Thursday, 28 July 2022

NUI Galway has announced the recipients of the inaugural Dr Karzan Sabah D Ahmed Memorial Research Bursary, which was established to remember the researcher who died with his wife Shahen Qasm and their baby daughter Lina in a road accident in 2021.  The successful students are Aoife Murphy, from Loughrea, Co Galway, who has completed her BSc in Environmental Science, and Niamh Nolan, from Listowel, Co Kerry, who is a final year student of BSc in Environmental Science.  The students were awarded the summer scholarship created in partnership with NUI Galway and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Both students will undertake a three month research scholarship in High Nature Value farmland during the summer of 2022.  Andy Bleasdale, Director of Scientific Advice and Research, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said: "Honouring the memory and legacy of Karzan is particularly important to NPWS. We are delighted to partner with NUI Galway in developing the skills and expertise of new generation of ecologists, through research bursaries in High Nature Value farmland.” Speaking on behalf of NUI Galway, Julie Stafford, Director of Development, Community & Alumni Relations at the University, said: “We are delighted to partner with NPWS to remember Karzan, Shahen and Lina in such an appropriate way by continuing Karzan important work. Karzan was a great colleague and friend to many at NUI Galway and this bursary will continue his legacy. It is our hope that students who are awarded the bursary will contribute in a small way to continuing the legacy of Karzan at our university.” Ends

Friday, 15 July 2022

Eleven NUI Galway students from a multiplicity of disciplines are taking part in an intensive two-week professional development programme at Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) this week. SELECTED is NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival’s professional development programme for emerging artists, theatre makers, curators and producers studying at NUI Galway. Previously open to NUI Galway students with an interest in the arts, including drama, film, music and writing, earlier this year it was expanded to students interested in business, including management, social media marketing and communications. The programme offers students an opportunity to see how the festival is put together, with intimate meetings with GIAF staff, international and Irish producers and creative entrepreneurs and artists. SELECTED students are also offered Festival Ambassador roles within the GIAF Volunteers' Programme, where they are immersed in all aspects of the festival and shown how to advise audiences in choosing the right shows for them. There are also given theoretical, practical, and GIAF-specific social media training to generate content delivery packages prior to the start of the festival. Commenting on this year’s programme, Rena Bryson, SELECTED Coordinator, said: “This year marks the return of live SELECTED events, making the experience for this group even more special. In the summers that we've missed the Big Top, spectacular theatre and innovative visual arts, we've grown to appreciate GIAF and what it brings to Galway even more. The programme offers a chance to really experience the creativity and teamwork behind the scenes, as well as take in high quality national and international art. It's a once in a lifetime experience this group will always remember.” Galway International Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish stated: “SELECTED is a key component of the partnership with NUI Galway and is now an important part of the festival. We are now seeing SELECTED alumni coming back to the festival in companies that are in the programme, which is a very positive outcome and something we intend to build on further.” Professor Patrick Lonergan, NUI Galway Vice-Dean for Engagement in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, described SELECTED as a key example of the university’s approach to working with external partners. “Galway International Arts Festival is one of the world’s greatest arts festivals. Giving our students the chance to learn from international experts allows them to form ambitions that are equally focussed on the local and the global. GIAF’s rigour, professionalism and creativity is a true inspiration to the next generation of artists, audiences, and creative entrepreneurs,” Professor Lonergan said. Galway International Arts Festival acknowledges the support of its principal funding agencies, The Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Galway City Council, its Education Partner NUI Galway, its Energy Partner Flogas, and Drinks Partner Heineken®.  Ends

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Six Master of Laws (LLM) students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway have launched a five-episode podcast series titled ‘My Country is My Prison’.  The podcast series aims to promote awareness of human rights violations perpetrated against women and children in Ireland’s institutions in the 20th century, using international human rights law as an illustrative framework. The podcast is a continuation of the memoralisation project students completed with Mary Harney for the Human Rights Clinic since 2019 to ensure that the history of these institutions is not forgotten. The podcast joins the Open Heart City website which compiles relevant information and analysis, and a lesson plan for teachers.  The Master in Laws students who developed the podcast series are Emily Williams, Fernanda Souza, Holly Hayes, James Spillane, Maria Tapias Serrano and Shauna Joyce. The goal of the podcast is to provide a comprehensive overview of the institutions, the human rights violations (including how they continue today) and how transitional justice can be used for Ireland to respond to these egregious and systematic human rights violations.  Episode 1 discusses the history of Ireland’s institutions and how the repercussions of their human rights violations influence politics and public policy today.  Episode 2 examines illegal adoptions in Ireland, the right to identity and how the effects of Ireland’s illegal adoptions remain present today with a discussion of the Birth Information and Tracing Bill.  Episode 3 focuses on how children were confined in the system of industrial schools.  Episode 4 explores the institutions that targeted women: Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Institutions.  Episode 5 reviews Ireland’s obligations to provide remedies and the steps that must be taken now to prevent the institutional abuses from re-occurring. All five episodes, along with two bonus episodes that feature the full length interviews conducted with survivor Elizabeth Coppin and Dr Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection to Government of Ireland, 2019-22, are now available to listen to on Spotify: In conjunction with the podcast release, the students will host a conference for Irish secondary school teachers in October 2022. Hosted in partnership with a cross-sectional group of academics, activists and teachers from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and Waterford Institute of Technology, the conference will focus on why this history should be taught in schools and how it may be implemented in Transition Year classrooms. Drawing upon lesson plans already designed and implemented in schools, the conference is intended to facilitate discussion among teachers and to draw, in particular, on first-hand experiences of other teachers, as well as the testimonies of survivors of the institutions, to demonstrate the importance of memorialisation through education.  The conference will be an all-day event hosted on the NUI Galway campus, with a range of speakers and workshops throughout the day.  For further information about the conference please contact Shauna Joyce, To listen to the podcast online go to Instagram: @mycountryismyprisonpodcast, and on Twitter: @mcimp_podcast,  For more information about the podcast contact Emily Williams, NUI Galway at and 087 1737402, or Maria Tapias Serrano at and +34 690 23 22 49. Ends

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Researchers at NUI Galway have discovered a coral in the Atlantic Ocean which contains a potential wonder drug chemical compound that acts against the virus responsible for Covid-19.  The cauliflower coral, so named due to its colour, shape and structure, was found on the seabed about half a mile below the surface on the edge of Ireland’s continental shelf. It contains a previously unknown chemical compound. Professor Louise Allcock, Professor of Zoology at NUI Galway, said: “While we did not set out to find this specific species, we were hunting for corals, especially soft corals, because of their potential in bio-discovery. "Nature never ceases to amaze - to think that a coral, which spends its life on the sea bed and is never exposed to viruses and diseases which affect humanity so profoundly, has the potential to influence treatments and therapies. Drug development is a lengthy process, but the first step is finding the magic compounds with bio-reactivity in the laboratory.” Professor Allcock is Director of the Ryan Institute’s Centre for Ocean Research & Exploration (COREx) at NUI Galway. As part of a research project funded by Science Foundation Ireland, she deploys the ROV Holland I submarine from RV Celtic Explorer to hunt for deep-sea corals and sponges which may have novel chemical compounds with pharmaceutical potential. The research into the chemical make-up of the cauliflower coral is being conducted in partnership with South Florida University in the US.  The compound isolated has been named "tuaimenal". The word is a portmanteau - blending "tuaim", alluding to “tuaimneacha” as used in old Irish to describe the sounds of the sea, and “enal”, which is a chemistry term for a compound with an alkene aldehyde functional group. Tuaimenal A was discovered to block the major enzyme of the Covid-19 virus, known as Main Protease, which is responsible for the manufacture of virus particles inside the infected cell. Dr Carolina De Marco Verissimo of the Molecular Parasitology Laboratory at NUI Galway carried out detailed study of the coral-derived Tuaimenal and how it interacts with the Covid-19 enzyme.  She said: “Tuaimenal A represents what we term in science as a ‘lead compound’ – that is, a basic structure from which scientists can produce more potent and specific drugs that could be used for the treatment of Covid-19 and perhaps other viruses.” The complete work was recently published and can be accessed fully at: Ends

Monday, 11 July 2022

NUI Galway and HSE collaborate to analyse patient and service user complaints to identify ‘hot spots’ and ‘blind spots’ in healthcare delivery to better target service improvements A new collaborative project by researchers at NUI Galway and the HSE has evaluated acute healthcare services and complaints to identify growing problems as well as opportunities for improvements in clinical safety and quality. This study is the first national and systematic study of healthcare complaints, and was conducted during the last quarter of 2019. Using the London School of Economics Healthcare Complaints Audit Tool (HCAT), an innovative and internationally recognised method of classifying complaints, the study identified key issues that those who use healthcare services complain about. Analysis of patient complaints about hospital care found that more than one-in-four issues relate to situations while the patient is receiving care on the ward. Other common complaints related to accessing appointments, treatment, safety, and cleanliness of hospital environments. Dr Paul O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Primary Care at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Research Director of the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation, said: “By examining trends in complaints our research team has identified where healthcare quality improvement efforts should be focused. “Using HCAT to analyse complaints helped us to identify hot spots - where problems occur most frequently or cause major impact- and blind spots - where problems occur but cannot be easily observed by healthcare staff. The findings can positively impact healthcare by guiding us and the health service to prioritise the issues in relation to patient safety and focus quality of care improvement efforts. “The research has shown that there is potential for patient complaints to be used as a source of information for identifying where safety and quality improvement efforts are needed.”  Welcoming the study Chris Rudland, Assistant National Director, National Complaints Governance and Learning Team, HSE said “Using data such as complaints from patients and family members ensures their voices are represented in service improvements. This joint research initiative with NUI Galway can help develop how the HSE analyses and learns from patient complaints and can guide ongoing quality improvement initiatives in our hospitals to improve patient experience. “The HSE is committed to ensuring that improving patient experience continues to be a key focus for us all throughout the healthcare system. HSE services encourage patient feedback through our complaints and feedback policy, and through other initiatives such as the National Inpatient Experience Survey. Listening to patients and asking them for feedback is a central tenet of improving patient care and the hospital experience for patients and their loved ones. “It is encouraging to note that in the most recent National Inpatient Experience Survey findings, 83% of our patients rated their overall hospital experience in hospitals as “good” or “very good”. Many of our hospitals now have patient liaison and patient advocacy services in place to support patients throughout their time in our care.” The research included a number of recommendations: Institutional process issues were the most prevalent in the complaints, and the system/hospitals should focus on improving the issues raised in these complaints. High-severity complaints, and those perceived by patients as being of high harm, need to be prioritised and used alongside other data in order to improve patient safety.  Stakeholder workshops with healthcare staff and patients should be used to identify useful and feasible solutions to improve safety and quality from issues identified in patient and service user complaints. Dr Paul O’Connor added: “The next steps will be to work with healthcare providers, managers, and policymakers to support tangible improvements in patient care based on the findings of our complaints analysis.”  The report is available at: Ends

Friday, 8 July 2022

Celebrating student entrepreneurs Start100 showcase allows students to pitch investible ideas and innovations IdeasLab, the entrepreneurial and innovation hub at NUI Galway, has announced ICTUS Medical and IRIS as the inaugural Start100 winners for 2022.  ICTUS Medical received the overall award for Start100, with IRIS receiving the One to Watch award. Nine teams of students presented at a special showcase event bringing their innovative ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of academia, research, industry and enterprise after an intensive six week programme hosted by IdeasLab. IdeasLab launched their new student incubator programme, Start100 earlier this year. Start100 helps students with an early-stage concept to transform their ideas into potentially investible innovations.  The Start100 programme provides physical space, key networking opportunities, expert mentorship from alumni and enterprise, as well as a support fund of over €40,000. Students have access to funds to research and develop their idea throughout the programme and have the chance to win a final event prize fund to kick-start their innovation journey.  Start100 offers students the opportunity to connect with expert mentors and speakers spanning sectors including medical devices, creative production, agritech, consumer technology and wellbeing.  The programme has connected students into the thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs in the West of Ireland, including BioInnovate Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Westbic, Galway City Innovation District and the Local Enterprise Offices and has been supported by companies in the region including Mbroynics, Boston Scientific, Aerogen, Medtronic, SAP, Galway International Arts Festival, Channel Mechanics, Veryan and Orreco. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh launched the showcase event. “At NUI Galway, our values - respect, openness, excellence and sustainability - are what define us and more importantly we strive to see them become not just words but actions and deeds. Supporting students on a journey of societal impact through enterprising ideas is part of that mission for the public good. It’s a great encouragement to see young people finding solutions to problems through innovation, ideas and solutions and also to see them being supported in that journey by our educators, our university community, and our civic and business networks,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. ICTUS Medical is spearheaded by Peter Best-Lydon and Ciarán McDermott. Peter, a Galway native and recently graduated NUI Galway Biomedical Engineering student, and Ciarán, an NUI Galway Electronic Engineering final year student, are developing a painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes.  Speaking on behalf of ICTUS Medical Peter Best-Lydon said: “We are absolutely delighted to win. Start100 has been a massive help to us with all of the connections that we have made. There is a buzz every week in IdeasLab and it was great to get a sense of working in a start-up. We are really looking forward to making a significant impact to the patient.’’ The One to Watch prize was awarded to IRIS, which was co-founded by Keelan Rowley and Michael Dillon, both recent graduates of NUI Galway’s BSc in Project and Construction Management. IRIS is a safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from machinery like Tractors, Diggers, Dumpers. A cost effective device that saves lives and families. Winning this award will allow Michael and Keelan to focus on prototyping and validating their idea.  The difficult decision of selecting the most investable idea was made by a diverse judging panel representing some of Irelands best and brightest entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics. The panel for the final showcase included: Dr Helen McBreen, Partner Atlantic Bridge; Professor Michelle Millar, Dean of Students at NUI Galway; Dr Paul Dodd, Vice President Engagement, NUI Galway; Dr Vanessa Creaven Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spotlight Oral Care; and Finn Hegarty, Co-Founder and Chief Procurement Officer at GloFox, and NUI Galway graduate.   Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at NUI Galway, said: “In recent years, we have seen some fantastic student entrepreneurs create global businesses in the west of Ireland.  Through Start100 we now have a platform to support more students to achieve this type of success through the creation of commercial and social enterprises. Start100 is the first student incubator to launch in the University, designed with former and current students, our alumni and enterprise partners, we are incredibly proud to see Start100 come to life on our campus.” A summary of nine projects showcased at the event included: I Said Speak - An information awareness video that delves into Ireland’s drink culture among students  Receipt Relay - A customer insights software for retail and hospitality chains using point of sale and consumer app integrations IRIS - A safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from farm machinery – saving lives and families Matán Marketing - Digital marketing for gyms Scrunch-UP - An anti-spike scrunchie for university students ThoughtGarden – Self-administered CBT mobile game to reduce anxiety and depression - A data-driven e-commerce agency that builds and optimises high-performance Shopify stores - An application that facilitates the remote capture of patient's foot scan data using just a smart phone ICTUS Medical - A painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes For more information visit  Ends

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Eight NUI Galway students were among a special group of inspirational young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins recently for their civic engagement and personal development. The students, Catherine Mohan, Ciara McDaid, Erin Shimizu, Jason Sherlock, Kirsty Moran, Odhran Wheelan, Sinéad Reidy, and Orla Masterson, volunteered hundreds of hours with a variety of nonprofit organisations including Ability West, SVP, Barretstown Childrens Camps, Tidy Towns and Childline, as well as undertaking student leadership roles working towards inclusion and diversity.   The CEO of Gaisce, Yvonne McKenna said: “Gaisce – The President’s Award is unique in the sense that it encourages young people to set their own personal development goals within a framework that allows them to achieve them and contribute to their communities in their own way. “Every single day I am inspired by the courage, the energy and the commitment of young people doing their Gaisce Award, and I am so thrilled we are getting to celebrate the breadth of their achievements, from tackling global challenges like biodiversity to local supports for neighbours in need, young people are consistently push themselves for others.” Gaisce – the President’s Award is a programme that aims to foster and develop young people's potential. It is a guided and supported framework that is provided for young people aged 14 -25 to explore their natural skills and gain confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical and community challenges. Lorraine Tansey, NUI Galway’s President’s Award Leader, said: “Throughout the pandemic students committed to undertaking the Gaisce award challenge in their communities volunteering and building their mental and physical health skills. We are inspired by the commitment students made and look forward to building on their leadership offering students continued civic learning opportunities with our university community partners.”  Ends

Thursday, 7 July 2022

President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has been announced as the new President of Universities Ireland Council. Universities Ireland was founded in 2003 by the nine university presidents on the island of Ireland to promote and develop cooperation between their institutions on a cross-border basis. The council brings together, at the highest level, the academic and administrative leaders of all the universities in Ireland, identifying the need for an all-island structure through which they can cooperate on issues of higher education policy and act together to influence change such as supporting peace and reconciliation.   Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Co-operation is central to the future of universities and their continued potential to make a difference to society and our economy, for the public good. Creating communities of scholars and students contributes to a greater understanding of each other’s challenges and a greater impetus to grasp together the opportunities that face us all. As we navigate a set of relationships in transition, we recognise that the issues we face are increasingly complex, cross-disciplinary and inter-generational.  “Research and teaching – universities on the island of Ireland – have a particular role to play in helping us to navigate social and economic change. These are better addressed together than apart. We are a small island on the edge of Europe but at the centre of things, between continents. Valuing each other’s traditions, we look forward to working together - thegither – le chéile – with all our stakeholders, North and South, East and West, in further strengthening the ties that bind us and the future that we shape and share together.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh’s appointment was confirmed at a meeting of the Universities Ireland Council in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin yesterday. He takes on the role at a crucial time for the populations in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland, with continued challenges and opportunities which have shared solutions on the island of Ireland in areas such as health, housing and the environment.  Universities Ireland will act as a catalyst for all-island collaboration between universities to accelerate the recovery, and to strengthen positive North-South relations and East-West relations at a time of transition politically and economically. As a network, it provides a unique structure within which the universities can liaise at the highest level and through which there can be North-South cooperation that adds value to the education systems on both sides of the border. Through Universities Ireland the institutions cooperate on a wide range of issues related to higher education policy as well as to act jointly.  Ends

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Galway International Arts Festival and its Education Partner NUI Galway are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted in the Best Long-Term Partnership category of the Business to Arts Awards 2022.  The shortlisting, which was announced this morning, acknowledges the long-standing partnership between the two bodies, which sees the parties collaborate across education, culture and vision.  The partners have collaborated on the creation and delivery of postgraduate courses in Creative Arts Management and the SELECTED internship programme, which educate the next generation of arts professionals.  The partnership also covers GIAF’s very successful volunteer programme, which, with a recruitment of 1,000 volunteers in a ‘normal’ year, is integral to the delivery of the festival.  In terms of culture, GIAF has assisted NUI Galway in establishing itself as a Cultural Campus, with an increasing number of productions presented on campus and NUI Galway associated with award-winning productions, bringing an average of 80,000 visitors to campus each year.  GIAF and NUI Galway collaborate by playing a central role in re-imagining Galway, defining the landscape in which NUI Galway graduates operate by supporting new career pathways, and pursuing a creative industries development strategy. GIAF and NUI Galway also activate the partnership via an archive agreement, whereby the college holds GIAF’s archives. The partners are also collaborating to create oral histories of the festival, kicking off earlier this year with a podcast on the making and staging of GIAF’s major artwork Mirror Pavilion during the global Covid pandemic. Commenting on the announcement, GIAF CEO John Crumlish said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for the award and have the partnership recognised in this way. The relationship with NUI Galway is a very valuable one, which has grown significantly in recent years. It plays a role in the development of the next generation of artists and arts producers while also facilitating the development of a best practice volunteer programme. It provides a very valuable resource for GIAF and also helps inform our thinking as to what a festival can be.” NUI Galway Vice-Dean for Engagement, Patrick Lonergan said: “At a time when NUI Galway is focussing on the links between the arts, business, and our communities, our relationship with Galway International Arts Festival is ever more important. Being shortlisted for a Business to Arts award is a huge honour - and a huge boost to our joint efforts to transform the cultural landscape of Galway, the west of Ireland, and the nation.” Galway International Arts Festival 2022 kicks off next Monday, 11th July. Back to full size, the festival will take over the city once more with a huge programme of events spread across various locations and venues until 24 July. 16% of the shows will take place on the college campus.  Ends

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Users can see funding and services provided by the 31 local authorities Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway have launched the 2022 edition of the local authority finances website. Compiled by economics lecturers Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena, the 2022 local authority budgeted income and expenditure data are available on the online platform Aimed at improving the transparency and accountability of local authorities, users of the interactive website can discover the different sources of local council funding, from commercial rates, residential property tax, charges and fees, and central government grants. Users can also see the services provided by the 31 local authorities, including, for example, spending on social housing, local and regional roads, fire and library services, and public parks and amenities. Users can view the income and spending of their own local council, or they can compare to other local councils. Dr Gerard Turley notes: “Local authorities plan to spend over €6 billion in 2022. To date, this is the largest day-to-day spending by the local government sector in Ireland. During the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, higher levels of council spending have been supported by central government grants, in the form of increased specific-purpose transfers but also compensation payments for loss of income from rates and charges adversely affected by government restrictions. The website allows citizens to see how this six billion euro of taxpayers’ money is spent locally. “A goal of any university is to contribute to place and to wider society. As NUI Galway’s mission is for the public good, this project is aimed at promoting more informed public policy choices and decisions, by making local authority budgets easier for voters and citizens to access and understand.” On using the interactive web application, Stephen McNena advises: “Users should click on the council spending or council income weblinks and then choose a local authority to find out where your money is spent, and where it comes from. The data are presented in a user-friendly way, and expressed in euros, euros per person or as a share of the local authority budget. Everything from spending on planning and local development to the operation of leisure facilities is listed, and on the income side, revenue from the Local Property Tax (LPT) to fees and charges for local services.” At the aggregated level, some of the highlights from the 2022 data are as follows: -          Dublin City Council’s revenue budget exceeds €1.1 billion; -          The smallest budget is €44 million, for Leitrim County Council; -          Expenditure per person varies from €794 for Kildare County Council to €2,038 for Dublin City Council; -          Spending on housing and roads are the two largest local service divisions, with housing supports the single biggest expenditure item; -          Central government grants constitute the largest share of local government funding, at 40 per cent and rising, with the smallest share from the LPT at less than 7 per cent and falling. To find out more about your local authority’s budget for 2022, visit For further information contact the authors at or Ends

Monday, 4 July 2022

University to develop roadmap to create safe, legal routes for displaced people to study in Ireland NUI Galway has joined forces with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on a pioneering initiative to create opportunities for refugee students to come to Ireland to study. The University is taking part in the EU-PASSWORLD project, with a specific focus on developing a roadmap to create new, safe and legal routes for displaced people to secure education scholarships in Ireland.  The aim is for NUI Galway to offer the first higher education scholarship to a refugee by the end of the year. UNHCR and NUI Galway aim to create a roadmap for other higher education institutions in the country to follow as the project expands. Only 5 percent of refugees have access to higher education worldwide, according to UNHCR, which has an enrolment target of 15 percent of young refugee women and men in higher and further education by 2030.  President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We have a responsibility to provide access and formal education pathways to support a refugee’s educational ambitions and skills development. The EU-PASSWORLD project provides a platform for educators, employers and the community to work together towards a sustainable solution.” The EU-PASSWORLD project runs from 2022-2024 and is funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (AMIF). National coordination of the project is being led by UNHCR Ireland and Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre. It builds on other successful programmes from Italy, Germany and Canada, which have seen thousands of refugees arrive to work and study.  UNHCR will support third level institutions to establish dedicated application procedures in certain refugee hosting countries. When refugees arrive in Ireland through the project, they will receive wrap-around integration support from members of their community, through a national programme called community sponsorship. This form of integration has been noted for improving outcomes for refugees, enriching and strengthening host communities, in addition to improving narratives towards refugees and migration. Professor Ó hÓgartaigh added: “Our partnership with the EU-PASSWORLD project seeks to provide such educational opportunities through our University of Sanctuary commitments, which in turn will enrich our student experience through diversity and internationalisation. The EU-PASSWORLD project reflects our values of respect, openness, inclusivity and sustainability through increased social responsibility and a commitment to humanitarianism while creating a more welcoming society. “In collaboration with our industry partners, this initiative also aligns with our commitments to broaden access through the provision of Medtronic funded University of Sanctuary scholarships and Merit Medical’s support of the Youth Academy programme which offers 25% of places on a scholarship basis to participants from DEIS schools.” Enda O’Neill, Head of UNHCR Ireland said: “NUI Galway is leading the way by pioneering this innovative refugee scholarship programme. Access to education is a fundamental human right and by establishing this first scholarship, NUI Galway truly demonstrates its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.  “We hope this will inspire other universities to do the same. We can all help to broaden the response to refugee situations, while also benefitting from the richness that refugee students bring to university life.” NUI Galway’s involvement in the EU PASSWORLD project is led by Associate Professor Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Science and Engineering and Dr Andrew Flaus, Vice Dean for International in the College of Science and Engineering. It is supported by Aidan Harte, co-ordinator of the University of Sanctuary initiative at NUI Galway.  It follows the signing of the Manifesto on Expanding Refugee Tertiary Education Pathways in Europe by Professor Ó hÓgartaigh in May of this year. This manifesto underpins NUI Galway’s commitment to work towards common advocacy, strategies, and the design of operational frameworks to further expand and create tertiary education pathways for refugees in Europe. Ends

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