Thursday, 30 April 2015

‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative encouraging student-to-student mentoring Thursday, 30 April, 2015: Over 70 students were awarded their ALIVE certificates for participating in ‘Seas Suas’, NUI Galway’s innovative student-to-student mentoring programme. ‘Seas Suas’ is a new initiative between NUI Galway’s Student Services and Students’ Union designed to encourage students to be proactive in helping fellow students. It aims to improve the health, well-being and engagement of students, enabling them to get the most out of their time at NUI Galway. The objective of the ‘Seas Suas’ Programme is to encourage students to be more observant of fellow students in need of help and to increase motivation to help fellow students. The programme, which is based on the Bystander Model used in the University of Arizona, aims to help students to develop skills to safely respond and expand a culture of support and care in the University’s community. Student volunteers from a range of academic disciplines in NUI Galway completed training sessions on topics such as mental health, alcohol, sexuality and suicide prevention, and volunteers were trained about how best to safely respond to such issues. Training includes gaining knowledge about challenging issues and corresponding supports, developing strategies for effective helping, and learning skills to intervene safely or refer appropriately. After training, volunteers were encouraged to put the aims of ‘Seas Suas’ into action in a variety of ways. Volunteers are currently contributing to a number of specific events such as the Green Ribbon Campaign promoting mental health, helping with the Exam Support Team and preparing for Student Orientation Week in September 2015. The ‘Seas Suas’ Programme has successfully developed sustainable partnerships between students, staff and external agencies. Father Ben Hughes, Dean of Chaplaincy Services and ‘Seas Suas’ Project Leader at NUI Galway, said: “It is really encouraging to work with generous young people who are willing to learn new skills so that they can successfully negotiate challenges and help each other manage life more effectively.” The Award Ceremony was also the occasion to recognise six courageous students who received ‘Seas Suas’ Medals of Honour for heroic acts of intervention. These six have demonstrated the value of human kindness and proactive concern for other reflecting the ethos of Vision 2020, NUI Galway’s Strategic Plan for the period 2015-2020. For more information on the Seas Suas programme contact Fr Ben Hughes, NUI Galway’s Chaplaincy Services at chaplains@nuigalway.ie or 091 49 5055. -Ends-  

Monday, 2 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Mountaineering Club Maamturks Challenge will take place on Saturday, 18 April. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the challenge, this hillwalking event is considered one of the toughest in Ireland, covering 24.3km over tough, mountainous terrain with a total ascent over the course of the walk of 2,336 metres. First organised by Mountaineering Club members in 1975, it comprises of a route covering the full Maamturks hill range in Connemara. Typically participants start the walk at 5am at the base of Corcóg, to finish 8-11 hours later in Leenane. Along the route, NUI Galway Mountaineering Club crew, with the Galway Radio Experimenters Club will be at eleven checkpoints watching over participant’s safety and wellbeing, supported by the Galway Mountain Rescue Team. NUI Galway Mountaineering Club Captain, Cathal Breathnach, said: “This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the event. This is definitely a milestone in the history of the Mountaineering Club; it is a great accomplishment that each year, a dedicated team of volunteers have organised this event for the general public.” To celebrate the 40th jubilee and recognise the volume of organisation and voluntary work required to make this event such a success, the Club aim to make a documentary about the Challenge. This documentary will be shown during a special commemoration ceremony after the walk in Leenane Hotel. Cathal continued: “We have reached capacity for the Maamturks challenge, but we would like to invite all who are, or have previously been, involved in the Maamturks’ Challenge to attend the celebrations in the Leenane Hotel, at 8pm.” Participation from past members of the organising committees, past participants, and members of the public are encouraged to submit photos, stories and anecdotes from the past 40 years for inclusion in the documentary. For more information on the Maamturks Challenge visit http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/. To submit material for the documentary please email maamturks@nuigmc.com -Ends-

Monday, 2 March 2015

Six NUI Galway academics were among the recipients of the inaugural Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant Awards, which were presented at a special ceremony in Academy House in Dublin recently. Funded by the Academy, the Charlemont Grants are designed to act as a career springboard to assist scholars in strengthening their international mobility and developing international collaborative networks. These are small grants, with high impact, and are complimentary to larger programmes offered by other funders including the Irish Research Council and SFI. The NUI Galway recipients were: Dr Margaret Brehony, Centre for Irish Studies; Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, History; Dr Eoin Daly, School of Law; Dr Jessica Hayes, REMEDI; Dr Martin O'Halloran, NCBES; and Dr Anuradha Pallipurath, School of Chemistry. Grants are available for short visits to any country to support primary research in any subject area. The duration of visits is generally between one week and six weeks in length, the key objectives being to initiate one-to-one collaborations, explore opportunities to build lasting networks and gain access to ideas, research facilities, and complementary equipment. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; or for visits by or to partner scholars. The 2016 call for applications will open in early autumn, for further details please visit www.ria.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

NUI Galway Radio Society is delighted to announce the second National Student Radio Conference will take place in NUI Galway on Saturday, 7 March, 2015. The conference is supported by Craol, the representative, co-ordinating, lobbying, training, & support organisation for Irish Community Radio; NUI Galway Societies’ Office and Flirt FM 101.3. Covering areas from imaging to sound art and from sports to music journalism, the conference will see; Chris Greene (2fm & 4OD), Shane O'Connor (BBC 5 Live & Peanut Productions), Joyce Ní Chionnaith (Raidio na Life), Louise Clarke (iRadio), Tweakel, La Cosa Preziosa (Sound Art & Field Recording), Team 33 (Newstalk), Ros Madigan (GoldenPlec), Denzil Lacey (ZAVA Media & 4FM) and Mary O'Malley (RTÉ's Sunday Miscellany) talk to student radio producers and enthusiasts from all over Ireland. Special surprise events will also be revealed on the day. Tickets for the conference can be found on Eventbrite.ie. Groups of 10 or more people can purchase tickets at a reduced rate. Ticket holders will be given a welcome goodie pack, lunch and admittance to the post conference social. Also included is entrance to a pre-event taking place on Friday March 6th for those travelling to Galway early. For more information on the conference visit http://www.nsrc.ie/ https://twitter.com/NSRConference                    hello@nsrc.ie https://www.facebook.com/nationalradioconference?fref=nf -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Recently published research, which looked at the cost thresholds for relatively expensive new drugs in the UK, will be discussed at NUI Galway on Friday, 6 March. Professor Karl Claxton from the University of York will speak at an event hosted by NUI Galway’s Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group. Professor Claxton’s talk, ‘Methods for Estimating the Cost-Effectiveness Threshold for NICE and the NHS’ will take place at 2pm in Lecture Hall 1 of the Cairnes Building on the North Campus of NUI Galway. “While the research is based on British data, its findings are very relevant for Ireland given that the HSE uses a very similar system to the NHS for deciding which new drugs are to be reimbursed,” explained Mr Brendan Kennelly, Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway. “Every public health system has to cope with a limited budget and has to decide how to use the available resources to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all the people that are entitled to use the system. This is a very challenging decision involving important questions about ethics, values, measuring health, and opportunity costs.” Health economists have developed a concept called a Quality Adjusted Life Year (commonly known as a QALY) to help this decision making process. A QALY is equal to one year of life in perfect health. When public health systems decide whether or not to reimburse a pharmaceutical company for a new drug they often refer to the cost per QALY of the new drug. In February, a group of leading health economists at the University of York produced important new research on this issue. A team, which was led by Professor Karl Claxton, estimated the effects of changes in NHS expenditure on the health of all NHS patients. The results indicate that £13,000 of NHS resources adds one Quality Adjusted Life Year to the lives of NHS patients. It suggests that the NHS offers much better value of money that was previously thought. Currently in the UK, the National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) uses a threshold of £30,000 per QALY to judge whether the health benefits offered by a new drug are greater than the health likely to be lost elsewhere because of the additional cost imposed on the NHS. The York research shows that this threshold is too high and as a consequence the approval of new drugs at current prices is doing more harm than good to NHS patents overall. In Ireland, the maximum that the HSE will pay for a new drug is around €45,000 per QALY. This has led the HSE to reject certain drugs as being too expensive relative to the health benefits that they produce. “The recent controversy over the cost of Soliris, a life-saving but very expensive drug for people with a rare blood disorder, is just one example of the difficult choices that public health systems have to make on a regular basis,” says Mr Kennelly. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

NUI Galway students perform ‘A Poem for Ireland’ shortlist in Galway city centre Students of Irish and of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway recently brought poetry out of the lecture halls and onto the main shopping street in Galway city for the pleasure of unsuspecting shoppers. Students recited a selection of verses from poems shortlisted in RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. These included poems by W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Paula Meehan and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. This flashmob style event, which also included a number of musicians, aimed to encourage the general public to engage with the ten shortlisted poems and to cast their vote in the national ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. To view the flashmob event on Shop Street visit http://youtu.be/Cv9jNnUrnTo. Event organisers Dr Rióna Ní Fhrighil, Gaeilge lecturer at NUI Galway, and Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, believe that there are many ways to engage with poetry. Beyond the act of reading, poetry can be made accessible through performance. Their students performed poetry on a busy city street to remind people that poetry is for everybody. One of the poems shortlisted for RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ is ‘Filleadh ar an gCathair’ by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. Ailbhe is a graduate of NUI Galway, and currently lectures in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the University. For a full list of the 10 shortlisted poems and to vote for your favourite poem, see www.rte.ie/apoemforireland. -Ends-

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A research showcase, “The Brains behind the Breakthroughs”, will be hosted by the NUI Galway Neuro Society at 7pm in the Westwood Hotel on Monday, 9 March. This free public seminar will showcase the depth and scale of brain research being conducted in NUI Galway. Designed specifically for a lay audience, it promises to give an insight to the life of a neuroscientist and the approaches being taken to tackle some of the biggest questions about the brain. Professors, senior research scientists and students will present a variety of perspectives on their current areas of research which range from increasing our understanding of pain and brain pathology to the latest in medical neuroimaging and genetic studies. Professor David Finn will introduce proceedings as head of the Galway Neuroscience Centre which represents the multi-disciplinary research groups focused on neuroscience in NUI Galway. Auditor of the NUI Galway Neuro Society, Michelle Naughton, adds: “This event is for anyone who is curious about the brain and what we have still yet to learn about it. With many exciting new developments in the field of neuroscience, this showcase will demonstrate the substantial research being undertaken in NUI Galway to advance our current knowledge.” As an additional Brain Awareness Week event, on the 11th and 12th March, NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will be holding an exhibition in the Aula Maxima aimed at teaching secondary school students about the brain and disorders of the nervous system. This event is being hosted to celebrate, Brain Awareness Week (9-15 March), which is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. It is a worldwide celebration of the brain that grows more successful every year. For more information contact neuro@socs.nuigalway.ie or check out the NeuroSoc NUI Galway facebook page. -ends-

Thursday, 5 March 2015

NUI Galway will this week submit its opposition to proposals in the Galway City Transport Project. The University, which is central to the life of the city and surrounding region, is one of the major employers in the city; it hosts a population of over 20,000 students and staff and has invested €400m over the last decade in capital development. The University believes that what currently makes the NUI Galway campus an attractive location – for Irish and international students and staff – would be irretrievably damaged should proposed routes be accepted. Increases in research activity have seen a surge in the numbers of international staff. International student numbers have grown significantly, to the extent that NUI Galway now has the largest proportion of international students of all the Irish universities. Foreign students are a great benefit to the local economy, supplementing the flow of income generated by the increased number of Irish students. University buildings have expanded, creating high-quality infrastructure for increased student numbers and research activities. The University’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 will reflect a drive to maintain the dramatic improvements and enhance its national and international standing. All these developments are under threat. The last decade has seen an investment of €400m in capital development by NUI Galway and this has been undertaken with a purpose: not just to build a successful university, but to continue a lengthy pattern of interaction with Galway and its citizens, providing graduates to support the growth of high-quality local employment and engaging in research activities which connect both with local industry and with the rich culture of Galway city and the region. The physical growth of the University has been carefully planned over many decades. A programme of land acquisition in Dangan has allowed the University to increase the area for new buildings while simultaneously acquiring space for sports facilities. The unified campus is now an educational base for over 17,000 students. The University continues to climb in world rankings, reflecting significant improvements in research activity and overall performance. Its progress would be severely disrupted by the current proposals. If in recent decades the University and the city have grown hand in hand, we are now threatened with the prospect that both would face a future of relative decline. The University is proud of its unified campus which has emerged as a result of decades of planning and forethought. The campus sees teaching and research buildings intermingled, sports facilities readily available to students, and University lands providing a major recreational facility for all. The University will therefore strongly object to current proposals and call for alternative options for the future of Galway transport planning. ENDS OÉ Gaillimh ag cur in aghaidh Thionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh le hagóid fhoirmiúil a dhéanamh an tseachtain seo in aghaidh na moltaí atá i dTionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe. Tá an Ollscoil ar cheann de na fostóirí is mó sa chathair, agus í i gceartlár shaol na cathrach agus an réigiúin máguaird. Tá os cionn 20,000 duine, idir mhic léinn agus chomhaltaí foirne, ag staidéar nó ag obair ar an gcampas agus €400m infheistithe ag an Ollscoil le deich mbliana anuas i bhforbairtí caipitil. Creideann an Ollscoil gur láthair thar a bheith tarraingteach é campas na hOllscoile faoi láthair do mhic léinn agus comhaltaí foirne as Éirinn agus thar lear, agus go ndéanfaí dochar as cuimse don champas dá nglacfaí le haon cheann de na cúrsaí bealaigh atá molta do Sheachbhóthar na Cathrach. Tá méadú mór tagtha ar líon na gcomhaltaí foirne ón iasacht atá san Ollscoil le tamall de bharr méadú ar an méid taighde atá ar bun. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar líon na mac léinn ón iasacht, agus OÉ Gaillimh anois ar an ollscoil Éireannach a bhfuil an sciar is mó de mhic léinn idirnáisiúnta i mbun staidéir inti. Tá an-tairbhe le baint ag an ngeilleagar áitiúil as na mic léinn ón iasacht, agus cuireann siad leis an ioncam a thagann isteach sa chathair ó na mic léinn Éireannacha.  Tá méadú tagtha ar na foirgnimh san Ollscoil agus bonneagar den scoth anois ann le haghaidh na mac léinn agus na ngníomhaíochtaí taighde atá ar bun, agus méadú seasta ag teacht orthu sin. I bPlean Straitéiseach na hOllscoile, 2015-2020, beidh béim ar an rún daingean atá ag an Ollscoil leanúint den dul chun cinn láidir atá sí a dhéanamh agus an seasamh náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta atá aici a neartú tuilleadh. Tá contúirt anois ar na forbairtí seo go léir. Le deich mbliana anuas, rinne an Ollscoil infheistíocht €400m i bhforbairtí caipitil agus is le cuspóir soiléir a rinneadh é sin: ollscoil a mbeadh rath uirthi a thógáil, agus lena chois sin leanúint den dlúthcheangal atá ag an Ollscoil le Gaillimh agus muintir na Gaillimhe – céimithe oilte a chur ar fáil ar mhaithe le fostaíocht áitiúil ar ardchaighdeán mar aon le gníomhaíochtaí taighde a chur chun cinn le go mbeadh ceangal ann le tionscail áitiúla agus le cultúr luachmhar chathair na Gaillimhe agus an réigiúin trí chéile. An fás fisiciúil atá tagtha ar an Ollscoil, rinneadh é a phleanáil go mion le cúpla scór bliain anuas. Ceannaíodh talamh in imeacht na mblianta i gceantar an Daingin agus dá thoradh sin bhí a dóthain achar talún ag an Ollscoil i gcomhair foirgnimh nua agus áiseanna spóirt araon. Is lárionad oideachais é an campas comhtháite seo agus os cionn 17,000 mac léinn i mbun a gcuid léinn ann. Tá ardú ag teacht chuile bhliain ar sheasamh na hOllscoile sa rangú domhanda – is toradh é sin ar an bhfeabhas mór atá tagtha ar chúrsaí taighde agus ar fheidhmíocht na hOllscoile trí chéile. Chuirfeadh na moltaí reatha isteach go damanta ar dhul chun cinn na hOllscoile. D'fhás an Ollscoil agus an chathair in éindí le blianta fada anuas, ach tá an baol anois ann gur meath atá i ndán dóibh araon. Tá campas comhtháite ag an Ollscoil mar thoradh ar phleanáil agus fadbhreathnaitheacht le blianta fada, agus í an-bhródúil as an gcampas sin. Tá foirgnimh theagaisc agus thaighde fite fuaite ina chéile ar an gcampas, tá áiseanna spóirt ar fáil do na mic léinn gan stró, agus tailte na hOllscoile ar fáil do chách mar áis mhór áineasa agus caithimh aimsire. Tá rún ag an Ollscoil, dá bhrí sin, agóid láidir a dhéanamh i gcoinne na moltaí reatha agus iarrfaidh sí ar na húdaráis roghanna malartacha a chur chun tosaigh i dtaca le cúrsaí iompair i nGaillimh don aimsir romhainn. CRÍOCH

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Research published in Cochrane Review Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a non- pharmacological intervention for patients with Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD) and its effectiveness was confirmed in a Cochrane Review which has generated major interest across the world. The review was led by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the National University of Ireland Galway. The team consisted of Bernard McCarthy, Dr Dympna Casey, Professor Declan Devane, Professor Kathy Murphy, Edel Murphy and the internationally renowned Canadian pulmonologist Dr Yves Lacasse. The two-year project brought together the findings of 65 randomised control trials involving 3822 participants for inclusion in the analysis. COPD is a chronic lung disease that causes obstruction in breathing. This results in persistent and progressive breathlessness, productive coughing, fatigue and recurrent chest infection. Worldwide, COPD is a major cause of long term health issues. The World Health Organisation projects that by the year 2030 it will be the third most frequent cause of death globally. There are around 110,000 people in Ireland diagnosed with COPD, but it is estimated that a further 200,000 people living with the disease who have not been diagnosed. COPD affects the quality of peoples’ life but pulmonary rehabilitation can make a difference. Bernard McCarthy, NUI Galway, the lead author explains: “At this time, COPD is an incurable, life-limiting condition that is associated with significant economic costs due to progressive disease severity and frequent hospital admissions and readmissions. Our findings from pooling all the international research demonstrate that pulmonary rehabilitation has a significant positive effect. Pulmonary rehabilitation which includes exercise as a key component and may also include assessment, education, psychological support and dietary advice, has been shown to relieve breathing difficulty and fatigue and improves individuals’ sense of control over their condition. These all lead to a better quality of life for individuals with COPD, facilitating them to re-engage with their normal lives.” The authors concluded that these improvements from Pulmonary Rehabilitation are clinically significant. In addition the volume of evidence is now so convincing that “additional randomised controlled trials are no longer warranted.” What we now need, according to the team, is to investigate the components of pulmonary rehabilitation essential for best outcomes. “It would be good to investigate the ideal programme length and location, the degree of supervision and intensity of training required, or how long treatment effects persist.” The team also found some tentative evidence that “there is a difference between hospital-based and community-based programmes, which now requires further study.” Some authors of the report were previously involved in the PRINCE study which was completed in 2012 in conjunction with Irish general practices. The PRINCE (Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environment) study was funded by the HRB, and consisted of a two-armed randomised cluster trial. In one arm (intervention group), persons with COPD received a structured education pulmonary rehabilitation programme, while the other arm (control group) received usual care. At the time, the study was one of the largest pulmonary rehabilitation trials conducted in primary care. This recent Cochrane Review informs the global community of professionals working in this field about the potential for helping patients with this debilitating illness. Bernard McCarthy added “We must reinforce that prevention is the priority, focusing on measures, such as smoking cessation. Our findings gives hope to those suffering from COPD worldwide who are currently housebound and reluctant to engage in routine activities of living due to the limiting natures of this condition. For them Pulmonary Rehabilitation might be a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” -ends-

Monday, 9 March 2015

Against stiff international competition, NUI Galway has to date secured several conference bids and will host 18 international conferences in 2016 with over 5,000 international delegates confirmed to attend. This is an increase of over 250% on 2014 international conference visitors to the University and is expected to boost the local economy by up to €7m.   In the past year, NUI Galway hosted over 100 events on campus attracting in excess of 12,000 delegates while over 52,000 summer visitors stayed in University residences attending a diverse range of events. A large percentage of conferences which take place on campus are hosted by University Staff in support of Government strategy to attract more international visitors to the country. Conferences can have a significant impact on the local economy with the average spend by an international conference delegate valued at €1,400 according to figures by Fáilte Ireland, more than twice that of a leisure tourist. Speaking about the University’s success in attracting international conferences, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “The University has built a strong reputation for successfully hosting major international conferences in recent years. The excellent facilities and services available to support world-class events together with our experienced conference team have helped in securing several major International Conferences up to 2020. We look forward to hosting these major events on our campus. The impact of this will be twofold; bringing real academic benefits for the University – networking, reputation and peer review, while also having an enormously important economic benefit to tourism and business in our region.” Dr Browne recently secured the bid to host the 2016 European University Association Conference in Galway, welcoming over 300 University Presidents, Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and senior staff from European universities. Ann Duggan, Manager of Commercial Services at NUI Galway, said: “Conferences and events are now a regular feature of campus life at NUI Galway. World-class conference and meeting spaces, restaurants, accommodation and support services, complemented by a professional and dedicated event team have positioned NUI Galway as a leading destination in the international events marketplace.” For more information on the range of support and services available for international events hosted at NUI Galway, please visit www.nuigalway.ie/events or contact Patricia Walsh by emailing tricia.walsh@nuigalway.ie or calling 091 493467. -Ends-

Monday, 9 March 2015

One of China’s leading human rights lawyers will speak at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway on Monday, 16 March. He is in Ireland on a national speaking tour organised by Front Line Defenders, the international foundation for the protection of human rights defenders. Dr Teng Biao, currently at Harvard University as a Visiting Fellow, has been at the forefront of the human rights movement in China for over a decade. In 2003, Dr Teng helped found the Open Constitution Initiative, an organisation consisting of lawyers and academics that advocates the rule of law and greater constitutional protections in China. He holds a PhD from Peking University Law School and practised law in Beijing prior to the revocation of his law license in 2008. Dr Teng will be speaking about his experience of trying to use the law to defend the rights of ordinary people. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is pleased to host Dr Teng for this public event where he can engage with Galway residents and with the Centre’s thriving human rights community. The organisers look forward to hearing him speak on his work and on the human rights situation in China. The event takes place on Monday 16 March, 5.15pm at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway (opposite the Cathedral). -ends-   

Monday, 9 March 2015

A new book, which takes an in-depth look at the emerging field of policing social media has been published by the Managing Director of Digital Training Institute, based in NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre. Authored by Joanne Sweeney-Burke, Social Media Under Investigation, Law Enforcement and the Social Web takes and in-depth view of An Garda Síochána’s adoption of social media and benchmarks this against international best-practice. Joanne’s knowledge on this emerging niche area has earned her an invitation to speak at the SMILE conference (social media, the Internet and law enforcement) in Phoenix, Arizona in April. The entrepreneur has also launched an online training school for police forces called LEO (law enforcement observer) which will offer officers worldwide the chance to learn from the best. According to Joanne: “The book has taken me 18 months to research and write and I actually really enjoyed the process. The motivation to combine policing and social media came from my background as a broadcast journalist and my skills as a social media and digital marketing practitioner. I am so excited to be able to bring my knowledge to the United States in April and get first-hand knowledge of the experience there. In fact it may even provide research for a second edition of the book.” Joanne has found the support received by NUI Galway and the University’s Ignite Technology Transfer Office invaluable in progressing her ambitions. Media Box was her first business, Digital Training Institute her second. Last year she began work on a dedicated eLearning course for young people called Young Minds Online, which was co-authored by her daughter Sophie, now a first year accountancy and commerce student at NUI Galway. Young Minds Online is part of new edtech startup Webiket, which was formed with fellow entrepreneur Lisa Wright. This company provides a suite of eLearning courses to young people, parents and professionals on how to protect their cyber wellbeing online. Joanne featured as a finalist on TV3’s ‘The Apprentice’ in 2011 and holds a total of 10 academic and professional qualifications, including a Masters in Journalism from NUI Galway. NUI Galway Business Development Manager Fiona Neary said: “The Ignite Technology Transfer Office would like to congratulate Joanne Sweeney-Burke on the launch of her new book. Joanne is a pleasure to work with in the Business Innovation Centre and as a successful entrepreneur she had a great ability to nurture creative thinking, put action-plans in place and get the job done. We look forward to seeing what’s next from Joanne.” -Ends-     

Monday, 9 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Harry Potter Society will hold a three-day convention dedicated to Harry Potter fans. PotterFest Galway, Ireland’s only Harry Potter convention, will take place from 13-15 March in Áras na Mac Léinn at NUI Galway.  Visitors of all ages are invited to attend and will have the chance to experience the magic of the Wizarding World here in Ireland. NUI Galway will be transformed into Hogwarts for three days of magical fun, with a huge variety of events such as Potter-themed games, cosplay competitions, panels, classes, role-playing workshops and guest speakers on everything Potter. Guests will be sorted into their perfect Hogwarts House and attend classes in all of Harry’s favourite subjects, from Potions, Transfiguration and Herbology to Defence Against the Dark Arts. The cast and crew of ‘Mudblood and the Book of Spells’, an upcoming original Harry Potter fan film set in Manchester, will be giving a behind-the-scenes sneak peak of what to expect from their movie. Sunday is Mothers’ Day in the Wizarding World too; the occasion will be honoured with a Mums of Potter Panel, as well as a Tea Party with Mrs Weasley. On Sunday there will be a chance to learn and try out playing Quidditch with the Galway Grindylows, Ireland’s first Muggle University team. Pre-registration for PotterFest Galway 2015 is now open on Eventbrite.ie, with standard day tickets costing €10, while full weekend tickets are €15. Special concessions are available for families and children under 12. Tickets will also be available at the door throughout the weekend. For more information please contact Isabella De Luca, PotterFest Galway at potterfestgalway@gmail.com or 087 750 4377, or visit www.potterfestgalway.com. -Ends-  

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A team of NUI Galway scientists have found that cells of the immune system have a previously undescribed ability. In a paper just published Journal of Cell Biology, the scientists describe the presence of primary cilia on immune cells. These antenna-like structures are found on almost all cell types in the body, but since the 1960s, it has been thought that they do not arise in blood cells. Professor Ciaran Morrison of NUI Galway’s Centre for Chromosome Biology, who co-authored the paper with Dr Suzanna Prosser, explains the significance: “The paper is of scientific interest because it provides new information about how ciliation is controlled. Also, we have shown that immune cells do at least have all the material they would need to make primary cilia. The next question is whether the cells make cilia in the body.” Cilia are structures that stick out of cells to sense their local environment. They are very important in monitoring fluid flows, so problems with cilia cause diseases that affect body orientation, development, the eye, the kidney and various other organs. These diseases, which include Joubert syndrome and polycystic kidney disease, are called ciliopathies. The paper describes how a small calcium-binding protein called centrin controls primary cilium formation by removing an inhibitor of ciliation called CP110 from the base of the cilium, allowing it to extend. Professor Morrison and his team discovered this by using gene disruption techniques in cultured retinal cells and in cultured blood cells, where they also found that cell starvation can induce cilia. Active immune system cells, including B- and T-lymphocytes, divide rapidly, so they would not normally have a chance to make cilia. “Cilia have not been described in lymphocytes before, to our knowledge”, explains Professor Morrison. “We starved the cells of nutrients to delay their division cycle, but ciliation still occurred at a very low frequency, in about 5% of cells. It is possible that, even if cilia do exist in the body on certain slow or non-dividing blood cell populations, they may be short-lived, difficult to visualise or rare. What ciliated immune cells might do is an entirely new question. These results, which came from work funded by Science Foundation Ireland, illustrate how surprising findings can emerge from work on unrelated topics.” The 60 scientists led by 11 Principal Investigators at the Centre for Chromosome Biology in NUI Galway are dedicated to understanding many different areas of chromosome biology, such as how cell proliferation is controlled, the structure and maintenance of the genome, precise control of genome duplication and how genes are expressed. Their work is critical to the ongoing scientific battle against cancer and other areas including human reproduction and fertility and genetic diseases such as Huntington’s Disease. -ends-

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Competition sees students from Irish universities compete for most professional analysis of a quoted Irish company In front of a panel of leading financial services professionals, a student team from NUI Galway retained the prestigious Chartered Financial Analysts Ireland 'Global Investment Research Challenge' title. Having won the competition in 2014 analysing Ryanair, this year's team took home the trophy with their analysis of Kingspan. The Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. It offers students a unique hands-on opportunity to learn from industry experts and to compete with peers from the world’s top finance programmes. The NUI Galway team comprised of four students from the Master of Economic Science International Finance programme, Adrian Bushell from Tuam, Co. Galway, Fergal Brennan and Niall Deasy, both from Ennis, Co. Clare, and Sarunas Ramanauskas from Galway City, and Bachelor of Commerce student, Adam Mollen from Tullamore, Co. Offaly. NUI Galway Academic Mentor and Lecturer in Financial Economics, Cian Twomey said: “It’s a fabulous achievement to have retained the title. It speaks volumes as to the high calibre of students taking our programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.” The NUI Galway team now proceeds to the European Middle-East Africa (EMEA) finals in Amsterdam in early April. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The public are invited to attend NUI Galway’s first-ever Undergraduate Research Conference on 19 March. Throughout the day, students will present on research topics ranging from biology, to philosophy to sociology. The objective is to provide undergraduates with opportunities to discuss their research for their educational, professional and career development. Organisers expect that such early exposure to research, especially through a conference environment, will spark a growing interest in future research opportunities. The conference is being organised in response to a groundswell of research among undergraduate students. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway explains how: “We are very much a research-led university. There is a vibrant and exciting research ethos among students at undergraduate level, postgraduate and PhD level. This event provides a platform for students to share their work, and for other students and members of the public to learn and explore a number of concepts around research.” A special roundtable discussion format will allow attendees and presenters to share thoughts and ideas during the sessions. With hundreds of delegates expected, a group of transition year students from the Galway city Secondary School transition years will volunteer and attend as conference organisers on the day. “We not only aim to bring the students and staff of NUI Galway closer together but to bring the community of Galway together, by inviting members of the public and community to engage with undergraduate research. The involvement of secondary schools will hopefully sow the seeds of research in the next generation of researchers”, said Lorraine Tansey, Volunteer Coordinator with NUI Galway’s ALIVE Programme. A brainchild of second year Commerce students Ben Coady, Brian Dooley, Jason Carey, Evan Wynne and their NUI Galway staff member, Lorraine Tansey, the conference is funded by EXPLORE, a collaboration between NUI Galway and NUI Galway Students’ Union. The purpose of EXPLORE is to encourage innovation, enterprise and creativity among staff and students. Dr Maria Gallo, St Angela’s College Sligo, partners of the conference said, “Undergraduate students across the University are involved in some interesting and valuable research projects. This conference is a unique opportunity to share their research with their peers as many of them may be considering postgraduate study or a research related career.” To find out more or register to attend visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-research/ -ends-

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Report on Ireland’s Medical Brain Drain Thursday, 12 March, 2015: A study published today shows that 88% of Irish medical students are intending or are contemplating migration, when they qualify. Led by NUI Galway, this is the largest study of its kind in Ireland, and was published in the open access journal Human Resources for Health. This study included over 2,000 medical students in Ireland, of whom 1,519 were Irish, studying across the country’s six medical schools. The main reasons cited for possible migration included perceptions regarding career opportunities (85%), working conditions in Ireland (83%) and lifestyle (80%). Pishoy Gouda, a final year medical student at NUI Galway, was the principal investigator of the study. “We have known for some time, from previous research, that a significant percentage of qualified doctors are leaving the country. This research confirms this, with 34% definitely planning to migrate, but also shows a widespread culture of ‘intention to emigrate’ with a further 53% contemplating it. These migration intentions are a major concern to the sustainability the Irish healthcare workforce.” “This outflow of qualified personnel may represent a financial loss to the Irish healthcare system, when one considers the costs involved in training medical students, the cost of recruiting replacements and the service delivery constraints if replacements cannot be found.” Nearly two-thirds of students identified that they did not have a great understanding of the training following graduation and a third of the students surveyed also indicated that they had a poor understanding of how the Irish healthcare system worked. According to Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway, who supervised the study: “Interventions are needed including providing a better understanding of career structures and opportunities, and of the changing organisation of the health service. Changes are needed in order to retain medical graduates and attract those who have already emigrated to return.” As the shortage of doctors is so great in Ireland, Pishoy Gouda, the lead author suggests that postgraduate opportunities should also be made more accessible to non-EU students who are trained in Ireland. Current European working laws make it difficult for non-EU graduates of Irish medical schools to obtain Irish intern or pre-registration/foundation year positions; they are therefore lost to the system immediately upon graduation. “These statistics come at a time when Ireland is facing a significant shortfall in physicians. Because of this outflow of human capital, we are having to go to huge efforts to attract doctors from other countries, including developing nations. Not only is this a problem for Irish recruitment, but we need to be mindful of WHO guidelines on international recruitment and taking skilled personnel away from countries that have medical staff shortages”, said Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan. This research helps to define appropriate interventions at the medical undergraduate level, with the aims of enhancing student understanding of the Irish health service, career and training opportunities, and in the longer term, enhancing retention. Alongside NUI Galway, the report was co-authored by staff at the Department of Public Health, HSE West, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Limerick, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin. -ends-

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The UN has designated 2015 the UNESCO International Year of Light and President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has been announced as the LIGHT2015 Ireland Patron. NUI Galway is coordinating Ireland’s involvement and a series of events will take place across the country, and schools will be invited to learn more about the science of light and the contribution of light to our communities. Leading this initiative in Ireland is Professor Martin Leahy from NUI Galway and he is the recipient for two funding awards from the European Union for these efforts. “Light particles, or photons, are harnessed for use in the world around us. Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting photons. Photonics underpins technologies of daily life from smartphones to laptops to the Internet to medical instruments to lighting technology. We have truly entered the Photonics Era.” “We are delighted to have such high profile patron and distinguished orator supporting our efforts to promote the Year of Light in Ireland. Ireland has a rich history of light science and engineering from Newgrange 3200 BC to the modern scientific discoveries of Stokes, Hamilton, Joly, Jellet and Tyndall among others. The President’s reputation in social justice and the arts will assist us in bringing the power of light to a much wider audience.” LIGHT2015 represents a unique opportunity to marry science, engineering, medicine and the arts – particularly cinema and the fine arts. As part of the International Year of Light, children will have the chance to have their art projected onto walls in city centre locations and app enthusiasts will get access to new apps. “We are no longer in the electronic age, the 21st century is all about harnessing light through photonics. Water treatment, the internet, cinema, the fine arts, scientific discovery as well as medical diagnosis and therapy – all use photonics. This is what we want to celebrate during 2015,” added Professor Leahy. Recent recognition by Science Foundation Ireland through the award of €30 million to establish the Irish Photonics Integration Centre, and a previous award from the Higher Education Authority of €30.5 million for the National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform, demonstrate its continuing importance to Ireland and the Irish economy. Photonics is also recognised by the Irish Government as one of the six platform technologies and is directly underpinning many of the identified research priorities and, more recently, the €7 billion partnership between Photonics21 and the European Commission will have a substantial impact on future growth and job creation, and significantly assist the EU’s continued economic recovery. LIGHT2015 is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health. To watch a video about the International Year of Light 2015 click here https://youtu.be/rcoMeWV0jZc

Monday, 16 March 2015

NUI Galway will hold its first climate congress highlighting national and international approaches, adaptation and mitigation. Focusing on the need for action on climate change, the event will take place on Wednesday, 25 March in the Bailey Allen Hall from 11am-8pm. Guest speakers will include: Tara Shine, Independent Expert and Special Adviser to the Mary Robinson Foundation. Tara will give a talk on the recent climate change negotiations, the new climate agreement, the link to the sustainable development goals and climate justice. Ian Lumley from An Taisce, who will discuss climate change and food production from an Irish perspective, what can or should Ireland contribute. Carla Sarrouy from the Warwick Crop Centre who will discuss her work concerning food security in Senegal. There will also be a networking event featuring a variety of NGO’s and NUI Galway societies who will present their work in relation to climate change. The event is organised by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Society (CCAFS Society), which began operating in NUI Galway in September 2014. This event is free to attend. For more information, or to registration for the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.ie/myevent?eid=15615628766. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The talk is part of the Martin Reilly Lecture Series NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies and Comhrá Ceoil has announced details of the second Martin Reilly Lecture of 2015. Taking place on Tuesday, 31 March at the Galway City Library at 6.30pm, the talk will be delivered by writer and broadcaster Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile. Deirdre’s talk, ‘Sean-nós song in Pennsylvania, 1884-1935: the Reverend Daniel J. Murphy Collection’, explores the work of the scholar Reverend Murphy (1858-1935) from the Ox Mountains in County Sligo. During his life-time, Reverend Murphy, together with JJ Lyons of Glenamaddy, collected over 1000 Irish language songs in Philadelphia and the surrounding coal-mining towns.   From the Aran Islands Deirdre is co-ordinator of the on-going project Amhráin Árann - Aran Songs and is currently writing a book about music-collecting in Ireland. This series of talks is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated Galway uilleann piper, and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum. Admission is free to all the talks in the Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Further information on all the talks in the series available on Facebook at Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series or e-mail Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Professor Peter McHugh was elected Science Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy at the Stated General Meeting of the RIA recently. The Royal Irish Academy is Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. Founded in 1785 The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann is a publicly funded institution established for the promotion of Irish academic research. Professor Peter McHugh holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from UCG (1987), and an MSc (1990) and PhD (1992) in Mechanics of Solids from Brown University, Providence, USA. He joined NUI Galway in 1991, where he is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Head of Discipline of Biomedical Engineering, within the College of Engineering and Informatics. His research is focused on fundamental developments and applications of computational and experimental methods in biomechanics, tissue mechanics and medical implants and devices. He has taken a leadership role in the development of biomedical engineering in Ireland through high quality and prolific research and publication output, and undergraduate and graduate education programme generation. He has received numerous awards, including membership of the Royal Irish Academy (2011), the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Section of Bioengineering) in 2011, the Presidential Nominee Fellowship of Engineers Ireland in (2009), and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1995).  

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Irish Research Council announce partnership with The Wheel The Irish Research Council (IRC) has announced that a number of Galway based projects will receive funding under a newly launched partnership with The Wheel, aimed at engaging community and voluntary organisations in academic research.  Researchers from the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) are collaborating with organisations such as COPE, Aiseanna Tacaíochta Networks, EmployAbility, Galway Simon Community, Burrenbeo Trust and Rape Crisis Network Ireland, to address pressing societal issues. Under the partnership, the IRC is awarding almost €400,000 to support collaborative projects between community and voluntary groups and researchers around the country. Galway Research Projects Dr Josephine Boland, NUI Galway, is working on one such research project. In association with Galway Simon Community, the research will develop a participatory approach to planning a new resettlement service which empowers young adults to exit homelessness, and transition to independent living. Other projects awarded funding include: COPE - Home Movies: Using Community Filmmaking to Explore Perspectives on Belonging. Aiseanna Tacaíochta Networks - Self Directed Support and Disability – Achieving Good Lives. EmployAbility – A series of events to explore the options of piloting a Community Café that employs people with disabilities for the new ILAS (Institute for Lifecourse and Society) building at NUI Galway.‌ Burrenbeo Trust - ‘Find out’: How to record objects from the past. Rape Crisis Network Ireland - “Sexy Consent”: Devising Workshops to Empower Young Adults to Negotiate Consent to Sexual Activity. Commenting today, Dr Eucharia Meehan, Director of the IRC, said: “Research can add value to all of society, benefiting all sectors, whether enterprise, government or civic, and ultimately benefits all citizens. “The partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel is a new departure for the research sector.  It provides a targeted research funding mechanism which includes community and voluntary groups. The research findings from these projects will not only benefit grassroots communities, and inspire the work of researchers, but will also inform national policymaking for civic society.” Official Launch by Minister Jan O’Sullivan The partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel was officially launched in Dublin by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD. Commenting at the launch, Minister O’Sullivan said: “Effective engagement between higher education and the community and voluntary sector is a key objective of the National Strategy for Higher Education.    “This partnership between the Irish Research Council and The Wheel will facilitate researchers to exchange knowledge and spread their work beyond academia.  At the same time, it will allow community and voluntary groups to access leading research expertise and to collaborate on cutting-edge research projects.  Ultimately, this will increase awareness of the benefit of research on society, and on our quality of life. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the projects funded under this initiative.” For more information, visit www.research.ie. ENDS

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Global Sustainability Initiative (GSI), an innovative global impact investment project, joins the fight against global warming with the creation of a safe economic model for sustainable production and consumption of food, water and energy in disadvantaged regions of the world will have an initial focus on southern Africa. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mayo County Council Cathaoirleach Damien Ryan and Mayo County Chief Executive Peter Hynes, were on hand in Washington DC for the announcement on Monday 16 March, and welcomed GSI’s launch, the result of five years of development and planning by Dublin-based OpenSparkz LP and its partners. Mayo County Council Enterprise and Investment Unit has worked with OpenSparkz to select suitable sites for GSI operations in the county and is delighted with this significant announcement today following detailed discussions regarding the project since last summer. NUI Galway will support research and development at the Global Sustainability Centre to be based in Castlebar. According to Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, who was in Washington DC for Monday’s announcement: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting and innovative new project. NUI Galway’s priority areas of research and development align closely with the Global Sustainability Initiative’s vision. We hope to work together and to apply our support and expertise to great effect.” “Ireland was chosen as headquarters for GSI given the country’s strong technology and skills base in sustainability, and in particular, its leadership in food technology and its long-term friendly relationships with Africa and other less developed markets,” says Paul Lindsey, CEO of Opensparkz.” In addition, the level of practical support we have received from the Mayo County Council and the Irish Government agencies provided a concrete stepping stone towards securing the necessary locations to allow substantial operations take place in Co. Mayo." OpenSparkz and leading innovative partner companies will develop a technology hub within the Castlebar facility to be called the Global Sustainability Centre, expecting to generate more than 250 new jobs. The financing of the Centre and GSI’s initial projects in Africa are led by investment bank BPA International Group in partnership with OpenSparkz. BPA. With formal approvals from the Luxembourg Regulator, the CSSF, BPA has launched an alternative investment fund “GSF1” in Luxembourg and is now taking investment commitments for some €300 million, forming the basis of a listed offering when GSI’s projects are sufficiently developed.  “Investments into GSI projects will come from the impact investment sector, as well as sovereign wealth funds, multilateral and supranational bodies and the multinational corporate and institutional brands,” says Stephen Johnson, Chairman of the BPA International Group. “In fact, these organisations strongly supporting global sustainability and are actively increasing their investments in development projects like GSI.” GSI and GSF1 The GSI initiative will play a role in helping to provide solutions to a series of world-scale challenges, including the development of viable new sustainable biomass fuel supplies which will be essential in helping Governments tackle the threat of global warming. GSF1 intends to secure land rights in South Africa which will be used to produce these biomass energy fuels in collaboration with local communities, who will benefit from the investment that will be made in improving their nutritional, health, education and technology conditions. The land will also be developed to produce large scale supplies of healthy bio-organic foods and new bio-diversity wildlife reserves to secure the survival of endangered species, including animals like the rhino, which are under increasing threat from poaching.  The GSF1 approach is unique in that 40% of the profits generated by the initiative will be reinvested as social dividends dedicated to the development of urgently needed social projects within these local and other communities, such as farming for food supply, water purification, health clinics, schools for education, energy and IT / tech connectivity. Global Sustainability Center Partners Research and development at the GSC will be supported by Irish universities and institutions, including the NUI Galway, GMIT and Mountbellew Agricultural College as well as the Western Development Commission. Opensparkz is also working closely with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to help us to attract more leading global companies into the Centre and Ireland. Opensparkz has already started to attract global partners to the GSC in Castlebar including: Viridis Aquaponics (U.S) - food production through the use of aquaponics and high tech methodologies. (www.viridisaquaponics.com) New Generation Biogas (England) - technologies and equipment for local community power production and bio-fertilizers through anaerobic digestion. (www.ngbiogas.com) IFood Systems (Canada) - packaging technology that extends the shelf life, safety and vitality of agricultural food products. (www.ifoodsystems.com) Flexiway Solar Solutions (Australia) a subsidiary of NRS International that creates fit-for-purpose solar lights for the humanitarian aid and international development sectors (www.nrs-international.com) Hedviga Group (Czech Republic) products that convert organic materials from waste (rubber granules, sorted plastics, biomass and sorted municipal waste) into useable products and fuel. (www.hedviga.cz) Arcadian Biomass (US) expertise in project development, construction, commissioning and operation of lumber, wood chipping, co-generation and wood pelletising operations. (acadianbiomass.com) Aquiva Foundation (England) a registered charity delivering sustainable desalination project based on the innovative memsys technology in developing countries using waste heat from power generation or solar  (www.aquiva-foundation.com) Risk Management International, Ireland's longest established firm providing risk management and project assurance. (www.rmi.ie) Indaba Mobile, a South African-based mobile-focused enabling company that extends social networking and communication to the last mile in frontier markets. (www.indabamobile.co.za) OpenCarb LP, an Irish-based enterprise, that secures, trades and assures biodiversity rights from sustainable  projects for the benefit of those communities protecting the environment. (www.opencarb.com) “This project has resulted from many years of research and development on a new economic model and best in class technologies that will work in less developed markets and deliver impact at scale to communities. The GSC will be a one stop shop to facilitate the delivery to communities of both capital and technologies.  It will focus on the big six basic community needs including Food, Energy, Water, Healthcare, Education and IT access, using an economic model based on trade rather than aid. This new approach of investment for impact provides both investors and communities alike better outcomes at scale,” says Declan Conway, Chairman and Founder of OpenSparkz LP. This is just the beginning of what is to become a major co-operation between developed countries and the developing ones but also the many powerful institutions, organisations and businesses that have already expressed interest in being involved - for a better world for everybody. The Global Sustainable Fund initiative was inspired from a commitment to action with the Clinton Global Initiative, a US-based group which was established by Bill Clinton to help support worthwhile projects globally. Accordingly, GSI is looking to play it's part in helping to solve some very big world-scale issues, including developing new sustainable fuel supplies to replace coal with biomass and providing sustainable food production which can help us all to tackle the catastrophic risks created by the threat of global warming. -ends-

Monday, 23 March 2015

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme is now taking bookings for its Easter Holiday Science Camp running from 7-10 April. The camp is open to all young scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old and participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.  The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives, Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Dugon, the host of RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. The Bio-EXPLORERS programme’s primary goal is to inspire interest in science in the general public and to impact positively on science education. It proposes activities that are designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. The programme has engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland since its creation and has been very active during the last Galway Science and Technology Festival. Last year Bio-EXPLORERS ran three successful science holiday camps at Easter and Summer time. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximise the learning environment. The Easter Science Camp will run over four days from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day. The cost is €140 per child, €125 for additional siblings for this course which is packed with fun and exciting activities. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. For further information or to book a space on the Camp email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie or visit www.cellexplorers.com for more details on our activities. -Ends-      

Monday, 23 March 2015

International volunteering and development will be the topic of a public seminar on Thursday, 26 March, from 10am to 1pm at NUI Galway. The event will be an opportunity to discuss development topics and learn about overseas development being carried out by the European Commission. This event will be of particular interest to the general public and those interested in volunteering overseas. The seminar is organised by the Europe Direct Information Centre, Ballinasloe Library in association with the Centre for Global Women's Studies at NUI Galway. It takes place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway (located near the Corrib Village entrance) and will be opened by Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the Child & Family Research Centre and UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. A panel discussion and Q&A will be chaired by Dr Niamh Reilly, Co-Director, Centre for Global Women's Studies, School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. According to Dr Reilly: “We are organising this event in response to the European Year for Development 2015, a European Commission designated theme to nurture and engage development themes. The citizens of Galway and Ireland have a long held involvement in overseas development and volunteering, and this will be an opportunity to catch up on the latest initiatives.” The European Year for Development 2015 was launched in Dublin Castle by President Michael D. Higgins, earlier this year. At the time the President was quoted as saying, “This process will succeed only if it is nurtured by the energy, creativity and legitimacy of a wide range of social actors. Parliaments and citizens must not avert their gaze. They must hold governments to account to ensure that decisions are truly based on the needs of the people, including those who are marginalised and most vulnerable, our sisters and brothers in the human family.” Other speakers will include: Kerry Smith-Jefferys, Head of Advocacy PlanUK, who has a background in Human Rights Law with a career in the development sector specialising in conflict resolution, humanitarian response, children's rights and gender issues. Genet Adam and Faith Amanya, MA Students in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at NUI Galway, who will speak about their NGO background and their journey to an Irish Aid Scholarship. Lorraine Tansey, Coordinator at NUI Galway ALIVE Volunteering Programme, who will deliver a presentation on the current volunteering landscape. Paula Kenny of Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs will discuss funding. To find out more or register to attend visit www.europedirect.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

NUI Galway lead Ireland’s involvement in study across 40 countries Young people are happier and healthier than their counterparts a decade ago, according to a major new study into the wellbeing of adolescents across Europe and North America. A study, part of collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), sheds new light on the habits and happiness of 11 to 15 year-olds in over 40 different countries across a 16 year period (1994-2010). The Irish partners, Drs Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Michal Molcho and Colette Kelly from the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway co-authored the study launched today. Findings include some significant improvements in how young people report their own health and well-being. Overall, the results suggest that contemporary adolescents are in a better position than past generations. NUI Galway’s Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Principal Investigator for Ireland, commented, “Adolescence is a crucial stage in life when you lay the foundation for adulthood, whether that’s healthy or otherwise. While there is much to celebrate about the health and well-being of many young people today, others continue to experience real and worrying problems.” Over the last decade in Ireland there has been a decline in school-aged children drinking alcohol weekly and in experiencing multiple injuries. There have also been improvements in both self-rated health and ease of communication with parents. However, the study found increased pressure from schoolwork and no reductions in bullying. The study also identified a significant rise in Ireland of children from less affluent families having more health complaints. “By comparing today’s young people with their counterparts a decade ago we can better understand how their health is influenced by the circumstances in which they live; of real concern must now be the increases in social inequalities in Ireland, where children from poorer homes are more likely to report ill-health, and the gap between rich and poor has increased over time,” added Dr Nic Gabhainn. Trends in young people’s health and social determinants ‘Trends in young people’s health and social determinants’ is published today in The European Journal of Public Health. The study, led by St Andrews in Scotland, is the only study of its kind in Europe and North America. It features 20 papers from researchers taking part in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, a cross-national collaboration with the WHO. HBSC Ireland is funded by the Department of Health. The papers included in the report describe how trends can be interpreted when looking at patterns and differences between countries, across areas such as eating habits, obesity, physical activity, bullying, safe sex, communication at home, and the use of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Despite the generally positive findings, many - if not the majority - of adolescents living in Europe and North America, still do not meet the recommendations for healthy living. Critically, several key groups still remain at risk of poor health, with potentially damaging and long-lasting consequences. The detailed analyses revealed that girls, older children and in particular those in Northern European countries experience lower levels of life satisfaction. Findings also reveal that in the majority of countries, children from less affluent families had more health complaints. This inequality has increased significantly over time in Ireland, as it has in Austria, Canada, France and Lithuania. The report suggests that while the overall optimistic picture seems surprising considering that many countries faced a severe economic crisis in the last decade, policies and actions to improve public health were implemented in many countries in the same period. It also concludes that the general feeling that young people are better off today could also be attributed to changes in fashions, behavioural norms and societal values. Dr Nic Gabhainn continued, “For almost 20 years the Irish HBSC study and research network has built up an increasingly detailed picture of trends and developments in adolescent health. This valuable database can support strategies to disrupt negative cycles that take root in the second decade and contribute to health inequities in the long-term. Policy makers can use this work to ensure that their decisions are targeted, effective and have their roots in the real world. Evidence such as this give all of us an opportunity to act to secure the health of the next generation.” ENDS

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

First time annual AFPM conference has been held in Ireland A major conference on the future developments of polymers for medicine opened in Galway yesterday, and is being hailed a huge success by organisers. This is the first time the Advanced Functional Polymers in Medicine (AFPM) annual conference has been held in Ireland, and it continues until tomorrow. The Chair of the local organising committee is Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the newly established Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre. Speaking about the conference, he said: “CÚRAM will use cutting-edge research in biomaterials to design medical devices to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. We are delighted for CÚRAM to host the AFPM 2015 as our first conference because the research presented greatly compliments the aims of our research centre.” The aim of the AFPM 2015 conference is to strengthen multi-disciplinary collaborations between chemists, material engineers, physicists, biologists and clinicians to develop advanced functional polymers for medicine. Leading experts from across Europe and the international community in the field, are presenting the current status, challenges and requirements for future developments of polymers for medicine. A total of 120 delegates have gathered at the Hotel Meyrick for the event. Twenty-three international experts from across Europe, America and Asia are speaking at the meeting. These include major international scientific speakers such as Professor Todd McDevitt, Georgia Tech, USA and Professor Ali Miserez, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. One of the highlights of the conference has been a talk by Professor Dennis Discher from University of Pennsylvania, USA. His research involves developing novel polymers to shrink tumours and treat genetic diseases. In addition to the invited speakers, young researchers also participated in the conference giving oral and poster presentations. The conference is in conjunction with the Marie Curie funded AngioMatTrain Research Summer School 3, the aim of which is to train researchers at the early stages of their career. PhD students and post-doctoral researchers played a significant role at the conference, which provided an outstanding opportunity to help young scientists in their career development and offer them an interdisciplinary discussion forum within an exclusive circle. The conference organisers gratefully acknowledged the support they have received from several funding agencies including EU Seventh Framework Programme for research, Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Research Council, Fáilte Ireland, Zwick and Stryker. -ends-  

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The new Task Force on gender equality at NUI Galway held its first meeting today on campus. The University is fully committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all staff, irrespective of gender, and the Task Force was given a broad remit by the University’s Governing Authority to consider the present gender mix among staff, including academic and support staff, and to advise the University what measures it should take to develop gender equality and over what timescale. The Task Force comprises 16 members in total – eight external and eight internal – with a wide spectrum of expertise and different perspectives. 11 of the 16 members are female, and a number of members are leading experts in the fields of equality and diversity. The Task Force will establish its own terms of reference and carry out its work independently of the University in an open and transparent manner. At its first meeting the Task Force agreed to consult widely with the University community on their experience of gender-related issues. The Task Force also noted the importance of ensuring alignment and consistency between its recommendations and the gender actions arising from the University’s submission under the Athena Swan programme which is due at the end of April. Recognising the importance and urgency of this issue, the Task Force will report periodically to the Governing Authority, and will produce a comprehensive report of its recommendations by no later than Spring 2016. Speaking after the meeting, Professor Jane Grimson, Chair of the Task Force, said: “The Task Force held its first meeting this morning and I am confident that the diversity of knowledge and experience among the membership of the Task Force will lead to well-informed decisions and recommendations on how to bring about sustainable transformation in gender equality and diversity in the University, in order to ensure that the contribution of all staff to the University is recognised and valued and that all staff are equally supported in their work to achieve their full potential. The Task Force looks forward to engaging with the University community, whose experience and suggestions are critical to ensuring meaningful and sustainable change.” The next meeting of the Task Force will take place in May. Ends

Thursday, 26 March 2015

NUI Galway's Disability Support Service will run two training and awareness events next week. The first, an Employability Career Seminar will take place on Tuesday, 31 March from 6-7pm in the Careers Seminar Room on the concourse. The Employability seminar will focus on the recruitment and employment of people with disabilities and will include talks on career options, disclosure requirements and general CV tips. On Wednesday, 1 April, a Personal Evacuation Emergency Procedures training and awareness event will be held in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn from 1.15-2.50pm. The training will give advice and demonstrations on emergency evacuation procedures from fire or other emergency situations. The course is being given by Billy Henderson of Henderson Fire and Safety, one of Ireland's leading experts on disability emergency evacuation procedures and is suitable for anyone with an interest in this area. Denise Keaveney, Disability Support Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Employability and emergency safety procedures are areas of major importance to all members of society and these events will offer practical and valuable information for anyone who has experience of, an interest in, or responsibility in these areas.” -Ends-

Thursday, 26 March 2015

• Catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide • Secure over €100 million in competitive EU research funds • Transform organisational culture to achieve gender equality • Provide 80% of students with work-based experience • Create new student accommodation and sports facilities • Enhance links with community through initiatives such as Industry and Innovation Hub and leading Galway’s European Capital of Culture bid NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne, today unveiled Vision 2020, the University’s new Strategic Plan 2015–2020. Over the next five years, the ambitious plan aims to catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide while securing €100 million in competitive EU research funds. For students, Vision 2020 promises work-based learning experiences across 80% of undergraduate programmes. Students will also benefit from new accommodation and enhanced facilities for field and water sports. Internationally, NUI Galway will maintain and grow the global spread of its student population, the five-year plan intends to have 25% of the student body coming from outside Ireland. Locally, the University plans to develop a major Industry and Innovation Hub and lead Galway’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2020. NUI Galway will also continue its key agenda of achieving gender equality and empowering staff to reach their full potential. At the unveiling of the plan to all university staff, Dr Browne spoke of the approach to the University’s 175th birthday in 2020 and how all present could be truly proud of recent successes: “The past decade has been a period of transformation and rapid growth especially in terms of our campus - with the development of new buildings, facilities and research laboratories. We have invested €400 million in our capital development. Now it’s time to build on the strengths of our people - to invest in and support our organisation as it becomes recognised locally and nationally and internationally as a university of choice, relevance and renown in the eyes if the world.” Catapult NUI Galway into the top 200 universities worldwide Bucking the national trend and consistently increasing its position over recent years in the most respected and competitive world rankings, - the Times Higher Education (314) and QS ranking (284) - NUI Galway was the only Irish university to increase its position in these two main international rankings. The European Commission’s U-Multi-rank system in 2015 scored NUI Galway the highest ranking of 4 A grades. NUI Galway also ranked in the Top 100 most international universities in 2015 in Times Higher Education’s indicator for international outlook. With its growing profile, NUI Galway will push its pursuit of an ambitious internationalisation agenda. It will commit to, and focus energy on being a top 200 ranked university by 2020. With this aim of becoming one of the world’s top-tier universities, it will build on relationships of substance that span the globe. This ambition will be driven by the University’s focus on internationally recognised achievements in specific areas of teaching, research, and community engagement. NUI Galway will maintain and grow the international nature of its student population. Vision 2020 commits the University to attract 25% of the student body from outside Ireland. Secure over €100 million in competitive EU research funds Building on the University’s success so far with European Research Council (ERC) grants, Vision 2020, commits to securing €100 million research funding from EU programmes. The University has prioritised five cross–disciplinary research themes, building on its international success: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy; Biomedical Science and Engineering; Environment, Marine and Energy; Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities; and Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences. A major success in recent years has been the expansion of PhD research at NUI Galway to have one of the highest rates of enrolment in Ireland on structured PhD programmes. The University will target in excess of 200 doctoral graduates per annum by 2020 and 80% of PhD students participating in structured PhD programmes, up from 40%. Transform organisational culture to achieve gender equality The University intends to serve and engage with its diverse communities in mutually enriching ways, through enhanced relationship on campus, in the region and around the world. Among its commitments to communities it serves, is its commitment to equality for staff. “NUI Galway is a university on a journey”, continued Dr Browne. Our grounds are open and welcoming, a centre of study and work, but also a place to visit, live work and play. Our human capital is our most valuable asset and we are committed to ensuring all colleagues have the opportunity to contribute fully and be recognised for their efforts. Our new Strategic Plan will actively respond to the developmental, professional and personal needs of all of our colleagues; transform the organisational culture to improve gender quality; and to secure Athena Swan award which recognises good employment practice for women working in higher education.” Provide 80% of students with work-placement opportunities and open new student accommodation and sports facilities The NUI Galway student is a global citizen and students are educated to be valued for their academic excellence, their distinctiveness, and their world readiness. Dr Browne explained: “Our first commitment is, and will always be, to our students and our commitment to delivering excellent academic and developmental opportunities for our students informs all our decision-making. NUI Galway’s reputation for top quality teaching is rightly celebrated and we will continue to provide, recognise and reward this teaching excellence.” The University’s teaching is widely recognised too in its successes in student retention and this very high rate of 84% will be maintained. The Strategic Plan outlines that 80% of all undergraduates will receive a work-based experience. The University is also recognised in its leadership in the use of online and blended learning technologies; and in its recruitment of students from non-traditional backgrounds. Vision 2020 will see these accomplishments enhanced, including revised admissions requirements for students applying from Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Among the targets outlined, the University has committed to the construction of new sports facilities, to include an elite water sports facility; 3G synthetic training and competition facility for all sporting codes; additional sports pitch; as well as an upgrade of existing natural grass surfaces. In addition, the University plans to make almost 1,000 new student residences available – bolstering its commitment to attracting international students. A new purpose-built home for Drama, Theatre and Performance will also be completed. The new Strategic Plan will enhance community partnership through initiatives such as an Industry and Innovation Hub and by leading Galway’s European Capital of Culture bid. ENDS Plean Straitéiseach seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh agus spriocanna uaillmhianacha aici don bhliain 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a bheith áirithe i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan Os cionn €100 milliún de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú Athrú ó bhonn a chur ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach Socrúchán oibre a chur ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn Áiseanna nua lóistín agus spóirt a chruthú do mhic léinn Naisc leis an bpobal a neartú trí thionscnaimh ar nós an Mhoil Tionsclaíochta agus Nuálaíochta agus ceannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa   Rinne Uachtarán Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, Fís 2020 – Plean Straitéiseach nua na hOllscoile, 2015–2020 – a sheoladh inniu. As seo go ceann cúig bliana, tá sé mar sprioc ag an bplean uaillmhianach an rangú atá ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a ardú go tapa ionas go mbeidh sí i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan agus, mar aon leis sin, os cionn €100m de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú.  Maidir le mic léinn na hOllscoile, tá gealltanas in Fís 2020 go mbeidh eispéireas foghlama a bheidh bunaithe ar shocrúcháin oibre ar fáil in 80% de na cláir bhunchéime. Beidh tairbhe le baint ag na mic léinn freisin as árais nua chónaithe mar aon le háiseanna breise i gcomhair spórt páirce agus uisce. Ar bhonn idirnáisiúnta, méadóidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh líon na dtíortha as a dtagann a cuid mic léinn; tá sé mar aidhm ag an bplean cúig bliana seo gur as áiteanna lasmuigh d'Éirinn a thiocfadh 25% de mhic léinn na hOllscoile. Ar bhonn áitiúil, tá sé beartaithe ag an Ollscoil mol tábhachtach tionsclaíochta agus nuálaíochta a fhorbairt agus ceannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa sa bhliain 2020. Leanfaidh an Ollscoil freisin den chúram atá leagtha roimpi aici cothroime inscne a thabhairt i gcrích agus an fhoireann oibre a chumasú le barr a gcumais a bhaint amach. Agus an plean á chur i láthair fhoireann uile na hOllscoile aige, labhair an Dr Browne ar an gcur chuige a bheidh ag an Ollscoil nuair a bheidh cothrom 175 bliain a bunaithe á cheiliúradh in 2020, agus ar an mórtas ba chóir a bheith ar chuile dhuine a bhí i láthair as ucht ar baineadh amach le deireanas: "Tá athrú mór chun feabhais agus fás fíorthapa tagtha orainn le deich mbliana anuas, go háirithe i dtaobh an champais de, agus foirgnimh, áiseanna agus saotharlanna taighde nua ar an bhfód anois againn. Tá €400 milliún infheistithe againn san fhorbairt caipitil. Caithfimid anois cur le cumas ár ndaoine – infheistíocht agus tacaíocht a thabhairt dár n-institiúid agus í ag baint aitheantas áitiúil agus náisiúnta amach mar ollscoil a bhfuil clú, cáil agus meas uirthi ar fud an domhain mhóir." OÉ Gaillimh a bheith áirithe i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan Ainneoin gur ar gcúl a chuaigh ollscoileanna eile na tíre, tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag dul ó neart go neart le blianta beaga anuas sna ranguithe iomaíocha domhanda is mó a dtugtar aird idirnáisiúnta orthu – rangú Times Higher Education (314) agus rangú QS (284) – ba í Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an t-aon ollscoil Éireannach a chuaigh chun tosaigh sa dá mhór-rangú idirnáisiúnta seo. I gcóras U-Multi-rank an Choimisiúin Eorpaigh in 2015, d'éirigh le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an rangú is airde – ceithre Ghrád A – a bhaint amach. Áiríodh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh freisin ar an 100 ollscoil is idirnáisiúnta i rangú an Times Higher Education i leith béim idirnáisiúnta. Agus a próifíl ag neartú léi, cuirfidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh roimpi spriocanna uaillmhianacha don idirnáisiúnú a bhaint amach. Leagfaidh sí roimpi mar sprioc dhaingean a bheith áirithe ar an 200 ollscoil is fearr ar domhan faoi 2020 agus oibreoidh sí go fuinniúil ina leith sin. Agus é mar sprioc aici a bheith áirithe ar na hollscoileanna is fearr ar domhan, cuirfidh sí dlús breise le caidrimh thábhachtacha atá aici le dreamanna timpeall an domhain. Beidh an uaillmhian seo á tiomáint ag an mbéim atá ag an Ollscoil ar mhórghníomhartha a bhfuil aitheantas idirnáisiúnta acu i sainréimsí teagaisc, taighde agus rannpháirtíochta sa phobal. Méadóidh Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an sciar dá mic léinn ar ón gcoigríoch iad. Tá sé mar aidhm ag Fís 2020 gur as áiteanna lasmuigh d'Éirinn a thiocfadh 25% de mhic léinn na hOllscoile trí chéile. Os cionn €100 milliún de chistí iomaíocha AE a ghnóthú Agus an Ollscoil ag tógáil ar a bhfuil bainte amach cheana féin ó thaobh deontais ón gComhairle Eorpach um Thaighde, leagtar sprioc dhaingean amach in Fís 2020 luach €100 milliún de chistí taighde a fháil ó chláir Eorpacha. Tá an Ollscoil tar éis cúig théama taighde thrasdisciplíneacha a shonrú mar réimsí tosaíochta, agus í ag tógáil ar a bhfuil bainte amach cheana féin aici go hidirnáisiúnta: Eolaíochtaí Sóisialta Feidhmeacha agus Beartas Poiblí; Eolaíocht Bhithleighis agus Innealtóireacht; Comhshaoil, Muir agus Fuinneamh; Daonnachtaí i gComhthéacs, lena n-áirítear Daonnachtaí Digiteacha; agus Ionformaitic, Anailísíocht Sonraí, Eolaíochtaí Fisiciúla agus Ríomhaireachtúla. D'éirigh thar cionn leis an Ollscoil le blianta beaga anuas ó thaobh méadú ar an taighde PhD agus tá ceann de na rátaí clárúcháin is airde ar chláir PhD struchtúrtha in Éirinn trí chéile ag an Ollscoil. Tá sé mar sprioc ag an Ollscoil 200 céimí PhD a bheith aici in aghaidh na bliana faoin mbliain 2020 agus 80% de na mic léinn PhD a bheith ag tabhairt faoi chláir PhD struchtúrtha, ardú ar an 40% atá i gceist faoi láthair. Athrú ó bhonn a chur ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach Tá i gceist ag an Ollscoil freastal ar a cuid pobail ilchineálacha agus caidreamh a bhunú leis na pobail sin ionas go mbainfidh na pobail agus an Ollscoil araon tairbhe as an gceangal atá eatarthu; neartófar an gaol idir na pobail agus an Ollscoil ar an gcampas, sa taobh seo tíre trí chéile agus timpeall an domhain d'fhonn an sprioc sin a bhaint amach. I measc ghealltanais na hOllscoile do na pobail ar a bhfreastalaíonn sí, tá an gealltanas i leith comhionannas do chomhaltaí foirne. "Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ar aistear", a dúirt an Dr Browne. Tá tailte na hOllscoile fairsing agus fáilteach – áit le haghaidh staidéir agus oibre, ach áit freisin le cuairt a thabhairt air, le cónaí ann agus le siamsaíocht a dhéanamh ann. Is iad ár ndaoine an acmhainn is luachmhaire dá bhfuil againn agus tá rún daingean againn an deis a thabhairt dár gcomhghleacaithe uile a gcion iomlán féin a dhéanamh agus go bhfaighidís aitheantas as a gcuid iarrachtaí. Sa Phlean Straitéiseach nua seo, rachfar i ngleic go gníomhach le riachtanais fhorbarthacha, ghairmiúla agus phearsanta ár gcomhghleacaithe uile; cuirfear athrú ó bhonn ar chultúr na heagraíochta chun comhionannas inscne a bhaint amach; agus bainfear gradam Athena Swan amach mar aitheantas don dea-chleachtas fostaíochta do mhná atá ag obair san earnáil ardoideachais.” Socrúchán oibre a chur ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn agus áiseanna nua lóistín agus spóirt a chruthú do mhic léinn Is saoránaigh den domhan mór iad mic léinn Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus oiltear iad ionas go mbeidh meas orthu as a bhfeabhas acadúil, a sainiúlacht, agus as a bheith ullamh don saol mór. Mar a mhínigh an Dr Browne: "Is dár mic léinn a thugaimid tús áite, agus beidh sé sin amhlaidh i gcónaí; an rún atá againn deiseanna acadúla agus forbarthacha den scoth a thabhairt dár mic léinn, is air sin a bhunaímid chuile chinneadh dá ndéanaimid. Tá clú agus cáil ar Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh as feabhas a cuid teagaisc agus leanfaimid den ardchaighdeán teagaisc seo a chur ar fáil, a aithint agus luach saothair a thabhairt ina leith.” Léiriú eile ar ardchaighdeán an teagaisc san Ollscoil is ea a fheabhas a éiríonn linn mic léinn a choinneáil; déanfar an ráta an-ard seo – 84% – a choimeád. Leagtar amach sa Phlean Straitéiseach go gcuirfear socrúchán oibre ar fáil do 80% de na mic léinn. Aithnítear fosta go bhfuil an Ollscoil ar thús cadhnaíochta i dtaca le teicneolaíochtaí ar líne agus teicneolaíochtaí foghlama cumaisc; agus i dtaca le hearcaíocht mac léinn ó chúlraí neamhthraidisiúnta. Ach a gcuirfear Fís 2020 i gcrích, neartófar tuilleadh an méid atá á bhaint amach sna cúrsaí seo; áirítear air sin riachtanais iontrála leasaithe le haghaidh mic léinn ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón mBreatain Mhór. Ar na spriocanna atá leagtha amach, tá gealltanas ón Ollscoil go dtógfar áiseanna nua spóirt – áis spóirt uisce éilíte ina measc; áis traenála agus comórtais shintéiseach 3G le haghaidh chuile chineál spóirt; páirc spóirt bhreise; agus uasghrádú ar na páirceanna féir atá ann faoi láthair. Lena chois sin, tá sé beartaithe ag an Ollscoil beagnach 1,000 áras cónaithe nua a chur ar fáil do mhic léinn – léiriú ar a dháiríre is atá sí mic léinn ón iasacht a thabhairt chun na Gaillimhe.  Cuirfear bailchríoch freisin ar áras saintógtha don Amharclannaíocht, Drámaíocht agus Taibhléiriú. Leis an bPlean Straitéiseach nua seo, déanfar naisc leis an bpobal a neartú trí thionscnaimh ar nós an Mhoil Tionsclaíochta agus Nuálaíochta agus trí cheannas a ghlacadh ar iarratas na Gaillimhe ar stádas mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa. CRÍOCH