Tuesday, 13 February 2018

A new online treatment programme, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists, aims to help those who are managing multiple chronic health conditions The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with chronic pain and at least one other long-term condition to take part in a research study. The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and other health professionals around the country are also being encouraged to refer suitable people to the study. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are scarce and generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, such as chronic pain alone. Research has shown that having multiple chronic conditions, also known as multimorbidity, is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as a decline in physical and mental functioning, a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of mortality. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing health conditions through mindfulness and psychological wellbeing. The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help identify both negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges. Dr Brian Slattery, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, says: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but can be hard to access. In this trial, we will offer this online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.” People who take part in the ACT trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. All materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial. Study supervisor, Dr Brian McGuire from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, said: “This is a promising new online pain management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with multimorbidity.” For further information and suitable patient referrals, please email painresearch@nuigalway.ie and visit: www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/ -Ends- 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Dr Dearbháile Morris from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway has received the largest single award of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for her research examining the role the environment plays in the transmission of antimicrobial resistance. The EPA awarded a total of €11.2 million to fund new environmental research projects with Dr Morris receiving the largest single award of €650,000 for her four year ‘AREST’ (Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment – Sources, Persistence, Transmission and Risk Management) project. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses,   fungi and parasites) to change and stop the drugs used to treat infection (such as antibiotics) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as one the greatest threats to human health. It is estimated that by 2050, unless action is taken, 10 million deaths per year will be attributable to antimicrobial resistance. There are several different types of antimicrobial resistant organisms such as methicillin resistant, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), some of which are resistant to the last resort antibiotics. Such is the concern about the increase in the incidence of CPE that Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD declared it a public health emergency in 2017. The emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance is related to the use of antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents have been used for decades in humans and animals. The ‘One-Health’ concept, a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care, recognises that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is only recently that attention has been given to the impact that discharge of antimicrobial resistant organisms and of antimicrobials has on the environment. The environment is a key link between antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans, therefore it is imperative to adopt a holistic ‘One Health’ approach in trying to address the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance. The proposed research will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors (health, agriculture, industrial) and brings together key players in the area of antimicrobial resistance. This will embed the ‘One Health’ concept and build the capacity of Ireland’s research community to support Irelands National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance. Speaking about her award, Dr Dearbháile Morris, Head of Discipline of Bacteriology at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway, said: “I am very excited to receive this funding award and commend the EPA for recognising the importance of funding research in this area. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health. We are facing the very real possibility of entering an era where there are no useful antibiotics left to treat infection. “We need to understand better what role the environment plays in the transmission and persistence of antimicrobial resistance. This four year research project will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors, and brings together a team of world renowned experts in the areas of human health, animal health, agriculture, the environment, geographical information systems, risk assessment, high throughput sequencing technologies and metagenomics.” Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, said: “The EPA is pleased to announce these awards under our Research Programme and to continue to support research and innovation in areas of environmental importance. The outputs from these projects will provide the foundation and evidence base for credible environmental decision-making into the future.” The AREST project is being led by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Danish Technical University, UCD, Teagasc and Maynooth University. -Ends-

Monday, 12 February 2018

Over 2,000 people have been recruited into the world’s largest clinical trial to test the clinical and cost effectiveness of the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in primary care The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, based at NUI Galway, are working with researchers in Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, on the ALIC4E trial, which investigates whether the flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is cost effective and beneficial to patients consulting their GP’s with flu symptoms. In particular, the study aims to understand if older people, infants, people with other health conditions, those treated early, or those with particularly severe flu can benefit from the treatment. Over 2,000 people have been recruited into the world’s largest clinical trial to test the clinical and cost effectiveness of the flu drug oseltamivir in primary care. The trial aims to address the widespread uncertainty over whether people with flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs in the community. To date, 45 patients from Ireland have participated in this trial, recruited from five practices within the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland. ALIC4E is the first publicly-funded randomised controlled trial of its kind to assess antiviral treatment for influenza in primary care and it aims to recruit a total of 4,500 participants across 16 countries, including Ireland. The antiviral oseltamivir is a member of a class of drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors. These drugs are stockpiled and recommended by public health agencies worldwide for treating and preventing severe outbreaks of seasonal and pandemic influenza, yet some experts suggest the evidence supporting their use is lacking. The drug was widely used during the ‘swine flu’ pandemic, for example, but no trial was carried out on its clinical and cost effectiveness. HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland Director, Professor Andrew Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “It is important that primary care patients and GPs in Ireland have the opportunity to contribute data to important international trials. We are delighted to see our Network practices recruiting patients into this clinical trial.” GP’s and practice nurses in five practices in Ireland are currently recruiting patients at Turloughmore Medical Centre and Main Street Clinic Loughrea in County Galway, and Belgrave Clinic, Tallaght Cross and Crumlin Medical Clinic, in Dublin. Network collaborator, Professor Tom Fahey of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, said: “We don’t know for sure which people with symptoms of the flu should be prescribed antiviral drugs, and nor do we know the cost-effectiveness of antivirals in terms of helping people return to normal activity levels. The ALIC4E trial aims to answer these important questions.” ALIC4E is an initiative of the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-)emerging Epidemics (PREPARE) consortium. Funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Programme, PREPARE was setup to support research organisations to respond rapidly to pandemics with clinical studies that can provide real-time evidence to inform the public health response. For more information about the trial, contact Edel Murphy, Developmental Officer, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, NUI Galway at edel.murphy@nuigalway.ie or 091 495308. -Ends- 

Monday, 12 February 2018

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host a symposium presented by the Women’s History Association of Ireland on Friday 16 February. One of Ireland’s leading historians, Professor Mary O’Dowd from Queen’s University Belfast, will address the association on the progress and pathways for future research on Irish women’s history from 1500-1800. Professor O’Dowd’s address will provide the culmination of a day of discussion by researchers from NUI Galway, TCD, UL and QUB. Speakers will explore the experience of aristocratic Irish women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Lady Ranelagh and Lady Tyrconnell), letter writing and correspondence networks in and outside Ireland, and the legal standing of women in that period. Conference organiser, Dr Bronagh McShane, post-doctoral fellow in the Humanities from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Just over 25 years on from the publication of Professor O’Dowd’s ‘Agenda for Women’s History in Ireland’, written with Margaret MacCurtain and Maria Luddy, this one-day seminar will bring together leading and emerging scholars currently engaged in research on the history of early modern Irish women in order to assess progress made and to identify new paths yet to be forged.” Director of the Moore Institute Professor Daniel Carey at NUI Galway, said: “Women’s history is one of the most vibrant and significant areas of research into Irish history in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. New breakthroughs in understanding how women communicated, how they represented themselves socially and publically, and how they managed their legal affairs are emerging all the time. This event will provide a valuable update and way forward for research.” The symposium will take place in Seminar Room G010, Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway from 9am to 5pm on Friday, 16 February. The event is free and open to the public and advance registration is required at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/new-directions-in-early-modern-irish-womens-history-tickets-41707319716 For further event information contact Dr Bronagh McShane at bronagh.mcshane@nuigalway.ie or 091 493903. For more details about the Moore Institute, visit: www.mooreinstitute.ie/ -Ends- 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Six companies will gain €95,000 in seed funding along with intensive training for the next six months on this mentor centric, expert lead, practical, Medtech Accelerator, the first of its kind in Ireland. Investment opportunities range from cutting edge spinal injury technologies to disruptive wound care products, new wave manufacturing techniques to cell therapies to revolutionise oncology treatments, and environmental and clinical diagnostics to preventative patient devices for chronic disease.  Innovative new solutions to medical challenges will be developed by six new companies announced today (8 February 2018) as participants in the BioExel Accelerator Medtech programme. The NUI Galway initiative, supported by Enterprise Ireland, will support the companies who were shortlisted from over 50 applicants. BioExel Medtech Accelerator is the first of its kind in Ireland to focus solely on the medical technology sector. The six companies, which are all in the scale-up phase, will be based at NUI Galway for a period of six months, to build and commercially validate their technologies by working with existing entrepreneurial networks, mentors and management team. BioExel is delighted to announce the first cohort of companies: Bioprobe Diagnostics Ltd – Ciaran Geoghegan Bluedrop Medical Ltd – Chris Murphy GiantLeap Biotechnology Ltd – Martin Codyre Hidramed Solutions Ltd – Suzanne Moloney Grey Matter Technologies Ltd – Rory Dunne Q-Pathway Ltd – Niamh Frehill The successful participants met their first challenge of many, in a three-day clinic on campus with global experts, mentors, and entrepreneur in residence as their market strategy is validated and substantiated. The first month’s clinic has seen many experts on site including: BioVisability, Kate Gunning; HMC Marketing Consultancy, Helen McCormack; Bob Rosenberg, Entrepreneur in Residence; Viadymanics; Ormond Coaching; BioTechspert; Cresco Innovation and many more to work with the BioExel companies and share true market knowledge and experience. BioExel is managed by Dr Sandra Ganly the accelerator Director, also co-founder of BioInnovate and Senior Research Fellow with vast experience in the Medtech environment. Another member of the management team is Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, as well as Manager of the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, with many years’ experience working with the start-up community. Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel at NUI Galway, said: “For these companies being immersed in a Medtech hub, the environment that BioExel is aligned to is critical, as the innovation and transformation in this ecosystem is recognised globally. From over 50 applications the vast array of discovery and technology in the medtech sector is growing at a rapid rate with some amazing opportunities. BioExel is key to this transformation as we deliver the next generation of investor ready, first class medical technologies to the marketplace.” The Western region already has a strong Medtech ecosystem and this is actively supported by the expertise and infrastructure at NUI Galway. The University is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices. This is further strengthened by NUI Galway’s expertise in funding grants, knowledge transfer, and programmes such as BioInnovate and BioExel. BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Galway Foundation Office, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, Western Development Commission and hosted by NUI Galway. The Medtech Accelerator programme is part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy to increase the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than ten people and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years. BioExel has the potential to support up to 14 Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) based in the western region from 2017 to 2019. Bank of Ireland Seed and early stage equity fund have committed €300,000 to this programme. A call for further participants will be made this summer 2018. For more information about the programme, visit: www.bioexcel.ie -Ends- 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A research study led by scientists from the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, has identified a novel approach that could potentially be used to treat breast cancer when it has spread to other organs, using tiny vesicles released by adult stem cells. The study was published in the internationally renowned cancer journal, Oncogene, and involved a multidisciplinary partnership between colleagues at NUI Galway, and collaborators in UCD. There have been great advances in detection and treatment of breast cancer, but patients in whom the disease has spread to other organs (metastasised) still have a poor outcome. New treatments for advanced disease are urgently required. A type of stem cell, called an adult Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) has a remarkable ‘tumour-homing’ ability, being able to home specifically to the site of tumours and metastases, and raising their potential as delivery vehicles to bring drugs directly to cancer sites, particularly metastatic sites. In this study, Dr Róisín Dwyer’s research group, based in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, isolated vesicles secreted by MSCs. All cells release tiny vesicles containing genetic information, that can then be taken up by other cells, communicating messages between cells. The researchers then engineered these vesicles to contain a tumour suppressing message, and these were shown to reduce breast cancer growth in models of the disease. This exciting data suggests that MSC-secreted vesicles may home to sites of disease and could represent a novel, safe and effective way to treat breast cancer when it has spread to other organs. Lead author of the study, Dr Róisín Dwyer from NUI Galway, said: “When cancer has spread it is difficult to deliver therapy to many sites of disease while protecting healthy tissue. However, adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have the natural ability to home to the sites of tumours. We engineered MSCs to express high levels of a tumour supressing microRNA (a short RNA sequence), and we used the MSCs as vehicles to deliver it to the tumour site. The MSCs were found to release the microRNA in tiny vesicles. We then isolated the vesicles to determine if they could be used to treat the cancer, without the cells. This could also reduce potential side effects.” The research study was primarily funded by the Irish Cancer Society BREAST-PREDICT collaborative cancer research centre. To read the full study in Oncogene, visit: http://rdcu.be/Fu56. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club and Aerogen, will host its fifth annual charity 8k Run/Walk on Saturday, 10 March at 10am. This is the first time the 8k will be held in spring and it will appeal to lots of people who want to get fit and healthy for 2018. The popular event consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain route around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. Entry to the event is €25, with all proceeds going to Jigsaw Galway, the official charity partner. A special early bird rate of €20 is available before Saturday, 24 February, with further discounts for group entries. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support service that promotes the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15-25, living in Galway city and county. Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals who are worried about a young person. NUI Galway Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, said: “We have been building on the success of our 8k event on campus year on year. Over 700 people now take part, and we look forward to welcoming staff, students, alumni, friends and neighbours to the University campus to enjoy the outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing. It is the flattest and friendliest 8k course in the country, so book your place today!” To help participants prepare for the event, Aerogen will host a Sign-Up Day for anyone interested on Friday, 9 March from 12pm-2pm in the Insight Building at the front of the IDA Business Park, Dangan. Representatives from Kingfisher Club and Jigsaw will also be present to assist with sign-ups and answer any questions. The Kingfisher Club and the NUI Galway Sports Unit are also organising meet-and-train sessions on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 1pm and Wednesday at 6pm departing from the Sports Centre on the NUI Galway campus. The sessions are free-of-charge and open to all. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website https://www.runireland.com/events/165325 Updates are also available on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGalway.8kRun All queries on the event can be sent to nuigalway8k@kingfisherclub.com -Ends-

Monday, 5 February 2018

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will host a public lecture by Tomi Reichental, a survivor of the Bergen- Belsen concentration camp. Tomi will talk about his experience of the Holocaust at NUI Galway on Thursday, 8 February at 8pm.   Tomi Reichental was born in 1935 in Piestany Slovakia. In 1944 at age nine, he was captured by the Gestapo in Bratislava and deported to Bergen Belsen concentration camp with his mother, grandmother, brother, aunt and cousin. When he was liberated in April 1945, he discovered that 35 members of his extended family had been murdered. His grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all died in the Holocaust. Recounting the sights and smells at the concentration camp Tomi said: “Typhoid and diphtheria were the biggest killers, but people were dying of starvation and cold in their hundreds. First the bodies were removed and burned, but later they were just piling up in front of our barracks, and were piles of decomposing bodies. The soldiers who liberated Belsen in April 1945 said they could smell the stench for two miles before they reached the camp. In the camp I could not play like a normal child, we didn’t laugh and we didn’t cry. If you stepped out of line, you could be beaten up even beaten to death. I saw it all with my own eyes.” Professor Ray Murphy from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said: “Tomi is one of the last surviving witnesses to the Holocaust. As such, he feels compelled to speak out so that the victims are not forgotten and we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. For most of his life Tomi did not speak of the atrocities he bore witness to, but in recent years he has become an advocate for tolerance and compassion. His story is a story of the past. It is also a story for our times. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of racism and intolerance, providing lessons from the past that are relevant today. One of the lessons we must learn is to respect difference and reject all forms of racism and discrimination.” Tomi Reichental has lived in Dublin since 1959. In 2004, for the first time in 60 years, he broke his silence and began to speak about his experiences during the Holocaust. Thousands of students in schools all over Ireland have heard his story, and an RTÉ documentary film called I Was a Boy in Belsen was based on Tomi’s life. The film was directed by the Emmy award winning producer Gerry Gregg and retraces the events that swept away the Jewish presence in Central Europe from the point of view of a boy who couldn’t understand why. To mark his 80th birthday on the 26 June 2015, the Board of Trustees of HETI (Holocaust Education Trust of Ireland) established a scholarship in Reichental’s name. It will be awarded annually in perpetuity to a deserving candidate to enable his or her participation in one of the Holocaust education programs. The scholarship is in recognition of Reichental’s immense contribution that he has made to Holocaust awareness and education over the years. The talk at NUI Galway will be followed by a Q&A session. Admission is free but early arrival is advised.  The lecture will take place in the Ryan Institute Lecture Theatre (MRA 201), Ryan Institute Annexe, NUI Galway (off University Road) on Thursday 8th February 2018 at 8pm. -Ends-

Monday, 5 February 2018

This February, NUI Galway and GMIT are working together to encourage their students to take part in the national student survey at www.studentsurvey.ie. This year, for the first time, the survey includes postgraduate research students, which means that students in the West of Ireland will have an even bigger say when it comes to shaping their experience of higher education. Last year over 30% of eligible students in GMIT and NUI Galway completed the survey. The results showed that Galway students enjoy more effective teaching, better opportunities for collaborative learning, and better quality interactions with staff compared to the national average. On the back of student feedback in last year’s survey, both institutions are focusing on the need to enhance their students’ experience of reflective and integrative learning, which means giving students more opportunities to combine ideas from different subjects and diverse viewpoints as part of their studies. Dr Pat Morgan, VP for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, has championed the inclusion of research students in the national survey and said: “I welcome the development of the survey to include our postgraduate research students as we will now have really worthwhile information on the totality of the student experience from first year undergraduates, through to taught postgraduates and our research students.” This is the fifth year of the Irish Survey for Student Engagement, and the results have already had positive impacts in NUI Galway and GMIT. In direct response to feedback in previous surveys, NUI Galway has invested in a new Academic Skills Hub, and they have enhanced the Orientation programme to help students adjust to university life. Feedback from GMIT students has led to the creation of a Maths Centre and an Academic Writing Centre on campus to support students on their academic journey. Dr Michael Hannon, VP for Academic Affairs & GMIT Registrar, said: “The Irish Survey for Student Engagement, introduced as part of the National Strategy for higher education to 2030, is a welcome development as it provides a uniform methodology to measure student satisfaction with teaching and learning. As a student-centred organisation where the emphasis is on research-informed teaching and learning, GMIT welcomes the opportunity to listen to and respond to the student voice.” The survey is open to all First Year and Final Year Undergraduate students, and students on Taught and Research Postgraduate programmes. It runs from 5-25 February, 2018. -Ends-

Friday, 2 February 2018

NUI Galway SHEER project to highlight how water quality and access to blue/green spaces can improve our health, wellbeing and socio-economic status in Ireland Researchers from NUI Galway have launched the ‘SHEER’ (Socio-economic, Health, Environmental Research) project, an Irish case study designed to integrate three broad strands of environmental, health and socio-economic data to investigate the complex and all important  links between our environment, our health and wellbeing and our socio-economic status in Ireland. Led by the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, and partnering with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and the HSE, the €175,000 SHEER project will emphasise how important, and powerful data from different domains is, to decision making, policy development and the very quality of our lives. The pioneering project will deliver a case study and a clear road map for the future direction of our environment, our health and our wellbeing in Ireland. The SHEER project is responding to the European Economic Area (EEA) call for Ireland to be a case study in their 2019 Environment, Health and Wellbeing report. The primary aim of this Environmental Protection Agency funded Irish case study is to complement the EEA’s broad assessment of a healthy environment and to explore possible impact in greater national, regional and local depth through data analytics, visualisation and mapping the key socio-economic, environmental and health forces and patterns at work in relation to water quality and access to blue/green spaces in Ireland. Building upon ongoing work examining blue/green spaces from the Near Health project at NUI Galway, SHEER will improve people’s understanding of the impacts environments such as ‘water quality’ and ‘blue/green spaces’ can have on health and wellbeing. It will also develop and foster a network of diverse stakeholders such as public health, social science, environmental researchers from across Ireland involved in such pioneering multi-disciplinary work, and create a legacy that will advance this field across Ireland. Dr Christine Domegan, Head of Marketing Discipline and Social Innovation cluster leader at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway, and leader of the SHEER project, said: “Over the last ten years we’ve contributed to a growing body of evidence that shows human health and a healthy environment are inextricably linked (WHO EURO EH, 2017; EEA, 2014, EPA Strategic Plan, 2016–2020 and Healthy Ireland, 2013-2025). However, without a multi-causal and coordinated approach to data, it is difficult to develop these findings further and use them to inform policies. SHEER will help us to link different datasets together, emphasising how important it is to connect national data to regional and local issues.” This goal is achieved through a work programme gathering extensive information from diverse databases and stakeholders to provide insights and a baseline of evidence synthesis from three largely disparate domains, environmental, health and social sciences. SHEER is designed to deliver national and European benefits to science, policy and civil society while significantly helping to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency’s Strategic Plan for 2016–2020, ‘Our Environment, Our Wellbeing’ and progress the Government’s Framework for improved health and wellbeing 2013-2025 initiative, ‘Healthy Ireland’. For more information about the SHEER project, visit: visit www.nuigalway.ie/sheer or contact Dr Christine Domegan, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway at christine.domegan@nuialway.ie or 091 492730. -Ends-  

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway today (1 February 2018) hosted a Youth Empathy Day. The youth-led day brought together 200 Transition Year students from six secondary schools in Galway, Dublin and Tipperary, all of whom are taking part in a new pilot education programme called Activating Social Empathy, which supports adolescents to learn empathy in schools. Actor and Patron of the Centre, Cillian Murphy spoke to the students about the importance of empathy in his work as an actor. Students attending the Youth Empathy Day travelled from CBC Monkstown in Dublin; Comeragh College, County Tipperary; Grange Community College, Donaghmede, County Dublin; Dominican College Galway; Stratford College, Rathfarnham, Dublin and Galway Community College. Research shows that empathy is linked to a range of positive effects in young people from reduced prejudice and aggression to better academic performance. Empathy education in schools aims to help reduce bullying, discrimination, racial profiling and violence, and increase young peoples’ sense of belonging in school. At the highest international level empathy education has been identified by the UN Youth Office, UNESCO and UNICEF as key to preventing youth radicalization leading to extremist violence, an issue which has not been considered enough in Ireland. Activating Social Empathy was developed by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in collaboration with Foróige, and it is being piloted in Ireland as the lead version of the programme which forms part of an international project strongly backed by UNESCO that will see the programme rolled out the US, Canada, Nigeria, Myanmar, France, Cameroon and Tunisia. Today’s youth-led event is about youth participation and listening to the youth voice on empathy in their own lives. Cillian Murphy, the Patron of the Centre, took part in a Q&A on empathy in his work as an actor and how having a capacity to empathise with the characters you play is vital. A series of workshops on literature, drama, music, yoga, mindfulness and social media will explore how these areas can be used to teach and promote empathy. Two of the Centre’s Youth Researchers will host a peer-led session on their own experience of developing empathy. The day will close with a group brainstorm on developing an Empathy Charter that can be carried into schools, setting out how empathy can be fostered within school communities. Speaking about the event, Cillian Murphy, Actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “You can’t really be an actor without employing empathy as a very important tool in your arsenal. If I can help young people to see that everyone has a different story and everyone’s story is valuable, hopefully that will help them in the future. It’s helping kids help themselves. It seems to me that if we’re going to help or encourage young people to behave in a certain way, then they should be at the forefront of it, and they should be telling us how they feel and telling us what they need, which is what this day is about.” Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “We are on the cusp of the development of empathy as a core part of education systems which will benefit not just youth but civic society as a whole. Empathy education is now being recognised as vital to education, something that is part of youth wellbeing development, but goes far beyond this by changing behaviours and promoting action, with radical implications for social connection and social solidarity.” For more information about the UNESCO Family Child and Research Centre, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/home/ or on Twitter at @UNESCO_CFRC and #youthempathyday. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 February 2018

NUI Galway Research Centre publishes Guide on EU Consumer and Human Rights for people in mortgage distress Irish courts are not fully applying EU consumer and human right laws that could prevent unfair evictions The Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway has published a new, user-friendly guide that could help thousands of Irish families in mortgage distress, and facing unfair evictions to understand and advocate for their rights, using vital EU consumer and human rights law. ‘Your EU Consumer and Human Rights: A Guide for People in Mortgage Distress in Ireland’, published jointly with Open Society Foundations’ Abusive Lending Practices Project, is also essential reading for people improperly denied tracker mortgages, or those who have been given incorrect interest calculations. A decade after the crash, and with one in 10 mortgages in arrears, Ireland continues to have the highest level of mortgage defaults in the world. Central Bank of Ireland statistics at September 2017 show that over 72,000 mortgages are in arrears. A massive 44% (over 31,000) of these are in arrears for over two years, putting them at far greater risk of mortgage repossession. The laws outlined in the publication oblige Irish courts to assess the fairness of mortgage terms under the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive. They should also assess the human rights impact of an eviction on all occupants in the home, including children, older people and people with disabilities, under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These EU requirements are not new. However, to date, they are not being fully applied in Irish courts, according to the Irish and international legal experts behind the guide. Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, and one of the authors of the guide, says: “Our guide sets out simply and clearly how existing EU law should be routinely applied to determine, firstly, whether a mortgage contract term is fair and, secondly, whether a possession or eviction notice is a proportional response to any breach of a mortgage term. By applying these EU laws, Irish courts and lawyers can really assist their clients and vulnerable defendants.” The authors have stressed that the guide is for information purposes only. It does not provide legal advice, and is not a substitute for consulting a lawyer. They suggest, within the guide, that people share it with their solicitors. They also acknowledge, however, that a high number of people facing possession are unrepresented, due to the shortage of free and low cost legal services. In tandem with the publication of the guide, a group of facilitators are being trained by Community Action Network (CAN), an NGO with extensive housing rights expertise.  The facilitators will be available to help promote the guide to people in mortgage distress and to service agencies who may be working with them. They will help people understand the information in the guide, but will not provide legal advice or representation. The guide also contains practical advice on how to find a solicitor, an outline to the Abhaile Scheme and Personal Insolvency Arrangements, and other vital resources for people in mortgage distress. Finally, it contains sample template pleadings, for information purposes only. The guide has been created as part of the Open Society Foundations’ Abusive Lending Practices Project, in conjunction with the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, and a group of Irish lawyers and advocates.  According to Marguerite Angelari, Senior Legal Officer with Open Society Justice Initiative and the lead author of the guide: “The Open Society Foundations launched the Abusive Lending Practices Project in 2015 out of concern for the substantial number of people in Europe suffering under debt burdens that threaten their ability to satisfy their basic needs. The widespread practice of repossessing people’s homes without consideration of any wrongdoing on the part of the lender and the impact of the loss of the home on the household as required by EU law is a violation of their human rights.” While Ireland is the first EU country where the guide is being launched, its contents are relevant, and will be available, to distressed borrowers throughout Europe The Open Society Foundations’ mission is to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. The guide is available to download from 7am on Thursday, 1 February, from: https://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/news/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The 13th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 18 and 19 January. The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. Sally Cahill, a third year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 13th annual Teddy Bear Hospital. Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 18 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.” This year, 25 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the event came from Bank of Ireland, Dunnes Stores, NUI Galway Socs Box and Medical Protection Society. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.”  -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Beidh Lá Oscailte na nIarchéimithe ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Máirt, an 6 Feabhra, ó 12-3pm i Halla Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn. Is ócáid thábhachtach an Lá Oscailte do dhaoine gairmiúla agus do chéimithe, atá ag díriú ar a bhfuil amach rompu, agus a bhfuil rún acu a gcuid cáilíochtaí a thabhairt suas chun dáta, cur lena gcuid scileanna, cur lena gcuid saineolais agus, dá réir sin, cur leis na deiseanna fostaíochta atá acu. Déanfar os cionn 170 clár iarchéime lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a chur i láthair ag an Lá Oscailte, agus beidh eolas le fáil ann faoi rogha leathan máistreachtaí agus dochtúireachtaí taighde. Beidh níos mó ná 100 seastán ann a mbeidh eolas le fáil acu faoi na deiseanna iarchéime san Ollscoil. Beidh idir chomhaltaí foirne acadúla agus mhic léinn i láthair le ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí ar leith a fhreagairt. Tarraingeofar aird ag an ócáid ar na bealaí ar féidir leis an dream a bheidh i láthair dul chun cinn a dhéanamh ina ngairm nó ina réimse staidéir féin, agus tabharfar eolas chomh maith faoi na deiseanna nua atá ag céimithe agus ag daoine gairmiúla tabhairt faoi ghairm eile ar fad. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Sarah Geraghty, Bainisteoir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Sa bhreis ar an rogha leathan de chúrsaí tiontaithe ildisciplíneacha atá ann, is cúrsaí tiontaithe iad go leor de na cúrsaí Máistreachta atá ar fáil ar féidir le fochéimithe ó chúrsaí éagsúla cur isteach orthu. Beidh sraith cainteanna ar siúl ag an Lá Oscailte chun cabhrú le hiarrthóirí ionchasacha leis an bpróiseas cinnteoireachta, leis an iarratas agus beidh saineolaithe ó OÉ Gaillimh ar fáil le comhairle a thabhairt agus le ceisteanna a fhreagairt ó dhaoine atá ag smaoineamh ar thabhairt faoi réimsí staidéir éagsúla.” Le cinneadh a dhéanamh tabhairt faoi cháilíocht iarchéime, tá sé fíorthábhachtach oiread eolais agus is féidir a fháil faoi na roghanna maoinithe agus na scoláireachtaí atá ar fáil. Tugann an Lá Oscailte na daoine agus na heagraíochtaí ar fad a chuireann tacaíocht ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime, le chéile ar aon láthair amháin. Tabharfaidh SUSI, an t-údarás bronnta deontas ardoideachais agus breisoideachais náisiúnta, cur i láthair ag an Lá Oscailte agus beidh siad ar fáil le ceisteanna a fhreagairt faoi dheontais agus faoi mhaoiniú. Tá réimse leathan cúrsaí ag an gceathrú leibhéal á dtairiscint ag OÉ Gaillimh. Tá cláir iarchéime forbartha atá bunaithe ar na réimsí acadúla traidisiúnta a bhfuil OÉ Gaillimh aitheanta dá mbarr – na Dána, na hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, an Léann Ceilteach, an Tráchtáil, an Leigheas, an tAltranas, Eolaíocht Sláinte, an Dlí, an Innealtóireacht, Ionformaitic agus an Eolaíocht. Cuireadh go mór leis na réimsí staidéir seo trí ionaid nuálacha taighde a bhunú i réimsí a bhfuil an-éagsúlacht ag baint leo amhail Innealtóireacht agus Eolaíocht Bhithleighis, Cearta Daonna Idirnáisiúnta, na Meáin Dhigiteacha agus an Scannánaíocht, agus Leigheas Athghiniúnach. Tá OÉ Gaillimh i gcónaí ag iarraidh teacht roimh éilimh an mhargaidh fostaíochta agus freastal ar na riachtanais atá acu trí chláir nuálacha a fhorbairt. I measc na gclár nua a forbraíodh le gairid tá an LLM sa Dlí Gnó Comparáideach Idirnáisiúnta, MSc sa Chillmhonarú, MSc sa Mhicreascópacht, MSc sa Nuálaíocht Teicneolaíochta, agus MSc nua eisiach san Fhiseolaíocht Aclaíochta, clár atá ar fáil do chéimithe ó dhisciplíní éagsúla. Le spléachadh a fháil ar chláir iarchéime nua eisiacha OÉ Gaillimh agus le háit a chur in áirithe ag an Lá Oscailte féach www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day nó buail isteach chugainn ar an lá. Le hiarratas a dhéanamh ar chúrsa iarchéime in OÉ Gaillimh féach www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Críoch-

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

 NUI Galway to formally announce the appointment of Adjunct Professor of Law to coincide with the launch of two new Masters Programmes. The Law School at NUI Galway is delighted to welcome the return of Dr Thomas Courtney, graduate of NUI Galway, Chairman of the Company Law Review Group, Head of Compliance and Governance Practice at Arthur Cox Solicitors and the driving force behind the 2014 Companies Act. Dr Courtney will deliver a lecture on “Effective security for corporate obligations: the creation and registration of company charges.” This will be of interest to the wider legal and business communities in Galway, as well as to existing students and staff at NUI Galway Law School. The lecture will be followed by a reception at the O’ Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance to formally mark Dr Courtney’s appointment as Adjunct Professor and to launch two new Masters programmes available at the School of Law from September 2018 - The LLM (General), and LL.M in International and Comparative Business Law. Dr Connie Healy, Programme Director of the Masters in International and Comparative Business Law and LL.M General said: “The appointment of Professor Courtney is doubly significant. Firstly, in recognising Professor Courtney’s outstanding contribution to the field of Company/Business law and secondly, and importantly for all students considering a Masters in International and Comparative Law at NUI Galway, Professor Courtney’s ongoing links with the School of Law means they will benefit from his expertise during small group seminars undertaken as part of their Master’s degree. This, together with the opportunity to compete for five commercial legal placements and to engage in skills-based modules enhancing employability, are just some of the unique and outstanding features of the masters in International and Comparative Business Law at NUI Galway.” Professor Courtney’s talk will be held in the Human Biology Building across from the O’Donoghue Centre at on Wednesday, 7 February, 2018 at 4pm. The event is free but places are limited. If you are interested in attending, please e-mail Lorna Cormican at the Law School at Lorna.Cormican@nuigalway.ie or call 091 492389. CPD certificates will be available for members of the legal profession.  Information on the masters programmes is available from the programme director - Dr Connie Healy at Connie.Healy@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

NUI Galway will hold its Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 6 February, from 12–3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day is an important event for professionals and graduates, who are focusing on their future, aiming to upgrade qualifications, broaden skills-set, increase specialist knowledge and ultimately improve their job prospects. The Open Day will showcase over 170 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, and an extensive range of research Masters and doctoral research options. Over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The event will highlight the pathways for attendees to progress in their current career track or area of study and will also present the growing number of options for graduates and professionals who want to change track and pursue an alternative career. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In addition to a variety of interdisciplinary conversion courses, many of the Masters on offer are ‘conversion courses’, open to graduates from multiple undergraduate courses. The Open Day will include a series of talks to help prospective applicants with the decision-making process, the application and there will be expertise from all corners of NUI Galway available to give advice and answer questions for those exploring their options.” A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the funding and scholarship options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations that provide support to postgraduate students. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national awarding authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be presenting at the Open Day and will be on hand to answer queries about grants and funding. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies and Regenerative Medicine. NUI Galway is constantly pre-empting and responding to employment market demands by developing new and innovative programmes. Some recent new courses are LLM in International Comparative Business Law, MSc Cellular Manufacturing, MSc Microscopy, MSc in TechInnovation, and a new and unique MSc in Exercise Physiology, a programme designed for graduates from multiple disciplines. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Professor John Laffey, Investigator at CÚRAM and Professor of Anaesthesia at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway was one of five recipients of the Science Foundation Ireland ‘President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Awards’, honoured by President Michael D. Higgins at a special ceremony in Áras an Uachtaráin. Professor Laffey is also a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospital. His basic and translational research is focused on critical illnesses, particularly sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. His major research focus is the investigation of the therapeutic potential of cell therapies for these devastating illnesses. He also has a longstanding interest in the effects and mechanisms of hypercapnic acidosis (hypoventilation that increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood and decreases the blood’s pH) in acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. Commenting on his award, worth €1.54 million, Professor John Laffey, said: “This Future Research Leaders Award will enable me to relocate my research group to CÚRAM, joining a dynamic group of researchers with leading edge expertise in regenerative medicine, immunology and tissue engineering. This world class environment will facilitate the discovery of the potential for stem cells to enhance the response of the immune system to severe sepsis.” Prior to his recent move to Ireland, Professor John Laffey was Anesthesiologist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, co-director of the Critical Illness and Injury Research Centre at the Keenan Centre for Biomedical Research of St. Michael’s Hospital, and Professor of Anesthesia, Critical Care Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto. Congratulating Professor Laffey on his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have someone of John’s calibre join the team at CÚRAM. His experience and expertise will help drive the research agenda at the centre and fits exactly with the strategic aims of CÚRAM, to improve quality of life for patients living with chronic illness.” Congratulating the awardees, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “The President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award is designed to attract to Ireland outstanding new and emerging research talent. In supporting these talented and innovative individuals, we are delighted to recognise early career researchers who have already displayed exceptional leadership potential at the frontiers of knowledge. The development of leadership skills in these researchers early in their careers is vital to ensure research and innovation in Ireland continues to progress. Our investment highlights the importance that Science Foundation Ireland places on supporting all stages of academic careers, and on the attraction and retention of star researchers.” CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, located at NUI Galway is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry partners, and aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. -Ends-

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Researchers from NUI Galway are seeking members of the public, particularly dads, to get involved in the ‘CHErIsH’ (Choosing Healthy Eating for Infant Health) Project. CHErIsH is a nationally funded study that aims to gain a better understanding of parents’ and primary caregivers’ experiences of feeding their children, and how best to support them to do this. The NUI Galway researchers would like to form a group to inform and help shape the direction of this research and are seeking people who are interested in infant feeding related research. The group will discuss aspects of infant feeding practices and behaviours such as; patterns of breastfeeding, formula feeding, solid food intake, and other complimentary foods and liquids. The study is particularly interested in the voice of dads and grandparents in terms of how they support their children’s/grandchildren’s infant feeding practices. Health Economist, Dr Michelle Queally from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “To date the CHErIsH Project has recruited a large number of mums and caregivers to participate in the study but we are also keen for dads to get involved. Together with my colleagues Dr Elaine Toomey at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway,  and Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, School of Public Health in UCC, we are examining various aspects of infant feeding practices in Ireland. “At the moment we are hoping to assemble a panel who are interested in various aspects of infant feeding and who will in turn guide our research and research materials. We would like to include representatives from all groups on this panel; mums, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and would especially like to hear from a lot more dads, and hear their opinions about infant feeding practices.” People interested in participating in the study are required to attend four meetings throughout 2018 in the Galway city region. Meetings are informal, lasting one to two hours, and all travel expenses will be covered. Participants will be provided with a One4All voucher as a thank you for their participation. The CHErIsH Project is supported by the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Award 2015. For more details about the study contact Dr Michelle Queally, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway at michelle.queally@nuigalway.ie or 091 492934 and 085 1614345. For more information about the CHErIsH study, visit: www.cherishstudy.com or follow on Twitter @cherishstudy or CHErIsH on Facebook. -Ends- 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Dr Elaine Toomey and Dr David Mothersill from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, have both received prestigious awards for their specific areas of research from the Irish Canadian University Foundation and the Royal Irish Academy. Dr Elaine Toomey from the Health Behaviour Change Research Group, led by Professor Molly Byrne at the School of Psychology, received the ‘Irish Canadian University Foundation James M Flaherty Early Career Researcher Award’. Dr Toomey received the award to conduct further research on the adaptation of ‘Football Fans in Training’ (FFIT), an effective health behaviour change intervention that used Scottish professional football clubs to engage with overweight and obese men. The ‘Hockey Fit’ intervention was recently developed by Dr Rob Petrella and Dr Dawn Gill in Western University, Ontario to adapt the FFIT project to ice-hockey, within a Canadian context. Dr Toomey’s award will enable her to visit Western University and explore the Canadian ‘Hockey Fit’ intervention with a specific focus on how FFIT components were adapted to suit a different sporting and cultural context, and inform how this might be used in an Irish context. Dr Toomey will also spend time in the Centre for Implementation Research in the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to maximise how knowledge from her visit to Western University can be used to inform adaptation and translation into an Irish setting, using a structured and theory-based approach. Speaking about her award, Dr Elaine Toomey at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted and incredibly honoured to receive this award. As well as facilitating my own learning and development, this award will enable me to establish new collaborations between the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway and researchers from Western University, as well as strengthening existing relationships between our group and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. It will also enable Canadian expertise in obesity research and knowledge translation to be disseminated to an Irish audience.” Dr David Mothersill received the ‘Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant’ for his research in Cognitive Neuroscience, as part of the Centre for Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics (NICOG) led by Professor Gary Donohoe at the School of Psychology at NUI Galway. Dr Mothersill received the award for research where he is currently developing a novel computerised test to examine social cognition in individuals with schizophrenia that will be useful in predicting real world social skills. Social cognition refers to the ability to understand the perspectives and emotions of other people. Deficits in social cognition are a core feature of people with schizophrenia. However, current tests designed to examine social cognition are limited by unrealistic stimuli and dependence upon an examiner. Dr Mothersill’s award will allow him to take the computerised test he is developing and bring it to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where he will receive expert feedback from Professor Christopher Bowie, a leading expert in assessment and treatment of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Dr Mothersill will collaborate with Professor Bowie and his team on further research and development of this computerised test, with the aim of testing the final program in the clinic in late 2018. On receiving his award, Dr David Mothersill at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to receive this Charlemont Award. It provides me with an excellent opportunity to travel to Queen's University, Ontario, and collaborate with one of the leading experts in assessment and treatment of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, Professor Chris Bowie. This project will also strengthen existing collaborative ties between the Centre for Neuroimaging and Cognitive Genomics at NUI Galway and the Cognition in Psychological Disorders Lab in Canada.” -Ends-

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Employers in Ireland are being urged to implement clear and effective policies on workplace ill-treatment. A new survey, led by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, reveals the scale of the issue for the first time in Ireland. The Irish Workplace Behaviour Survey, published Wednesday, 24 January 2018, reveals that more than two in five people say they have experienced a form of ill-treatment at work, while one in 12 have experienced and/or witnessed physical violence. This is despite most organisations having policies in place to prevent it. Commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the study was carried out by researchers from NUI Galway, along with the universities of Limerick and Plymouth. The survey of 1,500 people, interviewed in their own homes, is the first study of its kind in Ireland. The main findings were: 43% of respondents reported having experienced ill-treatment, while 47% said they had witnessed it and 17% stated they had perpetrated it. 37% reported having experienced unreasonable management, 42% stated they had witnessed it and 14% stated they had perpetrated it. 3% reported having experienced incivility or disrespect, 38% said they had witnessed it and 9.5% stated they had perpetrated it. 6% reported having experienced physical violence, 5% said they had witnessed it and 0.5% stated they had perpetrated it. New guidance has now been produced by IOSH to help employers ensure their staff do not suffer the effects of ill-treatment. IOSH Vice-President Louise Hosking said: “It is alarming to see the amount of people who felt there was nothing to be done, even if they reported an issue. Everyone has the right to be respected at work. Any form of ill-treatment is completely unacceptable. “It can have a huge impact on an individual and the team around them, causing stress and tension which ultimately has an effect on the business as a whole. Ill-treatment at work is linked to physical and mental health issues, which in turn affects the decisions people make and increases risks to themselves and those around them. Together with the guide, we hope we can support businesses to create healthy work environments in which their people can feel supported and the business can in turn thrive.” The survey also revealed that: Public sector employees are five times more likely to experience violence than employees in other sectors. Women are significantly more likely to experience ill-treatment on two or more occasions per day, with the perpetrator often being another woman. There is a correlation between ethnicity and ill treatment: workers of black, mixed or Asian ethnicity have the highest levels of experiencing and/or witnessing violence; Asian workers are seven times more likely to experience violence at work than white workers; ill-treatment of black and Asian workers is usually perpetrated by individuals of the same ethnicity. Some workers believe reporting an issue would not help and could even worsen their situation. They believed middle managers were either unable or unwilling to act on complaints, or that policies were too complicated. Dr Margaret Hodgins, lead researcher of the survey from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This research is extremely important to Ireland. The Health and Safety Authority has previously conducted research into bullying in Ireland (bullying is defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, which a reasonable person would regard as undermining an individual’s right to respect and dignity at work). However, the Irish Workplace Behaviour Survey goes much further, looking at the prevalence of unreasonable management, incivility or disrespect and violence and aggression. “The British survey showed the prevalence and the effect of low-level ill-treatment. We were keen to know whether we would find the same happening in Ireland. The research showed how pernicious ill-treatment is. Ill-treatment increases stress levels resulting in illness and presenteeism, and this in turn can affect the productivity of the organisation. Employers need to take negative behaviour seriously, and look to see how they address it through creating a work environment that is positive and respectful of staff and their work.” Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, said: “This is a timely report from IOSH, particularly in light of Minister Breen’s request to review our Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying. I very much welcome any research that deepens our understanding of occupational health issues and look forward to engaging with stakeholders to improve the working environment for all.” To view the guidance published by IOSH, visit www.iosh.co.uk/workplacebehaviour -Ends-

Thursday, 25 January 2018

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has formalised an agreement for academic collaboration with representatives from the Biomedical Manufacturing Technology Centre (BMTC) at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH). The joint Memorandum of Understanding will see KITECH and CÚRAM establish a programme for academic cooperation to jointly organise conferences and workshops on topics of mutual interest and to exchange faculty and students for limited periods of time for the purpose of education and research. Commenting on the agreement, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said “Both organisations have significant mutual interests that include advanced material research, biomedical technology and the development of efficient manufacturing processes for tissue applications, chronic wound management applications and therapeutics for various diseases. I’m delighted to have progressed this relationship and look forward to the benefits of sharing expertise and training opportunities for our researchers.” It is expected that the first researchers from KITECH will visit Ireland and CÚRAM in mid-2018. The agreement provides an excellent forum to create and develop synergistic academic projects that will benefit both countries. According to Dr Woo Jong Lee, head of the Biomedical Manufacturing Technology Centre: “We expect Ireland, as a global leader in the Medtech industry, to be an excellent partner and gateway to the EU market. We at KITECH and BMTC, are delighted to be able to establish this collaborative partnership with CÚRAM, a world leading biomedical research centre, based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2017. We believe this Agreement will be a cornerstone for establishing collaborative relationships in the future between the biomedical ecosystems of our two countries.” Professor Pandit added: “Our confidence in the future of the MedTech sector in Ireland is largely based on the talent and skills of our young researchers at CÚRAM, and the training and development of our students to the highest level, in a multi-disciplinary environment is a priority.” CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry partners, and aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. Korea Institute of Industrial Technology is a government-funded research institute and drives the nation's industrial advancement by the development and commercialisation of fundamental technologies and technology support for SMEs. The Biomedical Manufacturing Technology Centre, an affiliated research centre of KITECH, has established a Research and Development supporting system for medical device manufacturing, particularly in the intervention and minimally invasive surgery fields. -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

A stakeholders’policy workshop is being held today (24 January 2018) on the highly topical issue of Extended Working Life policy, at the NUI in Dublin. The event will involve a presentation of preliminary policy-relevant findings from the EU-funded project, Gender, Older Workers and the Life-course, by project leader Dr Áine Ní Léime of NUI Galway. Extended Working Life policies and pension reforms have been strongly promoted by international policy bodies as a response to population ageing and its anticipated increased pension costs. Such policies in Ireland include raising the state pension age to 67 by 2021 and 68 by 2028, doubling the number of contributions required to be eligible for a full state contributory pension, and basing the state pension on average earnings over the working life. Dr Áine Ní Léime from the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, commented: “These policies have been introduced without adequately exploring the consequences for different groups of workers, particularly women. Not all workers are the same. Workers in precarious employment may be especially disadvantaged. One-size-fits-all pension policies for all workers, which are beneficial for those who are healthy and can easily find employment, may be punitive for those in ill-health and/or those in physically demanding jobs.” Gender, Older Workers and the Life-course is an international project, aiming to inform policy by drawing on the experiences and voices of older workers themselves. For the Irish component of the project, interviews were conducted with 30 men and 30 women (cleaners, carers, teachers and academics) on their work-life history, their attitudes towards pensions and their views on extended working life policy. Dr Áine Ní Léime will present preliminary findings from Ireland from this research at the workshop, which will be moderated by Dr Nata Duvvury, Director of the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway. The key findings from the research include: Workers in physically-demanding/stressful jobs should be able to retire at 66 on state pension. Working past age 66 should be a choice – full pension should be available to those who qualify. The non-contributory pension is absolutely critical for women especially and should be enhanced. The issue of precarious work, low pay and pension entitlements needs to be addressed for certain workers. Orla O’Connor, CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland comments: “This research is  very welcome and timely given current public debates calling for reform of the State pension system which currently disregards the reality of women’s working lives. Women are more likely to be in low paid-jobs with precarious contracts and to take extended periods of time out of work to care for children or other family members. They therefore have fewer social insurance contributions and are penalised by the pension system in older age.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dr Brian Farrell, a lecturer in law and human rights at the University of Iowa and President of the Innocence Project of Iowa*, will give a public seminar at NUI Galway on Wednesday 24 January entitled, ‘Science and the Law: Learning from Wrongful Convictions’. The seminar explores the phenomenon of wrongful convictions, common contributing factors, and how evidence-based reform can improve the criminal justice system. Since the late 1980s, the use of DNA technology has led to the exoneration of over 350 of innocent individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit in the United States alone. Examination of these wrongful convictions reveals that science was often misapplied or ignored in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. At the same time, these exonerations have stimulated new natural science and social science research aimed at identifying these errors and improving the integrity of the criminal justice process. Dr Brian Farrell, said: “Frequently, evidence and techniques that have passed as ‘science’ in the criminal justice system lack sound scientific foundations or are incorrectly applied. Unfortunately, judges and lawyers are often poorly equipped or reluctant to scrutinise this evidence, and can correspondingly be slow to adopt evidence-based best practices.” Dr Shane Darcy from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “With growing interest in wrongful convictions in the Irish context, this is an excellent opportunity to hear from an experienced practitioner on how science and the law interrelate in the context of miscarriages of justice.” The seminar is free and open to the public. It takes place on Wednesday 24 January at 1pm in the seminar room of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Parents in Ireland are living in fear of their under-age child – but book says there is help out there A new book launched by Declan Coogan, a lecturer in Social Work in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, entitled, Child to Parent Violence & Abuse – Family Interventions with Non Violent Resistance, steps into the gap left by a lack of easily available and adaptable intervention programmes designed to help parents living with child to parent violence and abuse, and the practitioners who work with them in children and family services. Some parents in Ireland are living in fear of their child under the age of 18 years and experience abuse and violence from their children. This problem is known as child to parent violence and abuse. This book aims to help people working with families where this takes place to resolve these problems using a relatively brief and research supported model of intervention known as Non Violent Resistance. Speaking about the book, Declan Coogan at NUI Galway, said: “There are tremendous difficulties in arriving at any clear picture of the prevalence and nature of child to parent violence and abuse. Some studies in the US suggest that approximately 9% to 14% of parents are at some point assaulted by their adolescent children. Research and reports from people working with children and families also make it clear that problems of child to parent violence abuse is emerging in a range of child and family services. “This is a growing problem for psychotherapists in public and private practice, social workers and psychologists in mental health, child protection, juvenile justice teams and from practitioners in both out-patient and in-patient child and adolescent mental health services. Threats of self-harm and suicide have also been reported as part of child to parent violent behaviour and practitioners are frequently uncertain about how best to treat these kinds of presentations. The problem has been reported among families from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds.” What is addressed in the book: Explains the issue of the abuse and violence towards parents and within the family by children and young people under 18 years of age. Provides a solution focused and strengths based best practice guide to supporting children and families. Explains how Non Violent Resistance (an evidence based approach for resolving the problem of child to parent violence and abuse) is a particularly effective approach to child to parent violence abuse, and what the research tells us about how effective it is. Provides detailed guidance for the reader on how to use the Non Violent Resistance intervention model in their own practice, providing the knowledge and skills they will need. Includes sample case studies and quotes from practitioners in different parts of Ireland who used the Non Violent Resistance model in their own work with families. While this book is aimed primarily at practitioners working with children and families in the areas of child and adolescent mental health, domestic violence, family support, child protection and welfare, juvenile justice and police service fields, it is written in a clear accessible style that brings together experiences from working with families and the latest research from Ireland and abroad.  The book is available now from bookshops, from https://www.jkp.com/uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=coogan and from other book suppliers. -Ends-  

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Study finds attitudes of those in initial teacher education in Ireland have a tendency to comply with, rather than endorse or reject teaching religion The School of Education at NUI Galway has carried out the first ever study in Ireland that explores the religious affiliations and religiosity of applicants and entrants to undergraduate primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes in Ireland. Since 96% of state primary schools in Ireland are denominational, considering religious diversity in teaching is both critically important and a complex undertaking. The study explores the backgrounds, motivations and perspectives on the Irish education system of applicants and entrants to Initial Teacher Education programmes across Ireland. The research, published this week in the European Journal of Teacher Education, explores the religious backgrounds, religious practice and attitudes towards teaching religion of applicants and entrants to primary teacher education programmes. While there has been much debate about the compatibility of publicly funded denominational schools with growing religious pluralism and secularism in Ireland and internationally, these debates have so far, mostly focused on equity of access to state-run schools and freedom of religion and conscience for children and their families. The position of teachers in a predominantly denominational primary school system has received much less attention in academic and policy discourse. The study interrupts the silence and invisibility of atheist, non-practicing Catholic and minority faith students and practicing teachers, and highlights the need to critically examine teaching and teacher education policy and practice, including access to Initial Teacher Training, the ITE curricular and pedagogical spaces, school cultures and employment legislation, from a social justice perspective that includes a religious diversity dimension. The data gathered suggests low levels of religious practice and religiosity among ITE applicants, many of whom would prefer to teach religion using a non-confessional approach. The study raises critical questions regarding the experiences, constitutional rights and professional practice of increasingly secular and/or non-practicing Catholic teacher cohorts in a predominantly Catholic primary education system that has survived the trend towards the progressive ‘unchurching’ of Europe. Lead author of the study, Dr Manuela Heinz from the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “Our main data collection method is an anonymous voluntary cross-sectional online questionnaire implemented annually with applicants to all state-funded Initial Teacher Education programmes across Ireland. The diversity in the ITE study addresses the data vacuum with regard to ITE cohorts’ socio-demographic backgrounds in relation to their religious affiliations, religious practice, and attitudes towards religious education in primary schools in Ireland.” Dr Heinz continued, “We noted a high non-response rate (25%) to an open-ended question probing respondents to express their feelings about teaching religion which may indicate that a significant proportion of ITE applicants were reluctant or felt uncomfortable to disclose their personal thoughts regarding the requirement for primary teachers to teach religion in the majority of primary schools in Ireland, even in an anonymous survey. “In addition, we also noted a widespread tendency of complying with, rather than endorsing or rejecting, the teaching of religion with many respondents using language like ‘it’s no problem’, ‘part of the job’, ‘grand’, or ‘doesn’t bother me’ in their responses. It may be that enculturation into Catholic education and possibly positive experiences and memories of ‘no harm’ have led many to uncritically accept the status quo. Or, alternatively, it may be that many of those considering and/or entering the teaching profession feel that they have no choice in the matter, that they need to comply and be prepared to take on the role of religion teacher if they want to succeed, even if they are not religious themselves, do not practice or believe.” Dr Heinz added: “We are hoping that this research will trigger more thinking about the characteristics and qualities we are looking for in teachers. Considering that only 58% per cent of our respondents considered themselves to be ‘a religious person’, we need to ask what about the others? What experiences await them as they pursue careers as primary teachers? In our study, the great majority of respondents indicated a clear preference towards teaching children about different faiths/world views/religions with some respondents stressing the importance of tolerance, equal treatment and/or of children making up their own minds with regard to religious beliefs.” In light of the findings presented in this study, the authors conclude that the prospect and experience of entering a third level learning and future professional space that is permeated by a religious, predominantly Catholic ethos, will cause conflict between personal beliefs and professional requirements for many potential and actual Initial Teacher Education applicants and entrants. This situation will most likely result in some highly motivated and suitable individuals who are atheist, non-practicing Catholics or from a minority religious background deciding against a career in teaching. Those who enter Initial Teacher Education training, despite the considerable religious barriers, may experience significant, and likely unforeseen, difficulties throughout their ITE and professional careers due to tensions between their personal and professional lives. The study suggests that it is time to ask whether it is fair, ethical or moral to put individuals who are committed to the education of our children in this difficult situation.  The study was funded by the Irish Research Council as part of the ‘NUI Galway Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland’ research project, and was led by principal investigators Dr Manuela Heinz, Dr Elaine Keane and Dr Kevin Davison from the School of Education at NUI Galway. To read the full study in European Journal of Teacher Education, visit: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/NWVyqIwyY44JCYRCnzbm/full -Ends- 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

CÚRAM, The Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, is part of a network of nine partners and two sub-partners from seven countries involved in the newly launched ‘Codex4SMEs’ project (Companion Diagnostics expedited for small and medium-sized enterprises) to assist companies with the development of such services, in the field of ‘personalised medicine’. The aim of this project is to build a transnational network to accelerate the development of companion diagnostics for small and medium-sized businesses. The project is part of the Interreg North-West Europe programme. Interreg forms part of the structural and investment policy of the European Union, supporting cross-border cooperation between regions and cities. Companion diagnostics are essential to the field of ‘personalised medicine’. They allow tests to determine the molecular causes of a disease before treatment is started. This allows every patient to receive personalised medication in the correct dosage and at the right time. However, to date the development of companion diagnostics has been time-consuming and costly, and used in very few treatment scenarios. Led by German partner BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, the three year project has a total budget of over €3 million as part of the Interreg North-West Europe programme. The initial meeting with all of the partners will take place on 29 and 30 January 2018 in Stuttgart. Project leader, Dr Margot Jehle of BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, said: “The combination of regional economic development organisations and biobanks creates the ideal conditions to provide companies with direct access to specific expertise such as the verification of biomarkers, in other words parameters of biological processes as indicators of diseases.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “The development of transformative, affordable solutions for patients with chronic illness is a key goal at CÚRAM and we’re delighted to be partnering with such a strong network on this project. We work closely with academics, industry and clinicians and this project will only further enhance our networks across Europe, which are critical for driving medical device research and development.” CÚRAM, along with WestBIC (EU Business and Innovation Centre for Irelands Border, Midlands and Western Region) are the two Irish partners involved in the project. Other partners include the University of Leicester, with Medilink Midlands as a regional sub-partner from the UK; from France, the Medicen Paris Region cluster; from the Netherlands, BOM Holding BV and the Innovation Quarter; with a regional sub-partner from Luxembourg, the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg, IBBL; and from Austria, the Biobank Graz at the Medical University of Graz. CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry partners, and aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

First year students from Coláiste Iognáid in Galway win two BT Young Scientist awards for their project, ‘Think Before You Drink: Microplastics’  Three young Scientists Aoibhe Briscoe, Ellie Concannon, and Kate Owens, first year students at Coláiste Iognáid in Galway, competed for this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Awards in the Category Biological and Ecological Sciences with their project ‘Think Before You Drink: Microplastics’. Mentored by NUI Galway, the students won first place in their category and a special award issued by the Environmental Protection Agency for Best Environmental Project presented at the BT Young Scientist 2018. For their project they investigated over 40 tap water samples from 23 primary schools in County Galway for microplastic contamination. They found that 96.9% of all tested samples were contaminated with microplastics and that the level of contamination for drinking water from Galway classrooms (2.7 per 500ml) exceeded the European average of 1.9 per 500ml. The analysis of the samples took place in the lab facilities of the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway under the guidance and supervision of Dr Audrey Morley a lecturer in Physical Geography and member of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy research. Dr Morley advised and trained the young scientists on sample collection and analysis and ensured that all procedures followed previously published protocols for microplastic extraction from tap water samples from a global study commissioned by  the journal Orb in 2017*. In addition to the analysis of the tap water samples, contamination controls were measured at regular intervals throughout the experiment to assess and assure the validity of the results. Speaking about the young scientists work on the project, Dr Audrey Morley at NUI Galway, said: “The identification of microplastic using a microscope can be tedious and time consuming, requiring focus and concentration by the analyst. I was very impressed with the level of dedication and persistence that Aoibhe, Ellie, and Kate brought to the project. It is great to see young women so excited about science and determined to bring about change.” BT Young Scientist winner, Kate Owens, said: “The BT Young Scientist experience has inspired me to be part of solving the problems of the future. President Michael D. Higgins spoke to us about Africa being the largest populated continent in the world and the need for young people to be part of developing solutions for the challenges this presents.” “It was a revelation to us that our love of fast fashion is polluting our drink water, simply by washing the clothes we wear. 77.8% of the contamination we detected in the schools water supply were microfibres. Synthetic fabric fibres that are so small that they could not be filtered by the public water works. Plastic bags and bottles, you can actually see and remove, but you cannot see these tiny, almost invisible microfibres that are bio-accumulating in our bodies, now that is truly scary.” Kate added: “Aoibhe, Ellie and I are a great team and we work well together. Audrey’s guidance and patience gave us a solid, scientific method to undertake our testing and that was the key to our credibility. We were total beginners and she was so incredibly generous with her time. We learned so much from her! We felt that our findings were important and that with our presentation ‘sizzle’, we could get politicians to listen, so we practiced our pitch, over and over until we could say it in our sleep and fine-tuned it over the four days at the RDS. Dressed in our lab coats, no-one was safe and we cornered many politicians including Richard Bruton, Micheál Martin and Heather Humphreys. Leo Varadkar got away but we will be looking for him at the Mansion House in May 2018.” Fellow BT Young Scientist winner, Aoibhe Briscoe, said: “I think the BT Young Scientist competition was an amazing experience, we got to meet so many new people and had the chance to learn so many new things. Working in the lab with Audrey was really fun and I enjoyed it so much, it was very time consuming and tiring but every second put into our project was worth it in the end. It has definitely made me more interested in science and I will definitely do it again next year.” BT Young Scientist winner, Ellie Concannon, added: “I would like to do something that makes a change, I would like to speak out for the people who don’t have a voice. I want to have fun, face challenges, and realise my potential in life. The BT Young Scientist competition was an amazing experience, we were able to share our project with lots of people and educate people about our project who had never heard about microplastics, and we were also able to influence people’s choices for the better. We had such a good time we met loads of new people and got to meet people who could really help us with our project. I absolutely loved it.” -Ends-  

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

NUI Galway significantly increases the number of places for QQI/FET/FETAC applicants for the academic year 2018/2019 The Access Centre at NUI Galway will launch a number of new QQI/FET/FETAC places for the academic year 2018/2019 on Thursday, 25 January, offering 170 full-time undergraduate places available for QQI/FET/FETAC applicants, a significant 66% increase from the previous academic year. The Access Centre continues to meet an important social demand to increase participation in third level education amongst disadvantaged and under-represented groups. As part of its Strategic Plan, ‘Vision 2020’, NUI Galway is committed to increasing the number of non-traditional students entering full-time undergraduate study to 24%. In addition to the 170 full-time undergraduate places available for QQI/FET/FETAC applicants, there will also be additional places allocated on existing undergraduate programmes such as: an increase from 12 to 30 places on the undenominated Science programme (GY301); an increase of 20 to 30 places on the Bachelor of Arts (GY101) programme, as well as places on a number of new undergraduate programmes. The Access Centre was established and designed to address the issue of equality of access to third level, to promote equity of access to lifelong learning opportunities and to respond to issues of rural (and to a lesser extent, urban) social exclusion across Ireland’s border, Midlands and Western region. The Centre aims to provide learning opportunities for those who could benefit from university education, which will enable them to fulfil their individual aspirations. Imelda Byrne, Head of Access Programmes at NUI Galway, said: “The Access Centre contributes to the development of the wider community by providing a number of alternative pathways for disadvantaged or under-represented groups to progress to full-time undergraduate study. These include Access Programmes delivered in the region through innovative alliances with other educational institutes such as those formed through the West/ North-West Cluster, Mature student entry route, Higher Education Access Route (HEAR), Disability Access Route to Education (DARE), QQI/FET/FETAC Pathways and a range of measures with the primary and second level sector to assist in overcoming barriers.” New QQI/FET/FETAC opportunities for the academic year 2018/2019 include pathways to the following degree programmes: BA Public and Social Policy; BA History; BA with English and Media Studies; BA Children’s Studies; BA with Film Studies; BA with Journalism; BA in Film and Digital Media; Business Information Systems; Corporate Law; Civil Law; Biomedical Science; Environmental Science; Financial Mathematics and Economics; BSc Marine Science; BSc Earth and Ocean Sciences; BSc Physics; BSc Biopharmaceutical Chemistry; BSc Mathematical Science; BSc Biotechnology; BSc Financial Mathematics and Economics and Gaeilge agus Léann an Aistriúcháin. For the academic year 2017/2018, there were 60 full-time undergraduate places available for QQI/FET/FETAC applicants. In September 2017, there were over 150 full-time students registered at NUI Galway across all of its degree programmes who came through the QQI/FET/FETAC entry route. The launch of this element of the 2018/2019 undergraduate Access Programmes will take place at 11am on Thursday, 25 January at Galway Technical Institute, Fr Griffin Road, Galway. For further information regarding courses or for applications, email access@nuigalway.ie or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/. -Ends-  

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Den tríú bliain déag as a chéile, beidh Ospidéal na mBéiríní ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh Déardaoin, an 18 agus Dé hAoine, an 19 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun an ospidéil lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san ospidéal. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an ospidéal agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sally Cahill, mac léinn leighis sa tríú bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar thrí bliana déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní. Le roinnt blianta anuas, tá méadú tagtha ar líon na scoileanna atá ag iarraidh freastal ar an ócáid agus, dá bharr sin, tá an ócáid i bhfad níos mó anois chun béiríní na Gaillimhe ar fad a leigheas. Beimid ag súil go mór na chéad ‘othair’ a fheiceáil Déardaoin, an 18 Eanáir agus tá súil againn ospidéal taitneamhach a chruthú do na páistí ar an lá.” I mbliana, tá 25 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid, sin os cionn 1,300 páiste. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Ospidéal na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht leo. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní. Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Burkes Fruit and Veg ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu beidh deis ag na páistí spraoi a bhaint as preabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Rinne Banc na hÉireann, Dunnes Stores, Oifig na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh agus Cumann Cosanta Leighis urraíocht ar an ócáid chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -Críoch-

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

NUI Galway is hosting a Mature Students Open Evening on Wednesday, 17 January from 5.30-8pm in the Orbsen Building Foyer. The open evening is an opportunity to find out more about degree programmes on offer, entry requirements, CAO application procedure, mature scholarships and practical student supports within the University.   The information evening is designed for anyone aged 23 and over who is considering embarking on full-time or part-time undergraduate degree programmes at NUI Galway for 2018. In attendance will be representatives from each of the University’s five colleges to answer questions on degree options available. The Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development will also be present to discuss part-time studies that could start you off in higher studies or add to existing qualifications. Trish Bourke, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Embarking on third-level education can be quite a challenge for many mature students. Some may have been out of formal education for some time but it is important to highlight that there are routes to university through NUI Galway’s Access courses. I studied my undergraduate degree as a Mature Student at NUI Galway and I understand the determination it takes and supports needed to complete your studies. Without the confidence and advice given to me through events such as this one, I probably would never have taken that first step.” The Mature Students Officer will commence the evening by delivering a presentation on the CAO application process and reference the criteria needed for entry. Trish will also highlight information on assessments required for entry to Arts, Medicine and Nursing.  To attend this evening you may sign up now at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/mature/public-events/ -Ends-