Director General for Research at the European Commission Begins Tour of Irish Un

Director General for Research at the European Commission Begins Tour of Irish Un-image

Monday, 7 September 2009

José Manuel Silva Rodríguez, Director General for Research at the European Commission, begins a tour of Irish universities at NUI Galway today (Monday, 7 September). The Director General develops EU policy in the field of research and technological development, helps coordinate research activities and promotes understanding of the role of the sciences. Speaking at a welcome reception in Galway last night, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "As the Lisbon referendum debate gathers momentum in Ireland, it is important to recognise the significant contribution which EU programmes have made to Irish universities. EU support has enabled universities such as NUI Galway to develop and to achieve world-class research standards. This investment has transformed the Irish research landscape, and has enabled Ireland to play a key role in developing Europe's research-intensive smart economy". This represents another strong reason for a Yes Vote in the forthcoming Lisbon Referendum. Director General Rodríguez was confident of the future relationship between his office and Ireland's education institutions, explaining the purpose of his visit: "Over the last five years, European research and technology policy has come of age. By bringing together the research community, industry and policy-makers, it promotes scientific excellence and addresses the fragmentation and duplication in European research that leads to wasted resources, ground lost to our global competitors and a sub-optimal impact on economic growth and job creation. Making a genuine European research area come true is now a unanimously agreed objective that features high on the political agenda". He continued: "European citizens believe in science as a tool of progress, and support a more cooperative European approach to science and technology policy. Pooling brains and resources is key to make the EU competitive globally: we are more intelligent together than on our own. Ireland has a strong scientific expertise in many areas on which your country is building and developing its research capacity. Irish research centres and enterprises already benefit from EU funding. They have joined or established research partnerships and submitted ambitious research projects. Participating in an EU-funded project opens doors and brings you knowledge, training, partners etc. This is key for your research and your development". Dr Browne added: "Much of our current research strength can be attributed to the major investment over many decades of EU research funding. Over the lifetime of Framework Programmes 5, 6 and to date in Framework 7, NUI Galway has received almost €55 million of research funding – the vast majority through the Directorate General for Research. We hope to build on this success through our Strategy for Research, which focuses on clearly identified themes based on national and regional needs, as well as institutional knowledge strengths". Director General Rodríguez will travel onto Dublin on Tuesday. -ends-

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NUI Galway Launches its Arts in Action Programme

NUI Galway Launches its Arts in Action Programme-image

Thursday, 3 September 2009

NUI Galway today (3 September 2009) launched its new and extended Arts in Action Programme, which invites students to engage with the creative arts during their studies. Aimed at all students across the campus, Arts in Action offers access to a variety of international-standard arts events throughout the academic year. Among the highlights this year will be a workshop performance by the highly respected, Irish singer-songwriter, David Kitt. The programme also includes the multi-award winning theatre production, Stones in his Pocket by Marie Jones and a screening of the silent movie The Goldrush by Charlie Chaplin with live accompaniment from the Italian quartet Gatto Marte. In 2010, Arts in Action will feature a Traditional Arts concert with Máirtín O'Connor and Frankie Gavin, an illustrated lecture on Music Therapy, and an international Jazz concert featuring the UK's Portico. Mary McPartlan, Director of the Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway, explains: "Established in 2006, Arts in Action is an original and unique programme which has become part of the University's extra curricular activities. The programme provides the best possible opportunity for students to experience the creative arts in an academic setting. This initiative is extremely important at a time when many efforts are being made to develop new audiences for the creative arts". The programme is part of NUI Galway's commitment to provide its students with access to new opportunities and positive life-enhancing experiences beyond the classroom. The Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, explains: "NUI Galway offers a unique student experience, and we are keen to ensure that our students receive a holistic education. The Arts in Action Programme gives students across the University the opportunity to experience drama, film, music and the visual arts. This artistic endeavour complements all that we offer students through our extensive sports facilities, vibrant societies and ALIVE volunteering programme". -ends-

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October 2009

New Book on Franco-Irish Connections

New Book on Franco-Irish Connections -image

Friday, 30 October 2009

His Excellency the French Ambassador, M. Yvon Roé d'Albert, has launched a new book on Franco-Irish connections in the Royal Irish Academy. Edited by Professor Jane Conroy, School of Languages, Literature and Cultures, NUI Galway, this series of essays, studies and other contributions celebrates Pierre Joannon who is well known as one of the main mediators of knowledge of Irish matters in France and co-founder of Études Irlandaises, the most respected scholarly journal of Irish studies there. According to one commentator "This is a superbly edited series of stellar contributions in honour of one man to whom the whole island of Ireland deserves an enormous debt of gratitude". The contributors to Franco-Irish Connection Essays, memoirs and poems in honour of Pierre Joannon include: Kingsley Aikins (CEO, The Ireland Funds); Professsor Tom Bartlett (University of Aberdeen); John Bruton (former Taoiseach); Professor Jane Conroy (School of Languages, Literature and Cultures, NUI Galway); Denis Corboy (Director, Caucasus Policy Institute); Professor Emeritus Louis Cullen (TCD); Michel Deon (Académie Française); Sean Donlon (Former Irish Ambassador to US); Garret FitzGerald (former Taoiseach); Jacqueline Genet (Honorary President, Caen University); Frederic Grasset (former French Ambassador to Ireland); Alice Harrison; Maurice Hayes (Chairman, National Forum on Europe); Seamus Heaney (poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature); John Hume (politician, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize); Professor Richard Kearney (Boston College); Brendan Kennelly (poet); Professor Dermot Keogh (UCC); Sylvie Kleinman (TCD); Louis le Brocquy (painter); Professor J.J. Lee (NYU); Michael Lillis; Anne Madden (artist—one of whose oil paintings forms the cover); Jane McKee (University of Ulster); Lara Marlowe (former Paris correspondent for the Irish Times); John Montague (poet); Professor Grace Neville (UCC); Senator David Norris; Patrick O Connor (former Irish Ambassador to France); Professor Eunan O Halpin (TCD); Seamus Smith (former Irish film censor); Professor Ben Tonra (UCD); Professor Kevin Whelan (University of Notre Dame); and C. J. Woods (historian). The book is published by Four Courts Press. -ends-

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South African Freedom Fighter to Visit NUI Galway

South African Freedom Fighter to Visit NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, will host a special guest lecture by Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa on Monday, 2 November. Justice Sachs' talk 'Paved with More than Good Intentions: from Port Elizabeth via Modderklip to 51 Olivia Road' will analyse historic evictions and land laws from the Constitutional Court of South Africa. As a young Jewish man in South Africa, Sachs worked as an attorney and has been a leader in the struggle for human rights in South Africa for over 40 years. He is well known for being a freedom fighter in the African National Congress. The author of numerous books on issues of gender, law and human rights, he was twice detained without trial by the security police under the Apartheid regime. In 1966 Justice Sachs went into exile, spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England. In 1988, he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo, Mozambique, by South African security agents, losing an arm and the sight in one eye. After recovering from the bomb he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. While in exile during the 1980s, he helped draft the Constitutional Court of South Africa s Code of Conduct and its statutes. In 1990 he returned home and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC took an active part in the negotiations, which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court. Dr Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, comments: "The debt that South Africa, and the world, owes to Justice Albie Sachs is immense. As a political activist against apartheid he paid the price by being detained, exiled and losing an arm and an eye when the security police bombed his car. As an academic he was one of the architects of South Africa's independence, especially in drafting the much-acclaimed Bill of Rights, and as a constitutional advisor to the ANC. As a jurist he is one of the eminent voices of an internationally renowned Constitutional Court tasked with the establishment of jurisprudence that resonated with the core values of freedom, equality and dignity in a deeply divided country. This is a rare occasion to listen to one of the first-hand experts on human rights law in the world". Justice Sachs' new book by Oxford University Press, The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law provides deep insights into the way in which judging takes place. It has already become prescribed reading at two European institutions dealing with the study of human rights. The free public event takes place on Monday, 2 November, at 12.30pm in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. -ends-

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NUI Galway Receives Award under US-Ireland Research Programme

NUI Galway Receives Award under US-Ireland Research Programme-image

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dr Brian Ward from NUI Galway's School of Physics has been recognised for his success under the US-Ireland Research & Development Partnership Programme at an event hosted by the US Ambassador to Ireland in Dublin. The event saw Minister for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary gather with Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning Sir Reg Empey and US Ambassador Dan Rooney to announce the partnerships on behalf of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership. The US-Ireland R & D Partnership was established to develop innovations leading to economic development and improvements in health promotion and disease prevention by bringing together expertise from academic institutes in the US, Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is led by a steering group of senior representatives from each jurisdiction, with InterTrade Ireland providing the secretariat for the group on the island of Ireland. Dr Ward's award for €463,058, the first under this initiative, was funded along with collaborators from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from Massachussetts and Queens University Belfast. The partnership project is entitled Development of a Greenhouse Gas Ocean-Atmosphere Flux Sensor with MEMS-based Photoacoustic Technology. It will develop sensor technology to improve quantification of oceanic uptake of greenhouse gases, which is one of the biggest issues surrounding global climate change. US Ambassador Dan Rooney welcomed these partnerships, saying: "These successful projects have come through a US review process that is the international gold standard for research excellence. This clearly demonstrates the high quality of advanced research across the island of Ireland and adds greatly to its reputation as a centre of innovation that can compete on an international stage". Minister for Labour Affairs, Dara Calleary said: "We see the US-Ireland R&D Partnership as an important mechanism for achieving high growth and helping bring about the economic regeneration of the island". The partners from Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the US received funding respectively from Science Foundation Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, and the National Science Foundation. Details of the other projects supported to date can be found at www.usirelandresearch.com -ends-

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NUI Galway Alumni Group Presents Olympian Olive Loughnane

NUI Galway Alumni Group Presents Olympian Olive Loughnane -image

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The NUI Galway Alumni Group will present Olympian, World Silver Medallist and NUI Galway graduate Olive Loughnane, in conversation with RTÉ Sports Journalist and NUI Galway graduate Evanne Ní Chuilinn. The event will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday, 12 November, in the Staff Club, Quadrangle Building, NUI Galway. This summer, Olive took the silver medal position in the 20K walk at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin – only the fifth ever medal Ireland has won at these championships. Olive finished 49 seconds behind defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Olga Kaniskina of Russia in a season s best of 1hr 28mins 58secs, just over a minute outside her personal best at last year s Olympic Games in Beijing. This interview will give intimate access to Olive's Olympic experience in Beijing in 2008, more recently her success in Berlin this summer, and her plans for the future. The event begins with a reception 6.30pm and all graduates and friends of NUI Galway are welcome. Register online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni by Friday, 7 November. For further information please contact Colm O'Dwyer at alumni@nuigalway.ie or 091 493750. -ends-

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NUI Galway Calls for Business to Participate in New City Project

NUI Galway Calls for Business to Participate in New City Project-image

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

NUI Galway's School of Geography, in partnership with Galway City Council, is looking to gather information on green businesses and eco-buildings around Galway City for a new project, Galway Green Map. The Green Map is a locally produced chart which identifies, promotes and links environmental, social, and cultural amenities within a specific area. Dr Frances Fahy, School of Geography, NUI Galway, explains the Green Map concept: "In 2007, Galway became a member of the Green Map System, a non-profit organisation which provides a locally flexible, but globally shared framework for environmental mapmaking. These maps typically show green areas, cycle paths, green businesses, organic markets, quiet spots in the city, interesting walking routes and the cultural sites that make an area unique. Creating a Green Map for Galway is an opportunity to identify and celebrate the City's green credentials". A Youth Green Map and a wider Community Green Map have already been produced for the Galway City and are currently available at www.galwaygreenmap.ie. These maps represent a holistic representation of the places and things that people value in their communities. The Galway Green Map project was initially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and partly organised by researchers in the School of Geography, NUI Galway, members of the City Council and the citizens of Galway City. Those interested in putting their business on the map, should contact Dr Frances Fahy, NUI Galway at 091 492315, frances.fahy@nuigalway.ie, or Sharon Carroll at 091 536564, sharon.carroll@galwaycity.ie. Please include the name, location and a brief note describing the business and why it should be on the Green Map of Galway. -ends-

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NUI Galway Leads UNESCO Study to learn from Youth in Zambia

NUI Galway Leads UNESCO Study to learn from Youth in Zambia-image

Friday, 23 October 2009

The UNESCO Child, Youth and Civic Engagement team, based at the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, is to partake in an international collaborative research project regarding civic engagement, youth and gender in Zambia. The research project will see NUI Galway partner with the University of Zambia, the Alan Kerins African Projects and the Lifestart Project Mazabuka, Zambia. The aim is to progress a participatory research project to form a holistic picture of civic engagement opportunities provided by communities in rural and urban settings in Zambia. NUI Galway's Sheila McArdle, a Research Fellow, will travel to Zambia at the end of October to undertake fieldwork. Over a seven month period, she will gather the perspectives of young people aged 12-14 years of age, parents and guardians, and representatives of statutory and non-statutory organisations. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, said: "Just as we seek ways to support vulnerable children and youth in Irish society, similarly, we have much to learn from youth and girls in particular in urban and rural Zambia – all with a view to their civic engagement, safety and mental wellbeing". This project in Zambia will contribute to the fulfilment of the UNESCO Chair's overall strategy, fitting in under the research strand, but designed to compliment the work of the other three strands, advocacy, teaching and programme development. In addition, the research findings will also be linked into the International Resilience Project, a study that initially worked with 14 communities based in 11 different countries. The International Resilience Project seeks to understand how youth around the world effectively cope with the adversities that they face in life. This knowledge may inform the development of policy to design and create child and family services that are sensitive to cultural difference. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Secure €1.7m in New Starter Investigator Research Awards

NUI Galway Researchers Secure €1.7m in New Starter Investigator Research Awards-image

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Three NUI Galway postgraduate researchers will benefit from the New Starter Investigator Research Awards announced yesterday by the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D.. "It is vital that we have in Ireland the mechanism to keep and attract to Ireland highly skilled, early-stage career researchers," Minister Lenihan said as he announced Government funding of €7.9million under a new Science Foundation Ireland initiative that will help 15 highly-talented researchers at an early stage in their profession to progress towards a fully independent academic research career. NUI Galway Awardees: Dr Kimon-Andreas Karatzas, Microbiology, College of Science Title: Elucidating the Role of g-Aminobutyric Acid Metabolism in Stress Resistance and Virulence of Listeria monocytogenes Synopsis: Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterial causative agent of Listeria, a serious disease associated with significant mortality in humans. The development of disease by L. monocytogenes, the causative agent of Listeria, is thought to involve the novel gene lmo0913, a component of the GABA metabolic pathway. Dr Karatzas proposes to establish the existence of this pathway in the listeria pathogen and elucidate its contribution to acid tolerance and invasion. Dr Hongyun Tai, Network of Excellence for Functional Materials (NFB) Title: Minimally Invasive Tissue Engineering Scaffolds for Repair of the Nucleus Pulposus of an Intervertebral Disc Synopsis: Degenerated intervertebral discs (DIVD), a cause of lower back pain, is associated with significant socioeconomic costs. Therapeutic restoration of degenerated intervertebral discs presents a tissue engineering challenge to develop materials with suitable properties. Dr Tai proposes to optimise and test a candidate material which she has developed as a novel injectable scaffold system to restore damaged discs. Eva Szegezdi, Biochemistry, College of Science Title: Novel ratiometric approach to identify decisive molecular interactions of the TRAIL apoptotic machinery Synopsis: Despite extensive research, the average five year survival rate for the 20 most common cancers is still below 50%. Survival rates of tumours typically detected late (e.g. lung cancer) or difficult to remove by surgery (e.g. brain tumours) are the lowest and have only marginally increased over the last 20 years. Targeting the abnormal molecular pathways with drugs can be the key to eradicate such tumours. Resistance to cancer chemotherapy is a major public health issue with both social and economical effects. Dr Szegezdi's research aims to generate a predictive formula to determine the likelihood of a tumour's ability to respond to particular anti-cancer therapies. Announcing the first SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) awards, Minister Lenihan said: "These 15 outstanding individuals are among the brightest working in Irish laboratories today, and SIRG provides them with the necessary support to enable the transition from team member to independent and accomplished innovator in their respective fields. It will also allow them to recruit 15 postgraduate students". The Minister added: "SIRG is the instrument to ensure that the best trained post doctoral scientists can be both attracted to and retained in Ireland which is central to our overall national aim of building a sustainable world-class research system. SIRG not only provides financial backing but crucially also provides structured support and expert advice to these highly capable early-career researchers as they navigate through this critical period in their careers. The research of these successful awardees will focus on strategic areas such as renewable energy, cancer research, genetics and telecommunications that will benefit both society and the economy," the Minister concluded. The 15 award recipients are based in the following seven Higher Education Institutions: Tyndall National Institute, Cork (4 awards); Trinity College Dublin (4 awards); NUI Galway (3 awards); Dublin Institute of Technology (1 award); University College Cork (1 award); University College Dublin (1 award); and Waterford Institute of Technology (1 award). -Ends-

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Intercultural Health Fair at NUI Galway

Intercultural Health Fair at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 22 October 2009

NUI Galway together with the Galway Refugee Support Group (GRSG) are organising a 2nd Intercultural Health Fair to promote healthy living and equal access to health services among staff, students and all cultural communities living in Galway. The Fair will be held in Áras na Mac Léinn (Bailey Allen Hall), NUI Galway from 12 noon to 3pm on Wednesday, 4 November. Some 50 different health-related organisations will attend to provide information on services available to people living in Galway City and county. Groups in attendance will include the Rape Crisis Network, COPE, Mental Health Ireland, Cancer Care West, Bodywhys and Peer Health Workers for Asylum Seekers. Information on a range of topics will be available including mental health, sexual health and complementary health, as well as fitness, health checks and health screening. Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Officer with Student Services at NUI Galway, explained: "Our goal is to promote healthy living among the Galway community by raising awareness, providing multilingual and intercultural health information to new residents and networking to increase inter-agency referrals and resource and expertise sharing". She also expressed hope "that this event will meet the needs of students, locals and people who have just moved to the area. Personal health is very much about being informed and making the right choices. This is a great opportunity to visit a 'one-stop shop' for health information and to find out about the kinds of services and supports available on your doorstep". For a number of years GRSG has been involved in building the capacity of the refugee and asylum seeker populations to identify and advocate their health needs and concerns as part of a long-term integration strategy. Helen Bartlett, Community Development Worker with GRSG, said: "The Intercultural Health Fair is significant as it will bring together education providers, health service providers, health advocacy organisations and health service users. Many people living locally, especially those new to the area, may be unfamiliar with all the health services and health advocacy organisations available in Galway". This is a free event open to students, staff and the general public. People new to Galway are particularly welcome. There will be language assistants speaking 30 languages present to assist non-English speakers. This event is supported by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative. For further information contact lorraine.tansey@nuigalway.ie or Helen Bartlett at healthfair@grsg.ie -ends-

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