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Free Seminar on Regulation of Medical Devices

 Free Seminar on Regulation of Medical Devices-image

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

On Monday, 13 October, the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway will host a free seminar on the regulatory elements that need to be considered when developing medical devices involving a combination of advanced materials and biomolecules. The European Regulation of Medical Devices (EROMed) Seminar will take place in the Seminar Room of the Biosciences Building from 9.30am to 5.30pm. This free event is organised as part of the EU-funded NeuroGraft project and will be of interest to local medical device industries and researchers. The seminar is coordinated by Obelis, a regulatory company, and the NFB, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research group. The event is designed to provide information about the higher regulatory aspects involved when using human cells in medical devices. The speakers include experts in compliance with EU legislation of products, as well as experts from industry and research. Topics that will be covered include combined tissue engineering products, clinical investigations, and classification of combination products in the EU. Injuries and degenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) constitute a bottleneck in medical and surgical practice for which no therapy currently exists. The aim of the NeuroGraft project is to develop a novel multichannel conduit system to aid regeneration following spinal cord injury. The NeuroGraft consortium consists of one academic and four industrial partners across four countries. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, stated “Our continued collaboration with Irish and European industries, such as in the case of the NeuroGraft project, is an indication of the relevance of NFB’s research within Europe. We will continue to initiate collaborative research with partners from outside of Ireland and look towards funding opportunities within Horizon 2020.” For further details of the event contact sharon.s.kelly@nuigalway.ie. 091 494233 -ends-

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NUI Galway and Met Éireann are Europe’s eyes for Ozone Recovery

NUI Galway and Met Éireann are Europe’s eyes for Ozone Recovery-image

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Today marks the 25th UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol which brought about a global initiative to ban Ozone Depleting Substances. Two Irish scientific atmospheric monitoring stations have played a significant role assessing the planet’s success in saving the ozone layer. Over the last 25 years, atmospheric observations from NUI Galway’s Mace Head Station in Connemara and Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory in Co. Kerry, have charted the success of international actions relating to man-made Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). The world was shocked 30 years ago to hear of the major threat posed by the hole in ozone layer. World governments responded by developing and eventually agreeing in 1987 the Montreal Protocol .The protocol phased out the use of man-made ODS, of which, the primary culprits where CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons used as refrigerants. CFCs provided a source of reactive chlorine in the upper atmosphere which destroyed ozone. Combined observations from Mace Head and Valentia, supported by satellite data, illustrate that it took 15 years for the destructive chlorine trend to peak-out and turn into decline. As the destructive chlorine declined, stratospheric ozone concentrations slowly started to recover. The data are unique in Europe as they represent observations in Europe’s cleanest air and they demonstrate a gradually recovering ozone layer over the last 10 years. Globally, the impact of CFCs is still evident. According to the IPCC AR5 Report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, it is certain that global stratospheric ozone has declined from pre-1980 values. Most of the decline occurred prior to the mid-1990s. Since then ozone has remained nearly constant at about 3.5% below the 1964–1980 level. Ireland is strategically located to monitor the change in ODS and stratospheric ozone in the cleanest northern hemispheric air and at mid-latitudes which are heavily populated and susceptible to most impacts from the ozone hole. Professor Colin O’Dowd, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Research, which operates Mace Head highlighted the importance of such observing and research infrastructures stating that: “Without these key long-term observations in strategic locations emerging environmental dangers, solutions, and response to interventions would be very difficult to identify, enable and quantify. It is essential that stakeholder support of such research and observation infrastructures is sustained and even expanded on into the future in order to improve environmental security and better inform response-policy development.”   Eoin Moran, Assistant Director of Met Éireann, added: “The location of Valentia Observatory and Mace Head, are strategically important, nationally and internationally, providing important climate and environmental data at the interface between Europe and the Northeast Atlantic. The measurements at both stations are complimentary forming a very important component of the Global Atmosphere Watch programme – this work represents an excellent example of Ireland’s contribution to international scientific research – brought about through successful and sustained collaboration between world class research and operational scientists.” Monitoring Ozone Recovery The accumulation of CFCs in the atmosphere has been monitored at NUI Galway’s Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station since the early 1980’s. This globally important record was one of the first to demonstrate the reduction in CFCs a few years after the protocol for the most reactive CFCs. Mace Head operates with a World Meteorological Organisation ‘Global Atmosphere Watch’ (GAW) status in tandem with Met Éireann’s GAW station at Valentia Observatory where complementary stratospheric Ozone measurements are conducted. The ozone measurements at Valentia contributed to the identification of the extent of ozone loss and eventually the initial beginnings of the expected recovery using special balloon-borne ozone detecting instruments (called ozonesondes) and a sophisticated ground based ozone sensor (called a Brewer Spectrophotometer). The research by NUI Galway is conducted in cooperation with the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gas Experiment (AGAGE). More information on the observatories can be found on www.macehead.org and www.met.ie. -ends-

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Cultural Campus Trail to be launched by NUI Galway

Cultural Campus Trail to be launched by NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

As part of Culture Night 2014, which takes place on Friday, 19 September, NUI Galway will launch a new Cultural Campus Trail (brochure and map), at 4.30pm in the Atrium of the Orbsen Building. This follows the official start of the night's events in the City and County by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Donal Lyons, also in the Orbsen Building. Dr Chris Coughlan of Hewlett Packard will launch the University’s Cultural Campus Trail, which heralds a new vision for an open campus at NUI Galway, promoting the sights on offer to the public at the University. The Trail brochure is a first template for a comprehensive visitor guide to the wealth of treasures to be explored on campus in the areas of art, sculpture, heritage, science and technology, and environment, including the sections of the river walk and Greenway. The star attractions include the permanent displays in Zoology, Geology, The James Hardiman Research Building and DERI with details of how tours can be arranged by appointment. ConTempo Quartet, Galway Ensemble in Residence, will play a tribute to mark the Trail and refreshments will be served. NUI Galway is hosting several events that evening across campus and all of the exhibitions are open to the public until 10pm including a new exhibition in the Art Gallery by Vincent Godfrey-Glynn and a pop-up sculpture by Donnacha Cahill. For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/culturenight2014/ or www.galwayculturenight.com. -Ends-  

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NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Autumn Open Days

NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Autumn Open Days-image

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Guest Speakers include Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Manager Eamon O’Shea NUI Galway invites all CAO applicants, fourth and fifth year students, parents/guardians, mature students teachers and Guidance Counsellors to its annual Autumn Open Days on Friday, 3 October and Saturday, 4 October. Friday's Open Day will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, although individuals are also welcome to attend. Running from 10am to 3pm, Saturday's Open Day is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. Open Day is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to explore NUI Galway’s campus and to learn more about the over 60 degree courses that NUI Galway offers. The Open Days are expected to attract some 8,000 visitors. Lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands to answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. The ‘Parents Programme’ on Saturday, 4 October will provide parents and students with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for students. This year NUI Galway will host an Alumni event for its graduates. Taking place on Saturday, 4 October at 2pm, the event will include a series of short talks from the University’s leading experts including Professor Alan Ahearne, Head of Economics and Professor Hubert McDermott, Department of English to mention but a few. The Open Days will feature a mix of taster sessions and short lectures to provide a feel for university life. Events will include hands-on science workshops and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics. To get the most out of the Open Days visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays and plan your day. Talk highlights include: New Scholarship Schemes for 2014 including CAO Performance Points Scholarships in Sports and Arts and Excellence Scholarships. A guest appearance and talk about Sports at the University with Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway and Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team. Career talks - “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Taster sessions designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway will include: Physics - A brilliant career from lasers to the Universe. Take a 3D tour of the Universe with The Centre for Astronomy, which will take visitors on a trip from the earth to nearby starts, across our Galaxy to groups of stars, and finally through the whole Universe. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Introduction to the Healthcare Programmes. Arts – BA Connect Programme in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. The Autumn Open Days is the perfect opportunity for students and parents to get a taste of university life and to gain access to all of the information they need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, explore the campus and decide for yourselves whether NUI Galway is the right university for you.” Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, and the new Engineering Building. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day, with the tour shuttle bus departing. Guided walking tours of the main campus will also take place throughout the afternoon. To plan your day in advance and receive a programme on Open Day 2014 visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, or contact 091 494145 or visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Only Irish Institution to Move Up in QS World University Rankings 2014/15

NUI Galway Only Irish Institution to Move Up in QS World University Rankings 2014/15-image

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

NUI Galway has again increased its position in the QS World University Rankings 2014/2015. Rising 4 places to 280th in this year’s ranking, NUI Galway is the only Irish universities to improve their standing in this year’s league table. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: “This is good news for NUI Galway and further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. Although all ranking systems have their limitations in that they seek to measure performance across a narrow range of criteria, the QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world.” The global emphasis on high-impact scientific and technological research is the key driver of leadership in the QS World University Rankings. The rankings are, for the third year, led by MIT with Imperial College London the biggest climber in the top 10, leapfrogging Harvard, UCL and Oxford to rank second equal in the world, tied with University of Cambridge. QS Head of Research Ben Sowter said: “In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding source are placing greater emphasis on high-impact STEM research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions, Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine.” The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. The calculations leading to the QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: Academic Peer Review, Employer Review, International Faculty Ratio, International Student Ratio, Student Faculty Ratio, and Citations per Faculty (citation data supplied by Scopus). ENDS

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Biomaterials researcher wins prestigious young investigator prize

Biomaterials researcher wins prestigious young investigator prize-image

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dr Manus Biggs, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Investigator at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway has won the Larry Hench Young Investigator Award. The award was presented at the United Kingdom Society for Biomaterials (UKSB) division of the 26th Annual Conference for the European Society for Biomaterials, held in Liverpool, UK from 31 August–3 September 2014. The prize is awarded to a promising young research scientist in recognition of outstanding and innovative contributions in a selected field of biomaterials research. The judging criteria includes evidence of peer reviewed publications, outstanding contribution and demonstrable research in the field of biomaterials. Additionally, the researcher must be at an early stage of his career having no more than seven years of experience after his PhD was awarded. Dr Biggs’s research focuses on developing electrically active polymers for musculoskeletal and neural applications. His research group creates nanoscale fibres from piezoelectric polymers and incorporates them into a mesh-like scaffold that mimics the natural bone matrix. The scaffold materials can be utilised for the regeneration of large bone defects, which do not undergo spontaneous regeneration normally. Also, his group is improving long-term function of implanted microelectrodes being used for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders by using conducting polymers to coat the implanted electrodes. The aim of the coating is to reduce the inflammatory response around the electrode interface to prevent neural loss and instability of the electrodes at the implantation site. Seven researchers from the NFB presented at the European Society for Biomaterials conference. The conference brought together experts and scientists from academia and industry, and also those involved in funding regulatory and commercial enterprises related to biomaterials science, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB at NUI Galway, commented: “The award is further indication of the competitiveness of the NFB’s research at an international level.” -ends-

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