Monday, 19 August 2013

  34 NUI Galway courses increase CAO points, 15 courses by more than 20 points There has been a huge increase in demand for Commerce courses in NUI Galway with General Commerce increasing from 340 to 375 points.  Reflecting students’ awareness of the need for language mobility in a global jobs market Commerce (International) with French has increased by 30 points to 525, Commerce (International) with German is up 45 to 450 and Commerce (International) with Spanish is up 50 points to 460. Business Information Systems recorded an increase of 30 points to 400 while Commerce (Accounting) is up 20 to 440.   Science courses, equally, show increased demand. Against the backdrop of NUI Galway’s national and international leadership in biomedical science programmes, Biomedical Science rose from 540 to 545, Biopharmaceutical Chemistry is at 505 (up 10), Biotechnology is at 465 (up 20) and Environmental Science is up 25 at 400. A new course in Physics is offering places to those students with 400 CAO points or more.   Another new course Arts with Journalism at 480 points generated significant interest. Arts, the second largest CAO undergraduate course in the country remains unchanged at 300 points despite the downward trend in Arts courses nationally.  In Law, both Civil Law (up 10) and Corporate Law (up 15) recorded increases.   Engineering courses remain popular with Leaving Cert students with Electrical and Electronic Engineering soaring 60 points to 515, while Civil Engineering and Project and Construction Management both increased by 30 points.   Energy Systems Engineering, taught in NUI Galway’s award winning Engineering Building and home to the largest School of Engineering and Informatics in Ireland, increased 10 points to 440.   Podiatry, the only course of its’ kind in Ireland, is up 10 points to 470. There was also an increase in demand for General Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing and Midwifery courses while  the demand for Medicine remained largely unchanged.   NUI Galway’s Admission Officer, Stephen O’Dea, said: ‘This year, CAO applicants have their eyes firmly the jobs market with marked increases in demand for Commerce and Science courses in particular. Demand for all Commerce courses has increased substantially with Commerce (International) with French up 30 to 525. NUI Galway’s strength and reputation in bioscience is also reflected with Biomedical Science (545) continuing to perform well and Biopharmaceutical Chemistry increasing to 505 points. In Engineering Electrical and Electronic Engineering soared 60 points to 515.’   He continued ‘Incoming students will be well placed to benefit from NUI Galway’s significant capital investment programme facilitating staff and students in embracing innovation, entrepreneurship and research. Our new course Arts with Journalism has performed particularly well, at 480 points, contrasting with the downward trend in demand for Arts courses nationally.’   -ENDS-   Pointí CAO méadaithe go mór do chúrsaí Tráchtála agus Eolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh   Méadú ar phointí CAO do 34 cúrsa in OÉ Gaillimh, méadú sa bhreis ar 20 pointe ar 15 chúrsa Tá méadú ollmhór ar an éileamh ar chúrsaí Tráchtála in OÉ Gaillimh agus líon na bpointí don Tráchtáil Ghinearálta méadaithe ó 340 go 375.  Tá méadú 30 pointe go 525 tagtha ar Thráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Fraincis,  méadú 45 pointe go 450 tagtha ar Thráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Gearmáinis agus méadú 50 pointe go 460 tagtha ar Thráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Spáinnis. Léiríonn an méadú seo tuiscint na mac léinn ar an riachtanas a bhaineann le teangacha sa mhargadh domhanda. Tháinig méadú 30 pointe go 400 ar Chórais Faisnéise Gnó agus tá Tráchtáil suas 20 pointe go 440.   Tá méadú tagtha chomh maith ar an éileamh ar chúrsaí Eolaíochta. I gcomhthéacs cheannródaíocht náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta OÉ Gaillimh i gcláir eolaíochta bithleighis, tá méadú ó 540 go 545 tagtha ar Eolaíocht Bhithleighis, méadú 10 bpointe go 505 ar Cheimic Bhithchógaisíochta, méadú 20 pointe go 465 ar Bhiteicneolaíocht agus méadú 25 pointe go 400 ar Eolaíocht Chomhshaoil. Tá cúrsa nua Fisice ag tairiscint áiteanna do mhic léinn le 400 pointe CAO nó os a chionn.   Is léir go raibh spéis ar leith i gcúrsa nua eile - Na Dána le hIriseoireacht - agus 480 pointe ag teastáil chun tabhairt faoi.  Níl aon athrú tagtha ar na pointí don chúrsa sna Dána (300 pointe), an dara cúrsa fochéime CAO is mó sa tír, in ainneoin an laghdaithe ar phointí i gcúrsaí sna Dána ar fud na tíre.  I gcúrsaí Dlí, tháinig méadú ar na pointí do Dhlí Sibhialta (suas 10 bpointe) agus do Dhlí Corparáideach (suas 15 phointe).   Tá tóir i gcónaí ag mic léinn Ardteistiméireachta ar chúrsaí Innealtóireachta agus tháinig méadú ollmhór 60 pointe go 515 ar an Innealtóireacht Leictreach agus Leictreonach, agus tháinig méadú 30 pointe ar Innealtóireacht Shibhialta agus ar Bhainistíocht Foirgníochta.   Tá méadú 10 bpointe go 440 tagtha ar Innealtóireacht Chóras Faisnéise, cúrsa a dhéantar a theagasc san Fhoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta a tógadh ag baint úsáide as modhanna éiceolaíocha tógála.   Tháinig méadú ar na pointí don chúrsa Cosliachta, an t-aon chúrsa dá leithéid sa tír, suas 10 bpointe go 470, agus bhí méadú ar an éileamh ar chúrsaí san Altranas Ginearálta, Altranas Síciatrach agus Cnáimhseachas agus is beag athrú a tháinig ar an éileamh ar Leigheas.   Dúirt Oifigeach Iontrála OÉ Gaillimh, Stephen O’Dea: ‘I mbliana, tá iarratasóirí CAO ag coinneáil súil ghéar ar mhargadh na bpost agus tá sé le feiceáil againn sa mhéadú atá tagtha ar na pointí a theastaíonn do chúrsaí Tráchtála agus Eolaíochta go háirithe. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar an éileamh ar gach cúrsa Tráchtála agus méadú 30 pointe go 525 ar Thráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Fraincis. Tá láidreacht agus cáil OÉ Gaillimh san eolaíocht bhitheach le feiceáil sa tóir atá i gcónaí ar an Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (545) agus méadú go 505 pointe tagtha ar an Eolaíocht Bhithchógaisíochta. San Innealtóireacht tháinig méadú ollmhór 60 pointe go 515 ar an Innealtóireacht Leictreach agus Leictreonach.’   Dúirt sé freisin, ‘Bainfidh mic léinn tairbhe as an gclár suntasach infheistíochta caipitil in OÉ Gaillimh a chuireann ar chumas na foirne agus na mac léinn aghaidh a thabhairt ar nuálaíocht, ar fhiontraíocht agus ar thaighde. D’éirigh go han-mhaith leis an gcúrsa nua - Na Dána le hIriseoireacht - agus 480 pointe ag teastáil chun tabhairt faoi, téann sé seo i gcoinne an éilimh laghdaithe ar chúrsaí sna Dána go náisiúnta.’    -CRÍOCH-      

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

  NUI Galway and Galway businesses and business leaders to the fore in US feature   Quotes from NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne and Galway business leaders are prominent in an extensive Washington Post feature ‘Can Ireland’s Celtic Tiger roar again?’ published at the weekend.   The article, written by Steve Pearlstein, analyses the post-crash economy through the views of observers in Dublin and Galway, with NUI Galway, Galway Chamber and Galway businessman John O’Shaughnessy featuring in the lengthy analysis.   NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne is quoted as saying, in the context of the Irish recovery, "We need to talk not about recovering the economy but recasting it, since in some important ways, what we had before was a disaster."   The feature followed a visit to Ireland by the Washington Post journalist Steve Pearlstein in June and was published this weekend on August 16th. The article is available at the Washington Post online at   -ends-  

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

  NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery partner with 3 UK universities in research findings on models of maternity care Maternity care that involves a midwife as the main care provider leads to better outcomes for most women, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library. Researchers found that women who received continued care throughout pregnancy and birth from a small group of midwives were less likely to give birth pre-term and required fewer interventions during labour and birth than when their care was shared between different obstetricians, GPs and midwives.   In many countries, including the UK and Australia, midwives act as the main providers of care for women throughout pregnancy, labour and birth. In midwife-led care, there is an emphasis on normality, continuity of care and being cared for by a known, trusted midwife during labour.   Midwife-led continuity of care is provided in a multi-disciplinary network of consultation and referral with other care providers. This contrasts with medical-led models of care, where an obstetrician or family physician is primarily responsible for care, and with shared-care, where responsibility is shared between different healthcare professionals. There has been some debate about whether the midwife-led model of care is more effective.   The researchers reviewed data from 13 trials involving a total of 16,242 women. Eight trials included women at low risk of complications and five trials included women at high risk of complications. They looked at outcomes for mothers and babies when midwives were the main providers of care, compared to medical-led or shared care models.   When midwives were the main providers of care throughout, women were less likely to give birth before 37 weeks or lose their babies before 24 weeks. Women were happier with the care they received, had fewer epidurals, fewer assisted births, and fewer episiotomies. An episiotomy involves making a surgical incision to reduce the risk of a tear. In addition, women who received midwife-led care were no more likely to have a caesarean birth, but they were in labour for about half an hour longer on average.   Researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery in NUI Galway joined with Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Warwick to form an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Jane Sandall of the Division of Women’s Health at King’s College London.   Professor Declan Devane of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway said ‘this work has important policy implications and provides high quality evidence of the benefits for women and their infants of midwife-led models of care supported by appropriate multi-professional referral. Other countries are using this to inform their maternity care policy and Ireland should do likewise.’   Five studies considered the cost of midwife-led compared to shared care. While care provided by midwives was more cost-effective during labour, the results for postnatal care were inconclusive. “There was wide variation in the way that maternity care costs were estimated in the included studies, but what was there suggested cost-saving effects of midwife-led care,” said Professor Devane.   -ends-  

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Four programmes to run for three years are among 40 selected from over 209 applications NUI Galway has secured funding from the Health Research Board (HRB) worth €1.3m for four research programmes to run over the next three years.The HRB is to invest €12m in a total of 40 projects focused on different areas of research.   Questions addressed nationally include; Are current increases in suicide rates linked to the recession? Does our blood group determine our risk of heart attack? How do we improve outcomes for young adults with diabetes?  Four of the research projects will be conducted at NUI Galway.   Dr Sean Dinneen is investigating an intervention that will improve outcomes for young adults living with Type 1 Diabetes. Dr Thomas Ritter, National University of Ireland Galway aims to develop a new topical treatment for skin inflammation using adult stems cells.   Dr Wenxin Wang will seek to develop a new topical treatment for RDEB (Recessive Dsytrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa) which causes severe skin blistering in sufferers. Dr Dara Cannon aims to identify the biological subtypes of Bipolar Disorder to better understand the illness and speed up patients’ relief from symptoms.   Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway welcomed the awards, adding that ‘today’s announcement is further endorsement of the calibre and relevance of research underway at NUI Galway.  In particular, this research will improve health outcomes for patients with type 1 diabetes, skin inflammation, RDEB, and bipolar disorder.  As a research-led University, innovative research is central to our objectives and I congratulate each of the researchers on their success under the HRB programme’.   'This funding will address a wide range of subjects, including mental health, cancer, diabetes and arthritis, says Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB. 'It will support health professionals and researchers to examine pressing research questions that will deliver strong evidence to enhance patient care, improve people's health or lifestyle and positively influence how we deliver our health services'.   The HRB selected a total of 40 projects from 209 applications. These were assessed by international peer review panels who believed the nature, scope and relevance of the proposals demonstrated great ambition and innovation that would lead to results that are relevant both nationally and internationally.   -ends-  

Friday, 23 August 2013

Higher uptake among well-off in Ireland, UK, US but among less well-off in Northern Ireland A working paper published this week by NUI Galway economists points to important differences in uptake of cervical cancer screening. The study compared uptake of cervical cancer screening in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and the US. It found that while cervical cancer is known to be more prevalent among those from lower socio-economic groups, uptake of screening in Ireland, England and the US all evidenced a pro-rich inequality – the better off were more likely to avail of it.   By contrast in Northern Ireland, the less well-off were more likely to avail of it; a pro-poor inequality was evident. Interestingly, this was driven by the behaviour of Catholics where a marked pro-poor inequality was evident, no such inequality being evident among Protestants.   While incidence rates and mortality rates associated with cervical cancer have been shown to evidence a pro-poor pattern (poor people are more likely to have and to die from cervical cancer), the study results show that in Ireland, England and the US a pro-rich pattern of screening exists. Why Northern Ireland should evidence a pro-poor pattern of service use and why Catholics in particular should do so is unclear but suggests that opportunities exist for shared learning.   NUI Galway researchers point to this as an example of how economists can help inform cancer control policies. Further work by economists from NUI Galway will be presented at the Inaugural Economics of Cancer Research Symposium to be hosted by NUI Galway on Monday 2nd September. The Symposium, funded as part of a Health Research Board (HRB) Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS) initiative, will include presentations that explore various economic aspects of cancer care, policy formulation and research.   Contributors include speakers from the National Cancer Institute (USA), University of Washington, Imperial College London, the Stockholm School of Economics, Irish Cancer Society and Health Research Board. Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer of Northern Ireland will provide the opening address. A range of poster presentations based on work conducted in Ireland will be on display.   Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Dean of Business, Public Policy and Law says “Every decision has an economic dimension. Whether or not an individual decides to avail of screening, a government decides to fund a particular service or a pharmaceutical company decides to invest in a new treatment, choices are made; choices that have consequences for individuals, families and society. If we are to have an effective cancer control strategy it is crucial that we understand how choices are made, what impact they have and how we might seek to improve upon them. While research at NUI Galway has helped inform the development of policy in Ireland we recognise that no one individual or group has all the questions let alone all the answers. This symposium and the Group it will launch will create an international forum where we can explore the issues and seek answers to the questions together.”   Brendan Walsh, co-organiser and HRB/NCI Fellow states “The Economics of Cancer Research Symposium will bring together stakeholders involved in cancer research including clinicians, patient groups, policy makers, the media and economists. It is hoped that Group to be launched at the symposium will provide an infrastructure that will facilitate communication and knowledge exchange amongst cancer researchers from multidisciplinary backgrounds, both in Ireland and internationally, and allow evidence-based research to be easily disseminated to help inform policy across the cancer care pathway.”   Registration for The Economics of Cancer Research Symposium is free and available at or by emailing or   The Symposium will be live broadcast online at the Health Economics and Policy Analysis webpage   Follow this Group on or using the hashtag #EconCancer Working paper “Exploring inequalities in service use: the case of cervical cancer screening in Ireland, the United Kingdom and United States” can be found here:   -ends-    

Monday, 26 August 2013

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 38th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 6-7 September. Internationally renowned surgeon, Professor Leslie Nathanson will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled ‘A Journey Towards the Perfect Fundoplication’.  Dr Nathanson is a General Surgeon and Head of the Hepatobiliary Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland, Australia with special interests in laparoscopic, hepatobiliary and upper gastrointestinal surgery, especially the evolution of laparoscopic fundoplication surgery for reflux. Best known for the Nathanson laparoscopic liver retractor and development of a common bile basket used for extracting common bile duct stones, Dr Nathanson randomised trial of ERCP vs Laparoscopic treatment of CBD stones was published in 2005, and was a landmark trial in the treatment of common bile duct stones. His recent work on measuring adult oesophageal junction distensiblity during general anaesthetic assessed with the EndoFLIP (endoscopic functional luminal imagery probe) was published in 2011. He was awarded an honorary fellowship from the Edinburgh College of Surgeons in 2012. Professor Patrick Broe will deliver the State of the Art Lecture entitled ‘Irish Surgery: The Need for Vision and Leadership’on Saturday, 7 September at 1pm. Professor Broe is President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Consultant General Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin with a special interest in Upper Gastrointestinal and Laparoscopic Surgery. He has been a member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland since 1991 and during this time he has been Chairman of the College Committee, the CME Committee, the General Surgery Sub-Committee and the Irish Surgical Postgraduate Training Committee. He was President of the Surgical Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine (RAMI) from 2006-2008. In Beaumont Hospital Professor Broe has served as chairman of the Surgical Division, the Medical Board and the Ethics Committee. He held the Chair of Clinical Governance from 2007-2009 after which he became Clinical Director for Surgery. He has been the Lead Clinical Director for Beaumont Hospital since 2011.  Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Nathanson and Professor Broe to our University. Dr Nathanson is one of the pioneers of minimal access surgery and is highly regarded internationally within his field.  Both lectures are the centre-points of a large programme containing some of the best surgical research from this country.”  The annual Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. The venue for the 38th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium will be the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. For further information call 091-524390 or visit -ENDS-

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Two NUI Galway Bachelor of Science students, Catherine McIntyre and Sinead Curran, recently completed summer studentships, carrying out work on undergraduate research projects at the University. The studentships have been funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund (ACTF) Catherine McIntyre worked in the group of Professor Dónal Leech, School of Chemistry, on research to develop alternate systems for monitoring the extent of carbonaceous waste in wastewater plants. During her undergraduate degree, Catherine from Naas, Co. Kildare, became interested in environmental chemistry, and the chemistry of the environment, and the summer studentship allowed the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in this area. Catherine worked on development of a novel system for monitoring biological oxygen demand (BOD) in wastewaters. Traditional BOD measures the amount of carbonaceous material in wastes that can be biologically degraded, and is therefore an important parameter for wastewater and water quality management and determinations take 5-7 days. Research by Catherine focused on growing microbial biofilms on electrode surfaces and using these to generate a signal related to BOD of wastewaters, to provide a more rapid means of monitoring BOD in the samples. A native of Headford, Co. Galway, Sinead Curran worked with NUI Galway’s Dr Andrea Erxleben on the development and analysis of co-amorphous composites of the active pharmaceutical ingredient acyclovir with small-molecule excipients. The studentship has allowed Sinead to gain first research experience in pharmaceutical chemistry. Sinead worked on the development and analysis of co-amorphous composites of the antiviral drug acyclovir with small-molecule excipients. So-called composite amorphous systems, in which a more soluble form of a poorly soluble drug is stabilized, are a relatively new approach to overcome poor water solubility of therapeutics. Poor solubility in water is one of the major hurdles in drug development today. The summer project gave Sinead the opportunity to apply analytical techniques that she had studied in her analytical chemistry course module to a compound of pharmaceutical interest and to use the state-of-the-art analytical equipment in the School of Chemistry. NUI Galway’s Professor Dónal Leech said: “The prestigious ACTF studentships were awarded to Sinead and Catherine, who have demonstrated excellence in their undergraduate Chemistry studies, to allow them have fun and expand their knowledge undertaking research in NUI Galway School of Chemistry research projects.” -ENDS-

Friday, 30 August 2013

A delegation of Irish representatives from the industry, policy and research sectors will be leaving for Canada in early September to stimulate further use of our marine biological resources through marine biotechnology driven R&D initiatives. The initiative is overseen by the Office of the Vice-President for Research of NUI Galway and is activated by the Marine Biotechnology Research Coordination Unit, a trans-institutional initiative based in NUI Galway, supported by the Marine Institute.   The delegation gathers the interests of research partners such as NUI Galway, Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre and other research centres that are focused on the goals set out by Ireland’s Marine Knowledge, Research and Innovation Strategy, 2007-2013 (Sea Change) for the National Marine Biotechnology Programme. In particular, NUI Galway is a key component of the Marine Institute Beaufort Award for Marine Biodiscovery Research and have responsibilities in the national Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative (NutraMara), coordinated by Teagasc Ashtown. Both programmes are funded by the Marine Research sub-programme of the current National Development Plan (NDP, 2007-2013) with the aim to mine our marine biological resources to bring novel materials in the health & wellbeing, biomaterials and food sectors.   Among the research performers, and with a strong vocation for services to industry is also the Shannon ABC group, an Enterprise Ireland funded Research Gate infrastructure and a collaboration between Limerick IT and Tralee IT. Industry delegates include the historical business of Arramara Teo, the main supplier of raw seaweed material from the west coast; and Oilean Glas Teoranta (OGT), an Irish company with a core business based on the harvesting and processing macro algae from the Donegal coast, for applications in the horticulture, animal health, cosmetics, human nutrition, biopharma sectors and other value-added markets.   Dr Ilaria Nardello, Marine Biotechnology Research Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: “It’s very novel that such a combination of industry, research and agencies aggregates in a short time to engage in a long distance business-opportunity trip. The participation of representatives from the development agency Údarás na Gaeltachta is particularly significant given the agency’s awareness of the need to add value to our marine biological resources and be integral part of the innovation process.”    The delegation will attend the international business convention ‘Biomarine 2013’ in Halifax. NUI Galway’s Professor Deniz Tasdemir and Dr Ilaria Nardello and Declan Troy of Teagasc, have been invited to participate in the conference’s panel discussions, producing relevant visibility for Ireland in the convention. The panels will debate the emergence and role of marine biotech clusters, in various areas of the world, including Ireland, France and USA, and the relevance of our natural product research outputs to application sectors such as healthcare, biomaterials, nutrition and environment.      The conference will be followed by a dedicated visit to the Technopole Maritime du Quebec (TMQ), at Rimouski. A Memorandum of understanding between NUI Galway and the TMQ will describe their mutual interests and intention to jointly apply for funding for marine biotech R&D initiatives. A call will be issued to small, medium and large size industry to engage in collaborative research programmes under the Eureka and Atlantic Area Cooperation programmes, as well as EU Horizon 2020, to develop collaborative activities in the health & wellbeing sectors, diagnostics, biosensors and novel biomaterials.   Dr Nardello continued: “These events demonstrate that the marine environment’s potential has been fully recognised by the policy, industry and research sectors. The marine biotechnology community appears poised to unite and collaborate around concrete initiatives. In line with the recent 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation', the Atlantic is proving to be an area of convergence for research and development endeavours around ‘the marine environment’, which can fuel Ireland’s ‘Blue Economy’ and create business and employment opportunities.”   -ENDS-  

Monday, 1 July 2013

The IUA has announced changes to the HPAT-Ireland examination which is used for entry to all undergraduate medical courses at Irish Higher Education Institutions. The main focus of these changes is to enhance equity of access and transparency.  Note: Students with Leaving Certificates from previous years can still apply for entry to medicine it is only the HPAT test that has to be sat in the year of entry. The changes are as follows: Change 1: Revised Weighting of HPAT- Ireland Test Sections. Effective from 2014 The revised weighting scheme as outlined in Table 1 below will be implemented for the 2014 HPAT-Ireland test.  The change in weighting of the 3 sections aims to reduce the potential benefits of repeating the examination, as an evaluation of HPAT-Ireland has shown that Non-Verbal Reasoning scores can be improved through repeating the exam. HPAT-Ireland Test Section Old Weighting New  Weighting 2014 1. Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving 1 (33.3%) 2 (40%) 2. Interpersonal Understanding 1 (33.3%) 2 (40%) 3. Non-Verbal Reasoning 1 (33.3%) 1 (20%) Table 1: revised weighting for each of the three sections of the HPAT–Ireland test Change 2: HPAT-Ireland Examination Results Valid for One Year Only. Effective from 2013 The results of HPAT-Ireland examinations sat in 2013 and subsequent years will only be valid for a single year for admission to undergraduate medical courses. This means that it will not be possible to present results achieved in the 2013 sitting of the HPAT-Ireland test for admission to undergraduate medical courses in 2014. Applicants who sat the HPAT-Ireland exam in 2012 will still be able to present their 2012 HPAT-Ireland result when applying for admission to undergraduate medicine in 2013. Change 3: HPAT-Ireland Practice Material Being Made Available to All Applicants. Already effective. Students who registered for the HPAT-Ireland 2013 test received, as part of their registration, a copy of the HPAT-Ireland Practice Test booklet, which contains worked answers to assist them with their test preparation.  This change will continue to apply in subsequent years. The changes apply to: National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) University College Cork (UCC) University College Dublin (UCD) These changes are based on a number of recommendations made in July 2012 by a National Research Group which evaluated Revised Entry Mechanisms to Medicine.  The full report of the National Research Group is available on Ends

Monday, 1 July 2013

Galway Arts Festival has announced details of its partnership with NUI Galway for this year’s Festival, which runs from the 15-28 July. One key element of the partnership is to offer participants the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED professional development programme for emerging artists and producers. Eight candidates will be chosen to be part of SELECTED, and given access to all areas to the festival for an intensive two-week submersion ‘behind the scenes’. Participants are drawn from NUI Galway’s theatre and drama postgraduate courses who will join four other emerging Irish theatre makers, producers and visual artists. The SELECTED programme offers participants the opportunity to experience how Galway Arts Festival is produced, attend key elements of the festival programme, participate in talks and discussions, and in lectures and seminars facilitated by Irish and international arts professionals.  NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, which began at the University this year, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, coordinates the SELECTED programme with Galway Arts Festival. Speaking about the SELECTED Programme, Professor Lonergan said: “This unique ‘behind the scenes’ programme gives candidates an unparalleled experience. Last year’s participants in the SELECTED programme benefited hugely from being at the heart of such a dynamic, international, arts festival.” Galway Arts Festival Chief Executive, John Crumlish, commented: “This programme provides a very exciting opportunity for ourselves and our partner NUI Galway. The ultimate aim is to see course participants develop careers in culture and contribute significantly in that field in the future. Hopefully even returning someday to Galway Arts Festival and becoming a festival highlight.” Festival Artistic Director Paul Fahy added: “We have a hugely exciting programme in place for SELECTED 2013 and participants will enjoy a wealth of knowledge from international producers, directors and programmers in addition to enjoying all aspects of this year’s Festival.”   -ends-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Croí recently announced the launch of five bursaries for students of NUI Galway’s new MSc in Preventive Cardiology, which commences this September. The bursaries, in the amount of €1,000 each, are sponsored by MSD Ireland. “We believe that for Irish healthcare professionals to have access to a Masters in Preventive Cardiology will ultimately be of enormous benefit to Irish patients” said Mairead McCaul of MSD at the announcement of their sponsorship of the bursary fund for the programme. “We are very pleased to be involved in this partnership and to further enhance our commitment to Croí and NUI Galway. We are delighted to announce that successful applicants to the Masters programme can apply through Croí for the MSD Preventive Cardiology Bursary.” NUI Galway will become the first university in Ireland to provide postgraduate training at Masters level in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in a unique community partnership with Croí and the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation, in a collaborative partnership with industry partners Kerry Group, MSD Ireland and HSE West. This innovative postgraduate course is only one of two of its kind in the world and the collaboration with Croí makes it unique. The founder course at Imperial College London is fully supportive of the NUI Galway programme. Assistant Course Director of the Galway programme, Jenni Jones, recently joined Croí from Imperial College London, where she was Programme Leader for their Masters in Preventive Cardiology course. All students who accept a place on this new MSc course are eligible to apply for a bursary. Further details on the bursaries are available directly from Croí, by contacting Neil Johnson at or 091 544310. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

NUI Galway recently held their fourth annual Computing Summer Camp. Due to the high demand for places, this year the Computing Summer Camp ran over a two-week period with 100 students participating. Students ranged in age from 13 to 17, and came from secondary schools across Galway City and County, as well as from Dublin, Clare, Mayo, Roscommon, Westmeath and Sligo. Throughout the camp students participated in a number of activities including writing computer games in Scratch, creating web apps with HTML5 and JavaScript, building and programming autonomous robots, and making 3D computer models. On each Friday, a competition was held where students work on solo or group projects using their favourite technologies from the week, and prizes were awarded for the best ones. Organised by the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway, this year a Computer Science and Information Technology Experience Day was organised for the first time organised by Drs Enda Howley and Conor Hayes. The aim was to provide senior-cycle students with a taste of university life, and featured lectures, demonstrations of research projects and hands-on software development activities. Dr Michael Madden, Head of the Information Technology Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “With our Summer Camp and Experience Day, as well as introducing second-level students to exciting technologies, we wanted to help dispel some incorrect stereotypes about degrees and careers in computer science and information technology, such as that they are male-only, solitary, and desk-bound. To that end, we particularly welcomed female participants, we arranged group projects, and we encouraged outdoor activities during break times.” The huge interest in this year’s Computing Summer Camp is mirrored by the increasing number of applications for computing degree programmes such as the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway, as well as the rapid growth of CoderDojo nationally and internationally. For more information contact Dr Michael Madden, Head of Information Technology Discipline, NUI Galway at 091 493797 or 086 7952802. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A team of 14 scientists, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, recently returned to Galway following a three-week deep sea research survey aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer. Building on the success of two previous research surveys, the Biodiscovery and Ecosystem Function of Canyons Survey investigated a wide diversity of habitats and underwater communities in the Whittard Canyon system on the Irish Atlantic margin.  Whittard Canyon is one of many subsea canyons that incise the eastern margin of the North Atlantic.  From its head on the continental shelf, to its mouth out on the abyssal plain, the depth of Whittard Canyon is more than twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Speaking about the success of the survey, chief scientist Dr Louise Allcock of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway said: “The survey is part of an ongoing effort to understand Ireland’s deep-sea biodiversity working in parallel with a national biodiscovery programme.” Outlining the work of the scientists, Dr Allcock explained: “In addition to collecting samples of various marine organisms, the research team investigated the impact of food quality and distribution upon life in these canyons. There was a notable difference between the delivery of food particles in the different arms of the canyon that were explored, mirrored by the types of communities found.” Dr Allcock also noted the interdisciplinary nature of the research team, which included PhD students from NUI Galway, Queens University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Cork. Two undergraduate Marine Science students from NUI Galway, Feilim O’Toole and Sorcha Cronin O’Reilly, were selected to participate in the survey earlier this year. The 3rd year students collected data for their final year projects. The research team used the Marine Institute’s Deepwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Holland 1, to collect to specimens of coral, sponges, sediment samples and other marine organisms. Spectacular footage captured by the ROV’s high definition camera included a rare giant hydroid over half a metre in diameter, clams and oysters that are over 200 years old and a deep-water rough shark (Oxynotus paradoxus). Aodhan FitzGerald, Research Vessel Program Coordinator at the Marine Institute congratulated the team’s effective use of the ROV, which logged almost 150 user hours in water depths ranging from 400 to 2500 metres. He said: “This has been a highly successful survey for the Holland 1, or Holly as the scientists on-board refer to it. The ROV sampled a vast array of specimens in a variety of terrain including sheer cliff faces at amazing depths in dives that lasted up to 14 hours.” “This survey has proven the capability of the Holland 1 as a deep-water scientific ROV”, he added. Many of the specimens collected by the research team, including a rare five kilogram sponge, will be used in biodiscovery research. Marine organisms, including the bacteria in sediment, often produce complex chemicals, some of which are likely new to science.  Biochemists and chemists will extract these chemicals and test them for antibacterial and other pharmaceutical properties with the ultimate aim of synthesising useful new chemicals in the laboratory. Dr Kostas Kiriakoulakis of Liverpool John Moores University, along with Dr Martin White, an earth and ocean scientist at NUI Galway and his PhD student Annette Wilson, conducted an extensive series of water measurements during the cruise as part of their research on the relationship between the ecosystems of the canyons and marine particles. These particles, often called ‘marine snow’, are key to understanding how the quantity and quality of available food impacts upon the creation of the underwater communities found in these canyons. Marine particles are the result of the decay of phytoplankton blooms; as the bloom sinks to the seafloor, the material provides food and nutrients to underwater communities.   By analysing the water quality and food quality data together with the video from the ROV, the scientists hope to enhance their understanding of how this complex ecosystem functions. This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen’s University Belfast. The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland. The scientists blogged about their experiences and discoveries aboard the RV Celtic Explorer throughout the survey on Scientists@Sea, -ends-

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

: The Galway Fringe Festival takes place from 12 to 30 July and features art, music, readings, comedy, exhibitions, workshops and theatre. A number of the events will take place in the Cube Theatre, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Darren Coppinger, Venue Manager of the Cube Theatre, NUI Galway, said: “When preparing our programme, we wanted to present an exciting line of new, fresh voices. Most of the groups performing are students themselves or have recently graduated from university, and are beginning their own careers in the performing arts. So, it’s a really wonderful mix of styles on offer.” Among the productions scheduled at NUI Galway is One Last Drop which runs from 22-25 July. From the choreographer of last year’s most successful Fringe show Rewind, Claudia O’Sullivan, in collaboration with Kori Kilduff, will premier the Fringe’s only dance piece. Both women have been choreographing in collaboration for children and young adults since 2005 and are graduates of NUI Galway. In One Last Drop, we follow the stories of man and woman as they struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Watch as their stories unfold through dance and music and see how quickly life can fall from happiness and belonging to destruction and numbness. Made to Shiver by NUI Galway student Rory O’ Sullivan runs from 26-29 July. The stories of this work are rooted in the context of last summer with the events that unfolded at the Swedish House Mafia Concert and Katie Taylor’s Olympic exploits. With friendships forged from pain and a family crippled by shame, the characters look back to that cold tickle in their chest that warmed and changed their lives forever. The play was highly successful at the University’s Jerome Hynes One Act Play Series, as part of the NUI Galway Theatre Festival, where it won Best Actor and Best Sound. The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband Theatre byDebbie Isitt is a darkly comic take on contemporary love and marriage. The show was selected from among 40 others to represent Trinity College at this year's Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Awards, where it won Best Director and Best Actor, as well as being nominated for numerous awards, such as Best Production. It runs in Galway from 21-24 July. Theatre company 'Play Dough Productions' will present This is the Day, a new piece of writing by the up and coming playwright Cristin Kehoe, a participant on acclaimed new artist development programme 'Play On' (as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, 2012).  The play offers a snapshot of present day rural Ireland – staging a community where everyone knows everyone and everything is as it’s always been and always will be. This is the Day runs from 15-18 July. La Petite Famille, who are travelling from France for the festival, will perform Tomorrow’s Dawn, a musical about love and friendship. The work explores intergenerational relationships between young people and parents, young people and teachers, and young people between themselves. The music seeks to immerse its audience into the heart of what it means to be young today. This new musical, which is performed in English, runs from 12-16 July. According to Riona Hughes, Society Officer at NUI Galway: “'The University Societies participation in the Galway summer festivals and the theatre programme in the Cube as part of the Galway Fringe are a testament to the talent and creativity of the students involved in societies. It is particularly gratifying for me that this year the summer programme, now in its third year, is being directed and managed by students with a very exciting and diverse selection of productions both featuring our students and guest productions. I hope that the city and its many visitors will come onto campus to enjoy our beautiful grounds and to enjoy the high quality shows and I wish all involved in the Galway Fringe a very successful festival.” The summer programme for the Cube Theatre will be launched on Wednesday, 10 July at 5.30pm in the Cube Theatre. During the launch artists from the Festival will present excerpts from their work. There will also be readings from Galway writers Kernan Andrews, Arts Editor with the Galway Advertiser, and Ruth Quinlan, the recent winner of the Hennessy First Fiction Literary Award 2013, plus a performance by the new NUI Galway Staff Choir.  A selection of music, dance, theatre and readings will also take place at a variety of locations around Galway City. Tickets are from €10-12 and are available from the Fringe Box Office or online at, and from the SocsBox, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. See for more details. -ENDS-

Thursday, 4 July 2013

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2013/14. The University has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Wednesday the 31st July at 5 pm. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. The scheme is also open to students already studying at NUI Galway. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services.  The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Currently 60 students receive support under the scheme in a broad range of sports. The scheme has assisted dozens of athletes’ progress to the highest levels of their sport in recent years and is aimed at providing them with the tools for success in the long term. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: “The strongest selling point of our Sports Scholarship program is the results that it is producing. We have supported the development of numerous Irish Internationals including some World Champions and medallists over the last number of years as well as the enormous success that so many of our GAA players have enjoyed at Senior and U21 level in recent years.” A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships: “Our focus is on the support of our student athletes in their dual careers. We strive to offer world class supports in one of the Ireland’s leading Universities. Our scholarship students develop skills that will sustain them in their future sporting and professional careers and the long list of successful sporting alumni is testament to that.” For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at  or by calling the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway on 091 495979. All applications must be submitted online at Ends Iarratais le haghaidh Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh – an Ghairm Dheiridh Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tar éis an ghairm dheiridh a eisiúint i leith iarratais ar an Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt, 2013/14. Tá barr feabhais á baint amach le fada an lá ag an Ollscoil i gcúrsaí spóirt, agus tá ag éirí thar cionn léi le tamall anuas i Rámhaíocht, Iománaíocht, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí; tá gaiscí go leor déanta freisin ag iomaitheoirí aonair.  Glacfar go dtí 5pm, Dé Céadaoin, an 31 Iúil le hiarratais ó mhic léinn reatha agus mic léinn atá le bheith ar an Ollscoil amach anseo. Tá an Clár Scoláireachtaí ann ar mhaithe le mic léinn chláraithe de chuid na hOllscoile ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth freisin iad. Féadfaidh mic léinn atá ag staidéar in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh cheana féin iarratas a dhéanamh chomh maith ar thacaíocht faoin scéim. Le linn na bliana acadúla seo, fuair mic léinn/lúthchleasaithe in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tacaíocht shuntasach airgid agus bhí seirbhísí tacaíochta gairme ar fáil freisin dóibh.  Tá na scoláireachtaí ann ar mhaithe le lúthchleasaithe agus imreoirí óga agus iad ag iarraidh barr feabhais a bhaint amach ina spórt féin. Faoi láthair, tá 60 mac léinn ag fáil tacaíochta faoin scéim agus is iomaí cineál spóirt atá i gceist. Tá na scórtha lúthchleasaithe ann ar éirigh leo, de thoradh na scéime, barr feabhais a bhaint amach ina spórt féin le blianta beaga anuas; is é aidhm na scéime cuidiú leo ionas go mbeidh rath orthu i bhfad na haimsire. Iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt, ní mór dóibh na critéir acadúla a bhaineann le háit a fháil ar chlár léinn in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a chomhlíonadh; ní mór dóibh freisin iarratas a dhéanamh tríd an Lár-Oifig Iontrála ar an ngnáthbhealach. Is é Gary Ryan an tOifigeach Forbartha Spóirt – Éilít, in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh: “Is é an cháil is mó atá ar ár gClár Scoláireachtaí Spóirt na torthaí atá ag teacht as. Is iomaí lúthchleasaí idirnáisiúnta Éireannach atá tagtha in inmhe faoin scéim seo le blianta beaga anuas – seaimpíní domhanda agus buaiteoirí boinn i gcomórtais dhomhanda ina measc. Agus tá ag éirí thar cionn freisin leis na himreoirí CLG atá againn agus gaisce déanta acu sna Sinsir agus Faoi 21 le tamall de bhlianta.” Is iar-lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach de chuid na hÉireann é Gary Ryan a bhain curiarrachtaí nua amach agus é san iomaíocht mar rábálaí. Éireoidh thar cionn amach anseo le scoláireachtaí spóirt Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, dar leis: “Tacaíocht a thabhairt dár lúthchleasaithe ollscoile agus iad ag iarraidh an dá ghairm bheatha a thabhairt leo – sin é is cás linn. Tá an Ollscoil seo ar cheann de na hollscoileanna is fearr in Éirinn, agus teastaíonn uainn tacaíocht den chéad scoth a chur ar fáil dár lúthchleasaithe dá réir. Na mic léinn scoláireachta atá againn, sealbhaíonn siad scileanna a sheasfas dóibh ina saol spóirt agus ina saol gairmiúil amach anseo; níl léiriú is fearr air sin ná an liosta fada alumni a bhfuil gaisce déanta acu i gcúrsaí spóirt.” I gcás na scoláireachtaí seo, roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn ar bhonn fiúntais; ní mór riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile a bheith comhlíonta ag na mic léinn. Le cois na scoláireachtaí féin, tabharfar tacaíocht speisialtóireachta do na mic léinn; áirítear ar an tacaíocht sin fisiteiripe, cóir leighis le haghaidh gortuithe, traenáil corpacmhainne, cóitseáil, agus tacaíocht le gur féidir leo taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt le fáil ag nó trí ghlaoch a chur ar an Aonad Spóirt agus Áineasa in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh: 091 495979. Ní mór iarratais a chur isteach ar líne:  Críoch

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD today (Thursday, 4 July) announced new funding support of €8 million to the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) which will support 25 top-class computational scientist positions over the next three years. The funding will also allow ICHEC to maintain truly cutting edge high performance computing equipment which will complement Ireland’s ambitions to be a global leader in Big Data/Data Analytics and High-Performance Computing. ICHEC is hosted by NUI Galway, with the 25 staff based in Galway and Dublin. ICHEC provides computational and data analytical support for a range of research activities and services across Ireland’s higher education and industry sectors. For example, ICHEC works with partners such as Met Éireann, Tullow Oil and Paddy Power in areas that require expert computational staff to resolve complex business issues. It is also directly involved in European high performance computing activity through the EU supported PRACE programme. Making the announcement Minister Sherlock said: “As part of the measures contained in the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the Government has committed to making Ireland a leading country in Europe for Big Data, a sector currently growing at 40% per annum worldwide and in which Ireland has significant competitive advantages. We are all aware of the massive volume of data being created through the explosion of social media, increased usage of mobile devices and scientific advances in recent years. It seems that 90% of data that now exists has been created in just the last two years or so. This is phenomenal. Governments and industry globally are now presented with major challenges in the management and usefulness of this data – but this also presents significant commercial opportunities too. We believe that Ireland is in a prime position to lead in the area of Big Data/Data Analytics and High Performance Computing with many large multinationals already located here including Intel, Accenture, Google, Facebook, EMC and Data Direct Networks. However Big Data also needs the computational horsepower and talented personnel to be able to store, analyse and interpret the vast amount of data being generated.” “The ICHEC team of computational scientists and technologists, which is hosted by NUI Galway, goes some significant way to providing Ireland with this much needed “compute horsepower”, and talented personnel, who can make sense of the data. I am delighted to be able to announce this funding to ICHEC via the Higher Education Authority to sustain this much needed resource. As a direct consequence ICHEC should be able to help with the leveraging of new investments and the creation of quality jobs in Ireland,” Minister Sherlock concluded. The funding announced by Minister Sherlock is being provided to NUI Galway by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills through the Higher Education Authority. It includes an investment of €3.7 million awarded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Infrastructure Programme call in 2012. Speaking at today’s announcement held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, the Chairman of the Higher Education Authority, John Hennessy said: “ICHEC provides a vital service to the higher education and research community through the provision of expert computational staff and high end computing technology to support scientific discovery. This funding will reinforce ICHEC as a national facility to provide a cost effective and efficient means of delivering high-performance computing.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host this cutting-edge facility on our campus and welcomes the very significant level of investment announced by Minister Sherlock today. As a university engaged in international research in the field of Big Data, we understand well the role played by ICHEC in ensuring organisations maximise the potential of their data collection and analytics. Big Data will transform so many aspects of our everyday lives from healthcare provision to financial services, and high-performance computing is the engine that will power that transformation.” Professor JC Desplat, ICHEC Director, stated: “The ability to harness novel technologies such as Big Data, Data Analytics and High-Performance Computing will have a dramatic effect on Ireland’s competitiveness. ICHEC is committed to making the high-end expertise of its domain-experts available to industry, the public sector and academia. We anticipate that these partnerships will develop in areas as diverse as biomedical research, materials science, weather forecasting and geophysics.” There was a significant industry presence at today’s event. Martin Curley, Vice President, Director, Intel Labs Europe, Intel Corp said: “To out-compute is to outcompete. Ireland cannot be the world leader in the high performance in computing but Ireland can be a leader in the application of high performance computing - for example accurately predicting where and when the wind will blow while simultaneously aggregating energy demand requirements so Ireland can optimally use the availability of renewable energy.” Joe Mongan, Global Manager, Geophysical Technology Group, Tullow Oil, commented: “Tullow Oil welcomes today’s announcement. It further consolidates and enhances our existing advantage to have near-line access to ICHEC’s state-of-the-art, high-performance computing facilities and its highly competent professional staff.” Pascal Barbolosi, Vice President, EMEA Sales, DataDirect Networks said: “DataDirect Networks (DDN) is delighted to be here today to see continued government investment into ICHEC’s important Big Data and Analytics work in research, education and industry. DDN storage is the backbone of more than two-thirds of the world’s top 100 supercomputers and nearly half of the top 500. This innovative technology is enabling organisations and governments to extract maximum value from their Big Data and Analytics, to accelerate workflows, gain valuable insight, shorten time to discovery and gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, it is important to see continued investment into Big Data and Analytics as this will create business growth and success.” -ends-

Monday, 8 July 2013

NUI Galway recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives from the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and intellectual disability service providers including Ability West, Brothers of Charity Services Galway, Brothers of Charity Services Roscommon and Western Care. The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the partner’s strong commitment to the ‘Going to College’ initiative at NUI Galway and their agreement to provide direct funding for the coming academic year.  ‘Going to College’ is a pioneering higher education initiative, supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities at NUI Galway. Students are registered full-time students and are fully included in all class activities. Students also have opportunities to undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future.   Aiming to support each student to develop the vision, knowledge and transferrable skills to live a more independent, inclusive life after university, the ‘Going to College’ initiative is underpinned by a rights base and recognises the strengths and potential of each student to achieve in a mainstream higher education environment. Consistent with UNESCO’s principles for inclusion in education and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it promotes citizenship, inclusion and participation, with a focus on the will and preferences of each individual student.  Professor Pat Dolan, Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This is a significant development for NUI Galway and for students with intellectual disabilities and their families. We warmly welcome the strong university/community partnership forged with intellectual disability service providers today. Our aim is to provide each student with opportunities to engage in the full college experience here at NUI Galway, to broaden their social networks and undertake meaningful work placement and volunteering opportunities that will enrich their lives into the future. This partnership with our community partners will provide a very strong foundation in achieving this aim.”   Anne Geraghty, Director of Services with Brothers of Charity Galway, said: “Just like many people of their age, young people with intellectual disability have hopes and dreams about going to college, learning new things, making new friends and becoming part of the whole college experience. The ‘Going to College’ project supports this to happen, and the Brothers of Charity Services Galway is delighted to partner with NUI Galway.”  Breda Crehan-Roche, Chief Executive with Ability West, said: “We are delighted to support the ‘Going to College’ project.  This project is unique in that it is fully integrated in the college as students with intellectual disability are recognised as students and they are supported and encouraged to take part in all mainstream college activities.” For further information on the Going to College initiative contact Breda Casey, Going to College Co-ordinator, NUI Galway, at -ENDS-

Monday, 8 July 2013

This summer, a group of student teachers at NUI Galway will hold a four-day maths summer camp for sixth class primary pupils. Those attending MATH (Making Awesome Things Happen) will have the opportunity to learn maths and social skills in preparation for the transition to second-level. Running from 19-22 August, students will experience a range of maths activities, such as pop math, introduction to triangles, the fun circle and more. In previous years, those attending found the camp to be a great help in their transition to second-level, both through learning about maths and meeting new friends. Dr Máire Ní Ríordáin, Lecturer on the BA in Mathematics and Education programme at NUI Galway, said: “This Maths Summer Camp provides meaningful, stimulating, challenging, and engaging activities for primary pupils. It gives an opportunity for all pupils, irrespective of their ability, to participate successfully in maths activities, gaining a sense of pride in their learning and improving attitudes towards maths. The success of this is due to our enthusiastic student teachers and their commitment to providing positive experiences of maths for their pupils.” The programme is open to any student who will be commencing their first year in secondary school in September 2013. The fee for the four-day camp is €30 and materials such as calculators, pens and stationery will be provided. Early registration is advisable as places are limited. Further details on the camp including registration details may be found at  or by contacting Meighan on 0876242071. -ENDS-

Monday, 8 July 2013

First University in Ireland to Achieve Practitioner Award NUI Galway’s School of Physics’ work in promoting equal opportunities in science has been rewarded by the Institute of Physics. The School has been made a Practitioner under the Institute’s Juno Project, the first university in Ireland to achieve this status.  The Juno Project, established by the Institute of Physics in 2007, aspires to redress the long-standing issue of the under-representation of women at the highest levels of physics academia in the UK and Ireland. The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate that action has been taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men. While women make up 20% of physics undergraduates across Ireland and the UK, this number drops to 7% further along academia at the level of university professor, suggesting female physicists are less likely than their male counterparts to progress into the most senior positions in physics. The Juno principles improve working culture for all departmental staff, creating, for example, flexible working arrangements, provision for childcare and a more transparent organisational structure. The potential for improvement has driven high levels of engagement amongst Irish and UK physics departments.  Dr Miriam Byrne, Co-ordinator of the Juno project in NUI Galway, said: “Whilst this is a significant achievement within NUI Galway, the first university in Ireland to attain this status, it must also be acknowledged that both nationally and internationally, women at every level in physical science are under-represented. We have a reasonable proportion of women in our undergraduate cohort but at postgraduate and senior academic staff level there are far fewer women. This is a concern if female undergraduates do not see role models to encourage them to take up careers in science.” Professor Andy Shearer, Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, said: “The School of Physics is committed to increasing the number of women taking Physics courses and our participation in the Juno project is part of this. We hope that in future years this will increase the number of female graduates coming out NUI Galway with a Physics degree.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Last year, NUI Galway released an Android weather app to keep Galwegians up-to-date on local weather and weather trends. Due to popular demand, the University has now released an iPhone version. The app development was carried out by Ronan Everiss, an NUI Galway Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate under the supervision of Dr Hugh Melvin. The weather data is provided by the Informatics Research Unit for Sustainable Engineering (IRUSE) research group at NUI Galway led by Dr Marcus Keane, Lecturer in Energy Systems Engineering at the University. Dr Hugh Melvin, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Local weather data is used on campus across a range of research projects, from renewable energy to plant growth to climate change but we feel it is also important to provide such data to the general public, and after all, 'The Weather' provides the greatest source of conversation in Ireland. When we launched the android app last year, we were delighted with the positive feedback and level of interest, and recognised the need to create a similar app for iPhone users.” The app is free and can be found by searching ‘NUIG Weather’ in the Apple app store. The app provides live weather data (such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and atmospheric pressure) as well as graphs of archived data so that you can review trends in weather over last day or month. The weather data is also available via web browser from -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Teenagers of women with breast cancer are invited to participate in a new study at NUI Galway which seeks to understand and help adolescent adjustment to maternal illness.  The importance of family support for a person with cancer is now well accepted but also there is increasing recognition that when someone in the family gets cancer other members also need help. The study at NUI Galway is focusing in particular on the impact of maternal breast cancer on sons and daughters aged 14-19 years. The study, AMBC - Adolescent Adjustment to Maternal Breast Cancer, is being carried out under the direction of Dr AnnMarie Groarke, School of Psychology and Professor Pat Dolan, Director Child and Family Research Centre, UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement. The research will examine the psychological impact of a mother’s breast cancer on teenage children and the benefits of an online skills based programme designed to help adolescents cope with this situation. Dr Groarke, who has recently published work showing benefits for stress management programmes with Irish women with breast cancer emphasises: “The crucial need for additional information on how a cancer diagnosis affects the entire family. Paying attention to adolescent response to parental illness can help us to identify the kind of support needed and enable the design of programmes targeting their needs.” Professor Dolan, who has considerable research experience in child and family support affirms that: “Many families are affected by breast cancer and their support needs are unspoken. This study is an opportunity for young people to discuss concerns and needs for reassurance for their families and themselves.” The researchers are keen to hear from women who might be interested in their adolescent son or daughter taking part in the programme. Ideally, from mothers who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 12 months and who have an adolescent son or daughter between 14 and 19 years of age. Participation involves completing an online survey exploring adolescent needs and experiences and completing an online programme of approximately eight sessions.  The online programme covers themes such as communication, stress management and social skills /social support. The online intervention allows adolescents participate in their own time and at their own pace. Those interested should contact researcher Leonor Rodriguez at the School of Psychology on 091- 493454 or email Website: -ends-

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

NUI Galway is offering a number of free places on five part-time courses under the Government’s Springboard initiative, addressing skills needs in the areas of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Medical Device Science, and Lean and Quality Systems. These courses are aimed at unemployed persons who wish to up-skill or re-skill into sectors which are growing within the regional and national economy. The courses are provided in a modular, flexible format and can be taken via distance or blended learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a regular basis. In spite of the recession, the ICT industry has steadily continued to expand in Ireland, with major international hubs now established in Galway and Dublin. There is currently a shortfall in skilled ICT graduates so with these needs in mind NUI Galway is offering three specialist diplomas in e-Business Analysis, Business Analytics, and Software Engineering. Also under the Springboard initiative are specialist diplomas in Medical Device Science and Lean and Quality Systems. Michael Lang, Head of Business Information Systems at NUI Galway, said: “There is strong demand for graduates with skills in areas such as data analytics, business systems analysis, programming, database development, and cloud computing. Our courses have been designed in consultation with industry partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, and SAP to specifically meet their needs.” “The Specialist Diploma in Medical Device Science, and the Specialist Diploma Lean and Quality Systems are designed for those with a diploma or degree in science or engineering who want to change sector, specialise, or move into cross-team roles”, said Dr Brian Ó Donnchadha, Coordinator of the programmes in Science and Technology at NUI Galway. Further information on all courses and eligibility criteria can be obtained at or by contacting the NUI Galway Adult Education Office at 091 492144.  The application deadline is Friday, 26 July, with further applications welcome thereafter if places remain available. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 July 2013

NUI Galway researchers are on the hunt for a tiny, nocturnal mammal, which can spend up to three-quarters of its life asleep. The hazel, or common, dormouse is not native to Ireland but a number of confirmed sightings have been made in County Kildare. A Facebook campaign has been launched by researchers at the University’s Ryan Institute to enlist the public’s help in monitoring sightings of the rodent. “It is not known how the dormouse got to Ireland,” explains Dr Colin Lawton of the Mammal Ecology Group in NUI Galway. “It is very unlikely they have been here for a long time unnoticed. It is much more probable that they were introduced, possibly by accident while hibernating in hay. Introduced animals which spread quickly and cause such difficulties are often described as ‘invasive’. However, it is unlikely that the dormouse will be an invasive species, given the low numbers and difficulties they are experiencing elsewhere in their range in the UK and Europe. However they need to be monitored and assessed so we can observe any influence they have on the environment.” Dormice are woodland animals, who nest in shrubs and hedgerows, particularly those containing hazel (as their name suggests) or brambles. They like to eat fruit, nuts, flowers or insects depending on what is available. As many people know, they like to sleep as well, hibernating for over half the year from October to as late as April or May (hence the sleepy dormouse at the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Often they are seen in the summer feeding at bird tables, particularly those close to suitable woodland. Dormice are about the same size as a mouse, usually weighing less than 20g, although they can be twice that weight just before hibernating. They have large black eyes (they are mostly active at night) and a thick furry tail quite unlike that of a mouse. The Mammal Ecology group in NUI Galway have launched a Dormouse Survey, to collect records of this new animal to Ireland. If you have come across one, particularly if you have a photo or a precise location of the sighting please contact the survey team at, or on 086 0660208 or visit Dormouse Survey Ireland on Facebook. -ends-

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Thirty-seven Fulbright Awardees were officially announced at an event on MS The World, which was sponsored by a U.S. Fulbright alumnus, Dr. Jack Pinkowski and his wife, Mrs. Monica Pinkowski, as part of The Gathering on Friday, 12 July. Since 1957, the Fulbright Awards are given annually by the Irish and U.S. governments and provide Irish students, scholars, and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture, and research at top universities and institutions throughout the United States. Among the 37 awardees were six winners from the NUI Galway: Sharon Ansboro is a PhD candidate in Regenerative Medicine at the NUI Galway. While on her Fulbright Student Award Sharon will research alternative cell therapy approaches for the treatment of osteoarthritis at the University of Rochester. Maeve Clancy is a secondary school teacher at St. Andrew’s College in Booterstown and a graduate of University College Cork with a postgraduate diploma in Education from NUI Galway. Originally from Oughterard, Maeve will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Dr Louis De Paor is the Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at the NUI Galway. As the Fulbright Irish Language Scholar, Louis will work on a bilingual anthology of twentieth-century Irish poetry at New York University and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Frances Fahy is the Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency Scholar Awardee. She is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway. While at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Frances will research the experiences of academics involved in policy-relevant research in the field of sustainability. Fiona Griffin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway. She will undertake research on osteogenic cell mechanobiology at Georgia Institute of Technology as part of her Fulbright Student Award. Dr Triona McGrath is the Fulbright-Marine Institute Scholar Awardee and a graduate of NUI Galway. Triona will go to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego to research ocean acidification in coastal water environments. This year’s other Fulbright Awardees, from fourteen Irish higher educational institutions, will travel to the four corners of America on their awards, from Rice University in Texas to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to Oregon State University. Speaking at the launch of this year’s Fulbright Awards, Patrick McDermott, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Board, said, “Year after year, the Fulbright Awards attract Ireland’s top researchers, professionals, and graduates. With the breadth and expertise seen in this year’s winners I know that these current and future leaders will gain invaluable experience that they can share upon their return to Ireland.” McDermott continued, “I am especially delighted to see the Fulbright Awardees’ very topical areas of research that they will examine during their year in the U.S. For instance, two Fulbright-Environmental Protection Agency awardees will explore innovative ways to encourage sustainability in Ireland. I know that their contributions to the future of Irish environmental policy will be informed by their time in the U.S.” A number of other agencies sponsor Fulbright Awards including CRH plc, Enterprise Ireland, the Marine Institute, and Teagasc. As well as the sponsored awards, the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht and the National Lottery support the Irish Language Awards for scholars and teachers. Speaking about the diverse nature of the awardees, Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said, “The Fulbright Awards continue to reflect the diversity and depth of Irish academia. Although this year’s awardees have a definite science and technology angle, the arts also feature prominently, with awardees going to the School for Improvisational Music in Brooklyn, New York and the California Institute of the Arts. I look forward to seeing, and hearing, the wonderful outputs from each of these 37 awardees at the end of 2014.” Dube continued, “In this Gathering year we are especially delighted with the Fulbrighters’ role as cultural ambassadors while in the U.S. With 37 Irish awardees going to the U.S. and 13 Americans coming to Ireland this autumn, we are thrilled to be a part of the ongoing cultural and educational exchange between the two countries.” The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Wednesday, 28 August.  Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website,, for more information. All applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be due on Wednesday, 13 November.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The power of music to enhance wellbeing is being explored by researchers at NUI Galway. Jenny Groarke, a musician and PhD student at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, is seeking volunteers for her research project on the benefits of music listening. Jenny is seeking participants aged 18-30 years and 60-85 years to join focus group sessions. Volunteers will spend 2-3 hours in small groups discussing the reasons they listen to music, and then vote for what they believe is most beneficial for well-being. Jenny explains: “We hope to understand how we can use listening to music to improve well-being, which will certainly benefit younger and older adults in the future.” These focus group sessions are ongoing at NUI Galway and emerging evidence suggests that people listen to music for a wide range of reasons, but their reasons for listening are primarily emotional. “Music has long been known to give rise to positive feelings, memories and emotions”, explains Jenny. “People of all ages listen to music to cope with the stresses of everyday life, they listen to music to connect with others in social situations, and those who are isolated say they often listen to music to reduce feelings of loneliness.” Through her research, Jenny has already discovered some differences in music listening between younger and older adults. Unsurprisingly, young adults are more likely to listen to music to attract potential love interests and older adults often listen to music to remind them of dear friends and relatives now departed. Jenny adds, “Galway is a city filled with music and musicians, so we anticipated that music would be an important part of people’s lives. Music seems to increase in importance in older age and this is something we didn’t expect. One music-lover, aged 70, went as far as to say that “Jazz has given me a new life, a second chance”. The Galway native was inspired to study the link between music and well-being in older adults by her late grandfather Jimmy Dooley, who sang in the Augustinian choir for more than 65 years and played the drums in the Galway Bay Jazz band in Busker Brownes every Sunday. She has also set up a business, Sing-Bang Music Workshops, which brings music workshops to nursing homes to improve memory ability, happiness, and quality of life in elderly adults through group music making. For more information on volunteering for the research please visit, email or phone 086 0333 033. -ENDS-

Thursday, 18 July 2013

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy welcomes the publication of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 today. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “This is a landmark moment in the process of disability law reform in Ireland. Once enacted Ireland should be able to ratify the UN disability treaty. The Minister is to be congratulated for moving beyond traditional guardianship to enable people take charge of their own lives. In particular, as the changed title of the Bill suggests, it innovates by putting into place supports where needed to assist people make their own decisions and chart their own life choices. In the period ahead we will be making many suggested improvements to make this profound shift a reality in people’s daily lives. The Bill retains a limited form of guardianship. Obviously the Minister and her officials believe this to be compatible with the UN disability treaty.  Time will tell.  But for the moment we laud the major step forward in the provisions dealing with supported decision making and will do our part to come forward with constructive suggestions for refinements and improvements.” He added: “The process for getting to this point deserves particular praise. The Oireachtas Justice Committee held a series of important and indeed historic hearings with civil society and made sure their voice was heard.  Officials from Government Departments responsible for drafting the legislation also listened. And the Minister was a very active listener. This demonstrates the success of concerted efforts from a large range of civil society organisations across disability, mental health, and ageing sectors, who put forward positive ideas for reform in the Essential Principles for Legal Capacity Law.” Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: “Among the areas for improvement in the Bill are the following: First, we welcome the inclusion in the Bill’s General Principles of the requirement that decision-makers must give effect, wherever possible to the ‘will and preferences’ of the person, as it ensures respect for the basic human rights of persons with disabilities.  We will be making suggestions to ensure the primacy of this principle throughout the Act to ensure respect for human rights. Secondly, it is crucial that the Government provides a timeline for the reform of other areas of law affected by legal capacity but currently exempted under this Bill, for example, the Mental Health Act 2001, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993, and the Juries Act 1976, among others. Thirdly, there is a need for some sort of infrastructure to encourage and develop good practice in supported decision-making. In the Bill this role is given to the Office of Public Guardian. The title of the office suggests that a more protective, rather than empowering approach will be take. An Office for Assisted Decision-Making may be more appropriate. Fourthly, some process for active learning must be put in place. The Bill contains a provision for a review of the functioning of the Act within a five-year timeframe. We believe that a more robust review provision is required, given the rate at which new thinking on legal capacity and supported decision-making is advancing. A review of the ‘functioning’ of the Act could be limited in scope, especially if relatively few provisions of the Act have been commenced within that five-year timeframe. This needs improvement.” Charles O’Mahony, Lecturer in Public Law at NUI Galway, said: “Much of the capacity Bill is framed positively and a greater premium is being placed on the respect for the decision-making of persons. The Mental Health Act 2001 is currently undergoing review and it is essential the mental health legislation and new legal capacity legislation interface in a consistent way reflecting Ireland obligations under international human rights law.” Professor Quinn concluded: “This will replace Victorian legislation which the early Irish Free State pledged to remove. We are finally catching up with the ideals of our founders. With improvements this Bill could finally hand back power to the people and position us again in the first rank of nations dedicated to the rights of persons with disabilities.” -ENDS-

Monday, 22 July 2013

Dr Ben Newland, NUI Galway PhD graduate, has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas. Under the guidance of Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, Dr Newland studied biomaterial based gene therapies for Parkinson's disease at the NFB, and was co-supervised by Dr Eilís Dowd and Dr Wenxin Wang. Ben is due to begin his postdoctoral research fellowship in October 2013, and will be primarily supervised by Professors Stephen Dunnett and Anne Rosser at Cardiff University in the UK. He will spend extended periods at the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany and the University of Oxford in the UK. The title of Dr Newland’s study is ‘A combinatorial approach for enhancing cell transplantation for neurological diseases via simple and scalable chemistries’. The research goal of his postdoctoral position is to investigate mechanisms which increase stem cell survival following transplantation to the brain. Rapid and significant stem cell death following transplantation into the brain hampers the progression of stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr Newland’s research will focus on the maintenance, delivery and therapeutic potential of transplanted stem cells in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. This Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is highly multi-disciplinary in nature, combining nanomaterials, soft hydrogels and gene therapy and this fellowship will incorporate expertise from three European Universities. Congratulating Dr Newland on his fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “Since the vast majority of successful applicants of the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships are situated in ‘Oxbridge’ or London, it is great to have a successful applicant from Ireland to be based in Cardiff University. Dr Newland will continue to build on the foundations he has forged at NUI Galway by continuing to collaborate with the University and the group at NFB. We wish him every success in his career and look forward to working with him at NUI Galway in the very near future.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Initial focus on stem cells and arthritic disease, burn care and diabetic foot ulceration The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is supporting a major new national initiative led by NUI Galway and involving research groups in Cork and Dublin. This will enable research into innovative cell-based therapies and will, for the first time, provide access to these new treatments for patients in Ireland. Blood transfusion is a life-saving procedure that has been carried out for many decades.  In fact it represents one the earliest and most successful forms of cell therapy. This revolutionary science of cell therapy now encompasses a range of procedures involving the delivery of healthy cells to injured tissue in order to treat a disease or stimulate repair. The objective of the NUI Galway-led programme is to build a research network to develop sustainable manufacturing technology and to validate the effectiveness of these new therapies, leading to a greater research effort and wider access to these new cell-based therapies in Ireland. The project involves a partnership between the three major cell therapy research centres in Ireland, the the SFI funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, the National Adult Stem Cell Transplant Centre at St. James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin, and the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology at University College Cork. Initially, the programme will focus on three key areas: Regenerative medicine applications in arthritis, burn care and diabetic wounds These applications all arise from a substantial and convincing research effort, mainly carried out in the partners’ laboratories, indicating that stem cells can stimulate an effective and sustained repair response in arthritic joints, can bring about the development of new blood vessels in ischaemic limbs and can stimulate wound healing in, for example, burns and chronic wounds. Stem cell manufacturing and clinical trials A sustainable stem cell manufacturing platform will be developed and a series of pivotal preclinical studies and clinical trials will be carried out. The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, a cell bioprocessing facility built to the highest international standards at REMEDI in NUI Galway, will be the manufacturing site for culture‐expanded cells for clinical use. Clinical studies will be optimised by utilising the integrated efforts of the Health Research Board Clinical Research Facilities. Stem cell transplantation techniques Bone marrow has been used as a source of stem cells for transplantation for many years. Over the last two decades, umbilical cord blood has emerged as an important  stem cell source for those in need of transplantation.  The use of otherwise discarded cord blood stem cells is a very important strategy already used to treat some conditions and has the potential to provide new therapies not available previously. Professor Frank Barry is Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator on the research programme: “The development of these innovative therapeutic platforms in association with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service is a new approach to medical research in Ireland. The scope of the programme is broad and ambitious and brings together world-leading researchers and clinicians in cellular therapy. It has the potential to provide patients in Ireland with new, ground-breaking therapies.” The interest in cell‐based therapy has grown exponentially in the last decade, as the tremendous potential to lead to effective treatments for a variety of major diseases is being realised. Despite many breakthroughs, cell therapy is still largely experimental and the development of a worldwide platform in cell‐based regenerative medicine still faces many challenges. According to Frank Barry “This new research programme will take us several steps closer to that goal.” According to Dr Ian Franklin, Medical and Scientific Director of the IBTS: “IBTS is delighted to support this three site collaboration led by the REMDI centre at NUI Galway. Conventional blood transfusion is still essential to modern health care but the next generation of treatments will require the production of cell based treatments to promote body repair, healing and the regeneration of tissues and organs in the laboratory. Ireland’s universities have the expertise to develop these approaches and IBTS has the experience and ability to provide the quality manufacturing environment to bring these treatments to patients within the health care system.”  -ends-

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. For the fifth time in the past six years Grainne Mhaol/ NUIGBC took the blue riband event of the championships, the Men’s Senior Eight from Queen’s University and UCD respectively. The defending champions dominated the race from start to finish winning by over 4 seconds from their northern rivals. The crew of Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett, Dave Mannion, Niall Kenny, Emmett Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan and James Wall were coxed by Ruadhán Cooke to victory in difficult headwind conditions. Gráinne Mhaol also took the Senior Four title marking Alan Martin’s eight National Senior win. Also from the Senior Eight, Niall Kenny won the Men’s Lightweight Single event. Robert O Callaghan and Richard Bennett went close in the Senior Pair finishing runners up to Galway Rowing club by the narrowest of margins. This victory was further backed up by the win in the Inter Eight by the NUI Galway men’s crew, who took the win from UCD Boat club. As several of the NUI Galway crew are relatively new to the sport it suggests the pipeline of talent in the club will continue for some years. There was also a significant victory for the women’s NUI Galway pair of Lisa Dilleen and Aifric Keogh who won by 11 seconds from St. Michaels in the Senior event. While Dilleen joined a composite crew with Cork to take the Senior Four, Keogh joined Cliona Hurst to take the Inter Double. Hurst was also runner up in the Intermediate Sculls and NUI Galway also took second position in the Women’s Novice Four and the Men’s Inter Four. This incredibly successful weekend precedes one of the most exciting weeks ahead for NUI Galway rowers as five members of the club, Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett (Men’s Coxless Four) Aifric Keogh (Women’s Coxless Four) Sean O Connor and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan, all competing at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. NUI Galway Boat Club coach Dave Mannion is also coach to the Women’s Four at the championships. Gary Ryan, Elite Sport Development Officer at NUI Galway: “It is a huge testament to the rowers and coaches, past and present, that NUI Galway Boat Club and its alumni club Gráinne Mhaol, which were already the strongest combination in Irish rowing, have taken an even greater leap forward in domestic and international rowing with its performances this year. I would like to congratulate all involved as I know how much hard work and professionalism has gone into achieving this success. I would also look forward with great anticipation to the World U23 championships this weekend where four of our students currently on sports scholarship will compete at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. It is a great platform for those athletes and a great credit to the athletes, their coaches and support team who have worked so hard for this opportunity.” Ends

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Last year, the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland collaborated with researchers at NUI Galway on a study of chronic headache pain management using online methods of treatment delivery. The researchers at NUI Galway are extending their online study this year and are currently looking for individuals to participate. During the 2012 study, NUI Galway’s Dr Jonathan Egan, Dr Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor sought to examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme tailored to support chronic headache pain management in adults with various types of chronic headache.  Treatment was delivered via – a specially designed, self-paced forum for participants’ convenience. Participants had unlimited access to the mindfulness based exercises and information designed to support self-management of headache pain. The exercises were specifically designed to help alleviate headache associated barriers including sleep disturbance, anxiety and headache onset. The programme incorporated guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting meditation and mindful awareness exercises, and cultivated mindful breathing, peaceful mind states and emotion regulation.  “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain” said Angeline Traynor, researcher at NUI Galway. “This type of service was designed to be accessible to all, as an online survey it is not limited to a person’s locality.” The results of the 2012 study showed clinically significant decreases in participant levels of pain severity, anxiety, depression, pain interference in daily functioning, medication intake and the overall impact of chronic headache on daily life were observed in those participants who completed the programme. Angeline continued: “The programme was effective in supporting pain management across chronic headache conditions including migraine and tension type headache. It appears to have successfully encouraged the development of beliefs consistent with a self-management approach even among individuals who were not pre-disposed to such an approach.” The study demonstrated that health benefits for chronic headache sufferers followed from just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice. Those interested in participating in the study can contact Angeline Traynor at or directly access the programme information at or -ENDS-