Research and the Knowledge-based Society: Measuring the Link

Research and the Knowledge-based Society: Measuring the Link-image

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Considerable national resources have been invested in research, particularly in science and technology, in recent years, over €2 billion for the period of the current National Development Plan: but how do we evaluate the impacts of that research, on the economy and on society more generally? An international one-day conference on Research and the Knowledge-based Society will examine this important issue at NUI Galway, on Monday, 24 May 2004. The Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the need "to disseminate information on, and the results of, indicators and evaluation techniques through publications and conferences" in its Statement 'Measuring the Contribution of Research' (2002). This conference is an essential implementation of this key ICSTI recommendation. Ireland will critically depend on the application of research and innovation in industry for continuing future success and the economic stability and growth that will benefit society. Research is essential for a high quality education system. Good evaluation is critical in balanced policy making, helping to optimise the use of taxpayers money. Governments and citizens naturally wish to see realistic returns on the public funds invested in research. The research community can benefit greatly from focussed evaluation of their own work, and the opportunity continually to learn from good practice. To explore these issues, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Forfás, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (NUI Galway), are bringing together policy makers, researchers, technologists, industrialists, fund managers and professional evaluators for this one-day European conference to: Engage the research community in debate about evaluation Inform the research community about international practice amongst evaluators and Increase the awareness of policy makers about research evaluation and indicators. Dr Edward M Walsh, Chairman of Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that "Global competition in the knowledge age is tougher than ever before. If Ireland is to build on its past success and prosper in the emerging knowledge age it must demonstrate a strong research competence. The recent major commitment of public funding to build such competence is a most important initiative and if Ireland is to fully benefit from the investment, appropriate systems that measure and evaluate the outcomes must be put in place". Speakers at the conference include the Chairperson of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Don Thornhill, and the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Bill Harris as well as a range of top international research evaluation experts. Conference details at: Ends

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NUI Galway leads the field with investments of more than €100 million in researc

NUI Galway leads the field with investments of more than €100 million in researc-image

Friday, 14 May 2004

The University outlines key achievements in the first year of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008) - Key Achievements 2003-2004 include: * A total of €68 million raised through PRTLI funding and €27million through CSETs to develop research programmes * SFI awards amounting to €11 million * Plans to develop €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre * Introduction of new structures to sustain Irish medium education * Alliance with IDP Australia to recruit international pool of students * Continued focus on access based initiatives including development of web based programmes Key Priorities 2004-2005: * Physical development and reorientation of Campus * Essential priority remains securing funding to develop a new €53m engineering facility * Completion of new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences Building by September 2005 * Development of innovative programmes to attract High Quality Irish and International Students One year on, following the launch by the National University of Ireland, Galway of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008), which outlined seven Strategic Priorities to form the strategic direction of the University and to tackle the challenges facing NUI Galway and the third level sector as a whole, The President of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today, (May 14th 2004) updated on progress following the implementation of the priorities set out for completion in the first year of the plan. The most significant development has been made in enhancing the University's strengths in the Research area. NUI Galway is one of only three universities to have had success in all three cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). A total sum of €68 million has been awarded to the University under this initiative. In addition, NUI Galway is the only university in Ireland to have been awarded two CSETs. The first of €12 million was awarded to establish the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the second of €15 million, to establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Funding of €11 million has also been awarded in all other Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) programmes. The second priority in the first year of the Plan has been to introduce a number of initiatives to improve student life. Part of this involves the development of the Physical Infrastructure on campus. Developments are well advanced to commence the construction of a €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre and architects have been appointed to draw up plans. The student body has agreed a levy that will contribute towards the Centre while €18 million has already been raised towards the project through private philanthropy. Plans are also underway to reorientate the campus and to develop a new entrance to the University. A new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences building are due for completion by September 2005. Commenting on the developments to date, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, The President of NUI Galway said, "This has been a year of development for NUI Galway in what has been a very challenging time for the University sector as a whole. We have witnessed a year in which we have had to broaden our thinking and develop new ways to forge ahead with the implementation of this Strategic Plan. Despite these challenges, we have made significant progress in proceeding with our aims and objectives of developing a University which has, at its core, the ability to attract high quality Irish and international students and is also one of the leaders in the research field both in Ireland and internationally, as evidenced by the quality of the research programmes underway here. This Strategic Plan (2003-2008) is a blueprint for change. This management team will continue to meet the strategic aims of this University by responding to this changing landscape within the third level education sector in Ireland. We will witness, not just a changing physical infrastructure within this campus over the next number of years, but we will also be adapting by developing new and innovative ways to respond to a competitive marketplace both for students and research. Significant challenges lie ahead. We will attempt to face these head on by delivering on each of the seven strategic priorities outlined in this plan. Delivery of these will result in a University that is on the national and international radar for its accomplishments in the Research field and in the development of a University that is student focussed and is producing a calibre of student that is amongst the best in Ireland. Our key priority for next year will be to secure funding to develop an engineering facility to enable us to accommodate a growing number of students and retain our status as one of the leading engineering faculties in the country." The third priority for the first year of the Strategic Plan has been to introduce new structures for the sustainable development of Irish medium education. To this end, Acadamh na hOllscolaiochta Gaeilge has been established to develop University courses through the medium of Irish, both on campus and at the University's three Gaeltacht centres. Appointments to senior positions including those of CEO, Academic Co-ordinator of an tAcadamh and Head of Management, have been made. Amongst other achievements in the year under review include the establishment of an international office to coordinate admission of overseas students. In addition, NUI Galway has engaged the services of IDP Australia to recruit students from Asia, Middle East and South America. With these initiatives underway, it is hoped to increase the number of international students to 5% in 2005. Student retention has also been enhanced through the development of programmes in study skills, learning skills and time management. Ends

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June 2004

NUI Galway recognises the achievements of four individuals

NUI Galway recognises the achievements of four individuals-image

Friday, 25 June 2004

At a conferring ceremony in NUI Galway today (June 25th 2004), honorary degrees were conferred upon Professor Roy Foster, Lex Friedan, Philippe Kirsch and John Mannion. The individuals, who have been carefully considered and selected for conferring, have each made significant input to society either in the area of human rights or through their scholarly contribution to the area of humanities. NUI Galway is renowned for creating a research centre of excellence in both of these areas, through its Centre for Human Rights and Human Settlement and Historical Change. In recognising the accomplishments and contributions that each individual has made to society during their lifetime, The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "Each of these individuals in their own way, has made a significant contribution to society and to altering and enhancing the lives of many. This has been achieved through their work, views, beliefs and unfaltering commitment which has enabled them to achieve personal objectives which have been for the benefit of others. NUI Galway is a university which has long supported ideals which promote research excellence, both in the areas of Human Rights and Historical studies and for this reason, we are proud today to honour the work of all of these individuals." Judge Philippe Kirsch is the first president of the International Criminal Court. Established in 2003, the creation of the International Criminal Court is perhaps the most important new international organisation to be established since the United Nations. Philippe Kirsch directed the complex negotiations around the creation of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that the Court will have initial jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford University and has a highly distinguished record in historical scholarship. Originally from Waterford, he is a graduate of TCD and has published many works on Irish history including his best-selling book Modern Ireland, 1600-1972. Lex Friedan is the Chairperson of US National Disability Council and senior Vice-President at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) at Houston, Texas. Friedan has been at the forefront of encouraging Governments across the world to become engaged in the drafting of the new United Nations treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. So much so, his work in this area resulted in a unique civil rights law in the field of disability in the Kennedy – Johnson Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing all forms of discrimination against persons with disability. He has held six different professorships in the fields of community medicine and rehabilitation. John Mannion of St. John's Memorial University, Newfoundland, has made it his life's work to document and study all aspects of the Irish migration to Newfoundland. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and University of Toronto where he completed his doctorate. His book, Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation is recognised as the principal scholarly monograph on the cultural heritage of the Irish in Newfoundland. The conferring of honorary degrees takes place today (Friday, 25th June 2004) at noon in Àras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Ends

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Top Cancer Researchers meet in Galway

Top Cancer Researchers meet in Galway-image

Friday, 18 June 2004

An internationally prestigious scientific workshop on 'Mechanisms of Genomic Integrity', hosted by the Genome Stability Cluster, NUI Galway, will take place in Glenlo Abbey, Galway, from June 21 to June 24. "This workshop, supported by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together world leaders for the premiere international conference of the year in this field," said Professor Noel Lowndes, of NUI Galway's Genome Stability Laboratory. Genetic instability underlies numerous human diseases, most significantly cancer, as the alteration of the genome carries with it the possibility of generating proteins with the abnormal or uncontrolled functions characteristic of tumours. "This is a fast-moving field in modern biology, especially following the completion of the genome project," according to Dr Ciaran Morrison, Genome Stability Laboratory, NUI Galway. "A particular theme of the workshop is how cells deal with the DNA damage that results from sunlight, ionizing radiation or cancer causing chemicals." This is the first workshop supported by EMBO to be held in Ireland since 1995 and the first to be held in Galway. Hosting of such workshops is highly competitive and reflects the excellence of the scientific cast assembled for the event. The workshop is being organised by Professor Noel Lowndes, Dr. Ciaran Morrison, Dr. Michael Carty and Dr. Heinz-Peter Nasheuer from the Genome Stability Cluster in the Department of Biochemistry, NUI Galway, together with Dr. Tomas Lindahl, the deputy-director of Cancer Research UK and Dr. Maria Pia Longhese, of the University of Milan. Ends

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Imaging Ireland: Selected Works from NUI Galway's Art Collection

Imaging Ireland:  Selected Works from NUI Galway's Art Collection-image

Monday, 14 June 2004

A new publication of selected works from NUI Galway's art collection will be launched today (Monday), by Patrick T. Murphy Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy. "Imaging Ireland" contains fifty colour plates, selected and annotated by Sioban Piercey and Ger O'Brien and includes works by Mainie Jellett, Gerard Dillon, Grace Henry, Seamus Murphy, Charles Lamb, George Russell, Walter Osbourne, Norah McGuinness and many others. Exquisitely designed, Imaging Ireland features an introduction by Peter Murray, curator of the Crawford Municipal Gallery and a brief history of the collection by Ger O'Brien. The University's art collection is a result of bequests, donations, commissions and acquisitions over the last hundred years. Many interested parties including the Galway Art Gallery Committee, Corrib Art Society, Friends of the National Collections and The Haverty Trust, were instrumental in securing notable works. During the last three years, the University Art Collection has been re-appraised, restored, cleaned, photographed and documented. The results reveal a collection of national significance. A distinct pattern may be determined – the development of modern Irish Art alongside a sociological and historical portrait of the changing values in Ireland in the last century. The selection in Imaging Ireland reveals a journey from representationalism to abstraction with the most recent images showing a return to the landscape of the West of Ireland. The new acquisition policy will concentrate on artistic responses to the region but will include conceptualism, video, digital and photography as well as traditional painting. Imaging Ireland will be on sale in selected bookshops and galleries and from the Press and Information Office at Áras Failte, NUI Galway. This important endorsement and celebration of Visual Arts on campus has been made possible by a joint venture between Galway University Foundation and the University Arts Office. The publication coincides with several new initiatives set in place by Professor Jim Ward, Vice-President for Physical Resources, together with the Theatre and Arts Committee and the Arts Office. The University Art Gallery has been a hive of activity lately with two important young Irish artists, Sinead Aldridge and Cian Donnelly invited there to present new paintings and sculptural pieces during Galway Arts Festival 2004. A new, enlarged gallery is also planned to house permanent and temporary exhibits. Ends

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Major international Chemistry conference hosted by NUI Galway

Major international Chemistry conference hosted by NUI Galway-image

Friday, 4 June 2004

An international Chemistry conference, which will be attended by 250 delegates from Europe, North America and elsewhere, will take place in NUI Galway from the 6-10 June, 2004. ESEAC 2004 is the 10th International Conference on Electroanalysis and themes to be addressed include Sensor Technology, Miniaturisation, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology. Electroanalytical Chemistry, a sub discipline of Analytical Science, deals with the development, understanding and applications of chemical measurements reliant on an electrochemical or electrical signal. Among the invited speakers are renowned experts in this area, including AJ Bard (Austin, Texas), HH Girault (Lausanne, Switzerland) and W Schuhmann (Bochum, Germany). The scientific programme will include two special Symposia, one of which is in memory of Harry Mark, an eminent American Electroanalytical Chemist who passed away in March 2003. The second symposium focuses on Nanotechnology: Surfaces, Sensors and Systems, with presentations at the cutting edge of electrochemical aspects of nanoscience and technology. "It is a significant honour for the University to host this event," says Dr Donal Leech of NUI Galway's Chemistry department and conference organiser. "NUI Galway was selected as the host venue by the international scientific committee for a number of reasons, including the strength of the University's research in the area of Electroanalytical Chemistry, as well as the unrivalled scenic, cultural and social aspects of Galway as a venue for an international conference." Ends

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July 2004

International Scholars of Irish Literatures convene in NUI Galway

International Scholars of Irish Literatures convene in NUI Galway-image

Monday, 19 July 2004

Authors and poets, John McGahern, John Montague, Patricia Burke Brogan, Eilis Ní Dhuibhne and Mike McCormack, will address the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL), which will take place in NUI Galway from 20th to 23rd July 2004. This major international association of scholars and enthusiasts of Irish writing has over 1,000 members worldwide, and numbers among its membership many prominent academics and writers. More than 250 people will attend this year s conference, which is being hosted by the Department of English in NUI Galway. As this is a year of literary centenaries and commemorations, themes to be addressed at the conference include the work of Patrick Kavanagh, James Joyce and the Abbey Theatre. There will also be a strong emphasis on work from writers associated with Galway. Dr. Riana O'Dwyer, of NUI Galway's English Department and conference organiser said, "It is a singular honour for both the University and Galway City to host this prestigious event. Previous venues for the conference have included New York, Barcelona, and Sao Paulo. The choice of NUI Galway as this year's venue illustrates the international status of the University among literary scholars worldwide." Ends

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National University of Ireland Galway hosts Conference on International Accounta

National University of Ireland Galway hosts Conference on International Accounta-image

Monday, 12 July 2004

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and the United Nations University, Tokyo will host a two-day conference (15th – 16th July) on International Accountability and Justice. This conference will bring together international specialists in this field and will cover topics such as: Prosecutorial Strategy of International Criminal Tribunals and Courts Independence and impartiality of International Criminal Tribunals Obstacles to Accountability: Amnesties and Immunities Alternatives to Prosecution Several of the past and present international prosecutors will participate in this event, making it a major opportunity to reflect upon the development of international criminal accountability as well as consider future prospects. Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, who has over the past two years been serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone said: "The issues addressed during this conference are increasingly crucial in today's uncertain international climate, particularly given the ongoing controversy surrounding the trials of Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. The conference will make a significant contribution to the evolving debate on the pressing international issues of international justice." Professor Schabas continued: "With its focus on issues of independence and impartiality, and prosecutorial discretion, the conference will tackle questions where modern international tribunals have been most subject to criticism and dispute. For example, many have called into question whether Milosevic or Saddam Hussein can get a fair trial. This Conference will speak to these matters." Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be chairing the panel on Alternatives to Prosecution. Mrs. Robinson is currently based in New York, where she heads the Ethical Globalization Initiative. This panel is particularly topical given the current debate over whether or not truth commissions constitute an effective transitional justice mechanism. Other speakers include Judge Theodor Meron, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Maureen Harding Clark, Irish judge on the International Criminal Court, and David Crane, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. ENDS

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Health Promotion conference at NUI Galway

Health Promotion conference at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 5 July 2004

The Department of Health Promotion, NUI Galway is holding its eighth annual Conference on the 8th and 9th July 2004. This year, the conference will focus on 'European Perspectives on Promoting Health and Well-being". Health Promotion is a social model of health and well-being and is based on the principles of equity, participation, empowerment and social justice (WHO, Ottawa Charter, 1986). "The focus of this multidisciplinary area of study and practice is on enhancing the strengths and competencies of individuals and communities, thereby enabling people to increase control over and improve their health," says Margaret Barry, of NUI Galway's Department of Health Promotion. "Central to this endeavour is the role of citizen participation and empowerment in the larger socio-political context," she says. Conference presentations will discuss topics including the growing power and influence of the European Union (EU) institutions in health promotion, public health and higher education, especially following recent enlargement. The experience of the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion and European Masters in Health Promotion Training initiatives will also be addressed. The conference programme will also include workshops and a symposium on Professional Competencies in Health Promotion from a European perspective. Health Promotion experts from the UK, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Ireland will address the conference, which builds on the European Summer School on 'Strategies for Health in Europe' (28 June to 8th July), currently being hosted by the Department of Health Promotion. This postgraduate-level Summer School is jointly organised by the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion (ETC-PHHP) and the European Masters Programme in Health Promotion (EUMAHP) consortium. Ends

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August 2004

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) - Weaving the New Web

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) - Weaving the New Web-image

Monday, 30 August 2004

Emerging Internet Technologies - the Semantic Web - has massive business,technology, and social applications. A research project at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) entitled the Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project (, is a practical experiment designed to identify and solve social and business concerns arising from the next generation of web technology - the "semantic web". The first FOAF Workshop which takes place on 1-2 September at NUI Galway, will bring together people from all perspectives to discuss the issue. It will be attended by social, technical, legal, business and academic parties to try to shape and mould the evolution of these new social applications of internet technology with the budding semantic web. Online Social Networking sites and the Friend-of-a-Friend standard make it possible for communities to exist on the Internet and allow companies to build infrastructure to connect people and manage connections. FOAF and Online Social Networking also open significant business and usage opportunities. "The FOAF standard acts as a crystallization point for development of the Semantic Web", says Dr Decker. "People are extending the FOAF standard to manage their own personal and business information. Dr John Breslin, another organizer, and also a researcher at DERI, says: "Until recently, each site kept its own database of personal information. This meant that each time you visited a separate site you had to re-enter the same information. A similar thing happens each time you buy something off the Internet. Go to a different shopping site and you have to retype in the same information over again. The semantic web will allow your computer to do this automatically for you. The challenge is to enable your computer to "know" what information is appropriate to give out about you." There is a growing user and business interest in being able to transport relevant information between sites. This obviously raises big security issues. No one wants information that they enter for personal reasons to be available to marketers, spammers or fraudsters. FOAF is trying to reduce the need for data re-entry, while allowing users to control who sees what information about them. Topics to be discussed will include, among others Applications of online social networks; Trust Issues in social networks; Privacy, etiquette and best practice issues for aggregators; Exchange of social network information; Integration with desktop and mobile applications; Business Models for the Semantic Web (Life after banner advertisements). Ends

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