All 2004

Tánaiste unveils new Observatory at NUI Galway

Tánaiste unveils new Observatory at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 26 January 2004

An Tánaiste, Mary Harney T.D., officially opened the Imbusch Observatory in NUI Galway today (26 January). The fully-fitted observatory provides exciting opportunities for students of the B.Sc in Physics and Astronomy programme, to carry out project work using the latest observational equipment. While in NUI Galway, the Tánaiste will also discuss the proposed new Engineering facility at the University. Speaking at the opening the Tánaiste restated the strategic importance of continued investment in science, engineering and technology. "The importance of a vibrant Irish third level education sector cannot be overemphasised in our quest to make Ireland a secure, knowledge based economy. Knowledge, know-how and an educated skills base are imperative for successful industrial and technological development". "I am confident, from what I have seen here today, that this new observatory, and the innovative Physics and Astronomy degree course will assist in attracting the best and brightest students to Galway", the Tánaiste added. Professor Michael Redfern of NUI Galway's Department of Experimental Physics says that the observatory will add an important dimension to the study of astronomy. "For instance, students will now be able to make observations of the transits of a planet orbiting a distant star, a so-called 'exo-planet," he said. In order to stimulate interest in astronomy, Professor Redfern added that secondary school students would also be encouraged to visit the observatory to experience the excitement of astronomy first-hand. In addition to a telescope, the observatory is equipped with a fiber-fed spectrometer, a photo-counting photometer and a 3m radio telescope, which will be used in a project to map the distribution of matter in our galaxy and to 'weigh' our galaxy. Students of physics and astronomy acquire a high level of mathematical, computational and problem-solving skills which are in demand across a wide range of careers. In recognition of this, the introduction of a perpetual prize for the best project in Physics and Astronomy, sponsored by Agilent Technologies Ltd. Dublin, will also be announced at today's event. The observatory is dedicated to Professor George F. Imbusch, recently retired Professor of Experimental Physics in NUI Galway, a great astronomy enthusiast, who has been instrumental in facilitating the development of the subject at undergraduate and at research level in the University. Ends/

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Irish Cultural Centre in Paris commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth o

Irish Cultural Centre in Paris commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth o-image

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

Human Rights expert, Professor William Schabas, NUI Galway, debates the universal abolition of the death penalty The Irish Cultural Centre in Paris will host a series of debates and events from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 January 2004, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth in Paris of Sean MacBride, human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and one of the earliest Presidents of Amnesty International. A two-day conference on the abolition of capital punishment (MacBride s own father was executed for his participation in the Easter Rebellion), will take place on Thursday 22 January and Friday 23 January. The conference, entitled "Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty," will be addressed by Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway and author of The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law. "It is appalling that the United States and China continue to practice capital punishment, without even respecting recognised international norms", said Professor William Schabas. "In the United States, for example, juveniles continue to be executed and threatened with capital punishment. In both countries, trials do not respect the high standards that must be honoured when human life is at stake." A substantial majority of the world s countries have now abolished the death penalty. According to the latest UN figures, approximately 123 countries have abolished capital punishment, while about 70 still retain it (although most of these use it only very occasionally). The statistics indicate a dramatic shift in recent decades, and the trend to abolition appears likely to continue. The death penalty has been ruled out for prosecution by the International Criminal Court, for example. Even Iraq has suspended use of the death penalty, the result of pressure from the United Kingdom, which could be held responsible for human rights violations in that country before the European Court of Human Rights. Dr Iognáid G. O Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway will launch the three-day conference. Other speakers include Tom O'Malley, Dean of NUI Galway's Law Faculty and Dr. Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission. The conference is co-organised by The Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Irish Cultural Centre and the Human Rights Centre of the Université de Paris II. The conference will conclude with a morning session on Saturday on MacBride's legacy and his contribution to human rights. Ends

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Entrance Scholarships valued at €55,000 presented at NUI Galway

Entrance Scholarships valued at €55,000 presented at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 16 January 2004

A total of 43 first year students attending NUI Galway will receive Entrance Scholarships, each worth €1,300, at a celebratory function at the University at 5.00 p.m. this evening (16 January) in the Ó hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The recipients are students from 34 schools, representing eleven different counties. They achieved top marks in their Leaving Certificate examination in 2003 and are now studying full-time at NUI Galway. Scholarships are guaranteed to all new entrants who reach 560 points (or 575 in Engineering and 590 in Medicine and Health Sciences). Nine of the scholars achieved the maximum score of 600 points. NUI Galway has awarded Entrance Scholarships over the past number of years. However this year, both the number of scholarships and the scholarship fund have been considerably increased. NUI Galway President Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "The Entrance Scholarship Scheme gives special recognition to outstanding performance by entering students in line with the University's commitment to academic excellence in its Strategic Plan. The winning students hail from a wide geographical spread and are pursuing their studies in numerous courses, spanning every Faculty at NUI Galway. Particular credit is also due to the teachers and parents for their contribution to the scholars' achievements". In addition to a cheque for €1,300, each winning student will be presented with a specially designed scroll by the President to mark their achievement. Ends

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NUI Galway awarded €19m in funding for Regenerative Medicine Institute - Initial

NUI Galway awarded €19m in funding for Regenerative Medicine Institute - Initial-image

Monday, 12 January 2004

NUI Galway has been awarded €15m in funding over the next five years from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to fund a new centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET). Additional funding of €4 million will be contributed to the research programme by REMEDI partners. These include a number of Irish and multinational companies in the healthcare sector, in particular Medtronic (Galway) and ChondroGene (Toronto). This major round of funding will be used to develop a new world-class Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), which will specialise in basic and applied research in regenerative medicine to develop new therapies for human diseases that are currently incurable. In welcoming this announcement, the President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said "This award underlines the commitment of NUI Galway to achieving the highest international standing in research. REMEDI is the second CSET that NUI Galway has been awarded recently. The university was awarded €12million by SFI in May 2003 to support the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), a CSET which will spearhead research into the second generation of Web Technology. Indeed, NUI Galway is the only Irish university to be awarded two CSETs and to have been successful in all rounds of HEA PRTLI funding over the past four years." Regenerative medicine is an emerging field where cells and genes are used to replace tissues and organs that have been affected by disease. The central research platforms on which REMEDI will initially concentrate are gene therapy and adult stem cell research. The team also includes clinicians in University College Hospital Galway (UCHG), who will lead the translation of research advances into clinical practice. Professor Tim O'Brien, a leading figure in gene therapy research who was recruited from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in the US to the Chair of Medicine at NUI Galway in 2001 will direct the new institute. Commenting on the funding for REMEDI he said, "This funding is testament to the strength of our research capabilities at NUI Galway. REMEDI and its academic and industrial partners will play a key role in an area of research with immense potential for the development of new therapies for human diseases that are currently incurable. It also presents a unique opportunity for Ireland to be at the forefront of the development of regenerative medicine technology that is highly relevant to the future of the healthcare industry, a significant element of Ireland's economic development." Dr Frank Barry a leading figure in adult stem cell research at Osiris Therapeutics, in Baltimore, Maryland, will join the REMEDI team. There will be approximately 30 research staff working with Professor O'Brien and Dr Barry. REMEDI will be located in the newly built National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway, the only centre in the country that contains a state-of-the-art facility for gene therapy research. Professor Terry Smith, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway said, "In addition to being of major strategic importance to Ireland, this is a major boost for our research initiatives at NUI Galway and we look forward to working with Professor O'Brien and Dr Barry in bringing this exciting initiative to fruition. Regenerative medicine is one of the new and emerging medicines and this funding is vital in bringing our research from the laboratory into clinical practice. This opportunity enables us to capitalise on the close links we have developed with the healthcare sector and with clinicians at University College Hospital, Galway, all of whom will be critical to the success of this institute." All SFI funding is awarded following a rigorous review process led by international experts. In the case of the CSET Awards, the experts assessed the application's level of research quality, collaboration, intellectual breadth, flexibility in responding to new research opportunities and integration of research and education. Each CSET underwent a review that included the experts' assessment of written proposals and oral research presentations to a strategic review panel of government and industry leaders in Ireland and a stringent review by the experts at each location. ends

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David Bellamy celebrates 10 Years of the Martin Ryan Institute

David Bellamy celebrates 10 Years of the Martin Ryan Institute-image

Monday, 16 February 2004

David Bellamy, one of the world's best-known marine biologists and broadcasters, will visit NUI Galway in March to kick off a series of events marking the 10th anniversary of the University's Martin Ryan Institute. Bellamy will deliver an illustrated public lecture entitled "The Life Giving Sea: from Kelp to Coral - a trip around earth s own inner space and a look into a sustainable future," on Friday, 5 March, in the Kirwan Theatre, at 7.00pm. Admission to the lecture is free but by ticket only. Tickets will be available from Áras Fáilte, the University's Information Office from Friday, 20 February. (Tel. 091-750418). David Bellamy will also be the guest speaker the following evening (Saturday), at NUI Galway's annual Gala Banquet, in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway. The Martin Ryan Institute serves as a regional, national and international centre of excellence for the study of marine and freshwater resources. Through its research programmes it - Promotes exploration and development of marine physical resources Increases understanding of aquatic biodiversity Analyses effects of environmental change on aquatic ecosystems Facilitates sustainable development of aquatic biological resources and aquaculture Professor Michael Guiry, Director of the Institute, says that NUI Galway's strategic location at the centre of Ireland's western marine area, allows researchers ready access to a broad area of the continental shelf and the deep ocean. "On any given day in the Institute, there are close to 150 staff and students engaged in teaching and research in marine science," he says. According to Professor Guiry, the Martin Ryan Institute has firmly established itself as a premier marine research facility in the relatively short period since it foundation ten years ago. "This positioning has resulted in the Institute receiving funding of €21.5 million under the Higher Education Authority's initiatives to support research in third-level institutions and over €10 million from national and EU sources." Looking to the future, Professor Guiry says that the main areas of development at the Martin Ryan Institute include marine modelling, marine law, ecological and environmental investigation, marine biotechnology and marine information technology. As a result of an agreement with the Geological Survey of Ireland, (GSI), to share the results of the National Seabed Survey, Professor Guiry says that the Institute will shortly be helping to produce "the most stunning maps of our deep-water territories." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said, "The Martin Ryan Institute has been a beacon of cutting-edge marine research for a decade and is now poised to enter a new phase of research activity using the latest technologies to investigate, monitor and conserve Ireland's rich marine heritage." Further events planned to celebrate 10-years of the Martin Ryan Institute include a public lecture series to be launched shortly; the co-hosting of two international marine conferences; and a marine biotechnology workshop at which a number of eminent US scientists will advise NUI Galway on its strategy in this critical economic area. It is also planned to launch the MRI Laboratories in Carna, Connemara in the autumn, to mark the occasion of Ireland's first production of cod. The Martin Ryan Institute is named after the father of Dr. Tony Ryan, Chairman of Guinness Peat Aviation and Founder of Ryanair, who made a major donation towards the founding of the Institute in the mid-1990s. Ends

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