Renewable Energy breakthrough for NUI Galway Researchers

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Power Electronics Research Centre at NUI Galway has developed emergency power supplies for North Sea Wind Turbines. Over recent years' researchers at the Power Electronic Research Centre (PERC) in NUI Galway developed novel battery charging and monitoring principles with engineers from Convertec Limited in Wexford, under the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme. The newly developed charging regime has been validated and implemented into emergency backup systems for pitch control systems for wind turbines. The new developments play a distinct role in improving the safe and reliable operation of wind turbines in the North Sea. Professor Ger Hurley, PERC Director in the Department of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway explained: "The work in Galway came to the attention of GE Research in Schenectady New York and subsequently a partnership between GE, PERC and Convertec developed the new generation of battery chargers for wind turbines. Initial tests were carried out in Canada and now in the North Sea. This technology is relevant to Wind Farms in Ireland and will lead to more reliable supplies" The underlying basic physical and electrical principles for the development of this backup power supply for wind turbine will be presented at a lecture on Tuesday. 30 September in NUI Galway by Professor Werner Wölfle, who has been Managing Director and head of the design group of Convertec Ltd. in Ireland since 1989. Convertec develops high reliability power converters for industrial applications and renewable energy systems. The aim of the Power Electronics Research Centre at NUI Galway is to foster links with industry by transferring technology from a strong research base in the University to the wider community. The Centre is now involved in a number of areas of research activities: renewable energy systems, automotive electronics; sensor technology; battery management, and power harvesting. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, 30 September at 3.30 pm in the Siobhán McKenna Lecture Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The lecture will be followed by a reception. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. Please contact Sara Armstrong at 091-493270 or email sarmstrong@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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NUI Galway Author Wins Award for Global Health Book

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Dr Diarmuid O'Donovan, Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway and Director of Public Health with HSE West, has been awarded two prizes by the British Medical Association for his book 'The Atlas of Health: Mapping the Challenges and Causes of Disease'. The book charts recent and emerging trends to show how health, poverty and human rights are inextricably linked – and how inequalities are both avoidable and unsustainable. With full-colour maps and graphics, and clear commentary, the atlas covers a wide range of topics, including: life expectancy; malnutrition and obesity; water and sanitation; cancer, heart disease and diabetes; infectious diseases, from malaria to HIV/AIDS; tobacco and alcohol use; mental health; urbanization; climate change; war, violence and abuse; avian flu and pandemic planning; antibiotic resistance. The Atlas of Health was awarded the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Book award for Public Health. It was also chosen from the winners of all the short-listed books in all award categories for the BMA Board of Science Award for the Public Understanding of Science. BMA Chairman, Sir Charles George, commented: "This is a superbly accessible, beautifully produced, highly informative and well-written compendium of world health statistics. It will be of interest to a wide range of professionals and students in many areas. It is excellent value for money and should grace the book shelf of everyone who cares about human health". NUI Galway's Dr O'Donovan is a medical doctor who has lived and worked in Sub-Saharan Africa.: "People everywhere are more interconnected than ever before. Yet, as life expectancy and quality of life improve for the rich, millions are still dying for want of food, clean water, and affordable medicines. These gross inequities are unsustainable, and we all have a role to play in addressing them. Health and human rights are inextricably linked". Channel 4's Jon Snow who reviewed the book says: "Brilliant and original, this vividly informative book gives an incredibly holistic account of how our planet is divided by health and wealth, and generates another route into understanding the nature of our supposedly globalised world." Published as part of the multi-award winning Atlas series by EarthScan, the book is a major new graphic profile of global health. -Ends-

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Knighted Historian to Give Public Lecture at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Professor David Watson, historian and Professor of Higher Education Management at the University of London will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway Thursday, 2 October entitled "The Pearl of Learning: Historical Perspectives on University-Community Engagement". The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway in partnership with Campus Engage will host Professor Watson's visit, whose fields of expertise are strategic management of higher education institutions; higher education and civic engagement; and cross-national comparative study of higher education systems. Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator is delighted to welcome Professor Watson to the University: "Professor Watson's visit is a great opportunity for NUI Galway to look at its civic engagement strategy and the management of university community partnerships. Civic engagement is an essential component of higher education and through the CKI we are always looking for ways to get the wider community involved in University activities". An accomplished author, Watson's most recent books are Managing Civic and Community Engagement (2007), and The Dearing Report: ten years on (2007). His current project is a book on 'morale' in universities. Having contributed widely to developments in UK Higher Education, he was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education. The lecture will take place at 2.15pm in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in NUI Galway supports and promotes the ethos of civic engagement; among students, staff and the wider community. Through partnerships with community groups and organisations, CKI helps the University share with, and learn from, civil society. Ends

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Public Talks Focus on Civic Space at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Galway has grown and changed dramatically in the past fifteen years, with housing estates, apartment blocks and high buildings eating up space that was once green, public or simply derelict. Who is all this development for and how does the average citizen feel about it? Writer in Residence at NUI Galway, Mary O'Malley believes Galway is at the tipping point and has decided to offer a series of four public talks which she hopes will act as springboards for discussion. "The issue of civic space, from public allotments and parks, to hospitals and railway stations, has become increasingly urgent as such space is privatised, gobbled up or concreted over. Who decides what is happening to our city? What are the effects of the erosion of the civic, both in spirit and space? Who cares? It seems appropriate that the University, the largest civic space in the city, should host this discussion" she said. Artist Aideen Barry will start the programme with a talk on public art while Miles Kennedy will give a presentation on the Poetics of Space. Valerie Ledwith, a human geographer with special interest in the geography of social and demographic change, will discuss the link between housing and social stratification and the implications of such planning. The well known film maker and mountaineer Dermot Somers will discuss wilderness and the city, and after a short presentation the issues arising will be open to the floor. Other speakers to feature throughout the programme include: Irish playwright Marina Carr; Poets Sinéad Morrissey and Maurice Riordan; and writer Peter Sirr. The sessions will be chaired by the Writer in Residence, Mary O'Malley and Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Professor Kevin Barry. Professor Barry commented in advance of the programme: "This project on civic space is especially important because it is interactive and open to all. Mary O Malley s planned sequence of events will enable new groups of people in the city to understand each other, and will make space for new kinds of thinking about what a city can become and how Galway may change for the better". All readings, discussions and workshops are free and open to the public, particularly those with an interest in community work, planning and the future shape of Galway city. The programme will begin with a writing workshop on Wednesday, 1 October at 7pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information please call 091-495610 -ends-

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NUI Galway Lecture on Climate Change and Water Demand

Monday, 22 September 2008

Executive Director of the American Geological Institute, Dr Pat Leahy, will visit NUI Galway on Thursday, 25 September to deliver a lecture entitled 'Climate Change and Increased Water Demand: A Volatile Mixture?'. The event will take place at 8pm in the Fottrell Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Water shortages are becoming increasingly common in the east of Ireland, while the west has faced issues with the quality of drinking water and subsequent 'boil water' notices. Globally, similar problems are affecting millions of people, and, with a growing population and the effects of climate change, access to clean water is under threat. Dr Leahy's presentation will provide some international perspectives on these water issues. Dr Sadhbh Baxter, of the NUI Galway Department of Earth and Ocean Science comments: "We are delighted to welcome Dr Leahy to NUI Galway to talk on the water issue, an issue Galwegians are all too familiar with. His expertise could be very influential in resolving issues that are looming towards a water crisis in Ireland". Dr Baxter continued: "Despite the wet weather in Ireland this summer, the country is actually running out of clean, safe drinking water. This has serious implications for our health, the environment, and the economy. The ruling by the European Court of Justice which found that Ireland had broken EU directives on waste water treatment, and RTÉ's 'Future Shock' programme, have meant that water has been a topical issue in the headlines in recent weeks". Dr Leahy, who has been an influential writer on groundwater resources and other geological issues of strategic importance to society, was responsible for implementation of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program in the US. His lecture is one of a series that celebrate International Year of Planet Earth (www.planetearth.ie) and is supported by the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy and the NUI Galway Earth and Ocean Society. A reception hosted by the NUI Galway Earth and Ocean Society (GEOS) will be held in advance of the lecture from 7.30pm. For further information contact Sadhbh.Baxter@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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