Waterford News

WIT John WellsResearchers from the School of Health Sciences at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) are heading up the Irish arm of a global study on population mental health during times of infection.

Dr Evan Matthews (Department of Nursing and Health Care, WIT) and Prof John Wells (Dean of the School, Health Sciences at WIT) are collaborating with more than 200 researchers and scientists around the world, led by the internationally renowned psychiatrists Prof Christoph U. Correll (The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, USA; Charite University Medicine, Germany) and Prof Marco Solmi (University of Padua, Italy) to address the health impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing huge personal, societal and economic impact. In such a context, the physical and mental well-being of everybody (not just those who have COVID-19) can be affected to varying degrees by these impacts associated with the pandemic. This research aims to capture these impacts on a global scale and provide comparative information on differences between countries,” explains Dr Matthews who is the leading investigator of the COH-FIT Ireland Study.

The initial research involves a global survey of the general population and health care workers to assess the physical and mental well-being of the population during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

Importantly the survey is endorsed by leading authorities in mental health; the World Psychiatric Association and the European Psychiatric Association, and is set to become among the largest of such surveys on mental health during times of infection. “This international and expert collaboration is reflective of the WIT School of Health Science’s commitment to high quality mental health research with national and international impact,” said Prof Wells, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Co-investigator on the COH-FIT in Ireland study.

“So far 60,000 people across the world have answered the survey and this number is increasing every day. We’re very excited to have WIT researchers leading the Irish investigation in this significant global study examining these issues,” said Dr Mark White, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Graduate studies at WIT.

The research team are encouraging mass participation in the anonymous survey to contribute to identifying the magnitude of the effects and factors aggravating or reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical and mental well-being. By visiting the study website, people can learn more about the study and how they can participate (see http://www.coh-fit.com).

People from the Republic of Ireland that engage with the COH-FIT study are reminded that mental health crisis support is available by making contact with their local GP, or phoning: 112 for emergencies; 116 123 to talk to the Samaritans. Additional information and guidance on COVID-19 is available: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/

Web: www.coh-fit.com

Social media accounts: @CohFit and @NursingWit

RIS Lead Worker Rep Brochure

COVID-19 - A Guide for the Lead Worker Representative 

The free course aims to inform the Lead Worker Representative of their role and responsibilities under the Return to Work Safety Protocol in line with recommendations from the Government, HSE, HSA and other relevant authoritative bodies.

With downloadable resources built into the course content, this enables the learner to access information, checklists and materials relevant to support the role of Lead Worker Representative even after the course is complete. This course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Covid 19 Restart GrantWith the accelerated Roadmap to Recovery now moving into Phase 3, many businesses will be reopening their doors for the first time in over three months. The COVID-19 Restart Grant, through Waterford City and County Council, is available to these businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening, reemploying workers and reconnecting with customers following COVID-19 closures.

The Restart Grant gives direct grant aid to micro and small businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to June 30th, 2020. The grants will be equivalent to the commercial rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.

With almost 1,000 applications already in the pipeline in Waterford and with some €2 million already paid out and with an average payment of over €4,000, these grants are a vital lifeline to Waterford businesses on their road to recovery. However, there are many eligible businesses yet to apply and the Council would encourage these enterprises to apply as soon as possible and preferably well before the closing date of August 31st.

According to Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council the Council is working diligently to process all the approved applications. “We have seen a surge in demand for the Restart Grant from certain sectors, however there are hundreds of small independently-operated businesses still to apply.”

“Across all sectors many of these small businesses are eligible for the Restart Grant, and the direct aid can be used for any number of applications such as helping with the costs associated with reopening, implementing best practice health and safety measures, defraying fixed costs or replenishing stock.”

“We would stress to these small businesses that once you are in a commercially-rateable premises, you qualify for the grant which is the equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, even if that bill is less than €2,000. If the company is in a rateable-premises but was not rate-assessed in 2019, or if the rates are in arrears, these businesses are still eligible to apply.”

The application process is quite straight forward, and businesses will need to submit their Council rates account number, bank account details, a bank statement header, and indication of reduction in turnover. Applicants will also be required to self-declare information.

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made via www.waterfordcouncil.ie and the closing date for receipt of applications is August 31st, 2020.

SME HPC logo

High Performance Computing (HPC) is the application of supercomputers to solve problems that cannot be solved by ordinary computers. The use of HPC has been driving innovation in enterprises from a wide range of segments. Not only businesses seeking large or fast data processing can benefit and profit from HPC, but also many more, such as those involved with product designing, agricultural production, mapping, engineering and decision making. The list is vast and keeps expanding as new applications are developed. Consequently, the possibilities for business innovation by using this technology increase significantly.

Enterprises located in Ireland are already using HPC. In fact, the 2019 global top 500 supercomputer list contains 14 Irish supercomputers, all of which are privately owned. There are also publicly accessible supercomputers in Ireland. The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), for example, is involved with state-supported and industry partnerships and has the potential to support innovation in many types of enterprises, including SMEs.

Promoting HPC usage in SMEs, however, has been proven as challenging. The SME/HPC Project (https://www.smehpc.eu), an EU-funded initiative aiming at improving the HPC landscape in a number of European countries, including Ireland, identified that SMEs are not taking advantage of HPC as a strategic resource for innovation. As a result, the SME/HPC Project is sharing online self-learning material for all levels of knowledge covering information to support SMEs to effectively implement HPC solutions in their business operations.

The link to access the self-learning material on HPC for SMEs can be found in the SME/HPC Project website (https://www.smehpc.eu/repository). Happy learning!

 

  • WIT John Hume ScholarshipThis year participating students or their parent/guardian must be a member of St Dominic or Waterford Credit Unions by 29 June 2020
  • Applications deadline was moved to 3 July to allow students concentrate on remote study, examinations and to take a rest following their exam results

A long-running scholarship for Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) first year School of Business undergraduate students has announced 3rd July 2020 as its closing date.

The John Hume Combined Credit Union Scholarship, run in association with St. Dominic and Waterford Credit Unions in the city is open for applications from students who have completed first year on any programme in the School of Business. This year participating students or their parent/guardian must be a member of St Dominic or Waterford Credit Unions by 29 June 2020.

John Hume MEP, Nobel Peace Laureate, lent his name to the John Hume Scholarship at WIT. The Scholarship raises the profile of the relationship between business and the community and the relationship between the School and the credit union movement.

Each autumn at the School of Business Awards, the John Hume Scholarship is presented to the best eligible applicant.

Joan McDonald, Head of the Department of Management & Organisation in WIT’s School of Business says that the success past winners have gone on to is a testament to the calibre of winners and the esteem in which the Scholarship is held. “Scholarship winners to date are spread across the globe working in such places as the EU, stockbrokers firms and the top five accounting firms,” she said.

On behalf of St. Dominic and Waterford Credit Unions, Linda O’Kane explained: “Due to Covid 19 it was agreed that the applications processed would be delayed to allow students concentrate on remote study, examinations and to take a rest following their results.   However, I encourage first year students who intend to continue with their business degree to apply for our Scholarship.  Not alone in monetary terms is this Scholarship worthwhile (€1,000 per year of degree) but the association with both the Credit Unions and the name John Hume is not to be underestimated.”

Applications can be made via:

https://www.waterfordcu.ie/news/john-hume-combined-credit-unions-scholarship/

https://www.stdominicscu.ie/john-hume-combined-credit-unions-scholarship/

Munster Maths Science Fair 2020

More than 30 exhibitors have now confirmed their participation in the 2020 Munster Maths and Science Family Fair which is scheduled for Sunday 11th October in Mallow this year, subject to meeting government requirements around covid 19.

As with previous years, the fair will host a wide range of fun STEM activities which can be enjoyed by all ages and includes interactive demonstrations, science experiments, robotics, 3D visuals, microscopes, puzzles, and many more exciting displays. This popular annual event is sponsored by Cork County Council through the Economic Development Fund. Members of the Chamber are welcome to exhibit and showcase their STEM activities and commitment to corporate social responsibility.

For more information contact us at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Enterprise Ireland Capital Call June 2020Capital funding allocated to three Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) research centres is set to further support the national economic recovery and resilience of Waterford businesses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

WIT’s Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), South East Applied Materials (SEAM) research centre and Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) were among the 37 successful applicants to the €6 million Capital Equipment Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Gateway and Technology Centre Programmes.

Waterford-based multinationals, start-ups and local businesses focused on product or process improvement are among those to benefit from the investment.

Kathryn Kiely, Industry Services Manager at WIT in welcoming the announcement, highlighted the vital role that WIT’s Technology Gateway Centres play in supporting companies to innovate, address technical challenges and to develop new product, process or service solutions.

“In the last year researchers at our three technology gateway centres, have collaborated with more than 150 companies in the life sciences, medtech, manufacturing, ICT and services sectors. Investment in research infrastructure is critical for the sustainability and competitiveness of our region. This investment by Enterprise Ireland will better position our research centres to support the technical and research challenges that companies face, enhancing resilience and competitiveness within our SME and industry base.”

A joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland the Technology Gateway Programme allows Irish companies and multinationals to work together on market-focused strategic R&D projects in collaboration with research institutions.

Mark Whelan, Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Programme Manager said: “As part of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, WIT is uniquely positioned with three very diverse Gateways that serve companies both regionally and nationally, helping them overcome challenges in terms of  new product development, manufacturing and more recently dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Since the formation of the programme in 2013, the Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), South East Applied Materials (SEAM) and Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) have provided their expertise to over 500 different companies, completing over 1,300 projects worth in excess of €12 million and the presence of the three Gateways in Waterford has had a significant impact on a local and national level.”

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, recently made a visit to WIT research centre PMBRC which was awarded funding for a state of the art differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) an instrument that measures how material properties change when exposed to different temperatures. The Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) is an applied research centre which aims to support the sustainable growth of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in the south east of Ireland. 

Under the funding announcement SEAM will upgrade its x-ray computed tomography (XMT) equipment used for product design, validation, and failure analysis in Irish industry. South Eastern Applied Materials Research Centre (SEAM) is an industry focussed applied research centre, providing innovative materials engineering solutions for companies from a wide range of sectors, including bio-medical devices, pharmaceuticals, micro-electronics, precision engineering and industrial technologies. SEAM offers direct consultancy, characterisation, failure analysis and strategic research partnership programs (short, medium and long term) to support industries throughout Ireland.

Smart clothing is the focus of the Smart Material and e-Textile Innovation Living Laboratory (eTex) and will allow TSSG to engage with Enterprise Ireland clients, start-ups and existing companies that wish to launch, initiate and investigate potential solutions related to new e-Textile based technology services. Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has a proven track record in translating world class research into market-ready products and services and has enabled the establishment of an eco-system of mobile service companies in the South East of Ireland and beyond.

Neil Quinlan WITThe Head of the Department of Lifelong Learning at Waterford Institute of Technology, Neil Quinlan, has said that the Government’s range of Springboard+ courses and the institute’s part-time and flexible course offering could be key to helping futureproof careers impacted by Covid-19.

Speaking ahead of the 1st July ‘Virtual Open Day’ for adult learners, Quinlan said education will be the answer to future of work worries for many employees, jobseekers, previously self-employed people and people returning to the workforce across the region.

“The impact of Covid-19 will have many people across Waterford looking to futureproof their employability. Our Springboard+, part-time and flexible learning options are delivered in modes that are amenable to people with busy lives.”

The free/highly subsidised courses launched under the institute’s Enterprise Support Initiative last month were in high demand and it is expected more adults will turn to learning this year.

The Virtual Open Day on 1st July will be feature two 1-hour Zoom sessions, lunchtime and evening, and will feature talks from academic experts and the Springboard Team who will explain the application process. Details will be available on the WIT website and on social media ahead of the day. See www.wit.ie and www.wit.ie/parttime.

“Every autumn adults turn to part-time learning and this year we are expecting a surge of applications as people look to re-skill or upskill. Our 1 July Virtual Open Day for adult learners will allow people to ask questions they may have about returning to study, fees, and areas they are interested in,” Quinlan says.

The list of WIT Springboard and Part-time courses for 2020/21 will be launched at the Virtual Open Day. Quinlan says courses will be available in a wide variety of areas including business and management, construction engineering, biopharmachem sciences, biomedical engineering, fintech, computing and data analytics, childcare, hospitality and more. Courses may be 1-year courses to add to existing qualifications or it’s also possible for adult learners to do a variety of full degree qualifications part-time.

Among these will be free or highly-subsidised Springboard+ higher-education courses from WIT which are open to both employed and unemployed people.

“Springboard+ courses are designed to allow people to re-boot their career through significant upskilling within one-year of less.  Courses are fully-funded for the unemployed, previously self-employed and people returning to the workplace. For employed people level 6 Springboard Courses are 100% - funded and Level 7 - 9 Springboard courses are 90% - funded,” concludes Quinlan.

Springboard+ is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF programme or Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Visit Waterford Campaign June 2020Visit Waterford launches its first domestic consumer campaign in response to the impact of COVID-19 on local tourism sector.

The campaign “You’re invited, come and see” will be aired on national TV channels, national and local radio stations, and print media and across social media platforms throughout July.

Highlighting the extent of what the city and county has to offer in terms of culture, scenery, adventure, activities and entertainment, the Visit Waterford campaign is aimed at the domestic market.  COVID-19 has had a widespread effect on international tourism, which accounted for approximately 75% of Ireland’s tourism economy last year but is not expected to return to Ireland until 2021.

According to David McCoy, Visit Waterford Chair, the campaign will focus on domestic visitors and will have a broad appeal to all ages and all tastes.

“The strapline is very simple, and very apt “Waterford, you’re invited, come and see.”  Whether you are lucky to live in Waterford or are just an hour’s drive from the county, Waterford has so much to offer for a staycation holiday, short break, or family days out.  The history and culture associated with Ireland’s oldest city is fascinating and facets of it are dotted liberally around the city and county.  Waterford was awarded the title of Ireland’s No.1 Foodie destination last year, so quality restaurants and cafes supplied by great local producers are the rule, rather than the exception.”

“Mountainous and rugged scenery is only a stone’s throw from our five Blue Flag beaches, East meets West via a spectacular 46km greenway and the Purple Flag accreditation recognises Waterford as being a safe and welcoming place to socialise and have a good time, with plenty of accommodation to choose from.”

The Visit Waterford drive is supported with investment from Waterford City and County Council, Failte Ireland, local hospitality, amenity, and entertainment providers. 

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John Pratt welcomed the initiative and emphasised the importance of the community supporting local. “Waterford is steeped in culture, heritage, scenery with excellent hospitality and leisure amenities.  With people reticent to travel too far this summer, there is a host of things to do, see and experience in Waterford for people of all ages.  With all this on our doorstep there really is no better time to be a tourist in our own county.”

“While the current pandemic has had a devastating impact on the international tourism market,  we have the opportunity, the vision, and the drive to emphasise all that is utterly unique about Waterford to a local, regional and national audience.”

Tina Darrer, Co-owner of Dooley’s Hotel, explains why she got behind the initiative. 

“With international travel very much restricted for Irish holidaymakers, there can be a rediscovered joy in exploring what’s in our locality.  Whether it is for an afternoon of adventure or a fun-filled family staycation, Waterford truly has something for everyone.”

Follow Visit Waterford’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts or #VisitWaterford for more updates or visit www.visitwaterford.com

Michael Walsh Waterford CouncilAs the country moves into Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap to Recovery, small businesses that have managed to operate through the pandemic, recently reopened or are due to reopen are being encouraged to apply for the Local Authority Restart Grant through Waterford City and County Council.

The Restart Grant gives direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures and is available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to June 30th, 2020.

Businesses due to reopen under Phase 2 (June 8th) include small retail outlets and marts.

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council said the grant, is based on the equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019 and if a company is currently in a rateable premise but was not rate-assessed in 2019 it is still eligible to apply.

“Now that we are moving into Phase 2, more and more small businesses will be in a position to reopen. Some will have continued to operate but will have experienced a loss in revenue and staff numbers while bearing ongoing costs. For others, the cost of reopening will be a challenge. The Restart Grant, which is a minimum of €2,000 and maximum of €10,000, can be used to help defray ongoing fixed costs or meet the cost of reopening, such as replenishing stock or implementing the necessary health and safety protocols to ensure customer and employee safety.”

“Small retail businesses due to open in Phase 2 should apply for the grant via Waterford City and County Council and they will be prioritised. As we gradually move into the next phases and more sectors open up, these businesses should apply. Over the coming weeks and months in Phases 3, 4 and 5 more retail outlets, offices, restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, childcare facilities and indoor recreational centres are scheduled to reopen. These businesses too should begin the process of applying for the Restart grant in order to avoid delay.”

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made via www.waterfordcouncil.ie and the closing date for receipt of applications is August 31st, 2020.

Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.

 

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