Wednesday, 23 May 2012

His Excellency, the Ambassador of Italy, Dr Maurizio Zanini, recently launched a new online Diploma in Italian at NUI Galway, first university in Ireland to launch such a programme. Run by the Discipline of Italian Studies at the University, the new course will commence in September and is open to students all over the world. Speaking at the launch, Ambassador Zanini, highlighted the importance of thinking of Europe as the coming together of multiple cultures and languages, “Studying Italian will enhance the knowledge and understanding of Europe as a whole, and will make individuals more competent European citizens.” The course concentrates on all four main language skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing, and provides a gradual introduction to the structures and functions of the language. In addition, a module on oral and intercultural skills will introduce various aspects of Italian life from an intercultural perspective. Unlike many distance learning programmes designed for independent learning, this new course is based on a collaborative, communicative approach and students are encouraged to participate in virtual class activities with their peers and e-tutors. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The online Diploma in Italian is a groundbreaking experience employing the latest skills in e-learning and will enable learners to study Italian in their own time, wherever they are, and as part of a community of e-learners.” The online course has been designed and developed by Dr Laura McLoughlin and recently graduated PhD student Dr Silvia Bernabei. Dr McLoughlin is the winner of prestigious European Awards for innovation in the teaching of languages, and has a particular expertise in the area of technology enhanced pedagogical approaches. The new course has been tailored to suit the requirements of students who need flexibility in their time and mode of study, and/ or who do not live in Galway. The Diploma in Italian is open to everybody and is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of the language. In order to facilitate interaction and create a supportive learning environment, face-to-face on campus sessions will take place as part of the course. A practical introductory session in the use of computers will also be given at the beginning of the course to ensure that all students have basic computer skills. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “Learning a new language will provide invaluable skills. There is no doubt that the profile of the professional of the future will be that of a person who can adapt quickly and effectively to new situations and environments, who speaks more than one language, and who is at home in more than one country. Language students will be mobile, cosmopolitan, and ready and happy to embrace and negotiate different cultures and traditions.” Closing date for applications is Friday, 13 July and full details of the online Diploma in Italian are available on www.nuigalway.ie/italian/onlinediploma.html. For further information or queries contact the Course Director, Dr Laura McLoughlin, at 091 492240 or laura.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) comes to Ireland for the first time, bringing with it keynote speakers from Google, Twitter, the University of Oxford and other top research groups from around the globe. 300 of the world's top social media researchers will descend on Dublin from 4-7 June to attend a series of workshops, tutorials, invited talks and top accepted research papers from an interdisciplinary mix of computer science and social science research. The event is being organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), which is based at NUI Galway. Andrew Tomkins, Engineering Director at Google, will speak about the first year of Google's social networking and identity service Google+. Robin Dunbar, Head of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, will present one of the keynote addresses in a talk titled 'Why Facebook Won't Get You Any More Friends'. Professor Dunbar is the originator of Dunbar's number, a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Lada Adamic, University of Michigan and award-winning researcher, will present on 'The Information Life of Social'. As part of the conference, ICWSM will host an industry and commercialisation event designed to bring delegates from local and international industry and academia together. The event will consist of two focused discussion panels interleaved with a coffee and stands session where industrial delegates can present their business or service, seek business and recruitment opportunities and exchange ideas with a national and international audience. The first panel on business networking and enterprise collaboration will be entitled 'I Want to (Net)work with You, But I Don't Know What/Where/Who You Are'. Speakers include Connor Murphy, CEO and co-founder of Datahug, Stuart McRae, Executive Collaboration and Social Business Evangelist with IBM, and Keith Griffin, Principal Engineer in Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group. The second panel on news and social media will focus on 'News Generation and Consumption through Social Media'. Speakers include: Howard Mortman, Communications Director and member of the executive leadership team at C-SPAN; Gavin Sheridan, Innovation Director with Storyful; Paul Quigley, founder of NewsWhip; Hugh Linehan, Online Editor of The Irish Times; and Hannah Waldram, Community Coordinator with The Guardian. This year's conference papers cover both old and new ground, from the advancement of techniques to extract, summarize, and detect information from social streams, to understanding phenomena in society by how they are reflected in and shaped by social media. Some of the social media research work that will be presented at ICWSM include: An analysis of the YouTube social network will show how it differs from traditional social networking sites but bears some resemblance to Twitter in terms of its network properties. In a very large study of browsing behaviours, web histories for a quarter of a million anonymised individuals are paired with user-level demographics to examine behaviour change over time online, to revisit notions of the digital divide, and to show that user attributes may be inferred from browsing histories and potentially used for ad targeting. A method that can identify experts in social question-and-answer sites through evolutionary pattern detection will be presented. A framework that accurately identifies sick individuals from the content of online communication will be presented and evaluated based on a large Twitter dataset. Research on the World of Warcraft multiplayer system will describe how destructive group dynamics can be predicted with medium-to-high accuracy. A model for studying the structure and composition of a city, based on the social media its residents generate, will be described and tested using 18 million check-ins collected from a location-based online social network.         Tutorial sessions at ICWSM will cover how to analyze a massive social network; how to map networks found on social media sites and in email collections; how to design an online community using evidence-based social design principles; and how to carry out sentiment mining and extract relevant information from user-generated content. Workshops are in the areas of social media visualisation, the news media industry, real-time mining of social streams, and when the city meets the citizen. According to the General Chair, Dr John Breslin who is a social media expert and researcher with DERI at NUI Galway: “Whatever the future may hold for online social media, there are sure to be hints embedded in this year's topically-diverse set of research papers. We're truly honoured to have such a high-calibre set of speakers, from research and academia but also from industry and media companies.” ICWSM is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, Google, Bing / Microsoft Research, Fáilte Ireland / Meet in Ireland, Tawlk, Knoesis at Wright State University, Yahoo! Research, IBM, and Church & Duncan Group. The local organisers are John Breslin, NUI Galway, Conor Hayes, DERI at NUI Galway, and Derek Greene, UCD.  ICWSM will be held in Dublin at the Trinity Bio Sciences Institute from 4-7 June 2012, for further information visit www.icwsm.org. Ends

Friday, 25 May 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor of Midwifery, Declan Devane, will deliver his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Friday, 8 June at 6pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Hosted by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, Professor Devane’s lecture entitled Evidence Based Midwifery: Its Heritage, Our Future, will focus on the contribution of evidence, and in particular research based evidence, to the provision of high quality maternity care. By considering the historical context of maternity care and by examining key pieces of research and aspects of clincial practice, Professor Devane will examine how the application of what we know can prevent and minimise some of the widespread problems we face in maternity care. The opening address will be delivered by NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. The guest lecture, Implications of the Birthplace in England Research Programme: Adding to the Evidence Jigsaw about High Quality and Safe Maternity Care, will be presented by Professor Jane Sandall, Professor of Women’s Health and Programme Director at Kings College, London. Speaking ahead of the lecture, Professor Devane said: “Evidence based practice involves the explicit use of best evidence, clinical expertise and the preferences and perspectives of those accessing our health services. Over the past 20 years, research has moved from being marginal to practice to transforming the care women and their infants receive by providing high quality evidence to inform healthcare decisions. The implementation of evidence based practice is not, however, without its challenges. If practice is to be based on high quality evidence then not only is research evidence needed but it needs to be disseminated and implemented. To RSVP for the lecture please contact Mari Moran, School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, at 091 493740 or mari.moran@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Friday, 25 May 2012

Programme is part of the Government’s strategy to improve the teaching and learning of maths  The Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today officially launched the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, which is aimed at ‘out-of-field’ teachers of maths. The programme is aimed at improving the skills of maths teachers at post- primary level. It covers mathematical content and knowledge, and teaching and learning strategies/approaches relevant to the Project Maths syllabi, which are being rolled out in schools.    Under the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, a team from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway has worked closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL, UL) to develop the new professional mathematics education programme. Speaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway, said: “This new programme constitutes a significant and historic development in the enhancement of post-primary mathematics in Irish education. The principal focus of this unique new course is to enhance teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and their understanding of the subject of mathematics.” Dr Hall added:  “Now, this unique, specialist professional mathematics education programme at graduate level will facilitate upskilling of the mathematical subject knowledge of teachers in schools, helping to support the wider national reforms currently taking place in mathematics education in Ireland.” Jointly accredited and designed by NUI Galway and UL, the programme will be delivered nationwide, free of charge through a national consortium of higher education institutions and the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland. The course will be a blended learning programme based on a part-time (2 year) university accredited professional diploma, delivered locally and through online modules. Google will support the flexible online delivery of the programme as the chief technology partner in the NUI Galway-UL, Alliance-led consortium. The new programme is aligned with the national curriculum reform, Project Maths (2008-2015); the requirements of the Teaching Council as the statutory body for teaching in Ireland; and latest developments in innovative educational technology and mathematics education research. There will be specific provision for teachers in Irish-medium schools through a Dioplóma Gairmiúil sa Mhatamaitic don Mhúinteoireacht, supported by NUI Galway and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Gaillimh. The BA Mathematics and Education was introduced by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway in 2008 specifically to address the demonstrated need for excellent mathematics teaching in Irish schools. It was at the time the first, and only specialist teaching programme of its kind in the Irish State, focusing to honours university level on the mathematical sciences, within a full, concurrent, four-year initial teacher education degree. The BA Mathematics and Education will graduate its first cohort of specialist mathematics and applied mathematics teachers in autumn 2012. Commenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D.,  said: “The provision of this course provides further evidence of my personal commitment, and that of my Government colleagues, to supporting maths teaching in post primary schools. We are providing over €2million to fund this course, and are making it available at locations across the country and free of change, to maximise accessibility and participation.” Minister Sherlock said “The teaching community has shown significant interest in this course since my announcement last September. I am pleased that the course will facilitate teachers who are working during the day, with convenient local and online access.” John Herlihy, VP and Head of Google in Ireland said; “Government, industry and academia all agree on the need for more students to study Maths, Science and Engineering subjects at third level and on the need to produce graduates with strong analytical and problem solving skills. The introduction of a Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching is an important step in augmenting how we teach maths in our secondary schools. I believe that providing ‘out of field’ teachers with the specialised skills to teach maths in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable way will be a catalyst for more students pursuing maths based subjects at third level.” ENDS

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, will hold its first conference in Ireland in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on Saturday, 9 June. The papers presented during the conference will focus considerable attention on the migration of Sudanese doctors, its impact and the many opportunities for collaboration between Sudan and Ireland. Delegates will include health policy makers in Ireland and Sudan, health care professionals, and academics to discuss issues related to the migration of medical professionals and analyse the whole issue of health workers migration in local and global contexts. The conference will be addressed by the Republic of Sudan’s Federal Minister of Health, along with keynote speakers from NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the Irish Forum for Global Health. Speakers will address and examine the overall impact of migration of health care professionals on the Irish health system.  Dr Abobakr Shadad, Lecturer at the Discipline of Medicine at NUI Galway and Deputy President of the Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, said: “This conference will provide an opportunity for participants from Ireland, Sudan and the UK to meet, network and examine opportunities of joint work.The Sudanese Medical Association was established a result of our awareness of the many opportunities available for us as Irish Sudanese and British Sudanese to be an agent of change and a voice of reason both in Ireland, UK as well as in our home country Sudan.” NUI Galway will be represented at the conference by: Professor Martin Cormican, Professor of Bacteriology; Dr Sean Dinneen, Senior Lecturer in Medicine; and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer and Vice-Dean for Internationalisation, who will be participating in the conference activities and chairing the sessions as well as in the post conference activities. This is the fourth International Conference for the Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, since its inception in 2010. The conference program is available at https://www.eventelephant.com/ee/images/event/14573/SMA_program(1).pdf. For more info on the conference visit https://www.eventelephant.com/SMA -END-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sebastian Barry, Maureen Dowd, Irial Finan, The Honourable James Flaherty PC, MP NUI Galway today (Monday, 28 May) announced the recipients of the 2012 Honorary Degrees. The four individuals to be conferred on Friday, 29 June are 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, The Honourable James Flaherty PC, 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 will be 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 will be 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 January 14, 1952, Miss Dowd received a BA degree in English from Catholic University (Washington) in 1973. Irian Finan will be 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. The Honourable James Flaherty PC, MP will be 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 on this year's recipients click -ends-   Céimithe Oinigh 2012 Fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh Sebastian Barry, Maureen Dowd, Irial Finan, an Uasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh inniu na daoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh 2012 orthu. Is iad an ceathrar a gheobhaidh céim oinigh Dé hAoine, an 29 Meitheamh an drámadóir agus úrscéalaí, Sebastian Barry; colúnaí tuairimíochta an New York Times, Maureen Dowd; Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin, The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan; agus Aire Airgeadais Cheanada, An tUasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne:  “Tá an t-ádh le OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aici in imeacht na mblianta ach is eisceacht céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla na litríochta, na hiriseoireachta, an ghnó agus an riaracháin phoiblí agus an rialtais. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.” Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Litríocht (honoris causa) ar Sebastian Barry. Rugadh é i mBaile Átha Cliath i 1955, agus chuir sé peann le pár den chéad uair i 1977. D’fhoilsigh sé cúpla leabhar ficsin agus filíochta, agus i 1986 thosaigh sé ag díriú ar an amharclannaíocht. D’fhoilsigh sé na húrscéalta The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), agus Annie Dunne (2002) agus ansin dhá leabhar a cuireadh ar ghearrliosta do Dhuais Man Booker – A Long Long Way (2005) agus The Secret Scripture (2008). Bhuaigh The Secret Scripture an duais Costa Book of the Year, Duais na nDíoltóirí Neamhspleácha Leabhar, agus Duais Chuimhneacháin James Tait Black, i measc duaiseanna eile. Cuireadh an t-úrscéal is deireanaí a scríobh Barry, On Canaan’s Side, ar an liosta fada do dhuais Booker, agus ar an ngearrliosta do dhuais Walter Scott, Duaiseanna Leabhar na hÉireann agus Duais Galaxy d’Údar Idirnáisiúnta na Bliana. Tá dhá dhráma dhéag scríofa aige, ina measc The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), agus The Pride of Parnell Street (2007) a bhfuil duaiseanna buaite acu. Bhuaigh sé Duais Litearthachta Chiste na hÉireann i 1997. Bhí sé ina Scríbhneoir i gCompántas in Amharclann na Mainistreach i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ina Ollamh Heimbold ar Cuairt in Ollscoil Villanova in 2006. Fuair sé dochtúireacht oinigh ón Ollscoil in East Anglia in 2010, agus rinneadh Comhalta den Royal Society of Literature de. Tá a shaothar aistrithe go breis agus tríocha cúig teanga. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Litríocht (honoris causa) ar Maureen Dowd. Bhuaigh sí Duais Pulitzer i 1999, sa chatagóir tráchtaireachta, mar gheall ar a "unsparing columns on the hypocrisies involved in the Lewinsky affair and the effort to impeach President Clinton." Ceapadh ina colúnaí í ar an leathanach trasna ón eagarfhocal sa New York Times in Eanáir 1995 (áit ar thosaigh sí i 1983). Roimhe sin, d’oibrigh sí mar chomhfhreagraí i mbiúró Washington ó Lúnasa 1986. Bhí sí ina comhfhreagraí ar dhá fheachtas Uachtaránachta agus ina comhfhreagraí sa Teach Bán, áit a raibh lucht leanúna mór aici mar gheall go ndéanfadh sí cur síos barúil, gonta agus searbhasach orthu siúd a bhí i gcumhacht. Scríobh sí an colún, "On Washington," don New York Times Magazine. Thosaigh sí ag obair i 1974 mar chúntóir eagarthóireachta don Washington Star agus ina dhiaidh sin bhí sí ina colúnaí spóirt, ina tuairisceoir cathrach, agus ina scríbhneoir gné-alt leis an bpáipéar céanna. Bhí Maureen Dowd san iomaíocht do Dhuais Pulitzer as tuairisciú náisiúnta i 1992, bhuaigh sí an Breakthrough Award ó "Women, Men and Media" in Ollscoil Columbia i 1991 agus an Matrix Award ó New York Women in Communications i 1994. D’ainmnigh Glamour í ar dhuine de Mhná na Bliana i 1996 agus bhuaigh sí duais Damon Runyon in 2000 as a cuid oibre i saol na hiriseoireachta. Tá dhá leabhar sárdhíola scríofa ag Dowd Bushworld:  Enter at Your Own Rish (2004) agus Are Men Necessary?  When Sexes Collide (2005). Rugadh Maureen Dowd in Washington, D.C., an 14 Eanáir 1952. Bhain sí céim BA amach sa Bhéarla ó Catholic University (Washington) i 1973. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar Irian Finan. Tá sé ina Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin ar The Coca-Cola Company agus ina Uachtarán ar Bottling Investments áit a bhfuil sé freagrach as gnó Buidéalaithe ar fiú na billiúin dollar é, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), a bhainistiú. Tá BIG ag feidhmiú i 4 mhór-roinn (Meiriceá Theas, an Eoraip, an Afraic agus an Áise), agus ioncam os cionn $8 billiún aige agus fostaíonn sé os cionn 85,000 duine. Chomh maith leis sin, tá Irian freagrach as Infheistíochtaí Cothromais agus Slabhra Soláthair Domhanda na cuideachta a mhaoirsiú. Tá breis agus 29 bliain taithí ag Irial i gcóras Coca-Cola. Ó 2001 go 2003, bhí sé ina Phríomhoifigeach Feidhmiúcháin ar Coca-Cola HBC. I rith an ama sin bhainistigh sé comhcheangal Coca-Cola Beverages plc agus Hellenic Bottling SA, agus bhí sé i gceannas ar obair na cuideachta i sé tír agus fiche. Thosaigh Irial ag obair sa Coca-Cola Company in 2004 mar Uachtarán ar Infheistíochtaí Buidéalaithe agus Slabhra Soláthair agus ainmníodh é mar Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin na Cuideachta i nDeireadh Fómhair 2004. Idir 1995 agus 1999, bhí sé ina stiúrthóir bainistíochta ar Molino Beverages, agus é freagrach as margaí a leathnú, fiú i bPoblacht na hÉireann, i dTuaisceart Éireann, sa Rómáin, sa Mholdóiv, sa Rúis agus sa Nigéir. Roimhe sin, d’oibrigh Irial i margaí éagsúla ar fud na hEorpa. Idir 1991 agus 1993 d’oibrigh sé mar stiúrthóir bainistíochta ar Coca-Cola Bottlers Ulster, Ltd., lonnaithe i mBéal Feirste. Bhí sé ina stiúrthóir airgeadais ar Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Ltd., lonnaithe i mBaile Átha Cliath idir 1984 agus 1990. Tá Irial ar bhord stiúrthóirí Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola Central Japan, Bord Maoirseachta CCE AG (sa Ghearmáin), Smurfit Kappa Group, agus Ciste Mheiriceá na hÉireann. Tá sé ina stiúrthóir neamhfheidhmiúcháin chomh maith ar Co-operation Ireland agus ar Fhondúireacht OÉ Gaillimh. Tá céim Tráchtála ag Irial ó OÉ Gaillimh agus tá sé ina Chomhpháirtí (Comhalta ina dhiaidh sin) d’Institiúid na gCuntasóirí Bainistíochta Cairte. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar an Uasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP. Is é seo an tríú téarma aige mar Theachta Parlaiminte do Whitby–Oshawa (Ontario). Is é Aire Airgeadais Cheanada é agus is é an tAire Freagrach as Mórcheantar Toronto é. Tá sé ina Rialtóir ar an mBanc Domhanda agus ar an gCiste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta. Mar Aire Airgeadais tá sé ina chomhalta de bhrí oifige ar gach Coiste Comh-Aireachta. Bhronn an tIris Euromoney an gradam Aire Airgeadais na Bliana ar an Aire Flaherty le gairid. Deir Euromoney go bhfuil cáil Cheanada maidir le dea-bheartas fioscach feabhsaithe aige agus ag an am céanna go bhfuil ceartas sóisialta curtha san áireamh aige chomh maith le réim rialála láidir tugtha isteach aige agus go bhfuil an earnáil airgeadais coinnithe as anord aige dá bharr. Cuireadh síos air mar chrann taca sa G-7 agus sa G-20. In 2010, bhí an tAire Flaherty ina chathaoirleach ar Airí Airgeadais an G-7 agus ina chathaoirleach ar chruinniú bliantúil Airí Airgeadais an Chomhlathais. Ar feadh breis agus deich mbliana roimhe sin, bhí sé ina chomhalta den Pharlaimint Réigiúnach do Whitby–Ajax (Ontario). Bhí sé ina Leas-Cheannaire Rialtais agus ina Aire Airgeadais, ina Ard-Aighne agus ina Aire Saothair. Bhain sé a chéim amach ó Ollscoil Princeton le honóracha agus ansin ó Scoil Dlí Osgoode Hall. Cháiligh sé mar dhlíodóir le honóracha in Ontario agus bhí sé i mbun an dlí ar feadh breis agus scór bliain sular toghadh chuig oifig é. Beidh an ceathrar seo anois i measc céimithe oinigh mór le rá roimhe seo cosúil le Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Sinsear agus Sóisear, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan agus Margaret Atwood. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Research also explores the attitudes, fears and preferences of young people towards chlamydia testing New research carried out by researchers from NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has found that a national screening campaign for chlamydia in young people would not prove cost effective.  The research also explored the attitudes, fears and preferences of young Irish men and women aged 18-29 years old towards accepting tests to detect chlamydia. The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study, which was funded by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and supported by the Health Research Board, looked at the feasibility of opportunistic screening in a general practice setting for chlamydia, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Like other countries, Ireland is experiencing a steady increase in the numbers of young women and men presenting to the health services with STIs; the annual numbers of cases of chlamydia rose from 1000 in 1997 to around 6000 in 2008-09. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STI in Ireland, with highest numbers reported among 20-29 year olds. More often than not it is silent and causes no symptoms – especially in women – but can cause serious complications such as infertility and ectopic pregnancies. Dr Emer O’Connell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine in the HSE presented study findings at Ireland’s first ever Sexual Health Awareness Week, which was officially launched in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland today. “Screening for chlamydia is available in many countries. However, some countries such as Australia are reviewing the effectiveness of this measure. In Ireland, due to our small population and the strain already on our health service, a screening programme for chlamydia would not be cost effective because it would be difficult to achieve the necessary coverage levels to reduce the level of infection.” The research found that the main barrier reported by young people to seeking or accepting an STI test was the stigma associated with chlamydia and other STIs.  This stigma was greatest among women especially those from rural backgrounds and in urban working class areas who feared the consequences of being publicly exposed – to their families and peers –through asking for an STI test. Despite the stigma associated with an STI test, there was a high level of willingness among young men and women to take a chlamydia test if offered by a health professional. 95% said it would be acceptable to be offered the test and 75% of students said they would accept the test if offered. The research also found that 80% of those involved in the study said they would inform their current partner if they tested positive for chlamydia but this rate fell to 55-60% in the case of previous partners. Professor Ruairi Brugha, Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine, RCSI said: “While this study demonstrated that a national chlamydia screening programme would not be cost-effective in Ireland, it reports important positive findings. Young people are aware of the risks and are anxious that STI testing services be made accessible and acceptable.  We also found that there are primary care providers who are willing to provide such services.”  Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway said “The study findings provide evidence of how to protect the sexual health of young Irish people.  Given these findings, a national sexual health plan should include primary prevention activities such as sex education, condom distribution and the provision of information on how to seek care for STIs. Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of primary care-delivered chlamydia detection and case management services as part of a national action plan to promote sexual health.” The research from The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study will be presented today during Ireland’s first ever national Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW). SHAW is being hosted by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI). A range of public meetings, debates and interactive workshops promoting sexual health awareness at a national leave are taking place in RCPI from 28 -31 May, all of which are free and open to the public. ENDS

Monday, 28 May 2012

Due to unprecedented demand, NUI Galway has announced an additional date to the Summer Boot Camp diary for graduates who are seeking to gain employment. The first of these events, which will take place on Thursday, 24 May, is currently fully booked and a second date of the Thursday, 14 June has now been added. These graduate support ‘Boot Camps’, organised by NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre,  will focus on effective CVs, interview skills and using social media in the job search process. Interactive workshops facilitated by staff from the Career Development Centre and employers will challenge participants to review their current approach to job search and to apply the learning gained to enhance their job prospects. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway: “This is a great opportunity for those seeking employment to boost their efforts. We look forward to working again with our recent graduates and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and get their career back on track.” Places are limited to ensure individual attention and graduates who are interested in attending on 14 June are encouraged to book a place through the online booking system ‘Career Connect’ via the Careers website www.nuigalway.ie/careers as soon as possible. For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. Professor Steven Ellis and Professor Adrian Frazier were among only 22 academics in Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction Steven Ellis is Professor of History at NUI Galway.  His publications over three decades have made a major contribution to our understanding of the political, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Ireland, and have established him as an internationally recognised  authority on the history of  frontier societies. Adrian Frazier is Professor of English at NUI Galway. His work on modern Irish literature has opened up new fields of inquiry in territories often passed over: introducing new historicism to the study of Irish theatre; re-introducing George Moore to a world that had forgotten him; and bringing alive the story of Abbey actors working with John Ford in Hollywood.    Congratulating the awardees, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of my colleagues, Professors Adrian Frazier and Steven Ellis recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland.  It is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see the work of two of our finest humanities scholars honoured in this way”. RIA President, Professor Luke Drury, urged the government to make greater use of the resources available to it in the academic community, so that it can develop new and creative solutions and avoid the danger of ‘group think’, saying: “At a time when trust in public institutions has been greatly undermined, we need reassurance that government is receiving good advice on what it should do and how it should do it. The State can, and should, turn to the academic community for expert advice, at far less cost than commissioning expensive consultants, and thereby support genuinely independent and occasionally critical voices.” For 227 years, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 466 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. Members of the Academy include: Seamus Heaney, Frances Ruane (ESRI), Mary Robinson, Patrick Cunningham (ESOF Dublin 2012), Maurice Manning (NUI Chancellor), Patrick Honohan (Central Bank), Mary Canning (HEA) and writer and cartographer Tim Robinson. ENDS

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A collaborative research agreement has been signed between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). The agreement will generate close collaborations between researchers at both institutes and is expected to lead to a number of funded projects. Work is already underway on a joint project in the area of semantic data integration and application. DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, with over 140 researchers. With its researchers of over 500 people, KISTI is specialised institute providing science technology and innovation services to promote national competitiveness. KISTI’s agenda is to develop and secure local and foreign information resources, strategic information analysis and advanced supercomputing and information infrastructure. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, which was established in 2003 with support from Science Foundation Ireland, says: “This agreement will boost world-class R&D in the field of semantic technologies as it makes possible a closer collaboration between two leading institutions. We were honoured to have been approached by KISTI regarding this agreement and glad to accept, while looking forward to the start of specific research projects.” Dr Won-Kyung Sung, Head of Information & Software Research Center of KISTI, says: “We expect that this Memorandum of Understanding will advance semantic web technology-based smart information service of KISTI and expand international collaboration in several R&D areas including semantic web.” Among the first specific projects that are included in the agreement is one related to DERI’s ‘web of data’ search engine Sindice. “Sindice represents a unique opportunity for researchers and companies to look at and start using infrastructures and concepts related to web-scale semantic data processing”, said Dr Giovanni Tummarello, head of the Data Intensive Infrastructure unit in DERI. “We are receiving more and more interest on this topic from enterprise and academic partners like KISTI”, added Dr Tummarello, “and there are solid prospects for Irish based job creation related to these activities in the near future.” -ends-

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The 2012 Annual InterTradeIreland Innovation Conference will take place at NUI Galway from 12-13 June. The free event will focus on a theme highly pertinent in the currently economic climate ‘Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation: Why it Matters’. The Conference aims to provide practical insights into how businesses, academics and policy makers on the island of Ireland can best exploit industry-university research, development and innovation to best effect in context of our economic recovery.   Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway states: “Innovation management is moving towards an open innovation model with industry, universities and governments collaborating to support scientific development and economic development. Over the last decade Ireland has increased its scientific capacity through public funding of science and technology. The open innovation model is being adopted by more industries and this poses significant strategic and operational challenges for companies, large and small. This Conference will explore how best companies can respond to these significant changes in research, development and innovation.”   The Keynote Speaker is Professor Donald Siegel, Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Management at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. He has spent his career building knowledge and expertise on issues relating to university technology transfer and entrepreneurship, the effects of corporate governance on economic performance, productivity analysis, and corporate and environmental social responsibility. He serves as President of the Technology Transfer Society in the US and was recently ranked Number 2 in the world for academic research on university entrepreneurship.   According to Professor Siegel: “In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the commercialization of intellectual property at universities. A concomitant trend has been a substantial rise in university-industry research partnerships, often with that same goal in mind. I will present some lessons learned for managers and policymakers who are interested in stimulating academic entrepreneurship and managing university-industry partnerships more effectively.  If you are interested in learning about ‘best practices’ in university technology commercialization, you should attend this conference.”   In the packed two-day conference programme, a number of business leaders and academic experts from both sides of the border will explore why the exploitation of industry and university-based research, development and innovation is crucial to the development of a sustainable economy. Delegates will also hear the results of cutting-edge research into innovation and entrepreneurship that is being undertaken in our third level institutions across the island.   Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director for InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland’s focus is on SMEs and ensuring they can access all the resources needed to engage in innovation. Open innovation is often seen as the preserve of larger firms however, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also adopt open innovation strategies through involvement in innovation partnerships and networks. Such companies need help to gain access to external knowledge, draw on alternative pathways to bring ideas to market, provide greater access to innovation capabilities and increase speed to market. This event provides those same businesses with these opportunities by allowing them to connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise both on the island and internationally.”    The Conference will be of interest to business leaders and senior managers in businesses across all industry sectors including public, private and the third sector including anyone with a responsibility for the strategic development of a business or organisation. The first day of the Conference (12 June) will be of particular interest to academic researchers with an interest in tech transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship.   The Conference is part of the InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Innovation Programme which aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, academics, students, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region via innovation conferences, lectures, seminars and master classes. The All-Island Innovation Programme is delivered in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For more information on the InterTradeIreland All Island Innovation Programme visit www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme   The two-day Conference takes place at the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2012. For more information and to register online to attend this FREE event, visit www.conference.ie and follow the link to the InterTradeIreland Annual Innovation Conference.   A Twitter Hashtag has been setup so that conference delegates can share their thoughts on the day: #aiiconf2012   -ends-  

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Galway City’s St Patrick’s National School were recently presented with the ‘Know Your Council’ Award at a special ceremony held in the Galway Council Chamber recently. This was a mayoral initiative by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness among senior classes in primary schools about the workings of local government. Over 370 pupils took part in the initiative and were presented with a certificate of participation. Ten primary schools reaching the final held in City Hall and two pupils from each school presented their projects to an independent adjudicating panel from NUI Galway including: Lorraine McIlrath and Mary Bernard of CKI, Dr Gerard Turley, Lecturer with the School of Business and Economics, Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Fergal Landy, Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and Conor Quinn, Student of Sociology and Politics. The pupils' work will form part of an information pack on local government which will be distributed to all city primary schools in September. Adjudicator Dr Gerard Turley said: “The adjudicating panel was very impressed with St Patrick’s critical analysis and ability to inform local policy.” The winner of the most creative poster was Scoil Iognáid, the winner of the best content poster was Scoil An linbh Íosa, the winner of the best presentation was Scoil Idé and the winner of the best project content was Scoil San Phroinsais. Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, Lorraine McIlrath, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between NUI Galway and Galway City Council, and this initiative is an excellent model of how institutions can collaborate in developing a culture of political literacy among our young people.” Speaking after the event Mayor Naughton said: “We had a fantastic response to the initiative and you could see that all the pupils really enjoyed researching and presenting their projects. The standard was very high and the pupils displayed an excellent understanding of their local council. This is a new initiative which could be rolled out on an annual basis not only in Galway but nationwide. It is important that we set up a programme nationally to continue this work to assist our young people in informing themselves on local government. I would like to thank all the schools who participated in this initiative and partners NUI Galway who administered and adjudicated the project.” The projects will be on display in City Hall for the next few weeks and they will form part of an information pack which will be distributed to all city primary schools. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Galway girl and NUI Galway student Móna Wise will launch her first book The Chef & I this Thursday, 31 May, in Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway. Part memoir, part cookery book, this heartwarming read, which began life as an assignment for Móna’s studies on the BA with Creative Writing Degree at NUI Galway, tells the story of Móna and her American husband, chef Ron, who she met while working in the US in the 1990s . A widely appealing story of love at first sight – and first bite – the book reminds readers to chase their dreams and enjoy delicious food on the journey. 75 pages of autobiography serve as an appetizer for 100 pages of recipes, with enticing images of food, family and fun scattered throughout the text. Parents to four children, Rory, Jack, Sam and Lulu, ranging in age from 10 to 6, the recipes in the book include family favorites such as the recipe for BBQ Ribs and coleslaw and the children's favourite birthday cake ‘Black Magic’. “I have had this story kicking around in my head ever since I saw the Chef’s tattered and torn recipe books, but it was not until I enrolled in my writing course that I felt I might have what it takes to write a book,” said Mona. “I knew, given the schedule and deadlines that if I had the opportunity to ‘live the life of a writer’ while still in college I would give it my best effort,” continued Mona. “Our story appeals to many readers because it is a true story showing how we built our family in a different way and recipes for all the fabulous food we have shared with friends over the years”. Returning from the US in 2008, where Móna and Ron ran a restaurant together, Móna took time out to write and enrolled on the 4-year BA with Creative Writing programme at NUI Galway, studying German and English Literature together with a specialism in Creative Writing. The book is her third-year ‘Independent Writing’ project, for which Eoin Purcell of New Island Press was commissioned as editor-mentor. Commenting on the book, the director of the BA with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, Dr John Kenny, said: “On our programme we are interested in how creative expression in itself can in turn be used to generate professional possibilities, and Móna is a prime example of what can be achieved when the opportunity for supervised self-directed learning is energetically grasped. With still a year to go to graduation, here she is with a weekly column in the Sunday Times, a widely admired blog, and now her first book – it's all a gratifying testament to her good will, hard work and downright gumption.” Móna’s work has recently attracted the attention of the national press and she has commenced writing her own lifestyle and food column for the Sunday Times Sunday Magazine. Móna’s blog wisewords.ie has now become well established and she is a familiar face at foodies’ gatherings. Her site has thousands of followers who log on for her regular restaurant reviews, wine writing, food-book reviews, recipes and child-rearing experiences. In addition to her column in the Sunday Times, readers can catch up with Móna on Twitter @WiseMona, Facebook  Móna Wise or WiseWords or follow her Blog www.WiseWords.ie The Chef & I will be available from Kennys.ie from May 31st and retails at €25 and is also available at locally in Galway at Cases Wine Warehouse, Charlie Byrnes Bookshop, McCambridges, Sheridans Cheesemongers and the NUI Galway Bookshop. ENDS

Thursday, 8 March 2012

68% say the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage 86% say they were concerned about the environment 89% say ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’ There has been a marked improvement in environmental awareness in Ireland over the past decade reveals the ConsEnSus Lifestyle Survey published today by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research programme. The same survey reported that approximately one fifth of all survey respondents had changed their energy supplier to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years and a large percentage (almost 70%) of respondents stated that the re-introduction of water charges would lead to a change in water usage.The ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability) Lifestyle Survey was carried out by researchers in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway with 1,500 households nationwide between 2010 and 2011. The aim of this survey was to obtain an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The survey explored respondents’ household behaviours in the areas of mobility, food, water and energy use. The questionnaire also examined attitudes towards the environment, towards environmental responsibility as well as attitudes towards perceived levels of environmental control and perceptions of quality of life.According to the project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “The survey is the first of its kind in the island of Ireland and the results have produced a huge database on public attitudes and actions towards consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The respondents were asked questions that went further than how and when they undertook certain everyday activities – for example transport to work choices, water or energy conservation activities – focussing on why they undertake these activities. The results provide extremely useful data revealing underlying motivations for many consumption activities and lifestyle choices.”The ConsEnSus factsheets released today comprise some of the highlights and key findings from this the first national dataset on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles across the island of Ireland.High levels of environmental concern across all age groupsThis study found encouragingly high levels of reported environmental concern (86% or 1,289 respondents stated that they were concern about the environment). Similar levels of environmental concern were recorded across all age cohorts; with slightly higher levels of concern noted amongst respondents in the 50-65 age category (88%) and also in the 65-79 age group (88%), in comparison to respondents in the younger 18-33 age categories (83%).Over half of the respondents (58%) felt that they needed ‘to behave in a more environmentally friendly way’ and 82% believed that their personal behaviour could make a difference to the environment.Impact of eco-labels on productsIn the Lifestyle Survey approximately two-thirds of all respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I trust eco-labels’. 66% of survey respondents stated that they pay attention to where and how the food they buy is produced.Concern about food wasteWithin the sustainable food movement, a particular concern is the large amount of waste occurring at every stage of the food chain. Many factors contribute to food waste and recent reports estimate that wasted food costs each Irish household approximately €700 annually (EPA, 2011). The findings highlight public attitudes and behaviour towards food waste in Irish households. A significant majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the statement ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’. The most common reasons for throwing food away are: ‘Too much is bought and it expires’ and ‘Food goes off because of a change in plans’. Just over a third of all participants claimed to never throw food away.Awareness of water usage and impact of proposed water charges With the cost of providing clean drinking water escalating, and with the proposed re-introduction of water charges for domestic dwellings, water and water conservation in particular, has become a very important issue for policy makers, businesses and consumers alike. The Lifestyle Survey found that a substantial number of respondents to the survey (40%) stated that they do not pay attention to the amount of water they use in their homes. Over one third of all respondents (34%) reported drinking bottled water on a daily basis.80% of all respondents surveyed across the island stated that there is ‘a need to save water’ with just 10% of respondents believing that there was no need to conserve water.Finally, 68% of survey respondents stated that the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage.Recent changeover to renewable energy suppliersJust over one fifth of respondents (21%) had changed to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years. Of these respondents; 65% stated ‘financial reasons’ as their rationale for this behaviour and only 9% reported ‘solely environmental reasons’. Respondents in the 34-49 age group were most likely to have changed to a renewable energy supplier.Public willingness to improve energy efficiency of homes, but little actionThe Lifestyle Survey found that although almost three quarters of all respondents (73%) stated that they would be willing to install insulation in their homes, less than one quarter of respondents (23%) had actually done so in the past five years.Prominence of private car use 71% of respondents who reported commuting to work, school or college stated that they usually drive a car. When respondents were asked what would encourage people to reduce their car journeys, 53% of the sample stated ‘improved, more affordable public transport’, 12% of the people reported ‘financial incentives to encourage walking and cycling’ and a further 12% citied ‘improved bike lanes, footpaths and pedestrian crossings’.Respondents who failed to use available public transport viewed it as ‘too restrictive’ (42%), ‘too unreliable’ (11%) and ‘too expensive’ (7%). 27% of urban dwellers who participated in the survey stated that there was no public transport available at all for their commute to work, school or college. The survey indicates that rural Ireland is particularly affected by gaps in public transport provision. Almost half of all rural respondents reported that there is no public transport for their commute to work, school or college.Marked improvement in environmental awareness over the past 10 years The results of this survey indicated that almost one third of all respondents reported not being well informed about the environmental impact of the products they used. However, this could be viewed as a positive finding when considered in light of the results of a previous national survey on attitudes and actions (Drury Research Study) conducted in Ireland in 2000, which indicated that over three quarters of the respondents were not well informed about environmental issues and stated that they wanted more information. In terms of reported levels of environmental awareness, the island is in line with many European countries; with 59% of the respondents in this study stating that they felt well informed of the environmental impacts of products in comparison to 55% of respondents in a recent Eurobarometer Study of European citizens (2009).In response to the establishment of this national database and launch of the preliminary findings Mr Kevin Woods, EPA said: “The establishment of this national database on sustainable consumption and lifestyles is significant and is an important step in moving towards sustainability in the key areas of water, energy, transport and consumer behaviour.”ENDS

Monday, 2 April 2012

Galway’s first app-oriented competition reveals talented coders among the NUI Galway and GMIT student population The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way. First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of ‘iSpeak’. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone’s accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app. The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential. Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: “We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway’s student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies.” Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said: “Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level.” Judging the competition were NUI Galway’s John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes. GMIT’s Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group. These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done. -ENDS- In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the individual category was ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. Pictured is its creator, GMIT Computer and Software Development Student at GMIT, Carles Sentis, who is originally from Barcelona. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the individual winner prize of an iPad went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal.  The fourth-year Software Development student, created ‘iSpeak’, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based application which allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year Computer Science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and Administration & Informations Systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the first prize of €500 in the group category was given to ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Con Crowley and Mike Rockall, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. Both in their final year, Con is studying Mechanical Engineering, while Mike is studying Sports & Exercise Engineering.

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway biomedical science students recently held a presentation day, to showcase the projects which they completed as part of the community knowledge initiative (CKI) module. This module introduces students to the concept of service-learning* and aims to link classroom learning and community service to enrich learning experiences and emphasise civic responsibility. The module gives the opportunity for students to learn and develop through active participation in experiences that meet real community needs. The module is integrated into the students’ curriculum to provide structured time to think, talk and report on their activities, while also working as part of a team. The four main projects this academic year included: Off Bio Heart: The development of a smart phone application to deliver video-based footage of curriculum-based biology laboratory practicals to Leaving Certificate students. This project, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Lynn O’Connor, Biomedical Science, and Dr Des Chambers, Engineering, was in collaboration with MSc in Software Design and Development postgraduate students Janette Saunders, Mel Reynolds, Karen Staunton and Shane O’Sullivan. Awareness of Hypertension as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor in a Third-Level Educational Institution: This Croí/CKI Health Promotion Initiative was supervised by Dr Ger Flaherty, Medicine Lecturer at NUI Galway, with the group reaching over 150 staff and students at the University.  Student Health Connect Mentors: Students acted as mentors both inside the University and in local schools, giving student-centred information about sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and nutrition. The project was supervised by NUI Galway Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Brian Stewart. Awareness day for the Irish Therapy Dogs Association:  This voluntary body provides physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centres, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support. The students also researched the growing interest in the use of dogs in medicine focusing on functions distinct from the role of the therapy dogs, producing and distributed a calendar highlighting the current and expanding roles of dogs in diagnostic medicine. At the annual showcase, Dr Lynn O’Connor, module coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “These community experiences bring the curriculum alive to the students and we appreciate the commitment of our community partners for providing these rich learning experiences for our second year students.”  Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of the Irish Therapy Dogs Associates, said: “Irish Therapy Dogs very much appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by the students of NUI Galway in increasing awareness about the benefits of pet therapy and the importance of the work that we do.” Programme Director, Dr Maura Grealy, added: “The programme has surpassed my expectations in promoting student development awareness of community needs, organisational skills and confidence; they have done great work and I am very proud of them.” This is the third year that the module has been offered to students of Biomedical Science and it has become a very positive aspect of the academic programme at NUI Galway. Over 40 degree programmes at NUI Galway include a service learning module. Engineering students find solutions to community problems, Occupational Therapy students roll out essential services to schools and hostels and Maths students work in second level schools and share their knowledge through a creative Maths curriculum. For further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cki and www.irishtherapydogs.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 2 April 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to a CAO Information Evening in Roscommon on Thursday, 19 April. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in The Abbey Hotel, Roscommon Town. The evening will begin with a short presentation on college and student life at NUI Galway and will focus on some of the 60 courses the University offers. There will be a number of career talks focusing on different employment options available to students on completion of their studies. These will include talks on Arts, Science, Business and Law, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Roscommon, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Roscommon is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the CAO Information Evening in Roscommon, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway lights up The Quadrangle which turned blue last night in advance of World Autism Awareness Day (today) Monday, 2 April, 2012. Lights were turned on as part of the Autism Speaks campaign 'Light it Up Blue' which works with a range of partners to light up major global landmarks in order to draw attention to the issue of autism. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway was officially opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in February. Through scientific research, education and services to the community, ICAN is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism and their families. To read Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway, opinion piece in the Irish Examiner click here

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The 2012 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals will be held on Thursday, 19 April, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students from across the country debating their way to be crowned All-Ireland champions. This is the only All-Ireland collaborative science outreach initiative of its kind.  A field of 40 schools has been narrowed to just four through 36 provincial rounds of debates held between January and March. The four secondary schools in the final will be: St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Donegal; Clonakilty Community College, Co. Cork; St. Andrews College, Blackrock, Dublin; and Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town.  The first two debates, St. Catherine’s Vocational School against St. Andrews College, and Abbey Vocational School against Clonakilty Community College, will focus on the moral obligation to explore research with embryonic stem cells due to the potential to develop new medical treatments.  The winners of the debates will then meet to debate the necessity of animal testing for advancing disease treatment. Debating Science Issues encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The competition is led by REMEDI at NUI Galway and collaborators include APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, RCSI, CIT, CRANN at Trinity College, W5 in Belfast, Clarity at UCD and the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh.  Danielle Nicholson, All-Ireland Co-ordinator of Debating Science Issues (DSI), said: “This project provides a great opportunity for the teachers and students to be exposed to some of the latest developments in biomedical research and also to consider the ethical elements which can be a great hook to interest the public in the scientific topics. Data collected from five cycles of DSI involving more than 3,500 students shows an increase in interest in science as a subject and as a career as a result of participation in the project.” This schools’ biomedical science workshop series and debate competition has been supported by the Wellcome Trust for five consecutive years.  Provincial trophies and prizes are provided by Abbott Ireland, Boston Scientific, Merck- Millipore and Pfizer Ireland.  Every year the project has evolved and has responded to the feedback gathered continuously throughout the project.  This year a new Topic Guide on rare diseases has been introduced and a dedicated website has also been developed, www.debatingscienceissues.com . -ENDS-

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The NUI Galway Society Awards 2012 took place recently in the Radisson Blu Hotel with 26 awards presented to students. The Society Awards celebrate the contribution which over 100 societies make to the University and the wider community. This year, the NUI Galway societies organised almost 4,000 events of educational, cultural, social and humanitarian value. In the last eight years NUI Galway’s societies have contributed over €1.5 million to charity, with the 863 committee members volunteering to the equivalent working hours as 95 full-time workers this year, with a turnover of over €1 million, making a significant financial contribution to the local community. The Business Society picked up three awards including Best Society, Best Online Presence and Best Large Publication. The Drama Society also scooped three awards, Best Poster, Best Photo for Paul O'Mahony from Galway City and Best Fresher for Christopher Moran from Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Best Individual Award went to Lily McGarry from Whitechurch, Co. Dublin, conductor of the Choral Society. Most Improved Society went to the Engineering Society, who reinvented themselves in conjunction with the opening of the new Engineering Building, and in addition to a packed programme of events, the society will send over 30 students to Zambia with Habitat for Humanity in June. Best Society Event went to the Music and Ents Society and Rock Soc for their band competition Witless. Best New Society was presented to the Lotus Society, who made yoga widely accessible to the student population, with the Physics Society picking up the Best Academic Society. Best Civic Contribution went to the Feminist Society, a new society which has made its presence felt on campus this year with a packed programme of awareness raising events. Most Soccesful Society went to the Musical Society, the Phoenix Award to An Cumann Craic and Best Multimedia Award presented to Michael Talty and the Film Society for their work on s:tv|Galway. Best Cultural Contribution went to Traditional Music Society and An Cumann Soisialta won two awards for publications for their Nuachtlitir an Acadaimh, and Chess and Go Society for their monthly publication Knight’s Atari. The Muscailt Awards, presented for contribution to the University Arts Week from the ArtsOffice, went to the Musical Society, Photo Soc and Comic Book Society. Dramsoc won the ALIVE award for volunteering.Special Achievement Awards were presented to: Laura Donnelly, Musical Society; Chemistry Society; Thor McVeigh, Organiser of Witless; Timothy Morrow, Lit & Deb Society; Sean Burke, Accountancy and Finance Society; Robyn Allen, for his contribution to numerous societies; Lisa Grant, Art and Fansci Societies; Ronan Gallagher, Dramsoc; Classics Soceity; FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centre) Society; Michael Slevin, French and Biz Society; and the International Students Society. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Séagh MacSiúrdain from Galway City, and the Society Outstanding Achievement Award went to Nollaig O’Scannlain from Athlone, Co. Westmeath.Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “The gala event is a fitting celebration of the extraordinary dedication and commitment of the students involved in societies. Not only do they make significant contributions to the campus and the wider community, but what they learn as individuals prepares them to take their place in the world as contributing citizens and augurs well for all our futures.” For information on NUI Galway’s Societies visit www.socs.nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Vitamin D and Lifestyle Interventions to be Trialled Pregnant women are currently being recruited into a new NUI Galway-led clinical trial which hopes to develop effective measures to prevent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Participants will randomly receive either vitamin D or a specific diet or lifestyle intervention, including physical activity by a lifestyle coach or a combination of diet and physical activity. The trial hopes to establish whether any or all of these interventions prevent GDM, which can have serious consequences for mother and baby during the pregnancy and later in life. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in overweight and obese women and is associated with insulin resistance, a precursor of GDM. Leading Consultant Endocrinologist and Head of School of Medicine NUI Galway, Professor Fidelma Dunne is heading up the research: “Gestational diabetes occurs in 12% of pregnancies and carries with it increased risks for both mother and baby. This pan-European study will help inform us of the best strategy to prevent GDM and in doing so also prevent diabetes long-term in mother and infant.” The study is being coordinated through the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway. Women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant and are overweight (BMI>29) and who will give birth at Galway University Hospitals are invited to participate on the study. All participants will be followed from 12 weeks of pregnancy until delivery. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is diabetes first diagnosed during pregnancy and is more common in women who are overweight or obese. Possible complications are oversized babies, birth trauma and even intra-uterine death. Neonatal abnormalities can also occur, including low blood sugar, difficulty breathing and jaundice. The maternal risks include an increased risk of caesarean delivery, pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Professor Dunne explains: “GDM therefore, is a significant public health concern for women and their babies in Ireland. GDM can also lead to future diabetes in the mother and diabetes and obesity in the offspring. While diabetes is traditionally associated with sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, the currently observed growth in developed countries is greater than expected from lifestyle changes alone. Evidence is accumulating that GDM is a more important contributor to these epidemics than previously recognised.” The research is part of a large scale, pan-European research project involving 13 partners from 11 countries, and over 800 pregnant women. The DALI project is funded by a European FP7 grant totalling €4 million. Those interested in finding out more about the study should contact Professor Fidelma Dunne or Veronica McInerney, Clinical Manager at the Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway on 091 495964. -ends-

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are at the centre of conservation efforts in relation to mining for precious minerals at the depths of our oceans. In this new ‘gold rush’, the ecological assessment of the effects of mining operations will be key to sustainably exploiting resources at these very important habitats, according to organisers of a major workshop next week. The Ryan Institute’s Patrick Collins and Dr Bob Kennedy have scheduled a high-level international workshop from 10-12 April with the aim of standardising methods used for assessing the ecological impacts of commercial mineral extraction at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Sometimes called ‘black smokers’ these volcano like structures sit thousands of metres under the sea and produce “seafloor massive sulphides”, sediments that are very rich in copper, zinc, gold and silver. They also support an array of unique life forms. The minerals found at hydrothermal-vents are increasingly in demand, for potential uses in the production of superconductors, precision lasers and other electronics. “We are seeing a gold rush to the bottom of the sea”, says Dr Bob Kennedy, an expert in benthic (sea floor) ecology with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. “Valuing the goods and services provided by ecosystems is always a difficult compromise. Mining hydrothermal vents involves the removal of the vents and adjacent seafloor massive sulphides using cutting and suction devices to transfer the ore to barges at sea. Where mining occurs, the habitat will be completely removed and there will be substantial disturbance to the adjacent area.” The workshop, VentBase, is supported by the International Seabed Authority and InDeep, the international network for scientific investigations of deep-sea ecosystems. VentBase is set to attract academics and high-profile delegates from all over the world, including delegations from government bodies such as IFREMER in France, JAMSTEC in Japan, KORDI in Korea and NIWA in New Zealand. Commercial mining companies will also attend, with a presentation by Nautilus Minerals, the first company to actually begin mining. At present there is just one site, Solawara 1 near Papua New Guinea, where mining is being actively developed. It has led to many calls in the scientific community and general press for a halt to mining at hydrothermal vent sites because of their high biodiversity value.   A biologist with the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, Patrick Collins was part of an expedition last summer which discovered a new hydrothermal vent site in the Atlantic. While actual mining is probably a decade away in the North Atlantic, he believes this is the ideal time for Ireland to take a central role in managing this unique biological resource. He comments: “From a conservation perspective, vents are one of the last remaining wild frontiers. We are only beginning to scratch at the surface of this enormous biotechnological resource. Animals at these sites have adapted to a very harsh, toxic and radioactive environment. Their tissue often has increased regenerative powers and may hold secrets to new medicines and useful materials. Life at these depths is not based on photosynthesis, but on turning energy from the earth’s core directly to biomass. This may be a good model for what life on other planets may be like. We should value giant tubeworms and bizarre blind shrimp for their quasi alien nature, and for reminding us that there is always the possibility of innovation in solving any problem, even if it seems like alchemy at first glance.” Despite there being data available from many cruises to investigate hydro-thermal vents, the information is often collected in a different way by each operator, meaning that it is very hard to compare vent sites to each other and to use evidence to make general statements about important processes at vent sites. The organisers of VentBase hope the event will help to develop protocols for the collection of rigorous and comparable evidence from many hydrothermal vents sites around the world. “The pulse of progress in the deep-oceans quickened after the announcement of James Cameron’s successful solo-expedition to its deepest recess,” says Dr Kennedy. “Cameron was only the third human to touch down and the first to film the 11km depths of the Marianas Trench. To put this in context, four times as many people have walked on the moon and over five hundred people have been into space. The deep sea is largely unknown territory and we must consider many ecological aspects before we throw open the doors to mining.” To listen to Patrick Collins on Radio One click here ENDS  

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

BioInnovate Ireland is delighted to announce the recruitment of the next elite, multidisciplinary teams for the start of the 2012 Fellowship Programme which commences in August this year.  Now in its second year, BioInnovate is a specialist training programme modelled on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University. The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme was developed in 2010 and delivered by a consortium of Higher Education Institutions with the overall aim being the training of graduates to support the creation of new, cost-effective medical devices that improve patient care through a collaborative approach that focuses on the needs of patients, physicians and the health care industry as a whole. The two new Fellowship teams, each consisting of eight fellows, will be immersed in a medical device innovation microclimate and connected to biomedical engineering, product design, clinical, finance and business expertise. The Clinical focus for the 2012 Fellowship programme is Urology and Radiation Therapy with both NUI Galway and the University of Limerick hosting the 2012 teams.  Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director based at NUI Galway, commented: “The standard of applications and competition for the Fellowship teams this year was very high with interest expressed from as far as India and China which demonstrates the excitement and appetite that exists amongst the Irish and international med tech environment for this type of programme.”  The impetus for the development of this specialist training programme emerged from the 2010 Innovation Taskforce Report. The new programme aims to hot-house, in the space of 10 months, talented individuals with multidisciplinary backgrounds to explore and develop in teams, opportunities for innovative medical devices. Professor Tim McGloughlin from UL added: "We are delighted to host a BioInnovate Fellowship Team at the University of Limerick.  This programme can transform the product development process in medical device technology while creating exciting new business opportunities by linking the academic and clinical environment to one of Ireland's most vibrant industrial sectors." It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The successful recruitment of eight Fellows to work in two elite multidisciplinary teams is now complete and these two teams will focus on Urology and Radiation Therapy, identifying unmet needs, inventing solutions to meet those needs and implementing the solutions the Fellows will then map a route to commercialisation to enable these solutions to enhance patient care. Professor Frank Sullivan, Director of the Prostate Cancer Institute, NUI Galway, and Lead Clinician, Department of Radiation Oncology, Galway University Hospitals, welcomed the recruitment of this year’s teams. “The ability to look at the clinical problems we face on a daily basis, with a fresh perspective, is highly appealing. The prospects for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches have never been greater in both the fields of surgery and radiation oncology.  We hope to focus the 2012 BioInnovate Fellows on the opportunity of developing exciting new therapies for prostate cancer. Ireland has the highest incidence of prostate cancer in Europe, and GUH in partnership with the PCI, are very excited to have individuals of such high calibre to work with.” The current Fellowship teams, due to complete the inaugural BioInnovate Progamme, are progressing their output of the 2011-12 programme with both the NUI Galway and the DCU teams focusing on developing and commercialising their concepts by summer 2012.  Dr Bruzzi added: “BioInnovate Ireland will have achieved its primary output with the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skill graduates emerging this summer.   This wealth of Med Tech BioInnovate talent will add value to the med tech market place over the coming months and we look forward to sharing the commercial opportunities and proposals as a result of the current Fellowship programme in May 2012.”  ENDS

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

NUI Galway and CPL Announced as Official Partners More than 500 volunteers have signed up to help out when the Volvo Ocean Race – the largest sporting event to hit Ireland this year and watched by 2 billion viewers worldwide – crosses the finish line in Galway in July.  But, there is still time to step up as a total of 2,000 volunteers need to be signed up over the next few weeks. Latest figures were revealed at the launch of the partnership of Volvo Ocean Race Galway with educational partners NUI Galway and recruitment partners CPL which took place durign Easter. Key speaker at the launch was Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Hildegarde Naughton who said that the support that NUI Galway and CPL provided made the made the festival possible and make it a very successful event. CPL have joined as the  recruitment partner  to take on the mammoth task of facilitating and coordinating the Volunteers that sign up, whilst  NUI Galway as education partners will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering. Both organisations will to work with non-profit event organiser Let’s Do It Global to help recruit and train over 1200 volunteers required to run the 9-day festival.  And, it seems that Galway is keen to offer a céad míle fáilte to the 700,000 expected visitors to its environs from June 30 to July 8 as people of all ages queued up at the launch for several hours on Wednesday evening to register their support. The volunteers are needed to help run the eight day festival organized by Lets Do It Global to celebrate the ending of the Volvo Ocean Race and will embrace everything from concerts, entertainment, arts, food, ice rinks and everything else in between. The festival has been created to embrace both consumer likes and business demands. A huge variety of sporting, kids, music and cultural events will be taking place in the Race Village. And a business expo, bringing together the best Irish companies and leaders with international financiers and potential partners in the areas of Green, Food and Marine, will take place during the festival in the Global Village. The majority of volunteers will be stewarding the Race Village and the Global Village car parks.  Other volunteers will man the numerous Information and merchandising stands across the festival site. And volunteers who don’t mind getting wet and are qualified in areas such as sailing, first aid and/or are senior sailing instructors will assist on water. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “NUI Galway is delighted to be on board with the Volunteering Programme for the second time. As Ireland’s leading University for student volunteering, we will bring our considerable expertise in the field of volunteering to bear in helping to mobilise and train the small army of volunteers required to ensure the smooth running of the 2012 Race. “Volunteers were key to the success of the Galway Stopover in 2009. They were the face of the event to visitors, and were really the heart and soul of the two-week festival. This time round I have no doubt the volunteers will make the same impact and will make a huge contribution to the overall success of the Race.” Last time the racing yachts from the contest came to town was in 2009 when Galway was a stopover point. Some 650,000 people visited the Race Village and 10,000 people lined the harbour walls at 3am on the morning of May 24 to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into Ireland. The Volvo Ocean Race is known as the ‘Everest of Sailing’ and is a nine-month marathon of the seas passing through four oceans and five continents covering 39,270 nautical miles. All volunteers will be invited to the Wrap-Up Gala and there will be prizes and surprises along the way.  Further information sessions will take place throughout April and May at various locations around Galway. Applicants will be matched to roles in early June.  For more details, visit www.volvooceanracegalway.com  ENDS

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Over 3,000 prospective students and their parents from across Ireland are expected to attend NUI Galway's Spring Open Day on Saturday, 28 April. Tailored towards Leaving Certificate and mature students interested in studying at NUI Galway, the Open Day will give the opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to sample university life at NUI Galway. Taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops and tours of the campus. New for 2012 is ‘Your Career with an Arts Degree’ - a specialised talk on the Bachelor of Arts providing an insight into the diverse range of careers from an Arts degree. Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, and the new Engineering Building. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day. Popular highlights for parents will be the talks, 'Focus on Your Career' and 'A Parent's Guide to University'. With a packed programme of events for all ages, including entertainment for younger children, the event is an ideal family day out. This year, all counties in Ireland will be represented by a team of 'student ambassadors', answering questions on specific courses and all aspects of university life. Lecturers and support staff will also be available at over 80 stands to deal with any queries about degrees, accommodation, finances and much more. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: "Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make and parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. The University was recently awarded the top rating of stars in the latest QS Stars rating system for its exceptional developments in education, securing five stars for its teaching and facilities. The University is one of the top universities for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of its Undergraduate students annually with the presentations of such awards as Entrance Scholarships, Sports Scholarships, Scoláireachtaí na Gaeltachta and the Dr James Massey Keegan Scholarship. The University also awards ten scholarships for Medical students who perform exceptionally well in the Leaving Certificate and the Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The NUI Galway Spring Open Day will run from 10am to 3pm and visitors can book a place and receive a programme in advance by logging on to www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, calling 091 494145 or emailing visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-   Lá don Teaghlach ag Lá Oscailte an Earraigh in OÉ Gaillimh  Táthar ag súil le breis agus 3,000 duine agus a dtuismitheoirí as gach contae in Éirinn freastal ar Lá Oscailte an Earraigh in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Sathairn, an 28 Aibreán. Tá an Lá Oscailte dírithe ar dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus ar dhaltaí lánfhásta a bhfuil spéis acu staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an deis ag daltaí agus ag a dtuismitheoirí agus a dteaghlaigh blaiseadh a fháil de shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh seisiúin eolais ar siúl ar feadh an lae chun léargas a thabhairt ar shaol na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh ceardlanna praiticiúla idirghníomhacha Eolaíochta ar siúl chomh maith le turais den champas. Den chéad uair i mbliana beidh ‘Your Career with an Arts Degree’ - caint speisialta ar an mBaitsiléir sna Dána - ar siúl. Gheobhaidh éisteoirí blaiseadh den réimse gairmeacha atá ar fáil le céim sna Dána. Ar thurais den champas, taispeánfar an t-ionad spóirt le giomnáisiam den scoth mar aon leis an bhFoirgneamh nua Innealtóireachta. Beidh turais de lóistín na mac léinn ar fáil do chuairteoirí ar an lá chomh maith. Cuirfidh tuismitheoirí suim sna cainteanna, 'Focus on Your Career' agus 'A Parent's Guide to University'. Tá clár imeachtaí den scoth beartaithe don uile dhuine, siamsaíocht do ghasúir óga san áireamh - is cinnte gur iontach an lá a bheas ann don teaghlach ar fad. I mbliana, beidh ionadaíocht ag gach contae sa tír ag an ócáid le foireann ‘ambasadóirí na mac léinn', a fhreagróidh ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí ar leith agus faoi aon ghné de shaol na hOllscoile. Beidh léachtóirí agus an fhoireann tacaíochta ar fáil chomh maith ag breis agus 80 seastán chun ceisteanna faoi chéimeanna, lóistín, maoiniú agus go leor eile a fhreagairt. Dúirt Caroline Loughnane, an Stiúrthóir Margaíochta agus Cumarsáide in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ceann de na cinntí is tábhachtaí a dhéanfaidh mac léinn go brách an ollscoil a fhreastalóidh sé/sí uirthi a roghnú. Tá ról tábhachtach ag tuismitheoirí tacú le mic léinn agus iad i mbun an cinneadh sin a dhéanamh. Is é an Lá Oscailte an deis is fearr do thuismitheoirí a chinntiú go bhfuil an t-eolas ar fad acu chun tacú le mac nó le hiníon ag an ollscoil. Molaimid do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu staidéar in OÉ Gaillimh teacht chuig an Lá Oscailte, labhairt leis na léachtóirí agus leis na mic léinn reatha, eolas a fháil faoi chúrsaí, breathnú ar na háiseanna agus a fháil amach duit féin an bhfeileann OÉ Gaillimh duitse. Bhain go leor mac léinn leas as Lá Oscailte an Earraigh sna blianta roimhe seo go háirithe má bhí rún acu athrú intinne an CAO a úsáid roimh an spriocdháta an 1 Iúil.” Tá aitheantas idirnáisiúnta ag OÉ Gaillimh a bhfuil cáil an teagaisc agus an taighde uirthi. Bhain an Ollscoil na marcanna ab airde amach i gcóras rátála QS Stars le gairid as forbairtí den scoth in oideachas agus bhaineamar cúig réalta amach sa teagasc agus sna háiseanna chomh maith. Tá an Ollscoil ar cheann de na hollscoileanna is fearr ó thaobh mic léinn a choinneáil agus fostaíocht na gcéimithe. Tugann OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas d’fheabhas acadúil na bhFochéimithe gach bliain le gradaim cosúil le Scoláireachtaí Iontrála, Scoláireachtaí Spóirt, Scoláireachtaí na Gaeltachta agus Scoláireacht an Dr James Massey Keegan. Bronnann an Ollscoil deich scoláireacht freisin ar mhic léinn Leighis a dhéanann thar barr san Ardteistiméireacht agus sa Tástáil Iontrála (H-PAT Ireland). Beidh Lá Oscailte an Earraigh ar siúl idir 10am agus 3pm agus féadfaidh cuairteoirí áit a chur in áirithe agus clár imeachtaí a fháil roimh ré ach logáil isteach ar www.nuigalway.ie/opendays, glao ar 091 494145 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig visit@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Niall O’Connor, an MSc student in Enterprise Systems at NUI Galway from Sligo, has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards held recently for his Smart conferencing technology package SonorPlex. The creator of SonorPlex was presented with his prize by Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly. Niall’s product SonorPlex seeks to deliver services which enhance the learning and interactive experience of delegates at conferences, using 'smart' devices such as tablets and smartphones. SonorPlex will unify these services using a cloud-based system to store, and manage access to conference content and data. Judges were greatly impressed with SonorPlex and its potential to draw investment to the domestic economy. Eight teams contested the final of the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards in anticipation of securing an investment of €10,000 for the winning project. The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway and has the goal of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the students of the University. The competition successfully attracted entrants from across all of the colleges and schools of the University, from which eight ideas were chosen to progress to the final stage. The two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tunes in the Church and An Mheitheal Rothar. Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, hails from a traditional musical family in West-Kerry and is currently in his final year of a PhD in Psychology.  His project, Tunes in the Church, presents traditional Irish music concerts in churches around the country and has already been run in St. Nicholas Church in Galway. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Gang) team hopes to set up a free, student-run bicycle workshop at NUI Galway to promote and support the benefits of bicycling. An Mheitheal Rothar is Paul O' Donnell an Arts Student from Galway, Mary Green a Geography Student also from Galway, Sarit O'Donovan, Environmental Science Student from Kerry and Senan Mac Aoidh an Arts Student from Monaghan. As part of the final assessment of their entries, students received an investment of €500 for their projects, and also received the assistance of specialised workshops from a team of experts, which was comprised of a combination of members of the academic staff of the University and members of the local business community. Bobby Kerr from RTÉ1 show Dragon’s Den, who presented the winning team with their prize said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” ENDS

Friday, 13 April 2012

A team of Scientists led by Dr. Louise Allcock, NUI Galway set sail onboard the RV Celtic Explorer 13th April 2012 to investigate biodiversity on the Whittard Canyon System. Whittard Canyon is a huge canyon system that spans Irish, UK and French waters along the Atlantic margin. This survey will take place in the Irish territory where the Continental shelf drops down to depths beyond 3000 m. The Marine Institute’s  Holland 1  Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be deployed to explore the steep canyon walls where biodiversity is greatest because of the fast currents there. Whittard has been explored before, but the system is so vast that some areas are still unsurveyed. The multidisciplinary team on board will be looking for corals and sponges, which can be found in extensive reefs at some depths.  A feature of species growing attached to the seafloor is the production of chemicals, thought to deter grazing and overgrowth by other animals.  There is significant scientific and commercial interest in the novelty of these chemicals for medical applications. Material previously collected for the Irish Marine Biodiscovery Programme has shown activity against some cancer cell lines, the first step in potentially developing new treatments. Material collected on this cruise will be examined in antibacterial and anti-cancer assays as part of the National Marine Biodiscovery Programme in NUI Galway, UCC and the Marine Institute. The survey will also carry out detailed surveys of the canyon system in collaboration with onboard taxonomists from across Europe, who are experts in identifying deep sea marine organisms. Biogeochemists from Trinity College Dublin will study the processing of material in the benthic ecosystem, with oceanographers from Galway following the transport of sediment and planktonic production to deeper waters. These studies will improve the understanding of the canyon ecosystem and the links between surface and deep waters. The scientists will be blogging throughout the survey and you can follow their progress at http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen’s University Belfast. The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland. Ends.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the launch of an online Diploma in Italian. Organised by the Discipline of Italian Studies at NUI Galway this unique programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and will be begin in September 2012. The Diploma is specifically tailored to suit the requirements of students who need flexibility in their time and mode of study and are not available to attend lecturers on campus. The course concentrates on all four main language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and provides a gradual introduction to the structures and functions of the language. In addition, a module on oral and intercultural skills will introduce various aspects of Italian life from an intercultural perspective. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian, NUI Galway, said: “The online Diploma in Italian is a groundbreaking experience employing the latest skills in e-learning and will enable learners to study Italian in their own time, wherever they are, and as part of a community of e-learners.” Dr Laura McLoughlin, Applied Language Teacher with Italian Studies at NUI Galway, who coordinates the new initiative in collaboration with E-Learning expert, NUI Galway’s Dr Silvia Bernabei, said: “Unlike many distance learning programmes designed for independent learning, the diploma course is based on a collaborative, communicative approach and students are encouraged to participate in virtual class activities with their peers and e-tutors.” In order to facilitate interaction and create a supportive learning environment, face-to-face on campus sessions will take place as part of the course. A practical introductory session in the use of computers will also be given at the beginning of the course to ensure that all students have basic computer skills. The Diploma in Italian is open to everybody and is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of the language. Closing date for applications is Friday, 13 July and full details is available at www.nuigalway.ie/italian/onlinediploma.html. Further information is available from Dr Laura McLoughlin at 091 492240 or laura.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-  

Monday, 16 April 2012

A crew of NUI Galway students and graduates are, for the first time ever, entering this year’s Round Ireland sailing race. The race is a 1400km non-stop circumnaviagtion of Ireland by sea. The NUI Galway crew, ten in total, is one of the youngest teams to ever compete in the event. The Round Ireland race is held every two years and considered one of Europe’s top offshore races.  This year, the start gun goes at 12:00 on Sunday, 24 June and the boats will finish from four to six days later, depending on weather conditions. The race begins and ends in Wicklow Bay. The NUI Galway crew is made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce. Sailing together in the NUI Galway sailing club over the past few years has built up the trust and camaraderie which will be relied upon during the race. The team have chartered a 38-ft racing yacht for the race. Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “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. Their determination and drive, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews is to be admired. We wish them fair winds and following seas.” One of the main aims of this project is to promote the home-grown sailing talent in Galway. Boat skipper, Cathal Clarke says: “The vision of this project is to prove the wealth of sailing talent here on the west coast and to encourage the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors to get out there and get sailing. We aim to inspire other sailors from the region to undertake such projects in the future.” Cathal added: “A busy few months lie ahead for us, with training on and off the water, safety courses and coaching lined up. But the aims of this campaign are high, with a lot of experienced sailors on board, we will certainly be looking for good results.” Encouraging the students was Cillian McGovern, project manager of Green Dragon who says: "The camaraderie and team work displayed by this young team is to be admired. What an opportunity to freshen up the sailing circuit in Ireland.” ENDS

Monday, 16 April 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of an upcoming traditional music and dancing conference and festival. Based on the Rambling House, or cuairteoireacht, tradition in which neighbours used to gather at a local house for music, dancing and merriment, the event will take this weekend, 19-21 April. The international conference, entitled Mapping Spectral Traces V, and the festival, Dancing Days, will explore the connections between how we inhabit such everyday spaces and how the traces of the past have shaped and moulded the places in which we live today. Highlights of the weekend will be launched at 7pm Thursday, 19 April at the Black Box Theatre and will be followed by the world premiere of Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Néill’s FRAME, produced by Richard Wakely.  Irish and international dancers, visual artists, writers, musicians and academics will gather in Galway throughout the weekend of specially commissioned performances and academic sessions that are free and open to the public. There will also be a pop-up art exhibition in the Black Box Theatre and the launch of a new essay collection, Irish Contemporary Landscapes in Literature and the Arts, in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Traditional artforms will include the Straw Boys, a house céilí and sean-nós dance, who will join traditional with contemporary, site-specific dance works, installations and artworks to create a night in which the audience members are vital players. The audience for the final event will be ferried from Galway city centre to a mystery location in Connemara by bus to experience a cuairteoireacht of the past but that is housed very much in the present moment. This particular event seeks to open up discussions as to how Ireland’s landscape changed from being the ‘céilí at the crossroads’ to the ‘chaos at the crossroads’ in recent years. Dr Nessa Cronin, Lecturer with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting line-up of free events and public lectures by Irish and international artists, dancers, musicians, architects and scholars who are all concerned with re-thinking how our lives are shaped by the spaces in which we live today. From an Irish perspective in particular, the construction and de-construction of places has been in the fore with discussions of NAMA and Ghost Estates in recent times, and issues such as these will be discussed over the course of the three days in Galway.” The event is organised by Dr Nessa Cronin and Tim Collins based at NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, Dr Karen Till of NUI Maynooth, and Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Neill. Mapping Spectral Traces V is supported by the IRCHSS, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and the Mapping Spectral Traces International Network. Dancing Days is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, the Arts Council, Galway County and City Councils, and the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. Conference events at NUI Galway are free and open to the public, and tickets for Dancing Days are available from the Town Hall Theatre at www.tht.ie  and 091 569 777. For further information contact irishstudies@nuigalway.ie and www.nuigalway.ie/centre_irish_studies.   ENDS