Thursday, 19 April 2018

Mary Mitchell O'Connor launches new initiative between NUI Galway and St.Angela's

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education, recently formally launched the St. Angela’s Strand of the “Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project” at St. Angela’s College, Sligo. The APT Project is a three-year joint initiative between St. Angela’s College and the National University of Ireland Galway, which aims to recruit and support individuals from under-represented socioeconomic groups in their initial teacher education programmes. This project, which targets students at the school, further education, undergraduate, and post-graduate levels, is spearheaded by Dr Eileen Kelly-Blakeney of St. Angela’s College, and Dr Elaine Keane and Dr Manuela Heinz of NUI Galway. The APT Project at St. Angela’s specifically focuses on recruiting students with a Further Education QQI/FET qualification to their second-level teacher education programmes and is conducted in cooperation with five Further Education providers in the Border-Midlands-Western (BMW) Region: Sligo College of Further Education, Castlebar College of Further Education, Monaghan Institute, Errigal College, and Cavan Institute. During the next two years, the Project hopes to create additional partnerships with more Further Education providers in the region. Students who transition into the teacher education programme will all study Home Economics, in addition to one elective subject of their choosing, either Irish, Biology, or Religious Education. Students are also provided with a €1000 equipment bursary on entry to Year One, and a €500 School Placement grant each of their five years of study. Additionally, students receive faculty mentoring, peer support, academic writing, and subject specific guidance over the course of their studies. In attendance at Monday’s launch were the President of St. Angela’s, Dr Anne Taheny, staff and students from the College, local government officials, representatives from each of the five partner Further Education providers, colleagues from NUI-Galway, and associates from the Irish Teaching Council. In her speech, Minister O’Connor noted the significance of direct-entry routes, such as the APT Project, which ultimately aim to increase access to third level studies, while also acknowledging the great achievements made by students in the Further Education sector. As the minister explained that the APT Project, “will also help support the achievement of national policy objectives to broaden opportunities for graduates from further education to progress on to higher education.” Additionally, she also remarked on the important role that teachers play in the lives of young people, and she projected that “Teacher training centres, teachers and school leaders will continue to play a pivotal role in helping children to achieve their potential.” Dr Anne Taheny, President of St. Angela’s referred to the College’s long standing commitment to equal opportunity and to widening access and participation in Higher Education in association with NUI, Galway. This is demonstrated through the provision of an Access Foundation Programme, an Access Schools Programme, entry routes for mature students and entry through the HEAR and DARE Schemes. Speaking at the launch, Dr. Taheny noted:  "This new direct entry route from Further Education into our Initial Teacher Education Programme through the Access to Post-Primary Project is an exciting addition and much welcomed progression route for students in the Further Education Sector." This project supports the diversification of the Irish teaching body in Ireland and recognises the positive contributions that teachers from underrepresented groups make to classrooms throughout the country each day. For more information on the APT Project, or to learn more about St. Angela’s initial teacher education programmes, please see the College website at: http://www.stangelas.nuigalway.ie. Additionally, interested individuals can contact the post-doctoral researcher for the APT Project, Dr Andrea Lynch at 087 1129868. -Ends-


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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

CÚRAM at NUI Galway with Galway C ity Arts Office Launch ‘AFTERIMAGE’ Community Art-Science Exhibition CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway together with the Galway City Arts Office, have launched a new Community Art-Science exhibition in the Westside community in Galway City. By award winning art duo, Cleary Connolly (Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly), ‘AFTERIMAGE’, shows portraits of 19 people who live or work in the Westside of Galway, and reveals the remarkable diversity of contemporary Irish society. The exhibit, now permanently housed in the Westside Resource Centre, consists of 19 portraits, each composed of a black and white portrait accompanied by a colour negative mapping. Each portrait is set against a background of images drawn from science and research, which are highly aesthetic images that warrant a second look to decipher their content. Each participant is a researcher, either in real life or in their imagination, and so while the CÚRAM researchers appear against images drawn from their own work, the local community are set against images referring to their preferred area of research, in response to the question; “If you were a researcher what would you research?” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We aim to inspire and engage all communities with current and cutting edge research that’s happening here in Ireland. Unfortunately chronic illness such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease are familiar to most Irish communities and it’s important that we provide opportunities for people to find out more about our work in finding solutions to these illnesses and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. That can be through the work of filmmakers, teachers or artists such as Cleary Connolly who use the research as inspiration and break barriers to provide another ‘way in’ to the world of science.” Commenting on the project, artist Anne Cleary, said: “We were really interested in CÚRAM’s work on corneal implants and also in advanced biomimicry. Our work is all about perception, how people see the world, how they adapt. We were privileged to work with such a diverse and interesting group of people from the Westside community and have been greatly inspired by all of the participants and their ideas.” Participants who featured in the project include Suriya, originally from India. If she was a researcher her main area of research interest would be genetics, in particular stem cells and stem cell treatments, which she thinks have the potential to treat an enormous range of diseases and conditions that plague millions of people around the world. Mary, originally from Roscommon and now living in Westside, became interested in the effects of salt intake on the body, having participated in a sodium clinical trial at University Hospital Galway. Francis, who currently lives in Galway having returned from overseas, works in social care, youth, community and social services. He is interested in exploring the metaphor of “all persons as scientists” and would like to see science used more to understand issues that really affect us personally and societally. Precious is originally from Zimbabwe and would like to learn more about the environment, soil improvement and agriculture. She is also interested in the Natural Sciences, and is particularly interested in research at CÚRAM related to developing medical adhesives derived from marine life. According to James Harrold, Arts Officer, Galway City Council, the project has very successfully brought the worlds of art and science together. “I am delighted to see how positive an experience this has been for all involved and we look forward to deepening connections between these communities in the coming year.” James Coyne, CEO of Westside Resource Centre and Community Partner on the project says that the Westside community is a strong and vibrant one with its own annual community Arts Festival. “It has been hugely rewarding to be part of the process and bring different parts of the community together. I think we have all learned something new and it’s definitely created a great deal of curiosity about the research that’s happening right here on our doorstep” he says. CÚRAM’s public engagement programme, which incorporates artist in residence projects, supports the Science Foundation Ireland objective of having the most scientifically informed and engaged public.  It has a strong focus on empowering diverse communities with knowledge and providing new ways for people to engage and interact with its cutting edge research. The exhibit is now installed at the Westside Resource Centre. The project team will be showing the exhibit at various events around the country throughout the year.   For more information on the artists and their work please visit www.connolly-cleary.com Cleary and Connolly’s work is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. To view ‘AFTERIMAGE’ by Cleary Connolly, visit: https://youtu.be/_p-Qg3koPCA To view videos from the Art-Science Exhibition launch, see links below: Claire Riordan, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U2Wen6beZM Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Z05BFxcLQ James Harrold, Galway City Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-mK0mF2JgU James Coyne, Westside Resource Centre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhXHRwY4Mw4 Andrea Fitzpatrick, CÚRAM and Denis Connolly, Cleary Connolly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUqdMTduMww -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway will host its Annual Research Day on Thursday, 19 April in the Hardiman Research Building. Professor Edgar Morgenroth from DCU Business School will give a keynote address at 12pm on ‘The Economics of Spatial Planning’. The population of Ireland is projected to increase by one million in 2040 and the Whitaker Research Day will address issues on: How best should government encourage growth in second-tier cities such as Galway to rebalance the country’s economic activity and reduce the pressure on the greater Dublin area? What can be done about the challenges of urban sprawl, congestion and long commutes into our cities? How should we address depopulation in areas of the West of Ireland? Speaking in advance of the Research Day, Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The Irish economy has experienced a remarkable recovery over recent years, but current trends in patterns of regional growth are not sustainable. Greater, smarter investment is needed in smaller cities such as Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford to narrow the gap between Dublin and the rest of the country. We need to invest in infrastructure, in new technologies, and, above all, in the skills and talent of our people.” In his former role at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Professor Edgar Morgenroth helped advise on the framework for Project Ireland 2040, the government’s recently launched strategy for Ireland’s development up to 2040, which includes €116 billion in investment spending over the next decade. The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway is named after the late Dr T.K. Whitaker, widely recognised for setting Ireland’s economy on a path of internationalisation and modernisation. Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Whitaker demonstrated and implemented innovative ideas and approaches to challenges and issues facing our economy and society. The Whitaker Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland today and internationally.   The event will take place in Seminar Rooms G010 and G011, Ground Floor, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway on Thursday 19 April.   Attendance is free. For registration and to download the full schedule, visit: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/event/whitaker-institute-research-day-2018/  -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

University hosts two days of events to mark the legacy of Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy A public lecture and the launch of a new mini documentary on NUI Galway graduate and former city engineer of San Francisco, Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy will form part of two days of activities marking his legacy on 24-25 of April.  NUI Galway and the University of California Berkeley both hold archives relating to O’Shaughnessy and a public lecture by Theresa Salazar, University of California Berkeley, will highlight the Limerick native’s legacy in San Francisco. O’Shaughnessy emigrated to California in 1885, a year after graduating from then Queen’s College Galway. He embarked on a prolific civil engineering career in California and Hawaii. In 1912, he was appointed the City Engineer of San Francisco, a city still being reconstructed after the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906. He served as City Engineer until 1932, and oversaw the construction of the municipal rail system, upgraded the city’s water and sewer systems, and he carried out feasibility work on the San Francisco Bay Bridges, including the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges. His archive was donated to NUI Galway by Bernadette O’Shaughnessy, whose late husband was a grand-nephew of Michael O’Shaughnessy. The library collection is publicly available in digital format, including O’Shaughnessy’s unpublished memoir, Engineering Experiences: From Honolulu to Hetch Hetchy. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “The O’Shaughnessy archive at NUI Galway is a real treasure in its own right but it also builds on the University’s connections with the University of California Berkeley. It opens up opportunities to collaborate on connecting the archives at both universities and stimulating global awareness of O’Shaughnessy’s achievements. Our University’s focus is on reaching out to the world and for the world with our work, and this digital archive means that people from Belmullet to Berkeley to Beijing can learn about the man involved in engineering some of America’s most iconic projects.” Theresa Salazar, is curator of the Western Americana Collection at the Bancroft Library in University of California, Berkeley which holds a major collection of archival material donated by O’Shaughnessy’s daughter, Elizabeth, in 1992.  Salazar will give a public lecture about the O’Shaughnessy archive and other collections of Irish interest at the Bancroft Library on Tuesday, 24 April in Room G010, Hardiman Research Building, at 4pm. Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/y8w5c2eq  University Librarian at NUI Galway, John Cox, commented: “Michael O’Shaughnessy continues to be recognised as a major figure in San Francisco and the visit of Theresa Salazar is particularly welcome in promoting digital innovation to present his legacy engagingly.” A hugely popular exhibition that celebrates the acquisition of the personal archive of O’Shaughnessy will be on permanent display in the Alice Perry Engineering building at NUI Galway. The exhibition, entitled ‘Michael Maurice O’Shaughnessy (1864-1934): Engineering the Promised Land’, was co-curated by Eamonn Cannon, Aisling Keane and Dr Jamie Goggins. The exhibition tells the story of O'Shaughnessy's career, with selected extracts from his memoir. It inspired the creation of a short documentary, which will be shown in public for the first time at 9:30am on the 25 April in the Alice Perry Engineering building, NUI Galway. Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/yb2rjfqv   According to Dr Jamie Goggins, who with Eamonn Cannon, directed the documentary: “We have such a rich engineering history in Ireland. Michael O’Shaughnessy is one of the many great engineers to hail from Ireland that have had huge impact around the world by harnessing their innovation and creativity to be both practical and inspirational, creating infrastructure that has allowed societies to prosper. We are hoping that our short documentary will act as a catalyst for a greater acknowledgement of the global societal impact of such great engineers and scientists which will in turn inspire the next generation.” ENDS

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