All Year 2010

Award for NUI Galway Postgraduate Researcher at European Biomaterials Conference

Monday, 11 October 2010

A first year postgraduate researcher at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, (NFB) at NUI Galway, was recently awarded the best podium presentation at the 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials. Bill Daly received the award at the Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) which was held in Tampere, Finland. The research is funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Proof of Concept scheme and focuses on developing a three-dimensional construct to study neural tissue regeneration in vitro. The award-winning presentation is entitled 'A Three Dimensional in vitro Model for the Assessment of Neurite Growth'. The project investigates how alterations on the surfaces of implantable materials can modify the growth of nerve cells. This is relevant to peripheral nerve repair studies. To test the effects of modifying the surfaces, Bill has developed a system which uses lasers to etch patterns on the surface of the materials and then measures the resulting growth. Stimulating growth while also controlling the direction of this growth is the ultimate goal as this facilitates the re-growth of long nerve fibres. The work is co-supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis at the NFB and by Dr Claire O'Connell at the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA). NCLA researcher Dr Claire O'Connell says: "This is a great accomplishment for Bill. The NCLA is delighted to be involved in this research and recognises the enormous implication that this study will achieve in the neural tissue regeneration area." The 23rd European Conference on Biomaterials attracted more than 800 delegates from across the scientific and engineering disciplines as well as members from the clinical and industrial sectors. Researchers from the NFB presented nine podium presentations and two poster presentations during the event representing a significant achievement for the NFB at an international event. The European Society of Biomaterials is a non-profit scientific society whose main objective is to encourage progress in the field of biomaterials in all its aspects, including research, teaching and clinical applications, as well as to foster any other related activity. The society was founded in March 1976 and became a member of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering (IUS-BSE) at its inception in 1979. The ESB has approximately 750 members from 32 countries worldwide. Next year, the ESB conference will be hosted by the NFB in Dublin on 4 to 9 September, 2011 at the Convention Centre Dublin. -Ends-

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Rose of Tralee Launches Mental Health Week at NUI Galway

Thursday, 7 October 2010

This year's Rose of Tralee and NUI Galway Psychology graduate Clare Kambemettu yesterday (06 October) launched Mental Health Week, 10 to17 October at the University. Along with launching a comprehensive programme of events surrounding 'Building Resilience - to protect mental health and wellbeing', the Rose also launched a MyStudentBody website dealing with mental health and wellbeing issues for students and parents and a Bobby Baker Art Exhibition which runs from 6 to 30 October. Clare Kambemettu, from Athy in County Kildare, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from NUI Galway in 2005 and continued her studies in the University by completing a higher Diploma in Arts, Psychology Conversion in 2006. This is the first time that Clare has returned to NUI Galway in her official capacity as International Rose of Tralee. The programme for Mental Health Week is very varied including, societies events, a Graduate Jobs Fair, opportunities to volunteer with the Alive Volunteering Programme, and the chance to be physically active with Sports and Recreation. A keynote session, of 'Laughter Yoga' will also take place on 14 October. In the session laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group and soon turns into real contagious laughter, leaving participants feeling happy, healthy and energised. The MyStudentBody® website is a comprehensive online programme originating from the USA which tackles the most relevant health issues on college campuses today including alcohol, drugs, sexual health, tobacco, nutrition, and stress. Using a unique three prong approach, MyStudentBody reaches students, parents, and administrators with information that aims to improve students' daily lives and overall wellness. The website aims to reduce student health risks on the individual and campus community level, empower families with strategies and tools for supporting student health, find strategies and apply data to strengthen prevention initiatives. The Bobby Baker Diary Drawing Exhibition entitled 'Mental Illness and Me, 1997 – 2008', depicts Bobby's experiences of day hospitals, acute psychiatric wards, 'crisis' teams and a variety of treatments, while coping with personal mental illness. The drawings chart the ups and downs of her recovery, family life, work as an artist, breast cancer and just how funny all this harrowing stuff can be. Bobby Baker herself will give an illustrated talk on Wednesday, 13 October at 8pm at the Bank of Ireland Theatre. She will explore how painting, breathing and madness led her to create the remarkable series of drawings on which the exhibition is based. Speaking at the launch of Mental Health Week, Administrative Officer of Student Services at NUI Galway, Matt Doran said, "In these times when there is so much apparent hopelessness, the advice of the recently beatified John Henry Newman who is often quoted in relation to University Education is very relevant: "Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish". When we actively seek out "what we have", we will find a lot of positives and this is key to Building Resilience and coping skills, the theme of this year's Mental Health Week." ENDS

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NUI Galway supports bonus points for Mathematics Scheme

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

NUI Galway has today announced its support for the proposed introduction of a bonus points scheme for Leaving Certificate Higher Level Mathematics. The precise scheme for the award of additional points, along with the timescale for introduction, will be agreed in consultation with the other universities, in the coming weeks. NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Jim Ward, indicated that while there was scepticism about the effectiveness of the scheme, the University did not wish to stand in the way of the development of a national scheme: "At a meeting of the University's Academic Council last evening, it was agreed that NUI Galway would support the introduction of bonus points on a pilot basis. We recognise the importance of encouraging more students to take honours mathematics at Leaving Certificate level. However, it would be a mistake to view bonus points as the complete solution to the maths problem in Ireland. The teaching of maths at second level by teachers who are not fully qualified to teach the subject is a more fundamental problem. We need to put supports in place to help those teachers. I would ask the Minister to now work with the Universities and the Teaching Council to put in place a programme of professional development for teachers that will enable them to gain the skills they need to teach mathematics to the required level." Professor Ward added: "The bonus points scheme will only succeed if it is part of a wider package of initiatives including ongoing reform of the mathematics curriculum, more support and training for second level teachers, and widening of access to higher mathematics so that it is offered in all schools". NUI Galway has particular expertise in the area of Mathematics Education and has introduced a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing maths education and encouraging more students to study maths at third level. In 2008, NUI Galway introduced the country's only undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Education, which qualifies graduates to teach Mathematics and Applied Mathematics to honours Leaving Certificate level in post-primary schools. The first graduates from that programme will emerge in two years' time, having already spent three years working with teachers in schools. The BA Mathematics and Education is unique in Ireland and internationally in terms of its specialist focus on the mathematical sciences, and mathematics and applied mathematics pedagogies. The programme has been developed by NUI Galway specifically to address the demonstrated need for specialist maths teachers in Irish schools. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has also run a Special Entrance Maths Examination to give engineering applicants who did not achieve the required Higher Level Mathematics grade in the Leaving Certificate a second chance. NUI Galway also holds a free intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the Special Maths Exam. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering. NUI Galway has also been working with its strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, in running workshops for secondary school maths teachers on aspects of the new Project Maths curriculum. In addition, the University is also actively exploring opportunities to develop new part-time postgraduate programmes aimed at up-skilling secondary school mathematics teachers. Ends

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Top Galway Employers To Attend NUI Galway Graduate Jobs Fair

Monday, 4 October 2010

Major organisations from business, industry and the voluntary sector will feature at the NUI Galway Graduate Jobs Fair in the Bailey Allen Hall, on Monday, 11 October from 12.30pm to 4pm. The popular annual event will showcase graduate employment opportunities for graduates from all disciplines, with a diverse number of fields such as accountancy, IT, law, science, retail, consultancy and many other sectors represented. Visitors to the event can attend employer presentations, information sessions and participate in a mock assessment centre. They can gain advice and information from career and HR professionals by attending seminars to develop CVs and perfect interview techniques. Major local employers such as Creganna, Medtronic, Cisco, Boston Scientific, and SAP will attend, in addition to international companies including Accenture, Abbott, KPMG and Lidl. According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway's Career Development Centre, "Demand for NUI Galway graduates remains high, reflecting on their excellent employability status. The current economic climate does of course present challenges; to be employed is to be at risk but to be employable is to be secure. Building on the success of the NUI Galway ALIVE Volunteering Programme, we have also invited organisations who provide volunteering opportunities which help develop key transferable skills and further enhance graduate employability. There will also be an opportunity to get information on postgraduate programmes available in NUI Galway." Event organiser Deirdre Sheridan, advises those planning on attending the Jobs Fair that their main objective on the day is to secure their first graduate job. "Plan in advance - know what employers are attending and the type of opportunities they have available. Fifty percent of graduate employers recruit graduates from all academic disciplines so don't be misled by an organisation's name – they may have the perfect graduate opportunity for you! Bring along an up-to-date CV, have it reviewed at the CV Clinic and get feedback on how to package and sell all your experiences to date. Arrive with a 'can do' attitude and be prepared to network." Details on exhibitors are available from ENDS

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NUI Galway and ARAMARK Ireland Launch State-Of-The-Art Restaurant

Monday, 4 October 2010

NUI Galway and ARAMARK Ireland, Ireland's leading contract catering and facilities Management Company, today unveiled the newly renovated restaurant 'An Bhialann', at the University. Independent Food writer and Consultant Hugo Arnold was also on-hand for the launch of the upgraded and extended restaurant. The investment of circa €3.5 million will provide healthy eating options for a community of over 17,500 staff and students, ensuring that both body and mind are nurtured. Skipping meals will become a thing of the past for students with a new 'food court' style service area offering a wide choice of dishes from live action stations where meals can be cooked-to-order, to a bespoke sandwich bar and a salad counter boasting over 25 salad choices on a daily basis. ARAMARK Ireland's food services division, Campbell Catering, have provided catering services at NUI Galway since 1992. This new investment has resulted in a complete redesign of 'An Bhialann' which now boasts a modern, interior finish, new entrances and extended seating. 'An Bhialann' houses a brand new kitchen which incorporates the latest in equipment and services, all designed to deliver a wide choice of top quality dishes. Coffee lovers will be delighted with the addition of global coffee house Starbucks. Popular sandwich chain Subway is also located in 'An Bhialann' and these restaurants are open from early morning to late evening. Speaking at the launch Hugo Arnold, independent Food writer and Consultant, said, "Students are a fantastically demanding customer: well-informed, hungry, cash conscious and often time-starved. The new restaurant aims to meet and exceed these demands through quality innovation which is on-going and mixes both the modern and the traditional. Full of flavour, it aims to be nutritious, satisfying and competitively priced." Conference/ Catering Manager at NUI Galway, Ann Duggan said, "NUI Galway prides itself on providing a quality service to all its staff and students. The new restaurant together with the modern seating area offers students a state-of-the-art facility and delicious, healthy meals with prices starting from €3.50 for a hot main course. In addition, the implementation of environmentally friendly practices including waste segregation and energy efficiencies enables us to achieve our commitments towards sustainability at the University." Joan O'Shaughnessy, CEO ARAMARK Ireland added "Customer satisfaction is a major priority for us. Feedback shows that our customers' expectations are high and we agreed a total renovation of the campus restaurant was very important. In partnership with NUI Galway, we have designed this state-of-the-art facility and our food offerings to fulfil all of the students' needs." ARAMARK Ireland employs almost 4,000 people in 400 locations throughout Ireland. Headquartered in Dublin, ARAMARK Ireland has regional offices in Cork, Limerick and Belfast. ENDS

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