Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Astronomers from NUI Galway’s Centre for Astronomy have made an important breakthrough in the understanding of how pulsars work, and have recently published their findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Andy Shearer, compared optical observations with a detailed model of the structure of the pulsar. From this, using their inverse mapping or reverse engineering approach, they were able to establish for the first time that most of the light from the pulsar comes from close to the star’s surface. This is contrary to most pulsar models and points to a new way of analysing observational data from pulsars. Dr Shearer said: “This is the culmination of ten years work. Our success is based upon having some talented post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers combined with looking at the problem in a different way. The result shows the importance of our approach of combining numerical models run on large supercomputers with detailed observations. To follow these calculations we will use the SFI funded Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP)* to finally establish the conditions around a pulsar and solve a forty year old problem - how do pulsars work?” In another development, NUI Galway astronomers, working with colleagues in Italy, the UK and US, have discovered an X-ray bright tail coming from a pulsar. The tail was discovered by combining optical observations taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-Ray observatory. The pulsar, known as PSR J0357, is about half a million years old and is located 1,600 light years from Earth with a tail of over four light years across. These findings have been recently published in The Astrophysical Journal. Despite over forty years of observation and theory, pulsars, which are rapidly rotating neutron stars, have defied an explanation of how they work. Pulsars are about one and a half times the mass of the sun, but are so small they could fit into Galway Bay. Consequently they represent extreme matter. They have a magnetic field which can be greater than a million billion times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. Their density is also about a million, billion times greater than the density of the Earth. They are formed during a massive explosion at the end of a star’s life known as a Type II supernova. During a supernova, the light from a single star outshines its host galaxy which contains up to a hundred billion stars.  The work at NUI Galway involved observations of the Crab pulsar formed in April 1054 when it was observed as a daytime star – unusually, very few observations of this event come from Europe, although it was observed by Irish monks and recorded in the Irish Annals. ENDS

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Showcasing science on a grand scale, European Researchers Night will take place in 800 venues across 320 cities on Friday, 23 September. Galway will be the venue for Ireland’s first participation in this event, under the theme ‘Sea2Sky’. The free, fun, family event will see hundreds of scientists presenting their research from the fields of Marine, Atmospherics and Astronomy. Thousands are expected to visit Leisureland in Salthill on the night, to participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, to watch demonstrations and simulations, to exchange ideas and get to know the researchers. In the build-up to the big event, details of a schools competition were announced today by  organisers NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria. The competition is open to 8-18 year-olds, and prizes include a two-night family break at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Co. Mayo, membership to the Aquarium and book hampers. The challenge is to design a ‘futuristic’ Research Vessel for the year 2040, where the Sea2Sky scientists, inventors and dreamers team will use it for exploring new discoveries from the ocean to the sky. NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Shearer is heading up the event: “It is very exciting to be part of such a large European celebration, and in terms of research, Ireland has much to celebrate. Around the world our reputation is growing as a hub of science, discovery and innovation. This event on 23 September offers the opportunity for us to explore the future being created on our doorstep. We envisage an evening full of fun, surprise and wonder.” Details and entry guidelines for the competition are available at www.sea2sky.ie. Closing date for entries is Wednesday, 21 September, and all designs will be displayed during Sea2Sky at Leisureland on 23 September. The Sea2Sky event is being funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and by Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free event open to all ages and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill from 11am-11pm.  The event offers the opportunity to explore the future being created on your doorstep in an evening full of fun, surprise and wonder. ENDS

Monday, 29 August 2011

NUI Galway has announced it will host the Connemara Symposium, a two day series of events in September in celebration of the work of Tim Robinson, the internationally acclaimed writer, map-maker and thinker based in Roundstone, Co.Galway.  A series of free events will run from 9 to 10 September. Tim Robinson is best known for his two-volume studyStones of Aran: Pilgrimage and Labyrinth (republished by New York Review of Books Classics Series 2008-9).  He is currently completing the final volume of a trilogy, Connemara: Listening to the Wind (2006) and The Last Pool of Darkness (2008).The recipient of a major European Conservation Award in 1987, Robinson was Parnell Visiting Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, this last year. Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran was described by the Irish Times as ‘one of the most original, revelatory and exhilarating works of literature ever produced in Ireland' and by the London Review of Books as ‘a wonderful achievement'. This year is the 25th anniversary of the first publication of Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage.The Connemara Symposium offers a unique opportunity to engage with his work and follows a previous meeting in Cambridge University (Watch a video of the Cambridge University meeting). The Connemara Symposium brings some of the world's leading creative thinkers and artists engaged with questions of human society and the environment toGalway.  Events include a screening of Pat Collins’s film ‘Tim Robinson: Connemara' in Roundstone Community Hall on the evening of Friday, 9 September; lectures and talks in the Galway City Museum by an international assembly of writers including John Elder, Eamonn Wall, Briona Nic Dhiarmidha and Kelly Sullivan; and readings in the Druid Theatre by Andrew McNeillie, Manchán Mangan, Moya Cannon, Eamon Grennan and Tim Robinson on the evening of Saturday, 10 September. “Tim Robinson’s writing about landscape and the human place within it is one of the world’s cultural treasures.  We are delighted to bring writers, academics and artists to celebrate his achievement and to discuss his work, which continues to speak to readers around the world.  Tim’s engagement with the west ofIreland, its people and languages, has added to a rich cultural tradition that extends back over centuries.  Our aim is to invite the community to join in the free and public events we have organised in conversation with Tim’s work.  The film screening, readings, lectures and discussions all offer different points of access to one of our greatest living writers’, says Nicholas Allen, Moore Institute Professor at NUI Galway.” In 2006, Tim Robinson and his wife Máiréad bequeathed their house, Folding Landscapes on the sea wall at Roundstone to NUI Galway. Folding Landscapes is a specialist publishing house and information resource centre dealing with three areas of particular interest and beauty aroundGalwayBay, the Aran Islands, the Burren andConnemara. The Robinsons continue to reside in the house, Folding Landscapes. At the same time the house has become a venue for the University to engage with the local community and to share the resources and knowledge of the institution's many visitors, academics and practitioners.  The Robinsons have a long-standing relationship with NUI Galway. Tim received an Honorary Degree in 1997 from the University. The Symposium is hosted by the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Project, a collaboration between the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway, Folding Landscapes and theUniversityofExeter, with funding from theBritishAcademy. For a full schedule of the Connemara Symposium please see http://www.nuigalway.ie/mooreinstitute                                                                      ENDS

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ten exciting research projects at NUI Galway have been funded as part of Science Foundation Ireland’s 2011 Research Frontiers Programme. The awards, which were announced recently by the Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock T.D., aim to support the development of Ireland’s human capital by providing employment and training to some of Ireland’s most talented researchers. In total, the Government committed funding of €15 million to be provided over the next four years to 79 research projects, across 15 research institutions. The ten cutting-edge projects at NUI Galway are: Dr Eilís Dowd: Harnessing adult stem cells for neurotrophin delivery to the degenerating brain. Dr Andrea Erxlebe: Functionalized locked nucleic acids that cleave the RNA component of human telomerase. Dr Dane Flannery: A new foundation for computing with linear groups over infinite domains. Dr Conor O'Byrne: Stress perception in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes: seeing the light. Professor Colin O'Dowd: (INFORM) Integrated volcanic ash forecasting system. Dr Zoe Popper: Characterisation of algal cell wall components for future biotechnological applications. Dr Nathan Quinlan: Towards a non-thrombogenic prosthetic mechanical heart valve: measurement of hinge flow fields at microscale resolution. Dr Michelle Roche: Endocannabinoid regulation of neuroinflammatory responses following bacterial and viral infection. Dr Gerhard Schlosser: Evolutionary innovation by rewiring of gene networks - Origin of sense organs in the vertebrate New Head. Dr Cindy Smith: Pathogen detection, survival and sheltering in a model water distribution system. Making the announcement, Minister Sherlock said: “It is vital that Ireland has a robust and competitive research environment that contributes to economic recovery. The projects announced today are very much part of this drive to further build Ireland’s research capability in support of our economic development. Science Foundation Ireland is a key organisation in driving this in terms of indentifying opportunities for top-class research in Ireland.” Minister Sherlock added “These projects are of direct relevance to our daily lives. Discoveries that can be achieved in these sectors will have an impact on computer science, the environment, health and other important fields with the potential to create and sustain top-quality jobs in Ireland.”   ENDS  

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has announced the establishment of a Rugby Youth Academy to cater for teenagers in Galway. The Youth Academy is an integral part of the existing University Rugby club which was formed in 1874 and is a founder member of the IRFU. Notable rugby graduates of NUI Galway Rugby Club include Ciaran Fitzgerald who captained both Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. The development of the Youth Academy, coupled with the University’s Sports Scholarship, is aimed primarily at strengthening the University’s AIL U20 squad in the medium-term. According to Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway: “The youth academy is a good fit for the University’s outreach and community support initiatives. It is envisaged that this new academy will add greatly to the development of youth rugby in the city and its environs. It will also be of great benefit for the University Rugby Club into the future.” In its first season, the academy will cater for U13 boys only, but will expand over the next five years up to under 18’s. Coaching, mentoring, and administrative resourcing will come from within the existing University Rugby Club and will be augmented by support from the mini rugby club - Na Bairneachaí (U8s to U12s) established in Barna/Knocknacarra area in 2007. Neil Keaveney, President of Na Bairneachaí, said: “We are very excited by this new venture within NUI Galway. It builds on the hard work and community involvement in the development of Rugby in the west side of Galway city. Simply put, it is a great opportunity for more kids to play more games in what we hope will be an enjoyable yet competitive setting.” The NUI Galway Youth Academy enjoys the full support of the Connacht Branch of the IRFU who are delighted to see the expansion and high profile the game is attracting, especially in the first year of Connacht’s participation in the European Rugby Cup. Gerry Kelly, CEO of Connacht Rugby, commented: “Connacht Rugby has enjoyed huge success in the last year and we are particularly excited about this year’s inclusion in the Heineken Cup. We see this development as a reflection of this success while also confirming the important role the University plays in Connacht Rugby.” Open day and registration will take place on Saturday, 3 September, in Dangan, Galway for NUI Galway Youth Academy and Na Bairneachaí. Training for U13 Boys, born in 1999, commences 17 September at 10.30am in Dangan. ENDS

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to the six courses it is offering as part of the Springboard initiative.  These programmes range in subject area from Environmental Sustainability, to Medical Device Science and Technology Commercialisation, to Innovation Management. All of these part-time courses are available in a modular, flexible format and can be taken via distance learning for students who are unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. The Springboard initiative offers free higher education for jobseekers, without affecting the social welfare benefits they receive. “Springboard is primarily designed to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession, and who need to up-skill or re-skill to gain sustainable employment again”, explains Nuala McGuinn, Adult Education Development Officer at NUI Galway.  “These courses would suit those who want to attain a qualification while actively seeking employment. The subject areas are directly focused on employment and the emerging skill needs of Irish industry.” While five of the six courses the University is offering as part of Springboard are level 8 and level 9, NUI Galway is also putting in place a Foundation Diploma in Science, Technology and Engineering. This level 6 programme is designed for people who have been out of the formal education system for some time and provides an ideal starting point for those wishing to embark on a longer term diploma or degree programme NUI Galway has a long history of working with adult learners, either those approaching third-level for the first time or those returning to study. Extra supports are put in place to provide students with the additional skills, computing and study skills, which they may need as part of their studies. All of the Springboard courses commence in early September so interested candidates are advised to check out course details as soon as possible.  Details and an online application process is available on www.bluebrick.ie/springboard.  Alternatively contact the Adult Education Office at NUI Galway on 091 495845. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

This year CAO applicants had their eyes firmly fixed on the job market as programmes in Science and Technology were among the most popular college choices at NUI Galway. Points for General Science, Information Technology and Biomedical Science all soared in the CAO first round offers from NUI Galway to prospective students hoping to start their third-level education this autumn. NUI Galway’s popular Biomedical Science degree jumped 30 points to 515 this year. As Ireland’s leading university for biomedical science, graduates of the programme enjoy excellent career opportunities, with many of Ireland’s multinational and indigenous medical device companies clustered in the Galway region. The Computer Science and Information Technology course also saw a huge leap from 325 to 390 points. This increase in interest in Information Technology is hugely significant and reflects the strength of the IT sector in the West of Ireland. Also particular to the west is the area of Marine Science, with NUI Galway offering the country’s only denominated Marine Science degree which increased by 30 points to 400 this year, reflecting this niche area of research and study at NUI Galway. While the General Arts degree is down in points nationally, NUI Galway’s denominated Arts choices continue to remain popular. In particular Arts with Creative Writing (495 to 505), Human Rights (455 to 470) and Irish Studies (400 to 415) all jumped points this year. The University’s Maths and Education course, which was developed to meet the shortage of qualified Maths teachers, also leaped by 40 points bringing it to 420 this year. Commenting on the overall trends and increases, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "We are seeing a clear trend this year towards programmes in the Science, Technology and Engineering fields as students focus on the job market of the future. Applicants are making well-informed decisions; they are choosing courses where the University has unique strengths and a well-established reputation. In particular, our Biomedical Science, IT, Engineering, Human Rights and Creative Writing courses have proved very popular this year". NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland, was recently opened and appropriately Engineering programmes at the University have increased in popularity. In particular the Biomedical (405 to 425), Environmental (310 to 470) and Mechanical (430 to 435) Engineering courses all saw substantial increases in CAO points levels. The new world-class teaching and research facility will open its doors in September to accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. -ends-

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The 7th Reasoning Web Summer School, bringing together an international group of postgraduate students and renowned lecturers, commenced today at NUI Galway. The event will be followed next week by the 5th International Web Rules and Reasoning Conference. Both events are organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway. The Reasoning Web Summer School and the Web Rules and Reasoning Conference are established international events in the area of applying Artificial Intelligence on the Web. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, says: “It is the first time these two events are held together and we are proud to have attracted them both to NUI Galway. By co-locating the summer school and conference and also by providing low registration fees particularly for students attending the conference, we aim to further promote interaction between researchers, practitioners and students in this exciting research field. This will also raise the international profile ofGalwayas a centre of excellence for high-tech research and employment.” The summer school received over 100 applications from students worldwide, from which 70 students were chosen to attend. This year, the focus is on reasoning for the emerging ‘Web of Data’, with 15 distinguished lecturers from theUS,South America,Germany,Switzerland,Slovenia, theUKandIreland. NUI Galway’s Dr Aidan Hogan is one of the participating lecturers: “The Reasoning Web Summer School is all about making the Web smarter and easier for us to navigate. If you take a step back and look at the global phenomenon that is the Web today, it is utterly astonishing. Now imagine the Web in five, ten, twenty, fifty years time. We are planting those seeds right now.” Dr Hogan added: “As more and more structured data like Wikipedia becomes available on the Web, we can deploy smarter techniques to better leverage this information for the users, enabling more intelligent Web searches or allowing companies linking data from the Web with their own databases in unforeseen ways.” The co-located conference will attract researchers and practitioners exchanging latest research results, including keynotes by Professor Marcelo Arenas (Chile) and Professor Marie-Laure Mugnier (France) as well as an industry tutorial from IBM. Some 50 international participants from academia and industry are expected to attend the conference which will focus on cutting-edge research results on applying intelligent inference methods to the Web. The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is a Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) established in 2003 with funding from Science FoundationIreland. Since 2003, DERI has grown to over 120 people. The Institute has strong ties to local and national industry with involvement by multinational companies and SMEs, and is leading research in its fields in various national and European research projects.  DERI emphasises education and technology transfer, which directly contributes to the Irish government’s plan of transformingIrelandinto a competitive knowledge economy. Current research results include semantic search engines, novel collaborative and social media, as well as sensor network technologies.   -ENDS-  

Monday, 22 August 2011

Marine biotechnology is the focus of a one-day conference being hosted by NUI Galway on Thursday, 25 August, entitled ‘Networks as Knowledge – Biotechnology Networks in the Atlantic Area’. The event is organised by the Marine Institute initiative Marine BiotechnologyIrelandand the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUI Galway, with the support of the European INTERREG project ShareBiotech and in association with the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) in NUI Galway. The conference will present the results of a recent survey that examined the needs and barriers in the biotechnology R&D sector inIreland, and will discussIreland’s position in the wider Atlantic area. Invited speakers fromIreland,Franceand theUKwill describe their experiences in the creation, management and use of shared skills and infrastructures in the life sciences sector. The objectives of the conference are to learn how networks of knowledge and infrastructures can contribute to innovation and to investigate what models oforganisation are available for the marine biotechnology sector. Speaking on behalf of NUI Galway and SEMRU, Dr Ilaria Nardello - National Coordinator of Marine BiotechnologyIreland, and ShareBiotech principal investigator, said, “The first objective of the Atlantic Area Trans-National Programme is to promote transnational entrepreneurial and innovation networks, which is fully in support of Marine BiotechnologyIreland.” Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute, stressed howIreland, though the implementation of the programmeoutlined inSea Change,Ireland’s Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy 2007-2013 is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits from an early investment in supporting such research. “Marine BiotechnologyIrelandis engaged in an array of activities that are relevant toIreland’s efforts to become a leader in the commercial exploitation of our extensive marine bioresources by continuing to develop and build onIreland’s excellence in marine biotechnology research.”This free event will take place in NUI Galway, at 10am on Thursday, 25 August. A tour of one of the technological core facilities (TCF) on campus will also take place as part of the conference on the day. For full details and online registration, please visit: http://www.conference.ie .   -ENDS-

Monday, 22 August 2011

NUI Galway will host Ireland’s largest surgical conference, the 36th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, on 2-3 September. Internationally renowned surgeon, Professor R.J. Heald, OBE, will deliver the Memorial Lecture on ‘Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Open, Key Hole, Endoscope or Robot - Where are we Going?’. Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is the third most commonly diagnosed major cancer in the world. Professor of Surgery at the North Hampshire Hospital and Surgical Director of the Pelican Cancer Centre, Basingstoke, R.J. Heald’s main interest for the past 20 years has been the research and development of the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) technique for rectal cancer. Professor Heald pioneered TME which has now become the new gold standard for the treatment of bowel cancer, as it improves cure rates and reduces local recurrence. With TME, not only is the cancer tumour removed but all the surrounding fat, lymph glands and blood vessels – thus minimising the risk of the cancer recurring. The annual Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, says: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Heald to our university. He is focused on advancing the most effective techniques in precision surgery for bowel cancer, aimed at improving survival and quality of life.” On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Professor Eilis McGovern, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at St. James's Hospital will present the State of the Art Lecture entitled Surgical Training and Surgical Service – Are we getting the Formula Right. To register, or for further information, visit www.freyer.ie.   -ENDS-

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A final year student of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway has been named on the shortlist of the Best-in-Show 2011* competition organised by The Digital Hub. SpellingRules.ie is the work of student Claire McNeilis and is shortlisted under the Multimedia category. Claire McNelis, originally from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, developed and designed the website, SpellingRules.ie, to explore the use of digital interactive media and computer games in literacy teaching, with regard specifically to children with dyslexia. The website demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily self-directed and enjoyable. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. Dr Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media congratulated Claire and commented: “We are thrilled for Claire and highly commend her work. In this shortlisted project, Claire highlights the way that, at present, spelling rules tend to be taught in a classroom setting in a way that is not necessarily accessible for the dyslexic student. Her computer application explains spelling rules, presents them in a way specifically designed for dyslexic users, and allows them to practise the rules in a simple computer game may help dyslexic students to learn and retain existing grammatical rules.” Ms McNeilis explained her motivation for the project: “While computers can be used to teach material as effectively as teachers, there is not currently an effective, age-appropriate, affordable computer-based application which helps students with dyslexia to learn spelling rules. Thus, it was undertaken to design such an application with the intention of hosting it online and making it freely available. The product teaches spelling rules in a way that is accessible specifically to people with dyslexia. It combines audio with written words (many of the problems that dyslexic people have with reading and spelling stem from a phonological processing deficit).” The final product demonstrates that interactive media can be used to help children with dyslexia to learn spelling rules in a way that is primarily enjoyable and self-directed. The use of games to reinforce the content suggests that exploiting the inherently motivational nature of computer games to help children to learn is a viable possibility not only for literacy instruction, but any subject. McNeilis added: “The games have different levels for different abilities. The experience is more like games than lessons. The games include an inbuilt reward system. The product includes multiple examples of the rules in action and is aimed at learners aged between 8 and 14 years.” The shortlist is currently under evaluation and the overall winner will be announced on 14 September 2011. Details of the shortlist is available at Best-in-Show 2011 Click here to visit SpellingRules.ie   ENDS 

Monday, 15 August 2011

NUI Galway will hold its twelfth annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2011. Parents/guardians are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs' which will take place at various locations across the country. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway, and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Study at University, Accommodation, Finance, Student Support Services, Recreational Opportunities and general advice in relation to the First Year Experience.The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Thursday, 25 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Friday, 26 August: The Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley, Dublin. · Donegal, Monday, 29 August: The Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Tuesday, 30 August: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Wednesday, 31 August: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Clare, Thursday, 1 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Monday, 5 September: The Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer with Student Services at NUI Galway, said: “The Student Send-Offs are a great opportunity to get valuable advice in relation to the first year at University. Students and parents always have lots of questions which they have answered at these information evenings.” For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email studentsendoff@nuigalway.ie. For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bridging the Transition from Primary to Post Primary Education Maths students are Stepping Up! at NUI Galway, as a week-long enrichment programme designed to support students’ transition from primary to secondary school, with a special emphasis on Maths Education, will begin. The programme is hosted by the Number Crunchers team, a group of nine Maths and Education students who are working with staff from the School of Education, NUI Galway as part of their degree course. The Stepping Up! programme will take place form 15 – 19 August and is open to school goers attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. The Number Crunchers aspire to help prepare students for the changes associated with the move to secondary school with an interactive and fun approach to both maths and school related social issues that affect young teens. The main aims of this programme are to improve maths skills, to be more at ease with the differences between primary and secondary school, and most important of all, to have fun! Modules in this course include Number Systems, Introduction to Algebra, Geometry, Probability and Puzzles and Codes. Dr Catherine Paolucci, NUI Galway Lecturer in Mathematics Education, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for students to explore a variety of real applications of mathematics and reinforce essential skills in preparation for advancing their mathematical knowledge in a new school environment.” In addition to an academic focus, the Number Crunchers also aim to prepare students for the significant social changes that young students face in their first year of a new school environment. Lessons on adapting to the new school environment, student-teacher relationships, bullying, and study skills will be interwoven into this course. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet other students throughout Galway and make new friends. Speaking about the ethos of the course, student Michael Kieran, a member of Number Crunchers, said: “There is a huge difference between primary and secondary mathematics, from the topics covered to the teaching approaches. The relaxed, fun approach of this programme will help encourage students to enjoy maths and look forward to their new schooling experience.” Stacey Burke, also of the Number Crunchers team, says: “It’s an exciting but nerve-wrecking time making the transition to secondary school; we want to encourage students to enjoy this process in a fun environment that interweaves maths education with social issues which will help to alleviate any anxiety that students may feel.” The programme takes place from 15 - 19 August 2011 and is open to any student who will be attending their first year in secondary school in September 2011. A fee of €20 per student applies. As the course runs next week, this is final chance to reserve a place at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=130 or contact Jean Kenny on 087-4147733 or j.kenny8@nuiglaway.ie ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

Everyone can be a Scientist for a day! On Friday, 23 September, 2011Irelandwill host ‘Sea2Sky’ - its first ever European Researchers Night - in Salthill,Galway. This one day celebration of science in inner and outer space is being organised by NUI Galway in collaboration with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria, and is funded under the European Union’s Marie Curie Programme and Discover Science & Engineering. Sea2Sky is a free event open to the all ages and will take place in Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill on Friday, 23 September from 11am-11pm.  The Galway European Researchers Night offers the opportunity to discover research facilities that are usually not open to the public (laboratories, research centres, museum collections); use some of the most recent technologies and instruments, with the guidance of our expert scientists; participate in experiments, competitions and quizzes, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas and party with the researchers! For one day only, these ‘ordinary people with unusual occupations’ will come into contact with visitors and will present their research work to the general public. Everyone can be a scientist! Different exhibits exploring marine science, atmospheric science and astronomy will be set up throughout the venue. Participants will have a chance to learn more about whales and dolphins in Irish waters, see a mini-sea exploration vehicle, take a 3-D tour of the universe, check out live demonstrations, take part in a host of hands-on activities, and much more. In the lead up to the event the organisers are running an art competition for the 8 – 18 year- old age group. Entrants are asked to design a new Research Vessel for the Sea2Sky scientists for the year 2040. Information on the competition can be obtained on their website www.sea2sky.ie Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event bringing together the public at large and researchers once a year on the fourth Friday of September. This is the first time that a European Researchers’ Night event is being held inIreland. Sea2Sky is a free event that does not require tickets or advanced booking. Visit Leisureland and Galway Atlantaquaria anytime from 11am-11pm on Friday, 23 September to take part. For further information visit http://www.sea2sky.ie/wordpress/ ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue a career in Engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 24 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering Degree courses at NUI Galway but have not met the obligatory maths requirement. In advance of this exam NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run for five days, from Thursday, 18 August to Tuesday, 23 August. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering and will highlight the applicability of mathematics to some illustrative engineering examples. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised.For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in Higher Level Mathematics. Those who took lower level Maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. Dr Mike Hartnett, Vice-Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says: “Each year a cohort of students gain entry to our Engineering programmes based on their results in our Special Entrance Maths Examination. These students are often high-achievers and as a result, have very successful careers in Engineering.” Demand for Engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and theCollege ofEngineering has expanded its degree programs to meet this rising demand. Engineering is at the heart of the emerging 'Smart Economy' and NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of Industry and the Smart Economy. The new four-story EngineeringBuilding, opening in September, is the largest Schoolof Engineeringin the country and will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff with its 400 rooms. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods.New courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector have continued to meet this growing demand. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline. NUI Galway also offers unique Engineering courses such as Sports and Exercise Engineering, designed to develop the skills and expertise to design sports and exercise equipment of the future and Engineering Innovation – Electronic which is designed to prepare engineers of the future, with the unique mix of engineering, innovation and business skills. Applications for the Special Maths Examination will be accepted at the Undergraduate Admissions Office reception desk up to 5pm on Monday, 22 August. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/specialmaths.html for further detail. ENDS

Monday, 8 August 2011

Due to demand, the NUI Galway dedicated First Year Student Hotline will be open for calls from Tuesday, 16 August. The hotline will be open to students, their parents and their advisers and will run until 23 September, 2011. The initiative, which was launched in summer 2010 and was the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. In its first year, the NUI Galway First Year Student Hotline received in the region of 3,000 calls.With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,200 new students in September, a team of specially-trained students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 20 and 27 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 10 and 11 September and will remain in service for two weeks after lectures begin on September 12, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A designated website for first years will also update on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Dr Martina Ní Chúlain, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, says: “A lot happens from the time the Leaving Certificate results are issued to when a student commences lectures - it is an exciting but yet daunting time.  Our hotline will act as a key resource to students, parents and their advisors, addressing a wide range of queries, which are entirely focused on the transition to third-level education.” Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091-493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. -ENDS-

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Irish and UK Scientists Explore Uncharted Deep Sea Vent Field. New Life Forms Filmed for Upcoming National Geographic Channel Series NUI Galway’s Patrick Collins, of the University’s Ryan Institute, is part of the Irish-led VENTuRE scientific expedition aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer who discovered a previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – the first to be explored north of the Azores. The mission, led by Dr Andy Wheeler of University College, Cork (UCC), together with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton in the UK, NUI Galway and the Geological Survey of Ireland, returned to Cork today (August 4th) from an investigation 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1. Hydrothermal vents, which spew mineral-rich seawater heated to boiling point by volcanic rock in the Earth’s crust below, are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals. The investigation was supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan and by the National Geographic Society, who filmed the work for inclusion in an upcoming National Geographic Channel series, “Alien Deep,” premiering globally in 2012.   “On the first dive, we found the edge of the vent field within two hours of arriving on the seafloor,” said Dr Wheeler. “The ROV descended a seemingly bottomless underwater cliff into the abyss. We never reached the bottom, but rising up from below were these chimneys of metal sulphides belching black plumes of mineral-rich superheated water. Often the search for vents takes much longer, and our success is a testament to the hard work and skill of everyone on board.”   Speaking from the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Mr Simon Coveney said "This work is an example of an exciting new discovery made with the Celtic Explorer and its present crew of Irish and international scientists. Through vessels like the Celtic Explorer, Irish academics and scientists can work with other international experts to explore the seabed in the Atlantic and make groundbreaking new discoveries. Ireland is positioning itself as a centre for marine research from a European and international perspective and this work should be supported and welcomed." Dr Bramley Murton of the National Oceanography Centre in the UK, who first saw clues for possible vents on an expedition aboard the UK research vessel RRS James Cook in 2008 and who led the mineralisation study on the expedition, said, “Our discovery is the first deep-sea vent field known on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge north of the Azores. Although people have been crossing this ocean for centuries, we are the first to reach this spot beneath the waves and witness this natural wonder. The sense of awe at what we are seeing does not fade, and now we are working hard to understand what our discovery tells us about how our planet works.” Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, who led Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, is working in collaboration with Jon Copley of the University of Southampton to catalogue and characterise the species found at the vents.      “Everyone on board is proud of this Irish discovery, which we have called the ‘Moytirra Vent Field,’ said Collins. “Moytirra is the name of a battlefield in Irish mythology, and appropriately means ‘Plain of the Pillars.’ The largest chimney we have found is huge – more than ten metres tall – and we have named it ‘Balor’ after a legendary giant.  In comparison with other vent fields, Moytirra contains some monstrous chimneys and is in an unusual setting at the bottom of a cliff—a real beauty.”   “Using the ROV’s high-definition video camera, we’ve watched unusual orange-bodied shrimp crawling around the chimneys, among clusters of tiny green limpets,” said Jon Copley. “Elsewhere there are writhing scale-worms, swirling mats of bacteria and eel-like fish – a riot of life in this unlikely haven on the ocean floor.”   The mission carried geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Ireland and the UK as well as a TV crew from National Geographic. It was supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan.   “This project clearly demonstrates Ireland’s capacity to undertake world-class marine research on a significant scale, a capacity created through strategic national investments in facilities such as the Celtic Explorer and the Holland 1,” said Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute. “This targeted use of research funding by our organisation, which has enabled senior Irish scientists to lead this survey in partnership with international colleagues, has resulted in scientific discoveries of global interest which will enhance Ireland’s growing reputation in deep-sea exploration.” ENDS 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

This year, as a further effort to enhance access and participation opportunities for unemployed and low income groups, NUI Galway has approved a Scholarship Scheme to reduce fees for applicants in receipt of Job Seekers Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance and One-Parent Family Payment, who wish to enrol for part-time degree and diploma courses provided by the University, and who meet Department of Social Protection income thresholds.   One of the programmes to benefit from this welcome announcement is the BA in Community and Family Studies. This distance learning programme is a four year, part-time honours degree programme in Community and Family Studies.  Community Education Officer at NUI Galway, Deirdre Hardiman, says: “It is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their knowledge and skills relevant to Family and Community work practice and policy in Ireland or abroad. This includes a study of the community, voluntary and Irish state sector’s roles in supporting community and family life in a rapidly changing Irish society.  Areas of study include community development, family support, adolescence, childcare, health, political and general socio-economic studies.”   Students are awarded a Diploma in Arts in Community and Family Studies on successful completion of the first two years of the programme and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community and Family Studies on completion of the four-year cycle.   Helen Casey, Community Education Officer, NUI Galway, also added: “To accommodate the work and family commitments of adult learners, the course will be delivered through distance learning, which is a combination of workshops, assignments and learning materials.  Students will attend around six workshops per year. The workshops (held Friday/ Saturday) will be provided at a number of geographic locations throughout Ireland.”   Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence the BA in Community and Family Studies but applicants must meet the University’s requirements for mature students entering higher education.   Other programmes to benefit from the scheme for the unemployed and low-income groups include part-time blended learning programmes in the Science and Technology area of Medical Device Design, Environmental Sustainability, Lean and Quality Systems, Software Engineering and Database Technologies, Technology Management and a number of part-time Diploma programmes in French, Italian and Spanish.   Further information and application forms on the BA Community & Family Studies are available from the Programme Administrator, Community Education Centre, Hygeia Office Block, Nuns Island , NUI Galway Tel: 091 495472/495786 and may also be downloaded from: http://www.nuigalway.ie/communityeducation   A full list of all part-time Adult Education Programmes is available at: www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation.   As closing dates vary, prospective students are encouraged to apply immediately.   ENDS 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

This year, as a further effort to enhance access and participation opportunities for unemployed and low income groups, NUI Galway has approved a Scholarship Scheme to reduce fees for applicants in receipt of Job Seekers Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance and One-Parent Family Payment, who wish to enrol for part-time degree and diploma courses provided by the University, and who meet Department of Social Protection income thresholds. One of the programmes to benefit from this welcome announcement is the BA in Community and Family Studies. This distance learning programme is a four year, part-time honours degree programme in Community and Family Studies.  Community Education Officer at NUI Galway, Deirdre Hardiman, says: “It is designed to enable participants to further develop and enhance their knowledge and skills relevant to Family and Community work practice and policy inIrelandor abroad. This includes a study of the community, voluntary and Irish state sector’s roles in supporting community and family life in a rapidly changing Irish society.  Areas of study include community development, family support, adolescence, childcare, health, political and general socio-economic studies.” Students are awarded a Diploma in Arts in Community and Family Studies on successful completion of the first two years of the programme and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community and Family Studies on completion of the four-year cycle. Helen Casey, Community Education Officer, NUI Galway, also added: “To accommodate the work and family commitments of adult learners, the course will be delivered through distance learning, which is a combination of workshops, assignments and learning materials.  Students will attend around six workshops per year. The workshops (held Friday/ Saturday) will be provided at a number of geographic locations throughoutIreland.” Formal academic qualifications are not required to commence the BA in Community and Family Studies but applicants must meet the University’s requirements for mature students entering higher education. Other programmes to benefit from the scheme for the unemployed and low-income groups include part-time blended learning programmes in the Science and Technology area of Medical Device Design, Environmental Sustainability, Lean and Quality System, Software Engineering and Database Technologies, Technology Management and a number of part-time Diploma programmes in French, Italian and Spanish. Further information and application forms on the BA Community & Family Studies are available from the Programme Administrator, Community Education Centre, Hygeia Office Block, Nuns Island , NUI Galway Tel: 091 495472/495786 and may also be downloaded from: http://www.nuigalway.ie/communityeducation A full list of all part-time Adult Education Programmes is available at: www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation. As closing dates vary, prospective students are encouraged to apply immediately.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

BioInnovate Ireland, a specialist training programme in medical device innovation, modeled on Stanford University’s prestigious Biodesign Programme, was officially launched at NUI Galway today (2 August). The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme has been jointly developed and delivered by a consortium of five Higher Education Institutions which include NUI Galway,UniversityofLimerick, Royal College of Surgeons inIreland,DublinCityUniversityand University College Cork. The overall aim of the programme is to train 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 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. Programme participants will experience an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout the 10-month period, they will avail of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation. Research students in the BioInnovate consortium will have access to modules as part of their structured PhD programmes to broaden their education and expose them to the process of bringing ideas from concept to commercialisation. This initiative has received funding fromEnterpriseIrelandand also support from several medical device development and service companies including: Medtronic, Creganna-Tactx Medical, Lake Region Medical Ltd and Steripack, Ltd. It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development withinIreland. Speaking about the programme, the newly appointed Fellowship Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, said: “Our mission is to educate the next generation of leaders in innovation and to support the future of the medical device technologies sector inIreland. The academic partners driving the development of the BioInnovate Fellowship Programme are committed to support innovation and entrepreneurship and to evolve the academic component of the Irish Medical Technologies ecosystem to ensure that the needs of the industry are met.” After an arduous application process, the eight successful applicants in the programme’s inaugural year, have now been split across two teams in Galway and Dublin. Commencing immediately, both teams will work within the clinical are of Cardiology, focussing on interventional and surgical procedures. The group of eight candidates come with a wealth of experience across the disciplines of medicine, engineering, business, law, science and information technology The search for elite candidates with a strong interest in becoming leaders in medical device innovation through participation in the 2012 cycle of the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will commence in the Autumn. -ENDS-

Monday, 25 July 2011

20 UScitizens have been awarded grants for the Irish Language Summer Study Awards from the Ireland - United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange. These new awards enableUS citizens, currently studying Irish in theUnited States, to participate in Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht this summer. Half of the total scholarship awardees,  supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the National Lottery,  will study at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in An Cheathrú Rua. Successful candidates have received a monetary award to cover travel to and fromIrelandand tuition in the course of their choice. Those studying at NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in An Cheathrú Rua include: Mr Kevin Clark, a Fair Haven, New Jersey attorney and security consultant, served over thirty-five years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Jersey State Commission of Investigation and Ocean County Prosecutors Office.  A member of Daltaí na Gaeilge atBrookdaleCommunity College,Middletown,NJ, he has attended Irish Summer Colleges with Oideas Gael, NUI Galway and Rath Cairn. He will spend a month studying at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Ms Kerri Farrell holds an MA in Irish and Irish American Studies fromNew YorkUniversity and is currently working towards an MA in Irish Literature and Culture atBostonCollege.  She will spend two weeks in an Irish Intensive course with NUI Galway. Ms Lynnasha Galbreath is a student of Graphic Design at the University of Kansas. Lynnasha studied Irish for one year at Haskell Indian Nations University and will spend one week at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Ms Jacqueline Geleta is a rising senior studying at theUniversity ofPittsburgh inPennsylvania. Ms Geleta has studied Irish for 12 months in Carraroe as well as at theUniversity ofPittsburgh. She will spend four weeks in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge again this summer Ms Ciara Grogan is a full-time student entering her final undergraduate year atCUNYQueensCollege.  She will graduate in spring 2012 with a BA in speech-language pathology.  She has been studying Irish for three semesters and will spend four weeks in NUI Galway. Mr Garth Lambson is a graduate student fromIdahoStateUniversity based inPocatello,Idaho. Mr Lambson has studied Irish for a year withLehmanCollege, City University of New York and will spend four weeks in NUI Galway. Ms Edyta Lehmann is a native of Poland. She currently lives in Boston, writing her PhD dissertation at the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.  She will spend four weeks studying Irish at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Ms Molly Loesche is currently writing her History Master's thesis, Rural Women and the Irish Ireland Movement, at theUniversity ofNebraska,Omaha. She has been studying Irish for just over one year, and is looking forward to spending four weeks at NUI Galway in An Cheathrú Rua furthering her studies. Mr Lucas Miller is a faculty member atHaskellIndianNationsUniversity inLawrence,Kansas,USA.  He has studied Irish for one year under the tutelage of an Irish Fulbright Scholar, and will be studing in An Cheathru Rua for one month this summer. Mr Ed Shevlin is a NYC Sanitation Worker who holds an AA in Historical Studies from Empire State College. Mr Shevlin is pursuing a BA in Irish Studies from the same institution, while taking Gaeilge classes atLehmanCollege. Ed began his Gaeilge studies at NUI Galway in the summer of 2009 and will undertake the Intermediate level course this summer. Commenting on the awards, the Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish language, Dinny McGinley T.D. said: “I am delighted that my Department was in a position to provide funding to the Fulbright Commission for this very worthwhile initiative. I am particularly pleased that an increasing number of students who study Irish in theUSand in many other parts of the world, continue their studies here inIrelandand as a consequence, can now be seen attending courses in the Gaeltacht. This results in bonds of friendship and a lifelong interest and understanding of the rich language and culture of this country. Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann muid!” Speaking about the candidates, Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said: “We were delighted, though not surprised, by the response to this new program which confirms the diversity of reasons and places that Americans are learning Irish.   Recent research that we have conducted has identified just over 80 third level and community based institutions across theUSthat are teaching Irish.  The applications revealed that Americans are learning Irish not just to re-connect with their Irish roots but to assist their PhD research in anthropology, religion, history and comparative literature.  Irish is seen by several applicants as not just a hobby or luxury but an essential academic skill. “Awardees’ backgrounds are varied, cross disciplined and stem from all walks of life.  We have students from a wide range of American universities includingBostonCollege, City University of New York, Emory, Harvard, Haskell Indian Nations, Idaho State College,UniversityofConnecticutand Yale. We hope these successful candidates will share their experiences with others on their return to theUSand encourage more to learn Irish in theUSandIreland.” Other successful awardees will attend the following courses: Oideas Gael, Glencolmcille, Donegal Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, Ballyferriter, Kerry FEICIM, Inis Oírr,Galway The Irish Language Summer Study Awards are not Fulbright Awards but a separate initiative of theIreland - United States Commission for Educational Exchange (The Fulbright Commission) and are supported by the Irish Government Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs and the Irish National Lottery. For more information visit www.fulbright.ie.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Over 600 debaters, from over 140 institutes right across Europe and further afield includingQatar,RussiaandIsrael, will descend onGalwayfor the European Universities Debating Championships hosted by NUI Galway. This is the first time this week-long championship will place inGalwayand will run from 7 to 12 August. The NUI Galway Law Society and the Literary and Debating Society are hosting the championships, which will cover debate topics such as economic policy, international relations and philosophy. The exact motions of the debates will not be released to the delegates until 15 minutes before each heat starts. Each team will debate in English but will be split into two categories, those who have English as a first language and those who speak it as a second language; there will be two finals under these categories. Nollaig Ó Scannlain, Chief Organiser and NUI Galway student, said: “We are very proud to be hosting this prestigious European event. It is a great opportunity for us to showcase the debating talents of NUI Galway students and to show many other European institutes the facilities that the University has to offer. Throughout the week’s activities, debaters will get a taste ofGalwayand Irish traditions and we are very much looking forward to learning from the diverse group of students who will be visiting.” First held in 1999, the European Universities Debating Championships is an annual debating tournament for teams from universities across Europe, although teams from theMiddle Eastand central Asian institutions are eligible pending the formation of similar competitions in their regions. For more information on the European Debating Universities Championships visit www.galwayeudc2011.ie.   ENDS

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Joint Programmes established to tackle Smart Economy Skills Shortage  The NUI Galway – University of Limerick Strategic Alliance is proud to announce the establishment two new joint MSc programmes which will address strategic R&D requirements for the country. The programmes, MSc Finance and Information Systems and MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice are significant in that they are the first joint programmes to be delivered through an Irish university alliance.   Smart Economy Skills Shortage – MSc Finance and Information Systems Finance and economics graduates looking to upskill can now avail of a new joint programme delivered by the Kemmy Business School, UL and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway. The new programme builds on the strengths of strategic alliance partners, NUI Galway and the University of Limerick, to deliver a programme in response to the market demand for graduates with ICT and financial management skills. The programme addresses a number of the skills shortage areas that have been identified in Forfás’ Guiding Principles for Submission of Proposals, Forfás’ 2011 document Guidance for Higher Education Providers on Current and Future Skills Needs of Enterprise, and the Government’s Building Ireland’s Smart Economy. While covering key future skills needs, the programme provides students with an opportunity to update, build and improve key strengths and capabilities, redirect their careers or consider how they can create their own employment or develop new routes to employment. The programme aims to provide essential ICT technical skills, but equally aims to deliver the financial management skills and financial decision making acumen – critical for employees in the targeted industrial sectors and core to the success of Ireland’s future economic growth. Professor Donal Dineen, Dean of the Kemmy Business School, UL, said: “This is an exciting new programme that combines the complementary expertise of the academic staff of the Business Schools of both NUI Galway and UL; the skill shortages being addressed are critical to the requirements of the emerging Smart Economy in Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, NUI Galway, said: “This programme has been designed to meet the needs of the marketplace by providing graduates with knowledge of both finance and information systems, something which is actively sought by employers in the marketplace.”   Boost to Green Economy – MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice Implementing correct policies to grow Ireland’s green economy will be given an important boost with the launch of the first MSc in Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice delivered jointly by the Strategic Alliance Partners. This programme has been developed in response to market demand for graduates with technical knowledge of the environmental sector plus an understanding of the range of policies currently implemented in Ireland and elsewhere which will enhance our performance in advancing our green economy. This will allow us to meet the crucial goals of reducing our reliance on imported fuels, creating additional employment, and ensuring compliance with EU directives. Strongly research led, the programme is unique in that it combines the expertise of both institutions and is geared to the requirements of key industry and government organisations. UL offers modules on material flow analysis and urban sustainability, while NUI Galway offers modules on landscape and habitat conservation. Speaking of the MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy and Practice, Brian Keville, Company Director and Senior Environmental Consultant, McCarthy Keville O'Sullivan Ltd, who himself studied Environmental Science at NUI Galway, said: “This new MSC will give graduates a detailed insight into the natural and built environment and the all-important interactions between both, across a wide variety of important subject areas that are increasing relevant in commercial, conservation, industrial and public policy fields. Many opportunities exist within the greening of the economy as governments, NGOs and companies work to meet environmental targets set within international agreements. Other opportunities exist to introduce green technologies and management strategies into Ireland, which have been successful in other EU states. Graduates will acquire translational and multidisciplinary skills in the environmental entrepreneurship and sustainability sector enabling them to take on managerial roles within an industrial / corporate setting, or within a regulatory body or consultancy firm.  Careers such as Sustainability Officers, Ecological Consultants, and Environmental Advisors exist within public and private sectors in Ireland and elsewhere. In addition, there may be opportunities for further research leading to the degree of PhD. Professor Richard Moles of UL explains the importance of the establishment of a new programme: “This programme brings together in one programme of study technical understanding, policy options available, and best practice in Ireland and elsewhere. It provides participants with the skills, knowledge and experience that are needed to pursue successful careers in managing environmental resources sustainably, and in finding novel ways to grow our green economy to reduce the need for expensive imports and create additional jobs at home.” Established in 2010, the NUI Galway - UL Strategic Alliance has established a number of joint programmes and shared modules which provide students with a unique opportunity to gain access to the research and teaching two of Ireland’s leading institutions. For further information about the NUI Galway – UL Strategic Alliance go to www.nuig-ulalliance.ie Course Applications are online at www.graduateschool.ul.iet ENDS

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway will host the 19th Annual Colloquium of the Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems (CSRS) of the International Geographical Union. This is the first colloquium of this Commission to take place in Ireland and will run from 1 to 7 August in the IT Building, NUI Galway. The Colloquium entitled The Sustainability of Rural Systems: Local and Global Challenges and Opportunities will see delegates travelling from 16 countries to present over 40 papers on the themes of Agriculture; Tourism; Population; Local Governance and Rural Development; Innovative forms of Employment; Rural Society and Alternative Energy. Rural systems are defined as including environment, society, economy and culture and the inter-relations between them. These systems are increasingly subject to global influences which are characteristic of the contemporary age. The local remains important as a context for the working out of processes associated with globalisation. The colloquium will allow delegates to explore these changes with fieldtrips to Cois Fharraige, south Galway, the Burren, and south and west Mayo. Keynote speakers for the colloquium will include: Professor Guy Robinson, University of South Australia; Professor Ana Maria Bicalho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Professor Lucette Laurens, University of Montpellier 3, France; Professor Michael Woods, University of Aberystwyth, Wales; and Professor Tony Sorenson, University of New England, New South Wales, Australia. Conference Chair and NUI Galway Lecturer, Dr Mary Cawley, said: “It is an honour to have been invited to host the 19th Annual Colloquium of the CSRS at NUI Galway. Our tradition of geographical research on rural issues and sustainability and our location in a rural environment make the University a particularly appropriate meeting place. We look forward to discussion and sharing research findings with our international colleagues during the paper sessions and the fieldtrips.” The International Geographical Union represents academic geographers internationally with their activities organised under the remit of commissions. The Commission on the Sustainability of Rural Systems was established in 1992 and meets annually in a different country. For further information on the colloquium contact Dr Mary Cawley at mary.cawley@nuigalway.ie.   ENDS 

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

40km Stretch of Mayo Coastline Plays Vital Role in European Project A 40km stretch of the Mayo coastline is playing a vital role in a European research project investigating the threats posed to coastal regions by climate change. Initial findings regarding the area, from Carrowinskey to Newport, will be shared with European experts involved in the project in Westport on Thursday, 21 July. The event will be hosted by the Irish partners, NUI Galway, Mayo County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta, and examine the extent to which development planning is addressing coastal risk. This particular stretch of Mayo coastline was chosen as it is a microcosm of the Irish western seaboard, with open and sheltered bays, tidal flats, estuaries, dunes and urban areas along the relatively small geographic area. The Atlantic Network for Coastal Risk Management (ANCORIM ) project is focusing on three key issues of erosion, water quality and planning. The €1.9 million initiative is funded by the EU and aims to bridge the gap between climate change scientists and coastal zone decision-makers. “There is concern over the extent to which natural risks are taken into consideration in planning decisions,” commented Dr Kevin Lynch of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, who is spearheading Irish participation in the project. “What we are finding is that the public are assuming there is safety from risk when granted planning permission by local authorities, but that is not necessarily the case.” Risks linked to climate change include flooding, strong winds, coastal erosion, water pollution and forest fires. The ANCORIM project hopes to support coastal managers and planners in methods for anticipating such risks and planning for unforeseen natural events. Commenting on this NUI Galway’s Professor Micheal Ó Cinnéide urged planning authorities to have due regard for risk in their decision-making and pointed out that ANCORIM was preparing an inventory of scientific resources and handbooks to facilitate this process.   Led by the region of Aquitaine in southwest France, the project is supported by the Europe Union in the framework of the INTERREG IVB programme - Atlantic Space: Investing in Our Common Future. Three years of research in Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal will culminate and the publication of full findings at a conference planned for Spring 2012.   -ENDS- 

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Industry and academia work together to meet current and future skills requirements NUI Galway is delighted to announce an exciting initiative with the Ericsson R&D Centre in Athlone. The Discipline of Information Technology offers a one-year Higher Diploma and a two-year Masters in Software Design and Development to graduates from diverse disciplines. In conjunction with these programmes, Ericsson will offer a number of scholarships to second year MSc students. The scholarships will comprise of a contribution towards fees plus a paid internship during which students will work on a supervised research or development activity at the Ericsson R&D Centre in Athlone. A unique initiative within IT at NUI Galway, this will be of particular relevance to current or recent graduates from any discipline interested in pursuing a 4th level qualification in Software with well defined career prospects. Dr Hugh Melvin, of the Discipline of Information Technology at NUI Galway, commented that: “Both these conversion courses offer students from diverse disciplines, career opportunities in the broad, vibrant and evolving software sector. We are delighted with this Ericsson sponsorship and it shows how industry and academia can work together to meet current and future skills requirements. We are in discussions with other industry partners and hope to make further such announcements.” Mr Michael Gallagher, CEO of Ericsson in Ireland, described the initiative as: “Part of a multi-faceted commitment from Ericsson to help the growth of Ireland’s knowledge economy. Software Engineering is an area in which this country has the capacity to excel and in which the opportunities are growing exponentially.” The Ericsson R&D Centre in Athlone employs over 700 software and systems engineers providing OSS (Operations Support Systems) for Network Management to Telecom Network Operators using advanced mediation, data management and visualization techniques. The Ericsson site in Athlone has global responsibility for end-to-end design, development, release and support of these applications. For further details regarding this announcement or the above postgraduate courses in IT at NUI Galway, please contact Dr Hugh Melvin (hugh.melvin@nuigalway.ie) or Dr Michael Schukat (michael.schukat@nuigalway.ie)   ENDS 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Irish MEP, Marian Harkin and French MEP, Cécile Levieil jointly hosted an exhibition featuring student volunteers from across Irish Higher Education title We Volunteer!.The week-long exhibition took place from 10 to 16 July, in celebration of the European Year of Volunteering 2011. The official launch took place on Tuesday, 12 July, in the European Parliament Brussels and was attended by dignitaries from across the EU Parliament and the EU Commission.  The We Volunteer! photographic exhibition of student volunteering recognises the extent and diversity of student commitment to communities with diverse organisations ranging from the Christina Noble Foundation in Vietnam, to Chrysalis Community Drug Project in Dublin, from the Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to community enterprise in Belfast, from peer mentoring programmes in Limerick and Cork to Karate coaching in Newry. The exhibition showcases the work of student volunteers from 20 Higher Education Institutions across Ireland. We Volunteer! is sponsored by Campus Engage, the national network for the promotion of civic engagement in Irish higher education. The exhibition featured NUI Galway student Nicola Brassil from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare and GMIT student Fiachra McInerney from Raheen, Limerick. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “This collaborative exhibition is a great opportunity to visually demonstrate how student volunteers get involved and make a commitment to bring about change.  Bringing the exhibition and featured students to Brussels is an important step in the recognition and celebration of student volunteering in Galway and beyond.”  Dermot O’Donovan, Head of GMIT Letterfrack, says: “For the past three years, as part of the student work placement programme, students from GMIT Letterfrack have been responsible for the establishment of a woodwork training facility in Maamba in Zambia. This centre was established with the aim of providing training for young adults from the region in order to provide them with skills to develop sustainable enterprises and opportunities for work. The project has grown in strength and has been co-ordinated in GMIT Letterfrack by Dr Patrick Tobin, and supported by the Sisters of Charity based in Maamba. We were delighted to be part of this We Volunteer! exhibition.” NUI Galway and GMIT recently announced a new strategic partnership to serve the educational, social and economic needs of their students and the wider regional, national and international communities. The agreement provides for collaborative opportunities in teaching and learning, research, entrepreneurship, regional development, commercialisation, programme design, distance education, and work-based learning. To learn more about the exhibition, to upload your volunteer story or to host the touring exhibition throughout 2011, visit www.wevolunteer.ie or email wevolunteer@campusengage.ie.   ENDS

Monday, 18 July 2011

A group of engineers at NUI Galway and the University of Ulster are developing bio-inspired integrated circuit technology which mimics the neuron structure and operation of the brain. One key goal of the research is the application of the electronic neural device, called a hardware spiking neural network, to the control of autonomous robots which can operate independently in remote, unsupervised environments, such as remote search and rescue applications, and in space exploration. According to Dr Fearghal Morgan, Director of the Bio-Inspired Electronics and Reconfigurable Computing (BIRC) research group, at NUI Galway: “Electronic neurons, implemented using silicon integrated circuit technology, cannot exactly replicate the complexity of neurons found in the human brain, or the massive number of connections between neurons. However, inspired by the operation and structure of the brain, we have successfully developed a hardware spiking neural network and have used this device for robotics control. The electronic device interprets the state of the robot’s environment through signals received from sensing devices such as cameras and ultrasonic sensors, which act as the eyes and ears of the robot. The neural network then modifies the behaviour of the robot accordingly, by sending signals to the robot’s limbs to enable activity such as walking, grasping and obstacle avoidance.” Dr Morgan explains: “Our research is focussed on mimicking evolution in nature. The latest hardware neural network currently in development will contain thousands of small electronic neuron-like devices which interoperate concurrently, in a similar way to neurons in the biological brain. The device can be trained to perform a particular function, and can be retrained many times for various applications. The training process resembles the training of the brain, by making, strengthening and weakening the links between neurons and defining the conditions which cause a neuron to fire, sending signals to all of the attached neurons. As in the brain, the collection of interconnected neurons makes decisions on incoming data to cause an action in the controlled system.” “Until now, the robotics arena has focused on electronic controllers which incorporate one or more microprocessors, which typically execute instructions in sequence and, while performing tasks quickly, are limited by the instruction processing speed. Power is also a consideration. While the human brain on average only requires 10 watts of power, a typical PC requires 300 watts. We believe that a small embedded hardware neural network device has the potential to perform effective robotics control, at low power, while also incorporating fault detection and self-repair behaviour. Our aim is to develop a robust, intelligent hardware neural network robotics controller which can autonomously maintain robot behaviour, even when its environment changes or a fault occurs within the robotics system.” Dr Jim Harkin, from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster (Magee Campus), comments: “The constant miniaturisation of silicon technology to increase performance introduces inherent reliability issues which must be overcome. Ultimately, the hardware neural network or robot ‘brain’ will be able to detect and overcome electronic faults that occur within itself, and continue to function effectively without human intervention.” The research project is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET), the International Centre for Graduate Education in Micro- and Nano-Engineering (ICGEE), the Xilinx University Programme, the University of Ulster’s Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, and the SFI National Access Programme.   ENDS

Friday, 15 July 2011

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, was in NUI Galway today to officially open NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland. The world-class teaching and research facility ushers in a new era for Engineering at the University, which has an excellent reputation in Engineering education. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods. From September, the four-storey architectural gem and its 400 rooms will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. According to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who studied at the University in the mid-70s: “Engineering has a long and proud tradition at NUI Galway and this magnificent new building is a fine example of how the University is responding to the changing needs in today’s world. This new building begins a new era for engineering students here inGalwayand will have far reaching impacts at local, national and international level. The work going on here will further develop NUI Galway’s reputation as a major international research centre in the field of engineering. I want to wish all the students, researchers, lecturers and other staff who will work here in the years to come every success in all their endeavours.” The building was developed at a cost of approximately €40 million, funded through Government funds, University sources and the generous support of individual donors and companies by way of the Galway University Foundation. Situated on the banks of the River Corrib, the building was designed by award-winning architects RMJM from Scotland in partnership with Mayo-based Taylor Architects, to complement the curves ofGalway’s most famous river.  A Living LaboratoryDesigned as a ‘living laboratory’ theEngineeringBuildingwill serve as an interactive teaching tool for students. Live data from numerous sensors will measure the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and will be used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Students will also be able to view sections of the foundation and structure which have been deliberately made visible, so that basic concepts can be taught in a real life setting. Also, services are exposed with pipes and ducting labelled in corridors and rooms as a ‘gross anatomy’ lesson of sorts for engineering students. Green CredentialsNUI Galway offers a degree in Energy Systems Engineering, and has a significant focus on research into environmental technologies. TheEngineeringBuildingitself contains a range of such ‘green’ technologies which will add to the hands-on learning experience for students. There is largescale rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofs for water attenuation, heat exchangers and many other cutting-edge technologies. The structure is among the first inIrelandto employ the use of voided slab systems. The innovation introduces ‘plastic bubbles’ into the concrete, reducing the weight and quantity of concrete used. Areas of the building such as the plant room will be accessible to showcase to students the industrial biomass boiler and Combined Heat and Power Unit at work. A Landmark DaySpeaking at the opening ceremony today, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said: “This is a landmark day in the University’s history.  The opening of theEngineeringBuildingbrings to fruition the efforts of many individuals to bring the highest quality facilities for Engineering education and research to NUI Galway.  This facility will be a national asset, providing the best resources forIreland’s engineers.  Our engineering graduates and researchers will shapeIreland’s future by building our national competitiveness, driving innovation and research and supporting indigenous and multinational industry.” Dean of theCollegeofEngineeringand Informatics at NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Lyons commented: “Completion of this world-class facility confirms NUI Galway’s position as one of the premier Engineering Schools in the country. This shows great confidence in the role of Engineering and Technology in the economic development of the West of Ireland and we look forward to contributing significantly to the future success of our region. We now have the physical environment to match our first-class range of degree programmes and leading-edge research.” Further information about the Engineering Building is also available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-engineering-building/ ENDS

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will fund a new scholarship open to all applicants and students accepted to the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of a competition, with the recipient of the scholarship awarded the tuition for one year of the programme.    The LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway offers students an innovative and internationally focused programme, dealing with the process of law reform and policy in the field of disability.  This area of law is undergoing significant change as a result of the introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.   The purpose of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy scholarship is to provide the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained through the programme to advance the rights and interests of persons with disabilities.  To be eligible to enter for the scholarship, candidates must first apply for the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. Only candidates who are offered a place on this programme will be considered for the scholarship. Candidates who have been offered a place, subject to degree results, are also eligible to apply. Applications for the LLM can be made online at www.pac.ie Shivaun Quinlivan, Director of the LLM International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, said “Our ethos is change. This new programme aims to equip students not just with knowledge and insights, but also with the skills and motivation to help transform the lives of the 650 million persons with disabilities in the world. It is one of the first of its kind in the world.” The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Sunday, 31 July, 2011.  Full application and selections details are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/llm/news.html and applications should be sent to llmdisability@nuigalway.ie. Applications will not be assessed if they are incomplete or have been received after the advertised closing date. ENDS