Mural Design Competition For Galway Bike Workshop

Mural Design Competition For Galway Bike Workshop-image

Thursday, 23 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and Galway’s Community Bike Workshop, An Mheitheal Rothar, are running a competition for an outdoor mural. The competition is open to those aged between 12-24 from schools, art colleges, youth or other groups, and individuals. The the winning design will be painted on the exterior of the community workshop, The Ecospace, based at Earl’s Island. The selected designs will be painted in the first two weeks in June by a professional artist, on the exterior of the Ecospace. The completed mural will be launched on Sunday, 16 June as part of the opening weekend of National Bike Week 2013 (15-23 June). The winning design(s) will be chosen on the merit of its quality and relevance by The Ecology Society, An Mheitheal Rothar and the selected artist. The winner or winning group will have their design professionally illustrated and painted by the artist. They will also receive a prize of a participatory workshop with the artist to paint part of the mural. Paul O’Donnell, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society, said: “We invite the submissions to be as creative as possible and make use of the ability to paint onto the double door entrance to the workshop as well as other features such as the gable end of the building which is 4.5 metres tall at the peak. Groups are more than welcome to contact us to visit the space in person.” Designs can be submitted electronically in a digital format, hand-drawn or painted with most formats will be taken as long as the dimensions of the building are considered. Entrants must be aged between 12 and 24 on the closing date for submissions, Sunday, 2 June at 6pm. Submissions should reflect the themes of the workshop including: cycling, and a vibrant culture around cycling; community based action on climate change; and education and awareness of the environment. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Community) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit bicycle workshop, providing a free practical facility to the Galway community for bicycle maintenance and repairs. Their aim is to encourage a culture of cycling in Galway City by establishing a practical facility and social hub which will support a strong community and promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling. The Ecospace is also the home of NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and is a participatory community space encouraging each individual visiting to be a creative participant while there, resulting in a dynamic and friendly atmosphere, where community project ideas are supported and can take shape. The mural is part of a wider series of community-based events being organised by NUI Galway’s Ecology Society and An Mheitheal Rothar called ‘Be the Chainge!’ and is part funded by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Programme. For images and dimensions of the exterior of the The Ecospace visit, or contact 091 494347 or -ENDS-

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Irish Swimming Goes High Tech

Irish Swimming Goes High Tech-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Swim Ireland Teams Up with NUI Galway to Pioneer Ground Breaking Performance Analysis Technology Swim Ireland has teamed up with NUI Galway with a view to developing a new high performance analysis system for competitive swimming. The development work is well under way on the new system which utilises innovative kinematic sensing technology. The new technology which is in test mode is being designed to deliver performance information in real time both to the swimmer and his/her coach. The technology is the brainchild of PhD student Robert Mooney who is a former Swim Ireland employee. The development team is led by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Funding for the research is being provided both by Swim Ireland and by the Irish Research Council’s Enterprise Partnership Scheme. It is hoped to have the prototype system up and running by early 2014. Once developed, the system will be tested on elite Irish swimmers to measure, record and track their technical improvements achieved with training. Athletes to be tested will include swimmers based at the recently established Swim Ireland Connacht Performance Centre, based at the Kingfisher facility on the NUI Galway campus and which was officially launched last November. Lead researcher Robert Mooney commented: “A coach can often observe where improvements need to be made, but having hard evidence to back this up is key. We want to facilitate a new approach to swimming coaching, allowing for improved analysis of stroke mechanics, race performance and energy expenditure as well as real-time feedback to the swimmer, enabling more efficient, competitive and quantitative swim coaching.” “Any competitive swimmer will tell you just how demanding their sport is.  In a sport of narrow margins where the difference between winning and not winning can be little as one one-hundredth of a second, the availability of the proposed system might make all the difference”, explains Professor Ó Laighin. “With this in mind we are capitalising on low-cost, high-performance Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMs) technology coupled with innovative algorithms to achieve our goals.” Peter Banks is Performance Director with Swim Ireland, the national governing body for aquatic sports in Ireland. Banks is no stranger to success, having coached US swimmer Brooke Bennett to three gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. “We have seen a marked increase in the success of Irish swimmers on the international stage in recent years, with medal winning performances by the likes of Gráinne Murphy, Sycerika McMahon and Melanie Nocher. This type of technology is very exciting for Irish swimming to be involved with, the project gives our coaches and swimmers an opportunity to learn more about how athletes perform in the training pool and helps us make more informed decisions around their training programmes.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

NUI Galway Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summary: National University of Ireland Galway-led program with Concern Worldwide wins prestigious Gates Foundation funding for participatory research on improving agricultural tools to reduce labour demands on smallholder women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa The Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The NUI Galway collaborative research programme with Concern Worldwide has been awarded a US $100,000 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) Phase I grant to pursue an innovative global health and development research project (3D4AGDev) on participatory 3D rapid-prototyping of agricultural/cropping tools to reduce labour demands on women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. The 3D4AgDev team’s project is one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced this week by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, the 3D4AgDev teamand other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013.  This, the tenth round of GCE funding, is the first round in which any Irish institution or university has been successful in being awarded a Gates Foundation GCE award. While the initial Phase I grants are for US $100,000 each, projects showing promise have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. In the most recent (tenth) round of GCE funding there were 1,300 proposals submitted worldwide, while 61 awards were made.  The 3D4AgDev Program within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) will be conducted in close partnership with Concern Worldwide, focusing on labour-saving agri-tool innovations for women smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The 3D4AgDev Program project team consists of: Professor Charles Spillane, NUI Galway PABC agricultural research scientist; Dr Una Murray, NUI Galway PABC gender in agriculture expert; Carol Morgan, Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for Central Africa; and Paul Wagstaff, Agriculture Advisor for Concern. Over 1000 million smallholder farmers (predominantly women) are farming using labour intensive agricultural hand tools. Such agricultural tools include ones for tasks such as weeding, planting, harvesting and crop/food processing. Professor Spillane stressed that: “Smallholder agricultural systems remain largely dependent on human labour, having minimal access to alternative energy sources for cultivation and agri-processing such as draught animals or fossil-fuel powered mechanization. Routes out of poverty for smallholder rural communities will require a swathe of innovations that improve the labour productivity of their agricultural systems. Smallholder farmers living on less than a dollar a day face this challenge in an era when energy demand and energy costs are increasing to their disadvantage. The innovation challenge is how to enable smallholders to generate more income and agricultural produce while reducing the labour burden on women and rural children so that their livelihoods can improve.” User-led innovation is where the end-users are involved in the research and design of an innovative product or process. The overall aim of the farmer participatory 3D4AgDev Program is to link the potential of user-led innovation with Rapid Prototyping (e.g. via 3D printing) to enable women smallholder farmer groups in Sub-Saharan Africa to design and develop their own labour-saving agricultural tools, tailor-made for their culture, soils and cropping systems. The 3D4AgDev Program will facilitate a participatory technology development program with women smallholders farmers so that the farmers can develop their own agricultural tool and labour-saving innovations. Dr Una Murray highlighted that: “Labour saving tools for women smallholders can have major impacts, including leading to higher yields, higher incomes, more time for other activities, and reductions in harmful child labour in rural areas”. Through linking the women smallholder farmer groups to rapid-prototyping user innovation processes, Paul Wagstaff from Concern indicated that “there is significant potential to improve the status of rural women through fostering an enterprise-oriented ‘maker culture’ for agri-tool innovations”. -ends-

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Offaly Native Awarded Avaya Prize for Weeding Robot

Offaly Native Awarded Avaya Prize for Weeding Robot-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

Joseph Fleury, a final year Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway has been awarded the Avaya Prize for the best final year project in Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering at NUI Galway. A native of Birr, Co. Offaly, Joseph’s project focussed on the development of an autonomous robot system capable of navigating itself around an area using its own computer vision system. The developed robot system is part of a research study in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway on the feasibility of using intelligent robot systems to remove weeds in commercial crop and vegetable growing operations.  Dr Michael Keane, Senior Manager with Avaya in Galway, said: “Avaya employ 400 people in Galway with 200 in high technology R&D positions and as part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging and supporting students in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway, we were delighted to award Joseph this year’s prize. There is an ever-present need to encourage high quality students such as Joseph into degree programmes in this area in order to fill the many open graduate positions in the areas of ICT and software development in companies like ourselves in Avaya.” Dr Martin Glavin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, and supervisor of Joseph’s project, said: “Joseph’s project was incredibly sophisticated in that he not only had to build the robot, integrate electronic circuitry and write the software to control it but he also had to develop and test complex mathematical image analysis techniques which would allow the robot to ‘see’ and navigate. His project is an excellent example of how industry focussed post-graduate research expertise within our discipline permeates our under-graduate degree programmes in order to produce engineers with experience in relevant and cutting edge technologies.” -ENDS-

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Women Coding with ‘Rails Girls’ Galway

Women Coding with ‘Rails Girls’ Galway-image

Monday, 27 May 2013

‘Rails Girls’, a worldwide movement that aims to bridge the gender divide in technology and teach women how to code, was recently held in Galway. The event consisted of workshops which provided a first approach to web development and software development. Over 130 women from across Ireland attended ‘Rail Girls’, which was opened by Councillor Frank Fahy, Deputy Mayor of Galway City. Mayor Fahy stressed the importance of such an initiative for the Ireland workforce. Introduction to web application development, programming and architecture design were given by: Gerry Kavanagh, Master Engineer at LM Ericsson; Stefania Farrugia, Software Developer at Fintrax; and Emily Castles, Web Developer at Red Hills Software and co-organiser of Rails Girls Dublin. Speakers at the event included: Ana Maria Valarezo, Senior Account Manager at Zend Technologies; Yuwei Lin, Lecturer at Salford University; Debian Women, programme co-founder; Alanna Kelly, mobile game application developer and founder of the Galway Game Jam; and Matteo Collina, PhD student at University of Bologna. At the end of the Rails Girls Galway workshop, each participant had designed and implemented a web application, were able to enter information, edit and delete them, visualise their addresses on a Google Map and upload their pictures. Myriam Leggieri, PhD student with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, said: “Women tend to hold back and the reasons that keep women from entering IT are numerous. Mainly the same stereotype that depicts boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls, applies in Computer Science. Only the 25% of Information and Technology (IT) jobs are held by women; only 11% of the Fortune 500 companies have women executives and only 5% of tech start-ups are owned by women.” “At the same time, research shows that groups with greater diversity to solve problems better and faster than homogeneous groups; they are more efficient and more experimental. Also women have demonstrated to positively influence growth and efficiency, women-operated, venture-backed companies have 12% higher revenues than the average, and women entrepreneurs begin with about 1/8 of the funding of male-owned ventures. Consequently, the IT gender gap seems to deserve attention”, continued Myriam. Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer and founding member of and StreamGlider Inc., provided funding for the event through the company he founded, Technology Voice, which he introduced at the workshop. Further funding was provided by NUI Galway’s DERI, Intercom and CISCO. ‘Rails Girls’ workshops are non-profit worldwide phenomena with the first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, held in Helsinki in 2010. -ENDS-

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Major Irish Studies Conference to Consider the Legacy of 1916

Major Irish Studies Conference to Consider the Legacy of 1916-image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Public interviews to include Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Garry Hynes and renowned BBC journalist Peter Taylor A major Irish studies conference at NUI Galway will consider the legacy of the 1916 Rising for contemporary Ireland. For the first time, the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS) conference will be held in Ireland running from 5-8 June. EFACIS is one of the largest Irish Studies organisations in Europe and represents almost 500 members in over 20 countries. The federation was founded to promote interest in and support the expansion of Irish Studies throughout Europe, encouraging study and debate of all aspects of society, culture and literature of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Irish diaspora within the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, this year’s conference will consider the theme ‘Towards 2016: Old and New Irelands’ and has already attracted considerable interest with almost 200 delegates due to attend. Keynote speakers will include; Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin; Dr Alan Ahearne, NUI Galway Lecturer, Economist and former Special Advisor to former Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan; and award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and investigative journalist, Peter Taylor. In an address entitled ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, Professor Ferriter will examine some of the issues involved in the decade of commemorations (2012-22) from the perspective of the historian, but also the questions it raises for society at large in terms of what is remembered, how it is remembered and communicated. Dr Ahearne will consider the relevance today of a central concern of the 1916 Proclamation, Irish sovereignty, given that the largest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EEC and especially when it adopted the single currency. Peter Taylor of the BBC and one of the most experienced and respected journalists to have reported on Northern Ireland and the maker of several acclaimed documentaries on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, will screen and talk about some of his documentary work dealing with the Troubles. Taylor will be joined in this discussion by Shauna Duddy and Larry Duddy, who took part in his acclaimed 2008 documentary The Secret Peacemaker, which dealt with their father Brendan Duddy’s secret role as the key intermediary between the British government and the IRA over a span of more than twenty years. The conference will also include public interviews with Oscar-winning film director and novelist Neil Jordan; award-winning novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe; and theatre director and Druid Theatre co-founder Garry Hynes. Dr Seán Crosson, Conference Director and Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media, said: “We are delighted to be hosting what will be largest EFACIS conference held to date. We are also pleased that such a strong and interdisciplinary group of speakers have agreed to participate, including in our plenary sessions, which covers areas from film, to theatre, literature, history, economics, music, politics and the media. A recurring concern of the papers, as the conference title suggests, is the legacy of the revolutionary period for contemporary Ireland today as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising.” Among the themes considered during the conference will be the Irish Economic Crisis; Northern Ireland: Literature, Politics and Culture; 1916 in literature and Culture; Revisiting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality; Marginal Spaces in Irish Film; Theatre and the 1916 Rising; Irish Sport, 1916-2016; and Ireland’s relationship with Europe. -ENDS-   Oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach chun Oidhreacht 1916 a phlé Pléifidh oll-chomhdháil sa Léann Éireannach in OÉ Gaillimh an oidhreacht a bhaineann le hÉirí Amach 1916 d’Éirinn an lae inniu. Den chéad uair, beidh comhdháil Chónaidhm Eorpach na gCumann agus na nIonad Léinn Éireannaigh (EFACIS) ar siúl in Éirinn idir an 5-8 Meitheamh. Tá EFACIS ar cheann de na heagraíochtaí is mó san Eoraip a bhíonn ag plé leis an Léann Éireannach agus déanann sé ionadaíocht ar bheagnach 500 ball in os cionn 20 tír. Bunaíodh an chónaidhm chun suim a chothú sa Léann Éireannach ar fud na hEorpa agus chun tacú lena leathnú, agus staidéar agus díospóireacht á spreagadh i ngach gné de shochaí, de chultúr agus de litríocht Phoblacht na hÉireann, Thuaisceart Éireann, agus an diaspóra Éireannaigh laistigh de na daonnachtaí agus na heolaíochtaí sóisialta. Beidh comhdháil na bliana seo ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh agus ‘I dtreo 2016: Éire - mar a bhí agus mar atá’ mar théama aici; cheana féin tá spéis ollmhór léirithe sa chomhdháil ar a mbeidh beagnach 200 toscaire ag freastal. I measc na bpríomhchainteoirí beidh; Diarmaid Ferriter, Ollamh le Stair Chomhaimseartha na hÉireann in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath; an Dr Alan Ahearne, Léachtóir in OÉ Gaillimh, Eacnamaí agus iar-Chomhairleoir Speisialta don iar-Aire Airgeadais, Brian Lenihan; agus an déantóir scannán faisnéise, an scríbhneoir agus an t-iriseoir imscrúdaitheach clúiteach, Peter Taylor. In óráid dar teideal ‘Scrambling for the bones of the Patriot Dead: The Irish Revolution (1912-22) and the politics and culture of memory and commemoration’, scrúdóidh an tOllamh Ferriter cuid de na saincheisteanna a bhaineann le deich mbliana na gcuimhneachán (2012-22) ó pheirspictíocht an stairí, ach chomh maith leis sin na ceisteanna a ardaíonn sé don sochaí go ginearálta maidir le céard a thugann sé chun cuimhne, cén chaoi a ndéantar é a thabhairt chun cuimhne agus a chur in iúl. Breathnóidh an Dr Ahearne ar an ábharthacht a bhaineann sa lá inniu ann le príomhchúis Fhorógra 1916, flaitheas na hÉireann, ós rud é gur géilleadh le codanna móra de fhlaitheas eacnamaíochta nuair a chuaigh an tír isteach sa Chomhphobal Eorpach agus go háirithe nuair a glacadh leis an airgeadra aonair. Tá Peter Taylor ar dhuine de na hiriseoirí is mó taithí agus meas a rinne tuairisciú ar Thuaisceart Éireann agus tá cláir faisnéise chlúiteacha déanta aige faoi Thrioblóidí Thuaisceart Éireann. Taispeánfaidh sé cuid dá shaothar faisnéise a bhaineann leis na Trioblóidí agus déanfaidh sé cur síos orthu. Beidh Shauna Duddy agus Larry Duddy in éineacht le Taylor, beirt a ghlac páirt i gclár faisnéise clúiteach a rinne Peter in 2008 “The Secret Peacemaker”, faoina n-athair, Brendan, agus a ról rúnda mar phríomh-idirghabhálaí idir rialtas na Breataine agus an tIRA thar thréimhse níos faide ná fiche bliain. Mar chuid den chomhdháil chomh maith beidh agallaimh phoiblí le Neil Jordan, úrscéalaí agus stiúrthóir scannán a bhfuil gradam Oscar bainte amach aige; an t-úrscéalaí agus drámadóir clúiteach Patrick McCabe; agus stiúrthóir amharclainne agus comhbhunaitheoir Amharclann an Druid, Garry Hynes. Dúirt an Dr Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir na Comhdhála agus Léachtóir i Scoil Scannán agus Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta go bhfuil an chomhdháil EFACIS is mó riamh á cur i láthair againn i mí an Mheithimh. Táimid sásta freisin go bhfuil grúpa chomh láidir agus ildisciplíneach cainteoirí sásta páirt a ghlacadh san ócáid, na seisiúin phlé san áireamh, a chlúdaíonn na réimsí a leanas - scannánaíocht, amharclannaíocht, litríocht, stair, eacnamaíocht, ceol, polaitíocht agus na meáin. Imní a thagann chun cinn arís eile sna páipéir, mar a léiríonn teideal na comhdhála, an oidhreacht a bhaineann leis an tréimhs e réabhlóideach d’Éirinn an lae inniu agus muid ag druidim i dtreo Céad Bliain Éirí Amach 1916.” I measc na dtéamaí a bheidh á bplé le linn na comhdhála beidh Géarchéim Eacnamaíochta na hÉireann;  Tuaisceart Éireann: Litríocht, Polaitíocht agus Cultúr; 1916 sa litríocht agus sa chultúr; Athbhreithniú ar Chearta na mBan agus ar Chomhionannas Inscne; Spásanna Imeallacha i Scannáin na hÉireann; Amharclannaíocht agus Éirí Amach 1916; Spórt na hÉireann, 1916-2016; agus caidreamh na hÉireann leis an Eoraip. -CRÍOCH-

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Applications for NUI Galway’s Cloud Computing Masters Degree Now Open

Applications for NUI Galway’s Cloud Computing Masters Degree Now Open-image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway is now taking applications for its MSc in Cloud Computing Research. The first intake for this new Masters programme was in September 2012 and the programme is already helping to shape the national agenda in cloud computing. The MSc in Cloud Computing Research provides a dedicated programme of advanced research on high-value, business-focused aspects of cloud computing. In the current academic year, with students from major organisations such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Eircom, the programme is covering a number of important issues for businesses. These include: studies on business success factors for cloud service; models for return-on-investment for strategic cloudsourcing; optimal text input for mobile cloud business applications; Irish legal considerations for cloud strategies; exploring user benefits of cloud services; and other topics of importance to both large businesses and small SMEs. Dr Tom Acton, Director of the MSc in Cloud Computing Research, said: “We are seeing the direct relevance of our students’ research to companies. Some of our students are leveraging this course to advance within their employment and others as a vehicle to help enter an industry. The University’s research on cloud computing has also been published in international outlets. ” Applications are now being accepted for September 2013 and the there is an option of one-year full-time or a two-year part-time. There are two entry routes: persons already working in the ICT sector or within a technology-related role in other sectors with a qualifying degree or related experience; or persons with an undergraduate degree containing information systems, technology management or equivalent.  The part-time model is particularly suited to persons in employment who wish to pursue a masters-level qualification in this area. For further information the MSc in Cloud Computing Research visit  -ENDS-

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NUI Galway GAA Man of the Match Awards

NUI Galway GAA Man of the Match Awards -image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NUI Galway GAA club, in conjunction with University’s Sports Unit, last night (Monday, 27 May) announced their NUI Galway GAA Man of the Match Award winners for the 2012-13 second-level hurling and football finals in Connacht. The awards were presented by NUI Galway’s Clubs and Societies Development Officer, Kathy Hynes. Other speakers on the night included Tom Fox from Coláiste Éinne, who is the Chairperson of the Galway Post-Primary Second Level Schools Hurling committee and Hugh Rodden, Secretary of the Connacht Post-Primary Second Level Schools Football committee. The award winners come from Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo, covering all senior hurling and football college finals played at post-primary and vocational schools level. This is the second year of the awards scheme which was extended this season to include the Connacht senior football college finals. Also included are the four junior hurling finals played at post-primary hurling and football within Connacht. NUI Galway GAA Development Officer, Michael O’Connor, said: “I would like to congratulate the stars of the future on their success to date and to pay tribute to the teachers and schools for promoting Gaelic games at post-primary level and acknowledge that NUI Galway are delighted to help in recognising this effort with awards at provincial final level. Part of NUI Galway GAA’s policy is to engage with the community at all levels and accept how important it is that students coming to the University recognise that sport is central to the ethos of the college.”

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Government Investment Needed to Reap Rewards for Bioenergy Industry

Government Investment Needed to Reap Rewards for Bioenergy Industry-image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ireland’s leading bioenergy R&D group says a capital funding programme is needed to stimulate the development of an indigenous bioenergy industry in Ireland. The Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (TCBB), which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and based at NUI Galway, has made this and other suggestions in answer to a call for input into a draft a bioenergy strategy for Ireland. Bioenergy is the general term used to describe renewable energy derived from biomass. Biomass includes forestry and crops specifically grown for energy use, as well as biodegradable residues from agriculture, industrial and municipal waste. The Government’s bioenergy strategy will scope out the role that bioenergy can play in meeting Ireland’s 2020 targets for reducing emissions, and is expected to be published by the end of June. According to the TCBB, stimulating development of an indigenous bioenergy and biorefining industry will have a knock-on effect throughout the supply chain, benefitting local forestry and agriculture, as it would provide an outlet for forestry products and energy crops. In addition, agri-food producers will benefit from the ability to economically utilise their process residuals. Local waste management companies may benefit, providing viable uses for a proportion of their biodegradable waste. “Wastes produced from Ireland’s large and productive agri-food industry could be utilised for immediate production of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuels,” says Bart Bonsall, Technology Leader of the TCBB. “With supportive development policies these resources can all be harnessed in the very short term to improve Ireland’s economic performance, attracting inward investment, creating employment, improving Ireland’s balance of trade and the tax base. The outputs from an indigenous bio-energy industry would displace imported coal, oil and other fossil fuels, improving energy security as well as the environment in which we live.” The TCBB suggest a Government fund, underwritten by financing from EU sources could be matched with funds from private enterprise to kick-start development of this industry in Ireland. A €250 million EU backed financing programme would attract an additional €250 million of private investment capital, underpinning construction a variety of renewable heat, electricity and transport fuel projects. Establishment of a development fund would benefit farmers and manufacturers also, says Bonsall: “Ireland benefits from a mild climate and long growing season and Irish farmers generate one of the highest levels of biomass growth per hectare in any of the EU member states. Establishing a stable market outlet for energy crops will allow Irish farmers to leverage this natural advantage, offering a new revenue stream and a means of diversifying their sources of income.” He continued: “New and improved bio-based technologies are being developed for exportable products such as bio-plastics, bio-chemicals and biofuels. Establishing an industrial infrastructure for processing biomass will enable Ireland to capitalise on technological developments as they are developed. New markets are emerging for sustainably produced bio-products, and Ireland could be in a prime position to re-establish a strong bio-manufacturing base, exporting these products to a global market, the size of which will be measured in hundreds of billions of Euros.” “Unfortunately Ireland lags behind other EU member states in the development of a bio-based economy, as initiatives undertaken in Ireland to date have not been sufficient or sufficiently integrated in a manner required to attract the requisite investment capital. Establishment of a bio-based infrastructure fund, however, together with other measures to promote advancement of this industry, will allow development of a productive industrial base that will enable Ireland to quickly catch up with their EU counterparts.” The TCBB brings together researchers from NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Trinity, and UCD to work with Industry stakeholders like Bord na Móna, Glanbia, Biomass Heating Solutions, Cellulac and others on new bioenergy and biorefining technologies for Irish applications. The focus is on getting highly relevant and practical bio-based solutions for Ireland from the lab to the marketplace. More on the TCBB can be found at . -ends-

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NUI Galway Celebrate Over 20 Years in Occupational Health and Safety Education

NUI Galway Celebrate Over 20 Years in Occupational Health and Safety Education-image

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

In celebration of 21 years of delivering Occupational Health and Safety education, NUI Galway will host a conference entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety: A Pioneering Past and a Bright Future’ from 14-15 June. Invited speakers from industries such as Shell, Baxter and Alkermes will present their perspectives on health and safety issues. NUI Galway graduate, Ruairí Ward, who works for the Health Safety Environment in Australia, will give a talk entitled ‘Occupational Hygiene, Global Challenges: The View from Down Under’. A keynote address will be given by Dr Sharon McGuinness, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, who will review workplace chemical safety over 21 years. Other keynote speakers include Dr Paul O Connor, Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, who will talk on ‘Human Systems Integration - From the US Navy to Irish Healthcare’, and Herbert Mulligan of the Health and Safety Review, who will discuss ‘Health and Safety Legislation and Case Law: Past, Present and Future’. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc and Higher Diploma Health and Safety programmes at NUI Galway, said: “The aim of the conference is to showcase the achievements of some notable graduates and to provide a forum for review and discussion of the current status of, and the future challenges for, the Health and Safety discipline both locally and internationally. The University has a long history in Occupational Health and Safety education at postgraduate level through its Higher Diploma and MSc programmes, having graduated over 1000 students, many of whom have made major contributions in industry, government and academia both in Ireland and around the world.” Applications are now being accepted via  for this year’s MSc and HDip programmes in Occupational Health and Safety, for both full-time and part-time students. The programmes are multidisciplinary in nature, involving contributions from the Colleges of Science, Business and Public Policy and Law, Engineering and Informatics and Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Students study topics such as occupational health, occupational hygiene, ergonomics, safety and risk management, research methods, and legal studies. The conference takes place in the IT Building at NUI Galway, and further details and registration information can be obtained at or contact NUI Galway Health and Safety Law Lecturer Deirdre Callanan at -ENDS-

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