Thursday, 21 June 2012

Open Society Foundations, part of the Soros Foundation, has announced new support for the annual Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy. The Summer School will take place at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway from 6-13 July 2012. Following its successful development over the last six years, the Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy will receive support as part of the Open Society Media Program and Youth Initiative. The Summer School’s unique and successful programme was originally launched in 2006 in Venice in co-operation with the Venice International Film Festival. In 2010, supported by the Galway University Foundation, the Summer School moved to NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, in co-operation with the Galway Film Fleadh. The programme continues to attract young talented filmmakers and professionals from across the world to engage in an intense week’s training course where ideas and projects are shared, developed and challenged by fellow participants and internationally acclaimed experts in film, television, photography and human rights. The Summer School is working with human rights film festivals in Jordan and Ethiopia and with film schools in Belgium and Burkina Faso. “The new support will enable us to extend the reach and activities of the Summer School and enable us to offer a number of scholarships. The focus on issues of human rights encourages filmmakers and activists to share concerns for the health and prosperity of the global community and the global environment” said Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway. For more information please visit www.chra.ie or call 091 495076. -ENDS-

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The new Engineering Building at NUI Galway, designed by Taylor Architects/RMJM, has been voted Ireland’s favourite new building: it was the Public Choice in this year’s RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2012, which are announced later today at the RIAI annual awards ceremony. The Public Choice Award is set up to raise awareness of architecture in Ireland. Since the shortlist of 34 projects was announced two weeks ago, the RIAI has received over 12,500 votes, over 40 % of which went to the NUI Galway Engineering Building. Situated on the north campus, beside the Quincentennial Bridge, the immense glass, steel and zinc structure was officially opened in July 2011 by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. The 14,250m2 building is now home to 1,100 students and 110 staff. The building supports an emerging generation of engineers, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship, and reflects a new wave of technologies through the array of ecological building methods embodied in its design and construction. The building has been designed to be an interactive teaching tool and operates as a ‘living laboratory’. Viewing panels have been created so that the students can literally peer into the foundations. Sections of the steel embedded in the cement walls for reinforcement can be seen. Also on show is an array of ‘green’ building methods which will help inform students about a raft of modern sustainable technologies. Live data from numerous sensors measures the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and is used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Pipes and ducting in corridors and rooms have been left exposed and labelled. Speaking about the award, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Capital Projects, Keith Warnock, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that the Engineering Building is Ireland’s favourite new building. The design of this world-class teaching and research facility reflects the role of engineering in Ireland’s future. The building fulfils multiple roles, providing facilities for research and development, educating future generations and reinforcing the relationship between Galway City and the University. The ‘Public Vote’ award adds to the growing appreciation of the physical infrastructure at NUI Galway and reaffirms our confidence in the programme of campus development we are undertaking.” The award also adds to the accolades for this innovative building, which was awarded the Sustainability Award at the 30th Irish Concrete Society Awards, recognising excellence in both design and construction in concrete. -ENDS-

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The countdown has begun for this year’s Round Ireland Yacht Race where NUI Galway is supporting the first ever university-backed entry into the 1400km race. Ten NUI Galway students and graduates will be on the start line in Wicklow this Sunday, 24 June. The race is a non-stop circumnavigation of Ireland by sea and will take anything from anything from four to six days. The NUI Galway crew is one of the youngest teams to ever compete in the event. Sailing together in the NUI Galway sailing club over the past few years has built up the trust and camaraderie which they will rely on during the race. The team have loaned a 38-ft racing yacht for the race. The past few months have been very busy for the NUI Galway crew says skipper Cathal Clarke: “We have been following a tough training plan, attending safety courses and getting professional coaching. We recently competed in our first offshore race as a crew across the Irish Sea from Wales to Wicklow and were very happy with a second place result. The aims of this campaign are high, with a lot of experienced sailors on board; we will certainly be looking for good results.” Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “The determination and drive of this crew is to be admired, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews to participate in the race. They have worked very hard and displayed incredible determination and dedication over recent months in their preparation for the race. The University actively promotes leadership and team building skills and is delighted to support this crew to further develop these attributes as they compete in the Round Ireland Race. We wish them every success.” 37 boats have entered this prestigious race from Ireland, the UK and Europe. Entries include previous race winners Tonnerre de Breskens 3 and Volvo Ocean Race entrant Green Dragon. Cillian McGovern, project manager of Green Dragon commented: "The camaraderie and team work displayed by this young NUI Galway team is to be admired. What an opportunity to freshen up the sailing circuit in Ireland!” The NUI Galway team is very proud to be supported by Dubarry, Lifes2good, SF Engineering, Celtic Linen, Meteogroup Offshore, Cadbury's, Michael Durkan (Mayo Sailing Club), Rory Casey (Mayo Sailing Club), Galway Bay Sailing Club and the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association. The Round Ireland Race begins on Sunday, 24 June 2012 in Wicklow town. The NUI Galway crew’s progress can be followed on the live race tracker online at www.roundirelandyachtrace.ie. ENDS

Friday, 22 June 2012

The first national seminar on medical simulation, entitled Simulation in Irish medical Education: Where are we and Where Should we be Going?, will take place at NUI Galway on Monday, 2 July. Simulators are radically changing the way that medical professionals are being trained. Simulation provides a method for building expertise in clinical and non-clinical skills, for example team-working and communication, in a safe environment. The purpose of the seminar is to provide an overview of medical simulation in Ireland in order to make better use of the assets that are available, allow people who are experienced in the use of simulators to share their knowledge; and discuss how simulators can be most effectively used to improve medical education, patient safety and quality of care. Delegates will hear from speakers from the two main Irish medical simulator centres, ASSET Centre, University College Cork and St James’ Hospital Dublin, and the Australian Centre for Health Innovation in Melbourne. Presenters from the airline industry and specific medical specialties will discuss how simulation is used, how to evaluate the performance of trainees, and the challenges with setting up a simulation training programme. Delegates will also participate in hand-on demonstrations of the latest high-tech simulators by the ASSET centre and Cardiac Services. Dr Paul O’Connor, Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Business, Social Sciences, and Public Policy at NUI Galway, said: “The use of medical simulators to train healthcare professionals is becoming increasingly common. Simulators provide a safe environment for healthcare professionals to build expertise in both clinical and nontechnical skills such as team-working and communication. The purpose of the seminar is to get Irish medical educators together to share knowledge and expertise in simulation and learn from national and international experts.” The seminar is sponsored by the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED) and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences, and Public Policy at NUI Galway. For further details contact Dr Paul O’Connor at 091 492897 or paul.oconnor@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Friday, 22 June 2012

Declan Gavigan, a PhD student from NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Ryan Institute, recently received the Top Young Engineers’ Award. A native of Ardara, Co. Donegal, Declan was awarded the prize for a paper he presented on ‘Strength and durability performance of stabilised soil block masonry units’ at the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) Conference. This conference attracted 120 delegates from around 30 countries and included sessions on Sustainable Development and Structural Engineering; Structural Engineering and Renewable Energy Sources; Smart Structures, New Materials and Construction Techniques. Dr Jamie Goggins, Chartered Engineer and Principle Investigator for this research project at NUI Galway, said: “I would like to congratulate Declan on winning this prestigious international award that recognises his significant contribution as a young research engineer to sustainable development and structural engineering. Declan’s paper on ‘Strength and durability performance of stabilised soil block masonry units’ is an important document in the research into stabilised soil blocks or SSBs as they are commonly known. Although there is ample literature on the application of SSBs in tropical countries, their potential use in a European climate has not been fully investigated. Declan is part of an NUI Galway Sustainability and the Built Environment research group, which is currently investigating the feasibility and suitability of SSBs for use in a European context through extensive testing in terms of durability, strength and appearance.” Stabilised soil blocks are cost-effective masonry blocks formed by compressing a suitable mixture of soil, cement and water into a mould. These masonry units have a low impact on the environment, as their main component, the soil, is often sourced directly from the site of construction. SSBs are extensively used in the construction of both structural and non-structural elements in many developing countries. SSBs have less negative impact on the environment than alternative masonry technologies, such as clay fired bricks or concrete masonry blocks. The most commonly-used stabiliser used in the manufacture of SSBs is Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), which is their most expensive and energy-intensive ingredient. Replacing OPC with alternative waste materials and by‐products is a cost‐effective process, and their use in SSBs can benefit the environment, especially where disposal to landfill is the alternative. The ability of blocks to resist prevailing rain, wetting and drying cycles, freezing and thawing cycles, and chemical attack are critical if there are to be applicable in a European climate. The extensive laboratory studies carried out as part of this research projects indicate that SSBs have adequate durability for typical use in the construction of buildings in Europe. In addition, the research has shown that SSBs containing waste materials and by-products as cement replacements can have adequate, and sometime superior performance to specimens containing OPC only as a stabiliser. On the other hand, utilising waste products in the manufacture of the blocks such as pulverised fuel ash (pfa) from peat-fired power plants have been shown to reduce the performance of SSBs. As an output from this research project, the development of a comprehensive code of practice and design guidelines on the manufacturing and use of SSBs is envisaged to aid the future commercial development of SSBs. This research project is associated with the priority thematic area ‘Sustainability and the Built Environment’ of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. -ENDS-

Friday, 22 June 2012

Four NUI Galway PhD students Paul Lohan, Ana Cimpian, Sean Gaynard and Fiona Griffin, reached the final of the Ireland Fund Business Plan competition held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday, 19 June, 2012. Their innovative medical device business proposition, created as part of their participation in the BioInnovate Ireland programme, secured the team joint third place. BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training and collaboration programme in medical device innovation. It is modelled on Stanford University’s prestigious Biodesign Programme. This competition seeks out the best business ideas from nine Universities across Ireland. The team of four who worked on this project since last November are first-year PhD students in the Structured PhD Programme in Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (BMERM). For the competition, 19 teams were shortlisted for the semi-finals, from a large pool of applicants, from which four teams were selected for the final based on their business plan sales pitch to the judging panel. Professor Peter McHugh, Director of BMERM at NUI Galway, commented: “This is a fantastic achievement for the students, the BioInnovate and BMERM programmes and the University. It really shows the synergy that can be achieved between programmes to deliver a ‘best in class’ graduate and further demonstrates NUI Galway’s leadership position in the medical technology area.” Dr Mark Bruzzi BioInnovate Ireland Programme Director added that the interaction between the postgraduate multi-disciplinary teams and the BioInnovate Ireland Fellows, Academics, Clinicians and Industry Experts has produced a class of students who will have a significant long-term impact on the graduate medical technology market place in Ireland. The BioInnovate Ireland programme offers a unique medical device innovation training opportunity. It has achieved unparalleled access to Ireland’s leading academic researchers, clinicians, and industry experts, while the activity is underpinned by world-class facilities available through the support network.  BMERM is an inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional structured PhD programme, led by NUI Galway, that is funded under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) Cycle 5 and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). -ends-

Monday, 25 June 2012

NUI Galway is taking applications for the redesigned Diploma in Irish Music Studies. The programme will give an interdisciplinary introduction to the ways in which Irish traditional music, song and dance have contributed to the creation of identity amongst Irish communities on the island of Ireland and beyond. The Diploma in Irish Music Studies will give students an opportunity to explore Irish music and dance in a classroom environment. Topics studied will include: transmission of Irish traditional music; diaspora and Irish music, song and dance; negotiating identity through Irish traditional music; and Irish traditional music and commodification, which examines the production and consumption of Irish music and how something that is perceived to be 'old' and 'traditional' functions successfully in the 21st century. Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “The practical element of this diploma offers numerous benefits to participants. We provide unrivalled access to contemporary sean-nós practitioners and the chance to engage and learn from both their performance and educational methods. This course enables participants to draw on the wellspring of traditional culture in Connemara, a rich resource on the doorstep of NUI Galway.” The Diploma in Irish Music Studies also includes a practical element, offering participants the opportunity to engage with ‘masters’ of the sean-nós singing and dancing tradition, in a workshop environment. In conjunction with the Sean-nós Performer-in-Residence Scheme and Comhrá Ceoil at the Centre for Irish Studies, this practical element reflects the wider commitment of the University to Irish traditional music, song and dance. The course runs on a part-time basis over two years, taking place one night a week. It begins in September 2012 and the deadline for registration is Friday, 13 July. Further information can be found at www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation or contact Samantha Williams in the Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie ENDS   Dioplóma Páirtaimseartha i Staidéar Cheol na hÉireann ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag glacadh le hiarratais ar an Dioplóma athdheartha i Staidéar Ceoil na hÉireann. Cuirfear tús idirdhisciplíneach leis an gclár le cur síos ar na bealaí ar chuir ceol, amhránaíocht agus damhsa traidisiúnta na hÉireann le féiniúlacht mhuintir na hÉireann ar oileán na hÉireann agus thar lear. Gheobhaidh mic léinn ar an Diploma in Irish Music Studies an deis staidéar a dhéanamh ar cheol agus ar dhamhsa na hÉireann sa seomra ranga. I measc na dtopaicí a bheidh ar bun beidh: ceol traidisiúnta na hÉireann á sheinm; an diaspóra agus ceol na hÉireann, amhránaíocht agus damhsa; féiniúlacht a aimsiú trí cheol traidisiúnta na hÉireann; agus ceol traidisiúnta na hÉireann agus tráchtearrú, anseo scrúdaítear léiriú agus úsáid cheol na hÉireann agus an chaoi a bhfeidhmíonn ní atá ‘sean' agus ‘traidisiúnta' chomh maith sin san 21ú haois. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Louis de Paor, Stiúrthóir Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ó tharla go bhfuil an dioplóma seo praiticiúil is iomaí leas atá le baint ag na rannpháirtithe as. Bíonn fáil éasca ar lucht comhaimseartha sean-nóis agus bíonn an deis ag na mic léinn páirt a ghlacadh ina gceird agus foghlaim ó na modhanna oideachais. Ar an gcúrsa seo beidh na mic léinn in ann tarraingt as tobar an chultúir thraidisiúnta i gConamara, ar leic an dorais ag OÉ Gaillimh.” Tá gné phraiticiúil ag an Diploma in Irish Music Studies chomh maith. Faigheann na mic léinn an deis ceardlanna a dhéanamh le ‘máistrí’ an damhsa agus na hamhránaíochta ar an sean-nós. I gcomhar le Scéim an Cheoltóra/Damhsóra Chónaithigh ar an Sean-nós agus le Comhrá Ceoil in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, léiríonn an ghné phraiticiúil seo tiomantas na hOllscoile don cheol, don amhránaíocht agus don damhsa traidisiúnta. Cúrsa páirtaimseartha é seo a mhaireann dhá bhliain, agus bíonn sé ar siúl oíche amháin sa tseachtain. Cuirfear tús leis an gcúrsa i Meán Fómhair 2012 agus is é an spriocdháta le clárú Dé hAoine, an 13 Iúil. Tá eolas breise le fáil ar www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation nó téigh i dteagmháil le Samantha Williams in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie CRÍOCH

Monday, 25 June 2012

NUI Galway recently held their third annual Computing Summer Camp. Due to the high demand for places, this year the Computing Summer Camp ran over a two-week period with 80 students participating. Students ranged in age from 13 to 17, and came from secondary schools across Galway City and County, as well as from Clare and Donegal. Throughout the camp students participated in a number of activities including writing computer games, creating web animations, building and programming autonomous robots, and making 3D computer models. Students were also awarded prizes for their work throughout the camp. For the robotics competition, students have to design and program a robot to shoot or knock over paper aliens as quickly as possible. Dr Michael Madden, Head of the Information Technology Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “We are very impressed with the high quality of students’ projects at the Computing Summer Camp this year, and the speed at which they are able to pick up new technologies. It appears that recent initiatives such as CoderDojo are having a positive effect on young people’s digital literacy. The huge interest in this year’s Computing Summer Camp is mirrored by the increasing number of applications for computing degree programmes, such as the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway.” Dr Madden is also involved in an initiative to introduce computer science as a secondary school subject, through a pilot programme for short courses in the Junior Cycle that being run by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Several schools, led by Gairmscoil Mhuire Vocational School in Athenry, are preparing to offer for a Short Course in Computer Science, to begin in September 2012. -ENDS-

Monday, 25 June 2012

A team from the NUI Galway Executive MBA class were announced All-Ireland Champions of the MBA Association of Ireland National Strategy Competition 2012, held at the weekend. Organised by the MBA Association of Ireland, the competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland. The win follows NUI Galway’s success in 2010, when it last entered the competition.  The winning team included: Myles McHugh and Suzanne Ryan from Galway City; Mike Parkinson from Ardrahan, Co. Galway; Ashwin Kher from Balla, Co. Mayo; and Roger Sweetman from Galway City. “This excellent achievement is testament to the quality of teaching on the programme and I would like to congratulate all involved in teaching the 2010-2012 MBA class”, said Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway.  Many of the best business schools across Ireland took part in the competition including UCC and the Smurfit Graduate School at UCD. The competition required the team to prepare a strategic analysis and presentation on a Harvard Business Case (eBay, Inc and Amazon.com) over four hours and then present to a panel of judges.  Commenting on the win Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway Executive MBA curriculum has a very strong focus on strategy and prepares students to excel as business and strategy analysts. Winning the MBAAI National Strategy Forum Competition 2012 reinforces the excellent teaching and learning standards provided to students on our programme.” Further information on the Executive MBA at NUI Galway is available at http://www.cairnes.nuigalway.ie/mba/. ENDS

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

While the Quadrangle is relocated for the nine-day festival The official ‘Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway’ App is now available for download. The free app is a must for all visitors to Galway during the festival which begins on 30 June, providing maps, a full festival programme and lots of visitor information about Galway City. The app has been created by a team of experts based at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. The app also includes a number of DERI’s research technologies; ‘Connect and Chat’ allows users to connect with other app users and chat, ‘Galway Compass’ provides users with the locations of key amenities and services near them, ‘Tweet Cliques’ analyses the twittersphere and presents the user with a list of the most relevant tweets relating to the festival. Also, there is a list of live webcams from around Galway that can let the user check for themselves where is busy around the city and docks. With tens of thousands of visitors expected over the nine-day festival, the app will allow individuals to make the most of the experience, while able to track their friends and network with groups. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Vice-Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: “This app demonstrates the leading role of DERI in cyber-physical systems. DERI technology makes real-world sensor input easy to use in any application.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, but were thrilled to get behind this local project as Professor Hauswirth explains: “We really embraced the whole concept of ‘get onboard’ for the festival, so developed this unique app which is a must for every visitor.” The app is available for free from the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Android store. The app will be updated and improved as new information becomes available so please check for updates during the festival. NUI Galway is also the official education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway’s volunteering programme, and will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event to recruit the ‘small army’ of volunteers needed to support the overall festival. NUI Galway Quadrangle Relocated to the Global Village NUI Galway has also created a partial replica of its iconic Quadrangle building, which will be a feature of the Global Village at the Volvo Ocean Race. The Global Village is a free exhibition arena, open for the duration of the festival, located in South Park. The NUI Galway pavilion will be a central attraction, recreating a sense of the University’s iconic Quadrangle building, which dates back to 1845. Inside, the NUI Galway pavilion will look to the future, with interactive demonstrations and exhibitions showcasing the cutting-edge innovation and research for which the University has a world-wide reputation. “This is the largest sporting event in Ireland this year, and a wonderful opportunity to promote all that is great about Galway”, said NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. “The event had almost 100,000 visitors to the City last time round, over half of whom came from abroad, with significant international media reach also. Our whole-hearted involvement, in the volunteering aspects of this event and in the exhibitions, is a reflection of the importance of reaching such a world-wide audience.” The NUI Galway pavilion will feature four zones and an ideas lab, highlights will include: Ideas Lab: This self-contained room within the pavilion will feature a daily 3D Tour of the Universe at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. Also a series of short talks will cover: Goal-line Technology; Wind and Ocean Energy; Car Technology; Breast Cancer Detection Techniques; Smartphone Technology; and Computer Modelling of Coastal Waters. Exploration Zone: Interactive demos and exhibitions including footage from underwater expeditions, marine creatures in touch tanks, a fun seaweed exploration station and a display of oceanographic equipment. Innovation Zone: Exhibits and displays on the latest Medical Technologies; Information Technology; Energy and the Environment; and Engineering the Future. Creativity Zone: Fun creativity exhibits including film sets and films from the Huston Film School; archive exhibits and drama. Go Global Zone: Try the Global Business Simulation Game; Navigate your way around our Interactive Volvo Ocean Race map; see fun Business and Law exhibits; Explore our 3D Campus Map simulator and more. Activities also include an Alumni Family Day to which all NUI Galway graduates are invited on 8 July. Innovation and Marine Pavilions NUI Galway will also have a presence in the Innovation and Marine Pillars at the Global Village, while a separate Speaker Session pavilion in the Global Village will feature some of NUI Galway’s experts. The Innovation Hub will feature the ‘Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland’ which is being re-located from DERI at NUI Galway to the Global Village. This unique science heritage facility tells the fascinating story of key moments in the development of communications and computing technology from ancient hieroglyphics to today’s Internet. The array of electronic artefacts on display includes such iconic computers as the DEC PDP11, Apple II, Macintosh, IBM PC, ZX81 & Commodore Vic-20. There are also exhibits dedicated to Youth & Innovation, Women in Technology, Radio, Irish Computing & a vintage video games section that  includes the legendary ‘Pacman’, ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroids’. The hub will also have an array of science and engineering activities that should appeal to all ages including K’nex modelling, CoderDojo workshops and the local 091Labs electronic makers club. It will also be a starting point for the Galway Simon Treasure Hunt.  In addition, the Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media takes place on Thursday, 5 July in the Galway Race Village, and will present a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht. Find out more about the University’s involvement at http://www.nuigalway.ie/volvo-ocean-race-2012/ -ends-   Seolann DERI in OÉ Gaillimh Aip Oifigiúil Fhéile Rás Aigéin Volvo na Gaillimhe  Fad is a bheidh an Chearnóg á hathlonnú ar feadh 9 lá na féile   Tá Aip oifigiúil Fhéile Rás Aigéin Volvo na Gaillimhe ar fáil anois le híoslódáil. Tá an aip seo saor in aisce agus beidh sé thar a bheith úsáideach do chuairteoirí a bheidh i nGaillimh don fhéile a thosóidh an 30 Meitheamh. Tá léarscáileanna, clár iomlán na féile agus neart eolais faoi chathair na Gaillimhe ar fáil ann. Foireann saineolaithe atá lonnaithe san Institiúid Taighde um Fhiontraíocht Dhigiteach (DERI) in OÉ Gaillimh a chruthaigh an aip. Tá cuid de theicneolaíochtaí taighde DERI ar an aip seo chomh maith; tugann ‘Connect and Chat’ deis d’úsáideoirí ceangal le húsáideoirí eile na haipe agus comhrá a dhéanamh leo, tugann ‘Galway Compass’ eolas d’úsáideoirí ar na hionaid ina bhfuil seirbhísí agus áiseanna tábhachtacha i ngar dóibh, déanann ‘Tweet Cliques’ anailís ar a bhfuil ag tarlú i ndomhan Twitter agus taispeánann sé na tuíteanna is ábhartha a bhaineann leis an bhféile don úsáideoir. Ina theannta sin, tá liosta de na ceamaraí beo gréasáin atá ar fud na Gaillimhe san aip agus bíonn an t-úsáideoir in ann eolas a bheith acu cén áit a bhfuil gnóthach ar fud na cathrach agus na nduganna. Táthar ag súil leis na mílte cuairteoir ag an bhféile naoi lá, agus tabharfaidh an aip deis do dhaoine an méid is mó a dhéanamh den fhéile, agus iad ag seiceáil céard atá ar siúl ag a gcuid cairde agus ceangal a dhéanamh le grúpaí eile. Deir an tOllamh Manfred Hauswirth, Leas-Stiúrthóir DERI: “Léiríonn an aip seo ról ceannródaíoch DERI i gcórais chibear-fhisiciúla. Le cúnamh ó theicneolaíocht DERI tá ionchur réadach braiteora éasca le húsáid in aon fheidhmchlár.” Tá os cionn 140 taighdeoir ag obair le DERI agus tá sí ar an institiúid eolaíocht ghréasáin is mó ar domhan, ach bhí an-áthas orthu a bheith bainteach leis an tionscadal áitiúil seo mar a mhíníonn an tOllamh Hauswirth:  “Bhíomar go láidir taobh thiar den mhanna ‘tar ar bord’ don fhéile, agus d’fhorbraíomar an aip uathúil seo agus beidh gach cuairteoir ag iarraidh go mbeidh sí acu.” Tá an aip ar fáil saor in aisce ón Apple App Store agus ón Google Play Android Store. Déanfar an aip a nuashonrú agus a fheabhsú de réir mar a thagann eolas nua chugainn, bí ag faire amach do na nuashonrúcháin seo le linn na féile. Is í OÉ Gaillimh an comhpháirtí oifigiúil oideachais do chlár oibrithe deonacha Rás Aigéin Volvo, agus roinnfidh sí a taithí ar leith ó thaobh imeachtaí deonacha agus rannpháirtíocht pobail de chun oibrithe deonacha a earcú chun tacú leis an bhféile trí chéile. Cearnóg OÉ Gaillimh á hAthlonnú chuig an Sráidbhaile Domhanda Tá páirt-mhacasamhail cruthaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh d’fhoirgneamh cáiliúil na Cearnóige, agus beidh sé le feiceáil sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda ag Rás Aigéin Volvo. Is áit taispeántais saor in aisce atá sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda, agus beidh sé oscailte fad is a bheidh Féile Rás Aigéin Volvo ar siúl. Tá sé suite ar an bPáirc Theas. Beidh puball OÉ Gaillimh i lár an aonaigh, agus foirgneamh íocónach na hOllscoille, An Chearnóg, mar chroílár den taispeántas, foirgneamh a tógadh i 1845. Laistigh de phuball OÉ Gaillimh beifear ag breathnú ar an todhchaí, agus beidh cur i láthair agus taispeántais idirghníomhacha ar siúl ag léiriú nuálaíocht agus taighde ceannródaíoch a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta bainte amach ag an Ollscoil ina leith. “Is é seo an imeacht spóirt is mó in Éirinn i mbliana, agus is deis iontach atá ann gach a bhfuil go maith faoi Ghaillimh a chur chun cinn”, a deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne. “Tháinig beagnach 100,000 cuairteoir chun na Cathrach an uair dheiridh a raibh Rás Aigéin Volvo anseo, bhí os cionn leath acu sin a tháinig as thar lear, agus bhí go leor de na meáin idirnáisiúnta anseo chomh maith. Léiríonn an rannpháirtíocht ollmhór atá againn sna gnéithe deonacha den imeacht agus sna taispeántais, an tábhacht a bhaineann le dul i gcion ar an lucht féachana domhanda a bheidh againn.” Beidh ceithre zón i bpuball OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith le saotharlann na smaointe, áit a mbeidh: Saotharlann na Smaointe:  Seomra as féin sa phuball é seo áit a mbeidh an seó 3D View of the Universe ar siúl gach lá ag 11am, 1pm, 3pm agus 5pm.  Beidh sraith cainteanna gearra ar siúl a bhaineann le: Teicneolaíocht Chúl-líne; Fuinneamh Gaoithe agus Aigéin; Teicneolaíocht Carranna; Teicnící chun Ailse Brollaigh a aimsiú; Teicneolaíocht an Fhóin Chliste; agus Múnlú Ríomhaireachta ar Uiscí an Chósta. An Zón Taiscéalaíochta: Beidh taispeántais idirghníomhacha ar siúl anseo lena n-áirítear, píosaí scannáin ó thurais faoi uisce; ainmhithe mara agus a gcuid tancanna; stáisiún feamainne; taispeántas ar threalamh aigéaneolaíochta. An Zón Nuálaíochta: Beidh taispeántais anseo ar na Teicneolaíochtaí Leighis is nuaí; Teicneolaíocht na Faisnéise; Fuinneamh agus Comhshaol; agus Innealtóireacht na Todhchaí. An Zón Cruthaitheachta: Beidh taispeántais chruthaitheacha, spraíúla anseo lena n-áirítear seiteanna scannáin agus scannáin ó Scoil Scannáin Huston; taispeántais agus drámaí ón gcartlann. An Zón Domhanda: Bain triail as an gCluiche Domhanda Dearbhshamhlach Gnó; Déan do bhealach thart ar an léarscáil Idirghníomhach de Rás Aigéin Volvo; féach ar thaispeántais mhaithe a bhaineann le Gnó agus le Dlí; Bain sult as an dearbhshamhail de Léarscáil 3D an Champais agus neart eile nach hiad. Beidh Lá Teaghlaigh an Alumni ar siúl an 8 Iúil, agus tá cuireadh ag gach céimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a bheith i láthair. An Puball Nuálaíochta, Mara agus Glas Beidh OÉ Gaillimh i láthair i gColún na Nuálaíochta agus i gColún na Mara sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda, agus chomh maith leis sin beidh saineolaithe as OÉ Gaillimh le cloisteáil i bpuball na gCainteoirí atá lonnaithe sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda. Beidh Músaem Ríomhairí agus Cumarsáide na hÉireann á aistriú ó DERI in OÉ Gaillimh chuig an Mol Nuálaíochta sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda. Is áis oidhreachta eolaíochta í seo ina bhfeictear an t-iontas a bhaineann le forbairt na teicneolaíochta cumarsáide agus ríomhaireachta ag dul siar go dtí iairiglifí seanda ar aghaidh go dtí Idirlíon an lae inniu. I measc na nithe leictreonacha ar taispeáint tá ríomhairí íocónacha cosúil leis an DEC PDP11, Apple II, Macintosh, IBM PC, ZX81 & Commodore Vic-20. Tá taispeántais ann chomh maith dírithe ar an Óige & an Nuálaíocht, Mná sa Teicneolaíocht, Raidió, Ríomhaireacht Éireannach & limistéar dírithe ar sheanchluichí físeáin lena n-áirítear ‘Pacman’, ‘Space Invaders’ agus ‘Asteroids’. Beidh réimse gníomhaíochtaí eolaíochta agus innealtóireachta ar siúl sa mhol chomh maith a mbainfidh daoine as gach aoisghrúpa tairbhe astu. Ina measc beidh múnlú K’nex, ceardlanna CoderDojo agus club áitiúil na ndéantóirí leictreonacha 091Labs. Is sa mhol a chuirfear tús chomh maith le Tóraíocht Taisce Chlann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe.  Chomh maith leis sin beidh Léacht Scannán Inmarsat i gcomhar le Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh ar siúl Déardaoin, an 5 Iúil i Sráidbhaile an Rása, áit a dtabharfar léargas ar a bhfuil i gceist le bheith i do thuairisceoir spórt guaisbheartaíochta ar bord luamh rásaíochta ar fiú na milliúin dollar é. Faigh tuilleadh eolais faoi rannpháirtíocht na hOllscoile ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/volvo-ocean-race-2012/   -críoch-

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Financial Crisis: International and National Perspectives Today at NUI Galway (Thursday, 28 June) Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD, and Canadian Minister for Finance Jim Flaherty MP, addressed a forum entitled ‘Financial Crisis: International and National Perspectives’. The forum was also addressed by Dr Alan Ahearne of NUI Galway and moderated by Professor John McHale. The event coincides with the awarding of an honorary degree on Minster Flaherty on Friday, 29 June, as well as a meeting of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council on campus. This event is being held at a critical time in the financial crisis in Europe, with markets focused on new proposals for a revamped eurozone to be discussed at the EU Summit in Brussels. This forum brings expert opinion into the public domain on where the global financial system and the euro currently stand and on what it all means for the Irish economy.  The event also marks the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Irish Economic Policy at NUI Galway. On speaking about the crisis in the euro and implications for the Irish economy, Dr Ahearne, Director of the new Centre said: “The US is a proper fully-fledged monetary union, as is Canada. But the eurozone is not; it is a collection of distinct sovereign political and financial systems that share a common currency and a crucial underlying cause of the crisis in the euro is the lack a banking union in Europe, which has resulted in a toxic interrelationship between State finances and the banking sector.” Dr Ahearne added: "EU leaders need to put an end to this terrible game of dominos that has gone from Greece to Ireland to Portugal to Spain and this week to Cyprus. The euro area as a whole is currently solvent, but unless growth resumes then the euro area is heading toward insolvency." Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD: “The Centre for the Study of Irish Economic Policy at NUI Galway is very welcome addition to the Irish academic landscape and I have no doubt that the Centre will play an important role in informing the policy debate in key policy areas for Ireland. The Irish Economy has returned to growth in 2011 with continued growth forecast for 2012, our public finances are under control and our banks are recapitalized and restructured to focus on lending into the real economy. The financial crisis has severely impacted on Ireland and the Irish people have made huge sacrifices to bring our public finances under control and return the economy to growth. We must continue to take the necessary steps to position the economy so that we can take advantage of global recovery as it emerges.” The Minister added: “However, significant challenges remain and the ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone is weighing heavily on Ireland’s economic recovery. Decisive action is needed to solve the current crisis and to restore stability and investor confidence in Europe.” Speaking on the Irish economy, Dr Ahearne, said: “The Government is right to argue that not all the proceeds from the sale of state assets should go to paying down debt. A judicious use of some of these proceeds to incentivise private investment in certain sectors and regions of the country will help boost the domestic economy.” In his remarks, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted Ireland and Canada share the same constituency at the IMF and World Bank so the two countries work together closely and look forward to continuing to do so. He highlighted Canada's record and the long term Economic Action Plan it continues to implement to create jobs, growth and long term prosperity. He noted, however, that Canada is part of the world economy, and many obstacles to global recovery remain. “I am convinced that the countries of the eurozone understand fully the kind of measures that need to be taken, and I urge them to adopt these as quickly as possible,” he said. “In spite of serious challenges, however, I believe that, given the political will, the necessary decisions will be made, the major difficulties will be resolved and the global recovery will strengthen.” ENDS

Friday, 29 June 2012

A new diagnostic DNA test has been developed by a team at the National University of Ireland Galway to help in the global effort to control tuberculosis (TB). The rapid laboratory test allows for the identification of the exact bacteria causing a patient’s TB which will give valuable information for their treatment. According to World Health Organisation data, tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2010, 8.8 million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died from TB, with over 95% of cases and deaths in developing countries. In humans, TB is caused by a group of eight bacteria collectively known as the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). National University of Ireland Galway’s Molecular Diagnostics Research Group has developed and validated a new assay or laboratory test called SeekTB to identify all members of the MTC. Dr Thomas Barry at the University, along with his colleagues Dr Justin O’Grady and Dr Kate Reddington, realised there was a need to rapidly and accurately detect and identify each member of the MTC for better treatment of TB. “The optimal patient treatment can be different, depending which of the eight bacteria are causing the TB, as some of these bacteria are naturally resistant to a commonly used anti-TB drugs”, explains Dr Barry. The new test, called SeekTB, could also prove useful to centralised clinical reference labs for the purposes of tracking and conducting epidemiological studies on the various mycobacterium species comprising the complex. “Identifying the specific member of the MTC is currently not routinely performed in testing laboratories and therefore it is unknown what the true impact each member of the MTC has on the global TB epidemic,” says Dr Barry, who lectures in Microbiology at National University of Ireland Galway. The advance in what is a global battle against TB, is the result of international co-operation. The novel technology was initially validated by testing a large number of previously isolated MTC bacteria provided by Professor Dick van Soolingen,  Bilthoven in the Netherlands and Dr Stefan Niemann, Borstel in Germany. Subsequently, through collaborations with Professor Alimuddin Zumla and Dr Matthew Bates at University College London, SeekTB was used to successfully analyse patient samples from Lusaka in Zambia to demonstrate the technology’s suitability. The results of this analysis demonstrated the rapidity, the test only takes 1.5-3 hours to perform, validity and robustness of SeekTB. In its current format, SeekTB is likely to be predominantly used in central testing laboratories, in Africa for example, on culture positive TB patient samples to guide appropriate treatment and control measures. “Ideally, in the future, SeekTB could be used directly on patient samples with the test configured onto a handheld machine for use at point-of-care in resource poor settings. This could be a huge benefit to medical care provision in remote areas, however, it will likely take years of research and development to achieve such a goal,” concluded Dr Barry who acknowledged National University of Ireland Galway and the Thomas Crawford Hayes award for funding this work. The research has recently been published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and PLoS ONE. -ends-

Friday, 29 June 2012

Four outstanding individuals were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today (Friday, 29 June). Those honoured were playwright and novelist, Sebastian Barry; The New York Times opinion columnist, Maureen Dowd; Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan; and Canadian Finance Minister,  Jim Flaherty MP. Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, journalism, business, public administration and government. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Sebastian Barry was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). Born in Dublin in 1955, he began to write in 1977, publishing a number of books of fiction and poetry, and in 1986 became increasingly involved in theatre work. He published a novel The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), followed by Annie Dunne (2002) and then two Man Booker Prize shortlisted books – A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). The latter earned him the Costa Book of the Year award, the Independent Booksellers’ Prize, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, among others. Barry’s most recent novel, On Canaan’s Side, was also longlisted for the Booker, and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, the Irish Book Awards and the Galaxy International Author of the Year. He has written twelve plays, among them the award-winning The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007). He won the Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1997. He has been Writer in Association at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and was Heimbold Visiting Professor at Villanova University in 2006. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia in 2010, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His work is translated into more than thirty-five languages. Maureen Dowd was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). She is a 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner, in the commentary category, for her “unsparing columns on the hypocrisies involved in the Lewinsky affair and the effort to impeach President Clinton”. She was appointed a columnist of The New York Times’s Op-Ed page in January 1995 (where she joined in 1983). Previously, she served as a correspondent in its Washington bureau since August 1986. There, she covered two Presidential campaigns and served as White House correspondent, gaining a wide following of admirers and imitators for her witty, incisive and acerbic portraits of the powerful. She also wrote a column, "On Washington”, for The New York Times Magazine. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for the Washington Star where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter, and feature writer. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting in 1992, Ms Dowd received the Breakthrough Award from ‘Women, Men and Media’ at Columbia University in 1991 and a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications in 1994. She was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year for 1996 and won the Damon Runyon award in 2000 for outstanding contributions to journalism. Dowd is the author of two bestselling books Bushworld:  Enter at Your Own Risk (2004) and Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide (2005) Born in Washington, D.C., on 14 January, 1952, Miss Dowd received a BA degree in English from Catholic University (Washington) in 1973. Irian Finan was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President of Bottling Investments responsible for managing a multi-billion dollar bottling business, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), which has operations on four continents (South America, Europe, Africa and Asia), with revenues of over $8 billion and employs over 85,000 people. Additionally, he is responsible for stewarding The Company’s Equity Investments and leading Global Supply Chain. Irial has over 29 years experience in The Coca-Cola System. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola HBC, during which time he managed the merger integration of Coca-Cola Beverages plc and Hellenic Bottling SA, and led the combined company's operations in 26 countries. Irial joined the Coca-Cola Company in 2004 as President, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain and was named Executive Vice President of the Company in October 2004. From 1995 to 1999, he was managing director of Molino Beverages, with responsibility for expanding markets, including the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Romania, Moldova, Russia and Nigeria. Prior to that role, Irial worked in several markets across Europe. From 1991 to 1993 he served as managing director of Coca-Cola Bottlers Ulster, Ltd., based in Belfast. He was finance director, Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Ltd., based in Dublin from 1984 to 1990. Irial serves on the board of directors of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola Central Japan, the Supervisory Board of CCE AG (Germany), Smurfit Kappa Group, and the American Ireland Fund. He also serves as a non-executive director for Co-operation Ireland and NUI Galway Foundation. Irial holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from NUI Galway and is an Associate (later Fellow) of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. Minister Jim Flaherty MP was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is a third-term Member of Parliament for Whitby–Oshawa (Ontario). He serves as Canada’s Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area. He is a Governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. As Minister of Finance he is an ex-officio member of all Cabinet Committees. Minister Flaherty was recently awarded Euromoney Magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year award. Euromoney credited him with enhancing Canada’s reputation for sound fiscal policy while taking full account of social justice and overseeing a strong regulatory regime that has kept the financial sector out of chaos. He has also been described as a pillar in both the G-7 and the G-20. In 2010, Minister Flaherty was chair of the G-7 Finance Ministers and chair of the annual Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. Previously, for more than 10 years, he served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby–Ajax (Ontario). He served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Attorney General and Minister of Labour. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude and then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario with honours and practised law for more than 20 years before being elected to public office. These four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood. For more information and a video on the Honorary Conferrings click -ends-

Friday, 29 June 2012

Dr Uri Frank announced as a recipient of SFI Principal Investigator Programme Award A leading stem cell scientist at NUI Galway, Dr Uri Frank, was today announced as a recipient of an SFI Principal Investigator Programme Award by Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. A native Irish marine invertebrate, with amazing powers of regeneration, is the focus of Dr Frank’s research with NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Hydractinia echinata has the power to regenerate any lost body part throughout its life, can clone itself, does not age biologically, and in theory – lives forever. A relative of jellyfish, sea anemones and corals, this tiny creature is perfect for understanding the role of stem cells in development, ageing and disease. “Hydractinia has some stem cells which remain at an embryonic-like stage throughout its life, so the potential for research is immense”, explains Dr Frank. “Not only that, but it is small and translucent and so enables the observation of experimentally labelled stem cells in the living animal.” Dr Frank and his team have already made a discovery which may have important implications in understanding normal development, congenital defects and cancer biology. “Recently, we have been able to demonstrate a hitherto unknown link between heat shock proteins and Wnt signalling in Hydractinia stem cells. These two cellular signalling mechanisms are known to play important roles in development and disease, so they have been widely, though separately, studied. We have shown that they talk to each other, providing a new perspective for all scientists in this field,” says Dr Frank. Also of interest to Dr Frank’s research team is the evolution of animals and humankind. Scientists believe that all animals living today, including invertebrates and humans, are the descendants of a single common ancestor that lived hundreds of millions of years before the times of the dinosaurs. Therefore, invertebrate stem cells should be very similar to their human counterparts and studying them may provide information on human stem cells. “It sounds gruesome, but if Hydractina has its head bitten off, it simply grows another one within a few days using its embryonic or ‘pluripotent’ stem cells. So why don’t humans keep their pluripotent cells as adults? Why do we lose them when we age?”, asks Dr Frank. Dr Frank’s SFI-funded project is an example of how basic research on model organisms can contribute to human health. By discovering things that are difficult to study in more complex animals, it complements work done on mammals, is informative, cheap and free of ethical considerations. ENDS   Photo by Dr Yuki Katsukura

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce a symposium on the work of Máire Mhac an tSaoi, one of the most significant Irish poets of the twentieth century, and the most important living poet in Irish. The event will take place on Wednesday, 23 May in the Moore Institute at 9.00am With Máirtín Ó Direáin and Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máire Mhac an tSaoi revolutionised the practice of poetry in Irish in the 1940s and 50s and paved the way for a new generation of women poets who emerged in Irish and in English in the 1970s and 80s. A generation before Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eavan Boland, and in more difficult circumstances, Máire Mhac an tSaoi gave voice to the intimate and subversive aspects of women’s experience in poems that challenged the moral orthodoxies of the time. “Although her work and influence is acknowledged by poets and critics alike,” according to Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, “this is the first such event dedicated entirely to her work and includes contributions from some of the finest scholars and critics of poetry in Irish. Given her connection with the University where she was appointed Honorary Professor of Irish Studies in 2004, and her uncle Monsignor Pádraig de Brún, served with such distinction as president, we are delighted to recognise her unique contribution to Irish writing.” Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s autobiography The Same Age as the State, published in 2003, was described by Seamus Heaney as ‘thrilling and exemplary’ and a bilingual selection of her poems An Paróiste Míorúilteach/The Miraculous Parish was launched by Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre, at a gala event inDublinCastle in November 2011. Invited speakers to the NUI Galway symposium include Micheál Mac Craith, Margaret Mac Curtain, Máire Ní Annracháin, Máirín Nic Eoin, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Ríóna Ní Fhrighil, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Patricia Coughlan, and the proceedings will be recorded by RTÉ radio for broadcast later in the year. Admission to all sessions is free and everyone is welcome to attend.  For further details, contact Samantha Williams at irishstudies@nuigalway.ie or 091 492051 ENDS

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A new report calls on the Government to ensure that companies respect human rights and to provide guidance to businesses on the requirements of human rights due diligence, including when operating overseas. Such due diligence should be a mandatory requirement underpinned by legislation, according to the report’s authors at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway. ‘Business and Human Rights in Ireland’ aims to contribute to policy, practice and law on business and human rights in Ireland. The report will be officially launched this evening by Professor Michael O’Flaherty, who is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Illustrative examples of business negatively impacting on human rights provide a context for the report. Prominent examples mentioned in the report include Irish technology companies implicated in Syrian censorship, the Corrib gas dispute involving Shell and Statoil, the working conditions of migrant workers engaged in mushroom picking, the treatment of GAMA construction workers, and the working conditions in the supply chain for Penneys/Primark. Multinational companies headquartered in Ireland, such as Apple, are also relevant according to the report authors, as they have been criticised for their human rights record. In 2011, the United Nations adopted Professor John Ruggie’s Framework for Business and Human Rights, which emphasises a state duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to strengthen remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. This UN framework provides guidance for States such as Ireland, although aspects of its practical impacts on issues such as Irish businesses operating abroad have yet to be put into practice. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. “State representatives frequently assert Ireland’s commitment to the United Nations and human rights, although the Government has yet to issue a comprehensive policy document on business and human rights,” explained Dr Shane Darcy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. In the context of an open export-led economy reliant on foreign direct investment with numerous multinational corporations present in Ireland, extraterritorial jurisdiction is particularly could prove of considerable relevance here. “The concept of extraterritorial jurisdiction as a means of ensuring the State protects against human rights violations by business when acting outside of its territory is particularly relevant in the context of a globalised economy and the transnational nature of many business activities. Ireland provides for some limited oversight or adjudication of extraterritorial activities of Irish companies, but it remains underutilised as a means of ensuring compliance with the State duty to protect human rights in the context of business. Another recommendation of the report is that there be requirement of human rights compliance and reporting by business for public procurement contracts, State investment or listing on the Irish Stock Exchange. A full copy of the report is available at www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights -ends-

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast are leading a clinical trial to investigate the possibility that statins, a drug commonly used to combat cholesterol, might help patients with acute severe respiratory failure. Some 150 patients have been recruited into the trial, which is being run in collaboration with the Irish Critical Care Trials Group, across multiple intensive care units on the island of Ireland, and in England and Scotland, with a target number of 540 patients. The research is being funded by the Health Research Board, and the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme which is funded by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, and is managed by the NIHR. When people become critically ill, for various reasons including major surgery or following injury in a road traffic accident, or infections such as H1N1 influenza, their lungs often fail, which is termed ‘Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome’. This condition, which is primarily caused by the body’s immune system response to the injury, is common, can affect any age group, and is often fatal. Furthermore, even after recovery from lung injury, patients subsequently experience a poorer quality of life. Many survivors of this condition are unable to return to work or look after themselves. “Unfortunately, to date there is no effective treatment for this lung injury”, said Professor John Laffey who is Professor of Anaesthesia at NUI Galway and Consultant Anaesthetist at Galway University Hospitals. “We are investigating if the drug simvastatin, commonly used to treat high cholesterol, is safe and effective in the treatment of this lung injury. A unique feature of this study is that it is a study generated from Irish research efforts, and is an Irish-led multi-national study, being conducted across the island of Ireland, and also in intensive care units in England and Scotland.” Professor Laffey continued: “This study builds on a series of studies using simvastatin, including a smaller clinical trial funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division, Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland and REVIVE, carried out by Professor Danny McAuley and his team in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who are our partners in this study. These studies offer considerable hope that simvastatin might help sufferers from this devastating disease. The study may take up to five years to complete, but if simvastatin is effective, it would help save the lives of these sufferers, improving the quality of life of survivors and potentially reduce costs, by reducing time spent in intensive care units.” The study team comprises experts in study design based at the HRB Galway Clinical Research Facility and at the Clinical Research Support Centre in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, as well as senior doctors who work in critical care units, and experts in acute lung injury. Professor Danny McAuley, who is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast and Consultant Intensivist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, explained: “We will also take blood samples to measure markers of inflammation which will allow us to determine if simvastatin can reduce the immune response which causes the lung injury. In addition, we will determine how severe the damage to the patients’ lungs is, and how fast they recover.” People will be randomly divided into two groups; one group will be given the active drug and the other a placebo. This design means that any difference in the experience of patients will be due to whether or not they received simvastatin and not to any other difference that could influence the outcome of treatment. Frank Giles, who is Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway, is also Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, which is helping co-ordinate the clinical trial in Ireland: “Participants in this trial are helping address a vital and difficult medical problem. This study is typical of an increasing number of multi-center trials that are possible because of increasing collaboration between Ireland’s HRB-funded Clinical Research Facilities. The studies involve patients with a very broad spectrum of health challenges. The conduct of these studies, which involve our patients and their families, community health-care staff, hospitals, research institutes and industry partners, improves health care and ensures that Ireland continues to make a significant increasing contribution to global medical progress.” ends

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Widespread inequalities mean that many young people in the WHO European Region and North America are not as healthy as they could be, according to a new report on the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, published today (Wednesday, 2 May) by the WHO Regional Office for Europe.* The HBSC Ireland study is based in the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway. “Adolescence is a crucial life stage, when young people lay the foundation for adulthood, whether healthy or otherwise,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “This report shows us that the situation across Europe is not fair: health depends on age, gender, geography and family affluence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This report gives policy-makers an opportunity to act to secure the health of the next generation. Once again, young people have used the opportunity provided by HBSC to speak. It now falls to us – who cherish their aspirations, ambitions, health and well-being – to act.” Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Principal Investigator for HBSC Ireland of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway said: “This data are vital to support young people to be healthy and happy, policy makers and practitoners need to recognise that differences in the context of young people’s lives are important and we need to be sensitive to age, gender and socio-eoncomic differences.” The report gives the results of the 2009/2010 HBSC survey, covering 39 countries and regions across the European Region and North America. The survey collected data from 11-, 13- and 15- year-olds on 60 topics related to their health and well-being, social environments and behaviour. HBSC reports have been issued every four years since 1996. Cross-national differences The latest report reveals important inequalities between countries. For example, rates of overweight and obesity for girls aged 11 range from 20% in Portugal and 30% in the United States of America, to only 5% in Switzerland (18% in Ireland, rank 3rd). Smoking rates, although fairly similar at age 11 (under 1%), differ dramatically across countries by age 15: over 25% in Austria and Lithuania, but 10% in Norway and Portugal (13% in Ireland, rank 30th). This suggests that the socioenvironmental context can be changed to benefit young people’s health. Young people’s experience of school also differs; 89% of 11-year-old girls in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia like school, in contrast to 17% in Croatia (34% in Ireland, ranks 31st). Long term effects of adolesent health Health inequalities emerge or worsen during adolescence, and may translate into lasting inequalities in adulthood if, for example, academic potential is not achieved. Adolescence is clearly a key stage for mental health, especially for girls. Girls’ satisfaction with their lives declines between ages 11 and 15. In Poland and Sweden, this decrease is around 15%, in contrast to 5% for boys (in Ireland the decrease is 12% for girls and 6% for boys, ranking 13th at age 11 and 30th at 15). In addition, health-compromising behaviour increases during the adolescent years. Between ages 11 and 15, the average proportion of young people who report weekly smoking and drinking increases by 17%. Many of these young smokers will continue the habit throughout adulthood. Similarly, early sexual activity is an important marker for poor sexual health in adulthood, as well as other risk behaviour in adolescence. The report reveals that, on average, 26% of 15-year-olds are sexually active (in Ireland 22%, rank 28th). In addition, healthy behaviour, such as eating breakfast and fruit, declines. Gender differences Boys and girls display different patterns of healthy and unhealthy behaviour, particularly at age 15. Although boys are more likely to be involved in fights and bullying at all ages, a 15-year-old boy in Latvia is more than 12 times more likely to be bullied by his peers than a girl in Italy (in Ireland bullying is reported by 4% of 15 year old girls and 10% of 15 year old boys, ranking 27th) . In Armenia, boys are almost five times more likely than girls to have been drunk by age 15. In some Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom, however, 15-year-old girls are more likely than boys to have been drunk, and to have had sexual intercourse (among 15 year olds in Ireland 28% of girls and 30% of boys have been drunk, ranking 22nd). Further, girls are more concerned about being too fat and to be on a diet, but less likely than boys to be overweight. Overall, around 40% of girls aged 15 report being dissatisfied with their bodies (46% in Ireland, rank 13th), and 22% are on a diet (21% in Ireland, rank 18th), although just 10% are actually overweight or obese (12% in Ireland, rank 11th). Family affluence Unsurprisingly, family affluence is associated with a healthier lifestyle: higher levels of fruit intake, breakfast consumption and physical activity. It is also associated with better communication with parents, greater support from classmates and numbers of close friends, and better mental health (in Ireland only fruit and breakfast consumption are higher among those with higher family affluence). The picture for risk-taking behaviour is more complex. In many countries and regions, family affluence has less influence on patterns of smoking and drinking; other social factors – such as the influence of peers – may be more important. Further, injuries increase with higher family affluence (this holds for Ireland). Protective factors Support from family and classmates protects young people from negative influences; those who report easy communication with their parents are more likely to report positive health outcomes. Having close friends and peer support is also a strong predictor of positive health. The more sources of support, the more likely young people are to report good health. The HBSC report shows that addressing the social determinants of health inequalities in childhood and adolescence can enable young people to maximise their health and well-being, ensuring that these inequalities do not extend into adulthood, with all the potential negative consequences for individuals and society. ENDS

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting people with chronic or recurrent daily headaches to take part in an online pain management programme. The study offers individuals with chronic daily headache the opportunity to avail of six online sessions of mindfulness training tailored specifically for headache pain by Dr Jonathan Egan, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, NUI Galway. The sessions, which are free of charge, will focus on active self-management, instruction in a range of relaxation techniques, coping skills and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques (CBT) to help identify negative thinking and coping patterns. The overall technique being used is known as a mindfulness-based pain management programme, and it is hoped mindfulness training may offer some relief to people with recurrent headache. Unlike other chronic pain patients, people suffering chronic or recurrent headache are an under-researched population. Prevalence rates indicate 12-15% of the Irish population suffer from migraine alone. The disability and productivity lost as a result of severe headache can be significant. The online programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by Angeline Traynor who is the principal researcher: “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain. Our intention is to see whether this approach can also work for people with chronic headache pain. This online setting is particularly fitting for individuals with chronic headache as it may be accessed at their convenience for the purpose of prevention, and management. The programme layout is modular to ensure ease of use and time efficiency for busy individuals who would like to log on and receive additional support in managing their pain.” The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from people who have chronic daily headache (CDH), defined as chronic head pain which occurs on 15 or more days per month over a period of three to four months and this includes tension-type headache, migraine and medication overuse headache.   Dr Egan said: “Many people find that the combination of cognitive and relaxation therapies which are offered in this headache management programme enable them to take back control of their lives and engage more in daily activities with the knowledge they have the tools necessary to better manage their pain. This project is hoping to establish if mindfulness training may be delivered effectively in an online format to help these individuals. The programme is designed to be accessible to all people who have a computer. Patients can continue with their normal treatments while also taking part in the study. GPs, physiotherapists, friends and family are encouraged to refer interested individuals to participate. For further information, please contact Angeline Traynor, at a.traynor2@nuigalway.ie, 0860378562, or go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/headachemanagement -ends-

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fiddle player, teacher and researcher, Dr Máire O’Keeffe, will deliver the second lecture in the Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Organised by Comhrá Ceoil, the Music and Dance Studies at the NUI Galway Centre for Irish Studies, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 17 May.  This series is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper, who left a rich musical legacy to generations of pipers.  The lecture series gives an opportunity for researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their research in a public forum. The lectures are illustrated with musical examples, and insights from the practitioner’s perspective. Galway and the West of Ireland has long been an important centre of traditional dance, music and song and this lecture series reflects the increasing interest in the study of these traditions. Originally from Tralee, Co. Kerry, Dr O’Keeffe has many different musical interests including the fiddle traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Shetland, and Cape Breton, as well as the music of Galicia in North West Spain. The title of her talk is ‘Journey into Tradition: The Irish Button Accordion’, and it is the culmination of extensive research that traces the development of the button accordion within the Irish music tradition. It considers some of the key factors in the evolution of the button accordion in Ireland and some of the players who have contributed to an identifiably Irish style of playing. The lecture will take place at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library. All are invited to attend and admission is free. For more information on the Martin Reilly lecture series visit http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series/289147347801522 or email Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com. ENDS

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Scientists have found that genetic information on the Antarctic octopus supports studies indicating that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed during its history, possibly as recently as 200,000 years ago.   The team, which included scientists from NUI Galway, Liverpool University in the UK and La Trobe University in Australia, found that the octopuses from Ross and Weddell Seas, which are now separated by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, are genetically almost identical. This finding suggests that these two regions may have once been connected and may contribute to recent studies demonstrating the potential impact that increasing global temperatures could have on the changing Antarctica environment. Genes from more than 450 Turquet’s octopuses, collected from species in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, were analysed to shed new light on how animals disperse across the varied ocean landscape.  Adult Turquet’s octopuses tend to live in one place and only move to escape predators, leading scientists to believe that creatures from areas either side of Antarctica would be genetically different. Dr Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, explained: “A previous study has shown evidence that the Ross and Weddell Seas could have been connected. We wanted to investigate whether there was any genetic information that could tell us what the past environment could have been like, and this octopus species, with its large populations around the region and limited movements, was an ideal species to use for this. “The fact that we found more similarities than we did differences supports the theory that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed in the past.  It also provides further evidence that scientists should continue to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on Antarctica today.” The research has been published in the prestigious journal Molecular Ecology. Dr Phill Watts, from Liverpool University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, explains: “We looked at information gathered by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life, which allowed us to examine genetic data on a scale that had not been done before in this area of the world.   We expected to find a marked difference between Turquet’s octopuses living in different regions of the ocean, particularly between areas that are currently separated by approximately 10,000km of sea.  These creatures don’t like to travel and so breeding between the populations in the Ross and Weddell Seas would have been highly unusual. “We found, however, that they were genetically similar, suggesting that at some point in their past these populations would have been in contact with each other, perhaps at a time when the oceans were connected and not separated by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  These findings agree with climate models indicating repeated periods in history when the climate was warmer, which would have released water from the ice and increased the sea levels, allowing dispersal of creatures between the Ross and Weddell Seas.” Data on octopuses from other parts of Antarctica, not separated by this particular ice sheet, support the theory that the creatures are genetically different. They found that the depth of the ocean and its currents limited the movement of the octopus in certain areas, as would have been expected for those living on either side of the West Antarctic Ice sheet. This added further evidence that at some point in recent history this particular ice sheet might have collapsed.  The research is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the collaborative scheme for systematic research (CoSyst). -ends-

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The inaugural ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of films celebrating ageing across the lifecourse from 21-25 May as part of the Bealtaine Festival. Alison Herbert, ICSG PhD student and event organiser, 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.” To help celebrate ageing, the ICSG will screen the following films: Venus - a comedy/drama examining inter-generationality, starring Peter O’Toole, Leslie Phillips and Vanessa Redgrave. This 2006 filmwas nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and a Golden Globe. The Savages: multi-award-winning 2007 comedy/drama, starring Phillip Seymore-Hoffman and Laura Linney. The Straight Story: multi-award-winning David Lynch 1999 film, starring Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek. Harold and Maude – a Golden Globe nominated 1971 Hal Ashby comedy/romance celebrating inter-generationality. A cult classic starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort. About Schmidt – Golden Globe winning 2002 comedy/drama starring Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. The Man Who Planted Trees: Academy-winning short French-Canadian 1988 animation (L’homme qui plantait des arbres), narrated by Christopher Plummer and a tribute to the animator Frédérick Back. The lunchtime screenings, open to everyone, begin each day at 1pm in lecture hall IT125, of the IT Building on NUI Galway’s campus.  Each film will be followed by a short panel and audience discussion.  All films, with the exception of The Man Who Planted Trees, loaned by film-maker Pat Comer, are sponsored by Screenclick, Dublin. Parking is available on campus to non-NUI Galway personnel within pay and display areas.  The venue has all facilities available to hand; including cafés, restrooms, and a lift is available for easy access. Further information is available from 091 495461 or visit www.icsg.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A New Era in Child Protection The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will today (Thursday, 10 May) host a forum on Children’s Rights.  The event will feature a keynote address: A New Era in Child Protection delivered by Frances Fitzgerald, TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The holding of a referendum in relation to the rights of children under the constitution is one of the key commitments made by the Government in relation to children and young people and is expected to be held in 2012.       Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: “The Government and I are committed to a comprehensive programme of reforms aimed at improving the lives of Ireland’s children and strengthening children’s rights. However no single change will be as momentous as that to our constitution. If we want to address the historic lack of focus on children; if we want to truly create a new era for child protection; if we want to really give effect to children’s rights, while recognizing the importance of the family, then we can do it by amending the constitution.” Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education for Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster will deliver an independent Commentary outlining the need for greater recognition of the rights of the child in Ireland and the inter-play between the rights of the child and rights of parents.  According to NUI Galway’s Professor Dolan: “Our perspective is simple, what is good for children, is good for their parents and ultimately to the benefit of civic society.  We believe that incorporating a commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would build a stronger culture of protecting children in Irish society and is in keeping with international obligations.” The Forum will be moderated by Carl O’Brien, Chief Reporter at the Irish Times and will include a Question and Answer session from the audience.   The Minister will also launch a new book by Professor Pat Dolan and Bernardine Brady of the Child and Family Research Centre A Guide to Youth Mentoring: Providing Effective Social Support. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre is committed to strengthening the rights of children and young people.  Ireland is emerging from a period in which some children, whether in the care of the State or of their families were not provided with adequate protection and support.  Providing greater recognition of the rights of the child through stronger constitutional recognition has the potential to embed children’s rights principles and standards into all decision-making by public bodies and inform the practice of those working with children.  An independent report completed by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in conjunction with the Galway City Partnership and St Vincent de Paul will also be officially launched by the Minister today. The NUI Galway report titled ‘Making a Difference, An Independent Evaluation of the Incredible Years Programme in Pre-Schools in Galway City’ evaluated the impact of the Incredible Years Programme on the children during their period in the pre-school and tracked the children as they entered primary school.  The report outlines particularly significant changes in the children behaviour and makes strong recommendations relating to pre-school education inIreland.   ENDS

Thursday, 10 May 2012

(l-r): Secretary General, Seán O Foghlú; Siobhan Allaeddini from California representing NUI Galway; and Gill Roe, Manager Education in Ireland. Siobhan Allaeddini and Siobhan Keenan have been selected as Student Ambassadors for NUI Galway. A new initiative by Education in Ireland, the Student Ambassador Programme is aimed at raising awareness of the quality of Irish degree and Study Abroad programmes, while also assisting and encouraging interested students as they embark on their applications. Californian Siobhan Allaeddini is a second year Arts student at NUI Galway, while Siobhan Keenan, from New Jersey, is in her second year of a Commerce degree at the University. Ireland is the ninth most popular destination in the world for American students because of its worldwide reputation for high quality education and for offering the warmest of welcomes to students from all over the world. The current batch of Student Ambassadors come from 16 States in the US and represent all seven Irish universities. Throughout the academic year, the Student Ambassadors share their experience and insights of life as a student in Ireland through blogs, articles and video posts, connecting prospective American students and their families with those already studying in Ireland. When these students return home they will from time to time work with Education in Ireland and the Irish universities at promotional events in their area. Education in Ireland is a government initiative aimed at promoting Irish higher education and English language schools overseas.  To check out the blog and learn more about Education in Ireland’s outreach to US high schools and universities, please visit http://blog.educationinireland.com/ or Education in Ireland USA on Facebook. -ENDS-

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Two NUI Galway students, Annita Brady and John Campion, are among a select group of 30 candidate’s chosen to participate in the 2012 Washington Ireland Program (WIP). Each year, the successful candidates, who have shown a commitment to service and a track record of leadership, take part in an eight-week internship program in Washington DC. The programme aims to help the students to develop skills through work experience, educational opportunity, and hands-on citizenship both at home and in the US. A native of Drung, Co. Cavan, Annita Brady is a Postgraduate Diploma in Education student at NUI Galway. In 2011 she received an MA in Military History and Strategic Studies in NUI Maynooth. During her four years at NUI Maynooth, Annita played an active role in The Friends of Raphael’s Society as Chairperson for two years and now currently volunteers with the Galway Traveller Movement assisting with homework clubs. John Campion, a third-year Medical student from Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, is currently on clinical placement in Montpellier, France. At NUI Galway, he has instigated a special study module in Applied Adolescent Mental Health Promotion and is Founding President of NUI Galway Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières, who participated in the Rotaract Italy Roundtrip for Cultural Understanding in 2011. John has undertaken studies in French, Italian, Irish Sign Language, Arabic and Gaeilge and has previously worked with the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland, as Instructor in Medicine and as Assistant Residential Coordinator. Commenting on the internship, John said: “I’m really looking forward to working in Washington. Several of its hospitals and research facilities are at the cutting edge of medical innovation; making breakthroughs that have a huge impact on diagnosis and treatment of illness globally, including here in Ireland. On top of that, this summer, the White House is determined, in the face of strong Republican opposition, to push ahead with implementing Obamacare, which aims to improve Americans’ access to healthcare services. For me, WIP will provide great insight into high-level experimental medicine and healthcare policy-making.” 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. The program is supported by both Governments and the universities in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The internships include placements on Capitol Hill, government agencies and the private sector.  Previous students 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. For more information visit www.wiprogram.org. -ENDS-

Friday, 11 May 2012

International experts on children’s rights will gather at NUI Galway on Monday, 14 May, for a symposium on a new UN protocol to strengthen the rights of children. In December, the UN General Assembly approved a Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, which will allow for individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention. The Convention was the last of the major UN human rights treaties to adopt such a mechanism and the Protocol is a major achievement for the protection of children’s rights. The event is being hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway.  According to the Centre’s Professor Ray Murphy: “Access to justice for children has traditionally proven challenging due to the invisibility of children, children’s lack of maturity and experience, as well as conflicts between children’s interests and those of adults. Cases taken by children have been rare and are overwhelming heard from the perspective of parents, as it is they who most frequently take the relevant cases.” The different needs of children have also been lost in the complaints mechanisms of the mainstream human rights instruments. The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hear cases with the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in mind- the right to be heard, the best interest principle, non-discrimination and the right to life survival and development.” It is thought the new protocol will have wide-ranging implications for custodial issues, child slavery, education rights and discrimination issues. The Symposium, ‘Complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – Opportunities for Ireland’, will hear from a number of speakers with experience in the field of children’s rights including Dr Maria Herczog, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Veronica Yates, Child Rights International Network; Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur to the Irish Government on Child Protection; Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance; Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International and Dr Aoife Daly, University of Essex. Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives on the nature of the Protocol and the opportunities which it provides across the spectrum of children’s rights- in the areas of child protection, economic as well as civil and political rights. Professor Murphy added: “Ensuring widespread ratification of the Third Optional Protocol will be a challenge. This symposium aims to consider the relevance of the Protocol and opportunities for Ireland to lead in the ratification process. It aims to raise awareness of the Protocol amongst non-governmental organisations, academics and Government, and will culminate in a Call for Ratification of the Protocol which attendees are welcome to sign if they so wish. It is expected that this symposium will be just one part of a number of activities around the Protocol, raising awareness and encouraging ratification.” -ends-

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Centre for the Study of Nationalism and Organised Violence (CSNOV) at NUI Galway is pleased to announce two upcoming seminars.  ‘Talking Peace: A seminar on communication, contact and dialogue aimed at reducing or ending violence in Northern Ireland’ will take place on Wednesday, 16 May between 10am - 5pm in the Moore Institute at the University.  ‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ will take place on Friday,18 May from  9am - 5pm in the Aula Maxima. ‘Talking Peace’ willbring together key actors with direct experience of mediation, negotiation and decision-making in the Irish peace process, including Sir Kenneth Bloomfield; Larry and Shauna Duddy; Dr Maurice Hayes; Jim Gibney; Dr Harold Good; Rev. Chris Hudson and Dr Martin Mansergh.  Professor Brendan O’Leary,University of Pennsylvania, will act as respondent. The symposium brings participants together with leading academics working on the politics of conflict and peace in Northern Ireland, including Professor James McAuley(University of Huddersfield); Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh (NUI Galway); Dr Graham Spencer (University of Portsmouth); Dr  Katy Hayward(Queen’s University Belfast); Professor Jonathan Tonge (University of Liverpool); Professor  Robert White(Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis). ‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ is a multidisciplinary conference bringing  together leading scholars working on aspects of armed conflict from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It will address key issues of concern to sociologists, political scientists and historians studying inter-state wars, civil wars, armed conflicts, urban violence and insurgencies. Speaking about the Talking Peace seminar, Dr Niall O’Dochartaigh, NUI Galway, said: “Communication through intermediaries and mediators was crucial to the peace settlement in the North but this important aspect of the peace process remains little understood, partly because it was shrouded in secrecy. It is an urgent matter to understand how such communication might play a role in resolving other situations of conflict today. “It is particularly appropriate that the seminar is taking place in Galway because the west of Ireland provided the setting for some very important encounters aimed at ending conflict in the North, such as the meeting between Protestant clergymen and the IRA leadership in Feakle Co. Clare that paved the way for the IRA ceasefire of 1975. It was a setting where people could talk at some distance from the centres of power and media attention in Dublin  and Belfast.” Dr O’Dochartaigh added: “The Talking Peace seminar explores this issue through a conversation between those with direct experience of the workings of government and of mediation during the conflict in the North and academics studying the conflict. The witness seminar format provides a unique historical methodology for exploring difficult historical topics of this kind through a kind of group interview where participants in historical events share, discuss and sometimes challenge each others' recollections. We are running the seminar in partnership with colleagues from King’s College London where the Institute of Contemporary British History has organised numerous witness seminars over many years and has built up extensive expertise in this method.” These events are supported by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Moore Institute, the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway. These events are open to all but seating is limited. For registration please contact: Stacey.scriver@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is accepting delegates for its 2012 summer school on the International Criminal Court to be held 18-22 June in Galway. The summer school on the International Criminal Court (ICC) offered by the Centre is widely acknowledged to be the premier programme of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. During the five days of intensive lectures, delivered by leading specialist in the field, students are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction, immunities and the role of the victims. According to Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway: “The ICC is arguably the most important international institution to have been established since the creation of the United Nations. Its aim is combating impunity for atrocities, and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability and justice around the world. Only last month, it reached a milestone in convicting the first former head of state since the Nuremburg trials.” Professor Murphy added: “While the trial and ultimate conviction of Liberia's former president Charles Taylor garnered international headlines for tales of supermodels and diamonds, the true headline is the championing of accountability in respect of international crimes.” During the summer school on the International Criminal Court, expert presentations will be delivered by Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University and Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights; Professor Siobhan Mullally, UCC; Dr Shane Darcy, Lecturer and Professor Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights; Mr. John McManus, Department of Justice, Canada; Dr Mohamed M. El Zeidy and Ms Miriam Spittler, the International Criminal Court; Dr Nadia Bernaz, University of Middlesex; and Dr Annyssa Bellal, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. To register, visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=16 or email iccsummerschool@gmail.com for more information. -ends-

Monday, 14 May 2012

Public lectures at NUI Galway on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May, will look at our throwaway culture, and ask what a future with everyone living more sustainably might look like. Philosopher Kate Soper, from London Metropolitan University will provide a public lecture entitled Towards an alternative prosperity? Irish “belatedness” and the politics of consumption on Friday 18 May, from 4.30-5.30pm in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway.Author of the book The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently, Soper believes that we need to rethink how we live in the light of impending environmental catastrophe. Her core argument is that alternative ways of living can be more enjoyable than consumerism and this leads to her notion of alternative hedonism. A second public lecture on the topical issue of sustainable consumption will be delivered at 12 noon on Saturday, 18 May, in the Engineering Building by Elizabeth Shove, Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. Professor Shove’s area of expertise is the relationship between consumption, everyday life, sustainability and ordinary technology. She is co-author of the book The Design of Everyday Life which looks at the design of common household products through to their use in the home. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion by a group of top US and European academics on the futures of sustainable consumption research. This panel discussion will take place from 2pm until 4pm on Saturday afternoon in the same venue. These lectures are part of an international conference, ‘Challenging Consumption: Pathways to a More Sustainable Future’ which NUI Galway is hosting from 18-20 May. The event brings together leading researchers to discuss current practices, challenges and futures for research in the area of sustainable consumption. The conference is part of the Consensus project, a four-year research project involving collaboration between NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. Funded by the EPA STRIVE Programme, the project is the first of its kind to look at sustainable consumption on the island of Ireland. The Consensus project focuses on four key areas of household consumption that impact negatively on the environment: transport, energy, water and food. This research is exploring how a shift towards more sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed. Therefore, one of the key outputs of this research is to make recommendations for local and national programmes concerning sustainable consumption policies. According to the Consensus project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “Our conference is intended to explore opportunities for future research collaborations and facilitate exchange between currently existing sustainable consumption networks. All conference participants at this event are active members of US and European sustainable consumption research communities. The public lectures and panel discussion will provide an opportunity to discuss household consumption and the various ways in which it impacts negatively on the environment as well as to explore how a shift towards more sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed.” During the three-day event, academics will discuss their research in the area of sustainable consumption; exploring a variety of themes that range from sustainable transport to premature product obsolescence. Keynote speakers include: Maurie Cohen, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA; Tim Cooper, Nottingham Trent University, UK; Mike Goodman, King’s College London; Inge Ropke, Technical University of Denmark as well as members of the Consensus project team from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. For more information email consensus@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bronnadh Gradam Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ar an gCainéal iTunes U-GOGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta) ag searmanas i gCaisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath le gairid. Is ar champas Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i gCarna a rinneadh an obair fhorbartha agus is í COGG a rinne maoiniú ar an tionscadal. Toradh é ar chomhpháirtíocht idir COGG agus Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. “Údar mór áthais d’Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh gur bhain an Cainéal iTunes U-COGG gradam eRialtais amach le gairid. Tugann an gradam aitheantas don saineolas atá á shaothrú sna daonnachtaí digiteacha san Acadamh trí chéile ach go háirithe in Ionad na hOllscoile i gCarna.  Bhí ról lárnach ag an gcomhpháirtíocht le RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta sa tionscadal mar gur forbraíodh acmhainní foghlama bunscolaíochta an Chainéil ó bhunábhar i gCartlann shabhair RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus ó Chartlanna OÉ Gaillimh féin.”, a deir Niall Mac Uidhilin, feidhmeannach ríomhaireachta le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Cuimsíonn an Cainéal iTunes U–COGG acmhainní físe agus fuaime ar mhaithe le sealbhú agus saibhriú na Gaeilge i mbunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge. Forbraíodh 300 mír fhoghlama nua dírithe go háirithe ar dhaltaí Rang 5 agus 6 sna bunscoileanna. Áiríonn na míreanna foghlama amhráin, dánta, scéalta, faisnéis, tomhasanna, agus míreanna staire. Tá na míreanna á gcur i láthair i gcanúintí éagsúla a roghnaíodh ó bhunábhar i gcartlanna saibhre RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus OÉ Gaillimh.  Chuathas i gcomhairle le saineolaithe ábhar: Máire Uí Dhufaigh, Inis Oírr agus Bairbre Ní Thuairisg, Scoil Náisiúnta Chamuis, a scríobh na moltaí foghlama le dul in éineacht leis na míreanna. Lárnach sa bpróiseas forbartha freisin bhí Anna Ní Chartúir, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mucú agus Mairéad Ní Chualáin, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mealláin, beirt mhúinteoirí a bhfuil sárthuiscint acu ar riachtanais fhoghlama teanga scoláirí sna spriocscoileanna. Roinn an bheirt a gcuid ama ar an tionscnamh go fial flaithiúil agus ar bhonn deonach. Inniúlacht Cartlainne Meán a rinne an obair theicniúil agus dearaidh ar an gcainéal.  Tá an cainéal ar fáil ar itunes.cogg.ie. Tá treoirlínte faoin mbealach le theacht ar an gCainéal le fáil ar www.acadamh.ie -CRÍOCH-   Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilgeand COGG win National e-Government Award A project developed in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway was presented with an Ireland eGovernment Award at a ceremony in Dublin Castle recently. The iTunes U–COGG channel was developed with with funding provided by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG). The iTunes U–COGG channel, which won the in the Irish language category award, comprises of video and sound resources to promote the acquisition and enrichment of the Irish language in all-Irish schools both within and outside the Gaeltacht. In this initial stage of the project, three hundred media clips have been carefully selected and are aimed at 5th and 6th classes. These learning clips cover genres such as song, poetry, stories, factual, puzzles and historic. The clips are presented in different dialects selected from the rich archive materials of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and NUI Galway.  Niall Mac Uidhilin, Computer Executive with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, said: “We at NUI Galway are delighted that the iTunes U-COGG channel has received this eGovernment award. This award recognises the expertise that the Acadamh has accumulated in the digital humanities, and particularly in the centre in Carna. The partnership with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta played a central role in the project as the channel’s digital learning resoures for national schools were developed from the rich archive materials and resources of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta as well as from the archives of NUI Galway. The project builds on the digitisation work that was previously done on the archive on the campus in An Cheathrú Rua.” A panel of experts were consulted for the project including Máire Uí Dhufaigh, Scoil Náisiúnta Inis Oírr and Bairbre Ní Thuairisg, Scoil Náisiúnta Chamuis who wrote the learning guides to be included with the clips. Anna Ní Chartúir, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mucú and Mairéad Ní Chualáin, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mealláin, were also central to the development of the project. Both have an acute understanding of the language learning requirements of national school children in the target schools and gave freely and voluntarily of their time to forward the project. Inniúlacht Cartlainne Meán were responsible for the technical and design work on the channel.  The channel is available at  itunes.cogg.ie. Guidelines on how to access the channel can be found at  www.acadamh.ie. -ENDS-