New Book Follows 30 Countries from Socialism to Capitalism

New Book Follows 30 Countries from Socialism to Capitalism-image

Monday, 22 April 2013

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

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‘Rails Girls’ Power comes to Galway

‘Rails Girls’ Power comes to Galway-image

Monday, 22 April 2013

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

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Student Scoops €10,000 with Study App at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards

Student Scoops €10,000 with Study App at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards-image

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

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

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NUI Galway Courses Big Winner at gradireland Awards 2013

NUI Galway Courses Big Winner at gradireland Awards 2013-image

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

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

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Galway Research Centre Contributes To Major New Knowledge in Breast Cancer

Galway Research Centre Contributes To Major New Knowledge in Breast Cancer-image

Thursday, 25 April 2013

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

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NUI Galway Hosts Two Ergonomics Events

NUI Galway Hosts Two Ergonomics Events-image

Thursday, 25 April 2013

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

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NUI Galway Spin-off Company Secures Membership to Association of Test Publishers

NUI Galway Spin-off Company Secures Membership to Association of Test Publishers -image

Thursday, 25 April 2013

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

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TEDMED Live comes to Galway

TEDMED Live comes to Galway-image

Friday, 26 April 2013

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

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Exploring the Saltiness of the Ocean to Study Climate Change

 Exploring the Saltiness of the Ocean to Study Climate Change-image

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

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

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March 2013

ProTek Group acquires the business of AP Design Based in NUI Galway

ProTek Group acquires the business of AP Design Based in NUI Galway-image

Friday, 1 March 2013

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

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