NUI Galway Graduates Volunteer to Teach in Tanzania

NUI Galway Graduates Volunteer to Teach in Tanzania-image

Monday, 6 September 2010

Five NUI Galway graduates have volunteered to travel to the village of Suji in Tanzania to teach at a secondary school this October. The volunteers have been co-ordinated by Maureen Mescall from the College of Business and Economics at NUI Galway and in association with the charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. The volunteers will spend a year in the school in Suji, which currently has only two teachers for the 450 pupils. The NUI Galway volunteers are Jim Lovett from Newcastle, Galway, who is currently studying for a PhD in Mathematics and is also a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Arts and Literature graduate; Higher Diploma in Business Studies graduates Áine Standún from Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo; Belinda Crossan from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Aisling Mitchell from Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim; and Bachelor of Commerce graduate Aaron Cunningham from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Speaking about the NUI Galway volunteers, Maureen Mescall said: "The students in Suji are very lucky to be gaining the services of these very fine graduates of NUI Galway and I know from experience that they will be welcomed and cared for by the people of Suji". Tanzanian Village Renewal is a registered charity and was set up by Maureen and her husband Michael. The Mescalls first travelled to Tanzania in 1999 on holiday where they met Dr Margaret Hogan, a Clinical Psychologist working at the National Hospital Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam. Impressed by the work carried out by Dr Hogan and her team, Maureen returned to Dar es Salaam to volunteer over the summer months. While volunteering the Mescalls were asked if they could help to carry out small projects and with this in mind, set up the registered charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. In March 2008 the couple led a team of electrician and plumbers to carry out work in the village of Vikrouti in Tanzania, where they wired houses, schools, outhouses and repaired broken wells. The work of the volunteers resulted in the locals having lights in their homes, toilet and shower facilities, access to television and radio, as well as being able to grow their own vegetables. Tanzanian Village Renewal is once again getting ready to lead a team of builders and carpenters to build an extension to the school in Suji. If you would like to volunteer, or to offer your support, contact Maureen at 087 7981788. -Ends-

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Former EU Commissioner to Deliver NUI Galway Lifecourse Seminar

Former EU Commissioner to Deliver NUI Galway Lifecourse Seminar -image

Monday, 6 September 2010

Former EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn will deliver a lecture entitled 'EU Policy Entrepreneurship – How EU disability policy was made and the lessons for the Lifecourse' at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 22 September. The event will take place at 6pm in Room MY129, Áras Moyola, and is part of a series of public lectures being organised by the new Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway. The former Commissioner will discuss the formation of EU disability law and policy in the mid-1990s which took place when he was Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs in Brussels. He will be joined by Terry Stewart, a former Director in the European Commission and responsible for disability policy development. Former Commissioner Flynn will also be joined on the panel by Dr Arthur O'Reilly, former Chief Executive of the National Rehabilitation Board and the National Disability Authority, who played a leading role in disability policy development at both Irish and European levels at the relevant time. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: "This is an exciting event for NUI Galway. The mid-1990s was a turning point for European disability policy. The history should not be lost – in part because it tells how things can still be achieved even in bad times". Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, and current Chair of the Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway, commented: "It is important for people to understand how advances for one group can have policy and tactical lessons for other groups including the elderly, families and children. I would urge those interested in the future of European elderly policy and family policy to attend as well as those interested in disability". This event will be an opportunity to reflect on the role Ireland played in advancing disability policy at EU level and discuss how future policy-development, both in Ireland and in Europe can continue to advance the rights of people with disabilities. The Lifecourse Institute brings together the research and educational programmes of three Centres at NUI Galway involved with public policy aspects of the human lifecourse, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Child and Family Research Centre. The lecture is open to all memebers of the public. For further details please contact Dr Eilionóir Flynn in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at -Ends-

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Arts in Action at NUI Galway

Arts in Action at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 6 September 2010

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the 2010/2011 'Arts in Action' Programme, which invites students to engage with the creative arts during their studies. Aimed at students across the campus, 'Arts in Action' offers access to a variety of international-standard arts events throughout the academic year. New additions and highlights this year include an exhibition from the Architectural Association of Ireland, an NUI Galway/Telegael digital media exhibition and a contemporary opera from the Italian ensemble Gatto Marte. Following from the success of last year's programme, the 2010/2011 programme will see the return of the popular 'Arts in Action' Traditional Arts concert in both semesters, with Frankie Gavin featuring this October and Máirtín O'Connor with Contempo in March of 2011. NUI Galway's continuing commitment to the arts, its contribution to the many current initiatives on and off campus, is founded in the strong belief that the relationship between academic studies and the arts is significant. Engagement with the Arts shapes future lives, develops highly qualified graduates, active citizens and leaders in many fields of endeavour. Mary McPartlan, Director of the Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, explains: "Arts in Action is an original and unique programme which has now become part of the University's academic schedule. Its core commitment is to make creative arts of international standards of excellence available through embedding the arts into the academic life of the student". Several new modules associated with this year's programme include Medicine and the Arts, (Clinical Sciences) Exploring the Arts, (Discipline of English) The Art of Good Communication, (J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics), Access to the Arts, (ACCESS programme) and volunteers on the ALIVE programme. The Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: "The exploration of the creative arts has been aligned historically with the academic study of literature and the humanities. The new developments at NUI Galway extend well beyond the confines of these traditional affiliations, embracing the College of Business, Public Policy, and Law and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Medicine and the Arts is the University's first foray into the field of music therapy while Business and the Arts explores the connections between the creative and commercial sectors, which will be vital to the success of the smart economy". Further information can be viewed at or join us on Facebook at -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researcher Wins Top Prize in International Web Challenge

NUI Galway Researcher Wins Top Prize in International Web Challenge-image

Friday, 3 September 2010

A researcher at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) has won the first prize at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mashup Challenge, which seeks technologies that combine existing web resources into a new and useful service. Dr Alexandre Passant, Postdoctoral Researcher and unit leader at DERI, developed and built an innovative web-based music recommendation system* called dbrec. The core new feature of dbrec is its capability to explain recommendations to its users, in that with a simple click of a mouse a user can understand why particular information is related to others in the search, for example, two artists may be linked by the fact that they are in the same music genre or perhaps that they both play guitar and are on the same recording label. dbrec relies on DBpedia, a structure version of Wikipedia, to compute the recommendations and makes them available using Web standards so that new applications can be built on top of it. The linkages between search items are made possible by using Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies, two major trends regarding the evolution of the Web, that are actively researched in DERI within various national and international projects as well as standardisation activities. The Semantic Web is largely concerned with improving connections in the World Wide Web to make more sense of the data that is published online. Award winner Dr Alexandre Passant explains: "dbrec shows the new and exciting possibilities offered by Semantic Web and Linked Data in terms of open recommendations systems and explanatory user-interfaces. It also demonstrates the value of Linked Data to build mash-up applications and how to make use of structured information using Web standards". The AI mashup prize was awarded at the closing ceremony of the Extended Semantic Web Conference 2010 by Elsevier, a leading publisher in science and health information, following a demonstration during a public session at the conference, and this first prize is the result of the votes from the attendees. DERI's impact on Semantic Web and Linked Data was demonstrated further at the conference when Dr Passant picked up a second award in the Semantic Web Scripting Challenge for sparqlPuSH, awarded by Talis, which was collaborative work between Dr Passant and members of the Kno.e.sis Center at Wright State University, Ohio. sparqlPuSH provides an infrastructure for real-time information monitoring on the Semantic Web, and can consequently be used in scenarios such as emergency management. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: "These recent prizes provide further confirmation of the high quality of research at this University and in Ireland, leading to innovative products and services". -Ends-

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Course on Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy Offered at NUI Galway

Course on Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy Offered at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 3 September 2010

The first annual School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy is being held this week at NUI Galway, under the auspices of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Human rights activists, film-makers and interested students from Ireland and various parts of the world attended the course, which consisted of a varied programme of workshops, seminars and film screenings with established film-makers and academics. "Our aim is to widen the horizons of professionals in the film, documentary, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and media sector, reflecting on the use of film and video advocacy as an instrument for enhancing human rights awareness on critical social, political and environmental issues, and to influence change", explained Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The programme is directed by Nick Danziger, a leading practitioner in the field of human rights documentary making, and Claudia Modonesi, an expert in the organisation and management of cultural events related to human rights. "A wide ranging group of experts in the field have gathered at NUI Galway to discuss bringing other voices into the media. At a point where there are significant current crises in the world financial and ecological systems that could not be more urgent work", said Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. This team of facilitators also collaborated in the successful Summer School in Cinema and Human Rights that ran from 2005 to 2008 in Venice at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation. The summer course has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Galway University Foundation. -Ends-

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Third Annual Meeting of GlycoScience Ireland

Third Annual Meeting of GlycoScience Ireland-image

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The third annual meeting of GlycoScience Ireland, organised and sponsored by the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) of NUI Galway and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), is being held this week in Dublin. GlycoScience Ireland is an academic organization which aims to build support and promote Glycosciences research in Ireland and to provide visibility and collaborative opportunities for Irish glycoscientists with international academic and industrial communities. Building upon the success of the last two meetings, this year will continue to look at trends in Glycosciences taking a broader international view that will highlight Irish science internationally and facilitate Irish based scientists in networking with many global leaders in this field. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and Director of the AGRC at NUI Galway, said: "The importance of glycoscience in biomedical and clinical research is being widely acknowledged. Glycoscience Ireland is bringing Irish and International researchers from academic, clinical and industrial sectors together to collaborate and focus on translational projects. Glycoscience Ireland and the community of glycoscience researchers in Ireland are working together to promote Ireland as a hub of glycoscience and related research". Attendees include representatives from the major Irish funding agencies, Irish academic institutions, Irish and multinational Biopharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries, and a distinguished panel of speakers from the US and Europe. This year s conference will include poster prizes donated by BioImages Ltd. -Ends-

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Pocket Anatomy Launches Full Body App on the App Store

Pocket Anatomy Launches Full Body App on the App Store-image

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Pocket Anatomy, a Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology campus-based company, has launched Pocket Body - the latest application (app) for medical students and other health care professionals on Apple's App Store. This medical software, featuring comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content by means of a multi-layered sequence of high-definition photo-realistic illustrations of the human body, is a breakthrough in human anatomy education. Pocket Body was developed in conjunction with the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. Pocket Body features a fully anatomically accurate human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal content, enabling the user to navigate from the skin layer through the superficial to deep musculature, and on through to ligaments and the skeleton. In each layer, structures are pinned for identification and associated with each pin is additional concise relevant information including clinical notes. All of the information is presented in an interactive, mobile and accessible format which takes full use of the features of the device on which the app runs (iPhone, iPad or iTouch). This is a marked contrast with the two-dimensional (2D) printed pictures and diagrams commonly used in the teaching of advanced human anatomy today. Additional features allow the user to make learning notes as they progress through the learning content, and also utilize the built-in quizzes as a self-test capability to assist in their learning and exam preparation. Pocket Body will assist medical and other health care students gain a deep understanding of human musculoskeletal anatomy and assist in examination preparation. By making comprehensive human musculoskeletal anatomy content available on demand it will also act as a continuing anatomy resource throughout their degree programme, and as a reference on into the professional workplace. Dr Brendan Wilkins, an anatomy lecturer based in the NUI Galway's College of Medicine and Health Sciences worked on the development of Pocket Body with a team of third and fourth year medical students and together they specified and wrote all of the content within the app. Combined with the software design expertise of Pocket Anatomy, the result is an innovative and exciting app which will serve as a supplement to the lectures, classes and complementary texts used by the medical and health care student and provide a detailed source of human anatomical content, on demand, through the student's own portable device. Mark Campbell, CEO of eMedia and creators of Pocket Anatomy says: "We are excited with the launch of Pocket Body, which has been co-developed by medical students for medical students. This new software enables medical students to visualise complex anatomical structures in a novel format, thereby assisting students to gain a deep understanding of the human musculoskeletal system through the use of interactive high definition photo-realistic illustrations of the human body.As medical students and educators continue to embrace new technologies in their teaching and learning practices, Pocket Anatomy will continue to push the boundaries in the use of new technologies for the purposes of medical education". "This project demonstrates how SME s can leverage local academic expertise within Universities and IoT s to accelerate the product development cycle" said Mark Campbell. Pocket Body is now available for the iPad, iPhone and iTouch. To purchase and download Pocket Body please visit: -Ends-

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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 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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