Wednesday, 1 May 2013

While over 1 billion people are overweight and obese around the world, an estimated 868 million are undernourished. This paradox is explored in a new book, Diversifying Food and Diets, co-edited by Professor Danny Hunter who is an Adjunct Lecturer in Botany and Plant Science (BPS) at NUI Galway. The book explores the concept of agricultural biodiversity, in the context of the challenge of under-nutrition in many parts of the developing world and unhealthy diets in developed countries. Agricultural biodiversity has a key role to play in food and nutritional security, according the book’s authors. Such biodiversity can be a safeguard against hunger, as well as a source of nutrients for improved dietary diversity and quality. It can also strengthen local food systems and environmental sustainability. Currently, 195 million children around the world, under the age of five, are stunted from malnutrition. Meanwhile, in developed countries, obesity has been linked to the rise of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. “It’s a question not only of the quantities of food people are eating but also the quality of that food,” explains Professor Hunter. Professor Hunter is the Theme Leader for Agrobiodiversity in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC). He says: “It is essential to understand how the global agricultural system and the benefits derived from agricultural biodiversity influence the drivers of global dietary consumption patterns, nutrition and health status, in particular in the developing world. The lack of diversity is shown to be a crucial issue, particularly in the developing world where diets consist mainly of starchy staples with less access to nutrient-rich sources of food such as animal proteins, fruits and vegetables.” He adds: “As this book highlights, local biodiversity has the potential for contributing to food security and nutrition, as well as for enhancing adaptation to global climate change. Some of these species are highly nutritious and have multiple uses.” Diversifying Food and Diets uses examples and case studies from around the globe to explore strategies for improving nutrition and diets, and identifies gaps in current knowledge that need to be addressed to better promote agricultural biodiversity. Case studies include a project in India which promotes nutritious native millets, efforts to identify and develop nutritionally rich indigenous vegetables and fruit trees in sub-Saharan Africa, and a UK-based community group’s urban gardening approach. The Head of the Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre at NUI Galway, Professor Charles Spillane highlighted that: “This book makes a valuable and timely contribution to efforts to improve public health through dietary and nutritional interventions. As all of the foods that we eat are either directly or indirectly derived from plants, the health status of millions of people in both developed and developing countries could be improved through improved access to a wider diversity of nutritious plant-based foods. Key challenges for both mitigation and adaptation strategies regarding adverse climate change impacts will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture while making agricultural systems more resilient. The development of low-environmental footprint crop systems which can maintain prodictivity and harness benefits of agricultural biodiversity remains a major challenge facing humanity.” Professor Hunter emphasised that while the book aimed to highlight some of the available options for improving the use of agricultural biodiversity, there was no silver bullet for the serious challenges facing the global population in the production, distribution and healthy consumption of food. “People need to consider ways of diversifying and improving their diets, which really does require a major transformation of the global food system. This will become an even greater challenge with the global population expected to reach around nine billion by 2050.” -ends-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

NUI Galway will present an exhibition of the work of prolific Irish artist, Thomas Ryan, who works in oils, pastels, pencil, charcoal and watercolour, and has been painting for over 60 years. Thomas Ryan is renowned for imaginative re-workings of historical and religious episodes and he is also heralded as an important chronicler of the changing face of Ireland, through his portraiture, and paintings of exteriors and interiors of buildings. The exhibition will include two of his large historical paintings, ‘The Flight of the Earls’ and ‘G.P.O. 1916’, both oil on canvas and painted in the great European Tradition. These paintings, which were selected for the exhibition by Thomas Ryan and the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, normally hang inside Dublin Castle and Leinster House, respectively, and have been generously loaned by the artist and the Institutions. Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer at NUI Galway, said: “This is a real coup for the University and the city and we are delighted to accept works of such calibre. This is a unique opportunity to witness a master in our midst.” On show as part of the exhibition Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be portraits, self-portraits, religious paintings, interiors, still lives and landscapes, many loaned from the artist’s home, for this ‘retrospective’ of his career. Two portrait highlights on show are a pastel drawing, ‘Seán Keating, aged 82 years’ and a drawing of the late Professor of Marine Science, ‘Padraic O’Céidigh’, which is part of the NUI Galway Collection.  In addition, there is a selection of watercolours from a recent project, Dublin and Thereabouts, when Mr Ryan painted the buildings and places that took his fancy in Dublin, 2010-2011, all painted directly from the subject, and mostly in one sitting. Born in Limerick in 1929, Thomas Ryan trained in the School of Art, Limerick under Richard Butcher and at the National College of Art and Design, under Seán Keating and Maurice MacGonigal. He was President of Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts from 1982 to 1992, is a Founder Member of the European Council of National Academies of Fine Art (Madrid), and an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy, London and Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. His work hangs in major collections and he was the designer of the one pound coin and millennium fifty pence. He lives in County Meath, and produces most of his work in his studio. Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be officially opened on Tuesday, 15 May at 5pm by the University’s  Secretary, Gearóid Ó Conluain and Thomas Ryan will be in attendance. The exhibition will run from 15 May to 7 June in the Mechanical Soils Lab (adjacent to Áras na Mac Léinn) from 11am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday. -ENDS-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Máiréad Ní Chróinín, Digital Arts & Humanities PhD student at NUI Galway, yesterday received the BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Theatre Award on behalf of her company Moonfish Theatre.  The award is part of the Stewart Parker Trust Awards and was presented in the Abbey Theatre by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.  Set up in honour of the late Belfast playwright, Stewart Parker, each year the Trust offers awards to new Irish playwrights to encourage new writing for the theatre throughout Ireland. Máiréad is co-director, with her sister Ionia, of Moonfish Theatre in Galway, and the company was awarded the prize for their bi-lingual show 'Tromluí Phinocchio / Pinocchio - a Nightmare'.  The show premiered in Galway in March 2012, and went on to have successful runs in the Dublin Fringe Festival and on the main stage in Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin in 2012, before touring nationally in March 2013. The show will be onstage again in Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe as part of the Babaró International Children's Festival in Galway in October 2013. Kate Costello, an NUI Galway graduate who teaches on the NUI Galway BA Connect programme was producer for the Moonfish Theatre production. The BA CONNECT programme at NUI Galway is a four-year BA degree which offers all the benefits of a two-subject Bachelor of Arts degree together with a specialism of your choice. ENDS

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Galway hosts Ireland’s first Laughter Championship Ireland’s firstLaughter Championship will take place on Sunday, 5 May at 2pm in the Galway Harbour Hotel, Galway in aid ofJigsaw, Galway. Organised by NUI Galway student, Siobhan Kavanagh, the charity event coincides with next month’s Well Being in Ireland conference, where researchers from all over the world will gather in Galway to discuss the design of a national well-being index for Ireland. Laughter Championships are a new craze taking off worldwide re invented by Albert Nerenberg. Contestants are asked to demonstrate different types of laugher (e.g. a maniacal laugh or a diabolical laugh) and are then judged on their technique. The main aim is to improve the expression of positive human emotions. The growing popularity of Laugher Championships is partly due to the rise of Laughter Yoga, a modernised variant of Hasya Yoga. Laughter yoga is an aerobic exercise which involves breathing exercises, laughter exercises and guided meditation (yoga nidra), to provide participants with a safe space to laugh. Siobhan Kavanagh is a PhD student in Child and Youth Research in NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and a member of the Irish Laughter Yoga association. Her research with Dr Padraig MacNeela, Lecturer in the University’s School of Psychology, investigates the impact of Laughter Yoga on well-being. “Although laughter has been described as the best medicine, researchers are only starting to understand the positive effects it can have on the body and mind, or indeed on well-being. Research on laughter yoga has found many benefits, for example, increased levels of life satisfaction, positive emotion and decreased stress levels. However, to date there has only been a handful of different studies completed, and a lot of the 'evidence' for laughter yoga comes from humour based research. We need to be mindful when we are telling people about the positive effects of laughter yoga, that research is still in the early stages. However, ancedotally, laughter yoga participants report a range of benefits”, explains Siobhan. The event is free to attend with live entertainment, including laughter yoga demonstrations, face-painting, games and music and there is a €10 charge to enter the championship, with the chance of winning the title of Irish Laughter Champion. All proceeds will be donated to Jigsaw, a free and confidential support service for young people in Galway city and county. All competitors will be required to attend a workshop at 1pm in preparation for the laughter championships. For further information on competing, or to volunteer at the event email irishlaughterassociation@gmail.com. -ENDS-

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Major Test for the European Union – stop spending taxpayers’ money to Institutionalise EU citizens. There is a clamour around Europe to ensure that increasingly scarce European monies are not spent on institutionalising its citizens but are used instead to help States to promote a philosophy of living independently and being included in the community. To highlight the issue and press claims for a change in the Funds, a broad spectrum of European interest groups covering the disabled and the elderly, as well as national and international policy makers, will be brought together at a major conference organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway on Friday, 3 May. The issue is urgent as negotiations to agree new Regulations governing the EU Structural Funds are in their final stages. Advocates are not calling for more money – simply for an end to spending the available monies on institutions and a commitment of available resources to help the process of community living. The conference, ‘Community Living for All’ - A Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural Funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities’, is organised in association with the Irish Presidency of the European Council with the support of European Foundation Centre (EFC), Belgium and Fundación ONCE, Spain.  Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “Ireland has taken initial positive steps in the right direction with the ‘Ending Congregated Settings’ report and the National Positive Ageing Strategy.  We have to make sure that our taxpayers’ money is not being used via the Structural Funds to achieve the opposite effect elsewhere in Europe.” Professor Quinn continued: “Both disabled and older citizens have a common cause here.  We owe it to our fellow disabled and older EU citizens across Europe to end bad practices and help generate real added-value put of diminishing EU funds.  It is very important that your voice is heard loud and clear.” The rejection of the conditionalities proposed by the European Commission for accessing and using the funds has particular legal implications as it probably exposes the EU to legal liability under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is the first UN human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU as such.  Professor Quinn added: “What are our citizens to think if the EU ratifies such a major international instrument and then keeps it at arms length where it matters most.  We certainly cannot preach to others if we fail to ensure basic respect for the convention in how major EU financial instruments are crafted. The conditions proposed by the Commission or something with the same effect have to be restored to the Regulations to keep faith with Europe’s 80 million persons with disabilities.”   The conference will be opened by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch T.D., who has responsibilities both for older people and people with disabilities, and one of the sessions will be chaired by Minister of State Brian Hayes T.D. The keynote address at the conference will be delivered by Professor Jerome Bickenbach on the unity of purpose between the disabled and older European citizens on community living and ageing in pace.  It will be addressed by the European Commission (DG Justice and DG Regio), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The EU Fundamental Rights Agency and high level representatives for European civil society (European Disability Forum) and Age Platform Europe. Jan Jarab, Regional Representative for Europe of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who will be a participant in the conference, said: “The Office of the High Commissioner is committed to the promotion of community living and inclusion in society for older persons as well as for children in need of alternative care and persons with disabilities.” Professor Quinn added: “We are proud of where Ireland has come from and its clear aspirations for the future. But the rights we take for granted should not be confined to us. Lets be both smart and ethical in how the EU spends our money. This conference will explore the need for these conditions and whether or how they can be achieved as the drafting of the new regulations reach a climax in early summer 2013.”  All are welcome and no prior knowledge of the Structural Funds is assumed or required. More information on the conference is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events/community_living_for_all.html and individuals can register at www.conference.ie. -ENDS-

Friday, 3 May 2013

NUI Galway student, Maria Campbell has been handpicked as one of 30 students to represent Ireland and Northern Ireland in the USA this summer. A final year Legal Studies, Sociology and Politics student, Maria will complete an eight-week internship in Washington DC, following the footsteps of previous NUI Galway students who have interned in the offices of then US Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, former Presidential Candidate Senator McCain, at the Headquarters of the World Bank and at CNN. A native of Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Maria has been involved with Foróige, Ireland’s largest youth organisation, as a member, volunteer leader and recently co-founder and Auditor of Foróige’s first college society. During this time she has lead a team to win two national citizenship awards and was selected for the inaugural Albert Schweitzer leadership program. Maria recently completed an internship in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre based in NUI Galway. Commenting on the announcement of the internship, Maria said: “I am both honored and excited to be given such a great opportunity.  I have already met some truly inspirational people and look forward to representing NUI Galway on the program.” Getting onto the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) is highly competitive with over 500 students from across, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain competing for a few coveted places. The WIP students are required to commit to a minimum of 30 hours of public service before their placement in Washington DC, and are encouraged to take on a new community service project. While in Washington DC the students will complete an extensive leadership curriculum with their peers – developing their leadership skills and learning from the leadership experiences of those in Global leadership positions. Students will also complete an individual internship. For more information visit www.wiprogram.org. -ENDS-

Friday, 3 May 2013

Comhrá Ceoil and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, are delighted to announce details of the upcoming lecture in the annual Martin Reilly Lecture Series. The lecture will be given by harpist and Irish music Meteor Award (2010) nominee, Kathleen Loughnane, at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 14 May at the Galway City Library.  Kathleen will present her most recent research, ‘The music, life and times of the Harpers Connnellan (1642-1720)’ and will be joined by musical guests. A resident of Galway, Kathleen’s research has made a significant contribution to the recuperation of the music of Irish harp composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. She is highly regarded for her work in arranging traditional Irish dance tunes and airs for the harp. Kathleen co-founded the musical group Dordán in 1990, whose mix of Irish and Baroque music has received national and international acclaim. Dordán received the National Entertainment award for traditional music in 1993. Kathleen has four CDs and accompanying books to her credit, Affairs of the Harp, Harping On, Harp to Heart and her most recent The Harpers Connellan. This lecture series is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum. Admission is free and all are welcome. ENDS

Friday, 3 May 2013

NUI Galway has announced that two scholarships of €2,000 will be available on a competitive basis to applicants of the 2013-2014 MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at the Global Women’s Studies Centre. The MA offers a unique opportunity to combine advanced study of global issues and human rights, through a practice-oriented, gender lens.  Through the programme, students gain a thorough understanding of the complex terrain of globalization and related global issues and policy processes, spanning topics from extreme poverty, armed conflict and politicized religion to human trafficking, gender-based violence and global health challenges (e.g., HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, reproductive and sexual health).   Dr Niamh Reilly, School of Political Science and Sociology Co-director, Global Women's Studies at NUI Galway: “This MA offers a unique focus on gender, global issues and human rights and provides a dynamic mix of academic learning and professional placement.The MA also provides a solid grounding in international human rights practices with a focus on gender-aware and community-based approaches to human rights advocacy, implementation and monitoring. We are delighted to be offering two partial scholarships specifically for this programme and would encourage those interested to apply before the approaching deadline.” Modules are delivered by a lecturers and experts who combine extensive academic and practitioner experience in the areas covered by the course.  In addition to a range of core and optional academic modules, students have the opportunity to undertake a professional placement of 8-10 weeks and to complete a minor research thesis. As such, the programme offers students an exciting combination of engagement with academic debates and ideas, hands-on practical assignments and professional experience, as well as support in honing advanced research and writing skills.  Most recently, MA students have completed placements with: Amnesty International (Irish Section), Galway Rape Crisis Centre, Galway City Partnership (community development ), Gorta and Trócaire (international development organisations),  Irish Congress of Trade Unions,  National Women’s Council of Ireland, Pavee Point (Traveller and Roma rights) and Safe Ireland (domestic violence research and advocacy).  The MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights will be of interest to recent graduates, local or international, experienced development and/or human rights practitioners, or mature students who wish to pursue career paths related to gender, global issues, policy processes and human rights. The programme has a strong practitioner focus that prepares students for work in a range of policy and advocacy roles in non-governmental, media, local and national government, EU and UN agencies and/or to pursue further advanced academic research, including doctoral study. Extended deadline for partial scholarship applications is Friday, 17 May, 2013. For further information please see http://www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/womens_studies/news_and_events/news_201302_ma.html  ENDS

Friday, 3 May 2013

Regretfully, an event due to take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Saturday, 11 May has had to be cancelled. Archbishop Tutu (82) spent five days in hospital last week for treatment of a persistent infection and unfortunately it is not possible for him to make the journey to Ireland at this time. The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town South Africa was to travel to Ballina, Co. Mayo - the home place of his fellow Elder and good friend Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland and UN Special Envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region) on Saturday, May 11 in order to endorse the proposed new Mary Robinson Centre, with the presentation of a Welcoming Stone at an ecumenical event in the local St Muredach’s Cathedral. The Mary Robinson Centre is being developed by a partnership including NUI Galway, Mayo County Council, Ballina Town Council, the local community and the Robinson / Bourke families together with Government support. The Centre will incorporate both a visitor centre and an academic research facility, supported by NUI Galway. The latter will be focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of human rights and women’s leadership.  Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, with NUI Galway engaged in making available the archive to an international community of scholars.  The proposed development is intended to be opened to the public in 2015. Organisers of the event conveyed their very best wishes to Archbishop Tutu for a speedy recovery.   ENDS

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Two NUI Galway researchers have published a new book on fungal diagnostics, detailing innovative methods for rapid, accurate detection of these potentially life threatening infections. Compiled andedited byNUI Galway’s Dr Louise O’Connor and Dr Barry Glynn, Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols also brings together contributions from experts in the field of fungal detection and identification. While focusing mainly in the clinical field, Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols also includes other areas where detection of fungi is important such as veterinary diagnostics, food and environmental testing. The format of the chapters is such that those in testing laboratories have step-by-step protocols with tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls. The idea behind the publication is to offer alternative innovative protocols to those in the field of diagnostic testing. From the common nail infection to life threatening bloodstream complications, fungi are a significant public health concern. The number of cases of infection, commonly seen in transplant recipients, AIDS and cancer patients has seen a significant increase over the last two decades. A worrying trend with fungal infections is the increase in resistance of these organisms to anti-fungal therapy. In an effort to limit the rise in resistance there has been a greater worldwide effort to improve the accuracy of diagnosis in order to ensure that appropriate therapy is administered at the earliest sign of infection, reducing the risk of resistant organisms emerging thus resulting in a better outcome for the patient. Dr Louise O’Connor, Co-Editor of Fungal Diagnostics: Methods and Protocols, said: “Traditional methods for fungal identification are time consuming meaning that the infection has progressed significantly before a definite identification has been achieved. The need for more rapid tests has led to significant advancements in the development of identification methods as well as subsequent treatment regimes.” Drs O’Connor and Glynn have worked with The Molecular Diagnostics Research Group at NUI Galway for over 10 years. The core activity of the group is the development and application of molecular diagnostic tests for bacteria and fungi. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education will host an Information Evening for adult learners on Tuesday, 14 May from 6-8pm in the Orbsen Building. Representation from over 30 part-time programmes will be showcased at the event across subject areas of: Arts and Social Sciences; Business; Community Education; Education and Training; Languages; Pre-University Courses; and Science and Technology programmes. The University’s Adult and Continuing Education courses suit students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs. Courses are offered through classroom-based mode, online learning or through a blend of both, offering flexibility and support to prospective students. Nuala McGuinn, Director of Adult and Continuing Education at NUI Galway, said: “The flexibility offered by our part-time programmes whether classroom-based, online or blended-learning mode allow students to study while maintaining or seeking employment, and also enables them to meet their personal and family commitments.” One of the newer blended learning programmes on offer this year is the Diploma in International Business and Financial Markets. This programme aims to develop students’ knowledge and skills in doing business globally, and preparing students for work as business leaders in national and international markets. Students will also gain language skills in a choice of European languages, Chinese or Russian as part of this exciting programme. Interest in programmes in the Science and Technology area including specialisms in Medical Device Science, Environmental Sustainability and Lean and Quality Systems has grown over the past number of years as a direct result of industry requiring increased skills in these areas.  Study options are available at diploma, degree and individual module level. For students who wish to pursue a shorter term award, diplomas are available in a selection of high-quality language courses for adult learners including Irish, French, Italian, Spanish and German. Students practice their chosen language through a variety of activities, such as guided speaking practice, listening comprehension activities, grammar and vocabulary exercises. Dr Máire-Áine Ní Mhainnín, Diploma in French Programme Director, said: “Our aim is for students to achieve their language learning goals from our wide range of courses available in a friendly, welcoming environment. In our language classes you will be involved in speaking and listening as means of learning the language you study.” Students can also choose to take individual modules from the suite of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit options. “This may be useful for learners who may not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for students who already have attained a formal qualification and wish to take a standalone module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Modules are available in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Education and Training, and Software Engineering. Alternatively, the MSc Software Engineering & Database Technologies and Postgraduate Diploma in Software Engineering are delivered completely online over one or two years, offering flexibility for students. Some of the newer courses on offer this year include the Professional Diploma in Education (Further Education) which provides Further Education teachers with the professional knowledge and skills to carry out their teaching roles. Additionally, a Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy is available in conjunction with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC), ideal for teachers and educators who wish to add therapeutic play skills to their existing teaching or psychology skills for working with children. Diplomas are also available in Gemmology, Psychology of Counselling, General Studies and many more. Diplomas are two-years in duration with classes taking place on campus or at outreach centres one evening per week. A full list of programmes on offer and application details are available at www.nuigalway.ie/adult-education/courses/. For additional information contact the Adult and Continuing Education Office at adulteducation@nuigalway.ie or 091 495241, or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nuigalway.adulted. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 May 2013

            Academics and employers name the world’s top universities in 30 individual disciplines The new 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject, released today on TopUniversities.com has revealed that NUI Galway is one of the eight Irish institutions to have appeared on the list of the world’s top 200 universities in 30 individual disciplines including mathematics, economics, history, environmental sciences and 25 others. The subject area ranking is based on last year’s (2012) rankings data. NUI Galway features in the top 200 institutions in 5 of the 30 subjects featured in this year's QS World University Rankings by Subject: *   English Language & Literature (151 – 200) *   History (101 – 150) *   Computer Science & Info Systems (101 – 150) *   Pharmacy & Pharmacology (151 – 200) *   Law (151 – 200) Speaking of the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “This is very good news for NUI Galway as the QS World University Rankings by Subject series takes into the account the opinion of academics and employers via a global survey confirming that our position globally is on the rise. We operate in a global market, competing for students and research support on an international playing field and this international recognition of the quality of our research and teaching from academic and employer opinions around the world are very significant.” Now in its 3rd year, The QS World University Rankings by Subject series is the only international evaluation that allows prospective students to compare universities in their particular area of interest. Ben Sowter, head of research at QS says, “As many governments around the world move towards the ‘student pays’ model on higher education funding, employability is increasingly crucial to graduates. QS is the only ranking organisation that takes into account the opinion of employers” He continues, “Although only eight of Ireland’s institutions have ranked in the top 200, we found that 23 Irish institutions in total have been cited by academics in at least one subject, which suggests that the international reputation of the country’s institutions among academics is strong.” The new QS World University Rankings by Subject is published at a time where the impact of rankings is discussed in a report by the European Universities Association<http://qs-email.com/76R-1GVXK-18YFQF-L26VE-1/c.aspx>, which maintains that: “Comparisons between universities on a subject basis can be much more useful for them than global university league tables that try to encapsulate entire institutions in a single score.” The 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject evaluated 2,858 universities and ranked 678 institutions in total. The full methodology with an overview of the performance of all the Irish institutions considered is published on TopUniversities.com alongside the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject tables for accounting and finance; chemistry; history; English language; sociology; electrical engineering; chemical engineering; politics, biological sciences; modern languages; psychology, and more. Ends __________________                               OÉ Gaillimh i measc an 200 Ollscoil is fearr ar domhan                          Ainmníonn acadóirí agus fostóirí na hollscoileanna is fearr i 30 disciplín ar leith Foilsíodh Ranguithe nua Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair 2013 inniu ar TopUniversities.com agus tá OÉ Gaillimh ar cheann de na hocht n-institiúid Éireannacha atá ar an liosta den 200 ollscoil is fearr sa domhan i 30 disciplín ar leith lena n-áirítear matamaitic, eacnamaíoch, stair, eolaíochtaí comhshaoil agus 25 disciplín eile. Tá an rangú ábhair bunaithe ar shonraí rangaithe na bliana seo caite (2012). Tá OÉ Gaillimh luaite i measc an 200 institiúid is fearr i gcúig cinn de na tríocha ábhar i Ranguithe Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair: *   Béarla agus Litríocht (151 - 200) *   Stair (101 - 150) *   Eolaíocht Ríomhaireachta agus Córais Faisnéise (101 - 150) *   Cógaslann agus Cógaseolaíocht (151 - 200) *   Dlí (151 - 200) Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is iontach an scéal é seo do OÉ Gaillimh mar go gcuimsíonn sraith Ranguithe Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair tuairimí acadóirí agus fostóirí trí shuirbhé domhanda, rud a dhearbhaíonn go bhfuil ár seasamh domhanda ag dul i dtreise. Táimid ag feidhmiú i margadh domhanda, san iomaíocht do mhic léinn agus do thacaíocht taighde ar pháirc idirnáisiúnta agus tá an t-aitheantas idirnáisiúnta seo ar ár gcaighdeán taighde agus teagaisc bunaithe ar thuairimí acadóirí agus fostóirí ar fud an domhain, thar a bheith suntasach.” Is í seo an tríú bliain a bhfuil Ranguithe Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair foilsithe agus is é seo an t-aon mheasúnú idirnáisiúnta a thugann deis do mhic léinn ollscoileanna a chur i gcomparáid lena chéile i réimse spéise ar leith. Deir Ben Sowter, ceann an taighde ag QS, “De réir mar a bhogann rialtais go leor ar fud an domhain i dtreo an mhúnla maoinithe ardoideachais ina n-íocann an mac léinn féin, tá tábhacht níos mó ná riamh le hinfhostaitheacht do chéimithe. Is é QS an t-aon eagraíocht rangaithe a chuireann tuairimí fostóirí san áireamh.” Deir sé freisin, “Cé nach bhfuil ach ocht n-institiúid Éireannacha luaite i measc an 200 ollscoil is fearr, chonaiceamar go raibh 23 institiúid Éireannach san iomlán luaite ag lucht acadúil in ábhar amháin ar a laghad, rud a léiríonn go bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta institiúidí na tíre go láidir i measc an lucht acadúil.” Foilsítear Ranguithe nua Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair ag am ina bpléitear an tionchar a bhaineann le rangú i dtuarascáil de chuid Chumann na nOllscoileanna Eorpacha<http://qs-email.com/76R-1GVXK-18YFQF-L26VE-1/c.aspx>, a áitíonn:  “go mbíonn sé i bhfad níos úsáidí comparáidí a dhéanamh idir ollscoileanna bunaithe ar ábhair le hais táblaí sraithe domhanda ollscoile a dhéanann iarracht institiúidí iomlána a mharcáil in aon scór amháin.” Rinne Ranguithe Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair 2013 measúnú ar 2,858 ollscoil agus rinne sé 678 san iomlán a rangú. Is féidir teacht ar an modheolaíocht iomlán chomh maith le léargas ar fheidhmíocht na nInstitiúidí Éireannacha ar fad a measadh ar TopUniversities.com chomh maith le táblaí Ranguithe Ollscoile QS an Domhain de réir Ábhair do na hábhair seo a leanas - cuntasaíocht agus airgeadas; ceimic; stair; Béarla; socheolaíocht; innealtóireacht leictreach; innealtóireacht cheimiceach; polaitíocht; bitheolaíochtaí; nuatheangacha; síceolaíocht, agus tuilleadh nach hiad. Críoch

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Workshop Brings Together Stakeholders to Drive Future Business Growth With almost a million apps now available worldwide, a new project has begun to measure the app economy in Europe and help guide stakeholders towards success. The ‘Eurapp’ project was launched by the European Commission, and is being run by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway in conjunction with leading technology industry analyst firm GigaOM Research. The project kicks off with a working workshop in Brussels on 14 June, “Shape the Future App Economy of Europe”, featuring leaders from the app industry. Eurapp is part of the Startup Europe initiative of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, which aims to help technology entrepreneurs start, maintain and grow their businesses in Europe. The project will carry out interviews and surveys with various players in the app economy to determine its characteristics. It will also use a series of workshops and innovation challenges to crowdsource proposals for how growth can be stimulated in the future. The workshop will bring together stakeholders and experts to brainstorm how the ecosystem of developers, platform providers, regulators and other participants in the European app economy can grow in the future. It will also consider how companies can succeed in the app ‘aftermarket’. “Recent studies on the app economy in the US estimate that it was responsible for the creation of nearly 500,000 jobs. In Europe, we don’t have the same kind of data just yet, but the region is a strong player in the global app economy, with companies like Rovio, SoundCloud and SwiftKey leading the way,” said NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin, who is leading the Eurapp project at DERI. The Shape the Future workshop in June will have invited speakers from the apps industry, including Samsung, SwiftKey and Betapond. The format will be a series of lightning talks featuring experts in the space, followed by mapping sessions to probe attendees’ collective thinking and examine some of the issues to be tackled in growing the app economy in Europe. “Some of the key talking points will include identifying the bottlenecks which are experienced by app developers - environmental, technical, or financial - so that the EU could develop policies to overcome or mitigate them. We also want to map out the best measures of success for an app company, such that they can be guided towards successful business outcomes.” After the workshop, solutions to address bottlenecks and to suggest potential success strategies will be crowdsourced in two innovation challenges via the Innocentive platform. Attendees at the event include: Peter Elger, CTO of Betapond; Kumardev Chatterjee, founder of the European Young Innovators Forum; David Card, Vice President of GigaOM Research; Kevin Mobbs, Director of Innovation Programs EMEA at Innocentive; and Eurapp project lead John Breslin, who is also co-founder of boards.ie and the app company StreamGlider. According to Breslin, “The aim of this effort is to not just review the size of the app economy in Europe, but also to guide future app companies to success as per the aims of the Digital Agenda for Europe’s Startup Europe initiative.” The workshop will be held in BU33, Auderghem in Brussels on 14 June 2013. There are very limited places available for the workshop, but those interested can apply to attend at http://eurapp.eu/ -- ENDS --

Thursday, 9 May 2013

As part of the Bealtaine Festival, the second ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’ will take place from 20-24 May. Organised by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the festival will feature free lunchtime screenings of films celebrating ageing across the lifecourse. Alison Herbert, event organiser and PhD student with NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology said: “We age from the day we are born, so to celebrate ageing is to celebrate life itself. Ageing is not just old age; ageing is a part of and relevant to all of us, and film is an ideal genre to get the message across that ageing is to be celebrated.” A main film and an Irish short film or documentary will be screened daily with each main film centre on different aspects of ageing, from the lived experiences of women; the yearning for youth; Alzheimer's; being single in older years; and ageism. The short films and documentaries deal with losing one's partner in older years; trying to re-capture youthful feelings; and the lived experiences of those in a Galway nursing home. Award-winning films shown will include: Cocoon; All That Heaven Allows; Another Year; His and Hers; and Away From Her. Short films will include: Ken Wardrop’s Undressing My Mother, and The Herd; Wednesdays; Passing; and When We Were Young One Day. The multi-award winning opening-film His and Hers scored at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and picked up awards in London, Dublin, and Galway along the way.  A 2009 documentary by Ken Wardrop, His and Hers focuses on the lives of around 70 women from the Irish Midlands. Wardrop interviews women about their relationships with the men in their lives - fathers, boyfriends, husbands, and sons - offering a somewhat quaint peek into a largely rural world. Cocoon stars Brian Dennehy, Don Ameche, and Jessica Tandy.  Directed in 1985 by Ron Howard, this is the highly-watchable story of senior citizens in a retirement home meeting aliens in a humorous film that focuses on the consequences of searching for the elixir of youth.  So successful was Cocoon that it spawned a sequel Cocoon The Return. All That Heaven Allows is a renowned Douglas Sirk film from 1955, which examines the restricting social mores of mid-20th century America. Starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson, the film exposes the ageism that dictates acceptable behaviour.  Wyman is a middle-class widow with adult children, who falls for her younger gardener.  Scandal ensues amongst her country club peers. Away From Her deals with the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, but from a quite different angle. Julie Christie takes the lead in this 2006 film, directed by Sarah Polley, and adapted from the Alice Munro short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain. Christie leaves her husband to admit herself into a nursing home specialising in the care of Alzheimer’s patients. The unusual perspective comes from Christie’s transference of affection from her husband to that of a wheelchair-bound mute in the nursing home. Her husband watches as he loses his wife to both Alzheimer’s and to another man. Another Year is a British comedy/drama from 2010 which looks at four seasons in the lives of married couple Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. Like all Mike Leigh films, Another Year takes a forensic look at the minutiae of everyday life, revealing the nature of human relationships. The lunchtime screenings are open to the public and will begin each day at 1pm in IT125G, IT Building, NUI Galway.  Each film will be followed by a short audience discussion and refreshments.  Films are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media; Screenclick; The Galway Film Centre; Venom; and Liam Bluett.  The Reel Lives poster was designed by NUI Galway artist Marina Wild. Refreshments are courtesy of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union Shop and spot prizes are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Kingfisher Sports Centre and Masterchefs Hospitality. Details of films being shown and dates of screenings visit www.icsg.ie. For more information contact 091 495461 or 087 2830757. -ENDS-

Friday, 10 May 2013

NUI Galway’s School of Law and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, in association with the Irish Centre for International Family Mediation will host a conference on Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction on Saturday, 18 May.  The aim of the conference is to highlight the availability and suitability of mediation as an appropriate means of intervention in cases of international child abduction and family disputes. The conference will address the topic from a practical, legal and cultural perspective. Speakers will include legal and mediation practitioners, academics and members of the judiciary; the speakers will address the core topic from their perspectives and the recommended model of mediation in such cases will be presented. Lughaidh Kerin, School of Law, NUI Galway, said: “This interdisciplinary and cross cultural approach will assist conference delegates in gaining a broader understanding of the important issues that need to be addressed in relation to mediation in cases of international family conflict and child abduction, which is indicative of the holistic philosophy at the core of mediation.” Aimed at judges, legal practitioners, social and child care workers, academics, researchers, NGO’s and those involved in family and children issues, the conference will be jointly chaired by Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law, NUI Galway and Professor Pat Dolan of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. The conference will bring together internationally renowned experts in their respective fields, including: Hilde Demarré, Child Focus (Brussels); Judge Eberhard Carl (Retd.) (Berlin); Dr Mohamed M. Keshavjee BL (London); and representatives of the EU Network of International Family Mediators, amongst others. The conference will take place in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points will be available to those eligible as well as a Certificate of Attendance. For further information, including the conference programme, registration and a list of speakers, see visit www.eventbrite.ie/event/6086818839. For other enquiries contact Lughaidh Kerin at 091 493341 or lughaidh.kerin@nuigalway.ie.                       -ENDS-

Monday, 13 May 2013

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council will host the seventh International Seminar on John McGahern, commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, from Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th May in Co. Leitrim. Last year’s Seminar attracted more than 140 participants from Ireland and overseas. The literary, historical and hinterland aspects of McGahern’s work will be the focus this year, and the keynote lecture will be given by Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and author of numerous crucial books and essays on Irish history and writing. Commenting on the opening event, Dr John Kenny, Academic Director of the Seminar, remarked that “Professor Foster’s talk on ‘McGahern and the Memory of the Irish Revolution’ promises to be one of the vital occasions in the seven years of this McGahern Seminar.” The Seminar includes a rich variety of lectures, open discussions, readings and tours. The Dutch novelist and IMPAC winner, Gerbrand Bakker, will talk about the influence of rural settings on fiction and will discuss and read from his own work. Patrick McCabe, one of the key Irish fiction writers of the post-McGahern generation, will give a public interview and reading, and Claire Kilroy, one of the most noted Irish novelists of the subsequent generation, will discuss the influence of McGahern and read and discuss her own work. Other speakers at the event will include Professor Nicholas Allen of the University of Athens, Georgia, who will give a lecture on ‘McGahern and the Republic’, and Dr Heather Laird of University College Cork, who will discuss McGahern’s views on his Irish literary heritage. This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of David Thomson, an author much admired by McGahern, and to mark the occasion Professor Angela Bourke of University College Dublin will give a feature lecture on Thomson’s major work, Woodbrook, his 1974 memoir about his experiences as a tutor at Woodbrook House near Carrick-on-Shannon, close to where McGahern grew up. Author Brian Leyden will present readings from Thomson during the Seminar boat trip to McGahern’s own Cootehall. In keeping with the theme of memoir, author and Irish Times columnist, Michael Harding, will give a talk at McGahern’s beloved Aughawillan on ‘Experience, Memory and Fiction’, and the Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman, will conclude the weekend with a talk entitled ‘McGahern and the Weather of the Times’. The Seminar will also have an Archives feature with a presentation on the materials held at the James Hardiman Library of NUI Galway in the John McGahern Papers. NUI Galway has provided five Scholarships to assist students to attend the Seminar and visit the Archive. 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 literary world, for the Irish nation and most especially for this region, which we have served for more than 160 years. I wish the 2013 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 2013 programme, Jackie Maguire, Manager, Leitrim County Council, said: “Leitrim County Council views the 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 seventh 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. A limited number of places are still available for the full Seminar, however the keynote lecture in the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon on Thursday 23rd at 7pm is open to all. For further details and to book for the 2013 International Seminar on John McGahern contact Christine at 071 9621694, email ckelly@leitrimcoco.ie, or visit www.leitrimarts.ie ENDS

Monday, 13 May 2013

NUI Galway is offering secondary school students the choice of six separate Summer Schools in June, across the disciplines of Business, Nursing, Computing, Engineering and Science. The summer schools are specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of University life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities. The Nursing Summer School will take place on Wednesday, 5 June. This initiative will give students the opportunity to learn more about studying Nursing and the careers available to them upon graduation. Activities at the Summer School will focus on lifesaving skills include CPR, recognising vital signs and hand hygiene. Spaces for this Summer School are limited to 32 students and are on a first-come, first-served basis. NUI Galway’s week-long Computing Summer Camp introduces computing in a novel, fun and interactive way. Students will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of digitally-inspired topics including Programming, Computer Animation, Games, 3D Modelling and Robotics. The summer camp will also give students a sense of the exciting possibilities in computer science and information technology, and will also provide an insight into the range of topics that form part of the highly successful BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology. Due to popular demand, NUI Galway will hold two of the week-long sessions from 10-14 June, or 17-21 June. The closing date for applications for the Computing Summer Camp is Friday, 31 May. Students interested in the Engineering Summer School have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 27 June, or Friday, 28 June. Taking place in the University’s new Engineering Building, the Summer School offers a unique hands-on practical experience to get a taste of life as an engineer. Activities include controlling a wastewater treatment plant remotely, robo-soccer games, building and testing pacemaker circuits, designing an eco-house, and for future Formula 1 engineers, designing a go-kart. There will also be a 'Frankenstein Design’ feature on how bioengineers make new body parts. From Wednesday 26 to Thursday 27 June, the Science Experience Summer Event will offer students two days to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines in world class research facilities and institutes. The workshop will feature all disciplines of the College of Science including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Prospective students will get a taste of life as a scientist with the opportunity to take part in lab experiments and demonstrations, find out more about careers in Science and hear about the latest discoveries and inventions. The closing date for applications for the Science Experience Summer Event is Sunday, 26 May. New for 2013 is the Business Summer School and the Computer Science and Information Technology One-Day Camp. Open to all secondary school students, the Computer Science and Information Technology Camp will take place on Monday, 24 June. Taking place on Tuesday, 25 June the Business Summer School is made up of workshops and lectures bases around the five subject areas taught by the School of Business and Economics; Marketing, Human Resource Management, Accounting, Economics and Business Information Systems. Students will get a taste of life as a business student and see how what they will learn in NUI Galway is applied to the Business world. Activities include five 45 minute workshops providing insights into each subject, tours of student facilities at NUI Galway and students will have the opportunity to find out about the financial positioning of their local businesses. Spaces for all Summer Schools are limited so early booking is advised. The closing date for applications is Friday, 7 June, with the exception of the Science Experience Summer Event and the Computing Summer Camp which have a closing date of Sunday, 26 May and Friday, 31 May respectively. For further information, or for application form, visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools/. -ENDS-

Monday, 13 May 2013

Scientists have developed techniques for the genetic improvement of sunflowers using a non-GMO based approach. The new technology platform can harness the plant’s own genes to improve characteristics of sunflower, develop genetic traits, which will improve its role as an important oilseed crop. The work was led by Dr Manash Chatterjee, an Adjunct Faculty member of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, and has been published in the journal BMC Plant Biology. Among oilseed crops, sunflowers are one of the most important sources of edible vegetable oil for human consumption worldwide. Sunflower and other oilseed crops are the source of the vast majority of vegetable oil used for cooking and food processing. The oils are also for industrial processes such as making soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, paints and biofuels. Dr Chatterjee is currently a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) ETS Walton Fellow at NUI Galway, collaborating with the SFI Genetics and Biotechnology Lab of Professor Charles Spillane. Dr Chatterjee’s research uses an approach called TILLING (Targeting Induced Lesions In The Genome), an established non-GM method for creating and discovering new traits in plants. According to Dr Chatterjee: “Over the centuries, the sunflower has been cultivated for traits such as yield. However, along the way many useful genetic variations have been lost. This new technology allows us to pinpoint key genetic information relating to various useful traits in the sunflower, including wild sunflower species. It gives us a method to quickly create variability for further breeding to enhance the quantity, quality and natural performance of the crop. In this era of increasing global food crisis and changing climatic regimes, such ability is highly desirable.” The research breakthrough was part of a collaborative project between Bench Bio (India), URGV Lab INRA (France), NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (Ireland) and Advanta Seeds Argentina. NUI Galway PhD student Anish PK Kumar has been working on the technology platform development as a component of his PhD research studies. Dr Chatterjee is also involved in research in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) to improve the bioenergy crop Miscanthus. Also known as elephant grass, miscanthus is one of a new generation of renewable energy crops that can be converted into renewable energy by being burned in biomass power stations. -ends-

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

For the European Month of the Brain, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre are organising a major public information exhibit on the Ground Floor in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre on Saturday, 18 May from 10am to 5pm. Members of the public will have the opportunity to learn more about brain disorders, via a series of large information posters prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre.  The posters cover a variety of illnesses including: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Stroke, Brain injury and Spinal cord injury. Neuroscientists form the Galway Neuroscience Centre will be on hand to chat to the public about how the brain works and brain disorders. Information leaflets obtained from brain-related charities and organisations will be displayed and available for the public to take away, such as MS Ireland, Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Aware, Chronic Pain Ireland, Shine, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and Brainwave. Dr Karen Doyle, Lecturer in Physiology at NUI Galway, said: “In May 2013, neuroscientists across Europe will hold events to highlight research in to how the brain works and diseases of the brain. One in every 3 people will be affected by a brain disorder during our lifetime. Approximately 180 million Europeans are thought to suffer from a brain disorder, at a total cost of almost 800 billion euro per annum. This event run by the neuroscientists in NUI Galway during the European month of the brain is to help the Galway public understand how the brain works normally, and brain disorders.” The Galway Neuroscience Centre acknowledges funding from the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Science in NUI Galway and the international Dana Foundation. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

NUI Galway Alumni Association will hold its annual golf outing in the Galway Bay Golf Club, Oranmore on Friday, 7 June.                               Seán O’Rourke, NUI Galway Alumni Board Chairman, said: “This is a great opportunity for alumni and friends to get together for an afternoon of friendly competition. It also affords graduates the opportunity to reminisce on their time spent at NUI Galway, hear about developments on campus and catch up with former classmates and friends old and new.” The entry fee of €25 includes green fees and prizes and is open to all graduates and friends of NUI Galway. For further details and booking information, contact Alumni Office on 091 493750 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -ENDS-

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Professor Donncha O’Connell is the newly-appointed Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway having recently been appointed to an Established Chair in Law. He is also a part-time Commissioner of the Law Reform Commission, the statutory body charged with advising the government on law reform proposals, and a member of the Legal Aid Board. Welcoming the news, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “On behalf of NUI Galway I am delighted to announce this professorial appointment.  Donncha O’Connell has a tremendous record of achievement as an academic, teacher and public intellectual.  I am confident that he will lead the School of Law in a new and exciting phase of its development. He will lend his talents to further developing the strong international reputation of the School of Law, drawing on his academic skills, public policy experience and his leadership abilities as a former Dean.” Donncha was born in 1968 and grew up in Swinford, Co. Mayo. He graduated with a BA (in Legal Science and Sociology & Politics) in 1988 and an LL.B in 1990 after which he was called to the Irish Bar. Immediately after that he went to the University of Edinburgh for a year graduating with a Masters in Law in 1993. Upon returning from Edinburgh Donncha was appointed to a lectureship at the School of Law, NUI Galway and taught Constitutional Law, Labour Law and European Human Rights there until taking unpaid leave of absence in 1999. In 1999 he was appointed as the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), an NGO founded in 1976 by Kader Asmal and Mary Robinson. In 2002 Donncha resigned as Director of the ICCL and returned to the Law School at NUI Galway. In the same year he was appointed as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the European Commission on foot of a recommendation by the European Parliament LIBE Committee. In 2005 Donncha O'Connell was elected Dean of Law at NUI Galway and served a full term until 2008. During that time he worked through the Council of Deans to bring about the establishment of the new College of Business, Public Policy & Law, NUI Galway, made up of the former faculties of Commerce and Law as well as the Shannon College of Hotel Management & Catering. While serving as Dean of Law Donncha continued to teach Constitutional Law and European Human Rights to under-graduate students while pioneering new courses, such as Equality Law: Principles & Thematic Application and Processes of Law Reform, offered to post-graduate students on the Law School's LL.M in Public Law. In 2007, he tendered successfully with an international consortium that formed FRALEX, the legal expert group that advises the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna and continued to work as the Senior Irish Expert until 2011. He edits the Irish Human Rights Law Review, published biennially by Clarus Press. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS from 2009-2012. Donncha joined the Board of INTERIGHTS while spending a sabbatical year (2009-2010) as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). He has been a member of the National Council of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd., the National Executive Committee of Amnesty International – Ireland and the Advisory Board of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of FLAC. Since 2006 Donncha has played an active part on the Board of Directors of the internationally-acclaimed, Galway-based, Druid Theatre Company. He is also a trustee of Counterpoint Arts based in Dublin and London. ENDS   Ceann Scoil an Dlí nua in OÉ Gaillimh Tá an tOllamh Donncha O’Connell nuacheaptha mar Cheann Scoil an Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh tar éis dó a bheith ceaptha le gairid mar Chathaoir Bunaithe sa Dlí. Chomh maith leis sin tá sé ina Choimisinéir páirtaimseartha ar an gCoimisiún um Athchóiriú an Dlí, an comhlacht reachtúil a bhfuil sé de chúram air comhairle a chur ar an rialtas faoi mholtaí athchóirithe dlí. Tá sé freisin ina bhall den Bhord um Chúnamh Dlíthiúil. Chuir an Dochtúir Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, fáilte roimh an scéala: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh tá ríméad orm an ceapachán ollúnachta seo a fhógairt.   Tá éachtaí bainte amach ag Donncha O’Connell mar fhear léinn, mar theagascóir agus mar intleachtóir poiblí.  Táim muiníneach go dtreoróidh sé Scoil an Dlí i dtréimhse nua agus spreagúil dá cuid forbartha. Úsáidfidh sé a chuid buanna chun cur le cáil láidir idirnáisiúnta Scoil an Dlí, ag úsáid a chuid scileanna acadúla, a thaithí ar bheartas poiblí agus a chumais cheannaireachta mar Dhéan.” Rugadh Donncha sa bhliain 1968 agus tógadh é i mBéal Átha na Muice, Co. Mhaigh Eo. Bronnadh céim BA (san Eolaíocht Dhlíthiúil agus sa tSocheolaíocht agus Polaitíocht) air i 1988 agus bhain sé LLB amach i 1990 agus ina dhiaidh sin glaodh chun Bharr na hÉireann é. Go díreach ina dhiaidh sin d’fhreastail sé ar Ollscoil Dhún Éideann ar feadh bliana áit ar bhain sé amach Máistreacht sa Dlí i 1993. Nuair a d’fhill sé ó Dhún Éideann ceapadh mar léachtóir i Scoil an Dlí, OÉ Gaillimh é, áit ar mhúin sé Dlí Bunreachtúil, Dlí Oibreachais agus Cearta Daonna na hEorpa go dtí gur thóg sé saoire neamhláithreachta gan phá i 1999. Sa bhliain 1999 ceapadh é mar an chéad Stiúrthóir lánaimseartha ar an gComhairle um Chearta an Duine (ICCL), an eagraíocht neamhrialtasach a bhunaigh Kader Asmal agus Mary Robinson i 1976. Sa bhliain 2002 d’éirigh Donncha as mar Stiúrthóir an ICCL agus d’fhill sé ar Scoil an Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh. An bhliain chéanna ceapadh é mar bhall de chuid na hÉireann ar Líonra an AE de Shaineolaithe Neamhspleácha ar Chearta Bunúsacha a bhunaigh Coimisiún na hEorpa tar éis moladh ó Choiste LIBE Pharlaimint na hEorpa. Sa bhliain 2005 toghadh Donncha O’Connell mar Dhéan Dlí in OÉ Gaillimh agus d’oibrigh sé téarma iomlán go dtí 2008. Le linn an ama sin d’oibrigh sé le Comhairle na nDéan chun Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí & an Dlí, OÉ Gaillimh a bhunú. Cuireadh na dámha Tráchtála agus Dlí chomh maith le Coláiste Bainistíochta Óstáin agus Lónadóireachta Shionainne le chéile chun an Coláiste nua seo a bhunú. Nuair a bhí sé ina Dhéan Dlí lean Donncha ar aghaidh ag teagasc Dlí Bunreachtúil agus Cearta Daonna na hEorpa do mhic léinn fochéime agus chuir sé cúrsaí nua chun cinn ag an am céanna cosúil le Dlí Comhionannais: Prionsabail agus Feidhmiú Téamach agus Próisis um Athchóiriú Dlí, a chuirtear ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime ar an LLM sa Dlí Poiblí a bhíonn ar fáil i Scoil an Dlí. Sa bhliain 2007, d’éirigh leis sa tairiscint a chuir sé ar aghaidh in éineacht le grúpa idirnáisiúnta FRALEX, an grúpa saineolaithe dlí a chuireann comhairle ar Ghníomhaireacht an AE um Chearta Bunúsacha i Vín agus lean sé leis ag obair mar Shaineolaí Sinsearach Éireannach go dtí 2011. Déanann sé eagarthóireacht ar an Irish Human Rights Law Review, a fhoilsíonn Clarus Press gach re bliain. Bhí sé ina bhall den Bhord Stiúrtha ar an eagraíocht neamhrialtasach INTERIGHT, atá lonnaithe i Londain, ó 2009-2012. Chuaigh Donncha ar Bhord INTERIGHTS nuair a bhí sé ag caitheamh bliain shabóideach (2009-2010) mar Chomhalta Sinsearach ar Cuairt in Ionad don Staidéar ar Chearta Daonna, Scoil Eacnamaíochta agus Eolaíocht Pholaitiúil Londan. Tá sé mar bhall de Chomhairle Náisiúnta na nIonad Comhairle Dlí Saor in Aisce (FLAC), Coiste Feidhmiúcháin Náisiúnta Amnesty International - Éire agus Bord Comhairleach Comhaontas Dhlí Leas an Phobail, tionscadal de chuid FLAC. Ó 2006 i leith bhí páirt ghníomhach ag Donncha ar Bhord Stiúrthóirí Chompántas Amharclainne Druid, compántas atá lonnaithe i nGaillimh agus a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta air. Tá sé ina iontaobhaí chomh maith ar Counterpoint Arts i mBaile Átha Cliath agus i Londain.   CRÍOCH  

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Career Development Centre will hold a networking breakfast on Tuesday, 21 May from 8-9am in the new Engineering Building in NUI Galway. Representatives from a range of companies will attend including Abbott, Fidelity Investments, SAP, Arup Consulting Engineers, Storm Technologies, Thermo King and IBM. This event will provide an opportunity for companies and alumni to meet the Dean of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Gerry Lyons, academic staff, course directors, Career Development Centre Staff and the Technology Transfer Office.  Employers will have the opportunity to discuss their organisation’s requirements regarding course content and student and graduate skills. Information will be available on graduate recruitment, placement opportunities, upcoming fairs and current research. Employers of engineers, large and small, are also invited to visit and view this world-class teaching and research facility. An optional tour of the new Engineering Building is being organised at 9am. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway said: “This event will enable the University to maintain and foster good relationships with employers and business leaders”. To attend the networking breakfast meeting email placement@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A new research project at NUI Galway aims to better understand the underlying causes of comfort eating, which may stem from childhood. Comfort or emotional eating happens when we are not hungry but perhaps in need of stress relief or a reward. NUI Galway researchers are conducting a study, which aims to examine the influence of emotional factors in childhood on comfort eating and weight. They have devised a questionnaire which investigates these issues, and will also be conducting individual interviews. Volunteers are being sought to take part in this study, the only requirement being that participants are over-18. “We’re hoping to explore the relationship between a range of factors, such as how people learned to cope with their emotions in childhood, or how people relate to others, and how this influences eating patterns and BMI in adulthood”, explains Roisín Finnegan, who is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist and carrying out this research under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Egan, Lecturer in Psychology at NUI Galway. The research is being funded by the Millennium Research Fund at NUI Galway. While the wide availability of convenience foods and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle are recognised as significant contributing factors to the spike in obesity rates, research is finding that psychosocial factors in childhood, such as abuse, lack of parental support, depression, may also play a role. “We believe that children growing up in an environment where they feel unable to express their emotions may turn to food as a source of comfort,” explains of Dr Jonathan Egan. “This pattern of coping with emotion through food continues into adulthood, and may well contribute to weight problems. These are just some of the factors we’re interested in investigating further as part of this research. We’re also interested in the concept of mindfulness, and how the ability to attend to how one is feeling in the present moment may act as an antidote to emotional eating.” For those interested in participating in this study, it will involve completing a questionnaire, taking part in an interview, or doing both, though it is not a necessity of the study that you take part in both. The questionnaire is a series of tick box questions, and hopefully should only take people 15 minutes to complete. Interviews will take place in Laois, Offaly, Longford or Westmeath. “It would be great if people could share their experience with us,” concluded Róisín. Those who wish to complete the questionnaire online should log onto https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/comforteating Participants can also complete the questionnaire in paper format by contacting Róisín on r.finnegan8@nuigalway.ie. Anyone interested in taking part in interview should express this through email also, and more detail will be provided. All participants’ data will be kept strictly confidential. -ends-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

World leading theorist of urban studies to deliver keynote lecture As part of the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, Professor David Harvey, a leading theorist in the field of urban studies, will deliver a keynote lecture on Friday, 17 May at 5.30pm in the Engineering Building, NUI Galway. David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York (CUNY), Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of numerous books which have been widely translated. A leading social theorist of international standing, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. Professor Harvey’s reflections on the importance of space and place and on global capitalism have attracted considerable attention across the humanities and social sciences. Hosted by NUI Galway, the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, will take place from 16-18 of May. With approximately 300 delegates attending, the conference will be the largest national geographer’s conference to date. The event brings together leading geographers from all over the globe to discuss key geographical research issues including: marine spatial planning; community geographies; climate change modeling; contemporary perspectives on urban planning, on migration, and on tourism; sustainable consumption policies and practices; art and geography; space and identity politics; marine and coastal processes; geographies of food as well as the interdisciplinary needs of contemporary environmental research. Entire conference sessions will be dedicated to the internationally recognised key research areas within Geography at NUI Galway – Environmental Change, Geopolitics and Justice, Planning and Sustainability and Rural Studies. During the three-day event 150 papers will be presented displaying the breadth and depth of the discipline of Geography. Papers will address topical and controversial issues of relevance to Irish society. Mike Goodman from Kings College London will present a paper on ‘The Lie of the Lasagne: Galloping Transgressions and (Horse)Meaty Tropes’, while Cian O’Callaghan and Mark Boyle form NUI Maynooth will discuss ‘Capitalist crisis, ruins, and uneven development: Ireland’s Ghost estates’. Garret Duffy and his colleagues in Earth and Ocean Science in NUI Galway will examine the ‘Origin of seabed heterogeneity around Inverin Bank: implications for Galway Bay fish farm siting’. One of the most supported sessions at this year’s conference will honour the lifework of one of the most influential geographers of his generation, Neil Smith on Friday, 17 May. Given Neil’s recent passing, the session connects to his lifework with papers addressing the broad remit of his writing and activism. The day-long session will culminate in the launch of the Neil Smith Graduate Research Award, which is designed to celebrate Neil’s legacy by encouraging continued graduate research in the areas of geopolitics, development and social and environmental justice. The session is being organised by the Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster in Geography at NUI Galway. Cluster leader and session organiser, John Morrissey, said: “Neil was an inspirational and brilliant colleague, and to have such an array of contributory papers from across the UK, Ireland and France in a day-long session in Neil’s honour, is a great testament to not only Neil as a person but to the huge legacy and continued relevancy of his life’s work.” Chair of the Conference and President of the Geographical Society of Ireland, Dr Frances Fahy said: “We in Geography at NUI Galway are honoured to be hosting the 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, particularly as it caps off a year of celebrating 50 years of Geography within our University. As geographers we have the capacity not only to reflect but also to shape wider discourses; this endeavour is mirrored in our conference theme for 2013 – Transformative Geographies: Critical Reflections on Environment, Sustainability and Governmentality.” This year’s conference is being held in conjunction with the Galway Dance Days programme and as a result a range of innovative workshops and unique performances are taking place throughout the three days of the conference. Registration for the Conference is now closed but tickets are still available for some of the Galway Dance Days performances, please contact the Town Hall Theatre at www.THT.ie or 091 569777. For more information email frances.fahy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The LLM in Public Law programme at the School of Law, NUI Galway, will host the 5th Annual Conference of the Irish Society of Comparative Law from 24-25 May. Over 50 legal academics and practitioners from Ireland, other European countries, the U.S., Uganda, Japan and China will present papers at the conference on the overarching theme of comparative public law. Topics covered throughout the conference will include: children in rainbow families; equality in healthcare; cyberbullying; money laundering; and the question of constitutional rights for human-animal hybrids and chimeras. Professor Brice Dickson from Queens University Belfast will present a keynote paper entitled ‘The Irish Supreme Court in Comparative Perspective’ to which former Supreme Court Judge, the Hon Catherine McGuinness, who is an Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway and also the newly appointed Chair of the University’s Governing Authority, will respond.  The other keynote speaker will be Professor Susan Farran of the University of Northumbria, who will present a paper entitled ‘The age of Empire. Again: critical thoughts on legal imperialism’. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public Law programme at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome so many legal scholars from all over the world to Galway. It will be a great opportunity for our Masters and PhD students to participate with them and learn of the work they are doing on such varied topics in very different jurisdictions.”   For more information on the programme and on registration please visit http://conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=218.  -ENDS-

Thursday, 16 May 2013

All recent graduates currently seeking employment should come along to a unique graduate support event titled ‘Kick Start your Job Search’ in NUI Galway on Thursday, 30 May from 9.30am to 2.30pm in IT 125G in the Information Technology Building.  This free event, organised by the Career Development Centre is targeted at NUI Galway graduates and final year students, but all are welcome to attend. Information on emerging employment areas, innovative job search strategies and tips on how to stay motivated, are just some of the topics that will be covered by a panel of experts. Graduates and students will also be able to get an employer’s perspective on how to stand out from the crowd; this workshop will be run by local multi-national SAP. Attendees are also encouraged to bring along their CVs for an interactive workshop. Professional bodies will be present for a networking event after the workshops including JobBridge (The national internship scheme), Galway County & City Enterprise Board, and Engineers Ireland. Information will also be available on postgraduate study options at NUI Galway. “We look forward to continuing our support to our alumni through this unique event and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and ‘kick start’ their job search” said John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway. Details of the full programme are available on www.nuigalway.ie/careers . For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie Ends

Friday, 17 May 2013

This week, the Botany and Plant Science Discipline in NUI Galway hosted the Irish Plant Scientists Association Meeting (IPSAM2013), where up to 100 Irish plant scientists met to discuss their research and its importance for future sustainable development in Ireland and internationally.  Plants and plant derived products are essential to human life on earth. Plants supply food, energy, health and medicines, and also supply industry with raw materials and are a vital component of our natural environment. People are not only dependent on plants for food, but also as fodder for livestock and fuel for energy. All of the coal, gas and oil reserves are derived from photosynthetic organisms (e.g. plants) that have decomposed over millions of years. In addition, people are dependent on plants to make clothes, paper, paints, oils, medicines, timber, and biodegradable plastics, among many other things. Although underappreciated by policymakers, the Irish economy, society and environment is completely reliant on products (and services) derived directly and indirectly from plants for its existence.  Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, said: “The annual IPSAM meeting is a key annual event that brings together plant scientists across Ireland’s universities and research centers. These scientists are studying plants from many different perspectives including both fundamental and applied topics such as plant chemistry and genetics, paleobotany and climate change, algal and lichen biology, crop and soil science, forestry and tree biology, plant-derived medicines, biodiversity and ecology.” Keynote speakers at the IPSAM2013 included Professor Liam Dolan from University of Oxford who presented the latest findings regarding how root biology evolution allowed plants to move from aquatic environments to the land over 450 million years ago. Professor Dolan also highlighted how such fundamental "blue skies" research on plant roots is informing new applied science strategies to double the yields of crop plants to meet the doubling of food production that is necessary by 2050. In addition, keynote speaker Professor Bob Crawford from the University of St Andrews discussed the types of physiological constraints that limit the geographic distribution of different plant species, a key issue facing humanity in the face of climate change impacts on both wild and cultivated plants.  The IPSAM 2013 Conference was sponsored by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, Bord Bia, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), New Phytologist and QIAGEN. For more details on IPSAM2013 visit www.ipsam.org Also promoting global awareness of the importance of plants, the second international ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ will take place across Ireland on Saturday, 18 May. Dr Zoe Popper from NUI Galway Botany and Plant Science is the National Coordinator of Fascination of Plants Day. Facilitated by the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO), of which NUI Galway is a member institution, the goal of this activity is to get as many people and policymakers as possible worldwide fascinated by plants and to appreciate how humanity is completely dependent on plants for its survival. For more information on ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ visit www.plantday12.eu/ or contact Dr Zoe Popper at zoe.popper@nuigalway.ie or 091 495431. -ENDS-

Friday, 17 May 2013

New research project will analyse samples dating back to 1994 Lack of public awareness of a new cancer epidemic is causing lasting damage to patients, delegates at symposium on head and neck cancer in NUI Galway heard today. Professor Ivan Keogh, Head of the Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology at NUI Galway and Consultant Otolaryngologist at Galway University Hospitals, said that head and neck cancers related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are rising dramatically and are projected to surpass cervical cancer by 2020. “There is a changing nature in the cause of head and neck cancers from traditional heavy smoking and drinking use to HPV. While the survival rate for the latter if very good, these cancers are very disfiguring. Often, treated patients have swallowing and speech problems. We need an awareness campaign so that individuals, as well as their GPs and dentists to become aware of the early symptoms”, said surgeon Professor Keogh, who has seen first-hand the numbers of cases rise dramatically in his clinic. At the symposium, Dr Linda Sharp, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist with the National Cancer Registry Ireland, announced a new project involving the HRB funded Irish Cervical Screening Research Consortium collaboration, CERVIVA, in partnership with surgeons and pathologists. Commencing in autumn 2013, the project will see a major investigation of HPV in squamous cell carcinomas of the oropharynx, oral cavity and larynx diagnosed since 1994. This will provide the first population-based data on the epidemiology of HPV infection in head and neck cancer in the Republic of Ireland. In Ireland, head and neck cancers are the 6th most common cancer in men and 16th most common in women. With the incidence of HPV-related head and neck cancer more likely to occur in men than women it raises the debate about vaccinating boys against this sexually-transmitted virus, as is now taking place in Australia. “Australia and Canada are already rolling out vaccination programmes for boys. Ireland will need to consider it’s position on this over the near future and take a reasoned look at all the factors involved”, said co-organiser, Mr Tony O’Connor, Consultant Otolaryngologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Galway. The event also heard from internationally-renowned keynote speakers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. Dr Sara Pai and Dr William Westra, shared their experiences of the cancer which has now been deemed an ‘epidemic’ by the American Cancer Society. Dr Brenda Corcoran, HSE National Immunisation Office, concluded the symposium. The symposium was organised by NUI Galway’s Academic Department of Otorhinolaryngology and School of Economics, the event is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of its Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme (KEDS). -ends-

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The number of deaths caused by smoking in the home could be comparable to the numbers of fatalities from road traffic collisions, according to new research led by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research Programme. ‘Indoor Air Pollution and Health’ is a new in-depth study of air pollution in homes and shows that the concentration of particulate pollution in the homes of smokers who smoke indoors is six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for general outdoor air quality. This research examined the health impacts of air pollution in homes.  It presents new information on levels of indoor air pollutants in homes using solid fuels for heating or cooking and in homes that have a resident smoker. The report highlights the need for public health policy and research professionals to develop interventions to address this. The research was completed by NUI Galway and researchers at the University of Aberdeen, the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham. Dr Marie Coggins, NUI, Galway explains: “Our research shows that air quality in homes using the solid fuels coal, wood, peat and gas is mostly comparable to that of outdoor air, however smoking at home creates much greater levels of air pollutants. Levels of particulate pollution were up to 17 times levels found outdoors. The impact of exposure to such levels, on vulnerable groups such as children, in homes where smoking occurs indoors needs urgent action.” The average European spends 90% of their time indoors so the quality of the air people breathe plays a significant role in their health and well-being. Over the last few decades there have been many advances in the design and construction of domestic dwellings. As a result, the amount of air entering and leaving a typical building is estimated to be 10 times lower now compared to 30 years ago. Dara Lynott, EPA Deputy Director General said: “The environment and health are intrinsically linked and this innovative research project on indoor air pollution aims to help protect both. This research, funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research Programme, has identified air pollutants in homes as one of the key factors related to the exacerbation of respiratory illnesses.  It will help public health policy and research professionals to develop interventions.” The report authors have called for improved national survey campaigns to determine what proportion of the population is exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home.  Key recommendations include the following: -          A co-ordinated national campaign to educate smokers and non-smokers about the health effects from smoking at home and the promotion of smoke-free homes. -          More education as to the health effects of second hand smoke in the home as a means of reducing exposures. -          Greater focus on finding ways to encourage smokers to move towards smoke- free homes. Welcoming the report Professor Luke Clancy, Director General, TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland said:  “It is very reassuring to find that Indoor Pollution in Ireland is very low even where coal, peat or gas is used but the findings about Secondhand Smoke are very worrying. The finding that particle load is almost 10 times the allowable level for healthy breathing in homes where smoking occurs is disappointing, especially since we know of some 4000 harmful chemicals that exist in tobacco smoke and we also know that over 40% of Irish children are exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Ireland. Action is needed to encourage people not to smoke or at least not to subject others to the health risks associated with inhaling other people’s smoke.”  -ends- http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/iapahreportmcoggins.html  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The eleventh Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway on Friday, 7 June in Áras Moyola. The symposium, entitled ‘Thinking Differently’ – New Curricula, New Skills in Higher Education, will be comprised of papers, short presentations, and workshops. The Symposium will question the kind of degree and curricula most relevant to graduates in this age of mass higher education and what particular attributes and skills graduates should have. Workshop sessions will provide participants with opportunities to experiment with course design with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and active learning. There will also be a showcase of innovations in Teaching and Learning, locally and nationally. Keynote speakers will include: Professor Marijk van der Wende, University College Amsterdam, who will describe a model for the renewal of the idea of the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’; Dr Camille Kandiko, King’s College London, will present an overview of models of curricular redesign that have emerged in institutions across the world in recent years; Professor Derek Raine, Leicester University, will show how they radically reconceptualised its undergraduate Science programme around interdisciplinarity and higher levels of student intellectual engagement; Dr Alastair Robertson, Higher Education Academy, will discuss key ideas on graduate attributes; and Dr Vicky Gunn, University of Glasgow, will describe the efforts her institute use to involve students in the support and development of graduate attributes. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of Centre for Excellence and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway said: “This is a period of rapid change for higher education and NUI Galway, in parallel with other research-led institutions, is exploring new models of learning and teaching. This event will examine the question as to what kinds of degree programmes are best suited to the needs of students, employers and wider society. We are delighted to welcome some key international experts in the field of curriculum design and institutional change as presenters at the event and we look forward to much stimulating debate and discussion.” -ENDS-