Thursday, 17 February 2022

Two NUI Galway projects have been selected to develop solutions for operational challenges facing the Defence Forces. The research teams have secured funding as part of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) -Defence Organisation Challenge. The researchers will collaborate with the Defence Forces to develop disruptive solutions to challenges faced by the Army, Navy and Air Corps while also having a potential to deliver significant societal impact. The first project, AltFuel4DF, will focus on convert waste to low-carbon fuel. The second, SafeGuard-Bio, will look at a novel device to detect multiple biological agents. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “The successful projects in the SFI-Defence Organisation Challenge have huge potential and are a mark of the value our researchers place on responding to society’s needs.  “Collaboration is a vital element of research and as a public university it is profoundly important for our excellence to be put to the test in developing solutions for those who serve on the frontline while also creating the potential for societal impact.” The successful projects were announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. and Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. The NUI Galway projects are among just 10 selected as part of the SFI-Defence Organisation Innovation Challenge.  :: AltFuel4DF A joint project with Dr Rory Monaghan and the Institute of Technology Carlow will develop technologies to convert waste products like rubbish and residues from forestry and agriculture into sustainable low-carbon fuels. This will help the Defence Forces reduce emissions and improve energy security by cutting reliance on imported fossil fuels. Part of the project will analyse fuel use to establish greatest need. Within transport in the Defence Forces, there is potential for the low-carbon fuel to be used for ships, planes and vehicles on land. :: SafeGuard-Bio Led by Professor Lokesh Joshi and Dr Stephen Cunningham, the project is in part a result of a decade long collaboration with the Defence Forces and Aquila Bioscience.  The NUI Galway team, in collaboration with the Defence Forces, will develop a rapid and reliable platform for simultaneous detection of several biological threat agents from a single sample.  The solution has potential far beyond the security field, including aspects of public health and environmental monitoring for better awareness of infectious agents. Ends

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Naoi n-ollscoil Eorpacha diantaighde ag obair chun deiseanna a mhéadú do mhic léinn agus chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar dhúshláin shochaíocha Tá fáilte curtha ag OÉ Gaillimh roimh thacaíocht an Rialtais do Chomhghuaillíocht Ollscoileanna ENLIGHT, a mhéadóidh deiseanna do mhic léinn agus don fhoireann chun staidéar, foghlaim agus oibriú ar fud na hEorpa. Tá maoiniú beagnach €445,000 bainte amach ag OÉ Gaillimh ón Údarás um Ard-Oideachas (ÚAO) chun an tionscnamh teagaisc, foghlama agus taighde uile-Eorpach a chur chun cinn as seo go ceann dhá bhliain go leith. Tugann ENLIGHT an t-ardán d’ollscoileanna chun cineál nua “campais” a chruthú ina mbeidh fáil níos éasca ag mic léinn agus ag comhaltaí foirne ar staidéar, oiliúint, teagasc, taighde agus roinnt seirbhísí ar bhonn idirnáisiúnta. Dúirt Leas-Uachtarán Idirnáisiúnta na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Becky Whay: “Is eiseamláir de chomhghuaillíocht ENLIGHT é tiomantas OÉ Gaillimh d’oscailteacht agus d’éagsúlacht inár nOllscoil, ag cruthú deiseanna do mhic léinn agus don fhoireann, agus dár réigiún cáiliúil san iarthar chomh maith. “Cuireann ár gcomhpháirtíocht i Líonra Ollscoileanna Eorpacha muid ar thús cadhnaíochta maidir le samhlacha a dhearadh do chomhoibriú, oideachas, taighde agus fás tras-Eorpach.” “Tá an tacaíocht mhaoinithe seo ón ÚAO ríthábhachtach dár gcumas an leas is fearr a bhaint as na buntáistí a thugann ballraíocht sa chomhghuaillíocht seo dúinn – dár mic léinn ar mian leo taisteal agus foghlaim ar fud na hEorpa agus dár bhfoireann ar mian leo dul i gcomhpháirtíocht le lucht léinn agus le seirbhísí gairmiúla.” Neartóidh maoiniú an Rialtais rannpháirtíocht OÉ Gaillimh in ENLIGHT agus tacóidh sé le malartuithe mac léinn agus comhoibriú agus rannpháirtíocht foirne. I gcomhghuaillíocht ENLIGHT tá – OÉ Gaillimh; Ollscoil Comenius, an Bhratasláiv (An tSlóvaic); Ollscoil Groningen (An Ísiltír); Ollscoil Bordeaux (An Fhrainc); Ollscoil Gent (An Bheilg); Ollscoil Tartu (An Eastóin); Ollscoil Gottingen (An Ghearmáin); Ollscoil Thír na mBascach (An Spáinn); Ollscoil Uppsala (An tSualainn). Tá sé mar aidhm ag ENLIGHT an t-ardoideachas a athrú i gcomhar lena chéile, ag tabhairt aghaidh ar dhúshláin shochaíocha agus ag cur caighdeán na beatha chun cinn mar aon le hinbhuanaitheacht agus rannpháirtíocht sheachtrach le pobail na n-ollscoileanna comhpháirtíochta. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh agus cathaoirleach reatha Chomhghuaillíocht ENLIGHT, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá OÉ Gaillimh thar a bheith sásta le tacaíocht an Rialtais maidir lenár rannpháirtíocht i gcomhghuaillíocht ENLIGHT a neartú. Tá na naoi n-ollscoil in ENLIGHT lonnaithe lasmuigh de phríomhchathracha rud a thugann dearcadh faoi leith dúinn ar an saol agus ar an bpobal. Le chéile, cuirimid borradh faoi fhorbairt ar bhonn réigiúnach, oibrímid go dlúth le dul i ngleic le dúshláin shochaíocha agus breathnaímid ar uaillmhian idirnáisiúnta mar bhealach leis an tionchar réigiúnach is mó a bheith againn.  In OÉ Gaillimh, is trína bheith oscailte do na caighdeáin is airde maidir le barr feabhais agus comhoibriú a dhéanaimid an freastal is fearr – agus a léirímid an meas is fearr – ar ár réigiún. Trí thacaíocht an Rialtais do ENLIGHT tabharfar an deis dúinne agus dár mic léinn agus dár bhfoireann foghlaim le chéile, barr feabhais a bhaint amach agus aghaidh a thabhairt ar dhúshláin chomhroinnte atá ag teacht lenár luachanna mar phobal ollscoile.” Tabharfaidh ENLIGHT ardán do OÉ Gaillimh do chomhpháirtíochtaí agus comhoibrithe chun maoiniú níos leithne a mhealladh faoin gclár Erasmus agus an clár Fís Eorpach. Neartóidh sé chomh maith comhpháirtíochtaí straitéiseacha na naoi n-institiúid rud a spreagfaidh comhoibriú oideachais, taighde agus nuálaíochta a chuirfidh lenár n-iomaíochas idirnáisiúnta agus lenár dtionchar domhanda. Mar chuid d’obair na comhghuaillíochta, beidh ócáid ar siúl ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhar le hOllscoil Uppsala sa tSualainn i mBealtaine 2022. Is é an téama ná Forbairt Uirbeach Inbhuanaithe agus tiocfaidh taighdeoirí, mic léinn agus páirtithe leasmhara réigiúnacha ó gach cearn den chomhghuaillíocht le chéile chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar chomhdhúshláin. Críoch

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Nine European research-intensive universities working to increase opportunities for students and to address societal challenges NUI Galway has welcomed Government support for the ENLIGHT University Alliance, which will increase opportunities for students and staff to study, learn and work across Europe. NUI Galway has secured funding of almost €445,000 from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to progress the new pan-European teaching, learning and research initiative over the next two and half years. ENLIGHT gives universities the platform to create a new type of “campus” where students and staff have increased opportunities for international study, training, teaching, research and sharing of services. The University’s Vice President International, Professor Becky Whay said: “The ENLIGHT alliance exemplifies NUI Galway’s commitment to openness and diversity in our University, creating opportunities for students and staff, as well as for our renowned western region.  “Our partnership in a European University Network puts us at the forefront of designing models for cross European collaboration, education, research and growth.”  “This funding support from the HEA is critical to our ability to optimise the advantages that membership of this alliance opens up for us - for our students who wish to travel and learn throughout Europe and for our staff who wish to partner with fellow academics and professional services.” The Government funding will strengthen NUI Galway’s participation in ENLIGHT and support student exchanges and staff collaboration and engagement.  The ENLIGHT alliance includes - NUI Galway; Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); University of Groningen (Netherlands); University of Bordeaux (France); Gent University (Belgium); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Gottingen (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Spain); and Uppsala University (Sweden). ENLIGHT aims to collaboratively transform higher education, addressing societal challenges and promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement with the communities of the partner universities. NUI Galway President and current chair of the ENLIGHT Alliance, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway is delighted with this Government support to strengthen our participation in the ENLIGHT alliance. “All nine of the universities in ENLIGHT are based outside of capital cities which gives us a particular perspective on the world and community.  "Together, we are regional drivers of development, working closely to tackle societal challenges and see international ambition as a means of maximising regional impact. At NUI Galway, we serve our region best - and respect it - by being open to the highest standards of excellence and co-operation. Securing Government support for ENLIGHT will afford us and our students and staff the opportunity to learn collectively, to excel and to address shared challenges consistent with our values as a university community.” ENLIGHT will give NUI Galway a platform for partnerships and collaborations to attract wider funding under the Erasmus and Horizon Europe programmes.  It will also strengthen strategic partnerships across the nine institutions, encouraging education, research and innovation collaborations, contributing both to our international competitiveness and collective global impact. As part of the work of the alliance, NUI Galway is partnering with Uppsala University in Sweden on an event in May 2022. The theme is Sustainable Urban Development with researchers, students and regional stakeholders from across the alliance coming together to address collective challenges. Ends

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Well-being programme takes place over six weeks in higher education institutions across Europe  Initiative aims to study physical and mental health benefits for students and young people NUI Galway has launched a new well-being programme - Mind, Body, Boost - to support students’ physical and mental health and research its impact. The initiative is taking place in partnership with higher education institutions in six European countries and aims to address social isolation, poor lifestyle balance, mental health difficulties and low levels of physical activity of young people. Mind, Body, Boost also involves research to assess the impact and benefit of a six-week health and wellbeing programme on physical and mental health. Professor Michelle Millar, Dean of Students, NUI Galway, said: “We know from our students that the issues of anxiety and stress are real. Mind, Body, Boost provides us with a new opportunity to help our students improve their overall well-being, to prevent isolation and open the door to physical activity. Most of all, it is a huge opportunity to learn the impacts of this approach.” Mind, Body, Boost is designed to be accessible and welcoming for third level students with low levels of physical activity and mental health struggles and who have had limited opportunities to participate in physical activity, for whatever reason, through personal difficulties or other obstacles.  It is running in seven institutions across Europe. The programme recruits students via student sign-up and seeks referrals from student service, health professionals and educators.  An APP has been developed for participating students who will receive encouragement and motivation to achieve their goals each week. Today, Tuesday 8 February 2022, marked the introductory session for NUI Galway students, and sessions continue on campus on the same day each week for the next six weeks.  The sessions run for 25 minutes and 45 minutes and include a mix of low-moderate intensity physical activity, relaxation, and resilience sessions.  The project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + Sport programme.  The partners include - Trinity College Dublin; University of Stirling, Scotland; University of Limerick; University of Lisbon, Portugal; Technical University of Munich, Germany; Vilnius University, Lithuania; and It’s Great Out There Coalition, Brussels. To find out more information visit www.mindbodyboost.eu Ends

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

A special new scholarship has been announced by University of Galway for entrepreneurial undergraduate students. The Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship, funded through the generous philanthropic support of the Liffey Trust, will run for an initial 10-year period. The scholarship will help to support students in University of Galway’s newly launched student innovation and entrepreneurship hub, IdeasLab. It will also help to promote the concepts of job creation, entrepreneurial development and education for life for undergraduate students commencing their studies. First year undergraduate students at University of Galway can apply for a scholarship valued at up to €9,000 for the duration of their studies at the University.  The inaugural students will be selected in March 2022.  President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We welcome our new partnership with the Liffey Trust. A key strength of University of Galway is our partnership with business, industry, government and civic society to nurture graduates that are civic, innovative and entrepreneurial. The scholarship will sow the seeds to further enhance and support our vision for innovation, excellence and entrepreneurship in the region.” The Liffey Trust was established more than 30 years ago and has been supporting entrepreneurs to establish and grow new businesses since then. The University of Galway scholarship is named in honour of the founder of the Liffey Trust, Galway native Séamus McDermott, in recognition of his contribution to entrepreneurship in Ireland.  Professor Michelle Millar, Dean of Students in University of Galway, said: “We are delighted to broaden our scholarship portfolio to include the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship. Our campus is filled with creative and innovative minds that this scholarship can make a real difference to.” For further information on the scholarship contact ideaslab@nuigalway.ie, or submit an application at https://bit.ly/3u2r0Vk.  Ends

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

An extraordinary audio archive from NUI Galway will be showcased at this year's Cúirt International Festival of Literature in Galway.  Nearly 100 years after they were first captured, wax cylinder recordings held in the University Library were digitised last summer with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.  The recordings were made by Tomás Ó Máille (1880-1938), the inaugural Professor of Irish at the University. Appointed in 1909, the Joyce Country native held the professorship until his premature death in 1938.  A pioneer in many ways, Tomás Ó Máille’s greatest foresight was his commitment to the newest technology of his day - audio recording. Focusing on folklore, song, and dialects, he created hundreds of recordings of Irish speakers from every county in Connacht and also Co Clare. He assisted the recording work of other collectors and scholars including Wilhelm Doegen, head of the Sound Department at the Prussian State Library in Berlin. In this concert as part of the Cúírt festival, Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile will introduce Tomás Ó Máille and his work, along with excerpts of his recordings from the NUI Galway archive. She will also introduce three special guests - singers Sarah Ghriallais, Mary Staunton, and Saileog Ní Cheannabháin - who will perform their own renditions of songs retrieved from Ó Máille’s recordings.  Speaking ahead of the Cúirt showcase, Dr Ní Chonghaile said: "This event sees one of Ireland’s most significant audio archives come to life for the first time and witnesses songs returning to their rightful place - in each community’s repertoire. We are thrilled to partner with Cúirt and Arts-in-Action to celebrate Tomás Ó Máille’s outstanding legacy in capturing artistic treasures of the Irish language from every county west of the Shannon." With surtitles in English, An Chartlann Bheo - Animating the Archive takes place at An Taibhdhearc on Wednesday 6 April at 1pm. It is free to attend but booking is advisable at https://www.cuirt.ie/whats-on/an-chartlann-bheo-animating-the-archive/. Ends

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Den chéad uair ó 1930 i leith, beidh seod-chartlann fhuaime de chuid Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh i lár an aonaigh ag Féile Idirnáisiúnta na Litríochta, Cúirt na Gaillimhe. Beagnach céad bliain ó gabhadh iad ar fhiteáin céireacha, rinneadh na taifeadtaí i Leabharlann na hOllscoile a dhigitiú an samhradh seo caite le tacaíocht ón Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus na Meán. Is taifeadtaí iad seo a chruthaigh Tomás Ó Máille (1880-1938), an chéad Ollamh le Gaeilge san Ollscoil. De bhunadh Dhúiche Sheoigheach, ceapadh Tomás ina ollamh i 1909 agus lean sé air sa ról go bhfuair sé bás go hanabaí in 1938. Ceannródaí ab ea an Máilleach ar mhórán bealaí ach is suntasach go háirithe mar a dhírigh sé ar nua-theicneolaíocht a linne fhéin – an taifeadadh fuaime. Ag diriú ar bhéaloideas, amhráin, agus canúintí éagsúla, chruthaigh sé na céadta taifeadadh fuaime de chainteoirí Gaeilge as gach contae i gConnacht agus as an gClár. Freisin, chuidigh sé le bailitheoirí agus scoláirí eile taifeadtaí a chruthú, ina measc Wilhelm Doegen, stiúrthóir Roinn na Fuaime i Leabharlann na Prúise i mBeirlín. Sa cheolchoirm seo mar chuid d'fhéile Cúirt, cuirfidh Deirdre Ní Chonghaile Tomás Ó Máille agus a shaothar i láthair, agus cloisfear blaiseadh beag dá thaifeadtaí. Freisin, déanfaidh triúr aíonna speisialta – Sarah Ghriallais, Mary Staunton agus Saileog Ní Cheannabháin – a leagan féin d’amhráin as cartlann an Mháilligh a chanadh. Ag labhairt di roimh na hócáide uathúla seo, dúirt an Dr Ní Chonghaile: "Beidh an chartlann ina steillbheatha, beo ar ardán, agus na hamhráin a chruinnigh Tomás ar ais i mbéal an phobail. Tá ríméad orainn an deis seo a chruthú i gcomhpháirt le Cúirt agus Arts-in-Action. Seo ceiliúradh ar mhór-obair a rinne an Máilleach ag cruinniú saibhreas na n-ealaíon Gaeilge ó gach contae taobh thiar den tSionainn." Le fortheidil i mBéarla, beidh An Chartlann Bheo - Animating the Archive ar siúl sa Taibhdhearc ar an gCéadaoin 6 Aibreán ag 1.00in. Tá sé saor in aisce ach ní mór ticéid a chur in áirithe: https://www.cuirt.ie/whats-on/an-chartlann-bheo-animating-the-archive/. Críoch

Monday, 28 March 2022

Tá fáilte ar ais á chur roimh na mílte céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh ar an gcampas an tseachtain seo lena muintir agus lena gcairde ag na searmanais bhronnta a bheidh ar siúl as seo go ceann coicíse. Beidh an ceiliúradh ar siúl ón Déardaoin, an 31 Márta go dtí Dé Máirt, an 12 Aibreán agus beidh céimithe agus na daoine a bhfuil céim le bronnadh orthu a d’fhreastail ar cheithre choláiste na hOllscoile agus ar an Ionad Foghlama agus Forbartha Gairmiúla d’Aosaigh i láthair. Tá na searmanais á reáchtáil do chéimithe a chríochnaigh a gcuid staidéir in 2021 agus ar cuireadh a searmanas bronnta céime geimhridh ar athló, agus tá ceiliúradh speisialta bronnta céime ar siúl freisin do chéimithe a chríochnaigh a gcuid staidéir in 2020 agus ar bronnadh a gcéim orthu in absentia mar gheall ar shrianta na paindéime. Chláraigh thart ar 3,000 céimí ó 2020 agus thart ar 4,000 ó 2021 le freastal ar na searmanais. Déanfar sruthú beo ar gach searmanas bronnta freisin chun freastal ar mhic léinn agus a dteaghlaigh agus a gcairde nach bhfuil in ann a bheith i láthair. Tá sé fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh cé hiad an t-ochtar a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu ag na searmanais chomh maith: Jean Kelly – Príomh-Stiúrthóir Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais ar scor, Grúpa Cúraim Sláinte Ollscoile Saolta, Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. An tOllamh David Harper – Ollamh le Pailé-ointeolaíocht in Ollscoil Durham agus saineolaí idirnáisiúnta mór le rá ar phailé-ointeolaíocht agus ar éabhlóid. Evelyn O’Toole – Bunaitheoir agus Príomhoifigeach Feidhmiúcháin Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS). An tOllamh Hubert McDermott – iarOllamh le Béarla in OÉ Gaillimh agus iarbhall d’Údarás na hOllscoile. Dick Byrne – Ailtire a chuireann go mór leis na healaíona i nGaillimh. Ronnie O’Gorman – Bunaitheoir agus úinéir an Galway Advertiser. Ailbhe Smyth – Acadóir agus gníomhaí Éireannach. Bob Quinn – Déantóir scannán, stiúrthóir, grianghrafadóir, scríbhneoir, eagarthóir agus ball d’Aosdána. Ag labhairt dó roimh na searmanais bhronnta, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Is iontach an rud é go bhfuil na searmanais bhronnta ar ais ar an láthair, agus muid ag fáiltiú roimh na mic léinn sin ar fad ar ais ar an gcampas seo lena dteaghlach agus lena gcairde. “Ba mhaith liom ár gcéimithe go léir ó 2020 agus 2021 a mholadh as a bheith i mbun léinn fad a bhí an phaindéim ann, agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leo as a bhfuil bainte amach acu thar aon bhaicle eile.  “Is mór againn ár gcéimithe go léir agus chuir gach duine den ochtar laoch a bhfuil Céim Oinigh á bronnadh orthu go mór le réimsí éagsúla ─ na healaíona, cúrsaí gnó, an litríocht agus an iriseoireacht, an t-oideachas, agus an eolaíocht agus an leigheas. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann meas a léiriú agus aitheantas a thabhairt go hoscailte do shárshaothar na ndaoine eisceachtúla seo.” Tá sceideal iomlán shearmanais bhronnta an gheimhridh 2021 agus 2020 le fáil ag https://www.nuigalway.ie/conferring/. Críoch

Monday, 28 March 2022

Thousands of NUI Galway graduates are being welcomed back to the campus this week with families and friends for almost two weeks of conferring ceremonies.  The celebrations take place from Thursday March 31 to Tuesday April 12 involving graduates and graduands of the University’s four colleges and the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development.  The ceremonies are being held for graduates who completed studies in 2021 and whose winter conferring was postponed and special graduation celebrations are also being held for graduates who completed studies in 2020 and were conferred in absentia due to public health restrictions during the pandemic.  Several thousand graduates from 2020 and 2021 have registered to attend the ceremonies. All ceremonies will be live streamed to accommodate students and their families and friends who cannot attend in-person.  NUI Galway has also announced the names the eight individuals to be conferred with Honorary Degrees at the ceremonies: Jean Kelly - Retired Chief Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Saolta University Health Care Group, University Hospital Galway. Professor David Harper - Professor of Palaeontology at Durham University and leading international expert on palaeontology and evolution. Evelyn O’Toole - Founder and CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS). Professor Hubert McDermott - Former Professor of English at NUI Galway and former Governing Authority member. Dick Byrne - Architect by profession and life-long contributor to the arts in Galway. Ronnie O’Gorman - Founder and owner of Galway Advertiser. Ailbhe Smyth - Irish academic and activist. Bob Quinn - Filmmaker, director, photographer, writer, editor and member of Aosdána. Speaking ahead of the conferring ceremonies, NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It is great to see the return of the conferring ceremonies in person, welcoming all those students back to our campus with family and friends.  “I would like to commend all of our graduates from 2020 and 2021 for learning through the pandemic, and congratulate them on their unparalleled achievements.  “We cherish all our graduates and each of the eight extraordinary Honorary Degree recipients has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of the arts, business, literature and journalism, education, and science and medicine. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to openly respect the excellence of these individuals.” The full schedule for the winter 2021 and 2020 conferring ceremonies is available at https://www.nuigalway.ie/conferring/.  Ends

Friday, 25 March 2022

New Citizen Science survey led by NUI Galway to record sightings of red and grey squirrels in cities NUI Galway researchers are asking for public support as the battle for the revival of the red squirrel moves to the streets, parks and gardens of cities across the island of Ireland. The Urban Squirrel Survey, led by the University, is on a quest to find out more about the urban squirrel population, both the native red species and its rival, the invasive grey squirrel.  The research is focusing on the seven largest urban areas on the island of Ireland - Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.  Since their introduction to Ireland in 1911, the grey squirrel has caused a number of problems for the red squirrel. The larger greys, which out-compete the reds for food and pass on a fatal disease to them, began to displace the red squirrel in many parts of the island of Ireland.  However, in some rural areas, the recovery of the pine marten, a native predator which predates on the larger, less vigilant grey squirrel, has contributed to the recovery of the red squirrel.  A number of surveys on squirrel species have been carried out since 2007 showing the recovery of the red squirrel, however recent studies suggest that urban areas may act as a refuge for the grey squirrel, which may hinder red squirrel re-establishment in towns, cities, and urban parks, and may act as a source for further grey squirrel spread in the future. The survey will be carried out by NUI Galway PhD researcher Emma Roberts and Dr Colin Lawton, researcher with the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway and lecturer in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology in the University’s School of Natural Sciences. It is being run in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, a programme of the Heritage Council. Ms Roberts said: “With the spread of urbanisation, parks and urban green spaces are becoming important habitats for squirrels. By understanding where both species occur in urban areas, we can plan conservation actions to protect our native red squirrel. “Red squirrels need a woodland to live in, so it can be difficult for an urban area to accommodate these animals. By researching their distribution in urban areas across Ireland, we can investigate the likelihood of their continued survival in certain areas and reestablishment in others.” Dr Lawton said: “Previously, surveys have been looking for squirrel records in all areas of Ireland, but this year we are focusing on urban areas, to highlight the increasing importance of these habitats to our wildlife and to see if they will remain a stronghold of the invasive grey squirrel.  “We rely on the help of the public, our Citizen Scientists to provide us with information from their local parks and gardens.” During the course of 2022, The Urban Squirrel Survey' is looking for information on squirrel sightings from the following urban areas; Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Derry, Galway, and Waterford.  More information can be found on the survey Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@urbansquirrelsurvey) pages or email urbansquirrelsurvey@gmail.com. The online survey can be found at www.biodiversityireland.ie.  Ends

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

University organises weekend of events on March 25 and 26, showcasing everything on offer for new students  NUI Galway is to welcome hundreds of prospective students, parents, guidance counsellors and teachers back to campus for a weekend of Undergraduate Open Days. The University will be pulling out all the stops on Saturday March 25 and 26, from 9am to 3pm, as it showcases everything it has to offer for studies and life at NUI Galway.  The Spring Undergraduate Open Days are the biggest events to take place on campus since 2020 and include five exhibitions and a schedule of more than 50 talks each day. There are almost 70 undergraduate degrees on offer at NUI Galway in 2022.  Visitors will have the opportunity to meet lecturers, staff and students at the exhibitions to discuss courses, entry requirements, work placements and career opportunities.  Prospective students can explore the campus with seven different guided tours available including campus tours, accessibility tours and guided visits to teaching and learning spaces including engineering, nursing and midwifery and the library’s Makerspace.  Sarah Geraghty, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach, is encouraging visitors to view the open day programme in advance.  “With over 50 talks scheduled, representing all courses, subjects and student supports on offer, it’s important for prospective students to plan their day and know in advance which talks are most relevant to them," Ms Geraghty said.  “After two years of virtual open days, we are very excited to bring this informative and dynamic event back on campus to showcase the endless career opportunities that await students. Nothing can match the sense of possibility that a student gets from visiting the university in person. It helps them to visualise college life and to explore very thoroughly the potential courses and pathways that are right for them.” The talks schedule will feature all courses across Arts, Science, Engineering, Business, Law, Nursing, Health Sciences and Medicine. It also includes talks on Student Life, Sport, Study Abroad, Careers and ALIVE volunteering.  The Access Centre will host session on alternative pathways, mature student supports and the QQI/FETAC/PLC entry route. Parents will also be interested in the Parents’ Talk taking place on Saturday only at 11am and again at 1pm which will address topics such as fees, funding, accommodation and student supports. Advance registration is required in order to attend the event, with further info at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, or by emailing opendays@nuigalway.ie. Ends

Monday, 14 March 2022

A group of 22 female Afghan refugees have been welcomed to NUI Galway to learn about the opportunities for higher education at the University. The women fled their homeland less than five months ago following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and have begun to make new lives in Galway and in the east of the country. The group were hosted by NUI Galway’s University of Sanctuary initiative and were given the chance to learn about the University, the campus, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on offer, entrance pathways and scholarships. An Afghan and Irish cultural evening also took place in the Quadrangle with food and music bridging East and West for students, staff and visitors.  Welcoming the refugees to campus, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “Diversity in our University is a source of enrichment for our students and staff alike. As an institution we not only teach, but we also learn from the diversity of our community. Two of the core values at NUI Galway are Openness and Respect - these are realised through our University of Sanctuary initiative and we are proud to play a role in supporting the continuation of education for refugees.” Galway East Fine Gael TD Ciarán Cannon also joined the visit, after supporting some of the group to settle in Galway and working with Government to ensure the women secured refugee status and PPS numbers. Aidan Harte, NUI Galway’s University of Sanctuary Coordinator, said: “An increasing number of conflicts around the world are causing a staggering rise in displaced communities. This affects not only the countries which neighbour the conflict zones but it affects us here in Ireland as well. Ireland has an international obligation to offer protection to those fleeing conflict, and NUI Galway, as a designated University of Sanctuary, will offer a welcoming environment as a beacon of hope for those seeking sanctuary.” Professor Afshin Samali, Professor for Cancer Biology at NUI Galway, came to Ireland as a refugee in his late teens in 1985. He was introduced to the Afghan group by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, last November and has since then supported and mentored them to navigate the education system in Ireland.  Professor Samali said: “The visit was a very special day for our community.  It provided us with the opportunity to identify ways to help these young people reach their full potential.  It also gave the group an insight into University life, and gave them something to aspire to.” Ends

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Research team at the University exploring sustainable solutions for Tidal Energy  NUI Galway has today announced the first project under its Global Challenges Programme - a targeted research initiative to tackle six of the world’s most pressing issues. The Tidal Energy project will focus on solutions to secure transition to affordable and clean energy that also enhance the health and resilience of communities, wildlife and environment. Professor Jamie Goggins, Professor of Civil Engineering, MaREI Centre, Ryan Institute & School of Engineering, NUI Galway, will lead the project. Professor Goggins said: “The NUI Galway Tidal Energy project will engage with multiple stakeholders - including the people living in the coastal communities - to unlock the potential benefits for them in our drive to decarbonise the economy.  “The just transition is crucial in the work towards decarbonisation. So too is the importance placed on biodiversity and how we enhance the health and resilience of our ocean & coastal communities. Our aim in the Tidal Energy project is to create a blueprint to simultaneously achieve these ambitions.” The NUI Galway Global Challenges fund was unveiled as part of the University’s new Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-26. There are six areas of focus in the Global Challenges programme - Antimicrobial Resistance, Decarbonisation, Democracy, Food Security, Human-centred Data, and Ocean and Coastal Health. The Tidal Energy project is being supported under the theme of Decarbonisation.  Further information is available at https://stories.universityofgalway.ie/exploring-solutions-for-tidal-energy/index.html Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “Through our Global Challenges programme we are inviting our researchers to focus on the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues. As part of our mission as a research-led institution, it is incumbent upon us to work for the public good and also with communities and stakeholders, both local and globally, to respond to the challenges facing humanity.” The Tidal Energy project involves a number of key, interconnected elements: :: Exploring the development of next-generation tidal energy technology and tidal turbine blades. :: Site modelling and the assessment of the impact of climate change on site characteristics and extreme events for tidal energy technology.  :: Economic appraisal of tidal energy and the investigation of societal attitudes. :: Stakeholder engagement to better understand the needs and concerns of tidal energy developers, local authorities and the coastal communities. :: Systems to assess the interactions of tidal energy infrastructure with wildlife. :: Recruitment of five PhD researchers to the project. Globally, the tidal energy resource is estimated at more than 1200 terraWhats per annum. The world uses 17.7 terrawhats a year. The Tidal Energy project brings together a wealth of academic and research expertise and knowledge from across NUI Galway. The team includes Professor Goggins; Dr Stephen Nash, Senior Lecturer School of Engineering; Dr William Finnegan; Senior Research Fellow, School of Engineering; Professor Stephen Hynes, Professor in Economics and Director of the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit; Dr Thomas Van Rensburg, Senior Lecturer, School of Business & Economics; Dr Gesche Kindermann, Lecturer, School of Natural Science; Dr Anne Marie Power, Senior Lecturer in Zoology, School of Natural Sciences), and Dr Colin Lawton Senior Lecturer, School of Natural Science. Ends

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

NUI Galway has joined a new European project to investigate how local initiatives can help meet climate change targets.  The five-year Shared Green Deal is funded through the EU’s Horizon2020 scheme with researchers working with families in fuel poverty, schools, housing associations and businesses to slash carbon emissions. The overall project involves 24 separate social experiments - taking place in neighbourhoods across Europe - looking at how organisations and individuals can work together to make daily lives more sustainable. The research is intended to assist the EU in reaching the target of carbon neutrality by 2050 and to create change at the local level. Researchers in Geography at NUI Galway are leading the Clean Energy strand of the research, working with communities in four locations across the continent to develop community visions for desirable energy futures. The NUI Galway research team is led by Professor Frances Fahy, a leading scholar and international researcher in social science and sustainability. Professor Fahy said: “Over the next five years we will be working alongside communities and local authorities to gain a deeper understanding of what local stakeholders want and expect for the future of energy and what EU energy targets can be most beneficial to local communities.” Under Shared Green Deal, 22 partner institutions across Europe will work together to examine the role social sciences can play in helping countries, communities and neighbourhoods to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.  Professor Fahy said: “Much of the recent focus on tackling climate change has centred on green technology development. However aspects of social justice and exploring how communities can respond at a local level are key pieces in the jigsaw of climate action. “This new Shared Green Deal project provides more social scientists in NUI Galway with valuable opportunities to build on our existing significant sustainability research profile and more importantly, to work with our communities on the transition toward sustainable futures”. As part of the project, skill-sharing workshops, toolkits for other local networks, and accessible training videos will be developed which especially focus on sharing energy-saving know-how between generations. Diversity and inclusivity will be at a key priority in Shared Green Deal, to ensure disadvantaged and vulnerable social groups are supported with the changes. For more information on the project please see: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101036640  Ends

Monday, 7 March 2022

DERIVE project aims to manage toxic E. coli threat to private water supplies Researchers at NUI Galway are to carry out a large-scale project that aims to protect private well owners from infection from potentially lethal bacteria.   The team based at the University’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Ecology Group (ARME) have been awarded funding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop detection and risk-management models. The DERIVE project focuses on pathogenic E. coli VTEC. The bacteria is carried naturally and harmlessly in the gut of cattle and sheep but it can cause severe gastrointestinal infection in humans.  Ireland has the highest incidence of VTEC infection in Europe with between 700 and 900 cases a year. Most people recover fully, but in up to 10% of cases the infection can progress to the potentially fatal kidney disease Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which may lead to long-term health consequences. The innovative research project will develop new, rapid, on-site detection methods, as well as risk models and open-source risk-management software to predict private drinking water contamination.  Principal Investigator Dr Liam Burke said: “Ireland represents the perfect storm for groundwater contamination with VTEC, as we have a lot of livestock and unfavourable geology, with often thin layers of soil and permeable underlying rock.  “Our frequent heavy rainfall also helps move pathogens from dung and land spread slurry, and even from our domestic wastewater treatment systems, into surface and ground waters.” The research will be an important step for Irish authorities in implementing risk-based “source to tap” approach under the new European Drinking Water Directive. Dr Burke added: “To protect well owners, we need to understand more about how VTEC is transported in natural water catchments.  “We want to identify the importance of factors such as climate and geology in order to be able to predict VTEC contamination under changing conditions. It’s also important that we can detect VTEC, and part of the project is focused on the development of rapid molecular tests that can be used on site.” The researchers will use DNA sequencing methods to characterize the VTEC found in water and compare them to VTEC causing human infection and to those found in animals and food. The project will begin in April 2022 and involves collaboration with University College Cork (UCC), Technological University Dublin (TUD) and Teagasc.  Once the study catchments are selected in summer 2022, the DERIVE team will engage with private well and private group scheme owners, farmers and local water groups to participate in the project.  Anyone interested in finding out more can visit www.nuigalway.ie/bac/ Ends

Friday, 4 March 2022

Clinical simulation and interprofessional education facility developed in partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group  Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. today officially launches the Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility at NUI Galway. The state-of-the-art space spans more than 20 immersive learning rooms, across 100m2, fitted out to hospital standard and simulating all aspects of a leading healthcare environment.  All training rooms are fitted with high-powered cameras and audio-visual equipment with remote and observation spaces for assessing and reviewing learning. Patients are replaced by complex manikins with physiological characteristics that respond to medical treatments and procedures in safe and realistic environments. Based at NUI Galway’s Clinical Science Institute, on the grounds of University Hospital Galway, it is the largest and most modern facility of its kind on a clinical site in Ireland.  The facility is a partnership between NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group.  Minster Donnelly said: “This new facility at NUI Galway is at the forefront of delivering the best quality teaching and learning for our medical students and healthcare providers. Healthcare simulation brings the students and professionals together in a modern methodology for training.  “Advances such as this have tangible benefits to the staff delivering quality care within our health service and this, of course, benefits patients. This type of innovation and forward thinking is what will help to elevate the delivery of our world class health service and it is the cornerstone of the future of healthcare in Ireland.'' Healthcare simulation is an approach to training and education that aims to improve the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of clinical care through high impact, evidence-based training. There is growing evidence that it contributes to increased quality of patient care and survival.    NUI Galway Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility   Unique in Ireland - co-located on a clinical site and medical school - the facility includes: :: Skills labs, operating theatres, ICU space, emergency bays, in-patient wards, outpatient consultation rooms, delivery suites. :: Complex manikins range in age from premature infants to adults and maternity manikins simulate pregnancy and childbirth. :: Audio-visual system for recording training, streaming and linking to all areas of Saolta University Health Care Group :: Education and training for more than 600 medical students in clinical years and accessible space for more than 4,000 multi-professional clinical staff in Galway University Hospitals.  :: Observational rooms with one-way glass and multi-functional rooms with mobile furniture, easily switching from clinical to tutorial and debrief rooms.  The official opening took place alongside the launch of the National Strategic Guide for the Implementation of Simulation on Clinical Sites. The National Chief Academic Officers, working with Dr Colm Henry, Health Service Executive Chief Clinical Officer, and the National Doctors Training and Planning, have championed simulation and the development of the guide. The guide was written by Professor of Simulation Education Dara Byrne, School of Medicine, NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group, and the simulation team at NUI Galway to support the strategic development of similar facilities on clinical sites in Ireland. Professor Byrne said: “The old, apprentice-style of learning for healthcare students and clinicians is no longer considered acceptable because of the increasing concern for the quality of patient care and safety and change in health care systems.  “As a result, there are fewer opportunities for the student to experience and build confidence dealing with a wide variety of diseases, traumas and treatment responses. As well as that, Covid-19 shone a light on the importance of simulation based education as the pandemic severely limited direct clinical exposure for students and trainees.” Professor Antony O’Regan, Director of Postgraduate Clinical Education, Saolta University Health Care Group and NUI Galway, said: “The launch today is a milestone for the west of Ireland. It represents the integrated work across the university and health sectors.  It highlights the potential benefits of developing Academic Health Science Systems.   “Saolta and NUI Galway aspire to be leaders in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education both nationally and internationally. This is reflected in the ongoing work to establish resources for clinical simulation across our region in order to support inter-professional education and lifelong learning.  “We are looking forward to the future and continued strategic development of our academic infrastructure and resources that are vital to patient care”. The National Strategic Guide for the Implementation of Simulation on Clinical Sites provides a framework for the resourcing and delivery of sustainable simulation that is multi-professional with a focus in team training for patient safety. It identifies the priority areas that should be addressed in establishing and delivering high quality healthcare simulation facilities, including human factors testing of new hospital equipment and medical devices before introduction to the clinical environment, of particular importance to the medtech industry in Galway.  Ends

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

NUI Galway and Ulster University lead flagship €4 million project to advance understanding of region and foster sustainable innovation   Cross-border research unveiled under Government’s Shared Island North-South Research Programme NUI Galway and Ulster University have been announced as the lead partners on a new strategic regional development research project under the Government’s North-South Research Programme.  The Atlantic Innovation Corridor is a cross-border collaboration focusing on themes such as rural entrepreneurial ecosystems, business scaling, female entrepreneurship, digitalisation, freight connectivity and mental health. University of Limerick and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology are co-partners on the research. The Atlantic Innovation Corridor will create a research team organised in hubs in Derry/Londonderry and Limerick and administered in the third hub in Galway. The four year project was announced by Taoiseach Michéal Martin T.D. and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. as part of the Government’s Shared Island North South Research Programme.  The Atlantic Innovation Corridor involves a series of research work programmes on sustainable regional development for the north-west of the island, the west and mid-west. Among the projects in the partnership are: Mentoring scheme for female entrepreneurs in the region. Identifying economic growth bottlenecks and how to take action; Business masterclasses for growth Mental health promotion Digital skills development, transformation and policy interventions in rural and peripheral regions Impact of Brexit and Covid on female entrepreneurship  Establishing the region and the partnership as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for impactful research. Exploring international freight transport connectivity through the north-west of the island, including rail connectivity and the potential of Foyle Port. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President Research and Innovation at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator for the Atlantic Innovation Corridor, said: “This investment in large-scale social science research will create a resource for the region and the country.  “Our collaboration will produce engaged research that will help guide us through the transitions, digital, green and energy, that are before us. It will also form a base from which we can share our insights and experience with other regions of Europe and the world which have difficult histories and borders but seek to make progress together.  “This ambitious agenda is shared with our partners in the Western Development Commission, the North West Regional Development Authority and our collaborators in AwakenHub. We see this investment as a foundation from which we will build partnerships and engagement key across all these projects, our NUI Galway research community playing a great role and the Atlantic Innovation Corridor is an opportunity to deeply explore and understand our region with the express intent to leverage this to further sustainable develop. We are delighted to work with colleagues in Ulster University and in multiple other institutions across our island.” Professor Liam Maguire, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Ulster University said: “Alongside the well-documented environmental factors of sustainable development, this unique partnership aims to explore and address human considerations including the responsiveness of communities and sectors to mobilise for collective action and innovation.” “From our progressive campus in Derry~Londonderry, we are uniquely placed to contribute to this three-city regional collaboration, incorporating research that can contribute insights, inform policy and drive forward practical solutions for the benefit of individuals, organisations and communities.” University of Limerick Vice President Research Professor Norelee Kennedy said: “UL is delighted to partner with our colleagues in NUI Galway, Ulster University and GMIT on the Atlantic Innovation Corridor exploring social capital and collective action capacity of the region. Through exploring entrepreneurship ecosystems in rural regions, business scaling in the Atlantic Corridor and the challenges and opportunities for smaller regional innovation systems UL will support the consortium in this ambitious programme of impactful, policy informing research.” The North-South Research Programme is a collaborative scheme funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund. It is being administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. Ends

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Protected Pipistrelle bats found in attic, captured and entangled in Noble False Widow Spider’s web Scientists from the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway have published the first record of a Noble False Widow spider feeding on a protected species of Pipistrelle bats in the UK.  The new study, published in the international journal Ecosphere, demonstrates that False Widow spiders continue to impact native species.  It is the first time a member of this family of spiders, called Theridiidae, has been recorded preying on a bat anywhere in the world, or any vertebrate in Britain.  It is also the first time for any species of false widow spider to be recorded preying on mammals. The extraordinary discovery was made by wildlife artist Ben Waddams at his home in north Shropshire, England. On two consecutive days, bats living in the attic were found entangled on the spider’s web below the entrance to the roost.  The first bat, a young pup, was completely immobilised with its limbs pinned tightly to the torso with silk. It was slightly shrivelled and discoloured from the spider feeding off the remains.  A second, much larger adult bat, was also captured and entangled in the web but as it was still alive, the bat was rescued from the web and released.  In Britain, the Pipistrelle bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.  The rather grisly event is not as uncommon as people might expect, three years ago the Noble False Widow spider was reported feeding on a protected species of native lizard in Ireland. Originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands, the Noble False Widow spider Steatoda nobilis has the potential to become one of the world’s most invasive species of spider.  It was first reported in southern England in 1879 and has increased its range and population density in recent decades, spreading northwards towards Scotland and westward through Wales and Ireland. In that time the species has also spread globally from across Europe, East Asia, North America, and South America.  The species is known for its medical significance, having the ability to cause a range of mild to severe symptoms in people who are bitten, but little is known about its impact on native species.  Over the past five years, the team led by Dr Michel Dugon in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, have been studying a wide range of characteristics specific to the species including its venom, symptoms after envenomation, ecology and behaviour.  Dr Michel Dugon, Head of the Venom Systems Lab, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and senior author of the study, said: “We have been working on the Noble False Widow for the past five years, and have learnt a great deal about this species - yet, we are still surprised by its ability to adapt to new environments and make the most of the resources available. It is a truly remarkable species.” Dr John Dunbar, Irish Research Council Post-Doctoral fellow, Venom Systems Lab, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway and lead author of the study, said: “In more exotic parts of the world, scientists have been documenting such predation events by spiders on small vertebrates for many years, but we are only beginning to realise just how common these events occur. Now that this alien species has become well established in Ireland and Britain, we are witnessing such fascinating events on our very own doorstep.  “Even other, much smaller, species of false widows are known to capture and feed on snakes and lizards. This study presents yet another example of the invasive impact by the Noble false widow spider on native species. We know they are much more competitive than native spiders, and this further confirms their impact on prey species.” They possess a fast-acting neurotoxic venom with a very similar composition to true black widows that can cause neuromuscular paralysis in terrestrial vertebrates which allows them to occasionally feed on small reptiles and mammals. Aiste Vitkauskaite, researcher at the Venom Systems Lab, Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, said: “False widow spiders, just as their close relatives’ black widow spiders, have extraordinary prey capture techniques and remarkably potent venom which allows them to capture small vertebrate prey many times larger than the spider itself with surprising ease.  “In the last three years alone, we have observed two occasions of the alien Noble False Widow capturing and feeding on protected species of vertebrate animals in Ireland and Britain. As the Noble False Widow continues to expand its range and increase populations across Ireland and Britain, we should expect to observe similar predation events on small vertebrate animals by this spider, including protected species.”  The team of scientists are encouraging members of the public to email them at falsewidow@nuigalway.ie to report sightings of the Noble False Widow spider. Read the full study in Ecosphere here: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.3959   View a short video about the study here: https://youtu.be/zLOhGfaLrng  -Ends-

Friday, 29 April 2022

NUI Galway has unveiled four new rowing boats named in honour of alumni and current student athletes who have made significant contributions to the success and development of the team.  The alumni honoured are Chris O’Dea and the late Dr Donagh O’Donoghue, both of whom are former rowers with Coláiste Iognáid and NUI Galway Boat Club. The students honoured with the naming are world-class medal winning athletes Cliodhna Nolan, who won gold at the 2020 European Championships, and Fiona Murtagh, who won bronze at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be able to recognise and honour the commitment and dedication of Donagh, Chris, Fiona and Cliodhna to our rowing and sporting successes in such a unique and appropriate way.  “They are all first-class ambassadors for our University and our values, not least excellence. In many ways, NUI Galway’s success and achievements are made possible thanks to the support, encouragement and endeavours of our students and our alumni.” Ciro Prisco, Head Coach of NUI Galway Rowing, said: “A boat naming ceremony is a fitting opportunity to acknowledge our alumni and athletes who played vital parts in making the NUI Galway Boat Club a success. “The commitment, support and ambition of Chris O’Dea and Dr O’Donoghue played an important role in establishing a High-Performance Rowing Coach position at the University. Their foresight has allowed for the development of a pathway for student athletes to achieve their dreams and compete at the highest levels. “On top of that, our student athletes bring international successes while they fully embody the values or our club and stand as role models for other students and athletes.” Ends  

Friday, 29 April 2022

Ta ceithre bhád rámhaíochta nua ainmnithe ag OÉ Gaillimh in ómós do lúthchleasaithe i measc na mac léinn reatha agus i measc alumni a rinne cion fir le go n-éireodh leis an bhfoireann agus le agus go dtiocfadh bláth uirthi. Is iad na alumni atá i gceist Chris O’Dea agus an Dr Donnacha Ó Donnchadha, nach maireann, a bhí tráth ina rámhaithe le Coláiste Iognáid agus le Club Rámhaíochta OÉ Gaillimh. Is iad na mic léinn atá i gceist na lúthchleasaithe Cliodhna Nolan a bhuaigh bonn óir i gCraobhchomórtais na hEorpa 2020, agus Fiona Murtagh, a bhuaigh bonn cré-umha i gCluichí Oilimpeacha Thóiceo 2021. Deir an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá lúcháir orainn a bheith in ann aitheantas agus ómós a thabhairt do thiomantas agus do dhíograis Dhonnacha, Chris, Fiona agus Chliodhna agus iad ag tabhairt go paiteanta faoi éachtaí rámhaíochta agus spóirt thar ceann na hOllscoile. “Is ambasadóirí den chéad scoth iad don Ollscoil agus do luachanna na hOllscoile, go háirithe an luach a bhaineann le barr feabhais a bhaint amach. D’fhéadfá a rá gur a bhuíochas le tacaíocht, spreagadh agus díocas na mac léinn agus na alumni a baineadh na héachtaí sin amach.” Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Ciro Prisco, Príomhchóitseálaí Chumann Rámhaíochta OÉ Gaillimh: "Deis cuí is ea searmanas ainmnithe bád chun aitheantas a thabhairt do na alumni agus do na lúthchleasaithe a bhí lárnach sa chaoi ar éirigh chomh maith sin le Club Bád OÉ Gaillimh. “Bhí ról nach beag ag an tiomantas, an tacaíocht agus an uaillmhian a léirigh Chris O’Dea agus an Dr Ó Donnchadha leis an gcinneadh post Cóitseálaí Rámhaíochta Ardfheidhmíochta a bhunú san Ollscoil. Chuir a gceannródaíocht bonn faoi fhorbairt conairí do mhic léinn ar lúthchleasaithe iad a thabharfadh deis dóibh a n-aisling a fhíorú agus a bheith ag iomaíocht ag na leibhéil is airde. "Ní hamháin go n-éiríonn lenár mic léinn ar lúthchleasaithe iad agus iad ag iomaíocht ar fud an domhain ach seasann siad le luachanna an chlub agus is dea-shampla iad do mhic léinn agus do lúthchleasaithe eile.” Críoch

Friday, 29 April 2022

Study found that hedgehogs are more abundant in urban than rural areas Researchers urging citizen scientists to play their part and report sightings  Researchers from NUI Galway, working with a team of enthusiastic volunteers, have recorded more than 5,000 hedgehog sightings across the island of Ireland, with the small mammals turning up more often in the town and city surveys. Launched in 2020, the Irish Hedgehog Survey encourages members of the public to report hedgehog sightings online using a recording scheme with the National Biodiversity Data Centre.  Oisín Duffy, Surveys and Records Officer for the National Biodiversity Data Centre, said: “Hedgehog was the most recorded of all plant and animal species in 2021. In total, across the 32 counties on the island, 1,977 individual recorders submitted 3043 sightings through the Citizen Science Portal.  “This is a phenomenal level of recording activity and shows the importance of targeted projects and recording initiatives, like the Irish Hedgehog Survey.” In 2021, the research team sought volunteers to conduct a more detailed hedgehog survey in their local area using footprint tunnels. Between June and September, 112 local area surveys were carried out by volunteers across the whole country with hedgehogs recorded in 45% of sites. Elaine O’Riordan, lead researcher on the project with the University’s Mammal Ecology Unit, said: “We were surprised at the difference; just over a third of surveys conducted in rural landscapes found hedgehogs while 70% of urban surveys recorded them. We know from recent reports from the UK that rural hedgehogs have suffered a greater decline than their urban cousins who have made their homes in gardens and parks.”  To help researchers understand how hedgehogs use gardens in Ireland, more than 500 householders also volunteered to participate in the Garden Hedgehog Survey, reporting findings via an online questionnaire.  Early results indicate that urban and rural gardens are a very important habitat for hedgehogs. Ms O’Riordan said: “We are still in the early days of our research and we are looking to deepen our understanding of hedgehog’s habitats. That’s why we are encouraging citizen scientists to get involved with the survey this summer again.” The Irish Hedgehog Survey will continue for one more season, from May to September this year, with the help of citizen scientists. Sightings can be reported via the online portal at https://bit.ly/3v3PJZB  Katy Bell, Senior Conservation Officer with Ulster Wildlife, said: "We are delighted to team up with NUI Galway again for this all-Ireland survey. More than 700 people in Northern Ireland signed up last year helping to shed light on this under-recorded species, but we need more volunteers to take part to help build a bigger picture, especially in counties Fermanagh, Tyrone and Antrim." Volunteers who want to do some “hands on” surveys can take part in the Garden or Local Area hedgehog surveys. These would be suitable for interested individuals, schools, local wildlife or conservation groups and community and youth groups. Further information on the surveys as well as details of training events are on the project website https://www.irishhedgehogsurvey.com/ For more information or to be informed on training and survey news email irishhedgehogsurvey@gmail.com Workshops will be offered in early summer 2022 for interested persons to learn more about the survey and to provide volunteers with instructions and equipment needed.  Both online and live training events are planned throughout the summer with the Hedgehog Survey project partners – The National Biodiversity Data Centre, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Heritage and Biodiversity Officers in the County Councils of Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Kilkenny, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Dublin City. Ulster Wildlife are facilitating the survey in Northern Ireland.  Ends

Thursday, 28 April 2022

University is number 5 in the world for Responsible Consumption and Production  NUI Galway is Ireland’s number 1 higher education institution in THE Impact rankings  NUI Galway has been named the number one university in Ireland for sustainable development. The 2022 edition of Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings ranks the University 47th out of 1,406 institutions around the world - breaking into the top 50 after being in 82nd position last year. The report also puts NUI Galway as the fifth best university in the world for Sustainable Development Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production. Assessments for THE Impact rankings are based on submissions from universities around the world in line with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is a measure of the extent to which institutions are having a positive social and economic impact on the planet; from climate action and gender equality, to good health and well-being. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “The sustainable development goals are arguably the most important targets for the world to meet, and it’s heartening to know we are making a positive impact towards creating a sustainable future for our planet.  “At NUI Galway, sustainability is one of our core values, and we look forward to progressing our work to address these global challenges as part of our central mission to serve the public good.”   Deputy President and Registrar of NUI Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Chair of the University Sustainability Advisory Board, said: “I’d like to commend the hard work of our team of staff, students and community partners and their commitment in establishing the University as a leading institutional model for sustainability and sustainable development.  “It was primarily our students who put the issue of sustainability on the agenda in our University, and with that we vowed to try to respond to challenges that we face while staying true to our University’s values of Respect, Openness, Sustainability and Excellence.” NUI Galway performed strongly and increased its position in a number of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including: SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, ranked 5th SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities, ranked 31st  SDG 14: Life Below Water, ranked 31st  SDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing, ranked 51st  SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, ranked 58th SDG 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institution, ranked 59th SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals, ranked 63rd  SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy, ranked 75th  SDG 13: Climate Action, ranked 101-200  SDG 5: Gender Equality, ranked 101-200 SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, ranked 201-300 Further information on our progress can be accessed here Ends

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Tá an Ollscoil ag uimhir 5 sa domhan maidir le Tomhaltas agus Táirgeadh Freagrach OÉ Gaillimh ar an institiúid ardoideachais is fearr de réir ranguithe Tionchair THE  Tá OÉ Gaillimh ainmnithe mar an ollscoil is fearr in Éirinn maidir le forbairt inbhuanaithe. In eagrán 2022 de Ranguithe Tionchair an Times Higher Education tá an Ollscoil sa 47ú háit as 1,406 institiúid ar fud an domhain – ag baint áit amach i measc an 50 ollscoil is fearr tar éis a bheith sa 82ú háit anuraidh. De réir na tuarascála chomh maith tá OÉ Gaillimh ar an gcúigiú hollscoil is fearr ar domhan maidir le Sprioc Forbartha Inbhuanaithe 12 – Tomhaltas agus Táirgeadh Freagrach. Tá measúnuithe do ranguithe Tionchair THE bunaithe ar aighneachtaí ó ollscoileanna ar fud an domhain i gcomhréir le 17 Sprioc Forbartha Inbhuanaithe na Náisiún Aontaithe. Is léiriú é ar an tionchar dearfach sóisialta agus eacnamaíoch atá ag institiúidí ar an bpláinéad; lena n-áirítear gníomhú ar son na haeráide, comhionannas inscne, dea-shláinte agus folláine. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá na spriocanna forbartha inbhuanaithe ar na spriocanna is tábhachtaí atá le baint amach ag an domhan, agus is cúis áthais dúinn go bhfuil tionchar dearfach againn maidir le todhchaí inbhuanaithe a chruthú dár bpláinéad. “In OÉ Gaillimh, is ceann dár gcroíluachanna í an inbhuanaitheacht, agus táimid ag tnúth le cur lenár gcuid oibre d'fhonn aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin dhomhanda seo mar chuid dár misean lárnach le freastal ar leas an phobail.”  Dúirt Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Cathaoirleach Bhord Comhairleach Inbhuanaitheachta na hOllscoile: “Ba mhaith liom an obair chrua atá ar siúl ag ár meitheal foirne, mac léinn agus comhpháirtithe pobail a mholadh mar aon lena dtiomantas chun an Ollscoil a bhunú mar mhúnla institiúideach ceannródaíoch don inbhuanaitheacht agus don fhorbairt inbhuanaithe. “Ba iad ár gcuid mac léinn go príomha a chuir ceist na hinbhuanaitheachta ar chlár oibre na hOllscoile, agus leis sin gheallamar iarracht a dhéanamh freagairt do na dúshláin atá romhainn agus muid dílis do luachanna ár nOllscoile – Meas, Oscailteacht, Inbhuanaitheacht agus Sármhaitheas.” Rinne OÉ Gaillimh go han-mhaith agus d’éirigh linn dul chun tosaigh i roinnt mhaith de na 17 Sprioc Forbartha Inbhuanaithe (SDGanna) lena n-áirítear: -      SDG 12: Tomhaltas agus Táirgeadh Freagrach, rangaithe sa 5ú háit -      SDG 11: Cathracha & Pobail Inbhuanaithe, rangaithe sa 31ú háit  -      SDG 14: Beatha faoi Uisce, rangaithe sa 31ú háit  -      SDG 3: Dea-shláinte & Folláine, rangaithe sa 51ú háit  -      SDG 10: Éagothroime Laghdaithe, rangaithe sa 58ú háit -      SDG 16: An tSíocháin, an Ceartas agus Institiúidí Láidre, rangaithe sa 59ú háit -      SDG 17: Comhpháirtíocht do na Spriocanna, rangaithe sa 63ú háit  -      SDG 7: Fuinneamh Inacmhainne & Glan, rangaithe sa 75ú háit  -      SDG 13: Gníomhú ar son na hAeráide, rangaithe idir 101-200 -      SDG 5: Comhionannas Inscne, rangaithe idir 101-200 -      SDG 9: Tionsclaíocht, Nuálaíocht agus Bonneagar, rangaithe idir 201-300 Is féidir teacht ar thuilleadh eolais faoinár ndul chun cinn anseo Críoch

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Údarás na hOllscoile, the Governing Authority of NUI Galway, has today approved the renaming of the institution to Ollscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway.  The University is planning to formally adopt the new name at the end of the summer.  From then the bilingual title of the university - Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway - will be used on all official documentation. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I would like to thank Údarás na hOllscoile for the consideration they have given to the future name and identity of our university “The decision to rename our University is something to which we have given a lot of thought and it is a decision which is being taken following detailed assessment of the issues and comprehensive consultation and internal discussion. We are extremely grateful to everyone who engaged in that work. “This university has been in Galway and of Galway since the mid-nineteenth century. Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, University of Galway, gives a clearer sense of who we are as an institution and of being of our place. Galway is a place of industry and creativity, of citizenship and debate. An in-between place, at the centre of a network of campuses stretching from Shannon to Donegal, including in our Gaeltacht regions, on the edge of and between continents, we here see the horizon everyday.  “Like all good explorers, all good adventurers, all good researchers, we know we serve our students and our society best by always wondering what’s beyond the horizon.  “As a community of scholars in a community of scholarship, we will continue this long and distinguished tradition and trajectory of curiosity, this ambition for our place and from this place, as we progress our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability, for the public good. “The university is proud of the role it has played in Galway's journey to become a global city. City and university have grown together and our new name encapsulates that history and is a promise for the future." Ends

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Cinneadh déanta ag Údarás Rialaithe OÉ Gaillimh gur Ollscoil na Gaillimhe-University of Galway a thabharfar ar an institiúid feasta Tá sé ceadaithe inniu ag Údarás na hOllscoile an institiúid a athainmniú mar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway.  Tá sé beartaithe ag an Ollscoil glacadh leis an ainm nua go foirmiúil ag deireadh an tsamhraidh.  Uaidh sin amach, úsáidfear teideal dátheangach na hollscoile – Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – Univerity of Galway – ar gach cáipéis oifigiúil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le hÚdarás na hOllscoile as a machnamh a dhéanamh ar theideal agus ar fhéiniúlacht ár n-ollscoile amach anseo.  “Tá go leor machnaimh déanta againn ar an gcinneadh ár nOllscoil a athainmniú agus is cinneadh é atá á ghlacadh tar éis mionmheasúnú a dhéanamh ar na saincheisteanna chomh maith le comhairliúchán cuimsitheach agus plé inmheánach. Táimid thar a bheith buíoch de gach duine a thug faoin obair sin. “Tá an ollscoil seo i nGaillimh agus is í ollscoil na Gaillimhe í ó lár an naoú haois déag. Tugann Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, University of Galway, léargas níos soiléire ar cé muid féin mar institiúid agus ar ár n-áit. Is áit tionsclaíochta agus cruthaitheachta í Gaillimh, áit saoránachta agus áit díospóireachta. Áit idir eatarthu, agus i lár líonra campas ó Shionainn go Dún na nGall, ar an imeall agus idir ilchríocha, bímid ag breathnú chun cinn anseo gach lá.  “Ach an oiread le gach taiscéalaí maith, gach eachtránaí maith, gach taighdeoir maith, tuigimid gurb é an rud is fearr don mhac léinn agus don tsochaí muid a bheith ag smaoineamh ar cad atá amach romhainn i gcónaí.  “Mar phobal scoláirí i bpobal léinn, leanfaidh an traidisiún fada mór le rá seo agus treocht na fiosrachta, an uaillmhian seo dár n-áit agus ón áit seo, agus muid ag cur chun cinn ár luachanna measa, sármhaitheasa, oscailteachta agus inbhuanaitheachta, ar mhaithe le leas an phobail.  “Tá an ollscoil bródúil as an ról a bhí agus atá aici in aistear na Gaillimhe le bheith ina cathair dhomhanda.  Tá fás tagtha ar an gcathair agus ar an ollscoil le chéile agus cuimsíonn ár n-ainm nua an stair sin agus is gealltanas é don todhchaí.” Críoch

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Researchers point to groundbreaking potential to screen for those at high risk of disease and for clinical trials of new treatments  New research from NUI Galway and Boston University has identified a blood biomarker that could help identify people with the earliest signs of dementia, even before the onset of symptoms. The study was published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The researchers measured blood levels of P-tau181, a marker of neurodegeneration, in 52 cognitively healthy adults, from the US-based Framingham Heart Study, who later went on to have specialised brain PET scans. The blood samples were taken from people who had no cognitive symptoms and who had normal cognitive testing at the time of blood testing.  The analysis found that elevated levels of P-tau181 in the blood were associated with greater accumulation of ß-amyloid, an abnormal protein in Alzheimer’s disease, on specialised brain scans. These scans were completed on average seven years after the blood test.  Further analysis showed the biomarker P-tau181 outperformed two other biomarkers in predicting signs of ß-amyloid on brain scans. Emer McGrath, Associate Professor at the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Neurologist at Saolta University Health Care Group was lead author of the study. “The results of this study are very promising - P-tau181 has the potential to help us identify individuals at high risk of dementia at a very early stage of the disease, before they develop memory difficulties or changes in behaviour,” Professor McGrath said. The research team said the identification of a biomarker also points to the potential for a population screening programme.  Professor McGrath said: “This study was carried out among people living in the community, reflecting those attending GP practices. A blood test measuring P-tau181 levels could potentially be used as a population-level screening tool for predicting risk of dementia in individuals at mid to late-life, or even earlier.  “This research also has important potential implications in the context of clinical trials. Blood levels of P-tau181 could be used to identify suitable participants for further research, including in clinical trials of new therapies for dementia. We could use this biomarker to identify those at a high risk of developing dementia but still at a very early stage in the disease, when there is still an opportunity to prevent the disease from progressing.” The research was funded in Ireland by a Health Research Board Clinician Scientist Award and in the US by an Alzheimer’s Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  The full study is available to view here. Ends

Monday, 25 April 2022

Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission is seeking participants to give their experience and preferences for remote working and insights on how remote working is impacting career choices. Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission are seeking participants for the annual national remote working in Ireland survey.  The survey will gather data on employees’ experiences and preferences for remote working and assess how remote working is impacting their career choices. The survey is led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Noreen O’Connor at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at the Western Development Commission.   Building on two previous annual national surveys undertaken by the team, the 2022 study will provide insights on how remote working has changed employees work and employment experiences.  Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD welcomed the initiative and encouraged workers to take part in the survey, commenting: “So much excellent work has been done in the last few years to support remote workers and employers. It is imperative we do not lose momentum now.  “The Government’s Rural Development Policy, Our Rural Future, clearly recognises the vital role that remote working can play in achieving balanced regional development. Remote workers support local economies and sustain communities, and I am determined to do all I can to encourage more to work remotely.   “This survey will help to ensure that we have the data to make the right decisions in this crucial area.” Professor Alma McCarthy, Professor of Public Sector Management and Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The 2020 and 2021 annual surveys were of huge interest to the public and we got over 12,000 responses from employees who were working remotely across the country.  “The findings have impacted policy including the national remote working strategy. The way we work has changed dramatically since the Covid-19 pandemic. It is timely to capture the trends, preferences and career choice impacts two years on.”   Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “Breaking the link between work and location has been transformative and while challenges remain in ensuring equality of opportunity for all regardless of location, this survey is really important to inform the decision making about balanced future development in our country, and helping the transition to a low carbon economy. The development of connectedhubs.ie with between 200 and 300 hubs already on the platform illustrates the ongoing demand for remote work, for hybrid work and for suitable work facilities close to where people live.” The remote working study findings will be available to inform employers about employee experiences of remote working. The research team will provide recommendations for employers on how to better manage remote working following the Covid-19 crisis as well as more generally. The research team will analyse the findings of the 2022 national remote working survey and make them publicly available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites in May 2022. The report and key statistics from the first and second national annual surveys are also available on these websites.   To complete the survey, visit https://bit.ly/remoteworkingsurvey2022  To view the 2020 and 2021 survey results visit: https://bit.ly/3mFwgZg.   Ends

Thursday, 21 April 2022

NUI Galway scientists show that smaller scorpion species pack the most potent venoms Researchers in NUI Galway have shown, for the first time, that smaller species of scorpions, with smaller pincers, have more potent venoms compared to larger species with robust claws. The scientists tested the theory from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which warned of the dangers of small scorpions, and that “when it comes to scorpions, the bigger the better”.  While this may have simply been a throwaway movie line from the adventurous archaeologist Indiana Jones, the research shows there is truth to it. The team of scientists at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute put the quip to the test by analysing 36 species of scorpions to show that larger scorpions have less potent venoms and really are better in terms of avoiding a nasty sting. The results of the research have published in the international journal Toxins.  It shows the smallest scorpions in their analysis, like the Brazilian yellow scorpion, where over 100 times more potent than the largest species they studied, such as the rock scorpion.  The potency pattern was not just about body size, but also pincer size, with venoms found in species with the smallest pinchers, including the South African thick-tail scorpion, which is more than 10 times more potent compared to species with the largest and most robust pinchers, such as the Israeli gold scorpion. Dr Kevin Healy, Lecturer of Zoology at NUI Galway and senior author of the study, said: “Outside of entertaining movie trivia there are good evolutionary reason to expect the results and important medical implications for such patterns.”  The researchers highlighted that while scorpions use both their venomous sting and their pinchers to capture prey and for defence there is an evolutionary trade-off between these weapons. Energy used to make bigger pincers means less energy is available for its chemical arsenal. This results in larger scorpions which can use their physical size are less reliant on venoms, while smaller species have evolved more potent venoms. Dr Healy added: “When we look at the most potent, and dangerous, scorpion venoms we find they tend to be associated with species such as the deathstalker which are relatively small. In contrast, the biggest species such as rock scorpions have venoms that are likely to only cause slight pain.” Alannah Forde, an NUI Galway graduate student and lead author of the study, said: “Not only did we find that bigger is better – when it comes to people being stung - we also found that bigger pincers are better when it comes to assessing the danger level of a scorpion. While species such as large-clawed scorpion might be small to medium in size, they mainly rely on their large pincers instead of their relatively weak venom.” Scorpion stings are a global health problem with more than 1 million cases and thousands of deaths every year. Identifying the species involved with a sting is vital for treatment, hence general rules such as “bigger is better” are often used to help with treatment.  The team aim to test these evolutionary rules to what makes some species more potent to help develop better medical approaches to scorpion stings. Dr Michel Dugon, Head of the Venom System Lab at NUI Galway and a senior author of the study, said: “As scientists, our job is also to put popular wisdom to the test. Most victims hospitalised with severe symptoms following scorpion stings are children below the age of 15. Identifying the species responsible is essential to administer the correct treatment, and a simple rule such as ‘bigger is better’ is a first small step toward saving lives.” The full study in Toxins is available at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/14/3/219 Ends

Monday, 11 April 2022

New IT solution will allow the integration, collection and standardisation of real-time pandemic data Open-source tool reflects a variety of data sources including Influenzanet, ECDC Atlas and Covid19-datahub Real-time updates will strengthen capacity among European public health agencies for rapid response to future health emergencies European pandemic preparedness and response project PANDEM-2 has launched the first version of ‘Pandem-source’, an IT solution that will support the work of pandemic managers by facilitating an efficient response to future pandemics across the European Union. These technologies are being created and produced by project partners and experts in the field including Epiconcept (France), UCLouvain (Belgium), Clarisoft (Romania), and NUI Galway (Ireland). Pandem-Source is open-source and designed to meet the specific needs of public health agencies, governments and international organisations such as the ECDC and WHO. It enables the integration of real-time pandemic-relevant data from international systems (ECDC, TESSy), laboratory systems, social media (Twitter) and participatory surveillance which is web-based reporting of symptoms by volunteer citizens (e.g. Influenzanet). The platform is open to the public and will particularly benefit those focused on systematically analysing and comparing various sources of pandemic-related data. Pandem-Source will feed into the upcoming ‘PANDEM-2 Dashboard’ where its components relating to situational awareness will be further developed through state-of-the-art visual analytics. Commenting on this major milestone for the project, Francisco Orchard, Head of Data Science at Epiconcept said: “We’re proud to announce the first release of "Pandem-Source". We hope that this tool will support the work of pandemic managers across Europe by connecting them to real-time information from traditional and non-traditional sources. The tool means officials involved in the response to public health emergencies will have case numbers, hospitalisations, deaths, vaccination uptake to name a few at their fingertips. In doing so, we hope it can play a role in coordinating data involved in one location. It is open-source, easy to install and customisable. We encourage users from the industry to install and test out its compatibility and variety of data-rich sources.” The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that our capacity to respond to pandemics was largely nation-based. Pandem-Source aims to play a role in a cross-border effort to create a system aimed at implementing a coordinated EU-wide response. Its flexibility will support the specific needs of pandemic managers across the EU by addressing the challenge of quick adaption and facilitating an efficient response to future pandemics as a result. However, the ultimate success of the system relies on a community effort across Europe.    Professor Máire Connolly of NUI Galway, PANDEM-2 Coordinator and expert in global health said: “I would like to acknowledge all partners involved in achieving this major milestone in the PANDEM-2 project. COVID-19 has affected every corner of society and had devastating health, economic and social impacts on countries worldwide. In the event of a future pandemic, we hope that the Pandem-Source tool will play a role in the conversations that public health experts and policymakers are having. Pandem-Source will provide them with the comprehensive, accurate, up-to-the-minute data  that they will need to make better decisions.” ‘Pandem-Source’ is available to download here, feedback is welcomed and can be sent to info@pandem-2.eu ENDS

Monday, 11 April 2022

NUI Galway and other universities to administer scholarships and support services to eligible students  The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of Optum Ireland’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), has announced a new scholarship program designed to grow the health care workforce in Ireland. The program is focused on underserved students seeking degrees in primary or specialised care, or emerging health care technologies. The Ireland Health Care Scholarship Program builds on the success of the pilot program started by Optum Ireland in 2018. “As a partner institution, NUI Galway has been involved in delivering the scholarship program since 2018,” said Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar of NUI Galway. “The benefits of the program are clear. The program is widening access to students by alleviating financial pressure on the scholars and their families and through the provision of support services. There are currently 7 health care scholars from Donegal studying healthcare and innovative technology programs in NUI Galway. We are delighted to renew the partnership with Optum Ireland and the United Health Foundation in 2022.” According to the Irish College of General Practitioners, nearly 15% of the current general practitioners are expected to retire in the next five years. Due to the national shortage, the medical community has expressed urgency in recruiting and training additional medical practitioners. The scholarship program developed to address the shortage includes partnerships with the Royal College of Surgeons Dublin, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, National University of Ireland, Galway, and Queen’s University Belfast. “The United Health Foundation is committed to helping cultivate a modern, diverse health workforce in Ireland,” said Padraig Monaghan, Managing Director of Optum Ireland and UK. “We are honoured to continue this scholarship program with NUI Galway.” More than €350,000 will support 31 students across the five academic partners. All scholarship students will be paired with a mentor and will participate in community volunteer activities. The Ireland Health Care Scholarship Program for 2022-23 is open for applications, with application forms available on each of the partnering university websites. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 27, 2022. "This scholarship is of real benefit as I am able to study away from home and it has taken a lot of undue pressure away from myself and my family. Just knowing that I have that security over the next few years has been massive for me. I can focus on my studies and get the most out of my college experience,” said Halim Egberongbe, an Ireland Health Care scholar in his first year studying biotechnology at NUI Galway. Ends