Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Summary: RTÉ Archives announce an ambitious collaboration with the newly announced SFI “Big Data” Research Centre called INSIGHT and the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), which will be carried out in DERI (NUI Galway) at INSIGHT, to develop an innovative semantic content discovery platform to open up the treasures of the RTÉ Archives. At the 2013 European Data Forum in Dublin, Head of RTÉ Archives Bríd Dooley, together with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT and Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway), and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, announced an ambitious, ground-breaking collaboration to develop an innovative cross-archival semantic content discovery platform as part of the new SFI INSIGHT data analytics centre, a joint initiative between UCD, NUI Galway, UCC and DCU. Opening the event, Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, said: “A key part of the Irish Government’s plan for growth and jobs is identifying areas where we believe Ireland can compete and win on the global stage.” Minister Shatter added: “One such sector where our ambition is to be amongst the world’s best is in ‘Big Data’ and its analytics. The Irish Government believes that given our climate, educational and skills base and our existing major strengths in ICT, we can benefit significantly in terms of quality jobs and growth from the global expansion of this sector.” “Analysing this explosion of data will revolutionise industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceutical production to further develop Europe's data economy and create good sustainable jobs in Ireland.” Minister Shatter also spoke of the “need for a coherent and practical set of Data Protection rules at National and European Union levels”. Referring to the “new, and increasingly common, risks for privacy” that arise from technological advances, he emphasised the importance of ensuring “that Data Protection standards keep pace with the emerging technologies and new business models”. Progressing the new EU Data Protection regulation and securing agreement on its content he stated is “a priority of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.” Minister Shatter concluded by saying: “Importantly, Big Data will have a huge societal impact with projects such as that proposed by the new Insight research centre in partnership with RTÉ Digital to explore the RTÉ archives, and open up avenues to investigate our cultural, historical, sporting and linguistic heritage and provide us with deep insights into what it means to be Irish.” Speaking during the Opening Session of EDF2013, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The Big Data sector is growing by 40% annually and as a nation we must ensure that we are developing the specialised skills needed to remain globally competitive. INSIGHT is a new national research centre in the field of data analytics that brings together the leading players from academia and industry in Ireland. This new SFI Research Centre will undertake research and develop new technologies that will attract dynamic partnerships with industry, further leverage investment for Europe, and ultimately help create high value jobs in Ireland and deliver economic and societal impact.” Big Data is a global challenge that asks us to turn vast quantities of ubiquitous raw data into knowledge that will inform people and improve society, business, and health. The Irish Government, under the stewardship of Science Foundation Ireland, is making a major investment in Insight, the mega research centre that will use world-class data analytics to address Big Data. Minister Bruton, TD and Minister Sherlock, TD, announced this ground-breaking initiative in February 2013. RTÉ is a partner in the INSIGHT research centre, and Bríd Dooley will work with Professor Stefan Decker (INSIGHT) and Dr Sandra Collins (Royal Irish Academy) to bring together the skills and experience of the internationally recognised semantic web and linked data centre and the national trusted digital repository, with the rich essence and curation skills of RTÉ, to open up the wealth of treasures in the RTÉ Archives. Commenting on the project, Bríd Dooley, Head of RTÉ Archives, a division of RTÉ Digital, said: “Our key priorities at RTÉ Digital are to meet the needs of audiences now and in the future through innovation and technology, and by playing an active role within the Digital Economy. As RTÉ Archives is a national resource and a hugely valuable asset to the public, we cannot underestimate the significance of this partnership with the INSIGHT Centre and the Digital Repository of Ireland. Our vision is to enable RTÉ to further step-change its ability to meet audience needs and to provide a much richer discovery, analysis and access gateway to this culturally and historically important material through digital means.” Dr Sandra Collins added: “This is a very important collaboration for the Digital Repository of Ireland. Preservation and access to our nation’s cultural and social heritage is our mission, and a critical part of this is the technology solutions to discover archival content – the essence that informs the narrative. In the age of Big Data, discovering the content, information and knowledge you want requires cross-disciplinary research, and partnering with RTÉ and INSIGHT is a wonderful opportunity to advance the state of the art.” Professor Stefan Decker, also speaking at the conference, added that: “Linked data technologies are enabling the liberation of value out of archives. We are excited to do this research with RTÉ, transitioning the technologies into practise and contributing to society.”   -ends-

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

NUI Galway graduate and Galway GAA hurling committee representative, Joe Byrne presented the University’s inaugural Player of the Year Awards at a special ceremony at the University last night (Monday, 8 April). The Player of the Year Awards honours all teams led by the outstanding players who participated on behalf of NUI Galway during the past third-level GAA season. A number of intercounty players from different counties were winners in hurling, camogie, ladies football and men’s gaelic football. Special Merit awards were also presented to those who, whilst not winning individual awards, achieved distinction by playing with both fresher hurling and football awards, as well as club administration. NUI Galway GAA Officer Michael O’Connor said: “This is part of NUI Galway GAA's increased involvement with the community and the players that represent the University. NUI Galway is also involved in the sponsorship of Man of the Match Awards in all Connacht hurling and football finals at second level to help showcase the best Gaelic games talent and highlight the games that take place at this level.” 2012-13 Player of the Year Awards: Fresher A Football: Lee Cullen from Bellanleck, Co. Fermanagh Fresher B Football: Ger McWalter from Foxford, Co. Mayo Fresher C Football: Éanna Bane from Caherlistrane, Co.  Galway Junior Football: Joint winners - Paddy Collins from Breaffy, Co. Mayo and Ruardhí McLoughlin from Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim Intermediate Football: Kieran O’Donnell from the Aran Islands, Co. Galway Senior Football: Shane Nally from Garrymore, Co. Mayo Fresher A Hurling: David Reidy from Ennis, Co. Clare Fresher B Hurling: Hannan Iqbal from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo Intermediate Hurling: Eoin O’Farrell from Blackpool, Cork Senior Hurling: Joseph Cooney from Bullaun, Co. Galway Camogie: Aisling Dunphy from Graigue Ballycallan, Co. Kilkenny Fresher Ladies Football: Emer Gallagher from Termon, Co. Donegal Lynch Cup Ladies Football: Michelle Guinan from Tullamore, Co. Offaly O’Connor Ladies Football: Ciara Hegarty from Moville, Co. Donegal Special Merit Awards: Conor Cleary from Kilmaley, Co. Clare (Dual Fresher); Kevin McMahon from Marino, Co. Dublin (Dual Fresher); Gordon Joyce from Fairhill, Cork City (Dual Fresher); Dinny Mulvey from Butlersbridge Co. Cavan (Junior Football Manager); Maureen Heneghan from Portstewart, Co. Derry (Camogie); Rebecca Towey from Ballaghadeeren, Co. Mayo (Ladies Football); and Byran O’Loughlin from Kilmaley Co. Clare (Intermediate Hurling). -ENDS-

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

11-12 April, 2013 A major €3 million EU research project investigating various aspects of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy will be presented at a conference in the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, tomorrow. Running since 2009, the MAREN project focussed on the energy extraction potential of the Atlantic Area coastal waters. Scientists and engineers from Ireland, Wales, Spain, Portugal and France have collaborated on the MAREN project and will present their project findings at the event. Mr Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for Training and Skills, will officially open the event. Conference speakers will present how detailed quantification of tidal, wind and wave energy has been carried out. Research into optimising layouts of marine renewable energy farms will be presented, along with environmental impacts such as likelihood of increased flooding. Professor Michael Hartnett of NUI Galway will chair the conference: “Here in Ireland, we are poised on potentially one of the most significant long-term energy resources on the planet. A fully-developed marine renewable energy industry in Ireland could lead to up 70,000 jobs. The Atlantic Ocean has huge potential in terms of energy and pan-European projects like this are vital to assess and predict how we can best harness this natural resource. In NUI Galway we have some of the most advance modelling software tools which are allowing us to quantify marine energy resources from the installations of large scale tide and wave farms.” “This project has also allowed us to predict the impact of marine renewable energy devices on the environment. We have investigated the environmental impact of new energy devices developed over recent years. For example, what is the optimum configuration of tidal or wave devices to minimise environmental impacts on pollutant dispersion and aquatic species. ” The MAREN project also investigated the impact of climate change on the CO2 reduction figures, including CO2 release resulting from increased storminess and flooding. A series of climate change scenarios have been simulated and design requirements for marine renewable energy devices developed for predicted altered hydrodynamic conditions present in coastal waters as a result of the impacts of climate change have been considered. The event will be of particular interest to academics and industry personnel engaged in marine renewable energy activities. It is also highly relevant to individuals involved in regulatory and planning aspects of marine renewable energy. The main emphasis will be on technical and environmental issues. The conference will also host workshops to stimulate stakeholder debate in key areas. The research undertaken within the MAREN project was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Atlantic Area Transnational Programme (INTERREG IV). The research partners were Cardiff University; National University of Ireland Galway; University of Cantabria, Spain; Centec, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal; and  Iferner, France. -ends-

Monday, 15 April 2013

Two third-year NUI Galway Civil Engineering students have departed for a three-month work experience in China which was organised as part of their overall degree. The students will be hosted by Tsinghua University in Shenzhen, China where they will work on wastewater treatment projects. The Professional Experience Programme (PEP) is an integral module of a number of NUI Galway undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes, offering students each year an opportunity to avail of work experience relevant to their programme of study. Students gain a practical appreciation of the needs and the method of operation of business and industry, and are given an opportunity to develop additional skills relevant in the workplace.  Dr Piaras Ó hEachteirn, Head of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “The professional experience is an example of work-based learning and the engineering placement experience will improve the employability of the participating students, with over 96% of Civil Engineering students securing a successful industrial placement in the past three years despite the economic downturn period. This experience not only benefits students in gaining work experience, but also benefits NUI Galway in long-term international collaborations with Chinese institutes since Tsinghua University is among the top two universities in China.”   Dr Xinmin Zhan, PEP Co-ordinator for NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering programme, established this link between NUI Galway and Tsinghua University and the placement is run in conjunction with the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway. Dr Zhan, who is also funded by Tsinghua Global Scholars Fellowship Initiative to conduct collaborative research, believes that working in Shenzhen will shape the students’ careers through work in different cultures.  Tsinghua University was ranked 52nd in the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings and 31st in the subject of Engineering and Technology.    -ENDS-

Monday, 15 April 2013

A new book co-authored by NUI Galway academic Professor Ger Hurley with W.H. Wölfle of Convertec Ltd. Wexford and published by Wiley was launched on Friday, 12 April by President of the University Dr Jim Browne. Transformers and Inductors for Power Electronics: Theory, Design and Applications is a comprehensive reference for students and professional engineers working with power supplies and energy conversion systems who want to update their knowledge on a field that has progressed considerably in recent years. Power Electronics is an enabling technology for renewable energy systems and automotive systems.  The advent of wind and solar power means that transformers are required for converting the wind or solar energy into the electrical grid. The authors present a broad range of applications from modern power conversion systems. They provide rigorous design guidelines based on a robust methodology for inductor and transformer design.  They offer real design examples, informed by proven and working field examples. Professor of Electrical Engineering at NUI Galway, Professor Hurley is the Founder/Director of the Power Electronics Research Centre (PERC) at the University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) and a Fellow of Engineers Ireland.  He was awarded the higher doctorate on published work D.Eng degree by the National University of Ireland in 2011. In his foreword for the book, Professor John Kassakian of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stated “With its comprehensive scope and careful organization of topics, covering fundamentals, high-frequency effects, unusual geometries, loss mechanisms, measurements and application examples, this book is a ‘must have’ reference for the serious power electronics engineer. Hurley and Wölfle have produced a text that is destined to be a classic on all our shelves.” Transformers and Inductors for Power Electronics: Theory, Design and Applications is published by Wiley. ENDS

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research will take place at Trinity College Dublin from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th April. The conference is being organised by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) together with Irish cannabinoid researchers and will be the largest and most high profile scientific conference on cannabis and cannabinoids ever held in Ireland. This conference is the leading forum in Europe for the presentation and discussion of novel findings in the area of cannabis and cannabinoid research. The meeting will feature a very lively and high calibre scientific programme with many of the world’s leading scientists in this area speaking in Dublin. It also represents a valuable forum for early career research students and postdoctoral researchers to present their work in oral or poster form, with number of prizes and awards conferred during the meeting. Cannabinoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or synthetic drugs with similar effects. Cannabinoids bind to receptors throughout the body to exert their effects which can be wide-ranging. Indeed, the body itself produces its own cannabinoids, so-called endocannabinoids, which are now understood to play very important roles in health and disease processes. In recent years there has been considerable interest in the area of cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of a number of conditions including multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, obesity and others. The local organising committee comprises Irish cannabinoid researchers based at NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Chair of the organising committee, Dr David Finn of NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming some of the world’s leading cannabinoid researchers to Ireland for what promises to be a very exciting and important conference, at a time when the potential benefits and harms of cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be hotly debated here in Ireland and overseas. Our understanding of the body’s own cannabinoid system has grown enormously – it is clear now that it plays a key role in health and wellbeing, and represents a promising therapeutic target for a range of diseases and disorders.”  There will be two keynote lectures. The first will be delivered by Professor Aron Lichtman of Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and is entitled ‘Harnessing the endogenous cannabinoid system to treat pain’.  The second keynote lecture is entitled ‘The road ahead for endocannabinoid research’ and will be delivered by Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Professor Mechoulam is regarded by many as the founding father of modern scientific research into cannabinoids, having identified delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as the main psychoactive constituent within the cannabis plant in the mid-20th century. In addition to BPS, the conference has received support and sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland, The Irish Research Council, The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland,  Fáilte Ireland, The International Society for Neurochemistry, industry sources and NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research. -ENDS- 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change will host the 2013 InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Lecture, ‘Innovating With ‘Hard Constraints’: How Low Cost Innovation is Changing What We Do’. Guest speaker, Professor Gerard George, Imperial College Business School in London, will deliver the lecture on Wednesday, 24 April at 6.30pm in MY127, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Professor Gerry Georgeis Vice Dean of the Business School and Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre at Imperial College London.  He has conducted extensive research into areas such as capabilities and innovation in new ventures and technology-intensive firms, organisation design and business models, and entrepreneurship and resources. During the lecture Professor George will address the benefits of ‘inclusive innovation’, and discuss the emerging ways companies are implementing low-cost innovations. He will also address the need to transform a culture to innovate within constraints, and focus on the ‘principles of inclusive innovation’ to inspire discussion on how to radically transform innovation practices by placing hard constraints on design, development and delivery of products and services. Professor George, who has conducted extensive research in o areas such as entrepreneurship, innovation and business models, says we need to radically transform our business practices to see businesses succeed. “When times are tough, businesses have to figure out innovative ways of broadening their market appeal and opening up new opportunities.  Low cost innovation is a strategic toolkit by which businesses can strip away the complexities of their products to focus on the core customer need.” Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are looking forward to Professor George’s visit to the Whitaker Institute NUI Galway to deliver a public lecture and master classes as part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme. Professor George is one of the leading international taught leaders on innovation and entrepreneurship and his lecture will offer practical insights to businesses of any size in how they can undertake low cost innovation.” This lecture will be of interest to established organisations and businesses, start-ups, government bodies, policy makers and anyone who is interested in stimulating the local economy. To register to attend, please visit the event website at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=231 -ENDS-

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

British-based expert on the prostitution and the sex trade, Dr Julia O’Connell Davidson will give a talk in NUI Galway, questioning dominant assumptions about the relationship between prostitution, trafficking, debt and slavery. The public lecture will take place on Thursday, 18 April at 5pm in the Alexander Board Room, The Quadrangle. Dr O’Connell Davidson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. Her research and publishings over the past two decades have focused on prostitution, the sex trade, migration, and trafficking. Between 2001 and 2006, with Professor Bridget Anderson of Oxford University, Dr O’Connell Davidson coordinated research on ‘the demand side of trafficking’, with a particular focus on the sex and domestic work sectors. Dr O’Connell Davidson book, Prostitution, Power and Freedom, rejects the idea that all women in prostitution are victims of violence and is based on field research in the British sex industry over several years, and she is currently writing a book on modern slavery. She also rejects the argument that sex-trafficking can be understood as a modern form of slavery and proposes that this position in fact supports conservative state migration policies.       Dr Eilis Ward, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, said: “Dr O’Connell Davidson’s work has been extremely important in clarifying the complexities of the worlds of prostitution, the sex trade and their relationship to migration. She is also raising very important and challenging questions especially for us in Ireland on the Department of Justice Equality and Defence recently held a public consultation process on possible changes in the law on prostitution which An Oireachtas Joint Committee is expected to publish a report with recommendations in the coming months.” The lecture is co-sponsored by the Gender, Discourse and Identity research group of NUI Galway’s Gender ARC at the Moore Institute and Global Women’s Studies and supported by the University’s Millennium Conference Fund. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

NUI Galway, in collaboration with a number of software industry partners, is offering a limited number of places on its innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme for free. Due to the strategic importance of developing skills in this area, support has been arranged by the Higher Education Authority meaning that successful applicants will not have to pay any course fees, other than a student levy of just €224. In conjunction with 12 Industry partners in the ICT sector, NUI Galway have designed a twelve-month conversion programme which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this one-year postgraduate conversion programme, is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast-track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. The new Diploma builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specializations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid work placement to gain relevant experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. As each student progresses through the course, training content is determined by their associated industry partner.  On completion of the course, students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a Masters degree.  The industry partners involved include Avaya, Ericsson, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies, SourceDogg, Schneider Electric, CISCO and IBM. The new course will be delivered as part of the Information Technology Discipline’s complimentary portfolio of postgraduate degrees. Making the announcement, Dr Enda Howley, Course Director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates from engineering, science and business, to invest just one year of their time in further education. Through placement experience with our Industry partners, they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill.” Head of Information Technology in NUI Galway, Dr Michael Madden, said: “It is estimated that there will be 900,000 unfilled vacancies in the EU for ICT professionals by 2015. Now is a perfect time for people to reskill for employment in this sector, and courses such as this are designed specifically to make this as straight forward as possible. The economy is full of very talented and enthusiastic engineering or science graduates who unfortunately are finding it difficult to find employment due to a skills mismatch. But these people are ideally suited for a career in the ICT sector, and simply require some targeted training. Take for example, civil engineers. They are known for their great problem solving abilities, and having a can-do attitude. These are often the most sought after, and hard to find skills for software developers.” The course is open to all those who have a level 8 degree, or alternatively those with a level 7 degree with some relevant industry work experience. The course is ideal for those from a Science or Engineering background, and relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. Applications are now being processed and those interested can apply through www.ictskills.ie or seek more information via Twitter, @hdipindustry.  The deadline for applications is Friday, 17 May and with significant interest expected, early application is advisable. For further queries contact Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

D’fhreastail idir lucht bainistíochta, riaracháin, mhic Léinn agus léachtóirí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh ar ócáid in Áras na Gaeilge inné chun Scéim Teanga Nua na hOllscoile a sheoladh go hoifigiúil. Ba í an dara scéim teanga de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a aontaíodh faoi alt 11 d’Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a seoladh ag an ócáid seo. Tá sé de rún ag lucht na hOllscoile go gcuirfear le líon agus le caighdeán na seirbhísí atá ar fáil do phobal na hOllscoile trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá luaite i bPlean Straitéiseach na hOllscoile go bhfuil sé mar sprioc ag lucht OÉ Gaillimh campas eiseamláireach dátheangach a chruthú in OÉ Gaillimh agus is cuid thábhachtach den phróiseas sin é seoladh na scéime teanga. Ba é Gearóid Ó Conluain, Rúnaí na hOllscoile agus fear a’ tí  an lae a chuir tús leis an ócáid nuair a dúirt sé: “Tá ról ar leith ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh mar institiúid ardléinn maidir le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge, ról atá le sonrú in Acht an Choláiste Ollscoile, Gaillimh 2006 agus i bplean straitéiseach dár gcuid. Agus na tiomantais ar fad a tugadh sa chéad scéim teanga comhlíonta againn, cuirfear béim sa dara scéim ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge d’ardchaighdeán a sholáthar do phobal na hOllscoile i réimsí acadúla, riaracháin agus sna seirbhísí ginearálta.” Dúirt an Rúnaí freisin: “Tá treo straitéiseach na dara scéime ar aon dul le cuspóirí na chéad scéime. Cuirfear seirbhísí nua ar fáil agus cuirfear béim bhreise ar mhonatóireacht na scéime le caighdeán agus le leanúnachas na seirbhísí a chinntiú. Beidh ‘an Tairiscint Ghníomhach’ mar chnámh droma na scéime, is é sin le rá go gcinnteofar go bhfuil sé soiléir do chustaiméirí ón gcéad teagmháil a bhíonn acu leis an institiúid, go bhfuil seirbhísí d’ardchaighdeán trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fáil dóibh in aonaid éagsúla.” Chuir an tUasal Ó Conluain fáilte mhór chroíúil roimh an láithreoir teilifíse ó RTÉ Evanne Ní Chuilinn a sheol an Scéim go hoifigiúil. Seo mar a labhair sí agus í ag caint faoin tsiombail nua a bheas le feiceáil ar fud na hOllscoile ag na háiteanna a bhfuil seirbhís trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fáil: “Mar iarmhac léinn a d’fhreastail ar Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh  tá an-áthas orm an dara scéim teanga de chuid na hOllscoile a sheoladh go hoifigiúil mar aon le feachtas poiblíochta na siombaile G. Is siombail nua shainiúil í seo atá deartha go speisialta ag an Ollscoil ionas go mbeidh a fhios ag pobal na hOllscoile go bhfuil seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge ar fáil.  Nuair a fheicfidh tú an tsiombail G, beidh a fhios agat ar an bpointe boise cá bhfuil fáil ar sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fud na hinstitiúide. Tréaslaím leis an Ollscoil de bharr na hoibre seo ar fad agus guím gach rath ar an bhfeachtas uathúil seo.” Ghabh Evanne buíochas faoi leith leis an mbanna ceoil “Gan Ainm” a sheinn ag an ócáid agus mhol sí pobal na Gaeilge san Ollscoil as ucht a gcuid iarrachtaí thar na blianta an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn.  Is é 2015 an spriocdháta le haghaidh cur i bhfeidhm na scéime.                                                 Críoch

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A major new study of the sports film has been published by NUI Galway academic Seán Crosson. The sports film has become one of commercial cinema’s most recognizable genres, particularly over the past ten years, a period in which American society and culture has faced unprecedented crises. These include the controversy over the 2000 presidential election; the scandal surrounding the collapse of energy giant Enron; the bursting of the dotcom bubble and subsequent financial crisis of late 2000s, and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. In response to these challenges, the book’s author, Seán Crosson of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, contends that the sports film genre has played a critical role in affirming American society and culture: “The mainstream sports film has been centrally concerned with affirming the meritocracy myth of the American Dream particularly at points where it would appear to be most under threat. Indeed, some of the most commercially successful depictions of a range of sports have been released over the past ten years and these films represent (at least partly) a response to contemporaneous political and economic challenges to the American Dream ideology itself.” Sport and Film traces the history of the sports film genre from the beginnings of cinema in the 1890s, to its consolidation as a distinct fiction genre in the mid-1920s in Hollywood films such as Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925), and up to more recent Oscar-winning movies. Drawing on an extensive range of films as source material, Sport and Film explores key issues in the study of sport, film and wider society, including race, social class, gender and the legacy of 9/11. As Crosson remarks “Sport has featured in film from the very beginnings of moving images and the popularity of film in its earliest incarnations depended considerably on the appeal of sport. From classic boxing films such as Raging Bull (1980) to soccer-themed box-office successes like Bend it Like Beckham (2002), the sports film stands at the interface of two of the most important cultural forms. This relationship has continued right up to today where popular and critically acclaimed films continue to feature sport centrally, including recent Oscar-winning productions such as Million Dollar Baby (2004), The Blind Side (2009) and The Fighter (2010).” Seán Crosson is Programme Director of the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway. He has published widely on film, focusing in particular in recent years on the representation of sport in film. His previous publications include (as co-editor) the collection Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe (Peter Lang, 2010) and a special issue of Media History journal on ‘Sport and the Media in Ireland’ (2011). Sport and Film will be launched by Philip Dine at 5.30pm on Monday, 29 April in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway and all are welcome to attend. ENDS

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

 World’s leading Platform Enabling Linked Open Data (LOD) Applications Unveiled Fujitsu, the global ICT giant, today (17 April) announced the first output from its pioneering research collaboration with NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) which could provide the key to unlocking billions of items of Open Data and enable integrated uniform access to academic, government and industry data throughout the web. In a world-first, the Fujitsu-DERI research team has developed a single access point that enables Linked Open Data (LOD) - which currently exists on different sites and in different formats - to be stored and sorted up to 10 times faster than was previously possible. The key innovation of the new technology is the ability to easily find and use publically available datasets in order to combine these with other public or private datasets and gain new insights. A data search function has also been developed enabling users to quickly sort and access data without the need for application developers to trawl through individual sites and process underlying data. In a demonstration at the XBRL26 International Conference in Dublin on 17 April, Pierre-Yves Vandenbussche, Fujitsu Lead Researcher based at DERI, showed how the new technology can provide, for example, valuable new insights into the financial performance of public corporations. The demonstration quickly and easily compiled company financial information from multiple sources including industry profile, employee numbers, revenues, profits, stock or share price and press coverage (e.g. New York Times articles). Performing this task without the new technology would have required specialist programming techniques or many hours of manual data-gathering. The technology can be used by end users through a web interface or programatically by application developers. Part of the technology is a search function enabling users to quickly sort and access data in a consistent format without the need for application developers to trawl through individual sites and process underlying data. Fujitsu intend to make the technology – which is hosted on its global cloud infrastructure – freely available to users and application developers. Speaking at the launch, Anthony McCauley, Head of Research at Fujitsu in Ireland said: “The initial results are very exciting and it is hoped that the technology will lend itself to multiple applications – from financial appraisal to health breakthroughs by enabling previously separate data sets to be analysed together.” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Big Data is a sector which is growing at 40% per annum internationally, and offers major potential for jobs and growth in Ireland. That is why we have targeted it as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, and recently we established a Technology Centre in this area to bring industry and researchers together to help turn good ideas into good jobs. Today’s announcement by Fujitsu – a global leader in this field – and DERI – a world-class institution supported by my Department through SFI – represents a hugely exciting development in this area. I congratulate all involved and wish them every success for the future”. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, said: “I am delighted that that this project has delivered both best practice industry academia knowledge sharing and a commercially important application. It has also created valuable high-end research jobs and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Fujitsu.” Regina Moran, CEO Fujitsu Ireland, said: “The DERI project was Fujitsu’s first industry-led research collaboration in Ireland and it is fitting that it will now provide the world’s first application platform which has the potential to realise the commercial opportunities presented by linked data. Fujitsu began this project with a commitment to help Ireland become a world leader in technology innovation with strong industry – research ties. The DERI team has made significant breakthroughs in a short period of time and Fujitsu is delighted to lend industry expertise to this collaborative project.” The new technology is the first output of the joint collaboration between Fujitsu and DERI launched in July 2012, supported by the IDA and SFI. ENDS

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Family networks and a strong bond between young and old are keeping many Irish people afloat during the recession, according to new research on the relationship between the generations launched today, Wednesday, 17 April, 2013 at 2pm. The Changing Generations study, carried out by Trinity College’s Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC) and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology in NUI Galway, involved interviews with 100 men and women aged between 18 and 102 living in Ireland as well as interviews with 20 leaders from the public, private and civil society sectors. The research sheds light on how people of all ages are coping at a time of great challenges for the Irish economy and society. In particular, the research focused on relationships between different generations in Ireland against the backdrop of economic recession and demographic change. The research found that people in Ireland practise and value intergenerational solidarity in every aspect of their lives. The report demonstrates how family members are providing high levels of support to one another through periods of unemployment, emigration and financial difficulty. In many instances older generations are providing extensive financial, housing and childcare supports to younger generations. Strong views of solidarity between the generations were expressed by all age groups who participated in the research. The general view among younger participants in the research was that older people’s welfare entitlements are deserved and must not be cut. Older people who expressed desire for improved age-related benefits also tended to call for improved supports for some younger age groups. Socio-economic inequality, rather than differences between the generations, was identified by researchers as the most significant division in Irish society. In households where economic resources are most scarce, young people opt to close down options, such as further education, travel or job seeking, that are taken for granted by their peers in middle and higher socio-economic groups. Speaking at the launch of the report in Dublin, Professor Virpi Timonen, Director of the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, said: “Our research points to strong solidarity between generations in Ireland. This is an abiding strength of Irish society. Solidarity between family generations is perhaps the most important reason why Ireland is managing to maintain a reasonable degree of social cohesion under massive economic pressure.” Professor Thomas Scharf, Irish Centre for Social Geronotology, NUI Galway, added: “Our research shows the strong bonds between young and old in Ireland. These bonds are not only helping people to cope with the current recession. They also provide a solid foundation for the future welfare state, which will increasingly depend on the give and take between the generations.” Changing Generations was launched by Irish Times journalist and author Róisín Ingle. The launch was followed by a panel discussion entitled 'Challenges and Opportunities for Intergenerational Solidarity in Ireland’ featuring Patricia Conboy, Director, Older and Bolder;  John Lonergan, author and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison; Karen Kiernan, Director, One Family; and John Logue, President, Union of Students in Ireland. Ends

Thursday, 18 April 2013

NUI Galway societies were presented with three awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards. Over 350 students and 48 adjudicators from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students involved in Society organisation at the highest level. Presentations were made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. This year, the Draíocht Society won the Best Civic Contribution Award for their outstanding work with underprivileged children in Nepal. In 2010, Draíocht Society’s founder, Melanie Hennessy from Cloughleigh, Co. Clare, won the JCI TOYP Outstanding Young Person in the World. Since then, a new generation of volunteers has been enthused by the Society and the difference every individual can make in the world. To date, the Draíocht Society has raised over €50,000, built an orphanage and school, and worked with the local community on educational, medical and entrepreneurial projects in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.  Most Improved Society went to the Medical Society, who wowed the judges with the way they had reinvented themselves this year to become a student movement that enhances its members’ university experience in creative and innovative ways, while embodying a spirit of altruism. With educational and health promoting activities, advocating on behalf of the medical profession plus providing an array of social activities they had a very busy and rewarding year. NUI Galway's final award of the evening was the Best Poster, which was presented to the Film Society for their poster advertising their new Film Festival Release the B’s. The poster was designed by the Auditor of the Film Society, Conor Hooper from Ballincollig, Co. Cork Since its inauguration in 1999 NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 33 trophies, with the next competitor standing at 22. NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Awards Coordinator, Riona Hughes, said: “The two-day event was a major success. It was all about celebrating, all of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed and had two very long days of deliberation which included interviews with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the Societies calendar and afford them an opportunity to network and share ideas and we are already expecting great things next year. The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present bodes well for the future of our country.” For more info on BICS Awards visit http://bics.ie/. -ENDS-

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Speakers from across Britain and Ireland will attend a symposium on Friday, 19 April (tomorrow) at the University of Ulster to debate the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement in a special symposium marking the fifteenth anniversary of the historic peace accord. The event, organised in collaboration with NUI Galway and the Political Studies Association of Ireland, will bring together some of the academics who played crucial roles as special advisors and negotiators to reflect on the negotiations that produced the Agreement, including: Professor Lord Bew (Advisor to David Trimble); Professor Monica McWilliams (Founding member of the Women’s Coalition); and Dr Martin Mansergh (Advisor to the Irish Government). Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at University of Ulster and one of the organisers of the event, said: “The key aim of the conference is to generate discussion and provide an opportunity for an exchange and it will incorporate the views of established academics and new researchers.” Co-organiser Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh of NUI Galway, said: “The Agreement reorganised political structures within Northern Ireland but it also reordered relationships between the two jurisdictions in Ireland and between Ireland and Britain and was shaped by significant European and international involvement. The symposium pays particular attention to these multiple and interrelated contexts for political change.” Speakers will debate a number of issues at the event such as The changing political dynamics that set the scene for the talks process, including international influences (Professor Adrian Guelke, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Etain Tannum, Trinity College Dublin ) and changing relationships on the island of Ireland (Professor John Coakley and Professor Jennifer Todd, University College Dublin); The implementation of the Agreement, including migrant experiences (Patrick Wu, Northern Ireland Centre for Ethnic Minorities) and the impact on the peace process by cultural change (Dr Eamonn Hughes, Queen’s University), on loyalists (Professor Jim McAuley, Huddersfield) and on dissident republicans (Professor Jonathan Tonge, Liverpool University); The unresolved past, including the possibilities for truth recovery (Professor Kieran McEvoy, Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Henry Patterson, University of Ulster) and the continuing force of historical memory (Dr Brian Feeney, St Mary’s College Belfast and Dr Ian McBride, Kings College London). The all-day symposium, which will take place at the University’s Belfast Campus, is a joint event of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) at the University of Ulster, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway and the Peace and Conflict specialist group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. ENDS

Friday, 19 April 2013

D’éirigh le mic léinn Aonad na Cumarsáide, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge , OÉ Gaillimh, trí dhuais a bhaint amach ag na gradaim S-MEDIA a bhí ar siúl i mBaile Átha Cliath ar an 17 Aibreán. Reáchtáiltear na gradaim S-MEDIA, atá dírithe ar mhic léinn sna hinstitiúidí tríú leibhéal ar fud na tíre, faoi choimirce www.Oxygen.ie .    Bhuaigh an clár Y.O.L.O. Dara Seans, a léirigh mic léinn an B.A. sa Chumarsáid, gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr (in aon teanga).  Is clár faisnéise é seo faoi na dúshláin atá le sárú ag fear óg as Conamara, Micilín Ó Féinne,  tar éis droch thimpiste bhóthair a d’fhág gan lúth na ngéag é. Rinneadh taifead ar Y.O.L.O. Dara Seans i nGaeltacht Chonamara ag deireadh na bliana seo caite;  is é Aodhán Ó Maoileoin a scríobh an script agus a bhí i bhfeighil ar an stiúradh; bhí Mairéad Ní Chonghaile , Cian Ó Lorcáin agus Colleen Ní Bhaistir ar an bhfoireann léiriúcháin.  Tá na mic léinn seo sa bhliain dheireanach den B.A. sa Chumarsáid atá lonnaithe ar an gCeathrú Rua. Bhuaigh an clár dar teideal “ An Galar Dubhach” le Kirsty an Chnoic, mac léinn tríú bliana, an duais Iriseoireacht Raidió. Sa chlár seo rinne cairde léi cur síos ar an ngalar dubhach agus ar an gcaoi a ndeachaigh an galar i gcion orthu féin. Rinne  Kirsty an clár seo mar chuid den obair scrúdaithe sa mhodúl Craoltóireacht Raidió. D’eirigh le Daithí Ó Cinnéide ón B.A. sa Chumarsáid, gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr i nGaeilge (Faisnéís agus Drámaíocht) a bhaint amach don ghearrscannán Scáth Daoine.  Tugann an scannán seo léargas ar an aonaracht agus coimhthíos a thagann ar fhear meán aosta agus é ag machnamh faoi na deiseanna a chaill sé agus é ina fhear óg.  Rinneadh taifead ar Scáth Daoine anuraidh ar an gCeathrú Rua. Go dtí seo tá mic léinn Aonad na Cumarsáide, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge,  tar éis an gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr a bhaint amach i 2008 agus i 2009 agus tar éis an gradam don Léiriúchán Teilifíse i nGaeilge is Fearr a bhuachan i 2008, 2009, 2010, agus 2011. Críoch _______________________ NUI Galway Students win in three major categories at SMEDIA Awards Students of the Irish Language Communications Unit of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway based in Carraroe, Co. Galway, took home three major awards from the SMEDIAs, that were held in The Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin on the 17th of April. The SMEDIA Awards are targeted at third level students from institutions all around the country and is organised each year by www.Oxygen.ie. The Irish language programme “Y.O.L.O Dara Seans” (2nd Chance) won the award for best TV Production and was produced by a BA in Communications student. It is an Irish language (with English subtitles) documentary programme about the struggles of a young man from Conamara, Micilín Ó Féinne, following a road accident that left him paralysed. The programme was produced last year in the Conamara Gaeltacht; Aodhán Ó Maoileoin both wrote and directed the script; Mairéad Ní Chonghaile, Cian Ó Lorcáin and Colleen Ní Bhaistir formed the production team. These students are currently completing their final year of their BA in Communications degree in Carraroe, Co. Galway. “An Galar Dubhach” (Depression) a radio programme by Kirsty An Chnoic won the award for best Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge (Raidió) (Irish radio journalism). It sensitively approaches the issue of depression amongst her friends and how it affected them, and contains beautifully crafted sections where music moves the listener to empathise. Kirsty, a native of Tralee, produced the programme as part of her course work for the Radio Broadcasting module. Daithí Ó Cinnéide, another BA in Communications student from Dublin, received the award for Léiriúchán Teilifíse is Fearr i nGaeilge (Faisnéis agus Drámaíocht) (Best TV Production in Irish (Documentary and Drama) for his short film “Scáth Daoine”. It depicts the loneliness and alienation of a middle aged man as he ponders on the oportunities he missed out on in his youth. “Scáth Daoine” was produced in Carraroe last year while Daithí attended the BA in Communications, a course that draws from the Irish language media belt in its surroundings in the Conamara Gaeltacht.   ENDS

Monday, 22 April 2013

A new book examining how countries have transitioned from socialism to capitalism has been co-edited by Dr Gerard Turley, a lecturer in economics at NUI Galway. Dr Turley has just completed The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition with co-editor Professor Paul Hare of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The volume looks at the economics of transition, analysing countries such as China and Czech Republic, as they moved from socialism and the command economy to capitalism and the market economy. The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition takes in over 30 transition countries, from the former socialist countries of the USSR and the satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe, to the Asian countries of China, Vietnam and others. Dr Gerard Turley, a member of the Whitaker Institute and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway said: “Given the current interest in countries like China, Russia, the Eastern European EU accession countries and those former socialist countries that have either joined the eurozone or have turned to the IMF for financial support, this is a timely publication for all those interested in how these countries have fared since the collapse of the Berlin Wall almost twenty five years ago.”  The editors commissioned a team of leading experts from around the world, not just from the former socialist countries of China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia but also academics in Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, UK, US and Ireland. Contributors included former Deputy Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers, special advisors to Prime Ministers, policy advisors to governments and international organisations (such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and chief international negotiators (with, for example, the European Commission and the World Trade Organisation).   Topics include the socialist system and central planning, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the re-emergence of China, economic reforms and institutions, enterprise restructuring and privatisation, performance and growth, trade and integration, the 2008/09 financial crisis, and people and transition. The Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition will be published next month in the UK and the US by Routledge. -ENDS-

Monday, 22 April 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, is coming to Galway. The free weekend workshop will let females of all ages in the world of building web applications and software services. Funded by NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) Outreach Programme, ‘Rails Girls will take place from 17-18 May at DERI, located in the Dangan IDA Business Park. The organisers comprise mainly of young female IT researchers involved in local third-level colleges, businesses, schools and volunteer digital makers’ clubs such as CoderDojo and 091Labs. The workshop will use 'Ruby on Rails', a powerful web application framework for the Ruby programming language, and is open to all enthusiastic girls and women. No prior knowledge of programming is required and is suitable for absolute beginners to computer coding. Myriam Leggieri, DERI researcher at NUI Galway and one of the chief organisers, said: “The country desperately needs a generation of young coders of both sexes to help lay the foundations of a ‘Knowledge Economy’ and create the jobs for a sustainable future. But there is, in particular, a dire shortage of female IT developers in Ireland and across the world as well as in the professions of science, technology, engineering and maths professions generally. There is no reason why this should be the case except for lack of exposure to such environments. Events such as 'Rails Girls' directly address this issue and empower girls to take the first step in learning these in-demand skills and acquiring the tools to conquer one of the last great frontiers of science, namely the World Wide Web.” The first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, was held in Helsinki in 2010 and is a worldwide phenomena. Further information and application forms are available at www.railsgirls.com/galway. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 30 April. There are a limited amount of places available so early registration is recommended. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Niamh Duffy, an MSc in Clinical Research student at NUI Galway from Dublin, has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. Her winning project StudySmart is a study software application for secondary school students, which acts as a time management and motivational tool. The creator of StudySmart was presented with her prize by local entrepreneurs Pádraig O’Céidigh and Judy Greene together with NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley. The StudySmart application will enable students to study in a more efficient, scientific manner and improve their grades. Judges were very impressed with StudySmart and its potential to motivate and encourage secondary school students in their studies. The competition which is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union is supported by NUI Galway and seeks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. In its three years, the competition has attracted entries from students studying a variety of subjects. The Two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tim Groome for GaelicLinks, a networking website for all people involved in GAA and Jenny Groarke for Sing Bang Music Workshops which aims to provide inclusive, supportive and fun music workshops for older adults. Pádraig O’Céidigh, who attended the award ceremony, said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

NUI Galway was the big winner in the gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards which took place last Thursday in the Mansion House, Dublin. Taking home three major awards in the Postgraduate course of the year categories, NUI Galway graduate Shaun O’Shea also won the main award on the night – the Graduate Employee award. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. The NUI Galway awards included: Postgraduate Course of the Year – Business NUI Galway: MSc in International Management Postgraduate Course of the Year – Engineering NUI Galway: Masters of Applied Science (Enterprise Systems) Postgraduate Course of the Year – Science NUI Galway: MSc in Biomedical Science (via Distance Learning) Also scooping the main award of the night was recent NUI Galway graduate of the Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (MSc) Shaun O’Shea, originally from Tralee, Co.Kerry, who now works for Sigmar Recruitment and was presented with the Graduate Employee of the Year Award. Speaking on the awards, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, said: “We are delighted to have done so well in these national awards especially at a time when postgraduate study has never been more important to ensure students and graduates can compete at a higher level for jobs in a very competitive market, both in Ireland and abroad. NUI Galway has worked hard at developing a wide range of courses to facilitate those interested in postgraduate study which is now recognised as being some of the best on offer nationally.” With eight courses in contention, NUI Galway was the higher education institution with the most shortlisted entries this year, a notable achievement, considering there were 126 entries to the competition in total. NUI Galway also took home the most awards on the night of any other shortlisted institution. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Included in our awards is the Biomedical Science programme, just one of the courses we offer as a part-time postgraduate option and which is proving extremely popular in the current climate, especially for those who want to work and study at the same time. This year the University is also offering full-time taught masters scholarships for first class students and those interested should certainly get in touch with us.” All the courses in question are currently accepting applications those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Business, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses. ENDS

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and the genetic cause of breast cancer is the source of much enquiry.  The discovery of high risk mutations in BRCA1 and 2 genes in the 1990’s identified the cause of breast cancer in approximately 3% of the population.  A further series of investigations have implicated moderate risk genes and a new series of studies have now identified 41 new low penetrance breast cancer susceptibility alleles. This latest study which was published online in Nature Genetics last weekend is a very extensive analysis of 10,052* breast cancer cases and 12,575 control cases of European ancestry.  The results analysed more than 200,000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and showed that 41 of these are strongly associated with breast cancer susceptibility.  In addition, genetic links between breast, prostate and ovarian cancer were identified. This represents a great advance in our understanding of these cancers which together affect more than 2.5 million people worldwide annually.     The study which is a collaboration involving multiple international research centres and genetic consortia is the largest genetic association study in cancer so far.  Professor Michael Kerin from NUI Galway who along with Dr Nicola Miller from the Discipline of Surgery, NUI Galway contributed to the study  and stated that this study identifies important genetic variation that can predispose to breast cancer.  “The study is also important in providing evidence for distinct pathways in ER negative breast cancer. All of this information has great potential both for breast cancer prevention and providing new targets for therapy.”  Professor Kerin continued “We are very fortunate here in NUI Galway that we have a large biobank of tissues and bloods that have been contributed by our patients in the Breast Programme and with the support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute we have been able to contribute to this major international research collaboration which sheds very valuable new light on this important area and opens new avenues for therapy." ENDS

Thursday, 25 April 2013

NUI Galway’s Discipline of Mechanical Engineering will host two Ergonomics events, the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference and a Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare and Patient Safety in parallel. The two events will take place on Thursday, 9 May in the Engineering Building, NUI Galway. The theme of the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference is ‘Ergonomics and Innovative Technologies’. Keynote speaker is Professor Neville Stanton from the Transportation Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton. Professor Stanton’s presentation is entitled ‘Augmenting the Driver and Automating Driving – Investigations into the changing nature of the role of the driver with advanced vehicle systems’. Over the past 20 years, Professor Stanton has been involved in a variety of system design projects. He initially conducted research into driver performance with Adaptive Cruise Control with Jaguar, which was first vehicle manufacturer to market  the system. In subsequent years he has worked on other systems, including: vision enhancement, parking aids, queue assist, all-weather warnings, head-up displays, blind-spot monitoring, collision avoidance systems and various levels of vehicle automation. In the course of the presentation, Professor Stanton will present findings from some of his studies and insights into conducting applied driving research projects. The Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare and Patient Safety will run in parallel to the Irish Ergonomics Society Annual Conference. The invited keynote speaker will be Dr Tom Reader, Lecturer in Organisational and Social Psychology with the London School of Economics, who will deliver a presentation entitled ‘Leadership and team situation awareness during daily rounds in the Intensive Care Unit’. Dr Reader researches, consults, and presents on the topic of organisational safety in the oil and gas, medical, and aviation industries. He is an expert on teamwork, decision-making, leadership, safety culture, risk perception, and non-technical skills assessment and training. Much of Dr Reader’s work has been conducted in acute medicine, and he is interested in why organisational accidents occur (e.g. medical errors), and how organisational psychology can be used to explain and prevent future mishaps. Prior to joining the London School of Economics in 2010, he worked in the offshore sector, and is a former risk advisor to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is also a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society. Enda Fallon, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Engineering with NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Human Factors and Ergonomics play a key role with respect to well-being and performance in high reliability systems including aviation, aerospace, nuclear power and off-shore oil and gas. Recently, methods developed for these safety-related industries have been adapted for application in healthcare where they have made a significant contribution to assuring patient safety and the reduction in the potential for human error.” To register for the conferences visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=225 -ENDS-

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Qpercom, a spin-off company of NUI Galway, which provides observational assessment software to medical schools have announced their membership into the Association of Test Publishers. Based in the Clinical Science Institute at NUI Galway, Qpercom has developed a fully fledged system for administering observational clinical exams online with laptops and/or tablets as well as including WEB2.0 real time data analysis. Qpercom, an Enterprise Ireland client company, plans to become the leading edge associated in the field of practical e-assessment with their proven product, large client base and continuous enhancements. Established in 1992, The Association of Test Publishers is a non-profit organization representing providers of tests and assessment tools and/or services related to assessment, selection, screening, certification, licensing, educational or clinical uses. The ATP promotes and advances the integrity of assessment services and products and is dedicated to the highest level of professionalism and business ethics within the test publishing community. Dr Thomas Kropmans, Chief Executive Officer at Qpercom, said: “We are proud to be acknowledged by an association which recognises validity and reliability in exam systems and it displays our commitment to provide the highest quality assessment system to our clients at home and around the world.” This announcement coincides with the release of the latest version of the OSCE Management Information System (OMIS) which delivers new functionality, further empowering universities to move beyond basic testing to achieve detailed and quality assured skills assessments. One such innovation is the Student Tracking System which allows users to search for a particular student in the system and view their results over previous years. OMIS can be used not only to guide an individual’s future learning through detailed feedback but to improve the curriculum content and development using cohort performance data. Dr Kropmans said the new features came as a direct result of feedback from Qpercom’s existing customers: “I’m delighted with the new update to OMIS and the added functionality it brings. It demonstrates our commitment to the needs of our academic partners and our desire to continually enhance and improve our observational assessment software.” "Educators want confidence that they can maintain reliability for their examinations when migrating to virtual platforms. To meet the needs of modern educators, Qpercom have developed a robust system capable of compiling, analysing and distributing results electronically without fear of technical difficulties.” Over the past 5 years the system has been used to successfully assess clinical skills in ten universities including the Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dundee University and University of St Andrews in Scotland, and NUI Galway (School of Medicine). For more information visit www.qpercom.ie ENDS

Friday, 26 April 2013

Students and staff at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine recently collaborated in hosting a major international conference addressing healthcare issues of global significance. TEDMED Live was held at the University on Friday, April 19 as a satellite event of the annual TEDMED conference taking place at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, USA. NUI Galway is one of the first institutions outside the United States to receive permission from TEDMED, a multi-disciplinary community of innovators and leaders working together to address the societal causes of ill health, to stage a local conference. The NUI Galway TEDMED Live event attracted over 250 delegates, comprising medical students and academic staff, who contributed to the pre-conference discussions using social media. Organised by Tariq Esmail, a third-year medical student from Canada studying at NUI Galway, the event featured four local NUI Galway speakers, each of whom delivered a short presentation on one of TEDMED’s 20 Great Challenges in Medicine. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway, explored innovative approaches to human tissue regeneration. Professor Laurence Egan, a Consultant in Gastroenterology, tackled the topic of chronic disease management. Dr Francis Finucance, a Consultant Endocrinologist at University Hospital Galway, gave a captivating perspective on societal approaches to managing the obesity crisis. Professor Matt Griffin, Professor of Transplant Biology at NUI Galway, highlighted the central role of the patient in healthcare in his engaging talk entitled Patient-centred care has been and always will be a winning philosophy. All of the local speakers’ presentations were professionally recorded and will be shared with a global audience on www.TEDMED.com. TEDMED has committed to inviting the most creative and engaging speakers to next year’s main conference in the USA. The organisation granted permission to NUI Galway to transmit their preferred session from the TEDMED conference in the USA to their local delegates at last Friday’s event. This webcast featured six international speakers, including such luminaries as Dr Francis S. Collins, an American physician-geneticist renowned for his leadership of the International Human Genome Project and currently serving as Director of the National Institutes of Health in the USA. Reflecting on the success of this international partnership, Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway and academic adviser for the conference, said: “The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is proud to have been the first Irish institution to host a TEDMED Live satellite conference. The success of this initiative owes much to the vision and diligence of Tariq Esmail, one of our most capable international medical students, to the MedSoc student society, to the enthusiastic student and academic delegates attending the event, and to the powerful impact of the four local speakers, whose presentations have now reached a global audience. Dr Flaherty added: “We are planning to create a novel special study module, entitled TEDMED, which will give ownership of the event to our students and allow us to stage a TEDMED conference annually and invite a larger audience from the wider University and the general public. TEDMED is a forum for innovative approaches to complex global health problems and NUI Galway is proud to be an active partner in this influential community of thinkers and opinion leaders.” -ENDS-

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Details are emerging from a recent research expedition to the Sub-Tropical North Atlantic. The objective of the expedition was to study the salt concentration (salinity) of the upper ocean. Scientists aboard the Spanish research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa, including National University of Ireland Galway’s Dr Brian Ward with two of his PhD students, Graig Sutherland and Anneke ten Doeschate, explored the essential role of the ocean in the global water cycle. This oceanographic research campaign is aimed at understanding the salinity of the upper ocean, which is a much more reliable indicator of the water cycle than any land-based measurement. How the water cycle evolves in response to global warming is one of the most important climate change issues. The experiment was located in the North Atlantic Salinity Maximum, which has the highest salt concentration of any of the world’s oceans. Dr Ward explains: “It is not the depths of the ocean which is its most important aspect, but its surface. Everything that gets exchanged between the ocean and atmosphere, such as water, must cross the air-sea interface. We are trying to better understand how small scale turbulence is responsible for the air-sea exchange of freshwater. What is surprising is that these small-scale processes can affect large-scale patterns over the North Atlantic, and we are trying to connect the dots.” The initial part of this ocean field campaign was to conduct a survey of the area to map out horizontal and vertical distribution of salinity using an instrument that was towed behind the ship. “We found quite a lot of fresher water intermingled with the background salty water, but it is moving around quite a bit due to ocean currents, and when we returned to the fresh patch, it had moved. We were currently hunting for this freshwater, as one of the objectives is to understand the spatial inhomogeneity of the upper ocean salinity”, explains Dr Ward. Studying the processes at the ocean surface requires specialised instrumentation, as most measurements ‘miss’ the upper few meters. The National University of Ireland Galway’s AirSea Group are measuring the salinity, temperature, and turbulence of the upper 10 metres of the ocean with very fine detail using their Air-Sea Interaction Profiler (ASIP). The torpedo-shaped device, which is deployed into the water to gather data autonomously, is unique and the only one of its kind. Dr Ward explains: “The ocean surface has been the focus of my research for several years, but there was no easy way to measure what is going on here as there were no instruments available, so we built our own.” The ability to make these unique measurements has resulted in international recognition for the research being conducted at National University of Ireland Galway. Dr Ward’s Research Group is the AirSea Laboratory, which is affiliated with the Ryan Institute and resides in the School of Physics at the National University of Ireland Galway. The main objective of the AirSea Laboratory is to study the upper ocean and lower atmosphere processes which are responsible for atmosphere-ocean exchange.  This experiment is concerned with air-sea exchange of water, but other studies that the AirSea Laboratory have been involved with were looking at how carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, is transported between the air and sea. Dr Ward explains: “The ocean and atmosphere are a coupled system and therefore need to be studied in unison. A major part of our research is to determine how this system affects and is affected by climate and environmental change.” This Irish and Spanish collaboration is part of a bigger international effort called SPURS - Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study. There was also an American research ship in the area participating in the SPURS study, and the Spanish ship was visited by Dr Ray Schmitt from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  Dr Ward collaborates extensively with the WHOI scientists: “The WHOI scientists have autonomous gliders with microsensors attached, similar to our ASIP. During our measurements, they directed their gliders to the same area as ASIP, and we provided them with data to ground-truth their measurements. This was an excellent opportunity to enhance our links with WHOI, who are the largest oceanographic research institution in the USA.” One of the biggest motivators for SPURS was the recent launch of two satellites for measuring ocean salinity: the European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS), and NASA’s Aquarius mission. Dr Ward explains: “It is envisioned that with the combination of the in-situ measurements, satellites, and computer models, we can improve our estimates of global climate change and the water cycle. These data will also be used to improve weather forecasting, and we worked with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting during this field experiment.” The research vessel left the Canary Islands on 16 March and completed its journey in the Azores on 13 April, during which time the vessel was home to 19 scientists, 6 technicians and 18 crew members. -ends-

Friday, 1 March 2013

Sligo-based blue chip company ProTek Group have announced that it has acquired the business of Galway-based medical device design firm AP Design which is based in the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre. Based in Sligo’s IDA Business Park, ProTek Medical is one of Ireland’s leading contract manufacturing providers to international blue chip medical device companies. ProTek Medical specialises in injection moulding components for critical care medical device applications such as, stent delivery devices used in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgeries. According to Enterprise Ireland the medical device sector is worth €7.2bn to Irish exports each year. The new ProTek Design facility in Galway puts the company in the centre of Europe’s largest medical device hub. Employing over 125 highly skilled people in a state of the art facility, the additional capabilities mean ProTek is poised to generate job growth across a variety of disciplines over the next 12 months. AP Design has been supporting companies in new product development since 2006. The acquisition means AP Design will continue to deliver innovative product design together with the infrastructure, resources and support services of ProTek Medical to become a complete outsourcing provider to Medical Device and Healthcare companies. Des Regan Owner of AP Design, said: “The company is committed to our existing projects and has strategic integration plans prepared to ensure projects run seamlessly. The entire team here at AP Design will remain in our Galway office with myself assuming the role of Design Director at ProTek Medical. We are very excited of this new venture and are looking and are looking forward to providing added manufacturing capabilities that complement our design services.” Speaking on behalf of the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway, Fiona Neary said: “We in NUI Galway are delighted to hear about the acquisition of AP Design and Protek Medical one of Ireland’s leading contract manufacturers, we are confident this enhanced team will deliver innovative products and design and continue to go from strength to strength. We look forward to building further relationships with Protek Medical as we have with AP Design and NUI Galway is happy to offer any supports required going forward. I wish you every success for the future as you grow and strengthen your collaboration." ENDS

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pat McCabe makes a return to Galway for a public interview hosted by the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 20 March. The interview will be conducted by Kevin Barry, author of There are Little Kingdoms, which won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2007, City of Bohane (2011) and Dark Lies the Island (2012). Pat McCabe’s 1992 novel The Butcher Boy, which ‘takes you seductively to places you had no wish to visit’ as ‘Dennis the Menace becomes Jack the Ripper’ (The Observer), was awarded the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Prize for fiction and brilliantly adapted to film by Neil Jordan. His subsequent novels include The Dead School (1995), Breakfast on Pluto (1998), also adapted to film with Cillian Murphy in the lead role, and Winterwood (2006).  During his visit to NUI Galway, where he was writer in residence in 1999, McCabe will contribute to the Centre for Irish Studies Archive of Irish Writers. The archive includes recordings of more than 25 authors, including John McGahern, Eugene McCabe, Hugo Hamilton, Dermot Healy, Desmond Hogan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Paul Durcan, and Paula Meehan. The public interview will take place in the O’Flaherty Theatre at 8.00pm.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie Ends

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

NUI Galway, in conjunction with Coláiste Iognáid, is delighted to announce the final concert of the Arts in Action concert series on Thursday, 21 March in The Bailey Allen, featuring special guests Cora and Breda Smyth. Performing also on the night, the University Medical School Orchestra directed by Carl Hession, the newly formed Choral Scholars of the St Nicholas Schola Cantorum directed by Mark Duley, The Jes Choir and a special appearance by Frankie Gavin and Michelle Lally. The programme for the finale concert is a fundraising event for the local Jesuit Secondary School Building Fund (Coláiste Iognáid) and promises to be a compelling concert featuring a mix of musical styles and song that includes classical, traditional, and Jazz, among many others, artfully juxtaposed to create a truly remarkable and enjoyable experience. Cora Smyth is a musician and performer of the highest quality. Whether it’s lighting up a stage for Prince Albert of Monaco or bringing Michael Eavis to his feet at Glastonbury festival Cora never ceases to bring her audience under her charm. Cora gained years of valuable experience performing alongside Michael Flatley in “Lord of the Dance”, “Feet of Flames” and “Celtic Tiger”. In January 2011 and 2012 Cora was nominated for “Top Fiddle” in the IMA awards in the US. Breda Smyth plays fiddle and tin whistle and has won many All-Ireland titles. She has toured extensively not alone with Lord of the Dance but also with her own solo performances. She released her debut album ‘Basil and Thyme’ in 2002 and was subsequently nominated as female traditional musician of the year by the ‘Irish Music Magazine’. She has recorded and performed with many international artists including Paul Brady, Eddie Reader, Sharon Shannon, Gerry Douglas, Luka Bloom, Hazel O’Connor and many more. The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for two years and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. In September 2012 NUI Galway and the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas entered into a new partnership with the establishment of twenty choral scholarships for promising young NUI Galway student singers. The scholars form a small chamber choir offering a high level of engagement. Arts in Action concerts are free for students at NUI Galway but this fundraising event will have an admission of €15 for the general public. Students will need ID on the night to gain admission. The Arts in Action concert in the Bailey Allen Hall on Thursday, 21March will start at 8pm sharp. Tickets can be purchased directly from Catherine Hickey at Coláiste Iognáid on 091 – 501550 or on the door on the night. Ends

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Third-level student volunteers from NUI Galway and GMIT, together with Transition Year students from Taylor’s Hill and Salerno Secondary schools were acknowledged for their volunteering throughout the 2012 Galway Science & Technology Festival at a special ceremony at NUI Galway recently. Professor Tom Sherry, College of Science at NUI Galway and Vice-Chairman of the Galway Science & Technology Forum and Tom Hyland, Chairperson of the Galway Science & Technology Forum presented certificates to 70 students for their volunteering efforts at the Main Exhibition of last year’s festival. Professor Sherry highlighted the contribution of the Volunteers to the festival: “The group of student volunteers we are thanking today contributed significantly to the success of the Festival Main Exhibition last November. Over 25,000 members of the public, young and old, visited the NUI Galway campus to see the extremely informative and interactive industrial and research exhibits and the highly entertaining science shows aimed at the younger visitors.  Members of the public, young and old alike were full of praise for these volunteers without whom the festival could not have been such a success.” Tom Hyland also congratulated the student Volunteers for responding to the call to help out at this great annual event: “Science, technology, engineering, innovation and research are extremely important to the economic future of Galway and Ireland.  This annual festival captures the interest and imagination of young people and encourages them to imagine future careers in these areas. Our message to these young people is to continue to study and be interested in the STEM subject areas – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

As part of the international Brain Awareness Week, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will hold a public information exhibit from 13-14 March in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Members of the public and children from local schools will have the opportunity to visit the exhibit to learn more about how the brain and nervous system work. The exhibit will consist of interactive displays where visitors can learn more about the nervous system in a hands-on way.  For example, there will be various puzzles and tests of hand-eye coordination, visual perception, left/right handedness, creativity and many others. Approximately 180 million Europeans are thought to suffer from a brain disorder, at a total cost of almost €800 billion per annum and visitors will have the chance to learn more about the brain and related disorders through a series of large information posters prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre.  The posters will cover a variety of illnesses including: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Stroke, Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury. Information leaflets obtained from brain-related charities and organisations will be displayed and available for the public to take away, such as MS Ireland, Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Aware, Chronic Pain Ireland, Shine, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and Brainwave. Microscopes which can be used to view brain cells and brain tissue sections will be available for those interested in seeing what a brain cell and brain tissue really looks like. Additional features include plastic models of the nervous system, and even Play-Doh and colouring books for the very young! There will be short talks on the brain by neuroscientists from NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. Dr Una Fitzgerald, lead organiser of the exhibit, said: “We hope that this event will increase public awareness about how the brain and nervous system work, and increases awareness of brain disorders and the need for further research and investment in this area.”   NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre acknowledges funding from the Dana Foundation and the University’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science. -ENDS-