NUI Galway Professor Elected President of Royal Irish Academy

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

NUI Galway's Vice-President for Research, Professor Nicholas Canny, has been elected the 53rd President of the Royal Irish Academy. The Royal Irish Academy was founded by royal charter in 1785 as Ireland's academy for the sciences and the humanities. Not since the 4th Earl of Rosse was elected in 1896 has the Royal Irish Academy elected a President based outside of Dublin. At NUI Galway, Professor Canny is also a Professor of History and Director of the University's Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies. Commenting on the appointment, NUI Galway President, Professor Jim Browne, said, "The election of Professor Canny is a great personal honour and brings great lustre and prestige to the Moore Institute, to the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies and to NUI Galway. I have no doubt but that he will be an excellent leader of the Academy in these important times for research and scholarship in Ireland". On his election, Professor Canny said, "The decision by the Members of the Academy to look outside Dublin for a President represents a fresh determination of the Academy to assert itself as a body committed to preserving the cultural and environmental heritage of all parts of the island of Ireland". Professor Canny added that he was elected, "To continue the outstanding work of his predecessor, Professor Jim Slevin, in upholding academic excellence in all fields, in advocating the promotion of a better research environment in Ireland, and in seeing that the Royal Irish Academy meets its obligations towards its own research projects, and identifies and negotiates funding for new undertakings in science as well as in the humanities and social sciences". Professor Canny was educated at University College Galway (now NUI Galway), the University of London and the University of Pennsylvania, and is a leading authority on early modern history. His many books and articles have dealt with developments in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and include The Oxford History of the British Empire Vol. 1: The Origins of Empire (1998) and Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (2001). He was awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize for published work in 1976 and 2003. His current academic commitment is to Atlantic History in general and more particularly to comparing French with English writing on the Natural History of the Atlantic World from 1550 to 1720. Internationally well known as a scholar, Nicholas Canny is the only Irish person to share with Séamus Heaney the distinction of being both a Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Professor Canny is not the first Galway scholar to be elected President of the Royal Irish Academy. That distinction goes to Cloughballymore scientist, Richard Kirwan (1733-1812) who was elected President in 1799. Kirwan, who lived in Cregg Castle, is renowned for his study of meteorology and in particular for producing a chart showing the temperature of every latitude between the Equator and the Poles. -ends-

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Minister Hanafin Announces Investment of over €6m for NUI Galway

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

NUI Galway has welcomed today's announcement by Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, T.D., regarding an allocation of €6,147,900 to enhance research facilities at the University. The funding has been specifically allocated to improve research space and facilities in Biomedical Science and Engineering which is one of the University's designated research priority areas. Improvement in the research space and working conditions in this area of NUI Galway's research portfolio will enhance research training and support efforts to increase the number of PhD students in an area which is not only important to the University but to the region and the country. Welcoming the funding boost, Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said, "Researchers from the several academic disciplines associated with Biomedical Science and Engineering have succeeded beyond all expectations in raising research funding from an extraordinarily wide range of sources. This enhancement to their research space is no more than they deserve and will enable their research to attain new heights in the months and years ahead". The allocation is part of a €58m scheme being managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Education and Science, for the refurbishment of research facilities at third-level institutions. The level of funding allocated to each of 20 institutions was based on applications received and assessed by a panel representing the Department and the HEA. Announcing the funding for the successful bidding institutions, Minister Hanafin said, "Continued strong investment in research infrastructure sends a very important message that Ireland is serious about research. Attracting first class researchers and delivering world-class research in a globally competitive environment is paramount. The training of future researchers will ultimately bring economic and social benefits nationally". A recent HEA/Forfás Research Infrastructure Review had identified shortfalls in research infrastructure. "This funding will assist in addressing these shortfalls and enhance the capabilities of the institutions," said Minister Hanafin. -ends-

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Infectious Disease Under the Microscope at NUI Galway Conference

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

NUI Galway will host an international conference on bacterial infectious diseases from 27-28 March, 2008. Presentations will be made by leading international experts on a variety of well known pathogens including Salmonella and E. coli, as well as lesser known pathogens such as Listeria and Helicobacter pylori. The focus of the conference will be on bacterial infectious diseases that occur in humans, in particular the interactions that occur between bacterial pathogens and the human host. Understanding these interactions builds up a clearer picture of how infectious diseases progress within the host, supporting the development of new treatment therapies. According to conference organiser Dr. Conor O'Byrne of the Microbiology Department at NUI Galway, "We will hear the latest scientific findings from world-renowned experts on infectious pathogens such as Listeria and Helicobacter pylori. Listeria can cause food poisoning in vulnerable groups such as infants or pregnant women, which is the main reason that pregnant women are often advised to avoid certain food groups, such as soft cheeses and pâté. H. pylori infects about half of the world's population and infections can result in the development of stomach ulcers and in some cases of stomach cancer". He continued, "This event is an opportunity for researchers at NUI Galway to showcase their world-class research programmes on infectious diseases. It also represents a wonderful chance to exchange ideas about the latest developments in this fast-moving field of research and to forge exciting new collaborations both in Ireland and internationally." The conference is expected to attract over one hundred researchers from all over the world, including Canada, France, the US and the UK, as well as speakers from institutions throughout Ireland. The event is funded by the Society for General Microbiology, which is the largest Microbiology Society in the Ireland and the UK. For further information visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/microbiology/ -ends-

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Shanghai Field Trip for NUI Galway Geography Students

Friday, 14 March 2008

A group of 41 NUI Galway students studying Geography as part of their BA are taking a field trip to Shanghai. The students will study the economic, social, tourism and environmental geographies of Shanghai during 16-23 March. Situated on the banks of the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai is the largest city in China. The students will explore aspects of Shanghai's urban development, including planning issues, tourism and industrial development. Environmental issues in this rapidly developing region will be investigated with students examining issues surrounding conservation promotion, biodiversity, water and air quality Course co-ordinator Dr. Chaosheng Zhang, of NUI Galway's Geography Department, comments, "Shanghai is a fascinating example of the march in tandem of economic development and drastic landscape change. The students have a packed agenda on this trip and will learn much from first hand experience of field work and research in the city". The students will be accompanied Dr. Chaosheng Zhang and his colleagues Professor Seamus Grimes, Dr. Mary Cawley and Dr. Aaron Potito. Five postgraduate students will also make the journey. In preparation for the trip, everyone has had some introductory Chinese language classes. The Geography Department at NUI Galway organises international field trips every year and has taken students to Barcelona, Sophia and Beijing in recent years. -ends-

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NUI Galway Entrepreneurs Involved in National Collaboration

Friday, 14 March 2008

Friday, 14 March, 2008: The Minister for Innovation Policy, Mr. Michael Ahern T.D., launched a national collaborative programme on Commercialisation of Research and Technology Transfer at an event last Thursday in TCD Dublin. The collaborative pilot programme between TCD, UCC and NUI Galway is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to develop PhD programmes in commercialisation and technology transfer. At the launch Minister Ahern said, "Ireland is turning from an investment driven economy to a knowledge driven economy leading to an increase in technology transfer and commercialisation as well as the number of people involved in research. Graduating PhD levels are also on the rise". Fiona Neary of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway, says, "It is an exciting time to be part of a technology transfer group working on programmes such as this one where we can work first hand with budding entrepreneurs striving to make their business idea a commercial reality. The commercialisation path is a difficult one so all available training support can make an enormous difference to the technology researcher, the universities and hopefully the economy in the long run." Dr. Lawrence Dooley, Innovation and Business lecturer, UCC, on the topic of market validation said, "We need to get the ying and yang of the technology and the market interacting, bringing together the key collaborations to develop the required innovation, this is key to validating your business concept". Other topics to be covered during the three-year pilot programme include opportunity proposition, the selling model, the funding gap and intellectual property management. For further information on this programme please contact Fiona Neary, IGNITE Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway at 091-492400 or log on to www.nuigalway.ie/tto -ends-

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