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It all adds up for Maths Week 2014 at NUI Galway

It all adds up for Maths Week 2014 at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Schools in Galway will welcome NUI Galway experts into their classrooms to deliver interactive workshops during Maths Week 2014, from 11 to 19 October. In a further celebration of all things mathematical, a nationwide schools competition PRISM will be run, while a series of public talks will illustrate the many links between art and maths. Maths Week is an annual national event aimed at primary and secondary schools, to promote appreciation, understanding and awareness of maths and its relevance to society, education and technology. On request from teachers, NUI Galway’s School of Mathematics will dispatch lecturers and postgraduate students to schools for interactive talks and workshops. On Thursday, 16 October, the School of Mathematics will launch and host the nationwide maths competition PRISM (PRoblem solving for Irish Second level Mathematics). PRISM can be run in each interested school at junior and/or senior levels. Registered maths teachers can download a full package (problem sheets, answer keys, etc.) for their classes. The website generates numerical and graphical summary statistics of student performances in real time and identifies the top-performing schools and individuals. “Maths Week Ireland promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of maths through a huge variety of events and activities. We have been involved in Maths Week from the start, and year-on-year there is a growing interest in the subject,” said Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at NUI Galway. “It all adds up. Teachers are finding new ways of teaching maths, academics are broadening the way they communicate maths, and younger people themselves are a lot more maths savvy. Our year-round schools programme, which includes school workshops through our TY Friday initiative, shows us there is a wonderful appetite for learning maths in fun and exciting ways.” Tom Banchoff is a Professor of Mathematics at Brown University in the US who has a deep interest in relating mathematics to art. On Friday, 17 October, he will deliver two public talks to secondary school pupils. ‘Maths Spans All Dimensions – Geometry and Computer Graphics’ is aimed at junior cycle students and will show how geometry and computer graphics play important roles in animated movies, dance, physics, geology, literature, and art. This exciting show will be illustrated by computer generated images and animations. For senior cycle students, ‘The Fourth Dimension and Salvador Dali’ explores the famous artist Salvador Dali, who was fascinated by mathematics and science. The artist managed to feature some advanced topics like the fourth dimension and catastrophe theory in his paintings. Teachers or individuals interested in arranging visits, the public talks or the schools competition should visit http://www.maths.nuigalway.ie/outreach/MathsWeek2014.shtml or email tim.downing@nuigalway.ie. -ends-

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Oliver Daniels Appointed as CEO of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics

Oliver Daniels Appointed as CEO of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics-image

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is delighted to announce the appointment of Oliver Daniels as CEO. Oliver Daniels will lead the €75 million SFI Research Centre as it firmly positions Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research. He joins Insight from Avaya, where he has served as R&D Leader of Research & Development for Contact Center Applications at Avaya for the last five years. Oliver Daniels was responsible for leading the software engineering teams as they developed innovative applications for both cloud and on premise solutions. At Avaya, he has leveraged his 27 years of enterprise software experience with Avaya, and Nortel, to create industry-leading contact centre solutions and drive innovation in customer experience technology. Prior to Avaya, Oliver Daniels served as R&D Leader for Nortel, and has also served as CEO of Accendo Technologies, an Irish start-up. Oliver has held a wide variety of senior roles in technology and management, serving Nortel, ADC, and Saville Systems, based in Ireland, the UK, and France. Oliver Daniels is credited as a co-inventor in several contact centre patent applications, he holds a B. Comm from NUI Galway. Insight is a joint initiative between researchers at DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, and other partner institutions. Established in July 2013, it has brought together a critical mass of more than 200 researchers to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas. Data analytics – the study of ‘Big Data’ - is a global challenge that involves turning vast quantities of ubiquitous raw data into knowledge that will inform people and improve society, business, and health. The sector is growing by an estimated 30% annually and Insight is playing a key role in developing the research strengths and specialised skills needed for Ireland to remain globally competitive. Through dynamic partnerships with some 30 industry partners, the multi-location research centre aims to leverage further investment from Europe, help create high value jobs in Ireland, and deliver economic and societal impact. Speaking about the appointment, John Tracey, Chairman of the Insight Governance Board, said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Oliver Daniels as Insight’s new CEO. As the largest publicly funded research project in Ireland, Insight’s success critically depends on further deepening the close co-operation between industry and the universities. Oliver’s extensive industry and R&D experience, at the highest level, will allow Insight to achieve further success.”   John Tracey also thanked Professor Barry Smyth who has held the role of CEO since Insight’s inception: “Barry led the university groups that successfully established Insight and has led the centre since it commenced in mid-2013. I want to thank him sincerely for the major contribution he has made to Insight to date and will continue to make in the future.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government said: “SFI-funded research centres, like Insight, were established to further Ireland’s competitive advantage in specific research areas. As big data continues to grow exponentially, there is a real opportunity for Ireland to compete and win. Under the stewardship of a leader of Oliver’s calibre, I have no doubt that Insight will be positioned to capitalise on this growth, deliver cutting-edge research and develop opportunities for industry collaboration and commercialisation. I also want to thank Professor Barry Smyth who led the Insight bid, established the Insight Centre and contributed significantly to its scientific and commercial success to date. I am confident that Barry and his colleagues in Insight will continue to research, innovate and keep Ireland to the fore in the rapidly growing field of big data analytics.” Oliver Daniels takes up the role from 21 October, 2014, and will be based at Insight NUI Galway. -ends-

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World-renowned Galway neuroscientist returns to NUI Galway with formula for happiness

World-renowned Galway neuroscientist returns to NUI Galway with formula for happiness-image

Thursday, 25 September 2014

There is a formula for happiness after all. The equation has been described by Professor Ray Dolan, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London. Professor Dolan presented some of his latest research findings on Tuesday, 23 September, at NUI Galway in a lecture jointly hosted by the University’s School of Psychology, the Discipline of Psychiatry, and the Galway Neuroscience Centre. In a talk entitled ‘Value Encoding in the Human Brain’, Professor Dolan explained how he and his team of researchers believe that happiness is governed primarily by expectation and surprise, work which they have published recently in the prestigious international journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Dolan and his team used a combination of behavioral neuroscience, computational modeling and neuroimaging approaches to study emotional reactivity in the form of momentary happiness in response to reward. He also presented results from other work that may help to explain why some people have a propensity to gamble and take risks, while others avoid risk. He explained how the chemical transmitter dopamine in the brain is likely to play a key role in determining whether and how someone will gamble. Furthermore, dopamine’s actions in the brain also appear to play a critical role in learning. Professor Dolan demonstrated how a decline in dopamine levels with ageing can result in impaired learning. In turn, drugs that elevate levels of dopamine in the brain can act as cognitive enhancers. Professor Dolan, who is a native of Monivea in Galway and a graduate of NUI Galway (known then as University College Galway), is a clinician scientist with a primary interest in the neurobiology of emotion and how emotion impacts on cognition, including decision making.  He has published over 500 peer reviewed papers in scientific journals and is consistently ranked among the top five most cited neuroscientists in the world in the field of neuroscience and behaviour. He has received numerous awards including the Alexander Von Humboldt Research Award (2004), the Golden Brain Award from the Minerva Foundation (2006), the International Max Planck Research Award (2007). In 2011 he was made a Visiting Einstein Fellow to the Humboldt University, Berlin. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2000 and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010. Recently, he received an NUI Galway Alumni Award. NUI Galway’s Professor David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, said, “We were honored to welcome Professor Dolan back to NUI Galway to talk to us about his very exciting recent research findings. Neuroscience research and teaching is currently very vibrant at NUI Galway and we aim to train the next generation of leaders in brain research.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Zoologist Brings RTÉ’s ‘Bug Hunters’ to Schools throughout Ireland

NUI Galway Zoologist Brings RTÉ’s ‘Bug Hunters’ to Schools throughout Ireland-image

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dr Michel Dugon, from NUI Galway’s discipline of Zoology, and his creepy-crawly friends will tour schools around Ireland to teach kids about bugs, biodiversity and ecology. Dr Dugon is also the presenter of Bug Hunters, an educational TV series in 30 episodes currently airing on RTÉ2 and RTÉJr. In each episode, Michel and three young naturalists explore parts of the Irish wilderness to unearth some of the most fascinating, colourful and strange-looking creepy-crawlies. A specialist of venomous and poisonous animals, Dr Dugon is also a fervent advocate of Irish wildlife: Dr Dugon said: “Ireland is home to over 12,000 species of bugs, including 400 species of spiders, 100 species of bees and over 2,000 species of beetles. Contrary to common belief, Irish ecosystems are very rich and divers and very accessible as well.” Bug Hunters features some of the most prominent and species-rich ecosystems in Ireland, from the mountains of Wicklow to the streams of Connemara and the rock formations of the Burren. To promote knowledge about local ecosystems, Dr Dugon has created Eco EXPLORERS, an NUI Galway-backed science outreach initiative. Last year alone, he visited 44 schools in six counties and over 7,000 pupils followed his workshops and holiday camps on ecology and biodiversity. Dr Dugon also uses live exotic animals in his workshops and said: “Exotic bugs are fantastic models to teach kids about important concepts like biodiversity, ecology, and evolution. People don’t forget their first encounter with a tarantula or a giant millipede. It is also an excellent occasion to re-establish the truth about misunderstood critters.” The second season of Bug Hunters is being aired simultaneously on RTÉ2 and RTÉJr. Episodes are available online on the RTÉ player at http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10324438/. For more information on Bug Hunters contact Dr Dugon at Michel.dugon@nuigalway.ie or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thebughunters. -Ends-

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NUI Galway MBA Class of 1974 Celebrate 40 Year Reunion

NUI Galway MBA Class of 1974 Celebrate 40 Year Reunion-image

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Over 30 alumni who graduated from the very first Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the Masters of Industrial Engineering (MIE) at NUI Galway recently celebrated a 40 year reunion in Galway. The occasion enabled the former classmates to reconnect and reflect on their journeys since completing the MBA in what was then UCG. “It is testament to the vision and foresight of the team at NUI Galway in the early 1970s to lead the way in management development by introducing the first MBA outside of Dublin. Over 40 years later, there are over 530 MBA alumni, with many achieving significant career success nationally and internationally. The programme recently attained AMBA accreditation which is the global mark of excellence for MBA education and places NUI Galway’s programme in the top tier of MBA programmes worldwide,” said Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Director. Helen Ryan, former CEO of Creganna Tactx, was the keynote speaker at the event and Helen recounted the success story behind the global medical device company based in Parkmore in Galway. A clear strategy and vision, sound financial management, recruiting and investing in the right people, and being brave and ambitious in business planning are the key success factors identified by Helen learned from her time with Creganna, which saw it grow from having less than 100 staff when she joined to being a global business today with over 1200 employees. The alumni group was also addressed by the inaugural NUI Galway MBA Director, Professor Jim Doolan, a Harvard MBA graduate himself, who reflected on the need for management education in the western region of Ireland in the 1970s and how NUI Galway was one of the first in Europe to offer the MBA programme at that time. The 1974-1976 MBA drew students from across the country and had a significant impact on management education in the region at the time and one which continues today. Commenting on the changing landscape of management education and the MBA in particular, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “MBA programmes have proliferated across the world since NUI Galway introduced the MBA in 1972. Obviously much has changed in terms of the curriculum since then and yet some key management principles are still as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. One of the biggest differences now is the diversity of typical MBA class groups where there is greater gender, age and international diversity and a much greater focus on globalisation in the curriculum compared to 40 years ago.” ENDS

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Boston Mayor Visits NUI Galway

Boston Mayor Visits NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Research & Innovation Links on Agenda for Inaugural Visit to Galway Today on the NUI Galway campus, the recently-elected Mayor of Boston, Martin J. (“Marty”) Walsh will be hosted by the University President, Dr Jim Browne at an event that will include NUI Galway research leaders, colleagues from IDA Ireland as well as high-level representatives from IDA and EI client companies with strong Boston-Galway connections. This occasion will focus on the opportunities for further collaboration between Boston and Galway in the context of the global knowledge-based economy, specifically on the development of research and innovation links between Galway’s University and organisations in the Boston area. In advance of the Mayor’s visit, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Galway and Boston share many strong links in culture, in education and in business life. I am delighted to welcome Mayor Walsh to NUI Galway and I look forward to working with him to build on our regions’ shared heritage to create stronger, more dynamic research and academic links between Boston and Galway.” Elected in November 2013, this is the first official visit of Mr Marty J. Walsh as Mayor of Boston to the home of his emigrant parents. The ten-day trip will see the Mayor attend meetings with representatives of government, business and industry throughout the country. Mayor Walsh's parents, both from Connemara in County Galway, emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s and went to Boston. Having met in a dance hall, John and Mary Walsh married and settled in St. Margaret’s Parish, Dorchester where he and his brother Johnny grew up, and where his mother still lives. Catherina Blewitt, West Regional Manager for the IDA, said: “On behalf of IDA Ireland I am delighted to welcome Mayor Walsh to Galway and to introduce him to client companies of IDA Ireland and to indigenous companies with strong Boston connections. There has been significant two-way activity between Greater Boston and Galway and we look forward to working with Mayor Walsh to strengthen our ties, forge new ones and encourage further investment activity for the mutual benefit of both locations” The meeting at NUI Galway included senior representatives from the University, IDA Ireland as well as representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce West Branch and companies such as Boston Scientific, Fidelity, SmartBear Software, Aspect Software, Marvao Medical Devices, Covidien, Wayfair. Earlier in the day the Mayor will have been the guest of Galway County Council at their meeting also on the NUI Galway campus. ENDS   Cuairt Mhéara Bhostúin ar OÉ Gaillimh Ceangal Taighde & Nuálaíochta ar an gClár Oibre don Chéad Chuairt ar Ghaillimh Ar champas OÉ Gaillimh inniu chuir Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an Dr Jim Browne fáilte roimh Mhéara nua Bhostúin, Martin J. (“Marty”) Walsh ag ócáid ina raibh láithreacht ag ceannairí taighde OÉ Gaillimh, comhghleacaithe ó IDA Éireann mar aon le hionadaithe ardleibhéil ó chliantchuideachtaí IDA agus EI a bhfuil ceangal láidir acu le Bostún agus le Gaillimh. Díreoidh an ócáid seo ar dheiseanna chun an comhoibriú idir Bostún agus Gaillimh a láidriú i gcomhthéacs an gheilleagair dhomhanda eolas-bhunaithe, go háirithe ar cheangal taighde agus nuálaíochta a fhorbairt idir an Ollscoil agus eagraíochtaí i réigiún Bhostúin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, faoi thábhacht na cuairte: “Is iomaí ceangal láidir atá idir Gaillimh agus Bostún maidir le cultúr, oideachas agus gnó. Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh an Méara Walsh chuig OÉ Gaillimh agus táim ag súil le hoibriú leis chun tógáil ar an oidhreacht roinnte atá idir an dá réigiún chun ceangal taighde agus acadúil níos láidre agus níos dinimiciúla a chruthú idir Bostún agus Gaillimh.” Toghadh an tUasal Marty J. Walsh ina Mhéara ar Bhostún i mí na Samhna 2013, agus is í seo an chéad chuairt oifigiúil aige ar áit dúchais a thuismitheoirí a chuaigh ar imirce go Meiriceá. I gcaitheamh na tréimhse deich lá a bheidh sé anseo freastalóidh an Méara ar chruinnithe le hionadaithe rialtais, gnó agus tionscail ar fud na tíre. Ba de bhunú Chonamara i gContae na Gaillimhe iad tuismitheoirí Marty, agus d'fhág siad Éire sna 1950idí le dul go Bostún. Chas John agus Mary Walsh ar a chéile i halla damhsa agus phós siad i bParóiste St. Margaret, Dorchester, áit ar rugadh agus ar tógadh Marty agus a dheartháir Johnny. Tá a mháthair Mary fós ina cónaí ann. Dúirt Catherina Blewitt, Bainisteoir Réigiúnach an Iarthair leis an IDA: “Thar ceann IDA Éireann tá fíoráthas orm fáilte a chur roimh an Méara Walsh go Gaillimh agus é a chur in aithne do chliantchuideachtaí de chuid IDA Éireann agus do chuideachtaí na tíre seo a bhfuil ceangal láidir acu le Bostún. Bhí gníomhaíocht shuntasach sa dá threo idir Mórcheantar Bhostúin agus Gaillimh agus táimid ag súil le hoibriú leis an Méara Walsh chun an ceangal atá againn cheana a neartú, chun naisc nua a chruthú agus chun breis infheistíochta a spreagadh amach anseo a rachaidh chun tairbhe don dá cheantar.” I láthair ag an gcruinniú a bhí ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh bhí ionadaithe sinsearacha ón Ollscoil, ó IDA Éireann chomh maith le hionadaithe ó Bhrainse an Iarthair de Chumann Lucht Tráchtála Mheiriceá agus cuideachtaí cosúil le Boston Scientific, Fidelity, SmartBear Software, Aspect Software, Marvao Medical Devices, Covidien, Wayfair. Níos túisce sa lá d'fhreastail an Méara ar chruinniú de chuid Chomhairle Contae na Gaillimhe a bhí ar siúl ar champas OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith. CRÍOCH

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