All 2012

NUI Galway Biomaterials Spin-Out Set to Double in Size within a Year

Friday, 2 November 2012

A start-up medical device company that has been spun out from an NUI Galway research laboratory has begun an expansion that should see it double in size by the end of the year. Vornia Limited was established by Professor Abhay Pandit and Drs Dimitrios Zeugolis and Wenxin Wang as a spin out from the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) – an NUI Galway based research cluster. Vornia’s goal is to bring superior and consistently high-quality biodegradable biomaterial products to the market. As a medical device company, Vornia also uses its own superior grade materials to develop and scale up products in niche clinical targets including tendon regeneration, soft tissue repair and spinal cord repair.    Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd, has initiated a robust R&D programme and has been ramping for the past eight months. “In a market in which between 70 and 80% of start-up companies fail, Vornia has secured funding for the next four years and we are looking forward to a bright future in biomaterials development for the medical technology markets.” Established with private, EU FP7, and Enterprise Ireland funding, Vornia Ltd has recently secured grants in partnership with both private companies and the NFB-based at NUI Galway to work on semi-organic devices for the treatment ischemic heart conditions, spinal cord repair and for stent development amongst others. It is involved, for example, in a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials. Dr Colm O’Dowd added: “We have just come through an intense ramping-up phase, with six researchers from as far afield as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as close to home as GMIT. By the end of the year, we hope to have recruited a further six scientists and biomedical engineers. We need people to work on process design and development of a diverse range of medical device products using biomaterials developed by NFB.” The Vornia R&D laboratory has expanded to occupy a space in the BioInnovation Centre on the NUI Galway campus where it benefits from business support and training from the team there and is also supported by the Innovation in Business Centre based at GMIT supported by funding from Enterprise Ireland. Vornia Ltd operates under an international standard for medical device manufacturers (ISO 13485) and will soon be recognised by the certification body for their quality management systems. They are also seeking recognition as a high potential start-up (HPSU) status from Enterprise Ireland which provides funding and support for start-up businesses with the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale in international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within 3-4 years of starting up. -ends-

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NUI Galway Celebrates Geography

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway is to be part of Ireland’s first Geography Awareness Week, which takes place from 11-17 November. The week-long celebration of geography is a part global event organised to inform students and the wider public about the opportunities and diversity of topics available when studying geography. Throughout Geography Awareness Week, some 600 first-year undergraduate Bachelor of Arts students at NUI Galway will take to the streets, waterways and beaches of Galway participating in fieldtrips led by academics from the University’s School of Geography and Archaeology. Students from post-primary schools around Galway will visit the University during the week for tours of the laboratories and hear about the research taking place on campus. On Wednesday, 14 November, a Table Quiz will be held in Kelly’s Bar in Galway City at 7.30pm with all proceeds from the event going to COPE. Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and President of the Geographical Society of Ireland, said: “It is a common misconception to narrowly associate geography simply with knowledge about capital cities of the world and facts regarding counties, wine regions and lakes. Geography is about so much more. It helps us understand how the world works with geographers exploring different systems such as human, physical, biological systems, through space and time. Geography is something employers across all sectors value, because of the wide-ranging research, analytical, practical and computer skills that geography students offer, as well as their extensive knowledge about human and physical processes. Geography Awareness Week is organised by Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI), in conjunction with the Association of Geography Teachers in Ireland (AGTI). 50 years of Geography at NUI Galway 2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of Geography at NUI Galway. Since 1962 Geography at NUI Galway has built a strong reputation for research and teaching excellence. Marking this milestone, the School of Geography and Archaeology will hold a number of events throughout the academic year 2012-13. These events will celebrate the work and scholarship of Geography’s students and staff and provide an opportunity for the public to engage with some of the key debates and research in the discipline. The first such event is a symposium during Geography Awareness Week, showcasing the research of the School of Geography and Archaeology’s Planning and Sustainability Cluster. This cluster unites research interests that relate to the analysis of social and environmental problems arising within the context of an increasingly globalised world. The symposium will include overviews of current research which spans topical issues including planning for sustainable food futures, imagining new urban design, marine spatial policy and planning and exploring the potential of the arts and creativity sector to rural and Gaeltacht communities. A panel of geographers and planners from around Ireland will also discuss potential impacts of recent amendments to the local and regional planning regulations in Ireland. The symposium takes place on Friday, 16 November in the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway. For further information on NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography’s upcoming events visit -ENDS-

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NFB signs Four Memorandums of Collaboration with Indian Institutes of National Importance

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Ireland-India research relations have been further strengthened by the signing of agreements between the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway and four Indian institutions. Memorandums of Collaboration (MOC) have been agreed between NFB and the institutes, all four of which are instrumental in supporting the medical device and biotechnology sectors in India.  NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. It will now collaborate with colleagues in: The Materials Research Centre at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, Trivandrum.  The four institutes are part of the ‘Institutes of National Importance’ (INI), a status conferred by an act of Indian parliament to higher education institutes which ‘serve as pivotal players in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state’. INI’s receive special funding and recognition and the Indian government has awarded this status to just 39 institutions. The MOC recognises the benefits of increased cooperation and communication within the international community of public health research and will establish a relationship which will encourage such cooperation. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway said that: “The agreement with key institutes in India will facilitate the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaboration and the co-development of biomaterials and tissue engineering related projects. A strong emphasis will be placed on translational activities and the commercial exploitation of the developing technologies.” The exchange will develop stronger links with the international community and will result in the recruitment of high calibre students, as INI’s get India’s top graduates. The collaboration will also enable the leveraging of research funding through Indian funders and the involvement of the NFB will aid in creating the critical mass of biomaterials translation in Ireland. -Ends-

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NUI Galway’s First Class Scholarships Set to Reward Excellence

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of a new scholarships scheme for postgraduate students designed to reward exceptional achievement. Postgraduate Scholarships valued at €1,500 per student will be awarded to all students studying a postgraduate taught Masters programme in the year 2013/14 who have a first class honours undergraduate degree. The new initiative is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2013. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Interested students should visit the NUI Galway website for further detail about the scholarships and for information about the general postgraduate student application process: NUI Galway offers over 500 postgraduate taught programmes, with a wide range of programme choice across its five Colleges, and flexible modes of delivery. Postgraduate study is increasingly essential in enabling new graduates to develop specialist knowledge in particular fields, and in enhancing employability skills. But course fees, along with maintenance costs, put postgraduate study out of the reach of many talented students. Speaking at the announcement, which was made at the University’s recent Postgraduate Open Day on campus, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The new scholarships were developed in response to the recent cuts in maintenance funding for postgraduate students. We know that more and more students are looking to postgraduate study as a means of enhancing their skills and their employability, but financial constraints are a big problem. We believe that these scholarships will enable more of the brightest and most committed students to progress to postgraduate study.” Postgraduate students make up a significant part of the student population at NUI Galway, with almost 4,000 students (taught and research) across all schools and disciplines. For more information on postgraduate programmes and scholarships at NUI Galway visit or phone 091 492844 or email The next NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day, showcasing the University’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013. ENDS Fógraíonn OÉ Gaillimh Scoláireachtaí Nua den Scoth chun Mic Léinn Chumasacha a Aithint D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh sonraí faoi scéim nua scoláireachtaí do mhic léinn iarchéime chun gnóthachan eisceachtúil a aithint. Bronnfar Scoláireachtaí Iarchéime ar luach €1,500 an mac léinn ar gach mac léinn ar glacadh leo ar chláir lánaimseartha Mháistreachta Mhúinte in 2013/14 a bhfuil fochéim chéadonóracha acu. Tá an deis seo ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime a dhéanann iarratas ar chlár Máistreachta Múinte lánaimseartha atá le tosú i bhfómhar 2013. Bronnfar na scoláireachtaí ar mhic léinn a ghlacann le háit ar mháistreacht lánaimseartha teagaisc agus a chomhlíonann critéir na hOllscoile. Ba cheart do mhic léinn a bhfuil spéis acu anseo cuairt a thabhairt ar láithreán gréasáin OÉ Gaillimh chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi scoláireachtaí agus chun eolas ginearálta a fháil faoin bpróiseas iarratais do mhic léinn iarchéime: Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 500 clár iarchéime múinte ar fáil le rogha leathan as cúig Choláiste agus modhanna solúbtha seachadta. Tá staidéar iarchéime ag éirí níos riachtanaí chun saineolas a thabhairt do chéimithe nua i réimsí áirithe agus chun scileanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú. Ach mar gheall ar tháillí na gcúrsaí mar aon le costais chothabhála bíonn go leor mic léinn chumasacha nach mbíonn in acmhainn tabhairt faoi staidéar iarchéime. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, a rinneadh ag an Lá Oscailte Iarchéime ar an gcampas le gairid, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Forbraíodh na scoláireachtaí nua mar fhreagra díreach ar na ciorruithe a rinneadh le déanaí ar mhaoiniú cothabhála do mhic léinn iarchéime. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil níos mó mic léinn ag díriú ar staidéar iarchéime d’fhonn cur lena gcuid scileanna agus chun a gcuid deiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú, ach tá srianta airgid ag cothú fadhbanna móra. Creidimid go dtabharfaidh na scoláireachtaí seo deis do níos mó de na mic léinn is cliste agus is tiomanta dul ar aghaidh chuig staidéar iarchéime.” Is mic léinn iarchéime iad cuid mhór de phobal OÉ Gaillimh; tá beagnach 4,000 mac léinn (ar chláir mhúinte agus thaighde) sna scoileanna agus sna disciplíní ar fad. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil ar chláir agus ar scoláireachtaí iarchéime in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig nó glaoigh ar  091 492844 nó seol rphost chuig Beidh cláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha OÉ Gaillimh ar taispeáint ag an gcéad Lá Oscailte Iarchéime eile a bheidh ar siúl Dé Máirt, an 12 Feabhra 2013, agus beidh idir mháistreachtaí teagaisc agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta ar taispeáint ann. CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Kildare

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Kildare on Wednesday, 14 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism  which are brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Kildare is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Kildare, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or ENDS

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