NUI Galway Wins Information Technology Postgraduate Course of the Year

NUI Galway Wins Information Technology Postgraduate Course of the Year-image

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

NUI Galway was awarded the ‘Postgraduate Course of the Year in IT Award’ at the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2015 which took place in Dublin recently. This year, the prize was awarded for the University’s Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream). Judges commented on the strong links the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream) has with leading ICT companies who are partners on the programme. These partners are actively involved in the recruitment, course design and delivery which makes this programme unique among other equivalent programmes. Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley, said: “Over 90% of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development (Industry Stream) secure immediate employment as a result of being on the programme. We have experienced huge demand among applicants and employers to participate with the programme, and this has helped attract the highest calibre students from third level institutions all over the country. NUI Galway is now seen as a leading partner for ICT companies who wish to develop links with our training and research activities.”   Some of the industry partners involved with the Higher Diploma in Software Design & Development (Industry Stream) include: Cisco, IBM, Avaya, Insight, SAP, Storm Technologies, Fidelity Investments, Schneider Electric, Aspect Software, Sogeti, Ericsson, Netfort and Arc Energy. Companies or potential applicants interested in applying to participate in the programme can contact Dr Enda Howley at for more details. -Ends-

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NUI Galway launches Health and Wellbeing Survey

NUI Galway launches Health and Wellbeing Survey-image

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A survey of 1,000 people is being carried out door-to-door across the country by NUI Galway researchers to find out the views of Irish people with regard to health and wellbeing. Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), the study is led by Professor Ciaran O’Neill, a HRB Research Leader, at NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics. “We are really hoping to tap into some valuable information – the preferences of the public with regard to health and wellbeing. The public are the consumers of healthcare and health services in Ireland, and we want to hear first-hand their points of view to help improve decision-making at a national level.” The Health and Wellbeing Survey will take participants through a computer-based questionnaire, which will ask them to imagine different health scenarios that might face individuals such as themselves. This survey explores five dimensions of health: mobility, self-care, pain, anxiety and the ability to undertake usual activities (work, study, housework, pastimes, etc.) and aims to establish which dimensions of health the Irish people value most. When a decision is being made whether to fund a new drug or other treatments in the Irish health system, decision makers look at the costs and benefits of the new drug or treatment. Benefits are typically assessed in terms of gains in both length of life and quality of life, based on data from clinical trials. The results from this Health and Wellbeing survey will be available to help measure gains in quality of life, enabling decision makers to draw on the preferences of the Irish public when making important healthcare decisions. “From this study, we hope that a clearer understanding of the preferences of Irish people for different dimensions of health will emerge. We also want to establish a better picture of what factors underlie differences in peoples’ preferences. This will be useful when considering whether to adopt a new technology, where policy makers weigh up the costs and benefits of new technologies relative to those, for example, in current use”, explained Professor O’Neill. NUI Galway researchers have already visited eight locations, four in Dublin and four outside Dublin. The response from the public has been excellent, householders have engaged with great interest in the survey and the feedback from participants is very positive. The research team will continue to visit randomly-selected homes, representing a cross-section of society, all over Ireland over six months. The research team will carry NUI Galway identification and will call to homes between 10am and 8pm. -ends-

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Pint of Science Galway

Pint of Science Galway -image

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The ‘Pint of Science’ international Festival will take place in Galway from 18-19 May. During the Festival a fantastic line of up of scientists will engage the public with the latest in science research in an accessible format. ‘Pint of Science’ is the largest festival of science globally, running concurrently in multiple pubs across eight countries in 50 cities. More than 20 leading and developing scientists, mostly from NUI Galway and affiliated institutes and centres, will meet the general public to talk about the research advances in their field. Panel discussions will follow presentations from three to four researchers on each night. A wide variety of topics will cover recent progress in understanding human diseases, technologies to treat them, as well as the impact of technology on the future of our society and the role of water in our lives and in our future. Created in 2012 by a group of UK postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, ‘Pint of Science’ is a non-profit organisation involving scientists on a voluntary basis. Internationally it takes place in the UK, USA, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia. Established in 2013 by Seán Mac Fhearraigh, ‘Pint of Science Ireland’ is running for the second time in Dublin, and for the first time in Galway and Limerick. A detailed programme of ‘Pint of Science Galway’ covering the themes human body, technology and planet Earth is available at or follow ‘Pint of Science Galway’ on Facebook. Tickets are free and must be booked online to attend. -Ends-

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Free Entrepreneurship Event at NUI Galway

Free Entrepreneurship Event at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Business and Economics, together with Casla Home Care, has announced details of a free day-long seminar-based event for entrepreneurs at the University on Friday, 22 May. Sponsored by Casla Home Care, Bank of Ireland, Sharkey Consulting and Enterprise Ireland, the event focuses on persons across the broad spectrum of entrepreneurial activity. From those at the idea stage who want to learn more about how to develop further, to young start-ups seeking to grow and become sustainable, to well-established entrepreneurs trying to improve their businesses. The event will provide an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship in a number of highly discursive and interactive sessions, as well as opportunities to network with key entrepreneurs and educators. Teams of educators and entrepreneurs will run sessions across areas such as sustainability, financing, growth, negotiation skills, talent acquisition, decision making, networking, and customer centricity. Some of the facilitators will include; Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Casla Home Care and Aer Arann; Barry O’Sullivan, AltoCloud and Dragons’ Den; James Murphy, Lifes2Good; James Cunningham, Connemara Food Ventures; and John O’Dea, Crosspon. The event will also include a sports panel with Gavin Duffy, Joe Connolly and Mike Geraghty who will deal with developing the individual. To register for the event, visit -Ends-

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Public Lecture on Sport, Charity and Tourism in Late-Victorian Connemara

Public Lecture on Sport, Charity and Tourism in Late-Victorian Connemara-image

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A free public lecture entitled ‘Take my advice, go to Mongan’s Hotel: Sport, Charity, and Tourism in Late-Victorian Connemara’ will be held in Galway city on Monday, 11 May at 7 pm. The lecture will be delivered by Dr Kevin James, Associate Professor of History at the University of Guelph, Ontario, and will take place in the Galway City Library in Augustine St, under the auspices of NUI Galway’s Moore Institute. Mongan's Hotel in Carna, Co. Galway, was an historic site of pilgrimage for the sporting tourist in the nineteenth century, and served as a social, commercial, and cultural hub of the district. In the 1890s, initiatives aimed at alleviating distress and developing the district's economy highlighted the important role of the hotel and its proprietor, Martin Mongan. He forged connections between the locality and organisations and markets farther afield – notably in Manchester. The evidence appears in the hotel's historic visitors' book. This public lecture will look at how Mongan’s provided a venue for tourism, a magnet for sports enthusiasts, and a site for charitable activity. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Kevin James’s work has opened up new vistas on the history of travel to Co. Galway. Visitors’ books offer an intriguing glimpse into a lost world in the nineteenth century.” Dr Kevin James is author of Tourism, Land and Landscape in Ireland: The Commodification of Culture. In spring 2014, he held a Moore Institute Visiting Research Fellowship to support his research at the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. For more information contact : Dr John Cunningham, Department of History, NUI Galway at or phone 091 493902. -Ends-  

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Adult Learning Week at NUI Galway

Adult Learning Week at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Students seeking to develop new skills or considering part-time study options are invited to attend one of the many information sessions taking place at NUI Galway during Adult Learning Week. The week-long event will run from11-15 May from 6.30pm -8.30pm each day in the Arts Millennium Building. Nuala McGuinn, Director of the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway, said: “The University offers a wide range of part-time, flexible courses suitable for those who require professional development opportunities to up-skill or enhance their career prospects. Adult Learning Week is an opportunity to discover the range of flexible, part-time courses that NUI Galway has to offer. Our sessions are informal so feel free to call in at any time and join our talks or meet a member of staff.” A different array of courses will be showcased each evening focusing on the themes of General Arts and Languages; Training and Teaching Skills; Community, Youth and Family; and Technology, Science and Business. Information sessions will be varied and will include talks from lecturers, presentations from past students giving an insight into their personal experiences, talks on the value of lifelong learning and an opportunity to meet with course lecturers. Four new blended-learning, part-time programmes will be announced during Adult Learning Week to include a blended learning BA in Humanities and Social Sciences, an intermediate level Diploma in Italian, a Diploma in Automation and Control and a Diploma in English Literature and Drama. A fully online Diploma in Archaeology will also be launched with course lectures and examinations taking place in a fully online environment. “Our students come from a variety of educational backgrounds, life experiences and ages, and are motivated to embark on a programme of study for personal development, career enhancement or other professional development reasons”, explains Nuala McGuinn. With over 40 part-time programmes to choose from, students will not be short of choice to meet the live-learn-work challenge. Courses are offered through classroom-based mode, online learning or through a blend of both, offering flexibility and support to prospective students. All are designed with flexibility enabling them to continue to work or actively seek employment. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Lean & Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas. Study options are available at Diploma, Degree and individual module level. Dr Anne Walsh, Programme Academic Coordinator, said: “Courses which have been offered in recent years are growing in demand, particularly in the area of Adult Learning and Education Studies. Enrolments for the Professional Diploma in Education (Further Education) which provides FE teachers with the professional knowledge and skills to carry out their teaching roles has been growing steadily since commencing in September 2013. The Certificate in Advanced Trainer Skills (Coaching and Mentoring) is also available and builds on trainer competencies by developing their coaching and mentoring skills and abilities – an example of another recent addition to the suite of programmes which is popular among adult learners.” A Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy is available in conjunction with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC). APAC are the national leaders in developing and providing training for students interested in becoming a certified play therapist. With it’s tutorial components delivered during July each year, this course is ideal for teachers and educators who wish to add therapeutic play skills to their existing teaching or psychology skills for working with children. Students can also chose to take individual modules from the suite of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit options and may be useful for learners who do not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for those who require a module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling.  Standalone modules are available in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Education and Training, Early Childhood Studies, Community Education and Software Engineering. To view the full list of the events taking place throughout Adult Learning Week and to register visit For more information contact the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at or 091 495241, or visit the Centre’s Facebook page at -Ends-

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Healthy Diet May Be Linked to Lower Risk of Memory and Thinking Decline

Healthy Diet May Be Linked to Lower Risk of Memory and Thinking Decline-image

Thursday, 7 May 2015

27,860 people in 40 countries were followed for five years People with the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to have cognitive decline People who eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, moderate alcohol use - and not much red meat - may be less likely to experience declines in their memory and thinking skills. This is according to a new study published in the May 6, 2015, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “The exciting thing about this study is that this benefit was found in people who were at high risk of cardiovascular problems and suggests that a healthy diet could be beneficial even for people who already have some health problems” said study author Dr Andrew Smyth of the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway at the National University of Ireland Galway, and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. For the study, 27,860 people in 40 countries were followed for an average of about five years. All participants were 55 or older and had diabetes or a history of heart disease, stroke or peripheral artery disease. People who had experienced a recent stroke, congestive heart failure and other serious conditions were not included in the study. Participants’ thinking and memory skills were tested at the start of the study, after two years and after about five years. Participants were asked at the beginning of the study how often they ate certain types of foods, including fruits and vegetables, nuts and soy proteins, whole grains, deep fried foods and drank alcohol, as well as the ratio of fish to meat and eggs in their diet. The study participants were followed until they experienced a heart attack, stroke, hospitalisation for congestive heart failure or death from cardiovascular disease or until the end of the study. The thinking and memory tests yielded total scores with a maximum of 30 points. Participants were considered to have declined in their skills if their score dropped by three or more points during the study. A total of 4,699 people had a decline in their thinking and memory skills. People with the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to have cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets. Among the 5,687 people with the healthiest diet, 782, or about 14 percent, had cognitive decline, compared to 987, or about 18 percent, of the 5,459 people with the least healthy diets. The results were the same when researchers accounted for other factors that could affect the results, such as physical activity, high blood pressure and history of cancer. Dr Smyth is supported by the Health Research Board of Ireland and the study was supported by Boehringer Ingelheim.  Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, commented: “Findings like these show that health research has a central role to play in increasing our capacity to prevent illness in the first place.” -ends-

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Fourth Reel Lives Film Festival

Fourth Reel Lives Film Festival-image

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Festival offers a week of free films celebrating ageing The fourth ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of international films and documentaries celebrating ageing across the life-course from 18-22 May as part of the Bealtaine Festival. The lunchtime screenings are open to the public and will begin each day at 1pm in the auditorium of NUI Galway’s new Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building in Corrib Village, Upper Newcastle Road. This year the screenings will include: Nebraska; When Did You Last See Your Father?; Robot and Frank; My Afternoons With Margueritte; and My Old Lady. The festival opens with Nebraska, telling the story of an ageing father (Bruce Dern) on a road trip with his son from Montano to Nebraska to claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize. When Did You Last See Your Father? stars Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent, and a host of well-known faces. A restrained script and effortless acting show Firth watching his father (Broadbent) die, whilst reflecting on their troubled relationship across the lifecourse. Robot and Frank is set in the near future when household robots are the norm. The cantankerous Frank, an elderly divorcee, lives slothfully alone until his son forces the robot on him to improve his lifestyle. Their initial fractious relationship turns into genuine friendship once Frank, a former jewel thief, recruits robot into a life of crime. My Afternoons with Margueritte is a French movie with English sub-titles and stars Gerard Dépardieu. Dépardieu’s is an illiterate and lonely man who befriends an older and well-read woman, played by Gisele Casadesus. The festival closes with My Old Lady starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott-Thomas. Shot in Paris, the film is both funny and touching. Kline inherits a glamorous apartment in Paris, but also its resident ‘viager’ (Smith). Irish shorts being screened include: Bye Bye Now which focuses on the disappearance of rural telephone boxes; Jericho, a story revolving around a widower getting help from his childhood friend; Holding On, telling the story of how a man’s Alzheimer’s impacts on his family; and Sue Mills, about a West of Ireland eco-friendly woman and her Meitheal. On Thursday, 21 May, there will be a special screening of Pockets by Oughterard film student, Luke Morgan. Pockets featured at the Cannes Film Festival and is a five-minute film covering empty nest syndrome. Luke uses his own mother as the acting lead as she discusses how she feels when her son departs for college. In addition to free entry, audience members can enjoy complimentary refreshments and the chance to win a daily audience spot prize. There will also be a special pre-film choral performance by NUI Galway staff choir, Unitunes, on Thursday, 21 May at 1 pm, and a free guided walk of the Dangan area with Galway tour-guide Brendan Hynes on Friday, 22 May at 4 pm. Parking is available on campus to non-NUI Galway personnel within the pay and display areas of Dangan car park, or a free shuttle bus runs regularly between Dangan car park and the main campus. The venue has a 250-seater lecture room with a theatre-size screen, surround-sound, and wheelchair access. For further information contact event organiser Alison Herbert at 091 495461 or 087 2830757. Full details of the film programme are on -Ends-

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New book explores ageing through austerity

 New book explores ageing through austerity-image

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The impact of the recession and austerity on older people is as diverse as the ageing population itself according to the authors of a newly published book on the topic. Ageing Through Austerity: Critical Perspectives from Ireland builds on nine years of research and social policy work at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway. Edited by Kieran Walsh, Gemma Carney and Áine Ní Léime of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the book brings together knowledge and research on key issues affecting older people during the economic recession. These include: citizenship, social participation, work and pensions, ageing and supportive communities, dementia care, and social inclusion and exclusion. According to Professor Norah Keating, the Director of The Global Social Initiative on Ageing, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics: “With impeccable timing, Walsh, Carney and Ní Léime capture the intersections of population ageing and global economic recessions, using Ireland as the exemplar of the impact of austerity on older people.” The book explores conflicting evidence in Ireland and in other jurisdictions about exactly how older people have faired during the economic recession and subsequent austerity programmes. The reality is that the magnitude of the impact of the recession and austerity on older people is as diverse as the ageing population itself. The reality is also, that while the economic recession and austerity programmes have introduced new problems for some older people, in particular areas of life, they have primarily intensified pre-existing and deeply entrenched issues and inequalities. Ageing Through Austerity interrogates whether or not the economic recession and austerity has in fact altered ageing experiences and the social policy landscape for older people in Ireland. It explores the linkages between the global, national and local levels that shape the experiences of ageing in a time of austerity. It also looks at the power of globalisation, and its various mechanisms, over national and community contexts. The economic recession has served to sharpen the focus of policy makers and governments on the implications of demographic ageing for under-resourced and struggling fiscal systems. This was certainly a part of the justification for why it was necessary that the social policy pressures characterising ageing societies are understood within the current economic conditions and perhaps more importantly the evolving circumstances of austerity. The book addresses a substantial gap in the international literature concerning the degree to which economic recessions and austerity impact on social policy issues for older people, and frames the development of related policy. It contains chapters from leading experts in Ireland, and contributions from international scholars Alan Walker (University of Sheffield) and Chris Phillipson (University of Manchester). According to Professor W. Andrew Achenbaum of the University of Houston: “By illuminating individual, regional and societal disparities, this book helps readers rethink the consequences of altered political economies and practices, such as recession, on aging and generations.” Ageing Through Austerity: Critical Perspectives from Ireland is published by Policy Press and more information is available at It was launched at the recent International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Regional Meeting (IAGG-ER). -ends-

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Minister Welcomes Ireland’s Innovation success in the EU

Minister Welcomes Ireland’s Innovation success in the EU-image

Friday, 8 May 2015

Over €97 Million of funding won by researchers and companies in Horizon 2020 EU Programme for Research and Innovation NUI Galway has attracts the highest Horizon 2020 funding Ireland moved up one place to 8th position in the 2015 Innovation Union Scoreboard of 28 Member States published on 7 May 2015. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD welcomed the improved ranking and said: “This is the second year in a row in which Ireland’s ranking has improved, up from 9th in 2014 and 10th in 2013. In particular, I am pleased to see Ireland is ranked first on two specific dimensions: Innovators; and Economic Effects which shows that our strategy of accelerating the economic and societal returns on our public investment in research and innovation is paying off.” Ireland’s researchers and companies have been successful in winning €97 Million of funding in the first 9 months of Horizon 2020. Collaboration is at the heart of Horizon 2020 – between industry and academia and between countries. Among the Irish Universities, NUI Galway has had a noteworthy success rate, attracting the highest Horizon 2020 funding, with projects that exemplify the collaborative approach. One of their projects involves Irish SME Sports Surgery Clinic Dublin collaborating with the University on a large-scale clinical trial using adult stem cells to treat knee osteoarthritis. The project, which is co-ordinated by Professor Frank Barry of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, has been funded to the value of almost €6 million and trials are expected to be underway across Europe by the end of 2015. In a separate multi-million euro clinical trial in the area of diabetic complications, led by Professor Tim O’Brien of REMEDI and CÚRAM at NUI Galway, Galway-based Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway will play a key role in the project which will include partners in Northern Ireland and across Europe. In both projects Dublin-based SME Pintail Ltd will ensure effective collaboration between the partners and support the management and delivery of the funded projects. NUI Galway’s strong performance has ranged across many sectors, from the biosciences to the social sciences. Commenting on NUI Galway’s success, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research commented:  ‘NUI Galway views EU collaboration and funding as a key priority to strengthen our research and its impact on society. The University is working with government agencies and the EU to actively encourage, enable and support researchers to participate in EU funding programmes. We are also focusing on mentoring and supporting our younger generation of researchers to participate in EU funding calls. Our success so far is the success of our researchers who are investing their time, energy and passion for research and innovation in a highly competitive process.’ Innovation Union Scoreboard “In June 2013 Government set a range of system level targets in the context of implementation of research prioritisation and one of those targets was to move to 8th place in the Innovation Union Scoreboard by 2017 – as a result of a range of policy measures targeting our investment at areas of greatest economic and societal return, encouraging greater collaboration between academia and industry and enhancing the commercialisation of research we have met our target ahead of schedule”, continued the Minister. ” Of the eight dimensions that make up the European Commission’s Innovation Union Scoreboard, Ireland is ranked first in two of them: Innovators; and Economic Effects. The Innovators dimension measures how innovative firms are, while the Economic Effects captures economic success stemming from innovation in terms of employment, revenue and exports. “The strengthening of our Innovation performance is bolstering our capacity to compete under HORIZON 2020 – the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – and I am very pleased with the results for the first 9 months of the programme which show that we are on track to exceed our target for success in the first year.” Ireland has traditionally performed well in areas such as ICT and research fellowships and researcher mobility across all disciplines (Marie Curie Actions). In these areas, Ireland’s researchers have been awarded over €24 Million and €13 Million respectively. Ireland has also been very successful in the Agri-food (€11 Million) and Health (€10 Million) areas. Ireland’s success in competing for European Research Council (ERC) grants under Horizon 2020 has significantly exceeded our performance in previous programmes. The ERC’s prestigious grants support frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. The funding to ERC grantees in Horizon 2020 so far is over €19 Million. In welcoming the success to date, Minister of for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD said “I am confident that, based on the pipeline of activity, we will surpass our target of €100 Million for the first year of the Programme. I would like to congratulate the Higher Education Institutions which account for over 70% of the success to date. Irish companies account for almost 20% of Ireland’s success, with 62% of this going to SMEs”. Commenting on the industry engagement figures, Minister English added: “I would also like to commend industry and in particular Ireland’s innovative SMEs. The latest Innovation Union rankings demonstrate how innovative Ireland is at the level of the firm. There are many more opportunities which innovative firms, including SMEs, can exploit in Horizon 2020. I want to encourage more industry participation. Success brings not only financial rewards but also a chance to collaborate with the best and brightest in Europe. Enterprise Ireland’s Horizon 2020 industry experts are available to offer advice and support to companies on the Programme, its opportunities and how to apply”. Noting the progress to date, Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive Officer, Julie Sinnamon said: “Enterprise Ireland is proud to lead Ireland’s participation in Horizon 2020. The latest results from the EU Commission show that IrishSMEs continue to shine in Europe– we are particularly interested to see our high potential start-ups and established companies with disruptive technologies reaping the rewards of the new SME focussed programmes. These programmes offer new and different opportunities to those in previous framework programmes and are at a scale suited to real impact on company development” Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director for Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland said: “The Irish approach is to provide hands on assistance to our Horizon 2020 applicants – this level of support, building on national research and innovation investments, is paying off. Ireland’s researchers and companies are responding and showing that they can compete with the best internationally.” ENDS

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