Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The new Irish law to criminalise the purchase of sex is unworkable according to experts on sex work and human trafficking from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. A new book published by the two academics, Dr Eilís Ward, NUI Galway and Dr Gillian Wylie, TCD, analyse Ireland’s newly adopted policy.   They draw a parallel with Sweden which introduced a similar law in 1999, and was the focus of a major campaign in Ireland over the past decade, ‘Turn off the Red Light’.  In both the case of Ireland and Sweden, they contend that the legislation is based on the belief that prostitution is a form of violence against women and is caused by male demand. “It is clear that Irish parliamentarians already knew what they wanted: a sex purchase ban. No serious efforts were made to consider an alternative model such as that currently in New Zealand. Here, the act of buying or selling of sex itself is not subject to the law but all activities surrounding it are, such as criminal activities or violence. It holds out the promise of an approach that, at least does not create more problems especially for the most vulnerable women in the sex trade,” said Dr Ward. “The complex realities of sex workers' lives and views were not being recognised in the Irish debate, nor were the many international studies that show the negative impact of sex purchase bans on those who sell sex,” said Dr Wylie of the Irish School of Ecumenics. The academics claim that it is a very complex area of law and human activity and that the sex purchase ban is a crude instrument that does not work very well. Prostitution continues in Sweden as does sex trafficking. They suggest that to end exploitation of sex workers an approach which ensures the rights of all workers and provides safe and legal migration routes will be far more effective in the long run than banning the buying of sex. The book ‘Feminism, Prostitution and the State; Politics of Neo-Abolitionism’ is being launched in Trinity College  on Thursday, 9 March by Alan Shatter, former Minister for Justice who queried several aspects of the report produced in favour of a sex purchase ban by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice Defence and Equality arising from the original consultation. In addition, a second book on the international politics of trafficking, written by Dr Wylie, will also be launched by the former Minister at the event. “By looking at the comparison of all these countries we can see that there are drivers for abolitionism coming from feminists, religious groups and fears about sex trafficking but we also see the consequences of these policies in allying feminism with policing approaches to social problems and government strategies designed to keep migrant women out”, said Dr Wylie. “Sex purchase bans have been shown to impact more harshly on migrant women in sex industries, particularly undocumented migrants who lack strong networks of social support.” This connection between anti-trafficking activism and increased border control is a central theme in this second book being launched. In ‘The International Politics of Human Trafficking’ Dr Wylie traces the different feminist voices that have made human trafficking a big political issue in the 21st century, but she also argues that worryingly governments are now using anti-trafficking language to justify blocking refugees and migrants from Europe. “Governments everywhere are using the rhetoric of combatting human trafficking to deprive people of their rights to move and seek refuge,” says Dr Wyllie. Ends 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

20 Subject Areas Receive International Recognition NUI Galway today welcomed the publication of the QS World University Subject Rankings which ranked NUI Galway as world leading for its teaching and research in 20 subjects.  This is a marked increase since last year, when the University was recognised in 12 subjects and follows recent advances in both the QS and Times Higher Education (THE) University rankings which have seen NUI Galway join the ranks of the Top 250 global educational institutions.  With 20 subject areas now featuring in the top tier globally, three are ranked in the top 200 (Medicine, Earth & Marine Sciences and Geography), English Language and Literature is ranked in the top 150 globally and Nursing is ranked in the top 100 in the world. Speaking about the achievement, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said:  “While no rankings system is perfect, this recognition by QS highlights the quality of teaching and research at NUI Galway across a diverse range of subject areas.  This confirmation of our status among the world’s elite institutions is positive for our students as they enter international employment markets with qualifications that rank among the best globally.” The next undergraduate Open Day for NUI Galway will be held on Saturday 1 April, providing an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to explore NUI Galway’s facilities and to learn first-hand from lecturers and students about the more than 60 courses on offer. Dr Browne continued: “In recent months, our improved rankings have also contributed to record numbers at open days and information evenings, and we look forward to showcasing the institution to the next generation of students at our next Open Day on April 1st.” Lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands. The ‘Parents Programme’ will provide parents and students with information on important issues such as careers, accommodation and support services for students. More information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays. ENDS

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

‘Harmful Algal Blooms’ is an innovative introduction of Ocean Literacy in Irish secondary schools A marine science iBook entitled Harmful Algal Blooms has been developed as part of NUI Galway’s contribution to an EU-funded European research project Sea Change. The project aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean, or “ocean literacy”. The iBook will be launched by Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research on Monday, 13 March at 4pm in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. Dr Christine Domegan, the NUI Galway Principal Investigator for Sea Change, Whitaker Institute, said: “Co-creating ocean literacy calls for collaboration, discussion, participation and engagement across multiple stakeholders in Europe; from policy makers, to educators, and from media to mariners, children and grandparents.” Opportunities to increase awareness of the ocean are limited in the junior cycle science curriculum across Europe. This iBook is designed to infuse the engaging story of Harmful Algal Blooms into teaching across the sciences. Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae - simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater - grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds and people. During the launch, the author, Dr Robin Raine, from Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway, will speak about his experiences at the heart of the book. The audience will also be introduced to the teaching design used within the book, which aims to ensure the content can be taken up by Science teachers and students to advance a Sea Change in Irish and European ocean literacy. There was a great response from both teachers and students after piloting the iBook in Irish, Swedish, and Belgian schools.  The iBook was co-edited by Dr Veronica McCauley and Dr Kevin Davison of NUI Galway’s School of Education. Dr McCauley said: “Teachers are becoming more savvy with technology in the classroom and are finding innovative ways to teach the curriculum so that it encourages personal interest in the sciences. This is particularly true given the recent Digital Strategy for Schools, 2015-2020 and its promotion of coding and programming.” The importance of the ocean, and therefore ocean literacy, cannot be overestimated. The ocean defines and dominates everything about our planet. It is home to most of the life on Earth, regulates our weather and climate, provides most of our oxygen, and feeds much of the human population. Dr Robin Raine, author and lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “This book will introduce students to important features of our ocean as well as harmful algal blooms. It will act as a resource for teachers to strengthen and promote science through the topic of marine science.” To confirm your attendance at the launch, please register at: www.eventbrite.ie/e/launch-of-harmful-algal-blooms-ibook-tickets-32407091483 For further information, contact Dr Veronica McCauley, School of Education, NUI Galway on veronica.mccauley@nuigalway.ie. Other marine related resources are available on the project website at www.seachangeproject.eu -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

‘Italian Art and its Icons: The Past in the Present’ NUI Galway will host a one-day symposium on the legacy of the Italian Renaissance in contemporary culture on Thursday, 23 March. The symposium is being organised by NUI Galway’s Italian department in collaboration with 126 Artist-Run Gallery, TULCA Festival of Visual Art, MUS.E (Museums of Florence), the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin, and the University’s Moore Institute. ‘Italian Art and its Icons’ will begin with talks from Finola O’Kane Crimmins, UCD, and NUI Galway’s Professor Paolo Bartoloni and Professor Daniel Carey in the McKenna Lecture Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at 4pm. This will be followed at 7pm with talks by Valentina Zucchi, MUS.E and Michaele Cutaya, Writer and Editor, in 126 Artist-Run Gallery, St. Bridget’s Place, Galway City. Italian art and Florentine Renaissance particularly, have had an enduring influence over the years, and continue to attract the attention of contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Jan Fabre, Gaetano Pesce and ai weiwei. But what remains of the Renaissance in contemporary practices, and how does contemporary art engage and interact with iconic Renaissance spaces like the city of Florence? What form does Italian art and Renaissance take in Ireland, and where is this influence felt in the Irish landscape? These questions will be addressed by academics, curators, and cultural practitioners from Italy and Ireland. Local Italian restaurants and business including Mona Lisa, Il Vicolo, Basilico, Ciarlantini, cheese importer Grapecircus, and Thomas Woodberry Wines will contribute their food and experience of Italian cuisine as part of the symposium. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This event is an exciting example of creative engagement, bringing together the University, government organisations, and artistic curators, to inspire new and imaginative ways to rethink and reflect on European cultural heritage, as well as initiate cross-cultural dialogue.” The event is free to attend but places are limited. For catering purposes, attendees should register at https://italianartgalway.eventbrite.com. For further information email paolo.bartoloni@nuigalway.ie, andrea.ciribuco@nuigalway.ie or L.ELIVS1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A PhD student of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway was recently selected as Commander of Crew 172, an international mission for the Mars Desert Research Station, which supports Earth-based research required for human space exploration. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), owned and operated by the Mars Society, is a full-scale analog facility in Utah in the United States that supports Earth-based research in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human exploration on Mars. The extreme mission is not unlike the fictional story behind the 2016 Oscar nominated movie The Martian, starring Matt Damon. The Hollywood star plays astronaut Mark Watney who is left behind when an unexpected storm hits Mars, leaving him to engineer ways to feed himself and survive the harsh environment of Mars. Ilaria Cinelli, a PhD student in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway was selected as Emerging Space Leader of the Mars Mission thanks to her extracurricular activities in this field. Ms Cinelli led an international crew of six people under the constraints of a simulated Mars mission over four weeks. The unique facility in Utah is surrounded by terrain that is a geologic Mars analog, which offered Commander Cinelli and her crew opportunities for rigorous field studies as they would be conducted during an actual space mission. This study will lead to new insights into the nature and evolution of Mars, the Earth, and life on Mars. Commander Cinelli’s leadership role allowed her to measure the impact of human behaviour among her crew, brought about by living in such a confined environment and the loss of personal contact with family and friends. Ms Cinelli collected data-based research on the crew’s changing behaviour patterns throughout the mission. Due to monotony, loneliness, lack of social contacts, major responsibilities and stress, Ms Cinelli’s research observed a marked improvement in the crew’s performance in the development of successful strategies; increased confidence in performance; the ability to independently deal with complex problems; higher levels of inner emotional energy, a resistance to stress, increased internal control and social growth. Commenting on the Mars mission, Commander Cinelli said: “The purpose of this mission was to investigate the impact of isolation on human behaviour, performance and leadership. The Mars simulation experiment is aimed at increasing the physiological and technical autonomy of the crew in preparation for an actual long-term mission over a number of years. During these missions, the marsonauts are training to make full use of the available resources and independence of decision making from remote support. The MDRS is in the middle of the Utah desert and three hours away from the nearest town. Extreme conditions were created due to the limited amount of resources available such as food, water, electricity and WiFi. The mission was the first for most of the crew who had never experienced living in such an extreme environment before. They made great progress throughout the mission by stepping outside of their comfort zone, overcoming stress, increasing control and overall performance.” MDRS officially began operations in 2001 as a fully volunteer enterprise, which is now in its 16th field season. To date, over 1,000 people have participated as crew members at the habitat, and many are now involved in other analog studies at different locations around the world. For more information about The Mars Desert Research Station visit: http://mdrs.marssociety.org/ -Ends-

Monday, 6 March 2017

A new online platform, DASH (Driving All Students Home) has officially launched in Cork, Carlow and Galway and allows students to get taxis even when they have no cash, bank card or phone while ensuring the drivers are paid. DASH was invented by NUI Galway Business Information System student Richie Commins, who has now teamed up with four other NUI Galway students as part of their final year project to take projectdash.ie across the country. The team of students has launched a nationwide campaign where they aim to create an invisible network for students all over the country. After extensive testing in Galway, the app officially launched in the city last week. The project has gathered a lot of momentum in 2017 teaming up with many companies to make the service available where thousands of students have signed up. Students can sign up for free at www.projectdash.ie , upload an ID photo of themselves, add a bank card to pay for emergency taxis, and create a four-digit pin. The students then simply tell the taxi driver their name and Dash PIN number, which allows the driver to check their account on a driver app. Once the driver has verified the fare, the app then processes the payment upon arrival at the destination. Richie said: “It’s a very exciting time for DASH. We are in talks with some big organisations to release features that have never been seen before to really take student safety to the next level. The support we have received from third-level institutions and Student Union’s here in Galway and across the country has just been phenomenal, it’s really helping us connect with students nationwide.” The project is now rolling out nationwide over the coming weeks with the aim of seeing a decline in the amount of tragic incidents that may occur while students commute on foot late at night as a result of not having the means to avail of a taxi journey home. Daniel Khan, NUI Galway Student’s Union Welfare Officer, said: “This is a brilliant program that will help to increase the safety and well being of our students. Losing purses and wallets on nights out can be a common occurrence but thanks to this initiative students will still be able to get home safely.” An Garda Síochána will be supporting the initiative through their Campus Watch programme. Sergeant Pat Flanagan, Officer for Crime Prevention, said: “The taxis that have integrated with DASH have really shown they care about students, and hopefully, all taxis will soon be branded with the safety DASH brings.” For further information on the initiative visit www.projectdash.ie/ or https://www.facebook.com/projectdash.ie/. -Ends-

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Discipline of Management in the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway will host an open information evening for its three highly regarded Masters programmes on Thursday, 9 March from 6pm. The information evening, which will take place in in CA118 in the Cairnes Building, will provide an opportunity for prospective students to meet the Programme Directors, faculty members and successful graduates now working in key roles in Google, Accenture and Qualtrics.  The MSc in Human Resource Management (HRM) is a one year full-time programme accredited by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD). The MSc HRM is designed to develop a thorough knowledge and applied competence in the fundamentals of human resource management and employment relations. Students learn the nature of work and explore human resource policy and practice in national and multinational organisations.  The programme includes an international study visit to Toulouse Business School in France.  The one year full-time award winning MSc in International Management (IM) provides students with in-depth knowledge and expertise in the principles and application of international business and management. The degree provides a solid foundation for a career in international management with multinational corporations, internationally-focused and newly internationalising domestic firms. The MSc IM includes an international study visit to Hong Kong.  The MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management (SIPM) focuses on three critical determinants of enterprise success and their interfaces. The MSc SIPM is an innovative programme designed and developed to meet graduate and employer needs in the globalised smart economy. It is one of only a small number of programmes accredited by the CIPD and is unique in focusing on other critical areas of management in addition to HRM. Dr Alma McCarthy, Head of the Management Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc programmes in HRM, IM and SIPM have been running for a number of years and we are very proud of the achievements of our graduates. Many of our graduates hold senior roles in leading international companies including Accenture, Google, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Intel and Amazon. Graduates also play key roles in national organisations including IBEC, Enterprise Ireland, the Civil Service and The Irish Times.”   Full details about each programme are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/taught/. For more information contact Gerry Campbell at 091 493771 or gerry.campbell@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Moore Institute at NUI Galway will hold a roundtable discussion ‘Where to from here?’ based on the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly Election The outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly election, taking place today (2 March), will be the subject of discussion and debate in a special event ‘Where to from here?’ being held in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway on Monday, 6 March at 12pm. The election, prompted by the scandal surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and the First Minister Arlene Foster, will reshape Northern Ireland politics. The resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness brought down the Assembly. McGuinness himself has not contested the election and has been replaced by Michelle O’Neill as Sinn Féin leader. NUI Galway academics with expertise in Northern Ireland politics, the peace process, and personal experience, will consider what happens next in this unique roundtable discussion. The panel includes Dr Rebecca Barr, Lecturer of English, School of Humanities; Dr Brendan Flynn, Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology; Dr Laurence Marley, Lecturer in History, School of Humanities; Dr Kate Quinn, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Senior Lecturer, School of Political Science and Sociology; and Dr Kerry Sinanan, Visiting Research Fellow at the Moore Institute. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, said: “The departure of figures like Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson has changed the landscape of politics in the North. It remains to be seen how Arlene Foster will contend with the heating scandal. With Brexit looming, the issue of a hard or soft border, and trade tariffs, there is much that lies in wait for the new Assembly.” The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Moore Institute, Seminar Room G010 in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

‘LaunchLab’ is aimed at aspiring student entrepreneurs Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway formally opened LaunchLab this week. LaunchLab is a multidisciplinary experiential learning space that supports a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship through interaction, innovation and incubation.  LaunchLab hosts a series of laboratories aimed at enabling aspiring student entrepreneurs to advance their skills in various domains. The first programmes running in LaunchLab are a ‘Fintech Lab’ and ‘Social Simulation’ with the programme planning to expand to an ideation lab later in 2017. The Fintech Lab and Social Simulation will run training programs to enable students to develop a core set of skills in advanced analytics and simulation techniques across Fintech and social simulations. The labs are unique in that they are delivered in a peer-to-peer environment by students from Physics, Mathematics, Economics and Finance. Students are trained using the technologies and systems and then deliver content to peer groups on a weekly basis. Scientific lead and lecturer in Economics at NUI Galway, Dr Raghav Srinivas said: “In the technology led big-data driven growth of financial and business sectors, the global competition demands for hybrid and multi-skilled workforce. In this reality, academic disciplines can’t afford to operate in silos and it is imperative to find creative ways to collaborate and provide students with a broader set of interdisciplinary skill capabilities. The training programs envisaged in the FinTech and Social simulation labs are a modest attempt in this direction to develop interdisciplinary skill capacity in analytics, simulation and computing for students in NUI Galway.” The Fintech Lab: Blackstone LaunchPad and PERACTON® have partnered to offer this unique programme for NUI Galway. The Fintech lab works at the intersection of entrepreneurship and Fintech. The programme uses PERACTON® financial analytics platform (MAARS) to train students in risk assessment, algorithmic trading and portfolio management using diverse instruments of stocks, bonds and ETFs. PERACTON’s back-testing suite powered by Python will be used to train students to develop their own novel trading strategies. The goal of the course is to prepare the students for the future economic realities where machines will monitor and control financial markets in an uncontested manner. Additionally, a highly experimental sentiment data generated by SSIX EU H2020 project (https://ssix-project.eu/) will be available in Peracton's MAARS algorithmic platform towards the end of the course, so the students can take into account the social network's sentiments with regards to stocks and add them to their algorithmic strategies. The Social Simulation Lab: The Social Simulation training program trains students in Social System simulation using large scale models run on Python. Students will be trained in simulating social models of choice, competition, conflict and cooperation using multi-level, multi-agent systems employing range of techniques, including game-theoretic techniques. The aim of this program is to enable students with interdisciplinary analytical skills to explore the complexities of social systems. Laurentiu Vasiliu, Peracton's founder and CEO says: “Overwhelmingly, computer driven algorithms are now the main actors in financial markets. The financial industry is starting to come to terms that algo-trading and investment is now the norm. Therefore, students nowadays have to be prepared for such reality and with our MAARS platform we are helping them to adapt and thrive in such a globally competitive market.”  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research and the Blackstone LaunchPad Administrative Leader at NUI Galway outlined how all of these core elements are fundamental to the success of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway: “Our campus community is growing with over 3,000 students using Blackstone LaunchPad in just over a year. Interdisciplinarity, innovation and engagement are at the heart of Blackstone LaunchPad’s philosophy and it is fantastic to see this programme flourish on campus.” -Ends-

Thursday, 2 March 2017

NUI Galway has received the archive of Flynn and Lehany Coal Mining Company Limited as a gift from the Flynn family. Its archive, one of a very small number on mining in Ireland, is a significant source of information about the mining industry, State energy policy, the operation of the company and the social and economic history of the mines at Arigna. The Flynn and Lehany Company operated the coal mine of Glackaundareagh, Altygowlan, in the central part of the Kilronan Mountain in Co. Roscommon from its foundation in 1949, and subsequently at Gubbarudda. The company worked on contracts with hospitals and other public buildings through the 1950s, and it was a supplier to the coal-burning ESB power station at Arigna after that station was built in 1958. The power station closed in 1989 and the site is now a quarry operated by Hillstreet Quarries Ltd. The company operated at a time of great social change in rural Ireland, including rural electrification and the modernisation of Irish industry through the 1960s and 1970s. As the record of a commercial mining company in Ireland in the later twentieth century this collection is unique, and offers unparalleled insights into production processes, as well as financial management and the impact of the industry on the locality. There are only two other collections, both housed at the National Library of Ireland, relating to coal mining in Ireland and each of those relates to the nineteenth century. This archive is also of particular value in its inclusion of the mine owner’s experience. The archive itself consists of a very full record of the industry, covering the establishment of the company, as well as material relating to production, personnel and distribution. There are reports and correspondence with the various regulatory bodies associated with mineral rights, as well as technical manuals for the machinery used in the plant. There is also material relating to the Hewitson and Lawder estates in the Arigna area. It includes details of lands purchased by the Flynn family from the estates under the auspices of the Irish Land Commission, some as early as the 1890s. Other highlights are records of tonnage, giving amounts mined per employee, and a letter from the company and workforce to John Hume making a donation to the Bloody Sunday Appeal Fund. Father Tomás Flynn and Denis Flynn have acted on behalf of the Flynn family in generously donating the archive to NUI Galway. They are first cousins whose fathers, Thomas and Michael Flynn, were involved in establishing the company. Denis Flynn is Managing Director of Hillstreet Quarries Ltd and Fr Tomás Flynn is Parish Priest in Drumcong, Co. Leitrim, and author of a recently published book titled Thomas J. Devine and The Election of the Snows: The North Roscommon By-Election of 1917. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway values its archival collections as a major resource for the scholars of today and tomorrow. The donation of the Flynn and Lehany coal mining archive represents a very significant addition to our collections, and the University is much indebted to the Flynn family.” Father Tomás Flynn commented: “Our family is delighted that NUI Galway will be the home of the Flynn and Lehany Archive and that this collection will be used for educational purposes.” John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “The Flynn and Lehany archive adds to the regional coverage of our collections and is of great value given the enduring interest in the Arigna mines. It sits well with the John McGahern archive in particular.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Minister of Natural Resources, Seán Kyne T.D., will participate in a high-profile panel discussion at NUI Galway that will explore Ireland’s response to the Paris Climate Accord. The discussion is part of NUI Galway’s Energy Night, the seventh instalment of Ireland’s first and largest student-run energy event, which will take place on Wednesday, 8 March in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway. Energy Night 2017, which is organised by the University’s student-run Energy Society, will begin at 5pm with a ‘Careers in Energy’ seminar for students. Speakers from Accenture, ESB, Medtronic, and the Coffey Group will deliver presentations on their current projects and employment opportunities in Galway, Ireland and beyond. At 6pm, a poster display will showcase the wide array of cutting edge energy research currently underway at NUI Galway. This year for the first time, the showcase will include winners of an energy poster competition for Galway secondary schools. A panel discussion will take place at 7pm with the theme Achieving the Paris Agreement; the framework agreed upon by the international community to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting the global temperature rise to below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels. The public are invited to attend and participate through an audience Q&A session. In addition to Minister Kyne, panellists include Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc and Denis O’Sullivan, Head of Commercial at Gas Networks Ireland. The moderator for the event is Dr Diarmuid Torney, Lecturer in International Relations, Dublin City University, and author of European Climate Leadership in Question: Policies toward China and India. The discussion will attempt to reconcile emissions reductions targets with projections for growth in the Irish economy in general, and in agriculture specifically. Lee-Ann Coughlan, NUI Galway Engineering student and Events Officer with the Energy Society, said: “This year’s Energy Night promises to build on the success of the past six years events and maintain its legacy as Ireland’s largest student-run energy event. We would like to thank our sponsors Accenture Ireland, Bank of Ireland, the Ryan Institute for Marine, Environmental and Energy Research at NUI Galway, and the Science Foundation Ireland-backed Marine and Renewable Energy Research Centre (MaREI).” Dr Rory Monaghan, Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Climate Change and the decarbonisation of energy are the defining challenges of our age. Our actions in the next five years will determine how successful we are likely to be in addressing them over the following 100.” The event is free of charge and all are welcome. For more information including a detailed schedule of events follow @EnergySocNUIG on Twitter or on Facebook at Energy Night 2017. For more information contact Laura Dennehy at energy@socs.nuigalway.ie, 0877559539. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

200 hundred couples and 1,000 individual parents are sought to take part in online study to understand the effects on families caring for children with non-physical disabilities NUI Galway has launched an international online ‘Couples Coping’ study for parents of children with non-physical disabilities. The research will be carried out throughout Ireland, the UK and the US until April 2017, and the researchers are particularly keen for couples in Ireland to participate in the survey. Dr Kristen Maglieri and Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are recruiting couples to complete the online research study, exploring how parents in a relationship (married or unmarried) cope with the daily stresses of raising a child with a disability. The disabilities of interest include Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or genetic disorders such as Fragile X, Down Syndrome or Angelman Syndrome.  Dr Kristen Maglieri from NUI Galway, said: “We are looking for 200 couples and 1,000 individual parents to take part in our study in Ireland. Most of the previous research on these stresses on families has focused on how individual parents cope, and the vast majority of the respondents have been mums. To us, it just seemed like there was a big piece of the puzzle missing. We need to understand how dads cope and also how mums and dads cope together in a family system.” As one might expect, parents of children with disabilities experience more daily stress on average than parents of typically developing children. Long-term exposure to daily stress can impact a person’s physical and emotional health. As our physical and emotional health gets worse, it can impact marital satisfaction, life satisfaction, and outcomes for children.   Dr Maglieri added, “It is clear that families of children with disabilities confront significant challenges, but it’s also clear that these families do not all experience the same level of stress. We are trying to find out what makes the difference. By understanding how resilient families cope well with stress, we can hopefully learn how to help all other families to do so.” Professor Brian Hughes from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, commented: “Parenting a child with a disability can be rewarding, but also extremely stressful. We know that parent stress can often impact negatively on the entire family system, and so reducing parent stress will help produce better outcomes for everybody in the family. To date, much of what we know about the impact on parents is anecdotal. We want this research to shine a light on the specific life experiences of parents.” The online questionnaire is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/parentcoping and takes 30 minutes to complete. Parents can also request a paper copy of the survey. Each parent independently completes the questionnaire. One parent can participate, even if their partner does not wish to do so. This study is for parents who have children or adult children living at home with non-physical disabilities. -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Alice Perry (1885-1969) was the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn a degree in Engineering A ceremony to mark the official naming of the Alice Perry Engineering Building will take place at NUI Galway on Monday, 6 March 2017. Alice Perry, a graduate of the then Queen’s College Galway, was the first woman in Ireland or the UK to earn a degree in engineering in 1906. As part of the naming ceremony Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland will give an address on the theme of diversity in engineering. The naming of the building is the culmination of a series of activities focusing on equality and diversity in Engineering at NUI Galway’s award-winning Engineering building.  The events include a public exhibition featuring exciting research projects underway at NUI Galway and a Roundtable Symposium: Full STE(A)M Ahead - Engineering for all: supporting engineering talent and diversity for a better society to be chaired by TV and radio broadcaster Jonathan McCrea. Another important element of the event is the launch of the Máire Brazil Scholarship. This scholarship will encourage and support talented female students to develop careers in Engineering.  It has been established by distinguished engineering alumna of NUI Galway Áine Brazil through Galway University Foundation. The events form part of the Engineers Week programme of events (4-10 March) celebrating engineering in Ireland and Women’s History Month.    Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said in advance of the ceremony: “We are delighted to collaborate with Engineers Ireland on this important event during Engineers Week. This week in NUI Galway is also being celebrated as International Women’s Week. We are enormously proud of Alice Perry and what her life’s work symbolises. Decisions on career paths are shaped by the world around us.  Having a visible tribute to the achievements of trailblazers like Alice Perry on campus can serve to both recognise an individual legacy and also to inspire the next generation when they make their own career decisions.” Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway commented: “This is a fantastic development for Engineering at NUI Galway and a clear demonstration of our commitment to equality of opportunity, education and career development. It is most appropriate that we should name the Engineering Building for one of our most notable and pioneering alumni, with Alice Perry being the first female engineering graduate in the UK and Ireland. I believe that this an extremely positive and progressive decision by the University, and it should serve as an inspiration to all students as to the wonderfully rich and diverse career opportunities open to both men and women in the engineering domain.” Alice Perry will feature in the Path-Breaking Women of NUI Galway exhibition, which will take place on campus in March 2017. For further details see: www.nuigalway.ie/pathbreakingwomen. ENDS

Monday, 27 February 2017

Galway Film Centre and CÚRAM, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, are pleased to announce the return of Science on Screen, a funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science. The Science on Screen project will 100% fund one 26 minute film with a budget of €35,000. The film will be based around an area of research currently underway in CÚRAM and this research will be presented at an information session on Friday March 10th in NUI Galway. The session will take place from 11am to 1.30pm in CÚRAM, at the Biomedical Sciences Building at NUI Galway. Following presentations, there will also be a short networking session where filmmakers and scientists get to meet informally and begin the journey telling stories through science. In 2016, the Science on Screen scheme, supported by the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) Discover Call, enabled the production of two films, Feats of Modest Valour, a touching portrait of three individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and the scientists who are developing a new medical device, which could potentially halt or even cure the disease; and Mending Legends, which looks at the devastating effects of tendon injury on sports people and the team of scientists who are working to form the world’s first 3D cell assembled tendon prototype. (Film trailers below). As well as pitches from the scientists and information on how to apply for the scheme, it will also include a panel with speakers from RTÉ, TG4, the Galway Film Fleadh and the SFI discussing avenues of distribution open to these films. Interested filmmakers are invited to register for this event via Eventbrite. For further information, please email scienceonscreen@galwayfilmcentre.ie or call 091 770 748, or visit http://www.galwayfilmcentre.ie/category/science-on-screen/. -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Four NUI Galway based programmes will engage over 40,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2017 Four NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €250,000 through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, as announced by the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D. The initiatives, which will improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) in the West of Ireland and across the country, will engage over 40,000 members of the public in 2017. ‘Cell EXPLORERS’ is a science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities regionally and nationally, led by Dr Muriel Grenon. It uses a unique model, originally developed in NUI Galway, for sustainable science public engagement in ten Universities and Institutes of Technology around Ireland. The programme uses hands-on activities and local scientists to engage the public in the importance of science in society with a diverse set of activities, including school visits and science festival workshops. More information can be found at www.cellexplorers.com. ‘Genetic Testing: Engaging the West of Ireland’ aims to engage students and members of the public in the West of Ireland in reflection and conversation about genetics and genetic testing. It combines an exhibition on genetics, ethics and society with activities on genetic testing with secondary school students, women and other interested groups. The project will run throughout 2017, led by Dr Heike Felzmann in the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at NUI Galway. ‘Bright Club’ is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using humour to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public. The night has been running across Ireland for two years, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. ‘ReelLIFE SCIENCE’ is a nationwide video competition for primary schools, secondary schools and community groups which, since being launched in 2013 by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, has enabled thousands of students across Ireland to engage with STEM by communicating a topic (e.g. ‘Science and Me’, ‘How Things Work’ and ‘Science in Space’) via a three-minute video. The videos are screened at the Galway Science and Technology Festival each year and are available online at www.reellifescience.com. Nationally, a total of 120 applications were received by Science Foundation Ireland for Discover Programme funding, and 44 initiatives were selected through rigorous international peer-review for a combined investment of €2.8 million. Speaking at the announcement event in Kilmainham Hospital, Director of Strategy and Communications for Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ruth Freeman, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support these important education and public engagement programmes, which will engage and inspire people in the West of Ireland with the endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering and maths. Activities like these can ignite a passion for discovery and, for some, can also be a first-step in exploring a future career in these exciting subject areas.” -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Irish cancer patients with multiple myeloma are the first in the world to be treated with a new potentially life-saving drug combination Irish patients with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ are the first patients worldwide to take part in a new drug trial to develop more effective treatment for the cancer. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In multiple myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. These can produce an excess of a single antibody which is harmful and stops the blood from working properly. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. This innovative Phase 1 clinical trial being led by researchers at NUI Galway will investigate for the first time, whether the addition of a new multiple myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has recently been approved for treating relapsed patients. This new trial is the first study worldwide to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide and will determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) has already recruited the first six patients at University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital and the study will soon be extended to BCNI centres in Dublin, thereby giving multiple myeloma patients nationwide access to the trial. BCNI is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. Notably this clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by BCNI. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals which show that Cyclophosphamide treatment can potentially make DARA more effective. It represents a bench-to-bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. This is the first cancer clinical trial to be sponsored by NUI Galway on behalf of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and it demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting clinical cancer research. Irish patients on this trial will receive additional benefits, including state of the art monitoring and access to this new treatment free of charge. Commenting on the new trial, Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, lead investigator and Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway, said: “It is an exciting time for blood cancer research in Ireland. This new trial, a first for BCNI, is another step forward in developing new treatment options for patients living with multiple myeloma. The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. The successful launch of the study is a testament to our shared commitment to finding better treatment options for patients through clinical trials.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, welcomed this new Phase 1 clinical trial and praised the work of researchers linked to Blood Cancer Network Ireland: “This latest clinical trial highlights the importance of investing in world class innovative and potentially life-changing Irish cancer research and we hope that the patients taking part will help identify even more improvements in care and outcomes for this disease. The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. Ireland has many world class cancer researchers but it’s only through the public’s generous donations that we can continue to invest in such vital cancer research. For that, we thank the public, and hope that they can continue to support us this Daffodil Day, March 24.” The past two decades have seen major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma with approval of several new treatments resulting in a doubling in survival over this period.  Carefully conducted clinical trials based on bench-to-bedside research have been critical for these developments. This trial exemplifies this approach and is an important contribution by Irish researchers and patients to the global fight against multiple myeloma. For more information on the study please visit www.bloodcancers.ie or www.clinicaltrials.gov (search: NCT02955810). If you would like to refer a patient or have any queries please contact Amanda Bray, the National Research Coordinator for BCNI by email at amanda.bray@nuigalway.ie or contact BCNI@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Project coordinated by NUI Galway, releases new findings on cell communication leading to further research into treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes The Horizon 2020 funded project TrainERS coordinated by NUI Galway, has released new findings on how communication is coordinated between the inside and outside of a cell. The discovery is set to open up new avenues for further research into treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. The discovery was made by researchers at the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy at the University of Leuven in Belgium. TrainERS is being coordinated by Professor Afshin Samali, CÚRAM Researcher and Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC) at NUI Galway. The findings were published in the scientific journal Molecular Cell of which Professor Samali and his colleagues in Belgium are co-authors. Proteins such as insulin are properly formed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), one of the biggest membrane structures in the cell. The ER works like an assembly line and folds the proteins into a three-dimensional shape that is essential for them to function. When there is a problem in the ‘protein folding assembly line’, the accumulation of misfolded proteins can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. PERK, an enzyme known to detect protein folding errors in the cell has now also been revealed to coordinate the communication between the inside and the outside of the cell, and is an essential component of this protein folding factory. Commenting on the new findings, Professor Afshin Samali of NUI Galway said: “This is an extremely exciting step forward for any researcher involved in understanding the ER stress response mechanistically and quantitatively. I would like to congratulate the researchers involved and look forward to more exciting developments to come out of the TrainERS programme.” Patrizia Agostinis, Alex van Vliet, and other team members at the University of Leuven discovered the additional function of PERK. “This protein is known to play a crucial role in maintaining endoplasmic reticulum functions and restoring them if necessary. When PERK detects protein folding errors in the ER it prompts the nucleus of the cell to take action”, explains Patrizia Agostinis, head of the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy in the University of Leuven.  “We found that PERK also coordinates the communication between the protein folding factory (the ER) and the skin of the cell (the plasma membrane). When the protein folding factory detects low calcium levels, the plasma membrane needs to let calcium flow back in. Calcium is crucial for the proper functioning of the protein folding factory where the calcium is stored, and for the overall health of the cell. This is where PERK comes in: the protein establishes contact between the two cell components so that they can work together to restore the calcium level”, added Ms Agostinis. Mr Alex van Vliet from the University of Leuven added, “This entire process, which is regulated by PERK, takes place in a matter of minutes or even seconds. That is one of the reasons why it went unnoticed until now. We used a new method to reveal the underlying mechanism, and were surprised to find that PERK can control the movement of the ER towards the plasma membrane by modifying the skeleton of the cell.” The project is funded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and by TrainERS, an innovation training network funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Alex van Vliet received funding from the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The TrainERS consortium is coordinated by NUI Galway with partners University of Bordeaux, Goethe-University Frankfurt, University of Leuven, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Vienna, Imperial College London, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, University of Gothenburg and Randox Teoranta. To read the full research paper in Molecular Cell visit:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276517300461 -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Workshops led by acclaimed choreographer and performance artist Maureen Fleming Monday, 27 February, 2017: NUI Galway is delighted to announce a series of movement and dance workshops led by acclaimed New York City choreographer and performance artist Maureen Fleming. The Centre for Irish Studies, in association with the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, will host a series of six workshops beginning Wednesday, 8 March. The workshops will run from 7-9pm on Wednesdays and Thursday evenings for three weeks and are open to the public. No previous experience is required, but places are strictly limited. Maureen Fleming was granted a Fulbright Scholar’s Award to spend a semester at the Centre for Irish Studies at the University where she is studying the sean-nós traditions of song and dance and developing new work which will incorporate aspects of Irish mythology and folklore. In addition to her work as a dancer and choreographer, Fleming has developed new techniques of regenerative work for those interested in developing movement through workshops that improve strength, flexibility and balance. During the workshops attendees will learn: Exercises that initiate movement and voice from the innermost layer of muscles, promoting efficient movement and increased flexibility Transformative imagery to challenge the way you think and help move past physical form Massage that incorporates stretching and shiatsu techniques to increase joint flexibility and unlock energy blockages All those interested in participating should attend the first workshop on Wednesday, 8 March. For further information, contact Samantha Williams in NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or email Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 24 February 2017

PHABLABS 4.0 aims to inspire young minds, future generations of entrepreneurs, technicians and engineers in photonics, building bridges between science and research to support the next revolution in digitisation NUI Galway has been selected as one of 11 European top-level photonics institutes, and the first in Ireland, to join forces with PHABLABS 4.0, a European-wide project making photonics – the technology of light – accessible to citizens through a new hub in Galway. The ambitious project will provide a suite of 33 Photonics Workshops, 11 Photonics Challenger Projects, and Photonics Toolkits customised for three specific user groups: Young minds (10-14 years), students (15-18 years) and young professionals, entrepreneurs and technicians (+18 years). Located at the Maker Space in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, the PHABLABS centre will provide access and academic support to entrepreneurs who wish to prototype their ideas and avail in the use of novel 3D printing facilities and materials. Commenting on the announcement of the PHABLABS 4.0 hub, Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted to be selected among the best Photonics centres in Europe to harness and combine the world of photonics with the growing creative ecosystem of PHABLABS. Photonics is one of the key enabling technologies driving the internet, cinema, medical diagnostics and device manufacture, art, intelligent robotics and ultimately the economy. PHABLABS 4.0 is a global, collaborative, knowledge sharing network that provides a platform for learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. We hope the Galway hub will be used regularly and that the technologies you have dreamed about can be brought to life.” Led by Professor Leahy, the Centre for Photonics and Imaging at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, will promote photonics and encourage the next generation of innovators at the Galway hub. Photonics, using photons or particles of light in many applications, can provide game-changing solutions to future societal challenges in a wide scale of domains such as energy, aerospace, mobility, food safety, healthcare, bio-photonics, ICT and manufacturing for industry. For now, photonics' huge potential is still a great unknown to many people, even though it is all around us and commonly used in everyday life through; smartphones, TV and large screens, 3D applications, smart driving cars, even healthy vegetables involve light technology. By integrating photonics and its many applications PHABLABS 4.0 will allow young people to put seemingly unattainable ideas into practice with laser equipment, LED, lenses, optical fibre and programmable electronic chips in a way that is both fun and inspiring. The project aims to spark ideas and pave the road to innovative concepts that become a starting point for a bright future as a technician, engineer or researcher. The Photonics Workshops, Photonics Challenger Projects and Photonics Toolkits will stimulate hands-on design, fabrication, experiments, and the building of innovative systems with photonics components. Next to personal development, teamwork and co-creation, the PHABLABS 4.0 modules will nurture the 21st Century skills of the participants. After the creation and design of modules in the first development phase, PHABLABS Galway will test all Workshops and Challenger Projects with the necessary components for hands-on design, fabrication and experiments (from June 2017-March 2018). From June 2017, different user groups such as schools will be invited to the PHABLAB on campus to participate in test panels and give their feedback. Hugo Thienpont, coordinator of the project and director of VUB B-PHOT Brussels Photonics, explains: “There is a huge opportunity to inspire real interest in science among young people by engaging them in real-life experiments. Getting acquainted with new technologies to create concrete projects can speed up the learning curve fundamentally. The challenge is to excite them in an attractive and inspiring way to achieve meaningful impact. PHABLABS 4.0 builds bridges between science and research to support the next revolution in digitisation.” For more details on PHABLABS 4.0 visit www.phablabs.eu. -Ends-

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Winners announced at FameLab Galway 2017, the regional heat of the biggest science communication competition in the world The 2017 Galway heat for FameLab, the biggest science communication competition in the world, was held at An Taibhdhearc in Galway City on Tuesday 21 February. The event, which was organised by the College of Science at NUI Galway in association with the British Council in Ireland saw 12 scientists compete for two places in the national final and was sold out in advance. At FameLab, presenters explain scientific concepts to a general audience in just three minutes. The competition is open to scientists, mathematicians and engineers across Ireland working in industry, business, research, academia, education or public service. The 12 participants in FameLab Galway 2017 came from a variety of backgrounds including a GP, an engineer from the medical device industry and researchers from NUI Galway involved in bioinformatics, civil engineering, physics and chemistry. The participants addressed a wide range of topics from being addicted to addiction, to the evolution of curiosity and answered a range of questions from ‘How to get rid of your energy bills?’ to ‘Can Oxytocin reverse a self-destructing civilisation?’ The winner of this year’s Galway FameLab heat was Dr Ana Panigassi, a fellow at BioInnovate Ireland based at NUI Galway. Dr Panigassi is a medical doctor who specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology, maternal-foetal medicine and ultrasonography in obstetrics and gynaecology. The title of Ana’s talk was the ‘Placenta of attention’. The runner up was Dr Patrick Ryan for his presentation ‘Bananas don't grow on trees’. Dr Ryan is a bioinformatician whose research background is in flower transcriptomics. Patrick has a PhD in genetics, worked in industry as a microbiologist and is currently involved in a phylogenetics (the study of evolutionary relationships among biological entities - often species, individuals or genes) project looking at Darwinian selection in Arabidopsis. The audience vote went to Joanne Duffy for her excellent presentation entitled ‘The Gene Genies’. Joanne is a BSc student in Microbiology at NUI Galway. A self -confessed public-speaking junkie who loves to talk about science with anyone who will lend an ear, Joanne also hosts and produces a weekly science radio show on the University radio station Flirt FM 101.3. MC on the night was Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, Founder of Bright Club Galway and a Lecturer in Physics at NUI Galway. The panel of judges included Ms Mary Deely, Training and Events Manager, Galway Film Centre, Ms Cushla Dromgool Regan, Communications Office, Marine Institute, Mr Tim Jones, Senior R & D Engineer with Medtronic and Professor Dónal Leech, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Science. Entertainment on the night was provided by Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs and Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway. Commenting on the success of the event, Dr Muriel Grenon from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, and one of the event organisers said: “FameLab is a fantastic opportunity for anyone engaged with science to communicate the impact of science on people’s lives. It is a skill that’s becoming more and more important and we are seeing these science communication events increase in popularity with adult audiences in the last few years.” Both Ana and Patrick will participate in the FameLab Ireland Final, which will be held at the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The winner of the National competition will have a chance to win the international FameLab final at the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2017.  FameLab Ireland 2016-17 is managed by the British Council in Ireland in collaboration with Newstalk 106-108fm, NUI Galway, Science Gallery Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and the University of Limerick. The initiative is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is supported by CPL Resources Plc and Henkel Ireland Limited. For more information on FameLab visit http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab  or follow on Twitter @FameLab and @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Anderson was first Professor of German at the University, Mozart & Beethoven expert, and OBE awardee. She also received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany A ceremony to mark the official naming of the Emily Anderson Concert Hall will take place in the Aula Maxima Upper at NUI Galway on Thursday, 23 February 2017. Emily Anderson was NUI Galway’s first Professor of German and to this day is internationally recognised for her achievements in translating the letters of Mozart and Beethoven into English and in so doing offering invaluable insights into their work.  She is also distinguished for her intelligence work with the British Government during World War II. Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said in advance of the ceremony: “We are delighted to honour Emily Anderson, one of our eminent female alumni, in this visible and tangible way. Our concert hall, the Emily Anderson Concert Hall, is an important link to Galway, to music and to the cultural life of our community.” Emily Anderson was born on 17 March 1891 in Galway and in 1911 graduated from Queen’s College Galway with a First-Class Honours BA in Modern Languages. In 1917, following further studies and work abroad, Anderson was appointed the first Professor of German in University College Galway. She joined the growing number of women holding academic positions, particularly in arts, though also in Science and Medicine. In 1920 Anderson resigned her position in Galway and moved to London. By 1923, she was among the first women to be offered posts in the British Foreign office. During the Second World War, she was seconded to the War office and was awarded an OBE. A published writer since the early 1920s, Anderson earned an international reputation as an authority on Mozart and Beethoven, whose correspondence she edited and translated. The critically acclaimed three-volume edition, The Letters of Mozart & His Family, first published in 1938, has remained a classic reference. Later, following retirement, she published the three-volume edition Letters of Beethoven (1961). Once more, Anderson won official recognition and she was awarded an order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Emily Anderson died at the age of 71 in, 1962, in London. She left her estate to support benevolent funds and the Royal Philharmonic Society awards the international Emily Anderson Prize to young violinists annually. NUI Galway, along with Music for Galway hold an annual concert in her memory. As part of their programme, Music for Galway will host a concert to celebrate the occasion will take place on Friday, 25 February. The Emily Anderson Memorial Concert will be broadcast live by Lyric FM and is open to the public. Tickets and further details are available at http://www.musicforgalway.ie/main-concert-series ENDS

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

NUI Galway has confirmed that singer songwriter Paul Brady will perform at the 2017 Alumni Awards. The University also revealed that TG4 news anchor Eimear Ní Chonaola will host this year’s Gala Banquet featuring the 2017 Alumni Awards ceremony. Eimear Ní Chonaola is the main news anchor with Nuacht TG4/RTÉ.  A native Irish speaker, she graduated from NUI Galway, with a BA International Degree in Irish and German in 1997.  The following year she undertook the diploma course - Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach. She chaired the first ever election debate in Irish in February 2011 and her performance was widely credited in the national press. As well as her extensive experience in reporting at home, she has also reported from Niger, Malawi, Cuba, Rome and from the US.  The 2017 Alumni Awards will be presented at the 17th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 4 March, 2017 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of over 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2017: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation  - Mike McCormack, Irish novelist and short story writer. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn   -  Dr Tom Courtney, Corporate Partner in Arthur Cox. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB  - Anne Marie Farrell, Head of Behavioural Economics Research Global SMB Marketing, Google. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Dr Eileen Naughten, Retired Consultant Paediatrician. Joint Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Eoghan Clifford, Paralympic gold medal winner and NUI Galway Lecturer  - Deirdre Mongan, Paralympic Athlete               Speaking on the announcement of the Award recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Study on the Efficacy of Pilates in Falls Prevention NUI Galway is recruiting additional participants for a study on the efficacy of Pilates in falls prevention in healthy older adults over 65 years old. The outcomes assessed will include questionnaires and tests of physical activity, balance, foot pressure, mobility, gait, cognition and falls. Pilates consists of six principles to engage during exercise to control the mind and body; control, concentration, centring, flow, breathing and precision. Pilates works with the deepest muscle and helps to control the postural in many daily activities such as patterns of gait in walking, speed and mobility.  One hour classes will take place in Áras Moyola twice weekly.  There will be a total of 24 sessions for each group for the main study and participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes for exercises. Conducting the study is Larissa Donatoni da Silva, an NUI Galway PhD Health Science, physiotherapist and Pilates instructor: “Our study is looking at the effect that participating in Pilates has on balance, breathing, stretching, and coordination. In particular, we are interested in people over 65 years old, who enjoy doing exercises. We want to measure your level of function with questionnaires and tests so that we can compare it with people who are not practising Pilates.” The free Pilates exercise classes will be mat Pilates with accessories such as balls, bands, and others. Participants will get a home Pilates exercise programme and a DVD with exercises demonstrated by the Pilates instructor. Those interested in participating will need to attend an initial meeting on Monday, 27 February at 1pm or Friday, 3 March at 10am in Áras na Mac Léinn at NUI Galway, where Larissa will explain the study. For more detail or to participate in the study contact Larissa Donatoni da Silva at laridonatoni@gmail.com or 089 4592533 between 9am to 6pm weekdays. -Ends-

Monday, 20 February 2017

Comedian Áine Gallagher today launched NUI Galway’s 17th annual Arts Festival programme, Múscailt. The Festival, which runs from 6-10 March, will present a superb free programme comprising of art, music, performance, live art, comedy, spectacle, song, sculpture, film, dance and talks. Múscailt means to inspire, to awaken and to create. Each year the festival commissions new work from artists and curators and also shines a spotlight on artists working and studying within the University. This year, the festival will open with a new multimedia Múscailt Exhibition at the School of Education on Nuns’ Island, which includes works by students from NUI Galway, The Jes and The Bish. Múscailt offers a chance to lift the lid on artistic projects taking place on campus. This year there is an emphasis on the historic Anatomy and Physiology Departments, dating from the Victorian beginnings of NUI Galway, in the Quadrangle, circa 1847. Art and installation will feature heavily throughout the week including: Ananya Gupta’s paper cut-out ‘Silhouettes of Life’, which will hang in the glass cubes outside the James Hardiman Library. Live art performer Áine Phillips will recreate her performance ‘Bag Lady’ and Fou Scarf will perform ‘Re: Search’. Artist James Fleming will present his exhibition ‘Sculptures from a Mobile Home’, made entirely from the recycled furnishings of his now ex-mobile home. Artist-in-Residence Aideen Monaghan will project drawings onto the side of the Anatomy Building and Alan-James Burns, a photographer and video-artist, was given free reign to document Physiology, in its iconic position above the Archway. Catch a glimpse of some of their work in ‘Victorian Echoes’, a combination of photography and drawings exhibited in the Arts Millennium Building. There will be interactive and improvised outdoor entertainment by Madame Fou and the Funfair which includes a gramophone, a fortune-teller, circus performers and troubadours, and a travelling kiosk/time-machine. In a new departure, the Arts Office has commissioned a short dance film, 'Ciúnas', directed by Bernadette Divilly, that explores the place, power and presence of women at NUI Galway. This will be shown on screens throughout campus with a talk and screening of the film in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. One of the festival highlights will feature a performance/lecture with music entitled ‘Portrait of the Nation,’ celebrating 100 years since the publication of James Joyce’s most autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Performed by Darina Gallagher and Sinéad Murphy, it will take place in the 100 years old Anatomy Lecture Theatre. Rogha Bhríde, the award winning Irish language/multi-lingual radio music show on Flirt FM, will present MC/Ceoltóir Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin and a musical and storytelling treat with well-known Galway artist Little John Nee and guests. Other events taking place throughout the week include: ‘Ponder’, a group exhibition of paintings and drawings; ‘Focus 17’, a selected exhibition from the Photo Society; and ‘Metamorphosis’ by the Art Society. Art meets science events includes ‘Research Use Only’ by Bioscience student Patrizio Mancuso; and ‘Culture-itis’, knitted works in petri dishes by NUI Galway Knit and Crochet group ‘Moodboosters’, a new comedy by Áine Gallagher and fellow comedian Pearl O’Rourke Curator Katherine Waugh will present film-clips entitled ‘Altered States’ Dr Mags Mannion, Artist/Archaeologist will present an illustrated talk on Medieval Glass Beads Dráma Nua ‘Streets & Stages’, performed by Caroline Morahan as part of Arts in Action series Commenting on this year’s progamme, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer, said: “Múscailt embraces all artforms and strands of creativity. It creates a safe and nurturing platform for new work and an opportunity for play, fun and improvisation. Everyone is welcome to participate and all events are free.” For more information on the festival visit www.nuigalway.ie/muscailt, or phone 091 493766 or 091 495098. You can also follow the event on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Muscailtarts or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Artsofficenuigalway. -Ends- Seolann an Bhean Ghrinn Áine Gallagher Clár Múscailt OÉ Gaillimh 2017  Inniu sheol an bhean ghrinn Áine Gallagher an clár do 17ú Féile Ealaíon bhliantúil OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt. Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl idir an 6-10 Márta agus cuimseofar clár iontach, saor in aisce d’ealaín, ceol, taibhléiriú, ealaín bheo, greann, taispeántas, amhránaíocht, dealbhóireacht, scannán, damhsa agus cainteanna. Is í an chiall atá le Múscailt spreagadh, dúiseacht agus cruthú. Chuile bhliain déanann an fhéile coimisiúnú ar shaothar nua ó ealaíontóirí agus ó choimeádaithe agus tarraingíonn sé aird chomh maith ar ealaíontóirí atá ag obair agus ag staidéar san Ollscoil. I mbliana, cuirfear tús leis an bhféile le Taispeántas nua ilmheán Múscailt i Scoil an Oideachais ar Oileán Ealtanach, áit a mbeidh saothair le mic léinn ó OÉ Gaillimh, ó Choláiste Iognáid agus ó Choláiste Sheosamh. Cuireann Múscailt deis ar fáil chun aird a tharraingt ar thionscadail ealaíonta atá ar siúl ar an gcampas. I mbliana táthar ag leagan béime ar Ranna stairiúla na hAnatamaíochta agus na Fiseolaíochta, atá ar an bhfód ó ré Victeoiriach OÉ Gaillimh sa Chearnóg, thart ar 1847. Beidh páirt lárnach ag ealaín agus ag taispeántán le linn na seachtaine, lena n-áirítear: Gearrthóg pháipéir de chuid Ananya Gupta dar teideal ‘Silhouettes of Life’, a bheidh crochta i gciúbanna gloine lasmuigh de Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin. Athchruthóidh an taibheoir beo ealaíne, Áine Phillips a léiriú ‘Bag Lady’ agus cuirfidh Fou Scarf ‘Re: Search’ ar stáitse. Cuirfidh an t-ealaíontóir James Fleming a thaispeántas ‘Sculptures from a Mobile Home’ i láthair, atá déanta go hiomlán as troscán agus fearas athchúrsáilte óna sheanteach soghluaiste. Teilgfidh an tEalaíontóir Cónaitheach Aideen Monaghan léaráidí ar thaobh an Fhoirgnimh Anatamaíochta agus tugadh cead a chinn don ghrianghrafadóir agus ealaíontóir físeáin, Alan-James Burns an Fhiseolaíocht a léiriú, ina suíomh íocónach os cionn na hAirse. Breathnaigh ar a gcuid saothar in ‘Victorian Echoes’, meascán de ghrianghrafadóireacht agus léaráidí á dtaispeáint in Áras Dán na Mílaoise. Beidh siamsaíocht lasmuigh idirghníomhach agus cumtha ar an láthair le Madame Fou agus an tAonach Siamsaíochta áit a mbeidh gramafón, bean feasa, taibheoirí sorcais agus trúbadóirí agus both/meaisín ama taistil. Rud nua atá ag tarlú i mbliana is ea go bhfuil coimisiúnú déanta ag an Oifig Ealaíon ar ghearrscannán damhsa ‘Ciúnas’, atá á stiúradh ag Bernadette Divilly, a bhreathnaíonn ar áit, ar chumhacht agus ar láithreacht na mban in OÉ Gaillimh. Taispeánfar é seo ar scáileáin ar fud an champais agus beidh an scannán ar siúl mar aon le caint in Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann. Ar cheann de bhuaicphointí na féile beidh taibhléiriú/léacht le ceol dar teideal ‘Portrait of the Nation,’ a dhéanann ceiliúradh ar chéad bliain ón uair a foilsíodh an t-úrscéal is dírbheathaisnéisí le James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Is iad Darina Gallagher agus Sinéad Murphy a bheas ar stáitse agus beidh sé ar siúl i Léachtlann na hAnatamaíochta atá céad bliain d’aois. Cuirfidh Rogha Bhríde, an clár ceoil raidió Gaeilge/ilteangach de chuid Flirt FM a bhfuil duaiseanna buaite aige, an MC/Ceoltóir Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin i láthair agus iontas ceolmhar agus seanchais leis an ealaíontóir cáiliúil as Gaillimh Little John Nee agus aíonna. I measc na n-imeachtaí eile a bheidh ar siúl le linn na seachtaine beidh: ‘Ponder’, taispeántas grúpa de phéinteálacha agus léaráidí; ‘Focus 17’, taispeántas roghnaithe ó Chumann na nGrianghraf; agus ‘Metamorphosis’ leis an gCumann Ealaíne. I measc na n-imeachtaí ina dtagann ealaín agus eolaíocht le chéile tá ‘Research Use Only’ le Patrizio Mancuso, mac léinn le hEolaíocht Bhitheach; agus ‘Culture-itis’, saothair chniotáilte i miasanna petri le grúpa Cniotála agus Cróiseála OÉ Gaillimh ‘Moodboosters’, seó grinn nua le hÁine Gallagher agus an bhean ghrinn Pearl O’Rourke Cuirfidh an coimeádaí Katherine Waugh míreanna scannáin i láthair ar a dtugtar ‘Altered States’ Cuirfidh an Dr Mags Mannion, Ealaíontóir/Seandálaí caint mhaisithe i láthair faoi Choirníní Gloine Meánaoiseacha Dráma nua ‘Streets & Stages’, curtha i láthair ag Caroline Morahan mar chuid den tsraith Arts in Action Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Cuimsíonn Múscailt gach cineál ealaíne agus gach sruth cruthaitheachta. Cruthaíonn sé ardán sábháilte agus cothaitheach do shaothar nua agus deis do spraoi, do chraic agus do chumadóireacht ar an láthair. Tá fáilte roimh chách agus tá cead isteach saor in aisce ag gach imeacht.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin bhféile téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/muscailt, nó cuir glao ar 091 493766 nó 091 495098. Féadfaidh tú an imeacht a leanúint ar Twitter ag www.twitter.com/Muscailtarts nó ar Facebook ag www.facebook.com/Artsofficenuigalway. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

CÚRAM at NUI Galway win European Research Council grant to support the development of a new medical device to treat high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease and stroke Tuesday, 21 February, 2017: CÚRAM Investigator Dr Martin O’Halloran has been awarded a second European Research Council (ERC) grant. ERC grants are Europe's most competitive and prestigious research funding, and in this case the €150,000 award will support the development of a new medical device for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) that can lead to heart disease and stroke. The project is a collaboration between Investigators Dr Martin O’Halloran and Dr Conall Dennedy at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. The Investigators aim to bring the novel medical device towards first-in-man trials within the lifetime of the project. Since heart disease and stroke are such major global health problems affecting a large population of patients, the team expect the project to have a very significant societal and economic impact. The widespread presence of hypertension in European countries is currently 28-44%. This amounts to between 200 and 327 million Europeans. Excess production of the hormone aldosterone by the adrenal glands (primary aldosteronism) is the most common endocrine cause and accounts for 8-20% of all hypertension. Current treatment regimens are dissatisfactory and costly, involving either surgery or lifelong drug therapy. Therefore, a cost-effective, minimally invasive and definitive management approach for this underlying cause would present a potential cure for an often undiagnosed and unmanaged disease. This is what is being proposed with the new ERC ‘REALTA’ project. “The REALTA project plan is very similar to that of a start-up medtech company, where as well as technology development, the team will also examine the competitive landscape, the clinical and regulatory pathway, and reimbursement opportunities”, says Dr O’Halloran. “The overarching goal is to gather sufficient technical, clinical, regulatory and commercial evidence over the course of the next 18 months to be able to spin-out a company that is attractive to external investors. Such investment will be required to take the technology through to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and clinical trials.” Dr O’Halloran secured his first ERC Starting Grant in 2015 to examine the electrical properties of human tissue, as a platform for novel medical device development in Europe. Supported by a Science Foundation Ireland ERC Support Grant, he established the Translational Medical Device Lab in Galway, the first medical device lab in Ireland to be embedded in a regional hospital, University Hospital Galway, and co-located within the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility. Working closely with Dr Conall Dennedy, Consultant Endocrinologist at NUI Galway, he began to examine the potential of new technologies to treat primary aldosteronism, the most common endocrine cause of hypertension. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM said: “The objectives of CÚRAM are to carry out research on the development of innovative ‘smart’ implantable medical devices, which will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases. I would like to congratulate Dr O’Halloran and Dr Dennedy on their continued research success, which is supported by the excellent multidisciplinary team of clinicians, translational scientists and engineers here at CÚRAM and NUI Galway, which reflects the interests and expertise of investigators in CÚRAM.” For more information on the Translational Medical Device Lab in NUI Galway visit: http://www.tmdlab.ie -Ends-

Monday, 20 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies and Comhrá Ceoil have announced details of the first talk in this year’s Martin Reilly Lecture Series, which will be given by Dr Éamonn Costello. Entitled ‘Muintir Chonamara agus Oireachtas na Gaeilge: The role of the Conamara Gaeltacht community in shaping Ireland’s oldest festival’, the lecture examines the engagement of the Gaeltacht community of Connemara with Oireachtas na Gaeilge throughout its history and takes place on Tuesday, 28 February at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library. Established in 1897 by members of the Gaelic League, the Oireachtas is Ireland’s oldest arts festival and is primarily concerned with promoting and celebrating the Irish language. However, for much of its history the native Irish speaking community, an Ghaeltacht, had little impact or input into the festival’s programme of events. This all changed in the early 1970s when the Connemara-based civil rights movement, Gluaiseacht Cearta Siabhialta na Gaeltachta, turned the Irish language issue from being primarily a nationalist cause to one which was primarily concerned with minority rights. The actions of the Gaeltacht civil rights movement inspired the Connemara Gaeltacht community to appropriate the Oireachtas for a period in the 1970-1980s. This period of appropriation and the events leading up to it will be the focus of the talk. Originally from An Cheathrú Rua, Dr Costello is an Irish traditional musician and holds an MA and PhD in ethnomusicology, as well as a BA in Irish Music and Dance. He currently teaches Irish in the Irish language department of the School of Culture and Communication, at the University of Limerick; he is secretary of the International Council for Traditional Music Ireland (ICTMIre); and is a founding member of TradSong, a research cluster based at UL. This series of free talks is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated Galway uilleann piper, and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum.  The success of the series thus far confirms the interest in research of this kind in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. For more information on this and other planned talks in the series email Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com or follow on Facebook at Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series. -Ends-

Friday, 17 February 2017

NUI Galway publish new mathematical formula on soft ‘dielectric’ membranes Applied mathematicians from NUI Galway have today published a formula which will be of huge benefit to materials scientists and soft robotics engineers. The team have worked out how much voltage and deformation soft ‘dielectric’ membranes can take before they break. Soft ‘dielectric’ membranes are used on the cutting edge of science to develop artificial muscles, soft robotics, energy harvesters and ‘smart clothes’. These lightweight soft materials deploy and stiffen when put under high voltage, but until now, there has been a big challenge in knowing what the breaking point of these membranes is.  Professor Michel Destrade, at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics in NUI Galway explains: “If you can remember the scene in Batman Begins where this huge bat cape emerges from a tiny folded piece of material, that’s the kind of technology which is being developed currently in some labs around the world, especially in Harvard University and in China. It’s the electric voltage that allows these special membranes to expand. Until now it was not fully understood how much voltage these membranes could sustain. Some are a millimetre thick, but if they thin out too much when they stretch with the voltage, it can lead to a short-circuit and a catastrophic breakdown. We hope our mathematical formula will help advance science in this area.” Dr Giuseppe Zurlo of NUI Galway, co-author of the study, adds: “The very near and real applications for these materials are artificial human muscles, or soft robots which can help organs function.” Together with collaborators at Politecnico di Bari in Italy, the mathematicians worked out a simple formula to link the physical properties of the membrane to the breakdown amount of stretch. “The final equation is very compact”, says Dr Zurlo, “and it will provide most useful safety guidelines for future experiments on these fascinating materials.” The problem had stumped material scientists for years and its solution is published today in the prestigious Physical Review Letters. Professor Destrade and Dr Zurlo are now working on experiments with engineering colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. To view the full paper in Physical Review Letters visit:  https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/5f076Y18Kbb1ac4ed8f93f49a3ee764f0dd938eb8 or http://www.maths.nuigalway.ie/~destrade/Publis/destrade_109.pdf  Video link of a membrane deforming under a voltage: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ybk5am3s7pmcdwd/video.avi?dl=0  -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Discipline of English and School of Humanities will host an evening to celebrate the work and teaching of writer Mike McCormack to mark his recent major successes on the national and international literary scene. The public reception will take place on Wednesday, 22 February in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle at NUI Galway at 7pm. Last year, McCormack was awarded the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize at the University of London for his novel Solar Bones. The same novel subsequently won the Eason Book Club Irish Novel of the Year and overall Irish Book of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. Speaking on the announcement of the Goldsmiths Prize to Solar Bones Blake Morrison, Chair of the judging panel, said: “Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life, but it is itself an extraordinary work.” NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, who will speak at the reception, said: “On behalf of the entire University community I’d like to congratulate Mike on his achievement and his recent success. He is in the vanguard of a new generation of Irish literary talent and we at NUI Galway are very proud of our association with Mike over many years - both as an alumnus and a member of our academic staff. Mike’s most recent success with Solar Bones has brought further international recognition for his writing and is a source of great pride to all of us who know and value his work.” McCormack is the longstanding teacher of fiction on NUI Galway’s MA in Writing, and during the current academic year he has taken up the directorship of the university’s BA with Creative Writing programme, on which he has also been a teacher and mentor. He will be joined on the evening by friends and colleagues from the University including Dr Elizabeth Tilley, Head of the Discipline of English, who said: “Mike’s colleagues in the Discipline of English are delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate him publicly on these wonderful awards. Our students and staff have long been aware of Mike’s creative talent; it is entirely in order for the larger University community to share with us now in celebrating his work.” Professor Felix Ó Murchadha, Head of the School of Humanities, further emphasizes McCormack’s role as a creative-writing educator: “We are so fortunate to have a writer of Mike McCormack’s stature teaching and mentoring in the School of Humanities. Not alone is he an author of international renown as evidenced by his recent awards, but he generously shares his craft with students here at NUI Galway. Mike’s colleagues in Humanities are delighted to celebrate the fitting recognition he has recently received.” Also taking part in the celebrations on the evening will be former students of McCormack’s at NUI Galway who themselves have been enjoying recent successes in the writing and publishing world. Readings from some of McCormack’s previous works will culminate in a reading by the author himself from Solar Bones.  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will stage its first ever play in March, the classic American drama Machinal. Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play was inspired by true events, and follows a young woman suffocated by a restrictive, unfeeling machine-like society. Haunting and provocative, Treadwell’s expressionistic play is made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the piece to reflect our contemporary technology-saturated age. Produced and performed by undergraduates of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, this production will showcase the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers. The play is directed by Dr Ian R. Walsh, a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre and The Theatre of Enda Walsh. His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field, The Magic Flute, Orfeo ed Eurydice, The Wandering Scholar and Riders to the Sea. Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said: “This will be the first full production in the new state-of-the-art O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, home to Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Our students are delighted to stage this innovative play for Galway audiences.” Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan stated that the production of Machinal is part of the University’s commitment to staging new work: “We are staging four new productions this year with our students, two written by women and two written by men – with further details to be announced in the months ahead. Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal is a famous but rarely seen play that will showcase the best of our facilities and our students’ talents. As Galway moves towards 2020 and the European Capital of Culture, we are delighted to play our part in contributing to the cultural richness of Galway and the wider region.” The show runs from 1-3 March at 8pm with a special Saturday matinee on Saturday, 4 March at 3pm. Tickets are available for €5 from the SocsBox at NUI Galway in Áras na Mac Léinn or phone 091 492852. -Ends-              

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Professor Robert Lahue of the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, has received a newly launched research grant to provide new science findings that will underpin his research on identifying potential treatments for Huntington’s disease. The BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK) - Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) joint research grant awarded funding of almost €700,000 between NUI Galway and the University of Leicester. Professor Lahue is just the second NUI Galway researcher to be funded under this new award scheme. Professor Lahue will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor John Schwabe, which will focus on the regulation of proteins that are responsible for causing neurological disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes serious cognitive and movement defects. It is debilitating, untreatable and relentlessly fatal. It is a particularly cruel disease as children are sometimes affected more severely than their parents. Current research into Huntington’s disease has identified a potential therapeutic target, an enzyme called histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3). This enzyme is thought to dysregulate a number of important biochemical mechanisms in the brain of Huntington’s disease patients, leading to disease. Professor Lahue’s recent research also links HDAC3 to the genetic mutation that afflicts Huntington’s disease patients. The BBSRC - SFI joint research programme will focus on the molecular mechanism of how HDAC3 exacerbates the genetic basis of Huntington’s disease. Importantly, this project will use basic science approaches to explore the novel idea that HDAC3 causes genetic mutations. Speaking about the new research grant, Professor Lahue said: “The BBSRC-SFI joint funding offers a wonderful opportunity for discovery research that is linked to human health. We now have the chance to combine the expertise of Professor John Schwabe on HDACs with my group’s expertise in Huntington’s disease genetics. Together, we aim to answer important questions about how HDAC3 is connected to the disease.” Science Foundation Ireland and the BBSRC have entered into this new agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. -Ends-