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Tuesday, 20 December 2016
NUI Galway PhD student Gezahegn Girma Tessema has been awarded the 2016 International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (AFFRC) and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). Gezahegn’s research on ‘Contemporary approaches to the improvement of yam germplasm conservation and breeding’ earned this year’s recognition, and was presented at the U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University in Tokyo recently. Yam is the second most important root/tuber crop in Africa after cassava, and is extremely important to food security in regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as the tropical Americas. Gezahegn was a PhD student from Ethiopia in the Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory of Professor Charles Spillane within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre. He carried out his PhD research on yam genetics between NUI Galway and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria under the MoU between the two institutions. His research was co-supervised by Professor Spillane and Dr Melaku Gedil from IITA. He was motivated to conduct his research on yams because it is a very important crop offering huge benefits to humankind but the extent of genetic diversity has not been well investigated and minimal efforts have been made to understand its taxonomy. In addition, very little is known regarding which genes are responsible for key traits in yam and there is almost no report on polyploidy and its effect on phenotypic performance. Receiving the award, Gezahegn said: “I feel honoured to be one of the recipients of the 2016 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers. I am truly pleased for the recognition of our research efforts toward solving some of the challenges in yam germplasm conservation and improvement. This would have not been possible without the great mentorship from my research supervisors, Melaku Gedil and Professors Spillane. I believe that this recognition will motivate other young researchers in making commendable research outputs that contribute to solving agricultural challenges in developing countries.” JIRCAS president Masa Iwanaga expressed his appreciation on the great achievements made by the young awardees, and expectations for much greater success in the future: “Young scientists are essential to developing countries to achieve further development, and the government of Japan sincerely wishes to contribute to the capacity development of the next generation of scientists who will play a major role in improvement of world food and nutrition security.” This annual award, which began in 2007, is organized and presented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Its purpose is to recognise and honour young foreign researchers (under 40 years of age) who are highly recommended by their institutes, and whose outstanding achievements promote research and development of agricultural, forestry, fishery and other related industries in developing regions. Tessema is one of three PhD students from Africa who have graduated to date from NUI Galway under the research alliance partnership between the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre and the world leading non-profit research organisation the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. -Ends-
Monday, 19 December 2016
Plan to develop wearable sensors for patients at high risk of heart attacks Professor William Wijns, an expert in cardiology, has joined NUI Galway as Professor of Medical Devices. He will spearhead a €5 million research project, which will develop wearable sensors to alert patients at high risk of heart attacks to triggers such as stress or high blood pressure. Professor Wijns joins the University through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, which supports national strategic priorities by recruiting world-leading research and leadership talent to Ireland. “The medical technology sector in Ireland is recognised as one of five global emerging hubs,” explains Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway. “Eight of the world’s top ten med-tech companies are based here, and the West of Ireland in particular is at the heart of the Irish med-tech system. NUI Galway is the powerhouse for much of this progress and we have developed a range of interdisciplinary research centres and initiatives, working closely with partners in industry, healthcare and government agencies. We welcome Professor Wijns with great anticipation of the opportunities his transformative approach brings to the translation of research into practice to ultimately deliver better health outcomes for patients.” In recent years Professor Wijns has held board memberships in the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation. He is currently Chairman of PCR, co-Director of Africa PCR and EuroPCR, the official congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions. Professor Wijns previously worked at the Thorax Center in Rotterdam, where he was actively involved with the first applications of nuclear cardiology, thrombolysis and coronary dilatation, and the University of Louvain in Brussels, where he was Clinical Professor of Cardiology. At NUI Galway, Professor Wijns’ programme of work will focus on interventional cardiology, more specifically on reducing the number of adverse cardiovascular events (heart attacks) in patients. His focus is consistent with the strategic research goals of the University, the Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Galway and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, also based at NUI Galway. “I am extremely delighted to be awarded this Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship at NUI Galway where there exists excellent facilities and world-class researchers in this field. I am also excited by the potential to further my research and to work with such a strong network of academic, clinical and industrial partners in the course of my appointment,” said Professor Wijns. Professor Wijns’ research focuses on heart attacks and sudden death caused by unexpected blockage of arteries supplying the heart with blood and oxygen. This occurs in people exposed to risk factors such as family history, hypertension, smoking, diabetes or high cholesterol, who exhibit a vulnerable narrowing in the walls of their arteries, without being aware of it. Trigger mechanisms like anger, mental stress, high blood pressure, strenuous exercise and sleep disorders cause the narrowing to rupture inside the conduit, obstructing the artery. His work will look at developing medical devices that can monitor these “trigger” activities electronically, at a distance, using wearable sensors in high-risk subjects who are known to carry this vulnerable narrowing of the artery, and in doing so, anticipate and prevent heart attacks. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Professor Wijns to NUI Galway through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme. Professor Wijns is a world-class researcher dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people by the invention and application of new technologies. His appointment epitomises Science Foundation Ireland’s commitment to fund world class research with impact in the health and medtech sector. I believe that great new research advances of real value to people and the economy will result from the combination of Prof Wijns’ expertise, the exceptional research teams in NUI Galway and the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre, and the cluster of both multinational and indigenous Medical Device companies in Ireland.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, said: “The research community here at NUI Galway is delighted to welcome Professor Wijns. We recognise the immense impact that he has had to date in cardiology research and we look forward to future collaborations and to supporting him in his research in the coming years.” Professor Wijns will also join the Cardiology Department at Saolta University Healthcare group, where he will collaborate with other clinicians engaged in translational cardiovascular research. Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Professor Wijns will enable essential collaborations between investigators at CÚRAM and the Lambe Institute for Translational Research and clinician researchers at the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway, ensuring that basic research will be translated to new medical devices which will benefit patients globally.” -ends-
Monday, 19 December 2016
NUI Galway Engineering lecturer Dr Barry Hayes recently visited the research labs of Professor Hideo Ishii and his team at Waseda University in Tokyo, with the aim of building research links between NUI Galway and the Japanese institution. Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a large part of Japan’s nuclear power generation fleet has been permanently shut down. This left the country facing electricity supply shortages, and has led to a strong national focus in Japan on intelligent energy management and building a smarter, more efficient electricity grid. Professor Ishii is a principal investigator at Waseda University, which is leading the Japanese national research project ‘Energy Management System (EMS) Demonstration Centre’. This is a large-scale collaboration between eight Japanese universities and 17 companies including the Japanese tech giants Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. Researchers at Waseda University are investigating new energy management systems, which monitor and control energy usage in homes and businesses, in order to better integrate renewable energy sources and reduce environmental impacts. These new technologies and their required telecommunications standards are being tested and demonstrated using full-scale models of typical Japanese homes at the Waseda University EMS Demonstration Centre, a research facility located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood in the heart of Tokyo city. Plans have been made for further bilateral visits between NUI Galway and Waseda University and student exchanges between the two institutions through the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) programme. Dr Hayes said: “It is really impressive to see first-hand the technological advances that have been made in this area in Japan in recent years, and Waseda University are at the forefront of this research. There is great potential for further collaboration with NUI Galway on intelligent energy management systems.” This research visit was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) International Strategic Cooperation Award (ISCA) Japan programme, which was established in March 2014 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taoiseach Enda Kenny exchanged visits and decided to increase cooperative efforts between Ireland and Japan. -Ends-
Monday, 19 December 2016
The prestigious international award is presented by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, University of California, Berkeley NUI Galway post-doctoral researcher Dr Elaine Toomey has been awarded a prestigious Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science in the Emerging Researcher category. This year, the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) awarded ten prizes to researchers working to forward the values of openness and transparency in research at the recent annual BITSS meeting in California. Based in the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, Dr Toomey’s research focuses on developing methods that enhance reporting and improve the transparency of research within the area of behaviour change. She was recently selected to lead on the implementation component and ensure transparency of an intervention to prevent childhood obesity. Explaining her research in everyday terms, Elaine said: “My research is in implementation or intervention fidelity within behaviour change interventions, where fidelity relates to how well an intervention or treatment or programme was actually put into practice as intended by the interventions’ developers. For example, without knowledge of fidelity, we are mostly assuming that an intervention such as a psychological smoking cessation programme is delivered by the providers as we the researchers designed it to be, which can reduce our confidence in the research findings. Essentially, this work aims to increase the transparency of what actually happens within these types of behaviour change interventions, leading to greater understanding and better reproducibility within this research field.” The BITSS, supported by the John Templeton Foundation, launched the Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science in order to promote transparent research, and to offer recognition and visibility to scholars practicing open social science. -Ends-
Monday, 12 December 2016
Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD today (12 December 2016) officially launched the Donegal Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Letterkenny University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located on the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital. This is a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training in Donegal, the final in a series of medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Mayo University Hospitals were completed and opened last year. Speaking at the Launch, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD said: “The NUI Galway medical academies provide a practical link between the classroom and the clinic by mixing teaching with practical training. We know that for our trainee doctors to assimilate into the Irish health system they need a medical school education that prepares them for the practicalities of the day job, so I’m pleased that students in Letterkenny will now have access to a holistic education in one location.” Medical Education and Clinical Delivery The new Donegal Medical Academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of tutors and lecturers covering all medical specialties. Up to 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Letterkenny University Hospital for one year clinical training. The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients. Speaking at the launch of the Donegal Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “The Donegal Medical Academy is the fifth NUI Galway teaching site in the West and North West region. The new academy in Letterkenny will provide better learning outcomes for students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased skilled personnel on wards; and for the hospital it ensures better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff through association with a major University. We know that regional healthcare settings can be quite different to those in cities, so by exposing our students to a variety of healthcare environments we encourage them to embrace the opportunities here, ensuring they can become the local healthcare workforce of the future.” Letterkenny University Hospital provides students with clinical experience and supervision in a wide variety of general medical and surgical clinical disciplines and sub-specialities. Since January 2016, the Donegal Medical Academy has also been welcoming students as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme which focuses on preparedness for clinical practice and professionalism and is supported by an intern mentoring programme. The School of Medicine supports the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for internship and clinical life, equipping them with a complex skill set to perform as competent clinicians, academics, leaders and educators in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a clinical team and functioning as junior interns, fully supported yet immersed in team working and decision making. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with interns to learn about the clinical environment first hand and to ease their transition from student to junior doctor. The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five or six year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students. The curriculum is innovative and integrates the life sciences with clinical practice, provides for early patient exposure, immersion in a variety of clinical environments and, from the 2015/16 academic year onwards, will also be emphasising intern preparedness to a greater extent. Commenting, Mr Muyiwa Aremu, Dean of Medical Education in Donegal, said: Donegal Medical Academy has been a catalyst for the development of undergraduate medical education in Letterkenny University Hospital and the community of County Donegal. The Academy started in 2011 with 20 students in their third year of medical training and has expanded in its capacity since then, now looking after 60 students from third, fourth and final year. The construction of this state of the art facility began in January 2015 and comprises of clinical skills laboratory, large lecture theatre, and small group teaching rooms. It is a significant medical education investment by NUI Galway in Letterkenny University Hospital and County Donegal at large. Quality medical training is the bedrock of excellent patient care and this is exactly what Donegal Medical Academy is delivering in conjunction with NUI Galway, GP surgeries in County Donegal and Letterkenny University Hospital.” Donegal Medical Academy Building Donegal Medical Academy is sited within the boundaries of Letterkenny University Hospital. The building, forms an integrated yet defined extension to the existing Hospital and is strategically located adjacent to the main healthcare campus entrance. The project has delivered a multipurpose teaching, study and learning facility and the co-location of the Academy with the hospital facilitates allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. Delivered through close collaboration with the HSE, the project began in March of 2015 and was completed in January 2016. Designed by Rhatigan Architects, in Sligo with the work undertaken by the local construction firm of Boyle Construction. The project represents a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training and was funded at a cost in the region of €2 million. The HSE has also funded the second floor of the building which will be fitted out at a later date to accommodate an expansion of the Renal Dialysis facilities. The final result comprises a stunning and innovative architectural design. The building encompasses many features that facilitate a flexible approach to teaching and the various spaces within the building are designed to accommodate different student group sizes simultaneously. Emphasis is placed on internet and WiFi connectivity within the building, including various teleconferencing links to NUI Galway. A lecture theatre, clinical skills space and student reading room comprise some of the many attractive features of the Donegal Medical Academy. Students will have 24-hour access to facilities on the ground floor, enabling easy transfer from the hospital to a more personal learning environment. Sean Murphy, General Manager Letterkenny University Hospital added: “The opening of this Academy is a welcome development here at Letterkenny University Hospital and it will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. This new facility also builds on our links with our academic and research partners. The further integration of medical education and clinical delivery will support the recruitment and retention of the highest quality medical staff to our hospital and the region. This partnership with NUI Galway Medical School has delivered a quantum enhancement of our medical training role.” ENDS Seolann an tAire Sláinte Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall Oideachas leighis agus seachadadh cliniciúil á soláthar le chéile ag an Acadamh Leighis do dhochtúirí na todhchaí Sheol an tAire Sláinte, Simon Harris TD Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall go hoifigiúil inniu (12 Nollaig 2016). Comhfhiontar atá ann idir OÉ Gaillimh, Grúpa Cúraim Sláinte Ollscoile Saolta agus Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn le dochtúirí a thraenáil. Tá an tAcadamh Leighis lonnaithe in ionad a tógadh go speisialta dó ar thailte Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn. Leis seo tá infheistíocht mhór á déanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh in oiliúint chliniciúil i gCo. Dhún na nGall. Seo an ceann deiridh de shraith acadamh leighis atá bunaithe san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart. Tógadh ionaid den chineál chéanna ag Otharlanna Ollscoile Shligigh agus Mhaigh Eo agus osclaíodh iad sin anuraidh. Ag caint dó ag an Seoladh, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire Sláinte, Simon Harris: “Nascann acadaimh leighis OÉ Gaillimh an seomra ranga leis an obair chliniciúil ó tharla go mbíonn an teagasc fite fuaite leis an oiliúint phraiticiúil. Le go mbeidh ár gcuid ábhar dochtúirí oilte ar chóras sláinte na hÉireann, tuigimid go gcaithfear oideachas a chur orthu ó scoil leighis a réiteoidh iad don obair phraiticiúil a bhíonn le déanamh sa phost ó lá go lá. Tá áthas orm go mbeidh teacht ag mic léinn i Leitir Ceanainn ar oideachas iomlánaíoch ar aon láthair amháin.” Oideachas Leighis agus Seachadadh Cliniciúil Tabharfaidh Acadamh Leighis úr Dhún na nGall deis do dhochtúirí na todhchaí a gcuid scileanna cliniciúla a thabhairt chun foirfeachta i ngach aon réimse speisialtóireachta leighis faoi shúil ghéar teagascóirí agus léachtóirí. Caitheann suas le 60 mac léinn ón 3ú bliain, ón 4ú bliain agus ón bhliain deiridh sa leigheas seal in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn gach aon seimeastar le dul faoi oiliúint chliniciúil. Lonnaíodh an tAcadamh Leighis ar an suíomh chéanna a bhfuil an otharlann air d’aon turas le deis a thabhairt do mhic léinn oiliúint theagascach a fháil san Acadamh agus oiliúint cois leapa a fháil san otharlann. Tá an cóimheas íseal idir teagascóirí agus mic léinn agus fosta idir mic léinn agus othair ar cheann de na buanna atá ag acadaimh leighis OÉ Gaillimh. Ag labhairt dó ag seoladh Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne:“Is é Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall an cúigiú suíomh teagaisc de chuid OÉ Gaillimh san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart. Beidh torthaí foghlama níos fearr ag na mic léinn de bharr an acadaimh nua i Leitir Ceanainn; beidh níos mó de na mic léinn i ndiaidh cóir leighis a chur ar othair, agus beidh níos mó foirne oilte ar na bardaí; cinntíonn sé go mbeidh sé níos fusa ar an otharlann foireann ar ardchaighdeán a earcú agus a choinneáil de bhrí go mbeidh ceangal idir an tAcadamh agus mór-Ollscoil. Tá a fhios againn gur mór an difear idir láithreacha cúraim sláinte réigiúnacha agus na cinn atá i gcathracha, agus trí dheis a thabhairt dár mic léinn blaiseadh a fháil de láithreacha cúraim sláinte éagsúla bímid á spreagadh leis na deiseanna atá le fáil anseo a thapú, agus tugaimid deis dóibhsean a bheith ina n-oibrithe cúraim sláinte áitiúla amach anseo.” In Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn faigheann mic léinn taithí chliniciúil agus déantar iad a stiúradh i réimse leathan disciplíní sa leigheas ginearálta, sa mháinliacht chliniciúil agus i bhforéimsí speisialtóireachta. Ó mhí Eanáir 2016, tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall ag cur fáilte roimh mhic léinn ar chlár nua Intéirneachta Sóisearaí na Scoile a bhíonn ag díriú ar dhaoine a réiteach don chleachtas cliniciúil agus don ghairmiúlacht. Tá clár meantóireachta d’intéirnigh ina chuid den chlár sin chomh maith. Bíonn Scoil an Leighis ag iarraidh a cuid céimithe a fhorbairt le go mbainfidh siad barr feabhais amach mar intéirnigh agus sa chleachtas cliniciúil. Tugann sí deis dóibh na scileanna cuí a shealbhú chun go mbeidh siad ina gcliniceoirí, ina n-acadúlaithe, ina gceannairí agus ina n-oideachasóirí inniúla i dtimpeallacht oibre atá casta agus éilitheach. Beidh mic léinn sa bhliain deiridh ag obair ar fhoireann chliniciúil ar na bardaí ó mhí Eanáir ar aghaidh. Beidh siad ag feidhmiú mar intéirnigh sóisearacha, agus beidh lántacaíocht acu. Beidh siad ag fáil taithí ar a bheith ag obair ar fhoireann agus ar chinntí a dhéanamh. Beidh dochtúirí comhairleacha ag obair i ndlúthchomhar le hintéirnigh chun go gcuirfidh siad eolas ar an timpeallacht chliniciúil agus chun an t-aistriú ón mac léinn chuig an dochtúir sóisearach a éascú. Is clár cúig nó sé bliana atá sa churaclam leighis in OÉ Gaillimh agus bíonn thart ar 180 mac léinn ar an chúrsa gach aon bhliain. Is curaclam nuálaíoch é ina ndéantar na heolaíochtaí cliniciúla a nascadh leis na heolaíochtaí beatha. Cinntíonn sé go mbíonn na mic léinn ag plé le hothair go luath agus go dtumtar iad i dtimpeallachtaí cliniciúla éagsúla. Ón bhliain acadúil 2015/16 ar aghaidh, beifear ag cur níos mó béime ar intéirnigh a ullmhú le bheith réidh le tosú ag obair. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Uasal Muyiwa Aremu, Déan an Oideachais Leighis i nDún na nGall faoin togra: Tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall i ndiaidh tús a chur le forbairt an oideachais leighis fochéime in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn agus i measc phobal an Chontae. Bhí fiche mac léinn a bhí sa 3ú bliain den chúrsa leighis san Acadamh nuair a cuireadh tús leis in 2011. Tá seasca mac léinn ag freastal air anois ón 3ú bliain, ón 4ú bliain agus ón bhliain deiridh. Tosaíodh ag tógáil an ionaid nua-aimseartha seo i mí Eanáir 2015. Tá saotharlann scileanna cliniciúla, léachtlann mhór agus seomraí teagaisc do ghrúpaí beaga ann. Tríd an togra seo, tá infheistíocht ollmhór á déanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh in oideachas leighis in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn agus i gContae Dhún na Gall uilig. Tá oiliúint leighis ar chaighdeán ard iontach tábhachtach má táimid ag iarraidh go dtabharfar aire den scoth do na hothair, agus sin go díreach an rud atá á chur ar fáil ag Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall i gcomhar le OÉ Gaillimh, íoclanna dochtúirí teaghlaigh i gContae Dhún na nGall agus Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn. Foirgneamh Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall Tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall lonnaithe ar thailte Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn. Is cuid den Otharlann mar a bhí an foirgneamh, cé go n-aithneofá gur síneadh breise atá ann, agus socraíodh ar bhonn straitéiseach é a lonnú in aice leis an phríomhbhealach isteach chuig an champas cúraim sláinte. Ionad ilchuspóra teagaisc, staidéir agus foghlama atá san fhoirgneamh. Ó tharla go bhfuil an tAcadamh lonnaithe ar shuíomh na hOtharlainne beidh mic léinn ábalta freastal ar ranganna teagaisc san Acadamh agus ar theagasc cois leapa san otharlann. Is i gcomhar le Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhísí Sláinte a cuireadh an togra seo i gcrích. Cuireadh tús leis an togra i mí an Mhárta 2015 agus bhí sé réidh i mí Eanáir 2016. An comhlacht ailtireachta Rhatigan Architects i Sligeach a dhear an foirgneamh agus an comhlacht tógála áitiúil Boyle Construction a thóg é. Rinne OÉ Gaillimh infheistíocht de thart ar €2.0 milliún sa togra seo. Infheistíocht shuntasach san oiliúint chliniciúil atá ann. Rinne Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte maoiniú chomh maith ar an dara hurlár den fhoirgneamh. Déanfar an chuid seo a fheistiú amach anseo agus is ann a bheidh na háiseanna úra Scagdhealaithe Duán lonnaithe. Tá dearadh ailtireachta nuálaíoch ar an fhoirgneamh ar fad. Tá an foirgneamh deartha sa dóigh go mbeidh cur chuige solúbtha ann maidir leis an teagasc. Tá na spásanna difriúla san fhoirgneamh deartha sa dóigh go mbeifear ábalta freastal ar ghrúpaí difriúla mac léinn, idir bheag agus mhór, ag an am céanna. Tá béim ar cheangal idirlín agus ar cheangal Wi-Fi agus ar naisc físchomhdhála le OÉ Gaillimh san fhoirgneamh. Tá léachtlann, spás faoi choinne scileanna cliniciúla agus seomra léitheoireachta do mhic léinn ar chuid de na háiseanna tarraingteacha eile atá san Acadamh Leighis. Beidh teacht ag na mic léinn ar na háiseanna thíos staighre de ló agus d’oíche, agus tabharfaidh sin deis dóibh a bheith isteach agus amach as an otharlann le staidéar pearsanta a dhéanamh. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sean Murphy, Bainisteoir Ginearálta Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn: “Fáiltímid roimh oscailt an Acadaimh seo ag Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn. Cuirfidh sé le cáil na hOtharlainne agus de réir a chéile cuideoidh sé linn caighdeán níos airde arís a bhaint amach i gcúram othar inár ranna cliniciúla ar fad. Tá an t-ionad úr seo ag cur leis na naisc atá againn lenár gcomhpháirtithe acadúla agus taighde chomh maith. Cuideoidh an cónascadh idir oideachas leighis agus seachadadh cliniciúil linn foireann leighis ar ardchaighdeán a earcú agus a choinneáil san otharlann agus sa cheantar seo. Tá an comhfhiontar le Scoil an Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh ag cur go mór leis an ról oiliúna atá againn i gcúrsaí leighis.” CRÍOCH
Thursday, 8 December 2016
New approaches in delivering care to young adults with type 1 diabetes are needed, according to researchers in Galway. A multi-disciplinary research team from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals have carried out a systematic review of international literature which has been published in the journal Diabetic Medicine. The research, funded by the Health Research Board, highlighted a lack of high-quality, well-designed interventions, aimed at improving health outcomes for people aged 15-30 living with diabetes. This age group often experience poor outcomes because of issues with self-management skills, psychosocial distress, clinic attendance, adherence with treatment recommendations and high-risk behaviours. Professor Seán Dinneen, HSE National Clinical Programme Lead for Diabetes, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician, Galway University Hospitals, led the research. “Living with type 1 diabetes is demanding whatever your age. People need to adhere to a daily schedule of self-management by self-administering insulin several times a day for their entire life and monitor its effects through frequent (and often painful) self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. With young adults, there are so many pressure and life changes at this stage in their lives, that what works for an older adult simply does not work as well for them.” Ireland has no diabetes registry making it difficult to know how many people are living with type 1 diabetes and how many of these have are young adults. The research group are now working to develop a new intervention for young adults, including a patient and public involvement panel of eight young adults living with the condition to co-design the research together. 25-year old Liam McMorrow is a young adult living type 1 diabetes, and was a collaborator on the study, and a member of the Steering Group. “It’s great to see researchers recognising the issues facing young adults living with type 1 diabetes are different to those faced by children or older adults living with type 1 diabetes. I think this is increasingly important as young adults may be most receptive to new interventions, for examples digital health interventions compared to other age groups. This study also highlights a lack of research in the area and demonstrates a clear need for further research to focus on this population. I’m excited to see the results from the ongoing work of the D1 now study in Galway.” The importance of the systematic review has already been acknowledged at national and international conferences, the lead research of the review, Mary Clare O’Hara, won best poster at the 8th West of Ireland Integrated Diabetes Care Conference in 2015 and was awarded an oral presentation at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Scientific Meeting, a meeting that attracts about 16,000 delegates. For more information on this study please contact MaryClare.OHara@hse.ie or 091 542840. -ends-
Thursday, 8 December 2016
National Launch of StudentVolunteer.ie Every year in Ireland thousands of students from our universities and institutes of technology carry out over 100,000 hours of volunteering. Ten third level colleges have now joined forces to develop studentvolunteer.ie - a brand new online resource which matches students’ interests with volunteering opportunities. The portal is the first of its kind globally and aims to enhance students’ awareness of their role and responsibility in solving challenges such as homelessness, social exclusion and our ageing population. “What I have found most rewarding about volunteering here in Galway is the sense of community which comes from getting to know a variety of people from different walks of life within the city. I certainly feel that I have more of a stake within this community, and not just a fleeting interest as part of student volunteering programme. The experience which I have gained from volunteering with the SVP has really put a more tangible or practical lens on all of the theoretical academic study which I have done as part of my degree”, said Aidan Harte, MA in Public Advocacy & Activism, NUI Galway. Potential users include up to 100,847 (HEA 2015) students across all higher education institutions and up to 8,000 registered Civil Society Organisations. For charities such as Barnardos, Habitat for Humanity, TeenLine and Special Olympics Ireland, student volunteering is a vital component of their ongoing work: “With over 3,000 registered volunteers under 25 years old, Special Olympics Ireland depend on the student volunteers among our younger supporters to assist with our fundraising activities and sustain our programmes through working in our clubs, helping at events and participating in committees at local and regional level,” said Claire O'Connor, Volunteer Services Manager, Special Olympics Ireland. Shortlisted for the 2016 THINKTECH awards, studentvolunteer.ie has been developed under the umbrella of the Campus Engage Network based at the Irish Universities Association. There are currently 10 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) invested in the portal: UCD, NUI Galway, IT Tralee, UL, MU, Trinity, IT Tallaght, DCU, UCC and DIT. The online system is open to ALL Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), private colleges, VECs, etc. Students can browse and apply for volunteering opportunities nationally or internationally; manage their profile and volunteering activity online; track volunteering hours; gain recognition and apply for volunteering awards. The civic role and responsibility of colleges and their graduates is becoming a central issue in the global education discussion, with increasing pressure on institutions to demonstrate how higher education is adding value to society. “By effectively using technology to make volunteering easier, Campus Engage is helping universities and institutes of technology to scale up this socially impactful enterprise,” said Kate Morris, National Coordinator, Campus Engage, Irish Universities Association. The value of volunteering is recognised by the United Nations who have designated December 5th as International Volunteer Day (IVD). Volunteering has numerous benefits for students and for society. Ireland’s new National Skills Strategy 2025 focuses on graduate attributes such as high level cognitive, leadership, entrepreneurial, analytical and interpersonal skills. Volunteering is an excellent outlet for students to test, refine and put these skills into action. These skills are very much valued by employers: “In an increasingly competitive employment market, when I review CV’s the selflessness of a volunteer can stand out like a beacon in a sea of self-interest. The functional expertise that a volunteer can learn in an organisation, offers a head start compared to others who start at the beginning when entering permanent employment for the first time,” said Billy Norman, Customer Account Manager in Unilever. “I volunteered in a youth cafe ran by Galway Autistic Partnership (GAP). The youth cafe provides an outlet for kids and young teenagers with autism to socialise with one another by interacting through technology and various games and activities. Autism is something I had no previous experience of and so attending the club was an education in itself. The experience was invaluable to me as an Occupational Therapy student and it was very relevant to my future line of work,” said Louise Ryan, student, NUI Galway. Evidence shows that getting out and volunteering can improve individual mental health and well-being. Volunteering is also an excellent pathway for international students in Ireland to integrate into their communities and make new friends. Higher education institutions across the country are battling student retention. Getting involved in extracurricular activity on and off campus is proven to keep students in college. International volunteering cultivates core graduate attributes such as cultural awareness, languages and increased understanding of global social responsibility. “I was a literacy support mentor with the Claddagh National School, Galway for 8 weeks. As a student of English, I found it encouraging knowing that my help had a positive influence on a child's confidence in reading. The literacy support programme has a huge impact on developing the reading and communications skills of Primary School children and university students get a chance to act as responsible mentors and apply their knowledge through helping young children with their work,” said Princess Okonkwo, student, NUI Galway. Higher education institutions are now acknowledging students’ volunteering achievements on their academic transcripts or diploma supplements. Participating colleges are beginning to use studentvolunteer.ie to track their students’ volunteer hours so they can recognise their efforts at the end of the college year in Awards ceremonies such as NUI Galway’s Presidential Award for Volunteering - the ALIVE Certificate. -ends-
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Bárbara Oliveira won first prize at NUI Galway’s third annual Threesis Competition which took place last week. The winner was judged on how well they conveyed and communicated their research to a general audience. A PhD student at NUI Galway, Bárbara’s presentation was on using microwave breast imaging to enable more accessible and affordable cancer screening. The competition consisted of quick-fire presentations, with NUI Galway researchers presenting three slides, in three minutes, to three judges. The competitors had come through a series of heats already held on campus, to take on the final challenge at a public event in An Taibhdhearc. Earlier in the month, Bárbara came second in a similar national competition, Theesis-in-3, where she also won the audience vote award. Second and third prize on the night in An Taibhdhearc went to Dilip Thomas and Grace O’Malley. Dilip works on regenerating blood vessels in vascular diseases, whilst Grace researches new immune based drugs to fight tumours. Threesis focused on taking researchers out of their comfort zones to present their research to a general audience using only three slides over three minutes to three judges. The spotlight was on impact - how research at NUI Galway impacts upon our daily lives, those of our family and our broader community. Speaking at the event, Dr Ann Ryan, Head of Research Development at NUI Galway, congratulated all the researchers who participated in the competition: “This evening’s presentations showed not only the breadth and quality of the research being undertaken across NUI Galway, but also its relevance and impact on all of our daily lives; this is truly impressive.” Research areas represented included science, engineering, information technology, business and medicine, with topics ranging from new methods for repairing damaged tissue, to data visualization and crisis data management, making Irish cattle more efficient, new drugs for diabetes, and centering the person at the core of dementia care. The three judges were: Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway; Bernard Kirk, Director of Galway Education Centre; and Lorna Farren, Director of Communications and Marketing, NUI Galway. Professor Andy Shearer, Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Other finalists at the event were: Heike Vornhage (Insight); Rachel Ronan (CÚRAM and Anatomy); Ihab Salawdeh (Insight); Declan O'Loughlin (Engineering); Gillian Murphy (CÚRAM); Niamh Hennelly (Economics); Aniket Kshirsagar (CÚRAM); Marc Higgins (Biochemistry and Teagasc); Luís Martins (CÚRAM) and Enrico Bagnoli (CÚRAM). -ends-
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), hosted by NUI Galway, has been awarded the ISA (Irish Software Association) Software Award for ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement of the Year’. ICHEC were recognised for their work in collaboration with researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and Dublin City University (DCU) to develop rapid blood tests that measure platelet behaviour. In partnership with research teams at the RCSI and DCU in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), ICHEC has developed key algorithms that allow detection software to track platelets more accurately and measure their behaviour. The ICHEC team has also optimised and automated the data analysis software pipeline to deliver results in minutes. Commenting on the win, Professor JC Desplat, Director of ICHEC, said: “I am delighted that this collaboration has been recognised by the Irish Software Association. This prestigious award is a reflection of the high impact that key partnerships between technologists, researchers and clinicians can have. It is also indicative of the high-quality stream of innovation that is coming out of our centre.” Dr Simon Wong, project lead at ICHEC for the winning software and data analysis work, added: “It has been a pleasure for our team to work with our partners, led by Professor Dermot Kenny at the RCSI and Professor Antonio Ricco at DCU and Stanford University, on cutting edge medical diagnostics technology to improve patient care. We believe that software innovations play a critical role in the medical diagnostics industry that often brings together expertise from diverse fields of science, engineering and IT.” The ISA Software Awards took place on Friday, 25 November in the Mansion House, Dublin. The keynote speaker for the awards was Mark Little, Vice-President of Media EMEA and Managing Director of Twitter Ireland and, founder of Storyful. ICHEC is Ireland’s national centre for high-performance computing, with world-class expertise in the exploitation of next generation compute platforms. The centre operates the national High-Performance Computing service for academia and through industrial R&D collaboration helps bring the benefits of high-performance computing to business and industry. ICHEC is partly funded by the Irish State through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Education & Skills. It is hosted by NUI Galway, with offices in Dublin and Galway. -ends-
Monday, 5 December 2016
NUI Galway and Ulster University are pleased to announce the launch of an exhibition on the Representations of Jews in Irish Literature, at 6pm on Wednesday 7 December in the James Hardiman Library, Room G010. The exhibition will be launched by Mr Stanley Price, author of Somewhere to Hang My Hat. An Irish-Jewish Journey and James Joyce and Italo Svevo: The Story of a Friendship. The exhibition is the first major output of a three-year research project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It charts the representations of Jewish identity, culture and life in Ireland from medieval through to modern times. It examines the portrayal of Jews in the literary record alongside the contribution of Irish-Jewish writers to Irish literature and celebrates this unique hyphenated identity. Having had a very successful debut in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin in June 2016, the travelling exhibition has been in a number of venues, including Armagh, Belfast and Coleraine. The exhibition will be hosted in NUI Galway from 7 December 2016 until Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2017. After Galway it will travel to Waterford, New York and Berlin. Principal Investigator for the project, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, commented: “The exhibition is testament to the fact that Irish literature reveals a cultural diversity that goes far beyond narrow stereotypes. In Galway, we will also feature some artefacts of relevance to Jewish life in Galway, and I am delighted to be bringing this exhibition to Galway.” Director for the Centre of Irish and Scottish Studies at Ulster University and Project Team member, Dr Frank Ferguson also said: “This is a very significant project for Irish literary studies and one which shall make a major contribution to our understanding of the history and the cultural expression of Jews in Ireland. It is marvellous to see the interest that the project has already gained since its first official launch last summer.” The exhibition and launch are free to attend but booking for the launch is recommended. Those seeking further details and to attend the exhibition launch should contact Marie Kennedy by email or by telephone at: +353 91 492121 | email: email@example.com -ends-
Friday, 2 December 2016
The 7th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium was held on Thursday, 24 November, in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway. Organised each year by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, with the support of the Marine Institute, the day provides participants with an update on a wide range of policy topics related to the marine sector in Ireland. This year there was a particular focus on the valuation of marine ecosystem services and benefits to society. Until recently, very little information was available in relation to the value of the many ecosystem services provided by the marine environment; services such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation, coastal defence, aesthetic services and recreational opportunities that are provided by our marine ecosystems have by and large gone unvalued. Harnessing our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) - the integrated marine plan for Ireland (2012) - highlighted as a key action the need for further research into generating “economic values of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services to ensure best practice planning and management of the ocean resource”. Indeed, from an economics perspective, HOOW is all about maximising the net benefits to society from the use of our substantial marine resources. This symposium highlights ongoing research in this area from across Ireland and further afield. In particular it highlights new policy initiatives attempting to ensure ‘blue growth’; an expanding but sustainable ocean economy, and new research that values the benefits to society generated from the continued delivery of what are often overlooked critical marine ecosystem services. “Blue growth is about fostering development in marine economic activities in such a manner that the long term ability of the marine environment to continue to provide ecosystem service benefits is not compromised. This is exactly what Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland is aimed at achieving,” says Dr Stephen Hynes of SEMRU at NUI Galway. “Knowing what those benefits are and what they are worth is vital for deciding on the best use of our marine resources and to ensure blue growth for our ocean economy far into the future.” Speakers this year included leading international experts in the field of environmental valuation Professor Nick Hanley of St. Andrews University Scotland, Dr Kathrine Skoland of the International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway, and Dr Danny Campbell of Stirling University. Other speakers of note on the day included Professor Ronán Long of NUI Galway who reviewed progress in the negotiation of a new international instrument for the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and Dr Ronan Lyons of Trinity College Dublin who presented research using a rich house price dataset from Daft.ie to investigate if people value having a ‘picture’ of the coast via a window in their house more than having direct access to the coast for recreational purposes. The analysis demonstrated the addition to residential property value from having a sea view or access to coastal features such as beaches and cliffs. Of interest from a policy perspective Ciarán O’ Driscoll, a research associate of SEMRU, explored the impact of Brexit on European Fishing policy arguing that due to Britain’s international commitments to cooperate under UN law, post-Brexit Britain may not be able to reclaim control over setting fishing quotas and limit access to its waters by non-British vessels unilaterally. In the same session Richard Cronin, a senior advisor in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government outlined the key research needs of Irish policy makers that would support the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in Ireland and across the EU. The final session of the day presented a number of papers that examined the publics, stakeholders and consumers’ attitudes towards aquaculture and seafood. These cross country comparisons of perspectives provided information to policy makers, public planners and potential investors on how the public regard aquaculture production and identify areas of conflict and consensus between groups. -ends-
Friday, 2 December 2016
NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the tenth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 240 primary school children from across the Western region received their certificates, with more than 1,000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 2000 students have graduated from a variety of courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Philosophy to Art, Engineering to Creative Writing, Eco-EXPLORERS and Making your own Radio Show to IT and Psychology. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University. We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. NUI Galway is committed to the sharing of knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the University can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. -Ends-
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Leading over 200 researchers fostering transformative, policy-relevant research Alan Ahearne, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, has been appointed Director of the University’s Whitaker Institute. With a 200-strong research team, the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway delivers policy-focused research in areas such as business, economic development, public-sector innovation and reform, and sustainable and inclusive societies. The Institute is named after the pioneering statesperson Dr T.K. Whitaker who served as General Secretary of Ireland’s Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969, during which time he steered Ireland’s transformational programme of trade liberalisation and structural reform He subsequently served as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne, who is also a member of the Commission (Board) of the Central Bank of Ireland, said: “T.K. Whitaker set in motion a plan that put Ireland on a path of internationalisation. Throughout his illustrious career he demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. This is what we endeavour to do here at the Whitaker Institute in the work we to by adopting a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach to the challenges currently facing business and society, both in Ireland and internationally.” Professor Ahearne joined the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway in 2005. He is Chairman of the ESRI and Department of Finance Joint Research Programme on the Macroeconomy and Taxation. He has served as external adviser to the IMF, and was special economic adviser to Ireland’s former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan from 2009 to 2011. He is a Non-Resident Fellow at Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank, and a Visiting Executive Lecturer in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Before joining NUI Galway, Alan Ahearne was Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, where he worked for seven years. He has taught economics at Carnegie Mellon University, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the University of Limerick. He began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand and also worked for Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne lectures in the School of Economics at NUI Galway, where a flourishing and diverse academic environment integrates teaching and research, theory and empirical applications, in a policy-oriented and interdisciplinary way. There are approximately 1,800 undergraduate students of economics across several colleges, but mainly in the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences. -ends-
Thursday, 1 December 2016
A public talk on understanding how humans walk and how this might inform treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, takes place at NUI Galway next Tuesday, 6 December. Dr John Barden from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, will deliver the Flaherty Lecture entitled ‘Walking to the beat of a different drummer: using new technology to quantify patterns of locomotion for the assessment and treatment of disease’. The public lecture will review some of the basic neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms needed for humans to be able to walk. He will also describe how new sensor technologies can be used to record and analyse the rhythmic patterns produced by these mechanisms. This can be used for the assessment and treatment of pathological gait in aging and in various neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Dr Barden’s area of expertise is in biomechanics and motor control. His current research interests include sensor-based analytics of cyclic movements in health and in sport. Examples of his research include gait variability in conditions such as knee osteoarthritis and stroke mechanics in competitive swimming. Dr Barden is currently based at NUI Galway on a James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship. The international exchange programme commemorates the former Canadian Minister for Finance, James M. (Jim) Flaherty, who passed away in 2014. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by NUI Galway in 2012. The exchange programme is supported by the Irish Canada University Foundation, a collaborative organisation between the governments of Canada and Ireland whose mandate is to facilitate academic and cultural links between the two countries. Dr Barden is collaborating with Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and Dr Leo Quinlan of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Discipline of Physiology . “I’m very grateful to the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF), which through the Flaherty Visiting Professorship, has provided me with the opportunity to visit NUI Galway and collaborate with Professor Ó Laighin and Dr Quinlan on mutually beneficial research related to gait variability and mobility impairments in Parkinson’s disease.” This talk will be of interest to students from a variety of disciplines including physiology, medicine, engineering and kinesiology, as well as members of the general public who have an interest in science, technology and health. The event takes place on Tuesday, 6 December, at 6pm in the ground floor of the Engineering Building, room ENG-G017. -ends-
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Couple go from diploma to doctorate in decade following retirement At NUI Galway’s November conferring, a Sligo couple Richard and Betty Gray, both 71, were conferred with Doctorates in Archaeology. The couple, from Ballinafad, County Sligo, embarked on their educational journey when they retired after 40 years in the insurance industry in 2005, completing the NUI Galway Diploma in Archaeology at St Angela's College, Sligo with Dr Michelle Comber. Following that Betty earned a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and Classics, while Richard was awarded first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and History at NUI Galway. Under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick, both recently earned doctorates. Betty’s doctoral research was centred on ‘Material Culture of High-status Drinking Ritual in Medieval and Early Modern Gaelic Ireland’ and Richard’s research was focused on ‘Settlement clusters at Parish churches in Ireland 1200-1600 AD.’ Speaking at the conferring ceremony about her educational achievements, Dr Betty Gray said: “The last decade has certainly been challenging but also very rewarding and satisfying. We embraced student life and in the course of our journey we made many wonderful friendships through our involvement in the student mentoring programme and college societies. In particular, the NUI Galway Archaeology society where we both had the honour of serving as auditors. We have had the opportunity to visit and explore medieval and prehistoric landscapes in Ireland England Scotland and Wales. What began for us as a part-time diploma developed into an incredible shared academic journey and we availed of some the wide range of programmes offered at NUI Galway from part-time diploma to full-time honours degree, and in our case a PhD.” Speaking about his educational journey, Dr Richard Gray said: “It was not our initial aim to complete a PhD. The diploma provided a great grounding in archaeology and an excellent foundation for further third level education. The full time BA was hard work, but we were welcomed and encouraged by the support for mature students in NUI Galway. We availed of the back to education courses and the support of the Academic Writing Centre at the Hardiman Library, who helped us to improve our academic writing skills.” ENDS