Monday, 20 August 2012

The role of centres of excellence in treating cancer will feature during Ireland’s largest surgical conference next month.  Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the 37th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium which takes place from 7- 8 September. The annual event provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work, and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Dr John R. T. Monson will deliver the Memorial Lecture on ‘Role of Centres of Excellence in Rectal Cancer’ on Friday, 7 September at 3pm.  Dr Monson is Chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery and Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, New York.  Dr Monson, who was born in Dublin, most recently served as a Professor of Surgery, Head of the Academic Surgical Unit, and Deputy Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Hull in England.  His areas of expertise include the use of minimally invasive technologies in colorectal cancer treatment, and he has also been involved in basic research into a broad range of cancer-related areas.  They include such diverse topics as evaluating the activity and effectiveness of antibodies in fighting cancer, and qualitative assessments of decision-making in cancer care.  Dr Monson led the development of laparoscopic colorectal surgery in the UK since 1990 and chaired the UK’s National Training Programme.  A lecturer and award-winning author of more than 220 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters, he is a former Vice President of the British Association of Surgical Oncology, served on the Executive Council of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Professor John MacFie will deliver the State of the Art Lecture on ‘Training Surgeons for Future Service Requirements’ on Saturday, 8 September at 1pm.  Professor MacFie is Professor of Surgery at the Post Graduate Medical Institute, University of Hull.  He is current President of the Leeds Regional Surgical Club and President of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.  In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the James IV Surgical Foundation.  He holds Honorary Fellowships with the Royal College Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin, who is hosting the event along with his colleague Professor Oliver McAnena, says: “Cutting-edge research is taking place here in Ireland, but this is an opportunity to engage with research from other countries, and combine that with the latest clinical knowledge. We are delighted to welcome Dr Monson and Professor MacFie to this annual event, and look forward to hearing their insights.” Surgery is a discipline within the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, teaching programmes for undergraduate medical students and postgraduate surgical trainees.  Next month will see the first intake into a new study programme, the Masters Degree in Surgery (MCh), which is designed to enhance the academic and professional development of surgical trainees by improving the level of scientific appreciation for evidence-based clinical practice. The venue for the 37th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium will be the Engineering Building at NUI Galway. For further information call 091-524390 or visit www.freyer.ie -ends-

Monday, 20 August 2012

NUI Galway will host the 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) starting today (Monday, 20 August) until Saturday, 25 August. The event will provide a platform for interaction between scientists, consultants, and public servants engaged in the multi-disciplinary area of environment and health. Over 200 delegates are expected to attend, including 100 experts from China. SESEH will, for the first time, provide an opportunity for a direct communication between environment and health experts from China and Europe, and help to foster and develop international collaborations. SESEH 2012 will discuss questions such as ‘Is the air we breathe still fresh?’, ‘Is the water we drink still clean?’ and ‘Is the food we eat still safe?’  “Safeguarding our environment and our health is one of the most challenging issues that we are currently facing”, explains Dr Chaosheng Zhang of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and Chair of SESEH 2012. “With economic development and improvements in our quality of life, the environment around us is under pressure, and often deteriorating. As the second largest economy in the world, we have much to learn from and discuss with our Chinese colleagues.” Dr Zhang is an expert in Geographical Information Science (GIS) and is head of NUI Galway’s GIS Centre, based in the Ryan Institute.  GIS is generally understood as a computer-based mapping system, but its functions go far beyond that to solve sophisticated spatio-temporal problems in sectors of society, ranging from socio-economy, government, commerce and business, and environmental management. The conference is sponsored by NUI Galway, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Failte Ireland, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) and GIS company SuperMap from China. -ENDS-

Monday, 20 August 2012

Following national trends, points for NUI Galway’s courses has seen a dramatic increase of 51% this year. Demand for Science, Medicine, IT and Engineering have all soared in the CAO first round offers from NUI Galway, with sights firmly fixed on the jobs markets in these areas. Medicine at NUI Galway has seen a substantial increase in demand across all courses*, in particular Midwifery, up 30 points to 450 and Psychiatric Nursing degree increasing 25 points in 2012. NUI Galway’s Undenominated Bachelor of Engineering and Civil Engineering courses have increased from 400 points in 2011 to 430. Electronic and Computer Engineering has also jumped 40 points to 445 this year. Courses such as Biomedical Engineering (425 to 430), Sports and Exercise Engineering (380 to 400), Energy Systems Engineering (410 to 430), Project and Construction Management (315 to 325) and Electrical and Electronic Engineering (445 to 455) have all seen an increase in CAO points. Points for the majority of Science courses have increased this year with NUI Galway’s Biomedical Science degree seeing a substantial increase of 35 points to 550, with Biotechnology also jumping up 30 points to 445 this year. Specialised Science programmes have also increased such as Biopharmaceutical Chemistry degree increasing 80 points to 495, Mathematical Science (455 to 485), Earth and Ocean Sciences (365 to 380), Physics and Applied Physics (390 to 400) and Physics with Astrophysics (390 to 405). The Computer Science and Information Technology course has increased by 25 points to 415 this year with Business Information Systems degree also leaping to 370 from 355 in 2011. As with national trends Humanities programmes at NUI Galway has seen a dip in points this year. However specialised courses such as the BA sa Cumarsáid has increased 25 points to 350. Similar with Business courses nationally specialised programmes such as Commerce with French see a rise of 20 points to 495 this year. NUI Galway’s Admission Officer, Stephen O’Dea, said: ‘This year, as with last year, CAO applicants have their eyes firmly set on the jobs market as we once again witness increases in the entry level points for courses in Science, Medicine, IT and Engineering, with 87% of all courses in these areas showing points increases over last year. As expected, and in line with national trends, demand for Humanities courses are down, however specialised Arts courses continue to perform well. Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the University has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT and Engineering courses have proved very popular this year, which are supported by heavy investment in the Capital Infrastructure Project as new buildings, to house these courses, come on line. For example the new Engineering Building, a world-class teaching and research facility opened last year, accommodates some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250sqm building supports an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship.” -ENDS-   Pointí CAO méadaithe go mór don Eolaíocht, Leigheas, IT agus Innealtóireacht in OÉ Gaillimh Tá méadú suntasach 51% tagtha ar phointí do chúrsaí OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana, ag teacht leis an méid atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre. Tá an-éileamh ar Eolaíocht, Leigheas, IT agus Innealtóireacht sa chéad bhabhta de thairiscintí CAO ó OÉ Gaillimh, mar gheall ar mhargadh na bpost sna réimsí sin. Tá an-éileamh tagtha ar gach cúrsa Leighis* in OÉ Gaillimh, go háirithe Cnáimhseachas, tá méadú 30 pointe go 450 pointe tagtha air sin agus tá méadú 25 pointe tagtha ar chéim san Altranas Síciatrach in 2012. Tá méadú ó 400 pointe in 2011 go 430 pointe tagtha ar Bhaitsiléirí Neamhainmnithe san Innealtóireacht agus san Innealtóireacht Shibhialta in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá méadú 40 pointe go 445 tagtha ar Innealtóireacht Leictreonach agus Ríomhaireachta i mbliana. Tá méadú tagtha ar phointí CAO a theastaíonn ar chúrsaí cosúil le Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis (425 go 430), Innealtóireacht Spóirt agus Aclaíochta (380 go 400), Innealtóireacht Chórais Fuinnimh (410 go 430), Bainistíocht Tionscadail agus Foirgníochta (315 go 325) agus Innealtóireacht Leictreach agus Leictreonach (445 go 455). Tá méadú tagtha ar phointí d’fhormhór na gcúrsaí Eolaíochta i mbliana agus tá méadú suntasach 35 pointe tagtha ar an gcéim san Eolaíocht Bhithmhíochaine in OÉ Gaillimh go 550, agus méadú 30 pointe tagtha ar Bhiteicneolaíocht go 445 i mbliana. Tá méadú tagtha chomh maith ar shainchláir Eolaíochta cosúil le céim sa Cheimic Bhithchógaisíochta a mhéadaigh 80 pointe go 495, Eolaíocht Mhatamaiticiúil (455 go 485), Eolaíochtaí Domhain agus Aigéin (365 go 380), Fisic agus Fisic Fheidhmeach (390 go 400) agus Fisic le Réaltfhisic (390 go 405). Tá méadú 25 pointe tagtha ar an gcúrsa Ríomheolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta Faisnéise go 415 i mbliana agus léim an chéim Córais Faisnéise Gnó go 370 ó 355 in 2011. Mar atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre, tháinig laghdú ar phointí do chláir sna Daonnachtaí in OÉ Gaillimh i mbliana. Mar sin féin, tháinig méadú 25 pointe ar shainchláir cosúil leis an BA sa Chumarsáid go 350 pointe. Cosúil le cúrsaí Gnó ar fud na tíre tháinig méadú 20 pointe go 495 ar shainchláir cosúil le Tráchtáil le Fraincis i mbliana. Dúirt Oifigeach Iontrála OÉ Gaillimh, Stephen O’Dea: “I mbliana, ach an oiread leis an mbliain seo caite, tá iarratasóirí CAO ag coinneáil súil ghéar ar mhargadh na bpost agus arís eile tá sé le feiceáil againn an méadú atá tagtha ar na pointí a theastaíonn do chúrsaí Eolaíochta, Leighis, IT agus Innealtóireachta. Tá méadú tagtha ar na pointí ar 87% de na cúrsaí sna réimsí seo le bliain anuas. Mar a bhíothas ag súil leis, agus ag teacht leis an méid atá ag tarlú ar fud na tíre, laghdaigh an t-éileamh ar chúrsaí sna Daonnachtaí, ach tá ag éirí go maith i gcónaí le sainchláir sna Dána. Tá iarratasóirí ag déanamh cinntí maithe; tá siad ag roghnú cúrsaí a bhfuil an Ollscoil láidir iontu agus a bhfuil cáil ar an Ollscoil dá mbarr. Tá an-tóir ar chúrsaí san Eolaíocht Bhithmhíochaine, san IT agus san Innealtóireacht anseo i mbliana, agus tá infheistíocht mhór déanta san Infreastruchtúr Caipitil agus foirgnimh nua á dtógáil chun na cúrsaí seo a chur ar bun iontu. Mar shampla an Foirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta, áis Teagaisc agus Taighde den scoth a d’oscail anuraidh agus ina mbíonn 1,100 mac léinn agus 110 comhalta foirne. Tá an foirgneamh 14,250 méadar cearnach ina chnámh taca ag glúin nua innealtóirí a rachaidh i ngleic le teicneolaíochtaí nua agus a thabharfaidh faoin nuálaíocht agus faoin bhfiontraíocht.” -CRÍOCH-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway is currently running an online exhibition of unique personal material relating to the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) Michael Cusack. The GAA, which remains a dominant force in Ireland's cultural and sporting life, was founded in 1884 as a highly influential element of the Irish cultural renaissance of the late nineteenth century and of Ireland's struggle to re-establish its own political, linguistic and cultural identity. In 2007 the nieces of Michael Cusack's daughter-in-law, Kathleen O'Connell, donated a collection of documents and photographs associated with Cusack and his family to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Among the most important historical items in the collection are the complete minutes of the Dublin Hurling Club, from 1883. Cusack was Vice-President of the club, a predecessor to the national organisation founded the following year. In addition, there is a diary kept by Cusack on a visit to his native Clare in 1902 and a range of personal, biographical and photographic material on Cusack's family. Many of these items are now available as part of this online exhibition created by the NUI Galway's Library archives service.  This is one of a number of digital resources and exhibitions created by the archives service to promote access to its valuable collections. Fergus Fahey, Digitalisation Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Aside from its value for researchers into the cultural forces at work in that seminal period, and in particular the events leading up to the foundation of the GAA, the collection is unique in constituting the only known surviving material in Cusack’s own hand. It also provides an unparalleled insight into the resilient personality of Cusack, the private family man, and his vibrant and gentle wit.” Croke Park's famous Cusack Stand takes its name from Michael Cusack (1847–1906), one of eight men present at the founding of the GAA in Hayes's Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on 1 November 1884.  Cusack was appointed honorary secretary of the new organisation, whose aim was to promote and codify Gaelic games. Prior to the founding of the GAA Cusack had founded the short-lived Dublin Hurling Club in February 1883 and Metropolitan Hurling Club in December 1883. As well as his involvement in Gaelic sport, Michael Cusack a teacher by profession was a prolific journalist, contributing to titles such as United Ireland, Celtic Times, Shamrock, Fáinne an Lae and The Nation.  Many of these titles are available in the James Hardiman Library's Special Collections.  The Michael Cusack collection is available to view at http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/cusack/. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ireland is now part of an academic network which hopes to improve disaster preparedness in cities worldwide. NUI Galway’s experts have joined with 67 other universities in efforts to increase society’s resilience to natural and man-made disasters. The project, called ANDROID (Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to Optimise Educational Development), aims to promote co-operation and innovation among European higher education institutions to increase society’s resilience to disasters of human and natural origin – such as earthquakes or the damage caused by ongoing wars. ANDROID, supported by an EU grant worth €800,000, will run for three years and is led by University of Salford’s Centre for Disaster Resilience, based in the UK. So far a consortium of partners from 64 European higher education institutions has embarked on the project, joined by three institutions from Australia, Canada and Sri-Lanka. Alexandra Revez from the School of Geography and Archaeology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway, whose current research looks at flooding issues in Ireland, explains: “We need to stay one step ahead of disaster, and be prepared for all kinds of eventualities. In the case of earthquakes, this might involve strict building regulations, in the case of flash flooding this might involve public preparedness.” Over three years, the consortium partners will describe, analyse and compare the capacity of European cities and higher education institutions to address disaster risk. ANDROID will provide the link between the research and the public, helping to reinforce the connection between education and society. “There is now recognition of the need for collaboration on a large scale that involves a plurality of actors. ANDROID is based on an inter-disciplinary consortium of partners that comprises scientists from applied human, social and natural disciplines. Addressing disaster risk is an endless or continuous process that cannot stop,” said Professor Amaratunga from the Centre for Disaster Resilience. The project was inspired by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) 'Making Cities Resilient' campaign. The campaign advocates widespread commitment by local governments to build resilience to disasters, increase national government support to cities to strengthen local capacities and to develop global goals that are applicable for all cities. The next phase of ANDROID will involve using all the data collected by the consortium partners to create laws and other practical measures to build resilience. The Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway is the largest national multi-disciplinary research hub focused on building an internationally-recognised programme of research-led impacts, as well as activity contributing to public policy debates and contemporary societal issues facing Ireland and Europe. The Institute fosters a culture of research excellence by bringing together scholastic strengths from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, and also facilitates, supports and enhances existing and emerging collaborative research interactions nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/cisc. -ends-

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

NUI Galway’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, officially launched the GIS Centre in the Ryan Institute this week. This event took place as part of the new international conference of 2012 Sino-European Symposium on Environment and Health (SESEH 2012) in the Bailey Allen Hall. ‘GIS’, Geographical Information System and/or Science, covers both technology and a rapidly growing science. It is used for analysing spatial data in many sectors of society, ranging from economics, government, business, and environmental management. The most popular applications of GIS in society are Google Earth and GPS navigation systems. Dr Chaosheng Zhang, Head of the GIS Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This is a milestone for the University. We have received wide support from all colleges of the University and I am confident that the GIS Centre will grow quickly.” Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, Professor Colin Brown, congratulated Dr Zhang on the organisation of SESEH and his assistance in establishing the GIS Centre. “The GIS Centre is already beginning to affect the way our researchers collaborate across a wide range of topic areas. We have developed an expertise that allows us to provide practical training courses for our researchers and any clients, inside or outside NUI Galway, with an interest in GIS.” The launch of the GIS Centre was sponsored by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) Ireland’s National Mapping Agency and Supermap, a leading GIS company from China. As part of the GIS Centre launch NUI Galway launched its new MapGenie web map service, an exciting new online service from OSi which gives online access to mapping and imagery. Geraldine Ruane, OSiCEO, said: “OSi congratulates NUI Galway and the Ryan Institute on the launch of their GIS Centre and for taking the initiative as the first university to provide OSi’s MapGenie service to its students and staff. Using mapping in this way allows for better decision making and ultimately cost-savings. Using OSi’s MapGenie service in projects or research can provide better efficiencies and lead to more effective results.” -ENDS-

Friday, 24 August 2012

NUI Galway graduate and 2011 Hamilton Prize winner, Fionnuala Connolly, is about to embark on a PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences in Harvard University. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, Fionnuala, from Knocknacarra, Galway City has been offered a full scholarship as well as a Pierce Fellowship which is awarded to the top 5% of graduate students. "We are thrilled for Fionnuala and her success in applying to the best graduate schools abroad", says Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway. “It is a testimony to her remarkable academic achievements so far, and also to the excellent reputation of Irish Applied Mathematics. We are sorry to see her leave Galway, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which cannot be turned down.” Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “The Hamilton Prize is awarded each year to the third-year student who is best in mathematical sciences at NUI Galway. It has gone to students majoring in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, and Financial Maths. Its prestige is undeniable, and we encourage all students to strive in mathematical subjects and aim for it. Fionnuala has been an outstanding student – she has attained first-class honours in every exam she has taken in NUI Galway and I was not at all surprised to hear that she was offered fellowships by one of the best universities in the world.” Fionnuala began at NUI Galway in 2008, originally to study Physics with Medical Physics. “At the end of my first year, I realised I enjoyed mathematics and decided to immerse myself fully into its application to real-world problems and am grateful to the College of Science to have allowed me to switch to a degree in Applied Mathematics.” While at Harvard, Fionnuala is hoping to work in a field related to modelling in engineering or medicine, possibly with links to neurosciences. In recent years, Mathematical Sciences at NUI Galway have undergone several major changes, with for example the fusion of the former Departments of Mathematics, which included Statistics, and Mathematical Physics into a School with four Disciplines of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Bioinformatics, and the launch of a new Degree in Mathematical Science. -ENDS-

Friday, 24 August 2012

500 visitors come onshore for one day showcase of Galway Friday, 24 August, 2012: Over 500 students, faculty, and staff of Semester at Sea® (SAS), the nation’s premier shipboard program for study abroad, will arrive in Galway at 8:00 am on 31 August for a one day exploration of Galway before also docking in Dublin. Ireland is the first country on the academic voyage itinerary. Sarah Cosgrove, a student from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway joined the shipboard community in Halifax where embarkation took place on 23 August. All participants are traveling aboard the MV Explorer, a state-of-the-art passenger ship that Semester at Sea has outfitted as a traveling university. Speaking in advance of her departure, Sarah Cosgrove, from Sligo and a postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, said: “I began a Marine Science degree in NUI Galway in 2006 and I am extremely happy to be continuing my studies as a postgraduate researcher. The University has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities over the last six years and my current involvement with the semester at sea program is a perfect example of such an exciting and rewarding opportunity.” Sarah added: “I think the idea of this ‘floating campus’ which invites students from over 25 campuses across the US to travel the globe visiting a vast number of countries and experience multi-cultural diversity is a simply out-standing concept. I am both honored and delighted to share this experience and I am very much looking forward to educating and informing so many international students on what we have to offer here in Galway and the West of the Ireland. It is definitely a once in a life-time opportunity.” Semester at Sea is a global study abroad program that traces its roots to 1963. Participants, who hail from more than 250 U.S. and international universities, circumnavigate the globe aboard the 24,300-ton campus of the MV Explorer, attend classes in a closely knit environment with an international faculty, complete fieldwork and travel while in port, and receive course credit from the University of Virginia, the academic sponsor. “Ensuring a positive message about Galway Harbour and NUI Galway is vitally important to open new avenues and form new relationship with the Semester at Sea program. Galway Harbour Company is delighted to be able to support Sarah Cosgrove in delivering the key messages of promoting Galway as a cruise destination on the transatlantic passage from Halifax to Galway onboard the cruise ship Explorer”, said Galway Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan. The autumn voyage departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23 August 2012 and will travel to international destinations including Ireland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Dominica before returning to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA in December. This is the 111th voyage of Semester at Sea. Eamon Howley, Managing Director of BEM Ireland Ltd, said: “BEM Ireland was proud to be selected as the preferred Destination Management Company in the region by the Galway Harbour Board last September. We have put together a number of one day and three day tour packages for Semester at Sea that will showcase Galway and the West. BEM Ireland is delighted to be supporting Sarah Cosgrove, a marine student from NUI Galway, who will join the students from Semester at Sea aboard the Explorer on her journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Galway. Sarah will be presenting information on the West of Ireland and helping the students to select the tours that are of most interest to them. We hope she has a very enjoyable voyage and a great life experience.” Over the years, Semester at Sea has achieved a number of significant milestones, including groundbreaking visits to countries such as the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Myanmar, and participants have met with prominent leaders including Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Corazon Aquino, Sidi Mohammed, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. ENDS

Monday, 27 August 2012

NUI Galway has announced its Energy Management System (EnMS) will be certified to International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 50001. The certification, which will be completed in September 2012, will cover the University campus in Galway, including more than 110,000sqm of facilities, including teaching, leisure and sports, conference, laboratory and cutting-edge research facilities. Energy is one of the biggest recurring costs NUI Galway face annually. The implementation of an energy management system will not only help to manage and monitor energy consumption, but also to reduce it. This maximizes energy efficiency and reduces annual energy consumption and resulting expenditure on critical utilities. Savings made in this way will help to fund ongoing expenditure in other energy reduction programs and to invest in new energy efficient technologies. Noel O’Connor, Buildings Services Engineer at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has focused on energy management for many years. We chose to have our EnMS certified to give us, and our stakeholders, confidence that we are managing energy use efficiently in all our operations. We also believe that the regular audits will help us to keep energy at the top of our management agenda and help us to focus on continual improvement. NUI Galway intends to build on lessons learned from the ISO 50001 certification process into our fundamental design criteria for new buildings. We are also conscious of our role as a research-based university and we will share relevant data gleaned from our EnMS and improvement projects as an educational resource for our students and researchers; particularly those in the Environmental, Engineering and Economics programs.” NUI Galway has an annual replacement program for existing building stock to install energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling systems. The capital building program is heavily influenced by a focus and philosophy of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, beyond present day regulations and planning standards.  A case in point is the newly opened Engineering Building. The building contains a wide- range of technologies such as large-scale rainwater harvesting for grey water use, combined heat and power plant, biomass boiler, solar thermal system, insulation and glazing properties in excess of planning requirements, intelligent control systems low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofs for water attenuation, and many other cutting-edge technologies. The structure is among the first in Ireland to employ the use of voided slab systems. The innovation introduces ‘plastic bubbles’ into the concrete, reducing the weight and quantity of concrete used. ISO’s portfolio of over 18,600 standards provides business, government and society with practical tools for all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social. ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in facilitating trade, spread knowledge, disseminate innovative advances in technology, and share good management and conformity assessment practices. ISO 50001 is based on the management system model that is already understood and implemented by organisations worldwide. It can make a positive difference for organisations of all types in the very near future, while supporting longer term efforts for improved energy technologies. NUI Galway has engaged the services of Casey Technology and CICS to certify its EnMS to ISO 50001. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway are involved in a new European project which hopes to deliver a cost effective tool for the speedy diagnosis of infections such as pneumonia.  The test would reduce diagnosis time from days to hours, so that the appropriate treatments can be administered as early as possible for the best possible outcome. Respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, are amongst the top four major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children, killing an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five each year. “There is an urgent need for rapid diagnostic tests capable of identifying the large range of microorganisms and antibiotic resistances involved with infection”, explains Dr Thomas Barry of the Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at NUI Galway.  “Speed and accuracy are key to appropriate therapy and survival of the patient. The ultimate objective is to develop new cost effective, user-friendly products that will be routinely used in hospitals.  This could replace time-consuming and labour-intensive methods so that a diagnosis can be achieved within a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.” The diagnostic products for the rapid diagnosis of Respiratory Tract Infections, specifically pneumonia, will be based on a novel ‘sample-in, result-out’ technology platform. The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group (MDRG) at NUI Galway is part of an international consortium involved in the project, funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7). A total grant of €6 million was awarded with the contribution to NUI Galway close to €1 million. The project, Rapid Identification of Respiratory Tract Infections (RiD-RTI), represents a unique partnership of SMEs, universities and hospitals from four European countries. The MDRG at NUI Galway joins University College London, the French diagnostic company Genewave, the Finnish Biotech company Mobidiag, and Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris in this consortium. The NUI Galway project component is led by Dr Thomas Barry, Principal Investigator of the MDRG which is based in Microbiology along with Dr’s Nina Tuite and Kate Reddington. -ends- 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Culture Night 2012 will take place on Friday, 21 September with cultural institutions from across the country opening their doors to stage a series of special events to mark the occasion. Among those hosting events for this national evening of celebration is the Archives and Special Collections services in NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library. The Library holds numerous unique archival collections dating from the 15th century to the present day across a range of disciplines. Throughout the night, the James Hardiman Library will be showcasing many of these archival treasures. The programme of events will begin with an overview of the literary archive, life and legacy of the celebrated Irish playwright Tom Kilroy. This will be followed by an exhibition and talk on Pomes Penyeach and Nora Barnacle archived letters. This exhibition will allow the public to view an original edition of the James Joyce written collection of poems, donated by Joyce to the Special Collections of the James Hardiman Library. To complete the event a special film screening of The Dead will also take place. Adapted from James Joyce’s classic story, The Dead was the last film directed by John Huston in 1987. Prior to the screening, Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media will give a short introduction on the John Huston archive. NUI Galway Librarian, John Cox, said: “Culture Night offers an ideal opportunity to engage the public with some of the treasures in the James Hardiman Library’s archives and special collections and the public are very welcome to attend all or part of our events.” All events, which are free and open to the public, will take place at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway with doors opening at 5.30pm. For more information or to RSVP contact Barry Houlihan in the James Hardiman Library at 091 493353 or email barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie.    -ENDS-

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Enhancing the survival of discards and developing hatchery technologies Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are part of a new of €2.4 million EU project that aims to develop and enhance the sustainability of the prawn fishery. The research will focus on developing hatchery and ranching technologies, and enhancing the survival of discards. The latter is a contentious issue in ongoing EU Common Fisheries Policy negotiations. Nephrops norvegicus, also known as ‘Dublin Bay prawn’, ‘langoustine’ or ‘scampi’ will be the specific focus of the ‘NEPHROPS’ project. It is being led by NUI Galway and the Orkney Fisheries Association, and will bring together expertise from the fishing industry, technologists and academia across Europe to explore the potential for enhancing the sustainability of inshore fisheries. “The mortality of prawns is generally the result of poor handling and inappropriate discard protocols,” explains Dr Anne Marie Power, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway. As part of this project we will be developing ways of enhancing the survival of discards from fisheries.” After capture by trawl or creel undersized prawns (often as much as 45% of the catch) may be thrown back and it is estimated that 75% of discards from trawl fishing may die. Another aspect of the project is to develop hatchery technology suitable for use by groups of local fishermen interested in enhancing their fishery by releasing juveniles onto suitable grounds. “In order for this research to be successful, we will need to understand better what makes good grounds for prawns, how they behave when they are released and what can be done to enhance survival at the critical release stage”, said Dr Power. The main areas of work for researchers at the Ryan Institute are the identification of suitable inshore prawn habitats, as well as mapping and tagging studies to examine movement of animals. Growth trials will be conducted at the University’s Carna Aquaculture Research facility. The project leaders within NUI Galway are Dr Anne Marie Power and Professor Mark Johnson, who is also overall scientific leader for the NEPHROPS consortium. Professor Johnson commented: “Nephrops is a really important fishery in Ireland due to its economic value. This is a great opportunity to work with industrial partners, especially pot fishermen, to provide more opportunities to sustainably develop the resource.” The project will also include close liaison with Dr Colm Lordan of the Marine Institute. The University’s element of the project is worth €540,000. Other research institutions involved are University of Hull, Swansea University, Goteborg University and the Technology Institute in Norway.The research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA Research Executive Agency http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/103402_en.html under grant agreement no. 286903.   For more information and a full list of contacts visit: www.nephrops.eu ENDS

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Daráine Mulvihill a former student of the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge will this week form part of Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage of the London Games which began on 29 August. Daráine, who hails from Ashbourne, Co. Meath was awarded the ESB/Rehab Young Person of the Year Award in 2002 and was a member of the State Council, working in an advisory capacity to the President.   In 2006 while completing her postgraduate studies with NUI Galway, Daráine was awarded the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Gold Medal for achieving the highest standard on the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach.  While commenting on her time at NUI Galway, Daráine said: “I very much enjoyed my year with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, learning many new and invaluable skills which are now central to my new role with Channel 4.” After finishing the Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, Daráine worked in the RTÉ children’s programming department as well as the BBC and the international sports channel ESPN.  Viewers can tune into Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage, featuring Daráine from the 29th August through until the 9th of September. ENDS Iar-mhac Léinn de chuid OÉ Gaillimh mar Láithreoir ag Channel 4 do na Cluichí Paralimpeacha Beidh Daráine Mulvihill, iar-mhac léinn de chuid Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge mar láithreoir leis an gcainéal teilifíse, Channel 4, le linn na gcluichí Paralimpeacha a thosaigh an 29 Lúnasa. Is as Baile Trasna, Cill Dhéagláin, Co. na Mí, do Dharáine.  Bronnadh Gradam BSL/Rehab Ghaiscíoch Óg na Bliana uirthi in 2002 agus bhí sí ina ball den Chomhairle Stáit, údarás comhairle a thugann cúnamh don Uachtarán. D’fhreastal Daráine ar an tArd-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach, OÉ, Gaillimh in 2005 – 2006 agus bronnadh Bonn Óir Raidió na Gaeltachta uirthi don té is fearr a bhain caighdeán amach ar an gcúrsa.  Agus í ag tagairt don tréimhse a chaith sí leis an Acadamh, dúirt Daráine gur: “Thaitin an bhliain a chaith mé san Acadamh go mór liom, bhain mé scileanna den scoth amach agus gan an cúrsa ní bheadh mé ag tabhairt faoin ról atá agam anois.” D’éirigh le Daráine obair a fháil in RTÉ tar éis di an cúrsa a chur i gcrích agus  tá obair déanta ag Daráine ó shin i leith leis an BBC agus leis an gcainéal spóirt, ESPN, i measc go leor eile.  Beidh Daráine le feiceáil ar an scáileán agus í i mbun tráchtaireachta le Channel 4 do na cluichí Paralimpeacha atá ar siúl ón 29 Lúnasa – 09 Meán Fómhair i Londain. CRÍOCH

Friday, 31 August 2012

The newest and most detailed maps showing the predicted location of coral reefs in Irish waters were revealed at a conference in NUI Galway this week.  The maps are expected to prove very useful to policymakers, and draw heavily on information contained in the Irish National Seabed survey seafloor bathymetry map – one of the most extensive maps ever produced by a maritime nation. They were presented by NUI Galway PhD candidate, Anna Rengstorf, at a four-day international marine conference ‘Ecosystem Based Management and Monitoring in the Deep Mediterranean and Norht Atlantic’ which concludes today. Over 70 scientists and stakeholders from 15 countries attended the event at NUI Galway to discuss the latest scientific research from two European Union funded projects - CoralFISH and Deepfishman - devoted to the management of deep-sea resources.  The aim of the conference is to produce concrete proposals for the implementation of improved management of deep-sea fisheries and indeed other deep-sea resources taking into account the need to conserve biodiversity. The conference is very timely as the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Mde. Damanaki has proposed changes to the Deep-Sea Access Regime governing the licensing of boats wanting to fish deep-sea species. The Commissioner has proposed that trawling and all bottom contact fishing gears should be phased out over a two year period. This has been met with applause by conservationists but with less enthusiasm by fishermen. Dr Anthony Grehan, of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, who is hosting the conference said: “The need to develop the tools and a strategy for the implementation of maritime spatial planning is becoming increasingly urgent.  Competition for deep-sea resources is becoming more intense while the need to ensure adequate conservation of biodiversity - and genetic variety - is a priority for the future health of the planet.”  One approach that is gaining favour is the development of habitat suitability modeling that takes information about where species or habitats occur from detailed maps and extrapolates it to produce predicted distribution maps over much larger areas. NUI Galway is one of the pioneers of applying this approach in the deep-sea.  The maps produced by Ms Rengstorf, who is a Geological Survey of Ireland Griffiths Programme post-graduate awardee, will feed into this approach. Dr Grehan who supervises the project said, “these maps are statistically robust and reduce the need for expensive field mapping while providing sufficient detail for policymakers and managers to enable activity zoning as a key component in the implementation of a any future maritime spatial plan.” Dr Grehan added this is definitely the way forward and will likely become a key component of the implementation of the ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’.  The Government plan was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD at the Marine Institute, Galway last month with the intention of doubling the value of Ireland’s ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030 and increasing the turnover from our ocean economy to more than €6.4bn by 2020. -ends-

Friday, 31 August 2012

New report reveals conservation status of the world’s invertebrates One fifth of the world’s invertebrates may be heading for extinction according to ‘Spineless’, a report published today (Friday 31 August) by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), in conjunction with IUCN and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.  Digging up earthworms, chasing butterflies and collecting clam shells could become a thing of the past if enough isn’t done to protect invertebrates. And if they disappear, humans could soon follow. These critters form the basis of many of the essential benefits that nature provides; earthworms recycle waste nutrients, coral reefs support a myriad of life forms and bees help pollinate crops. More than 12,000 invertebrates from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species were reviewed by conservation scientists who discovered freshwater species to be under the highest risk of extinction, followed closely by terrestrial and marine invertebrates. Dr Louise Allcock of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway was one of the co-authors of the report.   The findings from this initial group of global, regional and national assessments provide important insight into the overall status of invertebrates. Together they indicate that the threat status of invertebrates is likely very similar to that of vertebrates and plants. Invertebrates are at risk from a variety of threats.  Molluscs such as thick shelled river mussels suffer from pollution from agricultural sources and dam construction, which affects the quality of the water they live in.  Crayfish such as the noble crayfish, are at risk from the impact of invasive species and diseases.  What starts off as a local decline could lead to a global extinction, and recognising the growing pressures on invertebrates is critical to informing more effective conservation.  Dr Ben Collen, head of the Indicators and Assessments unit at ZSL says: “Invertebrates constitute almost 80 per cent of the world’s species, and a staggering one in five species could be at risk of extinction. While the cost of saving them will be expensive, the cost of ignorance to their plight appears to be even greater”. The highest risk of extinction tends to be associated with species that are less mobile and are only found in small geographical areas. For example, vertebrate amphibians and invertebrate freshwater molluscs both face high levels of threat – around one third of species. In contrast, invertebrate species which are more mobile like dragonflies and butterflies face a similar threat to that of birds, and around one tenth of species are at risk. ZSL’s Director of Conservation, Professor Jonathan Baillie added: “We knew that roughly one fifth of vertebrates and plants were threatened with extinction, but it was not clear if this was representative of the small spineless creatures that make up the majority of life on the planet. The initial findings in this report indicate that 20% of all species may be threatened.  This is particularly concerning as we are dependent on these spineless creatures for our very survival.” Invertebrates not only provide a bewilderingly rich and varied component of the natural world, they are our natural capital; the engineers of the many benefits which humans accumulate from an intact and fully functioning environment. “In the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) we are now trying to expand the number of invertebrates species assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,” said Dr Simon Stuart, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission. “The early results of this work are included in this book. I very much hope that the expansion of conservation-related information on invertebrates will give them a much higher conservation profile in future.” “We need to successfully communicate the significance and value of invertebrate life, if we are to rescue the many thousands of threatened species from the brink of extinction.” said Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Wildscreen, an IUCN Red List partner working to help raise the public profile of the world’s threatened species, through the power of wildlife imagery. “This important report highlights the impact we are having on the world’s invertebrate biodiversity, species we all rely on for healthy natural systems, sustainable livelihoods and human well-being." Human demand for resources is continually increasing the pressure on invertebrate populations. This report paints a clear picture of how biodiversity is changing, and will enable experts to implement successful conservation plans for those invertebrates which are struggling to survive. ZSL will be presenting ‘Spineless: Status and Trends of the World’s Invertebrates’ at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju on 7 September.   ENDS

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd has been awarded the Appleton Medal by the Institute of Physics for his ‘distinguished research in environmental and atmospheric physics’. In particular, the NUI Galway physicist was lauded for his work on the formation and transformation of aerosols, the tiny particles which can effect cloud formation and impact climate change. Sir Edward Appleton was a British physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his achievements in ionospheric physics. His experiments proved the existence of a layer of ionised gas in the upper atmosphere, known now as the Appleton layer. The Institute of Physics, which has its headquarters in London, awards the medal every two years to identify and honour physicists who are today making remarkable contributions to science. At NUI Galway, Colin O’Dowd is Professor in the School of Physics and Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies. Commenting on his award, he said: “It is a great honour to be recognised by as prestigious an organisation as the Institute of Physics, especially as this particular accolade dates back to 1941. This award is an indicator of the international standing of research carried out at NUI Galway.” Professor O’Dowd is internationally renowned for his research into atmospheric composition, air pollution and climate change and has previously received the Smoluchowski Award and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Manchester for his research achievements.  Much of his work involves NUI Galway’s Mace Head atmospherics research station, which is one of the most advanced and sophisticated research stations of its kind. Data from Mace Head, located in Connemara, is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. Previously, Professor O’Dowd’s research has been recognised through the award of Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society and with Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, the latter being regarded as the highest academic honor within Ireland. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Ireland has the capacity to be an international centre for commercialisation in the field of regenerative medicine, delegates at an international stem cell conference in NUI Galway heard today. Reflecting this potential, new Irish company Orbsen Therapeutics is developing proprietary technologies designed to isolate stem cells. The NUI Galway spin-out is targeting the rapidly maturing and expanding regenerative medicine market, which is expected to grow to $118 billion next year. Frank Barry is Professor of Cellular Therapy at NUI Galway, Director of Orbsen Therapeutics, and organiser of the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Conference which opened yesterday. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell, and this event brings together the world’s leading scientists in the field to discuss their latest ideas and findings. This is the first major stem cell conference to take place in Ireland, and is looking at all aspects of adult stem cells, from basic biology to manufacturing to clinical trials and therapeutics. Stem cells hold great promise as an alternative to drugs and surgical procedures for treating a wide range of medical conditions including heart disease, arterial disease of the limbs, diabetes complications, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The treatment potential of stem cells is linked to their natural capacity to dampen inflammation and promote healing, repair and regeneration of damaged tissues. According to Professor Barry: “Ireland has a strong research base in adult stem cell therapy and has the capcacity for advanced stem cell bioprocessing. There is huge potential in this market and we anticipate that there will be extraordinary growth over the next 5-10 years. There are currently over 400 regenerative medicine products on the market with many more in development.” Orbsen Therapeutics has developed a clear pipeline of clinical indications which they hope, using their proprietary technologies, to bring through to clinical trial over the coming years. These include osteoarthritis, acute lung injury syndrome, diabetic foot ulcer, critical limb ischemia and others.   “Combining the utility, novelty and the value of its technologies, Orbsen is well placed to take advantage of the many opportunities in this fast moving and important emerging market”, said Brian Molloy, CEO of Orbsen Theraepeutics. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited was formed as a spin out company to develop and commercialise new intellectual property built up by researchers at the SFI-funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. Scientists at NUI Galway are investigating how adult stems cells might be used to develop new treatments for vascular disease, osteoarthritis and lung injury. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI. The conference is supported by Orbsen Therapeutics, Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway and Fáilte Ireland. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A crew of ten NUI Galway students and graduates finished sixth place in the overall standings, and first in their class, in the 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race. The team, one of the youngest to compete in the competition, was the second Irish boat to cross the finishing line in their 38-ft racing yacht which they chartered especially for the race. The Round Ireland Yacht Race is a 1400km non-stop circumnavigation of Ireland by sea and is held every two years. The NUI Galway crew completed the race in 5 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes. NUI Galway crew member, Joan Mulloy, said: “It was a tough race and very closely fought with a boat the same as ours in our class. The training and preparation paid off as we consistently had better boat speed than our competitors. The last two days of the race were very tough with light winds and a strong current against to us to start. The wind then picked up and we had an upwind slog down the Irish Sea.” Ms Mulloy added: “Wicklow Sailing Club surely was a welcome sight and after five days and two hours at sea we were very happy to see here family and friends waiting for us on the pier. A massive thank you is owed to all of our supporters and those who followed us on the live race tracker.” The NUI Galway crew was made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce. NUI Galway crew skipper Cathal Clarke said: “I am delighted that we have come away with a result that reflects the effort put in by the whole crew in training, preparation and during the race. On behalf of the crew I would express gratitude both to the University and the wider community for the enthusiasm and strong support we have received; it has made the whole campaign possible.” Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “We are hugely proud of the NUI Galway crew. The determination and drive of this crew is to be admired, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews to participate in the race. They have worked very hard and displayed incredible determination and dedication over recent months in their preparation for the race. The University actively promotes leadership and team building skills and is delighted to support this crew to further develop these attributes as they compete in the Round Ireland Race. We congratulate them on this great success.” -ENDS-    

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

NUI Galway Pavilion attracts thousands of visitors at Volvo Ocean Race Finale Festival The relocation of NUI Galway’s Quadrangle to the Global Village last week, created somewhat of a stir locally where the University created a partial replica of its Quadrangle building, to front its Pavilion at the Global Village during the Volvo Ocean Race. NUI Galway graduate and now President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins paid a special visit to see for himself how his Alma Mater looked in South Park. The Global Village is a free exhibition arena, open for the duration of the festival, located in South Park. The NUI Galway pavilion has been a central attraction, recreating a sense of the University’s iconic Quadrangle building, which dates back to 1845. Inside, the NUI Galway pavilion looks to the future, with interactive demonstrations and exhibitions showcasing the cutting-edge innovation and research for which the University has a world-wide reputation. “This is the largest sporting event in Ireland this year, and a wonderful opportunity to promote all that is great about Galway”, said NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. “The event had almost 100,000 visitors to the City last time round, over half of whom came from abroad, with significant international media reach also. Our whole-hearted involvement, in the volunteering aspects of this event and in the exhibitions, is a reflection of the importance of reaching such a world-wide audience.” The NUI Galway pavilion, which will remain until the end of the festival, features four zones based on themes of Exploration, Innovation, Creativity and Go Global as well as Ideas Lab. Activities also include an Alumni Family Day to which all NUI Galway graduates are invited on Sunday, 8 July. NUI Galway has also been the official education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway’s volunteering programme, bringing its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event to recruit the ‘small army’ of volunteers needed to support the overall festival. As well as NUI Galway having a presence in the Innovation and Marine Pillars at the Global Village, a separate Speaker Session pavilion in the Global Village has featured some of NUI Galway’s experts. In addition, the Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media takes place on Thursday, 5 July, presenting a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht. Official Festival App The official ‘Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway’ App, specifically designed for the event, was the creation of a team of researchers based at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. The free app, billed as a must for all visitors to Galway during the festival, providing maps, a full festival programme and lots of visitor information about Galway City. With tens of thousands of visitors in Galway for the festival, the app allows individuals to make the most of the experience, while able to track their friends and network with groups. Vice-Director of DERI, Professor Manfred Hauswirth, said: “This app demonstrates the leading role of DERI in cyber-physical systems. DERI technology makes real-world sensor input easy to use in any application.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, but were thrilled to get behind this local project as DERI’s Brian Wall explains: “We really embraced the whole concept of ‘get onboard’ for the festival, so developed this unique app which is a must for every visitor.” The app is available for free from the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Android store. The app will be updated and improved as new information becomes available so please check for updates during the festival. Find out more about the University’s involvement at http://www.nuigalway.ie/volvo-ocean-race-2012/  -ends-

Monday, 2 July 2012

Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway announced details of their 2012 partnership on Monday, 2 July. This is the second year of the partnership and will focus on several different initiatives. NUI Galway will partner the 35th Galway Arts Festival’s Volunteer Programme where the University is one of the leaders in the field of volunteerism through its ALIVE programme. SELECTED is an artist development strand of the Festival for emerging artists and producers developed by NUI Galway and the Festival in 2011. The programme will be expanded and developed in 2012 and will see six students from the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway take part in the initiative, which will allow them full access to every aspect of the Festival.  The programme will offer the students the opportunity to see how a Festival of this magnitude is put together while also attending shows, post-show talks and getting a hands-on experience from performers and organisers. The students will also have the opportunity to meet with visiting international Festival Directors. Commenting on the SELECTED Programme, Galway Arts Festival's Artistic Director, Paul Fahy said, "SELECTED is amongst the most exciting of initiatives that the Festival has introduced in the past few years. It affords participants a brilliant opportunity to see a wide variety of the programme on offer and to gain insight through a series of seminars with world leading producers, curators, directors and artists of the professional arts world. Taking part in these seminars are key executives from Edinburgh Festival, London’s National Theatre and leading Irish artists and producers amongst many others.” NUI Galway’s Dr Patrick Longergan added, “NUI Galway is delighted to be involved in the SELECTED programme again this year. SELECTED gives our students the opportunity to meet with some of the world's great artists in one of the world's great arts festivals. That involvement has a massive impact, not only on our students' education but also on their future careers as writers, directors, producers and so on. SELECTED is one of the key examples of how our drama and theatre programmes set out to blend excellent academic tuition with world-class practical experiences. It is also one of the major ways in which NUI Galway is involved in the Galway Arts Festival - allowing us to play our part in making Galway Ireland's cultural capital, and in developing future generations of Irish artists.” In 2012 NUI Galway will also partner with the Festival on a new strand of programming called First Thought Talks. This new initiative will feature a series of lectures, talks and “in conversations with” on the subject of creativity and will take place during this year’s Festival. Festival Chief Executive, John Crumlish commented, "The Festival is delighted that NUI Galway will once again be partnering the Festival on a number of initiatives. The continuing support for both the Festival Volunteer and SELECTED programmes is very important and also very exciting while the new partnership focused on The First Thought Talks will permit this new strand of programming to develop significantly over the next number of years.” For further information on the festival, bookings and GAFTV previews and exclusive interviews visit www.galwayartsfestival.com Ends    

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the results of significant research completed by a NUI Galway research team led by Professor Martin Cormican.  The research details new links between water quality and health. The report, entitled Enhancing Human Health through Improved Water Quality, provides an overview of this research and includes new data on: How the growing global emergency of antibiotic resistant bacteria is connected to our water.  It demonstrates how widespread the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria has become and adds to the evidence that there is a need to extend current campaigns to reduce the use of antibiotics in human and animal healthcare.  The findings of this part of the research will feature on RTE’s The Science Squad tomorrow, Thursday, 5 July, at 8.30pm. How DNA technology can be used to find disease-causing bacteria and viruses in water.  It demonstrates how bacterial contamination of water can be tracked back to sources such as humans or animals (e.g. cows or pigs), leading to faster corrective actions. How heavy rainfall can result in sudden changes in water quality as bacterial contamination gets washed into groundwater from farm sources and septic tanks.   The research is also important for families and businesses using private wells as it shows how poorly protected wells or water treatment can have an adverse impact on their health. Key recommendations include: Reducing the use of antibiotics in human and animal healthcare. Classifying water sources - to highlight those at greatest risk. Applying computer models to predict changes in water quality, so that it is possible to plan and respond. Implementing total quality management systems approach to water treatment plants, as operational failure is identified as a major risk. The need for proper well construction and water treatment and protection of water sources from contamination from farms, septic tanks or other sources. Dara Lynott, EPA Director, said: “The rainfall that renews our rivers, lakes and ground water is the foundation for good health as well as an important resource for tourism, farming and industry.  It is important to recognise and deal with the threats to water quality and health which are highlighted in this project. But it is also important to see the opportunities identified for Ireland to develop and provide tools for monitoring and addressing the challenge of protecting our water resources.” Professor Martin Cormican, NUI Galway, lead author of the report, said: “Water is an increasingly scarce resource in an increasingly crowded world.  We are privileged to have a lot of it and we have tended to take it for granted.  This project is part of a process of developing the science and the policies to treat water for what it is – the foundation of life and health for the people of Ireland and a tremendous sustainable natural asset in our engagement with the rest of the world.” This research was conducted in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and in UCD, with partners in the HSE and local authorities.  The full report, Enhancing Human Health through Improved Water Quality, is available on the EPA website at: www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/health/ ENDS  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to attend NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research will be officially launched on Tuesday, 10 July, by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. TheRyan Institutehas over 300 researchers making itIreland’s largest research institute to focus on some of the most pressing environmental and energy issues of the 21st century. The official launch will coincide with a public symposium entitled ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’ featuring leading international experts in the environmental marine, energy and smart infrastructure research. EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “If Europe is to become more competitive and innovative, we need the best brains working together to face the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead. This new Institute, embedded in NUI Galway, will build on the long-standing excellence of the Environmental Change Institute and the Martin Ryan Institute for Marine Science, and will pool resources and expertise. I am convinced that the Ryan Institute will increase Ireland’s already considerable contribution to European environmental, marine and energy research.” The symposium will be opened by Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The keynote address, ‘A global perspective on the environment in 2040’, will be delivered by Dr Aaron Bernstein, Director of the Centre for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. He is co-author of the acclaimed book Sustaining Life, which examines the threats that diminishing biodiversity pose to human health. Other speakers at the symposium will include: Dr Kristina Johnson, former Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC; Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Centre for Health from Environment, Ryan Institute; Dr Lisa Amini, Head of IBM’s Smarter Cities Technology Centre in Dublin; and Dr Niall McDonough, European Science Foundation. Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute, said: “NUI Galway has a long history of engaging with vital environmental and marine issues through our research, especially in the areas of climate change, water resources, marine ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability. As energy research - bioenergy and ocean energy – has become a recent strength in NUI Galway, we realised that bringing all these researchers together in the Ryan Institute could help to unlock creative solutions to some of the pressing resource problems facing us in the near future.” In the afternoon, sessions will focus on national and regional issues, with a specific focus on how Ryan Institute research can feed into regional development. Members of the Galway 2040 Initiative, whose supporters are interested in developing a vision and plan for sustainable development of Galway city and county, will be contributing strongly to the discussions. Other high-profile guests and researchers will stimulate discussion on some of the most important technological, scientific and socio‐economic global and local perspectives on environmental, marine and energy issues. NUI Galway’s formal research in this area goes back to the early-1990s when a donation from Dr Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair, was made in memory of his father Martin. The symposium is free and all are welcomed to be involved. Registration and programme details for the day can be found on www.conference.ie. -ends-   Seolann OÉ Gaillimh Institiúid Uí Riain ag Siompóisiam Poiblí I láthair beidh Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht agus Pat Rabbitte TD, an tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha Is í Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, a dhéanfaidh Institiúid Uí Riain do Thaighde Comhshaoil, Muirí agus Fuinnimh in OÉ Gaillimh a sheoladh go hoifigiúil Dé Máirt, an 10 Iúil.Tá breis agus 300 taighdeoir ag obair in Institiúid Uí Riain, agus í ar an institiúid is mó in Éirinn atá ag plé le cuid de na ceisteanna is práinní maidir leis an gcomhshaol agus le cúrsaí fuinnimh na haoise seo. Ag an am céanna leis an seoladh beidh siompóisiam poiblí ar siúl dar teideal ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’, áit a labhróidh saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta ar thaighde comhshaol muirí, fuinnimh agus infreastruchtúir chliste. Dúirt an Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: “Más le hÉirinn a bheith níos iomaíche agus níos nuálaí, ní mór dúinn na daoine is éirimiúla a chur ag obair as lámh a chéile chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin agus chun na deiseanna a bheidh ann amach anseo a thapú. Cuirfidh an Institiúid nua seo, atá i gceartlár OÉ Gaillimh, leis an bhfeabhas atá ag baint le fada leis an Institiúid um Athrú Comhshaoil agus le hInstitiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain don Mhuireolaíocht, agus cuirfidh sí acmhainní agus saineolas ar fáil in aon áit amháin. Táim cinnte go gcuirfidh Institiúid Uí Riain leis an méid suntasach atá déanta ag Éirinn cheana féin ar mhaithe le taighde comhshaoil, muirí agus fuinnimh na hEorpa.” Is é Pat Rabbitte TD, an tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha a osclóidh an siompóisiam. Is é an Dr Aaron Bernstein, Stiúrthóir an Centre for Health and the Global Environment i Scoil Leighis Harvard a thabharfaidh príomhchaint an tsiompóisiam, ‘A global perspective on the environment in 2040’. Is comhúdar é ar an leabhar cáiliúil Sustaining Life, a dhéanann iniúchadh ar na bagairtí ar shláinte an duine a bhaineann le bithéagsúlacht laghdaitheach. I measc na gcainteoirí eile ag an siompóisiam beidh: An Dr Kristina Johnson, iarFho-Rúnaí Fuinnimh sa Roinn Fuinnimh i Washington, DC; an Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Lárionad Sláinte Faoi Scáth an Chomhshaoil, Institiúid Uí Riain; an Dr Lisa Amini, Ceannasaí Ionad IBM do Smarter Cities Technology i mBaile Átha Cliath; agus an Dr Niall McDonough, Fondúireacht Eolaíochta na hEorpa. Dúirt an tOllamh Colin Brown, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Uí Riain: “Tá dea-cháil ar OÉ Gaillimh le fada mar gheall ar an obair atá déanta aici le haghaidh a thabhairt ar phríomhcheisteanna comhshaoil agus muirí trína cuid taighde, go háirithe sna réimsí a bhaineann le hathrú aeráide, acmhainní uisce, éiceachórais mhuirí, bithéagsúlacht agus inbhuanaitheacht. Le tamall anuas tá láidreacht ar leith léirithe ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcúrsaí taighde fuinnimh - bithfhuinneamh agus fuinneamh farraige, agus thuigeamar go mbeadh tairbhe ar leith ag baint leis na taighdeoirí seo ar fad a thabhairt le chéile in Institiúid Uí Riain d’fhonn teacht ar fhreagraí cruthaitheacha ar chuid de na fadhbanna acmhainní is mó atá os ár gcomhair sa ghearrthréimhse.” Díreoidh na seisiúin sa tráthnóna ar cheisteanna náisiúnta agus réigiúnacha, le béim ar leith ar an gcaoi ar féidir le taighde Institiúid Uí Riain cabhrú le forbairt réigiúnach. Beidh ról ar leith sna cainteanna ag comhaltaí ón Galway 2040 Initiative, ar spéis leo fís agus plean a chur i dtoll a chéile d’fhorbairt inmharthana chathair agus chontae na Gaillimhe. Cuirfidh aíonna agus taighdeoirí iomráiteacha eile leis an bplé ar chuid de na peirspictíochtaí teicneolaíochta, eolaíocha agus socheacnamaíocha domhanda agus áitiúla is tábhachtaí maidir le ceisteanna muirí agus fuinnimh. Cuireadh tús le taighde foirmiúil OÉ Gaillimh sa réimse seo i dtús na 1990idí nuair a thug an Dr Tony Ryan, bunaitheoir Ryanair, deontas don Ollscoil i gcuimhne a athar Martin. Tá an siompóisiam saor in aisce agus tá fáilte roimh chách. Is féidir teacht ar eolas faoi chlárúchán agus ar chlár an lae ag www.conference.ie. -críoch-

Friday, 6 July 2012

As part of the Galway Fringe Festival running from 12-30 July, NUI Galway will host eight plays, two literary events, plus music, dance and exhibitions. All the shows will take place in the new Cube Theatre, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Wildebeest Theatre Company will perform ‘Tan’, while Youth Work Ireland are performing their black comedy ‘Banged Up Broads’. Galway Actors Workshop will perform ‘The Heroism Hotline’  and Floating World Productions will present ‘Saol’. NUI Galway Students and Staff will also present a series of new original works. Ríona Hughes will perform the comic one woman show ‘Ballyganruaile’ and Dramsoc presents ‘Rewind’. There are also a series of plays written or directed by recent NUI Galway graduates of Drama. The Cube Triple Bill featuring award winning playwright Paddy O’Byrne’s ‘Ahhh Lad!’. Other plays to feature include ‘The Thee Women’, ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan 2, and ‘The Berlin Decision’ by Shaun Leonard. New writing is also featured in ‘Girl Uninterrupted’ by Eve O’Mahony and a rehearsed reading of ‘Life Security’ by Drew Dunlop. Award winning Cúirt poetry slam winner Shaun Leonard is hosting four nights of poetry and music with guests including former All-Ireland Slam winner Miceál Kearney, comedian Steve Bennett and poets Kevin Higgins, Anne Irwin and Nicholas Fitzgerald. Children are catered for with a production of Truth Fairy and ‘Do you Speak Mermish’, a multi Sensory drop in room creating an undersea experience to stimulate the senses and imagination. Tickets are from €3-€12 and can be purchased at the SocsBox, NUI Galway, or at the Fringe Festival Box Office on Frances Street or on line at www.galwayfringe.com.  For more information on all the on campus events call 091 492852 or check out www.festivals.nuigalway.ie and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Shows and times as follows: ‘Tan’: 12-14 July at 8pm ‘Banged Up Broads’: 19 July 8.30pm and 20 July at 6.30pm ‘The Heroism Hotline’: 28 and 29 July at 5.30pm ‘Saol’: 19 July at 6pm Ballyganruaile’: 23–26 July at6pm, and 27 July at 8.30pm ‘Rewind’: 26, 28 and 29 July at 8.30pm, and 27 July at 6pm ‘Ahhh Lad!’: 22-25 July at 8.30pm ‘The Thee Women’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm ‘Cathleen Ní Houlihan 2’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm and ‘The Berlin Decision’: 22–25 July at 8.30pm Shaun Leonard poetry nights: 15-18 July at 7pm ‘Truth Fairy’: 28-29 July at 12.30pm ‘Do you Speak Mermish’: 24-29 July from 11am–3pm -ENDS-

Monday, 9 July 2012

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2012/13. NUI Galway has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Tuesday, 31 July at 5 pm. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services.  The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Currently over 60 students receive support under the scheme in a broad range of sports. The scheme has assisted dozens of athletes’ progress to the highest levels of their sport in recent years and is aimed at providing them with the tools for success in the long term. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: “Our aim is to help our scholarship athletes develop as a student and as a sportsperson. We are not rewarding for past successes rather trying to prepare our students for future achievement.” A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships: “Our efforts in developing a high performance sports environment in NUI Galway have already shown significant success with a large number of our Sports Scholarship students representing county and national teams. We are especially proud of those individuals that have excelled on the International stage, including Irish Olympian hopefuls at London 2012, Paul Hession and Olive Loughnane.  All of these achievements have been secured by students who are also receiving a world class education and being supported by the scheme to meet the challenges of these dual goals” For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html  or by calling the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway on 091 495979. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html  ENDS   Seans amháin eile ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh Tá seans amháin eile le hiarratais a chur isteach ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh 2012/13. Tá dea-cháil ar an Ollscoil le fada as ucht a cuid feabhais i gcúrsaí spóirt agus táthar ag cur leis an gcáil seo le héachtaí san Iomramh, Iomáint, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí chomh maith le héachtaí aonair éagsúla. Is é Dé Máirt, an 31 Iúil ag 5pm an spriocdháta le hiarratas a bheith déanta ag mic léinn reatha agus ag mic léinn a bheidh ag tosú ar chúrsaí. Tá an Clár Scoláireachta dírithe ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth atá cláraithe mar mhic léinn de chuid na hOllscoile.  Sa bhliain reatha acadúil, fuair lúthchleasaithe atá ag freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh tacaíocht shuntasach airgid agus ghairmiúil.  Tá sé mar aidhm leis na scoláireachtaí cabhrú le lúthchleasaithe óga a mbuanna spóirt a fhorbairt. Faoi láthair faigheann os cionn 60 mac léinn tacaíocht faoin scéim agus iad i mbun réimse leathan spóirt. Chabhraigh an scéim le go leor lúthchleasaithe dul ar aghaidh go dtí an leibhéal is airde ina spórt le blianta beaga anuas agus tá sé dírithe ar iad a chumasú leis na huirlisí a theastaíonn le barr feabhais a bhaint amach. Ní mór d’iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt critéir acadúla iontrála OÉ Gaillimh a shásamh agus ní mór dóibh iarratas a beith déanta acu tríd an CAO ar an ngnáthbhealach. Is é Gary Ryan an tOifigeach Forbartha don Spórt Éilíte in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is é an aidhm atá againn cabhrú leis na lúthchleasaithe a fhaigheann scoláireachtaí forbairt mar mhic léinn agus mar lucht spóirt. Nílimid ag tabhairt aitheantais do rudaí atá déanta go dtí seo ach ag iarraidh ár gcuid mic léinn a ullmhú ionas go n-éireoidh leo amach anseo”. Is iar-lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach agus reathaí ráibe a sháraigh curiarracht é Gary Ryan agus is dóigh leis go mbeidh an-rath ar scoláireachtaí spóirt OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá toradh ár gcuid iarrachtaí timpeallacht ardchumais don spórt a fhorbairt in OÉ Gaillimh le sonrú sa líonard mic léinn atá ar fhoirne contae agus náisiúnta agus a bhfuil Scoláireachtaí Spóirt acu. Táimid thar a bheith bródúil as na mic léinn a bhfuil a gcion déanta acu go hidirnáisiúnta, san áireamh Paul Hession agus Olive Loughnane a bheidh ag súil le Londain 2012 an samhradh seo.  Is mic léinn iad seo a bhfuil oideachas den scoth á fháil acu agus atá páirteach i scéim a chuideoidh leo na dúshláin atá rompu a shárú.” Roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn a shásaíonn riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile ar bhonn fiúntais. Chomh maith le scoláireacht, gheobhaidh na mic léinn tacaíocht eile spóirt chomh maith cosúil le fisiteiripe, cóireáil do ghortú, traenáil aclaíochta, cóitseáil agus cúnamh le taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Is féidir teacht ar thuilleadh eolais faoi Scéim na Scoláireachtaí Spóirt ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html nó trí ghlao a chur ar an Aonad Spóirt agus Áineasa in OÉ Gaillimh ag 091 495979. Ní mór gach iarratas a dhéanamh ar líne ag http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html Críoch

Monday, 9 July 2012

Former Under Secretary for Energy with the Obama administration, Dr Kris Johnson, is one of the newly appointed Advisory Board for NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute. The Advisory Panel meets in NUI Galway today, ahead of tomorrow’s official launch of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Dr Johnson is joined on the board by Dr Aaron Bernstein ofHarvard Medical School, Dr Lisa Amini of IBM, Dr Niall McDonough of the European Science Foundation and Dr James Cunningham of NUI Galway. Dr Johnson was Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC until end-2010. TheRyan Institutehas over 300 researchers making itIreland’s largest research institute to focus on some of the most pressing environmental and energy issues of the 21st century. The official launch tomorrow, Tuesday, will coincide with a public symposium entitled ‘Green Shift, Blue Growth, Bright Future?’ featuring leading international experts in the environmental marine, energy and smart infrastructure research. The free event, which will also be attended by Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is open to the public with more information available on www.conference.ie During his keynote address at the symposium, Dr Bernstein has said that he wishes to address “the greatest accounting problem ever known” which relates not to the value of money but the “value of nature”. He says: “The depletion of natural capital makes clear that we have as yet been unable to balance the biospheric books even if our survival depends on it.” Bernstein claims that about half of the newly approved medicines in the United States between 1980 and the present wouldn’t exist if nature hadn't provided them to us. “In addition, nearly two-thirds of humanity drinks water from lakes, rivers or other freshwater bodies that may be purified by species inhabiting the watershed surrounding those water bodies”, he adds. Dr Bernstein says: “The Ryan Institute at NUI Galway has many worthy goals in research and education, and it is noteworthy that despite the financial turmoil that besets Ireland, the Institute has moved ahead. Surely at a time when we must know so much more about the life that sustains us, and must redouble our efforts to educate ourselves about why nature matters, this reflects a deep wisdom, the kind of which we must use to meet the challenges that lie ahead and that will enable us to find the accounting we need to do business better with the biosphere.” Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute, said: “Our Institute is honoured to have such leading experts lend their support, innovative ideas and international perspective on how our strengths in environmental, marine and energy research can be harnessed to provide maximum impact for Ireland in the coming decade.” -ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The new Mayor of Galway city, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, has launched the O’Shaughnessy Bridge with Mr Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects at NUI Galway. The bridge, which crosses the Eglinton Canal, is a suspension bridge of about 50 metres and is designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists as part of a wider scheme to encourage sustainable travel in Galway City. Speaking at the launch, Mayor O’Flaherty said: “This joint initiative between Galway Transportation Unit and NUI Galway is a credit to all involved. In particular this bridge plays a significant role in the increase in walking and cycling in the City by providing a high quality channel by which pedestrians and cyclists alike can avail. It offers potential to reduce car dependency in key areas of the City by offering commuters and pedestrian travel options.” The project consisted of the design and construction of two bridges, the main one spanning the Eglinton Canal and a smaller one spanning a nearby mill race. It is part of the Smarter Travel initiative and provides a vital link between Fisheries Field and the NUI Galway Campus. The project was promoted on a partnership basis by NUI Galway and Galway City Council. On behalf of NUI Galway, Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects, said: “We in the University were pleased to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in Galway City Council to advance this very worthwhile project.” Mr Warnock thanked members of the design team and the employees of the contractors, all of whom had worked with NUI Galway staff to deliver the project very effectively. The consulting engineers were Ryan Hanley and L&M Keating were the main contractors. The structural steelwork for the bridge was manufactured in Galway by Pat Rynn (Engineering) Ltd. Landscape architects Mitchell & Associates worked on the area where the bridge now meets the campus. Finance for the €1million project came from the National Sustainable Travel Office in the Department of Transport, with some additional funds provided by Galway University Foundation and the University itself. Michael O'Shaughnessy (1864-1934), whom the bridge is named after, graduated in Civil Engineering from NUI Galway (then Queen's College Galway) in 1884. In 1912 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the City of San Francisco. He undertook the building of new infrastructure for the city after the disastrous earthquake and fires of 1906, including the construction of the Twin Peaks tunnel, the famous Seashore Wall, the streetcar (tramway) system and the San Francisco Water-Supply and Electric-Power project, involving dams, powerhouses and 160 miles of transmission towers, pipelines and tunnels the whole way to the City. As City Engineer, O'Shaughnessy commissioned the design and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The O'Shaughnessy Dam was named in his honour and provides water and electricity to 2.4 million people in the city of San Francisco, San Mateo County, Alameda County, and the San Joaquin Valley. Prior to becoming Chief Engineer in San Francisco O’Shaughnessy worked as Engineer with the Southern Pacific Railroad and with the Sierra Valley and Mohawk Railroad; was Chief Engineer of the Mountain Copper Company, where he built 12 miles of narrow gauge mountain railroad; assisted in building an aggregate of about thirty miles of large irrigation conduit and some twenty miles of tunnel in Hawaii; and constructed the 260ft high Morena Dam and 13 miles of conduit with seventeen tunnels for the City of San Diego.  ENDS

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The First Annual Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize for a Postgraduate Research Paper in Microbiology at NUI Galway has been awarded to PhD student Kate Reddington.   A native of Westport, Co. Mayo, Kate won the award for her recent paper on tuberculosis testing. It is hoped that her research will contribute to the global effort to control tuberculosis (TB). The new diagnostic DNA test allows for the identification of the exact bacteria causing a patient’s TB which will give valuable information for their treatment.   The prize was given in memory of the late Anthony (Tony) Moran, who was Professor of Microbiology at NUI Galway until his death in 2010. His major research contribution to microbial biochemistry and glycobiology is widely recognised at both national and international levels. Professor Moran was also a Mayo native, originally from Westport.   This Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize is open to PhD or MSc students, currently registered at NUI Galway who, as lead author, publish a high-quality research paper on any aspect of the microbiology of prokaryotic or eukaryotic micro-organisms.   Kate’s article was published in the acclaimed scientific journal PLoS ONE, and was co-authored by NUI Galway’s Dr Thomas Barry and Dr Justin O’Grady.   -ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Local Galway City weather is now available on your smartphone via an android app.  The app arose from a collaboration between the disciplines of Information Technology and Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The weather data is provided by the IRUSE research group at NUI Galway led by Dr Marcus Keane, Lecturer in Energy Systems Engineering at the University. Dr Hugh Melvin, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Is Galway the wettest city in Ireland? We all know that the Irish love talking about the weather and that the Irish love their smartphones. Now you can combine these two with a free Android app and answer that question at the same time. This version won’t stop the rain or banish the clouds but we hope that the next one will, a practical example of cloud computing.” The app is free and can be found by searching ‘NUIG Weather’ on Android app store. The app provides live weather data (such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and atmospheric pressure) as well as graphs of archived data so that you can review trends in weather over last day or month. The weather data is also available via web browser from http://weather.nuigalway.ie. The app development was carried out by Ronan Everiss, an NUI Galway Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate under the supervision of Dr Hugh Melvin. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The coastal radar system run by Dr Mike Hartnett’s research group in the newly launched Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, made a last minute entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been revealed that the radar, which measures currents and waves throughout Galway Bay on the hour, was instrumental to the success of the PUMA team in the in-port races. The radar is a sophisticated system, normally used for advanced marine research. The finale to the Volvo Ocean Race took place in Galway Bay on Saturday afternoon, with the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, with PUMA going into the race tied on the same points with CAMPER. On Friday afternoon, Dr Hartnett was contacted by Robert Hopkins Jnr., PUMA Ocean Racing performance coach, to see if the radar data could be provided to the crew of the PUMA boat. Maps of the currents in the bay over the past month were made available to PUMA and Dr Hartnett advised PUMA on their sailing strategy for the important race. As is now widely known, PUMA went on to win in great style and win the series by a one point margin. The win marked PUMA’s first trip to the top of the podium for an in-port race in this round of the Volvo Ocean Race. PUMA finished on the podium in nine of the 10 in-port races, collecting 45 total points to win the overall In-Port Race Series. The crew was tied with CAMPER going into the final race and won the series by one point.  PUMA’s Robert Hopkins Jnr was delighted and said: “Currents in Galway Bay were a big factor in the In-Port Race, where tides, wind and river outflow make it all very complicated. To prepare for the race, we looked for surface current patterns in hundreds hours of data from the NUI Galway radar, took on-the-water readings before the start, and data from Mar Mostro’s own Doppler velocity log supplied by Nortek AS. It worked and we won the race.” The NUI Galway radar data will soon be available online to the public, hopefully helping local sailors to improve their performance. Dr Hartnett acknowledged the assistance provided by two local businessmen in enabling this advanced technology: “The Spiddal radar site is sending its data back to the computers at NUI Galway via the broadband service of An Crúiscín Lán, thanks to the permission of owner John Foy. Similarly, Liam Twomey, General Manager of the National Aquarium of Ireland, Salthill, provided access to their broadband to courier the Mutton Island radar data back to NUI Galway.” -ends-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Interim findings from the HRB-funded ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, shows promising results for people with back pain.  The researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients who are off work due to back pain, the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation.  The aims of the sessions are to help patients to gradually increase their level of activity and return to work.   Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to identify any unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercising to improve physical function. Miriam Raftery, researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says “The initial trends show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme.  This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.” Sue, 54, from Limerick, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says:  “The sessions helped me to structure my day, and acknowledge completed tasks.  It helped me realise that prior to the sessions every day was more or less the same.  I am now back to full time employment after four years.  I think the programme really helped me with this.” Tom, 37, from Galway, says: “I found the programme very beneficial and was very helpful to have the set appointment every week.  I will miss the sessions enormously.” Researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  All appointments take place locally in each region.  The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “We are very encouraged with the early results of this programme, it has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.” For further information about taking part, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email Miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie, phone 091 495 830 or see the trial website: www.nuigalway.ie/pdp.  General Practitioners and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number. ENDS