Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway has won out over Oxford University to host a major international conference in 2021. The conference is the 11th European Solid Mechanics Conference 2021 – ESMC2021 – that will attract 1000 delegates to the University campus in July 2021, from across Europe and beyond. This will be the largest engineering or science conference that has ever been held at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway bid to host the conference won out over stiff competition in a bid from Oxford University at a ballot of the ESMC Committee, with the University coming out with 100% of the votes cast, and the decision was confirmed by the overarching Euromech Council at their recent meeting in St Petersburg. Solid mechanics is an area of study where mathematics and the principles of physics are applied to gain fundamental understanding on how different materials respond to forces applied to them: supporting the forces, deforming under the action of the forces, and ultimately fracturing. Solid mechanics is the bedrock of engineering design in areas such as mechanical engineering, civil and structural engineering, and biomedical engineering. It is a critically important element in the design and development of almost all products in these areas, such as aircraft, automobiles, buildings, bridges, and medical implants and devices. NUI Galway has a proud history of achievement in solid mechanics, and it is a topic in which the University currently has significant world class strength, spanning engineering and applied mathematics in particular. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and the ESMC2021 Conference Chair, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for NUI Galway, and it provides clear confirmation of our world class standing and reputation for excellence in engineering and physical sciences. The conference provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase the educational and research impact of the University, and of course our beautiful campus, to the world. In addition to a attracting a large international attendance, the conference will involve direct participation by local and national industry, particularly in the MedTech and manufacturing sectors.” The conference will have major positive implications for the international visibility of NUI Galway and Galway city itself. An event of this size will have strong benefits for the local economy with Fáilte Ireland statistics citing an average spend of €1,600 per overseas delegate attending a conference, three times that of a leisure tourist. Business Tourism is Irelands most lucrative and highest yielding tourism sector, it is worth €700 million to the Irish economy and sustains 20,000 jobs.  NUI Galway plays a major role in business tourism in the west of Ireland, hosting over 20,000 conference delegates in 2016 with an estimated revenue of €3.2 million to the local economy. 16 international conferences will be held in NUI Galway during the month of June alone. The University has a very high success rate in winning bids for international conferences and works closely with Fáilte Ireland and Meet in Galway to promote Galway and Ireland as a destination to host international events with events booked up to 2022.   -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Dr Claire Conway, lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, has been awarded $20,000 funding from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to collaborate on exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. Dr Conway will collaborate with MIT Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor Ellen Roche. The funding was awarded to initiate a collaborative exchange between the two emerging investigators and their respective research groups. Professor Roche won international acclaim in 2017 during her time as a researcher in NUI Galway, for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure live with much better quality of life while waiting for a heart transplant, thanks to a sleeve placed around the affected organ. Dr Conway’s research has been motivated by failure analysis of coronary stents, in particular stent fracture which increases the risk of blood clots forming or arterial blockages reforming. Using computational modelling, she is developing 3D virtual models of the beating heart to better understand how this dynamic motion affects cardiac device design. Professor Roche’s research investigates the design, building, and testing of cardiac devices, including soft robotic techniques, and the melding of mechanical and biological therapeutics for improved therapeutic regimens. Through this exchange both scientists will combine their expertise to conduct rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of cardiac devices. Speaking about the funding award, Dr Claire Conway from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to advance cardiac device design and I am thrilled to be working with Professor Roche on this MISTI funded exchange. I believe both groups will benefit from the knowledge and experience gained and I look forward to this being a fruitful collaboration.” Professor Ellen Roche from MIT, added: “I’m delighted to be involved with Dr Conway and others from the Discipline of Biomedical Engineering on this project. The awarded MISTI funds will enable fluid exchange of knowledge and people between NUI Galway and MIT that will output strong research, exploiting the expertise of both groups and enhancing ongoing inter-institutional collaboration.” The exchange program will enable Dr Conway and Professor Roche to deliver workshops on their work at MIT, exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. In turn a workshop at NUI Galway on cardiac medical device design, novel manufacturing and prototyping methods, bench-top modelling and testing will also be delivered. The funds will also support visits of two MIT graduate students to visit Dr Conway in Ireland for five weeks and allow two NUI Galway graduate students to visit Professor Roche in MIT for five weeks. The funds will enable existing collaboration to flourish and the fluid transition of students and faculty will generate new ideas in the cardiac devices. -Ends-