Nov 08 2018 Posted: 00:00 GMT

CÚRAM’S award winning Science on Screen documentary, Bittersweet – The Rise of Diabetes will broadcast on RTÉ 1 on Wednesday, 14 November at 11.10pm on World Diabetes Day.

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at
NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre together run the partnership project Science on Screen, which aims to facilitate, promote and increase the inclusion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) content in Irish film and TV production.

Bittersweet is a half-hour documentary directed by Hugh Rodgers and produced by both Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic of Invisible Thread Films. The film captures the Irish health system’s fight to treat the rising number of diabetic patients, and warns against this troubling epidemic facing our population. It follows the personal stories of young people who are living with diabetes and their daily struggle to manage it.

Over the course of the documentary, it highlights the ground-breaking research and development in pharmacology and biomedical science at NUI Galway and other universities to treat diabetes, capturing the important work of CÚRAM’s Professor David Brayden and his team at UCD’s Veterinary Hospital, where they are developing new ways of delivering insulin to the body.

The documentary also gives an insight into the treatment and management of diabetes featuring expert clinicians Professor Derek O’Keeffe and Helen Burke from NUI Galway, who use cutting edge technology to care for young people with diabetes, helping them to manage their chronic condition, through diabetes clinics at Galway University Hospital.

Hugh Rodgers is an award-winning Director based in Dublin. In 2016 he directed The Story of Yes, a documentary on the marriage referendum, and it went on to be nominated for Best Single Documentary at the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA) 2016 and was commended at the prestigious Radharc Awards 2016. His work is notable for its emotive quality, finding the personal and engaging stories even within the most unexpected of topics.

Anna Rodgers is an IFTA award winning director and producer, and has worked in documentary film and television for over 16 years. She won Best TV Director at the IFTAs, 2014 for her sensitive portrayal of sexuality and disability in the RTÉ documentary Somebody to Love.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “One of the key goals at CÚRAM is to provide easy access to our latest research findings and emerging technologies, so that the Irish public can stay informed about advances in science and healthcare. Science on Screen and our partnership with Galway Film Centre is one of our core public engagement programmes. It is really important for us to ensure that there’s a two-way flow of information happening between our researchers and members of the public, and the filmmakers have succeeded brilliantly in helping us do just that.”

Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Physician, University Hospital Galway and NUI Galway, said: “This innovative diabetes documentary “Bittersweet” shows the silent burden of chronic disease on patients and their families. As a clinician my role is to help patients on this journey and to empower them to manage their medical conditions by harnessing the latest innovations, to allow them to live their best life. CÚRAM through its world class disruptive technologies program and public education partnership with Science on Screen and Galway Film Centre has again demonstrated the best of Irish research which will improve clinical care for all of our benefit.”

Alan Duggan, Manager of Galway Film Centre, said: “We are delighted to facilitate the Science on Screen documentaries and to help CÚRAM showcase the incredible work and research carried out at the centre in NUI Galway. Hugh, Anna and Zlata did an incredible job in giving an insight into the research, treatment and management of diabetes through their wonderful film Bittersweet.”

In 2015, CÚRAM joined forces with Galway Film Centre and Galway UNESCO City of Film, to invite filmmakers to make science films. The pilot of the ‘Science on Screen’ initiative, funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme, resulted in two high quality 26-minute science documentaries in 2016 that incorporated areas of research currently taking place in CÚRAM: Feats of Modest Valour and Mending Legends, followed by Bittersweet in 2017. Later in November the 2018 Science on Screen documentary will be announced and will have its world premiere in Galway in December.

The award of €35,000 for the Science on Screen commission is funded by CÚRAM, and is helping to establish Ireland as a global hub of research expertise in medical device technology. CÚRAM aims to develop affordable, innovative and transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases and radically improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic illness.

Bittersweet will broadcast on RTÉ 1 on Wednesday, 14 November at 11.10pm.

To view a short video on Bittersweet, visit:


For Press contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at or 091 495695.

Photo Science on Screen.png: Suvi and Rosie Coffey who feature in the Science on Screen documentary, ‘Bittersweet - The Rise of Diabetes’. Photo: NUI Galway

Notes to Editors

Further success of Feats of Modest Valour and Mending Legends Science on Screen films

2016 Science on Screen films, Feats of Modest Valour and Mending Legends have gone from strength to strength, scooping broadcast slots with both TG4 and RTÉ, screening at numerous film festivals in Europe and the US and are being used extensively and continuously as part of CÚRAM’s public engagement programme. Screenings have taken place at community events and schools, as well as at academic conferences both in Ireland and abroad. The filmmakers have been invited to represent Ireland at festivals overseas including dokumentART in Germany, and have been nominated for awards like the Short Lens Competition, Guth Gafa. Over 200,000 people have viewed the films and over 40 screenings have been held to date. Feats of Modest Valour also won the AAAS Scientist Award as well as the runner up People's Choice Award at the prestigious Imagine Science Film Festival in New York City.

About World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day is commemorated yearly by the International Diabetes Federation; an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and their vision to live in a world without the disease and they work to promote diabetes care, prevention and cure worldwide.

About NUI Galway

The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.

Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.

NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its performance in international rankings. The University is one of the few Irish Universities to have risen in the rankings in four of the last five years including the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings.

With an extensive network of industry, community and academic collaborators around the world, NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times. Internationally renowned research centres based here include CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, Moore Institute, Institute for Life course and Society and The Ryan Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy.

NUI Galway has been listed as one of the most beautiful universities in Europe according to Business Insider. For more information visit or view all NUI Galway news here.

*The University's official title is National University of Ireland Galway. Please note that the only official abbreviation is NUI Galway.


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