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

Monday, 19 April 2021

NUI Galway partners in week-long technology festival highlighting how companies are turning to cloud computing platforms to drive digital transformation to shape the future of work    The AtlanTec Festival is set to return again in 2021, with virtual events from 17-21 May on the theme of ‘Thriving through Digital Transformation’. The event is supported by NUI Galway, and run by itag (Innovation Technology AtlanTec Gateway), the non-profit, industry-led community of technology companies in the west of Ireland.   Now in its 7th year, the annual AtlanTec Festival of Technology brings together technology communities from home and abroad, for five days of international keynote speakers, moderated panel conversations, tech talks, fun and inspiration. Last year over 3,000 people connected online at AtlanTec, proving that though times may be uncertain, one fact remains true, there is power in people coming together.    Thriving through Digital Transformation highlights that increasingly, companies are turning to Cloud Computing platforms to drive their Digital Transformation; not just for their business needs, but also to shape their Future of Work. This festival brings together local, national and international speakers to explore some of the key challenges and opportunities this presents.   This year’s dynamic panel of international keynote speakers and panel guests includes: Nicklas Bergman (Futurist), Bruce Daisley (The Joy of Work), Dr. Jessica Barker (Cyber UK), Gary Short (Data Scientist AMEY), Sarah Armstrong (Microsoft Cyber Consultant) and Marek Zmuda (Intel Movidius).   NUI Galway speakers will include: Dr Venkatesh Kannan on how the Quantum Computing work at the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) is positioning Ireland in Europe and globally; Jim Duggan, Personal Professor in Computer Science, on his work on infectious disease modelling; Dr Ed Curry on data sharing spaces to power AI; and Dr Noel Carroll, Programme Director of the MSc Information Systems Management on his work related to digital transformation and citizen development. Itag’s AtlanTec Festival is a key event in Ireland’s tech conference calendar and is supported by the technology cluster along the AtlanTec Gateway including Cisco, Genesys, Fidelity Investments, HPE, IBM, Storm, NUI Galway and itag Skillnet and many more.   According to Caroline Cawley, CEO itag, “AtlanTec 2021 brings together people and companies re-defining the global Tech industry. We will welcome people from all around the world this May and they are coming to AtlanTec 2021 to learn about the latest trends to drive their Digital Transformation and the latest thinking and the newest products that will shape their Future of Work. Thriving through Digital Transformation answers a key question facing all Tech companies - where to next?”  Ruth Hynes, a member of the event organising committee and Innovation and Engagement Officer at NUI Galway, added: “There is a real sense of coming together with AtlanTec, even if we are doing so remotely again this year rather than on campus. So much innovation in technology comes out of our part of the world, from the start-up community right through to companies that are household names. As a university we are proud to be part of this dynamic ecosystem and look forward to the festival in May.” Rapid transformation and change is a key feature of the technology industry and staying up-to-date can be challenging. AtlanTec 2021 offers a comprehensive platform to all in the technology community including IT Professionals, Developers, Cloud and Cyber Experts, IT Leaders and Technologists for deep knowledge gathering and networking.                                  Registration is required to attend, to book your place visit: https://atlantec.ie/  Follow on Twitter @atlantecfest and on Facebook at AtlanTec Festival. View short AtlanTec video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76lpiUDG428.   Ends 

Monday, 19 April 2021

Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission is seeking participants to give their experience of remote working one year on from lockdown and future preferences post-pandemic Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission are seeking participants for the annual national Remote Working in Ireland Survey. The third survey will gather data on employees’ experiences of remote working one year on from lockdown and seek inputs on their preferences post pandemic. The survey is led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Noreen O’Connor at NUI Galway and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at the Western Development Commission.  The study will provide insights on how remote working has changed employees work and employment experiences and builds on two previous national surveys undertaken by the team. In addition to analysing trends across the three surveys, data will capture managers’ experiences of leading and supervising their teams remotely, both now and their future plans post pandemic. Speaking about the annual remote working survey, Professor Alma McCarthy, Professor of Public Sector Management, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The surveys we did in 2020 were of huge interest to the public and we got over 12,000 responses from employees who were working remotely across the country.  There are significant changes in how we work arising from the Covid-19 crisis.  It is timely to capture the trends and experiences one year on. The third survey will also provide insights into how managers are finding team management in a remote context, which has not been examined to date.”  Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “Much has been learned about the transition to remote work over the last year. Creating a national network of more than 400 remote working hubs and the National Remote Work strategy are just part of the response to what we have learned. This information helps to inform the decision making about balanced future development in our country, helping the transition to a low carbon economy and ultimately has the potential to transform the way we live and work.” The research team will analyse the findings of the third national remote working survey and make them publicly available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites in early May 2021. The report and key statistics from the first and second national surveys are also available on these websites. The remote working study findings will be available to inform employers about employee experiences of remote working. The research team will provide recommendations for employers on how to better manage remote working in the current crisis as well as more generally. To complete the survey visit https://bit.ly/3g4DnJA. To view both previous surveys on the Whitaker Institute’s Project page, visit: https://bit.ly/3mFwgZg.   -Ends-

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway will deliver the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Inaugural Fellowship Lecture, hosted by the University of British Columbia. The online lecture entitled ‘Empathy Education: Intersectional Approaches to Youth and Civic Engagement’ will take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 6pm BST. During his lecture Professor Dolan will discuss how empathy education in secondary schools and community youth programmes enables young people to be responsive to others and more responsible in their behaviour. Using methodologies such as training youth to be social researchers, or peer to peer learning through music, sport and literature are all crucial parts of empathy and compassion education. Research has shown that these methods not alone can be woven into the classroom settings to reduce hate speech, racial profiling and other discriminatory behaviours by young people, but they also promote positive behaviour. Speaking ahead of the event Professor Pat Dolan, NUI Galway, said: “While we know that empathy education is crucial for positively engaging young people in their families and communities, we should not have to focus on young people’s negative or riotous behaviours as a means of valuing them. “The instances of violence involving youth from loyalist and nationalist communities in Northern Ireland last week is a serious concern. It occurs in the context of a segregated schools system in Northern Ireland, coupled with a lack of cross community empathy education, which if it did exist it could have helped prevent the violence that is based on a lack of understanding among young people who actually have far more in common in terms of their disadvantage.” The lecture is free to attend and open to the public. For more details, or to register for the event visit: https://bit.ly/3djBXJs or email gillian.browne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

NUI Galway partners with 12 European institutions to build new resources to aid digital decoding of literature NUI Galway’s Moore Institute has joined forces with 12 other institutions across Europe for a research project that aims to aid new approaches to the study of literature in the digital age. Computational Literary Studies Infrastructure (CLS INFRA) is a four-year partnership to build a shared resource of high-quality data, tools and knowledge needed for literary studies using artificial intelligence and other computational methods. The project is being supported with €5 million funding from the European Commission. Dr Justin Tonra, Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, whose work in the project will focus on bridging the gap between computational and traditional literary studies, said: “When studying literature we often focus on a small number of books by a small number of authors. With the aid of computers, we can ‘read’ literature at a scale that opens windows onto topics like gender, language and colonialism, and how they are represented in our shared and varied European cultural heritage.” The overall aim of CLS INFRA is to open up the best data mining resources Europe has to offer in the growing field of Computational Literary Studies, which enables a big-data approach to the study of culture. For instance, it can help scholars to detect patterns which show what literary genres were prevalent at certain times; if and how gender manifests in the language of writers; whether the movement of literary style can be mapped across time and space. The CLS INFRA project will identify and map the specific requirements of researchers who wish to study literature using technology and AI. Partners in the 13 institutions will bring together existing resources as well as develop new tools, services and literary collections. A further aim of the project is to open up Computational Literary Studies to more researchers and enable investigation into Europe’s multi-lingual and interconnected literary heritage and cultural diversity. Support services and training will be provided to researchers who are new to the use of computers and AI for literary study. Scholars from under-represented regions and languages, as well as independent and citizen scholars, will also be supported. Dr Maciej Eder, Director of the Institute of Polish Language at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Principal Investigator of CLS INFRA, said: “This is a very exciting project which promises to make great advances in how we use computers to study literature. “One of the great challenges to Computational Literary Studies is that the landscape of digital literary sources is very fragmented, as scholars and readers struggle to find texts that are made accessible and reusable in standardised ways. CLS INFRA will address this deficit in a way that will allow the field to flourish.” Dr Tonra added: “The partnership of 13 European institutes will also foster systematic and meaningful cooperation across national borders and linguistic boundaries, as well as disciplines of study. “Human beings are storytellers. Nowhere do we see the expression of human ambitions, values, norms and desires more clearly than in the collected literary works that have been created over centuries of human creativity. “The emergence of information and communications technologies has given us an unprecedented opportunity to share, compare and understand this legacy across national borders and linguistic boundaries.” Ends

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

NUI Galway Professor's discovery on silent killer condition could profoundly change care for patients New research led by a professor at NUI Galway is set to change how doctors treat some patients with high blood pressure - a condition that affects more than one in four men and one in five women. The study by researchers at NUI Galway, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School found no evidence that diastolic blood pressure - the bottom reading on a blood pressure test - can be harmful to patients when reduced to levels that were previously considered to be too low. Lead researcher Bill McEvoy, Professor of Preventive Cardiology at NUI Galway and a Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospital Galway, said the findings have the potential to immediately influence the clinical care of patients. Professor McEvoy said: “We now have detailed research based on genetics that provides doctors with much-needed clarity on how to treat patients who have a pattern of high systolic values - the top reading for blood pressure - but low values for the diastolic, or bottom, reading. “This type of blood pressure pattern is often seen in older adults. Old studies using less reliable research methods suggested that the risk for a heart attack began to increase when diastolic blood pressure was below 70 or above 90. Therefore, it was presumed there was a sweet-spot for the diastolic reading.” High blood pressure is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with more than 1 billion people having the condition. It is linked with brain, kidney and other diseases, but it is best known as a risk factor for heart attack. More recently, high blood pressure has emerged as one of the major underlying conditions that increase the risk of poor outcomes for people who become infected with Covid-19. Professor McEvoy and the international research team analysed genetic and survival data from more than 47,000 patients worldwide. The study, published in the prestigious medical journal Circulation, showed: :: There appears to be no lower limit of normal for diastolic blood pressure and no evidence in this genetic analysis that diastolic blood pressure can be too low. :: There was no genetic evidence of increased risk of heart disease when a patient’s diastolic blood pressure reading is as low as 50. :: The authors also confirmed that values of the top, systolic, blood pressure reading above 120 increased the risk of heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure medications reduce both systolic and diastolic values. Professor McEvoy added: “Because doctors often focus on keeping the bottom blood pressure reading in the 70-90 range, they may have been undertreating some adults with persistently high systolic blood pressure. “The findings of this study free up doctors to treat the systolic value when it is elevated and to not worry about the diastolic blood pressure falling too low. “My advice now to GPs is to treat their patients with high blood pressure to a systolic level of between 100-130mmHg, where possible and without side effects, and to not worry about the diastolic blood pressure value.” Dr Joe Gallagher, Irish College of General Practioners’ Lead, National Heart Programme, said: “This data helps remove uncertainty about how to treat people who have an elevated systolic blood pressure but low diastolic blood pressure. This is a common clinical problem which causes much debate. It will help impact clinical practice internationally and shows the importance of Irish researchers in clinical research." Ends

Monday, 12 April 2021

Projects to connect researchers with community and voluntary organisations to share knowledge and develop new insights to enhance wellbeing and delivery of services Ten projects from NUI Galway have received funding of over €113,000 from the Irish Research Council to connect researchers with community and voluntary organisations. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of different groups in society and on the delivery of services is a significant theme within the research projects being announced. The ten projects from NUI Galway will reach out across communities to look at diverse issues that include those affecting the LGTBQI+ community, senior citizens, understanding the nature of rural crime, diversity in theatre for young people, humanitarian practice, remote management of heart failure, judicial education and conduct, access to cardiac care online, therapeutic care needs for mild dementia and the prevention and treatment of post-partum haemmorage. The ten funded projects will be led by: ⦁ Dr Sinéad Hynes, Occupational Therapy, who will work with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland to develop recommendations and identify what the future care needs of older LGTBQI+ people living with dementia in Ireland are. ⦁ Dr Haroon Zafar, School of Medicine and BioInnovate Ireland, who will be part of a research collaboration with Croí, the Heart and Stroke Charity on the remote management of heart failure during Covid-19 through ‘telehealth’. ⦁ Dr Charlotte McIvor, Drama and Theatre Performance, who will partner with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children on the first national project to look at interculturalism, diversity and inclusion in theatre for the young audiences sector. ⦁ Dr Michael Lang, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, whose research will contribute towards a better understanding of the nature of rural crime – perceived, experienced, and recorded – and will analyse how it varies across different regions of Ireland. ⦁ Dr Orla Dolan, Occupational Therapy, whose research will look at an evidence base for meeting therapeutic care needs using Virtual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy with individuals living with mild to moderate dementia residing in the community in Ireland. ⦁ Dr Barry McDermott, Engineering and Informatics, who will work in partnership with Busitema University on a novel low-cost, robust device for the prevention and treatment of post-partum haemorrhage in low resource settings. ⦁ Dr Oonagh Meade, School of Psychology, who will partner with Croí Heart and Stroke Charity who have developed “MySláinte”, a new cardiac rehabilitation programme delivered online to ensure equal access to cardiac rehabilitation in Ireland. ⦁ Dr Rónán Kennedy, School of Law, who will partner with the Trust for Civil Liberties, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and with Dr Laura Cahillane of the University of Limerick to examine whether the establishment of the Judicial Council will bring the Irish approaches to judicial conduct and ethics and judicial education and training up to international best practice. ⦁ Dr Miriam Haughton, Drama and Theatre Performance, who will work with Age & Oppportunity on the documentary 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous: 'Difficult' Irish Women Abroad'. ⦁ Dr Kevin O'Sullivan, Department of History, who will be part of a research collaboration with Dóchas - the Irish Association of Non Governmental Development Organisations focusing on the historical research into humanitarian practice. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President of Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “Collaborative partnerships with community and voluntary organisations in civic society are integral to research at NUI Galway. These community organisations bring new energy and innovation to our research, and as partners we work together to find solutions that enhance their services. Openness is one of our core strategic values. Open research brings challenges posed by society to our community, and these diverse and inclusive projects will undoubtedly improve the standards of care and service provided to the wider world. I thank the Irish Research Council and the Government for their support of these projects and look forward to the outcomes from these valuable partnerships.” The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD welcomed the funding by the Irish Research Council this week for 76 New Foundations projects that will bring researchers and community/voluntary organisations together to share knowledge and develop new insights to help create a better society for all. Minister Harris said: “These research collaborations are helping with some very important community and voluntary sector projects. I welcome that the highest ever number of funding awards are being made today by the Irish Research Council to support these research collaborations with the community and voluntary sector." Along with the strand engaging civic society, the New Foundations scheme also includes strands supported by government departments and agencies. In each of the past three years, a dedicated strand of the call provides opportunities for researchers to work on important areas of policy, including global development, crime, creativity and children. Commenting on the funding partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown said: “The ongoing partnership between the Irish Research Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs under this programme is very welcome and continues to build a pipeline of research collaborations for future projects that support enhanced cooperation between the global north and global south, focusing on innovative responses to global challenges within the framework of the 2030 agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals." Since 2015, over 200 community, voluntary and charity organisations have engaged across various Irish Research Council programmes, 278 projects have been funded with an associated investment in excess of €6.5 million. The New Foundations scheme will run again this year and further information is available here. -Ends-

Friday, 9 April 2021

Beidh seisiún eolais fíorúil ag OÉ Gaillimh dóibh siúd ar spéis leo an Clár Rochtana do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta. Beidh an seisiún ar siúl Déardaoin, an 15 Aibreán, idir 7-8.30pm. Cuirfear tús leis an bpróiseas iarratais don Chlár Rochtana do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta i mí Aibreáin agus tabharfaidh an seisiún seo eolas faoi chúrsaí, an próiseas iarratais agus tacaíochtaí éagsúla atá ar fáil do mhic léinn ionchasacha atá 23 bliain d’aois agus níos sine. Is ann don Chlár Rochtana do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta chun bealach iontrála malartach chuig an oideachas tríú leibhéal a chur ar fáil do dhaoine ó chúlraí socheacnamaíocha nach ndéantar ionadaíocht sách láidir orthu ag an tríú leibhéal agus, ar chúiseanna éagsúla, nach bhfuil a bpoitéinseal iomlán oideachais bainte amach acu agus, dá bhrí sin, nach bhfuil an gnáthriachtanas oideachais is gá acu chun dul ar aghaidh go dtí an tríú leibhéal. Tá sé mar aidhm ag cláir Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh tacú le mic léinn muinín a chothú iontu féin, ina gcumas acadúil, agus tacú leo barr a gcumais a bhaint amach. Beidh ionadaithe ón Ionad Rochtana agus Comhordaitheoirí Cláir ar líne chun comhairle a thabhairt agus ceisteanna a fhreagairt agus tacú leo siúd ar mian leo an chéad chéim a ghlacadh chuig oideachas tríú leibhéal. Dúirt an Dr Mary Surlis, Bainisteoir Sinsearach ar Ionad Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an timpeallacht teagaisc agus foghlama ar ár gcláir Rochtana bunaithe ar threoir agus tacaíocht a thabhairt dár gcuid mac léinn ag gach céim dá ndul chun cinn. Níl sé rómhall riamh d’uaillmhian a bhaint amach agus tá ár gcúrsaí deartha chun bunús láidir a thabhairt do mhic léinn atá ag filleadh ar an oideachas agus iad ag dul ar aghaidh go dtí an tríú leibhéal. Táimid ag tnúth, mar is gnách, le cohórt nua mac léinn dár gcláir 2021/22.” Chun clárú don seisiún eolais téigh chuig https://bit.ly/3uahrAq. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin gClár Rochtana do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta le fáil ar www.nuigalway.ie/access/mature-students -Críoch-

Thursday, 8 April 2021

NUI Galway will hold a virtual information session for those interested in the Access Programme for Mature Students. It will take place on Thursday, 15 April, from 7pm-8.30pm. The application process for the Access Programme for Mature Students will open in April and this session will provide information on courses, the application process and various supports available to prospective students aged 23 and over. The Access Programme for Mature Students is designed specifically as an alternative admission route to third level education for people from socio-economic backgrounds that are underrepresented at third level, who for a variety of reasons, did not reach their educational potential, and do not have the necessary conventional educational requirement to progress to third level. NUI Galway’s Access programmes aim to support students to build confidence in themselves, in their academic ability and to support them to reach their full potential. Representatives from the Access Centre and Programme Coordinators will be online to advise and answer questions and to support those who wish to take that first step into third level education. Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “The teaching and learning environment on our Access programmes is built on guiding and offering support to our students  at every stage of their progression. It is never too late to fulfil your ambition and our courses are designed to provide students returning to education with a strong foundation as they progress to third level. We are looking forward as always, to yet another new group of students to our 2021/22 programmes.” To register for the information session visit https://bit.ly/3uahrAq. Further information about the Access Programme for Mature Students is available at www.nuigalway.ie/access/mature-students. -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

50 students will diagnose and treat sick teddy bears, and children will learn how to take care of their teddy’s health focusing on general health, lifestyle, and emotional wellbeing For the 16th year running NUI Galway is inviting children to its award winning Teddy Bear Hospital, which will take place online on Saturday, 17 April from 12pm-3pm.  Over the years, children have attended the hospital with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. This year, childrens’ appointments will be carried out virtually, and will educate the children  on how to treat their sick teddy at home. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s health promotion society that focuses on promoting all aspects of physical and mental health. Up to 50 medical, healthcare and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 4-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Tristiana Dalchand, second year Medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “Given the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe it’s really important to maintain engagement with as many children as possible through the Teddy Bear Hospital. We hope to remind children and their teddies that the doctor’s office and hospitals remain a fun, comfortable, and safe space.” On arrival at the virtual Teddy Bear Hospital, participants and patients will be greeted by two teddy doctor specialists. The children and their ‘patients’ will learn how to take care of their teddy’s health through three main themes: general health, lifestyle, and emotional wellbeing. Andrea Dimitrov, second year Medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Slainte Society said, “Covid 19 has been challenging for all of us and we hope to provide an engaging, fun, and educational event that the children can participate in and interact with each other. This pandemic has highlighted the importance of community, and we hope to continue bringing the community together through the Teddy Bear Hospital.” Due to limited capacity of this year’s virtual Teddy Bear Hospital, Sláinte Society are also holding a drawing contest. Children are encouraged to submit a drawing of themselves and their teddies to be in with a chance of winning one of two €50 vouchers for Smyths Toy Store.  To enter the drawing contest, please email submissions to tbh.drawing.contest@gmail.com and include, name, age, and hometown. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 April, and the two winners will be announced on Saturday, 17 April. Places for the virtual Teddy Bear Hospital are limited. To apply to attend the hospital please visit www.nuigalway.ie/teddybearhospital by 5pm on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Those selected to attend will be contacted by Thursday, 15 April. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Three NUI Galway based programmes will engage more than 385,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2021 Three NUI Galway public engagement and education outreach initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €339,000 through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme. It will fund projects dedicated to inspiring and empowering over 385,000 members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. The funding awards were announced by Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, as part of a national investment of €5.2 million through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. NUI Galway Funded Projects Cell EXPLORERS (€267, 636 funding award) Cell EXPLORERS is a successful science education and public engagement programme locally delivering educational science outreach activities to school children and the Irish public. Led by Dr Muriel Grenon, College of Science and Engineering, the programme has the dual benefit of engaging children and the public, while developing graduate student and researchers’ public engagement skills in a way and at a scale that is unique in Ireland. It has reached more than 38,500 members of the public and involved more than 2,250 team members since its creation in 2012. In 2021 and 2022, the programme will run school visits and tailored activities nationally, through its network of 13 teams based in 15 institutes of technology and universities. New partnerships will include the Galway STEAM Project (a joint TUSLA and Foróige project) to provide better reach to those who do not typically engage with STEM.  The programme‘s research shows that many children (aged 10-12 years) have narrow and stereotypical views of what a scientist does and have had few opportunities to meet a scientist. Drawing from these findings and others Cell EXPLORERS will revise both its activities and practices by applying the Science Capital Teaching Approach, a specific way of teaching that employs social justice methods designed to both broaden young peoples’ views of what it means to be a scientist, and widen participation in Science. See www.cellexplorers.com. CÚRAM ‘Science Waves' Project (€43,719funding award) CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices will run an education and public engagement programme that aims to raise awareness of its research and increase understanding of preventative behaviours which can reduce the incidence of chronic illness.  The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for members of the public to better understand science and its impact on their lives. More than ever, there is a greater need for clear science communication. However, the pandemic has exposed the existing divide amongst children who have access to learning material online and those who don't. CÚRAM’s Science Waves project led by Andrea Fitzpatrick, aims to create content which is accessible to everyone and gives clear information about science. Science Waves is a series of six science radio shows co-created by children and scientists for children. CÚRAM will work with children from underrepresented communities to create accessible, engaging, and fun radio shows, which are aimed at children aged 10–12 years old. The radio shows will broadcast later this year on the NUI Galway student radio station, Flirt FM, and will also be released through the CRAOL network of community radio stations. See www.curamdevices.com. ReelLIFE SCIENCE (€27,987 funding award) ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a nationwide science video competition, which encourages young people and the general public to discover more about STEM and its impact on individuals, society and the environment, while developing their creativity, communication and digital skills. Young people from schools and youth organisations are challenged to research a STEM topic and communicate it to the public through an engaging and educational three-minute video. Led by Dr Enda O’Connell, College of Science and Engineering, ReelLIFE SCIENCE has enabled more than 16,000 young people from 500 schools and youth organisations all over the country, to engage with STEM in a novel way. In 2021, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will continue to engage students and teachers in primary and secondary schools across Ireland, while also specifically targeting, training and empowering youth workers and leaders in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon youth organisations.  The deadline for submitting this year’s three-minute video entries is Friday, 15 October with the best videos awarded €1,000 and will be screened for the public at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway. See www.reellifescience.com. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “Outreach and public engagement are integral to research at NUI Galway. Engagement is a feature of all stages of research, and we value the insight we derive into the pressing scientific and social questions from our partners. Openness is one of our core strategic values. Open research is a proven path to inspire young minds to take on the challenges posed by the sciences and to creatively approach the evident social issues of the moment. These excellent and innovative programmes will create new energy, inspire young people to aspire to careers in the sciences, and broadcast the standards of excellence the community expects of us. I thank Science Foundation Ireland for their support of these programmes and look forward to the events and activities that are planned.” Speaking about the announcement Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to announce the 49 projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme. As we continue to live through the Covid-19 pandemic, we are more conscious than ever of the importance of supporting the public to have access to and to understand the issues that impact our collective future, and the role science and technology can play in providing solutions. These projects will play a role in starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and inspiring our young people to explore careers in these areas. I wish all the recipients every success in the roll out of their projects.” Science Foundation Ireland has invested in public engagement projects through the Discover Programme since 2013. This year’s funded initiatives are estimated to reach a wide audience of people in STEM Topic, while 49 diverse initiatives will be supported by this year’s programme, with successful awardees being carefully selected through international peer-review. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 April 2021

NUI Galway’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has partnered with the University’s Inclusive Learning project team to host a virtual symposium on Inclusive Learning on the 7 and 8 April. The two-day symposium, with an international line-up of speakers and panellists, will explore issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education – locally, nationally and internationally.   The event will highlight the importance of centering the student voice through panel discussions and workshops on new insights into, and recommendations around, student experiences of inclusion and exclusion. As student populations become increasingly diverse, the symposium will look at what higher education institutions can do to create a truly inclusive learning environment. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “As our students bring increasingly diverse experiences to our university, representing all the talents in society, we recognise and respect the importance of exploring what we can do to create a truly inclusive learning environment. As a place of learning, we value openly listening, reflecting upon and responding to the needs and concerns of students, while also supporting our staff to navigate an increasingly complex teaching and learning landscape.” Speakers and panellists include: Dr Shivaun Quinlivan, NUI Galway Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley, NUI Galway Henriette Stoeber, European Universities Association Dr Ebun Joseph, University College Dublin Anne Marie Stokes, Galway Traveller Movement Dr Jesse Stommel, University of Mary Washington Professor Julie Rattray, Durham University Tracy Galvin, Queen’s University Belfast Hamsavani Rajeswaren, Alliance of Choice Dr Sharon Flynn Irish Universities Association The symposium will be of interest to those who are involved in Higher Education, with students particularly welcome to attend and contribute actively to the discussions. Tickets for the free two-day virtual symposium are available from https://bit.ly/3wa04RV  or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and search for 'Virtual Symposium: Inclusive Learning in Higher Education'. -Ends-

Monday, 31 May 2021

As part of EU Green Week, NUI Galway and Pintail Ltd will host a webinar entitled ‘Towards Zero Pollution in the Production of Green Fuels and Chemicals’ on Friday, 4 June, from 10-12.35 CEST (9am-11.35am Irish time). The event will consist of a webinar with presentations from academic and industry representatives of six Horizon 2020-funded projects, including two coordinated by NUI Galway, FlowPhotoChem and Solar2Chem. The aim of the webinar is to raise awareness of the technical solutions that leading European organisations are developing to combat climate change, in particular to reduce or eliminate the carbon footprint in the production of green fuels and chemicals. Webinar organiser, Dr Pau Farras Costa of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry said: “Despite the progress made in decreasing the impact of the industrial sector in Europe, a great challenge still exists in lowering its carbon footprint by progressively substituting the use of fossil fuels. A paradigm shift is needed in the manufacturing of chemical goods and high value added products, where disruptive technologies will play a key role to achieve the climate change targets for 2050. The European Commission is investing in those technologies with the aim to develop negative emission solutions and lower Europe’s carbon footprint. “The coupling of renewable energies with carbon capture and utilisation is one of the envisaged solutions. The research community in Europe is driving this development through a strong collaboration between academia, industry and policy-makers. Solutions for distributed production of chemicals involve direct solar energy conversion technologies, whereas large-scale production requires a more integrated coupling of renewables with catalytic processes. During this webinar, we will examine which technologies are currently under development in Europe with examples from six recently funded projects.” To register for the webinar, or for more information visit bit.ly/3sPJcgI. For more information on EU Green Week visit https://www.eugreenweek.eu/. -Ends-

Monday, 31 May 2021

NUI Galway graduate Eoin Murphy is the 2021 winner of the €2000 Mary Mulvihill Award, the science media competition for third-level students that commemorates the legacy of science journalist and author Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015). Eoin won the top prize for an urgent and moving audio documentary, ‘Black Market Oxygen – The Peru Project’, which examined the contrasting experiences of Ireland and Peru during the Covid-19 pandemic. The piece was inspired by a photograph in The Guardian showing a stand-off between hundreds of impoverished and desperate families attempting to leave Peru’s capital, Lima, on foot to return to their home villages, and riot police, who blocked their path in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The documentary, which Eoin wrote and narrated, is a stark reminder that old age and underlying conditions are not the only factors that exacerbate vulnerabilities to Covid-19. “The incredible speed of innovation, which the scientific community has demonstrated since the beginning of 2020, will only be truly realised in years to come,” Eoin notes. “But what is already clear to see is that the inequality which exists around the world means that the poorest nations are being left behind in their Now in its fifth year, the competition invited entries this year on the theme of ‘Virus’. Entrants were encouraged to consider the concept in its broadest sense – not only in terms of infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, which has come to dominate our lives – but also in terms of computer viruses and other metaphorical uses, notably the media phenomenon of ‘going viral’. The diverse entries included considerations of different aspects of virology, such as human endogenous retroviral sequences, which play essential roles in human biology, and bacteriophages, the viruses that attack bacteria, which have therapeutic potential as next-generation antibiotics, also an analysis of the ‘infodemic’ that has accompanied the present pandemic, and another on the difficulty faced by asylum-seekers in direct provision trying to maintain social distance in over-crowded accommodation. A native of Ennis, County Clare, Eoin is a biochemist, a passionate science communicator and an educator. He currently combines his work as a part-time student on DCU’s M.Sc. in Science and Health Communication with his role as a teacher of biology, mathematics and general science in Ballinrobe Community School, in Ballinrobe, County Galway. He is a former Hardiman and Irish Research Council scholar and has a first class honours degree in biotechnology from NUI Galway and has completed two research MSc. degrees, in cancer and the genetics of Huntington’s disease, but has found himself increasingly drawn to science communication and education. He has taught in England and Canada, as well as in Ireland. He is currently collaborating with the British Council on a pilot science communication programme for transition year students. He also co-presents an Instagram TV show, @2baddadstalkscience, and has contributed articles to headstuff.org, Siliconrepublic.com, RTE Brainstorm and the British Council’s Voices magazine. “The judges were greatly impressed with the volume and variety of this year’s entries,” said Anne Mulvihill, a sister of Mary’s and a member of the judging panel from the inception of the competition. “Eoin Murphy’s excellent audio piece was a unanimous winner and, given that Mary did a lot of audio work, it’s additionally fitting that the piece is in this medium. There was also consensus amongst the judges on giving the highly commended award to Matthew Thomas’s strong essay. We congratulate both winners and send our thanks and appreciation to all the entrants who took part in this year’s competition.” The Mary Mulvihill Award is a project of The Mary Mulvihill Association, an initiative established by the family and friends of the late Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015) to honour her memory and her work in science journalism, science communication and heritage, and to promote her legacy. It administers and awards funds to support projects that commemorate her work and its significance. Further information: https://marymulvihillaward.ie/. -Ends-

Friday, 28 May 2021

Sinéad Burke, Founder of Tilting the Lens, will deliver keynote address The world’s largest Disability Law Summer School focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will take place virtually from 31 May - 2 July. The Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will focus on Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Access to Culture, Recreation, Leisure and Sport for People with Disabilities. This year the Summer School will take place over five weeks with the programme containing a mixture of specially pre-recorded content, live panel discussions, interactive events, comedy sets, and a DJ’d dance party.  Sinéad Burke, disability activist and Founder of Tilting the Lens, will deliver the keynote address focusing on the right to participate in cultural life and how this right can be achieved in practice for disabled people. Over the five weeks speakers, many of whom have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention, will include: Robert Martin of the United Nations Convention for Rights of People with Disabilities Committee Comedian Rosie Jones Irish author Louise Nealon Jess Thom from Tourettes Hero Playwright Rosaleen McDonagh Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Co-Director of the Summer School, said: “The global pandemic has highlighted new ways to make culture more accessible, for example, through live streaming of cultural events. Nevertheless, disabled people are still excluded from accessing culture in different forms and much work remains to ensure full and meaningful participation of disabled people in all forms of cultural life. The summer school aims to bring together those who are leading in establishing cultural rights for people with disabilities, advocates and human rights experts in order to learn from each other – and develop ideas in this crucial area.” Co-Director of the Summer school, Maria Ni Fhlatharta of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: “Access to culture is so often forgotten about when we talk about human rights, but it forms such a crucial part of our lives – from sport to concerts to play as children. I am really excited about the programme this year, we have a diverse range of speakers with some really incredible artists, academics and human rights activists.” Registration for the Summer School is still open and further information is available at  https://bit.ly/3fLHh8s, or contact Sharon Hegarty at 087 7987254, Joanna Forde at 086 4181673, or email disabilitysummerscho@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-

Thursday, 27 May 2021

NUI Galway study confirms that the Noble False Widow spider does have public health implications Research team have established a DNA database to allow clinicians dealing with cases to confirm the species identity using genetic analysis Epidemiology of bites reveals that almost all bites occurred in and around the home, and 88% of bites occurred when the victim was either asleep in bed or when the spider was trapped in clothing In parts of Ireland and Britain, the False Widow spider has become one of the most common species of spiders found in and around urban habitats A team of scientists from NUI Galway have published a new study showing that Noble False Widow spiders can deliver a bite that requires hospitalisation. The threat posed by the Noble False Widow spider has been debated among spider and healthcare specialists for many years. This new study, published in the international medical journal Clinical Toxicology, confirms that some bite victims experience symptoms very similar to the true black widow spiders and some severe cases require hospitalisation. Originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands, the Noble False Widow spider Steatoda nobilis, now has the potential to become one of the world’s most invasive species of spider. It was first documented in Britain over 140 years ago, but in recent decades the species has suddenly increased in numbers, significantly expanding its range and density. The reasons behind this sudden expansion are not clear. Scientists have ruled out climate change as the likely cause but have suggested that a new genetic mutation within the species may have made Noble False Widows more adaptable to new environments. In addition, the species has benefited from an ever-increasing  globalised economy, hitchhiking in containers and crates throughout the globe. Human movement has largely contributed to spread this species throughout Europe, North Africa, West Asia and parts of North and South America. In parts of Ireland and Britain, it has become one of the most common species of spiders found in and around urban habitats. With the increase in False Widow spiders around homes, bites are becoming more prevalent, and scientists are now beginning to realise the full medical importance of these spiders. Envenomation symptoms can be both localised and systemic, ranging from mild to debilitating pain and mild to intense swelling. Some victims have experienced tremors, reduced or elevated blood pressure, nausea and impaired mobility. In rare instances, victims have developed minor wounds at the bite site or had to be treated for severe bacterial infections. The research team at NUI Galway have established a DNA database to allow clinicians dealing with cases to confirm the species identity using genetic analysis. This is especially important when the spider has been squashed so an accurate identification of the spider can be made. The study also provides epidemiology of bites which reveals that almost all bites occurred in and around the home, and 88% of bites occurred when the victim was either asleep in bed or when the spider was trapped in clothing. The team are encouraging members of the public to email them at falsewidow@nuigalway.ie if they think they may have been bitten. Dr Michel Dugon, Head of the Venom Systems Lab at NUI Galway and senior author of the study, said: “In addition to their medically significant venom, Noble False Widows are extremely adaptable and competitive in the wild. Two decades ago, this species was almost unknown in Ireland, the UK or in continental Europe. We still have much to learn about its genetics, origin, behaviour and development. One thing is certain though: this species is here to stay, and we must learn how to live with it.” Dr John Dunbar, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Venom Systems Lab at NUI Galway and lead author of the study, said: “Speculations around the potential severity of the bites by the Noble False Widow have been debated for many years. We only compiled envenomation cases where we had a clear identification of the spider responsible for the bite. We had to rely on DNA extraction and genetic profiling to confirm some cases. We are encouraging people to capture a photograph of the spider immediately after being bitten. Our latest study confirms without a doubt that Noble False Widows can cause severe envenomations (the process by which venom is injected). “This species is increasing its range and population density which will undoubtedly lead to an increase in bites (since submitting our study in March we have already received further confirmed bite cases). While most cases will have a mild outcome, we need to continue to closely monitor bites by the Noble False Widow to understand the potential range of symptoms and to treat severe cases when they occur.” Aiste Vitkauskaite, MSc student in Toxicology at NUI Galway and joint lead in the study, said: “Approximately ten species of Irish spiders have fangs large enough to bite through human skin, yet over the past five years, we have never heard of anybody being bitten by any of the native species. Within the same period, we have recorded dozens of confirmed or probable False Widow bites. These spiders will become increasingly common and so will their bites.”  Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway and Consultant Physician, University Hospital Galway said: “This innovative research led by Dr Dugon and his team clearly demonstrates that Noble False Widow spider bites may result in significant patient morbidity that requires hospital care. This is important as previously we only had anecdotal evidence of its potential harms in victims and therefore this new evidence will allow the updating of clinical guidelines and protocols. These findings demonstrates the key importance of interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and clinicians to improve patient care.” The full study in Clinical Toxicology is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/15563650.2021.1928165. -Ends-

Thursday, 27 May 2021

The Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University in Canada will host the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Lecture, in partnership with the Ireland Canada University Foundation, with President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, as part of the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Lecture Series. From afar, a beacon provides light, guidance and hope in challenging times. The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship facilitates such critical connection over distance. This programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a programme of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich connections between both countries. The inaugural Beacon Lectures by Dr. Mary McAleese (President of Ireland, 1997-2011) and the Honourable Jean Charest (Premier of Quebec, 2003-2012), took place in 2020. In 1963, while touring Ireland, then-president of the United States John F. Kennedy commented, "if your eyesight is good enough, and the weather is clear enough, you can see Boston." Not true, “In fact, geographically it is Newfoundland. So the connections between Ireland and Canada have always been strong,” says Professor Ó hÓgartaigh. On Friday, 28 May, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will discuss the influence third level institutions have in diversifying local economies. Ó hÓgartaigh will demonstrate how NUI Galway is a prime example of how post-secondary education directly impacts the regional economy. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will also deliver two additional online workshops for the Mount Royal University community, offering perspectives on NUI Galway’s development as a bilingual University and on creating global citizenship. Galway and the west of Ireland, like Calgary and Alberta, is familiar with rotating industry demand. As Western Canada translates into a more diversified economy, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will share his own experiences and will talk about how the Galway region has successfully adapted to industry needs, with third level education playing a major role. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh says: “To me, one of the things universities do is, if you link with your hinterland, that's a reason for students to come. And when students come to your university and stay, then they create a broader talent pool, which makes the hinterland stronger, which makes a reason to come to the university, which then makes the university and the hinterland stronger. So it's a virtuous circle that universities create, which is a different type of diversity, which makes for a more diverse talent pool.” In the 1970s and 1980s, Galway was home to roughly 20,000 or 30,000 residents. Today it’s now above 80,000. “Where did that other 30,000 to 40,000 come from? Mainly from outside Galway, and we're one of the more diverse cities, certainly in Ireland. So any diversification with universities brings in a broader or more diverse talent pool”, adds Professor Ó hÓgartaigh. Brian Traynor, Acting Dean of Mount Royal’s Faculty of Business and Communication Studies, says: “Professor Ó hÓgartaigh has an international reputation as a leader in Irish universities and the Irish language. When we discussed the possibility of applying for the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship, we found there are strong parallels between NUI Galway and Mount Royal University. We are confident that strong relationships can be built between both universities. Future possibilities could include: student study abroad opportunities, faculty exchanges, and shared learnings around community engagement.” The additional workshops, related to the role of the Irish (Gaelic) language and educating global citizens, will be focal points of discussion. Traynor says that was one of the underlying reasons for developing relationships with Galway. Profssor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has worked in Boston as a Fullbright Scholar as well as in Wellington, New Zealand, as a faculty member, and has also previously worked in France. “I think more and more now, we see the importance of citizenship and the role of the university in society, and not just the economy. In Europe we have the Erasmus program, in which our students travel from our university into other countries for a semester, at least, sometimes a year. And there is a view that the program has really created a very strong European citizenship, and a very strong sense of understanding between students, and, ultimately graduates.” NUI Galway has a long history of leading social change and serving the population of Western Ireland to help transform the economy while keeping a strong emphasis on its cultural heritage, and it plays a particular role serving the social, economic and cultural needs of its region as a university with an international reputation and reach. To attend the lecture by Professor Ó hÓgartaigh on 28 May entitled 'The influence of universities in diversifying and strengthening local society and economy - case study NUI Galway' register at: https://bit.ly/3vonF0s. -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Two NUI Galway students, Elizabeth Hunt and Harry King, are part of an Irish third level student team who will present their project on fast fashion at the Climate and Community Conference, hosted by The Institute of International and European Affairs and the Embassy of France In Ireland, on Thursday, 27 May. The project entitled ‘Know your Label’ was created by a team of four students, Elizabeth Hunt and Harry King from NUI Galway, and Orla Murphy from DCU and Evan Mahony from UCD. The project came about in March this year when a Climathon volunteering event was organised, aided by the ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme in NUI Galway. At the end of a month-long project, teams from different universities around the country presented their ideas to a panel of judges, with the aim of coming up with an initiative around the areas of climate and sustainability. Based on the UN Sustainable development goals 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action), ‘Know your Label’ is proposing to develop a label that can be placed on clothes to inform the consumer of its environmental impact. The team has designed a label with three key environmental metrics - water used, kilometres travelled, and energy used, that will be displayed with the aim of encouraging consumers and companies to operate more sustainably. They also propose to accompany the label with a barcode that will lead the consumer to an app, which will provide more detailed information around the product. ‘Know your Label’s’ spokesperson Orla Murphy will present the project to a panel with Inna Modja, Land Ambassador, UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, at the conference this Thursday at 11:15am. Harry King, a third year Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), student at NUI Galway, said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to work with my team on the pressing issue of fast fashion. We are looking forward to the opportunity to have such high-profile figures hear our idea. I have learned so much and the project has ignited my passion for climate action in every walk of life. We hope our idea can have a positive impact in the fashion industry and encourage more transparency.” Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted across the campus to engage with the French Embassy to Ireland in support of their five-week programme for design thinking and innovation towards a sustainability project with a student focus on the campus environment. This national programme gives our students opportunities to connect with a wide variety of students, exposure to a world stage through an international conference and the confidence to make change for impact.” The online event is open to the public. To register or for more information visit: https://bit.ly/3wwZj58. -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Students at St. Nicholas' Parochial School in Galway will imagine, design and create new medical devices inspired from marine life that may aid human health CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Atlantaquaria have been delivering engaging virtual workshops with St. Nicholas’ Parochial School in Galway, together with teaching artist Alison Mac Cormaic. The “Tiny Sea Life, Big Cures” project will culminate in the creation of a large-scale mural on the school building that will be completed this summer. An understanding of the role of marine life in human health is at the heart of the workshops. Educators are discussing marine life in Ireland and the importance of conservation from Galway Atlantaquaria, while CÚRAM researchers are teaching students about marine sources of biomaterials and how they can heal the body. Inspired by the scientific material investigated from the aquarium and CÚRAM, artist Alison Mac Cormaic will teach the students how to imagine, design and create models for devices that may aid human health and recovery. In addition, guest Lecturer Enda O’ Dowd will introduce the Medical Device Design course that he coordinates in the National College of Art and Design Dublin (NCAD). Teaching artist Alison Mac Cormaic explains: “We designed the workshops to encourage maximum creative input from the 5th and 6th class students at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School. In the art section of the workshops, they draw for design, using their imaginations to think like medical device designers and develop different ideas. Their drawing and design skills are used to imagine brand new products that have never been designed before - who knows where all this creativity might lead!” Alison will create a permanent mural on the outer school wall incorporating students’ designs. Through this cross-curricular co-creation process, students will become aware of their locality and its link to scientific achievements, conservation, and the role of the artist and scientist in our community. Project collaborator Dr Nóirín Burke from Galway Atlantaquaria, says: “The research and innovation happening in CÚRAM is truly fascinating. Working with everyone in this programme, exploring ways in which our health can benefit from the ocean, and considering our role in the ocean’s future has been a pleasure. This is also of particular interest now as we begin the UNESCO Decade of the Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. We are also super excited about seeing the student’s final art piece, which will help share this project with the wider community, through families and the public.” Ms Deirdre Grace, 5th and 6th class teacher at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School, says: “This project has been a real learning experience for the students, they are highly engaged and motivated to learn more about the topics, and they are thoroughly enjoying the experience.” CÚRAM is focused on creating devices that help patients living with chronic illness and runs a very active and varied public engagement programme called 'Breaking Barriers' that aims to engage artists, filmmakers, teachers and the general public in creating new ways of accessing scientific knowledge and research.  Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: "We are always looking for ways for our researchers and members of the public to collaborate and create a better understanding and awareness of our research and its importance for society. This collaboration with the National Aquarium, National College of Art and Design Dublin, Alison Mac Cormaic and the wonderful staff and students of St Nicholas’ Parochial School has been hugely successful and is something we will be building on in the future and hoping to replicate with numerous schools around the country." For more inforamtion about CÚRAM visit: www.curamdevices.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Professor John Morrissey will help lead an extension of the United Nations Human Security Strategy NUI Galway Professor John Morrissey has been appointed International Consultant and Policy Advisor on Human Security in the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations. Professor Morrissey will help lead an extension of the UN’s human security strategy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in a new vision for human development and human security. The UN’s Human Development Report Office is focused on promoting innovative new ideas in the United Nations, advocating practical policy changes, and constructively challenging policies and approaches that constrain human development. Since 1990, the Human Development Report Office has annually published the UN’s Human Development Reports. It is currently strategising to advance more supportive human development programmes in a time of great uncertainty and planetary crisis. Professor Morrissey said: “The mission of the Human Development Report Office is to advance human development through informed interventionary strategy, and I am really honoured to be able to add my research expertise in support of that vital global challenge. The world is facing an inflection point in the international development landscape. As we seek to rebuild from Covid-19, we need to more holistically conceive a conjoined sense of human-environmental well-being by tackling the overlapping precarities of our ecologies and societies. “There are a range of structural political economy and political ecology reasons for our current global pandemic and wider set of environmental crises, and my hope is to aid the Human Development Report Office in addressing these with renewed vision, resources and regulatory power. The extension and broadening of a ‘human security’ agenda at the UN is more urgent now than ever, in moving beyond narrow traditional statist senses of security, and instead insisting upon the global interconnectedness of human-environmental security and critical need for cooperation and solidarity in safeguarding the future of our planet.” Professor Morrissey’s research and writing connect overarching concerns of geopolitics, human security and international development, on which he has published widely. His latest book, Haven: The Mediterranean Crisis and Human Security, was published in November 2020. He has held prestigious visiting fellowships at City University of New York, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Australian National University in recent years, and he has a great passion for teaching, twice winning NUI Galway’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He has been Programme Director of Geography’s award-winning MA in Environment, Society and Development since its inception in 2009. -Ends-

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman T.D. today (24th May) launched the ‘LGBTI+ Youth in Ireland Europe: A two-phased Landscape and Research Gap Analysis’. The research, conducted jointly by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and NUI Galway reviewed all relevant research on LGBTI+ youth in Ireland and Europe since 2000. The research found that: • Some objectives of the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy are well supported by research, but there are important gaps in the research evidence that need to be addressed. • Future research needs to include both LGBTI+ young people and their sources of support – families, teachers and youth workers • We need to know more about how to improve well-being and resilience among LGBTI+ youth, not just focus on risks and negative outcomes • There is not enough high quality research on transgender and intersex youth; more evidence is needed to know how best to improve their lives. Speaking at the launch of the analysis, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said: ‘It is clear to see that there is a large amount of evidence to support our objectives in the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy,  in particular the importance creating supportive environments for LGBTI+ young people in schools and colleges, and on LGBTI+ young people’s experiences of bullying. “But, there are also research gaps with regard to other important issues. We don’t know enough about the lives of transgender and intersex young people, about the views of parents and families of LGBTI+ young people and how to support them better, or about developing inclusive work environments for LGBTI+ young people. These are all issues of the highest importance and we must find a way to address these research gaps’ The report was led by researchers Dr András Költő, Dr Elena Vaughan, Dr Colette Kelly and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn from the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway, with Dr Linda O’Sullivan from DCEDIY and Professor Elizabeth Saewyc from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Commenting on the findings, Lead Author Dr András Költő said: “Most research on LGBTI+ young people is from North America, so it was important to review evidence relevant to the Irish and European context. We also documented the gaps in our understanding of LGBTI+ young people. Initiatives to improve the lives of LGBTI+ young people must be based on high quality scientific evidence, and our report clearly indicates where more research is needed. Future research needs to consider the positive aspects of LGBTI+ young people’s lives, involve their families, teachers and youth workers, and monitor initiatives to help ensure positive outcomes”. To read the full report, visit https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/135654/4d466c48-34d9-403a-b48e-fdcfb7931320.pdf#page=null Ends

Monday, 24 May 2021

New study in Nature Computational Sciences suggests opportunities for diet-based intervention in the treatment of type 1 diabetes Study results not only highlight the key role of glucose in type 1 diabetes but also suggest new therapeutic avenues, such as, calcium regulation Scientists at NUI Galway and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, US, created biomedical avatars of type 1 diabetes patients to enable new opportunities for treatment and diagnosis. Research published today (24 May 2021) in the international journal Nature Computational Sciences showed that simulating disease effects at an individual level explains how different people respond to insulin and how diet may improve treatment outcomes. Type 1 diabetes is prevalent in children and impacts patients during their entire lives. The disease influences insulin production, with knock-on effects also leading to disturbed metabolism and coronary heart disease, associated with early mortality. The effectiveness of insulin administration, the standard treatment, varies widely between individuals, including severe side effects. It is therefore desirable to devise bespoke treatments for the individual patient. Professor Ines Thiele, study leader and Professor in Systems Biomedicine in the School of Medicine and Discipline of Microbiology at NUI Galway, explains: “Precision medicine aims to enable a personalised approach, as opposed to the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ method, by considering individual health and lifestyle data, such as, age, sex, or diet. Combining all available health information on a person enables a holistic analysis approach to make personalised health recommendations, including considerations of health risks, lifestyle, and prior clinical history. “Digital approaches are particularly amenable to integrate and analyse the diverse and large amounts of data for precision medicine. We were able to create digital mirror-images of the individual metabolic systems of type 1 diabetes patients and consequently investigated how insulin differentially impacts the metabolism of one person compared to another. Our results not only highlighted the key role of glucose in the diabetes context, but also suggested new therapeutic avenues, such as, calcium regulation.” The outcome of the study suggests opportunities for diet-based intervention in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Dr Marouen Ben Guebila, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, US and lead author of the study, concludes: “Based on our computer models, we may simulate the effect of diets and medication on individual insulin responses and improve disease management in the future. Overall, the study exemplifies how computational modelling fuels precision medicine approaches, which could lead to improvements in type 1 diabetes treatments.” The study was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and by the Luxembourg National Research Fund through the ATTRACT programme. To read the full study in Nature Computational Sciences, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43588-021-00074-3. -Ends-

Monday, 24 May 2021

NUI Galway will launch a Domestic Violence Leave Policy, the first Higher Education Institution to do so in Ireland. The policy will be launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD on Wednesday, 26 May. The purpose of NUI Galway's Domestic Violence Leave Policy is to provide for a period of paid time away from work for staff members who have suffered or are suffering from domestic violence or abuse. This leave will enable the staff member to take the time they need to seek assistance in a structured and supported environment. Violence be it physical, sexual or emotional abuse by an intimate partner, family member or a child has significant consequences for physical and mental health as well as overall wellbeing. The World Health Organisation has documented the severe health consequences of interpersonal violence including premature death, long-term morbidity, poor mental health, increased risk of substance abuse, and risk with pregnancy outcomes among others. Less recognised is the impact of domestic violence on the victim’s work. Research by economists in the US, UK and other European countries have established that women who experience domestic violence are at increased risk of absenteeism, more irregular work history, reduced performance at work, limited occupation mobility, dropping out of the labour force and ultimately lower earnings. Globally there is a growing movement across various jurisdictions that the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda must also address the consequences of domestic violence in addition to workplace harassment and bullying. The International Labour Organisation Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, to which Ireland is a signatory, explicitly calls for governments and employers to address the risks and impacts of domestic violence in workplace policies. Higher Education Institutions are not only institutions of learning that contribute to knowledge on deep-rooted social problems such as domestic violence; they are equally places of work committed to creating a safe and respectful working environment that promotes dignity and wellbeing of all members of their communities. Minister Harris commented: “The impact of domestic violence on victims and their families can be devastating physically and emotionally and their stress can be compounded by the worry of work or not being paid. Support for victims who are working, in the form of paid leave, could be crucial in ensuring that they retain their employment and have the economic capacity to escape an abusive relationship.  “The introduction of the Domestic Violence Leave Policy at NUI Galway marks a critical step forward in ensuring that Higher Education Institutions are safe and supportive workplaces. I really want to commend NUI Galway for this important work and I hope it will be the first of many institutions to adopt such a policy.” Speaking in advance of the launch, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway is proud to introduce this Domestic Violence Leave Policy, which aligns with our vision and values of respect and excellence of our students and staff as citizens connected to, and contributing to, community and society in Ireland and internationally for the public good.” New research including that from the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway has quantified the impact of domestic violence on productivity loss with women on average missing 7 to 15 days of work and being less productive for an additional 5 to 10 days. An overwhelming majority of those who experience domestic violence globally are women, with 1 in 3 women reporting a lifetime experience of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. In Ireland, the equivalent figure is 1 in 6 (15 per cent of women). More women face emotional violence, and in Ireland, twice as many women experience a lifetime of emotional abuse by a partner (31 percent). Annually, it is estimated that 50,000 women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former partner and approximately 117,000 experience psychological violence by a current partner. During Covid-19 there has been a sharp increase by nearly 43 per cent in calls to organisations such as Women’s Aid and Safe Ireland. Dr Nata Duvvury, Director, Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway said: “More than 30% of women experience emotional violence in their lifetime by a partner, which affects women’s working lives leading to lower productivity and wellbeing. For example, women experiencing domestic violence miss on average 15 days of productive work on a yearly basis.” Speakers at the launch will include Minster Harris, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and Dr Nata Duvvury, NUI Galway, Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Fingal and Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Professor Audra Bowlus, Department of Economics, University of Western Ontario, Canada, Josephine Hynes, HR Director, NUI Galway and Eileen Mannion, Interim Chair Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Údarás na hOllscoile, NUI Galway. Read NUI Galway's Domestic Violence Leave Policy is available here. The online launch will take place on Wednesday, 26 May from 1pm-2pm and is open to the public. To register to attend the launch visit: https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/broadcastPlaybackScreen. The Office of the Vice-President for Research and Innovation have developed the first in a series of research impact case studies to celebrate the societal and academic impact of the work of our research community.  Dr Nata Duvvury’s case study explores how ground-breaking research at NUI Galway on domestic violence as an economic issue, has had a fundamental role in shaping the global research agenda, legislation and policy Read more here: https://stories.nuigalway.ie/-domestic-violence--the-cost-of-doing-nothing----/index.html.      -Ends-

Monday, 24 May 2021

NUI Galway academics Professor Frank Barry and Professor Philip Dine have been  elected as Members of the Royal Irish Academy for their exceptional contribution to the sciences, humanities and social sciences as well as to public service. The NUI Galway academics were among 27 new members admitted to the academy by Dr Mary Canning, President of the Academy, in a virtual ceremony last Friday (21 May 2021).  Frank Barry is Professor of Cellular Therapy at the Regenerative Medicine Institute in NUI Galway and Visiting Scientist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute in Toronto. His research interests include stem cell biology and the development of cell-based repair strategies for osteoarthritis. In a career that has spanned both industry and academic research he has contributed to the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine by developing innovative and successful cellular therapies for tissue repair, joint injury and arthritic disease. He has published widely in the areas of mesenchymal stromal cell biology, cartilage repair and cellular therapy, and has been the recipient of the Marshall Urist Award for excellence in tissue regeneration research from the Orthopaedic Research Society.    Philip Dine is a Personal Professor and former Head of French at NUI Galway. He has been a pioneering figure internationally in the cultural history of French sport and the literary and cinematographic representations of colonial conflict. He has published widely on representations of the French empire and its cultural legacies in fields ranging from children’s literature to professional sport. Further projects have targeted sport and identity-construction in France and the Francophone world.   Welcoming the newly admitted members, Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: ‘These 27 new Members are recognised for their scholarly achievements, typically reflecting many years of research, or for significant contributions to Irish society. They bring international academic distinction to our country and we should be immensely proud of these remarkable women and men. As Members of the Academy, they will strengthen our capacity to provide expert advice on Higher Education and Research policy.”  Congratulating Professors Barry and Dine, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Frank and Philip on their election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy. This recognises the excellence of their continuing contributions to their respective academic fields. As educators, researchers and academic leaders at NUI Galway, they demonstrate sheer enthusiasm for their subject and a talent committed to the advancement of and the re-imagining of humanity through their research, teaching and engagement, nationally and internationally. I am delighted to see their achievements recognised by the Academy.”  Election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy is the highest academic distinction in Ireland. The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785 and currently have 637 members.  -Ends- 

Monday, 24 May 2021

Professor Gerard Flaherty, a senior academic in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, has been announced as the new President-elect of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). When he takes up the presidency in 2023, Professor Flaherty will be the first Irish person to hold the position since the society was established in 1991. Headquartered in the US city of Atlanta, ISTM has 4,000 members in more than 120 countries. It is the leading professional association in its field, with strong ties with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and multiple regional travel and tropical medicine societies. Professor Flaherty will hold the role of ISTM President for two years from 2023, following a two year period as President-elect. He said: "I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve as President of the International Society of Travel Medicine - a prestigious organisation dedicated to promoting healthy, safe and responsible travel through its surveillance, research, educational and community outreach activities. “Having the privilege to lead a global organisation such as the ISTM places NUI Galway and Ireland centre stage on the world map in this dynamic area of research activity. I am fortunate that NUI Galway is such an internationalised institution, with a distinguished international profile. “The Global Galway project is a very positive expression of this commitment to sustainable internationalisation. My own leadership role in international medical student recruitment over many years has prepared me well for the opportunities that this new role brings. “I have greatly enjoyed my previous leadership roles in medical education and preventive cardiology at NUI Galway, but I relish the exciting challenges ahead in this next phase of my career." President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for NUI Galway to develop strong educational and research collaborations with leading international institutions involved in travel medicine, global and public health. “Professor Flaherty’s work embodies NUI Galway’s vision and values of openness, sustainability and excellence, connected to, and contributing to, community and society in Ireland and beyond the horizon for the public good.” Ends

Friday, 21 May 2021

Researchers from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, who study the genetics of fruit flies as a way to understand human health, have investigated mechanisms of how stem cell divisions are regulated. Cell division has been found to have implications in areas such as fertility, ageing, cancer and regenerative medicine and this research has found that the function of a particular chromosomal protein, called CENP-C, is important to keep a pool of dividing stem cells in a tissue. The study examined how stem cells divide in the ovary of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The fruit fly serves as an ideal model for understanding how human stem cells divide, given that 60 per cent of its genes are also found in humans and they can also regenerate stem cells to repair and replace old or damaged cells. Stem cells are unique in that they have the ability to regenerate themselves. They can also undergo cell division to give rise to a cell that can take on a new function. In the testes and ovaries, specialised stem cells, called germline stem cells, give rise to cells that differentiate to form the gametes, eggs and sperm. Defects in germline stem cell divisions can lead to infertility and sterility. The study found that when the chromosomal protein CENP-C was removed from germline stem cells in the fly ovary, the production of eggs was interrupted and could lead to infertility. Specifically, the research found that over time the pool of germline stem cells was depleted in the ovary. These results suggest that CENP-C is important in the division of stem cells and can help scientists understand more on how stem cells work. The study also showed that the level of this chromosomal protein present in older stem cells is reduced compared to younger stem cells, and shows that it can also be used to mark stem cell age. The gene that encodes the chromosomal protein CENP-C in the fruit fly also exists in humans and these findings suggest it is possible that it might function similarly in human stem cells. Restoring this gene in defective stem cells could potentially allow stem cells to function better or to improve fertility. Dr Elaine Dunleavy, lead author of the study from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: "Our work in fruit flies allows us to manipulate genes to understand their function in stem cells in the ovary that would not be possible to carry out in humans. Through this approach we hope to uncover genes that might be important for human fertility.” The study has been published in the international journal PLoS Genetics and can be read in full at: https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1009247. -Ends-

Friday, 21 May 2021

Scientists have proposed the first steps towards a united global plan to save our oceans, for the sake of human health An interdisciplinary European collaboration, the Seas Oceans and Public Health In Europe (SOPHIE) Project, which NUI Galway is part of, has outlined the initial steps that a wide range of organisations could take to work together to protect the largest connected ecosystem on Earth. In a commentary paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers call for the current United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to act as a meaningful catalyst for global change, reminding the public that ocean health is intricately linked to human health. The paper highlights 35 first steps for action by different groups and individuals, including individual citizens, healthcare workers, private organisations, researchers and policy-makers. The researchers point to the huge reliance on the global ocean as a source of food and economic income internationally, as well as a precious resource that research shows benefits to a person’s mental and physical health. However, the consequences of the impact of human activity are severe. Extreme weather events induced by climate and other environmental change result in coastal flooding, exposure to harmful algal blooms, and chemical and microbial pollution. These threats are compounded by sea-level rise, ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation associated with global environmental change. At the same time, the coasts, seas and ocean provide people with food, trade, culture, renewable energy, and many other benefits. In fact, there is now strong evidence that access to healthy coasts can improve and preserve physical health and mental wellbeing. And a healthy ocean is a major source of potential natural products including medicines and green substitutes for plastics. The paper suggests a list of possible first steps to a wide range of groups who can influence ocean health, emphasising that holistic collaboration is essential to make an impact, including: Large businesses can review their impact on ocean health, share best practice and support community initiatives. Healthcare professionals could consider “blue prescriptions”, nature-based interventions based in, on, or near water, as part of practical solutions for good health integrated with individual and community promotion activities. Tourism operators can share research on the benefits of wellbeing when spending time by the coast, and collect and share their customers’ experiences of these benefits. Individual citizens can take part in ocean-based citizen science or beach cleans and encourage school projects on sustainability. Co-author and member of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, Dr Easkey Britton, said: “The UN Ocean Decade is a chance to truly vision and act on the future we want for our global ocean. This affects us all - the health of people is completely dependent on the health of the ocean. Building community around the challenges we face and the solutions we need is the most important thing. By working together across disciplines, sectors, and community groups we can create powerful and effective solutions to restore ocean health and transform how we think about public health.” The paper calls on planners, policy-makers and organisations to understand and share research into the links between ocean and human health, and to integrate this knowledge into policy. First author Professor Lora Fleming, of the University of Exeter, said: “The devastating Covid-19 pandemic, climate and other environmental change and the perilous state of our seas have made clear that we share a single planet with a single global ocean. Our moral compass points to addressing the myriad threats and potential opportunities we encounter by protecting and providing for everyone, both rich and poor, while learning to sustain all ecosystems.” The project is funded by Horizon 2020. The full paper, entitled ‘The Ocean Decade— Opportunities for Oceans and Human Health Programs to Contribute to Public Health’,  is available at https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306229.   For more information on the SOPHIE project visit https://sophie2020.eu/ -Ends-

Friday, 21 May 2021

Hundreds more patients to benefit after University secures support for two projects as part of Health Research Board Clinical Trial Networks  People with diabetes and patients with chronic disease and those who use primary care are set to benefit from the expansion of clinical trials at NUI Galway. The Health Research Board has announced Primary Care Clinical Trials Network and the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network are to be supported at the University. The NUI Galway networks are two of six projects that have been selected nationwide following a rigorous application process and adjudication by an international panel of experts.  Professor Fidelma Dunne, Consultant Endocrinologist in University Hospital Galway and Saolta Hospital group and Professor in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, is to lead the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network which will work on an all-island basis. “This investment is hugely significant for patients. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in Ireland and the number of people affected by it is increasing at an alarming rate alongside the increase in obesity rates,” Professor Dunne said. “The aim of all the co-applicants and collaborators who have worked on this project is to ensure that people with diabetes across the island of Ireland have access to high quality clinical trials regardless of where they live. “Through trials in new medicines and technologies we can improve health and reduce disease burden for patients with diabetes.” Professor Dunne outlined some initial areas of focus for the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network, including diabetes in pregnancy, technologies, foot disease, advanced therapies and behavioural change. Professor Andrew Murphy, GP in Turloughmore Medical Centre, Co Galway and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, is to lead the Primary Care Clinical Trials Network. “Our aim is simply to produce high-quality clinical evidence which improves patient outcomes in primary care, where the vast bulk of healthcare is provided,” Professor Murphy said. “Our high-level strategy prioritises the conduct of trials in chronic disease management, multi-morbidity where patients have two or more diseases and infectious diseases. Over the past five years we have recruited almost 4,000 patients and had 20 registered trials, working with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Irish College of General Practitioners and other universities in Ireland and Europe. Our aim is to bring trials to hundreds more patients.” Professor Murphy set out a number of objectives including bringing together patients, carers, health professionals and researchers to develop the top 10 research priorities in chronic disease management, enhancement of Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in primary care research and developing a list of what trials in this area should measure so that their outcomes are comparable. The Clinical Trial Networks were assessed on criteria that included each network’s relevance to Ireland’s health and social care needs; the strength of its collaborative framework; the quality of the proposed network and trial activities; and the expertise and skill mix of its team. The HRB said the new investment will see the expansion of clinical trials and create opportunities for Irish people to participate in the latest research in these areas to improve outcomes and/or transform treatments and care. Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, chief executive of the Health Research Board, said: “As we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, we should remember the transformation in care and many benefits that high-quality clinical trials can deliver, both for individual care and for society. “The impact that HRB investments in clinical trial capacity have had in Ireland was acutely demonstrated when we were able to pivot quickly to deliver clinical trials as part of a global rapid response to Covid-19. We are proud of the leadership role we have actively taken in Ireland in this area and we look forward to seeing the benefits that these new Networks deliver for people’s health, patient care and the economy.” Ends

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Cuirfidh Institiúid nua an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais le taighde, teagasc agus rannpháirtíocht phobail agus scoile na dtrí phríomhsholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí i nGaillimh, Maigh Eo agus Sligeach Tá ríméad ar OÉ Gaillimh, Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach a fhógairt go bhfuil Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais bunaithe. Tacóidh an Institiúid le comhoibriú idir na trí institiúid chun oideachas múinteoirí i Réigiún an Iarthair a fheabhsú agus a chur chun cinn. Cuirfidh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais ar chumas na dtrí institiúid, ceannairí náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta san oideachas múinteoirí, a gcuid saineolais éagsúil ach comhlántach a thabhairt le chéile. Is é uaillmhian na hInstitiúide cúrsaí, taighde agus rannpháirtíocht an phobail in oideachas múinteoirí a fhorbairt. Ar an mbealach seo cuideoidh an Institiúid go mór leis an bpróifíl a bhaineann le hoideachas múinteoirí sa réigiún a dhaingniú agus a chur chun cinn.  Cuirfidh an Institiúid ardán fíorúil nuálach ar fáil chun tacú le comhoibriú agus chun caidreamh a chothú le raon páirtithe leasmhara a bhfuil baint acu le hoideachas múinteoirí sa réigiún. Seolfar an Institiúid go foirmiúil i Meán Fómhair 2021. Dúirt an tAire Oideachais, Norma Foley T.D.: “Cuirim fáilte fonnmhar roimh sheoladh na hInstitiúide seo a neartóidh na naisc agus an dlúthchomhar atá ar fáil cheana féin sna trí institiúid bhródúla seo. Tuigim mar mhúinteoir mé féin an tábhacht a bhaineann le cláir tosaigh oideachais múinteoirí mar go gcuireann siad bonn faoi ghairmeacha ár n-oideoirí amach anseo, ag cothú na foghlama agus ag múnlú eispéiris oideachais a gcuid daltaí. Is dea-scéala é forbairt na hinstitiúide nua seo a dhaingneoidh an t-ionad barr feabhais seo d’oideachas tosaigh múinteoirí i réigiún an Iarthair/an Iarthuaiscirt.” Dúirt an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Simon Harris T.D.: “Is comhpháirtíocht an-spreagúil í seo idir trí cinn dár gcoláistí. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Institiúid seo Ionad Barr Feabhais a chruthú a neartóidh an saineolas atá ag na trí sholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí in OÉ Gaillimh, Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach. Beidh sé mar aidhm ag bunú na hInstitiúide féachaint chuige go seasfaidh soláthar oideachais múinteoirí an aimsir, fiú agus ollscoil teicneolaíochta ag teacht ar an bhfód san Iarthar/Iarthuaisceart mar atá molta ag Comhghuaillíocht Uladh Chonnacht idir GMIT, IT Shligigh agus IT Leitir Ceanainn, trí na soláthraithe oideachais múinteoirí sa réigiún a thabhairt le chéile. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach duine a bhí bainteach leis.” Dúirt an tOllamh Gerry Mac Ruairc, an Stiúrthóir a bhunaigh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais agus Ceann Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orainn seoladh na hInstitiúide a fhógairt, ar toradh é ar roinnt blianta comhpháirtíochta agus comhoibrithe idir na trí phríomhsholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart: Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach; Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo; agus OÉ Gaillimh. Tá cáil aitheanta ar gach ceann de na trí institiúid, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta, san oideachas múinteoirí; agus éascóidh an Institiúid nua ailíniú straitéiseach comhoibritheach chun ár dtaighde, ár dteagasc, agus ár rannpháirtíocht leis an bpobal, agus lenár scoileanna comhpháirtíochta a chur chun cinn agus a fheabhsú”.  Ag fáiltiú roimh bhunú na hInstitiúide, dúirt Amanda McCloat, Uachtarán Choláiste San Aingeal: “Tógann an Institiúid seo ar an dea-cháil náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta agus ar an dlúthchaidreamh oibre atá idir OÉ Gaillimh, Coláiste San Aingeal agus GMIT agus i dteannta a chéile feabhsófar soláthar agus taighde oideachais múinteoirí.” Dúirt an Dr Orla Flynn, Uachtarán GMIT, agus í ag tacú go láidir leis an gcomhghuaillíocht nua seo: “Cuirfidh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais ar chumas na dtrí institiúid an soláthar agus taighde oideachais múinteoirí a fheabhsú agus freagairt le chéile agus go nuálach do shainriachtanais oideachais daoine óga inár réigiún.”    Le deich mbliana anuas, rinne an t-oideachasóir mór le rá as an bhFionlainn, an tOllamh Pasi Sahlberg dhá athbhreithniú mhóra ar an struchtúr oideachas múinteoirí in Éirinn. Déanann an fhorbairt nua seo na moltaí polasaí a rinne Sahlberg (2012, 2018) a athbheochan agus a chomhdhlúthú trí aitheantas foirmiúil a thabhairt do thiomantas na dtrí chomhpháirtí teacht le chéile faoi scáth na hInstitiúide ar bhonn an chomhionannais agus an chomhoibrithe. Tá Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais bunaithe ar an tiomantas láidir a bheith ina ceann feadhna comhoibritheach, moltach agus cruthaitheach san oideachas múinteoirí go réigiúnach, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta.  Agus é ag tagairt do thábhacht Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais maidir le hoideachas múinteoirí, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orm go bhfuil Leasuithe Sahlberg curtha i bhfeidhm sa tionscnamh nua spreagúil seo chun oideachas múinteoirí a chomhordú agus a fheabhsú taobh thiar den tSionainn. Tréaslaím leis an Ollamh Gerry Mac Ruairc agus le foireann na Scoile Oideachais in OÉ Gaillimh; le Amanda McCloat agus a comhghleacaithe i gColáiste San Aingeal, Sligeach; leis an Dr Orla Flynn, an Dr Paddy Tobin agus an Dr Dermot O’Donovan agus Scoil an Dearaidh agus na nEalaíon Cruthaitheach, GMIT, as na moltaí tábhachtacha polasaí seo a chur i bhfeidhm ar mhaithe leis an ardoideachas, agus go háirithe ar mhaithe le todhchaí an oideachais múinteoirí inár réigiún agus in Éirinn. Tá meas ar na luachanna atá againn maidir le hoscailteacht do smaointe nua agus do chomhpháirtíochtaí barr feabhais, agus cothaítear todhchaí an oideachais múinteoirí taighdebhunaithe a chothaíonn ár dtodhchaí mar shochaí. Guím gach rath ar an Institiúid nua agus í ag fás agus ag forbairt sna blianta amach romhainn.”   Thug an fhoireann athbhreithnithe maidir le hathchóiriú oideachais múinteoirí Sahlberg (2018) aitheantas ar leith d’éachtaí aonair agus comhpháirteacha na dtrí chomhpháirtí, agus an cumas atá acu maidir le saineolas comhoibritheach feabhsaithe. I dtaca leis seo, sainaithníodh go soiléir caighdeán an chaidrimh atá mar bhonn agus taca leis na hiarrachtaí comhoibritheacha mar bhunús daingean d’fhorbairtí amach anseo. Déanfaidh an Institiúid na héachtaí aitheanta seo a chomhordú agus a fhorbairt anois. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

>Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission shows that 47% of team managers find no difference between managing their team remotely compared to onsite while 44% say it is more difficult to manage the team remotely.   Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission have published summary data from the second annual national remote working survey in Ireland. The survey gathered responses from over 6,400 employees, examining their experience of remote working one year after lockdown. This is the first national survey to attain managers’ views of the impact of remote work on their team. Over 2,100 managers gave their views on managing teams remotely and their plans for remote work post pandemic. Led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Noreen O’Connor at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at the Western Development Commission, the survey found that, among those who could work remotely, 95% were in favour of working remotely on an on-going basis to some extent. The majority of those, 53%, said they would like to work remotely several times a week, 32% said they would like to work fully remotely and 10% several times a month. Those who would like to work fully remotely (32%) has increased substantially from the first national survey conducted by the NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission team in April 2020 when it was 12% in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. The overwhelming majority (95%) is a significant increase from the 83% who wanted to continue to work remotely for some or all of the time in the 2020 survey. Conversely, only 5% indicated that they did not wish to work remotely to any extent – a drop from 16% who gave that response a year ago. The number of respondents working fully remotely fell from 87% in April 2020 to 75% at the end of April 2021 as there was more of a mix of onsite and remote (20%) in the latest survey. The survey found that 24% of respondents said they would consider relocating based on their experience of remote working since Covid-19. A further 9% said they had already moved and the West (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), the South-west (Cork and Kerry) and the Border (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) were the top regions respondents have relocated to. 14% said they may consider moving, while just over half (53%) said they would not consider relocating. According to the survey the top three advantages of working remotely are: greater flexibility, makes life easier, and increases productivity. Interestingly, in the context of work-life balance, 51% of respondents said that they work more hours when they work remotely compared to working onsite while 45% say they work the same hours. It is interesting to note that 44% of team manager respondents believe that remote working positively impacts the productivity of their team while the same proportion (44%) believe that remote working makes no difference to the team’s productivity. 12% believe remote working negatively impacts their team’s productivity. Three-quarters of organisations had not decided how their teams will work post pandemic. Of the 25% who had decided, 78% will work to a hybrid model. 36% of organisations who have decided to work to a hybrid model expect employees to be onsite for two days a week and 23% said three days a week.  The study found that 45% of team managers believed they did not get the training required to manage their team remotely, while 36% indicated they received basic training. One in five (19%) reported that they received sufficient training. Speaking about the second annual national survey, Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The second annual NUI Galway/Western Development Commission national remote working survey has, once again, gained huge interest with over 6,400 responses. We added a new module asking questions about managing teams remotely for those who have people management responsibilities. To our knowledge, the latter forms the first national survey to gather information about team manager perspectives. It is interesting to see that the appetite for fully remote or hybrid working is the preference of the vast majority of respondents.”     Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “The findings of the national survey indicate once again that there is a clear appetite to continue to work remotely. This will mean significant change for the way in which people work and the way that organisations support that work. The rollout of the National Hubs Network of more than 400 hubs will offer a suitable workplace close to home. A key challenge for leaders in organisations will be ensuring that people that choose to work remotely are treated equally in terms of development and promotional opportunities.” The research team has expedited the analysis of initial summary findings of the second annual national remote working survey, which are available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites. Further publications will also be made available. The report and key statistics from the first national survey in April 2020 are also available on these websites. To view the second annual survey report and accompanying infographic information on the Whitaker Institute’s Project page, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/project/remote-working-during-covid-19-irelands-national-survey/   -Ends-