Friday, 9 July 2021

NUI Galway will host the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research from 12-16 July. With 800 speakers from more than 40 countries around the world, the conference will discuss the theme of “Theatre Ecologies”, exploring topics related to the environment, ecology, the impact of Covid-19 on theatre, and much more. In a first for the International Federation for Theatre Research, the conference will be held virtually, allowing international delegates to experience a Galway academic event from their own homes. It is also the first time that the conference has been hosted by an Irish university. The conference also features a specially curated showcase of theatre from the West of Ireland, celebrating NUI Galway’s partnerships with TG4, Druid Theatre, Galway 2020, and many others. Speaking ahead of the opening of conference, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan said: “The event is a major moment for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. The University launched its BA in Drama in 2011, and it is particularly fitting that, a decade later, we have the opportunity to welcome the world’s theatre scholars to this Galway event. This gives us an opportunity to showcase the excellence of theatre-making and theatre research in Galway, to celebrate our partnerships with local arts organisations, and to create new international relationships and networks.” The move online has produced unexpected benefits, according to Professor Lonergan: “While the postponement of our conference last year due to Covid-19 was disappointing, the development of an online conference has shown us that there are new ways to stage academic events. Given that our conference explores the theme of theatre ecologies, it seems particularly fitting that the 2021 conference will have a very limited carbon footprint. We’ve also benefitted enormously from the specialised help and advice of the NUI Galway conference office, and our conference secretariat Abbey Conference and Events.” The International Federation for Theatre Research was founded in 1957 and exists to facilitate communication and exchange between scholars of theatre and performance research throughout the world. Its recent annual conferences have previously been hosted in China, Sweden, Serbia, the UK, Brazil, Japan, and in many other countries. For more information on the International Federation for Theatre Research visit https://www.iftr.org/conference. -Ends-

Thursday, 8 July 2021

A HABscope, a microscope with an attached iPod using artificially intelligent software is currently being tested by scientists from the Marine Institute and NUI Galway to detect harmful algal bloom species (HABs) in Irish waters. The pilot study is part of an international collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA in the USA.    The HABscope was recently used on board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Voyager as part of a dedicated harmful phytoplankton survey (DINO21) in the Celtic Sea led by Dr Robin Raine of NUI, Galway. Data collected from this pilot study will contribute to the PhD research being conducted by Catherine Jordan from NUI, Galway as part of the Marine Institute’s Cullen Scholarship Programme. Ocean colour satellite imagery, combined with the HABscope system, provides scientists with a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the ocean and may provide early detection and monitoring of phytoplankton blooms. Daily imagery is used to track the bloom’s movement using specifically designed algorithms which calculate the reflectance of light off the ocean surface. The HABscope, developed by NOAA with funding from NASA, consists of a microscope with an iPod attached, embedded with artificially intelligent software to identify the swimming pattern of the phytoplankton Karenia. Results are returned instantly on whether the genre of phytoplankton is present in the water sample. Ms Catherine Jordan said, “When phytoplankton appear in high numbers, and depending on the type of phytoplankton, they can produce green and dark red hues in the water known as 'algal blooms'. As these blooms can sometimes be visible from space, satellites provide a useful tool in monitoring the location and extent of these blooms. In most cases phytoplankton blooms are of benefit to the ecosystem, but a small proportion of phytoplankton species produce toxins which may affect other marine life.” “This is the first time that the HABscope has been tested outside of the Unites States,” Ms Jordan added. “Using the HABscope alongside satellite technology may help to provide early wide-scale warnings of the presence of harmful algal blooms. HABS can have an impact on industries such as aquaculture, fisheries and tourism, so it is important to be able to detect, monitor, track and forecast the development and movement of HABs in real-time.” Karenia mikimotoi is a naturally occurring phytoplankton species which occasionally can form dense blooms off the Irish coast. These “Red-Tides” can sometimes cause the seawater to discolour and can even result in localised mortality of a range of marine animals. The Marine Institute monitors our coastal waters for this species as part of the National Phytoplankton Monitoring Programme. It is thought Karenia overwinter in low numbers as motile cells and when favourable conditions arrive in early to late summer they can form these blooms. As part of the recent survey on board the RV Celtic Voyager, Karenia was detected offshore in one area at a cell density of 250,000 cells per litre in a thin sub-surface layer, analogous to an underwater cloud. The HABscope was used successfully with samples from this layer and its performance is currently being evaluated. Despite causing occasional impacts on marine animals, Karenia has no impact on human health and is a common species in Irish coastal waters at this time of the year. The Marine Institute programme analyses water samples from around the coast of Ireland to identify any harmful or nuisance phytoplankton, and to monitor their impact on shellfish and finfish in particular. -Ends-

Monday, 5 July 2021

CORRIB Core Lab partners with SINOMED and European hospitals to study how new stent improves quality of life NUI Galway and leading international medical device company SINOMED have teamed up to conduct a clinical trial of a special stent which has the potential to break new ground in the treatment of patients with heart disease. The PIONEER-IV trial will take place over several years in 30 hospital centres across Europe and involve 2,540 patients.  The trial will use the newly patented Healing-Targeted Supreme Stent (HT Supreme™) from SINOMED. The novel drug-eluting stent is designed to encourage rapid healing of the treated blood vessel, thereby potentially reducing reliance on some long-term medications such as blood thinners. The trial is sponsored by NUI Galway and centrally coordinated by the University’s CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory. University Hospital Galway (UHG) is the first European site to enrol patients. Professor Faisal Sharif, Professor of Translational Cardiovascular Medicine and Innovation at NUI Galway and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at UHG, is Principal Investigator on the trial in Ireland.  Professor Sharif said: “We are delighted to translate novel devices such as HT Supreme stents for Irish patients. The trial will also allow us to perform assessment on blood vessel narrowing with new and safer software that establishes the absolute necessity to treat that coronary artery stenosis. New devices and technologies, like offered in this trial, allow us to constantly improve the standard of care for our patients by making interventions safer with better clinical outcomes.” Patients will be considered for the trial if they suffer any type of coronary heart disease, including acute heart attack, chronic complaints or blood vessel narrowing. Eligible patients will undergo a refined physiological blood vessel selection process in order to determine which blood vessel has to be stented and which one could be treated with pharmacological therapy, without the use of a permanent implant. This strategy is the best guarantee of a safer and more cost-effective treatment. NUI Galway’s CORRIB Core Lab is led by Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation, and Professor William Wijns, Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Interventional Cardiology, both of whom are internationally renowned experts in interventional cardiology.  Co-chair of the PIONEER-IV trial, Professor Serruys said: “SINOMED has an international reputation for state-of-the-art stents with a healing-targeted mechanism that may help overcome the long-standing problem of traditional stent implantation, allowing for safer long-term results.”  Deputy chairman of the trial, Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology and medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, said: “The hope is that this trial will simplify the treatment for patients undergoing stent implantation of diseased blood vessels, and could offer benefits to patients when coupled with a shorter duration of blood-thinning medications.” Professor Andreas Baumbach (London), Professor Javier Escaned (Madrid), Professor Faisal Sharif (Galway) and Professor Peter Smits (Rotterdam) will act as global Principle Investigators.  Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, welcomed the trial. He said: “Leading this research from Galway is consistent with the University strategy to be a global leader in cardiovascular research and innovation and the presence of CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, in the University. We are particularly happy to partner with SINOMED on this project which aligns with the University’s Global Galway project.” Dr Jianhua Sun, PhD., chairman and chief executive officer of SINOMED, said: “We are honoured to be working with the prestigious thought leaders at NUI Galway in searching for a better and safer strategy for treating patients. We believe that our HT Supreme, coupled with an optimal treatment strategy can make a big impact in bringing a greater benefit to patients.”  Ends  

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Implantable stimulator device combines with body power to treat disease, damage and sports injury Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, have shown how the simple act of walking can power an implantable stimulator device to speed up treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. The results of have been published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials. The research establishes the engineering foundations for a new range of stimulator devices that enable control of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration to treat tendon damage and disease and sports injuries, without the use of drugs or external stimulation. Lead researcher on the study, CÚRAM Investigator Dr Manus Biggs, said: “One of the most exciting parts of our study is that these implantable devices may be tailored to individual patients or disorders and may show promise in accelerating the repair of sport-related tendon injuries, particularly in athletes.” The study investigated whether electrical therapy, coupled with exercise, would show promise in treating tendon disease or ruptures. It showed that tendon cell function and repair can be controlled through electrical stimulation from an implantable device which is powered by body movement. Dr Marc Fernandez, who carried out the principal research of the study at CÚRAM, said: “Successful treatment of tendon damage and disease represents a critical medical challenge. “Our discovery shows that an electrical charge is produced in the treatment target area - the damaged or injured tendon - when the implanted device is stretched during walking. The potential gamechanger here is like a power switch in a cell - the electrical stimulus turns on tendon-specific regenerative processes in the damaged tendon.” The stimulator device uses a fabric like mesh - known as a piezoelectric material - that produces electricity when stretched or put under mechanical pressure. It is made using a scaffold of nano-fibres which are one-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair Dr Fernandez added: “We presented an implantable, electrically active device capable of controlling tendon regeneration and healing. Importantly, our research improved the therapeutic performance of the device by enhancing its structure, piezoelectric characteristics, and biological compatibility. “We also evaluated the individual influence of mechanical, structural, and electrical cues on tendon cell function and were able to show that bioelectric cues contribute significantly in promoting tendon repair.” Dr Biggs added: “This unique strategy of combining a device which is powered through body-movement and which can induce accelerated tendon healing is expected to significantly impact the field of regenerative devices, specifically in the area of sports or trauma associated injuries. “These devices are cost-effective, relatively easy to implant and may pave the way for a whole new class of regenerative electrical therapies.” The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and in particular the SFI-BBSRC Partnership programme. Read the full study in Advanced Materials here: https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202008788 CÚRAM’s research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46million reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021, demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. Ends

Monday, 30 August 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway is now enrolling for its Teachers in Residence Programme for the sixth year, with applications being accepted up to Friday, 24 September 2021. The programme, which will be taking place online, has places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers and will run from October 2021 over ten evenings until March 2022. The online sessions will be held twice a month, from 7-8pm. Teachers will receive 10 ECTS through NUI Galway's Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, fully funded by CÚRAM. As part of the programme, teachers will have the opportunity to develop a science-inspired mural for their school. During the residency, teachers will speak directly with world-leading researchers to learn about medical device research at CÚRAM to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, to support and encourage multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom including science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said: "We are delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary teachers who have participated in this programme. If we can continue to support and inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they, in turn, can inspire their students for years to come. We also want to provide practical support through resources that can be used in classrooms and online.” Teachers will work directly with CÚRAM researchers to develop high-quality content for the classroom that is relevant, engaging, and practical to use. The material generated during the residency will be shared with all participants and their schools. Lesson plan kits developed from previous years' teachers, including Irish language versions, can be downloaded at https://curamdevicesengage.ie/teachers-in-residence/. CÚRAM is a partner in the Department of Education and Skills' Junior Cycle for Teachers STE(A)M in Junior Cycle initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide Professional Learning Experiences for Junior Cycle teachers that allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or to find out more, please contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 August 2021

New NUI Galway programme connects with students in the community to create pathways to university Fourteen Irish Travellers have been recognised at a special ceremony after completing NUI Galway Access Centre’s first Educational Transition Project (ETP). The Traveller students received certificates of completion at a ceremony at the University. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D., sent a video message to the students, saying: “This is your day and you should be very proud. We are very proud of you and all that you have achieved. I applaud you on reaching this major milestone. “My belief is that further and higher education is for everyone and our mission as a Department is to make sure that no-one is left behind.” Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar of NUI Galway, presented the students with their certificates. “This programme builds on NUI Galway’s values of ambition, creativity, impact, collaboration and integrity through a supportive student-centred approach that connected with students at a community level. It is wonderful to see these 14 students now taking their first steps towards third level education,” Professor Ó Dochartaigh said. The Educational Transition Project (ETP) for Traveller students was developed to build on current initiatives and work directly with community organisations in supporting members of the Traveller community to progress to higher education. NUI Galway’s Access Centre held a series of consultation meetings with stakeholders including Traveller organisations, community groups, Galway Roscommon Education Training Board and Traveller students in order to inform and support the design and implementation of the programme. Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager NUI Galway Access Centre, said: “The Educational Transition Project is multi-disciplinary and is designed to support Traveller students to achieve their desired educational goals, whether they are school leavers or mature students. “This programme represents an important intervention in ensuring Traveller students access higher education. The success of this year’s programme and the feedback we have received will enable us to develop the initiative further for next year.” The programme commenced in early June 2021 and was delivered online three days a week over five weeks, due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Owen Ward, Programme Co-ordinator, NUI Galway Access Centre, said: “These students are inspirational role models. Despite the additional obstacles they faced as a result of the pandemic, they remained committed to completing the programme. The Access Centre will continue to support these students as they progress in education. This initiative further demonstrates NUI Galway’s commitment to widening the participation of Irish Travellers in third level education.” The ceremony was organised in line with the current University and HSE Covid-19 guidelines. Ends

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Study among Irish school pupils aged 15-17 found: 93% of females and 79% of males agreed that consent is always required for sexual activity 98% agreed it is okay to say no 92% agreed there is a need to talk about sexual consent even in a relationship A new Consent Communication Study among Irish teenagers by NUI Galway’s Active* Consent programme has found that 79% of males and 93% of females agree that consent is always required for sexual activity. The results of the study will be launched today (Tuesday, 24 August) along with a report detailing a set of new consent education resources for Irish secondary schools. The programme launch will include contributions from the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, Annette Honan from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and a number of young people. The Active* Consent for School Communities report is based on original research with pupils, parents and teachers. In particular, the report contains the first in-depth research analysis of consent communication among Irish teenagers from a survey of 613 post-primary students. This research explores findings on attitudes to consent, perceptions of peers, and how young people responded to consent communication dilemmas. This survey found: 93% of females and 79% of males agreed that consent is always required for sexual activity. (18% of males were neutral as to whether consent is always required; 3% disagreed that it is always required. 6% of females were neutral; 1% disagreed). 62% agreed that consent for this activity always needed to be verbal, and 60% said that non-verbal consent to sexual activity is sometimes OK. 51% agreed that their peers think consent is always required for sexual activity, while 37% agreed that their peers think consent should always be verbal. There was a significant gender gap in personal comfort with being sexually intimate with someone they had just met at a party, with females less likely to be comfortable than males. While 7% of females were comfortable with intimate touching, 51% of males said they were comfortable. There was also a significant gap among females between their personal levels of comfort with being intimate with someone they just met at a party, and how comfortable they thought other teenagers were with it. While 7% of females were comfortable with intimate touching, 42% of females agreed that other teenagers would be comfortable with this. 98% agreed it is okay to say “No, I don’t want to” if you don’t want to have sex. 92% agreed there is a need to talk about sexual consent even in a relationship. Nevertheless, being awkward, embarrassed, or being afraid of being judged or ruining the mood emerged as key barriers to consent communication. The survey participants responded to three “consent stories” that explored reactions to someone saying “no” to a partner, to whether a smile constitutes consent, and to how males are perceived if they turn down sex. The report completes a two-year process of developing the Active* Consent programme for schools. This complements the work that Active* Consent carries out with colleges and sports organisations. Based on the research carried out by Active* Consent, the schools programme launched today consists of an integrated package of resources, each of which can also be delivered on a stand-alone basis: A sexual consent workshop for young people aged 15-17 that can be provided in-class or online. Awareness-raising seminars for parents and guardians, along with education/training resources for teachers. Sex on Our Screens, an eLearning resource designed to increase young people’s critical literacy skills on sexual media, pornography, body image, and consent How I Learned About Consent, a new filmed theatrical drama that explores the nuances of consent, how we learn about consent, and the positive changes that take place when we practice active, positive consent. The workshop, seminars and training are available from September, while the eLearning resource and theatrical film will be made available from October onwards. The schools programme can be integrated with existing sexual health initiatives and projects, and the resources are designed to be delivered by teachers or other professionals. The consent workshop was piloted over the past year with 993 students in 10 schools nationally. Workshop survey responses showed significant increases in pupils agreeing that consent needs to be agreed before the start of any sexual activity and that consent should be verbal. The percentage of pupils who agreed that they had the skills needed to deal with sexual consent went from 61% beforehand to 92% afterwards. Some 99% of females, 95% of males, and 100% of non-binary pupils agreed that the workshop was relevant to them, with 90% saying they would recommend the workshop to their peers. The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said: “The Active* Consent programme indicates that we are making progress in confronting what is not only a complicated issue, but an extremely important one for developing positive relationships and reducing sexual harassment. The programme will equip secondary school students with self-confidence to speak up if there is something happening that they are not comfortable with. In a perfect world we would like to think attitudes towards sexual harassment are changing but evidence shows us we have a long way to go.” Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Active* Consent Programme Co-Lead, NUI Galway, said: “The Active* Consent schools programme responds to calls from policy makers, researchers, and activists for freely available, research-based tools to support secondary school communities with positive, active consent. Our research tells us that young people, parents, and teachers are all looking for practical advice on open communication that is based on mutual respect. The range of resources we are now providing will help our school communities to address these needs.” Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, Active* Consent Programme Co-Lead, NUI Galway, said: “Our resources aim to build consent competence, which means having the knowledge and skills that enable you to confidently communicate your own boundaries while respecting those of others. We have worked with schools across the country to pilot a new consent workshop that supports not alone teenagers, but also their parents and teachers. We worked with young people to design it, and now, based on piloting with 1,000 of their peers, the Active* Consent workshop is available to schools around the country. “Teachers stated that they want resources to engage pupils in learning about the importance of consent. Parents want support as the primary educators of their children, but many feel they do not have enough information to confidently support their children in this area.” Primary support for the Active* Consent programme comes from Lifes2good Foundation, a Galway-based philanthropic foundation with a primary focus on promoting the rights of women and children through preventative as well as remedial strategies. The programme is also supported by the Rethink Ireland Arts to Action funding scheme, which aims for artistic and cultural contributions to have a significant impact on enhancing Irish society. Over the course of the year, the schools programme will be hosted on the new online learning hub that Active* Consent is providing as a national resource in partnership with the Department of Justice and the Department of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science. The Active* Consent schools programme will be launched online at 2pm Tuesday, 24 August. To register visit https://bit.ly/3z7Ihw6 or for more information on the Active* Consent programme visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/student-life/student-support/active-consent/. Ends

Monday, 23 August 2021

NUI Galway sponsored research demonstrates that clinicians should treat patients on their stomachs Critically-ill Covid-19 patients are less likely to die or to require invasive ventilation if lying prone on their stomachs while receiving oxygen, a global research project sponsored by NUI Galway has found. The impact of the technique, known as awake prone positioning, was assessed in hospitals in six countries on more than 1,000 coronavirus patients requiring advanced breathing support. The findings are published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study was the first clinical trial of its kind into the practice of awake prone positioning and ran from April 2020 to January 2021. It showed that treating patients in this position, while they received high flow nasal cannula oxygen, reduced death and the need for invasive mechanical ventilation. Dr Bairbre McNicholas, Honorary Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway and Intensive Care Consultant at University Hospital Galway, said: “Providing an evidence base for what we do in the intensive care unit is critical so that we support and implement recommendations that work. “This study, which was part of a global effort and was sponsored locally by NUI Galway and the Health Research Board-Clinical Research Facility Galway, as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, shows that clinical trials can be scaled up and done properly and efficiently during a pandemic and demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together.” The study involved 1,121 patients in the US, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain and Ireland, and it is the first time awake prone positioning has been studied to such an extent. Some of the key findings: :: Awake prone positioning reduces death and the need for invasive intubation in patients with severe Covid-19 who require high flow nasal cannula oxygen. :: The technique is safe and well tolerated by patients. :: Blood oxygen levels are significantly improved in patients who adopt awake prone positioning. :: The longer patients can sustain being in prone positioning, the greater the success of the treatment and the less likely they were to need invasive mechanical ventilation. :: Given the scarcity of ventilators and oxygen therapy, particularly in low and middle income countries, this study provides welcome data on the efficacy of awake prone positioning which will ensure that the low-cost strategy to invasive mechanical ventilation is supported as a treatment strategy. Dr McNicholas said: “I tell patients that going on your tummy will improve the oxygen levels in your blood, that although it is uncomfortable, the longer you can put up with this position, the less likely you will need to go onto require needing a breathing tube.” Lisa Power was treated using awake prone positioning while being treated at University Hospital Galway for Covid-19. Ms Power said: “I am extremely grateful to all the staff at University Hospital Galway, particularly the medics in ICU and especially as I was awake proned. It really helped my breathing and made me much more comfortable without having to put me on a ventilator. I cannot thank the staff enough for all the care they provided.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Executive Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Saolta University Hospital Group, said: “Given the scarcity of ventilators and oxygen therapy, particularly in low and middle income countries, this study provides welcome data on the efficacy of awake prone positioning which will ensure that it is supported as a treatment strategy. “NUI Galway’s approach to global medicine is based on effective collaboration and on bringing together some of the best minds to solve the healthcare challenges of today. Using a new approach, called a meta-trial, teams from around the world united data in a pre-planned analysis from inception. This enabled an accelerated trial with a large number of patients - a global collaborative methodology that is essential during a pandemic.” Ends

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Kylemore Abbey and NUI Galway have come together to form a new partnership to deliver the Kylemore Abbey Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. The Programme which is a collaboration between Kylemore Abbey and the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, aims to: Document the current biodiversity profile on the 1,000-acre Kylemore Estate. Identify biodiversity projects and research topics which will benefit not only Kylemore Abbey but the wider community. Develop a Biodiversity Management Plan for Kylemore to preserve and safeguard the biodiversity of the Estate. Provide a location and rich ecosystem in which students will be able to study and learn about species, habitats and wider ecological and sustainability topics with practical applications. Conor Coyne, Executive Director of the Kylemore Trust explains that “the partnership between Kylemore Abbey and NUI Galway will allow for research to be undertaken on the extensive range of flora and fauna found in the habitats at Kylemore and eventually the findings of these studies will form a Biodiversity Management Plan for Kylemore Abbey to ensure changes are made for the better of our environment and to safeguard biodiversity”. One of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions, Kylemore Abbey carefully balances commercial activity with the well-being of the community and environment, aiming to lead the way in sustainable tourism and focusing on enhancing biodiversity. Nestled beneath the Duchruach Mountain, running along the banks of the Dawros River and rich with freshwater lakes and waterfalls, the Kylemore Estate hosts an abundance of habitats. Its soft peatlands are complimented by grasslands and an Oceanic Oak Woodland. Initial work on the programme is already underway and students have already commenced work on a range of research projects. Kylemore Abbey looks forward to strengthening relationships with NUI Galway while preserving and sharing the heritage, beauty, peace and ethos of the Kylemore Estate. A team consisting of a wide range of NUI Galway staff and students, led by Environmental Science Lecturer Dr Gesche Kindermann, will contribute their experience and expertise to the collaboration. This includes staff and students from Environmental Science, Botany and Plant Science, and Zoology, all of whom will bring their individual expertise to support the conservation of both species and habitats at Kylemore. Students from a variety of courses, including the MScs in Biodiversity and Land Use Planning, Environmental Leadership, Sustainable Environments, and the BScs Environmental Science, Botany and Zoology will have the opportunity to use the Kylemore Estate for projects and research. NUI Galway Lecturer Dr Kindermann states that “This stewardship programme offers a wonderful opportunity for us and our students to study the biodiversity at Kylemore while contributing to the conservation and enhancement of our natural environments, habitats and species”. One of the core values guiding the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abbey is Stewardship where the Kylemore Estate and all things on it have been preserved with care and diligence over the last 100 years. Consequently, environmental sustainability is a deep-rooted objective. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ addresses the environmental challenges being encountered around the World. The significance of this encyclical along with another core value of the Benedictine Community, education, provides the inspiration to drive the sustainability work at Kylemore Abbey and this partnership with NUIG. Sr. Máire Hickey OSB, Abbess of Kylemore Abbey spoke of her enthusiasm about the partnership “We are delighted to be engaging with NUI Galway on this programme. As custodians of Kylemore Abbey and advocates for the protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable practices, the biodiversity stewardship programme and associated partnership aligns seamlessly with our own beliefs and our ethos of education and is a wonderful step forward for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in Kylemore.” This new biodiversity programme is one of a host of sustainability initiatives, already underway on the 1,000-acre estate, including: Removal of invasive plant species from woodlands and pastures A programme of afforestation with indigenous trees Production of environmentally friendly and peat-free compost for the Victorian Gardens Electrification of the fleet Planning for renewable energy sources Replacement of agricultural stock with indigenous Connemara Ponies Protection measures for the freshwater pearl mussel Supporting local and regional suppliers – to promote the regional economy and cut down on environmental impact of long-haul distribution networks Working towards eliminating Single Use Plastic Ongoing training in sustainability and development of a Green Team Developing a food waste partnership The work is already underway and the newly developed partnership with NUI Galway intends to develop Kylemore Abbey as a centre of biodiversity and sustainability research, education, and promotion. To learn more about the ongoing work, plans, and progress see www.kylemoreabbey.com.  -ENDS-

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

90% of samples analysed showed traces of microplastics Researchers from Earth and Ocean Sciences and the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have carried out an extensive study on the microplastic content of sediments at 87 locations in habitats designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) around the coastline of Ireland. Microplastics were detected in 79 of the 87 locations studies representing 90% of samples analysed. Dr Liam Morrison led the study, which has been published in the international journal Marine Pollution Bulletinand was co-authored by NUI Galway PhD student Ana Mendes and Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Nessa Golden. Microplastics were detected in samples from 79 of the 87 locations studies representing 90% of samples analysed. The study showed that microplastic abundance was closely related with distance from known sources and concentrations were greater in intertidal (on the shore, between tides) as opposed to subtidal (below the level of the lowest tide) sediments. The abundance of microplastics in the intertidal zone is partly influenced by movement of the sea, including wave action, tides, and currents, whereas the subtidal zone is a much more stable environment and could be considered a sink for microplastics. It was found that the most common plastic type or polymer was polypropylene (PP) (34%) followed by polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (26%) and polyethylene (PE) (26%), comprising of a total of 86% of all the microplastic detected. The dominant colour observed was clear followed by blue, white and black and the appearance of clear PE/PET fibres may indicate grey-water sources (wastewater from sinks, showers, baths and primarily washing machines), as PE/PET is common in clothing, while PP clear fibres are likely from commercial and/or recreational fishing materials. A relationship between sediment grain size, microplastic abundance and distance from known sources (river/waterways, urban settlements, and wastewater treatment facilities) was established. A higher concentration of microplastics in finer sediments (such as mudflats) within a 2 km distance from a known source, was observed with microplastic concentration decreasing with an increase in sediment grain size or as sediments get coarser (such as sandy beaches) and/or distance from a possible source of microplastics. The results demonstrate that an understanding of potential sources of pollution, sediment type (sandy beaches to mudflats) and hydrodynamic conditions (waves and currents) are very important in terms of MP abundance and distribution in marine sediments and in terms of effective waste management strategies and policy aimed at reducing the global plastics problem. Dr Morrison said: “This study provided a broader assessment of microplastic abundance by representing 87 inshore locations around Ireland. In addition, Ireland is the highest producer of plastic waste per person in the EU and the fourth worst in recycling rate, according to the latest data released by Eurostat. “Owing to their great diversity, ranging from size and other properties, microplastics can effectively penetrate through food webs where absorption and desorption of pollutants and associated chemicals can occur, creating a complex range of potential hazards for biota and humans” This study provides an insight into the state of microplastic debris in Irish coastal sediments and a baseline for further research and policy making towards marine litter and in particular micro-litter in Ireland. Read the full study in Marine Pollution Bulletin here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X21008365 -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

A new digital exhibition from a team at NUI Galway has been launched, opening up the archive of renowned theatre and opera designer Joe Vaněk. Drawing on material held at the University’s Hardiman Library, the exhibition offers a unique insight and perspective into the work of one of European theatre’s most highly regarded designers, from Dublin to Broadway, since the 1980s. Made up of more than 300 archive images, from costume drawings to set designs, production photographs and notebooks, the newly digitised material showcases a new history of design in contemporary Irish theatre. It also includes correspondence with directors and playwrights such as Brian Friel, whose work he was closely associated with. Joe Vaněk said: “Over the years, it has been my privilege to work with several esteemed directors - Patrick Mason, Alan Gilsenan, Michael Barker Caven and Annie Ryan. Also, it has been a source of great professional pride, that I have had the opportunity to design premieres of new plays by major Irish playwrights including Brian Friel, Tom Kilroy, Frank McGuinness, and Tom MacIntyre. “Now I find myself with an archive dedicated to my design work in theatre and opera at NUI Galway, and I am honoured to be amongst such luminaries as the novelist John McGahern, actors Barry Fitzgerald and Siobhan McKenna, and director Garry Hynes. My thanks - needless to say - goes to the Hardiman Library of NUI Galway, to Barry Houlihan and colleagues, for their enthusiasm and persistence in getting this digital show on the road.” The online exhibition is curated by researcher Grace Vroomen with a project team from NUI Galway including Dr Barry Houlihan, Dr Cillian Joy, Eimhin Joyce and Aisling Keane. It can be viewed at https://exhibitions.library.nuigalway.ie/s/joe-vanek/page/welcome. The exhibition charts a scenographic journey from page to stage through the theatrescapes of Vaněk’s distinguished career. It also includes newly published materials that show landscapes, architecture and related items that were documented during Vaněk’s early research and ideas for productions. It focuses on key material in the archive, such as design for Friel’s plays, including the Tony Award-winning production of Dancing at Lughnasa, as well as work with theatre companies Druid, Landmark Productions and Corn Exchange, and designing new plays by many of Ireland’s leading writers including Sebastian Barry, Marina Carr, Tom Murphy, Frank McGuinness, Tom Kilroy, Hugo Hamilton and Tom MacIntyre. Opera designs include work for Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, Irish National Opera, Wexford Festival Opera and Opera Collective. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “We are honoured to hold the archive of Joe Vaněk at NUI Galway and to be able to share insights into his work with an international audience through this online exhibition.” Dr Barry Houlihan, NUI Galway Archivist, said: “Joe Vaněk’s archive of theatre and opera design, and its digital exhibition, are a window into the vibrant world of Vaněk’s set and costume designs for more than three decades. Joe’s kind support of our digitising this remarkable archive means it will inspire students and theatre-makers all over the world.” Professor Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “Joe Vaněk has made an enormous contribution to Irish culture over many decades. The donation of his archive to NUI Galway makes an amazing resource available - a resource that is of national and international significance. These designs and other archival items will inspire our students, stimulate new research, and stand as a lasting testament to the work of a great theatre-maker. We are proud and grateful to host this work.” Ends

Friday, 13 August 2021

Removal of moisture has a 100% success rate on killing Japanese knotweed plants and regrowth under lab conditions  A research study from NUI Galway in collaboration with multinational infrastructure consulting firm AECOM and University of Leeds has found that the removal of moisture could act as a potential control strategy for smaller infestations of Japanese knotweed, which are particularly common in urban settings. Findings show that incorrect herbicide treatment cannot control the growth and regeneration of this invasive plant, but that fully drying the plant material in a lab environment allowed it to be returned to the soil without risk of regrowth. The research also showed that if there are no nodes attached to the rhizomes (root like underground shoots), there is no regeneration. Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) is a problematic invasive plant found in many areas of Europe and North America. Notably, in the UK, the species can cause issues with mortgage acquisition. It can grow up to two to three metres in height and can dominate an area to the exclusion of most other plants. Control of Japanese knotweed is complicated by its ability to regenerate from small fragments of plant material; however, there remains uncertainty about how much rhizome is required and how likely successful regeneration is under different scenarios. The study, published in the journal PeerJ today (12 August 2021) investigated the ability of crowns (underground mass from which rhizomes and shoots emerge) and rhizomes with different numbers of nodes to regenerate successfully from three sites in Yorkshire and Lancashire in the north of England. Two of the sites had been subject to herbicide treatment for two years prior to sampling and the third site had no history of herbicide treatment. The study found that the success of regeneration is related to plant fragment size, with larger fragments more likely to successfully regenerate and, for rhizomes, if there is no node, there is no regeneration. Additionally, it was found that the removal of moisture on living material resulted in 0% regeneration after plant material was dried and replanted. Senior author of the study, Dr Karen Bacon, Lecturer in Plant Ecology, Botany and Plant Sciences, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, said: “Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive plant species in the world and has major negative impact on ecology and biodiversity. The findings of this study that showed virtually no difference between the regrowth of treated and untreated Japanese knotweed samples suggest that herbicide treatment, which is often the most suitable approach to tackle the species, is not always being done effectively. “We also show clearly that the size of the plant fragment is critical to the initial regrowth, with smaller fragments producing much smaller regrown plants. Additionally, if there are no nodes, there is no regeneration, which may suggest potential management strategies in the future. This also highlights that small infestations and plants should not be viewed with the same concern as larger ones and that rapid management should be a goal of tackling this problematic species.” Dr Bacon added: “Our finding that the removal of moisture has a 100% success rate on killing Japanese knotweed plants and preventing regrowth after they were replanted also raises an important potential means of management for smaller infestations that are common in urban environments. This requires additional field trials, which we hope to undertake in NUI Galway soon.” When crowns and rhizomes were planted in lab conditions, no significant differences were observed in the new stem diameter, maximum height of stem or maximum growth increments among crowns, when comparing plants that had been treated with herbicide for two years to plants that had no history of herbicide treatment. This shows the importance of monitoring treated areas for regeneration and sustaining treatment over longer periods. Crown material had a higher regenerative capacity, with all traits measured from the planted crowns being significantly greater than those of the planted rhizome fragments. At least one node was necessary for successful regeneration (regrowth) of rhizomes and the smallest initial fragment weight to regenerate and survive the experiment was 0.5 grams. 0.7 grams was the previously reported smallest fragment to regenerate. It should be noted that such tiny fragments produced only very small and weedy plants that would take many years to regain health and spread significantly, if they survived. After the 60-day growth experiment, all plant material was subjected to the removal of moisture through air drying by sitting on the lab bench for 38 days until all plant fragments were at their dry weight. They were then replanted in soil and provided with the same nutrient, water and light conditions as the growth phase of the experiment. This resulted in no regrowth (emergence or regeneration) after replanting. These findings suggest that the removal of moisture could be a valuable addition to management strategies for small to medium scale infestations of Japanese knotweed common in urban settings, by providing a new option for dealing with plant material removed from the soil (the disposal of which can be costly). Dr Mark Fennell, Associate Director at AECOM and co-author of the study, said: “Our latest research sought to add to existing knowledge about how to manage and remove Japanese knotweed. Our key finding, that drying out the plant effectively kills it, should provide reassurance to landowners that the plant is not as indestructible as is often stated. While this invasive species remains a problem plant that can have a negative impact on biodiversity, our research provides a better understanding of the plant, paving the way for the development of more efficient and cost-effective ways of dealing with it. We hope our research helps to challenge some of the popular stigma that surrounds Japanese knotweed.” The findings from this study coincide with a UK-based review of the advice around how to manage Japanese knotweed in the built environments. Dr Karen Bacon and Dr Mark Fennell are both members of the Japanese knotweed specialist group advising the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The new guidelines are currently out for public consultation with the hope that final versions may be released later in the summer or early autumn. Read the full study in PeerJ here: https://peerj.com/articles/11783/.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The IPCC have published their landmark AR6 report on climate change which states: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.” Wednesday, 11 August 2021: ICHEC, Ireland’s high-performance computing authority, established in and hosted by NUI Galway, completed a large ensemble of global climate simulations which comprise Ireland’s contribution to the international Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). The datasets and results were included for assessment in the recently released IPCC AR6 Reports. The simulations place Ireland amongst leading international scientific researchers on climate change.  ICHEC’s work was carried out in collaboration with Met Éireann and is funded by the EPA, Met Éireann and the Marine Institute. The global climate simulations, carried out by ICHEC, are described in this report.  The future global climate was simulated using the EC-Earth climate model, which was developed by a consortium of European institutes, of which ICHEC is a member. The updated CMIP6 climate projection data provide more detailed projections of the future global climate and will lead to a better understanding, not only of the physical climate system, but also of the climate impact on the environment and societies. Visualisations of EC-Earth global projections can be seen here; 2m temperature change, precipitation and September sea ice fraction. “Spiral animations” of the full CMIP6 global temperature datasets can be viewed here and here. The large datasets (~1500TB) are hosted on the ICHEC ESGF (Earth-Systems Grid Federation) node for sharing with the international community and will feature in many future studies on the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change. Since 1995, the CMIP has co-ordinated climate model experiments involving multiple international modelling teams. The CMIP project has led to a better understanding of past, present and future climate, and CMIP model experiments have routinely been the basis for future climate change assessments carried out by the IPCC. ESGF is an international effort of climate centres with a mission to support CMIP and future IPCC reports. The climate team at ICHEC are currently running regional climate models to dynamically downscale the global CMIP6 data to provide detailed climate projections for Ireland (https://tinyurl.com/u2m8sk2y). These simulations are run on the ICHEC supercomputer, Kay. This research, and the resulting regional projections, will continue to inform national climate change policy such as the various governmental sectoral adaptation plans. Commenting on the results of the work, Dr Paul Nolan, Climate Science Programme Manager, ICHEC, said: “The global climate projections comprise Ireland’s contribution to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project and the results were included for assessment in the recently released IPCC AR6 Reports. In addition, the large datasets are shared with the international community and will feature in many future studies on the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change.” Alastair McKinstry, Environmental Programme Manager, ICHEC, said: “The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project experiments are a crucial part of the IPCC AR6 report. At ICHEC, the EC-Earth results are standardised and published via the Earth System Grid to enable automated comparisons with observations and other model projections from international climate modelling institutes. The standardisation and sharing of data have been key to quantifying the uncertainty in the climate projections and enabling the attribution of extreme events to climate change.” Professor JC Desplat, ICHEC Director, said: “ICHEC has the modelling capabilities, high-performance computing resources and international reach to ensure Ireland can participate in CMIP modelling experiments. This research ensures Ireland remains at the forefront of global climate change research and continues its involvement with future Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects and IPCC reports. Our climate projections, combined with those of the international community, will inform global climate policy over the coming years. Requirements for participation in CMIP include an internationally respected model, access to a powerful supercomputer and substantial data storage resources. ICHEC currently meets these criteria in its ability to participate in projects of this scale.” For more information about ICHEC, visit: www.ichec.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Researchers at NUI Galway and Athlone Institute of Technology have launched a survey to better understand Irish consumers knowledge of seafood packaging and its waste management. The survey is being carried out simultaneously in Spain and Portugal and is led by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere. Ireland has one of the lowest levels of consumption of seafood in Western Europe, with very different consumption patterns than other countries. For example, Ireland tends to consume on average higher portions of packaged or frozen seafood whereas in other European countries, fresh seafood is consumed. In 2017, it was estimated that seafood consumption in Ireland was 23 kg/capita. Whereas in Portugal, which has the highest consumption rate for seafood in Europe at 57 kg/capita. The results of the survey will be used to aid in a better understanding of the differences in seafood consumption and waste management in Ireland, Spain and Portugal. Ultimately, the results will support the development of public policies that will promote efficient use of seafood packaging. The study is part of NEPTUNUS, an Interreg Atlantic Area funded project that aims to support the sustainable development of the seafood sector in the Atlantic area (Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and the UK) by developing tools for eco-labelling and low impact strategies for production and consumption. Dr Eoghan Clifford, senior lecturer in the College of Science and Engineering at NUI Galway and NEPTUNUS principle investigator, said: “Given these large differences in consumption and the type of seafood products purchased the results of this survey can help to close a knowledge gap in Irish seafood consumption trends, behaviours, and knowledge of seafood packaging. These results will be useful for policy makers and for future research into how Irish consumers can increase their intake of this nutritious food and add to their understanding of seafood packaging.” The survey, which is made up of 25 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete, is available in both Irish: https://survey.ipma.pt/index.php/597922?newtest=Y&lang=ie ,  and English: https://survey.ipma.pt/index.php/597922?newtest=Y&lang=en To learn more on the project visit www.neptunus-project.eu -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Tá suirbhé seolta ag taighdeoirí in OÉ Gaillimh agus in Institiúid Teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain chun tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar eolas tomhaltóirí ar phacáistíocht bhia mara agus ar bhainistíocht a dramhaíola. Tá an suirbhé á dhéanamh go comhuaineach sa Spáinn agus sa Phortaingéil agus tá sé á stiúradh ag Institiúid Mara agus Atmaisféir na Portaingéile. Tá Éire ar na tíortha a bhfuil na leibhéil is ísle iontu maidir le tomhailt bhia mara in Iarthar na hEorpa, agus tá treochtaí tomhailte le sonrú inti atá an-éagsúil le macasamhail tíortha eile. Cuir i gcás, is gnách go dtomhlaítear líon níos airde de bhia mara atá pacáistithe nó reoite ar an méan in Éirinn, san áit a dtomhlaítear bia mara úr i dtíortha Eorpacha eile. In 2017, measadh gurbh é 23 kg/capita an tomhailt bhia mara in Éirinn. Sa Phortaingéil, tá an ráta tomhailte is mó maidir le bia mara san Eoraip mar atá 57 kg/capita. Bainfear úsáid as torthaí an tsuirbhé le cuidiú le tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar na difir idir tomhailt bhia mara agus bainistíocht dramhaíola in Éirinn, sa Spáinn, agus sa Phortaingéil. Ar deireadh thiar, tacóidh na torthaí le polasaithe poiblí a fhorbairt, polasaithe a chuirfidh chun cinn an úsáid éifeachtúil as pacáistíocht bhia mara. Is mar chuid de NEPTUNUS an staidéar seo, tionscadal i Limistéar an Atlantaigh atá á mhaoiniú ag Interreg a bhfuil d’aidhm aige tacú le forbairt na hearnála bia mara i limistéar an Atlantaigh (Éire, an Fhrainc, an Spáinn, an Phortaingéil, agus an Ríocht Aontaithe) trí bhíthin uirlisí le haghaidh éic-lipéadaithe agus straitéisí le haghaidh táirgthe agus tomhailte a fhorbairt. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Eoghan Clifford, léachtóir sinsearach i gColáiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta in OÉ Gaillimh agus príomh-imscrúdaitheoir NEPTUNUS: “Mar gheall ar na difir mhóra maidir le tomhailt agus cineál na dtáirgí bia mara a cheannaítear is féidir go mbeidh torthaí an tsuirbhé seo ina gcuidiú chun an bhearna eolais sna treochtaí a bhaineann le tomhailt bhia mara, iompar, agus eolas ar phacaistíocht bhia mara in Éirinn a líonadh. Beidh na torthaí seo úsáideach do lucht déanta polasaithe agus do thaighde amach anseo ar an gcaoi ar féidir le tomhaltóirí na hÉireann a n-iontógáil den bhia folláin seo a mhéadú agus cur lena dtuiscint ar phacáistíocht bhia mara." Tá an suirbhé, ina bhfuil 25 ceist agus nach nglacann 10 nóiméad le líonadh ar fáil i nGaeilge: https://survey.ipma.pt/index.php/597922?newtest=Y&lang=ie , agus i mBéarla: https://survey.ipma.pt/index.php/597922?newtest=Y&lang=en Le tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin tionscadal téigh chuig www.neptunus-project.eu -Críoch-

Monday, 20 September 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the University’s new Head of the School of Law - Professor Martin Hogg. Professor Hogg will take up the new role in November, having joined from the University of Edinburgh, where he served as Head of School and Dean of Law. Professor Geraint Howells, Executive Dean for the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: "We are delighted to have Martin joining us. He is a leading contract law scholar and an experienced leader. “Our Law School has an outstanding reputation for its teaching and scholarship. Martin is an ideal person to help us build on our strengths and develop new initiatives to meet the needs of our community." Professor Hogg said: “I’m honoured and very happy to be joining NUI Galway’s Law School as Head of School and Established Professor in November. “The Law School is an inspiring centre of learning and research, whose students and staff are widely known for their commitment to justice and the rule of law. I’m looking forward to meeting as many of them as I can in the coming months, as well as alumni and practitioner communities. “The whole NUI Galway community has already extended to me the warmest of Galway welcomes, for which I am very grateful.” Professor Hogg’s research interests lie in all aspects of the law of obligations, including comparative obligations theory, contract and promise, and fundamental structural language in the law of obligations. He has published widely in this field, including Promises and Contract Law and Obligations: Law and Language with Cambridge University Press. He is the Scottish Reporter for the European Tort Law Yearbook. Professor Hogg spent two years qualifying as a Solicitor with Dundas & Wilson CS in Edinburgh, before being appointed Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Edinburgh in 1995. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2004 and in 2013 he was appointed to a Chair in the Law of Obligations. Professor Hogg is a (non-practising) member of the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar). Professor Hogg brings with him a wealth of experience, having previously held office as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Law, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Teaching, Deputy Director of Research, and Convener of the Board of Studies. He took office as Deputy Head of the Law School in Edinburgh in 2014, and became Head of School and Dean of Law in 2017. Professor Shane Darcy, Interim Head of the School of Law, said: “On behalf of my colleagues at the School of Law, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Professor Hogg. We are very excited to have him join us as Head of the School of Law and very much look forward to working with him in this role at NUI Galway.” NUI Galway’s School of Law delivers innovative legal education in a dynamic school dedicated to impactful, high quality legal research. It hosts the internationally renowned Irish Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy. The School has introduced several new programmes in recent years, including the undergraduate degrees Law (BCL), Criminology and Criminal Justice and Law (BCL) and Human Rights. It also offers a suite of postgraduate LLM programmes and is home to a vibrant doctoral community. Further information www.nuigalway.ie/law Ends

Friday, 17 September 2021

Art exhibition and special concert from Galway Music Residency kick-off Culture Night and the beginning of culture, learning and research link Twenty-one uniquely decorated currachs have journeyed from Inis Oírr to the NUI Galway campus to officially launch a new partnership between Áras Éanna arts centre and the University. The special exhibition - showcasing unique works by John Behan, Jennifer Cunningham, Ger Sweeney and Áine Phillips, among others - is opening as part of Culture Night. The currachs will remain on display in the Quadrangle at NUI Galway for one month, with the public invited to visit free of charge and without prior booking. The new partnership between NUI Galway and Áras Éanna will see the University and the arts centre on Inis Oírr work together to promote the islands and the West more generally as places of culture, learning and research. A new fund has been established by the University to support staff and students who wish to travel to the island and use the facilities at Áras Éanna as part of their studies. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I often use the metaphor of the ‘currach full of fish coming in to shore’ from Máirtín Ó Direáin’s poem ‘An tEarrach Thiar’ to describe the resourcefulness and potential of our university community and our region. “I am delighted that 21 currachs have come to campus to launch the new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna. We respect the unique language, culture and environment that we share in the West of Ireland and we are open to collaborating with Áras Éanna and the Inis Oírr community to promote that distinctiveness as part of the life of our university.” Áras Éanna Artistic Director, Dara Mac Aoidh, said: “After a very successful summer exhibition across Inis Oírr, we are delighted to bring the ‘Curacha’ exhibition to NUI Galway where the University community and the wider Galway community will get to see this wonderful exhibition. “We welcome this new partnership between the University and Áras Éanna, and look forward to working on many collaborations and projects in the future that will benefit both the University and the island of Inis Oírr.” NUI Galway and Áras Éanna formally launched the exhibition, coinciding with nationwide Culture Night celebrations, in partnership with Galway Music Residency. As part of the launch, ConTempo Quartet performed a specially selected suite of classical and contemporary music connected to the ocean, composed by Alec Roth, Claude Debussy and Katharina Baker. NUI Galway Drama students were also on hand to recite a selection of poetry by Máirtín Ó Direáin. The exhibition of 21 currachs will run until 10 October 2021. Ends

Thursday, 16 September 2021

SFI CÚRAM backed piimpact.com to help academics focus on impact and public good CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway has launched a new website and online toolkit to support researchers in developing a more holistic view of the impact of their work. piimpact.com has been designed to help both experienced and early-career academics gain a better awareness of how the work will benefit the public and what difference it has the potential to make.  Dr Brendan Dolan, lead postdoctoral researcher on the Principal Investigator Impact project, said: “We wanted to identify the strategies and approaches of our individual scientists, and PIs in particular, to enhance the impact potential of their work, including how they engage and collaborate with various stakeholders who could benefit from the research undertaken. “Our aim is to use these findings to inform and assist new principal investigators taking on this role by providing practical learning tools and resources for learning and professional development training.” One of the research themes within CÚRAM since 2015 has focused on translation and impact of research in medical devices. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: “At CÚRAM, we are focused on designing the next generation of ‘smart’ medical devices. We want to provide our researchers with extensive pathways or routes to impact, through the productive and focused industry, clinician and public engagement and collaboration. “This website and toolkit offer a fantastic opportunity to begin to prepare for and plan one’s journey as a successful Personal Investigator and plan for impact. Moreover, the toolkit offers a novel approach to planning for impact, wherein one can plan one’s collaborations to maximise impact.” The piimpact.com online resource and toolkit was developed on the back of the Principal Investigator Impact project and feedback from almost 600 principal investigators across Ireland. It highlighted the need for increased support structures to enable researchers to work more effectively and efficiently towards impact, while taking on the ever increasing responsibilities. The project aims to support research relating to the development of medical devices, and in academia in general. It will allow researchers to more effectively plan for, monitor and evaluate the broader, non-academic impact – the benefits to society beyond traditional metrics such as journal publications and citations. A white paper on preparing medical device scientists for the PI role and impact, developed by the Principal Investigator Impact project is available here: http://www.piimpact.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/curam_whitepaper_spreads.pdf. -Ends-

Thursday, 16 September 2021

More than half of productions at the 2021 GIAF feature former students of the University NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) have joined forces to herald the role of the University’s graduates in this year’s theatre productions. More than half the shows at the 2021 GIAF feature former students working behind the scenes and on stage to bring a wealth of drama, arts and culture to audiences as they flocked back to live, in-person events. Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We began partnering with Galway International Arts Festival from our shared desire to ensure that the next generation of theatre-makers and artists would have the skills and experiences needed to build sustainable careers, both here in the west of Ireland and in other national and international contexts. “Through programmes like the SELECTED internship scheme, our students have gone behind the scenes to meet artists, producers, and other professional experts on GIAF shows. We're seeing the fruits of that approach now, with more than half of this year's theatre productions featuring recent NUI Galway graduates.” Among the alumni are recent graduates from the BA in Drama who took part in the SELECTED programme this summer and went on to work as stage manager, assistant stage manager and props person on Cogadh Na Saoirse. Others are playing key roles in the performances on stage, with actor Catherine Denning, a BA and MA graduate, featuring in Branar's Sruth na Teanga, while Cogadh na Soairse was written by MA graduate Philip Doherty and After Love was written by BA graduate Dani Gill. NUI Galway graduates are also working on the Abbey Theatre's Happy Days on Inis Oírr and Druid Theatre's The Seagull. Professor Lonergan highlighted that NUI Galway is also proud to support the Irish premiere of Enda Walsh's Medicine, starring Domhnall Gleeson, and that another production, Ar Ais Arís, emerged from the University’s Aistriú project. John Crumlish, chief executive of the Galway International Arts Festival, said: “Galway International Arts Festival's partnership with NUI Galway on SELECTED has been very rewarding. We always envisaged the programme being a support for young people who wanted careers in culture, so we are delighted to see alumni working for arts organisations that are part of the festival programme itself. We hope to work with NUI Galway to further develop the programme over the coming years and play our part in developing the careers of the next generation of arts professionals." Professor Lonergan added: “The development of this SELECTED programme as a conduit from the University to the Galway International Arts Festival is an important part of our contribution to Irish culture and Irish life. “Our University believes in engagement, both as an important part of our teaching and as a societal good - and our partnerships with the Galway International Arts Festival is an important manifestation of those values.” The two week SELECTED programme offers an opportunity for a number of NUI Galway students to experience a unique academy initiative which gives them full access to many aspects of the Galway International Arts Festival and a behind-the-scenes insight into how the programme is put together. Ends

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

NUI Galway hosts cross border competition for young people to make science short video and win €1,000 for their school or youth organisation A NASA astronaut is calling on budding scientists to produce fun, short science videos for the innovative ReelLIFE SCIENCE cross border competition. The best films from young people in primary and post-primary schools and youth groups and organisations across the island of Ireland will each win €1,000. The videos can be up to 3 minutes long and can communicate any aspect of the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is asking for entries on one of eight topics - Climate Action, How Things Work, Myths Busted!, Science and Me, Science Heroes, Science in Space, Science on the Farm and Healing the Body. NASA astronaut Colonel Greg “Box” Johnson is taking time out of his work at the US space agency to join the judging panel for ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2021. "I'm honoured to join the judging team for this year's ReelLIFE SCIENCE 2021 video competition. What a fun way to get young people excited about the science that is happening around us in our daily lives,” Colonel Johnson said. “Last year's winners were very interesting and enjoyable. I'm looking forward to this year's batch of science video creativity. Good luck scientists!" Video entries can be in Irish or English. Students can create them on smartphones, tablets or cameras and the best productions will be shown at a public screening at the Galway Science and Technology Festival on 21st November 2021. The closing date for entries is Friday, 15 October 2021. Dr Ruth Freeman, Science Foundation Ireland’s Director of Science for Society, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this initiative. The ReelLIFE Science competition helps to nurture young people’s ability to develop their critical thinking and communications skills. It also gives them the opportunity to explore the world of STEM by tapping into their creative side. I am really looking forward to seeing what the entrants come up with and wish all involved the best of luck.” The ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme is organised by Dr Enda O’Connell and a team of scientists from NUI Galway. Since launching in 2013, more than 16,000 young people in 500 schools and youth organisations across Ireland have taken part.   ReelLIFE SCIENCE is supported by Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices and the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. More information about taking part can be found at www.reellifescience.com. Ends

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

A research team from NUI Galway and the University of Zaragoza, Spain, are seeking students aged 18 and over and the wider general public to participate in a short five-minute survey about Ireland’s COVID Tracker app.  The study will look at motives for using the app, opinions about the app, promotion of use of the app to others, the extent to which the user checks in using the app, their level of contact with others, and their living/working situation.  These insights will help the team to understand more about the adoption of the app and learnings which could also be applied to other health-related apps in the future.  The research team would like to speak to people who had (or still have) the COVID Tracker app installed on their phone and who are aged 18 years or over. The survey is entirely voluntary, and all responses are anonymous.   In an attempt to curb Covid-19 outbreaks, and in addition to social distancing measures, one solution has been the implementation of contact-tracing apps. At this stage of the pandemic, with the return to a ‘new normal’, the international research team led by Dr Elaine Wallace, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, are seeking participants to complete the short five-minute online survey.  Dr Elaine Wallace commented: “Ireland’s Covid Tracker App has been one of the most successful tracker apps in use during the pandemic. With a planned safe return to our workplaces and University campuses, we hope that this survey will raise awareness and remind students and the general public to download and use the app; as well as providing really helpful information about how apps such as this can be used to help us in other ways in the future.” To complete the short survey and contribute to the study on the COVID Tracker app, simply click on this link to begin: NUI Galway COVID Tracker App Survey   -Ends- 

Monday, 13 September 2021

Tá an chéad Oifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe lánaimseartha ceaptha ag OÉ Gaillimh chun ceannas a ghlacadh ar theagasc agus ar fhoghlaim na mac léinn ó phobal na dTaistealaithe.  Tá Owen Ward, Taistealaí, múinteoir cáilithe agus alumnus de chuid na hOllscoile, chun an ról a ghlacadh agus forbróidh OÉ Gaillimh samhail chun cumhacht a thabhairt do phobal na dTaistealaithe bacainní ar rochtain, dul chun cinn, coinneáil agus rath san ardoideachas a shárú.  D’fháiltigh Simon Harris, an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta agus Eolaíochta, TD, roimh an gceapachán, ag rá: “Is iontach an eiseamláir é Owen dá theaghlach agus do phobal na dTaistealaithe ar fad. Sháraigh sé dúshláin agus d’athraigh sé an treo dá thodhchaí féin agus do thodhchaí phobal na dTaistealaithe chomh maith.  “Tá an t-ardoideachas ann do gach duine agus tá sé an-tábhachtach chun comhionannas agus deiseanna a thabhairt do chách. Is é ár misean sa Roinn Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta agus Eolaíochta a chinntiú nach bhfágtar aon duine ar lár. Agus muid ag iarraidh córas ardoideachais níos uilechuimsithí a bhaint amach do chách, níl aon amhras orm ach go mbeidh ról ollmhór ag Owen sa mhéid seo amach anseo. Guím gach rath air sa ról nua seo agus ba mhaith liom OÉ Gaillimh a mholadh as leanúint de ról ceannaireachta a imirt sa réimse seo."  Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “In OÉ Gaillimh, is ollscoil muid atá ar mhaithe le leas an phobail, le fís chomhroinnte, múnlaithe ag ár luachanna.  “Téann ceapachán Owen Ward mar Oifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe go croí na hoibre seo chun ár luachanna a chur chun cinn, go háirithe an tábhacht a leagaimid ar mheas agus ar oscailteacht, chomh maith le cultúr a chothú a chruthaíonn deiseanna san oideachas do dhaoine ó gach cúlra. Is ceannródaí den scoth é agus eiseamláir dúinn ar fad.”  Beidh ról Owen Ward ina chuid lárnach d’obair Ionad Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh. Déanfaidh an tOifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe bainistiú ar Mincéirs Misl'd in Education – chun cumhacht a thabhairt do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann aistriú chuig an Ardoideachas agus muintearas a mhothú ann. Tá an tionscadal maoinithe ag an bhFóram Náisiúnta d’Fheabhsú Teagaisc agus Foghlama.  Oibreoidh an tOifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe i gcomhpháirt le páirtithe leasmhara éagsúla, idir eagraíochtaí Taistealaithe agus pobal na dTaistealaithe agus tógfaidh siad ar pholasaithe agus ar straitéisí criticiúla rialtais chun tuiscint mhionsonraithe, fhianaise-bhunaithe a sholáthar ar bhacainní ar rochtain, dul chun cinn agus fanacht san ardoideachas do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann.  Dúirt Imelda Byrne, Ceann an Ionaid Rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Guím gach rath ar ár nOifigeach Oideachais Taistealaithe nua, Owen Ward, sa ról seo.  “Tá lúcháir mhór orm do Owen, a theaghlach agus a phobal; is iontach an rud é Owen a fheiceáil ag dul ar aghaidh chuig an gcéim seo ina ghairm agus níl aon amhras orm ach go bhforbróidh sé an réimse straitéiseach seo ar bhealach a thacóidh le pobal na hOllscoile ar bhealach fiúntach chun eispéireas oideachasúil uilechuimsitheach a sholáthar do phobal na dTaistealaithe san ardoideachas.  “Is fada linn go bhfeicfimid Owen ag baint leas as a thaithí chun cabhrú leis an réimse seo a fhorbairt de réir straitéisí na hOllscoile agus na straitéisí náisiúnta.”  Dúirt Owen Ward: “Is é príomhchuspóir an tionscadail tacú le straitéisí earcaíochta agus tacaíochta a fhorbairt agus le modhanna teagaisc agus foghlama fianaise-bhunaithe mar iarracht chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar a laghad Taistealaithe atá san ardoideachas. Cuirfidh sé ar chumas na dTaistealaithe sna hiar-bhunscoileanna, sa bhreisoideachas agus mic léinn lánfhásta dul ar aghaidh chuig ardoideachas agus muintearas a mhothú, agus a bheith rathúil ina gcuid staidéir in OÉ Gaillimh.   “Táim ag tnúth le bheith ag obair leis na páirtithe leasmhara go léir chun torthaí dearfacha a bhaint amach do phobal na dTaistealaithe san oideachas. Cuireann an tionscadal seo béim ar thiomantas leanúnach OÉ Gaillimh rannpháirtíocht na dTaistealaithe san ardoideachas a mhéadú.”  Críoch 

Monday, 13 September 2021

NUI Galway has appointed its first full-time Traveller Education Officer to lead the teaching and learning of students from the Traveller community.  Owen Ward, a Traveller, qualified teacher and alumnus of the University, is to take on the role as NUI Galway develops a model to empower the Traveller community to overcome barriers to access, progression, retention and success in higher education.  Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, T.D., welcomed the appointment, saying: “Owen is an incredible role model for his family and the wider Traveller community. He has overcome adversity and changed the course of not only his own future but that of the wider Traveller community.  “Higher education is for everyone and can be the key to equality as well as unlocking opportunities for all. Our mission in my Department of Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science is to ensure no one is left behind. As we strive towards a more inclusive higher education system for all, I have no doubt that Owen will play a huge part in this in the future. I wish him well in this new role and I want to commend NUI Galway for continuing to play a leadership role in this area.”  President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “At NUI Galway, we are a university for the public good, with a shared vision, shaped by our values.  “The appointment of Owen Ward as our Traveller Education Officer goes to the heart of this work in promoting our values, particularly the importance which we place on respect and openness, as well as providing a culture that creates opportunities in education for people from all backgrounds. He is an exemplar of excellence and a role model for us all.”  Owen Ward’s role will be a key part of the work of NUI Galway Access Centre. The Traveller Education Officer will manage Mincéirs Misl'd in Education - Empowering Irish Travellers to transition and build a sense of belonging in Higher Education. The project is funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.  The Traveller Education Officer will work in partnership with various stakeholders, including Traveller organisations and the Traveller community and build on critical government policies and strategies to provide a detailed, evidence-based understanding of barriers to access, progression and retention in higher education for Irish Travellers.  Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway's Access Centre, said: “I wish our new Traveller Education Officer Owen Ward every success in this role.  “I am absolutely thrilled for Owen, his family and his community; it is wonderful to see Owen progress to this stage in his career and I have no doubt that he will develop this strategic area in a way that will support our University community in a meaningful way to provide an inclusive educational experience for the Traveller community in higher education.  “We are very excited to see Owen apply his experience to help develop this area in line with University and national strategies.”  Owen Ward said: “The main objective of the project is to support the development of recruitment and support strategies and evidence-based teaching and learning methods in an effort to address the low levels of Travellers in higher education. It will empower Travellers in post-primary, further education and mature students to progress to higher education and build a sense of belonging, while being successful during their studies at NUI Galway.   “I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes for the Traveller community in education. This project highlights NUI Galway’s ongoing commitment to widening the participation of Travellers in higher education.”  Ends 

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

I bhfianaise an dul chun cinn atá déanta ar chomhionannas inscne táthar tar éis creidiúnú stádas Ghradaim Chré-Umha a dhéanamh ar ocht Scoil de chuid na hOllscoile. Moladh OÉ Gaillimh as ucht bearta a rinneadh le dul chun cinn a dhéanamh ar ionadaíocht na mban ag gráid acadúla shinsearacha, go háirithe róil Léachtóirí Sinsearacha agus róil Ollamh Pearsanta.   Tá Gradam Cré-Umha Athena SWAN athnuaite bainte amach ag OÉ Gaillimh i bhfianaise dul chun cinn leanúnach na hOllscoile ar chomhionannas inscne. Caitheann athnuachan an ghradaim léas ar na réimsí tionscnamh atá á ndéanamh san Ollscoil ó 2016/2017, lena n-áirítear feabhas ar ionadaíocht na mban i róil acadúla shinsearacha. Tá ardú ó 35% in 2016/17 go 47% in 2020/21 tagtha ar chéatadán na gcomhaltaí foirne mná in OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil ról an Léachtóra Shinsearaigh acu. Tá ardú ó 16% go 28% tagtha ar chéatadán na gcomhaltaí foirne mná san Ollscoil a bhfuil ról an Ollaimh Phearsanta acu i gcaitheamh na tréimhse céanna. Bronnadh stádas an Ghradaim Chré-Umha ar chúig cinn de Scoileanna OÉ Gaillimh sa bhabhta gradam is déanaí chomh maith, rud a dhéanann go bhfuil ocht ngradam scoile san iomlán bainte amach go dtí seo. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le mo chomhghleacaithe in OÉ Gaillimh agus i ngach ceann de na scoileanna faoi Ghradaim Chré-Umha Athena SWAN a bhaint amach. Agus clár na ngradam ‘lomtha’ againn i mbliana, i riocht agus gur éirigh le gach iarratas, is léiriú paiteanta é ar obair agus ar thiomantas iontach na ndaoine siúd a bhí páirteach iontu. “Tá an-lúchair orm go bhfuil a stádas Gradam cré-umha bainte amach an athuair ag OÉ Gaillimh, ar aitheantas follasach é do thiomantas na hOllscoile don chomhionannas a chur chun cinn i measc gach comhalta foirne agus gach mac léinn dár gcuid i gcomhréir lenár luachanna mar atá oscailteacht agus meas. “Tugaim suntas go háirithe don mholadh sainiúil, agus cuirim fáilte roimhe, a thug an painéal dár bpróiseas arduithe céime acadúla agus an ‘tionchar dearfach’ a bhí aige go dtí seo maidir le hionadaíocht inscne de. Níl an obair seo críochnaithe go fóill agus luíonn an fhreagracht orainn ar fad.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Aoife Cooke, Ceannasaí Comhdheiseanna: “Is ugach mór é rath ár Scoileanna sa bhabhta gradaim le deireanas mar go dtugann sé fianaise le leabú an chomhionannais, na héagsúlachta, agus an chuimsithe inár gcultúr agus tugann sé aghaidh ar na dúshláin chomhionannais éagsúla augs na tosaíochtaí forbartha inár bpobail.” Tá athnuachan ar Ghradam Cré-Umha Athena SWAN bainte amach ag Scoil an Leighis freisin. Tá dul chun suntasach déanta inti maidir le mná i ngráid acadúla shinsearacha, lena n-áirítear méadú ar chéatadán na mban i róil Léachtóirí Sinsearach ó 38% in 2016/17 go 50% in 2020/21; agus méadú ar chéatadán na mban i róil Ollamh Pearsanta ó 8% in 2016/17 go 28% in 2020/21. Bronnadh na Gradaim Chré-Umha eile ar iarratasóirí céaduaire – Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha, Scoil na Síceolaíochta, Scoil na Ceimice, agus Scoil na Matamaitice, Staitisticí agus Matamaitice Feidhmí. Bhain Scoil an Altranais agus an Chnáimhseachais OÉ Gaillimh Gradam Cré-umha amach in Aibreán 2021. Bhain Scoil na Fisice agus Scoil an Ghnó Gradaim Chré-umha amach in 2020. Is creat creidiúnaithe í Cairt Athena SWAN a mbaintear úsáid aisti ar fud an domhain le tacú le comhionannas inscne san ardoideachas agus sa taighde mar aon lena chlaochlú. Seoladh Athena SWAN in Éirinn sa bhliain 2015. Críoch

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Progression of gender equality sees a total of eight Schools in the University now accredited with Bronze Award status   NUI Galway commended for actions to progress representation of women at senior academic grades, particularly Senior Lecturer and Personal Professor roles   NUI Galway has secured a renewed Bronze Athena SWAN Award in recognition of the University’s continued progression on gender equality. The renewal of the award highlighted a range of initiatives being taken at the University since 2016/17, including improvement in the representation of women in senior academic roles. The proportion of female staff holding the role of Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway increased from 33% in 2016/17 to 47% in 2020/21. The proportion of female staff holding the role of Personal Professor in the University increased from 16% to 28% over the same period. Bronze award status has also been granted to five of NUI Galway’s Schools in the latest award round, taking the total of school awards to eight. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to congratulate my colleagues in NUI Galway and in each of the schools on receiving the Athena SWAN Bronze Awards. “This ‘clean sweep’ of awards this year, with each application being successful, is a true reflection of the excellent work and dedication of all those involved. “I am delighted that NUI Galway has renewed its Bronze Award status, as a clear appreciation of the University’s commitment to advancing equality to all our staff and students in line with our values of openness and respect. “I note in particular, and welcome, the panel’s particular commendation of our academic promotions process and the ‘positive impact’ it has had with regard to gender representation. This is work as yet unfinished and the responsibility of us all.” Aoife Cooke, Head of Equal Opportunities at NUI Galway, said: “The success of our Schools in the recent award round is particularly encouraging as it provides evidence of embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion in our culture and addresses the different equality challenges and development priorities in our communities.” The School of Medicine also secured a renewal of a Bronze Athena SWAN Award. It has seen significant progression in women in senior academic grades, including women in Senior Lecturer roles going from 38% in 2016/17 to 50% in 2020/21; and women in Personal Professor roles increasing from 8% in 2016/17 to 28% in 2020/21. The other Bronze Awards went to first time applicants - the Schools of Natural Sciences; Psychology; Chemistry; and Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics. NUI Galway’s School of Nursing & Midwifery secured a Bronze Award in April 2021. The School of Physics and the School of Business secured Bronze Awards in 2020. The Athena SWAN Charter is an accreditation framework that is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality in higher education and research. Athena SWAN launched in Ireland in 2015. Ends

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Thug OÉ Gaillimh 3,859 tairiscint do mhic léinn ionchasacha sa Chéad Bhabhta de phróiseas an CAO. Tháinig ardú ar líon na bpointí CAO ar fud na gceithre Choláiste san Ollscoil agus ar fhormhór mór na gclár. Don dara bliain as a chéile agus i ndiaidh arduithe eisceachtúla ar phointí CAO agus ar an éileamh ar áiteanna san ardoideachas, tá OÉ Gaillimh ag súil le glacadh leis an líon mac léinn céad bliana is mó riamh, tuairim is 3,500. Deir an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Comhghairdeas le rang 2021 a léirigh an-teacht aniar in éadan dhúshláin shuntasacha na paindéime agus a tionchair siúd ar an oideachas. “Is éard is cás linne in OÉ Gaillimh go príomha eispéireas na mac léinn, ar an gcampas, a bharrfheabhsú go sábháilte, go hinbhuanaithe agus an oiread is féidir don bhliain acadúil amach romhainn. Is í sláinte, folláine agus sábháilteacht ár gcomhaltaí foirne, ár mac léinn agus phobal na Gaillimhe i gcoitinne an tosaíocht is mó atá againn. “Is mian liom fáilte chroíúil a fhearadh roimh na mic léinn siúd atá ag glacadh leis an tairiscint teacht go OÉ Gaillimh agus foghlaim iad féin faoin mbéim a leagaimid ar ár luachanna mar atá meas, oscailteacht, barr feabhais agus inbhuanaitheacht. “Rinneadh obair agus iarracht mhór le pleanáil agus ullmhú don bhliain acadúil nua agus le cinntiú go mbeidh ár gcampas ag feidhmiú i gcomhréir leis na treoirlínte sláinte poiblí agus táimid ag iarraidh ar gach duine inár bpobal ollscoile béim as an nua a leagann ar an bhfreagracht phearsanta ar mhaithe le leas an phobail.” Tháinig ardú ar líon na bpointí CAO ar fud na gceithre Choláiste in OÉ Gaillimh. :: Tháinig ardú ar na pointí do 65 as 69 clár OÉ Gaillimh :: Bhí ardú breis is 50 pointe ar thuairim is leath de gach clár (30). :: Bhí ardú breis is 80 pointe ar chúig chlár i mbliana (na Dána le Scríbhneoireacht Chruthaitheach; na Dána le hIriseoireacht; an Ríomheolaíocht & an Teicneolaíocht Faisnéise; an Innealtóireacht Mheicniúil; an Chosliacht. :: Tá éileamh suntasach ar chláir fholláine agus eolaíochta, a leanann treocht na mblianta beaga anuas, agus is í dea-cháil OÉ Gaillimh i dtaca le barr feabhais sa Bhithleighis is cúis le harduithe ar phointí don Eolaíocht Bhithleighis. :: Tá ardú tagtha ar na pointí do chláir sna Dána, sa Tráchtáil, san Eolaíocht agus san Innealtóireacht. Deir an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí OÉ Gaillimh agus Cathaoirleach an CAO: “Tá ár bhfoireann clárúcháin in OÉ Gaillimh ag déanamh a seacht ndíchill arís glacadh/leis an oiread mac léinn agus is féidir tar éis bliain a bhí an-dúshlánach. Díreach mar a bhí in 2020 beimid ar ár dteanndícheall. Gabhfaidh OÉ Gaillimh i mbun an phróisis maidir le ríomhphoist a sheoladh chuig mic léinn a ghlac le tairiscint san Ollscoil sna laethanta beaga amach romhainn. Críoch

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

NUI Galway has made 3,859 offers to prospective students as part of Round One of the CAO process. CAO points have risen across all four of the University’s Colleges and across the vast majority of programmes. For the second year running and on the back of another year of exceptional increases in CAO points and demand for places in higher education, NUI Galway expects to see another record intake of around 3,500 first year students. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “Congratulations to the class of 2021 who have demonstrated remarkable resilience amid the significant challenges of the pandemic and its impact on education. “Our focus in NUI Galway is on safely and sustainably optimising the experience for students, on campus, for the academic year ahead. The health, wellbeing and safety of our staff, students and the wider Galway community is our top priority. “I want to extend a warm welcome to those students who take up the offer to come to NUI Galway and to learn for themselves the importance that we place on our values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability. “Huge work and effort has gone into planning and preparing for the new academic year and ensuring our campus operates within the public health guidelines and we are asking everyone in our university community to put a renewed emphasis on personal responsibility for the public good.” CAO points have risen across all four of NUI Galway’s Colleges. :: Points have increased for 65 of NUI Galway’s 69 programmes. :: Approximately half of all programmes (30) saw an increase of more than 50 points. :: Five programmes saw an increase of more than 80 points this year (Arts with Creative Writing; Arts with Journalism; Computer Science & Information Technology; Mechanical Engineering; Podiatry). :: Health, wellbeing and science programmes are in significant demand, continuing the trend of recent years, with NUI Galway’s strong reputation for excellence in Biomedicine once again resulting in points increases for Biomedical Science. :: Arts, Commerce, Science and Engineering have also all seen an increase in points. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar of NUI Galway and Chair of the CAO, said: “Our registration team at NUI Galway is once again doing our utmost to accommodate as many students as we can in what has been a challenging year. Just as in 2020 we are pulling out all the stops." NUI Galway will begin the process of emailing students who have accepted an offer of a programme at the University in the coming days. Ends

Friday, 3 September 2021

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. to open Symposium Director of the World Health Organisation, Dr Mike Ryan, is to speak at NUI Galway on the impact of Covid-19 on other diseases, healthcare and disease control. Dr Ryan joins Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. and a host of medical specialists for the University’s annual Sir Peter Freyer Symposium, one of the largest surgical conferences in Ireland. The virtual event takes place today and tomorrow, 3-4 September 2021. Dr Ryan will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled Impact of Covid-19 on other Diseases, Health Service Delivery and Disease Control Objectives, while Minister Donnelly will give talk on Cancer Care in Difficult Times - the Implication for Government. Ahead of the symposium Dr Ryan, alumnus of NUI Galway who has been at the forefront of managing acute risks to global health for nearly 25 years, said: “Covid-19 has exposed the deficiencies in healthcare systems. There are huge treatment delays and the capacity for urgent cancer referrals has been significantly reduced. I am delighted to return to my Alma Mater to deliver this prestigious Memorial Lecture which I hope will clarify the impact of this pandemic and convey some important directions on our future from a WHO perspective.” The NUI Galway symposium, which was first held in 1975, is organised by Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway and Director of the Managed Cancer Clinical and Academic Network at Saolta. Professor Kerin said: “Cancer is the pandemic that we have been living with for generations. One in two people will suffer with cancer and one in three will die from it. By 2040, the cancer rates across the world are projected to double. “Galway University Hospital coordinates cancer care across a regional network involving the affiliated university hospitals in the Saolta hospitals group. It is the cancer centre for the largest geographical area, spanning the entire west and north-west of Ireland. “Now, more than ever, the people across these regions deserve a state-of-the-art cancer centre, with an amalgamated research, innovation and teaching hub. “This virtual symposium will feature cancer care with particular emphasis on the implications of the European cancer mission and the Covid pandemic for Ireland, especially in the west of Ireland which is the most westerly cancer region in Europe and has some of the worst outcomes. The symposium represents all that is best in Irish surgery, with representatives from our leading hospital and university nationally.” Professor Kerin added: “The role of research, education and innovation in cancer treatments is a strategic priority at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. As we look to the future we aim to support our healthcare system with new treatment approaches and with the most highly trained oncology experts, so that each and every cancer patient can get the best rapid care locally.” For further information on the symposium, including the full speaker list visit www.freyer.ie. Links to the events via zoom: Friday: https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUld--rrz0oHt0o3zHQ7Lplb4ZHQjrMCVs1 Saturday: https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aZRIVoMBRmqjaphGyuktaw Ends

Friday, 18 December 2020

Over 40 research and innovation projects addressing COVID-19 challenges Over 40 new collaborations with industry Four new spin-outs NUI Galway responds to COVID19 with over 40 research and innovation projects, engages in 40 new projects with industry, and spins-out four new deep-tech companies Despite the numerous challenges of 2020, the research and start-up community at NUI Galway continued to thrive – garnering multiple awards, securing funding, and supporting entrepreneurship among students and the wider community. Supported by the University’s Innovation Office, the year featured over 40 substantial research collaborations with SMEs, indigenous industry, and multinational corporations - as well as the formation of new four spin-outs based on ICT, engineering and life science technologies developed at NUI Galway.   In addition, the university charted over 40 research and innovation projects directly responding to the challenges of the global pandemic. David Murphy, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, NUI Galway, said: “The successes achieved in 2020 are a validation of the strength of our industry partnerships, the quality of our research, and the strength of our innovation communities at NUI Galway. While the pandemic presented many challenges, our team, our researchers, our entrepreneurs, and the companies we work with responded with determination and agility in what was a very unusual environment.” Some of the highlights of the year included: Multiple awards NUI Galway was named winner of the Knowledge Transfer Impact Awards Covid-19 Response Award for supporting, with industry partners Cisco and IBM, the ICU FamilyLink project at University Hospital Galway (UHG). The project connects patients, families and the clinical teams providing care in the constraints of the ICU setting. Galenband, pioneers of an unobtrusive wrist-worn device which records heart activity, was the ultimate winner at Big Ideas - Enterprise Ireland’s annual showcase of start-up innovation emerging from higher education institutes. Four of the 12 investor-ready companies pitching on the day were NUI Galway start-ups. Seven NUI Galway start-ups were shortlisted for the National Start-up Awards in 2020, with Galenband achieving Gold in the Medtech Startup category for their system to dramatically increase detection rates of atrial fibrillation. VorTech Water Solutions secured silver in the ‘Emerge Tech Startup Category” for their innovative, cost effective solutions in water and wastewater, and Feeltect achieved Bronze the Medtech Startup category for their wearable, connected health technology to measure and monitor sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy. Women’s health start-up Nua Surgical was named the overall winner of the 2020 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Based out of NUI Galway, Nua Surgical’s flagship product is SteriCision, a self-retaining retractor specifically designed for C-sections.  NUI Galway start-ups Vortech Water Solutions and HidraMed Solutions have been shortlisted for the annual Irish Times Innovation Awards. Three NUI Galway start-ups, Feeltech, Nua Surgical, BlueDrop Medical, were among the 2020 winners of Health Innovation Hub Ireland’s (HIHI) call for innovative ideas from companies, start-ups and SMEs.  Funding Successes NUI Galway researchers and company partners were awarded over €10.3 million in Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund(DTIF), a fund established under Project Ireland 2040. Two of the funded projects will see teams at NUI Galway partnering with AuriGen Medical, an NUI Galway spin-out company specialising in electrophysiology and structural heart, dedicated to transforming the management of persistent atrial fibrillation. A third DTIF supported project will see the collaboration between teams at the NUI Galway Centre for Cell Manufacturing (CCMI) and ONK Therapeutics Ltd, a Business Innovation Centre client company and spin-out. Aquila Bioscience, a medical technology spin-out from NUI Galway, successfully proved that its breakthrough Pathogen Capturing Technology safely removes 99.99% of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19) from human skin. The company also secured €1.9m in from the European Innovation Council. BioProbe Diagostics, a spin out company from Microbiology at NUI Galway, is the lead partner in an industry consortium awarded approximately €2m to advance one of the company’s products to market, namely Bio Lp-1, under the European Commission’s ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ funding mechanism. Dr Alison Liddy of NUI Galway received a €1m prize for her work developing a solution to treat chronic pain as the inaugural winner of the SFI Future Innovator Prize. Supporting entrepreneurship among students and the wider community NUI Galway was awarded €7.5 million funding under the Human Capital Innovation and Agility Initiative for it’s ‘ASPIRE: Next Generation Graduates’ project which will lead in innovative, student-centred and enterprise-engaged education. Together with itag, the University successfully launched a free structured coaching initiative for the female community covering many areas in all business environments – itag Coaching for Success . LaunchPad has supported over 1000 studentinnovators across campus spanning 11 modules and 6 co-curricular programmes. LaunchPad secured funding through EIT Health in 2020 to run a Summer School ‘ENERGHY’ in partnership with Medicine San Frontiers, Sanofi, IS Global, the University of Barcelona and Hospital Sant Joan de Deu.  LaunchPad, a partner of the Empowering Women in Health Entrepreneurship Project of EIT HEalth also hosted a module with the Karolinska Institute in May titled ‘Unlocking your Innovative Potential’, the module was attended by 60 participants from across 20 Countries.    During October, LaunchPad, in partnership with BioInnovate Ireland and the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, ran its Ideas Academy Camp, attracting over 70 participants from schools across Ireland to develop innovations to support our community during Covid-19. To read about some of the research and innovation projects relating to COVID-19 visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/covid19/ -Ends-

Friday, 18 December 2020

New and pioneering GTCASP technology advancing the next generation treatments for cancers, disorders and disease A new collaborative research project has been launched at NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) to streamline cell manufacturing for the next-generation of treatments of cancers, autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases. Cellix Ltd is partnering with REMEDI, NUI Galway’s a state-of-the-art research and cell manufacturing facility, and Trinity College Dublin thanks to €3.4 million funding from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to spearhead the project. The aim is to advance the development of next-generation cell therapies by making it easier to select specific cells which have been genetically modified to make them more effective in treating a particular disease or disorder. Frank Barry, Professor of Cell Therapy at NUI Galway, said: “In the cell and gene therapy sector, manufacturing the product is a complex, challenging and expensive process.   “We are progressing new, ground-breaking treatments in a way that is more cost-effective and accessible. The research that we are pioneering in NUI Galway’s REMEDI will have a significant impact and will bring these new treatments closer to realisation in a dramatic and effective fashion.” The new technology being researched and pioneered at NUI Galway’s REMEDI, as part of the collaborative project, is the Gene Transfection Cell Analysis and Sorting Platform - GTCASP. Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English T.D., said:“GTCASP is an exciting project focusing on the development of a truly innovative technology, addressing the challenges in cell manufacturing for gene therapy. This is an exciting and far-reaching project which reflects what the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is designed to encourage and assist. “The project’s ambition is that the technology becomes a standard in the field of cell therapy and forms part of the redevelopment of Ireland’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry, as gene therapy forges new markets for personalised medicine. It also truly demonstrates the talent that is incumbent in Ireland for the sector. “I congratulate Cellix and their project partners in NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin for driving this innovation, which will showcase Ireland as a leader in cell and gene therapies.” How does GTCASP work? :: The GTCASP technology takes advantage of the electrical properties of cells to separate individual populations. :: Scientists are using GTCASP to separate cells that have been genetically modified to make them effective in treating a variety of serious disorders.  :: Specialists who are manufacturing cell therapies gain a profound advantage in this process as the cell populations with preferred characteristics are selected and other, less effecitve  cells, are discarded. :: GTCASP essentially provides manufacturers with the technology to select and use the preferred cells to target disease conditions. :: It will also lead to a reduction in manufacturing costs of cell therapy medicinal products, which at present is prohibitively high. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Designed to facilitate the development of new treatments such as CAR T cell therapies, the GTCASP system will allow wider access to the next generation of genetic cell therapies for cancer and other conditions. In addition, new and advanced forms of stem cell therapy will come closer to reality. These therapies are regarded as a new revolution in medicine and one which will make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families.” The collaborative project involving Cellix, REMEDI at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin was launched in partnership with Government and Enterprise Ireland. Stephen Creaner, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland said: “Cellix, in partnership with NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, have joined forces to establish a ground-breaking and innovative platform to improve and enhance the process of cell manufacturing, with the potential to transform how people across the globe work and live. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is aimed at supporting that transformative work and helping Irish companies realise their ambitions. Funding collaborative projects like the GTCASP is a clear signal of our desire to future proof Ireland to ensure that our indigenous enterprises become leaders in the face of disruptive technologies. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to continuing to work with Cellix and the team and is proud to be part of this ground breaking, disruptive project.” Ends