Monday, 6 September 2010

Five NUI Galway graduates have volunteered to travel to the village of Suji in Tanzania to teach at a secondary school this October. The volunteers have been co-ordinated by Maureen Mescall from the College of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and in association with the charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. The volunteers will spend a year in the school in Suji, which currently has only two teachers for the 450 pupils. The NUI Galway volunteers are Jim Lovett from Newcastle, Galway, who is currently studying for a PhD in Mathematics and is also a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Arts and Literature graduate; Higher Diploma in Business Studies graduates Áine Standún from Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo; Belinda Crossan from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Aisling Mitchell from Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim; and Bachelor of Commerce graduate Aaron Cunningham from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Speaking about the NUI Galway volunteers, Maureen Mescall said: "The students in Suji are very lucky to be gaining the services of these very fine graduates of NUI Galway and I know from experience that they will be welcomed and cared for by the people of Suji". Tanzanian Village Renewal is a registered charity and was set up by Maureen and her husband Michael. The Mescalls first travelled to Tanzania in 1999 on holiday where they met Dr Margaret Hogan, a Clinical Psychologist working at the National Hospital Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam. Impressed by the work carried out by Dr Hogan and her team, Maureen returned to Dar es Salaam to volunteer over the summer months. While volunteering the Mescalls were asked if they could help to carry out small projects and with this in mind, set up the registered charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. In March 2008 the couple led a team of electrician and plumbers to carry out work in the village of Vikrouti in Tanzania, where they wired houses, schools, outhouses and repaired broken wells. The work of the volunteers resulted in the locals having lights in their homes, toilet and shower facilities, access to television and radio, as well as being able to grow their own vegetables. Tanzanian Village Renewal is once again getting ready to lead a team of builders and carpenters to build an extension to the school in Suji. If you would like to volunteer, or to offer your support, contact Maureen at 087 7981788. -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

Former EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn will deliver a lecture entitled 'EU Policy Entrepreneurship – How EU disability policy was made and the lessons for the Lifecourse' at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 22 September. The event will take place at 6pm in Room MY129, Áras Moyola, and is part of a series of public lectures being organised by the new Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway. The former Commissioner will discuss the formation of EU disability law and policy in the mid-1990s which took place when he was Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs in Brussels. He will be joined by Terry Stewart, a former Director in the European Commission and responsible for disability policy development. Former Commissioner Flynn will also be joined on the panel by Dr Arthur O'Reilly, former Chief Executive of the National Rehabilitation Board and the National Disability Authority, who played a leading role in disability policy development at both Irish and European levels at the relevant time. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: "This is an exciting event for NUI Galway. The mid-1990s was a turning point for European disability policy. The history should not be lost – in part because it tells how things can still be achieved even in bad times". Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, and current Chair of the Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway, commented: "It is important for people to understand how advances for one group can have policy and tactical lessons for other groups including the elderly, families and children. I would urge those interested in the future of European elderly policy and family policy to attend as well as those interested in disability". This event will be an opportunity to reflect on the role Ireland played in advancing disability policy at EU level and discuss how future policy-development, both in Ireland and in Europe can continue to advance the rights of people with disabilities. The Lifecourse Institute brings together the research and educational programmes of three Centres at NUI Galway involved with public policy aspects of the human lifecourse, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Child and Family Research Centre. The lecture is open to all memebers of the public. For further details please contact Dr Eilionóir Flynn in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at -Ends-

Monday, 6 September 2010

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the 2010/2011 'Arts in Action' Programme, which invites students to engage with the creative arts during their studies. Aimed at students across the campus, 'Arts in Action' offers access to a variety of international-standard arts events throughout the academic year. New additions and highlights this year include an exhibition from the Architectural Association of Ireland, an NUI Galway/Telegael digital media exhibition and a contemporary opera from the Italian ensemble Gatto Marte. Following from the success of last year's programme, the 2010/2011 programme will see the return of the popular 'Arts in Action' Traditional Arts concert in both semesters, with Frankie Gavin featuring this October and Máirtín O'Connor with Contempo in March of 2011. NUI Galway's continuing commitment to the arts, its contribution to the many current initiatives on and off campus, is founded in the strong belief that the relationship between academic studies and the arts is significant. Engagement with the Arts shapes future lives, develops highly qualified graduates, active citizens and leaders in many fields of endeavour. Mary McPartlan, Director of the Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, explains: "Arts in Action is an original and unique programme which has now become part of the University's academic schedule. Its core commitment is to make creative arts of international standards of excellence available through embedding the arts into the academic life of the student". Several new modules associated with this year's programme include Medicine and the Arts, (Clinical Sciences) Exploring the Arts, (Discipline of English) The Art of Good Communication, (J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics), Access to the Arts, (ACCESS programme) and volunteers on the ALIVE programme. The Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: "The exploration of the creative arts has been aligned historically with the academic study of literature and the humanities. The new developments at NUI Galway extend well beyond the confines of these traditional affiliations, embracing the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Medicine and the Arts is the University's first foray into the field of music therapy while Business and the Arts explores the connections between the creative and commercial sectors, which will be vital to the success of the smart economy". Further information can be viewed at or join us on Facebook at -Ends-

Friday, 3 September 2010

A researcher at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) has won the first prize at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mashup Challenge, which seeks technologies that combine existing web resources into a new and useful service. Dr Alexandre Passant, Postdoctoral Researcher and unit leader at DERI, developed and built an innovative web-based music recommendation system* called dbrec. The core new feature of dbrec is its capability to explain recommendations to its users, in that with a simple click of a mouse a user can understand why particular information is related to others in the search, for example, two artists may be linked by the fact that they are in the same music genre or perhaps that they both play guitar and are on the same recording label. dbrec relies on DBpedia, a structure version of Wikipedia, to compute the recommendations and makes them available using Web standards so that new applications can be built on top of it. The linkages between search items are made possible by using Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies, two major trends regarding the evolution of the Web, that are actively researched in DERI within various national and international projects as well as standardisation activities. The Semantic Web is largely concerned with improving connections in the World Wide Web to make more sense of the data that is published online. Award winner Dr Alexandre Passant explains: "dbrec shows the new and exciting possibilities offered by Semantic Web and Linked Data in terms of open recommendations systems and explanatory user-interfaces. It also demonstrates the value of Linked Data to build mash-up applications and how to make use of structured information using Web standards". The AI mashup prize was awarded at the closing ceremony of the Extended Semantic Web Conference 2010 by Elsevier, a leading publisher in science and health information, following a demonstration during a public session at the conference, and this first prize is the result of the votes from the attendees. DERI's impact on Semantic Web and Linked Data was demonstrated further at the conference when Dr Passant picked up a second award in the Semantic Web Scripting Challenge for sparqlPuSH, awarded by Talis, which was collaborative work between Dr Passant and members of the Kno.e.sis Center at Wright State University, Ohio. sparqlPuSH provides an infrastructure for real-time information monitoring on the Semantic Web, and can consequently be used in scenarios such as emergency management. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: "These recent prizes provide further confirmation of the high quality of research at this University and in Ireland, leading to innovative products and services". -Ends-

Friday, 3 September 2010

The first annual School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy is being held this week at NUI Galway, under the auspices of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Human rights activists, film-makers and interested students from Ireland and various parts of the world attended the course, which consisted of a varied programme of workshops, seminars and film screenings with established film-makers and academics. "Our aim is to widen the horizons of professionals in the film, documentary, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and media sector, reflecting on the use of film and video advocacy as an instrument for enhancing human rights awareness on critical social, political and environmental issues, and to influence change", explained Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The programme is directed by Nick Danziger, a leading practitioner in the field of human rights documentary making, and Claudia Modonesi, an expert in the organisation and management of cultural events related to human rights. "A wide ranging group of experts in the field have gathered at NUI Galway to discuss bringing other voices into the media. At a point where there are significant current crises in the world financial and ecological systems that could not be more urgent work", said Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. This team of facilitators also collaborated in the successful Summer School in Cinema and Human Rights that ran from 2005 to 2008 in Venice at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation. The summer course has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Galway University Foundation. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The third annual meeting of GlycoScience Ireland, organised and sponsored by the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) of NUI Galway and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), is being held this week in Dublin. GlycoScience Ireland is an academic organization which aims to build support and promote Glycosciences research in Ireland and to provide visibility and collaborative opportunities for Irish glycoscientists with international academic and industrial communities. Building upon the success of the last two meetings, this year will continue to look at trends in Glycosciences taking a broader international view that will highlight Irish science internationally and facilitate Irish based scientists in networking with many global leaders in this field. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and Director of the AGRC at NUI Galway, said: "The importance of glycoscience in biomedical and clinical research is being widely acknowledged. Glycoscience Ireland is bringing Irish and International researchers from academic, clinical and industrial sectors together to collaborate and focus on translational projects. Glycoscience Ireland and the community of glycoscience researchers in Ireland are working together to promote Ireland as a hub of glycoscience and related research". Attendees include representatives from the major Irish funding agencies, Irish academic institutions, Irish and multinational Biopharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries, and a distinguished panel of speakers from the US and Europe. This year s conference will include poster prizes donated by BioImages Ltd. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Pocket Anatomy, a Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology campus-based company, has launched Pocket Body - the latest application (app) for medical students and other health care professionals on Apple's App Store. This medical software, featuring comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content by means of a multi-layered sequence of high-definition photo-realistic illustrations of the human body, is a breakthrough in human anatomy education. Pocket Body was developed in conjunction with the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. Pocket Body features a fully anatomically accurate human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal content, enabling the user to navigate from the skin layer through the superficial to deep musculature, and on through to ligaments and the skeleton. In each layer, structures are pinned for identification and associated with each pin is additional concise relevant information including clinical notes. All of the information is presented in an interactive, mobile and accessible format which takes full use of the features of the device on which the app runs (iPhone, iPad or iTouch). This is a marked contrast with the two-dimensional (2D) printed pictures and diagrams commonly used in the teaching of advanced human anatomy today. Additional features allow the user to make learning notes as they progress through the learning content, and also utilize the built-in quizzes as a self-test capability to assist in their learning and exam preparation. Pocket Body will assist medical and other health care students gain a deep understanding of human musculoskeletal anatomy and assist in examination preparation. By making comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content available on demand it will also act as a continuing anatomy resource throughout their degree programme, and as a reference on into the professional workplace. Dr Brendan Wilkins, an anatomy lecturer based in the NUI Galway's College of Medicine and Health Sciences worked on the development of Pocket Body with a team of third and fourth year medical students and together they specified and wrote all of the content within the app. Combined with the software design expertise of Pocket Anatomy, the result is an innovative and exciting app which will serve as a supplement to the lectures, classes and complementary texts used by the medical and health care student and provide a detailed source of human anatomical content, on demand, through the student's own portable device. Mark Campbell, CEO of eMedia and creators of Pocket Anatomy says: "We are excited with the launch of Pocket Body, which has been co-developed by medical students for medical students. This new software enables medical students to visualise complex anatomical structures in a novel format, thereby assisting students to gain a deep understanding of the human musculoskeletal system through the use of interactive high definition photo-realistic illustrations of the human body.As medical students and educators continue to embrace new technologies in their teaching and learning practices, Pocket Anatomy will continue to push the boundaries in the use of new technologies for the purposes of medical education". "This project demonstrates how SME s can leverage local academic expertise within Universities and IoT s to accelerate the product development cycle" said Mark Campbell. Pocket Body is now available for the iPad, iPhone and iTouch. To purchase and download Pocket Body please visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Educationally disadvantaged studentsf chances of going to college have just been given a boost with the offer of over 1650 college places through the DARE and HEAR initiatives. This is a 61% increase on the number of offers made in 2009. The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) and the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) give a points reduction to disadvantaged students and students with disabilities thus increasing their chances of success in getting to Third Level. In the run up to the Leaving Cert 2010 the schemes were integrated into the CAO application system and opened up to secondary school students nationwide, with a record number of applications being received. The website was also launched as part of a targeted marketing campaign. Development of the schemes was supported by the Department of Educationfs Strategic Innovation Fund. These latest developments underscore the continuing commitment of the Irish Higher Education sector to tackling social exclusion. In June 2008 the HEA National Access Office launched the National Action Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2008]2013, setting out ambitious targets and equity of access measures for the next 5 years. Those targets include an entry rate of at least 54% for all socio-economic groups by 2020 and a doubling of the number of students in 3rd level with sensory, physical and multiple disabilities by 2013. According to Ann OfBrien, Chairperson of the DARE and HEAR Schemes, gthe significant increase in the number of offers made this year is a welcome sign that these schemes are on track to meet national targets. It also offers encouragement to students from these groups to begin considering higher education as a real option in the future." Access schemes are effective in overcoming the effects of disadvantage as shown by the recently published Trinity Access Programme (TAP) report which shows that the quality of degrees attained by access graduates mirrors those attained by other graduates. However, continuing efforts are needed in this area as shown in recent Geary Institute research which demonstrated that students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds have lower earnings expectations. gThe current economic climate reinforces the importance of tackling exclusion, said IUA Access Manager Maureen Dunne, as disadvantaged groups are even less likely to get jobs in a tight labour market, and this problem is magnified greatly for people with lower educational attainment. The HEAR and DARE initiatives help overcome this problem by boosting access to college and helping disadvantaged students fulfil their true potentialh. -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, has paid tribute to the late Mick Lally, former actor and graduate of the University. A native of Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, Mick Lally, graduated from the University with a BA 1969, HDip in Ed 1970, and an Honorary MA in 1999 for his contribution to Irish theatre, at home and abroad. Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President, said: "The University offers its sincere condolences to Mick's family, many friends, and colleagues. Mick Lally was an outstanding actor of his generation, perhaps of any generation. We truly valued him as a graduate. His national and international reputation earned him the status as an icon of Irish theatre. An Irish speaker who served his native Mayo and country with complete commitment, it is our pleasure to have him associated with this University, Mick will be remembered fondly". In 1975 following from a successful summer of drama productions, three budding actors from the then UCG Dramasoc Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally founded Druid Theatre Company. Druid went on to become an award-winning theatre company of international renown. Mick Lally was conferred with an Honorary Master of Arts, honoris causa, Degree on 27 October, 1999. -Ends-

Monday, 30 August 2010

NUI Galway will host two of the world's leading researchers in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cognitive Science at the Annual Irish Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference (AICS) which will take place from today (Monday, 30 August) to Wednesday, 1 September. Professor Scott Kelso, USA and Professor Ulrik Brandes, Germany, are both very distinguished in the field. Artificial Intelligence is concerned with producing machines that perform tasks requiring intelligent behaviour. Cognitive Science is the study of mind and human intelligence, including computational models of human cognition. Josephine Griffith, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, says: "Although Artificial Intelligence might sound abstract and futuristic, it has a surprisingly large number of practical real-world applications. When you search with Google, get a book recommendation on Amazon, play against the computer in an Xbox game or use speech recognition on a modern mobile phone, you are using Artificial Intelligence". Professor Scott Kelso, an Irish-born neuroscientist, encouraged a paradigm shift in the understanding of complex human behaviour. Prior to his work, many scientists thought that coordinated behaviour, such as picking up an object, was controlled by a central program that instructed components, like limbs, to behave together. Professor Kelso contended that the behaviour was self-organised and that the coordinated pattern emerged as the result of interactions among a vast number of connected elements. Professor Ulrik Brandes is a Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He is an expert on theory and analysis of social networks, which are the graphs of relationships between people who use services such as Facebook and Twitter. During his address he will question the effectiveness of current practice in many fields, including viral marketing and research assessment in terms of detecting the most influential of social economic and information networks. This long-running AICS conference series, established in 1988, allows participation from researchers across the island of Ireland and beyond. This year will feature 22 presentations from researchers from Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology, as well as a Student Symposium. The topics are diverse and will include: AI in computer games strategies, for robotic learning, clientism in Irish politics, AI for tracking human emotions, automatic recognition of sentiments expressed online and in reviews, understanding how people learn second languages, and interpretation of brain scans. Dr Michael Madden, Lecturer and Programme Director of the BSc in Information Technology at NUI Galway, also comments: "NUI Galway has a long-standing involvement and distinct expertise in both AI and Cognitive Science research. AI is an important branch of Computer Science, with Irish AI researchers publishing frequently in international AI conferences and journals. There have also been some notable successes in AI commercialisation in Ireland, including AI-related patents filed in several universities and some spin-out companies". -Ends-

Monday, 30 August 2010

Research on ageing led by Professor Tom Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, has been profiled in a new brochure that seeks to raise the profile of social science research in the UK. Published jointly by the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Society of Gerontology, and Age UK, the brochure was recently launched in the House of Commons, London and is part of the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series. The brochure highlights projects undertaken by researchers on ageing that have had a significant impact on public policy or social behaviour, and helped society to address some of the challenges that are associated with demographic change. The research by Professor Scharf is a study of the experiences of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban communities. Having collected an array of information from older residents in neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and Manchester, Professor Scharf drew from the older people's daily experiences of poverty, social isolation, loneliness, and crime to help shape public perceptions of the ageing of some of Britain's most disadvantaged citizens. This research has been used by charities, local authorities, and national government in their efforts to improve the quality of older people's lives. In particular, Professor Scharf's research has encouraged policy-makers to consider intervening earlier in individuals' lives, for example, at times of bereavement or when chronic health problems begin, in order to prevent the onset of disadvantage. Commenting on the research, Professor Scharf said: "It's more important now than ever before for scientists to emphasise the value of their work to a general audience. Policy makers often need good research evidence delivered in simple, jargon-free language. If researchers are to have a positive impact on policy, they have to think of new and creative ways to communicate their findings". Professor Scharf will speak about his research at a forthcoming seminar entitled Maximising the Impact of Research: Perspectives from Social Gerontology on Monday, 13 September at 12 noon in Room MY336, Áras Moyola at NUI Galway. The seminar is open to all. For further details on the seminar please contact the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at 091 495461 or The Making the Case for the Social Sciences: Ageing brochure is available for download here. -Ends-

Monday, 30 August 2010

NUI Galway will host Ireland's largest surgical conference, the 35th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, from 3-4 September 2010. Dr Patrick Boland, a senior member of the Orthopaedic Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Hospital, will deliver the Memorial Lecture at 5pm on the first day of the conference. The annual event provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Dr Patrick Boland will speak on the topic: "Living with Metastatic Bone Cancer". He specialises in the management of malignant and benign tumours of the bone, including those of the spine and pelvis, and in soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities. Soft tissue sarcomas are particular types of malignant tumours which can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. Dr Boland also has special training in limb salvage surgery, which is the removal of limb cancers while preserving the function of the limb. He has a special interest in the management of tumours of the sacrum, a large triangular bone located at the base of the spine and connected to the pelvis. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin says: "We are delighted to welcome Dr Boland to our University. He is involved in such extensive research activities, including on-going clinical research in sacral tumours and in the assessment of quality of life in patients with metastatic bone cancer, that he offers a great insight in this important area of surgical medicine". On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Brendan Moran, Consultant Surgeon at North Hampshire Hospital NHS Trust, Basingstoke, UK will present a lecture entitled: "The Learning Curve in Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Grappling with New Technology". -Ends-

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), one of the leading institutes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the USA. Speaking at the signing, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, NUI Galway, said: "This agreement facilitates the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and the co-development of any specific tissue engineering and regenerative medicine-related projects which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications". The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The centre has built up a significant reputation in the development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and is renowned for development from concept to translation in the clinic. Professor Timothy O'Brien, Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: "I look forward to the potential that this agreement offers to both REMEDI and WFIRM to accelerate the translation of regenerative medicine from basic research to the clinic". The agreement between the institutions was established through Professor David Williams, who is based at Wake Forest University and who is also Scientific Advisor to the NFB and Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway. The NFB is a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster which has established a critical mass of biomaterials research in Galway. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway has been granted funding for two research projects focussing on older people by The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). The Centre recently granted four projects funding amounting to almost €300,000 on a national level, and NUI Galway projects account for half of them. The research is aimed at improving the lives of older people and informing future policy for an ageing population in Ireland. NUI Galway's Professor Eamon O' Shea, from the Irish Centre of Social Gerontology is Principal Investigator on "Social Exclusion and Older People in Diverse Rural Communities". This project brings together multidisciplinary researchers from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast with community organisations Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack. The group will examine social exclusion among older people living in diverse rural areas and investigate ways to prevent social exclusion. The second project, also a collaboration between NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast, entitled: "Older Women Workers' Access to Pensions: Vulnerabilities, Perspectives and Strategies" will examine the position of older women workers, both rural and urban, in relation to their access to economic security, most particularly in the form of pensions. This is key policy consideration in Ireland due to the current economic and financial crisis. NUI Galway's Principal Investigator on this project is Dr Nata Duvvury, of the School of Political Science and Sociology. There are over one million people aged 60 or older living on the island of Ireland and this number is set to increase in the coming decades. This demographic shift will require creative policies to respond to the needs of an older population. New policies will, in turn, require improved research relating to ageing if they are to be well-designed and effective. The CARDI Grant Programme has funded 18 projects to date and aims to promote north-south research partnerships that bring together different subject areas to look at issues affecting older people in new ways. A focus of the programme is to support research that seeks to involve older people and to inform better policy making relating to ageing issues and older people. Professor Bob Stout, Queen's University Belfast, Co-chair of CARDI, said: "The four grant winners will examine crucial issues of concern for older people including social exclusion, financial security and health and social care. They also have a strong focus on the policy implications of their research work and show a commitment to partnership and interdisciplinary work, all of which underpin CARDI's mission". CARDI is a not for profit organisation developed by leaders from the ageing field across Ireland (North and South) including age focused researchers, academics, statutory, voluntary and community sector representatives with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies. It is overseen by a Steering Group and hosted by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. For Further information go to -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway is hosting its eleventh annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2010. Parents are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs'. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Accommodation, Finance and the Students' Assistance Fund, Safety, Careers, Counselling, Clubs and Societies, and the Students' Union. The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Monday, 30 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Tuesday, 31 August: Bewleys Hotel, Dublin Airport. · Donegal, Wednesday, 1 September: Pier One, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Thursday, 2 September: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Friday, 3 September: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Galway, Monday, 6 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. · Clare, Tuesday, 7 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Wednesday, 8 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer, Student Services at NUI Galway, said: "This is an opportunity for parents and students to get first hand information and advice from University staff and the Student Representatives. It is an ideal opportunity to have your questions answered". For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -Ends-

Friday, 20 August 2010

The School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway will next week (Tuesday, 24 August) host the University's first Annual Symposium on Environment, Society, and Development. The theme of the one-day inaugural Symposium is "Geographing the Future" and will focus on thinking critically through and developing alternatives to the various geo-political, social, economic and environmental processes that shape the world we live in. The Symposium coincides with the close of the inaugural year of the MA in Environment, Society and Development at NUI Galway. Proceedings will consist of panel discussions, keynote addresses, and themed panel sessions on topics in the field. Professor Neil Smith, City University New York, will deliver the keynote address entitled "For (Political) Climate Change". Other distinguished participants include Professor George Michael Dillon, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster, UK, and Professor Gerry Kearns, Cambridge University, London. Dr Anna Stanley, Lecturer in Human Geography and Symposium organiser, says: "Geography at NUI Galway is fast becoming a centre for excellence in the study of Environment, Society and Development; a centre operating at the forefront of scholarly research, teaching and civic engagement with the ability to attract world class students and scholars. The symposium will provide a unique and truly interdisciplinary forum within which participants can engage the most pressing issues of our day and challenge themselves to propose sustainable and just alternatives". Another event to be hosted by the School of Geography and Archaeology next week (Friday, 27 August), will be a conference surrounding early modern Ireland entitled, "People, Places and Memory", supported by the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group (IPMAG). This is the first time cutting-edge research by postgraduate students on early modern Ireland, c. 1550 – 1800 will be showcased at NUI Galway. The speakers represent young researchers from a number of different subjects such as history, archaeology, place-name studies and architecture. The meeting will offer participants the chance to lectures on themes ranging from the Munster and Ulster plantations through to the Cromwellian land settlement in Co. Clare and the mass-rocks of the penal period. The keynote speaker for the Early Modern Ireland Conference will be Dr Audrey Horning, University of Leicester, who has written and lectured widely on the archaeology of Ulster in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as on historical memories and how they impact on popular perceptions of the past in Ireland, Britain and the United States. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

NASA researcher and NUI Galway graduate Dr Jacqueline Keane will deliver a public lecture on the origins of the Earth's water. The lecture, hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy in conjunction with the Galway Astronomy Club, will take place at 8pm on Monday, 23 August, in the Dillon Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Dr Keane will present an overview of the University of Hawai'i NASA Astrobiology Institute studies which range from the interstellar medium to the interior of planet Earth, all designed to explain 'the origin, history, and distribution of water and its relation to life in the Universe'. She will also show pictures of many of the telescopes on Mauna Kea Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai i. The University of Hawai i investigates the astrophysical, cosmochemical, geological, and biological processes that link the history and distribution of life in the universe to that of water. NUI Galway Bachelor of Science and Masters of Astronomy graduate, Dr Jacqueline Keane is an Assistant Astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy and the University of Hawai i NASA Astrobiology Institute. Dr Keane, originally from Oranmore, Co. Galway, has previously worked with the European Space Agency Infrared Space Telescope studying the formation of water ice and organic molecules on interstellar dust grains in cold molecular clouds. Upon receiving her Ph.D., Dr Keane was the recipient of a research fellowship from the National Research Council that took her to spaces sciences division at NASA-AMES in California where she worked with the NASA infrared space-based telescope, Spitzer, for over three years. She is an expert in infrared space and ground-based observing and is the lead researcher for the UHNAI ground-based comet observing campaigns using an array of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the world's premier observation site. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is please to welcome Dr Jacqueline Keane back to Galway for a short visit. Since leaving NUI Galway ten years ago she has worked with some the most advanced astronomical instrumentation at ESA and NASA. Her talk will look at the origin of the Earth's water and what are the chances of finding life on other planets". For further details on the lecture -Ends-

Friday, 13 August 2010

Three of the seven recipients of the Ireland's Outstanding Young People Award, coordinated by Junior Chamber International (JCI) are NUI Galway students. JCI, the world s largest leadership and personal development organisation for young people, recently held their annual 'Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year' Awards ceremony in Limerick where seven young Irish nominees were recognised for outstanding personal achievements. National nominees are eligible to go forward to the JCI World Outstanding Young Person of the Year to be held in Osaka, Japan in November. The winners included NUI Galway's Melanie Hennessy from Ennis, Co. Clare, a 20 year-old Medical student who helped set up a school in Nepal. Melanie also established her own University society, Draíocht, to generate funds to build an orphanage for the children of Nepal where she is currently working on improving the lives of these children. Mary Collins, a second-year Arts student from Claremorris, Co. Mayo, spearheaded the successful establishment and ongoing success of the St Patrick's Scout Group Venture section in Galway and also engineered and co-ordinated two outstanding fundraising and house building projects in Zambia and Honduras, raising €230,000. 18 year-old Sean Kearns, a second-year Nursing student from Tuam, Co. Galway, has been involved in a variety of voluntary experiences at NUI Galway. Sean established a University society, 'Best Buddies', a friendship programme that pairs college students in fun, enriching one to one friendships with students who have an intellectual disability; he was the organiser of "Ban the R Word" Campaign at NUI Galway. Speaking at the Awards ceremony President of JCI Ireland, Mark Kelly, said: "The Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award ceremony was an amazing night. It is a great opportunity for us to recognise so many great young people out there that are doing astonishing work accomplishing greatness and the awards help in highlighting these remarkable achievements. The JCI Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award recognises these young people and JCI encourages them and others to seek excellence and serve others". Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, Lorraine Tansey, said, "There is a tremendous voluntary ethos at NUI Galway and we are proud of the achievements of Melanie, Sean and Mary." For more information on the Outstanding Young Persons of the Year awards or any JCI events, visit the JCI Ireland website -Ends-

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum at NUI Galway will host an open day for children aged between 7 and 12 years to celebrate 'Wild Child Day' of National Heritage Week on 21 August from 10.30am-12.00pm. Since it officially opened in September 2009, the museum has been home to many fine exhibits from glass models of marine invertebrates to a stuffed capybara, the favourite food of the anaconda. Visitors can wander around the Museum exploring the different exhibits, be drawn in by the beady eyes, scaly crocodiles, the skull of a minke whale, or the tooth of an elephant that is much bigger than you would expect. There is also an extensive collection of glass models of marine life from the renowned Blaschka collection, dating from the 1880's. In addition to the exhibits in glass cases, there will be some live specimens of scorpions, tarantulas, spiders, centipedes and snakes on display for children to see. Currently, a project is underway to label all the exhibits to increase information and interaction with visitors. Many of the specimens are routinely used for teaching purposes with second and third year zoology students. During the open day there will be a member of staff on hand to explain exhibits to children. Eoin Mac Loughlin, Senior Technical Officer in Zoology, NUI Galway, says: "Our Zoology Museum is a great asset to Galway, the nearest thing to it is the National History Museum in Dublin. It is interesting to young and old alike. It offers inspiration for Art students and a place to explore for children. Looking at the stuffed animals and glass models, children become captivated and learn to engage with their natural environment and wildlife, which is what National Heritage Week is all about". The Zoology and Marine Biology museum at NUI Galway has in its possession four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that have just recently been restored and put on display in the museum. They include a grison, an Azara's fox, a Patagonian cavy and a guira cuckoo originally given by Darwin to the Zoological Society of London in 1837. National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council, the statutory body charged with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland's national heritage. National heritage includes monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks, and inland waterways. For further information on the open day contact the Galway Civic Trust 091-564946. For more information on National Heritage Week visit -Ends-

Thursday, 12 August 2010

NUI Galway is one of the partners in a new European multi-million euro research project, investigating methods of screening radiation exposure. The project known as BOOSTER (Bio Dosimetric Tools for Triage and Responders) is an EU initiative to increase the security of citizens in the event of the malevolent use of radiation which focuses on speeding up the triaging process, which is the prioritisation of victims for treatment immediately following exposure to radiation. The €3.5 million project will have a duration of three years, (2010-2013). The new tools for screening radiation will be developed and integrated into a toolkit for the first responders in EU member states to use. The authorities responsible for responding to emergency situations vary. The task may fall to fire services, civil defence or occasionally the military. To determine the amount of radiation to which a person has been exposed, standard practice involves taking blood or another bodily fluid, looking at it under a microscope and documenting changes in chromosomes. This process typically takes up to three days to yield results and is very labour intensive. Since 2004, researchers in Biochemistry at NUI Galway have been working to reduce the period of time it takes to determine the amount of radiation to which a person is exposed. This work will now feed into phase one of the project. By counting the centrosomes, which are sub-cellular structures that control how cells divide and which multiply after irradiation, it is hoped that it will be possible to reduce the waiting time for results to less than one day. Dr Ciaran Morrison, a senior lecturer in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, who is leading the project at NUI Galway, explains: "There is urgency in triaging people exposed to radiation because it is necessary to quickly identify those who need no further intervention, those who will require close follow up, and those who will require hospitalisation. Serious exposure to large amounts of radiation can cause death in a short space of time, so rapid triaging is critical". Automation of the process to reduce labour intensity is another facet of the project, endeavouring to prepare the system for semi-industrial quantities of people, to cope with the event of a large-scale civilian disaster such as a nuclear power plant explosion. A more efficient process would also have applications for employees working in an environment where regular exposure to radiation is likely and civilian surveillance necessary. Dr Ciaran Morrison added: "It is exciting to see that the basic cell biology research we have done at NUI Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board, can have a wide range of unanticipated applications in the real world". Ends

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A new dedicated First Year Student Hotline has been launched by NUI Galway and will be open for calls from Wednesday (11 August) at 9am. The initiative, the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. The hotline will be open to the students, their parents and their advisers and will run until 24 September, 2010. A team of specially-trained staff and students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and Saturday 21 and 28 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate Results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 11 and 12 September and it will remain in service for 2 weeks after lectures begin on September 13, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A new designated website for first years will also be created and updated on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Dr Martina Ní Chuláin, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway says: "We understand that this is such a difficult but yet exciting time for students entering University and we hope that this new initiative will provide a mechanism for quickly addressing any queries or concerns that students or their parents have. We at NUI Galway are committed to making the transition into University as easy as possible for our students and their families we look forward to taking to your calls". Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091-493999 or visit -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Social media experts and social networking enthusiasts will descend on NUI Galway from 26-27 August for BlogTalk, an event to discuss current online trends and future developments in social media. BlogTalk will be held on the NUI Galway campus over two days, and will consist of keynote talks, discussion panels, and plenty of networking opportunities for those attending. The invited keynote talks will be given by Stowe Boyd, an authority on social tools and originator of the term 'advisory capital'; Dan Gillmor, a noted Silicon Valley journalist, author of We the Media, and director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship; and Don Thibeau, director of OpenID, an easy and safe log-in system for websites used by Yahoo, Google and many others. Other notable speakers include Blaine Cook, former lead developer with Twitter and now with BT; Charles Dowd, manager for Facebook's Platform Operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Ade Oshineye, developer advocate with the Google Social Web team. Some of the topics to be discussed will include: the need for a new kind of media literacy in our increasingly networked age; how businesses and third parties can benefit from the Facebook Platform by integrating Facebook with their own services; ensuring that citizens can trust that their identity and data is being protected by government websites; and new research data from NUI Galway illustrating how Twitter has gone beyond early adopters and trend followers to become a mature service with a constant growth rate. Irish social media gurus will also give talks, including Darragh Doyle, communications manager with; Fergus Hurley, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup Clixtr; and Ted Vickey, former executive director at the White House Athletic Center and a frequent speaker on LinkedIn. Galway native Hurley will talk about his experiences in setting up a consumer Internet startup in Silicon Valley, raising money from venture capitalists and what he's learnt from the journey. Ted Vickey will help attendees learn how to get maximum impact for their CV using the LinkedIn business networking site. The evolution of open spaces for collaborative creative activities will also be covered, using the Galway-based 091 Labs as an example. Conference chair John Breslin of NUI Galway, says: "This is a great opportunity to learn from the experts on social networks and to imagine about what is coming down the road in terms of social media. Also, the schedule has been arranged so that there will be plenty of time to meet the speakers and other like-minded people". Early bird registration is open at until Wednesday, 18 August, and costs €149 for two days (€99 for students and unemployed). There is also a special hotel rate of €89 available for the nights of the 25 and 26 August with The House Hotel; just quote BlogTalk when booking. The event is being sponsored by, a campus startup company blogging about the future of social media, and the NUI Galway Millennium Fund. -Ends-

Monday, 9 August 2010

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue a career in Engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 25 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering Degree courses at NUI Galway but have not met the obligatory maths requirement. This year, NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from Thursday, 19 August to Tuesday, 24 August. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in Higher Level Mathematics. Those who took Lower Level Maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round 2. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says: "The nature of engineering programmes is that they are focused on the development of analytical and problem solving skills, and thus require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. Our Special Entrance Maths Examination provides these students with a second opportunity to demonstrate that they have reached the necessary standard in Maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in Engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents". Demand for Engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and the College of Engineering has expanded its degree programs to meet this rising demand. Engineering is at the heart of the emerging 'Smart Economy' and NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of Industry and the Smart Economy. New courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector have continued to meet this growing demand. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline. There is also demand for Engineering Innovation, which aims to create a new type of electronic engineer with skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. Applications for the Special Maths Examination will be accepted at the Admissions Office reception desk up to 9am the morning of exam. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or visit for further detail. -ends-

Monday, 9 August 2010

Michael D Higgins, Galway United President; Steven Irwin, Reserve Team Captain, Liverpool FC; Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President; Rhys Meynell, Galway United; and John McMahon, Reserve Team Head Coach, Liverpool FC at the NUI Galway reception for Liverpool FC who used the University training facilities ahead of the Liverpool XI versus Galway United match at Terryland.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Scholarships for six foreign students learning Irish in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway His Excellency Patrick G. Binns, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, has presented six scholarships to Canadian students attending an Irish language course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, An Cheathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht. These awards are made available to students registered in certain Canadian universities and offer an opportunity to participate this summer in approved Irish language courses in a Gaeltacht setting. The scholarships are provided by the Ireland Canada University Foundation. At present there are 64 foreign students learning Irish on a month-long course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. This course is of significant advantage to the Connemara economy with the students living and socialising locally. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge's Chief Executive, Peadar Mac an Iomaire said: "It is an honour to have the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland with us in An Cheathrú Rua on this the 33rd year of Irish language courses for foreign students at this centre. We are grateful for the support that the Irish government provides to enhance the links between NUI Galway and people in Canada and in universities all over the world who are eager to broaden their knowledge of the Irish language." Historical links between Ireland and Canada go right back to the sixteenth century. Irish people, mainly from the Southeast of the country, used to cross to Newfoundland in search of codfish. This emigration predated the well-recounted exodus during the Great Famine. It is appropriate that these links are today being enhanced and developed in the Irish language sector. At present, four million Canadians or 13% of the population of Canada claim Irish heritage. The Ireland Canada University Foundation provides exchange programmes between Irish and Canadian universities and these programmes are open to all academic disciplines. The Foundation was established in 1994 by Dr Craig Dobbin, Newfoundland and former Irish President, Dr Patrick Hillary. In 2004 the Foundation was given recognition in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin M.P., Prime Minister of Canada. -Ends-

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Recently discovered short films by NUI Galway academic, Dr Seán Crosson, will be screened for the first time in over 80 years at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. The series of short films featuring hurling were made for American cinema audiences by the Hollywood majors Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount pictures between the 1930s and the 1950s and copies have recently been acquired by the Irish Film Archive. The series of short films will be screened by the Irish Film Institute, entitled Ireland's Athletic Assault and Battery"?: Hollywood and Hurling on Monday, 9 August, as part of the Festival. While researching Hollywood's treatment of the GAA, Dr Crosson, Director of the MA in Film Studies Programme at the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media, discovered the films in an archive at the University of Madison in Wisconsin. During the 1920s, '30s and '40s the GAA organised annual tours to the United States for the All-Ireland winners in both hurling and gaelic football to promote the games stateside. These visits inspired some American producers to consider hurling in particular as a subject for their work. While both Pathé and Fox Movietone newsreels covered several of the games, hurling would also appear in a number of short films released in cinemas in the 1930s including two segments of sports series narrated by seminal American broadcaster Ted Husing, Ted Husing's Sports Slants and Sports Thrills. These films were made by the Vitaphone Corporation for Warner Bros, in 1931 and 1932 respectively. The MGM produced Pete Smith Specialty Hurling (David Miller, 1936) film resulted in a deputation from the GAA visiting the Irish Film censor to demand that objectionable images be removed from the film. These films were joined in 1955 by the Oscar nominated Paramount Pictures short Three Kisses (Justin Herman, 1955), a film featuring the legendary Cork hurling team of the 1950s. Dr Crosson noted: "These films have important historical value, representing some of the very few examples of moving image footage of Gaelic games we have from this period, including the 1930 All-Ireland champions Tipperary on tour in the United States. However, they also provide a fascinating insight into an evolving Irish-American identity on screen in this crucial transitional period for this community in the United States". -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The 31st World Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR) will take place in NUI Galway, from tomorrow (4 August) to Friday, 6 August. The conference will be hosted by the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS) in the University. During STAR 2010, a strong emphasis will be on applied and experimental research on stress and anxiety. Contributors will also focus on social, political, and policy-related aspects of major world events, such as terrorism, natural disasters, global warming, and the worldwide economic recession. The three-day event will incorporate a sequence of cutting-edge keynote addresses from leading figures in stress research. Professor Michael Eysenck, University of London and Roehampton University, UK who is renowned for his research in memory and cognition, will give the distinguished Spielberger address, focusing on new theories on anxiety and cognition, and drawing on his many years of research experience and publication of over 40 books. Professor Charles D. Spielberger, University of South Florida, will deliver another keynote address on the scientific study of emotions. Professor Spielberger is one of the world's most prominent research psychologists who, across a 50-year career, has published over 400 scientific papers. He has also served as president of both the American Psychological Association and the International Stress Management Association. Dr Brian Hughes, Director of CROLS, NUI Galway says: "Stress and anxiety are universal experiences and the problems they create are extensive. This is why it is so important that they be researched extensively. We are delighted to be holding the World Conference on Stress and Anxiety Research in Galway this year. Leading figures from the behavioural, social, and health sciences will be coming to Galway to share the latest research findings in this important area." "As well as the stress of everyday life, it is important for us to understand more about how people are affected by extreme or traumatic stressors. Researchers will be reporting findings about the human impact of the earthquake in Haiti, missile attacks in the Middle East, and stressful occupations such as firefighting, police work, and military aviation", Dr Hughes added. The conference will be attended by over 250 researchers in the social, behavioural, and health sciences from across the world. Delegates will present research focusing on stress, anxiety, depression, coping, mental health, ergonomics, psychosomatics, therapeutics, education, and psychophysiology. Other keynote speakers at STAR 2010 include: Douglas Carroll, University of Birmingham; Jack James, NUI Galway; Jian Li, University of Wuppertal; Germany, Daniel W. Russell, Ohio State University, USA; and Charles D. Spielberger, University of South Florida, USA. A host of pre-conference workshops will also take place running in parallel sessions allowing for a very high level of knowledge dissemination. Across its 30 year history, the conference has traversed the globe, being held in Europe, Australia, Africa, and North America. STAR 2010 marks the first visit of the conference to Ireland. The Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS) at NUI Galway is an integrated, interdisciplinary research consortium comprising of collaborators from across the behavioural and social sciences, medicine and health sciences, business, public policy, and law. Ends

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mr Sean Connick, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today (27th July) visited EIRCOD, a state-of-the-art cod breeding project at the NUI Galway Carna Laboratory in Connemara. The project is aimed at designing, establishing and operating a cod broodstock programme customised for the Irish environment and underpinning the native fish farming industry. "The benefits from supporting the development of an emerging cod farming industry in Ireland are many," said Minister Connick, whose Department has already highlighted the need to research and develop alternative aquaculture species on a commercial and profitable scale in its recent Food Harvest 2020 Report. "In addition to the obvious socio-economic benefits accrued by coastal communities, such an industry would contribute positively to Ireland's aquaculture and seafood sectors by offering species diversification and high value added products." The scientists, working in NUI Galway and University College Cork on the EIRCOD project, were funded under the Sea Change national marine knowledge, research and innovation strategy, co-ordinated by the Marine Institute. "Sea Change supports a range of fishery and aquaculture projects, all designed to build a better understanding of factors that contribute to improving the competitiveness of Ireland's marine food sector," said Dr. Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute. "There is a strong scientific link between the EIRCOD project and another Sea Change-funded project in Cork on fish genetics where scientists at UCC are developing new DNA tools to help identify unique strains of cod." Leading fish geneticist Professor Tom Cross who, with his team at UCC, are partners in EIRCOD stated "we are using the latest genomic approach to assist the NUI Galway cod breeding programme and increase knowledge of wild stock structure. This invokes next generation sequencing of part of the cod genome allowing us to detect many thousand microsatellites and SNPs (as used in human forensics) and also functional genes involved with traits important in farmed production." As well as being partners in EIRCOD, the UCC group is also funded by the Beaufort Fish Population Genetics Award from the Irish government with Dr Phillip McGinnity as Principal Investigator. The first three years of EIRCOD saw the transfer from NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) Carna Lab to the Trosc Teo fish farm in Connemara, Co. Galway of specially bred juvenile cod, reared from eggs collected from the Celtic Sea off the South coast of Ireland. The parentage of these fish is known and the growth performance of the different groups are monitored up to market size with the better performing groups being selected for use in future breeding activities. These fish are being selectively bred as a specific Irish strain. As part of this work, the researchers track and benchmark the Celtic sea cod in the farm situation and compare performance with farmed and wild stocks in Ireland and elsewhere. Majbritt Bolton-Warberg, a fish biologist at NUI Galway's MRI facility in Carna explains: "It appears that these Celtic sea cod, grown in Irish waters and at our higher water temperatures, display faster growth rates in the early years of life than those in more northerly European countries. This gives a significant commercial competitive advantage to Ireland". By 2011 the EIRCOD project will have had adult cod at sea for the past four years with in excess of 50 unique family groups, many of which will be reaching their sexual maturity. It will therefore be possible for researchers to selectively breed these fish for the first time; identifying and actively selecting the best performers and applying classical breeding techniques that have been used for centuries in agriculture to give a better performing stock and applying them to fish farming. According to Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Senior Scientist with the EIRCOD project at NUI Galway, "the work of the EIRCOD partnership has underpinned the ongoing development of an innovative sustainable and profitable cod farming industry in Ireland through this strategic breeding programme. In addition, we are putting the final touches to a report 'An Economic Assessment of Cod Farming in Ireland' where we have identified several opportunities for the cultivation of cod on the western seaboard of Ireland." The EIRCOD project is funded by the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. It is led by NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute in Carna, Co. Galway with partners UCC, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Seafood Producers Group, Trosc Teo and Dr Ashie Norris, consultant. The project builds on work carried out by the Martin Ryan Institute and Trosc Teo over in the past with the assistance of the relevant state agencies Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute, and BIM. -Ends-

Monday, 26 July 2010

In recognition of their contribution to the undergraduate teaching programme at NUI Galway, three Ambulance Officers from the HSE West area have been made Honorary Clinical Fellows of the University. The Ambulance Officers, Gabriel Glynn, Vincent O Connor and PJ Commins, were involved in establishing and delivering an innovative special study module in Pre-hospital emergency care to second year NUI Galway medical students under the direction of the University's Dr Gerard Flaherty, Lecturer in Medical Education and Clinical Skills and Coordinator of the Special Study Module programme. The Pre-hospital emergency care module provides students with basic training in immediate care such as basic life support and spinal immobilisation. The students are also given an opportunity to accompany paramedic crews on routine and emergency calls in the capacity of supervised observers. The students benefit by developing a greater understanding of the challenges of pre-hospital emergency care and a deeper appreciation of the role of multidisciplinary team members in an emergency environment. Commenting on the success of the Pre-hospital emergency care module, NUI Galway's Dr. Flaherty said, "Feedback from the module has been overwhelmingly positive to date and it has been the most popular choice of module for second year students over the two years that it has been running. The module is another excellent example of seamless and fruitful partnership between the HSE and the School of Medicine. Both groups will benefit greatly from this academic initiative." Chief Ambulance Officer, HSE West, Mr. Paudie O Riordan said, "The Ambulance Service places great value on the relationship that has built up over the two years with our colleagues in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. The relationship has benefited the Ambulance Service greatly and we are delighted at the positive response from the students". ends

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

NUI Galway's Boat Club successfully defended its senior titles and status as kingpins at the Irish National Rowing Championships last weekend in Cork. On Saturday afternoon, the NUI Galway rowers snatched victory in the main event, the Men's Senior Eights, claiming the 'Big Pot' by just 3 feet (0.19 seconds) from Queens University, Belfast who were hotly tipped to topple the reigning champions after a very successful season both at home and abroad. In an almost exact repeat of last year s epic showdown, NUI Galway came from behind to once again win on the line by the narrowest of margins. This year s victory was a more polished and confident performance from a very experienced and much-decorated group of athletes, who after this latest win boasts a staggering total of 75 Irish Senior Championship titles between them. The winning crew was Eddie Mullarkey, Jason Wall, Dave Mannion, Paul Giblin, Evin Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan, James Wall and Ruadhán Cooke. The crew was coached by club stalwart Tom Tuohy. Four of the winning Eight had already retained their own Senior Fours Championship the previous day with an impressive display over an in-form UCD crew, recently victorious at Henley Royal Regatta. Male and female crews in the Novice and Intermediate grades represented the club with distinction and can draw inspiration from the success of the senior men for future campaigns. Speaking of the Boat Club s success, Gary Ryan, Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway, said: "It is a fantastic achievement for the crews and their coach to win the two most prestigious men s events at the Irish National Rowing Championships. All of the rowers and coaches across the club deserve enormous credit for their work in making the NUI Galway Boat Club consistently one of the strongest clubs in Ireland and one which we are very proud of". -Ends-