Wednesday, 19 April 2023

University of Galway and the University’s Students’ Union have announced a formal partnership. The aim of the agreement is for staff and students at the University to collaborate to deliver real and positive change in the areas of student-centred decision making and student participation and engagement. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “University of Galway’s strategic plan Shared Vision, Shaped by Values 2020-2025 and its core values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability were developed and defined with input from both staff and students. In particular, we committed to being here for our students, our society and our planet. Our new and formal partnership between our University and our Students’ Union is a manifestation of that commitment to our students as University of Galway, a university for the public good.”  President of University of Galway Students’ Union Sai Gujulla said: “By working together to a common agreed purpose, we can promote enhancements that deliver meaningful benefits for our university community. We are setting out to achieve an enhanced working relationship between the University and the Students’ Union based on the values of openness and respect, in a spirit of collaboration and positive intent, and with meaningful results that deliver mutual benefit for the entire university community.” The Student Partnership Agreement seeks to enable a culture of change through collaboration, reciprocity and shared responsibility between staff and students. It sets out a commitment to regular and open communication at various levels between the University and the Students’ Union “in a spirit of respect and positive intent”.  Among the aims are to increase the student voice in decision-making and to bring about greater student representation on relevant committees. As part of the agreement, training will be offered to students who which to participate in this way and for staff who wish to work with students in this way. The partnership also aims to gather feedback from students to inform meaningful and positive change.  The University also commits to funding orientation programmes; on-campus social events to build a sense of community; academic skills development training, including exam support; health and well-being; and personal, professional and civic development training.  Ends

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

University of Galway’s sporting community came together to celebrate the triumphs of athletes, sports clubs and coaches at its 38th annual Sports Awards.  During the ceremony, the University presented 14 awards recognising sporting performance, leadership and participation, as well as those that contribute to the running and development of the University of Galway Sports Clubs.  The awards ranged from Sports Person of the Year, Most Improved Club and University Honours Awards.  The University Honours Awards celebrate remarkable final year individuals who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to sport; shown an impeccable example of sportsmanship and a high level of performance and achievement; been an excellent ambassador within the University and student sport; and competed at a regional level or above. Highlights of University of Galway success in the past year include: University of Galway students represented Ireland or Irish University teams in eight different sports.  Sports clubs won Gold in ten disciplines/sports at Intervarsity level. University teams won All-Irelands in Basketball and Rowing. University of Galway is now home to 45 active sports clubs, which are student-led and organised, with more than 6,000 students participating in sport and activity daily at the University. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to commend each of the awardees. We value and respect the ongoing success of our students and alumni, and the clubs and coaches that have helped them along the way. These awards reflect not only the excellence of our students in terms of performance sport but also the contribution of the clubs to campus life and the importance of openness and participation in sport and exercise for the wellbeing of all our students and the public good more generally.”   2023 Sports Award Winners Team Awards Best Event of the Year: Surf Club  Club of the Year: Rowing Club Most Improved Club: Camogie Club Team of the Year - Female: Women’s Soccer Team Team of the Year - Male: Fresher Hurlers, Hurling Club   Individual Awards: Club Captain of the Year: Lauren McMahon from Milford, Co. Donegal (Sailing) Coach of the Year: Ciro Prisco from Italy (Rowing)  Individual Performance of the Year – Female: Kara McCleane from Kilcannon, Co Galway (Basketball) Individual Performance of the Year – Male: Liam Nolan from Barna, Co Galway (Golf – South American Amateur Championship winner)  Sports Person of the Year – Female: Naoise O’Donnell from Moycullen, Co. Galway (Triathlon) Sports Person of the Year - Male: Brian Colsh from Ballymote, Co. Sligo (Rowing) Unsung Hero – Niall O’Doherty from Killarney, Co. Kerry (Mountaineering) University Honours – Evan Niland from Ardrahan, Co Galway (Hurling)  University Honours – Chloe Singleton from Athlone, Co Westmeath (Soccer)  University Honours – Ciarán Fitzgerald from Dingle, Co Kerry (Sailing, Sub Aqua, Windsurfing) University of Galway Director of Sport Mike Heskin said: “The Sports Awards are a celebration of sporting achievement across all codes and in the theatres of national and international sport. These performances by our students have been delivered by teams, by individuals, by final years, by first years, and in all cases by both genders. All of them have brought honour and glory, and in no small amount, joy to the University of Galway. “Many of the awardees will with certainty go on to achieve the ultimate prize in their chosen sport. I am certain that among the winners are future All Ireland winning medallists, Olympians, and someone who will who wear the green of Ireland on the international stage. “For us in the Sports Unit, it is an honour and a pleasure to work with and to get to know such talented individuals and we will continue to strive to provide them with all the support they need. I look forward to following their careers as they strive for their goals.” Ends

Monday, 17 April 2023

Tá buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2023 fógartha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus bronnfar na gradaim orthu ag mórfhéasta Dé hAoine, an 16 Meitheamh 2023.   Tugann Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí an 128,000 alumni de chuid na hOllscoile atá scaipthe ar fud an domhain. Is ceannairí iad na buaiteoirí seo a bhfuil lorg fágtha acu ar a réimsí féin ar leibhéal áitiúil, náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta.     Is í seo an 22ú bliain a mbeidh na gradaim á mbronnadh, agus is liosta le háireamh iad an 133 alumni den scoth a bhfuil gradam faighte acu go dtí seo.    I measc na ndaoine mór le rá ar bronnadh Gradam Alumni orthu tá Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn; an t-iriseoir agus an craoltóir, Seán O'Rourke; an craoltóir, Gráinne Seoige; Adrian Jones; iarcheannairí Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre, Eamon Gilmore agus Pat Rabbitte; an Breitheamh de chuid na Cúirte Achomhairc, Máire Whelan; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach agus Curadh an Domhain, Olive Loughnane; an t-aisteoir agus duine de bhunaitheoirí Amharclann an Druid, Marie Mullen; agus an t-aisteoir Nicola Coughlan.     Is iad seo a leanas buaiteoirí na n-ocht nGradam Alumni a bheidh le bronnadh ag Mórfhéasta Ghradaim Alumni 2023:     -       Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann  Jim Clarken, Príomhfheidhmeannach Oxfam Ireland (Coimisinéir na hÉireann um Chearta an Duine agus Comhionannas, Cathaoirleach Ghníomhaireacht an AE um Chearta Bunúsacha)   -       Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht & an Léann Ceilteach Ray Burke, Iriseoir agus IarPhríomh-Eagarthóir Nuachta in RTÉ   -       Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht An tOllamh Oliver O'Reilly, Leas-Phropast an Oideachais Fochéime, Ollscoil California, Berkeley   -       Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an tSochaí – Urraithe ag RDJ An Maorghinearál Maureen O'Brien, Leas-Chomhairleoir Míleata Ard-Rúnaí na Náisiún Aontaithe   -       Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic  An Dr Dapo Odumeru MBE, Bainisteoir Dearbhaithe Feabhais Réigiúnach, Rannóg Fola agus Trasphlanduithe an NHS   -       Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – Urraithe ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Máirín Ní Ghadhra, Craoltóir, RTÉ   -       Gradam Alumni don Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt Tony Regan, IarCheannasaí Spóirt in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe   -       Gradam Alumni do Cheannairí Nua – Urraithe ag Deloitte Geraldine Lavelle, Údar, Scríbhneoir.   Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, nuair a fógraíodh buaiteoirí na nGradam: “Is é an misean atá ag an ollscoil seo an domhan a fheabhsú tríd an teagasc, an taighde, agus trí dhul i bhfeidhm ar dhaoine. Tugann clár na nGradam Alumni aitheantas d’alumni a dhéanann difríocht dhearfach ar fud an domhain agus atá ina gceannairí ina réimsí roghnaithe. Táim thar a bheith sásta i mbliana gur féidir linn aitheantas a thabhairt do ghrúpa alumni a bhfuil an-éagsúlacht ag baint leo agus a bhfuil lorg a láimhe fágtha ar an domhan agus chun leasa an domhain, sa bhaile agus i gcéin. Tréaslaím le gach duine ar a bhfuil gradam le bronnadh agus táim ag súil le fáilte ar ais a chur rompu chuig a n-alma mater don Mhórfhéasta i mí an Mheithimh.”   Le háirithint a dhéanamh ar líne, gabh chuig www.universityofgalway.ie/alumni-friends/alumniawardsgalabanquet nó déan teagmháil le Colm O’Dwyer ag 091-494310   Críoch

Monday, 17 April 2023

University of Galway has announced the winners of the 2023 Alumni Awards to be presented at a gala banquet on Friday June 16, 2023.   The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s 128,000 alumni worldwide. These awardees are leaders who have demonstrated impact and excellence in their fields on a local, national, and international level.     Now in its 22nd year, the awards boast an impressive roll call of 133 outstanding alumni.    Among the distinguished honorees are President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins; journalist and broadcaster Seán O’Rourke; broadcaster Gráinne Seoige; Goldman Sachs Executive Adrian Jones; former Labour Party leaders Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte; Court of Appeal Judge Máire Whelan; Olympian and World Champion Olive Loughnane; actress and Druid Theatre founder Marie Mullen; and actress Nicola Coughlan.     The winners of the eight Alumni awards to be presented at the 2023 Alumni Awards Gala Banquet are:     Alumni Award for Business and Commerce - Sponsored by Bank of Ireland  Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland (Irish Human Rights & Equality Commissioner, EU Fundamental Rights Agency Chair)   Alumni Award for Arts, Literature & Celtic Studies Ray Burke, Journalist and former Chief News Editor at RTÉ   Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology  Professor Oliver O'Reilly, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, University of California, Berkeley   Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Society - Sponsored by RDJ Major General Maureen O'Brien, Deputy Military Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations    Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences - Sponsored by Medtronic  Dr Dapo Odumeru MBE, Regional Quality Assurance Manager, NHS Blood and Transplant    Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge - Sponsored by Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Máirín Ní Ghadhra, Broadcaster, RTÉ   Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport  Tony Regan, former Head of Sport at University of Galway   Alumni Award for Emerging Leaders - Sponsored by Deloitte Geraldine Lavelle, Author, Writer.    Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “It is the mission of our university to make the world a better place through our teaching, research, and impact. Our Alumni Awards programme recognises alumni who make a positive difference in the world and who are leaders in their chosen fields. I’m particularly pleased this year that we can honour a diverse group of alumni who have made a positive impact in the world and for the world, both nationally and internationally. I congratulate each awardee and I look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in June.”   For online reservations, visit www.universityofgalway.ie/alumni-friends/alumniawardsgalabanquet or contact Colm O’Dwyer at 091-494310   Ends

Monday, 17 April 2023

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. has launched University of Galway’s new Masters in Sustainability Leadership at a special regional business summit. The event was hosted at University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and attracted more than 150 participants from various regional industries and sectors.  As part of the wider Thinking Beyond – An Event Series for the Public Good, the Regional Business Summit – Engaging People and Leading on Sustainability focused on talent attraction and retention and sustainability leadership, with keynote addresses, panel discussions, and contributions from industry leaders and university colleagues.  The aim of the summit was to foster collaboration between regional businesses and the university to address the key challenges they are facing on talent engagement and sustainability. Minister Naughton, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, launched the University’s MSc in Sustainability Leadership, a two-year programme designed to equip students with the leadership skills to address the challenges, risks, and opportunities that environmental sustainability and social responsibility present for contemporary businesses and organisations. Speaking at the event, Minister Naughton said: “The Irish government has set some ambitious targets in the area of sustainability, including a commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve these targets, we need to work together, and programmes such as this masters provide an excellent opportunity for businesses and academics to come together to drive sustainable transformation.” Dr Orla Lenihan, Assistant Professor in Governance, Sustainability and Finance with the School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, said: "We are thrilled to Minister Naughton launch this new Masters programme, the purpose of which is to try to embed leadership skills in students to drive the sustainability transformation and to equip future leaders with the knowledge needed to drive sustainability across all sectors. We believe that sustainability is key to the future success of our economy and society, and we are proud to play a leading role in this important area." Professor Alma McCarthy, Dean of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, said: "We are delighted with the success of the summit and the engagement we have seen from local industries. We believe that collaboration between the university and local businesses is key to driving innovation and economic growth, and we look forward to building on the momentum generated by this event." For more information on the MSc in Leadership Sustainability visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/sustainability-leadership.html.  For further information on the regional business summit or upcoming events in the Thinking Beyond series visit www.universityofgalway.ie/thinkingbeyond. Ends

Thursday, 6 April 2023

A new study by University of Galway has shown that some smartphone identifier apps actually misidentify at least one in five plant species. With spring in the air and more people spending time in the great outdoors, smartphone applications offer opportunities to get people engaged with plants, the importance of biodiversity and education but potentially to determine if a plant may be problematic or harmful. Researchers at the School of Natural Sciences at University of Galway and the School of Geography at University of Leeds released findings of a study which highlights that they should not be trusted to identify plants with 100% accuracy, a particularly important issue for toxic plants. The study has been published in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE, and was authored by Neil Campbell, who carried out the study while completing a Master’s degree at the University of Galway; Dr Karen Bacon, Lecturer in Plant Ecology at University of Galway; and Dr Julie Peacock, Associate Professor in Ecology at the University of Leeds. The team tested the ability of six common smartphone applications to identify 38 herbaceous plants native to Ireland. The highest performing app only had 80-88% accuracy. The study also found that the apps showed considerable variation across plant species but they were better able to identify plants in photographs that included flowers than when photographs only included leaves. The study highlights that, although apps can do a reasonably good job of identifying plants, they should not be considered to be providing 100% accurate identifications. This is important for a variety of reasons, including use to identify toxic plants, use to identify potentially problematic plants and use in teaching. The technology is improving all the time, but for now, identifications from such apps should be used as a help to identify plants and not automatically considered to be correct. Dr Karen Bacon said: “The prevalence of plant ID apps on smartphones means that people can now reach into their pockets, take out their phones and identify plants - easier than ever before. This offers a great means of encouraging people to engage with nature and become more familiar with the plants in their local areas or, indeed, plants in new exotic places when they travel. “However, we don't really know how good many of these apps are at actually doing what they say they can - identifying plants accurately. This is of particular importance when we consider people trying to identify a plant that an animal or young child may have ingested - how sure can you be that your app is giving you the right identification?” Dr Julie Peacock said: “Plant identification apps have huge potential to improve plant awareness in the general population. They can also aid conservation efforts and environmental consultancy teams. However, we should be aware that plant identification apps are only a tool to guide the user. The user needs basic plant identification skills too, as well as a willingness to double check the plant species suggestions that the app gives. A calculator is an excellent tool in maths, but without knowledge of at least basic arithmetic, someone using it could not know if the calculator was giving a strange answer. Similarly, basic plant identification skills and a willingness to check suggestions that apps make, will help the individual most effectively use these apps. Being aware that the apps may not be accurate, some will be better at different types of plants, and the photo submitted will impact the accuracy of the identification is important when using these tools.” The full study in PLOS ONE is available here. Ends

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

University of Galway led INTERSTROKE study finds that the amount of sleep, snoring and sleep apnoea are linked to a higher risk of stroke   People who slept for too many or too few hours were more likely to have a stroke than people who slept an average number of hours Snorers almost twice as likely as non-snorers to have a stroke Results remained similar after adjusting for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke   A global study into causes of stroke, co-led from University of Galway, has identified that sleep problems - including getting too much or too little sleep, taking long naps, snoring, snorting and sleep apnoea - can increase the likelihood of having a stroke.  The research was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.  Dr Christine McCarthy, Stroke and Geriatric Medicine Physician, PhD researcher with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Galway and lead author said: “Not only do our results suggest that individual sleep problems may increase a person’s risk of stroke but having more than five of these symptoms may lead to five times the risk of stroke compared to those who do not have any sleep problems. Our results suggest that sleep problems should be an area of focus for stroke prevention." The international study involved 4,496 people, including 2,238 people who had a stroke who were matched to 2,258 people who did not have a stroke. The average age of participants was 62.  Participants were asked about their sleep behaviours including how many hours of sleep they got, sleep quality, napping, snoring, snorting, and breathing problems during sleep.  The study found that breathing problems during sleep, including snoring, snorting, and sleep apnoea were significantly associated with stroke. Participants who reported sleep apnoea and snorting were nearly three times more likely to have a stroke, while people who snored were nearly twice more likely to have a stroke than those who did not.  People who slept for more than nine hours or people who slept less than five hours were more likely to have a stroke than people who slept an average number of hours.  Following extensive adjusting for other factors that could affect the risk of stroke such as smoking, physical activity, depression, and alcohol consumption, the results remained similar. 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 with Prof Salim Yusuf, McMaster University, Canada. He said: “Globally, one in four people over age 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. We know from our INTERSTROKE study research that many strokes could be prevented, and this study has been designed to inform approaches to population-level prevention. We now need to factor in sleep problems as one of the associations with stroke, and the need for targeted research evaluating interventions design to prevent, and improve, sleep impairments.” A series of findings have been released as part of the wider INTERSTROKE project and can be accessed here.  Ends

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Progression of gender equality sees a total of ten Schools in the University now accredited with Bronze Award status and one School with a Silver Award    University of Galway has secured two additional Athena SWAN Bronze Awards in recognition of the University’s commitment to advancing gender equality for staff and students.  The University’s School of Law and a joint award between the School of Computer Science and the Data Science Institute have received the accolade which acknowledges efforts to create cultural change within higher education institutions. This latest accreditations sees a total of ten Bronze Awards and one Silver Award in the University, along with an Institutional Bronze Award which was renewed in 2021. Eleven out of the University’s 18 schools now hold Athena SWAN Awards.  The School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the School of Natural Sciences were also successful in their application to transfer their Bronze Athena Swan Awards following the restructuring of their Schools. University of Galway Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Helen Maher, said: “I am delighted with the positive news of the successful Athena Swan Bronze applications for our School of Law, School of Computer Science and Data Science Institute. I very much appreciate the significant work undertaken by staff members to advance gender equality as evidenced by these new awards. In addition, I am mindful of the necessity of supporting and enabling leadership for equality at every level within our University, as a critical factor in transforming the gendered nature of inequality in higher education.” Professor Martin Hogg, Head of the School of Law, said: “The School of Law is delighted to be the recipient of an Athena Swan Bronze Award. The Award recognises the commitment we have made as a School to advance gender equality in a range of ways, and we intend to make an early start on the work needed to achieve this. The award represents the next step of an important journey for us, one which we embark upon with renewed confidence. The School owes a huge debt of gratitude to our Self-Assessment Team for the time and effort they put into securing this award, and I should like to thank them for all their hard work.” Professor Michael Madden, Head of School of Computer Science, said: “We are delighted that the School of Computer Science and the Data Science Institute have been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, the first joint award between a School and a Research Centre in the University of Galway. It is a great credit to our Self-Assessment Team that the panel commended what they called a “detailed and impressive application”, and that they found that we have a genuine commitment to address the underrepresentation of women, particularly at undergraduate student and academic staff levels. We are grateful to them and to all who supported our application, including the people who reviewed and gave us feedback, the Vice-Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in our College, and the Office of the Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.” Professor Edward Curry, Director of the Data Science Institute, said: "Everyone at the Data Science Institute is proud to be the first Research Institute at the University of Galway to have been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We want to thank everyone involved for their support, particularly the Joint Self-Assessment Team with the School of Computer Science, for their efforts, dedication, teamwork, and leadership. This was recognised by the review panel noting the comprehensive approach to consultation and the strong commitment to the action plan." The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research.  Ends  

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Researchers at University of Galway are seeking participants with chronic health conditions for a new project to ensure future Irish health research reflects the needs and interests of patients and healthcare workers.   The Health Research Board Primary Care Clinical Trials Network, a University of Galway based research group focused on supporting high quality research in primary care, are asking the public to submit their unanswered questions and comments on how their health conditions are managed, with the aim of creating a Top Ten list of research topics to be addressed in the near future.  This process follows the long-established James Lind Alliance method, which has underpinned the development of over 100 other Priority lists in a diverse range of health research areas. Network Director and Turloughmore, Co Galway based GP, Professor Andrew Murphy said: “The vast bulk of healthcare is provided in primary care, and people manage most of their chronic health needs in their local areas with GPs, practice and community nurses, pharmacists, physios, occupational therapists and other professionals. By finding out what is important for people involved in this care, we can support future research to address the issues they care about and bring about real changes.”  The researchers plan to first gather as many submissions as possible from people with chronic conditions, carers, and healthcare professionals. All submissions will be reviewed and sorted, and those that are identified as unanswered will move forward to be ranked in the next stage of the project.  Lead researcher Laura O’Connor explains: “With the support of the James Lind Alliance and the expertise of many people with chronic conditions, healthcare workers, and other key stakeholders, we are excited to start into this process and take this step towards more collaborative and involved research.”  The network encourages anyone with a chronic or ongoing health issue or their family, friends, or carers, or anyone working in primary care, to visit the site and consider leaving a response using the short survey. To submit a question or a comment visit, or to find out more information about the project visit https://primarycaretrials.ie/psp/.  Ends

Monday, 3 April 2023

University of Galway academics Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley and Dr Aaron Golden have both been awarded an ENLIGHT Impact Award at the ENLIGHT Impact Conference in Bilbao, Spain. The awards are bestowed as part of the ENLIGHT University Alliance, of which University of Galway is a partner of along with eight other universities across Europe. They recognise and give visibility to research endeavours at ENLIGHT universities that are exemplars in planning for and achieving impact.  A total of five awards were presented across five flagship domains: health and well-being; digital revolution and digitization; climate change; energy and circular economy; and equity.  The awardees are:  Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, School of History and Philosophy, received her award under the Equity category for the project ‘Tuam Oral History’.   The Tuam Oral History Project, funded by Galway University Foundation, has had a national and international impact, raising the profile of the Tuam Mother and Baby Institution and the life stories and experiences of survivors/victims of this institution. It is a grassroots project and emerged through collaboration with a local group of survivors and advocates of the Tuam Home Alliance/Tuam Survivors Network. The project received limited funding but was grounded in the principles of transitional and historical justice, and in the ethical digitisation of life stories. The Creative Arts have been central to the project, and the team have advocated with and on behalf of those directly affected by the institution: demonstrating the power of ethical research that is trauma-informed and centred on the rights and wishes of those directly affected by the trauma.  Dr Aaron Golden, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences for the project ‘TAPAS (Tracking Adaptation Progress in Agriculture and Food Security Using an AI powered Satellite Remote Sensing Platform)’ in the Climate Change category. Winner of the SFI Future Innovator Prize Artificial Intelligence for Societal Good Challenge and co-funded with Irish Aid under SFI’s partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, TAPAS is an AI trained platform that uses archived and real time earth observation data to identify regions where seasonal biomass growth patterns are consistent with a climate adaptation/climate stress response, computing a Biomass Adaptation Index (BAI) map. By anchoring these BAI values to actual ground truth data quantifying net crop production, it becomes possible to identify where climate change is affecting agrifood production and to put a cost on it. In so doing, it quantifies the long-term socioeconomic impact of climate change on those vulnerable communities in the developing world regions most at risk.  Professor Becky Whay, University of Galway’s Vice President International, said: “Members of the ENLIGHT University Alliance work to tackle societal challenges and promote and maximise impact, and both these projects will have a longstanding impact on society. I would like to congratulate both Dr Buckley and Dr Golden on their achievement and know they both make excellent inspiring figures for the research community while creating awareness of the impact of research.” Dr Paul Dodd, University of Galway’s Vice President for Engagement, said: “These well-deserved awards recognise the steadfast efforts Dr Buckley and Dr Golden put in to address issues related to equity and climate change, and we are very proud that two of the five awards have been presented to University of Galway academics. ENLIGHT enables a deeper engagement on big challenges facing society and we are very fortunate to have both Dr Buckley and Dr Golden as ENLIGHT Impact Ambassadors.” ENLIGHT is a partnership of nine universities, supported by the Government and the European Commission, to build a platform for the creation a new type of European university campus where students and staff have increased opportunities for international study, training, teaching, research and sharing of services. The ENLIGHT University Alliance includes – University of Galway; Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); University of Groningen (Netherlands); University of Bordeaux (France); Gent University (Belgium); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Gottingen (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Spain); Uppsala University (Sweden). ENLIGHT aims to collaboratively transform higher education, addressing societal challenges and promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement with the communities of the partner universities. Ends

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Tá an chéad Institiúid do Thrialacha Cliniciúla in Éirinn bunaithe agus an bhéim á leagan aici ar thairbhe agus ar thionchar d’othair   D’fhógair Ollscoil na Gaillimhe inniu go bhfuil an chéad institiúid do thrialacha cliniciúla sa tír bunaithe acu. Déanfaidh an institiúid nua an comhthéacs taighde chliniciúil a athrú ó bhonn trí thimpeallacht a chothú ina dtabharfar aire níos fearr d'othair a bhuíochas le forbairtí i réimse na heolaíochta.  Athróidh an Institiúid do Thrialacha Cliniciúla saol na ndaoine trína chinntiú go bhfaighidh othair rochtain ar na cógais agus ar na cóireálacha is déanaí go tráthúil.  Tá clár taighde sárchaighdeáin uaillmhianach ag an Institiúid agus féachfaidh sí le hÉirinn a chur ar thús cadhnaíochta maidir le fionnachtain chliniciúil agus bhithleighis.    Dúirt Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Mar ollscoil ar mhaithe le leas an phobail, faoi stiúir ár luachanna, lena n-áirítear barr feabhais agus oscailteacht, déanfaidh bunú na hInstitiúide do Thrialacha Cliniciúla bealaí nua taighde a rianú ar mhaithe le sláinte agus folláine daoine ag an am is leochailí dóibh, in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Is sampla iontach é seo dár n-uaillmhian agus léiriú ar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ag breathnú chun cinn, i mbun ceannródaíochta san eolaíocht agus sa taighde, ar fud an domhain agus chun leasa an domhain.”    Thug Stiúrthóir na hInstitiúide, an tOllamh Peter Doran, cuntas ar uaillmhian na hInstitiúide:  “Tá taighde ríthábhachtach d’éiceachóras an chúraim sláinte. Bíonn torthaí níos fearr ag othair a fhreastalaíonn ar ospidéil atá gníomhach i gcúrsaí taighde, mar gheall ar rochtain níos fearr ar chóireálacha tarrthála luatha, agus mar gheall ar an gcultúr atá ann nuair a bhíonn taighde agus fiosrú i gcroílár na gcóras sláinte. Trí ghníomhaíocht taighde chliniciúil a mhéadú, atá mar chroílár uaillmhian na hinstitiúide, spreagfaimid torthaí d’othair. “Tá a fhios againn freisin go mbíonn deacrachtaí ag cuideachtaí dúchasacha, go háirithe in earnáil na teicneolaíochta leighis, meastóireachtaí cliniciúla a dhéanamh in Éirinn, rud atá riachtanach do rochtain ar an margadh. Táimid ag cur straitéis ar bun chun dul i ngleic leis na bacainní a chuireann srian le reáchtáil trialacha cliniciúla in Éirinn.”     Cuid mhór de ghníomhaíocht na hInstitiúide a bheidh ann feabhas a chur ar an gcaoi a ndéantar trialacha, ag comhtháthú modheolaíochtaí nuálacha le teicneolaíochtaí feabhsaithe agus le hanailís mhóilíneach níos fearr chun trialacha na todhchaí a chruthú agus go mbeidh Éire ina ceann feadhna maidir le trialacha cliniciúla.   Dúirt an tOllamh Doran: “Ní bheidh leithéidí ghníomhaíochtaí trasearnála na hInstitiúide do Thrialacha Cliniciúla le fáil in aon áit eile sa tír. Beidh siad i gcomhréim le straitéisí forbartha réigiúnacha na hÉireann agus feabhsóidh siad iomaíochas eacnamaíoch trí infheistíocht, poist agus daoine cumasacha a mhealladh, chomh maith lena croímhisean maidir le sláinte na tíre a fheabhsú.”  Sheol Noreen Doyle, fiontraí agus máthair ceathrar leanaí, an institiúid go hoifigiúil ar maidin. Bhí ailse na hóige ar bheirt dá clann agus tháinig siad slán as.    Ag labhairt di ag an seoladh, dúirt Noreen Doyle: “In 2007 chuireamar ár mac dhá bhliain d’aois, James, i dtriail chliniciúil tar éis diagnóis de Ghéarleoicéime Limfeablastach (ALL) a fháil le súil go gcabhródh sé le leanaí amach anseo an ailse a chomhrac. Is beag a cheapamar an t-am sin go mbeadh a dheirfiúr beag, Kate, 10 mbliana ina dhiaidh sin, ar dhuine de na leanaí a bhainfeadh an-tairbhe as an triail cheannann chéanna seo.”   Beidh an Institiúid faoi stiúir Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.   Dúirt an tOllamh Martin O’Donnell, Déan Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus Dochtúir Comhairleach: “Déanfaidh an institiúid seo ár réimsí láidreachta nach beag a chomhdhlúthú i dtrialacha cliniciúla, cinnteoidh sé go ndéanfar fionnachtana leighis a aistriú go tapa chuig meastóireacht chliniciúil agus ar deireadh feabhsóidh an institiúid saol othar agus sláinte na ndaoine, ag baint leas as láidreachtaí acadúla na hOllscoile agus a comhpháirtí cúraim sláinte, Grúpa Cúraim Sláinte Ollscoile Saolta. Díreoidh an Institiúid freisin ar chomhpháirtíochtaí marthanacha, comhbhuntáisteacha a fhorbairt le comhpháirtithe tionscail agus acadúla, chun go mbeidh ár réigiún ina cheannaire i dtaighde sláinte agus teicneolaíochta leighis.”  Críoch

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Ireland’s first Institute for Clinical Trials established with a focus on benefit and impact for patients   University of Galway has today announced the establishment of Ireland’s first Institute for Clinical Trials. The new institute will transform the clinical research landscape by creating an environment where scientific advances are translated into improved care for patients.  The Institute for Clinical Trials will transform lives by ensuring patients get access to the latest medicines and treatments in a timely way.  Through its ambitious programme of research excellence, the Institute will position Ireland at the forefront of clinical and biomedical discovery.    University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “As a university for the public good, led by our values, including excellence and openness, the establishment of the Institute for Clinical Trials will chart new paths in research for the benefit of the health and well-being of people at their most vulnerable time, in Ireland and internationally. This is a shining example of our ambition and a manifestation of University of Galway looking beyond the horizon, forging breakthroughs in science and in research, in the world and for the world."    Director of the Institute, Professor Peter Doran, outlined the ambition for the Institute, said: “Research is critical to the healthcare ecosystem. Patients who attend hospitals that are research active have better outcomes, due to both increased access to early lifesaving treatments, and through the culture that pervades when research and inquiry are at the core of the health systems. By increasing clinical research activity, which is at the centre of the institute ambition, we will drive outcomes for patients. “We also know that indigenous companies, particularly in the medtech sector, struggle to conduct clinical evaluations in Ireland, which is essential for market access. We are setting in motion a strategy to address the barriers which limit the conduct of clinical trials in Ireland.”     A major component of the Institute’s activity will be to improve how trials are done, integrating innovative methodologies, with enhanced technologies and better molecular analysis to create the trial of the future and position Ireland as a leader in clinical trials.   Professor Doran continued: “The cross-sectoral activities of the Institute for Clinical Trials will be nationally distinctive, will align with Ireland’s regional development strategies and will enhance economic competitiveness by attracting investment, jobs and talent, in addition to its core mission of improving the health of the population.”    The institute was officially launched this morning by Noreen Doyle, an entrepreneur and mother of four children, two of whom are childhood-cancer survivors.    Speaking at the launch, Ms Doyle said: “In 2007 we entered our two year-old son, James into a clinical trial following is diagnoses of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) with the hope that it would help children in the future to fight cancer. Little did we know then that it would actually be his little sister, Kate, 10 years later, who would be one of those children to benefit greatly from this exact trial.”   The Institute will be led from University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.   Professor Martin O’Donnell, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Galway and Consultant, said: “This institute will consolidate our areas of considerable strength in clinical trials, ensure the rapid translation of medical discoveries to clinical evaluation and ultimately improve the lives of patients and health of our population, leveraging the academic strengths of our University and its healthcare partner Saolta University Healthcare Group. The Institute will also focus on developing sustained, mutually advantageous partnerships with industry and academic partners, positioning our region as a leader in health and med tech research.”  Ends

Monday, 29 May 2023

University of Galway academics Professor Louise Allcock, Dr Róisín Healy and Professor John Laffey have been elected as Members of the Royal Irish Academy for their exceptional contribution to literature, antiquities and science. They are among 28 new members admitted to the Academy by Professor Pat Guiry, President of the Royal Irish Academy, on Friday May 26. Louise Allcock is  Professor of Zoology at University of Galway. She is a world leader in systematics and biogeography of molluscs, with a focus on octopuses and deep-sea biota, and uses her broad knowledge to advocate for ocean conservation. She has brought her passion to public attention via television, radio and beautifully illustrated books on ocean life. Professor Allcock has contributed actively to equality and diversity throughout her professional life. Róisín Healy is senior lecturer in History at University of Galway. She has published on modern German, Irish and Polish history. Dr Healy has helped forge a comparative history of colonialism in Europe by comparing British rule in Ireland with Prussian rule in Poland. She has received funding from the Fulbright Commission, the Irish Research Council and the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation. John Laffey is Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at University of Galway's School of Medicine and Galway University Hospitals. His research is focused on acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. A major focus is on therapeutic potential of cell therapies and the effects of carbon dioxide in the critically ill. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to Professor Allcock, Dr Healy and Professor Laffey who have all made exceptional contributions in their respective fields. Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at University of Galway, and I am very happy to see their work and achievements recognised by the RIA.” Professor Pat Guiry, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “These individuals, elected by their peers, have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour. We are delighted to recognise their achievements. As Members of the Academy, they will support the RIA by engaging and leading in activities that strengthen the international recognition of the Academy’s scholarship and serve the public good through their knowledge and insight." The RIA noted that Professor Allcock and Dr Healy were among 15 women elected as Members of the Academy as part of the latest awards for academic excellence.  Election to membership of the Royal Irish Academy is the highest academic distinction in Ireland. The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785.  Ends

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

University of Galway will welcome 150 researchers, PhD students and external industry stakeholders from across the ENLIGHT network to campus for a special event to address and discuss solutions for global societal challenges.  The ‘ENLIGHT European Dialogue Digital Innovation in Health and Wellbeing’ runs from 23 to 25 May, 2023 and brings together ENLIGHT universities and external stakeholders to share best practices and foster future research and education collaborations. One of the highlights of the networking event is the Academic Industry Meeting (AIM) day on Wednesday May 24. Created by Uppsala University in Sweden, AIMday is an exchange of knowledge and ideas focused on finding novel approaches to real-world challenges, and has been successfully adapted by universities around the world to open new networks and develop new collaborations between academia and industry. Numerous local companies will participate in the event including SymPhysis Medical, FeelTect, Croí and Boston Scientific and they will be joined by digital health companies from across ENLIGHT regions.  President of University of Galway Professor Ciaran Ó hÓgartaigh said: “University of Galway’s mission is to be a university for the public good. At the edge but in the middle of everything, the openness and shared respect of the European ideal is central to us. Through working together, we are always seeking new ways to build connections and make an impact in our society and the ENLIGHT AIMDay is part of that.” Professor Becky Whay, Vice President International at University of Galway,  said: “The ENLIGHT alliance exemplifies University of Galway’s commitment to openness and diversity in our University, creating opportunities for students and staff, as well as for our region.  “Our partnership in a European University Network puts us at the forefront of designing models for cross European collaboration, in education, research and our external stakeholders in Galway and throughout Europe.”  ENLIGHT is a partnership of nine universities, supported by the Government and the European Commission, to build a platform for the creation a new type of European university campus where students and staff have increased opportunities for international study, training, teaching, research and sharing of services. The ENLIGHT University Alliance includes University of Galway; Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); University of Groningen (Netherlands); University of Bordeaux (France); Gent University (Belgium); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Gottingen (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Spain); and Uppsala University (Sweden). ENLIGHT aims to collaboratively transform higher education and research, addressing societal challenges and promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement with the communities of the partner universities. Ends

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Three primary schools who used scientific methods to answer questions about well-being, education and fitness in the classroom have been awarded the START Trophy 2023 at a special event in University of Galway.   Organised by the Health Research Board-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) at University of Galway, the Schools Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials (START) annual competition encourages children throughout Ireland to learn more about healthcare decisions and how we can improve health and wellbeing by learning about randomised trials. Sometimes called clinical trials, randomised trials are a type of research study often used to find out if a new medicine or treatment works.            The START competition is a fun, project-based approach to learning about randomised trials. It also helps meet key aspects of the current school curriculum in several subjects including maths, science, SPHE and ICT. The competition website provides all the tools needed to allow children and teachers create their own randomised clinical trial in the classroom.    The three shortlisted primary schools and their trial questions were:    Currow National School, Ranalough, Killarney, Co. Kerry Running Debate- should you run for distance or time?   Scoil Mobhi, Glasnevin, Dublin 9  Which method of learning produces better results in a test: educational videos or educational text?    Corrandulla National School, Corrandulla, Galway Do mindful opportunities increase concentration in the classroom?   Coming in at third place, Corrandulla National School from County Galway explored the imact of mindfulness on concentrating in the classroom. Techniques such as colouring, storytelling, breathing techniques, yoga and sensory play were tested, and the children’s emotions / feelings were recorded. This school concluded that the children felt happier after engaging in the mindfulness breaks, less likely to fidget misbehave or disrupt the class. The mindfulness intervention had positive emotional and academic outcomes for the children involved.    Scoil Mobhi, Glasnevin, Dublin, were presented with second place for their trial ‘Which learning method gives better academic outcomes, educational videos or educational text?’. The students randomised their fellow classmates to the intervention or control arm of the study, using a fun spinner wheel. Using a standard test for both control and intervention groups, the students concluded that the video resource resulted the children getting better test scores.    The overall START first place winners were Currow National School, Ranalough, Killarney, Co. Kerry. They addressed whether or not running for distance or time to improve fitness and concluded that there was no difference between these two groups, and that either method would be good to improve fitness.     Commenting on the START competition, Professor Declan Devane, Scientific Director of the HRB-TMRN at University of Galway, said: “We started this competition for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of randomised trials with children. Secondly, we wanted to harness the creativity and imagination of children in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of trials. The high standard and variety of applications we receive each year demonstrates that the START competition has indeed raised the awareness of randomised trials and capitalised on children’s innate ability to explain difficult concepts clearly and in a fun way.”   Dr Sandra Galvin National Programme Manager of the HRB – Trials Methodology Research Network, said: “The questions that the children come up with every year are amazing. They usually focus on an aspect of their own lives in the classroom, and they work together to create the trial, but also have a lot of fun. The curiosity and creativity of their bright young minds means they usually challenge our concepts and get us to think more creatively.”   The three shortlisted schools were selected by four judges: Iseult Mangan, Former Primary School Principal Cloghans Hill NS (2017 START winner) and Teen Turn Mentor  Aisling Murray, Teacher, St. Joseph’s National School in Kinvara and teacher of the 2018 START Competition winning class. Professor Shaun Treweek, Professor of Health Services Research, University of Aberdeen, UK Sarah Chapman, Knowledge Broker at Cochrane UK.   The competition is run by the Health Research Board-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN), which is a collaborative Network across five University partners - University of Galway, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the University of Limerick - to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day and the anniversary of the first clinical trial which was carried out in 1747 in the British Navy.   To learn more about START visit www.startcompetition.com or follow on Twitter @STARTSchools and Facebook at www.facebook.com/STARTCompetition    Ends

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Fluorescent dyes show sea creature’s cells complete takeover by transplanted stem cells     A new study by a research team in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, University of Galway has described the developmental potential of adult stem cells in cnidarian Hydractinia - a creature which is a close relative of jellyfish.   Cnidarians are a group of animals that includes corals and jellyfish, and unlike most of its allies, Hydractinia can be easily grown in the laboratory.    The study was published as a cover article in the international journal Current Biology.   The team, led by Professor Uri Frank, at University of Galway’s Centre for Chromosone Biology, and PhD student Áine Varley, established this animal as a model organism for stem cell research. This included the development of genetic tools that allow the generation of transgenic animals.    A major question in stem cell biology is the ability of these cells to generate other cell types, such as neurons and muscle, throughout life. In the study, the team addressed the problem by transplanting a single stem cell from a donor animal to a recipient. The single transplanted stem cell was genetically labelled by fluorescent dyes, making it visible in the tissue of the recipient.    The research team found that, following several months, progeny of the single transplanted stem cell gradually displaced the recipient’s own cells. Eventually, a complete takeover occurred, thereby the recipient animal became genetically identical to the donor.   University of Galway PhD student Áine Varley who led the study said: “Cnidarians are known for their exceptional regenerative ability. Many of these animals can regenerate whole bodies from small tissue fragments. Another unusual feature of cnidarians is the apparent lack of ageing; indeed, some cnidarians, such as corals, are known to live for thousands of years without experiencing any decline in their health. These fantastic traits, which are uncommon in animals, are thought to depend on a population of adult stem cells that behave like embryonic cells in that they can renew all tissues, continuously.”   Professor Uri Frank said: “Hydractinia adult stem cells are functionally similar to human embryonic cells. The technology developed in this project allows us easy access to embryonic-like cells in an adult animal. The study has implications on our understanding of how stem cells function to contribute to tissue regeneration.”    Ends

Friday, 19 May 2023

Does cold water swimming improve general and mental health? Will screen time before bed affect sleep quality? Does antiperspirant/deodorant cause breast cancer? These are some of the questions researchers led by University of Galway are seeking to address on a website aimed at tackling some of the myths around healthcare claims.   iHealthFacts.ie, a resource where the public can quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated on social media or word of mouth, aims to help people think critically about health claims and make well-informed choices.   How does iHealthFacts.ie determine if a health claim shared on social media or in everyday conversation is trustworthy? Members of the public submit any health claims they are curious about through iHealthFacts.ie.  A team of researchers in University of Galway will then search for scientific evidence to support or refute the claim.  The team will look for relevant studies in a systematic way; searching for not just one study but trying to find all available studies on the topic. All the responses are reviewed by a team of Evidence Advisors from University of Galway, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, University College Cork, Atlantic Technological University and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, by a panel of Public and Patient Advisors and by a health journalist before being published.   There may not always be definitive answers to the questions asked as good quality studies might not have been conducted on the topic. However, there may be recommendations from expert groups. iHealthFacts will be explicit about the quality and certainty of the evidence underpinning all published answers. In other words, the team will describe not only the current state of knowledge on a topic, but also, how sure the public can be about the quality and certainty of that knowledge, empowering them to make well-informed decisions regarding their health, in line with their own values and preferences.   Dr Paula Byrne, lead researcher with iHealthFacts.ie and post-doctoral researcher with Evidence Synthesis Ireland and Cochrane Ireland, said: “Unreliable claims can lead to poorly informed choices, under- or over-use of things we do to improve or maintain health. Unreliable claims can also lead to unnecessary waste and human suffering. iHealthFacts.ie offers a platform to help tease out the reliability of health claims. We hope it also helps the public think critically about health claims.”    iHealthFacts.ie is updated regularly in response to the submitted and prioritised claims so members of the public can quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated by social media. The researchers hope this information will help people think critically about health claims and make well-informed choices.   Dr Byrne added: “The results and the answers which we publish on iHealthFacts, should never been taken as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They are intended for information purposes only. What we provide are short, easy to read, clearly presented responses to help a member of the public make an informed decisions about their own health.”    Professor Declan Devane, Professor of Health Research Methodology, University of Galway and Principal Investigator with iHealthFacts.ie, said: “Good healthcare requires people to make informed, evidence-based decisions about their health. However, many people are overwhelmed with information, particularly information about what they can do to improve or protect health. Increasing amounts of health information now spread faster and further through multiple channels, including the web, social media, instant messaging, television and radio. Much of this information is unreliable. Unreliable information leads to poorly informed choices, under-or over-use of health interventions (or treatments) and avoidable waste and human suffering.”   Johanna Pope, PhD candidate with iHealthFacts said: “Our team of researchers have already collected and addressed a number of claims which can be viewed on iHealthFacts.ie. These were submitted by the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are now expanding our remit to include any health topic. These include: diet, nutrition and fitness; heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol; cancer; breathing, smoking and respiration; sleep; reproductive and sexual health; brain and cognitive health; and others. iHealthFacts.ie is easy to use, and we welcome the public’s help in submitting health claims to be prioritised for review.”    iHealthFacts is funded by the Health Research Board and the Health Service Executive.   To learn more visit https://ihealthfacts.ie/, email info@ihealthfacts.ie, or follow on Twitter @iHealthFacts1, Facebook, Instagram.   Ends

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

University of Galway is to join 18 international research and academic partners in a Horizon Europe funded project to develop new biodegradable vascular implants. The BIOMEND programme will be led by Dr Ted Vaughan, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at the University of Galway, with his colleague Professor Peter McHugh, and in close partnership with Dr Alexander Kopp, founder of Meotec Gmbh, located in Aachen, Germany, a world-leader in the production of biodegradable metal alloys for medical applications. Biodegradable materials are a category of biomaterial that gradually degrade when implanted in the body and have the potential to form the basis for the next-generation of endovascular stents, as they can reduce long-term complications associated with existing devices. Together with the wider BIOMEND consortium, the research team will tackle key technological challenges in the area of biodegradable implants so that they can be safely used in the human body. Dr Ted Vaughan, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at University of Galway, said: "We are delighted to receive this funding, which allows us to bring together leading experts from across Europe to develop the next-generation of biodegradable implants. Our goal is to develop a range of endovascular stent implants that reduce the risk of long-term complications and improve patient outcomes." Funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions scheme, the BIOMEND project is structured as an integrated research and training programme. As the proposal lead and BIOMEND training coordinator, Dr Eva Barrett, School of Engineering at University of Galway, explains: “BIOMEND will deliver world-class interdisciplinary training to 15 PhD researchers, who will carry out industry-based doctorates across the BIOMEND network. This will significantly enhance the career development and employment prospects of these researchers, promoting their future development into leading innovators of medical technologies.” Ends

Monday, 15 May 2023

University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has hosted a leadership conference and reunion gala, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations of its Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme.    During the event, the University announced plans to establish a new University of Galway MBA Alumni Network for more than 600 MBA graduates who have come through the programme, many of whom have gone on to senior leadership roles across sectors nationally and globally.   The leadership conference and reunion gala served as a platform to showcase the outstanding expertise and experiences of the MBA alumni who have contributed significantly to their respective industries over several decades.    The conference, opened by President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, featured panel sessions focusing on the impact of the MBA on business and society; talent development for future success; career reflections from alumni; and a CEO Leaders’ forum hosted by Danny McCoy, Director of Ibec.     Since it was founded in the 1972/73 academic year, University of Galway’s MBA has established itself as one of the leading programmes of its kind in the country, providing exceptional business education and preparing leaders for the challenges of the ever-evolving global marketplace.     Speaking at the event, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “I would like to congratulate the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics on 50 successful years of the MBA programme. The programme, and more importantly our graduates have made a significant impact to the world in the last five decades, helping to create the capacity, talent and leadership that would not otherwise be here. “The establishment of programmes such as the MBA are inflection points, envisioned by the people involved, facilitated by the place, responding to the needs of the time. We are facing new challenges now, in social cohesion, health and wellbeing, and climate action. And University of Galway is stepping up again to identify and respond to future opportunities and challenges. “In fifty years’ time, what will people say we did now that made a positive difference across the decades?” Professor Alma McCarthy, Dean of J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, said: “Over the past five decades, our MBA has consistently produced exceptional business leaders who have made significant contributions to their organisations and the business community as a whole. The events that we have been able to hold as part of the 50 year celebrations are testament to the achievements of our graduates, our alumni, and the enduring impact of the University of Galway MBA.”    Professor Kate Kenny, MBA Programme Director at University of Galway, said: "As Programme Director, it was an honour and a pleasure to welcome so many MBA alumni, current students, faculty and even our founding Programme Director Professor Jim Doolan. During the day, I appreciated the rich insights from our panellists, on all manner of leadership learnings and challenges overcome since their time on campus as MBA students. But my stand-out memory is the strong sense of camaraderie and friendship among classes, past and present."   The University of Galway MBA is accredited by AMBA, the global mark of excellence for MBA education.    The two-year part-time executive leadership programme enables participants to prepare for accelerated career progression while also applying learning in their organisation from the start of the programme, with graduates going on to senior leadership roles across a broad range of sectors.     For further information about the MBA at University of Galway visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/mba/.     Ends 

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Researchers at University of Galway studying cell interactions in bowel cancer have identified innovative strategies to enhance how the body and drug treatments fight the disease. Colorectal, also known as bowel, cancer is a leading cause of death globally with increasing incidence in developing countries and in younger people. In Ireland alone, there are more than 2,500 newly diagnosed cases of bowel cancer every year, with limited treatment options for patients at advanced disease stage.  The findings of the research have been published in life science journal Cell Reports. Aideen Ryan, Associate Professor in Tumour Immunology at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Unfortunately, a high proportion of colorectal cancer patients do not respond to immunotherapy. We have identified sugar coated molecules with sialic acid, called sialoglycans, that are present on cells in tumours, known as stromal cells. These are associated with poor responses to immunotherapy. Targeting these molecules enhances the immune response in tumours that have high levels of these cells.” The research was carried out by University of Galway in collaboration with VUB, Belgium; Palleon Pharmaceuticals, Boston, USA; CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre based at University of Galway; Glasgow Beatson Institute for Cancer Research; Queen’s University Belfast.   What did the researchers investigate? Approximately 25% of bowel cancer patients have a high density of stromal cells, a type of cancer-supporting cell found in close proximity to cancer cells. These patients are the hardest to treat.  Stromal cells use a number of methods to inhibit or suppress immune cell responses, many of which are utilised by the cancer cells themselves, to promote tumour growth.  This leads to conventional anti-cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, more recently, immunotherapies, having less than favourable results. The researchers studied a previously unknown mechanism of stromal cell immunosuppression. It occurs as sugar coated molecules expressed on the stromal cell surface binds to specific protein receptors expressed on the surface of immune T-cells.    What did the researchers discover? The sugars - sialic acids (or sialoglycans) – bind to receptors called Siglecs. The Siglecs stop the cancer killing T cells from working.  The research showed that stromal cells, when exposed to inflammatory molecules released by bowel cancer cells, express increased amounts of the sialoglycans - on their surface. It also showed that T cells could be re-activated by using specific drugs to disrupt the binding between the cells. The researchers tested the findings using stromal cells isolated from bowel cancer patient biopsies and got the same results, confirming that targeting the binding of sialic acid/Siglecs may represent an innovative strategy to enhance anti-tumour immunity in immunosuppressive tumour microenvironments.   Dr Ryan added: “Our plan now is to test the effects of combining this new targeting approach with clinically approved immunotherapies in the hope that the combination will improve immune responses to cancer.  “We are fortunate to have access to drugs, called sialidases, that target sialoglycans through our collaborators Palleon Pharmaceuticals to test these new combinations in our laboratory. These sialidase molecules derived from Palleon's EAGLE glyco-immunology drug development platform has recent clinical proof of mechanism.” Li Peng, chief scientific officer, Palleon, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Ryan in studying the role of sialoglycans on tumour-associated stromal cells in inhibiting anti-tumour immune responses. Dr Ryan's ground-breaking research highlights the therapeutic potential of targeting stromal cell sialoglycans in the tumour microenvironment as a cancer treatment approach, utilising a sialidase molecule derived from Palleon's EAGLE glyco-immunology drug development platform that has clinical proof of mechanism." Ends

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Three University of Galway graduates will be awarded for the impact of their start-up companies at this year’s MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Europe festival.  The celebration of young European innovators takes place in Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal, on May 11-12, 2023. Each of the three Galway-based innovators co-founded medtech and health tech companies having graduated from University of Galway’s landmark BioInnovate programme.  Elle Sander - co-founder and chief executive of Lifelet Medical, a medical device start-up company innovating in heart valve replacement. Bárbara Oliveira - co-founder and clinical lead of Luminate Medical. The company's first product is a novel, pain-free and patient-centred medical device to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. Brendan Staunton - co-founder and chief executive of Amara Therapeutics, a spin-out which is revolutionising the treatment of pelvic health conditions by delivering digital support to patients’ smartphones. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Being nominated for the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Europe awards is great recognition. Elle, Bárbara and Brendan are among our brightest, young researchers and innovators and to see them being heralded among their peers in Europe is testament to University of Galway’s promotion of innovation and our determination to break new ground in research, all the while with a focus on the public good.”  MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Europe is an annual list that recognises outstanding innovators who are younger than 35. The awards span a wide range of fields, including biotechnology, materials, computer hardware, energy, transportation, communications, and the Internet.  University of Galway is proudly partnering with the festival organisers, Údarás na Gaeltachta and other partners, to bring this year’s festival of innovation to Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal and to celebrate young European visionaries pursuing the same objective: innovation, ingenuity, and advances toward addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. More here on Innovators Under 35 https://emtecheurope.com/innovators-under-35-europe/ Read more about our university spin-outs here https://stories.universityofgalway.ie/spin-outs/index.html  Ends

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

The AtlanTec Festival, Ireland’s annual tech community festival, opens today May 8, 2023. The two-week festival is supported by University of Galway and organised by the non-profit association itag (Innovation Technology AtlanTec Gateway). Now in its ninth year, this year’s theme is "Connected Future – Unlocking the Potential of a Digitally Connected World". A packed programme of events are planned, including group meet-ups, talks, sporting events and an "unconference" which looks at equity of opportunity and urges the participants lead and drive the agenda.  Key highlights of the festival will also include the AI Summit, Cloud Native Summit and Tech Leaders’ Summit, which will be co-hosted by University of Galway on May 17 and 18, 2023. On the morning of May 17, the AI Summit will explore how Artificial intelligence is driving a wave of innovation in IT and everyday lives. The ever-evolving challenge for businesses to establish best practice in aligning AI with ethical and societal values will also be examined. On the afternoon of May 17, the Cloud Native summit will explore an area which promises more speed and agility to organisations and delve into where to start with cloud migration and how to avoid common pitfalls.  On May 18 , the Tech Leaders’ Summit will bring together industry leaders, academia and experts to discuss the latest trends, challenges and best practices in leadership, innovation and technology. There will be a focus on refining leadership for the ever-evolving future, enabling businesses to thrive in an environment of constant change and disruption. Over 300 business leaders and expert technology developers are expected to attend the University summits. Speakers across the three summits include: Dr Rachel Finn of Trilateral Research; Dr Adrian Byrne, Idiro Analytics; and former Ireland rugby player and leadership development consultant Philip Matthews. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President for Research at University of Galway, said: “Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. The west of Ireland is a vibrant hub for digital and technology innovation companies. The AtlanTec Festival is our annual opportunity to showcase this excellence and innovativeness while bringing our tech community together.” The festival is supported by Avaya, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, Genesys, HPE, itag Skillnet, University of Galway, Storm Technology, and others. For more information on the AtlanTec Festival visit https://atlantec.ie/ Ends

Friday, 5 May 2023

University of Galway has welcomed the significant investment in the region by US-based life sciences company Dexcom. Ahead of the announcement by Dexcom of the establishment of a new manufacturing base in Co Galway, senior executives from the company visited the University to learn about research activity. Barry Regan, Dexcom Executive Vice-President, Global Operations joined Adrian Furey, Dexcom Vice-President EMEA and alumnus, met Consultant Endocrinologist Professor Fidelma Dunne and Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Therapies Garry Duffy to hear about clinical trials and transformative technologies being developed for diabetes treatment. Sinead Walsh, BioInnovate Director of Operations, briefed the executives on the BioInnovate Fellowship, a specialist medical device and digital health programme based at University of Galway. University of Galway Deputy President and Registrar Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “We are very pleased to have been able to host Barry Regan and Adrian Furey from Dexcom and give them the opportunity to hear first-hand about University of Galway’s focus on the public good in our research and our ambitions to take our work to new heights.” University of Galway Vice-President Engagement Dr Paul Dodd said: “The significant investment by Dexcom in Galway is testament to the region as a global medtech hub; a region which University of Galway is at the heart of with our ambitions for investment in research, our excellence in teaching and learning and our desire to ensure the highest standards of graduates. We wish Dexcom every success with the investment and we look forward to further developing our engagement in the future.”  Ends

Thursday, 4 May 2023

D’ainmnigh an tAire Comhshaoil, Aeráide, Cumarsáide agus Iompair Eamon Ryan T.D. Ollscoil na Gaillimhe inniu mar Churadh náisiúnta SDG 2023-24.  Tugann an t-ainmniúchán aitheantas don ról ollmhór atá ag an Ollscoil chun Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe (SDGanna) na NA a bhaint amach. Is í Ollscoil na Gaillimhe an chéad ollscoil a bhain an t-ainmniúchán seo amach. D’ainmnigh an tAire Ryan 21 Curadh eile agus ceithre iar-Churadh SDG ón saol tionscail agus earnálacha idir CLG, RTÉ, An Post, Tesco agus an FAI.  Is é an ról atá ag Curadh SDG feasacht an phobail ar SDGanna a mhéadú agus a bheith mar eiseamláir den chaoi ar cheart d’eagraíocht cur leis na SDGanna agus iad a chomhtháthú ina gcuid oibre agus ina gcuid gníomhaíochtaí.  Dúirt Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas ar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe a bheith ainmnithe mar Churadh SDG i mbliana. Tá sé ráite ag pobal na hollscoile seo gur inbhuanaitheacht agus oscailteacht an dá chroíluach atá againn, agus sa mheon seo bainfimid úsáid mhaith as ár stádas Curaidh SDG chun béim a leagan ar thábhacht na Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe dár mic léinn, dár sochaí agus dár bpláinéad. As seo go ceann 12 mhí, leagfaimid béim ar an obair a dhéanaimid ar mhaithe le leas an phobail ar an gcampas agus ar bhonn níos ginearálta inár dteagasc, taighde agus rannpháirtíocht. Táimid ag tnúth freisin le dul i gcomhpháirtíocht le heagraíochtaí eile atá ar aon intinn linn chun na SDGanna a chur chun cinn.” Tugann bronnadh stádais Curaidh SDG aitheantas do na blianta fada d’obair chrua atá déanta chun na SDGanna a leabú ar leibhéil éagsúla ar fud na hOllscoile.  Tá cáil dhomhanda ar thaighdeoirí Ollscoil na Gaillimhe as teicneolaíocht leighis, mhuirí agus chomhshaoil, réitigh fuinnimh inbhuanaithe, anailísíocht sonraí, cultúr agus cruthaitheacht. Tá ról tábhachtach acu go léir i gcur i bhfeidhm na SDGanna.    Tá an inbhuanaitheacht á neadú ag léachtóirí sa churaclam agus tá uirlis rianaithe nua forbartha ag an Ollscoil chun ábhar SDG ár gcúrsaí a dhéanamh amach.     Ó 2006 i leith, sháraigh an Ollscoil spriocanna trí laghdú os cionn 50% a dhéanamh ar úsáid fuinnimh ar fud an champais.   Is áis tástála an campas agus na foirgnimh le haghaidh gníomhaíochtaí dearfacha inbhuanaithe agus is é ár gcampas i gcathair na Gaillimhe an campas ollscoile is mó a bhfuil bithéagsúlacht ag baint leis in Éirinn.    Bronnadh an Brat Glas ar an Ollscoil in 2019 agus 2022, agus tá an Chonair Bhithéagsúlachta ag cur an champais chun cinn mar acmhainn oideachais agus caithimh aimsire.  Tá tuarascáil aonair ar gach ceann de na 17 SDG sa Tuarascáil Inbhuanaitheachta Bhliantúil is déanaí agus soláthraítear samplaí dá ceannaireacht maidir le dul i ngleic leis na SDGanna ar thrí bhealach: Mic Léinn agus Foghlaim; Taighde; agus Rannpháirtíocht Pobail.  Dúirt an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí: “Mar churadh SDG, tá deis ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe anois feidhmiú mar urlabhraí ar Spriocanna na Náisiún Aontaithe, agus daoine eile a spreagadh, go háirithe iad siúd san ardoideachas, chun tiomantas a thabhairt d’Éirinn agus cur lena spriocanna a bhaint amach.” Dúirt Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, Oifigeach Inbhuanaitheachta Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Is deis iontach é bheith inár gCuradh SDG chun feasacht agus infheictheacht na SDGanna a mhéadú ar an gcampas agus níos faide i gcéin agus ár bpobal campais a spreagadh arís maidir le hiompraíochtaí réamhghníomhacha inbhuanaithe. Aithnímid an ról ríthábhachtach atá ag ár gcuid mac léinn i gcur chun cinn na SDGanna.   Mar chuid dár dtréimhse mar Churadh SDG, tá an-áthas orainn a fhógairt gur bronnadh Intéirneachtaí Inbhuanaitheachta Mac Léinn SDG ar bheirt mhac léinn ó Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, Adam Mullins agus Ciara Varley chun tionscadail agus taighde a bhaineann le SDG a chur chun cinn i rith an tsamhraidh.” Thug Ranguithe Tionchair an Times Higher Education 2022 aitheantas d’Ollscoil na Gaillimhe mar an Ollscoil is fearr in Éirinn agus sa 50 Ollscoil is fearr ar domhan as a cuid iarrachtaí na SDGanna a chur chun cinn. Tá sí sa 5ú háit ar domhan maidir le dul chun cinn i leith SDG 12: Tomhaltas agus Táirgeadh Inbhuanaithe.  Tá Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ina sínitheoir ar Chomhaontú SDG agus tá roinnt dár gcás-staidéir inbhuanaitheachta le fáil i dTuarascáil Idirnáisiúnta Chomhaontú SDG 2022. Tá cur chuige Ollscoil na Gaillimhe maidir le SDGanna ar cheann de na cás-staidéir sa Dara Plean Feidhmiúcháin Náisiúnta de chuid na hÉireann maidir le Spriocanna Forbartha Inbhuanaithe 2022-2024.  Tá Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ina ball den Chumann Inbhuanaitheachta san Ardoideachas a Chur Chun Cinn (AASHE) agus tá sí liostaithe mar Institiúid den scoth in Innéacs an Champais Inbhuanaithe AAHE 2022. I mí na Samhna 2021 bronnadh rangú órga STARS uirthi as a cuid éachtaí inbhuanaitheachta. Tá Tuarascáil Inbhuanaitheachta Bhliantúil Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ar fáil ag https://www.universityofgalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/Sustainability-Report-22.pdf  Críoch

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

University of Galway has today been designated as a national Sustainable Development Goal Champion for 2023-24 by Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan T.D.  The designation recognises the leading role the University is playing in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). University of Galway is the first university to hold this honour, joining 21 other newly appointed and four former SDG Champions announced by Minister Ryan across a range of industries and sectors, including the GAA, RTÉ, An Post, Tesco and the FAI.  The role of an SDG Champion is to raise public awareness of the SDGs and act as a good practice example of how an organisation can contribute to and integrate the SDGs into their work and activities.  University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “University of Galway is delighted to be designated as SDG Champion this year. Our university community has defined sustainability and openness as two of our core values, and in this spirit we will make good use of our SDG Champion status to highlight the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals for our students, our society and our planet. Over the next 12 months, we will highlight the work we do for the public good on campus and more generally in our teaching, research and engagement. We also look forward to partnering with other like-minded organisations to progress the SDGs.” The awarding of SDG Champion status acknowledges many years of hard work embedding the SDGs on multiple levels across the University.  Researchers at University of Galway have developed a global reputation for medtech, marine and environmental research, sustainable energy solutions, data analytics, culture and creativity, all having an important role to play in the implementation of the SDGs.    Lecturers are embedding sustainability across the curriculum and the University has developed a new tracking tool to determine the SDG content of our courses.     Since 2006, the University has exceeded targets by decreasing its energy usage across campus by over 50%.   Our campus and buildings are test-beds for positive sustainable actions and our Galway city campus is the most biodiverse university campus in Ireland.    The University was awarded the Green Flag in 2019 and 2022, and the Biodiversity Trail promotes the campus as an educational and recreational resource.  Our latest Annual Sustainability Report includes an individual report on each of the 17 SDGs and provides examples of its leadership in tackling the SDGs in three ways: Students and Learning;  Research; and Community Engagement.  Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar, said: “As SDG Champion, University of Galway now has an opportunity to act as an advocate of the UN Goals, and inspire others, especially those in higher education, to commit and contribute to Ireland achieving its targets.” Michelle O’Dowd Lohan, Sustainability Officer at University of Galway, said: “Becoming an SDG Champion is an ideal opportunity for us to raise awareness and increase visibility of the SDGs on campus and beyond and to re-energise our campus community around proactive sustainable behaviours. We recognise the crucial role that our students play in advancing the SDGs.  As part of our SDG Champion tenure, we are delighted to announce that two University of Galway students, Adam Mullins and Ciara Varley have been awarded SDG Student Sustainability Internships to advance SDG-related projects and research over the summer.” University of Galway was recognised by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022 as the No.1 University in Ireland and Top 50 in the World for its efforts in progressing the SDGs. It is also ranked 5th in the world for its progress on SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production.  University of Galway is a signatory to the SDG Accord and a number of our sustainability case studies feature in the international SDG Accord Report 2022. The University’s approach to progressing the SDGs is featured as a case study in Ireland’s Second National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals 2022- 2024.  University of Galway is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and is listed as a top performer in the AASHE 2022 Sustainable Campus Index. In November 2021 it received a STARS gold rating for its sustainability achievements. University of Galway’s Annual Sustainability Report is available at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/media/sustainability/files/Sustainability-Report-22.pdf  Ends

Friday, 30 June 2023

Construct Innovate, Ireland’s national research centre for construction technology and innovation hosted at University of Galway, have announced Technological University Dublin as a new academic member and 35 companies as the first associate members. Member companies will be supported by academic researchers and empowered to take ownership of the research, development and innovation activities required for their continued progression.  Construct Innovate provides access to a knowledge, business and innovation ecosystem to comprehensively deliver a broad agenda of strong innovation, engagement, excellence and impact in the Irish construction and built environment sector. Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, co-director of Construct Innovate, said: “Construct Innovate was founded just over a year ago with official launch in December 2022 and six months later it is very exciting to see the growing network of Construct Innovate. We are designing Construct Innovate to be inclusive for all stakeholders in the Irish construction and built environment sector, which builds on its current capacity and accelerates research and innovation.” The announcement of the growing membership of Construct Innovate follows an Academic Industry Meeting day (AIMday), the first networking and workshop event where members posed business challenges and sought new knowledge and solutions through workshops with multi-disciplinary groups of academic research experts.  As a result, the first research themes have been identified with working groups now being formed around these themes that include research and industry partners. The research programme of Construct Innovate will be driven by those multidisciplinary and intersectoral working groups to ensure research is focused on industry needs. Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate Centre Manager said: “Seeing the positivity and engagement that our industry members and academics brought to the first AIMday was very encouraging. It clearly demonstrated the scale of the issues that industry faces in transitioning to a more modern, productive and sustainable sector, but also the appetite and energy that is being brought by stakeholders to overcome these challenges. Construct Innovate will work to continuously facilitate vital research to assist our industry in this process.” To coincide with the announcement of growing membership of Construct Innovate, University of Galway has launched a new Postgraduate Diploma in Construction Innovation, which starts in September 2023.    Professor Jamie Goggins said: “The Postgraduate Diploma in Construction Innovation was developed in response to critical and proven skills needs in the construction and built environment sector. It is one-year, part-time, that aims to equip students with key knowledge and skills needed to develop sustainable technological solutions to the challenges facing the construction and built environment sector in Ireland and elsewhere.”  The course is funded through the Government’s Human Capital Initiative to provide 90% funding towards fees and fees are fully covered for those unemployed. The Postgraduate Diploma in Construction Innovation will enable prospective students to: Develop skills in digital adoption, sustainability and modern methods of construction (MMC) Develop critical thinking, curiosity and problem solving to manage the innovation process Identify opportunities (and challenges) for innovation in the construction sector, Create novel construction technology solutions to previously unmet, under-met and unrecognised problems Continue their professional development for meet the future needs of the construction sector. Nuala McGuinn, Director in Centre for Adult Learning & Professional Development at University of Galway, said: “The Postgraduate Diploma is designed with busy professionals in mind who wish to upskill or reskill to meet the critical demand for skills in innovation, digital adoption, sustainability and modern methods of construction, as identified. Course delivery is flexible, combining online learning with periodic onsite workshops.  Course assessment is focused on the workplace enabling students to immediately apply their learning to the workplace.” For more information visit https://constructinnovate.ie/about-us/members/.  Ends

Friday, 30 June 2023

Lambcam were named overall winners with Glow by Chlo Cosmetics recognised as the ‘One to Watch’   University of Galway IdeasLab has concluded the 2023 edition of its highly acclaimed Start100 programme, showcasing the innovative ideas of 12 teams of aspiring student entrepreneurs. The final showcase event on campus saw teams pitch their unique ideas to an expert panel of judges from academia, research, industry, and enterprise in front of an audience of students, mentors, enterprise and University of Galway staff. The winning entry for the 2023 Start100 programme was LambCam for their software to help farmers monitor sheep’s behaviour on camera during lambing season, securing €5,000 in funding. Glow by Chlo Cosmetics was recognised with the One to Watch award of €1,000, affirming their potential for future success. The Start100 programme is an intensive six-week programme run out of University of Galway’s IdeasLab – the student innovation hub, open to all disciplines, located at the heart of the campus. Start100 connects students into a thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs across Ireland and culminates in the showcase event, where each team present their ideas. This year, the varied group of student entrepreneurs had ideas ranging from an app designed to improve your rowing capabilities to beauty and skincare products. Teams underwent a transformative entrepreneurial journey, nurturing their ideas and focusing on how to best leverage their network and funding opportunities for future success. With the guidance and support of mentors, speakers and the vibrant start-up ecosystem in Galway and across the country, the students developed and validated their business models, developed their networking skills and built a peer-to-peer community to support one another to develop and grow. Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, University of Galway Deputy President and Registrar, said: “University of Galway is committed to transforming our values of excellence, respect, sustainability and openness into actions and deeds. Today we witnessed that first hand through our students in their pursuit of societal impact through enterprising ideas. The University, in partnership with our business community, plays a crucial role in nurturing their growth and supporting our people and our planet and we are incredibly proud of our student entrepreneurs.” Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at University of Galway, said: “We are excited to see a surge in interest in entrepreneurship across our campus. The Start100 teams have truly impressed us with their exceptional quality and innovative ideas, serving as a testament to the remarkable success of the programme. We are committed to leveraging our achievements and exploring new collaborative partnerships to maximize opportunities for our student entrepreneurs." The judging panel for the final event included: University of Galway Vice-President Engagement Dr Paul Dodd; Chief Executive of Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS) and scientist Evelyn O’Toole: one of Ireland’s leading financial advisors and internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner Paul Merriman; one of the Top 100 Women in STEM in Ireland and Partner at Atlantic Bridge - Kauffman Fellow Helen McBreen; and Aerogen Chief Executive and founder John Power. Ends

Thursday, 29 June 2023

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins T.D. joined a special reception in Washington DC to celebrate University of Galway’s network of higher education institution partnerships in North America.   The reception was part of the annual NAFSA conference, the largest annual international education conference in the US, which drew close to 10,000 delegates.    University of Galway used the occasion to recognise its closest and most enduring US and international partnerships, as well as a number of new collaborations that it is working with.   The attendance of and contributions by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) and Education in Ireland were also acknowledged at the NAFSA conference.   At the event, Minister Collins spoke about the core values of respect, excellence, openness and sustainability at University of Galway. “These values are the DNA of University of Galway and form the foundation for students to grow good citizenship, independent critical thinking, and capacity to make positive contributions to both society and economy.   “Partners of University of Galway are not only securing a quality education for their students, but they are also being exposed to a set of values which are common between our countries.”   Dr Andrew Flaus, Vice-Dean for Internationalisation in Science and Engineering, underlined this message, emphasizing: “Galway's shared values with partners has led to a longevity and creativity in partnerships and to rich interactions for both visiting and Galway students and colleagues.”   Nuala McGuinn, Director of Summer Schools at University of Galway, explained how the University is keen to be responsive to its partners: “We are offering a wide variety of ways of working together, ranging from faculty-led hosting and joint conferences, to semester-long Study Abroad programmes. These are all infused by the core values of University and showcase the distinctive and special place that is our city and region.”   Ends

Thursday, 29 June 2023

First compelling evidence for low-frequency gravitational waves announced   The European Pulsar Timing Array joins teams worldwide in announcing compelling evidence for gravitational wave signals of cosmological origin   University of Galway astronomers and international collaborators have published the results of more than 25 years of astronomical observations using the world’s most powerful radio telescopes demonstrating evidence for the detection of ultra-low-frequency gravitational waves. Such waves, first predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, are believed to be produced by supermassive black hole binaries - pairs of black holes with masses billions of times that of the sun – in the centres of distant galaxies, stirring up gravitational waves in space-time as they orbit one another. These waves spread away - like ripples across a pond - changing the properties of space and time as they pass by.  The way in which these gravitational waves affect time itself forms the basis for work of Sai Chaitanya Susarla, astronomy PhD researcher in University of Galway, School of Natural Sciences. Along with collaborators in the European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) and colleagues in Japan and Indian, they studied the way in which these gravitational waves – the ripples on the universe - affect the most accurate clocks known, extinguished stars called pulsars.  These pulsars – collapsed stars the size of Galway Bay – spin tens to hundreds of times a second, with their lighthouse beams of radio emission yielding ultra-regular pulses, easily detectable with radio telescopes. A remarkable prediction of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is that these regular pulses will be subtly distorted as ultra-low-frequency gravitational waves wash over these pulsars, and astronomers realised that by studying and identifying the way in which these cosmic clocks change their tempo, we could confirm the existence of these bizarre gravitational waves for the first time, and furthermore start to study the Universe anew by in effect constructing a Galaxy-sized gravitational wave detector.  In a series of papers published today, Sai Chaitanya Susarla and his colleagues show for the first time that their data are indeed consistent with a ‘background hum’ of low-frequency gravitational waves. Sai Chaitanya Susarla said: “The evidence for nano-hertz gravitational waves represents a scientific milestone in our understanding of the universe. They offer a remarkable avenue for unraveling the mysteries of our universe, enabling us to explore its history, study black holes and dark matter, and probe the cosmological structure. The insights gained from these discoveries have the potential to reshape our understanding of the cosmos, deepening our knowledge of fundamental physics and providing invaluable insights into the workings of the universe at its grandest scales.” Dr Aaron Golden, School of Natural Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, University of Galway and Sai Chaitanya Susarla’s co-PhD supervisor, said: “This is a fabulous outcome for all the relentless hard work Sai has put into his doctoral studies. It also speaks to the continuing tradition of research excellence in the physical sciences at University of Galway, where the cold hard practicalities of instrumentation and data analytics combined with boundless human curiosity are training the next generation of outstanding scientists and engineers.” University of Galway alumnus Professor Evan Keane, Associate Professor of Radio Astronomy in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics, Head of the Irish LOFAR Telescope and co-PhD supervisor, described the results as “the start of something big”.  Professor Keane added: “Pulsars are basically super clocks in space. By monitoring the ‘ticks’ from these clocks, which are spread throughout our galaxy, we can see the impact of passing gravitational waves making the pulsar signals arrive earlier or later.”  The European Pulsar Timing Array (EPTA) announcement is coordinated with similar publications from other teams across the world, namely the Australian (PPTA), Chinese (CPTA), Indian Pulsar Timing Array (InPTA), and North-American (NANOGrav) collaborations. This same evidence for gravitational waves is seen by NANOGrav and is consistent with the results reported by the CPTA and PPTA.  The analysis is in line with what astrophysicists expect.  Professor Alberto Vecchio from the University of Birmingham, points out: “The gold-standard in physics to claim the detection of a new phenomenon is that the result of the experiment has a probability of occurring by chance less than one time in a million. The results reported by EPTA – as well as by the other international collaborations – do not yet meet this criterion. However, combining all of the world-wide datasets, as part of what is termed the International Pulsar Timing Array, should allow the astronomers to obtain irreproachable proof and indeed to achieve further understanding of the history of the universe using gravitational waves.” One of Sai Chaitanya Susarla’s collaborators, Dr Caterina Tiburzi, researcher at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Italy, puts it: “We are opening a new window in the gravitational wave universe”.  Ends

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Displacement, internally or across borders, and statelessness heighten risks of trafficking in persons, a UN expert said today, urging States to prevent trafficking and ensure effective protection of victims.    “Limiting access to asylum and other forms of international protection is likely to increase the risks of trafficking in persons, by forcing people into risky, precarious situations,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Professor Siobhán Mullally, in a report presented to the Human Right Council today.    Professor Mullally was particularly concerned about the adoption of legislation and policy by States to prevent trafficking in persons, which fail to comply with international law.    “The increasing use of accelerated refugee status determination procedures, transfer of refugee status determination procedures to third countries, and the phenomenon of ‘push-backs’ following interceptions at sea or land borders, undermine States’ ability to comply with their obligations to identify, assist and protect victims of trafficking, and to respect the principle of non-refoulement,” Professor Mullally said.    She recalled that States have obligations to identify and protect victims of trafficking or persons at risk of trafficking also in the context of interceptions at sea, and in the context of duties to rescue persons in distress at sea.   “Expanding safe, regular migration opportunities, and providing resettlement opportunities and other complementary pathways for the admission of persons with international protection needs, as well as effective access to asylum and international protection, are essential to prevent trafficking and ensure protection of victims,” she said.    Professor Mullally noted that States hosting the highest numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons have limited capacity to assist and protect trafficked persons or to prevent trafficking: “Where the rights of refugees to freedom of movement, to decent work and to access education or training are limited, the risks of exploitation increase.   “Stateless persons are exposed to increased risks of trafficking linked to their precarious legal status as persons deprived of their right to a nationality, and consequential violations resulting from limited access to civil documentation, education, employment, social protection, and restrictions on freedom of movement.”    Professor Mullally also raised the risks of trafficking faced by unaccompanied and separated children: “I am concerned that adolescent refugee children are often not given equal protection by States. States have an obligation to respect and ensure the rights of all children without discrimination.”    The full report is available here.   Ends