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NUI Galway Participate in Defining Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda On Big Data Value
Friday, 2 May 2014
Insight @ NUI Galway participate in defining intelligent use of data that will revolutionize decision making in businesses, sciences, and society through Big Data Value At the recent European Data Forum in Athens the European Partnership for Big Data Value launched the public consolitation for a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on Big Data Value, which Insight @ NUI Galway participated in defining. The objective of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) is to describe the main research challenges and needs for advancing Big Data Value in Europe in the next five to ten years. The SRIA will be an important channel for providing input to the European Big Data Value Partnership that aims to establish a Public Private Partnership on Big Data Value within Horizon 2020. The intelligent use of data will revolutionize decision making in businesses, sciences, and society in the future. Value creation from Big Data could become the major driver of the European digital economy. Big Data is one of the key assets of the future. Mastering the creation of Value from Big Data will enhance European competitiveness, will result in economic growth and jobs, and will deliver societal benefit. “Strategic investments are needed by industry and governments to enable Europe to take a leading position in the global big data economy”, said Dr. Edward Curry, Insight @ NUI Galway who participated in defining the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). The European Partnership for Big Data Value (EP-BDV) sets out the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) which must be achieved in order to realise this. Curry explains that the draft SRIA was the outcome of many months of analysis with inputs from a pan-European multi-stakeholder group from industry and commerce, including large enterprises and SMEs, research and academic institutions, and users of Big Data in different sectors. Europe needs research and innovation in deep analysis, to improve data understanding, in optimized architectures for analytics of data at rest and in motion, in advanced visualization and user experience, and, underpinning these, in data management engineering. Alongside vital research and innovation in technologies and applications, many infrastructural, economic, social and legal challenges will have to be addressed in an interdisciplinary fashion. Underpinning successful exploitation will be the availability of highly and rightly skilled Big Data Scientists and Big Data Engineers. The EP-BDV proposes a contractual Public Private Partnership (cPPP) to deliver this SRIA within the European research and innovation landscape of Horizon 2020 and national and regional initiatives. For maximum impact, the cPPP must build upon, continue and accelerate these initiatives, federating national and European activities, reinforcing and augmenting a Europe-wide research and innovation effort, with clear strategies for exploitation, skills development, and investment to maximise take-up. The new initiative is a common effort with new stakeholders welcome to provide their views on the SRIA. Survey is open to all and will be accessible until 5 May 2014 and will take around 15 minutes to complete at http://www.bigdatavalue.eu Feedback will be integrated in the final version of the SRIA and presented to the NESSI summit 2014 on 27 May in Brussels. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Adds Law as One of Seven Summer Schools For Second Level Students
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
NUI Galway is offering secondary school students the choice of seven separate summer schools in June, across the disciplines of Business, Nursing, Computing, Engineering, Science and Law. The summer schools are specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of University life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities. The Nursing Summer School will take place on Wednesday, 4 June. This initiative will give students the opportunity to learn more about studying Nursing and the careers available to them upon graduation. Activities at the Summer School will focus on lifesaving skills include CPR, recognising vital signs and hand hygiene. Spaces for this Summer School are limited to 32 students and are on a first-come, first-served basis. NUI Galway’s one week Computing Summer Camp introduces computing in a novel, fun and interactive way. Students will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of digitally-inspired topics including Programming, Games, Modelling and Robotics. The summer camp will also give students a sense of the exciting possibilities in computer science and information technology, and will also provide an insight into the range of topics that form part of the highly successful BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology. The camp takes places from 9-13 June from 9am-4pm and is open to all secondary school students from 13 -17 years of age. In addition there will be a Computer Science and Information Technology Experience day, aimed specifically at transition year students, which will run on Thursday, 12 June. Students interested in the Engineering Summer School have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 19 June, or Friday, 20 June. Taking place in the University’s new Engineering Building, the Summer School offers a unique hands-on practical experience to get a taste of life as an engineer. Activities include a robo-soccer game, go-kart design for future Formula 1 engineers, designing an eco-house, remote control of a wastewater treatment plant and building and testing a pace-maker circuit. There will also be a 'Frankenstein Design’ feature on how bioengineers make new body parts. From Wednesday 25 to Thursday 26 June, the Science Experience Summer Event will offer students two days to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines in world class research facilities and institutes. The workshop will feature all disciplines of the College of Science including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Prospective students will get a taste of life as a scientist with the opportunity to do their own lab experiments and demonstrations, find out more about careers in Science and hear about the latest discoveries and inventions. The closing date for applications for the Science Experience Summer Event is Thursday, 15 May. Students interested in working in the exciting and dynamic world of business won’t want to miss the opportunity to experience the Business Summer School. Open to all secondary school students the Summer School is made up of workshops and lectures bases around the five subject areas taught by the School of Business and Economics; Marketing, Human Resource Management, Accounting, Economics and Business Information Systems. Activities include five 45 minute workshops providing insights into each subject, tours of student facilities at NUI Galway and students will have the opportunity to find out about the financial positioning of their local businesses. Students will get a taste of life as a business student and see how their learning will be applied in the Business World. The Summer School will run on Tuesday 24 June. New for 2014 is a one day Law Summer Camp, organised by the University’s School of Law. A degree in law opens up a broad range of career opportunities in a many different areas. The Camp will be interactive with students learning about criminal law, corporate law and topical legal issues. This will be a fun and productive introduction to law, and why studying law at NUI Galway is your best option. This event will take place on Friday, 6 June, and spaces are limited to 30. Early booking is advised for all Summer Schools. For further information, or for application form, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools/. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Wins 2014 Business Postgraduate Programme of the Year
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
For the second year running NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Best Business Postgraduate Course of the Year Award’ at the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014 which took place in Dublin recently. This year, the prize was awarded for the University’s MSc in Marketing Practice programme. Judges commented on the strong links the MSc in Marketing Practice has with industry, responding to emerging skillsets required by employers particularly in the areas of Digital Marketing Management, Sales, Market Intelligence, and Marketing Communications (from advertising and PR to event management and CRM). According to Programme Director, Ann Walsh, “Over 95% of graduates of the MSc in Marketing Practice secure employment as a direct result of being on the programme, so competition for places on the programme is intense and means we attract the highest calibre students from third level institutions all over the country each year.” Host companies that return repeatedly in search of students from the NUI Galway include; Multinationals such as GSK, Creganna Tactx, Fintrax, KPMG; SMEs: Smyths Toys, Supermacs, Dubarry of Ireland, Irish Pride State Agencies; Bord Bia, ESB International, ESB ecars, Failte Ireland Not-for-profit organisations: Croí, Simon Community, Sophia, Galway Arts Festival Specialist marketing agencies: Strategem, Aró, Maverick, The Marketing Department and many locals SMEs. Graduate of the programme, Michael Walsh, Marketing Director, Dubarry of Ireland said, “Dubarry of Ireland has been taking graduates from the MSc in Marketing Practice programme over the past 30 years. It is a programme with a very strong emphasis on the practical application of the graduate’s knowledge to challenges in their working environment. The back-up support and workshops provided as an integral part of the programme are also very helpful to both company and graduate alike. We are proud to say that there are a number of very successful people out there today both here in Ireland and overseas that have used Dubarry and the MSc Marketing Practice programme as a launch platform for their careers.” Companies interested in a marketing intern from NUI Galway’s MSc in Marketing Practice programme can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Programme Director, Ann Walsh on 091 492575. -Ends
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NUI Galway & Orbsen Therapeutics Lead €6M Research Programme Tackling Complications Arising from Corneal Transplantation
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Three NUI Galway based organisations – The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), the Centre for Cell Manufacturing in Ireland (CCMI) and Orbsen Therapeutics – will collaborate with a number of European groups in developing a stem cell therapy and new diagnostic tests in the area of corneal transplantation. NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Orbsen Therapeutics will lead a €6M EU FP-funded project known by the acronym “VISICORT” (Adverse Immune Responses and their Prevention in Corneal Transplantation), to develop new diagnostic tests and a cell therapy for the prevention of immunological complications in people receiving corneal transplants. Corneal transplantation is the most common transplant carried out worldwide with over 100,000 procedures per year. It is often the only treatment available to restore sight to people who have lost vision due to diseases of the cornea – a layer of clear tissue at the front of the eye which allows light to pass through the pupil and lens to the retina. The EU FP 7-funded collaborative research programme will be jointly coordinated by Immunology researchers Professor Matthew Griffin and Dr Thomas Ritter of NUI Galway’s REMEDI in partnership with Orbsen Therapeutics and 10 other academic and industry-based partners from a total of 5 European countries. President of NUI Galway, Dr James Browne congratulated Professor Griffin and Orbsen on their success commenting, “The VISICORT project is a great example of how NUI Galway’s visionary approach to research and commercial entities housed side by side on campus, can deliver major European Union funding successes like this. The collaboration between NUI Galway, Orbsen Therapeutics and a number of European partners, demonstrates the ‘ecosytem of research’ that is part of a long-term strategy to enable the university to become a world player in the biomedical science area. I would like to congratulate all involved in this project and on this research success” Ciaran Cannon TD Minister of State for Training and Skills at the Department of Education and Skills added his congratulations stating, “This is an excellent win for Galway and for Ireland and it underlines the benefits of combining university research excellence with commercialisation expertise in a single site. I am delighted to see this model in action on campus in NUI Galway. I want to congratulate President Browne, Professor Griffin, Dr Ritter and all at Orbsen Therapeutics on their success and wish them the very best with this project.” Speaking about the successful funding of the project, Professor Matthew Griffin said, “It is extremely exciting to have the opportunity to collaborate in this way with such an outstanding group of researchers and experts from different parts of Europe. Our common goal of further improving the results of corneal transplantation for patients with loss of vision through a better understanding of the immune response can only be achieved by combining the skills and resources of all the partners.” Dr Thomas Ritter added, “In recent years, our Immunology research programme at REMEDI has focused at a basic level on understanding the immune response to transplanted tissues such as the cornea as well as on the immune modulating effects of stromal stem cells. By combining our expertise with that of each of our partners in this project, VISICORT now gives us the chance to directly apply these research areas to people with severe eye disease who can benefit from new tests and cellular therapies.” Laboratory studies for VISICORT will be carried out by Dr Ritter’s and Professor Griffin’s team at the REMEDI laboratories in NUI Galway’s recently-opened Biosciences Building. They will collaborate with leading researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Fios Genomics Ltd in the United Kingdom and at Nantes University in France as well as with Biostór, an Irish company specialising in the transport and storage of biological samples. Clinical studies involving over 700 corneal transplant patients will be carried out by leading experts in eye surgery and tissue banking at the RCSI-affiliated Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, the Charité University in Berlin, Germany, the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and Nantes University Hospital in France. Orbsen Therapeutics CEO Brian Molloy added “Orbsen are delighted to be a part of VISICORT and look forward to seeing our cell therapy product being manufactured here on campus in NUI Galway by the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI). Projects such as this highlight the continuing development of Galway as a global hub for Bioscience research and therapy development. Orbsen is very proud to be playing a significant role in this process.” The VISICORT project is a strong validation of the research funding policy that has been adopted by Government and implemented by bodies such as Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the university sector. The CCMI and REMEDI are both SFI funded centres based on the NUI Galway campus. Orbsen Therapeutics is a privately held company founded and located on campus at NUI Galway. Within VISICORT these elements come together with a research plan lead by REMEDI investigators, a cell therapy product developed by Orbsen and clinical-grade cells to be manufactured for use in patients at CCMI. The €6M EU funding for this project will enable additional high value jobs to be created and ultimately may aid the discovery of a new cell therapy to improve corneal transplant outcomes across the globe. -Ends-
NUI Galway Invites Parents, Young Adults & Children to Join in and Help Make Galway the ‘Youth Coding Capital’ of Europe
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
A showcase ‘Coderdojo’ computer programming youth club will offer a taste of life online for parents, young adults and younger children at one of a number of centres in Galway Parents, teachers, teenagers and children interested in computer programming are invited to attend a Coderdojo event at NUI Galway. Members from Coderdojo, one of lreland’s fastest growing volunteer youth clubs will showcase their own computer games and digital stories on Saturday, May 17 from 12pm to 2pm at NUI Galway’s Insight Centre for Data Analytics (formerly DERI), Dangan Business Park, Galway. The event will coincide with International Scratch Day. Coderdojo is an open source, volunteer-led movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs for young people in a relaxed and social environment. At a dojo (Japanese term for training centre), young people between the ages of 5 and 17 learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs and games. Dojos are setup, managed and taught by volunteers. The first Coderdojo was established in Cork in June 2011 by James Whelton and Bill Liao. Since then it has become an Irish technology export success story active in forty-three countries. Brendan Smith, one of Coderdojo Galway’s co-founders and Insight’s Outreach Officer said, “There is a real appetite amongst our young people to learn how to code. They want to move on from playing computer games to making their own versions. This is shown by the fact that every Saturday, in towns across Galway including Athenry, Clifden, Eyrecourt, Kinvara, Loughrea, Mountbellew and Tuam as well as in NUI Galway, hundreds of enthusiastic children and teenagers create their very own games, digital stories and web applications facilitated by volunteer Coderdojo mentors.” Coding is the new literacy of the 21st century; it is as important for children to learn how to programme as it is how to read and write. It is vital for Ireland to develop a sustainable knowledge economy and society, to create the next generation of products and processes using the creativity of today’s youth. May 17 is International Scratch Day. Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Scratch is the world’s most popular computer language for young people. It has a cross-disciplinary ethos and structure that combines mathematics with elements of arts, engineering and personal development. So we are using this opportunity to encourage our young coders or ‘ninjas’ to showcase their projects to the general public.” East Galway TD Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for Training and Skills at the Department of Education and Skills has taken a very pro-active ‘hands-on’ approach in promoting digital creativity in schools and amongst communities. Government educational reform has ensured that five decades after the tentative introduction of computing into Irish schools, coding will soon become part of the national post-primary curriculum at junior cycle level. This has resulted in the birth of the first generation of Irish children that can code, people who are truly ‘digital creators’ rather than just passive ‘digital users’. Galway is quickly becoming the Youth Coding Capital of Ireland and possibly of Europe. During the inaugural Europe Coding Week last November, not only was Ireland the most active country but Galway city and county hosted the highest concentration of events of any region in Europe. Over the last year, volunteer tutors from NUI Galway, GMIT, Hewlett Packard and Fidelity have worked together to coordinate the delivery of computer programming courses to thousands of pupils and students in over sixty primary and post-primary schools across counties Mayo, Westmeath and Galway. Local young people’s clubs such as ‘091 Labs’ and the Coderdojos are providing informal after-school digital makers’ environments. Insight at NUI Galway is part of a cross Ireland university research centre designed to provide a national ICT research platform based on world-class research programmes that will serve as a global beacon for the science and application of Big Data Analytics. -Ends-
Prestigious Discover Primary Science & Maths Excellence Squad Visit Renmore School
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Scoil Chaitriona Junior School in Renmore today played host to a visit from a member of the prestigious Discover Primary Science & Maths Excellence Squad to celebrate their involvement in the DPSM Awards of Science and Maths Excellence. 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the awards and to celebrate a panel of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) scientists are capturing the imagination of primary school pupils around the country during visits to a number of lucky schools. Sarah Gundy, Project Officer at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials at NUI Galway, today introduced the pupils of Scoil Chaitriona to the concepts of anatomy, physiology, and disease of the heart through a series of hands-on activities. Pupils acted as tissue engineers to fix heart shaped cookies using various decorations. Icing of differing colours was used to represent the types of scaffold materials available, and marshmallows and sprinkles were used to represent components that can be added to enhance scaffolds such as medicine and cells. Speaking at Scoil Chaitriona, Sarah Gundy said, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to visit Scoil Chaitriona today to introduce pupils to our work on tissue engineered scaffolds. It is so encouraging to see children and teachers genuinely engaged with and enjoying science and maths. By sparking children’s interest in these subjects at an early age, they are enthused to engage with science and maths as they grow older which may lead them to explore the possibility of a career in these areas in the future.” Jane McLoughlin, DPSM Coordinator at Scoil Chaitriona Junior School said, “The DPSM programme develops children’s confidence and enthusiasm for science and maths. The concepts are broken down into manageable activities that facilitate learning in an enjoyable manner. Over the last number of years, the Award of Science and Maths Excellence has given us something to work towards as a school and there is a real sense of achievement in meeting the criteria to achieve the award while also engaging in fun practical activities which help the children to gain an understanding of the world around them.” The Awards of Science and Maths Excellence are awarded to schools who present evidence of meeting five criteria which encourage a whole school approach to the Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) programme over the course of the school year. SFI hopes to present awards to over 500 schools this year. Hundreds of schools around the country are already participating in Greenwave, a nationwide project to track the arrival of spring, and in doing so are meeting one of the award criteria. Evidence of the completion of the five criteria is recorded in a log book and submitted to Discover Primary Science & Maths in May. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “We expect to present DPSM Awards of Science and Maths Excellence to over 500 primary schools this year and it is encouraging to see how the DPSM programme has grown since it was first introduced in 2003. Through their involvement in the initiative, primary school pupils are gaining an appreciation of the fundamental importance of science and maths in our everyday lives. The quality of work being done by the schools involved is outstanding and we are delighted to be able to acknowledge some of that work with visits from the Discover Science & Maths Excellence Squad.” For further details and to enter the awards, visit www.primaryscience.ie. For information on Greenwave, log on to www.greenwave.ie -Ends-
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NUI Galway Hosts International Gathering on The Future of Super-Telescopes
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
The workshop coincides with the design of the €1bn European Southern Observatory super-telescope; with a 39m mirror, it is ten times bigger than the world’s largest telescope today NUI Galway will host an international workshop on the development of large astronomical telescopes for the next decade. Such telescopes will enable astronomers to see faint objects such as the first galaxies, formed just after the big bang, and also to see planets similar to Earth, near other stars. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) with a 39m diameter mirror is currently being designed by the European Southern Observatory. Discussions about the role Ireland could play in this ambitious project are taking place with the Government. Professor Andy Shearer of NUI Galway said “This international workshop acknowledges the role astronomers from NUI Galway have played in developing the most advanced astronomical instrumentation. It also recognises the potential Irish industry has for participating in this massive international project. At the moment there is a debate about Ireland's membership of the European Southern Observatory. As members, Irish scientists and Irish industry would be able to take part in, and bid for, some of the most technologically challenging projects in the world." The workshop “Speed and Sensitivity: Expanding Astronomical Horizons with ELTs” http://astro.nuigalway.ie/speedandsensitivity/ will be held in NUI Galway from May 13th to 16th. Astronomers in the Centre for Astronomy NUI Galway are very pleased to have been chosen to host the workshop to discuss what science and what instruments will be needed by the ELT over the next decade. The largest telescope in use today uses a mirror 11 metres across - the bigger the mirror the fainter and further a telescope can ‘see’. Astronomers require bigger telescopes to see fainter objects in the universe. The European Southern Observatory is currently designing a telescope, with a 39m mirror, known as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This billion euro project will become the most powerful astronomical facility in the world. It will enable astronomers to see faint objects such as the first galaxies which formed just after the big bang and planets like the earth around other stars. Speed and Sensitivity is sponsored by the European Union through its Opticon [http://www.astro-opticon.org/] project and through Science Foundation Ireland. An important part of the workshop will be a discussion to involve industry in developing new instruments for the telescopes. Ireland’s photonics industry will be well-place to benefit from this project. -ends-
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NUI Galway’s Adult Learners Information Evening
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Students seeking to develop new skills or considering part-time study options are advised to visit NUI Galway’s Adult Learners Information Evening on Tuesday, 13 May from 5-7.30pm in the Orbsen Building on the University campus. An extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning programmes are on offer suitable for those who require professional development opportunities to up-skill or enhance their career prospects. Students are invited along to meet representatives from over 30 part-time programmes which will be showcased at the event, these include subject areas of: Business and managment, Community Education, Education & Training, Early Childhood Studies, Languages, Information Technology, Pre-University Courses, and Science and Technology programmes. “Having recently rebranded the area of adult education to its new title of Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, the Centre will continue to offer the same commitment and support to adult learners by dedicated team members, but will also provide educational opportunities and programmes which focus on up-skilling and cross-skilling students for today’s competitive and fast-changing market place” explains Centre Director, Nuala McGuinn. NUI Galway’s Adult Learning and Professional Development programmes suit students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs. Courses are offered through classroom-based mode, online learning or through a blend of both, offering flexibility and support to prospective students. Ms McGuinn continued, “While students may choose programmes for their own personal development and enjoyment, the majority of learners are seeking career advancement and new skills to enhance their CV. Programme content which is offered in a flexible manner, meets the professional develoment requirements of learners while enabling them to continue in or seek employment will always be in high demand.” Some of the newer programmes on offer this year include the Diploma in Business Analytics and the Diploma in E-business Analysis. These programmes aim to develop students’ analytical skills and their business/technology skills and also their understanding of information systems within organsations. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Environmental Sustainability and Lean & Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas. Study options are available at Diploma, Degree and individual module level. Diplomas are also available in a selection of high quality language courses for adult learners. Students practice their chosen language through a variety of activities, such as guided speaking practice, listening comprehension activities, grammar and vocabulary exercises. Languages on offer include Gaeilge, French, Italian (via classroom mode and online), Spanish and German. Students can also chose to take individual modules from the suite of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit options and may be useful for learners who do not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for those who require a module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling. Standalone modules are available in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Education and Training, Early Childhood Studies, Community Education and Software Engineering. This year many of our popular programmes such as the fully online MSc in Software Engineering and Database Technologies, Diploma in Software Engineering and the Professional Diploma in Education (Further Education) are on offer again. Additionally, the Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy is available in conjunction with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC), this course is ideal for teachers and educators who wish to add therapeutic play skills to their existing teaching or psychology skills for working with children. A full list of all programmes and application details are available at www.nuigalway.ie/adultlearning. Additional information is available at by contacting the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at email@example.com or 091 495241, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-
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Cell EXPLORERS Go International!
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Cell EXPLORERS represented Ireland as the only Irish science outreach representative group at the National Student Travel Foundation (NSTF) Malta Science Expo, which took place during April in the Maltese capital Valletta. To encourage young peoples’ engagement in science, the Expo invites science communicators from abroad to attend and give workshops to inspire and excite the next generation of scientists. The NSTF Malta Science Expo is a successful science engagement programme that has run for several years. It is composed of a comprehensive set of science based competitions for students as well as a programme of scientific activities delivered by both Maltese and International scientists. This year, Cell EXPLORERS had the opportunity to bring their hands-on molecular biology activities to the Expo. A team of three scientists, led by Programme Director Dr Muriel Grenon, travelled from NUI Galway to bring the ‘Fantastic DNA’ workshop to the primary school children of Malta. During the week, over 400 Maltese children performed banana DNA extractions with the Cell EXPLORERS team. Based in the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway, Cell EXPLORERS is an outreach programme that proposes hands-on and fun practice of cellular and molecular biology to engage young people in biological and biomedical sciences. The programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Engineering Awards, is piloting a model of sustainable public engagement in science unique in Ireland. This model involves both a curriculum-integrated component and a strong base of volunteering undergraduate, postgraduate students, lecturers and researchers. Expo organiser, Karl Agius, was pleased with the performance of Cell EXPLORERS at the event: “Cell EXPLORERS have continued to improve the quality and reach of the NSTF Science Expo through their workshop. Thanks to their enthusiasm and communication skills, they excited and motivated the kids to the wonders and realities of science and imbued in them the wish to know more.” Dr Grenon was also delighted with the positive response of the Maltese children and teachers to the workshop: “It is incredible to see that the hands on science lesson designed by NUI Galway Cell EXPLORERS undergraduate students works as well in Malta than in Ireland. We have met a lot of interest among teachers, students and lecturers, and initiated collaborations which should allow the Cell EXPLORERS model to develop further away than Ireland.” Cell EXPLORERS continues to expand its activities here in Ireland, with the first ever Bio-EXPLORERS science holiday camps taking place this year in conjunction with Eco-EXPLORERS. For more information on Cell EXPLORERS and any upcoming activities visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/bughunters/ or take a look at their facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/Cellexplorers. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Societies Scoop Two Awards at National BICS Ceremony
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
NUI Galway societies were presented with two awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards. Over 360 students and 50 adjudicators from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students involved in society organisation at the highest level. The Awards ceremony took place in the spectacular Titanic Museum in Belfast, with presentations made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. This year, the NUI Galway Astronomy Society won the Best New Society Award for an outstanding year in which they encouraged the campus and general public to explore and look up at the night’s sky. Their galactic variety of events promoted astronomy across campus and awakened a curiosity to what the cosmos is all about. They organised the first Science Fortnight and hosted numerous guest speakers, including Professor Joslyn Bell. NUI Galway's second award of the evening was in the Best Photo category. The award, which best captured the spirit of societies, went to the Rovers Society, an outdoor society, based on the scouting ethos, bringing the spirit of activity, involvement and volunteering to third-level. Since its inauguration in 1999 NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 35 trophies, with the next competitor standing at 24. NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Awards Coordinator, Riona Hughes, said: “The two-day event was a major success. It was all about celebrating, all of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed and had two very long days of deliberation which included interviews with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the societies calendar and afford them an opportunity to network and share ideas and we are already expecting great things next year. The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present augurs well for the future of our country.” For more info on BICS Awards visit www.bics.ie. -ENDS-
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