Thursday, 17 January 2013

NUI Galway Drama Students Get in on the Act Theatrecorp's seventh classic production, William Shakespeare’sMeasure For Measure, will run from 29 January to 2 February in the Black Box Theatre. The play is directed by Max Hafler, a teacher on the Drama programmes at NUI Galway. This play is rarely seen in the West of Ireland and Drama students from the University get to see first-hand behind the scenes of such a production, while some current students and recent graduates have secured performing roles in the production. The play will be presented in raw ensemble style, which is a style the company embraced in many of its previous productions. Max Hafler, his cast and design team will be utilising a specific acting technique in rehearsal, the Chekhov Technique, to explore and work on the text. Max Hafler, who has trained with the renowned Michael Chekhov Association in the US, has been working with actors extensively in this technique.   Measure For Measure issupported by NUI Galway and as part of the University’s relationship with the company, Theatrecorp provide several placement opportunities for performers and technical crew from the BA in Drama and Theatre Programme, with NUI Galway students also working on the production. In addition, Measure For Measure is being taught to second-year English students, providing an invaluable teaching resource for the University, with a post-show talk on the production. Dr Patrick Lonergan, Head of Drama Programmes at NUI Galway, said: “Max Hafler is a long-serving teacher on our Drama programmes here at NUI Galway, and has done a huge amount to prepare the next generation of Galway actors, directors, and theatre audiences. For that reason, we are particularly delighted to be able to support this production, which will greatly aid our students' appreciation of one of Shakespeare's most challenging plays. This TheatreCorp production promises to be of interest to everyone who loves theatre in this city: it will, as ever, be visually inventive, thematically rich, and superbly well acted. We're looking forward to it immensely.” Actress and NUI Galway teacher Sarah O’Toole plays Isabella, current student Darragh O’Brien and MA in Drama graduate Emmet Byrne are also acting, and students Muireann Ní Raghaillaigh and Lane Jackson work on the technical team. Measure for Measure is supported by NUI Galway, the Town Hall Theatre and Galway City Council. Tickets for Measure for Measure can be purchased from the Town Hall Theatre at 091 569777 or visit www.tht.ie, or on the door at the Black Box.  -ENDS-

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Wednesday, 30 January - Friday, 1 February Public invited to keynote lecture by Tony Juniper, top international environmentalist and author of the new book ‘What has Nature ever done for us?’ Over 300 researchers will gather in NUI Galway on 30 January for a three-day conference called ENVIRON2013. The theme of the conference is ‘Environment: From Ecosystem Functioning to Human Health’. “Human health and wellbeing is achieved and maintained through our interactions with the world around us. Clean air, clean drinking water, safe food, good quality soils, and smart land use are essential elements in achieving good health and wellbeing”, according to Dr Martina Prendergast, convenor of ENVIRON2013 and Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway. “This year we have included five activities of the conference that are open and free to the general public. Those interested in issues such as the future of energy usage in Ireland, air pollution, or how nature can benefit health, are welcome to come along and join us for the public sessions,” added Dr Prendergast. The conference will challenge delegates to consider how their research can contribute to providing a healthier planet and thereby a healthier society. The event is the 23rd Irish Environmental Researchers’ Colloquium, and is co-hosted by the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway in association with the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI). Free events open to the public While access to the main conference is subject to a delegate fee, ENVIRON2013 will feature five free events open to the general public. These will include a public debate, a keynote address by environmentalist Tony Juniper, a career exhibition, a memorial lecture and a photography and art exhibition. Public Debate: A Q&A style panel debate on the topic of ‘Securing Ireland’s Energy Future’ will take place onWednesday, 30 January, from 8-10pm in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway and will be preceded at 7.30pm by refreshments. Duncan Stewart, presenter of the RTÉ programme Eco Eye will moderate the debate which will cover a wide array of topics such as energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, CO2 emissions, power, heat, transport, fuel imports/energy security, and the creation of energy-related jobs. Members of the six-person panel include: Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party and former Minister for Energy, Communications and Natural Resources; Colm deBurca, Manager of Ocean Energy at ESB International; Pat Swords, Engineer and Environmental Campaigner; Brian Barrett, Senior Executive with Galway County Council; Emeritus Professor Phillip Walton, Physicist and member of the Irish pro-nuclear lobby group BENE (Better Environment with Nuclear Energy); and Dr Eimear Cotter, Senior Manager with EPA’s Climate Change and Environmental Research Unit. Keynote Lecture: The keynote lecture on Thursday, 31January will be delivered at 9.30am by Tony Juniper who is one of the top ten international environmental figures of the last 30 years and who has a new book out this month called ‘What has Nature ever done for us?’ He will speak about ‘Nature for Health - Opportunities for People and the Environment’. Tony Juniper is a British campaigner, writer, sustainability advisor and leading environmentalist recognised among other activities for his work as Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and as Vice-Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000-2008. Career Expo: The conference will feature the ‘ENVIRON Career Expo and CV advice shop’. Attendees will meet representatives from NGOs, environmental consultancies, research institutes, and semi-state bodies who are all actively recruiting positions. Attendees can discuss job opportunities, internships, post-doctorate and PhD programmes, and receive free expert career advice. All members of the public are welcome to bring along their CVs. The career expo takes place in the foyer of the Bailey Allen Hall on Thursday, 31 January, from 1-5pm. Memorial Lecture: Professor S. Gerard Jennings, Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics and former Director of the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway will deliver a lecture remembering the former Professor of Physics, Tom O’Connor (RIP), who passed away in November 2012. The late Professor O’Connor dedicated decades of his career to making important contributions to the fields of atmospheric physics, aerosol science, occupational hygiene, and the history of science. In what was a prolific career, he was instrumental in the setting up of the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, located on the west coast near Carna, Co. Galway. Since he took the first readings at Mace Head in 1958 it has grown to become one of the most important sites for atmospheric research in the Northern hemisphere, with its data used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. Photography and Art Exhibition: Throughout the conference, a photography exhibition in the foyer of the Bailey Allen Hall will feature entries received for the ENVIRON 2013 photography competition. In addition, the French artist, Francois Gunning, will have an exhibition of 20 of his pieces on display during the Thursday and Friday of the conference. Francois paints pictures and builds sculptures using recycled materials and plastic debris found on the sea shore and along the coast on beaches.   To find out full details and access a schedule for all events associated with this conference, visit http://www.esaiweb.org/environ/public-event/ -ends-

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Maeve Mulrennan, Head of Visual Arts, Galway Arts Centre, today (Wednesday, 16 January) launched the 13th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt. The Festival, which runs from 4-8 February, contains a superb programme of art, music, performance, dance, literature and film revolving around this year’s theme of ‘Merriment and What Not’. This year's festival hosts an array of international, national and local artists including special guest, Mario Pirovano, who will perform ‘Francis the Holy Jester’ written by nobel-prize winner Dario Fo. Mario is the only actor that Dario Fo has permitted to perform this piece. Triko Cirkus Teatar (Best Independent Theatre Company in Croatia in 2012) will bring their hit show ‘Slavuj/Nightingale/Rossigno, including four theatre clowns in the style of Jacques LeCoq and three musicians, directed by Lee DeLong. This is their only show in Ireland. New work is a very important feature of each Múscailt Festival and artist Conor Gallagher will install ‘Channels’, an ambitious, mixed media show where original paintings and driftwood sculptures meet. The foyer of the Bank of Ireland Student Theatre will house new installations and art objects by Nick Hitchcox, Maria Hitchcox and Hannah O’Reilly, and Robin Jones will blur the distinction between drawing and sculpture in his outdoor ‘Temporary Work’. Artsoc will present their annual show in Áras na Mac Léinn and the duo of art student Paul Kearney and local artist, Podge Daly, will exhibit new oil paintings entitled ‘Reflections & Fragments’ in the University Art Gallery. Nick Danziger, international photographer and film-maker and Adjunct Professor at the NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will display ‘The British’, a collection of photographs of Great Britain in the 1990s. Closer to home, Women’s ID Project, portrays women in their lives and communities in the Westside and Ballybane in Galway.  New band Immis, Una Ní Fhlannagáin, Brewen Favrau and Ger Chambers, on harp, pipes and accordion will delight and inspire with music full of soul and drive. Chorchestrad’s performance on the opening night of Múscailt promises to be a highlight. After a spectacular experiment last year, the three societies, the NUI Galway Orchestra, Choral Soc and Trad Soc will join forces again on newly selected material. Traditional music will also feature with performances from students of the Dioplóma sna Dána (Cóiriú agus Stáitsiú an Cheoil Thraidisiúnta). The Witless Band Competition Final will take place in the Student Union Bar on Tuesday, 5 February. Live artist, Áine Phillips, will perform ‘Spectral’, with sound by Trevor Knight, and will also deliver the opening address at a one-day seminar on interdisciplinary artistic collaboration, entitled ‘All Collaborators will be shot’. During the seminar professional artists and collaborators will give presentations, and the public are invited to join proceedings.  Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) will perform the rock opera, ‘RENT’, with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, based on Puccini’s opera La Bohéme in the Black Box, from 5-9 February. ‘RENT’ tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side, finding their voices and living for today.   Múscailt hosts the premiere of new performances including ‘Glowpunk’, written and performed by Frank Cronin, a student who has been living in a tent on campus since September and is a distillation of his experiences. Local artists Esti Siles, Judith Bernhardt and Helen Caird will perform ‘MOVE’, a new dance meets painting performance. SOLO SHOW will showcase seven original ‘five-minute monologues’ by NUI Galway’s students and staff and the Colours Theatre Company premieres a new one-man show ‘The Statue’. President Jim Browne extends an open invitation to the public to attend the ‘The Galway Music Residency-NUI Galway Sponsor’s Concert’, at 1pm on Thursday, 7 February in the Bailey Allen Hall. The specially chosen programme ‘A brief history of classical music from Bach to Beatles’ includes ‘The Arrival of Queen of Sheba’ by George Friedrich Handel, ‘Meditation’ by Jules Massenet and ‘Rag Tim’ by Scott Joplin, all performed by Galway Ensemble-in-Residence, ConTempo Quartet, in association with NUI Galway’s Arts in Action programme. Literature today can take many forms as will be revealed when current staff and alumni read from their latest ‘exploits’ in writing and the Writers Society will present an evening of new student writing. This year new artwork created on-site at NUI Galway will include: a large-scale original photographic work for Áras Moyola by local photographer Aengus McMahon; exhibits by painting and drawing classes on the balcony of Áras na Mac Léinn; new work by artist Marina Wild in DERI ‘Art’ Café; and a revamp of the Yarn Bomb Sculpture by NUI Galway Knitting and Crochet Group. Commenting on this year's line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer said: “Our theme this year, ‘Merriment and What Not’, comes courtesy of Eyeore in Winnie-the-Pooh, and encourages the creative act that bursts forth with unexpected results. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday to Friday and open to the public, with many of the events free to attend. For further information, or for a copy of the programme, visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie or contact the Arts Office at 493766 or 495098. Tickets for events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. RENT tickets are also available from Town Hall Theatre www.tht.ie or 569777. -Ends-   13ú Féile Múscailt in OÉ Gaillimh le Téama Cruthaitheach Sheol Maeve Mulrennan, Ceannaire na dTaibh-Ealaíon in Ionad Ealaíon na Gaillimhe, an clár do 13ú féile ealaíon bhliantúil OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt, inniu (Dé Céadaoin, an 16 Eanáir). Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl 4-8 Feabhra, agus tá clár iontach ealaíon, ceoil, léirithe, damhsa, litríochta agus scannánaíochta geallta. Is é téama na bliana seo ‘Merriment and What Not’. Tá ealaíontóirí idirnáisiúnta, náisiúnta agus áitiúla ar chlár na bliana seo agus an t-aoi speisialta, Mario Pirovano, a léireoidh ‘Francis the Holy Jester’ scríofa ag Dario Fo a bhuaigh duais nobel. Is é Mario an t-aon aisteoir ar lig Dario Fo dó a shaothar a léiriú. Tabharfaidh Triko Cirkus Teatar (An Compántas Neamhspleách is fearr sa Chróit in 2012) a seó cáiliúil ‘Slavuj/Nightingale/Rossignol’, go hÉirinn. Beidh ceathrar bobaide amharclainne i stíl Jacques LeCoq agus triúr ceoltóirí, faoi stiúir Lee DeLong sa seó. Is é seo an t-aon seó acu in Éirinn. Gné an-tábhachtach den Fhéile Múscailt gach bliain saothair nua agus cuirfidh an t-ealaíontóir Conor Gallagher an seó ‘Channels’ ar taispeáint. Seó ilmheáin, uaillmhianach measctha é seo a thugann bunphéintéireacht le chéile le dealbhóireacht adhmaid raice. Ar taispeáint i bhforhalla Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann beidh saothair nua le Nick Hitchcox, Maria Hitchcox agus Hannah O’Reilly, agus beidh saothar taobh amuigh ag Robin Jones dar teideal ‘Temporary Work’ atá idir líníocht agus dealbhóireacht. Cuirfidh Artsoc a seó bliantúil i láthair in Áras na Mac Léinn agus beidh taispeántas olaphictiúr ag an mac léinn ealaíne, Paul Kearney, agus an t-ealaíontóir áitiúil, Podge Daly, dar teideal ‘Reflections & Fragments’ le feiceáil i nDánlann na hOllscoile. Cuirfidh Nick Danziger, grianghrafadóir idirnáisiúnta agus scannánóir agus Ollamh Cúnta i Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston agus san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh ‘The British’ ar taispeáint, bailiúchán grianghraf as an mBreatain sna 1990idí. Níos gaire de bhaile, léireoidh Women’s ID Project, saol agus pobal na mban ar an Taobh Thiar agus sa Bhaile Bán i nGaillimh.  Bainfidh daoine an-sult as an mbanna nua Immis, Una Ní Fhlannagáin, Brewen Favrau agus Ger Chambers, ar an gcláirseach, ar an bhfeadán agus ar an gcairdín. Is cinnte go mbeidh Chorchestrad ina bhuaicphointe an chéad oíche de Mhúscailt. Turgnamh a bhí anseo anuraidh ar éirigh go hiontach leis agus tiocfaidh na trí chumann, Ceolfhoireann OÉ Gaillimh, an Cumann Córúil agus an Cumann Traidisiúnta le chéile arís i mbliana le hábhar nua. Beidh ceolchoirm lóin á reáchtáil ag mic léinn an Dioplóma sna Dána-Cóiriú & Stáitsiú an Cheoil Thraidisiúnta. Beidh craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn Dé Máirt, an 5 Feabhra. Léireoidh an t-ealaíontóir beo, Aine Phillips, ‘Spectral’, fuaim le Trevor Knight, agus tabharfaidh sí an chéad léacht ag seimineár lae ar comhpháirtíocht idirdhisciplíneach ealaíne, dar teideal ‘All Collaborators will be shot’. I rith an tseimineáir, beidh ealaíontóirí gairmiúla agus a gcomhpháirtithe i mbun oibre agus tugtar cuireadh don phobal a bheith páirteach.  Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta Ollscoil na Gaillimhe (GUMS) an ceoldráma rac, ‘RENT’ ar stáitse, le ceol agus liricí le Jonathan Larson, bunaithe ar cheoldráma Puccini, La Bohéme, ó 5-9 Feabhra. Insíonn ‘RENT’ scéal grúpa ealaíontóirí agus ceoltóirí óga bochta atá ag iarraidh maireachtáil agus a bheith cruthaitheach i Nua Eabhrac, agus iad ar thóir a nguth agus ag baint suilt as an saol.  Léireofar den chéad uair riamh saothair nua cosúil le ‘Glowpunk’ i rith Múscailt, scríofa agus léirithe ag Frank Cronin, mac léinn atá ina chónaí i bpuball ar an gcampas ó Mheán Fómhair. Is cur síos atá sa saothar ar a thaithí. Léireoidh na healaíontóirí áitiúla Esti Siles, Judith Bernhardt agus Helen Caird ‘MOVE’, damhsa nua measctha le péinteáil. Is éard is SOLO SHOW ann seacht ‘monalóg cúig nóiméad’ le mic léinn agus comhaltaí foirne OÉ Gaillimh agus den chéad uair riamh léireoidh Colours Theatre Company an seó aonair ‘The Statue’.  Ba mhaith leis an Uachtarán Jim Browne cuireadh oscailte a thabhairt don phobal freastal ar Cheol Cónaitheach na Gaillimhe - Ceolchoirm Urraitheoirí OÉ Gaillimh, ag 1pm Déardaoin, an 7 Feabhra i Halla Bailey Allen. Sa chlár seo a cuireadh le chéile go speisialta ‘A brief history of classical music from Bach to Beatles’ beidh ‘The Arrival of Queen of Sheba’ le George Friedrich Handel, ‘Meditation’ le Jules Massenet agus ‘Rag Time’ le Scott Joplin. Is iad Ensemble Cónaithe na Gaillimhe, ConTempo Quartet, i gcomhar le clár na nEalaíon Cruthaitheach in OÉ Gaillimh a bheidh i mbun siamsaíochta. Is iomaí crutha a bhíonn ar litríocht sa lá atá inniu ann mar a bheidh le feiceáil nuair a léifidh comhaltaí foirne agus alumni a saothar scríofa is deireanaí agus cuirfidh Cumann na Scríbhneoirí tráthnóna scríbhneoireachta nua na mac léinn i láthair. I mbliana, i measc na n-ealaíon nua a cruthaíodh ar an láthair in OÉ Gaillimh tá: saothar ollmhór grianghraf d’Áras Mhaighe Seola leis an ealaíontóir áitiúil Aengus McMahon; taispeántais péintéireachta agus líníochta ar an mbalcóin in Áras na Mac Léinn; saothar nua leis an ealaíontóir Marina Wild sa chaife ‘Art’ in DERI; agus athchóiriú iomlán nua ar an mBuama Snátha a rinne Grúpa Cniotála agus Cróise OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Thógamar téama na bliana seo, ‘Merriment and What Not’, ó Eyeore in Winnie-the-Pooh, mar go spreagann sé an chruthaitheacht agus is as sin a eascraíonn torthaí nach bhfuil súil leo. Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.” Tá gach taispeántas oscailte Luan go hAoine don phobal, agus tá go leor de na himeachtaí saor in aisce. Tá eolas breise agus cóip den chlár le fáil ar www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie nó téigh i dteagmháil leis an Oifig Ealaíon ar 493766 nó 495098. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Tá ticéid RENT ar fáil ó Amharclann na Cathrach chomh maith www.tht.ie nó 569777. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Due to demand NUI Galway has announced the re-opening of a computer training initiative, ‘Click and Connect’, aimed at people categorised as digitally excluded. NUI Galway, working in partnership with Limerick Community Connect, DCU and Age Action Ireland, will deliver basic computer training to 40 more people from 29 January. ‘Click and Connect’ will be delivered by the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway and this free initiative is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Experienced tutors will introduce learners to the very basics of computers and teach them computer activities such as: surfing the web, setting up and using email, how to download photographs, how to access Government information on-line. Classes will be small and will be carried out in local, non-formal learning settings. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “There are thousands of people living in Ireland today who have been left behind when it comes to the internet. Older people will particularly benefit, as will unemployed people and disadvantaged groups in the Galway region. These people miss out on opportunities most people take for granted.  For example, those not yet online cannot send emails, do internet searches for products or information, or conduct Government transactions online.” NUI Galway has designed training material suitable for beginners, with plenty of support and encouragement from the volunteer tutors. The training provided will be very basic and is intended as practical guidance for people with no prior experience of computers and the internet. Classes will be just two hours duration over three consecutive weeks and are a great opportunity to be part of this amazing digital world. If you would like more information on NUI Galway’s ‘Click and Connect’, or to register for the classes, please contact the co-ordinator David English in NUI Galway’s Discipline of Information Technology at 087 0571967. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil Joe John Mac an Iomaire ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is as Ros Dugáin, Cill Chiaráin, Joe agus is cuimhin leis a mháthair bheith ag gabháil fhoinn agus é ina leaid óg.  I dtithe cuartaíochta ar nós thigh Sheáinín Choilmín a fuair sé go leor dá chuid amhrán ina dhiaidh sin. Tá guth glan binn ag Joe John is tá a stíl amhránaíochta préamhaithe i dtraidisiún a cheantair féin.  I measc na n-amhrán is mó atá luaite leis, tá ‘An Droighneán Donn’ agus ‘Bean a’ Leanna’ a chan sé ar an gclár teilfíse Amhrán is Ansa Liom. Tá ‘Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire’ i measc na n-amhrán is ansa leis chomh maith agus canann sé gach bliain é ag an bpátrún a bhíonn ar siúl ag Máméan i mí Lúnasa. Tá Corn Uí Riada buaite faoi dhó ag Joe (1975, 1977), agus Comórtas na bhFear ag an Oireachtas (1968, 1978) agus is minic ó shin e ag canadh ag féilte in Éirinn agus thar lear, go mórmhór i mBoston mar aoi speisialta de chuid  Chonradh na Gaeilge sa chathair sin. Beidh sraith ceardlann á reachtáil ag Joe John san Ollscoil agus in áiteanna eile san Earrach agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh a chuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aige don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á cur le chéile le blianta beaga anuas ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne ar an 13Feabhra. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh éinne a bhfuil spéis aige/aici san amhránaíocht. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh OÉ Gaillimh a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. CRÍOCH   New Sean-nós Singer in Residence at Centre for Irish Studies The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Joe John Mac an Iomaire as Sean-nós Singer in Residence for 2013. The appointment of Joe John recognises his importance in the rich singing tradition of Connemara and the West of Ireland. A native of Ros Dugáin, Cill Chíaráin, Joe John remembers his mother singing from a young age, but learned much of his singing from the time-honoured practice of ‘cuartaíocht’ at houses such as that of Seainín Choilmín.  Like many of his contemporaries, Joe John’s singing is firmly rooted in the repertoire and style of his locale.  His voice is instantly recognisable for its sweetness of tone and distinct delivery, and his renditions of ‘An Droighneán Donn’ and ‘Bean a Leanna’ are among his signature performances which featured in TG4’s recent Amhrán is Ansa Liom.  ‘Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire’ is also a favourite and he makes the annual pilgrimage to Maméan each August to sing it as part of the revived pattern there.  Joe John won Corn Uí Riada on two occasions (1975 and 1977), and he was also successful in Comórtas na bhFear at An tOireachtas in 1968 and again in 1978.  He has been invited to sing at festivals throughout Ireland, and indeed, has been a favoured guest of Conradh na Gaeilge in Boston on many occasions.  During his residency, Joe John will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues in Galway.  A selection of his repertoire will also be recorded to deposit in the Sean-Nós Archive at the Centre for Irish Studies. The Sean-nós singing workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway will commence on the 13th of February 2013 and are free of charge and open to all. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. ENDS

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

NUI Galway is delighted to announce that its Energy Management System (EnMS) has been awarded certification by CICS Global (UK) for compliance with the International Energy Management Standard ISO 50001:2011. NUI Galway is only the second university in Ireland to achieve this standard. Energy is one of the biggest recurring costs NUI Galway face annually. The implementation of an energy management system will not only help to manage and monitor energy consumption, but also to reduce it. This maximizes energy efficiency and reduces annual energy consumption and resulting expenditure on critical utilities. Savings made in this way will help to fund ongoing expenditure in other energy reduction programs and to invest in new energy efficient technologies. NUI Galway’s Buildings Services Engineering Manager, Noel O’ Connor says: “We implemented an innovative Energy Management System model that achieved the ISO 50001 standard within three months and this success was built on the skills and dedication of a small team of staff, and on investments by the Buildings Office in technical systems and energy metering “Whilst there are many innovative features throughout the University’s Energy Management System model, the two unique to NUI Galway include: The incorporation of the Display Energy Certificate rating system as a management tool allowing comparative performance rating of mixed use and multiple buildings of various fabric standards, occupancies and applications. The introduction of an incentive scheme where financial savings achieved through energy reduction are reinvested back into the Department/Unit responsible for those savings. These reinvestments are ‘ring fenced’ and are a powerful incentive to continue reducing energy consumption.” NUI Galway has an annual replacement program for existing building stock to install energy efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling systems. The capital building program is heavily influenced by a focus and philosophy of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, beyond present day regulations and planning standards.  A case in point is the newly opened Engineering Building. The building contains a wide- range of renewable energy, and energy saving technologies such as Biomass heating, solar thermal hot water heating rainwater harvesting, combined heat and power (CHP) plant, , LED lighting, insulation and glazing properties in excess of planning requirements, and  low-embodied energy materials in its construction. ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in facilitating trade, spread knowledge, disseminate innovative advances in technology, and share good management and conformity assessment practices. ISO 50001 is based on the management system model that is already understood and implemented by organisations worldwide. It can make a positive difference for organisations of all types in the very near future, while supporting longer term efforts for improved energy technologies. ENDS

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Students from across Connacht who received an A in Junior Certificate Honours Business Studies, were presented with Certificates of Achievement from the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway recently. The presentations, in association with the Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI), were made at a special ceremony at the University which included teachers and parents. This is the third year NUI Galway has presented these awards and 260 students received recognition for their achievement at the ceremony. The certificates were awarded to students from over 55 individual schools throughout the counties of Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Presenting the certificates to each individual winner, NUI Galway’s Registrar and Vice-President, Professor Nollaig MacCongáil said: “NUI Galway’s international success is built on a strong and enduring relationship with its hinterland and therefore we see these awards as very important. I congratulate all the students on their achievement and also the work of teachers in helping students achieve their potential. I hope I will also have the pleasure of meeting many of these students again in NUI Galway in the future on one of our business or commerce programmes.”  Jennie Harrington, President, BSTAI said “The BSTAI is delighted to continue its partnership with NUI Galway in hosting this ceremony which celebrates and recognises academic excellence in Business Studies at a young age. I am confident many of today’s award recipients will build successful careers in the business world.” ENDS

Monday, 28 January 2013

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne On behalf of NUI Galway and the university community, I extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of Éamon de Buitléar.  Éamon de Buitléar was an outstanding figure of modern Ireland.  An exceptional film-maker, a committed environmentalist, a public intellectual, author, musician and member of Seanad Éireann - he was a man of many parts and a man whose contribution to Irish society has enriched the lives of many generations. Most of us can recall Éamon’s passion for the Irish environment, brought to life through his books and television progammes.  His enduring legacy will be a sense of respect for the landscape and heritage of Ireland, along with a joyful enthusiasm for the culture and traditions of our nation. We in NUI Galway are deeply honored by our association with Éamon de Buitléar.  His decision to donate his rich multi-media, bi-lingual archive to the University will mean that his lifetime’s work of creativity and advocacy will be held in trust here for the nation and for generations of scholars.  We are proud to have been entrusted with that task. As dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.   Aitheasc Ómóis an Uachtaráin d’Éamon de Buitléar Thar ceann Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus chomhluadar na hOllscoile, déanaim comhbhrón ó chroí le muintir agus le cairde Éamoin de Buitléar. Duine as an ngnáth ar fad i saol comhaimseartha na hÉireann a bhí in Éamon de Buitléar.  Bhain sé barr feabhais agus cáil amach mar fhear déanta scannán, mar fhear ar chás leis cothú na timpeallachta, mar intleachtóir poiblí, mar údar, mar cheoltóir agus mar bhall de Sheanad Éireann – fear ildánach iltréitheach a bhí ann a shaibhrigh sochaí na hÉireann thar bhlianta fada ar an iliomad dóigh. Is cuimhin lenár mbunús an cion mór a bhí ag Éamon ar thimpeallacht na hÉireann a léiríodh trína chuid leabhar agus clár teilifíse. Mairfidh tionchar agus lorg Éamoin go ceann i bhfad sa mheas breise a bheas ag daoine ar thírdhreach agus ar oidhreacht na hÉireann agus sa spéis ghliondrach bhreise a chuirfear i gcultúr agus i dtraidisiúin na tíre seo. Tá idir bhród agus áthas orainn in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh as ár gceangal le hÉamon de Buitléar. Nuair a chinn sé ar a aircív shaibhir ilmheán dhátheangach a bhronnadh ar an Ollscoil, chinntigh sé lena linn sin go mbeadh a shaothar saoil i réimse na cruthaitheachta agus na bolscaireachta poiblí   i dtaisce go sábháilte agus ar fáil feasta don náisiún agus don lucht léinn. Tá bród orainn gur leag sé an cúram sin orainn. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Participants needed for new study As the build-up to Valentine’s Day begins, for one NUI Galway researcher it’s an opportunity to ask the over sixties to tell her about love. Kate Burke, a doctoral student at NUI Galway, wants to examine the importance of romantic relationships for people over the age of 60. She has created a questionnaire and ideally needs around 200 people to participate. Apart from being over 60, participants should also either be in a romantic relationship or have been in a relationship within the last 10 years. “We are hoping to identify the most important elements of successful romantic relationships, and how these factors influence one another”, explains Kate, who is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist and carrying out her research under the supervision of Dr Michael Hogan, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway. Successful romantic relationships are recognised as being beneficial for psychological wellbeing and physical health. Communication, intimacy, sex and love have been found to be important in relationship satisfaction, however this research is usually completed with younger couples. “Older adults are largely neglected when it comes to this kind of research”, says Kate, “with the focus being on younger people and newlyweds. However, I think older people have a lot of experience and can offer a different perspective that younger people can’t.” In order to create the survey, Kate has already carried out some in-depth research with a group of younger people, and older people. Using what’s known as collective intelligence methodology, Kate was able to establish some stark differences between the focus groups. “So far, in testing this research area, we think that older people see honesty as being the fundamental driver of all other elements of successful romantic relationships. Honesty is an interesting concept as it involves self-disclosure and risks putting an individual in a vulnerable position, and yet the ability to disclose honestly can facilitate a deeper level of intimacy in the relationship. The older adult group were able to draw on their experience and recognise honesty as critical to the long-term success of romantic relationships.” For younger adults, communication and trust significantly enhance all elements of relationship success. Older adults also acknowledged the importance of communication and both younger and older adults identified intimacy as an important component of relationship success. However, there were also differences in the elements of relationship success identified by younger and older adults.  Specifically, older adults argued for the importance of religion, companionship, and respect, whereas younger adults argued for the importance of attraction, compatibility and love. “The survey will hopefully build on our previous findings and provide some statistical information about this interesting topic, allowing us to learn more about what’s important in loving relationships for older people. The survey itself is a series of tick box questions, and hopefully should only take people half an hour to fill out. It would be great if people could share their experience with us.” Those who wish to participate in the online study should log onto https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MBNJ9CL Participants can also complete the survey in paper format by contacting Kate on 0879451299 or kateburke85@gmail.com. All participants’ data will be kept confidential with no identifying information attached to the questionnaires. -ends-

Monday, 28 January 2013

Biomaterials for human tissue engineering, drug delivery applications, dental and bone fillers, and wound dressings   A new generation of ‘green’ biomaterials are to be sourced from the Atlantic Ocean by a team of scientists across Europe. As part of the project, two research groups based at the National University of Ireland Galway have received funding of over €0.5 millioneuro to investigate the potential use of such marine materials for applications in the biomedical industry. The University’s Irish Seaweed Research Group (ISRG) and the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) will work on the two-year project which has a total of ten partners from France, Portugal, Spain, the UK and Ireland. The primary focus of the project is to research and develop new products and applications with particular emphasis on the development of biomaterials for human tissue engineering, drug delivery applications, dental and bone fillers, and wound dressings. Galway is a global manufacturing and research hub for medical devices and its coastal location has given rise to the highest concentration of marine scientists of any area in Ireland. By bringing together two of the most widely recognised research fields in the region, the project has the potential to lead the way in the discovery of the next generation of ‘green’ biomaterials. The project, ‘MARMED’ is funded to the tune of €2,066,765 in total, under the Atlantic Area Translational Programme 2007-2013. Led by the University of Minho in Portugal, it aims to find economic and societal value from marine resources, marine sub-products and by-products. Behind this initiative is the drive for the sustainable use of natural resources as well as the growing realisation that the oceans possess a wealth of opportunities for marine derived medicines. Marine resources and by-products yield materials and compounds with biomedical efficacy. Many of these compounds have been isolated but only a few have reached clinical trials and the pharmaceutical market. The universities and institutes involved in this project will work closely with industrial partners involved in the marine-related and biomedical device sectors to demonstrate proof-of-concept and the added-value and high-potential of these materials in biomedical applications. Professor Abhay Pandit is Director of the NFB at the National University of Ireland Galway, and this EU grant brings to seven the number of EU projects which the Science Foundation Ireland-funded group is involved: “Marine materials have only barely been explored and their use in a biomedical context is quite an innovative approach. There are tremendous possibilities around, for example, marine derived bone proteins as an alternative to genetically engineered technologies. Meanwhile, marine collagen has huge potential for use in biomedical products such as skin substitutes. We also want to explore the use of new polysaccharides extracted from green algae for possible use in intervertebral disc repair and ceramics such as hydroxyapatite produced from fish bones which could be used in bone repair.”  The Irish Seaweed Research Group and NFB will focus on the technical development of marine biomaterials for potential added value and biomedical applications following the identification of suitable compounds and sub-products. This phase of the work will give valuable insight into how marine resources can be turned into added-value biomedical products. “Through the success of previous EU projects carried out by the ISRG and NFB and the involvement of industry partners, the utilisation avenues of under exploited marine resources can be explored. The MARMED project provides a platform for European partners to collaborate on research that will lead to the rapid development of new products for human health,” says Dr. Richard Walsh of the ISRG, which is part of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Alliance partners, NUI Galway and the University of Limerick are delighted to announce the opening of a Joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe. The NUI Galway – University of Limerick Medical Academy will bring the expertise of two of Ireland’s medical schools together through shared teaching and facilities. This allows for greater efficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure and recruitment of academic and administrative staff but also allows student of undergraduate medical training and graduate entry programmes to learn from one another.  Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe has been chosen as a step-out clinical site for the education of Medical Students from NUI Galway and the University of Limerick. As of 7 January 2013, 22 medical students from both institutions will carry out a large component of their training at the hospital. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of Medical School at NUI Galway, said: “Placements in clinical practice are the cornerstone of medical education and this will be delivered to a high standard through the rotation of students through a central university teaching hospital and the selection of regional academies. It is anticipated that a proportion of students in regional academies will become the junior and senior medical staff for these hospitals in the future. The opening of this medical teaching academy in Ballinasloe sees the completion of the network of regional medical academies representing partnerships between NUI Galway and HSE West and more recently Galway Roscommon University Hospital Trust.” Professor Dunne added: “Recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure in NUI Galway, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as ground-breaking developments in our research activities, have positioned the Medical School as one of the top Schools in the country and we are delighted to offer this unique approach to medical education with University of Limerick to our students.” The opening of the Ballinasloe Academy is unique in that two medical schools will share the academy premises and academic staff. This allows for greater efficiencies in maintenance of infrastructure and recruitment of academic and administrative staff but also allows students progressing through two different curricula to learn from one another. Professor Michael Larvin, Head, Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, welcomed the announcement; "UL is delighted to see another example of collaboration between our two universities with the creation of this joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula Hospital.  This collaboration gives both Universities an excellent opportunity to compare the complementary medical education learning experiences of undergraduate and graduate entry medical students.  Our expectation is that their co-existence will lead to great synergy.  The hospital currently hosts UL medical students in Medicine, Surgery and Paediatrics and they have been wonderfully supported by the hospital staff. The GEMS student evaluations of their experience at the Portiuncula Hospital have been consistently excellent and we are excited to see the arrival of NUI Galway medical students.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for both staff and students to learn from each other.” Dr Maeve Durkan, Dean of NUI Galway – University of Limerick Medical Academy said: “We are delighted to celebrate the merging of these two Academies, NUI Galway School of Medicine and University Limerick, Graduate Entry Medical School which represents the first such venture in the country. Portiuncula Hospital is very pleased at this resounding endorsement by two of our leading medical schools, which reiterates the esteem in which both our clinical and teaching disciplines are held. Portiuncula is committed to consistent high quality care of our patients and this development reiterates that. Equally we recognize the absolute importance of medical education, I am personally proud of the dedication of our module leaders who are instrumental in the delivery of both high quality care and education.  In the last three years, the highest achieving graduates in the UL GEMS program have all trained at Portiuncula Hospital that alone speaks to our talents and dedication. This collaboration is a new departure in the merging of both an undergraduate and postgraduate program, which will be challenging and instructive but a challenge that we will embrace.” Established in 2010, the NUI Galway - UL Strategic Alliance is an institution-wide partnership which covers all of the key areas of activity including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. The objective of the alliance is to better support the social and economic development of our wider region by combining the strengths of the two Universities so as to increase the quantity and quality of our collaborative research and teaching, to further develop industrial, business and other partnerships, to ensure the most effective use of our combined resources, and to enhance the international standing of both Universities. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

                                             Sport Scholarships presented to 25 students At a special ceremony at NUI Galway tomorrow, 25 new recipients of University student Sports Scholarships will be presented.  This brings the total number of students receiving sports scholarships at NUI Galway to 60. NUI Galway offers comprehensive sports scholarships to students each year to support and develop their sporting and academic careers. As well as financial support, scholarship holders get access to NUI Galway facilities as well as physio and medical care, coaching and academic support and a range of services designed to help athletes reach the top of their sport. The range of expertise available is from experts who have all worked with top international competitors right up to and including Olympic level. The success of athletes supported by this program in recent years includes World U23 Handball Champion, Diarmuid Nash; World U23 Rowing Silver Medallist Niall Kenny; World Kickboxing Silver Medallist Des Leonard; and Olympians such as Paul Hession, Olive Loughnane, Alan Martin and Cormac Folan. The All -Ireland Finals in GAA were also strongly populated by NUI Galway sport scholarship students. Gary Ryan the Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway pointed out that, “The aim of our scholarships is to provide the right supports to young athletes that will not only help them to become world class athletes but great Doctors, Engineers and Teachers as well.” This year’s recipients reflect the growing strength of sport in the region and the wide variety of talent that NUI Galway attracts. Angela O Connor is one of Ireland’s most promising young swimmers who will train in the new Connacht High Performance centre based at the University, while Lauren Murray will play with the newly formed NUI Galway Mystics in Division 1 of the National Basketball League Robert O Callaghan was part of the NUI Galway/ Gráinne Mhaol crew that won the senior 8’s at the Irish Rowing Championships in 2012, and Conor Egan and Dan Hindle were part of the successful Intermediate 4 at these championships. Clare’s Aaron Cunningham and Conor McGrath were part of the Clare team that won the All Ireland U21 Championship in 2012 and Conor O’ Shea while still a teenager was part of the Mayo panel as they reached the All-Ireland Final last September. This year the NUI Galway Soccer Club will present a scholarship in memory of the late Eamonn “Chick” Deacy. "Chick" formerly of Galway United, won an English League title with Aston Villa in 1981, he won four Irish International caps and received an honorary Masters of Arts degree from NUI Galway in 2009. The first recipient of this award is Gabriel Darcy who is studying physics and medical physics. To apply for a Sports Scholarship at NUI Galway visit http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarships_info.html for details. ENDS  

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Lokesh Joshi as the new Vice President for Research, effective immediately. The role will see Professor Joshi lead the research mission for NUI Galway and firmly place NUI Galways among the top research led Universities globally. The University has a strong commitment to research, with annual research income in the region of €58 million, over 1500 academic and research staff, and 1,200 postgraduate research students. Professor Joshi joined the University in 2007 as a Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Professor of Glycoscience and is the Director of the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster, a SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster. He received his PhD from Bath University, in the UK, and completed Post-Doctoral and Research Associate training at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Before joining NUI Galway, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Director of the Center for Glycoscience and Technologies in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, USA. Lokesh was also co-founder and CSO of Arizona Engineered Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing products for cardiovascular diseases. Speaking of his appointment, Professor Joshi commented: “I am honoured to be appointed to this role. I firmly believe that NUI Galway has a unique opportunity to excel in research areas that are relevant to Ireland and the global community and am convinced that NUI Galway's excellent research community will quickly adapt to the challenging climate in research funding and continue to be successful.” NUI Galway has internationally recognised expertise in areas including Biomedical Science and Engineering, Web Science, Human Rights, Marine Science, Energy and Environmental Science, Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy, and Humanities. Professor Joshi’s research interest is in the role of sugars (glycans) in health and diseases and for industrial bioprocessing. The Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster has been very successful in securing both SFI and EU funding, and Lokesh is currently coordinating an EU-FP7 Health project called GlycoHIT which is developing novel and faster ways to detect cancer biomarkers. Speaking on the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “I am delighted to congratulate Prof. Joshi on his appointment as Vice-President for Research.  As an accomplished and successful international researcher, Lokesh brings a unique and fresh perspective to this vital role.  I look forward to working with him to support the continued development of the University’s ambitious research agenda. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Terry Smith for his excellent contribution to the University as Vice President for Research for the last four years.” ENDS

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Comhrá Ceoil and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, are delighted to announce details of the second Martin Reilly Lecture Series.  Dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper, this series gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum.  The success of the inaugural Martin Reilly Series in 2012 confirmed the interest in research of this kind in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. Terry Moylan will present the first talk this year, which will take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 19 February at the Galway City Library.  Terry’s talk, titled ‘Paddy’s Resource – The Songsters of the Society of United Irishmen’ will explore the content of the four editions of Paddy's Resource/The Harp of Erin, the songbooks published by the Society of United Irishmen. Terry will be looking at the repertoire of songs within the collections in terms of language, iconography and their political message, as well as considering the range of tunes to which the songs were set. Terry Moylan is a piper and dancer and now the chief archivist with Na Piobairí Uilleann at its Dublin headquarters on Henrietta Street. Terry is a founder member of the Brooks Academy, which was influential in the revival of set dancing during the 1980s, and indeed since. He has published widely, including three collections of set dances and the song collection The Age of Revolution – 1776 to 1815 in the Irish Song Tradition published by the Lilliput Press.  A board member of the Irish Traditional Music Archive at various times, Terry has lectured in Ireland, Britain and the United States and it is a great pleasure to welcome him to Galway. Admission is free to all talks.  Further information on this and other planned talks in the series available at e-mail: Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com and/or Facebook: Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series ENDS

Monday, 28 January 2013

Funding for eleven research projects, with a total value of over €6 million, has been announced for NUI Galway. The awards cover a range of research areas including biomedicine, bioengineering, bioenergy production, chemistry, and commercially valuable seaweeds. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, last Friday announced funding, totalling €60million, dedicated to 85 pioneering research initiatives around the country. Eleven projects, administered via Science Foundation Ireland’s Investigator Programme, have been awarded to NUI Galway. Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said: “A central part of this Government’s plan for jobs and growth is to ensure that this research is better targeted at turning the good ideas of researchers into good products and good jobs. By supporting these world-class researchers in their ground-breaking work we will ensure that we continue to maintain, attract and develop dynamic companies and create the quality jobs we need.” President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, commented: “As a research-led university, innovative research is at the heart of all that we do. Today’s announcement is further endorsement of the calibre of research underway on our campus.  This research will have far-reaching impact and will, ultimately, address some of the major health and scientific challenges facing society.  It will also further strengthen Ireland’s capacity as a knowledge economy.  I congratulate each of the researchers on their success in winning this support from SFI for their important work.” Three examples of the research awards include: Aiding cornea transplant success: With more than 100,000 procedures annually, cornea transplantation is the most frequent procedure of human tissue. However, long-term allograft survival is limited by immunological problems. Dr Thomas Ritter and his team will try to overcome this problem through novel cell and gene therapeutic approaches. Using synthetic carbohydrate chemistry to benefit society: Sugary molecules or ‘glycosides’ are ubiquitous and relevant to many aspects of life and health. Professor Paul Murphy’s team will work on a method to produce complex sugars related to those found in nature. They will apply the method to the synthesis of sugars and modified sugars relevant in cancer, infection & immunology. The research is relevant for development of vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostics for health, including cancer, and in crop protection. Understanding human cells to tackle cancer: One of the mysteries of cell reproduction, which underlies health and cancer, is how a cell moves its chromosomes into new cells when they divide. A special part of the chromosome called the centromere is responsible for this. Professor Kevin Sullivan will pursue new discoveries his team have made about how the centromere itself is reproduced which could help build anti-cancer drugs, but also provides new insight into how healthy cells work. Speaking of the SFI Investigator announcement, Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock said: “Over the past decade, Ireland has invested heavily in R&D and the rewards are clearly visible. What is particularly heartening about today’s announcement is that much of this excellent research, which was selected competitively following international peer review, is being done in collaboration with companies who are seeking to find new products and services, including IBM Ireland, Intel Ireland, HP, EMC and Bord Gáis.” ENDS

Monday, 3 December 2012

The renowned UN human rights expert, Professor Michael O’Flaherty FRSA, has been appointed as Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland Galway. He will also serve as Director of the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Professor O’Flaherty will combine the new roles with his current commitment as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. During the period that Professor O’Flaherty remains at the Northern Ireland Commission the Irish Centre for Human Rights will be co-directed by Professor Ray Murphy. Since October 2011, Professor O’Flaherty has been Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Commission advises the government and is responsible for protecting and promoting human rights throughout Northern Ireland. It is also empowered to help people whose rights may have been denied and can carry out its own investigations. Professor O’Flaherty has worked the UK university sector since 2003 as Professor of Applied Human Rights and Co-Director of the Human Rights Law Centre at the School of Law in University of Nottingham. A native of Galway, Professor O’Flaherty has a distinguished reputation in the human rights arena. Since 2004, he has been an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and is currently a Vice-Chairperson. He is also a member of the UN Expert Group on Human Rights Indicators, serves on a number of human rights advisory bodies of the UK government and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Professor O’Flaherty sits on committees of the European Roma Rights Centre, the Diplomacy Training Programme, the UN-UK Association, the World Organization Against Torture, the Hilde Back Education Fund and a number of other groups worldwide. Prior to taking up his posts at the University of Nottingham, he served in a number of senior positions with the United Nations. He established the UN human rights field missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994) and Sierra Leone (1998) and subsequently guided UN headquarters support to its human rights programmes across the Asia-Pacific region. National University of Ireland Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, welcomed the announcement: “Professor O’Flaherty brings an outstanding reputation to our School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights. Building on the strong foundations laid by his predecessor, Professor Bill Schabas, who retains an important connection with the Centre, Professor O’Flaherty will continue to develop the global reputation of the Centre for high quality academic programmes, leading edge research and engaged advocacy. Professor O’Flaherty brings a unique blend of academic skills and practical knowledge of human rights law which will enrich the teaching, research and outreach activities of the Centre.” Since its establishment in January 2000, the Irish Centre for Human Rights has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy.  Amongst the taught postgraduate programmes offered by the Centre are LL.M. in International Human Rights Law, Peace Operations and Humanitarian Law, and International Criminal Law. Additionally, under the auspices of the Law School, the Centre has built a strong doctoral studies programme, with a significant number of doctoral students supervised by individual staff members.  At undergraduate level, the Irish Centre for Human Rights is integral to the University’s BA with Human Rights. The degree is the only one of its kind in Ireland to offer a Human Rights qualification at undergraduate level. -ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

“Older people’s finances are not regarded as a problem, but look deeper and genuine hardship is there” A new report suggests that many older people are experiencing real hardship during Ireland’s recession, but that this remains largely hidden from public view. This suggests caution is necessary when interpreting official statistics, which show deprivation and poverty rates for pensioner households to be at an all-time low. The NUI Galway research report‘Deprivation and its Measurement in Later Life’ was undertaken by the University’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. It was funded through the Irish Research Council with support from the Department of Social Protection. Led by Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, the research tries to understand how older people respond to the 11-item basic deprivation index used in official poverty statistics. Re-analysis of available national data shows that measured deprivation depends in large part on the choice of indicators used. Some indicators used in official measures are less relevant to older people than other population groups. This was reinforced in focus groups and interviews with a diverse sample of older people. As a result, older people are less likely to be identified as deprived. In launching the report, Professor Scharf said: “Older people’s finances are not regarded as a problem, but look deeper and genuine hardship is there. Our research suggests that older people respond differently to standard deprivation measures than other population groups. This means that reported levels of deprivation may under-estimate the actual experience of poverty and deprivation amongst older people.” Professor Scharf feels that a new, stand-alone deprivation index for older people is needed for use in official statistics. Many research participants held a relatively narrow view of poverty, linking this to an inability to afford basic household items. Participants were generally more likely to identify as necessities items relating to housing and accommodation, food and food quality, household bills and clothing. By contrast, taking a holiday away from home or being able to afford to replace worn-out furniture were less likely to be regarded as essential. The research shows that poverty and deprivation continue to affect the lives of many older people in Ireland. While the value of state pensions has been maintained, a number of people who took part in the research were struggling to cope with the loss of other forms of support at a time when additional demands were being placed on their finances. In particular, providing financial support to adult children and grandchildren during the recession featured in several participants’ accounts. Welcoming the research, Robin Webster, CEO of Age Action Ireland, congratulated the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology on producing this timely report that gives a greater insight into the nature of deprivation as experienced by many older people in maintaining their quality of life in the face of rising costs and reduced support services. He also welcomed the proposal to have a new deprivation index for older people. ENDS

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

NUI Galway recently launched the new Colm Ó hEocha Bursary. Established in memory of the late Dr Colm Ó hEocha, the Bursary has a value of €3,000 and will be awarded annually to the NUI Galway graduate who has registered for a Taught Masters Programme in the University provided through Irish and who has, in her/his primary degree taken at NUI Galway, obtained the highest overall percentage of those eligible. Originally from Dungravan, Co. Waterford, Dr Colm Ó hEocha was President of NUI Galway (then University College Galway) from 1975-1995. Dr Ó hEocha had previously been the University’s first Professor of Biochemistry from 1963. He also served as the Chair of the New Ireland Forum, of the Science Council of Ireland, of the Arts Council and of the Interim Local Radio Commission. Dr Ó hEocha was the recipient of honorary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast, Dublin University, University of Limerick and Connecticut College. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Colm Ó hEocha is a towering figure in the history of NUI Galway – as a teacher, researcher and as president of the University at a time of enormous transition.  Conscious of his achievements and his distinguished legacy, the University has established Sparánacht Choilm Uí Eocha – the Colm Ó hEocha Bursary with support of Galway University Foundation.  We are proud to recognise and commemorate Colm Ó hEocha in the presentation of this Bursary which gives expression, in a special way to his support for graduate studies within the University, as well as his love for and commitment to Irish Language.” -ENDS- Sparánacht Choilm Uí Eocha Seolta ag OÉ Gaillimh Sheol OÉ Gaillimh Sparánacht Choilm Uí Eocha le gairid Bunaíodh an Sparánacht i gcuimhne an Dr Choilm Uí Eocha, nach maireann. Is fiú €3,000 an Sparánacht agus bronnfar é go bliantúil ar an gcéimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh atá cláraithe ar Chlár Máistreachta Múinte san Ollscoil a chuirtear ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge agus a bhfuil an céatadán foriomlán is airde bainte amach aige/aici, i measc na n-iarratasóirí incháilithe, ina b(h)unchéim in OÉ Gaillimh. B’as Dún Garbháin, Co. Phort Láirge an Dr Colm Ó hEocha ó dhúchas agus bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar OÉ Gaillimh (Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh ag an am) idir 1975-1995. Bhí an Dr Ó hEocha ar an gcéad Ollamh le Bithcheimic san Ollscoil sa bhliain 1963. Chomh maith leis sin bhí sé ina Ollamh ar Fhóram Nua-Éireann, ar Chomhairle Eolaíochta na hÉireann, ar an gComhairle Ealaíon agus ar an gCoimisiún Eatramhach Raidió Áitiúil. Bhronn Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste, Ollscoil Bhaile Átha Cliath, Ollscoil Luimnigh agus Coláiste Connecticut céimeanna oinigh ar an Dr Ó hEocha. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba dhuine mór le rá é Colm Ó hEocha i stair OÉ Gaillimh – mar theagascóir, mar thaighdeoir agus mar Uachtaran na hOllscoile ag am a raibh go leor athruithe ag tarlú.  Tá Sparánacht Choilm Uí Eocha bunaithe ag an Ollscoil – le tacaíocht ó Fhondúireacht na hOllscoile chun a chuid éachtaí agus an oidhreacht iontach a d’fhág sé againn a thabhairt chun cuimhne.  Is mór an onóir dúinn aitheantas a thabhairt do Cholm Ó hEocha agus comóradh a dhéanamh ar a shaol tríd an Sparánacht seo a bhronnadh mar go léiríonn an Sparánacht seo, ar bhealach speisialta, an tacaíocht a thug sé don staidéar iarchéime san Ollscoil agus an grá a bhí aige don Ghaeilge.” -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

NUI Galway scientist Dr Enda O’Connell has been named a winner in a new online science engagement event. Dr O’Connell won first prize in the health category of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!, which saw scientists chatting with students from 36 schools across the island of Ireland over the course of two weeks. Dr Enda O’Connell is a senior technical officer with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway. His work involves using a robot to help find cures for different types of cancers. He said: “I really enjoyed chatting with the students, answering their questions about science in general and my work in NUI Galway.  It gave me a new perspective on what it means to be a scientist.” Dr Tim Downing, a lecturer with the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway, whose research involves discovering mutations linked to drug resistance in flesh-eating parasites, also participated in the challenge. Students took part in quickfire Facebook-style online live chats, asking the scientists all sorts of questions before voting for their favourite scientist to win a prize of €500. Originating in the UK, this is the first time the event has come to Ireland, and it’s proved very popular with teachers. More information at http://imascientist.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

One of Ireland’s leading experts on stem cells will address the 8th World Stem Cell Summit, which takes place in Florida this week. Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will present a session on ‘Leading Institutions and Their Strategies for Advancing Regenerative Medicine’. Speaking alongside colleagues from research institutes around the world, Professor O’Brien will present on Wednesday, 5 December, discussing the latest research from REMEDI in the field of adult stem cell research here in Ireland. The World Stem Cell Summit is the largest interdisciplinary, networking meeting of stem cell stakeholders, uniting the diverse regenerative medicine community. With the overarching purpose of fostering biomedical research funding and investments targeting cures, the summit is seen as main conference charting the future of this burgeoning field. The programme provides the research, industry, economic and societal context for understanding how all of the pieces of the stem cell puzzle fit together. The agenda features more than 150 speakers and 50 hours of in-depth presentations. Supported by 200 sponsors, exhibitors, endorsing organisations and media partners, the summit is a three-day showcase of innovation, insight and inspiration. Speaking ahead of the event, Professor Tim O’Brien said: “Ireland has invested substantially in adult stem cell research in both infrastructure and human capital. The country is now poised to move from pre-clinical research to clinical trials subject to regulatory approval.” NUI Galway has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The REMEDI team, which includes Professor Timothy O’Brien and Professor Frank Barry, are partnering with academics and clinicians from all over Ireland and beyond to study the clinical potential of adult stem cells in the treatment of many different diseases. -ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Researchers and industrial organisations involved in optical imaging will meet in NUI Galway on Friday for the first ‘Opto-Imaging Ireland’ Workshop. The optical imaging device sector is burgeoning, with applications for highly sophisticated cameras to be found everywhere from mobile phones to cars, to space probes. The workshop will cover various applications of optical imaging, including imaging the eye to allow early detection of disease, and new microscopy techniques to enhance the study of microorganisms. The workshop is being organised by Dr Nicholas Devaney of the Applied Optics group in the NUI Galway’s School of Physics. The research team at the University has worked with industry on many projects such as customising lenses after cataract surgery, the early detection of eye diseases before they cause blindness and using laser beams for communication.  According to Dr Devaney: “The potential market for new imaging systems is enormous, and several Irish companies are already leading developments in the field. For example, Digital Optics Corporation, which has a centre in Galway, is a world leader in the production of miniature imaging systems. We see its applications all around. In top of the range cars, cameras combined with sophisticated software are used to automatically detect pedestrians and warn drivers in time to avoid accidents. Andor technology, based in Belfast, is a world leader in high-quality cameras for medical imaging systems.” Dr Devaney added: “Images from security cameras can be analysed to search for missing persons or criminals, and thermal cameras will allow this to be possible at night. Thermal cameras can also be used to detect cancer without the use of harmful x-rays. In this exciting filed, 3D imaging systems are also becoming available. These allow images to be refocused after they are taken and even allow the user to change the perspective or angle from which the picture appears to be taken.” The workshop will be addressed by eminent international experts; Professors Andrew Harvey, of the University of Glasgow and Professor Alan Greenaway of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. According to Dr Devaney, this is a unique opportunity for academic and industrial researchers to learn from one another and explore exciting new projects. The Applied Optics Group was set up in 2002 with the support of Science Foundation Ireland and developed into a world-leading center for innovation in optics and imaging. The group is led by Dr Nicholas Devaney and Dr Alexander Goncharov. Petronel Bigioi, General Manager for the Embedded Image Enhancement Division of Digital Optics Corporation, explains: “The modern consumer imaging devices are size, cost and performance driven, forcing the modern designs to combine the optics, light sensing and digital image processing to achieve the right balance to be successful. The Applied Optics Group has the right expertise and mix of knowledge to deliver imaging solutions within the modern constraints.” -ends-

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The first group of educational users in the world to utilise Microsoft Office 365 Lync have delivered a virtual lecture to MBA students at the American University of Cairo, Egypt.  The lecture was delivered by NUI Galway Lecturer Dr Murray Scott with final-year BSc Business Information Systems (BIS) students and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). The lecture was delivered as part of an international student virtual team project that aims to prepare students for the modern working environment and was received by participants from around the globe including Galway, Cairo, Boston, and Barcelona.  Dr Murray Scott, BIS Module Director at NUI Galway, said: “For the last number of years we have been collaborating with Professor Gino Sorcinelli and his team at UMass Amherst to deliver this exciting new course, which is at the forefront of teaching modern cloud computing technologies.  This is a great example of students putting what they learn into practice and being able to utilise the latest cloud technologies we teach in the classroom.” The lecture was delivered partially by Peter Langan from Drumcliff, Co. Sligo, a final year BSc Business Information Systems (BIS) at NUI Galway. Peter describes his experience of the module as one of a kind. “It was an amazing feeling to jointly deliver the lecture on a Sunday morning from my home in Sligo along with colleagues based in Galway to a class of MBA students in Cairo.”    Classmate Dorothy Rab, from Portlaoise, Co. Laois, was also involved in lecture saying: “This was a great opportunity in preparing me for the modern working world, where employers no longer limit their employees’ boundaries to one building or even one country but require them to communicate with colleagues located on different sides of the globe.” The students’ experience of collaborating across international boundaries has been captured by Microsoft and now features on their Office 365 for Education website. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

“Older people’s finances are not regarded as a problem, but look deeper and genuine hardship is there” Tuesday, 4 December, 2012: A new report suggests that many older people are experiencing real hardship during Ireland’s recession, but that this remains largely hidden from public view. This suggests caution is necessary when interpreting official statistics, which show deprivation and poverty rates for pensioner households to be at an all-time low. The NUI Galway research report‘Deprivation and its Measurement in Later Life’ was undertaken by the University’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. It was funded through the Irish Research Council with support from the Department of Social Protection. Led by Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, the research tries to understand how older people respond to the 11-item basic deprivation index used in official poverty statistics. Re-analysis of available national data shows that measured deprivation depends in large part on the choice of indicators used. Some indicators used in official measures are less relevant to older people than other population groups. This was reinforced in focus groups and interviews with a diverse sample of older people. As a result, older people are less likely to be identified as deprived. In launching the report, Professor Scharf said: “Older people’s finances are not regarded as a problem, but look deeper and genuine hardship is there. Our research suggests that older people respond differently to standard deprivation measures than other population groups. This means that reported levels of deprivation may under-estimate the actual experience of poverty and deprivation amongst older people.” Professor Scharf feels that a new, stand-alone deprivation index for older people is needed for use in official statistics. Many research participants held a relatively narrow view of poverty, linking this to an inability to afford basic household items. Participants were generally more likely to identify as necessities items relating to housing and accommodation, food and food quality, household bills and clothing. By contrast, taking a holiday away from home or being able to afford to replace worn-out furniture were less likely to be regarded as essential. The research shows that poverty and deprivation continue to affect the lives of many older people in Ireland. While the value of state pensions has been maintained, a number of people who took part in the research were struggling to cope with the loss of other forms of support at a time when additional demands were being placed on their finances. In particular, providing financial support to adult children and grandchildren during the recession featured in several participants’ accounts. Welcoming the research, Robin Webster, CEO of Age Action Ireland, congratulated the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology on producing this timely report that gives a greater insight into the nature of deprivation as experienced by many older people in maintaining their quality of life in the face of rising costs and reduced support services. He also welcomed the proposal to have a new deprivation index for older people. ENDS

Thursday, 6 December 2012

NUI Galway research features significantly in the Health Research Board’s ‘Picture of Health 2012’ publication which will be launched in Dublin today. The highlighted research from NUI Galway includes work on adult stem cells, diabetes in pregnancy, communicating with GPs diabetic foot disease. The annual Picture of Health publication highlights, in non-technical language, recent and exciting developments arising from Irish health research funded by the Health Research Board. Research featured includes projects that seek to improve patient care, search for better treatments and innovate in health policy and practice. At the launch, Dr Akke Vellinga, a senior lecturer in primary care and lecturer in bacteriology at NUI Galway, willspeak about her work on antibiotics. TheHealth Research Board-funded study in the west of Ireland shows that many antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately, and highlights a link between the prescription of antibiotics and an increased risk of antibiotic resistance. “By using antibiotics we make them gradually less useful,” says Dr Vellinga. “The antibiotics end up in the environment and the bacterial community adapts by developing resistance.” The study at NUI Galway looked at databases on prescribing practices and antibiotic resistance risk and found a direct link between the amount of antibiotics prescribed and the chance that an individual patient would be diagnosed with a resistant E.coli infection. The researchers also found that while they could identify bacteria in 20 per cent of samples from patients with urinary tract infections, more than 50 per cent of the patients were prescribed antibiotics. And of those, only 37 per cent were prescribed the recommended treatment.    In addition, the risks of being diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection shot up if a patient had more than one course of antibiotics: having two or more rounds of the medication could increase the risk of resistance by more than six-fold. NUI Galway’s Vice President for Research, Professor Terry Smith, said: “The NUI Galway research highlighted in the report represents concrete examples of the innovative thinking our researchers are applying to impact positively on people’s health and wellbeing with the ultimate aim of improving health outcomes and contributing to a world-class health service in Ireland.” Other Health Research Board funded research at NUI Galway which is featured in ‘A Picture of Health 2012’ includes the following: Professor Fidelma Dunne and Dr Geraldine Gaffney headed a major study called Atlantic Diabetes in Pregnancy (DIP) to measure the incidence and outcomes of diabetes in pregnancy in the west and north-west of Ireland. The research led to improved pregnancy outcomes for women with diabetes in the west of Ireland. Dr Claire Welford investigated the question as to whether older people in residential care have autonomy. Her research led to information for a resource pack and tool kit for all nursing homes in Ireland. A project looking at interacting with GPs asked migrants and health professionals about the ideal ways to break down communication barriers in consultations. The outcomes informed guidelines on interpreting needs of migrants in GP consultations and Ireland leading a €2.9 million EU project in this field. Dr Róisín Dwyer collaborated with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at Galway and the Mayo Clinic in the US to look at the possibility of using adult stem cells to fight tumours. The work opened up the potential for developing a new therapeutic delivery system and won an award from the Irish Cancer Society. A new study measured, for the first time, the levels of risk of diabetic foot disease among patients in a community setting. Dr Sean Dinneen’s work identified a potential link between a standard blood test and diabetic foot risk. A study led by Dr Thomas Ritter sounded a note of caution for treatments that require many infusions of stem cells in the same patient. The research highlights that the immune system could get wise to ‘foreign’ stem cells over time and potentially eliminates them. The Irish Primary Care Research Network, a collaboration between the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, the Irish College of General Practitioners and the WestRen Research network, led by the discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway, seeks to assess and provide comparative clinical data that enable health professionals to enhance the quality of care they provide to their patients. The work already has provided decision-support tools to help diagnosis and prescribing in primary care. Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB says: “The government’s continued investment in research must be recognised as a vital step to encourage innovation and help reinvigorate the economy. Researchers must see this investment as a vote of confidence in their ability to deliver change and embrace the opportunity to continue to demonstrate that the work that they do has real impact. In the past few years, the HRB has taken a strategic decision to focus our funding on research that has a positive impact on people’s health, patient care and the health service. The outcomes highlighted in this report show the difference our funded researchers are making in these areas.” ends

Monday, 10 December 2012

Two NUI Galway students have won €50,000 in Competitive Start Funding from Enterprise Ireland with their energy saving product. The team consists of NUI Galway Engineering students Justin Conboy and Dearbhaile Forde, who beat off stiff competition with their Drag Reduction System. The second year engineering students invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%. The Competitive Start Fund award will be used to accelerate the growth of the students company Cú Buí Engineering Concepts Ltd., trading as Drag Reduction Systems Ireland/drs.ie and Aerosleek.com. This award will enable the company to reach key commercial and technical milestones and provide them the capability to succeed in global markets. The Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets.  The fund is designed to enable those companies reach key commercial and technical milestones. The fund was open to applications from early stage companies, from the following sectors: Internet, Games, Mobile, Apps, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Cleantech and Industrial Products.  Congratulating the award winners on their success, Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “The CSF award of €50,000 is an outstanding achievement for our undergraduate students. These budding engineers have demonstrated how design, innovation and creativity are critical components of engineering education which can translate into a commercially viable business. Their recipe for success has included self belief and resilience. It is heartening to witness their energy and enthusiasm and I congratulate them on their achievements.” -ENDS-

Monday, 10 December 2012

Ever wondered how research at NUI Galway affects you, your family and community? The public are invited to a competition which might just answer that question on Monday, 17 December, at 7.30 pm in Jigsaw Galway on Fairgreen Road. The THREESIS competition will see NUI Galway staff and students present their research to the audience and a panel of judges in accessible language a non-expert can understand, in three minutes or less. Each of the 15 finalists will have only three slides and be under strict time pressure to communicate their research area and relevancy. Competitors are judged on how well they convey the subject of their thesis and their ability to communicate to a general audience. Each of NUI Galway’s five priority research areas will be represented, with topics ranging from wastewater treatment to the cost of drug treatment for diabetes. The winner will receive a generous prize and award, based on the decision of the judges who will include: Liam Bluett Director of Ballybane Enterprise Centre; Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, and Frances Shanahan, Journalist with RTÉ Radio. Professor Terry Smith said: “This will be a fun event and we would really encourage people to come along and enjoy these short sharp presentations. This is an opportunity to get a feel for the type of world-leading research which takes place right here in Galway.” NUI Galway is forward-thinking and global in scale in terms of its research. Its work is focused on translational research that has a positive impact on society, leading the field in many areas. Some 448 research staff and 1,246 postgraduate research students make NUI Galway their home, and this event is a chance for the general public to get an insight into what they do.  The event is free and refreshments will be served on the night. -ends-

Monday, 10 December 2012

An innovative musical score application for a mobile device, using genetic algorithms to crack encryption codes and an online hotel booking system are just some of the new technologies which graduates of NUI Galway have won awards for recently. Prizes were awarded to recent graduates, who in their final-year, excelled in projects which span a wide range of fascinating topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology.  The Best Project in the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco System, was awarded to graduate Elise Karlsson. Originally from Sweden and now living in Galway City, Elise developed an innovative musical score application for a mobile device to enable experienced music composers to easily and quickly visualise and compose music notation. Best Project in the HDip/MSc in Software Design and Development, sponsored by Cisco Systems, was presented to Gearóid Joyce from Letterfrack, Co. Galway, Colm Kavanagh from Annaghdown, Co. Galway and Darren Tighe from Strandhill, Co. Sligo. The team’s project focused on online security and encryption, developing a system that applied genetic algorithms to code cracking. Sean Coleman from Loughrea, Co. Galway and Roseanne Carroll from Athlone, Co. Westmeath were presented with the prize for Best Project in the BA in Information Technology, sponsored by NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies for their creation of a complete online hotel booking system. It contained both a back-end database and a web based user interface. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded to the students who produce the best business plan during the academic year. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to Elise Karlsson and Niall Dolan from Loughrea, Co. Galway for their ‘Grown@Home’ system. Essentially the application and backend will provide users such as consumers, farmers, third party suppliers, with an infrastructure to source, buy, advertise and promote locally produced produce. Dr Michael Madden, Head of Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services.  At NUI Galway, students of the BSc in Information Technology study Professional Skills and Business Planning as part of their core academic work.” Dr Madden also welcomed Cisco Systems as the corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes. “We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on Final Year Project work. These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work. -ENDS-

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Galway cancer researcher has been awarded a Research Fellowship Award of €230,000 to develop new strategies to help improve treatments for patients with colon cancer. Dr Aideen Ryan from Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, received the award from the Irish Cancer Society. Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in Ireland and represents a significant health problem. In many instances, colon cancer spreads to other organs, which is called metastasis. When this happens it is most likely to result in death. New ways to tackle the problem of colon cancer metastasis have had very little success, but Aideen’s research is taking a fresh approach by focusing on the cancer cells interaction with the immune system. Aideen collaborates with mentor Professor Laurence Egan at NUI Galway, and collaborators Professor Matthew Griffin also of NUI Galway and Dr Aileen Houston at UCC. Their previous research has shown how the body’s own immune system affects how colon cancer cells spread. The team aims to discover the factors that control the immune systems interaction with colon cancer. Dr Ryan states: “Blocking these factors would enable us to develop new drugs that could, in turn, be used to make our immune response to cancer stronger. This novel approach to cancer treatment could potentially result in better treatments and consequently a better prognosis and quality of life for patients with colon cancer.” -ends-

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Stem Cell Scientists and Autism Research Groups at TCD and NUI Galway to outline New Research Project Public Forum, Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, 7pm, 12 December, 2012 Often seen as an alternative to embryonic stem cells, iPS - or induced pluripotent stem cells - are adult stem cells reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state.  IPS cells are increasingly of interest to scientists studying brain disorders such as autism, since accessing brain tissue is so difficult. Recent breakthroughs in autism genetics research have revealed that a small but significant minority of individuals with autism may have rare genetic changes that are potentially causative of their condition. The TCD autism research group, which has investigated the genetic causes of autism for over a decade, has teamed up with scientists at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway to apply stem cell technology to further the understanding of autism that may lead towards the identification of better treatments. In a first for Ireland, REMEDI has already begun producing iPS cells from the skin cells of people with autism and their siblings. This new research project hopes to find out how rare genetic changes might impact on the functioning of brain cells using iPS cell models. This research may ultimately help to identify drugs that could help to treat symptoms of the disease pathology. TCD’s Autism Research Group, and REMEDI scientists are reaching out to families who may be willing to participate in this innovative research. A public forum entitled ‘Treating Autism, Can Stem Cells Help?’ will be held on Wednesday, 12 of December at 6pm at the Science Gallery at TCD. Professor Louise Gallagher, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Principal Investigator of the TCD Autism Research Group will discuss the recent breakthroughs in autism genetics emerging from the work of the TCD group and how this has begun to inform some understanding of the causes of autism; REMEDI’s Outreach Officer Danielle Nicholson will explain about Stem Cell technology and Professor Sanbing Shen, Professor of Stem Cell Biology at REMEDI will discuss the work from his lab which has begun producing iPS cells from the skin cells of people with autism and their siblings. The event will be chaired by Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway. “Our research in autism genetics over the last 10 years or more has revealed interesting rare genetic causes of autism. By applying this new and exciting technology to further investigate autism we may identify the underlying mechanisms of these genetic anomalies in causing autistic spectrum disorders”, explains Professor Louise Gallagher. Over the years we have been indebted to over 300 individuals with autism and their parents and families who have participated in our active research programs and biorepository collections. We are hoping that this exciting public forum will provide a further opportunity to engage with the autism community and provide information about this exciting initiative in autism research. Professor Sanbing Shen explains the science: “We are in the very early stages of research, but by reprogramming skin cells, we may provide a way to study neuronal cells in autism and to test new therapies. These iPS cells can specialize into different cell types raising the possibility to treat patients with their own stem cells. This is exciting news for people who are affected by conditions that have no treatment.” The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”. This Irish initiative now hopes to bring this science to bear on autism. The prevalence of autism is on the rise. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism.  Among boys the incidence is 1 in 70. “Although there are no comparable studies on autism in Ireland, it is believed the prevalence is similar to that found in the US,” says Dr Geraldine Leader. “A diagnosis of autism can have a devastating effect on a family and the lack of autism services in Ireland places an enormous burden on parents. Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism affect individuals and their families across the life span. Yet parents and families are the true advocates for those diagnosed. Stem cell research like this is the cutting edge of science, and is one of many opportunities which we would like to provide to families.” NUI Galway has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The REMEDI team, which includes Professor Timothy O’Brien and Professor Frank Barry, are partnering with academics and clinicians from all over Ireland including Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons and Galway University Hospitals, to study iPS cells and their clinical potential in the treatment of many different diseases. For more information on the public forum visit http://sciencegallery.com/events/2012/12/treating-autism-can-stem-cells-help -ends-

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

NUI Galway’s sailing campaign has been named the Irish Cruiser Racing Association's (ICRA) ‘Boat of the Year’. The prize was presented to NUI Galway in Kilkenny at the recent association’s annual conference which was attended by Ireland’s leading sailors, race organisers and industry professionals such as Olympic race officer Jack Roy and Volvo Ocean Race champion Damian Foxall. ICRA is the organising authority of Irish yacht racing. Nine boats from around Ireland were shortlisted for their ‘Boat of the Year’ award for having excelled at national and international level. Ultimately the judges favoured NUI Galway for the award on the basis of the exceptional level of preparation, training, competitive racing and achievement from the young crew. NUI Galway’s sailing yacht is a Reflex 38 based out of Galway Bay Sailing Club who raced in the 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race. The crew finished sixth place in the overall standings, and first in their class, in the race. The team, one of the youngest to compete in the competition, was the second Irish boat to cross the finishing line in their 38-ft racing yacht which they chartered especially for the race. They were also the Class 1 winners in the Wales to Wicklow Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) race which they did as preparation for Round Ireland race. The boat was also raced by a number of the NUI Galway students in the 2012 Irish Cruiser Racing Nationals in Howth and Cork Week with the boat owner Martin Breen. The NUI Galway crew is made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce and include Ben Scallan, Eoghan McGregor, Eoin Breen, Joan Mulloy, Mark Armstrong, Ruaidhri De Faoite, Conor Kinsella, David Fitzgerald, Louis Mulloy and Cathal Clarke. Kathy Hynes, Sports Officer NUI Galway, said: “This group of young people represent the future of sport through energy, passion and their high skill level ensure that NUI Galway sport is moving in the right direction.” -ENDS-