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Shannon Region to become Major Green Energy Hub
Monday, 15 March 2010
Shannon Region to become Major Green Energy Hub with the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley Initiative The University of Limerick (UL), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway), Shannon Development, and Silicon Valley's Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) today announced the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley, a major renewable energy hub in Ireland's Shannon Region. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will create a national hub for Energy research and development, industry and commerce with a view to attracting international investment and generating high-end employment in the region. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the four partners that commits them to delivering a hub of excellence and innovation that will harness the natural resources of the region, as well as its highly skilled workforce and access to top class research and development expertise at UL and NUI Galway. Speaking at the launch of Shannon Energy Valley, which took place at the ITLG conference in Silicon Valley, California, today Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Vice-President Research UL said that the Shannon Energy Valley is the first step on the road towards energy self-sufficiency for Ireland while generating much needed employment opportunities and reducing costs for industry. "The European Wind Energy Association has estimated that the spending on importing energy in Ireland works out at almost €1,000 per annum for every man, woman and child. Ireland is surrounded by natural resources in the form of wind, wave, tidal, solar and local geothermal energy. This is a major opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in energy research while also maximising our resources and in turn creating sustainable green collar jobs." NUI Galway Vice-President for Research, Professor Terry Smith, said: "The Shannon Energy Valley concept seeks to provide a big-picture coherent ecosystem relating to energy. The main research partners, NUI Galway and UL, will combine their research efforts in a coherent way from the outset and will provide a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes right up to PhD level to provide the necessary human capital for the project. NUI Galway introduced a New B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering, integrating energy sources, energy conversion and energy utilisation in 2009, while UL has also commenced its BSc. Energy programme with the first cohort of students due to graduate in 2013. Both Universities have been to the forefront in Technology Transfer in recent years. This formal partnership, however, in the development of an Irish energy hub, in association with the other two partners, is the first major initiative in regional development to flow directly from the Strategic Alliance between NUI Galway and UL launched by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, on 18 February last , a groundbreaking strategy of combining the resources of the two Universities over a wide range of their operations in the interests of both the development of the region and their students". Speaking at the ITLG event, Dr Vincent Cunnane, Chief Executive, Shannon Development, said "The Shannon Energy Valley project brings together public and private sector organisations in a unique initiative that will lead to new opportunities and developments in the energy sector. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will support the development, manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of wind, wave/tidal, biomass, solar, geothermal generation facilities and related infrastructure. A key component of the Shannon Energy Valley will be the development of an Energy and Environment Park which will host demonstrator projects in the area of renewable energy and will serve to showcase projects to ensure public awareness and community engagement." Mr John Hartnett, President and Founder of ITLG, and President and CEO of Silicon Valley based Solar Energy Company, G24 Innovations, said: "This initiative with the partners University of Limerick, NUI Galway, Shannon Development and the ITLG puts Ireland in a optimum position to become a leading innovator and developer of clean technologies". The MOU sets out the objectives of the four-way alliance between the Irish and US bodies as: The creation of a world-class cluster of sustainable energy-related activity to support job creation and business start-ups through national and international investment Reduction of Ireland's carbon footprint, energy generation costs, dependency on fossil fuel imports and helping the country meet environmental and emissions commitments Enhancing Ireland's capability in the sustainable energy sector by attracting world-class R&D energy expertise, realising its commercial benefits and enabling further, advanced R&D activities Growing Ireland's smart economy by developing additional education and training capability at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in specialised energy disciplines. Further information on Shannon Energy Valley at www.shannonenergyvalley.com. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Announce Details of Final Astronomy Lecture
Monday, 15 March 2010
NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy and School of Physics has announced details of the final talk in their series of public Astronomy lectures. This free event will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 24 March, in the McMunn Theatre, Arts and Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, entitled 'The Very High Energy Universe', will be delivered by Dr Mark Lang, Head of the School of Physics at NUI Galway. Dr Lang will describe the latest results from two special telescopes, the VERITAS ground-based telescopes and the NASA s Fermi space telescope. VERITAS is an array of ground-based gamma-ray telescopes located in Southern Arizona. The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is a member of the international collaboration which operates the telescopes. NUI Galway post-graduate students have travelled to Arizona to help build the array and to use it to carry out observations. NASA s Fermi telescope is a space based telescope which can search the entire sky for sources of high energy gamma-radiation every three hours. It detects radiation which has slightly lower energies than that seen by VERITAS. Commenting on the lecture, Dr Lang said: "In the 'ordinary' Universe, stars shine because they are warm and we can see visible light from them with our eyes or through optical telescopes. But there is also an 'extraordinary' Universe in which exotic astrophysical objects produce very high energy radiation that we can detect using special telescopes. Sources include super-massive black holes at the centres of distant galaxies and the remains of nearby massive stars which have exploded as supernovae". The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is part of the Centre for Astronomy and currently consists of Dr Gary Gillanders and Dr Mark Lang and postgraduate researchers Andrea Cesarini, Fr Michael Connolly and Dawn McMorrow. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Students Gobble Gaming Glory with Pac-Man
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Electronic and Computer Engineering students win the XNA Ireland Challenge Colleges Cup Two second-year Electronic and Computer Engineering students from NUI Galway have won the annual XNA Ireland Challenges College Cup, which was held as part of the Games Fleadh event in Tipperary Institute yesterday (10 March, 2010). XNA is a games development platform from Microsoft, who were co-sponsors of the competition. The NUI Galway students, Finn Krewer from Tubber, Co. Clare, and Padraig Meaney from Cloghan, Co. Offaly, won the competition with their updated version of Pac-Man, the thirty-year old classic video game where the object is to gobble as many dots as possible while avoiding the roaming ghosts. Their game was entitled 'Pac-Man Unleashed', and featured four variants on the classic game including a multiplayer version, a limited visibility version, a 'ghost infection' version, and a combination of all three. The winning entry was commended by the judges - representatives from colleges and Irish-based gaming companies including PopCap, Jolt and DemonWare - for "having everything" in terms of coding, design, game play and music. As well as winning the overall award, the students won the individual award for 'Best in Game Play'. According to John Breslin, lecturer in the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway: "Ireland has a thriving computer games industry, as exemplified by Irish success stories such as Havok, DemonWare and Jolt Online. There are also various international gaming companies in Ireland such as PopCap Games and Gala Networks. This industry has huge growth potential in Ireland, and talented students such as Finn and Padraig bode well for its future success". Finn and Padraig are both enrolled in the Electronic and Computer Engineering degree course, a collaborative programme from the Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Information Technology disciplines at NUI Galway. Finn is a past student of Gort Community School, Co. Galway, and Padraig is a past student of Banagher College/Coláiste na Sionna, Co. Offaly. For more information, please visit http://www.eee.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-
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NUI Galway to host Winners of the BT Business of Science &Technology Programm
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Third Level Placements Awarded to Future Business Leaders Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD has awarded third level summer placements to the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The individual winner is Katie O Neill from Dominican College, Wicklow, Hannah Hayes, and Zubair Masod, Julianne O Connell, Seán Ó Rua, Andrej Pacher and Ben Rodgers of the DNA Tracer group won the overall group award. All participating students have received a certificate of achievement. The third level summer placements are organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprise of a one week placement divided between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick and a weeklong placement with University College Dublin. The placements are scheduled for June 2010. The students will be accommodated on campus and given the opportunity to work with some of Ireland's leading scientists and researchers. While the programmes will be tailored to meet their individual interests, they will also be exposed to all branches of science. In addition, the universities have extensive social programmes for the winners. Dr Mark Foley, Vice-Dean for Communication and Strategy in the College of Science and Lecturer in the School of Physics at NUI Galway, remarks: "We were delighted to hear that our joint NUI Galway- UL bid to host the BT Young Scientist winners was successful. This award will allow the winners to participate in our Science Experience Workshop from the 24– 25 June 2010. The students will have a unique opportunity to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across Ireland. This engaging programme will allow students to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students will participate in hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Throughout the programme, attendees will have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines". 2010 was the inaugural year of this pioneering business mentoring programme by BT, which culminated in 53 students presenting real-world case studies to a panel of judges from organisations including Microsoft, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland. Over the course of the programme the participating students have been trained by technology industry executive, Wendy Kennedy, and mentored by leading Irish business executives from organisations such as Bank of Ireland, Bombardier Aerospace, Bord Gáis Éireann, IBM and Intel. Chris Clark, CEO, BT, "We are proud to have worked with such inspirational and progressive leaders in designing and executing the BT Business of Science & Technology programme. Through close collaboration with the mentors and our partners we have produced a programme which, I am confident, has ignited entrepreneurial thinking in our younger generation. " "I would like to thank all the mentors, judges, facilitators, BT volunteers and trainer for making the programme such a great success. I would also like to thank Minister Batt O'Keefe and the HEA for providing these fantastic third level summer placements. I feel the students will benefit greatly from this experience and hopefully inspire their peers to take part in the 2011 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition," he added. The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, said: "The BT Business of Science & Technology programme will inspire students' creativity in business and reinforce the link between education and entrepreneurship. "The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition promotes scientific and technological endeavour among our young people. So it is fitting that, in an age of greater Government-backed collaboration between higher education institutions, BT, the Higher Education Authority and the universities provide experience and practical avenues for our young leaders in science and technology to develop their ideas. "I am pleased this year to be in a position to provide placements in higher education institutions because enhanced interaction between business, higher education and second-level education is essential in meeting the ambitious economic and social development goals that we now set ourselves." Michael Kelly, Chairman, HEA, said "I would like to acknowledge the great contribution that BT has made to these students' education. We feel our strategic objectives, in terms of the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools, are very much aligned with BT and we hope we can continue to work with BT to turn these objectives into reality. The third level summer placements have been designed to maximize the learning experience of these students and following this fantastic opportunity we feel that the winners will be well equipped to enter the business world.' The BT Business of Science & Technology is an additional dimension to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. 53 students from 13 counties were invited to take part in the programme as they were the winners of the intermediate and senior categories, the overall top four performers and the winners of merit. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is open for entries from September 2010. For more information please visit http://www.btyoungscientist.ie. -Ends-
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NUI Galway to host Competence Centre for Bioenergy and Biorefinery
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Recovery boost as Tánaiste announces €56 million research investment for 180 companies in nine transformational Competence Centres Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan T.D. today (10 March, 2010), provided a welcome €56m boost to companies determined to succeed and grow in the Smart Economy. Conceived by her Department as part of the Government's Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Competence Centres are being delivered jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Clusters of companies will work together to overcome common research challenges and drive opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs. The Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining will be based in NUI Galway, and co-hosted by UL and UCD. Bioenergy is energy that is latent in plants and the Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining researchers will focus on ways to convert that energy into useful forms like heat, energy and fuels for transport. According to John Travers of AER Ltd., one of the Irish SMEs involved in the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Centre: "The value of international markets for bioenergy and biorefining is €40 billion and that's growing at 12% each year". There is an opportunity for Ireland to leverage its natural resources as according to Travers, we have some of the highest yields of grass in the world and we have prolific growth of algae and both of these are sustainable raw materials for producing the next generation of bioenergy and biorefining products. Launching the Competence Centres the Tánaiste said: "Today we are marking a departure from the traditional approach to R&D in favour of a collaborative system where companies that might ordinarily be competitors agree to share knowledge, risk and the rewards of pooling their research resources. The Competence Centres initiative offers Ireland the opportunity to excel in nine key sectors. These industry-led centres will convert the research undertaken into new products and services, leading to growth in export markets and jobs in Ireland". There will be 180 SMEs and multinational companies involved in nine centres, five of which are now established. Those established cover Bioenergy & Biorefining, IT Innovation, Applied Nanotechnology, Composite Materials and Microelectronics. Four more – Manufacturing Productivity, Energy Efficiency, Financial Services and E-learning - are at different stages of completion. Each centre will be based in a University with support from partner Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to deliver on the research needs of the companies. Enterprise Ireland has already ring-fenced €32 million in funding for the initial five centres and it anticipates investing a further €24 million over the next five years across the nine centres. Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland said: "These centres are a radical step in enabling companies in Ireland to achieve the kind of transformational change that is required to re-boot our economy. We have chosen an industry-led Competence Centre model in partnership with IDA Ireland, as it is regarded as the most sophisticated R&D vehicle that currently exists internationally. The centres will dramatically increase the amount of intellectual property available to Irish companies that they might otherwise never get access to". Speaking about the benefits of participation to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies that are involved, Barry O'Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said: "Companies like Intel, Xilinx, Pfizer and Microsoft are engaged in these Competence Centres so they can access the collective expertise of Ireland's top Universities and work with Irish SMEs in partnership. This sort of collaboration is charting the direction of Ireland's Smart Economy and is a hugely welcome development amongst the FDI community here that rely so heavily on the generation of new products and services from research". There are currently six Universities involved: NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, UCD, UL, TCD (CRANN) and UCC (Tyndall) and more HEIs are expected to join. One of the key benefits to the HEIs involved is that they get access to industry and the real problems that they are facing. This will assist the HEIs to align their research agendas with what industry is looking for. The Competence Centres are expected to generate real impacts within five years including: Actively collaborating with a community of over 180 companies; Transferring at least 80 pieces of commercially viable intellectual property in the form of technology licences; Over 60 engineers and scientists directly employed in the centres working on industrially relevant research; A further 60-80 industry personnel working on centre research projects, maintaining the centre's market focus and driving a culture of innovation; Greater levels of R&D activity in Irish companies and overseas companies based in Ireland. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Sees Dramatic Rise in Demand for Places for Second Consecutive Year
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
CAO Preferences for NUI Galway up 7.1% Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) today show another dramatic rise in demand for places at NUI Galway. First preference applications for undergraduate degrees at NUI Galway are up over 7% on last year, reflecting a substantial rise of more than 15% since 2008. With demand for places so high, NUI Galway will hold a Spring Open Day on Saturday, 24 April, for prospective students and their parents. Almost 3,000 people attended the event last year, which is designed to give a real insight in to university life and career options. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, commented on the rising demand to study at the University: "We are seeing a phenomenal demand for places at NUI Galway. This is driven in part by the 20 new undergraduate courses which we have brought on stream over the last three years. There are also a range of new sports, arts and academic facilities on our state-of-the art campus. Another critical factor in attracting applicants is the University's commitment to providing our students with a learning experience that has relevance for the real world". Newer courses at NUI Galway include the extremely popular Energy Engineering, which was developed in direct response to calls from the energy sector for more energy engineers with the right combination of skills. Also popular is the new Engineering Innovation degree, combining traditional electronic engineering with business and entrepreneurship. The University also offers a Sports and Exercise Engineering degree, which is the first of its kind available in Ireland. NUI Galway has now brought eight BA Connect degrees on-stream, in a radical departure from traditional Arts degrees. These four-year degrees are designed to increase the employability of graduates by developing distinctive skills and creating connections with life beyond the campus. This year, a new BA Connect degree with Latin American Studies is also listed on the CAO form, alongside the existing BA Connect programmes with either Children s Studies, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Human Rights, Irish Studies, Women s Studies or Theatre and Performance. At present, NUI Galway is the only Irish university offering a denominated degree in marine science and it now has the highest concentration of marine scientists of any institution in Ireland. This degree also offers training on board national training vessels in the third year of study. NUI Galway is also offering the first Podiatry degree in Ireland, which will train healthcare professionals who specialises in the medicine of the foot and leg. For further details on the upcoming Open Day visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/open-days/. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Marks International Women's Day
Monday, 8 March 2010
NUI Galway will mark International Women's Day on Friday, 12 March with a public talk by Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, at the University of East London. The free talk takes place at 2.30pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway and is followed by a reception. An expert in gender, nationalism, racism and identity Professor Yuval-Davis's talk is called 'Intersectionality in Transversal Politics'. According to Dr Nata Duvvury, Co-Director of Global Women s Studies at NUI Galway: "International Women s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women - past, present and future. It is important that we mark this important global occasion". Professor Yuval-Davis's talk will prove of interest to anyone working or studying in the areas of nationalism, gender, multiculturalism, racism and identity issues. As March is Women's History Month, NUI Galway's Global Women's Studies Programme and the Gender Research Cluster in the University's School of Political Science and Sociology, has organised two further free public talks. On 18 March, at 6pm, the guest speaker will be Professor Naila Kabeer, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies Sussex. Professor Kabeer is one of the world's leading feminist economists and her discussion will focus on 'Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy: Reconfigurations of Social and Economic Life'. On 14 April, at 6pm, Professor Naomi Goldenberg of the University of Ottawa, Canada, will speak about 'Gender and the Vestigial State of Religion'. A professor of Classics and Religious Studies, Professor Goldenberg is the author of the seminal work, The Changing of the Gods (1979). For further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/wsc/ or contact Gillian Browne on 091 49 3450 or firstname.lastname@example.org. -ends-
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NUI Galway End 30 Year Wait for Fitzgibbon Cup
Monday, 8 March 2010
NUI Galway 1-17 Waterford IT 1–16 (After extra- time) NUI Galway hurlers ended a 30 year wait this weekend for the return of the Fitzgibbon Cup after a sensational win against WIT in extra-time in Pearse Stadium. Hosting the event, NUI Galway battled hard to beat the Waterford side by a single point in their second extra-time in two days. The winning point by Clare hurler John Conlon in the 82nd minute secured the long awaited win for the local side. Friday's semi-final clash against Limerick IT, which was held in Dangan, saw the Galway students dig deep to overturn the favourites in a dramatic finish which also went to extra-time with a scoreline of 1-24 to 1-23. John Lee, Galway hurler and final medicine student at NUI Galway was particularly thrilled with the win having fought for six years to get his hands on the Fitzgibbon Cup. "I've been here for six years trying to win it, lost three semi-finals before this and one final. We were nine points down at one stage today and it looked impossible to get back. I was struggling myself to get into it but some of the lads showed unbelievable character. That's the thing about this team and they've shown it all year. "I'm delighted for selector and former head of Sport, Tony Regan as well, that was a big incentive for us today to win it, and he's given so much to hurling at NUI Galway. Whenever you go into the NUI Galway Sports Centre he'd make you read the plaque listing past NUI Galway winning teams with the likes of Joe Connolly and Conor Hayes. It's great Tony now finally has a reason to put us on it. After more than 30 years involved, this is his retirement present". -Ends-
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NUI Galway Announces New €10 million 'Lifecycle Institute'
Thursday, 4 March 2010
The Lifecycle Institute, a major new €10 million initiative in the social sciences at NUI Galway, was announced by the University today (4 March, 2010). Funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Lifecycle Institute will advance an integrated approach to policy and services research for older people, children and families, and people with disabilities. Comprising a multidisciplinary facility in a state of the art new building, the Lifecycle Institute will integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway – the Child and Family Research Centre, the Disability Law and Policy Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Lifecycle Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration across research, teaching and training programmes – while retaining each centre's distinct identity. Conceptually, the Lifecycle Institute marks an innovative approach in the social sciences by establishing the lifecycle as the key framework of reference for understanding existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society. The aim of the Lifecycle Institute will be to impact positively on future policies for children, families, people with disabilities and older people. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The development of the Lifecycle Institute at NUI Galway reflects a shared commitment by researchers to work towards effective change in the lives of vulnerable populations. This will, we hope, lead to improved outcomes for children, families, older people and people with disabilities by influencing policy and decision making, whether emanating from the Irish Government, the EU or the UN". Operationally, the co-location of the three constituent centres will reflect a unique way of working that facilitates collaboration across disciplines and the sharing of resources, skills and perspectives. The Lifecycle Institute will also feature community engagement facilities which will forge links with stakeholders including statutory, voluntary and community organisations and their service users. Consultation with service users, whether they be children and young people, older people or people with disabilities, will be a strategic goal to advance research. Dr James J. Browne, added: "This is a major advancement in the field of social sciences in Ireland. The Lifecycle Institute has a vision which is to contribute theoretical, scientific and practical awareness of human capacity and potential. With this new institute, we are taking a holistic approach to research, education and policy development covering the life-span of every individual. Long-term, I see the Lifecycle Institute developing the next generation of policy entrepreneurs and advocates in the fields of ageing, children and families, and disabilities". -ends-
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IMDA/NUI Galway Collaboration Explores Ways to Enhance Operational Efficiency
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), a business sector within IBEC, and NUI Galway's Applied Optics group, today hosted a seminar that focused the practical ways that optics can deliver scientific and technology solutions that enhance medical technology industry operations in Ireland. Speaking at the seminar, Sharon Higgins, director of IMDA said: "The medical technology sector in Ireland continues to grow. Exports of medical device and diagnostic products during the first three quarters of 2009 increased by more than 14% over the same period in 2008. This confirms Ireland as the second largest exporter of medical products in Europe, second only to Germany. The sector employs over 24,000 people, the highest per capita in Europe. Companies have adapted very successfully to changing economic circumstances, enhancing all aspects of their business models from R&D to manufacturing and commercialisation. "Our ability to engage with the academic and clinical community is critical to future growth. This collaboration with NUI Galway's Applied Optics group in developing today s programme will undoubtedly provide industry with opportunities to develop new ideas and contacts for the future." Keynote speaker at the event, Dr Alexander Knitsch, senior manager of international sales at TRUMPF Laser -und Systemtechnik GmbH Germany, applauded the IMDA and NUI Galway for their partnership. He said: "Optics is one of the key enabling technologies used to enhance medical device manufacturing and quality assurance processes. Ireland has a strong industry cluster and an internationally renowned optics group in NUI Galway. Together, I have no doubt that they will lead in adapting and developing these technologies to significantly enhance efficiencies." Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the opportunity to engage with industry, saying: "Our Applied Optics group focuses on addressing the needs of industry and transferring research outcomes from the lab bench to the market." -Ends-
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