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Royal Irish Academy Honours Top NUI Galway Academics
Friday, 28 May 2010
The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) elected two of NUI Galway's top academics for admission today (Friday, 28 May 2010) in recognition of their academic achievement. This is the Academy's 225th admission of new Members since it was founded in 1785. Dr Sinisa Malesevic and Professor Stefan Decker were among only 24 academics on the island of Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction. Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the RIA, and Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway said that this group 'is as accomplished and as academically diverse as any cohort elected since our founding members signed the roll in 1785'. He also said that the promotion of research within universities must be related to, and integrated with, their teaching mission. Professor Canny went on to note that if government funding to support research is predicated to occur only where this funding can 'be seen to promote innovation, enterprise and immediate job creation, it would be better [to enforce such a model] in stand-alone research institutes rather than through cross-subsidisation from the teaching mission of higher-research institutions'. Professor Stefan Decker is Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, the largest and one of the most visible institutes dedicated to Web Science. He was an early pioneer of the Semantic Web. As a leading expert in web technologies, Professor Decker is one of the most widely known web scientists. Decker's dissertation work was quoted as one of the inspirations for the DARPA DAML program, which span the Semantic Web effort. His current research interests include semantics in collaborative systems and Web 2.0, Linked Data and distributed systems. He has published over 150 papers in journals and conferences. Dr Sinisa Malesevic is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway. His research interests include the comparative-historical and theoretical study of ethnicity and nationalism, ideology, war, violence and sociological theory. He is author and editor of 9 books including highly influential monographs The Sociology of Ethnicity (2004), Identity as Ideology (2006) and The Sociology of War and Violence (2010). Dr Malesevic has also authored over 50 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His work has been translated into several languages. Previously he was a research fellow in the Institute for International Relations (Zagreb) and the Centre for the Study of Nationalism (Prague). He also held visiting research fellowships in the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna) and the London School of Economics. The Royal Irish Academy is Ireland's premier learned body and vigorously promotes excellence in scholarship, recognises achievements in learning, direct research programmes and undertakes its own research projects, particularly in areas relating to Ireland and its heritage. The Academy now has 441 Members across the disciplines of the sciences, humanities and social sciences and in its entire history only 2,833 people have been Members. Competition for election to membership is keen as it is the premiere academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of the highest academic achievement. Those elected are entitled to use the designation 'MRIA' after their name. -Ends-
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Human Rights Expert Receives Medal for International Criminal Justice
Friday, 28 May 2010
NUI Galway's Professor William Schabas has been awarded the Vaspasian V. Pella Medal for International Criminal Justice by the Association internationale de droit penal. The award, which is named after the Romanian jurist who drafted the first statute of an international criminal court, is given by the Association to a single individual once every ten years. The medal has been awarded three times, the first two laureates being Benjamin Ferencz, who was one of the prosecutors at Nuremberg, and Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, who is now that honorary president of the Association. The recipient of the medal is designated by the previous laureate. Professor Bassiouni presented the medal to Professor Schabas at a ceremony in Siracusa, Italy on 24 May 2010, held at the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences. The Association internationale de droit pénale is the leading learned society in the field of criminal law, tracing its origins to the nineteenth century. William Schabas has held the chair in human rights law at NUI Galway since 2000. He is also director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. His most recent book, The International Criminal Court, was published by Oxford University Press earlier this year. ENDS
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Mastering Law: Conflicts, Challenges and Solutions in Today's Society
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
The Postgraduate Committee of Law Students at NUI Galway will host the Second Irish Conference for Law Masters Students on Thursday, 3 June, and Friday, 4 June, 2010. The title of the conference is: "Mastering Law: Conflicts, Challenges and Solutions in Today's Society". The format of the Mastering Law Conference has been designed to provide an exclusive opportunity for MA students of law to come together. Eligible students are invited to interact, present and discuss their areas of expertise in a formal and professional environment. Papers will be presented on all areas of law including: human rights, commercial law, constitutional law, criminal justice and European law. The event will be a forum to exchange ideas and a chance to explore the ways in which perspective fields of law intersect. The theme of the conference aims to facilitate stimulating and critical assessment of the legal climate of the past, present and future. Guest speakers will include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, President of the Law Reform Commission and Michael Farrell, Irish Human Rights Commissioner. A former Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland, Justice McGuinness is currently President of the Irish Law Reform Commission. She has a distinguished judicial career and also served in Seanad Éireann as an independent representing the Dublin University constituency. Since 2005 she has served as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway. Justice McGuinness will be drawing on her wealth of experience to offer her views on the challenges facing Irish Law, and to discuss those areas of the Irish Justice system that might prove to be the most dynamic and engaging for young lawyers about to embark on their careers. Michael Farrell is a Senior Solicitor at the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), an independent human rights organisation dedicated to ensuring equal access to justice within Ireland. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Law Society s Human Rights Committee, and in 2001 was appointed as a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights Commission, a position to which he was re-appointed in 2008. Mr Farrell was co-chair of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, he was heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland and has since worked towards ensuring refugee rights, gay rights, and towards the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Thelma Byrne, Co-Chairperson of the conference organising committee, commented; "We are thrilled that NUI Galway will host the Mastering Law Conference this year as it is so vital for continuing professional development for students pursuing a legal career. We hope that events such as this one will continue to take place in NUI Galway into the future". The Mastering Law Conference is sponsored by The Millennium Fund, Clarus Press, AIB and The Irish Times. For more information please visit www.masteringlaw.org Ends
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New Annual Law Review Edited by NUI Galway Law School Member
Monday, 24 May 2010
At a recent event in Dublin hosted by the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), the Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, launched a new scholarly review, Irish Human Rights Law Review (IHRLR), to be published on an annual basis by Clarus Press. The IHRLR is edited by Donncha O'Connell of the School of Law, NUI Galway who is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics. The inaugural edition of the Review contains articles and case notes by, among others: Hon. Justice Michael Kirby of the Australian High Court, Professor Rick Lawson of the University of Leiden, Colm Ó Cinnéide of University College London, Siobhan Cummiskey, Solicitor, Senator Alex White, BL and Dr Alpha Connelly, former CEO of the Irish Human Rights Commission. There are also contributions from NUI Galway academics Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement as well as Marie McGonagle, Ciara Smyth, Dr Padraic Kenna, Dr Laurent Pech and Emer Meeneghan of the School of Law. The Review, which should be of interest to academics, students, practitioners and activists working in the field of human rights, will focus on the domestic application of international human rights law and the critical analysis of human rights standards and processes. Opening the event, Michael Farrell, Solicitor for FLAC and member of the Irish Human Rights Commission, said: "At a time when the human rights of many vulnerable people are under attack as a result of the economic crisis, and the state s human rights and equality infrastructure has been undermined by disproportionate budget cuts, the launch of the Irish Human Rights Law Review is particularly timely." In her speech the Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, said: "Reading through the contributions in the IHRLR, I note that human rights activists, academics and lawyers are at times sensitive - rightly or wrongly - to a certain allergic reaction at the mention of human rights and this needs to be addressed by all sides in the human rights debate so that too many heels are not dug in to the detriment of the citizen. I see the annual publication of the Irish Human Rights Law Review as an important step in that process. More particularly, in the aftermath of Colm McCarthy s report and his recommendations to turn back the tide on the proliferation of single-function state agencies, I also think we all need to look at the intersections rather than the divergences in the work that we do. Human rights are principally about changing mindsets rather than the legalistic application of a set of rules. Perhaps if we thought about it also as the shared public values that enhance the life of every citizen, we can improve the chances of the realisation of those shared values in visibly tangible ways. Changing mindsets involves cultural change and through the investigation of complaints, a public sector ombudsman is uniquely placed to facilitate good public administration which is based on human rights principles." Responding to the Ombudsman, the Editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review, Donncha O'Connell, said: "It must surely now be time to consider further the question of 'constitutionalising' the office of Ombudsman, a matter that was raised by the Constitution Review Group in 1996. As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1937 Constitution in 2012, and as the Labour Party embarks on its innovative constitutional convention in the run-up to the 1916 Centenary, it is time to look more radically at how the Irish Constitution distributes power in the state. I would suggest that the following issues of potential constitutional reform are in need of serious analysis: The reorganisation of various statutory bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights and equality under a 'constitutionalised' office of Ombudsman with a clear and strong nexus to Parliament (akin to that of the Comptroller & Auditor General); The consequential reform of the office of Attorney General to remove the potential for conflict in the role of that office as notional guardian of the public interest and legal adviser to the Government. This would have the benefit of protecting the essential infrastructure for human rights and equality in the state from political interference; and appropriate provision could be made, by means of the Constitution, for guaranteeing the independence and effectiveness of such a reconfigured framework institution." He went on to say that he hoped that subsequent issues of the Irish Human Rights Law Review would provide a platform for the rigorous discussion of this and other matters connected to human rights. The Review can be ordered on www.claruspress.ie which contains a sample of contents and the inaugural editorial. ENDS
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Expert on Exercise Interventions for Spinal Cord Injury to Speak at NUI Galway
Monday, 24 May 2010
Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis, Professor of Health and Exercise Psychology in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Canada will give a lecture at NUI Galway on "Innovations in the Study and Promotion of Physical Activity among People with Spinal Cord Injury" as part of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, in the NCBES Seminar Room at 3pm. Professor Martin Ginis' research program focuses on psychosocial influences and consequences of physical activity participation. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1996 and completed postdoctoral training at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She received the Early Distinguished Career Award from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and holds a CIHR New Investigator Award. She has published over 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters, and is a co-author of The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice. Researchers in the NCBES at NUI Galway are currently investigating a range of potential therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. Glycoscience researchers are examining the role of glycans, or sugars, in the spinal cord and the role that those sugars play, both positive and negative, in spinal cord repair. Regenerative Medicine researchers are using gene therapy techniques to promote the regeneration of nerves damaged by spinal cord injury. Following acute trauma to the spinal cord a scar develops at the site of injury. This scar tissue inhibits the regrowth of nerves and prevents regeneration at the site of injury. Work is underway to understand the complex biology of scar formation and to develop therapeutic approaches that will prevent or reverse its development. Professor Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES, NUI Galway, said: "Researchers at the NCBES are focused on the development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to spinal cord injury and our multidisciplinary approach is essential in addressing complex challenges in medicine and health. We appreciate the importance of alternative approaches when dealing with devastating and intractable medical problems and Dr Martin Ginis' lecture will present that alternative perspective which is both insightful and influential". Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Bioelectronics lead at the NCBES noted that the development of systems to support ambient assisted living is one of the themes of Bioelectronics at the NCBES, particularly those systems that encourage physical activity. "It is well established that exercise plays a central role in a healthy lifestyle. Professor Martin Ginis is an international expert in exercise psychology. As engineers attempt to develop more effective systems and devices to support physical activity, they will need to work with Health and Exercise Psychology experts like Professor Martin-Ginis to ensure that new developments incorporate the latest principles in exercise psychology". Professor Martin Ginis will also speak following the launch of 'The Jacinta O'Brien Collection' at the University's James Hardiman Library on Tuesday, 25 May at 4pm in the Martin Ryan Institute Annex Theatre. ENDS
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NUI Galway Archaeologists Feature on Nationwide Special
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
On Wednesday, 19 May at 7pm RTÉ's Nationwide will visit the great plain of Rathcroghan, celebrated pre-Christian ritual capital and seat of the kings of Connacht. A team of Archaeologists and Geophysicists based at NUI Galway have been carrying out intensive fieldwork in this area for the past 12 years, building on Professor John Waddell's research of Rathcroghan over the course of three decades. A book detailing the extraordinary results of this work, Rathcroghan: Archaeological and Geophysical Survey in a Ritual Landscape, by Kevin Barton and NUI Galway's Professor John Waddell and Joe Fenwick, was published in 2009. The programme will also look at how the community in Tulsk has interpreted this historic landscape and developed the Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre to help us to understand the history of one of the most important royal sites in Europe. To view the Nationwide programme visit http://www.rte.ie/news/nationwide/. -Ends-
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School Goers Offered Unique Insights at Science Experience Workshop
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
The College of Science at NUI Galway is delighted to announce that for the second year running it will host Science Experience Workshops for second-level students. The workshops will take place on 24 and 25 June and students will have the opportunity to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students, limited to just 100 in total, will take part in unique hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Some of the institutes open to the students will include Applied Optics, the Environmental Change Institute, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. These centres are focused on a wide range of world class research activities such as stem cell research, climate modelling (including volcanic ash dispersion forecasting and assessment), next generation lens solutions, and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to biomedical challenges. Throughout the workshop, attendees also have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines. Dr Mark Foley, Vice Dean of Communications and Strategy, College of Science, NUI Galway, says: "The Science Experience Workshop provides an excellent forum whereby students get information on the diverse range of science activity at NUI Galway. Participants have the chance to see the state-of-the-art teaching, research and sporting facilities while they will also get the chance to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across the country". This year's event will include participation from the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The third-level summer placements are funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). For further information on the College of Science or future Science Experience Workshops, call 091-492182 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/science/news.
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NUI Galway Among Researchers Awarded €8.5m for Research Projects
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Three NUI Galway researchers were among the recipients of the €8.5 million for 47 cutting-edge research projects announced today by Batt O'Keeffe T.D., Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. Dr Patrick McGarry and Dr Mark Bruzzi from Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and Dr Peter Crowley from the School of Chemistry were awarded €539,500 for research projects which will create new jobs for the smart economy. Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Lecturer Dr McGarry's research, 'An experimental and computational investigation of the effect of strain rate on stress fibre remodelling, nuclear deformation and gene expression in cells', examines the effects of continuously changing forces within our bodies on the shape of our cells. This collaborative project also involves other researchers from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway and UCD and is of interest to the medical device sector in the region. Dr Mark Bruzzi's project, 'Deformation and Fracture of Small Nitinol Structures', investigates the fundamental behaviour of nitinol through the use of both experimental testing and analytical methods. Quantifying how nitinol fundamentally behaves will allow the design and development of better and safer medical devices in Ireland. NUI Galway Chemistry Lecturer, Dr Crowley's research, 'Protein Probes: From Self-Assembly to In Vivo Trafficking', focuses on proteins which are large molecules that enable cells to grow and divide. This project will develop new tools to stick proteins together and develop our knowledge of how proteins get inside cells. The research will contribute to progress in the area of therapeutics. Minister O'Keeffe said the research areas are "profoundly linked to our health and wellbeing and the researchers' work will generate high-value downstream jobs". "The €8.5 million investment will create jobs and training opportunities for 105 researchers, mainly PhD students, and their work will in turn generate new jobs down the line which will have significant implications for our well-being as a nation," said Minister O'Keeffe. The 47 research projects are being funded under Science Foundation Ireland's Research Frontiers Programme. The programme supports internationally-competitive, high-quality exploratory research in higher education across the science, maths and engineering disciplines. "By helping researchers at a relatively early stage in their work, the programme is targeting our most promising scientists in building their research teams and track records and enhancing our competitiveness," said Minister O'Keeffe. Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Frank Gannon, said: "The Government's goal of becoming a hub for international research is further advanced by this Research Frontiers Programme investment. "Ireland's performance in the fields of scientific and engineering research is directly linked to our future competitiveness and our quest for a measurable transformation to the smart economy. Last year, the Research Frontiers Programme resulted in many notable outcomes such as 88 collaborations with 83 companies, 715 academic collaborations, and 537 scientific papers. "The programme has contributed to Ireland's rapid ascent in the ranking of scientific output, rising from 36th place in 2003 to recently breaking into the top 20. Ireland has joined countries such as Finland, Germany and the US in the scientific output stakes," Professor Gannon concluded. -Ends-
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Invasive Seaweed Types Spreading Across Europe
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Important Research conducted at NUI Galway published by Royal Society A European project involving Irish scientists from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast has found that recently introduced seaweed types from areas such as Japan and California are spreading more rapidly in Europe than ever before. Professor Mark Johnson with The Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) at NUI Galway is the corresponding author on a paper which has gone online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The essence of this paper denotes how particular species of seaweed introduced to Europe have spread. This includes an increasing rate of spread in recent years. There are over 500 seaweed types in Ireland, and some 126 non-native species from Asia and the US have been recorded in Europe over the past century. The research paper published by the Royal Society (Fronts, Jumps and Secondary Introductions Suggested as Different Invasion Patterns in Marine Species, with an Increase in Spread Rates Over Time) is one of the outputs from a project known as ALIENS (Algal Introductions to European Shores). The research ran over four years and focused on the ecology, spread and impacts of introduced seaweeds. Professor Johnson remarked, "Research of this nature has relevance for marine and aquaculture policy into the future. This involves continuing with existing approaches to educate boat owners to clean their boats in order to stop the spread of invasive species of seaweed and protect native varieties. There are also efforts to control the spread with restrictions throughout the aquaculture industry. At present, some invasive species of seaweed can crowd out or displace native plants. It is important that we continue to protect our native species." PhD student Frederic Mineur, who worked with Professor Johnson on the project reconstructed the historical spread of seaweed dating as far back as 200 years ago. Species of seaweed introduced to a region often spread out from the point of introduction at a relatively even rate. However, other patterns can also occur. Most seaweeds introduced to Europe appear to have been introduced at more than one point or have unpredictable long range dispersal. Looking at the spread patterns over time, the rate of spread appears to be increasing for more recent introductions. This could be because there are more opportunities for seaweeds to associate with carriers like shipping or aquaculture. Another possibility is that the resistance of coastal environments to novel species' introductions is declining. This current study is complete but there are plans to extend the work to understand more about the dispersal of introduced species. There may be particular routes that more than one species has travelled by within Europe and conversely there may be barriers within Europe to the spread of species. To access the article featured in the Royal Society, follow the link below. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/04/20/rspb.2010.0494.abstract -Ends-
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Final Push for NUI Galway Medical Charity
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
NUI Galway charity Voluntary Services Abroad (VSA) have embarked on a final "bed push" from University College Hospital in Galway to Limerick city. A team of twenty NUI Galway medical students took to the streets of Galway, Ennis and Limerick, at the weekend pushing a hospital bed, with the aim of raising funds for the charity. Volunteers have fundraised over €70,000 in the past eight months by tirelessly holding events throughout the west. It is hoped that this final marathon event brings them closure to reaching their target of €100,000 before volunteers leave in June. "Where possible we spend money locally, in order to reduce transport costs and maximise the benefit the local economy" said auditor of VSA, Tadhg Sullivan. This summer, 37 medical student volunteers will travel to eight partner hospitals in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, providing financial and practical support in an increasingly difficult financial environment within the African healthcare system. VSA was founded in 1977 by Galway doctor, Dom Colbert, and is run by fourth year medical students, it raises funds for health care facilities in developing countries. Volunteers travel to hospitals and clinics abroad, personally funding their own travel and accommodation expenses, so that all funds raised can go towards the purchase of medical supplies and equipment. ENDS
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