NUI Galway’s Michael D. Higgins is Ninth President of Ireland

NUI Galway’s Michael D. Higgins is Ninth President of Ireland-image

Saturday, 29 October 2011

For more information on Michael D and NUI Galway click Michael D. Higgins, Adjunct Professor with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, has been elected the ninth president ofIreland. Michael D. has been associated with NUI Galway for almost 50 years, entering the University as a mature student in 1962; serving as President of the Student Council; and going on to become a highly regarded lecturer in Sociology & Politics for many years. He has served as Adjunct Professor at the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights since 2006. His impressive record in defense of human rights made his role with the Irish Centre of Human Rights a natural enhancement of his long association with the University.  Speaking after the election results were announced, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said of Michael D.: “The Office of President has been increasingly to the fore in national life in recent years. Michael D.’s talent and integrity, along with his commitment to service in public life, will ensure that he will be an inspirational and visionary President, following those who have held that office with great distinction and honour. On behalf of the University, I congratulate him on the unique leadership role which he has played to date in shapingIreland's future. I wish him every success and fulfilment in writing the next chapter ofIreland’s history.” Amongst his many distinctions, Michael D. Higgins was honoured in 2003 by his alma mater with the NUI Galway AIB Award for Literature, Communication and the Arts.  He graduated with a BA in 1965 and a BComm in 1966 from what was then UCG. Michael D. was most recently on campus during an impromptu visit on the eve of the election, when staff and student well-wishers turned out to lend their support. NUI Galway takes pride in the success of its alumni, many of whom have distinguished themselves as leaders in various fields of endeavour inIrelandand abroad. The current administration boasts a number of former University students including: An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Minister for Research & Innovation, Seán Sherlock; and numerous deputies and senators.  -ends- Is é Michael D. Higgins ó OÉ Gaillimh an Naoú Uachtarán ar Éirinn Táthar tar éis Michael D. Higgins, Ollamh Cúnta san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh, a thoghadh ina naoú uachtarán ar Éirinn.    Tá baint ag Michael D. le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh le beagnach 50 bliain, ó tháinig sé chun na hOllscoile mar mhac léinn lánfhásta i 1962; bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar Chomhairle na Mac Léinn; agus ina dhiaidh sin bhí sé ina léachtóir le Socheolaíocht agus Polaitíocht ar feadh na mblianta.   Tá sé ina Ollamh Cúnta san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine, OÉ Gaillimh, ó 2006.   Chaith sé na blianta ag cosaint chearta an duine agus rinne an ról a bhí aige san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine an ceangal a bhí aige le fada leis an Ollscoil a neartú.     Ag labhairt dó nuair a fógraíodh torthaí an toghcháin, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne faoi Michael D.: “Ta ról níos larnaí ag an Uachtaránacht i saol na hÉireann le blianta beaga anuas.Cinnteoidh na buanna ar leith atá ag Michael D., a ionracas agus a dhílseacht don saol poiblí, gur sár-Uachtarán a bheidh ann agus go mbeidh fís aige, díreach mar a bhí ag na daoine a tháinig roimhe. Thar ceann na hOllscoile, ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis as an obair cheannaireachta ar leith atá déanta aige go dtí seo le cruth níos fearr a chur ar Éirinn san am atá le teacht. Guím gach rath air agus é ag tabhairt faoin gcéad chaibidil eile a chur le stair na hÉireann.” Is iomaí gradam a bronnadh air agus orthu sin bhí Gradam AIB OÉ Gaillimh don Litríocht, an Chumarsáid agus na hEalaíona a bhronn a alma mater air sa bhliain 2003.   Bhain sé céim BA amach i 1965 agus BComm i 1966 ó COG, mar a thugtaí uirthi an uair sin. Bhí Michael D. ar an gcampas go deireanach an oíche roimh an toghchán nuair a thug sé turas gan choinne orainn. Tháinig idir fhoireann agus mhic léinn amach lena dtacaíocht a léiriú dó. Tá OÉ Gaillimh an-bhródúil as na héachtaí atá déanta ag alumni na hOllscoile. Tá go leor acu ina gceannairí i réimsí éagsúla den saol in Éirinn agus thar lear.   Tá cúpla iar-mhac léinn de chuid na hOllscoile sa rialtas faoi láthair:  An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny; An tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála, Eamon Gilmore; An tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha,PatRabbitte; An tArd-Aighne, Máire Whelan; An tAire Taighde & Nuálaíochta, Seán Sherlock; agus Teachtaí Dála agus Seanadóirí go leor. -críoch-

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Coastal Radar Deployed in Galway Bay

Coastal Radar Deployed in Galway Bay-image

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have just deployed a sophisticated coastal radar system in Galway Bay. The system transmits maps of the surface currents and also provides details of the height and direction of waves from the shoreline directly to the Institute. The cutting edge technology has many potential uses for research and for the local community, and this is the first time it is being used in North Atlantic European waters. The Modelling and Informatics Group in the Ryan Institute, led by Dr Mike Hartnett, develops models to forecast marine conditions such as tidal currents, storm surges and wave heights. The group are currently carrying out research, in collaboration with IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, to improve model forecasts using the radar data and meteorological data. According to Dr Hartnett, “We are using data from the radars to improve model forecasts in ways previously not possible. It is relatively difficult to develop an accurate marine forecast model for Galway Bay, as water movement within the bay is mainly due to wind, while the patterns of incoming tides are complicated due to the flow of water around the Aran Islands. Data from the radar is helping us to overcome some of those challenges.” The radar system will also benefit the local community. When the research is completed all of the radar maps of surface currents, along with model forecasts will be made available freely online to the public through the Galway Bay Coastal Observing System (GalCOS). This information can then be used by sailors, fishermen and tourists alike. It will also be of use to local authorities and others who discharge effluent into the bay, by helping them to decide on the best time to release effluent and minimize environmental consequences. The research will be of considerable benefit to the search and rescue activities of the Irish Coast Guard. There are also plans to produce high-resolution maps of Galway Bay on CD, which will be of particular benefit to sailors as reference material and will provide significantly improved knowledge of tidal and wind induced currents.  Dr Hartnett explains how the technology works: “The system consists of two antennae, one located on Mutton Island in inner Galway Bay, and the other located at Spiddal. Every half hour the radars remotely sense the surface of the bay using acoustic techniques. Wireless radio communications are used to enable the system transmit maps of the surface currents in the bay back to NUI Galway. This is high resolution data, providing information on surface currents every 300m. Also, the radars provide wave height and direction data at selected locations within the bay.” “This sophisticated new sensing infrastructure will produce vast amounts of data requiring continuous analysis and assimilation with other data to improve our ability to understand and forecast conditions in the bay,” says Dr Lisa Amini, Director, Smarter Cities Technology Centre. “This type of predictive modelling is critical to our Smarter Cities agenda, and the findings can be widely applied to protect coastal cities and their environments. IBM Research and Development - Ireland is happy to apply our expertise in real-time streaming processing, statistical modelling, and robust optimisation and control, in collaboration with NUI Galway, to this challenge.” Previously, the NUI Galway Group have worked in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive West applying models to assist with managing the retention of the blue flag beach status at Salthill. The new radar system can now contribute significantly to the environmental management and protection of Galway Bay and assisting with compliance of EU Directives, such as the Water Framework Directive. The results from this infrastructure are also being made available to a new research project just commencing in Galway Bay, SmartBay - a collaborative research project including researchers from NUI Galway and other Irish institutes of higher education. Dr Harnett adds: “In the future it is planned that the radar system will be moved and used to map most of the major bays and estuaries around Ireland. This research will result in the most detailed charts of surface currents every developed for Irish waters. In the longer term results from the system will be used to assess trends of climate change in Irish coastal waters.” The radar system has been funded by Higher Education Authority under Cycle IV of its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes. ENDS

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Berlin Soprano Performs at NUI Galway

Berlin Soprano Performs at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Arts in Action programme continues on a weekly basis at NUI Galway with an international flavour on Thursday, 3 November, with a specific focus on language and classical music. The CUBE theatre is the venue for a lunchtime concert at 1pm- 2pm featuring Berlin based soprano Doerthe Maria Sandmann.  Doerthe is one of the leading and most charismatic soprano singers of her generation in Berlin. She studied as an opera singer and vocalist at the renowned Hans-Eisler academy of music in Berlin and is now teaching at the Berlin University of Arts.  In the course of her international career she has collaborated with numerous ensembles and orchestras, performing in Salzburg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Milan, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Singapore.Doerthe’s repertoire is immensely versatile and encompasses opera roles, a wide range of lieder and other vocal music. It includes works by Monteverdi, Händel, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, and many others. During her studies she discovered the treasures of Early music and Baroque songs, many of which form a central part of her repertoire. She has recorded numerous CDs, three alone in 2011.In Galway, Doerthe will be accompanied by two colleagues from the Berlin University of Arts, pianist Akiko Yamashita and clarinettist (and musicologist) Cordula Heymann-Wentzel. Her Galway programme includes two masterpieces from German Romanticism: Robert Schumann's Woman's Love and Life, op.42 and Franz Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock, D. 965.   This concert will be presented by the newly appointed Honorary Consul of the German Federal Republic, Professor of German at NUI Galway, Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa.   Admission is free and open to the public. ENDS

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Top Marks at Junior Cert Business Quiz

Top Marks at Junior Cert Business Quiz-image

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway Western Region Schools Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Thirteen schools, with a total of 26 teams took part and competed from all over the west, to determine who would represent the region in the National Finals in March. The table quiz was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Brian Duffy, Chairperson CIMA West of Ireland Branch, said: “At CIMA our relationships with education providers have always been crucial.  We are delighted to have a leading role in this quiz which showcased the talents of second level business students in the West of Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident that in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI and CIMA allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in business studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future.” Mary O’Sullivan, Honorary President of the BSTAI, commented: “It is great to see the high level of interest from students and teachers in the region. Events such as these showcase the extracurricular effort that is the hallmark of the teaching profession.” The winners on the night were St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea, Co. Galway, who took first place. This was followed closely in second place by CBS Roscommon. Third place went to St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the National Finals, which will take place in LIT Tipperary in March.   -ENDS-

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New Book Tracks the Wolf – Ireland’s Last Great Predator

New Book Tracks the Wolf – Ireland’s Last Great Predator-image

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Two decades of gathering information on wolves by NUI Galway lecturer Kieran Hickey has resulted in a fascinating new book, Wolves in Ireland.  In this book, Kieran Hickey examines a vast array of sources relating to wolves in Ireland. The author considers archaeological remains, name evidence (place and person, both in Irish and in English) and folklore. He also provides an account of wolf attacks on livestock, and more rarely people, and describes how the extermination of wolves took place. The last wolf was killed, most likely in 1786.  According to NUI Galway’s Kieran Hickey: “An iconic symbol of the untamed and wild, the wolf, as Ireland’s last great predator, has always provoked, fear, excitement and wonder. This book explores all aspects of the wolf in Ireland including the archaeological name and folklore evidence, the historical records, its demise and its possible re-introduction.” The causes of extermination are discussed in detail, including legislation, the role of bounties and professional wolf hunters and deforestation. The book closes by assessing whether the Irish wolf could have been a unique sub-species and considers the controversial possibility of re-introduction. Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and author of Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009–2010. He is also a regular media commentator on climate and geography.  The author will be signing copies of Wolves in Ireland at the book launch in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway at 6pm on Thursday, 27 October. Wolves in Ireland is published by Open Air, an imprint of Four Courts Press, and is available in book stores across the country.   ENDS

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Cleveland Clinic visits BioInnovate at NUI Galway

Cleveland Clinic visits BioInnovate at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Representatives from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, regarded as one of the top four hospitals in the US, visited NUI Galway this week as part of the BioInnovate Ireland initiative. Intent on driving medical device innovation, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training programme modelled on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. The Fellowship programme, which commenced last August, has recruited two elite multi-disciplinary teams, each of four high-calibre Fellows, which includes experienced medical, engineering, business, technology and law graduates. “NUI Galway and BioInnovate Ireland are delighted to receive representatives from the Cleveland Clinic and Senior Executives from the US Medical Devices Sector to NUI Galway. This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and the Galway med tech community to bring together clinical, academic and industrial leaders to discuss the capabilities for the emergence of a world centre for medical device innovation within Ireland”, said the Programme Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The two teams are undertaking an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout a 10-month period, they will avail of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation.The key benefits of the programme is the establishment of a network of clinical, academic and industrial leaders focused on medical device innovation and to contribute to the future of the medical device technologies sector in Ireland.  The primary output from this programme is the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skilled graduates from the BioInnovate class. BioInnovate Ireland is being offered by: NUI Galway, DCU, UCC, UL and RCSI, with the support of the IMDA, SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Medtronic, Creganna, Steripak, Lake Region Medical and a team of clinicians nationally. Recruitment for the Fellowship year 2012 will start in November 2011 with an expression of interest form available for download from www.bioinnovate.ie   ENDS

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Major Conference to Focus on Delivery of Regional Growth through Innovation

Major Conference to Focus on Delivery of Regional Growth through Innovation -image

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

On Friday 4 November, the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly and the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway will host a major conference on the contribution of regional innovation to regional and national economic development. The conference entitled Regional Innovation – A Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Growth in the BMW Region will address how the BMW Region can build on its knowledge-based capabilities to stimulate growth and employment in high value sectors. It will focus upon demonstrating why the Irish Government needs to support regions differently, as stated by the OECD in May 2011 “regions are not countries and (Governments) cannot simply replicate national policies at a regional scale”. The conference will be of enormous interest to key policy makers, enterprise agencies, academic researchers and industry representatives who wish to engage with the issue of creating an effective regional innovation system. Research recently carried out by the BMW Regional Assembly and by CISC at NUI Galway  on regional innovation and competitiveness will be presented at the event. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Gerhard Fuchs, University of Stuttgart, who is an international expert on Regional Innovation Systems. Peter Reilly, Research and Development Director at Valeo Vision Systems will provide an industry perspective on academic business linkages. Valeo Vision Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems, with a base in Tuam, Co. Galway. The outcomes of a major study completed this year by the BMW Regional Assembly on the innovation performance of the BMW Region will be presented by Dr Kieran Moylan. The report ‘An Audit of Innovation in the BMW Region: An Evaluation of a Regional Knowledge Economy’ sets out the key challenges and opportunities for job creation and economic growth in a range of emerging high value economic sectors.  It recommends that a more explicit regional dimension should be expressed in national innovation policy and argues that regional innovation strategies can form a more effective level of implementation at the regional and local level, e.g., in the medical devices sector in the Western region. Mr Gerry Finn, Director of the BMW Regional Assembly stated that: “There is now a much greater appreciation and understanding of the important role that effective regional innovation strategies can play as a catalyst in driving regional and national competitiveness, for the benefit of the entire economy.” Speaking in advance of the conference, Dr James Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The West of Ireland region has unique advantages which offer rich potential. Recent work carried out by researchers at CISC highlights the innate competencies of the region and points out how a focus on creative and innovative pursuits has the potential for significant jobs growth in the region. This is a timely conference that will help us better define our own path towards economic and social sustainability”.  The conference takes place in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway on Friday, 4 November and further information is available at www.conference.ie and www.bmwassembly.ie ENDS

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China – A Century of Change Photo Exhibition at NUI Galway

China – A Century of Change Photo Exhibition at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

His Excellency, Luo Linquan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, will officially open a one month photo exhibition on the changes of China through the century entitled “A Century of Change” on Friday, 28 October. The exhibition, organised by the Irish Chinese Society Galway and the NUI Galway Arts Office, will take place from 28 October to 28 November, in the atrium of the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway.   This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 in China which ended 2000 years of feudal autocratic monarchies and founded the first republic in Chinese history. China has had a glorious history of continuous civilization for 5,000 years but with many trials and triumphs. Over the past three decades, the world has witnessed the rapid development of a prosperous new China. Today the Chinese are still working hard in the pursuit of world peace, sustainable development, human welfare and dignity so that its people can enjoy a decent life in a harmonious and stable society.   The exhibition evokes the past century with the instants of Chinese people from historical figures to ordinary Chinese with a highlight of the achievements of China during the past 30 years since the opening of China to the outside world.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.   -ENDS-

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The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value C

The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value C-image

Monday, 24 October 2011

Seeing the Positive in the Negative: The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value Chain The Midwest of Ireland was dealt a serious blow when, in 2009, Dell announced the relocation of its manufacturing operation to Lodz in Poland with the loss of 1,900 jobs. New research carried out by Dr Patrick Collins and Professor Seamus Grimes of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway, has attempted to uncover the fallout of this decision and ask what it has meant for the competitive positioning of Ireland more generally. “Dell’s decision was led by many factors including consumer demand and changing tastes, but much of the media pointed to the fact that Ireland had ‘priced itself out of the market’ and had become uncompetitive”, said Dr Collins. “The reality is that the Dell closed only its manufacturing operation in Limerick, it continues to employ many more in other higher end functions there.” The research shows the Dell case to be something of a microcosm for Ireland’s long term relationship with foreign direct investment. This is a relationship that has been evolving over the past 50 years that has seen lower value added jobs being replaced by higher valued added ones. “In its most simplistic form it’s a case of services replacing manufacturing, however, the picture is considerably more complex, some manufacturing techniques employed by the multinationals are highly evolved and quiet sustainable”, added Dr Collins. The research has been published in an article entitled ‘Cost-competitive places: shifting fortunes and the closure of Dell's manufacturing facility in Ireland’ in the international peer-reviewed journal European Urban and Regional Studies. This work tries to place Ireland in a global context in an era of economic turmoil. The article equates Ireland to a developed country and notes that, like many of its neighbours in Western Europe, it has been losing jobs to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. The research focuses on what it terms a ‘grim’ period for Ireland’s job market in early 2009. In a matter of months the technology sector haemorrhaged nearly 10,000 jobs, over 80% of which were relocated to other countries. However, the positive is noted by the fact that the same period of time saw over 6,000 jobs announced for the same sector. “Taking the positive from the negative here is that the jobs we are gaining are significantly higher paid and more sustainable ones with brighter prospects to the ones we are losing”, Dr Collins noted. ENDS

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Future Doctors Delve into Research Projects

Future Doctors Delve into Research Projects-image

Monday, 24 October 2011

Over 60 medical students at NUI Galway have completed summer research projects into a range of areas such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, stem cell technologies, diabetes and arthritis. 40 medical and scientific faculty from both within the School of Medicine and Science, NUI Galway and the affiliated hospitals (i.e. Sligo General and Letterkenny) provided supervision for these projects. The prize for best overall research project went to second-year medical student Mr Alan Jacobsen, from Castlegar, Co. Galway. Over the summer Alan explored new treatments for leukaemia. Students applied for external competitive funding from grant agencies such as the HRB and Wellcome Trust. In 2011, 18 students within the programme secured funding from sources external to NUI Galway. In addition, internal competitive funding in the form of Curriculum Innovation Fund and Research Support Fund stipends (13 in total) were offered to students.  Finding from the projects were presented recently on campus, at the School of Medicine Undergraduate Open Day. “This focus on research at undergraduate level is designed to develop high calibre doctors with enormous research potential. Furthermore, it may encourage the development of the next generation of physician-scientists”, commented Dr Richard Flavin, Chairman of the School of Medicine Undergraduate Research Committee. The Undergraduate Research Day was opened by Dr Armand Keating, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto and President-Elect of the American Society of Hematology. The day also incorporated a lecture by Professor Jozef Bartunek, Consultant Cardiologist, OLV Hospital, Belgium who discussed his work with stem cells. Closing the event was the John D. Kennedy Lecture, given by Dr Ramona McLoughlin, Consultant Gastroenterologist, UCHG. “Some students have succeeded in drafting research articles based on their work, which is a phenomenal achievement given the time constraints they are under. The general feedback from the summer scheme has been very positive and it is inspiring to see so many hardworking, inquisitive and dedicated research-orientated medical students. Many students will know present their findings at both national and international meetings”, said Dr Flavin. The focus on research at undergraduate level is part of an overall ethos at the School of Medicine to provide a holistic, involved and real educational experience. With its strong links to hospitals in Galway, Sligo, Donegal and Mayo, medical students at NUI Galway are brought into contact with patients from the earliest stages of their training. In addition, special study modules allow students to study extra modules such as Medial Electronics, sign language, sports psychology or teenage mental health promotion.  ENDS

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2011 Galway Science & Technology Festival Programme Launched

2011 Galway Science & Technology Festival Programme Launched-image

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched today at a function in the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway, by Mr Gerry Kilcommins, VP Global Operations and General Manager Medtronic. A full two weeks of events was announced, which includes shows, demonstrations and activities for primary and secondary school students and a fantastic family day out at Final Day Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, at NUI Galway. The Festival in its aim to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people, runs from 14_27November, and will culminate with the Festival Exhibition to be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.  There is a great programme of events this year to choose from including Robert Hill's ‘Celestia and Stellarium Workshops’, Mr Bug returns with his snakes, cockroaches and tarantulas while Sue McGrath’s show will be full of pops, bangs and fizzing craziness. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including ‘Computer Game Programming with Kinect’, an invitation to senior cycle Physics students to the new Engineering Building and a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyber Bullying.  The Zoology and Geology Museum will be open for tours along with Ireland’s only Computer and Communications Museum.  GMIT is having an open day on Wednesday, 16 November, and tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories will be available. There are also various interesting workshops for students including ‘Modern Medicines’, ‘The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and Nicotine Patches’ and a ‘Forensic Investigation’. This year a ‘Mentoring Program’ by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Engineers from over 11 different companies are participating in this initiative and will visit schools and talk to the students about subject choices they made and give practical career advice, details available on the website. Plans have been put in place to expand the 2011 Exhibition on 27 November, with more shows and exhibition stands. There will be up to 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. This year a booking system is in place through www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day.The Galway Science Festival is a fantastic collaboration of education, industry and government and showcasing Galway as a leader in Medical Devices and ICT.  Festival Chairman Tom Hyland said today: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank all our sponsors for their participation in the 2011 Festival – great thanks must go to Medtronic for their 10 years of outstanding commitment to this event and to the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the City and County.”  Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “For many years, Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology.  As a University, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented graduates to build Ireland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  This Festival allows us in the University to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!”The 2011 Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 27 November, 2011.  ENDS.

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UN Professors Launch Joint Programme on Children and Young People in Ireland

UN Professors Launch Joint Programme on Children and Young People in Ireland-image

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ireland’s two UNESCO Chair holders came together today to launch an innovative and exciting programme dedicated to improving the rights and well being of children and young people across Ireland. The Children and Youth Programme is an independent academic collaboration between Professor Alan Smith at the University of Ulster and Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway. In the coming months the Programme will initiate a debate on two key points – the value of a rights-based approach to the planning and provision of children’s services in both parts of the island, and the need for both governments to incorporate a stronger commitment to children’s rights in legislation.  Speaking today on United Nations Day, Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education for Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Ulster stated: “As the two UNESCO Chairs on the island of Ireland we believe that the academic programme we are launching today will help to reinforce the notion that a strong commitment to children’s rights will have better outcomes for children and families across the island. As we see on a daily basis the most difficult part of any economic downturn is the fact that it is the poorest and the vulnerable who are usually most affected by financial cut backs. Consequently it is the children of those hardest hit by job losses and cutbacks to children and family services who suffer most. We only need to look at the stark predictions being made by those who work in the front line services to see that this is the case. For example,  the impact of welfare and budget cuts on increased poverty levels in Northern Ireland or the fact that today in Ireland, 18.6% of children now live in risk of poverty, and 8.7% already live in consistent poverty. A rights based approach provides stability and certainty of resource allocation and protection for the most vulnerable in times of financial constraint and cutback. As a constant it also requires that all government decisions take account of the rights of children, ensuring that no one falls through the gaps in monitoring processes or becomes a victim of shifting political priorities.” Professor Dolan is Director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, and holds the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement: “We believe that there are clear signals the administrations on both sides of the border can send, not only to the international community, but to the next generation on this island, that they will be protected and nurtured, with certainty in policy making and reliability in service provision. The Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to pass legislation which will require every government department to take account of children’s rights in all policy decisions, as the Welsh Assembly has already done. Incorporating the UN Convention and the Rights of the Child and developing a rights-based approach to policy development could be one of the greatest single legislative acts undertaken by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive since its formation. Likewise, the prospect of a referendum in Ireland to include a clear and binding commitment to children’s rights in the constitution is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity. Common sense concern for children and families should encourage everyone to support such a referendum.” Professor Dolan added: “Over the next year we want to initiate a debate on how services for children and young people can be provided on the basis of rights.  We hope to show that it is an approach underpinned by clear and consistent obligations that will cherish all children equally.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence with Special Ceremony

NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence with Special Ceremony-image

Friday, 21 October 2011

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students who received a total €102,000 in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Entrance Scholarships, 60 students received €1,700 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. The presentations were made at a special ceremony which included teachers and parents on Thursday, 20 October, 2011. Entrance Scholarships are given annually to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. In Medicine 10 Scholarships were awarded, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). Designed to attract the best students to NUI Galway and reward their academic excellence, the awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's extensive Sports Scholarship Scheme. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these outstanding 60 individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway strives constantly to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their contribution to such success.” This year Entrance Scholarships were awarded to students from 38 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 16 counties including Carlow, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Westmeath. -ENDS-

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Autumn Conferring Week Begin at NUI Galway

Autumn Conferring Week Begin at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 21 October 2011

Over 3,600 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 21-28 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Peadar O’Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers Tuthill and Martin Ward. Peadar O’Dowd - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Local historian, author, contributor to local media and tour guide of Galway city, Peadar, a graduate of NUI Galway, is a retired lecturer in Business Studies from GMIT. He has worked tirelessly for the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and a range of other voluntary and community organisations. Stan Shields - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Retired staff photographer for the Connacht Tribune, Stan is a chronicler in photographers of Galway city and county life through the decades to the present day, including the 1963 visit of US President John F. Kennedy to Galway when Stan famously climbed into the presidential car to get the best images. William Henry - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Prolific author and columnist with local newspapers on Galway’s civic traditions and its military heritage. William is also a committee member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: A native of Clifden, Co. Galway, Kathleen has published five books on the history of Connemara, West Galway and Alexander Nimmo. Her historical work and assistance in voluntary and community organisations has been recognised by Galway County Council, who presented her with Heritage Awards on two occasions. Martin Ward - Honorary Masters in Rural Development honoris causa: A leader in community development in Glinsk, Co. Galway for the last 40 years, Martin has been involved in the establishment of a Community Council and Centre, and a Heritage Group and Centre. Martin is also the Principal of the local primary school. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Peadar O'Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill and Martin Ward.  Each of these honorees share a passion for the West of Ireland and its heritage.  Their diverse contributions in chronicling and recording the past have fostered a respect for the local history and heritage of our region and its development. They are particularly worthy individuals and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 1,000 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. ENDS

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University Eateries Shortlisted for Caterers Award

University Eateries Shortlisted for Caterers Award-image

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Two NUI Galway campus restaurants, An Bhialann and Moffetts have been shortlisted for the Institutional Caterers Award at the upcoming Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards ceremony. Organised by Hotel and Catering Review, the Gold Medal Awards recognise excellence within the hospitality industry, rewarding food service operations that have been outstanding.  Applicants are judged across a wide range of criteria including excellence in food standards, customer service, culinary creativity and innovation. Catering in An Bhialann is provided by ARAMARK Ireland’s Food Services division who have provided catering services there since 1992. In 2010, a €3.5m investment resulted in a complete redesign of this 800 seat restaurant which now boasts a modern interior, new entrances and extended seating. An Bhialann also houses a brand new kitchen which incorporates the latest in equipment and services, all designed to deliver a wide choice of top quality and  value for money  dishes. Global coffee house Starbucks and the popular sandwich chain Subway are also located in An Bhialann which caters for over 16,000 customers on a weekly basis. Moffetts the 120 seat staff restaurant, operated by Masterchefs is nominated for the second year in a row.  Moffetts is beautifully situated overlooking the River Corrib and provides an extensive range of self–service and table service meals and is also available for private bookings.  Masterchefs has an excellent reputation in the hospitality business having catered for numerous high profile prestigious events both on campus at NUI Galway and elsewhere. Conference and Catering Manager at NUI Galway, Ann Duggan said: “We are delighted that our restaurants have been nominated for these prestigious hospitality awards and it is a fitting recognition of the excellent standards within the University catering sector.” -Ends-

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Tulca Festival of Visual Arts Events in association with NUI Galway

Tulca Festival of Visual Arts Events in association with NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The 2011 Tulca Festival of Visual Arts opens on Friday, 4 November, in galleries and other spaces across Galway. This year’s festival, entitled ‘After the Fall’, will take place from 4 to 20 November. Curated by Megs Morley, a number of events will be held in association with NUI Galway. Highlights for the festival will include renowned Romanian artist Lia Perjovschi’s creation of an installation in the foyer of The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway. One of Romania’s leading artists, Lia’s work focuses on the activities of collecting, archiving, structuring, distributing and mediating a variety of knowledge about society, politics and art which had been inaccessible to Romania until after 1989. Perjovschi has exhibited all over the world, and her life under the Ceausescu dictatorship has greatly influenced her work and mode of artistic expression, which always includes some political relevance. The James Hardiman Library will be open to the public for the duration of the festival. On Saturday, 5 November, Perjovschi will present a talk on her practice in the James Hardiman Library Browsing Room at 3pm. On Saturday, November 12, ‘Fugitive Papers’, an artistic research project examining art and art-writing as a public and critical activity will take place in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn,  NUI Galway at 3pm. It will be presented by Michaele Cutaya, James Merrigan and Fiona Woods. On Thursday, 17 November, a collaborative NUI Galway and GMIT presentation and workshop by Frances Whitehead ‘The Embedded Artist Project: Strategies for Civic Engagement. What do Artists Know?’ will be held in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at the University. The session will discuss the strategy of ‘embedding’ practising artists at local government level, bridging policy and practice in order to bring new perspectives and innovative approaches to addressing the challenges in planning the city’s future. The event is free to attend but spaces must be booked in advance through Dee Quinn in the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media at dee.quinn@nuigalway.ie. Ann Lyons of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway, said: “This connection to the visual arts through Tulca is a valuable aspect of NUI Galway’s commitment to the arts in Galway. Its participation in Tulca also provides an opportunity for collaboration between NUI Galway and GMIT, developing stronger links between the two third-level institutions in the city. We are very pleased to be associated with Tulca and welcome everyone to the University to experience this exciting festival of visual art.” Tulca Festival of Visual Arts includes a further programme of workshops, talks and events and brings the work of a range of international and Irish artists to Galway. Full programme details are available at www.tulca.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway PhD Student Wins Floating Wind Turbine Prize at International Conference

NUI Galway PhD Student Wins Floating Wind Turbine Prize at International Conference-image

Monday, 17 October 2011

Ciaran Kennedy, a PhD student in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, was recently presented with two prizes at the 30thInternational Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE 2011) held in The Netherlands. Originally from Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, Ciaran was presented with first prize for innovation, and second prize overall, in a floating wind turbine challenge, as part of a team of four international PhD students. The challenge was organised by the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) and the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE). Congratulating Ciaran on his award, NUI Galway’s Professor Sean Leen, said: “Ciaran’s achievement is an example of high quality, innovative work starting to come to fruition at NUI Galway, in the area of materials for renewable energy devices. His research involves direct collaboration with EireComposites, an indigenous, university spin-out company, based in Furbo, who manufacture high performance engineering components from fibre-reinforced composite materials for the energy, aerospace, marine, automotive and other sectors. Ciaran is driven by a real commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.” The topic of Ciaran’s PhD is ‘Fatigue of Composite Materials for Ocean Energy’, supervised by Dr Conchúr Ó Brádaigh and Professor Sean Leen, Lecturers in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway. Ciaran also presented a paper entitled ‘A study on the effect of seawater on the fatigue life of polymer composites for tidal turbines’ at the OMAE 2011 conference. Ciaran has a strong interest in renewable energy and engineering design, having worked in the wind turbine industry in the US in the 1990s, whilst studying for his undergraduate engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. Ciaran designed, manufactured and tested a 300W wind turbine for his final year project in the US and subsequently worked as a research test engineer in the US wind turbine industry. Since then, Ciaran also worked for nine years in the medical devices industry with Creganna, Galway. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Host International Active Citizenship and Disability Conference

NUI Galway Host International Active Citizenship and Disability Conference-image

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will bring together key international thinkers and actors who have transformed disability policy and service provision for a one-day conference. The Active Citizenship and Disability Conference will be held in the Clayton Hotel in Galway City on Friday, 4 November. The event will be a forum in which participants can reflect on the sharp break needed between traditional welfare-oriented supports for persons with disabilities and a newer model that aims to underpin independence, choice and active citizenship. Since the Health Service Executive report on deinstitutionalisation entitled 'A Time To Move On' in July this year, Ireland has been on the cusp of a major reform agenda of its antiquated and outmoded institutions for persons with disabilities. The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway is dedicated to inform and lead that change. Director of the Centre, Professor Gerard Quinn, who co-drafted the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, says: “The conference is important in that it will provide a meeting point between theorists who bring important perspectives from the new UN disability convention, policy makers interested in redesigning service delivery models, service providers interested in re-imagining their services in the decades to come, and persons with disabilities anxious to ensure that future services are adequate to ensure their right to live independent lives and be included in the community.” Conference speakers include Martin Routledge, Director of Operations at In Control and who has been a key figure in the reform of adult social care services at the Department of Health in the UK, and Brian Salisbury, Strategic Director at Community Living British Columbia, who has driven service reform and individual funding in British Columbia. In addition, Patricia Fratangelo from New York, a world-renowned expert in service transformation, will speak about her experiences in grappling with change.  Each of these international speakers are also giving more time to discuss the finer details of reform at a workshop event hosted by the Federation of Voluntary Bodies on Thursday, 3 November.  For further information, including the conference programme, registration and a list of speakers, see www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events.html. For other enquiries contact Mary McQuinn at 091 495888 or mary.mcquinn@nuigalway.ie.   -ENDS-

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Major Funding Boost for Pain Research at NUI Galway

Major Funding Boost for Pain Research at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 17 October 2011

Researchers at the NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research were recently granted two major research funding awards.  Dr David Finn was awarded a grant worth almost €1 million under the Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator programme and Dr Brian McGuire received funding of over €700,000 under the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement programme, which aims to develop leading Irish health researchers. Dr David Finn, Co-Director of Centre for Pain Research and Lecturer in Pharmacology was awarded the grant for his research programme entitled The role of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety-induced modulation of pain: sites and mechanisms of action. The programme seeks to advance our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety-pain interactions and will employ two postdoctoral researchers and PhD students.  Dr Finn will collaborate with Dr Michelle Roche, Lecturer in Physiology at NUI Galway, and with colleagues at University College London and the University of Nottingham on a series of experiments to investigate how the body’s own marijuana-like substances regulate pain during times of stress and anxiety.  Dr Finn said: “Anxiety and pain often occur together and there is evidence that anxiety can trigger the onset of pain and magnify existing pain, so anxiety may be an important target for new therapies in people with pain problems. Increased understanding of the effects of stress on pain is important and could pave the way for identification of new medications and other treatments for pain and anxiety disorders.” Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Dr Brian McGuire’s research programme will focus on chronic pain (pain that lasts more than 3 months). The award will fund three post-doctoral researchers from psychology, health promotion and health economics for a period of three years. The research programme will look at a number of important aspects of chronic pain. The first study will examine the problem of chronic pain in young children aged 5 to12 years and will aim to find out how many children have chronic pain, how it affects them and their families, and how much it costs in economic terms. In the second study, researchers will evaluate a pain management programme using cognitive behavioural therapy which will be delivered over the internet.  The third study will examine how GPs make clinical judgments about treating people with chronic low back pain and will provide information to the GPs with the aim of helping them to make better decisions. The project involves collaborators from the disciplines of general practice, medicine, health promotion, psychology and economics. Commenting on his project, Dr McGuire said: “These projects have the potential to provide valuable information for health professionals, managers and policy makers.  Most importantly, this research will help people who live with chronic pain on a daily basis.” More information about NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre_pain_research/ -ENDS-

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Unlocking the Value of Public Data...from the Obama Administration to Fingal County Council

Unlocking the Value of Public Data...from the Obama Administration to Fingal County Council-image

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A worldwide movement which aims to unlock the value of public data will be the focus of a free symposium ‘Opening Up Government Data’ on 8 November. Organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, the event will show the potential benefits of Open Data to public authorities, businesses, organisations and citizens. The goal of the Open Data initiative is to motivate governments to make public information freely available and easily accessible online. The benefits of Open Data are economic, through the identification of new business opportunities, and also social, through increased transparency and accountability. DERI is at the forefront of this movement, developing tools and technologies that are being adopted around the world. Web standards developed at the institute have been adopted by the Obama administration in their Open Government initiatives. In Ireland, DERI collaborates closely with local authorities such as Fingal County Council and the Local Government Computer Services Board, as well as the National Cross-Industry Working Group on Open Data to promote Open Data. Deirdre Lee, eGovernment Leader at DERI, explains: “One of the leading examples of opening up government data is data.gov, the US Open Data website launched by the Obama administration. Soon after, the UK launched data.gov.uk, and in total more than 140 regions and countries now publishes their data online. In Ireland, one of the early adaptors has been Fingal County Council, with DUBLinked, a consortium of Dublin councils, set to launch a similar Open Data website.” Today’s local and national governments generate and collect valuable information, be that demographic information, roads extension plans, teacher-pupil ratios in schools, hospital attendance rates or planning applications. Often this information is not publicly available. Even if available, public information is often locked away in proprietary formats, making it difficult and expensive to find, analyse and reuse. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, says: “Open Data is key to supporting a truly transparent and participatory democratic system. It also enables entrepreneurs to build innovative applications and businesses around this data, resulting in job creation and general economic benefit. DERI’s eGovernment and Linked Data Research is leading the way nationally and internationally.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world's leading international web science research institutes, and has a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge. DERI is a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. As a CSET, DERI brings together academic and industrial partners to boost innovation in science and technology, with its research focused on the Semantic Web. DERI has leveraged its SFI CSET funding to add significant additional research funding from the European Union, Enterprise Ireland, and industry sources. The event on Tuesday, 8 November, is called Opening Up Government Data, and takes place at DERI’s headquarters in NUI Galway. For further information, go to www.deri.ie/about/open-data or contact Deirdre Lee, eGovernment Leader in DERI on 091 495336, email deirdre.lee@deri.org -ends- 

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Preparing graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy

Preparing graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy-image

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An exciting PhD programme to prepare science graduates for jobs in Ireland’s knowledge economy was launched today, 10 October 2011, in Newman House by Minister Sean Sherlock TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation. The Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme (CTRSP) was developed by Molecular MedicineIreland and its academic partners, NUI Galway,TrinityCollege, UCC and UCD, and was awarded funding of €4.3m earlier this year under Cycle 5 of the Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI). The CTRSP also benefitted from the extensive involvement of industry partners such as Amgen, Pfizer, Creganna-Tactx, Merrion Pharmaceuticals as well as the Irish Medicines Board. The CTRSP is a four year structured PhD programme which will train scholars to translate patient and disease-focused research into clinically effective and commercial applications. These are the kind of skills required by knowledge industries in the health sector and in start-up companies. Twenty science graduates have enrolled on the programme following a competitive selection process. Four of these scholars Edel McGarry, NUI Galway, Eilis Dockry, TCD, Wesley van Oeffelen, UCC and Trudy McGarry, UCD spoke at the launch giving their views on why they were attracted to the CTRSP and their future career plans. One of the unique features of this collaborative programme is that during the first year, the scholars have the opportunity to attend each of the four participating institutions for taught modules. The first 20 scholars - five each from NUI Galway, UCC,TrinityCollegeand UCD - begin the programme tomorrow with a four week period of taught courses in UCD andTrinityCollege. This will be followed by short placements in academic research groups, clinical research centres and in industry and specialist taught modules. Tom Lynch, the Chair of MMI said that, “The CTRSP will address the deficit in the number of scientists in Ireland undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research with a key understanding of how to translate research results to the clinic.”  The CTRSP combines collaborative teaching, research and clinical expertise of academic medical centres, industry, and the Irish Medicines Board in a structured PhD programme that provides graduates with research training of the highest quality and an in-depth understanding of the clinical, commercial and regulatory environment essential for effective careers in healthcare research. In launching the CTRSP, Minister Sherlock said, “I strongly believe this new programme is very important on a number of strategic levels. It will deliver more scientists inIreland who are undertaking innovative patient and disease-focused research, and then crucially bringing their findings from the bench to the clinic for the ultimate benefit of our population’s health.” Minister Sherlock continued by saying, “I am delighted to see further tangible evidence of howIreland’s higher education sector, in developing this type of programme, is delivering for our enterprise needs. For me, a major source of encouragement to be taken from the CTRSP is the strong focus on commercialisation – on the critical need to translate our research discoveries into commercial outputs, and in this regard I want to commend Molecular MedicineIreland and all involved in this initiative.” Speaking at the launch, Professor Laurence Egan, Department of Clinical Pharmacology at NUI Galway, a director of MMI and the Principal Applicant on the CTRSP application, said “This important collaborative programme focuses the clinical and translational research expertise and resources of four institutions, working together through MMI, to develop future leaders to bring innovative discoveries to the market and to patients. These scholars will be well trained to work with clinicians, for jobs in the pharmaceutical industry or to start their own companies.” For additional information please contact MMI’s Education and Training Team at 01 477 9817 or email education@molecularmedicineireland.ie-ends-

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NUI Galway Unemployment Figures Lowest in Higher Education Sector

NUI Galway Unemployment Figures Lowest in Higher Education Sector-image

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

NUI Galway today (Wednesday, 12 October) announced very positive findings on the jobs front for its graduates with some 96.8% of graduates currently are not seeking employment, the best figure in the higher education sector in Ireland. With national unemployment figures at 14.5%, only 3.2% of the NUI Galway class of 2009/2010 are actively seeking employment. The number of NUI Galway graduates going directly into employment during this period was 47.5%, up 4% on the previous year, with a significant percentage going on to further studies. The data comes from an annual survey of almost 4,000 graduates on NUI Galway full-time programmes, conducted nine months after graduation. John Hannon, Head of the Careers Development Centre at NUI Galway, commented: “This survey gives an invaluable insight into employment opportunities. The Standardised Unemployment Rate is more than four times that of NUI Galway. We are delighted to have such positive news and to see that NUI Galway graduates are valued and sought after by employers. Graduates are our future leaders and their ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude, skills and knowledge can generate the enterprise and innovation required to boost Ireland’s economic recovery.” The challenging economic climate in recent years has led to increased numbers embarking on postgraduate study. Again the statistics for NUI Galway are positive, with just over 3% of graduates from postgraduate programmes seeking employment. Mr Hannon added: "NUI Galway statistics are very positive when compared to the national average. However, we cannot forget how challenging the current economic climate actually is for graduates who are looking for employment. It is gratifying to see that graduates who have invested in postgraduate diplomas, masters and PhDs not only enhance their learning but increased their employability. At NUI Galway we place a lot of emphasis on developing employability skills. Many of our newest courses were developed in partnership with industry and specifically to fill a skills gap in the market. We also provide students with additional opportunities for learning in a real world context through work placment, volunteering and community outreach, giving our graduates additional evidence that they have the personal and academic attributes sought by employers.” Sancha Mulcahy, HR Manager with Deloitte, said: “Deloitte is looking for people who feel energised working in a team, who are innovative thinkers and who set high standards for themselves. Graduates of NUI Galway possess the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a firm like Deloitte. We are delighted to be able to offer over 200 graduate positions this year, which is a significant increase on last year. As a result, we expect to see an increase in the number of NUI Galway graduates joining Deloitte.  The positions will be available to graduates from a range of disciplines, including business, accounting, engineering, science, IT and legal backgrounds amongst others.”   -ENDS-

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Galway Mum launches iPhone App for Family Holidays in Ireland: New Travel App, Ireland: Are We There Yet?

Galway Mum launches iPhone App for Family Holidays in Ireland: New Travel App, Ireland: Are We There Yet?-image

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Galway-based, mother-of-two and NUI Galway graduate Ann Brehony has just launched the essential family holiday helper through her first digital mobile app in the App Store. The app Ireland: Are We There Yet?was released through a publishing deal with an American digital travel publisher Sutro Media. Featuring over 130 places to visit in Ireland with kids, this app provides families with an invaluable tool that will keep everyone happy on daytrips or holidays. Covering the country both North and South with new ways of seeing old favourites like the Rock of Cashel and The Giant’s Causeway plus a host of new attractions as diverse as Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory in Belfast or a Toy Soldier Factory in Cork. On explaining the origin of the idea, author and creator Ann Brehony, said: “As part of my MA in Publishing at NUI Galway, I had to complete a business plan for an innovative new publishing venture. I produced a plan for an online travel guide for families on holiday in Ireland called 'Are We There Yet?' The course tutors were very encouraging about my idea and suggested it was something I should pursue on graduation. They helped me shape a business analysis framework for my thesis and this framework allowed me to investigate cutting-edge digital publishing models from around the world which then led me to explore the mobile app route for my idea, from there it really took off and within nine months of graduating I had secured a publishing deal.” Ms Brehony added: “As a mother of two, I know how important it is to keep kids amused and engaged while on daytrips or holidays, if they’re happy then we’re all happy! It was a real labour of love and the kids and I had such a great time discovering the many gems on offer around the country.”   Publishers Sutro Media say “This app is like the local cousin you never knew you had! It has sussed the best ways to visit Ireland with kids so you don't have to do the legwork. This app is written with genuine insight, humour and charm and is packed with places to go and things to do with kids on holiday in Ireland.” Highlights of the app include: County-by-county listings of family-friendly attractions complete with car games and scavenger hunts to keep the kids amused on the go A full nationwide listing of free outdoor play areas. Filled with wonderful photography, each entry has links to websites and YouTube clips giving background information on all the local colour needed to plan a successful stress-free visit. The app links you into a whole community of other app users who can share their tips and experiences. A treasure-trove of quirky hints on how to find a song for every county, the best local sweets to try and handy pit stops for long journeys. Perfect for keeping the kids amused without breaking the bank during the mid-term break. Constantly updated and available on the go on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.   The app costs €2.39, £1.79, $2.99 and is published by Sutro Media.   -Ends-

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RSA Lecture Focuses on Behaviour of Young Drivers

RSA Lecture Focuses on Behaviour of Young Drivers-image

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

- 1 in 5 Male Drivers Under 25 Admit to Having Raced Another Driver - The results of a survey presented today, Monday, 10October, at the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Annual Road Safety Lecture revealed that 1 in 5 male drivers aged under 25 reported having raced another driver on a public road at some point in the past. The survey, conducted by Dr Kiran Sarma, Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway, also revealed that young male drivers reported more frequent speeding, reckless driving and use of mobile phones while driving. RSA research presented at the lecture revealed that 5,678 road-users aged between 17 and 24 years old were killed or seriously injured on Irish roads between 1997 and 2009. The lecture, which focused on the driving behaviour of 17 to 24 year old road-users, is the first event in ‘Irish Road Safety Week’ which runs from Monday, 10 October to Sunday, 16 October. At the lecture, Dr Kiran Sarma presented the results of his survey of 1,500 drivers on the relationship between psychology and risky driving behaviour. Dr Sarma’s research found that the frequency of speeding among young male drivers was associated with positive attitudes towards speeding and a higher prevalence of personality traits such as impulsiveness and excitement seeking. Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “The focus of today’s lecture is young drivers aged 17 to 24 years old who are among the highest risk road-users on our roads. Research tells us that this group of road-users are three times more likely to be killed on the roads than any other road-user. In fact, 5,678 young road-users with their lives ahead of them were killed or seriously injured on Irish roads in the period 1997 to 2009. This is roughly the same as the population ofWestportin Co. Mayo. When you think of it in those terms, we are reminded of how needless this loss of life is.” “But it’s also important to say that not all young drivers are risky or dangerous drivers. Today’s lecture has shown how important it is to support our younger road-users in forming positive attitudes to road safety as early as possible.” Dr Sarma’s research also revealed that risky driving behaviour was linked with pro-speeding attitudes among friends and family, a greater tendency to become angry in response to other drivers’ actions and a belief that the driver could control his or her car, even in challenging driving conditions. Some young male drivers also saw their car as being a core part of who they are – this was related to more extreme driving behaviour. Speaking at the lecture, Dr Sarma said: “This research helps us to understand the psychology of young male drivers and can inform the way we respond to risky and reckless driving. The research would suggest that addressing speeding attitudes is important but that deeper psychological factors are also linked to dangerous driving on our roads.” Professor Andrew Tolmie from theInstituteofEducation,UniversityofLondonalso spoke at the lecture about his recent paper for the Department for Transport (UK) on ‘The development of children’s and young people’s attitudes to driving. Professor Tolmie’s research highlighted that becoming a driver starts in childhood, although this becomes more focused during adolescence. His research also showed that family and peer influence is critical in forming attitudes and behaviours and suggested that the pre-driver period may present the best opportunity for forming positive attitudes to driving. Professor Tolmie said: “Becoming a driver is something that starts in childhood, as soon as children become aware that this is something that adults do, and it becomes a real aspirational focus during adolescence, as teenagers begin to imagine themselves having the freedom that driving brings. Watching how parents behave, talking about driving with friends and the images associated with driving all have an influence on how young drivers first act on the road. Poor influences at this stage lead to poor driving behaving later - if we want to increase young drivers' safety, it is during the teenage years, before they begin to drive, that we need to act.” 1,352 17-24 year olds were killed on Irish roads between 1997 and 2009, representing 28% of all road deaths in that period. Over one third (35%) of these fatalities took place between 12:00am (midnight) and 4:59am. The research also found that 17 to 24 year old car drivers are five times more likely to be killed on Irish roads than any other driver. In fatal collisions where excessive speed was cited as a contributory factor, half of all drivers responsible were males aged 17 to 24 years old. Furthermore, 2 in 5 of all passengers aged 17 to 24 who were killed on the road were in a car being driven by a 17 to 24 year old male driver. ENDS

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New Findings on How the Brain’s Own Marijuana-Like Chemicals Suppress Pain

New Findings on How the Brain’s Own Marijuana-Like Chemicals Suppress Pain-image

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

New findings about how the brain functions to suppress pain have been published in the leading journal Pain, by NUI Galway researchers. For the first time, it has been shown that the hippocampus of the brain, which is usually associated with memory, has an active role to play in suppressing pain during times of stress. The work was carried out by researchers in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the Centre for Pain Research at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. In times of immense stress or fear, pain transmission and perception can be suppressed potently in humans and other animals. This important survival response can help us cope with, or escape from, potentially life-threatening situations. An increased understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in this so-called fear-induced analgesia is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also advance the search for new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pain.  Dr David Finn, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, and study leader, says: “The body can suppress pain when under extreme stress, in part through the action of marijuana-like substances produced in the brain. What we have now identified for the first time, is that the brain’s hippocampus is an important site of action of these endocannabinoids during the potent suppression of pain by fear.  This research, which was funded by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland, advances our fundamental understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and anxiety disorders.” Working with Dr Finn, first author Dr Gemma Ford was able to demonstrate that inhibition of the enzyme that breaks down one of these endogenous marijuana-like substances in the hippocampus, had the effect of enhancing stress-induced pain suppression. Further experimentation revealed that these effects were mediated by the cannabinoid CB1 receptor and were likely to be mediated by stress-induced increases in levels of endocannabinoids in the hippocampus. -ends-

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Calling All NUI Galway Graduates of 1986 and 1991

Calling All NUI Galway Graduates of 1986 and 1991 -image

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

NUI Galway will hold a reunion for graduates from the classes of 1986 and 1991 to celebrate the 20th and 25thanniversaries of their graduation on Saturday, 5 November. The reunion will begin at 3pm in the Quadrangle with a reception and photo exhibition of their student days, followed by a bus tour of campus. The celebrations will continue later that evening inGalway’s Hotel Meyrick with a special reunion dinner. Sandra Butler, NUI Galway Alumni Association Chairperson, encourages everyone to attend: “Reunions are special opportunities for graduates and friends to revisit NUI Galway and renew old acquaintances. These events come around just once a decade. So book your place now and get in contact with your classmates and friends and encourage them to come too.” For further information and to book your place, contact Colm O’Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie   -ENDS-

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Big Ideas from NUI Galway Attract Attention from Investors

Big Ideas from NUI Galway Attract Attention from Investors-image

Friday, 14 October 2011

An Enterprise Ireland event to showcase 120 ‘Big Ideas’ was opened by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock on Monday, 10 October in the Convention Centre, Dublin. 17 of the 120 inventions developed by publicly-funded researchers emerged from NUI Galway. One of these inventions is at the core of a new company called seevl ltd. This company developed technology to mine the Web to provide detailed information on artists and their music to online listeners, and let them discover music they will love. seevl is already being used in a browser extension of YouTube. Recent figures show a large user base of people listening to music online with the YouTube VEVO channel reaching 60 million unique visitors in July 2011. With Enterprise Ireland’s assistance seevl was established by Alexandre Passant and his fellow music-lovers as a spin-out from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway earlier this year. According to Alexandre Passant: “It has been a thrill just getting this company off the ground, and then to have such feedback, and participate in Big Ideas only five months after the public launch of the start-up. Big Ideas was an ideal showcase for us in terms of industry contacts, and we are delighted by the support given to us by Enterprise Ireland and DERI. Galway is a real hotbed of innovation and technology, and we are delighted to be part of this vibrant space.” Opening the event and announcing the winners of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards, Minister Sherlock said: “It is exciting, highly encouraging and very promising for the future to see such a range of high end technologies emerging from publicly-funded research. I am delighted to see that many of the Big Ideas being presented to the investor community today have the potential to become vibrant new companies.” The Minister added: “Enterprise Ireland and the Higher Education Institutes working together have built 185 spin-out companies from State-funded research to date. Besides creating jobs, it is uplifting to see that many of the “Big Ideas” can help people here in Ireland and across the globe with health and lifestyle issues. The Big Ideas event is the largest annual gathering of inventors and investors in the country. 120 new technologies being developed for the marketplace, will be unveiled and, of these the promoters of 18 ‘investor ready’ technologies will be vying for the attention of 200 potential investors attending the event. The ‘Big Ideas’ Showcase is a key event funded by the Government to help develop publicly-funded research into new companies, technologies and services. Feargal Ó Móráin, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland said: “the focus of the Big Ideas event is to get some deals done between the inventors and investors during the 150 one-to-one meetings which will take place. Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Higher Education Institutes, is providing the right environment for investors to explore options to either licence these new technologies from researchers or use them as the basis to form new companies in the energy, life sciences, medical, engineering and IT sectors”. While the Irish system for transferring technology from Third Level Education Institutes into industry is relatively new, the outputs compare favourably with the latest available data from the US and EU authorities in this area – Ireland is creating four spin-outs per $100m invested by the State compared to two in Europe and one in the US. The Minister presented Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards to three companies that showcased their technologies at similar events in the past and have since successfully established a spin-out company.   ENDS

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Rare Newspaper Eedition for NUI Galway

Rare Newspaper Eedition for NUI Galway-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

NUI Galway has been presented with a rare edition of an historically significant newspaper to the James Hardiman Library, through the donation from a private collection of the original 1691 edition of the London Gazette which features an account of the Battle of Aughrim.  The donation, from the personal collection of Councillor Norman Morgan, an East Galway collector, contains a copy of the London Gazette, 16-20 July 1691, issue 2680, which includes an account "From the Camp" of the Battle of Aughrim. Speaking at a special presentation ceremony, Councillor Morgan explained: “The London Gazette of the 16th July, 1691 is the most important item in my personal library. It contains a report of the Battle of Aughrim while the battle was in progress. It states of the Irish troops: “some of their Horse are retired in a body to Loghreah, and that most believe St. Ruth was killed.” Loughrea is where I was born and lived all my life, and, St. Ruth is buried in the Old Carmelite Abbey in Loughrea. This newspaper, printed 320 years ago, 25 years after the first newspaper ever printed in Britain or Ireland, adds to its importance. My paper, while the contents are identical to those in the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and Trinity College Library papers, has a different layout, which proves that there were two printings.  My paper has “The Battle of Aughrim” on the top of page 2, whereas “Hague, July 24”, is on the top of page 2 of the NLI and TCD copies and on the internet. The other difference between these two copies is the use of the capital letter, punctuation marks and spelling, which, in my opinion are more correct in the NLI, TCD and internet papers. This proves that my paper is the original, i.e. first printing.” Councillor Morgan added: “I have served the people in Loughrea as their Town Commissioner/Councillor Loughrea for 39 years.  My vote of 2.9 quotas is the highest ever; the Commissioners were established in 1862.  I know that I could never thank the people enough in one lifetime, so, through my research, my publications and gifts from my library to other libraries: NLI, NUI Galway, British Library and many other libraries, I give benefit even to generations yet unborn.  A gift to a public library is a gift to everybody. According to Dr Pádraig Lenihan of the Department of History at NUI Galway, and a highly-regarded scholar of the period who has published extensively on the Battle of Aughrim and Irish military history: “This issue of the London Gazette, written while the smoke still hung over the field, vividly describes what was probably the bloodiest and most decisive battle in Irish history. ‘Aughrim’s Dread Disaster’ was an event of national and international importance but it has a special resonance for County Galway and it is entirely appropriate that the University should build a first-class collection of sources relating to this event and to the Jacobite War in general.” Last year, Councillor Morgan was recognised by the University with an Honorary MA as a renowned historian and book collector, community activist and Loughrea Town Councillor. Councillor Morgan previously donated 13 rare issues of the Galway Independent from the 1820s to the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and 157 rare editions of the Dublin Evening Mail which dated from 5 February, 1838 to 31 December, 1855 to the Dublin City Library. John Cox, University Librarian at the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, said: “It will be a privilege for the Library to hold this edition and I have no doubt that scholars will make good use of it as a very valuable primary document from an important period in Irish history. It is especially gratifying to see this significant document remain in Co. Galway and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Councillor Morgan.” The donation will be held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, home to a range of theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Players Theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy; the Huston Archive and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'. ENDS

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Participants Needed for Galway Traffic Project

Participants Needed for Galway Traffic Project -image

Monday, 10 October 2011

NUI Galway researchers are looking for volunteers currently working from home, or have in the past, to participate in a project to find solutions toGalway’s traffic problems. Social scientists at NUI Galway have, over the past two years, been looking at various ways and means to encourage people to adopt more sustainable modes of travel. One element of this research focuses on the issue of teleworking, or working from home while communicating with the workplace. The teleworking project is part of ConsEnSus, a four-year collaborative project between Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway that examines four key areas of household consumption: transport, energy, water and food. The transport work package examines how people travel and how current travel patterns that are expensive, time-consuming and environmentally unsound could be changed. In the early 2000’s teleworking had been touted as a step towards reducing, or even eliminating, the daily commute to work. The research project investigates why teleworking has failed to resonate with many employers and employees and how companies and workers can make more informed decisions about this technology-supported way of working. It also looks at what types of policies are needed to ensure that the benefits and drawbacks for individuals, wider society and the environment are adequately recognised. Mike Hynes, an NUI Galway PhD student and member of the ConsEnSus team investigating people’s concerns in relation to telework, said: “Often the focus with working from home is on technical issues and the tasks that need to be accomplished. However, many social aspects that impact on whether people can successfully work from home are overlooked. Issues such as family commitments, neighbour’s expectations and the importance of the social aspects of work are factors that need to be considered by workers and management before a person commits to teleworking.  While teleworking can lead to increased productivity and has the potential to greatly improve people’s work/life balance, it also has considerable drawbacks. Issues such as longer working hours, the blurring of boundaries between work and leisure, unrealistic management expectations and experiences of isolation among some teleworkers are all areas of legitimate concern. Dr Henrike Rau, Lecturer in theSchoolofPolitical Scienceand Sociology at NUI Galway and lead researcher on the transport project, said:  “Galway’s traffic problems can sometimes seem intractable but to leave things as they are is not an option. We need sustainable solutions that will benefitGalwaywell into the future. Looking at practical ways and using tools that are readily available is very important. Mobile devices and information and communication technologies are already an integral part of everyday life for many people inGalway. Working from home could potentially benefit employees, employers and the environment by reducing the need to commute to work.” Those interested in participating in the ConsEnSus project should contact info@consensus.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Dublin

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Dublin-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Dublin on Thursday, 20 October. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Tara Towers Hotel, Dublin 4. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Dublin, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Dublin is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Dublin, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Siobhán Dorman, Schools Liaison Office on 086 042 1591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Hold Number of Events for Maths Week

NUI Galway Hold Number of Events for Maths Week-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

Maths Week Ireland will take place throughout the country from 15 to 22 October. As part of this week, a number of fun maths-filled events will be hosted by theSchool ofMathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway to promote an appreciation and an awareness of maths in society. On Monday, 17 October, Dr Steve Humble, also known as “Dr Maths”, will give workshops to primary and secondary school audiences at NUI Galway. Dr Humble is one of the topUKmaths presenters and has worked for The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics in the North East of England. He believes that the fundamentals of mathematics can be taught via practical experiments. During the second half of the week, there will be several special maths workshops held at the University to highlight the importance, usefulness, and enjoyment of mathematics. These workshops, delivered by Dr David O’Keeffe, Lecturer with theSchoolofMathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, will be focused at primary and secondary school students. Topics explored at these sessions will include how Julius Caesar used maths to protect his empire and how blind people do and read maths. Dr David O'Keeffe, chief organiser of Maths Week events at NUI Galway, said: “Often a question asked by many is ‘why do we need maths?’ It is important to remember that maths is in use all around us every day. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find something that does not involve mathematics in some way. Even if we never study maths as a subject, there are many uses of mathematics in all the sciences, business and technological fields. Playing video games that have puzzles to solve, how the Google search engine works for instance all involves doing mathematics. The idea of Maths Week is to illustrate the relevance and beauty of this subject in a fun and interactive way.” Schools throughout Galwayand beyond are encouraged to participate in these special events to make maths accessible to a wider audience and can register on the maths week website www.mathsweek.ie. Schools who register will also be in with a chance to win a Promethean Interactive Whiteboard. For further information on Maths Week at NUI Galway contact David O'Keeffe at david.okeeffe@nuigalway.ie  or 091 492740. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Celebrate the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

NUI Galway Celebrate the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Irish Centre for Human Rights, together with the Office of the European Parliament inIreland, will host a debate to celebrate the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The event will take place on Tuesday, 18 October, at 5pm in Áras Uí Chatháil, NUI Galway. Since 1988, in the spirit of Andrei Sakharov, the European Parliament has awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights, fundamental freedoms and against oppression and injustice. This reflects the conviction of the Parliament that fundamental freedoms includes not only the right to life and physical integrity, but also freedom of expression and of the press, two of the most effective means of fighting oppression and key yardsticks by which to judge whether a society is democratic and open. The winner is awarded the prize, along with an endowment of €50,000, at a formal sitting inStrasbourgto take place on Saturday, 10 December, the day on which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. This year there are five nominees, one of which lists five members of the ‘Arab Spring’. At the NUI Galway event, students from the Irish Centre for Human Rights will represent a nominee for the Sakharov Prize and will give a short presentation and argue the case as to why their chosen nominee should be given the award. Following the presentations, the floor will be opened for debate, after which the audience will take part in a vote to choose who they believe should receive the award. Representatives of the European Parliament will convey the results from the NUI Galway debate back to the Parliament’s Human Rights Sub-Committee, where the next stage of deliberations is due to take place on 20 October. Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Dr Vinodh Jaichand, said, “This debate is a real opportunity to participate in the selection of an outstanding advocate of freedom of thought and expression, a person whose courage has made a difference.” -ENDS-

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Minister Rabbitte Awards NUI Galway €230,000 under the BenefIT 3 Scheme

Minister Rabbitte Awards NUI Galway €230,000 under the BenefIT 3 Scheme-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

NUI Galway has been successfully awarded €230,000 as part of an inter agency collaboration that will train 4,600 people categorised as digitally excluded.  The project, entitled ‘Click and Connect’ is part of the BenefIT 3 scheme which has awarded €1.88m for 20 training projects run by community and voluntary groups and not for profit organisations across the country.  The ‘Click and Connect’ project will offer the people of Galway an introduction to the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT).  The training will offer hands on practical skills in digital photography and processing, using the internet to communicate with friends and family, online banking and government services. The partners include Age Action, Limerick Community Connect, DCU and NUI Galway.  Pat Byrne, Lecturer with the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and lead in the Project, said: “This award stems from service learning activities that have been embedded in the University since 2003.  It is a great achievement for us and recognises the work that NUI Galway has been offering pro bono to the community and those traditionally excluded from ICT.  Classes will commence in January 2012 and information will be made available through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway and local press.” Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D., said: “This important scheme means that 40,000 people will gain from IT training between now and June 2012.   The programme is to support those who have not yet gone on-line.    In particular older people will benefit – as will an estimated 17,000 unemployed people as well as other disadvantaged groups.  By supporting community and voluntary organisations to deliver this training we can ensure excellent value for money.”     The ‘Click and Connect’ project will be key to intergenerational learning and will involve partnerships with the local community. This type of learning is vital to the NUI Galway student experience, and the University, through the CKI, is committed to the development of service and student volunteering.  -ENDS-

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Calling Ireland’s Best Young Female Mathematicians

Calling Ireland’s Best Young Female Mathematicians-image

Monday, 10 October 2011

On Saturday, 15 October, at the University of Limerick, the search for Ireland’s best female mathematical problem-solvers will start. All girls who currently attend a second level school in Ireland are eligible. In recent months, the lack of mathematical problem-solving skills among Irish second level school students has been in the focus of the media. What is less well-known is that for nearly 25 years, five universities in Ireland have been running successful Mathematical Enrichment Programmes for second level students. Many of those who have participated in these programmes are now lecturers or PhD students of mathematics in Ireland or abroad. A strong motivation for those who actively participate in the Enrichment Programmes is the possibility of competing in Mathematical Olympiads. In order to increase the level of interest in mathematical problem solving among female students, the inaugural European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) will take place in Cambridge, England from 10 April until 16 April, 2012. Ireland will be represented there by a team of up to four second level mathematicians. But all participants of the Mathematical Enrichment Programmes, not only the most successful, will benefit from the training offered between October and December and improve their problem solving skills. The training will be facilitated by a series of online lessons and challenges coordinated by mathematicians from NUI Galway, Mary Immaculate College Limerick, University of Limerick, UCD, UCC, and NUI Maynooth. Mathematical enrichment courses at these centres will follow later in the academic year, and Ireland’s first EGMO team will be selected early in 2012. It is likely that the successful students will have already completed their Junior Certificate. Dr Rachel Quinlan from NUI Galway, who will lead the Irish team to the EGMO, said: “Female students have historically been underrepresented at Mathematical Olympiads internationally. Female mathematical talent seems to be an underused resource, and an initiative aiming at mobilising this talent is a brilliant idea. Often, girls who participate in Mathematical Olympiads do this at the highest level. For example, the German student Lisa Sauermann was the only competitor at this year’s International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) to achieve a perfect score. She now holds the leading position in the IMO Hall of Fame with 4 Gold and one Silver medal, outperforming all other participants of 52 years of IMO.” Young mathematicians of both sexes are invited to participate in the programme of problem solving offered through the Enrichment Programmes at five universities in Ireland. The students in these programmes will be included in the search for Ireland’s team for the 2012 International Mathematical Olympiad which will take place in Argentina in July. Those who are interested in this mathematical problem-solving day need to register online at www.irmo.ie/egmo.html by Tuesday, 11 October. More detailed information about the training and EGMO will be provided during the problem-solving day in Limerick from 11am until 3.30pm. -ENDS-  

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Irish Astronomers Participate in Major Pulsar Discovery

Irish Astronomers Participate in Major Pulsar Discovery-image

Friday, 7 October 2011

Astronomers at four Irish third level institutions have participated in the detection of pulsed gamma-ray emission from the Crab Pulsar at energies far beyond what current theoretical models of pulsars can explain. With energies exceeding 100 billion electron volts the surprising gamma-ray pulses were detected by the international VERITAS collaboration using an array of telescopes at the Whipple Observatory in Arizona.  Their results are published in a paper in the October 7th issue of the prestigious journal Science The Irish scientists have been involved in the search for this pulsed emission for over two decades.  The Irish team members include Dr John Quinn at University College Dublin, Dr Gary Gillanders and Dr Mark Lang at the NUI Galway, Dr Paul Reynolds at Cork Institute of Technology and Dr Pat Moriarty at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The Crab pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star, the collapsed core of a massive star that exploded in a spectacular supernova in the year 1054, leaving behind the brilliant Crab Nebula with the pulsar at its heart.  Spinning at 30 times a second the pulsar emits a rotating beam of radiation like a lighthouse beacon.  Current theoretical models of the pulsar predict that the maximum energy of pulsed gamma-rays should be about 10 billion electron volts so it was very significant to find emission with energies ten times higher.  Further observations to characterise the very high energy gamma-ray emission and new theoretical models will be required to explain the physical mechanism behind it. The Irish involvement in VERITAS is part funded by Science Foundation Ireland. More information on the discovery is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15203788

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NUI Galway Launches USNI Victory Scholarships

NUI Galway Launches USNI Victory Scholarships-image

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, recently announced the USNI Victory Scholarship Programme at NUI Galway. First launched in Ulster University, the Victory Scholarships Programme has this year been extended to universities in the Republic of Ireland, with NUI Galway being the first University to adopt the programme. The inaugural NUI Galway USNI Victory scholars are Timothy Coyne from St. John Fisher College in New York State and Will Archambault from Davidson College in North Carolina, who will both undertake a Masters in International Management at NUI Galway’s School of Business. The Victory Scholarship Programme assists deserving American students in obtaining a scholarship package to study at Masters level in Ireland. While studying in Ireland these students continue to play or develop sport at all levels; work in the wider community with young people and gain valuable work experience through internships and mentoring with local businesses. Both scholars will also play for NUI Galway in colleges and varsity competitions as well as playing and coaching for the Titans, a Galway City based basketball club, with 400 adult and junior members. According to President Browne, “The USNI Victory Scholarship Programme is a great initiative which facilitates improved access to education at NUI Galway while also deepening linkages through sport with our wider community in Galway. The programme is a natural fit for the University’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) which aims to promote greater civic engagement in academic activities, namely teaching, research and service at all levels of University life. I gratefully acknowledge the support of Galway University Foundation and its donors in the United States for the USNI Victory Scholarship Programme and I thank USNI Sport and Titans Basketball Club for their participation in this initiative.” Under the initiative, NUI Galway students are encouraged to participate in community activities locally, nationally and internationally. The Victory Scholarship programme also reinforces NUI Galway’s relationship with the United States. With over 700 Junior Year Abroad students attending the University annually, NUI Galway is one of the leading Irish destinations for American students. In addition, the University has academic partnerships with several universities and an active alumni community in the United States. Gareth Maguire, Director of USNI Sport, added: “USNI Sport Foundation believes that ‘sport changes life’. We believe that providing a programme that enhances personal development, academic achievement and sporting excellence will pay dividends for the scholars as well as all the young people in Galway they will work with over the course of their year. This year will transform the outlooks of our scholars and bring positive sport and diversionary programmes to young people in the area. We are delighted that NUI Galway is the first university in the Republic of Ireland to offer this exciting initiative and have every belief that it will be a huge success for all concerned.” Padraic Fogarty, Chairman of the Titans Basketball Club, also welcomed the initiative: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with NUI Galway in the expansion of the USNI Victory Scholarship Programme to the Republic of Ireland. We are a progressive club with deeply embedded core values. This initiative aligns well with our values and in particular the promotion of inclusiveness through engagement with a number of communities in Galway City and also our approach of developing strong international links. It’s great to welcome Tim and Will to the club who have quickly established themselves in Galway and are already making a positive contribution to Titans. We thank NUI Galway, Galway University Foundation and Gareth Maguire of USNI for establishing the link with Titans and in particular the US based donors, without whom this fantastic Programme would not be possible.” -ENDS-

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Postgraduate Student Travels to Germany with Cardiac Tissue Research

Postgraduate Student Travels to Germany with Cardiac Tissue Research-image

Monday, 3 October 2011

A postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway has been awarded a fellowship at a prestigious University in Germany to advance his work in the field of cardiac tissue engineering. Michael Monaghan was awarded the fellowship by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and will allow Michael to further his research in Germany until January 2012.   Michael Monaghan, originally a graduate of NUI Galway’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, will spend three months working with the Franhofer IGB Institute and University Tübingen in Stuttgart, which have a long history of cardiovascular and tissue engineering research.  Describing the opportunity Michael, from Mohill, Co Leitrim, says: “This fellowship will allow me a unique opportunity to test our functional biomaterial in one of the best research labs in Europe. These three months should prove invaluable to my research career and create collaborative links with some of the best scientists in Europe.”Michael is in the final year of his PhD programme under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster at NUI Galway. His research on the delivery interfering RNA (RNAi), an emerging field of non-viral gene therapy, is leading to a clearer understanding of RNAi’s therapeutic potential. Specifically, Michael is investigating the modulation of scarring of the myocardium following myocardial infarction (MI) aiming to aid the body to heal itself by silencing detrimental cell processes.  Cardiovascular disease is the most significant cause of morbidity in the developed world and there is currently no technique for regeneration of infarcted myocardium. One of the NFB’s goals is to develop scaffold-based cardiac gene therapy to minimize damage, promote regeneration and modulate the fibrotic response in cardiac tissues following MI. The research conducted by Michael would ultimately be of benefit to patients at risk of heart failure following MI, leading to a decrease in morbidity and improved heart function.  According to Professor Pandit: “NUI Galway has established a critical mass in the area of developing the next-generation biomaterials in Ireland. Each individual researcher is playing an important part in our work and Michael is a perfect example.  His research is advancing the field of tissue engineering and will have possible applications in cardiac and skin regeneration following injury.”   -ends-

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Participants Needed for Research into Chronic Pain at NUI Galway

Participants Needed for Research into Chronic Pain at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 3 October 2011

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research are looking for volunteers to participate in a medical research study.  The aim of the study is to increase understanding of the impact of chronic pain on learning, memory and attention. Healthy volunteers, with no history of chronic pain, are being sought to participate in this study as part of the ‘control’ group. Participants must be over 18, with no pre-existing cognitive impairment, and no history of major psychiatric illness, epilepsy, seizures or diabetes. Participants will be required to complete some questionnaires and simple assessments that measure memory, attention and other functions, such as problem solving. Orla Moriarty from Renmore in Galway, is the PhD student at NUI Galway behind the project: “What we should point out, is that this will be a pain-free experience for our volunteers.  In total we will need to find about 40 suitable candidates to participate. As with so much of science, a ‘control’ group is vital to our research. We really hope we will find the people we need.” The team at the Centre for Pain Research already have people who suffer from chronic pain to participate in the study, through its Pain Clinic.  Chronic pain affects up to 35% of the Irish population and is increasingly recognised as a disease in its own right. Chronic pain is sometimes associated with psychological effects, which may in some cases include forgetfulness, and difficulties in focusing attention, planning tasks and making decisions. As part of ongoing work at the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and funded by the Higher Education Authority under PRTLI4, researchers are attempting to investigate the relationship between pain and cognitive function. Drs David Finn and Brian McGuire are Co-Directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. According to Dr Finn: “Our goal is to compare the cognitive performance of patients with chronic neuropathic pain or radicular pain to that of healthy control volunteers, to gain a better understanding of how pain and cognition are related and to determine what types of cognition are most affected.” The assessment will take place at NUI Galway, lasting one to one and a half hours, with participants offered a small amount of compensation. Those who may be eligible and might like to take part in the study should contact Orla Moriarty on 086 3918862 or 091 495246 or email o.moriarty1@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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NUI Galway’s New Engineering Building is Shortlisted for National Award

NUI Galway’s New Engineering Building is Shortlisted for National Award-image

Monday, 17 October 2011

NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building has been shortlisted for the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards. The public will decide who will win this prestigious award, with an online vote deciding among the eight finalists. Voting closes on 3 November. According to Engineers Ireland, the new Engineering Building ‘reflects the University’s commitment to engineering, in its innovation, quality and scale’. Situated on the north campus, just under the Quincentenary Bridge, the immense glass, steel and zinc structure officially opened in July 2011, and is now home to 1,100 students and 110 staff. The building supports an emerging generation of engineers, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship, and become engaged in a new wave of technologies. In fact, the building has been designed to be an interactive teaching tool in itself; a ‘living laboratory’ is how it was described by the Irish Times. Viewing panels have been created so that the students can literally peer into the foundations. Sections of the steel embedded in the cement walls for reinforcement can be seen. Also on show is an array of ‘green’ building methods which will help inform students about a raft of modern sustainable technologies. Live data from numerous sensors measures the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and is used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Pipes and ducting labelled in corridors and rooms have been left exposed. The entire building was described as a ‘gross anatomy’ lesson of sorts for engineering students. The Engineering Building was designed by award-winning architects RMJM from Scotland in partnership with Mayo-based Taylor Architects. Speaking about the new building, the Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Lyons, said: “The design of this 14,250m2, engineering teaching facility reflects not only the history of engineering but also a testimony to the role of engineering in Ireland’s future.  We have created an inspirational environment for learning and for nurturing the spirit of enquiry into the science and art of engineering.” The winning project will be judged on the largest number of online votes received by midnight on Thursday, 3 November, with the winner announced at a special awards ceremony in the Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin on Friday, 4 November. To vote for the Engineering Project of the Year 2011 visit http://www.engineersireland.ie/about-us/what-we-do/excellence-awards/   -ends-

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