Clonakilty Community College Scoops the Debating Science Issues Title

Clonakilty Community College Scoops the Debating Science Issues Title-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Secondary school students from all ofIreland participated in the fifth All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition. The final took place on Thursday, 19 April, in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin. After several closely contested debates, Clonakilty Community College, Co.Cork emerged victorious to become the 2012 Debating Science Issues winners, with St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal awarded second place. Other 2012 finalists included AbbeyVocational School,Donegal Town and St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co.Dublin. DSI is a dynamic, cross border debating competition which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides an opportunity for students to expand their research, communication and scientific skills with forty schools initially entered in the competition. Through preliminary debates about stem cell research, nanotechnology, immunology practices, self-diagnostic tests, rare disease research funding, and genetically modified foods, the field narrowed to the four schools represented at the finals. Danielle Nicholson, DSI Coordinator and Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: “We hope that this collaborative outreach project is a useful tool in facilitating increased awareness of the important research taking place inIrelandamong young people and the Irish public in general. It is imperative that dialogue surrounding advances in science occurs and continues. While it is important for research centres to communicate to the public, it is equally important for researchers and academics to listen to what the public, including young people, think of this work. At a time when scientific research itself is taking so many different directions, it is critical that the doors for discussion remain open so that we can ensure that everyone has their say on the societal and ethical implications of biomedical research.” Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop series and debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with eight science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland including: REMEDI, NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; CRANN in Trinity College Dublin; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; W5 in Belfast; Clarity at UCD; Centre for Cross Border Studies, Armagh; and Cork Institute of Technology. Judges for the final included: Cynthia Coleman, REMEDI, NUI Galway; Heike Felzmann, NUI Galway; Marion Boland, SFI; Sylvia Leatham, Scibernia; Dónal O’Mathúna, DCU; Terry McWade, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Janice Murtagh, SFI; Danielle Barron, Irish Medical News; and Sally Montgomery of W5. Full information on the DSI competition is available at www.debatingscienceissues.com, or contact Danielle Nicholson, Outreach officer, REMEDI at NUI Galway, on 091 49 5259 or danielle.nicholson@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4

NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has announced the appointment of eight members to the Board of TG4 including a new chairperson for the Board. Among the appointees is Press & Information Officer at NUI Galway, Michelle Ní Chróinín. TG4 is the national Irish language television service, a public service broadcaster, established by statute and publicly funded to deliver a full range of high quality Irish language content to audiences at home and abroad. Originally from the West Cork Gaeltacht of Baile Bhuirne, Michelle is also an elected representative of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority since 2009. Michelle has over 15 years experience in communications, project management, event management, public administration as well as working with the media and in public relations. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Music from UCC; a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration from NUI Galway; and a Higher Diploma in Public Relations from the PRII. She most recently completed a Masters degree in Irish Media Studies from UL/Mary Immaculate College. Michelle is also trained in Television and Video production and has produced and broadcast her own documentary for TG4 in 1998 entitled Bess Mo Shin Sheanmháthair. Commenting on the appointments, Minister Rabbitte said that the Government was committed to continuing its support of the Irish language broadcasting sector and was extremely happy with the calibre of and credentials of those who have accepted appointment. “With Digital Switchover due to take place in six months time, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new board every success with the opportunities and challenges ahead,” the Minister added. In nominating the successful candidates, the Minister also had regard to the recommended nominees of the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC). Joe Connolly has been re-appointed to the Board and will continue to serve with Pól Ó Gallchóir, Concubhar Ó Liatháin and Rónán Ó Coisdealbha. The Minister is awaiting one further nominee from the Joint Oireachtas Committee. The Minister also expressed his thanks to the outgoing chairman and Board members, whose term of office has expired, for their contribution. The newly appointed Board members of TG4, whose term will be for five years, are as follows: Siún Ní Raghallaigh (Chair) Des Geraghty Michelle Ní Chróinín Micheál Seoighe Mairéad Ní Cheoinín Andréa Ní hÉalaithe Mairéad Nic Suibhne ENDS Comhaltaí Boird Nua TG4 Fógartha ag an Aire Ó Coinín D’fhógair an tAire Cumarsáide, Pádraic Ó Coinín go bhfuil ochtar comhaltaí ceaptha ar Bhord TG4, lena n-áirítear cathaoirleach nua ar an mBord. San áireamh tá Michelle Ní Chróinín, Oifigeach Preasa & Faisnéise in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Craoltóir seirbhíse poiblí is ea TG4, an tseirbhís náisiúnta teilifíse Ghaeilge, a bunaíodh le reacht agus a mhaoinítear le hairgead poiblí d’fhonn raon leathan ábhair ardchaighdeáin a sholáthar i nGaeilge don lucht féachana in Éirinn agus thar lear. Tagann Michelle ó Bhaile Bhuirne i nGaeltacht Mhúscraí ó dhúchas agus ó 2009, tá Michelle mar bhall tofa ar Údarás na hOllscoile, OÉ Gaillimh. Tá taithí breis is 15 bliain ag Michelle ar bhainistíocht imeachtaí agus tionscadal, i riarachán poiblí agus ar ndóigh i gcaidreamh poiblí agus ag déileáil leis na meáin. Is céimí de chuid Ollscoil Chorcaí sa cheol í Michelle agus bhain sí Ard-Dioplóma i Riarachán na nEalaíon amach in OÉ Gaillimh. Chomh maith leis sin tá Ard-Dioplóma i gCaidreamh Poiblí ó Acadamh Caidrimh Phoiblí na hÉireann bainte amach aici agus le déanaí Máistreacht sna Meáin Éireannacha ó Ollscoil Luimnigh agus Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál. Tá Michelle cáilithe freisin mar chúntóir léiriúcháin teilifíse agus rinne sí a léiriúchán féin i 1998 le coimisiúin bronnta uirthi ó TG4, Bess Mo Shin sheanmháthair. Agus é ag tagairt do na ceapacháin, dúirt an tAire Ó Coinín go raibh an Rialtas tiomanta leanúint leis an tacaíocht atá á tabhairt d’earnáil na craoltóireachta Gaeilge agus go raibh sé féin an-sásta ar fad le caighdeán agus dintiúir na ndaoine sin a ghlac lena gceapacháin. “Agus an t-athrú go dtí an tSeirbhís Dhigiteach le tarlú i gceann sé mhí, ba mhaith liom an deis seo a thapú chun gach rath a ghuí ar an mbord nua maidir leis na deiseanna agus na dúshláin atá amach rompu”, a dúirt an tAire. Agus na hiarratasóirí rathúla á n-ainmniú aige, bhí aird ag an Aire freisin ar ainmnithigh an Chomhchoiste Oireachtais (CCO). Tá Joe Connolly athcheaptha chun an bhoird agus leanfaidh sé de bheith ag fónamh mar aon le Pól Ó Gallchóir, Conchubhar Ó Liatháin agus Rónán Ó Coisdealbha. Tá an tAire ag fanacht le hainmniúchán amháin eile a fháil ón gComhchoiste Oireachtais.   Ghabh an tAire buíochas freisin leis an iar-chathaoirleach agus na comhaltaí Boird a bhfuil a dtéarma oifige istigh, agus atá ag dul as oifig, as a gcion a dhéanamh. Is iad seo a leanas comhaltaí Boird nuacheaptha TG4, a chuirfidh téarma oifige cúig bliana isteach: Siún Ní Raghallaigh (an Cathaoirleach) Des Geraghty Michelle Ní Chróinín Micheál Seoighe Mairéad Ní Cheoinín Andréa Ní Éalaithe Mairéad Nic Suibhne

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Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help

Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The general public is being invited to engage with scientists at NUI Galway to provide their opinions on stem cells and gene therapy. Scientists hope to explore public opinion on these and other cutting-edge biomedical solutions under development, and learn what the public’s point of view is. As part of the EU-funded GAMBA project, the University is specifically looking for people who would like to learn about adult stem cell and gene therapy approaches, and who are willing to evaluate theses approaches from a lay person’s point of view. No technical or scientific knowledge is needed, just a willingness to participate over two weekends in May and June 2012. Ideally, participants should be resident in Galway or the neighbouring counties and must be at least 18 years old. The closing date for application is Friday, 4 May. The specific focus of the research associated with this project is osteoarthritis and the opinion of the people suffering from this debilitating disease was already sought in a very successful patient panel which was held in March this year. For the public consultation project, which is organised by the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, participants will be introduced to the topics of innovative basic research into a novel osteoarthritis therapy based on gene therapy, stem cell research and nanomedicine. “We are really hoping to engage with people who are broadly interested in stem cell or gene therapy generally and the potential use of these technologies for treating diseases in the future. What risks and ethical aspects are associated with such visions? How should such therapies be regulated? Should these therapies be available in Ireland? These are just some of the questions we want to discuss”, said Dr Mary Murphy, REMEDI, NUI Galway. Dr Murphy added: “New therapy approaches usually don’t come to the attention of patients and society until they are tested in clinical trials or once the products are launched on the market. This project is taking a very innovative approach by involving the general public at a very early stage. We as scientists need to stop and listen to what the everyday person has to say, and we can learn from their insights. We learnt so much from our earlier session with arthritis suffers and I hope members of the general public will be able to help this time round by giving of their time.” All the sessions will be supported by an experienced team of moderators, who will ensure that the information supplied is comprehensible. Importantly, the reports generated by the patients and citizens themselves at the end of the four-day process will be published and disseminated to the relevant authorities, researchers and politicians. As part of the GAMBA project (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis) researchers at REMEDI are involved in developing new methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In collaboration with nine partner institutions from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, researchers in REMEDI hope it might be possible to heal diseased joints in 10 to 20 years. This would be done by introducing a combination of biomaterials, stem cells harvested from the patient, gene vectors and nanoparticles directly into the diseased tissue. “Our hope is”, explains Dr Murphy, “that these enriched biomaterials could make a regeneration of the joints possible.” Participants will be given a gratuity of €50 and are invited to apply before Friday, 4 May. The application form and further information are available online http://www.gamba-project.eu/panels  or can be requested on 091 494276.  The main website for the project is http://gamba-project.eu   ENDS

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The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar

The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar-image

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council have announced that the sixth International John McGahern Seminar, commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, will take place from 24-26 May in Co. Leitrim. “The literary, historical and environmental aspects of McGahern’s work will be the focus this year, and the keynote lecture will be given by Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin and a regular broadcaster on RTÉ television and radio,” explains NUI Galway’s Dr John Kenny, Academic Director of the Seminar. The Seminar includes a rich variety of lectures, open discussions, readings, tours and book launches. The Chinese-American writer, Yiyun Li, will talk about McGahern’s work and will discuss and read from her own fiction. Winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2005, Li made a special recording of one of McGahern’s masterpiece stories, ‘The Wine Breath’, for The New Yorker in 2009, a podcast of which can be listened to at www.newyorker.com. Other speakers at the event will include Professor Joe Cleary of NUI Maynooth and Yale University, Professor Eamonn Wall of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and author and former Irish Times journalist, Paddy Woodworth, who will give a talk about McGahern and the relationship between landscape and literature.   The preeminent scholar of McGahern’s work, Denis Sampson, will be giving a public interview about his new book, Young John McGahern: Becoming a Novelist, recently published by Oxford University Press, and another established McGahern scholar, Dr Stanley van der Ziel, will be providing the talk for the Seminar launch of the book. Dr Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool will give a lecture about the influence of James Joyce on John McGahern and will also be launching his new book, Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival, for which Professor Emeritus in History at NUI Galway, Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, will provide the talk. The Seminar will also include a feature discussion by Cormac O’Malley about his father, Ernie O’Malley, whose writing was much admired by McGahern. There will be visits, guided by local historian Dr Frank Brennan, to places around Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill important to the author’s life and works, and also a boat trip to Cootehall in Co. Roscommon where writers and readers groups from the region will give public readings from McGahern’s autobiography, Memoir. The archaeologist Chris Read will follow his talk about the landscape around Fenagh, where McGahern lived, with a field trip to a number of significant archaeological sites in South Leitrim. Announcing the McGahern events, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Through the International John McGahern Seminar, we at NUI Galway are working to broaden access to literary scholarship and to share the riches of the McGahern archive with the widest possible audience. In holding this valuable archive in the West of Ireland, we feel that the University is holding in trust a treasure for the world of literary scholarship, for the Irish nation and most especially for this region which we have served for more than 160 years. I wish the 2012 International McGahern Seminar every success and I welcome the continued partnership of Leitrim County Council in this culturally important endeavour.” Speaking at the launch of the 2012 programme, Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, said: “Leitrim County Council views the John McGahern Seminar as an important part of the county’s and indeed Ireland’s literary calendar which presents an excellent opportunity for both academic and general readers to engage richly with the work of John McGahern and we are delighted to continue to work in partnership with NUI Galway in organising this sixth International Seminar.”  As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature, culture society and history. NUI Galway is providing five Scholarships to assist students to attend the Seminar and visit the McGahern Archive, which is held at the University in the James Hardiman Library. Scholarships are valued at €500 each and interested students should apply directly to the Academic Director, Dr John Kenny, at john.kenny@nuigalway.ie. For further details and to book for the 2012 International John McGahern Seminar contact Christine at 071 9621694, email arts@leitrimcoco.ie or visit www.leitrimarts.ie ENDS

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Award-Winning Technology Could Help Enhance Road Safety for Pedestrians

Award-Winning Technology Could Help Enhance Road Safety for Pedestrians-image

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

New technology being developed in NUI Galway could help enhance pedestrian safety by allowing them to be ‘seen’ by cars – thus avoiding collisions and saving lives. NUI Galway researcher Anthony Winterlich has been awarded a Gold Medal at the Young European Arena of Research 2012 competition by the EU Commission for his work on systems for pedestrian identification, a key challenge to enhance road safety. The award was presented at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) conference which is taking place this week in Athens.  The competition, supported by the European Union, provides visibility to promising young researchers specialising in surface transport (road, rail, waterborne). Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science awarded Anthony and five others for their outstanding work. The winners represent universities from France, UK, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. Anthony carries out his work with the Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group (www.car.nuigalway.ie) in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, which is focused on pursuing research in several areas of driver assistance and communications in the automotive environment. This research builds on several years of existing research within the CAR Group in the area of automotive vision systems development, much of it sponsored by Valeo Vision Systems in Tuam, Co. Galway, a world leader in this area. According to Anthony, who is a native of Tuam, County Galway: “My research involves the development of mathematical techniques which can be used to measure the quality of images produced by the various safety-related cameras found in the majority of modern cars. Once we can describe image and video quality by means of a ‘number’ we can then develop and evaluate techniques which will improve image quality by compensating for distortions that occur due to slight imperfections in the cameras or due to compression of the video images as they are being transported around the vehicle. This is a topic of increasing importance in the automotive industry due to the growing use of car-mounted camera systems for driver assistance and other applications such as automatic pedestrian detection, and the results of my research will have a significant impact on the development of automotive camera products in the coming years.” Financial support for Anthony’s research is provided by Valeo Vision Systems and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) through the Enterprise Partnership Scheme. His work is supervised by Edward Jones, Martin Glavin and Liam Kilmartin within the Electrical & Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway. ENDS

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