School of Psychology

Welcome. The School of Psychology is housed in a purpose-built facility in the centre of campus. We are dynamic, innovative and recognised for our teaching, research, and community contribution. We have a suite of professionally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate (Higher Diploma, Masters and PhD) programmes. We also have two active and successful research streams: Brain & Behaviour, and Health & Wellbeing. Researchers from both have participated in acquiring major national and international funding awards and we continue to develop a strong profile in quantity and quality of research output.

 

7 February 2023

University of Galway programme gives a taste of what it’s like to work in healthcare

University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences will hold an interactive taster programme for transition year students, offering hands-on experience of how healthcare teams work together. The Health Professional Taster Day takes place on Saturday April 1 and Saturday April 22 in the University’s new state-of-the-art simulation facility, located at the Clinical Science Institute on the grounds of Galway University Hospital. The facility – the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation at the School of Medicine - opened in 2022 and is recognised as an international centre for excellence in education. The taster programme is open to post-primary students in the 41 schools in Galway city and county. It is the first of its kind to bring healthcare professions together to demonstrate all skill sets across multiple degrees - Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Occupational Therapy, Podiatric Medicine and Speech and Language Therapy.   Dr Dara Byrne, Professor of Simulation at University of Galway said: “In the Simulation facility we will recreate realistic clinical experiences for Transition Year students, and will give them a flavour of what is on offer for those who choose to study at University of Galway. It will also give a sense of what a career as a healthcare provider is like. “The students will see how simulation recreates real-life medical procedures and scenarios such as endoscopy, childbirth and medical emergencies in a safe environment. We are excited to give the students hands-on experience and they will also get an opportunity to try suturing, cannulation, fixing fractures and much more. While this is a simulated environment it is also very real and students should be aware of that when they come along.” Registration is now open for the Taster Day and applications will be accepted from February 7 until February 24 at 5pm. For further information or to register visit https://universityofgalway.ie/tasterdays/healthprofessional/ Professor Byrne explained the rationale for this event: “The theme for these taster days is community. It is a community outreach event, delivered by a community of practice- our multiprofessional team. Through this event we are reaching out to our Galway county and city transition year students, including those who traditionally would not have envisaged a career in healthcare. “Widening participation is a key component of our College strategy. With that in mind we are offering the same number of places on the programme to each and every school. We particularly welcome applications from DEIS schools and from students taking QQI (FETAC or NCVA) qualifications. We are also looking forward to introducing the concept of inter-professional teams and to showing how key team-work is part of the education of health professionals.” “Parents are also welcome to accompany the students, and there will be a specific information talk at the start of each session for parents and students.” Ends

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2 February 2023

University of Galway researcher awarded European Research Council Consolidator Grant

University of Galway researcher Dr Erin McCarthy has been awarded a €1.86million grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a unique project to analyse poetry. Dr McCarthy, a Senior Research Fellow with the University’s Moore Institute, is one of 321 researchers in the EU to benefit from a €657million fund under the EU Horizon Europe programme. The researchers are being supported with ERC Consolidator Grants which are aimed at distinguished scientists who have between seven and 12 years’ experience after their PhDs, to help them to pursue their most promising ideas. Dr McCarthy’s project - Systems of Transmitting Early Modern Manuscript Verse, 1475–1700 (STEMMA) - will run over five years, offering the first large-scale quantitative analysis of the circulation of early modern English poetry in manuscript over more than two centuries. “Scholars have tended to address individual manuscripts as case studies. Through my research project, STEMMA, our aim is to revolutionise the study of manuscript poetry by taking a data-driven approach to identify patterns and trends at scale,” Dr McCarthy said. At its centre is the poet John Donne, whose reluctance to circulate his verse makes the survival of at least 4,249 manuscripts of his work all the more puzzling; the poems of his next most-circulated contemporary survive in fewer than 1,000 witnesses. Dr McCarthy added: “Initially what we’re doing is looking at handwritten collections of poems called manuscript miscellanies to see where there are overlaps in their contents that suggest shared sources or copying. This kind of work has been hard to do for small groups of manuscripts because we often don’t know much about the people who copied them or, in many cases, the poets they’re copying.” Dr McCarthy has secured permission to use six of the most comprehensive datasets about the contents of early modern manuscripts, about 1 million records in total, in order to understand how poetry circulated in the English-speaking world. “The idea is that we’ll combine and clean these datasets, assign each poem a unique identifier, and then run network analysis on the poems and manuscripts rather than the people. This may then turn up people, whether or not we know their names,” she said. Dr McCarthy added: “This research will allow us to see how surviving manuscripts connect, but it will also show us where documents may be missing or overlooked, all of which should change our understanding of who shared early modern English verse in manuscript, how, and to what ends.” Dr McCarthy first joined University of Galway as a Postdoctoral researcher on Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan’s RECIRC project in 2014. After working as a lecturer and later a senior lecturer in Australia, she return to the University in 2022 as an IRC Consolidator Laureate. The ERC Consolidator Grant will enable Dr McCarthy to build an interdisciplinary team of three postdocs and a PhD student to conduct archival research and computational analysis. Ends

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31 January 2023

‘Shape-shifting’ implanted medical device to provide continuous blood pressure monitoring outside of hospital

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

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In the School of Psychology approximately 100 visiting students from around the world take our modules each semester. We offer about 20 different modules over the course of the academic year to our visiting students. These range from foundational introductory courses to specialised final year electives. Therefore there is the opportunity for our visiting students to experience the full breadth and richness of psychological science during their time with us.

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