Irish and Korean Web Science Experts Sign Collaboration Agreement

Irish and Korean Web Science Experts Sign Collaboration Agreement-image

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A collaborative research agreement has been signed between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). The agreement will generate close collaborations between researchers at both institutes and is expected to lead to a number of funded projects. Work is already underway on a joint project in the area of semantic data integration and application. DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, with over 140 researchers. With its researchers of over 500 people, KISTI is specialised institute providing science technology and innovation services to promote national competitiveness. KISTI’s agenda is to develop and secure local and foreign information resources, strategic information analysis and advanced supercomputing and information infrastructure. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, which was established in 2003 with support from Science Foundation Ireland, says: “This agreement will boost world-class R&D in the field of semantic technologies as it makes possible a closer collaboration between two leading institutions. We were honoured to have been approached by KISTI regarding this agreement and glad to accept, while looking forward to the start of specific research projects.” Dr Won-Kyung Sung, Head of Information & Software Research Center of KISTI, says: “We expect that this Memorandum of Understanding will advance semantic web technology-based smart information service of KISTI and expand international collaboration in several R&D areas including semantic web.” Among the first specific projects that are included in the agreement is one related to DERI’s ‘web of data’ search engine Sindice. “Sindice represents a unique opportunity for researchers and companies to look at and start using infrastructures and concepts related to web-scale semantic data processing”, said Dr Giovanni Tummarello, head of the Data Intensive Infrastructure unit in DERI. “We are receiving more and more interest on this topic from enterprise and academic partners like KISTI”, added Dr Tummarello, “and there are solid prospects for Irish based job creation related to these activities in the near future.” -ends-

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Innovation Conference Explores Why Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation is Important

Innovation Conference Explores Why Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation is Important-image

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The 2012 Annual InterTradeIreland Innovation Conference will take place at NUI Galway from 12-13 June. The free event will focus on a theme highly pertinent in the currently economic climate ‘Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation: Why it Matters’. The Conference aims to provide practical insights into how businesses, academics and policy makers on the island of Ireland can best exploit industry-university research, development and innovation to best effect in context of our economic recovery.   Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway states: “Innovation management is moving towards an open innovation model with industry, universities and governments collaborating to support scientific development and economic development. Over the last decade Ireland has increased its scientific capacity through public funding of science and technology. The open innovation model is being adopted by more industries and this poses significant strategic and operational challenges for companies, large and small. This Conference will explore how best companies can respond to these significant changes in research, development and innovation.”   The Keynote Speaker is Professor Donald Siegel, Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Management at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. He has spent his career building knowledge and expertise on issues relating to university technology transfer and entrepreneurship, the effects of corporate governance on economic performance, productivity analysis, and corporate and environmental social responsibility. He serves as President of the Technology Transfer Society in the US and was recently ranked Number 2 in the world for academic research on university entrepreneurship.   According to Professor Siegel: “In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the commercialization of intellectual property at universities. A concomitant trend has been a substantial rise in university-industry research partnerships, often with that same goal in mind. I will present some lessons learned for managers and policymakers who are interested in stimulating academic entrepreneurship and managing university-industry partnerships more effectively.  If you are interested in learning about ‘best practices’ in university technology commercialization, you should attend this conference.”   In the packed two-day conference programme, a number of business leaders and academic experts from both sides of the border will explore why the exploitation of industry and university-based research, development and innovation is crucial to the development of a sustainable economy. Delegates will also hear the results of cutting-edge research into innovation and entrepreneurship that is being undertaken in our third level institutions across the island.   Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director for InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland’s focus is on SMEs and ensuring they can access all the resources needed to engage in innovation. Open innovation is often seen as the preserve of larger firms however, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also adopt open innovation strategies through involvement in innovation partnerships and networks. Such companies need help to gain access to external knowledge, draw on alternative pathways to bring ideas to market, provide greater access to innovation capabilities and increase speed to market. This event provides those same businesses with these opportunities by allowing them to connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise both on the island and internationally.”    The Conference will be of interest to business leaders and senior managers in businesses across all industry sectors including public, private and the third sector including anyone with a responsibility for the strategic development of a business or organisation. The first day of the Conference (12 June) will be of particular interest to academic researchers with an interest in tech transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship.   The Conference is part of the InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Innovation Programme which aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, academics, students, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region via innovation conferences, lectures, seminars and master classes. The All-Island Innovation Programme is delivered in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For more information on the InterTradeIreland All Island Innovation Programme visit www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme   The two-day Conference takes place at the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2012. For more information and to register online to attend this FREE event, visit www.conference.ie and follow the link to the InterTradeIreland Annual Innovation Conference.   A Twitter Hashtag has been setup so that conference delegates can share their thoughts on the day: #aiiconf2012   -ends-  

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Galway Primary School Competition, ‘Know Your Council’, Winners Announced

Galway Primary School Competition, ‘Know Your Council’, Winners Announced-image

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Galway City’s St Patrick’s National School were recently presented with the ‘Know Your Council’ Award at a special ceremony held in the Galway Council Chamber recently. This was a mayoral initiative by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness among senior classes in primary schools about the workings of local government. Over 370 pupils took part in the initiative and were presented with a certificate of participation. Ten primary schools reaching the final held in City Hall and two pupils from each school presented their projects to an independent adjudicating panel from NUI Galway including: Lorraine McIlrath and Mary Bernard of CKI, Dr Gerard Turley, Lecturer with the School of Business and Economics, Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Fergal Landy, Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and Conor Quinn, Student of Sociology and Politics. The pupils' work will form part of an information pack on local government which will be distributed to all city primary schools in September. Adjudicator Dr Gerard Turley said: “The adjudicating panel was very impressed with St Patrick’s critical analysis and ability to inform local policy.” The winner of the most creative poster was Scoil Iognáid, the winner of the best content poster was Scoil An linbh Íosa, the winner of the best presentation was Scoil Idé and the winner of the best project content was Scoil San Phroinsais. Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, Lorraine McIlrath, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between NUI Galway and Galway City Council, and this initiative is an excellent model of how institutions can collaborate in developing a culture of political literacy among our young people.” Speaking after the event Mayor Naughton said: “We had a fantastic response to the initiative and you could see that all the pupils really enjoyed researching and presenting their projects. The standard was very high and the pupils displayed an excellent understanding of their local council. This is a new initiative which could be rolled out on an annual basis not only in Galway but nationwide. It is important that we set up a programme nationally to continue this work to assist our young people in informing themselves on local government. I would like to thank all the schools who participated in this initiative and partners NUI Galway who administered and adjudicated the project.” The projects will be on display in City Hall for the next few weeks and they will form part of an information pack which will be distributed to all city primary schools. -ENDS-

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Wise Student Serves Up Cookery Book for End of Year Assignment

Wise Student Serves Up Cookery Book for End of Year Assignment-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Galway girl and NUI Galway student Móna Wise will launch her first book The Chef & I this Thursday, 31 May, in Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway. Part memoir, part cookery book, this heartwarming read, which began life as an assignment for Móna’s studies on the BA with Creative Writing Degree at NUI Galway, tells the story of Móna and her American husband, chef Ron, who she met while working in the US in the 1990s . A widely appealing story of love at first sight – and first bite – the book reminds readers to chase their dreams and enjoy delicious food on the journey. 75 pages of autobiography serve as an appetizer for 100 pages of recipes, with enticing images of food, family and fun scattered throughout the text. Parents to four children, Rory, Jack, Sam and Lulu, ranging in age from 10 to 6, the recipes in the book include family favorites such as the recipe for BBQ Ribs and coleslaw and the children's favourite birthday cake ‘Black Magic’. “I have had this story kicking around in my head ever since I saw the Chef’s tattered and torn recipe books, but it was not until I enrolled in my writing course that I felt I might have what it takes to write a book,” said Mona. “I knew, given the schedule and deadlines that if I had the opportunity to ‘live the life of a writer’ while still in college I would give it my best effort,” continued Mona. “Our story appeals to many readers because it is a true story showing how we built our family in a different way and recipes for all the fabulous food we have shared with friends over the years”. Returning from the US in 2008, where Móna and Ron ran a restaurant together, Móna took time out to write and enrolled on the 4-year BA with Creative Writing programme at NUI Galway, studying German and English Literature together with a specialism in Creative Writing. The book is her third-year ‘Independent Writing’ project, for which Eoin Purcell of New Island Press was commissioned as editor-mentor. Commenting on the book, the director of the BA with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, Dr John Kenny, said: “On our programme we are interested in how creative expression in itself can in turn be used to generate professional possibilities, and Móna is a prime example of what can be achieved when the opportunity for supervised self-directed learning is energetically grasped. With still a year to go to graduation, here she is with a weekly column in the Sunday Times, a widely admired blog, and now her first book – it's all a gratifying testament to her good will, hard work and downright gumption.” Móna’s work has recently attracted the attention of the national press and she has commenced writing her own lifestyle and food column for the Sunday Times Sunday Magazine. Móna’s blog wisewords.ie has now become well established and she is a familiar face at foodies’ gatherings. Her site has thousands of followers who log on for her regular restaurant reviews, wine writing, food-book reviews, recipes and child-rearing experiences. In addition to her column in the Sunday Times, readers can catch up with Móna on Twitter @WiseMona, Facebook  Móna Wise or WiseWords or follow her Blog www.WiseWords.ie The Chef & I will be available from Kennys.ie from May 31st and retails at €25 and is also available at locally in Galway at Cases Wine Warehouse, Charlie Byrnes Bookshop, McCambridges, Sheridans Cheesemongers and the NUI Galway Bookshop. ENDS

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Lifestyle Survey Says Environmental Attitudes Hit Home

Lifestyle Survey Says Environmental Attitudes Hit Home-image

Thursday, 8 March 2012

68% say the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage 86% say they were concerned about the environment 89% say ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’ There has been a marked improvement in environmental awareness in Ireland over the past decade reveals the ConsEnSus Lifestyle Survey published today by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research programme. The same survey reported that approximately one fifth of all survey respondents had changed their energy supplier to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years and a large percentage (almost 70%) of respondents stated that the re-introduction of water charges would lead to a change in water usage.The ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability) Lifestyle Survey was carried out by researchers in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway with 1,500 households nationwide between 2010 and 2011. The aim of this survey was to obtain an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The survey explored respondents’ household behaviours in the areas of mobility, food, water and energy use. The questionnaire also examined attitudes towards the environment, towards environmental responsibility as well as attitudes towards perceived levels of environmental control and perceptions of quality of life.According to the project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “The survey is the first of its kind in the island of Ireland and the results have produced a huge database on public attitudes and actions towards consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The respondents were asked questions that went further than how and when they undertook certain everyday activities – for example transport to work choices, water or energy conservation activities – focussing on why they undertake these activities. The results provide extremely useful data revealing underlying motivations for many consumption activities and lifestyle choices.”The ConsEnSus factsheets released today comprise some of the highlights and key findings from this the first national dataset on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles across the island of Ireland.High levels of environmental concern across all age groupsThis study found encouragingly high levels of reported environmental concern (86% or 1,289 respondents stated that they were concern about the environment). Similar levels of environmental concern were recorded across all age cohorts; with slightly higher levels of concern noted amongst respondents in the 50-65 age category (88%) and also in the 65-79 age group (88%), in comparison to respondents in the younger 18-33 age categories (83%).Over half of the respondents (58%) felt that they needed ‘to behave in a more environmentally friendly way’ and 82% believed that their personal behaviour could make a difference to the environment.Impact of eco-labels on productsIn the Lifestyle Survey approximately two-thirds of all respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I trust eco-labels’. 66% of survey respondents stated that they pay attention to where and how the food they buy is produced.Concern about food wasteWithin the sustainable food movement, a particular concern is the large amount of waste occurring at every stage of the food chain. Many factors contribute to food waste and recent reports estimate that wasted food costs each Irish household approximately €700 annually (EPA, 2011). The findings highlight public attitudes and behaviour towards food waste in Irish households. A significant majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the statement ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’. The most common reasons for throwing food away are: ‘Too much is bought and it expires’ and ‘Food goes off because of a change in plans’. Just over a third of all participants claimed to never throw food away.Awareness of water usage and impact of proposed water charges With the cost of providing clean drinking water escalating, and with the proposed re-introduction of water charges for domestic dwellings, water and water conservation in particular, has become a very important issue for policy makers, businesses and consumers alike. The Lifestyle Survey found that a substantial number of respondents to the survey (40%) stated that they do not pay attention to the amount of water they use in their homes. Over one third of all respondents (34%) reported drinking bottled water on a daily basis.80% of all respondents surveyed across the island stated that there is ‘a need to save water’ with just 10% of respondents believing that there was no need to conserve water.Finally, 68% of survey respondents stated that the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage.Recent changeover to renewable energy suppliersJust over one fifth of respondents (21%) had changed to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years. Of these respondents; 65% stated ‘financial reasons’ as their rationale for this behaviour and only 9% reported ‘solely environmental reasons’. Respondents in the 34-49 age group were most likely to have changed to a renewable energy supplier.Public willingness to improve energy efficiency of homes, but little actionThe Lifestyle Survey found that although almost three quarters of all respondents (73%) stated that they would be willing to install insulation in their homes, less than one quarter of respondents (23%) had actually done so in the past five years.Prominence of private car use 71% of respondents who reported commuting to work, school or college stated that they usually drive a car. When respondents were asked what would encourage people to reduce their car journeys, 53% of the sample stated ‘improved, more affordable public transport’, 12% of the people reported ‘financial incentives to encourage walking and cycling’ and a further 12% citied ‘improved bike lanes, footpaths and pedestrian crossings’.Respondents who failed to use available public transport viewed it as ‘too restrictive’ (42%), ‘too unreliable’ (11%) and ‘too expensive’ (7%). 27% of urban dwellers who participated in the survey stated that there was no public transport available at all for their commute to work, school or college. The survey indicates that rural Ireland is particularly affected by gaps in public transport provision. Almost half of all rural respondents reported that there is no public transport for their commute to work, school or college.Marked improvement in environmental awareness over the past 10 years The results of this survey indicated that almost one third of all respondents reported not being well informed about the environmental impact of the products they used. However, this could be viewed as a positive finding when considered in light of the results of a previous national survey on attitudes and actions (Drury Research Study) conducted in Ireland in 2000, which indicated that over three quarters of the respondents were not well informed about environmental issues and stated that they wanted more information. In terms of reported levels of environmental awareness, the island is in line with many European countries; with 59% of the respondents in this study stating that they felt well informed of the environmental impacts of products in comparison to 55% of respondents in a recent Eurobarometer Study of European citizens (2009).In response to the establishment of this national database and launch of the preliminary findings Mr Kevin Woods, EPA said: “The establishment of this national database on sustainable consumption and lifestyles is significant and is an important step in moving towards sustainability in the key areas of water, energy, transport and consumer behaviour.”ENDS

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