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2011 Galway Science & Technology Festival Programme Launched
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
The 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched today at a function in the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway, by Mr Gerry Kilcommins, VP Global Operations and General Manager Medtronic. A full two weeks of events was announced, which includes shows, demonstrations and activities for primary and secondary school students and a fantastic family day out at Final Day Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, at NUI Galway. The Festival in its aim to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people, runs from 14_27November, and will culminate with the Festival Exhibition to be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. There is a great programme of events this year to choose from including Robert Hill's ‘Celestia and Stellarium Workshops’, Mr Bug returns with his snakes, cockroaches and tarantulas while Sue McGrath’s show will be full of pops, bangs and fizzing craziness. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including ‘Computer Game Programming with Kinect’, an invitation to senior cycle Physics students to the new Engineering Building and a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyber Bullying. The Zoology and Geology Museum will be open for tours along with Ireland’s only Computer and Communications Museum. GMIT is having an open day on Wednesday, 16 November, and tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories will be available. There are also various interesting workshops for students including ‘Modern Medicines’, ‘The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and Nicotine Patches’ and a ‘Forensic Investigation’. This year a ‘Mentoring Program’ by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Engineers from over 11 different companies are participating in this initiative and will visit schools and talk to the students about subject choices they made and give practical career advice, details available on the website. Plans have been put in place to expand the 2011 Exhibition on 27 November, with more shows and exhibition stands. There will be up to 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. This year a booking system is in place through www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day.The Galway Science Festival is a fantastic collaboration of education, industry and government and showcasing Galway as a leader in Medical Devices and ICT. Festival Chairman Tom Hyland said today: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank all our sponsors for their participation in the 2011 Festival – great thanks must go to Medtronic for their 10 years of outstanding commitment to this event and to the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the City and County.” Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “For many years, Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology. As a University, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented graduates to build Ireland's capacity in technology, research and innovation. This Festival allows us in the University to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!”The 2011 Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 27 November, 2011. ENDS.
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UN Professors Launch Joint Programme on Children and Young People in Ireland
Friday, 21 October 2011
Ireland’s two UNESCO Chair holders came together today to launch an innovative and exciting programme dedicated to improving the rights and well being of children and young people across Ireland. The Children and Youth Programme is an independent academic collaboration between Professor Alan Smith at the University of Ulster and Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway. In the coming months the Programme will initiate a debate on two key points – the value of a rights-based approach to the planning and provision of children’s services in both parts of the island, and the need for both governments to incorporate a stronger commitment to children’s rights in legislation. Speaking today on United Nations Day, Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education for Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Ulster stated: “As the two UNESCO Chairs on the island of Ireland we believe that the academic programme we are launching today will help to reinforce the notion that a strong commitment to children’s rights will have better outcomes for children and families across the island. As we see on a daily basis the most difficult part of any economic downturn is the fact that it is the poorest and the vulnerable who are usually most affected by financial cut backs. Consequently it is the children of those hardest hit by job losses and cutbacks to children and family services who suffer most. We only need to look at the stark predictions being made by those who work in the front line services to see that this is the case. For example, the impact of welfare and budget cuts on increased poverty levels in Northern Ireland or the fact that today in Ireland, 18.6% of children now live in risk of poverty, and 8.7% already live in consistent poverty. A rights based approach provides stability and certainty of resource allocation and protection for the most vulnerable in times of financial constraint and cutback. As a constant it also requires that all government decisions take account of the rights of children, ensuring that no one falls through the gaps in monitoring processes or becomes a victim of shifting political priorities.” Professor Dolan is Director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, and holds the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement: “We believe that there are clear signals the administrations on both sides of the border can send, not only to the international community, but to the next generation on this island, that they will be protected and nurtured, with certainty in policy making and reliability in service provision. The Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to pass legislation which will require every government department to take account of children’s rights in all policy decisions, as the Welsh Assembly has already done. Incorporating the UN Convention and the Rights of the Child and developing a rights-based approach to policy development could be one of the greatest single legislative acts undertaken by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive since its formation. Likewise, the prospect of a referendum in Ireland to include a clear and binding commitment to children’s rights in the constitution is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity. Common sense concern for children and families should encourage everyone to support such a referendum.” Professor Dolan added: “Over the next year we want to initiate a debate on how services for children and young people can be provided on the basis of rights. We hope to show that it is an approach underpinned by clear and consistent obligations that will cherish all children equally.” -ends-
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NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence with Special Ceremony
Friday, 21 October 2011
NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students who received a total €102,000 in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Entrance Scholarships, 60 students received €1,700 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. The presentations were made at a special ceremony which included teachers and parents on Thursday, 20 October, 2011. Entrance Scholarships are given annually to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. In Medicine 10 Scholarships were awarded, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). Designed to attract the best students to NUI Galway and reward their academic excellence, the awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's extensive Sports Scholarship Scheme. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these outstanding 60 individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway strives constantly to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their contribution to such success.” This year Entrance Scholarships were awarded to students from 38 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 16 counties including Carlow, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Westmeath. -ENDS-
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Autumn Conferring Week Begin at NUI Galway
Friday, 21 October 2011
Over 3,600 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 21-28 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Peadar O’Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers Tuthill and Martin Ward. Peadar O’Dowd - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Local historian, author, contributor to local media and tour guide of Galway city, Peadar, a graduate of NUI Galway, is a retired lecturer in Business Studies from GMIT. He has worked tirelessly for the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and a range of other voluntary and community organisations. Stan Shields - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Retired staff photographer for the Connacht Tribune, Stan is a chronicler in photographers of Galway city and county life through the decades to the present day, including the 1963 visit of US President John F. Kennedy to Galway when Stan famously climbed into the presidential car to get the best images. William Henry - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Prolific author and columnist with local newspapers on Galway’s civic traditions and its military heritage. William is also a committee member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: A native of Clifden, Co. Galway, Kathleen has published five books on the history of Connemara, West Galway and Alexander Nimmo. Her historical work and assistance in voluntary and community organisations has been recognised by Galway County Council, who presented her with Heritage Awards on two occasions. Martin Ward - Honorary Masters in Rural Development honoris causa: A leader in community development in Glinsk, Co. Galway for the last 40 years, Martin has been involved in the establishment of a Community Council and Centre, and a Heritage Group and Centre. Martin is also the Principal of the local primary school. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Peadar O'Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill and Martin Ward. Each of these honorees share a passion for the West of Ireland and its heritage. Their diverse contributions in chronicling and recording the past have fostered a respect for the local history and heritage of our region and its development. They are particularly worthy individuals and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 1,000 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. ENDS
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University Eateries Shortlisted for Caterers Award
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Two NUI Galway campus restaurants, An Bhialann and Moffetts have been shortlisted for the Institutional Caterers Award at the upcoming Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards ceremony. Organised by Hotel and Catering Review, the Gold Medal Awards recognise excellence within the hospitality industry, rewarding food service operations that have been outstanding. Applicants are judged across a wide range of criteria including excellence in food standards, customer service, culinary creativity and innovation. Catering in An Bhialann is provided by ARAMARK Ireland’s Food Services division who have provided catering services there since 1992. In 2010, a €3.5m investment resulted in a complete redesign of this 800 seat restaurant which now boasts a modern interior, new entrances and extended seating. An Bhialann also houses a brand new kitchen which incorporates the latest in equipment and services, all designed to deliver a wide choice of top quality and value for money dishes. Global coffee house Starbucks and the popular sandwich chain Subway are also located in An Bhialann which caters for over 16,000 customers on a weekly basis. Moffetts the 120 seat staff restaurant, operated by Masterchefs is nominated for the second year in a row. Moffetts is beautifully situated overlooking the River Corrib and provides an extensive range of self–service and table service meals and is also available for private bookings. Masterchefs has an excellent reputation in the hospitality business having catered for numerous high profile prestigious events both on campus at NUI Galway and elsewhere. Conference and Catering Manager at NUI Galway, Ann Duggan said: “We are delighted that our restaurants have been nominated for these prestigious hospitality awards and it is a fitting recognition of the excellent standards within the University catering sector.” -Ends-
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Tulca Festival of Visual Arts Events in association with NUI Galway
Thursday, 20 October 2011
The 2011 Tulca Festival of Visual Arts opens on Friday, 4 November, in galleries and other spaces across Galway. This year’s festival, entitled ‘After the Fall’, will take place from 4 to 20 November. Curated by Megs Morley, a number of events will be held in association with NUI Galway. Highlights for the festival will include renowned Romanian artist Lia Perjovschi’s creation of an installation in the foyer of The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway. One of Romania’s leading artists, Lia’s work focuses on the activities of collecting, archiving, structuring, distributing and mediating a variety of knowledge about society, politics and art which had been inaccessible to Romania until after 1989. Perjovschi has exhibited all over the world, and her life under the Ceausescu dictatorship has greatly influenced her work and mode of artistic expression, which always includes some political relevance. The James Hardiman Library will be open to the public for the duration of the festival. On Saturday, 5 November, Perjovschi will present a talk on her practice in the James Hardiman Library Browsing Room at 3pm. On Saturday, November 12, ‘Fugitive Papers’, an artistic research project examining art and art-writing as a public and critical activity will take place in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway at 3pm. It will be presented by Michaele Cutaya, James Merrigan and Fiona Woods. On Thursday, 17 November, a collaborative NUI Galway and GMIT presentation and workshop by Frances Whitehead ‘The Embedded Artist Project: Strategies for Civic Engagement. What do Artists Know?’ will be held in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at the University. The session will discuss the strategy of ‘embedding’ practising artists at local government level, bridging policy and practice in order to bring new perspectives and innovative approaches to addressing the challenges in planning the city’s future. The event is free to attend but spaces must be booked in advance through Dee Quinn in the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media at email@example.com. Ann Lyons of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway, said: “This connection to the visual arts through Tulca is a valuable aspect of NUI Galway’s commitment to the arts in Galway. Its participation in Tulca also provides an opportunity for collaboration between NUI Galway and GMIT, developing stronger links between the two third-level institutions in the city. We are very pleased to be associated with Tulca and welcome everyone to the University to experience this exciting festival of visual art.” Tulca Festival of Visual Arts includes a further programme of workshops, talks and events and brings the work of a range of international and Irish artists to Galway. Full programme details are available at www.tulca.ie. -ENDS-
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NUI Galway PhD Student Wins Floating Wind Turbine Prize at International Conference
Monday, 17 October 2011
Ciaran Kennedy, a PhD student in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, was recently presented with two prizes at the 30thInternational Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE 2011) held in The Netherlands. Originally from Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, Ciaran was presented with first prize for innovation, and second prize overall, in a floating wind turbine challenge, as part of a team of four international PhD students. The challenge was organised by the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) and the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE). Congratulating Ciaran on his award, NUI Galway’s Professor Sean Leen, said: “Ciaran’s achievement is an example of high quality, innovative work starting to come to fruition at NUI Galway, in the area of materials for renewable energy devices. His research involves direct collaboration with EireComposites, an indigenous, university spin-out company, based in Furbo, who manufacture high performance engineering components from fibre-reinforced composite materials for the energy, aerospace, marine, automotive and other sectors. Ciaran is driven by a real commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.” The topic of Ciaran’s PhD is ‘Fatigue of Composite Materials for Ocean Energy’, supervised by Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh and Professor Sean Leen, Lecturers in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway. Ciaran also presented a paper entitled ‘A study on the effect of seawater on the fatigue life of polymer composites for tidal turbines’ at the OMAE 2011 conference. Ciaran has a strong interest in renewable energy and engineering design, having worked in the wind turbine industry in the US in the 1990s, whilst studying for his undergraduate engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. Ciaran designed, manufactured and tested a 300W wind turbine for his final year project in the US and subsequently worked as a research test engineer in the US wind turbine industry. Since then, Ciaran also worked for nine years in the medical devices industry with Creganna, Galway. -ENDS-
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NUI Galway Host International Active Citizenship and Disability Conference
Monday, 17 October 2011
The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will bring together key international thinkers and actors who have transformed disability policy and service provision for a one-day conference. The Active Citizenship and Disability Conference will be held in the Clayton Hotel in Galway City on Friday, 4 November. The event will be a forum in which participants can reflect on the sharp break needed between traditional welfare-oriented supports for persons with disabilities and a newer model that aims to underpin independence, choice and active citizenship. Since the Health Service Executive report on deinstitutionalisation entitled 'A Time To Move On' in July this year, Ireland has been on the cusp of a major reform agenda of its antiquated and outmoded institutions for persons with disabilities. The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway is dedicated to inform and lead that change. Director of the Centre, Professor Gerard Quinn, who co-drafted the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, says: “The conference is important in that it will provide a meeting point between theorists who bring important perspectives from the new UN disability convention, policy makers interested in redesigning service delivery models, service providers interested in re-imagining their services in the decades to come, and persons with disabilities anxious to ensure that future services are adequate to ensure their right to live independent lives and be included in the community.” Conference speakers include Martin Routledge, Director of Operations at In Control and who has been a key figure in the reform of adult social care services at the Department of Health in the UK, and Brian Salisbury, Strategic Director at Community Living British Columbia, who has driven service reform and individual funding in British Columbia. In addition, Patricia Fratangelo from New York, a world-renowned expert in service transformation, will speak about her experiences in grappling with change. Each of these international speakers are also giving more time to discuss the finer details of reform at a workshop event hosted by the Federation of Voluntary Bodies on Thursday, 3 November. For further information, including the conference programme, registration and a list of speakers, see www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events.html. For other enquiries contact Mary McQuinn at 091 495888 or firstname.lastname@example.org. -ENDS-
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Major Funding Boost for Pain Research at NUI Galway
Monday, 17 October 2011
Researchers at the NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research were recently granted two major research funding awards. Dr David Finn was awarded a grant worth almost €1 million under the Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator programme and Dr Brian McGuire received funding of over €700,000 under the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement programme, which aims to develop leading Irish health researchers. Dr David Finn, Co-Director of Centre for Pain Research and Lecturer in Pharmacology was awarded the grant for his research programme entitled The role of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety-induced modulation of pain: sites and mechanisms of action. The programme seeks to advance our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety-pain interactions and will employ two postdoctoral researchers and PhD students. Dr Finn will collaborate with Dr Michelle Roche, Lecturer in Physiology at NUI Galway, and with colleagues at University College London and the University of Nottingham on a series of experiments to investigate how the body’s own marijuana-like substances regulate pain during times of stress and anxiety. Dr Finn said: “Anxiety and pain often occur together and there is evidence that anxiety can trigger the onset of pain and magnify existing pain, so anxiety may be an important target for new therapies in people with pain problems. Increased understanding of the effects of stress on pain is important and could pave the way for identification of new medications and other treatments for pain and anxiety disorders.” Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Dr Brian McGuire’s research programme will focus on chronic pain (pain that lasts more than 3 months). The award will fund three post-doctoral researchers from psychology, health promotion and health economics for a period of three years. The research programme will look at a number of important aspects of chronic pain. The first study will examine the problem of chronic pain in young children aged 5 to12 years and will aim to find out how many children have chronic pain, how it affects them and their families, and how much it costs in economic terms. In the second study, researchers will evaluate a pain management programme using cognitive behavioural therapy which will be delivered over the internet. The third study will examine how GPs make clinical judgments about treating people with chronic low back pain and will provide information to the GPs with the aim of helping them to make better decisions. The project involves collaborators from the disciplines of general practice, medicine, health promotion, psychology and economics. Commenting on his project, Dr McGuire said: “These projects have the potential to provide valuable information for health professionals, managers and policy makers. Most importantly, this research will help people who live with chronic pain on a daily basis.” More information about NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre_pain_research/ -ENDS-
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Unlocking the Value of Public Data...from the Obama Administration to Fingal County Council
Thursday, 13 October 2011
A worldwide movement which aims to unlock the value of public data will be the focus of a free symposium ‘Opening Up Government Data’ on 8 November. Organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, the event will show the potential benefits of Open Data to public authorities, businesses, organisations and citizens. The goal of the Open Data initiative is to motivate governments to make public information freely available and easily accessible online. The benefits of Open Data are economic, through the identification of new business opportunities, and also social, through increased transparency and accountability. DERI is at the forefront of this movement, developing tools and technologies that are being adopted around the world. Web standards developed at the institute have been adopted by the Obama administration in their Open Government initiatives. In Ireland, DERI collaborates closely with local authorities such as Fingal County Council and the Local Government Computer Services Board, as well as the National Cross-Industry Working Group on Open Data to promote Open Data. Deirdre Lee, eGovernment Leader at DERI, explains: “One of the leading examples of opening up government data is data.gov, the US Open Data website launched by the Obama administration. Soon after, the UK launched data.gov.uk, and in total more than 140 regions and countries now publishes their data online. In Ireland, one of the early adaptors has been Fingal County Council, with DUBLinked, a consortium of Dublin councils, set to launch a similar Open Data website.” Today’s local and national governments generate and collect valuable information, be that demographic information, roads extension plans, teacher-pupil ratios in schools, hospital attendance rates or planning applications. Often this information is not publicly available. Even if available, public information is often locked away in proprietary formats, making it difficult and expensive to find, analyse and reuse. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, says: “Open Data is key to supporting a truly transparent and participatory democratic system. It also enables entrepreneurs to build innovative applications and businesses around this data, resulting in job creation and general economic benefit. DERI’s eGovernment and Linked Data Research is leading the way nationally and internationally.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world's leading international web science research institutes, and has a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge. DERI is a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. As a CSET, DERI brings together academic and industrial partners to boost innovation in science and technology, with its research focused on the Semantic Web. DERI has leveraged its SFI CSET funding to add significant additional research funding from the European Union, Enterprise Ireland, and industry sources. The event on Tuesday, 8 November, is called Opening Up Government Data, and takes place at DERI’s headquarters in NUI Galway. For further information, go to www.deri.ie/about/open-data or contact Deirdre Lee, eGovernment Leader in DERI on 091 495336, email email@example.com -ends-
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