New Head of School of Law at NUI Galway

New Head of School of Law at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

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

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Engineering Networking Breakfast

Engineering Networking Breakfast -image

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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

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Investigating why people ‘comfort’ eat

Investigating why people ‘comfort’ eat-image

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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

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NUI Galway Host Largest Ever National Geographers Conference

NUI Galway Host Largest Ever National Geographers Conference-image

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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

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NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Comparative Public Law

NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Comparative Public Law-image

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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

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NUI Galway Provides Job Search Support for Graduates

NUI Galway Provides Job Search Support for Graduates -image

Thursday, 16 May 2013

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

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Irish Plant Scientists Conference Hosted by NUI Galway

Irish Plant Scientists Conference Hosted by NUI Galway-image

Friday, 17 May 2013

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

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Surgeon Calls for Public Awareness Campaign to Stem Dramatic Rise in Head and Neck Cancers

Surgeon Calls for Public Awareness Campaign to Stem Dramatic Rise in Head and Neck Cancers-image

Friday, 17 May 2013

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

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Smoking in the home causing as many fatalities as road traffic collisions

Smoking in the home causing as many fatalities as road traffic collisions-image

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

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

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‘Thinking Differently’ Focus of NUI Galway Symposium on Higher Education

‘Thinking Differently’ Focus of NUI Galway Symposium on Higher Education-image

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

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

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