Thursday, 26 January 2017

Dr Andrew Smyth, NUI Galway, has secured a prestigious Wellcome Post-Doctoral Training Fellowship award through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership to carry out a clinical trial to determine the effect of dietary modification on kidney disease. The award is worth €486,492 and will be co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and Wellcome. Using the award, Dr Smyth will also form collaborations with international researchers in McMaster University in Canada and the University of Oxford in the UK to help reveal the risk factors for, and impact of, kidney disease. They will also look at the effect of kidney disease on other aspects of health. Commenting on the award, Dr Smyth said he is: “Very privileged to be given the opportunity to continue to further develop his clinical research skills.” Speaking about the achievement, Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said: “Securing this award is a real testament to Andrew’s research capability. These awards are not easy to get and we are delighted to work with SFI and Wellcome to help make them accessible to Irish researchers.” Commenting on the award, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Director of Programmes at Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland would like to congratulate Dr Andrew Smyth as the first recipient in Ireland of this award. I hope that his success will encourage other clinician researchers to explore the opportunities available to support excellent and impactful research through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership.” Head of Research Careers in Wellcome, Dr Anne-Maire Coriat, commented on the award saying: “We are delighted that Andrew was successful in his application for a Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship, he is the first successful applicant from Ireland that Wellcome has supported since we launched the scheme for early postdoctoral fellowships in 2011. Research-active clinicians have an overwhelmingly positive impact on patient care but there are still many challenges facing clinicians who juggle clinical work and research. Our recent support for the Wellcome – Health Research Board Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme is a further example of our support for clinical academic research in Ireland – this award provides support for an all-Ireland cross-institutional, comprehensive national programme for Clinician Scientists based at six major Irish universities and their affiliated hospital groups.” Wellcome’s existing schemes for postdoctoral clinical academics (the Clinical Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship and Intermediate Clinical Fellowship) have recently been consolidated to establish a new scheme, the Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship. This offers the possibility of longer term support, and much greater flexibility in balancing research and clinical training. Those interested in finding out more, or applying, should visit: Further Irish success in securing funding Recently, three more Irish researchers were successful in obtaining seed funding, worth over €350,000, from Wellcome through the same SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership. The Seed Awards are once-off awards of up to £100,000 (or euro equivalent) designed to help researchers develop a novel research idea, which could form part of a larger grant application in the future. The three recent successful awardees are using their funding to understand the function of a novel molecule in killing breast cancer cells, to model the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue and to generate models of motor neuron diseases using fruit flies. Among the recipients was Dr Ellen Roche, based in NUI Galway also, will work on modelling the transport of drugs into diseased heart tissue using a novel, implantable device that is attached to the outer surface of the heart. Dr Roche’s work has the potential to ultimately improve treatment for patients with heart failure. Seven researchers based in the Republic of Ireland have been successful in securing Seed Awards since the scheme opened in 2015. The closing date for the next round is 13 March 2017, with outcomes due in May 2017. Anyone wishing to apply can find more information on the scheme here: -ends-

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The official opening of the newly established Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at NUI Galway takes place on Tuesday, 31 January. Professor Eamon O’Shea, Director of the new centre, which is funded by the Health Research Board, will give an inaugural lecture entitled Bringing it all back home - Re-imagining Dementia Care in Ireland. The Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia has been funded through a €1.6 million award from the Health Research Board. The vision is to provide transformative research and policy frameworks that will support personhood within dementia care through an integrated, holistic and person-centred approach to resource allocation for people with dementia. The Centre’s research programme will investigate optimal, person-centred pathways to care, and placement for people on the margins of home care and residential care. “We want to examine the economic, social and emotional costs of caring for people with dementia, with a particular emphasis on non-pharmacological approaches”, explains Professor O’Shea. “We also want to fully explore the concept of personhood in dementia, which in essence means treating the person with dementia as a person in the first instance. Unfortunately, people with dementia have long experienced instances and behaviours which have denied their personhood, for example being ignored, disrespected or not treated with dignity.” “The centre is committed to a partnership approach with all dementia stakeholders, particularly with people with dementia and their carers,” said Professor O’Shea. In addition, the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia will focus on the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy. It will also promote and build capacity in economic and social research on dementia, develop the next generation of research leaders in the area, and engage directly with health policy makers and practitioners. The Centre’s mission is to: Support economic and social research on dementia in Ireland. Develop and facilitate new thinking on dementia in Ireland that focuses on personhood within dementia. Develop research capacity and facilitate collaboration and networking opportunities in relation to social research on dementia. Provide the research framework for critical appraisal of the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy in Ireland. Include people with dementia and their informal carers in the research process. The work will be hosted at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway and will complement the University’s existing investment in social gerontology and health economics. The lecture will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building, NUI Galway at 5pm.  For more info email or phone 091 495461 or follow @CESRD_NUIG -ends-

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

NUI Galway will launch two new videos produced by children and young people which focus on parental separation and divorce. Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children, will attend the launch of the videos ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Dear Parents, Dear Friends’ at NUI Galway’s Institute of Lifecourse and Society on Saturday, 4 February from 12-2pm. Acclaimed Irish actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, Cillian Murphy, has given his support to this project by introducing each of the videos, which resulted from work undertaken by a group of youth researchers aged 9 to 19 years. The young researchers from various parts of Ireland have, since 2014, been involved in research about how children and young people in Ireland experience parental separation, divorce and resulting changes in family life. The youth researchers considered that it was important to highlight the research findings to a wider audience. Over a six month period they, along with Dr Ann O’Kelly, a researcher from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre worked together, in association with Foróige, Ireland’s national youth development organisation, and a Creative Youth Education Programme, TechSpace, to develop their ideas, write scripts and produce two videos. ‘It’s OK’ is aimed at primary school teachers and children and highlights the need for the subject of parental separation and divorce to be discussed openly with young children in school. In the video ‘Dear Parents; Dear Friends’ the youth researchers identify the difficult aspects of parental separation and divorce and provide positive suggestions, especially for parents, to help children and young people overcome these challenges. They also highlight the importance of having support from their friends when difficulties arise. “We are delighted to have the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon attend this event which will celebrate the work of the young researchers” said Dr Ann O’Kelly, of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.  The launch will include a discussion with the youth researchers, the video makers and presentations by Professor Pat Dolan of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; Dr Niall Muldoon, the Ombudsman for Children; and the project’s researcher Dr Ann O’Kelly. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre supports young people to lead on and collaborate in research projects believing that it positively contributes to their development, enhances their skill set and empowers them to investigate issues and have their voice heard on matters of relevance to their lives. Details of the Centre’s youth as researchers programme are available at For further information contact Ann O’Kelly at 085 7412711 or -Ends-

Monday, 23 January 2017

Tony award-winning musical focuses on water consumption Galway University Musical Society’s (GUMS) 17th annual show ‘Urinetown: The Musical’ will take place in the Black Box Theatre from 7-11 February at 8pm. This underrated and quirky Tony award-winning musical shows a futuristic world where water is scarce and urinating is expensive. The story, full of hilarious characters, satirical script and catchy songs, focuses on class discrimination, corrupt law enforcement, revolution and above all, love. All water consumption is controlled by the unscrupulously greedy Caldwell B. Cladwell and chaos ensues when his daughter falls in love with revolutionary leader Bobby Strong. Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “Galway University Musical Society never fail to deliver top class performances and attendees at last years ‘Adams Family’ will be able to attest to the professionalism of the cast and crew. This year they have taken on a new musical with an intriguing title which is very relevant to an Irish audience as we ponder the future of our water.” Galway University Musical Society is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous AIMS awards and received rave reviews throughout their years in NUI Galway.  Tickets for Tuesday, 7 and Wednesday, 8 February are €13 or €10 for concession (students or OAPs). Tickets for 9-11 February are €15 or €12 for concession. Tickets are on sale from Wednesday, 25 January, online at and from the Town Hall Theatre and from the Socs Box in NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 January 2017

 A new robotic device could aid failing hearts by mimicking healthy cardiac muscles An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche of National University of Ireland Galway. The soft robotic sleeve wraps around the organ, twisting and compressing in synch with the beating heart, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure. The research has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine today. Dr Roche is the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The research took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital. While other therapeutic systems known as ventricular assist devices (VADs) are already used to sustain end-stage heart failure patients awaiting transplant, they extend lives albeit at a high risk due to the number of complications that can occur resulting from their design. Complications include the risk of clotting requiring patients to take potentially dangerous blood thinner medications. Unlike VADs, the soft robotic sleeve does not directly contact blood, avoiding that risk. With heart failure affecting 41 million people worldwide, the hope is the device may one day be able to bridge a patient to transplant or to aid in cardiac rehabilitation and recovery. “This research demonstrates that the growing field of soft robotics can be applied to clinical needs and potentially reduce the burden of heart disease and improve the quality of life for patients,” explains Dr Roche, now a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Peter McHugh in biomedical engineering at National University of Ireland Galway, where she also previously studied for her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. To create an entirely new device that does not come into contact with blood, the researchers took inspiration from the heart itself. The thin silicone sleeve uses soft pneumatic actuators placed around the heart to mimic the outer muscle layers of the mammalian heart. The actuators twist and compress the sleeve in a similar motion to the beating heart. The device is tethered to an external pump, which uses air to power the soft actuators. "The sleeve can be customized for each patient", said Dr Roche. If a patient has more weakness on the left side of the heart, for example, the actuators can be tuned to give more assistance on that side. The pressure of the actuators can also increase or decrease over time, as the patient’s condition evolves. More research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans but the work is an important first step towards an implantable soft robot that can augment organ function. “This research is really significant at the moment because more and more people are ending up with heart failure,” said Roche. “Soft robotic devices are ideally suited to interact with soft tissue and give assistance that can help with augmentation of function, and potentially even healing and recovery.” Senior authors on the study are Professor Conor Walsh, director of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, and Dr Frank Pigula, who was at Boston Childrens Hospital when the research was conducted. The study was co-authored by Markus A. Horvath, Isaac Wamala, Ali Alazmani, Sang-Eun Song, William Whyte, Zurab Machaidze, Christopher J. Payne, James Weaver, Gregory Fishbein, Joseph Kuebler, Nikolay V.Vasilyev and David J. Mooney. It was supported by the Translational Research Program grant from Boston Children’s Hospital, a Director’s Challenge Cross-Platform grant from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Science Foundation Ireland. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

‘Engage ‘17’ will focus on employability, job categories and specific skill sets NUI Galway, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) and the Galway Technical Institute (GTI) will hold a free information day for adult learners on Saturday, 28 January in the Connacht Hotel from 10am -1pm. ‘Engage ’17’ is suitable for those who need some careers advice; whether it’s to upskill, change career, or find out about study options.  This event focuses on adult learners and brings together career advisors and educational providers in the Galway region. “By reviewing what your current skills and interests are, our advisors can explore learning pathways with you, which can help you achieve your goals whether your direction is a work or study-based one”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway. This one-stop-shop event also engages employers with representatives from eight key industry sectors providing careers advice on the various roles and career options in their area. Sectors represented at the event include Business, Sales & Languages, Construction, Creative Arts and Humanities, Information Technology, Science and Engineering, Social Impact Careers and Tourism/Hospitality. The event is a perfect opportunity to hear first-hand, about job categories and specific skill sets that these sectors are actively looking for.  One-to-one consultations are available for those who wish to speak directly with a career counsellor.  Bridie Kiloran, Guidance Counsellor at GMIT, said: “These sessions, which are free of charge, can be pre-booked online. Each consultation will focus on the individual’s personal work and education history and will explore future study and career options with the assistance of a qualified counsellor.” The event is being hosted by the Regional Skills Forum West, a network which supports the development of businesses and their employees through training programmes, research projects and entrepreneurship activities.  “This unique event brings together further and higher education providers with representatives from GMIT, GTI, GRETB and NUI Galway. All will be available to discuss study options, apprenticeships and support services for adult learners”, highlights Claire Hurley, Regional Skills Forum West Manager.  Siobhán Brangwyn of the Adult Education Guidance and Information Service at GRETB, said: “Meeting people who work every day in these industries provides a valuable insight for adults who are either seeking work or considering a career move.” For more information on speakers, or to register for a one-to-one consultation, visit Additional information is available at 091 494066, or on social media at #engagegalway. -Ends-

Monday, 16 January 2017

For the second year running NUI Galway will host a regional heat for FameLab 2017, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world. If you think you can explain a scientific concept to a general audience, in just three minutes, then why not enter? You could become the new face of science, represent Ireland at the 2017 FameLab International finals in the UK, and open doors to global opportunities in science communication. The competition is open to: people who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business; those who work on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (e.g. patent clerks, statisticians, consultants to industry); lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree; university students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over; and those who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Training for entrants will take place in Galway on Tuesday, 31 January, with the regional heat scheduled for Tuesday, 21 February. The event will be held at the Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway. The application deadline to enter the competition is Tuesday, 7 February, 2017. Successful candidates who make it through the initial regional heat stage, will be invited to attend an all-expenses paid ‘Communication Masterclass’, which will take place in Dublin on the 25-26 March, to help develop invaluable STEM media and presentation skills. The FameLab Ireland Final will be held at the Science Gallery, Dublin on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The aim of each presentation is that the audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The winner will be a charismatic presenter who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting and who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it. To see terms and conditions and to register your interest and take part in the Famelab Galway competition please visit Please contact if you are unsure about your eligibility and check to learn more about regional heats. Follow Famelab Galway on twitter @FameLab_Gaway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 19 and 20 January. The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. Sally Cahill, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 12th annual Teddy Bear Hospital. Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 19 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.” This year, 25 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg and Fyffes, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for the event came from Bank of Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Terryland, Butlers Chocolates, MPS and Evergreen. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -Ends-   Déanann Mic Léinn Leighis OÉ Gaillimh ceiliúradh ar Dhá Bhliain Déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní  Den dara bliain déag as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh, Déardaoin, an 19 agus Dé hAoine, an 20 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,300 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,300 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sally Cahill, mac léinn leighis sa dara bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar dhá bhliain déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní. Le roinnt blianta anuas, tá méadú tagtha ar líon na scoileanna atá ag iarraidh freastal ar an ócáid agus, dá bharr sin, tá an ócáid i bhfad níos mó anois chun béiríní na Gaillimhe ar fad a leigheas. Beimid ag súil go mór na chéad ‘othair’ a fheiceáil Déardaoin, an 19 Eanáir agus tá súil againn ospidéal taitneamhach a chruthú do na gasúir ar an lá.” I mbliana, tá 25 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid, sin os cionn 1,300 gasúr. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht leo. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Burkes Fruit and Veg agus Fyffes ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu beidh deis ag na gasúir spraoi a bhaint as preabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Rinne Banc na hÉireann, Dunnes Stores, Mr Price Thír Oileáin, Butlers Chocolates, MPS agus Evergreen urraíocht ar an ócáid chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Professor Pat Dolan welcomes “a social inclusion agenda that bails out families as well as banks” Speaking ahead of the 2nd Biennial Distinguished Lecture by Leo Varadkar T.D. Minister for Social Protection to be held on Thursday, 12 January at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) NUI Galway, Institute Director Professor Pat Dolan has highlighted the need to see the easing of austerity as an opportunity to provide better family support to those worst affected by the economic crisis over recent years in Ireland. The biennial Distinguished Lecture Series, inaugurated by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in 2015, provides a forum for public engagement with the important work of the Institute, through the delivery of key Irish and international policymakers perspectives on how best to address societal issues in an Irish context. “Minister Varadkar’s forthcoming lecture is timely given the current policy crossroads towards enabling social inclusion for those most marginalised,” Professor Dolan said.   Welcoming Minister Varadkar’s engagement with the Institute, Professor Dolan highlighted that within European policy and headline targets, public debate is often focused on very narrow ideas of what exclusion, and hence inclusion, are, and how we need to combat it. “There is currently an overemphasis on economic dimensions, with sometimes a misguided focus on labour market participation as the sole means of lifting people out of poverty and exclusion. This has the damaging effect of isolating many vulnerable sectors of our population, including children, people with disability and older adults. “To be effective, policy shouldn’t divide society into sectors, but should look at inclusivity from cradle to grave. In recent years, for example, we have seen the positive impact on young people of prevention and early intervention initiatives delivered within the community. Such approaches can be replicated for other sectors of society, such as older adults, to support rather than disrupt family lives by empowering communities and reducing the need for institutional care.” Tomorrow’s event will see the second of the Institute’s Distinguished Lectures delivered by Minister Varadkar, who will outline priorities in the area of social inclusion, in addition to remarks in response by Dr Michelle Millar, Senior Research Fellow at ILAS who has completed extensive research on lone parents. The Institute for Lifecourse and Society is the home for applied social sciences at NUI Galway and focuses on issues related to lifecourse and societal issues. It represents a significant and innovative development, in that it brings together interdisciplinary expertise to address the dynamic challenges that face and implicate potentially marginalised sections of our population, at different points in their lives. Engaging in research, community engagement, practice and education, and policy. It draws on the strengths of constituent research Centres in NUl Galway, including; the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre; Irish Centre for Social Gerontology; Centre for Disability Law and Policy; Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, along with the work of units such as the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre along with the work of units such as the Community Knowledge Initiative, Community Engaged Research in Action, and Speech and Language Therapy. ENDS

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Information evening specially designed for mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. NUI Galway will hold a special information evening for prospective students on Wednesday, 18 January from 5.30-8:30pm in the Arts Millennium Building. The event is aimed at mature students, Leaving Certificate students and parents/guardians. The mature students’ element of the information evening is designed for anyone aged 23 or over, who may be considering studies at NUI Galway in 2017. The evening will focus on the benefits and supports for returning to education, career opportunities and subject specific information which will be given through a series of lectures and presentations. A talk will also be given on applying to Medicine as a mature student with information on the HPAT test and the interview process. Trish Bourke, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The evening is specially designed for those who wish to find out more about the degree programmes on offer, the services that the University provides, the CAO application procedure, funding and life as a student on campus. Having studied an Arts degree at NUI Galway myself, I know the value of it and the opportunities it gave me to plan a successful career. There is a place for everyone at NUI Galway whether it is through an Access course or through our Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development Programmes.” Leaving Certificate students and their parents will have the opportunity to explore in detail the over 60 courses available at undergraduate level. Over 25 subject specific talks are being held on the evening including an Admissions Talk and College talks for Arts, Business, Law, Engineering and Informatics, Science, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. For students who are undecided on their career or course choice, the event will include a Career Clinic and a Course Clinic for students and parents to meet University guidance counsellors and school liaison officers to help guide them through the many avenues available. All the relevant support services including Fees, Sports, Admission and Access will be available on the night to provide information and answer any queries.   Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students and their parents to meet lecturers on campus and to see what degree might be the right fit for them. It is also a chance find out more about new programmes being offered at NUI Galway including the Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences), all of which feature relevant work placement as part of the programme structure.”   For further information on the programmes and opportunities for students at NUI Galway, please visit:   -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

In a tribute to the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, former Chancellor of the National University of Ireland, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I want to express great sadness at the passing of one of the Ireland’s most exemplary public servants. In a career defined by innovation and dedication, led the transformation of Irish economic policy which has shaped modern Ireland. His service to the State continued long beyond his retirement in 1976 and had a major impact on many of facets of Irish life with more than 40 organisations having benefited from his wisdom and leadership. For those of us in academic life, we remember with fondness and high regard his Chancellorship of the National University of Ireland for over 20 years, from 1976 to 1996, at a time when higher education in Ireland underwent its most radical transformation. We are honoured that the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway stands as acknowledgement of his stature as a policy leader whose legacy will be to have shaped modern Ireland as a sustainable economy, an inclusive society, and a healthy democracy where academic debate and public discourse engage together to advance the greater good. I would like to extend sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.” RÁITEAS AR BHÁS AN DR T.K. WHITAKER  In ómós don Dr TK Whitaker, nach maireann, iar-Sheansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, ba mhaith liom ár mórbhrón a chur in iúl go bhfuil duine de mhórsheirbhísigh eiseamláireacha poiblí na hÉireann ar lár. Ba cheannródaí tiomanta an Dr TK Whitaker ar feadh a shaoil ghairmiúil agus stiúraigh sé an claochló ó bhonn a tháinig ar pholasaí eacnamaíoch na hÉireann a mhúnlaigh Éire na linne seo. Thug sé seirbhís don Stát i bhfad i ndiaidh dó dul ar scor in 1976 agus bhí mórthionchar aige ar an iliomad gné de shaol na hÉireann. Chuaigh a chuid ceannaireachta agus géarchúise chun tairbhe bhreis agus dhá scór eagraíocht. Cuimhnímidne sa saol acadúil, le hardmheas agus le cion, ar a théarma Seansailéireachta ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ar feadh tréimhse de scór bliain, ó 1976 go 1996, tráth a ndeachaigh mórathrú ar an ardoideachas in Éirinn. Cúis bhróid dúinn gurb ann d’Institiúid Whitaker in OÉ Gaillimh ar aitheantas é ar a sheasamh mar cheannródaí polasaí. Clocha ar a charn gur mhúnlaigh sé Éire na linne seo mar gheilleagar inbhuanaithe, mar shochaí chuimsitheach agus mar dhaonlathas folláin, áit a mbíonn caibidil acadúil agus an dioscúrsa poiblí ag cur lena chéile chun leas an phobail. Is mian liom ár gcomhbhrón ó chroí a dhéanamh lena theaghlach agus a chairde. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”  

Monday, 9 January 2017

Event to assist students from Tipperary, Clare, Kerry and Limerick considering CAO applications NUI Galway will host an information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Strand Hotel, Limerick from 7-9pm on Thursday, 19 January, 2017.  The event will provide information on over 60 courses available to students at undergraduate level. Staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. To register and see more information visit The increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Feedback also highlights the impact of NUI Galway’s recent rise in university rankings, as it entered the global Top 250 universities for the first time. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In recent months, we’ve seen the impact of NUI Galway’s continued rise in world university rankings with huge numbers interested in our courses and in discovering what has made us one of the world’s Top 250 universities. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the NUI Galway experience in Limerick, from our teaching and research to the clubs, societies and culture that makes us unique. With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). The event will also be attended by Conor Cleary, NUI Galway student and Clare hurler, who encourages people to attend: “I’m looking forward to meeting students and having the chance to discuss the reasons why I recommend studying at NUI Galway. It’s a university with real ambition for its students, and is helping me to realise my potential. There’s a real focus here on preparing students for what comes next, and I’ve been supported to develop skills which will benefit me throughout my working life and also on the hurling pitch.” Mike Heskin, NUI Galway’s Director of Sport and Physical Activity will outline the University’s supports in this area at the event.  He added: “Sport can be pivotal for wellbeing during our students’ time here and beyond.  At the information evening, I’ll outline the range of sports on offer, from supports for elite athletes, to the unique opportunities Galway provides to all our students, from mountain climbing in Connemara to kayaking on the Corrib.”   To find out more about the information evening, visit or contact Sadhbh Picilaidis, Marketing Officer, NUI Galway at or 091 494398. -Ends-

Friday, 6 January 2017

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Cathal O’Donoghue as the new Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. NUI Galway offers an extensive range of Arts programmes at undergraduate level. The flagship programme, Bachelor of Arts (GY101), is designed to build students’ capacity for creative and critical thinking, equipping graduates for the fast-changing work environment of the future. Other offerings such as the BA Connect and a range of denominated Arts degrees give students greater opportunity to specialise. New programmes being offered this year include the BA in Children’s Studies and a BSc in Applied Social Sciences, both of which are interdisciplinary in nature and include relevant work placements.  Previously, Cathal O’Donoghue was Head of Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme, one of the four research programmes of Teagasc. He was a member of the board of Teagasc’s research directorate. He was a member of the Fund Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a $1 billion a year International Agri-Food Research organisation from 2014-2016. From 2012-2014, he was CEO of the Irish Government’s Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas 2012-2014, Chairman of the Irish Sport Horse Strategy Committee 2013-2015, was President of the International Microsimulation Association 2011-2015 and is on the Executive of the UK Agricultural Economics Society. In welcoming the appointment, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Professor Cathal O’Donoghue to NUI Galway as Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Cathal is a distinguished scholar who has significant policy and leadership experience in the social sciences. He brings a great breadth of experience and I look forward to working with him to strengthen and build on the strong foundations in the College of Arts and to further developing new programmes of research and teaching initiatives.” Cathal is a UCC graduate, a statistician and economist by training, with post graduate degrees from the universities of Oxford and Warwick, UCD and the London School of Economics, having worked previously at the ESRI, UK Government Economics Service, the University of Cambridge and NUI Galway.  His personal research programme involves the development and use of policy simulation models, for which he holds a Chair at the University of Maastricht, as well as an adjunct position in UCD. He has published over 150 research papers, four books and supervised over 25 PhD students to completion. He has been an advisor to many international organisations and was a long-term advisor to the British Government’s Department of Work and Pensions on policy modelling earlier in his career. Speaking on his appointment, Professor O’Donoghue said: “I am very energised by taking up this role. As the world has become more complicated and volatile, where big data, 24 hour news and social media bombards us with information, there has never been a greater need for Arts and Social Science graduates and research. We have seen in recent years, that if we don’t get the foundations of society and the economy right in terms of inequality, culture, identity, language, heritage, we get crisis, marginalisation and the large political and social upheavals we are experiencing now.” Professor O’Donoghue added: “The world needs graduates who can distil and critically assess information; have independence of thought; apply creativity, communication and analytical skills; and are adaptive team players. While many traditional professions become obsolete due to advances in technology, there will always be a need for graduates, with these, the core Arts skills. I look forward to working at NUI Galway to enhance the offerings in Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies which will build this critical capacity.” -ENDS-

Thursday, 5 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy will hold a seminar entitled ‘Consent and Refusal: Mental Health, Human Rights and the Law’ on 11 January 2017. The event is part of the research project ‘The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination’ (VOICES) and takes place in the University’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society.   This seminar will explore how human rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) can be used to guarantee the right to consent to, and refuse, medical treatment – with a focus on lived experience in the mental health system. “We all take for granted that our refusal of medical treatment will be respected – but the lived experience of people with disabilities and many in the mental health system demonstrates that this is not always the case”, explains Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. “For example, the medical system might respect the decision of a cancer patient to refuse chemotherapy, but deny the right of an individual who wants to refuse electro-convulsive therapy.” Dr Flynn added: “The speakers at the event come from a wide range of countries including Kenya, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Colombia, China, India, Sweden, the US and the UK. They have a diverse range of experience – as lawyers, researchers, advocates and activists, with personal and professional experience of consent to treatment and how this impacts people with disabilities and people with experience of the mental health system.” The seminar should be of interest to students, researchers, people with disabilities, people with experience of the mental health system, family members, and practitioners in the fields of law, health and social care. The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award. Its purpose is to look at how people with disabilities are treated by the legal system when they want to make their own decisions – known as ‘legal capacity’. “Legal capacity means being recognised as a decision-maker by the law and making decisions that the law requires other people to respect. VOICES involves a series of workshops and conferences, bringing together people with disabilities and people who write about how law and policy affects people with disabilities. At the end of the project we will publish a book with people’s stories and ideas about how the law should change”, said Dr Flynn. Further information is available at or email Clíona on or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed. ENDS

Thursday, 5 January 2017

This national study is seeking 1,000 nurses to examine how burnout is having an impact on their ability to provide treatment and care to the elderly population. The School of Psychology and the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway is conducting a research study on nursing staff’s experiences of burnout and how this impacts both their mental well-being and capacity to treat and care for the over 65 year olds. All registered general nurses are invited to participate in the online study, and the findings will better inform future policies and interventions for trainee and qualified nursing staff in Ireland. This study is being carried out by Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau, a Psychologist in Clinical Training at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, under the academic supervision of Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the University’s Doctorate Programme in Psychological Science and under Dr Andrew Hunter in Nursing and Midwifery. Ms Fitzgerald-Yau is interested in the effect of burnout and stress on people’s capacity to mentalise. She said: “Mentalising means being aware of what is going on in our own minds, that is our thoughts, feelings, intentions, etc., and in other people’s minds. It is the attachment processes between staff and patients that helps to foster and maintain the capacity to mentalise. When staff are feeling over-pressurised, this attachment relationship can become disrupted or fail to develop. If the ability to mentalise gets compromised then this may explain why both patients and staff alike report feeling objectified within the healthcare system.” A recent survey in 2016 of [i]nursing staff across 200 hospitals in Belgium, England, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland found that nearly a third showed signs of burnout and a similar proportion were dissatisfied with their job. A qualitative study [ii]in October based on interviews with nurses in three Emergency Departments across Ireland revealed that many leave the profession because of stress and that they are “often forced to engage in a sliding scale of care resulting in reduced dignity for patients”. One such patient group whose care is particularly at risk of being jeopardised are the over 65’s. Patients and staff report the dehumanising experience for patients of being moved around inside hospitals ‘like parcels’. Older patients are more likely to be forgotten about because they are less critical and are less likely to complain. Research has found that negative attitudes towards working with older people pervade among health professionals due to working conditions, poor career prospects and a perceived lack of professional esteem. For those who would like to participate in this national study, please visit the online survey link at For further information, contact Natasha Fitzgerald-Yau at -Ends- [i] Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D., Griffiths, P., Rafferty, A. M., Bruyneel, L., McHugh, M., & Sermeus, W. (2016). Nursing skill mix in European hospitals: cross-sectional study of the association with mortality, patient ratings, and quality of care. BMJ Quality & Safety, bmjqs-2016. [ii] White, G. (2016). Understanding Emergency Nurses' experiences of moral distress (Doctoral dissertation).

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

 Event to assist students considering CAO applications NUI Galway will host an information evening for students, parents, guardians and guidance counsellors in the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny on Thursday, 12 January from 7-9pm.   The event will provide information on over 60 courses available to students at undergraduate level. Staff will be on hand to answer any individual questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Feedback also highlights the impact of NUI Galway’s recent rise in university rankings, as it entered the global Top 250 for the first time. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has strong links throughout the North West, having recently opened a new medical academy in Letterkenny in addition to providing Irish language courses in Ionad Ghaoth Dobhair.  We are delighted to have the opportunity to visit Letterkenny and showcase all of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer in Galway and throughout the West. With so many courses on offer, this event is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” The event will also be attended by Emer Gallagher, NUI Galway student and Donegal footballer, who encouraged people to attend: “NUI Galway has provided me with a great, holistic education as in addition to developing my academic knowledge, I’ve also developed real world skills which I apply in the workplace and on the football pitch. I look forward to meeting students so I can tell them about my experiences and why I recommend studying at NUI Galway.”    Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, a Marine Science degree and Podiatric Medicine, a programme unique in Ireland. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the BSc (Applied Social Sciences). To find out more about the information evening, visit or contact NUI Galway's School Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne on 087 2440858 or on -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, with the support of Cancer Care West is currently recruiting people with persistent fatigue who have completed cancer treatment at least three months ago. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms faced by individuals after cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives. Such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer.  An online programme called ‘REFRESH: Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue’ has been developed by NUI Galway and Cancer Care West Hardiman Scholar Teresa Corbett to help people manage fatigue symptoms after cancer. Participants to date reported they found the REFRESH programme both helpful and enjoyable to use.  Cancer-related fatigue is still relatively under-recognised and under-treated. The online programme aims to address this unmet need of cancer survivors by raising awareness about what might cause fatigue and how people can learn to cope with it effectively. The ‘REFRESH: Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue’ programme will provide eight online sessions for people in the comfort of their own home. The free online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be addressed. The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and cancer support networks around the country are being encouraged to refer suitable people with fatigue to the study. Participants can access all medical services as usual while involved in the programme. Teresa Corbett, coordinator of the study, said: “I’ve met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. We know that programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives.” Dr Jane Walsh, supervisor of the study at NUI Galway, said: “Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have personal contact as well. This is a promising new online fatigue management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with persistent fatigue after cancer.” A REFRESH Programme information evening will be held in the School of Psychology, NUI Galway on Tuesday, 10 January at 7pm. Please email or phone 091 495951 if interested in attending. All materials are available online for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their fatigue. For further information contact Niamh Gethin, School of Psychology, NUI Galway, or visit GPs or cancer services who are interested in referring suitable patients to the programme can also use these contact details. -Ends-

Thursday, 8 September 2016

NUI Galway will host a major conference on ‘Planning For Regional Development: The National Planning Framework as a Roadmap for Ireland's Future’. The conference will take place on Friday, 9 September at 9.30am in Áras na Mac Léinn. The conference is organised by the Regional Studies Association Irish Branch, in collaboration with NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission. Current trends suggest that the next 30 years could see the Republic’s population reach up to 6.5 million and Ireland will need to plan for such growth. The development pressures arising, along with the need to address development legacies from the past require innovative and long-term thinking to avoid unnecessary congestion, inadequate housing provision as well as meeting the hugely challenging environment of change internationally, including the impending Brexit. Speakers will include: Paul Hogan, Senior Advisor of Planning at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. Professor Markku Sotarauta, University of Tampere, Finland and an influential expert on leadership and regional development. Peter Mehlbye, former Director of the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network, was involved in the Advisory Committee for the Irish National Spatial Strategy. Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen, Professor of Land Use Planning at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Dr Seán O'Riordáin, Chairman of the Public Policy Advisors Network. Dr Patrick Collins, Lecturer in the School of Geography and Archaeology and Cluster Leader in the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway and local organiser and committee member of the Regional Studies Irish Branch, said: “It is great that we get to bring the conversation on this into the west. NUI Galway has a long history in voicing the need for more balanced approaches to national development. Regional development is not a zero sum game, planning for balance is not ‘taking from one to give to another’. Instead it is ensuring that each place, town, county, city or region can reach its best potential.” This conference is part of a wider public engagement initiative on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. For further detail regarding conference program and speaker profiles or visit   -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

A diagnosis of ADHD for an adult can lead to a sense of disbelief quickly followed by relief. That’s according to a new study of adult ADHD carried out by researchers at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. The study was done in collaboration with the Irish National Council of AD/HD Support Groups (INCADDS). “Many people have struggled all their lives with the difficulties of ADHD. Its only when they are diagnosed as adults do they realise that they can now name something that has affected them since childhood,” explains the author of the study, Dr Pádraig Mac Neela, a Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway and member of the University’s Institute for Lifecourse and Society. He continued: “There are three types of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For the inattention type of ADHD the main feature is distractibility, organisation, and sustained concentration. The hyperactive / impulsive form of ADHD is marked by high levels of activity, talking and difficult sitting still. The mixed form involves both of the other types together. It is now recognised that ADHD persists into adulthood for up to two-thirds of people who experienced it in childhood. Yet it often goes undiagnosed in childhood, leaving many people unprepared for how they should adapt to manage college, employment and family life. Many doctors, teachers, employers and family members are unaware of ADHD as an adult condition and do not know how to support someone who is affected by it.” The researchers interviewed 19 adults with ADHD in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They were asked about how ADHD has affected their lives and how they have learned to live with the condition. Only three had a diagnosis of ADHD as children – for the others finding out about ADHD and getting a diagnosis took some years. The average age of diagnosis was 40. ADHD affected their school and college performance, and continued to impede them later in work. Many of the participants had formed a negative view of themselves because they were unable to conform to societal expectations. Some had problems finding a doctor who accepted the idea of adult ADHD. In a majority of cases the diagnosis had come by going the private route to pay for the assessment required. There was concern and stress associated with finding out about having a mental health condition. Yet being able to label it enabled the participants in the study to take more control in their lives. Medication was helpful for some, but all of the participants found benefit from re-thinking the past and identifying positive aspects of ADHD. The study participants were often helped by friends, family and health professionals in putting together the pieces after learning about ADHD. First and foremost they had to rely on themselves to find their way to living with ADHD, not least because of a lack of specialised services and supports for adult ADHD in Ireland. A full copy of ‘Finding Your Way With ADHD: A Study of The Struggle, Supports and Solutions Experienced by Adults With ADHD’ can be found at  -ends

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 or 091 542840. -ends-

Thursday, 8 December 2016

National Launch of 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 - 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, 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 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: -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 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-