Thursday, 19 April 2018

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education, recently formally launched the St. Angela’s Strand of the “Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project” at St. Angela’s College, Sligo. The APT Project is a three-year joint initiative between St. Angela’s College and the National University of Ireland Galway, which aims to recruit and support individuals from under-represented socioeconomic groups in their initial teacher education programmes. This project, which targets students at the school, further education, undergraduate, and post-graduate levels, is spearheaded by Dr Eileen Kelly-Blakeney of St. Angela’s College, and Dr Elaine Keane and Dr Manuela Heinz of NUI Galway. The APT Project at St. Angela’s specifically focuses on recruiting students with a Further Education QQI/FET qualification to their second-level teacher education programmes and is conducted in cooperation with five Further Education providers in the Border-Midlands-Western (BMW) Region: Sligo College of Further Education, Castlebar College of Further Education, Monaghan Institute, Errigal College, and Cavan Institute. During the next two years, the Project hopes to create additional partnerships with more Further Education providers in the region. Students who transition into the teacher education programme will all study Home Economics, in addition to one elective subject of their choosing, either Irish, Biology, or Religious Education. Students are also provided with a €1000 equipment bursary on entry to Year One, and a €500 School Placement grant each of their five years of study. Additionally, students receive faculty mentoring, peer support, academic writing, and subject specific guidance over the course of their studies. In attendance at Monday’s launch were the President of St. Angela’s, Dr Anne Taheny, staff and students from the College, local government officials, representatives from each of the five partner Further Education providers, colleagues from NUI-Galway, and associates from the Irish Teaching Council. In her speech, Minister O’Connor noted the significance of direct-entry routes, such as the APT Project, which ultimately aim to increase access to third level studies, while also acknowledging the great achievements made by students in the Further Education sector. As the minister explained that the APT Project, “will also help support the achievement of national policy objectives to broaden opportunities for graduates from further education to progress on to higher education.” Additionally, she also remarked on the important role that teachers play in the lives of young people, and she projected that “Teacher training centres, teachers and school leaders will continue to play a pivotal role in helping children to achieve their potential.” Dr Anne Taheny, President of St. Angela’s referred to the College’s long standing commitment to equal opportunity and to widening access and participation in Higher Education in association with NUI, Galway. This is demonstrated through the provision of an Access Foundation Programme, an Access Schools Programme, entry routes for mature students and entry through the HEAR and DARE Schemes. Speaking at the launch, Dr. Taheny noted:  "This new direct entry route from Further Education into our Initial Teacher Education Programme through the Access to Post-Primary Project is an exciting addition and much welcomed progression route for students in the Further Education Sector." This project supports the diversification of the Irish teaching body in Ireland and recognises the positive contributions that teachers from underrepresented groups make to classrooms throughout the country each day. For more information on the APT Project, or to learn more about St. Angela’s initial teacher education programmes, please see the College website at: http://www.stangelas.nuigalway.ie. Additionally, interested individuals can contact the post-doctoral researcher for the APT Project, Dr Andrea Lynch at 087 1129868. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 April 2018

NUI Galway Societies were presented with three awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Awards. For the third year in a row, the University was awarded the Best Society Award. The Musical Society (GUMS) won Best Society after an event packed year and a very successful production in the Black Box of The Producers. Dramsoc won Best Poster for their poster advertising their production Deirdre + Naoise and Energy Society won Best Publicity Campaign for the 2018 Galway Energy Summit. Also nominated for BICS awards included: Anime and Manga's Akumakon for Best Event and their Best Fresher Nominee Aoife O'Shaughnessy; Sláinte Society for Best Society (Charity/Civic) and their Best Individual Nominee Sally Cahill; International Student Society (ISS) for Most Improved; Best Buddies Society for Best Photo; and Physics Society for Best Video. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The Societies have had a great year and the accolades at the National BICS Awards are a testament to their excellence. From GUMS high profile production to Akumakon celebrating patronage from the Japanese Embassy, all of our societies have made their mark on the society calendar.” BICS is a national organisation dedicated to providing a forum for the societies in Ireland’s universities, Colleges and Institutes of Education. The Board is responsible for the promotion of interest in the activities of Irish college societies and of contact and co-operation between them. The Awards recognise the huge effort made by the many individuals who run student societies across Ireland, and are a means to celebrate the importance and value that societies contribute to college life. For more information about BICS Awards visit http://bics.ie/. -Ends-

Thursday, 19 April 2018

NUI Galway’s Moore Institute will host the second annual international Digital Cultures conference entitled, ‘Transient Topographies: Space and Interface in Digital Literature and Art’ taking place on 20-21 April. The two-day conference will focus on the ways in which we experience the spaces of the digital age. In particular, it explores the points of encounter between humans, machines and natural environments such as: screens, mobile networks, and data clouds. The contributors will focus on different topics ranging from sonic, visual and audiovisual aesthetics, virtual environments, ecological challenges, and various forms of critical interrogation of new media platforms. Conference organiser, Dr Anne Karhio of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This two-day event at NUI Galway brings together scholars and artists from all over the world to consider our relationship with the rapidly evolving contemporary media and technological environment. The participants will explore the various interfaces between actual and virtual worlds, and the spaces where these encounters take place. The talks and creative works also address important questions regarding the increasingly blurring boundaries between humans, technology and the natural world.” Conference speakers and artists include: Søren Bro Pold, University of Aarhus has published widely on digital and media aesthetics and electronic literature. R. Carpenter, University of Plymouth, is a Canadian-born artist and academic based in Devon. She is a multi-award winner, including the CBC Quebec Writing Competition and the QWF Carte Blanche Quebec Award. Alinta Krauth, Queensland University of Technology is an Australian digital artist and interaction designer. Her practices include projection art, interactive art, sound art, and electronic literature, and the inherent connections between these fields. Jason Nelson, Griffith University, Australia is an internationally renowned digital poet, whose work has been exhibited widely in galleries and journals. His projects have featured around the globe at various events on digital literature and art, and he has won a number of awards, including the Paris Biennale Media Poetry Prize. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The digital era has created new opportunities for creative expression, combining poetry and narrative with sound and video, layering data with language and imagery. This conference explores these new modes of practice at the forefront of creativity.” The conference is funded by the Irish Research Council and the European Commission via Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway. The conference will take place on 20-21 April in the Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. For conference information, visit: https://transienttopographies.wordpress.com/ or contact conference organiser Anne Karhio at anne.karhio@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Campus competition in medtech demonstration design Blackstone LaunchPad recently partnered with on-campus medtech titans, BioInnovate Ireland, Translational Medical Device (TMD) Lab, Health Innovation Hub and BioExel at NUI Galway, to challenge its undergraduate and postgraduate students to add their expertise and creativity to a growing innovation ecosystem across campus. The Medtech Innovation Design and Startup (MIDAS) competition is a one-day event where multidisciplinary student teams from across the NUI Galway campus worked together to tackle a major challenge in the medtech space. Teams were comprised of students from various disciplines – ranging from business to engineering to medicine to the life sciences – and attended interactive sessions and workshops delivered by domain experts. Six teams worked together to identify a potential solution to an unmet medical need using the Stanford Biodesign innovation process, and designed a prototype and created a business model for their device.  Based on their observations from a real clinical procedure, teams were asked to identify a needs statement related to this procedure and then brainstorm potential solutions. With their solution in mind, teams then developed a business model using the lean startup canvas and ultimately, pitched their venture to a panel of experts including: Mike Wiebolt, Blackstone, New York; Helen Ryan, Medtech angel investor; Dr Liz McGloughlin, BioInnovate Alumna; and Brian Carey, Bank of Ireland. Winning the competition and the recipients of the €2,000 prize fund were students Kemi Awoponle, Katie Gilligan, Cillian Thompson, Brian O’Reilly, and Manmaya Panda. The team presented a novel way to increase the shelf-life of blood bags in order to reduce the number of expired units that are binned each year. Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “This event showcased the high calibre of students that we have at NUI Galway. Seeing individuals come together to form high-performing teams within the day has been incredible. The ideas presented were well-researched and have potential within the medtech space. We are delighted to have such high calibre mentors, partners and judges spend time with our students today. It is a real endorsement for our programme and exemplifies how students can form part of this critical ecosystem in the West of Ireland.  This event was designed and led by one of our fantastic students Joshua Chao who works as a venture coach with the LaunchPad programme. He is an amazing ambassador for our programme and a real champion for student-led innovation and entrepreneurship at the University.” The success of the MIDAS competition has come on the back of a very productive few months for Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. The programme now supports over 5,000 students on-campus and in March 2018, the Blackstone LaunchPad global network announced a partnership with Techstars. Techstars will provide current Blackstone LaunchPad participants with access to their network of over 10,000 mentors, founders and investors; signature events; and world-renowned content and startup services. In the last 10 years, more than 1,000 Techstars portfolio companies have collectively raised over $4.4 billion in total funding, and are now valued at $11.4 billion. Blackstone LaunchPad is part of a portfolio of innovative programmes at NUI Galway supported by the Galway University Foundation; other programmes include BioInnovate, BioExel, EXPLORE, and TechInnovate. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

CÚRAM at NUI Galway with Galway C ity Arts Office Launch ‘AFTERIMAGE’ Community Art-Science Exhibition CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway together with the Galway City Arts Office, have launched a new Community Art-Science exhibition in the Westside community in Galway City. By award winning art duo, Cleary Connolly (Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly), ‘AFTERIMAGE’, shows portraits of 19 people who live or work in the Westside of Galway, and reveals the remarkable diversity of contemporary Irish society. The exhibit, now permanently housed in the Westside Resource Centre, consists of 19 portraits, each composed of a black and white portrait accompanied by a colour negative mapping. Each portrait is set against a background of images drawn from science and research, which are highly aesthetic images that warrant a second look to decipher their content. Each participant is a researcher, either in real life or in their imagination, and so while the CÚRAM researchers appear against images drawn from their own work, the local community are set against images referring to their preferred area of research, in response to the question; “If you were a researcher what would you research?” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We aim to inspire and engage all communities with current and cutting edge research that’s happening here in Ireland. Unfortunately chronic illness such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease are familiar to most Irish communities and it’s important that we provide opportunities for people to find out more about our work in finding solutions to these illnesses and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. That can be through the work of filmmakers, teachers or artists such as Cleary Connolly who use the research as inspiration and break barriers to provide another ‘way in’ to the world of science.” Commenting on the project, artist Anne Cleary, said: “We were really interested in CÚRAM’s work on corneal implants and also in advanced biomimicry. Our work is all about perception, how people see the world, how they adapt. We were privileged to work with such a diverse and interesting group of people from the Westside community and have been greatly inspired by all of the participants and their ideas.” Participants who featured in the project include Suriya, originally from India. If she was a researcher her main area of research interest would be genetics, in particular stem cells and stem cell treatments, which she thinks have the potential to treat an enormous range of diseases and conditions that plague millions of people around the world. Mary, originally from Roscommon and now living in Westside, became interested in the effects of salt intake on the body, having participated in a sodium clinical trial at University Hospital Galway. Francis, who currently lives in Galway having returned from overseas, works in social care, youth, community and social services. He is interested in exploring the metaphor of “all persons as scientists” and would like to see science used more to understand issues that really affect us personally and societally. Precious is originally from Zimbabwe and would like to learn more about the environment, soil improvement and agriculture. She is also interested in the Natural Sciences, and is particularly interested in research at CÚRAM related to developing medical adhesives derived from marine life. According to James Harrold, Arts Officer, Galway City Council, the project has very successfully brought the worlds of art and science together. “I am delighted to see how positive an experience this has been for all involved and we look forward to deepening connections between these communities in the coming year.” James Coyne, CEO of Westside Resource Centre and Community Partner on the project says that the Westside community is a strong and vibrant one with its own annual community Arts Festival. “It has been hugely rewarding to be part of the process and bring different parts of the community together. I think we have all learned something new and it’s definitely created a great deal of curiosity about the research that’s happening right here on our doorstep” he says. CÚRAM’s public engagement programme, which incorporates artist in residence projects, supports the Science Foundation Ireland objective of having the most scientifically informed and engaged public.  It has a strong focus on empowering diverse communities with knowledge and providing new ways for people to engage and interact with its cutting edge research. The exhibit is now installed at the Westside Resource Centre. The project team will be showing the exhibit at various events around the country throughout the year.   For more information on the artists and their work please visit www.connolly-cleary.com Cleary and Connolly’s work is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. To view ‘AFTERIMAGE’ by Cleary Connolly, visit: https://youtu.be/_p-Qg3koPCA To view videos from the Art-Science Exhibition launch, see links below: Claire Riordan, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U2Wen6beZM Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Z05BFxcLQ James Harrold, Galway City Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-mK0mF2JgU James Coyne, Westside Resource Centre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhXHRwY4Mw4 Andrea Fitzpatrick, CÚRAM and Denis Connolly, Cleary Connolly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUqdMTduMww -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host its Annual Research Day on Thursday, 19 April in the Hardiman Research Building. Professor Edgar Morgenroth from DCU Business School will give a keynote address at 12pm on ‘The Economics of Spatial Planning’. The population of Ireland is projected to increase by one million in 2040 and the Whitaker Research Day will address issues on: How best should government encourage growth in second-tier cities such as Galway to rebalance the country’s economic activity and reduce the pressure on the greater Dublin area? What can be done about the challenges of urban sprawl, congestion and long commutes into our cities? How should we address depopulation in areas of the West of Ireland? Speaking in advance of the Research Day, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The Irish economy has experienced a remarkable recovery over recent years, but current trends in patterns of regional growth are not sustainable. Greater, smarter investment is needed in smaller cities such as Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford to narrow the gap between Dublin and the rest of the country. We need to invest in infrastructure, in new technologies, and, above all, in the skills and talent of our people.” In his former role at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Professor Edgar Morgenroth helped advise on the framework for Project Ireland 2040, the government’s recently launched strategy for Ireland’s development up to 2040, which includes €116 billion in investment spending over the next decade. The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway is named after the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, widely recognised for setting Ireland’s economy on a path of internationalisation and modernisation. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Whitaker demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. The Whitaker Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland today and internationally.   The event will take place in Seminar Rooms G010 and G011, Ground Floor, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway on Thursday 19 April.   Attendance is free. For registration and to download the full schedule, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/whitaker-institute-research-day-2018/  -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

University hosts two days of events to mark the legacy of Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy A public lecture and the launch of a new mini documentary on NUI Galway graduate and former city engineer of San Francisco, Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy will form part of two days of activities marking his legacy on 24-25 of April.  NUI Galway and the University of California Berkeley both hold archives relating to O’Shaughnessy and a public lecture by Theresa Salazar, University of California Berkeley, will highlight the Limerick native’s legacy in San Francisco. O’Shaughnessy emigrated to California in 1885, a year after graduating from then Queen’s College Galway. He embarked on a prolific civil engineering career in California and Hawaii. In 1912, he was appointed the City Engineer of San Francisco, a city still being reconstructed after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906. He served as City Engineer until 1932, and oversaw the construction of the municipal rail system, upgraded the city’s water and sewer systems, and he carried out feasibility work on the San Francisco Bay Bridges, including the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges. His archive was donated to NUI Galway by Bernadette O’Shaughnessy, whose late husband was a grand-nephew of Michael O’Shaughnessy. The library collection is publicly available in digital format, including O’Shaughnessy’s unpublished memoir, Engineering Experiences: From Honolulu to Hetch Hetchy. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “The O’Shaughnessy archive at NUI Galway is a real treasure in its own right but it also builds on the University’s connections with the University of California Berkeley. It opens up opportunities to collaborate on connecting the archives at both universities and stimulating global awareness of O’Shaughnessy’s achievements. Our University’s focus is on reaching out to the world and for the world with our work, and this digital archive means that people from Belmullet to Berkeley to Beijing can learn about the man involved in engineering some of America’s most iconic projects.” Theresa Salazar, is curator of the Western Americana Collection at the Bancroft Library in University of California, Berkeley which holds a major collection of archival material donated by O’Shaughnessy’s daughter, Elizabeth, in 1992.  Salazar will give a public lecture about the O’Shaughnessy archive and other collections of Irish interest at the Bancroft Library on Tuesday, 24 April in Room G010, Hardiman Research Building, at 4pm. Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/y8w5c2eq  University Librarian at NUI Galway, John Cox, commented: “Michael O’Shaughnessy continues to be recognised as a major figure in San Francisco and the visit of Theresa Salazar is particularly welcome in promoting digital innovation to present his legacy engagingly.” A hugely popular exhibition that celebrates the acquisition of the personal archive of O’Shaughnessy will be on permanent display in the Alice Perry Engineering building at NUI Galway. The exhibition, entitled ‘Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy (1864-1934): Engineering the Promised Land’, was co-curated by Eamonn Cannon, Aisling Keane and Dr Jamie Goggins. The exhibition tells the story of O'Shaughnessy's career, with selected extracts from his memoir. It inspired the creation of a short documentary, which will be shown in public for the first time at 9:30am on the 25 April in the Alice Perry Engineering building, NUI Galway. Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/yb2rjfqv   According to Dr Jamie Goggins, who with Eamonn Cannon, directed the documentary: “We have such a rich engineering history in Ireland. Michael O’Shaughnessy is one of the many great engineers to hail from Ireland that have had huge impact around the world by harnessing their innovation and creativity to be both practical and inspirational, creating infrastructure that has allowed societies to prosper. We are hoping that our short documentary will act as a catalyst for a greater acknowledgement of the global societal impact of such great engineers and scientists which will in turn inspire the next generation.” ENDS

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, has announced the appointment of Tomás Ó Neachtain as Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence in 2018. Born and raised in Coilleach, An Spidéal, Tomás is part of a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. It is from his father, Tomás, that he heard and learned most of his singing, and indeed his father had learned from his father before him. Though he briefly spent time in England as a young married man, it is in Coilleach that Tomás and his wife Nancy have reared their own family. His son Seosamh, a renowned sean-nós dancer and musician, was appointed as the first Sean-nós Dancer in Residence at the Centre for Irish Studies in 2009. Tomás’s distinct, clear, sweet vocal style echoes the singing he heard in his youth. His repertoire is wide and varied, but he particularly favours big songs such as ‘An Droighneán Donn’, ‘Tomás Bán Mac Aogáin’ and ‘An Chaora Ghlas’. Tomás gives singing workshops and is two-time winner of Corn Uí Riada in 1980 and 1981. During his time as artist-in-residence, Tomás will deliver a series of workshops at NUI Galway and will contribute to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection. The workshops are free and open to the public and take place in the autumn and spring of 2018-19. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. Further information is available from Samantha Williams, The Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Tomás Ó Neachtain Ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, go bhfuil Tomás Ó Neachtain ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Rugadh agus tógadh Tomás i gCoilleach, sa Spidéal. Chaith sé seal i Sasana mar fhear óg, ach is sa Choilleach a thóg sé féin is a bhean chéile Nancy a gclann: Tomás, Eoghan, Máire, Seán agus Seosamh, an rinceoir. Bhí an teach inar tógadh Tomás lán d’amhránaíocht agus thug sé leis go leor amhrán óna athair, Tomás, a shealbhaigh an traidisiún áirithe sin óna athair féin. Tá cúigear deirfiúir ag Tomás, ach is eisean an t-aon duine amháin den gclann a chuaigh leis na hamhráin. Dar ndóigh, ceapadh a mhac Seosamh mar Rinceoir Cónaitheach Sean-nóis in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh sa bhliain 2009, an chéad duine riamh ar bronnadh an gradam sin air. Nuair a chasann Tomás amhrán, cloistear guth ard binn glan agus stíl a athar ann. Is breá le Tomás na hamhráin throma a chanadh: ‘An Droighneán Donn’, ‘Tomás Bán Mac Aogáin’ agus ‘An Chaora Ghlas’, amhráin a tháinig anuas ó ghlúin go glúin ag muintir  Neachtain. Tugann Tomás ceardlann ó am go ham, agus bhuaigh sé Corn Uí Riada dhá uair, i 1980 agus 1981. Beidh sraith ceardlann á múineadh ag Tomás san Ollscoil sa bhFómhar agus arís san Earrach agus beidh a chuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aige don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á bailiú ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Monday, 16 April 2018

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh recently presented over 950 student volunteers the ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering. The ceremony was attended by Galway City Mayor, Councillor Pearce Flannery. NUI Galway students have volunteered with a variety of local and national organisations throughout the year including Conservation Volunteers Galway, Galway Autism Partnership, Galway Civil Defence, and Croí to name a few. Volunteers have also brought experiments to Galway schools through a wide range of science outreach workshops and participated in reading and mentoring through school homework clubs. Ceremony guest, Robert Farrell, Head of Direct in Aviva which employs more than 350 people in Galway, said: “Caring more for the communities in which we live, is part of our DNA in Aviva Ireland. We carefully encourage the instinctive generosity of our employees, encouraging them to give of their time, skills and passion to their local communities. To facilitate this, we give them three days paid leave to volunteer for their local charities and we match the funds they raise for local causes. We commend the work of NUI Galway in promoting volunteerism amongst the student body.” ALIVE is the student volunteering programme at NUI Galway and students are awarded Certificates to acknowledge their contribution to campus programmes and local and international community volunteering. The ceremony is an annual event to encourage volunteering and to thank all the community partners for hosting student volunteers. This year the ALIVE programme worked with higher education institutions across Ireland to successfully launch StudentVolunteer.ie a national platform to match students to non-profits. This year’s event is to highlight corporate social responsibility as employee’s growth and development through volunteering advance leadership skills and team building. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said:  “As future professionals, students are well placed to learn how volunteerism in their future is an opportunity company’s embrace.” Annelise Garrison, NUI Galway student who volunteers with the Irish Cancer Society Charity Shop and the Galway Pride Festival, said: “By volunteering, I helped create a safe place for people to be themselves and celebrate their diversity.” Darragh Doyle, NUI Galway student with Enable Ireland learned about sustainable fundraising and said, “We need volunteering to help raise the much needed funds so that these important services can continue. We also need awareness for the extent of the work that Enable Ireland provide.” -Ends-

Monday, 16 April 2018

NUI Galway’s School of Law will host a half-day conference on Tuesday, 17 April, focusing on the theme of ‘Homelessness, the housing crisis and socio-economic rights’. The conference will take place in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway, from 2.30pm-5.15pm. The conference will bring together academic and civil society voices concerning legal and policy responses to the homelessness and housing crises. Confirmed speakers include: Niamh Randall, Simon Communities; Padraic Kenna, NUI Galway; Thomas Murray, An Cosán; and Martin O’Connor, COPE Galway. Conference organiser, Dr Eoin Daly from NUI Galway’s School of Law, said: “This conference will bring together voices from both academia and civil society concerning what is arguably the most pressing social crisis in Ireland at present.” The conference is held in assocation with the Masters in Public Law programme at NUI Galway. Further information is here: https://bit.ly/2JGLLfy or contact Dr Eoin Daly at eoin.daly@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 13 April 2018

The awards are designed to give students the opportunity to increase employability skills NUI Galway’s inaugural Employability Award Ceremony was held today and 56 students were presented with their Award Certificate by the University President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.  The NUI Galway Employability Award is a recognition of learning and skills developed through work experience and extra-curricular activities. Each event and workshop is carefully selected and co-ordinated to provide students with the opportunity to enhance their skills and employability. Josephine Walsh, Head of the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway, said: “The award programme was designed by the Career Development Centre to increase students’ employability skills, empower them to make successful transitions towards fulfilling careers and equip them with a framework for lifelong career management.” Employer partners have indicated that students’ confidence and their ability to articulate skills developed through the award will make recruitment of NUI Galway graduates more attractive. This award encourages students to participate fully in university life, gain work experience and develop employability skills.  This NUI Galway Employability Award will help you stand out from the crowd in the employer’s job market. Students must complete five elements: Employability Workshops, Work Experience, Career Events, Skills workshops and Reflective Assessment. Employers were central in the design and development of the award structure with Darragh Colgan, VP Research & Development and Process Development, Boston Scientific commenting: “The NUI Galway Employability Award gives students the opportunity to develop their leadership and employability skills through self-reflecting on their extra-curricular roles and experiences. By completing this award students are giving themselves a competitive advantage in the graduate job market.” Emer Joyce, Director of Tax, EY added: “At EY we put a very high value on graduates gaining the ability to self-reflect on their strengths and accomplishments. The NUI Galway Employability Award gives students the opportunity & confidence to articulate these experiences prior to their first graduate interviews.” Students from across all disciplines participated in the Award programme and have reported excellent outcomes. Vincent McBrien, a second year Drama, Theatre & Performance student who completed the award said: “I have gained many personal benefits that will help me in my career journey. As a result of completing the award I am more confident in myself and my work and have a new found motivation which will allow me to step up to every new opportunity that comes my way.” While Siobhan Cullen, a third year Earth and Ocean student, said: “I believe that I have gained a more competent approach to choosing and securing a career through participating in the Employability Award Programme. Through an elevated sense of self-awareness, I can move forward and plan for the future with confidence.” The NUI Galway Employability Award contributes to a number of other student awards, including the internationally recognised ALIVE award for Volunteering, and will be available for all students to participate in from September 2019. -Ends-

Friday, 13 April 2018

First time winners and recognition of continuous contribution The NUI Galway Society Awards took place in Galway recently. The night was a celebration of the enormous contribution the over 1000 committee members of 120 societies make to campus life. The night exhibited the impact the societies have on the wider community and their contribution to our multicultural city. NUI Galway Sláinte Society walked away with the award ‘Civic and Charity Society’ as well as ‘Best Individual’ presented to their auditor Sally Cahill from Co. Wicklow, a third year medical student. The society won the award for Best Event at the BICS National Society Awards in 2017 for their Teddy Bear Hospital event where up to 200 medical and science students diagnose and treat the teddy bears and in the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Society Officer, said: “NUI Galway Societies raised almost a quarter of a million euro for charity last year.  The societies work towards creating a supportive, engaging experience for our students and with 15,560 student members their reach is powerful and their positive message is clear.” The Best Buddies Society work with Ability West won ‘Best Photo’. The Drama Society won ‘Best Poster’ for their Deirdre and Naoise production which took place during Theatre Week when they open the campus and invited Galway to enjoy a week of Theatre.  Among the winners on the night were the Musical Society (GUMS) who won ‘Best Society: (Academic, Cultural and Social Society)’. The Society run a very successful outreach programme with secondary schools and host an award ceremony for them in May each year.  This year for the first time in NUI Galway society history that the musical made a profit!  The international flavour of societies was clear in the ‘Most Improved Society’ award going to the International Student Society and best ‘New Society’ went to The Fáilte Refugees Society. The Energy Summit 2018 hosted by the Energy Society was a huge event on campus with industry and academics looking at the future of energy in Ireland won Best Publicity campaign. Other winners on the evening were the African Caribbean Society, The India Society, Pakistani Society and Islamic Society.  -Ends-

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has been elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The honour comes in recognition of Professor Pandit’s contributions to establishing a national centre which will develop transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases. AIMBE is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Washington, representing the most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering. Professor Pandit built a critical mass of biomaterial expertise in Ireland through the establishment of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, a strategic cluster that developed implantable materials for cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and soft tissue repair. Building on this critical mass of expertise, he now leads CÚRAM, based at NUI Galway. CÚRAM brings together 510 researchers with expertise in biomaterials, biomechanics, regenerative medicine, glycobiology, drug delivery and medical implant design, in addition to 27 industry partners. Commenting on his election to the College of Fellows, Professor Pandit said: “I am delighted and honoured to be recognised by such an esteemed group. Our goal at CÚRAM is to radically improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness and through our work here I look forward to contributing to AIMBE’s critical mission of advancing excellence and advocating for the fields of medical and biological engineering.” Professor Pandit has already been inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, the first Irish academic to receive both of these honours. Professor Pandit has co-ordinated four EU projects worth over €14 million and is a Senior Associate Editor of Biomaterials and an Executive Editorial Board member for Tissue Engineering journals. He has also developed an education and public engagement programme at CÚRAM to create innovative ways for communities to engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, and to increase the visibility of Irish research in the biomedical engineering field, both nationally and internationally. The goal of the programme is to build and maintain strong relationships with key community partners to bring outputs to under-represented and under-engaged communities to increase diversity of researchers within the field. Professor Pandit joins the prestigious AIMBE group of medical and biological engineers that includes Nobel Laureates, Presidential Medal of Science winners and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The organisation brings together academia, industry, government, and scientific societies into a highly influential community in medical and biological engineering. -Ends-

Thursday, 12 April 2018

NUI Galway will shortly be recruiting for its Access Course for 2018/19 for young adults and mature students who have potential for third level but whom, for various reasons, may not achieve the necessary Leaving Certificate results for entry to NUI Galway. The successful applicant would be someone who, despite unemployment or lack of formal education, sees a third level qualification as a way to improve their skills and advance their career. The programme is specifically designed for young adults and mature students who have a real desire to study at third-level but whose education and economic circumstances may have prevented them from achieving this goal.  This programme is also suitable for students with disabilities, whose education has been affected by long-term absence. The main aim of the course is to bring the students to a stage where they can successfully enter a third level institution and on entry, can fully participate and benefit from the time they spend as a student. Two Information sessions will run on Tuesday, 17 April at the following locations: The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo between 2-4pm Room IT 250, IT Building, NUI Galway between 6-8pm If you are interested in the NUI Galway Access Course and wish to attend our Information Session, please register at www.nuigalway.ie/access/publicevents/ Online applications for Access Courses will be accepted until Friday, 27 April, 2018. For further information, please contact: access@nuigalway.ie or 091-493553 and you can also find us on: www.facebook.com/NUIGaccess -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, based at NUI Galway, is working with researchers in Oxford University on the MERMAIDS Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) study. It is part of a Europe-wide study across eight countries, which aims to recruit a total of 2,000 participants. The results of this study will help to improve the prevention, treatment and care of patients with these infections. Acute respiratory infections such as colds, influenza and pneumonia affect millions of people globally each year. The majority of cases are mild, but some people become very ill and are admitted to hospital for treatment. HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland Director, Professor Andrew Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “It is very important that primary care patients in Ireland are given the opportunity to contribute to significant international studies. We are delighted to see our Network practices exceeding the national recruitment target, and agreeing to continue recruitment in order to contribute to the European target.” Recruitment in Galway is taking place in Galway University Hospital, GalviaWest Medical Centre in Westside, the Kingston Medical Centre in Knocknacarra, and in County Clare at Ballyvaughan Medical Centre. The willingness of Irish patients and staff to participate in this important study in what is the busiest time of the year in primary care highlights the interest among the Irish public in contributing to answering important healthcare questions.  The MERMAIDS-ARI study is funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Programme, under a programme set up to support research organisations to undertake research into the care and treatment of emerging infections and to improve European preparedness of these infections. For more information about the study, contact Martha Killilea, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, in NUI Galway at martha.killilea@nuigalway.ie or 091-495308. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Dr Claire Conway, lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, has been awarded $20,000 funding from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to collaborate on exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. Dr Conway will collaborate with MIT Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor Ellen Roche. The funding was awarded to initiate a collaborative exchange between the two emerging investigators and their respective research groups. Professor Roche won international acclaim in 2017 during her time as a researcher in NUI Galway, for her work in creating a soft robotic sleeve to help patients with heart failure live with much better quality of life while waiting for a heart transplant, thanks to a sleeve placed around the affected organ. Dr Conway’s research has been motivated by failure analysis of coronary stents, in particular stent fracture which increases the risk of blood clots forming or arterial blockages reforming. Using computational modelling, she is developing 3D virtual models of the beating heart to better understand how this dynamic motion affects cardiac device design. Professor Roche’s research investigates the design, building, and testing of cardiac devices, including soft robotic techniques, and the melding of mechanical and biological therapeutics for improved therapeutic regimens. Through this exchange both scientists will combine their expertise to conduct rigorous and comprehensive evaluation of cardiac devices. Speaking about the funding award, Dr Claire Conway from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to advance cardiac device design and I am thrilled to be working with Professor Roche on this MISTI funded exchange. I believe both groups will benefit from the knowledge and experience gained and I look forward to this being a fruitful collaboration.” Professor Ellen Roche from MIT, added: “I’m delighted to be involved with Dr Conway and others from the Discipline of Biomedical Engineering on this project. The awarded MISTI funds will enable fluid exchange of knowledge and people between NUI Galway and MIT that will output strong research, exploiting the expertise of both groups and enhancing ongoing inter-institutional collaboration.” The exchange program will enable Dr Conway and Professor Roche to deliver workshops on their work at MIT, exploring how to enable innovative device and therapeutic design for cardiac disease. In turn a workshop at NUI Galway on cardiac medical device design, novel manufacturing and prototyping methods, bench-top modelling and testing will also be delivered. The funds will also support visits of two MIT graduate students to visit Dr Conway in Ireland for five weeks and allow two NUI Galway graduate students to visit Professor Roche in MIT for five weeks. The funds will enable existing collaboration to flourish and the fluid transition of students and faculty will generate new ideas in the cardiac devices. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Report calls for policy change to enable persons with disabilities the opportunity to direct their own services and live independently A report published by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, calling for policy change to enable persons with disabilities the opportunity to have greater choice and control over their service provision, was recently launched by Senator John Dolan at the Disability Federation of Ireland. The report, presented by Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, is entitled ‘Independent Living: An Evaluation of the Áiseanna Tacaíochta model of Direct Payments’. The research, carried out by Professor Gerard Quinn and Dr Sinéad Keogh from NUI Galway, examines if direct payments, where individuals with disabilities purchase services and direct their own care, creates a better quality of life than that of the traditional model of service provision, at no extra cost. Professor Gerard Quinn from NUI Galway, comments: “The past number of years have seen a global shift from a welfare system, which has treated persons with disabilities as dependent, passive recipients of ‘care’, towards a growing recognition of the need for a new approach that enables persons with disabilities to assume an active role in the society in which they live. This has been mirrored in Ireland by the growing demand by the Irish disability community for control and choice over how they wish to live their lives and the services they use.” The report reaffirms the findings of international literature that point to considerable benefits for users of direct payments, arising from greater flexibility, choice, independence, continuity of support and the customising of support packages. It also highlights the need for a policy change in Ireland in relation to how services are delivered for persons with disabilities’ and emphasises the need for a change to the current model of service provision in Ireland. Key findings from the report: The Direct Payments model of service provision, facilitated by Áiseanna Tacaíochta, places persons with disabilities at the centre of the decision-making process, recognises their strengths and preferences and gives them the confidence, support and means to shape the way in which their care is provided by transferring choice and control over funding decisions to them and allowing them to identify their unique individual needs. Not only does the Direct Payments model of individualised funding offer more clarity and transparency as to how public funds are spent but the Direct Payments model demonstrates cost savings and cost efficiencies. The report estimates that eighteen people achieved cost savings of approximately €136,000 in one year by directing their own services, such as hiring their own personal assistants and taking on the administrative burden that comes with running their own companies. The report makes four key recommendations: The need for the Direct Payments model and other models of individualised funding to receive further funding and support from the Government. The importance of the requirement of a single assessment tool to evaluate individuals’ resource allocations based on individual goals, the impact of disability, family circumstances and living arrangements. The transformation of the disability service provision model to permit persons with disabilities to more easily move their service provision from one Community Healthcare Organisation to another. Individualised funding budgets being extended to the purchase of equipment, aids, and other goods and services that relate to the healthcare needs of the individual following an assessment. Commenting on the results from the report, María Soleded Cisternas Reyes, United Nations Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, said: “This report shows that without a doubt, direct payments, as a model of service provision, works to give independence back to persons with disabilities. Being in control of one’s services enhances well-being and empowers individuals. Direct Payments is a step in the right direct for service provision in Ireland. Professor Theresia Degener, Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Professor of Law and Disability Studies (Protestant University of Applied Sciences, RWL, Germany), said: “This report comes timely just before Ireland will ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In our General Comment No 5 the CRPD Committee has emphasized that direct payment is key to realizing the human right to independent living. This excellent evaluation of ÁT Model of direct payment will help the Irish government to fulfill its duties under Article 19 CRPD.” Mairead McGuinness MEP, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, said: “The positive evaluation of the direct payments model should come as no surprise, as giving people control over their lives is central to giving people the chance of a better quality of life. This report is hard evidence that giving disabled people a say in their level of care and support enhances and empowers, the current model of supplying what services we think disabled people should have is less effective in meeting their needs and enhancing their wellbeing. As a model of care, it deserves support and wider implementation.” To read the full report, visit: https://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-disability-law-policy/research/publications/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A research project led by NUI Galway has established that companion robots can have a positive impact on older people living with dementia. Such is the impact of this research, it has been featured in a new European Commission study analysing the impact on society of EU-funded research and innovation in technology for active and healthy ageing. The MARIO project is among 25 projects credited, and the only one in Ireland, with having had the most influence in Europe over the last 11 years. The project is also being featured across Europe this week on the EuroNews TV channel’s Futuris science programme. Welcoming the listing among the top 25 projects, Professor Dympna Casey from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, and MARIO project coordinator, explained: “Loneliness is a key public health concern across many age groups and especially for older people with dementia. We know that social health and social connectedness are important to the quality of life of people with dementia. Human companionship is the best way of promoting social health but the reality is that our health care services do not have the resources to provide this service. So we devised MARIO to be there for people living with dementia.” To develop the companion robot for people with dementia, NUI Galway put together a consortium of experts from the health care sector, robotics industry and dementia groups. This led to the three year EU Horizon 2020 MARIO project (Managing Active and Healthy Aging with the use of Caring Service Robots), funded by the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project involved five EU countries and a team of up to 40 people, and has just reached completion.   A key feature of the project was the user-led design in that the robot was developed with and for people with dementia. The result was MARIO, a 4.5 foot white robot with large animated eyes who can be activated by voice or by a touchscreen which he carries. This allows people with dementia to access the newspapers, listen to their favourite songs, provide reminders of upcoming events, store family photos and connect with their friends and families. Pilot testing of the MARIO robot was carried out with people with dementia and caregivers at three sites in Ireland, the UK and Italy for a period of over 12 months. Professor Casey added: “MARIO was an ambitious project from the beginning. We managed to combine an array of expertise through pan-European partnerships. We brought together expertise in robotics, semantic data analytics, artificial intelligence and interactive touchscreen technology, as well as healthcare and nursing knowledge. However, the most critical element were the older people with dementia and their caregivers, who welcomed MARIO into their lives and allowed us, through their insights and knowledge, to make MARIO into the success he has become.” According to a European Commission review of MARIO: “Providing adequate care to the elderly is essential to ensure that Europe’s senior citizens are able to spend their later years living a healthy, happy and independent life. But without support, many face loneliness, a lack of mobility and exercise, and forgetfulness on a daily basis. However, with the use of modern technology and particularly the development of robotic solutions, Europe’s elderly population can feel young again and lead a much safer and richer life.” The European Commission study considered the key achievements from ICT for Health research projects funded under FP7, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and Horizon 2020. In doing so it provides a useful consolidated insight across the ‘technology for active and healthy ageing’ portfolio. Ageing poses one of the biggest economic and social challenges for this century. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or over, and by 2060, one in three Europeans will be aged 65 or over. Furthermore, the ratio of working people to the ‘inactive’ others will shift from 4 to 1 today to 2 to 1 by 2060. To read the European Commission study, Top 25 influential ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing projects, logon to: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/top-25-influential-ict-active-and-healthy-ageing-projects To watch MARIO on EuroNews, visit: http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/06/me-and-mario-robots-that-care -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

NUI Galway and The Royal Irish Academy, in association with the Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, will host a Judging Shaw Day, featuring a roundtable discussion entitled, ‘Shaw, Our Contemporary?’ a keynote lecture by Fintan O’Toole and a Judging Shaw Exhibition, on Monday 16 April at Columbia University. George Bernard Shaw was the most famous Irishman in the world for much of his life – yet, for many, the prodigious nature and quality of his output is forgotten. As well as being a prolific writer and polymath, he was one of the first global celebrities who carefully created and managed his personal brand of ‘GBS’. With his passionate interest in social justice and poverty, in human rights, in public discourse and in entertainment, he was a man with much to say to our times. This event will include discussion with academics, archivists and a publisher who will debate the relevance of Shaw today, on the stage, in the classroom and in print. Speakers at the roundtable discussion: Catriona Crowe (Chair), Member of the Royal Irish Academy Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English, NUI Galway Ruth Hegarty,Managing Editor, Royal Irish Academy Barry Houlihan, Archivist, NUI Galway Lucy McDiarmid, Professor, Montclair State University Keri Walsh, Associate Professor, Fordham University Keynote Lecture: GBS versus Ireland: Bernard Shaw and Irish Nationalism Fintan O’Toole will explore Shaw’s ambivalent relationship with Ireland and Irish nationalism. George Bernard Shaw described Irish nationalist fervour in 1913 as “a burning fire shut up in the bones, a pain, a protest against shame and defeat, a morbid condition which a healthy man must shake off if he is to keep sane”. The only cure was national independence. Shaw always remained a paradoxical nationalist, arguing simultaneously that Irish freedom would do no good in itself and that it must be gained in order for the Irish to be able to think about other things. Author of a new book, Judging Shaw, Fintan O’Toole is a columnist and literary editor with The Irish Times and a Leonard L. Milberg lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. He has written books on Irish history, politics, society and culture. He has been awarded the European Press Prize 2017 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017. The lecture will be followed by a reception to launch the Judging Shaw exhibition co-curated by Ruth Hegarty, Barry Houlihan, Fintan O’Toole and Jeff Wilson. This event is part of the Judging Shaw program to mark the publication of Judging Shaw by Fintan O’Toole, published by the Royal Irish Academy. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Shaw continues to intrigue, decades after the end of his long life. He still speaks to us, partly as a figure intent on social justice in his plays and criticism, by turns knowing and naïve, yet fully engaged in a world of contested relationships and political conflict.” Ruth Hegarty, Managing Editor of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “I am delighted to take the Shaw Day Festival to the US. Shaw punctures our tendency towards groupthink and encourages us to be sceptical of our sources. The publication of Judging Shaw allows readers to ‘judge’ Shaw for themselves by reading his own words in letters, manuscripts and plays guided by the author Fintan O’Toole. I look forward to debating Shaw at Columbia.” The event is organised by NUI Galway, the Consulate General of Ireland, New York, the Royal Irish Academy and The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University. The Judging Shaw event will take place in the Butler Library, Columbia University, New York on Monday, 16 April from 4pm to 7.30pm. The Judging Shaw Exhibition will run at the Heyman Center for the Humanities for the month of April. For more information and to register, visit: http://heymancenter.org/events/judging-shawa-roundtable-and-keynote/ and https://www.ria.ie/research-projects/judging-shaw -Ends-

Monday, 9 April 2018

A €9 million energy sustainability project, known as GenComm, delivered by NUI Galway and ten European partners has launched the first of its White Papers on Smart Hydrogen. Hydrogen (H2) can be used as a renewable energy storage medium and an energy carrier. This allows the reduction of wind and solar intermittency and enables the energy to be used elsewhere as and when required. In transport, hydrogen can reduce emissions and improve air quality at the same time. In heating, hydrogen can be used as a low carbon fuel source replacing fossil fuels. Today however, 95% of all hydrogen is produced from fossil resources. GenComm will produce Smart H2, a renewable and low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, with low impact on natural resources throughout its entire life cycle. Dr Rory Monaghan from the College of Engineering and Informatics and Ryan Institute for Marine, Environmental and Energy Research at NUI Galway, said: “The White Paper aims to inform stakeholders in the energy industry and local communities about the potential for hydrogen to address issues of intermittency, curtailment, profitability and energy security in renewable energy networks. Hydrogen is increasingly viewed as a practical way to store electricity and give it new uses, such as in transportation.” Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “Communities that are resilient in the face of climate change and the insecurities of international energy supply chains are key priorities of EU and national policies. Enabling communities across Europe to store and use their renewable energy resources in innovative and beneficial ways is the objective of GenComm. I welcome this project and the empowering effect it will have on our communities.” NUI Galway will play a key role in the GenComm project, managing a work package that will look at the long term effects of the project. The main output of the project is a hydrogen-based energy model. The research team will adapt this model to create an online tool to support Smart H2 investment decisions, allowing communities to plan and implement their own hydrogen-based energy systems. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “I’d like to congratulate all those involved in the GenComm project. The scope of this project and the size of the award are testament to the strength and innovative nature of the project and the high calibre of partner organisations. Together with our partners, NUI Galway is proud to be involved in leading this research which seeks to deliver hydrogen-based solutions that will help address energy sustainability challenges to communities across North-West Europe. Ultimately this project will bring important benefits to society by enabling cleaner and smarter energy sources, which will protect our planet and support a greener environment.” Paul McCormack, GenComm Programme Manager and Innovation Manager at Belfast Met, added: “The GenComm project will address the energy sustainability challenges of North-West European communities through the implementation of smart hydrogen-based energy matrixes. The use of SMART H2 as an energy carrier can mitigate these challenges by helping match energy demand with renewable energy supply, while enabling flexibility between the mixed uses of renewable energy. The partners in the GenComm project are working to overcome these challenges through the creation of technical and economic models, and an investment decision support tool that can technically and financially optimise the production and commercialisation of SMART H2.” The GenComm project is funded through the Interreg North West Europe Programme. For more information on GENCOMM, visit: http://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/gencomm-generating-energy-secure-communities/ -Ends-

Friday, 6 April 2018

An NUI Galway researcher has received funding for a Collaborative Research Fellowship in Italy for the LINCS (Language Interaction and New Communities in a Multilingual Society) project, which will look at language, the migrant experience, and cultural identity. Due to its geographical position, Italy is centrally involved in addressing the movement of people from their home countries. This difficult, contentious and often emotional process will be at the heart of the research. It will investigate not only the language experience of migrants in Europe such as language learning, translation and interpreting, but also the visibility and invisibility of their experience across cultural and geographical borders. The project will be developed at NUI Galway by Dr Andrea Ciribuco, a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr Anne O’Connor from the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Dr Ciribuco and Dr O’Connor also collaborated on the recent Irish Research Council-funded, New Foundations project entitled, ‘My Story-My Words: Language and Migration’, which looked at the linguistic landscape in Ireland in 2017, using the words of migrants to describe their experiences in a changing and multilingual context. As part of the LINCS project, Dr Ciribuco will spend two of the three years of his fellowship in the field in Italy, working with Italian Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Tamat, which is active since 1995 supporting sustainable development, social enterprise, food security, gender empowerment and global citizenship. The aim of the project is to achieve a better understanding of the links between language, cultural background, and how individuals present themselves in a new culture. This knowledge will be used to inform and promote language practices and policies that will ultimately result in more inclusive societies. Dr Ciribuco will meet with NGOs, institutions, cultural associations and migrant artists, exploring from different perspectives questions such as; how much is a person’s cultural identity shaped by the languages that he or she speaks? How do migrants adapt to communicate their identity in a new country? What is lost in translation? What place does art and literature occupy in intercultural dialogue? In the third and final year of the project, Dr Ciribuco will return to NUI Galway, where the knowledge acquired from his two years of field work in Italy will be used to create collaborations and exchanges of knowledge with Irish organisations. The project will be of particular interest to NGOs, local and European institutions as well as scholars, while creating awareness of the ways in which we can remove linguistic obstacles to communication in a multicultural, multilingual Europe. This is the first time NUI Galway has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Collaborative Research Fellowship for a Responsive and Innovative Europe (CAROLINE) with the Irish Research Council.  -Ends-

Friday, 6 April 2018

An NUI Galway study on blockchain has been presented at the Whitaker Ideas Forum workshop on campus entitled, ‘The adoption of Blockchain in Ireland: Examining the influence of organisational factors’. The study investigates the organisational factors that influenced Irish companies in their decisions to adopt blockchain. The study, which was conducted in conjunction with the Blockchain Association of Ireland, investigated the organisational factors that influenced Irish companies in their decisions to adopt blockchain. The emergence of blockchain as a trend in the information technology sector has attracted considerable attention from practitioners, academics, researchers and national development authorities. Blockchain in its simplest form is a shared database system which allows users in a peer-to-peer network to verify and store records. Blockchain represents a new way to access and trust data communicated over the internet. Lead author of the study, Dr Trevor Clohessy at NUI Galway, said: “Instead of keeping data centralised in a traditional ledger, these new digital systems use independent computers, often referred to as ‘nodes’, to record, synchronise and share individual transactions in their respective electronic ledgers. Blockchain is a digital ledger which allows for the brokering of trust on a decentralised peer-to-peer network. Blockchain transactions can include the exchange of data such as personal identification records, and assets such as tokens and digital currency.” The study, which was led by Dr Clohessy and Dr Thomas Acton from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, identified several patterns. It found that top management support and organisational readiness are enablers for blockchain, and that large companies are more likely to adopt blockchain than small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The research explains these findings by examining the nature of blockchain and the characteristics of Ireland as a developed technological country. Organisational readiness will require the availability of: Employees with the requisite blockchain IT knowledge and skills Financial resources within the IT budget for adopting blockchain Infrastructure on which blockchain applications can be built Dr Clohessy added: “We are excited to present the results of a seminal piece of research that we have conducted on blockchain organisational readiness here in Ireland. Blockchain is often portrayed as a black box technology which is mostly associated with cryptocurrencies and financial institutions. However, our research indicates that blockchain is a much more versatile beast that provides adopters with advantages such as anonymity, immutability (transactions that are permanent and cannot be altered), transparency, security and fast transactions. “We expect blockchain will significantly transform the traditional business operations of organisations across a multitude of industries such as health, food, financial and Government sectors in Ireland over the next five years. However, we have also identified a number of barriers which organisations will have to overcome such as the need for them to view blockchain as a separate entity to cryptocurrencies, a lack of technology workers who possess the requisite blockchain skills and competencies, and a lack of university level blockchain courses encompassing a number of core competencies identified in the study.” The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is currently exploring various possibilities to address the gap in the lack of university level blockchain courses such as creating executive blockchain workshops. Dr Clohessy has also introduced blockchain as a topic for students within the modules for MSc Business Analytics and MSc Information Systems Management. A more detailed industry report and several academic studies on blockchain are currently in progress. For more information about the Blockchain Association of Ireland, visit: https://www.blockchainireland.org/ -Ends-

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Professor Abhay Pandit and his research team at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, have just published their research into a potential new treatment for lower back pain in the prestigious journal Science Advances. The research team developed a biomaterial-based therapy that can be adapted to an injectable system, which is preferable to surgical intervention. Lower back pain is the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a common reason for lost work days. Over 48% of Europeans and 80% of US citizens experience lower back pain due to degenerative intervertebral discs (IVDs) at some point in their lives, with associated healthcare expenditure estimated at over $100 billion dollars annually in the US and €5.34 billion in Ireland alone. The prevalence of back pain is set to increase substantially in the coming years due to our ageing population. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc results in the compression of the spinal nerves and adjacent vertebrae. Recently, as an alternative to the current conservative treatment or surgical interventions for lower back pain, which are non-regenerative in nature, researchers have started to investigate whether regeneration of the inflamed disc is possible. In the clinic, a substance called hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid) has been shown to facilitate long-term functional improvements by reducing inflammation and pain in a number of clinical conditions, including osteoarthritis surgeries. Hyaluronan is a structural component of tissues in the body, providing strength, lubrication and hydration within the cell’s environment. It also regulates cell movement and behaviour making it an important, active molecule for cell communication. Lead author of the study, Professor Abhay Pandit from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “The mechanisms by which hyaluronan targets inflammatory pain in disc degeneration had never been assessed. Our research focused on assessing whether a hyaluronan hydrogel has the ability to reduce inflammatory pain and promote disc repair. The results now suggest that it does indeed have a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of back pain associated with disc degeneration.” Implantation of the hyaluronan hydrogel alleviates pain by favourably modulating cellular processes, suggesting promise as a potential therapy in the treatment of back pain. Professor Pandit added: “The hyaluronan formulation we have developed can be adapted to an injectable system which is far preferable to surgical intervention in these cases. We are delighted to see this research being acknowledged in a top journal like Science Advances. Our aim at CÚRAM is to radically improve quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illness and this research takes us a step forward toward to doing just that for sufferers of disc degeneration and lower back pain.” Interest in this technology has already been expressed by CÚRAM’s industry partners and has resulted in further collaborative work in this area. The multidisciplinary research team working on this project included Professor Abhay Pandit, Professor Peter Dockery, Professor David Finn and Dr Michelle Kilcoyne, with researchers Dr Isma Liza Mohd Isa and Dr Sunny Abbah, based at NUI Galway, as well as Dr Daisuke Sakai from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Tokai University School of Medicine in Kanagawa, Japan. To read the full study in Science Advances, visit: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/4/eaaq0597 -Ends-

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Public Lecture by Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc: “Caution: Children at School, Perspectives on Learning, Leaders and Learners, Imperatives for Inclusive Schools.” The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, New Professors’ Inaugural Lecture series will continue with Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc, the Established Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education. The Public Lecture will be hosted in the Moore Institute on Tuesday, 10 April at 5.30pm. The lecture is designed to be of interest to educators and parents. Professor Mac Ruairc will address elements in our current school system with a view to identifying ways in which schools can become more inclusive, nurturing spaces for all learners irrespective of class, gender, ability, culture, sexuality or the intersectional interconnected nature of these social categorisations. In doing this, Professor Mac Ruairc will outline a number of articles that represent issues or dilemmas within the Irish education system. These articles draw on personal and professional experiences. Some are autobiographical, based on experience as a student, a teacher, a school inspector and more recently a researcher and teacher educator; others are based on media interpretations of aspects of the school system more broadly. The lecture will also focus on exploring ways in which many of the issues identified can be explored differently, and explore ways that change the learning experience of children and young people in school. Explaining how schools can work with diversity and difference and by problematizing the ways in which exclusionary practices succeed in schools, it is possible to identify a number of ways forward. Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean (Research, Reputation and Impact), College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway said: "We are delighted to continue the New Professor's Inaugural Lecture series. The series provides a great opportunity for the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway to introduce to the general public and academics across the University new professorial appointments and to foreground the world-leading innovative research being undertaken in the college. The lectures will run on a monthly basis throughout the calendar year in the Moore Institute and all are welcome to attend." Subsequent speakers in the series will include: Professor Brian McGuire, School of Psychology on Thursday, 3 May Professor Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science & Sociology on Thursday, 21 June An tOllamh Tadhg Ó hIfearnáin,  Roinn na Gaeilge on Thursday, 4 October -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the 30% Club, is delighted to offer a scholarship for its Executive MBA programme. Globally, the 30% Club is establishing partnerships with a number of business schools to rectify the under-representation of women pursuing post-graduate management education by offering scholarships aimed at women. This scholarship is valued at €13,850 in total for the MBA programme which equates to 50% of the fees (fees are €27,700 over the two years). Closing date for receipt of applications for the coming academic year, including 500 word essay is Friday, 1 June, 2018. Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said: “We see this scholarship as important in encouraging and equipping talented, experienced women to set their sights on senior leadership roles, to inform and shape the direction of Irish businesses – for the benefit of business and society.” The Association of MBAs (AMBA) has accredited NUI Galway’s Executive MBA as academically rigorous and challenging real-world business education with industry engagement and global learning. With over 45 years of experience in MBA provision, the NUI Galway MBA programme prepares its graduates for accelerated career progression through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for success in strategic management and senior leadership roles. Professor Breda Sweeney, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway said: “The Executive MBA programme can transform career opportunities for aspiring female executives by equipping graduates with important leadership skills, business insight and a network of talented executives from diverse professional backgrounds. The success of our Executive MBA in this regard is evident from the achievements of our alumni.” Launched in January 2015, the 30% Club Ireland’s goal is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in leading Irish businesses and aims to develop a diverse pool of talent for all businesses through the efforts of its members who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations. The initiative is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups, adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business leaders. Galway businesswoman Sandra Divilly fought off tough competition to win last year’s 30% Club Scholarship for the NUI Galway Executive MBA programme. The judging panel noted that while most applicants had enormous career potential and would have been worthy recipients, ultimately the award could be made to only one individual. Reacting to the announcement, Ms Divilly commented: “I am greatly honoured to be chosen to receive the 30% Club Scholarship for an Executive MBA at NUI Galway. The 30% Club is an inspiring initiative to address global gender imbalance issues in organisations. I commend NUI Galway for joining the list of successful universities across the world that support and drive the 30% Club goals. Having graduated from NUI Galway in 1996 with a degree in Industrial Engineering and Information Systems, I have since enjoyed a varied and challenging career in private industry and as a self-employed businesswoman. I am very grateful to NUI Galway and the 30% Club for providing me with this exciting opportunity to undertake the Executive MBA.” Bríd Horan, Steering Committee member, on behalf of the 30% Club said: “We greatly appreciate NUI Galway’s generous support for this valuable scholarship which encourages women to invest in their career development through executive education.” For more information on the 30% Club or scholarship application process, contact Mairead McKeon, Executive MBA Programme Administrator at mairead.mckeon@nuigalway.ie  or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/mba/. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

NUI Galway recently held the Fourth Undergraduate Research Conference which focused on a wide range of research topics including technology, transportation, environment, disability, law, advances in medicine and tourism. The 2018 Undergraduate Research Conference focused on engaging students and staff in a collaborative multidisciplinary research environment promoting vital research skills in presentation and communication. Conference organiser, Lorraine Tansey, Institute for Lifecourse and Society, said: “The multi-disciplinary space is an important opportunity for our students who learn their specific course content in silos. At the conference students are getting a feel for what life will be like as alumni, working, volunteering and being in a world where we need work together from across the subject boundaries to tackle real life problems.” Students from across all disciplines participated and spoke and shared with students. Keynote speaker, Áine Gallagher from ‘Bright Club’ shared how comedy and research can combine to engage non-specialists with a variety of topic areas.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway supports undergraduate engagement: “Undergraduate research is the pedagogy for the 21st century – all students should learn through inquiry and research. The ecology of a university depends on a deep and abiding understanding that inquiry, investigation and discovery are at the heart of the university. Research plays a very big role in identifying opportunities and solving problems that our society and planet faces.” Professor Joshi, added: “As a research-led university, undergraduate students are a vital part of the research community and we are delighted to nurture their enthusiasm for research through a variety of student programmes. Students are gaining valuable research skills like communication, presentation, and teamwork as they share in small groups and hear from keynote speakers.”  The conference is funded by the Research Office and ALIVE, NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme and directly run, created and imagined by students. To learn more: www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-research -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Dochtúireacht Oinigh le bronnadh ar Mhéara Chicago Ag searmanas in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Máirt, an 3 Aibreán, bronnfar Céim Oinigh ar Rahm Emanuel, Méara Chicago agus iarCheann Foirne sa Teach Bán le linn rialtas Obama. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, agus é ag labhairt roimh an searmanas: “Tá cathracha na Gaillimhe agus Chicago nasctha le chéile mar Chomhchathracha le breis is aon bhliain is fiche. Ó shin i leith, tá caidreamh láidir agus dinimiciúil forbartha, a bhfuil buntáistí sóisialta, cultúrtha, oideachasúla agus eacnamaíochta mar thoradh air, rud a léiríonn na naisc phearsanta agus ghairmiúla ar fad idir an dá chathair iontacha seo. Agus onóir á tabhairt againn don Mhéara Emanuel, tugaimid le tuiscint an méid a bhfuil luach againn air mar Ollscoil.  Ní hamháin go n-aithnímid na naisc a cheanglaíonn Gaillimh agus Chicago inár ról mar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ach dírímid aird chomh maith ar thábhacht na seirbhíse poiblí, ar thábhacht gníomhú go háitiúil le tionchar domhanda, agus tábhacht an daonlathais, an tearmainn agus na saoirse – sa domhan agus don domhan.” Is é Rahm Emanuel an 55ú méara ar Chicago. Chinntigh sé gur glacadh le buiséid ina raibh leasuithe agus infheistíochtaí chun todhchaí airgeadais Chicago a dhaingniú. Rinne sé roinnt leasuithe oideachais a achtú lena n-áirítear fad a chur leis an lá agus leis an mbliain scoile, naíscoil uilíoch lae a chruthú agus chinntigh sé go raibh Chicago ar an gcéad mhórchathair sa tír a chuir oideachas saor in aisce ar fáil i gcoláistí pobail do gach dalta meánscoile a bhaineann B ar an meán, nó os a chionn amach. Faoi stiúir an Mhéara Emanuel, bhí Chicago chun tosaigh ag cur leasuithe eacnamaíochta i bhfeidhm rud a mheall níos mó cuideachtaí agus infheistíocht dhíreach iasachta. Tá athchóiriú infreastruchtúir ar fiú $8 mbilliún ar bun in Chicago faoi láthair chun bóithre, iarnróid agus rúidbhealaí na cathrach a neartú. Sular ceapadh ina Mhéara é, bhí sé ina Cheann Foirne sa Teach Bán le linn rialtas Obama agus chaith sé trí théarma i dTeach na nIonadaithe sna Stáit Aontaithe ag déanamh ionadaíochta ar 5ú Toghcheantar Chicago. Sular toghadh chuig an gComhdháil é, ba bhall tábhachtach é de Theach Bán Clinton ó 1993 go 1998, agus rinneadh comhairleoir sinsearach polasaí agus straitéise don Uachtarán de. Bhain sé céim amach in Sarah Lawrence College sa bhliain 1981 agus bhain sé céim mháistreachta amach san óráidíocht agus cumarsáid ó  Northwestern University. Agus Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) bronnta ar an Méara Emanuel beidh sé anois i measc céimithe oinigh eile mór le rá a tháinig roimhe cosúil le Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Cyril Ramaphosa, Enya, Anjelica Huston, agus Margaret Atwood. -Críoch-

Monday, 5 March 2018

Calling all documentary makers, can research cure a broken heart?  CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre are offering funding to filmmakers interested in producing a documentary that engages with research into cardiovascular illnesses and stroke, currently underway at CÚRAM. The ‘Science on Screen’ 2018 Information Day will take place on Friday, 9 March for filmmakers and producers. A range of top researchers and clinicians from NUI Galway will give an overview of their work, followed by a Q&A and opportunities to discuss ideas with the speakers. The ‘Science on Screen’ scheme, a funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science, is now in its third year. The scheme will 100% fund one 26 minute film with a budget of €35,000 that promotes the public understanding of science. The scheme forms part of CÚRAM’s public engagement programme which supports the Science Foundation Ireland objective of having the most scientifically informed and engaged public. The schedule for the day will include: 10.45am: Welcome by CÚRAM 11.00am: William Wijns – Professor in Interventional Cardiology, NUI Galway 11.20am: Niamh Hynes – Vascular and Endovascular Surgical Registrar at Galway Clinic 11.40am: Dr Karen Doyle – Lecturer in Physiology and Principal Investigator at CÚRAM 12.00noon: Dr Martin O’ Halloran – Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab, NUI Galway 12.20pm: Croí – Fighting Heart Disease and Stroke 12.35pm: Galway Film Centre – Application Guidelines for Science on Screen Science on Screen is a Galway City of Film initiative between Galway Film Centre and CÚRAM. Since 2016, three Science on Screen films have been produced that have achieved success both nationally and internationally. Last October, the Irish Parkinson’s disease Science on Screen documentary, Feats of Modest Valour, won the prestigious Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York. The 2018 Information Day will take place at the Seminar Room in CÚRAM, SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Biomedical Sciences Building, Newcastle Road, NUI Galway on Friday, 9 March from 10.45am to 1.30pm. To register to attend, visit: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/science-on-screen-information-day-tickets-43031026960 To view previous Science on Screen 2016 and 2017 commissions, see: Feats of Modest Valour: https://vimeo.com/184564095 Mending Legends: https://vimeo.com/189779551 Bittersweet: https://vimeo.com/242714712 -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, recently addressed the current ageing policies in Europe, which are narrowly focused and overlook the diversity of our ageing populations, at a European policy seminar in Brussels, hosted by the COST-funded research network on Reducing Old Age Social Exclusion in Europe (ROSEnet). The United Nations has said population ageing is set to become one of the most significant social transformations of this century. Globally, the population aged 60 and over is growing faster than all younger age groups. Focusing on different forms of social exclusion related to older age, ROSEnet, an innovative networking partnership of individuals, including researchers, older people and policy stakeholders from 41 countries, involving over 135 members, asked participants at the seminar to consider the ways in which current policy can tackle exclusion in later life across Europe. With an opening address by Ana Carla Pereira, Directorate General of employment, social affairs and inclusion at the European Commission, speakers at the seminar presented new developments in research and policy. These highlighted the steps necessary to improve social and civic participation in later life. The seminar was closed by Marian Harkin, MEP and Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on ‘Active Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity and Family Policies’. Professor Kieran Walsh, Chair of ROSEnet and Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, highlighted: “With continuing social and economic uncertainty, it is critical that European public policy reflects the needs of a growing, and diverse, older population. Some older people experience exclusion, which can impact on their ability to participate as full members of European societies.” New developments in research and policy were presented at the seminar, highlighting the steps necessary to improve social and civic participation in later life: Policy aimed at reducing social exclusion in later life should take account of the ways in which exclusion affects different parts of people’s lives. There is a need to be cognisant of how different risks factors for exclusion can be associated with different life-course experiences such as transitions into ill health, or poverty, and different socio-economic demographic characteristics. Developing measures that capture why older people experience lower levels of participation and difficulties in accessing resources and services will help to inform the more effective design and implementation of interventions. Efforts to address old-age exclusion are likely to be more impactful if inclusion mechanisms are relevant to older people’s lives and opportunities, and target different forms of exclusion (not just economic dimensions). The characteristics of different contexts need to be considered when designing measurement approaches, setting policy targets and creating policy interventions. Drawing on state-of-the-art research and policy perspectives, the seminar brought together key European stakeholders and researchers, who are at the forefront of policy analysis, innovation and implementation. The seminar demonstrated the benefits for policy of recognising the contributions of older people to European society. ROSEnet (Reducing Old-Age Exclusion in Europe is an innovative networking partnership between policy stakeholders, researchers and older people from 41 countries, involving over 135 members. For more information about ROSEnet, visit: www.rosenetcost.com -Ends-  

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Reforming abortion law and policy is a highly contested process. The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is hosting an international seminar exploring key debates in the law and politics relating to abortion. As the mooted date for a referendum on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution draws closer, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has drawn together a number of prominent human rights advocates and academics to consider the challenges and possibilities of abortion law in the event of a post-Eighth Amendment Ireland. Professor Siobhán Mullally of NUI Galway, commented: “Abortion law reform and policy is highly contested in Ireland and elsewhere. This international seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on the regulation of abortion and on the litigation, politics and law reform processes taking place in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US.” Speakers include Professor Carol Sanger from Columbia University, who recently published the book, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America, and Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Irish Human Rights Commission, who has led strategic litigation on abortion law reform in Northern Ireland. Responses from the Irish law and policy reform perspective will be delivered by Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, focusing on the context of abortion law reform and human rights standards. Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, will address abortion law reform and the rights of people with disabilities. Professor Carol Sanger from the School of Law, Columbia University, commented: “This discussion presents the United States as a case study of how forty years of decriminalisation has not normalised abortion as a reproductive practice. Indeed, the storm around it has become increasingly virulent, especially under the Trump administration.” As Professor Sanger’s book notes, abortion is one of the most private decisions a woman can make, and is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Until recently, stigma and hostility stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, and also distorted public and political discussion on abortion law reform. The seminar will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday, 9 March from 11am- 2pm. Advance registration is required at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/about-abortion-the-law-and-politics-of-reform-tickets-43025789294 The event is in association with NUI Galway’s Gender ARC (Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society). -Ends-