Monday, 22 April 2024

University of Galway has today marked Earth Day 2024 by announcing the winners of the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards 2024: Molly Hickey and Peter O’Neill.     Molly Hickey is a second year BA with human rights student from Co Laois and the Students’ Union Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Officer. They said: “I am delighted to be a sustainability leadership awardee because it gives me the opportunity to continue working on increasing the University's sustainability and getting more students involved in it.”    Peter O'Neill is a first-year history student from Ballymacward, Mountbellew, Co Galway. Peter has been involved in youth activism for four years, culminating in representing Ireland at the 13th UNESCO Youth Forum. He said: “Sustainability has become a defining feature of my work and studies, and I'm really excited to work with the University to encourage an interest in sustainability with students and to get discussion going about the SDGs and what we can do here in Galway.”    Both students receive a €4,000 prize and will take part in an 8-week internship with the University’s new Sustainability Office this summer.      The office has been launched to lead and promote sustainability in all aspects of university activities including teaching, learning, research, operations, governance, and engagement endeavours. Its aim is to empower the University’s diverse communities of staff, students and partners to work together in the development of a sustainable campus and to deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).     University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “As a university that is committed to serving the public good and whose community has defined sustainability as a core value, I am delighted to announce the winners of the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards and the launch of the new Sustainability Office. We are delighted to be recognised as Sustainability Champions and are determined to do more. I hope that through this office our sustainability efforts will continue and intensify and that we will use the office to highlight the breadth of activities our students and staff are undertaking to advance sustainable solutions and to share our learning with others, playing our part in tackling climate change and preserving our precious biodiversity for generations to come.”    Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar and Chair of the University Sustainability Advisory Board, said: “Our sustainability progress to date is rooted in the commitment over and above the day job of academics, professional support staff and, crucially, students. Through this new Sustainability Office, we are now formalising our support for them and building on our success in this space. Accelerated by the Office, the vision is that in a few short years’ time every student graduating from University of Galway will have confronted diverse aspects of sustainability and the UN SDGs in their degrees. Galway graduates will have learned about sustainability, learned to live by it, and will go out to lead as global, responsible, and inspiring citizens. That is where our sustainability journey is taking us.”     Ends 

Monday, 22 April 2024

Study of brain activity sees no difference in impact of self-view video conferencing on men or women   A study of brain activity has confirmed users’ fears that viewing your own image on video conferencing calls leads to mental fatigue.  A newly published study conducted by academics at University of Galway has found that people who took part in meetings on Zoom become more fatigued when they can see themselves on-screen.    Led by Professor Eoin Whelan, of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at the University, the research also found that men and women become equally fatigued when viewing their own image, a finding which contradicts prior research which suggested women experience more fatigue from self-view video conferencing than men.  The research team conducted an experiment using electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring of 32 volunteers - 16 men and 16 women – all of whom participated in a live Zoom meeting, with the self-view mode both on and off at different times.  EEG non-invasively records spontaneous electrical activity in the brain using electrodes placed on the head and can detect the onset of mental fatigue.  The monitoring confirmed that fatigue levels were significantly greater during the times participants could view their own image.  Prior research, which largely relies on self-reported data gathered through surveys and interviews, has suggested that women experience more Zoom fatigue than men. Reasons offered for this gender difference centre on the increased self-awareness women have of their appearance when they view themselves in a mirror.  The University of Galway study, which measures fatigue at a neurophysiological level, questions whether gender differences actually exist for video conferencing fatigue.  The findings not only contribute to our understanding of fatigue incurred as a result of the dramatically increased use of video conferencing in the workplace but also offer practical insights for organisations aiming to protect employee well-being in the era of hybrid and remote work.   Speaking of the findings, Professor Eoin Whelan said: “The use of video conferencing platforms exploded during the lockdown. They continue to be heavily used in work and education today and offer some advantages over in-person meetings. But people often report feeling exhausted by video conference meetings. Our study shows that those feelings of fatigue you get during video calls are real, and seeing your own reflection makes it even more tiring. Simply turning off the mirror image can help offset fatigue in virtual meetings.”  Ends 

Friday, 19 April 2024

Construct Innovate, the national research centre for construction technology and innovation hosted by University of Galway, has announced the Land Development Agency (LDA) as its first Patron Member. Construct Innovate has more than 60 industry associate member organisations as it aims to provide industry-led, independent, evidence-based research through collaboration, focusing on devising solutions for key industry challenges and meeting the demands of Ireland’s major building and investment programmes. The LDA Patron Membership builds on the collaboration already underway with Construct Innovate on several projects and initiatives to support the work of the LDA and the wider Irish built environment sector. Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, Director of Construct Innovate, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the Land Development Agency as Construct Innovate’s first Patron Member. LDA’s vision to provide housing that supports sustainable, inclusive, and vibrant communities aligns very closely with Construct Innovate’s focus on people-centric research and innovation. This collaboration will drive the transition towards a sustainable construction and built environment sector.” John Coleman, Chief Executive of the Land Development Agency commented: “The LDA is proud of its sustainability record and this partnership with Construct Innovate will place us at the centre of innovative design and technological research. This important collaboration will enable us to develop new building methodologies and help shape the environmental credentials of the next generation of LDA homes.” A series of projects and initiatives delivered by the LDA in collaboration with Construct Innovate partners, are underway: HEATCHECK is a platform developed through funding from the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI), which uses sensors to monitor CO2, humidity and temperature in about 100 LDA developed homes to understand building performance and behaviour when occupied. The data will help to inform future building standards to ensure healthy, low energy homes. INDICATE is a Carbon Life Cycle Assessment Procedure offering a standardised approach to calculating the carbon associated with the production, construction, operation and end-of-life stages of a building life cycle. It benchmarks the carbon associated with different building types in Ireland (residential, offices, hospitals etc) which the LDA uses to understand and minimise the carbon impact of their developments and support the development of policy recommendations. The LDA is partnering with the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) on a project to mainstream biodiversity in the construction sector by developing high-quality, practical case studies on how to protect and enhance biodiversity in the most common building typologies and infrastructure found in Irish towns and cities. It is supported through the first Construct Innovate Seed Fund call from 2023. The LDA is a member of the IGBC’s Community of Practice on Biodiversity and the Built Environment, which Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcom Noonan T.D. launched in May 2023 to share and promote discussion and what is working well in Biodiversity and the Built Environment. Ends

Wednesday, 17 April 2024

University of Galway students have won big at the annual National Student Media Awards (Smedias) and the BICS – Board of Irish College Societies.  The Discipline of Journalism praised the standard of work and achievements of MA and BA students, after scooping a Smedias award for their online newspaper Galway Pulse.  Law student Tom O’Connor made it a success two-years in a row at the Smedias, walking off with three awards for his radio reports on politics, refugees, religion and education in Uganda as well as the Sleep Out for Simon event on campus. In 2023, Tom O’Connor won the Smedias podcast of the year for a documentary on Kevin Boyle, a leading figure in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement.  Societies took home seven awards from the BICS – more than any other university.   Ríona Hughes, Societies Officer at University of Galway, said: “I could not be more proud of all the students from the University who represented us at the BICS National Society Awards. They represent the vital impact societies have on campus life creating invaluable opportunities for the students to enrich their learning journey and creating meaningful opportunities for their fellow students. Winning these seven awards is a fitting end to a very busy year for our societies.”  Dr Mei-Ling McNamara, Assistant Professor and Programme Director of the MA/BA Journalism, said: “The MA Journalism and BA Journalism students at University of Galway have shown exceptional talent and dedication to high-production multimedia storytelling. They should all be very proud that their hard work in journalism is being recognised at the national level.”  Enda Cunningham, editor of Galway City Tribune and lecturer, said: “The awards are fantastic news and a well-deserved win for all involved. It gives recognition to the hard work and dedication of University of Galway students against the backdrop of very strong competition from their peers across the country. The exceptionally high standard of content produced by the Galway Pulse team over the past year is indication that the future of journalism is in safe hands.” The full list of University of Galway winners from the Smedias is:  Website of the Year – online newspaper Galway Pulse.  Virgin Media Belonging Award - MA student Michelle Geraghty for her work on accessibility in Galway’s parks  Radio Journalist of the Year – Tom O’Connor – Law  Radio Doc of the Year and Radio Production – News and Current Affairs – Tom O’Connor – Law  The full list of University of Galway winners from the BICS is:  Best Mental Health Promoting Event - University of Galway Law Society Best Green Initiative - Environmental Society for the Organic Garden relocation Best Fresher Large College - Latisha McCrudden, Law, Politics and Minceirs Whidden Societies University of Galway Best Event Large College Fansci - Itzacon University of Galway Best Departmental Society Large College - University of Galway Zoological Society Best Society Charity Civic Large College - University of Galway Feminist Society Best Society Cultural Academic Social Large College - University of Galway Dramsoc Ends 

Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Tá bailiúchán grianghraf foilsithe ina dtugtar spléachadh ar stair Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Bailíodh na grianghraif agus rinneadh iad a chartlannú mar chuid de thionscadal arna urrú ag Agallamh na Seanórach. Tháinig breis agus 350 íomhá chun solais agus rinneadh iad a dhigitiú. Isteach is amach le céad bliain atá i gceist leis an tréimhse a chlúdaítear leo, ó dheireadh an naoú céad déag go dtí lár na 1990idí. Tugann siad léargas ar shaol na hOllscoile ar bhealaí éagsúla, idir ócáidí foirmeálta, naisc leis an gcathair agus an réigiún, scéalta mac léinn agus comhaltaí foirne mar aon leis an gcaoi ar tháinig athrú ar charachtar agus ar thimpeallacht an champais. Cuireadh tús leis an tionscadal i mí na Samhna 2021 tráth a raibh ceiliúradh á dhéanamh ar na 175 bliain atá caite ó bunaíodh an Ollscoil in 1845.   Rinne Oifig Uachtarán na hOllscoile an cinneadh sé thionscadal a urrú trí chiste speisialta chun stair institiúideach na hollscoile a thaifeadadh agus a roinnt, agus ceann de na tionscadail sin taighde a dhéanamh ar sheanghrianghraif agus iad a dhigitiú.  An toradh air sin bunachar sonraí de ghrianghraif ina léirítear an stair go físiúil dar teideal Stair Fhísiúil Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, Bailiúchán Agallamh na Seanórach, ar comhpháirtíocht a bhí ann idir an fhoireann taighde agus cartlannaithe i Leabharlann na hOllscoile. Tá fáil ar an mbailiúchán, ar féidir é a chuardach, ar líne ag https://exhibitions.library.universityofgalway.ie/s/visual-history-retired-staff Seo mar a labhair Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: "Ní ann d'Ollscoil na Gaillimhe gan pobal na hOllscoile. Stair an phobail atá anseo, agus táimid faoi chomaoin ag na comhaltaí foirne sin atá imithe ar scor a mhol an togra iontach seo. Tá brí agus anam curtha ag an togra san Ollscoil agus muid i mbun machnaimh ar an am a caitheadh freisin. Is mór an t-áthas atá orainn as bheith in ann tacú leis an tionscadal seo, agus lenár gcomhaltaí foirne atá imithe ar scor chomh maith lenár gcomhghleacaithe sa Leabharlann. Léiriú atá ann ar stair agus ar oidhreacht na hOllscoile, agus orthu siúd a bhí páirteach iontu. Is saibhre muid dá bharr sin." Is í an Dr Lisa Griffith, Stiúrthóir ag Taisclann Dhigiteach na hÉireann a sheol an Tionscadal. Is í Ollscoil na Gaillimhe an chéad ollscoil in Éirinn a bhfuil a leithéid de thionscadal seolta aici, ar taifead físiúil é ar an am a caitheadh. Is as bailiúcháin phríobháideacha a tháinig na híomhánna agus d'éirigh leis an tionscadal i ngeall ar a fhlaithiúla a bhí comhaltaí foirne ar scor, cairde, gaolta agus alumni a thug a ngrianghraif ar iasacht agus a roinn a gcuimhní. Tarraingíonn sé aird ar a thábhachtaí atá peirspictíochtaí an mhic léinn agus an chomhalta foirne aonair i dtaobh eispéireas laethúil na hollscoile a ghabháil, ar minic peirspictíochtaí iad nach mbeifeá ag súil leo. Cuireann na grianghraif seo, agus na cuimhní pearsanta agus taighde a ghabhann leo, lenár dtuiscint ar stair shóisialta agus institiúideach oideachais ollscoile in Éirinn, agus ar na hathruithe suntasacha atá tarlaithe i rith na tréimhse sin.  Seo a leanas an fhoireann taighde a bhí i bhfeighil an tionscadail: an tOllamh Jane Conroy (Emerita, Fraincis); an Dr Séamus Mac Mathúna (iarRunaí Acadúil); an tOllamh Stephen G. Jennings (Emeritus, Fisic Thurgnamhach); agus léachtóir le Stair, an Dr Jackie Uí Chionna. Chuaigh siad i gcomhar le comhghleacaithe sa Leabharlann maidir le forbairt an taispeántais dhigitigh, agus chuir comhairle orthu maidir le digitiú, meiteashonraí agus riachtanais rochtana. D'oibrigh Eimhin Joyce, Oifigeach na dTionscadal Digiteach le foireann na mBailiúchán Oidhreachta agus Digitithe, as lámha a chéile leo chun an taispeántas a chur i dtoll a chéile trí úsáid a bhaint as ardán Taispeántas Digiteach Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Críoch

Wednesday, 17 April 2024

University of Galway has launched a new scholarship in honour of the renowned actress of stage and screen Siobhán McKenna.   The award is being established to support the next generation of student creatives in theatre at the University and will run alongside a lecture series, with the inaugural address given by Lelia Doolan, the theatre and film actor, director and producer who was also a collaborator and close friend of Siobhán McKenna. Siobhán McKenna was born in Belfast and a world-renowned actress of stage and screen, starring in Dr Zhivago, King of Kings and Of Human Bondage. Her career started in An Taibhdhearc Theatre in Galway and she went on to appear in Abbey Theatre productions in the 1940s before making her London debut in 1947 in The White Steed. She was also a theatre director, translator and activist, as well as an alumna of University of Galway. Her archive is held by University of Galway, which has long been committed to the preservation and extension of her legacy. The new Siobhán McKenna Scholarship Award will be awarded annually to one student on the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, based on previous practical experience and academic achievement; potential for a rewarding career in the arts or politically-engaged arts; use of native languages. The inaugural recipient of the Siobhán McKenna scholarship was also announced - theatre maker and scenographer, Nouf Rafea. Donnacha O’Dea, Siobhán McKenna’s son who initiated the lecture series and scholarship award, said: "My family and I are delighted to celebrate my mother's legacy by establishing the Siobhán McKenna Award and Lecture Series to support the next generation of creatives in Theatre at University of Galway. We are proud to honour Nouf Rafea, as the inaugural recipient for the award. Nouf is a theatre maker and activist, making brave, innovative performance who follows in the footsteps of my mother." Dr Charlotte McIvor, head of Postgraduate Programmes in Drama and Theatre Studies in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, University of Galway said: “This visionary initiative places students and bringing together our wider community to reflect on McKenna’s legacy together in a dynamic package which we hope will have an impact on the future of Irish theatre. Nouf Rafea, our first scholarship recipient, epitomizes this promise.” Professor Rebecca Braun, Executive Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at University of Galway, said: “As a College we are delighted to honour of the impact of Siobhán McKenna’s legacy and to recognise the achievement of Nouf Rafea as the inaugural recipient of this scholarship. This scholarship speaks to our signature research areas of Creativity, Culture and Inclusion and Transnational Encounters and Global Legacies.” This event was co-presented by the Galway University Foundation, the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies, Arts in Action, and the Alumni Office. Ends

Tuesday, 16 April 2024

A collection of photographs documenting the history of University of Galway has been published after being collected and archived in a project sponsored by Agallamh na Seanórach/Retired Staff Association. More than 350 images, ranging from the late 19th century to the mid-1990s, have been discovered and digitised, illustrating the University in diverse ways from formal occasions; to connections to the city and the region; to real-life stories of students and staff; and the changing character and environment of the campus. The project began in November 2021 as part of the celebrations which followed on from the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the University in 1845. The research and digitisation of old photos was one of six projects sponsored by the Office of the University President through a special fund to record and share our institutional history. The result is visual history photographic database entitled Visual History of the University of Galway, Retired Staff Collection, which involved a partnership between research team and archivists in the University Library. The collection and searchable database is available online at https://exhibitions.library.universityofgalway.ie/s/visual-history-retired-staff President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “University of Galway is nothing without its people, its community. This is the people’s history and we are indebted to the retired staff who have brought forward a vibrant idea and brought new life to our University while reflecting on our past. We are delighted to have been able to support this project and the community of retired staff and our Library colleagues in order to illustrate our history and heritage and the people who made it. It is a much richer tapestry for it.” The Project was launched by Dr Lisa Griffith, Director at the Digital Repository of Ireland. University of Galway is the first university in Ireland to launch such a project, with a visual, fully-documented record of its past, going back several generations. The images are from private collections and the project was made possible because of the generous response of retired staff, friends and relations and alumni who loaned their photos and shared their recollections. It highlights the importance of students' and staff's individual, and sometimes unexpected, perspectives in capturing the lived experience of university life. Together with the personal memories and research that accompany them, they contribute to the social and institutional history of a period of significant change in university education in Ireland. The research team which led the project are Professor Jane Conroy (Emerita, French); Dr Séamus Mac Mathúna (former Runaí/Academic Secretary); Professor Stephen G. Jennings (Emeritus, Experimental Physics); and History lecturer Dr Jackie Uí Chionna. They collaborated with Library colleagues on the development of the digital exhibition, advising on digitisation, metadata and access requirements. Eimhin Joyce, Digital Projects Officer with the Heritage Collections and Digitisation team, worked closely with them on the creation of the exhibition using the University of Galway Digital Exhibition platform. Ends

Monday, 15 April 2024

University and Medtronic announce winners of seven week ‘Grand Challenge’     University of Galway and Medtronic plc, a global leader in healthcare technology, have announced Team EdgeMed as the winner of the Medtronic ‘Grand Challenge’, whose project featured improved storytelling, bioprinting, and robot assisted surgery simulation lab as part of a competition to ‘Design a Customer Innovation Centre of the Future’.   The competition, run by University of Galway’s IdeasLab and Medtronic, brought together multidisciplinary students from more than seven countries, to solve the challenge set by Medtronic: Envision what its Customer Innovation Centre (CIC) could look like in 10 years’ time.    The CIC is a space in Medtronic’s Parkmore Galway facility where clinicians come to collaborate and innovate with engineers and scientists to improve healthcare technologies.   The competition is part of Medtronic’s €5 million Signature Innovation Partnership with University of Galway, announced in 2023.   The six teams presented their entries at a special event attended by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary T.D., in the Medtronic CIC. Ideas presented included the use of AI-powered learning platforms, VR, rapid prototyping workshop, collection of real-time data about visitor engagement using developing technologies.   The winning team, EdgeMed, whose solution was based on improved storytelling, bioprinting, and a robot assisted surgery simulation lab, were chosen as their solution aligned with the current and future values of Medtronic, for their in-depth analysis of the problem statement and their storytelling in explaining and bringing their solution to life for the judges.   Joint runners up were Phi Verse who recommended a robot guide for visiting physicians and VR assisted demonstrations, and TechCure whose solution included employing AI/Machine Learning to collect real-time data about visitor engagement to better understand and improve the visitor's experience.   The competition engaged 30 students - including Irish, EU and international students- across 5 teams who worked together over seven weeks to work through a design sprint incorporating team development, empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling to develop a solution direction for Medtronic.   Running alongside their weekly workshops were five mentoring sessions guided by mentors from Medtronic, helping students to develop understanding of the problem and the solution fit for the industry.   Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary TD, speaking at the event said: “The Medtronic Customer Innovation Centre plays an important role in driving healthcare technology advancements, and this Grand Challenge created by University of Galway and Medtronic plc has showcased remarkable talent and creativity from students in how they envisage its future impact. The forward-thinking approach from all teams involved symbolises the spirit of innovation that is crucial for advancing healthcare and improving patient outcomes. This competition serves as a testament to Medtronic and the University of Galway’s commitment to fostering innovation and nurturing the next generation of leaders in this space.”   Ronan Rogers, Senior Director of R&D at Medtronic, said: “Our Customer Innovation Centre fosters opportunities for collaboration with customers from across the globe in order to better understand their needs, and the needs of their patients, and together develop therapies that meet today's, and tomorrow’s, healthcare challenges. This past year we celebrated 10 years of the CIC and our work with thousands of physicians, it has been fascinating to look forward and see what the students envision the centre to look like in the next 10 years. Considering all the digital and technological advancements that will occur between now and then, we were impressed by the student’s ambitious and innovative designs.”   Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at University of Galway (IdeasLab) said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Medtronic. Through the Grand Challenge we have bridged the gap between education and industry to work together to create a future vision for the Customer Innovation Centre in Medtronic.  The centre is the epicentre of innovation in Medtronic and to have our students work onsite in this environment, be mentored by clinicians, engineers and commercial experts has fostered a deep understanding of real-world problem-solving and solution optimisation. This collaboration underscores the University of Galway's commitment to shaping the future of innovation through hands-on learning, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving, preparing students not just for their careers but for a lifetime of impactful contributions to our society.”   Ends

Thursday, 11 April 2024

Findings are first in the field and will pave the way for the development of new therapeutic devices Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at University of Galway, together with collaborators at the Medical University of South Carolina and Vienna University of Technology, have for the first time identified critical targets in the molecular signature of Parkinson's disease across different stages of the disease's progression. The results of their research are published in the prestigious journal PNAS Nexus. More than 10 million people are living with Parkinson's disease worldwide, making it the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. The complete molecular signature of Parkinson’s, however, remains unclear. In particular, untangling molecules related to the disease called glycans has been challenging due to their complexity and lack of analytical tools. Glycans (sugars) are found on the cell's surface and are fundamental in ensuring the correct flow of information between cells. Glycans participate in cell-to-cell communication by attaching to other molecules, such as fats (lipids) and proteins. The research published in PNAS Nexus provides a complete characterisation of the glycans associated with the connections in the brain that are affected by Parkinson’s disease. These findings can potentially advance the development of glycan-focused therapeutic devices to treat and diagnose Parkinson’s. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM and project lead, said: "The work presented here will act as a valuable resource for subsequent investigations into the impact of brain glycans on neurodegeneration. It has been established that modifications in glycans have a bearing on other physiological aspects, which could potentially serve as catalysts for additional degeneration. Our study has specifically focused on Parkinson's disease, but there are other neurodegenerative conditions for which the glycan environment remains unexplored, and this research will therefore lay the groundwork for future studies on other diseases." Ana Lúcia Rebelo, lead author of the study, said: "In this study, we aimed to specifically look at a side of the Parkinsonian brain that was previously unexplored – the glycome. This research is a significant step towards understanding, in-depth, what is happening in this life-altering condition and exploring other therapeutic avenues that could target previously unaccounted-for changes. Emerging technologies currently in development will be instrumental in expanding upon the preliminary ‘glyco’ characterization that has been initiated with this research, culminating in further discoveries in future." Ends

Tuesday, 9 April 2024

ReelLIFE SCIENCE public engagement programme hosts showcase of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) from Foróige youth groups in Galway City, Gort, Ballyhaunis, Ballaghaderreen and Athlone From dancing robots to dancing rappers, the next generation of scientists, engineers and filmmakers have taken part in University of Galway’s inaugural ReelLIFE SCIENCE STEAM Showcase. More than 100 young science enthusiasts, aged from 10 and 18, exhibited their Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) projects developed in 10 Foróige youth services and youth development programmes in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Westmeath. Young people from Eastside Youth Service in Ballybane demonstrated chemical reactions via exploding volcanoes Ballyhaunis Targeted Youth Service Programme youth members built and coded a dancing robot using Lego Education Spike kits On the big screen, Gort Youth Project presented a time-lapse of their street art mural project Galway City Youth Project members debuted a short film about science and nature and a drama entitled The Things I Could Have Said. The Foróige Roscommon rap group The Roma Boys’ music video Yeshua was also well received by the audience A gallery of images is available at ReelLIFE Science The STEAM Showcase was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme and is a joint initiative between ReelLIFE SCIENCE and Foróige. Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at SFI, said: “SFI would like to congratulate all of the participants of the ReelLIFE SCIENCE and Foróige STEAM Showcase. STEAM initiatives are vital for broadening participation in science and technology, promoting greater engagement with and understanding of STEM topics and to break down STEM stereotypes and misconceptions. Learning to communicate STEM is a vital skill that will stand to all of the participants going forward.” Speaking at the event, Foróige Digital Youth Work Coordinator, Megan Depinna, said: “As we celebrate the young people’s work, fusing science and creativity, we are reminded of the boundless possibilities that emerge when we combine knowledge with imagination. The projects showcased are not just demonstrations of STEM knowledge; they are displays of curiosity, determination, and imagination.” Foróige’s Digital Youth Work Strategic Plan aims to ensure that all young people develop the key digital skills, values and competencies necessary to excel in the digital era by design and not simply by chance. The University of Galway ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme challenges young people in schools and youth groups across the island of Ireland to engage with science and technology while developing the communication and digital skills so important for the 21st century. Attendees at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society took part in activities run by Foróige’s Digital Youth Work Team, including GO Build, GO Virtual, GO LevelUP, GO Safely and GO Sonic as well as ReelLIFE SCIENCE stop-motion animation workshops run by College of Science and Engineering students. Since 2013, more than 26,000 young people, supported by teachers and youth workers in 750 schools and youth groups, have taken part in the ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition. More information about this year’s competition, which closes for entries on October 11, can be found at www.reellifescience.com Ends

Monday, 8 April 2024

Research and analysis at the University’s CORRIB Core Lab at the cutting edge of cardiovascular and coronary artery disease planning Trial shows non-invasive cardiac-CT, with AI-powered blood flow scanning, is safe and feasible and a potential game-changer for planning coronary artery bypass grafting   A new approach to the guidance, planning and conduct of heart bypass surgery has been successfully tested on patients for the first time in a clinical trial coordinated by a research team at University of Galway.   The FAST TRACK CABG study, overseen by the University’s CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab, has seen heart surgeons plan and carry out coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), based solely on non-invasive cardiac-CT scan images, with HeartFlow’s AI-powered blood flow analysis of the patient’s coronary arteries.   The research was published today in the European Heart Journal.   The key findings of this first-in-human study is the 99.1% feasibility, which means that heart bypass surgery without undergoing invasive diagnostic catheterisation is feasible and safe, driven by the good diagnostic accuracy of the cardiac CT scan and AI-powered blood flow analysis.   The trial was sponsored by University of Galway and funded by GE HealthCare (Chicago, USA) and HeartFlow, Inc. (Redwood City, California, USA).   In comparing the safety and effectiveness of heart bypass surgery, the trial had similar outcomes to recent surgical groups of patients who underwent conventional invasive angiogram investigations, which involves inserting a catheter through an artery in the wrist or groin to access diseased arteries and using dye to visualise blockages.   The findings of the FAST TRACK CABG trial suggest that the less invasive approach to heart bypass surgery offers comparable safety and efficacy to established methods. The research team noted that safety issues inherent to invasive investigation can be replaced by a non-invasive technique using CT scan imaging and AI-powered blood flow analysis.   Trial chairman Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation at University of Galway, said: “The results of this trial have the potential to simplify the planning for patients undergoing heart bypass surgery. The trial and the central role played by the CORRIB Core Lab puts University of Galway on the frontline of cardiovascular diagnosis, planning and treatment of coronary artery disease.”   The study was carried out in leading cardiac care hospitals in Europe and the US and involved 114 patients who had severe blockages in multiple vessels, limiting blood flow to their heart.   The cardiac CT used in this study (Revolution CT, GE HealthCare) has a special resolution that makes the non-invasive images as good or even better than the images traditionally obtained by a direct injection of contrast dye in the artery of the heart through a catheter.   During the trial, the analysis of high resolution cardiovascular imagery and data was carried out by the CORRIB Core Lab team and shared by telemedicine with surgeons in trial hospitals.   The HeartFlowTM Analysis, which provides AI-powered blood flow analysis called Fractional Flow Reserve derived from CT (FFRCT), quantifies how poorly the narrowed vessel provides blood to the heart muscle, assisted the surgeon in clearly identifying which of the patient’s vessels should receive a bypass graft.   Professor Serruys added: “The potential for surgeons to address even the most intricate cases of coronary artery disease using only a non-invasive CT scan, and FFRCT represents a monumental shift in healthcare. Following the example of the surgeon, interventional cardiologists could similarly consider circumventing traditional invasive cineangiography and instead rely solely on CT scans for procedural planning. This approach not only alleviates the diagnostic burden in cath labs but also paves the way for transforming them into dedicated ‘interventional suites’- ultimately enhancing patient workflows.”   Dr Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology at University of Galway and the medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, said: “Exploring the potential for minimising diagnostic catheterisation procedures is important for several reasons- a catheterisation procedure is invasive and it is unpleasant for the patient. It is also costly for the health service. While there is a minimal risk associated with the procedure, it is not entirely risk free.   “CT scan analysis, FFRCT, and guidance from the team in Galway is a world first in bypass surgery. It may become a game-changer, altering the traditional relationship between GP, radiologist, cardiologist and cardio-thoracic surgeon for the benefit of the patient.”   Dr Saima Mushtaq, Director of Cardiovascular CT in Centro Cardiologico Monzino, Milan, Italy, said: “This is a historical trial that may change our approach for patients who are candidates for CABG revascularisation and with the FAST TRACK CABG trial we have been part of this revolution in which a CT scan is considered a tool to plan revascularisation skipping invasive coronary angiography.”   Dr John Puskas, Mount Sinai Morningside, New York and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia, said: “As the only North American surgeon, enrolling many patients in this trial, I have a unique perspective: I can conclusively state that there is no loss in diagnostic precision or accuracy nor any decrement in the quality of surgical planning or performance when the surgical team is guided solely by data from a latest-generation, non-invasive coronary CT scan. Once the surgeon is familiar with this new imaging modality, there are several ways in which it is actually a better guide than the historical invasive coronary angiogram.”   Professor Fidelma Dunne, Director of the Institute for Clinical Trials at University of Galway, said: “The outcomes of this inaugural human trial are highly promising, prompting further exploration of the advantages offered by this non-invasive methodology through an extensive randomised trial. At the Institute for Clinical Trials we are committed to conducting high-impact trials that have the potential to revolutionise patient care globally.”   The pioneering research of the CORRIB Core Lab at University of Galway into cardiovascular diagnosis and coronary artery disease will be further investigated in a large scale randomised trial. The research team is planning it will involve more than 2,500 patients from 80 hospitals across Europe. Ends

Wednesday, 3 April 2024

University announces eight recipients of the 2024 Alumni Awards University of Galway has announced the recipients of our 2024 Alumni Awards, celebrating 25 years of recognising our graduates. These awards celebrate outstanding individuals among the University's 131,000 alumni, recognising their remarkable accomplishments across various fields on both local and global scales. The Alumni Awards Gala Banquet will be held on campus in the Bailey Allen Hall, University of Galway on Friday May 10, 2024. Among the distinguished honourees to date are President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins; journalist and broadcaster Seán O’Rourke; broadcaster Gráinne Seoige; Goldman Sachs Executive Adrian Jones; former Labour Party leaders Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte; Court of Appeal Judge Máire Whelan; Olympian and World Champion Olive Loughnane; actress and Druid Theatre founder Marie Mullen; and actress Nicola Coughlan.   The 2024 University of Galway alumni awardees are:   Alumni Award for Business and Commerce - Sponsored by Bank of Ireland             James Murphy – CEO, Lifes2good Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies Maureen Kennelly – Director at The Arts Council Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology Caitriona Walsh – Country President and Managing Director, Novartis Ireland Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Society - Sponsored by RDJ Shawan Jabarin - General Director of Al-Haq Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences - Sponsored by Medtronic             Dr Dermot Phelan - Former Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, Mater Hospital            and Associate Professor, UCD Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Diarmuid de Faoite – Writer, Actor, Director Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport Heather Boyle – Former International Rower, Cyclist, Head of Communications at the Olympic Federation of Ireland Alumni Award for Emerging Leader Jack O’Meara – CEO, Ochre Bio Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are honoured to recognise these outstanding alumni who have made significant contributions to their alma mater and to civic society in often challenging times. Consistent with our sense of the role of University of Galway in the world and for the world, they are all an important voice in their areas of endeavour. Each of them demonstrates the impacts that our graduates can have, and we are proud to be able to recognise and celebrate their achievements in keeping with our values of excellence, openness, respect and sustainability.” For ticket reservations, visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/alumni-friends/alumniawards/ or contact Colm O’Dwyer, Alumni Relations at colm.odwyer@universityofgalway.ie. Ends

Wednesday, 3 April 2024

Fógraíonn an Ollscoil an t-ochtar a mbeidh Gradam Alumni á bhronnadh orthu in 2024 Tá liosta na ndaoine a mbeidh Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ag bronnadh Gradam Alumni orthu in 2024 fógartha agus an Ollscoil ag déanamh ceiliúradh i mbliana ar na céimithe a bhfuil an t-aitheantas sin tugtha dóibh le 25 bliain anuas. Déanann na gradaim seo ceiliúradh ar dhaoine den scoth as 131,000 alumnus na hOllscoile trí aitheantas a thabhairt dá n-éachtaí suntasacha i réimsí éagsúla, idir áitiúil agus domhanda. Beidh Mórfhéasta na nGradam Alumni ar siúl ar an gcampas i Halla Bailey Allen, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Dé hAoine, an 10 Bealtaine 2024 I measc na ndaoine mór le rá ar bronnadh Gradam Alumni orthu chun dáta tá Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn; an t-iriseoir agus an craoltóir, Seán O'Rourke; an craoltóir, Gráinne Seoige; Feidhmeannach de chuid Goldman Sachs, Adrian Jones; iarcheannairí Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre, Eamon Gilmore agus Pat Rabbitte; an Breitheamh de chuid na Cúirte Achomhairc, Máire Whelan; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach agus Curadh an Domhain, Olive Loughnane; an t-aisteoir agus duine de bhunaitheoirí Amharclann an Druid, Marie Mullen; agus an t-aisteoir Nicola Coughlan.   Seo a leanas na daoine a mbronnfadh Ollscoil na Gaillimhe gradam alumni orthu in 2024:   Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann             James Murphy – Príomhoifigeach Feidhmiúcháin, Lifes2good. Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach Maureen Kennelly – Stiúrthóir na Comhairle Ealaíon. Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht Caitriona Walsh – Uachtarán Tíre agus Stiúrthóir Bainistíochta, Novartis Ireland. Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an tSochaí – urraithe ag RDJ Shawan Jabarin – Stiúrthóir Ginearálta Al-Haq. Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic An Dr Dermot Phelan – Iar-Chomhairleoir le Leigheas Dianchúraim, Ospidéal an Mater agus Ollamh Comhlach, COBÁC Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge Diarmuid de Faoite – Scríbhneoir, Aisteoir, Stiúrthóir. Gradam Alumni don Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt Heather Boyle – Iar-rámhaí idirnáisiúnta, Rothaí, Ceann Cumarsáide le Cónaidhm Oilimpeach na hÉireann. Gradam Alumni do Cheannaire Nua Jack O’Meara – Príomhoifigeach Feidhmiúcháin, Ochre Bio. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, nuair a fógraíodh buaiteoirí na nGradam: “Údar bróid dúinn a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na halumni mór le rá seo a bhfuil an méid sin bainte amach acu ar mhaithe lena n-alma mater agus leis an tsochaí shibhialta i dtréimhsí dúshlánacha. Agus a bhfuil le rá acu ag teacht lenár dtuiscint féin ar ról Ollscoil na Gaillimhe sa tsochaí, glórtha tábhachtacha atá iontu ar fad ina réimsí féin. Léiríonn gach duine acu an tionchar a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ag ár gcéimithe, agus is mór an onóir dúinn a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt dóibh agus a bhfuil bainte amach acu a cheiliúradh, agus béim againn ar ár gcuid luachanna mar atá meas, oscailteacht, barr feabhais agus inbhuanaitheacht.” Téigh chuig www.universityofgalway.ie/alumni-friends/alumniawardsgalabanquet chun ticéid a chur in áirithe nó déan teagmháil le Colm O’Dwyer ag colm.odwyer@universityofgalway.ie. Críoch

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

SMARTSHAPE consortium, led from University of Galway, will develop a disruptive technology sensor  The European Union has awarded a European consortium €4.4million for the SMARTSHAPE project to focus on developing an implantable medical device for continuous blood pressure monitoring. Hypertension is the leading global contributor to premature death, accounting for more than 9 million deaths a year. Elevated blood pressure is a chronic lifetime risk factor that can lead to serious cardiovascular events if undiagnosed or poorly controlled. Many high-risk patients require long-term monitoring to tailor drug treatments and improve healthcare outcomes, but there is no clinically accepted method of continuous beat-to-beat blood pressure monitoring that patients can use outside of the hospital setting.  The SMARTSHAPE consortium is led by Professor William Wijns, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Research Professor in Interventional Cardiology at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. According to Professor Wijns: “The best innovations start with a clinical need. Patients who require monitoring are better off in their own homes rather than in a hospital setting. There is a huge market opportunity for a medical-grade, user-friendly, and minimally invasive solution for continuous blood pressure monitoring.” Professor Wijns is also a Funded Investigator at CÚRAM, the SFI research centre for medical devices based at University of Galway which focuses on developing biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. Dr Atif Shahzad, joint director of the Smart Sensors Lab at the University of Galway and a research fellow at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham, said: “Our SMARTSHAPE consortium has developed an IP-protected technologically disruptive sensor for continuous pressure measurement. There are challenges related to biocompatibility, longevity, and delivery to the target tissue, and these need to be overcome to deliver the sensor to the market.”  Dr Shahzad added: “This project will address these challenges by formulating an innovative biomaterial: a novel temperature-dependent shape memory polymer (SMP). SMPs will enable the development of a microsensor that can be curled up, introduced into the body through a minimally invasive procedure, and ‘opened up’ when placed at body temperature to take a predefined shape.” The consortium of eight partner institutions is led by the University of Galway and includes partners across Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, consisting of two academic partners, two multinationals, one ISO-certified company, two SMEs and a patient collaboration company. Kevin Michels-Kim, chief executive of Merakoi, which facilitates patient collaboration in research. He said: “We are committed to putting the patient at the centre of SMARTSHAPE, allowing us to create novel solutions that truly meet the needs of patients. Merakoi will play a crucial role in the SMARTSHAPE consortium by integrating the patient voice across the product lifecycle. Our ability to harness deep patient understanding from the start enables the consortium to develop patient-beneficial solutions that maximise the adoption and impact of innovative technologies and devices.” Dr Sandra Ganly, Senior Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Risk Factor Research, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, at the University of Galway, said: “Blood pressure monitoring will represent the first SMARTSHAPE application. However, the potential of this sensing solution goes significantly beyond BP monitoring. Continuous physiological pressure monitoring can provide key information for early diagnosis, patient-specific treatment, and preventive healthcare in a wide range of healthcare indications. This will significantly broaden the potential and open avenues for other products and research innovation.” Ends

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Johnson & Johnson announced today its prestigious Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Undergraduate Award recipients from University of Galway. The Award recognises outstanding female students in STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design. Each recipient will receive a student award, industry mentoring and leadership training, along with the opportunity to attend careers workshops, visit Johnson & Johnson sites and participate in WiSTEM2D events designed to support them with pursuing future STEM careers. The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The Undergraduate programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, University of Galway in 2021, and Munster Technological University in 2022, supporting more than 400 female students over the last 6 years. The University of Galway students selected to receive the scholarships are: Emer Nic Roibín; Bachelor of Science; Belfast; Co. Antrim Gemma O'Brien Hehir; Biomedical Engineering; Galway Laura Burke; Biomedical Engineering, Moycullen; Galway Laura Quinn; Bachelor of Arts (Mathematical Studies and Information Technology); Renmore, Galway Mairéad Rowland; Biomedical Science; Rossport, Ballina, Co. Mayo Niamh Corcoran; Biomedical Engineering; Leacarrow, Co. Roscommon Rebeccca Norris; Bachelor of Science; Athlone, Co. Westmeath Sarah Daves; Marine Science; Austin, Texas; USA Sophie Spellissy; Computer Science and Information Technology; Ennis, Co. Clare Syakira Amani Khairul Nazri; Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology); Waterford City Michael Gilvarry, General Manager at Cerenovus said:“I would like to congratulate the students who have been chosen as recipients of the WiSTEM2D award. I am sure that they will enjoy the benefits that the programme has them to offer in supporting career development, including visits to our facilities, and the opportunity to engage with a mentor. Johnson & Johnson recognises the importance of supporting women early in their careers, to aid the development of female STEM leaders for the future. We believe in the power of diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and progress. That's why we are committed to supporting women in STEM, and providing them with the resources, opportunities, and support they need to succeed and thrive in their careers. Programmes like WiSTEM2D help allow us to partner with academic institutions to develop high-impact strategies, which can inspire and support the STEM workforce of the future.” University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnerships with industry and especially with Johnson & Johnson through initiatives such as the WiSTEM2D programme. We can achieve more together as the Irish term Meitheal suggests - describing how neighbours would come together to achieve a mutually better harvest. As access to tertiary education expands, we recognise that support for underrepresented students while they are part of our community is critical. Industry support for our underrepresented students in STEM can act as a catalyst to level the playing field, which is increasingly important against the backdrop of growing diversity in Ireland and the need to recognise and design for intersectionality in education. “The industry mentorship, provided as part of the programme, is a significant boon to our female student scientists, mathematicians and engineers and it is an essential ingredient, which energises them to address the world’s most pressing challenges, as framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to innovate for our society, our people and our planet. We care about our students and their ambitions and we are guided by our values of openness, excellence, sustainability and respect in our role in shaping our students as the leaders of the future.” The awards ceremony was held in Áras Na Mac Léinn, University of Galway, and was also attended by Anna Rafferty, Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland; Anna Lisa Smullin, Senior R&D Engineer and WiSTEM2D Lead at CERENOVUS; and Cara Feely, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist at CERENOVUS. Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Award scholarship were also presented with bespoke framed glass artwork created by Fermoy-based artist, Suzanne O’Sullivan. Ends

Monday, 30 January 2023

University of Galway’s student innovation hub, IdeasLab, has officially launched their Empathy Lab, a physical and virtual learning environment in the heart of campus.      The University of Galway Empathy Lab is the first of its kind in Europe and combines the science of human behaviour with the art of human centred design with Boston Scientific the inaugural enterprise partner.   It has been developed as part of the University’s Designing Futures project, which is funded under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative.   The University of Galway Empathy Lab will enable University of Galway students who want to come up with solutions to specific problems to understand the feelings and experiences of those affected.   Students will use new technologies including simulation suits; infant simulators; haptic gloves; scent masks.   Speaking about the Empathy Lab launch Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “Respect is a core value of the University and the pathway to respect is paved with empathy and knowledge. Through the University of Galway Empathy Lab, we will work with our partners to further embed empathy as a core attribute that students can develop and practice - supporting and shaping our innovations, placing the lived experience and our society at the heart of what we create with and for others.”   Empathy is the common denominator at the heart of all great collaboration, invention and innovation - it is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference.   The University of Galway Empathy Lab will offer consideration of the deeper layers of the human experience, using technology and human simulation to capture the essence of our real, messy, human selves. It will focus on the how of empathy and developing empathic individuals and teams. Scholars describe empathy as a muscle; as such, it should be capable of growth and regeneration. Following this logic, the lab will use a variety of empathy training approaches to train and further develop students’ appreciation of empathy.   Martin Hynes and Richard Crawford of Boston Scientific are the inaugural enterprise partners who will work alongside students in 2023. Students and their mentors will experience multiple scenarios and simulations to create better ways to innovate with customers and patients in the area of endoscopy procedures.    Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development and co-lead of the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network in University of Galway, said: “The University of Galway Empathy Lab will take a multidimensional approach to experiences so that we better understand what people are feeling and how innovation can develop to respond to the needs and wants of our society. We will bring technology and people together to give our students unique insights and experiences that can shape future innovations and respond to our society’s most pressing needs.”   University of Galway will also launch a new Empathy in Action module which brings together expertise from across the campus and reflects the many voices and perspectives of empathy and create action oriented and empathetic future leaders and innovators. Empathy Lab and the new immersive learning environment is being supported through a funding award through the Bodyswaps & Meta's Immersive Soft Skills Education Grant. University of Galway’s IdeasLab was one of 100 educational institutions worldwide to be supported and will receive two Meta Quest 2 headsets and three months free access to Bodyswaps VR learning programs.  Dr Walsh added: “This will have a significant impact on soft skills for both students and staff. Building soft skills amongst students will allow higher education institutions around the world to level the playing field and boost opportunities for their students in the competitive global market.” According data from Bodyswaps, after using this kind of technology as part of their learning experience, 87% of learners report a significant improvement in their self-awareness and knowledge of how to improve their skills and 85% of learners report a significant improvement in their confidence to apply the simulated soft skills in real situations. Ends 

Monday, 30 January 2023

University of Galway’s postgraduate open evening takes place on campus, on Tuesday February 7, 2023, from 4.30pm-7.30pm, in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. With more than 200 postgraduate courses on offer across a range of subjects including Humanities, Business, Law, Engineering, Science and Computer Science, Nursing, and Medicine and Health Sciences, the postgraduate event is a key event for those who want to broaden their skills-set, define their areas of expertise, increase their specialist knowledge and ultimately improve their job prospects. The informal networking event will showcase the suite of full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes available, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Flexible, online, and blended learning options are also on offer. Academic staff will be available to meet prospective students to discuss study opportunities, entry requirements and career paths and postgraduate support staff will be on hand to discuss applications, admissions, scholarships and fees. The ‘Postgraduate Funding and Scholarships’ talk will present a range of schemes designed to make postgraduate study more affordable.  As part of University of Galway’s strategic focus on recognising excellence and success, EU students with first class honours in their undergraduate degree are eligible to apply for a €1,500 scholarship towards their taught master’s degree at the University. Emily Atkinson, graduate of the MSc in Consumer Psychology, who was awarded a scholarship said: “The postgraduate scholarship is a fantastic opportunity that rewards and incentivises the hard work it takes to achieve first class honours. The scholarship allowed me prioritise finding the right postgraduate course for me, and to focus on my studies during my masters.”  Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, University of Galway, said: “We especially encourage visitors considering a return to university studies to attend our Postgraduate Open Day. Almost half of those applying to our postgraduate courses are not recent graduates, they are returning to study or upskill for their current job. “The value of a postgraduate qualification is proven in terms of improving employability and career progression, increasing lifetime earnings, learning invaluable transferable skills that employers value, and many of our courses also offer opportunities for placement and internships.” Booking in advance for the event is recommended and is available at www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day.  Ends

Monday, 30 January 2023

Beidh oíche oscailte iarchéime Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ar siúl ar an gcampas Dé Máirt, an 7 Feabhra 2023 ó 4.30pm-7.30pm i Halla Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh níos mó ná 200 cúrsa iarchéime á dtairiscint ag oíche oscailte Ollscoil na Gaillimhe idir na Daonnachtaí, Gnó, Dlí, Innealtóireacht, Eolaíocht agus Ríomheolaíocht, Altranas, agus Leigheas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte. Is imeacht tábhachtach é seo dóibh siúd ar mian leo a scileanna a leathnú, a réimsí saineolais a bheachtú, a saineolas a mhéadú agus a ndeiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú ar deireadh thiar. Beidh eolas le fáil faoi chláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha atá á dtairiscint san Ollscoil, lena n-áirítear máistreachtaí múinte agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta. Tá roghanna foghlama solúbtha, ar líne agus cumaisc ar fáil freisin. Beidh cuid den fhoireann acadúil ar fáil chun bualadh le mic léinn ionchasacha chun deiseanna staidéir, riachtanais iontrála agus cosáin gairme a phlé agus beidh cuid den fhoireann tacaíochta iarchéime ar fáil chun iarratais, iontrálacha, scoláireachtaí agus táillí a phlé. Cuirfidh an chaint ‘Scoláireachtaí agus Maoiniú Iarchéime’ i láthair raon scéimeanna atá ann chun cuidiú le staidéar iarchéime a dhéanamh níos réasúnta. Mar chuid den fhócas straitéiseach atá ar bhunchéim ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe maidir le haitheantas a thabhairt d’fheabhas agus do rathúlacht, tá mic léinn de chuid an AE a bhfuil céadonóracha bainte amach acu ina mbunchéim i dteideal iarratas a dhéanamh ar scoláireacht €1,500 i dtreo a gcúrsa máistreachta múinte san Ollscoil. Dúirt Emily Atkinson, céimí de chuid an MSc in Consumer Psychology agus ar bronnadh scoláireacht uirthi, an méid seo a leanas: “Is deis iontach í an scoláireacht iarchéime a spreagann agus a thugann luach saothair don obair chrua a bhaineann le céadonóracha a bhaint amach. Thug an scoláireacht deis dom díriú ar an gcúrsa iarchéime ceart a aimsiú dom féin, agus díriú ar mo chuid staidéir le linn mo mháistreachta.” Dúirt Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Molaimid go háirithe do chuairteoirí atá ag smaoineamh ar fhilleadh ar staidéar ollscoile freastal ar ár Lá Oscailte Iarchéime. I gcás beagnach leath díobh siúd a chuireann isteach ar ár gcúrsaí iarchéime níl siad díreach tar éis céim a bhaint amach, tá siad ag filleadh ar an staidéar nó ag tabhairt faoi bhreisoiliúint dá bpost reatha. “Tá luach cáilíochta iarchéime cruthaithe i dtéarmaí infhostaitheachta agus dul chun cinn gairme a fheabhsú, tuilleamh saoil a mhéadú, scileanna inaistrithe luachmhara a fhoghlaim a bhfuil meas ag fostóirí orthu, agus cuireann go leor dár gcúrsaí deiseanna socrúcháin agus intéirneachtaí ar fáil freisin.” Moltar áit a chur in áirithe roimh ré agus is féidir é sin a dhéanamh ag www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day. Críoch

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Sheol Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe, an Comhairleoir Clodagh Higgins, dhá thionscnamh nua de chuid Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag preasócáid a bhí ar siúl in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe le déanaí chun úsáid na Gaeilge labhartha a mhéadú i gcathair na Gaillimhe. Is príomhbhearta iad an dá thionscnamh seo atá leagtha amach sa Phlean Teanga do Chathair na Gaillimhe agus a bhfuil ról lárnach acu chun stádas mar ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ a bhaint amach do Ghaillimh.   Faoi Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, sainmhínítear Bailte Seirbhíse Gaeltachta mar na bailte sin atá suite i Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta nó in aice leo. Tá Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag comhoibriú le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, le hOllscoil na Gaillimhe agus le páirtithe leasmhara tábhachtacha eile chun an próiseas a bhaineann leis an bPlean Teanga a chur i bhfeidhm sa chathair a éascú. Is é cuspóir Phlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe, de réir pholasaí an Rialtais, cur le húsáid agus eolas cumarsáide na Gaeilge mar theanga pobail i gCathair na Gaillimhe ar bhonn incriminteach. Moltar sa phlean áis ar líne a fhorbairt a thabharfadh eolas faoi sheirbhísí Gaeilge na cathrach mar aon le suaitheantais chun cainteoirí Gaeilge a aithint. Is éard a dúirt Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe, an Comhairleoir Clodagh Higgins agus í ag labhairt ag an ócáid: “Tháinig an smaoineamh chun cinn arís i bPlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe do shuaitheantas mar mholadh agus mar bhealach do Ghaeilgeoirí aithne a chur ar a chéile.  Cuirfidh na suaitheantais nua atá deartha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, le húsáid na Gaeilge agus beidh an Ghaeilge níos feiceálaí. Tuigim go leathnófar an tionscnamh seo amach go cathair na Gaillimhe freisin agus measaim gur an-smaoineamh é sin. Tá lúcháir orm ‘An tEolaire - Seirbhís i nGaeilge’, cruthaithe ag Gaillimh le Gaeilge, a sheoladh inniu freisin. Is liosta cuimsitheach é seo de na gnólachtaí agus de na heagraíochtaí sa chathair atá in ann ‘seirbhís i nGaeilge’ a chur ar fáil – acmhainn úsáideach do dhuine ar bith ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge. Cuirfidh An tEolaire eolas ar fáil freisin maidir le himeachtaí Gaeilge atá ar tí tarlú sa chathair. ” Dúirt Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, go mbeifí in ann: “Freastal níos fearr agus níos leithne a dhéanamh ar phobal Gaeilge na hOllscoile’ mar go léireodh na suaitheantais ‘a mhéad daoine atá ag obair ar fud na hOllscoile a bhfuil ar a gcumas agus atá sásta seirbhísí a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge.  Léiríonn an taithí idirnáisiúnta nach leor seirbhísí dátheangacha a chur ar fáil lena chinntiú go mbainfear leas astu.  Ní mór iad a phoibliú agus deimhniú go bhfuil siad ar aon chaighdeán leis na seirbhísí atá ar fáil i mBéarla ionas go mbeidh daoine ar a gcompord á n-éileamh agus sin é go díreach atá uainn anseo san Ollscoil.”  Léirigh sé a shástacht faoin gcomhoibriú leanúnach idir an Ollscoil agus Gaillimh le Gaeilge freisin agus é ag tagairt don ról atá ag an Ollscoil i bhfeidhmiú Phlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe. Is céim eile chun cinn é an tionscnamh nua seo ó thaobh Straitéis Gaeilge na hOllscoile chomh maith.  I measc na mbeart eile atá bainte amach ó seoladh Straitéis na Gaeilge 2021-2025 áirítear ceapachán Oifigeach Gaeilge na hOllscoile agus athsheoladh ar an Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge. Den chéad uair riamh bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar an 16 mac léinn atá ag cur fúthu i dTeach na Gaeilge i mbliana.   Labhair Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey, ag an ócáid freisin agus dúirt sí an méid seo a leanas: “Is céim thar a bheith nádúrtha agus tábhachtach é seoladh an dá thionscnamh seo inniu chun úsáid na Gaeilge a mhéadú i gCathair Dhátheangach na hÉireann. Tá lúcháir orainn a bheith ag obair i gcomhar le hOllscoil na Gaillimhe ar an tionscnamh seo agus tá muid ag tnúth go mór le bheith ag obair as lámh a chéile ar chomhfhiontair straitéiseacha fhéideartha eile amach anseo. “Tá an stádas chun ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ a bhaint amach ar cheann de na príomhchuspóirí atá leagtha amach ag Gaillimh le Gaeilge sa straitéis nua do na trí bliana atá amach romhainn. Mholfainn d’aon duine atá in ann seirbhís i nGaeilge a chur ar fáil, é sin a chur in iúl do ‘chuile dhuine’ trí chlárú le Gaillimh le Gaeilge inniu. Tá sé chomh tábhachtach céanna go mbaineann gach Gaeilgeoir leas as an tseirbhís atá curtha ar fáil i nGaeilge agus go leanfadh siad ag cruthú éileamh ar a leithéid de sheirbhísí amach anseo.” Chuir sí in iúl go raibh  64 gnó agus eagraíocht liostáilte san Eolaire agus go raibh 96 duine cláraithe ann faoi láthair ó réimsí leathan earnálacha sa chathair. Ghabh  sí buíochas  le gach duine a chláraigh san Eolaire agus le príomhmhaointheoirí Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, An Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Galtachta, Spóirt agus Meán a thug deontas aonuaire chun an tEolaire a fhorbairt. Má sholáthraíonn do ghnó/d’eagraíocht seirbhís i nGaeilge i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus más mian leat a bheith cláraithe ar an liosta, is féidir leat teagmháil a dhéanamh le Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag eolas@gleg.ie nó cuir glaoch ar 091 568876. Is féidir leat cuairt a thabhairt ar - https://gleg.ie/claraigh-linn/ agus foirm ghearr a chomhlánaú chun clárú san Eolaire. Críoch

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

The Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr. Clodagh Higgins launched two new initiatives by University of Galway and Gaillimh le Gaeilge to increase the use of spoken Irish in Galway city at a press event in University of Galway recently. Both initiatives are key measures outlined in the Irish Language Plan for Galway City which have an instrumental role to play in achieving the status of ‘Gaeltacht Service Town’ for Galway. Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, Gaeltacht Service Towns are defined as those towns situated in or adjacent to Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas. Gaillimh le Gaeilge is collaborating with Galway City Council, University of Galway and other key stakeholders to facilitate the process of implementing the Irish Language Plan in the city. The objective of the plan, in line with Government policy, is to increase on an incremental basis, the communicative use and knowledge of Irish in Galway city as a community language.  The plan includes the creation of a local directory, along with badges, to identify those who can speak Irish. Speaking at the event, the Mayor of the City of Galway Cllr. Clodagh Higgins said: “The idea of a badge came up again in Galway City’s Irish Language Plan as a suggestion, as a way for Irish speakers to get to know each other. The brooch pins which University of Galway have designed will contribute to the visibility and use of Irish and I understand that the initiative will also be extended to Galway city, which I believe is a great idea. I’m also delighted to launch ‘An tEolaire - Seirbhís i nGaeilge’  created by Gaillimh le Gaeilge. This is a comprehensive list of businesses and organizations in the city who can provide a ‘seirbhís i nGaeilge'– a useful  resource to anyone who wishes to conduct their business as Gaeilge. An tEolaire will also include information regarding upcoming Irish language events in the city. ” University of Galway’s Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “This latest initiative will ensure that we can improve and broaden Irish language services for the Irish speaking University community as the new brooch pins will ensure that the large amount of staff members across the University who are providing services in Irish are easily identifiable.  It is evident from international experience that making bilingual services available does not ensure that they will be acquired. The services must be publicised and must be of equal standard to the English services so as to ensure that people are at ease requesting and availing of the services and that is exactly what we are striving for here. ” He also commended the ongoing collaboration between the University and Gaillimh le Gaeilge and spoke of the University’s role in the implementation of the Galway City Irish Language Plan. This new initiative is also significant in terms of the University’s Irish Language Strategy.  The appointment of the Irish Language Officer and the relaunching of the Irish Language Residential Scheme are among the other achievements which have been reached since the Strategy for the Irish Language 2021-2025 was launched.  For the first time ever, the sixteen Irish speaking students residing in Teach na Gaeilge were also awarded special scholarships this year. Chair of Gaillimh le Gaeilge Bernadette Mullarkey spoke at the event and said: “Launching these two initiatives today is a very natural and important step to increase the use and the position of the Irish language in Ireland’s Bilingual City. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with University of Galway on this initiative and we look forward to many other bilingual collaborations in the future. Gaining the status as a ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ is one of Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s main objectives outlined in our new strategy for the next 3 years. I would encourage anyone who can provide a service as Gaeilge to let ‘everyone’ know about it by signing up with Gaillimh le Gaeilge today. It is also equally important that all Irish speakers avail of the Irish language service provided and continue to create a demand for such services into the future.” If your business / organisation provides a service in Irish in Galway city and you wish to be listed, you can contact Gaillimh le Gaeilge on eolas@gleg.ie or on 091 568876. You can also visit - https://gleg.ie/claraigh-linn/ and fill in the short online form to register for the Eolaire.  Ends

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad Léann na hÉireann, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, a fhógairt go bhfuil Máirín Mhic Lochlainn ceaptha mar Ealaíontóir Cónaithe Scéalaíochta i mbliana.  Is as Ros an Mhíl ó dhúchas í Máirín agus tá sí ag cur fuithí in Indreabhán. Luann Máirín a hathair, Beartla Ó Maoileoin mar an chéad scéalaí a chuala sí agus tionchar a chuid léirithe drámatúla, a bhí uirthí.  Tá roinnt gradam scéalaíochta buaite ag Máirín, ina measc Corn Neidí Frainc ag Féile an Oireachtais. Tá Máirín tiomanta chun ceird na scéalaíochta a fhorbairt agus tá ceardlanna scéalaíochta á stiúradh aici ar fud na hÉireann, na Breataine Bige agus na Danmhairge. Cuimsíonn a stór scéalaíochta na Scéalta Fiannaíochta agus tá an-áthas uirthi an deis seo a fháil le forbairt cheird na scéalaíochta a chur chun cinn. Chuir an tOllamh Louis de Paor, Stiúrthóir Ionad Léann na hÉireann fáilte mhór roimh an gceapachán: “Deis iontach is ea é seo dúinne chun ealaín na scéalaíochta béil a aithint agus cumas neamhchoitianta Mháirín sa réimse sin den gcultúr dúchais a cheiliúradh. Táimid ag súil go mór le bheith ag obair ina teannta as seo go ceann bliana.”  Beidh sraith ceardlann cúig seachtaine á múineadh ag Máirín san Ollscoil san Earrach agus arís san Fhómhar. Beidh béim ar leith ar na Scéalta Fiannaíochta aici san Earrach.  Tá na cúig ceardlanna san Earrach saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Beidh na ceardlanna ar siúl gach Déardaoin ag 7pm, ag tosnú ar an 2 Feabhra, san Ionad Léinn na hÉireann, 4 Bóthar na Drioglainne, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo.  Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@universityofgalway.ie Críoch

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

University of Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Máirín Mhic Lochlainn as Storyteller-in-Residence for this year.  Living in Indreabhán, Co. Galway, but originally from Rós a Mhíl, Máirín cites her father, Beartla Ó Maoileoin as the first storyteller that she heard and his dramatic renditions have had a long standing influence on her. Máirín has won several awards for story-telling including Corn Neidí Frainc at the Oireachtas festival. Developing the craft of story-telling is a mission for Máirín and she has conducted workshops in story-telling throughout Ireland, Wales and Denmark. Her story-telling repertoire includes the Scéalta Fiannaíochta and she is delighted at this opportunity to further the development of the craft of story-telling.  Professor Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies welcomed the appointment: “This is a great opportunity for us to recognise the art of oral storytelling and to celebrate Máirín's particular ability in this area of our native culture. We are really looking forward to working with her for the next year.”  Máirín will teach a series of five workshops the University in early 2023 and a second series in the autumn. The spring workshops will focus in particular on the Scéalta Fiannaíochta.  The five spring workshops, which will be delivered through Irish, are free and open to the public and will run every Thursday, beginning Thursday 2 February, at 7pm at the Centre for Irish Studies, 4 Distillery Road, University of Galway.   This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Arts Council, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at University of Galway. Further information contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@universityofgalway.ie. Ends

Monday, 23 January 2023

The global study, involving 5,869 patients from ICUs across 50 countries, recommends a systematic approach to reduce the duration of ventilation to improve risk of death A new study from University of Galway has found high death rates in weaning intensive care patients from ventilation.  During this clinical study, carried out in 50 countries, 35% of patients who required ventilation for longer than two days could not be successfully weaned from invasive mechanical ventilation.  The WEAN SAFE study is the first global study to describe the weaning process in detail, characterising different approaches used by physicians in regard to weaning for mechanical ventilation, and the impact of delayed and failed weaning from ventilation, in patients requiring at least two days of invasive ventilation.  The study was funded by the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and by the European Respiratory Society, and performed by a consortium of investigators from 481 ICUs across 50 countries.  The research was published recently in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.  Weaning in the context of invasive ventilation for ICU patients is the process of decreasing the degree of ventilator support and allowing the patient to take on a greater proportion of their ventilation independent of machinery - for example spontaneous breathing trials or a gradual reduction in machinery support.  A patient is successfully weaned from invasive ventilation when the invasive ventilator support is completely removed.  The study found that successful weaning of patients from invasive mechanical ventilation represents a crucial step in the recovery process following severe respiratory failure. Many of the serious complications of mechanical ventilation are directly related to the duration of ventilation.  Professor John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals, explained: “Where the process of weaning becomes prolonged, the risk of dying and of increased length of stay in intensive care and hospital increases substantially. In terms of longer term outcomes, older age and the duration of ventilation are the strongest predictors of survival and quality of life at one year following critical illness.” Professor Laffey added: “Despite the importance of the weaning process, this area is not well studied. Our research on this clinical practice is the largest study to date to offer data relating weaning practices to outcomes from invasive mechanical ventilation in a global cohort of patients at risk for prolonged weaning and/or weaning failure.” It was found that of the patients enrolled in the study: :: 30% died in the ICU, while 38% died in hospital. Of patients who did not successfully wean from ventilation, 78% died in the ICU. :: Of patients who entered the weaning process, 65% had a short wean (≤1 day), 10% had intermediate (2-6 days) weaning, 10% had a prolonged (≥ 7 days) weaning duration, while 16% ultimately failed (i.e., died, were transferred or still invasively ventilated at day 90).  :: Higher sedation levels were independently associated with delays in initiating weaning from the ventilator. Higher sedation levels and a delay in initiating ventilator separation were potentially modifiable factors independently associated with weaning failure. Researchers involved in the  global study said its findings can help shape clinical approaches relating to weaning from invasive mechanical ventilation. They also noted that future studies to develop strategies to reduce weaning delays, and optimize patient sedation levels, should improve survival in patients weaning from ventilation. Ends 

Monday, 23 January 2023

Researchers conducted the first study of its kind in Ireland, investigating the background level of exposure to the herbicide  About one quarter of those tested found to have low levels of exposure of the chemical glyphosate Scientists at University of Galway investigating exposure to glyphosate in families have detected low level traces of the controversial herbicide in a quarter of people tested. The IMAGE research project ran from 2019 to 2020 and is the first of its kind to investigate levels of background exposure to glyphosate among Irish households. Led by Exposure Science researchers at University of Galway, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine in Bochum, Germany and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt-UBA), the study tested urine samples collected from farm and non-farm families for the presence of glyphosate and its main human metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). Dr Alison Connolly, exposure scientist who conducted the research while at University of Galway, said: "This study produced important results on human exposures to a chemical of public concern and is particularly timely with the European Commission currently re-evaluating glyphosate.  “Though the quantifiable levels were low, it is essential to understand how chemical exposures can occur among different groups, particularly vulnerable people such as children. This information is necessary for conducting robust regulatory risk assessments, managing exposure levels, and fully understanding their effect on human health. This study also demonstrated how beneficial human biomonitoring is for evaluating chemical exposures.”  Dr Marie Coggins, Senior Lecturer in Exposure Science at University of Galway, said: “The glyphosate exposure data published in the IMAGE study is relevant as the European Commission evaluate their renewal assessment for this controversial pesticide.  “Although the exposure data reported is low compared to the current acceptable daily intake value set by EFSA, our risk assessment could change following the publication of EFSAs renewal assessment in early 2023. Furthermore, the data suggests that occupational users may have a slightly higher exposure than background levels, which could and should be reduced further by substitution with less harmful methods, careful chemical handling practices and the use of exposure controls such as personal protective equipment.” - Why was the study carried out?  The research was carried out as a European project on Human Biomonitoring, the HBM4EU project, has identified a number of priority substances, including both glyphosate and AMPA, for which further information on human exposure is required to better understand the risk to human health. HBM4EU called for more research, such as the University of Galway’s IMAGE study, to characterise population exposures to chemicals such as pesticides.  - What does the study show?  A total of 68 families took part – 14 of whom were living on farms, with one of those family members spraying glyphosate-based pesticide. The study analysed tests from 226 people along with detailed dietary and lifestyle questionnaire.  Glyphosate was detectable in 26% of samples. AMPA was detectable in 59% of samples.  The daily intakes for participants were back-calculated from urinary glyphosate concentrations and compared to the acceptable daily intake. Calculated intakes were equivalent to 3% or less of the EFSA acceptable level. There was no statistical difference between farm and non-farm families' exposures, though higher concentrations were detected among some fathers living on farms, likely because they sprayed glyphosate-based pesticide products the day before sampling.  Researchers said the higher detection frequency for AMPA may be due to dietary exposure, i.e. from residues on foods and water.  They also found maximum exposures to glyphosate are low compared to the current acceptable daily intake set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) without presenting an appreciable health risk.  - What next? The global scientific community has still not reached a consensus on the potential carcinogenic health effects of glyphosate. However, EFSA currently concludes that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the results of this study are interpreted using the current EFSA acceptable daily intake. This study will enhance Europe's understanding of glyphosate exposures among different demographic groups and contribute to scientific knowledge on exposures required for regulatory risk assessments, currently under re-evaluation by the European Commission with results due in 2023.  Glyphosate Glyphosate is the active ingredient in over 750 products, including Roundup®. More of this herbicide is used around the world than any other, to combat weeds, as a pre-harvest drying treatment on certain food crops, in home gardens and in parks, public spaces, lawns, gardens and roadsides.  There has been much controversy over the potential adverse health effects of this commonly used pesticide.  Dietary exposure to pesticides can occur through ingestion of residues (i.e. glyphosate) on fruit, vegetables, grains and contaminated water or via skin contact or inhalation exposure during home use of glyphosate-based pesticide products. The debates significantly increased when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “Group 2A – probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.  The European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) have classified glyphosate as causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life. It has stated that it is not justified to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. Glyphosate is currently approved for use in the EU, an approval which is under review by the European Commission. The final EFSA conclusion is expected in July 2023.  Ends

Monday, 23 January 2023

University of Galway and the Mary Robinson Centre will host the first Mary Robinson Climate Conference this summer. The event takes place on July 6th and 7th, 2023, in Ballina, Co Mayo. Mary Robinson said: “This situation must not lead us to despair, rather it should propel us into action.”  Dr Gordon Bromley, Lecturer in Physical Geography & Climate at University of Galway, said: “Climate change is the greatest socio-economic force of the 21st Century, creating uncertainty and threatening to undermine basic societal foundations. As we stand at this critical juncture – seeking to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to global warming – the time is ripe and the need is clear to chart our awareness into truly new waters and to use our collective knowledge to better plan for the future.” In the spirit of this view, the Mary Robinson Climate Conference will bring together voices from all sectors of academia and society to share climate-related research and discuss pathways for a sustainable future in an inclusive multidisciplinary forum. The schedule will feature presentations, discussions, roundtables, and workshops related to the impact of climate change on the physical, social, cultural, political, health, and economic environments of our planet and ways to address it. The call for session proposals is now open. Suggestions are invited from a wide spectrum of disciplines.  For more information, please visit the conference website. Ends

Friday, 20 January 2023

Digital microbe database unlocks patient response to treatment for diseases such as Parkinson’s and colorectal cancer Researchers at University of Galway associated with APC Microbiome Ireland, a world-leading SFI Research Centre, have created a resource of over 7,000 digital microbes – enabling computer simulations of how drug treatments work and how patients may respond. The resource is a milestone in scientific understanding of human response to medical treatment as it offers the opportunity for computer simulations and predictions of differences in metabolism between individuals, including for diseases such as inflammatory bowel, Parkinson’s and colorectal cancer. The database  - called AGORA2 - builds on the expertise developed in the creation of first resource of digital microbes known as AGORA1. AGORA2 encompasses 7,203 digital microbes, created based on experimental knowledge from scientific publications, with a particular focus on drug metabolism.  The resource has been built by a team of scientists at University of Galway’s Molecular Systems Physiology group, led by APC Microbiome Ireland principal investigator Professor Ines Thiele. The team’s research aims to advance precision medicine by using computational modelling.  Professor Thiele explained: “AGORA2 is a milestone towards personalised, predictive computer simulations enabling the analysis of person-microbiome-drug interactions for precision medicine applications. “Humans are hosting a myriad of microbes. Just like us, these microbes eat and interact with their environment. Considering that we are all unique, each of us hosting an individual microbiome our metabolism is also expected to vary between individuals.  “The insight provided by the database of digital microbes presents a healthcare opportunity to harness individual differences in metabolism to provide personalised, improved treatments in ‘precision medicine’, compared to a currently more general ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. “Besides our food, our individual microbiomes also metabolise the medicines we take. The same drug may therefore manifest diverse effects in disparate people because of the differences in metabolism performed by the different microbiomes.” Using the digital microbe resource AGORA2, computer simulations have shown that drug metabolism varies significantly between individuals, as driven by their own microbiomes.  Uniquely, the AGORA2-based computer simulations enabled the identification of microbes and metabolic processes for individual drugs correlated with observations in a clinical setting.  The research was published today in Nature Biotechnology.  The team at University of Galway demonstrated that AGORA2 enables personalised, strain-resolved modelling by predicting the drug conversion potential of the gut microbiomes from 616 colorectal cancer patients and controls, which greatly varied between individuals and correlated with age, sex, body mass index and disease stages. This means that the team can create digital representations and predictions specific to the divergent microbes. Professor Thiele added: “Knowledge of our individual microbiomes and their drug metabolising capabilities represents a precision medicine opportunity to tailor drug treatments to an individual to maximise health benefit while minimising side effects. “By using AGORA2 in computer simulations our team have showed that the resulting metabolic predictions enabled superior performance compared to what was possible to date.” Professor Paul Ross, Director of APC Microbiome Ireland, said: “This research is a perfect illustration of the power of computational approaches to enhance our understanding of the role of microbes in health and disease – significantly this digital platform will be a fantastic resource that could lead to the development of novel personalised therapeutic approaches which take the microbiome into account.”  This work was led by University of Galway and completed as part of a collaboration between many international institutions, including the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Lorraine, and University Medicine Greifswald. Ends

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Inter-professional Simulation and Skills Facility recognised as European Centre for Multispecialty Skills University of Galway’s healthcare and patient safety simulation facility - the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation (ICAPSS) - has secured accreditation as part of the Network of Accredited Skills Centres in Europe (NASCE).  The inter-professional simulation and skills facility, based at the University’s School of Medicine, has also been identified by NASCE as a European centre for multispecialty skills.  The simulation facility provides clinical and procedural skills training for medical, nursing and health sciences students and staff at Saolta University Healthcare Group.  The simulation staff and facility itself are now accredited in the USA, Europe and UK and are the recent recipients of an AMEE Aspire to Excellence award for simulation.  Commenting on the accreditation, Professor Isabelle Van Herzeele of Ghent University Hospital, chair of the NASCE accreditation board, commented that the facility was "rated highly and will become an important member of the NASCE network.” The review team commended the broad range of educational activities being delivered at the facility, using up-to-date simulation modalities across undergraduate and postgraduate levels and the excellent facilities and equipment, with multiple flexible learning spaces. The review team also commended the centre leadership, technical support staff and the team’s dedication to multidisciplinary team training and high level of experience and expertise.  Professor of Simulation Education Dara Byrne, who leads the ICAPSS team, said: "We deliver very high quality inter-professional translational simulation across the continuum of healthcare professions' education and accreditation is an important part of what we do. It means that the quality of our work and services are being recognised on an international stage.  “Learners are benefitting from immersive interactive learning in a safe learning environment that bridges the gap between being a student and working as a health professional. This supports their transition to clinical practice and working through improving capabilities and confidence.  “Our accreditations across Europe, the UK and the US places us at the top of the league when it comes to simulation-based education and research. I am delighted with the outcome of the accreditation process and proud of the team who have made this possible.”   The Simulation facility was officially opened in 2022 by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D., and has since made huge strides in innovative and modern health professions’ education. The activities reach the undergraduate, postgraduate and life-long learner across the continuum of the healthcare and across all health professions.  Professor Byrne added: “One of the next ambitions of our centre is to expand our reach out into the community and to support patients and carers who have medical devices in the home. We also aim to provide interprofessional taster programmes for second level students that will give them a flavour of healthcare programmes and modern health professions’ education prior to making choices about their future careers.” Ends

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

 Researchers outline how the building blocks of DNA can boost penicillin-type antibiotics in fight against MRSA Scientists at University of Galway have detailed a new discovery with the potential to improve treatment options for superbug MRSA infections with penicillin-type antibiotics that have become ineffective on their own. The research has been published in the flagship journal of the American Society for Microbiology, mBio. Professor James P O’Gara and Dr Merve S Zeden in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Galway, led the study. Professor of Microbiology James O’Gara said: “This discovery is important because it has revealed a potentially new way to treat MRSA infections with penicillin-type drugs, which remain the safest and most effective antibiotics.” The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis is one of the greatest threats to human health with superbugs like MRSA placing a significant burden on global healthcare resources.  The microbiology research team at University of Galway showed that MRSA could be much more efficiently killed by penicillin-type antibiotics when combined with purines, which are the building blocks for DNA.  Dr Zeden said: “Purine nucleosides, Adenosine, Xanthosine, Guanosine are sugar versions of the building blocks of DNA, and our work showed that they interfere with signalling systems in the bacterial cell which are required for antibiotic resistance.” This study was recently highlighted in the American Society for Microbiology’s This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bacteria-sing-the-blues/id422332846?i=1000591551514 The discussion noted the drugs derived from purines are already used to treat some viral infections and cancers. Aaron Nolan is a PhD student at University of Galway and was co-first author on the paper. He said: “Finding new ways to re-sensitize superbugs to currently licenced antibiotics is a crucial part of efforts to tackle the AMR crisis. Our research implicated the potential of purine nucleosides in re-sensitizing MRSA to penicillin-type antibiotics”  This research, which was funded by the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, was conducted in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield. The full paper can be accessed here. Ends

Friday, 13 January 2023

NI Mental Health Champion, Derry Mayor and others attend Atlantic Futures Launch in the Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry today A major €4million four-year cross-border research partnership has been launched to research and address structural and societal imbalances across the North West Atlantic Innovation Corridor. The Atlantic Futures Project is a collaboration between Ulster University, University of Galway, Atlantic Technological University and University of Limerick for sustainable regional development to make a real world impact on aspects of industry and civic society in the North West Atlantic Innovation Corridor region.  Announced in March, the flagship project has seen the creation of a research team organised in three co-located hubs in Derry/Londonderry, Galway and Limerick, working to understand and address issues which uniquely affect this section of the Atlantic corridor, namely: relative slow economic growth; low levels of female entrepreneurship; higher rates of mental health difficulties among young people than ever before; barriers to digitalisation in rural areas; and issues with international freight connectivity with no state ports or airports in the region. The large-scale social science research will seek to examine these issues based on three themes with six working projects in order to face into and embrace digital, green and energy transitions and to focus efforts on societal, business and community outcomes: Theme 1: Innovation in Regional Context Project I: comparing rural entrepreneurial ecosystems with those in small towns/cities to identify bottlenecks and work with agencies to take action Project II: identifying successful management practices in scaling businesses and running masterclasses with organisations along the corridor   Theme 2: Institutional and Cultural Factors – those that affect this region’s innovation opportunities:  Project I: fostering female entrepreneurship along the West Coast – looking at external factors that have impacted negatively (Brexit, COVID-19, lack of funding), partnering with female entrepreneurship programmes and delivering a mentorship programme  Project II: mental health as a public good – looking at new ways to respond to young people’s needs: developing new digital tools and early intervention in the community with partner agencies Theme 3: Technological and Infrastructural Opportunities and Challenges Project I: Digitalisation: establishing the challenges and opportunities for digital transformation in rural areas and looking at the links between changing skills needs and regional innovation and economic performance to embrace digitalisation and inform policy Project II: International freight connectivity in the North-West and its implications for regional competitiveness, outlining ways to enhance connectivity by road, rail and air. Each project engages with partners in civil society, business, and government, with many major partners being involved across several projects.  Industry stakeholders and partner agency representatives such as InterTrade Ireland, Catalyst, the NI Mental Health Champion, Airporter, FTA Ireland, and Causeway Chamber will join with Derry’s Mayor Sandra Duffy to discuss these themes and explore solutions to challenges and the opportunities to maximise benefits for communities along the corridor. Liam Maguire, PVC Research, Ulster University commented: “Atlantic Futures combines the significant research prowess of the four institutions to advance challenges in this distinct region. Our collective work aligns closely with national goals set out by both governments in the New Decade New Approach in Northern Ireland and the National Development Plan in the Republic of Ireland. Namely, of a regionally balanced economy which is common to both, a high quality international transport connectivity (NDP) and exploring digital connectivity and infrastructure (NDNA). From our progressive Derry~Londonderry campus, we are uniquely placed to contribute to this regional partnership, through research that can drive forward practical solutions for the benefit of individuals, organisations and communities. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in Galway, Limerick and ATU.”  Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation, University of Galway, said: “Our ambition is large and clear: we want Atlantic Futures to be recognised internationally for understanding what drives economic, social and cultural aspects of life in the region, on the edge of Europe. This project is a big responsibility and we want to see it make a tangible difference with research in action such as mentoring for female entrepreneurs and management masterclasses along with focus groups and information from the people who live and work in the region. This brand new cross-border data and the insights it uncovers will be shared with others carrying out similar work in Europe and beyond, to help inform similar programmes for sustainable regional development.” Professor Norelee Kennedy, Vice-President Research at University of Limerick said: “We want our research to have an impact in the area. We are working together to achieve four outcomes. They are the alignment of the research capacity of the leading research institutions along the west coast of the island of Ireland around the problems of transition and transformation in our shared region; development of a body of research to inform policy, co-created with relevant stakeholders addressing specific salient issues affecting the three city region; garnering new and robust insights into the developmental pathways for multi-city regional transformation; and understanding the role inter-cultural understanding and misunderstanding plays in cross-border collaboration and co-ordination.” Dr Rick Officer, Vice-President for Research and Innovation based at ATU’s Galway City campus is enthusiastic about the programme: “The Atlantic Futures programme will foster sustainable innovation along the island’s Atlantic coast, from the western counties of Northern Ireland and Donegal down to the Shannon Estuary. Atlantic Futures will focus on addressing challenges experienced by these areas, such as retention of local talent, over-reliance on foreign direct investment, and a lack of indigenous small and medium-sized enterprise growth. This Atlantic corridor has high-performing economic sectors such as the MedTech, FinTech and Advanced Manufacturing, but it also faces problems including housing, and persistent loss of talent to other regions. Previous models of economic and social transition have focussed on metropolitan centres. Atlantic Futures differs in its focus. Our ambitious programme will take a multi-pronged approach to identifying obstacles to sustainable innovation in the region and ways to support its development. The programme focusses on how a complex, distributed, and multi-city region, such as the cross-border, west and north-west of Ireland, can successfully foster sustainable innovation.“ 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

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

FLIARA - Female Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas to identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures  University of Galway is to lead a new research project running across 10 countries in Europe focusing on enhancing the role of women in agriculture, rural life and affairs.  The Horizon Europe project, FLIARA, which stands for Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas proposes a unique and innovative approach to improve understanding, awareness and recognition of women’s role in a more sustainable rural future, as well as developing more effective policy and governance frameworks that can support and enhance the capacity of women who live and work in these areas to contribute to it.  Launching the FLIARA project, President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “At University of Galway, we are here for the public good. This project speaks to that mission in such an important aspect of the lived experience of women in our rural communities. We give credit here to our colleagues in their work respecting the role of women in sustaining and maintaining rural life for the generations which have gone before us and how they are key to renewing it today and into the future. In particular, the winning of Horizon Europe funding for this project is testament to the excellence of the work and to its significance not only in Ireland but more generally. Tréaslaím leis an obair agus guím gach rath ar an togra thábhachtach seo.” The project is being led at University of Galway by Associate Professor Maura Farrell.  Outlining the vision for the project, Professor Farrell said: “To overcome Europe’s rural challenges and embrace potential opportunities, there is a need for all individuals and communities to participate in rural innovation.  “Traditionally, rural women’s employment opportunities and contribution to innovation has been overshadowed, and often suppressed, by a patriarchal ethos.” Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, FLIARA is a three year project, which aims to combine futures and case study methods, alongside network building and policy benchmarking, while being underpinned by a co-created conceptual and assessment framework. It will actively involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs.  FLIARA will identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the sustainability innovations needed to realise these visions.  Researchers will also investigate women-led innovations on farms and in wider rural areas looking at their pathways in the innovation ecosystem. Building on the power of social networks, a series of Community of Practice networks will bring together female rural innovators identified throughout the case study process.  Professor Farrell added: “Community of Practice Networks will occur in conjunction with a Campaign of Visibility for women-led rural innovations, spotlighting women as key innovation actors. Project outcomes will result in end-user ready resources, including policy proposals and practical tools supporting women-led innovation.” The FLIARA project is led by a research team from the University of Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, including Associate Professor Maura Farrell (Principle Investigator); Louise Weir (Project Manager and Research Associate); Dr Aisling Murtagh (Postdoctoral Researcher); Dr Shane Conway (Postdoctoral Researcher) and additional Geography colleagues, Associate Professor Marie Mahon, Associate Professor John McDonagh and Dr Therese Conway.  The diverse project partnership, includes universities, SMEs and other practitioners across ten EU countries.  Ends