Friday, 2 November 2012

A start-up medical device company that has been spun out from an NUI Galway research laboratory has begun an expansion that should see it double in size by the end of the year. Vornia Limited was established by Professor Abhay Pandit and Drs Dimitrios Zeugolis and Wenxin Wang as a spin out from the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) – an NUI Galway based research cluster. Vornia’s goal is to bring superior and consistently high-quality biodegradable biomaterial products to the market. As a medical device company, Vornia also uses its own superior grade materials to develop and scale up products in niche clinical targets including tendon regeneration, soft tissue repair and spinal cord repair.    Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd, has initiated a robust R&D programme and has been ramping for the past eight months. “In a market in which between 70 and 80% of start-up companies fail, Vornia has secured funding for the next four years and we are looking forward to a bright future in biomaterials development for the medical technology markets.” Established with private, EU FP7, and Enterprise Ireland funding, Vornia Ltd has recently secured grants in partnership with both private companies and the NFB-based at NUI Galway to work on semi-organic devices for the treatment ischemic heart conditions, spinal cord repair and for stent development amongst others. It is involved, for example, in a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials. Dr Colm O’Dowd added: “We have just come through an intense ramping-up phase, with six researchers from as far afield as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as close to home as GMIT. By the end of the year, we hope to have recruited a further six scientists and biomedical engineers. We need people to work on process design and development of a diverse range of medical device products using biomaterials developed by NFB.” The Vornia R&D laboratory has expanded to occupy a space in the BioInnovation Centre on the NUI Galway campus where it benefits from business support and training from the team there and is also supported by the Innovation in Business Centre based at GMIT supported by funding from Enterprise Ireland. Vornia Ltd operates under an international standard for medical device manufacturers (ISO 13485) and will soon be recognised by the certification body for their quality management systems. They are also seeking recognition as a high potential start-up (HPSU) status from Enterprise Ireland which provides funding and support for start-up businesses with the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale in international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within 3-4 years of starting up. -ends-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway is to be part of Ireland’s first Geography Awareness Week, which takes place from 11-17 November. The week-long celebration of geography is a part global event organised to inform students and the wider public about the opportunities and diversity of topics available when studying geography. Throughout Geography Awareness Week, some 600 first-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts students at NUI Galway will take to the streets, waterways and beaches of Galway participating in fieldtrips led by academics from the University’s School of Geography and Archaeology. Students from post-primary schools around Galway will visit the University during the week for tours of the laboratories and hear about the research taking place on campus. On Wednesday, 14 November, a Table Quiz will be held in Kelly’s Bar in Galway City at 7.30pm with all proceeds from the event going to COPE. Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and President of the Geographical Society of Ireland, said: “It is a common misconception to narrowly associate geography simply with knowledge about capital cities of the world and facts regarding counties, wine regions and lakes. Geography is about so much more. It helps us understand how the world works with geographers exploring different systems such as human, physical, biological systems, through space and time. Geography is something employers across all sectors value, because of the wide-ranging research, analytical, practical and computer skills that geography students offer, as well as their extensive knowledge about human and physical processes. Geography Awareness Week is organised by Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI), in conjunction with the Association of Geography Teachers in Ireland (AGTI). 50 years of Geography at NUI Galway 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of Geography at NUI Galway. Since 1962 Geography at NUI Galway has built a strong reputation for research and teaching excellence. Marking this milestone, the School of Geography and Archaeology will hold a number of events throughout the academic year 2012-13. These events will celebrate the work and scholarship of Geography’s students and staff and provide an opportunity for the public to engage with some of the key debates and research in the discipline. The first such event is a symposium during Geography Awareness Week, showcasing the research of the School of Geography and Archaeology’s Planning and Sustainability Cluster. This cluster unites research interests that relate to the analysis of social and environmental problems arising within the context of an increasingly globalised world. The symposium will include overviews of current research which spans topical issues including planning for sustainable food futures, imagining new urban design, marine spatial policy and planning and exploring the potential of the arts and creativity sector to rural and Gaeltacht communities. A panel of geographers and planners from around Ireland will also discuss potential impacts of recent amendments to the local and regional planning regulations in Ireland. The symposium takes place on Friday, 16 November in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway. For further information on NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography’s upcoming events visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/geography/news.html. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ireland-India research relations have been further strengthened by the signing of agreements between the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway and four Indian institutions. Memorandums of Collaboration (MOC) have been agreed between NFB and the institutes, all four of which are instrumental in supporting the medical device and biotechnology sectors in India.  NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. It will now collaborate with colleagues in: The Materials Research Centre at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, Trivandrum.  The four institutes are part of the ‘Institutes of National Importance’ (INI), a status conferred by an act of Indian parliament to higher education institutes which ‘serve as pivotal players in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state’. INI’s receive special funding and recognition and the Indian government has awarded this status to just 39 institutions. The MOC recognises the benefits of increased cooperation and communication within the international community of public health research and will establish a relationship which will encourage such cooperation. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway said that: “The agreement with key institutes in India will facilitate the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaboration and the co-development of biomaterials and tissue engineering related projects. A strong emphasis will be placed on translational activities and the commercial exploitation of the developing technologies.” The exchange will develop stronger links with the international community and will result in the recruitment of high calibre students, as INI’s get India’s top graduates. The collaboration will also enable the leveraging of research funding through Indian funders and the involvement of the NFB will aid in creating the critical mass of biomaterials translation in Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of a new scholarships scheme for postgraduate students designed to reward exceptional achievement. Postgraduate Scholarships valued at €1,500 per student will be awarded to all students studying a postgraduate taught Masters programme in the year 2013/14 who have a first class honours undergraduate degree. The new initiative is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2013. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general postgraduate student application process: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. NUI Galway offers over 500 postgraduate taught programmes, with a wide range of programme choice across its five Colleges, and flexible modes of delivery. Postgraduate study is increasingly essential in enabling new graduates to develop specialist knowledge in particular fields, and in enhancing employability skills. But course fees, along with maintenance costs, put postgraduate study out of the reach of many talented students. Speaking at the announcement, which was made at the University’s recent Postgraduate Open Day on campus, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The new scholarships were developed in response to the recent cuts in maintenance funding for postgraduate students. We know that more and more students are looking to postgraduate study as a means of enhancing their skills and their employability, but financial constraints are a big problem. We believe that these scholarships will enable more of the brightest and most committed students to progress to postgraduate study.” Postgraduate students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with almost 4,000 students (taught and research) across all schools and disciplines. For more information on postgraduate programmes and scholarships at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships or phone 091 492844 or email postgrad@nuigalway.ie. The next NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day, showcasing the University’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013. ENDS Fógraíonn OÉ Gaillimh Scoláireachtaí Nua den Scoth chun Mic Léinn Chumasacha a Aithint D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh sonraí faoi scéim nua scoláireachtaí do mhic léinn iarchéime chun gnóthachan eisceachtúil a aithint. Bronnfar Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime ar luach €1,500 an mac léinn ar gach mac léinn ar glacadh leo ar chláir lánaimseartha Mháistreachta Mhúinte in 2013/14 a bhfuil fochéim chéadonóracha acu. Tá an deis seo ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime a dhéanann iarratas ar chlár Máistreachta Múinte lánaimseartha atá le tosú i bhfómhar 2013. Bronnfar na scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn a ghlacann le háit ar mháistreacht lánaimseartha teagaisc agus a chomhlíonann critéir na hOllscoile. Ba cheart do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis acu anseo cuairt a thabhairt ar láithreán gréasáin OÉ Gaillimh chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi scoláireachtaí agus chun eolas ginearálta a fháil faoin bpróiseas iarratais do mhic léinn iarchéime: www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships. Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 500 clár iarchéime múinte ar fáil le rogha leathan as cúig Choláiste agus modhanna solúbtha seachadta. Tá staidéar iarchéime ag éirí níos riachtanaí chun saineolas a thabhairt do chéimithe nua i réimsí áirithe agus chun scileanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú. Ach mar gheall ar tháillí na gcúrsaí mar aon le costais chothabhála bíonn go leor mic léinn chumasacha nach mbíonn in acmhainn tabhairt faoi staidéar iarchéime. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, a rinneadh ag an Lá Oscailte Iarchéime ar an gcampas le gairid, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Forbraíodh na scoláireachtaí nua mar fhreagra díreach ar na ciorruithe a rinneadh le déanaí ar mhaoiniú cothabhála do mhic léinn iarchéime. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil níos mó mic léinn ag díriú ar staidéar iarchéime d’fhonn cur lena gcuid scileanna agus chun a gcuid deiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú, ach tá srianta airgid ag cothú fadhbanna móra. Creidimid go dtabharfaidh na scoláireachtaí seo deis do níos mó de na mic léinn is cliste agus is tiomanta dul ar aghaidh chuig staidéar iarchéime.” Is mic léinn iarchéime iad cuid mhór de phobal OÉ Gaillimh; tá beagnach 4,000 mac léinn (ar chláir mhúinte agus thaighde) sna scoileanna agus sna disciplíní ar fad. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil ar chláir agus ar scoláireachtaí iarchéime in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships nó glaoigh ar  091 492844 nó seol rphost chuig postgrad@nuigalway.ie. Beidh cláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha OÉ Gaillimh ar taispeáint ag an gcéad Lá Oscailte Iarchéime eile a bheidh ar siúl Dé Máirt, an 12 Feabhra 2013, agus beidh idir mháistreachtaí teagaisc agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta ar taispeáint ann. CRÍOCH

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Kildare on Wednesday, 14 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. 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 to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, 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 programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism  which are brand new for 2013. “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 Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Kildare 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 Kildare, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Friday, 9 November 2012

Graduates and students of NUI Galway featured prominently at the annual National University of Ireland (NUI) Awards ceremony which took place recently in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham taking home a notable 30 awards. Two NUI Travelling Studentships in the Sciences were awarded to NUI Galway graduates Martin Browne, Biochemistry and Robert Richardson, Mechanical Engineering. The NUI E.J. Phelan Fellowship in International Law was awarded to NUI Galway graduate John Reynolds, who will take up his fellowship in the School of Law at NUI Galway. Other scholarships and awards include the French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Proficiency in French was awarded to Mariana Tempesti, with the Pierce Malone Scholarship in Engineering presented to Robert Richardson. The NUI Club London Scholarship was awarded to Conor Burke, a Film Studies student at NUI Galway. The Scoláireacht agus Duais Chiste Theach an Ardmhéara sa Ghaeilge/Mansion House Fund Scholarship and prizes went to Senan Mac Aoidh and Luke Callinan. Four Dr Henry Stewart Literary Scholarships and Prizes were presented to: Ruth Cormican, French; Fionnuala Fadian, Gaeilge; Lindsay Shorten, Italian; and Paul Griffin, Spanish. A total of 18 Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes were awarded to NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. The award recipients were Antionette Flannery, Clinical Radiology; Cliona Small and Jennifer Small, Gynaecology and Obstetrics; Caoilfhionn Connolly, Medical Microbiology; Laura Nestor, Medicine; Elizabeth Howard, Midwifery; Yvonne McDonagh, Nursing; Jennifer Scott, Paediatrics; Sarah Cormican, Pathology; Cillian McNamara and Conor Fahy, Pharmacology; Sinead Coen, Physiology; Craig MacLiathain and Darren Kilmartin, Public Health; Elaine O’Connell, Occupational Therapy; Patricia Ruane and Veronica Smith, Podiatry; and Sorcha Rabbitte, Speech and Language Therapy. Speaking on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates, President Jim Browne, said: “This clearly highlights the high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate each of the Award recipients on their achievement, which will add to their academic reputation. I commend the Award recipients and I pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting students and helping them to achieve such high standards.” At the ceremony, the Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning presented Travelling Studentships, Post-Doctoral Fellowships scholarships and other awards to over 115 students and graduates of the NUI Constituent Universities and Recognised Colleges.The total value of NUI Awards this year was over €1 million. In 2012, over one hundred students and graduates from the constituent universities and recognised colleges of the federal university received awards. NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, NUI Maynooth, RCSI and NCAD were represented among the award winners. -ENDS-

Monday, 12 November 2012

An information evening for prospective mature students will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 22 November. The event will take place from 7-9pm in the O’ Flaherty Theatre, Arts/Science Concourse, NUI Galway. The information evening is designed for people aged 23 and over who are considering embarking on full-time undergraduate degree programmes in NUI Galway in the 2013/2014 academic year. Information will be provided at this session on the programmes available to mature students across each of the University’s five Colleges: College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; College of Engineering and Informatics; and College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies. Sessions will also cover topics such as entry requirements, application and selection procedures, financial queries and other support systems available within NUI Galway.  NUI Galway’s Mature Students Officer, Trish Hoare, said: “NUI Galway is proud to announce that mature students can now apply for entry to Medicine (GY501) and Arts with Psychology (GY104). We are also looking forward to next year’s new degree in Arts with Journalism (GY119).” Applications for third-level are made mostly through the CAO, which has a deadline of the 1 February, 2013. To qualify as a mature student you must be 23, or over, on or before 1 January, 2013. Mature applicants for programmes in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees are also required to register prior to 1 February, 2013 for the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) exam which takes place on Saturday, 23 February, 2013. For more information on future upcoming CAO advisory sessions see http://www.nuigalway.ie/mature/publicevents.html or email Trish Hoare at maturestudents@nuigalway.ie.  The University’s Mature Students Guidebook is also available, along with further information, at www.nuigalway.ie/mature. -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

NUI Galway’s Drama and Theatre programmes will present a public reading from the first biography of Stewart Parker, one of Northern Ireland’s most important playwrights. Marilynn Richtarik, author of Stewart Parker: A Life, will deliver the reading in Galway’s Druid Theatre on Thursday, 22 November at 7pm. Stewart Parker’s plays have been compared to the great dramas of Brian Friel, yet he was in many ways unique. His plays Spokesong, Northern Star and Pentecost are regarded as masterpieces but tragically Parker died at the young age of 47. A contemporary of Seamus Heaney, he from a working-class Protestant background and shared with other Northern Irish writers of his generation the challenge of dealing with the Troubles in a politically, morally, and aesthetically responsible manner. The story of how Parker met these demands through his writing affords the reader insights into the experience of daily life in the shadow of political violence. Based on Parker’s personal papers including diaries, notebooks and early drafts of his literary works, and on interviews with those who knew him best, Stewart Parker: A Life describes his career in the context of both his personal history and the turbulent times through which he lived in his native Belfast. Covering all of his major works for radio, television, the stage and film, this biography illuminates the genesis and meaning of classic plays such as Spokesong and Pentecost – works that continue to shed light on Northern Irelands’ past, present, and future. Marilynn Richtarik is Associate Professor of English at Georgia State University and a leading authority on theatre from Northern Ireland. She is an author of numerous articles on Stewart Parker and has written programme notes for productions of his plays in London, Dublin, Belfast, and Washington, DC. Dr Patrick Lonergan, Director of the BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Marilynn Richtarik to Galway to read from her exciting new biography of Stewart Parker. Parker is one of the greatest dramatists ever to emerge from the north of Ireland and although his life was cut tragically short, he wrote some of the best Irish plays of the late twentieth century. This public event is an opportunity for all theatre lovers in Galway to come together to find out more about this important figure.” Entry to the reading is free but space is limited and copies of Stewart Parker: A Life will be on sale after the reading. For further information please email Patrick.Lonergan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute is hosting an ‘Art from Science’ exhibition as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival. The exhibition will open on Tuesday, 13 November and run through until the big festival finale at NUI Galway on Sunday, 25 November. Science and technology inspired art is not a new concept, but increasingly art is being used as a medium that invites the audience to think about a scientific subject in a novel way. Julia Baer, a ceramicist and scientist who recently completed a Masters Degree in Botany at NUI Galway, explains: “Incorporating aspects of science and nature into artwork creates an opportunity for people to look at science in a way that they might not have before. My ceramic work includes images of marine life such as seaweeds and radiolarians. Radiolarians are microscopically small animals that occur in all the world’s oceans. People are often surprised to find out that the delicate prints on my work derive from the natural world they can potentially find at their doorsteps! I think those that view and buy my pieces also walk away with a greater appreciation for marine life that they may never before have thought of as beautiful or even knew existed.” Julia’s work will be displayed alongside a number of other pieces and projects including ten large murals created by artist Brian Brennan for the recent Sea2Sky science event. Also on display will be a sculpture and paintings from Chemistry’s Distill Life exhibit, ‘Fascination of Plants’ photographs. Poetry by Moya Roddy and Pete Mullineaux, as well as artwork from Ryan Institute researchers will also feature. The highlight for many will be the multi-room interactive installation known as the BEAST!, created for the recent Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. The BEAST! (Baboró Environment, Art, Science and Technology) project saw scientists from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute and Baboró artists working with primary schools on issues related to sustainable living in the 21st century. The resulting installation came out of the pupils reflecting on what they had learned from the scientists, and working with the artists to express their ideas in a very creative, and thought-provoking, way. “The BEAST! project was such a unique way for NUI Galway researchers to connect with school children, and share ideas on all sorts of subjects related to environmental change, like sustainable fisheries, eco-housing, and power and efficiency”, said Professor Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research. He added: “The artistic installation is a fantastic way to ensure that what these pupils learned can be shared with a much wider audience. It’s a beautiful and impressive piece of work and we are delighted to work with the Baboró team showcasing it on the NUI Galway campus.”  The ‘Art from Science’ exhibition is located in a space adjacent to the Bank of Ireland Theatre at NUI Galway, in a building known as the Soils Lab.  It will be open weekdays only from 10am to 5pm, apart from Sunday, 25 November when it will be open all day as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, also on the NUI Galway campus.  The exhibition is free and open to all. To book in a group for a guided tour please contact sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie . -Ends-

Monday, 12 November 2012

Some 130 students and teachers recentlydescended on NUI Galway to participate in an extended learning workshop, Bank Your Future. This national financial education initiative by NUI Galway and Junior Achievement, supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is designed to educate second-level students to establish good financial habits to carry them through their adult lives During the event Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway presented students from Mercy College, Coláiste Iognáid, Presentation College Athenry, and Archbishop McHale College in Tuam, with certificates for completing the Bank Your Future programme. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is proud to partner Junior Achievement and recognise the secondary school students for their successful completion of such a vital skills development programme. At NUI Galway we are deeply committed through our strategic plan to engaging regionally with NGOs and schools. Hundreds of university students are volunteering with over thirty homework and youth clubs across the city and county to raise educational aspirations.” NUI Galway’s Access Programme and its ALIVE Programme, working with Junior Achievement, helps create a relationship between secondary schools and NUI Galway throughout their second-level education. The NUI Galway Access Programme targets people whose access to education generally, and higher education in particular, is or has been restricted. Through developing alternative entry routes, and providing educational aspirations in both primary and secondary schools, the Access Programme aims to increase participation amongst those target groups, who for a variety of social and economic reasons are under-represented at third-level. The ALIVE programme at NUI Galway aims to enhance partnerships between the University and the wider community through provision of a supportive environment in which students and community can liaise through volunteering. Bank Your Future is a six-week programme taught in the classroom by independent business volunteers from a variety of business backgrounds. This academic year will see approximately 1,750 students across Galway, Dublin, Leitrim, Sligo, Limerick, Cork and Waterford participating in this initiative. The programme includes: the importance of education and its role in improving potential earning power balancing salary and expenditure using credit and cash wisely the importance of saving the benefits of insurance Findings from the evaluation of the Bank Your Future project last year indicated an increase in students’ confidence in knowing how to manage their money having completed the programme. “Empowering young people with the skills surrounding the complex area of personal finance will allow these students not only a firm understanding of their future financial choices and responsibilities, but also of the importance of their career choices and potential to create fulfilling and independent lives”, said Teri Kelly, Communications Manager, Bank of America Merrill Lynch. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The 15th Galway Science and Technology Festival, part of National Science Week and sponsored by Medtronic Galway officially opened on Monday 12th November at the Orbsen Building, NUI Galway. Attending the opening were Galway City Mayor, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, Tom Hyland, Chairman of Galway Science & Technology Festival, John MacNamara, Director of R&D Medtronic, Dr. Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, Professor Tom Sherry, Dean of Science NUI Galway and Michael Carmody, President of GMIT. The Festival runs from the 12th–25th November and includes free shows and activities for primary and secondary school students and a family day out at the Final Day Exhibition on Sunday 25th November. It aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by bringing shows to schools throughout Galway city and county over the two-week free event. John MacNamara, Director of Research & Development at Medtronic commented, “This festival is so important in terms of engaging the interest of the younger generation in Science and Technology and the exciting career possibilities open to them, ensuring we have the pool of talented scientists and engineers so necessary for Ireland's future success as a nation.” Primary schools can book shows to visit their school for free including Cell Exploration for 5th and 6th class  students, a hands on practice of cellular and molecular biology for budding explorers. Jumping Clay by Jim Daly is an education programme for 3D clay modelling, that can be used in animation or just making popular art. Jane McLoughlin’s Fun with Science presents easy science experiments and use of recycled materials and everyday foods to learn about science. Additional primary school shows include Modern Day Medicines, a half-day workshop at GMIT for 5th and 6th class students that will explain how everyday medicines that we buy in pharmacies work to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. The School of Chemistry at NUI Galway will run a Primary Schools Outreach program, Kitchen Chemistry, aimed at introducing primary school children to the exciting world of Chemistry. Secondary schools can also avail of free shows including Dr Ken’s Entertaining Science Circus Show, which demonstrates how circus performers make use of scientific principles in their tricks and stunts. The Strange World of Forces with Paul McCrory, a fast-moving interactive show exploring the forces that are so important in allowing us to move. Celestia and Stellarium Workshops will take students on an interactive journey through the Solar System highlighting latest discoveries. Bend it like Beckham by James Soper NCBES Roadshow will present an informative presentation outlining the links between Science, Engineering and Medicine. Cosmic Explorers with Robert Hill demonstrates how the Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos and helped us to better understand the universe in which we reside. Both primary and secondary schools can book Galway Bay FM School Tours allowing students experience the technology involved in producing a live radio show. The Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway will host 3-D Tours of the Universe taking students on a trip from the earth to nearby stars, across our Galaxy and through the whole Universe. Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome allows students discover the wonders of the night sky in their own school hall and The National Computer and Communications Museum will provide a fascinating insight to the development of communications and computing technology from ancient heiroglyphics to today’s internet. During the Final Day Exhibition at NUI Galway on Sunday 25th November visitors can enjoy over 80 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment and 20 separate shows for all ages. It will take place at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings and has expanded to the Aula Maxima and new Engineering Building at NUI Galway. Shows include the K’nex Roadshow, which is based on a dynamic open ended spatial building system, Mr Bug with Matt Lewis allows children get up close to friendly tropical animals and even stroke a lizard and a snake. Other Exhibition shows include Killaloe Exploration Dome, a mobile planetarium designed to explore science, astronomy, geology and geography in a fun and interactive way. True Physics Show with Declan Holmes is an interactive hands on science show where students participate in launching rockets and flying helicopters. A Lego Competition sponsored by Lego and Smyth’s Toys Superstore offers a ‘Technic Lego Challenge’ where participants have 50 minutes to build a car of the future. Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show will demonstrate wacky experiments like super foams, colour changes and disgusting lime and Black John The Bogus Pirate, is a cartoon workshop aimed at teaching children of all ages about marine environment while having fun. Full Programme details available at www.galwayscience.ie and the Festival Exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday 25th November. Bookings can be made at www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

From Monday, 12 to Friday, 23 November, NUI Galway scientists Dr Tim Downing and Dr Enda O’Connell will take part in a novel new online science engagement event. The two researchers will be part of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!, which will see them chatting with students from 36 schools across the island of Ireland. Dr Tim Downing is a lecturer with the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway. His research involves discovering mutations linked to drug resistance in flesh-eating parasites. He is looking forward to the new online challenge: “This lets scientists and students chat, discuss and learn more about exciting new research, what the big questions are in science now, and how science is perceived in schools.” Dr Enda O’Connell is a senior technical officer with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway. His work involves using a robot to help find cures for different types of cancers. He said: “I’m really looking forward to chatting with the students, answering their questions about science in general and my work in NUI Galway, and getting a new perspective on what it means to be a scientist.” Students take part in quickfire Facebook-style online live chats, ask the scientists all the questions they want and then vote for their favourite scientist to win a prize of €500, to communicate their work with the public. This is the first time the event has come to Ireland, and it’s proved very popular with teachers. The public can watch live chats and read the students’ questions online at http://imascientist.ie and follow @imascientist on Twitter. -ends-

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

NUI Galway recently held its annual Career Mentoring Day giving 25 students from the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics the opportunity to meet with volunteer mentors holding senior positions across various professions on a one-to-one basis. Topics discussed throughout the mentoring session included the challenges of the current employment market, the importance of networking and making effective job applications. The mentors also offered careers advice covering sectors such as marketing, accountancy, management, consultancy, teaching and human resource management. Dr Gerard Turley, Programme Director for the Bachelor of Commerce programme at NUI Galway, said: “Mentoring provides a crucial link between university life and the workplace. In recognition of the difficult transition from college days to work life, the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway organises mentoring sessions for different business programmes, including undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce students, Masters of Economic Science students and Executive MBAs.” Students participating found the opportunity to meet with senior professionals invaluable with NUI Galway second year Bachelor of Commerce (International) student Nadja Lorenz commenting: “It was a fantastic and unique opportunity. Going into the event, I knew exactly what I wanted but now, and this is crucial, I know how to get there. I can already start working on it with the advice I got from my mentor. It's much easier now that I know where to start and what to pay attention to.  The advice I got was unique and invaluable.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Exponential, an NUI Galway event which allows students to meet local company founders, entrepreneurs and like-minded people, in a fun and casual way, will take place in the Townhouse Bar on Tuesday, 20 November at 7.30pm. Exponential allows the opportunity to meet some of Galway's technology start-up companies and young innovative entrepreneurs, share ideas and learn how some NUI Galway graduates started their own business, right out of college. Throughout the night attendees will be able to interact with local start-up companies, speak to potential employers in a casual environment and learn what it takes to develop a business idea, form a team, raise finance, setup and run a company. Those who already have a novel idea for a product or business can share their idea and get advice and feedback from fellow students and other entrepreneurs. Guest speakers on the night will include NUI Galway graduate Paul Killoran of Starlight Solutions and Liam Ryan of GetHealth app. Both Paul and Liam set up successful ventures while still in college and will be at the event to share their experiences and give advice. This is a free event, but you do need to register at http://exponential1.eventbrite.com/ or via the Exponential website http://exponential.ly/. Exponential is a project undertaken as part of the NUI Galway/Students’ Union EXPLORE initiative. Further details on this initiative are available at http://www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore/. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. will today officially launch the Education Matters Yearbook 2012 at the offices of National University of Ireland in Dublin. Now in its sixth edition, and supported this year by NUI Galway, Education Matters Yearbook 2012 is a contemporaneous, living history of Irish education over the course of the last year. Compiled and presented to complement other seminal Irish educational publications - curriculum, policy and research, the Education Matters Yearbook 2012 collects in one publication key voices and perspectives - national and international - on key policy, practice and pedagogy developments and innovations in 2012. With a foreword from the Minister for Education and Skills, it aims to provide a comprehensive compendium of all significant events, trends and debates in Irish education. This information is accompanied by review articles, commentary and analysis by leading educators, parents, students, educational organisations and the educational unions.  Speaking in advance of the launch, Minister Quinn said: “I am delighted to launch the Education Matters Yearbook 2012. This is a very worthwhile compendium of all the significant events, trends and debates in Irish education throughout the year. It covers all levels, from pre-school to 4th level, reflecting the various views and perspectives in Irish education.” Among the notable additions to the Education Matters Yearbook this year are an article from the teaching diaspora/Irish teachers abroad; an article on the development of civic engagement at third-level; and the experience of being a student teacher completing the Professional Diploma in Education. Speaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall of NUI Galway and Editor of Education Matters Yearbook 2012, said: "Education Matters Yearbook 2012 provides an invaluable, unified resource of information about Irish education - practice, policy and pedagogy - from across all sectors of the educational system: preschool and early childhood, primary, post-primary, the Irish language, third and fourth levels. It is a unique repertory of information and insight on Irish education." While retaining its familiar, easy-to-read 'look and feel', the layout of the Yearbook has been changed this year. To enhance readability and navigability further, selected news and media items are interleaved with relevant feature articles. In a time of change and challenge in Irish education, Education Matters Yearbook 2012 addresses the salient developments currently taking place in Irish education, including the growth of the early childhood education sector; patronage and pluralism in primary education; curriculum reform and literacy and numeracy at post-primary level; and the changing landscape of Irish tertiary education and research. ENDS

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Four recent NUI Galway grads received gold medals from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, having won various categories in the 2012 Undergraduate Awards recently. The Ireland-based academic awards programme identifies top students across the island of Ireland for their innovative undergraduate research.  The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the Undergraduate Awards Summit, an annual three-day event in Dublin, Ireland that brought together some of the world’s most impressive budding academics. These are the top performing entrants in this year’s Undergraduate Awards programme, which received 2,890 submissions from third level institutions on the island of Ireland as well as elite universities primarily in the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland. Addressing the attendees, patron of the awards programme President Higgins commended the students on their remarkable achievement. “All of the submissions being recognised here today are a reassuring reminder of the great wealth of innovative and imaginative talent that exists amongst our young people – the leaders, policy makers, scientists and artists of the future. I would like to congratulate all of our awardees here today and wish them every success.” A “junior Nobel Prize”, the Undergraduate Awards is an initiative that aims to identify and connect the world’s top students, while also running a separate programme throughout all third level institutions on the island of Ireland. With 20 categories, it recognises excellence and innovation across the sciences, humanities and creative arts. The four recent graduates who were recognised for undergraduate coursework conducted at NUI Galway were: Neasa O’Callaghan, who won the Ancient & Classical Studies for her essay ‘Mapping Europa from Antiquity to Present: Contrasting Images of an Abductee and Queen’; Isaac Burke, who won the Mathematical & Physical Sciences category for his project ‘Finding a Non-Broken Circuit Basis for the Orlik-Solomon Algebra of an Arrangement of Hyperplanes’; Cathal Kelly, who won the Engineering & Mechanical Sciences category for his project ‘Phosphorous Removal From Wastewater Using Pyrrhotite’; and Marek Bohacek, who won the Psychology category for his essay ‘Process Timing and its Relations to the Perception of Tonal Harmony: an EEG Study’. Louise Hodgson, Programme Director of the Undergraduate Awards said: “Every year the Undergraduate Awards has recognised outstanding students and graduates, but I think our winners today are the most impressive bunch so far. Congratulations to them all! I know they’ll go on to be leaders and pioneers in their fields, and I’m glad the Undergraduate Awards can be one of the first to recognise their work.” ENDS

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Music for Galway’s archive has been catalogued at NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library and Erika Casey, founding Member of Music for Galway, will officially launch the archive on Monday, 19 November at 6pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. The evening will include an exhibition of material from the archive, an overview of the archive material and a performance from Con Tempo Quartet. Ranging in date from 1981 to 2011 the archive includes numerous series of original records documenting the Irish and international acts that played to audiences across Galway and the West of Ireland. The archive traces the relationship between Music for Galway and NUI Galway, as the group found a home for concerts and their grand piano at the Aula Maxima on the University's campus. The archive consists of nineteen boxes of records comprising of a comprehensive record of Music for Galway's legacy. These include records of productions including posters, flyers, invitations, programs, press releases and number of black and white and colour photographs of Music for Galway committee members, musicians and concerts. Financial records, details of membership and rates, correspondence between Music for Galway and various musicians and groups, newsletters and press cuttings of news and coverage of concerts and events are also included in the archive. Music for Galway’s archive will offer researchers a unique insight into the establishment and growth of one the West's premier music groups while documenting the creative and administrative processes of Music for Galway's numerous achievements. NUI Galway Librarian, John Cox, said: “The University was honoured to receive this important archival collection in 2007 and the James Hardiman Library is delighted to be able to open it for consultation now that it is fully catalogued. The catalogue is itself an excellent resource and will make it easy to use the archive productively.” -ENDS-

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards, a competition to encourage enterprise and innovation among students, has been launched at NUI Galway. Now in its third year, the initiative invites students across campus to put forward proposals for a project or business, with a prize of €10,000 investment capital for the overall winner and two runners up prizes of €5,000 each. The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards aim to unlock the potential of NUI Galway students by providing financial support and expertise for students who wish to start a project in the areas of business and social entrepreneurship. The NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards are generously supported by NUI Galway Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd., NUI Galway and the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office. Paul Curley, President of NUI Galway Students’ Union, said: “The Enterprise Awards are a showcase for the best and brightest student minds on campus and reflect the dynamic, innovative and creative graduates we all wish to see emerging from NUI Galway, now and in the years ahead.” Last year’s winner Niall O’Connor of SonorPlex said: “Participating in the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise awards really helped me to develop a concept into a real-world proposition. The profile generated - even by taking part, not to mention winning was extremely valuable. The prize money is now helping me to take the project to the next level.”  The closing date for submissions is 5pm Friday 30th November. More information is available at www.su.nuigalway.ie  -ENDS-

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Swim Ireland, in conjunction with Kingfisher Club and NUI Galway launched its new Connacht Swimming Performance Centre on Wednesday, 14 November at the Kingfisher Club, Galway. The event was attended by representatives from NUI Galway, the Irish Sports Council, Swim Ireland, Kingfisher Club, Connacht clubs, swimmers and coaches. The Connacht Swimming Performance Centre(in operation since September 2012) is based at the Kingfisher Club in NUI Galway and is led by swimming coach Pearse McGuigan, in conjunction with Peter Banks, National Performance Director. The Centre is designed specifically to provide additional training hours, develop skills, provide opportunities for the best swimmers to train together on a weekly basis and provide support to club, coaches and athletes.  A total of twenty five swimmers currently avail of the centre, across a variety of training programmes. Swimmers are offered a range of sports science services such as strength and conditioning, video analysis and physiology and they can avail of both full and part-time programmes. Swim Ireland’s National Performance Director, Peter Banks, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Kingfisher Club and NUI Galway to develop swimming in Connacht. The new centre will help us to raise the level of training opportunities for Irish swimmers at home, and will also provide the structure and programmes to enable swimmers who are based in Connacht to achieve success at European, World, and ultimately Olympic level. We are grateful for the support of the Irish Sports Council, Kingfisher Club, NUI Galway and other partners in this regard.” Speaking at the launch Kingfisher Managing Director, Joe Cosgrove, commented: “The Kingfisher Fitness Club are honoured to be chosen as Connacht’s Premier Performance Centre. Through our partnership we strive to help the young talent steadily emerging throughout Connacht and allow them develop their skills to propel them towards successfully performing at international standard. We fully believe that we can support the new generation of Irish swimmers with better training facilities and opportunities. By setting ourselves high standards and living and working by these standards we cannot but see results.” Gary Ryan, Elite Sports Development Officer, NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting development for Sport in the region. NUI Galway has a long history of supporting excellence in sport and this Performance Centre is an important venture for Swimming in Ireland. We hope that this will not only help the development of young sporting talent but encourage more students to study at NUI Galway and progress their sporting performance to the highest levels.” - ENDS –

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Full Health Medical secures €20,000 in funding and go forward to national final Galway company, Full Health Medical was named the Best Emerging company at the Connacht and Leinster final of the 2012 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn all-island business competition. Full Health Medical which is based in the Business Innovation Centre of NUI Galway beat tough competition from the other Connacht and Leinster finalists in its category to win €20,000 to help finance the early stages of their ventures.  The company will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition, which will take place on the 28th November 2012 at the iconic Titanic Belfast building. Now in its tenth year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for early stage/high growth companies in any sector, from any part of the island.  The competition, aimed at companies who have a new equity funding requirement, has a record prize fund of €280,000.  To date, InterTradeIreland has supported over 1,600 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process and previous finalists have gone on to leverage around €159m worth of equity since taking part. The Seedcorn competition is considered an important barometer for new and emerging companies among the investment and business communities. Full Health Medical, has designed a system that addresses one of the most basic deficits in healthcare – the meaningful communication of test results in the context of a person’s own history and lifestyle.  Developed over three years by a team led by GP and A&E doctor Ann Shortt, the Full Health system uses a series of clinical algorithms and combines medical, family history and lifestyle information with the examinations and test results to generate a personalised report for the doctor’s approval.  The results are then presented in an easily understandable format, complete with recommendations and advice for the patient.  This system offers doctors a huge saving of time and expense, and allows a doctor to provide a better service to significantly more patients. Paul McCarthy, Managing Director of Full Health Medical said; “We are thrilled to have won the Connacht and Leinster Emerging Category award and we’re going to put all of our efforts into the national final at the end of this month.  Seedcorn is such a recognised competition so to win this accolade is a great milestone for us.  After years of extensive development and testing, winning the Seedcorn regional final really validates the hard work that our team has put into the company.  Although we have already secured a number of key contracts, it is only now we are launching for the wider primary care and corporate health market.” Thomas Hunter McGowan, Chief Executive, InterTradeIreland added; “It is inspiring to see the level of innovative thinking, determination and optimism for the future displayed by businesses coming through this process.  These companies have the potential to be a key driver of future economic growth.  The Seedcorn competition reaches out to businesses at the early stages in their development and it is exciting for InterTradeIreland to work with these companies at such a crucial stage of their business.  The quality of companies in the Connacht and Leinster final was outstanding and I congratulate Full Health Medical on its win today from these very competitive fields.” Full Health Medical will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Munster finals for the title of overall Best Emerging company. Finalist companies also benefit from being part of the Seedcorn Network – an extensive business and investment community that helps boost their profile, contacts and future potential investment opportunities. The all-island finals will take place at the Titanic Belfast building on the 28th November, where companies are in with a chance to compete for the overall ‘Best Emerging Company’ prize worth €50,000 or the overall ‘Best High Growth Company’ prize worth €100,000.  Previous finalists have included companies from sectors including technology, online, medical devices, green tech solutions, healthcare solutions and consumer products.  Further details are available on www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn. Companies can follow the Competition on Twitter (@ITI_seedcorn) where they can get valuable information and advice.  ENDS

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Researchers from NUI Galway, along with members of the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly, officially launched the new MARNET project at a major EU Commission Marine conference in Bilbao, Spain earlier this week. MARNET (Marine Atlantic Regions Network) is a three year co-operation project involving regional authorities and marine socio-economists in Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal and Scotland. The initiative will establish an EU Atlantic Marine Socio-Economic Network that will map the value of the Atlantic Marine economy through the development of reliable and comparable socio-economic data throughout Atlantic Regions. Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) in NUI Galway is the lead scientific partner on this large scale EU INTERREG project. SEMRU, created in NUI Galway in 2008 with the support of the Marine Institute Beaufort Marine Socio-Economic Award, is focused on economic and social research to quantify the economic importance of Ireland’s marine environment in support of ‘evidence-based’ policy development within the marine sector. Attending the launch, Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and MARNET researcher, said: “The main aim of the MARNET project is to develop a Marine Atlantic Regions Network and to establish formal co-operative links between marine socio-economic research institutions and other bodies operating in the European Atlantic coastal zone.” Assembly Director Gerry Finn welcomed the EU Commission's support for the MARNET project adding: “MARNET is an important development in Maritime co-operation in Atlantic Regions. The availability of comparable socio-economic data in the sector is vital to targeting future  funds to niche areas of the Marine Economy. I am delighted that the BMW Regional Assembly is in a position to co-ordinate this exercise which up to this point has not been achieved at an EU level. I look forward to the engagement of local authorities and industry representatives in the project who will identify specific practical initiatives for the sector. This initiative complements the recently launched Marine strategy for Ireland 'Our Ocean Wealth' which aims to realise the significant potential of the marine sector to contribute to job creation and economic development in Ireland.” MARNET was presented to over 150 delegates from throughout the Atlantic Region at an EU Forum Conference event in Bilbao, Spain. The consultation seminar was organised by DG MARE of the EU Commission as part of the development of the EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Area. The key note address was delivered by President of the Poitou Charentes Regional Council, Ms Segolene Royal who was a candidate for the presidency of France in 2007. -ENDS-

Friday, 16 November 2012

The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra will give two concerts in Mayo and Sligo Hospitals this month. The concerts will take place on Saturday, 24 November at 6pm in the Hume Hall, Sligo IT and on Sunday afternoon, 25 November at 2pm at Mayo General Hospital (St. Mary’s Hall) in Castlebar. Entitled ‘The Maureen Woods Memorial Concerts’, students will perform for the patients and medical staff of both hospitals, to invited guest musicians from the medical academy of Sligo and Mayo and also to invited members of the public. Both performances are free, thanks to the benefactors, the Woods family of Tarmon Co. Leitrim. The concerts by the NUI Galway Medical Orchestra celebrate much of what Maureen Woods loved and believed in – the healing power of music, the essential role of the arts in medicine, and the close bonds between the creative instinct and the best of science and medicine. Speaking in advance of the performance in Castlebar, Kevin Barry, Dean, Mayo Medical Academy, said:  “I am delighted that NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is coming to perform at Mayo General Hospital/Mayo Medical Academy.  This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the cultural, spiritual and healing powers associated with music.  We have long recognised the importance of the arts in promoting patient welfare.  The Arts Committee at Mayo General Hospital has for example, hosted many wonderful exhibitions at our hospital over the years including the works of our patients.  NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is a fantastic initiative and the various student members are to be congratulated for their dedication and strength of character. I look forward to a great afternoon of entertainment.  This is a most inspiring event.” Dr Geraldine McCarthy, Dean of Sligo Medical Academy, said: “Sligo Medical Academy and Sligo Regional Hospital are delighted to welcome the NUI Galway Medical Orchestra to Sligo for their concert for hospital staff and patients. It is a wonderful initiative linking the arts and health and the students have been great ambassadors for Galway Medical School.”   The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra is made up solely of medical students from across Clinical Sciences to include medical students as well as students from Nursing, Midwifery and the Therapies. One of the ground breaking initiatives of Clinical Sciences at NUI Galway under Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School and Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine, is to offer formal academic credit to medical students who choose to join the orchestra special study module. The arranger and musical director is the well-known musician Carl Hession and the producer of the orchestra is Mary McPartlan of NUI Galway and originally from Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim. Speaking of the initiative, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School at Clinical Sciences, said: “This is an excellent performance opportunity for the students involved, as well as recognising the benefits of music and the importance of the creative arts in the development of young students studying medicine, the holistic nature of their endeavour and the integrity it embeds into their lives as healthcare professionals. I would particularly like to thank the family of Maureen Woods for helping to make these two concerts possible through their generous sponsorship of these two concerts in Sligo and Castlebar.” The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for over a year and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. The orchestra is open to students across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences and students may select the orchestra to attain academic credit or simply participate for their personal satisfaction, enjoyment and development. ENDS

Friday, 16 November 2012

9.6% of Irish Population with Diabetes Diabetes is now the commonest metabolic illness in the world and earlier this week marked World Diabetes Day (Wednesday, 14 November). An estimated 9.6% of the Irish population now have the disease. With a particularly high prevalence in the Western Region of the country, NUI Galway and Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group have joined forces to create the Galway Diabetes Research Centre. The Galway Diabetes Research Centre (GDRC) will bring together an interdisciplinary research consortium of active researchers and clinicians. GDRC members comprise of individuals from across the diverse disciplines including psychology, engineering, economics, health promotion, nursing, midwifery, podiatry and information technology, all of whom have a track record in the field of diabetes. Based at NUI Galway, the GDRC will link researchers from these diverse disciplines to strengthen and develop close links with clinicians from Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group and the hospitals linked to the NUI Galway regional Medical Academies.  Professor Fidelma Dunne,School of Medicine, Co-director of the GDRC explains: “This is an exciting opportunity for researchers and clinicians working in Diabetes at NUI Galway and Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group. The centre will facilitate the development of each individual’s skills and provide the academic environment for collaboration. The collaboration between an academic institution and Health Care Delivery network will facilitate the efficient translation of research findings into clinical practice resulting in tangible benefits for patients with diabetes.” Bill Maher, CEO of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group said: “This new research centre for Galway is another example of where the synergy of the Hospital and University can lead to tangible benefits for patients and improved outcomes. Diabetes is a growing health care problem which is putting additional strain on a public health service which will face funding difficulties for the foreseeable future; advances in research which lead to improved treatment and which enhance the skills of our clinicians will promote patient health and are to be welcomed.” Research clusters Through three main clusters: Aetiology and Prevention, Current and Future Clinical Management, and Population and Health Services Research, the GDRC will serve the needs of patients with diabetes mellitus and those at risk of developing diabetes mellitus by creating the treatments of the future through research, providing state of the art clinical care and developing the carers of the future through education.  The three main research clusters, capitalise on the already high volume of diabetes related work undertaken by the University and hospitals. 1. Aetiology and Prevention                                                                                     Aetiology and Prevention contributes to our understanding of how diabetes develops and what are the underlying mechanisms. Researchers in this cluster are active at every level of disease, from genes, through to glycoproteins and stem cells. 2. Current and Future Clinical management             Investigators in this strand are focused on the development of new therapies for diabetes mellitus. There is an active clinical trial programme through the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway, with the support of research nurses, quality assurance staff and biostatisticians. There is also a major focus on the development of biomaterials and stem cell based approaches to regenerative therapies through the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres REMEDI and NFB. 3. Population and Health Services Research            This cluster will contribute to the evidence required to help address the many challenges of health care delivery in diabetes. These challenges include changing the way services are delivered, evaluating the health care needs of the diabetes population and measuring the relative effectiveness of interventions. The GDRC will be official launched on Friday, 16 November by Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, and Mr Bill Maher, CEO Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group.  Speakers at the event will include: Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, University of Cambridge; Professor John Nolan, STENO Diabetes Centre Denmark; Professor James Shaw, Newcastle University; and Dr Peter Hammond, Harrogate District Hospital, UK. Sligo senior footballer, Mr Kenneth Sweeney also addressed the event who is 11 years living with type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Statistics Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. It is the commonest metabolic illness globally, according to the World Health Organisation, 346 million people worldwide have the condition. It is estimated that this figure will double by 2030.  About 90% of all diabetes is type 2. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in tandem with rising obesity rates. In Ireland the number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing as a result of an ageing population and rising obesity rates. The Diabetes Federation of Ireland estimated that 200,000 people had diabetes in Ireland in 2003 and a further 200,000 had the condition but were unaware of it. They also estimated that a further 250,000 had pre-diabetes and 50% would develop diabetes in the ensuing 5 years if lifestyle changes were not met. The Institute of Public Health (2005) concluded that 4.7% of the population (circa 150,000) of the Republic had established diabetes, with the highest prevalence in the Western Region (5.2%). The Institute of Public Health have revised their figures again (2012) and now conclude that 9.6% of the population have Diabetes. Ends

Friday, 16 November 2012

A report launched at NUI Galway today calls for the human rights of children of asylum seekers to be respected and criticises the current direct provision system. The situation facing hundreds of soon to be displaced asylum seekers, residents of Lisbrook House in Galway, also came in for sharp criticism. ‘Parenting in Direct Provision: Parent’s perspectives regarding stresses and supports’ was written by Helen Ogbu, a graduate of the MA in Family Support Studies in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. Parents interviewed in the report felt that their mental health problems and those of their childrenwere increased by prolonged stays in the centres, the strain of living in over-crowded rooms, poor diets, unavailability of recreational and study space, and the educational restriction for older children. She stated that: “Direct Provision is an unsuitable environment for children and families, that it is damaging to family life and that it is not in the best interests of the child.”Her report recommends that the policy of Direct Provision as it currently stands should be reviewed and that such communal accommodation should not be used for periods of longer than six months. The report was launched at an event hosted by NUI Galway and chaired by Professor Ray Murphy of the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Opening the event Professor Murphy stated: “Of the 5,098 residents in Direct Provision, over one third are children. These children spend a significant proportion of their childhood in Direct Provision accommodation. This report indicates a failure of the state to vindicate rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the family life rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of children in the asylum system.” He added: “This is particularly shocking given the recent campaign on the amendment to the Constitution regarding children’s rights. In particular the situation for those children who have grown up and attend school in Galway, currently housed in Lisbrook House and who are to be scattered throughout the country give rise to concern on how this can be in the best interests of these children.” The audience of students, members of the public and asylum seekers also heard from Sade, an asylum seeker who has been living in the direct provision system for 5 years and 9 months and Samantha Arnold of the Irish Refugee Council. Samantha Arnold, Children’s and Young Persons’ Officer with the Irish Refugee Council Report has also recently published a report on the same topic entitled, ‘State sanctioned child poverty and exclusion:  the case of children in accommodation for asylum-seekers.’ She said “Both Fine Gael and Labour committed to reviewing the system of Direct Provision in July 2010. So far, those commitments haven’t been met. Under the Children First Guidelines, the conditions that children in Direct Provision live in amounts to child abuse or neglect. Despite not having chosen to live in Ireland or seek asylum here, the children living in and growing up in Direct Provision are subjected to enforced poverty, discrimination and social exclusion.” Samantha Arnold’s report makes a number of recommendations including ensuring that heating, hot water and cleanliness are guaranteed, children have access to private toilet facilities, children are not exposed to inappropriate behaviour, including that of a sexual or violent nature, and children are able to fully participate in the Irish education system. For further information and copies of this report visit http://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/children-and-young-people/children-in-direct-provision-accommodation/attachment/state-sanctioned-child-poverty-and-exclusion Ends

Friday, 16 November 2012

NUI Galway Marine Expert among International Researchers to Publish Findings In a landmark paper published in the prestigious international journal Current Biology 220 marine experts worldwide, including Professor Mike Guiry of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, have come together to estimate how many species there are in our oceans. The answer will come as something of a disappointment to those who claim more than a million marine species because the authors show that the true number is less than a quarter of that. About 225,000 species have been described to date, and the final tally is likely to be about 500,000. Previous estimates of a million marine species were based on unreliable figures passed from textbook to textbook and gaining credence when uttered by some famous individual at international conferences. Species are notoriously difficult to count. Unlike, say, books in a library, they are not discrete objects that can simply be catalogued and a final figure arrived at. The notion of a species is a human construct, essentially a philosophical notion, and the names we use for them, called binomials, are simply for us to communicate, and have no meaning without us. The numbers in this paper are the best that can be arrived at as, for once, they come from expert opinion, mainly from database curators and world experts in the various groups. One of these experts is Professor Mike Guiry of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. He is the founder of the database AlgaeBase (www.algaebase.org) funded in 2004-2009 by the Higher Education Authority under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions, itself generously underwritten by Chuck Feeney, recently publically honoured by all the Irish universities, through Atlantic Philantrophies. Professor Guiry has to date catalogued 130,000 names of algae, including 34,000 species. Of these, about half are marine, and include some 9,500 seaweeds. This is the only global species database in Ireland. Speaking on the findings, Professor Guiry said: “We do not yet know how many species there are in the world, estimates vary from 5-50 million, but the most reliable recent estimates are that 1.9 million, with the insects accounting for more than 1 million.” Professor Guiry added: “The marine environment is relatively species-poor, despite claims to the contrary, with less than 12% of all currently described species occurring in the sea. But what the sea lacks in species numbers it makes up spectacularly in diversity and beauty, and in the active part these organisms play in keeping our planet healthy. More than 75% of all photosynthetic oxygen is produced by marine algae.” The marine Professor’s forthcoming book, A Catalogue of Irish Seaweeds, will show that 7.5% of all seaweeds occurs in Ireland, which is extraordinary for the size and geographical spread of the island, and contrasts strongly with our native flowering-plants, which amount to no more than 0.25% of the world’s 350,000-400,000 species. The marine experts predict that all marine species will have been described by the end of this century, so that the task will have taken the human race 350 years. ENDS

Monday, 19 November 2012

On Friday, 30 November, NUI Galway's Aula Maxima will resound with the ancient sounds of early Irish harp, voice and horn.  Gold-strung cláirseachs (harps), played by Ann Heymann, will accompany 7th-18th century Gaelic poems, including genres of laoi, rosc and amhrán, sung by Charlie Heymann and NUI Galway’s Lillis Ó Laoire.  Ann Heymann is a Visiting Fellow with the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway where she is studying the use of the harp in the performance of early Irish poetry.  Early Welsh poetry by the famous poets Aneirin and Taliesin, accompanied by horsehair harp, crwth and various lyres will also featured.  Adding to the musical soundscape will be Simon O'Dwyer's pre-historic and medieval horns, bells and pipes. Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Lecturer in Irish and Head of NUI Galway’s School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, is an award winning sean-nós singer, scholar, and writer from the Gaelic speaking region of Donegal. Dr O’Laoire teaches courses in Gaelic language, culture and folklore at NUI Galway, and his publications include On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers in Tory Island, Ireland. Ann Heymann is renowned for having recreated specialised techniques that articulate the voice of the cláirseach. Her use of gold wire, which is based both on evidence in the literature and in the physical construction of the cláirseach, has restored a brilliant rich voice to the instrument. Her husband Charlie is both a vocalist and instrumentalist, and for over 35 years the couple have performed and taught across four continents.   Simon O'Dwyer has brought the sound of ancient Irish horns, bells and pipes to audiences around the globe.  Author of Prehistoric Music of Ireland, O'Dwyer documents both his research and his making of these reproduction instruments. This event is free and open to the public and takes place at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

Monday, 19 November 2012

NUI Galway’s REMEDI and Orbsen Therapeutics win €6 million European funding NUI Galway has been awarded a major new €6 million European project, designed to address complications associated with diabetes. The research project will examine the ability of stem cells to safely control glucose levels and alleviate the damage caused by six different diabetic complications. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, who is also a Consultant in Endocrinology at Galway University Hospitals, will co-ordinate the project. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited, an NUI Galway spin-out company, is the lead SME on the project. Clinical trials will take place in Ireland and Denmark using stem cells discovered by Orbsen. In total, nine new research jobs are to be created in Ireland by the project. An estimated 60 million patients with diabetes mellitus in the EU are using prescription drugs to control blood glucose levels. Poor control of blood glucose levels may lead to a number of diabetic complications, including: nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, impaired bone repair and wound ulceration. “At the moment, there are very few treatment options available to control the initiation and progression of these complications”, explains Professor O’Brien. “In addition, there are no treatments which will improve glucose levels and simultaneously treat the diabetic complication. These complications therefore continue to be a major challenge for clinicians and patients alike.” The REDDSTAR project, originally conceived by Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research & Development at Orbsen Therapeutics, will take place over two phases. The first will examine which diabetic complication responds best to stem cell treatment in various models of diabetes. The second phase will involve a clinical trial at the Steno Diabetes Centre in Denmark, in collaboration with clinicians at the Diabetes Centre in Galway University Hospitals, specifically in the complication which showed the most promising results in the first phase. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited was formed as a spin out company to advance and commercialise new intellectual property developed by researchers at the SFI-funded REMEDI at NUI Galway. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI. Co-ordinated by NUI Galway, the REDDSTAR (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) project brings together ten expert teams from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and the US will comprehensively examine if stem cellscan safely address this challenge. Converting research funding into job creation The REDDSTAR EU FP7 funding will be used to create three new positions within REMEDI and a further five new positions at Orbsen. Administration of the REDDSTAR project will be supported by a third SME, Dublin-based EU specialists Pintail Ltd, bringing the total number of new Irish jobs created by this project to nine. Professor O’Brien states: “The creation of new jobs is a very important impact of government-funded research through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The funding of REMEDI by SFI has allowed this EU support to be leveraged resulting in job creation in Ireland.”  Orbsen CEO Brian Molloy adds: “Our participation in REDDSTAR assists us in the development of our core stem cell technology and will make a substantial contribution to our R&D programme. Our mission is to become Europe’s leading Stem Cell Therapy company. Collaborations such as this with REMEDI and NUI Galway help to position Ireland as a European hub for cell therapy development.” Orbsen recently developed and is patenting a unique method of isolating therapeutic stem cells from human tissue at class-leading levels of purity. The Orbsen cell therapy product is unique in that it has been designed to meet future EU regulations regarding cell-based medicines. The Orbsen therapy will be independently assessed by the REDDSTAR experts in each diabetic complication.   Dr Steve Elliman, states: “This project design has a number of advantages over similar approaches being taken by other researchers. Primarily, this is the first FP7 project to unite EU experts on all six diabetic complications to work together and assess how a therapy might impact all six tissues at the same time. It is expected that this REDDSTAR ‘network’ of researchers will live beyond this project and be used by other drug developers.” In addition, REDDSTAR has permitted a unique collaboration between Orbsen and the US-based SME, Owl Biomedical Inc. Owl Biomedical is developing the unique “Nanosorter”, a bench-top device that will permit isolation of the Orbsen cell therapy for clinical use in line with forthcoming EU regulations. -ends-

Monday, 19 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Wednesday, 28 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. 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 to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, 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 programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which are brand new for 2013. “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 Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel 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 Clonmel, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Monday, 19 November 2012

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, visited NUI Galway this weekend to mark the beginning of a new partnership with the University. Recent plans have been unveiled to establish a Mary Robinson Centre in the former President’s home town of Ballina, Co. Mayo. The Centre, supported by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council will be established at Mary Robinson’s birthplace and will include both a Visitor Centre and an academic research centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership. Speaking at NUI Galway, Mary Robinson also announced details of a public interview on her life and work, with Fintan O’Toole, to take place at NUI Galway on January 14, 2013. Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, and as academic partner to the project, NUI Galway will bring researchers and students from all over the world to Ballina to engage with the archive. NUI Galway is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of Human Rights and Gender research, and offers undergraduate degrees and Masters programmes in the area. The University will also advise on the cataloguing and making available of the extensive archive which is valued at over €2.5 million. President Jim Browne of NUI Galway commented: “We at NUI Galway are delighted to have been invited to become involved in this project.  We believe that the Mary Robinson Archive is very important  for scholarship globally; for our region – it adds a truly unique piece of infrastructure to the knowledge capital of the West of Ireland; and for Ireland as a nation  preserving the narrative of the life and work of probably the most significant figure to emerge from our country – a transformative figure of modern Ireland – Mary Robinson.” The proposed Visitor Centre, which is set to open to the public by the end of 2014, will provide a unique cultural tourism resource for Mayo as visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, including her early roots in Ballina. The project will involve the refurbishment of Victoria House, a protected 19th century Georgian house, together with the construction of an Annex to the house. Parts of the house will be recreated to its original condition at the time of Mary Robinson’s birth in 1944. The property at Victoria House, which has been in the Bourke Family for generations, is being made available to the Centre by the owner, Mary’s brother Adrian Bourke, and will be leased in perpetuity. Mary Robinson’s archive is a vast collection illuminating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most distinguished public figures. The archive includes a library of books, and periodicals, Mary Robinson’s personal diaries, working files and detailed records of her career as a champion of human rights and women’s equality. Also included are numerous recordings and manuscripts from her time as President of Ireland. ENDS

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A new €4.4 million EU project A new €4.4 million EU project is using the latest web technologies to make the most of the wealth of medical information contained in electronic medical records. The project aims to aid decision-making for medical practitioners and improve safety in clinical research. The Linked2Safety project will build a medical and clinical data management infrastructure, using privacy-aware, semantic technology. At the forefront of technologies being deployed by the project, are researchers from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. Their task is to imbue meaning into the data contained within the European healthcare information space, which is fragmented and disparate, and connect that data. To do so, the project will use ‘linked-data’ and other sematic technologies developed by DERI. “So much valuable information sits in seclusion in medical records in hospitals across Europe. They have the potential to significantly help and advance medical research, as well as improve health policies,” explains Ronan Fox, Health Care and Life Sciences Leader at DERI. “What we need to do is put in place a framework so that the information can be interconnected, this could lead to all kinds of possibilities. For example, within the context of the data governance, and legal and ethical framework created in Linked2Safety, individuals could be identified to join a clinical trial for a rare disease, whether they are in Ireland or Cyprus.” In addition, using ‘linked data’, information contained in the records will be leveraged in clinical research for the early detection of potential patient safety issues. Such issues might be based on genetic data analysis and the extraction of the bio-markers associated with an identified type of an adverse event. The Linked2Safety project will also support the effective organization and execution of clinical trials by allowing health carers and medical scientists to easily submit their own query and get homogenized access to high-quality medical data. Linked2Safety is an FP7 project funded by the European Commission under the area of ICT for health. With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, set up in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland and the National University of Ireland Galway. -ends-