Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Report examines State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture in the Near East and North Africa A University of Galway academic has played a key role in a landmark United Nations report which warns that food systems in parts of Africa are at breaking point. Dr Una Murray, from the Discipline of Geography and a Principal Investigator in the University’s Ryan Institute was writer and editor for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’s 1st edition of the State of Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture of the Near East and North African countries. This report has just been published with the warning that food and agriculture systems in the region are at a breaking point, with human pressures on the systems of land, soils and fresh water intensifying and the impacts of climate change worsening. It is available https://www.fao.org/3/cc0265en/cc0265en.pdf The report provides a major contribution to a range of the Sustainable Development Goal targets, in particular the targets relating to SDG1 (No Poverty), SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and SDG15 (Life on Land). The UN Food and Agriculture Report provides information and analyses on trends and challenges facing two of the most important agricultural production factors: land and water. Land and water are central to agriculture and rural development, and are deeply linked to the region’s challenges of food insecurity and poverty, rapid urbanization trends and climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as the degradation and depletion of natural resources. All of these challenges affect the livelihoods of almost 420 million people in the region. Over the past 70 years, the population of Near East and North African countries has grown sixfold, compared with a threefold increase worldwide. Current projections indicate that the population will reach more than 633 million by 2050, with almost three-quarters living in the region’s cities. This translates into increased demand for food, with urban populations demanding diversified diets. Near East and North Africa is one of the world’s regions predicted to be most affected by climate change, which is already altering crop productivity and growth cycles. An increase in mean temperatures, floods and droughts affects smallholders the most, as well as poorer populations with low capacities to adapt and populations experiencing conflict. Land and water resources are under severe stress in the region. To address these challenges, future agricultural production will need to be transformative, focused on climate-resilient farming systems and crops that most efficiently use water resources. Key messages for policymakers, policy implementers and stakeholders are contained in the report, which covers Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen, as well as West Bank and Gaza. Ends

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

University achieves first Athena Swan Silver Award for a School of Engineering in the Republic of Ireland University of Galway has achieved a significant accolade in the advancement of gender equality, with its School of Engineering securing an Athena Swan Silver Award. It is the first time a School of Engineering in the Republic of Ireland has achieved such a standard. The Athena Swan Silver award recognises the commitment to advancing gender equality for both staff and students, and in creating evidenced cultural change within the University.  Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. commended the School’s strides in gender equality noting it was a “fantastic achievement for University of Galway” as the recipient of the silver award. University of Galway Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Helen Maher, said: “All of us at University of Galway are sharing in the congratulations for the School of Engineering. We are greatly encouraged by the significant progress our university has made on gender equality, particularly in the College of Science and Engineering – which has secured 5 Athena SWAN awards”.  “This latest award demonstrates that our efforts and our commitment on this ongoing journey are embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in our culture and our collective responsibilities.”  While the Athena Swan Silver Award represents the commitment to equality in the School of Engineering, it also highlights the progress that has been made including the steady increase in the number female undergraduate students, as a result of extensive outreach activities, and increasing trends in the percentage of female academic staff, especially at Associate and Established Professor grades. Professor Walter Gear, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at University of Galway, said: “It is fantastic and a great recognition for Engineering to be the first school nationally to achieve Silver status, a process which also sets out our ambitions for the next four years. We are very proud of this achievement which is the first of many steps required to create an equal opportunity environment while embedding the University's values across all science and engineering subjects that is externally recognised as such, and which builds a culture for a stronger intersectional approach where all our staff and students can fulfil their potential. “  Professor Edward Jones, Head of the School of Engineering at University of Galway, said: “We are delighted with this achievement. This Athena SWAN Silver award is the culmination of many years of effort through the development of a range of initiatives and action plans, and a wholehearted commitment and engagement by all our staff and students. This award is a significant endorsement of our efforts to date and of our future plans towards progressing gender equality.” Ends

Monday, 12 September 2022

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D. and a number of leading international experts are to address a conference on oversight of national security in Ireland hosted by University of Galway’s School of Law. The conference takes place on Friday September 23, 2022.  The event is being organised to coincide with the publication of new legislation to establish an office of Independent Examiner of National Security in Ireland. This significant policy development follows a recommendation made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in 2018. Minister McEntee will open the conference, while two keynote speakers will advise on experiences of national security oversight in the UK and Australia Professor Donncha O’Connell of University of Galway School of Law, is organising the conference and was a member of the Commission. Speaking ahead of the conference, he said: “For the first time since the foundation of the state Ireland will have an independent office to oversee all actors, including the gardaí, Defence Forces and others involved in national security. It is a welcome development and there are reasons to be optimistic about the establishment of this oversight mechanism.  “Our conference will provide an opportunity to hear from experts with experience of such mechanisms in other jurisdictions so that those dealing with the Irish legislation - government officials, politicians, security services and other experts - can learn from what works and does not work elsewhere with a view to optimising the potential of the office of Independent Examiner in Ireland.” The half-day conference, entitled Oversight of National Security in Ireland: Lessons from Australia and the United Kingdom is being held in the Moot Court Room, Cairnes Building, University of Galway.  Two keynote speakers will take part - Grant Donaldson, SC, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor for Australia; and Lord David Anderson, KC, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the UK. Both will outline how national security oversight works in their respective jurisdictions, drawing on their direct experience as office-holders, current and past, with responsibility for such oversight.  An expert panel will discuss the issues raised in the keynotes, including Dr Jessie Blackbourn of Durham University; Dermot Woods of the National Security Analysis Centre in the Department of An Taoiseach; Professor Marie Breen-Smyth, the Independent Reviewer for Justice and Security for Northern Ireland; and Michael O’Neill, Head of Legal at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. The conference will also be livestreamed on Zoom so that people can participate remotely.  To register to attend the conference visit https://bit.ly/3d90dAC. Ends

Monday, 12 September 2022

University of Galway, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University in Australia, have used artificial intelligence and data mining on Cork Harbour to revise a water quality index (WQI). Surface water quality poses significant environmental, sociological, and economic risks in many parts of the world and the new model can benefit individuals and a range of government and non-government agencies. The research was conducted by University of Galway PhD researcher’ Md Galal Uddin, under the supervision of Dr Indie Olbert, leader of the University’s EcoHydroInformatics Research Group, and Dr Stephen Nash, in collaboration with the research team of Professor Azizur Rahman from Charles Sturt University, Australia. Using complex mathematical algorithms, the team developed a simple water quality tool that can be used to assess the level of pollution in waters. The proposed model is simple to use and does not require extensive knowledge of chemistry, biology nor statistics, as opposed to other models.   While similar tools have already been developed in other countries including USA, Canada, Spain and the UK, one had not been developed for Irish waters. The tool provides a highly accurate assessment of water quality that is superior over the existing models, and is universal so can be easily adopted by other countries.  Assessment of water quality using this tool can support development of an optimal strategy to efficiently control of water quality and to determine its category such as good, fair, marginally or poor.  The tool can also help to optimize water quality monitoring and as such to aid the provision of the most cost effective system of water quality monitoring, which in general is considered as very costly.   Since mid-20th century there has been observed a continuous deterioration of water quality (WQ) across Europe due to increasing population, urbanization, and industrialization. One of the main environmental pressures imposed by human activities are nutrient enrichment and climate change. Currently, around 60% of surface waters in the EU have not achieved "good’ status, in Ireland - nearly 47%. Dr Indiana Olbert said: “Surface waters are considered to be at high risk of having poor water quality in the near future and it will be extremely difficult to maintain good water quality status. “Water quality assessment allows to diagnose the health of a waterbody and provides necessary information for more effective water resources management including relevant polices to ensure the "good" status of water quality. This research provides a state of the art yet simple to use tool to provide the accurate assessment of water quality.” Researcher Galal Uddin said: “We identified 30 WQI models globally, only seven WQI models are unique in terms of architecture; all the others are modified. Recently, many studies have reported that existing models produce higher uncertainty in the final assessment. Consequently, assessment results do not express actual scenarios of water quality. We also investigated and compared our model uncertainty with the core established seven models. We found less uncertainty (less than 2%) in our model, whereas more than 7% of uncertainty is associated with other models.” “A significant implication of this model is that EU countries have been trying to develop a unique method for assessing water quality. Our methodology could be adopted by EU countries because it was specifically focused on the EU coastal water quality because this model is an improved version of the state-of-the-art WQI model. “Compared to that, it’s very simple and straightforward mathematical functions are cost effective. It could be effective to improve the existing monitoring program and reduce the monitoring cost. Environmental protection agency (EPA), Marine research Institute, and agriculture department Ireland could adopt this methodology for the assessment of surface water quality more accurately and rapidly.” The findings were recently published in the Journal of Water Research and is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.118532 Ends

Friday, 9 September 2022

University of Galway has made 4,013 offers to prospective students as part of Round One of the CAO process for 2022. CAO points have risen in almost half of the programmes across the University’s four Colleges. For the third year running, University of Galway expects to see a near record level of intake of first year students as we work to meet the high demand for places in higher education. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar of University of Galway and Board Member of the CAO, said: “Congratulations to the class of 2022 who have worked hard and achieved so much in challenging circumstances, having come through those formative years in school in the midst of a pandemic. “Our registration team at University of Galway is once again doing our utmost to accommodate as many students as we can.  “We welcome all those who have achieved in the exams and are taking up an offer to come to University of Galway and to learn for themselves the importance that we place on our values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability.”  University of Galway programmes have performed well and the University has more programmes in the 500 range than in other ranges.  :: All Engineering and Law programmes are above 500 points, as well as all bar one Commerce programme. :: Three programmes require more than 600 points – Medicine, which goes to random allocation, even though the points requirement is down one from last year and 60 additional places have been secured nationally. The others over 600 points are Biomedical Science and Commerce in International Hotel Management, at Shannon College of Hotel Management which has a combined score requirement. :: Some 28 programmes experienced points increases and 34 programmes experienced points decreases. :: Three programmes saw an increase of more than 50 points - Environmental Science; Project and Construction Management; Electrical and Electronic Engineering :: 7 programmes saw a decrease of more than 50 points - Arts with Human Rights; Arts - Drama, Theatre and Performance; Arts with Journalism; BSc Applied Social Sciences; Global Media; BA sna Dána (Léann Teanga); Electronic and Computer Engineering. (Arts with Journalism was among the programmes which had an increase of 80 points in 2021). :: Two popular programmes - Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering - experienced an increase in points for the second year running.  Ends   

Monday, 5 September 2022

A major report, “The Economics of Afforestation and Management in Ireland: Future Prospects and Plans” commissioned by AuxiliaGroup and compiled  by Professor Cathal O’Donoghue, the established Chair of Social and Public Policy at the University of Galway has been published today at a media function in Buswells Hotel, Dublin. His well-researched report has highlighted the opportunities and challenges of delivering national forestry goals to deliver carbon neutrality by 2050. Although the national afforestation policy has been a success over the past century, planting 690,000 hectares (11% of the land area) there has been a substantial decline recently with only about 2,000 hectares planted in 2021 which is only 8% of peak planting in 1995. The national Climate Action Plan, that sets a roadmap to reach net zero emissions no later than 2050, identifies afforestation as the single largest land-based climate change mitigation measure available to Ireland.  The area of new forestry required to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is 18,000 hectares per annum.  The Climate Action Plan sets a target of 8,000 hectares per annum, which is actually 10,000 hectares below what is required. Ireland is currently missing the required planting by 16,000 hectares per year. The cost in terms of the State carbon price of missing afforestation targets by 6,000 hectares is more than €400m at a €100 carbon price per ton over a 40-year forest rotation and €1bn relative to what is needed. According to Professor O’Donoghue “the more we fall short of the afforestation target the greater will be the need to deliver CO2 reductions from other sources including agriculture unless there was a major reduction in animal numbers with consequential economic impacts.” The report highlights beef and dairy targets of Food Harvest 2020 were met early, but the forestry target was never achieved, with only once in 2010 was even 50% of forestry target met. The study finds that if the afforestation target had been met, it would have allowed for carbon neutral dairy expansion. Given the existing fall off in afforestation levels over the past two decades, the forest estate will move from being a carbon sink to a carbon source. However, the more we can plant in the immediate term, the less deep the impact will be. Delaying planting decisions as a result has a major impact on the capacity to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The report highlights the opportunity to enhance the financial incentives for afforestation and to overcome some of the challenges in relation to replanting. It provides a comprehensive economic and cost benefit analysis of such incentives.   The report also details the need for the development of a Forestry Development Agency and a review of the best department location for forestry in achieving national carbon neutrality goals. Professor Cathal O’Donoghue makes 14 key cost-effective recommendations which can help achieve the planting targets required for carbon neutrality. Deputy Jackie Cahill (Pictured), chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for agriculture, welcomed the initiative and the report.  He stated that “any such recommendations that can restore confidence in forestry, including owners affected by Ash dieback, must be acted upon by the department, particularly given its significance in achieving national climate change mitigation targets”. Paul Ryan, CEO of AuxiliaGroup, said “it is critical to link farm incentive programmes in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with forestry incentive programmes.” Ends

Friday, 9 September 2022

A new project led by University of Galway will explore new methods to generate green hydrogen from low-quality water sources, such as seawater and wastewater. Funded by the European Innovation Council, the ANEMEL project brings together experts from academic institutions, research facilities, technological centres, SMEs and industries in seven European countries to develop efficient electrolysers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and expedite the design of prototypes over a four year period. The project fits within a bigger initiative by the European Commission to design and test novel routes towards the production of green hydrogen. Obtained by splitting water into its basic elements - hydrogen and oxygen - using renewable energy sources, green hydrogen could replace fossil fuels in transportation and industry. Moreover, it provides a cleaner raw material for the chemical industry - where green hydrogen could lead to more sustainable fertilisers, feedstocks and fundamental materials like steel.  ANEMEL will gather expertise in the field of membranes and electrolysers - the overall goal is a prototype that yields green hydrogen from low-grade water with minimal treatments. Additionally, the oxygen obtained could find uses in the treatment and purification of the water sources. The membranes designed by ANEMEL will avoid using persistent and pollutant products like poly-fluorinated materials, as well as critical raw materials - favouring the use of abundant metals like nickel and iron. All this will reduce the cost of the electrolyser components and improve their recyclability, thus reducing waste and providing a competitive advantage. Dr Pau Farràs, principal investigator of ANEMEL and researcher with the School of Chemistry, University of Galway, said: “We’re thrilled to kick-off ANEMEL after months of preparations and planning. I’m convinced we've reunited the perfect team to design efficient electrolysers to produce green hydrogen directly from low-quality waters, which will offer unique opportunities to reshape the European energy landscape, ensuring economic independence as well as stimulating sustainable solutions to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”   Project Partners Under the leadership of University of Galway, ANEMEL project partners include: Technical University of Berlin, Germany; AGFA, Belgium; LEITAT and AGATA Comunicación Científica, Spain; De Nora, Italy; Technion Institute of Technology, Israel; EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and HES·SO (Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale), Switzerland.   Ends

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D. today officially launched University of Galway.  The renaming of the University marks a new chapter in its history stretching back to 1845, and follows the change being approved by the Governing Authority of the University in April.  Speaking at the launch event on-campus, Minister Harris said: "I'm pleased to be here today to share with you an important day for the university. Today you are rebranding as University of Galway, which delivers a very clear sense of this magnificent institution's place and identity. "Galway is noted rightly as a place of industry and creativity, of community and debate and this is very much reflective of the university too. "I believe this rebrand speaks to both the city and the institution's shared history but also looks to the future in helping to further raise the university's profile abroad." Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Chair of the Governing Authority of University of Galway, said: “It is a privilege to be chair of Údarás na hOllscoile at a time when the University takes such an important step in its long history. I am delighted to see the new name which takes pride in its place and I’m more delighted to see it come to life on campus and herald in the next chapter for our community of students, scholars and staff.” President of the University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We have given the decision to embark on a new chapter in our heritage long and detailed consideration. In discussions over the last year or so I have often remarked how we are in, of and for our place. We believe passionately in our new name, as it simply reflects who we are, our essence and our identity, and our place in Ireland and in the world.  “Our new name and brand builds on our values – Respect, Openness, Sustainability, Excellence. It encapsulates that sense of growing together, building on our strong traditions to shape together our promise for the future, for the public good.” Deputy President of University of Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “When we consulted widely on the name change, two things became absolutely clear. Firstly, that we take pride in our bilingual essence, and secondly that we are an international university located in Galway and the West of Ireland. Our new name is as clear and simple a statement as we can make of that identity.” Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway  To coincide with the new name, a new logo has been created. It carries the bilingual name of the institution: Ollscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway.  When referring to our new name, we will be Ollscoil na Gaillimhe when using the Irish language and University of Galway in all other communications.  Along with our bilingual identity, the logo design incorporates a number of modern and traditional elements that are important aspects of our ethos, including a representation of the Quadrangle, the oldest part of the campus and symbolic of our heritage; 1845, the year in which the University was founded; and the vibrant new brand colour which plays on maroon, synonymous with Galway.  Ends

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Sheol an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta agus Eolaíochta, Simon Harris TD, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe go hoifigiúil inniu.  Léiríonn athainmniú na hOllscoile ré nua ina stair a théann siar chomh fada le 1845, agus tá sé mar thoradh ar an gceadú a thug Údarás na hOllscoile don athrú i mí Aibreáin.  Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire Harris ag an ócáid seolta ar an gcampas: "Tá áthas orm a bheith anseo inniu chun an lá tábhachtach don ollscoil a cheiliúradh libh. Inniu táthar ag athbhrandáil na hOllscoile go hOllscoil na Gaillimhe - University of Galway, a thugann tuiscint an-soiléir ar áit agus ar fhéiniúlacht na hinstitiúide iontaí seo. "Tá cáil ar Ghaillimh mar áit tionscail agus chruthaitheachta, mar áit phobail agus díospóireachta agus tá an cháil chéanna seo ar an ollscoil chomh maith. "Creidim go mbaineann an t-athbhrandáil seo le stair chomhroinnte na cathrach agus na hinstitiúide ach baineann sé freisin leis an todhchaí chun cuidiú le próifíl na hollscoile a chur chun cinn níos mó thar lear." Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Cathaoirleach Údarás Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Is mór an onóir dom a bheith i mo chathaoirleach ar Údarás na hOllscoile le linn don Ollscoil céim thábhachtach a ghlacadh ina stair fhada. Tá an-áthas orm an t-ainm nua a fheiceáil a thugann ómós don áit ina bhfuil sí suite agus tá ríméad orm go bhfuil an t-ainm nua seo anois tugtha ar an gcampas agus in úsáid sa chéad chaibidil eile dár bpobal mac léinn, scoláirí agus foirne.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá mionbhreithniú déanta againn ar an gcinneadh tabhairt faoin ré nua seo i scéal na hollscoile. Is minic a thagair mé, agus mé i mbun comhráite le bliain anuas, go bhfuil ceangal thar a bheith láidir againn leis an áit ina bhfuilimid lonnaithe. Creidimid go láidir inár n-ainm nua. Tugann sé léiriú ar cé muid féin, ar ár bhféiniúlacht agus ar an ról atá againn in Éirinn agus sa domhan trí chéile.  “Cuireann ár n-ainm agus branda nua lenár luachanna – Meas, Oscailteacht, Inbhuanaitheacht, Barr Feabhais. Cuimsíonn sé an chaoi a bhfuilimid ag fás le chéile, ag tógáil ar ár dtraidisiúin láidre chun ullmhú don todhchaí le chéile, ar mhaithe leis an bpobal.” Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Nuair a chuamar i gcomhairle go forleathan faoin athrú ainm, tháinig dhá rud chun cinn a bhí go hiomlán soiléir. Ar an gcéad dul síos, go bhfuilimid bródúil as ár nádúr dátheangach, agus ar an dara dul síos gur ollscoil idirnáisiúnta muid lonnaithe i nGaillimh agus in Iarthar na hÉireann. Is ráiteas chomh soiléir agus chomh simplí agus is féidir linn a dhéanamh é ár n-ainm nua ar an bhféiniúlacht sin.” Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway  Cruthaíodh lógó nua don ainm nua. Tá leagan Gaeilge agus Béarla den ainm nua le feiceáil ar an lógó: Ollscoil na Gaillimhe – University of Galway.  Agus muid ag tagairt dár n-ainm nua, is Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a bheidh in úsáid againn agus muid i mbun cumarsáide i nGaeilge agus University of Galway i gcás gach cumarsáide eile.  Mar aon lenár bhféiniúlacht dhátheangach, cuimsíonn dearadh an lógó roinnt gnéithe nua-aimseartha agus traidisiúnta ar gnéithe tábhachtacha iad dár n-éiteas, lena n-áirítear an Chearnóg, an chuid is sine den champas agus ar siombail í dár n-oidhreacht; 1845, an bhliain a bunaíodh an Ollscoil; agus dath bríomhar an bhranda nua a chuimsíonn an dath marún, dath a shamhlaítear le Gaillimh.  Críoch

Thursday, 27 October 2022

INTERSTROKE study is one of the largest international studies of risk factors for stroke Research included people from high, middle and lower income countries with varying levels of education and cardiovascular risk profiles High and moderate drinking was associated with increased odds of stroke Study showed no convincing link between low alcohol consumption and stroke, but the risk varied by region of the world Research also assessed whether different types of alcohol have a bearing on stroke risk A global study, co-led by University of Galway, into causes of stroke has found that high and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with increased odds of stroke. The study also found that there was no link between low level drinking and stroke.  The INTERSTROKE research looked at the alcohol consumption of almost 26,000 people worldwide, of which one quarter were current drinkers, and two-thirds were teetotal.  The study involved people from a range of ethnic backgrounds in 27 countries, including Ireland and the UK. The findings have been published in Neurology, the most read and highly-cited neurology journal.  Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Neurovascular Medicine at University of Galway and Consultant Stroke Physician at Galway University Hospitals, co-led the international INTERSTROKE study in partnership with Professor Salim Yusuf from the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University, Canada. Professor O’Donnell said: “Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability globally. Each year, approximately 7,500 Irish people have a stroke, and around 2,000 of these people die. An estimated 30,000 people in Ireland are living with disabilities as a result of stroke. The INTERSTROKE study was designed to look at the key risk factors for stroke in different regions of the world, to inform approaches to population-level prevention. In this paper, we focused on the role of alcohol intake and stroke risk. “While high alcohol intake is known to increase stroke risk, there is some uncertainty about whether low-moderate alcohol intake affects stroke risk and whether the association of alcohol intake with stroke varies by region and population." This study explored these associations in a large scale across 27 countries. Stroke can occur due to clot (ischaemic) or bleeding (intracerebral haemorrhage). Professor Andrew Smyth, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at University of Galway, Director of the Health Research Board-Clinical Research Facility Galway and a Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals, was the lead researcher on the study.  Professor Smyth said: “Overall, our findings indicate that high and moderate intake of alcohol were associated with increased odds of stroke, while we found no convincing link between low intake and stroke. “However, the effects of alcohol intake are complex as they are linked with socioeconomic factors such as education and many lifestyle factors including smoking, diet and physical activity. The potential impact of what is commonly classed as ‘binge drinking’ is important to consider. The adverse risk of having seven drinks one day per week are likely to be greater than having one drink each day per week. “In this study we also looked at the differences between types of alcohol. Predominant beer consumption was linked with a 21% increase in risk of stroke; this was significantly higher (73%) for intracerebral haemorrhage. Predominant wine consumption was not linked with risk of stroke – there was no increase or decrease. This may reflect a difference in risk by type of alcohol, or may reflect differences in the social context of consumption patterns.” Included in the INTERSTROKE research was an analysis of people who had previously been drinkers but had stopped. The study found that they were not at increased risk of stroke.  Other findings from this research included: Current drinkers were linked with a 14% increase in odds of all stroke, and 50% increase in odds of intracerebral haemorrhage (stroke due to bleeding), but no increase in risk of ischaemic stroke (stroke due to clots).  Heavy episodic or formerly termed ‘binge drinking’ – defined as more than 5 drinks in one day at least once a month - was linked with a 39% increase in all stroke; 29% increase in ischaemic stroke; and 76% increase in intracerebral haemorrhage.  High alcohol intake - defined as more than 14 drinks/week for females and more than 21 drinks/week for males - was linked with a 57% increase in stroke. Professor Michelle Canavan, Established Professor of Older Adult Health and Consultant Geriatrician, added: “Most previous research was completed in high-income countries, with limited cultural diversity whereas the global INTERSTROKE study took a different approach by including participants from high, middle and lower income countries with varying levels of education and cardiovascular risk profiles.  “Worldwide there are differences in alcohol intake by gender, age, social class, education and occupation, as well as differences in type of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. “Current drinking was linked with reduced risk of stroke in Western Europe and North America, but increased risk of stroke in India and South America. The greatest increases in stroke risk were seen for binge drinkers in South America, Africa and India and with those who have high levels of alcohol consumption in China and South East Asia. Therefore, targeted interventions to manage high intake at population level may help reduce stroke risk particularly for males in these regions who are more likely to binge drink.” Ends

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Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Public concerns being put to the test in search for solutions to local issues The public’s input is to be sought as part of a European project involving University of Galway which aims to put creative and cultural minds to work on solutions to key local and development issues in Galway and the west of Ireland. UrbanLab Galway is a new research initiative at the University, which is part of a consortium in 12 countries exploring cultural and creative industries in what are classed as non-urban areas of the EU. Its goal is to act as a public facing research centre that promotes a ‘place-based’ approach to development in the local context.   The project, IN SITU - Place-based innovation of cultural and creative industries in non-urban areas, has €4million funding from the European Commission under the Horizon Europe programme and is coordinated by the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra in Portugal.  The research will run over four years and aims to contribute to increasing the capacity of Cultural and Creative Industries to act as drivers of innovation, competitiveness and sustainability in their local region.   Principal Investigator, Dr Pat Collins of UrbanLab Galway and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies at University of Galway, said: “At the core of this project is a recognition that culture and creativity exist everywhere. They are not just the domain of New York, Milan and Paris; but exist beyond the big city. What we are looking at here is how we can use culture and creativity as a legitimate developmental tool for places like the west of Ireland. “Beyond the research aspect, there is an important practical element to this project. We will be inviting members of the public and local creatives to join with us in looking at how culture can help us address some key issues at the local level in the west of Ireland.”  University of Galway is recruiting publicly engaged researchers for the project. The intention is to commence interesting conversations about key local development issues facing Galway and the west and highlighting the past and future roles of culture and creativity in addressing placemaking.   Last summer UrbanLab Galway teamed up with the Galway International Arts Festival to bring Luke Jerram’s Mars exhibition to Persse’s Plaza on Nuns’ Island to inspire the people of Galway to consider new uses for the old distillery.  The IN SITU project consortium brings together 13 institutional partners in 12 countries, and is accompanied by a number of outreach partners within Europe and internationally.  The core defining aspect of IN SITU is the interlinking of research and practice through place-based hubs for networking, capacity building and monitoring case studies in six regions across Europe, located in Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, and Croatia.  The project also includes capacity-building programme to enable Cultural and Creative Industries to address some of the key issues in their communities and regions. IN SITU seeks to provide a better understanding of the contribution of the Cultural and Creative industries across all sectors of the economy and society in order to provide better supports for their future development.  Ends

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Fifty postdoctoral research positions to be created across ten Science Foundation Ireland partner institutions CÚRAM, the SFI research centre for medical devices at University of Galway, has been awarded almost €14 million to create 50 postdoctoral fellowship opportunities to develop future leaders in medical device research.  The co-funding programme involves €7.1m from the European Union and €6.8m from CÚRAM to launch MedTrain+, an enhanced innovative Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action training programme. CÚRAM is hosted by University of Galway, with academic partners at 10 higher education institutions across Ireland. The new postdoctoral research positions will be based across all the partner institutions.  This award adds to the substantial funding generated by researchers at CÚRAM who have attracted more than €70 million in EU investment during its first eight years. Professor Abhay Pandit said: “CÚRAM is perfectly positioned to coordinate MedTrain+ given its innovative strengths, active industry collaborations, and its missions to continue to train and empower the next generation of researchers who can engage with the public and stakeholders to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and CÚRAM outputs. The 50 postdoctoral researchers will join our large team of multidisciplinary researchers working at the cutting edge of medical devices.” The MedTrain+ programme duration is 60 months, with fellows free to choose any research area within CÚRAM’s remit, as well as their supervisor and secondment organisation. This unique postdoctoral training program is structured so that researchers will be provided with a unique skill set that will give them an option of a multitude of career choices. In January 2021, CÚRAM began its second phase of work with a further investment of €46.3m from SFI to bring new treatments from the laboratory to patients. This came as part of the Government’s re-investment in SFI Research Centres across the country. Professor Abhay Pandit added: “The MedTrain+ funding supports CÚRAM’s vision to be a global leader in creating and translating clinic-ready and patient-focused medical devices; to develop the next generation of industry-relevant, publicly engaged researchers and to become an anchor for industry applicable research.” MedTrain+ research outputs will benefit outcomes for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and musculoskeletal diseases. It also offers fellows the unique opportunity to work in Europe’s first certified Green Lab at University of Galway. MedTrain+ will combine the expertise across CÚRAM’s academic network to host and train fellows with existing partnerships with SME and multinational companies in the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors based in Ireland and abroad. These non-academic secondment visits will provide the training ground for designing and manufacturing next-generation devices and implants, some of which can be developed with strong clinical collaborations to enable rapid translation to clinics.  Ends

Monday, 24 October 2022

‘How I Learned About Consent’ uses the format of drama to educate senior cycle students in ways to navigate positive and negative sexual scenarios they or their friends may encounter or experience A sexual consent education play is to be rolled out for secondary schools across Ireland as part of the University of Galway-based Active* Consent for School Communities programme, it was announced today (24.10.22). A premiere of the play ‘How I Learned About Consent’ was staged today at the University of Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, attended by students and teachers from a number of secondary schools. ‘How I Learned About Consent’ uses the format of a stage play and features a cast of actors to educate secondary students in communication skills along with methods for navigating positive and negative scenarios around sexual consent. The narrative of the play tackles topics ranging from sex education in schools, image-based sexual abuse, gender and sexual identities, to supporting a friend following a negative sexual experience. The play addresses these topics through age-appropriate humour and satire, drama and direct engagement with issues that young people may face concerning sexual harassment and assault. Announcing the launch of the play today, Dr Charlotte McIvor, Active* Consent programme lead and director-creator of ‘How I Learned About Consent’, said: “The play is designed to equip secondary students with a proactive understanding of consent for them to apply to their future sexual encounters as well as out in the world, as possible bystanders to sexual violence and/or harassment. “It uses drama to bring to life stories and scenarios in order to address the barriers to consent communication, which secondary school students told us they were experiencing in our 2021 Active* Consent for School Communities report, including awkwardness or embarrassment, shyness, lack of knowledge or skills, and feeling pressurised.” Also commenting, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, Active* Consent programme lead and secondary schools programme outreach coordinator, said: “’How I Learned About Consent’ also allows us to stage positive examples of consent communication in an age-appropriate manner, sharing stories of young people experiencing solidarity and support from peers and/or partners as they develop a clear and strong sexual identity. “We do this by using drama to also stage scenarios that deal with what young people told us about what positive consent communication looks like in our 2021 Active* Consent for School Communities report, including having trust and openness with your partner, communication, confidence, awareness and education.”  Active* Consent for School Communities Resources ‘How I Learned About Consent’ is the latest part of the Active* Consent for School Communities programme for senior cycle pupils. The play was created using learning from the Active* Consent for School Communities 2021 report, as well as ongoing work in the School Communities programme. ‘How I Learned About Consent’ links with the other components of the Active* Consent for School Communities programme, which include a sexual consent workshop, the ‘Sex on Our Screens’ eLearning resource on sexual media, and support for teachers and parents. Since it launched one year ago, more than 500 teachers have been trained to deliver the Active* Consent workshop, nearly 1,000 parents have attended information webinars, and approximately 4,000 pupils have taken part in the workshop. Among pupils who have taken part in the workshop, 76% agreed that they were more aware of the importance of sexual consent after taking part, 79% agreed that the workshop showed how they could communicate with a partner, and 82% would recommend the workshop to other young people. ‘How I Learned About Consent’ is supported by a funding award from The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Youth Fund. The roll-out of ‘How I Learned About Consent’ to secondary schools follows on from the current all-Ireland tour of Active* Consent’s version of the same play for third-level students, titled ‘The Kinds of Sex You Might Have at College’, which is touring 19 higher education institutions this autumn.  For contact information for Active* Consent, see the official website at www.consenthub.ie/contact. Ends

Monday, 24 October 2022

Hallows comes to the University of Galway on October 27th. The Societies and Students’ Union have teamed up to create an event to celebrate Halloween and also the return to campus of the students. It will be the biggest on campus student celebration to date and marks the return of great student events to the university. The event includes seven venues and a wide variety of entertainment that includes music, spectacle, performance and seasonal games. It is all happening in Sult (College Bar) and in and outside Áras na Mac Léinn and the Bailey Allen Hall from 7pm. There will be music and performance including the very popular Dirty Circus with a spectacular live show of Burlesque and Cabaret, high energy rock band Transmitter, talented singer-songwriter Eve Belle, Rock Soc has 6 young bands battling it out for a day in a recording studio plus guest DJs, members of DJ Society and a silent disco. The societies have been very busy preparing for the event and have so many great tricks and treats in store. Art soc have been busy since September with mask making and their troup of performers will bring the spirits of Halloween to life, Dramsoc presents an intriguing murder mystery, ‘Macdeath’ a 15 minute who-done-it interractive show, Witches Call Society will be looking to convict someone of witch craft at their Salem Witch Trials, Psychological Society will lure you into their terrifying Clown Asylum and see just how much you can remember. Zoosoc are challenging attendees to face their fears with snakes, insects, a tarantula and their very friendly gecko.  Anime and Manga Society are hosting a model UN, after the zombie apocalypse. If it's zombies you are after, stop by the Zombie Triage Tent hosted by Bród and Style Societies and be transformed into a zombie and join the Dansoc thriller flash mob. There will be lots of opportunities for transformations with Style Socs’ glam Halloween and Día de los Muertos face painters. Do come in costume as the Style and Bród scouts will be on the lookout for the best fancy dress to participate in the fancy dress costume show ‘Skeletons in the Closet’ hosted by the guest Drag Queens with prizes. There will be Irish traditional games and food at the Samhain celebrations and Mexican students and staff will bring colour, music and dance as they share the festive traditions of Día de los Muertos (Day of the dead). You won't go hungry as Baking soc will be busy preparing goodies for the event, as well as food trucks on site. Take some great photos and enter Photo soc competition on instagram and win a prize for the best photo #HallowsCompetition Tickets €5 + €1 booking fee on https://eventmaster.ie/event/RpyjhL5h76 More information on https://www.students.universityofgalway.ie/

Friday, 21 October 2022

University of Galway partners with Zoan BioMed to test coral biomaterials University of Galway are collaborating with Irish medtech company Zoan BioMed to design a novel way of tracking and measuring the formation of bone in a lab. The project is funded by Zoan BioMed and Enterprise Ireland through the Innovation Partnership scheme. Zoan BioMed grow tropical coral, sustainably, in their cutting-edge facility in Galway. Coral shares many chemical and physical properties with bone, making for an excellent bone substitute, or “scaffold”.   The researchers on the project aim to test the potential of coral scaffolds to treat people with bone injuries or other damage, for example from tumour removal.  The partnership with University of Galway will substantially speed up the evaluation of new scaffolds for Zoan BioMed, and for the orthopaedics industry more widely, by developing high throughput rapid assessment methods for biocompatibility and bone forming potential, which will shorten the time to clinical trials for new orthopaedics scaffolds. Such new methods are also important in the phasing out of animal testing for new medical devices. Dr Martin Johnson, head of Research and Development and product development at Zoan BioMed, is excited about the opportunities this project provide. “Creating enhanced laboratory screening methods at University of Galway will help to eliminate or substantially reduce expensive, elongated, ethically challenging animal testing through reliable predictive capability in the laboratory.  This will revolutionise orthopaedic material development in the coming decade. “The global bone grafting market is part of a global $54 billion market that continues to grow at pace, driven by the goal of providing a pain-free lifestyle for our aging population. “With the abundance of small and large orthopaedic companies throughout the country, Ireland is uniquely placed to launch high-quality products into this market, bettering the health of the world-wide population.  “Critical to evaluating the potential of a new scaffold as it enters the market is the evaluation of its compatibility with human cells and its bone-forming potential.  Dr Cynthia Coleman, a cellular manufacturing and therapy expert at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Galway, a long-time collaborator with Zoan BioMed, has expertise in using cells to make bone in the laboratory. Her research focuses on using these cells to understand the biologic pathways underpinning bone formation.   Dr Coleman explains: “Collaborating with Zoan BioMed means that we can create new ways of working to advance both research into bone health and regeneration, and help speed the development of orthopaedic devices into the clinic.   “Developing this technology is incredibly exciting because it will allow us to see the cells as they move through different stages of bone formation and enable us to measure these changes. “This method will help us understand the process by which individual cells become bone tissue and give us the tools to support collaborating academics and industrial partners as they develop technology to support bone formation in the clinic. It will make the evaluation of new scaffolds, quicker and more reliable.” Stephen Wann, Chief Executive Officer of Zoan BioMed, said: “Zoan BioMed recognises the importance of the development of new methods. This technology is particularly relevant to Zoan BioMed at its current stage of development, where it aims to rapidly develop a pipeline of future products for the orthopaedic market including 3D printed coral-based bone substitutes.  “Further medical applications are in development, in particular using novel combinatorial scaffolds, containing coral and other materials mixed together.  These combined scaffolds could be 3D printed to create a particular shape or to perfectly fit into a patient’s injury.  “The cost and time delays associated with current methods of evaluating how well cells can attach to and survive on scaffolds and make bone means the development of orthopaedic products from coral or other biomaterials is slow.” Ends

Thursday, 20 October 2022

The BSc Business Information Systems (BIS) at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics has been awarded the maximum five-year European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Programme Accreditation, an international benchmark of excellence. EFMD Accreditation is a comprehensive programme quality assurance system for business and/or management degrees and courses. Currently, there are 140 EFMD Accredited programmes from 108 institutions in 40 countries. The accreditation covers all facets of programme provision including: the institutional, national and international environment, curriculum, design and delivery, and quality assurance processes. EFMD Accreditation emphasises academic rigour, practical relevance, internationalisation, ethics and sustainability. Dr David Kreps, BSc BIS Programme Director said: “The Business Information Systems academics and support staff, and the School Accreditation’s Team, are immensely pleased with this fantastic recognition for all their efforts this year in preparing for the quality review. We are overjoyed that our students, past, present, and future, can continue to be proud that their degree is one of the finest in the world.” The BSc BIS programme is a four-year undergraduate degree programme providing students with a grounding in the fundamentals of business, together with a specific expertise in information systems for business. The programme has close links with the corporate world including work placement for all students, site visits to leading multi-national companies, and industry led student projects and is part of both the SAP and Microsoft Alliance.  Feedback from employers has been consistently positive regarding the quality of graduates from the programme, which maintains strong graduate recruitment records. The programme has a tradition of innovation and dynamic response to changes in the information systems (IS) sector and places a strong emphasis on international issues and preparing graduates for work in an inherently multinational and globally connected environment.  The programme gives students a one-year global experience option to study or work internationally. It benefits from the BIS group’s international reputation and the school’s central importance in the West of Ireland region and in particular, the concentration of world-renowned technology and technology-related companies that have established bases in the region. Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: “We are delighted that the University of Galway BSc BIS programme has successfully attained EFMD Programme Accreditation for a period of five years. The reaccreditation is testament to the efforts and hard work of colleagues across the broad remit of activities at Discipline and School level against which such an accreditation is assessed and awarded.”  Susan Laurenson, Chair of the EFMD Programme Accreditation Board said: “The Accreditation Board commends the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, University of Galway for its clear strategy, the priority placed on resourcing the BSc BIS programme, and the high quality and employability of the programme’s graduates.” To find out more about EFMD visit: https://www.efmdglobal.org/ Ends

Monday, 17 October 2022

University of Galway has launched the first Civic Engagement Scholarship in an Irish higher education institution, cementing its position as a centre for excellence in engaging students in societal change, social impact and building civic skills. Directed at new entry undergraduate students, the scholarship is valued at €1,500 per academic year for the duration of their degree programme and is open to all students in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Europe. The aim of the scholarship is to contribute to building global citizenship skills among students by enabling them to take on community action at Ireland’s leading campus for civic engagement.   Along with the financial support the scholarship provides, the successful candidate will also avail of: Training and hands-on skills development workshops; access to specialised conferences and networking; internship experience with the ALIVE Volunteering programme; insight across a wide range of non-profit, humanitarian and social justice programmes. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteering Coordinator at University of Galway, said: “As a University for the public good, we are keen to recognise the community engagement activities of students as an indication of personal determination and commitment to communities. Just as there are academic, cultural and performing and sport scholarships to recognise student commitment to their passion, we feel that volunteering and community engagement demonstrates dedication for social change and impact." Dr Paul Dodd, Vice President Engagement at University of Galway, said: “The University of Galway is committed to nurturing the development of a sustainable society and through this new opportunity we are delighted to reach out to prospective students offering them leadership opportunities. The University of Galway is particularly proud of the extensive campus programmes that will grow and develop the successful applicant’s civic skills. Opportunities for social entrepreneurship, sustainability and engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be a key aspect of the scholarship programme.” For more information on the Civic Engagement Scholarship and the application process visit https://bit.ly/3CaWfjy.  Ends

Friday, 14 October 2022

An dara céim de chlár trasteorann, arna thacú ag an mBord Taighde Sláinte, agus táthar á fhorbairt chun oiliúint chliniciúil agus taighde comhtháite a thairiscint do na dochtúirí, tréidlianna agus fiaclóirí is éirimiúla le bheith ina n-eolaithe cliniciúla den chéad scoth  Sheol an Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. an dara céim den chlár trasteorann de chuid Oiliúint Acadúil Chliniciúil na hÉireann (ICAT) le hinfheistíocht €21.3 milliún chun oiliúint a chur ar 42 comhalta sa leigheas, fiaclóireacht agus tréidliacht. Tabharfar tacaíocht do 81 comhalta san iomlán thar an dá thimthriall den chlár. Bhronn an Bord Taighde Sláinte (HRB) an clár ICAT ar shé ollscoil chomhpháirtíochta – Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste, Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh, an Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath, Ollscoil Leighis agus Eolaíochtaí Sláinte RCSI. Is ann don chlár ICAT chun tacú le cuid de na daoine is éirimiúla i gcúrsaí sláinte agus cúraim shóisialta ar oileán na hÉireann chun cur leis an gcúram sláinte atá bunaithe ar thaighde d’fhonn sláinte daoine agus ainmhithe a fheabhsú. Seoladh an tionscnamh uile-oileáin seo mar chuid de chlár dhá lá in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar an gcéad Fhóram Cúraim Sláinte i gColáiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte san Ollscoil, ag scrúdú thodhchaí an oideachais sláinte, taighde agus comhoibrithe tionscail.  Is é seo an dara céim den ICAT. Tá an clár á thionól ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus tá pacáiste maoinithe €21.3 milliún i gceist leis, lena n-áirítear €11m ón HRB, chomh maith le €10 milliún ó na hollscoileanna comhpháirtíochta, Oiliúint agus Pleanáil Dochtúirí Náisiúnta FSS, an Rannán Forbartha agus Taighde Sláinte agus Cúraim Shóisialta (TÉ), Coláiste Ainéistéiseolaithe na hÉireann, an Roinn Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara, agus Gníomhaireacht Oiliúna Leighis agus Fiaclóireachta Thuaisceart Éireann (TÉ). Cuireadh tús le Céim 1 den ICAT in 2016 agus ba é Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath a rinne an clár a thionól le pacáiste maoinithe €17 milliún ar an iomlán. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “Tá ár Rialtas an-tiomanta don taighde agus don nuálaíocht agus dá ról i dtodhchaí an chúraim sláinte. Cabhróidh infheistíocht chomh mór seo agus an dearcadh straitéiseach seo le hÉirinn a bheith áirithe i measc na n-áiteanna ina dtugtar an deis do thaighdeoirí agus do nuálaithe den chéad scoth a ndícheall a dhéanamh chun athrú buanseasmhach agus éifeachtach a bhaint amach a théann i ngleic le dúshláin ár linne. “Is deis atá sa Chlár ICAT do roinnt de na daoine is éirimiúla i gcúram sláinte agus tá lúcháir orm an dul chun cinn a fheiceáil sa dara céim den chlár iontach seo.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Príomhthaighdeoir an Chláir ICAT, an tOllamh Conall Dennedy, Ollamh Comhlach le Teiripic in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Is deis atá sa dara céim seo de chlár Oiliúna Acadúla Cliniciúla na hÉireann do 42 comhalta ar fud réimse an leighis, na fiaclóireachta agus na tréidliachta a bheith ina dtaighdeoirí den chéad scoth i gcomhthráth lena n-oiliúint chliniciúil, laistigh de thimpeallacht líonraithe agus chomhoibríoch. “Is í fís an chláir sláinte daoine in Éirinn agus i dTuaisceart Éireann a fheabhsú, chomh maith le leas ainmhithe, ag glacadh le prionsabail One Health. Tá an infheistíocht mhór seo ón HRB, sé ollscoil chomhpháirtíochta agus comhlaigh ríthábhachtach chun sláinte ár náisiún a chosaint don todhchaí.” Dúirt an Dr Mairéad O’Driscoll, príomhfheidhmeannach an Bhoird Taighde Sláinte: “Tá an HRB dírithe ar thacaíocht a chur ar fáil d’éiceachóras taighde bisiúil a fheabhsaíonn seirbhísí cúraim sláinte agus shóisialta in Éirinn agus a dhéanann difríocht mhór do shaol na ndaoine. “Léiríonn an clár ICAT é seo, agus tá áthas orainn an chéad bhabhta maoinithe den chlár a leathnú amach go céim a dó a áiríonn anois fiaclóirí agus tréidlianna mar aon le dochtúirí agus lucht leighis. “Meallfaidh an clár ildisciplíneach, comhoibríoch, uile-Éireann seo glúin nua taighdeoirí den chéad scoth i sláinte chliniciúil, a chuirfidh an taighde agus an fhianaise chomhtháthaithe chun cinn i bpolasaí agus i gcleachtas, agus a fheabhsóidh cinnteoireacht agus torthaí sláinte.” Tacaíonn ICAT le comhaltaí rannpháirteacha taighde fíor-nua a dhéanamh trí leas a bhaint as líon mór stiúrthóirí a bhfuil taithí acu, ag éascú soghluaisteacht shimplí de chomhaltaí ICAT idir Thuaisceart Éireann agus Éire. Is léir go n-éiríonn leis an gcur chuige seo mar is léir ó iar-chomhaltaí agus comhaltaí reatha an ICAT. Is céimí ICAT é an Dr David Mongan ó Ollscoil an Leighis agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte RCSI agus Cláraitheoir Speisialtachta le Síciatracht. Tá suim aige in idirghabhálacha nua a aimsiú a d’fhéadfadh síocóis agus riochtaí meabhairshláinte eile a chosc. Dúirt an Dr Mongan: “Nuair a thosaigh mé ar an gclár ICAT chaith mé mo chéad bhliain in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste ag forbairt mo thionscadal PhD, sular bhog mé go dtí an RCSI i mBaile Átha Cliath le tabhairt faoi PhD 3 bliana. Dhírigh mo PhD ar mharcóirí a aimsiú ar féidir leo cuidiú leo siúd atá i mbaol riocht síocóise a thabhairt faoi deara. Thug ICAT an deis agus an tsoghluaisteacht dom mo chuid spéiseanna taighde a shainiú agus líonra taighdeoirí a bhfuil taithí acu a fhorbairt ar fud oileán na hÉireann, a raibh ról tábhachtach ag gach duine acu san oiliúint agus sa mheantóireacht chomhaltachta a fuair mé. Tá mo chomhaltacht críochnaithe agam anois agus críochnóidh mé m’oiliúint chliniciúil agus leanfaidh mé leis an taighde atá ar bun agam mar Léachtóir Acadúil Cliniciúil in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste.” Is Sainoiliúnaí í an Dr Claire Potter le Síciatracht Ghinearálta Aosach agus Seanaoise. Rinne sí a cuid taighde ar fud TÉ agus Éireann a chomhtháthú ag úsáid dhá bhunachar sonraí taighde mhóra a dhíríonn ar an daonra atá ag dul in aois, is iad sin bunachar sonraí TILDA agus NICOLA. Le linn a PhD san Ionad Sláinte Poiblí in Ollscoil na Banríona, Béal Feirste, déanann an Dr Potter staidéar ar conas is féidir le heispéiris ar bhain strus leo le linn a n-óige ‘aois’ a chur ar dhaoine aonair níos tapa. Mar chuid dá PhD, tá taighde ar bun ag Claire maidir le leanaí a raibh eispéiris go leor acu ar bhain strus leo agus iad ag fás aníos le linn na dTrioblóidí i dTuaisceart Éireann agus iad ag déanamh níos measa nó mar a chéile i dtrialacha cuimhne agus iad níos sine. Bronnadh dámhachtain Fulbright ar an Dr Potter freisin le linn a comhaltachta ICAT agus leanfaidh sí lena taighde in Ollscoil Michigan ag breathnú ar bhunachar sonraí le daonra éagsúil. Tá an Dr Stephanie Bollard ina Comhalta ICAT i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Baile Átha Cliath agus ina Cláraitheoir Speisialtachta le Máinliacht Phlaisteach, Athchruthaitheach agus Aeistéitiúil. Léirigh sí a cuid taighde ag seoladh Chéim 2 den ICAT in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Dúirt an Dr Bollard: “Tá suim ar leith agam i meileanóma, ar foirm an-ionsaitheach d’ailse chraicinn é. Tá sé an-deacair a thuar conas a mbeidh an ailse ag dul chun cinn i ngach othar. Tá mo PhD dírithe ar thorthaí a fheabhsú d’othair a bhfuil meileanóma orthu trína gcúram a chur in oiriúint dóibh féin. Tá meileanóma coitianta freisin i madraí agus baineann mo staidéar leis an gcur chuige ar leith maidir le sláinte madraí agus daoine araon le meileanóma a fheabhsú trí mo chuid scileanna i leigheas daonna a chomhcheangal le scileanna tréidlianna agus eolaithe ginearálta.” Críoch

Friday, 14 October 2022

Cross border programme, supported by the Health Research Board, enters second phase and is expanded to offer integrated clinical and research training to the brightest doctors, vets and dentists to become world class clinician scientists   Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. has today launched the second phase of the cross border Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) programme with an investment of €21.3 million to train 42 fellows in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.  A total of 81 fellows will be supported over both cycles of the programme. The ICAT programme has been awarded to six equal stakeholder partner universities by the Health Research Board (HRB) - University of Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. ICAT is designed to support some of brightest minds in health and social care on the island of Ireland to enhance research-informed healthcare to improve human and animal health. This all-island initiative was unveiled as part of a two-day programme at University of Galway, marking the inaugural Healthcare Forum at the University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, exploring the future of health education, research and industry collaborations.   This is the second phase of ICAT. The programme is hosted by University of Galway and involves a funding package of €21.3 million, which includes €11m from the HRB, as well as €10 million from the partner universities, the HSE National Doctors Training and Planning, the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (NI), College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NI).  Phase 1 of ICAT began in 2016 and was hosted by Trinity College Dublin with an overall €17 million funding package.  Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “Our Government is deeply committed to research and innovation and its role in the future of healthcare. Investment of this scale and with this strategic outlook will help to position Ireland as a place where top-class researchers and innovators are afforded the opportunity to strive for lasting, impactful change which tackle challenges of our time.  “The ICAT Programme has proven to be a catalyst for some of the brightest minds in healthcare and I am delighted to see the ambition in phase 2 of the programme.” Principal Investigator of the ICAT Programme, Professor Conall Dennedy, Associate Professor of Therapeutics at University of Galway, said: “This second phase of the Irish Clinical Academic Training programme is an opportunity for 42 fellows across medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine to become world class researchers in parallel with their clinical training, within a networked and collaborative environment. “It is the vision of the programme to enhance the health of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as animal welfare, embracing the principles of One Health. This large investment by the HRB, six partner universities and associates is critical to futureproofing the health of our nations.” Dr Mairéad O Driscoll, chief executive of the Health Research Board, said: “The HRB is committed to supporting a thriving research ecosystem that improves health and social care services in Ireland and makes a real difference to people's lives. “The ICAT programme exemplifies this, and we are delighted to extend its first round of funding into an expanded phase two that now includes dentists and veterinarians alongside doctors and medics. “This multidisciplinary, collaborative, all-Ireland programme will attract, train and retain a new generation of world-class clinical health researchers that will drive the integration of research and evidence into policy and practice, and improve decision-making and health outcomes.” ICAT supports participant fellows to undertake truly novel research by availing of a large networked pool of experienced supervisors, facilitating an easy mobility of ICAT fellows between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The success of this approach is evident from past and current ICAT fellows.  Dr David Mongan is an ICAT graduate from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Specialist Registrar in Psychiatry. He is interested in finding new interventions which can prevent psychosis and other mental health conditions.  Dr Mongan said: “When I joined the ICAT programme I spent my first year in Queen’s University Belfast developing my PhD project, before moving to RCSI in Dublin for a 3-year PhD. My PhD focused on the discovery of markers that can help to predict who is at risk of developing a psychotic condition. ICAT afforded me the opportunity and mobility to define my research interests and to develop a network of experienced researchers across the island of Ireland, each of whom played a major role in my fellowship training and mentorship. I have now completed my fellowship and will complete my clinical training and continue my research as an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Queen’s University Belfast.” Dr Claire Potter is a Specialty Trainee in General Adult and Old Age Psychiatry. She has integrated her research across NI and Ireland using two large research databases which focus on the ageing population, namely the TILDA and NICOLA databases. During her PhD at the Centre of Public Health in Queen’s University Belfast, Dr Potter studies how stressful experiences during childhood can potentially make individuals ‘age’ more quickly.  As part of her PhD, Claire is looking at whether children who had more stressful experiences growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland perform worse in memory tests when they are older. Dr Potter has also been awarded a Fulbright award during her ICAT fellowship and will continue her research in the University of Michigan looking at a different population database. Dr Stephanie Bollard is an ICAT Fellow in University College Dublin and Specialist Registrar in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. She exhibited her research at the ICAT Phase 2 launch at University of Galway.  Dr Bollard said: “I have a special interest in melanoma, which is a very aggressive form of skin cancer. It is very hard to predict how the cancer will progress in each patient. My PhD is focused on improving outcomes for patients with melanoma by personalising their management. Melanoma is also common in dogs and my study uniquely takes the approach of improving the health of both dogs and humans with melanoma by combining my skills in human medicine with the skills of veterinarians and basic scientists.” Ends

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

University of Galway academics have called for the history of Ireland’s Institutions to be taught in post-primary schools. The call has been made ahead of a one-day conference organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR) at the University - Teaching the dark history of Ireland’s Institutions: Engaging educators and policymakers - on Saturday October 15 from 10.30am to 4pm. Focusing on why this history should be taught in schools and how it may be implemented for students in Transition Year, the conference will draw upon lesson plans designed and implemented in schools over the past two years. The conference was created as part of an ongoing movement lawyering project, which involves the use of the law to contribute to social change, for the Human Rights Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at University of Galway. The project’s aim is to create different educational strategies to ensure that the history of Ireland’s institutions is not forgotten. It is led by Mary Harney, and supervised by Judit Villena, both PhD candidates at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, in conjunction with LLM graduates and has been active since 2019.  Mary Harney said: “Education is one way we can protect future generations and acknowledge the history of those directly affected by the institutions. We don't want this history to be forgotten.” The conference intends to facilitate discussion among teachers and to draw upon teachers’ first-hand experiences, as well as the testimonies of survivors to demonstrate the importance of memorialisation through education. Speakers and topics include:  - Dr Philomena Mullen, Trinity College Dublin, Association of Mixed Race Irish - The exclusion of the mixed race child from the narrative of the institutions - Noelle Brown, actor, playwright, survivor - Theatre as a Platform for Change - Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, University of Galway - Teaching the History of Ireland’s Institutions: From the Foundling Institutions to the Mother and Baby Institutions Shauna Joyce, a recent graduate of the LLM in International Human Rights Law at University of Galway and co-organiser of the project, said: "As a new generation of Irish citizens, we believe that it is incumbent on us to take up the mantle from those older survivors to ensure that past abuses are not only remembered, but to ensure that through education they are not repeated." The teaching of the history of institutions was a recommendation made by the report of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum. Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, University of Galway and UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, said: “Educating students about Ireland’s histories of institutional abuse is essential to understanding how and why human rights abuses happened, and to ensure that ‘never again’ will we allow such human rights violations to occur. It is essential to democratic values, to building a democratic society and to active, engaged citizenship. We need to reflect on how we empower students to advocate for human rights protection.   “Education about past and ongoing human rights violations is also an obligation under international human rights law. To ensure truth recovery, and reparations to those affected, we must take steps to remember, and to guarantee non recurrence of human rights violations, including through education.” The conference is hosted in partnership with a cross-sectional group of academics, activists and teachers from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at University of Galway and Waterford Institute of Technology.  To register for the conference visit: https://bit.ly/3ft82C6  Ends

Monday, 10 October 2022

An Taisce awards University Green Campus status for second time  Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. today launched Ireland’s Climate Action Week at University of Galway. The event coincided with the University being awarded Green Campus status for a second time by An Taisce and the raising of the Green Flag at a special ceremony attended by Energy Performance Officers from each of Ireland’s universities, along with representatives from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications and the Higher Education Authority. Welcoming guests to the launch of Climate Action Week and the Green Flag ceremony in the Quadrangle, University of Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said, “At University of Galway we put our values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability at the core of our teaching, learning and research and also in the operations of our busy campus. It is an important recognition of our determination on issues of sustainability that we partner with An Taisce to host the launch of Climate Action Week. We will continue to push forward to respond to global challenges as part of our central mission to serve the public good.”   Climate Action Week runs from October 10-16, offers a range of online and in-person events which aim to inform citizens, increase awareness and highlight the need for urgent climate action by all sectors of society.   University of Galway was awarded the prestigious Green Flag by An Taisce and the International Foundation of Environmental Education for three years for the quality of its campus and the environment and sustainability drive. The Green Flag is a visual sign of the commitment made in reducing the environmental footprint associated with campus operations. Through learning and research activities, and as a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Accord, the university is driving the transition towards a more sustainable future.  University of Galway is ranked number one in Ireland and top 50 in the world in the THE Impact rankings which measure achievements based around the UN SDGs. University of Galway Environmental, Health & Safety Manager in Buildings & Estates, Lorraine Rushe, said: “This Green Flag Award is the result of many years of hard work by staff and students aimed at improving environmental management and creating a more sustainable campus. It recognises the engagement by students and staff and the vast effort and hard work that is ongoing in the areas of energy, waste, water, travel and biodiversity.” Some of the highlights in the sustainability at the University include:  Ranked #1 University in Ireland for Sustainable Development (Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings 2022) Successfully accredited to ISO50001:2018 Energy Management System Standard Exceeded the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan target of 33% by 2020 and hit an impressive 51% in 2021 Installed Combined Heat & Power units throughout campus Rolled out solar thermal and solar photo voltaic panels  Installed 22 electric vehicle car charging points across the campus Implemented a Campus Pollinator Plan and Biodiversity Action Plan, which involves reducing mowing on grassy areas, planting pollinators, and providing wild pollinator nesting habitat e.g. hedgerows, earth banks and bug hotels Introduced organic waste collection which provide for an optimum composting mixture Installed Rainwater harvesting on campus and participant of Water Stewardship Programme Park & Ride shuttle bus service on campus Coordinated with NTA to install Coke Zero bike sharing stations on campus   First institution in Europe to be awarded Green Lab Certification by My Green Lab Ms Rushe added: “These achievements would not be possible without the commitment, vision and drive of our campus community. University management, buildings & estates team, academics, administrators, students and staff have all played an important role in driving sustainability. Through the ongoing implementation of Climate Action Plans and collaboration with other universities to deliver on our climate action targets and we will continue work to reduce our impact and lead by example in tackling this global issue. Cathy Baxter, Director, An Taisce Education Unit, said: “It is evident that the Green Campus programme is supported from the top down and across all sectors of University of Galway. This level of support is critical if the programme is to continue to grow and develop over the next three years. It is fitting that we are launching Climate Action Week in University of Galway today as it reflects the commitment of the university to taking climate action and having a leadership role in this vital area.” Ends

Monday, 10 October 2022

The PPI Ignite Network, involving seven Universities, brings together patient involvement in Irish healthcare research    A nationwide programme of events has been launched at University of Galway to celebrate and encourage public and patient involvement (PPI) in research, bringing patients and researchers together to share and broaden knowledge.  Taking place over almost two weeks from Monday October 10th, the events form the first National PPI Festival.  The festival was launched by Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, which is the co-ordinator of the festival and leads the PPI Ignite Network in partnership with six other universities.  Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It is fitting that the new focus of public and patient involvement in research is being promoted so passionately by University of Galway and our counterparts across the sector. We place significant emphasis on work for the public good and an initiative of this nature is a powerful example of the role that it can play. It also speaks to the values of our University – respect; openness; excellence; sustainability and I wish everyone who is taking part every success as this new approach to research takes hold.” The PPI Ignite Network is led by University of Galway, in partnership with Dublin City University, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick. The National PPI Festival will become an annual event, celebrating the progress in public and patient involvement in Irish research in recent years and increasing the awareness and knowledge of PPI among the public and among researchers.  The Festival will provide opportunities to reach people who are not currently involved in PPI and to share knowledge and experience from around the country.  Events are being organised by PPI groups, research teams, charities and patient organisations, as well as by the PPI Ignite Network teams at each of the seven Universities involved. Highlights include: Training on involving children and young people in the research planning process The launch of an online PPI training course for researchers at UCC PPI in medical device development training in University of Galway A PPI showcase at the Irish Cancer Society  Professor Sean Dinneen, Professor of Diabetic Medicine, University of Galway and national lead for the PPI Ignite Network said: “There is a growing realisation that the people about whom research is conducted - the public and patients - should be involved throughout all phases of research, to improve the quality and relevancy of research. Called Public and Patient Involvement, there is a significant change happening across Ireland in how research is being planned and conducted and University of Galway is at the centre of this change. “The face of research is changing rapidly in Ireland, researchers are now seeking out the public and patients to work as partners to design and conduct research that will have greater impact.  “This first National PPI Festival is a celebration of the progress made in recent years, much of which has been funded by the HRB and Irish Research Council through the PPI Ignite Network, which we at University of Galway are honoured to lead. It is an exciting time.” A highlight at University of Galway is the PPI Contributors’ Gathering, taking place on Saturday October 15, for people who are already actively involved with researchers and for members of the public, patients, carers or health and social care service users who would like to find out more about PPI in research.  Those attending the Gathering will be able to listen and to learn, to share their own PPI experiences, and to discuss how to ensure that the involvement of the public and patient in research leads to better research that has greater impact.   Claire Devlin, an active PPI contributor through Family Carers Ireland and part of the team planning the PPI Gathering, said: “I look upon this PPI Contributors’ Gathering as a reward for us - we work hard with researchers as PPI Contributors, we work hard in other parts of our lives, now we get a chance of a day out in Galway to meet other PPI Contributors and share our experiences.” For more information on the National PPI Festival and each of the events, please visit: https://ppinetwork.ie/festival/, or email martha.killilea@universityofgalway.ie.  This work is funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, with co-funding from the seven universities at the centre of the PPI Ignite Network.  Ends

Friday, 7 October 2022

Sports Centre swimming pool to benefit from renewable heat   University of Galway has embarked on a geothermal heat pump project on campus to heat the swimming pool in the Sports Centre. The University campus is already part of Galway’s decarbonisation zone, which is aggressively targeting a 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and to decarbonise the campus by 2050.  The ground source heat pump system is being developed and operated as a pilot in the European Union Horizon 2020 project GEOFIT, which is devoted to the adoption of innovative technologies to support and enhance ground source heat pump technologies in Europe.  Site works commenced in September 2022 on the lawn in front of the Alice Perry Engineering Building with 18 boreholes for a thermal network of underground pipes as part of a dual source ground-air heat pump system. GEOFIT will extract heat from the ground and feed two heat pumps to generate hot water which will be carried through an existing district heating network of underground pipes to warm the University swimming pool in the Sports Centre. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “With this investment, University of Galway is demonstrating that our values of sustainability and excellence are embedded not only in our research and education but also in how we operate as a campus. Our students were to the fore in pressing the case for sustainability and securing a clean, green and efficient energy source for our Sports Centre. GEOFIT is an important stepping stone on our decarbonisation journey.”  Assistant Professor Marcus Keane and his colleague Luis Blanes, University of Galway GEOFIT Research Manager, School of Engineering and Built Environment and Smart Cities Research Cluster lead in the Ryan Institute, said: “The GEOFIT pilot will provide an invaluable asset for the scientific community in Ireland and Europe. Like never before, we will be able to understand the long term performance and potential of ground source energy and plan how much energy we can harness from natural and renewable sources that include the ground and ambient air.” The GEOFIT project will capture, process and monitor data relating to the performance of the geothermal heat pump system for at least 5 years, utilising an advanced, innovative Fibre Optic Distributed Temperature Sensing System in collaboration with Ireland’s Geological Survey Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland’s iCRAG Geosciences Research Centre. The technology innovation and research data in University of Galway’s GEOFIT project will provide future management capability to extensively monitor, manage and maintain the renewable geothermal resource field over the next 25 years. The findings will help the University, as well as other operators of public buildings, to determine the feasibility and scalability of ground source heat pumps and other complementary solutions such as district heating and novel heat storage technologies. Michael Curran, Head of Building Services, Energy and Utilities, University of Galway, said: “This is not about just changing boilers with heat pumps - we will use this pilot as a teaching tool and a research laboratory. This is only a first step of a wider campus decarbonisation plan and an opportunity to monitor different performance data, leading to better decisions for large scale heat pump applications.” In addition to the GEOFIT project, the University has already invested in heat pump project to retrofit Áras de Brún building which is funded by Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation Pathfinder Programme, supported by Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Higher Education Authority and Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. It will provide equally extensive monitoring of heat pump performance over time and indoor air quality. For more information visit: https://geofit-project.eu/   Ends

Friday, 7 October 2022

University of Galway recently hosted the 2022 China Scholarship Council (Galway) Annual Symposium. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) is under the Ministry of Education of China and is the premier scholarship funding body in the country. The annual symposium provides a platform for students and scholars from different professional backgrounds to exchange ideas, which is conducive to promoting understanding, enhancing friendship, expanding horizons, stimulating innovation, and seeking new ideas for academic research and international cooperation. The conference, the first on a global scale, was co-facilitated in partnership with the CSC, the Chinese Embassy, the four colleges within the University and the Graduate School. Among those in attendance were university leaders, deans of faculties, supervisors, visiting scholars, international students, senior management of the CSC and the Chinese Embassy. Professor Becky Whay, Vice President International, opened the event and thanked the CSC for providing Chinese students with the opportunity to study at the University of Galway in Ireland. Of the scholarship She said: “This is both an academic exchange between Chinese and foreign universities and a sharing of resources in science and technology between the two countries, which will facilitate maximum scientific collaboration.” During her speech Dr Lulu Tian, Deputy Secretary General of the China Scholarship Council, said: “University of Galway in Ireland is a high-quality research university with a long history, attracting a large number of international students and scholars, especially young research talents. The academic exchange will provide scientific and technological support for the exploration of sustainable development paths applicable to different countries.” More than 40 CSC-funded student scholars presented research reports and had extensive, in-depth communications and exchanges with professors from home and abroad, staging a unique academic feast and fully demonstrating the quality of CSC-funded students. The attendees reported that they had greatly benefited from the conference, which had broadened and deepened their scholarly inquiry, stoked their excitement for scholarly innovation, and improved their capacity for thought exploration. Students were presented with awards on the day for their contribution to and promoting of wide dissemination and sharing of scientific knowledge.  Ends

Monday, 3 October 2022

Tá scoláireachtaí nua agus lóistín ar champas na hOllscoile bronnta ar 16 mhac léinn faoin Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge. Beidh na mic léinn ag cur fúthu i dTeach na Gaeilge, i mBaile na Coiribe don bhliain acadúil 2022-2023 agus cuirfear €1,000 an duine ar fáil dóibh chun tacú leo leis na costas lóistín don bhliain. Cuireadh tús leis an Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge den chéad uair san Ollscoil sa bhliain 1991, agus rinneadh athsheoladh ar an Scéim i mbliana ar mhaithe le lóistín a chur ar fáil do mhic léinn le Gaeilge agus chun pobal Gaeilge na hOllscoile a neartú.  Léiríodh an-spéis inti agus mic léinn ó cheann ceann na tíre ag iarraidh an deis a thapú a bheith in ann lóistín a roinnt le cainteoirí Gaeilge eile agus iad i mbun staidéir san Ollscoil i mbliana.   Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Cliodhna Ní Mhianáin, duine de na mic léinn ar éirigh léi áit a fháil i dTeach na Gaeilge: “Is i bpobal bríomhar na Gaeilge a tógadh mé agus is ann is compordaí mé i mo chraiceann féin; mothaím go bhfuil an cairdeas, craic agus an ‘raison d'être’ céanna ag lucht na Gaeilge nach bhfuil le fáil i measc an lucht aonteangaigh.  “Tá mé den bharúil, óir go bhfuil Ollscoil na Gaillimhe chomh lárnach sin, go mbeadh meascán iontach de Ghaeilgeoirí as gach cearn den tír ag freastal uirthi, araon le muintir Chonamara, agus go mbeadh meascán mearaí iontach de chanúintí ann. Is deis ar leith í an Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge le bualadh leo uilig agus táim ag súil go mór leis an mbliain.” Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí Ollscoil na Gaillimhe:  “Léiríonn an tacaíocht seo fíorthiomantas na hOllscoile i leith chur chun cinn na Gaeilge i measc phobal léinn na hOllscoile, agus léiríonn sé go bhfuil luach agus meas againn ar an nGaeilge agus spéis againn í a neartú agus a threisiú ar fud an champais.   “Beidh deis ag na mic léinn seo cur lena gcuid scileanna teanga agus sóisialta ag na himeachtaí Gaeilge a bheidh á reáchtáil san Ollscoil agus i gcathair na Gaillimhe, agus baineann tábhacht thar na bearta leis an sóisialú seo ó thaobh cleachtas agus iompar teanga na mac léinn.  Chomh maith leis sin léireofar do phobal na hOllscoile i gcoitinne go bhfuil an Ghaeilge lárnach i ngach uile réimse den saol in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.” Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge ar fáil ag https://www.universityofgalway.ie/gaeilge/cursai-focheime/conaitheacht/  Críoch 

Monday, 3 October 2022

Sixteen Irish speaking students at University of Galway have been awarded special scholarships and dedicated on-campus accommodation under the Irish Language Residential Scheme. The students will share Teach na Gaeilge in Corrib Village for the 2022/23 academic year and receive €1,000 to support them with their accommodation costs. The Irish Language Residential Scheme was first established in the University in 1991 and was relaunched for the current academic year, with the aim of creating dedicated accommodation for Irish speaking students and to further develop the Irish speaking community on-campus.  Applications for places in Teach na Gaeilge were received from around the country, with students hoping to secure accommodation with fellow Irish speakers studying in the University. Cliodhna Ní Mhianáin is one of those to have secured a place. She said: “I was raised in a vibrant Irish speaking community and that is where I am most comfortable in my own skin. I feel that the Irish language community share a friendship, craic and the same raison d'être which you just don’t get within monolingual communities.   “I believe, with the University being so central, that a great mix of Irish speakers from each corner of the country will come together to study, along with the Connemara community, and that this will ensure a diverse range of dialects. The Irish Language Residential Scheme provides students like me with the opportunity to meet these Irish speakers and I couldn’t be more excited for the year ahead.” Deputy President and Registrar of University of Galway, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “The creation of Teach na Gaeilge and the scholarship support shows this University’s true dedication to the promotion of the Irish language among our students. It also highlights how much we value and respect the Irish language and how committed we are to strengthening and reinforcing its use on campus.   “These students are ambassadors for the Irish language. They will be a central part of the University’s Irish language community and that of the city. This socialisation is of the utmost importance in terms of language practices and use. Teach na Gaeilge and the Irish Language Residential Scheme also shows the University community that the Irish language is central to all aspects of life here in University of Galway.” For more information about the scheme visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/gaeilge/cursai-focheime/conaitheacht/  Ends

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

The archive of the award-winning Pan Pan Theatre Company has been donated to the University of Galway Library Archives. Established in 1993 by Gavin Quinn and Aedín Cosgrove, Pan Pan Theatre Company have established international recognition as one of Ireland’s premiere theatre companies, touring throughout Ireland, Europe, the United States and from China to New Zealand. The archive is fully catalogued and available to researchers at University of Galway Library. A new digital online exhibition will share the Pan Pan archive with a global audience at https://exhibitions.library.nuigalway.ie/s/panpan/page/introduction  The Pan Pan archive consists of annotated scripts, production notebooks, photographs, designs, programmes, posters, and a vast collection of digital show recordings, spanning more than 50 boxes of materials from the last 30 years. The papers document the early years and development of the company led by Quinn and Cosgrove, who have directed and designed the majority of Pan Pan productions.  Dr Barry Houlihan, Archivist, University of Galway, said: “Working on the Pan Pan archive and cataloguing its vast array of materials is a reminder of the immense contribution that Pan Pan have made to contemporary Irish drama in Ireland and internationally. The archive will be in an immersive and fascinating resource for anyone interesting in the company and modern Irish theatre and culture.” Gavin Quinn and Aedín Cosgrove, co-founders of Pan Pan Theatre Company said: “It's an amazing opportunity that University of Galway has given Pan Pan to make our work available in this archive, we are blown away by the dedication and curatorial excellence of the Archive team. We are delighted that our little contribution to the theatre scene in Ireland will be preserved." Pan Pan were established as “Ireland’s first deaf ensemble”, producing work for and with deaf practitioners and audiences, creating a new space of accessibility for Irish theatre in the 1990s. New original works by Pan Pan at this time included Tailors Requiem (1996), Cartoon (1998), and Standoffish (2000).  Dr Charlotte McIvor, Head of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Galway said: “The acquisition of the Pan Pan archive gives us another opportunity to bring together history and practice in our Drama and Theatre Studies classrooms and across the School of English and Creative Arts.  Pan Pan have always been at the vanguard of moving Irish theatre forward as a landscape since their founding, and we are now delighted to be partnering with them to bring the transformative story of their history and their future directly to our students.” John Cox, University Librarian, University of Galway said: “We are delighted to have secured the archive of such an innovative company as Pan Pan. This archive is a tremendous collection in its own right and complements our archival coverage of other Irish theatre companies, including the digitised archives of the Abbey and Gate Theatres and others in paper format such as those of the Druid, Lyric and Taibhdhearc.” In later years Pan Pan adapted Irish and European classics in new and innovate productions.  Oedipus Loves You by Simon Doyle and Gavin Quinn (2006), which starred Ruth Negga, toured to international acclaim. The Crumb Trail by Gina Moxley (20009) revisited the form of the fairy tale for a modern technology-driven society.  Pan Pan engaged with the works of Samuel Beckett and William Shakespeare across a number of productions. Pan Pan produced Beckett’s radio plays, All That Fall in 2011, and Embers in 2013, and also Beckett’s Quad (2013) and Endgame (2019). Shakespeare’s works were explored in Mac-beth 7 (2004) and The Rehearsal: Playing the Dane (2010), a reworking of Hamlet. In 2006, Pan Pan staged an all-Chinese cast production of J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World in Shanghai, translated into Mandarin, setting the production in a contemporary hairdresser’s salon. Pan Pan are today producing new works and regularly touring nationally and internationally. The recipients of many international awards as well as Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, the Pan Pan archive documents a company that has always sought to innovate, reinterpret, and connect Irish theatre and culture to the worldwide audience.  The Pan Pan archive digital exhibition, curated by Aafke Van Pelt with Eimhin Joyce and Dr Barry Houlihan, includes more than 400 digital objects from across the Pan Pan archive, all freely accessible online via the University of Galway Library Digital Repository. The Pan Pan archive and digital exhibition will be launched at an event in University of Galway by Willie White, Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival on 29th November. All are welcome to attend.  Ends

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Maoinithe  ag an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, is do mhic léinn ar an Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas na sparánachtaí seo   Leathnú ar an scéim sparánachta don Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) fógartha ag an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta i gcomhpháirtíocht le Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.  Bronnfar €2,000 sa bhliain ar gach mac léinn MGO, maoinithe ag an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta. Is clár máistreachta, dhá bhliain lánaimseartha in oideachas tosaigh múinteoirí,  trí mheán na Gaeilge atá san MGO, a ullmhaíonn múinteoirí ábhar don earnáil iarbhunscoile lán-Ghaeilge.  Tá na sparánachtaí seo maoinithe ag an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG). Dúirt an tAire Spóirt agus Gaeltachta Jack Chambers: "Fáiltím roimh an dul chun cinn suntasach seo i leith múinteoirí faoi oiliúint a thugann faoin MGO in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Tugann na sparánachtaí seo tuilleadh tacaíochtaí do mhúinteoirí faoi oiliúint, a chinnteoidh múinteoirí ardcháilithe don earnáil Gaeloideachais. Tagann sé seo le hobair mo Roinne féin, tacaíocht a thabhairt don teagasc trí Ghaeilge i scoileanna Gaeltachta. Traoslaím le hOllscoil na Gaillimhe as leathnú a dhéanamh ar an scéim agus táimid ag súil leis na torthaí a fheiceáil amach anseo i scoileanna a dhéanann teagasc trí mheán na Gaeilge."  Ag labhairt ag an seoladh dúirt Jacqueline Ní Fhearghusa (Príomhfheidhmeannach COGG) “Tá an-áthas ar an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) cur le líon na sparánachtaí don chúrsa Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe i mbliana.  Tuigeann COGG an ghéarchéim a bhaineann le hearcaíocht múinteoirí sna hiar-bhunscoileanna lán-Ghaeilge agus Gaeltachta, agus an brú a chuireann sin ar phríomhoidí agus ar phobail scoileanna.  “Aithnítear go bhfuil an cúrsa MGO in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe fíorthábhachtach maidir le ceist an tsoláthair agus tá ríméad ar COGG a gcuid tacaíochta a leathnú go suntasach i ndáil leis an oiliúint ríthábhachtach atá ar bun go leanúnach ag foireann an MGO i Scoil an Oideachais, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.” Dúirt Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Táimid go mór faoi choimín ag COGG agus cinnteoidh na sparánachtaí seo go mbeidh ar ár gcumas líon na mac léinn ar an gclár máistreachta eiseamlárach agus ceannródaíoch seo, a mhéadú, rud a chuirfidh go mór le soláthar agus caighdeán na múinteoirí don earnáil.” Is féidir iarratas a dhéanamh ar an MGO tríd an Postgraduate Applications Centre (www.pac.ie) Críoch

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Funded by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, the scheme is open to Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas students  University of Galway, in partnership with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, have announced the extension of the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas bursary scheme. All student teachers who undertake the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) programme at the University will receive an award of €2,000 per year, funded by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta.  The MGO is two-year Irish immersion Professional Master in Education programme, an initial teacher education programme that prepares teachers for the second level Irish-medium school sector.  Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said: “I welcome this important development for student teachers who undertake the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) in University of Galway. This initiative provides greater supports for student teachers and will ensure more highly skilled and exceptionally qualified teachers for Irish language medium schools. This development complements work by my department across a range of areas to support teaching through our language in Gaeltacht schools. I congratulate University of Galway on the extension of this scheme and look forward to the benefits it will bring for the teaching through Irish.” Speaking at the launch of the bursaries, Jacqueline Ní Fhearghusa, Chief Executive of An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, said: “We are delighted to extend the number of bursaries available for student teachers on the MGO programme in University of Galway. We understand only too well that there is a recruitment crisis across gaelcholáistí and scoileanna sa Ghaeltacht, which is a huge strain on principals and wider school communities.  “An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta recognises the importance of the MGO programme and the vital role it plays in providing suitably qualified teachers for the Irish medium schools. We are very pleased to be able to provide continued and extended support to the MGO in recognition of their work in this sector."  Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar at University of Galway, said: "Not only will these bursaries allow us to raise our student numbers on the Masters programme but it will also ensure that we attract high quality graduates to the sector. We are indebted to An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta for their continued support.”  Applications are now being accepted for the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas through Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie.  Ends

Monday, 28 November 2022

Hundreds of fossils discovered on Wexford coastline date back to long before dinosaurs roamed  A team of scientists, led by experts from the School of Natural Sciences at University of Galway, have discovered an exceptionally well-preserved group of fossil sea urchins at Hook Head, County Wexford.  The find is one of the most important in Irish palaeontology in recent times. Sea urchins, or echinoids, are a group of marine animals, related to starfish. They have globular plated bodies covered by numerous defensive spines, which fall away and are quickly lost after the urchin dies. Over 200 complete fossil echinoids are preserved in exquisite detail on a limestone surface, in an area of just 1m2 . All of the Hook Head specimens have their spines still attached and they apparently died together on the seafloor almost 350 million years ago - a dramatic moment now frozen in time on the rock surface on the coast of south-east Ireland. The limestone layer containing the fossil urchins was in danger of being lost to coastal erosion, so the scientific team mounted a rescue operation to save it.  The site at Hook Head is protected under law and approval for the recovery was granted by several state agencies, as well as the local landowner. Following successful removal, the team immediately entrusted the fossil-bearing slab to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation and further study.  The discovery and recovery of the hundreds of fossil sea urchins was recently reported in the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, which is published by the Royal Irish Academy.  One of the international scientific experts who peer-reviewed the paper remarked: “Speaking as a Paleozoic echinoid worker, this is one of the most exceptional and striking fossil finds in the last century.” Palaeontologist Dr Nidia Álvarez-Armada, the lead author in the study, said: “I initially discovered these fossil sea urchins on a rocky coastal outcrop when I was surveying the geology of Hook Head peninsula for my undergraduate Bachelor of Science thesis at University of Galway. When I first noticed the echinoids on the limestone surface, I was completely astonished by both the sheer number of fossil specimens present and also their exceptional preservation.  “The significance of the find was instantly apparent and I immediately began mapping and recording the shape, size and position of each individual urchin on the rock surface. This work took several weeks to complete, but it was important to carefully document the fossil find in as much detail as possible.” The Hook Head fossil find has considerable potential to reveal important information about the nature of seafloor communities during the Carboniferous, a time period that occurred long before dinosaurs ever walked on land, when the marine realm was very different to today. Dr John Murray, School of Natural Sciences, University of Galway, who co-authored the paper and supervised the original project, said: “It is quite exceptional to find Carboniferous fossil sea urchins so perfectly preserved and in such large numbers like this. In life, these particular echinoids had very flexible plated bodies, covered with many spines, which usually disarticulated and dispersed rapidly after death, leaving little trace of them behind. The Hook Head urchins must have been buried quite quickly after they died, with little or no post mortem disturbance; however, it remains unclear why they congregated in such large numbers at this location on that ancient seafloor.” Dr Murray added: “The significance of this discovery was such that all of the members of the rescue team willingly volunteered their time and expertise to travel to Hook Head to help salvage the fossil-bearing slab. We consciously chose to leave this important fossil find in the care of the National Museum of Ireland immediately - I guess it was our way of giving this piece of priceless geoheritage back to the people of Ireland.” To read the full study in The Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, visit: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/868440/pdf Ends