Tuesday, 23 February 2016

NUI Galway’s Societies Office will hold its Mental Health Week from 29 February to 6 March to open up the conversation about mental health, challenge the associated stigma and promote wellness on campus. Leading the event is the Psychological Society who hope to inspire a monumental student-led shift in campus ethos. The Psychological Society, in conjunction with its fellow societies, will facilitate a jam-packed week of guest speakers, workshops, an information fair, and social activities. Events throughout the week include: GIG (LGBT) Society’s Breakfast Morning in aid of Aids West Psychology lecturers vs. students Five-a-Side A number of screenings by the Film Society on the themes of adolescent loneliness and introversion ‘Good morning Galway’ dance sessions Mindfulness workshop Domestic violence workshops run by specialist Charlotte Douglass A gender-based violence discussion Wellness and Mental Health Fair with information stands from various support and counselling services ‘Coping with Stress’ workshop A psychology career talk Music session by the Music Society Seas Suas information stand to promote the #littlethings campaign and Reach Out Ireland’s ‘Note to Self’ initiative. Adam Harris, from ASIAM, will give a talk on how to create an autism friendly campus Ciaran Lynch from the Health Service Executive will give talks on positive mental health There will also be a call to action in the ‘Towards a Mental Healthy Campus’ panel discussion which features a presentation from Treasa Hannify from Please Talk and a panel of experts including Emer Connaughton of Mental Health Ireland, Gillian Karwig of Reach Out Ireland and NUI Galway professionals working in the field. Soraya Matthews, NUI Galway student and member of the Psychological Society, said: “We hope that the Galway community will come on to campus and join us to help bring about positive change and support our groundswell movement.” For details on NUI Galway’s Mental Health Week see the website www.nuigstudents.ie or call the SocsBox on 091 492852. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy to hold conference on Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self determination project NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy project, The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) will hold its opening conference on Friday, 26 February at the Wood Quay Venue in Dublin. The conference will explore the experiences of people with disabilities in exercising, or being denied, their right to make decisions about their lives, known as legal capacity. It will focus on people’s lived experiences in the following areas – consent to sex, consent to medical treatment, contracts and the criminal justice system. Speakers include people with disabilites, academics, and activists with experience of using stories to drive social change. Professor Gábor Gombos, a world-renowned independent disability rights defender, will deliver the keynote address. Professor Gombos says: “It is important that people with disabilities are at the heart of advocating for a just and inclusive world, where all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights without any kind of discrimination. The right to legal capacity is at the very core of this.” Mr Rusi Stanev will respond to the keynote with his experiences of being denied legal capacity and his involvement in a landmark case on this issue in the European Court of Human Rights. The Honorable Kristin Booth Glen will also respond with her insights on these issues, from her 15 years experience serving on the New York City Civil Court and the New York State Supreme Court. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “This conference, and indeed the project as a whole, places a focus on the experiences of people with disabilities and is designed to give people with disabilities a voice regarding their right to legal capacity.” The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award. The conference is a free event and registration remains open until Monday, 22 February. Further information is available at www.ercvoices.com or email Clíona on ercvoices@nuigalway.ie or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed. ENDS

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Galway University Musical Society’s 16th musical, ‘The Addams Family’ will take place in the Black Box Theatre from 9-13 February at 8pm, with a special matinée on Saturday, 13 February at 2pm. Over 50 NUI Galway students will perform in the musical about everyone’s favourite ghoulish American family, who have an affinity for all things macabre. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. Tickets cost €15, €12 for students and €10 for groups of four plus. The Saturday matinée, organised especially for families, will cost €10 for adults and €5 for children. The Galway University Musical Society is an amateur musical society which has been nominated for numerous Association of Irish Musical Society (AIMS) awards and receiving fantastic reviews. Tickets are on sale now at the Socs Box at www.socsbox.nuigalway.ie or 091 492852, or the Town Hall Theatre at www.tht.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Dr Carol Coulter, Director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP), has been appointed as an honorary Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, NUI Galway. Dr Coulter graduated from Trinity College with BA and PhD degrees in English, and also holds a Diploma in Legal Studies and an MPhil in Law. She became a journalist and joined The Irish Times in 1986, working as a reporter, acting London Editor, acting Northern Ireland Editor, Deputy News Editor, Legal Affairs Correspondent, Legal Affairs Editor and Assistant Editor. As Legal Affairs editor she initiated and edited the ‘Law Matters’ page in The Irish Times, as well as writing extensively there on the courts, law, human rights and justice. She won a number of journalism awards, including Campaigning Journalist of the Year in 1990, Legal Print Journalist of the Year in 2000 and 2012, and also overall Legal Journalist of the Year in 2012. From 2006 to 2007 she took leave of absence from The Irish Times to run a pilot project on private family law for the Courts Service, initiating the publication of reports on family law proceedings in Ireland. These were published in quarterly magazines, Family Law Matters, from 2007 to 2009 and on the Courts Service website. This pilot project resulted in a Report and Recommendations for the Board of the Courts Service, published in October 2007. In October 2012, Dr Coulter left The Irish Times to take up a position as Founder and Director of the Child Care Law Reporting Project, which is examining the public child care law system. To date this has published over 300 reports of child care cases in the District Court and High Court, and two Interim Reports, including statistics and analysis, on its website, www.childlawproject.ie. A third and Final Report, with recommendations, was published in November 2015. Dr Coulter has lectured extensively in the cultural, social and legal areas, both in Ireland and internationally, including in the UK, the US and Japan, and has also published a wide range of essays and books in these areas. From 1992 to 2004 she edited the Undercurrents pamphlet series for Cork University Press. The Child Care Law Reporting Project, directed by Dr Carol Coulter, is now in Phase 2 following the publication of the Final Report from Phase 1 in November 2015. This phase will combine reporting on a reduced number of cases with an in-depth analysis of a number of highly complex and lengthy cases. It is funded jointly by Galway University Foundation and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs for two years.  A formal Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed to guide the implementation of the Phase 2 project. The partners in this Agreement are: The Child Care Law Reporting Project, NUI Galway School of Law, Galway University Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Tusla, Free Legal Advice Centres and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.  The Agreement provides for the establishment of a Research Coordinating Group, which includes the Head of the School of Law, Professor Donncha O’Connell, which will guide the development of the research programme and assist in identifying ways of implementing the recommendations that arise from the project within the two years. Galway University Foundation has negotiated with Atlantic Philanthropies to provide €70,000 in funding for the project and has a separate agreement in place with FLAC, which provides technical and administrative assistance to the CCLRP, for the management of these funds on behalf of the project. As well as participating in the Research Coordinating Group, NUI Galway will assist the project through a separate Galway University Foundation-funded Hardiman Scholarship to the School of Law. The scholarship, awarded to the School of Law and linked to the CCLRP, is for a PhD to be supervised jointly by Dr Connie Healy and Dr Carol Coulter. The PhD will look at international best practice examples of Child Protection systems that successfully address the needs of vulnerable children coming before the child protection courts. The aim will be to complement and add significant value to the research arising from Phase 2 of the Child Care Law Reporting Project. The Scholarship has been awarded to Maria Corbett who has worked with the Children's Rights Alliance for many years. Announcing the appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “Our association with Carol Coulter is very exciting and speaks directly and unapologetically to the kind of societal impact that NUI Galway’s School of Law at NUI Galway aims to achieve. Through her involvement as a doctoral co-supervisor and as a public figure of considerable standing we hope to pursue with her valuable and exciting projects in the years ahead.” In accepting the appointment, Dr Coulter said: “I am delighted to be associated with NUI Galway’s School of Law which has a well-deserved reputation for teaching and scholarship in public interest law and human rights, of which children’s rights are an important part. I look forward to working with Professor O’Connell, Dr Healy and Maria in further developing this area of law and generally contributing to the work and public profile of the School.” -Ends- 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The third in the ‘Lectures in the Library’ series, curated by NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising will focus on Richard Henebry, a trenchant critic of attempts to modernise Irish language writing, who compared Pádraig Pearse’s short stories to ‘the mincing of an underassistant floor-walker of a millinery shop’. The Reverend Dr Richard Henebry was a Waterford-born scholar, priest and patriot whose commitment to Irish traditional music is evident in the posthumuosly published A Handbook of Irish Music (1928), a unique analysis of traditional music.   The lecture, ‘Dr Richard Henebry, 1863-1916’, will be delivered by Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin and will focus on Dr Henebry as a revivalist and scholar in the field of traditional music and will contextualise his scholarship in Ireland of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The lecture will begin at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 9 February at Galway City Library. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

NUI Galway will host two special lectures by leading international experts from 19-20 February, examining where and when humans first arose, and where they hope to travel to in the future. On Friday, 19 February at 7pm, Dr Tracy Kivell of the University of Kent will deliver the William King Annual Lecture on the ‘Mysteries of our newest extinct relative: Homo naledi and the Rising Star Cave’. Dr Kivell is a senior member of the scientific team which discovered this new South African fossil human species, making international news headlines last year. These particular fossils potentially represent some of the earliest representatives of the group to which all people today belong and they were unearthed in an area known as the Cradle of Humankind. The team which described Homo naledi noted that these ancient humans may have deliberately and intentionally disposed of the dead members of their community deep inside the Rising Star Cave system. The William King Lecture is an event run by the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway which brings an international expert to Galway each year to deliver a talk on human evolution. William King was the first Professor of Geology at Queens College Galway and became the first scientist to ever name a new and extinct species of human when he proposed the name Homo neanderthalensis in 1863. This was an important step in the birth of palaeoanthropology, or study of human evolution. The naming of Homo naledi by Dr Kivell and her colleagues represents the latest addition to the human family tree. Event co-organiser, Dr John Murray of NUI Galway’s Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: “The revelation of Homo naledi to the world represents one of the most significant recent advances in the study of human evolution. These distant ancestors may have lived some two, or perhaps even three million years ago, and the proposal that they may have carefully disposed of their dead fundamentally changes our perception of what it truly means to be ‘human’.” On Saturday, 20 February at 6.30pm, Professor Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College London will deliver a lecture on ‘The Geological Adventures of Curiosity in Gale Crater, Mars’. Professor Gupta is a Participating Scientist and Long Term Science Planner on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission and has played a leading role in this epic voyage of discovery to the Red Planet. This talk is co-sponsored by the Geological Survey of Ireland and Geological Survey of Northern Ireland. For over three years, the car-sized rover Curiosity has been exploring the surface of Mars and the ancient rock formations exposed there and has made many important discoveries. Recently, Professor Gupta and his colleagues reported evidence for a long vanished ancient lake at Gale Crater, implying the presence of relatively wet climatic conditions on Mars in the distant past. Emmett Hart from the NUI Galway Galway Earth and Ocean Society, which is also involved in organising the event, said: “The exploration of the surface of Mars represents one of modern science’s greatest achievements. Mars holds considerable promise as a future planetary destination for humans, and, remarkably, appears to have had surface conditions amenable to life in the past.” Both of these lectures will take place in the O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre, on the Arts Science Concourse. A limited number of free tickets for both evenings are available to the general public, and these must be booked in advance at https://naledi-mars.eventbrite.com. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The fifth lecture in the Lectures in the Library series, curated by the Centre for Irish Studies to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising, will focus on Captain Jack White, one of the most unusual participants in the Irish revolution. A Christian anarchist and a pacifist, Captain White was a hero of the Boer War who became the first commandant of the Irish Citizen Army. A fervent admirer of Connolly, he did not take part in the Rising, but made a most unorthodox attempt to rescue him from the firing squad. The lecture will be delivered by Dr Leo Keohane, author of Captain Jack White: Imperialism, anarchism & the Irish Citizen Army, and take place on Tuesday, 23 February at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library on Augustine Street. -ENDS- 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

NUI Galway Researcher leads meeting of experts in Brussels on Pandemic Research Project Global experts on pandemics and emergency management are meeting in Brussels today (Wednesday, 17 February). The workshop is organised by NUI Galway’s Professor Máire Connolly and is part of the Pandemic Risk and Emergency Management (PANDEM) project. PANDEM aims to identify research needed to strengthen pandemic surveillance, communications and governance in the European Union. The 2-day workshop seeks to find better ways to identify and respond to potential pandemic threats to Europe. The recent appearance of the Zika virus in the Americas, followed by the World Health Organisation’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, has posed new challenges making the issues being discussed even more relevant. Professor Connolly said: “This project is timely given international concerns about the current Zika outbreak, the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and MERS-CoV in Asia and the Middle East. We don’t know when the next pandemic will occur, or where it will emerge. What we do know is that there is vital work which can be done in terms of preparing for such an event.” PANDEM is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project brings together public sector and private sector groups including NUI Galway, the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, the World Health Organisation, the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and IGS Strategic Communications, London. The 18 month project is bringing together experts from Europe and the United States in health, security, defence, information technology, communications and law for a workshop in Brussels from 17-18 February. They will analyse current threats and review existing capacity for risk assessment and surveillance in Europe, as well as the capacity of European countries to respond to a potential pandemic. They will also be reviewing communications capacity, governance and legal frameworks to help ensure they are ready to respond to a potential crisis. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Three NUI Galway academics were among the recipients of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Charlemont Grant Awards, which were presented at a special ceremony in Academy House in Dublin recently. Funded by the Academy, the Charlemont Grants are designed to act as a career springboard to assist scholars in strengthening their international mobility and developing international collaborative networks. These are small grants, with high impact, and are complimentary to larger programmes offered by other funders including the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland. The NUI Galway recipients were: Dr Bronagh McShane, Moore Institute; Dr Lindasy Ann Reid, English; and Dr Emily Porter, Lambe Institute for Translational Research. Grants are available for short visits to any country to support primary research in any subject area. The duration of visits is generally between one week and six weeks in length, the key objectives being to initiate one-to-one collaborations, explore opportunities to build lasting networks and gain access to ideas, research facilities, and complementary equipment. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; or for visits by or to partner scholars. For further details on the RIA Charlemont Grant please visit www.ria.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 18 February 2016

€2million investment to show entrepreneurship is viable career path for students NUI Galway today launched Blackstone LaunchPad, a multidisciplinary experiential learning programme that supports a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, by providing tools for student entrepreneurs to turn ideas into viable businesses. This is the first Global Launch for the Blackstone programme outside of the US. Blackstone Launchpad supports student entrepreneurs with individual coaching, seminars and training related to building a business. Students will write business plans, complete financial analyses, and design marketing campaigns. In addition, students will be teamed up with external mentors to launch commercial ventures. Speaking at the launch, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “At NUI Galway we believe we have a duty to society to prepare our students for the world of work. We pride ourselves on being a university focused on ‘Real Learning’ and we don’t assume that our graduates will be able to rely on the traditional routes to employment. We work to equip our students with the skills to shape their own future and entrepreneurship is such a skill. Blackstone LaunchPad puts innovation firmly on our students’ agenda in a fresh new way. NUI Galway is proud to be the first university outside the US to host the Blackstone LaunchPad initiative. We’re grateful to Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Galway University Foundation for their support in making this possible.” Alan Kerr, Senior Managing Director of Blackstone, said: “We could not be more pleased to bring Blackstone LaunchPad, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's signature campus entrepreneurship program, to NUI Galway as well as to Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. This program can have a considerable impact on campus and across Ireland by providing students with the entrepreneurial resources and mentorship they need to take their ideas to the next level, and we look forward to seeing a positive impact in the years ahead.” Global Connections
 The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced the first international expansion of its campus entrepreneurship programme, Blackstone LaunchPad, to Ireland in July 2015. Ireland becomes the seventh Blackstone LaunchPad region and its first international one, after Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, and California. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, €2 million grant will establish a partnership with NUI Galway and other campuses, to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide over 50,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. Blackstone LaunchPad will connect NUI Galway’s 17,000 students to other campuses in Ireland and the USA, the business community, and local entrepreneurs to create an environment that nurtures students to succeed as entrepreneurs. Funding for the programme is provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Galway University Foundation. Mary Carty, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “To achieve success students need to believe in their potential. Blackstone LaunchPad provides a fantastic opportunity for all students to participate; to test their ideas, to build a network of like-minded peers and to build their confidence and skills all while undertaking their studies here at NUI Galway. The cross-disciplinary nature of the programme is a real asset; as research shows, companies with diverse teams produce better products and are more profitable.” Mary herself is passionate about women in STEM and is an advisor to STEMettes, which builds interest in STEM in young women. Last year she co-founded the first incubator for young women in STEM in the world, the London-based Outbox Incubator, which worked with 115 girls from six countries. 35 companies were established on the programme. Mary brings a decade of experience working in the technology and startup space, founding two multi-award winning technology startups and was a BAFTA Interactive finalist. She has worked extensively across the public, private and non-profit sectors as an advisor, program developer, keynote speaker and lecturer in Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia.  Experiential Entrepreneurship - the student interns Edel Browne is the founder of Free Feet, a multi-award winning medical device designed to treat gait freezing for people with Parkinson's disease and has recently been appointed as Student Entrepreneur in Residence in Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. She is a past participant on the STEMette's Outbox Incubator in London, a founding member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland, and a global youth ambassador for AAT (America’s Amazing Teens). Edel is currently studying for a BSc in biotechnology at NUI Galway, and is a past best individual award winner at the BT Young Scientist competition in 2013. Jason Walsh is a Bachelor of Commerce student, Jason is the founder of Stock School, offering free informative sessions to students about the financial markets, trading and investments. Between 2012 and 2013, Jason tracked and logged the Dow Jones Industrial Average intraday activity every day for the entire year. Tracking the Dow allowed him to discover and study the mechanisms of financial market behaviour. He presented this research at the first Undergraduate Research Conference in NUI Galway in March 2015. Stock School eventually found its home as part of the NUI Galway Entrepreneurship Society and is now seeing 130-150 students attend per session. Interestingly the sessions have been mostly balanced with a strong representation in genders. Jason comments on how welcome it is to see as many of his female counterparts as to his male counterparts showing such a keen interest in trading and investing. Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, said: “I send congratulations and best wishes to all involved in the launch today at NUI Galway of Ireland’s first Blackstone LaunchPad. This initiative - the first of its kind outside the US - is a very timely project in Ireland’s economic development. Ireland has a vision of a stable and prosperous economy. In 2012, Government’s Action Plan for Jobs mapped out the many steps necessary to support enterprise in the creation and maintenance of jobs. I am delighted to say we are now seeing real results in the Irish economy. As start-ups and entrepreneurs account for over two thirds of all new jobs, the Government is committed to ensuring the framework conditions are in place for new businesses to start, scale and succeed. By encouraging and training the next generation of entrepreneurs and by nurturing entrepreneurial thinking and talent, university graduates will now be empowered to become innovators; finding alternatives to the more traditional routes to employment by creating their own enterprises and jobs.” Minister English added: “NUI Galway’s leadership in establishing Blackstone LaunchPad here on campus is a vital step to building that strong culture of innovation amongst the brightest minds and talented students who will help to create a better Ireland. NUI Galway’s approach to entrepreneurship education through Blackstone LaunchPad is a wonderful initiative and I commend the University for its vision.” ENDS For further information see http://www.nuigalway.ie/blackstonelaunchpad

Friday, 19 February 2016

Team ‘Millennial 5’ travelled to the Netherlands to represent Shannon College of Hotel Management at the European Mise en Place Cup (EMCup) last week. The team comprised of five third-year students from Kilkenny, Clare, Cork, Budapest, Hungary and the USA. The students won the ‘Best Case Study’, and awarded second place in the overall competition. Hazel Mullarkey, from Ennis, Co. Clare, was one of the students on the winning team: “The competition was an amazing experience and gave us the opportunity to network with hospitality professionals and students from other hotel schools all over Europe.” Dr Phillip Smyth, Head of Shannon College, said: “This fantastic achievement reinforces the importance of in-depth business knowledge for young hoteliers and the ability to analyse the ever changing market place. Our students took on some of the best hotel schools in the world and beat them in the analysis of a hotel business case and were second overall. High level analytical skills are critical for success in the hotel business and our students have them.” The theme for this year’s EMCup was ‘Surfing the Silver Wave’ which investigated the impact of the ageing population on the Hotel and Tourism Industries. Within 35 years, there will be more people alive older than 60 than there will be people younger than 15. During most of the 21st century, the people over 60 will be the fastest-growing consumer group in the world. This ‘Agequake’ influences the business models of various industries such as health, retail, technology and hospitality. Students were asked to focus on the opportunities that will arise in the hospitality sector from this shift in demographic. Team Millennial 5 proposed setting up a new awarding body in Europe to rate hotels on their facilities and services for the elderly population. Patrina Meskell, Marketing Lecturer at Shannon College, said: “We are all extremely proud of the girls, they put in so much hard work and it really paid off. They represented the college at the highest standard.” ENDS

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

More blood cancer patients to benefit from research network expansion with the Mater and Beaumont hospitals joining Blood Cancer Network Ireland The Irish Cancer Society has announced a further significant investment in blood cancer research that will benefit more patients across Ireland. The national cancer charity is committing €450,000 over the next five years to support the expansion of Blood Cancer Network Ireland, a new clinical research network for blood cancers, which is being led by NUI Galway. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BNCI) was established by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland in 2015 to provide blood cancer patients across Ireland with improved access to novel drugs and treatments through early stage clinical trials. Clinical research facilities include NUI Galway, University College Cork, and St James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin, and the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG) will also be a partner in this national network. The research initiative is being led by Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway. On foot of that investment, the Irish Cancer Society has announced a further commitment of €100,000 per annum over the next four and a half years to support and facilitate the Mater University Hospital and Beaumont Hospital to join the clinical research network. As of February, both hospitals will join existing clinical research facilities in NUI Galway, UCC, and St James’s Hospital/ TCD to extend the reach of the network into all four Health Service Executive regions. Commenting on the Irish Cancer Society’s funding commitment, BCNI Director Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, said the expansion plans would benefit more blood cancer patients and put Ireland on the map in the field of blood cancer research. “The expansion of Blood Cancer Network Ireland will not only benefit more blood cancer patients right across the country but will also consolidate the investment to date by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland and make Ireland internationally competitive in blood cancer research.” Commenting on the additional significant commitment by the Society to this national clinical research network, Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research at Irish Cancer Society said: “This additional investment in the expansion of Blood Cancer Network Ireland demonstrates our absolute commitment to innovative and life-changing cancer research and to ensuring that Irish patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment.” Every year more than 1,500 people across Ireland are diagnosed with blood cancer. Blood cancers are the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Ireland. For further information about BCNI visit www.bloodcancers.ie. ENDS

Thursday, 4 February 2016

NUI Galway awarded Research Leader role to implement Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy to be underpinned by high-quality evidence through research projects funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and The Atlantic Philanthropies Professor Eamon O' Shea, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway has been selected as Research Leader of Dementia Care as part of the establishment of a new National Centre for Social Research on Dementia, which will start this year as a result of significant investment from the Health Research Board (HRB) and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The establishment of a new National Centre for Social Research on Dementia and a suite of applied projects, exploring topics such as the use of home computer tablets for care management, dementia-friendly hospital design and the links between stroke and dementia, will start this year as a result of significant investment from the HRB and The Atlantic Philanthropies. "The awards are part of a very deliberate and focused plan to improve dementia care", says Graham Love, the Chief Executive of the Health Research Board. "They are aligned with the National Dementia Strategy and they all focus on improving quality of life for people living with dementia and those caring for them. From making our hospitals more friendly for dementia patients, or using technology to remotely track health markers like patient blood pressure and weight, each of these new projects will make a very real and tangible impact on people's lives and improve how we deliver their healthcare services." Mary Sutton, Country Director for The Atlantic Philanthropies added that, "This is part of a broader investment by Atlantic in the development of dementia health and social care. With the HRB, we want to see the dementia landscape transformed through an infusion of new leadership in thought and practice, building research collaborations between academia and the wider practice and policy community both here in Ireland and also internationally." A cornerstone of this integrated approach is the HRB Research Leader position in Dementia care. Professor Eamon O'Shea is a world-renowned expert on dementia and his Research Leader Award (RLA) represents a 5-year investment in dementia research between the HRB, NUI Galway and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The post will be expected to influence and inform national policy and practice and strengthen an evidence-informed approach to healthcare delivery. According to Professor O'Shea, "Too often people use the word 'burden' when talking about dementia. My vision is to champion a research programme and strategy that focuses on choice, capabilities, connectivity and personhood for people with dementia. This investment by the Health Research Board and The Atlantic Philanthropies will enable us to create a National Centre for Social Research on Dementia where the research focuses on the person living with the dementia and their needs, not just their symptoms. Our aim is to do research that looks at the best ways to provide care for people living with dementia that are based on choice rather than just relying on the traditional residential care model. We want to understand how the person connects with others during the care process, and the role of family carers in understanding and delivering care.  Our interest is in personalised, non-pharmacological approaches to care such as physical exercise and the beneficial effects of non-pharmacological interventions. Ultimately it is about putting the person with dementia at the centre of decision-making at all times. We have been very deliberate in our proposals. We are committed to working in partnership with key stakeholders in dementia-related activity and care in Ireland such as the Health Service Executive, the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland, and Genio. We will examine social, economic, civic, cultural and legal aspects of dementia so that we can enhance and enrich the lives of those with the condition." Dr Dympna Casey from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway will also participate in the dementia research programme. Dr Casey’s role will focus on Comprehensive Resilience-building Psychosocial Intervention (CREST) to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers. The project will combine a number of separate interventions into one umbrella programme to improve the quality of life for patients. It will comprise of four components to address: cognitive stimulation; group physical activity; dementia education; assistive technologies to support personal control and retain skills. The project will finalise the CREST intervention and undertake a pilot evaluation that will lead to a subsequent randomised control trial. The new funidng will support: A HRB Research leader in Dementia to influence and inform national policy and practice and strengthen an evidence-informed approach to healthcare delivery (Award value: €1.6m over five years). A new HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) Award (Award value: €572,000, over three years) to support three post-doctoral positions to examine the links between stroke and dementia. Five new Applied Research Projects in Dementia (Award value €1.5m, with each lasting between two and three years). See summaries below for more detail. A new dementia research and practice knowledge exchange network (Award value: €150,000 over two years). This will support an independent, multi-disciplinary network of dementia related researchers, practitioners, patients, families and other stakeholders, to enhance exchange of information and views among members, improve dissemination and awareness of Irish dementia and related research, enhance exchange and public and patient involvement in dementia research and consolidate links and cooperation between all who have an interest in dementia or research. Four PhD Scholarship positionssupported by the HRB SPHeRE programme. This 'first-of-its-kind' in Ireland training programme was established by the HRB to develop a pool of researchers with the specialist skills to conduct population health and health services research. The four scholarships will have a special emphasis on dementia-related topics. ENDS

Monday, 15 February 2016

Galway Kentucky links celebrated through Pickow-Ritchie Archive Building on the Ritchie-Pickow archive housed in NUI Galway's James Hardiman library, The ‘Jean Ritchie Scholarship’ was officially launched by the University’s International Office celebrating its growing links with Berea College, Kentucky in the US. The Scholarship offers a full tuition waiver to one outstanding Berea College graduate pursuing a one year MA programme in NUI Galway. Permission was granted by Jean Ritchie and her family to name this scholarship in her honour prior to her demise last June. In a project which celebrates these links between Galway and Appalachia, Mary McPartlan, Traditional Artist in Residence and University teacher at NUI Galway, has recorded a CD in tribute of the late Jean Ritchie, whom she met during Mary’s Fulbright Scholarship in 2013. The CD ‘From Mountain to Mountain’, also launched at the event, brings full circle the Fulbright projects of Jean Ritchie and Mary McPartlan in an exchange of musical interpretation, with Irish and Appalachian songs recorded by Mary with US jazz legend, Bertha Hope. In 1996 the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, acquired the Ritchie-Pickow Photographic Archive, along with tapes of sound recordings. These included many of the singers and musicians that Jean recorded as part of a project to trace the roots of many of the songs and tunes she would have grown up with in the Southern Appalachians. The photographs were taken and the recordings made by the US husband and wife team, George Pickow and Jean Ritchie on visits to Ireland in 1952 and 1953. Jean Ritchie, singer, folklorist and dulcimer player was born on 8 December 1922 in Viper, Kentucky. She was the youngest of a family of 14 children, known as 'The Singing Ritchies'. Jean graduated from the University of Kentucky and in 1952 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to enable her to research the origins of her family's songs in Great Britain and Ireland. Ritchie's late husband George Pickow, a photographer, accompanied her and they spent approximately eighteen months recording folk songs and traditional musicians and taking photographs. The photographs include images of many well-known uilleann pipe players, such as Seamus Ennis, the McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; vocalists, including Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin from West Cork, Sarah Makem and story tellers, such as Paitsín Faherty from the Aran Islands. Speaking on the Scholarship Launch, Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is honoured to establish a link with Berea College, Kentucky. Through our bi-lateral exchange two NUI Galway students have already spent time in Berea and currently four students from Berea are on campus in Galway. Berea College has a deep and enduring commitment to preservation, promotion and enjoyment of traditional and folk arts, in addition to its commitment to social justice, global understanding and inter-racial education. We look forward to welcoming the first Jean Ritchie Scholar to NUI Galway this September to pursue an MA programme.” ENDS

Monday, 29 February 2016

As part of its ongoing initiative towards integrating mindfulness into the University’s culture, NUI Galway will host a day of Mindfulness classes with Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thubten. The classes will take place in NUI Galway’s Aula Maxima Lower on Wednesday, 9 March, throughout the day from 8.15am to 5pm. The Mindfulness theme will focus on Deepening our Mindfulness through the technique of ‘breathing’, followed by a reflection practice on ‘Cause and Effect – the importance of ethical living’. Classes are free and open to all university staff and students, the general public, researchers, student counsellors and advisors, healthcare professionals, mindfulness practitioners, and anyone with an interest in mindfulness. Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Gelong Thubten, based at the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfriesshire in Scotland, and one of the very popular expert speakers at last October’s NUI Galway Mindful Way Conference, will deliver the Mindfulness classes, as part of the University’s ‘Mindful Way Initiative’. Gelong Thubten has already delivered monthly Mindfulness classes to NUI Galway staff and students in January and February of 2016 and will continue to do so over the coming months. Due to the enthusiastic response to classes, they have now been opened up to the public, and for those attending for the first time in March, there is an opportunity to cover the previous two sessions at the 12pm class. Last October, NUI Galway’s Mindful Way Conference shared the evidence-based impact of mindfulness on students and staff performance, well-being and culture. The University is now focusing on the benefits of integrating mindfulness within the University setting to continue to serve the 21st century needs in delivering its core principles: teaching, research and contribution to society through innovation and entrepreneurship, and understanding the role mindfulness can play in providing a more enriching experience for students and staff. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is starting on this journey to adopt a mindfulness culture. Last year the University hosted a conference of mindfulness experts, leaders in society and entrepreneurs, along with students, staff and university leaders, to discuss the importance of mindfulness in higher educational institutions. To date there has been such a great response to Gelong Thubten’s classes, which have been well attended by both students and staff that we would like to open it up to the wider community.” Commenting on what people can expect from the Mindfulness classes Gelong Thubten said: “The purpose of the monthly classes is to provide a thorough training in mindfulness, to be practiced between each module. Each class consists of a Theme, Technique and Reflection Practice. In January, I introduced Relaxation and Confidence using a ‘body scan’ technique followed by a reflection practice focusing on realising our full potential. In February, I introduced Honing Our Focus and Learning Flexibility using the technique of ‘sound’ followed by a reflection practice focusing on impermanence and change. The March sessions will introduce people to deepening our mindfulness through breathing.” Class Schedule for Wednesday, 9 March, 2016: 8.15am – 9:00am 10.45am – 11.30am 12:00pm – 12.45pm 13.15pm – 14:00pm 17: 00pm – 17:45pm To register attendance and for further information about NUI Galway’s Mindful Way initiative and additional classes visit: www.nuigalway.ie/mindfulway ENDS

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Coder Dojo enthusiasts in Galway and Sweden are invited to design a game as part of NUI Galway’s contribution to the European project “Sea Change” which aims to create a deeper understanding amongst European citizens of how their health depends on the health of our seas and ocean An exciting challenge for members of Coder Dojos in Galway City and County, aged between 7 and 18 years will be launched on Saturday, 27 February at 1pm in the Kirwan Lecture Theatre at the Arts Science Building in NUI Galway. The CoderDojo ‘Future Ocean’ Challenge is being organised by NUI Galway as part of the University’s contribution to a European project called “Sea Change” which aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea. Entrants from individuals or teams with up to a maximum of four members are invited to submit a game design on the theme of Sea Change, creating a deeper understanding of how our health depends on the health of our seas and ocean. The submissions will be reviewed by a panel of experts and judged on ‘best concept’ and ‘ease of use’. Teams and individuals who enter the competition will be able to call on the services of a ‘game designer’ as a mentor and sounding board to help them develop their games. The winning project will be included in an eBook about cold-water corals that will be presented as a teaching resource to secondary schools, and the winners will also receive a cash prize of €500. The best junior project will receive €300. Dr Veronica McCauley from the School of Education at NUI Galway and organiser of the event said: “Coding is now an optional subject on the Junior Cycle Curriculum and junior coding languages such as ‘Scratch’ offer tremendous opportunities for children to be creative while learning the basics of coding. The challenge here is to use the fun and popularity of designing and playing technology games while enjoying digital stories to raise awareness of marine issues, and to ensure healthy oceans and seas in the future, for ourselves, for the animals that live in them, and ultimately for the planet.” At the event launch, Dr Anthony Grehan from Earth and Ocean Sciences at the School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway, will provide ideas for project development and give a talk about why we need to protect cold-water coral reefs. Dr Grehan will be joined by Dr Amy Lusher who recently completed her PhD at GMIT, will provide an update about her work on the hunt for micro-plastics (small plastic particles) in the oceans, and Gavin Duffy, Director of Galway based RealSIM Ltd., will talk about the company’s work on the Titanic Belfast Ocean Exploration project, and current work on the East Coast and Cork Harbour, which aims to apply innovative 3D technologies to marine environmental exploration. For registration and competition details visit http://seachangeproject.eu/futureocean Registration for the competition closes on Saturday, 9 April and is open to Coder Dojos in Galway City and County and to give an international dimension, Lund in Sweden. ENDS

Monday, 15 February 2016

Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar TD today (12 February 2016) officially launched the Sligo Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Sligo University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located within the premises of Sligo University Hospital. This is a major investment by NUI Galway into Clinical training in Sligo, one of a series of proposed medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Mayo and Letterkenny University Hospitals have also been developed. Speaking at the official opening, Minister Varadkar said: “This new Academy is a win-win for medical students, patients, and the north west region. It broadens the training available to medical undergraduates in the region, improves quality of care for patients, and should also help to attract and retain more medical staff in the west and northwest. I congratulate all of those involved in developing the Sligo Medical Academy and look forward to their future plans.” Medical Education and Clinical Delivery The new medical academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of 11 part time tutors/lecturers covering all medical specialties. 60 students per semester from 3rd, 4th and final medical years rotate through Sligo for one year clinical training. The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical School Academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients. Sligo University Hospital provides our student with excellent exposure to a wide variety of specialities. From January 2016 onwards, the Sligo Medical Academy and Sligo University Hospital will also be welcoming student as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme called iJuMP (Intern Junior Mentoring Programme). The School of Medicine promotes the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for clinical practice, allowing them to function as a competent doctor in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a team and functioning as junior interns. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with current interns to learn everything about the clinical environment first hand. Speaking at the launch of the Sligo Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “As well as being enormously important for the clinical education of our students, the real benefit of this partnership is to the health system across our region. Our relationship with Saolta University Health Care Group through the Sligo Medical Academy brings a range of tangible benefits: including better learning outcomes for medical students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased personnel on wards; and better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff in hospitals across the region through association with the University. Many people and organisations have given their energy to see this project come to fruition and NUI Galway is very pleased to be opening this new Medical Academy in Sligo today.” Commenting, Gráinne McGann, General Manager of Sligo University Hospital said: “The opening of this Academy is a welcome development here at Sligo University Hospital as it builds on our links with our academic and research partners. This facility will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. The further integration of medical education and clinical delivery will support the recruitment and retention of the highest quality medical staff to our hospital and the region”. Sligo Medical Academy Building The €2 million euro (700 M2) state of the art facility will include a lecture theatre, clinical skills laboratory, tutorial rooms, mock consultation rooms, tutor offices, and study spaces for the students. The new landmark development will be constructed at levels 7 and 8 above the existing Library. Dr Geraldine McCarthy, Dean of Medical Education in Sligo added, “Sligo Medical Academy is an exciting development for Undergraduate Medical students in the North West. It is a state of the art facility, with lecture theatre, clinical skills lab and small group teaching rooms for 60 NUI Galway students from 3rd year 4th year and final year. The academy has been running since 2009 with 10 part time Clinical Tutors and it is wonderful to now have a purpose built facility to meet the medical students' training needs. It represents a significant investment by NUI Galway in Sligo University Hospital to train our future doctors”. ENDS

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Two medical device researchers have been awarded funding to carry out their research at NUI Galway. Adam Santorelli and Dr Emily Porter will be based at the Medical Device Research Group within the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway. Adam Santorelli, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has been awarded a James M. Flaherty Research Scholarship from the Ireland-Canada University Foundation (ICUF). This competitive award targets emerging researchers and supports a short research visit to investigate topics of strategic importance and encourage partnerships between Canada and Ireland. A final-year PhD student, Adam’s research focuses on developing low-cost hardware for microwave imaging. At NUI Galway, he joins a research team focused on microwave medical imaging, led by Dr Martin O’Halloran. Microwave imaging is a highly promising technology that is just now reaching the stage of clinical testing. It has the potential to offer extremely cost-effective medical imaging, enabling wider access to cancer screening, particularly in remote or developing regions. Working alongside the team at NUI Galway, his research looks to develop advanced imaging techniques for low-cost radar-based systems. Dr Emily Porter has been awarded the Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant, which are bestowed on early-career postdoctoral researchers to enable short but high-impact research-related travel missions. The award aims toward encouraging excellence in all areas of Irish scholarship and facilitating research on an international stage. Dr Porter works with the European Research Council research team in the new Translational Research Facility at NUI Galway. Her research, supervised by Dr Martin O’Halloran, she examines the dielectric properties of human tissue and how these properties can be utilized in up-and-coming medical technologies. The Charlemont Grant will enable her to visit a well-established dielectric property laboratory, run by Dr Sammut at the University of Malta, where she will be in a unique position to learn from some of the best in the field. The research trip promises to facilitate future collaborations with the University of Malta and help to accelerate the investigation of tissue properties at NUI Galway. Dr Martin O’Halloran, ERC Research Fellow and Head of the Medical Device Research Group in the Lambe Institute, said: “These awards highlight the quality of researchers now joining the ERC-funded Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, and are an early success for the newly-opened Lambe Translational Research Facility.”  -Ends-

Friday, 26 February 2016

Compact Imaging and NUI Galway presentations at US Photonics Conference highlight the dramatic size and cost reductions made possible by MRO™ OCT Technology Researchers and technologists from Compact Imaging, Inc. (CI) and their research collaboration partner NUI Galway, who together are developing miniature optical sensors that noninvasively image and measure subsurface characteristics of human tissue, had featured roles at last week’s (13-18 February) annual SPIE/Photonics West Conference, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. SPIE/Photonics West is the world’s premier photonics and bio-photonics industry conference. The Conference, which is attended by scientists and industry executives from more than three dozen countries, consists of plenary sessions, presentations and panels on the latest research and developments in optics, photonics and bio-photonics. Martin Leahy, Professor of Applied Physics at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, and a key advisor to Compact Imaging, served as a Conference Chair and presented a significant paper on Compact Imaging’s innovative OCT technology, MRO™ (Multiple Reference OCT), titled, “The How and Why of a $10 Optical Coherence Tomography System.” Professor Leahy’s talk contrasted Compact Imaging’s small low-cost MRO system with conventional clinical OCT machines. When fully integrated, MRO sensors will be about the size of a quarter, fit easily inside a mobile device and cost less than $10 to produce. Although the clinic-scale OCT instruments have revolutionised medical diagnostic imaging and are expected to remain a vital diagnostic tool for medical professionals, they are large, expensive, complex and power hungry - far from mobile at a time when personalisation is a dominant trend in healthcare. Because Compact Imaging’s MRO architecture was developed to leverage mass-produced miniature components commonly found in consumer electronic devices, it is well-suited to integration in high volume devices for applications ranging from personal health monitoring to secure identity authentication. Compact Imaging founder Dr Josh Hogan also participated in the conference. Additional talks were given on various aspects of MRO research and development by post-doctoral researchers and graduate students in Professor Leahy’s Tissue Optics and Microcirculation Imaging (TOMI) laboratories at NUI Galway. Professor Martin Leahy from NUI Galway said: “OCT has had an enormous impact on healthcare, first on eye and now in the coronary artery diseases. With Compact Imaging, we want to extend the impact of OCT to communities and to the six billion people outside of the first world, who will simply never access the benefits of OCT in its current format.” Don Bogue, CEO of Compact Imaging said: “In the field of OCT imaging and biometry, size, price and operating power are three critical elements to commercialisation in mass market applications. Our MRO system is the first version of OCT with the size, cost and operating power profile to address high volume applications in areas such as mobile personal health monitoring and biometric security.” Compact Imaging’s intellectual property base, consisting of 15 US patents and an equal number of pending US and foreign applications, is centered on MRO™ and its use in a wide range of biological and non-biological imaging and biometry applications. ENDS

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The fourth in the series of ‘Lectures in the Library’ will tell the remarkable story of Dubliner Eilish Dolan from her wrongful incarceration as a 15 year old girl to her adult career as a writer of romantic fiction. It is a story of courage and betrayal, love and resilience that epitomises the political, human and social contradictions of Ireland as it emerged from the 1916 Rising through the war of independence and the civil war. The lecture will be delivered by Eilish’s nephews, Michael Dolan and Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of NUI Galway’s Child and Family Research Centre. The lecture will begin at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 16 February at Galway City Library in Augustine Street. The ‘Lectures in the Library’ series is organised by NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising.  ENDS

Monday, 1 February 2016

NUI Galway will host a Cancer Research and Awareness evening in Galway providing fascinating insights into the future of cancer research and prevention NUI Galway will host a Cancer Research and Awareness evening for the public providing valuable insights into the future of cancer research and in particular, early cancer detection and prevention. The event will take place in Áras Moyola at NUI Galway on Thursday, 11 February from 7pm to 9pm. Organised by NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and NUI Galway’s Cancer Society, the event will share information on all types of cancer with the wider Galway community and the many resources available to people. It aims to encourage public and patient involvement in cancer research; discuss the future of cancer medicine and patient well-being, and the benefits of combining research with psychology and clinical medicine. Special guest, Professor Mark Lawler from the Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology in Queen’s University Belfast will headline the event. Joining Professor Lawler on the panel of experts are; Dr Sharon Glynn, Lecturer in Pathology at The Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, Dr Jane Walsh, Director of M-Health Research Group and the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, and Sinead Quinn, Clinical Psychologist and Patient and Family Advocate. The evening will comprise of short presentations by each of the speakers, followed by a panel discussion in which members of the audience can pose questions. Community members, patients, patients’ families, physicians, medical professionals and students will benefit from this multi-disciplinary discussion. Schedule of Panel Discussions: Lorraine Toner, Irish Cancer Society - Introduction Dr Sharon Glynn, College of Medicine, NUI Galway - Current Research Aimed at Preventing the Development of Metastatic Cancer & Future Research Strategies for Cancer Prevention Dr Jane Walsh, School of Psychology, NUI Galway - Tools available for healthy living, exercise and nutrition for cancer patient and for lowering risk. Sinead Quinn, Patient and Family Advocate – Raising Awareness for Early Cancer Diagnosis & Psychological Impact of Cancer Diagnosis Professor Mark Lawler, Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast - 21st Century Cancer Medicine; Time to get personal General Discussion with Audience and Closing The event is free and open to the public. For further event details email nuigalwaycanceraware@gmail.com, follow on Twitter @nuigalway.ie or Facebook at NUIG Cancer Society. ENDS

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dr Rebecca Metzner, United Nations Chief of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organisation, will deliver a public talk in the Galway Business School on Wednesday, 24 February at 7.30pm. The talk is organised by Coastwatch Europe, in association with NUI Galway’s School of Geography and the Ryan Institute. One of the goals of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is to promote the combination of modern, cutting edge research with local knowledge and practices to conserve and improve local resources, producing multiple benefits at the local and global level. With the growing challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, it is important to protect and build upon the knowledge and associated practices. Around Galway Bay inshore fishermen, and particularly traditional seaweed harvesters, have expressed growing concern about the future of the region. Proposals for large scale salmon aquaculture, a major harbour extension, and international interests in seaweed processing and harvesting on the foreshore are of particular concern for the traditional local small scale operators. Dr Metzner will also meet with small-scale fisheries and traditional gathers of Galway Bay to discuss their rights and opportunities in light of new developments in marine law and policy in Ireland. Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch said: “We extended the invite because we feel most small-scale fishers and communities are not on the radar of national and regional decision makers.” Dr Kevin Lynch, NUI Galway’s School of Geography and the Ryan Institute, said: “The issues around traditional activities on our coasts require an integrated approach to future coastal and marine initiatives. Our Masters of Science students have a number of projects ongoing in this area and the students are looking forward to meeting Dr Metzner to discuss best practices from other countries where similar issues arise.” -Ends-

Monday, 1 February 2016

Eight NUI Galway academics attended a celebration of ‘Women in Science’ by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in Áras an Uachtaráin at the weekend. The event celebrated the leading role that women play in scientific research and industry. Since his inauguration in 2011, the President has spoken repeatedly about the importance of using scientific insights to address the great challenges facing humanity and our fragile planet and to ensure the benefits of this research are shared equitably among and within nations. The celebratory event highlighted the achievements and inspirational roles played by a growing number of women in this regard. Representation was drawn from the universities and institutes of technology in Ireland, as well as a small number from scientific state agencies and bodies.  There was also a group of competitors and organisers from the BT Young Scientists Competition. Speaking at the celebratory event, President Higgins said: “It gives me great pleasure to host this event, aimed at celebrating the leading role that women are playing in scientific research and industry. Science is an important and influential discipline – one which has a pivotal role to play in the great concerns of humanity in our time, and one which has the potential to make the greatest contribution to improving our world. “As experts in their fields, award winners, holders of distinguished Chairs and Professorships, esteemed researchers, writers and lecturers they are breaking new ground and paving the way for new generations of women who will also wish to use their talent and creativity to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, and play their unique role in crafting a better world. I wish each and every one of them success in their fields of expertise, in their future careers and in their capacities as inspirational role models for the scientists of the future.” The eight NUI Galway researchers were: Dr Adrienne Gorman, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Science and Principal Investigator in Apoptosis Research Centre Dr Eva Szegezdi, Lecturer in Biochemistry, Head of the Blood Cancer Biobank in Ireland, and Principal investigator of the Cancer Niche Laboratory Dr Laoise McNamara, Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering Dr Elaine Dunleavy, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow with Biochemistry and Centre for Chromosome Biology Dr Róisín Dwyer, Lecturer in Translational Science Professor Grace McCormack, member of the Zoology Discipline of the School of Natural Sciences and the Biodiversity and Bioresources cluster of the Ryan Institute Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, Lecturer in the Discipline of Microbiology Dr Sharon Glynn, Lecturer in Pathology -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Fully funded opportunities for filmakers The SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway and the Galway Film Centre have launched a partnership project called ‘Science on Screen’, funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Discover Programme. The Programme aims to facilitate, promote and increase the inclusion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) content in Irish film and TV production. The ‘Science on Screen’ project will fund two 26 minute science films with a budget of €35,000 each. These two films will incorporate areas of research currently underway in CÚRAM. Interested producers are invited to register their interest by contacting scienceonscreen@galwayfilmcentre.ie and are invited to attend an information day at CÚRAM on Saturday, 27 February from 10am-1pm. The information day will be an opportunity for producers and filmmakers to hear first-hand from scientists working in CÚRAM, who will give short presentations on key areas of research currently underway in the centre. Following this initial briefing and introduction to the research areas by CÚRAM’s researchers, filmmakers will be invited to apply for the funding by submitting a treatment to Galway Film Centre by Friday, 25 March. Treatments will be assessed on a competitive basis and two filmmakers will be selected. The project aims to provide two experienced filmmakers with funding and access to leading scientists and laboratories within CÚRAM, as well as to patient groups, to explore methods of scientific ‘story telling’ that incorporates aspects of current research being carried out by CÚRAM and its academic partners across Europe. Over 200 renowned experts in biomaterials, drug delivery, cell therapy, glycoscience and device design are working on blue sky research and industry projects associated with the research centre. Galway Film Centre is also in discussion with a broadcaster to air the finished films by November 2016. Declan Gibbons, Manager of Galway Film Centre, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this iniative which offers a very exciting and well-funded opportunity to filmmakers. The research that is being done in CÚRAM is at the cutting edge of modern science and we hope that this work will inspire filmmakers to make films that are informative, creative and the start of a whole new wave of film and science projects. It also fits perfectly with our remit as UNESCO City of Film a core aim of which is to promote educational film projects.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: “We hope that the project will encourage greater collaboration between the research and filmmaking communities in Ireland. There are a great many stories to tell that originate or are influenced by what happens in the laboratory and we look forward to working with filmmakers to bring them to the fore.” CÚRAM’s goal is to radically improve the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic illnesses and over 200 renowned researchers are working on projects to find solutions for illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, neural diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and chronic back pain, by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. For further information and to register for the ‘Science on Screen’ Information Day at CÚRAM contact scienceonscreen@galwayfilmcentre.ie, or 091 770748, or visit www.galwayfilmcentre.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Professor Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, represented the Irish Marine Universities Consortium in Brussels recently as the European Marine Board (EMB) formed its own legal entity as an international non-profit association under Belgian law. The foundation of a non-for-profit association is the first step in a process to eventually become a fully independent legal entity and to secure the future of EMB as the primary marine science foresight and strategy think tank in Europe. The EMB provides a platform for its member organisations to develop common priorities, to advance marine research and to bridge the gap between science and policy, in order to meet marine science challenges and opportunities. Its stakeholders include the Board’s members, partner European and international networks, policymakers, strategy developers and programme managers at national, European and international level, as well as the marine science community. It provides the components for transferring strategic state-of-the-science knowledge and policy recommendations from the scientific community to national agencies, governments and European institutions. The Irish Marine Universities Consortium consists of NUI Galway, University College Cork, University of Limerick, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Dublin City University. The Consortium provides a forum to help co-ordinate marine-related research and teaching initiatives in Irish universities. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Comedian Kevin McAleer, painter John Byrne and writer Susan McKay will come together for a special event in NUI Galway celebrating the Irish border. ‘Borderlines’ will take place on Thursday, 18 February at 7pm in the Aula Maxima. The event is organised by the University’s Arts in Action programme, in association with the School of Law and NUI Galway’s 1916 Commemorative Programme, ‘A Nation Rising’. Kevin McAleer, an Irish comedian from County Tyrone has declared it “the best little border in the world”. Born in Belfast, John Byrne has set up the smallest museum in Ireland along its noble route, and Susan McKay, an author and journalist from Derry, has worked the north, south, east and west of the border. They will consider the artists, songsters and writers who have been allured by the border’s mysterious charms, and share their own deep thoughts.  Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law, said: “This is the first collaboration between the School of Law and the Arts in Action programme. For lawyers, territorial borders have a particular interest. This event will afford an additional, creative insight to augment what might seem like an arid or legalistic understanding of lines on maps and, hopefully, it will do so in an amusing fashion.”   Dr Mary Harris, co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s 1916 Commemorative Programme said: “Radicals at the time of the Rising were dismissive of arguments for partition, but the Ulster question proved more intractable than expected. This event provides a welcome exploration of the border from a variety of interpretive perspectives.” For further information on ‘Borderlines’, and the Arts in Action Programme, contact Kate Howard at artsinactiongalway@gmail.com or 086 8456773. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 January 2016

NUI Galway study highlights the discharge of antibiotic resistant bacteria from inadequately treated sewage to the environment in Ireland, Europe and the wider world is a serious risk to health Scientists at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway together with colleagues in UCD have carried out a study on whether antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are present in hospital sewage, and city sewage. The results found high levels of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics in urban sewage from hospitals and from general city sewage, but that risk can be reduced greatly by an effective wastewater treatment. Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to public health. Bacteria are becoming resistant to more and more antibiotics and infections are more and more difficult to treat. Hospitals today are fighting the problem of infections caused by bacteria resistant to so many antibiotics that patients with these infections are very difficult to treat. Antibiotic resistance is driven by contact between bacteria and antibiotics. When we take antibiotics to treat an infection the antibiotic impacts on all the bacteria in the body not just the one causing the infection. This can drive many bacteria in the gut and skin towards antibiotic resistance. In the past we have paid much less attention to contact between antibiotics and bacteria outside the body. However a lot of the antibiotics we swallow come out in urine or faeces. Bacteria are also shed in faeces and become mixed with water and soil bacteria in sewers and treatment plants. In recent years there has been growing interest in the way in which this melting pot of bacteria and antibiotics might also contribute to this major problem of antibiotic resistance. Hospitals use a lot of antibiotics. About 1 in 3 patients in hospital are on antibiotics at any one time. Hospitals tend to use high doses or the newest and most broadly acting antibiotics because of the nature of the infections in hospitalised patients. Scientists at the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and colleagues at UCD, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, looked at whether antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are present in hospital sewage, and city sewage. They tested to see if the antibiotic resistant bacteria can survive wastewater treatment processes and examined what is the possible risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are discharged into seawater from treatment plants getting back into people. The research team found high levels of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics in urban sewage from hospitals and from the general city sewage. Hospital sewage was different in that there were high levels of bacteria resistant to a number of “newer” antibiotics. The number of antibiotic resistant bacteria present were reduced greatly by effective wastewater treatment but some antibiotic resistant bacteria survive and are discharged to seawater. The team consider that the chance that people will pick up antibiotic resistant bacteria from swimming in seawater receiving properly treated sewage is very low. The team found that the predicted discharges of antibiotics into the environment from hospitals is substantial. There is evidence that some antibiotics may persist in the water and soil for long periods. Because of the effects of dilution and other factors, it is unlikely that people are exposed to sufficient antibiotics to cause direct harmful effects. However the persistence of antibiotics at low levels in soil and water may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Dr Dearbhaile Morris, Bacteriologist from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway said: “This study highlights a part of the problem of antibiotic resistance that does not receive very much attention. Our work shows that there is a risk related to antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria in sewage but that a high standard of sewage treatment goes a long way to reduce that risk. This is one more reason why the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage to the environment in Ireland or indeed anywhere in Europe or the wider world is an unacceptable risk to our health.” For a link to the study visit: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/researchreport162.html#.VpaBUFLXsSk ENDS

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Times Higher Education World University Rankings includes NUI Galway in Top 200 List of Most International Universities in the World NUI Galway has moved to the Top 200 list of the most international universities in the world 2016, announced today, 14 January in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Times Higher Education used the ‘international outlook’ indicator of the World University Rankings to create this list where all institutions in the top 800 of the ranking have been considered. This makes the inclusion of NUI Galway in the list of the top 200 most international universities a significant achievement. This ‘international outlook’ acknowledges that NUI Galway continues to attract the very highest calibre of staff and students. THE look at both the diversity of a university’s student body and the extent to which its academics collaborate with international colleagues, which indicate how global an institution really is, and these factors were among the 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that allowed Times Higher Education to produce the most comprehensive global university rankings in the world. This ranking further cements NUI Galway’s reputation as a top destination for International Students, having recently been awarded the Excellent International Student Satisfaction Award 2015 and also ranked 2nd in Ireland for the International Student Experience 2014-2015, with Ireland being ranked number 1 in Europe. The awards, which recognises and rewards the universities that give their international students their best study experience, are based on reviews submitted by 17,000 international students studying across Europe, who are surveyed by StudyPortals, a Netherlands-based university course site. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “This is a significant achievement for NUI Galway and reflects a sustained upward trend in these very competitive global rankings. This consistent improvement in NUI Galway’s THE World University Rankings is an affirmation of our very focused approach to developing our international reputation. As part of the University’s ambitious vision for the future we are committed to becoming a top 200 ranked university by 2020, attracting the best students, teachers and researchers, and creating a network of relationships of substance that span the globe. Today’s inclusion of NUI Galway in the THE ranking of the top 200 most international universities in the world is a tremendous reflection on our ambitious internationalisation agenda.” Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs at NUI Galway, added: “NUI Galway continues to cement its place as an internationally vibrant university, reflecting the rich cultural heritage and global reach of Galway city. One-in-five of our full-time students come here from outside Ireland to study, representing over 110 countries around the world. One-in-five of our staff are international too, bringing a huge wealth of intellectual capital and global experience to our campus, city, and region. Universities are global places, and we are proud that NUI Galway is at the forefront of this tradition.” Mr Phil Baty from Times Higher Education said: “An institution’s global outlook is one of the key markers of a prestigious university. The top institutions hire faculty from all over the world, attract students from a global market of top talent and collaborate with leading departments wherever they happen to be based. It is great news for all the institutions in the list of the most international universities in the world. It is a sign of great potential, competitiveness and dynamism.” View THE Top 200 Most International Universities 2016 World Rankings here: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/200-most-international-universities-world-2016 NUI Galway World University Rankings: http://nuigalway.ie/rankings ENDS

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

NUI Galway are co-authors of an international study that finds stock market crashes can be compared to unexpected ecological disasters and natural calamities An interdisciplinary team of scientists from NUI Galway, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan in France, came together to examine if market crashes exhibited the same early warning signs as natural calamities. Their investigation reveals interesting answers and suggests improved metrics for forecasting a market crash. The study was published in the open access science journal, PLOS ONE. While financial analysts can guide you through the daily ups and downs of the stock market, accurate forecasts of an imminent crash is still difficult to predict. Just like natural calamities, stock market crashes occur frequently and often have repercussions for the global economy. Experts are now looking at natural disasters for clues to understand economic ones. Currently volatility in stock prices is used as a basic risk indicator. However, the recent financial crisis of 2007-2008 that caused global markets to shut down temporarily, reminded experts that this is not enough to prepare for a crash. Are there any other signs that we could watch out for? Whispers of a probable answer came from an unexpected field – ecology. Professor Vishwesha Guttal, Mathematical Ecologist at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science and lead author of the published study, said: “There is a lot of interest in the exchange of ideas between ecology and economics.” This study sprung from Professor Guttal’s discussions with Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, an Economist at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, looking at the behaviour of financial markets as complex systems. Financial markets are suggested to be akin to ecological systems with complex feedback loops and sudden critical transitions, also known as ‘tipping points’. A stock market crash can be compared to unexpected natural transitions such as the onset of the Ice Age, desertification of a fertile area, and the collapse of local fisheries, are just some examples. In recent years, ecologists have been looking for behavioural clues of complex systems in these natural events. It turns out that many complex systems in nature exhibit ‘critical slowing down’ behaviour before reaching their tipping point. This means that just before a critical transition, it takes longer for them to recover from small disturbances because their internal stabilising mechanisms become weak. Hence, the system stays ‘disturbed’ for a longer time than usual, which means that the system becomes highly correlated in the disturbed state. To test this theory on stock market crashes, Professor Guttal and his team rigorously analysed the daily closing data of three major U.S. (Dow Jones Index (DJI), S&P 500 and NASDAQ) and two European (DAX and FTSE) markets spanning the last century. In all cases, they found that variability did increase prior to every known market crash in history. Which means the financial system does get significantly ‘disturbed’ before a crash. But curiously, there was no increase in the autocorrelation of data. Autocorrelation indicates how similar the data is across different time samples. This means that, once markets are ‘disturbed’, market recovery happens as usual without a ‘slowing down’. This trend is consistent for all crashes across all markets studied by the team. “Many papers suggest that financial meltdowns are also transitions near tipping points, but here our research shows that they are not”, added Professor Guttal. Then why do markets crash? Professor Guttal explains, “We suggest this is because the system is dominated by high stochasticity (randomness). Our results indicate that if random disturbances in the market grow stronger with time, they can lead to a financial meltdown even if the market is not close to a tipping point. Variability can therefore be an important statistical indicator in early warning signals (EWS) for market crashes, complementing existing indicators such as volatility.” Could this study have policy implications? NUI Galway Economist, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra and co-author of the study says, “To build robust policies and corrective measures in the future, we need to understand the origin of randomness that drives market meltdowns. This may arise from complex interactions between financial institutions, market microstructure and individual agent behaviour, all adapting at different time scales. Deconstructing such a complex system is necessary for effective policy intervention.” However, there are two major limitations in predictability of such indicators. They don’t indicate when a crash may happen and they only suggest a high probability of a crash. In this detailed study of Dow Jones data, 16 early warning signals emerged from the variability calculations. Of the 16, seven were false alarms. But the good news is that there were no failed alarms and the remaining nine covered every major crash in American market history. Mr Nikunj Goel, an undergraduate physics student who worked with Professor Guttal on this study, has developed a basic web application that provides current trends in markets around the globe. It also shares analysis on historical meltdowns from their published study. The team hopes to add more features to this app and make it more user-friendly. To read the full study in PLOS ONE visit: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144198 Nature-India, Nature Publishing Group, carried an in-depth article on the paper here: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2015.178 ENDS

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Feature talks from SUSI Grants Authority and NUI Galway graduate Móna Wise NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 3 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Galway native, award winning blogger of Wise Words, freelance writer, all-round entrepreneur and NUI Galway double-graduate, Móna Wise will give a talk on her experience of graduate studies at the Open Day. Her talk, which will take place at 1pm, will focus on her experience of returning to postgraduate study, and how her Masters qualification furthered her career. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will deliver their talk at 2pm, providing students with an opportunity with information on the funding opportunities and application process for postgraduate grants. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. Josephine Walsh, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, said: “Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. Over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating, which is higher than the HEA national average for postgraduates.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth-level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. New courses being introduced for 2016 include an MSc in Biomedical Genomics, a part-time MSc in Medical Technology and Regulatory Affairs and an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience. To view NUI Galway’s new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway or find out more on Twitter using the hashtag #GetTheEdge. -Ends-