Friday, 23 June 2017

NUI Galway is the Public’s Choice at Irish Architecture Awards 2017

The new O’Donoghue Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance at NUI Galway, designed by Taylor Architects with Richard Murphy Architects, and built by local contractor Purcell Construction, has been voted Ireland’s favourite new building: it was the Public Choice in this year’s RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2017, which are announced later today at the RIAI annual awards ceremony. Now in their 28th year, the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are the premier architectural awards in Ireland. The Awards recognise excellence in design and the contribution made by architecture to society for everyone’s benefit. The public choice award was a particularly large category with a shortlist of 60 houses, offices, schools and colleges, heritage locations and public spaces to choose from. The O’Donoghue Centre building is a protected structure adjacent to the Bank of Ireland Theatre and the Bailey Allen Hall on the NUI Galway campus. Originally a bonded warehouse it had served as a munitions factory.  Its most recent use by the University was as engineering laboratories prior to the construction of the new engineering building.  The project involved the complete renovation and refurbishment of the building and provides a home for Drama, Theatre and Performance studies.    This pioneering Centre is a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It comprises of studio spaces, a classroom, and a workshop and rehearsal room that will have a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus. Speaking about the award, NUI Galway’s VP for Capital Project Keith Warnock, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that the O’Donoghue Centre is Ireland’s favourite new building. The design for the conversion of this nineteenth century industrial structure by Taylor Architects (Castlebar) and Richard Murphy Architects (Edinburgh), was crucial. The incorporation of the latest technology in the theatre space and elsewhere contrasts attractively with the solid stone walls which remind us of the building’s origins. This new state-of-the-art facility will act as a central hub for cultural innovation and creativity in the University and Galway City. The ‘Public Vote’ award adds to the growing appreciation of the physical infrastructure at NUI Galway and reaffirms our confidence in the programme of campus development we have undertaken over the last decade.” Just recently opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the building on Earl’s Island began life as a bleach and flax mill in the 1850s. It was then converted into a jute factory, became a bonded warehouse, a factory for making cannon shells during World War I and was occupied by the 6th Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers during the War of Independence. In 1935 it became Irish Metal Industries and was officially opened by Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on July 22 1935. The Centre recognises the generous philanthropic support of Galway businessman, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “As a resident of this fine structure we are thrilled to hear this news about the award and thrilled for incoming drama students who will get to study and perform in Ireland’s favourite building! This Centre has opened at a time when governments are beginning to understand the essential role of creativity in the wellbeing of their nations – and not only in the cultural sphere. There is growing evidence that creative arts contribute to our communities’ wellbeing, including our mental and physical health. And we’re also seeing evidence that business leaders recognise the importance of creativity as a key skill.” The award also adds to the accolades of the University in this particular public choice award having also taken the plaudits in 2012 for new Engineering Building. For further course information at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance visit:  -ENDS-

News Archive

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A study led by scientists from the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) and the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, CÚRAM, based at NUI Galway, has developed a new type of implantable device to provide localised drug treatment and prevent infection. It has already proven effective against two types of major device infection bacteria. Publishing their results this week in the journal Biomedical Materials, the NUI Galway research team show that stabilised collagen scaffolds loaded with a particular antibiotic were able to prevent two infection causing bacteria, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis from forming. Lead author of the paper, Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis from NUI Galway’s REMODEL and CÚRAM said: “Implant infections remain a major healthcare problem. They can require long hospitalisation periods to disturb and treat bacterial biofilm formation. There can also be a need for additional surgeries to remove or replace the infected implant, which if not done in time may lead to sepsis. Although localised drug treatment, via an implanted scaffold has shown promise, the ideal scaffold cross-linking (to initially withstand the aggressive infection environment) and drug (to fight against infection) have not, until now, been found.” The NUI Galway research team, including Dr Gerard Wall of Microbiology and CÚRAM, first ventured to identify the optimal hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI) concentration that would offer suitable biomechanical, biochemical and biological properties. HMDI was chosen as it is a Food and Drug Administration approved cross-linking agent for collagen-based medical devices. They then loaded the optimally cross-linked collagen scaffolds with variable concentrations of the antibiotics Cefaclor and Ranalexin to identify the minimum effective concentration required to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis, two of the most frequently encountered bacteria in medical device infection. Dr Zeugolis added: “The development of our drug-loaded collagen device marks an important step forward. First, the sustained and localised delivery system that we developed avoids issues associated with systemic drug administration, such as antibiotic resistance. Further, we contributed towards finding a solution against a severe economic burden to healthcare systems internationally.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM commented, “CÚRAM’s goal is to develop affordable transformative solutions to improve quality of life for people suffering from chronic illnesses. Dr Zeugolis’ work continues to push towards this goal and will have real impact for patients and for the future medical device development.” To read the full paper in Biomedical Materials, visit: -Ends-

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NUI Galway to host conversation with Wall Street veteran on ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’ The J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics and The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host a public event on the outlook for the global economy and financial markets entitled, ‘Prospects for Growth in an Uncertain World: The United States, Ireland, and the Global Economy’. President Trump has called for an overhaul of economic policies in the United States to boost growth. Nearer to home, Brexit negotiations have opened, but a bumpy road lies ahead. Meanwhile, the European economy is at last showing signs of recovery and European businesses are optimistic. In an intimate conversation, the Whitaker Institute’s Alan Ahearne will speak with Wall Street veteran and Fulbright Specialist Dr Michael Driscoll and NUI Galway’s Professor John McHale about the outlook for the global economy, exploring opportunities for Ireland in the current climate. Will President Trump's economic plan succeed in “making America great again”? Is Trump’s honeymoon with the stock market coming to an end? Is the election of Emmanuel Macron a turning point for Europe? The panelists will provide various perspectives - political, economic and more. This will be followed by an interactive audience question and answer session. Dr Michael J Driscoll is a Clinical Professor of Finance at Willumstad School of Business, Adelphi University in New York, a Fulbright US Scholar to NUI Galway, and former Wall Street executive. Professor John McHale is Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law at NUI Galway, and former Chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. Professor Alan Ahearne is Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, and former special adviser to the Minister for Finance. Dr Driscoll has been a frequent contributor to global media outlets such as Bloomberg, CNN and Voice of America.  Commenting ahead of the event, Dr Driscoll said: “Rarely have we seen a period in recent economic history where geo-political factors have the potential to have such a profound impact on markets. A discussion of Ireland and the EU and the political situation in the US is timely and relevant. Events over the last few years could have significant beneficial opportunities for Ireland and the Irish people in the context of the global economy and specifically between the relationships between the EU and the US.” Professor John McHale at NUI Galway, said: “For as long as I can remember it has been said that we are living though unusually uncertain times. But with Brexit, Trump and worries about the post-crisis future of growth, today’s economic environment does seem truly uncertain. With his deep knowledge as practitioner and analyst of the global economic and financial system, Michael Driscoll is perfectly positioned to interpret the major forces affecting the world economy and to give us a better sense of what lies ahead.” The event will take place on Monday, 26 June in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway from 6pm-7pm. A reception with light refreshments will precede the event and begin at 5.30pm. The event is free and open to the public, and those who wish to attend must pre-register at: -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

An international team of US, Canadian, Italian, Finnish, French and Irish-based researchers, led by Professor Colin O’Dowd from NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Ryan Institute’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, have conclusively shown that surfactants can significantly enhance cloud formation, ultimately increasing the cooling effect of clouds.  It is the first time a team of researchers have confirmed this hypothesis under natural environmental conditions, and encapsulated it in a robust theoretical framework. The study was published this week in the globally prestigious scientific journal Nature. Clouds and greenhouse gases act in tandem to balance the Earth’s energy budget thereby controlling climate. While greenhouse gases keep the heat within the earth system, whereby leading to warming, clouds reduce the amount of incoming energy into the system leading to cooling. An increase in availability of cloud nuclei (typically in the form of airborne haze particles) leads to more droplets in the cloud, making it more reflective and longer-lived, thus increasing its cooling effect.   Such enhancement in cloud nuclei abundance can occur through an increase in either their absolute profusion, or, their efficiency at forming droplets at lower water vapour humidities in the air. The most common and generally most efficient form of cloud nuclei found are water soluble inorganic salts (such as sea salt and sulphates)  however, if those were mixed or entirely made of organic compounds they would possess low water solubility and suppress the nuclei activity. The game changes, however, if surfactants are present in the organic mix. Surfactants are 'wetting agents' that lower the surface tension of water. They are also called surface-active agents, a substance such as a detergent that, when added to a liquid, reduces its surface tension. Although the role of surfactants in promoting cloud droplet formation was proposed two decades ago, it has been disputed for almost as long, with one camp promoting a significant effect and the other camp claiming that the surface tension effect is cancelled by the simultaneous reduction in the solute, or Raoult, effect which is driven by the dissolution of the salt ions in the solution. Current theories simply find that these two effects counteract each other so suppression of droplet formation by less-soluble organics dominates.   The international team pushed the experimental and theoretical boundaries of atmospheric science research to elucidate this phenomenon using state-of-the-art aerosol mass spectrometer in conjunction with the most advanced thermodynamic droplet model. In  simulating the cloud droplet activation process using mixed organic-inorganic nuclei, they revealed that surface tension can be lowered without triggering changes in the Raoult (solute) effect through a process known as liquid-liquid phase separation (essentially an organic-rich layer on the drop’s surface keeps the surfactants separated from the internal aqueous solution occupying the core of the droplet). The model was able to explain the tenfold increases in cloud droplet number concentration observed. They concluded that this phenomenon could be detected in many diverse environments throughout the world, reinforcing its role in cloud brightening and global climate cooling. Dr Jurgita Ovadnevaite, scientist at the School of Physics at NUI Galway and lead author of the paper, said: “This study represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of cloud droplet formation from both an experimental and theoretical perspective. The next challenge is to scale up this nanometer scale finding to the global level through the incorporation of the surface tension effect into global climate models.” Dr Darius Ceburnis, Mace Head Operations Manager at NUI Galway, added: “These advanced breakthroughs are only achievable through investment in continuous, realtime, and state-of-the-art measurements of Essential Climate Variables and Air Pollution at stations such as Mace Head, which is endorsed by the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme, and is one of the most advanced stations of its kind in the world. Mace Head is strategically located in a remote area to monitor how dirty the cleanest air has become. The publication in the most prestigious journal globally, Nature, is a reward for such an investment and is the second one in as many years.” The study was funded by the European Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency and the research was hosted at NUI Galway’s Climate and Air Pollution Research Facility at Mace Head in Carna, Co Galway, on the Galway-Atlantic coastline. To read the full study in Nature visit  For more information on Mace Head, visit: -Ends-

Events Calendar

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Bathroom 11:00 Monday,
17 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Bathroom 11:00 Tuesday,
18 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Bathroom 11:00 Wednesday,
19 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Bathroom 11.00 Thursday,
20 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Bathroom 11.00 Friday,
21 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Bathroom 11.00 Saturday,
22 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway
Driftwood 20:00 Saturday,
22 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Bathroom 11.00 Sunday,
23 July 2017
Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway

Facebook stream

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-