Current Projects

Category Archives

NUI Galway Mini Med School

2015/2016 Projects

This project will pilot a new student-led, interactive model at NUI Galway for promoting NUI Galway healthcare education and cancer awareness by engaging secondary school students interested in pursuing a medical related career.

150 Transition, 5th and 6th years students will be invited to attend four sessions covering: Clinical Medicine, Nursing, Research, and Innovation (the encompassing theme will be onocology). Speakers will include world-leading oncology researchers and interactive practical activities relating to the topic will also be included. Mini Med school will be hosted by NUI Galway healthcare students, and will feature Q&A sessions post lecture, where the attendees can freely ask questions and obtain advice from current students on both study and career opportunities.

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners: Rosemary James
Lead staff partner:  Dr. Muriel Grenon

Student partners:
Rosemary James
Ashita Dutta
Sean O’Dea
Nadia VanDenBerg
Daniel Lim
James Ryan
Taha Elsherif
Adibah Badrin
Katie Cummins
Grace Doherty
Sean Hartigan
Aedin O’Keefe
Niki Warner
Emergency Medicine Society (EMSSI)
NUI Galway Cancer Society
Surgical Society

Staff partners:
Dr. Muriel Grenon
Dr. Roisin Dwyer
Dr. Paul Donnellan
Dr. Eva Szegezdi
Mrs Rachael Dolton
Dr. Louise Horrigan
Mrs Fionnuala Creighton

Project Updates

Mini Med School 2016 has seen an immensely positive reception at it’s opening session on Wednesday, 27th January. With over 25 medical student volunteers, and 150+ attendees, we were overwhelmed with the turnout. Opening speaker Dr Sean Dinneen, Head of Medicine at NUI Galway, spoke about how valuable it was to have secondary school students come to see our health science building, Aras Moyola, and to have the chance to speak to current medical students. Speakers from the Cancer themed night were consultant oncologist, Dr Paul Donnellan, and physiology teacher at NUI Galway, Dr Louise Horrigan. After the lectures, students moved into workshop rooms to lean CPR, sling tying, and how to measure blood pressure. Irish Coast Guards and local paramedics volunteered their time to help run these workshops, which taught valuable life skills to the students.
The secondary school students, along with their parents, seemed to really enjoy the whole evening, which lasted from 19:00 to 21:30. Some had driven over an hour commute – but said that they will no doubt be returning for the next three sessions, and looking forward to them too. Mini Med School 2016 Aspires to Inspire students into pursuing healthcare related degrees at NUI Galway. The next three sessions will run every Wednesday until February 17th.

The NUI Galway Mini Med School concluded on February 17 2016. The attendees listened to Dr Eva Szegezdi speak about the new, innovative Cancer Blood Biobank set up by Blood Cancer Network Ireland. They were then treated to a talk by medical students, about how to score well on the Health Professions Admissions Test (HPAT). Finally, they participated in a large scale table quiz, consisting of questions from all 4 sessions that they listed to. Most teams scored exceptionally well – proving that they really paid attention during the lectures! Their certificates of attendance, which have been signed by the Dean of Medicine, Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, were then presented. The organising team of NUI Galway Mini Med School is now analysing the results of participant’s survey to finalise the concluding project report and generate guidelines for the possible continuation of this event next year, on a different theme.

Loss Of the Night in Galway (LONG)

2015/2016 Projects

Hypo Help aims to develop a portable product that educates the public on what to do if they encounter a person with diabetes experiencing severe low blood sugar.

This innovative product would be largely audio-visual, making it more specific and easily digested than the abundance of written information on diabetes management. The audio-visual aspect could allow the product to cross the language barrier and, consequently, allow its use internationally. The potential impact on the wider community includes preventing hospitalisation due to severe low blood sugar locally, nationally and internationally; and preventing the substantial health economic burden and the development of conditions, e.g. cardiovascular disease, associated with severe low blood sugar.

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners:  Sam Hickey
Lead staff partner:  Dr. Ray Butler

Student partners:
Sam Hickey
Christopher Todd
Lisa-Marie Browne
Staff partners:
Dr. Ray Butler

Project Updates

We took delivery of the lens this week! While waiting for the lens etc., we have tested the app against a calibrated Sky Quality Monitor (SQM) device under clear skies and found the response to be fairly reliable. Some individual phones do seem to need the sensitivity calibration adjustment with the app to be tweaked. This is useful data.

App usage was almost impossible through the winter months due to the extremely cloudy weather (December for example had a record low number of sunshine hours by day, and a correspondingly low number of clear hours at night). We also require a minimal moon phase for best results. Things have obviously improved as we headed into spring.

Regarding student volunteers, we were overly optimistic re. the hundreds of students who join AstroSoc at the start of the year translating into large numbers of active members. What we now need is a revitalised student recruitment drive, looking beyond AstroSoc members to the University overall.

Hypo Help

2015/2016 Projects

Hypo Help aims to develop a portable product that educates the public on what to do if they encounter a person with diabetes experiencing severe low blood sugar.

This innovative product would be largely audio-visual, making it more specific and easily digested than the abundance of written information on diabetes management. The audio-visual aspect could allow the product to cross the language barrier and, consequently, allow its use internationally. The potential impact on the wider community includes preventing hospitalisation due to severe low blood sugar locally, nationally and internationally; and preventing the substantial health economic burden and the development of conditions, e.g. cardiovascular disease, associated with severe low blood sugar.

Project Team & Links

Project Updates

To date, a mock-up of the product’s design has been created and is being finalised. Ideas and a script for the video associated with the product are being discussed and finalised, and a graphic designer for the product is being decided on.

Since the last report, several parties have been, and are being, consulted in order to critique the product’s design. Production of the final design of the product and the accompanying video will begin once this process ends, which will be very soon.

Explore Science in Art

2015/2016 Projects

Linking two disciplines that are generally considered unrelated, this project aims to expose the idea that science and art aren’t mutually exclusive by running a series of talks and hands-on workshops.

Most artists in the renaissance period were also scientists, from knowing how to make paints, to understanding the optics behind the various effects of brush strokes, to having an intimate understanding of the human body. Through a series of talks, this project will engage students via hands-on learning about the chemical synthesis of pigments and paints, and scientific concepts such as light scattering and absorbance which gives paints their colour. The activities will be a unique combination of grasping scientific concepts alongside creative fun. It will highlight that an understanding of science can help to fully appreciate art, and also that scientific concepts that make paintings visually appealing can be applied to make cutting edge technology, such as spectrophotometry, optics and materials science.

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners: Adele Gabba
Lead staff partner:  Dr Anuradha Pallipurath

Student partners:
Adele Gabba
Tanya Bezedorova
Francesco Civati
Naghmeh Kamali
Staff partners:
Dr Anuradha Pallipurath
Dr Paul Kavanagh

Project Updates

Through this project we hope to understand the stereotypes people imagine artists and scientists to be and try to break down that barrier. So far we have managed to get two confirmed speakers for early May. Dr Spike Bucklow, Head of Conservation at Hamilton-Kerr institute, University of Cambridge (on the 9th of May) and Ms Kristine Rose Beers, Senior Conservator at the Chester Beatty Library, (3rd of May) will give us insights into how science helps understand artwork better, and how it helps restoration and conservation practices.

We are also in the process of sending invites to schools to take up a small survey to establish the stereotypes in art and science, and we are also making arrangements to get ethical clearance to work with students. We have planned our experiments for the workshop and identified an art teacher. Two schools from the survey will be chosen at random to participate in the workshops. A second survey will be carried out at the end with these schools, to see if there has been a change in their perceptions about the same. We are also in the process of procuring chemicals and arranging lab space to run these workshops, tentatively mid to end of March (subject to when the schools do not have exams).

In collaboration with Kitchen Chemistry and Youth Academy we ran experiments with gifted 10-12 year old children.

These session involved explaining the theory behind the origin of colors and how we can make use of light to study molecules. We showed the students how it is possible to measure what type of light is being absorbed or transmitted by various food colorings using a UV spectrometer. Although they found it a bit abstract at first, they started to understand the theoretical aspects when they saw the machine in action and began to ask insightful questions. The experiments had the students make inorganic pigments and dyes such as lamp black, malachite and indigo using methods that are hundreds of years old. The children were very enthusiastic and loved painting with dyes that they have made themselves. We have received very positive feedback from the students and their parents about the experiments and look forward to hosting our first Explore Science in Art workshop based on these practicals.

The workshop for students has been organised for the 30th of April on first come first serve basis for individual participants. Mrs Kristine Rose Beers, Senior conservator at the Chester Betty library, Trinity college Dublin is giving a talk titled, “Lapis & Gold: looking at manuscripts through the eyes of a Conservator “ and Dr Peter Crowley, from the School of Chemistry, NUIG is giving a talk titled, “ From Science to Art and back again” on the 6th of May, 2016. Dr Spike Bucklow, Head of conservation at Hamilton-Kerr institute, University of Cambridge is giving a talk titled, “Can science help you understand art better “on the 9th of May, 2016.
Find more information on our facebook page:

Do-It-Yourself Laparoscopic Trainer

2015/2016 Projects

The aim of this project is to design and develop laparoscopic box trainers (DIY box trainers) on a budget to improve the technical skills of medical students with an interest in surgery as a career.

Standard laparoscopic box trainers are reserved for postgraduate surgical trainees and surgical societies do not generally have access to expensive simulation equipment. The design, build and road testing of a home-made version suddenly affords medical students the luxury of deliberate practice in visuospatial skills and makes mastery skills training a reality. It is believed that this has not previously been achieved in an undergraduate setting in Ireland.

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners:  Tingyi KohSamuel Lee
Lead staff partner:  Prof. Michael Kerin

Student partners:
Tingyi Koh
Samuel Lee
Navian Lee Viknaswaran,
Rachelle Carolyn Soh
Keunjae Ahn
Paul JoonKoo Choi
Nicolle Clements
Audrey Zhang Anyi
Jeewie Welikumbura
Josh Regier
Niall Hanley

Staff partners:
Prof. Michael Kerin
Dr Manvydas Varzgalis,
Dr Niamh Foley,
Dr Dara Byrne.

Project Updates

We have acquired the necessary building materials essential for constructing two prototypes of the laparoscopic simulator. We successfully built them last Friday and had them tested out to see if there are any improvements we can make before making the rest of the models. The prototypes have been a success and are fully functioning. We are excited to build the remaining 13 models. Once the simulators are finished we plan to conduct student workshops to test their efficacy. We hope to start the workshops by February.

Construction of all our homemade laparoscopic simulators has been completed. We will be conducting a comparison study testing the efficacy of skills learned on the homemade laparoscopic simulators versus the professional laparoscopic models. We have trained the study participants on the homemade simulators. They have been practicing skills such as sugar cube stacking, and completing the shoelace task. Each study participant has practiced the same number of hours and the same kind of laparoscopic skills. The comparison study testing will be carried out by the first week of May.

Digitising our Primary School Past

2015/2016 Projects

This project will photograph the Registers and Roll Books of the Primary Schools of North Mayo creating an electronic record of these archives.

With rural schools being amalgamated, many records are being lost while others are being degraded in school attics. The Republic of Ireland is sadly unique where the state has no policy regarding the preservation of these invaluable records going back in some cases to the 1850s, especially in cases where schools close. Volunteers will use smart phone technology in tandem with innovative OCR and image compiling software to create PDF copies of these books in a cost-effective way. It is envisaged that Special Collections of the NUI Galway Hardiman Library will hold the electronic archives and make them available for academic research, subject to data protection terms and local use policies.

Project Team & Links

Project Updates

Agreement has been confirmed from the following National Schools in the Killala diocese regarding copying of their National School Record books:

Ballycastle NS, including Belderrig NS and both the Boys and Girls Schools of Ballycastle village
Mount Palmer NS, including Ratheskin NS and Annaghmore NS
Carn NS, including Crocnacally NS
Glenmore NS (via Fr. Brendan Hoban)
Richmond NS (regarding a selection of books)
Rathnamagh NS

The record books have been retrieved, labelled and catalogued. Photographing will be commencing shortly.

Agreement has been confirmed from the following National Schools in the Killala diocese regarding copying of their National School Record books:
We are in process of retrieving these as per our SOP.

Rathkell NS
Nephin NS
Templemary NS
Killocraun NS
We are in the process of copying the following records: Ballycastle NS including *Belderrig NS, and the Boys and Girls Schools of Ballycastle village.

The Books have been retrieved, Labelled and cataloged and returned for the following schools:

Carn NS including Crocnacally NS.
Glenmore NS (via Fr. Brendan Hoban)
Richmond NS (regarding a selection of books)
Rathnamagh NS
Mount Palmer NS including Ratheskin NS and Annaghmore NS

In total the books from a total of 19 schools (including extinct schools) were digitized, including: Day Report Books; Roll Books; Registers; and Misc. Documents. These digital files now wait processing.

Future expansion of this project should see grant aid funding secured for the digitization of the records of the remaining schools in North Mayo including the Parishes of Ballina, Laherdaun, Knockmore and Lacken. And the remaining schools in Killala, Ardagh, Crossmolina, Cooneal. While training and funding should be secured to ensure the records are compiled into a research friendly and project secure format.

Digital Champions

2015/2016 Projects

This project aims to develop a cohort of enthusiastic and knowledgeable student ‘digital champions’ at NUI Galway to promote digital skills and literacies, helping fellow students (and staff) build up confidence in using technologies for learning.

Complementing the national All Aboard! ( campaign on ‘flourishing in the digital age’, and building on experience from Edinburgh University’s ‘Digital Footprint’ and the LSE’s ‘Digital Ambassador’ projects, these champions will help the wider university community get the most out of technology. The champions will run awareness campaigns, carry out surveys, facilitate training, and write a blog reviewing technologies and providing handy tips for better use. Links will also be created with national and international initiatives (including European Digital Safety Day, National Technology Enhanced Learning Week, etc.)  and other student networks (JISC/NUS Change Agents), contributing to a better understanding of levels of digital awareness.

Becoming a Digital Champion is a great way of developing your own knowledge and skills. You don’t need to be an IT expert – just interested and excited about being part of the project team! You’ll participate in information sessions, surveys, poster campaigns and workshops and also get a chance to influence the wider project. Our Learning Technology expert team will work with you and help you build up your own skills. Everyone involved will also get the chance to earn Digital Badges which are a great way of demonstrating your achievements and becoming more and more recognised by employers and other organisations. One of our main areas of focus this semester will be on Digital Identity & Wellbeing, and we’ll be working in collaboration with staff and students in other institutions in Ireland and beyond. Much of what we’ll be looking at builds on earlier successful projects at the University of Edinburgh and at the London School of Economics and student partners in UCD will be working in parallel with us.

Project Team & Links

Project Updates

After having received funding from EXPLORE we set about organising and planning our campaign. Our first and most important target was to recruit a group of students to become “Digital Champions”. We decided to target students and get our message out and about on campus as soon as semester 2 started at the Volunteering Fair. We got 30+ sign ups at the Fair.

Following on from the Fair we sent a message out to those who signed up giving more information about the Digital Champion project and we then invited them to our launch via email flyer. We also contacted ALIVE and set up a Volunteering Page where students interested from this perspective could sign up. We set up our Social Media presence with Facebook, Twitter and a Blog and these have been gaining momentum.

The launch took place in The View and here we got some more sign ups and good feedback. This allowed us to chat more to those interested in becoming Champions, get feedback and give people a flavour of what we’re about for Semester 2. We’re now organising our first seminar and workshop as well as setting up our website.

Changing Conflict: Peer to Peer Mediation

2015/2016 Projects

The Programme is a schools based initiative which will be provided an introduction to conflict management and the skills required to deal with conflict. Participating Students will gain the skills and knowledge required to understand and manage conflict within a structured educational environment.

 We intend to run the programme in three second level schools within Galway City and County with the assistance and approval of the relevant boards of management. This programme will function with the co operation and education of parents and teachers of the students who choose to apply for the programme. The aim is to provide conflict resolution training to young people in an educational environment.

It is proposed that this pilot programme which will assist students to:
• Understanding similarities and differences (for older children, exclusion and inclusion)
• Understanding that perceptions vary and avoiding bias
• Understanding the nature of communication and the requirement to communicate effectively to resolve conflict.
• Realising that conflict is present and the need to deal effectively with conflict to ensure that all persons and interests are respected
• Accepting that there is a requirement to engage in mechanisms and methods to resolve conflict.
• Undertaking practice negotiation and a trial mediation
• There will be a requirement for the students and tutors to engage skill development such as Active listening, Better communication (two-way), Cooperation with others as part of a team, appropriate assertiveness in resolving conflict.

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners: Lorraine Lally   @lorraine_lally
Lead staff partner: Lorraine McIlrath   @CKIatNUIG

Student partners:
Lorraine Lally

Staff partners:
Lorraine McIlrath

Help Link

Team Bios

Project Updates

We had training of our volunteer faciliators for our school conflict resolution programme. The facilitators are a mixture of student mediators and law students from NUIG who are taking part in the school programme as part of their Clinical Legal Education module run by Larry Donnolly in the Law Faculty. We are excited to be starting this week.

The first school we will be training in conflict resolution skills is a mixed group of students who are in Transition Year. We will be attending Colaiste Iognaid (JES school) in Galway on Sea Road on Thursday 21st January for the first day of training. We have arranged to run the programme in Dominican College in Taylors Hill in February.

We attended at Dominican College in Taylors Hill on the 25th February and the 3rd of March the students were animated and engaged on dealing with conflict by creating and seeing solutions.

The role plays have been amazingly well done by the students who wrote up and imagined their conflicts and then came up with solutions through using a process of communication and co-operation. The students gave myself, Kevin, Paola, and Melissa a wonderful education on a wide variety of conflicts such as abortion, climate change, animal cruelty and the impact of racism on Irish society, the need to reform the Irish educational system to support those who are dealing with LGBT and Transgender issues. They also considered the issues with social media and the increase in cyber bullying with their peers. The students enjoyed the group work and discussion and were really a joy to work with as part of the peer mediation programme.

Huge Thank you to the Students, Teachers especially the Transition Year organisers and to the volunteer facilitators Melissa, Kevin and Paola!

Campus Create

2015/2016 Projects

This project aims to encourage creative thinking on the NUI Galway campus in a fun and playful way.

Register with CampusCreate here

During the 12 weeks of semester two, ‘Creative Challenges’ will be posted via Twitter, Facebook, and website using the hashtag #CampusCreate. Each week the creative challenge will have a different theme and ‘Daily Prompts’ will support the themed challenge. Participants can interpret the ‘Creative Challenge’ in whatever way they like and upload their creations of video, drawing, writing, audio, photography, mash-ups, remixes etc.

Everyone is born creative and contrary to popular belief you do not have to be an artist, musician, designer etc. to be able to see and think differently! As creative thinking and design thinking skills are becoming increasingly important for participation in a society full of technology, the playful, open approach of the project will encourage participants to enrich and further develop their creative and digital skills.

Register with CampusCreate here

Project Team & Links

Project Updates

CampusCreate got off to a flying start on the first week of Semester two with theme 1 ‘Beginnings’. We followed that with themes “Sound”, “Colour” & “Water”. Students, staff & beyond uploaded their photos, drawings, poetry, audio and writing in response to the daily prompts we sent out via our social media and website and which we curate weekly on ‘Storify’. We spent some time promoting the project and have developed a good presence around campus by posting weekly posters, distributing flyers, sending a weekly newsletter to those registered, & displaying daily live feeds of uploaded ‘creates’ on campus TV’s. We will continue to market the project and to encourage students, staff & fellow Galwegians to participate. We have started the process of building an online creative community which we hope to develop further in the coming weeks.

We are now coming to the end of Week #08 and are delighted that so many people are regularly contributing and sharing their ‘creates’ with us. We have presented our project at the Hardiman Scholars PhD Research Event held recently at NUIG and have made an interim video of a selection of our ‘creates’ ( We also send out a weekly round-up of all our creates through Storify every Sunday evening ( We intend to host a pop-up event at the Muscailt Arts Festival next week to further develop our presence on campus and to work towards establishing a vibrant creative community here on campus. We have 4 weeks/themes left but will be taking a break over the Easter holidays, a perfect time perhaps to look back over old themes and prompts; upload a photo, drawing, write a poem, express yourself or some aspect of your work in whatever way you like. We genuinely would be thrilled if you would engage with us at CampusCreate where anything goes and the only limits are your imagination.

ABC – Accommodating Babies on Campus

2015/2016 Projects

The main aim of this project is to make the NUI Galway campus more baby friendly by raising awareness of the issues parents may face either as students/staff, or when visiting. It is hoped that a student parent policy will be adopted for NUI Galway, the location of baby changing/ feeding facilities will be added to the campus map and to generally make the campus a welcoming environment for our smallest visitors.

Families visit the campus often for diverse events including open days and ensuring the accessibility and safety of our youngest guests is important. As the project takes shape, key locations will be identified as opportunities for new facilities to be put in place, including placing baby changing facilities in various locations around the campus and providing quiet areas for breastfeeding, heating food and making it easier to access certain places. ABC will be looking to engage with those who may experience difficulties when they come to NUI Galway with babies and to promote a baby friendly attitude within the University itself.

Please complete the Student Parent Survey

Project Team & Links

Lead student partners:  Ruth Underwood

Lead staff partner:  Anne Fallon

Student partners:
Ruth Underwood

Ruth Pinson

Staff partners:

Anne Fallon

Project Updates

So far, with help from Jennifer Lally from the Buildings office, we have managed to locate a number of facilities, such as a Nursing Mothers Room in the Engineering building and a ‘rest room’ in ILAS. It looks like changing facilities will be installed in the new Human Biology building but we still have to hear back on the Arts concourse or Arts Millennium buildings. With regard to the policy I have identified a number of important aspects that I would like it to address which I plan on sharing with Pat Morgan and Catherine Ryan in the Student’s Union as soon as possible.