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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