International Conference Highlights Ireland's 7th Century Knowledge Economy

Thursday, 13 July 2006

An international conference taking place at NUI Galway illustrates how Irish scholars were at the forefront of scientific knowledge in Western Europe as far back as the 7th century. The Science of Computus conference which takes place from Friday, July 14th - Sunday July 16th, will bring together leading scholars from all across Europe, the US and Japan to look at the contribution of Ireland to the development of European science and the origins of present-day mathematical and astronomical ideas. The Science of Computus – the mathematics required to calculate the date of Easter -provoked much debate and controversy in early medieval times. The date of Easter was the most important in the Christian calendar as it dictated the date of all other Christian festivals. However, it was the Irish who led the way in developing mathematical models by which the date of Easter could be most accurately decided, becoming since the 7th century the leading experts in the field of computistics study. Irish scholars travelled throughout Europe gaining a reputation for their knowledge and learning, and held influential positions in courts across Europe. Ireland now seeks to lead the way in Europe's Knowledge Economy. Millions are being invested in producing high-level graduates in the field of technology and science. However, as conference coordinator and Ireland's pre-eminent early medieval scholar, NUI Galway's Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín notes, "From the seventh century Ireland led the way in scientific learning and knowledge throughout Western Europe. Ireland was the knowledge economy of the 'Dark Ages', we invented it. The Irish were head-hunted across Europe for their mathematical and scientific knowledge. Like the early medieval ages, the spread of the Irish diaspora across the world ensures Irish men and women remain in key positions of influence across Europe and the world. However, we now face a challenge in developing our knowledge based economy and recreating the scientific knowledge and learning that was a key feature in the seventh century. Ireland not only needs to attract high-quality researchers but also to invest in its own graduates to ensure that we are to the forefront of scientific learning in Europe." For further information please see conference website at www.foundationsirishculture.ie/conference2006. -ends- For further information, please contact Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín,Department of History, NUI Galway. Tel : 091 492 697

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NUI Galway's Prof. William Schabas Appointed to Human Rights Board by UN Secreta

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has appointed Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, to the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights. The Voluntary Fund was established in 1987 by UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to provide technical cooperation to countries upon the request of their Governments. The focus is on providing practical assistance for the building and strengthening of national structures that have a direct impact on the overall observance of human rights and the maintenance of the rule of law. The Board of Trustees assists in fund-raising and provides expert advice and support to the Voluntary Fund. Members are appointed by the Secretary-General for a three-year term and are chosen for their independence and wide experience in the field of human rights and technical cooperation. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Schabas, said: "It is a great honour to be selected to join this distinguished Board and I look forward to taking up the challenge to develop and advise on human rights structures across the globe. I welcome the opportunity to assist the Secretary-General, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights in building the fund and strengthening its already important impact in the promotion of human rights." Professor Schabas will join human rights notables on the Board, such as Ligia Bolivar Osuna from Venezula, Mary Chinery-Hese from Ghana, Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand and Viacheslav I. Bakhmin from Russia. William Schabas is Professor of Human Rights Law at NUI Galway, where he has been the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights since 2000. He will continue in his role as Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights while serving as a board member of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights. -ends- Professor William A. Schabas Irish Centre for Human Rights Tel: + 353 (0)87 412 9551

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Stem Cell Trials in Heart Disease Patients Planned at NUI Galway and University

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Researchers at NUI Galway today (11th July 2006) announced that clinical trials of stem cells on heart disease patients could start collaboratively between NUI Galway and University College Hospital within two years, subject to regulatory approval. The research will be the first of its type in Ireland. The announcement was made this week as NUI Galway plays host to an international conference in regenerative medicine, which examines stem cell and gene therapy in a number of areas including heart disease, arthritis and neurological conditions. The conference brings together international researchers who will seek to rapidly advance progress in the area of regenerative medicine to bring research to the clinical trial stage. The conference taking place from Tuesday, 11th July – Wednesday 12th July is being held by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with Georgia Tech/Emory of Atlanta and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Commenting on the announcement, Prof. Timothy O Brien, REMEDI Director and Chair of Medicine at NUI Galway said, "This is a major announcement for the development of stem cell research in Ireland. We will primarily focus on the cardiovascular area but hope to rapidly advance towards therapies in other areas. This conference is a valuable opportunity to harness the expertise at the Mayo Clinic and Georgia Tech by building a strong alliance with these Institutes to accelerate progress." "Despite progress in modern medicine, an increasing number of patients are experiencing advanced heart failure. Stem cell research may offer new therapies to improve heart function and improve the outcome for these patients. This clinical trial will make a significant contribution to research in this area" added Dr. Pat Nash, Consultant Cardiologist at University College Hospital, Galway. REMEDI scientific Director and leading researcher in adult stem cell therapy, Frank Barry, concluded, "We have developed a very strong expertise at REMEDI in the extraction and preparation of human stem cells from bone marrow and we are finalising protocols for the preparation of stem cells for clinical use. This will be an important step forward in this research area." Regenerative medicine looks at the repair or replacement of tissues and organs by incorporating the use of cells and genes to regenerate healthy tissues and recent research in the area has opened up new opportunities to transplant stem cells to repair or regenerate tissues damaged by trauma or disease. The conference will feature over twenty speakers advancing the latest thinking and developments in orthopaedic, neurological and cardiovascular regenerative medicine. The conference will be attended by representatives from US and Irish universities, industry partners and government agencies. -ends- Note to Editors: The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) is a world-class biomedical research centre focusing on gene therapy and stem cell research. In state-of-the-art facilities, researchers at REMEDI work together to combine the technologies of gene therapy and adult stem cell therapy with the aim of regeneration and repair of tissues. The unique feature of the research carried out at REMEDI is the novel integration of both therapies in a complementary research and development programme. Based in the National University of Ireland, Galway, REMEDI was established in 2003 through a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) award, and industry funding. The institute is located at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and incorporates the National Cell and Gene Vector Laboratory, a GMP grade vector and cell production facility. REMEDI is a partnership involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers in academic centres and in industry. It is a unique cluster of talented and committed individuals who share a vision in developing new and successful treatment options for patients.

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Dioplóma nua san Aisteoireacht trí Ghaeilge

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Beidh dioplóma nua páirtaimseartha á reáchtáil ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i réimse na haisteoireachta an bhliain seo chugainn. Cuirfear tús leis an gcúrsa i Meán Fómhair 2006 agus déanfar ceardlanna aisteoireachta á reáchtáil gach Satharn ar an gcampas sa Cheathrú Rua. Tá an dioplóma seo feiliúnach do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ghairmiúil, do dhaoine atá ag plé leis an drámaíocht phobail nó do dhaoine a bhfuil spéis acu san aisteoireacht ar bhonn pearsanta. Is cúrsa an-phraiticiúil a bheidh ann a thabharfaidh oiliúint san aisteoireacht agus sa phuipéadóireacht agus beidh deis ag baill an chúrsa a gcuid scileanna a chur i bhfeidhm nuair a chruthóidh siad dráma le chéile. Cothóidh an cúrsa scileanna foirne chomh maith. Is scileanna iad seo atá luachmhar in aon réimse oibre. Ní gá taithí aisteoireachta a bheith ag iarratasóirí. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó aon duine a bhfuil suim acu sa drámaíocht agus a bhfuil an Ghaeilge ar a dtoil acu. Beidh an rogha ag baill an chúrsa deiseanna fostaíochta a ghlacadh i réimse na haisteoireachta stáitse agus i réimse na haisteoireachta teilifíse. Glacfar suas le fiche duine ar an gcúrsa. Ní mór iarratas a dhéanamh go luath le háit a chinntiú. Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin gcúrsa cuir glaoch ar Nora Nic Con Ultaigh in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091 495381 nó seol ríomhphost chuig nora.nicconultaigh@oegaillimh.ie. -críoch-

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NUI Galway to be new home of Henry Library

Monday, 10 July 2006

James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, has taken custody of approximately 4,500 volumes which form the Henry Library. The books, which were collected by The Reverend Joseph Henry D.D and bequeathed to the Tuam Diocese on his death in 1885, are a unique collection of 16-19th century books. An agreement has been signed by Bishop Richard Henderson, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry, (on behalf of the Diocesan Council) and NUI Galway which allows for the transfer of the books from Galway's St Nicholas's Collegiate Church to the University on long-term loan. The Reverend Joseph Henry was born in 1821 and came from a distinguished family in Tuam, Co. Galway. He was son of Hugh Robert Henry of Toghermore House and of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Langrishe, Baronet. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he was ordained in 1852 and served in Keady, Co. Mayo before going to Lima, Peru where he spent the next 20 years as Consular Chaplain. From 1876, until he died in 1885, Dr. Henry served the Church of All Saints in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. His collection is a great example of a late Victorian library. As well as examples of Bibles in several languages, Biblical commentaries and theology, there are books on history, geography, topography, Classical Civilisation, literature and travel. The majority of the books are of the 18th and 19th centuries but the 16th and 17th centuries are also represented. Marie Reddan, Librarian, NUI Galway, said, "We are honoured that the Diocese has considered our library as a home for this collection and it will add immensely to the rare collections we already house. However, our intention is not only to undertake the stewardship and preservation of the books but also to make the Henry Library accessible to the wider community". The books were originally housed in the Synod Hall in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tuam and more recently St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, Galway where they became part of the St. Nicholas' Library and Heritage Project. One of the aims of the project – a FÁS project which was begun in 1990 – was to preserve the books for future generations. Before this work began a number of trainees underwent a course in book conservation at Marsh's Library, Dublin. Since then the books have been cleaned, waxed, indexed and preparation of a general catalogue of the material has taken place. -ends–

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