Monday, 24 July 2006

24 July 2006: An NUI Galway researcher has won a major award in the UK for his ongoing work in combating chronic pain. Dr David Finn, a lecturer in the department of Physiology at NUI Galway, is today being awarded the prestigious 2006 Wyeth Pre-Clinical Award, by the British Association for Psychopharmacology, at a ceremony in Oxford. Chronic, persistent pain affects millions of people worldwide, significantly impairing health and well-being and is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical help. In Ireland, over half a million people suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis. The overall objective of Dr Finn's research is to increase understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms by which stress impacts on pain, inflammation, mood disorders and cognition. According to Dr Finn, "Suffering due to persistent pain has significant, far-reaching socio-economic consequences. Pain is likely to become an even greater medical and socioeconomic problem in countries like Ireland, which have an increasingly ageing population". In the working population, lower back pain is responsible for more disability than cancer, heart disease, stroke and AIDS combined. One in six people in Ireland suffering from pain has lost a job because of their condition and pain costs the Irish economy over €1.2 million per week in disability benefit payments alone (Pain in Europe Study, 2003). Dr Finn's research looks into three different research fields; pain, aversion (i.e. stress and anxiety) and cannabinoids. Cannabinaoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or their biologically active synthetic alternatives. In 2005, Dr David Finn was awarded a President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA), worth in excess of €900,000. - ends -

Monday, 24 July 2006

24 July 2006: NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) will today (Monday) present certificates to eighteen Galway-based asylum seekers who have completed its web technology course. Presentations will also be made to companies and individuals who contributed to its 'Community Computer Recycling' initiative. Eamon Ó Cúiv, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, and Cllr. Niall Ó Brolcháin, Mayor of Galway, will be special guests at the ceremony. DERI, funded by Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) and based at NUI Galway, is at the forefront of European research into the next stage of web technology known as the Semantic Web. Through its extensive local outreach programme, it has helped contribute enormously over the last two years to the development of what it calls 'An Online Galway Accessible to All'. According to Brendan Smith, DERI's Community/Education officer, "The course for asylum seekers took place in the computer room of the Eglinton Hotel, Salthill. Over a six-month period, 48 individuals attended and were provided with the facilities to learn how to set up their own personal websites, utilise email, computer telephony and other online communication services. The greatest benefit for participants was that the course provided them with the opportunity to re-establish and maintain regular direct and real-time contact with their friends and families in their homelands or elsewhere around the world. Thanks to the generosity of individuals and organisations such as Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Galway Technical Institute and the Galway Public Library, many of these students will now have their own personal computer." DERI's internet courses operate throughout Galway City and county. In cooperation with Galway City Council, Galway County Council, HSE, Galway Centre for Independent Living and other NUI Galway departments, DERI provides technology courses to an array of communities including active retirement organisations, parents groups, business people, residents associations, schools and specific groups such as Gort's Brazilian population. - ends - For further information please contact Brendan Smith. Community & Educational Outreach Officer, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway 087-2935106

Thursday, 20 July 2006

17 July 2006: Since it was first introduced in 2003, more than 500 international students have taken part in NUI Galway's online Diploma in Irish Studies. Now, for the first time, the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, is recruiting students from Ireland for the next cycle of the online diploma, which will begin in September 2006. The unique course has been endorsed by President Mary McAleese, who recently participated in an online seminar with students at Regis University in the USA. Expressing her enthusiastic support for the programme, the President commented, "Could anything better typify the move from donkey-and-cart picture postcard Ireland to the high-tech global leader in software technology that Ireland has become in recent decades? Here is a place for the intellectually curious to have their imaginations stretched and challenged." This programme, the first of its kind in the world, has been developed by NUI Galway in partnership with Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and is targeted at non-traditional and mature students primarily who do not have access to traditional programmes of study in this area. The purpose of the course is to provide a basic introduction to Irish life and culture through the disciplines of Archaeology, History, English, Irish, Political Science and Sociology. President McAleese went on to pay tribute to those involved in delivering the programme, "You are playing an important part in the shaping and reshaping of this new Ireland with its unique meld of the quaint and quantum physics, of tradition and trade, of craic and computer." The Presidential endorsement was welcomed by Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. 'We were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Irish Studies online for President McAleese and even more so when she volunteered to participate in one of the online seminars. This online programme has been popular among students from North America, Japan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and, more recently, from Australia and New Zealand. By opening it up to students based in Ireland, we hope to build on this success." Full details are available on the programme website at or from Samantha Williams at -ends–

Friday, 14 July 2006

- as Professor warns of economic and social challenges facing Ireland's ageing population - At the launch of Ireland's first dedicated research centre on economic and social ageing, the Director of the new Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway, Professor Eamon O'Shea, today warned policy makers of the challenges facing rural communities as Ireland's demographics alter dramatically over the next number of years. Professor O'Shea warned of huge demographic changes ahead as one in four Irish people would be over the age of 65 by 2050 compared to the current figure of around one in ten. However, population shifts into towns and cities means that in some local rural districts up to one in three of the population may already be aged 65 years or over, particularly in Western regions. Meeting the personal and social needs of these scattered and ageing rural communities is a real challenge for Irish society and the disenfranchisement being felt by Ireland's rural aged will become acute over the next number of years without adequate investment in services and infrastructure. Professor O'Shea's comments were delivered at the official launch by An Tánaiste, Mary Harney TD, of the new €3 million Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at the JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at NUI Galway. The Centre is the first of its type in Ireland which will examine the economic and social aspects of Ireland's ageing population across multiple disciplines including: social gerontology, economics, sociology, psychology, law, nursing and medicine. Professor O'Shea welcomed the Government's support for the Centre as an important step which would facilitate comprehensive research in the area and identify problem areas for Ireland's elderly. Speaking at the launch of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Professor O'Shea said, "Ireland is on the cusp of major demographic changes and the ICSG will be a vital resource in assisting Ireland's policy makers to plan and make provision for Ireland's ageing population. The formulation and implementation of measures to improve and enhance the participation of older people in economic, social and civic life has not been heretofore properly addressed in research in Ireland. Older people have too often been seen as drawing on public resources rather than as net contributors to society. ICSG seeks to both inform and influence attitudes to, and expectations of, older people as well as exploring innovative ways, through technology for example, to ensure that older people play a full part in society at all levels. Each of us has a role to play in ensuring that we include older people in social and community initiatives. " ICSG recently co- produced a research report funded by the National Council on Ageing and Older People on the quality of life for older people in long stay facilities and is currently completing a further report for the Council on the quality of life of older people living at home with a chronic illness or disability. ICSG is also working on a number of other research projects in the following areas: volunteerism, technology, dementia, and the ethnogerontology of Irish-born immigrant populations. ICSG is funded through a combination of public and private funding, including important financial support from Atlantic Philanthropies, and will work closely with stakeholder groups including Age and Opportunity, Age Action Ireland, Senior Citizens Parliament and the Federation of Active Retirement Associations to promote a holistic and positive view of ageing in Ireland. From September 2006, the ICSG will offer Ireland's first Diploma in Social Gerontology. -ends-

Friday, 14 July 2006

- agus deir Ollamh amháin go mbeidh dúshláin mhóra eacnamaíocha agus shóisialta ag pobal scothaosta na hÉireann - Agus an chéad ionad taighde don aosú eacnamaíoch agus sóisialta á sheoladh in Éirinn, chuir Stiúrthóir an Ionaid nua don tSeaneolaíocht Shóisialta (ICSG) in OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Eamon O'Shea, fainic ar do lucht déanta beartais faoi na dúshláin a bheadh ag pobail tuaithe na hÉireann sna blianta beaga le teacht mar gheall ar an athrú a thiocfaidh ar dhéimeagrafaic na tíre. Dúirt an tOllamh O'Shea go mbeadh athruithe móra déimeagrafacha ann sa todhchaí mar go mbeadh duine as gach ceathrar in Éirinn os cionn 65 faoi 2050, i gcomparáid le duine as deichniúr faoi láthair. Ach mar gheall go bhfuil go leor den daonra ag bogadh isteach i mbailte agus i gcathracha, ciallaíonn sé go bhfuil duine as gach triúr, i gceantair thuaithe áirithe, 65 bliain d'aois nó os a chionn cheana féin, go háirithe san Iarthar. Tá deacracht ag sochaí na hÉireann déileáil le riachtanais phearsanta agus shóisialta na ndaoine scothaosta faoin tuath mar atá siad agus is in olcas a bheas an scéal ag dul sna blianta amach romhainn gan infheistíocht cheart i seirbhísí agus in infrastruchtúr. Is í an Tánaiste, Mary Harney TD, a chuir tuairimí an Ollaimh i láthair agus an tIonad nua €3 mhilliún don tSeaneolaíocht Shóisialta á sheoladh aici i Scoil Iarchéime JE Cairnes don Ghnó & don Bheartas Poiblí in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é seo an chéad ionad den chineál seo in Éirinn a bhreathnóidh ar ghnéithe eacnamaíocha agus sóisialta de dhaonra scothaosta na hÉireann i ndisciplíní éagsúla cosúil le: seaneolaíocht shóisialta, eacnamaíocht, socheolaíocht, síceolaíocht, dlí, altranas agus leigheas. D'fháiltigh an tOllamh O'Shea roimh thacaíocht an Rialtais don Ionad mar chéim thábhachtach a d'éascódh taighde cuimsitheach a dhéanamh sa réimse agus fadhbanna na ndaoine scothaosta in Éirinn a aithint. Ag labhairt dó ag an seoladh dúirt an tOllamh, "Tiocfaidh athruithe suntasacha ar dhéimeagrafaic na hÉireann go gairid agus beidh an tIonad seo ina acmhainn riachtanach a chabhróidh le lucht déanta beartais na hÉireann pleanáil agus soláthar a dhéanamh do dhaoine scothaosta na hÉireann. Nuair a rinneadh iarrachtaí roimhe seo páirt na ndaoine seo sa saol eacnamaíoch, sóisialta agus sibhialta a fheabhsú i gceart ní dhearnadh dóthain taighde air. Breathnaítear go minic ar dhaoine scothaosta mar dhaoine a chaitheann acmhainní poiblí seachas mar dhaoine a fheabhsaíonn an tsochaí. Déanfaidh an tIonad seo iarracht an meon i leith na ndaoine seo a fheabhsú chomh maith le bealaí nua a fháil, trí theicneolaíocht mar shampla, lena chinntiú go mbeidh páirt iomlán ag daoine scothaosta sa tsochaí. Tá ról ag gach aon duine againn maidir lena chinntiú go bhfuil áit ag daoine scothaosta i dtionscnaimh shóisialta agus phobail. " Chabhraigh an tIonad le tuarascáil a chuaigh amach le gairid a bhí maoinithe ag an gComhairle Náisiúnta um Dhul in Aois agus Daoine Scothaosta maidir le caighdeán saoil daoine scothaosta i gcúram fadchónaithe. Faoi láthair, tá tuarascáil eile á críochnú ag an Ionad don Chomhairle maidir le caighdeán saoil daoine scothaosta a bhíonn ina gcónaí sa bhaile agus tinneas ainsealach nó míchumas orthu. Tá an ICSG ag obair chomh maith ar chúpla tionscadal taighde eile sna réimsí seo a leanas: obair dheonach, teicneolaíocht, néaltrú, agus eitnisheaneolaíocht na n-inimirceach a rugadh in Éirinn. Faigheann an ICSG maoiniú poiblí agus príobháideach, lena n-áirítear tacaíocht airgeadais ó Atlantic Philanthropies, agus oibreoidh sé go dlúth le páirtithe leasmhara lena n-áirítear Age and Opportunity, Age Action Ireland, Senior Citizens Parliament agus an Federation of Active Retirement Associations chun meon iomlánaíoch agus dearfach den aosú in Éirinn a chur chun cinn. Ó Mheán Fómhair 2006, cuirfidh an ICSG an chéad Dioplóma i Seaneolaíocht Shóisialta in Éirinn ar fáil. - Críoch -

Thursday, 13 July 2006

An international conference taking place at NUI Galway illustrates how Irish scholars were at the forefront of scientific knowledge in Western Europe as far back as the 7th century. The Science of Computus conference which takes place from Friday, July 14th - Sunday July 16th, will bring together leading scholars from all across Europe, the US and Japan to look at the contribution of Ireland to the development of European science and the origins of present-day mathematical and astronomical ideas. The Science of Computus – the mathematics required to calculate the date of Easter -provoked much debate and controversy in early medieval times. The date of Easter was the most important in the Christian calendar as it dictated the date of all other Christian festivals. However, it was the Irish who led the way in developing mathematical models by which the date of Easter could be most accurately decided, becoming since the 7th century the leading experts in the field of computistics study. Irish scholars travelled throughout Europe gaining a reputation for their knowledge and learning, and held influential positions in courts across Europe. Ireland now seeks to lead the way in Europe's Knowledge Economy. Millions are being invested in producing high-level graduates in the field of technology and science. However, as conference coordinator and Ireland's pre-eminent early medieval scholar, NUI Galway's Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín notes, "From the seventh century Ireland led the way in scientific learning and knowledge throughout Western Europe. Ireland was the knowledge economy of the 'Dark Ages', we invented it. The Irish were head-hunted across Europe for their mathematical and scientific knowledge. Like the early medieval ages, the spread of the Irish diaspora across the world ensures Irish men and women remain in key positions of influence across Europe and the world. However, we now face a challenge in developing our knowledge based economy and recreating the scientific knowledge and learning that was a key feature in the seventh century. Ireland not only needs to attract high-quality researchers but also to invest in its own graduates to ensure that we are to the forefront of scientific learning in Europe." For further information please see conference website at -ends- For further information, please contact Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín,Department of History, NUI Galway. Tel : 091 492 697

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has appointed Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, to the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights. The Voluntary Fund was established in 1987 by UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to provide technical cooperation to countries upon the request of their Governments. The focus is on providing practical assistance for the building and strengthening of national structures that have a direct impact on the overall observance of human rights and the maintenance of the rule of law. The Board of Trustees assists in fund-raising and provides expert advice and support to the Voluntary Fund. Members are appointed by the Secretary-General for a three-year term and are chosen for their independence and wide experience in the field of human rights and technical cooperation. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Schabas, said: "It is a great honour to be selected to join this distinguished Board and I look forward to taking up the challenge to develop and advise on human rights structures across the globe. I welcome the opportunity to assist the Secretary-General, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights in building the fund and strengthening its already important impact in the promotion of human rights." Professor Schabas will join human rights notables on the Board, such as Ligia Bolivar Osuna from Venezula, Mary Chinery-Hese from Ghana, Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand and Viacheslav I. Bakhmin from Russia. William Schabas is Professor of Human Rights Law at NUI Galway, where he has been the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights since 2000. He will continue in his role as Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights while serving as a board member of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights. -ends- Professor William A. Schabas Irish Centre for Human Rights Tel: + 353 (0)87 412 9551

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Researchers at NUI Galway today (11th July 2006) announced that clinical trials of stem cells on heart disease patients could start collaboratively between NUI Galway and University College Hospital within two years, subject to regulatory approval. The research will be the first of its type in Ireland. The announcement was made this week as NUI Galway plays host to an international conference in regenerative medicine, which examines stem cell and gene therapy in a number of areas including heart disease, arthritis and neurological conditions. The conference brings together international researchers who will seek to rapidly advance progress in the area of regenerative medicine to bring research to the clinical trial stage. The conference taking place from Tuesday, 11th July – Wednesday 12th July is being held by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with Georgia Tech/Emory of Atlanta and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Commenting on the announcement, Prof. Timothy O Brien, REMEDI Director and Chair of Medicine at NUI Galway said, "This is a major announcement for the development of stem cell research in Ireland. We will primarily focus on the cardiovascular area but hope to rapidly advance towards therapies in other areas. This conference is a valuable opportunity to harness the expertise at the Mayo Clinic and Georgia Tech by building a strong alliance with these Institutes to accelerate progress." "Despite progress in modern medicine, an increasing number of patients are experiencing advanced heart failure. Stem cell research may offer new therapies to improve heart function and improve the outcome for these patients. This clinical trial will make a significant contribution to research in this area" added Dr. Pat Nash, Consultant Cardiologist at University College Hospital, Galway. REMEDI scientific Director and leading researcher in adult stem cell therapy, Frank Barry, concluded, "We have developed a very strong expertise at REMEDI in the extraction and preparation of human stem cells from bone marrow and we are finalising protocols for the preparation of stem cells for clinical use. This will be an important step forward in this research area." Regenerative medicine looks at the repair or replacement of tissues and organs by incorporating the use of cells and genes to regenerate healthy tissues and recent research in the area has opened up new opportunities to transplant stem cells to repair or regenerate tissues damaged by trauma or disease. The conference will feature over twenty speakers advancing the latest thinking and developments in orthopaedic, neurological and cardiovascular regenerative medicine. The conference will be attended by representatives from US and Irish universities, industry partners and government agencies. -ends- Note to Editors: The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) is a world-class biomedical research centre focusing on gene therapy and stem cell research. In state-of-the-art facilities, researchers at REMEDI work together to combine the technologies of gene therapy and adult stem cell therapy with the aim of regeneration and repair of tissues. The unique feature of the research carried out at REMEDI is the novel integration of both therapies in a complementary research and development programme. Based in the National University of Ireland, Galway, REMEDI was established in 2003 through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) award, and industry funding. The institute is located at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and incorporates the National Cell and Gene Vector Laboratory, a GMP grade vector and cell production facility. REMEDI is a partnership involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers in academic centres and in industry. It is a unique cluster of talented and committed individuals who share a vision in developing new and successful treatment options for patients.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Beidh dioplóma nua páirtaimseartha á reáchtáil ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i réimse na haisteoireachta an bhliain seo chugainn. Cuirfear tús leis an gcúrsa i Meán Fómhair 2006 agus déanfar ceardlanna aisteoireachta á reáchtáil gach Satharn ar an gcampas sa Cheathrú Rua. Tá an dioplóma seo feiliúnach do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ghairmiúil, do dhaoine atá ag plé leis an drámaíocht phobail nó do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ar bhonn pearsanta. Is cúrsa an-phraiticiúil a bheidh ann a thabharfaidh oiliúint san aisteoireacht agus sa phuipéadóireacht agus beidh deis ag baill an chúrsa a gcuid scileanna a chur i bhfeidhm nuair a chruthóidh siad dráma le chéile. Cothóidh an cúrsa scileanna foirne chomh maith. Is scileanna iad seo atá luachmhar in aon réimse oibre. Ní gá taithí aisteoireachta a bheith ag iarratasóirí. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó aon duine a bhfuil suim acu sa drámaíocht agus a bhfuil an Ghaeilge ar a dtoil acu. Beidh an rogha ag baill an chúrsa deiseanna fostaíochta a ghlacadh i réimse na haisteoireachta stáitse agus i réimse na haisteoireachta teilifíse. Glacfar suas le fiche duine ar an gcúrsa. Ní mór iarratas a dhéanamh go luath le háit a chinntiú. Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin gcúrsa cuir glaoch ar Nora Nic Con Ultaigh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091 495381 nó seol ríomhphost chuig -críoch-

Monday, 10 July 2006

James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, has taken custody of approximately 4,500 volumes which form the Henry Library. The books, which were collected by The Reverend Joseph Henry D.D and bequeathed to the Tuam Diocese on his death in 1885, are a unique collection of 16-19th century books. An agreement has been signed by Bishop Richard Henderson, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry, (on behalf of the Diocesan Council) and NUI Galway which allows for the transfer of the books from Galway's St Nicholas's Collegiate Church to the University on long-term loan. The Reverend Joseph Henry was born in 1821 and came from a distinguished family in Tuam, Co. Galway. He was son of Hugh Robert Henry of Toghermore House and of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Langrishe, Baronet. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he was ordained in 1852 and served in Keady, Co. Mayo before going to Lima, Peru where he spent the next 20 years as Consular Chaplain. From 1876, until he died in 1885, Dr. Henry served the Church of All Saints in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. His collection is a great example of a late Victorian library. As well as examples of Bibles in several languages, Biblical commentaries and theology, there are books on history, geography, topography, Classical Civilisation, literature and travel. The majority of the books are of the 18th and 19th centuries but the 16th and 17th centuries are also represented. Marie Reddan, Librarian, NUI Galway, said, "We are honoured that the Diocese has considered our library as a home for this collection and it will add immensely to the rare collections we already house. However, our intention is not only to undertake the stewardship and preservation of the books but also to make the Henry Library accessible to the wider community". The books were originally housed in the Synod Hall in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tuam and more recently St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, Galway where they became part of the St. Nicholas' Library and Heritage Project. One of the aims of the project – a FÁS project which was begun in 1990 – was to preserve the books for future generations. Before this work began a number of trainees underwent a course in book conservation at Marsh's Library, Dublin. Since then the books have been cleaned, waxed, indexed and preparation of a general catalogue of the material has taken place. -ends–

Friday, 7 July 2006

NUI Galway's newly refurbished Carron Field Station has today been named in honour of NUI Galway's first Professor of Botany, the late Professor Máirín de Valéra. In a special ceremony on Friday, Minister Síle de Valera unveiled a commemorative plaque, which names the field station after her aunt. Located close to the village of Carron in the heart of the Burren, Co. Clare, the field station was established in 1975 as a teaching and research facility for the University. Professor Emer Colleran, Director of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway said, "The naming of the refurbished Carron Field Station in honour of Professor de Valéra is appropriate, given the University and ECI-stated mission to expand outreach activities, and to increase access by the external community to University learning and research programmes. The intention is that the field station is made more widely available to first, second and third-level educational Institutions, and in particular to local community groups with an interest in environmental issues." Apart from its use as a field teaching centre for university undergraduate students, the station has facilitated a wide range of environmental research projects. One of the on-going research projects focuses on the development of sustainable land management practices for the unique range of habitats found in the Burren region. Liaising with local landowners and acknowledging their expertise is an essential element of this research, particularly in relation to developing Turlough management systems. NUI Galway wishes to recognise the contribution of the University's former Professor of Botany, the late Máirín de Valéra, to teaching and field research by naming the research field station in her honour. Máirín de Valéra, daughter of Eamonn de Valéra, joined the Department of Natural History at University College Galway in 1939. She was solely responsible for teaching Plant Science at University College Galway for many years, and was appointed as the first Professor of Botany in 1962. Approximately €500,000 was recently spent to fully refurbish and modernise this unique facility, with the majority of the funding being provided by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) through the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). -ends-

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) will host a 'Conference in Regenerative Medicine' at NUI Galway, in conjunction with US academic partners Georgia Tech and the Mayo Clinic, from 11-12 July. The conference will feature over twenty speakers advancing the latest thinking and developments in orthopaedic, neurological and cardiovascular regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine approaches the repair or replacement of tissues and organs by incorporating the use of cells and genes to regenerate healthy tissues. Themes addressed at the event will include cellular therapy, gene therapy, biomaterials science, immunology and tissue engineering. "One of the central elements of this new technology is the transplantation of stem cells for the repair or regeneration of tissues damaged by trauma or disease. Progress in this field is dependent upon close alliances between scientists, clinicians and engineers. Our conference will seek to advance these research ties and expand our shared knowledge base", commented Frank Barry, REMEDI Scientific Director. NUI Galway has worked closely for many years with Georgia Tech, which recently opened its first applied research facility outside the United States in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Professor Anthony Windebank, leading expert in regeneration of the nervous system at the prestigious Mayo Clinic is currently based at REMEDI as part of a Science Foundation Ireland E.T.S Walton Fellowship. REMEDI Director, and Chair of Medicine at NUI Galway, Timothy O'Brien, commented, "This conference comes just weeks after the Irish government announced its Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. The strategy points out that Ireland must underpin its lead in the biotechnology arena and we seek to advance this by forging ever stronger links with our US counterparts such as Georgia Tech and the Mayo Clinic." The conference runs from 11-12 July and will be attended by representatives from US and Irish universities, industry partners and government agencies. -ends- Notes to editors: The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) is a world-class biomedical research centre focusing on gene therapy and stem cell research. In state-of-the-art facilities, researchers at REMEDI work together to combine the technologies of gene therapy and adult stem cell therapy with the aim of regeneration and repair of tissues. The unique feature of the research carried out at REMEDI is the novel integration of both therapies in a complementary research and development programme. Based in the National University of Ireland, Galway, REMEDI was established in 2003 through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) award, and industry funding. The institute is located at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and incorporates the National Cell and Gene Vector Laboratory, a GMP grade vector and cell production facility. REMEDI is a partnership involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers in academic centres and in industry. It is a unique cluster of talented and committed individuals who share a vision in developing new and successful treatment options for patients. For further information contact: Ita Murphy MSc Communications and Outreach Manager Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) & National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) National University of Ireland Galway Phone: +353 (0)91 495198 Mobile: Phone: +353 (0)91 495198 Email:

Monday, 3 July 2006

NUI Galway has announced it is to sponsor Cumha go Hora, a new musical research and performance project based at the University. The project will seek to retrieve and revive old Irish folk songs and support the creation of new ethnic material. Cumha go Hora takes its title from Cumha, meaning parting sorrow in Irish and Hora, meaning elation or celebration in Romanian. The first output of the project will be a concert at Galway's Augustinian Church on 18 July at which traditional Irish songs, both new and old, will be set to new string arrangements by Garry O'Briain and played by Romanian quartet, ConTempo, Galway Ensemble in Residence. The concert, also called Cumha go Hora, will include performances by Mary McPartlan, well-known traditional and contemporary singer, musicians Garry O'Briain, Dave Carty, Seamie O Dowd and Eddie Lynch and the award-winning NUI Galway Choir. Songs on the night will include Elizabeth Cronin's version of Lord Gregory as interpreted from a collection edited by her grandson, Professor Dáibhi Ó Cronín, NUI Galway. New songs include Cumha, written by Padraig O hAoláin and translated into English by Tim Dennehy, which is a song of sorrow for the changing lifestyles in deepest Connemara. Kiss the Moon and Sanctuary, written by Vincent Woods and set to music by Máirtín O Connor, will be featured along with Seanfhocal by Douglas Gunn, a specially commissioned piece for NUI Galway Choir. Mary McPartlan, recent graduate of NUI Galway and artistic director of the project, commented, "We are creating a new sound by experimenting with ethnic culture and giving a new richness to traditional folk music. Through the project, artists such as ConTempo, who are Romanian classical musicians, will be able to perform some of this country's most precious and previously unheard musical heritage in a revolutionary classical format." The Cumha go Hora project will see a true merging of styles to produce a new dynamic sound that will enrich and extend the experience of traditional music. The Arts Office at NUI Galway is plans to further develop the research part of the project with students, staff, ConTempo and traditional musicians all collaborating. The new and rare material will be documented and there will be future concerts at NUI Galway. Cumha go Hora, the concert, will be performed in a special event during Galway Arts Festival 2006 on Tuesday 18 July at 8.30pm in the Augustinian Church, Augustine Street, Galway. Tickets:€15/12 from Arts Festival box Office at 091-566577 or -ends-

Monday, 3 July 2006

The Irish Environmental Movement - from Carnsore Point to the Rossport Five This week sees the publication of 'Green Nation: Irish Environmental Movement from Carnsore Point to the Rossport Five , by Dr. Liam Leonard, the Galway-based writer and lecturer in Environmental Politics and Social Movements at NUI Galway. Green Nation examines community-based campaigns over the past thirty years that have become the basis for Ireland's grassroots environmental movement. Starting with the 'No Nukes' protests at Carnsore in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Green Nation traces the emergence of a nascent ecopopulist movement that has witnessed a number of campaigns including anti-mining protests at Tynagh, Donegal and Croagh Patrick, anti-toxics activism in Cork and the heritage dispute at Mullaghmore. The book also looks at the campaigns against incineration in Galway, Meath and Cork, the anti-roads protests at the Glen of the Downs, Carrickmines and Tara/Skryne and the ongoing campaign of 'Shell to Sea' in Mayo which gave rise to the 'Rossport 5', who were imprisoned for seeking justice for their community in North Mayo. Green Nation examines the mobilisation and agenda setting undertaken in these disputes, locating them in the context of a wider rural identity that has shaped grassroots environmentalism in Ireland. According to Green Nation's author Dr. Liam Leonard, Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway, "Ireland's recent social history has been characterised by a series of environmentally based community challenges. Throughout the decades of state-sponsored, multinational-led development and infrastructural expansion in Ireland, the voice of the grassroots environmentalist has always been heard. Local communities have proven themselves to be adept at mobilising responses, framing arguments and establishing the networks and alliances that become possible in a populist society." Green Nation addresses a relative gap in literature about environmentally based community social movements which have emerged since the 1970s. These campaigns have been primarily rural, with campaigns in cities such as Cork and Galway still retaining a rural perspective as local communities came to identify themselves with the surrounding hinterlands in the face of modernisation. The book is available from Title: Green Nation: The Irish Environmental Movement from Carnsore Point to the Rossport 5 Author: Liam Leonard Publisher: Choice Publishing, Drogheda ISBN: 1-905451-11-3 - ends-

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

29 August 2006: The academic year at NUI Galway will commence with public lectures from two guest lecturers, both prestigious international human rights experts, on 5th and 6th September. The visits by Professor Conor Gearty, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Colin Gonsalves, Human Rights Law Network, will set the scene for another stimulating and eventful year at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. According to Professor William A. Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, "Since its inception in 2000, the Irish Centre for Human Rights has developed a global reputation as a centre of expertise in humanitarian law and has become the focal point of human rights activity in Ireland. We are delighted to commence the 2006/2007 academic year with a visit to Ireland by such distinguished guest lecturers who are willing to share their expertise with the public." The free public lectures will take place in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway: Tuesday, 5 September 2006 at 9.30am - 'The Challenge of Social and Economic Rights' 'The Challenge of Social and Economic Rights' is the title of the lecture to be given by Colin Gonsalves, Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Network and a pioneer in public interest law in India. The HRLN is India s first association of legal professionals providing support to those who have little or no access to law. Mr Gonsalves has also developed the Indian People s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights (IPT), an independent organization directed by retired Supreme Court and High Court Judges which investigates human rights violations and environmental degradation. Its work has sparked public interest litigation, formed social movements, and led to concrete policy changes. Wednesday, 6 September 2006 at 5pm - 'Can Human Rights Survive?' 'Can Human Rights Survive?' is the topic being covered by Conor Gearty, Rausing Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Professor of Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The event in Galway is the culmination of a series of lectures, delivered in the UK and Northern Ireland as the 2005 Hamlyn Lectures, since published by Cambridge University Press. Professor Gearty will confront the fundamental concept of human rights and question whether human rights have the resilience to stand firm against such contemporary challenge as the 'war on terror', the revival of political religion, and the steady erosion of the world's natural resources. For further information please contact the Irish Centre for Human Rights on 353 (0) 91 494575. -ends-

Monday, 28 August 2006

Beidh iarcheannaire RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Tomás Mac Con Iomaire, ag teagasc ar an gcúrsa Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió, a bheas ag tosú go luath in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe. D'éirigh Tomás Mac Con Iomaire as a phost mar cheannaire RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta mí Eanáir seo caite. Bhí sé ag obair leis an stáisiún ó 1974 i leith agus ceapadh ina cheannaire é sa bhliain 2000. Chaith sé tréimhsí roimhe sin ina eagarthóir stiúrtha nuachta, ina eagarthóir stiúrtha cláracha agus ina leascheannaire. Ar na teagascóirí eile ar an gcúrsa beidh na hiriseoirí Norita Ní Chartúir agus Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill. Tá taithí na mblianta ag Norita Ní Chartúir mar chraoltóir le RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus tá taithí ag Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill mar iriseoir leis an Irish Times, le Nuacht TG4, agus le heagrais eile. Cúrsa leathan a bhfuil béim ar obair phraiticiúil ann agus a leanann ar aghaidh ar feadh bliana is ea an Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió. Pléitear gnéithe éagsúla den obair raidió lena linn, ón iriseoireacht go dtí an chraoltóireacht. Tugtar oiliúint do mhic léinn an chúrsa sna scileanna praiticiúla a bhaineann le cúrsaí raidió i stiúideo a bhfuil trealamh fuaime den scoth ann. Tá tréimhse taithí oibre mar chuid de chomh maith. D'oibrigh mic léinn an cúrsa le RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, RTÉ Lyric FM agus BBC Thuaisceart Éireann roimhe seo agus tugadh cuireadh do chuid acu leanúint lena gcuid oibre ann. Tá gné den iriseoireacht chlóite mar chuid den chúrsa, agus chuir mic léinn na bliana seo caite forlíonadh le chéile a foilsíodh in Foinse. Oiliúint mhaith phraiticiúil a bhí ann, dar le mic léinn a bhain an dioplóma amach níos luaithe i mbliana. "Bhain mé an-sásamh as na cláracha nuachta, mar bhí brú orainn agus d'airigh muid cén chaoi a mbeadh sé bheith ag obair i stáisiún raidió," a dúirt Micheál Ó Braonáin. Bhí an file Rita Ann Higgins ar an gcúrsa chomh maith. "Bhí deis iontach agam sa chúrsa," a dúirt sí. "Ní raibh a fhios agam cén chaoi an ndéanann tú clár, agus tá a fhios agam anois." Cúrsa an-iomlán a bhí ann, dar le Seán Leainde. "Chlúdaigh sé go leor rudaí, ní hamháin an chraoltóireacht raidió ach chlúdaigh sé iriseoireacht agus cúrsaí fuaime agus teicniúla. Do mo leithéide, a d'fhág an scoil tar éis na Meánteiste, thug sé deis domsa a thíocht ar ais agus blaiseadh den oideachas tríú leibhéal a fháil." De bharr tacaíocht Údarás na Gaeltachta ní bhíonn táille ar an gcúrsa agus íocann an tÚdarás liúntas seachtainiúil do na mic léinn. Tháinig forbairt mhór ar na deiseanna fostaíochta atá ar fáil do dhaoine in earnáil na cumarsáide Gaeilge le blianta beaga anuas. Tá éileamh mór ar dhaoine a bhfuil na scileanna cuí craoltóireachta, teicniúla agus fuaime acu, ag eagraíochtaí ar nós RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, stáisiúin raidió eile, TG4, Telegael, Abú Media agus neart comhlachtaí eile. Tá roinnt áiteanna fós ar fáil ar an gcúrsa. Is féidir a thuilleadh eolais a fháil ach glaoch ar Norita Ní Chartúir ag 091 595101. - críoch -

Monday, 28 August 2006

28 August 2006: The former head of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Tomás Mac Con Iomaire, will be among the tutors of NUI Galway's Arts Diploma in Radio Skills. The course, taught entirely through Irish, will focus on radio production and presentation, and starts this September in An Cheathrú Rua, Co. Galway. The one-year, full-time 'Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió' is offered by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway's Irish-language college. During the year students will cover a broad range of subjects including journalism, broadcast skills, sound production, post-production, ethics, law, and communication skills. In addition, the course has a strong emphasis on practical skills, and aims to prepare participants for a career in radio, either in front of the microphone as a presenter or behind the sound desk as a technician or producer. A key part of the Diploma will be a four-week work placement. Tomás Mac Con Iomaire retired as ceannaire of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta at the end of January. He worked with the station since 1974 and held the post of ceannaire since the year 2000. At different times he also served as Head of News, Head of Programming, and Deputy Director. Tutors from NUI Galway's Acadamh will include Norita Ní Chartúir, formerly of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, and Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, former Irish language editor of the Irish Times who also worked as a journalist with Nuacht TG4. Course fees and a weekly training allowance will be provided by Údarás na Gaeltachta. A limited number of places are still available. More information will be available at the Acadamh's Open Night for New Students in An Cheathrú Rua on September 6th or by contacting Norita Ní Chartúir on 091 595101. - ends -

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

NUI Galway Information Evenings in Dundalk, Castlebar, Galway, Ennis, Sligo, Athlone and Donegal Town Following the excitement of the Leaving Cert results and the CAO offers, many students are now preparing to embark on the next phase of their education at university. For some it will mean leaving home for the first time and this can be an anxious time for both students and parents. The NUI Galway Alumni Association, incorporating Cumann Céimithe na Gaillimhe, is hosting the seventh annual series of information evenings for parents and students commencing their third level education in September 2006 at NUI Galway. An information evening or 'Student Send-off' as these events are called, will take place on: Tuesday, 22nd August in the Fairways Hotel, Dundalk from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Wednesday, 23rd August in Lough Lannagh Village, Castlebar from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Thursday, 24th August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Monday, 28th August in the Old Ground Hotel, Ennis from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Tuesday, 29th August in the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Wednesday, 30th August in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Athlone from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. Thursday, 31st August in Pier One, Donegal Town from 7.00 – 9.00p.m. NUI Galway Alumni Association Board Members and Students' Union representatives will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Accommodation, Finance and the Students' Assistance Fund, Safety, Careers, Counselling, Clubs & Societies and the Students' Union. "This is an ideal opportunity for both parents and students to get advice on finding one's way around campus during those first days of term; find out about the University's student support services; and the benefits of becoming involved in the University's many Clubs and Societies," says JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations. Admission is free to the information sessions and refreshments will be served. ends Information from: Emma Goode, Alumni Project Manager, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-493750 Email:

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

NUI Galway will hold a special examination in Mathematics on Wednesday 23rd August for students who have not achieved the required Leaving Cert grade in this subject for Undergraduate Engineering and Information Technology Degree Courses. The exam is aimed at students who have already applied for a degree at NUI Galway and have the points but who don't have the maths requirement. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and will then receive a CAO offer at Round 2. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance examination to help applicants who did not attain the required honours level in their Leaving Certificate. The normal entry requirement to accredited engineering degree programmes requires that students have a C3 or better in higher level maths. Passing the special exam allows students fulfil the requirement for entry to 1st year Engineering. For the past two years, the option of taking the special entrance examination has also been available to students applying for the B.Sc. Degree in Information Technology, which is also an accredited software engineering degree. The minimum entry requirement in maths is either: a C3 in higher level; an A2 in ordinary level; or a pass in the special entrance examination. "This exam is in keeping with NUI Galway's policy of providing additional entry opportunities to students. In this instance, students have the points, but may have fallen short on the day in the Leaving Cert maths exam. The special exam may be particularly relevant this year with the difficulties in Leaving Certificate mathematics experienced by many students," commented Prof. Padraic O Donoghue, Dean of Engineering, NUI Galway. The standard of the syllabus for the examination is relatively similar to that of the Leaving Certificate but it is focused more on the mathematics that is required for Engineering/IT programmes. The examination will take place in the University on Wednesday 23rd August. Further details and application forms may be obtained at or by calling the Admissions Office on 091 492199. -ends-

Friday, 11 August 2006

Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, is to offer a new part-time diploma in acting through the medium of Irish. The course begins in September 2006 and takes the form of Saturday workshops on the Ceathrú Rua campus in Connemara. The diploma course is open to all with an interest in acting, whether on a professional or amateur basis. Students will study physical acting, script-based acting, puppetry and devising (creating drama without a script). The course also aims to promote team skills, which are valuable in any area of work. Previous experience is not required, only a passion for drama and the Irish language. Participants may consider employment opportunities in the areas of stage and screen acting. A maximum of 20 people will be taken on the course so early booking is advisable. For more information please contact Nora Nic Con Ultaigh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway at 091 495381 or e-mail -ends-

Friday, 11 August 2006

Beidh dioplóma nua páirtaimseartha á reáchtáil ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i réimse na haisteoireachta an bhliain seo chugainn. Cuirfear tús leis an gcúrsa i Meán Fómhair 2006 agus déanfar ceardlanna aisteoireachta á reáchtáil gach Satharn ar an gcampas sa Cheathrú Rua. Tá an dioplóma seo feiliúnach do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ghairmiúil, do dhaoine atá ag plé leis an drámaíocht phobail nó do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ar bhonn pearsanta. Is cúrsa an-phraiticiúil a bheidh ann a thabharfaidh oiliúint san aisteoireacht agus sa phuipéadóireacht agus beidh deis ag baill an chúrsa a gcuid scileanna a chur i bhfeidhm nuair a chruthóidh siad dráma le chéile. Cothóidh an cúrsa scileanna foirne chomh maith. Is scileanna iad seo atá luachmhar in aon réimse oibre. Ní gá taithí aisteoireachta a bheith ag iarratasóirí. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó aon duine a bhfuil suim acu sa drámaíocht agus a bhfuil an Ghaeilge ar a dtoil acu. Beidh an rogha ag baill an chúrsa deiseanna fostaíochta a ghlacadh i réimse na haisteoireachta stáitse agus i réimse na haisteoireachta teilifíse. Glacfar suas le fiche duine ar an gcúrsa. Ní mór iarratas a dhéanamh roimh an 16 Lúnasa le d'áit a chinntiú. Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin gcúrsa cuir glaoch ar Nora Nic Con Ultaigh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091 495381 nó seol ríomhphost chuig

Friday, 4 August 2006

Ireland's recently launched research centre on economic and social ageing, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway, has announced details of its first education initiative, the Diploma in Social Gerontology. The part-time, two year programme for mature students, commences in September 2006 and the closing date for applications is Friday 18 August. Classes and workshops will be held on Saturdays to accommodate the work and family commitments of prospective students. The diploma covers a broad range of economic, social and political theories relating to ageing and examines public policy for older people across a number of fields. It is designed to equip students with the professional and analytical skills necessary to understand age and ageing in an economic, social and policy context and to enhance and develop their careers in age-related fields. The course is aimed at those working with older people in health or social care settings, and governmental, non-governmental, or voluntary organisations. Members of active retirement groups, older volunteers, members of community groups and people with an interest in ageing issues would also be candidates for the course. Professor Eamon O'Shea, Director of the ICSG, commented, "This course is designed so that participants can bring their own life experiences to bear on the programme, enabling students to contribute to debate and discussion, which is an important part of the learning process". The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is the first of its type in Ireland which will examine the economic and social aspects of Ireland's ageing population across multiple disciplines including: social gerontology, economics, sociology, psychology, law, nursing and medicine. According to Professor O'Shea, "The Centre aims to develop social gerontology as a subject at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels, educating future policy makers, public servants and leaders of private industry on ageing issues. The new diploma for mature students is the first step in that process". Students on the Diploma course will attend classes at NUI Galway on six Saturdays in Semester 1 and six Saturdays in Semester 2 in each year. Classes run from 9.00am-12.00pm and from 2.00pm-5.00pm, with opportunities for lecturer consultation and library visits in between. The programme is offered on a two-year cyclical basis. Further information can be found at -ends –

Thursday, 28 September 2006

28 September 2006: NUI Galway today (Thursday) showcased Hazard IQ, a suite of software products for accurate, rapid identification and quantification of materials, including illegal narcotics, explosives and medicines. The technology can be used in many different practical applications such as airport security screening, poison testing at accident and emergency departments, and on-the-spot forensics analysis. The intelligent software has been developed at NUI Galway by Dr. Michael Madden, Department of Information Technology, and Dr. Alan Ryder, Department of Chemistry and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science. Hazard IQ was presented at the Enterprise Ireland Informatics Technology Showcase in Dublin, an event designed to connect Ireland's finest technology researchers with entrepreneurs, industrialists and companies who can participate in the commercialisation process for mutual commercial gain. Michael explained the technology, "If, for example, suspicious materials are discovered at an airport, they can be analysed where they are found and Hazard-IQ can identify the substance in a matter of seconds. This is much faster than dispatching samples to a central laboratory for standard testing, which can take several days. Likewise, in a hospital environment, the identification of hazardous materials ingested by patients can be made rapidly, speeding up diagnosis, and leading to faster treatment times." Hazard-IQ automatically learns to identify hazardous and illicit substances, by examining a wide variety of samples that have been prepared in a lab. Hazard-IQ has been 'trained' to recognise different categories of drugs, poisons, explosive and corrosive materials, and estimate their concentrations accurately. It can then recognize new samples within milliseconds. "The basis of the project is about using the Raman spectra of drugs as molecular fingerprints", explained Alan. "These molecular fingerprints are unique to different drugs and materials and so can be used for unambiguous identification. Portable Raman detection equipment is smaller than a shoebox and can test bulk samples of a variety of materials, including drugs, explosives and hazardous industrial chemicals." Hazard IQ identifies the components of mixtures and estimates their concentrations, by combining Raman Spectroscopy – which is a laser-based method for 'chemical fingerprinting' of materials – with Machine Learning, which is a family of analysis techniques that automatically improve with experience. Drs. Madden and Ryder developed the novel technologies and software with support from Enterprise Ireland as part of the Commercialisation Fund for Technology Development. -ends-

Monday, 25 September 2006

Innovation is to be the subject of a free public lecture at NUI Galway, for business and industry professionals, by a leading Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor. Dr. Richard Lester, Director of the Industrial Performance Centre at MIT, will deliver a lecture entitled 'Innovation – the Hidden Dimension', on Thursday 28th September, at 6.00pm. The venue will be room BS118, J.E. Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy, NUI Galway. The event is hosted by NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), where Director, Dr. William Golden, commented: "The prosperity of our economy hinges on the ability of businesses to continually introduce new products and services. This innovation can be difficult to sustain in the long term and a strategic approach must be adopted by companies and organisations. Professor Lester will be able to give insights to the local business community as to how best channel innovation within their organisations". Professor Lester will discuss two fundamental processes at the heart of every successful innovative organisation; rational problem-solving and interpretation (creative problem solving). These two processes are radically different from each other in almost every respect, and require vastly different managerial approaches, yet both are needed to sustain the creative output of both individual firms and entire economies. Drawing on research at the MIT Industrial Performance Centre into various sectors from mobile phones to medical devices to fashion, Professor Lester will show how innovative companies have managed to prevent vital interpretive processes from being crowded out by the insistent demands of problem solving. He will also provide examples of how the two processes have been successfully combined within the same organisation. Professor Lester's visit to Galway is part of the Queen's University, Belfast First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture Series, a unique initiative supported by First Trust Bank and Invest NI which brings international expertise in innovation to Queen's and the wider Northern Ireland Business Community. - ends -

Monday, 25 September 2006

NUI Galway is to be the venue for the 5th Annual Irish Universities Association Human Resources Conference, from 27-29 September. The conference, entitled An Bóthar Romhainn – The Road Ahead', will focus on a wide range of Human Resources (HR) issues facing Ireland's universities. Danuta Gray, CEO, O2 will deliver the keynote address on 'The challenges of leading in an ever changing and competitive environment'. Further input from eminent industrial relations and human resource management experts, trade unionists and policy makers will include presentations by: Brendan McGinty, Director of HR & Industrial Relations, IBEC Kieran Mulvey, Chief Executive of the Labour Relations Commission Tom Boland, Chief Executive, HEA Elspeth MacArthur, Director of HR, University of Edinburgh Jack O'Connor, General President, SIPTU Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway and the Irish Universities Association, who will give the welcome address at the conference commented, "There are seismic changes underway in our sector, the net results of which will benefit the entire nation as we support moves toward the progression of the knowledge economy. We value the input and expertise from the private business and industrial relations experts will bring to this event". The conference is being hosted by the Human Resources Department at NUI Galway, whose Director, Chris McNairney, commented, "The strategic importance of 4th level (post-graduate) skills to developing Ireland as a knowledge economy is widely accepted and is a challenge to which the university sector rises. HR professionals within the sector have a critical role to play in supporting this challenge and accommodating the changes 4th level brings. This conference is an opportunity for management and unions to explore and discuss the best way forward". More information about the event can be found at - ends -

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Nearly 40 community organisations will come together at NUI Galway on Wednesday the 27th of September for the annual Volunteering Fair, which promotes the voluntary sector, showcases community organisations and encourages volunteering opportunities. Launched by NUI Galway's Registrar Jim Browne and the Galway City Mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin at 1.30pm in Áras na Mac Léinn, the fair will be aimed at promoting partnerships with communities locally, nationally and internationally. The Volunteer Fair brings together students and community who in the past have taken this opportunity to successfully share experiences and engage. The Volunteer Fair is a joint initiative between the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), the ALIVE programme and Student Services at NUI Galway, and will be an opportunity for students to share experiences and broaden their horizons beyond the sphere of academia. It addresses three areas, volunteering within the University, volunteering with local and national organisations, and volunteering with international organisations. Last year over one thousand students mingled with community organisations and this year even more are expected to attend. Attendees will receive a Volunteering Fair Booklet, which describes the organisations' aims and objectives and provides information to support volunteers and community organisations. The Volunteering Fair Booklet is a resource distributed by ALIVE, not only at the event but also throughout the year. Additionally, candy floss will be made and distributed to all attendees of the fair. ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) was established by the CKI to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that NUI Galway students make by volunteering. The Volunteering Fair is the highlight of the first semester for the ALIVE programme. "The Volunteering Fair provides a space for community and students to engage and an avenue for developing mutually beneficial experiences. These experiences not only enhance academic learning and motivation but also make a very positive impact on the University, local and national community," said Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator of ALIVE. "This is a great event for charging the student body with excitement for volunteering and meeting community partners." For further information, please contact Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Student Volunteer Coordinator at 091 495346 or email

Monday, 18 September 2006

The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway has launched a new website that enables students to register as volunteers, at the same time allowing community organisations to recruit student volunteers. The amalgamation of registration for both students and community organisations will make volunteering an effortless process with minimal hassle. The Online Volunteering Opportunities Database allows volunteers to easily browse through a variety of volunteering opportunities and lets community organisations post volunteering opportunities to be browsed through. At the click of a button, students can then easily register to volunteer with their chosen organisation and the organisation can recruit them. The new website also offers educational links for research in community, volunteering, civic engagement and service learning/community based learning. In addition, it highlights video and audio webcasts that have been produced with national and international experts in the field of university-community partnerships. The CKI is a project established in 2001 by NUI Galway in order to place communities at the centre of debate and educate students for their role as citizens in democratic society. The website aims to be an informational resource for students and staff at NUI Galway, as well as those in the wider community. "We created a site that offers students, academics and community a gateway into volunteering and the possibilities university-community collaboration poses in modern society; we envisage that the CKI site will enable students to volunteer and learn about their civic responsibility through community," said Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Project Coordinator. Contact: Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway, Phone: 091 495234 ENDS

Monday, 18 September 2006

Burns victims and cystic fibrosis sufferers could benefit from the latest research into hyper-resistant bacteria, often known as superbugs, at NUI Galway. The research, carried out by postgraduate Paul Mc Cay under the supervision of Dr Ger Fleming of NUI Galway's Microbiology Department, looked at the cross-resistance of a particular strain of bacteria to both antibiotics and disinfectant. The three-year study focused on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen often associated with burn wound sepsis or sufferers of cystic fibrosis and is frequently connected with hospital acquired pneumonia. The University team developed a highly resistant strain of the bacteria and mixed it with the original strain, and a very low level of either antibiotic or disinfectant. The research found that when low levels of antibiotic or disinfectant were present, the ordinary strain of the bacteria was significantly disadvantaged and the superbugs became dominant. The superbugs were also found to be more readily resistant to other types of antibiotic or disinfectant when they were subsequently introduced. Furthermore, superbugs with antibiotic resistance also had resistance to disinfectant, even though the disinfectant had never been present, suggesting a strong link between the development of resistance to antibiotics and disinfectant. "This could have major implications for those administering antibiotics. Firstly, for burn victims and cystic fibrosis sufferers, infections can be long-term. While treatment with antibiotics is the obvious solution this approach is sometimes quite broad and if one antibiotic does not work, we switch to another. However, we may in fact be selecting for resistance and developing an even stronger pathogen. Secondly, disinfectant - tolerant bacteria are emerging more often and this may contribute to antibiotic cross resistance", commented Dr. Fleming. With funding from Research Frontiers Programme, administered by SFI, and the Embark initiative, Paul Mc Cay is one of only a few researchers in Ireland or Britain that utilises long-term selective chemostat cultures for investigations. Using a chemostat culture system, which mimics a natural environment, a highly resistant strain of the bacteria can be grown and in theory grow indefinitely. This better mimics how bacteria behave in the natural environment while allowing bacteria to mutate, evolve and "adapt" to selective agents such as antibiotics and disinfectants. Dr. Fleming and Mr. Paul Mc Cay presented their work at the Society for General Microbiology's 159th meeting, in York on Wednesday 13 September 2006. -ends-

Monday, 11 September 2006

11 September 2006: A postgraduate student from NUI Galway is the first university researcher in Ireland to receive payment for a 'brainwave' from Technology from Ideas Limited (TfI), the technology commercialisation company. Robert Healy, from the Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Department, has a radical new idea in the field of renewable energy which potentially offers significant enhancement to existing technologies. Robert's initial idea was analysed by TfI looking at its market, technical and intellectual property merits. TfI expanded upon the idea turning it into a novel technology concept which would enhance current and proposed wave power generation devices. An added bonus of the technology is that it would also strengthen the structural integrity of a device allowing it to withstand more severe sea conditions. The technology involves the use of novel materials coupled with innovative structural modifications. The finer details regarding Robert Healy's idea remain top secret while under development; all he can reveal is that the idea came to him while "watching the surf in Galway". TfI will now commit time and resources to developing, demonstrating and protecting the idea, with the aim of selling or licencing a proven technology onto an end customer. The returns from future sales will be shared with both NUI Galway and Robert. In May of this year, NUI Galway signed a technology commercialisation agreement with Irish company TfI. Under the agreement, TfI will source certain categories of technology ideas from NUI Galway researchers for development and sale to industry. Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway, said: "Robert's idea is an innovative solution to a problem he observed with current renewable energy devices. It is outside of his core area of expertise and requires further market-focused technology development before being ready for commercialisation – which is where TfI comes in. Our partnership with TfI offers NUI Galway a much needed alternative commercialisation route for our intellectual property and this idea is the first fruits of our relationship since signing our initial agreement with TfI". Commenting on today's announcement, Dan Richardson, TfI's Managing Director, said: "This award demonstrates our belief in the potential of this idea and in our ability to develop it into a valuable technology. This is the start of a potentially long commercialisation process for Robert's idea with the real returns for him and the University coming when there is a sale or licence deal. We expect further awards over the coming year as we take more ideas into our development pipeline." The agreement with TfI forms part of an ongoing strategic initiative for the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway in the development, commercial exploitation, industrial partnering and spin-out of technologies under development by a number of research teams at the University. - ends - Notes for editors Technology from Ideas (TfI) Technology from Ideas (TfI) is a new Irish technology commercialisation company partnered by key players in universities and industry. TfI locates unrealised ideas from university researchers, develops them into investment ready technologies, and sells them to customers worldwide for subsequent development into products. This is achieved through commercially focused development in our own laboratories and together with sales through established technology development company partners. For more information please visit Tel Dan Richardson, Managing Director on +353 86 172 4623. NUI Galway For more information please contact: NUI Galway, Dr. Daniel O'Mahony, Director Technology Transfer Office, 091 492147

Monday, 11 September 2006

Professor Gerard Quinn, of NUI Galway's Law Faculty, has been re-appointed by the Government to serve another five year term on the Irish Human Rights Commission. An expert in Disability Law, Prof Quinn is the only person based in the West of Ireland on the Commission, which has made its mark domestically and internationally - where it is a member of the European Coordinating Group of National Human Rights Institutions Professor Quinn took a leading role within the Commission over the past five years on the drafting of the new United Nations treaty on disability as well as in the general field of social justice. He led the delegation from the Human Rights Commission to the United Nations on the drafting of the disability treaty which was finally agreed in New York in August. Speaking of his re-appointment to the Human Rights Commission, Prof Quinn said, "This is a great honour for me and for my Faculty. I intend using my next term on the Commission to help co-ordinate human rights commissions worldwide in implementing the disability treaty in domestic law where it counts most. I will continue to build research alliances worldwide on the challenging issue of disability law reform". Professor Quinn also co-directs a major legal Research Network for the European Commission on EU discrimination law which provides the Commission with a wide range of research on issues such as disability as well as age and race. He recently stepped down as First Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights (Council of Europe, Strasbourg). The Irish Human Rights Commission, which was established by statute in accordance with the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, is an independent statutory body mandated to ensure that Irish law and practice are in line with highest standards as set out in the Constitution and in international human rights agreements to which Ireland is a party. - ends -