Tuesday, 28 May 2019

NUI Galway’s microbiologists are putting microbiology in the spotlight with the recent launch of an ambitious student-centered, video-teaching initiative. The project showcases a range of techniques that are routinely performed in microbiology teaching and research laboratories. The 40 professionally produced videos are contained on a freely available YouTube channel and will be a valuable resource for both third and second level students. Project Lead Dr Katrina Lacey sees multiple benefits for students in NUI Galway and worldwide, stating: “We started this project from a very pure, student-focused blueprint, with the goal of enhancing our teaching of small-scale, specialist techniques that are often difficult to demonstrate to large classes. Feedback from an initial trial used in our Microbiology degree this year was hugely positive, both in helping students to develop their practical skills and in improving their understanding of core concepts in microbiology.” Produced in combination with Slipjig Media, the videos depict individual techniques routinely carried out in teaching laboratories. Techniques covered in the videos range from simple methods such as culturing and identifying bacteria, to more specialised and sophisticated procedures used in analysing and manipulating DNA and proteins. The film-making project, which took two years to complete, saw a team of PhD students in the Discipline of Microbiology hone their skills in the relevant techniques before carrying out the experiments on camera. This was followed by months of video and audio editing to ensure the technical details are expertly presented in the finished mini-movies. Professor Gerard Wall, Head of Microbiology at NUI Galway, said: “Visual learning is an important strategy for many students, especially when it comes to understanding core laboratory techniques. These videos will support students’ learning, not only in the case of third level undergraduates, but Junior and Leaving Cert students too. The videos will also help students who wish to continue their studies in the biosciences field in their progression to third level.” The new YouTube channel, containing a trailer that gives a flavour of the content and aims of the video suite as well as the instructional videos, can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsP4xz5aq7sWfR9eXSCd_QQ/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Promoting capacity building for high quality Patient and Public Involvement in health research The Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Programme at NUI Galway has launched a PPI Catalysts initiative, a leadership group of researchers spread across the University who have a commitment to advance the teaching and practice of meaningful public and patient involvement in research. NUI Galway was one of five universities in 2017 awarded funding under the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council’s €1.75million ‘PPI Ignite’ initiative, to help researchers involve the public from the very start of the health research process. It is the first award of its kind in Ireland. Professor Sean Dinneen, Director of the HRB-funded PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway programme, said: “The PPI Ignite Programme aims to bring about a culture change in how healthcare research is conducted and our PPI catalysts are already making a difference, promoting PPI in their own networks and contributing to deliver PPI training to researchers across the University. They are setting a standard on meaningful involvement and their enthusiasm for PPI and their expertise will inspire others to follow suit. We are looking forward to working with these Catalysts in the years ahead and plan to expand the Catalysts network further to include Catalysts in the local community also.” The four PPI Catalysts announced were: Dr Ruth McMenamin, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr Martin O’Halloran, College of Science and Engineering; Dr Oonagh Meade, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; and Dr Michelle Queally from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Research conducted by Dr Ruth McMenamin from the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, is in partnership with people who live with aphasia, a language disorder experienced by up to one-third of the stroke population. Dr McMenamin’s PPI work focuses on including this marginalized group as co-researchers, to ensure that research on aphasia is strongly guided by the people with aphasia themselves. “PPI in research means working with public and patients in all stages of the research process. By doing involvement work researchers move away from thinking about ‘my research’ towards thinking about ‘our research’ and this leads to transformative experiences for all involved in the research process” said Dr McMenamin. Dr Martin O’Halloran, Head of the Translational Medical Device Laboratory at NUI Galway, leads the development of medical devices that have a tangible impact on patient care and support Ireland’s indigenous medtech industry, he commented: “The key opinion leader in device development has traditionally been the doctor. The patient voice is now becoming more important. PPI gives us an insight into the patient perspective on what devices are needed and what problems devices should focus on solving. PPI shapes our projects and helps us to understand the needs of patients and the urgency to develop a solution for a patient population.”  Dr Oonagh Meade, a health psychologist at NUI Galway, with extensive experience of involving mental health service users as research partners, is shaping a research study exploring the experiences of those living with long term health conditions and Dr Michelle Queally is a health economist who works to bring the voice of the public and patient to influence her research in a variety of areas, including childhood obesity and clinical trials. Professor Dinneen added: “More and more members of the public and patients are working with research teams to help influence what health research should be undertaken, how research should be designed and conducted, and how research results should be used to bring about change. Patients are experts in the condition they live with; so hearing from patients about the experience of living with a particular condition provides researchers with real insight into that condition. The increasing number of partnerships between members of the public/patients and researchers being established, ensure that research is guided by the voice of the public and the patient.” ENDS

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

As part of the celebrations for ‘The 20th Anniversary of Access at NUI Galway’, the Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project Launch and Schools’ Event took place recently at NUI Galway. The APT project, funded by the Higher Education Authority under the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH), Strand 1 (Equity of Access to Initial Teacher Education), is a three-year joint initiative between NUI Galway and St. Angela’s College, Sligo, and aims to support the progression and retention of those from lower socio-economic groups in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The APT Project was formally launched by Professor Gerry MacRuairc, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Education. Over 100 senior cycle pupils and their teachers from schools across the Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) region, and the APT project contributors, participated in the day-long event. The sessions were aimed at supporting school pupils’ higher education and career planning, including in relation to teaching as a career. The NUI Galway aspect of the APT project is led by APT Principal Investigators, Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, and Dr Andrea Lynch, APT Post-Doctoral Researcher, in the School of Education, in partnership with the Access Centre and the Career Development Centre. The project is supported by funding from Galway University Foundation and the HEA. Drs Keane and Heinz previously implemented the highly successful Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) national research project (funded by the Irish Research Council), establishing the first national evidence base in relation to the socio-demographic profile of applicants and entrants to ITE in Ireland. Drs Keane and Heinz published their findings in a range of peer-reviewed journals demonstrating the homogeneity of the ITE population in Ireland and the particular under-representation of those from lower socio-economic and minority ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities. Dr Keane was subsequently invited to be a member of the Department of Education and Skills Working Group (Diversity in Initial Teacher Education) which led to the establishment of PATH1 funding to diversify ITE. Dr Elaine Keane said: “It was a privilege for us in the School of Education to host students from many schools in Galway and beyond, including from Donegal, at our APT project event. Diversifying the teaching profession has long been a core research focus for us here in the School and, through the APT project, we are now working to attract and support those from under-represented groups in our teaching programme. We were delighted by the response of the pupils to the day!” The APT project currently supports 21 participants in the Professional Master of Education programme in the School of Education at NUI Galway, and also works with senior cycle school pupils in DEIS schools, through the APT participants’ school placements as student teachers, in relation to higher education progression, and career planning. Dr Manuela Heinz commented: “It was fantastic to see so many second-level students actively participating during lectures and workshops and showing an interest in teaching and higher education. We hope that the students have gained a better understanding of the many routes that are available to them with regard to their future career choices. We would definitely love to see some of them again in the future at NUI Galway and, hopefully, in the School of Education.” Dr Andrea Lynch said: “The APT event was an exciting and inspiring day for all! Numerous graduates from under-represented groups graciously shared their stories of overcoming educational barriers, demonstrating that with adequate support, hard-work and determination can pay off in the pursuit of dreams and goals. We hope the day will have life changing consequences for those who attended.” For more information on the APT Project visit https://bit.ly/2qDiXg7, or contact Dr Elaine Keane at Elaine.keane@nuigalway.ie,  Dr Manuela Heinz, Manuela.heinz@nuigalway.ie, or Dr Andrea Lynch, andrea.lynch@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway will host a two-day ‘Working Qualitatively in Trial and Healthcare Methodology Research’ workshop on 30-31 May. The event is hosted by the Qualitative Research in Trials Centre (QUESTS) embedded with the HRB-TMRN, based at NUI Galway, in partnership with the Effective Successful Happy Academic. The purpose of this event is to focus on the impact of qualitative research on the health care research process, from grant to report stages as well as to support researchers to be more successful in their careers. Keynote speakers will include Professor Alex Clark, Associate Vice President (Research), University of Alberta, and Bailey Sousa, Former Director of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta. Founders of The Effective, Successful, Happy Academic, they share a passion for effectiveness and aspiration in academic work and have led interdisciplinary workshops throughout Canada and all over the world on aspects of academic work. QUESTS Co-Chair and NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr Catherine Houghton, said: “We, at QUESTS, are incredibly excited and honoured to have such high profile speakers joining us in Galway to share our passion for qualitative research in trials and healthcare research. Sincere thank you to HRB-TMRN for supporting this event. An added bonus is day two, where Bailey and Alex will share their insights on how to be an effective, successful and happy academic. People can register for either or both days and we look forward to meeting you all.” For more information on the workshop or to register visit https://effectiveacademic.regfox.com/galway2019. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

The programme saw an increase of over 40% in the number of female participants NUI Galway recently held its Transition Year Civil Engineering programme, which is open to all Transition Year students across Ireland. The programme is designed by NUI Galway Civil Engineering Lecturer, Dr Indiana Olbert, and delivered by University staff in partnership with Arup Consultancy. This year, 44 students from 21 schools across Galway, Mayo, Clare, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Limerick, Offaly and Donegal participated on the three-day programme. The programme aims to provide a specialised, first-hand experience of the diverse and exciting opportunities an engineering career can offer, and showcases areas such as Structural Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Marine Renewable Energy Engineering. Activities included lectures, laboratory sessions and practical workshops including the design and construction of a prototype lollipop stick bridge, with a prize awarded for best bridge construction. The first prize was awarded to the group of three students of St. Enda’s College Galway, Ben O’Sullivan, Barry Murphy and James Parnell. Dr Olbert said: “I want to pass on my passion for engineering to the next generation. Programmes like this enables Transition Year students to understand what engineers do and helps them to make good career choices.” Now in its fourth year, NUI Galway’s Transition Year Civil Engineering programme highlighted a significant increase in the number of female participants at 41% - almost double the number from last year. Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The substantial increase in demand for engineering courses by females is a very positive indicator. Engineering is a great career for women as we bring a different perspective to the world and it is important to increase and embrace diversity in our student population. Global academic leaders such as MIT have achieved gender balance in their undergraduate engineering programmes and NUI Galway is firmly on the right trajectory to achieve a similar balance through its Athena SWAN agenda. I highly commend Dr Olbert on her diligent work in making the Transition Year engineering programme such a success. As an engineer, Dr Olbert is a wonderful role model for prospective female engineers. Interestingly, her research area is numerical and physical modelling of surface water which is very relevant to Galway, bordered by lakes, rivers, canals and sea.” -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

A new exhibition which showcases a display of works produced by participants during the ‘Future Landscapes: Enhancing Seen and Unseen Landscapes with Mixed Reality’ workshop will take place on Friday, 31 May. The workshop is an intensive four-week program is currently being run at NUI Galway in a collaboration between the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. It is facilitated by the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe, based in Berlin. The exhibition will feature work that has been created by participants drawn from theatre, visual and digital arts, animation, as well as from the research community within the College of Arts at NUI Galway. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a variety of cutting-edge work-in-progress projects created during the programme, and to meet the project creators. David Kelly, Digital Humanities Manager at NUI Galway’s Moore Institute, said: “The programme has been an amazing opportunity to not only learn from experts in the field of these technologies, but also to benefit from the huge variety of skills the participants bring. The opportunity to collaborate and learn from this diverse group has been a fantastic experience.” The programme aims to develop capacity in the creative application of virtual and augmented reality technologies, and to establish a network of researchers, practitioners and artists through which future projects can be developed. The participants, who come from across Galway city and county, as well as from Europe and South America, are benefiting from the expertise of local and European instructors who have facilitated a mix of hands-on technical learning, along with artist talks and critical reflection on the use of these emerging technologies. Discussing this approach to learning, Rachel Uwa, Founder of the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe, said: “I design programs to get hands-on with latest technologies while simultaneously questioning their usage. Technology is fascinating but my aim through education is always to get participants to ask themselves ‘Who are we and what do we care about?’.  Inviting brilliant instructors who are open to discussing both the technological and human aspects of this creative work and bringing together interdisciplinary teams and people from different cultures and perspectives really challenges everyone to get out of their comfort zone which I feel is invaluable.” This capacity-building project is a partnership between Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture’s Digital Programme and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and is part-funded through a national Higher Education Authority (HEA) project on Digital Literacy in Irish Humanities. When describing the long-term impact of this type of capacity building exercise, Denise McDonagh, Digital Programme Manager for Galway 2020, said: “For a European Capital of Culture, it is important to be part of the conversation on the digital transformation in creative and learning methods. Capacity building, especially through projects like Future Landscapes, can unlock the potential for new work and processes for groups of artists and researchers, which can allow them to critically engage with new digital technologies and their impact on culture.” The public Future Landscapes exhibition takes place on Friday, 31 May, from 5–9pm at The Cornstore, Middle Street, Galway. Further details about the workshop can be found at: http://schoolofma.org/future-landscapes/ -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 16 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland in 2015. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants will pay no fees if they are unemployed. If they are employed or in part-time employment, they will have to pay a once off 10% fee which amounts to €650. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specialisations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. Each student progressed through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, Cisco, SAP, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Barrett, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to again offer free places on this unique programme due to funding from the HEA and their Springboard initiative. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. By investing just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners; they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high-tech ICT sector. The highly intensive programme is designed for those with little or no knowledge of software development, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to coding and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for.” Dr Barrett continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The programme is highly respected among many of Irelands leading software companies many of whom specifically want to recruit graduates who have come through our unique programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree and has some relevant industry work experience. Those currently completing their studies or who are currently in some form of employment are all eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through https://springboardcourses.ie/details/7196, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry. Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable as we will process applications and hold interviews on a rolling basis. Deadline for final applications is Sunday, 30 June. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Barrett at Enda.Barrett@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 27 May 2019

NUI Galway’s Discipline of Economics will host this year’s Irish Postgraduate and Early Career Economics Workshop from 6-7 June. The event is aimed at PhD students, PostDocs, early career researchers and advanced Masters students based in higher education and research institutions. The meeting will feature the work and findings of scholars in economics and related fields, and will provide an opportunity to engage with research results and work-in-progress in a constructive environment. The workshop will also host a training event, entitled ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economics’ on Thursday, 6 June, from 1-5pm. The training will be delivered by Dr Achim Ahrens, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI). It will provide an overview of popular Machine Learning techniques and the focus will be on Lasso regression, a regularisation and model selection method that can deal with high-dimensional data. It will also discuss how the Lasso and other Machine Learning tools can be useful for economists; in particular, how Machine Learning can improve predictions and facilitate causal inference. This year a range of thematic sessions and training events will feature, including full paper thematic sessions with discussants and early-stage/emerging research findings thematic sessions with general open discussion. On Thursday, 6 June, from 1-5pm, a workshop on ‘An Introduction to Machine Learning for Economists’, will be delivered by Dr Achim Ahrens, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI). On Friday, 7 June, a short training session on ‘Publishing your Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals – Tips from Journal Editors’ will take place. Dr John Cullinan, Senior Lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The event is an ideal opportunity for early career researchers in economics to showcase their work, receive constructive feedback, and build collaborations and networks for the future. There is also an important training element to the workshop, where participants can learn about the latest methodological developments in the field and engage with journal editors on how to publish their research.” The event is free but is ticketed via Eventbrite. To register visit https://bit.ly/2LYIQ73    -Ends-

Friday, 24 May 2019

Dr Mark Howard has joined NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics having been awarded a Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship. The University Research Fellowship scheme is for outstanding scientists who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. This fellowship provides the opportunity to build an independent research career. The Fellowship is part of a collaboration between the Royal Society and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) where both institutions partner on a University Research Fellowship Scheme. This award, funded by Science Foundation Ireland allows Irish research scientists to follow in the footsteps of giants like Boyle, Hooke and Newton and join a fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dr Howard’s research is in the field of Quantum Computing. By building quantum computers, computers that exploit the laws of quantum mechanics, scientists will unlock new problem-solving capabilities. His fellowship applies mathematical techniques in order to design realistic quantum computers. Quantum computing could be used in optimising and simulating molecules and materials for drug design and delivery, in banking security, or in supply chain and logistics. Speaking about his new Fellowship at NUI Galway, Dr Mark Howard, said: “I was delighted to receive this award, not only because of its prestigious nature but because it provides one of the most precious assets an academic can have - time; time to develop as an independent researcher, time to pursue ambitious research goals and time to build an academic group of one's own.” The award, worth over €500,000 covers salary, overheads and research expenses for five years with an option to apply for an additional three-year extension. In addition, Dr Howard has won a Royal Society Research Enhancement Award, which enables him to hire a Postdoctoral Researcher, as well as providing funding for Undergraduate Summer Studentships. Dr Mark Howard also contributed recently to an article on the ‘Heart of Quantum’ in New Scientist, to read in full, visit: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132210-300-the-quantum-world-is-infamously-weird-now-we-might-know-why/ Dr Howard’s research was published in a Nature paper in 2014, to read the full paper, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature13460 The Royal Society are the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. For more information, visit: https://royalsociety.org/ -Ends-

Friday, 24 May 2019

Survey aims to capture data on where free-living honeybee colonies currently exist, where they like living and ultimately how long they survive unaided in Ireland As the summer season begins, researchers from Zoology at NUI Galway have launched an online nationwide Citizen Survey, the first in Europe, in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, The Native Irish Honey Bee Society and The Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations. They are inviting people throughout Ireland to participate in the survey by recording their sightings online of wild honey bee colonies. The researchers based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are studying the wild honey bees in Ireland to discover the number and distribution of their colonies and devise strategies for their conservation. Of the 99 species of bee in Ireland there is only one native wild honey bee, a sub-species called Apis mellifera mellifera or the Northern black bee, which is considered extinct in the wild across much of its European range. The public are asked to get in touch through the online website with reported sightings of wild honey bees (also referred to as free-living or unmanaged bees) living anywhere other than a beehive. The researchers are seeking the following data from the public: A photo/description of the colony entrance, its location, and how long it has been there. Additional useful information sought includes: how high off the ground it is; what direction the entrance is facing; are the honey bees behaving aggressively; and has a beekeeper taken a swarm from the colony. Professor Grace McCormack from Zoology at NUI Galway who is leading the study, says: “The public are absolutely critical for data collection on this scale and indeed for conservation efforts. We gathered some promising preliminary data from a previous pilot project in 2016 and we are now working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre seeking help from citizen scientists to extend the study to this online survey and discover what wealth of wild honey bees remain in the Irish landscape.” Over 200 reports of honey bee colonies in buildings, trees, walls and a mixture of other types of cavities were received from the pilot project. Colonies were reported from Dublin to Galway and Kerry to Fermanagh, and the researchers have been able to monitor the survival of some of these. The Varroa destructor parasite usually kills a colony within one to two years unless chemically treated. However, some of the wild free-living colonies appear to survive for over three years without human intervention, which is heartening for not only wild honey bees but also the beekeeping industry. Importantly the 2016 project also showed that a high proportion of the free-living population are Apis mellifera mellifera, the sub-species native to Ireland. John Little, Chair of The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS), says: “Ireland’s native black honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, forms the bedrock of our country’s long heritage of beekeeping culture and is also an important component of our natural pollinators. Regrettably, the twin threats of the introduced Varroa destructor parasite and the continued importation of other honey bees has placed both managed and native wild honey bees at risk, in addition to all bees and pollinators struggling to find enough food and shelter due to continued habitat loss. Wild colonies surviving without human intervention, whether in a tree or a house roof, are an important genetic resource for the conservation of honey bees and a possible solution to Varroa. Our collaboration with the NUI Galway wild honey bee study, which aims to enlighten us all about our wild honey bee population, is an important milestone in The Native Irish Honey Bee Society’s fight to conserve and protect our bees.” Keith Browne, a researcher from Zoology in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, added: “We are hoping people all over Ireland will take part in this conservation project and allow us to build on our current data which, whilst promising, needs to be more extensive. We’re aiming to capture data on where free-living honeybee colonies currently exist, where they like living and ultimately how long they survive unaided. Managed honey bees originally came from wild colonies and both populations are important for their mutual survival.” Honey bees typically like nesting in elevated cavities like hollows in trees, walls and roofs of buildings, old houses and castles, and can be particularly noticeable when workers are seen frequently flying to and from the nest entrance on warm sunny days. The newly launched online Citizen Survey is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in collaboration with The Native Irish Honey Bee Society, The Federation of Irish Beekeepers, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, The Eva Crane Trust and NUI Galway. To participate in the survey and record sightings, visit: https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/record/wildhoneybeestudy -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Minister welcomes delegates to the scientific collaborative research programme to help prevent and control food-borne and environmental contaminants that affect human health  The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed welcomed today (Wednesday, 22 May) national and international delegates to the 1st Annual Scientific Meeting of the One Health European Joint Programme (EJP). This meeting takes place in Dublin from 22-24 May. Dr Dearbháile Morris from Bacteriology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and Dr Geraldine Duffy from Teagasc are the scientific participants in the Programme. The One Health European Joint Programme (EJP) is a European Commission co-funded scientific collaborative research programme to help prevent and control food-borne and environmental contaminants that affect human health and is co-funded under the EU Research & Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The international “One Health” concept recognises that human health is highly dependent on animal health and the environment, and that the food-borne contaminants in particular that affect human health, animal health and the environment are closely intertwined. The European Joint Programme (EJP) on “One Health” has brought together a research community across Europe of medical, veterinary and environmental health scientists to work together in interdisciplinary teams with an international approach to address the threats of food-borne disease, antimicrobial resistance and emerging threats to human health from animals or the environment. The Minister said: “The hosting of this prestigious meeting arises out of the participation of my Department, Teagasc and NUI Galway in the EU Research & Innovation funded (Horizon 2020) - European Joint Programme on One Health, Zoonoses & Emerging Threats, which is coordinated by the French Agency ANSES. The One Health project commenced on the 1, January 2018 and represents a significant coordinated investment by participating EU countries and the EU Commission to combat food-borne zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and emerging risks.” The One Health European Joint Programme will help strengthen cooperation between its 40 partners (including the Med-Vet-Net Association) from 19 EU Member States. These research centres, most of which have national reference laboratory mandates on food-borne zoonoses will form an organised network and represent an integrated research community whose aim is to promote scientific progress in the areas of foodborne zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance and emerging risks. Dr Dearbháile Morris, NUI Galway and Dr Geraldine Duffy, Teagasc, Co-Chairs of the EJP organising committee said: “The conference organising team are delighted to be hosting this One Health European Joint Programme event in Dublin and to welcome Irish and international colleagues to address key issues related to food-borne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in a One Health forum.” Minister Creed concluded by saying: “We will warmly welcome all our European partners to Dublin for this high-level meeting. I strongly support the work of my department, Teagasc and NUI Galway in collaborating nationally and internationally through the One Health EJP to generate scientific data and knowledge to be used for the analysis of health risks. This project will provide a structure for effective interaction with the other EU Member States, major EU funded One Health related projects, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the EU Commission.  The programme has been built upon the principle of co-funding from the participating institutes and the European Union (Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation). As the largest European Joint Programme investment, it will cost €90 million, where 50% of its funding will come from the European Commission and 50% from the participating Member States.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

3,600 students completed Access programmes at NUI Galway over the past 20 years 62% of Access students were female, compared to 38% male 90% of students who completed an Access programme continued into an undergraduate course of study 77% of students who undertook an undergraduate course completed their studies and received a degree, or are still engaged in their course of study To commemorate 20 Years of Access education in NUI Galway, a new report launched this week by the Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., highlights the impact that Access programmes have on society through the participation and progression of Access students from disadvantaged or underrepresented groups into third-level education over the last twenty years. The Access Centre at NUI Galway delivers one-year pre-undergraduate programmes both on-campus for school leavers and mature students, and off-campus in outreach centres in Sligo, Ballinasloe and An Cheathrú Rua (Carraroe). Access students secure a diploma in foundation studies which guarantees them a place in further third-level education. From the data available from this study, over 3,600 students completed an Access programme, from the pilot programme in 1997-98 up to 2017-18. In terms of gender breakdown, 62% of Access students were female, compared to 38% male. Approximately half of past students (52%) were from Galway City, with 34% from other parts of the county, and 14% from other counties in the Border Midlands West (BMW) region and Co. Clare region. Over 90% of school leavers and mature students who completed the Access programme in NUI Galway continued into an undergraduate course of study. 77% of mature and school leavers Access students who undertook an undergraduate level course completed their studies and received a degree, or are still engaged in their course of study. 21% of past Access school leaver and mature students in NUI Galway continued into and completed postgraduate degree programmes, with the majority of these students completing a Master’s degree-level qualification. Findings from this study highlight the important and long-term impact the Access programmes have had on the third level education system, on close to 4,000 students from Galway City, County and the BMW and Co. Clare regions, and on Irish society in general. Overall, progression rates of School Leavers and Mature students are approximately in line with national averages. Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, commented: “The findings from this study clearly point to the positive and powerful impact of the Access initiative across the past twenty years in offering an alternative pathway for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. This report provides evidence of the important role of the Access programmes in breaking down barriers to higher education for the most under-represented groups in higher education and the effectiveness of the suite of student-centred academic and personal supports on offer to Access students. It clearly outlines the vitally important impact Access can have into the future for the participants. “All of us on the Access Programmes team have had the privilege over two decades to meet wonderful individuals and their families who, in spite of very challenging and constraining previous life circumstances and experiences in higher education, successfully participated, graduated and progressed to employment.” As part of the 20 Years celebrations the Access Centre hosted a series of events to commemorate the occasion that included: Dress for Success is part of a University partnership with the charity through the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity. The event supported six residents from the Direct Provision hostel in Galway, a member of the Travelling community and several women with disabilities, who participated in sessions at NUI Galway where staff provided a stylist on what to wear when going for interviews and one-to-one career sessions; A Photographic and Video Exhibition marking the Access journey over 20 years titled, Access Album of Memories of past Access Alumni.  The School of Education hosted a day-long event as part of the 20 year celebrations to formally launch the NUI Galway aspect of Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) 2, celebrating the work of Access participants, to support the Higher Education and career planning of DEIS pupils in the APT participants’ placement schools. Approximately 150 pupils from the APT participants’ placement schools came to NUI Galway for the event and participating in workshops.  For more information about the Access Centre, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/ Those interested in becoming an Access Alumni member can visit, www.nuigalway.ie/access/accessalumni or email Access20@nuigalway.ie or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NUIGaccess.  -Ends- 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

As part of a new Spotlight on Research lecture series at NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, NUI Galway researchers will deliver a lecture on the ground-breaking Active Consent programme. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 6 June in GO11, Moore Institute. The team will describe the importance of sexual consent as a window on young people’s openness in talking about sensitive topics, and the scope to expand this conversation into mental health and the use of alcohol and drugs. Developed by Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins and Kate Dawson of the School of Psychology, and Dr Charlotte McIvor, O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, this talk will theorise the signature approach of the Active Consent programme team in relationship to the current policy and educational landscape around sexual health education and assault prevention in Ireland and internationally. Working together since 2014, this team, comprised of researchers from Psychology, Health Promotion, and Drama and Theatre Studies, designs evidence-informed tools (based on survey and qualitative data), including workshops and creative arts interventions, which in turn facilitate dialogue regarding consent and sexual health. The team’s embrace of consent as an active, positive educational paradigm – inclusive of all genders, all relationships and all sexualities – is intended to empower young people as active agents in the negotiation of their sexual relationships. Now funded between 2019-2023 by the Lifes2good Foundation with support from NUI Galway, the Active Consent programme has set the objective of unifying third-level, secondary school and sporting organisations’ provision of consent-focused sexual health education. This talk will reflect on the team’s learning since 2014 in partnership with young people, trends in third-level Irish sexual health data that they have observed over this period, and why they believe that a multi-disciplinary approach, which considers interdependent educational and community sectors, is essential for sustainable change in social and personal attitudes towards consent within sexual relationships in a post-#MeToo era. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Spotlight on Research series aims to highlight the world leading and ground-breaking research being undertaken across our College. Academics within the College have received national and international recognition for the research they are undertaking, including major awards and research funding for ground-breaking interdisciplinary projects such as the Active Consent programme. This series provides a platform for us to bring these research achievements to the attention of both the academic community and the wider general public.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Fáiltíonn OÉ Gaillimh roimh chiste nua a thacóidh le mic léinn cur lena gcumas teanga trí sheimeastar a chaitheamh sa Ghaeltacht D’fhógair Príomh-Aoire an Rialtais agus Aire Stáit don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin, Seán Kyne, T.D. ciste a thacóidh le seachadadh an tSeimeastair Ghaeltachta.  Sainchlár tumtha teanga é an Seimeastar Gaeltachta atá dírithe ar fhorbairt líofacht sa Ghaeilge do mhic léinn atá ag déanamh staidéar ar an nGaeilge nó ar ábhair trí mheán na Gaeilge.  Clúdóidh an ciste nua lánlóistín do mhic léinn le teaghlaigh Gaeltachta i gcaitheamh na tréimhse 12 seachtainí nó Seimeastar iomlán. D’fháiltigh an Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín, Príomhfheidhmeannach Gníomhach, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge roimh an bhfógra: "Treiseofar go mór ar eispéireas tumtha teanga agus cultúir na mac léinn de thoradh na deise a bheith acu fanacht le Teaghlaigh Gaeltachta atá faofa ag an Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta." Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh ag súil go bhféadfadh suas le 100 mac léinn a bheidh ag tabhairt faoi Sheimeastar Gaeltachta, trasna Ionaid Ghaeltachta an Acadaimh i gCarna, an Cheathrú Rua agus Gaoth Dobhair, tairbhe a bhaint as an gciste don bhliain acadúil 2019-2020. "Léiríonn an Seimeastar Gaeltachta, a d’fhorbair an tAcadamh i gcomhar le Roinn na Gaeilge, tiomantas Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh don Ghaeilge,’"a deir an tOllamh Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin.  "Treisíonn an tionscnamh straitéis an Rialtais i leith na Gaeilge freisin, sa Ghaeltacht agus lasmuigh di, go háirithe mar a bhaineann sé leis an bPróiseas Pleanála Teanga, an Polasaí Oideachas Gaeltachta (2017–2022), agus an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge." -Críoch- NUI Galway welcomes the announcement of a fund to support students develop their Irish anguage skills by residing in the Gaeltacht for a Semester The Government Chief Whip and Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish Language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne, TD, has announced a fund to support the delivery of the Seimeastar Gaeltachta.  The Seimeastar Gaeltachta is a specialised semester-long Irish-language immersion programme in the Gaeltacht, developed to improve fluency in the Irish language for undergraduates studying Irish, or/and other disciplines through the medium of Irish.  The new fund will cover the costs of full-board accomodation for students with Gaeltacht households for the duration of the Semester.  Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín, Acting Chief Executive of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge welcomed the announcement: "The opportunity to stay with Gaeltacht households, approved by the Department, will greatly augment the language and cultural immersion experience for our students.  Economic, social and cultural benefits will also accrue from this new fund which will support our students to reside in the Gaeltacht from September – December each year." NUI Galway anticipates that approx. 100 students from NUI Galway undertaking the Seimeastar Gaeltachta across Ionaid an Acadaimh in Carna, an Cheathrú Rua and Gaoth Dobhair could benefit from the fund during the 2019-2020 academic year.   "The Gaeltacht Semester Programme developed by an tAcadamh in conjunction with Roinn na Gaeilge reflects NUI Galway’s sustained committment to the Irish language" says Professor Tadhg Ó hIfearnáín, Roinn na Gaeilge. "The initiative also augments the Government’s Strategy for the sustainment of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht and nationally, specifically with regard to The Language Planning Process, The Policy on Gaeltacht Education (2017–2022), and the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language."

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

NUI Galway’s School of Computer Science becomes a centre of excellence in making Ireland an AI island  The Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. launched on (Monday, 20 May) two new Masters programmes in Artificial Intelligence at NUI Galway. One of the programmes is to be delivered completely online and targets employees of Irish industry who may need to significantly deepen their computing skills through a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence (AI), while the other is classroom-based. The online MSc in Artificial Intelligence is a new initiative in online learning by the School of Computer Science, and is   co-funded by Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet. It is an agile response to new industry needs in Ireland for the AI skills in the workforce, and its part-time online format is structured to the needs of industry based learners, supporting lifelong learning and enabling people to learn where they live. Over 60 people attended the event including representatives from 20 companies, almost all of which are based in the West Region and are engaged in new product development using AI technologies, with applications including: microprocessor design; semi-autonomous vehicles; face recognition; image analysis; customer engagement; financial analytics; cybersecurity, and many others. The two-year part-time online Masters in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence has been developed in cooperation with Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet based on the needs of Irish industry. Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet will manage company engagement with the part-time online programme and will co-fund employee student fees. The Programme Director for the online course is Dr Conor Hayes. The one-year full-time Masters in Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence will be a classroom-based programme, for full-time students, and is primarily aimed at recent graduates of computer science and related degrees, including international students. There are opportunities for industry collaborators to propose topics for the capstone AI projects that students will complete. The Programme Director for this course is Dr Michael Schukat. Both programmes will equip the students with state-of-the-art knowledge and practical skills in Artificial Intelligence that will address a skills deficit that is acutely felt by Irish industry today. September 2019 will see the first intake of students into the new part-time online and full-time Masters programmes, which complement the School of Computer Science’s existing and highly sought after Masters in Computer Science – Data Analytics, which is very popular among students and employers for its technical depth and relevance to industry and research careers. Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor said: The Government is committed to making Ireland an AI island and will continue to support the teaching of these innovative programmes within higher education while also supporting industry needs by creating exciting new opportunities for innovation across all sectors. There are currently around 100,000 tech professionals working in Ireland with another 60,000 projected job openings over the next four years. These two innovative Master’s programmes at NUI Galway will help to ensure graduates have the highest skills needed to meet this demand and to make Galway and the West of Ireland a leader in Artificial Intelligence.” Professor Michael Madden, Chair of Computer Science at NUI Galway, says: “With this launch today, we are not just creating two new degree programmes, we are working to create a new capability in the West of Ireland and a new ecosystem of advanced AI companies, with their human capital emerging from our University’s research and teaching activities, and supported by organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, IDA, and the IT Association Galway, all of whom are represented here today.Both programmes have been designed to support the vision of the Government, as expressed by IDA Ireland, to build Ireland’s international profile as an ‘AI Island’.” While Artificial Intelligence might seem like a new area, initial research in AI dates back 50 years. In recent years a confluence of breakthroughs in hardware capability and insights into algorithm design have made the early promise of intelligent machines a reality. AI is one of the fastest growing areas of ICT industry and research. It has the potential to positively transform every aspect of all our lives, from smart cities and autonomous vehicles, through to improved healthcare services and low-carbon economies. Paul Healy, CEO of Skillnet Ireland, commented: “Ireland is one of the tech capitals of the world. We are home to a growing array of dynamic indigenous Irish tech companies and the location of EMEA headquarters for many of the world’s leading tech firms. There is a growing need for greater numbers of highly qualified and competent engineers to work in these organisations. This industry-led online programme, which is supported by Skillnet Ireland and the students’ employer, will help ensure that we are producing engineers here in Ireland with the skills needed to become global leaders in AI technologies.” Professor Madden, adds: “Within NUI Galway, we have a 20-year track record of research and teaching in machine learning and AI, in the Data Science Institute and right across the School of Computer Science. In the two new Master’s programmes, students will learn about all of the latest advances in these areas, benefiting from research-led teaching. All students will be required to study Ethics in AI, because we recognise the important ethical issues that can arise in modern AI applications. And all students will put their knowledge into practice by engaging in substantial capstone projects, conducting research and building prototype systems that use leading-edge AI technologies.” For further information about the two new Masters programmes, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/artificial-intelligence/ -Ends-

Friday, 17 May 2019

Astronomers from NUI Galway have been working with Croí na Gaillimhe on an intergenerational project involving an active retirement group and students from Our Lady’s College Galway. The project is part of a wider project, Making Space, celebrating 200 years of the Royal Astronomical Society. Every Tuesday for the past three months the University has worked with a local artist Finbar McHugh who created new art works which demonstrate different scientific ideas. The programme included trips to the University and to Birr Castle where the latest astronomical observatory in Ireland, the i-Lofar Radio Observatory, is based.  On Tuesday, 21 May, there will be a celebration of the event showcasing the work and the presentation of certificates. The event will be introduced by Professor Walter Gear, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, and the certificates will be presented by Professor Steve Millar from the Royal Astronomical Society.  Croí na Gaillimhe will also mark the end of their Galway 2020 ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ project, Mill Street Quilters by hosting a graduation ceremony in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway. The project brought together two groups, the sewing group at Croí na Gaillimhe and the intergenerational group Young Hearts, to create three quilts based on the Galway 2020 themes of Language, Landscape and Migration. Under experienced tutor Marcella Morgan, the Mill Street Quilters group met regularly and the quilts were hand sewn to encourage more intergenerational connections between the young and the old. This event is presented in partnership with the NUI Galway Physics Department. Professor Andy Shearer, Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: “Our intention with Making Space is to bring astronomy to communities which don’t normally take part in scientific outreach. We also wanted to explore different ways of communicating scientific ideas, can artists help scientists tell the public what they do? We were delighted to work with Croí na Gaillimhe to develop better links with community groups outside of the University.” Loretta Needham, Manager of Croí na Gaillimhe, spoke about the importance of Making Space available to the community and the acknowledgement by NUI Galway and Our Lady’s College Galway of learning what is happening in places other than the class room, saying: “It is true to say that young and old participants have broadened their horizons. Community Education is what Croí na Gaillimhe is about, it is learning that promotes change and transformation, and promotes empowerment for those marginalised or oppressed. I would like to thank NUI Galway and RAS200 for extending the programme into the community and Galway 2020 for the quilting project.” -Ends-

Friday, 17 May 2019

NUI Galway researcher develops a new bioengineered cardiovascular stent  A new type of cardiovascular stent, coated in antibodies to improve its incorporation into blood vessels, has been developed by scientists and engineers in Ireland and Poland. Professor Gerard Wall, a microbiologist and investigator of the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), based at NUI Galway, led the EU-funded project which has designed and produced a novel stent. The stent is the first of its kind to use human antibodies for cell capture, to avoid activating the patient’s immune response. The antibodies are isolated in the laboratory using phage display technology, a genetic engineering approach that mimics the human immune system, followed by production in E. coli bacteria for tethering onto the lattice structure of the stent under sterile manufacturing conditions. Coronary artery disease occurs when the coronary arteries become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaques on their inner walls. This can lead to stenosis, or narrowing of coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. This is the most common cause of death in Europe, resulting in approximately two million deaths each year. While surgical insertion of stents to re-open arteries is now commonplace, arteries can become re-blocked over time when cells such as macrophages and smooth muscle cells from the patient’s blood grow over the stent surface. It is this problem that the new stent design addresses: steel stents produced by the manufacturing partner in Poland are coated with human antibodies, produced in the NUI Galway laboratory, to capture endothelial cells from the patient’s blood and the surrounding artery. This leads to stents becoming rapidly “camouflaged” within the walls of the native blood vessels, enabling them to avoid rejection by the patient’s immune system while providing the mechanical strength necessary to keep the artery open. Professor Wall, Head of Microbiology and CÚRAM Investigator at NUI Galway, explains: “The prototype stent arises from the combined expertise of stent manufacturers, protein engineers and interventional cardiologists. It has demonstrated its effectiveness in preclinical studies and is now under development by the manufacturer in Poland with a view to reducing restenosis (reoccurrence of a narrowing of a blood vessel) events in patients and improving the long-term outcome of surgical interventions.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The development of this new cardiovascular stent addresses a critical patient need, which drives all research at CÚRAM. By partnering with leading research institutions in Europe, this unique team brought together a critical skill set to design and produce a real solution that will have a very significant impact for those who urgently need it. The outcome of this partnership is a testament to the power of collaborative research.” The work, published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, was carried out at NUI Galway, Poland’s Wrocław University of Technology and Wrocław Medical University, and Comenius University in Slovakia, as well as stent manufacturer Balton in Warsaw. It was funded under the EU’s Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) scheme and provided cross-sectoral research training for researchers from the three participating countries. To read the full piece in Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, visit: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jbm.b.34380 -Ends-

Friday, 17 May 2019

Large differences between local council spend and income, but as it should be as it reflects differences in localities and constituents Rural/urban divide remains a big and challenging issue, with cross-council fiscal disparities getting bigger since the last local elections An end to austerity with some big increases in council spending since 2014, both on the aggregate and at individual council level Based on data on commercial rates, local property tax, and local services that they fund, a need to reconsider the balance between business and non-business taxes Friday, 17 May, 2019: Researchers Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway have developed an online platform that allows taxpayers to see how their money is spent locally. Initially designed for PublicPolicy.ie with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies, the www.nuigalway.ie/localauthorityfinances website shows local council revenue incomes and spending on local public services. Aimed at improving transparency and accountability but also at informing the public on how local councils raise and spend taxpayers’ money, the interactive web application can be used to readily access individual council income and spending budgets, but also cross-council comparisons with a view to identifying best and worst performing councils. Using local authority budget data from the website, the researchers find big differences in the local authorities, in terms of both council spending (and changes over time) but also council income, and, in particular, commercial rates. Among other explanations, differences in local authority spending can be accounted for by variations in expenditure needs, arising from differences in the socio-economic and demographic profile of the area and its population. Of the eight functional areas that local councils provide, four service divisions account for 75 per cent of total current spending. These are housing (€351), roads (€208), environmental services (€152) and recreation and amenities (€102), with the national average spend per person in 2019 for each of these service divisions reported in brackets. Across the 31 local authorities there are sizeable differences in terms of how much councils spend per person, with the highest and lowest spend per head in Dublin City Council and Meath County Council, at €1,751 and €635 per inhabitant respectively. More specifically, expenditure per person on housing ranges from €686 in Dublin City Council to €86 in Galway County Council. On roads, the range is €396 in Leitrim County Council to €92 in Fingal County Council. For environmental services, including the fire service and street cleaning, Dublin City Council spends €362 per person whereas Meath County Council spends €84 per person. On recreation and amenities, spending per capita ranges from €223 in Galway City Council to €44 in Meath County Council. Dr Gerard Turley, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, says: “As for spending changes over time, in general it is the more urban, eastern local authorities that have witnessed the largest increases in day-to-day spending since the last local elections, with the more rural local authorities experiencing the smallest increases and even some recording reductions in spending since 2014. In contrast, all local authorities experienced reductions in current (and even more so in capital) spending between the local elections of 2009 and 2014, coinciding with the years of austerity. Notwithstanding the recovery in the general economy since the last local elections, the issue of the rural/urban divide remains a serious challenge for our policymakers, both local and national.” Funding sources also differ, reflecting differences in tax bases and economic activity. These revenue income differences are particularly true for rural versus urban councils, with the more urban densely populated councils able to rely more on own-source incomes such as commercial rates, retained local property tax (LPT) and user charges, resulting in a greater degree of fiscal autonomy for these councils, while the rural less populated county councils have to depend more on central government grants to provide local public services. Stephen McNena, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, explains: “As most tax revenue for local councils is in the form of commercial rates and not local property tax, we looked at the commercial rate called the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV), for 2019. For those local councils that have not revalued the commercial rates base recently, the tax rate ranges from 79.25 in Kerry County Council to 56.77 in Tipperary County Council. Where local councils have undertaken a recent revaluation of industrial and commercial properties liable for commercial rates, the tax rate ranges from 0.2760 in South Dublin County Council to 0.1500 in Fingal County Council. Of the four Dublin councils, two of them are amongst the councils that levy the highest commercial rates in the country, but, on the other hand, the other two Dublin councils have the lowest rates nationwide. As for these cross-council differences in the ARV, the rate in 2019 in any local council is a reflection of that council’s rates levied in the past.”  As a tax on business property, commercial rates account for about 30 per cent of total revenue income, as against the local property tax which accounts for only eight per cent of revenue income. Given the Government’s recent decision yet again, to defer the revaluation of residential properties for local property tax purposes, this imbalance between business and non-business taxes to fund local public services is an issue that requires more analysis and discussion, with the 2019 local elections an ideal opportunity for voters and policymakers to debate this and other local concerns.  These cross-council differences in budget income and spending are not unexpected, given the variations in the profile, circumstances and choices of the different areas and their constituents. The argument in favour of decentralisation and having local councils (and elections) is to bring government closer to the people, so that citizens get what they want given their differences in preferences and willingness to pay, rather than the uniformity than comes with central government provision. For more information on this research visit, www.nuigalway.ie/localauthorityfinances or contact NUI Galway economics lecturers Dr Gerard Turley or Stephen McNena at gerard.turley@nuigalway.ie or stephen.mcnena@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Bill McEvoy, an expert in heart disease prevention who last year returned to Ireland to take up the position of Professor of Preventive Cardiology at NUI Galway and Consultant Cardiologist at Galway University Hospitals, has been invited to debate another international expert on the benefits of aspirin in preventing heart disease and stroke. This debate is important because aspirin is so widely used and because it will also be published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the premier international medical publication, which is widely read by doctors around the world. Professor McEvoy argues that aspirin continues to have a role in certain patients who are at high risk for heart disease and stroke but who have yet to suffer a clinical manifestation (also known as the ‘primary prevention’ of cardiovascular disease). On the other hand, Professor Sigrun Halvorsen from the University of Oslo in Norway argues that the use of aspirin in primary prevention of cardiovascular is no longer justifiable. Both agree that aspirin should be continued in those who have already suffered a clinical heart attack or stroke, in order to reduce the chances of a recurrence (termed ‘secondary prevention’). The motivation for this major debate among physicians is based on three recent 2018 clinical trials that suggested aspirin is less effective in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease than had been previously thought. Older clinical trials, carried out before the turn of the millennium, had demonstrated that aspirin can prevent heart attacks and strokes among adults who were at sufficiently high risk. However, these trials were done at a time when smoking was more common and the treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol was less effective than what is available today. In the 2018 trials, the benefits of aspirin in preventing heart disease and stroke appeared to have been less pronounced in adults treated to current best practice standards (participants in the 2018 trials had much better control of their blood pressure and cholesterol than did the participants in older trials of aspirin). This suggests that aspirin may no longer be necessary for primary prevention as long as cardiac risk factors like smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are well controlled with modern treatments. Because aspirin causes increased bleeding, particularly in the stomach, there have consequently been arguments to now stop using aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease altogether. However, Professor McEvoy, who also led the review of evidence for aspirin for a recent clinical practice guideline, published by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology in March 2019, feels that aspirin continues to have a potential role in some patients. In his pro-argument, he points out that two of the three recent aspirin trials continued to report reductions in non-fatal heart attacks with aspirin use. Furthermore, over a quarter of patients in the recent 2018 trials did not take their aspirin as prescribed, whereas participants in the older studies were much more compliant with the aspirin medication. Therefore, one reason aspirin might not look as good in the recent studies is because the participants simply weren’t taking it. Indeed, when some of the 2018 trials were reanalyzed to look at patients who actually took the aspirin, the reductions in heart attack were even more evident (though these reductions still appear less than in older trials). Professor McEvoy also argues that, because heart attacks are rarely fatal in a modern era where most patients have a stenting procedure or cardiac surgery to open the blood vessel blockage that caused the heart attack, the benefits of aspirin may take a longer time than previously thought to become evident (specifically less non-fatal heart attacks might translate into less heart failure over prolonged follow-up) and that the results of these 2018 trials (which only reported results after five years of follow-up) will need to be extended to 10 or more years before it is known for sure that aspirin is not as effective as previously thought. Ultimately, McEvoy feels the ball should be in the patient’s court. If, after discussing the risks and benefits of aspirin with their doctor, the patient prefers to prevent a heart attack than a bleeding episode (most of which are minor) and if the patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease is sufficiently high, then McEvoy feels it is reasonable to continue recommending aspirin for now- though with annual reassessment of the pros and cons. In a statement Professor Bill McEvoy, NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals, said: “As an Irish physician, its great to be invited to lead this international debate among physicians around the world. I’m proud that Galway and Ireland are flying the flag of heart disease and stroke prevention and this article is great exposure for the research we are carrying out at NUI Galway and the National Institute of Preventive Cardiology, also based in Galway.” Professor McEvoy has also been invited to write an extended review on this topic for another leading medical journal, The Lancet, which is due to be published on 25, May 2019. To read the full debate in New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 at 5pm EST, visit: https://www.nejm.org -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

NUI Galway will host the 7th EUGEO (Association of Geographical Societies in Europe) Congress in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers from 15-18 May. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Re-imagining Europe’s Future Society and Landscapes’. The theme focuses on the centrality of the concepts of society, environment and landscape within the Discipline of Geography and the importance of the relationship that exists between the physical and cultural landscape. The theme was selected to reflect a number of key urgent concerns and research questions that geographers are currently engaged with and this Congress will offer participants the opportunity to reflect on and re-imagine environmental and sustainable futures within the geographical boundary of Europe. 500 delegates from 37 countries will be attending the four-day event which includes interactive panels, fieldtrips to the Burren, paper and poster sessions as well as early career networking events and international keynote contributions. NUI Galway is delighted to welcome two of Europe’s leading physical and social scientists, Dr Larissa Naylor (Reader for Physical Geography at the University of Glasgow) and Dr Michele Lancione(Senior Research Fellow and Director of ECR Development in Sheffield University). Michele is an urban ethnographer and activist and his opening a keynote lecture on Wednesday, 15 May in the Bailey Allen Hall and will focus on the theme of Homelessness and Governmentality. Larissa is an international expert in climate change adaptation and she helped establish the UK’s Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, and has reviewed the coastal chapter for the IPPC. Geography at NUI Galway is one of the largest and most vibrant disciplines in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, and has built a strong reputation for research and teaching excellence through the work of dedicated staff who have extensive experience nationally and internationally. In hosting this congress, Galway joins the ranks of cities such as Amsterdam (previously hosted in 2007), Bratislava (2009), London (2011), Rome (2013), Budapest (2015) and Brussels (2017). Conference Chairs, Dr Kathy Reilly and Dr Frances Fahy, College of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, explain that: “It is an honour to host the EUGEO Congress which is only held every second year and we are delighted to welcome 500 national and international colleagues from all around the globe to this significant event.Over the next three days we are looking forward to a vibrant and rich conference programme which will include cutting edge research exploring some of society’s pressing issues.” The four-day Congress programme will feature multiple sessions with academic experts from throughout Europe that will cover topics on: Agriculture and Climate Change: exploring the adverse effects of climate change, especially on agricultural lands. Homelessness and Rooflessness: examining the trends and trajectories and challenges of service provision – Beyond the Capital: Examining homelessness in the West of Ireland. Marine Spatial Planning in a Time of Uncertainty. Migration, Mobility and Belonging – Realities and ideals in rural-out migration and return; Finding home through motion – transnational, translocal and transitional spaces of belonging. Geographies of Sustainable Consumption – Everyday clothing geographies: insights for sustainable fashion consumption. Earth Observation Applications in environmental mapping and monitoring – A Earth Observation Applications in environmental mapping and monitoring; Earth Observation for Inland and Coastal Water Quality Monitoring in Ireland; Hyperspectral mapping of Ascophyllum nodosum in Galway Bay; A comprehensive roadmap to 50 years of (satellite) earth observation resources for the island of Ireland (1972 – 2023). (em)Powering Communities: the path to forging a new energy landscape -Learning from Living Labs: Experiences from the Field. Enlightening Generational Renewal in Agriculture Policy: A Roadmap for CAP Post2020 – Female Successors in Irish Family Farming – Four Pathways to Farm Transfer; Risky Business: Farmer Perceptions of Economic Risk in Land Transfer Processes. Historical Climatology – Quality control of long-term daily maximum and minimum air temperature series in Ireland; Wetter winters: drier summers: Real or data artefact; Reconstructions of historical river flows for the island of Ireland. Palaeoenvironmental Change – Chironomid response to prehistoric farming in northwest Ireland; Abrupt global climate change recorded in the eastern North Atlantic during past warm climates. Wind energy – bringing the uncertainties into focus – An automated wind-speed forecasting system for a wind farm in southwest Ireland. Approaches to European Rural Development: Looking Towards 2021 – LEADER and vernacular expertise in rural development. Building coastal resilience for current and future climates – Enablers and barriers to building coastal community resilience. The Future for Peatland – The emerging role of cultural ecosystem services in conserving Irish peatlands. The conference is supported by EUGEO, Geographical Society of Ireland, NUI Galway, Springer, Failte Ireland, EPA Research, Moore Institute, National Rural Network and RealSim. For full programme details and venue and session timetables at NUI Galway over the four-days, visit: https://www.eugeo2019.eu/conference-schedule -Ends-

Monday, 13 May 2019

NUI Galway will host the 7th EUGEO (Association of Geographical Societies in Europe) Congress in conjunction with the 51st Conference of Irish Geographers from 15-18 May. The theme for this year’s event, ‘Re-imagining Europe’s Future Society and Landscapes’ will look at agriculture and climate change from the viewpoint of citizens, politics, behaviour change and climatology. Researchers from the Risk Aqua Soil project led from NUI Galway, will host a session on ‘Agriculture and Climate Change’ on Thursday, May 16 from 3.45pm-5.15pm in the University’s Human Biology Building. Risk Aqua Soil is an EU INTERREG Atlantic Arc project supported by the European Regional Development Funds. The project aims to develop a comprehensive management plan for risks in soil and in water to improve the resilience of the Atlantic rural areas. Through transnational cooperation, the project partners will combat the adverse effects of climate change, especially on agricultural lands. Session on Agriculture and Climate Change - Panel presentations followed by open discussions will feature: Dr Jean Francois Berthoumiem, Project Manager, Risk Aqua Soil Project, Association Climatologique de la Moyenne-Garonne et du Sud-Ouest, France. Topic: A summary on Risk Aqua Soil pilot actions in agricultural lands that will permit better soil and water management taking into account the risks associated with climate change. Dr Mary Ryan, Agricultural Researcher, Rural Economy & Development Centre, Teagasc. Topic: The challenges for farmers in relation to climate smart agriculture and the mitigation measures that can be employed to develop resilience. Dr Brenda McNally, Research Fellow, TCD. Topic: Farmers, Climate Change and Communication: Insights from a critical review of global studies on public engagement with climate action? Dr Denis O’Hora, Behavioural Scientist, Department of Psychology, NUI Galway. Topic: Challenges in generating behaviour change in line with sustainable farming practices. Dr Sinead Mellett, Chair of the session on Agriculture and Climate Change, and Risk Aqua Soil Project researcher, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, said: “This is a great opportunity to share the research being carried out in agriculture and climate change. This session will help open conversations about how to be prepared to fight against future events. We will discuss how to encourage farming that is both resilient and sustainable. Identifying trends and issues in research into farmers’ views and behavioural change challenges on different levels of climate action and discuss what farmers in Ireland can do in relation to climate mitigation policy.” The four-day Congress programme will feature multiple sessions with academic experts from throughout Europe that will cover topics on: Homelessness and Rooflessness: examining the trends and trajectories and challenges of service provision - Beyond the Capital: Examining homelessness in the West of Ireland. Marine Spatial Planning in a Time of Uncertainty. Migration, Mobility and Belonging – Realities and ideals in rural-out migration and return; Finding home through motion – transnational, translocal and transitional spaces of belonging. Geographies of Sustainable Consumption – Everyday clothing geographies: insights for sustainable fashion consumption Earth Observation Applications in environmental mapping and monitoring – A Earth Observation Applications in environmental mapping and monitoring; Earth Observation for Inland and Coastal Water Quality Monitoring in Ireland; Hyperspectral mapping of Ascophyllum nodosum in Galway Bay; A comprehensive roadmap to 50 years of (satellite) earth observation resources for the island of Ireland (1972 – 2023). (em)Powering Communities: the path to forging a new energy landscape -Learning from Living Labs: Experiences from the Field. Enlightening Generational Renewal in Agriculture Policy: A Roadmap for CAP Post2020 – Female Successors in Irish Family Farming – Four Pathways to Farm Transfer; Risky Business: Farmer Perceptions of Economic Risk in Land Transfer Processes Historical Climatology – Quality control of long-term daily maximum and minimum air temperature series in Ireland; Wetter winters: drier summers: Real or data artefact; Reconstructions of historical river flows for the island of Ireland. Palaeoenvironmental Change – Chironomid response to prehistoric farming in northwest Ireland; Abrupt global climate change recorded in the eastern North Atlantic during past warm climates. Wind energy – bringing the uncertainties into focus - An automated wind-speed forecasting system for a windfarm in southwest Ireland. Approaches to European Rural Development: Looking Towards 2021 - LEADER and vernacular expertise in rural development. Building coastal resilience for current and future climates - Enablers and barriers to build coastal community resilience. The Future for Peatland – The emerging role of cultural ecosystem services in conserving Irish peatlands. The conference is funded by EUGEO, Geographical Society of Ireland, NUI Galway, Springer, Meet in Ireland, EPA Research, Moore Institute, National Rural Network and RealSim. For full programme details and venue and session timetables at NUI Galway over the four-days, visit: https://www.eugeo2019.eu/conference-schedule For more information about the Agriculture and Climate Change session contact, Dr Sinead Mellett, Risk Aqua Soil Project, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway at sinead.mellett@nuigalway.ie or visit https://www.eugeo2019.eu for conference details. -Ends-

Monday, 13 May 2019

NUI Galway’s Alumni Ensemble choir was presented with the ‘Chamber Choir of the Year’ award at the recent Cork International Choral Festival. The alumni ensemble formed in 2013 in NUI Galway by graduate, Peter Mannion. The group is comprised of graduates of NUI Galway, many of whom met in the University’s Choral Society while studying there. They come together in Galway during the year to reconnect and rehearse new music for public performance. Their winning repertoire at the Cork Choral Festival included contemporary Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, and Renaissance Italian composer, Claudio Monteverdi. Peter Mannion, Director of the NUI Galway Alumni Ensemble, said: “Our choir offers us a wonderful opportunity to come together with friends and share our passion for singing. Chamber choirs are small by nature and it takes time and care to make sure that each of our voices blend together while maintaining their expressive quality. It is wonderful for us to represent the University in winning this major competition.” As well as competing in the National Chamber Choir competition, the NUI Galway Alumni Ensemble performed a lunchtime concert for the public in the Methodist church in Kinsale. Founded in 1954 the Cork International Choral Festival is held annually over the five days. The Festival, which is the oldest in Cork and one of Europe’s most prestigious Choral Festivals, included gala concerts, schools concerts, national and international competitions, workshops and free outdoor performances. -Ends-

Monday, 13 May 2019

An exhibition from artist Pádraic Reaney’s, Inis Airc, is now open in NUI Galway’s Hardiman Research Building. The exhibition displays 23 art works responding to the changing form of the island of Inishark, off the west Galway coast, which was abandoned by the last residents in 1960. The free exhibition, which runs until 28 May, consists of paintings and graphics that uniquely capture a crumbling cultural landscape, which once supported a community of over 200 people. Since 2002, Pádraic has visited the island regularly, making studies in watercolour and drawing dilapidating houses and farmsteads, as all evidence of human impact fades away. His oil paintings and graphics viscerally enliven these spaces once again in a blending of colour, physical landscape, and remnants of fishing communities. This exhibition challenges the viewer to consider the history of our islands, and to critically examine the larger rural decline. Born in Carraroe, Co. Galway, Pádraic Reaney studied Fine Art and now lives and works in Moycullen. His work has gained national and international acclaim, and he has held collections in such places as Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University, USA; Siena Art Institute, Italy; and Urawa Wood-Cut Prints Association, Japan. The exhibition is hosted by the University’s Moore Institute and funded by the Discipline of Geography for the 7th EUGEO Congress international conference.   For more information about the exhibition contact Dr Richard Scriven, Discipline of Geography, NUI Galway, richard.scriven@nuigalway.ie. For more information on Pádraic Reaney’s art visit http://reaneyart.com/ -Ends-

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Three primary schools from Dublin, Offaly and Cork have been shortlisted to showcase their randomised clinical trials at NUI Galway on Friday, 17 May when the overall winner will be announced and presented with the START Trophy 2019. Now in its fourth year, the Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition aims to educate students about why we need randomised trials to improve healthcare nationally and globally.  Primary schools around the country were invited to create their very own fun randomised clinical trial earlier this year. The competition is run by the Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TRMN) at NUI Galway, to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, and the anniversary of the first clinical trial which was carried out in 1747 in the British Navy. The three shortlisted primary schools are: Gaelscoil an Eiscir Riada NS, Tullamore, Co. Offaly with teacher Aoife Ní Fhlannagáin. Trial title: ‘Does listening to the same music while studying for and completing a test improve your scores?’ Video: https://sites.google.com/eriada.ie/start-competition-2019-r6/ Ovens NS, Co. Cork with teacher Conor Murphy. Trial title: ‘Does watching TV while doing written homework cause you to lose concentration?’ (Podcast available on request). Scoil Mobhí NS, Glasnevin, Dublin with teacher Fiona de Bhál. Trial title: ‘Does positive encouragement and praise affect running speed?’ Video: https://sway.office.com/SljbZKvFkAUJ5AYu?ref=Link Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “This initiative has really captured the children’s imagination and creativity, but I also think we can learn so much from their approach. Trials can be complex and challenging for people to understand, and yet here we have children rising to this challenge so well. START is about breaking down the barriers in the understanding of trials, and helping understand the power trials have to improve healthcare for all.” Speaking about the competition entries, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “The ingenuity and approach that young people have taken to designing their own trials to inform decision-making is incredible. I hope that as they talk about what they have done, at home and with friends, that it helps demystify the idea of clinical research and encourage more people to ask about what trials are available to them in relation to their own healthcare.” The three shortlisted schools were selected by judges: Teacher, Aisling Murray, Kinvara National School and last year’s winning class teacher; Dr Andrew Oxman, Research Director, Global Health Unit, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; and Ms Sarah Chapman, Knowledge Broker at Cochrane UK.  To learn more about the HRB-TMRN START competition visit: www.hrb-tmrn.ie or follow on Twitter @hrbtmrn and Facebook at START Competition. See short videos from START competitions 2018, 2017 and 2016, here: https://www.hrb-tmrn.ie/public-engagement/start-competition/ -Ends-

Thursday, 9 May 2019

As the academic year draws to a close, NUI Galway is celebrating another remarkable year of societies. With over 125 student societies, over 1,000 committee members and 12,000  members, societies continue to flourish on campus. Recent successes at national events such as the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards, Musical Theatre Intervarsities, Irish Student Drama Awards (ISDA) and Dance Intervarsity highlighted their achievement and hard work over the past year. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “It has been a bumper year for our societies with numerous successes, they have organised almost 3,000 events this year. They have invited the wider community onto campus and engaged with partners throughout the world, it is a joy to see their efforts rewarded at a national level.” At the recent BICS Awards 2019 NUI Galway were presented with two awards. Best Event was won by AMSI & Paediatric Society’s ‘Healthy Heroes’ and Best Society was presented to the University’s LGBTQA+ society GiGSoc, marking NUI Galway’s fourth year in a row to win this much coveted award. NUI Galway now currently holds the record for the most awards since the BICS’s Awards inception with 50 awards won over the past 19 years. The Musical Society GUMS hosted the fourth annual Musical Theatre Intervarsities in NUI Galway in March and won three awards including Best Direction for Patrick Conneely, Best Musical Direction for Katie Feeney and Best Overall Show. The Drama Society (Dramsoc) won a record-breaking six awards and received a further 18 nominations at ISDA 2019. The awards included Best Costumes, Best Hair and Make-up, Best Supporting Actress, Best Lighting Design, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Ensemble. During the 2018/19 academic year Dramsoc produced a total of eleven show s and held over 135 events. The Dance Society Irish troupe, choreographed by student Matthew Gardner, also won first place in their category at the Dance Intervarsity. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Tá mórstaidéar nua dar teideal Gaelic Games on Film: From silent films to Hollywood hurling, horror and the emergence of Irish cinema foilsithe ag an Dr Seán Crosson. Déanann an Dr Crosson, ar acadóir é i Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston in OÉ Gaillimh, iniúchadh sa leabhar seo ar an gcaoi a léirítear cluichí Gaelacha ar an scáileán mór. Is é an Dr Paul Rouse, Scoil na Staire, COBÁC agus údar an leabhair Sport and Ireland: A History, a sheolfaidh an leabhar, atá foilsithe ag Cló Ollscoile Chorcaí, ar an gCéadaoin, an 15 Bealtaine ag 6pm in Institiúid Scannán na hÉireann, Barra an Teampaill, Baile Átha Cliath. A History, on Wednesday, 15 May at 6pm in Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin. Bíodh is go bhfuil cluichí Gaelacha i measc na spórt is mó a bhfuil tóir orthu in Éirinn, idir rannpháirtíocht agus spéis an phobail, is beag duine a mbeadh a fhios acu go bhfuil traidisiún fada ann na cluichí seo a thaispeáint ar an scáileán mór, ar traidisiún é a théann siar chomh fada le tús ré na scannánaíochta. Chomh luath leis an mbliain 1901, rinne an Irish Animated Photo Company scannánú de chluiche iománaíochta i gCorn Dúshláin Cullen idir ‘Rovers’ agus ‘Grocers’ a imríodh ag Bóthar Mhic Sheoin – Páirc an Chrócaigh sa lá atá inniu ann – ar an Domhnach, 8 Nollaig na bliana sin, ar scannán é a taispeánadh mar chuid d’Oíche Mhór Ghaelach sa Rotunda ar Shráid Pharnell an Chéadaoin dár gcionn. Ó shin i leith, is iomaí uair a chuir cluichí Gaelacha móitíf ar fáil do lucht déanta scannán a mbaintear leas aisti arís is arís eile chun léiriú a thabhairt ar ghnéithe den fhéiniúlacht Éireannach, bíodh is nach raibh na gnéithe sin féin gan locht. Labhair an Dr Crosson mar seo a leanas: “Seans gurb é an ghné is suntasaí agus is spéisiúla den scéal seo an caidreamh buan idir iománaíocht agus Hollywood. Tá scannáin déanta ag an gcuid is mó de stiúideonna móra Hollywood, leithéidí MGM, Paramount agus Warner Bros, a dhírigh ar spórt uathúil seo na hÉireann. Sa bhliain 1936 d’eisigh MGM gearrscannán faoin teideal Hurling mar chuid dá shraith ‘Pete Smith Specialities’ a raibh an-tóir ag an bpobal air. Léiriú neamhghnách a bhí ann inar cuireadh síos ar an iománaíocht mar chluiche ‘ionsaí agus slacairt’ na hÉireann, agus tharraing sé go mór ar steiréitíopaí seanbhunaithe agus conspóideacha an ré sin maidir le hÉirinn agus muintir na hÉireann. Bhí sárbhliain ag gearrscannáin Hollywood faoin iománaíocht in 1955 nuair a ainmníodh scannán de chuid Paramount, Three Kisses, do ghradam Oscar.” Bíodh is go bhfuil léargais faoi leith ar Éirinn agus ar chultúr na hÉireann le fáil ón gcaoi ar cuireadh cluichí Gaelacha i láthair go hidirnáisiúnta, tá dlúthnasc ann idir teacht chun cinn an chultúir dhúchasaigh scannánaíochta agus an chaoi ar léiríodh cluichí Gaelacha. D’eascair na léirithe is luaithe de chluichí Gaelacha dá bhfuil againn – scannán neamhfhicsin d’athimirt Chluiche Ceannais na hÉireann 1914 idir Ciarraí agus Loch Garman, agus píosa as scannán 1918 Knocknagow – ó na hiarrachtaí a rinne comhlachtaí agus daoine aonair ceannródaíocha i stair scannánaíochta na hÉireann, ar áiríodh ina measc siúd an Irish Animated Picture Company (an chéad léiritheoir agus dáileoir scannán dúchasach) agus an Film Company of Ireland, an chéad chomhlacht Éireannach a bhí i mbun léiriúchán príomhscannán. Sa tréimhse i ndiaidh an Dara Cogadh Domhanda, is ar Institiúid Náisiúnta na Scannán, Éire a bhí fócas chultúr scannán na hÉireann dírithe, agus ar Ghael Linn ina dhiaidh sin. Ba chás leis an dá eagraíocht cluichí Gaelacha a léiriú, agus rinne siad amhlaidh i scannáin chóitseála Ghael Linn Peil (1962) agus Christy Ring (1964) i measc scannán eile. Tá Seán Crosson ina Chomhstiúrthóir ar an MA in Iriseoireacht Spóirt agus Cumarsáid agus ina Stiúrthóir ar Thaighde agus ar Theagasc Iarchéime i Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é atá i gceannas freisin ar an nGrúpa Taighde Spóirt agus Aclaíochta atá lonnaithe in Institiúid de Móra, OÉ Gaillimh, agus tá go leor foilsithe aige i réimse na scannán, agus é ag díriú le blianta beaga ar an gcaoi a léirítear spórt i scannáin. I measc a chuid foilseachán tá Sport and Film ar bronnadh gradam air, Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe (mar chomheagarthóir), agus ‘Sport and the Media in Ireland’ in eagrán speisialta den iris Media History. I ndiaidh an tseolta, taispeánfar scannáin, nach bhfeictear rómhinic, ag 7pm ina bhfuil léirithe de chluichí Gaelacha, Rooney (1958) san áireamh. -Críoch-

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Health Economics is increasingly being used to inform research and development about the design and development of new medical technologies and is also a vital component in determining the commercial viability of new medical technologies. The Health Economic and Policy Analysis Centre in collaboration with CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway will hold a seminar to discuss the challenges associated with the health economic assessment of medical devices with reference to recent regulatory changes.  Researchers at the Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC) at NUI Galway are currently applying health economic methods to explore a range of research questions in relation to medical devices, and a wide range of chronic disease areas including ageing, dementia, disability, mental health, chronic disease, cancer, and obesity. While the research is mainly of an applied nature with an emphasis on peer-reviewed academic output, members of HEPAC also engage and contribute to policy formulation in a range of areas at national and international level. Current research projects include those funded by agencies such as the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, Atlantic Philanthropies, and industry partners. The following topics will be discussed: The particular characteristics of medical devices that lead to additional challenges for health technology assessment of medical devices. Key aspects of the conduct and methods of health technology assessment for medical devices.  The key recommendations for improvements in processes and methods that could enhance the potential for health technology assessment and optimise the diffusion of medical devices. This seminar is aimed at medical device developers, manufacturers, regulators, healthcare practitioners, analysts, consultants, and health technology assessors interested in the health economic assessment processes aimed at informing key decision making throughout the full development and evaluation pathway of medical devices. Those attending may be new to the field of health technology assessment of medical devices and may be working in an academic or industry environment. This seminar will also be suitable for experienced analysts interested in having a deeper understanding of the challenges of medical device evaluation. Keynote speaker Professor Rosanna Tarricone, is an Associate Professor in Public Administration at Bocconi University, Milan and Associate Dean at SDA Bocconi School of Management. She graduated in Business Administration at Bocconi University and holds an MSc in Health Services Management and a PhD in Public Health and Policy, both from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UL, UK. She has over 100 publications in the areas of health policy, healthcare management, economic analysis of health care services and health technology assessment. In recent years she has focussed on health technology assessment of medical devices and has been the leader of a large, three-year EU-funded research project ‘MedtecHTA’ that has made recommendations on how to improve methods for assessing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health technologies. Rosanna also serves as advisor for the Ministry of Health of Italy and as an expert to the Director General of Research and Director General of Health of the European Commission. Professor Tarricone is also a member of the International Association of Health Economics, the International Health Technology Assessment organisation and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research where she also served as member of the Board. Dr Michelle Queally, Discipline of Economics and CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: The medical device sector is very important for Ireland and indeed more locally in Galway. Europe’s premier cluster of medical device companies is based in the Galway region. The Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre in collaboration with CÚRAM at NUI Galway are very much looking forward to linking in with local and national medical device companies at our upcoming seminar on 13 May. Establishing value in healthcare including medical devices is a growing area of concern, particularly in light of recent regulation changes. We are delighted to host our visiting speaker, global expert in the field, Professor Tarricone to discuss the challenges and recommendations in the economic evaluation of medical devices and we look forward to a lively discussion.” The seminar will take place on Monday, 13 May from 9am to 12pm at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, North Campus, NUI Galway.  For further information and for registration contact Michelle Queally at michelle.queally@nuigalway.ie or on 091- 492934. To register for the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/health-economics-for-the-evaluation-of-medical-devices-tickets-56561541092 -Ends- 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Mobile content creation festival to be held on campus June 6-8 NUI Galway is delighted to announce today (Wednesday, 8 May) that it is to partner with Mojofest, the mobile content creation festival, to bring three days of events for marketers, journalists, communicators and SMEs to its campus from 6-8 June. Mojofest is a three-day festival which explores and celebrates the use of smartphones for photography, film-making, audio production, livestreaming, marketing, social media content creation and journalism. The event includes keynotes, plenary sessions with international speakers, hands-on workshops/activities and an exhibition by some of the world’s leading app developers and accessory manufacturers who make professional smartphone content creation possible. Speaking at the launch, Mojofest Director Glen Mulcahy, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to bring the conference back to NUI Galway again. Having lived in Galway for 15 years myself I know what a wonderful, vibrant and creative community there is here and feedback from the delegates last year was fantastic. It simply would not have been possible to do this without the support and partnership of NUI Galway.” The partnership with NUI Galway has involved skills development programmes for staff and students, with 224 undergraduate and postgraduate marketing students incorporating the techniques of professional content creation to develop visual marketing stories and strategies.  NUI Galway’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Lorna Farren, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Mojofest back to the campus this year. Mobile content creation and user generated content are important components of most communications strategies, and this event brings some of the world’s leading experts to our campus, providing great opportunities for our students and the wider community to look at future trends in this evolving medium.” The conference is aimed at social media managers, CSR teams, marketing and public relations executives, filmmakers, journalists, media/journalism students, mobile photography enthusiasts, media executives and SME Business owners.  The event takes place from Thursday 6th - Saturday 8th June in the Bailey Allen Conference Hall at NUI Galway. The conference is being run in association with RTÉ. Notable sessions include: Computational Photography - how smartphones are gaining ground on “pro” cameras. Mobile story formats for Social media e.g. Instagram. Mobile multi-camera live streaming - the future of “local TV”? Smart Podcasting - building your brand with audio. Workshops include underwater photography, livestreaming setups, vertical storytelling formats, photo walks and much more. Keynote speakers include: Emmy award winning journalist Waad Alkateab who documented the Syrian war from within Aleppo with just her phone and a DSLR. Her award winning stories were broadcast on Channel 4 news where she now works as a documentary filmmaker. Multi award winning Director of Photography, Philip Bloom will present a keynote on the evolution of consumer technology and how it has the potential to transform storytelling. In her first visit to Ireland, the managing director of the Al Jazeera Media Network’s AJ+, Dima Khatib, will share insights into how traditional TV organisations like Aljazeera leveraged digital technology to reinvent the way news was sourced, created and distributed to engage new audiences via mobile. Mojofest organiser, Glen Mulcahy, has pioneered the use of smartphones for content creation since 2011 and he has trained over 5000 journalists in Ireland, Europe, the USA and the Middle East in the techniques that will be explored at the event. The conference website is http://www.mojofest.eu  and tickets are on sale now. ENDS

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

NUI Galway participates in major international study showing sewage can reveal levels of antimicrobial resistance worldwide A comprehensive analysis of sewage collected in 74 cities in 60 countries worldwide has yielded the first, comparable global data, which show the levels and types of antimicrobial resistant bacteria that are present in mainly healthy people in these countries. The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, led the study, which was conducted by an international team of researchers including Professor Martin Cormican, Dr Dearbháile Morris and Dr Louise O’Connor from the Discipline of Bacteriology, School of Medicine at NUI Galway. The World Health Organisation describes antimicrobial resistance as the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. The key finding from the study showed that there were marked differences in the levels of antimicrobial resistance observed by region and regions with poorer sanitation had higher levels. This suggests that improving the overall sanitation and health in these regions could limit the overall global burden of antimicrobial resistance. The study was published in the in the highly regarded scientific journal Nature Communications. In the study, the researchers mapped out all the DNA material in the sewage samples and found that according to antimicrobial resistance the world’s countries fall within two groups. North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand generally have the lowest levels of antimicrobial resistance, while Asia, Africa and South America have the highest levels. Brazil, India and Vietnam have the greatest diversity in resistance genes, while Australia and New Zealand have the lowest. Dr Dearbháile Morris from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “The approach taken in this study is an important first step towards the development of a global model for surveillance of all disease causing organisms, not just antimicrobial resistance.” Sanitation and health closely linked to antimicrobial resistance The researchers’ findings show that most of the variables, which are associated with the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in a country, are related to the sanitary conditions in the country and the population’s general state of health. The project lead, Professor Frank Aarestrup, Technical University of Denmark says: “In the fight against antimicrobial resistance, our findings suggest that it would be a very effective strategy if concerted efforts were made to improve sanitary conditions in countries with high levels of antimicrobial resistance.” A step closer to a global surveillance system The overall ambition of those participating in the study is to developing a worldwide surveillance system that can continuously monitor the occurrence and spread of disease-causing microorganisms and antimicrobial resistance. As such, it would be possible to use the global surveillance data, for example, to manage diseases that threaten to spread beyond a country’s borders and develop into pandemics, such as Ebola, measles, polio or cholera. Professor Aarestrup, added: “Analysing sewage can quickly and relatively cheaply show exactly which bacteria abound in an area, and collecting and analysing sewage does not require ethical approval, as the material cannot be traced back to individuals. Both parameters help to make a surveillance system via sewage a viable option - also in developing countries.” Read the full study in Nature Communications at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08853-3 -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A major new study, Gaelic Games on Film: From silent films to Hollywood hurling, horror and the emergence of Irish cinema, examining the depiction of Gaelic games on film has been published by NUI Galway Huston School of Film & Digital Media academic Dr Seán Crosson. The new book, published by Cork University Press, will be officially launched by Dr Paul Rouse, School of History, UCD and author of Sport and Ireland: A History, on Wednesday, 15 May at 6pm in Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin. While Gaelic games are among the most popular sports played and followed in Ireland, few perhaps will be aware of the long tradition of depicting these games in the cinema, a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the cinema. As early as 1901 the Irish Animated Photo Company filmed a Cullen’s Challenge Cup hurling game between ‘Rovers’ and ‘Grocers’ played at Jones’ Road – now Croke Park – on Sunday, 8 December that year, a film that was screened as part of a ‘Grand Gaelic Night’ at the Rotunda on Parnell Street the following Wednesday. In subsequent years, Gaelic games have repeatedly provided filmmakers with a resonant motif to represent perceived aspects of Irish identity, perceived as these representations have been neither straightforward nor unproblematic. Dr Crosson said: “Perhaps the most extraordinary and fascinating aspect of this story is the enduring relationship between hurling and Hollywood. Most of the major Hollywood studios, including MGM, Paramount, and Warner Bros, have produced films focused on this most distinctive of Irish sports. In 1936, MGM released a short, simply titled Hurling as part of their highly-popular ‘Pete Smith Specialities series’. This extraordinary depiction described hurling as Ireland’s ‘game of assault and battery’ and drew heavily on established and problematic stereotypes concerning Ireland and Irish people at the time. The peak for Hollywood short films on hurling came in 1955 when the ‘Paramount Topper’, Three Kisses, was nominated for an Oscar.” While these international depictions of Gaelic games provide revealing insights into the depiction of Ireland and Irish culture often from afar, the emergence of an indigenous film culture is inextricably linked to the representation of Gaelic games. The earliest surviving depictions we have of Gaelic games – a 1914 actuality of the All-Ireland football final replay of that year between Kerry and Wexford, and a sequence in the 1918 feature film Knocknagow – emerged from the efforts of pioneering companies and individuals in the story of Irish cinema, including the Irish Animated Picture Company (the first indigenous film producer and distributor) and the Film Company of Ireland, Ireland’s first producer of feature films. In the aftermath of World War II, an Irish Film culture began to coalesce around the efforts of the National Film Institute of Ireland and subsequently Gael Linn. For both organisations, film depictions of Gaelic games were key concerns and featured among their most popular productions, including Gael Linn’s coaching films Peil (1962) and Christy Ring (1964). Seán Crosson is Co-Director of the MA Sports Journalism and Communication and Director of Graduate Research and Teaching at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway. He is also leader of the Sport & Exercise Research Group, based in the Moore Institute in NUI Galway, and has published widely on film, focusing in particular in recent years on the representation of sport in film. His previous publications include the award-winning Sport and Film, (as co-editor) Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe, and a special issue of Media History journal on ‘Sport and the Media in Ireland’. The launch will be followed by screenings at 7pm of rarely seen films featuring Gaelic games, including Rooney (1958). -Ends-