Thursday, 22 October 2020

NUI Galway Research Demonstrates the Need for Nature to be Healthy

Researchers at NUI Galway have found that being in nature makes us feel better, more connected to one another, and helps us to care for the environment. The NEAR Health project, jointly funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), was one of the first in Ireland to investigate how Nature and Environment can help society Attain and Restore Health. The findings emphasise the need to invest in and plan for greater access and use of nature-rich outdoor public spaces, ethically and sustainably. People value nature for multiple reasons, for example social, spiritual, emotional, environmental as well as economic, but some people feel disconnected from nature. Recognising the lack of accessible “how to” guides, the NUI Galway researchers have produced a toolkit to help people individually and, in their communities, to engage with nature. The toolkit highlights: how people value and experience nature, health and wellbeing the barriers and bridges to nature connection what people want from their healthy future environment how nature-based activities benefit people’s health and wellbeing. These insights are supported by in-depth, participatory research and collaboration with almost 600 people from communities across Ireland with relevance for individuals, groups, voluntary sector, practitioners and educators, health professionals, policy-makers, planners and local authorities. Workshop participants co-created action plans for a healthy future environment which are a template to live more sustainably helping to build community resilience, as the public make transformative changes post-pandemic and adapt to climate change.  Nature-based activities (NBAs) in Ireland include sea swimming, surf therapy, sailing, nature walks and bat monitoring. Involving a diverse mix of groups, including asylum seekers, those who are less able-bodied, and those recovering from ill-health including mental health, across the lifecourse, benefits included enhanced social connection and wellbeing, reduced stress and anxiety. Dr Caitriona Carlin, NEAR Health project leader, said: “These activities build a sense of pride, and purpose; encouraging people to be more active as well as promoting environmental awareness. Clean-ups and other citizen science initiatives help our environment and contribute valuable records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, while helping to implement Getting Ireland Active, as part of Ireland’s National Physical Activity Plan, and meet other Healthy Ireland targets. Momentum could be gained from funding partnerships across sports, recreation, health, education and nature conservation sectors. In Ireland, biodiverse spaces have high potential for activities that foster a greater sense of connectedness (with ourselves, with others, and with nature), as well as promoting an ethic of care. “Connecting with nature helps us make sense of the world in changing times, and helps us to feel better, but not everyone has equal access or opportunity to do.We need to share, promote, and celebrate new stories and experiences about how and why a healthy, biodiverse environment matters for our health and wellbeing, and lead to a deeper care for the environment.” The toolkit is available at The full report is available at or view highlights of the project at This project is jointly funded by HSE and EPA. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Environment, Communications, and Climate Action. It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research. -Ends-

News Archive

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

NUI Galway has contributed to a documentary about the death by hunger strike, one hundred years ago, of Terence MacSwiney, who is regarded as one of the most important events in the history of the Irish revolutionary period. 74 Days: The Hunger Strike of Terence MacSwiney will broadcast on Wednesday, 21 October on RTÉ One at 9.30pm. Presented by NUI Galway historian, Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, ’74 Days’ uses contemporary science insights alongside the original medical notes recorded during MacSwiney’s hunger strike to recreate the story of the last 74 days of his life, and to shine fresh perspective onto a pivotal moment in recent history. Terence MacSwiney’s 74-day hunger strike is one of the longest on record. His actions subsequently inspired similar acts worldwide, most notably by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Born in Cork in 1879, Terence James MacSwiney was an Irish playwright, author and politician. He was elected as Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. He was arrested by the British Government on charges of sedition and imprisoned in Brixton Prison where he died by hunger strike on October 1920. MacSwiney’s hunger strike was a catalyst for the intensification of Ireland’s War of Independence. Following his death, and the publicity garnered across the world by the circumstances in which he died, the British government returned to the negotiating table in respect of Ireland. The eventual outcome of which was the establishment, in 1922, of the Irish Free State. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Discipline of History, NUI Galway, said: “Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike is not only a pivotal moment in the history of the Irish revolution, but in the history of resistance and activism globally. Central to this story are the women in MacSwiney’s life, his sisters Mary and Annie and his wife Muriel and their treatment both during the strike and after his death. For me, the programme reveals much about how this strike felt and was experienced, while also exploring MacSwiney the individual, his life, his family, and his legacy.” Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike is one of the great, marginal stories from modern Irish history: he is arguably better known internationally - in places like Vietnam and Catalonia – than he is at home. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley argues that his story needs to now be told at home.  In this documentary, Dr Buckley builds a thesis using the personal letters, diaries and witness statements of three extraordinary women central to the hunger strike and who were by MacSwiney’s bedside throughout it: his wife Muriel and his sisters Annie and Mary. These three women were witnesses to history, as well as active participants and victims of it. Elsewhere, Sarah-Anne works closely with Dr Phil Kieran and Clinical Psychologist Eddie Murphy to shed contemporary medical insight onto the impact of hunger striking. Combining first-person, eye-witness testimony from the period with high-end digital technology, they re-create a contemporary medical model that captures MacSwiney’s hunger strike on a day-by-day basis.  Contributors include John Borgonovo, Ciara Breathnach, Daniel Breen, Linda Hogan, Tomás MacConmara, Laurence McKeown, William Murphy, Niall Murray, Helene O’Keeffe, and Anne Twomey. 74 Days: The Hunger Strike of Terence MacSwiney was directed by Ciara Hyland of ForeFront Productions for RTÉ and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence fee. -Ends-

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

NUI Galway has launched a unique dual Medicine-Engineering, or Physicianeer, programme. The new dual programme will allow students to pursue a specialised Engineering stream in their Undergraduate Medical degree programme, awarding the student with both a Medical and Biomedical Engineering degree (MB, BCh, BAO, BE) upon completion. Developed by NUI Galway’s Professor Derek O’Keeffe and Dr Ted Vaughan, this is the first European dual Medicine-Engineering academic degree track which is currently only available in select institutions worldwide including the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Technology programme USA and the National University of Singapore. This world class dual Medicine–Engineering programme will only be available to a stellar cohort of less than five students, who will be selected to the Physicianeer programme based on aptitude, academic merit and interview. Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology NUI Galway and Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway, said: “Physicians working in the healthcare environment regularly identify clinical problems that need to be solved and Engineers have the skillset to achieve this. This combined Physicianeer programme offers an interdisciplinary learning environment and will allow the development of technology, systems and solutions encompassing the full innovation cycle from bedside to bench to bedside. “The Physicianeer programme at NUI Galway represents a new paradigm in medical education by integrating Engineering training to produce patient centred innovation. We are looking for students with a strong track record of academic excellence, the best of the best to take part in this pioneering programme to improve patient lives.” Dr Ted Vaughan, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This programme will build upon the strong links between Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at NUI Galway and will deliver a breadth of knowledge across both disciplines, placing a significant emphasis on problem-solving skills that will produce future innovators for the med-tech sector.” Dr Vaughan continued: “Ireland is uniquely placed to develop a dual Medicine–Engineering Undergraduate degree as we have a leading role in the global medical technology sector. We currently have 450 medical technology companies in Ireland of which 50% are indigenous and eight of the top 10 global medical technology companies are represented here in Galway. “Over 29,000 people are employed in this sector, the highest per capita proportion of workforce than any country in Europe. Ireland is currently the world leader in the production of drug eluting stents and produces half of the world’s hospital ventilators and a third of all contact lenses globally. We are currently the second largest exporter of medical technology products in Europe valued at €12.6 billion.” Dr Sinead Keogh, Director of Med-Tech and Engineering at IBEC, welcomed the announcement saying: “This innovative Physicianeer programme will produce graduates ideally placed to contribute to and grow the medical technology sector as well as improving patient care.” The first student intake of the Physicianeer programme will be in September 2021. For more information visit: -Ends-

Monday, 19 October 2020

Reáchtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh Lá Oscailte Fochéime an Fhómhair Dé Sathairn, an 24 Deireadh Fómhair ó 12-4pm. Is ócáid fhíorúil a bheidh anseo de réir na dtreoirlínte sláinte poiblí reatha ach is eispéireas fairsing idirghníomhach ar líne a bheidh ann a thabharfaidh an deis do dhaltaí, do thuismitheoirí agus do chomhairleoirí gairmthreorach eolas a chur ar chúrsaí agus ar ghairmeacha) agus nascadh le foireann agus le mic léinn OÉ Gaillimh i rith an lae. Le linn an Lae Oscailte beidh deis ag rannpháirtithe eolas a chur ar chúrsaí, ar ghairmeacha beatha agus ar sheirbhísí tacaíochta trí chuairt a thabhairt ar thaispeántais fhíorúla ina mbeidh 89 seastán fíorúil, áit ar féidir le cuairteoirí sonraí ábhartha a íoslódáil, féachaint ar fhíseáin, agus comhrá gréasáin a dhéanamh le hionadaithe na seastán.  Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh os cionn 70 cúrsa fochéime ar fáil. Is féidir iad a fheiceáil ag na seastáin ábhartha agus ag na láithreoireachtaí beo ar líne freisin. Beidh na 45 cur i láthair beo i gcúig sheomra ag an am céanna agus moltar do chuairteoirí breathnú ar an sceideal roimh ré agus a lá a phleanáil. I measc na gcainteanna beo tá blaiseadh de réimsí leathana ábhair cosúil leis na dána, gnó, dlí, innealtóireacht, eolaíocht, leigheas agus altranas, chomh maith le blaiseadh beag de chúrsaí eile níos sainiúla. Tá cúrsaí nua a bheidh ag tosú in 2021 i measc na gcainteanna beo lena n-áirítear an Baitsiléir Eolaíochta nua (Eolaíocht Talmhaíochta) agus an Baitsiléir nua sna Dána (Meáin Dhomhanda). Cuid lárnach d’aon lá oscailte is ea an deis cloisteáil ó mhic léinn reatha faoina dtaithí féin. Tosóidh an Lá Oscailte Fíorúil le plé painéil beo, ‘Guthanna na Mac Léinn: Ag ullmhú do Choláiste 2021’, áit a mbeidh mic léinn ó réimse disciplíní ag roinnt a gcuid leideanna maidir le cúrsaí a roghnú, tosú sa choláiste agus brú a bhainistiú. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Sarah Geraghty, Stiúrthóir Earcaíochta Mac Léinn agus For-rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá bliain dhúshlánach os comhair rang Ardteistiméireachta 2021 agus is é aidhm ár Lá Oscailte tacú le daltaí agus lena dtuismitheoirí agus iad ag tosú ag smaoineamh ar roghanna coláiste don bhliain seo chugainn. Tá súil againn go mbeidh neart eolais le fáil ag an ócáid dhinimiciúil seo a chabhróidh le daltaí díriú ar na deiseanna staidéir agus gairme atá rompu, agus ar an gcaoi ar féidir leo ullmhú anois dá saol ollscoile.” Beidh ionadaithe ó sheirbhísí tacaíochta OÉ Gaillimh ar fáil freisin le labhairt le daltaí agus le tuismitheoirí agus beidh deis lóistín, iontrálacha, táillí agus ceisteanna eile gairmiúla agus tacaíochta a phlé ag seastáin ar leith. Cuirfidh an tIonad Rochtana eolas ar fáil faoi na bealaí iontrála éagsúla chuig oideachas tríú leibhéal cosúil le háiteanna do Mhic Léinn Lánfhásta, scéimeanna HEAR/DARE agus áiteanna QQI/FETAC Leibhéal 5. Beidh comhaltaí foirne ó Choláiste Ósta na Sionna agus ó Choláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach ar fáil ar an lá freisin. Ní mór clárú roimh an ócáid chun rochtain a fháil ar ardán fíorúil an lae oscailte ag, nó seol ríomhphost chuig le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais. -Críoch-

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