Friday, 20 December 2019

Medtech accelerator helps 14 companies secure €9.7 million and create 52 jobs Life Sciences start-ups benefit from extensive new state-of-the-art lab space Entrepreneurial students flourish during 2019 Industry collaboration continues to thrive New companies, new start-up spaces, national awards and student successes have marked another very successful year for innovation at NUI Galway. The year saw NUI Galway sign over 50 project agreements with industry contributing across a wide range of sectors including IT, engineering and life sciences. The university is also a collaborator on three ground-breaking projects under the recently announced Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. In 2019, start-ups including AtriAN Medical, Loci Orthopaedics, BlueDrop Medical, Cortechs and An Mheitheal Rothar - among others - saw great successes. Among the highlights of the year was the completion of the second round of the BioExel MedTech Accelerator programme, based at NUI Galway. The two-year pilot supported 14 companies who secured €9.7 million in investment and funding and created 52 jobs. The year also saw the creation of specialised laboratory space to support life sciences start-ups in the region, with room for up to 100 employees.  In recognition of her leadership role with BioExel and broader contributions to the medtech ecosystem in Ireland, Fiona Neary, Innovation Operations Manager with NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, was awarded an Achiever of the Year Award as part of Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Impact Awards. Student and Staff Innovation Entrepreneurial students across campus continued to excel in 2019, in particular those supported by NUI Galway LaunchPad, the innovation training hub on campus which has supported over 7,000 student entrepreneurs since 2016. Christopher McBrearty was announced as Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year and also featured with fellow students Emily Wallace and Aaron Hannon in the Sunday Independent Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs in Ireland. Former NUI Galway LaunchPad student entrepreneur in residence Edel Browne was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list 2019. Over 20 new innovative project ideas from collaborative student and staff projects were supported by the NUI Galway EXPLORE Programme. The projects range in topics from coastal flooding, outreach science kits, developing alumni linkages to developing the next generation of rehabilitation device for stroke victims. In 2019 the Galway Green Lab project, a newly funded project with EXPLORE was the first Lab in Europe to secure Green Lab certification. David Murphy, Director of NUI Galway’s Innovation Office, commented: “Our office plays a crucial role in driving impact for the University, with a focus on the benefits to society and the economy. The team works closely with NUI Galway’s research community to take research breakthroughs and knowledge out into society; to support collaborations with industry; to mentor spin-outs and spin-ins on campus; and to deliver programmes that engage staff and students in entrepreneurial projects.” Supporting Start-Ups and Industry There has been plenty of successes for NUI Galway spin-outs and spin-ins in 2019. Highlights include: Medical device spin-out company, AtriAN Medical closed a €2.3 million investment to commercialise a new treatment for atrial fibrillation. Loci Orthopaedics was announced as lead partner in a €2.5 million consortium to advance its device for the treatment of arthritis of the thumb under the European Commission’s ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ fund. Bluedrop Medical, a BioExel participant, successfully raised €3.7 million in 2019 with a mix of investment and EU grant funding to enable further clinical emersion of their product that has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations. Brian Shields, founder of Galway medical device NUI Galway spinout Neurent Medical, was named as Enterprise Ireland’s high potential start-up Founder of the Year. The company was also among the finalists for the 2019 Knowledge Transfer Impact Award for spinout company. Cortechs, another BioExcel participant, has created data-driven, therapeutic applications that use cognitive training, brainwaves and biofeedback data to improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The company has already received an EU grant of €1.3 million for the development of their products and is now open for seed investment of €2 million. An Mheitheal Rothar, a social-sustainable enterprise based at NUI Galway, was one of just three enterprises in Ireland to be awarded €5,000 by the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland in 2019. Irish technology start-up Joulica which is based on campus announced plans to create 45 new jobs over three years. For more information visit -Ends-

Thursday, 19 December 2019

NUI Galway launched The Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarship awards on (Monday, 16 December, 2019) in Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon along with Roscommon-natives, Mrs. Pauline Jones and her daughter Dr. Deirdre Jones. The new scholarships have been established to celebrate achievement and support students from schools in County Roscommon who wish to register for a full-time undergraduate programme at NUI Galway.  The total value of the scholarship will be €2,500 per student. Four scholarships will be awarded based on the highest Leaving Certificate scores achieved in any one year. The scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence in their Leaving Certificate and progress to undergraduate studies at NUI Galway. Students who meet the following criteria will be awarded the scholarships: Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending Scoil Mhuire, Clochar na Trócaire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Two students with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any other school in Co. Roscommon. The award will be limited to a maximum of one medical student with the highest Leaving Certificate score, which was sat while attending any school in County Roscommon. To be eligible for the award, students are asked to: Register their interest in the award by completing the online scholarship application on or before 1st August. Have applied for any full-time Undergraduate course at NUI Galway via the CAO, for the academic year in which the scholarship is awarded. Upon receipt and acceptance of CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Have attended and sat the Leaving Cert at any school in County Roscommon. Speaking at the launch in Roscommon, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Education is key to supporting society’s development and as part of the scholarships, NUI Galway is committed to providing the opportunity of a university education to students in Co. Roscommon, who strive to excel in their Leaving Certificate and progress to third level studies. We are very grateful to the Jones Family for their generous support of this initiative, which aims to celebrate achievements in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. We look forward to welcoming the first four scholarship awardees at the start of our new academic year in September 2020. The Scholarship is the embodiment of NUI Galway’s values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability - respect for education, excellence in our students, openness to all and sustaining the next generation.” The ‘Pauline & Bunnie Jones Scholarships’ was established to promote excellence and celebrate academic achievement in secondary schools in Co. Roscommon. The Jones Family is the benefactor of this scholarship which will be awarded through Galway University Foundation. For online scholarship applications and more information, visit: -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Academics from NUI Galway’s School of Education have been awarded research funding for a three-year international project that will develop teachers’ research skills and networking practices. The researchers, Dr Tony Hall and Dr Cornelia Connolly, have been awarded European funding for the project, which will develop teachers into teacher researchers and evidence informed practitioners through an innovative infrastructure. Aligning to the work conducted nationally by the T-REX consortium (which includes NUI Galway, the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Marino Institute of Education), this funding was awarded through the Erasmus+ programme, and will  support international partnerships seeking to enhance education. The NUI Galway have been joined with research partners from across Europe including the UK, Poland, Greece and Spain. Dr Tony Hall, Deputy Head, School of Education, said: “The development of a network of research teachers will reduce the gap between research and individual teaching practice, thereby giving back agency to the very people who will need to make use of, and who should be driving forward, research in schools.” Dr Cornelia Connolly, Co-Principal Investigator, added: “The project will deliver freely accessible tools to enable teachers to access research, help them design and carry out their own small scale projects, and publish and share their findings with peer groups across the EU.” The project will seek to inform teacher education practice in its partner countries and strategically target stakeholders and policy makers at its seven external multiplier events. The resources will also be made freely available for across the European Union, following project completion in August 2022. -Ends-

Monday, 16 December 2019

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘What does climate change really have to do with human rights?’ at NUI Galway. The event will take place on Thursday, 19 December, from 12.30-2pm in the Distillery Buildings, Law Library, Dublin 7, and is co-hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and the Human Rights Committee, Bar of Ireland. This event marks the launch in Dublin of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, led by Dr Maeve O’Rourke, which includes a focus on climate justice and Ireland’s (non-)performance regarding its climate change mitigation obligations. The lecture will be chaired by Chief Justice, Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, and will draw from Professor Alston’s recent UN report on climate change and human rights, in which he described the extreme inequality and suffering that climate change is causing around the world and the steps that governments - and all members of society - particularly in wealthier countries need to take, urgently, to address the climate crisis. Commenting on the upcoming event, UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston said: “Climate change is going to affect all of us, and dramatically, but you’d never know that from the reaction of the legal and human rights communities.” UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Alston, will address the threats posed by climate change to the future of human rights, and the risk that progress made on human rights, poverty reduction and democratic governance, will be undone. He will highlight the need for human rights activists, lawyers, scientists and Governments to act now, with greater urgency, mobilising policy measures, law reform initiatives and human rights advocacy to secure policy and legislative changes. Professor Alston will also reflect on recent global developments as people globally, and young people in particular, put increasing pressure on their governments to act. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “Climate change threatens human rights, including the most fundamental of rights, the right to life. Globally, rights to livelihoods, health, housing, and decent work, are facing urgent and destructive threats globally and locally. Human rights activists, lawyers, Governments and policy-makers need to mobilise and to take courageous and bold steps now to safeguard the future of our children and the fragile protections of human rights that we have fought to defend.” Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “It has been estimated that the richest 10% of the world’s population are responsible for almost half of total lifestyle consumption emissions. At the other end of the income scale, the poorest 50% of people on the planet are responsible for only 10% of total lifestyle consumption emissions. While contributing the least to causing the climate change problem, it is the poorest and marginalised in our societies that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and shocks.” Professor Spillane stressed: “As the world’s leaders assemble for the COP25 climate negotiations in Madrid, there are major action challenges to be addressed relating to both reducing emissions and distributive justice to strengthen the climate change resilience of the poorest and most marginalised in society. While ‘Leaving No One Behind’ and ‘Reaching the furthest behind first’ has been a clarion call of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, it remains to be seen what scale of climate justice actions will be deployed by our governments and institutions towards such ambitions.”  This event will appeal to policy-makers, NGOs, Government, lawyers, and all those interested in human rights, law, politics, poverty, climate change and/or environmental issues generally. The event is free but places must be reserved on Eventbrite The UN Special Rapporteur Professor Alston's report on Climate Change and Poverty can be accessed at and a summary is available at   . -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

University to shape Legacy of European Capital of Culture with a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector NUI Galway announced its strategic partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture today (12 December 2019) at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. The partnership was officially launched by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, and Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020. As European Capital of Culture 2020, Galway has a unique opportunity to build a lasting legacy for the cultural and creative arts sector in the city and its hinterland, boosting the reputation of the city and region, and building new relationships across Europe and the wider world. As Official Legacy Partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway will support the development of a cultural legacy programme which will have a lasting impact on Galway’s creative arts sector. The multi-strand partnership to support the delivery of the legacy of Galway 2020 includes: A Legacy Cultural and Performance Space Demonstrating its commitment to Galway as European Capital of Culture 2020, the University has committed to considering the legacy of Galway 2020 in terms of space, both physical and conceptual, for the performing arts. This will build on the development of the Regeneration Master Plan for Nuns’ Island, which is being implemented in cooperation with Galway City Council. The brief for the performance space will be co-developed with Galway City Council and will involve broad consultation with cultural and arts organisations. Culture at the heart of the University’s Role Culture and the creative arts have always been at the heart of the University’s mission. NUI Galway has long been a wellspring of creative talent and is making an active contribution to building Galway’s reputation as an internationally recognised centre for culture, creativity and innovation. The University will invite ambition in research that enriches creativity and culture, and it is committed to partnering with and supporting cultural and creative organisations, regionally and nationally, to champion cultural expression for all.  The legacy of Galway 2020 will include the creation of new teaching courses – including a new Masters in Producing and Curating, the recruitment of new students into Creative Arts programmes, and the development of new local, national and European partnerships in teaching and research. NUI Galway to host Galway 2020 Events NUI Galway will become a hub for selected Galway 2020 events, bringing leading artists, researchers and audiences to the campus, expanding on its commitment to playing a leading role, as an engaged university, in the life of the City and the region. Galway 2020 events to be hosted on campus include three Gala Concerts, one with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, another with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, as well as the grand finale of Cellissimo, a major new International Triennial Cello Festival by Music for Galway. Other events include elements of Project Baa Baa, a programme of events celebrating all things sheep and a major international conference on Cultural Legacy organised by the University. To finish the year-long programme of events, NUI Galway will host a spectacular light installation illuminating the iconic Quadrangle for the Closing Ceremony of Galway 2020 in January 2021. Dedicated Projects for 2020 Galway 2020 in association with NUI Galway will present two further projects in the Galway 2020 programme – The Immersive Classroom and Aistriú. The Immersive Classroom aims to engage students, educators, and the general public in critical debates about the way we think about our world, knowledge and embodied learning by using innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Aistriú will focus on Irish language literature on the theme of migration, shedding new light on some of the best-known Irish language writers. Earlier this year, a four-week capacity-building workshop, Future Landscapes, featured an exhibition showcasing work drawn from theatre, visual and digital arts, and animation. European Cultural Parliament comes to Galway The University hopes to bring members of the European Cultural Parliament to Galway and its regions to set up workshops exploring sustainable cultural ecologies in building new European networks and opportunities for artists and cultural workers. University Network of Capitals of Culture NUI Galway will host the University Network of European Capitals of Culture conference. The theme for this European conference is: ‘Re-thinking Cultural Capital(s): Inclusivity, Sustainability, and Legacies’. The University will also host the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research, the world’s largest gathering of theatre scholars and practitioners, during the 2020 Galway International Arts Festival.  Monitoring and Evaluation The University and Galway 2020, in collaboration with The Audience Agency, will deliver the monitoring and evaluation for the European Capital of Culture programme. NUI Galway will deliver an innovative European research project and gather and analyse data to assess the impact of the European Capital of Culture designation on Galway City and County, in support of a research framework and evaluation plan currently being developed by The Audience Agency. As key educators of future arts practitioners, managers and academics in the cultural and creative industries in Ireland and abroad, the University has a strong interest in establishing educational frameworks that are responsive to the European Capital of Culture status and that can serve the arts, business and cultural communities that will grow in response to 2020. Speaking at the launch of the Strategic Partnership, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, commented: “As a university for the public good, we are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with Galway 2020. As the official legacy partner to the European Capital of Culture project, NUI Galway is committed to respecting and supporting the development of a cultural legacy programme which will leave a far-reaching impact on Galway city and its hinterland. We value our openness to our communities and are therefore also delighted to make available our campus to several events throughout 2020 as well as hosting our own dedicated projects. This partnership will enable the University to continue to enhance and enrich the excellence of our creative and cultural programmes for our students, ensuring that they enjoy a sustainable future contributing to this sector in Galway.” Arthur Lappin, Chair of Galway 2020, said: “The legacy of Galway 2020 will be the ultimate measure of our success as European Capital of Culture. The announcement today that NUI Galway is our Legacy partner is a hugely significant moment in the evolution of the project. The depth and breadth of our partnership is a huge tribute to NUI Galway and its President, of the vision and leadership in our common goals.  Legacy will take many forms and it is so reassuring to know that when the work of Galway 2020 is done, this great institution will carry the torch of underpinning our legacy in so many ways.”  For more information about NUI Galway’s Strategic Partnership with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 12 December 2019

State investment has returned €593 million to the economy Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced a Government investment of €49 million through Science Foundation Ireland in the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. This Government investment will secure a further €100 million from industry and other international sources, such as the European Union, over the next six years to further harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The Insight Centre for Data Analytics was established in 2013 and is hosted at four higher education institutions: NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork and University College Dublin and works in partnership with Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick. Minister Humphreys welcomed the announcement, saying: “I am delighted to announce this new investment in Insight, whose research and outputs are aligned with Future Jobs Ireland, the whole of Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for tomorrow. Many traditional job roles are changing, and with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, we must continue to plan ahead, focus on what is within our control domestically and be the masters of our own destiny. Insight is playing an important role in our plans to prepare now for tomorrow’s world by keeping Ireland at the cutting edge of innovation in this important sector.” Also welcoming the announcement, Minister Halligan said: “As one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, the Insight SFI Research Centre has over 450 researchers and 89 industry partners. I am delighted to welcome this investment announcement, as part of the Government’s commitment to develop a highly skilled and innovative workforce." Through this new investment, Insight will continue its world-class research via a set of three demonstrator projects under the themes: Augmented Human, Smart Enterprise and Sustainable Societies. In addition, it will significantly expand its Education and Outreach Programme, including a new Citizen Science initiative. This allocation forms part of a new six year round of funding (with an overall investment of €230 million) for six Research Centres, including Insight.  The investment has been made by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as part of Project Ireland 2040, through Science Foundation Ireland. It will directly benefit approximately 850 researchers employed by the Research Centres, while also supporting the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The investment is buoyed by industry support with 170 industry partners committing to investing over €230 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next six years.  Insight collaborates with over 80 industry partners, including Abtran, Acquis BI, Boston Scientific, Curtiss-Wright, Eagle Alpha, Fujitsu, GAA and Dublin GAA to name a few. Insight’s research spans Health and Human Performance, Enterprise and Services, Smart Communities and Internet of Things and Sustainability and Operations. The centre’s new CEO, Professor Noel O’Connor, believes that the State’s continued investment in Ireland’s largest data research institute is a major boost for Irish research and will continue to pay dividends for the Irish economy. “We are very proud of what we have achieved since 2013. The establishment of Insight has been a major success story for the Irish economy, and the figures prove it,” says Professor O’Connor. “We have very ambitious plans for our next phase. We have globally competitive talent working at the frontier of research in artificial intelligence, smart cities and the augmented human, and have positioned ourselves right at the heart of innovation leadership.” Commenting on the announcement, Science Foundation Ireland’s Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, Professor Mark Ferguson said: “Insight’s research is equipping indigenous Irish companies to harness the power of data analytics, machine learning and AI to become more competitive and open new markets. The SFI Research Centres continue to attract and retain multinational organisations who want to conduct high value research in Ireland. Centres like Insight are seeding the next generation of world class innovators in our universities.” Insight was established in 2013 through an initial SFI investment of €43 million and has delivered an economic impact of €593m to the Irish economy. For every €1 of state investment, €5.54 is returned to the economy on an overall leveraged basis. This funding was supplemented by €63 million from EU sources and industry. That means for every €1 of SFI funding, another €1.46 in additional investment has come from those other sources.   During this period Insight has produced over 2,000 publications, trained 184 postdoctoral graduates and established 11 spin out companies and with this new funding will continue to develop these outputs. END

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

NUI Galway Dean of Students, Professor Michelle Millar, recently presented 33 outstanding athletes with NUI Galway Student Sports Scholarships, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, the main sponsors of the Sports Programme at NUI Galway. The ceremony commenced with a special address by Monika Durkarsha, Rowing Ireland team member who qualified in the women’s pair for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Monika give an inspirational talk to the students on what is required to achieve their goals both in sporting and academically, and described how she is able to balance the demands of being a world class athlete and still maintaining a lifestyle balance which allows her to continue her PhD research. NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh delivered the opening address to students highlighting the importance of sport to the Universities Strategic Plan and also taking the opportunity to wish the students well during their studies in NUI Galway. Feargal O’Callaghan, NUI Galway High Performance Lead who manages the scholarship scheme, said: “Their time at university is a wonderful opportunity for these talented athletes to reach their true potential and learning, and to plan and achieve a balance in their lifestyle is key to their success both on the sporting arena and in their academic studies.” This year’s ceremony saw the Performance Points Sports Scholarship awarded to nine outstanding athletes. The scheme provides 40 additional points to those earned in the Leaving Certificate for elite athletes and for academic courses over 350 entry points. This year’s scholarship recipients represent some of the finest young talent in Irish sport today most of whom have already represented their sport at national, international or intercounty level. Speaking at the award ceremony, Feargal O’Callaghan continued: “We are really looking forward to working with all the athletes, it is an exciting time for the university in terms of sport as we continually improve the programme in order to produce the best possible athletes.” NUI Galway Performance Points awardees: Athletics                      Chloe Casey Athletics                      Jack Dempsey Gaelic Football           Cillian Golding Gaelic Football           Matthew Tierney Gaelic Football           Paul McGrath Gaelic Football           Sean O’Flynn Hurling                        Conor Waslh Rugby                         Charles Clarke Soccer                         Rachel Baynes NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees:   Athletics                      Pierre Murchan Athletics                      Sinead Treacy Athletics                      Thomas Mc Stay Basketball                   Alison Blarney Basketball                   Ciara McCreanor Basketball                   James Connaire Basketball                   James Lyons Boxing                        Darren O'Connor Camogie                      Carrie Dolan Camogie                      Laura Ward Camogie                      Leah Burke Gaelic Football           Laura Ahearne Gaelic Football           Saoirse Flynn Gaelic Football           Joanthan Hester Golf                             Liam Nolan Hurling                        Diarmuid Kilcommins Rowing                       Lisa Murphy   NUI Galway Rugby Foundation Sports Scholarship Awardees: Declan Floyd Even Kenny Jack Power Oisin Halpin -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The conference will take place from 6-7 March 2020 under the theme of ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ Over 500 Guidance Counsellors from all over Ireland are due to attend the forthcoming Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) National Conference which will be held at NUI Galway in March 2020. This conference is being hosted by the Galway/Mayo Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. As well as facilitating the two-day conference, NUI Galway has been unveiled as the main sponsor for this year’s event with supporting sponsorship from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The conference was launched in NUI Galway today (Tuesday, 10 December) by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, who spoke about the opportunity to host the national conference in Galway: “NUI Galway is looking forward to hosting the IGC National Conference 2020. Compassion, respect and providing a caring and inclusive student experience is central to the mission of NUI Galway so we are particularly proud to support the conference theme; ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. Fully understanding and appreciating the critical role guidance counsellors play in helping our young people prepare for life after secondary school, we look forward to welcoming guidance colleagues from all over the country to our beautiful campus and to providing opportunities to share, learn and recharge over the two-day conference.” Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was guest speaker and Chairperson Barry McDermott extended a very warm welcome to all on behalf of the Galway/Mayo Branch of the IGC.  Focusing on how the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ was chosen, Barry said: “We believe that a lack of compassion towards individuals, groups and our environment, is creating many of the divisions and problems evident in today’s society. It is our wish for the conference that through our wide variety of workshops, guidance counsellors working across all sectors get an opportunity to improve their professional knowledge and skills, and hopefully experience some of the wonderful attractions that make Galway such a special place.” IGC President Beatrice Dooley said: “The IGC are exceptionally proud to support the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. The IGC annual conference is an opportunity for guidance counsellors working with learners across the lifespan to reconnect with each other, with educational partners and labour market stakeholders. At conference 2020 we can upskill, reflect on our professional practice and experiment with other ways of delivering on the personal, educational and vocational guidance counselling needs of those in our care. This year’s conference theme resonates with the very essence of our work. We are very appreciative of the support and generosity of our main host NUI Galway, supporting sponsors GMIT and minor sponsors Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and place high value on these positive, affirming relationships.” The two-day conference, taking place from 6-7 March 2020, will include a series of 19 workshops focusing on the concept and delivery of compassion, guidance topics for second and third level and professional development tools. On day one of the conference, delegates can expect a range of talks dedicated to the conference theme, including a SMART Consent Workshop by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor, Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Highlights on day two of the conference include a ‘Mindfulness and Building Compassion in Education’ workshop by Dr. Eva Flynn, NUI Galway, a panel discussion on ‘Careers in the Creative Industries’ and a workshop on ‘How to Manage Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety’ by Dr Harry Barry, author and doctor. Attendance at the Institute of Guidance Counsellor Conference is open to members and non-members. The sponsors of the 2020 conference are NUI Galway, GMIT, Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. For registration please visit -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis will lead prestigious European funded projects The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two NUI Galway researchers €4.4 million to pursue ‘blue-sky’ biomedical research. With this support, Professor Laoise McNamara and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, will pursue frontier research to achieve far-reaching impact on improving human health. Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis were winners in the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant competition which saw 301 top scholars and scientists from across Europe receive awards, following a review of 2,453 proposals. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “These awards are among the most prestigious and competitive in Europe. Myself and the entire NUI Galway research community are delighted for both Laoise and Dimitrios who have demonstrated their excellence and leadership in research.” Professor Laoise McNamara – MEMETic Professor Laoise McNamara, who was recently announced as the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year 2019, will lead the MEMETic project which will focus on bone disease.   According to Professor McNamara of the Biomechanics Research Centre, and CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway: “My research is in the field of mechanobiology, which is at the interface between engineering and biology. Our work seeks to understand the biological mechanisms by which bone cells sense and respond to the forces they experience during every day physical activity, and how these are affected by Osteoporosis. Despite immense efforts to develop therapies for osteoporosis, conventional drugs that target bone loss only prevent osteoporotic fractures in 50% of sufferers, and the worldwide economic burden of treatment is projected to reach $132 billion by 2050. In this project we will develop advanced models to allow us to investigate how our bones react to changes in the physical environment, from a cellular level right the way up. We will use these models to increase understanding of bone disease and our ultimate aim is to apply these models to improve the success rates of therapies for osteoporosis.”    Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis - ACHIEVE Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, Director of REMODEL and Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway, will lead the ACHIEVE project. The aim is to bring new advances to cell culture methods and address major bottlenecks in regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.   According to Dr Zeugolis: “Currently, the development of cellular products, products made from cells cultured in the lab, is hampered by the lengthy culture periods taken when the cells are removed from their natural environment: the human or animal body. This time factor is responsible for the cells losing their normal function, resulting in suboptimal cellular products. With this project, we want to engineer culture environments that imitate the tissue from which the cells were extracted, thus maintaining their physiological function during experimental culture and significantly reducing the culture period. We believe the work will lead to a paradigm shift in cell culture methods with ground-breaking impacts across diverse fields, such as regenerative medicine, drug discovery and cellular agriculture.” Both grantees recognised as part of their success the support of their research students, postdoctoral and support staff, collaborators, friends and family, and funders. Professor Lokesh Joshi noted that the announcement built on years of previous successful projects for Professor McNamara and Dr Zeugolis, which were supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and the European Commision, and through industry collaboration. Speaking at the announcement of the European Research Council awards, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Knowledge developed in these new projects will allow us to understand the challenges we face at a more fundamental level, and may provide us with breakthroughs and innovations that we haven’t even imagined. The EU’s investment in frontier research is an investment in our future, which is why it is so important that we reach an agreement on an ambitious Horizon Europe budget for the next multiannual budget. More available research funding would also allow us to create more opportunities everywhere in the EU - excellence should not be a question of geography.” ERC President Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, whose mandate ends on 31 December 2019 after six years in office, commented: “I have had the immense privilege of seeing thousands of bright minds across our continent receive the trust and backing to go after their most daring ideas. It has been an exhilarating experience through countless meetings with many of them in person, listening to their stories and being inspired by them. As it’s about top frontier research, it comes as no surprise that an overwhelming number of them already made breakthroughs that will continue to contribute greatly to meeting the challenges ahead. As I bid farewell to an organisation that will always remain close to my heart, I am once more highly impressed when I see this latest set of grantees funded by the European Research Council. That the ERC empowers them makes me proud to be European!” For more about the ERC Consolidator Grant awards, visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

NUI Galway student recognised for volunteering efforts To celebrate International Volunteers Day 2019 NUI Galway along with 9 other universities and institutes of technology have come together through the Campus Engage initiative to launch their first ever student volunteering annual report to highlight the activities and achievements of their students. Colm O’Hehir, Campus Engage Officer, said: “Student volunteers play such a constructive role in communities, often providing vital services for excluded and vulnerable people. Volunteering is for all and that idea of inclusiveness translates into the work student volunteers do daily across the country. Today is a day to celebrate volunteers and our report highlights some of the students who are helping achieve a more inclusive future for all.” An Impact Assessment of Irish Universities, conducted by economists Indecon, revealed that in 2017/18 over 17,500 student volunteers donated three million hours of their time to causes both at home and abroad, at an estimated value of €28.4 million to the exchequer.  is an online tool that supports students wishing to volunteer in their communities. The portal is the first of its kind globally - a national volunteering database specifically created for higher education students. It was developed in 2016 by ten third level institutions through Campus Engage.  There are now more than 1000 organisations and 14,000 students registered on the website, with over 4,000 new student registrations in the 2018-19 academic year. Through, new student volunteers have clocked up a total of 39,746 hours through volunteering opportunities promoted. Overall, students successfully volunteered for 3,391 opportunities. One such volunteer isNUI Galway mature access student Michelle Mitchell, a dedicated volunteer, who earned the NUI Galway ALIVE Certificate in recognition of her volunteering efforts. Michelle’s volunteering is with organisations that offer mental health, physical and intellectual disability supports. Michelle identified a gap in resources for families who have children with special needs, chronic illness and disabilities, and developed the Special Heroes Ireland initiative that provides educational and recreational activities in Galway. In particular, Michelle and other volunteers organise workshops for the siblings of those with disabilities to help parents who have to spend a lot of time tending to their additional needs child. Michelle said: “We work with families to help the sibling of the child, as parents who have a child with a special need or chronic illness have to focus their time and attention on that child. We create opportunities so they can learn to cook, make movies, do artwork.” Ends

Monday, 9 December 2019

Met Éireann Meteorologist Joanna Donnelly awards prizes to Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Galway, Offaly, Sligo and Meath schools and community groups Short films about Climate Action, Hearing and Water were to the fore when young science filmmakers from Donegal, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Offaly, Sligo and Meath were honoured at the ReelLIFE SCIENCE Video Competition Awards held at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition in NUI Galway. More than 190 short science films were entered into the competition by over 1,300 science enthusiasts from 77 schools and community groups around Ireland. Winning videos were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including geneticist, author and BBC presenter Dr Adam Rutherford; BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year 2019 Adam Kelly; and Met Éireann Meteorologist and RTÉ Weather Forecaster Joanna Donnelly, who presented the prizes along with Science Foundation Ireland Head of Education and Public Engagement Margie McCarthy. A group of nine sixth class students from Baltydaniel National School in Newtwopothouse, Co. Cork, along with their teacher Colman Lane, won the €1000 first prize at Primary School level for their video ’No New Water’. Primary school runners-up were Gaelscoil Riabhach from Loughrea, Co. Galway, while Sooey National School from Sligo finished third. Transition year students, Kalen McDonnell, Noah Lynskey, Jason Doyle, Erin Russell Hughes and Katie Hughes, along with teacher Aideen Lynch from Holy Family School for the Deaf in Dublin, claimed the Secondary School €1000 award, for their short film ‘How Science Helps Us Hear’. Sixth year students Aidan Grennan, John Stevenson, Carl Coughlan, Patrick Coughlan, Maeve Maloney, Leah Hogan, Naomi Whynne Smith and Natasha Delaney from Banagher College, Co. Offaly were runners-up, while Ashbourne Community School transition year students Aibhe Cronin, Eabha Delaney, Leah Duffy, Lisa Golden and Niamh Battersby were third. The ‘Green Team’ from Rosses Neighbourhood Youth Project in The Rosses, Co. Donegal, led by Foróige Project Worker Clare Mullan, won the €1000 Community Group first prize for their video about Climate Action, ‘Acting Local, Thinking Global’. Croí Heart and Stroke Charity Communications Manager Edel Burke and Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist Patricia Hall were runners-up, while third place went to members of the Knocknacarra Foróige group in Galway City. Based in NUI Galway and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, the Community Knowledge Initiative, the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices and the Cell EXPLORERS science education and outreach programme, ReelLIFE SCIENCE challenges Irish schools and community groups to communicate science and technology via engaging and educational short videos. Since being launched in 2013 by Dr. Enda O’Connell and a team of volunteer scientists, this challenge has been met by more than 13,000 participants in 400 schools and groups around Ireland. Speaking about ReelLIFE SCIENCE, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative, which cleverly combines science literacy and creativity, while providing a great opportunity for students and teachers to think about how to communicate scientific topics in a novel way. ReelLIFE SCIENCE encourages young people to connect with the science and technology in their everyday lives, and to bring that knowledge to a wider audience, while promoting current Irish scientific research and development.” All videos can be viewed at -Ends-

Monday, 9 December 2019

NUI Galway took two top awards at the recent national gradireland Higher Education Awards 2020 which took place in Dublin. NUI Galway’s Law School was achieved the ‘Best Postgraduate Course in Law’, in a highly-contested category. The judges commented the programme displayed “excellent innovation and teaching methodology, with strong links to industry”. The course focuses on enhancing employability and developing graduate attributes around advocacy, negotiation, legal research and writing skills. Teaching takes place by means of small group seminars where students have direct access to business and legal experts and also have the opportunity to apply for placements with leading commercial law firms, to include: A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, Matheson, L.K Shields, RDJ Solicitors, AMOSS Solicitors and Flynn O’Driscoll Business Lawyers. The MSc in Cellular Manufacturing and Therapy received the award for ‘Best New Postgraduate Course’. The competition judges highlighted “why a course of study such as this is required. There [are] very strong links to employment need addressing the skills gap”.  When launching in September 2017, this MSc programme was the first of its kind worldwide. It has grown from a one-year full time MSc programme to a suite of opportunities including a two-year part time MSc, as well as postgraduate diploma and certificate streams.   Graduates have entered PhD programmes and have joined world-leading organisations like Takeda and Autolus in cellular production, quality assurance, cell culture scientists and assay development. Potential applicants interested in applying to either of these award-winning programmes can visit for further details. -Ends-

Friday, 6 December 2019

Second NUI Galway researcher wins ‘Medal of Excellence’ award for being top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in STEM at the Irish Research Council 2019 Awards Professor Laoise McNamara, Professor in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, was awarded ‘Researcher of the Year’ for her research in bone mechanobiology and osteoporosis, at the Irish Research Council 2019 Researcher of the Year awards (4 December 2019).  President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, was Guest of Honour and presented the winners with their awards. Professor McNamara is also the Vice Dean for Recruitment and Internationalisation for the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. Professor McNamara’s research in bone mechanobiology is at the interface of engineering and biology and informs medical device design. Her work seeks to understand how the mechanobiology process is changed in osteoporosis, a disease which affects bone mass, and in cancer metastasis to bone. The Irish Research Council also presented ‘Medals of Excellence’ to four early-stage researchers. Each of the 'Medals of Excellence' have been named after previous Chairs of the Irish Research Council and recognise excellence in the 2019 postgraduate and postdoctoral funding calls run by the Council in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). Dr Harold Berjamin an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Thomas Mitchell Medal of Excellence’ for being the top-ranked postdoctoral researcher in the STEM category. Dr Berjamin’s research in Professor Michel Destrade’s group is based on the modelling of acoustic waves in brain matter. The goal of this project is to get closer to realistic simulations of traumatic brain injuries. President Higgins has made research and education one of the key themes of his Presidency, championing the importance of cultivating independent thought and academic freedom. The President has continued to emphasise the crucial role that universities and research institutes can play in crafting a global response to the great global challenges of our time. Chair of the Irish Research Council, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer said: “Professor Laoise McNamara’s work demonstrates the breadth of excellent research that is being carried out in Ireland – the impact of which ripples through multiple aspects of Irish life. I warmly congratulate Laoise on her outstanding track record to date, and on receiving the Irish Research Council Researcher of the Year award.” Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council said: “The Council is unique in that it funds research across all disciplines and supporting research that addresses major societal challenges is a key priority for us. We must never forget the importance that world class research talent has on our economy and our society. Over the last 20 years, the Council has made a significant impact in establishing a vibrant research community in Ireland by investing in exceptional researchers at all stages of their careers. We look forward to building on our achievements to date with the launch of a new five-year strategy next year.” The Irish Research Council awards ceremony commended the very best of the Council’s awardees and alumni working in academia, industry, civic society and the public sector. -Ends-

Monday, 9 December 2019

NUI Galway’s Lorraine Tansey was one of 28 President’s Award Leaders who was recognised at a special Civic Merit Award Ceremony. The President’s Awards recognise these Leaders from all over Ireland who have supported young people to take part in the Gaisce programme for more than five years.The ceremony was MC’d by Gold Awardee Jamie Moore and the guest speaker on the night was Irish sports commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.  Speaking about the Civic Merit Awardees, Yvonne McKenna, CEO of Gaisce – The President’s Award said, “Gaisce are delighted to celebrate the work of our President’s Award Leaders. We could not empower young people to realise their potential without them. Our President’s Award Leaders truly are the lifeblood of the Gaisce programme.” She continued: “Five years is a big milestone, and the time and hours given by you all collectively is enormous. Incalculable, however, is impact you have all had on the lives of young people in Ireland, an impact that will continue to be felt long after they have received their Gaisce award.” Lorraine Tansey as NUI Galway’s President Awards Leader has been supporting students to achieve the challenges of the Gaisce award programme for fifteen years. Lorraine said: “Community volunteering, skill development and physical movement are the three main components of the award and students inspire us across the campus to actively engage in civic skills.” A special message from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins was read by Chair of Gaisce – The President’s Award John Cunningham: “I thank you for the generous support you offer to the many young people who, every year, undertake the Gaisce journey. That is a greatly empowering journey on which you all play an important part, impacting positively on the development of so many of our younger citizens.” Gaisce – The President’s Award is a personal development programme for young people which enhances confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical and community challenges.   Since its inception in 1985 over 178,000 young Irish people have completed a Gaisce Award, including former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh and Irish rugby international Robbie Henshaw. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

New video documentary highlights people who work in labs are using 15-16 times more plastic than the average person in Ireland CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway has launched a new short video documentary ‘The time to green our labs is now’ as part of the Galway Green Labs initiative, which recently led to the CÚRAM lab being the first in Europe to be awarded Green Lab Certification. The video documentary tells the story of the Galway Green Labs initiative, which was spearheaded by Dr Una Fitzgerald, a CÚRAM funded Investigator and Director of the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway. Together with her ‘green team’ of CÚRAM researchers and staff, and with the support of the University Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, and the Community University Sustainability Partnership, she is working to transform practice across campus to address issues such as plastic waste, energy reduction, recycling, and water usage. Dr Una Fitzgerald, NUI Galway, explains her motivation for establishing Galway Green Labs: “What has emerged is that people who work in labs are using 15-16 times more plastic than the average person in Ireland. This practice is done more so out of convenience than out of necessity, so we’re trying to change mind-sets to heighten our awareness of the cumulative negative impact on the environment of this way of working. All we’re asking lab scientists to do is question what they’re doing - to ask themselves, “Is there something I can do to lessen the environmental impact of my work in the lab”. And to talk to others, and spread the message of the urgent need for change.” University Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, is supporting the initiative and commented: "For many years NUI Galway has been improving its performance in terms of energy efficient buildings, waste management, water use and more. Recently we've brought together a Community and University Sustainability Programme that is looking at practices and spreading what we do out into the entire community and crucially bringing it into educational practices under the model Learn - Live - Lead. The Galway Green Labs initiative is a major part of this work." Certification was awarded this November by My Green Lab, a non-profit organisation that aims to fundamentally and permanently improve the sustainability of scientific research by unifying and leading scientists, vendors, designers, energy providers, and others in a common drive toward a world in which all research reflects the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. Run for scientists, by scientists, it leverages its credibility and track record to develop standards, oversee their implementation, and inspire the many behavioural changes that are needed throughout the scientific community.  Though My Green Lab focuses solely on laboratory environments, it believes its activities will excite similar changes across other industries, and in the private lives of the millions of people who spend their time in labs. Alison Paradise, CEO of My Green Lab, commented: “Labs comprise an industry that is three times larger than the construction industry and half the size of the automotive industry. Labs, for all their good intentions, are estimated to discard over more than 5.5 million metric tonnes of plastic each year, which is enough to cover an area 23 times the size of Galway ankle-deep. They also consume 5-10 times more energy and water than office spaces. If every lab in Ireland were to turn off just one piece of equipment overnight for a year, it would be the equivalent to offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions associated with driving 2.8 million kilometres.” Sinéad Ní Mhainnín, Resource Efficiency Officer, Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Office, who appears in the film, is supporting Galway Green Labs, and says: “By 2020 we aim to achieve a 50 percent recycling rate for municipal dry recycling. Working with Dr Fitzgerald and the Galway Green Labs team is going to go a long way to help us in achieving this goal.” The documentary is funded by CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, Connacht Ulster Regional Waste Management Office and St. Anthony’s and Claddagh Credit Union, Galway. For more information about Galway Green Labs, contact Dr Una Fitzgerald, NUI Galway, at  Click here to view the Galway Green Labs short video documentary: Follow on Twitter at #GalwayGreenLabs and @GalwayGreenLabs.  -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The winners of the prestigious 2019 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Awards were revealed recently at the annual SFI Science Summit. NUI Galway academics Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM received the ‘SFI Best International Engagement Award’ and Dr Muriel Grenon, lecturer in Biochemistry from the School of Natural Sciences received the ‘SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication’ award. Over 300 leading members of Ireland’s research community came together to celebrate the significant contributions made over the past year to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in Ireland. This year there were eight categories in total, with ten award winners. The SFI Best International Engagement Award recognised the accomplishments of Professor Abhay Pandit for his research-led international activities at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. Speaking about his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “I am honoured to receive this award from SFI. This honour recognises the trust, hard work, dedication and excellence of the entire team of advisors, researchers, industry partners and staff at CÚRAM who I have the privilege to work and collaborate with. It is through our international research collaborations that we are driving the development of new understandings and the advancement of real solutions to develop affordable, innovative and transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. By striving to be outward facing we are not only training to empower future leaders but also work hard to champion stakeholders in the community (artists, filmmakers, teachers) to engage them with the STEM message.” The SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication award recognised the accomplishments of Dr Muriel Grenon for her outstanding contribution to the popularisation of science and raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress. Speaking about her award, Dr Muriel Grenon, NUI Galway, said: “I would like to share this award with all past and present Cell EXPLORERS coordinators, volunteers, and supporters. Our programme is based on the simple idea of sending local science role models with a passion for Science to meet the general public locally. We meet young people at an age when they decide if they like science and if they would consider it as a career. Due to its hands-on aspect, the programme has achieved great popularity within schools and contributes to changing stereotypes about science and scientists. This is only possible through the amazing work that our coordinators do behind the scenes and the dedication of our volunteer scientists. I am very proud of what we have achieved together – the delivery of a programme with a high standard of public engagement, a high education value, inspiring many young children all over Ireland.” Professor Pandit is an Established Professor of Biomaterials at NUI Galway and Scientific Director of CÚRAM. He has been an elected member on the Council for both the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and European Society for Biomaterials Society. He was the first Irish academic to be inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative International Society. He was also elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Professor Pandit has published more than 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, filed numerous patent applications and has licensed four technologies to medical device companies. He has coordinated four EU grants to date and has generated research contracts from industry and government funding agencies totalling €90 million. Throughout his career, his work has been outward facing, from engaging in international collaborations and hosting international conferences, to supporting trade missions and championing residency programs for leaders in the community (artists, filmmakers, teachers) to empower them with the STEM message. Dr Grenon is a lecturer in Biochemistry at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway and the founding Director of the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. Dr Grenon started out the programme in 2012 with a team of 10 undergraduate science students in NUI Galway and has built Cell EXPLORERS into a national network comprising 13 partner teams with members from 15 Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. Between 2012 and 2018 Cell EXPLORERS involved 1,187 team members, visited 471 classrooms in 280 schools and reached 32,000 members of the public. Cell EXPLORERS has also successfully integrated science outreach projects into the final year of the Biochemistry undergraduate course at NUI Galway allowing the creation of potential novel science outreach resources each semester. Dr Grenon is also involved in driving science communication internationally: Cell EXPLORERS is part of Scientix, the community for Science Education in Europe. The programme has also started a collaboration with the University of Kwatzulu-Natal in South Africa, where a team is currently piloting the ‘Fantastic DNA school’ visits. Dr Grenon’s contribution and dedication to the popularisation of STEM has been recognised by the ‘Outstanding Contribution to STEM’ award at the 2013 Galway Science and Technology Festival, the 2017 ‘NUI Galway President Award for Societal Impact’ and been made Knight of the Order of the Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education in 2019. -Ends-

Monday, 2 December 2019

Ombudsman for Children’s Office and UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre launch collaboration, Our Future:  Voices from Transition Year   The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway have joined forces to co-host Our Future:  Voices from Transition Year, an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). On Friday, 29 November, 150 transition year students from Galway city and county taking part in Our Future: Voices from Transition Year will be asked to share their priorities for the future and the changes they feel are needed to ensure that children’s rights and interests are promoted and protected in Ireland. The young people will engage in a series of Youth Cafe round table discussions and there will also be an opportunity to provide feedback to the Ombudsman and the UNESCO Chair. 2019 is also the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre. Reflecting these milestones, the OCO and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child collaborated to host a youth-led event to ask students about the key issues that concern them and the programmes or policies they would like to see in place to support them to reach their potential. They will also invite children to share their views on how the UNESCO Centre and the OCO can bring their influence to bear on these issues into the future. The event, organised and moderated by young people, is part of the Youth as Researchers programme at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway.   The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said: “2019 is a significant year as it marks not only the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also 15 years since the Ombudsman for Children’s Office was established and 10 years since the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre came into being. We are delighted to take this opportunity to use the experience we have built up over the years to meaningfully engage with children. “Children have the right, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to have their views on issues that concern and affect them heard and considered. I will take every opportunity to share the views and concerns of those taking part in Our Future: Voices from Transition Year as I travel the country, advise on policy and legislation and meet with decision makers at all levels.” UNESCO Chair, Professor Pat Dolan, NUI Galway commented: “Supporting young people to engage in research on issues of interest to them is core to the UNESCO agenda for the development of youth participation and its potential for fostering better social responsibility and civic behaviour. Given the concerns of school-aged children in social issues like bullying, racism and climate change for example, opportunities to have their voices heard are hugely important. Research has shown that civic engagement positively contributes to adolescents’ development, enhancing their skill set and empowering them to investigate and take action on issues of relevance to their lives.” Our Future: Voices from Transition year will take place at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, North Campus, NUI Galway at 10:30am on Friday, 29 November. -Ends

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