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Applications now open for NUI Galway PhD Scholarships

Applications now open for NUI Galway PhD Scholarships -image

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Scholarships available in five key research areas Applications are being accepted immediately for fully-funded PhD scholarships at NUI Galway. The Hardiman and Dr Tony Ryan Research Scholarships will support students to undertake four year Structured PhD programmes, by providing a stipend of €16,000 per annum and fees. The deadline for applications is 21 November, 2014. The scholarships are focused on five key areas of research in which NUI Galway offers world-leading expertise: Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy Biomedical Science and Engineering Environment, Marine and Energy Humanities in Context, including Digital Humanities Informatics, Data Analytics, Physical and Computational Sciences An additional Cancer Care West Hardiman Research Scholarship will also be offered, supported by Cancer Care West. This scholarship will support research in Radiation Oncology or Surgical Oncology at NUI Galway and the associated University Hospital Galway. All the research scholarships are also supported by the Galway University Foundation. NUI Galway Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Lucy Byrnes said: “These scholarships aim to attract the best students to NUI Galway and to support their development as innovative individuals who will contribute to economic, cultural and social development. They offer opportunities to pursue doctoral studies focused on areas of research in which the University offers leading expertise.” Applications forms and further information are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hardiman-scholarships/ with closing date for applications at 5pm on 21 November, 2014. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Appoints Antarctic Explorer as Beaufort Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery

NUI Galway Appoints Antarctic Explorer as Beaufort Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery-image

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Antarctic explorer, Professor Bill Baker of the University of South Florida, has been appointed as Visiting Professor of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway through funding from the Beaufort Research Awards for one year. Marine Biodiscovery forms an integral part of the strategic programme for the marine sector – SeaChange, which is coordinated by the Marine Institute. The funding of the Professorship of Marine Biodiscovery at NUI Galway by the Beaufort Marine Research Awards is a critical component of the strategy to develop overall Irish research capacity and to position Ireland’s marine sector within a global knowledge-based economy. The Beaufort awards have been used to support research of international standing by making funding available for Principal Investigators and a number of researchers.  Professor Baker has established his international reputation in Marine Biodiscovery by searching for chemicals in the Antarctic. This programme at the Antarctic has been funded by the National Science Foundation in the USA for the last 24 years and now Professor Baker will turn his attention to the Irish shores in terms of searching for molecular treasures. The chemical compound Palmerolide A, one of the treasures discovered originally in the Antarctic by Professor Baker, is extremely promising against skin cancer and exploration of the Irish waters could potentially lead to a compound with similar potential. Professor Baker will provide expertise in the area of marine natural products chemistry in searching for molecular treasures from the Irish waters. The isolation and identification of novel secondary metabolites from marine organisms (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryotes) in Irish marine environments is still underexplored and provides an opportunity to identify bioactive agents of interest in the context of drug discovery, functional foods and other biotechnological applications. In a European and world-wide context, Ireland’s marine biodiversity is exceptionally high for its size: for example, 7.5% of the world’s marine benthic algae are found in Irish waters.  Professor Baker will conduct Chemistry, Bioassays and Biofermentation activities during his period in Ireland.  It is hoped that discoveries made during the Professorship in Ireland will lead to a better understanding of the chemistry of marine species and hopefully produce pharmaceuticals that fight killer diseases. Professor Baker will also deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway entitled ‘Treasures from the Antarctic Ice’ on Monday, 10 November at 7.15pm in the Kirwan Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Professor Baker will describe the challenges of carrying out research in Antarctica but show the potential rewards of this research. This will be linked to his efforts in searching the Irish waters for novel chemical agents could potentially lead to new molecules to treat killer diseases. To register for the lecture visit http://billbakeratnuig.rsvpify.com. -Ends-

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World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science to convene at NUI Galway

World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science to convene at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

World-leading experts from the field of stem cell science will convene at NUI Galway on 29-30 October 2014. The Galway International Stem Cell Conference will focus on the latest developments in basic science and translational aspects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) research in Ireland, the UK and worldwide. A type of adult stem cell, Mesenchymal Stem Cells or MSCs, have shown huge potential for use in many medical therapies. In addition to plenary talks from internationally renowned speakers, the program is structured to include oral paper presentations selected from submitted abstracts. With Ireland hosting the event this year, there will be a particular focus on some of the ground breaking research taking place here. The latest plans from researchers at NUI Galway for stem cell trials in Galway, focusing on arterial disease in the lower leg and osteoarthritis in the knee will be discussed. According to Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway: “The impact of this conference will be high because it focuses on those aspects of basic science and clinical evaluation which represent obstacles to translation. New biological insights have emerged recently about stem cells and their clinical potential has been demonstrated. However, there are still substantial gaps in knowledge in the field, such as how we can standardise the mass production of stem cells in facilities around the world.” As of 2014, Ireland now boasts its own specialist facility which can ‘grow’ stems cells for use in such clinical trials in humans. Located at NUI Galway, the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) is a custom-built facility certified to the highest EU manufacturing standards and criteria. The CCMI at NUI Galway is the first ever facility on the island of Ireland to receive a licence from the Irish Medicines Board, and firmly positions the country as a global player in the regenerative medicine field. Alongside Professor Frank Barry, other key speakers include: Javier Garcia-Sancho, Institute for Molecular Biology & Genetics (IBGM), University of Valladolid & Spanish Research Council, Valladolid, Spain; Silviu Itescu, Mesoblast, Melbourne, Australia; Sue Kimber, Tissue Regeneration and Stem Cell Network, University of Manchester; Ian McNiece, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; Mark Pittenger, University of Maryland, USA; and Darwin Prockop, Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Texas A&M, USA. ENDS

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Athlone-image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Athlone on Thursday, 6 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics - degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Athlone, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Athlone is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Athlone, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Gráinne Dunne at 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Irish public places a high value on our rivers, lakes and seas

Irish public places a high value on our rivers, lakes and seas -image

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The high value placed on our rivers, lakes and seas by the Irish public has been shown in a new research report published by the EPA today. The research, which was undertaken by NUI Galway and Teagasc, illustrates the value placed by the public on our waterways and their associated features.  In the nationwide survey, respondents rated a number of water body features including the health of the aquatic ecosystems, water clarity and smell, access to recreational activities and the conditions of banks and shorelines.   The results demonstrated that respondents assigned the highest value to the aquatic feature of ‘water clarity and smell’ and the lowest values to ‘access to recreational activities’.  While over half of all respondents expressed positive willingness to pay, the research also found that 44% of respondents were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies. The main reasons given for this were because they felt that they could not afford to pay or the government should be responsible for the costs of improvement. Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General of the EPA said, “The quality of our environment is critical to our wellbeing. This EPA funded research shows what value Irish citizens are willing to put on the environmental, health and recreational benefits associated with aquatic environments.   Dr Stephen Hynes, NUI Galway, explains, “Our research presents new information on what the benefit value is of achieving improved access and better environmental standards on Irish water bodies. Valuing the benefits derived from aquatic ecosystem services allows those managing water bodies (i.e. regional policy makers and related stakeholders) to make more informed decisions in relation to how water bodies might be sustainably developed and managed. Such estimates are also now a requirement for assessments under the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.” The key findings of the report are: The highest Marginal Willingness to Pay (MWTP) estimates were for a good status of water clarity and smell (€46.48 per respondent per year), which indicates that respondents place a high price on the aesthetic value of water bodies. The lowest MWTP estimate was for secondary access to recreational activity (€11.04 per respondent per year). ‘Cannot afford to pay’ was the main reason given by respondents who were unwilling to pay for improvements to Irish water bodies followed by ‘Government should be pay for improvements’. Findings from the survey showed that respondents’ concern for the water body attributes (health of ecosystems; water clarity and smell; access to recreational activities; condition of banks and shoreline) varied significantly according to the number of times they had visited the water bodies in the past 12 months. There is also evidence that individuals’ recreational use of rivers, lakes and seas differ substantially. The highest frequency of visits to any water body was for the purpose of walking, jogging or running along its boundary. Respondents also, on average, travelled the furthest distance to a water body in order to undertake this particular activity.  Respondents displayed mainly positive opinions on the environmental quality of Irish water bodies, but the extent of this positivity varied somewhat across water body type. The preferred payment vehicle identified by the survey was a once-off lump sum whilst the payment vehicle used in the choice experiment (an increase in personal income tax for 10 years) was only the second most popular payment type listed in the survey. ENDS

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Winner of the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation Announced

Winner of the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation Announced-image

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Last week saw the final challenge for the Inaugural Ryan Award for Innovation, support by the Tony Ryan Trust, as four finalists from NUI Galway presented their innovations from the Marine, Energy and Environment sector. The award, a €25,000 fund to advance the technology, will be presented to Dr Margaret Rae and her team in the University’s Ryan Institute, for their ground-breaking work on a new cancer treatment. This early stage ground breaking technology has the potential to and hopefully will save lives. The Award was established in 2013 to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and spin-outs from postgraduate research at NUI Galway in the areas of environment, marine and energy.  The annual competition, targeted at researchers and/or postgraduate students within the Ryan Institute, assesses business ideas arising from research. This award is to enable the winner to commercialise, or develop their idea through further research at home or abroad. The nature of the technologies from the four finalists included: A marine inspired cancer therapeutic presented by Dr Margaret Rae from the Ryan Institute. A multi-application improved sensing system in the monitoring of wastewater pollution presented by Peter Ó Conghaile of the School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute. A new customised, meteorological, forecasting technology with high-level accuracy opportunities presented by Enda O’Brien and Sufian Al Aswad from the Ireland High-Performance Computing Centre (ICHEC). A study involving the regenerative abilities of a marine invertebrate, with the hope of applying the knowledge to human research presented by Professor Uri Frank of REMEDI. The team of judges included Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President; Michael McNicholas from Ervia (formally Bord Gáis Eireann); Barry Egan, West Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland; and JP Prendergast of Biopharmed-West, an energy related start up. -Ends-

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Research seminar to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers

Research seminar to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers-image

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Education experts will gather in the School of Education, NUI Galway on Friday to discuss the issue of diversity among Ireland’s teachers. While many schools now have student populations from many backgrounds and cultures, the teaching population remains predominantly female, and from the majority ethnic and upper socio-economic backgrounds. Initial findings from an NUI Galway research project on ‘Diversity in Initial Teacher Education’ (DITE) in Ireland will be presented at a seminar on Friday. The seminar, which is supported by the University’s Moore Institute, will feature two presentations. The Cultural Diversification of the Teaching Profession: How Effective is it? Professor Ninetta Santoro, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland. Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland: A Rationale and Initial Analysis. Dr Elaine Keane, Dr Manuela Heinz, and Dr Conor Foley, School of Education, NUI Galway. Dr Elaine Keane is the recipient of an Irish Research Council Research Project Grant for the DITE project, and, along with Dr Heinz, is heading up the DITE research project in the School of Education at NUI Galway. According to Dr Keane: “While research and policy documents emphasise the necessity of diversifying the teaching population, we are lacking data adequately describing our national context in relation to diversity in initial teacher education. The gathering of comprehensive data on those applying to enter, and entering, initial teacher education is crucial in informing future directions in policy and research on teacher diversity in Ireland.” For more information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/education/research/dite/dite.html -ends-

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NUI Galway centre-stage in €245 million investment announcement by Minister Bruton and Minister English

NUI Galway centre-stage in €245 million investment announcement  by Minister Bruton and Minister English-image

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

• NUI Galway to lead new national medical device research centre • NUI Galway to play key role in 3 of 5 new centres • €155 million of new Exchequer funds for 5 world-class Research Centres • €90 million co-investment by over 165 industry partners in new Centres A new world-class medical device research centre is to be established at NUI Galway as part of a €245 million Government investment in science and technology. In addition, NUI Galway is to play a key role in two other research centres announced today in Dublin by Richard Bruton, T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Damien English, T.D. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation. An announcement of a total of five new SFI Research Centres today is a major investment by the Government in scientific research which is closely aligned to industry and enterprise needs, job opportunities and societal goals. A total of €155 million of Irish exchequer funding will be invested in the new world class research centres of scale. The new funding will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme coupled with over €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners. The funding will be provided over the next six years with a mid-term review. CÚRAM - The Centre for Research in Medical Devices This major new national research centre will be based at NUI Galway. The prime objective for CÚRAM will be to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. NUI Galway’s Professor Abhay Pandit, who is currently Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), will be the Director of CÚRAM. Three high-profile Co-Directors will bring a depth and breadth of expertise to the new research centre: Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research and Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and Director of AGRC at NUI Galway; Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway; and Professor David Brayden, Professor of Drug Delivery at UCD. CÚRAM will design and create implantable ‘smart’ medical devices. Implants will be designed and manufactured to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. Cutting-edge science will develop devices using the very latest research from biomaterials, stem cells and drug delivery. Devices will be developed with strong clinical collaborations and with industry partners and hospital groups to enable rapid translation to the clinic. CÚRAM’s outputs will benefit in particular patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. As the global population ages, with one in 3 people expected to be over 65 by 2050, the financial burden for healthcare is expected to rocket. CÚRAM will position Ireland as the driver in developing medical device technologies which will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases to meet this challenge. Crucially, CÚRAM will also sustain and permanently strengthen Ireland’s standing as a major global hub for medical device sector research and development. CÚRAM brings together researchers from NUI Galway, UCD, DCU, UL, UCC and RCSI. The centre will include almost 40 industry partners and support product development and the creation of new spin-out companies. Partners will include indigenous Irish companies and multi-nationals such as Arch Therapeutics Inc, Aerogen, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd. iCrag - Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences NUI Galway also forms part of the new Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). This centre is focused on unlocking Ireland’s natural resources and providing solutions to resource security problems by securing supplies of energy, minerals and safe water. Part of this work will involve “de-risking” investment by exploration companies in Ireland by providing better descriptions and models of the geology to improve our understanding of the key processes influencing their formation. Additionally iCRAG will develop innovative techniques for predicting the location and nature of resources and link them to improved methods for optimising the production of resources throughout Ireland. iCRAG initial research is built around key sectors in the geosciences, notably Raw materials, Marine Geoscience, Groundwater and Hydrocarbons. Emphasis is also placed on increasing the public understanding of geoscience in Ireland and its role in the economy. NUI Galway researchers from the discipline of Earth and Ocean Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences will contribute to all aspects of iCRAG research. NUI Galway’s Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Peter Croot, is a co-PI in iCRAG and will lead research in Marine Geosciences in cooperation with colleagues from UCC, Maynooth, TCD, DIAS and the iCRAG host institute, UCD. Lero Software Research Centre NUI Galway is also a key part of the Lero Software Research Centre. Software is everywhere and key Irish industry sectors such as manufacturing, medical devices, financial services, cloud computing, analytics, and smart cities depend on it. LERO’s research mission is to replicate the success of traditional software engineering in the context of large-scale, pervasive, physically-integrated, highly interconnected, evolving, and continuously-available systems, in which the boundary between design-time and runtime is disappearing. NUI Galway’s Dr Kieran Conboy, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy & Law at NUI Galway will lead a group of 14 new research staff to work on software project management and innovation. According to Dr Conboy, while the software industry is particularly strong in Ireland, accounting for €12bn in exports, there are significant challenges to overcome to ensure this sector can play a leading role in Ireland’s recovery. Together with industry the group at NUI Galway will develop, implement and evaluate world-leading software development and management practices in two core areas: • Evolving software: The ways in which software is created and managed are constantly changing. The Lero team at NUI Galway will lead research on contemporary methods for evolving software such as lean and agile approaches, project and portfolio management, decision making and lean analytics. • Open software: The development and management of software crosses teams, organisations and sectors. The team will lead research in open innovation, software ecosystems, crowdsourcing, cloud technologies and design thinking. Geophysics and particularly seismic data are typically very large and growing in size, driven by many factors including higher-resolution sensors, cheaper storage and global acquisition programmes. However much of the software used on a daily basis by engineers and scientists in the field was conceived and built before the era of “Big Data”. The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), a technology centre at NUI Galway, and its industry partners will develop new methods to modernise our approach to handle large datasets in the oil and gas sector. Speaking about today’s announcement in Dublin, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “This is a wonderful endorsement of NUI Galway’s consistent approach to supporting selected priority areas of research, particularly in the area of biomedical science. CÚRAM will draw on the very significant pool of talented biomedical researchers on our campus, led by Professors Abhay Pandit, Tim O’Brien, Lokesh Joshi and their teams. CÚRAM holds enormous potential for the Irish economy and the Centre will work with industry partners to support innovation and development in the medical device sector – where Galway and Ireland already have a significant profile as an international hub for ‘medtech’. I am certain too that NUI Galway will make important contributions to the work of both iCrag Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences and Lero Software Centre, through the leadership of Professor Peter Croot and Dr Kieran Conboy. I congratulate my colleagues on securing this very significant research investment, as a result of which I look forward to the emergence of further dynamic and productive partnerships between NUI Galway researchers and industrial partners in the areas of biomedical science, geosciences and software engineering.” Speaking about the selection of the five world-class centres, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said, “These five new SFI Research Centres were selected following a highly competitive and rigorous international peer review process which screened for scientific excellence and assessed potential economic and societal impact. These five SFI Research Centres complement the seven we announced last year – which are already having a major positive impact: making important scientific advances, initiating and enhancing enterprise, training people with appropriate skills, winning EU projects and enhancing Ireland’s international reputation. These SFI Research Centres combine scientific research with deep and significant enterprise engagement, excellence and impact. We are confident that they will make a significant contribution to Ireland’s economy, employment and reputation.” Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to build on the major achievements in scientific research we have built up over the past decade and turn more good ideas into good jobs. Today’s announcement will lead to the establishment in Ireland of world-class centres of research excellence and scale which will be game-changers for Irish scientific research.” “The €245 million investment announced today, and the five new, large-scale, world-class research centres it will support, are aimed at achieving a step-change in the reputation and performance of Ireland’s research system. This builds on the announcement of seven similar centres last year. With twelve world-class SFI Research Centres, Ireland is now well placed to take the lead developing cutting-edge research and new technologies, ultimately delivering more commercial ideas and jobs.” The new centres will link scientists and engineers in partnerships across academia and industry to address crucial research questions, and foster the development of new and existing Irish-based technology companies. The aim is also to attract industry that could make an important contribution to Ireland and its economy, and expand educational and career opportunities in Ireland in science and engineering. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Professor Conferred as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

NUI Galway Professor Conferred as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences-image

Thursday, 16 October 2014

NUI Galway Professor of Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, Professor Tony Dundon, has been has conferred with the award of Fellow by the Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Dundon is one of 34 leading social scientists to receive the award. The recipients have a wide range of expertise in the social sciences, including town planning, education, geography, social work, law, sociology, economics and psychology. These Fellows have made a substantial contribution to wider social science in a variety of contexts, including in higher education, government, funding councils, charitable foundations and think tanks. Professor Dundon is recognised as a key figure in the development of employment relations studies, in particular on employee voice, worker rights and regulatory systems of industrial relations. The Academy of Social Sciences is the National Academy of Academics, Learned Societies and Practitioners in the Social Sciences. It has around 1,000 individual Fellows, who are distinguished scholars and practitioners from academia and the public and private sectors. They are awarded Fellowship status after peer group review of the standing and impact of their work and evaluation of their contribution to wider social science. Fellows are entitled to use the post-nominal letters 'FAcSS'. For more information visit http://acss.org.uk/news/4-leading-social-scientists-conferred-fellows/.   -Ends-

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Law Lecturer Appointed by Government to Working Group on Asylum

Law Lecturer Appointed by Government to Working Group on Asylum-image

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Dr Ciara Smyth, Director of the Doctoral Programme in the School of Law, NUI Galway, has been appointed to the government’s Working Group on Asylum.  The Working Group, which is convened by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, and chaired by retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon, is to recommend to Government what improvements should be made to the State’s existing direct provision and protection processes for asylum seekers in the short and longer term.  The establishment of the Working Group comes in response to mounting criticism of delays in the Irish asylum procedure and the conditions in which asylum seekers are required to live while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.  Other members of the Working Group include: Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council and Sophie Magennis, Head of UNHCR in Ireland.  Dr Ciara Smyth has been working in the asylum field for over fifteen years, both as a practitioner and as an academic.  She teaches Immigration Law, International Human Rights and International Law in the School of Law, NUI Galway, and Refugee Law in the Irish Centre for Human Rights.  She has been involved in training of staff in the asylum institutions, has conducted master-classes for barristers, solicitors and asylum decision-makers on various aspects of refugee law, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Refugee Council.  She has just published a monograph with Routledge on  European Asylum Law and the Rights of the Child. Last year Ciara was presented with a prestigious Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in Tilburg for her PhD thesis on ‘The Common European Asylum System and the Rights of the Child: An Exploration of Meaning and Compliance’, which she completed at Leiden University. Welcoming the announcement of Dr Smyth’s appointment to the new Working Group, the Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “This is a well-deserved recognition of Ciara Smyth’s standing as a leading Irish and European scholar on asylum and related matters. I have no doubt that she will make an invaluable contribution to the Working Group which will be chaired by Judge McMahon who was, previously, a part-time Professor in the School of Law at NUI Galway.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students are Building Ireland’s Most Energy-Efficient Car

NUI Galway Students are Building Ireland’s Most Energy-Efficient Car-image

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Engineering students from NUI Galway are designing and building ‘the Geec’ (Galway energy-efficient car), Ireland’s most fuel efficient car, efficient enough to drive from Galway to Dublin on less than €1 worth of electricity. In May 2015, the team will compete with 200 other teams at Shell Eco-marathon Europe as the first team ever to represent Ireland in the event. At Shell Eco-marathon a future generation of engineers and scientists aged 16-25 from around 25 countries compete in cars they design and build. Success is measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 kWh of electricity or 1 litre of fuel, thanks to their creative designs and technical know-how. Shell Eco-marathon aims to involve citizens globally in challenges related to energy and mobility, while inspiring them to consider innovative solutions. In May 2015 in Rotterdam, the Geec from NUI Galway will race in the prototype electric category. The car combines electric drive with a streamlined composite body and ultra-low resistance tyres. The team consists of students across the Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic and Energy Systems Engineering disciplines with full backing from the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics. The team is currently testing and tuning the car and is seeking to build relationships with partners and sponsors who can help to develop this project for the 2015 Eco-marathon and beyond. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, recently unveiled the car alongside Shell representatives, students and alumni. “The Shell Eco-Marathon was first established in 1939 and I am delighted to see students from our College of Engineering and Informatics participate as the event challenges students across the world to design build and race ultra-efficient vehicles. There has never been an Irish team to compete in the event and this will change in 2015 with NUI Galway's contribution to the world of eco-friendly transport. This is a great team of students taking on the design, building and racing Ireland's most fuel efficient car and I really do commend them and wish them well.” Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s most challenging student innovation competitions and takes place annually in Europe, America and Asia. The competition brings together current and future leaders, along with a broader public passionate about energy issues. It encourages debate around sustainable solutions to the challenge of rising global energy demand. Speaking at an event today where the Engineering students presented and exhibited the vehicle, Michael Crothers, Managing Director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited, said: “Shell E&P Ireland is delighted to support NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics as it competes in the 30th anniversary of the Shell Eco-marathon in 2015. The design of ultra-energy efficient vehicles is both a lot of fun and a great chance to learn as students apply their talents across a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines.”  Continuing, Mr Crothers added: “The NUI Galway team will be pitting their technical skills against 3,000 of the best and brightest engineering students in Europe, and I know they will represent the great tradition of Irish engineering excellence very well.  I wish the team every success in the competition.” For more information on NUI Galway’s entry visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NUIGEcoMarathon, or visit www.nuigalway.ie/thegeec. -Ends-

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Irish Centre for Human Rights and ICCL win top EU Rights contract

Irish Centre for Human Rights and ICCL win top EU Rights contract-image

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), NUI Galway, in close collaboration with project partner the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), has won a major EU contract for Irish Law and Social Data Research and will become Ireland’s new national focal point for the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). This is the first time that the prestigious FRANET-Ireland contract for data collection and research services on fundamental rights issues in Ireland has been awarded to an Irish University-led bid. FRANET is the FRA’s multidisciplinary research network. It is composed of contractors in each EU Member State who provide relevant data to FRA on fundamental rights issues, to facilitate the Agency’s comparative analyses. This work of the FRA then informs EU policy and initiatives across the EU member States. The ICHR/ICCL project has assembled a team of Ireland’s leading human rights and social science experts, located at academic institutions and in civil society. Professor Michael O’Flaherty, the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who becomes the FRANET Senior Expert for Ireland, commented: “We are very pleased to take on this contract that will generate crucial findings for the strengthening of fundamental rights in Ireland and across the EU. We are particularly pleased to partner with the ICCL and with Ireland’s top specialists to undertake this ground-breaking work.” Mark Kelly, the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, who becomes the FRANET Senior Legal Expert for Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the ICHR to ensure that the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency has legally accurate and up-to-date information about the state of human rights in Ireland. We also look forward to spreading the word about the important evidence-based research published by the FRA.” Research will focus on a number of thematic areas. These include: access to justice; victims of crime, including compensation to victims; respect for private life and protection of personal data; Roma integration; judicial cooperation; rights of the child; discrimination; asylum, immigration and borders; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.   ENDS

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Become Scientists for a Day with NUI Galway

Become Scientists for a Day with NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Following the huge success of their respective roadshows, Cell EXPLORERS, Eco EXPLORERS and Kitchen Chemistry based in NUI Galway, are joining forces to host a day of fun science-related activities for children aged 7 to 13 years on Thursday, 30 October. DNA extractions, colourful chemical reactions and live exotic animals will be part of this exciting programme. With Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn about the fascinating world of cells and DNA. They will then learn how to design an experiment to extract DNA from fruit that they can do at home with their parents! Kitchen Chemistry will teach children how to make their own glow sticks and how to grow crystals at home. Eco EXPLORERS will complete the day with an exciting display of live exotic animals, ranging from tarantulas to snakes and stick insects. All three workshops will be delivered by NUI Galway students and staff members, all of whom want to share their enthusiasm for science. The workshops will run from 10am to 3pm and the cost of attending is €10 per child, with discounts available for multiple bookings (€15 for 2 children, €20 for 3 children). To register, email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie or or call 091 495748. Registration forms and payments will be organised on the day, from 9.30am to 10am. Places are limited, so early booking is advised. -Ends-

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