Aug 16 2023 Posted: 09:00 IST

CÚRAM has celebrated the achievement of participants of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) at University of Galway for a second year, with a research symposium event at Galway City Museum.

In 2022, the UROP programme was funded through Science Foundation Ireland to support underrepresented undergraduate student development by providing fully paid summer internships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) laboratories across University of Galway for six weeks between May and August. CÚRAM has continued this programme in 2023, by providing a further five opportunities for undergraduate students in biomedical engineering, physiology and pharmacology.

On completion of the programme, participants were invited to present the outputs of their research activity at a research symposium and were awarded certificates of achievement by University of Galway’s Vice President for Engagement, Dr Paul Dodd. Dr Dodd spoke to students about his own undergraduate internship experience which he says influenced much of the rest of his career and about the numerous opportunities for STEM careers in Ireland today, saying “With world class research being pursued in a number of fields at University of Galway, including biomedical research through CÚRAM and others, we truly have the opportunity to change the world for the better from right here”. The event was attended by the CURAM team, the interns, their families and peers.

Haneen Moustafa, one of the interns who took part in UROP, spoke of her experience under the supervision of Dr Andrew Daly, “The experience has granted me a wealth of knowledge and skills, boosting my confidence as I approach a mandatory internship in my upcoming college year, which initially seemed daunting. Remarkably, this internship has even sparked my consideration of applying for a Ph.D. after graduation – something I never considered before”.

Firose Shafin, another of the students who took part, highly recommends the internship, saying “I wholeheartedly endorse the UROP CURÁM internship to any student looking for a hands-on research experience. It's more than just an internship - it's a pathway to personal and academic growth”.

Prof Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM commented "We have continued this initiative into 2023 to highlight STEM research as an exciting, long-term career option for undergraduate students and encourage underrepresented STEM students to achieve their full potential. We hope these internships will address the low levels of participation of underrepresented groups in research careers and third-level education."

UROP Participants in 2023 were Omar Konswah, Haneen Moustafa, Aditya Joshi, Firose Shafin and Aonghus Feeney. The students benefitted from the extensive exepertise, mentorship and guidance of their supervisors at University of Galway; Dr Isma Liza Mohd Isa (CÚRAM), Dr Andrew Daly (Biomedical Engineering & CÚRAM), Dr Karl NcCullagh (Physiology), Dr Amir Shafat (Physiology) and Prof Eilís Dowd (Pharmacology).

CÚRAM's Education and Public Engagement (EPE) Programme supports SFI's strategic goals outlined in SFI Strategy 2025. 'Science for Everyone', as described in the Strategy document, involves creating a diverse scientific, research and innovation workforce that is welcoming to all. It extends to active engagement and co-creation with the Irish public. It aims to be inspirational for future generations, and provide excellent opportunities to recruit and support outstanding researchers at all stages of their careers in academia and industry.



CÚRAM is a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre (Over €270M committed to date) that works to improve the quality of life for people with chronic illness. Our scientific programme addresses key problems, technical challenges, and current medical device design and functionalisation limitations. We focus on improving existent devices, developing convergent technologies into clinical solutions and establishing quality standardisation systems. Our key strength is bringing together networks of specialist researchers, industry partners and clinicians to develop solutions for global health challenges. Our researchers focus on bioengineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions, and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases, including chronic and acute respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, neurological disorders, and musculoskeletal conditions.


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