Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Three NUI Galway researchers have secured funding as part of a new collaborative initiative between Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Irish Research Council (IRC) to support Ireland’s emerging research talent. The announcement of an investment of €28.5 million was made by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris today.   The SFI-IRC Pathway programme aims to support early career research across all disciplines and to encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation, NUI Galway, said: “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to our researchers on being awarded the SFI-IRC Pathway funding for their innovate projects. This initiative allows researchers to develop the essential skills and experience necessary to become research leaders of the future, and I would like to thank the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland and the Government for supporting these important research projects.” Under the new partnership programme, one NUI Galway project will be supported in the area of STEM - science, technology, engineering and maths, with two supported in arts, humanities and social sciences. Each of the NUI Galway projects is supported with a research grant in the region of €500,000 over four years and support the appointment of a postgraduate student. :: Dr Eavan O’Dochartaigh - Exploring the Arctic Archive: Recovering Documentary Visual and Literary Sources of the Circumpolar North in the Long 19th Century. This project will explore the images and associated texts documenting the western Arctic environment - Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Nordic countries, during the period of intense exploration from 1789-1914. It will involve archival research in museums, institutes, and libraries around the world to recover little-known drawings, sketches, and small paintings. Such documents show biodiverse and inhabited places that sharply contrast with the icy realm in people’s imaginations. The work will use archival resources to challenge the persistent image of the Arctic as a “frozen wasteland” and aims to increase public understanding of the region. :: Dr Jane Conway - Characterizing the contribution of metacognitive deficits to socio-cognitive impairments in neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders. Social misjudgements can have negative outcomes, from momentary awkwardness to chronic problems that affect one’s health and wellbeing. Difficulties in understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings are a symptom of many neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders. However, making a mistake but realising that you have made an error is a step towards more accurate social inferences. This ability to evaluate the reliability of your own thoughts is called metacognition. This project examines the role metacognition plays in social skills by studying its relationship with mental health problems, and by investigating whether metacognitive training improves social judgements. :: Dr Alison Connolly - EIRE - nEonicotinoid Insecticide exposuREs: an environmental and occupational exposure study of neonicotinoid insecticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides (NNIs) are used intensively worldwide, and there are growing concerns regarding their possible adverse health effects on humans, as minimal information is available about the magnitude of NNI exposures. This study aims to measure NNI exposures among gardeners working with these products, their families, bystanders and the general population. The research requires the refinement of an analytical method to measure NNIs and their breakdown products in human urine. EIRE will revolutionise our understanding of human NNI exposures and their pathways and stimulate intervention development, such as public health policy, to eliminate or reduce exposures.  Ends

Monday, 29 August 2022

As part of NUI Galway’s Autumn Conferring, which saw more than 1,700 graduates return to campus, the University today recognised and celebrated one of the oldest graduates to have attended a conferring ceremony. Frank Feely, a retired teacher and politician, completed a Bachelor of Arts in History, Irish and English in the late 1950s but did not have the opportunity to attend his graduation ceremony. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh welcomed Mr Feely back to campus and to the stage to be recognised and celebrated alongside his granddaughter Tara Savage, who was conferred with a Bachelor of Arts. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President, said: “All of us at the University are honoured to be able to recognise Frank Feely after all these years and in a special way on the day that his granddaughter Tara Savage is conferred. I am aware of Mr Feely’s regret at not being able to attend his own graduation ceremony with his classmates and it is a great delight that we got to play a small part in his celebration as he took to the stage with his granddaughter today.” Born in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo in 1937, Mr Feely was one of the youngest ever students to attend the University having commenced his studies in October 1955 aged 17. He earned a place after successfully completing the Matric Entrance Examination a year early as part of his studies as a boarder at St Nathy's College, Ballaghadereen, Co Roscommon. Mr Feely secured a role as a teacher in St Colman's College, Newry, within weeks of completing his degree and he went on to be Head of History in the school. In 1968, Mr Feely became involved in politics and the Civil Rights Movement and the foundation of the SDLP, remained involved in politics being elected the First Mayor of Newry and also being part of negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement.  Mr Feely’s political endeavours for peace in the North have been acknowledged in an exhibition in the museum in his home town of Kiltimagh. Mr Feely said: “I am very happy and incredibly grateful to be able to share this wonderful occasion with my granddaughter Tara. I loved the ceremony and to see the large number of people there today. When I was here in the 1950’s there was only a few hundred of students studying altogether, and most were male, but today about 70% were female so it’s fantastic to see the developments that have happened over the years. I would like to thank my family, the University and Tara for organising to allow me to come today and participate in the ceremony. It was well worth waiting over 60 years.” Tara said: “It has been a couple of months in the planning so it was great to be able to finally see it happen and to unveil the big surprise to him. It is such a special day, made even more special by being able to share it with granddad.” Now aged 84 Mr Feely and his wife Ella still lives in Newry, where they raised their three children, daughter Noreen and sons Kieran and Niall. The conferring celebrations for undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD degrees took place from Thursday August 25, to Monday August 29.  Ends

Monday, 29 August 2022

NUI Galway study shows Noble False Widow spider venom 230 times more potent than that of native spiders  A team of scientists from the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway has found that not only is the venom of the Noble False Widow much more potent than any of the common Northern European spiders they tested, but the spider is also able to adapt its attacking behaviour to prevail in different battle scenarios. In a bid to understand why the Noble False Widow spider is so successful at spreading in towns and cities throughout the world, the team investigated the potency of its venom and compared it with the venom of some of the native spiders it competes with for available resources.  The new study, published in the international journal Toxins, demonstrates that the Noble False Widow spider possesses venom up to 230 times more potent than that of native Northern European species it routinely encounters in and around our homes.  This may explain why Noble False Widows can tackle a range of organisms much larger than themselves, including lizards, bats, shrews, and other spiders. The study also found that Noble False Widows can make calculated decisions on whether to attack large or small prey depending on how much venom is left in their venom glands. If little venom is available, they avoid facing large opponents that could injure them, and instead focus on small prey.  Scientists also demonstrate that in a battle, the Noble False Widow does not inject its venom randomly, but instead targets the most innervated body parts of its enemy, where the neurotoxic venom is most efficient.  Overall, the Noble False Widow spider killed and ate 95% of its opponents over the course of the study. The Noble False Widow is known for its medical significance, having the ability to cause a range of mild to severe symptoms in people who are bitten, but little is known about its ecological impact on native species.  Over the past five years, the team at the University’s Venom Systems Lab, led by Dr Michel Dugon, have been studying a wide range of characteristics specific to the species including its venom, symptoms after envenomation, ecology and behaviour.  Dr Dugon, senior author of the study, said: “Over the years, we have learned a lot about the Noble false widow and its venom. This study is another important step to understand the true impact this species has on the ecosystems it invades throughout the world.” Dr John Dunbar, Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral fellow, Venom Systems Lab, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and co-senior author of the study, said: “The Noble False Widow spider is a truly remarkable animal; at every turn this species has surprised us in its ability to become globally invasive and dominate habitats it occupies. The tiniest amounts of venom - about 1,000th of a raindrop - can cause medically significant symptoms in humans that are about 250,000 times larger than them. Each new study brings us closer to understanding how exactly they are achieving their success.” Originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands, the Noble False Widow spider Steatoda nobilis has the potential to become one of the world’s most invasive species of spider.  It was first reported in southern England in 1879. In recent decades it has increased its range and population density, spreading northwards towards Scotland and westward through Wales and Ireland. In that time the species has also spread globally across Europe, East Asia, North America, and South America.  Joint first author of the study and NUI Galway graduate, Sean Rayner, said: “Over the past number of years we have seen a noticeable increase in Irish populations of Noble False Widow. This study will help us further understand what makes them so successful and hopefully highlight their potential impact to our ecosystems.” Aiste Vitkauskaite, researcher at the Venom Systems Lab and a joint-first author of the study, said: “This is an important study which provided evidence of the Noble False Widow's superiority as a competitor in terms of its venom and predatory strategies against the native spider populations in the laboratory setting. We are hoping that our findings will lead to wider field-based studies to quantify the true impact of this alien species on native arachnids.” The team of scientists are encouraging members of the public to email them at falsewidow@nuigalway.ie to report sightings of the Noble False Widow spider. Read the full study in Toxins here: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/14/9/587 Ends

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Tá an tríú bliain de Scéim Iasachta na Ríomhairí Glúine do mhic léinn lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh. Glacfar le hiarratais don scéim ón lá inniu go dtí Dé Sathairn, an 15 Deireadh Fómhair 2022. Bhain corradh agus 960 mac léinn leas as Scéim Iasachta Ríomhairí Glúine OÉ Gaillimh le dhá bhliain anuas. Is cuid de phacáiste an scéim chun tacú le mic léinn faoi mhíbhuntáiste lena staidéir trí ríomhaire glúine a chur ar fáil do mhic léinn incháilithe ar iasacht fadtéarma a fhad is a mhairfidh a dtréimhse mar mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Seo mar a labhair Imelda Byrne, Ceann an Ionaid Rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ní beag an costas ríomhaire glúine a cheannach i gcás teaghlaigh ar ioncam íseal, agus ní féidir le mic léinn a bheith páirteach go hiomlán sa chóras oideachais dá uireasa. Is mór ag an Ollscoil luachanna na hoscailteachta agus bairr feabhais, agus tuigimid go bhfuil i gceist leis sin ní díreach rochtain ar oideachas tríú leibhéal ach an tacaíocht agus na hacmhainní atá de dhíth le go mbeidh duine in ann tabhairt faoina gcuid staidéar i gceart. “Rinne an scéim seo éascaíocht dúinn gléas digiteach a chur ar fáil go cothrom do mhic léinn arb as teaghlaigh ar ioncam íseal iad mar aon le mic léinn arb as grúpaí iad nach mbeadh traidisiún láidir acu freastal ar oideachas tríú leibhéal, agus ar an gcaoi sin an t-ualach airgeadais atá orthu a laghdú.” Seo mar a labhair Caroline O’Toole, mac léinn le hEolaíocht Bhithleighis in OÉ Gaillimh, a fuair a ríomhaire glúine faoin scéim: “’Aoibhinn beatha an scoláire’ a deirtear, ach bíonn dúshláin le sárú chomh maith agus ina measc siúd tá easpa airgid, agus gan a bheith in ann íoc as soláthairtí scoile. Bhí sé sin amhlaidh i mo chás. Ba mhór an faoiseamh é nuair a chuala mé faoi scéim iasachta na ríomhairí glúine, agus d’éirigh liom ríomhaire glúine a fháil ar feadh thréimhse mo chéime. Bhain sé an brú díom. Bhí cúnamh ag teastáil uaim, agus éisteadh liom.” Déantar incháilitheacht don scéim a rangú ar bhunús riachtanais an iarratasóra. Tá mic léinn arb as teaghlaigh ar ioncam íseal iad nó na spriocghrúpaí aitheanta atá in ann a thaispeáint nach bhfuil sé d’acmhainn acu ná ag a dteaghlach a leithéid de ghléas a cheannach, i dteideal iarratas a dhéanamh faoin scéim. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin scéim, na critéir agus an próiseas iarratais, téigh chuig: www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/laptoploanscheme/ Críoch

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

NUI Galway has announced a third year of the Laptop Loan Scheme for full-time and part-time students. Applications for the scheme are being accepted from today until Saturday October 15, 2022. Over 960 students benefitted from the NUI Galway Laptop Loan Scheme over the last two years. The scheme is part of a package to support disadvantaged students by providing eligible students with a laptop, on long-term loan, to help them with studies for as long as they are students at NUI Galway. Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Purchasing a laptop can be a significant financial consideration for low-income households and a barrier to students participating fully in their education. The University values openness and excellence and we understand that means students not only accessing third-level education but having the supports and resources necessary to participate in their studies to the best of their abilities.  “This scheme allowed us to provide students from low-income households and students who would not traditionally be well represented at third-level with equal access to a digital device and to reduce their financial burden.” NUI Galway Biomedical Science student Caroline O'Toole, who received a laptop under the scheme, said: "Being a student is an exciting and fun journey but also it can come with some challenges, for example financial issues, not being able to afford school supplies. This was an issue for me. When I heard of the laptop loan scheme, I was so relieved as I was given a laptop for the duration of my degree. This lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I needed help and I was heard." Eligibility is prioritised on a needs basis. Students from low-income households and the identified target groups who demonstrate that they or their family do not have the means to purchase such a device themselves qualify to apply for the scheme. For more information on the scheme, criteria and application process visit: www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/laptoploanscheme/  Ends

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Cuirfidh OÉ Gaillimh fáilte roimh breis agus1,700 céimí, a dteaghlaigh agus a gcairde chuig an gcampas an tseachtain seo ar ócáid bhronnta a gcéimeanna.  Reáchtálfar na searmanais bhronnta do mhic léinn céime, iarchéime agus PhD ón Déardaoin, 25 Lúnasa go dtí Dé Luain, 29 Lúnasa. Seo mar a labhair an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba mhaith liom, thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslú le gach duine de na céimithe atá ag filleadh ar an gcampas i gcaitheamh na dtrí lá ar an lá mór seo ina saol. Ceiliúradh atá ann ar a dtiomantas, ar a gcumas agus ar a ndúthracht i rith na mblianta. Táimid ar iontaoibh 175 bliain de thraidisiún agus ar a bhfuil bainte amach ag na glúnta céimithe a chuaigh romhainn ón ollscoil seo, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway." Déanfar raon céimeanna a bhronnadh i rith na dtrí lá ar chéimithe ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta, Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí, Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte agus Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Tá sceideal iomlán shearmanais bhronnta an Fhómhair le fáil ag https://www.nuigalway.ie/conferring/. Críoch

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

NUI Galway will welcome over 1,700 graduates, their families and friends to the campus this week for their conferring ceremonies.  The celebrations for undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD degrees take place from Thursday August 25, to Monday August 29. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I would like to congratulate each of graduates returning to campus over the three days on what will be a milestone day in their lives. It is a celebration of their dedication, talent, and commitment over many years. We stand on the shoulders of over 175 years of tradition and the strength of generations of graduates from this university, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway.” Over the three days a range of degrees will be awarded to graduates from the College of Science and Engineering, College of Business, Public Policy and Law, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. The full schedule for the University’s Autumn Conferring ceremonies is available at https://www.nuigalway.ie/conferring/. Ends

Monday, 22 August 2022

Breakthrough study follows collaboration between NUI Galway and Massachusetts Institute of Technology A team of researchers from NUI Galway and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has devised a new design that prevents the build-up of scar tissue and extends the therapeutic lifespan of an implanted medical device.  The breakthrough device/development, which does not rely on immunosuppressing drugs, may assist efforts to develop an artificial pancreas to treat diabetes. The study was published in the international journal Nature Communications. Implantable drug delivery devices that release insulin into the body over long periods of time hold promise as an alternative way to treat diabetes without insulin injections or cannula insertions.  However, one obstacle that has prevented their use so far is that the immune system attacks them after implantation, forming a thick layer of scar tissue that blocks insulin release. This cascade of events, known as the foreign body response, can also interfere with many other types of implantable medical devices which leads to premature failure.  The NUI Galway-MIT research team incorporated mechanical actuation in their design which enabled small and regular movements of the implanted device. The research showed that just by moving the device every 12 hours, the device remained functional after eight weeks of implantation and was as good as a freshly implanted device. It also showed that this type of motion modulates how immune cells respond to the implanted device, which extends its lifetime and efficacy. NUI Galway’s Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineer Dr Eimear Dolan said: “We are very excited about the results of this study. We believe our approach holds promise to improve the performance of a range of implantable drug delivery devices - from insulin to cancer therapy delivery. It is a privilege to work with such a talented multi-disciplinary team and I look forward to continuing working together.” Professor Garry Duffy, Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway, said: “This is a continuation of our efforts to thwart the foreign body response to allow long term lifespan of implantable drug delivery devices with a specific focus on improving the lives of people living with Type 1 diabetes. Soft robotics allow us to make the implants active and to influence how the immune system perceives medical device implants. We will continue to translate this technology through to the clinic in the coming years.” Professor Ellen Roche from MIT said: “You can imagine that we can apply this technology to anything that is hindered by a foreign body response or fibrous capsule and have a long-term effect. I think any sort of implantable drug delivery device could benefit.” In this study published in Nature Communications, the team applied their design to diabetes to see if that immunomodulatory effect could help improve drug delivery over eight weeks. The team built a two-chambered device where one of the chambers acts as a drug reservoir, and the other acts as a soft, inflatable actuator. Using an external controller, the researchers can stimulate the actuator to inflate and deflate on a specific schedule.  They found that mechanical actuation clears away immune cells called neutrophils, the cells that initiate the process that leads to scar tissue formation, and it took much longer for scar tissue to develop around these devices. The research showed scar tissue did eventually form, but its structure was unusual - instead of the tangled collagen fibres that built up around static devices, collagen fibres surrounding actuated devices were more highly aligned, which the researchers believe may help drug molecules to pass through the tissue. The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the insulin release by measuring subsequent changes in blood glucose levels and found with the actuated device, effective insulin delivery was maintained throughout the eight weeks of the study.  Co-Founded by Professor Duffy, Professor Roche and Dr Dolan and led by CEO Robert Wylie, Fada Medical is developing fully implantable and partially implantable versions of this technology that will improve insulin delivery for people with diabetes. This venture will be supported by the unique NUI Galway innovation ecosystem drawing expertise from CÚRAM, the HRB Clinical Research Facility and leading clinicians.  The research was funded in part by Science Foundation Ireland, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. The study builds on a strong collaboration between NUI Galway’s Dr Eimear Dolan and Professor Garry Duffy, and Professor Ellen Roche from MIT.  MIT postdocs William Whyte and Debkalpa Goswami, and visiting scholar Sophie Wang, are the lead authors of the paper, with contributions from NUI Galway researchers Niamh Ward, Dr Ruth Levey, Rachel Beatty, Dr Scott Robinson, Dr Declan Sheppard, Raymond O’Connor, Dr David Monahan, Lesley Trask, Robert Wylie, Dr Joanne O’Dwyer and Daniel Domingo. The full study is available in Nature Communications at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32147-w  Ends

Friday, 19 August 2022

NUI Galway clinicians, computer scientists and engineers are using enhanced x-ray technology used to measure bone density in people across Galway, Leitrim and Sligo to develop new osteoporosis screening and testing strategies for early identification of the condition in patients.  Funded by the Health Research Board, the Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry Management Application Project (DXA MAP), uses state of the art machines to develop a personalised, patient-centred tool for osteoporosis screening and fracture prediction. Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway and Clinical Lead for DXA, Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disorders, at Galway University Hospitals, John Carey said: “The cross disciplinary expertise enables the development of a smart screening methodology to reduce health costs, maximise healthcare efficiencies, reduce waiting times and improve patient care and quality of life.” The DXA MAP tool will be underpinned by artificial intelligence, recommended diagnostic criteria, reference standards and visualisation approaches to support osteoporosis and fracture risk prediction, clinical interpretation and clinical-patient communication. The DXA MAP project also aims to support clinician interpretation through more automated processes and could predict Covid-19 and multi-morbidity risk using DXA secondary-data. The project will be carried out by the University’s College of Science and Engineering and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, and led by Dr Attracta Brennan, Professor John Carey and Associate Professor Mary Dempsey.  The DXA MAP project includes patients and collaborators in Tsinghua University and Oxford University. Ends

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

NUI Galway’s longstanding education partnership with Galway International Arts Festival has led to a three-year Government funding package for a new programme focusing on creative arts management.  The investment through the Springboard+ initiative comes as the University and the Festival mark 11 years of the partnership.  Delivered in collaboration with Galway International Arts Festival, Druid Theatre and other creative arts partners, the Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Arts Management will provide skills in design, production, curation, business and management, while also offering an accredited work placement with a creative arts business.  Professor Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway Vice-Dean for Engagement in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, said: “The new Springboard+ postgraduate certificate in Creative Arts Management will give participants the skills needed to play a leading role in the development of the creative industries.  “With the support and advice of our partners in Galway International Arts Festival, we’ll provide exciting modules that cover creativity, design thinking, producing and curation, and other essential skills. With a work placement and the option to study online or in person, this innovative new course is sure to prove popular.  “Huge credit for this support from Government is due to our University partnership with Galway International Arts Festival and the way in which it has grown and developed over the years.” As part of the programme, students will gain hands-on skills in practice-based modules delivered on-campus, with blended options available for those living away from Galway. It includes a strong focus on targeted career development, with students taking up an internship with an arts organisation and taking part in supervised work experience projects. John Crumlish, Chief Executive of Galway International Arts Festival, said: "We are delighted that the postgraduate Certificate in Creative Arts Management will be a beneficiary of the Springboard investment announcement by Minister Harris. “This is a very exciting development, as it opens up a new avenue for people who wish to develop a career in the creative industries while also adding significantly to the existing human capital in this area." Springboard+ courses are at Level 6 (Certificate) to Level 9 (Masters) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), and are delivered by public and private higher education providers around the country. Now entering its twelfth year, over 90,000 people have benefitted from the programme to date. The Springboard+ programme is managed by the Higher Education Authority, on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.  Along with the Certificate in Creative Arts Management, NUI Galway has a number of programmes available under Springboard+ 2022, including: Specialist Diploma in Automation and Control Specialist Diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning Specialist Diploma in Medical Device Science Diploma in Software Engineering MA in Digital Art, Design, and Cultures Certificate in Medical Technology Regulatory Affairs and Operations MSc AgInnovation Postgraduate Diploma in Cloud Computing and Software Development Postgraduate Diploma in Cybersecurity and Software Development Ends

Monday, 8 August 2022

New research involving patients in intensive care has highlighted that propofol, an anaesthetic drug commonly used to facilitate invasive mechanical ventilation, increases cardiovascular complications risk in the critically ill.  This collaborative international study, led by Professor John Laffey at NUI Galway and researchers at the University of Milan-Bicocca, sought to understand the impact of airway management in critically ill patients.  Dr John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at the University’s School of Medicine and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals, has led an international research team investigating the causes and impact of peri-intubation cardiovascular instability in almost 3,000 critically ill patients. This research is part of the International Observational Study to Understand the Impact and Best Practices of Airway Management in Critically Ill Patients (INTUBE) which is investigating global practice in performing tracheal intubation in patients from 29 countries.  The paper was published in the American Journal of Respiratory Care Medicine. As part of this research, the investigators identified important modifiable, previously poorly understood risk factors that increase the risk of critically ill patients developing shock and cardiovascular instability when undergoing urgent tracheal intubation to permit invasive mechanical ventilation, commonly referred to as ‘life support’.   The identification of variables that can be modified through changes in clinical practice was explored as part of this study and evidence suggests that one commonly used anaesthetic agent has a major role in the incidence of cardiac arrest and hypertension after intubation.  Professor Laffey explains: “Airway management is universal but prior to the INTUBE study data on the management of intubated patients has been scarce. Identifying risks is the first step in developing safer management approaches.  “Tracheal intubation is one of the most high-risk and frequently performed procedures in patients who are critically ill. Cardiovascular adverse events like low blood pressure and even cardiac arrest can be frequent after intubation. Different factors play a role in the increased risk in patients who are critically ill compared with patients undergoing the procedure for elective surgical procedures.  “To date, the research agenda on interventions to reduce risk in these patients in critical care has mainly focused on oxygenation optimisation and on methods to achieve intubation at the first attempt. “In our recent research as part of the INTUBE study we have identified that the commonly used anaesthetic drug – propofol – is strongly associated with an increase in the incidence of cardiac arrest and severe hypotension after intubation. This is an important discovery, and the first time that this has been investigated in a truly global patient cohort such as the INTUBE study. “As a result of this study it is our intention to conduct further clinical trials to develop and test alternative strategies to reduce the risk and severity or cardiovascular adverse events in critically ill patients requiring urgent tracheal intubation. In the meantime, our data strongly suggests that propofol use should be restricted in this patient group and even avoided where possible.  “Training in the use of this specialised drug is key. The drug suppresses reflexes which makes it particularly good for intubation, but equally it appears to be be this suppression that is causing risks for patients.”  Ends

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast collaborate under Shared Island fund to tackle issue of hospital acquired infections Researchers at NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast are investigating how attaching sugar molecules to plastics could give medical devices a new layer of protection from infection. The SUGARCOAT project is among 62 research collaborations supported by the Government’s Shared Island fund.  Early-career researchers Dr Joseph Byrne, NUI Galway, and Dr Matthew Wylie, Queen’s University Belfast, are working together to tackle the issue of hospital acquired infections associated with devices by taking preventative science to a new level.  The team is attempting to harness the science behind the interaction of sugar molecules with bacterial proteins to make fluorescent materials which glow at first, darkening when they become compromised by bacteria. The technology would be attached to plastics which coat medical devices - such as urinary catheters or endotracheal tubes - allowing clinicians to spot potential infection at an early opportunity and react faster.  Dr Byrne, Honorary Research Lecturer in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, NUI Galway, explained the concept: “Prevention of bacterial infections is key to fighting the challenge of antimicrobial resistance and if this isn't possible, then early detection through innovative sensing materials could act as an alarm, allowing devices to be removed and replaced before infection becomes a more serious risk to patient health.” Dr Wylie, Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Materials Science in Queens University Belfast, said: “Like many humans, sugar is something bacteria can’t resist getting a taste of. Many types of bacteria contain special proteins, which allow them to seek out and attach to sugar molecules, which they can use to grow and cause infection within the human body. Our new sugar-decorated coatings will exploit this interaction as an early warning, which has the potential to lead to the development of a new generation of medical devices, giving doctors and nurses tools to reduce risks of infection, bring down healthcare costs and decrease the need for antibiotic use in hospitals.” The project is being supported with €193,000 from the Government’s Shared Island initiative. The research team is supported by senior colleagues Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, and Professor Colin McCoy, Head of School of Pharmacy in Queen’s University Belfast.  Medical device-associated infections account for up to half of healthcare-associated infections and people who are immunocompromised people and those with cystic fibrosis (CF) are particularly at risk, with the island of Ireland having one of the highest number of people with CF per capita. These infections are a major health concern to patients and incur significant expense to healthcare systems, requiring longer stays and increased antibiotic usage. The rise of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is an urgent problem, decreasing the effectiveness of existing antibiotics. It is estimated that across EU/EEA countries, 33,000 deaths per year in EU/EEA countries are associated with antimicrobial resistance, costing more than €1 billion to health services.  This project hopes to minimise the impact of this challenge by producing innovative coatings, which will prevent or detect bacterial build-up on widely-used medical devices before they lead to infection in a patient.  Dr Byrne, a CÚRAM collaborator, added: “Hospital-acquired bacterial infections are a major issue across the entire island of Ireland, and I’m excited to forge a new and lasting relationship with counterparts in Belfast to deliver meaningful new tools in fighting this challenge. “The research allows me to combine my chemistry research with more patient-facing researchers and healthcare stakeholders to increase our societal impact. Building all-island collaborations through this scheme will help us to unlock Ireland’s potential for innovation and cutting-edge science.” Dr Wylie added: “We are delighted to be able to pursue this innovative research under the Shared Island fund. Not only is it support for two early-career researchers, but it will open up opportunities for collaboration with industry and clinicians in both the North and South of Ireland, particularly as Galway is a global hub for major medical device companies and Queen’s has vast experience of collaborating with medical device companies across the UK and Ireland.” Ends

Friday, 30 September 2022

Inniu, sheol an tAire Stáit Gaeltachta agus Spóirt Jack Chambers mór-thaispeántas in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a thugann léargas úr ar stair na Gaeilge agus tuiscint níos doimhne ar sheasamh na teanga sa tír agus san ollscoil féin. Arna choimisiúnú ag Roinn na Gaeilge, ceiliúrann Saíocht & Saoránacht: Tomás Ó Máille oidhreacht an chéad ollaimh le Gaeilge san ollscoil. De bhunadh Dhúiche Sheoigheach, ceapadh Tomás Ó Máille ina ollamh in 1909 agus lean sé air sa ról go bhfuair sé bás go hanabaí in 1938. Ceannródaí ab ea an Máilleach ar mhórán bealaí ach is suntasach mar a dhírigh sé ar nua-theicneolaíocht a linne féin — an taifeadadh fuaime. Ag díriú ar bhéaloideas, amhráin, agus canúintí éagsúla, chruthaigh sé na céadta taifeadadh fuaime de chainteoirí Gaeilge as gach contae i gConnacht agus as an gClár. Freisin, chuidigh sé le bailitheoirí agus scoláirí eile taifeadtaí a chruthú, ina measc Wilhelm Doegen, stiúrthóir Roinn na Fuaime i Leabharlann na Prúise i mBeirlín. Beagnach céad bliain ó gabhadh iad ar fhiteáin céaracha, rinneadh na taifeadtaí i Leabharlann Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a dhigitiú anuraidh le tacaíocht ó Roinn na Gaeltachta. Dúirt an tAire Stáit Chambers: "Is cúis áthais dom seoladh an taispeántais seo ar shaothar an Ollaimh Tomás Ó Máille agus go raibh mo Roinn in ann tionscadal digitithe na sorcóirí céarach a mhaoiniú. Beidh an t-ábhar sin ina áis luachmhar do thaighdeoirí agus don phobal araon agus cách in ann taitneamh a bhaint as saothar Thomáis Uí Mháille chun guthanna agus amhráin Iarthar na hÉireann, a taifeadadh 100 bliain ó shin, a chloisteáil. Teicneolaíocht cheannródaíoch a bhí sna sorcóirí céarach in aimsir Uí Mháille agus beidh forbairtí teicneolaíochta na linne seo, a mbeidh plé domhain á dhéanamh orthu sa Phlean Digiteach don Ghaeilge atá le foilsiú ag mo Roinn go luath, in ann leas a bhaint as ábhar digitithe den chineál seo chun forbairt shuntasach a dhéanamh ar an aithint chainte agus ar nua-theicneolaíochtaí eile don Ghaeilge sna blianta seo romhainn." Sa taispeántas seo, gheofar spléachadh i bhfoirm pictiúr, ábhar fuaime, agus físeán ar mhór-éachtaí an Mháilligh mar scoláire, scríbhneoir, teangeolaí, léachtóir, eagarthóir nuachtáin, bailitheoir, agus stocaire. Feicfear físeáin d'amhránaithe — Sarah Ghriallais, Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, Mary Staunton, agus Fiachna Ó Mongáin — ag tabhairt beatha nua do na sean-amhráin a thaifead an Máilleach, chomh maith le hábhar ó chartlann na Taibhdheirce agus ó chartlann an nuachtáin An Stoc.  Ag labhairt di roimh sheoladh an taispeántais, dúirt an coimeádaí, an Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile: "Beidh cartlann luachmhar an Mháilligh ina steillbheatha sa taispeántas seo den chéad uair riamh agus go dátheangach. Seo ceiliúradh ar mhór-obair a rinne an Máilleach mar ghníomhaí ar son na Gaeilge ar feadh a shaoil agus freisin ag cruinniú shaibhreas na n-ealaíon Gaeilge ó gach contae taobh thiar den tSionainn." Léiríodh an taispeántas i gcomhpháirt le hAcadamh Ríoga Éireann agus le Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann, le maoiniú ó Fhoras na Gaeilge, agus Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Tá sé ar cheann de shé thionscnamh atá faoi stiúir bhaill reatha agus iar-bhaill foirne, tionscnaimh a roghnaigh Ollscoil na Gaillimhe níos túisce i mbliana ar mhaithe le saibhreas staire na hinstitiúide a cheiliúradh. Is é cuspóir na sraithe seo ná tarraingt ar stair agus ar dhúchas na hinstitiúide ar mhaithe leis an gceangal leis an bpobal a dhaingniú agus an tosaíocht a thugtar d'obair ar son leas an phobail trí chéile a aithint. Dúirt Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: "Tá Léann agus Scoláireacht na Gaeilge ar cheann de na gnéithe is sainiúla san Ollscoil ar fad a thugann tosaíocht dúinn. Tá áthas orm go mbeimid ag ceiliúradh fíorthús thraidisiún na scoláireachta sin trí phearsa Thomáis Uí Mháille. Is léiriú é saothar Uí Mháille an tráth úd, agus an taispeántas seo inniu, ar luachanna na hOllscoile: an meas atá ar theanga agus ar dhúchas iarthar Éireann; na hardchaighdeáin scolártha; agus an comhoibriú oscailte le gaolta Uí Mháille, le maoinitheoirí, agus le páirtnéirí acadúla, a chumhdóidh oidhreacht scolártha Uí Mháille chomh maith leis na guthanna a ghabh sé go ceann i bhfad. Dúirt stiúrthóir an taispeántais, an tOllamh Lillis Ó Laoire: "Táimid fíorbhuíoch as an tacaíocht a thug mac Thomáis, Éamonn Ó Máille nach maireann, dár n-iarrachtaí oidhreacht a athar a thabhairt slán agus a roinnt ar an bpobal. Tá taifeadtaí fuaime an Mháilligh á scaoileadh ar shuíomh idirlín na hOllscoile, www.ollscoilnagaillimhe.ie/tomasomaille, saor in aisce, agus cloisfidh pobail an Iarthair a muintir féin ag canadh, ag caint, agus ag caoineadh na marbh beagnach 100 bliain ó shin." Seoladh an taispeántas go poiblí in Áras Uí Argadáin in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe le haoichaint ón Ollamh Emeritus le Stair, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh. Go ceann ráithe a mhairfidh an taispeántas agus tá camchuairt san Iarthar agus thar lear á dhearbhú. Críoch

Friday, 30 September 2022

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers has today launched a major exhibition at the University of Galway shedding new light on the history of the Irish language and deepening our understanding of its status nationally as well as in the University.  Commissioned by the University’s Department of Irish, Culture & Citizenship: Tomás Ó Máille celebrates the legacy of the first professor of Irish in the University. Originally from Joyce Country, Tomás Ó Máille was appointed professor in 1909 and held that position until his untimely death in 1938. A pioneer in many ways, Tomás Ó Máille’s greatest foresight was his commitment to the newest technology of his day — audio recording. Focusing on folklore, song, and various dialects, he created hundreds of recordings of Irish speakers from every county in Connacht and County Clare. He also assisted the recording work of other collectors and scholars including Wilhelm Doegen, head of the Sound Department at the Prussian State Library in Berlin.  Nearly 100 years after they were first captured, wax cylinder recordings held in the University of Galway Library were digitised last year with support from Roinn na Gaeltachta. Minister of State Chambers said: “I am delighted to launch this exhibition on the work of Professor Tomás Ó Máille and that my Department could fund the project for digitising the wax cylinders. This content will be valuable to both researchers and the general public and Tomás Ó Máille’s work can now be enjoyed by all to once again hear the voices and songs of the West of Ireland recorded 100 years ago. These wax cylinders were a pioneering technology in Ó Máille’s day and today’s technological advances, which are heavily referenced in the Digital Plan for the Irish Language to be published by my Department soon, can leverage this digitised content as a basis for developing speech recognition and other cutting-edge technologies for the Irish language in coming years.” Through images and audio-visual recordings, the exhibition Culture & Citizenship: Tomás Ó Máille reveals the pioneering Professor’s remarkable achievements as a scholar, writer, linguist, lecturer, newspaper editor, collector, and activist.  The exhibition includes filmed performances by sean-nós singers - Sarah Ghriallais, Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, Mary Staunton, and Fiachna Ó Mongáin - giving new life to the old songs Ó Máille recorded, along with material from the archives of the national theatre of the Irish language, An Taibhdhearc, and the newspaper An Stoc. Curator of the exhibition Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile said: "This exhibition sees Ó Máille's priceless archive come to life for the first time and bilingually. This is a celebration of the extraordinary efforts of Ó Máille as a lifelong changemaker working for the Irish language, and of his outstanding legacy in capturing artistic treasures of the Irish language from every county west of the Shannon." The exhibition has been produced in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy and the National Library, with funding from Foras na Gaeilge and University of Galway. It is one of six projects by current and retired staff selected earlier this year by University of Galway to showcase the breadth of the history of the institution. The series aims to draw on the history and heritage of the institution to deepen its connection to the community and highlight its focus on working for public good. President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Irish language scholarship is one of the distinctive features of our University that truly sets us apart. I am pleased that through this exhibition we will celebrate the very early beginning of that scholarship in the figure of Tomás Ó Máille.  "It strikes me that Ó Máille’s work then, and this exhibition today, reflect the values of our university – in their respect for the language and traditions of the West of Ireland, in the excellent standards of scholarship, and in the open collaboration with Ó Máille’s family, funders and academic partners to sustain Ó Máille’s scholarship and his collaborators' voices for generations to come." Exhibition director Professor Lillis Ó Laoire said: "We are especially grateful to Tomás' son, Éamonn Ó Máille, who, before he died, supported our efforts to preserve and create access to his father's archival legacy. In time, Ó Máille's recordings will be freely available at www.universityofgalway.ie/tomasomaille, and west of Ireland communities will hear their own ancestors singing, speaking, and keening nearly 100 years ago." The exhibition was launched to the public at the Hardiman Building, University of Galway with guest speaker Emeritus Professor of History, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh. It runs for three months with plans being finalised to tour in the west of Ireland and overseas. Ends

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

University of Galway will welcome thousands of prospective students and their families to campus for this year’s annual autumn undergraduate open days. The autumn open days will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8, from 9am to 3pm each day.  This flagship event in the University’s calendar is open to students of all years, parents, guidance counsellors and teachers. Leaving Certificate students preparing for CAO 2023 are particularly encouraged to attend ahead of making course and career choices in the coming months.  The return to in-person open days saw a surge in attendance earlier in the year with almost 6,000 students registering to attend in March 2022.  Registration is required in advance and visitors are advised to plan their day by reviewing the schedule in advance and identifying must-see talks and activities.  With almost 70 undergraduate degrees on offer at University of Galway in 2023, the open day will provide visitors the opportunity to meet lecturers, staff and students at the exhibitions spread across five zones. Staff will also be available to discuss courses, entry requirements, work placements, study abroad and career opportunities.  The talks schedule will feature all courses and subjects across Arts, Science, Engineering, Business, Law, Nursing, Health Sciences and Medicine. It also includes talks on Student Life, Sport, Study Abroad, Careers and ALIVE volunteering.  The Access Centre will host a session on alternative pathways, mature student supports and the QQI/FETAC/PLC entry route.  Mothers, fathers and guardians may be interested in the Parents’ Talk taking place on Saturday only at 12pm with advice and guidance on how they can support children’s progression to third level.   Sarah Geraghty, University of Galway Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach, highlighted the importance of providing students with opportunities to explore the campus and think about their future studies.  “Openness is a core value at University of Galway and our aim is to provide visitors with a dynamic and engaging programme of activities, with lots of opportunities to interact with staff and students and time and space to explore the campus,” she said. “There five different types of guided tours on offer including campus tours, accommodation tours and guided visits to teaching and learning spaces including engineering, nursing and midwifery and the library’s Makerspace. Exploring the campus facilities and the wider learning environment gives students a holistic view of what to expect from college life and hopefully a sense of great possibility for their future studies.” Advance registration is required, with further info and the full programme available at www.universityofgalway.ie/opendays, or by emailing opendays@universityofgalway.ie.  Ends

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Cuirfidh Ollscoil na Gaillimhe fáilte roimh na mílte daltaí agus a dteaghlaigh chuig an gcampas le haghaidh laethanta oscailte fochéime an fhómhair i mbliana. Beidh laethanta oscailte an fhómhair ar siúl Dé hAoine agus Dé Sathairn, an 7 agus an 8 Deireadh Fómhair, ó 9am go 3pm gach lá. Tá an ócáid thábhachtach seo i bhféilire na hOllscoile dírithe ar dhaltaí i ngach bliain, tuismitheoirí, múinteoirí gairmthreorach agus múinteoirí eile. Moltar go háirithe do dhaltaí Ardteistiméireachta atá ag ullmhú do CAO 2023 freastal ar na laethanta oscailte sula ndéanann siad roghanna maidir le cúrsaí agus gairmeacha sna míonna amach romhainn. Nuair a cuireadh na laethanta oscailte ar siúl ar an láthair an athuair tháinig méadú ar an líon daoine a d’fhreastail orthu. Chláraigh beagnach 6,000 mac léinn le freastal ar na cinn a bhí ar siúl i mí an Mhárta 2022. Is gá clárú roimh ré agus moltar do chuairteoirí a lá a phleanáil trí bhreathnú ar an sceideal roimh ré agus a dhéanamh amach cé na cainteanna agus na gníomhaíochtaí ar mian leo freastal orthu. Agus beagnach 70 fochéim á dtairiscint in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe in 2023, tabharfaidh an lá oscailte deis do chuairteoirí bualadh le léachtóirí, comhaltaí foirne agus mic léinn ag na taispeántais sna cúig zón. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ar fáil freisin chun cúrsaí, riachtanais iontrála, socrúcháin oibre, staidéar thar lear agus deiseanna gairme a phlé. Beidh gach cúrsa agus ábhar sna Dána, Eolaíocht, Innealtóireacht, Gnó, Dlí, Altranas, Eolaíochtaí Sláinte agus Leigheas ar sceideal na gcainteanna. Áirítear freisin cainteanna ar Shaol na Mac Léinn, Spórt, Staidéar Thar Lear, Gairmeacha agus obair dheonach ALIVE. Eagróidh an tIonad Rochtana seisiún ar bhealaí iontrála eile, ar thacaíochtaí do mhic léinn lánfhásta agus ar an mbealach iontrála QQI/FETAC/PLC. B’fhéidir go mbeadh suim ag máithreacha, aithreacha agus caomhnóirí i gCaint na dTuismitheoirí nach mbeidh ar siúl ach Dé Sathairn ag 12pm le comhairle agus treoir a fháil ar conas is féidir leo tacú le lena gclann agus iad ag dul ar aghaidh chuig an tríú leibhéal.  Leag Sarah Geraghty, Stiúrthóir Earcaíochta agus For-rochtana na Mac Léinn, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, béim ar an tábhacht a bhaineann le deiseanna a sholáthar do mhic léinn chun an campas a fheiceáil agus smaoineamh ar a gcuid staidéir amach anseo. “Is luach lárnach í an oscailteacht in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus is é ár n-aidhm clár gníomhaíochtaí atá dinimiciúil agus tarraingteach a sholáthar do chuairteoirí, le go leor deiseanna chun bualadh leis an bhfoireann agus le mic léinn agus am agus spás chun an campas a fheiceáil,” a dúirt sí “Tá cúig chineál éagsúla turas treoraithe ar fáil, ina measc turais champais, turais lóistín agus cuairteanna treoraithe ar spásanna teagaisc agus foghlama lena n-áirítear innealtóireacht, altranas agus cnáimhseachas agus Cúinne na Cruthaitheachta sa leabharlann. Trí chuairt a thabhairt ar áiseanna an champais agus ar an timpeallacht foghlama níos leithne, tugtar léargas iomlánaíoch do dhaltaí ar a mbeidh rompu i saol an choláiste agus tugtar ugach dóibh dá gcuid staidéir amach anseo.” Is gá clárú roimh ré, agus tá tuilleadh eolais agus an clár iomlán ar fáil ag www.universityofgalway.ie/opendays, nó trí ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig opendays@universityofgalway.ie. Críoch

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

D’fhógair Ollscoil na Gaillimhe buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2022 agus bronnfar na gradaim orthu sin ag an 21ú Mórfhéasta Alumni Dé hAoine, an 21 Deireadh Fómhair 2022. Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí an 120,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá scaipthe ar fud an domhain. Is ceannairí iad na buaiteoirí a léirigh tionchar agus sármhaitheas ina réimsí ar leibhéal áitiúil, náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Anois ina 21ú bliain, tá gradaim bronnta ar bhreis is 100 céimí den scoth de chuid na hOllscoile. I measc na ndaoine mór le rá ar bronnadh gradam orthu tá Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, Gráinne Seoige, Aedhmar Hynes, Eamon Gilmore agus Máire Whelan, Ciarán FitzGerald, Olive Loughnane, Marie Mullen agus Nicola Coughlan. Is iad seo a leanas buaiteoirí na n-ocht ngradam a bhronnfar ag Mórfhéasta Ghradaim Alumni 2022: Tom Kenny, BSc 1966, Stiúrthóir Shiopa Leabhar agus Dhánlann Ealaíne Uí Chionnaith, Gaillimh – Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht & an Léann Ceilteach Aifric Keogh, BSc 2014, an chéad bhean a bhuaigh Bonn Oilimpeach Rámhaíochta d’Éirinn – Gradam Alumni as Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt An Dr Marie Healy, MB BCh BAO 1982, Stiúrthóir Cúraim Chriticiúil agus Stiúrthóir Rannóige ar an Stiúrthóireacht Máinliachta, Ospidéal Ríoga Londain – Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte Mary-Ellen McGroarty, BA 1987, LLB 1993, LLM 2019 agus Stiúrthóir na Tíre Ionadaí don Chlár Domhanda Bia, an Afganastáin – Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an tSochaí Mark Butler, BSc 1987, Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin - Oibríochtaí Eorpacha, T&F agus Straitéis, Merit Medical Systems Inc – Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht Ger Rabbette, BComm 1984, Príomhfheidhmeannach Uniphar PLC – Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil Ré Ó Laighléis, BA 1978, Scríbhneoir, Stiúrthóir ar an Scríobhlann – Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Catherine Ludden, PhD 2014, Stiúrthóir Oibríochtaí do Chuibhreannas Géanómaíochta Covid-19 na Ríochta Aontaithe – Gradam Alumni do Cheannairí Nua (Nua do 2022) Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, nuair a fógraíodh buaiteoirí na nGradam: “In Ollscoil na Gaillimhe leagaimid an-tábhacht ar a bheith anseo ar mhaithe le leas an phobail agus ar ár gcuid luachanna – meas,  sármhaitheas, oscailteacht agus inbhuanaitheacht – a chomhlíonadh. Mar aon leis sin, is pobal muid agus nuair a eagraímid imeachtaí iontacha cosúil le Gradaim Alumni na hOllscoile, tugtar aitheantas do na luachanna sin trí aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine seo. “Cuimsíonn gach duine a bhfuil gradam le bronnadh air/uirthi in 2022 an rud a sheasaimid dó mar ollscoil ar bhealaí éagsúla agus tá aitheantas á thabhairt dóibh as a gceannaireacht agus as an difríocht atá á déanamh acu ar fud an domhain agus ar son an domhain mhóir. Is onóir domsa agus d’Ollscoil na Gaillimhe an difríocht sin a roinnt leis an bpobal. Tá áthas ar leith orm gur féidir linn a n-iarrachtaí agus a n-éachtaí a aithint go pearsanta i mbliana tar éis sos gan choinne arbh éigean dúinn a ghlacadh.” Críoch

Monday, 26 September 2022

University of Galway has announced the winners of the 2022 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 21st Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Friday October 21st.  The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s 120,000 graduates worldwide. The awardees are leaders who have demonstrated impact and excellence in their fields on a local, national and international level.  Now in its 21st year, the Awards boasts an impressive roll call of more than 100 outstanding University alumni. Among the distinguished recipients of awards are President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Gráinne Seoige, Aedhmar Hynes, Eamon Gilmore and Máire Whelan, Ciarán FitzGerald, Olive Loughnane, Marie Mullen and Nicola Coughlan.  The winners of the eight awards to be presented at the Alumni Awards Gala Banquet 2022 are:  Tom Kenny, BSc 1966, Director of Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery, Galway - Alumni Award for Arts, Literature & Celtic Studies, sponsored by Deloitte.   Aifric Keogh, BSc 2014, Irish Rowing’s first women’s Olympic Medal - Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport, sponsored by Bank of Ireland. Dr Marie Healy, MB BCh BAO 1982, Director of Critical Care and Divisional Director of the Surgical Directorate, Royal London Hospital - Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, sponsored by Medtronic. Mary-Ellen McGroarty, BA 1987, LLB 1993, LLM 2019 and Representative Country Director for the World Food Program, Afghanistan - Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy, and Society, sponsored by RDJ.   Mark Butler, BSc 1987, Executive VP - European Operations, R&D and Strategy, Merit Medical Systems Inc - Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology. Ger Rabbette, BComm 1984, CEO of Uniphar PLC - Alumni Award for Business and Commerce, sponsored by Bank of Ireland. Ré Ó Laighléis, BA 1978, Writer, Director of An Scríobhlann - Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge.  Catherine Ludden, PhD 2014, Director of Operations for the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium - Alumni Award for Emerging Leaders (New for 2022)  Speaking on the announcement, President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “At University of Galway we place a huge importance on being here for the public good and of living our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability. Along with that, we are a community and when we come to host great events like the University’s Alumni Awards, recognising people in our community speaks to those ideals.  “All of those receiving awards in 2022 embody in diverse ways what we stand for as a university and are being recognised for their leadership and for the difference they are making in the and for the world. It is an honour for me and Ollscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway to share in that difference. I am particularly pleased that we can recognise their endeavours and achievements in person this year after such a forced hiatus.” Ends

Friday, 23 September 2022

CÚRAM launches White Paper exploring how MedTech researchers and research centres can work to help bridge the research-policy gap  CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at the University of Galway, has launched their ‘Science Advocacy in MedTech’ White Paper at a public event entitled Pathways to Policy. Key recommendations of the White Paper include the need for more training support for researchers in effectively communicating and engaging with policy audiences, raising awareness of the policymaking process in Ireland and internationally, and providing networking and knowledge exchange opportunities for researchers and policy audiences.  The White Paper was developed through a collaboration between CÚRAM and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at University of Galway. Emanating from six years of research at CÚRAM, the White Paper takes lessons learned in other countries and other research fields with more experience connecting their research to policy and practice, e.g. environmental science and social sciences.  Lead author, Dr Brendan Dolan explains: “One of our underlying drivers when developing this White Paper was to look to see how other fields, ones with perhaps more obvious links to policy development, work to connect their work with policy audiences, including political representatives, civil servants and community organisations. To this end, the project's interdisciplinary nature has proven incredibly beneficial. “We see Science Advocacy as active support of science, technology, engineering and maths, with researchers directly informing policy audiences about their research and engaging with the policymaking process. To this end, we focus more on individual researchers' role in advocating for their research.” The launch event brought together leading researchers and policymakers for keynote talks and a panel discussion on creating more effective research-policy interactions and collaborations.  The event was hosted by Professor Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM Scientific Director. High-profile speakers and panel participants for the event included University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; Denis Naughten TD, Oireachtas Friends of Science & Technology; Kate Morris, Campus Engage; University of Galway Vice President Research and Innovation Professor Jim Livesey; Leonora Harty of the newly established Evidence for Policy Unit at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; and Dr Karen Doyle, CÚRAM Funded Investigator. Speaking at the event, University of Galway President, Professor Ciaran Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It is increasingly important that public policy be evidence-based and that our researchers are empowered to have a positive policy impact on society. True to our values of openness and excellence, our researchers will continue to break down barriers and connect with non-academic audiences so we can help create a better informed and engaged society.” Speaking at the event, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “National centres such as CÚRAM can begin to embed and develop a culture of science advocacy through providing training, networking and knowledge brokerage opportunities with policy audiences, incentives for science advocacy efforts, even simply through highlighting the work already carried out by their researchers in this realm. The research-policy ecosystem needs more pathways to policy for researchers, but efforts are being made to bridge this gap.” The full White Paper and a two-page infographic summary are now available here. Ends

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway), an uncrewed mini-boat built and decorated by students from Scoil Bhríde, Lackagh, Co. Galway, has set sail in the South Atlantic this week.   It is one of four miniboats – the others from schools in Spain, Germany and South Africa - that were deployed from the Alfred-Wegener Institute’s Icebreaker, R/V Polarstern, as it sails between Germany and South Africa.   These four new vessels will join the 18 Educational Passages boats that are currently sailing around the world’s oceans. Spiorad na Gaillimhe is the first mini-boat to set sail in the South Atlantic  This project was funded by the Nippon Foundation (NF) and POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean), and has provided the students in Galway with an opportunity to learn more about oceanography and ocean technology.   Professor Peter Croot and Senior Oceanography Technician Sheena Fennell from Earth and Ocean Sciences at University of Galway worked with the school throughout the process, delivering ocean experiments and guidance with the build.  Professor Croot said: “The students in Scoil Bhríde, Lackagh were responsible for constructing the boat, deciding on a name, decorating the sail and hull and, most importantly, had to decide what treasures to place in the hold for any lucky finder if it comes ashore. “Once Spiorad na Gaillimhe sets sail it will regularly send its GPS location and values of sea and air temperature. The students will be working to predict where it will sail in the ocean by looking at weather and ocean current maps, thereby learning about our oceans.” The principal Shane O’Connor and teacher Tomás Higgins were fundamental in ensuring the project was delivered.   Mr Higgins commented: “The project was an engaging and great project for the pupils that's cross curricular in nature incorporating many skills and subjects such as science, maths, art and geography and gave us the opportunity to bring the theme of the ocean and ocean literacy into the classroom in a fun and interesting way.  “We were delighted in Scoil Bhríde to have this unique and great opportunity, thanks to the support of Sheena Fennell, University of Galway, POGO and Educational Passages, to participate in the Miniboat Programme. And I’m delighted that my colleague Aisling White will continue on working with our pupils during this academic year and she looks forward to following the journey of Spiorad na Gaillimhe and continuing the project with the pupils." Updates from Spioirad na Gallimhe can be found at https://educationalpassages.org/boats/spiorad_na_gaillimhe/.  To follow all four miniboats involved in this international NF-POGO project visit: https://educationalpassages.org/events/pogo/  For further information, contact Sheena Fennell at sheena.fennell@universityofgalway.ie.  Ends

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Johnson & Johnson today launched its WiSTEM2D programme at University of Galway for the 2022/2023 academic year. WiSTEM2D stands for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design. The aim of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D undergraduate programme is to inspire and support more women to pursue a career in STEM after university and increase female representation in the STEM2D workforce. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) courses are growing in popularity. The CSO has reported that Ireland has a much higher level of STEM graduates when compared with other EU nations, 35% for Ireland compared to an EU average of 19%.  However, there is still a disparity between the amount of CAO applications from males and females, with females recording fewer applications. According to the Higher Education Authority, 1 in 3 students on STEM courses in third level identify as female. The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, and University of Galway in 2021, supporting more than 300 female students over the last 6 years. This year, the programme will include Munster Technological University (MTU) for the first time. “At Johnson & Johnson, we are firm believers in working with our educational partners to create a talent pipeline for the future,”said Anna Rafferty, Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D University Lead and Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland. “We recognise that we have a part to play in ensuring a fairer representation for women in STEM fields. This is why we have developed the WiSTEM2D programme, to build a diverse STEM community that reflects the great diverse aspects of society, by supporting and nurturing women studying in STEM.” Associate Professor Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Science and Engineering, University of Galway, said: “We are delighted to partner with Johnson & Johnson and offer the WiSTEM2D programme for a second year. Support for underrepresented students in STEM is at the core of many of College of Science and Engineering strategic initiatives to realise our values of openness and excellence. We are confident that this initiative will empower our female student scientists, mathematicians and engineers to be ambitious and build confidence in their career planning.” Thalyra Costa, a Biomedical Engineering student at University of Galway, was a participant in the WiSTEM2D programme last year. Speaking about its impact, Thalyra said: “This programme helps young women like me gain confidence in their ability to bring innovation to the future of biomedical engineering. I have had the chance to expand my network and share knowledge with experienced and inspiring engineers. The programme has been an enlightening and insightful experience into the world of biomedical engineering, and it has helped me to decide on what career path I wish to pursue.” Applications for the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programmes opened on Monday, September 19th for female students of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design subjects entering their second, third or fourth year of studies 2022/2023 within University of Galway. Eligible students are asked to submit their application by Friday, 14th October 2022. To learn more about Johnson & Johnson’s WiSTEM2D programme, click here. Ends

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Along with an updated version of their original research-based play, the Active* Consent team will also launch new “Consent is for Everyone” campaign   Active* Consent will today launch the new all-Ireland college tour of their original research-based play, The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College.  Active Consent*, the University of Galway’s data-led consent education programme, will complement the play with the launch their new digital campaign and short video, “Consent is for Everyone”.   Following its premiere in Galway, Active* Consent’s original play is hosted by Dublin City University on Tuesday September 20, before visiting 19 other higher education sites on the island of Ireland.   First toured in 2019, this updated version of The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College includes new scenes addressing image-based sexual abuse, gender identity and the role of male allies in supporting survivors of sexual violence while preserving the original’s blend of dramatic and humorous approaches to sexuality.  The theatre tour will be accompanied by Active* Consent’s new campaign “Consent is for Everyone” which also premieres with a new short video available from today on the programme’s Consent Hub, which is co-funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science and the Department of Justice, a unique resource internationally.  The core message of Active* Consent’s original play and their new campaign is that consent is for everyone - for all relationships, genders and sexualities. Consent is for everything - one night stands, friends with benefits, situation-ships, and long-term relationships.  From kissing, sexting, to foreplay or “all the way” (and everything in between), consent is OMFG - ongoing mutual and freely-given.  The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College and new campaign video, created with Tiny Ark Productions, use performance and live action to build on research carried out by the team into student consent and sexual behaviours since 2013 and bring these findings to life with casts drawn from current students and graduates of Drama and Theatre Studies at University of Galway. These same actors also voice an updated version of Active* Consent’s signature online consent workshop that too is being rolled out in Semester 1 across 33 campuses within 18 institutions across the Republic of Ireland and nine UK universities.   Dr Charlotte McIvor, Active* Consent co-lead and creator, director and co-writer of the original play and “Consent is for Everyone” short video as well as Head of Discipline in Drama and Theatre Studies at University of Galway, said: “Active* Consent is unique nationally and internationally in our continual use of theatre and short film to translate our research into consent and sexual violence into experiences that can reach audiences and spark dialogue in complex ways.   “Our original play has been in development since 2014 and is continually being updated not only in relationship to our ongoing data-based research, but by the voices of the students and/or alumni who bring the play to life and make sure it is relevant and impactful for the audiences we aim to reach.  We want to reach not only those who already understand and are on board with our message on consent but who may feel challenged by it.  We strongly feel that the creative arts give us a way to reach these kinds of audiences in complex but accessible ways.”   Active* Consent is currently supported by the Lifes2Good Foundation, Rethink Ireland, University of Galway, with project funding on consenthub.ie and the Further Education & Training sector from the Government of Ireland.  To find out more about the dates and venues for The Kinds of Sex You Might Have At College visit https://www.consenthub.ie/the-kinds-of-sex-you-might-have-at-college/. To view the “Consent is For Everyone” short video visit https://www.consenthub.ie/everyone/consent-more-to-know/#video.  Ends

Friday, 16 September 2022

A one million euro Cisco – CÚRAM funded partnership will implement and evaluate an innovative digital health infrastructure to improve patient care Researchers at the Health Innovation Via Engineering (HIVE) Laboratory, University of Galway will use state of the art medical device technology including remote sensors and artificial intelligence software as part of a suite of interventions to deliver next generation chronic disease management in the community. Modern medicine has meant that people are living longer and correspondingly there has been an increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and therefore new approaches are needed to deliver this care efficiently and effectively, as was evidenced during Covid public health restrictions.  The Home Health project combines video consultations with remote physiological monitoring, including blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, to deliver more useful virtual care.  It aims, through supporting and adding to existing healthcare provision, to improve the management of patient care for the 165 residents on Clare Island and make the island a beacon for the delivery of digital health solutions.  Its multi-stakeholder engagement will ensure a sustainable and scalable solution is created though the Health Service Executive living lab framework. Dr Noreen Curtis, GP in Clare Island, said: “I am very excited with the Home Health project and anticipate that improving virtual care will augment the current services and improve overall care for the patients here." Project Principal Investigator and CÚRAM-Funded Investigator Professor Derek O’Keeffe said: “Digital health is the future of medicine and data empowers the patient and allows them and their clinicians to make better medical decisions.” The Home Health project will also investigate the development of a dynamic medical appointments architecture, whereby patients are scheduled to be reviewed based on clinical need rather than the traditional static calendar appointments. In addition the project will evaluate novel health promotion interventions, drone delivery of medications and robotic triage simulation. To overcome the digital divide, a central part of the project is the development of a new, private 5G network on the island to enable monitoring of data. Brian Jordan, Head of Innovation and Industry Solutions, Cisco Ireland said: “There is a transformative opportunity to map virtual care digital technology to the entire patient care continuum. Bridging the capabilities of AI, connectivity, the world of IOT enabled medical devices and cybersecurity will enable this. Cisco are delighted to work with the University of Galway, HSE, and the wider healthcare ecosystem to bring the ‘Shift Left, Stay Left’ HSE vision into reality.” Commenting on the significance of the project, CÚRAM Director Professor Abhay Pandit, said: “This project is one of the largest industry collaborations our centre has supported to date. It is an excellent example of the impact that collaborations between CÚRAM and industry can have on local communities and society at wide.” As well as CÚRAM and Cisco, the project has multiple stakeholders including the island community, HSE and the Western Development Commission. Public Patient Involvement (PPI) is a central theme of the HOME HEALTH project, having the island community involved in all aspects of the project planning, development and implementation. Ends

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Nobel Peace prize winner Dr James E Muller will deliver a public lecture at University of Galway on the issue of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war. The talk, entitled Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity- a fifty year perspective, will take place at the University’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance on Monday September 26 at 5pm. Dr Muller is an academic cardiologist and entrepreneur who has worked to prevent three threats to humanity - nuclear war, heart attacks and sexual abuse of children by priests. In 1980 Dr Muller was one of the founders of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the organisation awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2007, IPPNW co-founded the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Muller visited Moscow in his work against nuclear arms four months before the invasion of Ukraine and he has spoken widely on the role of health professionals in the prevention of nuclear war.  In his work as a cardiologist, along with Dr Peter Stone and Dr Geoff Tofler, Dr Muller is credited with introducing the term “vulnerable plaque” in 1989, a concept now widely used in cardiology which describes a build-up in the arteries which can break away and cause heart attack or stroke.  Dr Muller is attending University of Galway as part of a meeting of international cardiologists, The Imperial Vulnerable Patient and Plaque Meeting, where he is a keynote speaker.  The meeting, which runs from September 27-29 in Galway and is jointly organised by Imperial College London and University of Galway, serves as a think-tank and includes world-leading scientists, clinical opinion leaders, industry experts and decision makers. It is a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge skills and experience in the field of heart disease.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual meeting with a multitude of technical advances and clinical trials having been conceived during the conference down through the years. The programme addresses the developments in fundamental mechanisms of the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls and the risks associated with this, along with recent developments in clinical trials in this area.  Places for the public lecture are limited and registration is essential. To register or for more information visit https://bit.ly/3BkQ6R7.  Ends

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Two-day event led by Travellers as part of the Decade of Centenaries   Organisers urge Government to use conference to consider policy reform and leave a lasting legacy A special conference is taking place at University of Galway to examine the experience of Irish Travellers/Mincéirs and the State from 1922 to 2022, the impacts of that experience and the lessons to be learned. The event runs on campus over two days - Friday and Saturday September 16-17, 2022. Part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme, the conference was proposed by Patrick Nevin and Elaine Martin and will be run in conjunction with the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class at the University of Galway. It will examine Irish Travellers’ experience of discrimination since the foundation of the state, paying particular attention to the state’s role in perpetuating disadvantage. Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am pleased to support this important conference reflecting on the experiences of Irish Travellers/Mincéirs since the foundation of the independent Irish State. Events such as this, grounded in original research and scholarship, have been welcomed by the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations. The ethos of the Decade of Centenaries Programme is inclusive, authentic, meaningful and respectful commemoration and this provides a timely opportunity to include a community, often historically overlooked in the commemorative narrative.” The conference agenda is multi-disciplinary and participative. It features 70 speakers, a play, a living exhibition, two further exhibitions and a number of performances, with presentations in a variety of formats and featuring local, national, and international perspectives. There will be contributions from Traveller/Mincéir activists and advocates, historians, folklorists, psychologists, sociologists, artists, cultural theorists and others. Contributors include Patrick Nevin, Elaine Martin, Rosaleen McDonagh, Mags Casey, Dr Sindy Joyce, Dr Aoife Bhreatnach, Vincent Browne, Owen Patrick Ward.   The conference will also involve the participation of members of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues, which is being hosted on campus to discuss policy issues around inclusion, women’s rights and education among other topics. Psychologist Elaine Martin said: “There is a blind spot in the Irish psyche about Travellers. We denigrate Irish Travellers in the same way as Irish people were ‘Othered’ throughout history; the shoe is merely on the other foot.” Helen Maher, Vice President for Equality Diversity and Inclusion at University of Galway, said: “Hosting such important engagement on the issues affecting the daily lives of Traveller and Roma communities today is hugely significant and symbolic for our University. It is also key that we are endeavouring to learn from the past and it show our commitment on the unfinished journey of embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in education and society.”  Owen Patrick Ward, University of Galway’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager – Race Equality, stated: “This conference highlights the many social, economic, and cultural contributions made by Irish Travellers since the foundation of the Irish State; contributions, that for so long has been ignored and erased from public discourse. I want to commend all involved in this conference including the guest speakers and panellists but particularly to the University of Galway for continuing to play a leadership role in this area.”  The Conference and is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.  The Conference Steering Group acknowledge the participation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Roma and Travellers and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and the Galway Council of Trades. For further information, see https://mooreinstitute.ie/event/irish-travellers-minceirs-the-state-1922-2022 Ends

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Report examines State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture in the Near East and North Africa A University of Galway academic has played a key role in a landmark United Nations report which warns that food systems in parts of Africa are at breaking point. Dr Una Murray, from the Discipline of Geography and a Principal Investigator in the University’s Ryan Institute was writer and editor for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’s 1st edition of the State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Near East and North African countries. This report has just been published with the warning that food and agriculture systems in the region are at a breaking point, with human pressures on the systems of land, soils and fresh water intensifying and the impacts of climate change worsening. It is available https://www.fao.org/3/cc0265en/cc0265en.pdf The report provides a major contribution to a range of the Sustainable Development Goal targets, in particular the targets relating to SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and SDG15 (Life on Land). The UN Food and Agriculture Report provides information and analyses on trends and challenges facing two of the most important agricultural production factors: land and water. Land and water are central to agriculture and rural development, and are deeply linked to the region’s challenges of food insecurity and poverty, rapid urbanization trends and climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as the degradation and depletion of natural resources. All of these challenges affect the livelihoods of almost 420 million people in the region. Over the past 70 years, the population of Near East and North African countries has grown sixfold, compared with a threefold increase worldwide. Current projections indicate that the population will reach more than 633 million by 2050, with almost three-quarters living in the region’s cities. This translates into increased demand for food, with urban populations demanding diversified diets. Near East and North Africa is one of the world’s regions predicted to be most affected by climate change, which is already altering crop productivity and growth cycles. An increase in mean temperatures, floods and droughts affects smallholders the most, as well as poorer populations with low capacities to adapt and populations experiencing conflict. Land and water resources are under severe stress in the region. To address these challenges, future agricultural production will need to be transformative, focused on climate-resilient farming systems and crops that most efficiently use water resources. Key messages for policymakers, policy implementers and stakeholders are contained in the report, which covers Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen, as well as West Bank and Gaza. Ends

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

University achieves first Athena Swan Silver Award for a School of Engineering in the Republic of Ireland University of Galway has achieved a significant accolade in the advancement of gender equality, with its School of Engineering securing an Athena Swan Silver Award. It is the first time a School of Engineering in the Republic of Ireland has achieved such a standard. The Athena Swan Silver award recognises the commitment to advancing gender equality for both staff and students, and in creating evidenced cultural change within the University.  Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. commended the School’s strides in gender equality noting it was a “fantastic achievement for University of Galway” as the recipient of the silver award. University of Galway Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Helen Maher, said: “All of us at University of Galway are sharing in the congratulations for the School of Engineering. We are greatly encouraged by the significant progress our university has made on gender equality, particularly in the College of Science and Engineering – which has secured 5 Athena SWAN awards”.  “This latest award demonstrates that our efforts and our commitment on this ongoing journey are embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in our culture and our collective responsibilities.”  While the Athena Swan Silver Award represents the commitment to equality in the School of Engineering, it also highlights the progress that has been made including the steady increase in the number female undergraduate students, as a result of extensive outreach activities, and increasing trends in the percentage of female academic staff, especially at Associate and Established Professor grades. Professor Walter Gear, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at University of Galway, said: “It is fantastic and a great recognition for Engineering to be the first school nationally to achieve Silver status, a process which also sets out our ambitions for the next four years. We are very proud of this achievement which is the first of many steps required to create an equal opportunity environment while embedding the University's values across all science and engineering subjects that is externally recognised as such, and which builds a culture for a stronger intersectional approach where all our staff and students can fulfil their potential. “  Professor Edward Jones, Head of the School of Engineering at University of Galway, said: “We are delighted with this achievement. This Athena SWAN Silver award is the culmination of many years of effort through the development of a range of initiatives and action plans, and a wholehearted commitment and engagement by all our staff and students. This award is a significant endorsement of our efforts to date and of our future plans towards progressing gender equality.” Ends

Monday, 12 September 2022

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D. and a number of leading international experts are to address a conference on oversight of national security in Ireland hosted by University of Galway’s School of Law. The conference takes place on Friday September 23, 2022.  The event is being organised to coincide with the publication of new legislation to establish an office of Independent Examiner of National Security in Ireland. This significant policy development follows a recommendation made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in 2018. Minister McEntee will open the conference, while two keynote speakers will advise on experiences of national security oversight in the UK and Australia Professor Donncha O’Connell of University of Galway School of Law, is organising the conference and was a member of the Commission. Speaking ahead of the conference, he said: “For the first time since the foundation of the state Ireland will have an independent office to oversee all actors, including the gardaí, Defence Forces and others involved in national security. It is a welcome development and there are reasons to be optimistic about the establishment of this oversight mechanism.  “Our conference will provide an opportunity to hear from experts with experience of such mechanisms in other jurisdictions so that those dealing with the Irish legislation - government officials, politicians, security services and other experts - can learn from what works and does not work elsewhere with a view to optimising the potential of the office of Independent Examiner in Ireland.” The half-day conference, entitled Oversight of National Security in Ireland: Lessons from Australia and the United Kingdom is being held in the Moot Court Room, Cairnes Building, University of Galway.  Two keynote speakers will take part - Grant Donaldson, SC, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor for Australia; and Lord David Anderson, KC, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the UK. Both will outline how national security oversight works in their respective jurisdictions, drawing on their direct experience as office-holders, current and past, with responsibility for such oversight.  An expert panel will discuss the issues raised in the keynotes, including Dr Jessie Blackbourn of Durham University; Dermot Woods of the National Security Analysis Centre in the Department of An Taoiseach; Professor Marie Breen-Smyth, the Independent Reviewer for Justice and Security for Northern Ireland; and Michael O’Neill, Head of Legal at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. The conference will also be livestreamed on Zoom so that people can participate remotely.  To register to attend the conference visit https://bit.ly/3d90dAC. Ends

Monday, 12 September 2022

University of Galway, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University in Australia, have used artificial intelligence and data mining on Cork Harbour to revise a water quality index (WQI). Surface water quality poses significant environmental, sociological, and economic risks in many parts of the world and the new model can benefit individuals and a range of government and non-government agencies. The research was conducted by University of Galway PhD researcher’ Md Galal Uddin, under the supervision of Dr Indie Olbert, leader of the University’s EcoHydroInformatics Research Group, and Dr Stephen Nash, in collaboration with the research team of Professor Azizur Rahman from Charles Sturt University, Australia. Using complex mathematical algorithms, the team developed a simple water quality tool that can be used to assess the level of pollution in waters. The proposed model is simple to use and does not require extensive knowledge of chemistry, biology nor statistics, as opposed to other models.   While similar tools have already been developed in other countries including USA, Canada, Spain and the UK, one had not been developed for Irish waters. The tool provides a highly accurate assessment of water quality that is superior over the existing models, and is universal so can be easily adopted by other countries.  Assessment of water quality using this tool can support development of an optimal strategy to efficiently control of water quality and to determine its category such as good, fair, marginally or poor.  The tool can also help to optimize water quality monitoring and as such to aid the provision of the most cost effective system of water quality monitoring, which in general is considered as very costly.   Since mid-20th century there has been observed a continuous deterioration of water quality (WQ) across Europe due to increasing population, urbanization, and industrialization. One of the main environmental pressures imposed by human activities are nutrient enrichment and climate change. Currently, around 60% of surface waters in the EU have not achieved "good’ status, in Ireland - nearly 47%. Dr Indiana Olbert said: “Surface waters are considered to be at high risk of having poor water quality in the near future and it will be extremely difficult to maintain good water quality status. “Water quality assessment allows to diagnose the health of a waterbody and provides necessary information for more effective water resources management including relevant polices to ensure the "good" status of water quality. This research provides a state of the art yet simple to use tool to provide the accurate assessment of water quality.” Researcher Galal Uddin said: “We identified 30 WQI models globally, only seven WQI models are unique in terms of architecture; all the others are modified. Recently, many studies have reported that existing models produce higher uncertainty in the final assessment. Consequently, assessment results do not express actual scenarios of water quality. We also investigated and compared our model uncertainty with the core established seven models. We found less uncertainty (less than 2%) in our model, whereas more than 7% of uncertainty is associated with other models.” “A significant implication of this model is that EU countries have been trying to develop a unique method for assessing water quality. Our methodology could be adopted by EU countries because it was specifically focused on the EU coastal water quality because this model is an improved version of the state-of-the-art WQI model. “Compared to that, it’s very simple and straightforward mathematical functions are cost effective. It could be effective to improve the existing monitoring program and reduce the monitoring cost. Environmental protection agency (EPA), Marine research Institute, and agriculture department Ireland could adopt this methodology for the assessment of surface water quality more accurately and rapidly.” The findings were recently published in the Journal of Water Research and is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.118532 Ends

Friday, 9 September 2022

University of Galway has made 4,013 offers to prospective students as part of Round One of the CAO process for 2022. CAO points have risen in almost half of the programmes across the University’s four Colleges. For the third year running, University of Galway expects to see a near record level of intake of first year students as we work to meet the high demand for places in higher education. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar of University of Galway and Board Member of the CAO, said: “Congratulations to the class of 2022 who have worked hard and achieved so much in challenging circumstances, having come through those formative years in school in the midst of a pandemic. “Our registration team at University of Galway is once again doing our utmost to accommodate as many students as we can.  “We welcome all those who have achieved in the exams and are taking up an offer to come to University of Galway and to learn for themselves the importance that we place on our values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability.”  University of Galway programmes have performed well and the University has more programmes in the 500 range than in other ranges.  :: All Engineering and Law programmes are above 500 points, as well as all bar one Commerce programme. :: Three programmes require more than 600 points – Medicine, which goes to random allocation, even though the points requirement is down one from last year and 60 additional places have been secured nationally. The others over 600 points are Biomedical Science and Commerce in International Hotel Management, at Shannon College of Hotel Management which has a combined score requirement. :: Some 28 programmes experienced points increases and 34 programmes experienced points decreases. :: Three programmes saw an increase of more than 50 points - Environmental Science; Project and Construction Management; Electrical and Electronic Engineering :: 7 programmes saw a decrease of more than 50 points - Arts with Human Rights; Arts - Drama, Theatre and Performance; Arts with Journalism; BSc Applied Social Sciences; Global Media; BA sna Dána (Léann Teanga); Electronic and Computer Engineering. (Arts with Journalism was among the programmes which had an increase of 80 points in 2021). :: Two popular programmes - Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering - experienced an increase in points for the second year running.  Ends