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On World Autism Awareness Day ICAN at NUI Galway Asks Public to Contribute to Irish Autism
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
New evidence from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention indicates one in 68 children, including one in 42 boys, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder On World Autism Awareness Day, Wednesday, 2 April 2014, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway is inviting the public to engage in planning the future direction of the provision of services for those with autism in Ireland. ICAN, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and US advocacy group, Autism Speaks, is working to develop an Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank to inform research and long-term public policy decisions around autism. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN, underlined the vital role this national resource will play and encouraged members of the autism community families, researchers and service providers to complete the online Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank survey. The survey can be completed at www.iarb.ie The Irish Autism Registry will serve as a national resource for research in the areas of health, education and social services and to inform policy development related to autism. Clinical registries will gather detailed information on autism in Ireland to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research. Dr Geraldine Leader said: “There is an urgent need to establish a registry and biobank to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research in Ireland. Given the potential implication of this initiative for the Irish community, we are currently conducting a national consultation process. The aim of the consultation is to provide detailed information about the specific needs of the community and what kind of information should be included in a registry and biobank. As part of this process, we would encourage members of the autism community, families, researchers and service providers to complete our online survey at www.iarb.ie” Autism is a lifelong disorder and has profound effects on an individual’s social, emotional and cognitive development, and has implications for the family, state services and society at large. Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organisation, and over the last nine years has funded awareness, advocacy and research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. Autism Speaks Board Member and NUI Galway graduate Adrian Jones said: "As recently as last week's Centres for Disease Control announcement, we've seen in the US the impact that data collection is having on autism awareness which, in turn, is driving improvements in both the provision of care for those affected by autism and our understanding of the condition. The families who participate in this Irish initiative will be empowering those who are demanding better services in Ireland, while also making a powerful contribution to global autism research." NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: ‘ICAN’s research and in particular the Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank can help to shape the delivery of care for those with autism in the coming years and highlight the ongoing need for improved services for those living with the condition.’ Registries and biobanks have effectively been used in other health areas such as cancer and stroke in Ireland. Some of the best known examples of registries are those that exist in Scandinavian countries where there are well established patient registries which have helped not only to uncover important risk factors for autism but also to inform improvements to systems of care for affected families. The development of a registry will address a range of research questions including: The scale of autism in Ireland across the lifespan. The behavioural health and medical needs of the Irish autism community. The impact of early intervention on later outcomes. Factors that influence successful school placement. Factors that influence improved quality of life among adolescents and adults with autism. Planning for transitions in service delivery, e.g. from preschool to school and from school to adult services. Autism Speaks Campaign ‘Light it Up Blue’ works with a range of partners to light up major global landmarks in order to draw attention to the issue of autism annually on World Autism Awareness Day. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Celebrates 11 Years of Volunteering
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
ALIVE Certificate Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student Commitment to Community NUI Galway’s ALIVE Programme today (Tuesday, 1 April) celebrated 11 years of student volunteering with the presentation of awards to 865 student volunteers at a special ceremony on campus. The ALIVE certificate acknowledges volunteering efforts by NUI Galway student both on and off campus in a range of clubs, societies and community-based organisations. Senator Hildegarde Naughton, who presented the awards, said “I continue to be overwhelmed by the efforts of NUI Galway students in terms of their contribution and generosity to the wider community and society. I feel that students have some much to contribute, not least having a positive influence on so many children in our local communities through youth based activities, mentorship and homework club assistance. I am honoured to be part of this important celebration.” The ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) programme was established by NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in 2003 to harness, acknowledge and support student volunteering. Over 8,000 students have received ALIVE Certificates, under the scheme endorsed by the President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne. The programme draws on a strong tradition of student engagement both on and off campus and assists students who wish to actively volunteer while developing tangible and transferable skills alongside practical volunteering experiences. ALIVE is the first ever student volunteer programme to be embedded within an institution of higher education in Ireland. At today’s ceremony, Daithí de Buitléir also launched RAG Ireland’s latest initiative called the #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT. This initiative challenges students to do at least one positive deed every day for the month of April, capture the deed on their phone and share via the Twitter machine or Facebook with the hashtag #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT. This initiative aims to change the way the world looks at students while also earning some life affirmation. Daithí de Buitléir, founder of RAG Ireland, said: “I want to tell the students that they are doing great and to ask them to continue to make a difference as we have a stake in society. I think that many of them will sign up to #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT as it resonates with their aspirations and ambitions for community engagement. RAG Ireland is very excited to bring #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT to NUI Galway.” More information is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cki or http://www.ragireland.ie/. -Ends-
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St. Joseph's Secondary CBS, Dublin Scoops Top Prize at 2014 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Secondary schools students from across Ireland participated in the seventh All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition last week in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin. After closely contested debates, St Joseph's Secondary CBS, Fairview from Dublin were victorious to become the 2014 Debating Science Issues winners, with Colaiste Mhuire, Crosshaven, Co. Cork awarded second place. The other schools involved in these hotly-contested debates were St. Brigid’s Vocational School, Loughrea, Galway and Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast. Four teams, narrowed down from 34 came through regional preliminary debate rounds on a variety of contemporary biomedical science. DSI is a dynamic debating competition, the only All-Ireland collaborative science outreach initiative of its kind, which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides a great opportunity for students to expand their communication and scientific skills. Danielle Nicholson, All-Ireland Co-ordinator of Debating Science Issues (DSI) and REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer, said “DSI provides young people with insight into science as an institution and the processes by which scientific knowledge is produced. Incorporating the values and limits in science as well as its tactics for decision-making, DSI employs a discussion-based teaching model in the pre-competition workshops.” She continued “It is important that students do not judge their understanding of scientific knowledge to be insufficient to allow them to engage with socio-scientific issues of concern. Argumentation is one of the cornerstones of the scientific process. DSI increases student engagement with science content and promotes reasoning and justification skills that help prepare an informed citizenry. Data collected from six cycles of DSI involving more than 4,000 students shows an increase in interest in science as a subject and as a career as a result of participation in the project.” Judges on the day were: Dr Jill McMahon, Senior Neuroscientist at NUI Galway; Jane Butler, Education and Research Communications Officer, RCSI; Dr Andriana Margariti, lecturer in the Centre of Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast; Brian Molloy, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics; Maria Delaney, Science Journalist and Founder of Science Calling; Assistant Professor Cormac Taylor, School of Medicine and Medical Science, UCD; Dr Anne Cody, Head of Clinical and Applied Biomedical Research, Health Research Board; Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Fergal O’ Brien, Deputy Director of Research and Head of Tissue Engineering Research Group of RCSI; and Dr Paola Atzei of Science Foundation Ireland. The DSI All-Ireland Finals event was funded by a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme award. The competition is co-ordinated by REDDSTAR at NUI Galway and collaborators include APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, RCSI, CIT, CRANN at Trinity College, W5 in Belfast, INSIGHT at UCD and the University of Ulster. For more information visit www.debatingscienceissues.com or www.reddstar.eu. -Ends-
Student Wins €10,000 with online student knowledge platform at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
NUI Galway Psychology PhD student Brian Slattery has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. His winning project Student Talks is an online knowledge platform for students to communicate their ideas, connect with other students and find out about courses and careers. Originally from Dundrum, Co. Dublin, Brian was presented with his prize by local entrepreneurs Joanne Sweeney-Burke and Gill Carroll, together with NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Sean Kearns. The competition, which is an initiative of NUI Galway Students’ Union, is supported by NUI Galway and seeks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. In its four years, the competition has attracted entries from students studying a variety of subjects. The two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to The NUI Galway Student Managed Investment Fund and Loyal-T Stamped. The NUI Galway Student Managed Investment Fund is a real-life financial portfolio operated under the guidance of industry experts and alumni for the benefit of the University and its students. NUI Galway students Martin Wietbrecht, Conor Hanniffy, Shane Reilly and Maurice Kelter are the team behind the Fund. Loyal-T Stamped seeks to revolutionize the way we collect and redeem customer loyalty points through a visually striking user friendly application. NUI Galway students Nathan Regan, Fergal Walsh, Gearoid O’Connor and Robert Courtney developed this project. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, who spoke at the awards ceremony said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Sean Kearns said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -Ends-
NUI Galway Leads the Way With 4 Postgraduate Courses Shortlisted for Postgraduate Awards
Monday, 7 April 2014
Four NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014. The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, 30 April at a reception in the Mansion House in Dublin. NUI Galway, with four courses shortlisted, leads the way among higher education institutions shortlisted. This year saw 111 courses nominated in the Awards. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. NUI Galway courses shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business Award include the MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the MSc in Marketing Practice. Two NUI Galway courses are nominated as Best IT Course: MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream). The Masters in Surgery programme is shortlisted in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in (Health) Sciences Award category. NUI Galway’s MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream) are also shortlisted for the Best New Course category. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged. We hope to repeat last year’s success at the Postgraduate Awards. The shortlisted courses in question are accepting applications now so those interested can apply via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie. This year we are also offering full-time taught masters scholarships for first class students, a further reason to consider NUI Galway for your graduate studies.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses. -Ends-
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NUI Galway’s Prof Pat Dolan Invited to Join President Higgins at London Youth Event, Part of State Visit to the UK
Monday, 7 April 2014
Professor Pat Dolan holds the UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at The Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway Ireland's UNESCO Chair on Children Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan, has been invited to attend a special Youth Workshop as part of the State Visit of President Michael D. Higgins to the United Kingdom. The event is part of the President’s ongoing ‘Being Young and Irish’ initiative. ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ will bring together young people from the islands of Ireland and Britain to discuss the challenges they face and to explore new ideas that promote collaboration and advance youth participation and leadership across these islands. Mayor of London Boris Johnson will welcome President Higgins to the event at City Hall, London on Wednesday afternoon. (April 9th) The President be briefed by the young people on the content of their workshop and, following his speech, will present certificates and awards to some of the young people present. The event is co-hosted by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the British Youth Council. All of those taking part are aged between 16 and 24 and have been nominated by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, the British Youth Council, the Being Young & Irish initiative and Irish Community groups in Britain. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, on accepting the invitation, said “The ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ Event is a further opportunity during this historic State Visit to examine and explore the many common challenges faced by young people on these islands. The strong ties that bind our nations are the product of many years of courageous leadership; I trust that these young leaders will, in turn, will strengthen those bonds in coming years through a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities of young people engaging in civil society.” The UNESCO Centre, part of NUI Galway’s new Institute for the Social Sciences, undertakes research, education and training in the area of Family Support and Youth Development with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention for children and young people experiencing adversity. The Centre is committed to promoting child and youth engagement in policy, programme design and services. ENDS
NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference
Monday, 7 April 2014
Two PhD researchers in NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering department have been chosen to represent Ireland at the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (EYGEC) to take place in Barcelona this September. Martin J. Timoney from Keash, Ballymote, Co. Sligo and Brian Sheil, from Mullagh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, were recently chosen on the basis of their presentations at a national qualifying competition held at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland in Dublin. The annual conference is open to researchers and practitioners, aged 35 or younger, and working in the area of geotechnical engineering. Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering which looks at the behaviour of soil during construction. In his research, Martin is investigating methods of testing the strength of soil stabilised with a binder, a technique that is used to improve soft ground for roads and buildings. Brian’s research involves studying the behaviour of monopile foundations used for offshore wind turbines. Both students are supervised by Dr Bryan McCabe, lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at NUI Galway and hope to submit their PhD theses in the coming months. -Ends-
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Leaving Cert Students! Get your revision on track at NUI Galway’s Taster Day!
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
NUI Galway is holding a University Taster Day for Leaving Certificate students during the Easter break. The Taster Day will combine a series of revision sessions on aspects of the Leaving Certificate curriculum, together with some taster workshops in Arts subjects not covered in the curriculum. Participants will gain unique insights into Leaving Cert subjects in revision sessions taught by University lecturers. A choice of 23 subjects is on offer in areas such as English, Irish, French, History, Geography and more. Students will also enjoy taster workshops in University level Arts subjects like Psychology, Economics, Drama, Film Studies and Sociology and Politics. Organiser of the University Taster Day, Joe Mac Donnacha explained: “Students are focused on their revision for the Leaving Certificate at this time of year. The aim of the NUI Galway Taster Day is to help them maximize their revision in key subject areas, while also giving them an enjoyable introduction to some of the subjects taught on the University’s Arts degree.” The Arts degree at NUI Galway is the second largest undergraduate course in the country, attracting over 1,000 new students every year. Commenting on the ongoing popularity of the Arts degree at NUI Galway for students, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: “Arts and Social Science students are very creative. More start-up enterprises are founded by Arts graduates than Business graduates. You find successful Arts and Social Sciences graduates in almost every walk of life. Of course, we need scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs but we also need those people who understand and can critique human behaviour, social values and cultural creativity. That is what Arts graduates are trained to do.” The NUI Galway Taster Day runs from 9.30am to 3.15pm on Wednesday, 23 April, in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. Advanced booking is essential for this FREE revision session and taster day. Bookings can be made online at: www.nuigalway.ie/university_taster_day. Enquiries should be directed to 091 494 145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ENDS
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NUI Galway Hosts Events Across Campus to Highlight Disability Awareness Week
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Students of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy programme, along with staff of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, recently held the a Disability Awareness Week - Access All Areas Funded through the EXPLORE project at NUI Galway, the week saw a range of inter-disciplinary events organised all over campus with the aim of raising awareness around disability, diversity and equality in access to higher education and inclusion in society. More specifically, this project aimed at increasing staff, student and public awareness about people with disabilities, with a view to combating stereotypes and promoting the contributions of people with disabilities through a campus-wide awareness week. At the beginning of the week the innovative 'Going to College' Project was showcased. This is a pioneering education initiative supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities into NUI Galway. Students currently enrolled at NUI Galway as part of this project, as well as their mentors spoke and shared their experiences. An Employability Seminar was organised on the second day of the week. At the morning seminar attendees, mostly students, heard from representatives from local, national and international organizations working to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. The seminar also addressed issues such as disability awareness within the corporate environment. Speakers included Pauline Dwyer of Employability Galway, Claire Hurley from the NUI Galway Career Development Office, a representative from the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability, and members from the Kanchi initiative, a social enterprise that works with businesses to encourage the employment of persons with disabilities. Highlights during the week included: a seminar on ‘Mental Illness or Psychosocial disability- What’s the difference?’; an Introduction to Irish Sign Language class, a Disability Awareness Workshop; a Disability Equality e-learning module, designed by the National Disability Authority; and a tandem cycle event around campus, organised by the Galway Visually Impaired Activity Club. Students also presented the outcomes of their Accessibility Audit of NUI Galway. The cast of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company also spoke about the recent production, ‘Sanctuary’, a poignant, funny and bittersweet play that explores the lives and relationships of people with intellectual disabilities and the obstacles they must overcome to be together. PhD Candidate Siobhán Purcell of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway discussed how disability is represented in the Irish literary tradition, particularly exploring the works of Joyce and Beckett. The Awareness Week was an opportunity for the LLM students to apply what they have learnt in practice and work towards dismantling the barriers to inclusion and participation faced by persons with disabilities. The week was effective and meaningful in terms of introducing the disability friendly environment in the college. The Disability Support Office and local organisations also significantly contributed to the week which will be repeated on an annual basis. Throughout the week, the students manned a stand to provide information about the week and from which they also made a film asking students to comment on what disability meant to them. The video is available to view at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gmo1762o53umfjw/WhatDoesDisabilityMean.m4v -Ends-
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NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement
Thursday, 10 April 2014
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-