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-

Thursday, 25 July 2013

           INSIGHT@NUIGalway launches national survey on journalists’ use of social media Social media is becoming a vital tool to many contemporary journalists. From Syria to Turkey and Brazil, international news stories are broken by ordinary citizens on social media every day and it’s not just serious news. The latest football transfer rumours or celebrity scandal is now more likely to break on Twitter than by conventional means. The emergence of these new technologies is fundamentally changing the way journalists work and source stories. A 2011 survey* revealed that 97% of UK journalists use social media for their work, similar pan European** and global*** studies have also been completed. In Ireland, however, despite the widespread adoption of social media particularly among journalists, no formal study on Irish media professionals’ use of social media has yet been carried out. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre INSIGHT@NUIGalway have launched the first national survey on how Irish journalists use social media.  This new study aims to measure the prevalence of social media use among professional journalists, and determine the role it plays in the modern Irish newsroom. The researchers are calling on all media professionals working in print, TV, radio and online media to take 10 - 12 minutes out of their busy schedules to fill out the online survey. “The ubiquity of social media is quickly changing the global media landscape, leading us to query Ireland’s contemporary journalistic practices”, said Dr Bahareh Heravi, the project leader and head of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway. “This survey will help to not only delineate these practices, but the data collected has the potential to ultimately result in more informed and accurate reporting,” she added. Dr Heravi stressed the need for all journalists to get involved, from digital natives to those who don't even have a twitter account: "We are aware that there are some journalists who don't use social media or even feel that it shouldn't be used for journalistic purposes. It is very important for the study to capture all journalists' opinions.” The project is being run by the Digital Humanities and Journalism group in INSIGHT@NUIGalway, which leads a number of projects exploring how new technologies are impacting the world of journalism and other digital humanities like archiving. “This survey will help us to determine the needs of the media industry in Ireland and enable us to shape its future. This is the role of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway” said Director of INSIGHT@NUIGalway Professor Stefan Decker. INSIGHT is Irelands National Data Analytics Research Centre, hosted at NUI Galway, UCC, DCU and UCD. The survey can be accessed here: and more information on the research group can be found at ENDS *2011 Social Journalism Study carried out by Cision and Canterbury Christchurch University (UK) **2011 Social Journalism Study, European Results ***2012 Global Digital Journalism Study by the Oriella PR Network

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sheol an tAireStáit, Donnchadh Mac FhionnlaoichDioplóma nua sa Phleanáil agus Buanú Teanga in Ionad OÉ Gaillimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall tráthnóna aréir. Tá an Dioplóma á thairiscint ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta. Cúrsa páirtaimseartha thar dhá bhliain atá i gceist leis an dioplóma seo a thabharfaidh deis do rannpháirtithe eolas agus oiliúint fheidhmeach a fháil ar straitéisí buanaithe teanga agus leas-chleachtais na pleanála teanga. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar oibrithe pobail agus teanga sna ceantair phleanála teanga a luaitear in Acht na Gaeltachta. Beidh an cúrsa seo feiliúnach dóibh siúd atá ag obair in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta agus an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge á fheidhmiú acu. D’fháiltigh an tAire Stáit Mac Fhionnlaoich roimh an Dioplóma úr: “Cinntíonn Acht na Gaeltachta go mbeidh tábhacht as cuimse le tograí buanaithe teanga a thabhairt chun cinn go náisiúnta agus i measc phobal na Gaeltachta go mór mór. Cuideoidh an cúrsa seo le cumasú phobal na teanga chomh maith le forbairt feidhmiú na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Úsáid stuama acmhainní atá sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge agus Údarás na Gaeltachta.” Leag Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltachta, Steve Ó Cualáin, béim ar thorthaí foghlama an chúrsa: “Is mian le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta go mbeadh oiliúint fheidhmeach sa Phleanáil Teanga ar fáil ar bhealach atá éifeachtach agus praiticiúil. Beidh an cúrsa seo fóinteach do phobail atá ag iarraidh an chuid is fearr den phleanáil teanga a thabhairt leo agus a chur i bhfeidhm de réir chúinsí a gceantracha féin. Tá áthas orainn tacú leis an Dioplóma nua seo.” Dúirt Dónall Ó Braonáin, Príomhfheidhmeannach Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúrsa é seo a tharraingeoidh ar an léann teanga ach a dhéanfaidh freastal ar riachtanais phobail san am céanna. Beidh scoth na tacaíochta foghlama ag mic léinn an chúrsa seo agus beidh sé feiliúnach dóibh siúd ar spéis leo ceist na pleanála teanga a scrúdú ar bhealach solúbtha agus saoráideach.” De bharr scaipeadh tíreolaíoch na rannpháirtithe, bainfear leas as teicneolaíocht nuálach fhoghlama leis an Dioplóma seo a chur ar fáil. Beidh deis ag mic léinn an chúrsa a gclár ama staidéir féin a leagan amach agus a chur in oiriúint dá gcúinsí féin. Tabharfar an oiliúint chuí ríomhaireachta do rannpháirtithe an chúrsa ag seisiúin speisialta ionduchtaithe agus déanfar an cúrsa a eagrú ar bhealach a laghdóidh ualach taistil na mac léinn idir Méan Fómhair 2013 agus Márta 2014. Clúdóidh an siollabas réimse cuimsitheach ábhar a bhaineann leis an bPleanáil Teanga agus gheobhaidh na rannpháirtithe oiliúint sna bealaí is éifeachtaí le tabhairt faoi thograí buanaithe teanga a leagan amach dá bpobal féin. Sa chéad bhliain den chúrsa, beidh béim ar leith ar an tsochtheangeolaíocht agus ar chultúr agus ar chomhthéacs na Gaeltachta comhaimseartha. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó dhaoine atá ag obair in earnáil na forbartha teanga nó pobail sa Ghaeltacht nó in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta chomh maith le daoine eile a bhfuil spéis acu san ábhar seo. Beidh táille laghdaithe á ghearradh ar an gcúrsa seo ag OÉ Gaillimh mar bheartas taca do phróiseas  na pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht. Tá OÉ Gaillimh buíoch de thacaíocht Údarás na Gaeltachta agus moltar do rannpháirtithe atá ag obair na hearnála pobail agus teanga sa Ghaeltacht clárú ar-líne agus teagmháil a dhéanamh le hoifigí réigiúnacha Údarás na Gaeltachta le deiseanna tacaíochta a fhiosrú. Is féidir iarratas ar-líne a dhéanamh ar an Dioplóma roimh 23 Lúnasa ach suíomh Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge a cheadú: nó teagmháil a dhéanamh le comhordaitheoir an chúrsa, Éamon Ó Cofaigh ag 091 493802 nó -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Noting the sad passing of Colm Murray, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: On behalf of his many friends at NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife, Ann, his daughters, Kate and Patricia and his extended family. Colm was a great friend and supporter of NUI Galway. An Arts graduate (BA 1972) and an Alumni Award Winner for Sports Achievement and Leadership (2011), Colm was involved in a range of alumni events and activities. Over the years Colm participated in and hosted a range of alumni events in Dublin and in Galway – events which always attracted audiences who relished his enthusiasm and his story-telling flair. With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we remember with pride and genuine affection one of Ireland’s best-loved sports journalists. We note his passing with sadness and pay tribute to a graduate whose commitment to his alma mater was deeply-held and much valued. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílís. James J. Browne PhD, DSc, MRIA, C.EngUachtarán – President _______________________________________________________________________ Sean O'Rourke, Chair of NUI Galway Alumni Association Colm Murray was a proud graduate of NUI Galway, and often recalled his student days with affection and no little mirth. He studied in the faculty of Arts in the 1960s and 70s but in fact Colm was an Everyman, a lifelong student of the ways of the world. He brought a sense of curiosity and wonder to his assignments which informed and enlivened his broadcast journalism. In the RTE newsroom he was a brilliant NUJ official, defusing many an industrial relations row with a mixture of humour, guile and an uncanny sense of timing. Though he did not specialise in current affairs Colm was a close follower of political events and would give colleagues the benefit of sound observations on running stories and the players involved - usually sharp but never cruel. Colm had legions of friends and admirers and easily won the confidence of people. As a sports broadcaster he reported with knowledge, flair and enthusiasm from Ballybrit to Beijing. There's a certain timeliness that his passing comes during Galway Race Week where his services as a social ringmaster and tipster were greatly enjoyed if not always followed with success. Some years ago he encouraged people at a pre-Races brunch in the old quadrangle to follow his list of sure things. And then he cautioned hilariously: "But my final word in this great Aula Maxima where so many distinguished scholars have passed through the hallowed portals is: Caveat Punter" _______________________________________________________________________ An NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group presentation COLM MURRAY, BA 1972, in conversation with Seán O'Rourke BA 1977 took place in the AVIVA STADIUM on Thursday 16 June, 2011. First broadcast by RTÉ on 2 January 2012 was re-broadcasted Tuesday 30 July 2013. Please click on following link to hear interview.!rii=9%3A3156768%3A9153%3A02%2D01%2D2012%3A  

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Patrick Lonergan as its first ever Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. Professor Lonergan’s appointment strengthens NUI Galway’s reputation as a national hub for the study of theatre. His focus will be on developing new courses, building new research resources, and partnering with theatre companies. Speaking upon his appointment Professor Lonergan stated that “It is a great honour to have been named NUI Galway’s first Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. I look forward to working with colleagues in the University and the wider community, as we develop new courses, forge new partnerships with theatre-makers, and make sure that NUI Galway is recognised as a world leading centre for the study of Irish theatre.” NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, as well as a Performing Arts degree, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. As part of its educational offering, the University this year again partnered with the Galway Arts Festival. One element of the partnership was to offer six NUI Galway students the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED programme. This unique internship with an all-areas backstage pass to the festival gave the students an intensive two-week immersion in festival organisation. The selected students attended shows, liaised with performers and directors, and also had the privileged access to visiting international Festival Directors. NUI Galway also maintains a partnership with Druid Theatre – which saw the University act as one of the co-producers of the multi-award winning DruidMurphy show last year. That partnership is growing all the time, with members of Druid running workshops for students, in acting, directing, set design and theatre marketing, among other things. NUI Galway will also be transforming our knowledge of Irish theatre through projects like the digitisation of the archive of the Abbey Theatre. When added to the University’s already extensive theatre archives, this resource will provide access to hundreds of scripts and videos of Irish plays – much of it never seen before. Speaking about these developments, Professor Lonergan commented: “We have achieved an enormous amount in the area of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway already. Our aim now is to build on those achievements, so that students and researchers from Ireland and abroad will recognise that NUI Galway is the best place in the world to study Irish drama.” Patrick Lonergan was born in Dublin in 1974, and graduated from University College Dublin with an MA in 1998. He completed a PhD at NUI Galway in 2004, and has been a member of staff in the Discipline of English since that time. He has written widely about Irish theatre for publications such as The Irish Times and Irish Theatre Magazine. His first book, Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger won the 2008 Theatre Book Prize, a prestigious international award whose previous winners include the Guardian critic Michael Billington, the theatre director Peter Brook, and Columbia University Professor James Shapiro. More recently he has published The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh with Bloomsbury in London. He is also very active in the Irish theatre community. He runs the annual JM Synge Summer School in County Wicklow, is a former Theatre Assessor for the Irish Arts Council, and is a Board Member of Irish Theatre Magazine and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. He has won several research awards, and is currently completing a project on Theatre Performance and Globalization, which is being funded by the Irish Research Council. He serves on the boards of several major international journals (including Contemporary Theatre Review and Irish University Review), is a Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, and is active in many other international organizations. ENDS

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Levels of stress among parents of children with autism are higher when those families have less access to services. Preliminary data from a study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) indicates cutbacks in services are having a real and measureable effect on parents’ wellbeing. “Our research is highlighting the negative impacts that cutbacks and inadequate service provision may have, not only on child outcomes, but also on the health and wellbeing of the parents,” says Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN at NUI Galway. A group of 140 mothers, fathers and a control group of caregivers of typically-developing children were included in the study. The research, conducted by PhD student Ciara Foody under the supervision of Dr Geraldine Leader and Professor Jack James, will be presented at a conference in NUI Galway from 11-12 June. This research investigated stress among parents by using diaries, questionnaires, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and also conducted an analysis of the stress hormone cortisol. “We looked for the physical flags of stress, such as high blood pressure”, explains Dr Leader. “Perhaps none too surprisingly, parents of children of autism experience elevated levels of stress compared to parents of typically developing children. However, we were also able to show a correlation between increased stress among parents of children with autism who have less access to services and interventions.” Preliminary results demonstrate that unmet services needs were a significant factor.  Having a child with a greater number of service needs that were not being met (speech and language therapy, respite services, etc.) was associated with higher maternal blood pressure and higher parental reports of depressive symptoms and parenting stress.  The study also shows that sleep is also found to be an important factor. Child sleep problems and parental sleep quality were associated with maternal blood pressure, parenting stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. The conference from 11-12 June, Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice, will feature keynote talks, as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The event is being organised by ICAN in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, and runs from 11-12 June. For more information visit -ends-

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 6th Biennial Family Support conference on 13-14 June. Entitled ‘Engagement and Participation in Family Support’, the conference will contextualise trends, challenges and options relating to citizens’ engagement and participation in the field of Family Support. The forum will highlight the relevance of citizenship to Family Support and the role of services, communities and individuals in service delivery and systems reform. Alongside presentations from keynote speakers including Norah Gibbons of the new Child and Family Agency, delegates will hear from special guest Kenneth Egan, Ireland’s most decorated amateur boxer. Kenneth will speak on the commitment and dedication required to excel in sport and how the support he received from family, friends and others helped him to deal with the challenges and difficulties he encountered. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, commented: “This conference is an opportunity to explore not just the role of state services, but also of individuals and communities in supporting families both in terms of safety and welfare. The recent scandal regarding early years services including creche facilities highlights that social workers alone and regulation systems do not have the capacity to protect children at risk and that more innovative models of community care and involvement are urgently required. There is a need to develop systems whereby families and citizens can play their part in safeguarding children.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. Other speakers will include: Professor Constance Flanagan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The Political Theories of Adolescents: How they Matter for Democracy Professor Anne Power, the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Learning from the Horse’s Mouth: What Families Bringing up Children in Difficult Urban Areas Say about their Role and Influence Andy Lloyd, Head of Service – Workforce Development, Children’s Services, Leeds City Council, UK. Defending and Developing Family Support in an Age of Austerity Dr Bernadine Brady and Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Changing the Odds: the Benefits and Challenges of Volunteer-Led Service Provision Professor Mark Brennan, Pennsylvania State University, USA. Citizenship as a Mechanism for Individual, Family, and Community Support Dr John Canavan, Associate Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway will deliver the closing remarks. For further information, or to register for the conference, visit -ends-

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Older people are being sought by NUI Galway researchers to participate in a new study which keeps the mind active while exercising. Volunteers are invited to spend 20 minutes on a cyber-cycle, which combines a traditional exercise bike with an interactive video game. Participants can compete with other riders, or enjoy the scenery along a virtual bike path through a woodland setting or the cityscapes of Paris. Dr Cay Anderson-Hanley, a Fulbright scholar from the United States, is collaborating with Dr Michael Hogan, Lecturer in Psychology, at NUI Galway on the project. “Most of us are already aware of the physical benefits of exercise: it can help control weight, combat illness, improve certain health conditions, and increase energy”, explains Dr Anderson-Hanley. “Recently, significant strides have been made in research examining the cognitive benefits of physical exercise. Such research has taken on new urgency given the changing demographics of our society, with longevity increasing around the world, and dementias such as Alzheimer’s on the rise.” In her previous research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr Anderson-Hanley incorporated ‘exergames’ into the experimental design of a long-term exercise intervention at Union College in New York. Her study found that the older adults who engaged in exergaming yielded better results for the participants than an equivalent dose of traditional exercise. “We focused on this kind of ‘exergaming’, where mental and physical exercise are interwoven”, says Dr Anderson-Hanley. Our results showed added cognitive benefit in some, while for others it prevented further decline. We are now looking to test this theory on a selection of older adults in Ireland.” For the NUI Galway study, participants’ cognitive status will be evaluated before and after the exercise session, using brief pen and paper measures and computer tasks. Brain functions will also be measured with electroencephalography (EEG) where electrical activity across the scalp is detected with sensitive electrodes worn as a special cap. Ideally, the research team would like to hear from volunteers aged 65 and over, with up to 40 volunteers needed in total. Those interested should contact Julia Dimitrova at the Aerobic and Cognitive Exercise Study lab (ACES) in NUI Galway on 091-494069 or email -ends-

Thursday, 6 June 2013

NUI Galway will host a symposiumon ‘Innovative Clinical Study Design for Medical Devices’ on Wednesday, 12 June in Áras Moyola. Organised by the Biostatistics Unit at the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway (HRB CRFG), Ignite Technology Transfer Office and Metric Ireland, the symposium will be of interest to industry, clinicians and the biomedical research community. Keynote speaker for the symposium will be Dr Gregory Campbell, who will address the audience on innovation in clinical study design, new guidance documents recently developed in the FDA and more. Dr Campbell is Director of Biostatistics Division in the Office of Surveillance and Biometrics within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). He currently leads a group of over 55 statisticians at the FDA, which provides statistical support to CDRH as a whole and, in particular, the statistical reviews of FDA’s pre-market device submissions.    Dr John Newell, Head of the Biostatistics Unit at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Campbell leads a group of statisticians who research innovative methods to address the challenges in the evaluation of medical devices. We in the Biostatistics Unit are looking forward to interacting with Dr Campbell and learning how we can participate in advancing this field.” Dr Sandra Ganly of Metric Ireland said: “The US Med Device market is the key market for all medical device companies, with the market expected to grow to $151 billion in 2015. Having an opportunity to understand the regulatory issues at play from Dr Campbell will provide the Irish-based companies which Metric Ireland assists, the ability to gain more timely, cost-effective regulatory approvals for their products and an opportunity to gain a foothold in this growing market.” Other speakers will include NUI Galway’s Professor Martin O'Donnell, who will introduce the HRB CRFG and give an overview of capabilities and the facility's offering to industry; and John O'Dea of Crosspon, who will discuss the medical device cluster in Ireland, the success of the cluster and some of the challenges from a clinical trial design and execution perspective. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion, where speakers will be joined by additional industry and clinical experts, and the delegates will get an opportunity to put forward their own questions to the experts. Dr Jacinta Thornton, Acting Director of Ignite Technology Transfer Office (TTO), said: “This is a unique opportunity to access key opinion and guidance and is an event not to be missed if you are operating in the clinical and pre-clinical space in this sector. From our perspective at Ignite TTO, we are very much looking forward to learning from Dr Gregory Campbell and gaining the insights that will assist early stage companies in navigating the regulatory hurdles inherent with delivering their products to market.” For further information on the symposium visit -ENDS-

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is now accepting delegates for its 2013 summer school on the International Criminal Court to be held 17-21 June in Galway. The summer school on the International Criminal Court (ICC) offered by the Centre is widely acknowledged to be the premier programme of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. During the five days of intensive lectures, delivered by leading specialist in the field, students are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction, immunities and the role of the victims. Professor Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway said: “The ICC is arguably the most important international institution to have been established since the creation of the United Nations. Its aim is combating impunity for atrocities, and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability and justice around the world.” “When the ICC was established in 2002, there was real optimism about holding those most responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to account. Over ten years later, the Court is being criticised for having a racist agenda and a flawed investigation process and prosecutorial strategy. To date, the Court has convicted only one defendant, a former Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga. The appointment of a new prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, places the Court at a critical crossroads in terms of investigations and prosecutions for the future”, continued Professor Murphy. During the summer school on the International Criminal Court, expert presentations will be delivered by Professor William Schabas, Honorary Chairman of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and Middlesex University; Professor Siobhan Mullally, UCC; Dr Noelle Higgins and Professor Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; John McManus, Counsel/Avocat, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice, Canada; Dr Fabrizio Guariglia, Head of Appeals Division of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Dr Mohamed M. El Zeidy, Legal Officer for Pre-Trial Chamber II, The International Criminal Court; Dr Rod Rastan, Legal Adviser in the Office of the Prosecutor, The International Criminal Court; Professor Don Ferencz, School of Law, Middlesex University; Dr Mohamed Elewa Badar, University of Middlesex; Professor Megan Fairlie, Florida International University; and Dr Mohamed Elewa Badar, School of Law, Brunel University. To register, visit or email for more information. -ENDS-

Monday, 10 June 2013

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Speech and Language Therapy teaching at NUI Galway, the University will hold a one-day seminar on Evidence Based Practice on Friday, 14 June. Entitled ‘Evidence-Based Practice: Bercow and back again - practice, policy and its implications for children with speech and language and communication needs (SLCN)’, the seminar will focus on the findings of the Better Communication Research Programme (BCRP), the largest practice related research programme ever funded for children with SLCN. Keynote speaker, Professor James Law, Professor of Speech and Language Science at the University of Newcastle, England will discuss the outcomes of this large research programme, as well as ways in which practitioners can incorporate evidence-based practice into the services they provide. He has had a distinguished career in research on developmental language and communication impairments. He is an editor on the Cochrane Collaboration Developmental, Psychosocial and Behaviour Problems Group and carried out the first Cochrane review of intervention for children with primary speech and language delays/disorders in 2003. Professor Law is one of the key researchers in a large scale research project in the UK, the BCRP. This research was commissioned in response to the Bercow Review, which was a review of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. The BCRP was designed as a rigorous research programme that would be useful for practitioners, researchers, policy makers, as well as parents and young people with communication impairments. The BCRP comprised 10 major research projects including the evidence base for current practice including indicative costs, and the perspectives of parents and children regarding the services they use and the outcomes they value. Rena Lyons, Head of the Discipline of Speech and Language Therapy, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have Professor Law in NUI Galway. Sometimes there is a challenge linking research with practice. Clinicians need to access research findings to inform their practice. This seminar will be very useful for clinicians as they will hear first-hand about the results of this large scale research project.”    For further information on the seminar visit or contact Rena Lyons at -ENDS-

Monday, 10 June 2013

Information and communications technology can be used to support environmental regulation in many ways, and, will be the subject of an international exploratory workshop on 20-21 June. The workshop, ‘Information and Communications Technology for Environmental Regulation: Developing a Research Agenda’, will address areas such as: real-time monitoring of air pollution through sensors; large-scale databases of geographical information on the health of rivers, lakes and beaches; satellite-based monitoring of farming patterns; and the provision of information on industrial pollution to the public through government websites. Environmental regulators are increasingly making use of this information and communications technology (ICT) for environmental regulation. In the US, the Obama administration has been particularly proactive in encouraging their Environmental Protection Agency to open its electronic systems to the public. “The Irish EPA is a leader in this field,” explains Rónán Kennedy, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Law, who is the driving force behind the event. “The online resource, GeoPortal, makes data available to the ordinary citizen. The EPA also uses specialised systems for environmental data exchange with local authorities, licensing applications and a register of pollutant releases and transfers. Another striking Irish example is Friends of the Irish Environment using aerial photography of peat bogs in order to highlight the large-scale cutting of turf.” The event will bring international experts from three continents together, and, delegates will be experts in law, the physical and social sciences, information systems and web science. Speakers include academics, staff from non-governmental agencies and personnel from regulatory agencies. According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute who is co-hosting the event, “Irish researchers have been very successful to date in winning competitive funding from the EU 7th Framework Programme in the area of ICT. In fact, this area has secured more funding than other areas such as Environment, Energy, Transport, Health, and Nanosciences. I’m confident that with the calibre of researchers here at NUI Galway, we can build on the European successes to date and link up ICT expertise with that of the world-class environmental research that is happening right here in Ireland. If we get our act together and plan events like this, then we can and will be even more competitive in the Horizon 2020 programme. We must remember that there will be a budget of close to €70 billion for research, innovation and science.”     Rónán Kennedy explains the key role that information plays in the regulatory process: “Environmental monitoring on a global and up-to-the-minute scale is rapidly becoming possible, and this can be combined with geographical information and opened to the public. Nonetheless, the use of ICT for environmental regulation is not simply a matter of the increased use of computer technology or putting pollution data on the web.” The existing arrangements between government agencies, business and other stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations may hinder efforts to incorporate new information into the regulatory process. Firms will often have essential information but be unwilling to share it, They may claim intellectual property rights as a barrier to public access to information on the environment. Modelling, particularly of large, complex and dynamic systems such as global climate, does not always lead to accurate predictions. “We need a better understanding of the regulatory process, environmental problems and the social and economic consequences of making information available and processes more interactive. While optimistic claims are made for the potential of ICT, the reality is somewhat more complex. It can play a significant role in improving the application, efficiency and effectiveness of government regulation. Our experience with the Internet shows the deployment of information technology often has unintended effects”, continued Rónán Kennedy. This workshop is funded by NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, and the Irish Research Council. More information is available at -ENDS-

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Today at NUI Galway the 2nd International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders will commence. The two-day conference will focus on the state of autism research in Ireland and internationally and plans will be presented to parents and professionals for the new Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) Project. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social behaviours and communication, and a restricted range of activities. Autism symptoms vary by person and can range from mild to severe. Some have normal intellectual and language abilities, whereas others are cognitively impaired and require life‐long care. While most countries, including Ireland, lack an official prevalence estimate, available data suggest approximately 1% of the global population is affected by autism. The development of an autism specific database targeted at the health, educational and long-term needs of the Irish autism community is a vital resource to inform service planning and delivery and will support a range of research questions. The IADR project, to be led by the Irish Centre for Autism and Neuordevelopmental Research, Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, Centre for Autism and Related Disorders, Trinity College Dublin and US based science and advocacy group, Autism Speaks, will provide data to address a range of questions relating to the health, social and educational needs of individuals affected by autism and their families and carers. This will be a valuable resource illustrating the extent to which people with autism are impacted and provide valuable data to support service planning and development. This announcement marks the start of a six month consultation process with parents and is based on existing database models currently in operation in both Scandinavia and the US through Autism Speaks. The proposed Irish Autism Database and Repository (IADR) will house comprehensive and detailed information, as well as related biomaterials for individuals living with autism in Ireland.  IADR proposes to serve as an open national resource to enhance the care and quality of life of the Irish autism community by facilitating and supporting rigorous and high impact scientific research. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway:  “Given the increasing prevalence of autism suggests that we urgently need to invest in optimising research efforts by enhancing research infrastructure and emphasizing collaborations among scientists, service providers, policy-makers and the autism community.  IADR will be transformative in accelerating the pace of autism research, by providing large datasets which can be shared among researchers and ultimately will aid the discovery of causes and the most effective treatments for autism.” Commenting on the announcement, Dr Andy Shih, PhD, of Autism Speaks:  “Autism Speaks is delighted to collaborate with the Irish autism community, including NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, on the new autism database and repository initiative. We encourage individuals, parents, practitioners and all stakeholders in Ireland’s autism community to get involved with this initiative, so that the database that results will uniquely serve their needs in addition to being an incredible resource for research purposes.” Adrian Jones, Irish-American member of the board of Autism Speaks and parent to a child with autism: “This annual conference provides a great opportunity for parents of children with autism in Ireland to come together and meet others who face the same day-to-day challenges and triumphs. The fact that both practitioners and policy-makers in Ireland are choosing to work so closely with parents on new initiatives such as IADR is a fundamental step in the right direction.” With estimates that one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder in the US, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Autism Speaks, is making parents a particular focus of this the 2nd International Autism Conference. The event ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice’ will feature keynote talks as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers, and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The conference will place special emphasis on providing practical solutions for parents struggling with autism on a daily basis. Workshops will be delivered on managing behaviour in the home, sleep, toileting, interventions for non-verbal, minimally verbal and verbal children and how to manage transitions effectively. “Autism has become a national epidemic. This conference will bring the world’s leading experts in diagnosis, clinical management and education to NUI Galway as well as address the practical concerns and needs of parents,” said Dr Leader. “International evidence indicates an alarming rise in the prevalence of autism, as reflected in the recent data from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which estimates that one in 88 children, including one in 54 boys, has an ASD.” Expert speakers at the conference include: Professor Deborah Fein from the University of Connecticut, who will discuss what determines best outcomes for children on the autism spectrum, while Professor Richard Hastings from Bangor University will discuss what the research is telling us in relation to effective autism interventions. Professor Peter Gerhardt from the McCarton School, New York will speak on issues relating to employment, quality of life and inclusion for adults on the autism spectrum; and Professor Susan Swedo, of the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, will update delegates on the latest changes to the diagnostic categorisations of autism. To view the full conference programme please see   ENDS

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The fifth International Disability Law Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will take place from 17-22 June. It is the largest such Summer School in the world with a focus on the UN disability treaty. Over 100 delegates from 38 countries are expected to attend this year’s event including people with disabilities, representatives from civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy-makers and policy analysts. The thematic focus of the International Disability Summer School will be on securing ‘Voice’ and advancing ‘Choice’ for persons with disabilities through the disability treaty. This connects reform on new legal capacity laws around the world with reform on the right to community living. The aim of the event is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the generalities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into tangible reform agendas for persons with disabilities. Keynote speaker for the Summer School will be Professor Rannveig Traustadottir from the University of Iceland, Reykjavik who is a leading activist for community living in the Nordic countries.  The School will be officially opened by Minister Kathleen Lynch, TD. Most presentations will be either given by, or responded to, by disabled activists from around the world. Joanne O’Riordan, a teenage activist from Co. Cork, will respond to the keynote address. A notable feature of the annual event is a Moot Court exercise based on the UN disability treaty.  Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, School of Law, NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Quinn said: “Above all the School belongs to the people affected and is structured in such a way as to enable people explore for themselves the relevance of the Convention in their own lives and in the process of change. It sees people with disabilities as agents of change whether in Ireland, Zambia or Japan. It sees people with disabilities as providers and advocates for solutions – instead of as problems.” The School attracts an international teaching faculty including high profile senior academics, practitioners and policy makers who have been directly engaged in drafting and implementing the  UN Convention. The Summer School is part supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Soros-Open Society Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid), the DREAM project of the European Union and the University. Registration for the Summer School is currently open and will cost €330 (concessions available). Further information, including the programme and speaker profiles is available at -ENDS-

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics still has a few spaces available on their one-day Engineering Summer School. The summer school is specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of university life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities and students interested in attending have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 27 June, or Friday, 28 June. The summer school, which will take place in the new state-of-the-art Engineering Building on campus, is a free event which provides second-level students the opportunity to learn more about the various fields of engineering which can be studied in NUI Galway.  “We have seen a huge interest once again this year amongst both senior and junior cycle second-level students in our Engineering Summer School, but we have a few remaining spaces which students can apply for”, according to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. “The places in the free summer school are competitively awarded so we would invite any students who would be interested in learning more about Electronic, Mechanical, Civil, Biomedical or Energy Systems Engineering to apply for these last few places.” Interested students, particularly those undertaking Higher level Maths, can find out more information at and can apply by email to before Monday, 17 June. Applicants should indicate what year they have just completed at second level and what level of Maths they are undertaking for the Junior or Leaving Certificate. -ENDS-

Friday, 14 June 2013

Enda Walsh, Professor Rita Colwell, Leonard Moran NUI Galway will today confer three outstanding individuals with the 2013 honorary degrees. Those to be conferred are multi-award winning Irish playwright, Enda Walsh; Professor Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Chairperson of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.; and Mr Leonard Moran, biomedical industry entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Ovagen, based in Ballina, Co. Mayo. Speaking in advance of the the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of science, biomedical innovation and literature. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Dr Rita Colwell will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). She is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Chairperson of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. Dr Colwell has served as Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998-2004. During her term she oversaw a budget increase and a consolidation of the support levels provided to scientists and engineers with NSF grants. In addition she broadened the NSF range of programmes with special interaction in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and serves on science advisory boards worldwide. She received the National Medal of Science from the US President in 2006. Mr Enda Walsh will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). Enda Walsh is a multi-award winning Irish playwright.  His work has been translated into over 20 languages and has been performed internationally since 1998. His recent plays include Misterman, performed in Ireland, America and Britain, 2010 – 2011; The New Electric Ballroom, which toured Ireland, Australia, Edinburgh, London, New York and LA 2008-2009; and The Walworth Farce, which played Ireland, Edinburgh, London and New York, as well as an American and Australian tour 2007-2010. All of these plays were produced by Druid Theatre. His other plays include Delirium; Chatroom, The Small Thing, Bedbound and Disco Pigs. He has written the Tony Award-winning book for the musical Once, which is currently playing on Broadway. His film work includes Disco Pigs (Temple Films/Renaissance) and Hunger (Blast/FILM4) and the forthcoming, Weightless (Smuggler Films, New York). Mr Leonard Moran will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Leonard Moran is a biomedical industry entrepreneur based in Ballina, Co. Mayo. He is the founder and CEO of Ovagen, the world's first economically sustainable producers of germ-free eggs and antibodies. Prior to establishing Ovagen, Leonard founded Biological Laboratories Europe Limited (Biolabs) which was acquired in 2002 by Charles River Laboratories. Previously he spent 8 years with the British Medical Research Council (MRC) from 1968-76 where he focused on clinical research. In addition he has a wealth of practical operational and construction experience associated with biological facilities. These four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood. -ends-    

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Joe Lyons to play 18 holes in 9 golf clubs along cycle route, 24-26 June NUI Galway student and former Irish International golfer, Joe Lyons, will be swapping the green for country roads as he gets ready to embark on a three-day cycle challenge from Galway to the Irish Open (24-26 June) in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation. As part of his journey to Mullingar, the former West of Ireland winner, will be calling into nine golf clubs and playing 18 holes along the way, to raise vital funds for the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke. The unique challenge will also launch the golfer’s new campaign, which aims to generate a national database of defibrillator locations. Clubs and organisations across the country are being asked to register the location of their defibrillator at the campaign’s website to facilitate the development of a smartphone application which can help the public identify the nearest defibrillator in an emergency. Lyons is studying for an MA in Digital Media in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway and the campaign is his final project and thesis. NUI Galway is fully supportive of the initiative which Lyons decided to embark on after attending a recent first aid course for his work with Galway Simon Community. “When attending training I asked ‘where can I locate a defibrillator in times of crises?’ It seemed obvious to me there was a need for this. What better way to kick of the campaign other than running a fundraiser for the Irish Heart Foundation?” The Golf Cycle will commence in Galway Golf Club on Monday, 24 June, when Joe will begin by cycling to Athenry and Loughrea Golf Clubs. The second day of the challenge will take in Athlone, Moate and Birr Golf Clubs before finally calling to Tullamore and Esker Hills, then finishing up in Mullingar Golf Club. Two holes will be played in each club to make a total of 18 holes played. The public is urged to support Joe’s Golf Cycle challenge and raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation by logging on to and guessing how many shots it will take Joe to cross the county. Golf club members across the country will also have a chance to win some great prizes provided by Revive Active and the Carlton Hotel, by taking part in their own club’s weekly medal, many of which are being run as a Golf Cycle fundraiser this June. Winners of the competition will be announced on Thursday, 27 June at the Irish Open. Competition prizes: First Prize (individual): Revive Active, has sponsored a weekend golf break for four to the fantastic Amendeoire Golf Resort in The Algarve. The prize includes three rounds of golf, including B& B accommodation for four. To be in with a chance to win, play your club’s golf cycle fundraiser or enter the competition on Second Prize (individual): Courtesy of North and West Coast Links and Ballyliffin Golf Club is a fourball in the World Renowned Ballyliffin. First Prize (club): The Carlton Hotel group has sponsored a weekend break for four to any one of the Group hotels. The winner of this prize will be drawn from the club that generates the largest number of unique donations to the competition via a fundraiser at their club or online at Second Prize (club) The Carlton Group has also sponsored a spa day for four at any of its Health Spas Nationwide. The winner of this prize will be drawn from the club that generates the second most unique donations. The winners of these fantastic prizes will be announced at The North and West Coast Links stand at the Irish Open on Thursday 27 June. More details on the event can be found at -ends-

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

NUI Galway recently conferred the third cohort of graduates from its Youth Academy. At the special ceremony held at the University, 158 primary school children from across Galway City and County were presented with certificates of participation by President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, with more than 800 attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing children and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 400 children have graduated from a range of specially designed courses including English, Engineering, Information Technology, Psychology, Science Exploration, Mandarin, Philosophical Discovery, Italian language and culture, Physics and Irish History. The Youth Academy runs for a six-week period on a Saturday morning from 10am to 12.30pm, and works with high ability fourth and fifth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. The programme is free to attend due to funding received through the Office of the Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is committed to sharing knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I would like to pay tribute to the commitment and support of the parents gathered, for encouraging a culture of learning and knowledge among some of the youngest members of the community, who will go onto to fuel the knowledge economy.” The Youth Academy was founded by NUI Galway colleagues, Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, and Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, and is supported by Vice-President for Innovation and Performance, Professor Chris Curtin. The Irish Centre for Talented Youth, based in Dublin City University, has supported and helped guide the activity. On behalf of the founding members, Mary Dempsey said: “I believe that the combination of forward thinking, enthusiastic and energetic youth academy children linked through structured modules together with encouraging academics can indeed be a recipe for success. It can create and encourage an environment of innovation and self directed learning to meet the future needs of the knowledge economy.” For further information on the programme please contact Geraldine Marley, the Youth Academy Coordinator, at -ENDS-

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Gerard Quinn, Professor at the School of Law at NUI Galway and Director of its Centre for Disability Law and Policy, has been appointed to the Scientific Committee of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) which is headquartered in Vienna. The EU FRA is one of the specialised agencies of the EU which was set up in 2007 to provide expert advice to the EU and its Member States to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are respected.  It helps to inform EU law and policy and to ensure that its power is properly harnessed to respect fundamental rights. The Scientific Committee oversees the quality of the research of the FRA across a broad range of topics (e.g. racism, the rights of older people, privacy, the quality of the democratic process, etc.). This June, Professor Quinn joins eleven other widely renowned experts from across Europe for a five year term. Speaking on his appointment, Professor Quinn said: “Europe is at a historic turning point away from failed economic and social models. It has a chance to reinvent itself as a force for good in its own citizens’ lives and around the world. This turn is by no means assured. But bodies like the EU FRA are at the fore of helping to redefine the EU of the future. That's why I am involved.”   The Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “I would like to warmly congratulate Professor Quinn on this prestigious international appointment. It speaks directly to his impressive track record as an engaged scholar animated by impact in the domain of public policy, something to which the School of Law at NUI Galway is deeply committed.” -ENDS-