November 2005

Irish Centre for High-End Computing achieves significant ranking in world superc

Irish Centre for High-End Computing achieves significant ranking in world superc-image

Friday, 25 November 2005

ICHEC, Ireland s first national high-performance computing facility, joins prestigious Top500 list at rank 205 Ireland s first dedicated supercomputing facility, the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), has shot straight to the upper half of the Top500, a definitive listing of the world s fastest supercomputers. ICHEC s ranking at 205 is a major achievement for the Centre, which was officially opened just three months ago, to provide the vast computational facilities increasingly in demand by Irish researchers. "The Top500 list has been published semi-annually since 1993, and Irish computers have only appeared in the list twice, always near the bottom," said Dr. Andy Shearer, It Department of NUI Galway and Director of ICHEC. "ICHEC s ranking at 205 is a tremendous achievement, and shows the importance of the Government s investment into this kind of ICT infrastructure." Now in its 26th edition, the Top500 is recognised by the global IT industry as the world s most definitive listing of supercomputing facilities. The list is in a constant state of flux, as high-end computing facilities all over the world continue to expand their capacity. The facilities listed at 500 in the current list, for example, would have ranked at 73 just a year ago. "With this pace of development, it s essential that Ireland put sustained investment into high-performance computing resources, if we want to keep Irish scientists on a competitive footing with their international peers," said Dr. Shearer. "ICHEC s aim is to develop a proper infrastructure for Irish computational science, and this will only be possible if we invest in more powerful machines. I would like to see us reaching the top 50." Non-commercial Irish researchers are already using ICHEC facilities to undertake dozens of computationally intensive projects in areas including climate modelling, comparative genomics, molecular research, astrophysics modelling and simulation and medical implants research. ICHEC plays an essential role in fulfilling the Government s objective of substantially increasing Ireland s R&D activity by 2010, including a doubling of R&D undertaken in the higher education and public sectors. ICHEC is supported by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland and by contributions from two high-capacity computing projects funded by the Higher Education Authority s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions -- TCD s Institute for Information Technology and Advanced Computation (IITAC) and CosmoGrid. "CosmoGrid is delighted with this ranking, which vindicates the decision to pool our own Higher Education Authority funds with those of ICHEC to obtain a substantially more powerful system than either of us could have obtained on our own," said Professor Luke Drury, Head of the School of Cosmic Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Ends

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Open Day at NUI Galway

Open Day at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Thousands of second-level students and their parents from all over the country are expected to attend NUI Galway's annual Open Day which will take place this year on Thursday 1st December, from 9.00am to 3.00pm. For students – whether they are Second-Level, Access or Mature – this day presents the ideal opportunity to obtain the kind of in-depth information about the courses and outcomes that they are looking for. Academic staff from the University's 52 departments will be available at the exhibition stands to answer queries and provide detailed subject and course information. "The range of courses on offer is immense, and Leaving Cert students often find it difficult to choose the options best suited to them," says Michael Howley, NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer. "Open Day provides the perfect opportunity for students to meet academic staff and postgraduate students, who will discuss course content, answer queries and provide advice at the stands in Áras na Mac Léinn/Student Centre and in the Arts/Science building." He explains why NUI Galway is the first choice option for many students when completing their CAO forms: "Prospective students will be made aware of our world-class teaching and research – the University takes pride in being student-centred. And what's more they will find out that student life in Galway is second to none!" "Galway is a relatively small city," he continues, "but big on atmosphere. The University campus is centrally located and accommodation is both plentiful and reasonably priced. Students who choose NUI Galway fall in love with the West and always treasure their student days here." On their arrival at NUI Galway on 1st December, students are requested to come to the assembly point in the Quadrangle Building. They will then go to the Martin Ryan Institute where they will register for the Open Day and enter a prize draw. Top prizes include Apple iPods. There will be introductory lectures and exhibition areas to enjoy. Guided tours of the campus will be provided throughout the day. Included are visits to the following: Clinical Science Institute (Medical School) Arts Millennium Building Áras na Gaeilge Student Accommodation Sports Facilities as well the University's newest buildings: the J.E. Cairnes Graduate School of Business and Public Policy and Áras Moyola, which accommodates the Centre for Nursing Studies, Therapies and the Department of Political Science and Sociology Laboratory demonstrations will be held in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the Information Technology Labs, and the University's Applied Languages Centre. NUI Galway continues to provide the best academic options and facilities for its students, thus maintaining its position at the forefront of education in Ireland. Due for construction is a €53m. Engineering School, while plans are well advanced for the construction of a new Student Centre which will include a swimming pool. Ends

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Supreme Court Judge appointed Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway

Supreme Court Judge appointed Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 21 November 2005

The Faculty of Law at NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness to the position of Adjunct Professor of Law. Mrs. Justice McGuinness is a judge of the Irish Supreme Court and President of the Law Reform Commission. A former senator representing the University of Dublin, Trinity College panel in Seanad Éireann, Mrs McGuinness has also acted as the Chairperson of the Forum for Peace & Reconciliation. Welcoming the appointment, Marie McGonagle, Head of the Law Department and Director of the LL.M in Public Law said: "Given her dynamic track record as both a judge and legislator, it is especially appropriate that Mrs. Justice McGuinness will be associated with our new LL.M programme in Public Law. The students on that programme – which is the first of its kind in Ireland – will have the benefit of her extensive knowledge and experience". The Dean of Law, Donncha O'Connell, said the Faculty was honoured that a person of Mrs. Justice McGuinness's calibre was willing to accept the University's offer of an Adjunct Chair for a three-year period. He added that he looked forward to a fruitful period of engagement between the academic staff and student community in NUI Galway and an eminent member of the Irish judiciary. "This will cement the already healthy relationship between the Faculty and judiciary developed in recent years through the Faculty's involvement in editing and producing the Judicial Studies Institute Journal" he said.

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Irish Universities & Companies take 25% of an entire European R&D Fund

Irish Universities & Companies take 25% of an entire European R&D Fund-image

Monday, 21 November 2005

The Irish Universities Association today announced the successful funding of research in Irish Universities and Industry to the tune of €10million in the current EU Marie Curie funding round. This brings the total amount of funding, secured by Ireland from the European Commission's highly competitive Marie Curie Programme, to €42 million. The funding will expand Ireland's R&D capability by attracting a total of 220 top class researchers from around the world. The current round represents 16 funded projects across eight Irish organisations: Cellix Ltd., Sigmoid Ltd., Duolog Ltd., Celtic Catalysts Ltd., University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway. The projects span a large variety of disciplines, from life sciences to nanotechnology and also include the humanities. The significance of this success for Irish Research cannot be understated, as the contract values represent almost one quarter of the total available fund for all Europe under this scheme. The Irish Universities Association (IUA) provides a national support service for industry and academia in preparing and submitting proposals to this programme. Harnessing academic know-how in accessing European funds is helping Irish Industry in building R&D capability. Dr. Conor O'Carroll, head of the Research Office at the IUA said: " This is an example of where universities and companies working together can demonstrate the high quality of R&D in Ireland by being more successful than any other European country in securing funding from this highly sought after funding." The stated Government policy is to increase research in Irish industry. In this context, the Irish Universities Association undertook to actively promote the Marie Curie Programme to companies. As a direct result, 20% of the total €42million has been won by Industry here. This proves that despite Government concerns about the decreasing involvement of Irish Industry in FP6, the Marie Curie Programme is bucking this trend. The Marie Curie Programme covers the salary costs of researchers hired for the project and contributes to research, management costs and overheads. Contract values vary between €150,000 for a single researcher up to €1.5million for a research team. The importance of this funding for research is illustrated by an awardee, Dr. Michael Madden of the Laboratory for Biomedical Data Mining in NUI Galway, "It will contribute to NUI Galway's capacity to perform research, and help to improve the competitiveness within the knowledge economy of the Objective 1 Region in which Galway is located. It will also enhance our interactions with other European research institutes, and help promote research as a profession. We owe a debt of gratitude to the IUA in their assistance on how to structure a proposal and their advice most certainly contributed to its success". Significant opportunities still remain for research organisations in the Marie Curie Programme with more than €450million available in early 2006. The Irish Universities Association will strongly support potential applicants in industry, universities and institutes of technology to maximise further success. Ends

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TV wildlife star to discuss eco effects of sustainable development

TV wildlife star to discuss eco effects of sustainable development-image

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

The presenter of RTE's Mooney Goes Wild nature programme, Eanna Ní Lamhna, is to deliver a public lecture on sustainable development at the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway on Monday 21st November at 8.00pm. The well-known environmentalist is the current president of An Taisce and will deliver her talk on 'A Future for Our Past' at the O'Tuathail Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building. The event is free and members of the public are welcome to attend. An experienced radio and television broadcaster and a fluent Irish speaker, Eanna is in Galway for this year's Science and Technology Festival which runs from the 21st to the 25th November. Her talk will focus on how we can reconcile the growing prosperity in Ireland and the development this brings, with conserving our environmental heritage and countryside. She has been invited by the Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Professor Emer Colleran, to deliver what is the third in a series of topical lectures. "Eanna is a very charismatic speaker and is well-known for her commitment to sustainable development. The Environmental Change Institute is delighted to host her talk", says Prof. Colleran. The Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway was founded in September 2000 to develop a fundamental understanding of the processes involved in and the key indicators of, environmental change. It brings together the knowledge, skills and experience of researchers from a wide variety of relevant disciplines. The result is a focused, interdisciplinary and cross-faculty centre at NUI, Galway, dedicated to environmental science and environmental change research.

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Regeneration: The West of Ireland 1892 –1914

Regeneration: The West of Ireland 1892 –1914-image

Monday, 7 November 2005

Photographs from the Congested District Board Collection and the Connemara Album An unusual photographic exhibition depicting life in the west of Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, will provide Galway audiences with a rare glimpse of a by-gone era. The exhibition, entitled Regeneration: the West of Ireland, 1890-1914, will take place in the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway from Tuesday 8 November to Friday 16 December 2005 and is a joint event with the National Photographic Archive. The exhibition draws upon the National Photographic Archive's Congested Districts Board Collection and Connemara Album, which dates from 1904-1916. Both sets of photographs were created to record the difficulties facing economic development in Mayo, Galway and Donegal between 1906 and 1914 and in Connemara in 1892. They provide a fascinating view of the west of Ireland one hundred and more, years ago. These images are supplemented by photographs from the Balfour Album of 1892, which is part of the James Hardiman Library's Special Collections. The Congested Districts Board was established in 1891 with the primary aim of alleviating poverty in the most disadvantaged places along the western seaboard. Its work continued until 1923 when the Land Commission took over some of its functions. The collection of photographs comprises 105 images, 40 of which can be attributed to the well-known Belfast photographer, Robert J. Welch, documenting congested districts along the west coast. The Balfour Album depicts scenes from Galway and Connemara from the early 1890s. Created by Robert J. Welch, it was a gift to the former Chief Secretary of Ireland, Arthur J. Balfour in recognition of his support for the building of the Galway-Clifden Railway. Exhibition: Regeneration: the West of Ireland, 1890-1914 Location: Foyer and ground floor of the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway Duration: Tuesday 8 November - Friday 16 December 2005 Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 8.30am-10pm Saturday 8.30am-5.30pm Sunday 10.00am - 5.30pm Ends

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December 2005

University Gala Banquet to celebrate ground-breaking International Scholarship P

University Gala Banquet to celebrate ground-breaking International Scholarship P-image

Monday, 19 December 2005

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's seventh annual Gala Banquet, which will take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Saturday 4th March 2006. The 2006 Gala Banquet will build on the University's mission in international education which has brought three postgraduate students from developing countries to NUI Galway as the inaugural recipients of its International Scholarship Programme. The NUI programme is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by Galway University Foundation, which has been working with a range of donors to secure substantial scholarship funds for postgraduate students from developing countries to study in NUI Galway. Income from the Gala Banquet itself will also contribute to this initiative. The students; a lawyer from South Africa, and a doctor and an engineer from Sri Lanka, will be special guests at the Gala which will focus on NUI Galway's role as an international force for change in improving educational opportunities for students from developing countries. One of the highlights of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of seven annual Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University's more than 50,000 graduates worldwide. The Alumni Awards are; Medtronic Vascular Award for Health Care and Medical Science; Seavite Award for Natural Science; Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce; AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts; TBD Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics; Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge and the NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government. Tickets for the banquet cost €150 each and €1,500 for a table of 10. For further information, please telephone 091 495266 or Email: gala@nuigalway.ie

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Former Irish Ambassador appointed Chair of NUI Galway's Governing Authority

Former Irish Ambassador appointed Chair of NUI Galway's Governing Authority-image

Friday, 16 December 2005

Noel Dorr, former Irish Ambassador to London was appointed today as Chair of NUI Galway's Údarás na hOllscoile (Governing Authority). As one of the most outstanding civil servants in the history of this state, Noel Dorr has had a long and distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Affairs. He has held the following positions: Permanent Representative to UN, New York 1980; Irish Representative on UN Security Council 1981-1982 (and President of the Security Council in April 1981and August 1982); Ambassador of Ireland London 1983-1987, and Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, 1987 until his retirement in 1995. Noel Dorr was conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in NUI Galway in 2001. Speaking of the appointment, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "Noel Dorr is one of Ireland's most distinguished public servants. The esteem in which he was held throughout his career is reflected in the roles accorded to him - both at home and abroad – in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1985; in the drafting of EU Treaties; and as Government representative on the Carlson committee on the reform of the United Nations. We are delighted and privileged that he will chair the University's Governing Authority at a time of immense change and development at NUI Galway". Noel Dorr's term of office extends to 2008.

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NUI Galway welcomes Government funding for new School of Engineering

NUI Galway welcomes Government funding for new School of Engineering-image

Monday, 12 December 2005

€60 million project gets green light for development The largest capital project to be undertaken to date at National University of Ireland Galway will commence immediately as a result of the Government's €1 billion investment programme for third-level institutions, announced yesterday (Sunday). It is expected that NUI Galway's new €60 million School of Engineering will be allocated at least the full €25 million earmarked for the project in the Kelly Report prepared for the Government on necessary infrastructural funding of the third-level sector. Additional significant funding has been contributed by private donors, while the balance will be covered from the University's own resources. NUI Galway's new School of Engineering, with an area of c. 14,000 square metres, will bring the University's five Departments of Civil, Electronic, Industrial, Engineering Hydrology and Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, under the one roof in a state-of-the-art building, to be located on the north campus, adjacent to the new €16 million JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy, launched just last week. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "This project is critically important for the economic and social development of the entire Western Region, and we welcome the recognition by the Government, in this decision, of the central role of the University in underpinning future development. This is a major milestone for NUI Galway and one of the key capital projects of our Strategic Plan (2005-2008). At a sectoral level, we also welcome the Government's recently announced investment programme for the third-level sector, which demonstrates an understanding and commitment to supporting the sector and its role in the creation and development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy." Almost 1,500 students are currently studying Engineering at NUI Galway, with demand for places in all disciplines remaining consistently high. Professor Pádraic O'Donoghue, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "Engineers have been among the key drivers of the success of Ireland's economy. It is important that those who are at the cutting edge of technological developments and who design and implement major infrastructural projects, are trained to the highest standards with the best possible facilities. NUI Galway has a long and distinguished tradition of quality and excellence across all its Engineering disciplines and the new School of Engineering will underpin the professional education we provide." NUI Galway has engaged renowned architects RMJM to design the new School of Engineering. RMJM designed the award-winning Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, the Chemistry Research Building at the University of Oxford and the Olympic Green Convention Centre for Beijing 2008. For the NUI Galway project, they will partner Taylor Architects from Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The School of Engineering will provide undergraduate and postgraduate student accommodation including engineering laboratories, project rooms, research facilities, workshops, computer suites, lecture theatres and classrooms, faculty office accommodation and departmental staff accommodation. Ends

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Statement by the Irish Universities Association

Statement  by the Irish Universities  Association-image

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Ground-breaking Investment Package for Fourth Level Ireland welcomed The Irish Universities Association warmly welcomes today's ground-breaking Budget statement by the Minister for Finance on investment in "Fourth-level Ireland IUA President Ferdinand von Prondzynski said "Minister Cowen in his ringing endorsement of the pivotal contribution of higher education to the country's economic success and its fundamental strategic importance to future economic and social development had set a unique setting for a highly significant investment package for higher education" He added "the Budget statement heralds a vitally important development phase for higher education and research and is a strong signal of the Government's commitment to creating a highly competitive Irish university system of top international ranking" The University Heads are encouraged that the Minister recognises that the benchmarks for performance and investment at third and fourth levels are international. They see the strategic innovation fund as a bridge to further investment in the national research plan and the national development plan. The announcement of a strategic innovation fund, the commitment to a multi-annual rolling capital programme, the forthcoming national research plan and the priority to be given to higher education and research as a key strategy in the next national development plan, together provide a considerable boost for a comprehensive transformation of the university sector. The University Heads are particularly encouraged that the Government views these developments as a coherent package of strategic initiatives with a synergistic potential that must be exploited in order to maximise the contribution of universities to economic and social progress. They wish to assure the Government that they are fully committed to meeting the reform challenges identified by the Minister for Finance, to collaborating to develop critical mass in excellence, to maximising effectiveness across the higher education system and to working in partnership with Government to achieve national objectives. The IUA looks forward to a statement to be made by the Minister for Education and Science giving further details on the Government's initiatives End

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