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Monday, 29 April 2019
Renowned film theorist Professor Laura Mulvey to deliver keynote address Monday, 29 April, 2019: Renowned film theorist Professor Laura Mulvey, Senior Professor of Film Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Dr Denis Condon, NUI Maynooth, will deliver the keynote addresses at the 15th Irish Screen Studies Seminar. The Seminar will take place at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway from 9-10 May. The Irish Screen Studies Seminar provides a unique platform for the presentation of new work – research, practice, and research through practice – by scholars and filmmakers from third-level institutions on the island of Ireland, as well as those working on Irish screen-related topics in other universities and colleges worldwide. Dr Conn Holohan, Lecturer in film at the Huston School and board member of Irish Screen Studies said: “We are delighted to welcome the seminar back to NUI Galway for the first time since 2011. This year will see researchers and practitioners from across Ireland and beyond delivering papers on an exciting range of topics, from contemporary Irish cinema to video activism in Iran. We are particularly excited to welcome our two keynote speakers, Professor Laura Mulvey and Dr Denis Condon.” Professor Mulvey’s keynote address will explore her use of digital technology to remix Hollywood films of the 1950s and will be followed by a screening of her avant-garde classic Riddles of The Sphinx, which she co-directed with Peter Wollen in 1977. Professor Mulvey is responsible for some of the most influential publications in the field of film studies over the past forty-five years, including her 1975 article ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, which remains a foundational text for feminist film theory, and her 2006 book Death 24x a Second, which explored the role new media technologies play in our experience of film. Dr Condon’s talk will focus on the moral panic generated by the popular press around the supposedly increased working-class criminality engendered by cinema-going in Ireland in the 1910s. Dr Condon is a Lecturer in film at NUI Maynooth and has published widely on early cinema going in Ireland, including the 2008 book Early Irish Cinema, 1895-1921. The Huston School of Film & Digital Media is the leading centre for research and teaching in film and digital media in the West of Ireland. The school offers teaching and research programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (up to PhD), including the recently launched BA in Film & Digital Media and pioneering MA degrees in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, MA in Film Production & Direction, MA in Digital Media, MA in Public Advocacy and Activism, and MA in Sports Journalism and Communication. The full programme for the Irish Screen Studies Seminar can be found at www.irishscreenstudies.ie. Further information on the Huston school is available here: http://www.filmschool.ie/ -Ends-
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Studies illustrate the potential impacts of changes in clinical guidelines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease Clinical guidelines have widened eligibility for cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) Evidence to support statin use is limited Statin use impacts large proportion of Irish population and healthcare budgets with potential associated costs rising from €14 million to €107 million per annum New research from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has examined the impacts of changes to recommendations of clinical guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The study published today (24 April 2019) in the British Journal of General Practice, calculated that the proportion of a sample of people in Ireland aged over-50 who did not have cardiovascular disease but who could be eligible for statins (cholesterol lowering drugs), increased from 8% in 1987 to 61% in 2016. Follow-up research to this study was also published today (24 April 2019) in the journal BMJ Open, which for the first time exclusively used primary prevention data that examined the evidence to support statin use in primary prevention and found considerable uncertainty as to whether statin use in people without cardiovascular disease is beneficial. Background Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs that are used to prevent cardiovascular disease. They are prescribed to those who already have established cardiovascular disease, (for example, those who have had a heart attack or stroke, which is referred to as secondary prevention) as well as those without prior cardiovascular disease (primary prevention). An earlier study by the researchers, published in September 2018, found that almost one third of adults in a sample of over-50 year olds in Ireland took statins. Of these, almost two thirds took statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, but there was a notable difference between men and women. 57% of men who were taking statins did not have cardiovascular disease compared to 73% of women who were taking statins. Statins are widely prescribed and command a large share of drug expenditure in Ireland and other countries. In 2016, statins ranked as fifth in terms of highest expenditure under the medical card scheme and the second most prescribed type of medicine on the scheme. An increasingly larger proportion of the population are using statins, and this is becoming very resource intensive and arguably unsustainable. Summary of two new studies The British Journal of General Practice study found that while in 1987, 8% of a sample of over-50’s who did not have cardiovascular disease could have been eligible for statins, by 2016, 61% of the same sample would be eligible, with associated costs rising from €14 million to €107 million per annum. In 1987, 40 of the people in the lowest risk category would have had to be treated to prevent one cardiovascular event and by 2016, 400 people would have to be treated for the same impact. The proportion of statin-eligible patients achieving risk reductions that patients regard as justifying taking a daily medicine, fell as guidelines changed over time. The BMJ Open study examined the evidence that underpins statin use in people without cardiovascular disease. Before being prescribed a statin, it is recommended that a person’s baseline risk of cardiovascular disease is estimated. This can be determined by GP’s using risk calculators. If a person’s risk is estimated above a certain threshold, statin therapy may be recommended. In this study, the authors looked at the results from statin trials (reported in systematic reviews) according to peoples’ levels of risk. They found that in most categories of risk, there was considerable uncertainty as to whether statins could benefit the patient. For those who are already at low-risk of cardiovascular disease, the benefit (if there is one) may be so miniscule that it would not justify taking a daily medicine or taking the chance that they may experience side-effects. From the perspective of overstretched healthcare budgets, statin use in some low-risk people may represent overuse of medicine and low-value care thus warranting more careful consideration. Lead author of the studies, Paula Byrne, SPHeRE scholar, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Increased eligibility for statin therapy impacts large proportions of our population and healthcare budgets. Decisions to take and reimburse statins should be considered on the basis of cost-effectiveness and acceptability to some low-risk patients. One would have to question whether some patients, who may achieve very small reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease by taking statins, would agree to take this medication were they fully informed. From a societal perspective, we need to ask whether or not statin use in such people represents value for money in the health sector.” Findings The overarching aim of the British Journal of General Practice study was to explore the impact of changing clinical guidelines on statins for the prevention of cardiovascular events over time, incorporating patient preferences regarding preventive treatments. This involved four analyses. First, the authors estimated the increasing proportions of people who would be considered eligible for statin treatment according to each of the seven European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS) guidelines from 1987 to 2016. Second, the authors estimated the potential cost increases associated with each consecutive guideline recommendation. Third, the ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’ (NNT) to prevent one major vascular event in patients at the lowest baseline risk for which each guideline recommended treatment was calculated, as well as for those at low, medium, high, and very-high risk according to the most recent 2016 guideline. Finally, the authors compared these ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’ with those reported by patients as being the minimum benefit they would need to justify taking a daily medicine. Changes in recommendations for the use of statins have resulted in almost two thirds of over-50’s in Ireland and similar countries being considered eligible for statin therapy. This has implications for the medicalisation of large proportions of the Irish population, as well as for already resource constrained healthcare budgets. The value for money of the widening use of statins should be considered from both a societal and individual perspective. The decision to take and reimburse statins could be informed by ‘numbers-needed-to-treat’, which are large in some risk categories. As seen from the analysis, the researchers found a proportion of their sample would require significantly greater reductions in absolute risk to justify taking a daily medication of statins. To read the full study on the analysis of changing clinical guidelines in the British Journal of General Practice, visit: https://bjgp.org/content/early/2019/04/22/bjgp19X702701 To read the full overview of systematic reviews describing the evidence to support statin use in primary prevention in BMJ Open, visit: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/4/e023085 To read the September 2018 study describing the proportion of statin users in an Irish sample in BMJ Open, visit: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/2/e018524 -Ends-
Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Members of the Travelling community officially launched the first Traveller student society in Ireland this week. The Minceir Whiden Society was co-founded this year by Traveller students at NUI Galway and the Galway Traveller Movement. ‘Minceir Whiden’ means ‘Travellers Talking’ in the Cant language, which is spoken by the Irish Travelling community. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway, said: “The Societies Office in NUI Galway is delighted to be the first to include a Traveller society among their list of societies. We look forward to many collaborations and to support inclusion in third level and look forward to a productive year for the society. Congratulations to all the students involved in the initiative.” The society aims to work towards increasing Traveller participation in third level education, while providing a safe and welcoming space on campus. At present, just 1% of the travelling community hold a third-level qualification, with just 9% of Traveller children completing the Leaving Certificate compared to 86% of the settled population. NUI Galway student Owen Ward said: “One of the main objectives of the society is to empower members of the Travelling community to enter third-level education, while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. At present, there is a small number of Traveller students studying at NUI Galway across numerous disciplines. Also, it is of paramount importance to build positive alliances and relationships between Traveller students and the student and staff body at NUI Galway, as well as the wider community.” -Ends-
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting adolescents aged between 12–18 years with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) in Ireland and their parents, to take part in an online self-management programme. The aim of this programme is to empower young people with JIA to self-manage their condition. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is a chronic condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues, causing inflammation in the joints and potentially other areas of the body. It is the most common childhood rheumatic disease. In Ireland, 1,100 children and adolescents live with JIA and, according to Arthritis Ireland, over 100 children are newly diagnosed annually. The disease course can be unpredictable and children often experience symptoms that restrict physical and social interactions and negatively impact health-related quality of life. The Paediatric Rheumatologist-to-patient ratio in Ireland is the second lowest in Europe, which makes accessing care particularly difficult. The NUI Galway project will test an Irish adaptation of a Canadian online programme for managing arthritis combined with a novel peer mentoring programme. This programme will help teenagers learn to make decisions about their health, and meet and be inspired by other young people living with arthritis. Topics covered within the programme include managing symptoms, coping strategies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and planning for the future. Teenagers who have gone through the programmes in Canada showed improvements in their ability to take care of their own health, their understanding of arthritis, and they have less pain. Dr Hannah Durand, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Pain Research in NUI Galway, says: “While individually, both the self-management and peer mentoring programmes have been proven effective in improving JIA-related knowledge and self-management, they have never been combined nor have previous trials allowed individual tailoring, which is believed crucial to more effectively meet adolescents’ needs. This pilot trial will test the usability and the effectiveness of this combined programme for adolescents in Ireland. “Online programmes have the potential to increase access to evidence-based supports for teens living with JIA across the country. This pilot trial will provide us with critical information about what works for teens in Ireland specifically. The end product will be a culturally appropriate clinical tool developed in partnership with adolescents with JIA, their parents, health professionals and JIA organisations that will overcome current barriers to accessing self-management care and peer support.” For further information, please contact Dr Hannah Durand at email@example.com or phone at 091 495831. For more about the Centre for Pain Research, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre-for-pain-research/ -Ends-
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
University secures An Taisce’s prestigious international Green Flag accreditation NUI Galway was recently awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce’s Green-Campus programme on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. The internationally recognised ‘Green Flag’ award was announced following a rigorous assessment process. The Green-Campus Programme is an international environmental education and award scheme that promotes long-term, whole college action for the environment that empowers both students and staff to create a more balanced campus community and to reduce environmental impacts and associated costs. The Green Flag Award is the result of many years of hard work undertaken to promote best practice in sustainability across five themes which include energy, waste, travel, biodiversity and water. Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at NUI Galway Lorraine Rushe said: “This award is hugely important to the University as it recognises the engagement by staff and students and the vast effort and hard work that is ongoing in the thematic areas. Each theme poses its own unique challenges but is essential to ensuring that our campus achieves environmental, social and economic sustainability, which will benefit us now and into the future. Attaining the ‘An Taisce Green Campus Flag’ will act as a visual sign of the Universities commitment to sustainability and its achievements to date.” Campus projects in the area of sustainability include: A 34% reduction in energy since 2006, a metric audited and validated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). This exceeds the SEAI national target of a 33% reduction by 2020, which has resulted in a refreshed target of 40% reduction by 2020. This has been achieved through a range of measures, including a combined heat and power plant, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels, air to water heat pumps, the introduction of biomass boilers and the implementation of LED high efficient lighting systems across campus. Subscribing to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan in 2018 and introducing a pollinator-friendly planting scheme throughout the campus. The introduction of composting stacks, bird boxes and insect hotels to the Biodiversity Trail and other locations across campus, in addition to the establishment of herb beds and two new fruit gardens, which are used by staff and students and in campus restaurants. Reducing the impact of transport through the University’s park and ride shuttle bus service on campus coupled with the cycle-to-work scheme and the installation of 14 electric car-charging points across campus. A curriculum focus on sustainability with 230 modules across all Colleges that contain an element on, or a focus on, sustainability. Ensuring all disposable cups across outlets on campus are biodegradable. NUI Galway set up a Community and University Sustainability Project in 2015 under the direction of the Registrar and Deputy President, which launched its Sustainability Strategy in 2017. The Green Campus Committee work very closely with the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) team and their work involves spreading information to the wider University audience on issues varying from energy and greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity, health and wellbeing, the built environment, research and learning and governance and leadership. Registrar and Deputy President of NUI Galway and Chair of the Community and University Sustainability Project, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “NUI Galway recognises that we all have a role to play in building a sustainable society and universities have a particular responsibility to promote sustainability through education, knowledge exchange, research, corporate social responsibility and shaping future agendas. A sustainable campus is one which maintains a green and healthy environment, promotes the use of resources efficiently and instils in graduates and staff the importance of tackling environmental challenges.” Professor Ó Dochartaigh concluded: “This achievement would not be possible without the commitment of the campus community. The buildings and estates team, academics, administrators and students and staff across the campus have all played an important role in achieving the Green Flag. NUI Galway will continue to promote sustainability beyond the Green Campus programme and incorporate it into all aspects of University life as this is of utmost importance to the implementation of our Sustainability Strategy”. Michael John O’Mahony, Director of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, congratulated the NUI Galway Green-Campus Committee on their programme. “The commitment of the Green Campus committee and the wider campus community in NUI Galway is evident by the number, range and impact of activities being undertaken. Furthermore, the structures are in place to have sustainability at the core of how NUI Galway operates. The work in the areas of renewable energy and biodiversity are examples of best practice. The teamwork of staff, students and contractors in the Green Campus efforts are to be applauded. We are delighted to officially recognise the efforts of all at NUI Galway and we look forward to continuing to work with them.” -Ends-
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Earth Observation and space innovation-driven entrepreneurs and enterprises in Ireland encouraged to participate in Hackathon led by ICHEC founded at NUI Galway The Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC), has announced Ireland’s first Copernicus Hackathon, aimed at promoting the Earth Observation (EO) services sector across the country. The event takes place throughout the IT building at NUI Galway from 10-12 May 2019. The themes for the Hackathon contest represent areas where there is already significant expertise in Ireland, or significant need. These include digital agriculture, marine environment and security, unmanned aerial vehicles, energy and power, air quality and sustainable/ rural/socially responsible development. Hackathon participants will be challenged to come up with solutions for real-world problems using Copernicus satellite data (Copernicus is the European Earth Observation programme), and will compete for a range of awards, including cash prizes. The winners will be offered a place in the Copernicus Accelerator which offers a customised business development scheme for 50 visionary start-ups and entrepreneurs from Copernicus Participating Countries, the EU, Norway and Iceland, every year. A 30-day residency to develop solutions in the European Space Agency’s innovation-focused Phi Lab in Frascati, Italy is another of the prizes on offer. According to Dr Jenny Hanafin, Senior Earth Observation Scientist at ICHEC, founded at NUI Galway: “The space and Earth Observation ecosystem in Ireland has been developing rapidly in recent years and the first National Space Strategy is about to be published, acknowledging that this field has grown significantly. The strategy also establishes the means to support it with further growth. In Ireland there is a small but growing Earth Observation services sector. “ICHEC has recently launched its *SPÉir platform which aims to make satellite data easily accessible for Irish users, and promotes the use and application of Earth Observation and Copernicus data on a national basis. It’s clear that Ireland has a high level of the skills required to further develop this sector and our aim is that the proposed Hackathon event will help to achieve this.” Dr John Breslin, a Principal Investigator at the Confirm SFI Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing and Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway, says: “Hackathon is an ideal confluence point to bring together those with complementary skills – IT developers and designers, entrepreneurs and domain experts - to create exciting new applications based on Copernicus Earth Observation data and services. Ultimately, post event, we want to see more EO and space innovation-driven enterprises in Ireland, both hardware and software, with application areas ranging from smart manufacturing of new EO/space devices to systems tackling climate change or natural disasters.” According to Breslin, throughout the Hackathon the teams will get the opportunity to test out their initial innovative ideas on others, refine those innovations through a prototype, put a plan in place to take those ideas into a viable commercial proposition, and pitch the entire package to judges. Dr Breslin, added: “It’s important that people who are interested in different aspects of Earth Observation and space entrepreneurship attend the event, including those who like to hack or make things, like developers and designers, those who like to hustle and drive business, sales and growth, and those who bring the much-needed topic-specific expertise and know-how in Earth Observation and space. Remember that a technology innovation is nothing without a customer who wants to pay for it, so it must be a needs-led innovation.” The overall aims of the Hackathon are to raise awareness of commercial opportunities and to generate potential start-up, spawn-out or spinout ideas, and where possible provide support pathways to pre-commercial level for successful participants. A more general aim is to highlight the relevance of Copernicus data beyond the Space and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors, through the publicity generated by the event. Dr Hanafin, added: “To achieve these aims, we have invited a number of organisations to join us as partners for the event. These partners will allow us to leverage a range of skills that will be important in organising a successful, exciting event, promoting it to the relevant people, and supporting successful participants to take their hackathon ideas to the next level. “We are aiming for 50-60 participants to take part, with skills in Earth Observation, Geographic Information Systems, thematic areas like agriculture, marine, drones, data analysis, data visualisation, app development, web service development, graphic design, programming, project management, entrepreneurship and business development. We encourage anyone with any of these skills to register and take part, as it will be an exciting and fulfilling event.” Alongside ICHEC the event partners include TechInnovate at NUI Galway, Baily Labs, UCC Dept. of Geography, the National Centre for Geocomputation at MU, The National Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI), the OPW, Teagasc, ESA Phi-Lab, ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, Icon Group, GEO University, Údarás na Gaeltachta and The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC). Register at http://tinyurl.com/cophackie and for further information email firstname.lastname@example.org, check out the Copernicus Hackathon Ireland Facebook event page or follow on twitter @CopHackIE. -Ends-
Thursday, 18 April 2019
NUI Galway is holding the fourth national conference on Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in research. The theme of this year’s conference is Progressing Together, reflecting the continuous learning and growth of the PPI community. The conference takes place in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), North Campus, NUI Galway from 10am-4pm on Wednesday, 1 May. There’s a sea-change in health research in Ireland: more and more patients are working with research teams to help decide what exactly should be investigated, how research should be designed and conducted, and how research results should be communicated. PPI involves an active partnership between members of the public, patients, researchers and doctors to ensure that the voice of the public or patient influences all stages of the research process. Patients are experts in their illnesses and carers have important knowledge gained from all that they experience. Researchers often do not have personal, lived experience of what they are researching, and hearing from patients about the reality of living with a particular condition provides a powerful insight into what matters most to patients. Conference attendees will hear about PPI from various different perspectives, including people living with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Type 1 Diabetes; the parent’s perspective; the patient’s voice in healthcare; and the use of health data for research. The conference is jointly hosted by the HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland and PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway. The HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland is a collaborative group of researchers conducting clinical trials through general practice and primary care. Professor Andrew Murphy, NUI Galway and Director, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, said: “The public and patient voice needs to be listened to and heard, in order to ensure that our research is effective and meaningful for patients.” Professor Seán Dinneen, Consultant Endocrinologist at NUI Galway and UHG, and leader of this programme says: “PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway is providing training and support to help researchers and patients understand what PPI is and why it matters, and how to build partnerships that allow the public and patients to influence the research we conduct. Patients want to help and have an impact. PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway will help bring this about.” Presenters will attend from the UK, Denmark and the US, including Professor Carolyn Jenkins (Medical University of South Carolina) and Derek Stewart (OBE). Derek is a patient advocate from the UK who will be speaking about “Sustaining PPI – getting the balance right” and what he considers to be the key elements of a successful partnership working from a patient’s perspective and challenging the notion of the “usual suspects”. He will also provide expert feedback as part of a panel for short oral presentations on PPI. Derek Stewart, said: “I am really looking forward to coming back to Galway. The PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway initiative in Ireland is one of the most exciting and innovative approaches to improving people’s health.” Dr Avril Kennan, CEO, Medical Research Charities Group will deliver a workshop titled “Should researchers be trusted with your health data?” - where attendees will share how they would like to see their health data managed. Avril Kennan said: “The law has changed recently so that scientists must fully inform patients how their health data will be used for research. There are positives and negatives to the new ways of working and we want to tease out what patients think about them. We have an exciting plan to bring the findings from the workshop to policy and decision makers, in the hope of making health research work better for everyone.” The conference is free and open to the public, researchers and all healthcare professionals with an interest in research and in hearing the voice of the patient. The conference will also be streamed live on the day from: www.primarycaretrials.ie. Registration beforehand is essential and for more information, visit: www.primarycaretrials.ie or email email@example.com, or contact Dr Nikita Burke, Development Manager with HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, NUI Galway on 091 495308. The conference is supported by the HRB Trials Methodology Research Network and the Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science and Industry (IPPOSI). -Ends-
Thursday, 18 April 2019
University students win three awards including Editor and Newspaper of the Year NUI Galway’s students were presented with three awards at the National Student Media Awards on Thursday night. Hosted by Oxygen.ie, the National Student Media Awards, or SMedias as they are known, are in their 19th Year and honour Ireland’s best young talent in media. NUI Galway’s student newspaper Sin was awarded College Newspaper of the Year. The bi-weekly publication has a circulation of 6,000 and is staffed by students from a variety of courses. The newspaper of the year award is sponsored by The Irish Times whose editors helped to judge this year’s submissions. Bachelor of Arts with Journalism student Áine Kenny took home the Irish Independent’s highly competitive Editor of the Year award. The 21-year-old journalist from Dundalk, Co. Louth, is the editor of Sin newspaper, which is the University’s only college publication. Baitsiléir sna Dána – Cumarsáid (Bachelor of Arts - Communications) student Amy Coy from Loughrea, Co. Galway was present with the Iriseoireacht trí Ghaeilge – Raidió award. Speaking after the award, Áine Kenny said that the win would not have been possible without the Sin team. “The award for newspaper of the year, and editor of the year, was made possible by the wonderful team of volunteers we have working on the paper. This is a group production where everyone plays a part, from our writers, our stellar editorial team, our Deputy Editor Martha and our graphic designer Shannon. I also want to thank the Students’ Union for their continued support and Tom Felle of the Journalism department. Hopefully there will be many more awards to come.” Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, congratulated Ms Kenny and all the other students who were part of team that won awards at the SMedias: “This is a wonderful achievement for Áine and all the student journalists involved in SIN, the student newspaper. These major awards – best student newspaper in the country, best editor, and best Irish language radio documentary – demonstrate the high calibre of learning in our journalism and cumarsáid programmes at NUI Galway. The University has a long history of producing top quality journalism graduates. The University has recently re-launched our journalism programmes and a new BA Journalism and MA Sports Journalism programmes will launch next September.” -Ends-
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan T.D., and Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, Drew Harris, will address a major conference on ‘Policing, Human Rights and Communities’ hosted by the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday, 26 April. The conference will focus on the main recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, published last September, which acknowledged human rights as the core purpose of policing and committed unequivocally to the ideal of policing with communities. The conference will also consider new arrangements for national security that are being put in place as part of the implementation plan for the Commission’s report. Lord David Anderson of Ipswich, KBE, QC, who was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the United Kingdom, will speak about these new structures and the appropriate level of oversight required. The conference will also be addressed by, among others: Emily Logan, the Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission; Liam Herrick, the Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Professor Maura Conway of Dublin City University; Dr Mick Feehan, former Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Síochána; Dr Sindy Joyce, Human Rights Activist and Member of the Council of State; and Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Donncha O’Connell, School of Law at NUI Galway and a member of the Commission on the Future of Policing, who is convening the conference, said: “This conference provides an invaluable opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to engage critically with the process of policing reform currently under way in Ireland, especially as the reform process relates to the core issues of human rights and policing and policing with communities. There is already huge interest in the event and, in order to include the widest possible audience, we will be livestreaming proceedings for the entire day and making videos of each session available afterwards.” To register for the conference visit https://policinghumanrights.eventbrite.ie. -Ends-
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
NUI Galway students were awarded a bursary of €3,000 to make their idea for a better Ireland a reality at the Pathways to Progress event last week. Their winning project, Understanding Le Chéile, seeks to raise awareness of autism in schools and businesses around Ireland. Understanding Le Chéile is a project that empowers people with autism to deliver information workshops that raise awareness of autism in schools and businesses around Ireland. Now in its second year, the Pathways to Progress initiative is a key element of the partnership between Citi Foundation and Enactus Ireland. The partnership aims to provide resources for students to empower people between the ages of 16 and 24 from disadvantaged urban areas around Ireland. Successful projects receive seed funding, intensive training, mentoring and guidance from Citi volunteers and Enactus Ireland staff. NUI Galway student, Caoimhe Farrell, Academic Leader of Understanding Le Chéile, said: “We continue to strive towards making our goals a reality in ensuring equal treatment for everyone in the academic and corporate settings regardless of their physical, intellectual or emotional abilities.” Ronan Lavin, Corporate Leader of Understanding Le Chéile and NUI Galway student, said: “We hope to pave a way for businesses and schools to encourage, build and nurture environments founded on inclusion, collaboration and respect.” On this year’s finalists, Ray Kirwan, Senior Compliance Officer from Citi, said: “Citi is delighted to have hosted the final Dragon’s Den pitch, as part of our Pathways to Progress programme with Enactus. The judging panel were all really impressed with the quality of the projects and the work the teams put into them. While the panel found it difficult to select one winning project, Understanding Le Chéile stood out for the impact and empowerment for all involved as well as how it has developed over the last 12 months, with more opportunities to grow in the future. To learn more about Enactus Ireland and the Pathways to Progress initiative visit www.enactus.ie. -Ends-
Monday, 15 April 2019
Astronomers at NUI Galway are part of an international team which for the first time have used the VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes to measure the angular diameter of stars. The study was published today (15, April 2019) in the journal Nature Astronomy. VERITAS is an array of four 12-metre gamma-ray telescopes located at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona. They are used to detect very-high-energy gamma radiation from exotic objects in space. They do this by measuring the brief flashes of visible light produced when gamma rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr Gary Gillanders of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway, explains: “Stars are so far away from us that they appear as points of light in the sky. Their diameters are usually estimated indirectly using measurements of temperature and brightness.” The VERITAS team have directly measured the angular diameter of two stars by using an asteroid occultation method in which the shadow cast on the Earth when an asteroid passes between the star and the Earth is measured. This is a first for telescopes of the type used by VERITAS, and opens up a new window for direct measurement of the size of stars. Amy Joyce, then an MSc student at NUI Galway was part of the observing crew which measured one of the occultations. Supported by the Irish Research Council, she is now based at the European Space Agency in Madrid. According to Amy Joyce: “The occultation is like a mini solar eclipse, although it is extremely faint and only lasts a few seconds, VERITAS is an ideal instrument to detect it.” Dr Mark Lang of the School of Physics, Centre for Astronomy at NUI Galway welcomed the results: “Normally we use VERITAS to observe objects like the supermassive black hole in M87, recently imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope. Now we have shown that VERITAS can make other types of measurements”. The study was led by Dr Michael Daniel of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Dr Tarek Hassan of DESY, the German high-energy physics institute. The VERITAS collaboration includes colleagues at UCD and Cork IT. To read the full study on Monday, 15 April at 16:00 London time in Nature Astronomy, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0741-z -Ends-
Monday, 15 April 2019
MERLIN is one of four separate clinical trials by Orbsen Therapeutics studying ORBCEL stromal cell immunotherapies designed to treat some of the most challenging diseases Orbsen Therapeutics, an NUI Galway spin-out biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialisation of stromal cell immunotherapies, announced its second generation immunotherapy ORBCEL-C is being administered to patients participating in MERLIN, a multi-site UK-based clinical trial to determine the therapy’s safety and effectiveness in treating two types of chronic autoimmune liver diseases. Dr Larry Couture, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics, said: “Orbsen’s product pipeline featuring ORBCEL immunotherapies has tremendous potential to make a significant impact on illnesses related to diabetes, autoimmunity and inflammation, as well as chronic liver diseases.” MERLIN is investigating ORBCEL-C’s ability to safely and effectively treat individuals with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a condition characterised by inflammation in the bile ducts, and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), a disease which causes the body’s immune system to attack the liver. If left untreated, both conditions may lead to cirrhosis or liver failure and subsequently require liver transplantation. Dr Stephen Elliman, Chief Scientific Officer at Orbsen Therapeutics and who discovered the ORBCEL therapy at NUI Galway, said: “Patients suffering with PSC and AIH have few therapeutic options today, and most patients require liver transplantation. We are optimistic taking ORBCEL-C immunotherapy to the clinic as a solution to preserve liver function and slow progression of these autoimmune liver diseases, ultimately reducing the need for liver transplants in these patients.” The clinical trial, which will follow as many as 56 patients through the treatment process, is under the direction of Chief Investigator Professor Phil Newsome from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy. Study sites include Birmingham, Oxford and Nottingham. “I am very excited about the potential benefits of this treatment for patients with PSC and AIH,” said Professor Newsome. “There is good evidence the selected cells within this new immunotherapy can reduce liver inflammation and improve liver function. The study aims to prove the treatment’s safety and efficacy, and explore the possibility it may be applied to future clinical trials to address other immune and inflammatory diseases.” Orbsen’s proprietary ORBCEL technology yields nearly 100 percent pure stromal cells, a significant increase in purity when compared to first generation stromal cell therapies. Orbsen is currently enrolling and treating patients in three additional clinical trials to assess ORBCEL’s safety and efficacy in the prevention and treatment of diabetic kidney disease, non-healing diabetic foot ulcers and moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Another trial is pending for patients with several auto-immune disorders. For more information about Orbsen Therapeutics: https://orbsentherapeutics.com/ -Ends-
Monday, 15 April 2019
This summer, researchers, students and industry professionals can apply to take part in the KDU Visual Analytics Summer School, being held at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway. In addition to contributions from invited world-leading researchers and practitioners, the summer school will draw on expertise present in NUI Galway’s Data Science Institute, Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre, J.E, Cairnes School of Business & Economics, and the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies. Visual Analytics is increasingly used to help decision-makers who rely on “Big Data” to make their decisions. It supports analytical thinking and reasoning, by combining advances in areas such as Information Visualisation, Data Mining and Big Data. These combined provide users with interactive interfaces and meaningful processing abilities to draw out insights for their analyses. Invited speaker, Professor Alex Endert of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech said: “The research and development of tools and skills needed to understand data are becoming ever more important in today’s data-driven society. People, businesses, and governments who have technology to understand and use data will have greater opportunities. Visual Analytics occupies an important space in the space of data science and data literacy. In continuing to advance visual analytics as a discipline, we can continue to increase people’s data and analytic literacy.” Speaking at the announcement of the KDU Visual Analytics Summer School, organiser Heike Vornhagen of NUI Galway’s Data Science Institute said: “Helping people to develop skills in an emerging area that will have a lasting impact on both their research and career prospects is very exciting. It is a fantastic opportunity to spend time learning from how those in other sectors have developed their skills, approach problems, and implement solutions. Our hope is that it becomes a basis for a network of expertise through which future projects can be run”. Despite the growing importance of Big Data for multinational companies, government agencies and in a wide variety of public and private-sector organisations, there are few opportunities for people to upskill and to learn from others in different fields. Participants in the Summer School will be drawn from fields such as data analysis, visualisation, digital humanities, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), business and IT. Dr Noel Carroll of Lero said: “We see that visual analytics is an integral part of our industry research collaborations to combine visualisation, human factors, data analysis, and business value insights to better inform decision-making processes.” The workshop will consist of keynote talks to identify current trends and stimulate thinking, lectures to deepen participants’ understanding of the subject area, and hands-on tutorials to further participation and engagement. The KDU Visual Analytics Summer School will run from 10-14 June at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway. Further details can be found at http://vass.datascienceinstitute.ie/, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org -Ends-
Monday, 15 April 2019
Adele Gabba, a PhD student in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, has been awarded the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Inaugural Postgraduate Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to research. Originally from Italy, Adele is an Irish Research Council funded PhD scholar, who is currently in the final year of her study. She has been working on synthesis and evaluation of ligands for the macrophage galactose C-type lectin (CLEC10A). CLEC10A is a protein found on the surface of cells of the immune system, and has a role in viral infection, such as infection by the Ebola virus. She has conducted her research mostly at NUI Galway and also travelled for periods to ISAS in Germany to the laboratory of Ulrika Westerlind, supported by an EMBO travel award, and to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (affiliated with the Harvard Medical School in Boston) to the laboratory of Gabriel Birrane. The award from the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland also acknowledged Adele’s unwavering commitment to supporting and promoting Chemistry within her University and via her active participation in a wide array of public engagement initiatives. Adele has been very active in Kitchen Chemistry, which contributes to public events, such as the Galway Science and Technology Festival. She has also contributed to other events such as FameLab and Soapbox Science. Professor John Cassidy, President of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland praised the excellence of Adele’s research as well as recognising the mentorship she provides to younger students. Professor Celine Marmion, incoming President of the Institute, offered her congratulations to Adele, indicating she is a most worthy recipient of this award and wished her continued success and happiness in her current and future endeavors. Professor Marmion also offered congratulations to her PhD supervisor, Professor Paul Murphy, to the School of Chemistry and to NUI Galway. Dr Patrick O’Leary, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “It’s great to see Adele’s work being recognised. She has truly embraced all that a PhD can offer in terms of her own research excellence, exposure to other research areas, training as a science communicator and inspiring the next generation of STEM students. Once she finishes in NUI Galway we look forward to seeing bright career ahead for her.” The Institute of Chemistry is the professional body representing chemists in Ireland. The mission of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland is to promote Chemistry and to represent the profession of Chemistry in Ireland. -Ends-
Monday, 15 April 2019
As part of a new Spotlight on Research lecture series at NUI Galway’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Maura Farrell from the School of Geography and Archaeology will address the increasingly important topic of ‘Researching the Rural: Going Global and Staying Local’ on Tuesday, 7 May. Dr Maura Farrell is currently the Principle Investigator on the National Rural Network Project and the more recent European Commission funded Horizon 2020 RURALIZATION Project. Dr Farrell has been appointed to many national and international committees and organisations, including an appointment by the Minister for Rural and Community Development to the Monitoring Committee for the Action Plan for Rural Development and by DG-AGRI to an evaluation and reflection group for the LEADER Programme. In her talk, Dr Farrell will outline key aspects of her rural research projects, their directions, outcomes and impacts. Dr Farrell remarks: “Rural research has multiple dimensions and directions, all striving to ascertain current rural endeavours and influence policy and practice. Developing a research trajectory within the rural sphere, requires an exploration of the theoretical, conceptual and empirical boundaries of rural studies. One of the foremost themes supporting such research is the nature of social, economic, political and cultural restructuring of rural areas driven by forces of globalisation, social modernisation and technological innovation. Entwined in this process is the understanding of rural localities as sites through which these and other influences are conveyed, challenged and replicated.” Dr Seán Crosson, Vice-Dean for Research in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The Spotlight on Research series aims to highlight the world leading and ground-breaking research being undertaken across our College. Academics within the College have received national and international recognition for the research they are undertaking, including major awards and research funding. This series provides a platform for us to bring these research achievements to the attention of both the academic community and the wider general public.” The lecture will be held in GO10, Moore Institute at 1pm on Tuesday, 7 May. Upcoming lectures in the series include: On Thursday, 6 June at 1pm in the Moore Institute, Dr Charlotte McIvor, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, Dr Pádraig MacNeela, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, and Kate Dawson of the School of Psychology, discuss the The Active Consent programme, recently awarded major funding support by the Lifes2good Foundation in partnership with Galway University Foundation and NUI Galway. -Ends-
Friday, 12 April 2019
New laboratory will carry out research in disruptive technologies and nature-based solutions for environmental protection and the Irish biobased economy NUI Galway has officially launched a new research laboratory, featuring the latest analytical equipment to characterise biofuels produced from organic waste as well as the microbial communities which produce these fuels. Professor Piet Lens will lead a team of 25 PhD and post-doctoral researchers in the Department of Microbiology at NUI Galway, which includes almost €1 million of advanced analytical equipment, funded through an investment under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, ‘Innovative Energy Technologies for Bioenergy, Biofuels and a Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy’. Professor Piet Lens is a leading expert in environmental biotechnology and recently joined NUI Galway as an Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at the University’s College of Science and Engineering. Professor Lens and his team are spearheading this major research project to transform waste and wastewater treatment into production processes as part of a circular economy. The project will develop new technologies to produce biobased renewable fuels (such as hydrogen from dairy effluent) that are generated from waste products (such as butanol from spent brewery grains). These can be added to Ireland’s energy mix, supporting the Government’s strategy for an energy self-sufficient Irish bioeconomy. The laboratory performs research on a whole suite of disruptive, high-tech solutions for waste minimisation and material recycling that are already at our disposal, such as anaerobic digesters, a process used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels, that will be developed over the coming years. Besides high-tech solutions, nature-based technologies will also be developed with the aim of tackling socio-environmental challenges such as climate change, water security, water pollution, food security and human health. These pollution control technologies are based on processes as they occur in wetlands and algal ponds. Also, the biomanufacturing of new biobased products such as fertilizers and biocommodities (such as polylactic acid and bioplastic). At the launch, Professor Piet Lens, NUI Galway, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for NUI Galway to develop new technologies that transform wastewater and waste into energy and biocommodities. The investment of Science Foundation Ireland in this area is a response to the nation’s Climate Action Plan and ambitions to become a self-sustainable island for energy, where renewable biofuels are generated out of our wastes.” -Ends-
Friday, 12 April 2019
Next week will see almost 1,500 international neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, patient advocates and patient organisations gather in Dublin for the ‘BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience’, the biggest neuroscience festival to be held in Europe in 2019 and the first time to be held outside of Britain. The Festival will take place from the 14-19 April in Dublin. Neuroscience, by definition, is the science of the brain and nervous system, but it is so much more than these simple words indicate. Our brain is the seat of our personalities, our identities, our thoughts, our emotions, our memories, our motivations, our perceptions, our creativity, our joys and our fears. Neuroscience encompasses everything from how our brains, spines and nerves develop whilst in the uterus, to how they continue to develop and adapt to our environments and lifestyles as we grow through infancy, through adolescence into adulthood, and on to death. It is also the study of brain and nervous system diseases and disorders including genetic conditions like Huntington’s disease; neurological conditions like epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and chronic debilitating pain; and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some of the latest Irish research being showcased includes how the bacteria in our gut can influence our brains, how concussion and brain injury affects children’s brains, how exercise can improve brain health in ageing, how medicinal cannabis could be harnessed to treat brain conditions, and many more topics. Lead Irish Organiser and President of Neuroscience Ireland, Dr Eilís Dowd from NUI Galway, says: “The BNA Festivals of Neuroscience are unparalleled in their ability to draw together expertise from across different neuroscience domains and to stimulate cross-disciplinary discussion and collaboration. Hosting the event in Ireland will provide the Irish neuroscience community with the opportunity to showcase the very best of Irish neuroscience research, thereby building and strengthening British, European and International research collaborations and networks. Ultimately, it is such cross-disciplinary, collaborative research that will accelerate the development of new therapies for brain and nervous system conditions.” One of the unique features of the Festivals of Neuroscience is that they are a celebration of neuroscience that are not just open to the neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, but they are also open to everyone else. In parallel with the scientific conference which will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin from 14–17 April, there will also be a Public Festival of Neuroscience that will run in venues throughout Dublin from 13–19 April. A total of 17 public events, coordinated by 30 organisations and 45 individuals, will feature in the programme, and there is something for anyone with an interest in neuroscience Lead Organiser of the Public Programme, Dr Áine Kelly, TCD, said: “The public outreach programme of the Festival of Neuroscience provides wonderful opportunities for the general public to hear about brain health and brain research directly from world-leading neuroscience researchers. Many events focus on neurological or psychiatric conditions, and are designed to encourage interaction between patients, carers, clinicians and researchers. These include events on Huntington’s disease, delirium, depression, teenage mental health and epilepsy. There is a strong arts focus to the programme, which includes films screenings, music and dance performances, a neuroscience-themed art installation and an interactive event on ageing and the arts. The programme caters for all tastes and interests and most events have a social element, with time dedicated to discussion and interaction. There really is something for everyone, so come along, learn, enjoy!” Neuroscience Ireland is Ireland’s official neuroscience society, a charitable organisation that promotes and supports neuroscience research in all of the major Irish academic institutions, as well as in several major Science Foundation Ireland multi-institutional research centres including APC (Microbiome Ireland), CÚRAM (the Centre for Research in Medical Devices), FutureNeuro (the Centre for Neurological Diseases), and INFANT (the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research). Networking and collaboration between Irish neuroscience researchers is facilitated by several neuroscience networks in Ireland including Neuroscience Ireland, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland, the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, and the Irish Brain Council, and is supported financially by the Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, as well as through funding from the European Union, the Wellcome Trust, and many other national and international sources, including several Irish patient organisations. For more information about the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience, visit: http://meetings.bna.org.uk/bna2019/. Follow on Twitter @NeuroscienceIRL, @BritishNeuro and #BNA2019. -Ends-
Thursday, 11 April 2019
The Irish Centre for Human Rights and School of Law at NUI Galway has won a major EU contract for Irish Law and Social Data Research, once again becoming Ireland’s national focal point for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. This is the second time that the prestigious FRANET-Ireland contract for data collection and research services on fundamental rights issues in Ireland has been awarded to the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The new contract covers a period of four years and will run until November 2022. The research focuses on a number of thematic areas that are reported on annually, these include: Access to justice; asylum, migration and borders; information society, privacy and data protection; gender; hate crime; LGBTI; people with disabilities; racism and related intolerances; rights of the child; Roma rights. FRANET is the EU Fundamental Rights’ Agency’s multidisciplinary research network. The work of the Fundamental Rights Agency is critical in informing EU policy and fundamental rights across the EU member States. The Irish Centre for Human Rights has assembled a team of Ireland’s leading human rights and social science experts, located at academic institutions and in civil society, to analyse and report on the state of human rights in Ireland, and to raise awareness of the public policy importance of the Fundamental Rights Agency’s research and legal opinions. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and FRANET Senior Expert for Ireland, commented: “We are very pleased to take this leading role in analysing the protection of fundamental rights in Ireland, and thereby contributing to the strengthening of fundamental rights in Ireland and across the EU. We are particularly pleased to partner with Ireland’s leading human rights researchers and civil society advocates to undertake this ground-breaking work.” Under the previous FRANET contract the Irish team of experts led by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, completed a multi-year project on The Right to Independent Living for Persons with Disabilities. The project identified drivers and barriers to the transition to community-based support in fulfilment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. For more information, contact Emily Brennan FRANET Research Manager, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway at email@example.com or 091 493946. -Ends-
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
The British Neuroscience Association is hosting the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience in Dublin this April, the first time that this prestigious event has ever taken place outside of the UK. One event of the festival will take place in Galway, Brain Movie Night at An Palás cinema on Thursday, 11 April from 6pm-9pm. Two documentaries, ‘Feats of Modest Valour’ and ‘A Tiny Spark’, which were made as part of the Science on Screen initiative will be screened and followed by a reception. Science on Screen is run by CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre, and both of these films look at different aspects of research in neuroscience which are taking place at NUI Galway. ‘Feats of Modest Valour’, directed by Mia Mullarkey and Alice McDowell of Ishka Films was produced in 2016 and introduces us to Tom, Milena and Brian who have Parkinson’s Disease and also to researchers led by Dr Eilis Dowd in NUI Galway, who are working on the BrainMatTrain project which aims to halt or even cure this disease. This film has screened throughout the world and has won multiple international awards. ‘A Tiny Spark’, directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, is the newest output of the Science on Screen programme and was produced in 2018. In the film, we meet Rebecca, Trevor and Helen, who have each suffered strokes, and we meet the research team, led by Dr Karen Doyle at NUI Galway, who are conducting a study, the first of its kind in the world, to examine the components of blood clots. At this film’s premiere last year, a lively audience Q&A took place afterwards raising many issues around stroke and its treatment in Ireland. The free event is organised by Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s Official Neuroscience Society, and is supported by the Galway Neuroscience Centre, CÚRAM, Cerenovus and Science Foundation Ireland. Tickets to the event are free, but places are limited. Bookings can be made at www.eventbrite.com and search for (Brain Movie Night). For more information contact Mary Deely, Science on Screen, CÚRAM, NUI Galway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter #ScienceonScreen, #BNA2019, @NeuroscienceIRL, @BritishNeuro. -Ends-
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host its Annual Research Day on Wednesday, 10 April in the Hardiman Research Building. Martina Lawless from the Economic and Social Research Institute will give the keynote speech at 12noon on Brexit and trade on the island of Ireland. The theme of this year’s Research Day will be ‘Life After Brexit: What Changes for Ireland?’ No matter what form Brexit eventually takes, the UK’s exit from the European Union will likely have significant effects on many aspects of life on the island of Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. Members of the Whitaker Institute will provide their expert insights into the potential impact of Brexit across a range of areas, including business activity, public policy, politics and the law. Speaking in advance of the Research Day, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland and the UK are deeply integrated across several dimensions, so it is crucial that we understand fully the range of exposures and risks for Ireland stemming from Brexit. As there remains great uncertainty about the final Brexit outcome, we need to carefully consider a range of scenarios to help businesses and policymakers to take steps to mitigate some of the effects of Brexit on Irish society.” Martina Lawless has been at the forefront of research at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on the potential effects of Brexit on Ireland. Her evidence on how Brexit would affect trade across various sectors in Ireland has played an important role in informing this country’s preparations for Brexit. The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway is named after the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, widely recognised for setting Ireland’s economy on a path of internationalisation and modernisation. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Whitaker demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. The Whitaker Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland today and internationally. The event will take place in Seminar Rooms G010 and G011, Ground Floor, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway on Wednesday 10 April. Attendance is free. For registration and to download the full schedule, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/whitaker-research-day-2019/ -Ends-
Monday, 8 April 2019
New MA in Creative Arts in autumn 2019 and major GIAF theatre production coming to campus this July NUI Galway and Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) today announced details of a new MA in Creative Arts: Producing and Curation, with applications now open and the first classes commencing in autumn 2019. This new course is the latest initiative arising from the ongoing partnership between the University and the Festival. The one-year full time programme for the MA in Creative Arts will ensure students develop skills in: Creative producing - putting in place the practical steps needed to turn an artistic vision into a realised project for an audience – whether the work is in the performing arts, literature, visual arts, or an interdisciplinary area. Curation - the assembly and delivery of artistic experiences for audiences, whether those experiences are in the form of arts collections, digital objects on a website, or a programme of performances in a festival (among other possibilities). Over the course of this new MA, students will have ongoing contact with GIAF team members through a regular GIAF-led speaker series as well as participating in SELECTED, the Festival’s professional development programme for emerging artists, theatre makers, curators and producers studying at NUI Galway. This latest development between GIAF and NUI Galway builds on the existing partnership built around a number of initiatives; SELECTED, the Festival Volunteer programme and the University’s role as a key Festival venue hub where, in July 2018, over 50,000 people came onto the campus to attend Festival events taking place across NUI Galway venues. To coincide with the course announcement, GIAF has announced its first theatre show of the 2019 programme, which will be one of a number of productions taking place on the University campus in 2019. Following their triumphant GIAF debut in 2017 with Tristan & Yseult, the celebrated UK theatre company Kneehigh is back with their theatrical tour-de-force Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) based on John Gay’s The Beggar's Opera. Written by Carl Grose with original score by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd; Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) is busting with wit, wonder and weirdness. Using their legendary mix of puppetry, physical theatre and live music, the extraordinary cast of actor-musicians shoot and shimmy their way through this timeless story of power and lies in this trail-blazing and much celebrated production. It will run at the Bailey Allen Hall on the NUI Galway campus from 16 – 20 July as part of GIAF19. Dr Charlotte McIvor, current Programme Director and Head of Discipline in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “Students will emerge from this programme as reflective practitioners with diverse transferable practical skills across these two interrelated industries. We aim to produce graduates capable of engaging with the shifting and complex demands of the creative arts industries in Ireland and beyond. To work in this area, you need to have a creative arts knowledge base that is diverse, interdisciplinary and ultimately practical - perspectives this programme emphasizes in the modules and experiences that are part of the degree. Without the work of producers and curators, the greatest works of art in our time would never have reached their audiences. In order to protect the arts and grow our creative industries, we need the best possible people in these roles, and this programme seeks to find and nurture them.” John Crumlish, CEO, Galway International Arts Festival, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this initiative which will play such an important role in delivering the next generation of cultural producers and curators. If Ireland is to compete with the best in this arena, courses such as this will be invaluable in helping create the individuals capable of delivering excellence at both a national and international level.” To view a video on the new MA in Creative Arts: Producing and Curation visit https://youtu.be/8t-nGdd4Klo. For further information, contact Dr Charlotte McIvor at email@example.com or phone 091 492631. To make an application to this programme, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/creative-arts-producing-and-curation.html For details about Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) at Galway International Arts Festival see https://www.giaf.ie/events/dead-dog-suitcase -Ends-
Monday, 8 April 2019
NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will host a public lecture on the topic, ‘Gendering Counter-Terrorism’ on Thursday, 11 April, at 5pm. The lecture will be delivered by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, and chaired by Hon Justice Ms Iseult O’Malley, Supreme Court of Ireland. Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin said: “The abuse of counter-terrorism measures is global and scalar. States use the threat (perceived or real) of terrorism to crack down on peaceful protest, limit freedom of speech, suspend women's rights, threaten environmental activists, bloggers, indigenous leaders, moderate political leaders - and sometimes anyone who simply exercises their legitimate human rights to disagree with government. Terrorism and countering terrorism are the most pernicious threats to the protection of human rights in the world today. This crisis has not diminished since the events of 9/11.” Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, commented: “We look forward to welcoming Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin to NUI Galway. The gender dimensions of counter-terrorism measures remain under-explored, yet raise pressing questions of human rights, and equality. Professor Ní Aoláin’s visit to the Irish Centre for Human Rights is an important opportunity for us to address gender equality in counter-terrorism measures taken by States and to hear about the current work of the UN Rapporteur, at a challenging time for multilateral cooperation in the field of human rights.” Places are limited and early booking is advised at https://bit.ly/2K44rKD. For further information visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/irish-centre-human-rights/newsevents/annual-lecture-with-professor-fionnuala-ni-aolain.html, or contact Siobhán Mullally at firstname.lastname@example.org or 091 493609. -Ends-
Friday, 5 April 2019
New Times Higher Education Rankings Recognise Contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals The new Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings have placed NUI Galway 20th in the world for addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for Good Health and Wellbeing. This is the first edition of the new ranking to measure global universities’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes metrics based on 11 of the 17 SDGs. SDG 3 relates to Good Health and Wellbeing on the basis that “ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing at all ages is essential to sustainable development.” Speaking today, NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It’s a positive development that universities’ contribution to the sustainable development agenda is now being measured. At NUI Galway, we’re committed to working for the benefit of society, and make a distinctive contribution in the area of population health and wellbeing, as the basis upon which all other aspects of society can flourish.” The rankings measure institutional commitment to supporting Good Health and Wellbeing through teaching, research and knowledge transfer, as well as embodying the goals in internal practices, policies and procedures. Prof Ó hÓgartaigh continued: “The University ranking reflects the many and varied activities of our University community in this area, from our contribution to EU-wide physical and mental health initiatives to working with the public on activities from sports to mindfulness. We look forward to illustrating our distinctive commitment to these sustainable development goals as we develop our University strategy.” ENDS
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Minister Halligan launched 2019 National IP Protocol, referencing Ireland’s “competitive edge” Protocol provides a practical framework for businesses to access and use Irish research with a dedicated section on the formation of spin-out companies NUI Galway spin-out company Loci Orthopaedics shares its spin-out experience with attendees Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s (KTI) national roadshow to present the IP Protocol 2019 to businesses and researchers around the country, arrived in NUI Galway today. The Protocol, which is in its third edition, is produced and managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation. It provides a practical, best practice framework for businesses, from start-ups and SMEs to large multi-nationals and entrepreneurs to access and utilise Irish research to drive economic growth. The Protocol sets a benchmark for good practice in the commercialisation of valuable intellectual property all around the country, on terms that are fair to researchers and business alike, and in ways that are predictable and consistent from one negotiation to the next. The IP Protocol has been a reference point for business and research communities since it was first produced by the Department in 2012. This new Protocol is an update to the previous IP Protocol published in 2016. Recognising the significant numbers of spin-out companies coming out of research performing organisations around the country, the new Protocol includes a dedicated section on best practice in the formation of spin-out companies. It also includes a summary of the issues relating to state aid in the commercialisation of research. Brendan Boland, CEO of Loci Orthopaedics, an NUI Galway-based spin-out company, shared his first-hand experience of growing a spin-out company with attendees at the event: “One in 10 of the general population and one in three women over 55 suffer from thumb base arthritis and through our research with NUI Galway, a hugely innovative implant for the treatment of this condition came into being. With the support of the Innovation Office at the University, we have been able to take this technology and spin out of the lab and onto the path of commercialising it for the benefit of arthritis sufferers around the world. “I am very pleased that the IP Protocol 2019 includes a new chapter on spin-out company formation which is a great acknowledgement of the importance of university spin-outs in the start-up ecosystem of Ireland and I look forward to sharing some of the highs and lows from our journey so far with attendees at today’s 2019 IP Protocol launch.” Commenting, Minister Halligan, Minister of State at the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills, said: “The commercialisation of public research to drive innovation and Ireland’s economic competitiveness is a key pillar of the Government’s innovation strategy, Innovation 2020. While investment in research performing organisations the length and breadth of the country is critical, it must go hand in hand with an effective strategy to put that research into the hands of businesses for the benefit of the Irish economy and society. The National IP Protocol is a key element of that strategy. “In today’s climate, more than ever, it is vital that we harness the considerable abilities of Ireland’s researchers, so as to give businesses the best possible competitive edge on the European and global stage.” Commenting, Alison Campbell, Director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland, said: “I am delighted to welcome the publication of the new IP Protocol. The new section on spin-out company formation developed in consultation with people operating at the coal-face is particularly welcome and was drafted to address a gap in the framework. The range of practical tools produced by Knowledge Transfer Ireland that are referenced throughout the Protocol and its associated Resource Guide have been expanded. The aim of these tools is to provide relevant resources that demystify knowledge transfer and allow commercialisation and collaboration to flourish, while protecting the interests of all parties and freeing up researchers and businesses to get on with the business of innovating.” The National IP Protocol 2019 comprises two documents: 1) the policy document which sets out the framework underpinning research collaboration and access to intellectual property from state-funded research. 2) the resource guide which provides an overview of the national IP management guidelines and links to a wealth of resources and template documents that support these guidelines. It also provides an overview of the knowledge transfer structures in Ireland and the kinds of agreements that can be used to formalise research-industry engagements and spin-out company-related contracts. The Protocol is the product of an extensive consultative process facilitated by Knowledge Transfer Ireland with representatives from industry, investors, entrepreneurs, agencies and research organisations to ensure that Government policy supports all types of enterprises engaging with publicly-funded research in Ireland. For more information or to download the National IP Protocol 2019 visit www.knowledgetransferireland.com/managingIP
Thursday, 4 April 2019
The Irish Universities Association, (IUA) signed an agreement in Jakarta today with the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education (MoRTHE) in Indonesia to participate in its overseas scholarship programme as a trusted partner. The programme places PhD candidates into Irish Universities who are currently lecturing in Indonesian Universities. The agreement is for five years and the IUA hope to see over 300 students progress through the program. The agreement signing was witnessed by representatives of a number of Irish universities travelling in the region. This follows on from the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of Higher Education and Research signed by the MoRTHE with the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland in September 2018, in Jakarta by then Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton. There are over 4,000 public and private universities in Indonesia, of which over 17,200 hold a Master’s level degree. The MoRTHE is investing in the development and training of these lecturers to improve the quality of higher education in the country. Overseas PhD placements are an option for some lecturers who meet the requirements of the MoRTHE, these include an English language level of 6.0 on the IELTS score and as well as holding a permanent lecturing position at one of the Indonesian Universities. Since 2008 the MoRTHE has sent over 2,000 lecturers abroad to undertake PhD Doctoral training. Dr Andrew Flaus, Vice-Dean International, College of Science, NUI Galway, said: “This is a significant development in our continued efforts to attract sponsored PhD students from Indonesia and follows on from a visit by DIKTI to NUI Galway in January. Our current Indonesian students have proven to be excellent ambassadors for their home country and we look forward to welcoming many more.” In 2017 the IUA, with the support of Education in Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Jakarta, led a delegation of its seven member universities to Indonesia to meet with education government officials and some of its universities. It was immediately apparent that the PhD offering in Ireland was an excellent fit for the capacity building needs of Indonesia. Ireland’s reputation as leaders in doctoral education in Europe has proved very attractive for international PhD candidates. Sinéad Lucey, Head of International Affairs and External Engagement at the IUA said: “It has been our great pleasure working in co-operation with the staff at Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education in Indonesia. The IUA is looking forward to growing this partnership and developing the relationship between Irish and Indonesian universities. This agreement is as a result of a ‘team Ireland’ approach. Indonesia is the largest country in the ASEAN region and a valuable partner for higher education institutions. There are many internationalisation opportunities for Irish Universities with Indonesian universities. The support of Education in Ireland and the Embassy in Jakarta has been so important in this process. Ireland is a small country and when the agencies collaborate effectively, it equals success. Critically the involvement and continued involvement of key academic staff and the Deans of Graduate studies in the universities has been instrumental in getting the agreement over the line. A delegation from the Ministry visited all seven IUA member universities in January 2019 and were highly impressed at the PhD offering in Ireland. The delegation also identified significant opportunities for Indonesian universities to further engage with Irish universities. I hope that the IUA partnership with the Ministry is a stepping stone to a long standing mutually beneficial relationship that will lead to high quality internationalisation in both systems. “ The MoRTHE’s Director General of Resources for Science, Technology, and Higher Education, Professor Ali Ghufron Mukti states that recently the MoRTHE reinstalled the so-called BPPLN Scholarship, which is an Overseas Doctoral Scholarship Programme dedicated to Indonesian lecturers. Through the programme, Indonesian lecturers will have more opportunities to pursue their PhD degrees overseas with the funding support from the Indonesian Government. The programme also opens up more opportunities for overseas universities to be strategic partners, as the programme will prioritize those universities who are willing to offer special support to the students nominated by the MoRTHE. Thus the MoRTHE welcomes IUA as the new strategic partner for the abovementioned program, as IUA offers not only internationally recognized universities but also financial privileges to the qualified students nominated by the MoRTHE. This is a mutually beneficial partnership.
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Founder, Chairman and CEO of Merit Medical Systems, Fred Lampropoulos has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at NUI Galway. The role is honorary and as part of his new role Fred will mentor NUI Galway staff and students. Fred is a highly distinguished medical innovator and has invented and holds more than 240 patents on devices used in the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of cardiovascular disease. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway is honoured to appoint Fred Lampropoulos as an Adjunct Professor in Engineering in recognition of his distinguished career as a medical device industry leader and a healthcare visionary. As an innovator and a pioneer of the medtech sector, Fred has a lifetime of experience and industry knowledge which we are delighted that he will share with our students and colleagues at NUI Galway. Lampropoulos and Merit Medical Systems, the company he founded are a vital part of the medtech cluster in Galway; employing 1,000 people in our city which is home to Merit’s European headquarters. We are delighted to welcome Fred as an Adjunct Professor and we look forward to the insights and experience which he will bring to the University and to the College of Engineering and Informatics.” Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, Professor Peter McHugh said: “It is highly appropriate that NUI Galway honours Fred as an Adjunct Professor in Engineering, as it recognises the huge contribution Merit Medical, through his leadership, has made to engineering education and indeed our broader educational mission at NUI Galway, and we look forward to this developing even further into the future.” Fred has been in the medical device industry for over 30 years. After serving as the Chairman and Chief Executive of Utah Medical, Lampropoulos founded Merit Medical Systems, Inc. in 1987. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology, CEO of the Year, and was inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame. He is an Honorary Colonel in the Utah National Guard, and holds a number of honorary doctorates, including Doctorate in Business Administration from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, recognising his contribution to and development of industry and education within the state of Utah. Speaking about his announcement, Fred Lampropoulos said: “NUI Galway has one of the premier engineering schools nationally and internationally, with a proud history going back to the opening of the University itself in 1849. I’m honoured to be recognised by this world-class institution with professionally accredited engineering degree programmes, and cutting-edge research characterised by break-through engineering science discoveries linked with real-world societal impact.” -Ends-
Thursday, 4 April 2019
The importance and prestige of Paracycling is on the rise, but insight in Paracycling aerodynamics is very limited. Therefore, researchers from NUI Galway (Ireland), Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and KU Leuven (Belgium) have used advanced technologies such as engineering simulation (Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)) developed by ANSYS and wind tunnel facilities typically dedicated to aerospace, nuclear or automotive research to better understand and improve the complex aerodynamics of elite Paracycling tandem and handcycling disciplines. The results show that decisive gains can be achieved by counter-intuitive postures and wheel selection that can change the outcomes in the Paracycling competitions in the games next year. Dr Eoghan Clifford, NUI Galway, a four-time paracycling world champion and current Paralympic Champion has joined forces with Professor Bert Blocken, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and KU Leuven, recognised worldwide for his expertise in elite cycling aerodynamics. Surprised by the scarcity of scientific research performed on Paracycling where many fundamental insights are lacking, they decided to set up the first large open scientific research project into Paralympic cycling in collaboration with Drs. Magdalena Hajdukiewicz (NUI Galway), Dr Yasin Toparlar (TU/e), Dr Thomas Andrianne (U Liège) and Dr Paul Mannion (who was jointly awarded a PhD by NUI Galway and TU/e for his work on this project). The project combined computer simulation (CFD) with ANSYS software on Irish and Dutch supercomputers with wind tunnel testing in the wind tunnels of Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Liège. The investigation focused on both tandem cycling and H1-H4 handcycling. This investigation resulted in four key new findings. Applying these findings in races would yield significant gains in terms of time. In recent top races at Rio 2016, the difference between Gold and Silver or missing the podium was often a matter of seconds: Tandem cycling: Men - 4 km pursuit (Rio velodrome) – Gold to Silver (1.6 seconds); Bronze to 4th place (0.9 seconds). Tandem cycling: Men 30 km time trial (Rio road) – Gold to Silver 8.8 seconds. Tandem cycling: Women – Tandem 3 km pursuit (Rio velodrome) – Gold to Silver (3.5 seconds). In qualifying 0.8 seconds separated the 3rd place position from the 5th place position (3rd and 4th quality for a medal ride off). Tandem cycling: Women 30 km time trial (Rio road) – Silver to Bronze 0.8 seconds. Handcycling: Men 20 km time trial (Rio road) – Gold to Silver in some cases was as low as 2 seconds and 10 seconds with Silver to Bronze being as low as 0.9 seconds in one category. The research resulted in four key new findings that are generally opposite to what Paracyclists and their entourage would expect and that in race circumstances can make very significant differences in time: The typical time-trial setup with a time-trial handlebar for the pilot and the stoker does not provide the lowest aerodynamic resistance. The stoker holding the seatpost of the tandem bicycle (frame-clench setup) provides a gain of 8.1 s over a 10 km race. The most aerodynamic race setup of the tandem cyclists is not the one where pilot and stoker bodies are closest to the horizontal. The pilot being slightly more upright gives a benefit of 6.5 s over 10 km. The most aerodynamic wheel choice for a H1-H4 handcycle is not disk wheels at the rear, as commonly accepted, but two spoked wheels at the rear, because disk wheels would channel the flow between these wheels and create extra suction (drag) on the cyclist body. Spoked wheels at the rear and a single disk wheel at the front would save 16 s on 10 km. For downhill handcycling, athletes tend to adopt the so-called 6 o’clock position, with the hands in the lowest position and the arms tucked against the body. The 9 o’clock position with hands farthest upstream has a 4.3% lower drag, which gives a gain of 0.8 s over a 500 m descent. As a 4-time paracycling world champion and current Paralympic champion Dr Eoghan Clifford has corroborated these findings and with the research team and high performance coaches has tested athletes and used the findings to guide these athletes towards better performances. Dr Eoghan Clifford, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, said: “This has been one of the most exciting and challenging projects I have worked on. The extensive experimental and computational modelling work was unprecedented for Paralympic cycling and indeed for most sports. The work will fundamentally impact Paralympic cycling and will cause teams and engineers to rethink their approach to aerodynamics. This work also opens the door for world-class Paralympic athletes to have the same expertise and equipment available to them as other professional athletes. At the world championships and Paralympics where tenths of seconds can decide medals this work can unlock that vital time!” Professor Bert Blocken, Eindhoven University of Technology & KU Leuven, said: “I am passionate about Sports aerodynamics because it really pushes the boundaries of computer simulation and wind tunnel testing. In most topics on aerodynamics, accuracies of 5-10% are considered sufficient. In sports aerodynamics however, tenths or even hundredths of percentages can be decisive. This first extensive open project in Paralympic cycling reveals new insights to obtain such gains in these competitions.” Thierry Marchal, Global Industry Director Sports & Healthcare, ANSYS, concluded: “As the engineering simulation leader, ANSYS is keen to assist the sport community improving safety and performance of athletes by adopting a technology traditionally used in the aerospace and automotive industries. Elite sport is an ideal window to illustrate the impact of pervasive simulation across all industries.” Paralympics Ireland Chief Executive Officer, Miriam Malone, added: “I would like to congratulate the research team on the publication of this fantastic research. The results published will fundamentally change the approach that many paracyclists take to their sports and will ensure that more exciting times lie ahead as performances improve. It is particularly pleasing that Paralympics Ireland board member and Paralympic champion, Dr Eoghan Clifford, is spearheading this research project.” Neill Delahaye, National Performance Coach, Cycling Ireland, added: “Cycling Ireland has had significant international success in Track Cycling and Road Cycling over recent years. To compete with the world’s top nations, we actively engage with research and innovation. From the outset we recognised this work could have significant benefits for our athletes especially given aerodynamics plays such a key role in cycling.” Scientific publications about this project: https://surfdrive.surf.nl/files/index.php/s/mCw2JSapLPcKa6Z Photos of Dutch World Champion handcycling in Eindhoven wind tunnel: https://surfdrive.surf.nl/files/index.php/s/Tjdpjx2ScpFadn9 Photos of Irish tandem cyclists in Eindhoven wind tunnel: https://surfdrive.surf.nl/files/index.php/s/7RHe3wP9EifBol9
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Indecon research identifies an average wage premium of 38% - 43% for university graduates over those with no formal education and a large cash payback to the State from investment in universities Universities generate €386 million per annum in export earnings and €1.5 billion in R&D impacts The Irish economy benefitted by €8.9 billion last year from Ireland’s seven universities newly published research has confirmed. The first ever socio-economic impact research undertaken on the role universities play in the economy and society has been carried out by Indecon on behalf of the Irish Universities Association. The Impact Study looks across a variety of areas to assess the impact universities have on research, society, the economy and individuals, including the benefits arising from international students. Findings from the report include: The seven universities contribute a total of €8.9 billion to the economy. There has been a significant increase in the number of students enrolling for a university education which correlates with the demand for more highly skilled employees in the Irish economy. In 2017 over 120,000 students enrolled, up 50% from 2000. Indecon have identified a cumulative net gain to the Exchequer of €1,606 million in net present value terms based on the lifetime net earnings projections for the 2017 – 2018 cohort of new entrants to the seven universities. This is based on a net gain to the exchequer from the lifetime earnings of individual undergraduate degree holders of €62,000. In other words, the Exchequer gains a net €62,000 over the lifetime of the graduate in today’s money terms when all costs to the Exchequer are taken into account. - University graduates generate an income premium significantly beyond those with no third level education and have consistently lower unemployment rates, even during the recession years. - The average lifetime net premium for an undergraduate degree holder is €106,000 compared to a UK premium of £88,000 for graduates from the prestigious Russell Group Universities. Master’s Degree holders’ net premium rises to €146,000 and PhDs’ to €222,000. These figures are net of tax and factor in the costs incurred by students in obtaining their degrees and income foregone during their years at university. - Irish Universities make a total research impact of €1.5 billion to the economy. This breaks down into €632 million from direct research expenditure, €373 million spill-over impact of university-based research on the wider economy, and €526 million from indirect and induced effects. - In 2017 – 2018 there were 16,701 full-time International students living in Ireland. Indecon estimated that the total annual export income generated for the Irish economy from International students at €386 million. The report provides further detail on the social and cultural impacts of Irish Universities along with supporting 22,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly. “There has been much debate over the economic return university education generates in Ireland without any rigorous scientific analysis of the actual impacts”, said Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Irish Universities Association. “This vacuum has not served the debate well and I am pleased to say that we have now got a detailed independent assessment on the impact Irish Universities have on our society, our economy and on us as individuals. “What is certain from the report is the significant positive impact Irish Universities are having, from the €8.89 billion contributed annually to the Irish economy to the 21,801 full-time jobs supported, including 15,724 directly employed. “The 50% increase in student enrolments since 2000 is a precursor to an even greater demographic bubble which will place an intolerable strain on the already under-resourced university system. Unless the Government and the broader political community are prepared to deliver a sustainable core funding solution, the opportunities afforded to today’s students may be curtailed for many current and future primary and secondary students. As a society, we cannot let this happen.” Commenting on the research Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “The role of universities is to produce well-rounded, employable graduates and to provide centres of innovation through their research work. The Indecon report shows for the first time that, universities not only do that but also generate a cash surplus for the State over the long-term. This surely provides a compelling case for the Government and the Oireachtas to prioritise the reform of the funding model for higher education. Next Sunday will mark the 1,000th day since the Cassells Report, the Government-appointed Expert Group, identified the scale of the funding gap for higher education and made clear recommendations about dealing with it. The Indecon Report shows that more State investment in university education isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the profitable thing to do.” Speaking about the research, Alan Gray, MD of Indecon said: “This analysis is the first of its kind in Ireland. Indecon undertook a rigorous evidence-based examination on the full range of impacts of Irish universities on the Irish economy and society generally. Ireland has a more highly educated population than the EU average which is often cited as a key reason both multinational organisations and indigenous enterprises base operations here. Our analysis shows the positive impacts that universities have on research and innovation, on graduates earning power and on the positive returns to the Exchequer for their investment.” Indecon Research Economists were appointed by the Irish Universities Association, following a competitive tender process, to cover the combined impact of the seven universities represented by the IUA – NUI Galway, Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick. The report is available to read in full at www.saveourspark.ie/universities-impact Ends
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Dr Mirko Daniel Garasic, a Research Scholar, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights and Adjunct Professor in Bioethics, with LUISS University in Rome, will deliver a seminar at the University entitled ‘Beyond Normality? Technologies Between Assistance and Enhancement’. The seminar will take place on Friday, 5 April, from 12.30-5pm in the Moore Institute, Hardiman Building. The ongoing development of new technologies to replace or improve human functions pose a number of pressing Ethical, Legal and Societal (ELS) questions. These questions relate to issues relating to personal experiences and public acceptability, human freedom and equality, safety, and accountability over such new technologies and their uses. During the event a number of questions related to current and emerging developments will be discussed including: The evolving notion of human enhancement, understood as improvement beyond the norm, in relation to specific technologies (biomedical, machine-based or genomics) and their various contexts of application (healthcare, education, workplace, military/defence). Wearable Robots such as exoskeletons or robotic suits that may replace lost body functions, for example after spinal injuries, or enhance functioning, for example increasing lifting strength for workers in logistics centres, healthcare or the military. New ‘algorithmic age’ where human choices are increasingly influenced by ‘Big Data’ and dependent on mathematical and computational algorithms, with applications as mundane as the curation of Facebook newsfeed or product suggestions on Amazon, but also highly impactful AI-supported medical diagnosis or even decisions on child protection measures or criminal justice matters. The use of cognitive enhancements (e.g. the drug Ritalin) in competitive contexts, such as employment and higher education, leading to questions of a “cognitive arms race” among students and workers in the knowledge economy. To help with such questions, Dr Garasic will be working with NUI Galway’s Dr Heike Felzmann and Dr Oliver Feeney on the topic of wearable robotic and enhancement technologies. Dr Oliver Feeney, a researcher with the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis in NUI Galway, said: “Futuristic technologies are being developed that have immense potential for benefiting humankind, while also having the significant potential for negative consequences for individuals and wider society. This highlights the urgent need for ongoing ethical, legal and societal impact discussions, involving a wide range of perspectives, in order to contribute to the development of robust regulations and legislative frameworks, both nationally and globally.” The seminar will conclude with the official launch of the project ‘B-CAUSE: Building Collaborative Approaches to University Strategies against Exclusion in Ireland and Africa: pedagogies for quality Higher Education and inclusive global citizenship’. Led by NUI Galway’s Dr Su-ming Khoo and Professor Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa, B-CAUSE is a collaboration between the two universities. For more information, please contact the main event organiser: Dr Heike Felzmann at email@example.com, or visit https://bit.ly/2TSv2tt.
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Commandant Leo Quinlan will deliver a public lecture in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway on the experience of his father, Commandant Pat Quinlan, in the historic Battle of Jadotville, 1961. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 9 April, at 5pm. The Battle of Jadotville took place in the Congo and represents the largest military action carried out by the Irish Army against a foreign army since the founding of the State. 155 Irish soldiers (some as young as 15 and 16 years of age) fought 3,500 soldiers of the Katanga Army and survived. This action is the topic of a number of books, articles, radio and TV documentaries and a 2016 film currently showing on Netflix, The Siege of Jadotville. This talk on the Battle of Jadotville describes various actions by the men of ‘A’ Company during their six-month tour of duty in the Congo and provides the audience with information on this historic encounter not generally in the public domain, based on Commandant Pat Quinlan’s memoirs. The speaker, Leo Quinlan, was commissioned as a Lieutenant and served in the Irish Army for 25 years, and overseas with the United Nations. During his army service he served with many Jadotville veterans. After leaving the army he has worked as a consultant/project leader for the European Commission in 47 countries. He lives in Barna, Co. Galway, where he works as a professional landscape artist with his own Art Gallery. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, commented: “The Battle of Jadotville is truly historic and it remains remembered as a remarkable demonstration of heroism. Leo Quinlan is in a unique position to tell the story of this episode through his father’s involvement and recollections.” For more information contact Daniel Carey, Moore Institute, NUI Galway, at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org or 091 493083.