NUI Galway hosts 'Photonics Ireland 2007'

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Photonics Ireland 2007 is the first conference organised by the Irish Optics and Photonics Network, and will be held from September 24 to 26 at the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway. This all-Ireland conference will have 10 scientific sessions covering most aspects of photonics research in universities and institutes of technology and will include a special Photonics Industry Session and a Poster Session. The conference organisation is led by Professor Chris Dainty, Director of the Applied Optics Group at NUI Galway. All Universities on the island are collaborating in this scientific conference, which showcases the Photonics research currently being conducted in Ireland. The conference provides an invaluable opportunity for the community of young Irish researchers in Photonics to access the knowledge and expertise of the panel of invited scientists from Ireland and from overseas, and from industry experts. Prof. Dainty said: "All photonics research groups in Ireland will be represented at the conference and the vast majority of research students and post-doctorates in photonics, as well as senior researchers are attending. The response to-date has been overwhelming with nearly 200 attendees and 170 scientific presentations". Conference topics to be addressed include: Photonic Materials Photonic Devices Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Optical Communication Systems Quantum Optics Laser Material Interactions Imaging ENDS

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Sharing knowledge on technology and business at the BarCamp "unconference"

Monday, 17 September 2007

The 'BarCamp Galway' event will be held at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), National University of Ireland, Galway from 10a.m. on 22nd September, 2007. BarCamp is a technology-focused, informal gathering of people from technical and business backgrounds, where information and experiences are exchanged. The event is geared towards sharing knowledge and learning from others, and there is a policy of encouraging active participation in all discussions. 'BarCamp Galway' extends from other successful Irish "unconferences", most recently in Dublin and Belfast. The term unconference is used as BarCamp allows anyone to present, and talks can be technical or non-technical. The ethos is simply about sharing information, with no overriding theme. Speakers and discussion panel members who have signed up to talk so far include: David Lenehan, PollDaddy: creator of the very popular online polling service John Collison, Auctomatic: the young Irish student who along with his brother Patrick received significant venture capital funding from Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley John Breslin, boards.ie: co-founder of Ireland s largest discussion community Conor O Neill, LouderVoice: editor of Blognation Ireland Ina O Murchu, DERI: writer of Galway First s TechTalk column and speaking about the Social Web The event is free and is sponsored by Microsoft, Blacknight, boards.ie and Logon.ie. If you wish to attend, simply send an e-mail to barcampgalway@gmail.com ENDS

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Science Essay Competition for Schools launched by NUI Galway and Medtronic

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway has launched its national Schools' Science Essay Competition 2007. Sponsored for the third year by medical technology company Medtronic, the competition is open to all students in the senior cycle of secondary schools in Ireland. This year's essay title is Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box? Closing date for receipt of entries is Friday, October 26th 2007. REMEDI's Schools' Science Essay Competition was launched in 2005 to stimulate discussion among students on the ethical and societal implications of advances in biomedical research. The aim is to generate interest in science among second level students and encourage more to go on to study science at third level. Last year's competition generated a lot of interest in science issues among students, with an increase of over double the number of entries since 2005. The eventual winner was Paul Kelliher from Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Professor Tim O Brien, Director, REMEDI, explained: "The purpose of this project, as with all our secondary school initiatives, is to encourage young people to take an active interest in contemporary scientific research, and to consider a career in this field. Science communication should always be a two way process. While it is important for REMEDI personnel to publicly discuss research taking place in the areas of stem cell and gene therapy, it is equally important for our scientists to listen to the public's views on this research – and we've found 16-18 year olds are more than eager to express their views on some of the questions raised by this research." This year's essay is 'Genetic Engineering: Panacea or Pandora's Box?': As scientists advance their ability to identify, screen and manipulate genes; is gene therapy a potential panacea for the terrible illnesses we cannot cure, or a Pandora's box where genetically enhanced 'designer babies' with perfect looks and high IQs become a reality?". Winners of the competition in 2005 and 2006 were presented with their prizes at the BT Young Scientist Festival in Dublin, by Minister for Education & Science Mary Hanafin T.D. This year's competition prizes include a laptop, iPOD, crystal trophies and school prizes of science equipment bursaries. Full details of the competition rules, helpful hints and additional information on how to enter are available on the education section of the REMEDI website www.remedi.ie. REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway. ENDS

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NUI Galway receive substantial SFI Research Funding Awards

Thursday, 13 September 2007

NUI Galway was successful in securing four substantial SFI research grants announced recently in Dublin by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, T.D. Professor Christopher Dainty, SFI Professor of Experimental Physics at NUI Galway was the largest award of €4.5million for research in applied optical techniques. Optics is concerned with lighting, displays such as TVs and computers, CDs and DVDs, healthcare and manufacturing but also human vision. This research will focus on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age. As individuals live longer, and the overall population ages, problems of eye disease are becoming more severe, and the need for early detection of conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma becomes more important. Optical imaging, enhanced by a technique called "adaptive optics" -- invented by astronomers to obtain better images in telescopes -- will allow doctors to make earlier diagnoses of these and other diseases of the eye. Other research areas being investigated include optical storage systems, free-space optical communication systems and lithography. Professor Dainty, on receipt of the award, said: "This renewal of our funding for the next five years reflects a vote of confidence by the international scientific community in our wide-ranging research programme. Reviewers praised our commitment to academic excellence and our focus on educating research leaders of the future". Other NUI Galway recipients included Professor Matthew Dallas Griffin, based at the Mayo Clinic, USA; Dr Thomas Ritter from the Regenerative Medicine Institute; and Dr Stephen Rea, who received one of four President of Ireland Young Researcher Awards (PIYRA) 2007. Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway offered his congratulations to all of these recipients of SFI awards which have brought distinction to themselves and to NUI Galway. He added, "Their research will contribute to the enrichment of the community through the advancement of knowledge and the application of that knowledge to industry." SFI, the national foundation for excellence in scientific research, invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises. SFI has responsibility for investment of €1.4bn under the current National Development Plan and the Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation up to the year 2013. - ENDS -

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President McAleese to launch Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway

Friday, 7 September 2007

Centre to be results-focused on solving pressing child and family issues in Irish society President Mary McAleese will launch the Child and Family Research Centre (CFRC) at the National University of Ireland, Galway today, Friday, 7 September, 2007. The Centre aims to improve outcomes for children and their families, and advance practice and policy in Ireland and internationally, through research, evaluation and service development. According to Dr Pat Dolan, Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, there is a need for more research that focuses on finding ways to support children and families in crises and prior to the escalation of problems. He said: "While social difficulties such as child poverty, youth suicide and violence within families are often brought to public attention, solutions to these problems are neither highlighted nor adequately shared among interested stakeholders, including families themselves". This launch is timely as the Centre expands its' capacity to work directly with policy makers and frontline child welfare professionals such as social workers, teachers and community youth workers in response to the increasing demand for services that deliver the best outcomes for children and families. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President, NUI Galway welcomed the establishment of the Centre: "This unique partnership between the University and the HSE, and supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies, will, through its research and teaching outputs, have a direct impact on improving the quality of life for children and families in Ireland. It marks the continuing development of world-class research and social science policy centres on our campus." In 2007 the Child and Family Research Centre was awarded significant support from The Atlantic Philanthropies Ireland under its Disadvantaged Children and Youth Programme which aims for better health and life outcomes for young people experiencing adversity. Over the next five to ten years the CFRC will become a leading centre of excellence, with over 20 full-time staff and PhD students and an international visiting faculty programme. ENDS

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