Monday, 20 March 2017

CAO First Preferences up 10% for the University NUI Galway today (Monday, 20 March) announced the full programme of events for its next CAO Open Day on Saturday, 1 April from 9am to 3pm.  NUI Galway has seen a 10% increase in First Preference CAO applications in 2017, despite the total number of applications nationally remaining static year on year. Announcing the Open Day programme, Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “As international rankings continue to show advances by NUI Galway, the marked increase in CAO applications highlights the growing interest in studying at one of the world’s Top 250 institutions across all subject areas. At the upcoming Open Day, students and parents can find out for themselves why more and more students are choosing NUI Galway for their degree studies.” Open Days are an excellent opportunity for schools, students, parents and families to explore NUI Galway’s facilities and to learn first-hand from lecturers about the learning experience, skills development and career prospects from each of the degree programmes. There is a packed programme of events lined up for the day, including: Over 80 stands providing information on courses, CAO points, employability, career progression routes, accommodation and fees. Sample subject talks designed to give students a real insight into studying at NUI Galway. Hands-on science workshops. Interactive sessions in Engineering, IT systems and robotics. Tours of the campus, including the state-of the-art sports complex and student accommodation, including tours as Gaeilge. Talk highlights for students include Sports at NUI Galway, Career Opportunities and Inspiring Women in Engineering. For parents, a range of special talks focusing on topics such as SUSI Grants, Scholarship Applications and Student Life are scheduled. To get the most out of your day visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays.  -Ends-

Monday, 20 March 2017

NUI Galway will host a very special public lecture by a leading international expert examining the evolution of humans during the past fifty thousand years, during a time when much northern Europe periodically became a harsh, frozen wilderness and was intermittently covered by vast and desolate sheets of ice. Professor Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, will deliver the William King Annual Lecture on the ‘Genomic History of the Ice Age Europeans’ on Thursday, 23 March. Professor Krause was a senior member of the international team that made scientific history in 2010 when it published the first draft sequence of the DNA of Neanderthal people, the closest evolutionary relatives to humans living today. Later that same year, his team discovered a previously completely unknown group of human ancestors – the Denisovans – based on DNA preserved in a tiny fossilised finger bone recovered from a Siberian cave. More recently, Professor Krause uncovered the DNA of the bacterium responsible for the Black Death, based on samples extracted from the 14th-century plague cemetery in London. Event co-organiser Professor Heinz Peter Nasheuer, Biochemistry, NUI Galway, said: “It is very exciting to have an international scientist of the calibre of Professor Krause speak at NUI Galway. His research, which involves the careful extraction and painstaking analysis of ancient genetic material from fossil bones and teeth, has provided amazing, and unique insights into the evolution of modern humans in Europe.” The William King Annual Lecture series was established in 2015 with the aim of honouring the scientific legacy of William King, the first Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in Queen’s College Galway (as NUI Galway was then known). King made his own scientific history in 1863 when he first proposed the formal scientific name Homo neanderthalensis for Neanderthal people. Dr John Murray, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, who is also involved in organising the forthcoming public lecture, said: “William King’s scientifically bold and farsighted suggestion to define a new group of ancient human ancestors based on fossil evidence was a vitally important step in the birth of palaeoanthropology, or the study of human evolution. He remains the first scientist to ever name a new and extinct species of human – by any measure remarkable scientific achievement.” Professor Krause’s free talk will take place at 6pm in MY243 Lecture Theatre, Áras Moyola and all are welcome to attend. -Ends-

Monday, 20 March 2017

Two nursing students studying the new Masters Degree in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care at NUI Galway receive Victoria Thompson Scholarships The School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway hosted the inaugural launch on (Tuesday 14 March) of ‘The Victoria Thompson Scholarships’. Comedian and TV presenter, Tommy Tiernan presented two nursing students who are studying on the new Masters in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care, with the scholarships. The dedicated Masters/Postgraduate Degree programme in Health Sciences specialising in children’s palliative and complex care, aims to equip nurses with the necessary skills for the increasing numbers of children and adolescents who have complex, life-limiting or terminal conditions and require care in a variety of settings (hospital or community), according to child and family preference. Dr Georgina Gethin, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, stated: “It is timely that this first scholarship is awarded in the very same week that the School of Nursing and Midwifery has been recognised for its work and nominated in the Top 100 Globally for the subject nursing in the 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings. We are delighted with the opportunity this scholarship provides for nurses to further their studies and acquire new knowledge and skills in this highly specialised and very challenging field of nursing. We wish the recipients every success and know that they will make a positive impact on the lives of so many children and their families.” The Victoria Thompson Scholarship was established to assist nurses in obtaining specialist qualifications in the care of children with terminal and life limiting conditions. The scholarship was setup in memory of baby Victoria Thompson who lived for exactly nine months and required the help of specialist pediatric palliative care nurses as a result of a rare disease. It is run by Victoria’s parents Sharon and Brian Thompson from Donegal. NUI Galway students of the new Masters/Postgraduate Degree in Health Sciences, nurses Anne Browne and Aisling Devitt, were the proud recipients of the scholarships. Commenting on the scholarship, Victoria’s mother, Sharon Thompson, said: “When we were told Victoria’s condition was rare and terminal, we found it difficult to find specialised nursing care for her. In her memory we highlight the need for rural palliative care services for children. Families should automatically get access to options of care for a child with complex or palliative medical needs. Skilled nurses and this new course at NUI Galway are key to this happening for children all over the country.” Speaking about the new NUI Galway programme and her scholarship, Nurse Aisling Devitt, said: “It can be difficult to work with children and families in such tough circumstances and the more education we have about palliative and complex care can only help us to be become better practitioners. It’s fantastic that NUI Galway has recognised this Health Service need as the numbers of children increases significantly. It has also been great to see nurses from all corners of Ireland attending the course to help bring the knowledge and skills back to our individual work places and encourage others to consider doing further education in this area, or at the very least highlight the important role we play in caring for these children and their families. It is also an honour to receive the Victoria Thompson Scholarship and I am delighted to be able to put it towards the second year of the programme this September.” Applications for the second intake of the NUI Galway programme are being accepted from Spring 2017 at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/nursing-midwifery. For more information about the Victoria Thompson Scholarship visit: www.thevictoriathompsonscholarship.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A group of five Civil Engineering students from NUI Galway raised €1,000 for local mental health awareness charities Jigsaw Galway and Pieta House West. The funds were raised from an Engineers Ireland West Region table quiz which took place in the Westwood hotel recently. Engineers and Engineering students battled it out for a selection of prizes kindly sponsored by Engineers Ireland, OCC Construction, APS Consulting and the Westwood Hotel. This is an annual event and this year the Engineering students beat the professionals to claim first prize at the quiz. The team of students included: John O’Connell from Killererin, Tuam, Co. Galway; Conor O’Meara from Birr, Co. Offaly; Michael McElrone from Pettigo, Co. Fermanagh, Conor Croxford from Clifden, Co. Galway; and Huseyin Guntas from Turkey. Dr Jamie Goggins, Chairperson of Engineers Ireland West Region and a Senior Lecturer in NUI Galway, said: “It’s great to see enthusiastic engineering students such as John, the two Conors, Huseyin and Michael, take initiatives like this to give back to the community. They are, after all, learning in college how to turn science and technology into things that are tangible and useful to society. This knowledge, together with the work ethic and ethos of these students, will no doubt lead to many positive contributions to society over many years to come during their careers.” Justin McDermott, Fundraising Manager, Jigsaw Galway, said: “We are so delighted to have been selected as one of the charities to benefit from this fantastic fundraiser.  All the funds and support we have received is vital, as it enables us continue to provide our free, confidential and non-judgemental service supporting the mental health and well-being of young people (aged 15-25) in Galway City and county.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

NUI Galway to host event on the Trump presidency Tuesday, 14 March, 2017: The Moore and Whitaker Institutes and the School of Law at NUI Galway will host an event on Wednesday, 22 March, entitled “President Donald Trump: The First Sixty Days and Beyond”.  The event will take place in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall (Upper Aula Maxima) at 5.30pm in the University’s Quadrangle. The panel discussion will feature five speakers who will provide various perspectives - political, human rights, historical, economics and more - on Donald Trump's election and his time in the White House. This will be followed by an interactive audience question and answer session. A reception with light refreshments will precede the event and begin at 5pm. Mary Regan, a native of Moycullen, Co. Galway and well-known political journalist and columnist for the Sunday Business Post who also appears frequently in the broadcast media, will moderate the event. Speaking on the evening will be: Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, and former special adviser to the Minister for Finance; Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway; Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; Larry Donnelly, Lecturer, School of Law, NUI Galway, and political commentator; Karlin Lillington, Journalist and Columnist, The Irish Times. Commenting ahead of the event, Larry Donnelly, NUI Galway said: “In a year full of major news events, the 2016 US presidential election attracted a phenomenal amount of interest in Ireland. The early days of President Trump’s administration have been unpredictable and, in many ways, unprecedented.  On 22 March, people here in Galway, as well as the staff and students of NUI Galway, will have a unique opportunity to delve behind the tweets and explore the policy implications of different facets of the Trump presidency, in an uncertain era of change and upheaval in the US and throughout the western world.” The event is free and open to the public, however those who wish to attend must pre-register via Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/trumpgalway.  ENDS

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture 2017 will be delivered by Judge Síofra O’Leary of the European Court of Human Rights. The lecture, ‘A Tale of Two Cities: the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Strasbourg and Luxembourg’, will be chaired by Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley of the Irish Supreme Court and take place on Friday, 31 March at 8pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. The lecture is held annually to mark the end of the academic year and to bid farewell to final year Law students and provide an opportunity for them to be introduced to members of the NUI Galway Law School alumni community as they embark on the next stage of their careers. Announcing this year’s event, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Law, said: “Judge Síofra O’Leary is an immensely distinguished jurist of great international standing whose lecture will, I am certain, be of tremendous interest to our students and alumni. It is also a great honour for the School of Law to have Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley of the Irish Supreme Court – a person with strong family links to Galway – as chairperson for this event.” In July 2015 Síofra O'Leary was sworn in as a Judge at the European Court of Human Rights. Prior to joining the European Court of Human Rights, Judge O’Leary worked for 18 years at the Court of Justice of the European Union. She was a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Assistant Director for the Centre of European Legal Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. She was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University College Dublin, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cádiz, Spain and a Research Associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London. In the past, the annual lecture has been delivered by: Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University, Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK Supreme Court with Ms. Justice Catherine McGuinness of the Irish Supreme Court, Judge John T. Noonan of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh University and Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly of the Irish Supreme Court, Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and Professor Nicholas Canny. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

NUI Galway’s Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Society will hold the third annual Climate Congress in partnership with Trócaire. This year the focus will be on Fossil Fuel Divestment and Sustainable Choices, and will take place in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn, on Tuesday, 21 March from 10am until 5pm. Last year, the CCAFS society submitted a petition of over 1000 signatures and a report highlighting the case for divestment of the €3.4 million worth of shares that NUI Galway has invested in fossil fuel companies. This report was welcomed by University President, Dr Jim Browne, and this year the University has agreed to withdraw these investments and adopt a sustainable investment policy. Colm Duffy, Auditor of the CCAFS Society and Director of the Fossil Free Campaign, said: “Divestment movements are happening the world-over and Climate Congress 2017 will reflect this. A variety of guests will speak at the conference exploring the topic of sustainable investment from political, social, and environmental standpoints.” Speakers at the Congress will include: Thomas Pringle T.D., proposer of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill in Dáil Éireann Ian Halstead of L&P Investment Services Ltd. Clíona Sharkey of Trócaire There will also be a participatory workshop on overcoming barriers to political engagement in the context of climate change, facilitated by Nuala Haughey of Think-Action for Social Change. The aim is give individuals and communities the tools to engage in the political system and have their voices heard. The event is free to attend and lunch will be served in the afternoon. Registration for the talks is limited to 100 people and the workshop is limited to 25, so booking in advance is advised at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/nui-galway-climate-congress-divestment-and-sustainable-choices-tickets-32582584387. For further information contact the CCAFS Society at ccafs@socs.nuigalway.ie, or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCAFSsocietyNUIG/ or Twitter at https://twitter.com/ccafssoc. -Ends-

Monday, 13 March 2017

NUI Galway has announced that it is officially committed to divest from fossil fuel shares by the end of 2017. The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Society of NUI Galway had submitted a petition of over 1000 signatures, and report highlighting the case for divestment of the €3.4 million worth of shares that NUI Galway has invested in companies such as Gazprom and Statoil in late November. This report was welcomed by NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, who highlighted divestment of fossil fuel shares is in line with the values held by NUI Galway with regards to sustainability. “This is an important development and I am delighted that NUI Galway has taken a leadership position nationally in promoting such an ethical investment policy, including fossil fuel divestment.  I’d like to commend the students involved in CCAFS and the Students’ Union leadership who have highlighted an important global issue that impacts on climate change, social equity and a range of important ethical issues today. Their actions and advocacy demonstrate their commitment as global citizens who will shape our planet’s future.” Colm Duffy, Auditor of the CCAFS Society, Director of the Fossil Free Campaign and member of the Student Union Executive Committee, said: “It is with no small measure of delight that we announce NUI Galway’s commitment to divestment. We are extremely happy with the result and the support from Dr Browne. We are glad that this campaign has come to a conclusion, and we look forward to assisting the University in the formation of its Ethical Investment Policy.” In addition NUI Galway’s SU President, Jimmy McGovern, who has worked closely with the CCAFS society, added: “The University’s decision to completely divest from fossil fuels shows leadership in the right direction. This proposal began through student activism and is a prime example of why we must empower students, the future of our society, by giving them a platform to have influence and input in our University’s developments. NUI Galway has given its students that platform in this instance and we applaud them for that.” -Ends-

Monday, 13 March 2017

A new book on Disability Law and Policy has been edited by NUI Galway academics Dr Charles O’Mahony, Lecturer in Law and Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. Published by Clarus Press, Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The rights-based perspective on disability is a relatively new lens through which disability law and policy is considered. This is despite the fact that persons with disabilities are often described as the world’s largest minority. There are approximately 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world (15 percent of the world’s population). This book is an edited volume of essays that undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Dr Charles O’Mahony said: “The UN Convention requires law and policy reform throughout the world and this book identified what state parties need to do to comply with international human rights law. This is particularly relevant for Ireland being was one of the first states to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.  However it is now the only EU member state not to have ratified.” Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention has evolved from an event entitled 'Global PhD and Researchers Colloquium on Disability Law’ and Policy organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. The Colloquium was organised in conjunction with the Burton Blatt Institute, University of Syracuse and the University of Haifa, Israel. -Ends-

Monday, 13 March 2017

New Masters/Postgraduate Degree course will ensure the provision of national specialised nurses who have the skills to care for children and adolescents with complex, life-limiting and terminal conditions NUI Galway in collaboration with UCD, are the first in Ireland to respond to the needs of Health Services by providing training for specialist nursing care for children and adolescents with complex, life-limiting and terminal conditions. The dedicated Masters/Postgraduate Degree in Health Sciences at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, specialising in children’s palliative and complex care, aims to equip nurses with the necessary skills for the increasing numbers of children and adolescents who have complex, life-limiting or terminal conditions and require care in a variety of settings (hospital or community), according to child and family preference. Applications for the second intake of this NUI Galway programme are being accepted this Spring 2017. The School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway has just been recognised for its work and nominated in the Top 100 Globally (15th in Europe) for the subject nursing in the 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings. Palliative and complex care for children differs from care for adults in that many children requiring this type of care have life-limiting conditions, as opposed to advanced terminal conditions. Children may survive many years with these complex conditions. The needs of these children differ from the needs of adults and many live with severe disability and require constant care. The paediatric palliative care nurse for children with complex care requirements plays a key role as a member of the team. These nurses require a comprehensive understanding of the experience of palliative and complex care from neonates to adolescents, and their families. In order to meet the needs of a variety of children requiring this care, the new programme will provide nurses with the broad skills necessary to meet the needs of children across a wide variety of settings. Claire Quinn, Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, NUI Galway, said: “As researchers working in this emerging new specialty we recently estimated that there were at least 3,840 children in Ireland living with complex life-limiting conditions and this number is increasing yearly due to medical advances. Children who have complex care requirements or reach the end-of-life deserve the very highest standard of care delivered in a place of their choosing and provided by expert paediatric palliative care nurses. Unfortunately, it is acknowledged that in Ireland today there is an absence of nursing staff that can demonstrate the very special skills to work in this demanding field of nursing practice.” With the publication of the Department of Health’s national policy ‘Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions’, the recent Palliative Care Competence Framework, various international and national reports and guidelines on palliative care provision such as the World Health Organisation’s ‘The Global Burden of Disease’, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, the Irish Advisory Committee on Palliative Care and the Irish Hospice Foundation, all support the rationale to provide a programme which is evidence-based and encompasses the growing demands of children and adolescents who require palliative and complex care. Ms Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research and Bereavement Services at the Irish Hospice Foundation, says: “Access to education is vital to ensure that nurses helping children with the most complex of needs have the competence and skill required to do so. For the past 10 years the Irish Hospice Foundation has financially supported children’s palliative care training at basic and intermediate level. We have continually advocated the need for an advanced postgraduate education programme to complete the learning opportunities for palliative care nurses and are delighted with this new MSc programme from NUI Galway and UCD. Health services will welcome this initiative which clears the way for advanced nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to provide local expertise in the care of children with palliative care needs.” The new programme was also praised by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris at the launch of the national policy evaluation report, ‘Evaluation of the Children’s Palliative Care Programme’. Minster Harris commented: “I want to acknowledge the commencement of the first postgraduate course in children with palliative and complex care needs in NUI Galway, and to acknowledge the importance of that programme in ensuring that we continue to develop health care professionals with the specialism that is required in this area. It’s very encouraging to see this up and running.” For applications and further information on the NUI Galway Masters/Postgraduate Degree in Health Sciences visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/nursing-midwifery   -Ends-

Friday, 10 March 2017

Exhibition Showcases 12 Remarkable Women of the University 1912-22 NUI Galway this week launched the exhibition ‘Path Breaking Women of NUI Galway: 1912-1922 and Beyond’. This visual history project, led by Professor Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science and Sociology, is supported by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme 2015 as part of the Decade of Centenaries. The Exhibition foregrounds 12 women, each a former faculty member or student of NUI Galway, who have made remarkable contributions, across the arts, sciences and political life, in the years around 1916, or subsequently in the first decades of Irish independence. The keynote address at the official launch was by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, formerly TD for Galway West and first female cabinet minister in the state, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science from 2010 to 2014 and, most recently, Chairperson of a national review of gender equality in higher education institutions. Speaking at the event, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: “The exhibition focuses on the campaigns for social reform that animated Ireland in the early twentieth century – and how they led to women’s rights and a modern Ireland that would have been unimaginable when these women were starting out on their student days. The position of women has radically changed. But hasn’t changed enough. This exhibition reminds us all – and I hope particularly younger women – of the power of passion and persistence. Of the importance of education, and the equal importance of doing something with that education.” Women profiled in the Exhibition include: Alice Perry (1885-1969), the first woman to earn an engineering degree in Ireland or the UK Mary Donovan O’Sullivan (1887-1966), first Professor of History in University College Galway, appointed in 1914, aged 27 Ada English (1875-1944) prominent in Cumann na mBan in Galway, lecture in Mental Diseases at UCG, and reforming doctor in Ballinasloe asylum Emily Anderson (1891-1962), acclaimed linguist and scholar of the personal letters of Mozart and Beethoven Síle Ní Chinnéide (1900-1980), Irish language revivalist and one of UCG's first lecturers in History through Irish Margaret Heavey (1908-1980), multilinguist, classics scholar and influential shaper of her discipline and the university Maureen O’Carroll (1913-1984), past student, first female Labour TD and mother Brendan and Eilish O'Carroll Celia Lynch (1908-1989), graduate, first woman Fianna Fail chief whip and longest serving woman TD at the time of her retirement Máirín de Valera (1912-1984), scientist and founder of Botany at UCG Nora Niland (1913-1988), graduate, instrumental in promoting the association of Yeats with Sligo and building the Niland Collection at the Model arts centre in Sligo Caitlín Maude (1941-1982), graduate, acclaimed sean-nós singer and first actress to perform the leading role in the Irish Language play about unmarried mothers, An Triail (1964) Lorna Reynolds (1911-2003), an influential literary critic, life-long champion of progressive causes and leading biographer of the novelist Kate O'Brien. Professor Niamh Reilly, Principal Investigator on the project, commented:  “The Path Breaking Women exhibition celebrates the exceptional but little-known achievements of 12 women associated with NUI Galway over the last 100 years.  It is a beginning, an invitation to find out more and raise awareness of these and other path-breaking women who have contributed so much to our university and wider society.”      The Path Breaking Women project is also supported by the School of Political Science and Sociology, the Centre for Global Women’s Studies and the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway in association with the Gender ARC research network and University Women’s Network at NUI Galway. Contributing researchers are Mary Clancy and Dr Muireann O’Cinneide. For further details see: www.nuigalway.ie/pathbreakingwomen ENDS

Friday, 10 March 2017

NUI Galway lecture ‘Manhattan’s Irish Waterfront Neighbourhoods: From the Famine to the Movie Classic ‘On the Waterfront’ looks at the famine Irish who settled in the neighbourhoods along the East and Hudson rivers creating the Irish waterfront NUI Galway will host a public lecture by Professor Kurt Schlichting from Fairfield University in Connecticut on the subject, ‘Manhattan’s Irish Waterfront Neighborhoods: From the Famine to the Movie Classic ‘On the Waterfront’. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, commented: “Professor Schlichting’s lecture tells an important story, part of a shared Irish history of migration and labour in America.” The US National Archives created a database of 605,000 Famine Irish who arrived on ships in the port of New York between 1846 and 1851. Drawn from hand-written ships’ manifests, the records include the port the ships departed from in Ireland and England. Over 75% left on ships from Liverpool. The sea lane between New York and Liverpool was well established by 1846 where regularly scheduled packet-ships left every week of the year. The famous Black Ball packet line carried 39,618 Irish, some born in England to Irish parents, to New York. Galway was also a port of departure and the ships that left carried 8,518 passengers to New York. Just one hundred and eighty six passengers left in 1846 on the ships the Clarence and the Kate. A total of 57 voyages followed on 47 different ships, most made one voyage while the Clarence made five trips, one each year between 1846 and 1851, carrying a total of 859 passengers. Many settled in the neighborhoods along the East and Hudson rivers creating the Irish waterfront. They found hard work on the docks as longshoremen as New York became the shipping centre of the world. In nearby immigrant neighborhoods, the families of the longshoremen lived in tenements and fought to survive. The Irish waterfront neighborhoods remained distinctive Irish enclaves into the 20th century. In 1954, the classic American film, On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, vividly portrayed the violence along the Manhattan waterfront and the stranglehold of corrupt union officials, and the mob. The waterfront priest played by Karl Malden under the name of Father Barry was based on an actual Jesuit priest, Father Peter Corridan, who taught at the Labor Institute at Xavier parish in Manhattan on West 16th Street near the Hudson River docks. Corridan and other young Jesuits, the labour priests, came of age during the 1930’s and 1940’s when the Catholic Workers movement, led by Dorothy Day, championed the rights of workers to form unions and collectively bargain for higher wages and better working conditions. Inspired by Day and the Papal labour encyclicals, the labour priests saw their ministry as dedicated to social justice for the longshoremen. Corridan battled not just the unions and mobsters but also the Archdiocese of New York that saw the Church’s mission as saving souls, leaving social justice to the labor unions and the politicians. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place on Tuesday, 14 March at 4pm in Seminar Room G010, Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. -Ends- 

Friday, 10 March 2017

A major international, multidisciplinary conference entitled, 'Reception, Reputation and Circulation in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800' (RECIRC) will be held at the Moore Institute at NUI Galway from 22-25 March.  The RECIRC project is researching the impact made by women writers and their works in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, the conference reaches far wider to embrace cultural production by men and women, from 1500 through to the end of the eighteenth century. Talks will cover diverse topics such as Italian soldiers’ letters during the Dutch revolt, song and musical transmission, the international book trade, translations of French and Spanish poetry and fiction, saints’ reputations, bible-inspired embroidery, and digital approaches to literature and society. Speaking about the conference, Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan said: “This is a great opportunity to hear about cutting-edge research in a range of fields from Literature, History, Languages, Art History to Digital Humanities, delivered by leading international researchers. The ERC funding has allowed us to bring an unusual mix of top scholars to Galway. We wanted to move beyond the RECIRC project’s remit in order to open up different ways of thinking about the transmission of ideas and reputations during the early modern period. This conference will present new evidence about the circulation of all kinds of materials across Europe and the New World.” The conference will pose questions ranging from how texts circulated in the early modern world to how digital scholarship can help us understand networks of transmission and influence. It will bring together scholars working on the reception of texts, the reputations of authors and individuals, and the circulation of people and things across the world. Up to 57 speakers will attend the conference, hailing from a range of prestigious universities in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the UK, USA and Ireland. The conference, generated by the RECIRC project, is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and led by Principal Investigator, Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan, and a team of researchers at the School of Humanities at NUI Galway. The conference is open to the public. However, pre-registration is essential at: http://recirc.nuigalway.ie/conference2017/ or email recirc.conference@gmail.com. The RECIRC project will run at the Moore Institute in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway until 2019. -Ends-

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The new Irish law to criminalise the purchase of sex is unworkable according to experts on sex work and human trafficking from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. A new book published by the two academics, Dr Eilís Ward, NUI Galway and Dr Gillian Wylie, TCD, analyse Ireland’s newly adopted policy.   They draw a parallel with Sweden which introduced a similar law in 1999, and was the focus of a major campaign in Ireland over the past decade, ‘Turn off the Red Light’.  In both the case of Ireland and Sweden, they contend that the legislation is based on the belief that prostitution is a form of violence against women and is caused by male demand. “It is clear that Irish parliamentarians already knew what they wanted: a sex purchase ban. No serious efforts were made to consider an alternative model such as that currently in New Zealand. Here, the act of buying or selling of sex itself is not subject to the law but all activities surrounding it are, such as criminal activities or violence. It holds out the promise of an approach that, at least does not create more problems especially for the most vulnerable women in the sex trade,” said Dr Ward. “The complex realities of sex workers' lives and views were not being recognised in the Irish debate, nor were the many international studies that show the negative impact of sex purchase bans on those who sell sex,” said Dr Wylie of the Irish School of Ecumenics. The academics claim that it is a very complex area of law and human activity and that the sex purchase ban is a crude instrument that does not work very well. Prostitution continues in Sweden as does sex trafficking. They suggest that to end exploitation of sex workers an approach which ensures the rights of all workers and provides safe and legal migration routes will be far more effective in the long run than banning the buying of sex. The book ‘Feminism, Prostitution and the State; Politics of Neo-Abolitionism’ is being launched in Trinity College  on Thursday, 9 March by Alan Shatter, former Minister for Justice who queried several aspects of the report produced in favour of a sex purchase ban by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice Defence and Equality arising from the original consultation. In addition, a second book on the international politics of trafficking, written by Dr Wylie, will also be launched by the former Minister at the event. “By looking at the comparison of all these countries we can see that there are drivers for abolitionism coming from feminists, religious groups and fears about sex trafficking but we also see the consequences of these policies in allying feminism with policing approaches to social problems and government strategies designed to keep migrant women out”, said Dr Wylie. “Sex purchase bans have been shown to impact more harshly on migrant women in sex industries, particularly undocumented migrants who lack strong networks of social support.” This connection between anti-trafficking activism and increased border control is a central theme in this second book being launched. In ‘The International Politics of Human Trafficking’ Dr Wylie traces the different feminist voices that have made human trafficking a big political issue in the 21st century, but she also argues that worryingly governments are now using anti-trafficking language to justify blocking refugees and migrants from Europe. “Governments everywhere are using the rhetoric of combatting human trafficking to deprive people of their rights to move and seek refuge,” says Dr Wyllie. Ends 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

20 Subject Areas Receive International Recognition NUI Galway today welcomed the publication of the QS World University Subject Rankings which ranked NUI Galway as world leading for its teaching and research in 20 subjects.  This is a marked increase since last year, when the University was recognised in 12 subjects and follows recent advances in both the QS and Times Higher Education (THE) University rankings which have seen NUI Galway join the ranks of the Top 250 global educational institutions.  With 20 subject areas now featuring in the top tier globally, three are ranked in the top 200 (Medicine, Earth & Marine Sciences and Geography), English Language and Literature is ranked in the top 150 globally and Nursing is ranked in the top 100 in the world. Speaking about the achievement, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said:  “While no rankings system is perfect, this recognition by QS highlights the quality of teaching and research at NUI Galway across a diverse range of subject areas.  This confirmation of our status among the world’s elite institutions is positive for our students as they enter international employment markets with qualifications that rank among the best globally.” The next undergraduate Open Day for NUI Galway will be held on Saturday 1 April, providing an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to explore NUI Galway’s facilities and to learn first-hand from lecturers and students about the more than 60 courses on offer. Dr Browne continued: “In recent months, our improved rankings have also contributed to record numbers at open days and information evenings, and we look forward to showcasing the institution to the next generation of students at our next Open Day on April 1st.” Lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands. The ‘Parents Programme’ will provide parents and students with information on important issues such as careers, accommodation and support services for students. More information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays. ENDS

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

‘Harmful Algal Blooms’ is an innovative introduction of Ocean Literacy in Irish secondary schools A marine science iBook entitled Harmful Algal Blooms has been developed as part of NUI Galway’s contribution to an EU-funded European research project Sea Change. The project aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean, or “ocean literacy”. The iBook will be launched by Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research on Monday, 13 March at 4pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. Dr Christine Domegan, the NUI Galway Principal Investigator for Sea Change, Whitaker Institute, said: “Co-creating ocean literacy calls for collaboration, discussion, participation and engagement across multiple stakeholders in Europe; from policy makers, to educators, and from media to mariners, children and grandparents.” Opportunities to increase awareness of the ocean are limited in the junior cycle science curriculum across Europe. This iBook is designed to infuse the engaging story of Harmful Algal Blooms into teaching across the sciences. Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae - simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater - grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds and people. During the launch, the author, Dr Robin Raine, from Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, will speak about his experiences at the heart of the book. The audience will also be introduced to the teaching design used within the book, which aims to ensure the content can be taken up by Science teachers and students to advance a Sea Change in Irish and European ocean literacy. There was a great response from both teachers and students after piloting the iBook in Irish, Swedish, and Belgian schools.  The iBook was co-edited by Dr Veronica McCauley and Dr Kevin Davison of NUI Galway’s School of Education. Dr McCauley said: “Teachers are becoming more savvy with technology in the classroom and are finding innovative ways to teach the curriculum so that it encourages personal interest in the sciences. This is particularly true given the recent Digital Strategy for Schools, 2015-2020 and its promotion of coding and programming.” The importance of the ocean, and therefore ocean literacy, cannot be overestimated. The ocean defines and dominates everything about our planet. It is home to most of the life on Earth, regulates our weather and climate, provides most of our oxygen, and feeds much of the human population. Dr Robin Raine, author and lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “This book will introduce students to important features of our ocean as well as harmful algal blooms. It will act as a resource for teachers to strengthen and promote science through the topic of marine science.” To confirm your attendance at the launch, please register at: www.eventbrite.ie/e/launch-of-harmful-algal-blooms-ibook-tickets-32407091483 For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley, School of Education, NUI Galway on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie. Other marine related resources are available on the project website at www.seachangeproject.eu -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

‘Italian Art and its Icons: The Past in the Present’ NUI Galway will host a one-day symposium on the legacy of the Italian Renaissance in contemporary culture on Thursday, 23 March. The symposium is being organised by NUI Galway’s Italian department in collaboration with 126 Artist-Run Gallery, TULCA Festival of Visual Art, MUS.E (Museums of Florence), the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin, and the University’s Moore Institute. ‘Italian Art and its Icons’ will begin with talks from Finola O’Kane Crimmins, UCD, and NUI Galway’s Professor Paolo Bartoloni and Professor Daniel Carey in the McKenna Lecture Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at 4pm. This will be followed at 7pm with talks by Valentina Zucchi, MUS.E and Michaele Cutaya, Writer and Editor, in 126 Artist-Run Gallery, St. Bridget’s Place, Galway City. Italian art and Florentine Renaissance particularly, have had an enduring influence over the years, and continue to attract the attention of contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Jan Fabre, Gaetano Pesce and ai weiwei. But what remains of the Renaissance in contemporary practices, and how does contemporary art engage and interact with iconic Renaissance spaces like the city of Florence? What form does Italian art and Renaissance take in Ireland, and where is this influence felt in the Irish landscape? These questions will be addressed by academics, curators, and cultural practitioners from Italy and Ireland. Local Italian restaurants and business including Mona Lisa, Il Vicolo, Basilico, Ciarlantini, cheese importer Grapecircus, and Thomas Woodberry Wines will contribute their food and experience of Italian cuisine as part of the symposium. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This event is an exciting example of creative engagement, bringing together the University, government organisations, and artistic curators, to inspire new and imaginative ways to rethink and reflect on European cultural heritage, as well as initiate cross-cultural dialogue.” The event is free to attend but places are limited. For catering purposes, attendees should register at https://italianartgalway.eventbrite.com. For further information email paolo.bartoloni@nuigalway.ie, andrea.ciribuco@nuigalway.ie or L.ELIVS1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A PhD student of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway was recently selected as Commander of Crew 172, an international mission for the Mars Desert Research Station, which supports Earth-based research required for human space exploration. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), owned and operated by the Mars Society, is a full-scale analog facility in Utah in the United States that supports Earth-based research in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human exploration on Mars. The extreme mission is not unlike the fictional story behind the 2016 Oscar nominated movie The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The Hollywood star plays astronaut Mark Watney who is left behind when an unexpected storm hits Mars, leaving him to engineer ways to feed himself and survive the harsh environment of Mars. Ilaria Cinelli, a PhD student in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway was selected as Emerging Space Leader of the Mars Mission thanks to her extracurricular activities in this field. Ms Cinelli led an international crew of six people under the constraints of a simulated Mars mission over four weeks. The unique facility in Utah is surrounded by terrain that is a geologic Mars analog, which offered Commander Cinelli and her crew opportunities for rigorous field studies as they would be conducted during an actual space mission. This study will lead to new insights into the nature and evolution of Mars, the Earth, and life on Mars. Commander Cinelli’s leadership role allowed her to measure the impact of human behaviour among her crew, brought about by living in such a confined environment and the loss of personal contact with family and friends. Ms Cinelli collected data-based research on the crew’s changing behaviour patterns throughout the mission. Due to monotony, loneliness, lack of social contacts, major responsibilities and stress, Ms Cinelli’s research observed a marked improvement in the crew’s performance in the development of successful strategies; increased confidence in performance; the ability to independently deal with complex problems; higher levels of inner emotional energy, a resistance to stress, increased internal control and social growth. Commenting on the Mars mission, Commander Cinelli said: “The purpose of this mission was to investigate the impact of isolation on human behaviour, performance and leadership. The Mars simulation experiment is aimed at increasing the physiological and technical autonomy of the crew in preparation for an actual long-term mission over a number of years. During these missions, the marsonauts are training to make full use of the available resources and independence of decision making from remote support. The MDRS is in the middle of the Utah desert and three hours away from the nearest town. Extreme conditions were created due to the limited amount of resources available such as food, water, electricity and WiFi. The mission was the first for most of the crew who had never experienced living in such an extreme environment before. They made great progress throughout the mission by stepping outside of their comfort zone, overcoming stress, increasing control and overall performance.” MDRS officially began operations in 2001 as a fully volunteer enterprise, which is now in its 16th field season. To date, over 1,000 people have participated as crew members at the habitat, and many are now involved in other analog studies at different locations around the world. For more information about The Mars Desert Research Station visit: http://mdrs.marssociety.org/ -Ends-

Monday, 6 March 2017

A new online platform, DASH (Driving All Students Home) has officially launched in Cork, Carlow and Galway and allows students to get taxis even when they have no cash, bank card or phone while ensuring the drivers are paid. DASH was invented by NUI Galway Business Information System student Richie Commins, who has now teamed up with four other NUI Galway students as part of their final year project to take projectdash.ie across the country. The team of students has launched a nationwide campaign where they aim to create an invisible network for students all over the country. After extensive testing in Galway, the app officially launched in the city last week. The project has gathered a lot of momentum in 2017 teaming up with many companies to make the service available where thousands of students have signed up. Students can sign up for free at www.projectdash.ie , upload an ID photo of themselves, add a bank card to pay for emergency taxis, and create a four-digit pin. The students then simply tell the taxi driver their name and Dash PIN number, which allows the driver to check their account on a driver app. Once the driver has verified the fare, the app then processes the payment upon arrival at the destination. Richie said: “It’s a very exciting time for DASH. We are in talks with some big organisations to release features that have never been seen before to really take student safety to the next level. The support we have received from third-level institutions and Student Union’s here in Galway and across the country has just been phenomenal, it’s really helping us connect with students nationwide.” The project is now rolling out nationwide over the coming weeks with the aim of seeing a decline in the amount of tragic incidents that may occur while students commute on foot late at night as a result of not having the means to avail of a taxi journey home. Daniel Khan, NUI Galway Student’s Union Welfare Officer, said: “This is a brilliant program that will help to increase the safety and well being of our students. Losing purses and wallets on nights out can be a common occurrence but thanks to this initiative students will still be able to get home safely.” An Garda Síochána will be supporting the initiative through their Campus Watch programme. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention, said: “The taxis that have integrated with DASH have really shown they care about students, and hopefully, all taxis will soon be branded with the safety DASH brings.” For further information on the initiative visit www.projectdash.ie/ or https://www.facebook.com/projectdash.ie/. -Ends-

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Discipline of Management in the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway will host an open information evening for its three highly regarded Masters programmes on Thursday, 9 March from 6pm. The information evening, which will take place in in CA118 in the Cairnes Building, will provide an opportunity for prospective students to meet the Programme Directors, faculty members and successful graduates now working in key roles in Google, Accenture and Qualtrics.  The MSc in Human Resource Management (HRM) is a one year full-time programme accredited by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD). The MSc HRM is designed to develop a thorough knowledge and applied competence in the fundamentals of human resource management and employment relations. Students learn the nature of work and explore human resource policy and practice in national and multinational organisations.  The programme includes an international study visit to Toulouse Business School in France.  The one year full-time award winning MSc in International Management (IM) provides students with in-depth knowledge and expertise in the principles and application of international business and management. The degree provides a solid foundation for a career in international management with multinational corporations, internationally-focused and newly internationalising domestic firms. The MSc IM includes an international study visit to Hong Kong.  The MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management (SIPM) focuses on three critical determinants of enterprise success and their interfaces. The MSc SIPM is an innovative programme designed and developed to meet graduate and employer needs in the globalised smart economy. It is one of only a small number of programmes accredited by the CIPD and is unique in focusing on other critical areas of management in addition to HRM. Dr Alma McCarthy, Head of the Management Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc programmes in HRM, IM and SIPM have been running for a number of years and we are very proud of the achievements of our graduates. Many of our graduates hold senior roles in leading international companies including Accenture, Google, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Intel and Amazon. Graduates also play key roles in national organisations including IBEC, Enterprise Ireland, the Civil Service and The Irish Times.”   Full details about each programme are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/taught/. For more information contact Gerry Campbell at 091 493771 or gerry.campbell@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Moore Institute at NUI Galway will hold a roundtable discussion ‘Where to from here?’ based on the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly Election The outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly election, taking place today (2 March), will be the subject of discussion and debate in a special event ‘Where to from here?’ being held in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway on Monday, 6 March at 12pm. The election, prompted by the scandal surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and the First Minister Arlene Foster, will reshape Northern Ireland politics. The resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness brought down the Assembly. McGuinness himself has not contested the election and has been replaced by Michelle O’Neill as Sinn Féin leader. NUI Galway academics with expertise in Northern Ireland politics, the peace process, and personal experience, will consider what happens next in this unique roundtable discussion. The panel includes Dr Rebecca Barr, Lecturer of English, School of Humanities; Dr Brendan Flynn, Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology; Dr Laurence Marley, Lecturer in History, School of Humanities; Dr Kate Quinn, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Senior Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology; and Dr Kerry Sinanan, Visiting Research Fellow at the Moore Institute. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “The departure of figures like Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson has changed the landscape of politics in the North. It remains to be seen how Arlene Foster will contend with the heating scandal. With Brexit looming, the issue of a hard or soft border, and trade tariffs, there is much that lies in wait for the new Assembly.” The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Moore Institute, Seminar Room G010 in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

‘LaunchLab’ is aimed at aspiring student entrepreneurs Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway formally opened LaunchLab this week. LaunchLab is a multidisciplinary experiential learning space that supports a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship through interaction, innovation and incubation.  LaunchLab hosts a series of laboratories aimed at enabling aspiring student entrepreneurs to advance their skills in various domains. The first programmes running in LaunchLab are a ‘Fintech Lab’ and ‘Social Simulation’ with the programme planning to expand to an ideation lab later in 2017. The Fintech Lab and Social Simulation will run training programs to enable students to develop a core set of skills in advanced analytics and simulation techniques across Fintech and social simulations. The labs are unique in that they are delivered in a peer-to-peer environment by students from Physics, Mathematics, Economics and Finance. Students are trained using the technologies and systems and then deliver content to peer groups on a weekly basis. Scientific lead and lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, Dr Raghav Srinivas said: “In the technology led big-data driven growth of financial and business sectors, the global competition demands for hybrid and multi-skilled workforce. In this reality, academic disciplines can’t afford to operate in silos and it is imperative to find creative ways to collaborate and provide students with a broader set of interdisciplinary skill capabilities. The training programs envisaged in the FinTech and Social simulation labs are a modest attempt in this direction to develop interdisciplinary skill capacity in analytics, simulation and computing for students in NUI Galway.” The Fintech Lab: Blackstone LaunchPad and PERACTON® have partnered to offer this unique programme for NUI Galway. The Fintech lab works at the intersection of entrepreneurship and Fintech. The programme uses PERACTON® financial analytics platform (MAARS) to train students in risk assessment, algorithmic trading and portfolio management using diverse instruments of stocks, bonds and ETFs. PERACTON’s back-testing suite powered by Python will be used to train students to develop their own novel trading strategies. The goal of the course is to prepare the students for the future economic realities where machines will monitor and control financial markets in an uncontested manner. Additionally, a highly experimental sentiment data generated by SSIX EU H2020 project (https://ssix-project.eu/) will be available in Peracton's MAARS algorithmic platform towards the end of the course, so the students can take into account the social network's sentiments with regards to stocks and add them to their algorithmic strategies. The Social Simulation Lab: The Social Simulation training program trains students in Social System simulation using large scale models run on Python. Students will be trained in simulating social models of choice, competition, conflict and cooperation using multi-level, multi-agent systems employing range of techniques, including game-theoretic techniques. The aim of this program is to enable students with interdisciplinary analytical skills to explore the complexities of social systems. Laurentiu Vasiliu, Peracton's founder and CEO says: “Overwhelmingly, computer driven algorithms are now the main actors in financial markets. The financial industry is starting to come to terms that algo-trading and investment is now the norm. Therefore, students nowadays have to be prepared for such reality and with our MAARS platform we are helping them to adapt and thrive in such a globally competitive market.”  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research and the Blackstone LaunchPad Administrative Leader at NUI Galway outlined how all of these core elements are fundamental to the success of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway: “Our campus community is growing with over 3,000 students using Blackstone LaunchPad in just over a year. Interdisciplinarity, innovation and engagement are at the heart of Blackstone LaunchPad’s philosophy and it is fantastic to see this programme flourish on campus.” -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

NUI Galway has received the archive of Flynn and Lehany Coal Mining Company Limited as a gift from the Flynn family. Its archive, one of a very small number on mining in Ireland, is a significant source of information about the mining industry, State energy policy, the operation of the company and the social and economic history of the mines at Arigna. The Flynn and Lehany Company operated the coal mine of Glackaundareagh, Altygowlan, in the central part of the Kilronan Mountain in Co. Roscommon from its foundation in 1949, and subsequently at Gubbarudda. The company worked on contracts with hospitals and other public buildings through the 1950s, and it was a supplier to the coal-burning ESB power station at Arigna after that station was built in 1958. The power station closed in 1989 and the site is now a quarry operated by Hillstreet Quarries Ltd. The company operated at a time of great social change in rural Ireland, including rural electrification and the modernisation of Irish industry through the 1960s and 1970s. As the record of a commercial mining company in Ireland in the later twentieth century this collection is unique, and offers unparalleled insights into production processes, as well as financial management and the impact of the industry on the locality. There are only two other collections, both housed at the National Library of Ireland, relating to coal mining in Ireland and each of those relates to the nineteenth century. This archive is also of particular value in its inclusion of the mine owner’s experience. The archive itself consists of a very full record of the industry, covering the establishment of the company, as well as material relating to production, personnel and distribution. There are reports and correspondence with the various regulatory bodies associated with mineral rights, as well as technical manuals for the machinery used in the plant. There is also material relating to the Hewitson and Lawder estates in the Arigna area. It includes details of lands purchased by the Flynn family from the estates under the auspices of the Irish Land Commission, some as early as the 1890s. Other highlights are records of tonnage, giving amounts mined per employee, and a letter from the company and workforce to John Hume making a donation to the Bloody Sunday Appeal Fund. Father Tomás Flynn and Denis Flynn have acted on behalf of the Flynn family in generously donating the archive to NUI Galway. They are first cousins whose fathers, Thomas and Michael Flynn, were involved in establishing the company. Denis Flynn is Managing Director of Hillstreet Quarries Ltd and Fr Tomás Flynn is Parish Priest in Drumcong, Co. Leitrim, and author of a recently published book titled Thomas J. Devine and The Election of the Snows: The North Roscommon By-Election of 1917. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway values its archival collections as a major resource for the scholars of today and tomorrow. The donation of the Flynn and Lehany coal mining archive represents a very significant addition to our collections, and the University is much indebted to the Flynn family.” Father Tomás Flynn commented: “Our family is delighted that NUI Galway will be the home of the Flynn and Lehany Archive and that this collection will be used for educational purposes.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “The Flynn and Lehany archive adds to the regional coverage of our collections and is of great value given the enduring interest in the Arigna mines. It sits well with the John McGahern archive in particular.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Minister of Natural Resources, Seán Kyne T.D., will participate in a high-profile panel discussion at NUI Galway that will explore Ireland’s response to the Paris Climate Accord. The discussion is part of NUI Galway’s Energy Night, the seventh instalment of Ireland’s first and largest student-run energy event, which will take place on Wednesday, 8 March in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway. Energy Night 2017, which is organised by the University’s student-run Energy Society, will begin at 5pm with a ‘Careers in Energy’ seminar for students. Speakers from Accenture, ESB, Medtronic, and the Coffey Group will deliver presentations on their current projects and employment opportunities in Galway, Ireland and beyond. At 6pm, a poster display will showcase the wide array of cutting edge energy research currently underway at NUI Galway. This year for the first time, the showcase will include winners of an energy poster competition for Galway secondary schools. A panel discussion will take place at 7pm with the theme Achieving the Paris Agreement; the framework agreed upon by the international community to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting the global temperature rise to below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels. The public are invited to attend and participate through an audience Q&A session. In addition to Minister Kyne, panellists include Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc and Denis O’Sullivan, Head of Commercial at Gas Networks Ireland. The moderator for the event is Dr Diarmuid Torney, Lecturer in International Relations, Dublin City University, and author of European Climate Leadership in Question: Policies toward China and India. The discussion will attempt to reconcile emissions reductions targets with projections for growth in the Irish economy in general, and in agriculture specifically. Lee-Ann Coughlan, NUI Galway Engineering student and Events Officer with the Energy Society, said: “This year’s Energy Night promises to build on the success of the past six years events and maintain its legacy as Ireland’s largest student-run energy event. We would like to thank our sponsors Accenture Ireland, Bank of Ireland, the Ryan Institute for Marine, Environmental and Energy Research at NUI Galway, and the Science Foundation Ireland-backed Marine and Renewable Energy Research Centre (MaREI).” Dr Rory Monaghan, Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Climate Change and the decarbonisation of energy are the defining challenges of our age. Our actions in the next five years will determine how successful we are likely to be in addressing them over the following 100.” The event is free of charge and all are welcome. For more information including a detailed schedule of events follow @EnergySocNUIG on Twitter or on Facebook at Energy Night 2017. For more information contact Laura Dennehy at energy@socs.nuigalway.ie, 0877559539. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

200 hundred couples and 1,000 individual parents are sought to take part in online study to understand the effects on families caring for children with non-physical disabilities NUI Galway has launched an international online ‘Couples Coping’ study for parents of children with non-physical disabilities. The research will be carried out throughout Ireland, the UK and the US until April 2017, and the researchers are particularly keen for couples in Ireland to participate in the survey. Dr Kristen Maglieri and Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are recruiting couples to complete the online research study, exploring how parents in a relationship (married or unmarried) cope with the daily stresses of raising a child with a disability. The disabilities of interest include Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or genetic disorders such as Fragile X, Down Syndrome or Angelman Syndrome.  Dr Kristen Maglieri from NUI Galway, said: “We are looking for 200 couples and 1,000 individual parents to take part in our study in Ireland. Most of the previous research on these stresses on families has focused on how individual parents cope, and the vast majority of the respondents have been mums. To us, it just seemed like there was a big piece of the puzzle missing. We need to understand how dads cope and also how mums and dads cope together in a family system.” As one might expect, parents of children with disabilities experience more daily stress on average than parents of typically developing children. Long-term exposure to daily stress can impact a person’s physical and emotional health. As our physical and emotional health gets worse, it can impact marital satisfaction, life satisfaction, and outcomes for children.   Dr Maglieri added, “It is clear that families of children with disabilities confront significant challenges, but it’s also clear that these families do not all experience the same level of stress. We are trying to find out what makes the difference. By understanding how resilient families cope well with stress, we can hopefully learn how to help all other families to do so.” Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, commented: “Parenting a child with a disability can be rewarding, but also extremely stressful. We know that parent stress can often impact negatively on the entire family system, and so reducing parent stress will help produce better outcomes for everybody in the family. To date, much of what we know about the impact on parents is anecdotal. We want this research to shine a light on the specific life experiences of parents.” The online questionnaire is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/parentcoping and takes 30 minutes to complete. Parents can also request a paper copy of the survey. Each parent independently completes the questionnaire. One parent can participate, even if their partner does not wish to do so. This study is for parents who have children or adult children living at home with non-physical disabilities. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Alice Perry (1885-1969) was the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn a degree in Engineering A ceremony to mark the official naming of the Alice Perry Engineering Building will take place at NUI Galway on Monday, 6 March 2017. Alice Perry, a graduate of the then Queen’s College Galway, was the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn a degree in engineering in 1906. As part of the naming ceremony Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland will give an address on the theme of diversity in engineering. The naming of the building is the culmination of a series of activities focusing on equality and diversity in Engineering at NUI Galway’s award-winning Engineering building.  The events include a public exhibition featuring exciting research projects underway at NUI Galway and a Roundtable Symposium: Full STE(A)M Ahead - Engineering for all: supporting engineering talent and diversity for a better society to be chaired by TV and radio broadcaster Jonathan McCrea. Another important element of the event is the launch of the Máire Brazil Scholarship. This scholarship will encourage and support talented female students to develop careers in Engineering.  It has been established by distinguished engineering alumna of NUI Galway Áine Brazil through Galway University Foundation. The events form part of the Engineers Week programme of events (4-10 March) celebrating engineering in Ireland and Women’s History Month.    Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said in advance of the ceremony: “We are delighted to collaborate with Engineers Ireland on this important event during Engineers Week. This week in NUI Galway is also being celebrated as International Women’s Week. We are enormously proud of Alice Perry and what her life’s work symbolises. Decisions on career paths are shaped by the world around us.  Having a visible tribute to the achievements of trailblazers like Alice Perry on campus can serve to both recognise an individual legacy and also to inspire the next generation when they make their own career decisions.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway commented: “This is a fantastic development for Engineering at NUI Galway and a clear demonstration of our commitment to equality of opportunity, education and career development. It is most appropriate that we should name the Engineering Building for one of our most notable and pioneering alumni, with Alice Perry being the first female engineering graduate in the UK and Ireland. I believe that this an extremely positive and progressive decision by the University, and it should serve as an inspiration to all students as to the wonderfully rich and diverse career opportunities open to both men and women in the engineering domain.” Alice Perry will feature in the Path-Breaking Women of NUI Galway exhibition, which will take place on campus in March 2017. For further details see: www.nuigalway.ie/pathbreakingwomen. ENDS

Monday, 27 February 2017

Galway Film Centre and CÚRAM, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, are pleased to announce the return of Science on Screen, a funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science. The Science on Screen project will 100% fund one 26 minute film with a budget of €35,000. The film will be based around an area of research currently underway in CÚRAM and this research will be presented at an information session on Friday March 10th in NUI Galway. The session will take place from 11am to 1.30pm in CÚRAM, at the Biomedical Sciences Building at NUI Galway. Following presentations, there will also be a short networking session where filmmakers and scientists get to meet informally and begin the journey telling stories through science. In 2016, the Science on Screen scheme, supported by the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) Discover Call, enabled the production of two films, Feats of Modest Valour, a touching portrait of three individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and the scientists who are developing a new medical device, which could potentially halt or even cure the disease; and Mending Legends, which looks at the devastating effects of tendon injury on sports people and the team of scientists who are working to form the world’s first 3D cell assembled tendon prototype. (Film trailers below). As well as pitches from the scientists and information on how to apply for the scheme, it will also include a panel with speakers from RTÉ, TG4, the Galway Film Fleadh and the SFI discussing avenues of distribution open to these films. Interested filmmakers are invited to register for this event via Eventbrite. For further information, please email scienceonscreen@galwayfilmcentre.ie or call 091 770 748, or visit http://www.galwayfilmcentre.ie/category/science-on-screen/. -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Four NUI Galway based programmes will engage over 40,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2017 Four NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €250,000 through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, as announced by the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D. The initiatives, which will improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) in the West of Ireland and across the country, will engage over 40,000 members of the public in 2017. ‘Cell EXPLORERS’ is a science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities regionally and nationally, led by Dr Muriel Grenon. It uses a unique model, originally developed in NUI Galway, for sustainable science public engagement in ten Universities and Institutes of Technology around Ireland. The programme uses hands-on activities and local scientists to engage the public in the importance of science in society with a diverse set of activities, including school visits and science festival workshops. More information can be found at www.cellexplorers.com. ‘Genetic Testing: Engaging the West of Ireland’ aims to engage students and members of the public in the West of Ireland in reflection and conversation about genetics and genetic testing. It combines an exhibition on genetics, ethics and society with activities on genetic testing with secondary school students, women and other interested groups. The project will run throughout 2017, led by Dr Heike Felzmann in the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at NUI Galway. ‘Bright Club’ is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using humour to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public. The night has been running across Ireland for two years, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. ‘ReelLIFE SCIENCE’ is a nationwide video competition for primary schools, secondary schools and community groups which, since being launched in 2013 by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, has enabled thousands of students across Ireland to engage with STEM by communicating a topic (e.g. ‘Science and Me’, ‘How Things Work’ and ‘Science in Space’) via a three-minute video. The videos are screened at the Galway Science and Technology Festival each year and are available online at www.reellifescience.com. Nationally, a total of 120 applications were received by Science Foundation Ireland for Discover Programme funding, and 44 initiatives were selected through rigorous international peer-review for a combined investment of €2.8 million. Speaking at the announcement event in Kilmainham Hospital, Director of Strategy and Communications for Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ruth Freeman, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support these important education and public engagement programmes, which will engage and inspire people in the West of Ireland with the endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering and maths. Activities like these can ignite a passion for discovery and, for some, can also be a first-step in exploring a future career in these exciting subject areas.” -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Irish cancer patients with multiple myeloma are the first in the world to be treated with a new potentially life-saving drug combination Irish patients with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ are the first patients worldwide to take part in a new drug trial to develop more effective treatment for the cancer. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In multiple myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. These can produce an excess of a single antibody which is harmful and stops the blood from working properly. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. This innovative Phase 1 clinical trial being led by researchers at NUI Galway will investigate for the first time, whether the addition of a new multiple myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has recently been approved for treating relapsed patients. This new trial is the first study worldwide to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide and will determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) has already recruited the first six patients at University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital and the study will soon be extended to BCNI centres in Dublin, thereby giving multiple myeloma patients nationwide access to the trial. BCNI is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. Notably this clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by BCNI. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals which show that Cyclophosphamide treatment can potentially make DARA more effective. It represents a bench-to-bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. This is the first cancer clinical trial to be sponsored by NUI Galway on behalf of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and it demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting clinical cancer research. Irish patients on this trial will receive additional benefits, including state of the art monitoring and access to this new treatment free of charge. Commenting on the new trial, Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, lead investigator and Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway, said: “It is an exciting time for blood cancer research in Ireland. This new trial, a first for BCNI, is another step forward in developing new treatment options for patients living with multiple myeloma. The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. The successful launch of the study is a testament to our shared commitment to finding better treatment options for patients through clinical trials.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, welcomed this new Phase 1 clinical trial and praised the work of researchers linked to Blood Cancer Network Ireland: “This latest clinical trial highlights the importance of investing in world class innovative and potentially life-changing Irish cancer research and we hope that the patients taking part will help identify even more improvements in care and outcomes for this disease. The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. Ireland has many world class cancer researchers but it’s only through the public’s generous donations that we can continue to invest in such vital cancer research. For that, we thank the public, and hope that they can continue to support us this Daffodil Day, March 24.” The past two decades have seen major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma with approval of several new treatments resulting in a doubling in survival over this period.  Carefully conducted clinical trials based on bench-to-bedside research have been critical for these developments. This trial exemplifies this approach and is an important contribution by Irish researchers and patients to the global fight against multiple myeloma. For more information on the study please visit www.bloodcancers.ie or www.clinicaltrials.gov (search: NCT02955810). If you would like to refer a patient or have any queries please contact Amanda Bray, the National Research Coordinator for BCNI by email at amanda.bray@nuigalway.ie or contact BCNI@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Project coordinated by NUI Galway, releases new findings on cell communication leading to further research into treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes The Horizon 2020 funded project TrainERS coordinated by NUI Galway, has released new findings on how communication is coordinated between the inside and outside of a cell. The discovery is set to open up new avenues for further research into treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. The discovery was made by researchers at the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy at the University of Leuven in Belgium. TrainERS is being coordinated by Professor Afshin Samali, CÚRAM Researcher and Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC) at NUI Galway. The findings were published in the scientific journal Molecular Cell of which Professor Samali and his colleagues in Belgium are co-authors. Proteins such as insulin are properly formed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), one of the biggest membrane structures in the cell. The ER works like an assembly line and folds the proteins into a three-dimensional shape that is essential for them to function. When there is a problem in the ‘protein folding assembly line’, the accumulation of misfolded proteins can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. PERK, an enzyme known to detect protein folding errors in the cell has now also been revealed to coordinate the communication between the inside and the outside of the cell, and is an essential component of this protein folding factory. Commenting on the new findings, Professor Afshin Samali of NUI Galway said: “This is an extremely exciting step forward for any researcher involved in understanding the ER stress response mechanistically and quantitatively. I would like to congratulate the researchers involved and look forward to more exciting developments to come out of the TrainERS programme.” Patrizia Agostinis, Alex van Vliet, and other team members at the University of Leuven discovered the additional function of PERK. “This protein is known to play a crucial role in maintaining endoplasmic reticulum functions and restoring them if necessary. When PERK detects protein folding errors in the ER it prompts the nucleus of the cell to take action”, explains Patrizia Agostinis, head of the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy in the University of Leuven.  “We found that PERK also coordinates the communication between the protein folding factory (the ER) and the skin of the cell (the plasma membrane). When the protein folding factory detects low calcium levels, the plasma membrane needs to let calcium flow back in. Calcium is crucial for the proper functioning of the protein folding factory where the calcium is stored, and for the overall health of the cell. This is where PERK comes in: the protein establishes contact between the two cell components so that they can work together to restore the calcium level”, added Ms Agostinis. Mr Alex van Vliet from the University of Leuven added, “This entire process, which is regulated by PERK, takes place in a matter of minutes or even seconds. That is one of the reasons why it went unnoticed until now. We used a new method to reveal the underlying mechanism, and were surprised to find that PERK can control the movement of the ER towards the plasma membrane by modifying the skeleton of the cell.” The project is funded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and by TrainERS, an innovation training network funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Alex van Vliet received funding from the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The TrainERS consortium is coordinated by NUI Galway with partners University of Bordeaux, Goethe-University Frankfurt, University of Leuven, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Vienna, Imperial College London, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, University of Gothenburg and Randox Teoranta. To read the full research paper in Molecular Cell visit:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276517300461 -Ends-