New E-Commerce Venture in Education

New E-Commerce Venture in Education-image

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway has embarked on a new initiative with Transition Year students from the Presentation Secondary School in Galway City. The students have devised a new e-Commerce module which is facilitated by their business teacher Eleanor Fogarty. The project involves developing an e-Marketing strategy for an illustrated children’s book called Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds.  This children’s story was illustrated by Rebecca Kane, one of the Transition Year students in the Presentation School and written by Declan Clarke. Aimed at children between two and six years of age, Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds has already been launched on iTunes as an e-book for the iPad, and is *available to buy for €3.99. Dr Ann Torres, Lecturer in Marketing with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc Strategic Marketing cultivates students’ practical skills through the application of theory to real business situations, such as developing an e-marketing strategy for an e-book. It is this link between practice and theory that enhances the MSc. students’ capability to perform as an effective marketer. Further, NUI Galway’s involvement with the Presentation Secondary School is a valuable gateway in which secondary school students may gain an insight into the opportunities associated with third-level education.” Introducing the students to e-Commerce is essential as the world moves towards buying and selling online. Part of the Transition Year students’ project will be to devise an e-marketing campaign to promote the book and to expand the network of interest through Facebook. The students will gain a real-life understanding of the launch of the new book which will be an extremely valuable experience for them.   -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery

NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery-image

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery. Professor Declan Devane, himself a midwife, is based at NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. With approximately 700 students, the School is at the forefront of nursing and midwifery education and research in Ireland. Over his 22-year career in nursing and midwifery, Professor Devane has established an international reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in his areas of expertise, which include the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of assessment of fetal wellbeing. While other institutions have Chairs in nursing and midwifery, this is the first university appointment of a Chair in Midwifery. This focus on the profession of midwifery reflects trends internationally that recognise the unique and important contribution midwifery makes to high quality maternity services. Professor Devane has taken up the Chair in Midwifery at a time when over 75,000 babies are born every year in Ireland. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Devane said that he was delighted and honoured to accept the new role: “My hope is that my appointment will enable me to work with those who seek a better service for childbearing women and their children. Most births take place against a backdrop of sub-optimal infrastructure, in large and aging hospitals with too few delivery suites. There are also concerns about operating theatres shared for childbirth and for other surgeries. This scenario is compacted by substantial understaffing of our maternity services in terms of both midwives and obstetricians, while our community maternity services are also terribly under resourced.” Commenting on the organisation of maternity services in Ireland, Professor Devane added: “Unlike some other areas of healthcare, there is no evidence to support that the centralisation of maternity services in large hospitals improves outcomes for women and their infants. On the contrary, there is substantial high-quality evidence demonstrating benefits for midwifery units in which the skills and expertise of midwives are used to their full potential. Common sense suggests, and scientific evidence demonstrates, that it doesn’t make clinical, social or economic sense for most women to give birth in large, centralised hospitals that are heaving at the seams. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. Midwives, obstetricians and GPs each have their place and their role in the provision of collaborative maternity care, and no one model of care, care-giver or birth setting should be advocated for all women. However, every woman should experience the best possible care from the most appropriate professional, chosen by her, to ensure the best outcomes for her and her baby. It is vital that we make these choices a reality for women. There is bound to be a lot of new challenges ahead but that’s part of the excitement of the job.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “Professor Devane has a proven record of excellence in teaching and research. Through his research work, his professional activities and his interest in developing international collaborations, Professor Devane will make a valuable contribution to the success of our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has established a growing research reputation.” Professor Devane qualified as a nurse in Galway and as a midwife in Bristol and Gloucestershire, where he worked before returning to Ireland to work in the Rotunda, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and in Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Expert Network of Research Advisors, a member of the Midwifery Committee of An Bord Altranais, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of both the UK Cochrane Centre and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Professor Devane is passionate about the care of children with serious illnesses, particularly those with life-limiting illness, and is a Director of the children’s cancer charity for the West, Hand in Hand ( In 2009, combining fundraising activities for this charity with his love of scuba diving, he raised over €35,000 for charity and simultaneously set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest open saltwater SCUBA dive (cold water)’.   -ends-

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NUI Galway Research Highlighted in Report Launched by Minister Reilly

NUI Galway Research Highlighted in Report Launched by Minister Reilly-image

Monday, 5 December 2011

Three research projects undertaken at NUI Galway were highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health report. Launched recently by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, the report communicates the findings of recently funded research to a general audience. Included in the document, from NUI Galway, is Dr Roisin Dwyer’s and Professor Michael Kerin’s work looking at breast cancer signals in the bloodstream, and Professor Larry Egan’s research into manipulating gut bacteria to help minimise radiation damage for cancer patients. Professor Egan spoke about his research at the launch event. Also featured in the report is research by NUI Galway’s Dr Liam Glynn. Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease and stroke - so keeping blood pressure under control is an important public health issue. Yet only 25 - 40 per cent of patients who take anti-hypertensive drug treatment manage to achieve their blood pressure goals, and that figure has remained unchanged for decades. However, a HRB-funded Cochrane review study by Dr Liam Glynn has identified practices in community-based care that could help tackle the problem. The research analysed 72 randomised controlled trials in the published literature that looked at dealing with hypertension in the community-care setting. Overall, the review found that education aimed at patients or healthcare professionals does not appear to be effective - what works best is good organisation that sees patients regularly followed up and recalled for appointments. Other strategies for success encourage patients to monitor their own blood pressure or involve other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists in blood pressure management in the community. “It has direct translation to everyday clinical practice,’ says Dr Glynn, a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and GP in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. “We need to improve organisation in terms of diagnosing, treating and following up patients with hypertension; and that can include nurse-led care, the use of technology such as text messages to remind patients to take their medication or come to appointments and also getting patients more involved in the monitoring of their own illness.” The three research projects connected to NUI Galway are part of over 40 projects highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health 2011 publication. -ends-

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NUI Galway Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony

NUI Galway Access Programme Annual Awards Ceremony-image

Monday, 5 December 2011

NUI Galway recently presented 85 certificates to students for successful completion of the Access courses during the academic year 2010/2011, both on campus and in Outreach Centres in Clifden and Ballinasloe.   Also receiving awards were 55 Access students who graduated with degrees in Arts, Commerce, Law, Engineering and Nursing in 2011. A further 18 students who received post-graduate diplomas in Education, Health, Arts and Business Studies and post-graduate degrees in Marketing, Social Work, Community Development and Law were also acknowledged.  In addition, eight students who received postgraduate diplomas and degrees in 2010 were acknowledged at the ceremony.   In the last ten years, 390 graduates and 133 post-graduates have been admitted to NUI Galway through its Access Programme.  The ceremony was to mark the achievement of those inspirational students and to commend all on their perseverance, dedication and hard work.    The function of the NUI Galway Access Programme is to address and respond appropriately to the issues of equality of access, equity of life long opportunities and responding to the issues of rural (and to a lesser extent, urban) social exclusion in the Border, Midland and Western Region and County Clare. All elements of the access programmes have important initiatives designed to give everyone a chance to benefit from third level education.    -ENDS-

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Leading Anti-Child Slavery Campaigner to Speak at NUI Galway

Leading Anti-Child Slavery Campaigner to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 1 December 2011

James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery in Ghana when he was six years old. He comes to NUI Galway on Wednesday, 7 December, to share his story and continue his campaign against child slavery. He will deliver a public talk at 1pm at an event organised by the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and the organisation Frontline Defenders. Like most of his other 11 siblings James was sold as a slave, at the tender age of six. He was sent to work in the fishing industry on Lake Volta in Ghana where small children are used to do heavy work with the nets and are sent down to free the nets if they become snagged. He recalls being beaten every day. After seven years he managed to set himself free but he wasn’t welcome back either in his family or in his village, where he was seen to have disobeyed his father. From then on he was on his own. James educated himself by becoming friendly with the children who were attending the local kindergarden school and used their books to teach himself to read and write. James eventually was able to complete his university education and got himself a job with Barclay's Bank. However he could not leave his memories of slavery behind and set up a new organisation called Challenging Heights to help other child slaves like him. “James’s story is compelling and his campaigning and support for child slaves is outstanding. Estimates of a staggering 27 million people in slavery today, many of whom are children, should give us all pause for thought. The blatant disregard for human rights and humanity shown by modern day slavery or human trafficking, must be challenged around the world”, said Professor Ray Murphy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Because James challenges the very profitable status quo he is vilified and attacked and receives death threats on a daily basis by email, text and by phone. Despite the threats and the danger, James Kofi Annan refuses to cease his work to free the victims of child slavery and to end the practice in Ghana. Asked why he chooses to do this dangerous work he replies, “I had nothing left to lose – I had already lost everything I had to lose as a child.” James’s organisation Challenging Heights helps children escape slavery and rebuild their lives by providing them with shelter, rehabilitation and education. All are welcome to this free event at 1pm on Wednesday, 7 December, in the Huston School of Film at NUI Galway (opposite the Cathedral).   -ends-

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November 2011

Prestigious Scholarship for NUI Galway Economics Student

Prestigious Scholarship for NUI Galway Economics Student-image

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mohit Agrawal, an NUI Galway economics student, has been awarded one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world, a Rhodes Scholarship to study economics at Oxford University. Mohit is currently studying for an MA in Economic Policy Evaluation and Planning at NUI Galway and plans to begin his studies in Oxford in September 2012. Born and raised in West Lafayette, Indiana, in the US, Mohit enrolled in NUI Galway during September 2011, after being awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship, allowing him to do a postgraduate degree at any university on the island of Ireland. Mohit chose the NUI Galway programme because he said it enabled him to further his major career goal, to combine a background in mathematics and politics to help craft economic policy. Mohit completed his undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science at Princeton University in the United States. Mohit’s interests and achievements extend well beyond the classroom. At Princeton, for example, he was a prominent member of ‘Engineers Without Borders’ and served as the manager of a project to build a library in Ghana. He is interested in politics and has contributed to debates at the Literary and Debating Society in NUI Galway and has also written several articles for the student newspaper SIN including some insightful pieces on the recent Presidential election. The Head of the Economics Discipline at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, Professor John McHale, described Mohit’s achievement at winning a Rhodes Scholarship as a fantastic testimony to his outstanding intellectual ability: “We were very pleased that Mohit chose the economic policy evaluation programme at NUI Galway for his Mitchell Scholarship. Mohit has been a wonderful addition to the economics discipline at this University where he has helped countless undergraduate students as a tutor for one of our main undergraduate courses as well as contributing in lectures and seminars. I have no doubt that Mohit will do extraordinary well in his future career and I am especially pleased that Mohit had decided to focus his career on economics with a special emphasis on economic policy.” ENDS

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Irish Universities Celebrate First Intake of Malaysian Students to New Medical Programme

Irish Universities Celebrate First Intake of Malaysian Students to New Medical Programme-image

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

NUI Galway and UCC recently celebrated the first intake of Malaysian students on a twinned medical degree programme. The medical programme is offered by both universities in partnership with the Allianze University College of Medical Sciences (AUCMS), Kapala Batas, in northern Malaysia.   2011 sees the first intake of 100 students, 50 studying at NUI Galway and 50 at UCC. The students will study medicine for the first two and a half years of their degree in Ireland and then go on to complete the remainder of their five-year degree in Malaysia. The partners will deliver a five-year medical programme, under the approval of medical councils in each country. On successful completion, those students who commenced their studies in Galway will be awarded the NUI Galway degree of MB, BAO, BCh*.   NUI Galway and UCC each have a strong tradition of Malaysian students coming to completing their full medical degree over five years. The new partnership however is the outcome of discussions which began in 2005 when the Ministry of Health in Malaysia approached the Irish universities, seeking to develop sustainable Malaysia-based medical education capacity into the future. The Cooperation Agreement which underpins the partnership, was signed in Penang in January 2009. This initiative shifts the clinical training of the students to their home country. However they will still obtain an Irish medical qualification to be approved and accredited by the professional accrediting authorities of Ireland and Malaysia.   The recent Foundation Day event in UCC was officially launched by the Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciaran Cannon, and attended by the Irish and Malaysian partners, dignitaries from both counties and by the NUI Galway and UCC students.   Speaking at the launch in UCC, Professor Gerard Loftus, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “The programme is a very exciting augmentation of the strong tradition we have in the education of Malaysian medical students over the years.  The Malaysian Government recognises that our Malaysian students achieve high clinical standards. I am particularly pleased also that the many very able and committed people who have worked on this project from the outset back in 2005 are here today, when all their efforts come to fruition.”   Current NUI Galway student, Mohamad Sharifudin Dzulkefli said: “Studying in two institutes of higher learning in Ireland and Malaysia really gives us a lot of advantages in terms of knowledge as well as experience. NUI Galway has a lot to offer for the AUCMS students. Gaining basic medical knowledge in Ireland and applying it during the clinical years back in Malaysia gives us the upper hand in the medical field.”   -ENDS-

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Ceolchoirm Spleodrach in Áras na Gaeilge

Ceolchoirm Spleodrach in Áras na Gaeilge-image

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Beidh Ceolchoirm am lóin ar siúl ar an Luan, 5 Nollaig, ón 1-2i.n. i dTéatar Uí Chearbhalláin in Áras na Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. Is mic léinn ón gcúrsa Dioplóma sna Dána: Cóiriú agus Stáitsiú an Cheoil Thraidisiúnta a chuirfidh an ceolchoirm speisialta seo i láthair.  Tá an cúrsa á reáchtáil sa Spidéal ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i gcomhar le Stiúideo Cuan. Meascán spéisiúil a bheas ann a chlúdóidh réimse leathan ceoil, idir seoidíní traidisiúnta, ceol nua-chumtha, amhránaíocht agus, dár ndóigh, ríleanna, poirt agus pólcaí spleodracha, spraoiúla.   Is ó chian agus ó chóngar a tháinig na ceoltóirí agus na hamhránaithe seo le chéile mar aon ghrúpa amháin agus dá réir snítear tionchair agus stíleanna éagsúla lena chéile ina gcuid ceoil. Tá roinnt mhaith ceolchoirmeacha déanta acu mar ghrúpa. Ó thosaigh siad le chéile i mí Meán Fómhair i mbliana rinne siad ceolchoirm lóin in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua agus i seanscoil Shailearna. Ní le ceol amháin a bhíonn siad ag plé ar an gcúrsa seo, áfach, mar go mbíonn siad ag tabhairt faoi ghnéithe teicniúla an cheoil chomh maith. Chuige sin rinne siad clár raidió a thaifead sa stiúideo.  Is é Seán Ó Flatharta, Oifigeach Teanga agus Cultúir, OÉ Gaillimh, atá ag eagrú na hocáide seo i gcomhar le Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Riarthóir Aonad na dTaibhealaíon.  Ní bheidh aon táille ar an doras. Tuilleadh eolais le fáil ó: Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh ag 087 9080194 nó, nó Seán Ó Flatharta, Oifigeach Teanga agus Cultúir, ag 091 493518 nó -Críoch-

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Irish Clinical Researchers Open New Study for Rare but Devastating Cancer

Irish Clinical Researchers Open New Study for Rare but Devastating Cancer-image

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A new clinical study has opened in Ireland for a rare but devastating type of bone marrow cancer. Irish patients with advanced myelofibrosis will have access to a new study of combined oral medications for their disease.  Frank Giles, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, is leading the study with Eibhlin Conneally, Consultant Haematologist at St James’s Hospital, Dublin. The Irish study is being run in conjunction with centers in France, Italy, and the UK and patients may be enrolled at either Galway University Hospitals or St James’s Hospital.  The study involves a combination of Ruxolitinib, manufactured by Novartis, along with another pill that also targets the abnormal pathways that drive myelofibrosis. This news comes within weeks of Ruxolitinib becoming the first and only product approved for this disease by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Myelofibrosis is a life-threatening cancer of the bone marrow that results in bone marrow failure because the normal spaces in which blood cells are formed become progressively filled with fibrous tissue. In an attempt to maintain normal blood cell counts, the body then begins to make these cells in abnormal sites including the liver and spleen. In turn, these can then become enlarged and painful. Patients not alone are at risk from marrow failure, but in some patients, myelofibrosis changes into a particularly aggressive form of acute leukemia.  According to Professor Frank Giles, who is also Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway, a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals and NUI Galway: “We are delighted to finally have our first effective therapy for patients suffering from advanced myelofibrosis. This is a significant positive advance in treatment for these patients. We are very pleased to be able to offer this study to patients here in Ireland, especially as Ruxolitinib has just been approved in the US. We hope that approval in Europe will happen soon but in the interim we have an opportunity to build on this, our first broadly effective therapy for a very debilitating illness, and hopefully offer even better therapy with a combination of medications in the near future.” Ruxolitinib is specifically directed at an abnormally active enzyme or kinase that has been recently defined as a key driver of myelofibrosis. “This kinase, called Jak-2, has emerged as a key target for therapy in myelofibrosis”, said Dr Conneally. “It is a central driver of the disease and inhibiting its function with Ruxolitinib directly improves many patients’ symptoms and reduces their spleen swelling. It is the latest big success in our move away from non-specific cell-killing drugs towards safer, more targeted drugs that are really directed at the fundamental drivers of cancer.” Professor Giles, who has been involved with the development of both of the drugs  being combined in the study, said: “Success in anti-cancer therapies are increasingly driven by a continuous process which involves pre-clinical scientists unlocking the puzzles of what actually makes a cancer cell behave differently from its normal counterpart. Once you have mapped the cancer process, you can define a cancer cell’s key vulnerabilities which leads you to relatively selective targets. Next steps are the creation and testing of drugs or other approaches directed at these targets that will  alter cancer cell behaviour in terms of either killing it or forcing it to behave more like a normal cell. Once these approaches are available to our patients, we return to pre-clinical science to refine and improve anti-cancer therapy, for example, by combining agents with different targets as we are doing on this study.” He concluded: This ‘bench-to-bedside-to-bench’ process has allowed not only the development of Ruxolitinib but allowed us to develop logical ‘next-wave’ potential therapies for patients with myelofibrosis. Collaborations over the last decade between scientists around the world have led to Ruxolitinib being available. Collaborations within Ireland and with our European colleagues have allowed us to offer this study in such a timely manner to Irish patients – a very encouraging template for future success.” -ends-

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Science & Technology Festival Exhibition Attracts 24,000 Visitors

Science & Technology Festival Exhibition Attracts 24,000 Visitors-image

Monday, 28 November 2011

The 2011 Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, part of Discover Science’s National Science Week, was held on the NUI Galway campus last Sunday and attracted 24,000 visitors. The event was officially opened by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and guest speakers included Dr James Browne, President of NUI Galway, Mayor of Galway City Cllr Hildegarde Naughton and Mr Tom Hyland, Festival Chairman. The European Commissioner commented, “It is a great pleasure for me to welcome everyone to the 2011 Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition. The foundation and nurtuing of this festival took vision and dedication and its existence is thanks to the vision of Noel Treacey whose brain-child it is. His work and that of strong supporters like Dr Jim Browne and Tom Hyland as well as many of the companies, educational institutes and researchers, have made this a festival of which to be very proud. For the past two weeks over thousands of young people have taken part in the Festival and engaged with scientists and researchers, asking questions and really getting in touch with science and technology. These young people are the scientists and innovators of tomorrow, and events like this festival are very important in stimulating their curiousity. As a former teacher, I know very well the importance of capturing a child’s imagination at an early age. This is especially important in the case of science and technology, since they pervade almost every aspect of modern life. In today’s economic climate it is more important than ever to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills that they need to succeed. And we need science and technology to get our economy back on track.” The event ran extremely well with up to 100 volunteers, which included students from the Dominican College Secondary School, NUI Galway and members of the public, who provided information and directions to families attending the 80 interactive exhibition stands and the various shows and workshops throughout the University campus. Families and children enjoyed an array of colourful stands including Medtronic who demonstrated how blood pumps around the body, Boston Scientific’s amazing stand with a large stent for children to examine, SAP provided a First Lego League, Hewlett Packard with the help of sixth class students from Briarhill School explained Cloud Computing while other amazing stands were hosted by CISCO, Covidien Avaya and Lake Region. The Galway Enterprise Board stand included local company Starlight and a new App “Ireland: Are we there Yet” by local developer Ann Brehony.  The stands allowed children and adults alike to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and discuss ideas with researchers. Lots more interatactive exhibitions took place from NUI Galway, GMIT, Marine Institute and many more. A lego competition sponsored by Smyth’s Toys Superstore was in huge demand and accommodated over 300 eager technic lego builders while the 5ft tall Buzz Light Year made of Lego was on loan from Smyth’s for the day was a huge hit with hundreds of children. Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show was seen by 1,000 people, the Mad Scientist entertained and excited young children about science while Robert Hill explained the Outerworld in his own amazing and engaging way. The RCX Mindstorm lego workshop was in huge demand and Magic Mathworks demonstrated a great way of engaging with maths.  Kitchen Chemistry ran shows throughout the day and educated visitors on how to conduct experiments in the kitchen using regular household products while Bubble Magic had the audience screaming with excitement creating huge bubbles and filling them with smoke. One of the major successes of the Exhibition was a total of 18 Primary and Secondary Schools encompassing 350 students exhibiting their own brilliant science and technology projects while many other students took part by participating with the international companies and helped them demonstrate their products. The opportunity for these young people to attend and work at the Exhibition and engage with the public is of enormous experience for them. Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented, “Special thanks must go to the Volunteers who helped in running the event so smoothly and allowing families enjoy their day out. The prebooking system of shows worked wonderfully and really helped people plan their day and those without tickets were also accommodated. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our main sponsor Medtronic and all other sponsors and the multi-national companies who have agreed to take part in our Mentoring Program where 11 different companies participating in this initiative will visit schools over the next few months and talk to the students about their subject choices, give practical career advice and share their work experience. I would also like to thank NUI Galway for providing the campus facilities to host this truly wonderful event.” Mr Hyland also presented special awards on behalf of the Festival Committee to Brother Niall of the Patrician Brothers with the 2011 Galway Science & Technology Person of the Year Award for his commitment to the Festival over the 14 years and an award to 12-year old sixth class whizz kid Harry Moran from Westport on becoming the world’s youngest app developer of Pizzabot based on a pizza shooting red sauce at slices of salami which he developed in one month. Visit to view some of the photos and videos captured during the Festival Exhibition.ends

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