byrne’s research will develop novel devices that will indicate the presence of specific bacteria through colour changes, caused by the interactions of their proteins with laboratory-produced sugar-based chemical compounds on the surface of newly-designed materials. This will provide a convenient visual strategy to identify disease-causing bacteria. 3D-printing will be used to create these compact diagnostic devices, which will benefit patient outcomes and quality of life. This new technology could also be deployed in other scenarios such as detecting bacterial contamination of water supplies. Speaking about his funding award, Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway, said: “Rapid diagnosis of bacteria is vital to inform appropriate medical treatment strategies and combat increasing antibiotic resistance globally. By providing a new methodology for rapid diagnosis of bacterial infection, my work will facilitate quicker decision-making on targeted medical treatment strategies for patients. In Ireland this would be particularly valuable for rapid diagnosis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, a significant risk factor for cystic fibrosis patients (as well as others with compromised immune systems). More generally, helping clinicians avoid the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics would help combat the global challenge of increased antibiotic resistance.”    Speaking about the awards, Minister Breen said: “I am delighted to announce these SFI Starting Investigator Awards which allow researchers to advance their work and further develop their careers as the next research leaders in Ireland and internationally. These innovative projects demonstrate the impressive cutting-edge research taking place across Ireland, which has significant potential to positively advance Ireland’s economy and society, and further solidify its reputation as a world-leader in scientific advancements.” Welcoming the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland supports researchers at every stage of their careers. The SIRG awards help early-career researchers develop the essential skills and experience necessary to lead Ireland’s future research in areas such as health, energy, materials and technology. Having passed through a rigorous competitive international merit review process, these projects continue to advance Ireland’s international research. A native of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Dr Joseph Byrne joins the School of Chemistry and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, following a Marie Curie Research Fellowship at Universität Bern, Switzerland. His main research focus is developing new technology for faster clinical diagnosis of bacterial infections by exploiting interactions between biomolecules and the innovative sensor materials, which will be designed during the course of this SIRG project. The research will be multidisciplinary, building on fundamental chemistry and biochemical interactions to develop diagnostic devices using 3D-printing technology.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Galway University Musical Society’s (GUMS) 19th annual show ‘Pippin – The Musical’ will be staged in the Black Box Theatre from Tuesday 5-9 February at 8pm. ‘Pippin’ is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. Cian Elwood, GUMS Auditor, said: “Pippin is an amazing theatrical experience from the moment the audience sits down to the finale. Be prepared to be blown away by the one of the best GUMS' shows to hit the BlackBox stage!” GUMS is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous The Associations of Musical Societies (AIMS) awards, most recently nominated for best choreography in 2017. They have received rave reviews throughout their years in NUI Galway and a number of their previous cast members have gone on to study musical theatre in London. NUI Galway Societies Officer Riona Hughes said: “From September the Musical Society has been rehearsing tirelessly for this year's production of Pippin. We are all very excited to see what they have in store for all to see in the Black Box Theatre.” Tickets are €15 or €12 for concession (students or OAPs). Tickets are on sale now online at www.tht.ie and from the Town Hall Theatre and the Socs Box in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Study Finds Wearable Electronic Device May Reduce Mobility Issues in Parkinson’s Disease Wednesday, 23 January, 2018: Engineers and scientists at NUI Galway in collaboration with clinical professionals from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) have carried out a clinical study which has produced promising results for people with Parkinson’s disease with mobility issues. The research found that ‘fixed’ rhythmic sensory electrical stimulation (sES) designed to prevent Freezing of Gait (movement abnormality), significantly reduced the time taken for a person with Parkinson’s disease to complete a walking task and the number of ‘Freezing of Gait’ episodes which occurred, helping them to walk more effectively. The study involved a group of people with Parkinson’s testing how effective the sES electronic device was in helping them to manage this debilitating motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Healthcare Engineering. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and the research team from the Human Movement Laboratory in CÚRAM at NUI Galway have a programme of research developing a suite of unobtrusive, wearable electronic devices to help manage this debilitating motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. As part of this work, the project team have developed a novel wearable electronic device worn around the waist, called ‘cueStim’, designed to prevent or relieve Freezing of Gait, commonly described by people with Parkinson’s, as a feeling as if their feet are stuck or glued to the floor preventing them from moving forward. The condition gained prominence recently when Billy Connolly spoke of his fear of being unable to move freely on stage in his documentary Made in Scotland. Speaking candidly about the abnormality, the much loved comedian said: “I didn’t know how standing there would feel...I discovered that I got kinda rooted to the spot and became afraid to move. Instead of going away to the front of the stage and prowling along the front the way I used to do I stood where I was.” NUI Galway Co-investigator, Dr. Leo Quinlan, from Physiology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “These results are very encouraging as they show that cueStim reduced Freezing of Gait episodes and the time to complete a walking task in an independent clinical assessment with a pilot home-based study carried out by NHSGGC.” Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, said: “We are now seeking additional clinical partners to work with NUI Galway in carrying out a comprehensive long-term clinical evaluation of cueStim in enhancing the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease through a funded programme of research.” The clinical study was designed by Dr Anne-Louise Cunnington, Consultant Geriatrician and Ms Lois Rosenthal, Movement Disorder Specialist and Highly Specialised Physiotherapist, both from NHSGGC, and involved the participants completing a home based self-identified walking  Ms Lois Rosenthal, NHSGGC, said: “Freezing of gait is one of the most frustrating and difficult symptoms for patients to suffer and specialists to treat. This common feature of Parkinson’s is not improved by Parkinson’s medications, and is inconsistently responsive to cueing techniques trialled by physiotherapists. This collaboration between NUI Galway and NHSGGC explored a novel intervention and results were very encouraging. We now need a larger scale study to further evaluate effectiveness and real-life practicality.” The cueStim system was developed by Dean Sweeney as part of his PhD studies in the Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. The results provide evidence that sensory electrical stimulation cueing delivered in a “fixed” rhythmic manner has the potential to be an effective cueing mechanism for Freezing of Gait prevention. The study was jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Framework 7 programme of the European Commission and was carried out in collaboration with Stobhill Hospital and Glasgow Royal Infirmary within NHSGGC. To read the full study in the Journal of Healthcare Engineering, visit: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jhe/2018/4684925/.