August 2010

Over 1650 College Places Offered to Disadvantaged

Over 1650 College Places Offered to Disadvantaged-image

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Educationally disadvantaged studentsf chances of going to college have just been given a boost with the offer of over 1650 college places through the DARE and HEAR initiatives. This is a 61% increase on the number of offers made in 2009. The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) and the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) give a points reduction to disadvantaged students and students with disabilities thus increasing their chances of success in getting to Third Level. In the run up to the Leaving Cert 2010 the schemes were integrated into the CAO application system and opened up to secondary school students nationwide, with a record number of applications being received. The accesscollege.ie website was also launched as part of a targeted marketing campaign. Development of the schemes was supported by the Department of Educationfs Strategic Innovation Fund. These latest developments underscore the continuing commitment of the Irish Higher Education sector to tackling social exclusion. In June 2008 the HEA National Access Office launched the National Action Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2008]2013, setting out ambitious targets and equity of access measures for the next 5 years. Those targets include an entry rate of at least 54% for all socio-economic groups by 2020 and a doubling of the number of students in 3rd level with sensory, physical and multiple disabilities by 2013. According to Ann OfBrien, Chairperson of the DARE and HEAR Schemes, gthe significant increase in the number of offers made this year is a welcome sign that these schemes are on track to meet national targets. It also offers encouragement to students from these groups to begin considering higher education as a real option in the future." Access schemes are effective in overcoming the effects of disadvantage as shown by the recently published Trinity Access Programme (TAP) report which shows that the quality of degrees attained by access graduates mirrors those attained by other graduates. However, continuing efforts are needed in this area as shown in recent Geary Institute research which demonstrated that students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds have lower earnings expectations. gThe current economic climate reinforces the importance of tackling exclusion, said IUA Access Manager Maureen Dunne, as disadvantaged groups are even less likely to get jobs in a tight labour market, and this problem is magnified greatly for people with lower educational attainment. The HEAR and DARE initiatives help overcome this problem by boosting access to college and helping disadvantaged students fulfil their true potentialh. -Ends-

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NUI Galway President Pays Tribute to Actor Mick Lally

NUI Galway President Pays Tribute to Actor Mick Lally-image

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, has paid tribute to the late Mick Lally, former actor and graduate of the University. A native of Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, Mick Lally, graduated from the University with a BA 1969, HDip in Ed 1970, and an Honorary MA in 1999 for his contribution to Irish theatre, at home and abroad. Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President, said: "The University offers its sincere condolences to Mick's family, many friends, and colleagues. Mick Lally was an outstanding actor of his generation, perhaps of any generation. We truly valued him as a graduate. His national and international reputation earned him the status as an icon of Irish theatre. An Irish speaker who served his native Mayo and country with complete commitment, it is our pleasure to have him associated with this University, Mick will be remembered fondly". In 1975 following from a successful summer of drama productions, three budding actors from the then UCG Dramasoc Garry Hynes, Marie Mullen and Mick Lally founded Druid Theatre Company. Druid went on to become an award-winning theatre company of international renown. Mick Lally was conferred with an Honorary Master of Arts, honoris causa, Degree on 27 October, 1999. -Ends-

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World's Leading Researchers in Artificial Intelligence to Speak at NUI Galway

World's Leading Researchers in Artificial Intelligence to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 30 August 2010

NUI Galway will host two of the world's leading researchers in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cognitive Science at the Annual Irish Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference (AICS) which will take place from today (Monday, 30 August) to Wednesday, 1 September. Professor Scott Kelso, USA and Professor Ulrik Brandes, Germany, are both very distinguished in the field. Artificial Intelligence is concerned with producing machines that perform tasks requiring intelligent behaviour. Cognitive Science is the study of mind and human intelligence, including computational models of human cognition. Josephine Griffith, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, says: "Although Artificial Intelligence might sound abstract and futuristic, it has a surprisingly large number of practical real-world applications. When you search with Google, get a book recommendation on Amazon, play against the computer in an Xbox game or use speech recognition on a modern mobile phone, you are using Artificial Intelligence". Professor Scott Kelso, an Irish-born neuroscientist, encouraged a paradigm shift in the understanding of complex human behaviour. Prior to his work, many scientists thought that coordinated behaviour, such as picking up an object, was controlled by a central program that instructed components, like limbs, to behave together. Professor Kelso contended that the behaviour was self-organised and that the coordinated pattern emerged as the result of interactions among a vast number of connected elements. Professor Ulrik Brandes is a Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He is an expert on theory and analysis of social networks, which are the graphs of relationships between people who use services such as Facebook and Twitter. During his address he will question the effectiveness of current practice in many fields, including viral marketing and research assessment in terms of detecting the most influential of social economic and information networks. This long-running AICS conference series, established in 1988, allows participation from researchers across the island of Ireland and beyond. This year will feature 22 presentations from researchers from Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology, as well as a Student Symposium. The topics are diverse and will include: AI in computer games strategies, for robotic learning, clientism in Irish politics, AI for tracking human emotions, automatic recognition of sentiments expressed online and in reviews, understanding how people learn second languages, and interpretation of brain scans. Dr Michael Madden, Lecturer and Programme Director of the BSc in Information Technology at NUI Galway, also comments: "NUI Galway has a long-standing involvement and distinct expertise in both AI and Cognitive Science research. AI is an important branch of Computer Science, with Irish AI researchers publishing frequently in international AI conferences and journals. There have also been some notable successes in AI commercialisation in Ireland, including AI-related patents filed in several universities and some spin-out companies". -Ends-

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NUI Galway Professor Raises Profile of Research on Ageing

NUI Galway Professor Raises Profile of Research on Ageing-image

Monday, 30 August 2010

Research on ageing led by Professor Tom Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, has been profiled in a new brochure that seeks to raise the profile of social science research in the UK. Published jointly by the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Society of Gerontology, and Age UK, the brochure was recently launched in the House of Commons, London and is part of the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series. The brochure highlights projects undertaken by researchers on ageing that have had a significant impact on public policy or social behaviour, and helped society to address some of the challenges that are associated with demographic change. The research by Professor Scharf is a study of the experiences of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban communities. Having collected an array of information from older residents in neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and Manchester, Professor Scharf drew from the older people's daily experiences of poverty, social isolation, loneliness, and crime to help shape public perceptions of the ageing of some of Britain's most disadvantaged citizens. This research has been used by charities, local authorities, and national government in their efforts to improve the quality of older people's lives. In particular, Professor Scharf's research has encouraged policy-makers to consider intervening earlier in individuals' lives, for example, at times of bereavement or when chronic health problems begin, in order to prevent the onset of disadvantage. Commenting on the research, Professor Scharf said: "It's more important now than ever before for scientists to emphasise the value of their work to a general audience. Policy makers often need good research evidence delivered in simple, jargon-free language. If researchers are to have a positive impact on policy, they have to think of new and creative ways to communicate their findings". Professor Scharf will speak about his research at a forthcoming seminar entitled Maximising the Impact of Research: Perspectives from Social Gerontology on Monday, 13 September at 12 noon in Room MY336, Áras Moyola at NUI Galway. The seminar is open to all. For further details on the seminar please contact the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at 091 495461 or icsg@nuigalway.ie. The Making the Case for the Social Sciences: Ageing brochure is available for download here. -Ends-

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Bone Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture

Bone Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture -image

Monday, 30 August 2010

NUI Galway will host Ireland's largest surgical conference, the 35th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, from 3-4 September 2010. Dr Patrick Boland, a senior member of the Orthopaedic Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Hospital, will deliver the Memorial Lecture at 5pm on the first day of the conference. The annual event provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Dr Patrick Boland will speak on the topic: "Living with Metastatic Bone Cancer". He specialises in the management of malignant and benign tumours of the bone, including those of the spine and pelvis, and in soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities. Soft tissue sarcomas are particular types of malignant tumours which can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. Dr Boland also has special training in limb salvage surgery, which is the removal of limb cancers while preserving the function of the limb. He has a special interest in the management of tumours of the sacrum, a large triangular bone located at the base of the spine and connected to the pelvis. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin says: "We are delighted to welcome Dr Boland to our University. He is involved in such extensive research activities, including on-going clinical research in sacral tumours and in the assessment of quality of life in patients with metastatic bone cancer, that he offers a great insight in this important area of surgical medicine". On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Brendan Moran, Consultant Surgeon at North Hampshire Hospital NHS Trust, Basingstoke, UK will present a lecture entitled: "The Learning Curve in Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Grappling with New Technology". -Ends-

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine signs a MOU with NUI Galway

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine signs a MOU with NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), one of the leading institutes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the USA. Speaking at the signing, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, NUI Galway, said: "This agreement facilitates the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and the co-development of any specific tissue engineering and regenerative medicine-related projects which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications". The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The centre has built up a significant reputation in the development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and is renowned for development from concept to translation in the clinic. Professor Timothy O'Brien, Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: "I look forward to the potential that this agreement offers to both REMEDI and WFIRM to accelerate the translation of regenerative medicine from basic research to the clinic". The agreement between the institutions was established through Professor David Williams, who is based at Wake Forest University and who is also Scientific Advisor to the NFB and Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway. The NFB is a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster which has established a critical mass of biomaterials research in Galway. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Receives Grants for Ageing Research

NUI Galway Receives Grants for Ageing Research-image

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway has been granted funding for two research projects focussing on older people by The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). The Centre recently granted four projects funding amounting to almost €300,000 on a national level, and NUI Galway projects account for half of them. The research is aimed at improving the lives of older people and informing future policy for an ageing population in Ireland. NUI Galway's Professor Eamon O' Shea, from the Irish Centre of Social Gerontology is Principal Investigator on "Social Exclusion and Older People in Diverse Rural Communities". This project brings together multidisciplinary researchers from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast with community organisations Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack. The group will examine social exclusion among older people living in diverse rural areas and investigate ways to prevent social exclusion. The second project, also a collaboration between NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast, entitled: "Older Women Workers' Access to Pensions: Vulnerabilities, Perspectives and Strategies" will examine the position of older women workers, both rural and urban, in relation to their access to economic security, most particularly in the form of pensions. This is key policy consideration in Ireland due to the current economic and financial crisis. NUI Galway's Principal Investigator on this project is Dr Nata Duvvury, of the School of Political Science and Sociology. There are over one million people aged 60 or older living on the island of Ireland and this number is set to increase in the coming decades. This demographic shift will require creative policies to respond to the needs of an older population. New policies will, in turn, require improved research relating to ageing if they are to be well-designed and effective. The CARDI Grant Programme has funded 18 projects to date and aims to promote north-south research partnerships that bring together different subject areas to look at issues affecting older people in new ways. A focus of the programme is to support research that seeks to involve older people and to inform better policy making relating to ageing issues and older people. Professor Bob Stout, Queen's University Belfast, Co-chair of CARDI, said: "The four grant winners will examine crucial issues of concern for older people including social exclusion, financial security and health and social care. They also have a strong focus on the policy implications of their research work and show a commitment to partnership and interdisciplinary work, all of which underpin CARDI's mission". CARDI is a not for profit organisation developed by leaders from the ageing field across Ireland (North and South) including age focused researchers, academics, statutory, voluntary and community sector representatives with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies. It is overseen by a Steering Group and hosted by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. For Further information go to www.cardi.ie/grantprogramme. -Ends-

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Information Evenings for New NUI Galway Students

Information Evenings for New NUI Galway Students-image

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway is hosting its eleventh annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2010. Parents are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs'. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff 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 and Societies, and the Students' Union. The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Monday, 30 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Tuesday, 31 August: Bewleys Hotel, Dublin Airport. · Donegal, Wednesday, 1 September: Pier One, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Thursday, 2 September: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Friday, 3 September: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Galway, Monday, 6 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. · Clare, Tuesday, 7 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Wednesday, 8 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer, Student Services at NUI Galway, said: "This is an opportunity for parents and students to get first hand information and advice from University staff and the Student Representatives. It is an ideal opportunity to have your questions answered". For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email studentsendoff@nuigalway.ie. For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Host Inaugural Geography and Archaeology Event

NUI Galway to Host Inaugural Geography and Archaeology Event-image

Friday, 20 August 2010

The School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway will next week (Tuesday, 24 August) host the University's first Annual Symposium on Environment, Society, and Development. The theme of the one-day inaugural Symposium is "Geographing the Future" and will focus on thinking critically through and developing alternatives to the various geo-political, social, economic and environmental processes that shape the world we live in. The Symposium coincides with the close of the inaugural year of the MA in Environment, Society and Development at NUI Galway. Proceedings will consist of panel discussions, keynote addresses, and themed panel sessions on topics in the field. Professor Neil Smith, City University New York, will deliver the keynote address entitled "For (Political) Climate Change". Other distinguished participants include Professor George Michael Dillon, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster, UK, and Professor Gerry Kearns, Cambridge University, London. Dr Anna Stanley, Lecturer in Human Geography and Symposium organiser, says: "Geography at NUI Galway is fast becoming a centre for excellence in the study of Environment, Society and Development; a centre operating at the forefront of scholarly research, teaching and civic engagement with the ability to attract world class students and scholars. The symposium will provide a unique and truly interdisciplinary forum within which participants can engage the most pressing issues of our day and challenge themselves to propose sustainable and just alternatives". Another event to be hosted by the School of Geography and Archaeology next week (Friday, 27 August), will be a conference surrounding early modern Ireland entitled, "People, Places and Memory", supported by the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group (IPMAG). This is the first time cutting-edge research by postgraduate students on early modern Ireland, c. 1550 – 1800 will be showcased at NUI Galway. The speakers represent young researchers from a number of different subjects such as history, archaeology, place-name studies and architecture. The meeting will offer participants the chance to lectures on themes ranging from the Munster and Ulster plantations through to the Cromwellian land settlement in Co. Clare and the mass-rocks of the penal period. The keynote speaker for the Early Modern Ireland Conference will be Dr Audrey Horning, University of Leicester, who has written and lectured widely on the archaeology of Ulster in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as on historical memories and how they impact on popular perceptions of the past in Ireland, Britain and the United States. -ENDS-

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NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture

NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

NASA researcher and NUI Galway graduate Dr Jacqueline Keane will deliver a public lecture on the origins of the Earth's water. The lecture, hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy in conjunction with the Galway Astronomy Club, will take place at 8pm on Monday, 23 August, in the Dillon Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Dr Keane will present an overview of the University of Hawai'i NASA Astrobiology Institute studies which range from the interstellar medium to the interior of planet Earth, all designed to explain 'the origin, history, and distribution of water and its relation to life in the Universe'. She will also show pictures of many of the telescopes on Mauna Kea Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai i. The University of Hawai i investigates the astrophysical, cosmochemical, geological, and biological processes that link the history and distribution of life in the universe to that of water. NUI Galway Bachelor of Science and Masters of Astronomy graduate, Dr Jacqueline Keane is an Assistant Astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy and the University of Hawai i NASA Astrobiology Institute. Dr Keane, originally from Oranmore, Co. Galway, has previously worked with the European Space Agency Infrared Space Telescope studying the formation of water ice and organic molecules on interstellar dust grains in cold molecular clouds. Upon receiving her Ph.D., Dr Keane was the recipient of a research fellowship from the National Research Council that took her to spaces sciences division at NASA-AMES in California where she worked with the NASA infrared space-based telescope, Spitzer, for over three years. She is an expert in infrared space and ground-based observing and is the lead researcher for the UHNAI ground-based comet observing campaigns using an array of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the world's premier observation site. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is please to welcome Dr Jacqueline Keane back to Galway for a short visit. Since leaving NUI Galway ten years ago she has worked with some the most advanced astronomical instrumentation at ESA and NASA. Her talk will look at the origin of the Earth's water and what are the chances of finding life on other planets". For further details on the lecture andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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