Third Level Institutions Collaborate to Provide Major Boost to Research and Inno

Third Level Institutions Collaborate to Provide Major Boost to Research and Inno-image

Thursday, 18 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) A major agreement to boost research and innovation in the Border Midland and Western (BMW) region of the country has been signed in Athlone by the heads of seven higher education institutions. This is the first time that the third level sector has come together to adopt a BMW-wide approach to research and innovation. The institutes of technology in Athlone, Dundalk, Galway-Mayo, Letterkenny and Sligo, together with NUI Galway and St Angela's College, Sligo will combine their strengths under the auspices of Líonra, the higher education network in the region. The joint strategy will see collaboration taking place across a number of core areas, including: biomedical science and engineering; environment, marine and energy; software development and applications; health services research; social entrepreneurship; socioeconomic sciences and humanities; and food and agriculture. The Líonra agreement envisages research policy reflecting the socioeconomic needs of the region and responding to the expectations of the local economy. It also calls for collaboration between the academic partners and industry which will strengthen the ability of the sector to attract funding. Convenor of Líonra, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that the agreement will enable the BMW region to play a complete role within Ireland's knowledge economy. "This collaborative agreement multiplies the research strengths of our individual institutions for the betterment of the region. It will see the development of close relationships with enterprise and the market-facing sector. Through aligning our research strengths with their needs, it will give local companies a distinct competitive advantage. "We are putting a comprehensive commercialisation strategy in place which will enable the innovation and research ideas developed through this partnership to reach the marketplace. This is critical to the creation of a knowledge economy and to the restoration of sustainable, rewarding employment in the region", Professor Ó Catháin stated. According to President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, "This agreement creates the framework and rationale for collaboration. It also meets the future demands of Ireland's higher education system by offering a model of coordinated coherence, as called for recently by Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority. Líonra, as a network of seven higher education institutions, has created a system that is responsive to national needs and is delivering real value from complementary facilities. "The development of research clusters in strategic areas resonates with the requirements of key industries for this country," President Browne continued. "The medical device industry, for example, is concentrated in the BMW region with companies such as Élan, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. This research agreement has identified collaboration in the biomedical science and engineering domain as a thematic priority, which mirrors the industrial strength of the region. It pools our collective research capacity and capability to provide a coherent response to the priorities identified by Ibec and the Irish Medical Device Association". The Executive Director of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET), Martin Hynes, also welcomed the announcement. Mr Hynes commented that "Coherence in the higher education sector is vitally important. This is a critical development in ensuring visibility for this research and for making people aware of research career opportunities available in these domains". According to Enterprise Ireland's Regional Manager for Research and Development and Technology Transfer, P.J. O'Reilly, "Stimulating innovation, technology transfer and commercialisation is a central plank of the agreement and also reflects Enterprise Ireland's strategic objectives. This will involve collaborating with industry to understand their R&D needs to build close mutually beneficial relationships and to ensure that the results of research are transferred into the local socioeconomic fabric". To deliver these research goals, the seven institutions are committed to creating networks and clusters to provide common access and to make the optimum use of major equipment and R&D facilities. They will also establish centres that will concentrate on applied research and will create critical mass in leading edge technologies. The increased involvement of academic staff in research is core to the initiative, as is increasing the PhD output from the sector and providing supportive career paths for researchers. Líonra was established in 2001 to develop effective collaborative responses by the third level sector to the developmental needs of the BMW region. Institiúidí Tríú Leibhéal ag Comhoibriú lena chéile ar mhaithe le Taighde agus le Nuálaíocht a chur chun cinn i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair (View in English) Is i mBaile Átha Luain a shínigh ceann na seacht n-institiúid ardoideachais sa tír comhaontú suntasach a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leis borradh a chur faoin taighde agus faoin nuálaíocht i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Is é seo an chéad uair riamh a bhfuil an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag comhoibriú lena chéile agus é mar aidhm cur chuige éifeachtach i ndáil le taighde agus le nuálaíocht a fhorbairt agus a chur i bhfeidhm i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair trí chéile. Oibreoidh institiúidí teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain, Dhún Dealgan, na Gaillimhe-Mhaigh Eo, Leitir Ceanainn agus Shligigh i dteannta OÉ Gaillimh agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach faoi choimirce Líonra – líonra ardoideachais an réigiúin. Faoin gcomhstraitéis seo, beidh comhoibriú ar siúl i roinnt réimsí tábhachtacha lena n-áirítear: eolaíocht agus innealtóireacht bhithleighis; an timpeallacht, an fharraige agus fuinneamh; forbairt bogearraí agus feidhmchlár; taighde ar sheirbhísí sláinte; fiontraíocht shóisialta; eolaíochtaí socheacnamaíocha agus daonnachtaí; agus bia agus talmhaíocht. Tá sé mar aidhm le comhaontú Líonra beartas taighde a fhorbairt a bheidh bunaithe ar riachtanais shocheacnamaíocha an réigiúin agus a bheidh in ann déileáil go héifeachtach le hionchais an gheilleagair áitiúil. Gné eile den chomhaontú seo go mbeidh comhoibriú ar bun idir comhpháirtithe acadúla agus an tionscal, rud a chuirfidh go mór le cumas na hearnála maoiniú a fháil. Dúirt tionólaí Líonra, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó Catháin, go gcuirfidh an comhaontú ar chumas Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair ról iomaíoch a bheith aige i ngeilleagar eolasbhunaithe na hÉireann. "Cuirfidh an comhaontú seo go mór le cumas taighde ár n-institiúidí aonair rud a rachaidh chun tairbhe an réigiúin trí chéile. Cabhróidh an comhaontú seo le forbairt dlúthchaidrimh idir na hearnálacha fiontraíochta agus an margadh. Cruthófar buntáiste iomaíoch do chuideachtaí áitiúla trína láidreachtaí taighde a ailíniú lena gcuid riachtanas. Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tOllamh Ó Catháin go bhfuil sé "beartaithe straitéis tráchtálaithe chuimsitheach a chur i bhfeidhm a chinnteoidh go bhforbrófar nuálaíocht agus smaointe taighde tríd an gcomhpháirtíocht seo – nuálaíocht agus smaointe a rachaidh i bhfeidhm ar an margadh. Baineann fíorthábhacht leis seo i ndáil le geilleagar eolasbhunaithe a chruthú agus fostaíocht inbhuanaithe, fhiúntach a chothú sa réigiún". Deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, "Soláthróidh an comhaontú seo an creat agus an réasúnaíocht a theastaíonn chun comhoibriú a chur chun cinn. Chomh maith leis sin, freagraíonn sé do na héilimh a bheidh ar chóras ardoideachais na hÉireann amach anseo trí shamhail de chomhleanúnachas comhordaithe a chruthú, mar a bhí á éileamh ag Tom Boland, Príomhfheidhmeannach an Údaráis um Ard-Oideachas le déanaí. Tá córas cruthaithe ag Líonra – líonra de sheacht n-institiúid ardoideachais – a fhreagraíonn do riachtanais náisiúnta agus a thugann luach ar airgead trí úsáid a bhaint as áiseanna comhlántacha". Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tUachtarán Browne, go bhfuil "forbairt na ngrúpaí taighde i gceantair straitéiseacha ag teacht le riachtanais phríomhthionscail na tíre. Sampla amháin é tionscal na bhfeistí leighis de thionscal atá bunaithe i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Tá cuideachtaí ar nós Élan, Medtronic agus Boston Scientific ag dul i dtreis san earnáil seo. Tá deiseanna comhoibrithe aimsithe ag an gcomhaontú taighde seo in earnáil na heolaíochta agus na hinnealtóireachta bithleighis, ó tharla rath a bheith ar an earnáil áirithe seo sa réigiún. Deis atá ann ár gcumas agus ár n-acmhainn taighde a thabhairt le chéile ar mhaithe le freagairt go cinnte do na tosaíochtaí a d'aithin Ibec agus an Irish Medical Device Association". D'fháiltigh Martin Hynes, Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin Chomhairle Taighde na hÉireann don Eolaíocht, Innealtóireacht & Teicneolaíocht (IRCSET) roimh an scéala seo freisin. Dúirt an tUasal Hynes go mbaineann "fíorthábhacht le comhleanúnachas san earnáil ardoideachais. Forbairt thábhachtach é seo d'fhonn a chinntiú go dtugtar aird ar an taighde seo agus d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuil tuiscint ag daoine ar na deiseanna gairme atá ar fáil sna hearnálacha seo". Deir P.J. O'Reilly, Bainisteoir Réigiúnach (Taighde agus Forbairt agus Aistriú Teicneolaíochta) Fhiontraíocht Éireann go bhfuil "ról lárnach ag cruthú nuálaíochta, aistriú teicneolaíochta agus tráchtálú sa chomhaontú mar aon le léargas a thabhairt ar chuspóirí straitéiseacha Fhiontraíocht Éireann. I gceist san obair seo beidh comhoibriú leis an tionscal d'fhonn teacht ar thuiscint ar a gcuid riachtanas Taighde & Forbartha agus caidreamh a théann chun tairbhe gach páirtí a fhorbairt, mar aon lena chinntiú go dtéann torthaí an taighde i bhfeidhm ar an ngeilleagar socheacnamaíoch áitiúil". D'fhonn na spriocanna taighde seo a sheachadadh, tá na seacht n-institiúid tiomanta do líonraí agus do ghrúpaí a chruthú ionas go mbeidh deis acu an tairbhe agus an úsáid is fearr agus is féidir a bhaint as an bpríomhthrealamh agus as na háiseanna taighde agus forbartha atá ar fáil. Lena chois sin, bunófar ionaid a bheidh dírithe ar thaighde feidhmeach agus déanfar an-dul chun cinn i dteicneolaíochtaí nua. Tá ról lárnach ag rannpháirtíocht comhaltaí foirne acadúla sa tionscnamh seo, mar aon leis an líon PhD atá á bhronnadh san earnáil seo agus deiseanna gairme tacaíochta a sholáthar do thaighdeoirí. Bunaíodh Líonra in 2001 le cinntiú go mbeadh an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag freagairt go cuí do riachtanais forbartha Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. -Críoch-

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Device that cuts through plaque in human arteries wins Enterprise Ireland's O

Device that cuts through plaque in human arteries wins Enterprise Ireland's <i>O-image

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The inventor of a tiny device containing micro-blades and a balloon that can cut though blockages in human arteries has won Enterprise Ireland's One to Watch Award 2009. The device was invented by Dr Bruce Murphy during research carried out while based at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. Called a 'flexi-cutting sheath', the device, which contains tiny concealed blades that are exposed by inflating a balloon, is safer and more effective than existing medical devices used to clear blockages in arteries. Dr Bruce Murphy, a mechanical engineer with expertise in vascular disease research, was presented with the award by An Tánaiste Mary Coughlan T.D. at the Enterprise Ireland Applied Research Forum 2009 in the Guinness Storehouse today. Congratulating Dr Murphy on his win, the Tánaiste said: "Irish industry is already benefiting enormously from the knowledge and technology generated in our third level institutions. Dr Murphy is an excellent example of this technology transfer system in action. With support from Enterprise Ireland, he identified a need for a better medical device, developed his unique solution and linked up with entrepreneur Tim McSweeney to produce the device for sale in the global market for peripheral vascular devices which is worth $1.9 billion. It is this type of high value company that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland is focused on and I am pleased to learn that seven new high value companies like this one have already emerged in 2009" she said. The device will help the 500,000 people worldwide that suffer from end-stage renal disease every year. Patients with this disease require dialysis 2-3 times per week which can result in blockages in their bloodstream. Dr Murphy's flexi-cutting sheath can be used to clear these blockages in a safer, more effective way than existing devices. Another use of the device is in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, which results in around 1,000 people in Ireland every year having a limb amputated because the main artery in their arm or leg gets blocked by hardened plaque which cuts off the blood supply. By analysing existing products, Dr Murphy found that current cutting devices have the potential to damage blood vessels as the device is being removed from the body. To address the problem, he developed his balloon mounted flexi-cutting sheath with a protective silicone sheath which wraps around the tiny blades on the device while it is being navigated to and from the blocked site inside an artery by a physician. Because the blades can be retracted back into the flexi sheath when the balloon is deflated, Dr. Murphy has made the process safer for patients. The flexi-cutting sheath is protected by a series of patents filed by NUI Galway. Dr Neil Ferguson from Ignite, NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office, believes that this invention will improve patient care and is delighted to see it being commercialised. He said: "The patents that protect this invention from other firms developing copy-cat devices are amongst the 114 patent applications filed by NUI Galway over the last 3 years. During this period we have been very successful in generating over 36 licence agreements to both existing and start-up companies. More importantly, we have spun out 7 start-ups over the same period which plays an important role in the development of our economy". Dr Murphy, now at TCD, and business partner Tim McSweeney, are getting support from Enterprise Ireland to set up their new company later this year in Galway to manufacture the device for sale in a niche market worth €100 million. The company will employ up to 10 people initially. Tim Mc Sweeney is no stranger to the medical device sector having played a leading role in establishing the presence of US giant Boston Scientific in Galway in 1994. The award was presented in front of 250 researchers attending Enterprise Ireland's Applied Research Forum 2009, an event which focused on moving more valuable intellectual property and new technologies into companies through the national technology transfer system. -Ends-

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Economists Convene at NUI Galway for Major International Conference

Economists Convene at NUI Galway for Major International Conference-image

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

NUI Galway's J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is to host the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) from 17 to 20 June. Discussion topics will cover not only standard topics in public economics such as pensions, education and taxation but will also cover more esoteric issues from international stem cell donation to whether the good and the selfish should be taxed differently. Public Economic Theory is concerned with all aspects of the public sector and with the interaction between the public sector and the private sector. Economists working in this broad area are able to pose fundamental questions about how societies want to organise themselves in ways that are efficient and fair. They raise questions about where the limits should lie between market provision and pubic provision. "The annual meeting of APET is one of the most prestigious gathering of economic theorists in the world and the decision to award the 2009 Conference to NUI Galway in the face of stiff opposition is testimony to our initiative and outstanding record of scholarship in this area," said Dr Ashley Piggins one of the local organisers of the conference. "Previous APET conferences have been held in cities such as Paris, Beijing, and Seoul, and we are very excited at the opportunity to add Galway to this list", he added. Over 330 economists are expected to attend the event with over 90% of them coming from outside Ireland. Professors Ted Bergstrom, Rodney Garratt, and Damien Sheehan-Connor from the University of California at Santa Barbara have pioneered research on the economics of stem cells. For many illnesses such as leukaemia effective treatment includes transplanting blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor whose immune system is compatible with that of the recipient. Finding a compatible stem cell donor outside of one's immediate family is very difficult. Professor Bergstrom says that the existence of registries sharing donors across national borders raises some interesting questions which he and his colleagues have tried to address. For example, how does the size and racial composition of the current registry compare with that of an optimal registry? What motivates people to join the registry? What financial and/or social incentives would be suitable for increasing registry size? Professor Bergstrom adds: "There are remarkable cross-country differences in the percentage of the population enrolled in national bone marrow registries. 10% and 7% of the population of eligible ages are enrolled in Israel and Germany respectively. The corresponding figure is less than 3% in the United States and is much lower again in countries such as Ireland and France. These facts raise fascinating questions about the 'exports and imports' of stem cell transfers across countries". "Presentation of this research in Galway is particularly interesting given the large amount of research being done on stem cells in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway," said Brendan Kennelly another of the local organisers of the conference and economics lecturer at NUI Galway. "The authors' ability to think outside the box illustrates that economics has the potential to be a very exciting discipline which can help us to think about many of the most interesting and difficult problems that we face today". For further information on the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) please contact Brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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Summer Conferring at NUI Galway

Summer Conferring at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway will confer almost 200 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies tomorrow, Tuesday, 16 June, 2009. The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-seven Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty-three Ph.D. students from across all disciplines. As well as students from locations across the country receiving their degrees and diplomas, there will also be international students from Kuwait and Malaysia. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "We have doubled the number of Ph.D. graduates since the start of the decade and it is very encouraging to see this number of research degrees which we are conferring today". President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June. Bronnadh Céimeanna an tSamhraidh OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh céim ar bheagnach 200 mac léinn as Coláiste Leighis, Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice, Coláiste na hEolaíochta, Coláiste an Ghnó, An Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léann Ceilteigh amárach, Dé Máirt, an 16 Meitheamh 2009. Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh beidh seacht gcloigeann déag agus ceithre scór de mhic léinn a bhainfidh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Bainsiléir i Liacht Bhan amach (MB, BCh, BAO). Beidh trí mhac léinn Ph.D. agus caoga as gach disciplín ag fáil a gcéime chomh maith. Mar aon le mic léinn as gach cearn den tír a mbeifear ag bronnadh céime nó dioplóma orthu beidh mic léinn idirnáisiúnta as an gCuáit agus as an Malaeisia. Ag labhairt dó roimh an searmanas, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, faoin méadú atá tagtha ar an taighde san Ollscoil rud a léiríonn an fás atá ar an líon mac léinn Ph.D. atá ag baint céime amach: "Tá a dhá oiread céimithe Ph.D. againn agus a bhí ag tús an chéid seo agus is tuar dóchais é an líon céimeanna taighde atáimid a bhronnadh inniu". Bhí cúpla focal le rá ag an Uachtarán leis na céimithe ag an searmanas a spreagadh: "Ná bíodh lagmhisneach oraibh faoi chúrsaí geilleagair. Tá an cumas ag gach duine dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin. Níl teorainn leis na deiseanna atá agatsa an cineál saoil is mian leat a chruthú duit féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh i do threo sna blianta amach romhainn." Beidh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh tráth a ndéanfar na Céimeanna Oinigh a bhronnadh. -Críoch-

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NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Breast Cancer

NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Breast Cancer-image

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

NUI Galway will hold the 2nd International Breast Cancer Conference on 18–19 June. The main theme of the conference is multidisciplinary breast cancer care, which will be of interest to all professionals involved in breast cancer management including Surgeons, Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Radiologists, Pathologists and Breast Care Nurses. According to Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery, NUI Galway and Conference Convener, "The management of breast cancer has changed so that we now treat patients in a multidisciplinary team based environment which raises many questions addressed at this conference including prolonged endocrine therapy, side effects of treatment, medico-legal issues and advances in areas such as surgery and radiotherapy. This is a great opportunity to promote discussion, debate and determine the current state of the art strategy to individualise treatment. The protagonists include all the major players in this country as well as leading international experts. Professor Kerin continued, "All of these issues will be discussed at the conference and we will also have an overview of changes in therapy from Roger Blamey and Joe Ragaz, two well established international experts. The University is proud to be associated with this meeting and is delighted that this prestigious international conference of this magnitude is bringing so much expertise to the city". Professor John Crown, Consultant Medical Oncologist at St Vincent's University Hospital and St Luke's Hospital, Dublin will deliver a keynote lecture entitled 'Future in Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment' on Thursday, 18 June at 5pm. Several of the speakers are well-known internationally and include: Professor Paul Goss, Director of Breast Cancer Research and Avon Foundation Senior Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor Joe Ragaz, from McGill University, Canada; and Professor Carsten Rose, from Lund University Hospital, Sweden. From the UK, speakers include: Professor Carlos Caldas, University of Cambridge; Professor Mike Dixon, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh; Professor John Robertson, Professor of Surgery at University of Nottingham; Professor Phil Drew, The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Hilary Dobson, West of Scotland Breast Screening Programme, Glasgow; and Dr Valerie Speirs, St James s University Hospital, Leeds, UK. National delegates and speakers feature a 'Who's Who' of Irish Breast Cancer Management including Professor John Crown, St Vincent's University Hospital; Dr Fidelma Flanagan, Mater Hospitals; Professor Tom Gorey, Mater Hospital, Dr John Kennedy, St James's Hospital; and Professor Paul Redmond, Cork University Hospital, Dr Janice Walshe, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, Tallaght and Mr Malcolm Kell, Mater Hospital Dublin. Local Galway contributors, apart from Professor Kerin, include Dr Maccon Keane, Professor Frank Sullivan, Mr Ray McLaughlin, Mr Karl Sweeney and Professor Grace Callagy. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Nottingham series of meetings which take place on alternate years. For 20 years, the Nottingham meeting has been the best attended and most influential breast cancer meting on these islands and the Galway meeting aims to ensure that these meetings are now annual events. The two-day conference takes place in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. For further information on the International Breast Cancer Conference, please contact Grace Clarke at 091-524390 or grace.clarke@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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Pat McCabe to Speak at NUI Galway Conference on Family Support

Pat McCabe to Speak at NUI Galway Conference on Family Support-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

Renowned novelist Pat McCabe will be a special guest on Friday, 19 June, at NUI Galway's Family Support Conference entitled 'Reflecting on Contemporary Challenges'. Reading excerpts, both humorous and sobering, from his books including The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto, the author will reflect on the complexities of childhood and family life. Pat McCabe's talk is the centrepiece of a wide-ranging programme of presentations and workshops on contemporary challenges during the two-day conference on family support from 18-19 June. The event is organised by the University's Child and Family Research Centre, which undertakes research, education and training in the area of child and family care and welfare. The Centre's Director, Professor Pat Dolan, is the Republic of Ireland's only UNESCO Chair, with a focus on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. According to Professor Dolan: "This conference is a timely opportunity for professionals, policy makers and researchers to reflect on the many issues raised by the recent Ryan and Monageer Reports and the Baby P case in the UK. Important discussions are needed about how to protect children while recognising that in most cases, the best way to do that is through supporting parents and through putting in place extensive preventative programmes, particularly in the early years". The conference will focus on the difference that communities can make to children and families, and how work with families can be key to community regeneration. Fr Aidan Troy, who served as a priest in Holy Cross, Belfast, during the school dispute in 2001 will deliver a talk entitled 'Walking the Walk in Adversity, Family Support and Personal Discovery'. -ends-

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Irish Scientists Central to Protecting International Shellfish Industry

Irish Scientists Central to Protecting International Shellfish Industry-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Marine scientists at NUI Galway have been successful in securing €1.6 million in EU funding to advance testing technologies in the shellfish industry. The University's Martin Ryan Institute will collaborate with European colleagues to test a new, rapid methodology for the local analysis of algal toxins in shellfish. The funding comes from the EU Northern Periphery Programme and the project will be led by Dr Robin Raine at NUI Galway. According to Dr Robin Raine, "Caused by toxin producing plankton, harmful algal blooms are a serious environmental problem worldwide. One of the significant consequences is that these toxins accumulate in shellfish and, whilst harmless to the shellfish, can cause a variety of very serious gastrointestinal and neurological disorders when contaminated mussels, oysters, etc., are eaten by humans". The threat to human health is so great that, under EU directives, all coastal Member States are required to monitor the presence of toxin producing plankton in coastal waters as well as toxin levels in shellfish. In Ireland, this monitoring is carried out by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources' Marine Institute, in their new laboratories at Rinville, Co. Galway. Through the €1.6 million project, rapid testing methods will be advanced for remote fisheries in countries such as Scotland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The hope is that new technologies will allow the shellfish industries to test their produce for toxins locally, rather than sending samples to laboratories elsewhere. NUI Galway is also working with international experts on predicting harmful algal blooms in the marine environment, the root cause of contaminated shellfish. This week (15-19 June) the University hosts a training workshop for 60 international delegates under the auspices of GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) which is the UNESCO sponsored project on this subject. According to Dr Raine, predicting the occurrence of these harmful algal blooms is important so that their damaging economic effects to the aquaculture industry can be substantially reduced. Taking Ireland as an example, the shellfish aquaculture industry is currently valued at €63 million per annum. However, annual losses sustained through the contamination of shellfish with algal toxins, combined with the cost of monitoring the presence of these toxins amounts to over €3 million. "This is a huge financial burden on what is an intrinsically sustainable industry. We really need to focus on predicting the blooms and where they will manifest; something like a blight warning system for the sea. This will go some way to reducing the costs for the aquaculture industry in Ireland and around the world", said Dr Raine. Eolaithe Éireannacha chun an Tionscal Sliogéisc Idirnáisiúnta a Chosaint (View in English) Tá eolaithe mara in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh maoiniú €1.6 milliún a fháil ón AE chun teicneolaíocht tástála a fheabhsú sa tionscal sliogéisc. Oibreoidh Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gcomhar le comhghleacaithe san Eoraip chun modheolaíocht nua, sciobtha a thástáil chun anailís áitiúil a dhéanamh ar thocsainí algacha i sliogiasc. Tá an maoiniú ag teacht as Clár Fhorimeall Thuaidh an AE agus beidh an Dr Robin Raine as OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar an tionscadal. Deir an Dr Robin Raine, "Táirgeann planctón tocsain, agus cuireann blás algach dochrach isteach go mór ar an gcomhshaol ar fud an domhain. An rud is measa go mbailíonn na tocsainí seo i sliogiasc agus, cé nach ndéanann siad aon dochar don sliogiasc féin, d'fhéadfaí an-dochar a dhéanamh do shláinte an duine má itear diúilicíní, oisrí etc. a bhfuil an tocsain iontu. Cruthaíonn an tocsain neamhoird ghastraistéigeacha agus néareolaíocha atá thar a bheith dainséarach". Tá an tocsain chomh contúirteach do dhaoine go gcaithfidh Ballstáit ar an gcósta, faoi threoracha an AE, súil a choinneáil ar phlanctón a tháirgeann tocsain ar an gcósta agus an leibhéal tocsaine i sliogiasc. In Éirinn, déanann Foras na Mara sa Roinn Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha an obair seo sa tsaotharlann nua i Rinn Mhíl, Co. na Gaillimhe. Faoin tionscadal €1.6 milliún, forbrófar modhanna tástála sciobtha d'iascaigh iargúlta i dtíortha cosúil leis an Albain, an Iorua agus Oileáin Fharó. Is é aidhm na teicneolaíochta nua seo go mbeidh an tionscal sliogéisc in ann tástáil tocsaine a dhéanamh ar a dtáirgí go háitiúil seachas samplaí a sheoladh chuig saotharlanna i bhfad ó bhaile. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag oibriú i gcomhar le saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta chun blás algach dochrach a aimsiú san uisce, is é an blás seo a mhilleann an sliogiasc. An tseachtain seo (15-19 Meitheamh) beidh ceardlann oiliúna ar siúl san Ollscoil do 60 toscaire idirnáisiúnta faoi choimirce GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms), tionscadal atá urraithe ag UNESCO ar an ábhar seo. Deir an Dr Raine, go bhfuil sé tábhachtach an blás algach dochrach seo a aimsiú chun go bhféadfar an damáiste a dhéanann sé don tionscal dobharshaothraithe a mhaolú. Is fiú €63 milliún sa bhliain an tionscal sliogéisc in Éirinn faoi láthair. Cailltear os cionn €3 mhilliún sa bhliain nuair a mhilleann na tocsainí algacha an sliogiasc agus tríd an monatóireacht a dhéantar ar na tocsainí. "Is mór an costas é sin ar thionscal atá inmharthana ann féin. Caithfear a chinntiú go n-aimseofar an blás; teastaíonn córas rabhaidh uainn. Laghdóidh sé seo an costas ar an tionscal in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain", a dúirt an Dr Raine. -Críoch-

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Environmental Research on Display at NUI Galway

Environmental Research on Display at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway is opening its doors to the public on Wednesday, 24 June from 2 to 5.30pm, for its third annual 'ECI Research OPEN Day'. There will be a series of short talks addressing subjects of local, national, and global significance such as: sea level change in Galway Bay, biological contamination of Irish drinking water supplies, renewable energy, and sustainable development. Poster presentations will take place throughout the afternoon from over 50 ECI researchers, highlighting the work currently underway in areas such as Climate Change, Energy, Biodiversity, Environment and Health, Environmental Technologies, Environmental Informatics, and the Social and Economic Impacts of Environmental Change. Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the ECI, says: "Galway is home to a Research Institute of national importance in the field of Environmental Change, and at the ECI we are always looking to involve the local community in the work that we do here. We had a huge public response to our Explorers Stand at the Volvo Ocean Race where we showcased the latest findings from our cold water coral reefs research. A recent deep-water expedition, led by Dr Anthony Grehan, confirmed the existence of a major new coral reef province on the southern end of the Porcupine Bank off the west coast of Ireland. These corals reach up to 100m in height and are immaculate, healthy growing specimens harbouring a remarkable diversity of reef animals". Dr Martina Prendergast, ECI Development Manager, says: "We hope members of the public will attend to hear about the latest innovative research being carried out by our 240 affiliated researchers and we welcome input from the public on their perception of the value of our research to the Western region. The ECI has grown fast over the years and we look forward to celebrating our ten year anniversary in 2010". Its location on the North Western periphery of Europe, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, places NUI Galway's ECI in a unique position to facilitate national and international collaborative research on atmospheric processes and climate change. The variety of pristine terrestrial and aquatic habitats, recognised as having European and global value, allow research of issues such as biodiversity and ecological interactions in unique environments. While much of the work of ECI takes place on campus, there are also several research projects happening around the country. Off-site facilities include the Carron Research Station in the Burren, County Clare and the Atmospheric Research Station, Mace Head, Carna, County Galway. For more information on the ECI please visit www.nuigalway.ie/eci, and if you wish to attend the ECI Research Open Day please contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer at the ECI, at sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie or on 091 495061. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Expert Appointed as Senior Fellow by the UK's Higher Education Academ

NUI Galway Expert Appointed as Senior Fellow by the UK's Higher Education Academ-image

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Higher Education Academy, a prestigious institution in the UK, today (Thursday, 11 June) announced that NUI Galway's Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn has become a Senior Fellow. The Academy's Senior Fellowship awards recognise outstanding champions of teaching and learning in higher education. Dr Mac Labhrainn is the founding Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway. He holds a BSc and PhD in Astrophysics from the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham and was a Lecturer and Reader at the University of the West of Scotland, prior to moving to Ireland in 2002. Professor Paul Ramsden, CEO of the Higher Education Academy, commented: "The experience and expertise of Senior Fellows is highly valued by the Academy. We believe that excellent teaching should be recognised and rewarded in the sector - good teaching is one of the most important aspects of the student experience. As an organisation we also benefit greatly from the input of our Senior Fellows into various aspects of our work". The announcement by the Higher Education Academy coincided with the opening of NUI Galway's 7th Annual Symposium on Higher Education which is hosted by CELT and runs until Friday, 12 June. Speaking at the opening of the conference, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "As demonstrated by this event's agenda, teaching at higher level is an ever changing and evolving practice. The way we engage with our students and assess their performance is an ongoing and developing process, in Ireland and internationally. Today, we must also congratulate Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn who has been announced as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. This award recognises the reputation for innovation and dynamism which NUI Galway's Center for Learning and Teaching has gained under Iain's stewardship". Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Dr Mac Labhrainn's interests include the civic role of higher education, the use of learning technologies in addressing issues of intellectual engagement and higher education policy in general. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Announce Honorary Doctorates 2009

NUI Galway Announce Honorary Doctorates 2009-image

Thursday, 11 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway has announced the five graduands to be conferred with Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June 2009. Liam Connellan has had a deep involvement in the engineering profession for over forty years and has served as President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; was a founding member of the Irish Academy of Engineering and has served as President of the Academy. He also served as the first Chairman of the National Roads Authority from 1994 to 2001, and was President of the Royal Dublin Society from 1995 to1998. Liam has been Chairman of companies within the Veolia Environment Group in Ireland and is Chairman of the Energy Institute in the Republic of Ireland. He is a member of the Board of the Peter McVerry Trust which assists homeless young people. Pádraic MacKernan joined the Department of External Affairs in 1964. He was Vice-Consul of Ireland in Boston from 1965 to 1968 and Deputy Consul-General in New York from 1968 to 1974. Pádraic was successively Counsellor, Assistant Secretary and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and a regular member of the Irish Delegation to the United Nations until his appointment as Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Mexico in 1985. Pádraic was appointed Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels in 1991 and returned to Dublin as Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1995. He became Ambassador to France in 2001, a post he held until his retirement in 2005. Anna Ó Coinne is a local business woman who has led the growth of Galway and District Business and Professional Women's Club and was elected President of Club in 1996. Along with her husband Liam, she formed Connaught Security Group Limited in 1978. This business became the largest privately owned security organisation in Ireland and was sold to Chubb in 1999. From 1996 to 2006 Anna served two terms as a director of Galway Harbour Company. In 1989 she became involved in raising funds to finance research into Breast Cancer being pioneered by Professor Fred Given at the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) in Galway. Working with a voluntary group, Anna became chairperson of the Finance and Planning Committee of the NBCRI. This fund raising group has raised over €12 million for the NBCRI. These funds are uniquely focussed on research and education in breast cancer with a strong emphasis on improved patient outcomes. During 2010 the Institute will move to a new purpose built Translational Research Centre being constructed by NUI Galway on the grounds of University College Hospital. This project is being financed by major philanthropic donations and includes a major contribution from NBCRI. Professor Philip O'Leary is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts where he is currently Professor of English on the Irish Studies Program at Boston College. He has directed the Boston College / Abbey Theatre Summer Program in Dublin, and from 1991 to 2005 he directed the College's MA program in Irish literature and culture. Professor O'Leary has been an Andrew J. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard, an Irish-American Cultural Institute Fellow at NUI Galway, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to dozens of articles and reviews on Irish literature from the medieval period to the present, he has written numerous books and won many awards on the topic. Brian Joyce began his business training with Ford UK before returning to Ireland to hold senior accounting positions with RTÉ and Bord Bainne. From 1978, for eleven years, he was Managing Director of the Irish Dairy Board. In 1989, Mr Joyce retired from full-time executive work and developed a portfolio of Directorships and Chairmanships on the boards of some of Ireland's best known companies. In addition to his non-executive roles, Brian is presently Chairman of Clancourt Holdings and a director of Kingspan. He is a Fellow and former President of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Commenting on the announcement of this year s graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history, and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Their contributions in many spheres – engineering, business, public service, philanthropy and education – have been outstanding, and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Céimeanna Dochtúireachta Oinigh 2009 OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Tá ainmneacha an chúigir a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh 2009 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh. Tá breis agus 40 bliain caite ag Liam Connellan ag plé le gairm na hinnealtóireachta agus i rith an ama sin ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann; bhí sé i measc bhunaitheoirí Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann agus chomh maith leis sin chaith sé seal ag feidhmiú mar Uachtarán ar Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann. Ba é an chéad Chathaoirleach é a ceapadh ar an Údarás um Bóithre Náisiúnta idir 1994 agus 2001, agus ba é a bhí ina Uachtarán ar Chumann Ríoga Bhaile Átha Cliath idir 1995 agus 1998. D'oibrigh sé mar Chathaoirleach ar chuideachtaí éagsúla sa Veolia Environment Group in Éirinn agus tá sé ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar an Institiúid Fuinnimh i bPoblacht na hÉireann faoi láthair. Is ball é de Bhord Iontaobhas Peter McVerry a chabhraíonn le daoine óga atá gan dídean. Chuir Pádraic MacKernan tús lena shaol oibre sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha i 1964. D'oibrigh sé mar Leaschonsal na hÉireann i mBostún idir 1965 agus 1968 agus mar Leaschonsal-Ginearálta i Nua-Eabhrac idir 1968 agus 1974. Áirítear i measc na ról a bhí ag Pádraic sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha Comhairleoir, Rúnaí Cúnta agus Stiúrthóir Polaitiúil agus bhí sé ina bhall rialta de Thoscaireacht na hÉireann chun na Náisiún Aontaithe go dtí gur ceapadh mar Ambasadóir na hÉireann do na Stáit Aontaithe agus do Mheicsiceo é i 1985. Sa bhliain 1991 ceapadh Pádraic mar Bhuan-Ionadaí an Aontais Eorpaigh sa Bhruiséil agus i 1995 d'fhill sé ar Bhaile Átha Cliath mar Ard-Rúnaí sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Ceapadh é mar Ambasadóir na Fraince in 2001, post a bhí aige go dtí go ndeachaigh sé ar scor in 2005. Bean ghnó áitiúil í Anna Ó Coinne a raibh an-bhaint aici le fás agus le forbairt Chlub Ban Gnó agus Gairmiúil Dhúiche na Gaillimhe agus toghadh í mar Uachtarán ar an gClub i 1996. Bhunaigh Anna agus a fear céile, Liam, Connaught Security Group Limited i 1978. Tháinig fás agus forbairt ar an ngnó agus ba é an eagraíocht slándála ba mhó faoi úinéireacht phríobháideach in Éirinn a bhí ann ag tráth amháin. Díoladh an chuideachta le Chubb i 1999. Idir 1996 agus 2006 chaith Anna dhá théarma mar stiúrthóir ar an Galway Harbour Company. Sa bhliain 1989 thosaigh sí ag bailiú airgid chun an taighde a bhí ar bun ag an Ollamh Fred Given ar Ailse Chíche san Institiúid Taighde Náisiúnta ar Ailse Chíche (NBCRI) a mhaoiniú. Le linn di a bheith ag obair le grúpa deonach, ceapadh í ina Cathaoirleach ar Choiste Airgeadais agus Pleanála NBCRI. Tá breis agus €12 milliún bailithe ag an ngrúpa seo don NBCRI. Úsáidtear an t-airgead ar fad a bhailítear ar mhaithe le taighde agus le hoideachas sa réimse ailse chíche agus cuirtear béim faoi leith ar réitigh níos fearr a aimsiú d'othair. Am éigin i rith 2010 bunófar an Institiúid in Ionad Taighde Aistritheach nua atá á thógáil ag OÉ Gaillimh i láthair na huaire ar thailte Ospidéal Choláiste na hOllscoile. Tá an tionscadal seo á mhaoiniú trí shíntiúis dhaonchairdiúla agus trí infheistíocht shuntasach ón NBCRI féin. Fear de bhunadh Worcester, Massachusetts é an tOllamh Philip O'Leary áit a bhfuil sé ag obair mar Ollamh le Béarla ar Chlár Léann na hÉireann in Boston College. D'oibrigh sé mar stiúrthóir ar Chlár Samhraidh Boston College / Amharclann na Mainistreach i mBaile Átha Cliath, agus idir 1991 agus 2005 ba é a stiúir clár MA i Litríocht agus i gCultúr na hÉireann in Boston College. Ceapadh é mar Chomhalta Dáimhe Andrew J. Mellon i Roinn na dTeangacha Ceilteacha agus na Litríochtaí i Harvard, Comhalta Institiúide Cultúrtha Éireannach-Meiriceánach in OÉ Gaillimh, agus Ollamh Léannta ar Cuairt le Teanga agus le Litríocht na hÉireann in Ollscoil Notre Dame. Le cois an iliomad alt agus léirmheasanna atá scríofa aige faoi litríocht na hÉireann, idir ré na meánaoise agus an t-am i láthair, tá neart leabhar scríofa aige agus neart duaiseanna faighte aige freisin. Chuir Brian Joyce tús lena oiliúint ghnó le Ford UK sular fhill sé ar Éirinn áit ar ghlac sé le poist chuntasaíochta shinsearacha le RTÉ agus leis an mBord Bainne. Chaith sé 11 bhliain ó 1978 i leith ag obair mar Stiúrthóir Bainistíochta an Bhoird Bainne. Sa bhliain 1989, d'éirigh an tUasal Joyce as an obair feidhmiúcháin lánaimseartha a bhí ar bun aige agus d'fhorbair sé portfóilió Stiúrthóireachtaí agus Cathaoirleachtaí ar bhoird cuid de na cuideachtaí is mó cáil in Éirinn. Le cois na ról neamhfheidhmiúcháin a bhí aige, tá Brian anois ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar Clancourt Holdings agus mar Stiúrthóir ar Kingspan. Is Comhalta agus iar-Uachtarán ar Institiúid Chairte na gCuntasóirí Bainistíochta é Brian freisin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna oinigh bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth le blianta fada anuas, agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad an cúigear atá roghnaithe i mbliana. Tá an t-uafás oibre déanta acu san iliomad réimsí – innealtóireacht, gnó, seirbhís phoiblí, daonchairdeas agus oideachas – agus cúis áthais dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag na daoine seo". -Críoch

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