Friday, 30 August 2013

A delegation of Irish representatives from the industry, policy and research sectors will be leaving for Canada in early September to stimulate further use of our marine biological resources through marine biotechnology driven R&D initiatives. The initiative is overseen by the Office of the Vice-President for Research of NUI Galway and is activated by the Marine Biotechnology Research Coordination Unit, a trans-institutional initiative based in NUI Galway, supported by the Marine Institute.   The delegation gathers the interests of research partners such as NUI Galway, Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre and other research centres that are focused on the goals set out by Ireland’s Marine Knowledge, Research and Innovation Strategy, 2007-2013 (Sea Change) for the National Marine Biotechnology Programme. In particular, NUI Galway is a key component of the Marine Institute Beaufort Award for Marine Biodiscovery Research and have responsibilities in the national Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative (NutraMara), coordinated by Teagasc Ashtown. Both programmes are funded by the Marine Research sub-programme of the current National Development Plan (NDP, 2007-2013) with the aim to mine our marine biological resources to bring novel materials in the health & wellbeing, biomaterials and food sectors.   Among the research performers, and with a strong vocation for services to industry is also the Shannon ABC group, an Enterprise Ireland funded Research Gate infrastructure and a collaboration between Limerick IT and Tralee IT. Industry delegates include the historical business of Arramara Teo, the main supplier of raw seaweed material from the west coast; and Oilean Glas Teoranta (OGT), an Irish company with a core business based on the harvesting and processing macro algae from the Donegal coast, for applications in the horticulture, animal health, cosmetics, human nutrition, biopharma sectors and other value-added markets.   Dr Ilaria Nardello, Marine Biotechnology Research Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: “It’s very novel that such a combination of industry, research and agencies aggregates in a short time to engage in a long distance business-opportunity trip. The participation of representatives from the development agency Údarás na Gaeltachta is particularly significant given the agency’s awareness of the need to add value to our marine biological resources and be integral part of the innovation process.”    The delegation will attend the international business convention ‘Biomarine 2013’ in Halifax. NUI Galway’s Professor Deniz Tasdemir and Dr Ilaria Nardello and Declan Troy of Teagasc, have been invited to participate in the conference’s panel discussions, producing relevant visibility for Ireland in the convention. The panels will debate the emergence and role of marine biotech clusters, in various areas of the world, including Ireland, France and USA, and the relevance of our natural product research outputs to application sectors such as healthcare, biomaterials, nutrition and environment.      The conference will be followed by a dedicated visit to the Technopole Maritime du Quebec (TMQ), at Rimouski. A Memorandum of understanding between NUI Galway and the TMQ will describe their mutual interests and intention to jointly apply for funding for marine biotech R&D initiatives. A call will be issued to small, medium and large size industry to engage in collaborative research programmes under the Eureka and Atlantic Area Cooperation programmes, as well as EU Horizon 2020, to develop collaborative activities in the health & wellbeing sectors, diagnostics, biosensors and novel biomaterials.   Dr Nardello continued: “These events demonstrate that the marine environment’s potential has been fully recognised by the policy, industry and research sectors. The marine biotechnology community appears poised to unite and collaborate around concrete initiatives. In line with the recent 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation', the Atlantic is proving to be an area of convergence for research and development endeavours around ‘the marine environment’, which can fuel Ireland’s ‘Blue Economy’ and create business and employment opportunities.”   -ENDS-  

Monday, 1 July 2013

The IUA has announced changes to the HPAT-Ireland examination which is used for entry to all undergraduate medical courses at Irish Higher Education Institutions. The main focus of these changes is to enhance equity of access and transparency.  Note: Students with Leaving Certificates from previous years can still apply for entry to medicine it is only the HPAT test that has to be sat in the year of entry. The changes are as follows: Change 1: Revised Weighting of HPAT- Ireland Test Sections. Effective from 2014 The revised weighting scheme as outlined in Table 1 below will be implemented for the 2014 HPAT-Ireland test.  The change in weighting of the 3 sections aims to reduce the potential benefits of repeating the examination, as an evaluation of HPAT-Ireland has shown that Non-Verbal Reasoning scores can be improved through repeating the exam. HPAT-Ireland Test Section Old Weighting New  Weighting 2014 1. Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving 1 (33.3%) 2 (40%) 2. Interpersonal Understanding 1 (33.3%) 2 (40%) 3. Non-Verbal Reasoning 1 (33.3%) 1 (20%) Table 1: revised weighting for each of the three sections of the HPAT–Ireland test Change 2: HPAT-Ireland Examination Results Valid for One Year Only. Effective from 2013 The results of HPAT-Ireland examinations sat in 2013 and subsequent years will only be valid for a single year for admission to undergraduate medical courses. This means that it will not be possible to present results achieved in the 2013 sitting of the HPAT-Ireland test for admission to undergraduate medical courses in 2014. Applicants who sat the HPAT-Ireland exam in 2012 will still be able to present their 2012 HPAT-Ireland result when applying for admission to undergraduate medicine in 2013. Change 3: HPAT-Ireland Practice Material Being Made Available to All Applicants. Already effective. Students who registered for the HPAT-Ireland 2013 test received, as part of their registration, a copy of the HPAT-Ireland Practice Test booklet, which contains worked answers to assist them with their test preparation.  This change will continue to apply in subsequent years. The changes apply to: National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) University College Cork (UCC) University College Dublin (UCD) These changes are based on a number of recommendations made in July 2012 by a National Research Group which evaluated Revised Entry Mechanisms to Medicine.  The full report of the National Research Group is available on http://www.iua.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HPAT-report-July2012.pdf Ends

Monday, 1 July 2013

Galway Arts Festival has announced details of its partnership with NUI Galway for this year’s Festival, which runs from the 15-28 July. One key element of the partnership is to offer participants the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED professional development programme for emerging artists and producers. Eight candidates will be chosen to be part of SELECTED, and given access to all areas to the festival for an intensive two-week submersion ‘behind the scenes’. Participants are drawn from NUI Galway’s theatre and drama postgraduate courses who will join four other emerging Irish theatre makers, producers and visual artists. The SELECTED programme offers participants the opportunity to experience how Galway Arts Festival is produced, attend key elements of the festival programme, participate in talks and discussions, and in lectures and seminars facilitated by Irish and international arts professionals.  NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, which began at the University this year, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, coordinates the SELECTED programme with Galway Arts Festival. Speaking about the SELECTED Programme, Professor Lonergan said: “This unique ‘behind the scenes’ programme gives candidates an unparalleled experience. Last year’s participants in the SELECTED programme benefited hugely from being at the heart of such a dynamic, international, arts festival.” Galway Arts Festival Chief Executive, John Crumlish, commented: “This programme provides a very exciting opportunity for ourselves and our partner NUI Galway. The ultimate aim is to see course participants develop careers in culture and contribute significantly in that field in the future. Hopefully even returning someday to Galway Arts Festival and becoming a festival highlight.” Festival Artistic Director Paul Fahy added: “We have a hugely exciting programme in place for SELECTED 2013 and participants will enjoy a wealth of knowledge from international producers, directors and programmers in addition to enjoying all aspects of this year’s Festival.”   -ends-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Croí recently announced the launch of five bursaries for students of NUI Galway’s new MSc in Preventive Cardiology, which commences this September. The bursaries, in the amount of €1,000 each, are sponsored by MSD Ireland. “We believe that for Irish healthcare professionals to have access to a Masters in Preventive Cardiology will ultimately be of enormous benefit to Irish patients” said Mairead McCaul of MSD at the announcement of their sponsorship of the bursary fund for the programme. “We are very pleased to be involved in this partnership and to further enhance our commitment to Croí and NUI Galway. We are delighted to announce that successful applicants to the Masters programme can apply through Croí for the MSD Preventive Cardiology Bursary.” NUI Galway will become the first university in Ireland to provide postgraduate training at Masters level in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in a unique community partnership with Croí and the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation, in a collaborative partnership with industry partners Kerry Group, MSD Ireland and HSE West. This innovative postgraduate course is only one of two of its kind in the world and the collaboration with Croí makes it unique. The founder course at Imperial College London is fully supportive of the NUI Galway programme. Assistant Course Director of the Galway programme, Jenni Jones, recently joined Croí from Imperial College London, where she was Programme Leader for their Masters in Preventive Cardiology course. All students who accept a place on this new MSc course are eligible to apply for a bursary. Further details on the bursaries are available directly from Croí, by contacting Neil Johnson at neil@croi.ie or 091 544310. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

NUI Galway recently held their fourth annual Computing Summer Camp. Due to the high demand for places, this year the Computing Summer Camp ran over a two-week period with 100 students participating. Students ranged in age from 13 to 17, and came from secondary schools across Galway City and County, as well as from Dublin, Clare, Mayo, Roscommon, Westmeath and Sligo. Throughout the camp students participated in a number of activities including writing computer games in Scratch, creating web apps with HTML5 and JavaScript, building and programming autonomous robots, and making 3D computer models. On each Friday, a competition was held where students work on solo or group projects using their favourite technologies from the week, and prizes were awarded for the best ones. Organised by the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway, this year a Computer Science and Information Technology Experience Day was organised for the first time organised by Drs Enda Howley and Conor Hayes. The aim was to provide senior-cycle students with a taste of university life, and featured lectures, demonstrations of research projects and hands-on software development activities. Dr Michael Madden, Head of the Information Technology Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “With our Summer Camp and Experience Day, as well as introducing second-level students to exciting technologies, we wanted to help dispel some incorrect stereotypes about degrees and careers in computer science and information technology, such as that they are male-only, solitary, and desk-bound. To that end, we particularly welcomed female participants, we arranged group projects, and we encouraged outdoor activities during break times.” The huge interest in this year’s Computing Summer Camp is mirrored by the increasing number of applications for computing degree programmes such as the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway, as well as the rapid growth of CoderDojo nationally and internationally. For more information contact Dr Michael Madden, Head of Information Technology Discipline, NUI Galway at 091 493797 or 086 7952802. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A team of 14 scientists, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, recently returned to Galway following a three-week deep sea research survey aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer. Building on the success of two previous research surveys, the Biodiscovery and Ecosystem Function of Canyons Survey investigated a wide diversity of habitats and underwater communities in the Whittard Canyon system on the Irish Atlantic margin.  Whittard Canyon is one of many subsea canyons that incise the eastern margin of the North Atlantic.  From its head on the continental shelf, to its mouth out on the abyssal plain, the depth of Whittard Canyon is more than twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Speaking about the success of the survey, chief scientist Dr Louise Allcock of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway said: “The survey is part of an ongoing effort to understand Ireland’s deep-sea biodiversity working in parallel with a national biodiscovery programme.” Outlining the work of the scientists, Dr Allcock explained: “In addition to collecting samples of various marine organisms, the research team investigated the impact of food quality and distribution upon life in these canyons. There was a notable difference between the delivery of food particles in the different arms of the canyon that were explored, mirrored by the types of communities found.” Dr Allcock also noted the interdisciplinary nature of the research team, which included PhD students from NUI Galway, Queens University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Cork. Two undergraduate Marine Science students from NUI Galway, Feilim O’Toole and Sorcha Cronin O’Reilly, were selected to participate in the survey earlier this year. The 3rd year students collected data for their final year projects. The research team used the Marine Institute’s Deepwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Holland 1, to collect to specimens of coral, sponges, sediment samples and other marine organisms. Spectacular footage captured by the ROV’s high definition camera included a rare giant hydroid over half a metre in diameter, clams and oysters that are over 200 years old and a deep-water rough shark (Oxynotus paradoxus). Aodhan FitzGerald, Research Vessel Program Coordinator at the Marine Institute congratulated the team’s effective use of the ROV, which logged almost 150 user hours in water depths ranging from 400 to 2500 metres. He said: “This has been a highly successful survey for the Holland 1, or Holly as the scientists on-board refer to it. The ROV sampled a vast array of specimens in a variety of terrain including sheer cliff faces at amazing depths in dives that lasted up to 14 hours.” “This survey has proven the capability of the Holland 1 as a deep-water scientific ROV”, he added. Many of the specimens collected by the research team, including a rare five kilogram sponge, will be used in biodiscovery research. Marine organisms, including the bacteria in sediment, often produce complex chemicals, some of which are likely new to science.  Biochemists and chemists will extract these chemicals and test them for antibacterial and other pharmaceutical properties with the ultimate aim of synthesising useful new chemicals in the laboratory. Dr Kostas Kiriakoulakis of Liverpool John Moores University, along with Dr Martin White, an earth and ocean scientist at NUI Galway and his PhD student Annette Wilson, conducted an extensive series of water measurements during the cruise as part of their research on the relationship between the ecosystems of the canyons and marine particles. These particles, often called ‘marine snow’, are key to understanding how the quantity and quality of available food impacts upon the creation of the underwater communities found in these canyons. Marine particles are the result of the decay of phytoplankton blooms; as the bloom sinks to the seafloor, the material provides food and nutrients to underwater communities.   By analysing the water quality and food quality data together with the video from the ROV, the scientists hope to enhance their understanding of how this complex ecosystem functions. This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen’s University Belfast. The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland. The scientists blogged about their experiences and discoveries aboard the RV Celtic Explorer throughout the survey on Scientists@Sea, http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.ie/. -ends-

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

: The Galway Fringe Festival takes place from 12 to 30 July and features art, music, readings, comedy, exhibitions, workshops and theatre. A number of the events will take place in the Cube Theatre, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Darren Coppinger, Venue Manager of the Cube Theatre, NUI Galway, said: “When preparing our programme, we wanted to present an exciting line of new, fresh voices. Most of the groups performing are students themselves or have recently graduated from university, and are beginning their own careers in the performing arts. So, it’s a really wonderful mix of styles on offer.” Among the productions scheduled at NUI Galway is One Last Drop which runs from 22-25 July. From the choreographer of last year’s most successful Fringe show Rewind, Claudia O’Sullivan, in collaboration with Kori Kilduff, will premier the Fringe’s only dance piece. Both women have been choreographing in collaboration for children and young adults since 2005 and are graduates of NUI Galway. In One Last Drop, we follow the stories of man and woman as they struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Watch as their stories unfold through dance and music and see how quickly life can fall from happiness and belonging to destruction and numbness. Made to Shiver by NUI Galway student Rory O’ Sullivan runs from 26-29 July. The stories of this work are rooted in the context of last summer with the events that unfolded at the Swedish House Mafia Concert and Katie Taylor’s Olympic exploits. With friendships forged from pain and a family crippled by shame, the characters look back to that cold tickle in their chest that warmed and changed their lives forever. The play was highly successful at the University’s Jerome Hynes One Act Play Series, as part of the NUI Galway Theatre Festival, where it won Best Actor and Best Sound. The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband Theatre byDebbie Isitt is a darkly comic take on contemporary love and marriage. The show was selected from among 40 others to represent Trinity College at this year's Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Awards, where it won Best Director and Best Actor, as well as being nominated for numerous awards, such as Best Production. It runs in Galway from 21-24 July. Theatre company 'Play Dough Productions' will present This is the Day, a new piece of writing by the up and coming playwright Cristin Kehoe, a participant on acclaimed new artist development programme 'Play On' (as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, 2012).  The play offers a snapshot of present day rural Ireland – staging a community where everyone knows everyone and everything is as it’s always been and always will be. This is the Day runs from 15-18 July. La Petite Famille, who are travelling from France for the festival, will perform Tomorrow’s Dawn, a musical about love and friendship. The work explores intergenerational relationships between young people and parents, young people and teachers, and young people between themselves. The music seeks to immerse its audience into the heart of what it means to be young today. This new musical, which is performed in English, runs from 12-16 July. According to Riona Hughes, Society Officer at NUI Galway: “'The University Societies participation in the Galway summer festivals and the theatre programme in the Cube as part of the Galway Fringe are a testament to the talent and creativity of the students involved in societies. It is particularly gratifying for me that this year the summer programme, now in its third year, is being directed and managed by students with a very exciting and diverse selection of productions both featuring our students and guest productions. I hope that the city and its many visitors will come onto campus to enjoy our beautiful grounds and to enjoy the high quality shows and I wish all involved in the Galway Fringe a very successful festival.” The summer programme for the Cube Theatre will be launched on Wednesday, 10 July at 5.30pm in the Cube Theatre. During the launch artists from the Festival will present excerpts from their work. There will also be readings from Galway writers Kernan Andrews, Arts Editor with the Galway Advertiser, and Ruth Quinlan, the recent winner of the Hennessy First Fiction Literary Award 2013, plus a performance by the new NUI Galway Staff Choir.  A selection of music, dance, theatre and readings will also take place at a variety of locations around Galway City. Tickets are from €10-12 and are available from the Fringe Box Office or online at www.galwayfringe.ie, and from the SocsBox, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. See www.festivals.nuigalway.ie for more details. -ENDS-

Thursday, 4 July 2013

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2013/14. The University has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Wednesday the 31st July at 5 pm. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. The scheme is also open to students already studying at NUI Galway. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services.  The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Currently 60 students receive support under the scheme in a broad range of sports. The scheme has assisted dozens of athletes’ progress to the highest levels of their sport in recent years and is aimed at providing them with the tools for success in the long term. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: “The strongest selling point of our Sports Scholarship program is the results that it is producing. We have supported the development of numerous Irish Internationals including some World Champions and medallists over the last number of years as well as the enormous success that so many of our GAA players have enjoyed at Senior and U21 level in recent years.” A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships: “Our focus is on the support of our student athletes in their dual careers. We strive to offer world class supports in one of the Ireland’s leading Universities. Our scholarship students develop skills that will sustain them in their future sporting and professional careers and the long list of successful sporting alumni is testament to that.” For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html  or by calling the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway on 091 495979. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html Ends Iarratais le haghaidh Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh – an Ghairm Dheiridh Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tar éis an ghairm dheiridh a eisiúint i leith iarratais ar an Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt, 2013/14. Tá barr feabhais á baint amach le fada an lá ag an Ollscoil i gcúrsaí spóirt, agus tá ag éirí thar cionn léi le tamall anuas i Rámhaíocht, Iománaíocht, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí; tá gaiscí go leor déanta freisin ag iomaitheoirí aonair.  Glacfar go dtí 5pm, Dé Céadaoin, an 31 Iúil le hiarratais ó mhic léinn reatha agus mic léinn atá le bheith ar an Ollscoil amach anseo. Tá an Clár Scoláireachtaí ann ar mhaithe le mic léinn chláraithe de chuid na hOllscoile ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth freisin iad. Féadfaidh mic léinn atá ag staidéar in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh cheana féin iarratas a dhéanamh chomh maith ar thacaíocht faoin scéim. Le linn na bliana acadúla seo, fuair mic léinn/lúthchleasaithe in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tacaíocht shuntasach airgid agus bhí seirbhísí tacaíochta gairme ar fáil freisin dóibh.  Tá na scoláireachtaí ann ar mhaithe le lúthchleasaithe agus imreoirí óga agus iad ag iarraidh barr feabhais a bhaint amach ina spórt féin. Faoi láthair, tá 60 mac léinn ag fáil tacaíochta faoin scéim agus is iomaí cineál spóirt atá i gceist. Tá na scórtha lúthchleasaithe ann ar éirigh leo, de thoradh na scéime, barr feabhais a bhaint amach ina spórt féin le blianta beaga anuas; is é aidhm na scéime cuidiú leo ionas go mbeidh rath orthu i bhfad na haimsire. Iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt, ní mór dóibh na critéir acadúla a bhaineann le háit a fháil ar chlár léinn in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a chomhlíonadh; ní mór dóibh freisin iarratas a dhéanamh tríd an Lár-Oifig Iontrála ar an ngnáthbhealach. Is é Gary Ryan an tOifigeach Forbartha Spóirt – Éilít, in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh: “Is é an cháil is mó atá ar ár gClár Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na torthaí atá ag teacht as. Is iomaí lúthchleasaí idirnáisiúnta Éireannach atá tagtha in inmhe faoin scéim seo le blianta beaga anuas – seaimpíní domhanda agus buaiteoirí boinn i gcomórtais dhomhanda ina measc. Agus tá ag éirí thar cionn freisin leis na himreoirí CLG atá againn agus gaisce déanta acu sna Sinsir agus Faoi 21 le tamall de bhlianta.” Is iar-lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach de chuid na hÉireann é Gary Ryan a bhain curiarrachtaí nua amach agus é san iomaíocht mar rábálaí. Éireoidh thar cionn amach anseo le scoláireachtaí spóirt Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, dar leis: “Tacaíocht a thabhairt dár lúthchleasaithe ollscoile agus iad ag iarraidh an dá ghairm bheatha a thabhairt leo – sin é is cás linn. Tá an Ollscoil seo ar cheann de na hollscoileanna is fearr in Éirinn, agus teastaíonn uainn tacaíocht den chéad scoth a chur ar fáil dár lúthchleasaithe dá réir. Na mic léinn scoláireachta atá againn, sealbhaíonn siad scileanna a sheasfas dóibh ina saol spóirt agus ina saol gairmiúil amach anseo; níl léiriú is fearr air sin ná an liosta fada alumni a bhfuil gaisce déanta acu i gcúrsaí spóirt.” I gcás na scoláireachtaí seo, roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn ar bhonn fiúntais; ní mór riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile a bheith comhlíonta ag na mic léinn. Le cois na scoláireachtaí féin, tabharfar tacaíocht speisialtóireachta do na mic léinn; áirítear ar an tacaíocht sin fisiteiripe, cóir leighis le haghaidh gortuithe, traenáil corpacmhainne, cóitseáil, agus tacaíocht le gur féidir leo taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt le fáil ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html nó trí ghlaoch a chur ar an Aonad Spóirt agus Áineasa in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh: 091 495979. Ní mór iarratais a chur isteach ar líne: http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html  Críoch

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD today (Thursday, 4 July) announced new funding support of €8 million to the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) which will support 25 top-class computational scientist positions over the next three years. The funding will also allow ICHEC to maintain truly cutting edge high performance computing equipment which will complement Ireland’s ambitions to be a global leader in Big Data/Data Analytics and High-Performance Computing. ICHEC is hosted by NUI Galway, with the 25 staff based in Galway and Dublin. ICHEC provides computational and data analytical support for a range of research activities and services across Ireland’s higher education and industry sectors. For example, ICHEC works with partners such as Met Éireann, Tullow Oil and Paddy Power in areas that require expert computational staff to resolve complex business issues. It is also directly involved in European high performance computing activity through the EU supported PRACE programme. Making the announcement Minister Sherlock said: “As part of the measures contained in the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the Government has committed to making Ireland a leading country in Europe for Big Data, a sector currently growing at 40% per annum worldwide and in which Ireland has significant competitive advantages. We are all aware of the massive volume of data being created through the explosion of social media, increased usage of mobile devices and scientific advances in recent years. It seems that 90% of data that now exists has been created in just the last two years or so. This is phenomenal. Governments and industry globally are now presented with major challenges in the management and usefulness of this data – but this also presents significant commercial opportunities too. We believe that Ireland is in a prime position to lead in the area of Big Data/Data Analytics and High Performance Computing with many large multinationals already located here including Intel, Accenture, Google, Facebook, EMC and Data Direct Networks. However Big Data also needs the computational horsepower and talented personnel to be able to store, analyse and interpret the vast amount of data being generated.” “The ICHEC team of computational scientists and technologists, which is hosted by NUI Galway, goes some significant way to providing Ireland with this much needed “compute horsepower”, and talented personnel, who can make sense of the data. I am delighted to be able to announce this funding to ICHEC via the Higher Education Authority to sustain this much needed resource. As a direct consequence ICHEC should be able to help with the leveraging of new investments and the creation of quality jobs in Ireland,” Minister Sherlock concluded. The funding announced by Minister Sherlock is being provided to NUI Galway by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills through the Higher Education Authority. It includes an investment of €3.7 million awarded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Infrastructure Programme call in 2012. Speaking at today’s announcement held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, the Chairman of the Higher Education Authority, John Hennessy said: “ICHEC provides a vital service to the higher education and research community through the provision of expert computational staff and high end computing technology to support scientific discovery. This funding will reinforce ICHEC as a national facility to provide a cost effective and efficient means of delivering high-performance computing.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host this cutting-edge facility on our campus and welcomes the very significant level of investment announced by Minister Sherlock today. As a university engaged in international research in the field of Big Data, we understand well the role played by ICHEC in ensuring organisations maximise the potential of their data collection and analytics. Big Data will transform so many aspects of our everyday lives from healthcare provision to financial services, and high-performance computing is the engine that will power that transformation.” Professor JC Desplat, ICHEC Director, stated: “The ability to harness novel technologies such as Big Data, Data Analytics and High-Performance Computing will have a dramatic effect on Ireland’s competitiveness. ICHEC is committed to making the high-end expertise of its domain-experts available to industry, the public sector and academia. We anticipate that these partnerships will develop in areas as diverse as biomedical research, materials science, weather forecasting and geophysics.” There was a significant industry presence at today’s event. Martin Curley, Vice President, Director, Intel Labs Europe, Intel Corp said: “To out-compute is to outcompete. Ireland cannot be the world leader in the high performance in computing but Ireland can be a leader in the application of high performance computing - for example accurately predicting where and when the wind will blow while simultaneously aggregating energy demand requirements so Ireland can optimally use the availability of renewable energy.” Joe Mongan, Global Manager, Geophysical Technology Group, Tullow Oil, commented: “Tullow Oil welcomes today’s announcement. It further consolidates and enhances our existing advantage to have near-line access to ICHEC’s state-of-the-art, high-performance computing facilities and its highly competent professional staff.” Pascal Barbolosi, Vice President, EMEA Sales, DataDirect Networks said: “DataDirect Networks (DDN) is delighted to be here today to see continued government investment into ICHEC’s important Big Data and Analytics work in research, education and industry. DDN storage is the backbone of more than two-thirds of the world’s top 100 supercomputers and nearly half of the top 500. This innovative technology is enabling organisations and governments to extract maximum value from their Big Data and Analytics, to accelerate workflows, gain valuable insight, shorten time to discovery and gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, it is important to see continued investment into Big Data and Analytics as this will create business growth and success.” -ends-

Monday, 8 July 2013

NUI Galway recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives from the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and intellectual disability service providers including Ability West, Brothers of Charity Services Galway, Brothers of Charity Services Roscommon and Western Care. The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the partner’s strong commitment to the ‘Going to College’ initiative at NUI Galway and their agreement to provide direct funding for the coming academic year.  ‘Going to College’ is a pioneering higher education initiative, supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities at NUI Galway. Students are registered full-time students and are fully included in all class activities. Students also have opportunities to undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future.   Aiming to support each student to develop the vision, knowledge and transferrable skills to live a more independent, inclusive life after university, the ‘Going to College’ initiative is underpinned by a rights base and recognises the strengths and potential of each student to achieve in a mainstream higher education environment. Consistent with UNESCO’s principles for inclusion in education and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it promotes citizenship, inclusion and participation, with a focus on the will and preferences of each individual student.  Professor Pat Dolan, Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This is a significant development for NUI Galway and for students with intellectual disabilities and their families. We warmly welcome the strong university/community partnership forged with intellectual disability service providers today. Our aim is to provide each student with opportunities to engage in the full college experience here at NUI Galway, to broaden their social networks and undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future. This partnership with our community partners will provide a very strong foundation in achieving this aim.”   Anne Geraghty, Director of Services with Brothers of Charity Galway, said: “Just like many people of their age, young people with intellectual disability have hopes and dreams about going to college, learning new things, making new friends and becoming part of the whole college experience. The ‘Going to College’ project supports this to happen, and the Brothers of Charity Services Galway is delighted to partner with NUI Galway.”  Breda Crehan-Roche, Chief Executive with Ability West, said: “We are delighted to support the ‘Going to College’ project.  This project is unique in that it is fully integrated in the college as students with intellectual disability are recognised as students and they are supported and encouraged to take part in all mainstream college activities.” For further information on the Going to College initiative contact Breda Casey, Going to College Co-ordinator, NUI Galway, at breda.casey@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 8 July 2013

This summer, a group of student teachers at NUI Galway will hold a four-day maths summer camp for sixth class primary pupils. Those attending MATH (Making Awesome Things Happen) will have the opportunity to learn maths and social skills in preparation for the transition to second-level. Running from 19-22 August, students will experience a range of maths activities, such as pop math, introduction to triangles, the fun circle and more. In previous years, those attending found the camp to be a great help in their transition to second-level, both through learning about maths and meeting new friends. Dr Máire Ní Ríordáin, Lecturer on the BA in Mathematics and Education programme at NUI Galway, said: “This Maths Summer Camp provides meaningful, stimulating, challenging, and engaging activities for primary pupils. It gives an opportunity for all pupils, irrespective of their ability, to participate successfully in maths activities, gaining a sense of pride in their learning and improving attitudes towards maths. The success of this is due to our enthusiastic student teachers and their commitment to providing positive experiences of maths for their pupils.” The programme is open to any student who will be commencing their first year in secondary school in September 2013. The fee for the four-day camp is €30 and materials such as calculators, pens and stationery will be provided. Early registration is advisable as places are limited. Further details on the camp including registration details may be found at www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=230  or by contacting Meighan on 0876242071. -ENDS-

Monday, 8 July 2013

First University in Ireland to Achieve Practitioner Award NUI Galway’s School of Physics’ work in promoting equal opportunities in science has been rewarded by the Institute of Physics. The School has been made a Practitioner under the Institute’s Juno Project, the first university in Ireland to achieve this status.  The Juno Project, established by the Institute of Physics in 2007, aspires to redress the long-standing issue of the under-representation of women at the highest levels of physics academia in the UK and Ireland. The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate that action has been taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men. While women make up 20% of physics undergraduates across Ireland and the UK, this number drops to 7% further along academia at the level of university professor, suggesting female physicists are less likely than their male counterparts to progress into the most senior positions in physics. The Juno principles improve working culture for all departmental staff, creating, for example, flexible working arrangements, provision for childcare and a more transparent organisational structure. The potential for improvement has driven high levels of engagement amongst Irish and UK physics departments.  Dr Miriam Byrne, Co-ordinator of the Juno project in NUI Galway, said: “Whilst this is a significant achievement within NUI Galway, the first university in Ireland to attain this status, it must also be acknowledged that both nationally and internationally, women at every level in physical science are under-represented. We have a reasonable proportion of women in our undergraduate cohort but at postgraduate and senior academic staff level there are far fewer women. This is a concern if female undergraduates do not see role models to encourage them to take up careers in science.” Professor Andy Shearer, Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: “The School of Physics is committed to increasing the number of women taking Physics courses and our participation in the Juno project is part of this. We hope that in future years this will increase the number of female graduates coming out NUI Galway with a Physics degree.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Last year, NUI Galway released an Android weather app to keep Galwegians up-to-date on local weather and weather trends. Due to popular demand, the University has now released an iPhone version. The app development was carried out by Ronan Everiss, an NUI Galway Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate under the supervision of Dr Hugh Melvin. The weather data is provided by the Informatics Research Unit for Sustainable Engineering (IRUSE) research group at NUI Galway led by Dr Marcus Keane, Lecturer in Energy Systems Engineering at the University. Dr Hugh Melvin, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Local weather data is used on campus across a range of research projects, from renewable energy to plant growth to climate change but we feel it is also important to provide such data to the general public, and after all, 'The Weather' provides the greatest source of conversation in Ireland. When we launched the android app last year, we were delighted with the positive feedback and level of interest, and recognised the need to create a similar app for iPhone users.” The app is free and can be found by searching ‘NUIG Weather’ in the Apple app store. The app provides live weather data (such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and atmospheric pressure) as well as graphs of archived data so that you can review trends in weather over last day or month. The weather data is also available via web browser from http://weather.nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Teenagers of women with breast cancer are invited to participate in a new study at NUI Galway which seeks to understand and help adolescent adjustment to maternal illness.  The importance of family support for a person with cancer is now well accepted but also there is increasing recognition that when someone in the family gets cancer other members also need help. The study at NUI Galway is focusing in particular on the impact of maternal breast cancer on sons and daughters aged 14-19 years. The study, AMBC - Adolescent Adjustment to Maternal Breast Cancer, is being carried out under the direction of Dr AnnMarie Groarke, School of Psychology and Professor Pat Dolan, Director Child and Family Research Centre, UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement. The research will examine the psychological impact of a mother’s breast cancer on teenage children and the benefits of an online skills based programme designed to help adolescents cope with this situation. Dr Groarke, who has recently published work showing benefits for stress management programmes with Irish women with breast cancer emphasises: “The crucial need for additional information on how a cancer diagnosis affects the entire family. Paying attention to adolescent response to parental illness can help us to identify the kind of support needed and enable the design of programmes targeting their needs.” Professor Dolan, who has considerable research experience in child and family support affirms that: “Many families are affected by breast cancer and their support needs are unspoken. This study is an opportunity for young people to discuss concerns and needs for reassurance for their families and themselves.” The researchers are keen to hear from women who might be interested in their adolescent son or daughter taking part in the programme. Ideally, from mothers who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 12 months and who have an adolescent son or daughter between 14 and 19 years of age. Participation involves completing an online survey exploring adolescent needs and experiences and completing an online programme of approximately eight sessions.  The online programme covers themes such as communication, stress management and social skills /social support. The online intervention allows adolescents participate in their own time and at their own pace. Those interested should contact researcher Leonor Rodriguez at the School of Psychology on 091- 493454 or email l.rodriguez2@nuigalway.ie. Website:http://ambcstudy.wordpress.com/ -ends-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

NUI Galway is offering a number of free places on five part-time courses under the Government’s Springboard initiative, addressing skills needs in the areas of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Medical Device Science, and Lean and Quality Systems. These courses are aimed at unemployed persons who wish to up-skill or re-skill into sectors which are growing within the regional and national economy. The courses are provided in a modular, flexible format and can be taken via distance or blended learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a regular basis. In spite of the recession, the ICT industry has steadily continued to expand in Ireland, with major international hubs now established in Galway and Dublin. There is currently a shortfall in skilled ICT graduates so with these needs in mind NUI Galway is offering three specialist diplomas in e-Business Analysis, Business Analytics, and Software Engineering. Also under the Springboard initiative are specialist diplomas in Medical Device Science and Lean and Quality Systems. Michael Lang, Head of Business Information Systems at NUI Galway, said: “There is strong demand for graduates with skills in areas such as data analytics, business systems analysis, programming, database development, and cloud computing. Our courses have been designed in consultation with industry partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, and SAP to specifically meet their needs.” “The Specialist Diploma in Medical Device Science, and the Specialist Diploma Lean and Quality Systems are designed for those with a diploma or degree in science or engineering who want to change sector, specialise, or move into cross-team roles”, said Dr Brian Ó Donnchadha, Coordinator of the programmes in Science and Technology at NUI Galway. Further information on all courses and eligibility criteria can be obtained at http://www.SpringboardCourses.ie or by contacting the NUI Galway Adult Education Office at 091 492144.  The application deadline is Friday, 26 July, with further applications welcome thereafter if places remain available. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 July 2013

NUI Galway researchers are on the hunt for a tiny, nocturnal mammal, which can spend up to three-quarters of its life asleep. The hazel, or common, dormouse is not native to Ireland but a number of confirmed sightings have been made in County Kildare. A Facebook campaign has been launched by researchers at the University’s Ryan Institute to enlist the public’s help in monitoring sightings of the rodent. “It is not known how the dormouse got to Ireland,” explains Dr Colin Lawton of the Mammal Ecology Group in NUI Galway. “It is very unlikely they have been here for a long time unnoticed. It is much more probable that they were introduced, possibly by accident while hibernating in hay. Introduced animals which spread quickly and cause such difficulties are often described as ‘invasive’. However, it is unlikely that the dormouse will be an invasive species, given the low numbers and difficulties they are experiencing elsewhere in their range in the UK and Europe. However they need to be monitored and assessed so we can observe any influence they have on the environment.” Dormice are woodland animals, who nest in shrubs and hedgerows, particularly those containing hazel (as their name suggests) or brambles. They like to eat fruit, nuts, flowers or insects depending on what is available. As many people know, they like to sleep as well, hibernating for over half the year from October to as late as April or May (hence the sleepy dormouse at the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Often they are seen in the summer feeding at bird tables, particularly those close to suitable woodland. Dormice are about the same size as a mouse, usually weighing less than 20g, although they can be twice that weight just before hibernating. They have large black eyes (they are mostly active at night) and a thick furry tail quite unlike that of a mouse. The Mammal Ecology group in NUI Galway have launched a Dormouse Survey, to collect records of this new animal to Ireland. If you have come across one, particularly if you have a photo or a precise location of the sighting please contact the survey team at dormouseireland@gmail.com, or on 086 0660208 or visit Dormouse Survey Ireland on Facebook. -ends-

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Thirty-seven Fulbright Awardees were officially announced at an event on MS The World, which was sponsored by a U.S. Fulbright alumnus, Dr. Jack Pinkowski and his wife, Mrs. Monica Pinkowski, as part of The Gathering on Friday, 12 July. Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and U.S. governments and provide Irish students, scholars, and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture, and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States. Among the 37 awardees were six winners from the NUI Galway: Sharon Ansboro is a PhD candidate in Regenerative Medicine at the NUI Galway. While on her Fulbright Student Award Sharon will research alternative cell therapy approaches for the treatment of osteoarthritis at the University of Rochester. Maeve Clancy is a secondary school teacher at St. Andrew’s College in Booterstown and a graduate of University College Cork with a postgraduate diploma in Education from NUI Galway. Originally from Oughterard, Maeve will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Dr Louis De Paor is the Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at the NUI Galway. As the Fulbright Irish Language Scholar, Louis will work on a bilingual anthology of twentieth-century Irish poetry at New York University and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Frances Fahy is the Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency Scholar Awardee. She is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway. While at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Frances will research the experiences of academics involved in policy-relevant research in the field of sustainability. Fiona Griffin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway. She will undertake research on osteogenic cell mechanobiology at Georgia Institute of Technology as part of her Fulbright Student Award. Dr Triona McGrath is the Fulbright-Marine Institute Scholar Awardee and a graduate of NUI Galway. Triona will go to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego to research ocean acidification in coastal water environments. This year’s other Fulbright Awardees, from fourteen Irish higher educational institutions, will travel to the four corners of America on their awards, from Rice University in Texas to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to Oregon State University. Speaking at the launch of this year’s Fulbright Awards, Patrick McDermott, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Board, said, “Year after year, the Fulbright Awards attract Ireland’s top researchers, professionals, and graduates. With the breadth and expertise seen in this year’s winners I know that these current and future leaders will gain invaluable experience that they can share upon their return to Ireland.” McDermott continued, “I am especially delighted to see the Fulbright Awardees’ very topical areas of research that they will examine during their year in the U.S. For instance, two Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency awardees will explore innovative ways to encourage sustainability in Ireland. I know that their contributions to the future of Irish environmental policy will be informed by their time in the U.S.” A number of other agencies sponsor Fulbright Awards including CRH plc, Enterprise Ireland, the Marine Institute, and Teagasc. As well as the sponsored awards, the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht and the National Lottery support the Irish Language Awards for scholars and teachers. Speaking about the diverse nature of the awardees, Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said, “The Fulbright Awards continue to reflect the diversity and depth of Irish academia. Although this year’s awardees have a definite science and technology angle, the arts also feature prominently, with awardees going to the School for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn, New York and the California Institute of the Arts. I look forward to seeing, and hearing, the wonderful outputs from each of these 37 awardees at the end of 2014.” Dube continued, “In this Gathering year we are especially delighted with the Fulbrighters’ role as cultural ambassadors while in the U.S. With 37 Irish awardees going to the U.S. and 13 Americans coming to Ireland this autumn, we are thrilled to be a part of the ongoing cultural and educational exchange between the two countries.” The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Wednesday, 28 August.  Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website, www.fulbright.ie, for more information. All applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be due on Wednesday, 13 November.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The power of music to enhance wellbeing is being explored by researchers at NUI Galway. Jenny Groarke, a musician and PhD student at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, is seeking volunteers for her research project on the benefits of music listening. Jenny is seeking participants aged 18-30 years and 60-85 years to join focus group sessions. Volunteers will spend 2-3 hours in small groups discussing the reasons they listen to music, and then vote for what they believe is most beneficial for well-being. Jenny explains: “We hope to understand how we can use listening to music to improve well-being, which will certainly benefit younger and older adults in the future.” These focus group sessions are ongoing at NUI Galway and emerging evidence suggests that people listen to music for a wide range of reasons, but their reasons for listening are primarily emotional. “Music has long been known to give rise to positive feelings, memories and emotions”, explains Jenny. “People of all ages listen to music to cope with the stresses of everyday life, they listen to music to connect with others in social situations, and those who are isolated say they often listen to music to reduce feelings of loneliness.” Through her research, Jenny has already discovered some differences in music listening between younger and older adults. Unsurprisingly, young adults are more likely to listen to music to attract potential love interests and older adults often listen to music to remind them of dear friends and relatives now departed. Jenny adds, “Galway is a city filled with music and musicians, so we anticipated that music would be an important part of people’s lives. Music seems to increase in importance in older age and this is something we didn’t expect. One music-lover, aged 70, went as far as to say that “Jazz has given me a new life, a second chance”. The Galway native was inspired to study the link between music and well-being in older adults by her late grandfather Jimmy Dooley, who sang in the Augustinian choir for more than 65 years and played the drums in the Galway Bay Jazz band in Busker Brownes every Sunday. She has also set up a business, Sing-Bang Music Workshops, which brings music workshops to nursing homes to improve memory ability, happiness, and quality of life in elderly adults through group music making. For more information on volunteering for the research please visit adaptivefunctionsofmusic.wordpress.com, email jenny.groarke@gmail.com or phone 086 0333 033. -ENDS-

Thursday, 18 July 2013

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy welcomes the publication of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 today. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “This is a landmark moment in the process of disability law reform in Ireland. Once enacted Ireland should be able to ratify the UN disability treaty. The Minister is to be congratulated for moving beyond traditional guardianship to enable people take charge of their own lives. In particular, as the changed title of the Bill suggests, it innovates by putting into place supports where needed to assist people make their own decisions and chart their own life choices. In the period ahead we will be making many suggested improvements to make this profound shift a reality in people’s daily lives. The Bill retains a limited form of guardianship. Obviously the Minister and her officials believe this to be compatible with the UN disability treaty.  Time will tell.  But for the moment we laud the major step forward in the provisions dealing with supported decision making and will do our part to come forward with constructive suggestions for refinements and improvements.” He added: “The process for getting to this point deserves particular praise. The Oireachtas Justice Committee held a series of important and indeed historic hearings with civil society and made sure their voice was heard.  Officials from Government Departments responsible for drafting the legislation also listened. And the Minister was a very active listener. This demonstrates the success of concerted efforts from a large range of civil society organisations across disability, mental health, and ageing sectors, who put forward positive ideas for reform in the Essential Principles for Legal Capacity Law.” Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: “Among the areas for improvement in the Bill are the following: First, we welcome the inclusion in the Bill’s General Principles of the requirement that decision-makers must give effect, wherever possible to the ‘will and preferences’ of the person, as it ensures respect for the basic human rights of persons with disabilities.  We will be making suggestions to ensure the primacy of this principle throughout the Act to ensure respect for human rights. Secondly, it is crucial that the Government provides a timeline for the reform of other areas of law affected by legal capacity but currently exempted under this Bill, for example, the Mental Health Act 2001, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993, and the Juries Act 1976, among others. Thirdly, there is a need for some sort of infrastructure to encourage and develop good practice in supported decision-making. In the Bill this role is given to the Office of Public Guardian. The title of the office suggests that a more protective, rather than empowering approach will be take. An Office for Assisted Decision-Making may be more appropriate. Fourthly, some process for active learning must be put in place. The Bill contains a provision for a review of the functioning of the Act within a five-year timeframe. We believe that a more robust review provision is required, given the rate at which new thinking on legal capacity and supported decision-making is advancing. A review of the ‘functioning’ of the Act could be limited in scope, especially if relatively few provisions of the Act have been commenced within that five-year timeframe. This needs improvement.” Charles O’Mahony, Lecturer in Public Law at NUI Galway, said: “Much of the capacity Bill is framed positively and a greater premium is being placed on the respect for the decision-making of persons. The Mental Health Act 2001 is currently undergoing review and it is essential the mental health legislation and new legal capacity legislation interface in a consistent way reflecting Ireland obligations under international human rights law.” Professor Quinn concluded: “This will replace Victorian legislation which the early Irish Free State pledged to remove. We are finally catching up with the ideals of our founders. With improvements this Bill could finally hand back power to the people and position us again in the first rank of nations dedicated to the rights of persons with disabilities.” -ENDS-

Monday, 22 July 2013

Dr Ben Newland, NUI Galway PhD graduate, has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas. Under the guidance of Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, Dr Newland studied biomaterial based gene therapies for Parkinson's disease at the NFB, and was co-supervised by Dr Eilís Dowd and Dr Wenxin Wang. Ben is due to begin his postdoctoral research fellowship in October 2013, and will be primarily supervised by Professors Stephen Dunnett and Anne Rosser at Cardiff University in the UK. He will spend extended periods at the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany and the University of Oxford in the UK. The title of Dr Newland’s study is ‘A combinatorial approach for enhancing cell transplantation for neurological diseases via simple and scalable chemistries’. The research goal of his postdoctoral position is to investigate mechanisms which increase stem cell survival following transplantation to the brain. Rapid and significant stem cell death following transplantation into the brain hampers the progression of stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr Newland’s research will focus on the maintenance, delivery and therapeutic potential of transplanted stem cells in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. This Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is highly multi-disciplinary in nature, combining nanomaterials, soft hydrogels and gene therapy and this fellowship will incorporate expertise from three European Universities. Congratulating Dr Newland on his fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “Since the vast majority of successful applicants of the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships are situated in ‘Oxbridge’ or London, it is great to have a successful applicant from Ireland to be based in Cardiff University. Dr Newland will continue to build on the foundations he has forged at NUI Galway by continuing to collaborate with the University and the group at NFB. We wish him every success in his career and look forward to working with him at NUI Galway in the very near future.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Initial focus on stem cells and arthritic disease, burn care and diabetic foot ulceration The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is supporting a major new national initiative led by NUI Galway and involving research groups in Cork and Dublin. This will enable research into innovative cell-based therapies and will, for the first time, provide access to these new treatments for patients in Ireland. Blood transfusion is a life-saving procedure that has been carried out for many decades.  In fact it represents one the earliest and most successful forms of cell therapy. This revolutionary science of cell therapy now encompasses a range of procedures involving the delivery of healthy cells to injured tissue in order to treat a disease or stimulate repair. The objective of the NUI Galway-led programme is to build a research network to develop sustainable manufacturing technology and to validate the effectiveness of these new therapies, leading to a greater research effort and wider access to these new cell-based therapies in Ireland. The project involves a partnership between the three major cell therapy research centres in Ireland, the the SFI funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, the National Adult Stem Cell Transplant Centre at St. James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin, and the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology at University College Cork. Initially, the programme will focus on three key areas: Regenerative medicine applications in arthritis, burn care and diabetic wounds These applications all arise from a substantial and convincing research effort, mainly carried out in the partners’ laboratories, indicating that stem cells can stimulate an effective and sustained repair response in arthritic joints, can bring about the development of new blood vessels in ischaemic limbs and can stimulate wound healing in, for example, burns and chronic wounds. Stem cell manufacturing and clinical trials A sustainable stem cell manufacturing platform will be developed and a series of pivotal preclinical studies and clinical trials will be carried out. The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, a cell bioprocessing facility built to the highest international standards at REMEDI in NUI Galway, will be the manufacturing site for culture‐expanded cells for clinical use. Clinical studies will be optimised by utilising the integrated efforts of the Health Research Board Clinical Research Facilities. Stem cell transplantation techniques Bone marrow has been used as a source of stem cells for transplantation for many years. Over the last two decades, umbilical cord blood has emerged as an important  stem cell source for those in need of transplantation.  The use of otherwise discarded cord blood stem cells is a very important strategy already used to treat some conditions and has the potential to provide new therapies not available previously. Professor Frank Barry is Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator on the research programme: “The development of these innovative therapeutic platforms in association with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service is a new approach to medical research in Ireland. The scope of the programme is broad and ambitious and brings together world-leading researchers and clinicians in cellular therapy. It has the potential to provide patients in Ireland with new, ground-breaking therapies.” The interest in cell‐based therapy has grown exponentially in the last decade, as the tremendous potential to lead to effective treatments for a variety of major diseases is being realised. Despite many breakthroughs, cell therapy is still largely experimental and the development of a worldwide platform in cell‐based regenerative medicine still faces many challenges. According to Frank Barry “This new research programme will take us several steps closer to that goal.” According to Dr Ian Franklin, Medical and Scientific Director of the IBTS: “IBTS is delighted to support this three site collaboration led by the REMDI centre at NUI Galway. Conventional blood transfusion is still essential to modern health care but the next generation of treatments will require the production of cell based treatments to promote body repair, healing and the regeneration of tissues and organs in the laboratory. Ireland’s universities have the expertise to develop these approaches and IBTS has the experience and ability to provide the quality manufacturing environment to bring these treatments to patients within the health care system.”  -ends-

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. For the fifth time in the past six years Grainne Mhaol/ NUIGBC took the blue riband event of the championships, the Men’s Senior Eight from Queen’s University and UCD respectively. The defending champions dominated the race from start to finish winning by over 4 seconds from their northern rivals. The crew of Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett, Dave Mannion, Niall Kenny, Emmett Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan and James Wall were coxed by Ruadhán Cooke to victory in difficult headwind conditions. Gráinne Mhaol also took the Senior Four title marking Alan Martin’s eight National Senior win. Also from the Senior Eight, Niall Kenny won the Men’s Lightweight Single event. Robert O Callaghan and Richard Bennett went close in the Senior Pair finishing runners up to Galway Rowing club by the narrowest of margins. This victory was further backed up by the win in the Inter Eight by the NUI Galway men’s crew, who took the win from UCD Boat club. As several of the NUI Galway crew are relatively new to the sport it suggests the pipeline of talent in the club will continue for some years. There was also a significant victory for the women’s NUI Galway pair of Lisa Dilleen and Aifric Keogh who won by 11 seconds from St. Michaels in the Senior event. While Dilleen joined a composite crew with Cork to take the Senior Four, Keogh joined Cliona Hurst to take the Inter Double. Hurst was also runner up in the Intermediate Sculls and NUI Galway also took second position in the Women’s Novice Four and the Men’s Inter Four. This incredibly successful weekend precedes one of the most exciting weeks ahead for NUI Galway rowers as five members of the club, Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett (Men’s Coxless Four) Aifric Keogh (Women’s Coxless Four) Sean O Connor and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan, all competing at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. NUI Galway Boat Club coach Dave Mannion is also coach to the Women’s Four at the championships. Gary Ryan, Elite Sport Development Officer at NUI Galway: “It is a huge testament to the rowers and coaches, past and present, that NUI Galway Boat Club and its alumni club Gráinne Mhaol, which were already the strongest combination in Irish rowing, have taken an even greater leap forward in domestic and international rowing with its performances this year. I would like to congratulate all involved as I know how much hard work and professionalism has gone into achieving this success. I would also look forward with great anticipation to the World U23 championships this weekend where four of our students currently on sports scholarship will compete at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. It is a great platform for those athletes and a great credit to the athletes, their coaches and support team who have worked so hard for this opportunity.” Ends

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Last year, the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland collaborated with researchers at NUI Galway on a study of chronic headache pain management using online methods of treatment delivery. The researchers at NUI Galway are extending their online study this year and are currently looking for individuals to participate. During the 2012 study, NUI Galway’s Dr Jonathan Egan, Dr Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor sought to examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme tailored to support chronic headache pain management in adults with various types of chronic headache.  Treatment was delivered via www.headachemanagement.org – a specially designed, self-paced forum for participants’ convenience. Participants had unlimited access to the mindfulness based exercises and information designed to support self-management of headache pain. The exercises were specifically designed to help alleviate headache associated barriers including sleep disturbance, anxiety and headache onset. The programme incorporated guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting meditation and mindful awareness exercises, and cultivated mindful breathing, peaceful mind states and emotion regulation.  “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain” said Angeline Traynor, researcher at NUI Galway. “This type of service was designed to be accessible to all, as an online survey it is not limited to a person’s locality.” The results of the 2012 study showed clinically significant decreases in participant levels of pain severity, anxiety, depression, pain interference in daily functioning, medication intake and the overall impact of chronic headache on daily life were observed in those participants who completed the programme. Angeline continued: “The programme was effective in supporting pain management across chronic headache conditions including migraine and tension type headache. It appears to have successfully encouraged the development of beliefs consistent with a self-management approach even among individuals who were not pre-disposed to such an approach.” The study demonstrated that health benefits for chronic headache sufferers followed from just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice. Those interested in participating in the study can contact Angeline Traynor at a.traynor2@nuigalway.ie or directly access the programme information at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HeadacheManagement2013 or http://www.headachemanagement.org/. -ENDS-

Thursday, 25 July 2013

           INSIGHT@NUIGalway launches national survey on journalists’ use of social media Social media is becoming a vital tool to many contemporary journalists. From Syria to Turkey and Brazil, international news stories are broken by ordinary citizens on social media every day and it’s not just serious news. The latest football transfer rumours or celebrity scandal is now more likely to break on Twitter than by conventional means. The emergence of these new technologies is fundamentally changing the way journalists work and source stories. A 2011 survey* revealed that 97% of UK journalists use social media for their work, similar pan European** and global*** studies have also been completed. In Ireland, however, despite the widespread adoption of social media particularly among journalists, no formal study on Irish media professionals’ use of social media has yet been carried out. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre INSIGHT@NUIGalway have launched the first national survey on how Irish journalists use social media.  This new study aims to measure the prevalence of social media use among professional journalists, and determine the role it plays in the modern Irish newsroom. The researchers are calling on all media professionals working in print, TV, radio and online media to take 10 - 12 minutes out of their busy schedules to fill out the online survey. “The ubiquity of social media is quickly changing the global media landscape, leading us to query Ireland’s contemporary journalistic practices”, said Dr Bahareh Heravi, the project leader and head of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway. “This survey will help to not only delineate these practices, but the data collected has the potential to ultimately result in more informed and accurate reporting,” she added. Dr Heravi stressed the need for all journalists to get involved, from digital natives to those who don't even have a twitter account: "We are aware that there are some journalists who don't use social media or even feel that it shouldn't be used for journalistic purposes. It is very important for the study to capture all journalists' opinions.” The project is being run by the Digital Humanities and Journalism group in INSIGHT@NUIGalway, which leads a number of projects exploring how new technologies are impacting the world of journalism and other digital humanities like archiving. “This survey will help us to determine the needs of the media industry in Ireland and enable us to shape its future. This is the role of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway” said Director of INSIGHT@NUIGalway Professor Stefan Decker. INSIGHT is Irelands National Data Analytics Research Centre, hosted at NUI Galway, UCC, DCU and UCD. The survey can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IrishSocialJournalism and more information on the research group can be found at http://hujo.deri.ie/ ENDS *2011 Social Journalism Study carried out by Cision and Canterbury Christchurch University (UK) http://www.cision.com/uk/files/2012/07/2011-Social-Journalism-Study1.pdf **2011 Social Journalism Study, European Results http://www.cision.com/uk/pr-white-papers/2011-social-journalism-study-european-results/ ***2012 Global Digital Journalism Study by the Oriella PR Network http://www.oriellaprnetwork.com/sites/default/files/research/Oriella%20Digital%20Journalism%20Study%202012%20Final%20US.pdf

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sheol an tAireStáit, Donnchadh Mac FhionnlaoichDioplóma nua sa Phleanáil agus Buanú Teanga in Ionad OÉ Gaillimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall tráthnóna aréir. Tá an Dioplóma á thairiscint ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta. Cúrsa páirtaimseartha thar dhá bhliain atá i gceist leis an dioplóma seo a thabharfaidh deis do rannpháirtithe eolas agus oiliúint fheidhmeach a fháil ar straitéisí buanaithe teanga agus leas-chleachtais na pleanála teanga. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar oibrithe pobail agus teanga sna ceantair phleanála teanga a luaitear in Acht na Gaeltachta. Beidh an cúrsa seo feiliúnach dóibh siúd atá ag obair in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta agus an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge á fheidhmiú acu. D’fháiltigh an tAire Stáit Mac Fhionnlaoich roimh an Dioplóma úr: “Cinntíonn Acht na Gaeltachta go mbeidh tábhacht as cuimse le tograí buanaithe teanga a thabhairt chun cinn go náisiúnta agus i measc phobal na Gaeltachta go mór mór. Cuideoidh an cúrsa seo le cumasú phobal na teanga chomh maith le forbairt feidhmiú na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Úsáid stuama acmhainní atá sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge agus Údarás na Gaeltachta.” Leag Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltachta, Steve Ó Cualáin, béim ar thorthaí foghlama an chúrsa: “Is mian le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta go mbeadh oiliúint fheidhmeach sa Phleanáil Teanga ar fáil ar bhealach atá éifeachtach agus praiticiúil. Beidh an cúrsa seo fóinteach do phobail atá ag iarraidh an chuid is fearr den phleanáil teanga a thabhairt leo agus a chur i bhfeidhm de réir chúinsí a gceantracha féin. Tá áthas orainn tacú leis an Dioplóma nua seo.” Dúirt Dónall Ó Braonáin, Príomhfheidhmeannach Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúrsa é seo a tharraingeoidh ar an léann teanga ach a dhéanfaidh freastal ar riachtanais phobail san am céanna. Beidh scoth na tacaíochta foghlama ag mic léinn an chúrsa seo agus beidh sé feiliúnach dóibh siúd ar spéis leo ceist na pleanála teanga a scrúdú ar bhealach solúbtha agus saoráideach.” De bharr scaipeadh tíreolaíoch na rannpháirtithe, bainfear leas as teicneolaíocht nuálach fhoghlama leis an Dioplóma seo a chur ar fáil. Beidh deis ag mic léinn an chúrsa a gclár ama staidéir féin a leagan amach agus a chur in oiriúint dá gcúinsí féin. Tabharfar an oiliúint chuí ríomhaireachta do rannpháirtithe an chúrsa ag seisiúin speisialta ionduchtaithe agus déanfar an cúrsa a eagrú ar bhealach a laghdóidh ualach taistil na mac léinn idir Méan Fómhair 2013 agus Márta 2014. Clúdóidh an siollabas réimse cuimsitheach ábhar a bhaineann leis an bPleanáil Teanga agus gheobhaidh na rannpháirtithe oiliúint sna bealaí is éifeachtaí le tabhairt faoi thograí buanaithe teanga a leagan amach dá bpobal féin. Sa chéad bhliain den chúrsa, beidh béim ar leith ar an tsochtheangeolaíocht agus ar chultúr agus ar chomhthéacs na Gaeltachta comhaimseartha. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó dhaoine atá ag obair in earnáil na forbartha teanga nó pobail sa Ghaeltacht nó in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta chomh maith le daoine eile a bhfuil spéis acu san ábhar seo. Beidh táille laghdaithe á ghearradh ar an gcúrsa seo ag OÉ Gaillimh mar bheartas taca do phróiseas  na pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht. Tá OÉ Gaillimh buíoch de thacaíocht Údarás na Gaeltachta agus moltar do rannpháirtithe atá ag obair na hearnála pobail agus teanga sa Ghaeltacht clárú ar-líne agus teagmháil a dhéanamh le hoifigí réigiúnacha Údarás na Gaeltachta le deiseanna tacaíochta a fhiosrú. Is féidir iarratas ar-líne a dhéanamh ar an Dioplóma roimh 23 Lúnasa ach suíomh Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge a cheadú: www.oegaillimh.ie/acadamh nó teagmháil a dhéanamh le comhordaitheoir an chúrsa, Éamon Ó Cofaigh ag 091 493802 nó eamon.ocofaigh@oegaillimh.ie. -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Noting the sad passing of Colm Murray, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: On behalf of his many friends at NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife, Ann, his daughters, Kate and Patricia and his extended family. Colm was a great friend and supporter of NUI Galway. An Arts graduate (BA 1972) and an Alumni Award Winner for Sports Achievement and Leadership (2011), Colm was involved in a range of alumni events and activities. Over the years Colm participated in and hosted a range of alumni events in Dublin and in Galway – events which always attracted audiences who relished his enthusiasm and his story-telling flair. With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we remember with pride and genuine affection one of Ireland’s best-loved sports journalists. We note his passing with sadness and pay tribute to a graduate whose commitment to his alma mater was deeply-held and much valued. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílís. James J. Browne PhD, DSc, MRIA, C.EngUachtarán – President _______________________________________________________________________ Sean O'Rourke, Chair of NUI Galway Alumni Association Colm Murray was a proud graduate of NUI Galway, and often recalled his student days with affection and no little mirth. He studied in the faculty of Arts in the 1960s and 70s but in fact Colm was an Everyman, a lifelong student of the ways of the world. He brought a sense of curiosity and wonder to his assignments which informed and enlivened his broadcast journalism. In the RTE newsroom he was a brilliant NUJ official, defusing many an industrial relations row with a mixture of humour, guile and an uncanny sense of timing. Though he did not specialise in current affairs Colm was a close follower of political events and would give colleagues the benefit of sound observations on running stories and the players involved - usually sharp but never cruel. Colm had legions of friends and admirers and easily won the confidence of people. As a sports broadcaster he reported with knowledge, flair and enthusiasm from Ballybrit to Beijing. There's a certain timeliness that his passing comes during Galway Race Week where his services as a social ringmaster and tipster were greatly enjoyed if not always followed with success. Some years ago he encouraged people at a pre-Races brunch in the old quadrangle to follow his list of sure things. And then he cautioned hilariously: "But my final word in this great Aula Maxima where so many distinguished scholars have passed through the hallowed portals is: Caveat Punter" _______________________________________________________________________ An NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group presentation COLM MURRAY, BA 1972, in conversation with Seán O'Rourke BA 1977 took place in the AVIVA STADIUM on Thursday 16 June, 2011. First broadcast by RTÉ on 2 January 2012 was re-broadcasted Tuesday 30 July 2013. Please click on following link to hear interview. http://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!rii=9%3A3156768%3A9153%3A02%2D01%2D2012%3A  

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Patrick Lonergan as its first ever Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. Professor Lonergan’s appointment strengthens NUI Galway’s reputation as a national hub for the study of theatre. His focus will be on developing new courses, building new research resources, and partnering with theatre companies. Speaking upon his appointment Professor Lonergan stated that “It is a great honour to have been named NUI Galway’s first Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. I look forward to working with colleagues in the University and the wider community, as we develop new courses, forge new partnerships with theatre-makers, and make sure that NUI Galway is recognised as a world leading centre for the study of Irish theatre.” NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, as well as a Performing Arts degree, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. As part of its educational offering, the University this year again partnered with the Galway Arts Festival. One element of the partnership was to offer six NUI Galway students the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED programme. This unique internship with an all-areas backstage pass to the festival gave the students an intensive two-week immersion in festival organisation. The selected students attended shows, liaised with performers and directors, and also had the privileged access to visiting international Festival Directors. NUI Galway also maintains a partnership with Druid Theatre – which saw the University act as one of the co-producers of the multi-award winning DruidMurphy show last year. That partnership is growing all the time, with members of Druid running workshops for students, in acting, directing, set design and theatre marketing, among other things. NUI Galway will also be transforming our knowledge of Irish theatre through projects like the digitisation of the archive of the Abbey Theatre. When added to the University’s already extensive theatre archives, this resource will provide access to hundreds of scripts and videos of Irish plays – much of it never seen before. Speaking about these developments, Professor Lonergan commented: “We have achieved an enormous amount in the area of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway already. Our aim now is to build on those achievements, so that students and researchers from Ireland and abroad will recognise that NUI Galway is the best place in the world to study Irish drama.” Patrick Lonergan was born in Dublin in 1974, and graduated from University College Dublin with an MA in 1998. He completed a PhD at NUI Galway in 2004, and has been a member of staff in the Discipline of English since that time. He has written widely about Irish theatre for publications such as The Irish Times and Irish Theatre Magazine. His first book, Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger won the 2008 Theatre Book Prize, a prestigious international award whose previous winners include the Guardian critic Michael Billington, the theatre director Peter Brook, and Columbia University Professor James Shapiro. More recently he has published The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh with Bloomsbury in London. He is also very active in the Irish theatre community. He runs the annual JM Synge Summer School in County Wicklow, is a former Theatre Assessor for the Irish Arts Council, and is a Board Member of Irish Theatre Magazine and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. He has won several research awards, and is currently completing a project on Theatre Performance and Globalization, which is being funded by the Irish Research Council. He serves on the boards of several major international journals (including Contemporary Theatre Review and Irish University Review), is a Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, and is active in many other international organizations. ENDS

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Levels of stress among parents of children with autism are higher when those families have less access to services. Preliminary data from a study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) indicates cutbacks in services are having a real and measureable effect on parents’ wellbeing. “Our research is highlighting the negative impacts that cutbacks and inadequate service provision may have, not only on child outcomes, but also on the health and wellbeing of the parents,” says Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN at NUI Galway. A group of 140 mothers, fathers and a control group of caregivers of typically-developing children were included in the study. The research, conducted by PhD student Ciara Foody under the supervision of Dr Geraldine Leader and Professor Jack James, will be presented at a conference in NUI Galway from 11-12 June. This research investigated stress among parents by using diaries, questionnaires, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and also conducted an analysis of the stress hormone cortisol. “We looked for the physical flags of stress, such as high blood pressure”, explains Dr Leader. “Perhaps none too surprisingly, parents of children of autism experience elevated levels of stress compared to parents of typically developing children. However, we were also able to show a correlation between increased stress among parents of children with autism who have less access to services and interventions.” Preliminary results demonstrate that unmet services needs were a significant factor.  Having a child with a greater number of service needs that were not being met (speech and language therapy, respite services, etc.) was associated with higher maternal blood pressure and higher parental reports of depressive symptoms and parenting stress.  The study also shows that sleep is also found to be an important factor. Child sleep problems and parental sleep quality were associated with maternal blood pressure, parenting stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. The conference from 11-12 June, Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice, will feature keynote talks, as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The event is being organised by ICAN in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, and runs from 11-12 June. For more information visit www.conference.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 6th Biennial Family Support conference on 13-14 June. Entitled ‘Engagement and Participation in Family Support’, the conference will contextualise trends, challenges and options relating to citizens’ engagement and participation in the field of Family Support. The forum will highlight the relevance of citizenship to Family Support and the role of services, communities and individuals in service delivery and systems reform. Alongside presentations from keynote speakers including Norah Gibbons of the new Child and Family Agency, delegates will hear from special guest Kenneth Egan, Ireland’s most decorated amateur boxer. Kenneth will speak on the commitment and dedication required to excel in sport and how the support he received from family, friends and others helped him to deal with the challenges and difficulties he encountered. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, commented: “This conference is an opportunity to explore not just the role of state services, but also of individuals and communities in supporting families both in terms of safety and welfare. The recent scandal regarding early years services including creche facilities highlights that social workers alone and regulation systems do not have the capacity to protect children at risk and that more innovative models of community care and involvement are urgently required. There is a need to develop systems whereby families and citizens can play their part in safeguarding children.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. Other speakers will include: Professor Constance Flanagan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The Political Theories of Adolescents: How they Matter for Democracy Professor Anne Power, the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Learning from the Horse’s Mouth: What Families Bringing up Children in Difficult Urban Areas Say about their Role and Influence Andy Lloyd, Head of Service – Workforce Development, Children’s Services, Leeds City Council, UK. Defending and Developing Family Support in an Age of Austerity Dr Bernadine Brady and Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Changing the Odds: the Benefits and Challenges of Volunteer-Led Service Provision Professor Mark Brennan, Pennsylvania State University, USA. Citizenship as a Mechanism for Individual, Family, and Community Support Dr John Canavan, Associate Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway will deliver the closing remarks. For further information, or to register for the conference, visit www.conference.ie -ends-

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Older people are being sought by NUI Galway researchers to participate in a new study which keeps the mind active while exercising. Volunteers are invited to spend 20 minutes on a cyber-cycle, which combines a traditional exercise bike with an interactive video game. Participants can compete with other riders, or enjoy the scenery along a virtual bike path through a woodland setting or the cityscapes of Paris. Dr Cay Anderson-Hanley, a Fulbright scholar from the United States, is collaborating with Dr Michael Hogan, Lecturer in Psychology, at NUI Galway on the project. “Most of us are already aware of the physical benefits of exercise: it can help control weight, combat illness, improve certain health conditions, and increase energy”, explains Dr Anderson-Hanley. “Recently, significant strides have been made in research examining the cognitive benefits of physical exercise. Such research has taken on new urgency given the changing demographics of our society, with longevity increasing around the world, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s on the rise.” In her previous research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr Anderson-Hanley incorporated ‘exergames’ into the experimental design of a long-term exercise intervention at Union College in New York. Her study found that the older adults who engaged in exergaming yielded better results for the participants than an equivalent dose of traditional exercise. “We focused on this kind of ‘exergaming’, where mental and physical exercise are interwoven”, says Dr Anderson-Hanley. Our results showed added cognitive benefit in some, while for others it prevented further decline. We are now looking to test this theory on a selection of older adults in Ireland.” For the NUI Galway study, participants’ cognitive status will be evaluated before and after the exercise session, using brief pen and paper measures and computer tasks. Brain functions will also be measured with electroencephalography (EEG) where electrical activity across the scalp is detected with sensitive electrodes worn as a special cap. Ideally, the research team would like to hear from volunteers aged 65 and over, with up to 40 volunteers needed in total. Those interested should contact Julia Dimitrova at the Aerobic and Cognitive Exercise Study lab (ACES) in NUI Galway on 091-494069 or email ACEStudyIreland@gmail.com -ends-