Friday, 2 June 2017

Marine scientists carry out deep-sea research on marine substances to determine if they have anti-cancer properties that can be used for novel drugs to combat human illnesses Leading marine scientists, Dr Louise Allcock and Professor Oliver Thomas from NUI Galway, and a team of 10 university researchers and students are currently aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer on a two week deep-sea expedition researching cold water corals and sponges (two different types of marine organisms) for potential antimicrobial or anti-cancer properties. Located two-hundred nautical miles South-West off Ireland at the edge of the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean, the research is being carried out using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle ROV Holland I, deployed into areas where the sea floor rapidly drops from around 300 metres down to 3000 metres. Speaking from the expedition, Dr Olivier Thomas, Professor of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway and coordinator of the National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory located at the Marine Institute, said: “The researchers and students are seeing for the first time corals and sponges covering an area around the Whittard Canyon, Porcupine Seabight, Gollum Channel and the Belgica Mounds in Irish waters. Chemists involved in biodiscovery research only need small quantities of any organism to develop a new drug, because once a suitable compound is identified, it can be synthesised in the lab, which can then be used in drugs to combat human diseases.” Dr Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Using the ROV’s robotic and lighting capabilities, we are able to manoeuvre the Holland I, which is comparable to the size of a mini-van, through the water, and use its arms and clasps, which are like hands, to take small samples of corals, sponges and other specimens from extremely hostile parts of the ocean floor where there is no natural light and tremendous ocean pressure. By analysing past research relating to sponges and corals we are able to see that some species are better target groups than others in having antimicrobial or anti-cancer properties. Based on this information we are building mathematical models to predict the likelihood of any given species yielding a novel natural product, along with developing species distribution maps of corals and sponges on the deep-sea floor, so that we know the best places to go searching.” When the research team returns from sea they will work with the national marine biodiscovery lab at the Marine Institute. The NUI Galway scientists will extract the chemical compounds from all of the samples of sponges and corals to determine if they have drug-like characteristics such as anti-cancer or antimicrobial properties that can be used for novel drugs to combat human illnesses. “These are exciting times to be a marine researcher as marine scientists around the world have discovered more species in the ocean in the last ten years than ever before, with an average of 2000 new discoveries each year. In Ireland we are contributing to building on this wealth of valuable information and sharing the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the Atlantic Ocean”, said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. The ROV Holland I provides high definition continuous video footage of the deep seafloor as it is being used to collect samples, where Dr Allcock noted that, “going back through footage after the expedition enables us to further analyse the location recording of all the corals and sponges. This improves future predictions of where else we might find similar specimens and also allows us to provide data to inform conservation policy so that we make sure that important ‘hotspots’ rich in corals and sponges are preserved.” This survey was funded by Dr Louise Allcock’s SFI - Marine Institute investigators award and is a five-year project entitled ‘Exploiting and conserving deep-sea genetic resources’, which is being undertaken at NUI Galway, and co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Marine Institute. The National Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory project  brings together six of the country's leading marine researchers from across a range of disciplines, from NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork to study how marine substances might in future be used to make ingredients for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and functional foods. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The NUI Galway-led ENERGISE (European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy) hosted a two-day workshop of international sustainability experts in Dublin this week 1-2 June, during European Sustainable Development Week. The three-year Horizon 2020 funded ENERGISE programme, is an innovative pan-European research initiative setup to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. The initiative develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe. As part of this two-day event, the Consumption Environment Sustainability (CONSENSUS) research team launched its report CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability. Findings from the Consensus II Report: More sustainable household consumption in Ireland, and by association sustainable production, is essential if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. Targeted responses are needed as consumption varies by age, gender, income and education. Travel behaviour in the period between 20 to 30 years old is particularly dynamic and provides considerable opportunities for coordinated interventions. Adopting a life-course approach would represent a major step change in transport policy. Big changes are possible - water use from washing was reduced by 47%, food waste reduced by 28% and 100% of the remaining waste being composted with no food waste sent to landfill. A coordinated and systematic approach by governments, private companies and civil society is required to support sustainable consumption, from everyday habitual behaviours to the occasional or once-off purchases. The history of increasing structural ‘lock in’ regarding car use in Ireland serves to caution against a sole focus on changing individual behaviour. Broader changes to transport infrastructure, policies and traffic laws are also urgently needed to achieve a more sustainable transport system. The CONSENSUS project develops and tests novel ways to better understand and respond to the complex challenges created by household consumption such as lifestyle segmentation, mobility biographies and home-based living laboratories. It is funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s sustainability research programme, led by Professor Anna Davies from Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with Dr Frances Fahy from NUI Galway and Professor Henrike Rau from Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.  In response to their findings, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Laura Burke, said: “Changing our behaviour is one of the greatest challenges we face in making the transition to a low carbon and resource efficient future. In this report, the CONSENSUS team shows how we can better understand our current behaviour and how we can start to redirect it onto a more sustainable pathway. We are often unaware that many of our everyday activities damage the environment and this project demonstrates that small actions can make a big difference.” Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Frances Fahy, Head of the Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “On the basis of this exciting study, our NUI Galway based research team recommends that a tailored policy approach to different groups of individuals that may be more successful at eliciting pro-environmental behaviour change than general ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy interventions. The typology tools constructed in the CONSENSUS II study create a refined, targeted approach to understanding the nuances of consumption behaviours.” To read the full CONSENSUS II: Segmentation, Experimentation and Biographies for Sustainability report, visit: http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/researchreports/research205.html -Ends- 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Fintan O’Toole, Dr Kristina Johnson, John MacNamara and Professor Jane Grimson  NUI Galway today (Monday, 15 May) announced the recipients of the University’s 2017 Honorary Degrees. The four individuals to be conferred on Friday, 9 June are The Irish Times journalist, Fintan O’Toole; Engineer and former US Under Secretary for Energy, Dr Kristina Johnson; businessman John McNamara; and first TCD female engineering graduate, Professor Jane Grimson Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature and journalism, business, science and engineering, public administration and philanthropy. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Fintan O'Toole  Fintan O'Toole is a columnist with The Irish Times and winner of the 2017 European Press Prize for commentary. He is also Leonard L. Milberg visiting lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. Born in Dublin in 1958, he has been drama critic of In Dublin magazine, The Sunday Tribune, the New York Daily News, and The Irish Times and Literary Adviser to the Abbey Theatre. He contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books and The Guardian.His new book on Bernard Shaw will appear in 2017 and Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, which he edited, has recently been published by the Royal Irish Academy. Other books include A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, Enough is Enough, Ship of Fools,  The Irish Times Book of the 1916 Rising, White Savage: William Johnson and The Invention of America,  Shakespeare is Hard but so is Life;  and A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.  Kristina M. Johnson Dr Kristina Johnson received her B.S., M.S. and PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and is currently the CEO of Cube Hydro Partners.  Prior to Cube Hydro, Dr Johnson was the Under Secretary of the United States Department of Energy.She has been Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University, Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a NATO post-doctoral fellow at Trinity College Dublin.Dr Johnson’s academic awards include the Dennis Gabor Prize for creativity and innovation in modern optics, the John Fritz Medal (2008), widely considered the highest award in the engineering profession and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She received the Society of Women Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award, the Woman of Vision Award for Leadership by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (2010), “40 years of Title IX -  40 Women Who Have Made an Impact” by ESPNW.Recognized for her work in technology transfer and entrepreneurship by the States of Colorado and North Carolina, she received the 2010 Milton Steward Award from the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) and co-founded ColorLink, Inc., which was sold to RealD, and is responsible for 3D effects in movies such as Avatar, Gravity and 300 others.Dr Johnson serves on the board of directors of Cisco Systems and AES.She has published 149 refereed articles and holds 118 U.S. and International patents.  She has received honorary degrees from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Tufts University, Trinity College, Dublin and McGill University, Montreal, Canada John MacNamara John MacNamara was born in Dublin in 1944 and raised from an early age in Birr Co. Offaly. He received his primary education in Birr and boarded in St. Flannan’s College Ennis for his secondary education, completing his Leaving Cert there in 1961.In 1962 he joined the National Bank, subsequently the Bank of Ireland, serving in different roles in Dublin up to 1982 when he moved to Galway as Regional Manager for Galway and Mayo. In September 1990 he was appointed General Manager West with responsibility for 81 branches over 10 counties. He retired from the Bank in 2001. He holds a BComm and MEconSc from UCD.John is married to Mary and they have four children and seven grandchildren. Three of John and Mary’s children attended NUI Galway for their undergraduate study, with two receiving postgraduate qualifications.John joined the Board of Galway University Foundation on its establishment in 1998 at the invitation of the then President of NUI Galway, Dr Patrick F. Fottrell, and has gone on to serve four terms as Chairman. Under his leadership, and with the support of the directors, chief executive and staff of the Foundation, significant philanthropic funds have been raised for the infrastructure of the campus.Since 1998 the Foundation has raised over €145 million directly from philanthropy, leveraging significant additional matching funds, thus enabling over €200 million of investment for flagship University buildings including the new Sports Centre, Bailey Allen Wing and Cultural Centre, Lifecourse Institute, Biomedical Sciences Building, Alice Perry Engineering Building, Lambe Institute for Translational Research and O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.Since his retirement John has served on the board of the Western Development Commission and on the Galway Harbour Board. John has also been involved in charitable and social causes and is currently Chairman of Cancer Care West. Jane Grimson Professor Jane Grimson was the first woman to graduate with a degree in Engineering from Trinity College following which she obtained her masters and doctorate in Computer Science from the Universities of Toronto and Edinburgh, respectively. She returned to Trinity as a lecturer in 1980 where she also served as Dean of Engineering, Pro-Dean of Research and Vice Provost. Prior to her retirement in 2014, she was seconded as Director of Health Information and then as Acting Chief Executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority.She has published widely in the field of Health Informatics and was awarded the O’Moore Medal in 2007 for her contribution to the field. Jane is also a Past President of Engineers Ireland, the Irish Academy of Engineering, the Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland and the Irish Computer Society. She is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She served as Chair of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, was a member of the Board of Science Foundation Ireland, of the European Research Advisory Board, and of the Executive the European Science Foundation. Jane is currently a member of the Health Research Board and of the Council of the Royal Irish Academy.Jane has been involved for many years in the initiatives to promote the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in engineering and in academia. She was involved in the establishment of the STEPS programme in Engineers Ireland and WiSER (Women in Science and Engineering Research) at Trinity College) and is an active member of WITS (Women in Science and Technology). She chaired the Gender Equality Task Force at NUI Galway from 2015-2016 and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee on Gender Equality at the University. -ends-__________________________________________________________________Céimithe Oinigh 2017 Fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh Fintan O’Toole, an Dr Kristina Johnson, John MacNamara agus an tOllamh Jane Grimson  D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé Luain, 15 Bealtaine) na daoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh na hOllscoile 2017 orthu. Bronnfar na céimeanna oinigh Dé hAoine, an 9 Meitheamh ar iriseoir The Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole; Innealtóir agus iar-Fho-Rúnaí Fuinnimh na Stát Aontaithe, an Dr Kristina Johnson; an fear gnó John MacNamara; agus an chéad chéimí innealtóireachta ban i gColáiste na Tríonóide, an tOllamh Jane Grimson. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne:  “Tá an t-ádh le OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aige in imeacht na mblianta agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla na litríochta agus na hiriseoireachta, an ghnó, na heolaíochta agus na hinnealtóireachta, an riaracháin phoiblí agus an daonchairdis. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.” Fintan O'Toole Is colúnaí é Fintan O'Toole le The Irish Times agus bhuaigh sé Duais Phreas na hEorpa do thráchtaireacht in 2017. Chomh maith leis sin tá sé ag feidhmiú mar léachtóir ar cuairt Leonard L. Milberg i Litríocht na hÉireann in Ollscoil Princeton.  Rugadh é i mBaile Átha Cliath in 1958, agus bhí sé ina léirmheastóir drámaíochta leis an iris In Dublin, The Sunday Tribune, an New York Daily News, agus The Irish Times agus bhí sé freisin ina Chomhairleoir Liteartha le hAmharclann na Mainistreach. Scríobhann sé go minic don New York Review of Books agus The Guardian. Foilseofar a leabhar nua faoi Bernard Shaw in 2017 and le déanaí d’fhoilsigh Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, atá curtha in eagar aige. I measc a chuid leabhar eile tá A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, Enough is Enough, Ship of Fools,  The Irish Times Book of the 1916 Rising, White Savage: William Johnson agus The Invention of America,  Shakespeare is Hard but so is Life;  agus A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.  Kristina M. JohnsonBhain an Dr Kristina Johnson BS, MS agus PhD amach san innealtóireacht leictreach in Ollscoil Stanford, agus tá sí faoi láthair ina Príomhfheidhmeannach ar Cube Hydro Partners.  Sula ndeachaigh sí chuig Cube Hydro, bhí an Dr Johnson ina Fo-Rúnaí i Roinn Fuinnimh Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá. Bhí sí ina Propast agus ina Leas-Uachtarán Sinsearach do Ghnóthaí Acadúla in Ollscoil Johns Hopkins, bhí sí ina Déan ar Scoil Innealtóireachta Pratt in Ollscoil Duke, bhí sí ina hOllamh in Ollscoil Colorado in Boulder agus bhí sí freisin ina comhalta iardhochtúireachta NATO i gColáiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath. I measc na ngradam acadúil atá bainte amach ag an Dr Johnson tá Duais Dennis Gabor do chruthaitheacht agus nuálaíocht in optaic nua-aimseartha, Bonn John Fritz (2008), a mheastar ar an ngradam is airde i ngairm na hinnealtóireachta agus is comhalta í den Acadamh Náisiúnta Innealtóireachta.  Bronnadh Gradam Saoil Chumann na nInnealtóirí Ban uirthi, bhronn Institiúid Anita Borg do Mhná agus do Theicneolaíocht Gradam Woman of Vision as Ceannaireacht uirthi (2010), agus bhronn ESPNW “40 years of Title IX - 40 Women Who Have Made an Impact” uirthi. Fuair sí aitheantas as a cuid oibre in aistriú teicneolaíochta agus fiontraíocht i Stáit Colorado agus North Carolina, bhronn Comhairle Teicneolaíochta na nGnólachtaí Beaga (SBTC) Gradam Milton Steward 2010 uirthi agus chomhbhunaigh sí ColorLink, Inc., a díoladh le RealD, agus atá freagrach as éifeachtaí 3D i scannáin cosúil le Avatar, Gravity agus 300 ceann eile nach iad. Tá an Dr Johnson ar bhord stiúrthóirí Cisco Systems agus AES. Tá 149 alt measúnaithe foilsithe aici agus tá 118 paitinn SAM agus Idirnáisiúnta aici.  Bhronn Ollscoil Alabama ag Huntsville, Ollscoil Tufts, Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath agus Ollscoil McGill, Montréal, Ceanada céimeanna oinigh uirthi. John MacNamaraRugadh John MacNamara i mBaile Átha Cliath sa bhliain 1944 agus is i mBiorra, Co. Uíbh Fhailí a tógadh é ó bhí sé an-óg. Chuaigh sé ar an mbunscoil i mBiorra agus d’fhreastail sé ar mheánscoil chónaitheach i gColáiste Fhlannáin, Inis áit a ndearna sé an Ardteistiméireacht in 1961.  In 1962 thosaigh sé ag obair leis an mBanc Náisiúnta, Banc na hÉireann mar a tugadh air ina dhiaidh sin, áit a raibh róil éagsúla aige i mBaile Átha Cliath go dtí 1982 nuair a bhog sé go Gaillimh chun feidhmiú mar Bhainisteoir Réigiúnach na Gaillimhe agus Mhaigh Eo. I Meán Fómhair 1990 ceapadh é mar Bhainisteoir Ginearálta an Iarthair agus bhí freagracht air as 81 brainse i mbreis agus deich gcontae. Chuaigh sé ar scor ón mBanc sa bhliain 2001. Tá BComm agus MEconSc aige ón gColáiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath.  Tá John pósta le Mary agus tá ceathrar clainne orthu agus seachtar garpháistí. D’fhreastail triúr de ghasúir John agus Mary ar OÉ Gaillimh agus iad i mbun na fochéime, agus bhain beirt acu cáilíochtaí iarchéime amach san Ollscoil.  Chuaigh John ar Bhord Fhondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe nuair a bunaíodh é in 1998 ar chuireadh ón Uachtarán a bhí ar OÉ Gaillimh ag an am sin, an Dr Patrick F. Fottrell, agus tá ceithre théarma curtha isteach aige mar Chathaoirleach ó shin. Faoina cheannaireacht, agus le tacaíocht ó stiúrthóirí, ó phríomhfheidhmeannach agus ó fhoireann na Fondúireachta, bailíodh cistí daonchairdiúla suntasacha le haghaidh infreastruchtúr an champais.  Ó 1998 i leith tá breis agus €145 milliún bailithe ag an bhFondúireacht go díreach ó dhaonchairdeas, agus úsáideadh é sin le cómhaoiniú suntasach a aimsiú, rud a chiallaigh go rabhthas in ann níos mó ná €200 milliún a infheistiú i bhfoirgnimh thábhachtacha de chuid na hOllscoile, leithéidí an tIonad Spóirt nua, Sciathán agus Ionad Cultúrtha Bailey Allen, Áras Innealtóireachta Alice Perry, Institiúid Lambe don Taighde Aistritheach agus Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú.  Ó chuaigh sé ar scor bhí John ag feidhmiú ar bhord Choimisiún Forbartha an Iarthair agus ar Bhord Chalafort na Gaillimhe. Bhí baint ag John freisin le cúinsí carthanachta agus sóisialta agus tá sé ina Chathaoirleach ar Chúram Ailse an Iarthair i láthair na huaire. Jane GrimsonBa í an tOllamh Jane Grimson an chéad bhean ar bronnadh céim Innealtóireachta uirthi i gColáiste na Tríonóide, agus ina dhiaidh sin bhain sí máistreacht agus dochtúireacht amach sa Ríomheolaíocht in Ollscoileanna Toronto agus Dhún Éideann, faoi seach. D’fhill sí ar Choláiste na Tríonóide mar léachtóir in 1980 áit a raibh sí ina Déan Innealtóireachta, ina Leas-Déan Taighde agus ina Leas-Phropast. Sula ndeachaigh sí ar scor in 2014, tógadh ar iasacht í óna post agus í ceaptha ina Stiúrthóir Faisnéise Sláinte agus ansin ina Príomhfheidhmeannach Gníomhach leis an Údarás um Fhaisnéis agus Cáilíocht Sláinte. Tá ábhar go leor foilsithe aici i réimse na Faisnéisíochta Sláinte agus bronnadh Bonn O’Moore uirthi in 2007 as ucht a cuid oibre sa réimse sin. Bhí Jane ina hUachtarán freisin tráth ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann, ar Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann, ar Chumann Faisnéisíochta Sláinte na hÉireann, agus ar Chumann Ríomhaireachta na hÉireann. Is Innealtóir Cairte í, agus is Comhalta agus Leas-Uachtarán í ar Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus ar Acadamh Ríoga na hInnealtóireachta. Bhí sí ina Cathaoirleach ar Chomhairle Taighde na hÉireann um Eolaíocht, Innealtóireacht agus Theicneolaíocht, bhí sí ina ball de Bhord Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann, de Bhord Comhairleach Taighde na hEorpa, agus bhí sí ina Feidhmeannach ar Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta na hEorpa. Faoi láthair is ball í Jane den Bhord Taighde Sláinte agus de Chomhairle Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann. Tá Jane ag obair le blianta ar thionscnaimh chun earcaíocht, coinneáil agus ardú céime na mban san innealtóireacht agus i gcúrsaí léinn a chur chun cinn. Bhí lámh aici i mbunú an chláir STEPS in Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann agus WiSER (Mná i dTaighde Eolaíochta agus Innealtóireachta) i gColáiste na Tríonóide agus is ball gníomhach í de WITS (Mná in Eolaíocht agus Teicneolaíocht). Bhí sí ina Cathaoirleach ar an Tascfhórsa ar Chomhionannas Inscne in OÉ Gaillimh ó 2015-2016 agus tá sí faoi láthair ina ball den Choiste Comhairleach ar Chomhionannas Inscne san Ollscoil. -críoch-

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the School of Law, NUI Galway is accepting delegates for its annual International Criminal Court Summer School, which will take place from the 19 to 23 June 2017. The International Criminal Court (ICC) Summer School at the Irish Centre for Human Rights attracts participants from around the world and early registration is advised. During five days of intensive lectures given by leading academics as well as legal professionals working at the International Criminal Court, participants are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its structures and operations, and the applicable law. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, jurisdiction, fair trial rights, crimes of sexual violence, and the rules of procedure and evidence. This year’s Summer School will include a topical special session on Corporate Crimes and the International Criminal Court. Dr Shane Darcy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “The International Criminal Court is the world’s first permanent court for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Despite some setbacks and obstacles, the Court is now fully functional and holding trials, and it provides an avenue for those seeking justice and accountability for serious human rights abuses.” During the ICC summer school, expert presentations will be delivered by Professor William Schabas from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Middlesex University; Professor James Stewart, University of British Columbia; Dr Fabricio Guariglia, Dr Rod Rastan, and Dr Mohamed El Zeidy; International Criminal Court; Professor Megan A. Fairlie, Florida International University; Professor Donald M. Ferencz, Middlesex University; Dr Noelle Quenivet, University of the West of England; Dr Nadia Bernaz, Middlesex University; Dr. James Nyawo, INTERVICT, Tilburg University; Mr Richard J. Rodgers, Global Diligence LLP; Mr John McManus, Canadian Department of Justice. The registration fee of €450 includes all conference materials, all lunches and refreshments, a social activity and a closing dinner. The registration fee also includes a complimentary copy of Professor William Schabas' book, An Introduction to the International Criminal Court. The closing date for registrations is 1 June 2017. To register and for more information regarding the 2017 ICC Summer School, please visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=497 or email Sarah Creedon at iccsummerschool@gmail.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The tours aim to create a Culture for Service Learning and Civic Engagement in Higher Education across Europe The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway will host two groups of twelve students and twelve academics from the Europe Engage Network for a two-week study tour in June to explore service learning as a teaching approach.  While the students are here they will be trained by TechSpace to create digital media resources for a number of local community partners including Galway Community Circus, Café Saol and Smart Consent. TechSpace is a national movement that aims to change the lives of young people in Ireland by becoming Ireland’s leading creative technology network for outcome focused youth development. Lorraine McIlrath, Coordinator of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway said: “We are honoured and delighted to welcome the students and academics to NUI Galway to experience the work that we do in the wider community to enhance and develop a culture of community engagement.  This project has enabled diverse European countries to learn about different conceptions and approaches to civic engagement and service learning. The relationships forged through his three-year project will have lasting effect.” Europe Engage is a project, which brings together twelve European universities to further develop service learning and civic engagement within higher education.  It is co-led by Pilar Aramburuzabala from the Universdad Autónoma De Madrid and Lorraine McIlrath from NUI Galway. Since 2014, the Europe Engage partners have worked to gather knowledge on existing service learning practices and the evidence demonstrated within their universities, regarding their commitment to this educational approach. This project has worked to publish a report outlining the results from a survey conducted among the twelve partner universities. This report, ‘EUROPE ENGAGE – Developing a Culture of Civic Engagement through Service-Learning within Higher Education Europe’ documents the nature of the work of these universities in service learning and civic engagement. Information regarding the internal policies, strategies, resources and practices was also gathered to gain an understanding of the perspective of each institution regarding civic engagement.  The Europe Engage partners are happy that this report provides a ‘snapshot’ from which the project can establish a baseline and work towards future targets, plans and growth of activities. The project team have also developed a MOOC, which is a free online course, which provides participants with an introduction to service-learning pedagogy and methods of integrating a meaningful community service into the curriculum, as well as the evaluation. A book is also currently in development with Taylor Francis, which will add to the resources available, supporting educators across Europe in using service learning as a pedagogical teaching approach. The CKI is renowned internationally for its work in developing civic engagement as a core pillar of the NUI Galway experience. Learning from the CKI, the students will share their experiences, engage with other cultures and disciplines about the potential diverse reach of civic engagement and will also reflect on their experiences and learning and present as part of a keynote panel at the 7th International Symposium on Service Learning, also hosted by NUI Galway in June as well. For further Information contact: Lorraine McIlrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway at 087-7682099 -Ends- 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 19 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. This programme was recently awarded the accolade of being Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology by Grad Ireland. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one year conversion programme in conjunction with leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants will therefore, pay no fees. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, so they are able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specialisations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. The industry partners include Avaya, IBM, Cisco, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, Aspect Software, The Marine Institute, and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Howley, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to be offering free places again on this unique programme due to funding from the Higher Education Authority and their Springboard initiative. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. We have had huge success with graduates from these areas due to their natural problem solving capacity. By investing just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners; they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill. Dr Howley added:  “The highly intensive programme is designed to begin software development from scratch, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to code and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for. People with technical or strong numerical backgrounds often perform best in these types of programmes and we strongly encourage applicants who have strong logical reasoning or maths skills. ” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree and has some relevant industry work experience. Those currently completing their studies or who are currently in some form of employment are all eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through www.springboardcourses.ie, Deadline for final applications is Friday, 30th June For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Minister launches NUI Galway report on trends in children’s health behaviours – More children are reporting high life satisfaction and less children are smoking or drinking 8% of Irish children aged 10-17 said they were smoking in 2014 compared to 23% in 1998 21% reported that they had ever been drunk in 2014 compared to 33% in 1998 8% reported that they had used cannabis in the last year compared to 12% in 1998 Seat-belt wearing rates have doubled by (81%) amongst children since 1998 34% reported that their health was excellent compared to 28% in 1998 The Minister of State for Health Promotion, Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy launched the ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Ireland Trends Report 1998-2014’ (HBSC) in Dublin today (30 May 2017). The study was carried out by Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn and her team at the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI  Galway. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe. It runs every four years and in 2014 there were 42 participating countries and regions collecting data on the health behaviours, health outcomes and contexts of children’s lives. In terms of risky behaviour, the survey reports that in 2014 8% of Irish children aged 10-17 said they were smoking compared to 23% in 1998, this is a further decrease since 2010 when the figure was 12%. 21% reported that they had ever been drunk compared to 33% in 1998.  8% reported that they had used cannabis in the last year compared to 12% in 1998. In terms of positive behaviour, seat-belt wearing rates have almost doubled to (81%) amongst children since 1998 and 34% reported that their health was excellent compared to 28% in 1998.  High rates of life satisfaction (76%) and reported happiness (89%) continue. Commenting on the report, Minister Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said: “This is very important research and I want to thank all of those involved and all of those who participated. We know that lifestyle patterns are established at an early age. We also know that chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiac disease, can develop as a result of lifestyle choices. Having detailed information about the lifestyle choices of our children is hugely significant for the choices we make as a country on the future direction of our national health policy. It is important that we now listen to the responses of our children on these key questions and work together to build a health system that responds to this information.” Commenting on the findings, Principal Investigator, Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, stated: “This report is the culmination of many years of work, and brings some good news about the health behaviours of children in Ireland over the years, with the sustained decrease in smoking and in alcohol use for example. Communication with parents also continues to improve. Yet more still needs to be done to improve their health, in particular around physical activity. Other areas of concern are the increases in feeling pressured by schoolwork. Importantly, the proportion of children reporting high life satisfaction and being happy, fundamental aspects of childhood, is high and has been sustained over the years, while health and safety behaviours such as wearing a seatbelt and brushing teeth have increased substantially.” To read the full report, visit: http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/HBSC-Trends-Report-2017.pdf -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Health Research Board and Irish Research Council award funding to NUI Galway that will focus on public and patient involvement in the health research process from the outset NUI Galway is one of five universities awarded funding under the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council’s new €1.75million ‘PPI Ignite’ initiative, to help researchers involve the public from the very start of the health research process. It is the first award of its kind in Ireland. NUI Galway will receive €350,000 to actively develop capacity in Public and Patient Involvement (PPI). The initiative will be led by Principal Investigator, Sean Dinneen, Professor of Diabetic Medicine from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. To help researchers tackle the Public and Patient Involvement challenge, the Health Research Board teamed up with the Irish Research Council to launch the PPI Ignite Awards. This funding scheme is designed to help institutions create the right environment, training, support and processes to help researchers involve the public and patients in planning and designing research studies, and in communicating study results in a non-technical language. “No one has more to gain from health research than patients who are already using health services, or the public who are all potential users. It makes sense to involve the public and patients at the outset to ensure that their life experience informs the approach taken when designing a research proposal”, explains Dr Máiread O Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board. “This funding is part of a wider Public and Patient  Involvement strategy at the HRB, which recently saw members of the public invited to review research proposals as part of a pilot project”, said Dr O Driscoll. “We got a strong response among people from all walks of life to review research proposals from a public perspective. We now need to marry these two initiatives to ensure researchers are equipped to adopt the public feedback into their proposals and help them understand the ways they could engage the public before they put pen-to-paper to write a proposal.” NUI Galway has many researchers who are already involving patients and members of the public in their work, including researchers in Speech and Language Therapy, General Practice, Disability Law and Dementia and Diabetes. Professor Dinneen’s research is aimed at improving outcomes for young adults living with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. The study team based in University Hospital Galway and NUI Galway includes a panel of young adults living with type 1 diabetes who act as co-researchers in developing a new approach to diabetes care called D1 Now. Commenting on the award, Professor Sean Dinneen from NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to receive this PPI Ignite Award from the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council. We will use the funding to establish a PPI Ignite team in NUI Galway. The team will be based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society and will provide support and training to members of the public and researchers, to enable them to embrace PPI methods in their work and thereby improve the quality and impact of the health research undertaken in our institution.” Commenting on the announcement, Peter Brown, Interim Director of the Irish Research Council said: “The Irish Research Council strongly promotes engagement as part of the research process and we are delighted to join with the HRB and co-fund this innovative initiative. Involving patients and the public in the research process will boost health research and its capacity to generate new solutions, processes and services to address the grand challenge that is health and well-being. Engaged research, such as reflected in PPI Ignite, truly is a win-win for all stakeholders.” The overarching aim of the PPI Ignite Awards is to support and promote capacity building for high quality Patient and Public Involvement in health research. -Ends-

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Professor Noel Lowndes from the Centre of Chromosome Biology and Biochemistry and Professor Paul Crowther, Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus) at NUI Galway, have received the honour of being elected as a Members of the Royal Irish Academy during a special admittance ceremony at Academy House in Dublin last Friday (26 May 2017). The Royal Irish Academy, Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities, admitted 18 new Members that included the two NUI Galway Professors. Since 1785 membership of the Academy has been awarded to persons who have attained distinction by their unique contributions to education and research. Professor Noel Lowndes and Professor Paul Crowther were elected as Members due to their outstanding contribution to Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Lowndes studies the mechanisms of genome stability that prevent cancer and has published widely in leading journals. As founding director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology he has made a major impact on the international reputation of Biochemistry at NUI Galway and, more generally, Irish biomedical science. This impact has also been recognised by his election to the membership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. Paul Crowther is Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus) and was the Established Professor and Head of the Philosophy Discipline from 2009 to 2016 at NUI Galway. His previous posts included, Reader in Aesthetics and the History of Art at Oxford University. He is internationally acclaimed for his publications in the area of aesthetics and he specialises in philosophy of the visual arts. He has published 13 highly regarded monographs. His latest book What Drawing and Painting Really Mean: The Phenomenology of Image and Gesture has just been published by Routledge. There are now 580 Members of the Royal Irish Academy (of whom 85 are Honorary or overseas Members) that include;  John Joseph Lee, historian; Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland; Susan Denham, Chief Justice of Ireland; Mary Kelly, chairperson of An Bord Pleanála; and Roy Foster, historian and biographer of WB Yeats.     Congratulating both Professors on this honour, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of Professor Lowndes and Professor Crowther recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland and it is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see two colleagues honoured in this way.” The Royal Irish Academy was founded by Charter in 1785 for the advancement of learning and scholarship in Ireland. The Academy champion’s Irish academic research and one of its principal roles is to identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. It supports excellent scholarship and promotes awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. -Ends-

Monday, 29 May 2017

7th annual International Symposium on Service Learning (ISSL) NUI Galway will welcome over 200 international delegates from South Africa, Egypt, Vietnam, Ireland, UK, Germany and across the USA, to the 7th annual International Symposium on Service Learning (ISSL) which will take place from the 14-16 June 2017. The ISSL is a partnership between the University of Indianapolis, Stellenbosch University and NUI Galway. For three days the delegates will discuss the role of higher education within society through service learning.   Service learning is a teaching approach that connects student learning to the needs of community. Since 2004, NUI Galway has been offering up to 2000 students the opportunity to connect their learning to community. Lorraine McIlrath Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway and Co-Chair of the ISSL said: “Students at NUI Galway have an opportunity to use their knowledge to connect with real world problems - engineering students design and build prototypes for people with physical disabilities, nursing students address the implications of nursing in an Irish multi-cultural context and law students offer pro bono legal information to community partners. We feel that this type of learning can open students’ minds to their role as agents of change within community and society.” The theme of the 2017 symposium is “Service Learning as a Response to Global Transitions in Higher Education: Opportunities for Transforming Higher Education on Advancing Social Impact.” Delegates will share knowledge across different cultural contexts on what matters and works when using service learning as a teaching approach.  Lorraine McIlrath also said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for universities in South Africa, Europe and the USA to come together to showcase form international perspectives the challenges, opportunities and impact that service learning can have in terms of transforming the higher education experience and that of impact within community and society.” When reflecting on the 7th ISSL, President Robert L. Manuel from the University of Indianapolis said: “Service learning encompasses much more than providing on-site educational experiences or featuring community leaders in the classroom. It represents a true partnership to not only educate students but also instil in them the mind-set and thoughtfulness necessary to enhance their community - no matter where their life takes them. The inspiration ignited today will help us to translate these experiences to the next generation of influencers and community leaders.” For more information contact Lorraine McIlrath Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway at Lorraine.mcilrath@nuigalway.ie or phone 0877682099 -Ends-

Monday, 29 May 2017

A first for Irish secondary school history students in partnership with a third-level institution to receive dedicated teaching using research archives and digital skills provision Over 120 Leaving Certificate students have graduated from an Archives research programme at NUI Galway. Breaking the S.E.A.L. (Schools Engagement with Archives through Learning) is a project developed by Dr Paul Flynn from the School of Education and Barry Houlihan, Archivist at NUI Galway, which partnered with local secondary schools in Galway to facilitate history students to access the unique archival collections of the University’s Hardiman Library. The project saw students choose a range of topics, spanning hundreds of years of local and international history, and develop a written history based on primary sources and archival material. The recent graduation ceremony held at NUI Galway brought together the participating students from Coláiste Mhuire in Ballygar, Presentation College Headford and St Joseph’s Patrician Academy in Galway, where they were presented with a published book of their work and a certificate of graduation. All students also received a digital badge in recognition of their work. The awards were presented by Dr Mary Fleming, Senior Lecturer in Education at NUI Galway. The publication, the Handbook of Second-Level Educational Research, which will also be published in the University’s online research repository database, ARAN, marks the first of its kind in Ireland for Leaving Certificate history students to partner with a third-level institution and receive dedicated teaching using archives for research, digital skills provision and academic writing tuition. Dr Paul Flynn and Barry Houlihan, Co-Directors of Breaking the S.E.A.L. said: “The project was a hugely rewarding experience – introducing a whole new generation of young historians to the skills of studying archives, handling fragile and priceless material, and the importance of critical thinking and writing skills to their education. The students were wonderful to work with and we are very proud of their achievements.” Also announced at the ceremony was that Breaking the S.E.A.L. has been inducted as the first Irish representative into the ‘EU Story’ network, a Europe-wide network of young historians. The project recently received a national Teaching Excellence 2016 Award from CONUL, the Consortium of University and National Libraries and is also nominated for the Irish Education Awards 2017. John Cox the University Librarian said: “Our archives are open to all researchers and it is very rewarding to see them so impressively used by Leaving Certificate students from local schools. Well done to all associated with this wonderful project.” Dr Mary Fleming added: “This is a wonderful initiative that connects Leaving Certificate students with the University. The project challenges the students to develop as Historians through using the primary sources available in the library in their Leaving Certificate projects. A visible outcome of the project is the students’ enhanced appreciation of History as a discipline as well as a deeper engagement with their own learning as students. Teachers, students and all involved are to be congratulated on the wonderful outcomes from the simple step of making the archives available, literally - breaking of the seal.”   For more information on NUI Galway’s Digitised Archives Collection, visit: http://library.nuigalway.ie/collections/archives/depositedcollections/digitisedarchives/ -Ends-

Friday, 26 May 2017

A new film about the success of Coláiste Lurgan’s Irish-language music videos will be screened at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway, as part of their annual PhD Research Symposium 2017 on Monday 29 May. The event is free and open to the public. The screening of Dúshlán Lurgan (The Lurgan Challenge) by Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, a PhD student at the Huston School, is just one of the many pioneering research projects taking place at the Huston School on the day. Other projects include punk cinema, digital comics, what New Media can learn from film, video and altermodernity, comedy in contemporary art practice, awe and the sublime in cinema, augmented reality, media practices and Irish identity in the United Kingdom, and transnational science-fiction. Dr Roddy Flynn from DCU is the guest speaker at the screening and will be presenting on the topic of ‘Broken beyond repair? Irish Broadcasting policy in the 21st century’. The presentation seeks to delineate the various political, economic, social and technical influences on the current Irish broadcasting landscape, to identify their impact and to predict as to the likely future shape of broadcasting in Ireland. Dr Flynn is Chair of the MA in Film and Television at the School of Communications at DCU. Dr Flynn writes and researches extensively on film and broadcasting policy in Ireland and Europe and is author (with John Horgan) of Irish Media History to be published by Four Courts Press in Autumn 2017. The Huston School of Film and Digital Media is the leading centre for research and teaching in film and digital media in the West of Ireland. The school offers teaching and research programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (up to PhD), including pioneering MA degrees in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, Film Production and Direction, Digital Media, Arts Policy and Practice, Public Advocacy and Activism, and Film and Theatre. The PhD Research Symposium 2017 will take place on Monday 29 May from 11am to 6.30pm. For full programme details on the Research Symposium, visit: www.filmschool.ie and http://www.filmschool.ie/filmschool/news/phdresearchsymposium2017programme/. To view samples of film work and ongoing research created by students at the Huston School, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/hustonfilmschool -Ends-

Friday, 26 May 2017

Shannon College of Hotel Management presented the 2017 NUI Galway President’s Award for Student Volunteering recently. The recipients volunteered in a range of local community projects, fundraised for a variety of causes and participated in campus cultural programmes. In order to achieve the award students completed a reflection portfolio. This is a set of writings that summarise the insights and experiences a student gained from practical assignments and also shared learning from their experiences. Student Diveema Thakur volunteered through a number of charity fundraisers such as Epilepsy Ireland and Novas, a voluntary organisation working with single adults, families and children who are disadvantaged and socially excluded. She said: “Volunteering helped me grow as a person, it gave me the opportunity to share my love. Joining the charity has helped me become more generous and patient.” Dr Phillip Smyth, Director at Shannon College of Hotel Management said: “We are delighted to celebrate the student’s commitments as we strive to encourage an ethos of volunteerism within young people, who have a real appetite to engage in community. This is our first year to award the students with Certificates of Recognition and we look forward to building the volunteering programme with students.”   The benefits of volunteering are experienced by students, particularly international students who reflect on community participation as a way to share their culture, meet new people and aid in settling into college in Ireland. April Whelan, Student Services Officer, at Shannon College of Hotel Management oversaw a drive to get students more involved in on-campus activities. She said: “I am so proud that our students are being recognised for their efforts this year. The volunteer spirit and promoting of clubs and societies is invaluable in enhancing the student experience and promoting our ethos here at Shannon College of Hotel Management.” The College GAA team was also reborn this year and entered the Munster Junior Football Championship this year. Students also shared that volunteering with the GAA helped them to have a physical and mental health outlet while studying full time.  -Ends-

Thursday, 25 May 2017

NUI Galway and Tusla Child and Family Agency launches report on ‘Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care’ in Galway and Donegal An important report on outcomes for children and young people in long-term foster care is to be launched in Galway and Donegal. The report entitled ‘Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care’ is based on the views and experiences of foster carers, families of origin and young people who have been in long-term care between the period of 2008 and 2013. The study is focused on the factors that were found to affect the stability of foster care placements for children and youth in long-term care in Ireland. The major study was commissioned by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency and was completed by researchers Dr Lisa Moran, Professor Caroline McGregor and Dr Carmel Devaney at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. The project was carried out in partnership with Tusla Child and Family Social Work in Donegal and Galway. The findings underline the significance of perceived service support, communication, and relationships as key factors that improve permanence and stability for children and youth in care. Underpinning all of these is the importance of continuity for the young person. The research shows the importance of having supportive adults and peers in young people’s social networks, such as foster carers, social workers, friends, and professionals. It also highlights the importance of children’s relationships with Tusla practitioners and contact with family members as factors that affect stability and permanence. Dr Carmel Devaney and Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This study allows practitioners, managers and policy makers to hear from children and young people, their parents and their carer on the experience of being in care with the overall aim of improving their outcomes. The main focus of the study is on the factors that affect outcomes for permanence and stability for children in care and how we can best promote these within the care experience. The study produced key recommendations and practice guidance focused on how practitioners and TUSLA can enhance its service provision to improve outcomes for stability and permanence for children in long-term care. These include the importance of effective communication with all individuals within the system including the child's family of origin, their foster family and their wider networks, continuity in terms of placements, relationships with practitioners, with family of origin and with foster families. The report also highlights the huge importance of sibling relationships, which can sometimes be neglected. The importance of the allocated social worker having sufficient time and capacity to do essential direct work with young people while in care and transitioning out of care, and the need for planning ahead for additional resources to be available at times of instability is also emphasised.” The project report, alongside the accompanying literature review and practice guide was launched in Donegal on 22 of May and an additional launch will be held in Galway on 29 May. To read the full report, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/ -Ends-

Friday, 5 May 2017

Five NUI Galway students have been successfully selected to take part in an eight week international volunteering and cultural immersion programme this summer. The programme is funded by Experiment Intercultural Learning (EIL) and Irish Aid. The students will be prepared and supported to volunteer in local community projects in Africa, Asia and South America. NUI Galway students Danielle O’Brien, Sinead Regan, Aaron Kilboy, David O'Reilly and Orla Tubridy have all been awarded scholarship. The EIL Explore programme provides 39 awards to Irish residents interested in volunteering, cultural immersion, or language education abroad. This year EIL Intercultural Learning is allocating a budget over €120,000 to fund these overseas learning opportunities. David O’Reilly from Bishopstown, Co. Cork is a second year mature student of Creative Writing in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. David will be travelling to Vietnam in June teaching English in a school. Sinead Regan from Gort, Co Galway, is a second year mature student of Biomedical Science. Sinead will be travelling to Mexico. Also from Co. Galway, Aaron Kilboy is in his final year of Financial Mathematics and & Economics. Aaron will also be travelling to Mexico in June. Orla Tubridy from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath is a final year Arts student studying French and English. Orla will be travelling to Ecuador. Danielle O’Brien from Birr, Co. Offaly will also be travelling to Ecuador. Trish Bourke, NUI Galway’s Mature Students Officer said: “EIL Explore is a fantastic opportunity for students, particularly mature students, which have a real appetite for international travel. This is about being with a local community overseas and working together on environmental, arts, sports, health and education projects, over a long-term partnership.” -Ends- 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

NUI Galway hosts ‘Bioheterocyclees 2017’ XVII International Conference on Heterocycles in Bioorganic Chemistry More than 100 of the world’s leading chemists will gather in NUI Galway to discuss the use of heterocycles in the growing pharmaceutical industry that makes up more than half of the total exports from Ireland every year. Heterocycles are used as antibiotics to kill cancerous cells, and are used in more than 84% of drugs that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Some of the smallest compounds in chemistry are responsible for some of the biggest advances in medicine. From Viagra to statins (medication which helps to reduce cholesterol) to drugs for treating cancer, most of these Irish-manufactured pharmaceuticals contain active ingredients that are heterocycles. Heterocyclic chemistry is the branch of organic chemistry dealing with the synthesis, properties, and applications of these heterocycles, which are used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. This is the first time Ireland has hosted the International Biannual Conference entitled ‘Bioheterocycles 2017’, which is expected to draw in participants from across Europe, the US, India and Japan. The convention began in the Netherlands in 1980 and is highly regarded for concentrating on advances in drug discovery, medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry. Conference Chairman, Dr Fawaz Aldabbagh, Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “This conference will showcase some of the heterocycles produced by Irish industry and by academia. Our goal is for an informal meeting where young scientists can interact with recognised international speakers. This is an exciting scientific and social program to look forward to.”  The conference will take place from 28 – 31 May 2017 in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. For more information about the conference, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=442 and http://www.conference.ie/content/Bioheterocycles2017.pdf -Ends-

Monday, 22 May 2017

NUI Galway conference to explore how to conduct research that engages with minority population groups on issues that impact them on a daily basis NUI Galway is bringing together world leaders in the field of participatory health research to explore how best to use participatory methods that empower groups, often ignored, to have a voice that can be heard. On the 23 May, the School of Psychology will host a one day conference to discuss the challenges of some of the greatest health problems we face and give those most affected a chance to share their perspectives on possible solutions.  Participatory Health Research is becoming increasingly important when planning health care resource allocation. The ‘International Collaboration for Participating Health Research Conference’ will include 20 experts in the field of participatory research. The conference will focus on underserved groups including transgender young people, asylum seekers, children living with chronic pain and those living with Aphasia.  The conference will give international experts a chance to share research from Canada, Europe, the UK, Australia and Ireland, through key note speakers, presentations and workshops sharing skills and insights. Audience participation at every stage will be encouraged. Speaking in advance of the conference, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great opportunity for researchers and students to meet people who have been leading the way in Participative Health Research globally.”  International guest speakers at the Conference will include:  Dr Jon Salsberg, McGill University, Canada, will discuss how best to work with communities so that they can articulate their needs to academies and be heard. Professor Anne MacFarlane, University of Limerick, will discuss the views of migrants and asylum seekers generated during the EU RESTORE project. Dr Anne O’Kelly, NUI Galway, will share insights gained from children and young people about their experiences of parental divorce. Dr Lisa Gibb, University of Melbourne, Australia, will talk about scaling up participatory research projects with children and the global network of participative researchers involved in ‘Kids in Action’. Dr Harry Shier, Centre for Education in Health and Environment (CESESMA), Nicaragua, will facilitate a workshop on what one needs to be an effective participative researcher. Dr Tina Cook, Northumbria University, UK and Dr Sarah Banks, Durham University, UK, will facilitate a Dilemmas Café – exploring ethical challenges in participatory research. For conference information and registration, visit: http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=496 -Ends-

Monday, 22 May 2017

A new symposium and broadside print commissioned by NUI Galway to commemorate the bicentenary of Thomas Moore’s Oriental epic poem, Lalla Rookh  The 200th anniversary of the publication of the renowned Irish poet, author, and songwriter Thomas Moore’s Oriental epic poem, Lalla Rookh, will be celebrated this week with an academic symposium on Moore’s work and the release of a new commemorative broadside letterpress print. To mark this occasion, NUI Galway lecturer Dr Justin Tonra has organised an international symposium on the poem and Moore’s broader work, to take place at Marsh’s Library in Dublin, where Moore completed research for his debut poetic collection, Odes of Anacreon, on Saturday 27 May. The symposium programme includes a range of prominent Moore scholars from Ireland and abroad who will present current research on Moore and Lalla Rookh. In addition, the School of Humanities at NUI Galway has supported the commission and publication of a limited-edition commemorative broadside letterpress print, which will be officially launched at the symposium and donated to civic, public, and cultural heritage institutions around Ireland to celebrate the occasion of this anniversary. In the nineteenth-century, Thomas Moore was Ireland’s unofficial national poet: the Bard of Erin. Best known for his Irish Melodies, a collection of lyrics set to traditional Irish airs, Moore was a writer whose reputation dwindled during the Gaelic Revival, but whose complexity has received renewed attention from scholars in recent decades in the form of biographies, essay collections, journal articles, dedicated conferences, and nationally and internationally-funded research projects. Dubbed “the cream of the copyrights” by its publisher, Thomas Longman, Lalla Rookh was an immediate commercial success, selling out six editions within six months of its initial publication. Longmans would eventually publish almost 100,000 copies of the work, including editions illustrated by prominent artists such as John Tenniel and Daniel Maclise. Lalla Rookh has enjoyed a rich cultural afterlife, with parts of the work set to music by Robert Schumann, Charles Villiers Stanford, and Anton Rubenstein, and numerous theatrical adaptations taking inspiration from Moore’s writing. As a major reference point in the genre of Romantic Orientalism, the work has maintained a prominent position in scholarly accounts of the poetry of the Regency period, and its depictions of the dangers of political demagoguery and appeals for religious tolerance still have a powerful and durable resonance. Despite its Oriental setting the work reflected many of the cultural and political issues of nineteenth-century Ireland, with readers finding many echoes of “Erin” in “Iran.” In addition, Dr Tonra has collaborated with Jamie Murphy and Niamh McNally of the Distiller’s Press at the National College of Arts and Design in Dublin to produce a limited-edition commemorative broadside letterpress print of the famous song, “Bendemeer’s Stream,” from Lalla Rookh, which was frequently set to music after the poem’s initial publication. Given the particular prominence of print and illustration in the history of Moore’s work (a topic which will be addressed at the symposium), a contemporary print representing Lalla Rookh is a fitting commemorative gesture. The newly-commissioned illustration was inspired by nineteenth-century luxury bindings of Lalla Rookh, and achieved through the process of pressure printing. This is an image-making technique where different objects are placed behind the press sheet during printing to create textures and patterns in the illustration. For this print, rose petals of the Irish variety Rosa Anna Livia are used to shape the illustration and echo the song’s floral themes. The commission and production of the print is made possible by the support of the Civic Engagement Fund of the School of Humanities at NUI Galway. Tickets for the symposium are priced at (€10-20) and available at https://lalla-rookh.eventbrite.com To read a copy of the first edition of Lalla Rookh, visit: http://bit.ly/lallarookh  -Ends-

Friday, 19 May 2017

A new study by researchers in NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast demonstrates that obesity should not be understood solely as a health issue but rather one that may have much broader economic implications. The findings provide evidence that the body mass index (BMI) of a child’s mother may influence teachers’ perceptions of the academic ability of that child. The study published in the journal Economics and Human Biology showed that children whose mother was obese were more likely to be rated by their teacher as below average in reading and in maths compared to those whose mother was leaner, after what the child actually obtained in terms of their actual test score in both maths and reading had been taken into account. Although not the focus of this study, it is notable that other variables such as the child's gender, other aspects of the mother (education, income) and in extended models teacher characteristics (gender and experience) were significant which could also potentially be worrisome. Michelle Queally, post-doctoral research fellow at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the study, said: “The study found a significant relationship between a mother’s BMI and the probability of the child's ability being assessed as below average by their teacher. This is potentially worrisome and clearly indicates the need for further research. Other findings of the study show that boys, for example, are more likely to be rated as below average in reading and girls are more likely to be rated as below average by teachers in maths. The size of the marginal effect for girls is 0.02, while that for a mother’s BMI is 0.003. In other words a 10 point increase in BMI, moving someone from normal to obese, for example, would be roughly equivalent in terms of its impact on the probability of being assessed as below average as would the child being female.” Using data collected as part of the first wave of the Growing up in Ireland Survey (a longitudinal cohort study of a nationally representative sample of over 8500 children from 900 schools in Ireland) the researchers from NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast investigated whether teacher’s assessments of a child’s academic ability is associated with the BMI of the child and/or its mother. Findings from the study are consistent with other studies that have shown disadvantage experienced by the obese and in particular obese women in various domains of life. The study notes that the potential for a mother’s weight status to influence teachers’ assessments of their children’s perceived ability could have long term ramifications for educational outcomes given the role of teachers in examination marking. While compelling, the analysis cannot be taken as definitive proof that teachers stereotype children based on an assessment of their mother’s obesity. It is probable, for example, that test scores form only a small part of the information used by teacher’s in making assessments of ability. Nevertheless the study highlights an area that warrants further investigation. To read the full study in Economics and Human Biology visit: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X16300624 -Ends-

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Health Research Board Clinical Research Facility, Galway (HRB-CRFG) at NUI Galway are hosting an open day for past and present participants of clinical trials as well as the general public on Saturday the 20 May, to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. The event will take place at the The event invites past and present participants in clinical trials and their families, to say thank you for their important contribution to research, and also to the general public to provide information regarding the ongoing activities in the HRB-CRFG and to promote awareness of clinical research. Visitors can meet healthcare providers, research staff and research participants, take a tour of the clinical research facility and learn about clinical trial research. Educational stands will be setup within the Clinical Research Facility providing information on Clinical Trial Concepts, Patient Recruitment, and information about the ongoing work in the facility. There will also be information stands about different medication studies, medical device studies and Stem Cell research. It will also feature health promotion stands that will include Croí. Speaking about the event, Mary Byrne, Clinical Trials Unit Manager at the HRB-Clinical Research Facility, Galway, said: “Patient participation in Clinical Trials in the HRB-CRFG has provided an immense contribution to scientific research whilst also affording patients access to novel and potentially life-saving treatments. This event is being run to show our appreciation to all participants, their families and friends, and to promote awareness amongst the general public of the various types of research currently ongoing within the facility.” Music will be provided by the NUI Galway Medical Orchestra and the Cancer Survivors ‘Something to Sing About’ Choir, and lots of children’s entertainment. The event will also feature talks from different Principal Investigators working in the HRB Clinical Research Facility speaking about the ongoing research being carried out. The HRB-CRFG has been in operation since 2008 and has recruited over 6,500 patients from Galway City and County onto trials to date, across a range of indications. There are a number of Principal Investigators working on a diverse range of clinical trials based at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. The facility is a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals (GUH), Saolta, and NUI Galway. For directions and further information and about the free event, visit: www.eventbright.com.  -Ends- 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

NUI Galway will host a public lecture entitled, ‘Evidence-based humanitarian work and research ethics’, presented by Dr Dónal O'Mathúna from DCU on Thursday, 25 May. Dr O’ Mathúna is a Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-Making and Evidence at the School of Nursing and Human Sciences in DCU, Director of the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Ethics, Chair of the Disaster Bioethics COST Action and Convenor for Cochrane Ireland.* The public lecture will focus on how humanitarian work and disaster responses are increasingly encouraged to be evidence-based and, as a consequence, more research and other evidence-generation activities are being conducted in disaster and humanitarian settings. This has led attention to the ethical issues in such research, and how they should be addressed. Questions have been raised about whether current research ethics governance is suitable for such research. Dr Dónal O’Mathúna will discuss these trends and report on initiatives he is involved with that attempt to facilitate appropriate research ethics engagement in disaster and humanitarian research. The event is organised by UNESCO Bioethics Ireland, based in the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at NUI Galway, and the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland is the recently established Irish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, held by Professor Amnon Carmi and under the European Division of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland at NUI Galway focuses on key concerns that include issues of safeguarding human well-being, ensuring fairness, safeguarding personal information and privacy, preventing harm, deeper questions of legitimate reach of biomedical intervention in shaping human beings in arguably new ways. Pressing issues include the regulation of development and research of new biomedical treatments and interventions; regulation of choosing traits for future offspring (via pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) - and who should decide; new developments in gene editing and assessing emerging international responses; ongoing issues in terms of surrogacy, the future of embryonic stem cell research, abortion, online security of sensitive personal health information, changing conceptions of traditional notions such as the family, genetic information, incidental findings and the rights to know and not to know, issues of asymptomatic conditions and the potential for discrimination in employment and insurance. Dr Oliver Feeney, Head of the Irish Unit at NUI Galway, said: “The initiative will promote excellence in bioethics education and reflection on future bioethical directions, particularly with regard to ethical questions raised by new biotechnologies and its implications for society. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland will encourage and help coordinate interdisciplinary research in topical bioethical issues as well as cataloguing the current state-of-the-art of research in the Irish context. In its work, the Irish Unit will seek to reduce the distance between bioethical, medical and scientific experts and the wider society, and will seek to foster greater understanding and clarity on these pressing questions of our time.” In addition to the public lecture, there will also be a roundtable workshop earlier in the day from 2pm-3.30pm featuring a mix of presentations and discussions to exchange information from the participants’ bioethical-related work and on the needs of the bioethics community in Ireland. The public lecture will take place from 5pm-6pm on Thursday, 25 May in the Bridge Room 1001, First Floor, Hardiman Research Building and will be followed by a drinks reception. Attendance is free and no registration is required. The roundtable workshop will take place in Room AM205 in the Hardiman Research Building. If you would like to attend this event, please contact feeney.oli@gmail.com For more details visit: https://unescobioethicsireland.eu/home/events/. -Ends- 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

International journal features NUI Galway research on producing higher value chemicals that could be used in drug discovery projects for Type-2 Diabetes and Gaucher Disease Researchers from the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway have produced research that has been published this week in the international journal Synthesis, and has been featured on the journal’s front cover. The research involved the development of a strategy to convert biomass to high value molecules for investigation in new drug discovery projects such as Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease and Fabry disease. Synthesis is devoted to the advancement of the science of synthetic chemistry and papers featured in the journal are noted as being ‘original papers of exceptional high quality and significance to the scientific community’. Professor Paul Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, and a PhD researcher from the School, Rekha Chadda from Co. Sligo, worked together to develop a new strategy to convert mannose, a naturally occurring sugar manufactured from wood-based or other biomass, into higher value chemicals, called glycomimetics, that can be useful in drug discovery. Professor Patrick McArdle from the School of Chemistry, performed X-ray crystal structure analysis, which helped them confirm the molecular structure of substances produced in the research. Some glycomimetics are in clinical use and are used for the treatment of patients with Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease (a genetic disorder) and Fabry disease (an inherited disorder that results from the build-up of a particular type of fat). A glycomimetic (UV4) is currently in clinical trials with a view to the therapy of infection caused by the Dengue virus and there is potential in treatment of other infections.    Professor Paul Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “The research demonstrates the value of Synthetic Chemistry. We used a renewable molecule, the sugar mannose, from biomass as a basis for generating higher value molecules that have potential in drug discovery projects. In future we would like to expand the application of the strategy to make other important molecules for drug discovery projects as well as see if the approach can have application in synthesis of pharmaceuticals.”    The team used a new strategy, not investigated previously, to produce the glycomimetics. These new agents are now available for evaluation of their potential in drug discovery and this will be shortly investigated. Synthesis is a practice used by chemists to discover and manufacture drugs in everyday clinical use. It is also used to produce materials, such as plastics, which find everyday applications in people’s lives. In this research, Rekha Chadda took a substance prepared from mannose and subjected the substance to two old chemical reactions combined in a novel way. The reactions are known as allylic azide rearrangement and Huisgen cycloaddition, and were originally developed more than 50 years ago by US and German scientists. This research study was funded by NUI Galway (PhD scholarship to Rekha Chadda), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the European Regional Development Fund. View the paper on:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0036-1588791 or see attached pdf file. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Professor Donncha O’Connell of the School of Law at NUI Galway has been appointed by the Government to the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Commission, which has been established in response to recent controversies involving An Garda Síochána and is modelled on the Patten Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, will be chaired by Kathleen O’Toole, the Chief of the Seattle Police Department and former Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate. The other members are: Ms Noeline Blackwell, Mr Conor Brady, Dr Johnny Connolly, Dr Vicky Conway, Mr Tim Dalton, Sir Peter Fahy, Dr Eddie Molloy, Ms Tonita Murray, Dr Antonio Oftelie and Ms Helen Ryan. Professor O’Connell recently completed a four-year term as Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway. He is also a Commissioner (part-time) of the Law Reform Commission and served, for four years, as a board member of the Legal Aid Board. He was, previously, a member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights that advised the EU Commission on a wide range of human rights issues. He was also the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, a legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Vienna for a period of time. Speaking after the announcement of the Commission’s membership, Professor O’Connell said: “It is a great responsibility to be asked to serve on the Commission on the Future of Policing and I look forward to working with Kathleen O’Toole and the other members in an open-minded and rigorous manner so as to make credible and constructive proposals on the future of policing in Ireland.” Professor O’Connell joined the staff of NUI Galway in 1993 having studied at NUI Galway, The Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Dublin and the University of Edinburgh. He took leave of absence in 1999 to become the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) returning to NUI Galway in 2002. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in the academic year 2009-2010. Professor O’Connell has served on the boards of a number of non-governmental human rights organisations including: INTERIGHTS, Amnesty International – Ireland and the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd. He was also, for nine years, a board member of Druid Theatre Company. More recently, he was a member of the Gender Equality Task Force in NUI Galway chaired by Professor Jane Grimson. He lives in Moycullen and comes originally from Swinford, Co. Mayo. -Ends- 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

NUI Galway researcher, Dr Derek Morris, has been awarded a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation, for his research into risk genes that cause schizophrenia and how they contribute to cognitive deficits in patients. A NARSAD Grant is one of the highest distinctions in the field of mental health research. The Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation is the top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants, which awarded a total of $3.9 million to 40 mid-career scientists from 36 institutions in 10 countries. The funding will support basic research, new technologies, early intervention/diagnostic tools, and next-generation therapies for schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, PTSD, and other serious mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is a common but severe debilitating adult-onset mental illness characterised by hallucinations (for example, hearing voices), delusions (for example, believing that you are being followed), a lack of desire to accomplish goals or form social relationships, and problems with cognition (poor memory, IQ or attention). The disorder is highly heritable meaning that many of the risk factors for developing the disorder lie in our genes and can be passed from generation to generation. Our genes are encoded in our DNA, the genetic material that carries the instructions for life. Each of our 20,000 genes contains the instructions to produce proteins that help each cell in the human body to function. A change in the DNA code can stop a gene or protein from functioning properly with the knock-on effect by causing brain cells not to function properly, leading to illnesses like schizophrenia. New research has now identified many risk genes for schizophrenia but how most of these genes are involved in this complicated illness is unknown. Research Investigator, Dr Derek Morris from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Schizophrenia is desperately in need of new drug treatments as current anti-psychotic drugs, discovered serendipitously more than 50 years ago, are only partially effective and do not treat the cognitive deficits in patients that most affect their quality of life.” Dr Morris’ research will focus on new schizophrenia risk genes that function in epigenetic mechanisms (controller) genes that regulate the functions of other genes. Epigenetic regulation has been shown to be an important part of the biology of cognitive performance. This is important because cognitive deficits are a core feature of schizophrenia and are key factors for explaining disability in schizophrenia, leading to significant unemployment and social isolation. The causes of disability are poorly understood and not effectively targeted by current treatments. One major reason for the drought in new treatments is a lack of understanding of the shared biology of cognition and schizophrenia. Dr Morris aims to identify the genes with epigenetic functions that contribute to cognitive deficits in patients and use this new knowledge to build towards new treatments. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

WoodProps project will maximise the value and use of Irish timber as our forests double production in the coming decades Minister of State for Food, Forestry, and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD, today (Tuesday 16 May) officially launched a new programme to support the value and market-reach of Irish timber. Led by NUI Galway, the ‘Wood Properties for Ireland’ or ‘WoodProps’ programme, will characterise the strength and properties of Irish timber for European regulatory authorities, expanding its potential market value. This Forest Sector Development Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has made the grant-aid award of €477,250 to Dr Annette Harte, Head of the Timber Engineering Research Group at the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and who will lead the three-year initiative. In making the announcement, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD, stated: “Changes in growth patterns in forests and harvesting practices can affect wood properties. It is essential that we have a forest resource that is fit for purpose and can continue to supply quality roundwood of our main species, Sitka spruce for the manufacture of structural timber for home and export markets. This award and other project related funding from my Department is towards that end. We are also seeking to extend the use of other conifers such as Douglas fir and Norway spruce in the afforestation programme.” Minister Doyle added: “Recently published work by the European Forest Institute suggests that for each tonne of wood products used instead of non-wood products, there is an emissions reduction of approximately two tonnes of carbon dioxide. There are other advantages to using wood construction including speed of build, ability to prefabricate walls and floors and crane into place. NUI Galway and Dr Harte and her colleagues have taken a leading role in elaborating the opportunities that timber construction provides. Their work will be further supported by the funding I am announcing today.” Researchers from the Timber Engineering Research Group, based in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway will collaborate with project partners in the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. There will also be extensive collaboration with industry and private growers. Lead researcher, Dr Annette Harte, Vice-Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Recent technological advancements coupled with the acceptance that wood products play a key role in addressing climate change and sustainable development have led to rapid growth in timber construction across the globe and this trend is expected to continue. Through the Wood Properties for Ireland programme, NUI Galway will work closely with the forestry and wood processing sector to ensure that the structural properties of our wood products are well characterised and certified so that the Irish forest sector will benefit from these developments.” The researchers will undertake an exchange of knowledge related to wood quality, products and standards with forestry and processing industries and provide expert advice to regulatory bodies related to construction of modern timber buildings. Roundwood production from Irish forests is forecast to double over the next two decades. One of the key challenges facing the forest sector is to mobilise this resource to market, and to ensure the material is fit for market by being well characterised as evidence of structural performance. Additionally, the climate change mitigation challenge implies a wider use of wood products in the built environment and elsewhere. This means providing evidence and expertise related to performance and specification of timber and wood-based building systems, particularly to the regulatory authorities. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President at NUI Galway, said: “Woodprops is a great example of NUI Galway research in action and it highlights how our academics and researchers are contributing to national competitiveness and boosting employment. This project undertakes the technical research to support the increased use of timber as a sustainable construction material and will help industry to develop innovative and added-value engineered wood products. I’d like to congratulate Dr Annette Harte and her Timber Engineering Research Group. The Group has established a strong reputation for collaborating with industry partners and with this research, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will directly support Irish enterprise and innovation, while at the same time working on sustainability of the built environment.” For more information about the Timber Engineering Research Group visit: www.nuigalway.ie/terg.-Ends-

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A leading scientist at NUI Galway’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research has been awarded a grant worth over €100,000 by research charity Breast Cancer Now to identify the genetic factors that drive breast cancer progression, and develop new ways to predict the future outlook for patients. Many genetic factors influence how breast cancer develops and progresses. One such gene known to be involved in breast cancer progression is called HERV-K. The HERV-K gene is present in our cells as a result of viral DNA that entered the human genome millions of years ago, but in normal, healthy cells HERV-K is switched off. In two thirds of breast cancers, however, the HERV-K gene is active and provides the instructions for cells to produce four distinct proteins, called Env, Gag, Np9 and Rec. While Env has previously been found to be linked to increased risk of breast cancer spreading and reduced chances of surviving the disease, the exact functions of the other three proteins – and their roles in breast cancer growth and development – are unknown. Dr Sharon Glynn, based at NUI Galway, will lead a three year study to investigate how HERV-K and its associated proteins influence the development and progression of breast cancer. Dr Glynn hopes to uncover whether the four HERV-K proteins could be used as markers to predict whether an individual's breast cancer is likely to spread. The team will investigate whether Env and Gag proteins are able to drive tumour growth, and therefore whether they could be potential drug targets. They will reduce the production of these proteins in five different types of breast cancer cell in the lab and assess the impact on cancer cell growth and ability to invade their surroundings. Dr Glynn will also introduce the proteins Np9 and Rec to healthy breast cells that do not normally produce these proteins, to see whether they cause the healthy cells to behave like cancer cells, and may be involved in the development of breast cancer. This research will help her establish the usefulness of targeting HERV-K therapeutically.   The team will also measure the levels of HERV-K proteins present in tumour samples donated by over 700 breast cancer patients, and analyse patient data to identify any links between the quantities of the four HERV-K proteins and the chances of breast cancer spreading. Dr Glynn hopes to eventually develop a diagnostic laboratory test that could use HERV-K and its associated proteins as ‘biomarkers’ to predict the likelihood that breast cancer will progress, which could in the future be used to determine the best course of treatment for people diagnosed with the disease. Dr Sharon Glynn, Lecturer in Pathology at NUI Galway, said:“Breast Cancer Now’s funding both past and present has been instrumental to the advancement of my group’s breast cancer research. We are delighted that they are supporting our research into the role of HERV-K in breast cancer and believe that this will greatly advance our knowledge, allowing us to more accurately predict patient outcomes, which could lead to improved treatment for breast cancer patients.” Rachel Leahy, Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, said:“Dr Glynn’s research will enhance our understanding of the biological factors that contribute to breast cancer progression and may enable new drugs to be developed to target the HERV-K proteins. “This study could also lead to the development of new tests to more accurately predict how a person’s breast cancer might progress, and help us better tailor individuals’ treatment to the make-up of their tumour – improving their chances of surviving the disease.” Around 2,800 women in the Republic of Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and nearly 700 women in the country sadly die from the disease each year. -ENDS-

Monday, 15 May 2017

NUI Galway based Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network shortlists three primary school clinical trials as part of the START Competition  Three Primary Schools from Cork, Dublin and Galway have been shortlisted to showcase their randomised clinical trials at NUI Galway on Friday, 19 May, when the overall winner will be announced and presented with the START Trophy 2017. Now in its second year, the purpose of the competition is to help students become aware of the clinical trial process. The randomised trials created are part of the Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) competition, an initiative of the NUI Galway based Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN), to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day on 20 May. Sixth class students from St. Joseph’s Primary School from Macroom in County Cork created the trial, Colourful Concentration – Do children concentrate more or less when they use coloured pens? The trial was coordinated by their teacher, Lisa Cooper. Fourth class students from Scoil Mobhí National School in Glasnevin, County Dublin created the trial, Can interactive spelling games improve spelling? The trial was coordinated by their teacher, Fiona de Bhól. The entire school of 15 students from Cloghans Hill National School in Tuam, County Galway created the trial Music our memories – friend or foe? Does listening to music improve memory recall (or are our parents right and it is a distraction)? The trial was coordinated by their teacher, Iseult Mangan. Each school followed the START competition guidelines to design, carry out and evaluate their very own randomised trial, meeting several key aspects of the school curriculum. Students were asked to choose a simple, easy to answer question and use the proper steps of a clinical trial to answer it scientifically, using the resources provided on the HRB-TMRN website. Commenting on the START finalists and their projects, Professor Declan Devane, Director of the HRB-TMRN at NUI Galway, said: “We started this competition for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of randomised trials with children. Secondly, we wanted to harness the creativity and imagination of children in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of trials. The high standard and variety of applications we received demonstrate that the START competition has indeed raised the awareness of randomised trials and capitalised on children’s innate ability to explain difficult concepts clearly and in a fun way. We are very proud of all our applications and wish each of the finalist schools the very best on the 19th May in Galway.” Dr Máiread O’Driscoll, Acting CEO of the Health Research Board, commented: “If these kids are the future then I feel very comfortable. By designing and conducting their own randomised control trials, each team has shown they can be inventive, apply scientific rigour and report their results in an engaging way.” Dr Sandra Galvin, Coordinator of the HRB-TMRN at NUI Galway, said: “This initiative has really captured the children’s imagination and creativity but I also think we can learn so much from their approach. Trials can be complex and challenging for people to understand, and yet here we have children rising to this challenge so well. START is about breaking down the barriers in the understanding of trials, and helping people understand the power trials have to improve healthcare for all.”  At the awards ceremony in NUI Galway, the students and their teachers will be treated to 16 interactive and educational workshops featuring everything from live snakes, to bacteria, to squid dissections, and entertaining STEM shows; Kitchen Chemistry, Cell Explorers, Bug Doctor, Galway Neuroscience Centre, MARIO Project, Translational Medical Device Lab, Blood Cancer Network of Ireland, Human Physiology, REMEDI Stem Cell Therapy Clinical Trials, Marine Bio-Facts: Aquarium Show and Tell, Translational Statistics – HRB CRF Galway, Bacteriology NUI Galway, Toodlelou Labs Oranmore and Designer minds camps. As part of the event, students will also be given the opportunity to meet MARIO, a companion robot designed to support people with dementia mitigate the effects of loneliness and isolation, and view a demonstration of his various abilities, including playing music and reading the news. To learn more about the HRB-TMRN START competition visit: www.hrb-tmrn.ie or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/hrbtmrn or @hrbtmrn and Facebook at facebook.com/hrb.tmrn.  -Ends- 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

NUI Galway will host the first conference of the newly launched Digital Cultures Initiative, and the first conference in Ireland to focus primarily on literature that is native to digital platforms and ecosystems, such as electronic literature and born-digital literature. The conference starts today Thursday, 11 May and Friday12 May in the Hardiman Research Building. The conference title, ‘Other Codes – Digital Literatures in Context’, focuses attention on the various contexts for the production, dissemination and reception of digital literature in its different forms, as well as the cultural, national, geographical and institutional settings within which digital literary practice takes place. Against this backdrop the two-day international conference will feature presentations on topics such as, Twitter poetry, hyper-text fiction, storytelling through computer games, extended cinema and much more. Speaking about the conference, Professor Sean Ryder, Director of Digital Cultures Initiative at NUI Galway, said: “This conference is the first major gathering in Ireland of international scholars and practitioners of ‘digital literature’. Ireland’s rich literary heritage has traditionally been based on the medium of print. But the future will see writers exploring more and more the creative capacities of digital technology. The Other Codes conference will help us think about what that future may be like.” Participating speakers will feature several internationally renowned scholars and practitioners in the field including Sandy Baldwin (Rochester Institute of Technology, US), María Mencía (Kingston University, London), Jessica Pressman (San Diego State University, US) and Scott Rettberg (University of Bergen, Norway). Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “No development in what we call ‘literature’ has more lasting significance than the emergence of the digital. I look forward to the ways in which this conference will deepen our understanding of this phenomenon which will only grow in significance over time.” The main organiser of the conference, Dr Anne Karhio at NUI Galway, commented on the event: “There is an increasing need for authors, artists and scholars to employ not only the creative potential of the digital domain, but also to interrogate these technologies, and explore their wide implications on our place in the world. Literature native to new platforms can explore and interrogate them from within.” The conference is funded by the Irish Research Council, the European Commission via Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and NUI Galway. For full conference details visit:  https://othercodes.wordpress.com/schedule/ and for registration visit: https://othercodes.wordpress.com/registration/ or email anne.karhio@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 15 May 2017

Brendan Smith, Education and Community Outreach Officer of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway was recently announced as the Galway City Council Volunteer of the Year, at their fourteenth Annual Mayor’s Awards. The Mayor of Galway City, Cllr. Noel Larkin presented the top award to Brendan Smith in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to volunteering. In his professional capacity Brendan has worked extensively with a wide range of communities and educational groups to engage them in exploiting the potential of digital technologies for learning, cultural, heritage, social and economic purposes. Brendan also provides internet safety and cyberbullying awareness through workshops to parents, teachers and young people. Brendan is a long-time member on the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival. This is the largest annual science festival in Ireland. He is co-founder of the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland based at NUI Galway,  the only such technology heritage facility of its kind in the country. He is also co-founder and mentor with Coderdojo Galway.  This is the fastest growing grassroots volunteer movement in Ireland which provides weekly digital makers classes to hundreds of children and their parents at NUI Galway. Outside of his professional commitments, Brendan is well known for his community involvement which includes: the Terryland Forest Park which he wants developed as an outdoor classroom; the Ballinfoile Castlegar Neighbourhood and Sports Centre; the Ballinfoile Mór Community Organic Garden; Cumann na bhFear aka Men’s Shed; Heritage Preservation; Greenway cycling advocacy; and he also provides educational, health and social programmes to asylum seekers and other socially excluded groups. The Mayors Awards are a yearly initiative by Galway City Council to acknowledge voluntary work carried out by people within Galway City. The awards acknowledge outstanding people and organisations that, through their commitment to participating in unpaid community and voluntary activities, have made a significant impact on the quality of their communities in Galway City. -Ends-

Monday, 15 May 2017

Developing software is an art form, according to the Information Technology Association of Galway (ITAG) and something that is reflected in this year’s AtlanTec '17 Festival. As part of this festival a conference themed ‘The Art of Software Development’ will take place on 25 May in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. Up to 300 global software developers will convene at the one-day event to hear from world class speakers about the latest innovations and developments in the technology sector. The conference attracts software experts who develop and code products for global markets in the areas of cloud applications, enterprise software, financial services and medical technologies. Galway has long been established as a hub both for multinational technology companies such as Cisco, Avaya, HPE, IBM and indigenous start-up ventures including The Portershed, StartLab, SuperPixels Lab, New Frontiers GMIT and the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway. The AtlanTec ’17 Festival, which kicked off on 23 March includes a series of in-company events in the region focusing on specific technology themes. There will also be a ‘Women in Technology’ event on 24 May, which will see a panel of female leaders in the technology sector discuss how to challenge traditional norms. Speakers will include: Ann O’Dea, CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic and founder of Inspire Fest; Dr Niamh Shaw, STEAM Artist; Reverend Geraldine Bown, Powerful Women; and Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. The Mothership Event on 25 May and Tech Tag World Championships on the 26 May will also take place as part of this year’s festival. The AtlanTec festival was founded to extol the unique strengths Galway has to offer and to allow the software development and technology community here a chance to come together. “We do believe that this is an art form, with some of the most instrumental coding and creation being instigated by teams based right here in Galway”, explained  Caroline Cawley, ITAG CEO. According to Patrick Eustace from Cisco Galway: “Galway city has a unique blend of business, industry, educational, social, cultural and sporting life. Cisco sees Galway as a world class destination to do business, develop software and engage with a highly skilled, vibrant workforce.” The conference will explore new and emerging trends in the software development community, with topics from Microservices to Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence (AI) infused chat bots to be covered by leading experts. David Murphy, Director of Innovation and Knowledge Transfer at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. We have such highly creative and talented people in Galway, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics here on campus. The University’s partnerships with industry are an integral part of what we do, and hosting this conference is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas and network.” Galway’s Information Technology heritage, which can be traced back to the establishment of the first European manufacturing operation by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) then the world’s second largest computer company in the city in 1971, will also be recognised on the day. Exhibits from the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, which is housed in Insight at NUI Galway, will also be on display for delegates. David Lawlor, Head of Architecture for Fintrax Group, the international financial services organisation which was founded in Galway in 1985, commented: “There is incredible experience and talent both embedded and drawn into the region, with so many multinational and indigenous companies having been associated with Galway. Indeed, Fintrax has grown continuously based on the technology developed in Galway, and will continue to grow especially with new customers in Latin America and Asia.” For registration and further information on the AtlanTec ’17 Festival visit: http://www.atlantec.ie or email contact@itag.ie. Early booking is advisable. -Ends-