Wednesday, 20 June 2018

NUI Galway Receives Funding from Google for Computer Science Professional Development Programmes

NUI Galway’s School of Education has received funding from Google’s Educator Grants programme for Professional Development in the area of computational thinking for pre-service and in-service teachers.  In ensuring young people have the opportunity to learn Computer Science, NUI Galway aims to prepare and support teachers with pedagogical content knowledge to teach with confidence and competence. NUI Galway currently offers a BA Mathematics and Education (BME) concurrent teacher education degree programme, which is now over ten years in existence. As well as secondary teachers recognised by the Teaching Council, graduates of the BME are fully qualified mathematicians. This project aims to provide professional development and support to in-service and pre-service teachers in Computer Science education, who will recognise the value of and remain committed to continued professional development throughout their careers. Dr Cornelia Connolly, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is proud to be one of only three education institutes in Ireland (out of a total of thirty-two across sixteen countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa) that were awarded a grant to provide professional development for Computer Science educators. NUI Galway is also currently developing an undergraduate Computer Science teacher education degree.” Claire Conneely, Computer Science Education Programme Manager at Google Ireland, said: “Congratulations to NUI Galway on their award of a 2018 Google Educator Grant. It’s a very exciting time for computing education in Ireland, with the new Leaving Certificate Computer Science subject commencing in 40 schools this September and the possibility of Coding being introduced to the primary curriculum. This funding will enable NUI Galway to make an important contribution to teacher professional development and we look forward to seeing how they will advance Computer Science education in Ireland.”  -Ends-

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Monday, 18 June 2018

NUI Galway has announced that applications are now open for 20 places on a new Masters in AgInnovation (Agricultural Innovation) course. The one-year distance education entrepreneurship development programme aims to fill the gap in entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship skills for people working in the agricultural technology and agricultural ecosystem in Ireland. The new course is targeted towards employees working in key ecosystem stakeholder companies including micro, small, medium and large agricultural technology and agricultural companies, and farmers. The primary aspects of the programme include agricultural needs finding, design thinking for the agricultural sector and disciplined entrepreneurship skills development. Particular consideration is given to helping course participants’ address: Challenges around commercialising innovations (ideas and technologies). Business constraints and guidelines (margins, compound annual growth rate, lifetime value and cost of customer acquisition). Other difficulties related to getting new agricultural products to sizeable markets. The one-year programme is delivered through a distance education model which provides the learner with flexibility in choosing when and where they wish to study, and allowing them to continue to engage in their day-to-day activities within the agricultural domain. For industry employees, 10% of the fees will be paid by their employer. Dr Paul Flynn, TechInnovate Programme Manager at NUI Galway, says: “The aim of this course is to teach people how to identify areas for innovation specifically within the agricultural domain, and to create innovation-driven enterprises or new business units within an existing company. This Masters in AgInnovation aims to support the emerging agricultural start-up innovation pipeline in the years ahead.” The arrival of US agricultural-focused venture capital firms in Ireland is recognition of the potential for innovation in the agricultural technology domain. Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has committed €20 million to an investment fund managed by Californian venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, targeted at making Ireland the ‘AgTech Island’. Missouri-based venture capital firm The Yield Lab opened one of the first Irish-based Agricultural Technology Accelerators in Galway in 2017, further recognising the requirement for a structured approach to scaling innovation-driven responses to validated agricultural needs. According to Dr John Breslin, TechInnovate Director at NUI Galway: “This is a timely initiative because there needs to be more agricultural technology innovators in companies and start-ups who can avail of the early stage supports, and then scale up to avail of the bigger funds. 2018 is the year to accelerate the agricultural innovation ecosystem in Ireland.” The AgInnovation course is supported by Springboard+ and funding recently announced by John Halligan TD, Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills. To apply, please go to -Ends-

Monday, 18 June 2018

Students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to the CAO Change of Mind Clinic on campus on Monday, 25 June. Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend the event, which runs from 12-3pm in the Aula Maxima in the Quadrangle. The CAO Change of Mind facility closes at 5.15pm on Sunday, 1 July, and the clinic aims to assist with the CAO decision making process. Representatives from all of NUI Galway’s colleges will be available to answer any questions students may have in relation to the course, academic content, admissions and more. There will also be representatives from the Accommodation Office, Access and Disability Services, Admissions, Sports and Fees who will all be there to support students in their transition from secondary school to third level education at NUI Galway. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The Change of Mind Clinic at NUI Galway is designed to answer the last minute queries of students and parents and provide advice and reassurance on course choice and entry routes. In our experience, the best way to prepare for unexpectedly low or high Leaving Certificate results is to have a Plan B and a Plan C fully researched. Our clinic on the 25th of June is a great opportunity for students and parents to get ready for the results in August, and more importantly, to get ready for college life in September.” To find out more about the CAO Change of Mind Clinic, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Caroline Duggan on 087 239 1219 or -Ends-

Monday, 18 June 2018

Funding will be used to advance product development in preparation for follow-up funding and US commercialisation of the device and to progress to first in human trials in 2020 NUI Galway-based medical device company, AuriGen Medical has received €2.5 million in the latest round of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding, which receives applications from all over Europe. Ranking number one out of 1,280 applications across all sectors, the company specialises in the treatment of persistent atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) patients and is developing the first cardiac implant to treat both the stroke and heart failure risk associated with this condition. The company was established by Tony O’Halloran and Dr John Thompson who met through NUI Galway’s BioInnovate Ireland Programme with Enterprise Ireland funding the development work at the University through a Commercialisation Fund programme. The Commercialisation Fund programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Ireland’s European Union Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. Dr Thompson, a former intensive care physician together with Mr O’Halloran, a highly experienced medical device engineer, formed AuriGen Medical after meeting in 2015 when both were selected by the BioInnovate Ireland Programme at NUI Galway. During this time, they invented the novel device solution to address a large unmet clinical need that they observed. Persistent atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, affects around 10 million patients across Europe and is associated with direct healthcare costs in the billions of euros each year with patients describing each palpitation as a constant reminder of their own mortality, fearing that the next heart beat could signal a catastrophic stroke. Over 70% of atrial fibrillation patients have persistent or longstanding disease however, the current treatment options including medications, cardioversion and ablation (a keyhole procedure carried out to scar or destroy tissue in the heart that is allowing incorrect electrical signals to cause an abnormal heart rhythm) only address the minority of patients with intermittent disease. AuriGen Medical believe that once approved their medical device could help the majority of patients become free from atrial fibrillation. This funding will be used to advance product development in preparation for first in human trials in 2020. The company will initially target the 200,000 persistent atrial fibrillation patients per year who are having repeat ablations due to reoccurrence after a first failed ablation procedure. With the costs of repeat ablations estimated at over $50,000 AuriGen’s device aims to deliver significant cost savings to healthcare providers.    The AuriGen device is a single shot left atrial appendage implant with additional ablation and sensor technology for fast, simple and permanent electro-mechanical isolation of the Left atrial appendage, a pouch located in the upper chamber of the heart. The AuriGen technology utilises single-use sensors and software algorithms to give doctors a real-time feedback on the quality of the ablation. By making it easier for doctors to tell if they have permanently electrically isolated, AuriGen believes it can increase success rates while shortening procedure times and open the procedure to even more physicians. The technology is based on significant clinical data underpinning the benefits of electrical isolation of the left atrial appendage in persistent atrial fibrillation. AuriGen Medical will compete in both the electrophysiology and structural heart markets, aiming to meet unmet clinical needs for both atrial fibrillation and stroke prevention. Dr John Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of AuriGen Medical, said: “Ranking first in the Horizon 2020 SME instrument is an incredible endorsement of AuriGen Medical’s technology, market opportunity and the company’s management team.” Tony O’Halloran, Chief Technology Officer of AuriGen Medical, said: “Our pre-clinical trials have been very encouraging and the feedback from cardiologists is extremely positive. We are delighted to announce this investment, which will help us make a number of key hire’s, further advance our product development and once approved make a positive impact on the lives of millions of atrial fibrillation patients across the world.” Sean Burke, Horizon 2020 National Contact Point, Enterprise Ireland, said: “The SME Instrument phase 2 funding is complementary to Enterprise Ireland’s supports which facilitate innovation as a driver of business growth and job creation. Our support of close-to-market projects gives companies a head start with fast access to funding and business innovation support. In the latest call results, 64 projects were funded within a budget of €110 million and AuriGen Medical was ranked first amongst these. Enterprise Ireland congratulates AuriGen on its success in acquiring this funding and will work with the company to support its introduction of this innovation to market.” David Murphy, Director of the Technology Transfer Office in NUI Galway, said: “Having supported the development and management of this technology since the team came up with the original concept, we wholeheartedly congratulate Tony and John on securing this investment and wish them well in the next phase of their growth.” Dr Faisal Sharif, Director of BioInnovate Ireland in NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to see AuriGen Medical funded for €2.5 million through H2020 SME Instrument. The funding will allow Aurigen Medical to further develop the technology and plan clinical strategy with ‘First in Man’ clinical trials for patients with persisent atrial fibrillation. The mission of BioInnovate Ireland is to grow the indigenous Medtech sector through dedicated training in medical device innovation. The fellowship programme, co-funded by Enterprise Ireland is instrumental in identifying such patients with limited treatment options.” The Horizon 2020 National Support Network is led by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. For more information about AuriGen Medical, visit: -Ends-

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Nälka! The Great Finnish Famine – A 150th Anniversary Exhibition 12.00 Thursday,
21 June 2018
Foyer Hardiman Building

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