Thursday, 5 January 2012

One of Ireland’s leading scientists working in the field of stem cell therapy is to receive the 2012 Marshall R. Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research. Professor Frank Barry, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is to be given the award by the Orthopaedic Research Society. This is the first time the award will go a scientist working outside of the US. The Marshall R. Urist, MD Award was created in 1996 and is sponsored by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This prestigious award honours an investigator who has established him/herself as a cutting-edge researcher in tissue regeneration research, and has done so with a sustained ongoing body of focused research in the area of tissue regeneration as it relates to the musculoskeletal system. The award is named after Dr Marshall R. Urist (1914-2001) who carried out pioneering studies on bone induction and the identification of bone morphogenetic protein, or BMP, which revolutionised orthopaedic medicine.  Harry A. McKellop, Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee of the Orthopaedic Research Society, said: “The Urist Award honours investigators who have made significant contributions to research in tissue regeneration. It is presented to Professor Barry in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of cell mediated therapies in bone and joint repair, and the impact of his research on improving the understanding of tissue regeneration and joint metabolism.” Professor Frank Barry, who is from Cobh, Co.Cork, moved to the US in 1990 to work with Osiris Therapeutics, based in Baltimore, which is now one of the leading companies engaged in the development of stem cell therapies. In 2004 he moved back to Ireland, as Scientific Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, a role he continues to hold. He took over as Director of NCBES in 2009, and oversees 70 academic investigators and 300 researchers as they develop innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions in the areas of Biomedical Engineering, Cancer, Neuroscience, and Regenerative Medicine. Commenting on the announcement, Professor Barry said: “It is an extraordinary honour for me personally to receive this award and I am very grateful to the Orthopaedic Research Society for recognising the research I have been involved in over the last number of years. I am fully aware that research of this nature involves teams of scientists and I have been very fortunate to work with many talented and innovative researchers in the US and especially now at NUI Galway.” The Marshall R. Urist Award includes an honorarium of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque, which will be presented to Professor Barry during the 2012 Annual Meeting of the ORS in San Francisco, on 6 February. Professor Barry will join the company of previous distinguished recipients, including Drs. Ernesto Canalis, A. Hari Redi, Arnold Caplan, Richard Coutts, Thomas Einhorn, Steven Goldstein, Rocky Tuan, Farshid Guilak, Chris Evans, Vicky Rosen and Jay Lieberman.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The next talk in the NUI Galway public talk series on Sports Technology will take place on Tuesday, 17 January at 6pm. Entitled A score or not a score – that is the question! Score detection and other technologies in Gaelic games, soccer and other field sport, the talk will be delivered by Liam Kilmartin, Lecturer with the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. According to Liam Kilmartin: “From Geoff Hurst in 1966 to Frank Lampard in 2010, the inability to determine whether valid goals have been scored in soccer has generated much press and debate. Similar discourse has erupted at times in GAA circles particularly relating to hurling where determination of valid point scores is often even more challenging due to the speed and height of the sliotar.” The talk will initially focus on the challenge of score detection in a number of sports, and will examine technologies which have been proposed for use in both soccer and Gaelic sports, ranging from a prototype system developed for the GAA in the late 1990s to contemporary systems such as Hawkeye and other candidates for ‘goal line technology’ currently being considered by FIFA. The second half of the talk will examine in a broader sense how modern communication and sensor technology is being used in team sports such as soccer, GAA, Australian football and rugby to aid in monitoring player performance both in training and during actual games. The final portion of the talk will examine possible future technologies which could help with player’s mental focus, possibly determining when they are in the zone and hence ready mentally to perform at an optimal level. Liam Kilmartin, an NUI Galway Engineering graduate, has been a Lecturer in Electronic Engineering at the University since 1994. His research interests include signal and image processing algorithms and applications and wireless and mobile communication technology. He was one of two Principle Investigators on a GAA/Enterprise Ireland (formerly Forbairt) co-funded project which ran from 1998 to 2002. The project focused on the development of technology to facilitate automated score detection in hurling. In recent years, his research interests have also focussed on how advanced technologies such as GPS, wireless communications and signal analysis can be applied to maximise athletes’ physical and mental conditioning. The free public talk will take place in room ENG-3035 in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway. The series of Sports Technology talks is being organised as part of NUI Galway’s degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering, whose students are being educated to design the next generation of sports and exercise systems and devices. For more information on the Sports Technology talks, which are supported by Engineers Ireland (West), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, visit www.ExerciseEngineering.com or call 091 492728.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

NUI Galway is pleased to announce the launch of a new computer training initiative aimed at people categorised as digitally excluded. Working in partnership with Limerick Community Connect, DCU and Age Action Ireland, NUI Galway will deliver basic computer training to 400 people between January and June of 2012. ‘Click & Connect’ is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and will be delivered by the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway. All training will be provided without charge. Experienced tutors will introduce learners to the very basics of computers and teach them computer activities such as: surfing the web, setting up and using email, how to download photographs, how to access Government information on-line. Classes will be small and will be carried out in local, non-formal learning settings. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, stated that there are thousands of people living in Ireland today who have been left behind when it comes to the internet. Referring to the new computer training initiative he said: “Older people will particularly benefit, as will unemployed people and disadvantaged groups in the Galway region. These people miss out on opportunities most people take for granted.  For example, those not yet online cannot send emails, do internet searches for products or information, or conduct Government transactions online.” NUI Galway has designed training material suitable for beginners, with plenty of support and encouragement from the volunteer tutors. The training provided will be very basic and is intended as practical guidance for people with no prior experience of computers and the internet. Classes will be just two hours duration over three consecutive weeks and are a great opportunity to be part of this amazing digital world. If you would like more information on NUI Galway’s ‘Click and Connect’, or to register for the classes, please contact the co-ordinator Trish O’Connell in the Discipline of Information Technology at 087-0571967 or e-mail her at clickandconnect@nuigalway. Training begins the week of 16 January. ENDS

Monday, 9 January 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Enniskillen on Thursday, 19 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Kellyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.  The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Fermanagh, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Enniskillen is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Enniskillen, contact Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Professor Emeritus in History have been appointed by President Michael D. Higgins to sit on the Council of State. Judge Catherine McGuinness, Adjunct Professor of Law has also been nominated by the President. Other nominees include Mr Michael Farrell, Professor Deirdre Heenan, Mr Ruairí McKiernan and Ms Sally Mulready. Professor Gerard Quinn Professor Gerard Quinn is the Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the NUI Galway School of Law.  The Centre is part of a new Lifecourse Policy Research Institute at the University which researches policy innovation covering age, child and family as well as disability.  He is a graduate of UCG (BA, LL.B.), was called to the Irish Bar in 1983 and holds a masters (LL.M.) and doctorate in law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School.  His specialization is international and comparative disability law and policy. Professor Quinn led the delegation of Rehabilitation International (RI) at the UN Working Group that elaborated the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  He has worked in the European Commission and held a number of posts such as Director of Research at the Law Reform Commission and First Vice President of the European Committee of Social Rights (Council of Europe).  He is a former member of the Irish Human Rights Commission.  He voluntarily participates on a number of international boards dealing with disability law and policy issues. Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh is Professor Emeritus in History and former Dean of Arts and Vice-President of NUI Galway. A former member of the Senate of the NUI and of the Irish-US Fulbright Commission, and a former Cathaoirleach of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Professor Ó Tuathaigh has published widely – in Irish and English – on many aspects of modern Irish history. Judge Catherine McGuinness Judge Catherine McGuinness was called to the Bar in 1977 and to the Inner Bar in 1989.  She was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1979-82 and was a previous member of the Council of State from 1988-90. She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court from 1994-1996, of the High Court from 1996-2000 and of the Supreme Court from 2000-2006. From 2005-2011, she was President of the Law Reform Commission. She is currently the Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway. Michael Farrell Michael Farrell is the senior solicitor with Free Legal Advice Centres. He was involved in the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland and is a former co-chairperson of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.  Michael was a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission from 2001 until last year and is currently the Irish member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.  He is also a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society.Professor Deirdre Heenan Deirdre Heenan is Provost and Dean of Academic Development for the University of Ulster’s Magee Campus, where she a member of the Senior Management Team. She was appointed to a Lectureship in Policy Studies at the University of Ulster in 1995 and became a Professor in 2007.   Professor Heenan is a co-founder and former co-director of the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey which has become a key statistical resource for schools, academics and policy makers.  Her particular areas of expertise are devolution, education and social care. In 2008-9 Deirdre spent nine-months working as a policy adviser in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. Last year she was appointed by Health Minister, Edwin Poots, to join the five strong panel of advisers to assist with the Review of Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland. Ruairí McKiernan Ruairí McKiernan is a community activist and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of the national youth organisation SpunOut.ie. He is also a founder and organiser of the Possibilities 2011 Social Summit. Ruairí is a business graduate and is a recipient of numerous awards including a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award, a Net Visionary Award, and a Junior Chambers International Award.  After 8 years as CEO of SpunOut.ie, he recently stepped down to develop new social innovations. Sally Mulready Sally Mulready has made a huge contribution to the Irish emigrant community in Britain over many decades. She was born in Dublin and moved to Hackney, London with her mother in the 1970s.  Sally is a local Labour councillor in the London Borough of Hackney since 1997. In her former capacity as the Secretary of the Federation of Irish Societies, Sally was involved in securing the Irish Government’s agreement for the creation and funding of five Survivor Outreach Services in Britain.  She is also a founder member of the Irish Women’s Survivors Network and Director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network.  Sally was prominently involved in the campaign to free the Birmingham Six and is currently active in the Magdalene Laundries issue.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

NUI Galway will host two CAO Information Days on Thursday, 19and Friday, 20 January in the Arts Millennium Building on campus. These drop in sessionsare specific to mature students aged 23 (or over) who may not have had the opportunity of participating in third level studies previously and who are now considering embarking on this new journey. The information sessions will take place from 10am to 4pm each day. Information will be provided on all full-time degrees available to mature students at NUI Galway, the entry requirements for each degree and on how to fill your CAO application correctly and on the selection process itself.  There will also be a focus on financial and other supports within the University during your time as a student. NUI Galway advises all mature students to apply through the CAO system, which has a closing deadline for applications of Wednesday, 1 February, 2012.  In particular, mature Arts applicants should note that the MSAP Exam (Mature Students Admissions Pathway Exam) is required for entry to programmes in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees. Mature applicants for Arts degrees must apply firstly through the CAO before 1 February and then register on-line for the MSAP exam at http://www.msap.acer.edu.au/ The MSAP exam will take place on Saturday, 18 February, 2012 at testing centres nationwide. A short talk providing information on the MSAP exam and tips on how to prepare and register for the exam will take place from 1pm to 1.30pm on both days of NUI Galway’s CAO advisory sessions. Trish Hoare, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, has noticed a growing interest in returning to formal study: “With the economic downturn, many are looking to develop new employment opportunities by studying for a degree. However it is imperative that prospective students know how to apply correctly through the CAO, deadlines of application and are aware of assessments involved for some degree programmes.” Speaking in advance of the advisory sessions, current mature student at NUI Galway Caroline Gorman, said: “My return to college first started with the NUI Galway Commerce Foundation course in 2009.  Successfully completing this course gave me both the opportunity and confidence to start a full time degree.  Thanks to the skills I learned through the part time access course, I found it much easier to make the transition into full time education, and subsequently succeed in my exams.  I’ve just begun the second year of my BComm degree, and I love every minute of it!  I would encourage anyone thinking of studying Commerce as a mature student to take full advantage of these fantastic courses and of the advisory sessions, and to explore the possibilities which they can create for the future.” ENDS

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The full text of the ‘red book’, intermediary Brendan Duddy’s handwritten account of the 1981 hunger strike negotiations, has now been made available online by the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway where the document is held as part of the Brendan Duddy Archive. A transcript of the handwritten diary, originally created in 2001 by a relative of Brendan Duddy’s in consultation with him, has also been placed online. The documents, when set alongside the recently released official papers from the UK National Archives, and the Republican account originally outlined in the book ‘Ten Men Dead’, add significantly to our knowledge of the 1981 hunger strike negotiations. Commenting on this announcement, Dr Niall O Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Politics at NUI Galway, said: “This fractured and occasionally very personal handwritten record provides us with a sense of the intensity of these contacts and the biting tensions at this intersection between the British government and the Provisional Republican leadership. It provides an informal record of these contacts from the perspective of the intermediary that adds significantly to our understanding of the dynamics of these backchannel negotiations. It highlights in particular the importance of struggles over deadlines and the timing of moves by both parties.” Deposited at NUI Galway in 2009, the papers of Brendan Duddy provide a unique insight into the resolution of the ‘Troubles’. The archive includes coded diaries of contact as well as messages exchanged between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership. The Duddy papers are directly related to the papers of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, former President of Sinn Féin, which are also held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Together these archives constitute one of the most important sources for understanding the attempts to resolve conflict in Ireland that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, noted: "The James Hardiman Library is pleased to provide wider access to this important document by making it available online as part of our digitisation initiatives." Research on the papers involves collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology and the University of Ulster’s International Conflict Research Centre (INCORE) Documents can be viewed at: archives.library.nuigalway.ie/duddy/

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research at NUI Galway, in partnership with Autism Speaks and The American Ireland Fund, Launch the First International Autism Conference in Ireland The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research, in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, in partnership with Autism Speaks, Galway University Foundation and The American Ireland Fund, are delighted to announce their first international conference, "Autism Spectrum Disorder: from Clinical Practice to Educational Provision," which began today, Thursday 12 January and Friday, 13 January 2012.THE conference continues tomorrow when Minister of Health, Dr James Reilly TD will address an audience of over 600 researchers, healthcare professionals, teachers, and parents from around the world. The conference will unveil the latest research on early diagnosis of autism and will focus on providing practical solutions and approaches to diagnosis, clinical management, education, and adult service provision. “This is a tremendous example of transatlantic cooperation to tackle one of the most demanding and complex issues affecting millions of families worldwide,” said Kieran McLoughlin, CEO of the American Ireland Fund.  “The partnership between Autism Speaks and NUI Galway and the willing support of our donors is a wonderfully tangible expression of the depth of Irish-American relations.” International experts from the fields of health and education will discuss best practices, from diagnosis to intervention. Experts include Professor Connie Kasari from the Centre for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA; Professor Cathy Lord, Director of the Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital Institute for Brain Development; Professor Richard Foxx of Penn State University; and Professor Helen McConachie of Newcastle University.   “We are delighted to be hosting such distinguished international experts,” said Conference organiser and lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway, Dr Geraldine Leader. “It is only through the use of the latest up-to-date evidence based practices that we can ensure best outcomes for all individuals on the autism spectrum.” Parents of autistic children have been invited to attend and participate in workshops on early intervention and caring for children on the autism spectrum. Adrian Jones, a parent of an autistic child, a board member of Autism Speaks and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, welcomed the conference. “Our family has been dealing with autism since we got Liam's diagnosis 10 years ago, during which time we have been fortunate to benefit from the insight and guidance of experts in the field,” Jones said.  “We've seen the impact that Autism Speaks has had in generating awareness throughout the US, and the tangible benefits to families of its many programme initiatives. We hope the insights of global experts at this conference will accelerate improvements in care for Irish children and adults with autism.” Virginia Bovell, co-founder of the Tree House School in London, will speak about her longtime campaign for autism services in England. Bovell will share stories of raising her son Danny, who is on the spectrum, and discuss her experience in the context of the wider policy and intellectual environment. The conference workshops will highlight new technologies and practical strategies for managing challenges faced in schools for helping children on the autism spectrum. They will discuss treating associated medical conditions, and present the latest research on early signs of autism and the use of medication for people on the autism spectrum. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne said the conference highlights NUI Galway’s commitment to autism research and underscores the translational dimension of the University’s work.  “With over 600 parents, professionals and support workers present to learn from best international practice, we are bringing our research-led teaching from the clinic to classroom and back again,” Browne said. “This conference will be an important landmark for many families affected by autism.” The Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research at NUI Galway will be officially launched by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins on Friday, 24 February. For further information on the conference, or to register, visit www.conference.ie. ENDS

Monday, 16 January 2012

NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will continue its 2011/2012 programme of open evenings at its Imbusch Observatory in Dangan. The Observatory provides state-of-the-art observing facilities for NUI Galway's astrophysics students and the open evenings are an opportunity for the general public to come in and visit. Weather permitting, the free open evenings will take place at 7pm on 25 January, 8 and 22 February, and 7 March. An informative hour-long lecture will be followed by a hands-on viewing of the sky by night, weather permitting. The Imbusch Astronomical Observatory was opened in 2004 and is used by students studying Physics and Astronomy at NUI Galway. The observatory is equipped with a modern computer controlled 16" telescope and camera, and a radio telescope with a hydrogen line spectrometer, which is able to map out and measure the velocity of the sun and the Milky Way. There is also a 10" portable telescope - computer controlled – for visual observations of planets, star clusters, nebulae and other bright objects. Bookings are limited to two tickets per person and is strictly by ticket only. Tickets are allocated on a first come first served basis. All bookings are by email and those interested should send requests to tara.shanahan@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-  

Monday, 16 January 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of new scholarships scheme for mature students. In total, 30 new scholarships will be awarded, consisting of €2,000 per student for every year of their study. The new initiative is open to mature applicants, 23 years and over, applying through the CAO by 1 February, and commencing study in autumn 2012. Scholarships will be awarded based on merit, and those interested should apply as normal through the CAO process. The top 30 applicants will be automatically selected for a scholarship and notified before September 2012. The 30 scholarships will be allocated across three areas: Entrants via the Mature Student’s AdmissionsPathway (MSAP). Entrants via the Access Foundation programmes. Entrants who are mature (23 years of age at 1 January of year of entry), who are entitled to enter the programme to which they are admitted from School Leaving results. There are some limitations on who will qualify for possible selection, for example, students with a Local Authority Higher Education grant or similar awards will not be eligible for the scholarship. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general mature student application process.Dr Martina Ní Chúlain, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, explains: “The new Scholarships for Mature Students are an incentive to attract more of the brightest and most committed students, and to support their return to full-time education. Mature students bring so much to the campus and to their classmates, and we hope to offer the scholarship as a support in making the transition into third-level education easier.”Mature students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with over 1,200 full-time mature students across all schools and disciplines.For more information on studying at NUI Galway as a mature student visit www.nuigalway.ie/mature/scholarships or phone 091 492 695. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

An exciting new four-year degree programme has been officially launched by NUI Galway. The BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies is designed for students with a keen interest in all aspects of drama and performance. It is a world-class programme, providing a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from a practical, theoretical and historical perspective. Students will benefit from the dynamic partnerships forged by NUI Galway with key arts organisations including Druid Theatre Company, the Galway Arts Festival and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. Also, throughout the year, the campus is a hot-bed for drama productions and related performance events. NUI Galway has an annual week-long theatre festival and regular performances by the popular DramSoc take place in theatres on campus, as well as in Galway’s Druid Theatre, and Black Box. Students also perform at the Galway’s Town Hall Theatre, which was recently named Ireland’s best theatre venue in the annual ERIC awards, and stages exciting productions throughout the year. Teaching on the programme will take a variety of forms, from lectures and seminars to practical workshops, performances and internships. One of the most innovative features of the programme is its emphasis on putting learning into practice, through seminars in acting and directing, through workshops with professional theatre companies, and through the option of internships with arts organisations and professional placements in third-year. “Our students benefit from the University’s unique combination of groundbreaking academic expertise, professional practice and access to some of Ireland’s leading artists. This new course is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore all aspects of performance from theatre to film, storytelling and new media”, commented the programme director, NUI Galway’s Patrick Lonergan.” “With its fine tradition of student drama, its location in the West of Ireland and its proximity to the Gaeltacht, NUI Galway provides an ideal location for the study of Ireland’s diverse range of performance traditions - from the many innovative theatre companies of Galway city to séan nós singing, storytelling and dance traditions. Our programme builds on this diversity and aims to show that theatre takes a variety of forms - all of which expand our conception of what is possible in the world,” said Dr Lionel Pilkington, Head of the School of Humanities at NUI Galway. Often referred to as Ireland’s cultural capital, Galway has a renowned reputation as an international centre for innovative drama, theatre and performance. The city has seen the establishment of several flourishing theatre companies whose founder members were students of the University. Among the most illustrious of our graduates are the three Druid Theatre Company founding members, Tony-Award-winning Director, Garry Hynes and the actors Marie Mullen and the late Mick Lally. Garry Hynes has commented on the new course, saying: “Just as I, informally, took my first steps in the theatre in NUI Galway, I am now, through this programme looking forward to helping the emergence of the next generation of theatre makers from my alma mater.” Recent graduates have gone on to achieve success with many leading theatres in Ireland and in London, joining such schemes as the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwrights’ Programme and the Rough Magic SEEDS project. In the last two years alone, NUI Galway graduates have won such awards as the PJ O’Connor Prize (RTÉ) and the JMK Trust award for finding Britain’s finest theatre directors. The first intake of students for the new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies will be in September 2012. Applications will be accepted via the CAO process, on which the new course code is GY118.  -ends-         ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                                        Leagan Gaeilge   Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú i lár an stáitse ar Chlár Nua Céime Sheol OÉ Gaillimh clár nua spéisiúil céime ceithre bliana. Tá an chéim BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies leagtha amach do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis ar leith acu i ngach gné den drámaíocht agus den taibhiú. Is clár den chéad scoth é, a chuireann deis uathúil ar fáil do mhic léinn staidéar a dhéanamh ar an drámaíocht, ar an amharclannaíocht agus ar an taibhiú ó pheirspictíocht phraiticiúil, theoiriciúil agus stairiúil. Bainfidh mic léinn tairbhe as na comhpháirtíochtaí dinimiciúla atá cruthaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh le príomheagraíochtaí ealaíon amhail Compántas Druid, Féile Ealaíon na Gaillimhe agus Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. Ina theannta sin, is iomaí léiriú drámaíochta agus imeacht eile a bhíonn ar siúl ar an gcampas i rith na bliana. Bíonn féile bhliantúil a ritheann ar feadh seachtaine ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus, chomh maith leis sin, bíonn léirithe rialta ar siúl ag an DramaSoc sna hamharclanna ar an gcampas, in Amharclann an Druid agus sa Dubhlann. Bíonn mic léinn ar an stáitse chomh maith in Amharclann na Cathrach i nGaillimh, áit a ainmníodh le deireanas mar an t-ionad amharclainne is fearr in Éirinn ag na gradaim bhliantúla ERIC. Bíonn léirithe thar a bheith spéisiúil ar siúl san Amharclann seo ar feadh na bliana. Beidh cineálacha éagsúla teagaisc ar siúl ar an gclár, léachtaí agus seimineáir, ceardlanna praiticiúla, léirithe agus intéirneachtaí san áireamh. Ar cheann de na gnéithe is nuálaí a bhaineann leis an gclár tá an bhéim a chuirtear ar an bhfoghlaim phraiticiúil, trí sheimineáir san aisteoireacht agus sa stiúradh, trí cheardlanna le comhlachtaí gairmiúla amharclannaíochta, agus trí intéirneachtaí le heagraíochtaí ealaíon agus socrúcháin oibre proifisiúnta sa tríú bliain. “Baineann ár gcuid mac léinn tairbhe as an meascán uathúil atá san Ollscoil maidir le saineolas ceannródaíoch acadúil, cleachtas gairmiúil agus rochtain ar chuid de phríomhealaíontóirí na hÉireann. Is iontach an deis é an cúrsa nua seo do mhic léinn féachaint ar gach gné de léiriú ó amharclannaíocht go scannán, scéalaíocht go meán nua,” a deir stiúrthóir an chláir, Patrick Lonergan. “In OÉ Gaillimh, tá traidisiún láidir drámaíochta i measc na mac léinn, táimid suite in Iarthar na hÉireann agus muid an-ghar don Ghaeltacht, agus mar gheall air seo ar fad is iontach an áit í OÉ Gaillimh le staidéar a dhéanamh ar thraidisiúin éagsúla taibhithe na hÉireann – ó na comhlachtaí nuálaíocha amharclannaíochta i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus an traidisiún a bhaineann le hamhránaíocht ar an sean-nós, scéalaíocht agus damhsa. Tógann an clár seo ar an éagsúlacht sin agus é mar aidhm leis a léiriú gur iomaí taobh a bhaineann leis an amharclannaíocht – agus go gcuireann siad ar fad leis an íomhá atá againn maidir le céard is féidir a bhaint amach sa saol,” a dúirt an Dr Lionel Pilkingtom, Ceann Scoil na nDaonnachtaí in OÉ Gaillimh. Tugtar príomhchathair chultúir na hÉireann ar Ghaillimh go minic agus tá cáil ar an gcathair mar ionad idirnáisiúnta do dhrámaíocht, d’amharclannaíocht agus do thaibhiú nuálaíoch. Bunaíodh roinnt compántas drámaíochta sa chathair agus ba mhic léinn san Ollscoil a bhunaigh iad. I measc na gcéimithe is clúití atá againn tá an triúr a bhunaigh Compántas Druid, Garry Hynes, Stiúrthóir a bhuaigh gradam Tony, agus na haisteoirí Marie Mullen agus Mick Lally atá imithe ar shlí na Fírinne. Labhair Garry Hynes faoin gcúrsa nua, a rá: “Díreach mar a thóg mise mo chéad chéimeanna, go neamhfhoirmiúil, san amharclannaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh, tá mé ag súil go mór anois le cabhrú leis an gcéad ghlúin eile teacht chun cinn ó mo alma mater tríd an gclár seo.” Tá céimithe imithe ar aghaidh ag baint a gcáil amach in amharclanna clúiteacha in Éirinn agus i Londain, ag glacadh páirte i scéimeanna cosúil le Clár nua Drámadóirí Amharclann na Mainistreach agus tionscadal SEEDS de chuid Rough Magic. Le dhá bhliain anuas, tá céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh tar éis gradaim ar nós Duais PJ O’Connor (RTÉ) a bhaint chomh maith le gradam an JMK Trust do na stiúrthóirí amharclainne is fearr sa Bhreatain. Tosóidh na chéad mhic léinn ar an BA nua in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies i Meán Fómhair 2012. Glacfar le hiarratais tríd an CAO, agus is é GY118 cód an chúrsa nua. -críoch-

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

400 jobs as part of €75 million spend on university developments There was a major boost for employment in the West of Ireland today as NUI Galway announced the beginning of five construction projects on its city centre campus. An estimated 400 jobs are expected to be created in the construction sector as work begins on five new buildings valued at €75 million. The University has awarded a contract for the completion of three new world-class research buildings to Galway-based contractor, JJ Rhatigan & Co, including an Arts Humanities Social Sciences Research Building and two buildings dedicated to Biomedical Science Research. These buildings, which had been temporarily stalled by the receivership of a previous contractor, will be completed on a phased basis from the end of 2012 into early 2013. Work has already begun on the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building, located beside the existing James Hardiman Library. The Building will provide a unique research environment to transform Galway’s rich cultural resources into social and economic opportunity. The new facility will be a national and international resource that integrates research and training in the Humanities, Digital Cultures, Creative Industries, Business, Social Sciences, Human Rights, Advocacy, and Public Policy. Construction will shortly re-commence on the Biosciences Research Building, located near the Corrib Village student accommodation in Dangan. The third building, a combined Clinical/Translational Research Facility, will be located on the grounds of University Hospital Galway and will also begin in early 2012. Together, these two facilities will enable NUI Galway to build on its existing strength in the biomedical sciences area. NUI Galway is located at the centre of the medical device and healthcare industries in Ireland and the new facilities are expected to enhance the national capacity and international standing of Ireland in the biomedical sciences arena. The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region's vital medical devices industry. Infrastructure requirements are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers. Speaking about the development of the research infrastructure at the University, President Jim Browne commented: “I am delighted that these strategically important projects are underway. The investment in research infrastructure will have an immediate benefit in bringing much-needed jobs to the construction industry. Concentrating resources on biomedical science and arts, humanities and social sciences research at NUI Galway will have a major impact on the medical technologies and the creative arts industries in the West of Ireland. We have the opportunity now to provide two distinct Irish industry sectors with relevant, world-class research solutions, transforming national leadership into global competitiveness.” Work has also got underway on two other buildings on the NUI Galway campus. An €8m extension to the Arts Millennium Building, which will house the University’s growing School of Psychology, is scheduled for completion during 2013; JJ Rhatigan & Co is the contractor. Construction has re-commenced on an extension to the student branch of the Bank of Ireland, located on the Arts/Science Concourse. BAM Building Limited will complete this extension. Commenting on the investment in the campus, Vice-President for Capital Projects, Mr Keith Warnock said: “The University will play its part in revitalising the economy and bringing much-needed jobs to the construction sector. We are investing in world-class facilities for our students. At present, we are investing €.75 million per week in developing our campus so that we can offer students a learning environment that is second to none.” -ends-                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Leagan GaeilgeBorradh Fostaíochta leis an Obair Thógála ar siúl arís ar Champas OÉ Gaillimh 400 post mar chuid d’infheistíocht €75 milliún i bhfoirgnimh san OllscoilDea-scéala do staid fostaíochta Iarthar na tíre inniu gur fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go gcuirfí tús le cúig thogra tógála ar champas na hOllscoile. Meastar go gcruthófar 400 post in earnáil na tógála nuair a thosóidh an obair ar chúig fhoirgneamh ar luach €75 milliún. Tá conradh tugtha ag an Ollscoil do chonraitheoir na Gaillimhe, JJ Rhatigan & Co, chun trí cinn de na foirgnimh thaighde den chéad scoth a thógáil. Is iad sin an Foirgneamh Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí & sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus dhá Fhoirgneamh Taighde don Eolaíocht Bhithleighis. Cuireadh moill leis an obair thógála seo nuair a cuireadh an conraitheoir roimhe seo faoi ghlacadóireacht. Tógfar céim ar chéim anois na foirgnimh agus beidh siad réidh faoi dheireadh 2012 nó tús 2013. Tá tús curtha leis an obair cheana féin ar an bhFoirgneamh Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí & sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, le taobh Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin. Beidh timpeallacht uathúil taighde san Fhoirgneamh a úsáidfidh acmhainní iontacha cultúir na Gaillimhe mar dheis shóisialta agus eacnamaíoch. Áis náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta a bheas san fhoirgneamh nua a thabharfaidh taighde agus oiliúint le chéile sna Daonnachtaí, Cultúr Digiteach, Tionscal Cruthaitheach, Gnó, Eolaíochtaí Sóisialta, Cearta Daonna, Abhcóideacht, agus Polasaí Poiblí. Tosóidh an obair thógála arís go luath ar an bhFoirgneamh don Eolaíocht Bhithleighis in aice le Baile na Coiribe sa Daingean. Beidh an tríú foirgneamh, Foirgneamh Taighde Cliniciúil/Aistritheach, suite ar thalamh Ospidéal na hOllscoile agus cuirfear tús leis an tógáil go luath in 2012. Cuirfidh an dá fhoirgneamh seo le cumas OÉ Gaillimh i réimse na n-eolaíochtaí bithleighis. Tá OÉ Gaillimh suite i lár cheantar na dtionscal feistí leighis agus cúram sláinte in Éirinn agus meastar go gcuirfidh na foirgnimh nua le cumas náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta na hÉireann i réimse na n-eolaíochtaí bithleighis. Teastaíonn na foirgnimh nua seo ar an gcampas mar gheall ar an mborradh as cuimse atá tagtha ar ghníomhaíocht taighde, san eolaíocht bhithleighis mar shampla, rud a thacaíonn go díreach le tionscal feistí leighis an réigiúin. Tá géarghá le breis spáis freisin mar gheall ar an méadú mór atá tagtha ar líon na mac léinn. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhforás ar bhonneagar taighde na hOllscoile, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Uachtarán Jim Browne: “Táim fíorshásta go bhfuil na tograí tábhachtacha seo ar bun. Beidh tairbhe ag an infheistíocht seo sa bhonneagar taighde ó thaobh poist a bhfuil géarghá leo a chruthú i dtionscal na tógála. Má dhírítear acmhainní ar an eolaíocht bhithleighis agus ar an taighde sna dána, sna daonnachtaí agus sna heolaíochtaí sóisialta in OÉ Gaillimh beidh an-tionchar aige sin ar thionscail na dteicneolaíochtaí leighis agus na n-ealaíon cruthaitheach in Iarthar na hÉireann. Tá an deis againn anois réitigh taighde chuí den chéad scoth a sholáthar do dhá earnáil ar leith in Éirinn rud a chuirfidh lenár n-iomaíocht mar cheannairí náisiúnta ar fud an domhain.” Tá tús curtha leis an obair chomh maith ar dhá fhoirgneamh eile ar champas OÉ Gaillimh. Cuirfear síneadh €8m le hÁras Dán na Mílaoise. Lonnófar Scoil na Síceolaíochta, atá ag méadú, anseo nuair a bheidh sé críochnaithe in 2013; is é JJ Rhatigan & Co an conraitheoir. Tá an obair tosaithe arís ar shíneadh a chur le brainse na mac léinn de Bhanc na hÉireann, atá suite ar Shlí Dála na nDán/na hEolaíochta. Cuirfidh BAM Building Limited barr smólaigh ar an obair seo. Ag labhairt dó faoin infheistíocht ar an gcampas, dúirt an Leas-Uachtarán um Thionscadail Chaipitiúla, an tUasal Keith Warnock an méid seo a leanas: “Beidh a ról féin ag an Ollscoil chun borradh a chur faoin ngeilleagar agus poist a bhfuil géarghá leo a chruthú in earnáil na tógála. Táimid ag infheistiú in áiseanna den chéad scoth dár mic léinn. Faoi láthair, táimid ag infheistiú €.75 milliún sa tseachtain sa champas ionas go mbeimid in ann timpeallacht foghlama den chéad scoth a chruthú do na mic léinn.” -críoch-  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 26 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Athlone, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact Celine O Donovan, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie  -Ends-  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A report that will lay the foundation for Ireland’s first National Strategy for Dementia was launched by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, in Trinity College Dublin today (January 18, 2012).  The report estimates prevalence rates of dementia in Ireland; quantifies the economic and social costs of dementia; assesses current service availability for people with dementia and best practice in dementia care nationally and internationally. It was launched on the occasion of the opening of the conference ‘Developing a National Dementia Strategy’. Creating Excellence in Dementia Care: A Research Review for Ireland’s National Dementia Strategy − is the result of a joint collaboration between researchers at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway (Professor Eamon O’Shea) and the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre’s Living with Dementia research programme at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital (TCD Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill and Dr Maria Pierce). The report was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies to provide evidence-based research for the purpose of supporting the development of a National Dementia Strategy, which the Government has promised to develop by 2013. “The next stage of the process in developing a national strategy will require direct consultation with people with dementia, their family members and with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the development of an inclusive and holistic strategy on dementia that will stand the test of time and will reflect the needs and interests of the key stakeholders. Policy formulation and implementation for dementia requires the direct involvement of the Department of Health and consultation with a much wider coalition of interests and stakeholders,” concluded co-author, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea. Commenting on the significance of the research, Trinity Associate Professor Suzanne Cahill said: “At a time when across Europe, much progress has been made in mobilising joint action in the fight against dementia, dementia remains hidden and largely invisible in Ireland and is a hugely underfunded and underprioritised health issue in the country. Several countries including England, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia have now well developed strategies, some indeed being onto their second and third iterations. The recent government promise of a new National Dementia Strategy for Ireland by 2013 is both opportune and timely. Although the number of people with dementia is set to rise significantly, having an evidence base available to inform the direction of future public policy on dementia makes it a lot easier to design care services supporting the individual and family members to live well with dementia and to die in dignity with dementia.” There are about 41,740 people with dementia in Ireland*, of whom 26,000 live at home. An estimated 3,583 (approximately 8.6% of all people with dementia) have early onset dementia.  Approximately 4,000 new cases of dementia arise in the general Irish population every year and the incidence of dementia is higher than cancer and heart disease with numbers expected to more than treble over the next thirty years. The research review suggests that the majority of the 26,104 people with dementia living at home in the community most probably do not have a formal diagnosis. This has implications for individuals and families planning for an uncertain future and for developing appropriate pathways to care. There are an estimated 50,000 family carers in Ireland looking after someone with at least one of six specified symptoms of dementia. The review suggests that about two-thirds of all long-stay residents in the country have dementia with many of these people again not having a formal diagnosis. The economic and social costs of dementiaThe report estimates the overall cost of dementia in Ireland to be just over €1.69 billion per annum, 48% of which is attributable to informal care provided by family and friends to those living with dementia in the community. A further 43% is accounted for by residential long-stay care, while other formal health and social care services contribute only 9% to the total costs of dementia. Consistent with per capita estimates from other countries, the average cost per person with dementia in Ireland is estimated at €40,500. Improving care in the community and providing greater support for families will require additional public spending, including having to make difficult choices about the reallocation of some of the existing institutional resources to community care given the perilous state of the public finances. Gaps in Service ProvisionIn Ireland, early diagnosis, and sometimes any diagnosis, is the exception rather than the rule and Irish GPs like their European counterparts experience difficulty diagnosing this illness and would welcome more training and resources.  Family caregivers are the linchpin to the success of community care but only a small proportion of people with dementia are receiving critical services such as day care, public health nursing, home care packages and respite.  Community care services for people with dementia and their carers remain under-developed, inequitable, and fragmented. In this country very few people with dementia have been allocated a case manager (the approach taken in some European countries) to directly represent their interests. One of the resounding weaknesses of Irish home care services is that these services are not underpinned by legislation nor are they provided on a statutory basis. In the absence of the required level of community support, people with dementia will continue to be placed in long-term care prematurely. People with dementia sometimes end up in hospital A&E departments or as in-patients in these hospitals, settings far from ideal given their unique and complex needs. Formal assessment and diagnosis of patients admitted to hospital who might have dementia is a necessary condition for better care and support, including appropriate long-term placement. A review of care for people with dementia in acute care settings in Ireland is urgently needed. A dementia champions’ programme in acute hospitals would facilitate a more person-centred approach to care.  Two thirds of people in long stay care are estimated to have dementia. In Ireland there are few alternates to the nursing home model of care and whilst some facilities have dementia specific beds these are the exception rather than the rule.  International evidence suggests a trend towards providing care for people with dementia in long-stay settings in small-scale (maximum of 8 to 10) homely and specialised care settings. Key elements for the new Strategy arising from the research: greater emphasis on primary prevention and on ways of avoiding or delaying the illness particularly through reducing  heart disease and stroke enhanced public awareness about dementia early diagnosis through improving access to memory clinics and enhanced multidisciplinary training and education in dementia for primary care workers, hospital staff and people working in long-stay settings case management models of integrated care expansion of dedicated and flexible community-based services, for example, day care services and family support programmes, for people with dementia and their carers development of new and expanded psychosocial approaches to complement existing medical and neurological models of service delivery in the community and in residential care units development of small-scale, appropriately designed, residential care units greater awareness, ownership and leadership of dementia in the acute care sector further expansion and availability of palliative care services for people dying of and with a dementia development of appropriate services for people with early-onset dementia, including people with Down syndrome enhanced information systems on the number of people with dementia, severity of the disease, placement patterns and quality of life.-ends-  

Friday, 20 January 2012

College football clubs around the country are currently training hard for the Sigerson Cup Competition, which will be hosted this year by the Gaelic Football Club at NUI Galway on 24 and 25 February.  To coincide with the competition, a group of current and past club members have come together, to organise a special Centenary Club and Sigerson  Reunion.  The event is for all former ‘UCG’ players, trainers, coaches, officers and members of the Club throughout the decades.  The event will take place at the Radisson Hotel, Galway on Friday, February 24, 2012. The year 2012 is a very significant anniversary for the Gaelic Football Club at NUI Galway which was founded in 1911-12 and which won the Sigerson Competition for the first time in 1912.   For the 2012 Reunion, the 1962 – 63 Sigerson team members will be guests of honour in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of their wins in both 1962 and 1963.  All other winning Galway Sigerson teams of the last sixty years are also invited to join as special guests for the celebration. While the organisers of this year’s Reunion are keen to celebrate the success of the many successful Sigerson teams, they also stress that this event will be a Centenary celebration of all past Sigerson Competitions, won or lost, and of the Club’s achievements since its foundation.  It is expected that former members will travel from all over the country, to renew acquaintances, recall former matches and enjoy the atmosphere at what promises to be a wonderful occasion!  A special Centenary Sigerson programme is also being prepared for the weekend event. As well as organising the Reunion, the current NUI Galway Gaelic Football Club is actively preparing to host the Sigerson Cup Competition in Galway this year, so it’s a case of ‘all hands on deck’, to prepare for what will be a great sporting and social weekend.  Ends

Friday, 20 January 2012

Graduates from the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme (CAO code GY406) at NUI Galway are experiencing demand for their skills far beyond anything they could have ever imagined when they entered the course. At a time when the country is experiencing some of the most significant financial turmoil, with hundreds of thousands out of work, this particular cohort of graduates from NUI Galway is experiencing a boom, with many of the students securing jobs long before they even finish their course of study. According to programme director for Electronic and Computer Engineering at NUI Galway, Dr Martin Glavin: “The jobs are there, and they are there in very signficant numbers for our graduates. Recent surveys from the careers office at NUI Galway show full employment for graduates of the programme for the last number of years. In fact, the country is experiencing a shortage of graduates with skills in the areas of electronics, software development and computing.” Dr Glavin added: “Our graduates are in demand across a very wide range of industry sectors ranging from ICT to financial services, so they are well protected from the natural ups and downs of any one sector. Furthermore, all the indications are that the demand will still be there for many years to come with most high tech companies seeing a very bright future in this country. Secondary school students filling out their CAO forms should give serious consideration to a career in the electronics and computing sector.” Electronic and Computer Engineering is a course that integrates two separate engineering fields to meet the joint demands made by a wide range of industries in today's world. This programme combines coursework in different aspects of both fields over four years, with an emphasis on the design of computing systems. Electronics and computers, and their joint applications, are playing an ever increasing role in our lives, with everything from smartphones to space rockets using electronic hardware (circuits) and computer software integrated together. Paul Killoran, a graduate of the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme, now running his own startup company, Ex Ordo commented: “We can’t find Irish graduates to fill highly paid Irish jobs. Some of the best Irish jobs cannot be filled by Irish engineers because we don’t have the talent pool here. Our latest hire came from Argentina and our future developers will probably come from abroad because I really can’t find any engineers in Ireland, and believe me, I’ve tried!” Companies who design integrated electronics and computer systems require engineers who possess the software skills to complement traditional electronic hardware skills. The Electronic and Computer Engineering degree programme has been developed in response to these industry demands to develop students' hardware and software engineering skills in an integrated way and the analytical powers to apply them jointly. Another graduate of the programme and recent winner of the Best Developer award at the 2011 Appys, Vinny Coyne adds: “The mobile app development business is booming and this is why I set up my own company, App Sandwich. However, I really struggle to find developers with the skills that we need as a company because there simply are not enough second level students entering programmes like the Electronic and Computer Engineering programme in NUI Galway. We need to start encouraging our best and brightest into these types of courses because this is where the jobs and growth potential will be in the years ahead.” Graduates of Electronics and Computer Engineering (GY406) at NUI Galway are ideally placed to pursue their specialism in ICT, which has wide applicability both national and international, with many indigenous technology companies and the multinational sectors. Applications through CAO should be submitted by Wednesday, 1 February, 2012. ENDS  

Monday, 23 January 2012

The annual NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day takes place on Wednesday, 1 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attend NUI Galway, making it one of Ireland’s most popular universities for postgraduate study. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options.The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. 80 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at NUI Galway, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses.According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre: “In the current economic climate, there is increased interest among undergraduate students in staying in education by pursuing postgraduate studies. A postgraduate qualification can provide a real career boost. Undoubtedly, it can maximise career prospects and earnings.”NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine.Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Admissions Officer, adds: “People are always interested in up-skilling, improving their qualifications and their employability. With so many options available at postgraduate level, people must choose carefully. The Postgraduate Open Day offers the opportunity to talk to lecturers and current postgraduate students. My advice would be to apply early and often as you can make up to three applications online at www.pac.ie/nuigalway.ie.” Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day.To book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day or you can register on the day. -ends-  

Monday, 23 January 2012

Osteoarthritis researchers at NUI Galway are part of a new European project which is looking to incorporate the views of patients and the general public at the earliest stages of research. As part of the EU-funded GAMBA project, the University is looking for osteoarthritis patients who would like to learn about new therapy approaches and are willing to evaluate theses approaches from a patient’s point of view. The patients should be resident in Galway, be at least 18 years old, and be available for four days in March 2012. The views of the general public will be sought in early summer. Osteoarthritis is a very common joint disease, which can impact quite severely on the quality of life of patients. At the age of 65 most people are affected, and women are more commonly affected than men. Symptoms such as restricted mobility and pain can be alleviated and the progression of the disease can be slowed, but up to now it is not possible to heal the disease. For the consultation project, based at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, the participants will be introduced to the topics of innovative basic research into osteoarthritis and – depending on interest – further background information on gene therapy, stem cell research and nanomedicine. “We are really planning to engage with the people who arguably know most about arthritis, the sufferers. What is it that patients need and want? Will it be possible to regrow bones, to generate cartilage in the body and to stop joint inflammation effectively in 20 years time? What risks and ethical aspects are associated with such visions? These are just some of the questions we want to discuss”, said Dr Mary Murphy, REMEDI, NUI Galway. Dr Murphy added: “Until now, the evaluation of the risks associated with new health technologies are normally left to the experts. New therapy approaches usually don’t come to the attention of patients and society until they are tested in clinical trials or once the products are launched on the market. However, NUI Galway is actively inviting those suffering from osteoarthritis and the general public to contact them, so share their own insights with scientific experts.” All the sessions will be supported by a experienced team of moderators, who will ensure that the information supplied is comprehensible. As part of the GAMBA project (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis) researchers at REMEDI are involved in developing new methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In collaboration with nine partner institutions from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, researchers in REMEDI hope it might be possible to heal diseased joints in 10 to 20 years. This would be done by introducing a combination of biomaterials, stem cells harvested from the patient, gene vectors and nanoparticles directly into the diseased tissue. “The hope is”, explains Dr Murphy, “that these enriched biomaterials could make a regeneration of the joints possible.” The application form and further information are available online http://www.gamba-project.eu/panels or can be requested on 091 49 4276. The main website for the project is http://gamba-project.eu. -ends-

Monday, 23 January 2012

The 7th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place this Thursday and Friday (26, 27 January). The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments. Hanin Hamza, a first year medical student at NUI Galway and a member of Sláinte Society, is heading up the event organisation this year: “We hope to build on the successes of previous years and show that going to the doctor isn’t so scary after all.  This is expected to be the largest Teddy Bear Hospital ever, and it will be an incredibly busy couple of days. As students, we have so much fun on the day, it’s a great change of pace from study, and we love the excitement among the kids who really get into the spirit of things.” This year, 32 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them.  The students will have specially designed and built X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.   Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce, along with medical supplies from Matt O’Flaherty to help poor teddy recover. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance. Further support for the event has come from, among others, MPS, Eye Cinema, Dunnes Stores, Medisource and Smyth’s Toys. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage in a meaningful way with the children in Galway City and County schools. It is one of the NUI Galway societies' most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who invite the children and their teddy bears on to campus for such a great reason and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -ends-        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                        Otharlann na mBéiríní á reáchtáil ag Mic Léinn OÉ GaillimhDen seachtú bliain as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh an 26 agus an 27 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh sin le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann.  Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Tá Hanin Hamza, mac léinn chéad bhliana sa leigheas in OÉ Gaillimh agus ball den Chumann Sláinte, ag eagrú ócáid na bliana seo: “Tá súil againn go n-éireoidh chomh maith linn is a d’éirigh le blianta beaga anuas agus go léireoimid nár cheart eagla a bheith ar pháistí dul chuig an dochtúir. Táthar ag súil go mbeidh Otharlann na mBéiríní i mbliana ar an gceann is mó riamh, agus beidh cúpla lá thar a bheith gnóthach againn. Mar mhic léinn, bíonn an-spraoi againn ar an lá, is iontach an t-athrú é ón staidéar, agus is breá linn na sceitimíní a bhíonn ar na páistí agus iad thar a bheith tógtha leis an ócáid.” I mbliana, beidh daltaí agus béiríní as 32 bunscoil áitiúil ag freastal ar an Otharlann. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht orthu.  Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu.  Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní. Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Total Produce ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis ó Chógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. I ndiaidh an rírá seo ar fad beidh na páistí ábalta súgradh sa chaisleán spraoi agus cuairt a thabhairt ar otharcharr de chuid Ord Mhálta. Beidh Cumann Cleasaíochta OÉ Gaillimh agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna, a bheidh ag obair go deonach, ag cur siamsaíochta ar fáil i rith an ama. I measc na ndreamanna atá ag tabhairt tacaíochta don ócáid tá MPS, Pictiúrlann an Eye, Dunnes Stores, Medisource agus Smyth’s Toys. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh:  “Is iontach an deis a thugann Ospidéal na mBéiriní do mhic léinn oibriú go fiúntach le páistí i scoileanna chathair agus chontae na Gaillimhe. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir pobail for-rochtana is ildaite agus is deise a bhíonn idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid thar a bheith sásta lena fheabhas atá ag éirí leis. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann cuireadh do pháistí agus dá mbéiríní chun an champais agus táimid ag súil le cúpla lá thar a bheith tairbheach do chách atá bainteach leis an ócáid”. -ends-

Monday, 23 January 2012

Special guest, poet Rita Ann Higgins, has launched the 12th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, which runs from 6-10 February. The Festival contains a superb programme of music, art, performance and film, with many free events to which the public are welcome. This year’s theme is Illumination/Soilsiú and fun features include pop-up sculptures, protest art, street art, origami, hip-hop and a ‘yarn bomb’, where structures on campus receive bespoke knitwear.  Deep Sea/Deep Space, a video installation created for the Sea2sky Festival held in 2011, will be on show in the University Art Gallery. Marielle MacLeman, artist in residence with Geology and Zoology, will show new works at the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum and will be in residence at the James Mitchell Geology Museum throughout the week. Special guest artist, Sinéad Aldridge, will launch Artsoc’s annual show ‘Derelicte’ and deliver an illustrated lecture entitled ‘Stop Making Sense-Play Havoc’, on protest art or the aesthetics of resistance. Anthony J. Faulder-Mawson will transform a glass bridge on campus and five selected artists will show proposals for large-scale original art-works for the NUI Galway campus. Former MA students of Art Therapy will also present new work in ‘Sacred Space-Porous Place’ in the Arts Millennium Building. Juggling and magic join forces as guest artiste Yann Frisch performs a superb magic manipulation act in the Bailey Allen Hall. The Galway Musical Society, GUMS, will perform the new musical, ‘Spring Awakening’, in the Town Hall Theatre. The ‘Witless Band Competition Final’ takes place in the Student Union Bar with judges and public vote, while Music for Galway features the remarkable Rolf Hind on piano, playing ‘Debussy and Beyond’ in the Aula Maxima. NUI Galway Orchestra, Tradsoc, Choralsoc and Diplóma in Trad music students also perform. The Bank of Ireland Student Theatre will host ‘Mise Scéal Cailín’, the hit puppet show from Branar; a Poetry Slam with MC Pete Mullineaux; new writings and performances from NUI Galway’s students and staff in ‘Solo Show’ and a production of ‘The Clean House’ by Sarah Ruhl, performed by Dramsoc. Comicsoc takes on the ‘24 Hour Comic Book Challenge’ where these bright young artists will draw, write, edit and publish a comic within one full day. Huston Film School students present a selection of their new works and Anime Manga soc and Filmsoc show their favourites. Current staff and alumni will showcase published fiction and poetry and local filmmakers will present new short works. NUI Galway’s President Jim Browne extends an open invitation to the public to attend the closing event of Múscailt, ‘The Galway Music Residency-NUI Galway Sponsor’s Concert’, at 1pm on Friday, 10 February, in the Bailey Allen Hall. The specially chosen programme includes Air by J.S. Bach, Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns, and the exciting ‘Finale from the American Quartet’ by Antonin Dvorák, all performed by Galway ensemble-in-residence, ConTempo Quartet, in association with Arts in Action. Commenting on this year’s line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer says, “Our theme this year, Illumination, represents a bursting forth of ideas from all of the art-forms. Múscailt 2012 will be provocative and fun and there is room for interaction, debate and feedback throughout the week. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday - Friday. For full information see www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. For a copy of the programme contact the Arts Office at 091 493766 or 091 495098. Tickets for events and info on Society events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Spring Awakening tickets are also available from Town Hall Theatre www.tht.ie or 091 569777. -ends-         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                Seolann OÉ Gaillimh an 12ú Féile Bhliantúil EalaíonInniu sheol an t-aoi speisialta, an file Rita Ann Higgins an 12ú clár bliantúil d’Fhéile Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt, a bheidh ar siúl ón 6-10 Feabhra. Tá clár iontach ceoil, ealaíne, léirithe agus scannáin ag an bhFéile, agus tá go leor de na himeachtaí saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh chách chucu.Is é Soilsiú téama na bliana seo agus i measc na nithe iontacha a bheidh le feiceáil beidh preabdhealbha, ealaín agóide, ealaín sráide, origami, hip-hap agus “buama cniotála", áit a bhfaighidh struchtúir ar an gcampas ábhar cniotála aonuaire. Taispeánfar Deep Sea/Deep Space, físeán a rinneadh don Fhéile Sea2sky, i nGailearaí Ealaíne na hOllscoile. Beidh saothair nua le Marielle MacLeman, an tEalaíontóir Cónaitheach le Geolaíocht agus Zó-eolaíocht, le feiceáil ag doras Mhúsaem na Zó-eolaíochta agus in situ i Músaem Geolaíochta James Mitchell ar feadh na seachtaine.Seolfaidh aoi speisialta, an t-ealaíontóir Sinéad Aldridge, ‘Derelicte’, seó bliantúil an Artsoc agus tabharfaidh sí léacht le léaráidí dar teideal ‘Stop Making Sense-Play Havoc’, léacht faoi ealaín agóide nó aeistéiticí friotaíochta. Léireoidh Anthony J. Faulder Mawson droichead gloine ar an gcampas agus taispeánfaidh cúigear ealaíontóirí roghnaithe tograí do bhunsaothair ealaíne ar mhórscála do champas OÉ Gaillimh. Taispeánfaidh iar-mhic léinn Teiripe Ealaíne saothar nua in Sacred Space-Porous Place in Áras Dán na Mílaoise.Tiocfaidh an chleasaíocht agus an draíocht le chéile nuair a fheicfear Yann Frisch, aoi-thaibheoir, i mbun a cheirde i Halla Bailey Allen. Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta na hOllscoile an ceoldráma nua, ‘Spring Awakening’, i láthair sa Dubhlann. Beidh ‘Craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless’ ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn, áit a mbeidh vóta ag na moltóirí agus ag an bpobal. Chomh maith leis sin beidh Rolf Hind le cloisteáil ar an bpianó ag casadh ‘Debussy and Beyond’ san Aula Maxima mar chuid de Music for Galway. Beidh Ceolfhoireann OÉ Gaillimh, an Tradsoc, an Choralsoc agus mic léinn ón Dioplóma sa cheol traidisiúnta ar stáitse chomh maith.I measc na rudaí a bheidh le feiceáil in Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann beidh ‘Mise Scéal Cailín’, an seó puipéad ón gComhlacht Amharclainne Branar; Craobh Filíochta le Duaiseanna agus Pete Mullineaux mar fhear an tí; scríbhinní agus léirithe nua ó mhic léinn agus ó fhoireann OÉ Gaillimh sa ‘Seó SOLO’ chomh maith le léiriú de The Clean House le Sarah Ruhl, á chur i láthair ag an Dramsoc. Beidh dúshlán ‘Leabhar Grinn 24 uair an chloig’ ar siúl ag an Comicsoc, áit a ndéanfaidh na healaíontóirí óga is cumasaí i nGaillimh leabhar grinn a tharraingt, a scríobh, a chur in eagar agus a chur ar fáil laistigh de lá amháin.  Cuirfidh mic léinn ó Scoil Scannán Huston rogha dá saothair nua i láthair agus taispeánfaidh an cumann Anime Manga agus an Filmsoc na saothair is ansa leo. Taispeánfaidh cuid den fhoireann reatha agus an alumni ficsean agus filíocht atá foilsithe, agus cuirfidh lucht áitiúil scannánaíochta saothair nua ghearra i láthair.Tugann an tUachtarán James J. Browne cuireadh oscailte don phobal chuig searmanas dúnta Múscailt, ‘Ceolchoirm Urraithe OÉ Gaillimh leis an Galway Music Residency’ Dé hAoine, an 10 Feabhra ag 1pm i Halla Bailey Allen. Ar an gclár speisialta seo tá Air le J.S. Bach, Swan le Camille Saint-Saëns, agus an ‘Finale spleodrach ón Quartet Meiriceánach’ le Antonin Dvořák, agus iad ar fad á léiriú ag Ensemble Cónaithe na Gaillimhe, ConTempo Quartet i gcomhar le Arts in Action.Agus í ag tagairt d’imeachtaí na bliana seo, dúirt Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, “Cuimsíonn téama na bliana seo, Soilsiú, maidhm smaointe ó gach cineál ealaíne. Beidh Múscailt 2012 gríosaitheach agus spraíúil agus beidh neart deiseanna idirghníomhaíochta, díospóireachta agus aiseolais le linn na seachtaine. Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.”Beidh na taispeántais ar fad ar oscailt Dé Luain – Dé hAoine. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil féach www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie.  Chun cóip den chlár a fháil déan teagmháil leis an Oifig Ealaíon ag 091 493766 nó 091 495098. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí chomh maith le heolas faoi imeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie.  Is féidir ticéid do Spring Awakening a fháil chomh maith ó Amharclann na Cathrach ag www.tht.ie nó 091 569777.-críoch-

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ireland has one of the highest incidences in the world of a blood cancer known as multiple myeloma, a gathering of clinicians and scientists heard last week. The event was a workshop hosted by NUI Galway, on behalf of the Myeloma Ireland Consortium (MIC), with the support of Science Foundation Ireland. MIC was established within the past year with the aim of increasing collaboration between ‘like-minded’ researchers from different academic institutions and hospitals in a co-ordinated approach to maximise research potential and improve patient outcomes in multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that arises from plasma cells, the white blood cells that produce antibodies. In effect, the cancer causes overproduction of antibody producing plasma cells leading to problems such as anaemia, bone damage, kidney failure and elevated calcium levels. The primary purpose of the meeting, which took place in Maynooth, was to highlight current research activities and encourage co-operation between the various research groups in Ireland working in the multiple myeloma field. In addition to updates from research groups from NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, delegates also heard from international experts. Dr Aldo Roccaro from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston spoke about new insights into the interaction of myeloma cells with the bone marrow microenvironment, including the role of exosomes. Dr Dirk Hose from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, covered the use of gene expression profiling for risk stratification and target assessment in clinical practice. Professor Frank Giles, who leads the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Galway and is Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin discussed Irish early-phase studies in myeloma in the context of the National Clinical Research Framework. An update on current multiple myeloma trials being conducted by the all-Ireland Cooperative Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG) was given by Dr Peter O’Gorman, Chair of the ICORG Haematology study group. Professor Micheal O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway and Consultant Haematologist, University Hospital Galway, who convened the event stated: “While treatments have improved over the last decade, and most patients are living longer, multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease. It is vital that scientists across the entire Irish research spectrum work together to find new treatment approaches and improve patient outcomes.” Throughout the event, there were opportunities to discuss the practicalities of undertaking translational research and potential opportunities for collaboration in Ireland. This workshop was also supported by Janssen and Celgene. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A new study from NUI Galway has shown a significant improvement in managing breathing difficulties among people suffering from COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Health Research Board (HRB) - funded study trialled a community-based approached, through nurses, GP practices and physiotherapists, to help sufferers better manage their condition. COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. The disease can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, may also contribute to COPD. The PRINCE (Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environment) study was funded by the HRB, and consisted of a two-armed randomised cluster trial. In one arm (intervention group), persons with COPD received a structured education pulmonary rehabilitation programme, while the other arm (control group) received usual care. The study is one of the largest pulmonary rehabilitation trials conducted in primary care. The pulmonary rehabilitation programme was specifically designed by the study team for clients living in the community with COPD. The programme was delivered in GP practices or venues close by and facilitated by practice nurses and physiotherapists who were trained by the PRINCE study team to facilitate the programme. The content of the programme included medication management, breathing techniques and exercise training. It was delivered two hours per week over eight weeks. The study found that people who attended the programme were significantly better able to manage their breathing difficulties than those who did not attend. Principal study investigators Professor Kathy Murphy and Dr Dympna Casey, from the School of Nursing at NUI Galway, are excited by the study findings. Professor Murphy commented: “We both feel strongly that healthcare research must make a real difference to patients’ lives and we are delighted that the findings of our large trial does just that. Our study found that a community based pulmonary rehabilitation programme facilitated by trained physiotherapists and practice nurses who had no prior COPD expertise, is feasible, safe, and effective. Not only that, but it makes a real difference to patients with moderate to severe COPD by improving their dyspnoea and physical functioning.” Dr Casey added: “A key strength of this study is that by involving the practitioners who work within primary care and training them to facilitate delivery of the pulmonary rehabilitation programmes, we have helped to strengthen and build capacity within the Irish primary health care setting to manage COPD more effectively. Our work shows that it’s possible to expand the scope of pulmonary rehabilitation practice in Ireland from hospital-based to community-based programmes.” The comprehensive findings of the PRINCE Study were presented at a Respiratory Symposium sponsored by Pfizer and co-ordinated by the PRINCE research team, which was held in NUI Galway on 21 January 2012. The symposium, which focuses on respiratory management, was chaired by Dr Andrew Murphy Professor of General Practice, NUI Galway, and member of the PRINCE research team. The symposium also included a number of key note speakers including Dr Joe Clarke, HSE Primary Care Clinical Lead, and Professor JJ. Gilmartin, Respiratory Consultant, GUH, Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The next in NUI Galway’s series of public talks on sports technology will focus on ‘Re- Engineering the Swimmer: the Science and Technology of Swimming’. The free event takes place in room 3035 of the new Engineering Building on campus, on Tuesday, 31 January at 6pm. The lecture will be given by Dr Gavin Corley of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, who is himself a competitive swimmer. Dr Corley’s talk will focus on emerging technologies which are being used to enhance swimming coaching and performance. “More people in Ireland and the UK participate in swimming than in any other sport, with many of these people swimming at a competitive level,” explains Dr Corley. “Despite this, mainstream swimming hasn’t yet seen the same degree of adoption of new technologies as many other sports such as running or cycling. This is set to change. Recent developments in sensing, communication and material technologies are leading the way for a number of new innovations in swimming performance and coaching.” Following an overview on the history and physics of swimming, these emerging technologies will be discussed in depth with some conclusions on the future of the technological swimmer.” Dr Corley has been swimming competitively for most of his life and has spent the last 10 years teaching and coaching swimming. He currently swims with the NUI Galway swimming club.    Dr Gavin Corley is a post-doctoral researcher in the Bioelectronics Research Cluster at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science and Adjunct Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. He is working on the commercialisation of therapeutic and sensing technologies for older people. He is also an editor for the online medical device journal, Medgadget, where he writes about emerging medical, health and sporting technologies. The series of Sports Technology talks is being organised as part of NUI Galway’s degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering, whose students are being educated to design the next generation of sports and exercise systems and devices. For more information on the sports technology talks, which are supported by Engineers Ireland (West), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, visit www.ExerciseEngineering.com or call 091 492728. -ends- 

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting patients with back pain to take part in the Pain Disability Prevention Programme (PDP) trial..  The study offers patients with back pain the opportunity to avail of 10 sessions with a clinical psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation. The sessions, which are free of charge, will focus on active rehabilitation, instruction in a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to help identify negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges, stretching and exercising to improve physical function.  The study, funded by the HSE, will take place in counties Galway, Dublin, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Limerick and Cork.  GPs and physiotherapists in these counties are being encouraged to refer suitable patients to the study.Miriam Raftery, Researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway says: “We know that a combination of psychological and physical therapies provided at the early stages of back pain are beneficial, particularly for people at risk of long term disability.  However this type of service is often only accessible via specialised hospital-based pain management teams.  In this trial we will offer this type of service to people locally and at the earlier stages of injury. Ms Raftery added: “Many people find that a combination of cognitive and physical rehabilitation like the PDP programme enables them to take back control of their lives, to do more and feel better.  By trialing this early-intervention programme we can assess if this type of service is beneficial for people with chronic pain.”Patients can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial.  Clinicians are attached to the trial in each of the participating counties so appointments take place locally for patients.  In Limerick, Cork, Dublin and Galway appointments take place in the city, while in Donegal appointments are held in Letterkenny and Buncrana.  For patients in the Mayo region, appointments take place in Swinford, while in Sligo appointments are in Sligo town.The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from people who have back pain for no longer than 12 months and are either off work or on reduced work hours due to pain.For further information, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie , phone 091 495 830 or see the website www.nuigalway.ie/pdp  GPs interested in referring suitable patients to the trial can also contact this number.ENDS

Monday, 30 January 2012

The conservation and sustainable use of our agricultural biodiversity is critical to future sustainable development, both in Ireland and internationally. In response to this, on Thursday, 9 February, the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre is hosting AgBioDiv2012.The free event is Ireland’s first Annual AgroBiodiversity Conference. Agricultural biodiversity or agrobiodiversity refers to all biological and genetic diversity which is directly relevant to agriculture and food production.Agrobiodiversity concerns the variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture, including crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries. It comprises the diversity of genetic resources (varieties, breeds) and species used for providing the food, fodder, fibre, fuel and medicines that we depend on for our everyday lives.AgBioDiv2012 organiser Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Plant and AgriBiosciences at NUI Galway, highlighted that: “Since the early 1990s there has been a tremendous upsurge in activity to conserve Ireland’s rare livestock breeds and threatened crop varieties. A coalition of activities by the Department of Agriculture and Food, universities, NGOs, and dedicated individuals across Ireland has led to a vibrant community now involved in agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use.”Professor Spillane said:“The time is right for an annual conference to bring everybody together to take stock of what has been done, what can be done and what is necessary to do over the coming years to ensure that agrobiodiversity contributes to a vibrant and sustainable food and agriculture sector in Ireland.”He added: “Such agrobiodiversity conservation efforts have ensured that native livestock rare-breeds such as Galway sheep and Kerry bog ponies and many threatened plant varieties have not become extinct over the past decade. Many such rare-breeds and varieties have become eligible for REPS (Rural Environment Protection Scheme) support. Ireland now has a national genebank, and we now store Ireland’s threatened crop varieties in the long-term Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the island of Spitzbergen inside the Arctic circle.”The line up of 19 invited speakers assembling for AgBioDiv2012 includes international speakers from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Bioversity International, and the National History Museum in Paris. A wide range of speakers from Ireland will cover agrobiodiversity topics including rare breeds of livestock, rare and threatened crops wild relatives, seed saving, forestry and tree conservation, seaweed diversity, horticultural and ornamental plants, energy crops, and honey bees.Dr Danny Hunter, Adjunct Lecturer in AgroBiodiversity and Leader of the AgroBiodiversity research theme in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre highlighted that: “The recent State of Knowledge, Ireland’s Biodiversity 2010 report highlights the importance of biodiversity to the national economy with an estimated contribution of over €2.6 billion. Agricultural biodiversity, that element of biodiversity important for agriculture and food production, contributes substantially to this figure. The pollinators of our crops alone contribute about 80 million euro. Irish agriculture and food security depends on this diversity of animal, plant and microbial genetic resources. However, these biological resources are increasingly threatened and this requires urgent action to ensure they are effectively conserved for future generations.”NUI Galway AgroBiodiversity researcher Ms Angela Mina-Vargas said: “AgBioDiv2012 will provide opportunities to learn more about Ireland’s national activities and priorities regarding conservation of agrobiodiversity resources including rare breeds, rare crop and horticultural varieties, and a host of other diverse organisms including seaweeds, bryophytes, birds and bees that are important for the sustainability of future food and agricultural systems. Agrobiodiversity conservation and sustainable use is critical to future sustainable development and to ensuring food and livelihood security in societies across the globe, particularly in developing countries.”Dr Danny Hunter stressed that: “AgBioDiv2012 will hopefully contribute to an improved understanding of the current status of conservation and utilisation of agricultural biodiversity in Ireland including how we are meeting our commitments and obligations to global biodiversity Conventions and Treaties. It should also highlight gaps in our knowledge and provide a platform for greater networking among partners to address these. It is fitting that such a conference is taking place a few weeks after the death of Dr Erna Bennett, one of Ireland’s great unheralded scientists and an early pioneer of the science and practice of genetic conservation and champion of small farmers all over the world who have been the custodians of the planet's agricultural biodiversity.”AgBioDiv2012 will be held at NUI Galway on Thursday, 9 February, 2012 and is open to all who are interested. Registration is available at the conference website http://agbiodiversity.org, and is supported by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre, and Genetic Heritage Ireland. -ends-

Monday, 30 January 2012

A new learning resource developed by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway for Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary schools will be launched by the Head of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Edel Ní Chuireáin, on Wednesday (2pm) 1 February 2012, in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, Carna.  The launch will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. The new iTunes U – COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta) Channel comprises audio and video resources that have been carefully selected from both the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and NUI Galway archives, as part of a research project undertaken by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. The 300 new learning resources include songs, poems, stories, interesting points of information and history in the different dialects that are aimed at stimulating language acquisition and enrichment among Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary schools, particularly in 5th and 6th class.  A learning plan has also been developed for teachers to assist in the effective use of the resources in the classroom.  The Channel will also have resources for other learner groups.Muireann Ní Mhóráin, Chief Executive of COGG comments: “Digitial resources of a high standard are a prerequisite for the contemporary classroom.  The new Channel will add significantly to the current corpus of Irish language teaching resources available to Gaeltacht and all-Irish primary school teachers and to the student learning experience.  And with the Channel being launched on the Feast of St. Brigid it’s great see to our rich cultural heritage and new technology  being intertwined to develop Irish language learning resources in such an attractive and efficient way.”Commenting on behalf of the research team at NUI Galway Séamas Ó Concheanainn says: “This project  reinforces the role of research in third-level institutions in addressing the contemporary needs of primary schools with regard to the availability of excellent digitial teaching resources for the classroom.  The project draws on the expertise being developed in the digitial humanities at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and at the Acadamh Centre at Carna, in particular.  The exploitation of modern learning tools and traditional resources together has the potential to significantly contribute to language acquisition and therefore this project underpins one of the Centre’s key strategic objectives, that of sustaining and strengthening the Irish language in the Gaeltacht and throughout the country.”Ends _________________________________________________________________________ Cainéal iTunes U de chuid COGG le seoladh beo ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Seolfaidh Ceannaire RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Edel Ní Chuireáin áis fhoghlama úrnua atá forbartha ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh do bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge, ar an gCéadaoin (2 p.m.) an 1 Feabhra 2012, in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, Carna. Craolfar an seoladh beo ar an gclár Ardtráthnóna ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.Is éard atá sa Chainéal nua iTunes U - COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta) ná cnuasach saibhir d’acmhainní físe agus fuaime a roghnaíodh go cúramach ó Chartlann RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus ó Chartlanna Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh féin, mar chuid de thionscadal taighde atá curtha i gcrích ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.  Áiríonn an Cainéal 300 mír fhoghlama ina bhfuil amhráin a gcasadh, dánta á n-aithris, scéalta spraíúla á n-insint, eolas á roinnt agus míreanna staire á gcur i láthair i gcanúintí éagsúla.   Tá na míreanna dírithe ar shealbhú agus ar shaibhriú na Gaeilge i measc daltaí i mbunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge, go háirithe daltaí Rang 5 agus 6.  In éineacht leis na hacmhainní féin, tá plean foghlama deartha a bheidh mar áis sa seomra ranga ag múinteoirí bunscoile agus iad ag úsáid na míreanna foghlama.  Tá acmhainní foghlama atá feiliúnach do spriocghrúpaí eile ar fáil ar an gCainéal freisin.Deir Príomhfheidhmeannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin:“Teastaíonn acmhainní digiteacha den chéad scoth sa seomra ranga. Cuirfidh an cainéal nua le stór acmhainní teagaisc mhúinteoirí bunscoile i ranganna 5 agus 6 ach go háirithe. Ba cheart go gcuirfeadh an cainéal go mór le heispéireas na foghlama i scoileanna Gaeltachta agus i nGaelscoileanna ar fud na tíre. Agus an cainéal á sheoladh ar Lá Fhéile Bríde, is maith liom go bhfuil an sean agus an nua ag obair as lámha a chéile agus go bhfuil saibhreas na muintire á roinnt an athuair ar shlí atá saoráideach agus snasta.”Thar ceann fhoireann an tionscadail in OÉ Gaillimh deir Riarthóir Ionad an Acadaimh, Carna , Séamas Ó Concheanainn:“Tionscnamh eiseamláireach é seo a dhaingníonn tábhacht an taighde ar an gceathrú leibhéal le freastal ar riachtanais chomhaimseartha múinteoirí bunscoileanna trí acmhainní digiteacha teagaisc den scoth a chur ar fáil don seomra ranga. Cuireadh an togra i gcrích a bhuíochas den saineolas sna daonnachtaí digiteacha atá á saothrú in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge trí chéile ach go háirithe in Ionad na hOllscoile anseo i gCarna. Cothaíonn saothrú an léinn nua-aoisigh agus an chultúir traidisiúnta in éineacht deiseanna ar leith don sealbhú teanga agus tacaíonn an tionscadal taighde seo go láidir mar sin le ceann de phríomh chuspóirí an Ionaid, sé sin an Ghaeilge a bhuanú agus a threisiú sa Ghaeltacht agus ar fud na tíre.”CRÍOCH

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

NUI Galway, in collaboration with software industry partners, has been awarded HEA funding for an innovative industry-focused Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development. This goal of this one-year post-graduate conversion course, co-designed with industry experts, is to increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast-track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience.The new Diploma builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with: a solid foundation in key software design knowledge; a choice of software architecture specialization in either .NET or Java Enterprise; and a guaranteed work placement to gain relevant experience, and so provide the opportunity to kick-start their career as software developers.The industry partners include Avaya, Ericsson, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Fidelity Investments, Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies and the Marine Institute, and the new course will be delivered as part of the Information Technology Discipline’s complimentary portfolio of postgraduate degrees.Welcoming news of the award, Dr Jim Duggan, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, commented: “This is a wonderful opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates from engineering, science, business, and arts to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners, they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector.”ENDS

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Four NUI Galway Medical students were recently presented with prizes from the Health Research Board (HRB). The overall winner of the Watts Medal was fourth-year medical student Dympna O’Dwyer from Mullagh, Co. Clare, with second place going to Sarah Cormican from Oranmore, Co. Galway, a third-year medical student at the University.Fourth-year medical student Urszula Donigiewicz from Carrigtwohill, Co. Sligo was presented with first place in the Watts Poster competition and third place was awarded to third-year medical student Maria Duignan from Boyle, Co. Roscommon.The Watts Medal is an annual prize awarded for the best presentation of scientific work to a lay audience. Undergraduate students who win a HRB Summer Scholarship are entitled to enter. Their entries are reviewed by scientists, and the best entries are selected for entry into the Watts Poster competition, with the top projects from that selected to compete for the Watts Medal proper.Commenting on the competition, HRB CEO Enda Connolly said: “The quality of the work on display both in the poster competition and the Watts Medal presentations was truly astounding. The students have shown ingenuity, commitment and drive to have accomplished so much in the eight weeks that their HRB Summer Scholarships lasted. They have been able to tackle complex problems, come up with genuine solutions, and place their research into the wider social context of how it translates to making people healthier and delivering better treatments.”Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine at NUI Galway, hopes to build further on this outcome by encouraging clinical and biomedical research as an integral part of undergraduate medical education, “Research is an extremely important component of disease specific knowledge and treatment but also contributes significantly to population health and health services research. The awards have occurred as a result of the commitment of undergraduate students to research, the supervision and mentoring of students by staff within the school, and the high calibre of the research being conducted” she said.-ENDS-

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Hewlett Packard Galway and NUI Galway recently launched a Masters Fellowship in Commerce as part of the 40thanniversary celebrations of HP Galway. This research based Masters Fellowship in commerce will examine the impact of HP Galway on the regional and national economy over the last 40 years. The research will investigate the spill over effects of HP Galway in terms of the economic development of Galway, the Western region and nationally and will also focus on other impacts particularly the development of the ICT industry in Ireland, management capabilities, the creation of start-ups, educational support at secondary and teritary levels.  Speaking on the launch of the fellowship Dr Chris Coughlan HP Galway “The forty years of Digital to HP in Galway had a profound and positive effect on Galway and Ireland, with this fellowship we hope to document and analyse this and apply the lessons learned to help industries to grow and increase employment.” Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy added: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Chris Coughlan and his colleagues at HP Galway and this study will compliment our research activities at NUI Galway in understanding the impacts of HP Galway on Galway city and the region.” Details of the masters fellowship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/cisc and the closing date for applications is the Wednesday, 18 January, 2012.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Diagnosing cancer, maintaining a healthy gut, and improving baby formula are just some of the challenges which glycoscience researchers at NUI Galway are undertaking. This area of research is expanding at the University within the Glycoscience Group under the direction of Professor Lokesh Joshi. In total, the research has secured over €3 million in funding this year. Glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. These sugars and the proteins they bind to are like glue, linking our cells together. Understanding how these sugars change as the body grows or as disease develops could lead to some scientific breakthroughs. According to Professor Lokesh Joshi, who heads up the Glycoscience Group at NUI Galway and also works with the University’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES): “We are delighted with the additional funding of our research which is really gathering momentum here in Galway. Our research is aimed at the development of new tools for the detection and measurement of carbohydrates in biological systems and the identification of new pathways for exploitation of these important biomolecules as diagnostic targets, therapeutics or novel food components. This is a relatively new scientific field and a very exciting area for us to be involved in.” Recent new funding announcements include two projects in the Glycoscience Group under the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) programme, as announced recently by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD. In total, 23 projects in 13 research institutions were funded for collaborative research projects in the agri food area, to a total value of €10 million.  The NUI Galway projects, which will be carried out in collaboration with researchers in Teagasc Research Station in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, aim to study the sugar components of milk with a view to benefiting the Irish infant formula industry, a major producer of infant formula for the world market. The Glycoscience Group has also been successful in securing Technology Innovation Development Awards (TIDA), from Science Foundation Ireland in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. The Glycoscience Group will lead one of the successful awards and is a collaborator on two others, the goal of which includes the identification of innovative glycoscience research ideas for commercial benefit. A further raft of funding for the Science Foundation Ireland supported Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (www.AGRC.ie) has also been agreed. The AGRC, established in 2009, is a collaboration between glycoscientists and alimentary microbiologists from a number of Irish universities and research institutes and led by NUI Galway. It also has several industrial partners. The main focus of the AGRC is to explore the role of sugars in the gut, with a view to developing novel ways of combating gut pathogens, and improving probiotic/prebiotic treatments to foster and maintain a healthy gut. In the field of cancer diagnostics, a young Galway medical doctor has recently joined the Glycoscience Group to investigate the role of glycosylation in the development and progression of Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of antibody-producing plasma cells in the bone marrow. Dr Siobhan Glavey, a graduate of NUI Galway, received a prestigious award from the Health Research Board under their National SpR/SR Academic Fellowship Programme 2011 to fund this work, which will be carried out under the direction of Professor Joshi and Professor Michael O’Dwyer of the Haemotology Department at University Hospital Galway. Arising from these new funding awards, a number of vacancies now exist for qualified researchers in Glycoscience Research at NUI Galway (see www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/).   -ends-