Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Yield Lab, the United States’ first food and agriculture technology business accelerator, announced the launch of the Yield Lab Galway in the PorterShed Galway on Friday, 15 July.  The Yield Lab Galway is a food and agriculture technology venture fund and business accelerator which is now located in Galway, Ireland. Yield Lab Galway is a significant boost to the investment opportunities available to emerging agri-tech and agri-innovation spinouts from NUI Galway. The Yield Lab is an early-stage venture fund and business accelerator that invests $100,000 in early stage food and agricultural technology (AgTech) startups, provides one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities supported by agriculture focused organizations and businesses from the St. Louis region. Professor Charles Spillane, Head of the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway highlighted that: “The Yield Lab’s establishment of its first European base in Galway is extremely exciting for the translation of agri-research activities into agri-innovations and startup agri-technology companies. The multi-disciplinary PABC looks forward to collaborating and working closely with Yield Lab Galway as one of it key investment and startup partners. The sustainable intensification challenges facing the agriculture and food sector in Ireland and internationally present opportunities and necessities for development of disruptive agri-innovations that the Yield Lab can foster.”  Agriculture is a leading industry in the U.S. Midwest, with extensive business connections to the St. Louis region and beyond. The diversity, central location, and solid business community support makes the St. Louis region a leading market for AgTech expansion. St. Louis is a sister city with Galway, which has an emerging and vibrant agri-innovation system. “We believe finding innovative solutions to sustainably feed the world’s rapidly growing population is the biggest problem facing human kind today,” said Yield Lab Managing Director Thad Simons. “The launch of the Yield Lab Galway is the appropriate next step and will provide greater access to financial and strategic opportunities for both our St. Louis and Galway based investments.” The Yield Lab Galway has been established on the same building blocks and strategy of sourcing, transacting, and mentoring as the Yield Lab in St. Louis. The fund plans to invest in 8- 12 companies over the next two years. Each Galway-based food and AgTech startup will receive up to €100,000 and participate in a twelve-month accelerator program. Dr John Breslin, one of the founders of the PorterShed and a PABC Principal Investigator, highlighted significant synergies between The Yield Lab and the NUI Galway AgTechInnovate program which he leads. He indicated that: “AgTechInnovate is a new Fellowship Programme from NUI Galway which aims to create interdisciplinary teams of technology entrepreneurs (“techpreneurs”) who are embedded in a particular domain for 6-8 weeks to identify real needs, following which they invent, implement and iterate solutions. In the case of AgTechInnovate, this would be in an agricultural environment, with our initial plans to immerse the 2016 AgTechInnovate team in 10 large dairy farms. “Spinouts emerging from AgTechInnovate will have the opportunity to pitch to the local Yield Lab Galway for investment. The establishment of Yield Lab Galway will further strengthen the agri-innovation ecosystem in the West of Ireland, which includes the NUI Galway PABC, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College, GMIT and agri-innovators like JFC, Food 360 and McHale.” “AgTech companies work in a global economy and our goal is to build a bridge to St. Louis for Irish AgTech companies looking for a U.S. footprint,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “In St. Louis, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, and our economic development strategies in the 21st Century must be bold and innovative as well.” The St. Louis Regional Chamber has made a founding investment in the Yield Lab Galway from its Spirit of St. Louis Ventures fund, which has previously made founding investments in five early-stage business accelerators as part of a comprehensive strategy to support the formation of early-stage capital and to support entrepreneurs. Galway was the obvious choice for the Yield Lab to establish a European footprint due to the strong relationship as a sister city with St. Louis. It also offers a number of regional resources such as the multi-disciplinary NUI Galway PABC, GMIT, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College and a central location to the agricultural production systems of the west of Ireland. Galway has built itself into an entrepreneurial stronghold, boasting a thriving technology park and growing support ecosystem for innovators. “Cultivation Capital has developed a significant interest in agricultural technologies,” said General Partner Rick Holton. “The Yield Lab has provided us with valuable insight into their portfolio companies that has consistently presented Cultivation with the opportunity to capitalize on promising investments. This was the value proposition that led us to invest in St. Louis, and this is why we are investing in Galway.” “The new Yield Lab partnership enables a two-way street of economic activity between St. Louis and Galway. The growing Yield Lab portfolio in both regions will now have overseas networks to leverage. The Yield Lab Galway portfolio companies will attend a programming session in St. Louis to provide them with opportunities to access US markets and alternative sources of capital, and the Yield Lab St. Louis companies will be encouraged to leverage the resources unique to Galway. This marks a critical milestone for the St. Louis entrepreneurial and economic ecosystem. This bridge of economic activity with Galway should bring further opportunities for St. Louis.” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Elite Athlete Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2016/17. The University has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer, Rugby and Archery as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Sunday, 31 July at 5pm. The scholarship programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. Michael Heskin, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said: “The University is proud to support the next generation of sporting stars. We recognise the huge commitment made by our young athletes in balancing their academic studies and their elite training schedules. NUI Galway through the Elite Scholarship programme provides supports to those athletes who have podium dreams and thus the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential in the sporting and academic context.”  NUI Galway has had an outstanding record in supporting young athletes in developing their sporting and academic careers in recent years, with scholarship athletes winning senior All-Ireland GAA titles, winning and competing at World Championship level in their chosen sport and dozens of NUI Galway students representing their country and a number who have gone on to professional careers in a number of sports. Applicants for Elite sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner or be a currently enrolled student at NUI Galway. For the scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including Strength and Conditioning, Performance Nutrition, Performance planning and mentoring and Medical and Physiotherapy support. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html. -Ends- Seans amháin eile ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh  Tá seans amháin eile agaibh le hiarratas a chur isteach ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt Scoth-lúthchleasaíochta OÉ Gaillimh 2016/17. Tá dea-cháil ar an Ollscoil le fada as a fheabhas a éiríonn lena cuid mac léinn i gcúrsaí spóirt agus cuireadh leis an gcáil seo le déanaí le héachtaí Rámhaíochta, Iomána, Cispheile, Sacair, Rugbaí agus Boghdóireachta agus le héachtaí a rinne go leor daoine aonair. Is é 5pm Dé Domhnaigh, an 31 Iúil an spriocdháta d’iarratais ó mhic léinn reatha agus ó mhic léinn nua. Tá an clár scoláireachtaí dírithe ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth a chláraíonn mar mhic léinn san Ollscoil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Michael Heskin, Stiúrthóir Spóirt agus Gníomhaíochta Fisiciúla OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-bhród ar an Ollscoil as a bheith ag tacú leis an gcéad ghlúin réaltaí spóirt eile. Aithnímid go bhfuil díograis ar leith á léiriú ag ár lúthchleasaithe óga agus iad ag iarraidh cothromaíocht a bhaint amach idir an staidéar acadúil agus a gcuid sceideal traenála scoth-lúthchleasaíochta. Tríd an gclár Scoláireachtaí Scoth-lúthchleasaíochta, cuireann OÉ Gaillimh tacaíocht ar fáil do na lúthchleasaithe sin arb é mian a gcroí a bheith ina seasamh ar an bpóidiam lá éigin. Tugtar gach seans dóibh le barr cumais a bhaint amach i saol an spóirt agus sa saol acadúil.”  Tá tacaíocht tugtha arís is arís eile ag OÉ Gaillimh do lúthchleasaithe óga atá ag iarraidh a ngairm spóirt agus a ngairm acadúil a fhorbairt le blianta beaga anuas. Bhuaigh lúthchleasaithe a raibh scoláireacht spóirt ó OÉ Gaillimh acu craobh shinsir na hÉireann sna cluichí Gaelacha, agus tá siad ag buachan agus ag iomaíocht ar leibhéal domhanda sna spóirt ar roghnaigh siad tabhairt fúthu. Tá na scórtha de mhic léinn OÉ Gaillimh ag déanamh ionadaíochta ar a dtír dhúchais agus chuaigh cuid acu le spóirt éagsúla mar ghairm bheatha. Ní mór dóibh sin ar mian leo cur isteach ar scoláireachtaí spóirt scoth-lúthchleasaíochta critéir acadúla iontrála OÉ Gaillimh a shásamh agus ní mór dóibh iarratas a bheith déanta acu tríd an CAO ar an ngnáthbhealach nó a bheith cláraithe mar mhac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh cheana féin. Déanfaidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn a shásaíonn riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile a roghnú ar bhonn fiúntais. Mar aon leis an scoláireacht féin, beidh tacaíocht le fáil ag na mic léinn ó speisialtóirí maidir le Neart agus Aclú, Cothú Réamh-iomaíochta agus pleanáil agus meantóireacht Réamh-iomaíochta, agus beidh tacaíocht Leighis agus Fisiteiripe ar fáil acu. Tuilleadh eolais faoin Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. Ní mór gach iarratas a dhéanamh ar líne ag http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Although hand hygiene is known to be the key to preventing hospital acquired infections such as MRSA, compliance with good hygiene practices remains low. With healthcare-associated infections affecting, on average, 5% of hospitalised patients in Ireland[i], NUI Galway is to lead a Health Research Board funded project to improve hand hygiene practice. The three-year project will provide theoretical valid and practical tools and methodologies for improving hand hygiene compliance in Irish Intensive Care Units. Effective hand hygiene practices are considered to be the most important strategy for preventing healthcare-associated infections. However, compliance with good hand hygiene practices has been historically low, leading to a national and international focus on improving hand hygiene practices. “International bodies have made recommendations for how to improve hand hygiene practices, but there are serious weaknesses in the research evidence to guide the implementation of these interventions. As a result, infection control practices are not based on sound scientific knowledge, may be of limited effectiveness, and resources are not being used efficiently”, explains Dr Paul O’Connor, the Principal Investigator of the project. “Although the hand hygiene procedure itself is simple, the behaviour related to hand hygiene is complex and is not readily understood, explained, or changed”, continued Dr O’Connor. “We want to explore all the factors at play in the ICU setting, by involving all key stakeholders such as patients, nurses, doctors, healthcare providers and regulators. Collaboratively, we will identify the barriers for effective hand hygiene to ensure that limited resources are being used effectively. The goal is provide direction on ‘how’ standards of hand hygiene can be achieved rather than only defining ‘what’ standards must be achieved.” -ends-  [i]http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/hl/hcaiamr/healthcareassinfection/howcommonhealthcareinfections/

Monday, 18 July 2016

10 risk factors are same worldwide, with regional variation Ten risk factors, that can be modified, are responsible for nine of 10 strokes worldwide, but the ranking of those factors vary regionally, says a study led researchers from NUI Galway and McMaster University, Canada. Prevention of stroke is a major public health priority, but the variation by region should influence the development of strategies for reducing stroke risk, say the authors of the study published in The Lancet today. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries. The two major types of stroke include ischaemic stroke caused by blood clots, which accounts for 85% of strokes, and haemorrhagic stroke or bleeding into the brain, which accounts for 15% of strokes. The study led by Dr Martin O'Donnell of HRB-Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway and formerly McMaster University and Dr Salim Yusuf of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, and collaborators from 32 countries, builds on findings from the first phase of the INTERSTROKE study which identified ten modifiable risk factors for stroke in 6,000 participants from 22 countries. This full-scale INTERSTROKE study added 20,000 individuals from 32 countries in Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Australia, and sought to  identify the main causes of stroke in diverse populations, young and old, men and women and within subtypes of stroke. “This study has the size and scope to explore stroke risk factors in all major regions of the world and within key populations,” said O’Donnell, a stroke physician at Saolta University Healthcare Group. “We have confirmed that ten modifiable risk factors are associated with 90% of stroke risk in all parts of the world, in both men and women, and in younger and older people. The study also confirms that hypertension is the most important modifiable risk factor in all regions, and the key target in reducing the burden of stroke globally.” The investigators looked at the different risk factors, and determined the proportion of strokes which would be cut if the risk factor disappeared. The number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48%) if hypertension was eliminated; trimmed by more than a third (36%) if people were physically active; and shaved by almost one fifth (19%) if they had better diets. In addition, this proportion was cut back by 12% if smoking was eliminated; 9% for cardiac (heart) causes, 4% for diabetes, 6% for alcohol intake, 6% for stress, and 27% for lipids (the study used apolipoproteins, which was found to be a better predictor of stroke than total cholesterol). Many of these risk factors are known to also be associated with each other (such as obesity and diabetes), and when were combined together, the total for all 10 risk factors was 91%, which was similar in all regions, age groups and in men and women. However, the importance of some risk factors appeared to vary by region. For example, the importance of hypertension ranged from 38.8% in western Europe, North America, and Australia to 59.6% in Southeast Asia. The risk of alcohol was lowest in Western Europe, North America and Australia but highest in Africa and south Asia, while the potential impact of physical inactivity was highest in China.  An irregular heart rhythm, or atrial fibrillation, was significantly associated with ischaemic stroke in all regions, but was of greater importance in Western Europe, North America and Australia, than in China or South Asia. However, when all 10 risk factors were included together, their collective importance was similar in all regions. “Our findings will inform the development of global population-level interventions to reduce stroke, and how such programs may be tailored to individual regions,” said Yusuf, a professor of medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and director of the PHRI. “This includes better health education, more affordable healthy food, avoidance of tobacco and more affordable medication for hypertension and dyslipidaemia.” Along with the study, The Lancet published a related comment from New Zealand researchers Valery L. Feigin and Rita Krishnamurthi from the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences, of Auckland’s University of Technology. They said the key messages from the study were that stroke is a highly preventable disease globally, regardless of age and sex; that the relative importance of modifiable risk factors means there should be development of regional or ethnic-specific primary prevention programmes, and that additional research on stroke risk factors is needed for countries and ethnic groups not included in INTERSTROKE. “Now is the time for governments, health organizations, and individuals to proactively reduce the global burden of stroke. Governments of all countries should develop and implement an emergency action plan for the primary prevention of stroke,” they wrote. ENDS

Monday, 18 July 2016

NUI Galway will hold an information evening for those interested in renting a room or a house to students on Thursday, 21 July at 6.00pm in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn. The evening will provide free advice and information on how a person can earn up to €12,000 tax free by renting to students and how to ensure a good experience for both the householder and the student. The University will also provide free advertising for the properties. John Hannon, Director of Student Services at NUI Galway said: “This is a great opportunity; it is a ‘win-win’ situation for the householder, the student, their family and the University. We have really positive feedback from people who have rented a room. It is more than the opportunity to earn income tax free - there is also a social benefit from each other’s company and increased safety for student and householder.” For further information contact Teresa Kelly in NUI Galway’s Accommodation Office on 091 492364 or email teresa.kelly@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 15 July 2016

NUI Galway offers heartiest congratulations to the Galway 2020 team following the announcement this afternoon that Galway has been designated the European Capital of Culture for 2020. Our congratulations to City Manager Brendan McGrath along with his dedicated staff and all involved with to the Galway 2020 bid, the volunteers and general public for their overwhelming engagement with the bid process especially in recent months when a united front was visible from all communities across the city and county. This is a massive win today for Galway, one that will see lasting and transformative benefits for years to come, and one that has seen over 18 months of sheer hard work for all involved. Their success with this bid is reflective of the commitment shown on this journey to securing the European City of Culture title. This has made the University, the city, the county and the province proud, extremely proud. As a major supporter and contributor to many of the projects, NUI Galway is delighted to offer its further commitment with this phenomenal Galway 2020 success. Comhghairdeas ó chroí le foireann Gaillimh2020 Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa 2020  Tréaslaíonn Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ó chroí le foireann Gaillimh 2020 agus an fógra déanta tráthnóna inniu gurb í Gaillimh atá le bheith ina Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa sa bhliain 2020. Déanaimid comhghairdeas leis an mBainisteoir Cathrach Brendan McGrath agus leis an bhfoireann dhúthrachtach a bhí ag obair in éineacht leis ar an iarratas, leis na hoibrithe deonacha agus leis an bpobal trí chéile as a rannpháirtíocht ghníomhach sa phróiseas, go mór mór le cúpla mí anuas nuair ba léir go raibh pobail uile an chontae agus na cathrach aontaithe agus ar a ndícheall. Is iontach an gaisce é seo ag Gaillimh inniu agus cuirfear athrú suntasach chun feabhais ar an áit ar feadh na mblianta amach romhainn dá bharr. Is toradh iontach é ar an obair chéadach a rinne daoine go leor le 18 mí anuas. Is breá an léiriú ar an díograis agus an obair éachtach a rinne siad é scéala an lae inniu go bhfuil an stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa bainte amach ag Gaillimh. Tá bród as cuimse ar an Ollscoil, ar an gcathair, ar an gcontae agus ar an gcúige. Agus tacaíocht mhór tugtha aici go dtí seo do thionscadail iomadúla an fheachtais seo, is mór ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tuilleadh cabhrach fós a thabhairt amach anseo do Ghaillimh 2020. Comhghairdeas ó chroí le foireann Gaillimh 2020 An Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Edel Browne has been announced as the winner of U Magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ in the contribution to STEM and was named as one of the Sunday Business Post’s ‘30 Under 30’ for Technology. Nineteen-year-old Edel from Athenry, Co. Galway is in second year of a BSc in Biotechnology at NUI Galway. She is the founder and CEO of Free Feet Medical, a multi-award winning medical device designed to treat gait freezing for people with Parkinson's disease and is the Student Entrepreneur in Residence in Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. She is a past participant on the STEMette's Outbox Incubator in London, a founding member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland, and a global youth ambassador for AAT (America’s Amazing Teens). Edel has also secured her place as one of 11 Nissan Generation Next ambassadors after a month of public voting. A total of 81,000 votes were cast for 20 finalists, with the top seven automatically qualifying to join the ambassador programme. The Nissan Generation Next is about helping the best and brightest on the road to success and she plans to use her new Nissan to travel to Parkinson’s Associations across Ireland to present her work and to conduct market research to improve Free Feet Medical’s product so that she can bring it to market. Speaking on the awards Edel said: “I'm absolutely thrilled to be recognised for my work in STEM promotion and Entrepreneurship by both the Sunday Business Post and U Magazine. It’s fantastic for hard work and dedication to be recognised, on a national and international scale, among such inspiring peers. Becoming a #NissanGenNext Ambassador also means that I have an outstanding opportunity to represent both the brand, the University, and it’s an excellent opportunity for Free Feet.” Mary Carty, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Edel, and delighted to see that her hard work and commitment is being recognised. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Edel and Free Feet Medical.” Edel has been chosen as one of 30 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leaders for 2016 and one of 200 ‘Founders of the Future’. She was listed among the top 38 Women in Tech in Ireland in 2015, named one to watch by The Irish Times, and was awarded the Best Individual Award at the BT Young Scientist competition in 2013. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Those aboard NASA’s Aquarius undersea research station will participate in a live, public video link-up with their NUI Galway-based clinician Dr Derek O’Keeffe on Friday, 22 July. The link up will be preceded by a public talk on Telemedicine at 12 noon in the Clinical Science Institute, NUI Galway. The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) is sending a group of six astronauts, engineers and scientists to live aboard the Aquarius habitat, 20 metres under the sea off the Florida coast for three weeks, from next week. Dr Derek O’Keeffe, Clinical Fellow NUI Galway has been selected as the Flight Surgeon for Telemedicine for the mission. As an expert in telemedicine, he will be remotely monitoring the ‘Aquanauts’ during their undersea experience as an official part of the NEEMO mission. Dr O’Keeffe holds dual biomedical engineering and medical qualifications and is an expert in state of the art remote monitoring technology with a successful track record in prior spaceflight and extreme environment missions. He will oversee the ‘Aquanauts’ physiological parameters during their undersea experience and use this information to monitor crew health and to facilitate mission critical decisions (e.g. Extra Vehicular Activities - EVAs). In addition he will run several staged health emergency scenarios (e.g. cardiac / respiratory arrest) to evaluate and develop remote crisis response protocols. Dr O’Keeffe will be working with his fellow Irish colleague Dr Marc Ó Gríofa who has been chosen as one of six crew members on NEEMO Mission from 18 July 2016. “The Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analog for space exploration. NASA are also carrying out similar missions in other extreme environments, such as deserts, icefields and volcanoes around the world. Telemedicine provides us with the ability to monitor in real-time the ‘Aquanauts’ vitals. We can alert them if for some reason their heart rate goes too high or their blood pressure goes too low.” Dr O’Keeffe added: “Telemedicine is already opening up exciting new frontiers in our everyday lives, such as providing remote care to patients in medically underserved areas. In addition it is currently been used experimentally in novel healthcare applications such as chronic disease home monitoring. For example, this allows doctors to track parameters such as blood glucose or bodyweight patterns which allows them to make clinical decisions to intervene early if required. This would prevent patients with diabetes or heart failure from deteriorating and therefore improve care and ultimately prevent a hospital admission. Fast forward ten years, we would envisage that it would be the standard of care for patients to have home monitoring of physiological data for certain chronic diseases and equally for all hospitalised patients to have continuous monitoring and remote review.” -ends-

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The United Nations World Youth Report will be launched at the UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, 15 July and focuses on Youth Civic Engagement in 2016. The publication is comprised of contributions from international experts including UNESCO Chair and Director of NUI Galway’s Child and Family Research Centre Professor Pat Dolan. The report, published biennially, was commissioned in the context of an increased policy focus on youth civic engagement to counter the rise in youth radicalisation and the growing disenfranchisement among young people with traditional forms of political participation.  The United Nations World Youth Report spans economic, political and community civic engagement models. These elements, grounded in discourses over the purpose and nature of youth as citizens, highlight a number of societal benefits to better recognition of young people as contributors to the development of their communities and society. The Report calls for the development of inclusive policies and decision-making processes that facilitate meaningful engagement and active partnership by young people.   Professor Dolan said: “At a very real and human level this world youth report demonstrates that positive engagement of youth, in real ways in school and community settings, is core to future of Irish civic society, and needs and deserves fuller respect by adults including politicians. Young people when given the opportunity are equally, if not more empathic and willing than adults, and more than willing to play a positive role – youth are civic actors now and into the future.” In a context-setting piece, UNESCO Chairs Pat Dolan and Mark Brennan of Pennsylvania State argue that perspectives that see youth as individuals with the positive motivation and skills to contribute to their communities have immediate benefits in terms of young people becoming more involved as collaborators, team members, leaders and decision makers within their communities while also setting up young people on a lifetime course of broader engagement in political and economic life.  For further information on the United Nations World Youth Report visit www.unworldyouthreport.org. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

NUI Galway hosted the first ever Symposium on Student Volunteering this month to build the peer-reviewed research landscape needed to address the scarcity in student engagement literature from the Irish higher education perspective. The recent expansion of Irish Higher Education Institutions community engagement initiatives supporting student volunteering raises important questions and the Symposium is a critical, safe place to build a scholarly layer of enquiry.  The symposium, which was attended by volunteer coordinators from across Ireland, saw a showcase of research findings on volunteer motivations, barriers, and experiences from NUI Galway, DCU, NGOs, Comhlámh and Gaisce. Keynote speaker Clare Holdsworth, Professor of Social Geography from Keele University, gave an address on the latest research on youth engagement. She outlined good practice in research methods as well as the common challenges and drawbacks of statistical analysis. Her keynote addressed the mobilisation of employability skills as an outcome of volunteering, valuing and nurturing voluntary activity as an end in itself and critiquing graduate attributes discourses. Symposium supporters include Volunteer Ireland, studentvolunteer.ie, NUI Galway Students’ Union and Campus Engage.  The Symposium focused on the following themes: build understanding on the scale of student volunteering how to begin researching your student volunteering practice and supportive research tips recognising the scholarship dimensions of student learning through extra-curricular engagement raising awareness of contemporary research into student volunteering at higher education through practice and policy levels Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Programme, ALIVE coordinator, said: “We are delighted to see a debate and discussion on a topic that can often be simply seen as a benevolent act.  Current trends and our ability to inspire the future generation of volunteers are at stake. We hope annually we can lead the national conversation and create rich theory and data to create the policies needed to support student civic learning.” For further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/community-engagement/studentvolunteering or www.studentvolunteer.ie/news/symposium-on-student-volunteering. -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions from milk and meat production is a major challenge for Ireland. To help address this and other related challenges, Teagasc and NUI Galway today announced the establishment of a Strategic Research and Training Alliance on Carbon-Neutral Agriculture. The new partnership will accelerate an inter-disciplinary portfolio of training and research approaches and innovations. Building from existing collaborative activities between both institutions, the Strategic Alliance will see new postgraduate courses come on stream, and a range of new research projects aimed at transitioning our agriculture and food systems to a lower carbon footprint. Recent analyses have revealed that current agricultural interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the global level will only deliver 21-40% of target, indicating need for transformative technical and policy options. The agri-food sector in Ireland is our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The targets to dramatically grow the Irish agrifood sector by 2020/2025 are likely to result in Ireland exceeding its national targets for greenhouse gas emissions triggering major fines. Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, stressed that: “The Climate Change agenda presents many challenges for Ireland in transitioning to a low carbon climate resilient economy not least of which will be how we manage our overall emissions profile. These challenges are well understood by Government as reflected in the National Policy Position on Climate Action which envisages an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production. The role of research and innovation in informing the implementation of such policy is a key consideration and I am therefore delighted to see this Alliance launched today and look forward seeing outcomes which can inform our thinking on the most appropriate pathways towards supporting both climate change adaptation and mitigation for the Irish agri-food sector.” The Teagasc and NUI Galway Strategic Alliance will combine the expertise and strengths of both institutions to foster the research and training necessary for both climate change adaptation and mitigation for the Irish agri-food sector. Today’s agreement builds on the existing MoU between Teagasc and the inter-disciplinary Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) in NUI Galway. The Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle and the President of NUI Galway President Jim Browne agreed that the combined research and training efforts of both organisations will support both climate change adaptation and mitigation for the Irish agri-food sector. Head of the NUI Galway PABC, Professor Charles Spillane indicates that: “FAO indicates that over half of farming’s direct climate impact is currently caused by methane released by livestock and from their manure. Climate change concerns combined with dietary guideline drivers are now major challenges for the agri-food sector, particularly for higher carbon-footprint milk and meat products. There is a need, and indeed an opportunity, for NUI Galway, Teagasc and our other partners across Ireland to develop the next-generation of innovations to reduce the carbon-footprint of agriculture.” To generate impact and promote an inter-disciplinary approach, the Teagasc and NUI Galway Strategic Alliance will bring together research and researchers across many subject areas ranging from agri-biosciences, engineering, informatics, economics, marketing and agri-business. The Alliance will have a particular focus on postgraduate (PhD and Masters) research and training, with the launch of a new jointly-developed Structured PhD Programme in Plant and AgriBiosciences, and a new Structured Masters degree in AgriBiosciences. Both of the new programs contain advanced training modules that are jointly designed and delivered by leading experts from NUI Galway, Teagasc, industry and stakeholder groups. These new qualifications are in addition to the Masters degree in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MScCCAFS) which NUI Galway is running in collaboration with the global CCAFS programme and national partners such as Teagasc. Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc said: “We are excited by the prospect of the new structured PhD researcher programme between NUI Galway and Teagasc having tailor-made modules on the Irish Agri-Food Sector, Agri-Sustainability, Agri-Business and Agri-Communications delivered jointly by Teagasc and NUI Galway staff.” The new structured PhD program will build upon existing activities between both institutions. Since 2000, Teagasc has supported 63 Walsh Fellowship PhD researchers at NUI Galway with an investment of over €5.5 million, and is engaged in a wide range of collaborative research projects with NUI Galway PABC research groups. To deepen the integration of research and training activities between the two institutions, Teagasc has appointed five leading NUI Galway experts as Adjunct members of Teagasc, while leading Teagasc experts are being appointed as Adjunct Faculty of the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC). One such expert is Professor Colin O’Dowd who runs NUI Galway’s Mace Head Climate Observatory. He highlighted that: “There are emerging inter-disciplinary opportunities for more accurate measurement and management of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture arising from advances in satellite remote sensing and informatics, that NUI Galway and Teagasc will combine efforts on.”   The Head of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme, Professor Cathal O’Donoghue further indicated that: “The Strategic Alliance also includes a new Executive Education Program between Teagasc, SFSI (Sustainable Food Systems Ireland) and NUI Galway which is aimed at agri-food managers and leaders and aims to transfer the lessons from Ireland’s experience in developing and implementing a sustainability strategy within the agri-food sector.”  -ends- 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Company to create 20 new roles over next two years DiaNia Technologies, an innovative materials technology company based in NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre, has secured €2 million in seed-funding to utilise materials science to facilitate the development of disruptive catheter based medical devices. The investment was led by four key investors - Helen Ryan, Liam Farrissey, Ian Quinn and Gearóid Faherty - and also included the HBAN’s Medtech Business Angel Syndicate and Enterprise Ireland. The funding will allow DiaNia Technologies to develop and commercialise the first application of its proprietary materials science technology which will enhance the performance and functionality of medical devices resulting in increased patient safety and improved product performance. The technology works by providing in-built low friction at the surface of an extrusion, delivering a paradigm shift in the manipulation of friction on both the inside and outside surface of extruded catheter shafts. This inherent lubricity in the main component of a catheter will eliminate the industry’s need for expensive liners and coatings.  It is estimated that the global market potential for this material science technology is in excess of €250 million. DiaNia Technologies expects to create 20 new jobs over the next two years. These will include a number of specialised materials science and extrusion positions as well as roles in quality assurance, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, marketing and finance. DiaNia Technologies was founded in 2013 by Sinéad Kenny and Mark Mellett, who both have extensive experience in the medical device industry. Sinéad, who has a degree in Materials Science, and a PhD in Biomedical Cements, has previously worked with a host of multinational companies, consultancies and start-ups including Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Altran and Creganna Medical, developing devices for a wide variety of applications. Mark, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, has held a variety of senior roles in various international companies including Deloitte, Kerry Group, Oracle and more recently Alere, where he is Director of Toll Manufacturing. Sinead Kenny, CEO of DiaNia Technologies, said:“This €2million investment will accelerate the product arriving to market and will be of benefit to manufacturers and ultimately clients, around the world. Delivering a technology which has the ability to both improve the experience and outcome for the patient as well as making the end device safer and more efficient to produce are the drivers behind our extensive R&D programme.  We are excited to be supported by such a knowledgeable group of investors who share our vision of advancing the next generation of medical devices through innovative materials technology.” Helen Ryan, one of the lead investors in DiaNia Technologies, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment for Galway. There is a strong med-tech knowledge base in the West of Ireland and we’re looking forward to developing the technology to build a long term sustainable company. This is a unique opportunity for materials scientists to show how significant their knowledge is in enabling innovation in the industry.” Find out more about DiaNia Technologies at www.dianiatechnologies.com Ends

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Over 40 second level students attended the annual Computer Science and Information Technology Summer School in NUI Galway recently. The students were treated to a host of guest lectures and workshop activities across a range of exciting themes. One of the many highlights throughout the day was a practical demonstration of corporate security vulnerability through secret message encryption which was led by Dr Michael Schukat. Students learned of the historical significance of cyphers from early Roman times through to World War 2 and the Cold War. The students got to encrypt secret messages during the session by embedding hidden codes within software files that might appear to be simply basic images but can actually contain hidden information in encrypted format using an approach called steganography. The implications for modern day organisations for this type of communication are huge when dealing with sensitive trading data or intellectual property.  Academic Coordinator Dr Enda Howley said: “The event was another huge success, with a wide range of schools in the region in attendance from Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Roscommon and Longford. We always look forward to the opportunity of welcoming second level students onto the campus and giving them a sense of university life alongside the huge potential of studying Information Technology. The job opportunities are limitless and industry employers simply cannot get enough software developers at the moment. The enthusiasm and energy of these mostly Transition Year students is almost infectious and we are already looking forward to our 2017 Summer School. ” -Ends-

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Over 170 Galway homeowners and landlords attended a recent Student Accommodation Information Evening hosted by NUI Galway. The event was organised by the University to share advice and best practice on arranging and managing student tenancies. The information evening included advice on ‘renting a room’ from John Hannon, Director of Student Services, NUI Galway, a legal briefing from Diarmuid O’Sullivan  from Threshold, and advice on what to expect from student tenants from Jimmy McGovern, President, NUI Galway Students’ Union. The information evening also focused on how the University could work in partnership with those attending to ensure a positive experience for landlords, students and the wider community. Talks were followed by a lively question-and-answer session that covered many topics, including advertising accommodation to students, managing tenants, financial issues, and supports available from the University. It was proposed that active management is the key to providing a positive experience for both landlords and tenants. It was agreed that the potential financial gain of up to €12,000 tax-free income was not the only benefit of the ‘rent a room’ initiative. John Hannon, Director of Student Services, NUI Galway, said: “The social benefits such as company for the house owner, and the provision of semi-structured accommodation for students leaving home for the first time, result in a “win-win” situation for all involved.” Feedback from the evening was very positive and a large number of homeowners have since availed of free advertising on the NUI Galway Accommodation and Welfare website, StudentPad, which is available at www.nuigstudentpad.ie. For those considering renting a room or a house to students, or you would like further information, including advice sheets and sample tenancy agreements, please contact the NUI Galway Accommodation and Welfare Office on 091 492364. ENDS

Friday, 8 July 2016

NUI Galway students’ car excels in international energy-efficiency competition Last week the Geec 2.0 (Galway energy-efficient car), designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, competed at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London. Fourteen students, from first year to PhD, travelled with three university staff members and a sponsor to prepare and drive the car on an 8-lap 18-km course around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Shell Eco-marathon is a competition in vehicle fuel-efficiency, not speed, where the winner is the team that completes the course using the least amount of energy at an average speed of at least 25 km/h. The competition includes six categories of vehicles based on different fuel types and energy sources. The Geec 2.0 competed in the battery-electric category for the second year running. It has one wheel at the back, driven by an electric motor, two wheels at the front, and an extremely low profile with the driver in a lying position. This was the first year of the competition took place in London. The Geec 2.0 successfully completed 4 full runs out of 5 attempts around the track. On the final attempt the score jumped from 157 km/kWh to 236 km/kWh. This placed the Geec 21st out of 50 competitors in its category, an advance on last year’s 23rd position, and ensured that it retained its position as Ireland’s most energy-efficient car. Dr Maeve Duffy, Lecturer in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway and one of the Academic Mentors for the Geec, said: “Shell Eco-marathon Europe is truly a festival of engineering where teams work on their cars in full view of each other and the visiting public. It’s a hugely rewarding experience for all involved, with students getting to road-test designs they’ve brought to life in a car, while we as academic supervisors see them develop into fully-fledged engineers to take full ownership of their project. Our students were excellent representatives of NUI Galway and Ireland. We are proud of how they gelled as a team and raised their game under pressure this past week.” The mission of the Geec is to show what young engineers at Irish universities are capable of when faced with a major challenge. Work on the Geec has been incorporated into student engineering projects at NUI Galway, and as well as the technical experience of designing and building the car, it develops students’ skills in teamwork, communication, project management, health and safety, ergonomics and logistics. Annual participation at Shell Eco-marathon provides a platform for rigorous testing of the student-built vehicles in a real-world, internationally competitive setting, with a primary focus on energy efficiency. To experience a snippet of Shell Eco-marathon 2016, the Geec team featured in a live Facebook video from the event on 1 July at www.facebook.com/nuigalway, and the full story of the Geec’s week at Shell Eco-marathon 2016 is available at www.theGeec.ie/blog. -Ends-

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Ireland’s thriving trade in books in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries depended on strong networks linking the country with Great Britain. An international group of researchers will meet in NUI Galway’s Moore Institute from 11-12 July to discuss how texts, authors, and workers moved between the two locations across the period. Topics under discussion include circulating libraries, publishing by subscription, the effects of the Act of Union in 1801 on integrating the book trade in Britain and Ireland, periodicals, and poetry publishing. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, said: “Research on the history of the book trade in Ireland is revealing new networks and exchanges of labour and publishing projects between Ireland and Britain. Brexit has reminded us how close these countries are economically. But the pattern has been in place for the three centuries.” Scholars from London, Oxford, Edinburgh, and Birmingham will join academics from NUI Galway and other Irish institutions for two days of discussion. For further information contact Martha Shaughnessy in the Moore Institute at Martha.shaughnessy@nuigalway.ie or 091 493902. -Ends-

Friday, 1 July 2016

Includes a virtual tour of Galway Bay above and below the waves SeaScience, an educational app developed by the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway in partnership with Galway City Museum, has now been launched. The app was designed as a companion for the SeaScience exhibition, permanently housed in the Galway City Museum, and provides the visitor with a virtually-guided tour of the exhibits. It can also be used independently without having to physically visit the museum itself. The app interactively encourages the user to learn about the marine environment by teaching in a fun way using text, audio and video content about the value and benefits of the oceans to all life on the planet. Some of the topics covered include marine pollution, the generation of renewable electricity from the sea, marine zoology, the sounds of the ocean, and effects of climate change on marine environments. “The SeaScience app can be used by adults or children all over the world. It’s a wonderful classroom resource and showcases the internationally-recognised work of our researchers across disciplines as disparate as Civil Engineering, Earth and Ocean Science, Physics, Information and Communication Technology, Modelling and Zoology. All of these disciplines worked closely together to produce the content for app,” said Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute, who spearheaded the creation of the SeaScience exhibition and the development of the app with Galway City Museum. “The SeaScience app also provides a virtual tour of Galway Bay above and below the waves. It really shines the spotlight on the city of Galway, its people and their relationship with the sea.” Eithne Verling, Director of Galway City Museum said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity of working with the Ryan Institute on this project. Our Sea Science exhibition is extremely popular with all our visitors - it gives people a great understanding of the richness and value of Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.” The app was designed by Gerald Glynn of Gesture Media and is designed to work across all platforms. It is free to download from the Apple app store and will be available shortly in the Google play store for android. Just search for “sea science”.    -ends-

Featured Stories