Monday, 9 January 2017

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

Friday, 6 January 2017

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

Thursday, 5 January 2017

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

Thursday, 5 January 2017

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

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

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

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

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

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

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

Thursday, 8 September 2016

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

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

NUI Galway PhD student Gezahegn Girma Tessema has been awarded the 2016 International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (AFFRC) and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). Gezahegn’s research on ‘Contemporary approaches to the improvement of yam germplasm conservation and breeding’ earned this year’s recognition, and was presented at the U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University in Tokyo recently. Yam is the second most important root/tuber crop in Africa after cassava, and is extremely important to food security in regions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as the tropical Americas. Gezahegn was a PhD student from Ethiopia in the Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory of Professor Charles Spillane within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre. He carried out his PhD research on yam genetics between NUI Galway and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria under the MoU between the two institutions. His research was co-supervised by Professor Spillane and Dr Melaku Gedil from IITA. He was motivated to conduct his research on yams because it is a very important crop offering huge benefits to humankind but the extent of genetic diversity has not been well investigated and minimal efforts have been made to understand its taxonomy. In addition, very little is known regarding which genes are responsible for key traits in yam and there is almost no report on polyploidy and its effect on phenotypic performance. Receiving the award, Gezahegn said: “I feel honoured to be one of the recipients of the 2016 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers. I am truly pleased for the recognition of our research efforts toward solving some of the challenges in yam germplasm conservation and improvement. This would have not been possible without the great mentorship from my research supervisors, Melaku Gedil and Professors Spillane. I believe that this recognition will motivate other young researchers in making commendable research outputs that contribute to solving agricultural challenges in developing countries.” JIRCAS president Masa Iwanaga expressed his appreciation on the great achievements made by the young awardees, and expectations for much greater success in the future: “Young scientists are essential to developing countries to achieve further development, and the government of Japan sincerely wishes to contribute to the capacity development of the next generation of scientists who will play a major role in improvement of world food and nutrition security.” This annual award, which began in 2007, is organized and presented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Its purpose is to recognise and honour young foreign researchers (under 40 years of age) who are highly recommended by their institutes, and whose outstanding achievements promote research and development of agricultural, forestry, fishery and other related industries in developing regions. Tessema is one of three PhD students from Africa who have graduated to date from NUI Galway under the research alliance partnership between the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre and the world leading non-profit research organisation the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. -Ends-

Monday, 19 December 2016

Plan to develop wearable sensors for patients at high risk of heart attacks Professor William Wijns, an expert in cardiology, has joined NUI Galway as Professor of Medical Devices. He will spearhead a €5 million research project, which will develop wearable sensors to alert patients at high risk of heart attacks to triggers such as stress or high blood pressure. Professor Wijns joins the University through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, which supports national strategic priorities by recruiting world-leading research and leadership talent to Ireland.  “The medical technology sector in Ireland is recognised as one of five global emerging hubs,” explains Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway. “Eight of the world’s top ten med-tech companies are based here, and the West of Ireland in particular is at the heart of the Irish med-tech system. NUI Galway is the powerhouse for much of this progress and we have developed a range of interdisciplinary research centres and initiatives, working closely with partners in industry, healthcare and government agencies. We welcome Professor Wijns with great anticipation of the opportunities his transformative approach brings to the translation of research into practice to ultimately deliver better health outcomes for patients.” In recent years Professor Wijns has held board memberships in the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation. He is currently Chairman of PCR, co-Director of Africa PCR and EuroPCR, the official congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions. Professor Wijns previously worked at the Thorax Center in Rotterdam, where he was actively involved with the first applications of nuclear cardiology, thrombolysis and coronary dilatation, and the University of Louvain in Brussels, where he was Clinical Professor of Cardiology. At NUI Galway, Professor Wijns’ programme of work will focus on interventional cardiology, more specifically on reducing the number of adverse cardiovascular events (heart attacks) in patients. His focus is consistent with the strategic research goals of the University, the Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Galway and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, also based at NUI Galway. “I am extremely delighted to be awarded this Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship at NUI Galway where there exists excellent facilities and world-class researchers in this field. I am also excited by the potential to further my research and to work with such a strong network of academic, clinical and industrial partners in the course of my appointment,” said Professor Wijns. Professor Wijns’ research focuses on heart attacks and sudden death caused by unexpected blockage of arteries supplying the heart with blood and oxygen. This occurs in people exposed to risk factors such as family history, hypertension, smoking, diabetes or high cholesterol, who exhibit a vulnerable narrowing in the walls of their arteries, without being aware of it. Trigger mechanisms like anger, mental stress, high blood pressure, strenuous exercise and sleep disorders cause the narrowing to rupture inside the conduit, obstructing the artery. His work will look at developing medical devices that can monitor these “trigger” activities electronically, at a distance, using wearable sensors in high-risk subjects who are known to carry this vulnerable narrowing of the artery, and in doing so, anticipate and prevent heart attacks. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Professor Wijns to NUI Galway through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme. Professor Wijns is a world-class researcher dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people by the invention and application of new technologies. His appointment epitomises Science Foundation Ireland’s commitment to fund world class research with impact in the health and medtech sector. I believe that great new research advances of real value to people and the economy will result from the combination of Prof Wijns’ expertise, the exceptional research teams in NUI Galway and the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre, and the cluster of both multinational and indigenous Medical Device companies in Ireland.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, said: “The research community here at NUI Galway is delighted to welcome Professor Wijns. We recognise the immense impact that he has had to date in cardiology research and we look forward to future collaborations and to supporting him in his research in the coming years.” Professor Wijns will also join the Cardiology Department at Saolta University Healthcare group, where he will collaborate with other clinicians engaged in translational cardiovascular research.  Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Professor Wijns will enable essential collaborations between investigators at CÚRAM and the Lambe Institute for Translational Research and clinician researchers at the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway, ensuring that basic research will be translated to new medical devices which will benefit patients globally.” -ends-

Monday, 19 December 2016

NUI Galway Engineering lecturer Dr Barry Hayes recently visited the research labs of Professor Hideo Ishii and his team at Waseda University in Tokyo, with the aim of building research links between NUI Galway and the Japanese institution. Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan, and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a large part of Japan’s nuclear power generation fleet has been permanently shut down. This left the country facing electricity supply shortages, and has led to a strong national focus in Japan on intelligent energy management and building a smarter, more efficient electricity grid. Professor Ishii is a principal investigator at Waseda University, which is leading the Japanese national research project ‘Energy Management System (EMS) Demonstration Centre’. This is a large-scale collaboration between eight Japanese universities and 17 companies including the Japanese tech giants Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. Researchers at Waseda University are investigating new energy management systems, which monitor and control energy usage in homes and businesses, in order to better integrate renewable energy sources and reduce environmental impacts. These new technologies and their required telecommunications standards are being tested and demonstrated using full-scale models of typical Japanese homes at the Waseda University EMS Demonstration Centre, a research facility located in the Shinjuku neighbourhood in the heart of Tokyo city. Plans have been made for further bilateral visits between NUI Galway and Waseda University and student exchanges between the two institutions through the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) programme. Dr Hayes said: “It is really impressive to see first-hand the technological advances that have been made in this area in Japan in recent years, and Waseda University are at the forefront of this research. There is great potential for further collaboration with NUI Galway on intelligent energy management systems.” This research visit was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) International Strategic Cooperation Award (ISCA) Japan programme, which was established in March 2014 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Taoiseach Enda Kenny exchanged visits and decided to increase cooperative efforts between Ireland and Japan. -Ends-

Monday, 19 December 2016

The prestigious international award is presented by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, University of California, Berkeley NUI Galway post-doctoral researcher Dr Elaine Toomey has been awarded a prestigious Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science in the Emerging Researcher category. This year, the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) awarded ten prizes to researchers working to forward the values of openness and transparency in research at the recent annual BITSS meeting in California. Based in the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, Dr Toomey’s research focuses on developing methods that enhance reporting and improve the transparency of research within the area of behaviour change. She was recently selected to lead on the implementation component and ensure transparency of an intervention to prevent childhood obesity. Explaining her research in everyday terms, Elaine said: “My research is in implementation or intervention fidelity within behaviour change interventions, where fidelity relates to how well an intervention or treatment or programme was actually put into practice as intended by the interventions’ developers. For example, without knowledge of fidelity, we are mostly assuming that an intervention such as a psychological smoking cessation programme is delivered by the providers as we the researchers designed it to be, which can reduce our confidence in the research findings. Essentially, this work aims to increase the transparency of what actually happens within these types of behaviour change interventions, leading to greater understanding and better reproducibility within this research field.” The BITSS, supported by the John Templeton Foundation, launched the Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science in order to promote transparent research, and to offer recognition and visibility to scholars practicing open social science. -Ends-

Monday, 12 December 2016

Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future  Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD today (12 December 2016) officially launched the Donegal Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Letterkenny University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located on the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital. This is a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training in Donegal, the final in a series of medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Mayo University Hospitals were completed and opened last year. Speaking at the Launch, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD said: “The NUI Galway medical academies provide a practical link between the classroom and the clinic by mixing teaching with practical training.  We know that for our trainee doctors to assimilate into the Irish health system they need a medical school education that prepares them for the practicalities of the day job, so I’m pleased that students in Letterkenny will now have access to a holistic education in one location.” Medical Education and Clinical Delivery The new Donegal Medical Academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of tutors and lecturers covering all medical specialties. Up to 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Letterkenny University Hospital for one year clinical training. The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital.  One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients.  Speaking at the launch of the Donegal Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “The Donegal Medical Academy is the fifth NUI Galway teaching site in the West and North West region. The new academy in Letterkenny will provide better learning outcomes for students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased skilled personnel on wards; and for the hospital it ensures better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff through association with a major University. We know that regional healthcare settings can be quite different to those in cities, so by exposing our students to a variety of healthcare environments we encourage them to embrace the opportunities here, ensuring they can become the local healthcare workforce of the future.” Letterkenny University Hospital provides students with clinical experience and supervision in a wide variety of general medical and surgical clinical disciplines and sub-specialities.  Since January 2016, the Donegal Medical Academy has also been welcoming students as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme which focuses on preparedness for clinical practice and professionalism and is supported by an intern mentoring programme. The School of Medicine supports the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for internship and clinical life, equipping them with a complex skill set to perform as competent clinicians, academics, leaders and educators in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a clinical team and functioning as junior interns, fully supported yet immersed in team working and decision making. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with interns to learn about the clinical environment first hand and to ease their transition from student to junior doctor. The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five or six year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students. The curriculum is innovative and integrates the life sciences with clinical practice, provides for early patient exposure, immersion in a variety of clinical environments and, from the 2015/16 academic year onwards, will also be emphasising intern preparedness to a greater extent. Commenting, Mr Muyiwa Aremu, Dean of Medical Education in Donegal, said: Donegal Medical Academy has been a catalyst for the development of undergraduate medical education in Letterkenny University Hospital and the community of County Donegal.  The Academy started in 2011 with 20 students in their third year of medical training and has expanded in its capacity since then, now looking after 60 students from third, fourth and final year. The construction of this state of the art facility began in January 2015 and comprises of clinical skills laboratory, large lecture theatre, and small group teaching rooms. It is a significant medical education investment by NUI Galway in Letterkenny University Hospital and County Donegal at large.  Quality medical training is the bedrock of excellent patient care and this is exactly what Donegal Medical Academy is delivering in conjunction with NUI Galway, GP surgeries in County Donegal and Letterkenny University Hospital.” Donegal Medical Academy Building Donegal Medical Academy is sited within the boundaries of Letterkenny University Hospital. The building, forms an integrated yet defined extension to the existing Hospital and is strategically located adjacent to the main healthcare campus entrance. The project has delivered a multipurpose teaching, study and learning facility and the co-location of the Academy with the hospital facilitates allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. Delivered through close collaboration with the HSE, the project began in March of 2015 and was completed in January 2016.  Designed by Rhatigan Architects, in Sligo with the work undertaken by the local construction firm of Boyle Construction. The project represents a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training and was funded at a cost in the region of €2 million. The HSE has also funded the second floor of the building which will be fitted out at a later date to accommodate an expansion of the Renal Dialysis facilities. The final result comprises a stunning and innovative architectural design. The building encompasses many features that facilitate a flexible approach to teaching and the various spaces within the building are designed to accommodate different student group sizes simultaneously. Emphasis is placed on internet and WiFi connectivity within the building, including various teleconferencing links to NUI Galway. A lecture theatre, clinical skills space and student reading room comprise some of the many attractive features of the Donegal Medical Academy.  Students will have 24-hour access to facilities on the ground floor, enabling easy transfer from the hospital to a more personal learning environment. Sean Murphy, General Manager Letterkenny University Hospital added: “The opening of this Academy is a welcome development here at Letterkenny University Hospital and it will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. This new facility also builds on our links with our academic and research partners. The further integration of medical education and clinical delivery will support the recruitment and retention of the highest quality medical staff to our hospital and the region. This partnership with NUI Galway Medical School has delivered a quantum enhancement of our medical training role.” ENDS Seolann an tAire Sláinte Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall Oideachas leighis agus seachadadh cliniciúil á soláthar le chéile ag an Acadamh Leighis do dhochtúirí na todhchaí  Sheol an tAire Sláinte, Simon Harris TD Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall go hoifigiúil inniu (12 Nollaig 2016). Comhfhiontar atá ann idir OÉ Gaillimh, Grúpa Cúraim Sláinte Ollscoile Saolta agus Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn le dochtúirí a thraenáil. Tá an tAcadamh Leighis lonnaithe in ionad a tógadh go speisialta dó ar thailte Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn. Leis seo tá infheistíocht mhór á déanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh in oiliúint chliniciúil i gCo. Dhún na nGall. Seo an ceann deiridh de shraith acadamh leighis atá bunaithe san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart. Tógadh ionaid den chineál chéanna ag Otharlanna Ollscoile Shligigh agus Mhaigh Eo agus osclaíodh iad sin anuraidh. Ag caint dó ag an Seoladh, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire Sláinte, Simon Harris: “Nascann acadaimh leighis OÉ Gaillimh an seomra ranga leis an obair chliniciúil ó tharla go mbíonn an teagasc fite fuaite leis an oiliúint phraiticiúil.  Le go mbeidh ár gcuid ábhar dochtúirí oilte ar chóras sláinte na hÉireann, tuigimid go gcaithfear oideachas a chur orthu ó scoil leighis a réiteoidh iad don obair phraiticiúil a bhíonn le déanamh sa phost ó lá go lá. Tá áthas orm go mbeidh teacht ag mic léinn i Leitir Ceanainn ar oideachas iomlánaíoch ar aon láthair amháin.” Oideachas Leighis agus Seachadadh Cliniciúil Tabharfaidh Acadamh Leighis úr Dhún na nGall deis do dhochtúirí na todhchaí a gcuid scileanna cliniciúla a thabhairt chun foirfeachta i ngach aon réimse speisialtóireachta leighis faoi shúil ghéar teagascóirí agus léachtóirí. Caitheann suas le 60 mac léinn ón 3ú bliain, ón 4ú bliain agus ón bhliain deiridh sa leigheas seal in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn gach aon seimeastar le dul faoi oiliúint chliniciúil. Lonnaíodh an tAcadamh Leighis ar an suíomh chéanna a bhfuil an otharlann air d’aon turas le deis a thabhairt do mhic léinn oiliúint theagascach a fháil san Acadamh agus oiliúint cois leapa a fháil san otharlann.  Tá an cóimheas íseal idir teagascóirí agus mic léinn agus fosta idir mic léinn agus othair ar cheann de na buanna atá ag acadaimh leighis OÉ Gaillimh.  Ag labhairt dó ag seoladh Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne:“Is é Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall an cúigiú suíomh teagaisc de chuid OÉ Gaillimh san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart.  Beidh torthaí foghlama níos fearr ag na mic léinn de bharr an acadaimh nua i Leitir Ceanainn; beidh níos mó de na mic léinn i ndiaidh cóir leighis a chur ar othair, agus beidh níos mó foirne oilte ar na bardaí; cinntíonn sé go mbeidh sé níos fusa ar an otharlann foireann ar ardchaighdeán a earcú agus a choinneáil de bhrí go mbeidh ceangal idir an tAcadamh agus mór-Ollscoil. Tá a fhios againn gur mór an difear idir láithreacha cúraim sláinte réigiúnacha agus na cinn atá i gcathracha, agus trí dheis a thabhairt dár mic léinn blaiseadh a fháil de láithreacha cúraim sláinte éagsúla bímid á spreagadh leis na deiseanna atá le fáil anseo a thapú, agus tugaimid deis dóibhsean a bheith ina n-oibrithe cúraim sláinte áitiúla amach anseo.” In Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn faigheann mic léinn taithí chliniciúil agus déantar iad a stiúradh i réimse leathan disciplíní sa leigheas ginearálta, sa mháinliacht chliniciúil agus i bhforéimsí speisialtóireachta.  Ó mhí Eanáir 2016, tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall ag cur fáilte roimh mhic léinn ar chlár nua Intéirneachta Sóisearaí na Scoile a bhíonn ag díriú ar dhaoine a réiteach don chleachtas cliniciúil agus don ghairmiúlacht. Tá clár meantóireachta d’intéirnigh ina chuid den chlár sin chomh maith. Bíonn Scoil an Leighis ag iarraidh a cuid céimithe a fhorbairt le go mbainfidh siad barr feabhais amach mar intéirnigh agus sa chleachtas cliniciúil. Tugann sí deis dóibh na scileanna cuí a shealbhú chun go mbeidh siad ina gcliniceoirí, ina n-acadúlaithe, ina gceannairí agus ina n-oideachasóirí inniúla i dtimpeallacht oibre atá casta agus éilitheach. Beidh mic léinn sa bhliain deiridh ag obair ar fhoireann chliniciúil ar na bardaí ó mhí Eanáir ar aghaidh. Beidh siad ag feidhmiú mar intéirnigh sóisearacha, agus beidh lántacaíocht acu. Beidh siad ag fáil taithí ar a bheith ag obair ar fhoireann agus ar chinntí a dhéanamh. Beidh dochtúirí comhairleacha ag obair i ndlúthchomhar le hintéirnigh chun go gcuirfidh siad eolas ar an timpeallacht chliniciúil agus chun an t-aistriú ón mac léinn chuig an dochtúir sóisearach a éascú. Is clár cúig nó sé bliana atá sa churaclam leighis in OÉ Gaillimh agus bíonn thart ar 180 mac léinn ar an chúrsa gach aon bhliain.  Is curaclam nuálaíoch é ina ndéantar na heolaíochtaí cliniciúla a nascadh leis na heolaíochtaí beatha. Cinntíonn sé go mbíonn na mic léinn ag plé le hothair go luath agus go dtumtar iad i dtimpeallachtaí cliniciúla éagsúla. Ón bhliain acadúil 2015/16 ar aghaidh, beifear ag cur níos mó béime ar intéirnigh a ullmhú le bheith réidh le tosú ag obair. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Uasal Muyiwa Aremu, Déan an Oideachais Leighis i nDún na nGall faoin togra: Tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall i ndiaidh tús a chur le forbairt an oideachais leighis fochéime in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn agus i measc phobal an Chontae.  Bhí fiche mac léinn a bhí sa 3ú bliain den chúrsa leighis san Acadamh nuair a cuireadh tús leis in 2011. Tá seasca mac léinn ag freastal air anois ón 3ú bliain, ón 4ú bliain agus ón bhliain deiridh. Tosaíodh ag tógáil an ionaid nua-aimseartha seo i mí Eanáir 2015. Tá saotharlann scileanna cliniciúla, léachtlann mhór agus seomraí teagaisc do ghrúpaí beaga ann. Tríd an togra seo, tá infheistíocht ollmhór á déanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh in oideachas leighis in Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn agus i gContae Dhún na Gall uilig.   Tá oiliúint leighis ar chaighdeán ard iontach tábhachtach má táimid ag iarraidh go dtabharfar aire den scoth do na hothair, agus sin go díreach an rud atá á chur ar fáil ag Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall i gcomhar le OÉ Gaillimh, íoclanna dochtúirí teaghlaigh i gContae Dhún na nGall agus Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn. Foirgneamh Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall Tá Acadamh Leighis Dhún na nGall lonnaithe ar thailte Otharlann Leitir Ceanainn. Is cuid den Otharlann mar a bhí an foirgneamh, cé go n-aithneofá gur síneadh breise atá ann, agus socraíodh ar bhonn straitéiseach é a lonnú in aice leis an phríomhbhealach isteach chuig an champas cúraim sláinte. Ionad ilchuspóra teagaisc, staidéir agus foghlama atá san fhoirgneamh. Ó tharla go bhfuil an tAcadamh lonnaithe ar shuíomh na hOtharlainne beidh mic léinn ábalta freastal ar ranganna teagaisc san Acadamh agus ar theagasc cois leapa san otharlann. Is i gcomhar le Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhísí Sláinte a cuireadh an togra seo i gcrích. Cuireadh tús leis an togra i mí an Mhárta 2015 agus bhí sé réidh i mí Eanáir 2016.  An comhlacht ailtireachta Rhatigan Architects i Sligeach a dhear an foirgneamh agus an comhlacht tógála áitiúil Boyle Construction a thóg é. Rinne OÉ Gaillimh infheistíocht de thart ar €2.0 milliún sa togra seo. Infheistíocht shuntasach san oiliúint chliniciúil atá ann. Rinne Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte maoiniú chomh maith ar an dara hurlár den fhoirgneamh. Déanfar an chuid seo a fheistiú amach anseo agus is ann a bheidh na háiseanna úra Scagdhealaithe Duán lonnaithe. Tá dearadh ailtireachta nuálaíoch ar an fhoirgneamh ar fad. Tá an foirgneamh deartha sa dóigh go mbeidh cur chuige solúbtha ann maidir leis an teagasc. Tá na spásanna difriúla san fhoirgneamh deartha sa dóigh go mbeifear ábalta freastal ar ghrúpaí difriúla mac léinn, idir bheag agus mhór, ag an am céanna. Tá béim ar cheangal idirlín agus ar cheangal Wi-Fi agus ar naisc físchomhdhála le OÉ Gaillimh san fhoirgneamh.  Tá léachtlann, spás faoi choinne scileanna cliniciúla agus seomra léitheoireachta do mhic léinn ar chuid de na háiseanna tarraingteacha eile atá san Acadamh Leighis.  Beidh teacht ag na mic léinn ar na háiseanna thíos staighre de ló agus d’oíche, agus tabharfaidh sin deis dóibh a bheith isteach agus amach as an otharlann le staidéar pearsanta a dhéanamh. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Sean Murphy, Bainisteoir Ginearálta Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn: “Fáiltímid roimh oscailt an Acadaimh seo ag Otharlann Ollscoile Leitir Ceanainn. Cuirfidh sé le cáil na hOtharlainne agus de réir a chéile cuideoidh sé linn caighdeán níos airde arís a bhaint amach i gcúram othar inár ranna cliniciúla ar fad. Tá an t-ionad úr seo ag cur leis na naisc atá againn lenár gcomhpháirtithe acadúla agus taighde chomh maith. Cuideoidh an cónascadh idir oideachas leighis agus seachadadh cliniciúil linn foireann leighis ar ardchaighdeán a earcú agus a choinneáil san otharlann agus sa cheantar seo. Tá an comhfhiontar le Scoil an Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh ag cur go mór leis an ról oiliúna atá againn i gcúrsaí leighis.” CRÍOCH

Thursday, 8 December 2016

New approaches in delivering care to young adults with type 1 diabetes are needed, according to researchers in Galway. A multi-disciplinary research team from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals have carried out a systematic review of international literature which has been published in the journal Diabetic Medicine. The research, funded by the Health Research Board, highlighted a lack of high-quality, well-designed interventions, aimed at improving health outcomes for people aged 15-30 living with diabetes. This age group often experience poor outcomes because of issues with self-management skills, psychosocial distress, clinic attendance, adherence with treatment recommendations and high-risk behaviours. Professor Seán Dinneen, HSE National Clinical Programme Lead for Diabetes, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Consultant Physician, Galway University Hospitals, led the research. “Living with type 1 diabetes is demanding whatever your age. People need to adhere to a daily schedule of self-management by self-administering insulin several times a day for their entire life and monitor its effects through frequent (and often painful) self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. With young adults, there are so many pressure and life changes at this stage in their lives, that what works for an older adult simply does not work as well for them.” Ireland has no diabetes registry making it difficult to know how many people are living with type 1 diabetes and how many of these have are young adults. The research group are now working to develop a new intervention for young adults, including a patient and public involvement panel of eight young adults living with the condition to co-design the research together.    25-year old Liam McMorrow is a young adult living type 1 diabetes, and was a collaborator on the study, and a member of the Steering Group. “It’s great to see researchers recognising the issues facing young adults living with type 1 diabetes are different to those faced by children or older adults living with type 1 diabetes. I think this is increasingly important as young adults may be most receptive to new interventions, for examples digital health interventions compared to other age groups. This study also highlights a lack of research in the area and demonstrates a clear need for further research to focus on this population. I’m excited to see the results from the ongoing work of the D1 now study in Galway.” The importance of the systematic review has already been acknowledged at national and international conferences, the lead research of the review, Mary Clare O’Hara, won best poster at the 8th West of Ireland Integrated Diabetes Care Conference in 2015 and was awarded an oral presentation at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Scientific Meeting, a meeting that attracts about 16,000 delegates. For more information on this study please contact or 091 542840. -ends-

Thursday, 8 December 2016

National Launch of Every year in Ireland thousands of students from our universities and institutes of technology carry out over 100,000 hours of volunteering. Ten third level colleges have now joined forces to develop - a brand new online resource which matches students’ interests with volunteering opportunities. The portal is the first of its kind globally and aims to enhance students’ awareness of their role and responsibility in solving challenges such as homelessness, social exclusion and our ageing population. “What I have found most rewarding about volunteering here in Galway is the sense of community which comes from getting to know a variety of people from different walks of life within the city. I certainly feel that I have more of a stake within this community, and not just a fleeting interest as part of student volunteering programme. The experience which I have gained from volunteering with the SVP has really put a more tangible or practical lens on all of the theoretical academic study which I have done as part of my degree”, said Aidan Harte, MA in Public Advocacy & Activism, NUI Galway. Potential users include up to 100,847 (HEA 2015) students across all higher education institutions and up to 8,000 registered Civil Society Organisations. For charities such as Barnardos, Habitat for Humanity, TeenLine and Special Olympics Ireland, student volunteering is a vital component of their ongoing work: “With over 3,000 registered volunteers under 25 years old, Special Olympics Ireland depend on the student volunteers among our younger supporters to assist with our fundraising activities and sustain our programmes through working in our clubs, helping at events and participating in committees at local and regional level,” said Claire O'Connor, Volunteer Services Manager, Special Olympics Ireland. Shortlisted for the 2016 THINKTECH awards, has been developed under the umbrella of the Campus Engage Network based at the Irish Universities Association. There are currently 10 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) invested in the portal: UCD, NUI Galway, IT Tralee, UL, MU, Trinity, IT Tallaght, DCU, UCC and DIT. The online system is open to ALL Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), private colleges, VECs, etc. Students can browse and apply for volunteering opportunities nationally or internationally; manage their profile and volunteering activity online; track volunteering hours; gain recognition and apply for volunteering awards. The civic role and responsibility of colleges and their graduates is becoming a central issue in the global education discussion, with increasing pressure on institutions to demonstrate how higher education is adding value to society. “By effectively using technology to make volunteering easier, Campus Engage is helping universities and institutes of technology to scale up this socially impactful enterprise,” said Kate Morris, National Coordinator, Campus Engage, Irish Universities Association. The value of volunteering is recognised by the United Nations who have designated December 5th as International Volunteer Day (IVD).    Volunteering has numerous benefits for students and for society. Ireland’s new National Skills Strategy 2025 focuses on graduate attributes such as high level cognitive, leadership, entrepreneurial, analytical and interpersonal skills. Volunteering is an excellent outlet for students to test, refine and put these skills into action. These skills are very much valued by employers: “In an increasingly competitive employment market, when I review CV’s the selflessness of a volunteer can stand out like a beacon in a sea of self-interest. The functional expertise that a volunteer can learn in an organisation, offers a head start compared to others who start at the beginning when entering permanent employment for the first time,” said Billy Norman, Customer Account Manager in Unilever. “I volunteered in a youth cafe ran by Galway Autistic Partnership (GAP). The youth cafe provides an outlet for kids and young teenagers with autism to socialise with one another by interacting through technology and various games and activities. Autism is something I had no previous experience of and so attending the club was an education in itself. The experience was invaluable to me as an Occupational Therapy student and it was very relevant to my future line of work,” said Louise Ryan, student, NUI Galway. Evidence shows that getting out and volunteering can improve individual mental health and well-being. Volunteering is also an excellent pathway for international students in Ireland to integrate into their communities and make new friends.  Higher education institutions across the country are battling student retention. Getting involved in extracurricular activity on and off campus is proven to keep students in college. International volunteering cultivates core graduate attributes such as cultural awareness, languages and increased understanding of global social responsibility. “I was a literacy support mentor with the Claddagh National School, Galway for 8 weeks. As a student of English, I found it encouraging knowing that my help had a positive influence on a child's confidence in reading. The literacy support programme has a huge impact on developing the reading and communications skills of Primary School children and university students get a chance to act as responsible mentors and apply their knowledge through helping young children with their work,” said Princess Okonkwo, student, NUI Galway. Higher education institutions are now acknowledging students’ volunteering achievements on their academic transcripts or diploma supplements. Participating colleges are beginning to use to track their students’ volunteer hours so they can recognise their efforts at the end of the college year in Awards ceremonies such as NUI Galway’s Presidential Award for Volunteering - the ALIVE Certificate. -ends-

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Bárbara Oliveira won first prize at NUI Galway’s third annual Threesis Competition which took place last week. The winner was judged on how well they conveyed and communicated their research to a general audience. A PhD student at NUI Galway, Bárbara’s presentation was on using microwave breast imaging to enable more accessible and affordable cancer screening. The competition consisted of quick-fire presentations, with NUI Galway researchers presenting three slides, in three minutes, to three judges. The competitors had come through a series of heats already held on campus, to take on the final challenge at a public event in An Taibhdhearc. Earlier in the month, Bárbara came second in a similar national competition, Theesis-in-3, where she also won the audience vote award. Second and third prize on the night in An Taibhdhearc went to Dilip Thomas and Grace O’Malley. Dilip works on regenerating blood vessels in vascular diseases, whilst Grace researches new immune based drugs to fight tumours. Threesis focused on taking researchers out of their comfort zones to present their research to a general audience using only three slides over three minutes to three judges. The spotlight was on impact - how research at NUI Galway impacts upon our daily lives, those of our family and our broader community. Speaking at the event, Dr Ann Ryan, Head of Research Development at NUI Galway, congratulated all the researchers who participated in the competition: “This evening’s presentations showed not only the breadth and quality of the research being undertaken across NUI Galway, but also its relevance and impact on all of our daily lives; this is truly impressive.” Research areas represented included science, engineering, information technology, business and medicine, with topics ranging from new methods for repairing damaged tissue, to data visualization and crisis data management, making Irish cattle more efficient, new drugs for diabetes, and centering the person at the core of dementia care. The three judges were: Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway;  Bernard Kirk, Director of Galway Education Centre; and Lorna Farren, Director of Communications and Marketing, NUI Galway. Professor Andy Shearer, Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway, was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Other finalists at the event were: Heike Vornhage (Insight); Rachel Ronan (CÚRAM and Anatomy); Ihab Salawdeh (Insight); Declan O'Loughlin (Engineering); Gillian Murphy (CÚRAM); Niamh Hennelly (Economics); Aniket Kshirsagar (CÚRAM); Marc Higgins (Biochemistry and Teagasc); Luís Martins (CÚRAM) and Enrico Bagnoli (CÚRAM). -ends-

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), hosted by NUI Galway, has been awarded the ISA (Irish Software Association) Software Award for ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement of the Year’. ICHEC were recognised for their work in collaboration with researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and Dublin City University (DCU) to develop rapid blood tests that measure platelet behaviour. In partnership with research teams at the RCSI and DCU in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), ICHEC has developed key algorithms that allow detection software to track platelets more accurately and measure their behaviour. The ICHEC team has also optimised and automated the data analysis software pipeline to deliver results in minutes. Commenting on the win, Professor JC Desplat, Director of ICHEC, said: “I am delighted that this collaboration has been recognised by the Irish Software Association. This prestigious award is a reflection of the high impact that key partnerships between technologists, researchers and clinicians can have. It is also indicative of the high-quality stream of innovation that is coming out of our centre.” Dr Simon Wong, project lead at ICHEC for the winning software and data analysis work, added: “It has been a pleasure for our team to work with our partners, led by Professor Dermot Kenny at the RCSI and Professor Antonio Ricco at DCU and Stanford University, on cutting edge medical diagnostics technology to improve patient care. We believe that software innovations play a critical role in the medical diagnostics industry that often brings together expertise from diverse fields of science, engineering and IT.” The ISA Software Awards took place on Friday, 25 November in the Mansion House, Dublin. The keynote speaker for the awards was Mark Little, Vice-President of Media EMEA and Managing Director of Twitter Ireland and, founder of Storyful. ICHEC is Ireland’s national centre for high-performance computing, with world-class expertise in the exploitation of next generation compute platforms. The centre operates the national High-Performance Computing service for academia and through industrial R&D collaboration helps bring the benefits of high-performance computing to business and industry. ICHEC is partly funded by the Irish State through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Education & Skills. It is hosted by NUI Galway, with offices in Dublin and Galway. -ends-

Monday, 5 December 2016

NUI Galway and Ulster University are pleased to announce the launch of an exhibition on the Representations of Jews in Irish Literature, at 6pm on Wednesday 7 December in the James Hardiman Library, Room G010. The exhibition will be launched by Mr Stanley Price, author of Somewhere to Hang My Hat. An Irish-Jewish Journey and James Joyce and Italo Svevo: The Story of a Friendship. The exhibition is the first major output of a three-year research project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It charts the representations of Jewish identity, culture and life in Ireland from medieval through to modern times. It examines the portrayal of Jews in the literary record alongside the contribution of Irish-Jewish writers to Irish literature and celebrates this unique hyphenated identity. Having had a very successful debut in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin in June 2016, the travelling exhibition has been in a number of venues, including Armagh, Belfast and Coleraine. The exhibition will be hosted in NUI Galway from 7 December 2016 until Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2017. After Galway it will travel to Waterford, New York and Berlin. Principal Investigator for the project, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, commented: “The exhibition is testament to the fact that Irish literature reveals a cultural diversity that goes far beyond narrow stereotypes. In Galway, we will also feature some artefacts of relevance to Jewish life in Galway, and I am delighted to be bringing this exhibition to Galway.” Director for the Centre of Irish and Scottish Studies at Ulster University and Project Team member, Dr Frank Ferguson also said: “This is a very significant project for Irish literary studies and one which shall make a major contribution to our understanding of the history and the cultural expression of Jews in Ireland. It is marvellous to see the interest that the project has already gained since its first official launch last summer.” The exhibition and launch are free to attend but booking for the launch is recommended. Those seeking further details and to attend the exhibition launch should contact Marie Kennedy by email or by telephone at: +353 91 492121 | email: -ends- 

Friday, 2 December 2016

The 7th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium was held on Thursday, 24 November, in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway. Organised each year by the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, with the support of the Marine Institute, the day provides participants with an update on a wide range of policy topics related to the marine sector in Ireland. This year there was a particular focus on the valuation of marine ecosystem services and benefits to society.  Until recently, very little information was available in relation to the value of the many ecosystem services provided by the marine environment; services such as carbon sequestration, waste assimilation, coastal defence, aesthetic services and recreational opportunities that are provided by our marine ecosystems have by and large gone unvalued. Harnessing our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) - the integrated marine plan for Ireland (2012) - highlighted as a key action the need for further research into generating “economic values of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services to ensure best practice planning and management of the ocean resource”. Indeed, from an economics perspective, HOOW is all about maximising the net benefits to society from the use of our substantial marine resources. This symposium highlights ongoing research in this area from across Ireland and further afield. In particular it highlights new policy initiatives attempting to ensure ‘blue growth’; an expanding but sustainable ocean economy, and new research that values the benefits to society generated from the continued delivery of what are often overlooked critical marine ecosystem services. “Blue growth is about fostering development in marine economic activities in such a manner that the long term ability of the marine environment to continue to provide ecosystem service benefits is not compromised. This is exactly what Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland is aimed at achieving,” says Dr Stephen Hynes of SEMRU at NUI Galway. “Knowing what those benefits are and what they are worth is vital for deciding on the best use of our marine resources and to ensure blue growth for our ocean economy far into the future.” Speakers this year included leading international experts in the field of environmental valuation Professor Nick Hanley of St. Andrews University Scotland, Dr Kathrine Skoland of the International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway, and Dr Danny Campbell of Stirling University. Other speakers of note on the day included Professor Ronán Long of NUI Galway who reviewed progress in the negotiation of a new international instrument for the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and Dr Ronan Lyons of Trinity College Dublin who presented research using a rich house price dataset from to investigate if people value having a ‘picture’ of the coast via a window in their house more than having direct access to the coast for recreational purposes. The analysis demonstrated the addition to residential property value from having a sea view or access to coastal features such as beaches and cliffs. Of interest from a policy perspective Ciarán O’ Driscoll, a research associate of SEMRU, explored the impact of Brexit on European Fishing policy arguing that due to Britain’s international commitments to cooperate under UN law, post-Brexit Britain may not be able to reclaim control over setting fishing quotas and limit access to its waters by non-British vessels unilaterally. In the same session Richard Cronin, a senior advisor in the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government outlined the key research needs of Irish policy makers that would support the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive in Ireland and across the EU. The final session of the day presented a number of papers that examined the publics, stakeholders and consumers’ attitudes towards aquaculture and seafood. These cross country comparisons of perspectives provided information to policy makers, public planners and potential investors on how the public regard aquaculture production and identify areas of conflict and consensus between groups. -ends- 

Friday, 2 December 2016

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the tenth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 240 primary school children from across the Western region received their certificates, with more than 1,000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 2000 students have graduated from a variety of courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Philosophy to Art, Engineering to Creative Writing, Eco-EXPLORERS and Making your own Radio Show to IT and Psychology. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University.  We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. NUI Galway is committed to the sharing of knowledge with the wider community and ensuring that the pathways to university are open to all. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the University can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at -Ends-

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Leading over 200 researchers fostering transformative, policy-relevant research Alan Ahearne, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, has been appointed Director of the University’s Whitaker Institute. With a 200-strong research team, the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway delivers policy-focused research in areas such as business, economic development, public-sector innovation and reform, and sustainable and inclusive societies. The Institute is named after the pioneering statesperson Dr T.K. Whitaker who served as General Secretary of Ireland’s Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969, during which time he steered Ireland’s transformational programme of trade liberalisation and structural reform He subsequently served as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne, who is also a member of the Commission (Board) of the Central Bank of Ireland, said: “T.K. Whitaker set in motion a plan that put Ireland on a path of internationalisation. Throughout his illustrious career he demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. This is what we endeavour to do here at the Whitaker Institute in the work we to by adopting a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach to the challenges currently facing business and society, both in Ireland and internationally.” Professor Ahearne joined the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway in 2005. He is Chairman of the ESRI and Department of Finance Joint Research Programme on the Macroeconomy and Taxation. He has served as external adviser to the IMF, and was special economic adviser to Ireland’s former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan from 2009 to 2011. He is a Non-Resident Fellow at Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank, and a Visiting Executive Lecturer in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Before joining NUI Galway, Alan Ahearne was Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, where he worked for seven years. He has taught economics at Carnegie Mellon University, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the University of Limerick. He began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand and also worked for Bank of Ireland. Professor Ahearne lectures in the School of Economics at NUI Galway, where a flourishing and diverse academic environment integrates teaching and research, theory and empirical applications, in a policy-oriented and interdisciplinary way. There are approximately 1,800 undergraduate students of economics across several colleges, but mainly in the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies, and Social Sciences. -ends-

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A public talk on understanding how humans walk and how this might inform treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, takes place at NUI Galway next Tuesday, 6 December. Dr John Barden from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, will deliver the Flaherty Lecture entitled ‘Walking to the beat of a different drummer: using new technology to quantify patterns of locomotion for the assessment and treatment of disease’. The public lecture will review some of the basic neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms needed for humans to be able to walk. He will also describe how new sensor technologies can be used to record and analyse the rhythmic patterns produced by these mechanisms. This can be used for the assessment and treatment of pathological gait in aging and in various neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Dr Barden’s area of expertise is in biomechanics and motor control. His current research interests include sensor-based analytics of cyclic movements in health and in sport. Examples of his research include gait variability in conditions such as knee osteoarthritis and stroke mechanics in competitive swimming. Dr Barden is currently based at NUI Galway on a James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship. The international exchange programme commemorates the former Canadian Minister for Finance, James M. (Jim) Flaherty, who passed away in 2014. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by NUI Galway in 2012. The exchange programme is supported by the Irish Canada University Foundation, a collaborative organisation between the governments of Canada and Ireland whose mandate is to facilitate academic and cultural links between the two countries. Dr Barden is collaborating with Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and Dr Leo Quinlan of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Discipline of Physiology . “I’m very grateful to the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF), which through the Flaherty Visiting Professorship, has provided me with the opportunity to visit NUI Galway and collaborate with Professor Ó Laighin and Dr Quinlan on mutually beneficial research related to gait variability and mobility impairments in Parkinson’s disease.” This talk will be of interest to students from a variety of disciplines including physiology, medicine, engineering and kinesiology, as well as members of the general public who have an interest in science, technology and health. The event takes place on Tuesday, 6 December, at 6pm in the ground floor of the Engineering Building, room ENG-G017. -ends- 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Couple go from diploma to doctorate in decade following retirement  At NUI Galway’s November conferring, a Sligo couple Richard and Betty Gray, both 71, were conferred with Doctorates in Archaeology.  The couple, from Ballinafad, County Sligo, embarked on their educational journey when they retired after 40 years in the insurance industry in 2005, completing the NUI Galway Diploma in Archaeology at St Angela's College, Sligo with Dr Michelle Comber.  Following that Betty earned a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and Classics, while Richard was awarded first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and History at NUI Galway.  Under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth FitzPatrick, both recently earned doctorates.  Betty’s doctoral research was centred on ‘Material Culture of High-status Drinking Ritual in Medieval and Early Modern Gaelic Ireland’ and Richard’s research was focused on ‘Settlement clusters at Parish churches in Ireland 1200-1600 AD.’ Speaking at the conferring ceremony about her educational achievements, Dr Betty Gray said: “The last decade has certainly been challenging but also very rewarding and satisfying. We embraced student life and in the course of our journey we made many wonderful friendships through our involvement in the student mentoring programme and college societies. In particular, the NUI Galway Archaeology society where we both had the honour of serving as auditors. We have had the opportunity to visit and explore medieval and prehistoric landscapes in Ireland England Scotland and Wales. What began for us as a part-time diploma developed into an incredible shared academic journey and we availed of some the wide range of programmes offered at NUI Galway from part-time diploma to full-time honours degree, and in our case a PhD.” Speaking about his educational journey, Dr Richard Gray said: “It was not our initial aim to complete a PhD. The diploma provided a great grounding in archaeology and an excellent foundation for further third level education. The full time BA was hard work, but we were welcomed and encouraged by the support for mature students in NUI Galway. We availed of the back to education courses and the support of the Academic Writing Centre at the Hardiman Library, who helped us to improve our academic writing skills.” ENDS

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Free online resource includes a series of science videos and support material for primary school teachers As part of the Science and Technology Festival, which took place at the weekend, Galway’s future young scientists and science enthusiasts were drawn together in explosive, sticky and steamy investigations at the Kitchen Chemistry Workshops held during NUI Galway’s Science Festival Exhibition. This event marked the launch of a series of Kitchen Chemistry videos, which entice teachers and the public to engage in science, using materials from their own kitchen larders. Kitchen Chemistry is one of the most popular events year on year during the Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, and this year saw the launch of a free online resource set. The set includes a series of free science videos and associated support materials for teachers to use with primary children of all ages in the science classroom.  In 2010, Kitchen Chemistry began as an outreach venture in NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry when a team of postgraduate chemistry students designed a series of simple experiments and developed them into a science outreach roadshow for primary schools. Experiments were designed using simple household materials. Two years later, one of the founders, a then doctoral student, Dr Nicole Walshe worked with Dr Veronica McCauley in the School of Education to examine opportunities of translating these sporadic outreach visits into free online resources that could be shared nationally and beyond. The development of the Kitchen Chemistry videos and resource materials is a result of this joint venture between the School of Education and the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway. Dr Veronica McCauley, Science Education Lecturer at NUI Galway and staff leader in this resource design and development project, said: “In line with one of the core aims of the primary science curriculum, ‘to reinforce and stimulate curiosity and imagination through engagement in science’; these videos and support materials offer teachers and students opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom. They help to realise its everyday application with products found in our kitchens. As you can imagine, when you look at the videos, this was a fun and messy project to work on, and I hope that this ignites further exploration in science!” The set of videos were designed by doctoral students from the College of Chemistry and student science teachers from the School of Education.  Kitchen Chemistry resources offer primary teachers a collection of videos and classroom support material that capture novel and engaging aspects of chemistry-based science topics. The collection is available at and is also available trí Ghaeilge. Dr Rachel Quinlan, Vice Dean for the promotion of STEM, College of Science at NUI Galway, said: “Explore funding enables student-staff collaboration on research and resource development, often with benefits that go far beyond the University as in this case. Students brought their scientific expertise to the development, design and recording of these simple and creative science experiments, and now this inquiry can be ignited in schools and homes throughout the country, in addition to those classrooms already participating with NUI Galway Science students in the Kitchen Chemistry programme.” -Ends-

Monday, 28 November 2016

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway has completed the first phase of a study on the number of people affected by sleep paralysis and unusual sleep experiences. Over 1,100 people in Ireland have shared their experiences, with participants relating the often scary sensations they have experienced while in the awake-like state. Sleep paralysis can happen when we are falling asleep or waking up and is often viewed as a distressing experience. Participants reported sensing there was someone else in the room, or seeing intruders with no face, or demons, or being unable to scream. Approximately 80% reported at least one experience of sleep paralysis. Life-time number of episodes were 1-3 episodes (18%), 4-10 episodes (19%), 11-20 episodes (15%) and greater than 20 episodes (27%). In line with previous studies, just under 30% reported experiencing life-time mental health diagnoses, and a sixth of the sample were currently experiencing mental health difficulties. “The main features of sleep paralysis are, the inability to move, a perception that there is someone or something in their room, that the person is being touched or being sat on or strangled. Hearing noises or voices or an intruder’s breathing are also commonly reported by sleep paralysis experiences,” explains Dr Jonathan Egan, from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway. This study was interested in looking at how people’s emotions and lifestyles relate to their sleep. It was also interested in understanding how and why people experience sleep difficulties like sleep paralysis. Half the sample reported experiencing the sleep paralysis episode whilst lying on their backs, while only 5% reported it on their stomach. For 45%, they reported position did not make a difference. Half of the sample reported that they thought there was something wrong with their physical well-being or that they were losing their mind or going insane. Only 10% thought that an alien or magical entity caused their experience. The researchers were also interested in the relationship between sleep hygiene and general psychological wellbeing. “CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) approach is recommended to address sleep paralysis, however, should it also be associated with daytime collapses or sleepiness people should go to their GPs to rule out narcolepsy. The CBT approach addresses sleep hygiene and ways of breathing to relax the person’s body and ways of looking at catastrophic thinking during an episode,” added Dr Egan. The principal investigator on the project was Michelle Tomas, a trainee clinical psychologist on the Doctor of Clinical Psychology training programme at the University, under the supervision of the Deputy Director of the programme, Dr Egan. Varieties of phenomenon Participants in the study, reported a few varieties of phenomenon, including different types of the intruder presence, as these extracts show: The Sensed Presence: “I woke up on my back (I don’t usually sleep on my back) in the early hours, and felt trapped in my body. I couldn't move at all. I slowly became aware of someone (something?) else in the room, possibly more than one. There was a dark figure with no visible features. It did not move, but was standing in the corner of the room and was very sinister and frightening. I have read a few articles about sleep paralysis so was aware of what it was, and that it wasn’t real, and would pass, which was calming. I tried to focus on my breath and wait it out. I still couldn't move. Eventually I succeeded in moving and woke up properly. The light in the room was totally different from in the sleep paralysis state, like it was a totally different time of night.” The Intruder with No Face: “I experience sleep paralysis all the time. My most vivid experience is one I experience quite frequently. I wake laying on my left side and I am unable to move or make sound. I am aware of a rustling sound towards the foot of my bed and I am able to strain my eyes to look toward the sound. I see a small man standing there flicking through a newspaper - this is the rustling sound. When I say he is ‘small’, he is shorter than normal (about 5ft) but is completely proportional as though he has just been slightly shrunken down. When I look towards him, he becomes aware of my presence, closes his paper, and turns towards me. It is then that I realise he has no face, just a black void. Without actually seeing him move, he is suddenly right next to me. He is bent ninety degrees from the waist, and his empty black face is right up in my face and it is then that I begin violently trying to wiggle my fingers and toes to ‘break’ the paralysis. This is usually effective after a little moment, and I wake up fully to my empty bedroom.” The Demon Who Jumps On Victims: “I hadn’t even fallen asleep (usually I fall asleep before sleep paralysis) and I heard scratching sounds on the wall behind me, I wanted to turn over and look in the direction of the noise but I couldn’t move. I heard the noise on the ceiling and then it came closer until I could see it. Big. Black. Somewhat insect like, but also humanoid. It was upside down, it’s hands and feet attached to the ceiling. It stopped when it realised I could see it. It was looking at me with its red eyes, it smiled and I could see very many small pointed teeth. Until it jumped down on top of me, scratching with its talons. Somehow I ended up falling off the bed but awoke in the bed and the thing was gone.” Shadow-man: “I have felt that there is someone entering the room and coming towards my bed, this has always felt like a bad person who wants to hurt me. The person has no face and is always dressed in black with a hood. They seem to float and not walk. Sometimes it’s male and sometimes female. The figure will push me into my bed and I can feel pressure on my chest.” The Old Woman or Hag: “There was an old woman in the top right corner of my room. She just stared at me for what seemed like ages. She made her way to me in bed and sat on my chest. I could feel her sitting on my chest and looking at me. I tried very hard to move, to no avail. I was breathing very very loudly trying to wake up. Eventually I did wake up and colour came back to everything and the woman disappeared. I was very shaken by this experience. I am aware it was not supernatural or anything like that but a figment of my imagination due to REM.” The Child: “The first time I felt I was awake and there was a little boy about 7 years old standing at the foot of my bed. I felt panic but I couldn't wake up. I was starting to scream but no noise came out of my mouth. I eventually awoke after what seemed like 1-2 minutes. The second time I was lying in bed and there was a little girl lying beside me in bed with a white and red dress on. She seemed to also be about 7 years old. She was stroking my hair but again I was paralysed and I couldn’t wake myself up.” Multiple attackers: “I remember something waking me. I looked down at the end of my bed to see a tall figure looming over me, bending over me with the room. And four other figures to its sides. I then could feel some invisible creature kneeling on my chest choking me. It felt as if there were others holding down my limbs. I tried to scream but nothing would come out. I could nearly feel my voice scraping through my throat. I struggled unable to move for a while and eventually (after what felt like hours) shot up to a sitting position and was able to whimper out a small cry.” Lying Behind a Person Sleeping On Their Side: “I was lying on my side and I was completely unable to move. I could feel a man lying in the bed. He was behind me, 'spooning' me, he had his arm wrapped around me. For some reason I knew he was a heavy man in his 40's with a bald head. I felt terrified. I was trying to move my head to look over my shoulder to see if he was real but I couldn't move a muscle. My breath was rapid and panicked. This went on for what felt like 10- 30 minutes. I was focusing on trying to move any muscle and I could feel my eyes scanning the blackness. I don’t remember how it ended. I think I managed to wake up or open my eyes for real.” When Sleeping Somewhere New: “I was asleep alone in a rented house on a family holiday. It was my first experience of sleep paralysis- I woke up in the middle of the night but could not move and tried to scream out for help but I could not scream. I was terrified. I believed I saw a figure of a dark witch above me and I felt as though I was being pushed into the bed. It felt as if it lasted for half an hour but I am sure it didn't really. When I finally managed to move I was so scared I couldn’t sleep in the room by myself that night!” Movement: “It became more levitation/being pulled from the bed, and the feeling of being pulled down into something ‘evil’ - I would feel as if I should try to maintain positive thoughts and a focus on my bed to prevent me being pulled into ‘evil’. In the last year, I’ve experienced all of these.” Unable to Scream: “Woke up early in the morning the bedroom was bright my eyes were open but I could not move or speak saw a moving dark shadow in the corner of the bedroom tried to scream and move but couldn’t then It felt like something was sitting on my chest and it was getting harder and harder to breath and I kept trying to scream and move but couldn't and then I finally woke up after what felt like ages.” -ends-

Monday, 28 November 2016

NUI Galway took home two major awards in the Postgraduate course of the year categories in the gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards which took place last Thursday in the Crown Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown. The MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security was the overall winner in the ‘Best New Postgraduate Course’ category, with the MSc Biotechnology programme winning the ‘Postgraduate Course of the Year – Science’ category. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The gradireland Awards are an important annual event, showcasing the best in postgraduate education across the island of Ireland. NUI Galway had eight programmes shortlisted to the final, ranging in disciplines including Business Analytics, Children’s Palliative Care and Coastal and Marine Environments. All NUI Galway’s shortlisted and winning programmes were chosen due to their high level of innovation and the strong focus on developing employability outcomes for graduates.” NUI Galway’s MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is a newly launched programme that will equip graduates with the balance of scientific, technical, analytical and cross-cutting skills to significantly contribute to efforts to promote sustainable agricultural production and global food security. The MSc received the award of ‘Best New Course’ in a hotly contested category with 13 other shortlisted programmes. The teaching by world-leading scientists and researchers, its inter-disciplinary nature and the strong international focus set this programme apart to win in this competitive category. NUI Galway’s MSc Biotechnology programme is the longest running course of its kind in Ireland and it continues to be the most up-to-date programme in the country. This postgraduate programme is highly regarded nationally and internationally as a programme through which students develop the skills, knowledge and experience required for a successful career in biotechnology. For more information on all of NUI Galway’s postgraduate programmes -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development is now accepting applications for its upcoming ‘Scaling a Business’ course which will run from 26 November – 2 December. The Centre is a partnership between experienced academia and proven entrepreneurs globally to provide essential applied entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and networks to support innovation and business creation and growth. The centre runs a series of focused courses, events, workshops and labs, co-designed and co-delivered between NUI Galway academics, experienced entrepreneurs, and partners. These are designed to develop and enhance entrepreneurial capabilities and skills for attendees and their teams, whether starting, scaling or innovating within organisations. The ‘Scaling a Business’ course involves intense immersion in a business-friendly delivery format, through a comprehensive series of experiential programmes. Focusing on scaling a business the course deals with scaling issues such as entrepreneurial selling, collaborative selling, relationship building and customer centricity, revenue scaling, widening the customer base, expanding the enterprise, finance and working capital, scaling models of distribution and operations, people management for scaling and growth, and developing teams and skills. ‘Scaling a Business’ involves direct mentoring and one-to-one focus, tailored and applied to a particular business or idea. Among the experienced team involved in delivering this course is Robert Rosenberg, formally at the prestigious Polsky Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth School of Business. Dr Tom Acton, Head of NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, said: “Playing an enhanced role in the development of our economy requires collaboration between academia, industry partners and proven entrepreneurs, to proactively scale companies who are based in Ireland but operating in international markets. To that end, we have partnered with the global best, to deliver focussed and applied intensive programmes in business scaling through a new centre called the Atlantic Centre for Entrepreneurship and Executive Education.  The impact of the programme is clear, evidenced by the testimonials on the web site.” The course carries 30 ECTS credits and successful completion of the course qualifies for the award of an NUI Galway Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Entrepreneurship. For more information about the course visit -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Galway Twins among the winners of prestigious Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships Graduates and students of NUI Galway featured prominently at the annual National University of Ireland (NUI) Awards ceremony which took place recently in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham taking home an impressive 40 awards. Included in this number is one recipient from St. Angela’s College in Sligo, which is a partner college of NUI Galway. A total of 25 Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes were awarded to NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, including 12 first prizes. NUI Galway students and twins Rachel and Rebecca O’Malley from Loughrea, Co. Galway, were among the first prize winners receiving scholarships in Nursing and Speech and Language Therapy respectively. Four Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary scholarships and prizes were awarded to: Christopher Finn, French; Shannon Grimes, Gaeilge, Paula Maher Martin, Italian; and Caoimhe McHugh, Spanish. Three NUI Travelling Studentships were awarded to NUI Galway students Andrew Hannon, Economics, Kiefer Ramberg, Chemistry, and Sarah Johnson, Biomedical Engineering. Other scholarships and awards include the Pierce Malone Scholarship in Philosophy which was awarded to Ashling McEvaddy, and the Mansion House Fund Prize was awarded to Christopher Breslin. The French Government Medal and NUI Prizes were awarded to Mari McMahon for Distinction on Dual Degrees and Sorchs O’Boyle for Proficiency in French. Fulbright/NUI Visiting Researcher Awards were presented to Alena Yuryna Connolly, Rosa Shine and Rita Melia. The Scoláireacht Chiste Theach an Ardmhéara/Mansion House Fund Scholarship went to Master of Arts (Nua-Ghaeilge) student Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha. Three of this year’s four NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowships were awarded to recipients who will complete their fellowship at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. They include Dr Niamh Wycherley and Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, both Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Irish and Celtic Studies, and Dr Bronagh McShane, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Humanities. Speaking on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates, President Jim Browne, said: “This year has been an exceptionally successful one for our students and staff in terms of NUI Awards received. It clearly highlights the quality of research underway at NUI Galway as well as high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate the Awardees on their achievements and encourage them in the future endeavours. In commending the studentaward recipients, I’d also like to pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting these students and in helping them to achieve such high standards.” This Year the NUI commissioned commemorative medals to mark the 1916 Easter Rising anniversary. At the awards ceremony each award recipient was presented with one of the commemorative medals by the Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning. Next year’s NUI Awards competition will open for applications in early 2017. More information on the awards can be found at -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Over 1,500 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from Tuesday, 22 November to Thursday, 25 November. Speaking at the opening ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate all our graduands and extend a warm welcome to their parents, families and friends. We are delighted to acknowledge their outstanding achievements and wish them continued success in the future.” Over 60 students will be conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) over the three days. In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, and Masters will be awarded to students graduating from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. -Ends- Bronnadh an Gheimhridh in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnfar céim ar bhreis is 1,500 mac léinn as cúig choláiste OÉ Gaillimh idir Dé Máirt, an 22 agus Déardaoin, an 24 Samhain, i searmanais bronnta céime an gheimhridh san Ollscoil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, ag an searmanas: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, déanaim comhghairdeas lenár gcéimithe ar fad agus tá fearadh na fáilte roimh a dtuismitheoirí, a dteaghlaigh agus a gcairde. Tá ríméad orainn aitheantas a thabhairt dá gcuid éachtaí agus guímid gach rath orthu san am atá le teacht.” Ina measc siúd, bronnadh céimeanna dochtúireachta ar 60 mac léinn le linn na dtrí lá. Sa bhreis air sin, bronnfar céimeanna, ard-dioplómaí, agus Máistreachtaí ar mhic léinn ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta; agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Students from the NUI Galway Masters in Human Resource Management (HRM) and Strategy, Innovation and People Management (SIPM) programmes recently completed applied Human Resources projects with leading local and national companies across a range of industries and sectors.  Led by NUI Galway’s Dr Alma McCarthy, the students applied theory and best practice to address contemporary HR challenges facing six leading organisations, including Medtronic, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Accenture, Deloitte, Shannon Group and Saolta/HSE. Each of the participating companies identified a current HR challenge they face and the students completed research on best practice to recommend solutions to the companies.  Challenges included effectively managing multigenerational workforces, talent attraction and retention, health and well-being in the workplace, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction surveys.  Speaking about the event, Dr Alma McCarthy, Head of Management at NUI Galway, said: “One of the key challenges with university education is how to make learning as real and applied as possible. This innovative project required our Masters students to work on real HR challenges and issues for leading companies so they could apply theory to practice. The companies got some really good ideas which they plan to use in implementing their HR strategy.” The MSc in HRM and the MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management are both approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) for accreditation at the advanced level. Students on these programmes can achieve Associate Membership of CIPD. After graduation, as they build professional experience, they can progress through the professional stages of CIPD membership from Chartered Member to Chartered Fellow.  Further information on both programmes is available at -Ends-