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-

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

An Cumann Staire, NUI Galway’s History Society will host a talk on Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, delivered by Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, NUI Galway Lecturer in the Discipline of History and an internationally recognized scholar of modern Irish history. The virtual event will take place on Wednesday, 24 February at 6pm over Zoom. With the Irish government’s decision to seal records of the homes in late 2020, and the recent publication of the Commission of Investigation into the Mother and Baby Home’s final report, there has been confusion and disappointment into information surrounding the homes. This event aims to inform on what exactly the homes were, their distinction from the Magdalene laundries, and what happened to those who came to the homes. Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley is an esteemed historian of gender, women and childhood in Ireland. She is co-principal investigator of the Tuam Oral History Project, which aims to form a public archive of stories from survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home. Grace Carolan, Auditor of An Cumann Staire, NUI Galway, said: “From Tuam to Thomastown, thousands of Irish woman and children passed through the mother and baby homes. We hope this event will help us educate ourselves on what happened to those within them, so please join us for an engaging evening of information on a subject less spoken about.” The Zoom event is free to attend and open to the public. To book a place or for further information visit https://www.nuigalwayevents.ie/cumann-staire. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

Dr Evan Keane of NUI Galway's Centre for Astronomy has been awarded seed funding to examine how the next generation Very Large Array radio telescope can be designed to identify signatures of extra-terrestrial intelligence. Radio telescopes are particularly well suited for identifying technosignatures, technological signatures of life, from exoplanets. Radio waves, which can be transmitted across, and be detectable over, greater distances than other forms of light, can encode large bandwidths of information Currently in the design stages, the next generation Very Large Array will be the largest radio telescope in the Northern Hemisphere, consisting of hundreds of radio dishes, spread over 8,000 kilometres in North America working in tandem together. The details of the design are still being debated, investigated and studied by astronomers and engineers worldwide, including Dr Keane. Dr Keane and his collaborators in Canada and the United States will examine how the next generation Very Large Array should be designed to maximise its abilities in the search for technosignatures of extraterrestrial intelligence. How should the dishes be spaced, what frequency bands should be used, what search algorithms should be deployed and what supercomputing backend capabilities do these require? And how to do this while simultaneously performing all the other cutting edge astrophysics studies that the observatory will do? Dr Keane said: “I am very excited to be investigating how to tackle perhaps the most difficult challenge there is in science. These searches for technosignatures are also now happening on Irish soil too. With my collaborators in Berkeley, and across Ireland, we have been enabling a technosignature search system on the Irish Low Frequency Array station in Birr, Co. Offaly. This is a great opportunity for upcoming Irish scientists to tackle these questions at home.”  Prior to joining NUI Galway in January, Dr Keane was Project Scientist for the Square Kilometre Array, the two largest telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere, where he worked the technical design ensuring that the telescopes deliver on the observatory's scientific priorities. Construction for the Square Kilometre Array gets underway this year. Since his arrival Dr Keane has also brought a joint NUI Galway-Berkeley summer internship programme which will hire two research interns to work with the telescope in Birr this summer.  The funding for this work comes from an ngVLA Community Study, a programme run by the United States’ National Radio Astronomy Observatory. For more information on the next generation Very Large Array radio telescope visit https://ngvla.nrao.edu/page/science. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

This webinar will present research findings on older Traveller and older adult homeless groups and will critically assess current gaps and future opportunities NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology will lead the second webinar in the ‘Marginalised Ageing and Inclusive Systems Webinar Series’ on Thursday, 18 February at 3pm. This webinar is a part of the Irish Gerontological Society’s 2020/2021 scientific programme, and draws on findings of the Older Traveller and Older Adult Homeless study, conducted by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), and in conjunction with co-investigators from NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, Newcastle University and University of Limerick. The study aimed to centralise the lived experiences of these older populations in the development of flexible and equitable care for positive health and ageing. 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. During the webinar, researchers will present their findings and launch three briefing reports with their recommendations from the study. It will also feature perspectives of key stakeholders, international experts and members of the older Traveller and older homeless communities.  Professor Kieran Walsh, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and lead investigator in the research study, said: “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. A concerted effort is required to ensure that future provisions of care help to address these deprivations, and not compound existing challenges to positive health and ageing for these growing sections of our ageing society.” The briefing reports will be available after the webinar at www.icsg.ie/otoh. To register for the event visit https://bit.ly/3tMM9jy. This study was conducted by NUI Galway 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 partnership.  -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

Competitions focus on sustainable solutions in the area of food waste and plastics. Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, today announced the 15 teams that have been shortlisted as part of the SFI Future Innovator Prize, including two teams collaborating with researchers from NUI Galway. The two challenge-based prize programmes, with a prize fund of €2 million each, as part of the SFI Future Innovator Prize, are calling on the research teams to develop innovative solutions to food waste and plastics. Five teams have been shortlisted under the SFI Food Challenge and 10 under the SFI Plastics Challenge. At the end of the 12-month programme two overall winners will be announced. The two NUI Galway collaborations shortlisted under the SFI Plastics Challenge include: Turnkey, a project between NUI Galway researcher Corine Nzeteu, with Ramesh Babu Padamati (TCD), and Stephen Nolan (Green Generation). The team’s challenge will look at turning plastic and food waste into key value-added products; Green Lab Services (GLaS) team of Una FitzGerald (NUI Galway), Michael McCormack (Irish Manufacturing Research), and Sinéad Ní Mhainín (Connacht-Ulster Regional Waste Management Office) who will look at Ireland's lab plastic problem. Congratulating the competing teams, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce the fifteen teams who will go on to compete as part of the SFI Future Innovator Prize. The SFI Future Innovator Prize is a challenge- based prize funding programme that seeks to support Ireland’s best and brightest, to develop novel, potentially disruptive, technologies to address significant societal challenges. On this occasion, it is about tackling food and plastic waste. I am really excited to see the outcome of their work and the response to these key national challenges.” The SFI Food Challenge will support the development of sustainable solutions to reduce food loss and waste across the full breadth of the food supply chain, addressing topics such as premature spoilage of fruit and vegetables; undernutrition and promoting healthy aging through optimisation of diet; the shelf-life salad leaves; valorising food waste into value added commodities and waste in the fishing industry. The SFI Plastics Challenge will support the development of innovative STEM-led solutions that will enable the sustainable use of plastics in a circular economy, restore and preserve our oceans’ health, and maximise how we use the earth's finite resources. The projects aim to address problems across a number of strategic challenge areas including removing plastics from coastal areas; reducing reliance on single use plastics in laboratories; upcycling plastic waste and utilising plastic waste for sustainable battery technologies. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate the fifteen teams who have been shortlisted as part of the SFI Future Innovator Prize competition. We have seen a fantastic calibre of innovative thinking and truly novel approaches as part of the submissions, and I look forward to seeing the different solutions that develop in the areas of food waste and enabling the sustainable use of plastics, as the competition continues. I would like to commend each team on their hard work and dedication, and to wish them every success in the rest of the competition.” The SFI Future Innovator Prize, funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science through Science Foundation Ireland, is part of an overall government plan to cultivate challenge-based funding in Ireland. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

Pannelits will include the eminent journalist Dan Balz from the Washington Post and academics from Harvard and Columbia University and Barnard College The Moore Institute at NUI Galway will host a free webinar with leading commentators to discuss “Democracy in America”. Panellists include the eminent journalist Dan Balz of the Washington Post. The event will take place on Tuesday, 16 February at 3pm. The United States has emerged from the traumatic and transformative presidency of Donald Trump, which concluded with an assault on the Capitol on 6 January by a violent group loyal to the then president. Key questions being considered during the webinar range from the depth of political division in the country to the implications of the radical right, the impact of conspiracy theories, the rural/urban divide, race in America, the future of Trumpism, and prospects for unity pledged by President Biden in a moment of shattering conflict. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, will chair the session. He said: “The constantly changing landscape of American politics has darkened in the Trump era, through support for white supremacy, manipulation of truth, and armed insurrection. The fate of American democracy is at stake as we enter the Biden presidency. Which way the country will turn remains the crucial issue.” Dan Balz will be joined by academics specialising in the history, sociology, and culture of the United States that include Michèle Lamont (Harvard University), Stephanie McCurry (Columbia University), and Monica Miller (Barnard College). To register to attend the free webinar logon to: https://bit.ly/2YJrrTt or contact Professor Daniel Carey at daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, will present a webinar and series of panel discussions with EU policy makers and Medtech industry leaders in the European Union. The event takes place on Tuesday, 16 February. The webinar will bring together leading researchers from industry and academia, along with policymakers and regulators to consider a consolidated research agenda for medical devices within the context of the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, which began in January 2021. The titled webinar 'A Research Agenda for Medical Devices in the EU' will present key recent developments in next-generation medical device technologies and their potential to impact health outcomes and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. It will also consider the enabling policy and the regulatory environment necessary to sustain the competitiveness of this highly innovative European sector. The webinar will be hosted by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway. High profile speakers attending the event include Sean Kelly MEP, Maria da Graça Carvalho, MEP, Professor Mark Ferguson, SFI Director General, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland and Chair of the European Innovation Council Advisory Board and Karina Angelieva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Bulgaria. The webinar will consist of eight panel sessions led by research and industry leaders across the US and EU and will be attended by MEPs. The panel topics include: Medical Device Research in Europe; Artificial Intelligence Medical Devices; Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products; Global Perspectives: Medical Devices for the Sustainable Development Goals; Regulation; Research; Data Infrastructures and Science Capacity Building for Medical Devices; Skills and Education for a Competitive Future. In advance of the webinar, CÚRAM has launched a consultation White Paper providing stakeholders with the opportunity to contribute to a medical devices research agenda for the European Union. This research agenda aims to help inform EU level decision-making, such as the implementation of Horizon Europe (the research and innovation framework programme running from 2021-2027), as well as national and regional research agendas. It will also serve as a reference document to advance partnerships and innovative collaborations to address pressing global challenges. CÚRAM aims to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing ‘smart’ medical devices and implants. It develops these devices through collaborations with industry partners and hospital groups to enable their rapid translation to clinics, positioning Ireland as the driver in developing medical device technologies that will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases. CÚRAM’s researchers are designing and manufacturing implants to respond to the body’s environment and delivering therapeutic agents exactly where they are needed and its outputs will particularly benefit patients with chronic ailments such as heart disease, wound healing, diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. For full agenda and speakers details, visit: https://cordis.europa.eu/event/id/148320-a-research-agenda-for-medical-devices-in-the-eu. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

Years of suffering and billions of euro in global health care costs, arising from osteoporosis-related bone fractures, could be eliminated using big data to target vulnerable patients, according to researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and National University of Ireland Galway. A study of 36,590 patients who underwent bone mineral density scans in the West of Ireland between January 2000 and November 2018, found that many fractures are potentially preventable by identifying those at greatest risk before they fracture, and initiating proven, safe, low-cost effective interventions.  The multi-disciplinary study, led by Lero’s Professor John J. Carey, Consultant Physician in Medicine and Rheumatology, Galway University Hospital, Mary Dempsey, Mechanical Engineering, NUI Galway, and Dr Attracta Brennan, Computer Science, NUI Galway has just been published in the British Medical Journal. The Irish dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) Health Informatics Prediction (HIP) project on bone mineral density now plans to assess current diagnostic classification and risk prediction algorithms for osteoporosis and fractures, according to Prof. Carey. Professor Carey pointed out that while Ireland has one of the highest osteoporosis rates globally, currently there is no national public or government policy to address the healthcare requirements of osteoporotic fractures, with costs rising rapidly.  “In Ireland, public hospital bed days have increased by almost 50% in the past decade for osteoporotic fractures and outnumber heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and many other illnesses that receive much greater attention,” he said. “Preliminary estimates suggest the number of fragility fractures and deaths following fracture for Irish adults aged 50 years and older in 2020 was similar or greater to the numbers with COVID infection, but there is no daily report on the numbers tested, hospitalised or who die following a fracture. Use of these and other data could help close those gaps,” he continued. Professor Carey said there is a global osteoporosis health crisis, with predictions of American medical costs associated with osteoporotic-related fractures including productivity losses and caregiving expenditure to exceed $94 billion (€77.6bn) annually by 2040. He added that previous studies have shown, for example in 2010, approximately 43,000 European deaths were fracture-related while expenditure related to osteoporosis exceeded €37 billion. “A modest 5% reduction in those costs would result in an annual saving of €1.85bn at 2010 prices,” he stated. “We now have big datasets, similar to the one utilised in our study, available throughout the globe. Cost-effective, innovative forms of data interrogation such as AI  (Artificial Intelligence) will enable the timely identification and treatment of patients vulnerable to osteoporosis fractures, providing them with better care and using precious resources efficiently. There will be many opportunities to provide better patient outcomes and save billions of euro,” he added. Professor Carey believes this collaboration between clinicians, big data scientists, engineering and computer scientists in Ireland, Britain and China will help leverage innovation, critical thinking and international partnerships to accelerate their programme and opportunities. Director of Lero, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, said the utilisation of AI, as envisaged by Professor Carey and his team, shows how software development initiatives can directly impact people’s lives at a fundamental level. Lero is a world leader in research on connected health and human performance. “When Lero’s work can help alleviate suffering, improve patient outcomes and free up resources, then we are doing the job we were established to do, and that’s very rewarding for all concerned,” he concluded. -Ends-

Monday, 15 February 2021

Lesbian and gay youth are twice as likely to engage in volunteer work as heterosexual teens, research by academics at NUI Galway has revealed. The findings are part of studies by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Ireland team, based in the Health Promotion Research Centre at the University. Of the 3354 young people participating in the study, 3% reported being attracted to the same sex, while 6.3% said that they are attracted to both boys and girls. A report on the study - Connected, Respected, and Contributing to Their World: The Case of Sexual Minority and Non-Minority Young People in Ireland - revealed that bisexual youth were more likely than the other groups to be discriminated based on their age and gender. It also found that bisexual youth were less likely than their heterosexual peers to report high family support or having a caring adult whom they can trust and that they were half as likely to feel that they are valued and respected. Bisexual youth were also less likely to report that they feel comfortable while being with their friends. Analysis also showed that lesbian and gay young people were almost twice as likely to report often taking part in volunteering work. Dr András Költő, of NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre and lead author of the report, said: “Not surprisingly, sexual minority adolescents were more likely to feel discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. They were also more likely to report discrimination based on their age and gender. However, a positive finding is that lesbian and gay youth are almost twice as likely to be engaged in volunteer work. “This an aspect of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people’s lives that Irish studies have not previously explored. Lesbian and gay adolescents, probably because they have often faced discrimination and bullying, are often more aware of social inequalities and injustice than their non-minority peers and therefore may be driven to fight against injustice by volunteering. Other studies had shown that LGBT+ individuals often have compassion and empathy towards other minority groups (e.g., people with immigrant background or living with a disability) and are ready to advocate for their interests. “LGBT+ communities often provide a safe haven and a source of support and care to them. It is important to make bisexual youth also feel welcome in LGBT+ communities and in society.” Dr Költő added: “The results we have detailed are a key piece of research as part of the wider study of youth behaviour trends. It suggests that we should not think about LGBT+ young people as a uniform group. Our findings support that those identifying as bisexual are faring worse than those who identify as lesbian or gay. “It is important to note, however, that there are adolescents who are still exploring their sexual orientation, and it may change even in adulthood. Those young people who feel that they are attracted to both boys and girls or identify as bisexual may need more help and support from their families, peers and teachers.” The study compared findings across sex and social classes in the overall sample of 15 to 17-year-olds. While a large majority of young people were not likely to report experiencing discrimination, girls were more likely to feel discriminated against based on their gender and age than boys. Dr Elena Vaughan, contributing author of the report, said: “This finding suggests that sexism is an ongoing concern among young people in Ireland. Further studies to investigate how and in what contexts this is experienced by girls and young women would be helpful in identifying and implementing policy measures to address this issue.” Dr Költő and Dr Vaughan said they hope that these findings will complement Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy 2018-2020, the world’s first governmental strategy that aims to improve sexual and gender minority young people’s health and wellbeing.  Ends

Friday, 12 February 2021

The Mincéirs Whiden Society at NUI Galway has awarded Owen Patrick Ward honorary life membership. Mr Ward, a programme coordinator in the University’s Access Office, has been honoured for his involvement in the society since its inception and for his distinctive contribution to its work. Jason Sherlock, chairperson of the Mincéirs Whiden Society, said: "It is a great privilege that we can recognise Owen for the work he has done for Irish Travellers in NUI Galway and the wider community. “Owen never shies away from a challenge and he is always there to support any student, not only Irish Travellers but any student who might experience educational disadvantage. He was an early school leaver with no Junior or Leaving Certificate and he has overcome many barriers in his life to be where he is today. He is an inspirational role model.” Mr Ward is a Programme Coordinator in the NUI Galway Access Centre and last year was elected to the University's Governing Authority, Údarás na hOllscoile. He completed his Masters in NUI Galway, he is a fully qualified post-primary school teacher and he was key to the organisation of the hugely successful NUI Galway Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day on campus in February 2020. Vice-chairperson of the Mincéirs Whiden Society Anna Keane said: “Our members will forever be in Owen’s debt due to his work, endeavours and the support he has given. Owen is a true inspiration to all.” Dean of Students at NUI Galway Professor Michelle Millar said: “Owen has proved himself to be a brilliant ambassador for both the Travelling community and for our student body. He embodies the meaning of inclusion. I am delighted to see him honoured by his peers and look forward to celebrating and supporting him and his work as he helps our University to build on our shared values, including openness and respect.” NUI Galway Mincéirs Whiden Society, which means Travellers Talking in the Cant language, is the first Irish Traveller student society. Since 2018, it has contributed to increased Traveller participation in third-level education, while providing a safe and welcoming space on campus. The society has also built positive relationships with the student and staff body in the University, by winning the NUI Galway Best New Society for 2020. When the society was launched in 2018, Mr Ward said: "One of the main objectives of the society is to empower members of the Travelling community to enter third-level education while being encouraged and supported by NUI Galway. At present, there are a small number of Traveller students studying at NUI Galway across numerous disciplines. Also, it is of paramount importance to build positive alliances and relationships between Traveller students and the student and staff body at NUI Galway as well as the wider community." Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “We are immensely proud to be the first third level institution in Ireland to count Mincéirs Whiden among our list of societies. It has been a joy to work with Owen and all the other talented and inspiring students who have provided a platform and a welcoming space for future students from the Travelling community. Praise is indeed due to Owen for his foresight and vision in making this a reality." Ends

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta fiorúil ar an sean-nós le Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, atá ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh, 2021. Beidh na ceardlanna a reachtáil gach Céadaoin ag a 7pm ar an 17 agus 24 Feabhra, agus 3, 10 agus 24. Is cainteoir Gaeilge ó dhúchas í Saileog a tógadh le Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Cliath. Is as Aill na Brón a hathair, an t-amhránaí clúiteach Peadar Ó Ceannabháin, agus is é Peadar an chéad fhonnadóir a chuaigh i bhfeidhm go mór uirthi. Chaith Saileog roinnt mhaith ama ó bhí sí an-óg ag éisteacht le fonnadóirí as Iorras Aithneach agus tá Seán 'ac Dhonncha, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Dara Bán Mac Donncha agus Seáin Jeaic 'ac Dhonncha i measc na bhfonnadóirí is mó a chuaigh i bhfeidhm uirthí. Tá dhá album eisithe ag Saileog I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche, cnuasach amhrán a bhailigh Séamus Ennis in Iorras Aithneach sna 1940idí, agus Roithleán. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce ar Zoom agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Beidh an nasc Zoom ar fáil anseo: https://bit.ly/2O7geu3. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag www.facebook.com/NUIGalwayCentreforIrishStudies. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091-512428 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, the Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of online sean-nós singing workshops beginning on Wednesday, 17 February at 7pm. The weekly online workshops will take place on the 17 and 24 February, and the 3, 10 and 24 March. A sean-nós singer, musician and composer, Saileog learned and played both traditional and classical music from a very young age. She grew up listening to singers from Iorras Aithneach and cites Seán 'ac Dhonncha, Sorcha Ní Ghuairim, Dara Bán Mac Donncha agus Seáin Jeaic 'ac Dhonncha as formative influences on her approach and singing. She has released two albums; I bhfíor-dheiriú oidhche , a collection of songs collected by Séamus Ennis in Iorras Aithneach in the 1940s, and Roithleán. The workshops are free and open to all via Zoom at https://bit.ly/2O7geu3. More information is available at www.facebook.com/NUIGalwayCentreforIrishStudies. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091-492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2021

Research aims to identify what can help people cope during a pandemic The study will explore the relationship between adverse events in people’s childhood and their coping styles during this enduring pandemic New research being conducted by NUI Galway’s School of Psychology will explore how childhood experiences affect adult wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what helps people cope in the current climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both people’s lives and wellbeing, with recent research showing rising rates of psychological distress globally. This disconcerting time may be particularly difficult for people who have experienced adverse childhood events, as these events often cause people to develop an over-active fear system that is set at a higher resting level than others and which may have never switched off since childhood. Children and adults develop coping mechanisms to help them stay safe, for example, a child may stay quiet if the person whom they are afraid of is also their primary caregiver or parent. This might mean they learn to not seek help from available support systems as an adult. This study is particularly interested in exploring adult wellbeing and outcomes of those who have experienced emotional abuse during childhood. Two important aspects being, a person's ability to be gentle or compassionate with themselves rather than judgemental and self-attacking, and helping people to manage any feelings of guilt or shame, commonly experienced by those with a history of adverse childhood events. These questions are a key part of the research. The study is being conducted by Hilary Groarke, a Clinical Psychologist in Training, with her supervisor and trauma researcher, Dr Jonathan Egan, a Chartered Health and Clinical Psychologist from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway. Hilary Groarke said: “It is critical that we identify factors that contribute to people’s recovery or obstacles that can block recovery following difficult childhood experiences and what empowers people to live a fulfilling life, particularly during a period of such disconnection, uncertainty and disillusionment.” The researchers hope that the study will help deliver a better understanding of how to support people’s recovery during periods of heightened distress and disconnection in order to inform the development of adapted forms of therapeutic treatments that work under ever-changing life circumstances. Dr Jonathan Egan stated: “Our recent peer-reviewed article from 2017 suggests that being able to reach out and learning to speak about feelings may reduce the number of people reporting to their GP with physical complaints. It is frightening for many however, to start to learn to move towards relational closeness, when staying away from it was probably a clever thing to do as a child, particularly if your carers were not in a place to be the most effective parents at the time. In the 2017 study, those who felt less integrated and fully present had twice the levels of anxiety, depression and worries about their physical health. That was back in a time when we were not living in a pandemic. A pandemic raises all fear levels, it opens doors to the past which before we could keep closed; for many, these doors are now blown open and the nights are long and the days are dead. There is little to distract us from aches and pains, from internal tape recordings of voices we heard a long time ago in our distant past; ‘you are not good enough’ ‘you are stupid’, ‘you are too much’, or just the absence of voices, the sense of not being cherished, cared about; ‘I am invisible’.” The research team are seeking at least 1,000 individuals who are aged over 18 years old to participate by completing a 15-20 minute online questionnaire, which asks questions about childhood experiences, relationship styles and current wellbeing. There is also the option to enter a raffle to win a €100 gift voucher. All responses will be  anonymised and participants are not asked for names or contact details. To participate in the study visit: https://bit.ly/3tc6Cy6. -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2021

A new study of the impact of Covid-19 on Gaelic games in Ireland during the first lockdown has been published by NUI Galway academic Dr Seán Crosson and Dr Marcus Free, lecturer with Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. The study, entitled ‘“This Too Shall Pass”: Gaelic Games, Irish Media, and the Covid-19 Lockdown in Ireland’, is included in a new collection, Time Out: National Perspectives on Sport and the Covid-19 Lockdown which examines the impact of Covid-19 on sport across a broad range of themes. The collection is the first major academic engagement with the topic and includes contributions from practitioners and international scholars. It provides a comprehensive overview of the immediate consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown on local and national sport in a broad range of contexts. Focusing on the period from 12 March, 2020, when the Irish government announced initial Covid-19 restrictions (followed shortly thereafter by the suspension of Gaelic games fixtures,) to 10 May (the broadcast date of the first 2020 episode of RTÉ’s “The Sunday Game”), Dr Crosson’s and Dr  Free’s contribution examines Covid-19’s impact through an analysis of the media discourses surrounding these sports. As with other sports internationally, the gaps in sports media programming left by the absence of fixtures were filled with retrospective items focusing on classic moments and players from the past. Apart from retrospection, the authors identify two prominent themes that dominated Gaelic games coverage in this time period. Firstly, there was a recurring focus on the serious impact on the GAA, its athletes, and national sports-media of the cancellation of its elite and local level events over its peak Spring-Summer season. However, a second major theme was the GAA’s key role in responding to the crisis and in articulating a discourse of overcoming, both in terms of the Association’s challenges and wider Irish society. Dr Seán Crosson from NUI Galway's Huston School of Film and Digital Media and leader of the Sport and Exercise Research Group in the Moore Institute, said: “As amateur sports that dominate the Irish sporting calendar each year, typically attracting the largest attendances and occupying a key role within communities, Gaelic games provide a unique focus in a collection such as this. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of sports’ organisations and sport media in facilitating and encouraging responses at local and national level to the challenges Covid-19 has brought. In the Irish context, the rhetoric of shared sacrifice and collective discipline that was evident during the early months of the Covid-19 crisis signifies the GAA’s unique role as an amateur organization touching every part of Irish society through its players’, administrators’, volunteers’, and supporters’, family and social connections." The collection was edited by Jörg Krieger, April Henning, Paul Dimeo, and Lindsay Parks Pieper, and published by leading international academic publisher Common Ground, Further information on the collection and Dr Crosson’s and Dr Free’s chapter is available at the following link where copies of the book can also be purchased: https://bit.ly/36F7iSZ. -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2021

Tá staidéar nua ar thionchar Covid-19 ar chluichí Gaelacha in Éirinn i rith na chéad dianghlasála foilsithe ag an Dr Seán Crosson, acadóir in OÉ Gaillimh agus an Dr Marcus Free, léachtóir i gColáiste Mhuire gan Smál, Ollscoil Luimnigh. Tá an staidéar, dar teideal ‘“This Too Shall Pass”: Gaelic Games, Irish Media, and the Covid-19 Lockdown in Ireland’, san áireamh i mbailiúchán aistí nua, Time Out: National Perspectives on Sport and the Covid-19 Lockdown ina ndéantar cíoradh ar thionchar Covid-19 ar an spórt trí réimse leathan téamaí. Is é an bailiúchán seo an chéad uair a ndeachthas i ngleic leis an ábhar seo ar bhonn acadúil agus san áireamh ann tá ailt ó chleachtóirí agus ó scoláirí idirnáisiúnta araon. Tá léargas cuimsitheach ann ar an gcaoi a ndeachaigh dianghlasáil Covid-19 i bhfeidhm láithreach bonn ar an spórt áitiúil agus náisiúnta i réimse leathan comhthéacsanna. Agus é ag díriú ar an tréimhse tar éis an 12 Márta 2020 nuair a d’fhógair rialtas na hÉireann sriantaí tosaigh Covid-19 (agus nuair a cuireadh an liosta cluichí Gaelacha ar fad ar fionraí go gairid ina dhiaidh sin) chomh fada leis an 10 Bealtaine (dáta craolta chéad eagrán na bliana 2020 de “The Sunday Game” ar RTÉ), díríonn alt an Dr Crosson agus an Dr Free ar thionchar Covid-19 trí anailís a dhéanamh ar na dioscúrsaí a bhaineann leis na spóirt seo sna meáin. Mar a bhí amhlaidh le spóirt eile sa domhan mór, líonadh na bearnaí a d’fhág an easpa cluichí ar an sceideal clár spóirt trí mhíreanna ón gcartlann a dhírigh ar na heachtraí sin a mhair i mbéal an phobail agus ar imreoirí cáiliúla ón am a caitheadh. Chomh maith leis an tsúil siar, aithníonn na húdair dhá phríomhthéama a bhí go mór chun cinn sna scéalta faoi chluichí Gaelacha a bhí sna meáin sa tréimhse seo. Ar an gcéad dul síos, bhí fócas leanúnach ar an éifeacht thromchúiseach a bhí ar Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, ar a lúthchleasaithe agus ar na meáin spóirt náisiúnta nuair a cuireadh na cluichí ardleibhéil agus áitiúla ar ceal i rith shéasúr mór an Earraigh agus an tSamhraidh. Anuas air sin bhí an dara mórthéama ann, an ról lárnach a bhí ag an GAA freagra a thabhairt ar an ngéarchéim agus dioscúrsa an tsáraithe a chur in iúl, i gcomhthéacs dhúshláin an Chumainn féin agus shochaí na hÉ‏ireann trí chéile. Seo mar a labhair an Dr Seán Crosson ó Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston, OÉ Gaillimh agus ceannaire an Ghrúpa Taighde Spóirt agus Aclaíochta in Institiúid de Móra: “Tugann cluichí Gaelacha fócas uathúil i mbailiúchán cosúil leis seo sa mhéid is gur spóirt amaitéaracha iad a dtugtar tosaíocht dóibh i bhféilire spóirt na hÉireann gach bliain, go meallann siad an líon is mó lucht féachana agus go bhfuil ról lárnach acu sa phobal. “Tá an phaindéim tar éis aird a tharraingt ar a thábhachtaí atá eagraíochtaí spóirt agus na meáin spóirt ó thaobh aisfhreagraí ar dhúshláin Covid-19 a éascú agus a spreagadh ag an leibhéal áitiúil agus náisiúnta. I gcomhthéacs na hÉireann, meabhraíonn reitric na híobairte roinnte agus an fhéinsmachta choitinn a bhí le feiceáil sna chéad mhíonna de ghéarchéim Covid-19 dúinn ról uathúil an GAA mar eagraíocht amaitéarach atá fite fuaite le sochaí na hÉireann trí naisc teaghlaigh agus sóisialta na n-imreoirí, na riarthóirí, na n-oibrithe deonacha agus an lucht tacaíochta.” Ba iad Jörg Krieger, April Henning, Paul Dimeo, agus Lindsay Parks Pieper a chuir an bailiúchán in eagar, agus is é Common Ground, an foilsitheoir acadúil idirnáisiúnta mór le rá, a chuir i gcló é. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin mbailiúchán agus faoi chaibidil an Dr Crosson agus an Dr Free ar fáil ag an nasc seo a leanas, áit ar féidir cóipeanna den leabhar a cheannach chomh maith: https://bit.ly/36F7iSZ. -Críoch-

Monday, 8 February 2021

#Tech2Students campaign aims to deliver more than 5000 devices nationwide The Access Centre at NUI Galway has urged the public and businesses to get behind a new #Tech2Students appeal to secure and supply laptops and devices for disadvantaged schools. In partnership with Trinity College Dublin and Camara Ireland, the University has teamed up with Insight, the SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, the Galway City Partnership and Galway Chamber, as part of a drive to bridge the digital divide for post-primary school students. The #Tech2Students campaign aims to raise more than €1 million and to deliver more than 5000 devices nationwide. Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the disadvantages faced by students who are financially vulnerable. Remote learning is a challenge to all students, but in particular to those who have no access to a device. “We are appealing to members of the public and businesses who are in a position to support this scheme to donate and to contribute to minimising the digital divide faced by thousands of young people.” #Tech2Students was developed last April by Trinity Access and Camara Ireland in response to the digital divide experienced by students in DEIS schools which was exacerbated by Covid-19. Phase 1 raised more than €300,000 and delivered more than 1,000 devices. How can the public and businesses support the #Tech2Students appeal? There are three options - donate laptops made in or after 2015; donate Chromebooks; or make a financial contribution to the fund for refurbishing laptops. Who is going to benefit? All donations will be targeted towards post-primary students who are most in need, along with students living in direct provision and disadvantaged students in adult education. What happens to the devices which have been donated? All laptops and Chromebooks will be refurbished by being restored to factory settings. Any data on the hard drive will be wiped using a certified process. A new operating system will be installed before the device is given to a student. Tablets cannot be accepted. Schools and organisations will retain the devices after the students use them for the academic year. How can laptops or devices be donated? Any member of the public or business wishing to get involved or seeking to donate can contact tech2students@nuigalway.ie A dedicated information page and portal for financial donations as well as hardware has also been set up at www.nuigalway.ie/accesscentre/tech2students/ Galway Chamber is facilitating a special organised drop-off, in line with Covid restrictions, tomorrow Tuesday 9th February, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Galway Chamber office. People can also donate by post by filling out a donation form online. The Tech2Students team will make follow-up contact and issue An Post FreePost labels and instructions on sending a device through the local post office. Kenny Deery, chief executive of Galway Chamber, said: “The Tech2Students campaign has shown that more than half of students in DEIS post-primaries reported that they had limited or no access to a digital device. This campaign is so important as the Level 5 Covid restrictions have meant that virtually all students are relying on technology to access education. Many of us in business know that we have spare equipment that could make a huge difference and Tech2Students is a perfect opportunity to do so.” - Ends-

Thursday, 4 February 2021

NUI Galway scientists find signatures of long-term survival in the genomes of the most common type of breast cancer Researchers at NUI Galway have identified genomic signatures in women developing the most common type of breast cancer that can be associated with long-term survival. The NUI Galway team analysed the genomes of breast cancer patients to look for associations with survival rates using advanced statistical techniques. Carried out by Lydia King during her studies in NUI Galway’s MSc in Biomedical Genomics programme, the research has been published in the international journal PLOS ONE. Early detection by national screening programmes and timely treatment for patients diagnosed with “luminal” types of breast cancer have resulted in excellent prognoses with survival rates of over 80% within five years of treatment. The challenge of long-term survival however is not as well understood and studies have shown that more than half of all recurrences for luminal breast cancers takes place after this time point. Identifying patients most likely to suffer relapses would therefore be invaluable to patient monitoring and choice of therapies. Genomes are the collection of all DNA in the chromosomes of cells containing all of our inherited genetic information. Cancer is often described as a disease of the genome because it is a consequence of alterations in the instructions encoded within some of our cell's DNA that lead to them proliferating without restraint. These alterations are a hallmark of a tumour and can range from single base-pair errors in the DNA code to the duplication or deletion of entire chromosome arms. The level of alterations in the genome of a cancer cell is known as 'genome instability'. The NUI Galway team focused on whether an overall measurement of genome instability in cancer cells from luminal breast cancer patients, observed at diagnosis and before treatment started, could provide additional information in predicting their long-term survival. To test this hypothesis, they analysed data from the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) led by Cambridge University. METABRIC is one of the first multi-centre studies aimed at uncovering links between the clinical and genomic properties of biopsies taken from over 2000 patients suffering from primary breast carcinoma enrolled between 1977 and 2005. The richness of having both high quality genomic data and the up-to-date clinical data makes the METABRIC database a very powerful resource for researching breast cancer. Lydia and her colleagues calculated the level of genome instability across all 2,000 patient genomes, then used multivariable statistical modelling to identify distinct long term survival outcomes for luminal subtype breast cancer patients. This enabled them to confirm the significantly worse prognoses for luminal A patients suffering from the most extreme levels of genome instability in their tumour biopsies. Importantly, the NUI Galway researchers were able to stratify the patients into groups and link the genome instability score with clinical classifications. This provided clear evidence that patients diagnosed with Luminal A breast cancer that had high levels of genome instability exhibited similar patterns of reduced survival commonly seen in patients suffering from the more aggressive Luminal B subtype. Since patients identified as either Luminal A or B subtypes normally receive different treatments, the result suggests that incorporating genomic analysis into clinical care could improve diagnosis and allow oncologists to tailor treatments for individual patients. This approach of using genomic analysis is known as “precision (or genomic) medicine” and is helping to define a new standard of care in many areas of clinical practice. Senior author of the paper, Dr Aaron Golden of NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, said: “This is an excellent example of how interdisciplinary research is supposed to work in the genomics data sciences. This started out as a speculative idea between myself, a physicist, and my colleague Dr Andrew Flaus, who is a biochemist from the School of Natural Sciences, and was taken by Lydia for her MSc dissertation project. We then received the invaluable assistance of our statistician colleague Dr Emma Holian and through Lydia's phenomenally hard work we could demonstrate the promise of precision genomics in cancer treatment.” Commenting on this result, Dr Pilib Ó Broin, Programme Director of NUI Galway's MSc in Biomedical Genomics, added: “This is a fantastic result for Lydia and her supervisors and highlights the enormous benefits of training interdisciplinary scientists like Lydia who possess both the statistical and computational skills as well as the domain knowledge necessary to generate new biological insights from genomics data with the potential to improve patient care.” Lydia has since graduated with her Masters and has taken up a place as a PhD student in the Science Foundation Ireland funded Centre for Research Training in Genomics Data Science led by NUI Galway where she is continuing her work on the analysis of cancer genomes. The PLOS ONE manuscript titled ‘Survival outcomes are associated with genomic instability in luminal breast cancers’ can be read at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0245042  -Ends-

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Sínithe fadmharthana aimsithe ag eolaithe OÉ Gaillimh i ngéanóim ón ailse bhrollaigh is coitianta Tá sínithe géanómacha a bhfuil ceangal acu le fadmharthain aitheanta ag lucht taighde in OÉ Gaillimh i mná a bhfuil an cineál ailse brollaigh is coitianta ag teacht orthu. Rinne an fhoireann in OÉ Gaillimh anailís ar ghéanóim na n-othar ailse brollaigh ag iarraidh teacht ar chomhcheangail idir iad agus fadmharthain ag úsáid ardteicnící staidrimh. Is í Lydia King a rinne an taighde nuair a bhí sí ag staidéar ar an gclár MSc i nGéanómaíocht Bhithleighis in OÉ Gaillimh, agus foilsíodh é san iris idirnáisiúnta PLOS ONE. De thoradh ailse a bheith á haithint go luath faoi chláir scagthástála náisiúnta agus cóir leighis a bheith á cur in am ar othair a bhfuil cineálacha “lúmanacha” ailse brollaigh orthu tá prognóisí den scoth á bhfáil ag othair agus rátaí marthanais os cionn 80% acu taobh istigh de chúig bliana ón uair a fuair siad cóir leighis. Ach is beag í ár dtuiscint ar dhúshlán na fadmharthana agus léiríonn na staidéir atá déanta go mbuaileann cineálacha ailse brollaigh lúmanaí níos mó ná leath na n-othar arís i ndiaidh an phointe ama seo. Dá bhrí sin bheadh sé an-luachmhar dá bhféadfaí na hothair ar mó seans go mbuailfeadh an tinneas arís iad a aithint le go bhféadfaí monatóireacht a dhéanamh orthu agus rogha teiripí a chur ar fáil dóibh. Is éard atá i ngéanóim bailiúchán den DNA ar fad i gcrómasóim na gceall ina bhfuil an t-eolas géiniteach ar fad atá linn ón mbroinn. Is minic a dhéantar cur síos ar ailse mar ghalar géanóim de bhrí gur toradh é ar athruithe ar threoracha atá códaithe laistigh de DNA ár gcuid ceall a chuir orthu scaipeadh gan srian. Is saintréithe siada iad na hathruithe seo agus bíonn idir earráidí aonair a bhaineann le péirí bunanna sa chód DNA agus dúbláil ar ghéag iomlán chrómasóim nó géag iomlán a scriosadh i gceist leo. Tugtar ‘neamhsheasmhacht ghéanóim’ ar an leibhéal athruithe i ngéanóm ceall ailse. Bhí foireann OÉ Gaillimh ag iarraidh a fháil amach cé acu an bhféadfadh tomhas iomlán neamhsheasmhachta i ngéanóim i gcealla ailse ó othair le hailse bhrollaigh lúmanach, ar breathnaíodh orthu nuair a bhí an diagnóis déanta agus sular tosaíodh ar an gcóir leighis, eolas breise a thabhairt maidir lena bhfadmharthain a thuar. Chun an hipitéis seo a thástáil, rinne siad anailís ar shonraí ó METABRIC faoi stiúir Ollscoil Cambridge. Tá METABRIC ar cheann de na chéad staidéir in ionaid éagsúla a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leis ceangail a aimsiú idir airíonna cliniciúla agus géanómacha bithóipsí a tógadh ó bhreis agus 2000 othar a raibh carcanóma brollaigh príomhúil orthu agus a cláraíodh idir 1977 agus 2005. De bhrí go bhfuil sonraí géanómacha d’ardchaighdeán mar aon leis na sonraí cliniciúla is déanaí ar fáil do bhunachar sonraí METABRIC, is áis an-chumhachtach é le taighde a dhéanamh ar ailse bhrollaigh. Rinne Lydia agus a comhghleacaithe an leibhéal neamhsheasmhachta géanóm i measc ghéanóim an 2,000 othar a ríomh, agus ansin d’úsáid sí samhlú staitistiúil ilathraitheach le torthaí fadmharthana ar leith a aithint i gcás na n-othar a bhfuil fochineál ailse brollaigh lúmanaí orthu. Chuir seo ar a gcumas na prognóisí a bhí i bhfad níos measa i gcás na n-othar le hailse bhrollaigh lúmanach a bhfuil na leibhéil neamhsheasmhachta géanómaí is measa ina mbithóipsí siada a dhearbhú. Bhí lucht taighde OÉ Gaillimh in ann na hothair a shrathú ina ngrúpaí agus an scór neamhsheasmhachta géanóim a nascadh le ranguithe cliniciúla, rud a bhí tábhachtach. Chuir seo fianaise shoiléir ar fáil go raibh na pátrúin chéanna maidir le marthain laghdaithe a fheictear go coitianta i measc othar a mbíonn an fochineál Lúmanach B atá níos tréine orthu ar othair a bhfuarthas go raibh an fochineál ailse brollaigh Lúmanach A orthu agus a raibh leibhéal ard den neamhsheasmhacht ghéanómach iontu. Ó tharla go gcuirtear cóir leighis éagsúil de ghnáth ar othair a n-aithnítear gur fochineál Lúmanach A nó B atá orthu, cuireann an toradh in iúl go bhféadfadh an diagnóis a bheith níos fearr dá ndéanfaí an anailís ghéanómach a ionchorprú sa chúram cliniciúil agus go dtabharfadh sé deis d’oinceolaithe cóir leighis a chur in oiriúint d’othair ar leith. Tugtar “leigheas beachtais (nó géanómachta)” ar an gcur chuige seo maidir le hanailís ghéanómach agus dá bharr tá caighdeán nua cúraim á chur i bhfeidhm i réimsí éagsúla den chleachtas cliniciúil. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag údar sinsearach an pháipéir, an Dr Aaron Golden ó Scoil na Matamaitice, na Staitisticí agus na Matamaitice Feidhmí in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is sárshampla é seo de bhuanna an taighde idirdhisciplínigh sna heolaíochtaí sonraí géanómaíochta. D’eascair sé seo ó theoiric a bhí agam féin, ar fear fisice mé, agus mo chomhghleacaí an Dr Andrew Flaus, ar bithcheimiceoir é, ó Scoil na nEolaíochtaí Nádúrtha, agus ghlac Lydia leis dá tionscadal miontráchtais MSc. Ansin fuaireamar cabhair an-luachmhar ónár gcomhghleacaí, an Dr Emma Holian, staitisteoir, agus a bhuíochas leis an obair an-chrua a rinne Lydia bhí muid in ann a léiriú go bhfuil gealladh faoin ngéanómaíocht bheachtais sa chóir leighis don ailse.” Ag trácht dó ar an toradh seo, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Pilib Ó Broin, Stiúrthóir MSc i nGéanómaíocht Bhithleighis OÉ Gaillimh: “Is toradh iontach é seo do Lydia agus dá stiúrthóirí agus léiríonn sé na buntáistí iontacha a bhaineann le hoiliúint ildisciplíneach a chur ar eolaithe ar nós Lydia a bhfuil na scileanna staidrimh agus na scileanna ríomhaireachta acu mar aon leis an eolas cuí ar an réimse le léargais bhitheolaíocha nua a ghiniúint ó shonraí géanómaíochta a chuirfeadh leis an gcúram a thugtar d’othair." Ó shin tá an Mháistreacht bainte amach ag Lydia agus is mac léinn PhD í san Ionad Oiliúna Taighde in Eolaíocht Sonraí Géanómaíochta atá á mhaoiniú ag Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann agus atá faoi stiúir OÉ Gaillimh, áit a bhfuil sí ag leanúint dá cuid oibre ag déanamh anailíse ar ghéanóim ailse. Tá an lámhscríbhinn PLOS ONE dar teideal ‘Survival outcomes are associated with genomic instability in luminal breast cancers’ ar fáil ag: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0245042.  -Críoch-

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

NUI Galway teamed up with the Irish embassy in Mexico to highlight the role women play as the “unsung heroes” of the agriculture sector in the two countries. Dr Maura Farrell, lecturer in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, chaired the day-long webinar which was organised to mark St Brigid’s Day. Dr Farrell said: “Women in Irish and Mexican agriculture are often considered and referred to as the ‘unsung heroes’ of the farm family. Historically, women engaged in agriculture have given their time, expertise and for many their life to the land and the farm family, with little recognition. The webinar - St Brigid’s Day: A Celebration of Women in Agriculture in Ireland and Mexico - was hosted by the Irish embassy in Mexico City. The panel contributors included Guadalupe Aguirre Pérez Oronoz, who runs the Agua Escondida Agroecological ranch over the last 30 years demonstrating how agriculture can have no impact on the environment. Other contributors were Paula Fitzsimons, founder of Fitzsimons Consulting and national coordinator for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in Ireland, Alison Fagan of Ornua, Senator Beatriz Elena Paredes Rangel, the first woman Governor of Tlaxcala and Lina Pohl, director for Central America of Heinrich Boll Foundation and former Environment Minister in El Salvador. Dr Farrell added: “By joining the embassy’s online event we seek greater recognition for the contribution women make to agriculture and rural development and the key role they play in the stability of the family farm. We also look for an end to the patriarchal agricultural environment of the past and open the doors to young girls and women wishing to make farming and agriculture a future life and career.” Ends

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

NUI Galway will lead a major new European project on pandemic preparedness and response, starting February 2021 The PANDEM-2 Project will develop IT systems and processes to improve the European Union’s preparedness and response to future pandemics New solutions developed by PANDEM-2 will enable the simulation of future pandemics and the training of pandemic managers on a national and pan-European basis PANDEM-2 tools will also allow for improved planning and management of critical resources including hospital beds, PPE and vaccines NUI Galway has been awarded almost €10 million funding by the EU to develop a suite of novel concepts, services and IT systems to improve how the EU prepares for and responds to future pandemics. The two-year project, known as PANDEM-2, aims to create a more consistent and futureproof approach to pandemic management. The Problem: While Ireland and Europe have responded robustly to the current pandemic, there is room for improvement in the analysis of real time data, in the sharing of information across borders and in adopting common and consistent policies. Future pandemics are to be expected with population growth, international air travel and environmental factors increasing the likelihood of diseases crossing from animals to humans. Protecting the health and security of citizens across Ireland and the EU in the face of these pandemic threats requires member states and agencies to share information and to collaborate on joint policies and approaches. The Solution: The PANDEM-2 Project will develop IT systems to improve the EU’s preparedness and response to future pandemics. The outputs will enable pandemic managers to prepare for a wide variety of different pandemic scenarios and possible responses. PANDEM-2 technologies will also enable improved pan-European planning and management of critical resources including hospital beds, PPE and vaccines. This will position Europe to respond coherently and effectively to the next pandemic, whenever it comes and whatever form it takes. Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “I am delighted to see further EU investment in research and innovation which will help us prepare at a national and European level for future pandemics. I would like to congratulate and thank NUI Galway for their leadership of this project, which will seek to harness the learning from COVID-19 in the development of a range of innovative technologies to further support and improve the European Union’s preparedness and response to future pandemics. While we are still facing many challenges with COVID-19, it is critical that we also focus on longer term developments for pandemic preparedness, as this project will. I am delighted that Irish research will be central to this work.” Professor Máire Connolly, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Coordinator of the PANDEM-2 Project, said: “COVID-19 has had devastating ecoonomic, social and health impacts on countries worldwide. The PANDEM-2 Project aims to better prepare EU member states for future pandemics through innovations in technology, training and cross-border collaboration. The state-of-the-art tools that will be developed by PANDEM-2 have the potential to transform how Europe prepares for future large-scale healthcare crises through improved analysis of surveillance and contact tracing data, innovative pandemic modelling, better resource allocation and training of pandemic managers using simulations across Europe.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I would like to congratulate Professor Connolly and the project consortium on receiving this significant EU funding award. As we continue to experience the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is reassuring to know that NUI Galway and the PANDEM-2 consortium will be at the forefront of developing systems to improve the EU's preparedness and response to future pandemics. One of our strategic priorities at NUI Galway is to ensure our research and teaching brings excellent outcomes for the public good. There is no greater need in that regard right now than public health. As a university, we play an important role in shaping society and this project amplifies our commitment to contributing to the health, wellbeing and security of society throughout the EU.” The Team: The project consortium, led by NUI Galway, brings together European leaders from the health, security, defence, microbiology, communications, information technology and emergency management fields, ensuring that the most modern science serves the real-world needs of healthcare, government and society. This consortium includes two other Irish companies, Carr Communications and Pintail Ltd. PANDEM-2’s Advisory Board membership includes the World Health Organisation (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Professor Jim Duggan, School of Computer Science, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “We are very excited to start working on PANDEM-2. Our role within the project builds upon our work from PANDEM which involved research on pandemic response and the development of a resource modelling tool, PANDEM-CAP. This project will aid the development of an IT dashboard that will host pandemic-relevant data from across Europe. This data will enable pandemic managers in capacity building and developing operational strategy for cross border pandemic response so that Europe will be as well positioned as possible for any future pandemic that may arise.” The Foundations: PANDEM-2 builds upon key insights and lessons learned in several previous EU-funded projects including the original PANDEM. PANDEM was established to identify gaps and priority research needs for pandemic preparedness and response in Europe. PANDEM-2 will build upon this research and ensure better preparedness for the future to ensure better decisions are made to improve health systems and pandemic management in the future. For more information please visit https://pandem-2.eu or for regular updates follow PANDEM-2 on Twitter (https://twitter.com/PANDEM2H2020) and LinkedIn (https:www.linkedin.com/PANDEM2H2020). -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

NUI Galway is the leading academic partner for the EU LIFE Peatlands and People Project The European Commission has announced the funding of €10million towards a project to highlight the power of peatlands to effect significant climate action wins. The EU LIFE Peatlands and People project is co-ordinated by Board na Móna, together with NUI Galway, with National Parks and Wildlife Service (of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage), the Environmental Protection Agency, and ERINN Innovation Ltd. The Peatlands and People project is a major national initiative that will contribute to the long-term implementation of Irelands Climate Action Plan. The plan aims to engage people in Ireland and across the European Union with the benefits of peatlands restoration, in particular to realise the power of peatlands to effect positive climate action. With additional co-financing from Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the project will work with peatlands in Ireland’s midlands and the communities around them to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy. Dr Christine Domegan, who is leading Pillar 3 - People’s Attraction and Activities of the project, and Senior Lecturer and Head of the Applied Systems Thinking unit, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, said: “Most of us recognise that everyday life today is not the same as it was with climate change, the pandemic and so much more.  It is a world shaped increasingly by collective as well as individual choice, and by systems, social and behaviour change all rolled into one. In this emerging complex world, NUI Galway as the leading academic partner in Ireland’s EU LIFE Peatlands and People work, is already into a future of radical transformation. The call to action is to get on board now, be the Change Catalyst in your life, your family and your community to open the door to a new sustainable world for all.” The project will establish: A Peatlands knowledge Centre of Excellence in Ireland that will explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation and design methodologies to monitor and analyse carbon fluxes. Over time the peatlands are expected to store more carbon and also support multiple ecosystem service benefits. A Just Transition Accelerator programme that will focus on low-carbon and circular economies to support the midlands region economically. It intends to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains. An immersive People’s Discovery Attraction in the midlands that will be designed to introduce the importance of climate action and peatlands to citizens. Its long-term aim is to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery. Announcing the project, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD said: “Our peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities in new jobs taking care of our environment.  I am delighted to welcome another major project just months after we announced Government support for the rehabilitation of a huge tract of Bord na Móna peatlands. The Peatlands Centre of Excellence, Just Transition Accelerator, and the new Discovery Attraction supported by this EU LIFE project put the spotlight and investment where it should be, on Peatlands AND People.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Distinguished Galway accordion player, Sharon Shannon along with guitarist Jim Murray, will open NUI Galway’s 2021 Arts in Action programme with a free concert online on Wednesday, 17 February at 1pm to launch her new partnership with NUI Galway’s Music degree. The concert will be presented as the 2021 Jean Ritchie Lecture and will celebrate Shannon’s musical virtuosity as well as the future potential arising from her engagement with NUI Galway's Music students as the next generation of emerging artists. The new partnership entails Sharon Shannon delivering a series of masterclasses that look at different facets of the creation, performance and production of traditional Irish music along with her long-time collaborator, Irish-American fiddle player, Win Horan. These masterclasses will be used as part of the teaching of traditional music modules within the new BA in Music. Sharon and Win will follow up the masterclasses with six live workshops per year, in which they will discuss traditional Irish music directly with the students. This will also be the first Arts in Action programme to be presented following the death of the programme’s founding director and curator, Mary McPartlan, the accomplished folk singer and educator, in spring 2020. In celebration of McPartlan, the theme of this limited 2021 programme is 'art as legacy', and it features traditional and classical music, drama, performance and literary-focused events. The programme, which runs from February to May, reflects specifically on the legacy left by Mary McPartlan as the programme draws on many of her frequent collaborators and the university/Arts in Action partnership with Music for Galway. The entire programme will be presented online free of charge providing viewers nationally and internationally a chance to share in this unique Arts in Action programme. The range of art forms and artists represented within the Arts in Action programme reflects the diversity and strength of the creative arts at NUI Galway, including the work of staff. Acclaimed novelist Mike McCormack and internationally recognised digital artist EL Putnam who lecture in English and Digital Media at NUI Galway will contribute a new work to the programme in April. Speaking about the new partnership with NUI Galway and Arts in Action programme, Sharon Shannon, says: “I’m delighted to be involved with the Music Department, and am really excited about sharing my music with the students at NUI Galway via the online masterclass series we have developed. It’s also a great honour to perform along with Jim Murray in celebrating Arts in Action in 2021 and to help re-launch the late Mary McPartlan’s great series.” Head of Music at NUI Galway, Dr Aidan Thomson, says: “I am thrilled that our Music students will have the opportunity to work with a musician of the calibre of Sharon Shannon. Galway has a rich history of traditional music, and it is wonderful that one of its greatest exponents should be able to share her expertise with our students, and in turn greatly enhance their learning. The next three years will be a very exciting time for the BA in Music.” Interim Arts in Action Artistic Director, Dr Charlotte McIvor, says: “Celebrating Arts in Action, Sharon Shannon and our students together is the most fitting tribute I can think of to honour Mary’s legacy with the relaunch of her beloved series. Mary had intended to have Sharon headline this year, and we are glad to carry forward her wishes and reignite her legacy through the presentation of this 2021 Arts in Action programme.” This year's Arts in Action will present a rich programme of music that will feature performances from: Máirtín O’Connor, Seamie O’Dowd and Cathal Hayden; Sean Ryan, Mick Crehan and Greg Cotter; Leah Redmond, soprano and Dearbhla Collins, piano, and Simon Mawhinney in association with Music for Galway. The programme will also include a beautiful theatre production of Sacrificial Wind Revival in memory of Mary McPartlan; and RTÉ broadcaster Vincent Woods in conversation with traditional Irish musician, Mick Moloney in ‘Green Fields and Granite Songs’. To learn about the Bachelor of Arts in Music at NUI Galway, visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/artsmusic/. To attend free live streamed Arts in Action events register here: https://bit.ly/3j3vgMJ or logon to www.eventbrite.ie and search for 'Arts in Action Sharon Shannon'. For more about Arts in Action visit: www.nuigalway.ie/artsinaction. -Ends-

Monday, 1 February 2021

150 projects to date, resulting in 43 patent applications  1,712 journal publications, 10 licence agreements and five spin-outs Researchers have matched €40 million in EU grant funding in first six years CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway has received a significant funding award of €46,372,380 from Science Foundation Ireland. The investment was announced today (1 February 2021) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD. The announcement demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to reinvesting in CÚRAM and the MedTech industry in the West and Ireland, supporting the continuation of strong academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. The investment will support up to 520 researchers at CÚRAM over the next six years. CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre in the development of diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. In doing so, the Centre partners with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. CÚRAMs Research Programme aims to enhance researchers' creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative potential and focus on the translation of key CÚRAM technologies into clinical devices. Research is focused on three clinical areas of chronic cardiovascular, neural and soft tissue pathologies. These pillars have been structured to meet patients' current clinical needs with the aim of developing devices to improve daily management of chronic conditions. Research activities are enhanced through entrepreneurship and public engagement programmes and are informed by market, patient and clinical needs. Centre Growth The first phase of CÚRAM, established in 2015, has positioned the Centre well to exploit its innovation and commercial potential. The centre has had many significant scientific accomplishments in Phase one that contribute to advances in knowledge and the development of medical devices for the treatment of unmet clinical needs. Based at NUI Galway, CÚRAM is becoming recognised globally as a 'go-to' Centre for undertaking medical device research. The collaborative partnerships established to date indicate the value that the industry is already seeing in its partnerships with CÚRAM. CÚRAM currently employs 190 researchers in 10 partner institutes and to date has 38 industry partners that include 15 multinational corporation partners and 23 SME's . A total of 150 projects to date have been completed resulting in 43 patent applications; 1,712 journal publications; 10 licence agreements; and five spin-outs. In addition CÚRAM’s funding has been matched by its researchers securing over €40 million in EU grant funding in its first six years. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "I'm delighted to be attending today's Government announcement and would like to congratulate Professor Pandit and his excellent team at CÚRAM on being awarded this significant funding from Science Foundation Ireland. This reinvestment to sustain CÚRAM in the next phase recognises and respects our standing as a global leader in medical device research in and for the world. We know now more than ever that research in health and wellbeing is critical to our humanity. The values of excellence, openness, respect and sustainability are strategic values to which we aspire at NUI Galway. CÚRAM's dedication to world class research and development of medical devices to treat a diverse range of health needs in society is testament those values." Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: "We are very much looking forward to the next stage of CÚRAM's journey. The Centre has matured significantly over the past six years and the foundation which has been laid down over that period now positions CÚRAM well for making a continued global impact and developing novel and innovative medical devices to meet clinical needs. The transition from a Centre having a highly diverse set of projects, to a focused Centre with a balanced portfolio of prototype devices will be exciting, challenging and rewarding to our ecosystem." Today's Government announcement sees an investment of €193 million in five SFI Research Centres that includes CÚRAM for a further six years. This investment by Science Foundation Ireland will support approximately 1,060 graduate and Post-Doctoral students and Research Fellows employed by the Centres. Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this significant Government investment in five SFI Research Centres, which reflects Ireland’s position as a world leader in research and innovation. The investment will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges. “The five centres will also work to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the wider public through extensive Education and Public Engagement outreach. These initiatives include summer computer camps, developing secondary school education modules, and residency programmes for filmmakers, artists and teachers to forge collaborations between researchers and the community." A panel of stakeholders attended today's launch including Cameron Keighron, an NUI Galway student and member of the young adult panel with the Public Patient Involvement research programme, PPI Ingite@NUIGalway, who took part in CÚRAM's 2020 Science on Screen documentary, The Patient Effect. "CÚRAM's work in opening up their research to the public raises awareness about the world class research happening right here on our doorstep. The Centre's public engagement programme invites participation and contributions from community members and patient groups which have been empowering for audiences, and I really look forward to staying involved as the Centre continues to grow", they commented. Michael Gilvarry, General Manager at the Neuro Technology Centre in Galway for CERENOVUS, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, also spoke at today’s event about the industry benefits of partnering with CÚRAM. "We began our collaboration with CÚRAM in 2017 and the partnership has had a significant impact on our ability to grow and scale our centre of excellence. I’d like to wish CÚRAM every success in the next stage of its evolution and look forward to continued partnerships and collaborations in the future", he said. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “To maintain and build on Ireland’s global standing in research, innovation, and discovery, it is crucial that we invest in excellent ideas and research with impact. SFI Research Centres support both basic and applied research, spanning a wide range of sectors at varying levels and stages, and as a country we have benefited from their considerable contributions in the recent Covid-19 pandemic. “They have made transformational progress in just six years, with increased academic and industrial collaboration, extensive training of PhD students for future skills needs, winning competitive funding from the EU, producing excellent scientific results and driving vital public engagement. We look forward to further strengthening our ability to positively impact our society and economy through excellent scientific research, with continued support from the Government and industry in the years ahead.” For more information about CÚRAM visit: www.curamdevices.ie or follow on twitter @CURAMdevices. -Ends-

Monday, 1 February 2021

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Alma McCarthy as the next Head of School at J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. Professor McCarthy has commenced the role as of January 2021. Professor Geraint Howells, Executive Dean for the College of Business Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: "Having recently commenced my role at NUI Galway I have been impressed to learn about the wonderful transformation, which J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics has undergone in recent years. I am delighted to announce Professor McCarthy in the role of Head of School, and am confident that she will continue to lead tremendous innovation, transformation and distinctness in her new role. Professor McCarthy brings a wealth of experience to the role, and I look forward to working alongside her in the years to come." Professor Alma McCarthy said: “I am honoured to take up the role of Head of School.  The School has grown substantially in recent years with over 2,700 students and 130 staff. The School’s success is recognised through the achievement of various international accreditations and awards. I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on the successes of our School and developing and leading the strategic plan for the next stage of the School’s development, and engaging with key external stakeholders including alumni, industry and policy makers and ensuring the School’s research and teaching has regional and global impact.” A native of Labasheeda, Co. Clare, Professor McCarthy was selected for her passion and dedication to education, her strong leadership experience, and her numerous distinctions and achievements. She joined the university in 2002 as a Lecturer and Researcher in the Discipline of Management and has previously served as the Head of the Management Discipline at NUI Galway, and as Programme Director for the MBA. Professor McCarthy’s research interests include public sector leadership and human resource development among others, which has led to co-authored books, several chapters in edited books and many articles in highly ranked journals such as the Human Resource Management Journal, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Public Administration Review, and Human Resource Management Review. Professor McCarthy is a Chartered Member of the CIPD, the American Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology, and recently served as elected Vice-Chair and Chair of the Irish Academy of Management. She recently led a senior civil service leadership development evaluation project and report commissioned by the Department of Expenditure and Reform and is Principal Investigator for the Science Foundation Ireland funded talent management in national science foundations’ research project gathering data in Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, US, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Professor McCarthy, along with Dr Katerina Bohle-Carbonell at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at Western Development Commission, recently led significant research into the area of remote working in light of COVID-19, providing insights on how remote working has changed employees’ work and employment experiences. Her remote working research has been used in the Government’s National Remote Work Strategy recently published by An Tánaiste. More information on the Remote Working National Survey is available at https://bit.ly/3iVChPr. NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics has introduced significant innovation in recent years, including the launch of the Bachelor of Commerce Global Experience, which offers work placement and study abroad opportunities for business students. The School has also expanded its postgraduate suite of programmes and increased its student body in recent years. For more information on J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

NUI Galway academic examines use of software, tech and AI in justice system as part of SFI Public Service Fellowship  The rapid development and increased use of software and technology for legal services and in the courts could reduce costs and improve access to justice but deepen the digital divide and strengthen existing biases in the justice system, research from NUI Galway has cautioned. Dr Rónán Kennedy, lecturer in the University’s School of Law, examined the availability and growth of “lawtech” in an advisory paper for the Oireachtas Library & Research Service. Dr Kennedy was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Public Service Fellowship to carry out the research as part of the Spotlight series, which gives TDs and Senators in-depth briefings on a single policy issue or topic.  The research paper “Algorithms, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the Irish Legal Services Market”, outlined the pros and cons of increased use of software and technology in the legal sector. Dr Kennedy said: “Lawtech has been part of a wave of change and innovation in the legal services market, globally and in Ireland. It could save consumers and businesses money and time, and be a sector for economic growth.  “However, it is not a silver bullet to solve the problem of access to justice. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used more by lawyers and courts, it could lead to fairer outcomes or repeat existing biases.” The research paper noted: Lawtech could reduce costs and provide better access to justice by making it easier for lawyers to create standard documents or allowing people to access legal information and advice online, including through automated apps. It could worsen the digital divide in society and solidify existing biases in the legal system, by preventing those without IT skills from accessing legal services or by relying on historical data which is prejudiced. Areas for immediate legislative intervention include expansion of the validity of digital signatures for uses such as wills or legal proceedings, and the admissibility of digital recordings in court. Members of the Oireachtas could consider longer-term policy questions, such as whether AI professions should be regulated or how to manage the use of AI by lawyers and judges. The Oireachtas and Government may need to explore whether some legislation should be “born digital”’ - written both in a human language and computer language from the outset. Dr Kennedy’s research noted that AI software programs may also “learn” to discriminate in ways that are illegal, focusing on characteristics that are proxies for social class, race or gender such as home address or height. “It is unlikely that AI can or will ever replace humans, but it may allow faster, cheaper, and fairer judging. However, if this software is not carefully designed, it could make prejudice even more difficult to remove from the justice system,” he said.  Dr Kennedy said: “The paper explores technology which is already bringing about significant transformation in legal practice and in the courts, and may change it radically in the future. “The SFI Public Interest Fellowship provided a very interesting opportunity to learn more about how the Oireachtas operates, the important work of legislators, and how researchers can contribute to the development of policy.  “My findings raise important questions that lawmakers and everyone involved in legal services should consider. The pandemic has shown how useful technology can be, but we need to have a debate about how we manage tools like remote court hearings and AI assistants for lawyers and judges to ensure that all of the impacts are positive.” Ends


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