Friday, 29 January 2021

Third level partnership on research brings people's voices to the table NUI Galway is to lead a new network of universities to champion public and patient involvement in health and social care research. The Health Research Board, in conjunction with the Irish Research Council, announced the development of the new Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Ignite Network across seven universities and 10 partner organisations, some of which represent patients. With NUI Galway as lead, the network is being established to put the public and the patient at the centre of health and social care research. It aims to ensure that the next generation of graduates is familiar with Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and know how to incorporate it into their research. In the partnership, patients and members of the public will have the opportunity to work with research teams to decide what issues are important to focus on and how best to carry out research. A key goal will be to ensure that the voices of marginalised and disadvantaged groups are heard. The new network is being headed up by Professor Sean Dinneen, of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, and Edel Murphy, who is based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society in the University. “The National PPI Network is a great opportunity for Irish universities to work together to re-imagine what health and social care research is all about and to involve our local communities as genuine partners in the research effort,” Professor Dinneen said. “Rather than adding a tokenistic patient voice to our research we have to take time to form, nurture and engage with a diverse group of individuals from our local community who can provide an authentic public and patient perspective on our research.” The network is building on an initial PPI Ignite Programme, which began in NUI Galway and other universities in 2017 and started the process of changing research culture. A national public advisory panel will be set up in the early phase of its work. The network will also explore innovative ways of involving patients and the public in research, identify best practice and look to measure the impact of PPI. An online hub is to be set up with the aim of connecting patients and members of the public who are interested in being involved with research communities who are seeking PPI partners.  An annual PPI Festival will be held along with outreach events to share resources, knowledge and experience. The network will also deliver training in PPI to researchers, the public, patients, community organisations, policy-makers and research funders. Deirdre Mac Loughlin, a member of the public advisory panel on NUI Galway’s initial PPI Ignite programme, said: “We are on a journey to bring Public and Patient Involvement in health research from concept to reality. These partnerships allow us to bring our lived experience to the research question and often bring a different dimension and perspective to the table. All of this helps to improve the relevance of the research. "Over the next few years we will help to drive PPI as an integral part of the research culture and broaden the number and diversity of active PPI contributors. Through genuine ‘PPI in Action’ the relevance of health research can be optimised and its benefits and trustworthiness be reinforced and promoted.” As part of the new initiative to develop the PPI Network, Dr Ruth McMenamin and Professor Martin O’Halloran have been appointed as co-leads of the NUI Galway PPI Ignite programme. The University will also strengthen ties with local partners such as Croí and the Saolta Hospital Group as well as working with international experts including Professor Derek Stewart (recently appointed Honorary Professor at NUI Galway) and Professor Carolyn Jenkins from the Medical University of South Carolina. Members of the public and patients with an interest in finding out more about Public and Patient Involvement can contact ppi@nuigalway.ie Ends

Thursday, 28 January 2021

⦁ Testing of next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines stretch from Alaska to Scotland  ⦁ Fatigue and static testing of tidal blade model designs completed for the largest tidal turbine in the world Over the past 12 months, a research team in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway have made a significant contribution to technology development in the marine energy sector, by delivering three full-scale structural testing programmes to de-risk blade components to allow for commercial and operational trials in Alaska and Scotland. The research team worked with industry partners Suzlon Energy (wind energy developer), Ocean Renewable Power Company (tidal energy developer), Orbital Marine Power (tidal energy developer) and ÉireComposites (wind/tidal OEM). Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites, said: “Our research collaborations with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has resulted in moving our blade technology from technology readiness level (TRL) 6 to 9 and the company has attracted commercial contracts for manufacturing tidal turbine blades, and securing these jobs over the long term. “For example, at the start of 2020, we worked on a testing programme with Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and NUI Galway to de-risk the turbine blade components for the ORPC RivGen® Turbine that we were manufacturing in our facilities in Galway. Due to the successful completion of the structural testing of the turbine in NUI Galway, RivGen® has since been installed in Igiugig, Alaska, where it provides clean, predictable electricity for a remote community, which previously relied solely on energy generation from diesel generators.” Testing to prove tidal blade's twenty-year design life is a world first In 2020, ÉireComposites also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway. Through the SEAI funded SEABLADE and Horizon 2020 Marinet2 testing programmes in NUI Galway, a static load of 1,004kN (over 100 tonnes or equivalent to 10 double decker buses) was applied to a tidal turbine blade – the highest load to be reported ever in the world. Following this, the blade was subjected to fatigue testing to prove the blade’s twenty year design life, which is a hugely important step forward in the certification of tidal turbine blades required for full commercialisation. This achievement has had a major impact on the tidal energy sector, while demonstrating the advanced capabilities of the project partners. To date, the testing has validated the models used to design the blade and the manufacturing process, paving the way for Orbital Marine Power’s O2-2000 device to be deployed in 2021, where it will become the largest tidal turbine in the world. According to Finlay Wallace, Blades Manager at Orbital Marine Power: “Collaborating with the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway and ÉireComposites to develop composite tidal turbine blade technology as part of the EU Horizon 2020 Flotec project opened up opportunities to prove the static and fatigue strength of a full sized composite tidal turbine blade structure through the Marinet2 and Ocean Era Net programmes. “We took on a close collaborative approach, working with the project partners during planning and execution of the test program. We were thrilled to successfully demonstrate the blade static and fatigue strength, validating our design approach for composite blades. This represents a critical step in de-risking the path for larger more powerful turbine blades with lower cost of energy.” Development of a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades In 2020, the MaREI team in the Ryan Institute and School of Engineering at NUI Galway also completed the EASME-funded €1.5 million LEAPWind Project, which was in response to Suzlon Energy’s need to develop a component for preventing leading-edge erosion on offshore wind turbine blades. New components developed at ÉireComposites are now undertaking full-scale operational trials on wind turbines in Scotland, which may result in the new component being used on all future Suzlon blades, where they currently have an installed capacity of over 18,800MW worldwide. That installed capacity is, on average, enough to supply the electrical needs of over 8 million households. Structural testing of components for preventing leading-edge erosion on wind turbine blades was completed at NUI Galway, including static and fatigue testing of representative sections of full-scale blades. According to Sandro Di Noi, Innovation and Strategic Research Manager at Suzlon Energy Blades Technology B.V.: “The cooperation and the results achieved within the innovative LEAPWind project increased the SE Blades Technology (knowledge about wind blades leading edge protection technology in an off-shore environment. “The successful static and fatigue testing of the leading edge protection component (known as LEP) on a representative full-scale blade performed at NUI-Galway delivered a professional and “ready to use” report. The results allows us to move forward with the thermoplastic LEP solution developed by ÉireComposites.” Local social impact in the West of Ireland Tomás Flanagan, CEO of Éirecomposites adds: “The collaboration with the team based in the SFI MaREI Centre at NUI Galway has helped secure ÉireComposites’ long term viability and safeguard jobs in the Connemara Gaeltacht. This is as a result of a long number of years of working closely in partnership with researchers and academics in NUI Galway to foster an innovative ecosystem for lightweight high-performance large-scale fibre-reinforced composite structures across a range of applications, including aviation, space, marine and renewable energy – wind, tidal and river-current.” Professor Jamie Goggins, Principal Investigator in the SFI MaREI Centre and Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “Despite the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 in 2020, together with our project partners we have made significant contributions to the marine energy industry, in particular through our collaborations with ÉireComposites, ORPC, Orbital Marine Power and Suzlon Energy. “Having already secured new collaborative research projects to develop and test the next generation blades for tidal and river-current turbines we’re hopeful for another successful year in 2021. We are very grateful for the support of Science Foundation Ireland, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the European Commission through the H2020 and EASME-funded programmes. This has helped secure the reputation of the MaREI Centre as a world leader in design, modelling and testing of tidal turbine blades and blade components.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

NUI Galway becomes first third-level institution to commit to “campus-wide” promotion of leadership skills in partnership with LIFT Ireland  LIFT Ireland and NUI Galway have today (27.01.21) announced the first partnership in Ireland’s third-level sector aimed at improving leadership skills amongst students and staff. LIFT Ireland is an initiative to raise the level of leadership nationwide, working with organisations and individuals in a variety of settings to develop key leadership attributes. Current partners include ESB, Munster Rugby, Bank of Ireland, RSA Insurance, Vodafone, Dublin Airport, and over 100 secondary schools nationwide. LIFT’s partnership with NUI Galway is the organisation’s first formal partnership with a third-level institution. It will see more than 200 staff and students trained as LIFT facilitators by April. These facilitators will then go on to deliver the LIFT leadership programme to a further 1,500 staff and students at NUI Galway throughout 2021. As part of a pilot run in late 2020, LIFT has already trained 70 NUI Galway students and staff as facilitators.  The LIFT Model LIFT’s leadership programme is delivered through regular roundtable sessions, led by a volunteer facilitator. Each session focuses on one of eight key leadership values, such as honesty, competence, accountability, empathy, respect and positive attitude. The programme supports participants to develop these leadership attributes on an ongoing basis.  Commenting on the partnership with NUI Galway, Joanne Hession, founder and CEO of LIFT Ireland, said: “We work with students and staff across all levels of education, including in schools and further education settings. By working with education institutions, LIFT is aiming to instil strong leadership values in people from a young age, in the hope that they will take these values and practices with them as they move through life and through their careers. “We are delighted to be partnering with NUI Galway, a pioneer in its sector and the first of what we hope will be many third-level institutions to roll out LIFT across campus.” Also welcoming the partnership, the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to be the first university to be part of the LIFT programme in Ireland. Many organisations have already benefitted from the programme and, as a learning organisation, I’m particularly pleased that we’re the first university to be involved. “Leading Ireland’s future together is particularly important for NUI Galway and the LIFT programme does it in a way which is very much in tune with our values as a university.” To view a video of NUI Galway students speaking about their participation in the LIFT pilot partnership in late 2020, go to: liftireland.ie/nuig-first-thrid-level-lift-partner/"t-thrid-level-lift-partner/. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Iriseoirí an lae amárach - cúrsa seachtaine in iriseoireacht do scoláirí Idirbhliana a reachtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Beidh deis ag scoláirí Idirbhliana tabhairt faoi chúrsa nua iriseoireachta ar líne á mhúineadh ag cuid de phlúr na n-iriseoirí teilifíse, raidió agus digití. Reachtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh agus Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 an cúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach le comhairle ón gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) agus ón Roinn Oideachais. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar scoláirí in Iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus Lán-Ghaeilge ar fud na tíre agus beidh sé ar siúl ar an ardán Zoom idir 1-4 Márta 2021. Cuirfidh foireann ó chúrsaí meán agus cumarsáide OÉ Gaillimh agus iriseoirí RTÉ a chraolann ar TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus a sholáthraíonn ábhar d’árdáin digiteacha an cúrsa i láthair ar líne.  Roinnfidh an t-iriseoir físe agus fear déanta scannán, Seán Mac an tSíthigh a chuid scileanna agus a chuid taithí de bheith ag soláthar scéalta físe d’ardchaighdeán do TG4 agus RTÉ.  Tabharfaidh Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg cuntas ar na ceisteanna crua a chuireann sí ar dhaoine gach lá ar Adhmhaidin ar RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.  Glacfaidh na láithreoirí nuachta Eimear Ní Chonaola agus Siún Nic Gearailt páirt sna ranganna ag tabhairt léargais ar an saol laethúil sna meáin.  Clúdóidh Siún Ní Dhuinn ó RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie na dúshláin a bhaineann le scéalta a sholáthar d’ardáin ar líne. Tabharfaidh an cúrsa léargas freisin ar ghairmeacha sna meáin agus ar scéalta spóirt a chlúdach do phobal na hÉireann, dream a bhfuil spéis mhór acu ina leithéid. Dúirt an tOllamh Brenadán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá gnóthaí nuachta – gnóthaí bréag-nuachta, san áireamh – ina n-ábhar conspóide le cúpla bliain anuas, agus aird níos mó anois ag daoine ar fud an domhain ar thábhacht na hiriseoireachta i sochaí dhaonlathach ar bith.  Cosán atá sa chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach ón scoil go dtí an ollscoil.  Deis atá ann léargas ar leith a fháil ar shaol na hiriseoireachta go bhfeice scoláirí Idirbhliana an bhfuil siad ag iarraidh oibriú sa réimse sin nó nach bhfuil.  Agus is deis fosta atá ann eolas níos mó a fháil fá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus saol na mac léinn cois Coiribe.” Dúirt Ardstiúrthóir TG4, Alan Esslemont: “Tá an iriseoireacht Ghaeilge mar bhunchloch lárnach do sheirbhís TG4 agus cuireann muid fáilte roimh an gcomhoibriú seo le OÉ Gaillimh chun iriseoirí an lae amárach a spreagadh” Agus í ag fáiltiú roimh sheoladh an chúrsa, Iriseoirí an lae amárach, dúirt príomhfheidhmheannach COGG, Muireann Ní Mhóráin, ‘Cuirfidh an cúrsa nua seo gairm na hiriseoireachta faoi bhráid scoláirí na n-iar-bhunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge agus cuirfidh sé ar an eolas iad faoi thábhacht iriseoireacht ar ardchaighdeán agus na deiseanna atá sna meáin d’iriseoirí le Gaeilge.’ Dúirt Stiúrthóir Cláir an MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), OÉ Gaillimh, Aodh Ó Coileáin: “Is minic a thug an Chúirt Eorpach um Chearta an Duine ‘gadhar faire an phobail’ ar ról tábhachtach na hiriseoireachta.  Go deimhin, bronnann an Chúirt cosaint ar leith don phreas mar go bfhuil feidhmiú an daonlathais ag brath ar shaoirse an phreasa.  Anois, níos mó ná riamh tá iriseoireacht chruinn, chothrom, neamhchlaonta de dhíth ar phobal na hÉireann.” “Tá súil ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Nuacht RTÉ agus TG4 agus an Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta go dtabharfaidh an cúrsa nua léargas do scoláirí Idirbhliana ar ról  agus ar obair na meán agus go mb’fhéidir go spreagfaidh sé cuid acu tabhairt faoi ghairmeacha sna meáin amach anseo.  Tá an fhírinne tábhachtach in aon phobal” a dúirt Ó Coileáin Clárú don chúrsa agus breis eolais: Le clárú ba cheart do scoileanna teagmháil le peadar@cogg.ie le léirithe spéise agus nasc clárúcháin a fháil. Is í an Chéadaoin 10 Feabhra an spriocdháta do léirithe spéise ó scoileanna. Is í an Luan 22 Feabhra an spriocdháta le clárú. Críoch

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway hosts Iriseoirí an lae amárach - a week-long course in journalism for Transition Year students Transition Year students in Irish-medium schools are being offered a unique insight to journalism in an online course with some of Ireland’s finest television, radio and digital journalists and broadcasters. NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 are running the week-long Iriseoirí an lae amárach programme in conjunction with An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and the Department of Education. The course is aimed at post-primary students in Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools and will be held via Zoom between 1–4 March 2021. Each day a mix of material will be presented by a team drawn from NUI Galway’s media and communications courses and from journalists broadcasting on TG4, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and producing content for online platforms.  Award winning video journalist and filmmaker Seán Mac an tSíthigh will share his skills and experience in compiling stories of a cinematic quality for TG4 and RTÉ. Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg will give an insight into packing the difficult questions into Adhmhaidin, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s flagship current affairs programme. Television news anchors Eimear Ní Chonaola and Siún Nic Gearailt will speak of the joys and the trials and tribulations of daily live broadcasting.  Choosing and presenting stories for online platforms will be covered by Siún Ní Dhuinn of RTÉ Digiteach/Gaeilge.ie.  The course will also give an insight into following a career path in media and advice on providing stories for a sporting nation on GAA, soccer and horseracing will also be outlined and discussed. Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne, Stiúrthóir Léinn, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, said: “The last few years, punctuated by the catch-cry of ‘fake news’, have made us all more conscious of the importance of quality journalism. Iriseoirí an lae amárach enables Transition Year Students to see for themselves what journalism involves and it gives them experience that may help them decide if they wish to pursue a career in a field so vital to democracy and social justice. And it will also give them a sense of the opportunities offered by a BA at NUI Galway.” TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont said: “Irish language journalism is a core part of the TG4 schedule, and we welcome this collaboration with NUI Galway to encourage Transition Year students to consider a career in journalism.” Welcoming the initiative, chief executive of COGG Muireann Ní Mhóráin said: “This new course will present careers in journalism to post-primary students in Gaeltacht areas and in Irish medium post-primary schools throughout the country along with emphasising the importance of high quality journalism and informing students of opportunities through the medium of Irish in this area.” Programme Director of the MA (Cleachtas Gairmiúil sna Meáin), NUI Galway, Aodh Ó Coileáin, said: “The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has compared the vital role of journalists to that of ‘public watchdog’. Accordingly, the Court has afforded the press the broadest scope of protection. Freedom of the press is one of the great gifts of a democratic society. Perhaps now more than at any point in our history, Ireland needs free, critical, impartial and independent media.” “NUI Galway, Nuacht RTÉ and TG4 and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta hope that this vibrant new digital course will give an insight to students and perhaps encourage some to choose education in journalism or some aspect of media and broadcasting. The truth always matters.” Registration for course and further information: Schools should write to: peadar@cogg.ie in order to express interest and receive a registration link. Wednesday 10 February is the deadline for expressions of interest from schools. Monday 22 February is the deadline for registration. Ends

Monday, 25 January 2021

NUI Galway student Sukanya Saikia has been selected as a Climate Force Ambassador for the upcoming International Antarctic Expedition in November 2021. Sukanya will be part of a group of 80 dedicated climate change fighters and environmentalists who will travel to the Antarctic for an intensive and immersive training program. Originally from India, Sukanya is a PhD student with the discipline of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. Her research investigates the climate change and urbanization impact on wastewater management systems. The expedition aims to train and inspire young leaders in up-to-date climate change, sustainability and clean energy skills, and to provide a platform to engage in discussion and exchange ideas with world-class climate and sustainability leaders and help build strong collaborations. Sukanya said: “I am extremely honoured and privileged to be selected for this once in a lifetime training. I am very passionate about climate change and sustainability issues and have been involved with such projects since 2013. I feel that for all the climate actions we do at an individual level, everything has acted as catalysts and manifested into this brilliant opportunity! I’m both excited and nervous and hope to get everyone’s support to complete this expedition.” Organised by 2041 Foundation, the expedition will be led by Robert Swan, OBE, polar explorer, environmentalist, and the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. It was Swan’s original expedition to the South Pole which was the inspiration for the 2041 Foundation, an organisation he founded and dedicated to the preservation of the Polar Regions. The mission of the foundation is to engage businesses and communities on climate science, personal leadership, and the promotion of sustainable practices. Sukanya’s supervisor, Dr Eoghan Clifford, Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great and a very exclusive opportunity for Sukanya. It will allow her to experience first-hand the effects of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. It aligns with her PhD research and will give her a broader perspective on climate change, and I look forward to hearing from Sukanya about her experiences when she comes back.” To find out more about Sukanya’s journey or to support her with the expedition visit her GoFundMe page at gf.me/u/zfzq2c. -Ends-

Monday, 25 January 2021

Ireland’s energy sector to learn from Mallorca testbed  Researchers at NUI Galway are taking part in a green hydrogen research project in the Mediterranean which will help chart a path for the renewable energy enabler to be used in Ireland. Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca. In the process it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility. NUI Galway researchers Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, members of the Energy Research Centre at the University's Ryan Institute, will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands. Dr Farràs Costa, of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, said: “Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence. The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.” Green Hysland - Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total. Antonio Llardén, President of Spanish gas company and project coordinator Enagás, said: “Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance the decarbonisation process. Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.” Dr Thomas van Rensburg, of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “This highly relevant large-scale demonstration project is replicable on tourism dependent island economies around the world, including Ireland. Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition. The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.” Dr Rory Monaghan, of NUI Galway’s School of Engineering, said: “NUI Galway is an established leader in green hydrogen through research in other European projects. The research team will use its expertise in the technologies, economics, and public acceptance of renewable hydrogen to examine its role in the decarbonisation of island communities. We will help to create hydrogen value chains to maximise the economic and employment possibilities of hydrogen in Mallorca and other tourism-dependent islands closer to home. “The potential and ambition for Mallorca alone is huge. Take for example the 20,000 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions as part of this research - that is the equivalent of the energy use in more than 2,300 homes in a year.”  The Green Hysland project will evaluate the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen on Mallorca by examining human capital, well-being and energy security. It will seek to capture the economic value of low carbon tourism and identify skills and training programmes which are required to further develop the island ecosystem and replicate it to other regions. Ends

Thursday, 21 January 2021

NUI Galway breast cancer specialists contribute to international study on the identification of nine breast cancer risk genes Study includes analysis of more than 113,000 women worldwide This study defines the genes that are most clinically useful for the detection of breast cancer risk Breast cancer investigators in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway have collaborated on a pivotal international study into breast cancer risk which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine today (Wednesday, 20 January). The results of the study have identified that there are nine specific genes associated with breast cancer risk. Contributing authors Professor Michael Kerin, Chair of Surgery at NUI Galway, Director of the Cancer Managed Clinical Academic Network for Saolta University Health Care Group, along with Dr Nicola Miller, Lecturer in NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, have directed the Breast Cancer in Galway Genetics Study (BIGGS) since 2008. DNA samples, which have been collected from 2,000 Irish patients and controls have contributed to the findings of this paper, and to numerous high impact publications in the past decade. Led from the University of Cambridge, the BRIDGES (Breast Cancer Risk after Diagnostic Gene Sequencing) study aimed to identify women at high risk of breast cancer and to develop sensitive and informative gene panel testing for the prediction of breast cancer risk. Gene panel testing is a technique in which a number of specific genes that are linked to a particular genetic condition are examined at the same time. Gene panel testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but there is only weak evidence for cancer risk association with many genes. The BRIDGES study tested 34 potential “risk” genes from 60,466 breast cancer cases worldwide and 53,461 controls (patients who did not have breast cancer) from 44 international studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. The study found that variants in nine genes were associated with breast cancer risk (ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PALB2, BARD1, RAD51C, RAD51D, TP53). Professor Michael Kerin, who is also Research Director of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, a voluntary national charity that funds a comprehensive research programme at the Lambe Institute in NUI Galway, said: “With this study we can identify the members within families who have abnormal genes that puts them at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, and they can avail of strategies such as early screening and risk reduction surgery, in order to improve their life expectancy.” Professor Kerin said that the success of this research is testament to the power of bio-banking and the need to futureproof research:  “Having a set of bio-banked samples and the ability to closely follow up with these patients has enabled us to add value to international research studies and improve the knowledge base around breast cancer risk. “The BRIDGES study has revealed that changes which were thought to be unimportant in the well-known breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are significant, and this allows us to manage the risk of developing breast cancer in people affected by these gene alterations.” Acknowledging the support of breast cancer research charity funding, Dr Nicola Miller said: “This work highlights the importance of collaboration in breast cancer research in the generation of data of global significance. It helps to better define the genes associated with breast cancer risk. While we can’t change the genes we inherit, this knowledge will benefit patients undergoing genetic testing for breast-cancer susceptibility. We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute for funding the Irish contribution of this study.” The team, based in the Lambe Institute at NUI Galway, are the only Irish investigators contributing to this study. Biological samples and data from the BIGGS group are part of the Horizon 2020 funded BRIDGES study. The NUI Galway BIGGS study has included 1,000 cancer patient samples and 1,000 population-based controls recruited specifically from hospitals in the West of Ireland since 2001 and from community/retirement groups in this region from 2001-2008.  A copy of the study, ‘Breast cancer risk genes: association analysis in more than 113,000 women’ in the New England Journal of Medicineis available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1913948.        This BIGGS research was supported by the National Breast Cancer Research Institute. For more information visit http://www.breastcancerresearch.ie/. See video with Professor Michael Kerin talking about the study at https://youtu.be/4s0q4asRTfs. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

A team of researchers within the Advanced Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway have discovered how human respiratory cells respond to the invading Covid-19 virus. The study, published in a special issue of the peer reviewed open access journal Viruses, identified the proteins and carbohydrates on these cells in response to infection from the coronavirus.  The researchers found that our respiratory cells act like well-tuned translators and respond to the invading Covid-19 virus by altering the presence of carbohydrates and proteins on the cell’s surface. The study also revealed that our response to Covid-19 infection is closely similar to how we respond to other viral pathogens.  Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences, said: “It is well known that all pathogens need the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates to attach to their host and infect. “The appropriate combination of this ‘molecular handshake’ determines how well all pathogens, including Covid-19, attach to our cells and the severity of the infection.  “Mutations cause minor changes in these protein-carbohydrate molecules and can alter the infectivity of the mutants and severity of the disease such as the UK, South African and Brazilian variants.” The research shows that in the Covid-19 virus the spike-glycoprotein (S-protein) is covered with carbohydrates and it binds to a protein (ACE-2 receptor) on human respiratory cells to start the infection. Dr Anup Mammen Oommen, Postdoctoral researcher, said: “These microscopic proteins and carbohydrates work together like molecular handshakes between the virus and human cells, this communication where carbohydrates are essential is often taken for granted, though is a key event for infection.”  Dr Stephen Cunningham, Research Fellow, added: “Like all viruses, Covid-19 virus also mutates as it goes through its host and multiplies. Being a RNA virus, mutations can be frequent with the infected cell not being able to correct. Some mutations are insignificant with no beneficial or detrimental impact to virus or host, however, some lead to changes in the virus’s proteins and carbohydrates that can alter how the virus interacts with cells during exposure and infection which in turn can determine severity of Covid-19.” The AGRC researchers at NUI Galway used a data science approach to provide an insight into how our cells modify the surface molecules and advance our understanding of the Covid-19 infection process. Professor Joshi added: “The research will also help us gain better insight on how our immune system responds to Covid-19 and the mutations in the virus, such as the variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. This discovery will lead to more informative biomarkers and identification of therapeutic targets to combat COVID-19 and future pathogenic agent infections.” The study has been published in the special issue of the journal Viruses and is available https://www.mdpi.com/journal/viruses https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/13/1/82. Ends

Monday, 18 January 2021

Professor Roger Watson has recently taken up the role as Adjunct Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing at NUI Galway. A Professor of Nursing at the University of Hull, Professor Watson is also Editor in Chief of Nurse Education in Practice, and an Editorial Board member of the Wiki-Journal of Medicine. Professor Watson is a biology graduate of The University of Edinburgh with a PhD in biochemistry from The University of Sheffield. He qualified in Nursing at St George’s Hospital, London.  Welcoming the announcement Dr Georgina Gethin, Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Professor Watson’s contribution to Nursing over his career has been outstanding, evidenced most recently through his appointment as Editor-in-Chief of Nurse Education in Practice. His textbooks have remained part of core curriculum in nursing programmes worldwide. He has provided leadership and acts as a true role-model for Nursing students. We are honoured that he has been appointed to the School of Nursing and Midwifery as an Adjunct Professor and look forward to working with him to continue to advance the mission of the school and contribute to improving the lives of the people we serve through our education, research and public engagement.” Professor Watson said: “I am very pleased to be invited to work with colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway as an Adjunct Professor and I look forward to the next three years. The School is well regarded nationally and internationally and it is my honour to be associated with it." Professor Watson’s specialised interest area is feeding and nutritional problems of older people with dementia. He holds honorary and visiting positions in China, Hong Kong, and Australia. He was a member of the UK 2008 Research Assessment Exercise sub-panel for Nursing and Midwifery and a 2014 Research Excellence Framework sub-panel for Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy. In 2017 Professor Watson was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. -Ends-

Monday, 18 January 2021

Two NUI Galway students have been awarded scholarships by multinational technology company Intel as part of its programme to encourage the next generation of high-achieving women. The successful students are Eimear McDonnell, from Westport, Co Mayo, in third year BSc Environmental Health and Safety and Emily Metadjer, from Shrule, Co Mayo, in second year BSc Computer Science and Information Technology. The Intel Women in Technology scholarship programme aims to encourage a new generation of high-achieving women to take up the challenge of a career in science and technology and to empower them by fostering educational opportunities. Dr Marie Coggins, lecturer in Exposure Science in NUI Galway’s School of Physics, which secured an Athena Bronze Award in 2020, said: “The scholarship is a tremendous achievement and gives the students excellent opportunities in terms of work experience, learning and applying their knowledge in a world class multinational. “Environmental Health and Safety professionals play a key role in managing environmental and occupational hazards across a range of sectors and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role of this profession in protecting the health of workers, our community and society. Eimear is in third year of NUI Galway’s internationally accredited Environmental Health and Safety programme, which offers excellent job prospects, with graduates immediately qualified to work having gained the essential academic and practical skills required to execute the role in any sector, on any continent and the Intel scholarship is a huge plus.” Eimear McDonnell said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been selected. It’s an excellent opportunity for me to progress my studies and to get a work placement with Intel, a world renowned company, that will give me invaluable experience and will undoubtedly influence my career.” Professor Michael Madden, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Computer Science, said: “We are delighted that Emily has secured this scholarship. We are very keen to support young women, as they are under-represented in the field of Computer Science nationally and internationally. As well as the financial award, the scholarship includes mentoring, which is valuable for nurturing young talent and helping students to achieve their high potential.” Eimly Metadjer said: “I am extremely grateful to have received this scholarship from Intel, one of the foremost tech companies in the world. This is not just a huge opportunity for me personally, but this scholarship is extremely important to help bridge the gender gap in computer science and to encourage and enable women in technology.” The Intel Women in Technology scholarship program offers a monetary grant, valued at €3,000 per annum, as well as opportunities for work placements at the Intel Leixlip and Shannon campuses. Each scholar is also assigned a mentor who is an Intel employee to assist and provide advice on managing their academic career. Since the Intel Women in Technology scholarship program began 15 years ago, it has supported 129 students and a total of €1,675,000 has been invested in the initiative to date. Ends

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

NUI Galway has announced the results of elections for staff and graduates to its new Governing Authority, which sees women take up six of the 10 positions. The new Údarás na hOllscoile will come into existence on 1 February 2021 and will serve until 2025. An online election was held on Monday and Tuesday of this week to appoint the University staff and graduates to the new Governing Authority. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh thanked all those who stood for election and welcomed the new members. “All those who stood for election to the Údarás deserve huge credit for supporting our University’s democracy and raising the profile of the Governing Authority and the important work it does,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. “And congratulations to all those who have been successful. The work of the members of the new Údarás in the coming months and years will be crucial as our University implements our strategic plan Shared Vision, Shaped by Values and assesses and supports all the other initiatives and developments that we are pursuing. “The range of talent, commitment and experience that our graduates, academics and professionals bring to the new Governing Authority will be an enormous asset for our University as we work to ensure the high levels of transparency, accountability and ambition fitting for our university as an institution for the public good.” The following have been elected to the new Governing Authority: :: Academic staff - Dr Rachel Hilliard; Dr Anthony Grehan; Dr Dara Cannon :: Professional service staff - Sinéad Beacom; Eric Mortimer; Monica Crump :: Graduates - Edel Browne; Conor Fottrell; Retired Brigadier General Ger Aherne; Nuala Ní Chonghaile More than 5,000 graduates and staff voted in the election. Three Professors were appointed to the Governing Authority ahead of the election after the number of nominations matched the number of available positions. They are Professor Aisling McCluskey, School of Mathematics, Statistics & Applied Mathematics; Professor Michal Molcho, Children’s Studies, School of Education; and Professor Jim O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences. Student elections to elect four representatives to the Governing Authority will begin in late January. Caroline Loughnane, NUI Galway Secretary for Governance & Academic Affairs, said: “We have experienced unprecedented levels of interest in this election from staff and graduates. It is really inspiring to see the range and quality of candidates who are willing to invest their time and energy in shaping the future of the University. “There has never been a more important time for effective and agile governance. As universities navigate the uncertain landscape created by the Covid-19 pandemic and look ahead to impending changes in governance legislation from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Minister Simon Harris, the role of the Governing Authority is crucial in setting the strategic direction for higher education.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh also paid tribute to the members of the outgoing Údarás. “It was a privilege for our University to have someone like former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness chair the Údarás for the last number of years, working with members who had such a breadth of expertise and knowledge for the betterment of our University. Thank you to everyone who served on the Údarás and supported its work over the last five years,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. Ends

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh torthaí thoghcháin na foirne agus na gcéimithe d’Údarás nua na hOllscoile, ina bhfuil sé áit as deich bainte amach ag mná. Tiocfaidh Údarás nua na hOllscoile i bhfeidhm an 1 Feabhra 2021 agus beidh sé ann go dtí 2025. Tionóladh toghchán ar líne Dé Luain agus Dé Máirt chun comhaltaí foirne agus céimithe de chuid na hOllscoile a cheapadh ar Údarás nua na hOllscoile. Ghabh Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh buíochas le gach duine a sheas sa toghchán agus chuir sé fáilte roimh na comhaltaí nua. “Tá creidiúint mhór tuillte ag gach duine a sheas sa toghchán don Údarás as tacú le daonlathas ár nOllscoile agus próifíl an Údaráis a ardú agus an obair thábhachtach a dhéanann sé,” a dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. “Agus tréaslaím le gach duine ar éirigh leo. Beidh obair chomhaltaí an Údaráis nua sna míonna agus sna blianta amach romhainn ríthábhachtach de réir mar a chuirfidh ár nOllscoil ár bplean straitéiseach Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna i bhfeidhm agus muid ag déanamh measúnú ar agus ag tabhairt tacaíocht do na tionscnaimh agus na forbairtí eile atá á saothrú againn. “Is acmhainn ollmhór dár nOllscoil an raon cumais, tiomantais agus taithí a thugann ár gcéimithe, lucht acadúil agus gairmithe chuig Údarás nua na hOllscoile agus muid ag obair chun na leibhéil arda trédhearcachta, cuntasachta agus uaillmhéine a oireann dár n-ollscoil a chinntiú mar institiúid ar mhaithe le leas an phobail.” Toghadh iad seo a leanas ar Údarás nua na hOllscoile. :: An fhoireann acadúil – An Dr Rachel Hilliard; an Dr Anthony Grehan; an Dr Dara Cannon. :: Foireann na seirbhíse gairmiúla – Sinéad Beacom; Eric Mortimer; Monica Crump. :: Céimithe – Edel Browne; Conor Fottrell; an Briogáidire-Ghinearál Ger Aherne; Nuala Ní Chonghaile. Vótáil breis agus 5,000 céimí agus comhalta foirne sa toghchán. Ceapadh triúr Ollúna ar Údarás na hOllscoile roimh an toghchán ós rud é go raibh líon na n-ainmniúchán mar a chéile le líon na n-áiteanna a bhí ar fáil. Is iad sin an tOllamh Aisling McCluskey, Scoil na Matamaitice, na Staitisticí & na Matamaitice Feidhmí; an tOllamh Michal Molcho, Léann Leanaí, Scoil an Oideachais; agus an tOllamh Jim O’Gara, Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha. Cuirfear tús le toghcháin na mac léinn chun ceathrar ionadaithe a thoghadh ar Údarás na hOllscoile ag deireadh mhí Eanáir. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, Rúnaí Gnóthaí Rialachais & Acadúla OÉ Gaillimh: “Bhí spéis nach bhfacthas riamh cheana sa toghchán seo ag comhaltaí foirne agus ag céimithe. Is mór an spreagadh é réimse agus caighdeán na n-iarrthóirí atá toilteanach a gcuid ama agus fuinnimh a infheistiú i dtodhchaí na hOllscoile. “Ní raibh rialachas éifeachtach agus solúbtha chomh tábhachtach riamh cheana. De réir mar a thugann ollscoileanna aghaidh ar an saol éiginnte a chruthaigh paindéim Covid-19 agus iad ag tnúth le hathruithe atá le teacht ó reachtaíocht an Aire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta & Eolaíochta, an tAire Simon Harris, tá ról Údarás na hOllscoile ríthábhachtach maidir leis an treo straitéiseach a leagan amach don ardoideachas.” Thréaslaigh an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh le comhaltaí an Údaráis atá ag dul as oifig. “Ba phribhléid é dár nOllscoil iarbhreitheamh na Cúirte Uachtaraí, Catherine McGuinness a bheith ina cathaoirleach ar an Údarás le roinnt blianta anuas, ag obair le comhaltaí a raibh an oiread sin saineolais agus eolais acu a chuir siad chun tairbhe na hOllscoile. Mo bhuíochas le gach comhalta a bhí ar an Údarás agus a thacaigh lena chuid oibre le cúig bliana anuas,” a dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. Críoch

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

NUI Galway will hold a virtual information evening on Wednesday, 13 January, from 7-9pm, focusing on the needs of Mature Students and Adult Learners who may be considering full-time or part-time studies for the 2021 academic year. This online information evening is designed particularly for those aged 23 or over wishing to find out more about study options at NUI Galway, and will assist attendees in making the right decision which suits their personal circumstances and professional development needs. Trish Bourke, Mature Student Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Mature Students are a valued asset to our university and they bring enthusiasm and motivation to learn and manage family life and studies to reach their goal of attaining a rich education.” The University’s Career and Development Centre will deliver a lecture focusing on what course of study will best suit individual circumstances and career pathways, and there will be an opportunity to hear from a diverse panel of current Mature Students. Staff from NUI Galway’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses, along with representative from the University’s Support Service will also be present to guide attendees on the range of course options and supports offered at NUI Galway.  Academic staff will also be available to answer specific queries on degrees and progression. Members of the Access Centre will be available  to answer questions on pre-university courses in terms of Access courses, and the Disability Support Services, who have expertise in supporting students at third level who may have a long-term health condition (physical or mental), or a specific learning difficulty, will also be in attendance to give guidance to prospective students. Registration for this event is essential. Please register at http://www.nuigalway.ie/caoevents/ or contact maturestudents@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go mbeidh toghchán Údarás na hOllscoile ar siúl an tseachtain seo chugainn, agus gur mná iad níos mó ná leath na n-iarrthóirí. Tá 30 comhalta foirne agus céimí ollscoile san iomlán ag seasamh i dtoghchán Údarás na hOllscoile, lena n-áirítear 18 gcéimí, seachtar comhaltaí foirne seirbhíse gairmiúla na hOllscoile agus cúigear comhaltaí foirne acadúla. Toghadh triúr ollúna go huathoibríoch cheana féin. Tá thart ar 50,000 céimí agus comhalta foirne Ollscoile i dteideal vóta a chaitheamh, agus beidh an bhallóid ar líne oscailte ar feadh 27 uair an chloig – ó 9am Dé Luain, an 11 Eanáir 2021 go dtí meán lae Dé Máirt, an 12 Eanáir 2021. Mhol Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh go láidir do gach comhalta foirne agus alumni incháilithe a vóta a chaitheamh. “Tá spéis nach bhfacthas riamh roimhe sa toghchán don chéad Údarás eile, agus alumni ar fud an domhain ag clárú le vótáil agus tá spéis á léiriú trí na hardáin meán sóisialta atá againn. Taispeánann sé an luach a chuireann pobal na hOllscoile sa bhaile agus thar lear ar Údarás na hOllscoile,” a deir an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh. “Is é an tÚdarás an coiste is tábhachtaí inár nOllscoil – is ann a leagtar amach ár bhfreagracht agus ár dtrédhearcacht mar institiúid ar mhaithe le leas an phobail agus is ann a fhorbraítear agus a thacaítear lenár gcuid smaointe, ár n-uaillmhianta agus ár straitéisí. Ba mhaith liom buíochas speisialta a ghabháil le gach duine a chuir a n-ainm chun cinn le bheith páirteach in obair an Údaráis sna blianta amach romhainn. Léiríonn an réimse leathan aoise, taithí, oideachais agus scileanna an luach atá ag ár n-alumni ar an Ollscoil agus an fonn atá orthu rud éigin a thabhairt ar ais. “Molaim do gach duine atá cláraithe gan dearmad a dhéanamh a vóta a chaitheamh.” Tá sonraí an 30 ainmní do chéad Údarás na hOllscoile eile ar fáil anseo. Táthar ag súil torthaí an toghcháin a fhógairt Dé Máirt, an 12 Eanáir 2021, agus rachaidh an chéad Údarás eile i mbun oifige an 1 Feabhra 2021. Ceapadh triúr Ollúna ar Údarás na hOllscoile mar go raibh líon na n-ainmniúchán mar a chéile le líon na n-áiteanna a bhí ar fáil – an tOllamh Aisling McCluskey, Scoil na Matamaitice, na Staitisticí & na Matamaitice Feidhmí; an tOllamh Michal Molcho, Léann Leanaí, Scoil an Oideachais; agus an tOllamh Jim O’Gara, Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha. Cuirfear tús le toghcháin na mac léinn chun ceathrar ionadaithe a thoghadh ar Údarás na hOllscoile ag deireadh mhí Eanáir. Ag labhairt di faoin raon éagsúil tréithe atá riachtanach do bhallraíocht Údarás na hOllscoile, dúirt an Rúnaí Gnóthaí Rialachais & Acadúla, Caroline Loughnane: “Tá ról Údarás na hOllscoile mar phríomhchomhlacht cinnteoireachta ríthábhachtach maidir le treo na hOllscoile sa todhchaí a fhorbairt. Tá meascán éagsúil scileanna, taithí agus tréithe pearsanta riachtanach do Bhord a fheidhmíonn go maith agus is ábhar mór misnigh é an éagsúlacht sin a fheiceáil i bpróifílí na n-iarrthóirí atá san iomaíocht sa toghchán. Tá rogha iontach ar fáil don lucht vótála agus mholfainn go láidir don fhoireann agus do chéimithe a gcuid vótaí a úsáid chun a dtuairimí a chur in iúl sa toghchán seo.” Dúirt an tOllamh Ó hÓgartaigh: “Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le baill uile Údarás na hOllscoile atá ag dul as oifig as a dtiomantas agus a gcuid oibre le blianta beaga anuas agus buíochas speisialta le Cathaoirleach Údarás na hOllscoile, Catherine McGuinness. Bhí sé de phribhléid ag ár nOllscoil tairbhe a bhaint as eolas, as taithí agus as neamhspleáchas iarBhreitheamh na Cúirte Uachtaraí ar feadh an oiread sin blianta. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh freisin leis na hollúna a ceapadh ar an gcéad Údarás eile – táim cinnte go gcuirfidh siadsan go mór leis an ról agus táim ag súil le bheith ag obair leo agus le gach ball d’Údarás na hOllscoile i gcinntiú go mbaintear amach leibhéal freagrachta agus uaillmhéine mar atá leagtha amach inár bplean straitéiseach, Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, dár gcuid mac léinn, dár sochaí agus dár bpláinéad.” Críoch

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

NUI Galway has announced the election of a new Governing Authority will take place next week, with women making up more than half of the candidates. A total of 30 university staff and graduates are standing for election to Údarás na hOllscoile, including 18 graduates, 7 from the University’s professional service staff and 5 academic staff. Three professors have been automatically elected. Around 50,000 University graduates and staff are eligible to vote*, with the online ballot open for 27 hours – from 9am on Monday 11 January 2021 until midday on Tuesday 12 January 2021. President of NUI Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh urged all eligible staff and alumni to use their vote. “The election for the next Údarás has seen unprecedented interest, both from alumni across the world registering to vote and also through our social media platforms. It demonstrates the value which our University community at home and abroad places on our Governing Authority,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. “The Údarás is the most important committee in our University - it is the place where we establish our accountability and transparency as an institution for the public good and where our ideas, our ambitions and our strategies are shaped and supported. "I want to extend a special word of thanks to everyone who stood up and put themselves forward to play a part in its work in the coming years. The breadth and range of ages, experience, education and skills highlights the value our alumni attach to the University and their desire to give back. “I would encourage all those who have registered to vote to remember to cast their ballots.” Details of the 30 nominees for the next Governing Authority are available to view online https://www.mi-event.info/event/nuigalway2021election. The results of the election are due to be released on Tuesday 12 January 2021, with the next Governing Authority to take office on 1 February 2021. Three Professors were appointed to the Governing Authority after the number of nominations matched the number of available positions. They are Professor Aisling McCluskey, School of Mathematics, Statistics & Applied Mathematics; Professor Michal Molcho, Children’s Studies, School of Education; and Professor Jim O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences. Student elections to elect four representatives to the Governing Authority will begin in late January. Speaking about the diverse range of attributes required in the membership of the Governing Authority, Caroline Loughnane, NUI Galway's Secretary for Governance & Academic Affairs, said: “The role of the Governing Authority as the ultimate decision-making body is pivotal in shaping the future direction of the University. A diverse mix of skills, experience and personal attributes are essential components of a well-functioning Board and it is really encouraging to see such diversity in the profiles of the candidates running for election. Voters are spoiled for choice and I would strongly encourage staff and graduates to use their votes to make their voices heard in this election.” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh added: “I would like to thank all the members of the outgoing Governing Authority for their commitment and work in recent years and a special word of thanks to the Chair of Údarás na hOllscoile Catherine McGuinness. Our University was privileged to be able to call on the former Supreme Court Judge’s knowledge, experience and independence for so many years. "I would also like to congratulate the professors who have been appointed to the next Governing Authority - I am sure they too will bring a wealth of talent to the role. I look forward to working with them and all the members of our Governing Authority in ensuring a level of accountability and ambition which matches our place in the world, as set out in our strategic plan, Shared Vision, Shaped by Values, for our students, for our society and for our planet.” Ends * This figure includes eligible Alumni who have registered their emails with the Alumni Office for communication purposes. The total number of graduates eligible to vote is higher. For graduates on the Alumni database who are eligible to vote and may not have access to email, a web landing page has been developed to enable such voters to access their vote on Jan. 11th and 12th at the following link:  https://www.mi-vote.com/nuigalway2021/.

Friday, 26 February 2021

The Moore Institute in association with the MA in Public Policy at NUI Galway will host a webinar on Thursday 4 March, analysing the outcome of the EU-UK Trade Agreement signed in late December 2020. Three leading commentators on European trade, diplomacy, and Northern Ireland will take part in the discussion: Carlo Trojan, David O’Sullivan, and Katy Hayward. Carlo Trojan spent his career as senior European Commission official, working on competition policy, agriculture, German unification, and Northern Ireland (as head of the Commission’s Task Force). He served as European Commission secretary general 1997-2001 and EU Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation. He will provide an overall assessment of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. David O’Sullivan recently retired as EU Ambassador to the Unites States. He formerly served as Director General of Trade for the European Commission and as secretary general. He will discuss the Irish perspective on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the concept of “Global Britain” and the prospects of a UK-US trade agreement. Katy Hayward is Professor of Political Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast and a Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe. She will discuss Northern Ireland and the implementation and resistance to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The deal to reach an EU-UK trade agreement came at the 11th hour. This webinar provides a chance to examine how the two parties fared in the negotiation, with contributions from a remarkable panel of experts.” Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Director of the MA in Public Policy, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “As the implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement begin to become clear there is an urgent need to consider how it will shape relations between Ireland, Britain, Europe, and the world in the coming decades. Our three speakers have unique expertise on the topic.” The online event will take place on Thursday, 4 March at 12pm. To attend this free webinar, register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8R8iWPubTRS0rxdWB83E9g For further information contact daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Research from NUI Galway in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza, Spain has carried out a study on how Instagram Likes affect people. Instagram recently piloted an initiative of hiding the number of Likes a post receives from other users. A rationale for hiding Likes was to support wellbeing through reduced competition for Likes. In an experiment with 280 Instagram users in the United States, the researchers investigated the effect of hiding Likes on negative affect (a subjective form of emotional distress, for instance being upset, ashamed, or nervous) and loneliness. Results show that this new measure introduced by Instagram can improve users’ wellbeing. In the study, which had 62% male and 38% female participants with an average age of 34, Instagram users were asked how many Likes they would expect to receive for a post. On average 145 Likes were expected. The participants were then given scenarios where they received a lot more or far fewer Likes than they expected, and also that their followers could or could not see how many Likes they received. Following each scenario, the participants’ negative affect and their loneliness were measured using a questionnaire. The study’s author, Dr Elaine Wallace, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: “We already know, for instance, that people who are lonely tend to be bigger users of social media, and tend to generate and consume more Instagram content. We also know that social media use can lead to social comparison, or ‘sizing up’ how we are doing relative to others, and this can lead to negative outcomes. "In this study, we wanted to investigate whether hiding Instagram Likes would have an effect on users’ wellbeing, when they received a high or a low number of Likes for a post. If, for instance, I expect to get 10 Likes for a post, does getting far more than 10 Likes make me feel less lonely? If others cannot see how many Likes I get, does that have any effect?” Dr Wallace continued: “In our study we found that competition for relative position in terms of number of Likes may be making people unhappy. People are seeking Likes to feel less lonely, but getting those Likes also increases negative affect - those feelings of being upset or ashamed or nervous. We found this especially when Instagram users know that others can see how many Likes they get. Hiding the visibility of an Instagram users’ Likes from others could therefore be a good idea.” The study also found that when Likes were much lower than Instagram users hoped, they were more lonely, but they did not experience negative affect, even when those Likes were visible to others. The researchers believe this may be because these people feel they have already ‘lost’ to others in the relative competition for Likes, so it did not matter to them whether their Likes were visible or not. The study also looked at Instagram users who are vulnerable narcissists, individuals who might be especially sensitive to image threat and to interpersonal rejection and may engage in tactics to try to avoid rejection. In the study, vulnerable narcissism was associated with greater loneliness. Dr Wallace added: “Vulnerable narcissists have a great fear of being evaluated. Our study shows that, for vulnerable narcissists, getting higher numbers of Likes reduces loneliness. These users are especially sensitive to social comparison, and they may be engaging in Like-seeking to seek validation and avoid rejection.” Co-author Isabel Buil, from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, concluded: “Like-seeking can become a vicious cycle, as our findings suggest that when people receive more Likes they feel less lonely, but receiving more Likes can also make them feel more unhappy, especially when others can see those Likes. This could trigger Like-seeking behaviours again. We find little evidence to suggest that well-being is improved by showing Likes to Instagram followers.” Read the full study in the journal, Elsevier ScienceDirect, here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886920307005?via%3Dihub. See a short video about the study here: https://youtu.be/LEeKaSFYAy4. -Ends-

Thursday, 25 February 2021

NUI Galway study finds problem and non-problem gamblers differ in the gratifications they seek from mobile gambling Non problematic mobile gambling is associated with positive mood Advice for regulators and mobile gamblers on how to avoid gambling harms A study carried out by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has examined how the different gratifications sought from mobile gambling explain problematic versus non-problematic patterns in highly involved gamblers. For a subgroup of vulnerable individuals, gambling involvement can be pathological and reflects a personality disorder. For many others though, gambling is a non-problematic recreational activity.  The study focused specifically on mobile gambling, whereby people gamble online using their smartphones through specially designed apps and websites. Mobile gambling differs from land-based and traditional forms of gambling in that the opportunity to place bets and engage with casinos is constantly present and easily accessible. Instead of going to a physical bookmaker or casino, mobile gambling is done quickly and swiftly, anytime, anywhere, with a few taps on a mobile device, and mobile apps have been found to promote a form of gambling that is more impulsive and habitual in nature. The study found that high involvement in mobile gambling is not essentially problematic.  Problem and non-problem gamblers differ in the gratifications they seek from mobile gambling. Using gambling apps to facilitate social interaction and avoid boredom are key motivations for problem gamblers, but not for non-problem gamblers. Moreover, the person’s mood depends on the type of passion they hold for mobile gambling. When their passion is obsessive, mood tends to be low, but is much higher when the passion is harmonious and under control. Lead author of the study, Dr Eoin Whelan, Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The pandemic and the lockdown that followed has led to a surge in people gambling through their smartphones. We know that mobile gambling is different to traditional forms of gambling in that it attracts younger people and is more conducive to risky behaviour. However, for some highly involved mobile gamblers, it is not a harmful activity and can actually be associated with positive mood. For others, it can have severe adverse effects on them and their families.  “Our study sought to find out what differentiates the two groups with the findings suggesting social gratifications are much more pertinent in problematic gamblers. The link between social gratifications and obsessive gambling could be a result of the broader cultural normalisation of mobile gambling. Regulators wishing to promote responsible gambling should consider restricting gambling app promotions from depictions and associations with social inclusion.” The research was based on a global sample of 327 people who use gambling apps on a weekly basis, and was authored by Dr Whelan with Samuli Laato and Najmul Islam of the University of Turku, Finland, and Joël Billieux of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. A copy of the full study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is available at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0246432 -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

NUI Galway is to host a series of online events on Monday 1 March 2021 as part of Traveller Ethnicity Day. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris T.D., Senator Eileen Flynn, children’s author Richard O’Neill and US-based academic Professor Sharon Gmelch are among those taking part. March 1 2021 marks five years since the Government officially recognised Irish Travellers as an ethnic group. To mark the anniversary, the flag of the Mincéirs Whiden Society, the only university society for Irish Travellers, will fly above the Quad at NUI Galway and a series of films will be shown including a specially produced short documentary Travellers in Higher Education: Building a Sense of Belonging. Other events planned for the day include panel discussions on pathways to education and a career in teaching and what the State’s recognition of Traveller ethnicity has meant for the community. The full schedule of events and how to access them is available at https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/nui-galway-irish-traveller-ethnicity-day-2021-32639303919  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “Even with the limitations placed on the University because of COVID-19, the events planned for March 1st 2021 are both hugely symbolic and an important showcase and support for the Travelling community. They resonate with our values of openness and respect. “I look forward to taking part on the day. Being able to highlight the opportunities in our University is central to the strategy we are pursuing at NUI Galway of Shared Vision, Shaped by Values. Our community, of which the Travelling community is a part, is proud to see initiatives like this, for the public good.”  Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway's Access Centre, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day again this year, and to further embed the progress made by the Access Centre in supporting Travellers to access higher education and become a part of NUI Galway community.”  Owen Ward, Programme Coordinator in NUI Galway’s Access Centre who is leading the day’s events, said: “We are highlighting the openness of NUI Galway, its commitment to showcasing the rich heritage of the Travelling community and the importance of building bridges between all communities.  “NUI Galway are the only university in Ireland to officially celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day annually through a day long series of events and there is a great commitment to widening the participation of Irish Travellers in third level education. Through a strong collaboration of numerous partners across the NUI Galway community, this event creates the opportunity for all students, including Irish Travellers, to start planning to study and build their sense of belonging at NUI Galway.” Ends   Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh Tá OÉ Gaillimh le sraith imeachtaí ar líne a reachtáil Dé Luain, an 1 Márta 2021 mar chuid de Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe. Tá an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Taighde, Nuálaíochta agus Eolaíochta Simon Harris, an Seanadóir Eileen Flynn, an t-údar do leanaí Richard O'Neill agus an tOllamh acadúil atá lonnaithe i Meiriceá Sharon Gmelch ina measc siúd a bheas ag glacadh páirte. Beidh sé cúig bliana an 1 Márta 2021 ó thug an stát aitheantas foirmiúil do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann mar ghrúpa mionlach eitneach. Chun é a chomóradh, beidh bratach Chumann Mincéirs Whiden, an t-aon chumann ollscoile do Thaistealaithe na hÉireann, ar foluain os cionn na Cearnóige in OÉ Gaillimh agus taispeánfar sraith scannán lena n-áirítear clár faisnéise gairid Travellers in Higher Education: Building a Sense of Belonging a léiríodh go speisialta. I measc na n-imeachtaí eile atá beartaithe don lá tá plé painéil ar chosáin chuig an oideachas agus chuig gairm sa mhúinteoireacht agus an méid a shíleann an pobal Taistealaithe faoi aitheantas an Stáit d’eitneacht na dTaistealaithe. Tá sceideal iomlán na n-imeachtaí agus an bealach le rochtain a fháil orthu ar fáil anseo https://www.eventbrite.ie/o/nui-galway-irish-traveller-ethnicity-day-2021-32639303919 Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Fiú amháin leis na srianta  a cuireadh ar an Ollscoil mar gheall ar COVID-19, tá na himeachtaí atá beartaithe don 1 Márta 2021 an-siombalach agus is iontach an léiriú agus an tacaíocht iad don phobal Taistealaithe. Tá na himeachtaí ag teacht lenár luachanna a bhaineann le hoscailteacht agus le meas. Táim ag súil go mór le páirt a ghlacadh sa lá. Is cuid lárnach den straitéis atá á saothrú againn in OÉ Gaillimh, Fís i gCoiteann, Múnlaithe ag Luachanna, é a bheith in ann aird a tharraingt ar na deiseanna inár nOllscoil. Is cúis bhróid é dár bpobal, a bhfuil an pobal taistealaithe ina chuid de, tionscnaimh mar seo a fheiceáil, ar mhaithe le leas an phobail. " Dúirt Imelda Byrne, Ceann an Ionaid Rochtana in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orainn Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe a cheiliúradh arís i mbliana, agus forbairt a dhéanamh ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag an Ionad Rochtana maidir le tacú le Taistealaithe rochtain a fháil ar ardoideachas agus a bheith mar chuid de phobal OÉ Gaillimh.” Dúirt Owen Ward, Comhordaitheoir Cláir in Ionad Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh atá i gceannas ar imeachtaí an lae: “Táimid ag cur béim ar oscailteacht OÉ Gaillimh, a tiomantas chun oidhreacht shaibhir an phobail Taistealaithe a thaispeáint agus an tábhacht a bhaineann le hathmhuintearas idir gach pobal. “Is í OÉ Gaillimh an t-aon ollscoil in Éirinn a cheiliúrann Lá Eitneachais na dTaistealaithe go hoifigiúil gach bliain trí shraith imeachtaí lae agus tá sárthiomantas anseo chun rannpháirtíocht Thaistealaithe na hÉireann in oideachas tríú leibhéal a leathnú. Trí chomhoibriú láidir idir comhpháirtithe éagsúla ar fud phobal OÉ Gaillimh, tugann an ócáid seo an deis do gach mac léinn, lena n-áirítear Taistealaithe, tosú ag pleanáil don staidéar agus don mhothú muintearais in OÉ Gaillimh.” Críoch

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

NUI Galway is delighted to announce a new partnership with Rowing Ireland as an official 'Rowing Ireland Partner Pathway University' that will help develop the high-performance programme at NUI Galway. This partnership builds on the already strong working relationship between the University and Rowing Ireland over the past number of years.  NUI Galway will become a Pathway University, to develop talented pathway athletes for international selection at Under 23 and eventually Olympic level. In addition to this, the partnership will provide value to NUI Galway coaches as Rowing Ireland help to upskill these coaches to improve the rowing programme on campus. This will in turn increase the number of NUI Galway athletes on the national squad.  Mike Heskin, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said “We are very excited about this New Partnership with Rowing Ireland’s High Performance Programme. The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland involving both domestic and Olympic sports. These partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to archive their athletic goals.  "We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Rowing Ireland to build on the existing relationship which has provided Olympians in our recent past. We hope to see a number of other sports follow Rowing’s Lead and operate a high performance programme from the NUI Galway’s campus.”  Rowing Ireland and NUI Galway will work hand in hand to develop a sustainable and robust pathway of young athletes from Junior to Under 23 World Championship level before progressing to the senior Olympic team. NUI Galway head coach, Ciro Prisco will continue to build on his experience as part of Rowing Ireland's High-Performance coaching team (Under 23 World Championships 2019 and Junior European Championships 2020) by taking up the new position of temporary High-Performance assistant coach, working with the team at the National Rowing Centre while combining his duties as NUI Galway head coach, overseeing the development of the club programme in Galway.  Commenting on today's announcement, High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni, said "We are delighted to have NUI Galway as a partner in supporting the High-Performance Programme Pathway. Along with our partnership with Queens, NUI Galway will have an essential role in our High-Performance programme's success in the years to come. "We welcome Ciro Prisco to our High-Performance team in an important role as Assistant Coach for our High-Performance Senior Athletes. Ciro will be a valuable member of the team, and we look forward to working with him and supporting him alongside his role in NUI Galway." Michelle Carpenter, Rowing Ireland Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway as a new partner and as a Pathway University. NUI Galway has a history of producing World Class athletes, and this partnership will benefit both NUI Galway and Rowing Ireland for the future. This partnership is a testament to the vision and hard work that our High-Performance Team has put in. I want to thank Antonio Maurogiovanni and Fran Keane for their hard work in getting this over the line."  -Ends-

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Call for researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships Researchers in NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences have launched the All-Ireland MS Research Network today (24 February 2021). The All-Ireland MS Research Network will join together the largest number of scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to accelerate collaborative research across the island of Ireland. Going from the patient to the bench and bringing discovery research forward to the patient, the network holds potential to limit the progression of multiple sclerosis, to train future generations of researchers and to contribute to global multiple sclerosis research. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, immune-mediated condition of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerve). In multiple sclerosis, myelin damage results in a range of symptoms including impairment of mobility and vision as well as cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. As one of the most common causes of neurological disability in young people, multiple sclerosis is increasing in incidence and prevalence around the world. Currently, there are approximately 13,500 people on the island of Ireland living with multiple sclerosis (4,500 in Northern Ireland and 9,000 in the Republic of Ireland). The goals of the All-Ireland MS Research Network are to: Deliver cutting-edge research in multiple sclerosis that focuses on limiting disease progression Train the next generation of leaders in multiple sclerosis research Communicate multiple sclerosis research activities and discoveries to the public, research community and key stakeholders Collaborate on multiple sclerosis research programmes nationally and internationally to achieve the mission of the network Founding investigators Professor Denise Fitzgerald, Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente and Dr Yvonne Dombrowski (Queen's University Belfast), Dr Claire McCoy (RCSI) and Dr Una FitzGerald and Dr Jill McMahon (NUI Galway), reached out to dozens of multi-disciplinary multiple sclerosis researchers across the island of Ireland, North and South. Network members are drawn from hospitals, multiple sclerosis day-care centres, Universities, and from those who have multiple sclerosis. Dr Una Fitzgerald, Biomedical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “The founding members have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to define the All-Ireland MS Research Networks's goals, aspirations and research mission. We firmly believe that closer collaborations and sharing of ideas and expertise across the network will lead to exciting discoveries that better explain multiple sclerosis pathology and symptoms, and that could be the basis of new approaches to MS disease management. The network will facilitate excellence in new multiple sclerosis research discoveries that might otherwise not happen.” Dr Chris McGuigan, consultant neurologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, UCD Clinical Professor, and a network participant, said: “The formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network is an exciting new venture that will promote and accelerate  research into multiple sclerosis on the island of Ireland, enhancing our reputation for research excellence worldwide. It will provide coordinated information on developments in multiple sclerosis research nationally including the latest laboratory research outputs and novel technical advances. The network is multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-community, and will partner with global collaborators to ensure continued opportunities to participate in the latest bench-to-bedside studies to improve care for people living with multiple sclerosis and inspire, engage and train a new generation of clinical and academic researchers in Ireland.” Alexis Donnelly, has lived with progressive multiple sclerosis for nearly 30 years, and is excited by the formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network. “This network will facilitate multiple sclerosis researchers throughout the island to cooperate across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, linking them not only with each other but with international colleagues and allowing fresh results and insights to flow back and forth. This can only accelerate the pace of research into progressive multiple sclerosis both nationally and internationally. “I am reminded of the story of Professor Alan Thompson, Professor of Neurology in University College London and chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance, of which I am a member. Alan's interest in progressive multiple sclerosis was piqued initially by the discovery, in the basement of a Dublin Hospital, of an empty room labeled ‘MS research’. This network promises to replace that empty room with a vibrant community of multiple sclerosis researchers. It will hasten the day when no more people have to bear the burdens of progressive multiple sclerosis. I am also impressed by the equal status that people with multiple sclerosis themselves will enjoy in that effort. Our own experiences and perspectives will enrich this initiative and the focus of its work.” MS Research Summer Scholarships Coinciding with the launch, the network is opening a call for budding multiple sclerosis researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships. Following a generous donation from Eamonn Haughton and Declan Smith, of Chemical Systems Control Ireland, the first scholarship will be awarded in 2021 to a successful candidate who is considering a multiple sclerosis-focused research career. Eamonn Haughton, Chemical Systems Control Ireland, said: “New therapies for multiple sclerosis will be built on state-of-the-art research. Funded junior researchers will spend time in research groups based in at least two of the participating organisations. It is hoped that the seeds sewn by this research will help to bring multiple sclerosis treatments to the next level.” For more information visit www.aims-rn.org and for more details about the scholarship call see www.aims-rn.org/funding or follow on Twitter @aims_rn. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair and Director of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway, has been awarded a prestigious D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship from the Board of Trustees of the Ireland Canada University Foundation, a scholarship program which supports the development of connections between Canada and Ireland through online engagement.  The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship facilitates critical connections over distance. This programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a programme of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich connections between both countries and the wider international community. Speaking about the award, Professor Dolan said: “I am delighted to have been awarded this highly prestigious D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship from the Board of Trustees of the Ireland Canada University Foundation. At a time when it is so important to feel connected with others, the programme will facilitate collaboration with academic colleagues in Canada. The particular focus of the Fellowship will be to promote Empathy education in Canada and Ireland which is a particular research interest of mine.” This award follows on from the launch of a new initiative last year to introduce Empathy education for secondary school students in Ireland.  The programme, Activating Social Empathy, is part of a suite of work undertaken by a team of researchers at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre NUI Galway that has developed a concrete basis for understanding empathy education among adolescents. A major focus of the UNESCO Chair’s work both nationally and internationally, is the role of empathy in the development of social understanding and its potential to enable young people to foster better social responsibility, civic behaviour and critically, action.  Professor Dolan is joint founder of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Director of the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway, and holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a UN Global Study measuring the social impact of COVID 19 on youth world wide - the study involves over 100 countries and all UN Regions. For over 20 years, Professor Dolan has completed an extensive body of research on family issues including longitudinal research on adolescents, youth mental health, resilience and social support networks and has over 100 publications a wide range of academic publications including authored books and journals. His major research interests are Civic Engagement, Social Empathy, Family Support, Youth Mentoring, and Resilience. He has also extensive policy experience both nationally and internationally having worked with the Irish Government as well as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the United Nations Youth Office in New York, USA. As part of the fellowship, Professor Dolan, along with host Dr Derek Gladwin, Department of Language and Literacy Education at University of British Columbia, Canada will be delivering a formal online public lecture as a Beacon Fellow and a series of workshop events later this year. For more information on the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship visit http://www.icuf.ie/scholarships/darcy-mcgee-beacon-fellowship/  -Ends-

Monday, 22 February 2021

NUI Galway’s Student Law Society have unveiled their programme of events to mark their 100th Anniversary which takes place from 1-8 March. LawSoc is  one of the oldest and pre-eminent societies in Ireland and fosters unity amongst students, providing them with a social outlet. To mark the centenary, the society are hosting a series of virtual events featuring some of the most respected legal minds in the country. The virtual event over the course of the week will feature guests including: The Honourable Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice of Ireland, President of the Supreme Court; Dr Tom Courtney, Author of ‘The Law of Companies’, FE1 Company Law Examiner, and NUI Galway Alumnus; and NUI Galway alumni representatives from A&L Goodbody Solicitors; and Frank Greaney,Courts Correspondent for Newstalk/Today FM, multi-award winning Journalist and NUI Galway Alumnus. On Monday, 8 March, LawSoc marks the end of the Centenary celebrations with a Webinar marking ‘International Women’s Day, with guests Michele O’Boyle,2020 President of the Law Society of Ireland; Maura McNally, Chair of the Bar Council of Ireland; andAnne Marie McMahon, Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. The event will be moderated by NUI Galway law lecturer, Ursula Connolly. Niamh Lynch, Auditor of the Law Society said; “During such unprecedented times for the world over, I am reminded of the words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that “so often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune. We are delighted to launching our LawSoc100 Centenary Celebrations. We  hope that the celebrations will allow us an opportunity to reflect on the last 100 years of the Law Society, which has grown to become one of the largest societies in NUI Galway, and indeed one of the oldest in the Country. “We also hope that the celebration events will show the adaptability, perseverance and tenacity of the Society in reaching this significant milestone – traits which we aspire to in the present times. The past 100 years have taught us that adaptability and catering to changing times are assets which have become embedded into the values of the Society. Here, at LawSoc, we hope our attempt at embracing persistence throughout these challenging times, will result in good fortune for the society and its members. We stand at such a significant time in history and we intend to reflect that through our recent developments of further expansion into the digital world, examples being from our podcast ‘The Legal Lens with NUI Galway’s Law Society’; to our monthly LawSoc Gazette Newsletters; to these very celebrations. I hope you enjoy the Centenary Celebrations, and that you can join us as we journey the new chapter of our Society’s history.” Patrick McWalter, Vice-Auditor of the Law Society commented: “At the very core of LawSoc’s character is the desire for community, debate, engagement, and kinship – it is for this reason that we are more determined than ever before to ensure that we mark this momentous occasion- given that our community is now physically further apart than ever before. The Law Ball is the highlight of every Law Student’s calendar in NUI GALWAY, and for that reason we will be hosting our online Law Ball – let it never be said that a hidden virus stopped us from marking our Centenary in style. “We, as a society, are honoured to be joined by some of the brightest legal minds in the country for our celebrations, and we know that our members – past and present – will find these events both stimulating and engaging. As we stand at the end point of our first centenary, and as we look towards our next 100 years as a Society, we hope as a Society to proudly carry the baton from the previous ninety-nine committees, and to look towards the hundred years knowing that there is nothing that can weather the desire for citizenship, debate, and most of all, togetherness with our friends, colleagues and members.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh commented on the Centenary: “The Society encapsulates what NUI Galway is about – here for our Students, for civic Society, in terms of social justice, human rights and how we maintain good society more generally. The Law Society encapsulates values of respect for each other, excellence, openness and sustainability. The 100th Anniversary is significant in that the Society has sustained the student traditions over the years – a place I remember as one of oratory and  welcome. The Law Society starts a new century now, and in doing so we recognise the importance of law in Society, especially for those most vulnerable in Society who very often need the protection of law.” All events take place online, and registration is essential. Registration is first come first served via Eventbrite. Students are also invited to the Virtual Law Ball, on Friday, 5 March. For more information see NUI Galway Law Society Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn pages. Events include: The Honourable Mr Justice Frank Clarke Chief Justice of Ireland, President of the Supreme Court Monday, 1 March, 5-6pm Free Registration: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/141820399633 Dr Tom Courtney Author of ‘The Law of Companies’, FE1 Company Law Examiner, NUI Galway Alumnus. “The Conflicting Interests of Company Directors” Tuesday, 2 March, 5-6pm Free Registration : https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/141723000309 A&L Goodbody Solicitors, Dublin Brian O'Malley, Partner; Bríd Nic Suibhne, Senior Associate, Employment; Eugenée Mulhern, Senior Adviser, Corporate and M&A; Eoghan Kenny, Senior Manager, Data Projects Back to the Future: How an International Law Firm has evolved over 100 years, and is preparing for the next 100. Wednesday, 3 March, 5-6pm Free Registration: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/141854820587 Frank Greaney, Courts Correspondent for Newstalk/Today FM, multi-award winning Journalist and NUI Galway Alumnus. “Media and the Law” Thursday, 4 March, 5-6pm Registration: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/141727036381 The Roaring 20’s, at a distance – The Virtual LawSoc Law Ball featuring cocktail making demonstrations, Comedian and MC Tom O’Mahony from Damo & Ivor, Republic of Telly and Irish Pictorial Weekly, Spot Prizes and lots more. Friday, 5 March, 7-9pm Tickets €10 from SocsBox website, (redeemable against your cocktail ingredients). https://cutt.ly/Ck4G4AA Women in Law : “Celebrating International Women’s Day” Michele O’Boyle 2020 President of the Law Society of Ireland, Maura McNally (Chair of the Bar Council of Ireland) and Anne Marie McMahon, Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Síochána Moderated by Ursula Connolly, School of Law, NUI Galway. Monday, 8 March 2020, 5-6pm Registration coming https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/NUI Galway-lawsoc-celebrates-international-womens-day-tickets-142226387955 -Ends-.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Feedback will help bring about change in Higher Education institutes GMIT and NUI Galway have issued a joint call urging third-level students in the west to take part in studentsurvey.ie, the findings of which will be used to further improve their institutes.  Students can take part online by going to studentsurvey.ie from today Monday 22 February until Sunday 14 March. The survey, now in its ninth year, is open to all first year and final year undergraduate students, as well as students on taught and research postgraduate programmes. Questions relate to students’ experiences of higher education, including their academic, personal, and social development, as well as focusing on student engagement such as the learning experience, interaction with faculty and support services and activities. By taking part in the online survey and sharing their experiences, students can have a real impact and help bring about change in their higher education institution. Feedback from the annual survey has informed recent initiatives like the new Student Information Hub and Graduate Mentor scheme in GMIT. In NUI Galway, student feedback has led to the roll out of the CÉIM academic peer support programme, plans for the redevelopment of the library as a Learning Commons and improved pathways for accessing education by building on the University of Sanctuary designation. Last year, 44,707 students in 26 higher education institutions took part in the survey and almost 40% of eligible students in GMIT and NUI Galway participated. Aedín Ó hEocha, Assistant Registrar at GMIT, says: “In previous surveys, GMIT students have consistently rated the quality of their interactions with staff and the effectiveness of teaching highly.  Feedback from students is especially important given the changes that COVID has brought to Higher Education over the last 12 months. It is more important now than ever before that students let us know what we are doing well, and where we could improve.” Professor Michelle Millar, Dean of Students at NUI Galway, says: “NUI Galway had the highest level of student engagement of any university in last year’s survey and almost nine out of 10 of our students said they would choose us again. It is testament to the value that our University community places on high standards and of giving people a voice, particularly our students. We want to maintain these high levels of engagement and satisfaction and learn from our students’ experiences, particularly the impact of Covid-19 and digital learning on student life and education.” ENDS

Monday, 22 February 2021

Cuideoidh an t-aiseolas le hathrú a dhéanamh ar institiúidí Ardoideachais Tá GMIT agus OÉ Gaillimh le chéile ag impí ar mhic léinn tríú leibhéal san iarthar páirt a ghlacadh i studentsurvey.ie, 2021 agus úsáidfear na torthaí chun a n-institiúidí a fheabhsú tuilleadh. Is féidir le mic léinn an suirbhé a dhéanamh ar líne ag studentsurvey.ie ón lá inniu Dé Luain, an 22 Feabhra go dtí Dé Domhnaigh, an 14 Márta. Tá an suirbhé, atá naoi mbliana ar an bhfód anois, ar fáil do gach mac léinn fochéime sa chéad bhliain agus i mbliain na céime, chomh maith le mic léinn ar chláir iarchéime múinte agus taighde. Baineann na ceisteanna le heispéiris na mac léinn ar an ardoideachas, lena n-áirítear a bhforbairt acadúil, phearsanta agus shóisialta, chomh maith le díriú ar rannpháirtíocht na mac léinn cosúil leis an eispéireas foghlama, idirghníomhú leis an bhfoireann teagaisc agus le gníomhaíochtaí tacaíochta. Trí pháirt a ghlacadh sa suirbhé ar líne agus a dtaithí a roinnt, is féidir le mic léinn tionchar dáiríre a imirt agus cuidiú le hathruithe a dhéanamh ina n-institiúid ardoideachais. Chuir aiseolas ón suirbhé bliantúil le tionscnaimh atá tagtha chun cinn le déanaí cosúil leis an Mol nua Faisnéise do Mhic Léinn agus scéim Meantóirí Iarchéime in GMIT. In OÉ Gaillimh, cuireadh tús leis an gclár tacaíochta piaraí acadúla dar teideal CÉIM, ár bpleananna d’fhorbairt ár leabharlainne mar Ionad Foghlama agus bealaí feabhsaithe chun rochtain a fháil ar oideachas trí chur lenár n-ainmniúchán mar Ollscoil Tearmainn. Anuraidh, ghlac 44,707 mac léinn as 26 institiúid ardoideachais páirt sa suirbhé agus ghlac beagnach 40% de mhic léinn incháilithe in GMIT agus in OÉ Gaillimh páirt ann. Deir Aedín Ó hEocha, Cláraitheoir Cúnta GMIT: “I suirbhéanna roimhe seo, léirigh mic léinn GMIT go raibh caighdeán ard ag baint lena n-idirghníomhaíochtaí leis an bhfoireann agus le héifeachtacht an teagaisc.  Tá aiseolas ó mhic léinn an-tábhachtach i bhfianaise na n-athruithe atá tagtha ar an Ardoideachas le 12 mhí anuas de bharr COVID. Tá sé níos tábhachtaí anois ná riamh go gcuirfeadh mic léinn in iúl dúinn céard atá go maith, agus cén chaoi a bhféadfaimis feabhsú.” Deir an tOllamh Michelle Millar, Déan na Mac Léinn in OÉ Gaillimh: “Bhí an leibhéal is airde rannpháirtíochta ag mic léinn OÉ Gaillimh as gach ollscoil i suirbhé na bliana seo caite agus dúirt beagnach naonúr as deichniúr mac léinn go roghnóidís an ollscoil seo arís. Is léiriú é ar an luach a chuireann pobal na hOllscoile ar ardchaighdeáin agus ar dheis a thabhairt do dhaoine a dtuairimí a roinnt, go háirithe dár gcuid mac léinn. Ba mhaith linn na leibhéil arda rannpháirtíochta agus sástachta seo a choinneáil agus foghlaim ó eispéiris ár gcuid mac léinn, go háirithe maidir le tionchar Covid-19 agus foghlaim dhigiteach ar shaol agus ar oideachas na mac léinn.” CRÍOCH  

Monday, 22 February 2021

NUI Galway will hold its annual Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 2 March at 11am. The virtual event is open to the public and offers the opportunity to explore the over 400 taught and research postgraduate programmes enrolling in 2021. The open day is traditionally an important event for professionals, graduates and current undergraduate students who are aiming to upgrade their qualification, broaden their skills-set, increase their specialist knowledge, and improve their job prospects and earning power. The virtual event will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore courses and careers by attending live talks with the option to ask questions and to hear directly from Programme Directors on the career opportunities and emerging trends in their fields. Sarah Geraghty, Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach at NUI Galway, explains why so many are considering 2021 as the right time to pursue a postgraduate programme: “At times of uncertainty in the jobs market in the short term, there can be great reassurance in investing your time and energy in education. You can be safe in the knowledge that enhancing your skills and improving your qualifications will place you in a better position to compete for the jobs and careers that you really want to pursue in the long term. We would like to invite anyone thinking about how they can best develop their careers to join us for the postgraduate open day to explore the possibilities.” In addition to subject and programme specific talks, the virtual event will include presentations on all the practicalities of preparing for postgraduate study. Through talks, panel discussions and live Q&A’s, key topics including fees and funding, scholarships, employability and research opportunities will be explored thoroughly. NUI Galway is also launching a number of new postgraduate programmes for entry in 2021 which will be included in the open day showcase. The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies is launching a number of new postgraduate options including: MSc Adolescent Health; MA/PDip Child Youth and Community; MA/PDip in Public Policy; and options also in Consumer Psychology and in Education Studies. The College of Science and Engineering is also offering a new MSc Genomics Data Science that combines highly-sought after skills in genetics, statistics, and data analytics and will provide advanced training in the computational techniques used to analyse and understand genomic data, allowing graduates to work in the emerging field of genomic and precision medicine. Visitors to the virtual event will also be able to get more information about an Advanced Practice Midwifery course, approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, which aims to enable experienced registered midwives to develop advanced clinical midwifery knowledge and skills to enhance optimum care and improve clinical outcomes for women and their babies. Those interested in finding out more can book their place and view the open day programme by visiting http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/. -Ends-

Monday, 22 February 2021

CÚRAM publishes new research on the potential of injectable hydrogels to repair heart muscle damage after a heart attack Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, and BIOFORGE Lab, at the University of Valladolid in Spain, have developed an injectable hydrogel that could help repair and prevent further damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack. The results of their research have just been published in the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine. Myocardial infarction or heart disease is a leading cause of death due to the irreversible damage caused to the heart muscle (cardiac tissue) during a heart attack. The regeneration of cardiac tissue is minimal so that the damage caused cannot be repaired by itself. Current treatments lack an effective method to prevent death and subsequent cardiac tissue repair following a heart attack. "This project involved the development and testing of an elastin-based hydrogel derived from a naturally occurring biomaterial in the human body", explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway and project lead. The hydrogel is based on a family of unique biomaterials, called elastin-like recombinamers, that BIOFORGE-UVa had developed in the search for advanced hydrogels for regenerative medicine. "The hydrogel was developed to mimic the environment around the heart following an infarction and then customised to have the ability to protect and promote regeneration of the cardiac tissue", says Professor Pandit. The therapeutic effect of multiple injections of this hydrogel into the cardiac tissue was assessed during the first-ever preclinical study of its kind, demonstrating its efficacy for cardiac tissue remodelling following a heart attack. The international research team, which included researchers from Ireland, Spain, Sweden, France and Italy, were able to show that if their hydrogel was injected into the heart muscle shortly after a heart attack, it resulted in less fibrosis (scarring of the cardiac tissue) and an increase in the generation of new blood vessels in the area. They were also able to observe the rise in the preservation and survival of cardiomyocytes, a type of cell that allows the heart to beat, in the affected area. Professor Abhay Pandit added: "This project demonstrates the efficacy of a unique biomaterial-only system able to induce a positive healing effect on cardiac tissue following a heart attack event. The functional benefits obtained by the timely injection of the hydrogel supports and highlights the potential use of this treatment in the clinic. The next step will be to develop a prototype for a delivery system for the hydrogel." Professor Mark Da Costa, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and senior co-author of the study, said: "In this study, we employed a model to specifically look at a type of heart attack that has increased in incidence and is not often treated until the acute phase resolves. Scar tissue that forms after the heart attack often remodels negatively, causing future problems like heart failure. The timely injection of this hydrogel appears to change the way the heart muscle heals after a heart attack. There is a significant positive histological, biological and functional recovery of the injured heart muscle. Work is progressing now to deliver this to the sites of injury in different clinical settings and will be followed with translation into a clinical trial.” The full research team also involved John Newell, Michelle Kilcoyne, Peter Owens and Peter Dockery from NUI Galway, CÚRAM PhD graduate Paolo Contessotto, Doriana Orbanić and José C. Rodríguez-Cabello from the BIOFORGE Lab at the University of Valladolid in Spain, Chunsheng Jin and Niclas G. Karlsson from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Sandrine Chantepie and Dulce Papy-Garcia from the Laboratory Cell Growth, Tissue Repair and Regeneration at the University Paris Est, Créteil, France, and Clizia Chinello and Fulvio Magni from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Vedano al Lambro, Italy. CÚRAM's research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46 million reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021, demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. To access the full paper, visit https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/13/581/eaaz5380.   -Ends-

Monday, 22 February 2021

A study carried out by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology has found that the provision of home support services for older Travellers and older homeless adults must be considered as a fundamental right, promoted as a viable and accessible support for these groups, regardless of their housing circumstances and where they live. The findings were reported at the launch of research findings yesterday, held as a part of the Irish Gerontological Society’s webinar series on Marginalised Ageing and Inclusive Systems. There are currently efforts to improve the design and quality of home care services for older people in Ireland, with the aim of enshrining the rights to, and regulation for, these services within legislation (i.e. Professional Home Care Bill 2020). There is a critical need to ensure any new home care reforms are accessible and relevant to the most marginalised of older populations. Older members of the Traveller community and older people who have experienced homelessness are two such groups, who are more likely to encounter health inequalities, poor health outcomes, and challenges in accessing care services. The study aimed to capture older Travellers’ and older homeless adults’ perspectives on and preferences for home care, and in doing so to use their lived experiences to improve policy and practice in the area. Highlighting a range of barriers in accessing home support services, the study shows the potential for these groups to fall through the cracks in Ireland’s long-term and community care system. Barriers can include communication and cultural issues, eligibility criteria (where older members of these communities requiring these services are not always aged 65 years), willingness to accept care, the suitability of environments for receiving care, and, more broadly, discrimination and stigma,   The research which was conducted by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology in conjunction with co-investigators from NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, Newcastle University and University of Limerick. Speaking at the event, Professor Kieran Walsh, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and lead investigator, said: “There are a number of critical gaps evident in the care for older Travellers and older homeless adults, and in part, these stem from the structural disadvantages that both groups encounter in our communities, and society. “While the gaps are reinforced by our failure to properly account for the needs of these populations in care provision, they impact not only individual older people, but also put significant pressure on families, charity organisations and primary and community care providers working with the groups.” Dr Bridin Carroll, a member of the research team, said: “The findings show that without the significant cross-sector efforts, particularly at grass-roots level, and the resilience of many older Traveller and older homeless individuals themselves, the welfare of these populations would be even more at risk. But this situation is really not sustainable. ‘The research highlights that home care for these groups requires sensitivity to people’s individual circumstances, and the sorts of social exclusions they have faced. To secure better health outcomes for these populations, the research calls for home supports that are flexible, well-communicated, free of stigmatisation and discrimination, and that target both the instrumental provision of care and the enablement of individuals.’ Putting forward 20 recommendations for policy and practice on home care, the research calls for public, private and voluntary long-term care providers to develop care and support protocols targeting marginalised and diverse older populations, including older Travellers and older people who have experienced homelessness. Professor Walsh concluded: “It is difficult to talk about the situation of older Travellers and older homeless adults without acknowledging the massive deprivation of rights with respect to adequate housing, health, and equality of treatment that has been experienced by these populations. Without these efforts to ensure that future care provision is relevant to the situations of older Travellers and older homeless adults, and help to address some of these deprivations, we run the risk of further exacerbating inequalities for these growing sections of our ageing society. To read three briefing papers on the project, and for more information on the study visit: https://icsg.ie/our-projects/otoh/.  This study was conducted in collaboration with the HSE National Social Inclusion Office, Safety-Net Primary Care, Galway Traveller Movement, Age and Opportunity, Community Healthcare Organisation 8, and Pavee Point. It was funded by the HSE, Department of Health, and Atlantic Philanthropies, through the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) partnership [HAPAI/2017/KW].  -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Research raises key questions about farm succession, considering issues of access to land for younger farmers and the impact and effect of retirement on the older farmer Dr Shane Conway, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Discipline of Geography’s Rural Studies Unit at NUI Galway, was recently announced as the winner of the Geographical Society of Ireland (GSI) Doctoral Research Award 2020. Dr Conway was presented with the award for his PhD research that explored the human dynamics affecting intergenerational farm transfer in later life . This prestigious national award, adjudicated by a panel of senior academics, was open to any graduate of a Higher Education Institute on the Island of Ireland who had successfully defended their PhD degree since January 2016. Commenting on receiving the award, Dr Conway said: “I am delighted and honoured to have received this award from the Geographical Society of Ireland for my PhD research. None of this would have been possible without all the farmers who generously took time out from their busy schedules to provide inestimable data and information for this research. Their candour and willingness to open up and share their stories and experiences provided me with a unique insight into the world as farmers perceive it. It is clear that the majority of farmers opt to maintain the facade of normal day to day activity and behaviour in later life, and such empirical findings will help inform more appropriate, ‘farmer-sensitive’ generational renewal in agriculture policy directions, and as a consequence, help prevent older farmers from being isolated and excluded from society, almost by accident rather than intention.”  Dr Conway’s winning PhD research, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr John McDonagh and Dr Maura Farrell, provides an in-depth, nuanced understanding of the various emotional and social factors governing the attitudes and behaviour patterns of older farmers towards the ‘twin processes’ of farm succession and retirement. Dr Maura Farrell, Lecturer with the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Shane Conway is highly deserving of this award from the Geographical Society of Ireland, having completed excellent research on generational renewal in farming, which has become widely acclaimed both nationally and internationally.  Shane’s research raises key questions about farm succession, considering issues of access to land for the young farmer, but also deliberating extensively on the impact and effect of succession on the older farmer.  Shane has made excellent advancements in questioning current generational renewal policy and putting forward key ideas for the future direction of succession and inheritance practices on national and international family farms. “ This important research revealed that the reasons why older farmers fail to plan effectively and expeditiously for the future as are expansive, and range from the potential loss of identity, status and power that may occur as a result of engaging in the process, to the intrinsic, multi-level relationship farmers have with their farms in later life. The common denominator however, is that intergenerational farm transfer is about emotion. The so-called ‘soft issues’, that is the human dynamics involved, are the issues that distort and dominate the older generation’s decisions on the future trajectory of the farm. Such issues have resulted in intractable challenges for farm succession and retirement policy over the past fifty years and are the issues which future generational renewal in agriculture strategies and interventions must take into account. Farming is a way of life for many older farmers, and there can be detrimental consequences to their emotional wellbeing if they are cut off from their daily routines on the farm in later life. -Ends-