Tuesday, 21 May 2013

NUI Galway is set to become the first university in Ireland to provide postgraduate training to Masters level (MSc) in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in a unique community partnership with the heart and stroke charity Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation. Croí has led the development of this programme through a collaboration with industry partners Kerry Group and MSD Ireland; HSE West and NUI Galway. The University is currently recruiting its first intake of students to the one year full-time in service course, due to commence in September of this year. Programme Director for the new Masters course in Preventive Cardiology, which also has a postgraduate Diploma stream, Dr Gerard Flaherty, who has recently been appointed Honorary Academic Director at the new Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway says; “With all of the expensive high technology interventions in medicine, it is easy to neglect the fundamentals of prevention, yet the evidence for cardiovascular disease prevention is compelling despite the challenges of translating it into effective patient care.” 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. Commenting on the partnership, Croí CEO Neil Johnson, said: “This exciting collaboration will contribute significantly to translating scientific evidence to practice in reducing mortality and morbidity from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, the programme strengthens the links between Croí and the School of Medicine at NUI Galway where earlier this year five members of the Croí Health Team were awarded Honorary Clinical Fellowships for their contribution to medical education through the delivery of special study modules to medical students.” This new educational development at NUI Galway comes about due to the success of the Croí MyAction lifestyle and behavioural change programme which was established in Galway by Croí almost five years ago. Since then, thousands of individuals at risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes have benefited from changes to their lifestyle in terms of diet, weight, exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol reduction. “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 who also announced their sponsorship of a 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.” Announcing details of the new postgraduate programme, Dr Flaherty said: “This course will equip a diverse array of healthcare workers with the knowledge and practical skills required to implement the evidence-based international guidelines in clinical practice. The course will comprise three core modules to be completed in semester 1 and one of three elective advanced modules in semester 2. All of the teaching will be delivered in the state-of-the-art Croí Heart and Stroke Centre in Galway. Masters candidates will also complete a supervised research project in semester 2 and submit a ready-for-publication dissertation by an August deadline.” Dr Flaherty added: “It is expected that the course will appeal to doctors, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, sports scientists, healthcare managers, health promotion graduates and health economists, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of preventive cardiology.” The new Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme is being supported by an honorary advisory council which is comprised of experts in areas such as cardiology, endocrinology, obesity, stroke, medical education and industry. Among its membership is Galway businessman Pádraig Ó’Céidigh who has recently spoken publicly of his own heart health issues. ENDS

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Creativity, Research and Innovation topic at Coimbra Conference Video links to all speeches at the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference are available below NUI Galway has announced that the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference will be addressed by President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins and will take place from 22 - 24 May at the University. The theme of this year’s conference is Creativity, Research and Innovation in Universities. Founded in 1985 and formally constituted by Charter in 1987, the Coimbra Group is an association of long-established European multidisciplinary universities of high international standard. NUI Galway is a long-standing member of the Coimbra Group and last hosted the Coimbra Group annual conference in 1988, twenty-five years ago. Other members include leading institutions such as University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Università di Bologna, Saint Petersburg State University and Trinity College Dublin. The Coimbra Group is committed to creating special academic and cultural ties in order to promote, for the benefit of its members, internationalisation, academic collaboration, excellence in learning and research, and service to society. It is also the purpose of the Group to influence European educational policy and to develop best practice through mutual exchange of experience. The symposium ‘Creativity, Research and Innovation in Universities’ on Friday, 24 May, will include a keynote address by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Other keynote speeches and panel discussions on the day will include contributions from: Commissioner Maire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research,  Innovation & Science Professor Carol Becker, Dean of the Arts, Columbia University, New York Professor Joep  Leerssen, Professor of Modern European Languages, Universiteit van Amsterdam Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is a proud member of the Coimbra Group since 1986. As a university on the western edge of Europe we value deeply the rich network of connections and links which the Group has fostered to promote excellence in scholarship, research and service to society. It is particularlyfitting that the conference returns to Galway in the year in which Ireland holds the Presidency of the European Union and at a time when the conference theme of Creativity, Research & Innovation in Universities could not be more relevant or timely for our European universities.” Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, who will speak at the event, said: “If we want to tackle our biggest societal challenges and develop technology-based business, we need an excellent science base and we need to train creative graduates and foster critical and innovative mind-sets. In my view, universities should become 'innovation centres' for their region. They should train and retrain the workforce in cooperation with industry. Mobility between industry and academia should become the norm.” Speaking in advance of the conference, Dorothy Kelly, Chair of the Coimbra Group Executive Board, commented: “We are delighted to be revisiting NUI Galway after 25 years. This year the theme is a reflection of the central role universities play in societal progress and wellbeing as open, diverse and critical spaces for the pursuit of knowledge something we look forward to discussing at length. We are particularly honoured this year to welcome to our meetings both the President of the Republic of Ireland, Dr Michael Higgins, and the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, Maire Geoghegan Quinn, as we hold our 29th General Assembly in Ireland and under the Irish presidency of the European Union.” To view President Higgins' speech at the 2013 Coimbra Group Annual Conference click here Videos from Coimbra Conference President of Ireland, Dr Michael D. Higgins (43 minutes) Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science (22 minutes) Professor Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty and Professor of the Arts at Columbia University School of the Arts, New York (19 minutes) Professor Joep Leerssen, Professor of Modern European Literature, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (25 minutes) Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland(29 minutes)    ENDS

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On Tuesday, 28 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway will host a Partnership Working Meeting with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This meeting will focus on WHO priorities and collaborative actions in the field of Health Promotion including; the Health 2020 European health policy framework for action across governments and society to improve health and wellbeing of populations and reduce health inequalities; and the implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2012-2016.  The event will be addressed by leading Health Promotion experts from: WHO Regional Office for Europe; EuroHealthNet; International Union for Health Promotion and Education; the Department of Health, Health Service Executive; and the Public Health Institute in Ireland.  Presentations will be given by the directors of WHO Collaborating Centres in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the UK.  The Health 2020 policy responds to the changing context for population health in Europe and the growing health inequities within and between countries. “WHO is committed to strengthening efforts for improving the health of citizens and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European region. Within the Health 2020 policy framework, specific actions are identified to which Member States, WHO and partners can commit themselves over the coming years”: says Dr Gauden Galea, Director of Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion at WHO Europe, who will address the meeting. Professor Margaret Barry, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research at NUI Galway, said: “This Partnership Working Meeting provides an important opportunity for WHO Collaborating Centres to provide the necessary research to support the implementation of new policy frameworks for promoting health and wellbeing in the European region.” OnWednesday, 29 May,NUI Galway will also host the 17th Annual Health Promotion conference,entitled Health in All Policies: Strengthening Multisectoral Health Promotion in an Irish Context. Speakers will include: Dr Erio Ziglio, Head of the European Office for Investment for Health and Development, WHO Regional Office for Europe           WHO European Strategy Health 2020 Dr Stephanie O Keeffe, Director of the Health and Wellbeing Programme, Department of Health, Ireland           New Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing Margaret Whitehead, Professor of Public Health at the University of Liverpool, England           Paddling Upstream? Obstacles and opportunities for tackling inequalities in health “The conference provides an opportunity to discuss global, national and local approaches for promoting health and wellbeing across different sectors”, said Dr Michal Molcho, Health Promotion at NUI Galway and Chair of this year’s conference. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie/hprc. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

NUI Galway has today (22 May) announced the attainment of the global AMBA accreditation for its MBA programme offered in the School of Business and Economics. AMBA provide the only dedicated accreditation regime for MBA Programmes and now positions NUI Galway against the best worldwide. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA programmes. AMBA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in MBA education and is earned only by the best programmes. AMBA accredits 200 Schools in over 70 countries.  “The number of MBA qualifications available worldwide is now in the thousands, but only a small percentage of these would achieve accreditation if they were submitted to our rigorous international criteria” says Mark Stoddard, Accreditation Manager at AMBA. The NUI Galway MBA is one of the leading management development programmes in the country. A general management programme which enhances and develops business and management capabilities while preparing students for strategic leadership roles, the programme places an emphasis on strategic decision making and develops practical and professional skills for success in increasingly complex environments. Speaking about the achievement, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway MBA this year celebrates its 40th anniversary and it is fitting that we successfully attained AMBA accreditation demonstrating the world-class quality of our MBA programme. Employers and top business recruiters looking to acquire the best managers and future business leaders know that graduates of the AMBA accredited programmes have received the highest quality management education. We are proud to now confirm that to recruit a graduate from the NUI Galway MBA is to recruit top talent in Ireland.” Dr McCarthy added: “We know for students, the decision to study an MBA represents a major commitment, both in terms of time and money. This AMBA accreditation ensures that students' investments are rewarded with the finest MBA education available. We have constant engagement with the business community and our programme reflects and aligns with developments in industry both nationally and internationally. Our class sizes are kept small, our lecturers are leading experts in their respective fields and keep teaching relevant to the changing demands of the business world which overall results in greater one to one attention and learning experience.” Graduates of the NUI Galway Executive MBA have significantly advanced their careers with many being promoted, starting their own business, or changing careers after completing the programme. Applications for the next programme will be accepted from September 2013. Further information on the Executive MBA at NUI Galway is available at http://www.cairnes.nuigalway.ie/mba/ ENDS

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New method of polymerisation creates possibilities for medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives A new slow-motion method of controlling the synthesis of polymers, which takes inspiration from both trees and Celtic Knots, opens up new possibilities in areas including medical devices, drug delivery, elastics and adhesives. Scientists at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in the National University of Ireland Galway have just published their breakthrough polymerization method in Nature Communications. Their new polymerization technique allows for the easy creation of new complex, multi-functional, branched compounds. The research team was led by NFB’s Dr Wenxin Wang at the National University of Ireland Galway, who said: “The versatility of our synthesis process could allow us to tailor polymer properties, such as structure, functionality, strength, size, density and degradation - with previously unimaginable ease.” The researchers took inspiration from ancient arts, and use their new technique to build up ‘Celtic Knots’. These materials have chains that only link to themselves in an interlaced pattern. In addition, the new technique can also create hyper-branching polymers, which branch and spread outwards like trees. Polymers are a broad class of natural and synthetic compounds, built up of many parts known as monomers, which connect together in fast growing chains. Until now, creating more complex branched polymers, known as dendrimers (from the Greek word “dendron” meaning “tree”), has been a labour intensive and time consuming process.   Now, for the first time, “dendritic” or tree like polymers have been synthesised in bulk, with branch points after every few monomers of the build process. This allows a far higher degree of branching than previously obtainable, and opens up new possibilities for the use of polymers. The new process developed by the team, in collaboration with Dr Julien Poly from the Institut de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse, France, is called ‘vinyl oligomer combination’. In effect the process allows a simple “one-pot” procedure that leads to easy up-scale of the process.The expectation is that these intricate woven and branched polymers will be cheap to produce and high in quality, as the technique is fully scalable. Dr Wenxin Wang is trying to uncover therapies for diseases such as diabetic ulcers and Epidermolysis Bullosa, which causes chronic skin conditions: “We are currently investigating the use of these new materials for biomedical applications such as drug/gene delivery, cross linkable hydrogel materials and skin adhesives. However, in reality this synthesis method could be used for a wide range of materials outside the biomedical field.” Dr Wenxin Wang continued: “It is interesting to note the period of difficulty often encountered with break through developments. For example, the road to acceptance of dendrimer materials was long and winding. Because this work contradicts long-standing theories about polymerization, we too have faced the challenge of acceptance. Finally, researchers are seeing the importance of these materials, and the ease at which new structures can be synthesized. Although these are early steps, we are looking forward to seeing the future realization of these structures in a wide range of applications.” The research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Health Research Board (HRB), DEBRA Ireland and DEBRA Austria is published in Nature Communications journal. -ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Parents of children with autism are invited to a conference at NUI Galway on 11-12 June to share their experiences and hear the latest research and practical advice. With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, is making parents a particular focus of this the 2nd International Autism Conference. The event ‘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 conference will place a special emphasis on providing practical solutions for parents struggling with autism on a daily basis. Workshops will be delivered on managing behaviour in the home, sleep, toileting, interventions for non verbal, minimally verbal and verbal children and how to manage transitions effectively. There will be an emphasis on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism, as Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN, explains: “Much of the research literature to date focuses on the needs of young children with little, if any, discussion paid to the needs of adolescents. For many parents, they are either currently dealing with teenagers challenged with autism, or are anticipating this new phase in a few short years. We are hosting a practical workshop as part of the conference on ‘Adolescence, growing up and sexuality.” Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York, will also deliver an address focusing on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum.  The conference will also be highly relevant to the needs of practitioners and teachers. Professor Susan Swedo, of the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, will update delegates on the latest changes to the diagnostic categorisations of autism. Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut will discuss what determines best outcomes for children on the autism spectrum, while Professor Richard Hastings from Bangor University will discuss what the research is telling us in relation to effective autism interventions. Practical workshops addressing mood, anxiety, ADHD and the role of medication and from early signs through to diagnosis will also be provided. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the worlds leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as catering for the needs of parents,” said Dr Leader. “International evidence indicates an alarming rise in the prevalence of autism, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an autism spectrum disorder.” “By way of comparison, these estimates represent more children currently diagnosed with autism than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down syndrome combined.” To register for the conference visit http://www.conference.ie. A special early booking fee is available until 4 June. -ends-

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) of €6.9 million encompassing 62 research awards. NUI Galway received 8 of these awards to a total value of almost €1 million. The investment is being made through SFI’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.  Minister Sherlock said, “The TIDA programme focuses on commercially relevant research projects. It will enable numerous research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential.” Commenting on the awards, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway researchers are taking on some of the greatest challenges of our times. With today’s announcement, we will go further to commercialise and exploit opportunities arising from our research to deliver excellent research with impact and contribute to economic development.” The eight NUI Galway projects funded under the Programme and their leaders are: Dr Stephen Cunningham, Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) Novel direct detection of early bacterial infection for bovine mastitis Dr Cunningham will develop a method for the early detection and screening of bacterial infection for bovine mastitis. Effective control of mastitis to ensure milk quality is an ongoing challenge facing the dairy industry. The basis of detection is focused on the use of surface coat polysaccharides of the mastitis pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, which could be adapted for individual and continuous in-line monitoring of herd milk production. Professor Stefan Decker, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Feasibility study into the social semantic journalism Professor Decker will develop a Semantic Web assistant for journalists or news organisations, creating breaking news stories by sourcing, aggregating, filtering and verifying User-Generated Content (UGC) from various social media platforms, integrate them and place a structure on them in order to make it machine readable and therefore more easily searchable and verifiable. Currently, this is done manually and is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process for media organisations. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Research, Design, and development of a demonstrator integrating private commercial data, Public Sector data and geographic mapping data with a simple visual user interface to support retail business planning Professor Hauswirth is developing software which will integrate public and private data with a simple and intuitive user interface to support retail business planning. There is a huge potential in leveraging existing internal private commercial data, public sector data, and geographic mapping data to decrease costs and improve quality of decision making in the context of planning, managing, and developing a retail business going forward. There is a vast amount of data available but the fundamental challenge is that it is fragmented, difficult to find and consolidate in order to make it meaningful. Dr Donal Leech, School of Chemistry Development of a biological oxygen demand monitoring system for wastewaters Dr Leech is applying his TIDA award to develop an in-situ sensor for measurement of the level of dissolved oxygen in waste water treatment plants.  Biochemical oxygen demand or BOD is widely used as an indication of the organic quality of water. It refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample. The standard BOD test can take up to 5 days and there is thus a real need for an in-situ, real time measurement which is the focus of this proposal.  Professor Paul Murphy, School of Chemistry New macrocyclic peptidomimetics with potential in cancer therapy Professor Murphy has developed a compound to inhibit proteins which are involved in the progression of cancer. The project deals with an unmet clinical need in targeting a protein called Mcl-1(myeloid cell leukemia-1). There are very few potent inhibitors of Mcl-1 identified to date and Mcl-1 is a very important target. Dr Thomas Ritter, Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) Regulating immunogenicity and tolerogenicity through cell surface glycosylation (Acronym: GlycoShield) Dr Ritter is evaluating the use of glyco engineered cells to assess their ability to suppress immune response from host cells during tissue or organ transplantation. Glyco engineering involves coating the cell surface with carbohydrates that are recognised by the host recipient as self, ensuring that cell rejection does not occur. This method will permit researchers, clinicians and industries to perform transplants with no adverse immune reaction from the host and will have wider implications on the engineering of immune-tolerant tissue transplants. Professor Charles Spillane, Plant & AgriBioscience Centre (PABC) Application of unique lineage-specific orphan gene cassettes to confer drought stress tolerance in crop plants of commercial importance. Professor Spillane is using his TIDA award to develop genetically-modified crops which are tolerant to drought. He has identified unique lineage-specific genes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana which are tolerant to drought. The TIDA award will enable him to determine if these genes can be deployed and commercially developed across multiple crop species.  Dr Eva Szegezdi, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Development of Ex Vivo Diagnostic Multivariate Index Assay for Prediction of Treatment Efficacy in Acute Leukemias Dr Szegezdi is developing a theranostic assay for use in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).  AML is a heterogeneous and aggressive disease and the current mainstream therapy is unsatisfactory. Refractory and relapsed disease is a major problem that occurs in 70-80% of AML patients. Although a number of potential drugs exist, there are no tools to aid the decision of which drug combinations may be effective and safe in a given patient. The assay under development is based on the extraction of bone marrow from the patient, and testing of a series of chemotherapeutic drugs on the bone marrow ex-vivo. This will enable the testing of medications for possible reactions and the tailoring of optimum treatments based on the test results. The TIDA Programme Minister Sherlock concluded by outlining the thinking behind these awards. “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to support the commercialisation of excellent research and ultimately help to create the quality sustainable jobs we need. These 62 TIDA awards will release vital funding to allow the development of early discoveries and inventions with commercial potential, thereby feeding into our Action Plan.” The Director General of SFI, Professor Mark Ferguson, said, “As set out in Agenda 2020, one of SFI’s strategic objectives is to become the best scientific funding agency in the world at creating impact from excellent research and demonstrating clear value for our research investment. Each submitted project has been through a rigorous review process and ultimate selection was on the basis of the quality and novelty of the proposed innovation, its potential impact, and its fit with the National Research Prioritisation areas. Additionally, the commercial expertise that Enterprise Ireland brought to the TIDA selection process played a key role in further underpinning the market potential of the award recipients.” Incorporated into the TIDA programme is an entrepreneurship training course to consolidate and intensify the entrepreneurial skills of postdoctoral researchers active in SFI funded research labs. This course, which will support over 100 personnel, is designed to develop the skills necessary for SFI funded researchers to assess the market for potential commercial developments from research discoveries. It is also designed to create a network of researchers with business acumen who will interact regularly with each other, with SFI, Enterprise Ireland and Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) established across the higher education institutes -ends-

Thursday, 23 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and Galway’s Community Bike Workshop, An Mheitheal Rothar, are running a competition for an outdoor mural. The competition is open to those aged between 12-24 from schools, art colleges, youth or other groups, and individuals. The the winning design will be painted on the exterior of the community workshop, The Ecospace, based at Earl’s Island. The selected designs will be painted in the first two weeks in June by a professional artist, on the exterior of the Ecospace. The completed mural will be launched on Sunday, 16 June as part of the opening weekend of National Bike Week 2013 (15-23 June). The winning design(s) will be chosen on the merit of its quality and relevance by The Ecology Society, An Mheitheal Rothar and the selected artist. The winner or winning group will have their design professionally illustrated and painted by the artist. They will also receive a prize of a participatory workshop with the artist to paint part of the mural. Paul O’Donnell, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society, said: “We invite the submissions to be as creative as possible and make use of the ability to paint onto the double door entrance to the workshop as well as other features such as the gable end of the building which is 4.5 metres tall at the peak. Groups are more than welcome to contact us to visit the space in person.” Designs can be submitted electronically in a digital format, hand-drawn or painted with most formats will be taken as long as the dimensions of the building are considered. Entrants must be aged between 12 and 24 on the closing date for submissions, Sunday, 2 June at 6pm. Submissions should reflect the themes of the workshop including: cycling, and a vibrant culture around cycling; community based action on climate change; and education and awareness of the environment. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Community) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit bicycle workshop, providing a free practical facility to the Galway community for bicycle maintenance and repairs. Their aim is to encourage a culture of cycling in Galway City by establishing a practical facility and social hub which will support a strong community and promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling. The Ecospace is also the home of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and is a participatory community space encouraging each individual visiting to be a creative participant while there, resulting in a dynamic and friendly atmosphere, where community project ideas are supported and can take shape. The mural is part of a wider series of community-based events being organised by NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and An Mheitheal Rothar called ‘Be the Chainge!’ and is part funded by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Programme. For images and dimensions of the exterior of the The Ecospace visit https://www.facebook.com/AnMheithealRothar, or contact 091 494347 or an.mheitheal.rothar@gmail.com. -ENDS-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Swim Ireland Teams Up with NUI Galway to Pioneer Ground Breaking Performance Analysis Technology Swim Ireland has teamed up with NUI Galway with a view to developing a new high performance analysis system for competitive swimming. The development work is well under way on the new system which utilises innovative kinematic sensing technology. The new technology which is in test mode is being designed to deliver performance information in real time both to the swimmer and his/her coach. The technology is the brainchild of PhD student Robert Mooney who is a former Swim Ireland employee. The development team is led by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Funding for the research is being provided both by Swim Ireland and by the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It is hoped to have the prototype system up and running by early 2014. Once developed, the system will be tested on elite Irish swimmers to measure, record and track their technical improvements achieved with training. Athletes to be tested will include swimmers based at the recently established Swim Ireland Connacht Performance Centre, based at the Kingfisher facility on the NUI Galway campus and which was officially launched last November. Lead researcher Robert Mooney commented: “A coach can often observe where improvements need to be made, but having hard evidence to back this up is key. We want to facilitate a new approach to swimming coaching, allowing for improved analysis of stroke mechanics, race performance and energy expenditure as well as real-time feedback to the swimmer, enabling more efficient, competitive and quantitative swim coaching.” “Any competitive swimmer will tell you just how demanding their sport is.  In a sport of narrow margins where the difference between winning and not winning can be little as one one-hundredth of a second, the availability of the proposed system might make all the difference”, explains Professor Ó Laighin. “With this in mind we are capitalising on low-cost, high-performance Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMs) technology coupled with innovative algorithms to achieve our goals.” Peter Banks is Performance Director with Swim Ireland, the national governing body for aquatic sports in Ireland. Banks is no stranger to success, having coached US swimmer Brooke Bennett to three gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. “We have seen a marked increase in the success of Irish swimmers on the international stage in recent years, with medal winning performances by the likes of Gráinne Murphy, Sycerika McMahon and Melanie Nocher. This type of technology is very exciting for Irish swimming to be involved with, the project gives our coaches and swimmers an opportunity to learn more about how athletes perform in the training pool and helps us make more informed decisions around their training programmes.” -ends-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summary: National University of Ireland Galway-led program with Concern Worldwide wins prestigious Gates Foundation funding for participatory research on improving agricultural tools to reduce labour demands on smallholder women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa The Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The NUI Galway collaborative research programme with Concern Worldwide has been awarded a US $100,000 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) Phase I grant to pursue an innovative global health and development research project (3D4AGDev) on participatory 3D rapid-prototyping of agricultural/cropping tools to reduce labour demands on women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. The 3D4AgDev team’s project is one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced this week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, the 3D4AgDev teamand other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013.  This, the tenth round of GCE funding, is the first round in which any Irish institution or university has been successful in being awarded a Gates Foundation GCE award. While the initial Phase I grants are for US $100,000 each, projects showing promise have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. In the most recent (tenth) round of GCE funding there were 1,300 proposals submitted worldwide, while 61 awards were made.  The 3D4AgDev Program within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) will be conducted in close partnership with Concern Worldwide, focusing on labour-saving agri-tool innovations for women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 3D4AgDev Program project team consists of: Professor Charles Spillane, NUI Galway PABC agricultural research scientist; Dr Una Murray, NUI Galway PABC gender in agriculture expert; Carol Morgan, Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for Central Africa; and Paul Wagstaff, Agriculture Advisor for Concern. Over 1000 million smallholder farmers (predominantly women) are farming using labour intensive agricultural hand tools. Such agricultural tools include ones for tasks such as weeding, planting, harvesting and crop/food processing. Professor Spillane stressed that: “Smallholder agricultural systems remain largely dependent on human labour, having minimal access to alternative energy sources for cultivation and agri-processing such as draught animals or fossil-fuel powered mechanization. Routes out of poverty for smallholder rural communities will require a swathe of innovations that improve the labour productivity of their agricultural systems. Smallholder farmers living on less than a dollar a day face this challenge in an era when energy demand and energy costs are increasing to their disadvantage. The innovation challenge is how to enable smallholders to generate more income and agricultural produce while reducing the labour burden on women and rural children so that their livelihoods can improve.” User-led innovation is where the end-users are involved in the research and design of an innovative product or process. The overall aim of the farmer participatory 3D4AgDev Program is to link the potential of user-led innovation with Rapid Prototyping (e.g. via 3D printing) to enable women smallholder farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa to design and develop their own labour-saving agricultural tools, tailor-made for their culture, soils and cropping systems. The 3D4AgDev Program will facilitate a participatory technology development program with women smallholders farmers so that the farmers can develop their own agricultural tool and labour-saving innovations. Dr Una Murray highlighted that: “Labour saving tools for women smallholders can have major impacts, including leading to higher yields, higher incomes, more time for other activities, and reductions in harmful child labour in rural areas”. Through linking the women smallholder farmer groups to rapid-prototyping user innovation processes, Paul Wagstaff from Concern indicated that “there is significant potential to improve the status of rural women through fostering an enterprise-oriented ‘maker culture’ for agri-tool innovations”. -ends-

Monday, 27 May 2013

Joseph Fleury, a final year Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway has been awarded the Avaya Prize for the best final year project in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering at NUI Galway. A native of Birr, Co. Offaly, Joseph’s project focussed on the development of an autonomous robot system capable of navigating itself around an area using its own computer vision system. The developed robot system is part of a research study in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway on the feasibility of using intelligent robot systems to remove weeds in commercial crop and vegetable growing operations.  Dr Michael Keane, Senior Manager with Avaya in Galway, said: “Avaya employ 400 people in Galway with 200 in high technology R&D positions and as part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging and supporting students in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway, we were delighted to award Joseph this year’s prize. There is an ever-present need to encourage high quality students such as Joseph into degree programmes in this area in order to fill the many open graduate positions in the areas of ICT and software development in companies like ourselves in Avaya.” Dr Martin Glavin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, and supervisor of Joseph’s project, said: “Joseph’s project was incredibly sophisticated in that he not only had to build the robot, integrate electronic circuitry and write the software to control it but he also had to develop and test complex mathematical image analysis techniques which would allow the robot to ‘see’ and navigate. His project is an excellent example of how industry focussed post-graduate research expertise within our discipline permeates our under-graduate degree programmes in order to produce engineers with experience in relevant and cutting edge technologies.” -ENDS-

Monday, 27 May 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, was recently held in Galway. The event consisted of workshops which provided a first approach to web development and software development. Over 130 women from across Ireland attended ‘Rail Girls’, which was opened by Councillor Frank Fahy, Deputy Mayor of Galway City. Mayor Fahy stressed the importance of such an initiative for the Ireland workforce. Introduction to web application development, programming and architecture design were given by: Gerry Kavanagh, Master Engineer at LM Ericsson; Stefania Farrugia, Software Developer at Fintrax; and Emily Castles, Web Developer at Red Hills Software and co-organiser of Rails Girls Dublin. Speakers at the event included: Ana Maria Valarezo, Senior Account Manager at Zend Technologies; Yuwei Lin, Lecturer at Salford University; Debian Women, programme co-founder; Alanna Kelly, mobile game application developer and founder of the Galway Game Jam; and Matteo Collina, PhD student at University of Bologna. At the end of the Rails Girls Galway workshop, each participant had designed and implemented a web application, were able to enter information, edit and delete them, visualise their addresses on a Google Map and upload their pictures. Myriam Leggieri, PhD student with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, said: “Women tend to hold back and the reasons that keep women from entering IT are numerous. Mainly the same stereotype that depicts boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls, applies in Computer Science. Only the 25% of Information and Technology (IT) jobs are held by women; only 11% of the Fortune 500 companies have women executives and only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women.” “At the same time, research shows that groups with greater diversity to solve problems better and faster than homogeneous groups; they are more efficient and more experimental. Also women have demonstrated to positively influence growth and efficiency, women-operated, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues than the average, and women entrepreneurs begin with about 1/8 of the funding of male-owned ventures. Consequently, the IT gender gap seems to deserve attention”, continued Myriam. Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer and founding member of boards.ie and StreamGlider Inc., provided funding for the event through the company he founded, Technology Voice, which he introduced at the workshop. Further funding was provided by NUI Galway’s DERI, Intercom and CISCO. ‘Rails Girls’ workshops are non-profit worldwide phenomena with the first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, held in Helsinki in 2010. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Public interviews to include Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Garry Hynes and renowned BBC journalist Peter Taylor A major Irish studies conference at NUI Galway will consider the legacy of the 1916 Rising for contemporary Ireland. For the first time, the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) conference will be held in Ireland running from 5-8 June. EFACIS is one of the largest Irish Studies organisations in Europe and represents almost 500 members in over 20 countries. The federation was founded to promote interest in and support the expansion of Irish Studies throughout Europe, encouraging study and debate of all aspects of society, culture and literature of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Irish diaspora within the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, this year’s conference will consider the theme ‘Towards 2016: Old and New Irelands’ and has already attracted considerable interest with almost 200 delegates due to attend. Keynote speakers will include; Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin; Dr Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway Lecturer, Economist and former Special Advisor to former Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan; and award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and investigative journalist, Peter Taylor. In an address entitled ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, Professor Ferriter will examine some of the issues involved in the decade of commemorations (2012-22) from the perspective of the historian, but also the questions it raises for society at large in terms of what is remembered, how it is remembered and communicated. Dr Ahearne will consider the relevance today of a central concern of the 1916 Proclamation, Irish sovereignty, given that the largest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EEC and especially when it adopted the single currency. Peter Taylor of the BBC and one of the most experienced and respected journalists to have reported on Northern Ireland and the maker of several acclaimed documentaries on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, will screen and talk about some of his documentary work dealing with the Troubles. Taylor will be joined in this discussion by Shauna Duddy and Larry Duddy, who took part in his acclaimed 2008 documentary The Secret Peacemaker, which dealt with their father Brendan Duddy’s secret role as the key intermediary between the British government and the IRA over a span of more than twenty years. The conference will also include public interviews with Oscar-winning film director and novelist Neil Jordan; award-winning novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe; and theatre director and Druid Theatre co-founder Garry Hynes. Dr Seán Crosson, Conference Director and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media, said: “We are delighted to be hosting what will be largest EFACIS conference held to date. We are also pleased that such a strong and interdisciplinary group of speakers have agreed to participate, including in our plenary sessions, which covers areas from film, to theatre, literature, history, economics, music, politics and the media. A recurring concern of the papers, as the conference title suggests, is the legacy of the revolutionary period for contemporary Ireland today as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising.” Among the themes considered during the conference will be the Irish Economic Crisis; Northern Ireland: Literature, Politics and Culture; 1916 in literature and Culture; Revisiting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality; Marginal Spaces in Irish Film; Theatre and the 1916 Rising; Irish Sport, 1916-2016; and Ireland’s relationship with Europe. -ENDS-   Oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach chun Oidhreacht 1916 a phlé Pléifidh oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach in OÉ Gaillimh an oidhreacht a bhaineann le hÉirí Amach 1916 d’Éirinn an lae inniu. Den chéad uair, beidh comhdháil Chónaidhm Eorpach na gCumann agus na nIonad Léinn Éireannaigh (EFACIS) ar siúl in Éirinn idir an 5-8 Meitheamh. Tá EFACIS ar cheann de na heagraíochtaí is mó san Eoraip a bhíonn ag plé leis an Léann Éireannach agus déanann sé ionadaíocht ar bheagnach 500 ball in os cionn 20 tír. Bunaíodh an chónaidhm chun suim a chothú sa Léann Éireannach ar fud na hEorpa agus chun tacú lena leathnú, agus staidéar agus díospóireacht á spreagadh i ngach gné de shochaí, de chultúr agus de litríocht Phoblacht na hÉireann, Thuaisceart Éireann, agus an diaspóra Éireannaigh laistigh de na daonnachtaí agus na heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Beidh comhdháil na bliana seo ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus ‘I dtreo 2016: Éire - mar a bhí agus mar atá’ mar théama aici; cheana féin tá spéis ollmhór léirithe sa chomhdháil ar a mbeidh beagnach 200 toscaire ag freastal. I measc na bpríomhchainteoirí beidh; Diarmaid Ferriter, Ollamh le Stair Chomhaimseartha na hÉireann in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath; an Dr Alan Ahearne, Léachtóir in OÉ Gaillimh, Eacnamaí agus iar-Chomhairleoir Speisialta don iar-Aire Airgeadais, Brian Lenihan; agus an déantóir scannán faisnéise, an scríbhneoir agus an t-iriseoir imscrúdaitheach clúiteach, Peter Taylor. In óráid dar teideal ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, scrúdóidh an tOllamh Ferriter cuid de na saincheisteanna a bhaineann le deich mbliana na gcuimhneachán (2012-22) ó pheirspictíocht an stairí, ach chomh maith leis sin na ceisteanna a ardaíonn sé don sochaí go ginearálta maidir le céard a thugann sé chun cuimhne, cén chaoi a ndéantar é a thabhairt chun cuimhne agus a chur in iúl. Breathnóidh an Dr Ahearne ar an ábharthacht a bhaineann sa lá inniu ann le príomhchúis Fhorógra 1916, flaitheas na hÉireann, ós rud é gur géilleadh le codanna móra de fhlaitheas eacnamaíochta nuair a chuaigh an tír isteach sa Chomhphobal Eorpach agus go háirithe nuair a glacadh leis an airgeadra aonair. Tá Peter Taylor ar dhuine de na hiriseoirí is mó taithí agus meas a rinne tuairisciú ar Thuaisceart Éireann agus tá cláir faisnéise chlúiteacha déanta aige faoi Thrioblóidí Thuaisceart Éireann. Taispeánfaidh sé cuid dá shaothar faisnéise a bhaineann leis na Trioblóidí agus déanfaidh sé cur síos orthu. Beidh Shauna Duddy agus Larry Duddy in éineacht le Taylor, beirt a ghlac páirt i gclár faisnéise clúiteach a rinne Peter in 2008 “The Secret Peacemaker”, faoina n-athair, Brendan, agus a ról rúnda mar phríomh-idirghabhálaí idir rialtas na Breataine agus an tIRA thar thréimhse níos faide ná fiche bliain. Mar chuid den chomhdháil chomh maith beidh agallaimh phoiblí le Neil Jordan, úrscéalaí agus stiúrthóir scannán a bhfuil gradam Oscar bainte amach aige; an t-úrscéalaí agus drámadóir clúiteach Patrick McCabe; agus stiúrthóir amharclainne agus comhbhunaitheoir Amharclann an Druid, Garry Hynes. Dúirt an Dr Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir na Comhdhála agus Léachtóir i Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil an chomhdháil EFACIS is mó riamh á cur i láthair againn i mí an Mheithimh. Táimid sásta freisin go bhfuil grúpa chomh láidir agus ildisciplíneach cainteoirí sásta páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid, na seisiúin phlé san áireamh, a chlúdaíonn na réimsí a leanas - scannánaíocht, amharclannaíocht, litríocht, stair, eacnamaíocht, ceol, polaitíocht agus na meáin. Imní a thagann chun cinn arís eile sna páipéir, mar a léiríonn teideal na comhdhála, an oidhreacht a bhaineann leis an tréimhs e réabhlóideach d’Éirinn an lae inniu agus muid ag druidim i dtreo Céad Bliain Éirí Amach 1916.” I measc na dtéamaí a bheidh á bplé le linn na comhdhála beidh Géarchéim Eacnamaíochta na hÉireann;  Tuaisceart Éireann: Litríocht, Polaitíocht agus Cultúr; 1916 sa litríocht agus sa chultúr; Athbhreithniú ar Chearta na mBan agus ar Chomhionannas Inscne; Spásanna Imeallacha i Scannáin na hÉireann; Amharclannaíocht agus Éirí Amach 1916; Spórt na hÉireann, 1916-2016; agus caidreamh na hÉireann leis an Eoraip. -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway is now taking applications for its MSc in Cloud Computing Research. The first intake for this new Masters programme was in September 2012 and the programme is already helping to shape the national agenda in cloud computing. The MSc in Cloud Computing Research provides a dedicated programme of advanced research on high-value, business-focused aspects of cloud computing. In the current academic year, with students from major organisations such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Eircom, the programme is covering a number of important issues for businesses. These include: studies on business success factors for cloud service; models for return-on-investment for strategic cloudsourcing; optimal text input for mobile cloud business applications; Irish legal considerations for cloud strategies; exploring user benefits of cloud services; and other topics of importance to both large businesses and small SMEs. Dr Tom Acton, Director of the MSc in Cloud Computing Research, said: “We are seeing the direct relevance of our students’ research to companies. Some of our students are leveraging this course to advance within their employment and others as a vehicle to help enter an industry. The University’s research on cloud computing has also been published in international outlets. ” Applications are now being accepted for September 2013 and the there is an option of one-year full-time or a two-year part-time. There are two entry routes: persons already working in the ICT sector or within a technology-related role in other sectors with a qualifying degree or related experience; or persons with an undergraduate degree containing information systems, technology management or equivalent.  The part-time model is particularly suited to persons in employment who wish to pursue a masters-level qualification in this area. For further information the MSc in Cloud Computing Research visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/research-postgraduate-programmes/cloud-computing-research.html  -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway GAA club, in conjunction with University’s Sports Unit, last night (Monday, 27 May) announced their NUI Galway GAA Man of the Match Award winners for the 2012-13 second-level hurling and football finals in Connacht. The awards were presented by NUI Galway’s Clubs and Societies Development Officer, Kathy Hynes. Other speakers on the night included Tom Fox from Coláiste Éinne, who is the Chairperson of the Galway Post-Primary Second Level Schools Hurling committee and Hugh Rodden, Secretary of the Connacht Post-Primary Second Level Schools Football committee. The award winners come from Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo, covering all senior hurling and football college finals played at post-primary and vocational schools level. This is the second year of the awards scheme which was extended this season to include the Connacht senior football college finals. Also included are the four junior hurling finals played at post-primary hurling and football within Connacht. NUI Galway GAA Development Officer, Michael O’Connor, said: “I would like to congratulate the stars of the future on their success to date and to pay tribute to the teachers and schools for promoting Gaelic games at post-primary level and acknowledge that NUI Galway are delighted to help in recognising this effort with awards at provincial final level. Part of NUI Galway GAA’s policy is to engage with the community at all levels and accept how important it is that students coming to the University recognise that sport is central to the ethos of the college.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ireland’s leading bioenergy R&D group says a capital funding programme is needed to stimulate the development of an indigenous bioenergy industry in Ireland. The Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (TCBB), which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and based at NUI Galway, has made this and other suggestions in answer to a call for input into a draft a bioenergy strategy for Ireland. Bioenergy is the general term used to describe renewable energy derived from biomass. Biomass includes forestry and crops specifically grown for energy use, as well as biodegradable residues from agriculture, industrial and municipal waste. The Government’s bioenergy strategy will scope out the role that bioenergy can play in meeting Ireland’s 2020 targets for reducing emissions, and is expected to be published by the end of June. According to the TCBB, stimulating development of an indigenous bioenergy and biorefining industry will have a knock-on effect throughout the supply chain, benefitting local forestry and agriculture, as it would provide an outlet for forestry products and energy crops. In addition, agri-food producers will benefit from the ability to economically utilise their process residuals. Local waste management companies may benefit, providing viable uses for a proportion of their biodegradable waste. “Wastes produced from Ireland’s large and productive agri-food industry could be utilised for immediate production of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuels,” says Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader of the TCBB. “With supportive development policies these resources can all be harnessed in the very short term to improve Ireland’s economic performance, attracting inward investment, creating employment, improving Ireland’s balance of trade and the tax base. The outputs from an indigenous bio-energy industry would displace imported coal, oil and other fossil fuels, improving energy security as well as the environment in which we live.” The TCBB suggest a Government fund, underwritten by financing from EU sources could be matched with funds from private enterprise to kick-start development of this industry in Ireland. A €250 million EU backed financing programme would attract an additional €250 million of private investment capital, underpinning construction a variety of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuel projects. Establishment of a development fund would benefit farmers and manufacturers also, says Bonsall: “Ireland benefits from a mild climate and long growing season and Irish farmers generate one of the highest levels of biomass growth per hectare in any of the EU member states. Establishing a stable market outlet for energy crops will allow Irish farmers to leverage this natural advantage, offering a new revenue stream and a means of diversifying their sources of income.” He continued: “New and improved bio-based technologies are being developed for exportable products such as bio-plastics, bio-chemicals and biofuels. Establishing an industrial infrastructure for processing biomass will enable Ireland to capitalise on technological developments as they are developed. New markets are emerging for sustainably produced bio-products, and Ireland could be in a prime position to re-establish a strong bio-manufacturing base, exporting these products to a global market, the size of which will be measured in hundreds of billions of Euros.” “Unfortunately Ireland lags behind other EU member states in the development of a bio-based economy, as initiatives undertaken in Ireland to date have not been sufficient or sufficiently integrated in a manner required to attract the requisite investment capital. Establishment of a bio-based infrastructure fund, however, together with other measures to promote advancement of this industry, will allow development of a productive industrial base that will enable Ireland to quickly catch up with their EU counterparts.” The TCBB brings together researchers from NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Trinity, and UCD to work with Industry stakeholders like Bord na Móna, Glanbia, Biomass Heating Solutions, Cellulac and others on new bioenergy and biorefining technologies for Irish applications. The focus is on getting highly relevant and practical bio-based solutions for Ireland from the lab to the marketplace. More on the TCBB can be found at http://www.tcbb.ie . -ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

In celebration of 21 years of delivering Occupational Health and Safety education, NUI Galway will host a conference entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety: A Pioneering Past and a Bright Future’ from 14-15 June. Invited speakers from industries such as Shell, Baxter and Alkermes will present their perspectives on health and safety issues. NUI Galway graduate, Ruairí Ward, who works for the Health Safety Environment in Australia, will give a talk entitled ‘Occupational Hygiene, Global Challenges: The View from Down Under’. A keynote address will be given by Dr Sharon McGuinness, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, who will review workplace chemical safety over 21 years. Other keynote speakers include Dr Paul O Connor, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, who will talk on ‘Human Systems Integration - From the US Navy to Irish Healthcare’, and Herbert Mulligan of the Health and Safety Review, who will discuss ‘Health and Safety Legislation and Case Law: Past, Present and Future’. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc and Higher Diploma Health and Safety programmes at NUI Galway, said: “The aim of the conference is to showcase the achievements of some notable graduates and to provide a forum for review and discussion of the current status of, and the future challenges for, the Health and Safety discipline both locally and internationally. The University has a long history in Occupational Health and Safety education at postgraduate level through its Higher Diploma and MSc programmes, having graduated over 1000 students, many of whom have made major contributions in industry, government and academia both in Ireland and around the world.” Applications are now being accepted via www.pac.ie  for this year’s MSc and HDip programmes in Occupational Health and Safety, for both full-time and part-time students. The programmes are multidisciplinary in nature, involving contributions from the Colleges of Science, Business and Public Policy and Law, Engineering and Informatics and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Students study topics such as occupational health, occupational hygiene, ergonomics, safety and risk management, research methods, and legal studies. The conference takes place in the IT Building at NUI Galway, and further details and registration information can be obtained at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=220 or contact NUI Galway Health and Safety Law Lecturer Deirdre Callanan at deirdre.callanan@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The NUI Galway MBA in conjunction with the University’s BioInnovate programme has won a major award in the recent MBA World Trophy which took place in Dublin. The competition brought together teams of highly motivated entrepreneurs from some of the world’s top universities to compete against each other with their start-up businesses, where business models were challenged by a leading panel of successful entrepreneurs, VCs and thought leaders.  The MBA World Trophy is the first initiative of its kind: a unique showcase of entrepreneurial talent from some of the world’s finest graduate schools. Billed as a business start-up competition, the World Trophy will accelerate an early stage company using the lean start up principles and change how college students think about business building. Competing teams pitched their business models to an exclusive panel of VCs, and participated in workshops in Innovation, Finance, Growth and Leadership. Each team was paired with a mentor and on the final day each team presented their final pitch to the judging panel. The team that won the award for the most impactful business idea, which is based on a medical device innovation product, includes two BioInnovate Ireland Fellows, Ashwin Kher (NUI Galway BioInnovate Team) and Michael Morrissey (University of Limerick BioInnovate team), both of whom are NUI Galway MBA graduates and Joseph O’Callaghan, a 3rd Year Biomedical Engineering student at NUI Galway. Ashwin Kher, NUI Galway MBA graduate 2012 and current BioInnovate Ireland Fellow was on the winning team and said: “The World MBA trophy competition was an incredible experience, both in the content and the quality of the speakers. It was a privilege to get an opportunity to learn from global thought leaders on lean start-up strategy and entrepreneurship. The three-day competition was gruelling from start to finish and the standard of competitors was truly world class. Teams represented the finest international MBA programmes from Columbia University (USA) to INSEAD (France).” The value of the MBA and the training received during the BioInnovate programme was critical to the team’s success as another team member, Michael Morrissey (BioInnovate Ireland Fellow and NUI Galway MBA 2012) states: “The MBA at NUI Galway was instrumental in providing us with the skills to compete effectively at this level. The emphasis on strategy and innovation and its application out of the classroom provided a strong foundation for our success. The BioInnovate program taught us the fundamental steps in the process of medical device innovation and identifying clinical needs that stressed the importance of patient and user impact. Winning the title of ‘Business Most Likely to Have a Global Impact’ is something we’re proud of. Being recognised by someone of the calibre of Professor Vivek Wadwha is really huge for us.” Competition entrants included some of the best schools in the world including: INSEAD (FRANCE), UCD Smurfit, Instituto de Empresa Business School (ES), NYU Stern, ESAN Graduate School of Business (Peru), Columbia (US), Rotman School of Business (CA), Warwick (UK), Tel Aviv University (Israel), IPADE (Mexico) and Trinity College Dublin. This World Trophy follows from the recent announcement that NUI Galway has attained the global AMBA accreditation for its MBA programme offered in the School of Business and Economics. AMBA provide the only dedicated accreditation regime for MBA Programmes and now positions NUI Galway against the best worldwide. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is internationally recognised as the global standard for all MBA programmes. AMBA accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in MBA education and is earned only by the best programmes. AMBA accredits 200 Schools in over 70 countries.  Speaking about this most recent accolade, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway said: “Winning an award at the MBA World Trophy demonstrates that our MBA graduates can successfully compete on the global stage and follows successes for NUI Galway MBA teams in the MBA Association of Ireland national all-Ireland competitions. We extend our congratulations to the BioInnovate Ireland team and wish them continued success in what promises to be an exciting entrepreneurial start-up journey.” Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director, BioInnovate Ireland added: “BioInnovate are delighted that the teams activities in identifying unmet clinical needs and aligning them with market opportunities has been recognised in this way.”  ENDS

Friday, 16 May 2014

180 students and staff join forces to build a range of campus and society-enhancing projects. EXPLORE Expo celebrates 28 projects from mobile apps, education books, journals to student study aids, interactive beach information, new ways of studying Shakesphere in schools. 400 staff and students have delivered 69 projects to date The results of 28 joint student and staff projects focused on making an impact on society were unveiled at a ceremony in NUI Galway today. The EXPLORE Programme brings staff and students together to develop projects that can have a positive benefit on campus and also for wider society. Each project receives up to €1,000 in funding. This year’s projects include: ‘ShoutOut’, an anti-homophobic bullying programme for schools; ‘STARTS’, workshops in which NUI Galway students teach staff how to develop mobile apps; ‘Capture your Campus’, a campus-based amateur photography competition and exhibition; an Undergraduate Science Fair; a clothing brand based on the University’s “Big Yellow Thing”; the installation of a beehive on campus to promote awareness of pollinators; and a project bringing Shakespeare to life in secondary schools using theatre. Members of the public can see the impact of these projects in many ways: Copies of one project’s book, ‘Scary Noisy Things’, which is aimed at helping toddlers understand their emotions, will be available online and coming soon to Galway libraries. School teachers can contact ‘ShoutOut’ and the Shakespeare projects about visiting their schools. The ‘I Like Beaches’ project will soon have information boards on the importance of our beaches, placed on the Salthill prom. Quick response (QR) codes will be added to exhibits at NUI Galway’s Zoology and Marine Biology Museum in the coming weeks. A project which produced literature aimed at educating carers on how to avoid pressure ulcers will be shared in Ireland, the UK and North America. The Surgical Training Workshop project will be see the next generation of surgeons learning the skills that will save lives for decades to come. The Choral Online Resource (CÓR) project will put hard-to-find traditional Irish songs online for a global audience. Previous years’ projects include ‘Cell Explorers’, a programme whereby undergraduate science students and their lecturers visit primary schools showing schoolchildren basic scientific experiments. This project has gone on to expand across the country and has been awarded over €50,000 in external funding. NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Seán Kearns: “The Students’ Union is very proud of the EXPLORE initiative. EXPLORE shows how staff and students can work in partnership to achieve an incredible synergy to the benefit of our campus and the wider community.” NUI Galway’s Vice President for Innovation and Performance, Professor Chris Curtin, said:“EXPLORE is a fresh approach that harnesses the talents and passions of our campus community. EXPLORE has demonstrated our commitment to innovation as well as the power of staff-student partnership to achieve outstanding & exciting results in a very short space of time.” The project list and more background about the EXPLORE programme are available at http://www.su.nuigalway.ie/index.php/projects. -Ends-

Friday, 16 May 2014

A new guidebook has been published by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences to help people explore the natural history of the Galway area. The booklet was produced as part of NUI Galway’s EXPLORE initiative that promotes and sponsors innovation through student and staff collaboration. Entitled Self Guided Fieldtrip – Galway Area, the booklet was compiled by Alina Wieczorek, a third year undergraduate student with the School of Natural Sciences, and Professor Martin Feely, Earth and Ocean Science at NUI Galway. The tour includes a visit to the James Mitchell Museum, in NUI Galway’s Quadrangle Building, to introduce the rocks, minerals and fossils of the Galway area and from around the globe. The guide highlights the natural history resource that is the coastal zone stretching from Galway city westwards to Salthill and beyond. The reader can explore the natural history by using the supplied map and the many field illustrations of bedrock geology, and the flora and fauna that live on the bedrock substrate highlighting the inextricable links between the Natural Sciences of Geology, Botany and Zoology. Those who engage with the guide are encouraged to share and discuss their discoveries through the webpage, www.exploregalway.npage.eu. A downloadable version of the guide is also available on this webpage. For a hard copy, visit NUI Galway’s James Mitchell Museum in the Quadrangle Building, or the Zoology Museum  in the Ryan Institute, or ask for it in the Earth and Ocean Sciences office on the second floor of the Quadrangle. The museums are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Members of the public are invited to a Research Day at NUI Galway on Thursday, 11 April. Academics and researchers will present ideas that could lead to new discoveries and innovations. Representatives from NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, and College of Science, will be joined by colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Limerick. This day-long event is being held in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway commencing at 10.30am. The annual NUI Galway event runs in conjunction with the University of Limerick, as part of the Strategic Alliance between the two organisations. Highlights of this year’s event include more than 200 research poster presentations by researchers from both universities. The event will showcase some of the cutting edge research being carried out by engineers and scientists across several diverse disciplines from energy, biomedical, ICT, civil, mechanical, chemical, mathematical and physical sciences to the biological sciences.   “This is an exceptional opportunity to hear first-hand from those who at the forefront of engineering, ICT and science innovation and research,” explained Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. “Interaction is the lifeblood of scientific innovation so we are very much looking forward to meeting scientific and engineering colleagues and peers as well as members of the wider community,” said Professor Kieran Hodnett, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Limerick. Over the course of the day there will be talks from five speakers on topics as varied as Aerospace Research in Ireland, Marine Discovery Research, and Medical Device Research and Development. Speakers include: Gavin Campbell, Bombardier Aerospace; Martin Hynes, European Science Foundation; Professor Deniz Tasdemir, NUI Galway; Heinrich Anhold, StableLab; and Ray McCarthy, Boston Scientific.  Speaking about the event Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Vice-Dean of Research, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This is a unique day in the calendar of the two Universities, as engineers and scientists will get together to present and debate their research in a forum that is open to the public. Talks will be topical and aimed at a lay-audience. Our invited speakers are world-renowned and leaders in their field. We welcome local industry and the general public to participate in this event.” Presentations will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall with a simultaneous Postgraduate Poster Competition. Those interested in attending should visit the NUI Galway website to find out view the full programme of events www.nuigalway.ie/research-day or contact Sharon Allman sharon.allman@nuigalway.ie  -ENDS-

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Operation Transformation consultant, Professor Donal O'Shea, will deliver a seminar on ‘Obesity and the Immune System – Murmurations on a Theme’ at NUI Galway. Organised the Institute of Biology and the discipline of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway, the seminar will take place on Thursday, 11 April at 7.30pm in Máirtín O’Tnuthail Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building. Professor O’Shea is a Consultant Endocrinologist at St Vincent’s University and St Columcille’s Hospitals, Dublin where he runs a hospital based multidisciplinary treatment unit for the management of adult obesity. He chaired the Detection and Treatment subgroup of the National Obesity Taskforce in 2005 and currently chairs the nutrition council of the Irish Heart Foundation. In 2007 he appointed Associate Professor of Medicine in UCD. He is a member of the Department of Health special action group on obesity established in 2011 chaired the health impact assessment group on the potential benefits and harms of a tax on sugar sweetened drinks. Professor O’Shea’s work was recently highlighted in RTÉ’s ‘The Obesity Clinic’ and ‘Operation Transformation’. Dr Maura Grealy, Lecturer in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway, said: “We are looking forward to an interesting and insightful lecture from Professor O’Shea, who is a world leader in research into and treatment of obesity.” The seminar is free to attend and is open to those interested in obesity issues. For further information on the seminar contact Dr Maura Grealy, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, NUI Galway at maura.grealy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) According to the American Cancer Society, a new cancer epidemic is emerging in the US. Head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are rising dramatically and are projected to surpass cervical cancer by 2020. Experts will gather at NUI Galway on 17 May for a symposium to discuss the challenges this brings in terms of clinical management and broader public health ramifications. Jointly organised by NUI Galway’s Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology and School of Economics, the event is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of its Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS). HPV are a family of more than 100 viruses. The HPV- subtypes, 16 and 18, that are synonymous with cervical cancer, are also causal subtypes in head and neck cancer.  The incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer are three-times more likely to occur in men than women raising debate about vaccinating boys against this sexually-transmitted virus. Symposium chair, Professor Ivan Keogh, Head of the Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology at NUI Galway and Consultant Otolaryngologist at Galway University Hospitals, states: “There is a changing nature in the cause of tongue and tonsil cancers from traditional heavy smoking and drinking use to HPV. This symposium is a wonderful opportunity for all healthcare professionals involved in the provision of care to these patients to attend a free symposium with internationally-renowned keynote speakers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution.” The symposium will bring together leading national and international epidemiologists, pathologists, head and neck cancer clinicians, health economists and public health experts to debate current and future best practice. The organisers are delighted that Dr Brenda Corcoran, HSE National Immunisation Office, will conclude the symposium. The clinical keynote speakers are Dr Sara Pai and Dr William Westra, both from Johns Hopkins, who will discuss their latest research in diagnosing, treating and managing these cancers. The symposium will also feature presentations from Professor Terry Jones, University of Liverpool and Dr Mererid Evans, Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff, who will give the UK perspective on these cancers. Complimentary to the research angle, co-organiser, Mr Tony O’Connor, Consultant Otolaryngologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Galway makes the point that: “The symposium offers a unique opportunity for auxiliary healthcare professionals, dentists and GPs to engage in knowledge exchange on the detection and post-treatment management of these patients.”  This CPD-accredited symposium is limited to 120 delegates and reservation is strongly recommended. The full programme can be viewed at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=200  -ends-

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A new €3 million EU project is tasked with creating a clear strategy for Big Data in Europe. Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway are leading Ireland’s involvement in the project called Big Data Public Private Forum (BIG). The BIG project aims to provide a platform for industry, research, policy makers, and community initiatives to discuss the challenges of Big Data and the emerging Data Economy. The project is developing a requirements roadmap together with action plans for addressing these challenges at the European-level. The project sees eleven companies, research institutions and community initiatives from six European countries join forces to tackle issue surrounding Big Data. The amount of data in our world has been exploding over recent years, with IDC, the market intelligence agency, estimating that there is a doubling of the world’s data every two years. Harnessing the increasing volume of data in enterprises, governments, and our everyday lives is the opportunity, explains Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway. Professor Decker, who will deliver an address at the upcoming European Data Forum in Dublin on 9 April adds: “Big data is the opportunity to meet the challenges of our time. We are at a critical juncture where a concerted and collaborative effort is needed across Europe. Industry, government and academia must come together to put in place methods to deal with this data and maximise opportunities for Europe.” “The US has many early adopters of Big Data who have embraced it as an enabler of innovation. In Europe we are starting to see business leverage Big Data, but we need to accelerate its uptake”, says Dr Edward Curry, DERI Scientific Lead in the project. The BIG project will provide a major boost for technology adoption by identifying the key requirements for Big Data within different industry sectors (energy, transport, public sector, finance, manufacturing, retail, etc.) and creating technology and strategy roadmaps. Dr Curry adds: “We need to enable more European businesses to exploit the competitive edge that Big Data can provide. The roadmaps will help business communities understand the potential competitive advantages from Big Data technologies.”   The BIG project together with other supporting actions from the European Commission will contribute to the successful implementation of the Big Data economy. The BIG project will work towards the definition and implementation of a clear strategy that tackles the key research and innovation challenges with Big Data. Dr Curry notes, “It is critical that Europe is a leader in the Big Data economy. Key to this is a clear vision of the required technology research and innovation needed to gain Europe a competitive advantage. Within BIG Ireland is at the heart of defining a Big Data Strategy for Europe.” The strategy will be used as input for Horizon 2020, ensuring the strategy will be sustained beyond the project duration. The BIG project brings together major Big Data players within Europe. Along with NUI Galway, the consortium includes ATOS, Press Association, Siemens, AGT Group, Uni Innsbruck, University of Leipzig, DFKI, Exalead, Open Knowledge Foundation and STI International. -ends-

Monday, 8 April 2013

To get a taste of university life at NUI Galway, all CAO applicants and interested students of all years are invited to the campus for the annual Spring Open Day on Saturday, 20 April. The Open Day is an excellent opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to learn about the courses on offer at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and view the facilities. Running from 10am to 3pm, the Spring Open Day is expected to attract over 3,000 visitors. Taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops a particular highlight. New for this year, students from the School of Law will show short films they have made about famous legal cases, giving would-be solicitors and barristers a unique insight into the Law in action. A wide range of short taster sessions in Arts subjects, together with interactive Engineering and IT Zones will also form part of the packed programme for the day.  Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, and the new Engineering Building. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day. Popular highlights for parents will be the talks, 'Focus on Your Career' and 'A Parent's Guide to University'. With a packed programme of events for all ages, the event is an ideal family day out. This year, all counties in Ireland will be represented by a team of 'student ambassadors', answering questions on specific courses and all aspects of university life. Lecturers and support staff will also be available at over 80 stands to deal with any queries about courses, accommodation, finance and much more. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: "Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make and parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. Currently ranked third of the Irish universities in international rankings, NUI Galway is only one of two Irish Universities to be awarded the prestigious top rating of five stars in the latest QS Stars rating system. Five stars are awarded for exceptional developments in education, including teaching and research activity, as well as for top quality facilities. The University is also one of the top two universities in Ireland for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of new undergraduate students annually with the presentations of Excellence Scholarships valued at €2,000 to students who achieve exceptional Leaving Certificate results, while generous Sports Scholarships are awarded to high performing athletes. Visitors for the NUI Galway Spring Open Day can book a place and receive a programme in advance by visiting  www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, calling 091 494 145 or emailing visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- _________________________________ Fáilte roimh an bPobal teacht chuig Lá Oscailte an Earraigh in OÉ Gaillimh Chun blaiseadh a fháil de shaol na hollscoile in OÉ Gaillimh, tugtar cuireadh do gach iarratasóir CAO agus do mhic léinn eile i ngach bliain teacht chuig an gcampas do Lá Oscailte an Earraigh a bheidh ar siúl Dé Sathairn an 20 Aibreán. Is iontach an deis a fhaigheann mic léinn, agus a dtuismitheoirí agus a dteaghlaigh, ag an Lá Oscailte chun eolas a fháil faoi na cúrsaí atá á dtairiscint in OÉ Gaillimh, labhairt le léachtóirí agus féachaint ar na háiseanna atá ar fáil. Beidh Lá Oscailte an Earraigh ar siúl ó 10am go dtí 3pm agus táthar ag súil le breis agus 3,000 cuairteoir ar an lá. Beidh seisiúin eolais ar siúl ar feadh an lae chun léargas a thabhairt ar shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Ar cheann de na gnéithe is suntasaí beidh ceardlanna praiticiúla idirghníomhacha Eolaíochta ar siúl. Den chéad uair i mbliana, taispeánfaidh mic léinn ó Scoil an Dlí gearrscannáin atá déanta acu faoi chásanna dlíthiúla a bhí i mbéal an phobail, rud a thabharfaidh léargas ar leith ar an Dlí dóibh siúd atá ag dréim le bheith ina ndlíodóirí agus ina n-abhcóidí. Beidh réimse leathan gearrsheisiúin eolais ar siúl in ábhair na Dána, chomh maith le Zóin idirghníomhacha Innealtóireachta agus IT.  Ar thurais den champas taispeánfar an t-ionad spóirt agus giomnáisiam den scoth mar aon leis an bhFoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta. Beidh turais ar lóistín na mac léinn ar fáil do chuairteoirí ar an lá chomh maith. Cuirfidh tuismitheoirí suim sna cainteanna, 'Focus on Your Career' agus 'A Parent's Guide to University'. Tá clár imeachtaí den scoth beartaithe don uile dhuine, agus is cinnte gur iontach an lá a bheas ann don teaghlach ar fad. I mbliana, beidh ionadaíocht ag gach contae sa tír ag an ócáid le foireann ‘ambasadóirí na mac léinn', a fhreagróidh ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí ar leith agus faoi aon ghné de shaol na hollscoile. Beidh léachtóirí agus an fhoireann tacaíochta ar fáil chomh maith ag breis agus 80 seastán chun ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí, lóistín, maoiniú agus go leor eile a fhreagairt. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, an Stiúrthóir Margaíochta agus Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ceann de na cinntí is tábhachtaí a dhéanfaidh mac léinn ina s(h)aol an ollscoil a fhreastalóidh sé/sí uirthi a roghnú. Tá ról tábhachtach ag tuismitheoirí tacú le mic léinn agus iad i mbun an cinneadh sin a dhéanamh. Is é an Lá Oscailte an deis is fearr do thuismitheoirí a chinntiú go bhfuil an t-eolas ar fad acu chun tacú lena mac nó lena n-iníon ag an ollscoil. Molaimid do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh teacht chuig an Lá Oscailte, labhairt leis na léachtóirí agus leis na mic léinn reatha, eolas a fháil faoi chúrsaí, breathnú ar na háiseanna agus a fháil amach duit féin an bhfeileann OÉ Gaillimh duitse. Bhain go leor mic léinn leas as Lá Oscailte an Earraigh sna blianta roimhe seo go háirithe má bhí rún acu athrú intinne an CAO a úsáid roimh an spriocdháta an 1 Iúil.” Tá aitheantas idirnáisiúnta ag OÉ Gaillimh mar ollscoil a bhfuil cáil an teagaisc agus an taighde uirthi. Faoi láthair tá OÉ Gaillimh sa tríú háit i measc na n-ollscoileanna Éireannacha sa rangú idirnáisiúnta, agus tá sí ar cheann den dá Ollscoil Éireannacha ar bronnadh an rátáil is airde cúig réalta uirthi sa chóras rátála QS Stars is déanaí. Bronntar cúig réalta mar gheall ar fhorbairtí den scoth san oideachas, lena n-áirítear gníomhaíocht teagaisc agus taighde, chomh maith le háiseanna ar ardchaighdeán. Tá an Ollscoil ar an dara hollscoil is fearr in Éirinn ó thaobh mic léinn a choinneáil agus fostaíocht na gcéimithe. Gach bliain tugann OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas d’fheabhas acadúil na mac léinn nua fochéime trí Scoláireachtaí Feabhais ar fiú €2,000 iad a bhronnadh ar mhic léinn a fhaigheann torthaí den scoth san Ardteistiméireacht, agus bronntar Scoláireachtaí Spóirt flaithiúla ar lúthchleasaithe ar ardchaighdeán chomh maith. Féadfaidh daoine ar mian leo freastal ar Lá Oscailte an Earraigh áit a chur in áirithe agus clár imeachtaí a fháil roimh ré ach dul chuig www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, glao ar 091 494 145 494145 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig visit@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Monday, 8 April 2013

NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) together with Green Sod Ireland will host a public talk on leadership and the management of change in organisations, based on an innovative approach called complexity theory. The talk, entitled ‘Complexity and Collaboration – the way forward’ will be given by Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly of the London School of Economics, on Thursday, 18 April at 7.30pm in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. ‘Complexity and Collaboration – the way forward’ will outline and discuss a variety of tools and methods which can be used to apply complexity theory in a practical way to organisational change in different environments.  Professor Mitleton-Kelly will discuss how insights from complexity theory can help tackle apparently intractable problems in bringing about organisational transformation, emphasising the application of complexity theory in practice. This talk will benefit people in education, health, the community and voluntary sector and business, who are dissatisfied with traditional approaches to organisational change, and academics who would like to learn more about the application of complexity theory in practice. Through her work, Professor Mitleton-Kelly has developed a theory of social systems and a method to address complex social problems which is being used for teaching at universities around the world. She has been Policy/ Scientific Advisor to European and USA organisations, the European Commission, several UK government departments, and several foreign governments. Her research has concentrated on the implications of the theories of complexity for organisations, specifically on strategy and policy development and on the creation of enabling environments to address problems encountered by organisations in both the public and private sector. Inspired by the vision of the environmental organisation Green Sod Ireland, Professor Mitleton-Kelly has agreed to assist the organisation to scale-up and grow, through the application of complexity theory. The aim is to co-create a new culture, structure and way of working within the organisation and the wider community as Green Sod Ireland works for social change. “It is tremendous for us to have a woman of Professor Mitleton-Kelly’s calibre working with us in Galway. We are also very happy with this opportunity to strengthen our partnership with NUI Galway through CKI” said Melissa Griffith of Green Sod Ireland. Ann Lyons of NUI Galway’s CKI, said: “This public talk is part of a week-long visit by Professor Mitleton-Kelly to Galway, to work with Green Sod Ireland. CKI is delighted to have the opportunity of collaborating with Green Sod Ireland on this public talk and to be in a position to bring the work of Professor Mitleton-Kelly to a wider audience in Galway.” Admission to the talk is free of charge, but as places are limited, booking is required. Please book by contacting Mary Bernard at mary.bernard@nuigalway.ie or 091 493823. -ENDS-

Monday, 8 April 2013

Social Sciences Computing Hub establishes NUI Galway at the forefront of global Business and Social Science Research A Social Sciences Computing Hub at the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, has been formally launched by Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway. The ‘Hub’ is a unique facility that will serve both as a repository of diverse social science databases, quantitative and qualitative, and a computing resource that can be used by researchers across the University. This one-stop facility will enable access to diverse data, analytics, visualization and computational resources for research clusters across various Social Science research institutes. The architecture of the Hub will be set up in such a way that it will provide remote access to university users, both on and off campus. The Hub will facilitate integration of advanced scientific computational methods in Business Analytics and Social Science research utilising and adapting the frontier research methodologies from Natural, Physical, Mathematical, IT and Engineering Sciences. The Hub is designed to deliver regional, national, and international academic and industry collaborations to deepen the multidisciplinary research agenda to inform public policy. To that end, the Hub will offer wide ranging cross disciplinary workshops for academic and industry partners to create innovative research methods for the analysis of global, national and regional public policy issues. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute, said: “The creation of the Hub will enable our research community to continue to be at the forefront of international scientific excellence and opens up many new opportunites for our research community to contribute and engage in public policy analysis. The Hub also provides differentiating opportunities for students to develop new skills and knowledge.” Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, Associate Director for Multidisciplinary Research at the Whitaker Institute, said: “Globally, there seems to be a convergence on the importance of data and businesses that are driving for competitive advantage using superior analytics solutions. The Hub will be a creative space for developing innovative analytics both for businesses, and policy makers and other professionals in the public policy arena. Both big data in the business/finance domain and sparse data in the economic/social domain create challenging problems for the respective professionals. The Hub will actively pursue collaborative research in innovative research methods to address the challenges in both these domains.” “The first phase of the Hub ‘Advanced Business Analytics Laboratory (ABAL)’ has already begun its training programme in business analytics. Together with our Industrial partner Peracton, the ABAL provides state-of-the-art equity analytics platform – MAARS - via the cloud. Both these platforms will be used in training advanced business analytics, trading and investment techniques, historical back-testing, strategies consolidation and high frequency trading techniques using the financial market data.” Dr Raghavendra added: “One of the key goals of the Hub is to create a reinforcing link between research and teaching through advanced data analytics and visulaization techniques derived from the innovative multidisciplinary research conducted under its auspices. The ‘Hub’ aims to engage and challenge the undergraduate and postgraduate students in terms of both analytics and computation to enrich their educational experience at NUI Galway.” Dr Laurentiu Vasiliu, Peracton CEO, said: “I am delighted to partner with NUI Galway in this exciting development. This is a great opportunity for students, as well as various professionals to train on our MAARS platform where we have developed tools for big data class business analytics. Through this collaboration, Peracton is very proud to train the next generation of finance professionals using latest invsetment analytics platforms and help raise the entry level skill of these students in the business analytics and in investment/trading techniques” Peracton, a spin-out from NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute, was founded in 2010 to provide cutting-edge financial software via the Cloud. It develops and exploits advanced enabling technologies to solve complex business analytics problems for investment in the area of Stocks, Funds, ETFs, Bonds, Portfolio Management, Risk Assessment and algorithmic trading, as well as other solutions for investment management and the retail banking space. -ends-

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Over 400 delegates are attending a two-day European Data Forum, which opened in the Croke Park Conference Centre in Dublin this morning (April 9, 2013). The conference, which will discuss ‘Big Data’ strategies across Europe, was officially opened by Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence. The European Data Forum is the annual meeting place for industry, researchers, policy makers, and community initiatives to discuss the challenges and opportunities of ‘Big Data’ in Europe. The European Data Forum (EDF2013) is supported by the European Commission, and is being held in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. Many representatives from the European Commission will attend and speak at the event, including Roberto Viola, Deputy Director General of DG Connect. Other speakers include Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, and representatives from businesses including Telefonica Digital, Exalead, Siemens and EMC. At the conference, Michael Gorriz, CIO Daimler, was presented with the European Data Innovator Award. The award recognises outstanding enterprises and individuals, who have shown extraordinary vision and execution in the field of linked enterprise data management. The 2013 European Data Innovator award was made possible by Eccena, a spin-off of Brox IT Solutions and AKSW Research group from University of Leipzig. Deirdre Lee of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway is the local organiser of the European event: “The Irish Government has recently announced Big Data and analytics as a key part of a €300 million investment in science and technology. This is part of a wider European trend to embrace the potential of Big Data and use it as a strategic and competitive tool for the economic region.” “At this conference we are asking key questions such as - is the European economy ready for Big Data? Are we reaching out to relevant stakeholders? What does Europe provide in terms of innovative Business Intelligence solutions?” The EDF2013 is supported by the European Commission as well as by the Digital Repository of Ireland (http://www.dri.ie/), STI International (http://www.sti2.org/) and DERI, NUI Galway (http://www.deri.ie/) with further support from Fáilte Ireland (http://www.failteireland.ie/). EDF2013 is an associated event of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU (http://www.eu2013.ie/). The programme will consist of presentations and networking sessions by industry leaders, academics, policy makers, and community organisers on a diverse range of topics, including research and technology development, training and knowledge transfer, and commercialisation. For a full programme visit: http://2013.data-forum.eu/program  ------------------------------- end of official press release -------------------------------

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Summary: RTÉ Archives announce an ambitious collaboration with the newly announced SFI “Big Data” Research Centre called INSIGHT and the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), which will be carried out in DERI (NUI Galway) at INSIGHT, to develop an innovative semantic content discovery platform to open up the treasures of the RTÉ Archives. At the 2013 European Data Forum in Dublin, Head of RTÉ Archives Bríd Dooley, together with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT and Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway), and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, announced an ambitious, ground-breaking collaboration to develop an innovative cross-archival semantic content discovery platform as part of the new SFI INSIGHT data analytics centre, a joint initiative between UCD, NUI Galway, UCC and DCU. Opening the event, Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, said: “A key part of the Irish Government’s plan for growth and jobs is identifying areas where we believe Ireland can compete and win on the global stage.” Minister Shatter added: “One such sector where our ambition is to be amongst the world’s best is in ‘Big Data’ and its analytics. The Irish Government believes that given our climate, educational and skills base and our existing major strengths in ICT, we can benefit significantly in terms of quality jobs and growth from the global expansion of this sector.” “Analysing this explosion of data will revolutionise industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceutical production to further develop Europe's data economy and create good sustainable jobs in Ireland.” Minister Shatter also spoke of the “need for a coherent and practical set of Data Protection rules at National and European Union levels”. Referring to the “new, and increasingly common, risks for privacy” that arise from technological advances, he emphasised the importance of ensuring “that Data Protection standards keep pace with the emerging technologies and new business models”. Progressing the new EU Data Protection regulation and securing agreement on its content he stated is “a priority of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.” Minister Shatter concluded by saying: “Importantly, Big Data will have a huge societal impact with projects such as that proposed by the new Insight research centre in partnership with RTÉ Digital to explore the RTÉ archives, and open up avenues to investigate our cultural, historical, sporting and linguistic heritage and provide us with deep insights into what it means to be Irish.” Speaking during the Opening Session of EDF2013, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The Big Data sector is growing by 40% annually and as a nation we must ensure that we are developing the specialised skills needed to remain globally competitive. INSIGHT is a new national research centre in the field of data analytics that brings together the leading players from academia and industry in Ireland. This new SFI Research Centre will undertake research and develop new technologies that will attract dynamic partnerships with industry, further leverage investment for Europe, and ultimately help create high value jobs in Ireland and deliver economic and societal impact.” Big Data is a global challenge that asks us to turn vast quantities of ubiquitous raw data into knowledge that will inform people and improve society, business, and health. The Irish Government, under the stewardship of Science Foundation Ireland, is making a major investment in Insight, the mega research centre that will use world-class data analytics to address Big Data. Minister Bruton, TD and Minister Sherlock, TD, announced this ground-breaking initiative in February 2013. RTÉ is a partner in the INSIGHT research centre, and Bríd Dooley will work with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT) and Dr Sandra Collins (Royal Irish Academy) to bring together the skills and experience of the internationally recognised semantic web and linked data centre and the national trusted digital repository, with the rich essence and curation skills of RTÉ, to open up the wealth of treasures in the RTÉ Archives. Commenting on the project, Bríd Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives, a division of RTÉ Digital, said: “Our key priorities at RTÉ Digital are to meet the needs of audiences now and in the future through innovation and technology, and by playing an active role within the Digital Economy. As RTÉ Archives is a national resource and a hugely valuable asset to the public, we cannot underestimate the significance of this partnership with the INSIGHT Centre and the Digital Repository of Ireland. Our vision is to enable RTÉ to further step-change its ability to meet audience needs and to provide a much richer discovery, analysis and access gateway to this culturally and historically important material through digital means.” Dr Sandra Collins added: “This is a very important collaboration for the Digital Repository of Ireland. Preservation and access to our nation’s cultural and social heritage is our mission, and a critical part of this is the technology solutions to discover archival content – the essence that informs the narrative. In the age of Big Data, discovering the content, information and knowledge you want requires cross-disciplinary research, and partnering with RTÉ and INSIGHT is a wonderful opportunity to advance the state of the art.” Professor Stefan Decker, also speaking at the conference, added that: “Linked data technologies are enabling the liberation of value out of archives. We are excited to do this research with RTÉ, transitioning the technologies into practise and contributing to society.”   -ends-

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

NUI Galway graduate and Galway GAA hurling committee representative, Joe Byrne presented the University’s inaugural Player of the Year Awards at a special ceremony at the University last night (Monday, 8 April). The Player of the Year Awards honours all teams led by the outstanding players who participated on behalf of NUI Galway during the past third-level GAA season. A number of intercounty players from different counties were winners in hurling, camogie, ladies football and men’s gaelic football. Special Merit awards were also presented to those who, whilst not winning individual awards, achieved distinction by playing with both fresher hurling and football awards, as well as club administration. NUI Galway GAA Officer Michael O’Connor said: “This is part of NUI Galway GAA's increased involvement with the community and the players that represent the University. NUI Galway is also involved in the sponsorship of Man of the Match Awards in all Connacht hurling and football finals at second level to help showcase the best Gaelic games talent and highlight the games that take place at this level.” 2012-13 Player of the Year Awards: Fresher A Football: Lee Cullen from Bellanleck, Co. Fermanagh Fresher B Football: Ger McWalter from Foxford, Co. Mayo Fresher C Football: Éanna Bane from Caherlistrane, Co.  Galway Junior Football: Joint winners - Paddy Collins from Breaffy, Co. Mayo and Ruardhí McLoughlin from Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim Intermediate Football: Kieran O’Donnell from the Aran Islands, Co. Galway Senior Football: Shane Nally from Garrymore, Co. Mayo Fresher A Hurling: David Reidy from Ennis, Co. Clare Fresher B Hurling: Hannan Iqbal from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo Intermediate Hurling: Eoin O’Farrell from Blackpool, Cork Senior Hurling: Joseph Cooney from Bullaun, Co. Galway Camogie: Aisling Dunphy from Graigue Ballycallan, Co. Kilkenny Fresher Ladies Football: Emer Gallagher from Termon, Co. Donegal Lynch Cup Ladies Football: Michelle Guinan from Tullamore, Co. Offaly O’Connor Ladies Football: Ciara Hegarty from Moville, Co. Donegal Special Merit Awards: Conor Cleary from Kilmaley, Co. Clare (Dual Fresher); Kevin McMahon from Marino, Co. Dublin (Dual Fresher); Gordon Joyce from Fairhill, Cork City (Dual Fresher); Dinny Mulvey from Butlersbridge Co. Cavan (Junior Football Manager); Maureen Heneghan from Portstewart, Co. Derry (Camogie); Rebecca Towey from Ballaghadeeren, Co. Mayo (Ladies Football); and Byran O’Loughlin from Kilmaley Co. Clare (Intermediate Hurling). -ENDS-