Monday, 24 May 2021

Professor Gerard Flaherty, a senior academic in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, has been announced as the new President-elect of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). When he takes up the presidency in 2023, Professor Flaherty will be the first Irish person to hold the position since the society was established in 1991. Headquartered in the US city of Atlanta, ISTM has 4,000 members in more than 120 countries. It is the leading professional association in its field, with strong ties with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and multiple regional travel and tropical medicine societies. Professor Flaherty will hold the role of ISTM President for two years from 2023, following a two year period as President-elect. He said: "I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve as President of the International Society of Travel Medicine - a prestigious organisation dedicated to promoting healthy, safe and responsible travel through its surveillance, research, educational and community outreach activities. “Having the privilege to lead a global organisation such as the ISTM places NUI Galway and Ireland centre stage on the world map in this dynamic area of research activity. I am fortunate that NUI Galway is such an internationalised institution, with a distinguished international profile. “The Global Galway project is a very positive expression of this commitment to sustainable internationalisation. My own leadership role in international medical student recruitment over many years has prepared me well for the opportunities that this new role brings. “I have greatly enjoyed my previous leadership roles in medical education and preventive cardiology at NUI Galway, but I relish the exciting challenges ahead in this next phase of my career." President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for NUI Galway to develop strong educational and research collaborations with leading international institutions involved in travel medicine, global and public health. “Professor Flaherty’s work embodies NUI Galway’s vision and values of openness, sustainability and excellence, connected to, and contributing to, community and society in Ireland and beyond the horizon for the public good.” Ends

Friday, 21 May 2021

Researchers from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, who study the genetics of fruit flies as a way to understand human health, have investigated mechanisms of how stem cell divisions are regulated. Cell division has been found to have implications in areas such as fertility, ageing, cancer and regenerative medicine and this research has found that the function of a particular chromosomal protein, called CENP-C, is important to keep a pool of dividing stem cells in a tissue. The study examined how stem cells divide in the ovary of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The fruit fly serves as an ideal model for understanding how human stem cells divide, given that 60 per cent of its genes are also found in humans and they can also regenerate stem cells to repair and replace old or damaged cells. Stem cells are unique in that they have the ability to regenerate themselves. They can also undergo cell division to give rise to a cell that can take on a new function. In the testes and ovaries, specialised stem cells, called germline stem cells, give rise to cells that differentiate to form the gametes, eggs and sperm. Defects in germline stem cell divisions can lead to infertility and sterility. The study found that when the chromosomal protein CENP-C was removed from germline stem cells in the fly ovary, the production of eggs was interrupted and could lead to infertility. Specifically, the research found that over time the pool of germline stem cells was depleted in the ovary. These results suggest that CENP-C is important in the division of stem cells and can help scientists understand more on how stem cells work. The study also showed that the level of this chromosomal protein present in older stem cells is reduced compared to younger stem cells, and shows that it can also be used to mark stem cell age. The gene that encodes the chromosomal protein CENP-C in the fruit fly also exists in humans and these findings suggest it is possible that it might function similarly in human stem cells. Restoring this gene in defective stem cells could potentially allow stem cells to function better or to improve fertility. Dr Elaine Dunleavy, lead author of the study from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: "Our work in fruit flies allows us to manipulate genes to understand their function in stem cells in the ovary that would not be possible to carry out in humans. Through this approach we hope to uncover genes that might be important for human fertility.” The study has been published in the international journal PLoS Genetics and can be read in full at: https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1009247. -Ends-

Friday, 21 May 2021

Scientists have proposed the first steps towards a united global plan to save our oceans, for the sake of human health An interdisciplinary European collaboration, the Seas Oceans and Public Health In Europe (SOPHIE) Project, which NUI Galway is part of, has outlined the initial steps that a wide range of organisations could take to work together to protect the largest connected ecosystem on Earth. In a commentary paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers call for the current United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to act as a meaningful catalyst for global change, reminding the public that ocean health is intricately linked to human health. The paper highlights 35 first steps for action by different groups and individuals, including individual citizens, healthcare workers, private organisations, researchers and policy-makers. The researchers point to the huge reliance on the global ocean as a source of food and economic income internationally, as well as a precious resource that research shows benefits to a person’s mental and physical health. However, the consequences of the impact of human activity are severe. Extreme weather events induced by climate and other environmental change result in coastal flooding, exposure to harmful algal blooms, and chemical and microbial pollution. These threats are compounded by sea-level rise, ocean warming, acidification, and deoxygenation associated with global environmental change. At the same time, the coasts, seas and ocean provide people with food, trade, culture, renewable energy, and many other benefits. In fact, there is now strong evidence that access to healthy coasts can improve and preserve physical health and mental wellbeing. And a healthy ocean is a major source of potential natural products including medicines and green substitutes for plastics. The paper suggests a list of possible first steps to a wide range of groups who can influence ocean health, emphasising that holistic collaboration is essential to make an impact, including: Large businesses can review their impact on ocean health, share best practice and support community initiatives. Healthcare professionals could consider “blue prescriptions”, nature-based interventions based in, on, or near water, as part of practical solutions for good health integrated with individual and community promotion activities. Tourism operators can share research on the benefits of wellbeing when spending time by the coast, and collect and share their customers’ experiences of these benefits. Individual citizens can take part in ocean-based citizen science or beach cleans and encourage school projects on sustainability. Co-author and member of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, Dr Easkey Britton, said: “The UN Ocean Decade is a chance to truly vision and act on the future we want for our global ocean. This affects us all - the health of people is completely dependent on the health of the ocean. Building community around the challenges we face and the solutions we need is the most important thing. By working together across disciplines, sectors, and community groups we can create powerful and effective solutions to restore ocean health and transform how we think about public health.” The paper calls on planners, policy-makers and organisations to understand and share research into the links between ocean and human health, and to integrate this knowledge into policy. First author Professor Lora Fleming, of the University of Exeter, said: “The devastating Covid-19 pandemic, climate and other environmental change and the perilous state of our seas have made clear that we share a single planet with a single global ocean. Our moral compass points to addressing the myriad threats and potential opportunities we encounter by protecting and providing for everyone, both rich and poor, while learning to sustain all ecosystems.” The project is funded by Horizon 2020. The full paper, entitled ‘The Ocean Decade— Opportunities for Oceans and Human Health Programs to Contribute to Public Health’,  is available at https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306229.   For more information on the SOPHIE project visit https://sophie2020.eu/ -Ends-

Friday, 21 May 2021

Hundreds more patients to benefit after University secures support for two projects as part of Health Research Board Clinical Trial Networks  People with diabetes and patients with chronic disease and those who use primary care are set to benefit from the expansion of clinical trials at NUI Galway. The Health Research Board has announced Primary Care Clinical Trials Network and the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network are to be supported at the University. The NUI Galway networks are two of six projects that have been selected nationwide following a rigorous application process and adjudication by an international panel of experts.  Professor Fidelma Dunne, Consultant Endocrinologist in University Hospital Galway and Saolta Hospital group and Professor in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, is to lead the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network which will work on an all-island basis. “This investment is hugely significant for patients. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in Ireland and the number of people affected by it is increasing at an alarming rate alongside the increase in obesity rates,” Professor Dunne said. “The aim of all the co-applicants and collaborators who have worked on this project is to ensure that people with diabetes across the island of Ireland have access to high quality clinical trials regardless of where they live. “Through trials in new medicines and technologies we can improve health and reduce disease burden for patients with diabetes.” Professor Dunne outlined some initial areas of focus for the Diabetes Collaborative Clinical Trial Network, including diabetes in pregnancy, technologies, foot disease, advanced therapies and behavioural change. Professor Andrew Murphy, GP in Turloughmore Medical Centre, Co Galway and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, is to lead the Primary Care Clinical Trials Network. “Our aim is simply to produce high-quality clinical evidence which improves patient outcomes in primary care, where the vast bulk of healthcare is provided,” Professor Murphy said. “Our high-level strategy prioritises the conduct of trials in chronic disease management, multi-morbidity where patients have two or more diseases and infectious diseases. Over the past five years we have recruited almost 4,000 patients and had 20 registered trials, working with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Irish College of General Practitioners and other universities in Ireland and Europe. Our aim is to bring trials to hundreds more patients.” Professor Murphy set out a number of objectives including bringing together patients, carers, health professionals and researchers to develop the top 10 research priorities in chronic disease management, enhancement of Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in primary care research and developing a list of what trials in this area should measure so that their outcomes are comparable. The Clinical Trial Networks were assessed on criteria that included each network’s relevance to Ireland’s health and social care needs; the strength of its collaborative framework; the quality of the proposed network and trial activities; and the expertise and skill mix of its team. The HRB said the new investment will see the expansion of clinical trials and create opportunities for Irish people to participate in the latest research in these areas to improve outcomes and/or transform treatments and care. Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, chief executive of the Health Research Board, said: “As we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, we should remember the transformation in care and many benefits that high-quality clinical trials can deliver, both for individual care and for society. “The impact that HRB investments in clinical trial capacity have had in Ireland was acutely demonstrated when we were able to pivot quickly to deliver clinical trials as part of a global rapid response to Covid-19. We are proud of the leadership role we have actively taken in Ireland in this area and we look forward to seeing the benefits that these new Networks deliver for people’s health, patient care and the economy.” Ends

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Cuirfidh Institiúid nua an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais le taighde, teagasc agus rannpháirtíocht phobail agus scoile na dtrí phríomhsholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí i nGaillimh, Maigh Eo agus Sligeach Tá ríméad ar OÉ Gaillimh, Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach a fhógairt go bhfuil Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais bunaithe. Tacóidh an Institiúid le comhoibriú idir na trí institiúid chun oideachas múinteoirí i Réigiún an Iarthair a fheabhsú agus a chur chun cinn. Cuirfidh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais ar chumas na dtrí institiúid, ceannairí náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta san oideachas múinteoirí, a gcuid saineolais éagsúil ach comhlántach a thabhairt le chéile. Is é uaillmhian na hInstitiúide cúrsaí, taighde agus rannpháirtíocht an phobail in oideachas múinteoirí a fhorbairt. Ar an mbealach seo cuideoidh an Institiúid go mór leis an bpróifíl a bhaineann le hoideachas múinteoirí sa réigiún a dhaingniú agus a chur chun cinn.  Cuirfidh an Institiúid ardán fíorúil nuálach ar fáil chun tacú le comhoibriú agus chun caidreamh a chothú le raon páirtithe leasmhara a bhfuil baint acu le hoideachas múinteoirí sa réigiún. Seolfar an Institiúid go foirmiúil i Meán Fómhair 2021. Dúirt an tAire Oideachais, Norma Foley T.D.: “Cuirim fáilte fonnmhar roimh sheoladh na hInstitiúide seo a neartóidh na naisc agus an dlúthchomhar atá ar fáil cheana féin sna trí institiúid bhródúla seo. Tuigim mar mhúinteoir mé féin an tábhacht a bhaineann le cláir tosaigh oideachais múinteoirí mar go gcuireann siad bonn faoi ghairmeacha ár n-oideoirí amach anseo, ag cothú na foghlama agus ag múnlú eispéiris oideachais a gcuid daltaí. Is dea-scéala é forbairt na hinstitiúide nua seo a dhaingneoidh an t-ionad barr feabhais seo d’oideachas tosaigh múinteoirí i réigiún an Iarthair/an Iarthuaiscirt.” Dúirt an tAire Breisoideachais agus Ardoideachais, Simon Harris T.D.: “Is comhpháirtíocht an-spreagúil í seo idir trí cinn dár gcoláistí. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an Institiúid seo Ionad Barr Feabhais a chruthú a neartóidh an saineolas atá ag na trí sholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí in OÉ Gaillimh, Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach. Beidh sé mar aidhm ag bunú na hInstitiúide féachaint chuige go seasfaidh soláthar oideachais múinteoirí an aimsir, fiú agus ollscoil teicneolaíochta ag teacht ar an bhfód san Iarthar/Iarthuaisceart mar atá molta ag Comhghuaillíocht Uladh Chonnacht idir GMIT, IT Shligigh agus IT Leitir Ceanainn, trí na soláthraithe oideachais múinteoirí sa réigiún a thabhairt le chéile. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach duine a bhí bainteach leis.” Dúirt an tOllamh Gerry Mac Ruairc, an Stiúrthóir a bhunaigh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais agus Ceann Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá an-áthas orainn seoladh na hInstitiúide a fhógairt, ar toradh é ar roinnt blianta comhpháirtíochta agus comhoibrithe idir na trí phríomhsholáthraí oideachais múinteoirí san Iarthar agus san Iarthuaisceart: Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach; Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe-Maigh Eo; agus OÉ Gaillimh. Tá cáil aitheanta ar gach ceann de na trí institiúid, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta, san oideachas múinteoirí; agus éascóidh an Institiúid nua ailíniú straitéiseach comhoibritheach chun ár dtaighde, ár dteagasc, agus ár rannpháirtíocht leis an bpobal, agus lenár scoileanna comhpháirtíochta a chur chun cinn agus a fheabhsú”.  Ag fáiltiú roimh bhunú na hInstitiúide, dúirt Amanda McCloat, Uachtarán Choláiste San Aingeal: “Tógann an Institiúid seo ar an dea-cháil náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta agus ar an dlúthchaidreamh oibre atá idir OÉ Gaillimh, Coláiste San Aingeal agus GMIT agus i dteannta a chéile feabhsófar soláthar agus taighde oideachais múinteoirí.” Dúirt an Dr Orla Flynn, Uachtarán GMIT, agus í ag tacú go láidir leis an gcomhghuaillíocht nua seo: “Cuirfidh Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais ar chumas na dtrí institiúid an soláthar agus taighde oideachais múinteoirí a fheabhsú agus freagairt le chéile agus go nuálach do shainriachtanais oideachais daoine óga inár réigiún.”    Le deich mbliana anuas, rinne an t-oideachasóir mór le rá as an bhFionlainn, an tOllamh Pasi Sahlberg dhá athbhreithniú mhóra ar an struchtúr oideachas múinteoirí in Éirinn. Déanann an fhorbairt nua seo na moltaí polasaí a rinne Sahlberg (2012, 2018) a athbheochan agus a chomhdhlúthú trí aitheantas foirmiúil a thabhairt do thiomantas na dtrí chomhpháirtí teacht le chéile faoi scáth na hInstitiúide ar bhonn an chomhionannais agus an chomhoibrithe. Tá Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais bunaithe ar an tiomantas láidir a bheith ina ceann feadhna comhoibritheach, moltach agus cruthaitheach san oideachas múinteoirí go réigiúnach, go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta.  Agus é ag tagairt do thábhacht Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais maidir le hoideachas múinteoirí, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orm go bhfuil Leasuithe Sahlberg curtha i bhfeidhm sa tionscnamh nua spreagúil seo chun oideachas múinteoirí a chomhordú agus a fheabhsú taobh thiar den tSionainn. Tréaslaím leis an Ollamh Gerry Mac Ruairc agus le foireann na Scoile Oideachais in OÉ Gaillimh; le Amanda McCloat agus a comhghleacaithe i gColáiste San Aingeal, Sligeach; leis an Dr Orla Flynn, an Dr Paddy Tobin agus an Dr Dermot O’Donovan agus Scoil an Dearaidh agus na nEalaíon Cruthaitheach, GMIT, as na moltaí tábhachtacha polasaí seo a chur i bhfeidhm ar mhaithe leis an ardoideachas, agus go háirithe ar mhaithe le todhchaí an oideachais múinteoirí inár réigiún agus in Éirinn. Tá meas ar na luachanna atá againn maidir le hoscailteacht do smaointe nua agus do chomhpháirtíochtaí barr feabhais, agus cothaítear todhchaí an oideachais múinteoirí taighdebhunaithe a chothaíonn ár dtodhchaí mar shochaí. Guím gach rath ar an Institiúid nua agus í ag fás agus ag forbairt sna blianta amach romhainn.”   Thug an fhoireann athbhreithnithe maidir le hathchóiriú oideachais múinteoirí Sahlberg (2018) aitheantas ar leith d’éachtaí aonair agus comhpháirteacha na dtrí chomhpháirtí, agus an cumas atá acu maidir le saineolas comhoibritheach feabhsaithe. I dtaca leis seo, sainaithníodh go soiléir caighdeán an chaidrimh atá mar bhonn agus taca leis na hiarrachtaí comhoibritheacha mar bhunús daingean d’fhorbairtí amach anseo. Déanfaidh an Institiúid na héachtaí aitheanta seo a chomhordú agus a fhorbairt anois. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

>Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission shows that 47% of team managers find no difference between managing their team remotely compared to onsite while 44% say it is more difficult to manage the team remotely.   Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission have published summary data from the second annual national remote working survey in Ireland. The survey gathered responses from over 6,400 employees, examining their experience of remote working one year after lockdown. This is the first national survey to attain managers’ views of the impact of remote work on their team. Over 2,100 managers gave their views on managing teams remotely and their plans for remote work post pandemic. Led by Professor Alma McCarthy and Noreen O’Connor at NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin and Deirdre Frost at the Western Development Commission, the survey found that, among those who could work remotely, 95% were in favour of working remotely on an on-going basis to some extent. The majority of those, 53%, said they would like to work remotely several times a week, 32% said they would like to work fully remotely and 10% several times a month. Those who would like to work fully remotely (32%) has increased substantially from the first national survey conducted by the NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission team in April 2020 when it was 12% in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. The overwhelming majority (95%) is a significant increase from the 83% who wanted to continue to work remotely for some or all of the time in the 2020 survey. Conversely, only 5% indicated that they did not wish to work remotely to any extent – a drop from 16% who gave that response a year ago. The number of respondents working fully remotely fell from 87% in April 2020 to 75% at the end of April 2021 as there was more of a mix of onsite and remote (20%) in the latest survey. The survey found that 24% of respondents said they would consider relocating based on their experience of remote working since Covid-19. A further 9% said they had already moved and the West (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), the South-west (Cork and Kerry) and the Border (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) were the top regions respondents have relocated to. 14% said they may consider moving, while just over half (53%) said they would not consider relocating. According to the survey the top three advantages of working remotely are: greater flexibility, makes life easier, and increases productivity. Interestingly, in the context of work-life balance, 51% of respondents said that they work more hours when they work remotely compared to working onsite while 45% say they work the same hours. It is interesting to note that 44% of team manager respondents believe that remote working positively impacts the productivity of their team while the same proportion (44%) believe that remote working makes no difference to the team’s productivity. 12% believe remote working negatively impacts their team’s productivity. Three-quarters of organisations had not decided how their teams will work post pandemic. Of the 25% who had decided, 78% will work to a hybrid model. 36% of organisations who have decided to work to a hybrid model expect employees to be onsite for two days a week and 23% said three days a week.  The study found that 45% of team managers believed they did not get the training required to manage their team remotely, while 36% indicated they received basic training. One in five (19%) reported that they received sufficient training. Speaking about the second annual national survey, Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “The second annual NUI Galway/Western Development Commission national remote working survey has, once again, gained huge interest with over 6,400 responses. We added a new module asking questions about managing teams remotely for those who have people management responsibilities. To our knowledge, the latter forms the first national survey to gather information about team manager perspectives. It is interesting to see that the appetite for fully remote or hybrid working is the preference of the vast majority of respondents.”     Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission, said: “The findings of the national survey indicate once again that there is a clear appetite to continue to work remotely. This will mean significant change for the way in which people work and the way that organisations support that work. The rollout of the National Hubs Network of more than 400 hubs will offer a suitable workplace close to home. A key challenge for leaders in organisations will be ensuring that people that choose to work remotely are treated equally in terms of development and promotional opportunities.” The research team has expedited the analysis of initial summary findings of the second annual national remote working survey, which are available on both NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute and the Western Development Commission websites. Further publications will also be made available. The report and key statistics from the first national survey in April 2020 are also available on these websites. To view the second annual survey report and accompanying infographic information on the Whitaker Institute’s Project page, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/project/remote-working-during-covid-19-irelands-national-survey/   -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

New Western Institute for Studies in Education/ Institiúid an Iarthair do Léann an Oideachais will enhance the research, teaching and community and school engagement of the three major teacher education providers in Galway, Mayo and Sligo NUI Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and St Angela’s College Sligo are delighted to announce the foundation of the Western Institute for Studies in Education, which will support collaboration among the three institutions to enhance and promote teacher education in the Western Region. The Western Institute for Studies in Education will enable the three institutions, leaders nationally and internationally in teacher education, to bring together their diverse but complementary expertise. The ambition is to develop courses, research and public engagement in teacher education. In this way, the Western Institute for Studies in Education will significantly help to consolidate and raise the profile of teacher education in the region. The Institute will provide an innovative virtual platform to support collaboration and nurture engagement with a range of stakeholders involved in teacher education in the region and will be formally launched in September 2021. Minister for Education, Norma Foley T.D. said: “I am delighted to welcome the launch of WISE strengthening the existing links and close collaboration across these three proud institutions. As a teacher, I understand the importance of initial teacher education programmes as they provide the foundation for our future educators’ careers, nurturing learning and shaping the education experiences of their students. This new institute is a very welcome development that will consolidate this centre of excellence for initial teacher education in the West/North-West region.” Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris T.D., said: “This is a really exciting partnership between three of our colleges. WISE aims to create a Centre of Excellence that will serve to strengthen the collective expertise of three teacher education providers in NUI Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and St. Angela’s College Sligo. The establishment of the Institute will aim to future proof teacher education provision, including in the context of the potential emergence of a technological university in the West/ North West such as is proposed by the Connacht Ulster Alliance of GMIT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT, by bringing together the teacher education providers in the region. I want to offer my congratulations to all involved.” Founding Director of Western Institute for Studies in Education and Head of the School of Education, NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the Western Institute for Studies in Education, which represents the culmination of several years of partnership and collaboration between the three main providers of teacher education in the West and Northwest: St Angela’s College, Sligo; Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology; and NUI Galway. Each of the three institutions has established reputations, nationally and internationally, in teacher education; and the new Institute will facilitate a cooperative strategic alignment to promote and enhance our research, our teaching, and our engagement with the community, and our partner schools.”  Welcoming the establishment, Amanda McCloat, President of St Angela’s College, said: “This Institute builds on the excellent national and international reputation and close working relationship of NUI Galway, St Angela’s College and GMIT and collectively will serve to enhance teacher education provision and research.” Dr Orla Flynn, President of GMIT, in a strong endorsement of this new alliance said: “The Western Institute for Studies in Education will greatly facilitate all three institutions in enhancing teacher education provision and research and in responding collectively and innovatively to the specific educational needs of young people in our region.”    In the last decade, two major reviews of the structure of teacher education in Ireland were undertaken, authored by the leading Finnish educationist, Professor Pasi Sahlberg. This new development reinvigorates and consolidates the Sahlberg policy recommendations (2012, 2018) by recognising formally the commitment of each of the three partners to come together under the platform of the Institute on the basis of equality and reciprocity. The Western Institute for Studies in Education is underpinned by a strong commitment to become a collaborative, complimentary and creative force in teacher education regionally, nationally and internationally.  Noting the significance of the Western Institute for Studies in Education for teacher education, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “I am delighted to see the Sahlberg Reforms implemented in this exciting new initiative for the coordination and enhancement of teacher education West of the Shannon. “My congratulations to Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc and the School of Education team at NUI Galway; Amanda McCloat and colleagues at St Angela’s College Sligo; Dr Orla Flynn, Dr Paddy Tobin and Dr Dermot O’Donovan and the School of Design and Creative Arts, GMIT, in implementing these important policy recommendations for higher education, and specifically the future of teacher education in our region and in Ireland. It respects our values of openness to new ideas and to partnerships in excellence, sustaining the future of research-led teacher education which itself sustains our future as a society. I wish the new Institute well as it grows and develops in the coming years.”   The individual and joint achievements, and capacity for enhanced collaborative expertise, of the three partners were recognised explicitly by the review team in the Sahlberg teacher education reform (2018). In this regard the quality of the relationship underpinning the collaborative efforts was clearly identified as a firm foundation for future developments. The Institute will now coordinate and build on these acknowledged successes. -Ends-

Monday, 17 May 2021

Research aims to co-design wellbeing and educational supports for young people and their parents, to support educational re-engagement following the transition back to school A new study by NUI Galway’s UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and the School of Education will explore how young people (aged 12-18 years) are coping in the context of Covid-19, with a particular focus on wellbeing and education. Led by NUI Galway Professors Pat Dolan and Gerry MacRuairc and supported by colleagues in the Centre and School, the study, entitled ‘Crisis Coping - Living and Learning through Covid-19’, aims to co-design wellbeing and educational supports for young people and their parents, to support educational re-engagement following the transition back to school.  A range of innovative and participatory methodologies are being used to explore the lived experiences and key concerns of young people in Ireland, with a particular focus on traditionally, and/or newly marginalised young people, since the start of the pandemic. These will include: Focus group webinars with young people, teachers, education support workers and education leaders. Ecological Momentary Assessment, an assessment method which facilitates the exploration of human experience through brief, repeated assessments on a mobile device. Photovoice, a method to visually document their experiences. Interviews with parents. Dr Cormac Forkan of NUI Galway’s UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and lead of the Ecological Momentary Assessment team, said: “We are delighted to launch the Ecological and Momentary Assessment and Photovoice phase of our research involving 150 adolescents across Ireland. These methods will provide a unique window into the lives of young people as they encounter, in real-time, the challenges and opportunities associated with living and learning during Covid-19.” Over a seven-day period, the participants will complete four short daily questionnaires, delivered through the REDCap platform (a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases)  focusing on motivation for learning, mood, availability and quality of social support, type and intensity of stressors and uplifts, and coping strategies used. The observed experiences will be unpacked further with a sub-sample of participants using Photovoice, which will give young people an opportunity to submit photographs or other creations to tell their experiences or illustrate their living and learning experiences through Covid-19. Ecological Momentary Assessment team member, Dr Cliona Murray, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “The innovative REDCap software facilitates real-time research that offers a unique insight into marginalised young people's day-to-day experiences and is also a practical solution to the challenges of data collection during pandemic restrictions.” The project will culminate in an intervention phase where “catch-up” supports, informed by the findings of preceding data collection phases, will be delivered in selected schools through a partnership with Professional Master of Education students and teacher educators from the School of Education. The project will conclude with the development of policy recommendations, followed by a synthesis and evaluation of the project and its findings. Post Doctoral Researcher Dr Carmen Kealy (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway), who is driving the project forward under the Principal Investigators guidance, said: “The pandemic has had and continues to hugely impact on young people’s education and wellbeing. This collaborative project is a unique opportunity to not simply research the problem but to come up with real-world, practical solutions.” Dr Elaine Keane from the School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting, dynamic, and much-needed project, focused on the ‘crisis coping’ experiences of young people in Ireland, in relation to life and learning during Covid-19. We are delighted to be working so closely with young people to co-design meaningful and effective supports and we look forward to making important policy and practice recommendations in due course.” The study, which is currently underway, is an 18-month project funded by the Health Research Board and Irish Research Council and is one of the first Social Science projects to be funded by the Health Research Board.  For more information on the project contact crisiscoping@nuigalway.ie, or visit http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/projects/currentprojects/crisiscopinglivingandlearningthroughcovid-19/. -Ends-

Monday, 17 May 2021

Launch of new eLearning programme for university staff on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education The Irish Universities Association Equality Network is today launching the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Higher Education eLearning programme, as a successor programme to LEAD (Living Equality and Diversity), which was developed by the IUA Equality Network in 2012. This new EDI programme will involve a blended approach to generating mainstream staff conversation and engagement with equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights issues in all our institutions. The purpose of the EDI in HE eLearning programme is:   (1) to raise awareness of how equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights issues permeate organisational culture, and (2) to understand what third level education staff responsibilities are under Irish equality and human rights legislation. Launching the programmeMinister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris said: “Our lives have changed rapidly since the foundation of the LEAD programme, so I am excited to launch the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in HE eLearning Programme. This programme is intended to support university staff to understand how these crucial issues permeate our society and organisations, so that universities are empowered to respond in their everyday working lives. Programmes such as this are crucial to helping us develop and deliver the future of our higher education sector and the diversity we want to see in our universities. I would encourage all university staff to undertake this EDI programme.” Commenting on the launch of the programme, Dr Marie Connolly, Director Human Rights, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Limerick said: “This programme is intended to be practical to assist university staff in their day-to-day work, to help them think differently and put policy into practice. I would like to thank the external agencies for their expert advice and feedback on the draft programme, including the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), Pavee Point, AsIam, and LGBT Ireland.” One of the first participants on the course Dr Caroline Murphy, Lecturer in Employment Relations said: “From a personal, professional and practical perspective I found the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Higher Education eLearning programme insightful and very applicable in my day to day working life. The programme encourages reflection and challenged me to think differently about how I work and engage with my colleagues and students. The content design and the interactive resources made the course itself easy to complete.” The programme has been funded by institutional contributions, with part funding provided by the HEA through the Athena SWAN Capacity Fund. To develop the programme, a range of specialist EDI practitioners from across the sector have engaged with a leading international EDI eLearning company Marshall’s eLearning to create a bespoke EDI training and awareness programme for staff in the Irish HE sectors. The programme has been tailored to the needs of Ireland’s institutions, including the Irish legal context, and then further adapted at institutional level to reflect each institution’s EDI policies and services. This programme will complement other offerings in each of the individual institutions in addition to further sector wide collaborative online initiatives such as the pending on-line Race Equality awareness programme which will launch in June 2021. Given the rapid pace of technological change since the launch of the original LEAD programme, EDI in HE uses interactive multimedia resources (website, workbook, podcast, video, voice recordings etc) to ensure that the programme is fully accessible, and to engage HEI staff with the programme content. It is hoped that the programme will enable third level education staff to consider and reflect on the part they play in building an inclusive culture, across the higher education sector. Full digital accessibility options are used throughout the module, with learners being able to access the material online, or via workbook or an audio podcast. The programme consists of four separate modules, details below, each of 30-45 minutes duration, which can be completed either as an entire programme, or as a series of modules allowing participants to build up their knowledge over time. The EDI in Higher Education programme will be available on the Human Resources Staff Training and Development site at: http://nuigalway.learnupon.com Click on our online Cois Coiribe which puts a spotlight on research and debate within our university community on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), in our society and across higher education, and the challenges and barriers people continue to face.     Ends

Monday, 17 May 2021

NUI Galway will host a free webinar on the devastating effects, record infection rates and loss of life caused by the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The webinar will speak to people who have been living through and observing the crisis first-hand, with panellists based in Bangalore, Calcutta, and Mumbai. The online event will take place on Wednesday, 19 May at 2pm. The pannelists come from a range of backgrounds, including public health medicine, journalism, philosophy, economics and history.They will offer insight into the public health situation, the loss of life, grief and funerals, rural versus urban India, regional variation during the outbreak, the political response and issues of education. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The tragic events in India have shown the devastation caused by the coronavirus epidemic. This event offers an opportunity to learn from people living through one of the most terrible episodes that the world has experienced, to hear their stories and to understand how far we are, in global terms, from overcoming the pandemic.” Panellists include Professor Kanchana Mahadevan, a university professor and educator in Mumbai; Dr Sanjay Nagral, a physician in the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, who has written extensively on public health and the ethics of health care in Indian newspapers; Dr Srinivas Raghavendran, an economist at NUI Galway who is currently based in Bangalore; the journalist and commentator Aveek Sen in Calcutta; and Dr Archana Venkatesh, a specialist in rural India. The event is co-sponsored with the Royal Irish Academy. To attend the online webinar, please register at: https://tinyurl.com/butsasph or https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_omWY4L5cR0C9ts6DdGz9fg. For further information about the webinar, contact Professor Daniel Carey at daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 17 May 2021

Minister O’Gorman announces joint research project with NUI Galway into Language, Terminology and Representations in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ NUI Galway to lead research project on 'Language, Terminology and Representations' in Mother and Baby Homes Project will implement one of the recommendations made by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes subcommittee on ‘Terminology, Identity, and Representation’ The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today announced a joint research project into “Language, Terminology and Representations” in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ with researchers in NUI Galway. The project was recommended by the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum. A funding call was then initiated by the Department under the Irish Research Council COALESCE Research Fund in 2019, for which researchers from NUI Galway were successful. The project will examine language, terminology, and representation of those directly affected by the Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions in twentieth century Ireland, as addressed by the recent Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. In responding to the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation, the Government approved the development of a Strategic Action Plan encompassing a suite of measures.   In announcing the award, the Minister stated: “This study is a direct response to recommendations made in the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions and has also formed part of the Government’s response to the Final Report from the Commission of Investigation. The aim of the project is to highlight the stigmatising and labelling language that has been used in the past and to provide guidance for stakeholders as to how to address this issue into the future.” Minister O'Gorman added:: “There is a particular challenge in Ireland to find ways to adequately address failings in the past. While this is an important project alone it is a part of the Government’s wider action plan in response to the Commission’s report. This collaboration should help to inform responses by my department and related agencies in the future that avoids further victimisation and labelling. It may chart a path for an explicit social and historical justice approach that can be applied to this, and related areas of concern.” The research team led by Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from the Tuam Oral History Project at NUI Galway, will hold four public consultations. The Steering Committee will include four members of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum – Rosemary Adaser, Bernie Harold, Alice McEvoy and Adrian McKenna. Professor McGregor and Dr Buckley from NUI Galway have stated: “The approach to the project will be informed by the views of survivors. It will be collaborative and will take its lead from those directly affected by the issues. We are looking forward to working with the project group to produce recommendations and a glossary of terms that acknowledge the lived experiences of those who have spent time in the relevant institutions and drawing from international evidence.” Ends

Monday, 17 May 2021

ONK Therapeutics Enters into a Research Agreement with NUI Galway to Support Optimization of its Dual-Targeted NK Cell Therapy against AML  Agreement with NUI Galway, supervised by leading expert in the cellular environment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), Dr. Eva Szegezdi Funded by ONK Therapeutics, the research will support engineering and optimization of its dual-targeted NK cell therapy candidate for AML (ONKT104) Aims to explore the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the cancer microenvironment in the context of AML ONK Therapeutics Ltd, an innovative natural killer (NK) cell therapy company, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) which provides access to unique expertise in evaluating the cancer cell microenvironment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and targeting of AML stem cells in models mimicking the bone marrow microenvironment. The research will support the optimization of ONK Therapeutics’ dual-targeted NK cell therapy program, ONKT104, being developed for the treatment of AML. ONK Therapeutics will fund a year-long research program in the laboratory of Dr. Eva Szegezdi, lecturer in Biochemistry, NUI Galway, Head of the Blood Cancer Network Ireland. She has particular expertise in the AML microenvironment as well as cell death pathways, especially those initiated by ‘so-called’ death ligands (e.g. TRAIL) used by effector immune cells.  AML is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. It is estimated that some 21,000 patients in the US and 18,000 in Europe are diagnosed with AML each year. It has a high unmet medical need having the lowest survival rate of all types of leukemia. ONKT104 is a dual-targeted NK cell engineered to express a humanized scFv targeting the leukemic stem cell antigen CLL-1 (also known as CLEC12A) obtained through an option license agreement from Cellerant Therapeutics, together with ONK Therapeutics’ proprietary high-affinity TRAIL variant, targeting death receptor 4 (DR4). CLL-1 is selectively expressed on leukemic stem cells with no expression on normal hematopoietic stem cells, which ensures safer targeting and a lower risk of prolonged toxicity to normal bone marrow cells.  In pre-clinical research studies, a monoclonal antibody therapy targeting CLL-1 has revealed potential efficacy against AML cells and shown to be effective in reducing AML burden in a xenograft model. In addition, a CLL-1 CAR-T cell model has shown promising pre-clinical activity and has recently entered the clinic. ONK Therapeutics believes its dual-targeted NK cell therapy approach may have several advantages over a CAR-T approach including shorter persistence of NK cells, reducing the risk of sustained neutropenia; proven inherent anti-AML activity of NK cells; the reduced likelihood of toxicity due to cytokine release syndrome or neurotoxicity; and the logistically simpler allogeneic, off-the-shelf nature of NK cells, reducing time to treatment once suitable patients are identified. AML is a very challenging disease in which to achieve sustained, long term disease control due to the high plasticity and adaptability of AML stem cells, and the tendency for resistant cells to emerge and grow. In addition to targeting CLL-1, this project will evaluate multi-targeted approaches by combined targeting of other leukemia stem cell antigens. ONK Therapeutics’ founder and CSO Prof Michael O’Dwyer said, “Alongside our in-house research, the project team at NUI Galway will explore construct design, as well as the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the context of AML strengthening our ONKT104 program. The aim is to select an optimized candidate to take forward into clinical development as a treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory AML.” Dr. Eva Szegezdi said, “The project will evaluate different constructs that may be able to achieve synergistic killing of cancer cells and reduce the emergence of disease resistance. These include the co-expression of CARs targeting other AML antigens, in addition to CLL-1, such as CD96, TIM3, and CD38 alongside the TRAIL variant.” ONK Therapeutics was formed based on technology and intellectual property developed at NUI Galway by Prof. Michael O’Dwyer, who retains his academic position as Professor of Haematology, Consultant Haematologist and HRB Clinician Scientist, alongside his role at the company. Over the past 12 months, ONK Therapeutics has expanded its team and operations at its headquarters and R&D facility in Ireland’s med-tech hub in Galway, where it now has 16 employees, with an additional 5 employees based in its US subsidiary in San Diego. -Ends-

Friday, 14 May 2021

A total of 452 cases relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17 Research from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway has been published in a new report. In 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, requested Tusla - Child and Family Agency, to commission new research into the number of children who have been subject to a Section 12, meaning that they have been removed to a place of safety by an Garda Síochána. Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 is invoked when a member of An Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that (a) there is the immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child and (b) it would not be sufficient for the protection of the child from such immediate and serious risk to await the making of the application for the emergency care order by Tusla under section 13. The research, led by Dr Carmel Devaney, Dr Rosemary Crosse, Dr Leonor Rodriguez, and Dr Charlotte Silke of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, was infomed by anonymised data on 452 Section 12 incidents during the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, and 28 semi-structured interviews with Tusla staff. The research found that: A total of 452 Section 12s relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study. The majority of these children and young people were subject to one Section 12 in this time period. For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours. This evidence suggests a strong need to increase the provision of early intervention parent and family support services for children, young people, and families, to reduce vulnerability and to respond to needs in a timely manner, and avoiding the need for one or more Section 12s. A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17. Such findings necessitate further exploration of the needs of this age group (who have the highest incidence of Section 12s) and provision of appropriate resources and training for staff of both Tusla and An Garda Síochána on responding to the needs of this group. Lead author of the report, Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: "This research highlights a need for increased emergency placements for young people who have been removed to a place of safety by An Garda Síochána. It also emphasises the need to support parents and young people at an earlier stage so that this type of situation does not arise. Critically, it recommends giving An Garda Síochána the power to access support from extended family members in these circumstances, which would lessen the use of inappropriate placements for children and young people." The research commission request arose after the publication of ‘Audit of the exercise by An Garda Síochána of the provisions of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991’ prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon for the Garda Commissioner in 2017. This report did not audit Tusla’s actions after invoking Section 12, however, a number of the recommendations within the Shannon Report related to Tusla policies and procedures in relation to Section 12 and Section 13 of the Child Care Act 1991. The full report and an executive summary of 'Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991' can be read in full at: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/.   Feedback and further queries on the report can be emailed to the National Research Office at trc@tusla.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The scholarship, valued at €10,000 per student, supports four undergraduate students from County Roscommon each year NUI Galway staff and students held a virtual event to meet Leaving Certificate students from secondary schools in County Roscommon to launch applications for enrolment to the Pauline and Bunnie Jones Scholarship 2021. At the event, NUI Galway and the Jones family announced the extension of the scheme, which was established to encourage academic achievement and support students from County Roscommon enrolling in an undergraduate degree at NUI Galway.  Supported by the Jones family of Tulsk, in honour of their parents Pauline and Bunnie Jones, the scholarship, valued at €10,000 per student, supports four undergraduate students each year. Speaking about the scholarship, Adrian Jones said: “We are investing in Roscommon’s future, in honour of our parents who made great sacrifices to invest in us. They both believed passionately in the transformative power of learning. Our father’s formal education ended at 12 but, in his 40’s, he earned a Diploma in Social Studies, made possible by the dedication of Michael D. Higgins, then lecturing at NUI Galway. Our mother went back to NUI Galway, her alma mater, in her 70’s to study Archaeology.” Four scholarships are awarded to four students presenting the highest Leaving Certificate results each year. Two scholarships are awarded to students attending Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown and two further scholarships to students attending all other schools in Co. Roscommon. The four recipients of the scholarship in its inaugural year were Catherine Mannion and Joshua Hanrahan from Scoil Mhuire Strokestown, and Sinéad Gorham and Ciara Mulheir from Castlerea Community School. Scholarship recipient Sinéad Gorham said: “It’s incredibly comforting to know the immense amount of support that surrounds us students in our academic journey. The Jones Family have made it so clear to us recipients that they are here to not only support our academic studies but in our future careers and in our overall wellbeing. I recommend any Leaving Certificate student to apply for the scholarship because with the Jones Family mentorship, I believe that all recipients have a great foundation to receive what they want in life.” Speaking about supporting young people, Dr Deirdre Jones said: “In our family, we are passionate about education providing opportunities. If you invest in young people, encourage young people and make it a little bit easier for them, hopefully they will turn around in three decades time and help somebody else.” Director of Development at NUI Galway, Julie Stafford, said: “The Pauline and Bunnie Jones Scholarship programme encompasses all of the values we hold at NUI Galway: respect, sustainability, openness and excellence. The Jones family are part of our alumni community and it is a privilege to see them give back in such a generous way to our University and our region by supporting the next generation of students and acknowledging their talent and potential.” To be eligible for the award, students are required to have attended and sat the Leaving Certificate at any school in County Roscommon. They must apply for any full-time undergraduate course at NUI Galway through the CAO and upon receipt and acceptance of a CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Students are required to complete an expression of interest in the scholarship on or before Sunday, 1 August 2021. Full details of the scholarship scheme and the expression of interest form are available online: www.nuigalway.ie/roscommonscholarship/ -Ends- 

Monday, 10 May 2021

NUI Galway is calling on scientists and science enthusiasts to enter FameLab, the world’s largest science communication competition held in 30 countries. For the ninth year running, one of four regional FameLab Ireland heats will take place virtually in Galway on Thursday, 10 June. With science becoming increasingly specialised, those working in the field can struggle to explain their projects to colleagues let alone to the general public. The FameLab competition, an initiative of the Cheltenham Science Festival, recognises this and challenges up and coming scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explain a complex idea in a simple and engaging way. By entering FameLab, participants will begin a journey with like-minded people, build their networks and expand skillsets essential for developing their career. The Galway event is being managed by the British Council and NUI Galway, and forms part of the annual FameLab Ireland competition. The Galway competition is open to a range of people who apply, work on, teach or study science: People who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business. Those working on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (ranging from patent clerks, statisticians, consultants and industry). People who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree. University students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over. Armed only with their wits and a few props, previous finalists in the FameLab Galway heat have delivered short three-minute pieces on pertinent science concepts. Expect to hear anything from why men have nipples, how 3D glasses work and is nuclear energy a good or bad thing? Presentations will be judged according to FameLab’s “3 Cs”: Content, Clarity and Charisma. Winning contestants from FameLab Galway will attend a communication masterclass and participate in the FameLab Ireland final in September. The winner will represent Ireland at the online FameLab international finals.  An initial information briefing will take place virtually on Thursday, 13 May from 12pm-1:30pm at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-briefing-2021-tickets-150080668319. To enter the FameLab Galway heat, please complete the online registration form https://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply by Tuesday, 1 June. FameLab Galway online regional heat is partnered with NUI Galway, GMIT and a number of research centres: Insight, MET (Medical and Engineering Technologies), CÚRAM and Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software at NUI Galway. For further information about FameLab Galway contact event organiser, James Blackwell at james.blackwell@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 May 2021

Professor Abhay Pandit (NUI Galway) and Professor David Brayden (UCD), Scientific Director and Co-Director of CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, have been appointed to Ireland’s first National Research Ethics Committees in the areas of Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (NREC-CT) by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly. Ireland’s first NREC was established in March 2020 as part of the national coordinated response to COVID-19. The new NRECs announced this week will address the important area of clinical trials of medicinal products for human use and clinical investigations of medical devices. The establishments of these NRECs will create a national system for research ethics review, which will cultivate the benefits of health research for patients and the public and build a transparent and cohesive research ethics review system that strengthens the national research infrastructure. Professor Abhay Pandit is Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway. His research integrates material science and biological paradigms in developing solutions for chronic diseases. “I am delighted to be appointed to this critical committee and to have the opportunity to help shape the research ethics framework that will support more clinical trial work in Ireland that prioritises patient interests.” he commented. Prof Pandit has received numerous awards and distinctions, being inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative International Society. He was also elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in recognition of his outstanding contributions to establishing a national centre which will develop transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases.  He is the first Ireland-based academic to be bestowed with these honors. He has also been an elected member on the Council for both the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and European Society for Biomaterials Society. Professor David Brayden is Co-Director of CÚRAM and a Full Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery at the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Veterinary Medicine and a Senior Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute. He has established a critical mass of drug delivery expertise in Ireland and led the SFI Irish Drug Delivery network from 2008-2013. His major research interests are in oral, buccal, and intra-articular peptide delivery using permeation enhancers, nanotechnology, and drug-device combinations. “I’m honoured to be appointed to the NREC, it’s a wonderful opportunity to contribute to and support Irish health research and have a role to play in ensuing that the interests Irish patients and contributors to clinical trials are protected. Ireland is a global hub for MedTech R&D and it’s vital that we have a strong clear ethical framework in place to support further growth” he said. Prof Brayden has also received numerous awards for his work including a Distinguished Service Award from the Controlled Release Society for services to its Board of Scientific Advisors. In 2012, he was the first Irish academic to be inducted into the College of Fellows of the Controlled Release Society. In 2014, he received an award for service to research from the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2017, he became the first Irish academic to be elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who®. In total, 18 members have been appointed to three NRECs – two in clinical trials and one in medical devices. These Committees will be responsible for reviewing the ethics underpinning research proposals in the area of health research. These committees will be tasked with providing expert ethical guidance for the research process that will protect the safety, dignity and well-being of health research and clinical trial participants in Ireland. The remit of the NREC-CTs is to review the submission of ethics applications related to Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMP). This includes interventional studies and low-interventional studies involving medicinal products for human use. The NREC-CTs will initially run concurrently with many local recognised RECs to review CTIMP ethics applications for a defined transition period. This approach will collectively support this important area of research and ensure a smooth transition ahead of the EU Clinical Trial Regulation. The full announcement with details of all 18 nominees is available at https://www.nrecoffice.ie/members-appointed-to-irelands-first-nrecs-for-clinical-trials-and-medical-devices/ ENDS

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Open Scholarship Week will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally NUI Galway will host a virtual Open Scholarship Week showcasing the importance of research and education that is open and accessible to everyone. The free events will take place online from 10–14 May and is coordinated through the Open Scholarship Community Galway.  Open Scholarship is a global movement towards research and educational practices that are collaborative and transparent. It aims to make research and educational resources such as publications, data, research outputs and teaching and learning resources publicly available as early as possible, as well as actively encouraging participation in the research process with the general public. Open Scholarship Week will feature contributions from a host of national and international scientists working in the domain including the opening keynote address by Professor Frank Miedema,  Professor of Open Science at Utrecht University. The contributions will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally. Panel discussions will examine how open can change the world, the use of open practices in teaching, learning, and the use of Open Educational Resources. Presentations will also focus on how research is enabled through the use of open software and open data. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the move of researchers and institutions to push for Open Scholarship, Open Science and overall greater transparency in the execution of research. Open Scholarship Week 2021 builds on 2020 and 2019 events hosted at NUI Galway, which were the first of their kind in Ireland. It brings together researchers, academics, educators, and members of the public to highlight and showcase what Open Scholarship is and how to work together towards creating knowledge that is open to everyone. During the week themes such as films as a method of research dissemination, virtual reality and environmental protection will be examined from the open perspective. The week will also feature open workshops and a hands-on session. As part of the week’s activities, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology will host and sponsor an Open Scholarship prize in conjunction with Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland software Research Center. Hardy Schwamm, Open Scholarship Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Thanks to our brilliant organising committee we have a varied programme for people who are new to open Scholarship as well as for Open enthusiasts. Open Scholarship Week has developed from a small, local event to an internationally recognised event that showcases the benefits of many Open practices.” The move towards Open Scholarship has received substantial support from the funders of scientific research such as the European Union Horizon programs and from national research funders such as Science Foundation Ireland. All sessions at Open Scholarship Week 2021 are free and open to everyone who is interested in the idea of Open Scholarship. To register visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/osw/. For further information visit www.osc-galway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Researchers are looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma A leading Haematologist at Galway University Hospital and the Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group at School of Medicine in NUI Galway are looking at improving health outcomes for patients with Mantle cell Lymphoma by conducting a clinical trial of a new treatment drug which aims to improve survival rates. The trial is being led in Galway by Dr Amjad Hayat consultant haematologist, who has led many previous clinical trials in this area. The Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group Research group, previously knowns as the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, have been in operation since 2002 years at NUI Galway, with an extensive repertoire and experience in oncology and haematology research. Dr Hayat said: “Participating in this trial is very important for the future of Mantel Cell Lymphoma treatments and its patients. The trial is expected to continue for seven years, which will include a treatment period and a follow up period, giving the researchers as much information as possible about the efficacy and safety of the drug.” Galway University Hospital is one of 150 sites globally to take part in this clinical trial with an estimated 500 participants to be recruited on a voluntary basis across each site. Dr Hayat continued: “We are now looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma (MCL). MCL is a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma equating to about 7% of all patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma each year. Sadly, MCL at present has poor prognosis with average survival rate of less than three years from diagnosis.” Explaining the treatment for Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients, Dr Hayat added: “Ireland’s standard of care treatment offered to newly diagnosed, physically fit MCL patients at present include an intensive chemotherapy regime coupled with an autologous transplant. Two targeted therapy drugs called Bendamustine and Rituximab are offered to patients who are less physically fit. This trial proposes a new experimental drug called Zanubrutinib coupled with existing drug Rituximab which may be more efficient at treating MCL and hopefully, prolonging survival rates. “Zanubrutinib differs from previous treatments as it blocks substances found in the body that help cancerous Mantel Cell Lymphoma cells to grow and survive. By blocking these substances, Zanubrutinib could essentially slow the growth of these cells and may improve symptoms of MCL.” Dr Hayat conluded: “In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved this drug for use on Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients with continued clinical trials and approximately 1500 patients having received the drug to date. As recruitment opens we look forward to seeing what the results will bring for patients.” Patients or family members wishing to enquire about this clinical trial and other clinical trials taking place at the the Advanced Therapies and Cancers Group can visit the website at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hrbcrfg/research/advancedtherapiescancers/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Young women least likely to say Yes to a Covid-19 vaccine  Young women are significantly less likely to say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, new research from a joint Irish-UK project has revealed. The vaccine hesitancy study carried out by NUI Galway, in collaboration with University of Huddersfield, England, canvassed the views of 1,000 people online in Ireland and the UK, recording their attitudes and intentions in relation to Covid-19 vaccination programmes. Findings from the research are to be presented this month to the Behavioural Change Subgroup that advises the Government’s National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet). Dr Jane Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Director of the Mobile Technology and Health (mHealth) Research Group at NUI Galway, said: “Understanding vaccine hesitancy is key to addressing public concerns, promoting confidence and increasing vaccine uptake.”  The research revealed: :: 75% of those who participated in the survey intend to get a Covid-19 vaccine; 11% said they would not; and 14% said they were unsure.  :: Women and younger people were significantly less likely to report intention to avail of a Covid-19 vaccine. :: Women aged under 30 were significantly less likely to say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, with fewer than 70% indicating a positive response and 20% indicating high levels of uncertainty.  Dr Walsh said: “It is possible, that one of the reasons behind young women’s reluctance to signal an intention to get a Covid-19 vaccine is related to issues around fertility and this warrants further investigation." The survey revealed that peer influences are strongly associated with young women’s intentions on vaccination.  Dr Walsh said: “This influence was particularly strong in the ‘no’ and ‘unsure’ group. These findings suggest that messages that are channelled through relevant social influencers may have a significant impact on vaccine uptake. It is also concerning that those who vote ‘no’ to the vaccine have a lower sense of civic responsibility. But what is clear, in general, is that there is still a high level of uncertainty around Covid-19 vaccination.”  To date, there have been almost 250,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland while more than 1 million people have had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. In the UK there have been more than 4.4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 34 million people have had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  The research team cautioned that positive attitudes towards vaccination are far less likely to be driven by fear messaging but rather by developing a stronger message of trust in the government and authorities. Dr Susie Kola-Palmer, University of Huddersfield, co-leader on the research project, said: “We can shift attitudes and intentions to Covid-19 vaccine from ‘unsure’ to ‘yes’ if public health campaigns provide clear messages about the benefits, as well as clear information on the low risks associated with having the vaccine and promote a positive sense of civic responsibility. “Trust in authorities is a significant barrier among people who have no intention of being vaccinated. Public health experts and governments should consider strategies to address this. Personalised messaging needs to be targeted at young people, and women in particular, to address their concerns. And it needs to be made a priority.”  The study also found that people were more likely to signal intention to get a vaccine if they had a higher trust in authorities; high satisfaction with government response to the pandemic; and if they were more likely to adhere to public health guidelines in general.  Ends 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

The final frontier for engaging school children with Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) learning Researchers at NUI Galway are leading a Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme team with partners University of Limerick, Met Éireann and Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, to deliver school children’s projects high into the stratosphere to examine the effects of near space on the experiments. The ‘Spaceship Earth’ project delivered two space themed workshops to primary school children in Galway, Limerick and Kerry. In these workshops children were taught about the importance of Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) how to ask interesting scientific questions, and then to develop experiments to find the answers. The project involves launching five high altitude weather balloons from Met Éireann’s observatory in Valentia in Co. Kerry on Friday, 2 July. The researchers expect these will reach more than 30Km (100,000 feet) and will expose the payload experiments to the extreme environment of low pressure, low temperature and cosmic radiation. After maximum ascent the space balloon bursts, and a parachute is deployed which ensures a safe landing back to earth. The payload is instrumented with electronics such as GPS, data loggers, and tracking technology to accurately find its return location. Once the experiments return, students will engage in analysis and discussion about their experiments that will extend and deepen students’ learning. Lero’s Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Project Lead and Professor of Medical Device Technology and Director of the HIVE lab at NUI Galway, said: “This exciting Spaceship Earth STEMM outreach project mission aims to inspire and empower students to think big, beyond the horizon and show them that involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine is for everyone." Charles Gillman, Chief Operations Officer at Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory, said: “Met Éireann has a long history of launching weather balloons at Valentia Observatory, with the first launched in the early 1940s.  Every day since, these balloons have been providing valuable information on current atmospheric conditions that are essential in helping to produce our weather forecasts in Ireland and around the world.” Mr Gillman added: “We are delighted for our weather balloons to play a part in the Spaceship Earth project and look forward to learning the results of this exciting and inspirational STEMM experiment – it really is out of this world!” Potential STEMM experiments include: Learning about randomised control trial design by taking 10 sunflower seeds and allocating five for spaceflight and five to remain as a control and then monitoring their growth afterwards to see the effect of the intervention (spaceflight). Exploring the low-pressure effects of high altitude on the shape of bubble wrap, grapes, or marshmallows. Investigating the high-altitude Environmental effects on a wet sponge – will the water boil off? Examining how zero gravity affects the operation of medical technology? The Spaceship Earth mission included over 300 students in three schools in the west and south of Ireland: Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore, Galway; Scoil Iosagain, CBS, Limerick, and Scoil An Chroi Naofa, Presentation, Tralee Kerry. Principal Edel Carney, Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore, Galway, said: “Spaceship Earth is one of the best STEMM engagement initiatives I have seen in my career. It makes learning about Science fun and has inspired our students.” Over 60 student experiments will be launched on Friday, 2 July, including mission patch artwork that the school children have made, that will be returned to them as a memento of the historic flight. In addition, the Spaceship Earth team will attempt to achieve the world record for highest altitude paper plane flight. Dr Patrick Johnson, School of Education at University of Limerick, said: “This project is a unique opportunity for schools to engage in a novel and exciting venture that aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills, creativity and curiosity, with the additional goal of developing positive dispositions amongst those involved toward STEMM subjects.” As well as experiments, these stratosphere balloons can capture visually stunning pictures of the curvature of Planet Earth with on-board cameras providing an evocative way for people to engage with STEMM and to realise the relationship between STEMM and Art. In addition, it reminds everyone that our unique planet is our spaceship in the universe and that we need to focus all our efforts to avert climate change. Dr Cornelia Connolly, School of Education at NUI Galway and Lero, explained: “This project offers a unique opportunity not just to research attitudinal responses to STEMM but working directly with the teachers and young people we are introducing and showcasing innovative STEMM projects, encouraging engagement.” More information can be found at the Spaceship Earth Project website: www.SpaceShipEarth.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil €26,900 bailithe ag scéim speisialta foirne chun síntiúis charthanúla a thabhairt. Tá Ciste Carthanachta na hOllscoile ag tacú le 13 charthanas i réigiún na Gaillimhe a bhuíochas le síntiúis mhíosúla agus bronntanais aonuaire i rith 2020. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Gabhaimid buíochas le gach duine den fhoireann a chuidigh le hairgead a bhailiú do charthanais áitiúla. Is é tobar na huile mhaitheasa é. “Is comhartha cumhachtach é freisin go bhfuil ár bhfís agus ár luachanna mar atá meas agus oscailteacht le sonrú ar gach toise dár smaointeoireacht agus saothar, agus léiríonn sé gur féidir le smaointe beaga dlús a chur leis an aird a dhírímid ar leas an phobail agus gur féidir leis na smaointe céanna fás le difear suntasach a dhéanamh do shaol na ndaoine inár bpobal féin.” Tá an ciste á roinnt i measc 13 charthanas a thacaíonn le daoine gan dídean, daoine leochaileacha, daoine le riachtanais bhreise, chomh maith le cuidiú le dul i ngleic le sláinte, sláinte mheabhrach agus féinmharú agus chun ár gcathair agus ár gcontae a dhéanamh níos sábháilte agus níos cineálta. Is iad na carthanais atá i gceist Clann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe; COPE; Ospís na Gaillimhe; na Samáraigh; Naomh Uinseann de Pól; Ionad Éigeandála um Éigniú na Gaillimhe; Croí; Kinvara Alive; Cumann Alzheimer an Iarthair, Gaillimh; Comhpháirtíocht Uathachais na Gaillimhe; Ord Mhálta; Claddagh Watch; Blue Teapot. Dúirt Imelda Byrne, urlabhraí Chiste Carthanachta OÉ Gaillimh: “Thuig Ciste Carthanachta na hOllscoile go rímhaith tionchar na paindéime ar charthanais agus ar a gcumas a gcuid seirbhísí a reáchtáil, freastal ar an éileamh agus airgead a bhailiú. Tá creidiúint saothraithe ag ár gcomhghleacaithe as an mbealach ar thug siad aghaidh ar an dúshlán seo agus an méadú suntasach a tháinig ar shíntiúis na bliana roimhe sin agus tacaíocht curtha ar fáil do 13 charthanas.” Tá Clann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe ar cheann de na carthanais a bhainfidh leas as an gciste, agus mhínigh an príomhfheidhmeannach Karen Golden an difear a dhéanfaidh na síntiúis. “Thacaíomar le níos mó daoine ná riamh in 2020. Bhog 95 teaghlach isteach ina dtithe féin i rith na bliana agus rinne ár bhfoirne obair den scoth le linn na paindéime,” a dúirt Karen Golden. “Cuirfidh an cúnamh ó OÉ Gaillimh ar ár gcumas tacú le níos mó daoine gan dídean agus daoine atá i mbaol a bheith gan dídean inár bpobal agus cabhrú leo fanacht i dtithe uaidh seo amach.” Críoch

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

NUI Galway has announced that a special scheme for staff to make charitable donations has raised €26,900. The University’s An Ciste Carthanachta is supporting 13 charities in the Galway region thanks to monthly donations and one-off gifts during 2020. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We thank all of the staff who have contributed to raise funds for local charities. It is kindness made real. “It is also a powerful signal that our vision and values of respect and openness permeate all of our thinking and our work, and it demonstrates that our focus on the public good can begin with modest ideas and grow to make significant differences to the lives of people in our community.” The fund is being shared among 13 charities in the Galway region which support the homeless, the vulnerable and people with additional needs, as well as helping to address health, mental health and suicide, and in making the city and county a safer and more caring place to be. The benefitting charities are Galway Simon Community; COPE; Galway Hospice; Samaritans; St Vincent de Paul; Galway Rape Crisis Centre; Croí; Kinvara Alive; Western Alzheimers Galway; Galway Autism Partnership; Order of Malta; Claddagh Watch; and the Blue Teapot Theatre Company. Imelda Byrne, spokesperson for NUI Galway’s An Ciste Carthanachta, said: “The University’s An Ciste Carthanachta was acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on charities and their ability to run their services, to meet demand and to raise funds. Our colleagues deserve credit for the way in which they have responded to this perfect storm, with a significant increase in donations on the previous year giving the University the opportunity to support 13 charities.” Galway Simon Community is one of the charities to benefit from the fund, with chief executive Karen Golden explaining the difference the donations are making. "Galway Simon Community supported 646 households in 2020, comprising of 1,216 individuals. In the midst of the pandemic, we were able to prevent hundreds of individuals and families from homelessness thanks to the extraordinary dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteer teams who continued to support clients every single day,” Ms Golden said. “The funds from NUI Galway will enable us to support more people experiencing and at risk of homelessness in our community and to help them to leave homelessness behind for good.” Ends

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, including MRSA, are responsible for 25,000 deaths per year in the EU Research led by scientists in NUI Galway has identified a new way to make MRSA vulnerable to antibiotic treatment. The MRSA superbug is resistant to penicillin-type antibiotics making infections difficult to treat. The microbiology research team, discovered that when a gene called sucC in MRSA is mutated, it leads to the build-up of a molecule called succinyl-CoA. This increase in succinyl-CoA can change numerous proteins in MRSA, which makes the bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics again. The study has been published in the flagship journal of the American Society for Microbiology, mBio, and was funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council. The research was carried out by the Discipline of Microbiology at NUI Galway in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the US, and the University of Umeå in Sweden. Summarising the discovery Dr Chris Campbell, co-first author and NUI Galway microbiology PhD graduate, said: “A mutation that affected the way in which MRSA uses glucose to fuel growth unexpectedly switched off antibiotic resistance.” Co-first author and NUI Galway microbiology PhD student Claire Fingleton explains: “If we can find other ways to increase succinyl-CoA in MRSA, for example by developing drugs that have the same effect, it opens up the possibility that MRSA infections can be more easily treated with antibiotics. It would mean that penicillin-type antibiotics, which are currently ineffective for MRSA infections, could become successful once more in treating this superbug.” Finding ways to make MRSA sensitive to penicillin-type antibiotics again is a high priority in addressing the antimicrobial resistance crisis. “Penicillin-type antibiotics remain among the safest and most effective treatment options for bacterial infections, but unfortunately many bacteria including MRSA are now resistant to these drugs.” according to study co-author and NUI Galway microbiology postdoctoral fellow Dr Merve Zeden. Senior author of the study and Professor of Infectious Disease Microbiology at NUI Galway, Professor Jim O’Gara said: “Most people have been prescribed penicillin-type antibiotics at one time or another for the treatment of a bacterial infection. Ensuring that this class of antibiotics remains part of our arsenal of drugs against bacterial infections is imperative.” Antimicrobial resistance infections are predicted to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. In the US, MRSA ranks as the sixth most common cause of bacterial infection and number one in terms of mortality. Understanding why MRSA and other pathogens are resistant to antibiotics is an essential prerequisite to finding better therapeutic approaches for antimicrobial resistance infections. To read the full study in the mBio Journal visit: https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mBio.00530-21. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

NUI Galway’s Access Centre recently delivered the virtual UNI 4 U primary schools initiative awarding Certificates of Achievements to 200 children in three Galway City schools. UNI 4 U is a primary school outreach programme delivered in partnership with NUI Galway and three DEIS primary schools, Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla, Scoil Chroí Íosa in Mervue, and Radhrac na Mara, Presentation Road. Each year students from fourth, fifth, and sixth class are selected by their teachers to participate on this programme where they spend six weeks on campus during the school term. While the students are on campus they participate in a number of specifically designed Easter and Summer camps including university taster modules, discussion-led classes, and a range of fun interactive activities all based on campus. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this year the programme took place online with the Access Centre team creating a series of recorded material and worksheets for students to use in class in their school. Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager with NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “UNI 4 U is about demystifying the University and inviting primary school children onto campus to promote the value of education, and to develop their interpersonal, academic, and confidence skills. It is about enabling families to envision a future for their children in third level education, and in the broader context embracing diversity and inclusion, as core tenets of our work in schools.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Initiatives like UNI 4 U play a significant role in increasing equality of opportunity in our communities and increasing the diversity of our student population in years to come. UNI 4 U embodies NUI Galway’s vision and values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence – contributing to our community and our society for the public good. The message that we want to give to these young students is that NUI Galway is their University, it is a part of their community, and we hope, in years to come that they will become a part of our campus community as they continue their education at third level.”  Frank Keane, Principal of Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla, Galway, said: “UNI4U has probably been the most significant and successful transition programme for schools enabling pathways through education, especially to third level for children from designated disadvantage schools.” The UNI 4 U initiative began in 2005, stemming from the University’s commitment in its strategic plan to advancing the social, economic, educational, and cultural needs of the Western region, and more recently The National Access plan which aims to increase equality of opportunity and increase diversity across Irish Universities. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, together with partners Galway Film Centre, are delighted to announce that the latest documentary produced through the Science on Screen public engagement programme will be broadcast on TG4 on Thursday, 1 July at 10.30pm. Written and directed by Karen Coleman and co-produced by Leeona Duff with SkyeByte Productions, the documentary 'Off The Bench' In am an Ghátair' focuses on the response of the Irish MedTech community to Covid-19 and the unprecedented collaborations that have taken place across academic, industry and clinical partners in Galway and beyond to create innovative solutions that have helped cope with the pandemic as it evolved. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, says: “These collaborations between academics, clinicians, and industry partners in the MedTech sector have been in place since before the pandemic hit Irish shores. But the value of this network and the infrastructure that exists became obvious when it was needed the most. We knew it was important to document what was happening, and these stories illustrate the unique nature of the MedTech sector in Ireland. We hope it will build confidence in the expertise we have to hand and highlight some of the reasons why Ireland is regarded as a global hub for MedTech research and development.” The documentary focuses on several key innovations developed early in response to the pandemic, including establishing the INSPIRE project, an industry-academic partnership based at NUI Galway and University Hospital Galway designed to deliver fast-to-clinical medical devices to support the Covid-19 effort. CÚRAM Investigator, Professor Martin O’Halloran coordinated the INSPIRE project with physician and CÚRAM Investigator Dr John Laffey and his colleagues at University Hospital Galway. The INSPIRE network brought researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and others in the MedTech space together to collaborate in exceptional ways to design and develop medical devices that could be used for both healthcare workers and patients on Covid-19 hospital wards both in Ireland and abroad. This collaboration led to the VentShare project that developed a safe way to ventilate two patients from a single ventilator, led by Tim Jones (a graduate from the BioInnovate Ireland programme) amd Jack Connolly, graduate from the College of Science and Engineering at NUI Galway, and Dr David Hannon and Professor John Laffey (Critical Care) with technical support from Aerogen.  Other projects featured in the documentary include developing a transparent plastic helmet (C-PAP Hood) that can administer oxygen to patients in ways that reduce healthcare workers being exposed to the virus and the INSPIRE Guard - a shield that patients could use to mitigate the spread of the virus. Alan Duggan, Manager of Galway Film Centre, said “We are incredibly proud to be able to continue to work with CÚRAM, this time on the creation of the Science On Screen feature documentary 'Off The Bench: In am an Ghátair'. The impact that science has on our lives has never been more present than in the last year and this documentary highlights this in a very real and practical way. To have the documentary broadcast on national television on TG4 is a reflection of the hard work put in by all of the production team involved in bringing it to life. We are excited to see the audience’s reaction to it.” Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, says: “Our MedTech ecosystem in the West of Ireland has long been recognised as a global hub of excellence and innovation. This has never been more true than in its inspirational and speedy response to providing healthcare solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Outreach and public engagement are integral to research at NUI Galway and I congratulate CÚRAM, Galway Film Centre and the production team on this important and timely Science on Screen documentary. “As a research-led University, this documentary captures the very essence of how the MedTech community comes together to develop life saving devices, animating our university values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence. This documentary allows .people to better understand how important public research and innovation is to the fabric of our lives and in particular when confronting global challenges like the pandemic.” 'Off the Bench: In am an Ghátair' was funded through the Science on Screen public engagement programme, a partnership between CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre. The programme has produced six science documentaries to date and aims to raise awareness of the impact of medical device research in society. The documentary was written and directed by the award-winning journalist and broadcaster Karen Coleman at SkyeByte Productions (www.skyebyteproductions.com), which makes documentaries and multi-media content for online platforms and broadcast outlets, and co-produced by Leeona Duff of Up on Blue Bridge Productions. An English language trailer can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/515300175. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2021

Is cúis áthais do CÚRAM, Ionad Taighde SFI d’Fheistí Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh, agus dá gcomhpháirtithe in Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe, a fhógairt go gcraolfar an clár faisnéise is déanaí atá á léiriú faoi scáth an chláir rannpháirtíochta pobail Science on Screen ar TG4 Déardaoin, an 1 Iúil ag 10.30pm. Is í Karen Coleman a scríobh agus a stiúir an clár faisnéise ‘Off the Bench’ agus is í Leeona Duff a chomhléirigh é ag SkyeByte Productions. Díríonn an clár ‘In am an Ghátair’ ar an mbealach a ndeachaigh pobal Teicneolaíochta Leighis na hÉireann i ngleic le Covid-19 agus ar na comhthionscadail eisceachtúla a raibh comhpháirtithe acadúla, tionscail agus cliniciúla i nGaillimh agus níos faide i gcéin páirteach iontu chun teacht ar réitigh nuálacha a chabhraigh le daoine déileáil leis an bpaindéim de réir mar a tháinig borradh fúithi. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Abhay Pandit, Stiúrthóir Eolaíochta CÚRAM in OÉ Gaillimh: “Bhí na comhthionscadail sin idir lucht acadúil, cliniceoirí, agus comhpháirtithe tionscail san earnáil Teicneolaíochta Leighis bunaithe sular bhuail an phaindéim an tír seo. Ach léiríodh a luachmhaire a bhí an líonra seo agus an bonneagar atá ann i gceart nuair a tháinig an crú ar an tairne. Bhí a fhios againn go raibh sé tábhachtach taifead a choinneáil ar an méid a bhí ag tarlú, agus léiríonn na scéalta seo gur earnáil ar leith í earnáil na Teicneolaíochta Leighis in Éirinn. Tá súil againn go gcothóidh sé muinín sa saineolas atá le fáil ar leac an dorais againn agus go léireoidh sé cuid de na cúiseanna a mbreathnaítear ar Éirinn mar mhol domhanda do thaighde agus d’fhorbairt na Teicneolaíochta Leighis.” Dírítear sa chlár faisnéise ar roinnt táirgí nuálacha a forbraíodh go luath chun dul i ngleic leis an bpaindéim, lena n-áirítear bunú an tionscadail INSPIRE. Is comhpháirtíocht idir an tionscal agus an saol acadúil é seo atá lonnaithe in OÉ Gaillimh agus in Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh ina gcuirtear gairis leighis chliniciúla ar fáil go tapa chun tacú leis an iarracht Covid-19 a chur faoi chois. Rinne an tImscrúdaitheoir le CÚRAM, an tOllamh Martin O’Halloran comhordú ar thionscadal INSPIRE in éineacht leis an dochtúir leighis agus Imscrúdaitheoir le CÚRAM, an Dr John Laffey agus a chomhghleacaithe in Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. Thug líonra INSPIRE taighdeoirí, fiontraithe, innealtóirí, eolaithe agus daoine eile i réimse na Teicneolaíochta Leighis le chéile chun comhoibriú le chéile ar bhealaí eisceachtúla chun feistí leighis a dhearadh agus a fhorbairt a mbeadh oibrithe cúram sláinte agus othair in ann iad a úsáid i mbardaí ospidéil a mbeadh Covid-19 ar dhaoine iontu in Éirinn agus thar lear. D’eascair an tionscadal VentShare ón gcomhpháirtíocht seo, tionscadal inar aimsíodh bealach sábháilte chun beirt othar a chur ar análaitheoir amháin, faoi stiúir Tim Jones (céimí ón gclár BioInnovate Ireland) agus Jack Connolly, céimí ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta in OÉ Gaillimh, agus an Dr David Hannon agus an tOllamh John Laffey (Cúram Criticiúil) le tacaíocht theicniúil ó Aerogen.  I measc na dtionscadal eile a fheicfear sa chlár faisnéise tá clogad plaisteach trédhearcach (C-PAP Hood) ar féidir leis ocsaigin a riar ar othair ar bhealaí a laghdaíonn an baol atá ann go dtolgfadh oibrithe cúraim sláinte an víreas agus Sciath INSPIRE – sciath a d’fhéadfadh othair a úsáid chun baol scaipthe an víris a mhaolú. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Alan Duggan, Bainisteoir Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe: “Tá ríméad orainn a bheith ag obair le CÚRAM arís, ar an ngnéchlár faisnéise Science On Screen 'Off The Bench: In am an Ghátair’ an uair seo. Is feiceálaí tionchar na heolaíochta ar ár saol le bliain anuas ná riamh, mar a léirítear sa chlár faisnéise seo ar bhealach an-réadúil agus praiticiúil. Is aitheantas é an clár faisnéise a bheith á chraoladh ar an stáisiún náisiúnta teilifíse TG4 ar an obair chrua a rinne an fhoireann léiriúcháin ar fad. Táimid ar bís go bhfeicfidh muid cad a cheapfaidh an lucht féachana de.” Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Ollamh Jim Livesey, Leas-Uachtarán don Taighde agus Nuálaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá aitheantas ag an líonra Teicneolaíochta Leighis in Iarthar na hÉireann le fada mar mhol barr feabhais agus nuálaíochta domhanda. Léirigh an bealach ar cuireadh réitigh cúraim sláinte ar fáil go tapa le linn phaindéim Covid-19 gur maith a bhí an t-aitheantas sin tuillte aige. Is cuid dhílis den taighde in OÉ Gaillimh iad gníomhaíochtaí for-rochtana agus rannpháirtíocht an phobail agus tréaslaím le CÚRAM, Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe agus an fhoireann léiriúcháin as an gclár faisnéise tábhachtach agus tráthúil seo faoi scáth Science on Screen. Is Ollscoil í seo atá dírithe ar an taighde, agus feicfear sa chlár faisnéise seo pobal na Teicneolaíochta Leighis ag teacht le chéile chun gairis tarrthála beatha a fhorbairt, agus iad ag feidhmiú de réir luachanna na hollscoile maidir le meas, oscailteacht, inbhuanaitheacht agus barr feabhais. Gheobhaidh daoine tuiscint níos fearr sa chlár faisnéise seo ar an tábhacht atá le taighde agus nuálaíocht phoiblí sa saol ina mairimid, go háirithe agus muid ag tabhairt aghaidh ar dhúshláin dhomhanda ar nós na paindéime.” Rinneadh maoiniú ar ‘Off the Bench: In am an Ghátair’ tríd an gclár rannpháirtíochta pobail Science on Screen, comhpháirtíocht idir CÚRAM agus Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe. Tá sé chlár faisnéise faoin eolaíocht léirithe faoin scéim go dtí seo agus tá sé mar aidhm leis an scéim cur leis an bhfeasacht faoin tionchar a bhíonn ag taighde faoi fheistí leighis ar an tsochaí. Is í an t-iriseoir agus an craoltóir Karen Coleman a scríobh agus a stiúir an clár faisnéise le SkyeByte Productions (www.skyebyteproductions.com), comhlacht a dhéanann cláir faisnéise agus ábhar ilmheán d’ardáin ar líne agus d’asraonta craolta, agus is í Leeona Duff ó Up on Blue Bridge Productions a bhí ina comhléiritheoir air.  Tá réamhbhlaiseadh den scannán le fáil anseo i mBéarla: https://vimeo.com/515300175. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 June 2021

A limited number of places on NUI Galway’s Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme are now open and funded by the Higher Education Authority NUI Galway, in collaboration with 12 software industry partners, is now accepting applications for its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. A limited number of places will be funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants will pay no fees if they are unemployed, if they are employed or in part-time employment, they will pay a once off 10% fee which amounts to €650 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles, with many graduates gaining employment with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with 12 leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Successful applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, and are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. Dr Enda Barrett, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to again to offer places on this unique programme completely funded by the Higher Education Authority and their Springboard initiative. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. We have had huge success with graduates from these areas due to their natural problem solving capacity. By investing just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our industry partners, they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. “The ICT sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill. The highly intensive programme is designed for those with little or no knowledge of software development, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to coding and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for. People with technical or strong numerical backgrounds often perform best in these types of programmes and we strongly encourage applicants who have strong logical reasoning or maths skills. This could be a strong maths result from their leaving cert or from certain modules in their undergraduate degree. This isn’t essential, but often indicates a strong problem solving and logical skillset. Since this programme is funded under the ICT Skills segment of Springboard, there are no limitations regarding the applicant’s current employment or social welfare status.” The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design and development. The final aspect of the course involves a three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, providing successful applicants with the opportunity to kick-start their career as a software developer. Each student progressing through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or through more specialisation in a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, Cisco, SAP, Insight, Sidero, Aspect Software, Genesys The Marine Institute and Schneider Electric. Dr Barrett continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The programme is highly respected among many of Irelands leading software companies many of whom specifically want to recruit graduates who have come through our unique programme. Many of our graduates are receiving multiple job offers before they even complete the programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree with some relevant industry work experience. Those currently completing their studies or who are currently in some form of employment are all eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through https://springboardcourses.ie/details/9168, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry. Significant interest in this funded course is expected and early application is advisable as applications are processed and interviews are held on a rolling basis. Deadline for final applications is Sunday, 1 August, 2021. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Barrett at Enda.Barrett@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has announced a new research partnership with B. Braun, one of the world's leading providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions. The partnership will see the development of a novel drug delivery system for cannabinoids for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing, and the development of a device for the management of wound odour. Chronic wounds affect up to 4% of people over 65 years, with venous leg ulcers being the most prevalent of these, accounting for approximately 70% of all ulcers of the lower limbs. Chronic wounds are associated with reduced quality of life and affect the individual in physical, psychological and psychosocial domains. This in turn can impact family members and the individual’s ability to contribute to society fully. Among the many symptoms associated with chronic wounds, pain is cited as one of the worst aspects. While multiple forms of pain relief exist, these do not provide relief for all patients, and people with chronic wounds regularly state they do not wish to take more medication and have a fear of addiction. Professor Georgina Gethin, CÚRAM Investigator, project co-lead, and Director of the Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds, explains: “Members of our patient panel in Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds have recounted using a trial and error process to alleviate pain and often take to resting until the pain goes away. They have identified that research to develop interventions to relieve pain is a priority for them. The endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system plays a key role in pain modulation and also regulates wound healing. It represents a novel target for more effective dual management of both pain and wound healing.” Professor David Finn, an Investigator in CÚRAM, Head of Pharmacology, and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research is a co-lead on the project. He brings over 20 years of expertise in cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system and pain to the project. His group will play a key role in advancing understanding of the endocannabinoid system in wound pain and healing, and in preclinical testing of the novel cannabinoid-eluting delivery system for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing. Professor Finn says: “This project is a clear example of our commitment to addressing pain and wound healing, two of the world's major health challenges, by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences at NUI Galway and a collaborator on the project will be leading the management of wound odour in the device design. A novel component to wound dressing will lead to modified dressing to remove or to minimalise wound odour during wound healing. Professor Joshi says: “This project exemplifies our commitment to addressing major health challenges by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments to have a positive impact on both the physical and social implications of chronic wounds.” Mr Pat McLoughlin, Site Director of B. Braun Hospicare, said: “B. Braun, a company that prides itself on “Sharing Expertise”, is delighted to work with and learn from this research project with CÚRAM. The project's main goal is to produce quality new products in the management of chronic wound pain and odour for the B. Braun portfolio. This is an exciting time in wound care production in Ireland. As we embark on this journey with CÚRAM, we hope to develop innovative solutions to make chronic wound care easier to manage at home for patients and practitioners. As a company, B. Braun aims to protect and improve the lives of people around the world. This project allows us to both gain insight and helps improve patient outcomes.” Mr McLoughlin added: “B. Braun recognises that most innovation in the chronic wound care sector focuses on management of wound exudate (fluid) and may not focus on other aspects of how the patient manages their conditions. The most exciting aspect of this research will be patients’ perspective of how they can best live self-determined lives and how we can help meet those needs.” Susan O’Mahoney, who leads the development of new products at B. Braun Hospicare, adds that CÚRAM has recognised how the industry works and has tailored the way they work to “make things easy for the industry” by providing “an up-front statement of work with clear timelines and deliverables, and quarterly updates which can be used to update steering committees on our side.” CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre to develop 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. The recent announcement of over €46 million in funding for the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to reinvesting in the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations central to CÚRAM's work. -Ends-

Monday, 21 June 2021

NUI Galway’s Science and Engineering students are making travel arrangements to participate in the International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women at the Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in July. Computer Science student, Emma Urquuhart from County Galway, and Engineering students, Niamh Hennigan from County Clare, Aoife Roche from County Wexford, and Aoife Prendergast from County Galway, were awarded scholarships in 2020 in a highly competitive environment to attend the academy in July 2020, but their plans were put on hold due to the global pandemic. Following rigorous safety procedures developed by NUI Galway for outward student mobility, the students are able to travel to Austria in July and attend the academy. The Academy, offered to only 30 female students from 15 different countries, is a two and a half week intensive programme com­bining theory with hands-on practical experience in engineering, informatics and natural sciences. In addition to knowledge transfer in these fields, social, cross-cultural and gender aspects are covered and discussed during lectures and workshops. The academy supports female students as they pursue their education goals. The Academy programme is based around thematic areas of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Computer Sciences and Informatics. Specific subject areas look at issues such as Synthetic biology: promises and dangers for society; Molecular biology: forensic DNA profiling and its computational analysis; Special high voltage applications in modern day technology; What computer science can learn from nature - Evolutionary optimization algorithms and data mining; Importance of online privacy; and Human and computer interaction. Speaking about the scholarships and the International Summer Academy, Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean in the College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “Whilst our students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to remote learning over the last 15 months, peer learning opportunities have been limited. Following a rigorous outgoing mobility assessment process, Emma, Aoife, Niamh and Aoife will be the first Science and Engineering students from NUI Galway to travel abroad for study since 2020. They will have an opportunity to; work with other students in STEM fields, broaden their technical and scientific knowledge and once again experience learning in a collegiate environment.” NUI Galway Computer Science student, Emma Urquuhart said: “We are really looking forward to embarking on our trip to Upper Austria to participate in the Summer Academy. After our initial applications to the Academy was accepted, we completed outward mobility assessments in NUI Galway to ensure that we are prepared for our first foreign excursion since the beginning of the pandemic. We are eager to embrace this opportunity to broaden our knowledge of our respective fields of study, and hope to learn about how different areas of engineering can complement each other through the teamwork projects and variety of workshops we will be partaking in. The unique cultural experience will undoubtedly be a highlight of the trip for us. We are excited to explore the region of Wels, make friends from different countries and gain new perspectives on engineering on the global scale. We appreciate the support of the scholarships and are very grateful to NUI Galway for granting us this wonderful opportunity.” -Ends-

Monday, 21 June 2021

DotMD Festival of Medical Curiosity, an award winning medical conference which hopes to inspire and rejuvenate doctors, will return to NUI Galway in the summer of 2022, running from 15-18 June 2022. Organised by Galway-based doctors Dr Ronan Kavanagh, Dr Muris Houston and Dr Alan Coss, the festival for doctors aims to “reawaken a passion and wonder for medicine that some might have lost along the way” according to dotMD Director Dr Ronan Kavanagh. With over 500 doctors from Ireland and around the world to Galway attending the last sold out festival in 2019, the 2022 meeting, now in its 8th year, has been extended from a two-day to a four-day hybrid to meet demand. The meeting will also be streamed online for those unable to travel to Galway.  Previous topics included in the meeting include medical story-telling, what doctors can learn from Jazz musicians, poetry, the use of cartoons in healthcare (graphic medicine), kindness, burnout, Buddhism, transhumanism, and artificial intelligence. Dr Kavanagh added: “Never has there been a more challenging time to be working in front line health care – and we wanted to create an experience that would help doctors reconnect with what matters in medicine, to reinvigorate and re-inspire them, and to help them find meaning in their working lives” The meeting will be open to doctors and to other health care professionals, and further details can be found at www.dotmd.ie. -Ends-