Monday, 19 December 2005

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's seventh annual Gala Banquet, which will take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Saturday 4th March 2006. The 2006 Gala Banquet will build on the University's mission in international education which has brought three postgraduate students from developing countries to NUI Galway as the inaugural recipients of its International Scholarship Programme. The NUI programme is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by Galway University Foundation, which has been working with a range of donors to secure substantial scholarship funds for postgraduate students from developing countries to study in NUI Galway. Income from the Gala Banquet itself will also contribute to this initiative. The students; a lawyer from South Africa, and a doctor and an engineer from Sri Lanka, will be special guests at the Gala which will focus on NUI Galway's role as an international force for change in improving educational opportunities for students from developing countries. One of the highlights of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of seven annual Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University's more than 50,000 graduates worldwide. The Alumni Awards are; Medtronic Vascular Award for Health Care and Medical Science; Seavite Award for Natural Science; Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce; AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts; TBD Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics; Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge and the NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government. Tickets for the banquet cost €150 each and €1,500 for a table of 10. For further information, please telephone 091 495266 or Email:

Friday, 16 December 2005

Noel Dorr, former Irish Ambassador to London was appointed today as Chair of NUI Galway's Údarás na hOllscoile (Governing Authority). As one of the most outstanding civil servants in the history of this state, Noel Dorr has had a long and distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Affairs. He has held the following positions: Permanent Representative to UN, New York 1980; Irish Representative on UN Security Council 1981-1982 (and President of the Security Council in April 1981and August 1982); Ambassador of Ireland London 1983-1987, and Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, 1987 until his retirement in 1995. Noel Dorr was conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in NUI Galway in 2001. Speaking of the appointment, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "Noel Dorr is one of Ireland's most distinguished public servants. The esteem in which he was held throughout his career is reflected in the roles accorded to him - both at home and abroad – in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1985; in the drafting of EU Treaties; and as Government representative on the Carlson committee on the reform of the United Nations. We are delighted and privileged that he will chair the University's Governing Authority at a time of immense change and development at NUI Galway". Noel Dorr's term of office extends to 2008.

Monday, 12 December 2005

€60 million project gets green light for development The largest capital project to be undertaken to date at National University of Ireland Galway will commence immediately as a result of the Government's €1 billion investment programme for third-level institutions, announced yesterday (Sunday). It is expected that NUI Galway's new €60 million School of Engineering will be allocated at least the full €25 million earmarked for the project in the Kelly Report prepared for the Government on necessary infrastructural funding of the third-level sector. Additional significant funding has been contributed by private donors, while the balance will be covered from the University's own resources. NUI Galway's new School of Engineering, with an area of c. 14,000 square metres, will bring the University's five Departments of Civil, Electronic, Industrial, Engineering Hydrology and Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, under the one roof in a state-of-the-art building, to be located on the north campus, adjacent to the new €16 million JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy, launched just last week. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "This project is critically important for the economic and social development of the entire Western Region, and we welcome the recognition by the Government, in this decision, of the central role of the University in underpinning future development. This is a major milestone for NUI Galway and one of the key capital projects of our Strategic Plan (2005-2008). At a sectoral level, we also welcome the Government's recently announced investment programme for the third-level sector, which demonstrates an understanding and commitment to supporting the sector and its role in the creation and development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy." Almost 1,500 students are currently studying Engineering at NUI Galway, with demand for places in all disciplines remaining consistently high. Professor Pádraic O'Donoghue, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "Engineers have been among the key drivers of the success of Ireland's economy. It is important that those who are at the cutting edge of technological developments and who design and implement major infrastructural projects, are trained to the highest standards with the best possible facilities. NUI Galway has a long and distinguished tradition of quality and excellence across all its Engineering disciplines and the new School of Engineering will underpin the professional education we provide." NUI Galway has engaged renowned architects RMJM to design the new School of Engineering. RMJM designed the award-winning Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, the Chemistry Research Building at the University of Oxford and the Olympic Green Convention Centre for Beijing 2008. For the NUI Galway project, they will partner Taylor Architects from Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The School of Engineering will provide undergraduate and postgraduate student accommodation including engineering laboratories, project rooms, research facilities, workshops, computer suites, lecture theatres and classrooms, faculty office accommodation and departmental staff accommodation. Ends

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Ground-breaking Investment Package for Fourth Level Ireland welcomed The Irish Universities Association warmly welcomes today's ground-breaking Budget statement by the Minister for Finance on investment in "Fourth-level Ireland IUA President Ferdinand von Prondzynski said "Minister Cowen in his ringing endorsement of the pivotal contribution of higher education to the country's economic success and its fundamental strategic importance to future economic and social development had set a unique setting for a highly significant investment package for higher education" He added "the Budget statement heralds a vitally important development phase for higher education and research and is a strong signal of the Government's commitment to creating a highly competitive Irish university system of top international ranking" The University Heads are encouraged that the Minister recognises that the benchmarks for performance and investment at third and fourth levels are international. They see the strategic innovation fund as a bridge to further investment in the national research plan and the national development plan. The announcement of a strategic innovation fund, the commitment to a multi-annual rolling capital programme, the forthcoming national research plan and the priority to be given to higher education and research as a key strategy in the next national development plan, together provide a considerable boost for a comprehensive transformation of the university sector. The University Heads are particularly encouraged that the Government views these developments as a coherent package of strategic initiatives with a synergistic potential that must be exploited in order to maximise the contribution of universities to economic and social progress. They wish to assure the Government that they are fully committed to meeting the reform challenges identified by the Minister for Finance, to collaborating to develop critical mass in excellence, to maximising effectiveness across the higher education system and to working in partnership with Government to achieve national objectives. The IUA looks forward to a statement to be made by the Minister for Education and Science giving further details on the Government's initiatives End

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

€16million Graduate School to pioneer Ireland's first Finance and Gerontology Centres Officially launched by international business leader, Niall FitzGerald The National University of Ireland, Galway will unveil its new JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy today. The €16 million Graduate School, which will be officially launched by the Chairman of Reuters, Niall FitzGerald KBE, is the first of its type in Ireland focussing on the linkages between public policy, innovation and business success - both nationally and in the BMW region. In all, the Cairnes Graduate School will house four centres of research excellence: Ireland's first Finance Centre, following a new senior appointment from the US Federal Reserve Board, will specialise in international financial economics. The centre will focus on developing new financial instruments and techniques for the development of the global financial services industry and will also produce information on exchange rates and house prices in industrial markets. A new €3.5 million centre for Social Gerontology, which will examine economics of an aging population, will also be housed at the school. €1.5 million for this initiative has been committed by Atlantic Philanthropies. The Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (CISC), which examines the science, technology and innovation processes central to the development of the knowledge-based economy, has attracted over €4 million in competitive funding. One of its tasks is to establish a National Innovation Index, which will measure Ireland's progress in the development of a knowledge based economy on a quarterly basis. Finally, the Centre for Development of Rural Economic Space (CEDRES) has been established with European Union funding of €2 million and conducts internationally recognised research on rural and regional development. In welcoming the new School, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said, "The JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy underpins the University's position as a research centre of excellence - amongst the best in Europe. In addition to greatly enhancing our expanding and changing campus, we look forward to the positive impact the Cairnes Graduate School will bring to our business graduates of the future, and to creating Ireland's next wave of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Our vision for this School is to drive change and innovation in Ireland's knowledge-based economy, particularly within the BMW region, with its highly skilled and creative young people, and globally competitive technology clusters." Mr Niall FitzGerald KBE added, "I am a very strong believer in the role business education must play in bringing Ireland to the next phase of its economic development. It is increasingly understood that Ireland's future success will depend to a great degree on the calibre of its managers and leaders. The Cairnes Graduate School will build on a very fine tradition at NUI Galway of high quality teaching and research, now going further to link the roles of public policy, business innovation and the development of management capabilities. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact that this School will have, not just on the region but also on the entire country's future development." The JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy is named after John Elliot Cairnes (1823-1875), the most distinguished economist Ireland has produced. During the 1860s, Cairnes was Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at NUI Galway (then Queen's College Galway). The 4,500 square metre facility was designed by leading Irish architects RKD. Funding has been secured from a combination of public and private sources, including substantial contributions from Atlantic Philanthropies and Galway based entrepreneur Joe Higgins. Ends

Friday, 2 December 2005

Issued on behalf of IBEC and the Irish Universities Association (IUA) Strong partnerships between industry and academia needed Leaders from business and universities met today to plan for a huge increase in the number of research scientists and engineers coming on stream in Ireland over the next seven years arising from the Government's Science Technology and Innovation strategic plan. In order to cater for this influx of PhD research graduates, industry and universities must work together to create an unprecedented number of sustainable research jobs. The Government aims to double the number of science and engineering PhDs working in Ireland and to raise PhD numbers from 450 to 900 per annum. This increase is vital if companies are to seriously consider Ireland as a base for major R&D projects. Without the necessary expertise, companies will look elsewhere and our economic success will falter. At the joint conference held today, IBEC and the Irish Universities Association (IUA) addressed the key issues of creating the required number and calibre of PhD graduates and strengthening industry academic partnership to ensure appropriate jobs for PhDs in Ireland. Speaking at the conference, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, President of IUA said "the availability of skilled researchers is a key component of the knowledge economy. The onus is equally on government, industry and academia to ensure that Ireland can employ these skilled personnel on graduation. We must not have a situation where PhDs fail to find a suitable job, or where students choose not to embark on a PhD due to the lack of a robust career opportunities." Industry investment in R&D crossed the €1bn threshold in 2003, the last year for which figures are available. This trend seems set to continue, with major R&D investment announcements from a number of high profiled companies: IBM (€22m), HP (€21.4m), Bell Labs (employ 120 researchers), Pfizer (€20m), Bristol Myers Squibb (€9.6m). Commenting on private R&D investment, Turlough O'Sullivan, Director General IBEC, said "Recent investment bodes well for the future. Increased private sector investment in R&D will play a significant part in securing sustainable careers for PhDs." Commenting on the €8million secured by companies from the EU's Marie Curie Programme with IUA support, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski said "Universities have been very active collaborators with industry in accessing research investment and we are keen to see this success continue." The two key priorities at the conference were: 1. To ensure researchers have the necessary skills and calibre to be attractive to industry. 2. To develop strong partnerships between academia and industry so that PhDs can transfer from employment in academia to industry and visa versa. Speaking at the conference, Brendan Cremen, Xilinx Ireland said, "Skilled people are the differentiating factor between competing economies. Business decisions on the location of global R&D activities are determined by the calibre of researchers and the quality of their output." ends

Monday, 26 January 2004

An Tánaiste, Mary Harney T.D., officially opened the Imbusch Observatory in NUI Galway today (26 January). The fully-fitted observatory provides exciting opportunities for students of the B.Sc in Physics and Astronomy programme, to carry out project work using the latest observational equipment. While in NUI Galway, the Tánaiste will also discuss the proposed new Engineering facility at the University. Speaking at the opening the Tánaiste restated the strategic importance of continued investment in science, engineering and technology. "The importance of a vibrant Irish third level education sector cannot be overemphasised in our quest to make Ireland a secure, knowledge based economy. Knowledge, know-how and an educated skills base are imperative for successful industrial and technological development". "I am confident, from what I have seen here today, that this new observatory, and the innovative Physics and Astronomy degree course will assist in attracting the best and brightest students to Galway", the Tánaiste added. Professor Michael Redfern of NUI Galway's Department of Experimental Physics says that the observatory will add an important dimension to the study of astronomy. "For instance, students will now be able to make observations of the transits of a planet orbiting a distant star, a so-called 'exo-planet," he said. In order to stimulate interest in astronomy, Professor Redfern added that secondary school students would also be encouraged to visit the observatory to experience the excitement of astronomy first-hand. In addition to a telescope, the observatory is equipped with a fiber-fed spectrometer, a photo-counting photometer and a 3m radio telescope, which will be used in a project to map the distribution of matter in our galaxy and to 'weigh' our galaxy. Students of physics and astronomy acquire a high level of mathematical, computational and problem-solving skills which are in demand across a wide range of careers. In recognition of this, the introduction of a perpetual prize for the best project in Physics and Astronomy, sponsored by Agilent Technologies Ltd. Dublin, will also be announced at today's event. The observatory is dedicated to Professor George F. Imbusch, recently retired Professor of Experimental Physics in NUI Galway, a great astronomy enthusiast, who has been instrumental in facilitating the development of the subject at undergraduate and at research level in the University. Ends/

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

Human Rights expert, Professor William Schabas, NUI Galway, debates the universal abolition of the death penalty The Irish Cultural Centre in Paris will host a series of debates and events from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 January 2004, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth in Paris of Sean MacBride, human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and one of the earliest Presidents of Amnesty International. A two-day conference on the abolition of capital punishment (MacBride s own father was executed for his participation in the Easter Rebellion), will take place on Thursday 22 January and Friday 23 January. The conference, entitled "Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty," will be addressed by Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway and author of The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law. "It is appalling that the United States and China continue to practice capital punishment, without even respecting recognised international norms", said Professor William Schabas. "In the United States, for example, juveniles continue to be executed and threatened with capital punishment. In both countries, trials do not respect the high standards that must be honoured when human life is at stake." A substantial majority of the world s countries have now abolished the death penalty. According to the latest UN figures, approximately 123 countries have abolished capital punishment, while about 70 still retain it (although most of these use it only very occasionally). The statistics indicate a dramatic shift in recent decades, and the trend to abolition appears likely to continue. The death penalty has been ruled out for prosecution by the International Criminal Court, for example. Even Iraq has suspended use of the death penalty, the result of pressure from the United Kingdom, which could be held responsible for human rights violations in that country before the European Court of Human Rights. Dr Iognáid G. O Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway will launch the three-day conference. Other speakers include Tom O'Malley, Dean of NUI Galway's Law Faculty and Dr. Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission. The conference is co-organised by The Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Irish Cultural Centre and the Human Rights Centre of the Université de Paris II. The conference will conclude with a morning session on Saturday on MacBride's legacy and his contribution to human rights. Ends

Friday, 16 January 2004

A total of 43 first year students attending NUI Galway will receive Entrance Scholarships, each worth €1,300, at a celebratory function at the University at 5.00 p.m. this evening (16 January) in the Ó hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The recipients are students from 34 schools, representing eleven different counties. They achieved top marks in their Leaving Certificate examination in 2003 and are now studying full-time at NUI Galway. Scholarships are guaranteed to all new entrants who reach 560 points (or 575 in Engineering and 590 in Medicine and Health Sciences). Nine of the scholars achieved the maximum score of 600 points. NUI Galway has awarded Entrance Scholarships over the past number of years. However this year, both the number of scholarships and the scholarship fund have been considerably increased. NUI Galway President Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "The Entrance Scholarship Scheme gives special recognition to outstanding performance by entering students in line with the University's commitment to academic excellence in its Strategic Plan. The winning students hail from a wide geographical spread and are pursuing their studies in numerous courses, spanning every Faculty at NUI Galway. Particular credit is also due to the teachers and parents for their contribution to the scholars' achievements". In addition to a cheque for €1,300, each winning student will be presented with a specially designed scroll by the President to mark their achievement. Ends

Monday, 12 January 2004

NUI Galway has been awarded €15m in funding over the next five years from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to fund a new centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET). Additional funding of €4 million will be contributed to the research programme by REMEDI partners. These include a number of Irish and multinational companies in the healthcare sector, in particular Medtronic (Galway) and ChondroGene (Toronto). This major round of funding will be used to develop a new world-class Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), which will specialise in basic and applied research in regenerative medicine to develop new therapies for human diseases that are currently incurable. In welcoming this announcement, the President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said "This award underlines the commitment of NUI Galway to achieving the highest international standing in research. REMEDI is the second CSET that NUI Galway has been awarded recently. The university was awarded €12million by SFI in May 2003 to support the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), a CSET which will spearhead research into the second generation of Web Technology. Indeed, NUI Galway is the only Irish university to be awarded two CSETs and to have been successful in all rounds of HEA PRTLI funding over the past four years." Regenerative medicine is an emerging field where cells and genes are used to replace tissues and organs that have been affected by disease. The central research platforms on which REMEDI will initially concentrate are gene therapy and adult stem cell research. The team also includes clinicians in University College Hospital Galway (UCHG), who will lead the translation of research advances into clinical practice. Professor Tim O'Brien, a leading figure in gene therapy research who was recruited from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in the US to the Chair of Medicine at NUI Galway in 2001 will direct the new institute. Commenting on the funding for REMEDI he said, "This funding is testament to the strength of our research capabilities at NUI Galway. REMEDI and its academic and industrial partners will play a key role in an area of research with immense potential for the development of new therapies for human diseases that are currently incurable. It also presents a unique opportunity for Ireland to be at the forefront of the development of regenerative medicine technology that is highly relevant to the future of the healthcare industry, a significant element of Ireland's economic development." Dr Frank Barry a leading figure in adult stem cell research at Osiris Therapeutics, in Baltimore, Maryland, will join the REMEDI team. There will be approximately 30 research staff working with Professor O'Brien and Dr Barry. REMEDI will be located in the newly built National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway, the only centre in the country that contains a state-of-the-art facility for gene therapy research. Professor Terry Smith, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway said, "In addition to being of major strategic importance to Ireland, this is a major boost for our research initiatives at NUI Galway and we look forward to working with Professor O'Brien and Dr Barry in bringing this exciting initiative to fruition. Regenerative medicine is one of the new and emerging medicines and this funding is vital in bringing our research from the laboratory into clinical practice. This opportunity enables us to capitalise on the close links we have developed with the healthcare sector and with clinicians at University College Hospital, Galway, all of whom will be critical to the success of this institute." All SFI funding is awarded following a rigorous review process led by international experts. In the case of the CSET Awards, the experts assessed the application's level of research quality, collaboration, intellectual breadth, flexibility in responding to new research opportunities and integration of research and education. Each CSET underwent a review that included the experts' assessment of written proposals and oral research presentations to a strategic review panel of government and industry leaders in Ireland and a stringent review by the experts at each location. ends

Monday, 16 February 2004

David Bellamy, one of the world's best-known marine biologists and broadcasters, will visit NUI Galway in March to kick off a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of the University's Martin Ryan Institute. Bellamy will deliver an illustrated public lecture entitled "The Life Giving Sea: from Kelp to Coral - a trip around earth s own inner space and a look into a sustainable future," on Friday, 5 March, in the Kirwan Theatre, at 7.00pm. Admission to the lecture is free but by ticket only. Tickets will be available from Áras Fáilte, the University's Information Office from Friday, 20 February. (Tel. 091-750418). David Bellamy will also be the guest speaker the following evening (Saturday), at NUI Galway's annual Gala Banquet, in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway. The Martin Ryan Institute serves as a regional, national and international centre of excellence for the study of marine and freshwater resources. Through its research programmes it - Promotes exploration and development of marine physical resources Increases understanding of aquatic biodiversity Analyses effects of environmental change on aquatic ecosystems Facilitates sustainable development of aquatic biological resources and aquaculture Professor Michael Guiry, Director of the Institute, says that NUI Galway's strategic location at the centre of Ireland's western marine area, allows researchers ready access to a broad area of the continental shelf and the deep ocean. "On any given day in the Institute, there are close to 150 staff and students engaged in teaching and research in marine science," he says. According to Professor Guiry, the Martin Ryan Institute has firmly established itself as a premier marine research facility in the relatively short period since it foundation ten years ago. "This positioning has resulted in the Institute receiving funding of €21.5 million under the Higher Education Authority's initiatives to support research in third-level institutions and over €10 million from national and EU sources." Looking to the future, Professor Guiry says that the main areas of development at the Martin Ryan Institute include marine modelling, marine law, ecological and environmental investigation, marine biotechnology and marine information technology. As a result of an agreement with the Geological Survey of Ireland, (GSI), to share the results of the National Seabed Survey, Professor Guiry says that the Institute will shortly be helping to produce "the most stunning maps of our deep-water territories." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said, "The Martin Ryan Institute has been a beacon of cutting-edge marine research for a decade and is now poised to enter a new phase of research activity using the latest technologies to investigate, monitor and conserve Ireland's rich marine heritage." Further events planned to celebrate 10-years of the Martin Ryan Institute include a public lecture series to be launched shortly; the co-hosting of two international marine conferences; and a marine biotechnology workshop at which a number of eminent US scientists will advise NUI Galway on its strategy in this critical economic area. It is also planned to launch the MRI Laboratories in Carna, Connemara in the autumn, to mark the occasion of Ireland's first production of cod. The Martin Ryan Institute is named after the father of Dr. Tony Ryan, Chairman of Guinness Peat Aviation and Founder of Ryanair, who made a major donation towards the founding of the Institute in the mid-1990s. Ends

Monday, 9 February 2004

The annual NUI Galway Alumni Awards will be presented at the University's annual Gala Banquet, which will take place in the Radisson SAS Hotel, on Saturday, 6 March, 2004. Over 600 alumni, friends and corporate partners of the University will gather to celebrate this hallmark event. Funds raised at the banquet will support NUI Galway's Access and Scholarship Programme in Marine Science – helping students overcome barriers to education. Launched in 2000 under the aegis of the NUI Galway Alumni Association, these annual awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence among the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide. Alumni Officer Betsy Kilkenny said, " The Awards represent the broad scope of disciplines in which our graduates excel, from engineering, business, medicine and the arts, to law, science and the Irish language." Now in its fourth year, the Alumni Awards Programme has expanded to include two new awards - Duais don Ghaeilge, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and the Award for Natural Science, sponsored by Seavite Bodycare Ltd. This brings the number of Awards to seven. This year the Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics is sponsored by TBD Building Contractors. Alumni Awards will be presented to the following graduates: TBD Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics Mr Tom Costello, Managing Director, John Sisk & Son Ltd. Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce Dr Ronan Lambe, Director ICON Clinical Research This award acknowledges a graduate who has demonstrated excellence and leadership in the world of business and commerce. Medtronic Award for Health Care and Medical Science Professor Fred Given, National Breast Cancer Research Institute This award acknowledges a graduate who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of health care and medical science. Hewlett-Packard Award for Literature, Communication and the Arts Mr Michael D Higgins TD, Former Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Labour Party President. This award acknowledges a graduate who has made an outstanding contribution in the area of Literature, Communications and the Arts. NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government Dr Eamonn Hall, Chief Legal Counsel, Eircom plc Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge Pádraig Feirtéar, Principal, Mheánscoil na mBráithre, Dingle, Co. Kerry Tugann an duais seo admháil ar chéimí a chuir le luach na Gaeilge mar acmhainn nádúrtha, forbartha agus eacnamaíochta. Seavite Award for Natural Science Professor Emer Colleran, Professor Microbiology, Director Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway. This award acknowledges a graduate who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of Natural Science - a science, such as biology, chemistry, or physics that deals with the objects, phenomena, or laws of nature and the physical world. Ends

Thursday, 5 February 2004

Mr. Noel Dempsey, TD, Minister for Education and Science, will be in NUI Galway tomorrow (Friday) to open a suite of research laboratories and also to open an international conference on Learning. At 12.00 noon, the Minister will open the newly established Genome Stability Laboratories which currently include the Laboratories of Professor Noel Lowndes and Drs Morrison and Nasheuer and form part of the recently established Genome Stability Cluster. This Cluster was established at NUI Galway two years ago to carry out cancer research and is the first of its kind in Ireland. The Genome Cluster is headed by Professor Noel Lowndes of the University s Department of Biochemistry and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, which is also on the NUI Galway campus. Professor Lowndes has established an international reputation in cellular responses to DNA damage. His research team is studying how normal cells respond when the genetic material is damaged and how defects in these responses result in cancer. Later in the day, at 2.00 p.m., the Minister will open the second annual Irish Universities Quality Board Conference, entitled "Learning in the Europe of Knowledge", which will take place in the Ó hEocha Theatre. The two-day conference is an official event of Ireland's Presidency of the European Union. Education experts from the U.S., Australia, Britain and Spain will address issues such as learning technologies; improving learning through teaching development; and meeting the challenge of engaging students with diverse experiences and expectations. Ends

Monday, 2 February 2004

Máire Éilís Ni Fhlatharta, who plays the character of Caitríona, the feisty trouble-maker in Ros na Rún will officially open Múscailt 04, NUI Galway s Spring Arts Festival which runs from 13- 20 February, 2004. For one whole week the campus will be alive with concerts, theatre, dance, exhibitions, readings, film and live performances. Almost all events are free and everybody is welcome. 'Múscailt' means to awaken/inspire/celebrate. The theatrical highlight will be Belfast Blues by Geri Hughes, the one-person show which provides a humourous, touching portrayal of a young girl growing up in a troubled Belfast. Comic genius Tommy Tiernan will perform a stand-up gig especially for students and staff in the O Flaherty theatre, his first show ever on campus. "This is the fourth annual arts festival on campus and we are delighted that 'Múscailt' gets better every year," says Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway's Arts Officer. "There is a wealth of talent in the student societies and that combined with performances from well-known, established artists has resulted in a very exciting programme of events. We hope the people of Galway will join with us in this tremendous celebration of the arts." One of the many innovative and exciting events on the programme is a poetry slam on the theme Múscailt/Awakening. This will take place in the college bar with Pete Mullineaux doing MC and there will be great prizes for best poems and best performances. Alice in Wonderland is this year s musical in the Black Box Theatre, showcasing the combined talents of the dramatic, choral, orchestral and dance societies with some staff members taking cameo roles. Film Festival is an eclectic mix of shorts and feature films and boasts a Film Forum on Screenwriting with special guests Rod Stoneman, Lelia Doolin and Irish film-makers Gerry Stembridge, Ronan Gallagher and Liz Gill. Special guest writers will be Nevfel Cumart, Turkish-German poet who will read from his latest collection and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill who will present a specially commissioned poem. The creative talents of the student societies have combined to produce a wide range of events: literary, drama, dance, art, photographic, the musical and film festival among others. Exhibitions from Photosoc are also well worth a visit. Dramsoc is showcasing a series of original one-act plays in collaboration with the M.A. in Writing and M.A. in Drama and Theatre programmes alongside Teatro Punto s Don t Sleep and The Lovely Ladies clown show STOP. Rockbands Label, Blue Sun and Charis share the billing with the NUI Galway Barbershop Quartet, Sean-nós singer Josie Shéain Jeaic MacDonncha, and ConTempo String Quartet. The highlight of many exhibitions will be the new acquisitions in the NUI Galway Art Collection, which includes Seán McSweeney, Derek Hill, Terry Frost, Brian Bourke, Louis LeBroquy alongside recently restored works of historical value by Robert Gregory and James Holland Snr. Múscailt 04 presents the perfect opportunity to take part in the cultural life of NUI Galway. The festival is supported by Galway University Foundation and the Arts Office. For more information check: Tel. Arts Office: 091 512062 Ends

Tuesday, 30 March 2004

A pioneering intergenerational programme, established by NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office is celebrating its fifth birthday this year. The programme called "Living Scenes", which is the only one of its kind in the country, has been piloted with the Presentation Secondary School, Galway and Active Retirement Groups city-wide. A celebration of what the group has achieved will take place this week in An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway (Wednesday March 31; 7pm). The 'Living Scenes' project is co-ordinated by the Adult and Continuing Education Department at NUI Galway and involves a core group of fifty retired adults working with the transition-year students (16 year olds), for a two and a half-hour weekly slot on four identified modules, namely Music, Art, Drama and Writing. Learning is facilitated by Tutors who adhere to University-defined operational guidelines. Presentation Secondary School has appointed an internal Co-ordinator for this project. The aim of the project is to promote the sharing of culture, heritage, tradition and experience between older and younger members of society in an educational setting. Participants are encouraged to discover common links between both generations, to foster mutual respect for each other and to promote active and experiential learning. "Living Scenes has endeavoured to respond to evident "gaps" emerging in the fabric of our communities", says Mary Surlis, Project Officer, NUI Galway. "This is evident in the disintegration of the family unit and in particular that of the extended family, where increasingly, grandparents and grandchildren are alienated from each other by a constantly changing cultural and social environment". Presentation Secondary School Principal Michael McCann, says that "the non-judgmental attitude of the older adults, has an empowering effect on the transition year students, facilitating them to feel secure and confident in themselves in a learning environment." He went on to say that, "in keeping with the ethos of transition year, this project sees experiential learning taking place in an active and informal environment, which greatly enhances the holistic development of the students." Ann De Búrca, "Living Scenes" school-based co-ordinator says, "As a teacher co-ordinating the project in the school for the last three years, I have seen the project enhance the self-development and maturity of each group of students in turn. Perhaps the most significant and evident contribution of the project has been the enabling and empowering effect of the older adults' participation on the transition year students". According to Ms. De Búrca, the adults in their dedication, enthusiasm and zest for life and living, has greatly enriched the five transition-year classes who have been privileged to be part of the project. "It has been a liberating and positive learning experience for all of us involved with "Living Scenes"", she says. Academic research has been carried out on "Living Scenes" to evaluate the project in a developmental curricular capacity and to identify its contribution in an educational context in a transition year secondary school programme. The findings of this research have implications for policy makers, as well as school and community groups interested in initiating change in a curricular context. Ends

Monday, 29 March 2004

The implantation of prosthetic or artificial heart valves in patients suffering acute cardiovascular problems has taken place for many years. Each year around 275,000 patients worldwide receive replacement heart valves, of which 55% are mechanical prostheses. An innovative technique to aid design of these implants has been developed by a research team at NUI Galway. "One of the many engineering challenges prosthetic valves present is the difficulty of avoiding clot formation," says Dr. Nathan Quinlan, of NUI Galway's Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, which is also based on the Galway campus. "The valves can give rise to unnaturally severe fluid dynamics in the blood that flows through them. This in turn aggravates blood cells and can trigger the coagulation process." Many artificial valve recipients require lifelong drug therapy to prevent clot formation. Understanding of dynamics of blood flow in all kinds of heart valves is therefore crucial to development of better valves. The NUI Galway team studied heart valve flows with an experimental fluid dynamics technique that had not previously been widely used for this purpose. "The technique allows us to visualise and measure the flow of an artificial blood substitute without disturbing the flow, and at a level of detail that was more difficult to attain by existing methods," says Dr. Quinlan. "Specifically, we have demonstrated the technique in a realistic model heart system to study the flow from two types of mechanical prosthetic valve into the ventricle." The research team found surprising complexity in the flow in the ventricle itself, which may have some clinical significance. "Our visualisation of the flow in the model ventricle raises some interesting questions" says Dr. Quinlan. "What we have developed is an improved tool for developers and designers of artificial heart valves. This should aid understanding of complex fluid dynamics in the next generation of replacement heart valves." The research team of Dr. Quinlan, Dr. John Eaton and postgraduate student, Donal Taylor, were awarded the Bronze Medal for the best paper at the annual conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, in January. Their paper was entitled "Measurements of three-dimensional unsteady flow in a model left ventricle with prosthetic valves." The work draws on the expertise and facilities of the Aerospace Research Centre, which since 1990 has been a centre of excellence for fluid dynamics research in the University. Other projects underway in the Biofluid Dynamics Laboratory in the NCBES include investigations of air flow in the lung and of microscopic blood flow around individual cells. The heart valve research was funded by the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). Ends

Wednesday, 24 March 2004

National University of Ireland, Galway has today announced two senior appointments to Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Seosamh Mac Donnacha has been appointed as Comhordaitheoir Acadúil (Academic Co-ordinator) of an tAcadaimh and Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh has been appointed as Ceannasaí Bainistíochta (Head of Management). Seosamh Mac Donnacha is from an Cheathrú Rua, Co. Galway. His current post is as Development Manager with Oifig na Gaeilge Labhartha at NUI Galway and he has previously worked with Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and with Glór na nGael. Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh comes to NUI Galway from Comharchumann Shailearna Teo. where she has completed a three year period as Manager of the Co-operative. She has previously worked with Gaelscoileanna and with Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is being established by NUI Galway to further develop the range of Irish-medium third level educational opportunities available on campus and in the University's Gaeltacht education centres. The mission of An tAcadamh is 'through academic and research activities, to demonstrate and inspire leadership in the Irish speaking community, within the Gaeltacht and elsewhere, and contribute to the social, cultural, economic and linguistic development of that community and of the country as a whole.' Ends

Wednesday, 24 March 2004

The second annual lecture series in memory of Martha Fox, who has supported the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, will take place this week and next in the United States. Dr. Niall Ó Cíosáin, of the University's History Department, will deliver a lecture on "Print and the Irish Language", in New York, Boston and Chicago on March 23, 25 and 29, respectively. Each lecture will be introduced by NUI Galway President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. Upon her death in 1999, Martha Fox, a Wakefield Massachusetts schoolteacher, generously endowed NUI Galway with funding for Martha Fox House as home to the Centre for Irish Studies and for scholarship programmes. Her support provides the Centre with an opportunity to foster and develop institutional relationships with academic and civic institutions in the USA and to showcase and highlight aspects of the work of the University's Centre for Irish Studies. Dr. Ó Cíosáin's lecture will trace the culture of print in Irish and explore its complex relationship with the wider questions of language and cultural change. Ó Ciosáin has published Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850 (Macmillan/St Martin s Press 1997) and a number of articles on popular literature, printing and language shift in Ireland. Ends

Tuesday, 16 March 2004

Professor Chris McCrudden of Oxford University will deliver the Annual Distinguished Lecture in Law at NUI Galway on Friday 19th March 2004. His talk, entitled 'Buying Social Justice – the Role of Law', argues whether a State should exploit its market power to achieve ends other than purely economic ones. At present, there would appear to be extremely limited room for States and international organisations to demand a social perspective in their economic dealings with companies. McCrudden also traces the rise of the State both as a regulator of markets and a player in its own right. Dr Maurice Manning, President of the Human Rights Commission of Ireland, will deliver a formal response and is expected to address the plans of the Commission in the whole field of economic social and cultural rights. McCrudden will pose the question whether the primary role of law is to facilitate open markets or to temper market forces with considerations of social justice and will also review the current state of the law from international and European regional perspectives. Professor McCrudden is widely acknowledged as a leading thinker in the broad field of international trade law as well as non-discrimination law. His work has inspired the imposition of a novel duty on public bodies in Northern Ireland, to take positive steps to promote equality. For example, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is attempting to ensure that building contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, benefit local Iraqi workers, the World Bank (which is a major development aid donor), on the other hand, sharply limits the extent to which such a local preference can be given. In the late 1990s, the US Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts did not have legal authority to force companies registered under Massachusetts law, not to do business in Burma which was widely regarded as an oppressive regime. Professor Gerard Quinn, Faculty of Law, NUI Galway says, "we are delighted to have someone of Professor McCrudden's international standing to inaugurate this important lecture series. Our vision is to raise important law reform issues in the public's mind through this series. We aim to make this series the premiere event on the legal calendar in the West of Ireland and to choose topics that have either a national or international significance." The lecture will take place at 7.00pm in the Arts Millennium Building. It will inaugurate a series of annual public lectures hosted by NUI Galway's Law Faculty and designed to highlight contemporary law reform issues of concern to the general public as well as the legal profession. Ends

Monday, 15 March 2004

A poster exhibition, illustrating the work of NUI Galway's third-year Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering students who have engaged in voluntary work, will open today (Monday), at 5.00 p.m., in the University Art Gallery. The posters are the product of an initiative, which encourages students to get involved in voluntary community-related activities. It is the first year of this project in which 50 students have participated. "Assignments that Inspire and Distinguish Engineers" (AIDE), is the title of the unique programme, which is the first of its kind in engineering in any university in Ireland. It is co-ordinated by Dr Abhay Pandit of the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. The project is part of the academic programme for students and is supported by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which is co-ordinated by Jacinta Barrins. It is designed to encourage students to voluntarily commit some of their time and energy to the benefit of local communities and individuals outside the family. The AIDE project included a number of lecture modules in which guest speakers addressed the students on the principles of volunteering, corporate and social responsibility, and the relevance of volunteering to the engineering profession. Students were then asked to identify a need in their locality and volunteer thirty hours of assistance towards it. "At first the students were sceptical of the relevance of the initiative to their lives," says Dr. Pandit. "They felt their only responsibility was to pass their exams and get on with their careers. Very quickly, however, they discovered that volunteering brought a very important dimension to their lives and that making a contribution to society by way of volunteering was a most fulfilling experience. The students also realised that they didn't have to look very far in their own communities to identify areas where a helping hand was needed." "We are planting a seed here", continues Dr. Pandit. "University students are in some form privileged and need to be aware of the social needs of their communities. They need to reach out across race, class and gender and share their skills and their time with people in need. We hope that participating in AIDE will make a lasting impression on them and make them responsive to the needs of whatever community they are part of throughout their lives." Some students got involved in groups such as Lions Clubs, Alzheimers groups, Cancer Care West and local sport groups, while others assisted people recovering from serious illnesses by providing support or building assistive devices.

Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway today (Tuesday) launched a major fundraising initiative entitled the People & Place Campaign, to secure €50million in private support for the continued development of the University. At an event to launch the campaign, the President, gave details of 24 projects, which will require a total investment of €250million over five years. Commenting at the launch of the campaign, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said "We have facilities in this University that are in urgent need of investment and we require €250million to deliver on this development plan. NUI Galway is committed to delivering one-fifth of this investment from its own fundraising programme. Fundraising is not intended as a replacement for public funding but to provide seed capital for new areas of research and teaching and to make an often vital contribution toward major buildings and facilities," he said. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh also spoke about the need to remind people about the important role of philanthropy as an agent for change. "We have a job to do in Ireland to educate this generation to the benefits of philanthropy. We still lag behind the United States and other European countries in terms of our overall giving. In terms of this campaign, we are encouraging people to consider the private gain that comes from education and are in turn, urging them to give something back." The €250million development plan for NUI Galway is based on extensive consultation with faculty members and feedback from corporate and community partners. It includes major new buildings for engineering, business and law, as well as new research centres and student facilities. "This ambitious capital development plan can only be realised with financial support from Government and other sources", said Ó Muircheartaigh. New academic programmes to be funded include fine arts, film, music and a radical new initiative to provide recognition for student voluntarism. One of the major aims is to develop the Irish language centres in Gweedore, Carraroe and Carna. The People & Place Campaign will be led by Galway University Foundation (GUF) and will constitute an ongoing high profile outreach to graduates, friends and supporters worldwide. John McNamara, Chairman of GUF, said that a great deal of work had gone into planning the campaign and he was confident a strong team and mechanisms were in place to achieve the €50million goal. He extended an invitation to all who share an affection for Galway and who believe in a strong and vibrant University in the West of Ireland, to become involved in as meaningful a way as possible. Pledges and commitments totalling €27million, raised in the pre-launch phase of the campaign, were announced. Mr Gerry Hanley, Chairperson of the Alumni Association, said that graduates would be delighted to see the University drive forward in this way, as much of the physical infrastructure is in need of upgrading and investment. He invited the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide to participate themselves as donors. Tony McDonnell, President of the Students Union said that he was proud that the students (nearly 14,000 in total) had given their backing by endorsing in a recent referendum the payment of a levy which would help provide a key element of the financing for the new sports and cultural facilities. Further information is available on ends

Thursday, 4 March 2004

The Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), Department of Philosophy, NUI Galway, in association with the Irish Council of Bioethics, will hold a Symposium on Genetics and Disability in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway from the 10th-12th, March 2004. Internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of genetics and disability who will be speaking at the symposium include John Harris, Julian Savulescu, Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Tom Shakespeare and Jonathan Wolff. Each will give a public lecture. Lectures open to the public will be held at lunchtimes and early evenings throughout the symposium. It is hoped that there will be wide interest in the lectures, which will tackle important ethical questions to do with advances in genetic technologies and their relation to disability issues. "This is simply a world class event", commented COBRA s Director, Dr Richard Hull. "Many important ethical questions are raised given that advances in genetic technologies might affect how we respond to or treat impairment, both medically and as a society. They might even affect how we define disability to start with. We are delighted to have such an excellent line-up of speakers tackling this critical area of bioethical debate." Issues which will be addressed at the Conference include the following: How should society treat people with disabilities? How and to what effect should genetic technologies be employed in the future? Is there a moral obligation to eradicate disability where we can? Is it wrong to deliberately create a child with a disability where we could instead have created a different child without a disability? How should research on those with disabilities be properly conducted, if at all? Is it possible or desirable to define an acceptable range of human capability when considering the potential uses (or abuses) of genetic technology? Ends

Thursday, 29 April 2004

The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today (29th April 2004) announced plans to develop a new €16 million School of Business on campus at the University. An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, TD was present to officially turn the sod for the 4000 square metre facility which is due for completion by September 2005. The development of a new business school at NUI Galway has been made possible through a combination of PRTLI, EU and private funding, led by a €4.5 million donation by Atlantic Philanthropies. Additional funding is anticipated through further donations and expansion of the overseas visiting student programme, with increased numbers of students from the US and Europe. This new facility will be part of the Faculty of Commerce, which has grown rapidly in recent years to 1600 undergraduate and postgraduate students and over 50 full time staff. The business school is an important development for the West of Ireland and will add much needed support to local industry to drive innovation and change in the entire BMW region. The school will provide world-class business education and the infrastructure necessary to accelerate the development of a knowledge-based economy in the West. The new Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (CISC), which will be located at the business school, is responsible for examining science, technology and innovation processes that are central to the development of this knowledge-based economy. Commenting on the development of the new business school, the President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "This new business school is the key to realising the vision for world-class business education and research in the West of Ireland. Through its innovative approach to learning and research, the business school will enhance competitiveness in the West of Ireland. Infrastructure projects like these are necessary to transform the local economy into a knowledge-based economy which will accelerate development and growth in this region. Professor Roy Green, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce added, "The Faculty of Commerce at NUI Galway has long been recognised as one of the leading business faculties in the country, producing some of Ireland's leading business people and public administrators. We will work closely and collaborate with industry to provide programmes that will deliver the business leaders of the future, building on our well regarded Bachelor of Commerce, MBA, Masters in Technology Management and a range of other programmes. We also have an exciting programme of research that will consolidate NUI Galway's role as a centre of excellence in the understanding of innovation and the knowledge-based economy." The new business school facility will accommodate up to 500 postgraduate students, 120 undergraduate students in a new Business Information Systems degree and 100 researchers, significantly increasing current capacity. In collaboration with local industry, it is also expected that existing programmes will be expanded to suit specific industry requirements. Programmes under consideration include an MBA in Healthcare Management, a Masters in European Business and Policy and executive programmes through global university alliances. In a separate development at the University today, An Taoiseach also launched a new Webcasting service for communities throughout the West of Ireland and beyond. In line with the commitment of NUI Galway's strategic plan (2003-2008), the purpose of this service is to ensure that the University's programmes and events are available to individuals in geographically dispersed areas. The public element of the Webcasting Service is being developed as a strand of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which aims to promote greater civic engagement across the university and strengthen university-community links. NUI Galway is piloting the service with its CKI partner, IRD-Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, now able to exploit their broadband connectivity to avail of guest lectures, specialist events and particular course materials from the University. "The rural community will greatly benefit from this initiative. People will now be able to avail of a number of relevant academic programmes without leaving their own locality. Clearly this will help to keep people in their native area, thereby sustaining the social and economic fabric of these communities with a consequent impact on employment and improvement of the quality of life," said Joe Kelly, Chief Executive of IRD Kiltimagh Ltd. "NUI Galway has a long tradition in community and regional development," said University President, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. "We can now exploit the latest technology to deliver University programmes to remote areas and empower communities to equip themselves with the knowledge and expertise hitherto unavailable to them." While in NUI Galway, An Taoiseach was also briefed on plans for a new School of Engineering, which will consolidate the University's four engineering departments under one roof. The €53 million project is designed to provide the most modern facilities for teaching and research which will be a significant resource for the west region. The launch of web-casting facilities will be broadcast live on: Ends

Wednesday, 7 April 2004

What do we gain from hoaxes? Why do writers, artists and film-makers often set out to trick us? What is the precise nature of the relationship between seduction, deception and art? These are the kind of questions that will be tackled by some fifty international speakers at a bilingual French-English conference to take place in NUI Galway on the 16 and 17 April 2004. Members of the public are invited to attend the two keynote lectures of the conference, organised by the Department of French of the University. Both lectures will take place in Lecture Theatre IT-125, Information Technology Building. On Friday (April 16 at 9.30 a.m.), Jean-François Jeandillou, France's leading expert on literary hoaxes, will present a keynote lecture, 'La Supercherie littéraire en images', on the way in which fake portraits — paintings, photographs, even statues — have served, in the past, as supposed proofs of the existence of imaginary authors. Jeandillou also claims to be in the process of translating the Songs of Ossian into Swahili and to have been awarded the prestigious title of Honorary President of the International Association of Trickery Studies. However, conference organisers are reluctant either to confirm or deny these impressive assertions. The second keynote lecture will be delivered on Saturday (April 17th at 1.30 p.m.), by Malcolm Bowie, internationally renowned for his numerous publications on, among others, Lacan, Proust and Mallarmé. Bowie was awarded the Truman Capote prize for Literary Criticism in 2001 for his book Proust among the Stars (Cambridge University Press, 2001). The title of Bowie's paper will be 'Mallarmé, Psychoanalysis and "Mystery in Literature"'. Further details of the conference are available on the French Department's web site at ( Ends

Tuesday, 6 April 2004

eNable SME Workshop at NUI Galway A workshop designed to encourage and facilitate Irish businesses in the area of innovation, technology and eBusiness, will take place in NUI Galway, on Wednesday 19th May from 10.30 am until 4 pm. Hosted by the University's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), the workshop, which is free of charge, will take place in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) seminar room. A light lunch will be provided for participants. According to Ralf Burbach, CISC researcher, the purpose of the workshop is to present new technology solutions, purposely designed to advance SMEs to a full player in a virtual supply chain. "Interested representatives of SMEs and large enterprises alike are cordially invited to attend this workshop," he says. Presentations will be delivered under these headings: Human Resource Information Systems Audit Tools Stimulating Growth through Managed Innovation and Change - Online! A framework for e-business enablement. The demonstrations will allow participants to assess their own company's key business-to-business and human resource competences. This workshop is the culmination of a research project entitled "eNable SMEs", which comprises an internationally recognised team of researchers, all based at NUI Galway. This a non-commercial venture and has been funded by Enterprise Ireland with the specific objective of assisting Irish organisations. It includes the following components: Human Resource Information Systems led by the CISC; Cost effective internet-based solutions for project portfolio management, led by the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit (CIMRU); and Low cost digital virtual supply chain solutions, led by the Information Technology Department (ITD). If you would like to attend, please contact Ralf Burbach at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change by phone (091 512 413), or by e-mail: Ends

Monday, 31 May 2004

Scholars from all over the world will attend the Fourth Galway Conference on Colonialism, which will be held at NUI Galway, from 2-5 June 2004. The theme of this year's conference is 'India and Ireland' and the distinguished visitors will include established and emerging scholars from India as well as some of the outstanding scholars in the world of cultural and colonial studies from Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom and North America. The conference is dedicated to the memory of the late Edward Said, whose provocative and pioneering work in the area of colonial and post-colonial studies continues to inform the work of scholars working in those areas. Edward Said had close connections with NUI Galway and was honoured by the University when he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Literature in June 1999. According to Dr. Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies which is hosting the conference, "This event will bring together the most exciting scholars in the field of culture and colonialism". Topics to be addressed during the four-day conference include the role that Irish soldiers, administrators and civil servants played in the building of the Raj; the relationship between Irish republicanism and Indian nationalism; Irish religious missionaries and the notion of a 'spiritual empire'; Indian pariahs and Irish 'tinkers'; borders and partitions; newspapers and national identities; and India and the Brehon Laws. Distinguished guest speakers will include Aijaz Ahmad from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dipesh Chakrabarty from the University of Chicago, Luke Gibbons from the University of Notre Dame, and Joe Cleary from NUI Maynooth. Among the more intriguing titles in the conference programme are 'The "Pickled Earl": Richard Southwell Bourke, Earl of Mayo', 'Tea, Power, and the Colonial Body', 'Mother India/Mother Ireland', 'The Famine Queen Visits India', 'Shades of Difference: Towards an Analysis of the Resemblances Between the Orange and Saffron Orders in Northern Ireland and India', and 'Orientalism and Celticism Unplugged: The Suffering Indian Nun and the Drunken Irish Priest in Local Catholic Lore'. The conference proceedings will also include a reading by Cauvery Madhaven, author of Paddy Indian, at Galway Arts Centre, and the launch of a new book by Luke Gibbons entitled Gaelic Gothic, published by Arlen House for the Centre for Irish Studies. The conference programme is available at: Ends

Monday, 24 May 2004

Semantic web to revolutionise the way we do business by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies The National University of Ireland, Galway today (May 24th 2004) announced details of a major research programme into a new generation of web technology. This world leading research programme will be undertaken at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) already established within the University campus. The programme benefits from the close collaboration and substantial support of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited (HPGL). NUI Galway has received a €12m grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of the government led programme to develop a knowledge-based economy. The investment will establish NUI Galway as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of Semantic Web research. DERI will eventually involve over 70 full time researchers from both NUI Galway and Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited. HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. At an event in NUI Galway to officially launch DERI, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD, said, "This project brings together leading academic researchers with their counterparts in Hewlett Packard Galway in a globally competitive research cluster. I understand that in recommending funding for DERI, the site review panel of international experts stated that this activity has the potential to become the world's best in this field. This is one of the first SFI CSETs (Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology), which have been established by SFI to fund researchers who will build collaborative efforts that develop internationally competitive research programmes with researchers from industry. These awards, in linking academic researchers with industry partners, play a significant role in building Ireland's new knowledge-driven economy." The principle behind the Semantic Web research cluster is to afford easier and more accurate access to desired information for people than is possible with today's search engines and for computers to automatically process and integrate information available across the worldwide web. Related research presently being undertaken at DERI includes Semantic Web Services, Knowledge Management, Enterprise Application Integration and how the Semantic Web and related services can be applied to improve future eCommerce.* (See note to Editors). Commenting on this new generation of technology, Professor Dieter Fensel, Director of DERI said, "The development of the Semantic Web will be as revolutionary as the original development of the web itself. Although still in its infancy, research indicates that the Semantic Web will revolutionise the way we do business by delivering global cost savings and efficiencies. It is estimated that the time spent using web technology will be dramatically reduced within the next five years, resulting in significantly lower costs for users. It will also deliver greater choice and better pricing structures for consumers and business. "Our work at DERI will transform eCommerce over the web. When most people think of eCommerce, they think of B2C, in fact B2B accounts for a much larger proportion of revenue generated directly by eCommerce. Ultimately, consumers and businesses will be provided with a level of choice unimaginable years ago at much more competitive prices. For example, when making an inquiry into the purchase of a corporate business trip, the purchaser will not only get information on the best deal but also the best deal on all associated services such as car hire, accommodation, all at the touch of a button." The new technology will augment HTML based web language with languages such as XML, RDF, and OWL, which will involve tagging, eventually enabling purchasers to comparison shop across different websites. "This will eventually result in greater but more specific choice. It will enable consumers to get the best price and the best deal and will rank service offers according to the criteria a consumer has specified," says Fensel. Rory O'Connor, Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited, said, "We are now moving into a very exciting phase in the development of the Semantic Web, which is a vision for the future of the Internet. The collaboration of industry and academia provides an ideal platform for the development of this new technology. "The sharing of ideas and personnel will greatly enhance the potential of DERI as a world-class leader in the development of this web technology. This research is vital to the way we will manage the explosion of information on the internet and for Ireland to be pioneering research in this area is a significant development for the whole area of R&D in this country." DERI has also developed strong academic links with the Next Web Generation Group at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, through joint projects headed by Prof. Fensel. There are plans to foster an extensive researcher exchange programme with this Group. Further information available at ends

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Considerable national resources have been invested in research, particularly in science and technology, in recent years, over €2 billion for the period of the current National Development Plan: but how do we evaluate the impacts of that research, on the economy and on society more generally? An international one-day conference on Research and the Knowledge-based Society will examine this important issue at NUI Galway, on Monday, 24 May 2004. The Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the need "to disseminate information on, and the results of, indicators and evaluation techniques through publications and conferences" in its Statement 'Measuring the Contribution of Research' (2002). This conference is an essential implementation of this key ICSTI recommendation. Ireland will critically depend on the application of research and innovation in industry for continuing future success and the economic stability and growth that will benefit society. Research is essential for a high quality education system. Good evaluation is critical in balanced policy making, helping to optimise the use of taxpayers money. Governments and citizens naturally wish to see realistic returns on the public funds invested in research. The research community can benefit greatly from focussed evaluation of their own work, and the opportunity continually to learn from good practice. To explore these issues, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Forfás, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (NUI Galway), are bringing together policy makers, researchers, technologists, industrialists, fund managers and professional evaluators for this one-day European conference to: Engage the research community in debate about evaluation Inform the research community about international practice amongst evaluators and Increase the awareness of policy makers about research evaluation and indicators. Dr Edward M Walsh, Chairman of Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that "Global competition in the knowledge age is tougher than ever before. If Ireland is to build on its past success and prosper in the emerging knowledge age it must demonstrate a strong research competence. The recent major commitment of public funding to build such competence is a most important initiative and if Ireland is to fully benefit from the investment, appropriate systems that measure and evaluate the outcomes must be put in place". Speakers at the conference include the Chairperson of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Don Thornhill, and the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Bill Harris as well as a range of top international research evaluation experts. Conference details at: Ends

Friday, 14 May 2004

The University outlines key achievements in the first year of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008) - Key Achievements 2003-2004 include: * A total of €68 million raised through PRTLI funding and €27million through CSETs to develop research programmes * SFI awards amounting to €11 million * Plans to develop €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre * Introduction of new structures to sustain Irish medium education * Alliance with IDP Australia to recruit international pool of students * Continued focus on access based initiatives including development of web based programmes Key Priorities 2004-2005: * Physical development and reorientation of Campus * Essential priority remains securing funding to develop a new €53m engineering facility * Completion of new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences Building by September 2005 * Development of innovative programmes to attract High Quality Irish and International Students One year on, following the launch by the National University of Ireland, Galway of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008), which outlined seven Strategic Priorities to form the strategic direction of the University and to tackle the challenges facing NUI Galway and the third level sector as a whole, The President of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today, (May 14th 2004) updated on progress following the implementation of the priorities set out for completion in the first year of the plan. The most significant development has been made in enhancing the University's strengths in the Research area. NUI Galway is one of only three universities to have had success in all three cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). A total sum of €68 million has been awarded to the University under this initiative. In addition, NUI Galway is the only university in Ireland to have been awarded two CSETs. The first of €12 million was awarded to establish the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the second of €15 million, to establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Funding of €11 million has also been awarded in all other Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) programmes. The second priority in the first year of the Plan has been to introduce a number of initiatives to improve student life. Part of this involves the development of the Physical Infrastructure on campus. Developments are well advanced to commence the construction of a €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre and architects have been appointed to draw up plans. The student body has agreed a levy that will contribute towards the Centre while €18 million has already been raised towards the project through private philanthropy. Plans are also underway to reorientate the campus and to develop a new entrance to the University. A new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences building are due for completion by September 2005. Commenting on the developments to date, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, The President of NUI Galway said, "This has been a year of development for NUI Galway in what has been a very challenging time for the University sector as a whole. We have witnessed a year in which we have had to broaden our thinking and develop new ways to forge ahead with the implementation of this Strategic Plan. Despite these challenges, we have made significant progress in proceeding with our aims and objectives of developing a University which has, at its core, the ability to attract high quality Irish and international students and is also one of the leaders in the research field both in Ireland and internationally, as evidenced by the quality of the research programmes underway here. This Strategic Plan (2003-2008) is a blueprint for change. This management team will continue to meet the strategic aims of this University by responding to this changing landscape within the third level education sector in Ireland. We will witness, not just a changing physical infrastructure within this campus over the next number of years, but we will also be adapting by developing new and innovative ways to respond to a competitive marketplace both for students and research. Significant challenges lie ahead. We will attempt to face these head on by delivering on each of the seven strategic priorities outlined in this plan. Delivery of these will result in a University that is on the national and international radar for its accomplishments in the Research field and in the development of a University that is student focussed and is producing a calibre of student that is amongst the best in Ireland. Our key priority for next year will be to secure funding to develop an engineering facility to enable us to accommodate a growing number of students and retain our status as one of the leading engineering faculties in the country." The third priority for the first year of the Strategic Plan has been to introduce new structures for the sustainable development of Irish medium education. To this end, Acadamh na hOllscolaiochta Gaeilge has been established to develop University courses through the medium of Irish, both on campus and at the University's three Gaeltacht centres. Appointments to senior positions including those of CEO, Academic Co-ordinator of an tAcadamh and Head of Management, have been made. Amongst other achievements in the year under review include the establishment of an international office to coordinate admission of overseas students. In addition, NUI Galway has engaged the services of IDP Australia to recruit students from Asia, Middle East and South America. With these initiatives underway, it is hoped to increase the number of international students to 5% in 2005. Student retention has also been enhanced through the development of programmes in study skills, learning skills and time management. Ends

Friday, 25 June 2004

At a conferring ceremony in NUI Galway today (June 25th 2004), honorary degrees were conferred upon Professor Roy Foster, Lex Friedan, Philippe Kirsch and John Mannion. The individuals, who have been carefully considered and selected for conferring, have each made significant input to society either in the area of human rights or through their scholarly contribution to the area of humanities. NUI Galway is renowned for creating a research centre of excellence in both of these areas, through its Centre for Human Rights and Human Settlement and Historical Change. In recognising the accomplishments and contributions that each individual has made to society during their lifetime, The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "Each of these individuals in their own way, has made a significant contribution to society and to altering and enhancing the lives of many. This has been achieved through their work, views, beliefs and unfaltering commitment which has enabled them to achieve personal objectives which have been for the benefit of others. NUI Galway is a university which has long supported ideals which promote research excellence, both in the areas of Human Rights and Historical studies and for this reason, we are proud today to honour the work of all of these individuals." Judge Philippe Kirsch is the first president of the International Criminal Court. Established in 2003, the creation of the International Criminal Court is perhaps the most important new international organisation to be established since the United Nations. Philippe Kirsch directed the complex negotiations around the creation of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that the Court will have initial jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford University and has a highly distinguished record in historical scholarship. Originally from Waterford, he is a graduate of TCD and has published many works on Irish history including his best-selling book Modern Ireland, 1600-1972. Lex Friedan is the Chairperson of US National Disability Council and senior Vice-President at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) at Houston, Texas. Friedan has been at the forefront of encouraging Governments across the world to become engaged in the drafting of the new United Nations treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. So much so, his work in this area resulted in a unique civil rights law in the field of disability in the Kennedy – Johnson Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing all forms of discrimination against persons with disability. He has held six different professorships in the fields of community medicine and rehabilitation. John Mannion of St. John's Memorial University, Newfoundland, has made it his life's work to document and study all aspects of the Irish migration to Newfoundland. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and University of Toronto where he completed his doctorate. His book, Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation is recognised as the principal scholarly monograph on the cultural heritage of the Irish in Newfoundland. The conferring of honorary degrees takes place today (Friday, 25th June 2004) at noon in Àras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Ends