NUI Galway Named The Sunday Times University of the Year Runner-up

NUI Galway Named The Sunday Times University of the Year Runner-up-image

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sunday Times University Guide to be published Sunday, 7 October, 2012 Completing a full sweep of successes with third-level rankings in recent weeks, NUI Galway has been named as the runner-up in The Sunday Times University Guide 2013, a special 64-page supplement to be published with the newspaper this weekend (7 October, 2012). This news comes just days after it was announced that NUI Galway had risen dramatically in a separate prestigious world ranking. The Sunday Times University Guide 2013 is a definitive guide to higher education in Ireland and the UK. The 2013 guide ranks third-level institutions against six key indicators, including Leaving Certificate points for entry, top degrees awarded, graduate job prospects and income generated from research. NUI Galway was lauded for having one of the lowest dropout rates among all third-level institutions across Ireland and its excellent record for graduate employment. According to Kate Butler, jourmalist and co-author of the Sunday Times University Guide: “NUI Galway's excellent performance in terms of job progression (with 93.7% of graduates going on to jobs or further education), of the amount of research funding it secures per academic staff member (it came fourth nationally in this category) and its high completion rate (just 16% students dropped out, one of the lowest rates amongst Irish universities) meant that the west coast university secured the runner up position of the Sunday Times University of the Year Award. Other factors that commended NUI Galway were its academic initiatives including credit for volunteering and its successful access record, as well as its strong performance in the creation of start-ups and patents.” NUI Galway was previously named University of the Year 2009 in The Sunday Times University Guide, securing the prestigious accolade for a second time having won the inaugural University of the Year in 2002. The Sunday Times Irish University of the Year’ award is made not solely on league table position but also on the University’s contribution on a local, national and international level, the quality of the student experience and the overall robustness of the institution. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, commented: “This is all very good news for NUI Galway as it confirms that our position nationally and internationally is on the rise and that we are succeeding in our efforts to achieve recognition in selected priority areas. In spite of substantial cuts in overallfunding at third-level in Ireland, our University has gone against the tide to secure a marked improvement in these very competitive rankings." President Browne continued: "The University offers our students world-class teaching and encourages active engagement with the learning experience through opportunities such as volunteering, work placement, international exchange programmes, sports clubs and vibrant student societies. Our focus on student engagement contributes to our leading retention rate among universities and strong employment figures for our graduates.” Earlier in the week NUI Galway jumped to third place in the country in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. NUI Galway is now ranked 336th in the THE Rankings 2012/2013,an increase of 31 places on last year’s position. NUI Galway was one of only two universities improving their world ranking this year, with Trinity College Dublin also increasing their position by seven places to 110. This increase in position follows on from a similar result in the QS World University Ranking last month, where NUI Galway was again one of only two Irish universities to increase its position, with a rise of 11 places to 287th in the world. Earlier this year, the University was also awarded the top award of a five star rating by the QS Stars system, a new rating system designed to provide a more detailed comparison of world universities than the rankings provide. University College Dublin (UCD) is awarded the accolade of The Sunday Times University of the Year, with Limerick Institute of Technology as The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year, with Dundalk IT the runner-up. Cambridge is the top university in the UK, with Oxford in second place, among the 126 degree-awarding institutions in Britain and Northern Ireland profiled in The Sunday Times University Guide, out this weekend.   Ends

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Maths Week Events at NUI Galway

Maths Week Events at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 8 October 2012

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway will host a number of events as part of Maths Week Ireland from 13-21 October to promote appreciation, understanding and an awareness of maths in society. On Friday, 19 October, Andrew Jeffrey, also known as ‘The Mathemagician’ will give workshops to primary and secondary school audiences at NUI Galway. Andrew is a teacher, lecturer, magician, and keynote speaker and has been described as a mathematical evangelist. He is the author of several books, including Be A Wizard With Numbers, Magic for Kids, 100 Top Tips for Top Maths Teachers, Top 20 Maths Displays, and the new Cool, Calm and Calculators. A former vice-principal, Andrew believes that the fundamentals of mathematics can be taught via practical experiments and travels Europe inspiring and entertaining teachers and students alike with his Magic of Maths shows. Dr David O'Keeffe, one of the organisers of Maths Week events at NUI Galway, said: “ The concept behind Maths Week is to illustrate the relevance and beauty of this subject in a fun and interactive way. It coincides with a mathematical discovery made by Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Ireland’s greatest mathematician, who in a flash of inspiration while walking along the Royal Canal in Dublin on 16 October 1843 created a novel algebraic structure, the so-called quaternions. Subsquently quaternions have been used in areas such as computer graphics and animation in film making.” Also this year's PRISM contest, Problem Solving for Irish Second level Mathematicians, take place during Maths Week on Thursday, 18 October. Teachers and schools wishing to participate are asked to email to with their name and email address, and the name and address of the school. Schools throughout Galway and beyond are encouraged to participate in these special events to make maths accessible to a wider audience and schools can register on the Maths Week website, For further information on Maths Week at NUI Galway contact Dr Tim Downing at -ENDS-

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The Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Annual Lecture to be held at NUI Galway

The Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Annual Lecture to be held at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 8 October 2012

Professor Lesley Yellowlees of the University of Edinburgh will deliver the Eva Philbin Lecture of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland at NUI Galway on Tuesday, 9 October. Entitled Powering Ahead with Solar Energy, the lecture will take place in the Larmor Lecture Theatre at the University. Professor Yellowlees is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and completed research positions in Brisbane, Australia. Since returning to the University of Edinburgh, she has held the position of Head of the School of Chemistry and gained a personal chair in Inorganic Electrochemistry. Currently Professor Yellowless is Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. Her research interests include inorganic electrochemistry and spectroelectrochemistry, EPR spectroscopy, solar energy and CO2 conversion. Active in the Royal Society of Chemistry since 1990, she has held many positions and was appointed Fellow in 2005, elected a Council Member 2005-09, and was elected as first female President last year. Professor Yellowlees was awarded an MBE in 2005 for services to science, selected as a 2011 IUPAC distinguished woman in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012. Assistant by An Cumann Ceimice at NUI Galway, the meeting will be followed by a reception.  For further information contact Dr Niall Geraghty in the School of Chemistry, NUI Galway at -ENDS-

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Ireland’s Leading Stem Cell Scientist Applauds Nobel Laureates

Ireland’s Leading Stem Cell Scientist Applauds Nobel Laureates-image

Monday, 8 October 2012

Ireland’s leading expert in stem cell science, Professor Frank Barry of NUI Galway, has sent congratulations to the Nobel Prize winners Professor Shinya Yamanaka and Professor John Gurdon. The two pioneers of stem cell research will share the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, it was announced today.   “The discoveries made by these two scientists, although many years apart, both changed the way we think about cells and how they regulate their behaviour,” said Professor Barry. The discovery of methods in cell reprogramming, in particular, has had a huge impact. It has given us extraordinary new insight into what stem cells are and how they work.  It has also given us powerful new tools to study human development and what causes certain diseases.  We at REMEDI send our heartfelt congratulations to Drs. Gurdon and Yamanaka.  The award of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to them is richly deserved.” Professor Frank Barry is Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway and also Scientific Director of the University’s Regenerative Medicine Institute. His particular research interest is in the therapeutic application of adult stem cells, especially mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow. For 10 years he has directed a series of research programmes focusing on the isolation and characterization of adult stem cells, and on the development of methods for their delivery in a variety of clinical indications. This has included cardiovascular and arthritic diseases. He has also developed approaches for the use of MSCs for the delivery of specific therapeutic genes, for example in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition he has an interest in proteomics and mass spectrometry for the identification of surface molecules on cells. Some of his more recent work is focussed on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), along with NUI Galway’s Professor Sanbing Shen. -ends-

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Camouflage for Cardiovascular Stents

Camouflage for Cardiovascular Stents-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NFB and Microbiology Researcher to Lead €1.2 million EU Project on Stent Development A new type of cardiovascular stent, coated in antibodies to improve biocompatibility and effectiveness, is now under development in Ireland and Poland. Scientists at National University of Ireland Galway are to lead a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials. National University of Ireland Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster, and the University’s microbiology department will head the four year project. This is the fifth successful EC funded grant that NFB has secured in the last two years. “About half of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases are due to coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries become hardened and narrowed due to the build-up of plaques on their inner walls or lining,” explains National University of Ireland Galway microbiologist Dr Gerard Wall, who is leading the project. “This EU project brings together researchers from important medical device clusters in Ireland and Poland, involved at all stages of the stent design and development pipeline, to develop a novel product to reduce restenosis, which is one of the major current limitations of stent performance.” “Our plan is to create a new type of coating on the stents using human antibody fragments,” explains Dr Wall. “Once the stent is in place, we hope these antibodies will attract a layer of the patient’s own epithelial cells. This should effectively camouflage the stent as far as the body is concerned, and it will no longer be such a foreign object. Our theory is that this will reduce the potential for rejection, the level of clot build-up, and also significantly improve the long-term outcome of surgical interventions.” Coronary heart diseases, including myocardial infarction, are commonly triggered by the build up of plaques in the inner walls of coronary arteries, leading to stenosis and reduced blood flow to the heart. This is the most common cause of death in Europe, accounting for approximately two million deaths each year. This condition can be successfully treated by angioplasty to reopen blockages and the insertion of a stent to keep arteries open. However, not all stents continue to perform perfectly over time. Cells such as macrophages and smooth muscle cells can grow over the stent surface and cause clot formation, once again clogging the arteries. While anti-clotting drugs can be used, the risk of rejection of the foreign stent material remains a problem. The project brings together three academic partners National University of Ireland Galway, and Poland’s Wrocław University of Technology and Wrocław Medical University. These are joined by Vornia, a Galway-based start-up biomedical company and the multi-national stent manufacturer Balton, which has its headquarters in Poland. The project is funded under the Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) scheme of the EU’s FP7 2012 People Work Programme. The programme will provide cross-sectoral research training, career development opportunities and knowledge sharing pathways to 16 researchers involved in the project, in addition to hosting networking and dissemination events open to 30-40 additional researchers in the partner groups. “The project is an excellent example of the importance of strong industry-academia cooperation in the development of commercially viable products,” adds Dr Wall. “Both university and industry-based researchers will spend considerable time working in the opposite work sector during the project as both sectors recognise that genuine partnership in this manner is the best way to nurture creative research ideas into leading edge products that have unmet clinical need.”  -ends-

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NUI Galway Host RIAI Exhibition Awards Tour

NUI Galway Host RIAI Exhibition Awards Tour-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Premier Awards Exhibition 2012will be on view in NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, winner of the 2012 Best Sustainable Project and the RIAI Public Choice Award, which runs until 26 October. The 2012 Exhibition is a major component of the RIAI efforts to illustrate and inform members of the public of the impact of good architecture on their lives. With over 120 entries for this year’s award, the 14 different categories include housing, conservation, sustainability, accessibility, retail, leisure, public choice and culture.  Founded in 1839, the RIAI is the regulatory and support body for architects and architectural technologists in Ireland. The organisation promotes the activities and achievements of the Irish architectural profession - both in Ireland and abroad - through a wide variety of initiatives including the prestigious Irish Architecture Awards and through publications. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Having received two awards from this year’s competition we are delighted to host such a diverse and highly regarded exhibition. The show, which is open to the public, features 120 entries across the design spectrum. Their collective display in the area of sustainability ties in perfectly with the ethos of the Engineering Building.” The exhibition is opened Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. -ENDS

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European Commission Directorate-General Visits NUI Galway

European Commission Directorate-General Visits NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

                       EU briefing for students of Ireland’s only conference interpreter training programme The European Commission's Directorate-General for Interpretation, Mr Marco Benedetti today visited Galway where he met President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne plus staff and students of the MA/PDip (Conference Interpreting) currently being taught at the University. Mr Benedetti addressed a group of language students at NUI Galway on issues related to the use of languages and multilingualism in the EU, with a special emphasis on interpretation. Emphasising the importance of interpreter training, Marco Benedetti said: “The primary responsibility for training conference interpreters lays with the member states and in particular their universities. NUI Galway and in particular Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is the only Conference Interpreter training course on the entire island of Ireland and the only source of Irish language interpreters in the world so its activities should be nurtured.” “The Directorate General for Interpretation has been able to build up its interpreting resources for Irish and in fact for English over the past few years largely due to solid relationship with the MA in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway,” said Susan Folan, Programme Director at the University. “Cooperation began in 2008 with DG Interpretation providing regular teaching assistance by experienced staff interpreters and trainers from the institutions. Every year students of the MA in Conference Interpreting come to Brussels for a study visit, including practical work experience, in real meetings, in a dummy booth,” she said. To highlight the importance that prospective employers place on language skills in today’s market, a career event will take place later today (Tuesday, 9 October) in the Siobhán Mc Kenna Theatre at NUI Galway. Mr Benedetti and Joan Flanagan, Education Officer of the Parliament Representation in Ireland will outline the employment opportunities available to language graduates in the European Union, while speakers from SAP Software Solutions will discuss opportunities at home and abroad in multilingual  tech support. During his Irish visit, the Directorate-General in his Government meetings with Lucinda Creighton, Minister for European Affairs at the Department of the Taoiseach, will discuss the finalisation of preparations for interpretation during the Irish Presidency of the European Union from January 1 to June 30, 2013. This is will also be an opportunity for the Director-General and the minister to exchange views on multilingualism, language teaching and interpreter training in Ireland. The EU has always considered cultural and linguistic diversity a richness and a strength and as something to be safeguarded. Reliable interpreting services will be essential to the Irish Presidency and NUI Galway is committed to providing the requisite skills to their graduates to enable them to avail of these opportunities. ENDS

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Appleton Medal Presented to Professor Colin O’Dowd by Institute of Physics

Appleton Medal Presented to Professor Colin O’Dowd by Institute of Physics-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd was in London last week to collect the Appleton Medal, awarded to him by the Institute of Physics for his ‘distinguished research in environmental and atmospheric physics’. In particular, the NUI Galway physicist was lauded for his work on the formation and transformation of aerosols, the tiny particles which can effect cloud formation and impact climate change. Sir Edward Appleton was a British physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his achievements in ionospheric physics. His experiments proved the existence of a layer of ionised gas in the upper atmosphere, known now as the Appleton layer. The Institute of Physics, which has its headquarters in London, awards the medal every two years to identify and honour physicists who are today making remarkable contributions to science. Professor O’Dowd is internationally renowned for his research into atmospheric composition, air pollution and climate change and has previously received the Smoluchowski Award and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Manchester for his research achievements.  Much of his work involves NUI Galway’s Mace Head atmospherics research station, which is one of the most advanced and sophisticated research stations of its kind. Data from Mace Head, located in Connemara, is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. Previously, Professor O’Dowd’s research has been recognised through the award of Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society and with Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, the latter being regarded as the highest academic honor within Ireland.  -ends-

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Free App Provides Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Directory

Free App Provides Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Directory-image

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A new app developed at NUI Galway now provides a directory of numbers for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs, support and leisure services. The free app was launched this week by Helplink, a new Irish social enterprise which provides easily accessible and affordable online counselling, as well as other award winning affordable or free health and support services nationwide. The launch of the app marks the first consolidated listing of mental health, health, leisure, charity and support services in Ireland, both private and public. Lochlann Scott, Managing Director of Helplink and psychological studies graduate from NUI Galway explains the motivation behind the app: “We at Helplink want to be at the forefront of e-health and tele-health, this App brings us one step closer to achieving this. On a number of occasions over the past few years I have needed to access numbers or addresses for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs etc but I was frustrated that I had to pay significant amounts of money through my phone to get them. I thought services like these should be easy to find and free. I am proud to say that we at Helplink in conjunction with NUI Galway and Enterprise Ireland have created just that; a directory that is comprehensive, easy to use and free.” The technology was developed by researchers at the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway. Research engineer Stephanus Meiring explains, “We were able to pack a lot of functionality into this app. You can call your chosen listing’s number directly, send an email, get a Google map up of their location or get the main contact details sent to your phone for free. The main challenge was to enable the app to run across a multitude of smartphone platforms” NUI Galway’s Dr Michael Schukat, Principal Investigator on the project, added that, “As an academic institution it is important for us to collaborate with industry and the Enterprise Ireland Innovation voucher scheme provides us with this opportunity.” There are many ways of using the directory, you can download the Helplink directory App for free from the 'App store' or 'Google Play' store. You can use the mobile browser by clicking on the icon on the website, or you can simply just use the directory page from your home or office computer by using the directory page at “The new app is just one of a number of award winning services offered by Helplink. The others, like our affordable online counselling and innovative employers’ assistance programmes, have been established with the goal of providing affordable and accessible mental health and healthcare services nationwide”, added Lochlann Scott. For more about Helplink or to find quick links to the app visit ENDS

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Nobel Prize Winner to Visit NUI Galway

Nobel Prize Winner to Visit NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 11 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Law Society, in conjunction with its Literary and Debating Society, will host a public address by world renowned economist Professor Edmund Phelps on Monday, 15 October. In 2006 Professor Phelps was granted the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his analysis of intertemporal trade-offs in macroeconomic policy. During the address the Law Society and the Literary and Debating Society will present its prestigious President’s Medal to Professor Phelps. Professor Phelps’ work has had a profound impact on economic research as well as policy. Born in Evanston, Illinois, he went to Amherst College for his undergraduate education in 1951, where in his second year he quickly became aware of an important unsolved problem with the existing theory, and the existing gap between microeconomics and macroeconomics. In 1959 he received his PhD from Yale where he studied under future Nobel Prize winners James Tobin and Thomas Schelling.   In 1961 Professor Phelps published a famous paperon the Golden Rule savings rate, one of his major contributions to economic science, which started a wave of research on how much a nation ought to spend on present consumption rather than save and invest for future generations. From the 1980’s he increased his collaborations with European universities and in 1990 took part in a mission where he designed a proposal for the reform of the USSR. Cathal O'hÁodhagáin, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Law Society, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for our society to host such a brilliant mind as Professor Phelps. His economical works has rightly led to him being honoured with a Nobel Prize and it is apt that the 2012 Noble Prize winner for Economic Science will be announced this Monday, the same day as his address in NUI Galway. We look forward to welcoming him as our honoured guest.” Professor Phelps holds many honorary doctorates and professorships. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and in 2001 a Festschrift Conference was held in his honour. In 2008 he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola and the Kiel Global Economy Prize. The same year UBA Law School established the Catedra Phelps and the Phelps Medal for Innovation. In 2010 he was appointed Dean of New Huadu Business School at Minjiang University in Fuzhou and awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the Université libre de Bruxelles. In 2011, Professor Phelps received the Louise Blouin Creative Leadership Award and was named a Full Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Maria Keenan, Auditor of the Literary and Debating Society at NUI Galway, said: “During the event Professor Phelps will be presented with President's Medal. We pride ourselves on awarding these medals to those we view as having put the power of such platforms to their optimum use within the wider spheres of society, understanding that discourse is the only real means by which resolution can be found. To this end, the society's highest accolade, the President's Medal, is awarded to those the society views as having particularly excelled in their chosen fields. Previous recipients of the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Brian Friel and Bob Dylan.” The address will take place at 2pm, in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

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