Business Strategy Expert Speaks at NUI Galway

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The role of the business 'Strategy Director' will be the subject of a talk at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 19 March, by Professor Duncan Angwin of the Warwick Business School, Warwick University. Professor Angwin, a fellow of Saïd Business School, Oxford, is co-author of the recently published The Strategy Pathfinder. The free public event is part of a series of talks on business and innovation by leading international figures and will take place at 7pm at the EMBA Suite, Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, NUI Galway. The series is supported by Enterprise Ireland in collaboration with NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change. Professor Angwin will discuss the rise of strategy formulation by functional officers resulting in strategic marketing, strategic IT and strategic operations in various contexts. Therefore, little attention has been paid to those senior executives specifically tasked with being 'Strategy Directors' – defined as senior (non CEO) executives. Professor Angwin will question what distinctive role the Strategy Director performs if everyone else is now a strategist. He will also query whether these senior executives are obsolete or do they carry out a critical and largely unsung function. According to Dr. James Cunningham, Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUI Galway, "Whether strategy is born out of the functional departments of a business or at a more senior dedicated level, is an interesting question. This seminar aims to address these questions and present current empirical research from the UK. Professor Angwin is an expert in this field and the talk will be of interest to those with an interest in the evolving machinations of business strategy". For further information contact Tara Cosgrave on 091 492817. -ends-

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NUI Galway launches new Degree in Sports & Exercise Engineering

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A new Engineering degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering is to be offered by the College of Engineering & Informatics in collaboration with the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at NUI Galway. The B.E./M.Eng.Sc. Sports & Exercise Engineering degree will be offered for direct entry in September 2008 and CAO entry in September 2009. The programme will allow successful students to exit after four years with a level 8 B.E. degree or after five years with level 9 M.Eng.Sc., however the full benefits to the students of the programme will be achieved with the five year programme. This programme offering represents the first degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering on the island of Ireland. Professional sport is a worldwide multi-billion euro industry and plays a central role in most western societies. Today technology is used on a regular basis to improve sports performance in elite athletes. The new Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway will provide the graduate with the skills and expertise to design systems and devices for the evaluation and execution of sport performance across a broad range of sports. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, says, "This new degree programme represents an exciting venture for Engineering at NUI Galway. It is an excellent example of a focused interdisciplinary programme whereby some of the latest engineering techniques are meshed with medical and scientific concepts to train a cohort of students with a unique skillset. Thus, graduates of the programme will be able to address a range of highly relevant problems associated with sports and exercise". The professional Engineering degree programme will have a strong multi-disciplinary focus and will create a new type of Engineer whose training and education will provide the graduate with the skills and expertise to design innovative systems and devices for the assessment and performance of sport and exercise with a particular emphasis on elderly participation in exercise and on increasing participation of children in sport & exercise. Professor B.G. Loftus, Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway, says, "The evolving obesity epidemic reflects an imbalance between energy ingested and expended. The decline in levels of physical activity at all ages is, in large part, responsible for this epidemic, and also contributes to increased risk of many other illnesses. It is incumbent on us to remedy this at societal level through initiatives like this new Engineering programme, which will produce a new generation of engineers with the skills and expertise to design novel systems and devices to increase participation in exercise across the age groups. The programme will incorporate significant elements of Anatomy, Physiology, Mechanical Engineering and Sport & Exercise Engineering practice and a major input of Electronic Engineering to reflect a particular focus in the programme on the development of a range of ambulatory electronic devices for movement assessment in sport & exercise, ambulatory monitoring of human performance in sport & exercise and the design of systems & devices for the performance and assessment of exercise, rehabilitation and sport. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electronic Engineering and course co-ordinator, says, "This programme will benefit from two major infrastructural developments on the NUI Galway campus: the completion of the €20 Million, 6,500 sq. meter Sports Centre by June 2008 and the expected completion of a €60 Million, 14,000 sq. meter New Engineering Building, which will feature state-of-the-art Engineering teaching and research laboratories, including a multi-purpose motion analysis laboratory, by September 2010." For further information on the new programme contact Prof. Gearóid Ó Laighin at 087-6504801 or email: gearoid.olaighin@nuigalway.ie ENDS

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Road Safety Campaign Rolls Out at NUI Galway

Monday, 10 March 2008

NUI Galway is launching a new road safety awareness campaign aimed at over 15,000 students and 1,500 staff at the University. The campaign begins on Thursday, 13 March, led by first-year Engineering students, who will volunteer to wash car headlights and taillights at the University's main entrance. With the support of the Garda Traffic Unit, the students will undertake the cleaning in order to highlight the benefits of such simple but necessary steps in road safety. Ronan Browne, a class representative for Engineering at NUI Galway, comments, "As Engineering students we are concerned about road safety and the number of people losing lives on a daily basis, in particular young people. Our class discovered that by simply cleaning car lights can have a significant impact on safety, and this one small step will hopefully encourage all on campus to consider what steps they can take for their own safety and the safety of others". The Galway Fire and Rescue Services will also participate during day, displaying a crash rescue on campus by cutting volunteers out of a car wreck. Fundraising throughout the day by student volunteers will go towards a defibrillator for the Galway Fire and Rescue Service. Other events happening on the day include the lighting of a memorial candle in the University Chapel in remembrance of NUI Galway staff and students who have lost their lives in road traffic collisions. The road safety campaign is expected to continue with a series of initiatives and talks on campus about road safety. The campaign is supported by NUI Galway's Community Knowledge Initiative, which helps provide formal and informal opportunities for student to express themselves civically, through activities including volunteering and community based learning initiatives. -ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers to Investigate Human Ageing

Monday, 10 March 2008

NUI Galway's School of Psychology is embarking on new research looking at how cognitive and physiological functions change as we get older. Following the awarding of two separate research grants to Dr. Michael Hogan and Professor Jack James, work is about to commence on two studies investigating issues relating to human ageing. Researcher and lecturer at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway, Dr. Michael Hogan, says, "We are living through a major demographic shift. There is increasing awareness across all levels of society that we need to invest in successful ageing. The logic and the mathematics are straightforward: everyone benefits when more of us are doing well. More and more, researchers in the field of biological and behavioural science are focusing on how best to maintain high levels of functioning throughout the lifespan. We are fortunate to be working with some of the best researchers in the field on these projects. We aim to understand the brain dynamics that underpin memory problems and Alzheimer's disease, and to understand how sleep patterns and mood influence blood pressure and critical markers of heart disease." Brain Signals and Memory Performance The first study is being undertaken by a newly established research consortium, involving collaboration between NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This research group plans to investigate the relationship between electrical brain signals and the memory ability of both younger and older adults. At NUI Galway, a state of the art electroencephalography (EEG) laboratory has been built, which will allow researchers to identify types of brain activity that correlate with memory performance. From this work, it is hoped that deficits in memory performance can be detected earlier and thus allow for earlier and more successful interventions. The current research effort continues a line of work initiated by Dr. Hogan and colleagues over the past number of years. The decision of GSK to award funding adds further to its growing reputation of the School and of the University as a renowned research centre. It is hoped that research participants can be located within Galway City who will take part in this groundbreaking research. To this end, Dr. Hogan will visit a number of Active Retirement Groups over the coming week to discuss the project and give people an opportunity to ask questions and express interest in the project. Dr. Hogan will also give a public lecture on Saturday, 15 March at 11am in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway, to which members of the public are invited. Sleep Duration, Mood, and Blood Pressure A second study, funded by the Health Research Board, is concerned with the effect that the amount of sleep has on mood and blood pressure. In particular, the project will shed light on a long-standing puzzle concerning the effects of sleep duration on heart health. On one hand, long-term studies indicate that chronic sleep loss contributes to the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, sleep loss appears to have little immediate effect on blood pressure level. Professor Jack James and his colleagues think the answer to this puzzle lies in knowing more about the processes that affect blood pressure level. "Recent work by us suggests that the key to understanding this dilemma may involve a mechanism whereby restricted sleep acutely induces a vascular hemodynamic profile while having little direct effect on blood pressure level. This so-called 'vascular profile' has been identified as a risk factor for development of cardiovascular disease. We think that chronic sleep deprivation may contribute to the development of hypertension and other cardiovascular pathology. The findings of our research could help to inform the development of improved health promotion strategies and clinical management for cardiovascular diseases" said Professor James. Information on both studies can be obtained directly from the School of Psychology, NUI Galway at (091) 495832. Information packs will also be available at the public lecture. ENDS

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Archive of Joe Burke's Music Bestowed to NUI Galway Library

Monday, 10 March 2008

An extensive archive of the work of traditional musician Joe Burke has been officially bestowed to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Born in Loughrea, Co. Galway, Joe Burke is widely known for his accordion playing and over the course of the past fifty years amassed a significant collection of traditional Irish music. As well as commercial recordings, the collection contains field recordings made in Ireland, Britain and the US, featuring artists such as Paddy Fahy, Andy McGann and Seán Maguire. Currently, there are over 300 hours of recordings already digitised from the collection, with much more on reel-to-reel and audio-cassette tape. The collection also contains over 1,300 paper items, including photographs, letters and promotional material. The library will house the collection under the official title The Joe Burke Archive Collection. Joe Burke, accompanied by his wife Anne Conroy, were guests of honour at a special celebration on campus to mark the occasion. In his opening address at the event, Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, described Joe as, "The maestro of Kilnadeema, a man whose music brings people to their senses". Professor Ó Tuathaigh continued, "Joe Burke is one of a generation of musicians who presided over dramatic changes in traditional Irish music as it shifted from the domestic to the public domain, in Ireland and overseas. In this regard, Joe Burke's archive is of critical importance for future research into the transformation that has taken place in the performance and reception of Irish traditional music. The University is demonstrating its commitment to act as a regional repository for material of national and international significance." The Centre for Irish Studies, in conjunction with the James Hardiman Library, has been facilitating the acquisition of this important archive collection since 2004. The collection will be available to scholars worldwide through NUI Galway. -ends-

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