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SDG 17 - Partnership for the goals

University of Limerick students, who contributed more than 30,000 volunteer hours to more than 80 organisations, charities, and clubs both at home and abroad, have been praised and recognised through the President’s Volunteer Awards (PVA) at UL. Speaking at the awards ceremony, University of Limerick President Dr Des Fitzgerald, said: “Over the last nine years of the PVA programme, student volunteers from University of Limerick have contributed more than 137,000 hours to the various host organisations, groups and charities. At the 2019 ceremony held at UL, which also heard a special address from Dr Vicky Phelan, 448 students received gold, silver or bronze awards based on the hours contributed to the host organisations during the 2018/19 academic year. Dr Fitzgerald explained: “The value of giving something back to society is strong in UL and we are most certainly leading in our encouragement and recognition of student volunteers and their efforts.”

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As part of the 2019 UL Research Week, the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences presented a roundtable on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Humanities – A New Horizon. Speakers for this event included: Conor Little, Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick, with research interests including political parties, political careers, public policy, and the comparative politics of climate change. Professor Katja Bruisch Ussher Assistant Professor in Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin since September 2016. Her research focuses on the environmental, social, and economic aspects of rural transformation in modern Russia. Amanullah De Sondy Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at University College Cork, Republic of Ireland since 2015. Professor Ross Macmillan Chair in Sociology at the University of Limerick, Ireland. A sociologist and demographer, his research has focused on crime and victimization, child development and the life course, family relationships, and social epidemiology. Hala Jaber is a Palestinian community musician and is a PhD candidate in community music in the Irish world Academy of Music and Dance. She was awarded research funding by Doras Luimni to run social musical spaces for migrant women in Limerick.

The Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival has expanded and grown over the years. It now reaches beyond the core of the city and established education and training organisations into local communities across the city and county. This is a mark of commitment to promoting learning in all its forms and the interest in lifelong learning across all groups in society. The theme for 2019 was ‘Bridging the Gap’ in learning (between young and old, rural, and urban, returning to learning and welcoming new communities). This theme builds on the tagline for the week-long festival ‘Communities, Connecting, Learning.’

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The Health Sciences Academy, launched in December 2019 is a partnership between the University of Limerick, the UL Hospitals Group and the Midwest Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO3). These three partners share the primary aim, through the Health Sciences Academy, of improving health and wellbeing for people in the Midwest. The Health Sciences Academy will achieve this by delivering transformative education and training and driving innovation in healthcare delivery and technologies through research which addresses the needs of the health services and the people in the Midwest.  Based at the Clinical Education and Research Centre (CERC) at the University Hospital Limerick, the Health Sciences Academy’s philosophy is based on the importance of equality and inclusion through the pursuit of excellence in healthcare service, education and research. The Academy also runs a Junior Health Sciences Academy who focus on children and health.

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A specially designed International PhD at University of Limerick will help transform the way teaching and administration at Algerian universities is carried out.  University of Limerick has agreed to facilitate the conversion to English as a teaching medium with the Ministry of National Education (Algeria) as the country moves to increase the visibility of research in higher education institutions. Dr Mairead Moriarty, Assistant Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at University of Limerick, told Links how the new partnership originated. “The Algerian government are moving from teaching everything through the medium of French to the medium of English, so they are upskilling all their Universities staff, their trainee teachers and all current students so they have allocated a significant amount of funding to do this,” she says. Professor Soulimane says he was “delighted to see this major engagement between my country of origin and University of Limerick adding that he was looking forward to the positive impact for students. “They will be undertaking world class research while developing their language skills and cultural knowledge in the outstanding and welcoming campus that we have here in Limerick,” he explains.  “From a diversity point of view, a large portion of the cohort are females, and that is a good thing” said Dr Moriarty.

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