Gamma Rays from distant Galaxy seen by NUI Galway Astronomers

Gamma Rays from distant Galaxy seen by NUI Galway Astronomers-image

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Radiation from a very distant galaxy has been detected by the VERITAS telescopes in Arizona, surprising astronomers. This galaxy is so far away that the radiation has been traveling toward us for at least 7.6 billion years, ultimately reaching Earth. In April 2015, after traveling for half the age of the Universe, a flood of powerful gamma rays from the galaxy PKS 1441+25 generated a torrent of light in our atmosphere that was captured by the VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) cameras. VERITAS uses a system of four 12-metre diameter mirrors and cameras that takes 500 billion “pictures” every second. They detected very-high-energy gamma rays, with energies tens of billions of times the energy of ordinary visible light. Details of the detection have been published in Astrophysics Journal Letters. The primary analysis of the VERITAS data was carried out at NUI Galway’s Centre for Astronomy. Dr Mark Lang, a corresponding author on the scientific letter commented: “We were surprised to detect very-high-energy radiation from such a distant object. We had expected that it would be absorbed by the extra-galactic background light (EBL), a type of cosmic fog that fills the Universe. This allows us to make an important measurement of the light emitted by all stars over the history of the Universe.” PKS 1441+25 is a quasar in which material swirls into a super-massive black hole which has a mass of millions of times that of the Sun. Some of the material gets channeled into jets and propelled outwards at almost the speed of light. We are looking down the barrel of one of these jets. PKS 1441+25 is one of the farthest sources of very-high-energy gamma rays ever to be detected by ground-based instruments like VERITAS. The galaxy was also detected by NASA’s Fermi satellite and the MAGIC observatory based in the Canary Islands. NUI Galway undergraduate astronomy students Crystal Cloherty and Adam Moylan had the opportunity to study the PKS 1441+25 data as part of a University summer research internship programme. “We were thrilled to think we were looking at an outburst of radiation that happened when the Universe was only half its current age”. Co-author Dr Gary Gillanders from the Centre for Astronomy remarked “For a number of years Ireland has had no national funding scheme to support fundamental research of this type; it has been a real challenge for us to participate in an international scientific collaboration. Following the publication of the Government’s new science strategy we eagerly look forward to the re-emergence of financial support for basic research. This is essential if we want our students to be exposed to cutting-edge discoveries.” VERITAS is an international collaboration of over thirty institutions in the US, Canada, Germany and Ireland, including NUI Galway, UCD and Cork IT. ENDS

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NUI Galway Student Wins National Award for Volunteering

NUI Galway Student Wins National Award for Volunteering-image

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Barry Foley, a fourth year Occupational Therapy student at NUI Galway, has won a National Award for Volunteering in the category of Health and Disability at the Volunteer Ireland awards. The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the thousands of remarkable people across the country who selflessly gives their time and talent to benefit others.  Originally from Barna, Co. Galway, Barry was nominated for the award by Ability West, where he has been a volunteer there since 2011 working. Ability West is a non-profit organisation that provides services and supports to over 520 individuals with intellectual disability throughout the City and County. Barry said: “I was embarrassed to win as I don’t volunteer for awards, but now that I have, I would like to see if there is a potential to use this opportunity to get other people involved in some way. I’m hoping that by sharing the stories of volunteers to break down any barriers that people may have to volunteering, including shyness, lack of confidence or social anxiety.”     Linda Keane from Ability West said: “Barry enthusiastically embraces and promotes equality for people with an intellectual disability and encourages service users to reach their potential. Barry, a qualified fitness instructor, brings a number of groups to the gym, develops work out plans for individuals and encourages them to see it through, while promoting healthy living lifestyles.” “Barry has made a difference to the lives of so many.  In my 10 years as Volunteer Manager, no volunteer has shown our service users more what they are capable of achieving in such a positive way.  He treats them the same as he does other people.  Most importantly, when he brings our service users to the gym, he shows the wider public that people with an intellectual disability can set goals and work hard to achieve them”, continued Linda. Lorraine Tansey Student Volunteer Coordinator said, “At NUI Galway our student volunteering programme ALIVE seeks to connect students with great skills to community partners that can host them and offer them a positive experience. We are grateful to community groups like Ability West who provide support and acknowledgement to volunteers.” ENDS         

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NUI Galway Graduate Receive Gaisce Gold Award

NUI Galway Graduate Receive Gaisce Gold Award-image

Thursday, 17 December 2015

An NUI Galway graduate, Caoimhe Joyce Hearne was among a special group of inspirational young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President Michael D. Higgins for her outstanding community work and significant personal achievement at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle recently. Originally from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Caoimhe graduated from NUI Galway with an Honours Bachelor of Science (Podiatry) degree in November 2015. Caoimhe volunteered with a Barretstown Summer Camp and also carried out an 85km walk along the East Munster Way which ran through Tipperary and Waterford. She was a member of the NUI Galway Boat Club and rowed competitively with the club, and was also a member of the NUI Galway Gaisce committee where she went on to become a Bronze PAL, providing bronze participants with advice and guidance as they complete their Bronze Gaisce challenge. As well as her primary degree, Caoimhe also completed a Dioploma sa Ghaeilge in NUI Galway. Gaisce – the President’s Award is a programme that aims to foster and develop young people's potential. It is a guided and supported framework that is provided for young people to explore their natural skills and gain confidence in their abilities, while contributing to their community. This year 47 Gaisce Gold Awards were presented to young people who excelled and achieved their goals. The Gaisce Gold Awardees successfully completed five challenge areas for 52 weeks or more – developing a personal skill, volunteering in their community and participating in physical activity. The Awardees also embarked on a five-day outdoor adventure journey and a week-long residential project as part of their Gaisce Award challenge.  Speaking about her Gold Award, Caoimhe said: “I would definitely advise people to try out the Gaisce challenge, whether it be bronze, silver or gold. It is great to set goals and to challenge yourself to achieve each goal to the best of your ability. Doing Gaisce in college really provided me with a memorable college experience. I got the chance to join various clubs and societies and meet great groups of people outside my course.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway-based Channel Mechanics Raises $2.3M in Angel Funding

NUI Galway-based Channel Mechanics Raises $2.3M in Angel Funding-image

Friday, 18 December 2015

Channel Mechanics will leverage the funds to expand its flagship cloud channel management platform, channelIT, into the U.S. and drive employment in Galway NUI Galway client company, Channel Mechanics, developer of the first cloud-based channel enablement SaaS (software as a service solution), channelIT, just announced a $2.3 million round of angel funding. The funds will be used to expand channelIT to U.S. customers and increase Channel Mechanics' presence there as well. Angel funding has come from principal investors Enterprise Ireland, Konstantin Sidorov from RRC Business Telecommunications Ltd., and Karl Flannery from Knowledge Transfer Ireland and long-time ICT industry executive. “The development of our U.S. operations has been the highest priority for Channel Mechanics,” said Kenneth Fox, CEO of Channel Mechanics. “We are excited by the growth opportunities in the global market and believe we have the potential to become a very large international success story. With our global headquarters in Galway, the funding will drive employment and expertise in this key market area. The associated benefits which would accrue to Galway and surrounding regions are significant.” Headquartered at the Technology Transfer Office in the Research & Innovation Centre at NUI Galway with offices in the UK and U.S., Channel Mechanics is an ambitious company founded by IT industry subject matter experts in channel design, channel operations, channel sales and e-commerce. Leveraging this expertise, Channel Mechanics developed channelIT, which provides manufacturers with the tools, data and insights to turn great sales ideas into easily executable market promotions and sales programs, through the right channel partner and to the right customer. “If you look at the channel and how relationships between each component operate, the potential for innovation is truly astronomical,” said Konstantin Sidorov, lead investor for the round. “By using this platform to optimise operations and activities within the channel, enterprises win on all sides by identifying and eliminating ineffective marketing programs and tailoring existing and new ones to produce even better results.” “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support the Channel Mechanics expansion and growth in the U.S. market,” added Edel Coen, VP of Enterprise Software at Enterprise Ireland USA. “Its channelIT platform is a game-changer in the area of SaaS Sales Enablement and a shining example of true innovation coming from Ireland.” Channel Mechanics currently supports a dozen customers worldwide, including Cisco, Zebra Technologies and Sonus Networks. For more information or to schedule a demonstration of channelIT, visit www.channelmechanics.com or watch the Channel Mechanics Explainer Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvXH7FfnChU ENDS

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Transfer Technology Office at NUI Galway Celebrating 10 Years of Success

Transfer Technology Office at NUI Galway Celebrating 10 Years of Success-image

Friday, 18 December 2015

TTO supports the identification of 450 new technologies leading to 130 patents, 120 licences to industry, 33 spin-out companies and creates over 750 jobs   The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at NUI Galway celebrated its tenth year in 2015. During that time, TTO has supported companies to achieve over €53million in investor funding, with those companies going on to create over 750 jobs. In addition NUI Galway’s Technology Transfer Office has identified more than 450 new technologies that have led to 130 patents, 120 licences to industry and 33 spin-out companies. The Technology Transfer Office has supported an environment, which promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, new business ideas while at the same time supporting commercial outcomes for the benefit of academics, entrepreneurs, NUI Galway, and society in general. Director of the Technology Transfer Office in NUI Galway, Mr David Murphy said: “We are very proud of the journey TTO has undertaken over the last 10 years and we are excited about the next 10 years. This is an exciting time to be involved in innovation. The combination of world-leading research, financial supports, access to global partners and markets allow us a great opportunity to develop and disseminate new knowledge. We look forward to working with our partners in the region, researchers, students, local companies, associations, and Knowledge Transfer Ireland to help achieve the ambitious research and development targets outlined in Innovation 2020.” Many recent highlights can be seen from the NUI Galway supported start up’s and Business Innovation Centre clients including former NUI Galway client company Apica Cardiovascular Ltd., which was acquired by Thoratec Corporation, a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support for an upfront cash payment of $35 million and potential future milestone payments of up to $40 million. NUI Galway client company Channel Mechanics Ltd. secured second round funding to bring resources’ from 15 to 50 and help scale the business globally. And client company Protek Medical Ltd. was recently acquired by Molex Ireland Holdings, leading to the expansion of Research and Development work being carried out at NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre. NUI Galway spin-out company Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd. has received funding of €6 million from the European Union for cell therapy treatment for combating kidney disease. While spin-out company FotoNation Ltd. and Science Foundation Ireland created a €1.5 million research project at NUI Galway that will seek to address technical challenges associated with the development of improved imaging quality for smartphone cameras. Two other NUI Galway spin-out companies include NVP Energy, who recently won two innovation awards in April 2015 for their wastewater treatment technology, and Embo Medical Ltd., the first spin-out from the BioInnovate programme, who secured a significant first round of investment of €3 million. For further information on how TTO at NUI Galway can assist with research, commercial opportunities, business supports, and start up development please email technologytransfer@nuigalway.ie or phone +353 (0)91 493694 or visit www.tto.nuigalway.ie   ENDS

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Two NUI Galway Lecturers Recognised with National Teaching Award

Two NUI Galway Lecturers Recognised with National Teaching Award-image

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Ireland’s National Awards Honour the Best Higher Education Teachers in the Country Tuesday, 22 December, 2015: Two NUI Galway Lecturers were among 16 higher education staff representing eleven different institutions recognised as exemplifying excellence in teaching at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Award ceremony, which took place in Dublin recently. The NUI Galway winners were Dr Karen Doyle, Lecturer in Physiology and Principal Investigator with the Galway Neuroscience Centre, and Dr Michel Dugon, Postdoctoral Researcher in Zoology. Institutionally-led, and established to identify exceptional teachers who focus on learning impact, the 2015 experts have been identified from a wide range of disciplines. They show that brilliant teaching is a complex challenge, involving a mix of high-level subject expertise, a strong focus on students and innovative approaches to teaching in a world that is increasingly digital. In announcing the awardees, Dr Terry Maguire, Director of the National Forum said: “The National Forum is committed to learning from and very proud to showcase the valuable impact that these exceptional teachers are having on student learning throughout Ireland’s higher education sector.” -Ends-

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New Project To Significantly Improve Aquaculture Efficiencies

New Project To Significantly Improve Aquaculture Efficiencies-image

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

NUI Galway leads multidisciplinary research project that will position Ireland as a leading innovator for aquaculture resulting in increased competitiveness A new joint multidisciplinary aquaculture project between NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology will significantly improve production management and efficiencies at inland aquaculture sites. MOREFISH, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, aims to develop and test new innovative technologies and processes. Led by Dr Eoghan Clifford from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, the project addresses critically important needs identified by industry end-users, including the potential for advanced aeration technologies, efficient production management and deployment of next-generation disinfection technologies. This timely multidisciplinary research project will position Ireland as a leading innovator for established and emerging problem solving for aquaculture. The overall aims are to enhance production efficiency and sustainability in Irish onland aquaculture, leading to increased competitiveness for the sector, together with improved fish health, resulting in reduced finfish diseases and mortalities due to improved operating conditions. Dr Eoghan Clifford from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, explains: “Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food sectors in Europe where Ireland is the seventh largest producer of aquaculture in terms of volume of high value fish species and with exports of Irish aquaculture products supporting approximately 2,000 direct jobs. However, there is an increased need to develop innovative technologies in order to increase both Irish and broader European fish stock densities and productivity, along with simultaneously optimising energy and water consumption.” Professor Neil Rowan from Athlone Institute of Technology, added, “This project brings together a critical mass of engineering and scientific expertise from industry stakeholders and policy-makers, commercial operators and international experts who can respond directly to pressing issues identified through industry scoping. Indeed, the central novel theme that embodies MOREFISH is the generation of new knowledge on the application of management processes and alleviation of finfish diseases through the development of innovative solutions for sustainable freshwater aquaculture applications. Pilot studies are underway in freshwater aquaculture sites in Ireland using what are beyond-state-of-the-art approaches.” The NUI Galway team of (Dr Richard Walsh, Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Mr Alan Kennedy, Mr Ronan Cooney) and the Athlone Institute of Technology team of (Dr Alex Tahar, Dr Andy Fogarty, Ms Sarah Naughton and Dr Siobhan Kavanagh), envisage that MOREFISH will provide real time impact for pressing challenges facing fish farmers that will ultimately help increase fish biomass yields, productivity and stocking densities, mitigate contamination and cross-infection, and reduce production costs and waste. For further information about MOREFISH visit: http://www.morefish.ie/ or on Twitter @MOREFISHproject ENDS

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A Significant Year For NUI Galway Research Funding

A Significant Year For NUI Galway Research Funding-image

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

NUI Galway achieves highest success rate in attracting EU Horizon 2020 funding for research and innovation NUI Galway continued to excel in delivering outcomes for research activities throughout 2015. It achieved the highest success rate in attracting EU Horizon 2020 funding for research and innovation. Over the next five years, NUI Galway aims to secure its place in the top 200 universities worldwide while securing €100 million in competitive EU research funds. These and other goals are outlined in ‘Vision 2020’, the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020. NUI Galway set an ambitious goal to achieve €100 million throughout the seven year lifespan of the EU Horizon 2020 programme. And having won €15 million in 2015, are already ahead of target. Reflecting on a significant year for research at the University, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research in NUI Galway, said: “Given the diversity of research being carried out at NUI Galway, our ambition is to become leaders in research and contribute significantly to ‘Innovation 2020’, Ireland’s five year strategy on research and development, science and technology. Innovation 2020 sets out the roadmap for continuing progress towards the goal of making Ireland a Global Innovation Leader, driving a strong sustainable economy and a better society.” Professor Joshi added, “We are incredibly proud of our research community and aim to enhance and develop this area across the University while continuing to form collaborative partnerships with industry. A clear indicator of our success as a university is how relevant our research is to our community and how it positively impacts upon society.” In 2015, several units at NUI Galway have achieved great levels of success. The Research Office has experienced a hugely successful year in many research disciplines across campus. Five of its up and-coming research leaders won European Research Council (ERC) grants, a rare feat for a University. In 2015, Research at NUI Galway resulted in the University being ranked at number 40 among the top 100 organisations from the Horizon 2020 programme with an EC contribution of almost €17 million. And out of the Top 100 organisations involved in Horizon 2020 projects NUI Galway was ranked at number 47. This year has also seen the US-based Blackstone Charitable Foundation extend its campus entrepreneurship Programme ‘Blackstone LaunchPad’ outside the US for the first time, to include NUI Galway. The Programme at NUI Galway is being established in partnership with Galway University Foundation, with an overall award of €1.3 million. This award will establish a partnership between NUI Galway and two other Irish universities, to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide over 50,000 students with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support service. E-CAM, a new centre of excellence for supercomputing, of which the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) based at NUI Galway will be a major partner, was awarded €4.8 million to develop vital software components for the simulation of materials, including biological systems and advanced food for health and pharmaceuticals. The €4.8 million investment will support the EU’s efforts to become a world leader in the next generation of supercomputing. More than 150 robust software modules and associated applications will be created through the E-CAM centre over the next five years. The investment forms part of a wider €140 million euro investment by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. The investment will support the EU’s efforts to become a world leader in the next generation of supercomputing. ICHEC will co-host the first E-CAM workshop in 2016. The Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway was established in 2013 by Science Foundation Ireland with funding of €42 million over six years. During 2015, Insight enjoyed considerable success in acquiring additional competitive funding of over €5.4 million by the Insight Galway team. €4.7 million came from the EU Horizon 2020 programme demonstrating the remarkable connectivity that Galway's data analytics research team has with institutes across Europe. Insight received further funding support from Enterprise Ireland demonstrating a strong link to indigenous SMEs, funding from the Irish Research Council, support from Science Foundation Ireland through their TIDA programme and significant funding from private industry. The confidence that private industry has shown to date in the research carried out by Insight is testament to the relevance of data analytics research in solving real life enterprise issues. For 2016 Insight plans to further grow its research income, to increase multidisciplinary research particularly within NUI Galway and to further leverage its strong position as a recognised international leader in data analytics, academically and across multiple domains such as eGovernment, Healthcare & Lifesciences and business enterprises. CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, has been established at a pivotal point in the medical device industry in Ireland and Europe, as there are large markets with unmet clinical needs. CÚRAM's research builds on and enhances existing technology for the development of the next generation of medical devices to radically improve health outcomes for patients. A significant collaboration with Arch Therapeutics in 2015 will see CÚRAM work to advance an AC5 Surgical Hemostatic Device™ through the first clinical trial, leading up to potential commercialisation and develop pipeline applications for new products. CÚRAM has also been successful in 2015 securing funding of almost €24 million under the EU Horizon 2020 Programme. €12 million of this will fund two projects under the Research and Innovation Action (RIA), Personal Health Care programme and a further €12 million will fund three Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks – European Training Network projects, all to be coordinated by CÚRAM investigators. Looking to the next five years, NUI Galway will continue to maximise the potential of its research to have a global impact on society and significantly enhance the University’s international profile, attracting the best students, teachers and researchers. ENDS

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November 2015

Talk from SUSI Grants Authority to feature at NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day

Talk from SUSI Grants Authority to feature at NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day-image

Monday, 2 November 2015

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be the feature talk at NUI Galway’s Autumn Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 11 November, from 12 - 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The SUSI talk, which will take place at 12.45pm and again at 1.45pm, will provide students with an opportunity to gain information on the funding opportunities and application process available to them. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, over 70 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. Information on scholarships schemes such as the Hardiman Scholarship and the Taught Masters Scholarship, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, comments: “A postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, defines your areas of expertise, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects. Over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating, which is higher than the HEA national average for postgraduates.” Throughout the day postgraduate students will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. 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. New courses being introduced for 2016 include an MSc in Biomedical Genomics and a part-time MSc in Medical Technology and Regulatory Affairs. To view NUI Galway’s 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-

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BBC Presenter to Deliver Geology Lecture at NUI Galway

BBC Presenter to Deliver Geology Lecture at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 2 November 2015

BBC Science programme presenter, Professor Iain Stewart will deliver a Geology public lecture at NUI Galway on Monday, 9 November. The lecture, ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place: communicating geology to society’, is a collaboration between Galway Earth and Ocean Sciences Student Society, Galway Geological Association and NUI Galway’s Earth and Ocean Sciences. Professor Iain Stewart is Professor of Geoscience Communication with the University of Plymouth and has worked on several science programmes for the BBC, including the BAFTA nominated ‘Earth: The Power of the Planet’. His research interests are in the broad area of Earth hazards and natural disasters, particularly in terms of investigating past major earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the Mediterranean region. Geoscientific knowledge and understanding lies at the heart of many of the most critical societal issues that faces us in the 21st century. The pressing human challenges of natural disaster reduction, energy supply and security, and mineral and water resource management, rest on geological foundations. And yet, outside of the academic and industrial geoscience community there is a limited appreciation of Earth Science, especially among policy makers and the wider public. It is for that reason that professional geologists are increasingly encouraged to communication more broadly what they do and what they know. This talk will use a decade of experiences in popularising geoscience to explore ways in which geologists can make our subject connect better with the public, and in doing so develop more effective strategies for meaningful public engagement. Dr Alessandra Costanzo, of NUI Galway’s Geofluid Research Group and Earth and Ocean Science said: “Professor Stewart is world renowned for his ability to communicate the fundamental principles of geological science to a wide audience of both technical earth scientists as well as the lay audience. It is indeed an honour to welcome such a high profile communicator to NUI Galway.” The lecture will take place in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at on Monday, 9 November at 7pm. Places are limited and places can be reserved at www.eventbrite.ie. -Ends-

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