NUI Galway Co-hosts Irish Open Data Hackathon

NUI Galway Co-hosts Irish Open Data Hackathon -image

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Galway community space 091 Labs co-hosted the only Irish Open Data Hackathon on December 4 2010. The event led to the creation of useful websites and software applications which improve citizens' access to public data and services and knowledge and understanding of work of governments. A piece of data is described as open if people are free to use and redistribute it, subject only to the requirement to attribute and share-alike. The goal of the one day Hackathon event was to encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world s local, regional and national governments. Open Data policies increase government transparency, spur the digital economy, and improve civic participation. Applications created on the day in Galway included a website that helps citizens track the latest planning applications submitted to Galway City Council, and an integrated online bus schedule for all Galway-Dublin coach connections. Another website allows users to utilise an improved way of accessing Dublin Bus schedules. A team produced an online visual report that shows where Arts Council funding goes. A new application showing all the public toilets in Galway city including wheelchair accessible toilets was created. The NUI Galway based Hackathon was part of a global series of events, ranging from Bangalore to Los Angeles and from Brasilia to Thailand, celebrating and highlighting the use of Open Data for citizens. More than 1000 people in over 73 cities on five continents dedicated time to helping foster both a local and international community of open data hackers, advocates and citizens. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI Galway, said: "DERI's participation in the Open Data Day shows that Irish researchers do not only publish academic papers, but are actively involved in shaping their community. To maximise the value I would like to encourage local and national governments to make their data available." Declan Elliott, founder of 091 Labs in Galway, said: "Open Data is a grassroots effort. In times when politics cannot solve major problems, collaborative community spaces like 091Labs in Galway encourage public participation. This fosters creativity which in turn produces value by creating new ideas which enable entrepreneurs and spur economic growth." ENDS

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NUI Galway Students Attend National Volunteering Conference

NUI Galway Students Attend National Volunteering Conference-image

Monday, 6 December 2010

Students from NUI Galway recently attended 'Building a Voice for Student Volunteering', a National Conference where students from over 15 colleges across the island of Ireland gathered in anticipation of the EU Year of the Volunteer in 2011, to share experiences and ideas on the impact of third level student volunteering. It was sponsored by Campus Engage, the HEA funded network to support civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. The conference provided a space for student volunteers to meet together for the first time with an opportunity to share effective practice and create 'how to guides on student volunteering. The forum took the approach that the experts in student volunteering are the student volunteers themselves and addresses were delivered by students for students. Richard Manton, Student Volunteer in NUI Galway says: "I found the conference to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative. From the outset, the informal and open nature of the event was clear - emphasis was placed on the pooling of ideas by those actively involved in student volunteering, rather than a series of lectures. I found that I was able to draw from my own volunteering experience and discuss with others the best ways to build a voice for student volunteering in Ireland." In the last seven years there has been an upsurge in student volunteering activities across the third level sector with the ALIVE Volunteer Programme at NUI Galway, Trinity Volunteer Opportunities Forum and Dean of Students Roll of Honour, the Uaneen Programme at DCU, DIT's volunteer programme, President's Award for Volunteering at UL and GIVE at LIT. All of these recognise diverse activities that students undertake as volunteers within a community that ultimately gives them an extra edge on graduation. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at the University says: "NUI Galway has built of its rich history of student engagement and activism to lead at the forefront of pioneering student volunteering programmes across higher education in Ireland. Our students benefit enormously from national opportunities to meet fellow student volunteers and highlight their contribution to society." This event is the first in a series of Campus Engage sponsored events that will harness and recognise the positive contribution that students make through volunteering to community. During 2011, the We Volunteer! mobile exhibition showcasing images of diverse student volunteering contributions will travel across Ireland and Europe. -Ends-

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Four NUI Galway Students Receive National Presidential Award

Four NUI Galway Students Receive National Presidential Award-image

Monday, 6 December 2010

Four NUI Galway students have been awarded the prestigious Gold Gaisce Award. President Mary McAleese presented the awards to the students in recognition of their outstanding contribution to community and personal development at the 25th Anniversary of the Gaisce Award ceremony last week. Awardees included Mary Gavaghan, from Charlestown Co. Mayo, Lauren Martin, from Athy Co. Kildare, Máiread Felle, Portumna, Co. Galway and Lisa Carney from Kiltamagh, Co. Mayo. Gaisce, the President's Award is Ireland's National Challenge Award, the country's most prestigious and respected individual award programme, and a challenge from the President of Ireland, to young people between 15 and 25 years of age. There are four different challenge areas including Community Involvement, Personal Skill, Physical Recreation and Adventure Journey. Congratulating the NUI Galway students on their success, Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said, "The Gold Gaisce Award is bestowed to individuals who have not only took on a personal challenge but make a contribution to their community. We are very proud of these students who have stepped outside their comfort zone and engaged with new challenges and experiences to earn the highest award, the Gold Gaisce Medal. At NUI Galway we seek to engender our students with the characteristics of selflessness and leadership these students emanate." -Ends-

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NUI Galway Historian Awarded Humboldt Fellowship

NUI Galway Historian Awarded Humboldt Fellowship-image

Thursday, 2 December 2010

NUI Galway lecturer in History, Dr Róisín Healy, has recently been awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn. The Fellowship, which is for Experienced Researchers, is funded by the German Government. Dr Healy lectures on nineteenth and twentieth century German and European history in NUI Galway. She will be on sabbatical leave throughout the Fellowship. During her stay in Germany, from January to June 2011, she will be affiliated to the Global and European Studies Institute at the University of Leipzig where she will research pre-First World War German/Polish relationships. Nineteenth-century Irish nationalists liked to claim that Ireland and Poland, which had been partitioned between Prussia, Russia, and Austria in the late eighteenth century, were the most oppressed nations of Europe. Drawing on sources in four languages (English, Irish, German and Polish), Dr Healy will investigate to what extent British colonial practice in Ireland, in matters such as land, religion and language, mirrored that of Prussia in the Polish provinces under its control (Posen and West Prussia) during the period 1795–1918. Humboldt Research Fellowships, which are highly competitive, are awarded to approximately 600 senior researchers annually. The awards are made solely on the basis of past research performance and future potential. In addition to receiving funding to undertake research in Germany, recipients of the Humboldt Fellowship become members of a global academic network of Humboldt Scholars that provides a life-long supportive framework for the scholarly activities of Humboldt Fellows. In receiving the award, Róisín becomes the newest member of Humboldt-Club na Gaillimhe, an association that includes former NUI Galway Humboldt Fellows and German scholars who have researched in NUI Galway, for at least a year, supported by the Humboldt Foundation. Previous NUI Galway Humboldt Fellows include Professors Peter McHugh (Biomedical Engineering), Michael O'Connell (Botany), Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (History); Emeritus Professors Martin Newell (Mathematics), Angela Savage (Chemistry) and John Shiel (Engineering); and the late Professor Anthony Moran (Microbiology). Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín a former NUI Galway Humboldt Fellow says: "In the world of international scholarship, the Humboldt Research fellowships are for the Humanities what the Max Planck fellowships are for the Sciences. Dr Healy's recent award is another feather in the cap for NUI Galway, and further international recognition for the first-class quality of our work in the University." -Ends-

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November 2010

UN Special Rapporteur on Disability is Keynote Speaker at Disability Conference

UN Special Rapporteur on Disability is Keynote Speaker at Disability Conference-image

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The NUI Galway Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host the International Conference on National Disability Strategies on Friday, 10 December, in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway. This conference will launch the recent findings of the Centre's research project on National Disability Strategies and the critical success factors which enable strategies to make a difference for people with disabilities at grassroots level. The keynote speech will be delivered by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability, Shuaib Chalklen. South African Shuaib Chalklen plays a leading role in monitoring progress around the world and nurturing Governments in the right direction. The conference will be formally opened by Minister John Moloney T.D., Minister of State for Disability and Mental Health. Other key international figures involved in disability law reform speaking at the conference will include: Anne Hawker, current President of Rehabilitation International and Advisor on disability to the New Zealand government; Stefan Trommel, key drafter of the UN disability convention, member of the International Disability Alliance Secretariat and former Director of European Disability Forum; Siobhán Barron, Director of the National Disability Authority and Angela Kerins, Chairperson, Equality Authority. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the researcher for this project in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, has written a book for Cambridge University Press on a global comparative study of National Disability Strategies, entitled From Rhetoric to Action: Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – the use of National Disability Strategies which is due to be published in 2011. Some of the key recommendations for improvements in the Irish National Disability Strategy in this book will be highlighted at the conference. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said, "This is an exciting event for NUI Galway. Some of the most influential disability reformers and activists in the world will be here to share ideas about how to link national disability strategies to the achievement of the UN disability convention and ensure that such strategies work well. This is even more important in a recession. I would urge all those who have an interest in advancing disability policy in Ireland and abroad to attend this important event." The conference is open to all members of the public. The conference programme and further information including how to register for the event is available at www.nuigalway.ie ENDS

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NUI Galway wins 28 National University Awards

NUI Galway wins 28 National University Awards-image

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

NUI Galway graduates and students have received 28 of the 101 NUI Awards 2010 presented last week. The national awards are granted by the National Universities of Ireland annually. Four NUI Galway recipients were awarded the NUI Travelling Studentships in the Humanities and Social Sciences and in the Sciences. They are: Francis O'Connor, Peadar Ó Muircheartaigh, Leon Harding and Lisa Mulee. Michelle Farrell was awarded the NUI EJ Phelan Fellowship in International Law. Michelle Farrell will take up her Fellowship at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Anne Molloy was awarded the French Government Medal and NUI Prizes for Proficiency in French. NUI Galway also featured prominently in the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary and Medical Awards, winning twenty-two medals in this competition. The literary Awards went to Áine Uí Fhoghlua (Ghaeilge), Jacinta Hennigan (3rd prize German), Florry O'Driscoll (Italian), Anna B Sikora-Carelse (Spanish) and Sinead Cawley (3rd prize Spanish). Fourteen of the twenty-two Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Scholarships were awarded to NUI Galway's School of Medicine. Six of these students were granted first place scholarships. These students received €1000 and a medal, with a further five students being awarded medals for second place and three more awarded medals for third place. The awards span thirteen different subject areas within the School of Medicine. Medical Scholarships were also awarded in Biochemistry, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway says: "This is a fantastic result for NUI Galway and NUI Galway's School of Medicine and follows on previous high achievements in past years in these annual awards. We are very proud of all our students who both competed for these awards and those who were successful. It reflects the very high standard of medical education and commitment from teaching staff and engagement in learning by the students. It complements successes already received this year in student research bursaries from the health Research Board (HRB), completion of special study modules (SSM) by students in Medicine and the Arts and community engagement initiatives; Ms Melanie Hennessey was chosen as one of ten top young adults in the world by Junior Chamber for her Humanitarian efforts in Nepal. These achievements illustrate the commitment of the School of Medicine to the holistic development of our students to produce well grounded and well rounded doctors of the future. We will strive to continue with these successes into the future with plans to initiate a School of Medicine Orchestra in this Academic Year." Professor Dunne adds. Congratulating the winners, University President Dr. James J. Browne said, "NUI Galway's recent success at the NUI Awards highlights the calibre of students studying on our programmes, as well as underscoring the quality of the teaching programmes here at NUI Galway. These awards will add significantly to each student's academic reputation and I commend them on their well-deserved accolades." ENDS

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Irish Centre for Human Rights launch Report on Racism in Taxi Industry

Irish Centre for Human Rights launch Report on Racism in Taxi Industry-image

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will launch a report in December which verifies and documents allegations of racism in the taxi industry in Galway. The Centre launched an investigation in July this year to examine racially based tensions in the taxi industry within the city. The interest of the Irish Centre for Human Rights arises from the nature of the institution itself, part of its mandate being community engagement and contribution, as well as its position as Essential Partner in the Galway City Partnership Anti-Racism Strategy. Its capacity is attested to by an international reputation as a leading institution for human rights research, teaching and advocacy. Dr. Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Centre, led this methodological, evidence-based research into the question of racism within the Galway city taxi industry through interviews and surveys and focused on employment opportunities and user practices and perceptions. The results of this research form a concise, but also encompassing report, which can replace untested statements and often reactionary comments with detailed knowledge and a deeper understanding. The report is addressed immediately to the people, associations and institutions of Galway, but also more widely to the national government and Irish society as a whole. Recommendations are directed to NUI Galway, the Irish Centre for Human Rights itself, the Equality Authority, the media, Galway City, Galway Chamber of Commerce, the Gardai, the Government of Ireland, and the general public. Dr. Jaichand positions the report within a context where, "Racism has become an increasingly noticeable element in the backdrop to Galway life. Nationally and locally, reports of race-based incidents reflect an increase in the growing anxieties of the general population, due to the inevitable hardships of a recession and intensified competition over jobs and resources. Racial discrimination should never be justified and accommodated because human rights are not a luxury to be observed only when we are a well-off society." Protecting and promoting human dignity has been the foundation of work at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway since its inception in 2000. The Centre pursues this work in all contexts, internationally and locally, through research, teaching, advocacy and community engagement. Speaking during the recent tenth anniversary celebrations of the Centre, the Director, Professor William Schabas said that, "This report, which we believe will have real consequences in addressing local tensions in Galway, confirms the contribution that the Irish Centre for Human Rights makes to the city." He added that, "This is a fundamental issue that should concern us all, one which requires prompt attention to correct the situation." The report will be launched at 6pm on Friday, 10 December at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Guest speaker on the night will be Michael D Higgins, TD. Friday, 10 December also marks the worldwide recognition of human rights defenders. All members of the press and public are very welcome, and warmly invited to attend. For further information please contact Dr. Vinodh Jaichand on 086 167 8682, vinodh.jaichand@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

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First International Language Conference at NUI Galway

First International Language Conference at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

NUI Galway will host its first International Language Conference entitled Translation, Technology and Autonomy in Language Teaching and Learning on 10 to 11 December, 2010. Over 80 speakers will examine issues relating to translation, technology and autonomy in language learning and teaching over the two days. Speakers will present in Irish, French, Spanish, Italian and English and delegates registered for the Conference come from up to twenty countries and fifty third-level institutions. The Conference will appeal to a diverse audience including language teachers at primary, secondary and third level as well as translators and those with an interest in language acquisition. The inaugural event is hosted by the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge and The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at the University. There will be three keynote addresses at the Conference. They include Professor David Little, who is a retired Head of the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences at Trinity College Dublin and has been involved in the European Language Portfolio at European level since 1998. Professor Henrik Gottlieb is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for Translation Studies & Lexicography at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and his fields of research include corpus linguistics, lexicography and language contact studies. The third keynote address will be delivered by Dr Daniel Cassany, a lecturer in the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. His expertise lies in the field of written communication. Dr Dorothy Ní Uigín from Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge says "We are delighted with the response we have received for this Conference, from places so diverse as Jamaica and Malaysia, to Waterford and Cork. It will provide a great opportunity for us to learn from our colleagues in the areas of language teaching and translation from all across the world, and it will also provide an opportunity for staff and students in NUI Galway to showcase their work and to share ideas with an international audience." This Conference has gained funding from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences. ENDS

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Top Irish Entrepreneurs Talk Business at NUI Galway

Top Irish Entrepreneurs Talk Business at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 29 November 2010

"The economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business", that's according to three of the top entrepreneurs in the country. Dylan Collins, Jolt Online Gaming; Philip Reynolds, C&D Foods Ltd. and Terence Monaghan, Managing Director TCRS Ltd. (formerly of BetaTHERM) gave their views, advice and guidance on entrepreneurship at NUI Galway recently. Chaired by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the panel discussion focused on the characteristics of entrepreneurs, the importance of leadership and strategy, and how overcoming challenges and learning from mistakes is critical in the entrepreneur's journey. The event was organised by the NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland Western Chapter. Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director and organiser of the event, highlighted the importance of these events for budding entrepreneurs stating that "the panellists gave a great insight into their journeys and experiences. Their stories are very valuable for anyone who is planning on becoming an entrepreneur or those who are at an early stage in building their own businesses". The discussion highlighted the rich, dynamic and varying forms entrepreneurship can take. For example, Philip Reynolds took over an indigenous family run business which has now become an international supplier of pet foods on the global market with plants in the UK and Holland and a turnover of €150 million. Dylan Collins brought his entrepreneurial skill to a love of gaming developed during his college days. Collins is widely considered to be one of the most experienced online gaming/media entrepreneurs in Europe, having founded three companies with three successful exits (two of which to leading NASDAQ companies). His company was recently acquired by GameStop for $300 million. Terence Monaghan is a Galway man who showed his entrepreneurial drive and ambition when he spearheaded the management buy-out of BetaTHERM in the late 1990's which was subsequently sold at a significant profit. Terence is now Managing Director at TCRS Ltd. and is a global entrepreneur with a significant presence in China. The panellists gave honest, candid and insightful input about their success and challenges to date. The importance of effective staff recruitment practices and ensuring a good fit between employee competence and attitudes with the requirements of the job was suggested as critical by all entrepreneurs. "The management team is what differentiates successful from unsuccessful companies" said Terence Monaghan. The entrepreneur's leadership capability was also discussed and Dylan Collins argued that "effective leadership is about having a vision and guiding people towards it – even if the course changes". All three entrepreneurs agreed that the economic downturn should not deter people from starting their own business. "Entrepreneurship takes many forms and is not only about starting up a business and can be done at any stage in someone's career" said Pádraig Ó Céidigh in his concluding remarks at the event. -Ends-

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Disability Seminar to Examine what Ireland can learn from the Developing World

Disability Seminar to Examine what Ireland can learn from the Developing World-image

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will host a seminar which will examine important lessons that Ireland can learn from the developing world about the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the lives of their communities. The event, which is being organised in conjunction with the disability and development Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), CBM Ireland, will take place on Monday, 6 December, in the g Hotel, Galway. The seminar will look at the key role that local government can play in promoting the full involvement of people with disabilities in social, economic and cultural activities. Keynote speakers at the seminar will include: Deputy Michael D. Higgins, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Labour Party; Cllr Michael Crowe, Mayor of Galway City and Mayor Rony Molina of the San Jose de Buena Vista Province in the Philippines. David McAllister, the National Director of CBM Ireland, said, "As one of Ireland s largest disability and development NGOs, we are very happy to be involved in organising this seminar with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. Speaking at the seminar is Mayor Rony Molina from the Philippines who is a dynamic Mayor who has worked hard to promote the rights of people with disabilities in his province. Mayor Molina will be sharing his knowledge and experience with Irish local councillors and council officials who attend this seminar." Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said, "We are delighted that such an important seminar is being held in Galway in early December. The Centre has spent many years carrying out research and promoting best practice in the area of disability. This seminar presents an opportunity to let people know about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed, and will implement over the next year or two. This Convention will transform the lives of people with disabilities for the better. We believe that Galway City Council can lead the way in showing how this can be done." -Ends-

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