Wednesday, 16 November 2022

The University will also celebrate Honorary Degree recipients from 2021. University of Galway today announced the recipients of Honorary Degrees at the 2022 Winter Conferring ceremonies. The celebrations take place from Wednesday November 23 to Tuesday November 29, and the Honorary Degree awardees will join more than 3,600 students graduating over the five days.  The four people to be conferred with Honorary Degrees at the 2022 Winter Conferring are: Margaretta D’Arcy: Activist, actress, playwright and writer, and member of Aosdána. Lelia Doolan: Film director, producer and writer. Dr Jerry Cowley: Medical doctor, Irish barrister, and public representative. Ronan Scully: Humanitarian, volunteer and charity fund-raiser. The University will also celebrate two of the Honorary Degree recipients from 2021 who were unable to be previously conferred due to the challenges arising from the pandemic: Máirtín O’Connor: Renowned traditional musician and composer. Mary O’Malley: Award-winning poet and member of Aosdána.  Photos of the awardees are available at the following link Honoraries  Speaking ahead of the conferring ceremonies, President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of University of Galway, I am delighted to be in a position to recognise this group of extraordinary individuals, and to recognise them at the same time as we celebrate the achievements of over 3,600 of our students across our four Colleges.  Each one has made an excellent and distinctive contribution to public life, the betterment of society and the interests of humanity, leaving the world in a better place than we found it, which is the responsibility of us all. “It is also great to be able to mark the achievements of our outstanding graduates and those being conferred with an honorary award for the first time under our new name and our new identity and celebrate everything that Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway stands for, whether it’s through our values, our work for the public good and being in and of our place.” The full schedule for the winter 2022 conferring ceremonies is available at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/conferring/.  Ends

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

University of Galway professors Henry Curran and Patrick W Serruys have been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2022 list from Clarivate. The researchers have once again joined the prestigious list of more than 6,900 researchers from across the globe who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade.  The highly anticipated annual list identifies researchers whose names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index.  Professor Henry Curran, listed in the Engineering category, is Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at University of Galway’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and Priority Area Lead of the Energy Research Centre at the Ryan Institute. His research looks at the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions for a cleaner world. This is Professor Curran’s ninth successive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. Professor Patrick W. Serruys, listed in the Clinical Medicine category, is Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation, Director of the CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Laboratory at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. He is a world-renowned expert in interventional cardiology and imaging with more than four decades experience in clinical trials and innovation in medicine. He has pioneered several interventional procedures and devices as well as imaging techniques. Professor Serruys has almost 3,000 publications and 225,000 citations. This is Professor Serruys third successive year being named a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher since joining University of Galway in 2020. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Galway, said: “I wish to congratulate Henry and Patrick on being included once again in the Clarivate top 1% of Highly Cited Researchers list in the world once again. To be named on this prestigious global list in successive years is a huge achievement, and they have both deservedly earned global respect and recognition for his research.” David Pendlebury, Head of Research Analysis at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “Research fuels the race for knowledge and it is important that nations and institutions celebrate the individuals who drive the wheel of innovation. The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at University of Galway who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers. These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs – and it is an honour to celebrate their achievements.” The full 2022 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found online at https://clarivate.com/highly-cited-researchers/.  Ends

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition prizes awarded to schools and youth groups in eight counties - Leitrim, Cork, Kilkenny, Dublin, Mayo, Roscommon, Limerick and Galway. From the Science of Glass to the theories of Albert Einstein and from a Tour of the Heart to Why We Should Brush Our Teeth, short science videos made by young Irish filmmakers have been celebrated at the 10th Annual ReelLIFE SCIENCE Awards in University of Galway. The even took place on Sunday November 13th, as part of Science Week 2022 and the 25th Galway Science and Technology Festival.  More than 400 short science films were entered into the competition by more than 3,000 young science enthusiasts.  It is a record level of engagement with the ReelLIFE Science competition with 140 schools and youth groups taking part across the island of Ireland.  Winning videos were selected by a panel of guest judges including aeronautical engineer and author Dr Norah Patten; ‘Superhero Scientist’ and author Dr Barry Fitzgerald; and the 2022 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition winners, Aditya Kumar and Aditya Joshi from Synge Street CBS in Dublin. All of the winning videos can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/ReelLifeScience A shared folder with high res images is available at ReelLIFEScience photos 2022  ReelLIFE SCIENCE Winners 1st Prize Primary School - Twelve talented fifth and sixth class students from Saint Hugh’s NS in Kilmore, Co Leitrim, along with their teacher Pádraig Kenny, won the €1,000 first prize for their video ‘Dr Magnifico’ explaining Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity.  Runners-up Primary School - Ingenious junior infants of Bandonbridge NS, Co Cork demonstrated ‘Why We Should Brush Our Teeth’, while fifth and sixth class students from Scoil na nAingeal Naofa from Boyle, Co. Roscommon finished third with an exploration of ‘The Endocrine System’. 1st Prize Post-Primary - Accomplished animator Isadora Lowe, a transition year student from Ursuline Secondary School in Cork, guided by teacher Niamh O’Mahony, claimed the €1000 award for the stop-motion short ‘Tooth-in-Eye Surgery’.  Runners-up Post-Primary - Lauren Kinsella from Alexandra College, Dublin 6, with the illuminating ‘The Science of Glass’, while Elizabeth Boland and Heather Shanahan from Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ in Limerick were awarded third place, while examining ‘How is Fight or Flight connected to Test Anxiety’.  1st Prize Youth Organisation - Young filmmaker Maya Coffey, from Johnswell Youth Club Co Kilkenny, with the support of Youth Leader Breda Gill, won the €1000 prize for a video following a red blood cell called ‘Haemo’ on an educational ‘Tour of the Heart’.  Runners-up Youth Organisation - Foróige Connect group from Castlebar, Co Mayo came second under the guidance of youth officer Clement Quinn for exploring the ‘Wood Wide Web’,, while third place went to Galway Foróige AV Club, directed by youth officer Erika King, while looking at ‘How a Camera is like an Eye’.  Special Category Awards Teamwork Award - Sooey NS, Co Sligo Being Green Award - Scoil Chiaráin, Dublin 11 Science and Me Award - Ladyswell NS, Co Dublin Science Song Award - Presentation Secondary School Clonmel, Co Tipperary  Físeán Gaeilge is Fearr - Gaelscoil Riabhach, Co Galway Addressing the young filmmakers at the awards ceremony, Dr. Barry Fitzgerald said: “I was delighted to be one of the judges for the ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition for schools and youth organisations for 2022. The level of the videos was just incredible – I loved watching them. I’d like to congratulate everyone who entered the competition and I encourage you to keep on making videos about science in the future.” The ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme challenges young people in schools and youth groups across the island of Ireland to engage with science and technology while developing their communication and digital skills, by producing short educational videos for the public.  Since being launched in 2013 by a team  of scientists from the University of Galway College of Science and Engineering, this challenge has been met by over 23,000 young people, supported by teachers and staff in more than 680 schools and youth groups.  ReelLIFE SCIENCE Founding Director Dr Enda O’Connell, was awarded Galway Science Person of the Year 2022 at the Galway Science and Technology Festival for his efforts over 10 years working on the programme.  After the awards were presented he said: “We were delighted again this year with the response to the competition, particularly with so many new schools and youth groups getting involved for the first time. We are always inspired by the inventiveness and creativity shown by the participants in their videos, and their passion for science and technology is clear to see. Congratulations to everyone who took part.” ReelLIFE SCIENCE is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Biomedical Devices, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the Cell EXPLORERS programme and Foróige.  Ends

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

A special information for Leaving Certificate students, Fifth Year students and parents is to take place at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome. The information evening will take place on Tuesday November 15 from 7-9pm, and will have a dual focus - sports opportunities at University of Galway and preparing for CAO.   Organised in partnership with Connacht GAA, the evening will open with a short talk from a lecturer on the teaching and learning environment at the University and how students can prepare for their first year of college. Representatives from Sports at University of Galway will present on the opportunities for participation across all sports, with an emphasis on GAA and high performance. Sports staff, coaches and scholarship students will be on hand to talk about their experiences of balancing studying and competing at a high level.  The event will feature a mini-exhibition of courses and careers with representatives across the University’s undergraduate programmes, with a good opportunity for parents and students to get information on programmes on offer, entry requirements, placements and employment opportunities.  Mike Heskin, Director of Sport at University of Galway, said: “Tuesday evening is a great opportunity for students and schools to get information about the sport opportunities on offer at University of Galway, in particular scholarships. The University offers 42 sports and the scholarship system is open to all.  “Importantly, University of Galway has made great strides in terms of our participation rates in recent years and with women’s sport enjoying success and a new profile we are seeing gender balance across the board.”    Sarah Geraghty, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach at University of Galway, said: “Students choose University of Galway as they want to study with the best academic and research minds in their field. They want to study in our new state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Human Biology Building for medicine students and in Ireland’s largest engineering school, the Alice Perry Engineering Building. The location of our campus in the heart of Galway city appeals to students who want to live in a vibrant and creative city and who want to find a new home away from home. This information evening in collaboration with Connacht GAA is a great opportunity for students and their parents to come and meet lecturers and students and start planning the progression to university studies.” For more information about the information evening email opendays@universityofgalway.ie or call Sarah Geraghty on 087 9471484. Ends

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

€10m funding to determine impact of climate change on environmental pathogens causing health risks  University of Galway is partnering on a new €10m Horizon Europe project to examine the impact of climate change on health risks due to pathogens in the environment, specifically in coastal waters. BlueAdapt – Reducing Climate Based Risks in Blue Environments: Adapting to the climate change impacts on coastal pathogens involves 12 institutes from across 10 countries in Europe. The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including microbiologists, epidemiologists, economists, climate scientists and policy specialists in order to investigate the complex interactions between climate change, pathogen dynamics and human health.  Professor Marc Neumann, Research Professor at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and BlueAdapt’s Principal Investigator said: “BlueAdapt presents a unique opportunity to investigate emerging disease risks in our coastal waters. We will investigate policy responses, including early warning systems, and estimate expected benefits of adaptation actions.” Professor Dearbhaile Morris, Professor of Antimicrobial Resistance and One Health at University of Galway, said: “Our coastal waters are important for tourism, fishing and recreational activities.  Through BlueAdapt we hope to assess how bacteria and viruses in our coastal waters respond to different climate change scenarios and understand better the potential impacts for human health.”  Dr Sinead Duane, Lecturer in Marketing J.E School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, who is part of the University of Galway One Health team said: “Testing and monitoring are key ways to improve and maintain the quality of our coastal waters, however how we interact with our coastal waters also plays a role.  “Through the development of behaviourally enhanced smartphone app technology, Blue Adapt will deepen our understanding of coastal water users behaviours and attitudes to exposure pollution events. This information will help develop targeted interventions in the future. This app will capture how users respond to warnings of pollution events in real time.”  BlueAdapt is a partnership between University of Galway, the Basque Centre for Climate Change, University of Exeter, Charles University, University of Warsaw, Deltares, CMCC, EuroHealthNet, Bangor University, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, University of the Basque Country and ThenTryThis.  BlueAdapt is funded under European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101057764 and by UKRI/HM Government. Ends

Monday, 7 November 2022

Nearly 60% of participants felt burnt out at least once per month, with 18% experiencing burnout once a week Researchers urge hospitality managers to ensure wellbeing supports for precarious workers and recognise vulnerability of younger employees  A new study has found that hospitality employees who perceive they are on a ‘zero-hour’ contract, where their hours are unspecified, are particularly vulnerable to burnout.  The study was carried out by Dr Elaine Wallace, University of Galway, and Professor Joseph Coughlan, Maynooth University, and was recently published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. As part of the study, researchers examined the hospitality environment and how challenges such as workload, antisocial hours, emotional demands, and customer civility can lead to burnout.  They also looked at how this risk is compounded by the uncertainties many hospitality employees face about their working hours.   The study gathered responses from 260 employees, 56% female and 44% male with an average age of 23, working in Ireland’s hospitality sector. Researchers found that almost half had less than a year’s experience in their role, and several perceived they were on a zero-hour contract.    Results showed that 58.8% of participants felt burnt out at least once per month, 35% multiple times a month, and 18.1% of participants felt burnt out at least once a week. As managerial support, and employees’ own commitment to their employer can sometimes mitigate against burnout, these variables were also measured. In addition, some employees “act out” when they are under burnout, and therefore the study also investigated whether the employees ever engaged in counterproductive workplace behaviours, such as coming to work late or leaving work early without permission, neglecting to follow bosses’ instructions, or acting rudely to someone at work. The results found among the group of employees those who were aware of their hours, had managerial support and were committed to the job helped to mitigate against burnout.  However, when this group of employees experienced burnout, they engaged in counterproductive behaviours against both the organisation and their colleagues. This result was especially evident when employees were younger, perhaps to fit in with a culture where work stresses are high.   When employees who believed they were on a ‘zero-hour’ contract experienced burnout, managerial support or commitment to the job did not help to mitigate against it – suggesting that these employees may be more disconnected from the organisation, feeling like an ‘outsider’, yet experiencing burnout from the work.  At the same time, this group of employees did not ‘act out’ through counterproductive workplace behaviours when they experienced burnout, unlike those who knew their hours in advance.  Dr Elaine Wallace, co-author of the study and lecturer with J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, cautions: “Our study raises questions about the effect of burnout for staff on zero-hour contracts, and its effects on their wellbeing. They seem to be less able to draw from supports in their organisation, such as having a good manager.   “At the same time, although these employees don’t engage in ‘acting out’ behaviours when they experience burnout, their stress must go somewhere. This may manifest in unhealthy behaviours which could affect their own health and wellbeing.  “Hospitality managers should put supports in place to protect the wellbeing of precarious workers, and also recognise the vulnerability of younger employees who may also be more susceptible to burnout than their older colleagues.”  The full study is available to read at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCHM-02-2022-0195/full/html Ends

Friday, 4 November 2022

Díreofar ag Lá Oscailte Iarchéime an Fhómhair in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ar inacmhainneacht an staidéir iarchéime agus ar na deiseanna maoinithe agus scoláireachta ar fad ar cheart do mhic léinn a fhiosrú agus iad ag smaoineamh ar infheistiú a dhéanamh ina n-oideachas agus ina ngairm bheatha. Beidh an Lá Oscailte Iarchéime ar siúl Dé Máirt, an 8 Samhain ó 12-3pm i Halla Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh eolas le fáil faoi chláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha atá á dtairiscint san Ollscoil, lena n-áirítear máistreachtaí múinte agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta. Beidh roinnt cainteanna ar siúl lena n-áirítear plé painéil ar chonairí gairme, deiseanna deontais, maoiniú iarchéime agus an próiseas iarratais. Beidh cur i láthair ar siúl chomh maith ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí PhD Hardiman, chomh maith le Leideanna Iarratais Iarchéime agus Conas Ráiteas Pearsanta Éifeachtach a Scríobh, cur i láthair ó fhoireann an Ionaid Forbartha Gairmeacha agus na hOifige Iontrála. Mar chuid den fhócas straitéiseach atá ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe maidir le haitheantas a thabhairt d’fheabhas agus do rathúlacht, tá gach mac léinn iarchéime de chuid an AE a bhfuil céadonóracha bainte amach acu ina bhfochéim i dteideal iarratas a dhéanamh ar scoláireacht €1,500 i dtreo a gcúrsa Máistreachta múinte san Ollscoil.   Bronnadh Scoláireacht Sármhaitheasa ar Emily Atkinson, céimí an MSc in Consumer Psychology. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá aici: “Is deis iontach í an scoláireacht iarchéime a spreagann agus a thugann luach saothair don obair chrua a bhaineann le céadonóracha a bhaint amach. Thug an scoláireacht deis dom díriú ar an gcúrsa iarchéime ceart a aimsiú dom féin, agus díriú ar mo chuid staidéir le linn mo Mháistreachta.” Dúirt Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Molaimid go háirithe do chuairteoirí atá ag smaoineamh ar fhilleadh ar staidéar ollscoile freastal ar ár Lá Oscailte Iarchéime. I gcás beagnach leath díobh siúd a chuireann isteach ar ár gcúrsaí iarchéime níl siad díreach tar éis céim a bhaint amach, tá siad ag filleadh ar an staidéar nó ag tabhairt faoi bhreisoiliúint dá bpost reatha. Cuirtear tacaíocht ar fáil dóibh siúd atá imithe as an gcóras oideachais le tamall anuas agus léiríonn ár dtaighde go n-éiríonn go maith go hacadúil le mic léinn atá ag obair nó ag baile agus atá ag filleadh ar an oideachas.” Bíonn cláir iarchéime nua nuálacha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe gach bliain, ar tairiscintí uathúla go leor acu. Tá siad seo deartha chun freastal ar riachtanais an tionscail agus ar éileamh an mhargaidh. I measc cuid de na cúrsaí nua d’iontráil 2023 tá MA (Languages & Business), MSc (Cybersecurity Risk Management), agus MSc (Health Data Science). Tá raon Clár Máistreachta Struchtúrtha nua ar fáil freisin sa Fhraincis, sa Ghearmáinis agus sa Spáinnis. Is féidir le gairmithe fáilteachais tabhairt faoin Teastas Iarchéime in Hospitality Managmenet i gColáiste Ósta na Sionna, clár atá deartha chun eolas ar chórais, ar threochtaí agus ar fheidhmchláir ghnó a fhorbairt. Beidh eolas ar gach clár nua, mar aon leis an 200 clár iarchéime eile atá ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, ar fáil ag an taispeántas i Halla Bailey Allen.  Is gá áit a chur in áirithe roimh ré agus is féidir é sin a dhéanamh ag www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day. Críoch

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

University of Galway’s Autumn Postgraduate Open Day will focus on the affordability of postgraduate studies and the multiple funding and scholarship opportunities that future students should explore when considering investing in their education and career. The Autumn Postgraduate Open Day takes place on Tuesday November 8 from 12-3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The event will showcase the suite of full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes available at the University, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. There will be a number of talks including a panel discussion on career pathways, grant opportunities, postgraduate funding and the application process. The talks will also include a presentation on the Hardiman PhD Scholarship Scheme, as well as Postgraduate Application Tips and How to Write an Effective Personal Statement, a presentation by staff from the Career Development Centre and the Admissions Office. As part of University of Galway’s strategic focus on recognising excellence and success, all EU postgraduate students with a first class honours in their undergraduate degree are eligible to apply for a €1,500 scholarship towards their taught Masters at the University.  Emily Atkinson, graduate of the MSc in Consumer Psychology, was awarded an Excellence Scholarship. She said: “The postgraduate scholarship is a fantastic opportunity that rewards and incentivises the hard work it takes to achieve first class honours. The scholarship allowed me prioritise finding the right postgraduate course for me, and to focus on my studies during my Masters.”  Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, University of Galway, said: “We especially encourage visitors considering a return to university studies to attend our Postgraduate Open Day. Almost half of those applying to our postgraduate courses are not recent graduates, they are returning to study or upskill for their current job. Support is offered to those who have been out of the education system for some time and our research shows that students from industry or the home returning to education flourish academically.” University of Galway introduces new innovative postgraduate programmes annually, many of which are unique offerings. These are designed to meet industry needs and market-demand. New courses for entry 2023 include MA (Languages & Business), MSc (Cybersecurity Risk Management), and MSc (Health Data Science).  A range of new Structured Masters’ Programmes are also on offer in French, German, and Spanish. Hospitality professionals can avail of our Shannon College of Hotel Management’s new PgCert programme in Hospitality Management, designed to develop knowledge of systems, trends, and business applications. Information on all new programmes, along with University of Galway’s 200 other postgraduate programmes, will be available at the exhibition in the Bailey Allen Hall.  Booking in advance is required and is available at www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day.  Ends

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Three international female scientists are to lead a series of webinars focusing on cutting-edge regenerative therapeutic medicine for humans and animals at University of Galway. Taking a One Health approach, University of Galway researchers Dr Ana Ivanovska from North Macedonia, Dr Laura Barrachina from Spain, and Dr Tarlan Eslami Arshaghi from Iran, will join Professor Frank Barry, Professor of Cellular Therapy with REMEDI, will discuss their current research and how they try to advance new therapies for use in both human and veterinary medicine. Joining the University of Galway scientists for the webinars are Professor Valerie Johnson, Michigan State University, USA, and Professor Steven Dow, Colorado State University, USA. The six webinar masterclasses will run each Tuesday from November 1 to December 13 (except Tuesday November 15) at 4pm. The webinar series is organised by Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN), in collaboration with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at University of Galway. The six webinars include: November 1: One Health and Regenerative Medicine by Professor Frank Barry November 8: Cell Therapies for Wildlife and Exotic Animals by Professor Valerie Johnson November 22: Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Therapies for Osteoarthritis by Dr Ana Ivanovska November 29: Cell Therapies for Bacterial Infections by Professor Steven Dow December 6: Animal Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by Dr Laura Barrachina December 13: Animal Cell-Free Therapies  by Dr Tarlan Eslami Arshaghi Professor Barry said: “We hope to provide information about the kind of cutting-edge research that is going on around the world in advanced therapeutics in veterinary medicine. We are interested in using our research skills to develop advanced therapeutics for veterinary patients and have gathered together an exceptionally talented international team of qualified vets, all with profound scientific expertise.” For more information visit http://www.calin.wales/en/events. Ends

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Clinical trial shows positive results for patients across three European countries  University of Galway, in collaboration with the EU Horizon 2020-funded NEPHSTROM Consortium, has announced promising results from a new cell therapy trial for people living with diabetes. The NEPHSTROM clinical trial is taking the first steps to investigate the value of a novel cell therapy for adults who have type 2 diabetes and worsening kidney disease, despite best medical treatment.  Results from the NEPHSTROM clinical trial were presented in November at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week meeting in Orlando, Florida. It showed that a single dose of ORBCEL-M, given intravenously to carefully selected adults with worsening kidney disease due to diabetes was safe and associated with better preservation of kidney function compared to a placebo. Patients taking part in the trial were followed closely for 18 months after receiving ORBCEL-M.  The ORBCEL-M cell therapy is a mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) preparation manufactured from healthy bone marrow which was discovered and developed in Galway by Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd, a spinout company from University of Galway.  The clinical trial is being led from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research IRCCS in Bergamo, Italy and carried out jointly at leading medical centres in Galway, Bergamo, Birmingham and Belfast.  Trial investigator, Professor Matt Griffin, a senior researcher at University of Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and a Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals said: “Nearly a quarter of a million people in Ireland are living with diabetes and we know that more than 40% of them have evidence of kidney disease - often referred to as diabetic kidney disease or DKD for short.  “In type 2 diabetes, as many as one third of those with DKD have worsening kidney function despite the best medical therapy we can offer. These people are at high risk for requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation in the years ahead - both of which are complex treatments with potentially serious complications. “In NEPHSTROM, our goal is to secure evidence that a cell therapy, such as ORBCEL-M, is safe and can slow the course of DKD to help more people with diabetes avoid the need for dialysis or transplantation. It was exciting to report that our first analysis of results from the trial supports that goal.” Dr Steve Elliman, who discovered the ORBCEL-M therapy, is Chief Scientific Officer for Orbsen Therapeutics. Dr Elliman said: “At Orbsen Therapeutics we are motivated by improving patient care. Diabetic patients with progressive kidney disease eventually require dialysis and often a kidney transplant. While dialysis improves the quality of life of patients with kidney failure, it is expensive and does not prevent further decline of kidney function. Additionally, dialysis takes four hours per session and three times a week - creating logistic and economic challenges for the patient. Our goal with ORBCEL-M is to resolve systemic inflammation and improve kidney function, so that patients will not require dialysis or a kidney transplant. We’re encouraged by the safety profile and the preliminary efficacy signals in patients with DKD reported by the NEPHSTROM trial. We look forward to continued collaboration with our University of Galway and NEPHSTROM partners to advance this new medicine through Phase 3 efficacy trials and a market approval.” Dr Veronica McInerney, Administrative Director at the HRB Clinical Research Facility at University of Galway said: “Without patient involvement in clinical trials, advances in new treatments are simply not possible. We are fortunate to have the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway, a clinically equipped space to see and treat patients on trials. We are hopeful that future generations will benefit from the willingness of patients to participate in trials, such as the NEPHSTROM trial.” Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), at the University of Galway and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology at Galway University Hospitals and the overall lead of the NEPHSTROM project, said: “University of Galway’s ecosystem is set up to facilitate and lead international trials of this nature. The Cell Therapy GMP manufacturing facilities at the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, located in the University, along with the HRB Clinical Research Facility, the close partnership with Saolta University Heath Care Group and REMEDI have been instrumental in making the progression of this potential new therapy possible. Funding from SFI, the Higher Education Authority and the Health Research Board has supported and helped build this ecosystem and along with European Commission funding has made the advancement of this research possible.” ENDS

Monday, 19 December 2022

Psychosocial stress is associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to new University of Galway led research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open (JAMA Network Open). The research found that the occurrence of any stressful life event increased the risk of stroke by 17%, with the occurrence of two or more stressful life events increasing the risk of stroke by 31%.  The research was led by Dr Catriona Reddin, at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. It looked at levels of stress in more than 26,000 people in Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa.  The research found that increased stress at home, stress at work, and recent stressful life events (e.g. marital separation/divorce, major intra-family conflict) were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke (a stroke due to a clot) and haemorrhagic stroke (a stroke due to bleeding within the brain tissue).  Those who reported severe work stress were over twice as likely to have an ischaemic stroke, and over five times as likely to have a haemorrhagic stroke compared to those who reported no work stress.  The increased risk was lower in individuals who reported feeling more in control.  Dr Reddin said: “Approximately 7,500 Irish people have a stroke, an estimated 30,000 people are living in Ireland with disabilities as a result of a stroke and annually about 2,000 Irish people die as a result of stroke. In this latest INTERSTROKE study we looked at self-reported stress.  “In people who reported severe home stress, the increase in stroke risk was lower in those who felt that what happens in life is determined by factors within their control.  “Similarly, in individuals who reported severe work stress, the increase in stroke risk was lower in people who felt that they had control over what happens in work, in most situations, compared to people who felt that they had little control over their work life.” Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Neurovascular Medicine at University of Galway and Consultant Stroke Physician at Galway University Hospitals, co-led the international INTERSTROKE study in partnership with Professor Salim Yusuf from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University, Canada. Professor O’Donnell said: “Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability globally. Stroke prevention is crucial and the more we understand about the disease the better equipped physicians and the public can be to mitigate the risks.  “The INTERSTROKE study is giving us a better understanding of the importance of conventional and emerging risk factors of stroke in different regions and ethnic groups globally, which are required to help prevention. We know that the best ways to prevent stroke are to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.  “In this latest study we got deeper insights into how work and life related stresses can contribute to stroke. The findings suggest that higher locus of control is associated with lower risk of stroke and may be an important effect modifier of the risk associated with psychosocial stress." INTERSTROKE study is one of the largest international studies of risk factors for stroke. It has recruited over 26,000 people in 27 countries since 2007.  The full study is available here. A series of findings have been released from INTERSTROKE including:  Alcohol risk factors for acute stroke Anger, emotional upset and heavy physical exertion may trigger stroke Ends

Monday, 19 December 2022

University of Galway graduate Amber Dowling has been rated in the top 16 student engineers in the world, with a Highly Commended award in the Global Undergraduate Awards for her work on a project to help people with Parkinson’s disease.  In addition to being highly commended globally, the graduate of the University’s Mechanical Engineering programme was also awarded the Undergraduate Award in Engineering for the Island of Ireland. Having completed her professional experience work placement with Boston Scientific in Galway, the company continued to support Amber Dowling’s use of their collaborative robot, or cobot, a type of robot that can work alongside humans in a shared, collaborative space, when she returned to University to complete her final year project.  Amber Dowling’s project provides a non-intrusive means of steadying hand tremors for those affected with Parkinson’s disease. The Mechanical Engineering graduate designed and 3D-printed a modified glove which attaches to the flange of the cobot.  Together with the software program written by Amber, the glove transfers the tremor energy to the cobot which filters out these tremors. Amber was guided by universal design principles in her design whilst also incorporating safety features.  Amber, from Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, said: “I am incredibly grateful to have received this award, and honoured to be counted amongst the top 10% of engineering students in the world. I wanted to explore the use of collaborative robots outside of industry, and engage the possibilities of the symbiosis between humans and cobots.” Amber carried out the work as a part of her final project for her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, supervised by Dr Martina Kelly, and mentored by Julio Zanon, Engineering Fellow at Boston Scientific.  Dr Martina Kelly, Amber’s supervisor in the School of Engineering at University of Galway, said: “Amber’s project was an excellent demonstration of the confluence of mechanical engineering, advanced automation and human-centred design.”  Dr Nathan Quinlan, Head of Mechanical Engineering at University of Galway, said: “This was a truly excellent feat of engineering by Amber, creating a solution for real human needs, to make lives better. It shows how placements, with industry partners like Boston Scientific, can help our students to launch their engineering careers.” Professor Walter Gear, Executive Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at University of Galway said: “Congratulations to Amber on her well-earned award. This project is another example of the world-leading work the University does in our many partnerships with advanced industry based in and around Galway." Amber Dowling highlighted how she believes her work on the project is just the beginning, and intends to continue her engineering career with cobots. She added: “Cobots have capabilities I feel aren't yet fully explored, and it's exciting to think of the developments ahead. I'm furthering my education in automation and controls, and hope to pursue it as a career. This project has shown me that there is much more to come in applications of cobots.”  Ends

Friday, 16 December 2022

 Scientists at University of Galway have identified a set of biomarkers which can distinguish patients with Parkinson’s disease from those not affected. The study, published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology, provides a new direction for research towards a blood-based test, which combined with the current approach of clinical and neuropsychological testing would improve the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The research was led by Professor Adrienne Gorman in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Galway. She said: “This research brings us one step closer to improving Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.”  The study was funded by Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme and it was conducted in collaboration with University Hospital Galway, University of Limerick and Randox Teoranta. Parkinson’s disease is a condition that is primarily associated with the loss of motor function, such as the use of muscles and movement of limbs, due to the degeneration and death of nerves that control movement. When nerves start to die they send stress signals to the surrounding neurons and distal tissues by releasing stress-regulated proteins.  Dr Katarzyna Mnich, the first author on the paper, said: “For that reason we were looking for markers in blood of Parkinson’s disease patients that would indicate neuronal stress.” The research found that four stress-regulated proteins - PDIA1; PDIA3; MANF; and clusterin - enable us to distinguish Parkinson’s disease patients from those not affected by this disease.  Dr Shirin Moghaddam, the co-author on the paper, said: “The next step is to translate our findings to a clinical diagnostic test. This requires validation of the biomarker panel in further independent cohorts to evaluate the test sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.”  Dr Mnich added: “The development of a blood-based diagnostic test would offer patients faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis to start their treatment sooner. And all of us on the research team would like to express our gratitude to everyone engaged in the project, especially to the people who are living with Parkinson’s disease and supported the study.” Ends

Friday, 16 December 2022

The Marine Institute in partnership with the University of Galway’s Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released the latest update on the performance of Ireland’s Ocean Economy. The report provides an update on Ireland’s ocean economy across three main economic indicators: turnover, gross value added (GVA) and employment, and provides an analysis of trends over the last five years. The update shows that Ireland’s ocean economy in 2021 had a turnover of €4.98 billion, with a direct economic contribution, as measured by GVA, of €2.1 billion. Taking into account indirect GVA generated from ocean related activity in Ireland total GVA is €3.8bn, representing 1.6% of national output. Brexit effects on trade and fisheries as well as the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on marine tourism and the international cruise industry meant a significant reduction in ocean economy output value in 2020. Commenting on the results, co-author Professor Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU at the University of Galway stated: “The latest figures demonstrate that it has been a very turbulent period for Ireland’s ocean economy in the two years since the publication of the last report in the series. Against the backdrop of the immense challenges that have faced the sector we have seen a rebound in terms of output and employment in 2021. It continues to be a period of transition for Ireland’s ocean economy as the marine industries innovate in the face of new policies and measures aimed at dealing with the impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises.” Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, said: “I am delighted to receive this latest SEMRU (University of Galway) and Marine Institute report on Ireland’s Ocean Economy, which provides such useful data on the value of our marine industries and sectors. The marine sector and the employment it provides in crucial areas such as Ireland’s fisheries and seafood sector, under my own area of Ministerial responsibility, are crucially important contributors in maintaining the viability of our coastal communities. This interesting and timely report demonstrates that the marine sector as a whole has experienced significant challenges over recent years in common with international trends but is now slowly recovering. It will be particularly interesting to see if the current trends continue into 2023 and future years. We look forward to the next report and hopefully to a resurgent and vibrant marine sector both here in Ireland and internationally.” The report also reviews demographic change in Ireland’s coastal economy, as well as highlighting developments in marine natural capital accounting. Natural capital accounting/ecosystem accounting views nature and ecosystems as assets, which provide a stream of ecosystem service benefits to society. The report highlights the importance of healthy marine ecosystem services to the ocean economy industries and Irish society more widely. In doing so it discusses the latest advancements in ocean environmental and economic accounting and how the Marine Institute and the University of Galway, in partnership with the CSO, are in the process of developing such accounts for Ireland. Welcoming the report, Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute said: “The ever-growing demand for more integrated advice and services has seen an increasing demand for economic data and evidence that will support the state’s governance of our maritime area. This work, carried out in partnership with University of Galway, and other state organisations such as the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), is delivering a robust analytical framework to inform marine and maritime policies and planning, delivering a more equitable and sustainable ocean and coastal economies.” Ireland’s Ocean Economy Report 2022 is available on the Marine Institute’s website at https://oar.marine.ie/handle/10793/1807 Ends

Thursday, 15 December 2022

The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics have a strong long running research relationship with the global financial services company Fidelity Investments. The latest of many outcomes from this valuable collaboration has been the joint filing of IP on the topic of ‘Building A Knowledge Base Taxonomy from Structured or Unstructured Computer Text for Use in Automated User Interactions’. To mark this important milestone Lorna Martyn, Ireland Regional Chair and SVP Technology, Fidelity Investments, Chair of Technology Ireland, presented commemorative plaques to all Insight researchers named on the patent. The recipients included Dr Paul Buitelaar, Dr John McCrae, Cécile Robin, Bianca Pereira and Tobias Daudert.  Professor Edward Curry, Director of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at the University of Galway, said: “Our relationship with Fidelity shows what’s possible when business and industry collaborates with a Centre like Insight. The relationship has been long and fruitful, and we hope it will continue into the future.” The ceremony took place on December 14th at the University of Galway. We were delighted to be joined for the occasion by Professor James Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of Galway, Ian Gallivan Commercialisation Executive, University of Galway, Thomas McGuire, Director Patents Program at Fidelity Investments and Richard Murphy, Head of FCAT Europe at Fidelity Investments. Ends  

Friday, 9 December 2022

New Enterprise Ireland Technology Centre to be hosted by University of Galway led consortium Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, today officially launched Construct Innovate, a new Enterprise Ireland Technology Centre hosted at University of Galway. The Centre has been established with funding of €5 million, over 5 years, to accelerate research and innovation in the construction sector and put the built environment industry at the cutting-edge of developments by utilising the strengths of a network of government, industry and academia. Construct Innovate will be at the forefront of initiatives to meet the demands of major building and investment programmes as part of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan 2021-2030; Housing for All; and the Climate Action Plan. Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said: “Construct Innovate is one of the actions we are taking under the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ plan to drive innovation, productivity and structural change in the construction sector. “The Centre will help Irish construction companies to develop competitive advantage, using cutting edge products and services that are better performing, more efficient, more environmentally sustainable, and more effective for their customers. It is a welcome addition to Enterprise Ireland’s existing industry led Technology Centre Programme, which underpins Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation capabilities. “Through the Housing for All Implementation Fund, I am allocating a further €0.5 million in funding for Construct Innovate in 2023, which will ensure that the Centre is able to prioritise the projects to bring about immediate results for the residential construction sector.” The consortium is the first of its kind in Ireland and as well as the University of Galway includes Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork, working with the Irish Green Building Council, sectoral bodies and construction companies.  It brings together a critical mass of experts and thought leaders, offering a single point of contact for industry to access the best combination of skills, equipment and know-how in the Irish research system. The official launch of Construct Innovate coincides with the formal opening of a call for members among construction companies. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “University of Galway is dedicated to excellence and sustainability as core values and it is a huge credit to our community that by embedding those values in our research endeavours that we have been selected to host Construct Innovate – a national technology centre supporting the quality of the work of one of our largest indigenous employers. Our university exists for the public good. Given the importance of the built environment for us all, Construct Innovate led by University of Galway is a shining example of that ethos in practice as it enhances the sector’s capacity to address challenges affecting society.” Professor Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, University of Galway academics and Directors of Construct Innovate, said: “Our vision for Construct Innovate is to provide a platform for collaboration to all stakeholders in the construction industry. A platform that empowers industry to take ownership of research and innovation and supports a modernised, resilient and sustainable sector. A key part of our work will be listening to industry – as they identify challenges and we will work together on this innovation journey.” Joe Healy, Divisional Manager, Research and Innovation Enterprise Ireland said: “Research, development and innovation are key components of thriving businesses and are essential to maintaining a competitive edge in the market. Technology Centres are making a measurable impact to companies in sectors like food, pharmaceuticals and microelectronics, manufacturing, data analytics and learning technologies. Today’s launch comes at a crucial time when the ask on the industry to ramp up on build quality, quantity and delivery times is a top priority, all the while supporting a strict sustainability and carbon neutral agenda. A world class model of knowledge sharing and collaboration through this hub will offer innovative solutions to support the technology transformation of the construction and built environment sector.”    Ends 

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Sheol Cathaoirleach Choiste an Oireachtais ar Oideachas, Breisoideachas agus Ardoideachas, Taighde, Nuálaíocht agus Eolaíocht, Paul Kehoe T.D., Straitéis Acadúil Ollscoil na Gaillimhe (2021-26) go hoifigiúil inniu.  Cuireadh an Straitéis Acadúil i dtoll a chéile ar dtús i gcaitheamh na bliana 2020-21, tráth a raibh an phaindéim ann ar fud an domhain, agus tréimhsí ama nuair a bhí srianta sláinte poiblí i bhfeidhm. Leagtar amach inti fealsúnacht na hOllscoile i leith an teagaisc agus na foghlama, agus na céimeanna atá le glacadh le go gcuirfear le heispéireas foghlama na mac léinn sa todhchaí.  Seo mar a labhair Cathaoirleach Choiste an Oireachtais, Paul Kehoe, T.D.: “Tá an-áthas orm Straitéis Acadúil na hOllscoile a sheoladh. Léirítear inti an chaoi ar féidir le hollscoil glacadh le cur chuige i leith an teagaisc agus na foghlama a dhéanann mic léinn agus comhaltaí foirne a chumasú agus a chumhachtú. Guím gach rath ar an Ollscoil agus tacaíocht a fháil aici ón straitéis chun cur le rannpháirtíocht, cuimsitheacht agus le gnóthachtáil.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá creideamh daingean againn in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe asainn féin mar institiúid léinn – dár mic léinn agus dár gcomhaltaí foirne. Thug ár ngníomhartha i rith na paindéime le fios an tiomantas diongbháilte a bhí againn don misean sin, in ainneoin na ndúshlán ar fad. Táimid ag féachaint chun cinn anois, agus úsáid á baint againn as an eolas atá sealbhaithe againn, agus an taithí a bhí againn, chun cíoradh a dhéanamh ar an gcaoi ar féidir le cuir chuige éagsúla i leith an teagaisc deiseanna nua a thabhairt dúinn chun ár luachanna, mar atá meas, oscailteacht, barr feabhais agus inbhuanaitheacht, a leabú in eispéireas foghlama ár gcuid mac léinn.” Díríonn Straitéis Acadúil na hOllscoile ar chúig réimse tosaíochta straitéisí: Ár gCultúr Foghlama; Ár bhFoireann a Fhorbairt agus a Chumhachtú; Ár dTimpeallacht Teagaisc agus Foghlama; Ár bPobal Féin agus Lasmuigh de; agus Cultúr Feabhsaithe Cáilíochta. Tá líon forbairtí beartaithe i rith an phlean cúig bliana, agus áirítear leo:  Teicneolaithe Foghlama a cheapadh le go gcuirfear feabhas ar ár dtimpeallacht dhigiteach teagaisc agus foghlama, mar aon leis an gcéad Oifigeach Sláine Acadúla a cheapadh Moltaí le forbairt le go gcuirfear lenár dtimpeallacht dhigiteach teagaisc agus foghlama ar champas chathair na Gaillimhe, a dtugaimid an tIonad Foghlama/Leabharlann air. Maoiniú a fháil ón gCiste Fóraim Náisiúnta – Ailíniú Straitéiseach ar Fheabhas Teagaisc agus Foghlama le go dtacófar leis an teagasc agus leis an bhfoghlaim. Tá ár léachtóirí tiomanta úsáid a bhaint sa todhchaí as na gnéithe is fearr den chianfhoghlaim, agus cuirfidh an chianfhoghlaim leis an teagasc ar an láthair, seachas dul ina áit. Timpeallacht agus éiteas a thógáil a chuireann ar chumas agus a thugann cumhacht dár gcuid mac léinn agus dár bhfoireann dul i mbun fiosrúchán criticiúil, cleachtas machnamhach, agus forbairt ghairmiúil, agus a chothaíonn iontas agus paisean iontu dá ndisciplíní agus dá réimsí spéise. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Táimid go mór faoi chomaoin ag ár bhfoireann Ollscoile a d’fhorbair modhanna nua teagaisc i rith na paindéime, agus a ghlac chucu féin iad. D’éirigh leo freisin teacht ar bhealaí a lig dúinn cuid de na tairbhí sin a choinneáil, agus ar an gcaoi sin cur lena bhfuil ar siúl againn le fada an lá sna seomraí ranga, sna saotharlanna agus i halla léachtaí.  “Dearadh ár Straitéis Acadúil go sonrach le go mbeadh níos mó ná teagasc, foghlaim agus measúnú i gceist léi. Táimid ag caitheamh leis seo mar dheis chun tacú leis an nuálaíocht i dteagasc agus foghlaim, agus glacadh le cur chuige níos nua-aimseartha chun tacú lenár mic léinn, agus an seans is fearr a thabhairt dóibh oideachas maith a fháil, agus a bheith in ann smaoineamh go criticiúil. Fágfaidh sé sin ar fad go mbeidh siad ullmhaithe ról lárnach a ghlacadh sa tsochaí i gcaitheamh a saoil.” Is féidir Straitéis Acadúil Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a fháil anseo Straitéis Acadúil - Teagasc agus Foghlaim - Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Críoch

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Cathaoirleach of the Oireachtas Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Paul Kehoe T.D. today officially launched University of Galway’s Academic Strategy (2021-26).  Initially developed over the course of 2020-21, amid the global pandemic and periods of public health restrictions, the Academic Strategy sets out the University’s philosophy for teaching and learning and a future for the overall learning experience for students.  Cathaoirleach of the Oireachtas Committee Paul Kehoe T.D. said: “I am delighted to launch the University’s Academic Strategy which demonstrates how a university can strive for an approach to teaching and learning which enables and empowers students and staff. I wish the University every success as the strategy supports their endeavours to widen participation, inclusion and achievement.” President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “At University of Galway we believe passionately in being a learning institution – for our students and for our staff. Our actions during the pandemic highlighted an extraordinary commitment to this mission, despite all the challenges. Now, we are looking ahead, but using the knowledge and experience of how increasingly diverse approaches to teaching can provide us with new opportunities to embed our values of respect, openess, excellence and sustainability in the learning experience of our students.” The University’s Academic Strategy focuses on five strategic priority areas: Our Learning Culture; Developing and Empowering our Staff; Our Teaching and Learning Environment; Our Community and Beyond; and A Culture of Quality Enhancement. As part of the five year plan, a number of key developments are planned, including:  :: The appointment of Learning Technologists enhancing our digital teaching and learning environment and the appointment of an inaugural Academic Integrity Officer. :: Proposals to be developed to enhance our Galway city campus digital teaching and learning environment, known as Learning Commons/Library. :: Funding awarded from National Forum Fund  - Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement to drive teaching and learning. Our lecturers are committed to incorporating the best elements of remote learning into the future, and these will supplement rather than substitute in-person teaching.  Our aim is to build an environment and ethos that enables and empowers students and staff to engage in critical enquiry, reflective practice, and professional development, and which nurtures and sustains their sense of wonder and passion for their disciplines and areas of interest. University of Galway Deputy President and Registrar Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “A huge debt of gratitude is owed to our University staff who pursued and adopted new ways of teaching in the pandemic and also thought out ways to allow us to retain some of those benefits in order to supplement what we have done for years in the classrooms, labs and lectures. “Our Academic Strategy is purposefully designed to go beyond teaching, learning and assessment. We look at this as an opportunity to support innovation in teaching and learning and create the basis for a more modern approach to supporting our students and giving them the best chance to leave us as highly educated and skilled critical thinkers with the opportunity to play a leading role in society over the course of their lives.” University of Galway Academic Strategy can be accessed at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/registrar/academicstrategy-teachingandlearning/ Ends

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Tributes have been paid to Dr Phillip Smyth, the outgoing head of University of Galway’s Shannon College of Hotel Management who has retired after 34 years.  Dr Smyth is succeeded by Adrian Sylver, who becomes the fifth Head of School in its 71-year history. University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Dr Philip Smyth has devoted decades to the teaching and learning of students and his legacy is the reputation for the quality of graduates who come through Shannon College of Hotel Management and work in Ireland and around the world. Our University values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability are evident in the lived experience in Shannon but more so in the standards which the alumni bring with them on their careers. I wish Phillip a long and enjoyable retirement and thank him for his work. Dr Smyth joined Shannon College in 1988 after a career in the Defence Forces, with Army duties in border control, overseas and as a lecturer in the Military College. His background had a major influence in his management style at Shannon College of Hotel Management, with attention to detail, impeccable presentation, discipline and hard work, all integral parts of the learning. In his role, he successfully guided Shannon College of Hotel Management through three decades of immense change, from his start at the College with only four staff and 150 students, to the renowned institution it is today with more than 40 staff and more than 450 students.  Speaking of Dr Smyth’s legacy, incoming Head of School Adrian Sylver said: “Phillip’s contribution to Shannon College of Hotel Management and the hospitality and tourism sector over the last 34 years has been immense. His tenure and leadership has brought the College to where it is today, a School of the College of Business Public Policy and Law, University of Galway.” Dr Phillip Smyth said: “I have worked closely with Adrian Sylver for 16 years, and he has been my Deputy for the last five. He has the leadership skills and the drive to take Shannon College of Hotel Management to new heights. He is devoted to his students both educationally and personally and is deeply committed to maintaining our unique educational ethos.” Through his time at Shannon, Dr Smyth oversaw and contributed to important milestones including Shannon’s integration within University of Galway, development of its own honours degree, extensive international placements, internationalisation of the student body, maintaining close alumni connections with the class patrons programme, and continuing Shannon’s 100% employment rate for undergraduates.  The educational system at Shannon College is unique. Programmes offer a rich mix of practical training, extensive placements at operative and trainee management level, business education, all combined with development of the student as an individual and leader.  Dr Phillip Smyth played an integral role in creating this environment that allow students to thrive and develop their own management style. He also ensured the history and ethos of Shannon College were preserved, along with the emphasis on practical, hands-on learning, while still developing with the ever-changing needs of industry.  Adrian Sylver, a native of Galway, will lead Shannon College with Deputy Head of School Tracy Hegarty. Mr Sylver has worked as a lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Shannon College since 2006, having joined from Dublin Business School where he worked as a senior academic lecturing on undergraduate, postgraduate and professional accounting programmes. Tracy Hegarty, a graduate of Shannon College, lectures in Revenue Management, Rooms Division and Information Technology and has been with the College since 1996. For more information on Shannon College visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/shannoncollege/  Ends

Friday, 2 December 2022

Minister of State Anne Rabbitte officially opens Access Centre offices at University Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and at the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte, T.D. has launched University of Galway’s first annual report on Widening Participation and officially opened the Access Centre’s new office. Research by the University shows the overall number of students from traditionally underrepresented groups are continuing to grow at University of Galway. With that growth in participation, the new Access Centre offices will provide an important source of support to ensure that students can access, participate and succeed at third level. Minister of State Anne Rabbitte T.D. said: “Over the past 20 years, staff in the Access Centre along with their University colleagues have worked to offer the best student experience, to advocate for and to impart their knowledge to students, many of whom face significant obstacles on their educational journey. With the opening of the Access Centre at University of Galway and the publication of the annual Widening Participation report I am confident that the University is committed to building on what has been achieved to date and to finding ways to help others to enhance their educational future, and to remain committed to diversity and equality of opportunity, to combating educational disadvantage in the region and beyond, and to ensuring university education is for everyone.” The University’s Widening Participation report outlines key achievements to increase the equality of opportunity for students who traditionally would be regarded as underrepresented in higher education, including, the number of students entering University of Galway through specific entry routes other than the Leaving Certificate and CAO system.  Students registering for disability supports Since 2015/16 to 2020/21, there has been a more than 100% increase in students registering for the Disability Support Service at the University. The service is available to University of Galway students who need support or reasonable accommodations due to the impact of a disability, ongoing physical or mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty. Further Education and Training (FET)  The establishment of the Further Education to Higher Education Working Group at the University brought together key stakeholders from across the University and local Further Education providers to expand the number and breadth of undergraduate opportunities available for students coming through from Further Education and Training.  This opening up of opportunities at University of Galway has produced significant results with a 211% increase in the number of students entering University of Galway from Further Education and Training over a four year period. HEAR and DARE The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) are two national schemes developed by HEI’s to increase the number of students entering HE who have a disability (DARE) or who come from socio-economically disadvantaged groups (HEAR) in society. Over 10 years since the 2010/11 academic year, more than 4,100 students were welcomed to the University under the two Government initiatives. Socio-Economic Almost one in 10 of our University’s student population have a socio-economic profile of disadvantage and 32% of students have a socio-economic profile of marginally below average.  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “A key component of this report is looking at the data we have on underrepresented students and learning from what has been achieved so far, so that we can continue to develop a university community that is more reflective of society and that leads the way in changing our society. This is a challenge and responsibility for us all. The widening participation activities outlined in this report are a testament to our commitment to our values of openness, respect, excellence and sustainability, and in this report, we see the outcomes of this commitment for the public good.” Imelda Byrne, Head of Access Centre at University of Galway, said: “This report outlines the broad range of work that has been done to increase the diversity of the University population and the efforts being made to ensure a whole-of-institution approach to widening participation. We are proud of the progress we have made so far but recognise that more still can be done to further extend opportunities to under-represented groups.” Dr Daniel Savery, Widening Participation Officer at the University’s Access Centre, said: “This report provides clear evidence that we have made significant progress in widening participation and creating a more inclusive environment for students from traditionally underrepresented groups in University of Galway. It is through collaboration that this has been achieved to date, and we look forward to building on these achievements.” A copy of the report is available at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/media/access/Widening-Participation-Report-2022.pdf  Ends

Friday, 2 December 2022

Oifigí an Ionaid Rochtana san Ollscoil oscailte go hoifigiúil ag an Aire Stáit Anne Rabbitte   Tá an chéad tuarascáil bhliantúil de chuid Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ar Leathnú Rannpháirtíochta seolta ag an Aire Stáit sa Roinn Leanaí, Comhionannais, Míchumais, Lánpháirtíochta agus Óige agus sa Roinn Sláinte, Anne Rabbitte, T.D., agus d’oscail sí go hoifigiúil oifigí nua an Ionaid Rochtana. Léiríonn taighde a rinne Ionad Rochtana na hOllscoile go bhfuil líon iomlán na mac léinn ó ghrúpaí nach bhfuil dóthain ionadaíochta acu go traidisiúnta ag fás in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Leis an méadú sin ar rannpháirtíocht, soláthróidh oifigí nua an Ionaid Rochtana foinse thábhachtach tacaíochta chun a chinntiú gur féidir le mic léinn rochtain a fháil, a bheith rannpháirteach agus rath a bheith orthu ag an tríú leibhéal. Dúirt an tAire Stáit Anne Rabbitte T.D.: “Le scór bliain anuas, rinne an fhoireann san Ionad Rochtana agus a gcomhghleacaithe Ollscoile a ndícheall chun an taithí mac léinn is fearr a thairiscint, chun ionadaíocht a dhéanamh orthu agus eolas a roinnt leis na mic léinn, a bhfuil constaicí suntasacha roimh go leor acu ar a n-aistear oideachasúil. Le hoscailt an Ionaid Rochtana in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus foilsiú na tuarascála bliantúla ar Leathnú Rannpháirtíochta táim lánchinnte go bhfuil an Ollscoil ar a míle dícheall ag tógáil ar a bhfuil bainte amach go dtí seo agus bealaí a aimsiú chun cabhrú le daoine a dtodhchaí oideachasúil a fheabhsú agus san am céanna bheith tiomanta don éagsúlacht agus don chomhionannas deiseanna, do dhul i ngleic le míbhuntáiste oideachasúil sa réigiún agus níos faide ó bhaile, agus do chinntiú go bhfuil oideachas ollscoile ann do chách.” Leagtar amach i dtuarascáil na hOllscoile ar Leathnú Rannpháirtíochta príomhéachtaí chun comhionannas deiseanna a mhéadú do mhic léinn a meastar go traidisiúnta a bheith tearc-ionadaithe san ardoideachas, lena n-áirítear, líon na mac léinn a thosaíonn in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe trí bhealaí iontrála eile seachas an córas Ardteistiméireachta agus an CAO. -          Mic léinn cláraithe do thacaíocht míchumais Ó 2015/16 go 2020/21, tá méadú níos mó ná 100% tagtha ar líon na mac léinn atá ag clárú don tSeirbhís Tacaíochta Míchumais san Ollscoil. Tá an tSeirbhís Tacaíochta Míchumais ar fáil do mhic léinn Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a bhfuil tacaíochtaí nó socruithe réasúnta de dhíth orthu mar gheall ar mhíchumas, riocht sláinte leanúnach coirp nó meabhairshláinte, nó deacracht foghlama ar leith. -          Breisoideachas agus Oiliúint (FET) Thug bunú an Ghrúpa Oibre ó Bhreisoideachas go hArdoideachas san Ollscoil le chéile príomhpháirtithe leasmhara ó ar fud na hOllscoile agus soláthraithe Breisoideachais áitiúla chun líon agus fairsinge na ndeiseanna fochéime atá ar fáil do mhic léinn a thagann tríd an mBreisoideachas agus Oiliúint a mhéadú. Tháinig toradh suntasach as méadú na ndeiseanna in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe le hardú 211% ar líon na mac léinn a tháinig isteach in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ó Bhreisoideachas agus Oiliúint thar thréimhse ceithre bliana. -          HEAR agus DARE Is dhá scéim náisiúnta iad an Bealach Rochtana don Ardoideachas (HEAR) agus an Bealach Rochtana Míchumais don Oideachas (DARE) a d’fhorbair Institiúidí Ardoideachais chun líon na mac léinn a théann isteach san Ardoideachas atá faoi mhíchumas (DARE) nó a thagann ó ghrúpaí atá faoi mhíbhuntáiste socheacnamaíoch (HEAR) a mhéadú sa tsochaí. Os cionn 10 mbliana ón mbliain acadúil 2010/11, cuireadh fáilte roimh níos mó ná 4,100 mac léinn chuig an Ollscoil faoi dhá thionscnamh Rialtais. -          Socheacnamaíoch Tá próifíl shocheacnamaíoch a bhfuil míbhuntáiste ag baint léi ag beagnach duine as gach 10 mac léinn san Ollscoil agus tá próifíl shocheacnamaíoch atá beagán faoi bhun an mheáin ag 32% de mhic léinn. Deir an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Cuid lárnach den tuarascáil seo ná féachaint ar na sonraí atá againn ar mhic léinn thearc-ionadaithe agus foghlaim ón méid atá bainte amach go dtí seo, ionas gur féidir linn leanúint ar aghaidh ag forbairt pobal ollscoile atá ionadaíoch ar an tsochaí agus a threoraíonn an bealach chun an tsochaí a athrú. Is dúshlán é seo agus táimid ar fad freagrach as. Is teist iad na gníomhaíochtaí méadaithe rannpháirtíochta atá leagtha amach sa tuarascáil seo ar ár dtiomantas dár luachanna oscailteacht, meas, sármhaitheas agus inbhuanaitheacht, agus sa tuarascáil seo, feicimid torthaí an tiomantais seo ar mhaithe le leas an phobail. Dúirt Imelda Byrne, Ceann an Ionaid Rochtana in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Déantar cur síos sa tuarascáil seo ar an raon leathan oibre atá déanta chun éagsúlacht daonra na hOllscoile a mhéadú agus na hiarrachtaí atá á ndéanamh chun cur chuige uile-institiúide a chinntiú maidir le rannpháirtíocht a leathnú. Táimid bródúil as an dul chun cinn atá déanta againn go dtí seo ach aithnímid gur féidir níos mó a dhéanamh fós chun deiseanna a mhéadú do ghrúpaí tearc-ionadaithe.” Dúirt an Dr Daniel Savery, Oifigeach don Leathnú Rannpháirtíochta in Ionad Rochtana na hOllscoile: “Cuireann an tuarascáil seo fianaise shoiléir ar fáil go bhfuil dul chun cinn suntasach déanta againn maidir le rannpháirtíocht a leathnú agus timpeallacht níos cuimsithí a chruthú do mhic léinn ó ghrúpaí nach bhfuil dóthain ionadaíochta acu go traidisiúnta in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Is trí chomhoibriú a baineadh é seo amach go dtí seo, agus táimid ag tnúth le cur leis na héachtaí seo.” Tá cóip den tuarascáil ar fáil ag https://www.universityofgalway.ie/media/access/Widening-Participation-Report-2022.pdf Críoch

Friday, 29 January 2021

Third level partnership on research brings people's voices to the table NUI Galway is to lead a new network of universities to champion public and patient involvement in health and social care research. The Health Research Board, in conjunction with the Irish Research Council, announced the development of the new Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Network across seven universities and 10 partner organisations, some of which represent patients. With NUI Galway as lead, the network is being established to put the public and the patient at the centre of health and social care research. It aims to ensure that the next generation of graduates is familiar with Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and know how to incorporate it into their research. In the partnership, patients and members of the public will have the opportunity to work with research teams to decide what issues are important to focus on and how best to carry out research. A key goal will be to ensure that the voices of marginalised and disadvantaged groups are heard. The new network is being headed up by Professor Sean Dinneen, of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, and Edel Murphy, who is based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in the University. “The National PPI Network is a great opportunity for Irish universities to work together to re-imagine what health and social care research is all about and to involve our local communities as genuine partners in the research effort,” Professor Dinneen said. “Rather than adding a tokenistic patient voice to our research we have to take time to form, nurture and engage with a diverse group of individuals from our local community who can provide an authentic public and patient perspective on our research.” The network is building on an initial PPI Ignite Programme, which began in NUI Galway and other universities in 2017 and started the process of changing research culture. A national public advisory panel will be set up in the early phase of its work. The network will also explore innovative ways of involving patients and the public in research, identify best practice and look to measure the impact of PPI. An online hub is to be set up with the aim of connecting patients and members of the public who are interested in being involved with research communities who are seeking PPI partners.  An annual PPI Festival will be held along with outreach events to share resources, knowledge and experience. The network will also deliver training in PPI to researchers, the public, patients, community organisations, policy-makers and research funders. Deirdre Mac Loughlin, a member of the public advisory panel on NUI Galway’s initial PPI Ignite programme, said: “We are on a journey to bring Public and Patient Involvement in health research from concept to reality. These partnerships allow us to bring our lived experience to the research question and often bring a different dimension and perspective to the table. All of this helps to improve the relevance of the research. "Over the next few years we will help to drive PPI as an integral part of the research culture and broaden the number and diversity of active PPI contributors. Through genuine ‘PPI in Action’ the relevance of health research can be optimised and its benefits and trustworthiness be reinforced and promoted.” As part of the new initiative to develop the PPI Network, Dr Ruth McMenamin and Professor Martin O’Halloran have been appointed as co-leads of the NUI Galway PPI Ignite programme. The University will also strengthen ties with local partners such as Croí and the Saolta Hospital Group as well as working with international experts including Professor Derek Stewart (recently appointed Honorary Professor at NUI Galway) and Professor Carolyn Jenkins from the Medical University of South Carolina. Members of the public and patients with an interest in finding out more about Public and Patient Involvement can contact ppi@nuigalway.ie Ends

Thursday, 28 January 2021

⦁ Testing of next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines stretch from Alaska to Scotland  ⦁ Fatigue and static testing of tidal blade model designs completed for the largest tidal turbine in the world Over the past 12 months, a research team in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway have made a significant contribution to technology development in the marine energy sector, by delivering three full-scale structural testing programmes to de-risk blade components to allow for commercial and operational trials in Alaska and Scotland. The research team worked with industry partners Suzlon Energy (wind energy developer), Ocean Renewable Power Company (tidal energy developer), Orbital Marine Power (tidal energy developer) and ÉireComposites (wind/tidal OEM). Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites, said: “Our research collaborations with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has resulted in moving our blade technology from technology readiness level (TRL) 6 to 9 and the company has attracted commercial contracts for manufacturing tidal turbine blades, and securing these jobs over the long term. “For example, at the start of 2020, we worked on a testing programme with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and NUI Galway to de-risk the turbine blade components for the ORPC RivGen® Turbine that we were manufacturing in our facilities in Galway. Due to the successful completion of the structural testing of the turbine in NUI Galway, RivGen® has since been installed in Igiugig, Alaska, where it provides clean, predictable electricity for a remote community, which previously relied solely on energy generation from diesel generators.” Testing to prove tidal blade's twenty-year design life is a world first In 2020, ÉireComposites also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway. Through the SEAI funded SEABLADE and Horizon 2020 Marinet2 testing programmes in NUI Galway, a static load of 1,004kN (over 100 tonnes or equivalent to 10 double decker buses) was applied to a tidal turbine blade – the highest load to be reported ever in the world. Following this, the blade was subjected to fatigue testing to prove the blade’s twenty year design life, which is a hugely important step forward in the certification of tidal turbine blades required for full commercialisation. This achievement has had a major impact on the tidal energy sector, while demonstrating the advanced capabilities of the project partners. To date, the testing has validated the models used to design the blade and the manufacturing process, paving the way for Orbital Marine Power’s O2-2000 device to be deployed in 2021, where it will become the largest tidal turbine in the world. According to Finlay Wallace, Blades Manager at Orbital Marine Power: “Collaborating with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway and ÉireComposites to develop composite tidal turbine blade technology as part of the EU Horizon 2020 Flotec project opened up opportunities to prove the static and fatigue strength of a full sized composite tidal turbine blade structure through the Marinet2 and Ocean Era Net programmes. “We took on a close collaborative approach, working with the project partners during planning and execution of the test program. We were thrilled to successfully demonstrate the blade static and fatigue strength, validating our design approach for composite blades. This represents a critical step in de-risking the path for larger more powerful turbine blades with lower cost of energy.” Development of a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades In 2020, the MaREI team in the Ryan Institute and School of Engineering at NUI Galway also completed the EASME-funded €1.5 million LEAPWind Project, which was in response to Suzlon Energy’s need to develop a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades. New components developed at ÉireComposites are now undertaking full-scale operational trials on wind turbines in Scotland, which may result in the new component being used on all future Suzlon blades, where they currently have an installed capacity of over 18,800MW worldwide. That installed capacity is, on average, enough to supply the electrical needs of over 8 million households. Structural testing of components for preventing leading-edge erosion on wind turbine blades was completed at NUI Galway, including static and fatigue testing of representative sections of full-scale blades. According to Sandro Di Noi, Innovation and Strategic Research Manager at Suzlon Energy Blades Technology B.V.: “The cooperation and the results achieved within the innovative LEAPWind project increased the SE Blades Technology (knowledge about wind blades leading edge protection technology in an off-shore environment. “The successful static and fatigue testing of the leading edge protection component (known as LEP) on a representative full-scale blade performed at NUI-Galway delivered a professional and “ready to use” report. The results allows us to move forward with the thermoplastic LEP solution developed by ÉireComposites.” Local social impact in the West of Ireland Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites adds: “The collaboration with the team based in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has helped secure ÉireComposites’ long term viability and safeguard jobs in the Connemara Gaeltacht. This is as a result of a long number of years of working closely in partnership with researchers and academics in NUI Galway to foster an innovative ecosystem for lightweight high-performance large-scale fibre-reinforced composite structures across a range of applications, including aviation, space, marine and renewable energy – wind, tidal and river-current.” Professor Jamie Goggins, Principal Investigator in the SFI MaREI Centre and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 in 2020, together with our project partners we have made significant contributions to the marine energy industry, in particular through our collaborations with ÉireComposites, ORPC, Orbital Marine Power and Suzlon Energy. “Having already secured new collaborative research projects to develop and test the next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines we’re hopeful for another successful year in 2021. We are very grateful for the support of Science Foundation Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the European Commission through the H2020 and EASME-funded programmes. This has helped secure the reputation of the MaREI Centre as a world leader in design, modelling and testing of tidal turbine blades and blade components.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

NUI Galway becomes first third-level institution to commit to “campus-wide” promotion of leadership skills in partnership with LIFT Ireland  LIFT Ireland and NUI Galway have today (27.01.21) announced the first partnership in Ireland’s third-level sector aimed at improving leadership skills amongst students and staff. LIFT Ireland is an initiative to raise the level of leadership nationwide, working with organisations and individuals in a variety of settings to develop key leadership attributes. Current partners include ESB, Munster Rugby, Bank of Ireland, RSA Insurance, Vodafone, Dublin Airport, and over 100 secondary schools nationwide. LIFT’s partnership with NUI Galway is the organisation’s first formal partnership with a third-level institution. It will see more than 200 staff and students trained as LIFT facilitators by April. These facilitators will then go on to deliver the LIFT leadership programme to a further 1,500 staff and students at NUI Galway throughout 2021. As part of a pilot run in late 2020, LIFT has already trained 70 NUI Galway students and staff as facilitators.  The LIFT Model LIFT’s leadership programme is delivered through regular roundtable sessions, led by a volunteer facilitator. Each session focuses on one of eight key leadership values, such as honesty, competence, accountability, empathy, respect and positive attitude. The programme supports participants to develop these leadership attributes on an ongoing basis.  Commenting on the partnership with NUI Galway, Joanne Hession, founder and CEO of LIFT Ireland, said: “We work with students and staff across all levels of education, including in schools and further education settings. By working with education institutions, LIFT is aiming to instil strong leadership values in people from a young age, in the hope that they will take these values and practices with them as they move through life and through their careers. “We are delighted to be partnering with NUI Galway, a pioneer in its sector and the first of what we hope will be many third-level institutions to roll out LIFT across campus.” Also welcoming the partnership, the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to be the first university to be part of the LIFT programme in Ireland. Many organisations have already benefitted from the programme and, as a learning organisation, I’m particularly pleased that we’re the first university to be involved. “Leading Ireland’s future together is particularly important for NUI Galway and the LIFT programme does it in a way which is very much in tune with our values as a university.” To view a video of NUI Galway students speaking about their participation in the LIFT pilot partnership in late 2020, go to: liftireland.ie/nuig-first-thrid-level-lift-partner/"t-thrid-level-lift-partner/. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Iriseoirí an lae amárach - cúrsa seachtaine in iriseoireacht do scoláirí Idirbhliana a reachtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Beidh deis ag scoláirí Idirbhliana tabhairt faoi chúrsa nua iriseoireachta ar líne á mhúineadh ag cuid de phlúr na n-iriseoirí teilifíse, raidió agus digití. Reachtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh agus Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 an cúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach le comhairle ón gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) agus ón Roinn Oideachais. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar scoláirí in Iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus Lán-Ghaeilge ar fud na tíre agus beidh sé ar siúl ar an ardán Zoom idir 1-4 Márta 2021. Cuirfidh foireann ó chúrsaí meán agus cumarsáide OÉ Gaillimh agus iriseoirí RTÉ a chraolann ar TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus a sholáthraíonn ábhar d’árdáin digiteacha an cúrsa i láthair ar líne.  Roinnfidh an t-iriseoir físe agus fear déanta scannán, Seán Mac an tSíthigh a chuid scileanna agus a chuid taithí de bheith ag soláthar scéalta físe d’ardchaighdeán do TG4 agus RTÉ.  Tabharfaidh Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg cuntas ar na ceisteanna crua a chuireann sí ar dhaoine gach lá ar Adhmhaidin ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.  Glacfaidh na láithreoirí nuachta Eimear Ní Chonaola agus Siún Nic Gearailt páirt sna ranganna ag tabhairt léargais ar an saol laethúil sna meáin.  Clúdóidh Siún Ní Dhuinn ó RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie na dúshláin a bhaineann le scéalta a sholáthar d’ardáin ar líne. Tabharfaidh an cúrsa léargas freisin ar ghairmeacha sna meáin agus ar scéalta spóirt a chlúdach do phobal na hÉireann, dream a bhfuil spéis mhór acu ina leithéid. Dúirt an tOllamh Brenadán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá gnóthaí nuachta – gnóthaí bréag-nuachta, san áireamh – ina n-ábhar conspóide le cúpla bliain anuas, agus aird níos mó anois ag daoine ar fud an domhain ar thábhacht na hiriseoireachta i sochaí dhaonlathach ar bith.  Cosán atá sa chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach ón scoil go dtí an ollscoil.  Deis atá ann léargas ar leith a fháil ar shaol na hiriseoireachta go bhfeice scoláirí Idirbhliana an bhfuil siad ag iarraidh oibriú sa réimse sin nó nach bhfuil.  Agus is deis fosta atá ann eolas níos mó a fháil fá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus saol na mac léinn cois Coiribe.” Dúirt Ardstiúrthóir TG4, Alan Esslemont: “Tá an iriseoireacht Ghaeilge mar bhunchloch lárnach do sheirbhís TG4 agus cuireann muid fáilte roimh an gcomhoibriú seo le OÉ Gaillimh chun iriseoirí an lae amárach a spreagadh” Agus í ag fáiltiú roimh sheoladh an chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach, dúirt príomhfheidhmheannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin, ‘Cuirfidh an cúrsa nua seo gairm na hiriseoireachta faoi bhráid scoláirí na n-iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge agus cuirfidh sé ar an eolas iad faoi thábhacht iriseoireacht ar ardchaighdeán agus na deiseanna atá sna meáin d’iriseoirí le Gaeilge.’ Dúirt Stiúrthóir Cláir an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), OÉ Gaillimh, Aodh Ó Coileáin: “Is minic a thug an Chúirt Eorpach um Chearta an Duine ‘gadhar faire an phobail’ ar ról tábhachtach na hiriseoireachta.  Go deimhin, bronnann an Chúirt cosaint ar leith don phreas mar go bfhuil feidhmiú an daonlathais ag brath ar shaoirse an phreasa.  Anois, níos mó ná riamh tá iriseoireacht chruinn, chothrom, neamhchlaonta de dhíth ar phobal na hÉireann.” “Tá súil ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 agus an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta go dtabharfaidh an cúrsa nua léargas do scoláirí Idirbhliana ar ról  agus ar obair na meán agus go mb’fhéidir go spreagfaidh sé cuid acu tabhairt faoi ghairmeacha sna meáin amach anseo.  Tá an fhírinne tábhachtach in aon phobal” a dúirt Ó Coileáin Clárú don chúrsa agus breis eolais: Le clárú ba cheart do scoileanna teagmháil le peadar@cogg.ie le léirithe spéise agus nasc clárúcháin a fháil. Is í an Chéadaoin 10 Feabhra an spriocdháta do léirithe spéise ó scoileanna. Is í an Luan 22 Feabhra an spriocdháta le clárú. Críoch

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway hosts Iriseoirí an lae amárach - a week-long course in journalism for Transition Year students Transition Year students in Irish-medium schools are being offered a unique insight to journalism in an online course with some of Ireland’s finest television, radio and digital journalists and broadcasters. NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 are running the week-long Iriseoirí an lae amárach programme in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and the Department of Education. The course is aimed at post-primary students in Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools and will be held via Zoom between 1–4 March 2021. Each day a mix of material will be presented by a team drawn from NUI Galway’s media and communications courses and from journalists broadcasting on TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and producing content for online platforms.  Award winning video journalist and filmmaker Seán Mac an tSíthigh will share his skills and experience in compiling stories of a cinematic quality for TG4 and RTÉ. Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg will give an insight into packing the difficult questions into Adhmhaidin, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s flagship current affairs programme. Television news anchors Eimear Ní Chonaola and Siún Nic Gearailt will speak of the joys and the trials and tribulations of daily live broadcasting.  Choosing and presenting stories for online platforms will be covered by Siún Ní Dhuinn of RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie.  The course will also give an insight into following a career path in media and advice on providing stories for a sporting nation on GAA, soccer and horseracing will also be outlined and discussed. Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, said: “The last few years, punctuated by the catch-cry of ‘fake news’, have made us all more conscious of the importance of quality journalism. Iriseoirí an lae amárach enables Transition Year Students to see for themselves what journalism involves and it gives them experience that may help them decide if they wish to pursue a career in a field so vital to democracy and social justice. And it will also give them a sense of the opportunities offered by a BA at NUI Galway.” TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont said: “Irish language journalism is a core part of the TG4 schedule, and we welcome this collaboration with NUI Galway to encourage Transition Year students to consider a career in journalism.” Welcoming the initiative, chief executive of COGG Muireann Ní Mhóráin said: “This new course will present careers in journalism to post-primary students in Gaeltacht areas and in Irish medium post-primary schools throughout the country along with emphasising the importance of high quality journalism and informing students of opportunities through the medium of Irish in this area.” Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), NUI Galway, Aodh Ó Coileáin, said: “The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has compared the vital role of journalists to that of ‘public watchdog’. Accordingly, the Court has afforded the press the broadest scope of protection. Freedom of the press is one of the great gifts of a democratic society. Perhaps now more than at any point in our history, Ireland needs free, critical, impartial and independent media.” “NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta hope that this vibrant new digital course will give an insight to students and perhaps encourage some to choose education in journalism or some aspect of media and broadcasting. The truth always matters.” Registration for course and further information: Schools should write to: peadar@cogg.ie in order to express interest and receive a registration link. Wednesday 10 February is the deadline for expressions of interest from schools. Monday 22 February is the deadline for registration. Ends

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway student Sukanya Saikia has been selected as a Climate Force Ambassador for the upcoming International Antarctic Expedition in November 2021. Sukanya will be part of a group of 80 dedicated climate change fighters and environmentalists who will travel to the Antarctic for an intensive and immersive training program. Originally from India, Sukanya is a PhD student with the discipline of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. Her research investigates the climate change and urbanization impact on wastewater management systems. The expedition aims to train and inspire young leaders in up-to-date climate change, sustainability and clean energy skills, and to provide a platform to engage in discussion and exchange ideas with world-class climate and sustainability leaders and help build strong collaborations. Sukanya said: “I am extremely honoured and privileged to be selected for this once in a lifetime training. I am very passionate about climate change and sustainability issues and have been involved with such projects since 2013. I feel that for all the climate actions we do at an individual level, everything has acted as catalysts and manifested into this brilliant opportunity! I’m both excited and nervous and hope to get everyone’s support to complete this expedition.” Organised by 2041 Foundation, the expedition will be led by Robert Swan, OBE, polar explorer, environmentalist, and the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole which was the inspiration for the 2041 Foundation, an organisation he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the Polar Regions. The mission of the foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices. Sukanya’s supervisor, Dr Eoghan Clifford, Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great and a very exclusive opportunity for Sukanya. It will allow her to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. It aligns with her PhD research and will give her a broader perspective on climate change, and I look forward to hearing from Sukanya about her experiences when she comes back.” To find out more about Sukanya’s journey or to support her with the expedition visit her GoFundMe page at gf.me/u/zfzq2c. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Ireland’s energy sector to learn from Mallorca testbed  Researchers at NUI Galway are taking part in a green hydrogen research project in the Mediterranean which will help chart a path for the renewable energy enabler to be used in Ireland. Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca. In the process it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility. NUI Galway researchers Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, members of the Energy Research Centre at the University's Ryan Institute, will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands. Dr Farràs Costa, of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, said: “Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence. The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.” Green Hysland - Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total. Antonio Llardén, President of Spanish gas company and project coordinator Enagás, said: “Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance the decarbonisation process. Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.” Dr Thomas van Rensburg, of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “This highly relevant large-scale demonstration project is replicable on tourism dependent island economies around the world, including Ireland. Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition. The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.” Dr Rory Monaghan, of NUI Galway’s School of Engineering, said: “NUI Galway is an established leader in green hydrogen through research in other European projects. The research team will use its expertise in the technologies, economics, and public acceptance of renewable hydrogen to examine its role in the decarbonisation of island communities. We will help to create hydrogen value chains to maximise the economic and employment possibilities of hydrogen in Mallorca and other tourism-dependent islands closer to home. “The potential and ambition for Mallorca alone is huge. Take for example the 20,000 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions as part of this research - that is the equivalent of the energy use in more than 2,300 homes in a year.”  The Green Hysland project will evaluate the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen on Mallorca by examining human capital, well-being and energy security. It will seek to capture the economic value of low carbon tourism and identify skills and training programmes which are required to further develop the island ecosystem and replicate it to other regions. Ends

Thursday, 21 January 2021

NUI Galway breast cancer specialists contribute to international study on the identification of nine breast cancer risk genes Study includes analysis of more than 113,000 women worldwide This study defines the genes that are most clinically useful for the detection of breast cancer risk Breast cancer investigators in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway have collaborated on a pivotal international study into breast cancer risk which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine today (Wednesday, 20 January). The results of the study have identified that there are nine specific genes associated with breast cancer risk. Contributing authors Professor Michael Kerin, Chair of Surgery at NUI Galway, Director of the Cancer Managed Clinical Academic Network for Saolta University Health Care Group, along with Dr Nicola Miller, Lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, have directed the Breast Cancer in Galway Genetics Study (BIGGS) since 2008. DNA samples, which have been collected from 2,000 Irish patients and controls have contributed to the findings of this paper, and to numerous high impact publications in the past decade. Led from the University of Cambridge, the BRIDGES (Breast Cancer Risk after Diagnostic Gene Sequencing) study aimed to identify women at high risk of breast cancer and to develop sensitive and informative gene panel testing for the prediction of breast cancer risk. Gene panel testing is a technique in which a number of specific genes that are linked to a particular genetic condition are examined at the same time. Gene panel testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but there is only weak evidence for cancer risk association with many genes. The BRIDGES study tested 34 potential “risk” genes from 60,466 breast cancer cases worldwide and 53,461 controls (patients who did not have breast cancer) from 44 international studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The study found that variants in nine genes were associated with breast cancer risk (ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, BARD1, RAD51C, RAD51D, TP53). Professor Michael Kerin, who is also Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, a voluntary national charity that funds a comprehensive research programme at the Lambe Institute in NUI Galway, said: “With this study we can identify the members within families who have abnormal genes that puts them at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, and they can avail of strategies such as early screening and risk reduction surgery, in order to improve their life expectancy.” Professor Kerin said that the success of this research is testament to the power of bio-banking and the need to futureproof research:  “Having a set of bio-banked samples and the ability to closely follow up with these patients has enabled us to add value to international research studies and improve the knowledge base around breast cancer risk. “The BRIDGES study has revealed that changes which were thought to be unimportant in the well-known breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are significant, and this allows us to manage the risk of developing breast cancer in people affected by these gene alterations.” Acknowledging the support of breast cancer research charity funding, Dr Nicola Miller said: “This work highlights the importance of collaboration in breast cancer research in the generation of data of global significance. It helps to better define the genes associated with breast cancer risk. While we can’t change the genes we inherit, this knowledge will benefit patients undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility. We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute for funding the Irish contribution of this study.” The team, based in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway, are the only Irish investigators contributing to this study. Biological samples and data from the BIGGS group are part of the Horizon 2020 funded BRIDGES study. The NUI Galway BIGGS study has included 1,000 cancer patient samples and 1,000 population-based controls recruited specifically from hospitals in the West of Ireland since 2001 and from community/retirement groups in this region from 2001-2008.  A copy of the study, ‘Breast cancer risk genes: association analysis in more than 113,000 women’ in the New England Journal of Medicineis available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1913948.        This BIGGS research was supported by the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. For more information visit http://www.breastcancerresearch.ie/. See video with Professor Michael Kerin talking about the study at https://youtu.be/4s0q4asRTfs. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

A team of researchers within the Advanced Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway have discovered how human respiratory cells respond to the invading Covid-19 virus. The study, published in a special issue of the peer reviewed open access journal Viruses, identified the proteins and carbohydrates on these cells in response to infection from the coronavirus.  The researchers found that our respiratory cells act like well-tuned translators and respond to the invading Covid-19 virus by altering the presence of carbohydrates and proteins on the cell’s surface. The study also revealed that our response to Covid-19 infection is closely similar to how we respond to other viral pathogens.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences, said: “It is well known that all pathogens need the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates to attach to their host and infect. “The appropriate combination of this ‘molecular handshake’ determines how well all pathogens, including Covid-19, attach to our cells and the severity of the infection.  “Mutations cause minor changes in these protein-carbohydrate molecules and can alter the infectivity of the mutants and severity of the disease such as the UK, South African and Brazilian variants.” The research shows that in the Covid-19 virus the spike-glycoprotein (S-protein) is covered with carbohydrates and it binds to a protein (ACE-2 receptor) on human respiratory cells to start the infection. Dr Anup Mammen Oommen, Postdoctoral researcher, said: “These microscopic proteins and carbohydrates work together like molecular handshakes between the virus and human cells, this communication where carbohydrates are essential is often taken for granted, though is a key event for infection.”  Dr Stephen Cunningham, Research Fellow, added: “Like all viruses, Covid-19 virus also mutates as it goes through its host and multiplies. Being a RNA virus, mutations can be frequent with the infected cell not being able to correct. Some mutations are insignificant with no beneficial or detrimental impact to virus or host, however, some lead to changes in the virus’s proteins and carbohydrates that can alter how the virus interacts with cells during exposure and infection which in turn can determine severity of Covid-19.” The AGRC researchers at NUI Galway used a data science approach to provide an insight into how our cells modify the surface molecules and advance our understanding of the Covid-19 infection process. Professor Joshi added: “The research will also help us gain better insight on how our immune system responds to Covid-19 and the mutations in the virus, such as the variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. This discovery will lead to more informative biomarkers and identification of therapeutic targets to combat COVID-19 and future pathogenic agent infections.” The study has been published in the special issue of the journal Viruses and is available https://www.mdpi.com/journal/viruses https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/13/1/82. Ends