Monday, 15 March 2021

Project will target development of next generation Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for customer experience solutions The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway has joined forces with US-headquartered Avaya, a global leader in solutions to enhance and simplify communications and collaboration, in a new collaborative research programme to develop and test the next generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The research programme will explore the development and deployment of new types of machine learning AI that is expected to deliver more advanced automation and data mining in contact center applications. The joint research can help Avaya implement smarter and faster AI capabilities in its communications and collaboration solutions, to deliver exceptional customer experiences and improve operational efficiency. Professor Mathieu d’Aquin, Site Director for Insight NUI Galway and Principal Investigator on the project, said: “Hundreds of millions of people around the world are consumers of ever-improving AI, developed in the hope of making their experiences better while simultaneously improving business efficiency. Essentially the research we will conduct and systems we will test, thanks to the partnership with Avaya, is all part of making those improvements.” Mike Conroy, vice-president of R&D at Avaya, said: “Our plan in partnering with Insight, one of the largest dedicated Analytics & AI Research centres in Europe, is to develop next generation customer experience through better real-time insights and context powered by new AI methods. By partnering in this project with Insight at NUI Galway, we can help our customers and end users realise even greater levels of augmented AI experience across seamlessly blended automated and assisted customer engagement channels.”  Professor Mark Ferguson, Science Foundation Ireland Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the announcement. He said: “Insight SFI Research Centre for data analytics is part of the world-leading SFI Research Centre network which develops industry partnerships and promotes collaborative research with Irish academic institutions, stimulating valuable knowledge exchange. This elevates Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence with impact while developing a competitive edge in emerging technologies with real-world business applications. We look forward to the opportunities that this collaboration will create.” Ends 

Monday, 15 March 2021

A key finding from the report found that all independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting Irish language programming is seen as a risk for commercial radio Despite a lack of resources stations identified opportunities for development in relation to podcasting, social media and educational initiatives NUI Galway has conducted new research, the third phase of a project into the use of the Irish language on all of Ireland’s licensed radio services with the exception of stations broadcasting exclusively in Irish. The report was published today (15 March 2021). The aim of the report, which was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), was to investigate the views of station representatives on the obstacles to and opportunities regarding Irish language radio programming in the future. One of the main findings from the report revealed that all independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting. Key conclusions from the research: Irish language output among the stations sampled remains low and is broadcast mostly at off-peak hours. There is considerable variation in the amount of Irish language output and no appreciable difference between stations serving the Gaeltacht and those with no Gaeltacht district in their franchise district. Despite this, some stations have built successful Irish language programmes over a long period and are positive about further development of material in Irish. Irish language programming is seen as a risk for commercial radio. All independent stations need greater support with Irish language broadcasting. The challenge is particularly acute for community radio due to its voluntary nature. Radio stations would welcome external partnerships and closer collaboration with Irish language organisations/schools to assist with programming and content. Lack of resources and time was a commonly cited obstacle to developing Irish language content but many stations identified opportunities for development in relation to podcasting, social media and educational initiatives.  Stations covered in the research were a mix of commercial, public service, regional and community radio stations including: Athlone Community Radio; Flirt FM; Galway Bay FM; Highland Radio; iRadio NEAR FM; Newstalk; Ocean FM; Radio Kerry and RTÉ radio services other than Radió na Gaeltachta. Representatives from all of the stations were interviewed for the report and case studies were carried out on three stations, Newstalk, Radio Kerry and NEAR FM. Recommendations from the report: The Irish language organisation Oireachtas na Gaeilge should receive more long-term support for its work in developing radio output in Irish. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to articulate more clearly the work of its Irish language team and develop training and work placement opportunities. The possibilities of sharing existing programmes or creating new syndicated content in Irish should be explored. Following Covid-19, broadcasters should seek sponsorship for Irish language content. Funding for original Irish language audiovisual content should be covered in the new Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill. The Broadcasting Act should be amended to ensure that all radio stations produce their own Irish language content for broadcast and on digital platforms. Stations covering Gaeltacht should have more material in Irish. Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway and author of the report, said: “This report shows that while there is some high quality Irish language programming on radio stations broadcasting in English, output in Irish remains very low on most of the country’s radio stations, including those broadcasting to Gaeltacht areas. “The sector as a whole requires additional support and guidance with developing Irish language material and there is an opportunity for greater collaboration with Irish language organisations. New legislation about online safety and media regulation currently being discussed provides an opportunity to deal with these issues and ensure a central place for Irish in the future media landscape.” The first two phases of the study aimed to investigate how legislative provisions and regulatory guidance about the Irish language were reflected in radio programming. Successive Broadcasting Acts since the late 1980's have contained provisions requiring that the Irish language must be considered during the licensing process. Furthermore, the BAI and its predecessor organisations have consistently included the promotion of Irish language programming in their strategic plans over the past 30 years. BAI Chief Executive, Michael O’Keeffe, said: “The BAI welcomes the ongoing research into the use of Irish Language on Irish Radio services which was conducted by Dr John Walsh in association with NUI Galway. The BAI was very pleased to have provided funding support for this third phase of the research project which focuses on the challenges and opportunities of Irish language programming, as articulated by station managers and representatives who have first-hand experience of delivering Irish language programming within station schedules." “The research findings raise some interesting points in relation to Irish language programming commitments. While it is clear that there are certain broadcasters who are active drivers for improvement and commitment in the area of Irish language programming, challenges in the delivery of this programming remain to be addressed across the sector as a whole. The BAI thanks Dr Walsh for the work put into the project, especially given the challenges presented by Covid-19, and congratulates NUI Galway on its support for this valuable research.” To read the full document 'Research on Use of the Irish language on Radio - Phase 3' see: https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/16584 and www.bai.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

Ceann de na torthaí is mó a bhí ar an tuarascáil ná go dteastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta don chraolachán Gaeilge ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách   Ceaptar sa raidió tráchtála go mbaineann baol le cláir Ghaeilge   In ainneoin easpa acmhainní feiceann stáisiúin deiseanna forbartha maidir le podchraoladh, na meáin shóisialta agus tionscnaimh oideachais Tá taighde nua déanta ag OÉ Gaillimh, céim a trí de thionscadal ar úsáid na Gaeilge ar sheirbhísí raidió ceadúnaithe na hÉireann ar fad seachas stáisiúin a chraolann i nGaeilge amháin. Foilsíodh an tuarascáil inniu (15 Márta 2021). Ba é aidhm na tuarascála, a bhí maoinithe ag Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann (BAI), ná breathnú ar thuairimí ionadaithe stáisiúin maidir leis na constaicí agus na deiseanna a bhaineann le cláir raidió Ghaeilge sa todhchaí. Ceann de na torthaí is mó a bhí ar an tuarascáil ná go dteastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta don chraolachán Gaeilge ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách. Na Príomhchonclúidí ón taighde: Tá an méid Gaeilge a bhíonn le cloisteáil ar na stáisiúin shamplacha fós íseal agus ní chraoltar í den chuid is mó ach taobh amuigh de na buaicuaireanta. Tá éagsúlacht mhór sa mhéid Gaeilge a bhíonn le cloisteáil agus níl aon difríocht shuntasach idir stáisiúin a fhreastalaíonn ar an nGaeltacht agus iad siúd nach bhfuil aon cheantar Gaeltachta ina gceantar ceadúnais.  Ina ainneoin sin, tá cláir rathúla Ghaeilge ag roinnt stáisiún le fada an lá agus tá siad dearfach maidir le tuilleadh forbartha ar ábhar i nGaeilge. Ceaptar go mbaineann baol le cláir Ghaeilge do raidió tráchtála. Teastaíonn níos mó tacaíochta ó gach stáisiún neamhspleách le craolachán Gaeilge. Tá an dúshlán níos mó arís do raidió pobail mar gheall go bhfuil siad ag obair ar bhonn deonach. Chuirfeadh stáisiúin raidió fáilte roimh chomhpháirtíochtaí seachtracha agus roimh chomhoibriú níos fearr le heagraíochtaí Gaeilge/scoileanna chun cabhrú le cláir agus ábhar. Ceann de na constaicí is mó a bhíonn roimh stáisiúin is ea easpa acmhainní agus ama chun ábhar Gaeilge a fhorbairt ach dúirt go leor stáisiún go raibh deiseanna forbartha maidir le podchraoladh, na meáin shóisialta agus tionscnaimh oideachais.  I measc na stáisiún a bhí san áireamh sa taighde bhí meascán de stáisiúin raidió tráchtála, seirbhíse poiblí, réigiúnacha agus pobail lena n-áirítear: Athlone Community Radio; Flirt FM; Galway Bay FM; Highland Radio; iRadio; NEAR FM; Newstalk; Ocean FM; Radio Kerry agus seirbhísí raidió RTÉ seachas Raidió na Gaeltachta. Cuireadh ionadaithe ó na stáisiúin go léir faoi agallamh don tuarascáil agus rinneadh cás-staidéir ar thrí stáisiún, Newstalk, Radio Kerry agus NEAR FM. Moltaí ón tuarascáil: Ba cheart go bhfaigheadh an eagraíocht Ghaeilge Oireachtas na Gaeilge tacaíocht níos fadtéarmaí dá cuid oibre ag forbairt aschur raidió i nGaeilge. Ba chóir d’Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann soiléiriú a thabhairt ar obair a fhoirne Gaeilge agus deiseanna oiliúna agus socrúcháin oibre a fhorbairt. Ba cheart a fhiosrú an bhféadfaí cláir atá ann cheana a roinnt nó ábhar sindeacáite nua a chruthú i nGaeilge. Tar éis Covid-19, ba cheart do chraoltóirí urraíocht a lorg d’ábhar Gaeilge. Ba cheart maoiniú d’ábhar closamhairc nua Gaeilge a chumhdach sa Bhille nua um Rialáil Sábháilteachta agus Meán Ar Líne. Ba cheart an tAcht Craolacháin a leasú chun a chinntiú go gcruthaíonn gach stáisiún raidió a n-ábhar Gaeilge féin le craoladh agus ar ardáin dhigiteacha. Ba chóir go mbeadh níos mó ábhar i nGaeilge ag stáisiúin a chlúdaíonn ceantar Gaeltachta. Labhair an Dr John Walsh, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in OÉ Gaillimh agus údar na tuarascála mar seo a leanas: “Cé go bhfuil roinnt cláracha Gaeilge ar ardchaighdeán le clos ar stáisiúin raidió a chraolann i mBéarla, léiríonn an tuarascáil seo gur beag Gaeilge a chraoltar ar stáisiúin raidió na tíre, stáisiúin a bhfuil limistéar Gaeltachta ina gceantar ceadúnais san áireamh. Teastaíonn tuilleadh tacaíochta agus comhairle maidir le forbairt ábhair Gaeilge ón earnáil raidió tríd is tríd agus tá deis ann tuilleadh comhoibrithe a fhorbairt le heagraíochtaí Gaeilge. Faoin reachtaíocht nua faoi shábháilteacht ar líne agus rialáil na meán atá á plé faoi láthair, is féidir déileáil leis na ceisteanna seo agus áit lárnach a chinntiú don Ghaeilge i dtírdhreach na meán amach anseo.” D’fhéach an chéad dá chéim den staidéar le himscrúdú a dhéanamh ar an gcaoi ar tugadh aitheantas do na forálacha dleathacha agus don treoir rialála maidir leis an nGaeilge i gcláir raidió. Tá forálacha sna hAchtanna Craolacháin a achtaíodh ó dheireadh na 1980í inar éilíodh go ndéanfaí breithniú ar an nGaeilge i rith an phróisis ceadúnaithe. Anuas air sin, tá cur chun cinn na Gaeilge curtha san áireamh go leanúnach ag Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann (BAI) agus ag na heagraíochtaí ar tháinig sé i gcomharbacht orthu ina bpleananna straitéiseacha le 30 bliain anuas. Seo mar a labhair Príomhfheidhmeannach an BAI, Michael O’Keeffe: “Cuireann an BAI fáilte roimh an taighde leanúnach maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge ar sheirbhísí raidió na hÉireann atá déanta ag an Dr John Walsh i gcomhpháirt le OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí an-áthas ar an BAI tacú i bhfoirm mhaoinithe le tríú céim an tionscadail taighde seo ina ndírítear ar na dúshláin atá roimh chláir Ghaeilge ar an raidió, chomh maith leis na deiseanna, mar a chuir bainisteoirí agus ionadaithe stáisiúin in iúl iad, arb iad is fearr a bhfuil taithí acu ar chláir Ghaeilge a chraoladh laistigh de sceidil stáisiúin.” “Tarraingíonn torthaí an taighde seo aird ar roinnt pointí spéisiúla i ndáil le tiomantais atá déanta maidir le cláir Ghaeilge. Bíodh is gur léir go bhfuil craoltóirí áirithe ann a chuireann rompu go gníomhach an soláthar clár Gaeilge a fheabhsú, tá dúshláin san earnáil trí chéile le sárú i gcónaí maidir leis na cláir seo a sheachadadh. Glacann an BAI buíochas leis an Dr Walsh as na hiarrachtaí atá déanta aige leis an tionscadal seo, go mór mór i bhfianaise na ndúshlán a bhain le Covid-19 agus tréaslaíonn sé le OÉ Gaillimh as an tacaíocht atá tugtha aige don taighde luachmhar seo.” Chun an doiciméad iomlán ‘Taighde ar Úsáid na Gaeilge ar an Raidió – Céim a 3’ a léamh, féach: https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/16586 agus www.bai.ie. -Críoch-

Friday, 12 March 2021

NUI Galway and Galway City Council welcomed today's announcement by the Government of funding of €4.3 million for the Innovation and Creativity District in Galway. The development of Nuns’ Island and Earl’s Island as the focal point of an Innovation and Creativity District is at the heart of Galway’s plan to connect all of the resources that give Galway its vast potential. The Innovation and Creativity District will incorporate a riverside campus as part of the urban regeneration of Galway city along with a landmark cultural and performance space, acknowledging the University’s role as a national cultural institution and its contribution to Galway as a Capital of Culture. This transformative plan also includes: A performance space to enrich the artistic life of the city and unleash the creativity of cultural engagement. A new innovation hub and riverside campus to regenerate this part of Galway and strengthen the linkages between business, research and a living city. Enhanced public realm for everyone who lives in or visits the city. Expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway through the city and the university campus, to Moycullen, Oughterard and on to Clifden. The Innovation and Creativity district development will consist of two distinct areas – Northern and Southern. Each will offer a distinct experience, atmosphere and sense of place. The Northern area will comprise of an Academic Building, reinforcing NUI Galway’s role and contribution to the city and region, a multi-purpose cultural venue, and a hotel connected to the university both physically and in terms of planned usage and integration with teaching. The area will be framed within sustainable public realm to support engagement with the waterways and the natural landscapes of this urban environment. The Southern area has two key zones of activity. Addressing the need for more housing in an urban area, Zone 1 will have a residential Waterways Village. Zone 2, the redeveloped Mills, will be the location for the Innovation centre, City Lab, NUI Galway’s Adult Education Centre, outreach and showcase venues for inspiring creativity and community engagement, and a host of new social spaces. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “I would like to thank Galway City Council, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and all of the stakeholders who have approved this application, a milestone in supporting this vital project in and for Galway. This represents a major step forward in the planning phase of this new Innovation and Creativity District. It supports the creation of a City Lab and landmark multi-purpose cultural and performance space that will be transformative for Galway and the wider region, both to live and work in. “NUI Galway is committed to the public good and this development very much speaks to this ethos and to our core values of Openness, Respect, Sustainability and Excellence. With these values as our guide, the plan for Nuns’ Island which this funding supports will continue to be developed following consultation with our local community. Following this funding announcement we look forward to further engaging with our community to deliver the best possible project of our region, for our world.” NUI Galway and Galway City Council will engage fully with all stakeholders. An initial public consultation has already taken place and further consultations with stakeholders will continue throughout the process. Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive, Galway City Council, said: “I am very grateful to the fantastic team of people who collaborated and worked in such a committed way on this project. This is a fantastic outcome for Galway City Council and the City and this scheme will be truly transformative for the city and the region. We look forward to working with NUI Galway and all stakeholders on plans to develop a world-class Innovation and Creativity District for Galway.” For more information about the Innovation and Creativity District see: www.nuigalway.ie/buildings/nunsisland/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Three CÚRAM PhD graduates; Paolo Contessotto, Juhi Samal and Mark Fernandez, have been awarded the Julia Polak European Doctorate Award 2021 of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB). The three PhD graduates will be presented with their awards at the General Assembly of the next ESB conference to be held from 5-9 September 2021 in Porto. They are the latest CÚRAM graduates at NUI Galway to receive this acknowledgement, following in the footsteps of six earlier CÚRAM alumni. The award is given by the ESB council and presented annually at the conference event. Candidates nominated for the award needed to demonstrate that they have received high standard research education and training at a European level in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and that they are also able to produce scientific results deserving recognition by being published and accepted in high-quality journals and conferences. Candidates will have had to spend at least one month of research work in a country outside the country of their home institution, have produced at least two peer-reviewed international publications as the first author and have participated at least twice at an international scientific meeting as presenting author, during their PhD. Dr Contessotto's PhD research focused on developing an injectable hydrogel to repair the heart muscle after a heart attack. His research has recently been published in the prestigious Science Translational Medicine Journal and has received extensive media coverage. Dr Samal's research focused on investigating several biomaterial constructs for therapeutic delivery and enhanced graft survival in the brain, which resulted in three research publications and grant funding success. Both were supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM based at NUI Galway. Dr Manus Biggs supervised Dr Fernandez's doctoral research that focussed on developing a synthetic fibrous scaffold to promote tendon repair. The technology developed was specifically designed to address the biological, mechanical and adhesions issues in rotator cuff tendon repair and used electrospinning to generate a highly structured and porous scaffold made from an inert synthetic polymer. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: "It is very gratifying for any researcher to have their work recognised in this way, and I'm extremely proud that CÚRAM graduates continue to be acknowledged for the quality of their training and research outputs. All of our researchers put extraordinary amounts of energy, time and effort into their work, and I'd like to congratulate Paolo, Juhi and Mark on this award which they richly deserve." Since its establishment in 1976, the ESB conference has been a significant event for the biomaterials science community. ESB 2021 will once again bring together all major disciplines of biomaterials science and enabling participants to network with colleagues, establish new collaborations, exchange knowledge, and discuss recent advances in emerging biomaterials-related topics. CÚRAM's research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46 million reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021 demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations and the education and training of high-quality graduates for the sector. For more information, follow on Twitter @CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie  -Ends-  

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

University develops an ambitious roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2030 NUI Galway has unveiled its second sustainability strategy. The NUI Galway Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 was officially launched today (9 March 2021) by Dr Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chair of the Elders. It sets out an ambitious vision to lead the transition to a sustainable future by embedding sustainability in the University's culture, operational policies, governance structure and empowering its communities to be champions of sustainability. The strategy's objectives are embedded in a Learn-Live-Lead ethos that guides its sustainability efforts. The strategy was developed by the Community University Sustainability Partnership (CUSP) team, chaired by Professor Jamie Goggins, following campus wide consultation. The Strategy identifies 25 key measures of success organised around six themes: Research and Learning; Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Nature and Ecosystems; Health and Wellbeing; Built Environment; Governance and Leadership. Key sustainability measures include: Research and Learning: Integration of sustainability across all university education programmes by 2023. NUI Galway currently offers over 230 courses that cover environmental and sustainability content. Energy and greenhouse gas emissions: Improve energy efficiency by 45%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% and 20% of electricity to come from renewable sources, by 2025. Nature and Ecosystems: Become an exemplar in biodiversity related research and learning with the implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan. Built Environment: By 2025, reduce food wastage by 50% and water consumption by 10%. Health and Wellbeing: Help students and staff attain full physical, social, sexual and mental health and wellbeing. These include achieving a tobacco free campus by 2021, a Healthy Campus status by 2022 and reduce year on year, the level of harmful drinking among students. Governance and Leadership: Develop an ambitious roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2030. Sustainability has been gathering momentum as a core value at NUI Galway for a number of years. The university launched its inaugural sustainability strategy for the campus in 2017. This was followed by the appointment of the University’s first Sustainability Officer, Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, in September 2019. Some of the major milestones reached as a result of the first strategy include: academic staff embracing sustainability as part of the curriculum; becoming a Green Campus Ireland awarded site; exceeding the Public Sector 2020 Energy Efficiency target of 33%, reaching the University's target of 40% in 2020; becoming the first Green Lab certification in Europe; and managing the campus grounds in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Dr Mary Robinson, commented: “It is heartening to see NUI Galway stepping up and shaping a future that has sustainability at the core. It is incumbent on universities to act on the single greatest challenge our society faces. Through your learn-live-lead approach - advancing sustainability through your teaching and learning, research, actions and impacts - you can play a leading role in the transition to a more sustainable future. By unleashing sustainability potential in the leaders of tomorrow, you can extend sustainability beyond the campus wall and into our communities.” Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the CUSP Advisory Board, said: “We are living in a time of great threat to the sustainability of our planet. Today we are putting in place a strategy that sets out our vision and commitment to lead the transition to a sustainable future on our campus, in our city and around the world. The strategy has been a collaboration involving academics, students and professional staff right across the University and in the wider community. It is only by coming together that we can achieve the future we want.” In December 2019, the university further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability at an institutional level by signing the Sustainable Development Goals Accord. Most recently NUI Galway was announced the winner of the Sustainability Category of the Galway Chamber Awards, recognising the University’s commitment to extend sustainability beyond the campus walls and into local communities. NUI Galway Student's Union President, Padraic Twoomey, said: “When it comes to Sustainability, the students' voice was loudest. We will inherit this planet and want to make sure that it's one that we can live in. Too long as a society we left things just go by without change and we hope with pushing for sustainability within the college we can make waves for the future.” Read the full Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/NUI-Galway-Sustainability-Strategy-2021-2025.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2021

Forbraíonn an Ollscoil plean oibre uaillmhianach do neodracht charbóin faoi 2030  Tá an dara straitéis inbhuanaitheachta seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh. Sheol an Dr Mary Robinson, iar-Uachtarán na hÉireann, iarArd-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine agus Cathaoirleach na Seanóirí Straitéis Inbhuanaitheachta OÉ Gaillimh 2021-2025 go hoifigiúil inniu (9 Márta 2021). Leagtar amach sa Straitéis fís uaillmhianach chun todhchaí inbhuanaithe a bhaint amach trí inbhuanaitheacht a leabú i gcultúr, i bpolasaithe oibríochta agus i struchtúr rialachais na hOllscoile agus cumhacht a thabhairt dá pobail a bheith ina seaimpíní inbhuanaitheachta. Tá cuspóirí na straitéise leabaithe in éiteas Foghlaim-Mair-Spreag a threoraíonn a hiarrachtaí inbhuanaitheachta. D’fhorbair foireann na Comhpháirtíochta Inbhuanaitheachta Pobail agus Ollscoile (CUSP) an Straitéis, a raibh an tOllamh Jamie Goggins ina chathaoirleach air, tar éis comhairliúcháin leathan ar fud an champais. Aithnítear sa Straitéis 25 príomhbheart rathúlachta bunaithe ar shé théama: Taighde agus Foghlaim, Fuinneamh agus Astaíochtaí Gás Ceaptha Teasa, Dúlra agus Éiceachórais, Sláinte agus Folláine, Timpeallacht Thógtha; Rialachas agus Ceannaireacht. I measc na bpríomhbhearta inbhuanaitheachta tá: Taighde agus Foghlaim: Comhtháthú inbhuanaitheachta ar fud chláir oideachais uile na hollscoile faoi 2023. Faoi láthair, cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 230 cúrsa ar fáil a chuimsíonn ábhar comhshaoil agus inbhuanaitheachta. Fuinneamh agus Astaíochtaí Gás Ceaptha Teasa: Feabhas 45% a chur ar éifeachtúlacht fuinnimh, astaíochtaí gás ceaptha teasa a laghdú 15% agus 20%  de leictreachas le teacht ó fhoinsí in-athnuaite, faoi 2025. Dúlra agus Éiceachórais: A bheith mar eiseamláir i dtaighde agus i bhfoghlaim a bhaineann le bithéagsúlacht le cur i bhfeidhm an Phlean Gníomhaíochta Bithéagsúlachta. An Timpeallacht Thógtha: Faoi 2025, cuir amú bia a laghdú 50% agus úsáid uisce a laghdú 10%. Sláinte agus Folláine: Cuidiú le mic léinn agus le comhaltaí foirne sláinte agus folláine choirp, shóisialta, ghnéasach agus mheabhrach iomlán a bhaint amach. Ina measc seo tá campas saor ó thobac a bhaint amach faoi 2021, stádas Campais Shláintiúil faoi 2022 agus leibhéal an óil dhochraigh i measc na mac léinn a laghdú ó bhliain go bliain. Rialachas agus Ceannaireacht: Plean oibre uaillmhianach a fhorbairt do neodracht charbóin faoi 2030. Tá borradh tagtha faoin inbhuanaitheacht mar chroíluach in OÉ Gaillimh le roinnt blianta anuas. Sheol an ollscoil a céad straitéis inbhuanaitheachta don champas in 2017. Ina dhiaidh sin ceapadh an chéad Oifigeach Inbhuanaitheachta san Ollscoil, Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, i Meán Fómhair 2019. I measc cuid de na spriocanna móra a baineadh amach mar thoradh ar an gcéad straitéis tá: foireann acadúil ag glacadh le hinbhuanaitheacht mar chuid den churaclam; Gradam Campas Glas na hÉireann bronnta orainn; ag dul thar sprioc Éifeachtúlachta Fuinnimh 2020 na hEarnála Poiblí; an chéad deimhniú Saotharlainne Glaise do shaotharlann san Eoraip; agus tailte an champais a bhainistiú de réir Phlean Uile-Éireann um Pailneoirí. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Mary Robinson: “Tugann sé ardú misnigh dom OÉ Gaillimh a fheiceáil ag teacht chun cinn agus ag múnlú todhchaí a mbeidh inbhuanaitheacht mar chroílár inti. Tá sé de dhualgas ar ollscoileanna gníomhú ar an dúshlán aonair is mó atá roimh ár sochaí. Trí bhur gcur chuige Foghlaim-Mair-Spreag – inbhuanaitheacht a chur chun cinn trí theagasc agus foghlaim, taighde, gníomhartha agus tionchair – is féidir libh ról ceannasach a bheith agaibh san aistriú chuig todhchaí níos inbhuanaithe. Trí acmhainn inbhuanaitheachta a fhorbairt i gceannairí na todhchaí, is féidir libh inbhuanaitheacht a leathnú níos faide ná ballaí an champais agus amach sna pobail.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí OÉ Gaillimh agus Cathaoirleach Bhord Comhairleach CUSP: “Táimid ag maireachtáil i dtréimhse ina bhfuil bagairt mhór ar inbhuanaitheacht ár bplainéid. Tá straitéis á cur i bhfeidhm againn inniu a leagann amach ár bhfís agus ár dtiomantas chun aistriú chuig todhchaí inbhuanaithe ar ár gcampas, inár gcathair agus ar fud an domhain. Is comhpháirtíocht a bhí sa straitéis idir lucht acadúil, mic léinn agus foireann ghairmiúil na hOllscoile agus an pobal i gcoitinne. Is trí theacht le chéile a éireoidh linn an todhchaí atá uainn a bhaint amach.” I mí na Nollag 2019, léirigh an ollscoil arís a tiomantas don inbhuanaitheacht ar leibhéal institiúideach tríd an gComhaontú Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe a shíniú.Fógraíodh go raibh an bua le gairid ag OÉ Gaillimh sa Chatagóir Inbhuanaitheachta de Ghradaim Chumann Tráchtála na Gaillimhe, rud a thugann aitheantas do thiomantas na hOllscoile inbhuanaitheacht a leathnú níos faide ná ballaí an champais agus amach sna pobail áitiúla. Dúirt Uachtarán Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn OÉ Gaillimh, Padraic Toomey: “I gcás na hInbhuanaitheachta, ba é guth na mac léinn ab airde. Gheobhaimid an pláinéad seo le hoidhreacht agus ba mhaith linn a chinntiú gur féidir linn maireachtáil ann.  Le fada an lá mar shochaí d’fhágamar rudaí ar an méar fhada agus tá súil againn agus inbhuanaitheacht á cur chun cinn sa choláiste gur féidir linn athruithe móra a dhéanamh don todhchaí.” Chun níos mó a léamh faoi Straitéis Inbhuanaitheachta 2021-2025 féach: http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/NUI-Galway-Sustainability-Strategy-2021-2025.pdf. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Ireland’s first free tax clinic has been set up in NUI Galway to educate students about their entitlements, obligations and how to manage their tax affairs.  The pioneering initiative will see tax students in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics work in partnership with teaching staff and professional, external tax advisors in providing an online and confidential service. The NUI Galway Tax Clinic is being established initially to assist the University’s students, with a view to extending its services to community groups which are unable to access or afford tax information.  The service will run for at least six weeks at first, offering practical tax information and support to students with tax concerns and queries arising from a change in their circumstances, particularly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Emer Mulligan, Director of the clinic and Personal Professor in Taxation and Finance at NUI Galway, said: “The backdrop to this clinic is justice. It’s about helping under-represented people.  “The focus of the clinic is tax education and through that we will help a number of people who would not have realised they had an entitlement to certain tax credits and potentially a tax refund, as well as others whose credits were not allocated correctly, or have multiple jobs or were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). “Our mission is to inform and support marginalised citizens in their tax compliance in a free and confidential setting. Plans are underway to extend the service to marginalised community groups in the Galway region.”  A pilot tax clinic was trialled in NUI Galway last year where around 60 students received personal tax information and support. A number of external tax advisors were involved in running the pilot, with PwC one of the first to come on board. Florita Dolly, PwC Tax Advisor, said: “This exciting new initiative seeks to make taxpayer assistance more accessible and available to marginalised communities and the wider student population. PwC Galway are delighted to be supporting this initiative.” The NUI Galway Tax Clinic will also see students earn valuable real-world experience working with professional advisors, including some NUI Galway alumni who are working on a pro bono basis.  Students seeking advice at the clinic will be asked to consider if they are aware of tax credits they are entitled to, including for tuition fees, flat rate allowances, medical expenses, or being a single parent or home carer. It also asks if they have been employed in the previous four years, if they work multiple jobs, if they received the PUP and know how it is taxed and if they are planning to go overseas. Professor Mulligan was inspired to set up the country’s first tax clinic after learning of the success of initiatives in the USA and Australia where they have expanded and secured support from tax authorities with most of the clinics affiliated with academic institutions.  Tax advisors who want to support the initiative and students seeking support can visit nuigalway.ie/taxclinic or email Dr Maggie O’Neill, Tax Clinic Coordinator taxclinic@nuigalway.ie Ends

Monday, 8 March 2021

NUI Galway report highlights trends in children’s health behaviours over 20 years HBSC study reveals an overall decrease across all substance use measures; an increase in young people reporting pressure from schoolwork; and more children report feeling low 5.3% of Irish children aged 10-17 said they were smoking in 2018, compared to 22.6% in 1998 In 2018 19% reported they had ever been drunk, compared to 33% in 1998 8.5% reported in 2018 they had used cannabis in the last year, compared to 12.3% in 1998 44.3% reported feeling pressured by school work, compared to 32.9% in 1998 34.3% reported feeling low about every week or more frequently, compared to 23% in 1998   Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan today launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Trends Report 1998-2018 (HBSC). The report was led by senior researcher Aoife Gavin in collaboration with the HBSC research team at the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway. Compared to the findings from 1998, the study found fewer children using substances, more than half of children exercise regularly, more children are feeling pressured by school work and more children report feeling low. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe. It runs every four years. In 2018, 45 countries and regions participated, collecting data on health behaviours, health outcomes and the social contexts of children’s lives. The study compared findings of health behaviour in school-aged children from 1998 to 2018. Health risk behaviours – An overall decrease across all substance use measures.  :: Fewer children report currently smoking – 5.3% in 2018, compared to 22.6% in 1998. :: Fewer children report that they have ever been drunk – 19% in 2018 compared to 33% in 1998. :: Fewer children report cannabis use in the last year – 8.5% in 2018, compared to 12.3% in 1998. Positive health behaviours – An overall improvement among young people :: More children brushing teeth more than once a day – 70.1% in 2018, compared to 57.6% in 1998. :: More children always wearing a seatbelt in car journeys – 81.4% in 2018, compared to 41% in 1998. :: The proportion of young people doing vigorous exercise four or more times a week has remained stable – 52.1% in 2018, compared to 52.6% in 1998. Launching the report, Minister Frank Feighan said: “I welcome the publication of this latest report from the Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study. This international project has provided us with essential data which has helped to shape and inform policy relating to the health and wellbeing of our children and young people. “This new Trends report gives us a wonderful opportunity to take stock, both of the many very significant improvements to our children’s health, and of those areas where we have not, perhaps, made as much progress as we would have liked. The information contained in this study will be of great importance in terms of future planning and policy direction regarding children’s health.” Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman T.D. said: “Ireland is headed in the right direction when it comes to the health of young people, and it is clear that past Government initiatives to support healthy choices are having a positive impact on reducing alcohol consumption and smoking, helping to keep our young people safe. “The research also suggests that an increased emphasis is needed around supporting the positive mental health of young people, and following the impact of Covid-19, this is an issue that may become more prevalent. In February, my Department launched the Supporting Children Campaign which aims to outline the supports available for children and families during the pandemic. We have also increased funding for youth services in 2021, in recognition of the positive impact youth work can have on young people’s lives. “Thanks to the HBSC research team in NUI Galway and the contributions from young people, we now have a valuable piece of research that will help to inform future healthy living initiatives aimed at improving the lives of children and young people in Ireland.” Commenting on the findings, Co-Principal Investigator Dr Colette Kelly from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This report is the culmination of many years of work, and brings together some good news about the health behaviours of Irish children with a sustained decrease in substance use for example. “There is a continuing positive trend in children communicating with parents and reports of good places in the local area to spend free time. The report also highlights areas in need of improvement in particular more young people are reporting that they feel pressured by school work and there is an increase in the proportion of children who report feeling low. The report provides a breakdown of age, gender and social class patterns which provide more in-depth information on each of the indicators.” To read the full report, visit - http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/healthpromotionresearchcentre/hbscdocs/nationalreports/HBSC-Trends-Report-2021.pdf Ends

Monday, 8 March 2021

Leagtar béim i dtuarascáil OÉ Gaillimh ar threochtaí iompraíochtaí sláinte leanaí thar 20 bliain Léiríonn an staidéar HBSC go bhfuil laghdú tríd is tríd sna táscairí úsáide substainte ar fad; méadú ar líon na ndaoine óga a thuairiscíonn brú a bheith orthu de bharr obair scoile; agus tuairiscíonn níos mó leanaí go bhfuil siad in ísle brí Dúirt 5.3% de leanaí Éireannacha idir 10-17 mbliana d’aois go raibh siad ag caitheamh tobac in 2018, i gcomparáid le 22.6% in 1998 In 2018, thuairiscigh 19% díobh go raibh siad ar meisce am éigin, i gcomparáid le 33% in 1998. Thuairiscigh 8.5% in 2018 gur úsáid siad cannabas le bliain anuas i gcomparáid le 12.3% in 1998. Thuairiscigh 44.3% go raibh brú orthu mar gheall ar obair scoile, i gcomparáid le 32.9% in 1998 Thuairiscigh 34.3% go raibh siad in ísle brí gach seachtain nó níos minice, i gcomparáid le 23% in 1998 Inniu, sheol an tAire Stáit a bhfuil freagracht air as Sláinte Phoiblí, Folláine agus an Straitéis Náisiúnta Drugaí, Frank Feighan T.D. an tuarascáil ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Trends Report 1998-2018’ (HBSC). Ba í an taighdeoir sinsearach Aoife Gavin a stiúir an tuarascáil i gcomhar le foireann taighde HBSC san Ionad Taighde don Chothú Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh. I gcomparáid le torthaí 1998, fuarthas amach sa staidéar go raibh níos lú leanaí ag úsáid substaintí, go mbíonn níos mó ná leath na leanaí i mbun aclaíocht rialta, go mbíonn níos mó leanaí faoi bhrú ag obair scoile agus go ndeir níos mó leanaí go bhfuil siad in ísle brí. Staidéar tras-earnála é an HBSC a dhéantar i gcomhar le hOifig Réigiúnach na hEagraíochta Domhanda Sláinte don Eoraip. Déantar é a reáchtáil gach ceithre bliana. In 2018, ghlac 45 tír agus réigiún páirt, ag bailiú sonraí ar iompraíochtaí sláinte, torthaí sláinte agus comhthéacsanna sóisialta a bhaineann le saol leanaí. Rinne an staidéar comparáid idir torthaí iompraíochta sláinte leanaí in aois scoile ó 1998 go 2018. Iompraíochtaí riosca sláinte – Laghdú tríd is tríd sna táscairí úsáide substainte ar fad.  :: Tuairiscíonn níos lú leanaí go bhfuil siad ag caitheamh tobac faoi láthair – 5.3% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 22.6% in 1998. :: Tuairiscíonn níos lú leanaí go raibh siad ar meisce am éigin – 19% in 2018 i gcomparáid le 33% in 1998. :: Thuairiscigh níos lú leanaí gur úsáid siad cannabas le bliain anuas – 8.5% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 12.3% in 1998. Iompraíochtaí sláinte dearfacha – Feabhas tríd is tríd i measc daoine óga :: Tá níos mó leanaí ag scuabadh a gcuid fiacla níos mó ná uair amháin sa lá – 70.1% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 57.6% in 1998. :: Tá níos mó leanaí ag caitheamh crios sábhála i gcónaí ar thurais ghluaisteáin – 81.4% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 41.0% in 1998. :: D'fhan céatadán na ndaoine óga a dhéanann aclaíocht bhríomhar ceithre huaire nó níos mó sa tseachtain seasmhach – 52.1% in 2018, i gcomparáid le 52.6% in 1998. Ag seoladh na tuarascála, dúirt an tAire Frank Feighan: “Fearaim fáilte roimh fhoilsiú na tuarascála is déanaí seo ón Staidéar ar Iompraíocht Sláinte Leanaí in Aois Scoile. Chuir an tionscadal idirnáisiúnta seo sonraí riachtanacha ar fáil dúinn a chuidigh le polasaí a bhaineann le sláinte agus folláine ár leanaí agus ár ndaoine óga a mhúnlú agus a threorú. "Tugann an tuarascáil seo ar Threochtaí deis iontach dúinn machnamh a dhéanamh ar an iliomad feabhsúchán thar a bheith suntasach atá tagtha ar shláinte ár leanaí, agus ar na réimsí sin nach bhfuil an oiread dul chun cinn déanta againn iontu agus ba mhaith linn. Beidh an-tábhacht ag baint leis an eolas atá sa staidéar seo maidir le pleanáil don todhchaí agus an treo a ghlacfaidh polasaithe i ndáil le sláinte leanaí. "Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le foireann an Ionaid Taighde don Chothú Sláinte, leis an Eagraíocht Dhomhanda Sláinte agus leis na daltaí, na tuismitheoirí agus an fhoireann sna scoileanna a bhí rannpháirteach arb í an tuarascáil luachmhar seo toradh a saothair.” Dúirt an tAire Leanaí, Comhionannais, Míchumais, Lánpháirtíochta agus Óige, Roderic O'Gorman T.D.: “Tá Éire ag dul sa treo ceart maidir le sláinte daoine óga, agus is léir go bhfuil tionchar dearfach ag tionscnaimh a bhunaigh an Rialtas roimhe seo chun tacú le roghanna sláintiúla maidir le hól alcóil agus caitheamh tobac a laghdú, rud a chuidíonn lenár ndaoine óga a choinneáil slán. “Tugann an taighde le fios freisin gur gá béim níos mó a chur ar thacú le meabhairshláinte dhearfach daoine óga, agus mar gheall ar thionchar Covid-19, d’fhéadfadh an fhadhb seo éirí níos forleithne. I mí Feabhra, sheol mo Roinn an feachtas Ag Tacú le Leanaí a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige eolas a thabhairt faoi na tacaíochtaí atá ar fáil do leanaí agus do theaghlaigh le linn na paindéime. Mhéadaíomar an maoiniú atá ar fáil do sheirbhísí óige in 2021 freisin, mar aitheantas ar an tionchar dearfach is féidir a bheith ag obair óige ar shaol daoine óga. “A bhuíochas le foireann taighde HBSC in OÉ Gaillimh agus le haiseolas ó dhaoine óga, tá píosa taighde luachmhar againn anois a chuirfidh treoir ar fáil chun tionscnaimh maidir le saol folláin a chaitheamh a fhorbairt amach anseo atá dírithe ar shaol leanaí agus daoine óga in Éirinn a fheabhsú.” Ag trácht dó ar na torthaí, dúirt an Comh-Phríomhthaighdeoir, an Dr Colette Kelly ón Ionad Taighde don Chothú Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is toradh é an tuarascáil seo ar bhlianta fada oibre, agus tá roinnt dea-scéalta le sonrú faoi iompraíochtaí sláinte leanaí Éireannacha, mar shampla tá laghdú leanúnach tagtha ar úsáid substaintí. Tá treocht dhearfach leanúnach ann maidir le leanaí ag caint lena gcuid tuismitheoirí agus tuairiscí ar áiteanna maithe sa cheantar áitiúil chun am saor a chaitheamh. Cuireann an tuarascáil béim freisin ar réimsí ar gá feabhas a chur orthu, go háirithe tá níos mó daoine óga ag rá go mbraitheann siad go bhfuil brú orthu mar gheall ar obair scoile agus tá méadú ar líon na leanaí a deir go bhfuil siad in ísle brí.  Soláthraíonn an tuarascáil briseadh síos ar phatrúin aoise, inscne agus aicme sóisialta a chuireann eolas níos doimhne ar fáil maidir le gach ceann de na táscairí.” Chun an tuarascáil iomlán a léamh, tabhair cuairt ar:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/media/healthpromotionresearchcentre/hbscdocs/nationalreports/HBSC-Trends-Report-2021.pdf Críoch

Monday, 8 March 2021

NUI Galway spin-out Aquila Bioscience develops groundbreaking solution ProShield technology maximizes protection for reusable masks and helps to reduce waste and plastic pollution from disposables A medical technology spin-out company at NUI Galway has developed a groundbreaking new barrier spray making re-usable masks up to 99% effective at blocking airborne pathogens and particles. ProShield has been developed by scientists and researchers at Aquila Bioscience to create a safe, nanofibre protective coating on material, an added defence against airborne pathogens. Inspired by the development of its first product, the ABD Device, a novel decontamination wipe, Aquila Bioscience successfully applied its signature Pathogen Capturing Technology (PCT) to ProShield, an environmentally conscious, alcohol free, safe spray. PCT is inspired by nature and is based on glycoscience, the study of protein and carbohydrates. It contains microscopic Velcro-like structures specifically designed to bind and neutralise harmful pathogens. David Murphy, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, NUI Galway, said: “Timing is everything. Aquila Bioscience had developed the technology and now, in less than 12 months, they have developed a range of exciting products to address the global need for protection against Covid-19 and other pathogens. This remarkable journey is testimony to the expertise and dedication of the company, and the entrepreneurial environment at NUI Galway.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, founder of Aquila Bioscience, said the innovation was also driven by the need to increase protection of reusable masks, to reduce dependence on disposable masks and ultimately to protect the environment by reducing plastic waste.   “With growing awareness of waste created by single use PPE and the toll it is taking on the environment, it is imperative that we develop innovative, environmentally conscious products that are safe to use and effectively protect users,” Professor Joshi said. “Due to an exponential rise in the number of disposable masks used daily, there has been a huge surge in ocean pollution worldwide. Discarded plastic masks end up everywhere - roadsides, fields, lakes, rivers and all the way to the oceans, getting tangled up in wildlife along the way. They can take hundreds of years to slowly degrade into microplastics which are then ingested by marine life. “People should be advised to wear reusable face masks and now we have a technology, inspired by nature, to improve protection from fabric/cotton masks by blocking up to 99% of airborne pathogens.” The ProShield scientifically developed technology was tested for its efficacy using a variety of fabric materials and its ability to capture and block airborne pathogens. The results showed that ProShield dramatically improves the efficacy of the fabric material to block pathogens by between 94% and 99.5%.  ProShield is the second pilot product developed and released by Aquila Bioscience and is alcohol free, eco-friendly and safe for all to use. Ends

Friday, 5 March 2021

AONTAS Star Award recognises University collaboration with Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network  A Community Education programme at NUI Galway has won a national AONTAS STAR award after supporting adult learning for more than 20 years.  Power in Participation, a collaborative project involving the University and Galway Traveller Movement and Community Action Network has been recognised for its work with Travellers.  The project saw 24 members of the Traveller community graduate with a Diploma in Community Development Practice. Lecturers Dr Deirdre Hardiman and Dr Helen Casey have worked in Community Education in NUI Galway for more than two decades, advocating for the continued provision of educational and learning opportunities, both on campus and on an outreach basis, in order to widen participation in higher education. Dr Hardiman said: “The project was designed and implemented with students at its centre and this community education approach is essential to ensure social inclusion and empowerment.” Dr Casey said: “This model of Community Education can be rolled out nationwide and there have been discussions with a Traveller group in the Midlands about a similar project. It is about putting people at the heart of change. “The knowledge and lived experience of the diverse student group also added to the learning of the diploma course and showcased the skill within to take up community work in the future.” Power in Participation was honured at a special online event for the AONTAS STAR Awards. They won in the Third Level Access and Engagement category, sponsored by Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).  A key focus of the project is promoting access to educational opportunities and widening participation in higher education for under-represented groups. Martin Ward, of the Galway Traveller Movement, said: “Everyone involved in the project committed to ensuring that no-one was left behind for a second time on their educational journey. This meant supports were tailored to an individual’s needs and mostly delivered through a buddy-buddy system. It is a huge boost to see our project recognised by Aontas.” Pat Tobin, of Community Action Network, said: “Leadership is essential for social change and this tailor made course was one of the best examples of collaboration in action.” The project examined the impact of the outreach NUI Diploma in Community Development Practice on the personal and professional lives of programme graduates.  Nora Mongan, programme graduate, said: “There is a need for more of these projects that deliver results for communities who were left behind in education. It’s not good enough just to say we are inclusive and sit back. There needs to be a lot of outreach work done to ensure engagement happens especially for those who had a bad experience in the education sector in the past.” Colie Sweeney, also a programme graduate, said: “As students we are extremely proud to have won the Aontas Star award for this project as we had meaningful input into the design and delivery.” Ends

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile, the University’s Governing Authority. Dr Geoghegan-Quinn, a former government minister and European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, was unanimously selected at the first formal meeting of the new Údarás on Thursday 25th February 2021. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “It is a privilege for NUI Galway to have someone of Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s calibre as chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile. She has all the attributes for excellence as chairperson of Údarás and I am delighted that she has agreed to accept this role for our university, our students and our staff. “Dr Geoghegan-Quinn’s wealth of experience and knowledge nationally and internationally, in public policy and reform, in research and in diversity, will be a huge asset as we set out to implement our strategic plan Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, which she helped develop, and as we ensure good governance of our University and strive to deepen existing connections and build new relationships.” Dr Geoghegan-Quinn’s term as chairperson runs for four years from March 1st 2021 until 2025. She said: "The honour in this appointment is obvious. So is the scale of the task. The pandemic has accelerated the urgency to create a new kind of University that accommodates distance while creating a community of scholarship, creativity and ambition, that combines respect with openness to new and different thinking, that sees diversity as a strength and as a never-ending project." Ends   An Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn ceaptha mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile, OÉ Gaillimh D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn ceaptha mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile. Roghnaíodh an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn, iar-aire rialtais agus Coimisinéir Eorpach um Thaighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, d’aon toil ag an gcéad chruinniú foirmiúil den Údarás nua Déardaoin, an 25 Feabhra 2021. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is pribhléid é d’OÉ Gaillimh duine de mhianach an Dr Máire Geoghegan-Quinn a bheith mar chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile.  “Is iontach an acmhainn dúinn taithí agus saineolas an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn maidir le, mar shampla, leasú polasaí phoiblí, le tacú le taighde agus le cur chuige na hilchineáltachta agus muid ag iarraidh ár bplean straitéiseach Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, ar chabhraigh sí lena fhorbairt, a chur i bhfeidhm. Beimid in ann a chinntiú go mbeidh bainistíocht na hOllscoile á stiúradh agus déanaimid ár ndícheall na naisc atá ann cheana a dhoimhniú agus caidrimh nua a thógáil.” Mairfidh téarma an Dr Geoghegan-Quinn mar chathaoirleach ar feadh ceithre bliana ón 1 Márta 2021 go dtí 2025. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá aici: “Is léir gur onóir an ceapachán seo. Is léir freisin gur tasc ollmhór a bheidh ann. Chuir an phaindéim dlús leis an ngá atá le hOllscoil de chineál nua a chruthú a fhreastalaíonn ar achar agus san am céanna a chruthaíonn pobal léinn, cruthaitheachta agus uaillmhéine, a thugann meas agus oscailteacht le chéile do smaointeoireacht nua agus dhifriúil, a fheiceann éagsúlacht mar láidreacht agus mar thogra gan chríoch gan deireadh.” Críoch

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

University awarded AACSB Accreditation for excellence NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has secured global recognition for excellence with accreditation by AACSB International - the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The prestigious international award followed a rigorous assessment and quality review process over a number of years, which included developing and implementing a strategic plan to align with AACSB standards. NUI Galway now counts itself among 876 universities to have secured the stamp of approval, with the University in the same bracket as Harvard, Manchester, Aalto, Northwestern, Berkeley, Stanford, Warwick, Insead, Monash and UCD. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Achieving this accreditation is recognition of the global standard that J.E. Cairnes School of Business School & Economics has met in specific and recognisable measurements of business education excellence, including areas such teaching, research, curricula development, and student learning. This accreditation demonstrates how our faculty and professional staff have demonstrated our core university values in their activities, and how we ensure continuous innovation in delivering the highest quality of business education to students.” Professor Geraint Howells, Executive Dean for the College of Business Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “Over the past number of years, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has shown great innovation across its programmes, quality assurance processes, internationalisation, student recruitment, partnership development and industry engagement. I would like to applaud the entire Business team for their participation in securing this global accreditation.” Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, said: “AACSB accreditation is awarded to only the best universities. This incredible success enhances our reputation as one of the best business schools in the world, and we will continue to innovate and expand as part of our new strategic plan moving forward.” AACSB commended the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics for its growth and development over the past five years, delivering excellence in business education, research and impact. Significant achievements include more than 100 international partnerships with universities. The expanding network offers students extensive international study and research opportunities, internationalisation and diversity at postgraduate level. The partnerships are also resulting in a globalised classroom and learning experience with more than 40 nationalities represented in the J.E. Cairnes School, as well as world-leading research which significantly impacts business and public policy. The standards sought by AACSB require excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; student, faculty, and staff as active participants; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement. Confirming the accreditation Stephanie Bryant, AACSB Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer, said: "NUI Galway’s commitment to earning AACSB accreditation is a true reflection of their dedication – not only to their students, alumni network, and greater business community, but to the higher education industry as a whole.” AACSB accreditation is valid for 5 years, when a subsequent reaccreditation visit to NUI Galway will take place. Professor McCarthy added: “AACSB is a reflection of the transformational work that is taking place throughout our School. I would also like to acknowledge Dr Tom Acton, former Head of School, and our dedicated Accreditation Team comprising of Professor Willie Golden, Niamh Corcoran and Michelle Bradley, who led our School through this accreditation process over the past number of years.” Ends

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Jim Livesey as Vice-President for Research and Innovation. Professor Livesey joins from the University of Dundee, where he served as Dean of Humanities since 2014. Hailing from Cork City, Professor Livesey holds two degrees and a Masters in History from UCC, and a PhD in Modern History from Harvard University. Since then he has had a varied career, with posts at Harvard, Trinity, and Sussex as well as research and visiting appointments in France, the US, and China. He will bring his global experience, and his background in research leadership, to bear on the strategic development of NUI Galway. Professor Livesey is a global historian, whose research focus centres on the transformative effect of new kinds of knowledge for collective action. His work has examined the process of democratisation, the creation of the concept of civil society, and most recently, looked at science, technology and finance in provincial Europe. He refers to himself as an applied eighteenth-century historian, and his research has opened doors for partnership-based work in the Creative Economy, particularly as Co-Director of Dundee’s InGAME: Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise. The £11.5 million creative research and development centre is based on the experience and expertise surrounding the Scottish city’s games cluster. Professor Livesey will now lead NUI Galway’s research and innovation mission, building on the university’s significant successes in recent years. He takes on the new role just as the EU’s Horizon Europe funding programme for research and innovation launches, where the university will look to build on its success in the Horizon 2020 programme. Professor Livesey commented: ”I am delighted to take on this responsibility at NUI Galway. I’ve admired the creativity and quality of the research here for many years. The values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence that animate the university are solid foundations on which to build research of global significance, with national and regional impact. I look forward to working with the research teams in the university as well as regional, national, and international partners as we identify where Galway can make the greatest contribution to research across the domains.” NUI Galway has over 2,500 staff and students engaged in research across multiple disciplines, and an international reputation for being research-driven. The university has significantly developed the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape, including business incubation and spin-out activity. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "We warmly welcome Professor Jim Livesey to NUI Galway and look forward to working with him in our collective contribution to our university community and for the public good as we embark on the next chapter of our research journey as a university. "Professor Livesey brings immense experience in research management, grant capture, and stakeholder engagement to his new post. He has extensive experience of international research collaboration and of researcher development. He will offer a strong voice representing the research community in the university’s senior management as well as among policy makers nationally and internationally. Given his track record of high quality research and publication, he will promote excellence in research and innovation, respect for the evidence, openness to developing and disseminating new ideas and sustaining our research culture and institutions, true to the university’s values.” Prior to joining the University of Dundee as Professor of History in 2013, Professor Livesey undertook academic roles in the University of Sussex, Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin in the fields of  Global History, French History, Atlantic History, Intellectual History, Creative Economies Research.  To hear more about Research and Innovation at NUI Galway visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has joined a multidisciplinary team of experts across Ireland and the UK to devise new ways of supporting families to have smoke-free homes. Physicist Dr Miriam Byrne will work with researchers in seven universities to inform the development of future interventions and support mechanisms to help reduce smoking in the home, given the health risks particularly to pregnant women, babies and children. Dr Byrne said: “Secondhand smoke has long been known as a danger to health, particularly for young children and pregnant mothers. Despite knowing the risks, and that it is a more serious issue in poorer areas, there is no recommended approach to tackling this issue and to encourage families to have a smoke-free home. “It may also be the case that restrictions introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19 have exacerbated the problem due to the amount of time families have been housebound, particularly in the colder and wetter months.” The Smoke-free Homes Innovation Network’s (SHINE), led by University of Stirling, Scotland and University College Dublin, brings together a multidisciplinary team – including tobacco and social science expertise – with the aim of broadening knowledge and understanding as to why smokers in the UK and Ireland continue to smoke in the home and what can be done to support them to create a smoke-free home. The network will explore smoke reduction strategies within homes, including initiatives to encourage smoking at the back door, with the window open, or with the cooker extraction fan on. Dr Byrne said: “The network and the high-level expertise of those involved will be crucial in helping to develop thinking on the issue and accelerate initiatives on policy, research and practice.” The SHINE network noted that previous research shows second-hand smoke exposure varies significantly with socio-economic circumstances. In Scotland, 15% of children living in poorer areas are exposed, compared to 1% of those living in wealthier areas. Researchers will take account of these wider challenges to understand the best interventions and support mechanisms for smokers, and any barriers to smoke-free homes, particularly for people living in less wealthy areas. They will address why, when and where people in Ireland and the UK continue to smoke within the home, what prevents them from creating a smoke-free home and what can be done to support them in making changes. The network is funded by the Irish Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK. Ends

Monday, 1 March 2021

Physicists outline why energy-efficiency home improvements could solve one issue while creating another Ireland’s residential retrofitting programme should ensure ventilation is carefully considered to avoid an increase in levels of radon gas in homes, researchers at NUI Galway have found. A team from the University’s School of Physics conducted one of the first studies of its kind to quantify the impact of improved energy-efficiency and airtightness on radon – a radioactive, odourless, colourless and tasteless gas. With the Government having set a target of 500,000 homes to be retrofitted by 2030, the physicists used advanced computer models to predict how radon levels would be affected by improvements within different types of dwellings.  Overall, it showed that if appropriate ventilation measures were not considered during the retrofitting process, there is a potential for radon levels to more than double. However, the study also showed that when appropriate ventilation measures were implemented during the retrofit process, radon levels could be reduced below the initial levels. The study was carried out by Dr James McGrath and led by Dr Miriam Byrne, both of NUI Galway, as part of research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has been published in the international journal, Building and Environment, a leading research journal in the field.   Dr McGrath, of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: "It is important that in our drive to make our buildings more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that we do not introduce additional risks of negative outcomes. "The research findings highlight that radon, and indoor air quality overall, needs to be given due consideration as a key element of any proposed retrofitting works." Ireland has a higher radon level than the global average. The gas is a known carcinogen. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Ireland and is linked to approximately 300 lung cancer cases every year.  The NUI Galway study examined a combination of different houses - bungalow, semi-detached and terraced dwellings; outdoor locations - suburban, rural and coastal regions; dwelling ages; and various ventilation measures.  It also examined how airflow is altered through retrofitting and energy efficiency improvements like increased wall and attic insulation, new windows and doors and draught prevention. Dr McGrath added: "The results have important policy implications, highlighting that radon needs to be given appropriate consideration during the retrofit process. It is essential that people realise radon is only a problem if ignored. Radon remediation methods are often straightforward and inexpensive with the potential to significantly reduce levels of what is a potentially dangerous gas."  The NUI Galway research team also noted that the only way to ensure that a home does not exceed the reference level after energy improvements is to carry out a radon test.  Ends 

Monday, 1 March 2021

NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and GRCC launch “Start Here”campaign that will provide tools on how college staff and students can support someone who discloses sexual violence or harassment to them NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, the Union of Students in Ireland and Galway Rape Crisis Centre have launched an eight-week “Start Here” social media campaign. This national campaign empowers college students and staff with basic information to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment. It was launched online today (1 March 2021) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD. The new “Start Here” campaign tools include a downloadable card of tips on disclosure, a series of short videos that work through the tips, and open access to Active* Consent’s 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment based on further data gathered from the Sexual Experiences Survey carried out in 2020 by the Active* Consent team and Union of Students in Ireland. Active* Consent and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have partnered with Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) to turn these findings into a set of tools that could be disseminated and amplified online to give college students and staff access to key information. Over the next eight weeks, “Start Here” will offer: Basic do’s and dont’s of receiving a disclosure Key information on support services and how to access them nationally Current research statistics on college students’ experiences of sexual violence and harassment Open access to Active* Consent’s self-guided 45-minute eLearning module on consent, sexual violence and harassment The opportunity to access online student-tailored disclosure training by Galway Rape Crisis Centre Ongoing interactive content diving deeper into all of this information in detail through quizzes, stories and other forms of direct engagement Minister Harris stated: “I would like to pay tribute to NUI Galway’s Active* Consent, USI and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre for developing the “Start Here” campaign. My Department is determined to tackle sexual harassment and sexual violence in our Higher Education Institutions and this eight-week social media campaign will help empower students and staff with information and advice on how to respond practically and compassionately to disclosures of sexual violence and harassment” Charlotte McIvor, co-lead of Active* Consent and lead on this campaign with Alexandra Black at NUI Galway, said: “Key to Active* Consent’s mission is doing the research and then creating tools and experiences that build knowledge and engagement for students and staff regarding consent, sexual violence and harassment. “Start Here” meets this aim by taking an intimidating topic for many and translating it into sound bites and concrete steps that college staff and students can make use of in the real world.” As part of this launch, Active* Consent also announced the full details of their staff training programme which is now accessible, including a 15-minute animation to introduce all college staff to basic information about consent, sexual violence and harassment and a First Point of Contact training programme created in partnership with Galway Rape Crisis Centre. Union of Students in Ireland President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “USI is delighted to partner with the Active* Consent team on this national campaign aiming to advise students on how to best support their friends or classmates during and after a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment. The results from the Sexual Experiences Survey emphasised the crucial role friends and other peers play when it comes to supporting survivors of sexual violence and assault. The main objective of this campaign is to provide students with practical knowledge and understanding of how to support someone who discloses to them. This campaign has the potential to make a significant impact on creating a supporting environment for survivors of sexual violence, assault and harassment.” Cathy Connolly, Executive Director, Galway Rape Crisis Centre, said: “Galway Rape Crisis Centre has been supporting survivors of sexual violence for almost 40 years. One of the key things we have learned is that the response a survivor receives when disclosing their experiences can have an impactful and long lasting effect. GRCC are delighted to be partnering with the Active*Consent team and the Union of Students in Ireland on this national campaign. The campaign aims to give students and young people access to information on how to best support their friends and themselves when a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment happens, and offers the opportunity to build further skills in this area. Part of GRCC’s mission is to work towards ending cultural and societal tolerance of sexual violence and this campaign is a positive step in this direction.” Active* Consent is funded by Lifes2Good Foundation, Rethink Ireland, NUI Galway, Higher Education Authority and Department of Education and Skills. To track the campaign on social media, follow Active* Consent on: Facebook: Active Consent at NUI Galway; Instagram: @activeconsent; Twitter: @activeconsent and use the hashtags: #StartHere #IBelieveSurvivors. To view the "Start Here" elearning module see: https://activeconsent.usi.ie/training/#/ and to access the campaign website visit: www.nuigalway.ie/activeconsent/start-here/ For more information about the “Start Here” Campaign or how to work directly with Active* Consent, email activeconsent@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 1 March 2021

NUI Galway hosts series of online events and special documentary launch ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ charts ambitions and experiences of students   Traveller students at NUI Galway have taken to the screen to share their experience of studying at university and to encourage others in the community to aim high in education. The short documentary ‘Travellers in Higher Education – Building a Sense of Belonging’ has been produced as part of the efforts by the University's Access Office to support Travellers as role models and their participation in education. The film was released as part of today's events to mark Traveller Ethnicity Day, which was launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, T.D., and attended by President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.  The documentary features compelling interviews with students as they reflect on their experiences and pursuing goals. Anna Keane was an early school leaver who always felt education was for other people. “It was very daunting, being honest. It was kind of that imposter syndrome. Do I belong here? Am I able to do this? “I don’t feel I am a role model but if I am that’s a nice thing to feel. I just hope our stories inspire anybody out there watching.” Jason Sherlock, from Galway, is a final year BA Arts and Economics at NUI Galway. “I was kind of hiding my identity through secondary school. I felt it was the only way for me to get through it. I wasn’t sure would people be comfortable with me if I said who I was, my identity,” Mr Sherlock said. Emma Ward is 18, from Athenry, and the first in her family to go on to third level education. “I just want to do something with my life, even though I’m in a wheelchair. I don’t want to let it define me. I’ve never let it define me,” she said.  Ann Marie Ward works with Glionndar Community Group in Athenry and studied a Bachelor of Community, Youth and Family Studies. “We got other education that you could not buy at university. Our parents instilled in us the ability to see other people for being themselves and to not be judgmental.” The documentary was filmed and edited by Dawid Piotr Szlaga of Wild Island Pictures and part-funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in support of Traveller Pride Week. Within the EU, Ireland has one of the highest participation rates for third-level education. However, a Government report from 2019 cited recent studies that found there are only 61 Travellers in higher education. Approximately 1% of Travellers have a third-level education. Owen Ward, programme coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre, last year became the first Traveller to sit on a university governing authority in Ireland. “Traveller students in third level are pioneers. We don’t have to give up our cultural identity for academic achievement. It is an asset. Younger students need to see the value in that and use it,” Mr Ward said. "Understanding and providing for the particular needs of Travellers as they seek to access and progress in higher education is critical to ensuring that the Traveller community can fulfil their potential through education especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. “At NUI Galway we work hard to make this a reality. However, I believe that within a national context, a whole education approach is important for enabling participation by Travellers in higher education. That is why we need a National Traveller Education Plan.” Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a proven track record of widening participation of Travellers in higher education. In 2018, there were 61 Travellers in higher education with approximately 20 of them studying at NUI Galway. In the same year, the Mincéirs Whiden society, the first Traveller student society was established and NUI Galway is the only university to include Travellers for the University of Sanctuary scholarships.” The documentary can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr98Es1pGUtMJxyT3RrWWug Ends

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

NUI Galway has joined forces with a new European network to accelerate clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines. The EU VACCELERATE project connects all stakeholders involved in vaccine development on the continent in order to speed up the next two phases of vaccine trials for Covid-19. Some 21 countries are involved as part of pandemic preparedness on a pan-European scale, creating the backbone of a new structure to coordinate the fast and effective testing of vaccine candidates. NUI Galway lead, Professor Declan Devane, Deputy Dean of the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “We are delighted to play our role in enhancing Ireland’s capacity to conduct vaccine clinical trials for coronavirus and beyond. “Our role in VACCELERATE focuses on two particular areas - a living mapping and living systematic review of global Covid-19 vaccine trials of which there are currently 164, including 104 which are recruiting participants, and secondly an exploration of the barriers and facilitators to vaccination uptake in adults internationally.” The VACCELERATE project is led by the University Hospital Cologne, Germany and involves 26 partners from 16 EU-member states and 5 EU-associated countries, with other countries encouraged to join. NUI Galway and UCD are the Irish partners in the network, with funding provided under EU Horizon 2020. VACCELERATE will coordinate phase 2 & 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials in all EU-member states and EU-associated countries under one strategic-scientific umbrella. The network will link capable clinical trial sites, expert knowledge and promote transparent exchange of expertise in the vaccine development field. An important step in building this network is identifying clinical trial sites, 200 of which have already been identified, and laboratories with the capacity to perform vaccine clinical trials. VACCELERATE will also facilitate access to vaccine trial volunteers by setting up volunteer registries at https://www.vaccelerate.eu/volunteer-registry/index.html The project will promote harmonised acquisition, open exchange and consolidation of data for enhanced analysis across trials. This cooperation will generate solutions for characteristic problems in vaccine development that emerge in a pandemic and find answers to identified pressing public health questions. The European Commission is aiming to use VACCELERATE for the long-term increase of vaccine development capacities. Ends

Thursday, 29 April 2021

The Moore Institute, Centre for Global Women’s Studies and School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway will host a webinar about the protest events in Myanmar following the military coup. The free online event takes place on Thursday, 6 May at 2pm. The coup d’état in Myanmar, led by the Commander-in-Chief of the military, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has brought to a halt the tentative democratic transition in the country. Popular protest continues, taking the military and observers by surprise by its size, unity and innovativeness. The webinar session will hear from Vijaya Nidadavolu who has been on the ground in Myanmar until recent events obliged her to leave. She will discuss the forces behind the popular protest movement and describe how prolific protest art movement led by youth, including young women in particular, is being used as a form of resistance. Vijaya Nidadavolu is a Gender and Development specialist with years of experience in using popular culture and media for advancing gender and social justice issues. She has lived in Myanmar since 2015, until her recent departure. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The violent suppression of protest in Myanmar has sent shock waves around the world. We have had little chance to hear in an extended way from people with direct experience of what is taking place. The role of protest art in resisting the takeover is very compelling.” Dr Nata Duvvury, Director of Centre for Global Women’s Studies, said: “A distinguishing feature of the current protests in Myanmar is the presence of young women in unprecedented numbers who are leading new provocative strategies upturning the traditional gender norms of the culture in highly subversive tactics. “Young women who did not previously consider themselves as political have mobilised in large numbers in the protests. They have taken common symbols associated with women’s domesticity such as pots and spatulas as weapons of resistance in their artwork conveying the potency of the resistance movement.” To attend the webinar, please register on https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xr1aKMFeTF6nIoLIhb3nIQ. For further information about the webinar please contact daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. Ends

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

In simulations using this new model, the local authorities that receive the largest grants are Donegal, Galway, Meath, Laois, and Wexford County Councils Researchers at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway have developed a new methodology for estimating top-up grants for local councils with insufficient revenue bases. The research has been published in the 2021 Spring issue of The Economic and Social Review, Ireland’s leading journal for economics and applied social science. Stephen McNena co-author of the report from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, explains: "Currently, these so-called equalisation grants are funded primarily from the 20 percent of Local Property Tax receipts that are pooled and redistributed as additional payments to councils with smaller revenue bases, with the allocation based on historical baseline supports. Of the 31 local authorities, 20 are in receipt of these payments, totalling €133.5 million for the year 2021. The local authorities that currently receive the biggest grants in euro terms are Tipperary, Donegal, and Mayo County Councils, and Waterford City and County Council." Under the revenue equalisation model proposed by the authors, as is common in other local government systems internationally, the equalisation transfers are based on a well-designed formula, objective and quantifiable data and estimates of fiscal capacity. Regarded as the ‘most sophisticated technique for assessing interjurisdictional differences, and designing an equalisation transfer system’, fiscal or revenue-raising capacity is the potential ability of a local government to raise own-source revenues. In the Irish case, own-source or local revenues are raised through commercial rates, the Local Property Tax, and fees and charges for goods and services. Estimates of fiscal capacity for the 31 local councils are calculated, and compared to a standard defined as the national average of the fiscal capacity estimates. Where the fiscal capacity of a local council is less than the standard, a local council receives an equalisation payment equal to this shortfall. In the new model, 22 local authorities are eligible for equalisation grants, totalling almost €210 million with the funding now derived from central government. In this study's simulations, the local authorities that receive the largest grants are Donegal, Galway, Meath, Laois, and Wexford County Councils.  Given the highly political nature of fiscal equalisation, any new redistributive scheme will inevitably result in losers and winners. Per head of the population served, the study found that the biggest winners are Galway, Laois, Meath and Wexford County Councils. Given that the Local Property Tax will no longer be used to fund these equalisation payments under this new model, urban councils also win out with an additional €40 million revenue income available annually to the four Dublin local authorities to fund essential services for their residents. Dr Gerard Turley, co-author of the study from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, concludes: "As for the sensitive issue of the losers, alternative sources of funding include, if the fiscal space allows, higher taxes locally levied on commercial and/or residential properties, or in cases where it is deemed necessary, a temporary transition payment from central government. Either way, our new model provides for a local government funding model that is more transparent, sustainable and, most importantly from the perspective of financially weaker local councils providing comparable levels of public services, equitable." The authors manage the local government finance website www.localauthorityfinances.com, which is part of the Whitaker Institute’s research infrastructure at NUI Galway. To read the full paper entitled 'Equalisation transfers and local fiscal capacity: A new methodology for Ireland' visit: www.esr.ie or https://www.esr.ie/article/view/1497. Ends

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

CodePlus opens a pathway for young women to a computer science career en thousand girls attending secondary schools throughout Ireland are being targeted to redress the gender imbalance in the take-up of Computer Science in Ireland’s third-level colleges. CodePlus, a Computer Science (CS) outreach engagement project pioneered by Trinity College Dublin, is to be rolled out across the country by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software in partnership with Trinity, NUI Galway and University of Limerick (UL) over the next 24 months. The programme is funded under the SFI Discover Programme and will encourage, facilitate and provide opportunities to teenage female students to engage with Computer Science. According to Clare McInerney, Education and Public Engagement Manager with Lero, research into the CodePlus initiative shows it positively impacts female secondary school students. “The CodePlus programme is a powerful, non-formal outreach project encouraging adolescent girls to explore careers in Computer Science,” she said.  Professor Brendan Tangney, from the team at Trinity College Dublin who developed the CodePlus programme, said they found young women who participate in the 20-hour course were more likely to select a Computer Science course at third-level. “It is wonderful to see these young women grow as the course progresses. Selection of a CS course on their CAO application became a real option for them, but more importantly, they felt they would be well able for a CS course,” added Professor Tangney. Lero’s Dr Cornelia Connolly of NUI Galway’s School of Education said the goal of CodePlus is to redress the imbalance in CS graduates coming out of Irish third-level colleges. “When you look at the percentages of all undergraduate degrees in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) awarded to females over the last seven years it is stuck at just 18%, and a lowly 20% for CS courses. We need teachers and students to sign up for CodePlus. Young women are missing out on great careers in Computer Science and Computer Sceince needs more women designing for and with women; developing and leading the way,” Dr Connolly continued. Ms McInerney of Lero and UL cited the United Nations, Action Plan to Close Digital Gender Gap as one of the foundations driving the expansion of the CodePlus programme in Ireland: “Women’s equal and meaningful participation in the digital society is seen as both integral to the realisation of women’s rights in the 21st century, as well as the realisation of a just, inclusive, and rights-based information society and to achieve global objectives around gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030.” Launching the 2021 programme today, the CodePlus team ran an online event for TY, 5th and 6th-year secondary school girls. A panel of female software industry professionals spoke about their individual career experiences to inspire and enthuse students about Computer Science. Teachers, pupils and schools who want to participate in the CodePlus initiative should contact codeplus@bridge21.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

New research from NUI Galway has revealed four different types of individual who post about charity on their social media, and it found that some types are less altruistic than they might first appear. It is a challenging time for all businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Particularly so for charity organisations who are very reliant on donations of time and money from the public and often use social media in their marketing campaigns. The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza in Spain, and follows charitable initiatives such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and #nomakeupselfie which, as well as being awareness and fundraising initiatives, became social media sensations. The researchers wanted to know whether people who posted about charities on social media were making charity donations, or whether they were all about the action, rather than the cause. Dr Elaine Wallace, co-author of the research and Senior Lecturer in Marketing, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Although social media can be an excellent way to spread your message, there is some cynicism about these campaigns, as people participate but not everyone donates. One critic even labelled these campaigns a ‘narcissists' bonanza'.  “Previously, the term ‘Conspicuous Donation Behaviour’ was developed to explain acts of conspicuous compassion such as publicly wearing ribbons following a donation so that everyone can see that we have donated. However no-one knows whether our social media posts reflect what we do offline. We could post a selfie as part of a charitable campaign to show others how good we are, without ever donating. Or we might donate, and we might also post online to make sure everyone on social media knows about it. And this poses the question, are we ‘dirty altruists’?” The authors investigated the views of 243 Irish and 296 US Facebook users who had posted about a charity on Facebook. They measured their Conspicuous Donation Behaviour, their Facebook activity (their time spent online and number of Facebook friends), their traits (such as materialism and self-esteem), and their intention to donate time or money to that charity. Using a cluster analysis technique, four types were revealed, common to Ireland and the US: ⦁ Quiet Donors: This group are not materialistic, and they have low interest in impressing others. They are the least active on social media, but they are likely to donate money to the charity. The study labelled them ‘quiet donors’ as they are inconspicuous about their charity donations, and are not involved with conspicuous donation behaviour. ⦁ Friendly Donors: This group are active on Facebook and post about a charity only when it has a deep personal meaning for them, rather than to impress others. They have a lower need for uniqueness, and so they are not worried about standing out on Facebook. They have a high intention to donate time and money, and will donate when the charity has personal meaning. ⦁ Facebook Expressives: This group are most active on Facebook, and very conspicuous in their posts about charities online. They have a high need for uniqueness, and they may be posting about charities in order to stand out and impress their large number of Facebook friends, or because they believe it is socially acceptable. Yet they have a low intention to donate money or time to the charity, so their real world behaviour does not match their online posts. ⦁ Dirty Altruists: This group has the largest number of Facebook friends. They have a high need for uniqueness and high levels of sensitivity to others’ views of their posts, meaning they are careful to post about popular items. Unlike the Facebook Expressives, this group donate offline, but they admitted in the survey that they post about charities on Facebook to impress others. They also are highly materialistic, and so their charitable posts may be a form of conspicuous consumption. The study authors labelled them ‘Dirty Altruists’ because they are altruistic, but their altruism is tarnished because it is partly motivated by their need to make an impression on social media. Dr Isabel Buil, co-author of the study, University of Zaragoza Spain, said: “Social media presents great opportunities for charities to spread their message and engage a wide network. Our study shows that, for some (the Facebook Expressives), their online charity posts are not matched by charitable behaviour. Another group will post and donate only when the charity has a personal meaning for them (the Friendly Donors). Other types give, but they vary by the amount they post about it on social media, with Quiet Donors engaging very little with Facebook, and others by their use of social media for impression management (the Dirty Altruists).  “However, even the Facebook Expressives have the potential to spread awareness about the charity as they often have large numbers of Facebook friends. We hope our findings help charities to identify the likely donors, even the quiet ones, and those who might help to spread awareness.” To read the full study in the journal, Emerald Insight, visit: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JSM-06-2020-0216/full/html. Ends

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

A study led by Dr Liam Morrison from the Ryan Institute in collaboration with Dr Sita Karki from ICHEC at NUI Galway, have used macroalgal blooms for the assessment of the ecological status of coastal and estuarine areas in Ireland. The use of earth observation data sets to map green algal cover based on a Vegetation Index index was explored. The study was published in the international journal Frontiers in Marine Science. Several optical and radar satellite scenes from the European Space Agency and National Aeronautics and Space Administration missions were processed for eight different Irish estuaries (Clonakilty, Courtmacsherry, Lower Blackwater Estuary, Dungarvan, Bannow Bay, Tolka, Malahide and Rogerstown) of moderate, poor, and bad ecological status of estuaries and coastal lagoons. Satellite images acquired during low-tide conditions from 2010 to 2018 within 18 days of field surveys were considered.  The estimates of percentage green algal blooms coverage obtained from different earth observation data sources and field surveys were significantly correlated in terms of temporal and spatial accuracy. The results showed that the adopted technique could be successfully applied to map the coverage of the blooms and to monitor estuarine areas in conjunction with other monitoring activities that involve field sampling and surveys.  The combination of wide-spread cloud-coverage and high-tide conditions provided additional constraints during the image selection. The findings showed that the scenes of variable resolutions could be utilised to estimate bloom coverage. Moreover, Landsat, which is a legacy mission from NASA, can be utilised to reconstruct the blooms using historical archival data.  Considering the importance of biomass for understanding the severity of algal accumulations, an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model was trained using the in situ historical biomass samples collected by Environmental Protection Agency and those collected during previous research projects by the group.  The model performance could be improved with the addition of more training samples. The developed methodology can be applied in other areas experiencing macroalgal blooms in a simple, cost-effective, and efficient way.  The study has demonstrated that both the vegetation index-based technique to map spatial coverage of macroalgal blooms and the machine learning model to compute biomass have the potential to become an effective complementary tool for monitoring macroalgal blooms where the existing monitoring efforts can leverage the benefits of earth observation data sets.  To read the full study in Frontiers in Marine Science, visit: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.633128/full. Ends

Monday, 26 April 2021

Tá an chomhpháirtíocht idirnáisiúnta idir OÉ Gaillimh, an Eagraíocht Idirnáisiúnta um Imirce (IOM) agus Cúnamh Éireann le hoiliúint sna meáin maidir leis an imirce agus leis an mífhaisnéis a chur ar fáil  Bunaíodh comhpháirtíocht dhomhanda nua idir OÉ Gaillimh agus an Eagraíocht Idirnáisiúnta um Imirce, le tacaíocht ó Chúnamh Éireann, le dul i ngleic le bréagnuacht faoin imirce. Is tionscnamh atá á stiúradh ag IOM é Acadamh Meán na hImirce Domhanda, lena mbaineann cláir sa litearthacht mheán le hoiliúint a chur ar mhic léinn agus ar iriseoirí i dtreo agus gur féidir leo mífhaisnéis a aithint agus a bhréagnú agus dúshlán a thabhairt di freisin. Tá an tionscadal á chomh-mhaoiniú ag Ciste Forbartha an IOM agus ag Cúnamh Éireann, agus tá forbairt an bhunchúrsa dhomhanda á stiúradh ag Tom Feel, Ceann Disciplín na hIriseoireachta agus na Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh. Reáchtálfar na cláir i gceithre thír i dtosach báire – Meicsiceo, an tSeirbia, Maracó, na hOileáin Fhilipíneacha – sula reáchtálfar i dtíortha eile é de réir mar a leanann an tionscnamh ar aghaidh. Deir Simon Coveney, an tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, T.D.: “Léirigh na 12 mhí seo a chuaigh thart a thábhachtaí agus atá an nuacht agus foinsí nuachta maidir le heolas a thabhairt dúinn agus oideachas a chur orainn. Cé gur contúirt í an bhréagnuacht a bhfuil a thuilleadh daoine ag éirí feasach fúithi, níl a fhios ag go leor cén chaoi a gcuirtear ina coinne ná a nochtar í. Mar sin de, cuirim fearadh na fáilte roimh thionscnamh tábhachtach seo OÉ Gaillimh agus Cúnamh Éireann le dul i ngleic leis an mífhaisnéis agus leis an mbréagnuacht atá á scaipeadh faoin imirce.” Deir Lalini Veerassamy, ceannaire misin na hEagraíochta Idirnáisiúnta um Imirce (IOM) in Éirinn: “Agus Acadamh Meán na hImirce Domhanda á bhunú againn, tá sé tábhachtach institiúid acadúil iontaofa ar nós OÉ Gaillimh bheith ag oibriú linn d’fhonn uirlisí oiliúna caighdeánaithe maidir leis na meáin agus leis an imirce a fhorbairt. Maidir leis an mbunchúrsa domhanda de, déanfar é a comhthéacsú d’fhonn go léireoidh sé na dinimicí imirce éagsúla ag leibhéal náisiúnta agus réigiúnach agus cuirfidh sé ar fáil d’iriseoirí ar fud an domhain na huirlisí riachtanacha le scéalta níos cothroime agus níos cruinne faoin imirce a fhorbairt, beart a laghdóidh scaipeadh na mífhaisnéise.” Deir an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Baineann tionscadail mar seo go díreach le péire dár gcroíluachanna. Trí bhíthin tacú le meas agus le hoscailteacht, tá súil againn go mbeidh tionchar claochlaitheach againn ar an tsochaí, in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta, agus go mbeimid inár n-eiseamláir sármhaitheasa thar chríocha ár nOllscoile féin. Is saineolaithe ar an litearthacht mheán iad ár n-acadóirí iriseoireachta agus is onóir dóibh bheith ag oibriú leis an IOM ar an tionscadal idirnáisiúnta ríthábhachtach seo, atá á tacú ag Cúnamh Éireann, agus a mbeidh tionchar leathan dearfach aige ar fhoghlaim na sochaí.” Forbróidh Acadamh Meán na hImirce Domhanda ríomhfhoghlaim agus ábhair oiliúna le dul i ngleic leis an mbréagnuacht. Díreofar aird ar an mífhaisnéis agus ar an mbréagaisnéis maidir leis an imirce, lena n-áireofar oiliúint a chur ar mhic lénin le hinneachar díobhálach a aithint agus rianú; fóiréinsic dhigiteach agus teicnící fíoraithe; agus iriseoireacht sonraí. Tarraingeoidh cúrsaí ar shonraí agus ar thaighde faoin imirce, agus scrúdófar an chaoi a mbíonn tionchar ag forbairtí domhanda amhail COVID-19 ar an imirce agus ar thuairimí an phobail freisin. Molfar do mhic léinn an t-ábhar casta is imirce ann a scrúdú agus scéalta atá spéisiúil, caolchúiseach agus bunaithe ar fhianaise a fhoilsiú. Tá sé i gceist ag OÉ Gaillimh Scoil Samhraidh a reáchtáil do rannpháirtithe in 2022 freisin. Críoch

Monday, 26 April 2021

Global project to challenge fake news on migration International partnership of NUI Galway, the International Organisation for Migration and Irish Aid to offer media training on migration and misinformation A new global partnership has been established involving NUI Galway and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with the support of Irish Aid, to tackle fake news around migration. The Global Migration Media Academy is an initiative led by IOM, involving media literacy programmes to train students and journalists to identify, challenge and debunk misinformation. The project is co-funded by the IOM Development Fund and Irish Aid, with the development of the global foundational course being led by Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communications at NUI Galway. The programmes will initially run in four countries - Mexico, Serbia, Morocco and the Philippines - before expanding to other countries as the project evolves. Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs T.D., said: “The last 12 months have shown us all how important our news and news sources are for keeping us informed and educated. While fake news is a danger that more and more people are aware of, countering it or revealing it isn’t something that many know how to do. Therefore I warmly welcome this important initiative from NUI Galway and Irish Aid to tackle misinformation and fake news being spread about migration.” Lalini Veerassamy, chief of mission of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Ireland, said: “As we establish the Global Migration Media Academy, it is key to have a reputable academic institution such as NUI Galway working with us to develop standardised training tools on media and migration. The global foundation course, which will be contextualised to reflect different migration dynamics at a national and regional level will equip journalists from all over the world with the necessary tools to develop more balanced and accurate narratives on migration which in turn will reduce the spread of misinformation.” Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “Projects such as this speak directly to two of our core values: respect and openness. By championing respect and openness, we hope to have a transformative effect on society, in Ireland and internationally, setting a positive example of excellence beyond our University. Our journalism academics are international experts in media literacy and it is an honour for them to work with the IOM on this vitally important international project, as supported by Irish Aid, which will have far-reaching positive learning for society.” The Global Migration Media Academy will develop e-learning and training material to tackle fake news. There will be a focus on misinformation and disinformation around migration, including training students on identifying and tracking harmful content; digital forensics and verification techniques; and data journalism. Courses will draw on migration research and data, as well as exploring how unfolding global developments like Covid-19 influence migration and public attitudes. Students will be encouraged to explore the complex topic of migration from different perspectives and publish compelling, nuanced and evidence-based stories. NUI Galway is also planning to host a Summer School for participants in 2022. Ends

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

NUI Galway is extending an invitation to the public, patients, carers, and the wider research community to attend the Sixth National Public and Patient Involvement in Research Conference on Wednesday, 28 April. The Conference will be an online event, running from 10am-1.45pm. Patrick Murphy, Network Manager at the Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland at NUI Galway, and one of the event organisers said: “Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) helps ensure that health and social care research is more relevant to patients and their needs, and that research is focused on what matters most to patients. It can also help ensure that the results of research are shared with the public and with patients in a way that is accessible to everyone.” Martha Killilea, from the PPI Ignite Network at NUI Galway, co-organisers of the conference, added: “Patients, and indeed their carers, are experts in the reality of living with an illness. Researchers bring their own expertise, including in-depth research skills and a knowledge of existing research evidence, but often do not have personal, lived experience of the topic they are researching. Patients and researchers can therefore collaborate together to conduct research that is of high-quality and also focused on patient needs.” The theme for this year’s conference is ‘PPI: Creating the New Normal in Research’ and will celebrate the successful integration of PPI into research in recent years, and will include two keynote presentations from: Embedded Patient Researcher Robert Joyce, who is the first person to be employed in NUI Galway in a PPI role, will speak about bringing his 28 years of lived experience with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis to a research team. Dr Martin O’Halloran, Techrete Professor of Medical Electronics at NUI Galway, will focus on embedding PPI in medical device development in Ireland, for example women with lived experience of cancer treatment working with researchers for a solution for hair loss. The conference will include interactive sessions, where attendees will have the opportunity to hear from PPI contributors, and to speak with contributors in current research. Attendees will be able to choose from sessions focused on three different topics: PPI Contributors: My Voice Shaping Research Public and Patient Involvement Around the World Including the Excluded Wendy Costello, a PPI contributor on the conference organising committee, and co-chair of the interactive session’ PPI Contributors: My Voice Shaping Research’ said: “The interactive sessions will be a great opportunity to network virtually and feel part of the global discussion on PPI. The planning by a diverse committee has made this overall programme the most exciting yet.” The conference will close with presentations from the 2021 NUI Galway PPI Ignite award winners and from Professor Sean Dinneen who is leading the newly established national PPI Ignite Network. Speaking about the Conference, Professor Dinneen said: “It is great to see the National Public and Patient Involvement in Research Conference entering its sixth year and going from strength to strength. Meaningful involvement of the public and patients in health and social care research is becoming a feature of the Irish (and international) research landscape and this is reflected in the content of this year’s conference programme.”  Registration for the conference is free, but those wishing to attend must register in advance. Full details are at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/public-and-patient-involvement-ppi-in-research-conference-galway-tickets-143702147993 or email ppi@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Following feedback from the first survey in 2020 the researchers have produced a ‘Helping Hedgehogs’ information leaflet Researchers from NUI Galway and the National Biodiversity Data Centre are once again calling on citizen scientists to help to record data and movements of the humble hedgehog. This year, the researchers have planned a more involved hedgehog survey with volunteers invited to conduct assessments in their local area between May and September. The methodology follows that developed by the Mammal Society of the UK, which uses footprint tunnels to determine if hedgehogs are present in various habitats. Researchers are asking volunteers to place ten footprint tunnels, a small tunnel made from corrugated plastic containing two sheets of paper and ink in the centre to capture the footprints of the hedgehogs, within a 1 kilometre square area for five nights and check them each morning for signs of hedgehogs. The Irish Hedgehog Survey was launched in the summer of 2020 with members of the public asked to submit records of hedgehog sightings online. The response to the survey saw over 2,000 hedgehog sightings reported for the year from all over Ireland, with many reporting hedgehogs regularly visiting their gardens through the summer. Researchers also received many requests for information on how to attract hedgehogs into the garden or help a sick or injured animal so they have produced an informative leaflet called ‘Helping Hedgehogs’ with tips for making your garden more hedgehog friendly. The leaflet is available to view, download and print from the project website https://www.irishhedgehogsurvey.com/helping-hedgehogs. The Irish Hedgehog Survey forms part of the research of PhD candidate Elaine O’Riordan from Zoology, School of Natural Science, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, who said: “The aim of the survey is to provide information on the types of habitats where hedgehogs occur, and where they don’t. We are hopeful that a lot of volunteers will get involved and survey different types of habitats in urban and rural areas. We are delighted with the response to the Hedgehog Survey so far. People seem very interested in hedgehogs and care about them very much.” “We are very pleased to have teamed up with project partners from the county councils of Galway, Kilkenny Roscommon, Mayo, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin City as well as the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ulster Wildlife Trust and Cork Nature Network. With their support we hope to train and mobilise teams of volunteers in these areas.” This survey would be suitable for interested individuals, local wildlife or conservation groups and community and youth groups. Participants are welcome from all over Ireland. Volunteering workshops will be available online in early summer 2021 with more information on the survey, instructions, and equipment needed to carry out the project. There will also be live training events facilitated with the Hedgehog Survey project partners. Full details of dates and locations of the volunteer workshops will be available on the project website https://www.irishhedgehogsurvey.com/. For further information on the project, training, or survey news, please email irishhedgehogsurvey@gmail.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Research on Driving Remote Innovation is published in MIT Sloan Management Review Research from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in collaboration with Dublin City University has been published in the prestigious US publication, MIT Sloan Management Review. The research 'Driving Remote Innovation Through Conflict and Collaboration' examined how business leaders can promote innovation in remote teams. The research uncovered two complementary principles of leading remote teams for innovation - connecting for collaboration and connecting for contradiction – which are both essential to creating opportunities for innovation. In the absence of face-to-face interactions, the research suggests that leaders must purposely connect with their immediate team members one-to-one, to enable more engaged exchanges of collaboration required for innovation and understanding and responding to the individual challenges of team members. Remote working can be a boon for innovation by enabling greater diversity of views, supporting connecting for contradiction. Virtual conversations can include external experts and remotely located colleagues as they are much more cost- and time-efficient to organise than in-person meetings. This tactic of exaggerating differences in opinions and expertise is required to encourage more vigorous debate and stimulate fresh ideas for innovation in remote working. Operating in tandem, these two approaches ensure that leaders create a virtual culture where new ideas arise, the most promising of which can be translated into innovative outcomes to help ensure the long-term success and delivery of the organisation's strategic goals. The study was led by Esther Tippmann, Professor of Strategy at NUI Galway, Pamela, Sharkey Scott, Professor of Strategy and International Business at DCU and Mark Gantly, Adjunct Professor of Management at NUI Galway. To better understand the long-term implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for leadership, the research team collected detailed interview data from 20 leaders in different household name US multinationals across the world. They included a mix of young, high-growth organisations and well-established global giants, and firms with digital and physical offerings. They examined what the leaders saw as the long-term implications of the pandemic on their organisation (if any) and what leadership competences they foresee as most important. Professor Esther Tippmann, NUI Galway, said: “Organisations have traditionally relied on the energy of co-present teams to stimulate ideas for innovation. Before the pandemic, many leading innovative organisations invested heavily in attractive workplaces. However, office work had to be abandoned when the Covid-19 pandemic demanded an incredibly fast transition to remote working. Now, it is clear that remote working, in a managed way, is here to stay. With productivity goals being largely met, we found that many organisations find it challenging to embed innovation in their remote teams. So, the leadership principles for driving innovation in remote teams offer explicit guidance for leaders. We studied multinationals located in Ireland. However, the principles are of relevance to all types of organisations where remote working is an integral part of the organisational model.” To read 'Driving Remote Innovation Through Conflict and Collaboration' in MIT Sloan Management Review, visit: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/driving-remote-innovation-through-conflict-and-collaboration/?use_credit=91851988c40ebbe236f5561e167c9ab8. Ends