Friday, 21 April 2017

Free access available for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades at NUI Galway in one of the few such testing facilities available worldwide The Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland (MaREI) at NUI Galway will provide test facilities for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades as part of ‘MaRINET2’, a €10.5 million project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project is inviting an open call to offshore energy technology developers with applications closing on the 20 May 2017.* Currently, in Europe, there is approximately 100 megawatts of tidal stream capacity and 32 megawatts of wave energy capacity when taking into account devices in the water, under construction and permitted. It is expected that between 2015 and 2020 the European ocean energy industry could spend a further €1 billion in research and development, and €3 billion to €4 billion to deploy the projected capacities. With this momentum, the industry association, Ocean Energy Europe, estimates that 100 gigawatts of wave and tidal energy capacity can be deployed in Europe by 2050, that’s almost 1000 times more capacity than is currently available. This industry target is consistent with recent studies on the practical deployment potential of ocean energy in Europe. The global market for ocean energy could see 337 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050, a third of this would be in Europe. Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, and lead Principal Investigator of the Structures and Materials research area in the MaREI, is responsible for the large structures test facility located at the University that is available under the MARINET2 programme. Commenting on the project, Dr Goggins said: “It is great to have our large structures test cell available for free access for offshore energy technology developers. We have experience of testing both wind and tidal turbine blades and structural components for a number of leading companies. We have invested over €1.5 million in this facility in recent years and understand that it is one of the few, if not the only, test facility in the world available for accelerated life testing studies of full scale tidal turbines under fatigue loading. We look forward to welcoming technology developers to our laboratory under the MARINET2 programme to use the facilities in the Alice Perry Engineering Building.” Today 45% of wave energy companies and 50 % of tidal energy companies are from the new EU member states, EU13. According to the Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap ‘Building Ocean Energy for Europe’, the right support over the coming decade will enable Europe to maintain leadership in a global market, worth a potential €653 billion in investments between 2010 and 2050, and an annual market of up to €53 billion, hugely benefiting the European economy. Reducing costs and increasing performance through innovation and testing is one of the six essential priority areas identified by the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (TP Ocean) to be addressed to improve ocean energy technology and decrease its risk profile. To address the need of industry and researchers, a team in the MaREI Centre based at NUI Galway has developed the capability - infrastructure, personnel and knowledge - to conduct static and fatigue testing of full scale tidal turbine blades in the large structures test cell at the University. These types of facilities are becoming essential to tidal turbine developers as the testing is an important step in the certification of their tidal turbine blades for use in full-commercial projects. This state-of-the-art facility, located in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway, is now available to technology developers across Europe as part of the MARINET2 TNA programme. MaRINET2 Project Coordinator, Jimmy Murphy from UCC highlighted the value of the project for the offshore renewable energy sector: “Over the next four years, MaRINET2 will be an important instrument in reducing the cost of development in Europe’s offshore renewable energy sector. It will keep innovative new technologies progressing towards the marketplace, and keep Europe at the cutting edge of development globally. It will also strengthen Europe’s network of world-leading offshore renewables research infrastructure.” Christophe Maisondieu the Marinet2 Access Coordinator for Ifremer (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) welcomed the project: “The first Marinet project supported 178 projects over a period of four and a half years, and had a considerable impact on research into offshore renewables in Europe. We look forward to building on this success in MaRINET2, and help develop exciting new renewable energy technologies from around Europe.” For details on eligibility criteria, how to apply, and available testing infrastructures please visit the Marinet2 website at www.marinet2.eu. -Ends-  

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has announced funding to facilitate the commercialisation of research from NUI Galway.  Eight projects have been funded through the SFI Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, which is run in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and supports researchers undertaking applied research projects that demonstrate potential for strong economic impact. A total of €782,279 was awarded to NUI Galway in areas of research including renewable energies, anti-microbial resistance, sustainable agriculture and Parkinson’s Disease. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the awards: “Our research often leads to the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or services. This funding will give these eight researchers the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their idea and the commercial opportunities associated with their work. There is huge potential here for both economic and societal impact.” Speaking of the Awards, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted to announce this investment in research commercialisation and entrepreneurship training, through the SFI TIDA programme. It will enable the research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential. As outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020, we are committed to having one of the most highly skilled and innovative workforces in the world. With SFI-funded researchers receiving entrepreneurship training as part of these awards, we are helping to bring scientific and technological research to market.” The SFI TIDA programme is designed to enable researchers to focus on the initial stages of an applied research project, facilitating researchers with the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their project, directed toward the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or service that has potential for further commercial development. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. We regularly see high quality research discoveries that are likely to have strong economic impact potential; a key objective for Science Foundation Ireland is to increase the number of these discoveries that secure follow-on public or private investment. The SFI TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, and by delivering training in entrepreneurship to support Ireland’s next generation of technology start-ups.” The NUI Galway research activities awarded TIDA funding are: Dr Brian Ward, School of Physics, College of Science, NUI Galway Development of an instrument to improve the characterisation of turbulence at tidal energy sites, to assist the tidal renewable energy industry in optimising turbine efficiency. Professor James O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Evaluate new antimicrobials, biomaterials and therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of antimicrobial resistant infections. Dr Sara Farrona, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway The use of beneficial microorganisms to increase crop resistance and yield under SFI’s Sustainable Agriculture category – Enhancing plant growth and resilience by Ensifer – mediated seed priming Professor Paul Murphy, College of Science, NUI Galway Design and synthesis of carbohydrate based therapies for fibrosis. Dr Daniel O’Toole, College of Medicine, NUI Galway Development of a nebulised recombinant SOD protein for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Dr Thomas Barry, School of Natural Science, NUI Galway Culture independent diagnostics technologies for the rapid detection of Non Tuberculosis Mycobacteria associated with water distribution system contamination. Dr Andrew Flaus, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Optimised chromatin substrates for epigenetic drug screening. Dr Leo Quinlan, School of Medicine, NUI Galway Electrical stimulation cueing for freezing of gait correction in people with Parkinson’s Disease. -Ends-

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Research article published by CÚRAM Investigator the most highly cited article in Cancer Discovery, the premier journal of America Association for Cancer Research The Cancer Discovery review article, ‘Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Activated Cell Reprogramming in Oncogenesis’ published by Professor Afshin Samali has become the most highly cited article published by the Cancer Discovery journal in 2015. Professor Afshin Samali, Principal Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, is based at NUI Galway where he is Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC). Professor Samali’s research is focused on the fields of cell stress and cell death. His work asks fundamental scientific questions pertaining to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signaling, its role in the life/death decisions that a cell makes and the associated implications for human disease. Professor Samali from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “Cellular stress responses are mechanisms activated by cells in response to stressful stimuli, including extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins, and mechanical damage and are crucial in determining cell fate in response to the stress. My research goal is to uncover the signalling pathways that are activated during endoplasmic reticulum stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) and to understand the links between these stress response pathways and cell death and how these processes contribute to human diseases.” Currently Professor Samali’s team is working on describing ER stress signalling in health and disease and investigating the role of the IRE1 enzyme, one of three major ER stress sensors in breast cancer and targeting IRE1 in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. The team are also investigating how the unfolded protein response (UPR) controls cell death and survival, and how it is regulated and how cell stress responses influence pro-inflammatory processes and the tumour microenvironment in cancer. “We are interested in identifying and validating new ER stress and cell death related targets for drug discovery efforts. The goal is to develop approaches and compounds that have therapeutic potential for use in a number of different cancers, for example breast cancer, colorectal or paediatric cancers”, Professor Samali added. Cancer Discovery is the premier cancer information resource published by American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  Professor Samali’s publication will be highlighted in a special print collection which will include the four most highly cited original research articles and the single-most highly cited review article from each of AACR’s journals.  To read Professor Afshin Samali’s paper visit: http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2015/05/13/2159-8290.CD-14-1490 -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the tenth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. In total, 318 primary school children from across the West of Ireland received their certificates, with more than 1,000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, over 2,500 students have graduated from a variety of courses on Saturday mornings ranging from Make your own Camera to Art, Engineering to Creative Writing, Cell-EXPLORERS to IT and Make your own Radio Show to Social Innovation. The Youth Academy runs for a six week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The University has many initiatives where we reach out to the community. We push our staff to share learning and knowledge with school students (primary and secondary) and adult learners. It allows us to share with the community around us our belief that education provides everyone with the opportunity to learn, to experiment, to broaden their horizons, and to shape their future.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Siobhán Mullally as the Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Mullally will take up her post in September 2017. Professor Mullally is currently a Professor at the School of Law, UCC where she also holds the position of Vice-Head of the College of Business & Law. She was recently elected President of the Council of Europe expert group on human trafficking, GRETA. Professor Mullally is also a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Professor Mullally has worked as an adviser and consultant on human rights, migration and asylum law, gender and justice sector reform for UN bodies and international organisations in many parts of the world, including in Ethiopia, Timor-Leste, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kosovo.  In 2009, she was appointed by the International Bar Association to an inquiry team, examining the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan. As President and member of the Council of Europe anti-trafficking body (GRETA), she has been rapporteur for several country reports, including Hungary, France, Italy, UK and Sweden. Professor Mullally is the Irish member of the Odysseus European network of experts on Asylum and Migration Law. Prior to her appointment at UCC, Professor Mullally held lecturing posts in the UK and Pakistan. She has held visiting positions at several leading universities, including at Harvard Law School, Cornell University, Sydney Law School, National Law School of India, Bangalore. In 2009-2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Fellow in Residence at Columbia University, Gender, Sexuality and Law Centre, and inn 2011-2012, she was awarded the prestigious Senior Fernand Braudel Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence.  Announcing the new appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We, in the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights, are delighted that Siobhán Mullally is joining us as a colleague and we look forward the tremendous value that she will undoubtedly add to our work, nationally and internationally. Professor Mullally is an academic of unrivalled renown who, as well as being recognised internationally as one of the foremost scholars in her field, is also a very generous thought leader in civil society. I am certain that she will, in the years ahead, build on the very strong reputation of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway as a world class academic institution.” Professor Mullally said: “The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway  is one of the world’s premier human rights centres, with an outstanding track record of research, post-graduate teaching and doctoral education in the field of human rights law. Uniquely situated at the cross-roads of practice, policy and academia, the Centre brings together human rights practitioners and scholars from across the world in a dynamic intellectual environment. At this critical time for human rights globally, I look forward to working with colleagues at the Centre and School of Law, to contribute to informed policy debates on many pressing human rights challenges  - from gender equality, women’s human rights and social justice, to refugee and migrant protection.” The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one of the world's premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy, which has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed masters and its undergraduate programs as well as to build a thriving community of doctoral researchers. -ENDS-

Thursday, 13 April 2017

NUI Galway and the 30% Club Announce Scholarship to Advance Female Leadership and Executive Representation in Business/Global Organisations Thursday, 13 April, 2017: The J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the 30% Club, are delighted to offer a scholarship for its Executive MBA programme. Globally, the 30% Club is establishing partnerships with a number of business schools to rectify the under-representation of women pursuing post-graduate management education, by offering scholarships aimed at women. “We see this scholarship as important in encouraging and equipping talented, experienced women to set their sights on senior leadership roles, to inform and shape the direction of Irish businesses – for the benefit of business and society”, says Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway. The AMBA Accredited NUI Galway Executive MBA integrates an academically rigorous and challenging real-world business education with industry engagement and global learning. With over 45 years of experience in MBA provision, the NUI Galway MBA programme prepares its graduates for accelerated career progression through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for success in strategic management and senior leadership roles. Professor Breda Sweeney, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway said: “Executive MBA programme can transform career opportunities for aspiring female executives by equipping graduates with important leadership skills, business acumen and a network of talented executives from diverse professional backgrounds. The success of our Executive MBA in this regard is evident from the achievements of our alumni.” Launched in January 2015, the 30% Club Ireland’s goal is to achieve better gender balance at all levels in leading Irish businesses and aims to develop a diverse pool of talent for all businesses through the efforts of its members who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations. The initiative is complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups, adding to these through collaboration and the visible commitment of senior business leaders. This scholarship is valued at €13,850 in total for the MBA programme which equates to 50% of the fees (fees are €27,700 over the two years). Closing date for receipt of applications of Thursday, 1 June 2017. For more information on the 30% Club scholarship application process, or to submit your application please, contact Mairead McKeon, Executive MBA Programme Administrator at mairead.mckeon@nuigalway.ie  or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/courses/mba/. -Ends-­

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

At the recent Early Childhood Ireland annual conference, Dr Sheila Garrity, research associate for the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, highlighted the ongoing challenges for the professionalisation of the early childhood education and care sector to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD. The theme for this year’s conference was entitled ‘Valuing the Early Childhood Professional’. Early Childhood Ireland represents over 3,600 childcare members who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool and full day care provision nationwide. Its work includes quality enhancement, publications, advocacy, training, business support and information for a sector that employs 25,000 people today. Dr Garrity from NUI Galway took the opportunity to speak with Minister Zappone to highlight the opportunities available for early childhood educators to undertake a BA or Masters programme in Early Childhood Studies and Practice at the University. The BA and Masters programmes at NUI Galway are offered on a part time blended learning basis, which meet the needs of busy professionals working in, or supporting the early years care and education sector. Dr Garrity highlighted the ongoing challenges for the professionalisation of the early childhood education and care sector and the lack of financial and other supports for professionals wishing to up-skill to degree level. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommends that 60% of early childhood educators should be qualified to degree level to ensure quality early childhood education and care provision. A robust body of research, include the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) study in the UK (Sylva et al, 2004) indicates the correlation between early childhood education and care professionals qualifications and quality experiences for young children. Currently in Ireland the percentage of early childhood educators with qualifications above a level seven degree on the National Qualifications Framework stands at 18%. Dr Garrity at NUI Galway, states:“There is a huge need to address the lack of supports and initiatives for early childhood professionals to up-skill to degree level, which is clearly correlated with increased quality provision and practice.” For further information about the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway will hold a conference focusing on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in healthcare research on Thursday, 27 April from 10am-3.30pm in the Institute of Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) Building. PPI involves an active partnership between members of the public, patients, researchers and doctors to ensure that the voice and perspective of the public or patient influence all stages of the research process. Involving the public and patients in planning and conducting research ensures that the real life experiences of patients are considered when decisions are being made about what research should be done, about how to design studies that are sensitive to the needs of patients and how to share the results of studies in language that is understandable and through media channels that are popular with the public. Researchers may not have had personal experience of the condition they are researching, so hearing from patients about the experience of suffering from a particular illness or of living with a particular condition provides a powerful insight into what matters most to patients. Attendees at the conference will hear from Catriona Dunne, an NUI Galway graduate, who lives with impaired vision, about her experience of working with lab-based researchers investigating treatments and cures for blindness. Caitriona said: “People affected by a condition are experts in their condition already from their experiences of living with it day to day so they have a lot of valuable information to offer to scientists, healthcare professionals, policymakers, industry and others. However, it’s not always easy to know how we can do this and where we can get involved in the processes. Patient education courses provide an opportunity for lay people to learn how the research systems work and how they can get involved and give the patient perspective in an effective and meaningful way.” A local group consisting of members of the public from Galway city and county, will describe their experience of working hand-in-hand with NUI Galway researchers in primary care, helping the researchers to plan and conduct research that takes the voice of the patient into account.  Denis Mockler, a member of this group, said: “I have been involved with researchers at NUI Galway for the last year – we all come from different places, we all have different lived experience of dealing with doctors and the healthcare system and we draw on this experience from the patients point of view to help researchers to ask questions that matter to the patient and to communicate in language that the patient can understand. I feel we are making a difference, it’s all about collaboration.”  Katie Scott from UK Cancer Research will also give a keynote presentation about a culture change in that organisation to ensure that all research is driven by the voice of the cancer patients, survivors and carers. A series of workshops at the conference will show researchers and members of the public how to build meaningful partnerships and collaborate to bring about change. The conference is open to members of the public, researchers, doctors and all healthcare professionals with an interest in research and in hearing the voice of the patient. The conference is organised by the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, a collaborative group of researchers conducting clinical trials through general practice and primary care, with support from the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI) and the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network. Registration is essential. For more information visit www.primarycaretrials.ie, email info@primarycaretrials.ie or contact Edel Murphy, NUI Galway on 091 495308.  - Ends -

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dilip Thomas, a Doctoral Candidate at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, has been awarded first place in the category of ‘Best Preclinical Study’ at the Journal of Wound Care Awards 2017. The Awards recognise the important work carried out by healthcare professionals in all fields of wound care, to benchmark standards within wound care and to highlight the great contribution that nurses, clinicians, scientists, researchers and academics make to the development of wound-care research and practice. Winners are chosen by a prominent panel of expert judges that is representative of the diversity of disciplines and organisations that make up the sector. The judges assess each entry according to its objectives, available resources and budget. Laboratory studies shortlisted for ‘Best Preclinical Study’ award represent a vital first step in evaluating wound care interventions and form the base of the evidence pyramid on which all other research is built. This category recognises the efforts of those researchers who have provided strong, evidence-based studies in wound care. The research for which Dilip was awarded focused on the development of a microgel-based cell delivery device for the treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia (a severe obstruction of the arteries). It captures the essence of interdisciplinary research, where biomaterials have been used to enable existing stem cell-based therapies for debilitating vascular diseases such as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). One of the early and critical events in wound healing is the establishment of a robust blood supply network, to promote infiltration of new cells that replace the damaged ones. Dilip's work involved stimulation of new blood vessels, and restoration of blood supply in a pre-clinical model via delivery of human adult mesenchymal stem cells entrapped in collagen-based capsules (referred to as microgels). The research highlights how entrapment of stem cells, and subsequent cell maturation within the engineered microgels enhance the release of therapeutic cargo by the stem cells for regeneration of new blood vessels. And as a therapy, microgels would not only help faster tissue repair but also provide treatment for more patients. Congratulating Mr Thomas on his award, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “I’m delighted to see our researchers recognised for their hard work. Wound healing is an important area of research at CÚRAM and I’d like to congratulate Dilip on his project and the development of new knowledge in this area.” Commenting on his award, Dilip Thomas said: “I’m delighted to receive the award for Best Preclinical Study and it definitely serves to boost confidence in my work and to motivate further studies. It’s always nice to have your achievements recognised, particularly as I finalise my PhD this year.” Mr Thomas received a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Mumbai, India and an MSc in Biochemical Engineering at University College London in the UK. His research interests include the development of novel functionalised biomaterials, microencapsulation and transplantation of progenitor cells to promote angiogenesis in ischemic animal models. Journal of Wound Care award finalists were invited to attend an evening gala dinner and awards ceremony last March 2017 at The Banking Hall in London. The full shortlist of finalists for the awards is available at www.jwcawards.com/shortlist-2017 -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway Societies celebrated their long history of charitable endeavour and civic outreach at the University’s recent Societies Awards. Almost 20 volunteering and socially active societies within the University focus solely on charity and civic engagement throughout Galway and the wider world, with over a hundred societies in NUI Galway and almost a quarter of a million Euro given in Charity last year, the contribution is immense. Many societies create events that are focused around fundraising, outreach and civic engagement within the campus and the wider community. This engagement with charities and civic projects is heavily evident in our annual society awards. Many of the awards are inspired by and awarded to societies that are involved in working with communities outside the University. Two of NUI Galway volunteering societies, Voluntary Services Abroad and Draíocht, both of whom will send over 70 students to Nepal and Africa this summer, have achieved Signatory Status with Comhlámh, an internationally recognised award for best practice for sending agencies, and the NUI Galway’s Societies Office was awarded with a Supporter Status. Comhámh is an organisation which supports charity and civic organisations that are involved with social justice, human rights and global development issues. Awards presented on the night included: Best Outreach Award – Sláinte Society for the Teddy Bear Hospital Best Event – Sláinte Society for the Teddy Bear Hospital Best Fundraiser - Voluntary Services Abroad The Volunteer Award – Draíocht Society The Community Impact Award – Cancer Society for their Relay for Life event Best New Society – Paediatric Society Best Cultural, Academic & Social Society – Medical Society Best Society in the Charity Civic Field – Climate Change and food Safety (CCAFS) Society NUI Galway Societies Officer Ríona Hughes, said: “The opportunities to engage with the wider community offer the students an opportunity to learn and grow through their experiences. From the numerous school programmes they run, to the charity fundraisers and working with their community partners the Societies fully participates in the world outside the campus.  By becoming active citizens empowered to bring about positive change both locally and internationally they have an opportunity to fully realise their potential and become truly educated.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

NUI Galway recently held the Third Undergraduate Research Conference which focused on the theme of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s theme highlighted the global commitment to the seventeen goals related to health, education and the environment. Students who undertook research from all disciplines presented in a positive and relaxed atmosphere.The conference is unique in that the space provided to present is structured in small groups, there is a mixture of topics in a multi-disciplinary approach and training is provided to enrich the experience of the participants. This widens the thought process of participants as researchers present ideas that is completely different from their background of study. The conference promotes diversity amongst students from different disciplines and increases opportunities for meeting new people and receiving peer evaluation. This event is an opportunity to gain feedback from peers and to grow research skills for future employability. Michelle O'Dowd Lohan, NUI Galway’s Sustainability Engagement Associate, said: “The presentation on the funding avenues available to undertake further study research is great information for students to get at this stage in the year as it is a minefield trying to figure out what the sources of funding are available. Also the opportunity to engage in round table discussion in their areas of interest is a great taster as to what focused research is like.”  The conference is funded by the Research Office and ALIVE, NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme and directly run, created and imagined by students. To learn more: www.nuigalway.ie/undergrad-research/. -Ends-

Monday, 10 April 2017

NUI Galway seminar will discuss methods to engage children in science education NUI Galway’s Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme is partnering with ProActivate Ireland to organise a day of presentations and discussion on innovative methods of engaging children in science education. The seminar will take place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway on Tuesday, 25 April from 10am – 4pm, and will constitute the first public event of the European Union funded project InEdu*. The seminar will focus on a number of key areas in science outreach and education, including: encouraging critical thinking; experimentation and innovation; demonstrating different lines of scientific enquiry; incorporating technology into the classroom; bringing together arts, creativity and science; as well as promotion of social inclusion. Educators engaging children in science, teachers or other science education providers, are invited to join the discussion and share their techniques and tips with a panel of like-minded professionals. Dr Muriel Grenon, Vice-Dean for Promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Maths at NUI Galway, said: “This event is a unique opportunity for participants to learn from one another, exchange best practice, forge potential partnerships, and meet locally based practitioners working in the area of science education or outreach. Importantly, it is a chance to exchange with some of the most successful and innovative science outreach programmes in Europe, all partners in the InEdu project.” One of the European science outreach programmes who will present on the day is Children’s University Foundation, a Polish award winning organisation that have been running original, advanced educational programmes based on children’s curiosity since 2007. Partner institutions featuring on the day will include: the Vienna University Children’s Office which specialises in overcoming stereotyped notions in science with a special focus on social inclusion and those groups who are underrepresented in formal and informal education; the University of Bedfordshire, Department of Teacher Education, which is in the top 20 UK Initial Teacher Training Establishments and has expertise in the primary sector in the delivery of mathematics, science, literacy, and using IT to enhance pupil learning; and ProActivate Ireland, a Galway-based non-profit NGO that participates in European projects in the field of education, unemployment activation, youth, and language learning. Local initiatives, including Cell EXPLORERS, Atlantaquaria, and Dr How's Science Wows will also present their ideas during the day. Registration is free but mandatory for this event. To register through Eventbrite and see a detailed schedule of the day visit https://inedueventgalway.eventbrite.ie or contact ProActivate Ireland directly at info@proactivate.ie or 091 566759. Several slots have been reserved for participants interested in presenting or demonstrating their science-based initiative, including activities that can be used in the classroom. Registration to present or exhibit your own science initiative can also be done through the Eventbrite page. -Ends-

Monday, 10 April 2017

A recent workshop at the Teagasc Grange Research Centre in Co. Meath saw over 80 farmers, technology providers, engineers, regulators and academics come together to discuss the barriers to, and potential of, an on-farm biogas industry in Ireland. The event was convened as part of the Green Farm project, a Science Foundation Ireland-funded collaboration between NUI Galway, Teagasc and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).  The project, led by NUI Galway’s Professor Xinmin Zhan in collaboration with Dr Peadar Lawlor, Teagasc and Dr Gillian Gardiner, WIT, is investigating the technical and economic viability of on-farm anaerobic digestion of pig manure and food waste. Speakers included: Dr Denis Dineen, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Justin Byrne, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; John Toner, WIS Group; and Conor McEntegart and Dr James Brown of Gas Networks Ireland.  The topics covered included: an overview of the current “state of play” in Ireland in terms of the contribution that the biogas industry makes to Ireland’s fuel mix, and the potential role it may play in future in meeting targets on renewable heat, transport and electricity; the Animal By-Product (ABP) regulations which biogas plants in Ireland must abide by, as well as the common pitfalls experienced by developers applying for ABP licences; technology solutions that can be used in biogas plant development; and problems in digester operation due to poor design and specification; and the upgrading of farm-generated biogas and injection of this biomethane into the natural gas grid. The attendees were also led in a tour of the recently constructed 0.15 MW biogas plant located on-site at Grange by JJ. Lenehan of Teagasc. The digester is expected to be in operation later this year and will convert a combination of grass silage and cattle manure into electricity, which will be sold to the grid, and heat which will be utilised by the buildings on the Grange campus. NUI Galway’s Professor Xinmin Zhan said: “The workshop concluded with a lively panel discussion which yielded great insights into the impact that the introduction of a renewable heat tariff would have on the industry, the need to look critically at the potential of food waste as a substrate, and the crucial role access to finance has to play in the development of a biogas industry. The success of this event highlights the heightened interest there is in developing the biogas industry in Ireland.” -Ends-

Friday, 7 April 2017

Professor Patrick Dolan from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway spoke at a conference in Brussels, on the eve of the first anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks against Brussels on 21 March 2016. The event explored the subject, ‘How to Prevent Violent Extremism and Radicalisation through Education.’ The event was held at the European Parliament and was organised in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Mr Pavel Telicka, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mr Ilhan Kyuchyuk, a member of the European Parliament, and several other EP members provided keynote addresses’ in Brussels. Speaking at the event, Professor Patrick Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway stressed the vital importance of nurturing empathy in young people, to build engagement and advance empowerment while deepening solidarity. He also stressed that education is key. Professor Dolan will also lead an international secondary schools pilot empathy education programme in autumn 2017, to enhance empathy and compassion, and minimise racism and hate language. The international pilot project will include schools in Ireland as one of the ‘champion country sites’ for the initiative. “Building a more just, more peaceful, and more sustainable future for all must start at the benches of school”, said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova in her keynote address, which discussed the role of education in preventing violent extremism. The Director-General called for new forms of education and added, “We need a quality of education that reaches every girl and boy, education that promotes dialogue and understanding between cultures. Education today must be about learning to live in a world under pressure, it must be about new forms of cultural literacy. We must provide young people with a renewed sense of belonging, with new skills, and a new confidence in the future.” The UNESCO Director-General’s comments were echoed by Pavel Telicka, Vice-President of the European Parliament who said that young people “are not born as terrorists”. Ilhan Kyuchyuk, who underlined‎ the vital importance of education, skills and opportunities for employment said it was important, “to empower young people while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Hans Bonte, Federal Representative for the constituency of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde shared the experience of the city of Vilvoorde in preventing and countering radicalisation leading to violent extremism, with the city having seen a steep challenge of radicalised young people travelling to Syria. He underlined the need for bridge-building at the local level‎ to deepen the sense of belonging and solidarity for young people of all backgrounds. Mr Bonte said: “Young people face enormous stress today. This is something we must face in discussing what education we need and the shape of educational systems, to support young people and keep them in learning. We have to work on all sides, with youth and schools because this is where we will win or lose.” A panel discussion followed outlining the importance of strengthening media literacy among young people as well as deepening dialogue with religious representatives by aiming to counter hate speech online, while respecting human rights. The vital role of supporting teachers was a key focus of the panel discussion. For further information on the event visit:  http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/standing_with_european_parliament_against_violent_extremism/ -Ends-

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Professor David Finn, Co-director of the Centre for Pain Research and Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, has spoken in Dáil Éireann over the past two days (5-6 April 2017) and emphasised the need to consider people living with chronic pain in the ongoing debate on the status of medical cannabis and cannabinoids in Ireland. Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, has announced that he has decided to establish an access programme for cannabis-based treatments in Ireland. The announcement followed the publication of a report from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) entitled Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review.   The HPRA report advised that, if a policy decision was taken to permit cannabis under an access programme, it should be for the treatment of patients with spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis resistant to all standard therapies and interventions whilst under expert medical supervision; intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, despite the use of standard medicine that is effective against vomiting and nausea whilst under expert medical supervision; and severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard anticonvulsant medications whilst under expert medical supervision. The HPRA report also advised that patients accessing cannabis through the programme should be under the care of a medical consultant and that medical information and utilisation data should be kept on a central register. Controversially, the report recommended against the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, despite an acknowledgement within the report that chronic pain is the most researched indication for cannabinoids and despite the fact that the majority of clinical studies, meta-analyses and systematic reviews cited in the report conclude that cannabis or individual cannabinoids afford benefit to chronic pain patients. Three of the most thorough and exhaustive scientific reviews to have been published on the subject in recent years all concluded that there is good or substantial, high-quality evidence that medical cannabis or cannabinoids are effective in treating chronic pain in adults (Hill, 2015; The National Academies of Sciences, 2017; Barnes & Barnes (UK Barnes Report), 2016). Chronic pain conditions that are responsive to cannabinoids include, but are not limited to, neuropathic pain and cancer pain.    The striking fact and reality is that despite the availability of current pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain, 13 to 35 per cent of the population still suffer from chronic pain at a cost of €5.34 billion per year to the Irish economy, 2.86 per cent of GDP and, in the largest study ever to look at the prevalence and impact of chronic pain in Europe (46,394 patients), 40 per cent of patients reported that the management of their pain is inadequate (Breivik et al., 2006).  Professor David Finn from the Centre for Pain Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “Chronic pain represents a very significant unmet clinical need, particularly conditions such as lower back pain, neuropathic pain, rheumatic conditions, post-surgical pain, arthritic pain and severe cancer pain. Chronic pain is the most researched indication for cannabinoids, and the majority of clinical studies, combined data analysis from multiple studies, and systematic reviews conclude that there is a good or substantial body of evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids afford benefit to patients with chronic pain. The evidence suggests that medical cannabis and cannabinoids, introduced in a careful, controlled, well-regulated manner as per the other three indications in the HPRA report, could alleviate some of the unmet clinical need in chronic pain.”   Importantly, the HPRA report was very supportive of further research within Ireland and internationally on medical cannabis and cannabinoids, including for chronic pain, and this support is welcomed by Professor Finn. Over the past 12 years, the Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway has developed a very active research group with a focus on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. In work funded from a variety of peer-reviewed grant sources including Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council, the International Association for the Study of Pain and others, the researchers have published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications demonstrating a key role for the endocannabinoid system in stress-induced modulation of pain, descending control of pain, cognitive and affective aspects of pain, and neuroimmune signalling and its relevance to pain, affective disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Continued support of such research into cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system alongside the careful, controlled and regulated introduction of medical cannabis in Ireland for chronic pain for which there is a strong evidence base, will be key to ensuring that we move forward in an informed manner and can lead internationally in this area. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Students to Engage with Her Excellency, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on European Matters during President’s Address at NUI Galway  NUI Galway today welcomed President of the Republic of Croatia, Mrs Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, as part of the official State visit to Ireland. The President’s visit to Galway is particularly celebratory as the city which, together with Rijeka, was designated the European Capital of Culture 2020. The visit will also be an opportunity for the President to meet some of the Croatian community at the University. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, speaking in advance of the official visit, said:   “It is a great pleasure to announce the visit of President Grabar-Kitarović to NUI Galway, where she will engage with students and academics on a range of programmes from across the campus. We look forward to welcoming her and the Croatian delegation to the University. As the newest member of the European Union, this visit is a welcome opportunity to hear from the Croatian President and this dynamic young European state at a time when European ideals are being tested. Ireland and Croatia share much, not least the cultural bonds which will be further developed over the coming years, during the lead-up to 2020 when Galway and Rijeka , (home town of President Grabar-Kitarovic) will share the title of European Capital of Culture.” The visit to NUI Galway will include an address by President Grabar-Kitarovic to students and academics, followed by a Q&A session moderated by Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs, NUI Galway. Among the topics of discussion will be: International Relations; Brexit and the Future of the European Union; Global Women's Studies; Geo-politics of South Eastern Europe; the Role of Croatia within Europe; Migration, Culture and Identity in Europe; and Peace-building & International Human Rights. As part of the visit a showcase of Galway European Region of Gastronomy will take place in conjunction with Galway City and County Councils, featuring local artisanal food producers. As part of the State Visit the Croatian President held working meetings with her host President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and also with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., and members of the Croatian-Irish Friendship Group. The Croatian delegation will be accompanied by Minister of State, Seán Canney, T.D., the Ambassador of Croatia to Ireland, Mr Ivan Masina and the Ambassador of Ireland to Croatia, Her Excellency Olive Hempenstall. About President Grabar-Kitarović President Grabar-Kitarović was born 29 April 1968 in Rijeka, where she attended primary school. She completed secondary school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States of America. In 1993, she obtained a degree in English and Spanish from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, and in addition completed further education in Portuguese. In 1994, she completed the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna and in 2000 obtained her Master's degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. From 2002 to 2003, she was a Fulbright scholar on pre-doctoral research in international relations and security policy at the George Washington University, United States of America. At the time she was awarded the President’s Medal for scientific, social and political work. She was also a Lukšić Fellow in Senior Managers in Government Executive Program at the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard in 2009. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović began her career in 1992 in the Ministry of Science and Technology and in 1993 moved on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she held various positions – in 1995 she was Head of Department for North America, in 1997 she worked as Counsellor in the Croatian Embassy in Canada, later as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission. From 2001 to 2003, she was Minister Counsellor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in November 2003 was elected Member of Parliament in the 7th electoral district. The same year, she was sworn in as Minister of European Integration, and in 2005 as Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, office she held until 2008. The major objective of her term was to lead Croatia on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and she was Head of the State Delegation for Negotiations on the Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union. In 2008, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović became Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America. In 2011, she was appointed NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy, position she held until 2014, as the first woman Assistant Secretary-General ever in the history of NATO and the highest ranking woman in NATO. She is married and mother of two. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese and has some command of Italian, French and German. ENDS Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh fáilte roimh Uachtarán na Cróite le linn Cuairt Stáit Mic léinn le labhairt lena Soilse, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović faoi Chúrsaí Eorpacha le linn Óráid an Uachtaráin in OÉ Gaillimh Chuir OÉ Gaillimh fáilte roimh Uachtarán Phoblacht na Cróite, an tUasal Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, inniú mar chuid den Chuairt Stáit oifigiúil ar Éirinn. Is cúis ceiliúrtha ar leith é cuairt an Uachtaráin ar Ghaillimh mar gur ainmníodh an chathair, mar aon le Rijeka, mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa 2020. Deis a bheidh sa chuairt ag an Uachtarán chomh maith casadh le cuid de phobal na Cróite san Ollscoil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, agus é ag labhairt roimh an gcuairt oifigiúil:   “Is mór an onóir é cuairt an Uachtaráin Grabar-Kitarović ar OÉ Gaillimh a fhógairt, áit a labhróidh sí le mic léinn agus le lucht acadúil ar réimse clár ar fud an champais. Táimid ag tnúth le fáilte a chur roimpi agus roimh an toscaireacht Chrótach chuig an Ollscoil. Mar an ball is nuaí den Aontas Eorpach, is deis mhaith í an chuairt seo cloisteáil ó Uachtarán na Cróite agus an stát óg dinimiciúil Eorpach seo ag tráth a bhfuil idéil na hEorpa á dtástáil.  Tá go leor cosúlachtaí idir Éirinn agus an Chróit, na naisc chultúrtha go háirithe a fhorbrófar tuilleadh sna blianta amach romhainn, ag druidim le 2020 nuair a roinnfidh Gaillimh agus Rijeka, (baile dúchais an Uachtaráin Grabar-Kitarovic) teideal Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa. Mar chuid den chuairt ar OÉ Gaillimh tabharfaidh an tUachtarán Grabar-Kitarovic óráid uaithi do mhic léinn agus do lucht acadúil, agus ina dhiaidh sin beidh seisiún ceisteanna agus freagraí faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Brian Hughes, an Déan Gnóthaí Idirnáisiúnta, OÉ Gaillimh. I measc na n-ábhar cainte beidh: Caidreamh Idirnáisiúnta; Breatimeacht agus Todhchaí an Aontais Eorpaigh; Léann Domhanda na mBan; Geopholaitíocht Oirdheisceart na hEorpa; Ról na Cróite laistigh den Eoraip; Imirce, Cultúr agus Aitheantas san Eoraip; Cothú na Síochána & Cearta Daonna Idirnáisiúnta. Mar chuid den chuairt beidh sárthaispeántas de Ghaillimh mar Réigiún Gastranamaíochta na hEorpa ar siúl i gcomhar le Comhairlí Cathrach agus Contae na Gaillimhe, áit a mbeidh táirgeoirí áitiúla bia ag taispeáint a gcuid earraí. Mar chuid den Chuairt Stáit bhí cruinnithe ag Uachtarán na Cróite le hUachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn agus leis an Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., agus le baill de Ghrúpa Cairdis na Cróite-na hÉireann.   In éineacht le toscaireacht na Cróite beidh an tAire Stáit, Seán Canney, T.D., Ambasadóir na Cróite chuig Éirinn, an tUasal Ivan Masina agus Ambasadóir na hÉireann chun na Cróite, a Soilse Olive Hempenstall.   Eolas faoin Uachtarán Grabar-Kitarović Rugadh an tUachtarán Grabar-Kitarovic ar an 29 Aibreán 1968 in Rijeka, áit ar fhreastail sí ar an mbunscoil. D’fhreastail sí ar an meánscoil in Los Alamos, Meicsiceo Nua, Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá. Sa bhliain 1993, bhain sí céim amach sa Bhéarla agus sa Spáinnis ó Dhámh na Fealsúnachta, Ollscoil Shágraib, agus rinne sí breis staidéir ar an bPortaingéilis. Sa bhliain 1994, chríochnaigh sí an tAcadamh Dioplómaitiúil i Vín agus sa bhliain 2000 bhain sí céim Mháistreachta amach i gCaidrimh Idirnáisiúnta ó Dhámh na hEolaíochta Polaitiúla, Ollscoil Shágraib. Idir 2002 agus 2003, ba scoláire Fulbright a bhí inti ar thaighde réamhdhochtúireachta i gcaidrimh idirnáisiúnta agus polasaí slándála in Ollscoil George Washington, Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá. Ag an am bronnadh Bonn an Uachtaráin d’obair eolaíoch, shóisialta agus pholaitiúil uirthi. Ba Chomhalta Lukšić chomh maith í i mBainisteoirí Sinsearacha i gClár Feidhmiúcháin Rialtais i Scoil Rialtais J.F.K. in Harvard in 2009. Chuir Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović tús lena gairm in 1992 san Aireacht Eolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta agus in 1993 bhog sí go dtí an Aireacht Gnóthaí Eachtracha áit a raibh cúpla ról aici – in 1995 bhí sí ina Ceann Roinne do Mheiriceá Thuaidh, in 1997 d’oibrigh sí mar Chomhairleoir in Ambasáid na Cróite i gCeanada, agus ina dhiaidh sin mar Aire-Comhairleoir agus Leas-Cheannaire Misin. Ó 2001 go 2003, bhí sí ina hAire-Comhairle san Aireacht Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus i mí na Samhna 2003 toghadh í ina Teachta Parlaiminte sa seachtú toghcheantar. An bhliain chéanna, rinneadh Aire Lánpháirtíochta Eorpaí di, agus in 2005 ghlac sí oifig mar Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Lánpháirtíochta Eorpaí, agus bhí sí sa ról sin go dtí 2008. Ba é príomhchuspóir a téarma an Chróit a threorú i dtreo lánpháirtiú Eorpach-Atlantach agus bhí sí ina Ceannaire ar an Toscaireacht Stáit d’Idirbheartaíochtaí ar Aontachas Phoblacht na Cróite leis an Aontas Eorpach. In 2008, ghlac Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović leis an ról mar Ambasadóir Phoblacht na Cróite chuig Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá. In 2011, ceapadh í ina hArd-Rúnaí Cúnta NATO do Thaidhleoireacht Phoiblí, ról a bhí aici go dtí 2014, agus í ar an gcéad bhean a bhí i ról Ard-Rúnaí Cúnta riamh i stair NATO agus an bhean ba shinsearaí in NATO. Tá sí pósta agus tá beirt chlainne uirthi. Tá sí líofa sa Bhéarla, sa Spáinnis agus sa Phortaingéilis agus tá cumas áirithe aici san Iodáilis, sa Fhraincis agus sa Ghearmáinis.  CRÍOCH

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

An NUI Galway-led study, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, has raised questions over the continued application of wastewater treatment plant residuals (sewage sludge) to land. Sewage sludge is a by-product of wastewater treatment processes, and up to 80% of sludge produced in Irish wastewater treatment plants is applied each year as fertiliser to agricultural land. This practice is not permitted in some other European countries. The research project was led by Dr Mark Healy, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, and comprised of researchers from the University, Teagasc and UCD. The study found that despite the many potential benefits of recycling sewage sludge to land, there are many risks, which include the presence of emerging contaminants and metals in sewage sludge and the potential for surface runoff of harmful contaminants into receiving waters.  Speaking about the research findings, Dr Mark Healy at NUI Galway said, “This is a significant finding which may have implications for the continuation of this practice in Ireland. There is a possibility that contaminants present in sewage sludge, some of which are not currently regulated by legislation, may be applied to land, and may accumulate in the soils and enter the food chain.” The results of this study have been published by the Environmental Protection Agency Research Report 200 entitled, ‘Health and Water Quality Impacts Arising from Land Spreading of Biosolids’. To read the published EPA report visit: http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/researchreports/research200.html   -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

NUI Galway’s Choral Society will host a free concert with over 100 singers from the Guilford High School Choirs of Connecticut, USA on Monday, 10 April at 8pm in the Bailey Allen Hall.   The programme will consist of a selection of both classical and contemporary choral works from around the world. Featured pieces include madrigals, spirituals, folk songs and Irish medleys, as well as more traditional classics.  Melissa Morris, Auditor of the NUI Galway Choral Society, said: “We are delighted to be joining together with this wonderful group of singers from Guilford. It is not often that we have the opportunity to sing with such a large choir. We’re all very excited about the event and encourage anyone who is interested in singing to attend.”  On a first time visit to Ireland, the 105 students from Guilford, Connecticut are aged 16-19 and are recognised as one of the best high school choir in the USA.  Led by Director Dr Kevin Bruno, the choir has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre in New York City and travelled extensively throughout the north eastern states of America. Previous overseas tours have included Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.  Dr Bruno said: “We are honoured to be visiting Galway and singing at NUI Galway as guests of the University Choral Society. The students are keen to meet the other singers and have the opportunity of sharing their music.” After their visit to NUI Galway the choir will give another concert on Tuesday, 11 April at 8pm at the Cathedral of St Mary in Tuam in aid of Western Alzheimers. For further information please contact alison.n.pullen@gmail.com or the NUI Galway Societies office on 091 492852. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

NUI Galway-led study finds that localised residency and inter-annual fidelity to coastal foraging areas may place sea bass at risk of local depletion A collaboration between Irish researchers from NUI Galway, UCC and Cork Harbour Angling Hub, have become the first in the world to track the detailed movements of individual sea bass in Europe. The authors have found that sea bass in Cork Harbour were highly resident, remaining within one to three kilometres of where they were originally caught and tagged, a behaviour not known before this study. They also found that these localised fish returned to the same areas after their winter migration. The study, published this week in Scientific Reports, was led and co-authored by Dr Tom Doyle from the Ryan Institute and MaREI Centre at NUI Galway, in close collaboration with researchers Mr Damien Haberlin, Mr Ashley Bennison and Dr Mark Jessopp from UCC’s MaREI Centre and expert angler, Jim Clohessy from Cork Harbour Angling Hub. Sea bass is a large fish species only found in Irish and UK waters and south into the Mediterranean and along North Africa. It is a commercially important species as it fetches a high price on the markets compared to other fish species. Sea bass is also an important fish for recreational anglers and is worth up to €70 million to the Irish economy. Despite very robust conservation measures in place in Ireland, sea bass populations in northern European waters have been declining since 2010, so much so that the EU has introduced a series of emergency measures to try and halt this decline. These include catch restrictions on various bass fisheries, a large closed area around Ireland and Celtic seas, and a limit to the amount of sea bass that recreational anglers can retain in a day (one fish). The International Council for the Exploration of our Seas (ICES) advised the EU Commission that there should be no catch of sea bass in 2017. This study presents the first telemetry tracking movements of sea bass. Telemetry is the remote tracking of an animal using an electronic device (transmitter) and a series of listening posts (acoustic receivers), which were strategically placed all around Cork Harbour. The team used acoustic telemetry to track 30 individual fish for up to one year during 2013 to 2015 in the harbour. As the tagged fish swam around the harbour their movements were detected if they swam within 500 metres of a listening post.  Speaking about the research, Dr Tom Doyle from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Knowing that sea bass return to the same little patch of coastal water each year is absolutely fascinating and asks so many questions about how they navigate and recognise when they are ‘home’, but it also has important implications for the conservation of this species.” Fish left the harbour in October and November and returned in May and June, accurately describing the timing of departure and return migrations. Remarkably, 93% of fish returned to Cork Harbour after their winter migration and 86% returned to the exact area they resided in before their migration, displaying high fidelity to these local areas. Given their longevity (fish can live up to 25 years) and the combination of inter-annual fidelity to localised foraging areas, sea bass may be very susceptible to local depletion. Co-author of the study, Mr Jim Clohessy from Cork Harbour Angling Hub, said: “The marriage between science and angling in this study is fascinating. The results and some of the information coming out of this research has the potential to save the state a lot of money in terms of targeting their fisheries protection.” Mr Damien Haberlin from UCC’s MaREI Centre, added: “It is really amazing that for many of our familiar marine fish we know very little about their movements beyond some very broad generalisations that they are found inshore during the summer months and during the winter they move offshore to reproduce. So in this context, our findings are very exciting. It’s really nice to have some detailed movement data on one of our most important marine fish species.” The research was funded by ESB and Science Foundation Ireland (under MaREI Centre), with strong support from the local angling community in Cork Harbour, and in particular Richie Ryan and Andy Davies, who helped catch the fish to carry out the research. To read the full paper in Scientific Reports visit: www.nature.com/articles/srep45841 -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

An Taoiseach announces transatlantic collaboration partnership to provide entrepreneurship training for SFI researchers that includes NUI Galway-based CÚRAM Investigator and Translational Medical Device Lab Director Dr Martin O’Halloran, Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, has been announced as one of the first twenty Irish researchers funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s new I-Corps programme. The researchers will travel to the US to undertake entrepreneurship training as part of the NSF I-Corps Curriculum. Dr O’Halloran, Mr Atif Shahzad and Dr Neil Ferguson from CÚRAM will work alongside their clinical lead, Dr Conall Dennedy, Consultant Endocrinologist and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway. The researchers will travel to the US this summer as one of the first Irish teams to receive training on opportunity-discovery and business model development. This applied training course is based on the ‘Lean LaunchPad’ methodology, developed by renowned Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur, Steve Blank of Stanford University. The programme will involve teams participating in an intensive and immersive boot camp, delivered at some of the most prestigious universities in the US. This will be followed by a mentored programme that will see teams interview up to 100 potential customers over a six-week period, using collected observations to arrive at a viable and validated business model for a proposed technology. Announcing the investment in Washington DC on the 16 March, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said: “I am delighted to announce this international collaboration led by Science Foundation Ireland, which will support and cultivate entrepreneurship in the research community in Ireland. This is a significant step towards achieving the innovation and entrepreneurship skills outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020. “This programme aligns well with our commitment to having one of the most highly skilled and innovative workforces in the world. By fostering increased entrepreneurship, we will also see greater commercialisation of cutting-edge research, giving us a globally competitive advantage.” Dr O'Halloran’s Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway explores the use of low-power electromagnetic waves for medical imaging and therapeutic applications, and his research ranges from basic science to the clinical evaluation and commercialisation of novel medical devices. Speaking about the award, Dr O’Halloran said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to develop new skills within our team, to facilitate the efficient translation of our research into viable commercial products that ultimately improve quality of life for patients.” The NSF’s ground-breaking I-Corps Curriculum will prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broaden the impact of research projects. The announcement marks Science Foundation Ireland becoming the first European Funding Agency to implement the highly regarded NSF entrepreneurship programme. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “This extremely prestigious programme builds on Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence, and on the long-standing relationship that exists between Science Foundation Ireland and the NSF. It will greatly enhance Ireland’s innovation potential, with SFI-funded researchers receiving immersive, real-world training in bringing scientific and technological research to market.” “The NSF I-Corps program has already enabled researchers to expand their horizons far beyond the lab into the marketplace, and has bolstered the US national innovation ecosystem,” said Barry Johnson, acting NSF Assistant Director for Engineering, which oversees the NSF I-Corps program. “The new SFI-funded teams will contribute to the global innovation environment, providing new opportunities for international collaborations and helping to provide novel approaches to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

NUI Galway is delighted to announce that Dr Faisal Sharif has been appointed the new Director of BioInnovate Ireland. A Stanford-affiliated programme at NUI Galway, BioInnovate Ireland brings together doctors, engineers, designers and business experts to identify unmet medical needs and develop solutions that directly benefit patients.  Dr Sharif is the one of the founding members and clinical director of the programme which began in 2011. An Interventional Cardiologist in the Saolta group and a Senior Lecturer in NUI Galway, he has a keen interest in new medical devices for unmet clinical needs and has started multiple new programmes in collaboration with industry and the Saolta group. He also directs the Cardiovascular Research Centre in NUI Galway. Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “This highly successful programme directly addresses the demand for innovation training and the generation of new product concepts in the Medtech sector; the fact that it is led by NUI Galway is testament to our world-leading status in this industrial area, and we wish Faisal every success in his new role to take the programme to even greater success.” Dr Faisal Sharif said: “Since its inception, BioInnovate Ireland has forged very strong links with the industry, clinicians and academics. I look forward to strategically growing the ‘BioInnovate Ireland’ brand both nationally and internationally and advancing its mission by producing world-class entrepreneurs for our indigenous Medtech sector. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to BioInnovate Ireland in the last six years, including the previous Director Professor Mark Bruzzi and I look forward to the next phase of this exciting programme.” The programme mission is to develop future Medtech entrepreneurs through a well-defined process of need identification to commercialization. Participants focus on one specific clinical area and receive mentorship from industry, clinicians, Venture Capitalists, domain experts and academics. Each participant is supported by Enterprise Ireland. Teams are located in partner universities, perform their initial clinical immersion phase in the associated hospitals, and subsequently in hospitals across the country. To date, team members have interacted with hundreds of clinical staff in over 50 hospitals. The programme has developed global links including Stanford, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic (USA) and Karolinska/KTH (Sweden). -Ends-   

Monday, 3 April 2017

NUI Galway and EPA pilot study finds that people perceive they are happier, more restored and more motivated to be active, when connecting with nature NUI Galway and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have published a pilot study that connects health benefits with people’s perceptions of nature. The report, Health Benefits from Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure describes how people perceive contact with nature and how it enhances their health and wellbeing. Professor Martin Cormican, Centre for Health from Environment, NUI Galway, and a lead author of the report, said: “Caring for the environment is about caring for people. The environment is where we live, work and play, it is what we eat, drink and breathe. The environment is the foundation of our personal wellbeing and of our communities. Communities working together with local authorities, health service and environmental agencies is the most effective and the least expensive way to get to help people live well and live long. Our work helps to find better ways in which we can work towards that goal.” Researchers from NUI Galway assessed (1) evidence of wellbeing and health benefits from biodiversity, (2) views of health benefits from nature held by people who make decisions regarding green space and (3) practices to engage the public with the natural environment as a sustainable health strategy, to inform policymakers and practitioners of the health benefits from the natural environment, and to recommend implementation strategies in Ireland. How people spend time outdoors and connect with nature changes as they progress through life. The researchers wanted to know who influences the type of outdoor spaces on our doorstep - and what do they think about nature and health? The team assessed scientific reports and also held interviews with decision-makers representing local authority staff, conservationists and health promotion officers.   The research is important for local authorities and communities, health promotion officers and environmentalists as it demonstrates the need for decision makers and communities to work together to share their views on how to secure safe biodiverse attractive spaces for people and nature. Key recommendations from the report include:  Health Service Executive and local authorities should work closer together to ensure that access to attractive biodiverse space is secured at strategic planning levels.  Safe accessible nature spaces should be co-designed with communities, reflect local needs and be within 300m of people’s homes. The overarching recommendation is that health officials and environmental organisations need to work together to safeguard a healthy environment for healthy communities. Professor Mike Gormally from the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway, and a lead author of the report, said: “Recognising that people’s perceptions of nature differ is the first step. The next step is to discover how their perceptions influence the actions of key green space decision-makers and how that might impact on biodiversity.” Dr Caitriona Carlin from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and a lead author of the report, said: “We were delighted that all stakeholders recognised that contact with nature was important for their health and wellbeing. Some stakeholders were happy knowing nature was just around the corner, or talked about the presence of street trees. It is really important to create or retrofit urban spaces for nature and for people, to help them exercise, relax and feel calm. When people value that connection with nature, they are also more likely to conserve it. This has led directly to a new project, NEAR Health, which is all about connecting individuals and communities to nature. It is very exciting to work in this emerging area of nature and health as part of a team of scientists, social innovators, marketing and medical professionals.” This pilot study has informed the NEAR Health project. Communities play a huge role in caring for our environment. The NEAR Health project asks communities what they want from nature in their locality, and what would help people connect more with nature.   This research was conducted in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, with collaboration from the Health Service Executive (HSE) and local authorities. The full report, Health Benefits from Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure, is available on the EPA website at: http://www.epa.ie/researchandeducation/research/researchpublications/researchreports/research195.html -Ends-

Monday, 3 April 2017

Research Day will discuss topics ranging from the challenges presented by the current populist backlash against government policy and political systems election of leaders, environmental sustainability, transport, and higher education policies The Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change will hold its annual Research Day on Thursday, 6 April in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway. The institute is named after the late Dr T.K. Whitaker who is widely recognised for setting Ireland’s economy on a path of internationalisation and modernisation. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Whitaker demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. The Whitaker Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland today and internationally. The Whitaker Institute’s Research Day will encompass research under each of the three thematic areas of the Institue: Sustainable and Inclusive Societies, Public Sector Innovation and Reform, and Business, Innovation and Economic Development.  Focusing on these main themes, the Research Day is an opportunity for those interested in research to meet and discuss how the broad and diverse research of the Institute, on a range of social and economic issues, can promote a more sustainable and inclusive society. Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute, said: “The Whitaker Institute Research Day will discuss a broad range of topics including the election of leaders, transport, environmental sustainability, wellbeing, creative entrepreneurship, mediation, higher education policies, domestic violence, and the role of robots in care. We honour the legacy of T. K. Whitaker’s work and we consider how the issues he raised can still inform our research and policy making today. The research day will foster discussion of those key ideas that have an impact on today’s society, in terms of sustainability, inclusivity, innovation, and reform.” The Research Day will involve a series of talks in the University’s Alice Perry Engineering Building, and a poster display of on-going Institute research in the building’s foyer. The day will be divided up into five main sessions. The first session will encompass presentations under the Sustainable and Inclusive Societies theme, focusing on the topic ‘A Sense of Place’.  The second session, under the Public Sector Innovation and Reform theme, will focus on the topic ‘Addressing the Backlash’. Speakers in this session will explore the question, ‘How might research adapt to address the challenges presented by the current populist backlash against government policy and political systems?’ “We are particularly pleased to welcome Professor Liam Delaney, AIB Chair of Behavioural Economics at UCD, who will deliver the keynote speech Back to Hume: Economics, the Behavioural Sciences, and Public Policy”, added Professor Ahearne. Professor Delaney’s session will lead into the third set of presentations under the Business, Innovation and Economic Development theme on the topic of ‘Understanding Behaviour’. Finally, a second set of presentations under the Sustainable and Inclusive Societies theme will address issues related to ‘Place and Inclusivity.’ Register online, and download the full agenda at:  http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/whitaker-institute-research-day-2017-2/ -Ends-

Monday, 3 April 2017

The School of Law is hosting a half-day conference on Wednesday, 5 April on the theme “The Judiciary, the State and Social Change”. The conference will focus, in particular, on proposed reforms to the judicial appointments system. Speakers include: Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, author of ‘The Politics of Judicial Selection in Ireland’ Dr Tom Hickey of Dublin City University and co-editor of ‘Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution’ Tom O'Malley, School of Law, NUI Galway For further information contact eoin.daly@nuigalway.ie or click here. -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

Friday, 31 March 2017

National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) will participate in an open house exhibition of rare book materials and a panel discussion on ‘Representations of Jews in Irish Literature’ at the Butler Library in Columbia University’s Heyman Center, New York on Tuesday, 4 April. The exhibition, curated by Dr Emily Bloom of Columbia University and Dr Marie-Claire Peters of Ulster University, is one of the outcomes of a three-year research project led by Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway. The project, which has researched representations of Jews in Irish literature over the last 1,000 years in both Irish and English, was funded £408,000 by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and is a collaboration between Ulster’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute and NUI Galway’s Moore Institute. The renowned Shakespearean scholar Dr James Shapiro from Columbia University will compère the event. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh will speak about the origins of the project and also about Irish-Jewish autobiography. The Irish author, Ruth Gilligan, will read from her latest novel, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, a work of historical fiction that describes the complex Irish-Jewish community. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh at NUI Galway, an expert on German Jewish studies who took the initiative to develop this collaborative project five years ago, said: “I am delighted that this project is being brought to the Heyman Center. The exhibition is testament to the fact that Irish literature reveals a cultural diversity that goes far beyond narrow stereotypes. As two diasporic communities whose paths have often crossed, the Irish and the Jews have complex shared histories. This exhibition and discussion aims to connect these interwoven narratives of migration, displacement, and cultural contact. This project sheds a light on an important aspect of how Irish identity has evolved, and the Columbia version of the exhibition will add a further dimension by shedding light on American aspects of Irish-Jewish interaction. It cannot be said often enough that Irish identity is and always has been far more diverse than some narratives would suggest, and I look forward to engaging with colleagues from across the Atlantic on the subject.” Versions of the exhibition have successfully toured Ireland in 2016 and 2017, across six towns and cities in Dublin, Armagh, Belfast, Galway, Coleraine and Waterford. To register for the conference visit: http://heymancenter.org/events/the-irish-and-the-jews/ -Ends-

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Four A grades for NUI Galway Research in U-Multirank 2017 edition, an EU Commission-led initiative, highlighting the University’s research impact NUI Galway’s research performance has been given the ranking of four A grades for its research impact. The ranking was published today in U-Multirank 2017, an EU Commission-led initiative, which is described as the world’s largest and most detailed university rankings measure of excellence in over 1,300 higher education and research institutions worldwide. The indicators, published across Europe today highlighted NUI Galway’s impact in research with A grades in four performance indicators in this area. This follows advances for NUI Galway in both the QS and Times Higher Education rankings, which have seen the University join the Top 250 global institutions for the first time. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed today’s announcement: “It is rewarding to see that the excellent research carried out here at NUI Galway is ranked so highly by this EU Commission initiative. The impact of our research on society and the economy demonstrates the international relevance of our work. “As our international reputation continues to grow, we are furthering collaborations with other universities and with industry, for even greater impact. Global collaborations are an integral part of our research strategy and these rankings testify to the strong relationships we have internationally.” NUI Galway announced just last week that CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at the University is to collaborate with the Mayo Clinic in the United States on research into blood clots that cause ischemic stroke. In recent years, NUI Galway has also announced high-level institutional agreements with the likes of Tsinghua University in Beijing and University of Massachusetts, while its many successful EU projects are multi-University collaborations. Meanwhile, collaborative projects such as that led by Dr Ellen Roche with Harvard University on a soft robotic sleeve to help a heart to beat, show the innovative outcomes to collaboration. Professor Joshi continued: “It’s at the cross-section of collaboration that we often have our greatest breakthroughs in research, and the team here at NUI Galway are very open to working with colleagues and industry partners around the world. We also partner with the individuals and organisations on whom our research will have the greatest effect, which brings about mutually-enriching ways to maximise the impact of our research. We are, for example, engaging with patients to design clinical trials, involving youth researchers on issues that affect them, and bringing people with disabilities onto research projects about policy.” To view the University’s research rankings visit: http://www.umultirank.org/#!/explore?trackType=explore&sightMode=undefined&section=exploreUniversityDetail&detailUniversity=165&name=national-university-of-ireland-galway  -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Giada Lagana, a final year PhD candidate in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, was recently awarded the Elocution prize at the PhD contest ‘My Thesis in 3 Minutes … in French!’ in Dublin. The event was organised by the Embassy of France in Ireland and set during the month of la Francophonie, which celebrates and promotes French language and cultural diversity. The contest tasks PhD candidates of all nationalities and all disciplines to present their research project in three minutes in French. This year, 25 competitors coming from seven universities and Institutes of Technology were judged according to several criteria including speech quality, outreaching and speech structure. NUI Galway were represented by two PhD candidates, Justine Aussant from Zoology who presented her work on microalgae, and Giada Lagana who presented “The European Union and the Northern Ireland Peace Process” winning her one of the three prizes attributed during the contest. The jury were composed of four experts working in Ireland, all of them having defended a doctoral thesis including: Dr Virginie Gautier, principal investigator at University College Dublin; Dr Rachid Seghrouchni from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Ireland; and Dr Michel Dugon and Dr Muriel Grenon, two NUI Galway lecturers from the School of Natural Sciences experienced with public engagement in science. Stéphane Aymard from the French Embassy in Ireland said: “All presentations were of outstanding quality and participants, of whom 70% were not native speakers, were all successful in speaking clearly and concisely in French while delivering fascinating information on their research. It was great to have doctorate participants from most part of Ireland including NUI Galway, where many staff and students have a strong interest in French values and culture.” Dr Muriel Grenon, Vice-Dean for Promotion of Science Technology Engineering and Maths at NUI Galway said: “It is a very important and useful skill for researchers to be able to communicate clearly and simply the importance of their work to the public – it is an additional advantage to be able to communicate in multiple languages. Congratulations to Justine and Giada, their participation and Giada’s victory are a credit to the multiple talents of NUI Galway postgraduate students.” More information can be found at http://www.ambafrance-ie.org/My-Thesis-in-3-minutes-in-French-4407. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, today (Tuesday, 28 March) presented over 950 student volunteers the ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering. The ceremony was attended by Galway City Mayor, Councillor Noel Larkin. Students have volunteered with a variety of local and national organisations throughout the year including Barretstown, Music for Galway, Scouts, Ability West, and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Volunteers have also brought experiments to Galway schools through a wide range of science outreach workshops and participated in reading and mentoring through school homework clubs. Guest speakers shared the impact of the media this year for two important social justice issues including the Galway Traveller Movement who spoke on the success of the ethnicity recognition campaign and the Galway Simon Community reflected on Apollo House. Lorraine Tansey, NUI Galway Student Volunteer Coordinator, said: “Sometimes we see a community event on our television or through social media but it is difficult to connect this to our everyday lives and the behind the scenes collective effort to create social change. The ceremony is an important opportunity to discuss national and local social justice concerns, with our community partners who can share their expertise and inspire the next generation to take action.” NUI Galway student Eavan O’Dochartaigh, who volunteers with Galway 14th, St Patrick's Scout Group, said: “I really enjoy that the Beavers give children a chance to do activities that they might not otherwise get the chance to do (e.g. overnight camping, kayaking). It's great to see the children learning new skills while having fun and making friends. It's also rewarding to see their independence develop as well as friendships that come about because of Scouts.” Rachel Kane, NUI Galway student and volunteer with Ability West, said: “With volunteering you walk away with so much, a sense that you have helped in a small way and made a difference or brought just a little happiness to somebody’s day.” ALIVE is the student volunteering programme at NUI Galway and students are awarded Certificates to acknowledge their contribution to campus programmes and local and international community volunteering. The ceremony is an annual event to encourage volunteering and to thank all the community partners for hosting student volunteers. This year the ALIVE programme worked with higher education institutions across Ireland to successfully launch StudentVolunteer.ie a national platform to match students to non-profits. For further information contact Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteer Coordinator at 091 495346, or email alive@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

NUI Galway is organising an international conference entitled ‘The Future is Now! eConveyancing and Title Registration’ from 7-8 April. The conference, which will take place in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, will be chaired by Supreme Court Justice Miss Mary Laffoy and Court of Appeal Judge Michael Peart. Technology is rapidly transforming the transfer of property, land and housing in Ireland and across the world. Electronic Conveyancing, or eConveyancing, is heralded as the future for conveyancing and title registration. This international conference brings together leading world authorities on eConveyancing and title registration drawn from academia, legal practice, the Law Society and the Property Registration Authority. Keynote speaker at the conference will be Professor John Wylie, leading land law expert and author of ‘Irish Land Law’ and ‘Irish Conveyancing Law’. He will outline the development of the Irish Conveyancing System and the radical changes that will be required to traditional conveyancing processes in the move to eConveyancing. Other speakers will examine the changes taking place in Ireland to facilitate these technological developments in property, land and housing, registration and transfer, including the new Blockchain system. Speakers at the conference will include: Professor Nicholas Hopkins, Law Commission of England and Wales Liz Pope, CEO, Property Registration Authority of Ireland Dr Gabriel Brennan and Eamonn Keenan, eConveyancing Project, Law Society of Ireland Professor Martin Dixon, University of Cambridge Professor Sjef Van Erp, Maastricht University Professor Peter Sparkes, University of Southampton Dr Una Woods, University of Limerick Associate Professor Rod Thomas, Auckland University of Technology Mark Jordan, University of Southampton Patricia Rickard Clarke, Solicitor and former Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission Dr Simon Cooper, Oxford Brookes University  Dr Padraic Kenna of NUI Galway’s School of Law, said: “This stellar line up of speakers includes leading national and international experts in this field. Land and Conveyancing Law is changing rapidly in this country, and with government policy supporting the move to eConveyancing, it is vital that both academics and practitioners keep abreast of developments in this area. It is particularly important and relevant in light of the proposed move to pre-contract title investigation in Ireland. The conference will allow delegates to familiarise themselves with the up to date position and current thinking about eConveyancing and Title Registration from the standpoint of the key players in Ireland.” Full details and registration online are available at: http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=495. The conference, which is sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn, will provide seven hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for those who register and attend. For further information please contact Dr Padraic Kenna at padraic.kenna@nuigalway.ie or Sandra Murphy at s.murphy52@nuigalway.ie in NUI Galway. -Ends-