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Thursday, 9 May 2002
Release date: 9 May, 2002 Minister identifies new Fish Species suitable for Commercial Farming while launching new Marine Research Programme The award of a massive €13 million to the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI, Galway by the Higher Education Authority has lead to a further €6 million being raised in what is a true example of a Public Private Partnership. Atlantic Philanthropies Ltd., based in the United States, has come on board to support an ambitious marine research programme that will build both scientific capability and the physical resources required to support it. The unique partnership continues a strong tradition of PPP at NUI Galway. Tony Ryan (of Ryan Air), led the trend when he funded the establishment of the MRI in 1992. Aquaculture research is one of the many areas of marine research in which the Martin Ryan Institute is involved. Aquaculture is one of the world's major growth industries and accounts for 25% of all fish landings. In Ireland, the sector has grown in output value from €51 million in 1994, to €97 million in 2000 and now employs 2,200 on a full and part-time basis. Salmon, mussels and oysters, have been successfully farmed since the 1970s. Now a new report identifies turbot, halibut and cod, as species with the best prospects for development in the immediate future. The report of the New Species Development Group will be launched by Mr. Frank Fahey, T.D., Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, today (Thursday, 9 May at 2.00 p.m.) in the Martin Ryan Institute, in NUI, Galway. Established by the Minister in December 2001, the Group was charged with drawing up an integrated plan of action designed to facilitate and accelerate the commercial cultivation of new species in the short term. To support the diversification by the aquaculture sector into the cultivation of new marine finfish species, the New Species Development Group has devised a Six Point Integrated Strategy which includes the following: Facilities Support the development of dedicated hatchery and juvenile management in Irish R&D facilities under the NDP, 2000-2006. Skills Build the Irish Human resource capacity, expertise and key skills in areas such as genetics, hatchery technology and management, fish health broodstock management and feed research Species State agencies to prioritise and fast-track the three main species –turbot, halibut and cod – in the hatchery, juvenile and growout phases, in partnership with private entrepreneurs. Partnership/Investment Build international alliances and promote international investment in new species Promotion/Marketing State agencies to promote the public image and market perception of Ireland as a location for Fish Health and Licencing Department of Marine & Natural Resources to adopt a proactive Fish Health and Licence strategy for management of new species. Mr. Declan Clarke of NUI, Galway's Martin Ryan Institute, who is Chairman of the New Species Development Group, says the report's recommendations present both a challenge and an opportunity to fast-track the development of aquaculture in Ireland. "Compared to countries such as Norway, Canada and France who have been to the forefront of new species diversification over the past decade, Ireland's aquaculture industry is relatively underdeveloped and we now have an opportunity to avail of the advances in new technologies, as well as consumer demand for continuity of supply and product consistency". One of the first major steps in building this required capacity in marine finfish R&D will be the establishment of Ireland's first cod hatchery at the MRI Carna Laboratories. As an initiative which is funded by the Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Marine Institute and is supported by Trouw Ireland Ltd and BIM, the collaborative nature of the project ensures a multidisciplinary input, both from a research and most importantly a commercial viewpoint. The major capital development programme being undertaken at the MRI Carna Laboratories, will facilitate just this type of collaborative research, both in the basic marine science fields and also on the more applied sector. Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile 087-2986582 Note for Editors: The term 'new species' in the Report refers to those species that are being considered for commercialisation, that are not in mainstream production and have the potential to sustainably contribute to the Irish economy within the coming decade, specifically they refer to marine finfish such as turbot, halibut and cod. In the context of new species covered in this report the financial investment required is estimated at €500,000 to €3 million. In evaluating the economic aspects of new species the following criteria apply: Reliability and cost of juvenile supply Detailed knowledge of costs of production and markets Growth rates achievable in ambient - Fish health and local environmental parameters The availability of local expertise Adequate information to devise a specification for a commercial plant New Fish Species prioritised for commercialisation: Turbot, Halibut and Cod. Turbot: The commercial farming of turbot is well established in Spain, France and Chile. Early turbot production trials in Ireland and Europe showed encouraging results and a commercial turbot farm is now established in Connemara. Halibut is a cold-water species, which is a high priced fish with an established market. Most research has been undertaken in Norway, Scotland and Iceland. Cod: Economic models draw parallels with salmon farming which is similar in terms of methodology and requirements. Studies undertaken in Norway indicate that costs must be significantly reduced to make the industry competitive with salmon farming. In addition to Turbot, Halibut and Cod, other finfish species considered to have potential for aquaculture include Haddock, Sea Bass and Hake The Irish domestic market for seafood is worth €110 million and Irish seafood exports were valued at €330 million in the year 2000. --------------------
Tuesday, 7 May 2002
Release date: 7 May, 2002 NUI Galway to address Market Efficiencies in the Road Freight Sector A team of researchers at the Department of Information Technology at NUI, Galway is currently investigating a unique approach to the improvement of efficiency in the haulage industry. The latest statistics* from the CSO show that the total vehicle kilometres travelled by Irish goods vehicles was 1,023 million, of which approximately 62% were on loaded journeys with the remaining 38% on empty journeys. Total activity in terms of tonnes-kilometres was 7,016 million, from which an estimate of 12.9 million was loaded journeys. The problem of 'empty running' and full utilisation of truck capacity is one that faces all hauliers with the average lading factor (capacity utilisation) at only 60%. The team at NUI, Galway is seeking to develop software that will enable the fleet manager to optimise route planning, fleet capacity and cost effectiveness. The proposed V-LAB (or Virtual Logistics Multi-Agent Broker) integrates the capabilities of mobile intelligent agents, AI-based optimisation, GPS positioning and time-stamping and distributed object technology. A prototype system is planned for the real time brokerage and co-ordination of 'on-the-move' road freight carriers. Over one billion tonne-kilometres of road freight transport is generated in the EU and in this market alone a 10% effective increase in capacity would mean a reduction of about 100 million tonne-kilometre journeys and significant reductions in CO2 emissions. "The research programme investigates the usage of innovative technology through the convergence of computing, communications and satellite-based positioning technologies to address the apparent inefficiency in the operation of road freight haulage" said Dr. Michael Madden of the Department of Information Technology, NUI, Galway. "A solution to this problem would mean very large and quantifiable benefits for fleet operators and indeed the economy as a whole." The product will serve as a broker between the fleet management agent and the manufacturers and shippers and will, through analysis of route planning, capacity, special requirements for haulage such as refrigeration, ensure that fleets are maximising capacity usage and increasing efficiency. Funding for the project of €500,000 was received from Enterprise Ireland. --ENDS— For further information: Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418 *CSO Road Freight Transport Survey 1999
Tuesday, 18 June 2002
release date: 18 June, 2002 NUI Galway to Honour Individuals for their Outstanding Contribution to Society One of the most successful Irish-American politicians of his generation and a man who has close links with Galway, will be among six people who will be conferred with Honorary Degrees at NUI, Galway on Friday, 28 June, 2002. William (Bill) Bulger was President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1978 to 1996, making him the longest-serving holder of that office in the history of the State. During his long and illustrious career as Senate President, William Bulger oversaw the introduction of legislation for improved education and healthcare services in Massachusetts, paying special attention to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. In 1996, he became the twenty-fourth President of the University of Massachusetts. Under his leadership, the University has made significant progress, in terms of academic activity, research funding and private support. William Bulger grew up in South Boston, which had one of the strongest Irish communities in the US. He married Mary Foley, whose mother Sarah came from Carna, Co Galway and they have nine children. The Senator and his wife retain strong links with the west of Ireland, which they have visited on a number of occasions. Another person who has made an extraordinary contribution to her community and who will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree is Sister Helen Prejean. About twenty years ago, Sr. Helen began ministering to persons sentenced to death in Louisiana penitentiaries. She wrote about her experiences in her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking, which was adapted and turned into the Oscar-winning film of the same name, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Sr. Helen is a member of an inner-city religious community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her encounters with Louisiana's death row soon focussed her phenomenal energies and charismatic persona onto the more general issue of capital punishment. She is currently one of the leading activists in the United States and internationally for the abolition of the death penalty. Ali Hewson and Adi Roche, of the Chernobyl Children's Project, are household names in Ireland for their tireless efforts in alleviating the suffering of the victims of one of the world's most famous nuclear accidents. Ali Hewson is the Chernobyl Children's Project active and working patron and is deeply involved, with Adi Roche, in every aspect of the project. Adi Roche is the founder of the Chernobyl Children's Project. Under her leadership, the Project has initiated sixteen aid programmes, delivered medical aid valued at over $25m to the areas affected by the nuclear accident and brought over 8,500 children to Ireland for rest and recuperation. Over 60 children have been brought to Ireland for life-saving operations and treatment. In 1998, Adi Roche received Belarus' s highest national honour, the Frantsysk Skrayna Order for her outstanding contribution to the life of the Belarussian people. More recently, Ali Hewson has spearheaded a postcard campaign to persuade the British Government to close the nuclear power plant at Sellafield. An Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws will be conferred on both women. Dr Rosa Gonzalez-Casademont, is Professor of English at the University of Barcelona. She will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Literature Degree. Dr Gonzalez-Casademont is well known in Spain for her work in promoting the study and appreciation of Irish literature and film and was responsible for the setting up of the Spanish Association of Irish Studies in 2001. Professor Salvatore Rionero is Professor of Rational Mechanics at the University of Naples. Since 1980, he has been Director of the annual International Summer School in Mathematical Physics at Ravello, at which scientists from NUI Galway and UCD have given courses. Professor Rionero is Author/Co-author of over one hundred papers and numerous books and has made many distinguished research contributions in the areas of non-linear stability of viscous fluids and qualitative estimates for partial differential equations. He will be conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science. Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway.Tel. 091 750418
Tuesday, 11 June 2002
Release date: 10 June, 2002 Germaine Greer to lead International Line-up at Centre for Irish Studies Conference in NUI Galway 'Ned Kelly and the Irish Inheritance' is the provocative title of a talk to be delivered by Germaine Greer at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI, Galway on Wednesday 19 June. Professor Greer will deliver the keynote address at the Twelfth Irish Australian Conference, 'From Youghal Harbour to Moreton Bay: Remembered Nations, Imagined Republics', 19-22 June, which brings together many of the most eminent scholars in Irish Australian studies from Ireland, Australia, Britain, South Africa and New Zealand. With more than fifty papers scheduled for presentation, the Galway conference is set to be the largest to date with papers presented on a broad range of issues including migration, ethnic identities, multiculturalism, health and gender, Irish-aboriginal relations, industrial relations, republicanism, language, literature and the efforts of Irish missionaries in Australia. 'We are particularly pleased with the diversity of the material which will have considerable appeal to a general audience and will greatly extend considerably the scope of future research in Irish-Australian studies,' says Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies. 'The timing of the conference is also auspicious given the recent and unprecedented development in of Irish Studies in the antipodes which has seen the establishment of centres for Irish Studies at some of Australia's most prestigious universities in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and elsewhere. It also confirms our commitment to a more outward looking inclusive definition of Irish Studies.' Among the more intriguing titles in the conference programme are Ann McVeigh's talk on child migration which has been the subject of recent television documentaries such as 'The Leaving of Liverpool' and 'The Lost Children'; Rosemary Sheehan's comparison of the treatment of women prisoners in Mountjoy and Melbourne jails; and Chris Eipper's 'Virgin Worship, Desire, Sex and Gender' which is part of a work in progress provisionally titled Virgin Mothers, Bad Girls and Murdered Babies. Chris Whittington's study of Haemochromatosis, a hereditary condition, involving iron deficiency, which has its highest incidence among Irish people and their descendants, will provide interesting insights into this little-known condition. 'Free Women on a Savage Frontier' is a title of Pat Jacobs' talk, which looks at the work of a group of Irish nuns among Aboriginal and Asian people in Broome, Beagle Bay and Lombadina, one of the most violent frontiers in Australia, when the pearling industry was at its height. Other highlights include a reading on Thursday, 20 June, by John McGahern from his acclaimed new novel, That They May Face the Rising Sun, which has just been awarded the Irish Fiction Award at Listowel Writers Festival and on Friday, 21 June, there will be an evening of songs, poems and ballads from Irish-Australia with Seán Tyrell, Shane Howard and Vincent Woods. A new collection of Australian Landscape Studies by Connemara artist, Mary Donnelly, will be exhibited throughout the four days of the conference. Everyone is welcome to attend the conference and a daily registration fee includes access to all events as well as lunch and coffee. All the conference proceedings will take place in the Ó Tnúthail Theatre, AM150, Arts Millennium Building, NUI, Galway. The evening events will commence at 8.00 p.m. in AM250, Arts Millennium Building. Admission to the evening presentations by Germaine Greer, John McGahern, Evelyn Conlon, Seán Tyrell, Vincent Woods and Shane Howard, is by ticket only and is free of charge. Tickets are available in advance from Áras Fáilte, the University's Information Centre. (Tel. 091 750418). Full details of the conference programme are available on the Centre for Irish Studies website at www.irishstudies.ie or from Conference Director Dr Louis de Paor, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI, Galway. Tel: 353+91+512198 Email: email@example.com Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway.Tel. 091 750418
Tuesday, 4 June 2002
Release date: 4 June, 2002 Scientists discover new link between marine algae and climate regulation Research by NUI, Galway's Professors Colin O Dowd and Gerard Jennings, along with a team of leading scientists from Finland, Germany, and the US have discovered a new mechanism for marine aerosol formation. Marine aerosols, and their cloud-forming component, comprise one of the most important climate regulation systems through their reflectance of the sun's rays. Their research concluded that biogenic iodine vapours, released from marine algae such as plankton, kelp and seaweed, drives marine aerosol formation and thus climate regulation. Changes in marine biota activities will alter the emissions of iodine vapours, which in turn, will alter the Earth's "heat-shield". The NUI, Galway, team are conducting more research into this topic this month and next, through a research programme funded by the European Commission and involving a group of 12 research institutes from around Europe and the US. The research is being conducted at the Mace Head Atmospheric Science Research Station in Carna, Co. Galway. The studies at Mace Head are supported through the use of two research aircraft, one leased and managed by NUI, Galway, and a second from a German research Institute. The research planes are based in Galway and will help to quantify the regional extent of these aerosol plumes along the coast and out over the ocean. The initial results were published this week in Nature, the premier research journal world wide, Professor O'Dowd's second article published in the journal in as many months. The first was focused on aerosol formation from volatile organic carbon-based vapours released from the forest canopy. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418
Tuesday, 4 June 2002
Release date: 4 June, 2002 NUI Galway Facilitates New Approach to Finance Management A groundbreaking series of round table meetings, organised by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and facilitated by Martin Fahy, a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Information Systems at NUI Galway, is examining the effectiveness of Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) processes amongst leading companies. Two Irish companies are taking part in the round table discussions, which examine ways in which the finance functions of organisations can leverage off investment in Enterprise Resource Planning. "Effectiveness in terms of strategic enterprise management is a key competitive advantage for any company," said Dr Martin Fahy. "I believe however that we, as finance professionals are not living up to management's expectations. Technologies such as ERP, data warehousing, budget and planning software are all designed to improve efficiencies to businesses but the full potential is not being realised. This is not necessarily a technology issue - it means a re-think of the way in which organisations approach strategic management." The round table meetings form part of a two-year research project with eight companies in total taking part. The companies themselves, blue-chip companies chosen for their innovative approach to management issues, are funding the project. "These meetings are an opportunity for companies to fundamentally re-think how they conduct their business." continued Dr. Fahy. "Many finance professionals feel that they don't have the time to look in detail at their processes. With these meetings they are off-site and have an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with other like-minded organisations. Industry is looking for what has been described as 'thought-leadership' from Universities and we can offer ideas and principles on which organisations can base their strategies for management. Inefficiencies in the finance function are creating work and Finance Directors must be able to take a step back from current IT systems and assess their effectiveness. We need to examine how the current technology can be exploited in order to achieve the reporting and analysis objectives set out by management. What we don't want is a situation where SEM is seen as a quick fix solution for a firm's financial reporting inadequacies. The Round Table is essentially a think-tank designed to help firms and others develop best practice approaches to developing their SEM capability. As such the purpose of the Round Table is to bring together a range of finance professionals in firms from different industries to share experiences and identify solutions." The Round Table will also have consultants and academics who will be providing thought leadership on emerging trends and approaches and helping the firms develop a pathway to better SEM capability. "The Round Table will meet every 8 to 10 weeks and over, a twelve-month period, we ll develop a range of best practice approaches", says Dr. Fahy. The companies taking part include Powergen, BBC and Unilever. Project web site is: www.cimasem.com ENDS For further information:Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. 091-750418
Wednesday, 17 July 2002
Release date: 15 July, 2002 The James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, is hosting an exhibition entitled "In their element: 25 years of the Galway Arts Festival". The exhibition will be formally opened on July 18th, by the President of the University, Dr. Iognáid O Muircheartaigh and will be followed by an address by Kieran Corcoran, a Board Member of Galway Arts Festival. The venue for the exhibition will be the foyer of the James Hardiman Library. It will be open to the public from 19th July, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, and will run to the end of August. This exhibition, conceived to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Galway Arts Festival, will contain a selection of the material from the Galway Arts Festival Archive, which has been presented to the University and the Library by the Board of the Festival. It will depict the Festival over 25 years, and will include many photographs, posters, and programmes illustrating its development from a small but vibrant local arts festival, to Ireland's premier international arts event. This was achieved with no little effort and skill by a dedicated group of organisers and artists over that time and, thanks to their work, the Galway Arts Festival has become an integral part of the artistic life of the city, and is firmly associated in the popular mind with Galway. Indeed, through this and other cultural events, Galway has become synonymous with artistic endeavor in a way that no other Irish city has done, reflecting not only the traditional role the west has played in the national imagination, but also the vibrant youth culture, which has come to the fore in the last number of years. It is particularly fitting that NUI, Galway should be home to this Archive, given the strong connections between the University and the City over the years, and in particular with Galway Arts Festival. The first Festival began as an alliance between the Galway Arts Society and UCG Arts Society, and the University has provided venues for the Festival down through the years. Visitors will see in this exhibition, through the personalities and events of many festivals, these very close ties as they reflect the creativity spanning a quarter of a century. The need to preserve this collection and make it accessible to researchers was seen as critical by the Library Archives Service not just as a record of things past, but as a way of inspiring the talents and imagination of a new generation of artists as we enter this new millennium. Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Wednesday, 17 July 2002
Release date: 15 July, 2002 8th of March - Invisible Women - at Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway The Bank of Ireland Theatre at NUI Galway features prominently in this year's Galway Arts Festival fringe programme. New plays written by students of the university's MA programme in Drama and Theatre Studies will be showcased throughout the Festival at one of Galway's most intimate and exciting creative spaces. A new one act play entitled '8th OF March - Invisible Women', will be performed at the Bank of Ireland Theatre daily at 1.00 p.m. from Monday 22nd –27th July, 2002. Written and directed by Geri Slevin, it tells the story of three Irish women, Bríd Óg, Margaretta and Bernie, who are prisoners of circumstance, place and time. In the 19th century, Brid Óg was imprisoned during the Famine years and transported to Melbourne, Australia. In the 20th century Margaretta served three months in Northern Ireland's High Security Armagh Women's Prison, during the dirty protest and Bernie, is currently serving a sentence in Dublin's Mountjoy Women's Prison. The play is performed by Finnuala Gallagher and Angela Ryan of 'dhá éan' Theatre Company, which focuses on innovative, provocative work by or about women. The company explores concepts of cultural fusion in collaboration with a diverse group of writers and directors. Other recent productions include Strange Glove (Sligo and Dublin, 2002) and Jocasta (Belltable, 2001). Geri who has worked in England, Australia, Holland and Greece, met Finnuala and Angela while undertaking a Master's in Drama and Theatre Studies this year at NUI, Galway. 8th of March – Invisible Women, was premiered earlier this year at NUI, Galway's Muscailt Arts Festival on International Women's Day. If you are looking for original and exciting theatre during this Arts Festival, don't miss this lunchtime play. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Office, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Wednesday, 10 July 2002
Release date: 10 July 2002 Yamanouchi European Foundation Award presented for research into Lung Condition Severe lung problems, resulting in the inability of the patient to deliver oxygen to tissues, constitute one of the main reasons for admission to Intensive Care Units. Acute lung injury, which can lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), is a devastating disease process, which occurs predominantly in young, previously healthy people and is responsible for thousands of adult and paediatric deaths annually worldwide. A team of researchers from National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Hospital, Galway and University College Dublin, lead by Dr. John Laffey, has been presented with the prestigious Yamanouchi European Foundation Award, to investigate a novel therapeutic approach to this problem, which is hoped will lead to better outcomes. The award is valued at $150,000. "When ARDS occurs in the context of multisystem organ failure, mortality rates over 60% have been reported with significant damage to the lungs in over 50% of survivors", says Dr. John Laffey. The research team, which also includes Professor Tim O'Brien of NUI, Galway's Department of Medicine and Professor Paul McLoughlin of UCD, have embarked on the two-year research project. The social cost of ARDS to society, both in financial terms, and in terms of personal suffering is enormous. The condition confers a considerable long-term illness and disability burden on the individual sufferer and on society. Quality of life in survivors from ARDS is poor with debilitating long-term pulmonary, psychological and neurological complications being common. "We are delighted to have been presented with the Yamanouchi European Foundation Award", said Professor O'Brien. "It is a tremendous support for our research, the outcome of which will benefit the many people worldwide who suffer from acute lung injury. It also recognises the valuable collaborative research taking place between the University and the Hospital. Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr. Joe Harford, Trustee, Yamanouchi European Foundation and President and Chief Executive Officer of Yamanouchi Ireland Co., Ltd., congratulated the recipients. "The award winning project is a prime example of co-operation between universities through interdisciplinary research. The long-term benefits from this project will be substantial adding to our understanding and treatment of acute lung injury and ultimately benefiting the quality of peoples lives. Established in 1993 by Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., the Yamanouchi European Foundation promotes the advancement of medical and related sciences by supporting programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society. Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Monday, 8 July 2002
Release date: 8 July, 2002 Third Inter Celtic Hydrology Colloquium at NUI Galway The Third Annual Inter-Celtic Colloquium on Hydrology and Management of Water Resources, will take place from today (8 July) to Wednesday (10 July) in NUI, Galway. Entitled 'Celtic Water in a European Framework – Pointing the Way to Quality', the Colloquium will be addressed by hydrology experts from Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Britain, South Africa and Poland. The event is organised by Professor Conleth Cunnane of NUI, Galway's Department of Engineering Hydrology. During the past year, publication and enactment of the European Union Water Framework Directive, has set challenging targets for member states with regard to the long-term management of European water resources. By the year 2016, quality of all surface and ground waters in member states must, through a combination of planning, treatment and remediation, be returned to their original pristine state. One of the most important principles of the EU Directive is the emphasis on a holistic and integrated approach towards maintaining water quality. A cooperative strategy in the management of this valuable natural resource is called for, which includes the extracting, purifying and distribution of water, as well as the efficient treatment of waste water. Topics which will be addressed at the Colloquium include, Water Quality – Pressures and Responses; Integrated River Basin Management; The Scientific Support for Management; Risk Assessment, Perception and Management; and Social history of Water use in Celtic Lands. NUI, Galway's Department of Hydrology has a distinguished international reputation for teaching and research. Hydrology is studied at the University by students of the undergraduate programmes of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Earth & Environmental Science. Ends For further information:Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. 091-750418
Tuesday, 27 August 2002
Release date: 27 August, 2002 Designing Tomorrow s School: OECD Programme on Educational Building Conference at NUI Galway Education is considered as one of the most important social and political priorities, to which much effort is dedicated in financial terms. As the size of the educational sector grows, governments throughout Europe and elsewhere are mobilising resources to build educational facilities that respond to new demands. Within that context, architects and educators in many countries have set out to design the school of the future and policy makers have tried to make the best choices in terms of school planning and management. An international seminar organised by the OECD Programme on Educational Building (PEB); the Ministry of Education and Science, Ireland; and the National University of Ireland, Galway will take place in NUI, Galway from the 1-4 September, 2002. The seminar will be officially opened by Mr. Noel Dempsey. T.D., Minister for Education and Science, at 9.00 a.m. on Monday 2 September in the Ó Tnúthail Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI, Galway. The quality of the delivery of education and training in the knowledge society depends to some extent on the appropriate design of educational buildings. Facilities must be of good quality, flexible, and must meet the needs of their users. The purpose of the seminar is to look at some recent attempts to conceive the school of tomorrow and to give an idea of what has been concretely achieved and what evolutions can be expected in the near future. The event will concentrate on existing examples of innovative institutions in various countries and will attempt to define some of the basic concepts that will affect the future of school buildings. Participants will have the opportunity to study current and potential future international developments, to exchange experience and to draw conclusions for their own work. Issues which will be addressed at the seminar include the following: What are the major current trends in school design that can be identified at international level? How do situations vary from one country to another and why? What are the major developments that will affect the design of school buildings in the future? How will school building design concretely respond to those challenges? To which extent do information and communication technologies impact on the design of educational facilities? How does school building design reflect the priorities of sustainable development? What recommendations can be formulated regarding the configuration of the school of the future? Which actions should or could be taken on the national/international level? How should some important questions about financing be articulated with the question of the design of educational facilities? What evolutions can be expected? An exhibition presenting educational institutions featured in the OECD Programme on Educational Building compendium of exemplary educational facilities, Designs for Learning, published in 2001, will take place in conjunction with the seminar. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile 087-2986592.
Monday, 23 September 2002
Release date: 13 September, 2002 NUI Galway named 'Sunday Times' Irish University of the Year The Sunday Times University Guide has named NUI Galway as Irish University of the Year 2002. This is the newspaper s inaugural award in Ireland and recognises excellence in Irish third level education. NUI Galway, came out on top over twenty-one other universities and institutes of technology in the Republic, following analysis of a range of criteria including grades, retention, research, student services, access for students who are socio-economically disadvantaged, and contribution to development at local and national levels. NUI Galway did exceptionally well in all of these areas. The Sunday Times identified NUI Galway as having the best graduate and post-graduate employment record of all the universities. It has the lowest dropout rate in Ireland, while almost half of its graduates get a first or 2:1 degree. Excellence in research has resulted in a consolidation of world-class expertise in areas such as biomedical engineering science, marine science and environmental science. According to the Sunday Times, NUI Galway's access programme is one of the most extensive of any third-level institution in Ireland. Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "As a university we are delighted and proud that the Sunday Times has recognised the hard work and outstanding achievements of our students and staff. NUI Galway has a long and distinguished record of scholarship and research. This designation of NUI Galway as University of the Year is an accolade which we welcome and an acknowledgement, based on clearly enunciated criteria, of the quality of education provided by NUI Galway." For more information please visit: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3501-412629,00.html or Click here to see press clipping 1 Click here to see press clipping 2 Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Monday, 23 September 2002
Release date: 23 September, 2002 NEW PROGRAMME TARGETS NEXT GENERATION OF MANAGERS First on-line Masters programme in Technology Management launched. To meet the challenges facing Irish industry in increasingly competitive global markets, a new postgraduate programme has been designed specifically to equip managers with the expertise to develop the innovative capacity of their organisations. The first on-line programme of its kind, the M.Sc. in Technology Management is also the first collaborative university postgraduate degree in Ireland. Funded by Enterprise Ireland, through the National Development Plan, the two-year, part-time programme is under the auspices of the Atlantic University Alliance (AUA), which includes NUI, Galway, the University of Limerick and University College Cork. The M.Sc. in Technology Management will be launched in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday 27th September, at 2.30 p.m. The programme is directed to professionals and managers in all businesses, but particularly those in new businesses and those expanding or introducing new technology or developing new product and processes. "This programme which is designed to enable participating companies to gain competitive advantage through technology innovation and R&D, lays the foundation for economic recovery which will be based on high value added products and processes so that the structural changes within the Irish economy can be consolidated and developed in the future", says Professor Roy Green, NUI, Galway, Academic Director of the programme. The programme is designed and developed in a distance-education format, allowing participants to access it remotely, by conventional means and via the Internet. Access is therefore greatly improved and the interruption to a participant's work and the corporate workplace will be minimised. "Research has shown that a course offered entirely on-line is not the most effective learning tool", says Professor Eamonn Murphy, University of Limerick, Associate Academic Director of the programme. " We therefore intend to use a blended model of on-line material together with class contact at regular intervals". Dr. Barry O'Connor, University College Cork, Associate Academic Director of the programme supports this innovative mode of course delivery stating that "the programme provides students with an opportunity to apply course content in a practical context through work-based assignments and an in-company research project. Indigenous companies and SME innovative applications will be of special focus in the programme." The M.Sc. in Technology Management will bring together lecture material on strategy, policy (both national and international), recognised methodologies, skills and processes which will enable the participants and their companies to make fully-informed decisions relating to all aspects of technology innovation. Students on this exciting programme will have full access to the expertise, libraries and research facilities of the three Universities collaborating in this unique venture. Graduates of the programme will be in a position to guide their companies to exploit technology effectively in the short, medium and long term. The Atlantic University Alliance was established in 1999 with the objective of making the collective expertise and resources of NUI, Galway, University College Cork and the University of Limerick available to industry. The formation of the AUA demonstrates the commitment of the three participating universities to playing a full and dynamic role in the development of the Irish economy, especially along the Atlantic seaboard. Ends Information: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091 750418
Monday, 16 September 2002
Release date: Tuesday, 17 September, 2002 Racial Awareness and Ethnicity Meeting at NUI Galway Ethnic diversity and racial tolerance, at a time when such issues are prevalent in the national consciousness, will be the subject of a meeting at NUI Galway organised by CLIOH (Creating Links and Innovative Overviews to enhance Historical Perspective in European Culture). The meeting, which takes place on Saturday 21st September, is the national meeting of CLIOH, a European wide network aimed at bringing the study of history and a critically formed historical perspective to bear on the challenges facing European society and education today. Entitled 'Racial Discrimination and Ethnicity', the meeting is being organised by Professor Steven Ellis of the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI, Galway and will feature talks by historians from throughout Europe including experts from Iceland, Austria, Italy and the UK. Topics under discussion include 'Language, Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe', 'Discrimination in late Medieval Ireland' the 'The Lost Ethnical Variety: Poland during and after World War II' and 'The integration of the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia'. CLIOH is a large-scale EU project, involving 55 universities, aimed at developing innovative methods in the way history is taught and studied in Europe at all levels. The network, with the support of the Socrates and the Culture 2000 programmes of the European Union, aims at highlighting the role teaching of history plays in forging attitudes. Ends Information: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer. Tel: 091 750418
Monday, 2 September 2002
Release date: 2 September, 2002 REPRESSION AND DESIRE: THE SEXUAL POLITICS OF ISLAM The Women's Studies Centre at NUI, Galway will hold its Annual Lecture at 8.00.p.m., on Thursday, 12 September 2002, in the Ó Tnúthail Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI, Galway. Guest speaker will be Lara Marlowe, Irish Times correspondent, who will recount her experiences working in an often sexist Islamic world, and assess the causes of the subjugation of Muslim women. The lecture is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. In Nigeria last March, Islamic Law was used to justify a death sentence for adultery against an illiterate woman who bore her ex-husband s daughter. Safiya Husseini was pardoned after an international outcry. There was never any question of punishing the ex-husband.. For Saudi women, a recent report by Amnesty International notes that torture is "a nightmare haunting them everywhere, including in the sanctity of the home where it takes place at the hands of their husbands or in the case of foreign domestic workers, their employers". For much of the past two decades, Irish Times correspondent Lara Marlowe has worked as a journalist in Muslim countries. In Afghanistan last year, she saw a woman squat on the ground and cringe when spoken to. Afghan men refused to divulge the first names of women, which can be known only by close male relatives. In Saudi Arabia too, Marlowe met women reduced to the status of chattel by their male owners . In Algeria, where the ten year-old civil war continues, women have been raped by security forces and kidnapped by Islamist rebels who claim Allah gives them the right to enslave women. Is Islam inherently sexist? Or are abuses like those mentioned above the result of tribalism, ignorance and despotism? Some theologians claim the advent of Shari a actually improved the fate of women, and that Islam advocates equality of the sexes. To what extent is this true, and why is it so often distorted in practice? "Almighty God created sexual desire in ten parts," Mohamed s son-in-law Ali ibn Taleb, the first Shi ite leader, wrote. "Then he gave nine parts to women and one to men." Muslim theologians advocate the segregation of men and women because they believe desire is a force so powerful that the faithful must be protected from it. The veiling of women is the most obvious manifestation of this distrust of female sexuality. Muslim women often accuse westerners of being obsessed with the hijab, or Islamic dress code. But has the West imposed another kind of dictatorship on women, one of perfect figures and eternal youth - as the Moroccan Muslim feminist Fatima Mernissi insists? "What good are Western women s diplomas and intelligence, if physical beauty is considered the supreme value for her sex?" Mernissi asks. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Wednesday, 30 October 2002
Release date: 29 October, 2002 NUI Galway Conference to address Gender Matters in Higher Education Fifty-seven per cent of all full-time students are women. Yet, when it comes to employment whether in the public or private sector, women's representation in senior educational or managerial positions is well below this figure. For example, according to the HEA (Higher Education Authority), in 2000 in Higher Education, only 7% of Professors, 8% Associate Professors and 17.5% Senior Lecturers were female, and in the Private Sector the figures are similar. According to the IBEC National Survey 2001, of Chief Executives, 8% were female and Senior Managers/Heads of Functions 21% were female. A conference entitled "Gender Matters in Higher Education", which will address these issues will take place in NUI Galway on the 8th - 9th November, 2002. The conference will be officially opened by Michael D. Higgins T.D., in the Ó Tnúthail Theatre, Arts Millennium Building on Friday, 8 November at 7.00 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Professor Áine Hyland, Vice-President of University College, Cork. Education is a human right and an essential tool for achieving the goals of equality, development and peace (Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 69). It is the single most important factor associated with demographic and economic change for women in Ireland. This is a pattern repeated globally. Investing in formal and non-formal education and training for girls and women has proved to be one of the best means of achieving sustainable development and economic growth. Despite the appearance of gender neutrality, education within Ireland is still highly gendered. Strong differences are apparent between managers and managed, in choice of career studies and in the teaching and medical professions. The NUI, Galway conference will highlight the current gender discrimination in the higher education sector for staff and students and discuss initiatives that could address the imbalance, concluding with a 'Plan for Action' session. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418
Wednesday, 30 October 2002
NUI, Galway Law Lecturer, Donncha O'Connell, has been appointed to the newly-established EU Network of Experts on Fundamental Rights, which held its inaugural meeting in Brussels last week. The network was established by the European Commission in September 2002 (on foot of a European Parliament Resolution of July 2001), following a competitive tender process. The network consists of legal experts who are authorities on human rights from each of the EU Member States. It is entrusted with the preparation of an annual report on fundamental rights in the European Union and must assist the Commission and Parliament in the adoption of a human rights policy within the Union. It will contribute to an evaluation of the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights both by the EU institutions and by the Member States over a five-year period. Donncha O'Connell has recently returned to a lecturing position at the Law Faculty, NUI Galway, following a three-year leave of absence in which he was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. He is currently a board member of Amnesty International Irish Section and of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd. but will serve on the network of experts in an independent capacity. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel. 091-750418
Monday, 14 October 2002
Release date: 14 October,2002 Tissue Engineering - the new Frontier of Medical Science Galway seminar to explore the health and employment potential of Tissue Engineering Advances in medical science in recent years have been quite extraordinary, enhancing quality of life and human longevity to a degree unimaginable ten years ago. One area, still in its infancy in Ireland in terms of research, but with huge potential for patient care is that of tissue engineering. Two of the world's foremost authorities on tissue engineering will address a seminar entitled 'The Present Future of Tissue Engineering', which begins at 4.00 p.m., in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, on Tuesday, 5 November, 2002. Professor Robert Nerem of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA and Professor David Williams, Professor of Tissue Engineering at the University of Liverpool, will share their knowledge and expertise in a subject which carries new hope for patients worldwide. The seminar is being organised by the Bio-Medical Engineering Division of the Institute of Engineers in Ireland. Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of engineering and the life sciences to the development of biological substitutes that restore, maintain, or improve tissue function. The ability to engineer or regenerate lost tissue due to injury, aging, disease, or genetic abnormality holds exciting promise. With the development of complex three-dimensional tissue constructs, scientists are beginning to meet clinical needs. Not only does tissue engineering provide the potential to radically improve many medical therapies but it also involves significant financial savings, as for example, in organ transplantation. In standard organ transplantation, a mismatch of tissue types necessitates lifelong immuno-suppression, with its attendant problems of graft rejection, drug therapy costs and the potential for the development of certain types of cancer. In addition, there is the risk of rejection of the tissue and the surgery itself always carries some risk. To date, progress in tissue engineering has achieved the following successes: Design and growth of human tissues outside the body for later implantation to repair or replace diseased tissues. The most common example of this form of therapy is the skin graft, which is used in the treatment of burns. Implantation of cell-containing or cell-free devices that induce the regeneration of functional human tissue. This approach relies on the purification and large-scale production of appropriate 'signal' molecules, like growth factors to assist in tissue regeneration. In addition, novel polymers are being created and assembled into three-dimensional configurations, to which cells attach and grow to reconstitute tissues. An example of this is the biomaterial matrix used to promote bone re-growth for periodontal disease. Development of external or internal devices containing human tissues designed to replace the function of diseased internal tissues. This approach involves isolation of cells from the body, using such techniques as stem cell therapy, placing them on or within structural matrices and implanting the new system inside the body or using the system outside the body. Examples of this approach include repair of bone, muscle, tendon and cartilage as well as cell-lined vascular grafts and artificial liver. The seminar will feature a panel discussion with experts in the fields of medicine and engineering in Ireland, including the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway. Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091 750418. Mobile: 087-2986592
Wednesday, 9 October 2002
Release Date: 8 October, 2002 VIRUS REACHES IRISH SEALS MORBILLIVIRUS INFECTION has been confirmed in the carcase of a harbour seal, one of four found dead at the Aran Islands. Dr Jimmy Dunne and Jane Gilleran of the Zoology Department, NUI Galway examined carcases reported by Dr Michael O Connell at Inishmore on 21st September. They forwarded tissue samples for analysis to Dr. Seamus Kennedy, Veterinary Sciences Division of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland. That analysis has confirmed the presence of morbillivirus infection in tissues of one of the seals. This is the first confirmation of morbillivirus infection in a seal in Ireland during the current European epidemic. About 15,000 seals have died in the waters of continental Europe in the past five months including approximately 1,900 along the east coast of England. Last week, tests carried out in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development laboratory in Belfast indicated that the virus had spread to the seal population on the east coast of Scotland. The last major seal epidemic hit northern Europe in 1988 and killed over 18,000 seals, including hundreds along the coast of Northern Ireland. No cases were evidently identified from the Republic at that time. It is likely that Irish seals now have little immunity against the virus and are at risk of large-scale mortality. Previous surveys have estimated the total number of Irish harbour seals to be about 2000. The Zoology Department at NUI Galway has been studying the biology of Harbour seals in the Galway Bay area since 2000 and has calculated its population to number at least 400 individuals. The seal virus has never been reported to cause illness in humans. However, dying or dead seals may be more accessible to people resulting in an increased risk of infection by other organisms carried by seals, particularly through infected bites or wounds. Members of the public are therefore advised not to approach sick seals or carcases which may be washed ashore during the present high tides. It is likely that the seal virus could cause illness in dogs that have not been vaccinated against distemper. Dogs should therefore be kept away from sick seals or carcases. Sightings of carcases should be reported to either Duchas (Tel. 01-6473000) or the Irish Seal Sanctuary (Tel. 01-8354370). Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel.091 750418
Tuesday, 8 October 2002
Release Date: 8 October, 2002 NUI, Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has announced the appointment of Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin to the position of Sean-Nós Singer in Residence, the first such appointment at the University. In welcoming the appointment, Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, said this latest appointment represents an important extension of the dynamic connection between the University and the performing arts. 'It is a timely acknowledgement of the tradition of Sean-Nós singing as a highly developed and sophisticated art form which is particularly strong in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Through her work at the University and in the wider community, particularly in the Gaeltacht, Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin will bring further distinction to that great tradition.' A native on An Aird Thoir in Carna, Bríd cites her great-uncle, Joe Heaney, her granfather Máirtín Éinniú and her mother Bairbre as formative influences on her singing style. Her first foray into the world of competitive singing was at the inaugural Féile Joe Éinniú in 1986 where she was awarded Corn Joe Éinniú for the most outstanding young singer at the festival. Since then she has won numerous awards including Corn Mháire Nic Dhonnchadha, Corn Sheáin Óig Uí Thuama and Corn Tom Pháidín Tom. She was runner-up in Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas Festival in 2000. Over the coming twelve months, Bríd will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna and at other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. She will also record her own work and that of other singers. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway. For further details, contact Louis de Paor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 091 512198 Ends Issued by: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Monday, 7 October 2002
Release Date: 7 October, 2002 Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway The new Centre for the Study for Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI, Galway will host its inaugural public lecture entitled On the Contours of Atlantic History on Thursday, 17 October, 2002. The lecture will take place at 8.00 p.m., in the Ó Eocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. Professor Bernard Bailyn, Director of the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, Harvard University will deliver the lecture. All are welcome. Bernard Bailyn has been the most distinguished of the senior historians at Harvard University over the past half century; a fact acknowledged by his appointment in 1981 as the Adams University Professor at Harvard. More recently, he has established and directed the highly successful Harvard International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World. Professor Bailyn s many books have had an Atlantic dimension starting with his influential study of "New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century". After this he immersed himself in the study of the pamphlets which were published to justify the challenge to British authority that culminated in the American Revolution of 1776. The pinnacle of Bailyn s endeavours on this subject was his book "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution", which was awarded both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes in 1968. More recently, he has been engaged in a massive study on emigration described in his book "The Peopling of British North America". The first instalment of this undertaking has appeared under the title "Voyagers to the West: Emigration from Britain to America on the Eve of the Revolution". Besides these and many other books, Bernard Bailyn has been an influential and successful teacher, and has lectured extensively throughout the world. NUI, Galway was awarded €2.5 million by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to establish the Centre for Human Settlement and Historical Change. The award in 2000 under the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions was the largest amount ever given to a university for humanities research. A new purpose-built research centre, which will be officially opened early in 2003, has been built. The Centre will contribute significantly to the understanding of the economic, social, cultural and political factors at work in Ireland, Europe and throughout the world in earlier centuries as well as in the recent past. The Centre will build on existing expertise in NUI, Galway in different areas, including History, Archaeology, Irish Studies and a range of literatures and languages. It will focus the work of some two-dozen established academics and bring within its new dedicated building some thirty young doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. A programme of research into the historical creation of colonies, cultural landscapes and planter societies around the world and in Ireland itself will be carried out at the Centre. It will also research the new worlds in the Atlantic and Pacific produced by Europeans on the move - new worlds that profoundly changed the old world of Europe. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418
Monday, 7 October 2002
Release date: 7 October, 2002 Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway Following on from Andrew Folan s highly popular opening talk last Tuesday night NUI, Galway s Talking Through Their Arts series, continues with a presentation by award-winning architect, Paul Kelly at 8pm on Tuesday, 15 October. The talks take place on Tuesdays, at 8pm, in the Ó hEocha theatre at the Arts Millennium building, NUI, Galway. Tickets at €4 / €2 per session are available on the door. Paul Kelly is a partner in Fagan Kelly Lysaght Architects who established practice in 1998. They received joint first prize for their entry to the Smithfield Urban Design Competition in 1991 and second prize in the Third International Yokohama Competition. Most recently they have been shortlisted in the Kildare and Monaghan Civic Offices Competitions and received second prize in the Wolfe Tone Park Design Competition. They have been exhibited, both individually and together, and have received several Architectural Association of Ireland Awards and an AAI Special Mention as well as RIAI Regional Awards 2002, for the Stacey House and Silicon and Software Systems. One of their most recent, exciting design projects has been the Esat Tower at Park West, Dublin. While the primary function of the tower is to support a mobile phone antenna, the architects have given an acceptable face to a potential health hazard through good design, which is carefully mannered and thoughtfully articulated. Paul Kelly will discuss his influences and the hallmarks of good, contemporary design. The series also features distinguished artists: Rita Duffy, Brian Maguire and Maud Cotter. Each works in a variety of media including screenprint, stained glass, public sculpture, painting, video and new technologies. These talks give voice to the individual creative experience and, in so doing shed light on issues in contemporary Irish art. The artists will survey their own work using slides, discuss their art making process and share their thoughts on Irish art today. Details on the wide range of Autumn/Winter arts activities are available from the NUI, Galway Arts Office webpage: www.nuigalway.ie/arts_office Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Monday, 25 November 2002
Release date: 25 November, 2002 NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS A new research project about to get underway in NUI Galway is aiming to improve the effectiveness of distance education and teleworking. Project leader Dr. Sam Redfern of the Department of Information Technology at NUI Galway, will explore new ways to alleviate the problems often associated with distance learning and remote working. "Feelings of isolation, lack of team unity, lack of consideration of different learning styles and a lack of effective work task co-ordination are frequently cited as the main inhibitors to working and learning remotely," said Dr. Redfern. Studies show that informal communication accounts for more than twice the amount of work-related discussion in the workplace. This social interaction with colleagues allows trust to be established and is the foundation on which effective work practices are built. This social element is missing from the remote environment and often causes the distant worker and learner to feel isolated and socially deprived of contact with other colleagues. Dr Redfern hopes to address these problems through the use of a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE). The CVE is an online community or computer-enabled virtual place where distant workers and learners can meet and interact with each other and their peers through the use of technology. CVEs have been in existence since the early 1990s and have up to now mostly been used for military and industrial team training, collaborative design and engineering and multi-player games. "Because CVEs are relatively new, the majority of scholarly work to date has focused on their design and implementation. It is only within the past two or three years that any CVE researchers have begun to look beyond these purely technological issues," said Dr. Redfern. Most of the advancements in IT to date have centred on developments in hardware and software. However, this is about to change as more analysts predict that the most exciting research in IT over the next few years will concentrate on designing spaces for human communication and interaction. This will enhance our ability to understand, analyse and create interaction spaces. The research being carried out by Dr. Redfern and his team will greatly aid this process and places NUI Galway at the forefront of this development work in Ireland. Few studies addressing computer-supported co-operative work and human factors have been published to date. "In addition to investigating a number of specific issues, this project will develop a software platform for more varied and long term research and development into the support of dispersed working using CVEs. The intention is for this to become an area of research excellence based in NUI Galway," said Dr. Redfern. The CVE takes distance learning or remote working a step further by 'humanising' the process to provide the user with a much richer and fulfilling experience. Through the use of technology, the communication between remote workers and learners is greatly improved. This is done by capturing the non-verbal communication or body language of the user, which is not conveyed via distance learning or remote working, at present. It has been widely shown that this type of communication is an essential component of social interaction and without it the person often experiences feelings of isolation or loneliness. Satisfying the need for social interaction stimulates more productive work and learning practices. Some of the technologies, which will be used by Dr. Redfern and his team to capture non-verbal communication, include a gesture scripting system, which allows very high-level control, a facial expression selection tool and a facial pose and expression estimation system using digital image processing and pattern recognition. These technologies are designed to be used in a very a non-intrusive way, in an effort to optimise the communication process and make the experience as life-like as possible. Dr Redfern's research is supported by Enterprise Ireland's Advanced Technologies Research programme. Ends For more information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway Tel: 091-750418 / 087-2986592 E-mail: email@example.com
Monday, 18 November 2002
Release date: 18 November, 2002 CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING NUI, Galway is about to launch a dedicated Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). CELT has responsibility for training academic staff on teaching skills, implementing widespread use of the latest educational technologies and managing audio-visual services across the university. Bringing all three together, with the aim of improving the overall learning experience for students and the professional skills of staff, is a unique approach in Ireland. CELT will coordinate a wide range of projects, funded from a variety of sources to the tune of EUR1 million. CELT will offer staff the opportunity to acquire postgraduate level qualifications in education as well as providing one-day workshops and conferences on specific topics such as: educational technology, large and small group teaching, student assessment, course design, etc. This new approach to academic staff development is an international trend, which is only recently emerging in Ireland, according to Dr. Iain MacLaren, the Director of CELT. "It is widely acknowledged now that teaching is very demanding. The continuing professional development of staff is central to meeting evolving educational needs," he said. Technology as a vital tool Academic staff development is just one aspect of CELT. The use of technology in education is another important focus. "Technology is a very effective tool in the provision of education, if properly used. It's important to inform staff about how technology can add value to the overall student learning experience," said Dr. MacLaren. One of the early goals of CELT is the establishment of a virtual learning environment (VLE), which will provide support for campus-based and distance learning courses. The VLE will be powered by a number of industry standard technologies and will be available to both students and lecturers as a useful tool for a wide range of functions including course organisation and delivery, facilitating study groups and submitting coursework. One important aspect of the VLE will be ease of use, making it accessible and inviting for users with all levels of IT ability. Forging links CELT will serve as an important medium to facilitate research and development activities in the field of third level education, particularly through the fostering of international links and collaborative projects. Communication technologies such as video-conferencing will greatly aid this and will allow experts in third level institutions from all over the world to share their knowledge. "CELT will put NUI Galway at the forefront of teaching technologies and will allow the university to take part in many international projects and to keep pace with developments in the field," said Dr. MacLaren. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091-750418 Notes to the editor Dr. Iain MacLaren has been newly appointed by NUI Galway. A native of Scotland, he graduated from Edinburgh University in 1983 with an honours degree in Astrophysics and subsequently obtained a PhD in Cosmology from the University of Durham. He has held a number of research and teaching posts. Much of Dr. MacLaren's work in recent years has been in technologies in education and other aspects of teaching and learning. He has been a partner in several major projects funded by the EC and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. He has provided staff development courses and workshops at a number of Scottish universities and consulted at various levels in aspects of learning technologies and student learning.
Sunday, 17 November 2002
Release date: 18 November 2002 Open Day at NUI Galway NUI, Galway's annual Open Day will take place on Tuesday 3December from 9.00 a.m., to 3.00 p.m. The event is an ideal opportunity for both second-level and mature students to get information on the academic programmes provided by the University. Academic staff from the University's fifty-two departments will be available at the exhibition stands to answer queries and provide detailed subject and course information. On their arrival at NUI, Galway students are requested to come to the assembly point in the Quadrangle, where they will be given directions to introductory lectures and exhibition areas. Guided tours of the campus will be provided throughout the day. These will include visits to the Clinical Science Institute (Medical School and Centre for Nursing Studies), the Martin Ryan Institute, the Arts Millennium Building, Áras na Gaeilge and the Student Accommodation and Sports Facilities. There will also be laboratory demonstrations in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. You will have the opportunity to visit the Information Technology Lab. and An Teanglann, the University Applied Languages Centre. 'Students may attend the Open Day unaccompanied by teachers and it is not necessary to book in advance', says Ms. Mary Coyle, Schools Liaison Officer and Open Day Co-ordinator. An Information Session for Guidance Counsellors will also take place at 12.30 p.m. Further information on the Open Day may be obtained from Mary Coyle, at Tel. 091 512102 Ends Issued by: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Sunday, 17 November 2002
Release date: 18 November, 2002 NUI Galway academic honoured for his contribution to the Crystal Industry Professor Michael J. Hynes of the Department of Chemistry in NUI Galway has been awarded the prestigious John Cope Memorial Award for his distinguished contribution to the Crystal Industry in Ireland and Europe. He has had a long association with Galway Irish Crystal. The award was presented recently at the International Crystal Federation (ICF) Technical Exchange Conference hosted by Waterford Crystal in Waterford. Professor Hynes has carried out a number of research projects relating to the lead crystal industry and has been a member of the International Crystal Federation since its inception. He has lectured all over Europe on aspects of health and safety, risk assessment and EU legislation relevant to the crystal industry. A recent project supported by the EU involved studies of the properties of novel glass compositions. Professor Hynes' main field of academic research involves studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of reactions in solution. Recent work has involved studies of the reactions of metal ions, particularly iron and aluminium, with some of the phenolic components present in green tea. The late John Cope after whom the award is named was the Technical Director of the tableware division of Waterford-Wedgwood and a specialist in ceramics or 'keramics' as he preferred to call it. He liked to describe himself as a 'simple potter' but in fact he was a man of great technical knowledge, ingenuity and imagination who also had considerable expertise in legal matters relevant to the Glass and Ceramics Industries. He was a founding member of the ICF, whose interests he represented at the OECD, the European Commission and the European Union. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Monday, 11 November 2002
Release Date: 11 November, 2002 Developments in Biotechnology Challenge Notions about the Quality of Human Life and the Capacity for Moral Choice Advancements in the biotechnology industry have raised a number of moral concerns about the affects of biotechnology on society including the affects of patenting products in this industry. "Developments in biotechnology offer the choice of deciding what kind of society we want in the future and what kind of life quality. Whether or not the law adequately deals with public concerns about biotechnology is an open question," said Dr. Oliver Mills, lecturer in Commercial Law at NUI, Galway. The 1998 Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions is the main piece of legislation governing patents in Europe. The need to understand the exact nature of a patent is central to addressing concerns about the patenting of biotech products, according to Dr. Mills. "A patent does not confer ownership. It gives the patentee the right to prevent third parties from exploiting the invention without his consent. It does not give the patent holder the right to commercially exploit the product. For the most part, exploitation is controlled by national regulatory authorities," said Dr. Mills. There is a common misconception amongst many consumers that a patented product is superior. But, this is not the case, as a company can still put a non-patented product on the market. "Therefore denying a patent on the basis of moral concerns would not necessarily be a way of ensuring safety," said Dr. Mills. Traditionally, patent law was regarded primarily as an instrument of economic policy. However, in the context of modern biotechnology the extent to which patent rights should be influenced by broader moral concerns means that the rationale underlying patent law may need to be re-evaluated. Many of these concerns centre around genetic engineering and its affect on human dignity. "Who determines how the technology is to be used and who will derive the benefits are some of the key issues that remain unanswered," said Dr Mills. The main commercial applications of biotechnology to date have been in the domain of healthcare, agriculture and the environment. The hope in relation to healthcare is that diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anaemia, which are caused by single gene deficiencies, will be eradicated using biotechnology. Looking ahead, it is hoped that benefits to the environment will be reaped with the increased use of physiologically altered crops, which could add nutrients to soil and water in drought areas to accelerate growth. Genetically Modified (GM) foods is a major reason why biotechnology in the agricultural/food sectors is so controversial. Much attention has been focused in recent times on the use of biotechnology to genetically modify foods and the affect this will have on the environment. The hope is that farmers can produce better quality and higher yields of product with less reliance on pesticides thereby reducing environmental impact. Genetically modified soya beans, maize, corn, cotton and canola are currently available in the marketplace. Seeds of these products produce plants that don't need protection from insecticides. Other developments include crops fortified with vitamins and minerals. The potential of 'vaccine crops,' which contain genetic material from pathogens that operate as vaccines when eaten, is currently being explored. Viral-resistant rice and frost-tolerant fruit are currently being developed but are not available on the market yet. The 2001 Directive on the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Organisms by the European Commission introduces new concepts into the authorisation process ensuring that GM foods are safe for consumption before they are released into the public domain. EU countries have 18 months to implement this legislation. If the promise of biotechnology is to be realised, wide public debate that should inform our decisions about the role of Law in regulating the development and application of the technology is necessary. However, according to Dr. Mills, the real question is "whether such control should be exercised in any significant way by means of moral considerations in the patent system. Where moral considerations do apply is in elucidating concerns to determine what is and what is not acceptable to society. Developing the moral objections to biotechnology could clarify public concerns and how these should be dealt with". Patent law is not designed to regulate biotechnology and any attempt to do so by denying patents on the basis of morality is misplaced. Ends For more information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway Tel: 091-750418 / 087-2986592 Notes to the editor Dr Oliver Mills holds a Science Degree and a Law Degree from University College Cork. He also has a Master of Laws Degree from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He has 10 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
Tuesday, 5 November 2002
Release date: 4 November, 2002 NEW TECHNIQUES REVEAL MORE HIDDEN TREASURES ON HILL OF TARA At least 100 new monuments* have been discovered on the Hill of Tara, thanks to the deployment of non-invasive exploratory techniques. Geophyscial survey* allows archaeologists to record the magnetic properties or electrical resistance of the soil, which is permanently altered by human activity, therefore proving that people once inhabited the area. For example, a bonfire or a burial will permanently enhance the magnetism of the soil around it. Similarly, a buried wall will act as a barrier to the movement of electric current passed through the soil and therefore significantly increases its electrical resistance. Mr Conor Newman and Mr Joe Fenwick of the Department of Archaeology at NUI, Galway and the Discovery Programme, which is funded by the Heritage Council, have been researching Tara since 1992. The earliest monuments at Tara date from around 4000 BC. Close to 30 monuments had been recorded prior to the deployment of geophysical survey, which has greatly aided the research process and facilitated the discovery of approximately 100 additional monuments. In three field seasons since 1999, the team at Galway has increased the geophysical survey area on the Hill of Tara by more than 13 hectares, making this by far the most extensive geophysical survey ever undertaken in Ireland. Plans are in place to survey the rest of the state-owned part of Tara in the next few years. A host of new and interesting features have been revealed in the work so far. One of the most spectacular finds is a huge oval enclosure, equivalent to the size of Croke Park (170m North to South), which is believed to date from around 2500 BC. Referred to as a henge (see illustration), it comprises a 4m wide ditch, possibly up to 3m deep, on either side of which are great 2m wide pits. These pits probably held around 300 wooden poles between them. This oval enclosure encircles Ráith na Senad or Rath of the Synods and takes in the whole of the present day churchyard. It also includes a passage tomb known as the mound of the hostages. Like most of the monuments on Tara this is a temple or sacred compound of some sort. A full report on this monument and others found in the course of the survey has just been published in the 6th volume of the Discovery Programme Reports and is available from the Discovery Programme and the Royal Irish Academy. The Discovery Programme has produced a detailed map of all of the monuments on the Hill of Tara using a combination of the geophysical survey finds and topography. The topography map is in digital format, which means it is fully interactive. It can be interrogated and manipulated in order to reveal features that are otherwise barely visible. These techniques have confirmed that many of the monuments built on the Hill of Tara incorporated older monuments into their fabric. This allowed some of the ritual and historical importance associated with the older monument to be included in the new structure. "Every new monument discovered at Tara adds to our understanding of the development of the complex," said Mr Newman. "For the most part, the monument builders of each generation observed, preserved and accommodated all of the older ones in a way that contributed positively and sensitively to the developing authority of Tara as a place apart," he added. Close to half of the State-owned land on the Hill of Tara has been examined using geophysical survey so far and plans are in place to continue with this research and to survey the rest of the hill. However, much concern has arisen lately about the proposed route of the M3 motorway, which if approved, will pass right along the eastern foot of the Hill of Tara, crossing an area intimately connected with the great royal complex. This area also boasts an impressive concentration of archaeological monuments. "It is a reckless dereliction of our role as guardians of our common cultural heritage to drive a motorway through it," said Mr Newman. "If you disassociate a society from its past, it becomes rootless. Tara is a national treasure and a massive tourist attraction for Co. Meath. It should be managed not simply as a hilltop site but rather as a cultural landscape, just has been the case with places like the Boyne Valley," he added. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091-750418 Notes to the editor Approximately 95 per cent of the archaeological monuments on Tara are believed to have been used for burial or other ceremonial practices. Monuments vary greatly in size from 4m in diameter to over 300m. Geophysical survey allows underground features to be mapped and analysed and by refining research questions ahead of time can be an important preliminary step to excavation. Excavation cutting can be targeted with precision, making them less of 'shot in the dark'.
Monday, 4 November 2002
Release date: 4 November, 2002 Seeking Robinson Crusoe in NUI Galway Tim Severin, the well known author and film-maker, will give a public lecture disproving the notion that Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was based on the life of Alexander Selkirk. The lecture entitled 'Seeking Robinson Crusoe', will take place at 7.30pm on Friday, 8 November in Room AM200, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Admission is free and all are welcome. The lecture is part of the Royal Irish Academy's 29th National Research Symposium in Modern Language Studies which takes place on 8th and 9th of November 2002 in NUI Galway. It is the most important annual conference in modern languages in Ireland with 75 speakers from New Zealand, USA, Holland, France, Germany, UK and Ireland taking part. Other keynote speakers include Joep Leerssen, University of Amsterdam and Luigi Monga, Vanderbilt University, US. The symposium is sponsored by DEPFA BANK plc and NUI Galway. The theme of the conference is Travel Literature and some of the topics addressed will include: Italian Correspondents and the Spanish Civil War; A Spanish perspective on Irish independence and Civil War; and Wolfe Tone's Secret Mission to France in 1796. Two exhibitions supplementing the overall theme of the conference will be mounted and a special series of film screenings will be shown over the two days. A selection of material from the Special Collections of the James Hardiman Library will be on view in the foyer of the library, as well as a display of publications on travel in the foyer of the Arts Millennium Building. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418
Sunday, 3 November 2002
Release Date: 4 November, 2002 NUI Galway awards Sports Scholarships to top Athletes Sports Scholarships and bursaries valued at €35,000 were awarded today (Monday, 4 November) to NUI Galway elite sports athletes. The awards, which include 12 Scholarships, valued at €2,000 each and 13 Bursaries valued at €1,000 each, of which three are sponsored by Guinness, were presented by Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway. This is the sixth year of the Sports Scholarships programme. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said that the Sports Scholarships are intended "to offer young sportsmen and sportswomen of exceptional ability and potential, an opportunity to compete at the highest level of their sport, while pursuing an academic programme of study." Mr. Tony Regan, NUI, Galway's Sports and Recreation Officer said that the Sports Scholarship programme has proved to be an outstanding success. "The scholarships are designed to develop individual talent and to maintain the University's sporting tradition", he said. "Among those who have benefited from the scheme since its inception are Éadaoin Ní Challaráin, Olympic athlete; Paul Hession, Irish sprint champion; Declan Meehan, member of the victorious Galway All-Ireland Football team; and Tony Griffin, inter-county All-Ireland hurling star from Ennis, Co. Clare. The winners of the Sports Scholarships for 2002/2003 are: Soccer Kevin Walsh Shrule, Co. Galway Kevin Monahan Tuam, Co. Galway Mens Gaelic Michael Meehan Caltra, Co. Galway Clive Monahan Headford, Co. Galway Ladies Gaelic Clare O'Hara Castlebar, Co. Mayo Hurling Damien Joyce Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Rowing David Mannion Knocknacarra, Galway Paul Giblin Headford Rd., Galway Rugby Martin Glynn Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Mens Athletics David Kelly Cartron View, Sligo Ladies Athletics Catherine Casserly Tuam Road, Castlegar Camogie Caroline Murray Loughrea, Co. Galway Recipients of the Sports Bursaries are: Cycling David Brennan Castlebar, Co. Mayo Athletics Emma O'Doherty Donegal Town, Donegal Baketball Karen O'Sullivan Portlaoise, Co. Laois Mens Gaelic Michael O'Dwyer Ennis, Co. Clare Hurling Tony Óg Regan Rahoon, Galway Tomás O'Donovan Clonlara, Co. Clare John Culkin Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway Gerry O'Grady Crusheen, Co. Clare Rowing Robert Cronin Blackrock, Cork Squash Siobhan Parker Rosses Point, Sligo Camogie Lizzie Glennon Four Roads, Co. Roscommon Hockey Caitlin Friel Barna, Co. Galway Soccer Sean Bradshaw Moycullen, Co. Galway Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418