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

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Joint Mission to Film Marine Life at Three Kilometres DepthUndiscovered ‘alien’ life forms that thrive without sunlight in temperatures approaching boiling point may soon come to light thanks to a groundbreaking Irish-led marine research mission aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer. In collaboration with scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, the researchers are due to sail from Galway for the mid-Atlantic Ridge today (Wednesday 13th July).  The voyage is being filmed for the National Geographic Channel for inclusion in an upcoming series about the ocean. The mission, led by Dr. Andy Wheeler of University College, Cork (UCC), will be investigating life at 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea on the ‘45o North MAR hydrothermal vent field’ using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1. These vents, which spew mineral rich seawater heated to boiling point by volcanic material 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. Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute will lead Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, which could tell us not only about how life might have evolved on other planets, but may also be a rich source of new biochemical processes with valuable medical and industrial applications. “This expedition offers us the first opportunity to investigate mineral deposits and vent animals in this unexplored and important part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,” said Dr. Bramley Murton of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), who first discovered the location of the vents on an expedition aboard the UK research vessel RRS James Cook in 2008, and who is now leading the mineralisation study on the expedition. “Nothing is known about the hydrothermal vents, their mineral deposits or the life they support on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the islands of the Azores to the south andIceland to the north. Because this part of the ridge is trapped between these islands, vent animals may have evolved in isolation and be quite unique from elsewhere.” Patrick Collins, in collaboration with Jon Copley of the NCOS, will catalogue and characterise the species found at the vents.  According to Patrick, “We hope to find a whole community of previously unknown species, increasing our understanding of deep sea biogeography. There is potential here to putIreland on the global map as a serious player in deep sea science. This is all the more timely with the exploitation of deep sea and hydrothermal vents for precious metals and rare earth minerals now a reality.” Another objective of the mission is to investigate the rich deposits of deepwater corals on the Porcupine Bank’s ‘Moira Mound’, which has already been designated as a Special Area of Conservation.  These corals, which are very delicate and grow extremely slowly, are highly susceptible to damage by deepwater trawling and mineral dredging operations. Dr. Andy Wheeler, Chief Scientist of the Expedition, is a veteran of four previous ROV surveys to coldwater coral mounds. This mission is supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan. “This project is a perfect example of how strategic funding can pump-prime world-class marine research led fromIrelandinto new and exciting areas with tremendous potential for future sustainable development,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute. The research is also supported by the National Geographic Society. The mission carries geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Irelandand the UKas well as a three-person TV crew from National Geographic. They will spend 25 days at sea and will be posting a regular blog on http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com ENDS

Monday, 11 July 2011

NUI Galway and COPE Galway have been collaborating successfully for a number of years across a wide and varied range of projects. The partnership was formally ratified in December 2009 where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Professor James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, and John Concannon, Chairman of COPE Galway. Since then, the staff, students and service users across both organisations have been immersed in projects which have been hugely beneficial to the both partners and ultimately the community of Galway. A celebratory lunch was hosted recently by COPE Galway’s award winning Community Catering service, to celebrate this ongoing partnership. A snapshot of some of the projects gives an idea of the range and benefit involved: Occupational Therapy students became involved in COPE Galway’s Sonas Day centre for older people, in Mervue. One project undertaken was to set up a community website where the students worked with older people to identify interests and hobbies and custom built an easy to use website for the service. Links to regional newspapers, GAA and the CSO were set up to enable clients to have quick access to sites of interest. A second project focused on joint protection and had three elements; group work with older people demonstrating exercises, lifting techniques and information in relation to protecting the joints. The second part was a staff information session and third element saw the students organise a community Gizmo and Gadgets session where people could try out equipment and aids, learn a few simple exercises and talk to the students about the issue. Another occupational therapy student worked with two groups of older people over an eight week period to introduce them to the art of Tai Chi and to examine the effects of Tai Chi on the fear of falling. A group of NUI Galway final year psychology students conducted a survey on the volunteers of COPE Galway’s Community Catering service. Community Catering provides daily nutritious meals to over 180 older people in Galway, and the service could not be provided without the invaluable assistance of over 150 volunteers. The survey sought to provide feedback to COPE Galway in relation to the motives, experiences and outcomes for Community Catering volunteers. This was a very useful piece of work and one which will help in the future in relation to providing adequate supports to volunteers. Other projects included postgraduate students from the Management Information Systems course building a new Website for COPE Galway to improve ability to access and use a range of Social Media opportunities. This can be seen on www.copegalway.ie; a joint conference with the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) took place and a PhD study is on-going with the ICSG and the discipline of Marketing in NUI Galway, examining the role of community meals into the future. It is clear, says Jacquie Horan, CEO of COPE Galway, that COPE Galway has benefitted in so many ways from this partnership. “Our clients, our staff, our systems have all progressed positively from our close association with NUI Galway and we look forward to continuing this productive partnership where new and exciting projects and opportunities are already being discussed and planned” she said.Speaking at the lunch, President of NUI Galway, Professor James J. Browne said, “I am delighted that our organisations are working so well together, in a range of ways, to deepen civic engagement in the community.  Through this partnership, COPE Galway and NUI Galway are deepening student understanding of issues relating to the marginalised in society including homelessness, domestic violence and the elderly and our students are contributing to COPE Galway’s work programme.  Our organisations have co-hosted a number of conferences, including one with the University’s Centre for Social Gerontology in 2010, and we are continuing to work on research and research opportunities appropriate to our common objectives through final year projects, PhD research and individual academic research. On behalf of NUI Galway I am proud of this collaboration, which enables us to put our stated commitment to civic engagement into practice with COPE Galway.”  ENDS

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Web Science Doctoral Summer School, bringing together an international group of 50 postgraduate students, continues this week at NUI Galway. Organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), the Summer School attendees will learn analytical techniques to study the complex social and economic forces driving the evolution of the Web. Sixteen leading international authorities in Web Science such as Professor Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Dr Marc Smith, a sociologist specialising in social media, will deliver lectures and seminars on state-of-the-art Web Science research. Also featuring at the event is Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, who comments: “Research and study in the field of Web Science is made all the more challenging through the sheer complexity of social and economic forces driving its evolution. This Summer School provides a unique cross-disciplinary grounding in techniques for Web analysis. A mix of national and international contributors will delve into the dynamics and dimensions of the Web, providing an opportunity to explore ways and means of undertaking this research challenge.” A Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), supported by Government through Science Foundation Ireland funding, DERI was established in 2003. It has become an internationally-renowned Web Science research centre, providing the technology which underpins intelligent services on the Internet. Current research results include semantic search engines, novel collaboration and social media as well as sensor network technologies. This, the second annual Web Science Doctoral Summer School organised by DERI, commenced on 6 July runs until 13July. A Reasoning Web Summer School is planned for 28-30 August. -ENDS- 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway has formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New York College of Podiatric Medicine (NYCPM), one of the leading institutes in podiatric medical education in the USA. Speaking at the signing, Dr Caroline McIntosh, Head of Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway, said: “This agreement facilitates the establishment of student and staff exchanges, research collaborations and the co-development of innovative developments in podiatric education which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications.” Since its establishment, NYCPM has built up a significant reputation in excellence in podiatric education.  Dr Michael J. Trepal, DPM, Vice-President, Academic Affairs, and Academic Dean with NYCPM, said: “I look forward to the potential that this agreement offers to both institutions. It will without question enhance podiatric medical education, patient care and research. We are delighted to partner with such a prestigious university.” The Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway was established in 2008. Podiatry is a healthcare profession that specialises in the management of disease and disorder of the lower limb and foot. NUI Galway offers the only BSc (Honours) Podiatry programme in the Republic of Ireland. The development of this popular new course has increased the opportunities for Irish people to undertake training in podiatry and qualify as professionally accredited podiatrists in Ireland. The course has 25 places available for students per year. In contrast NYCPM is one of the most established colleges for podiatric medical education. The College is currently celebrating its centennial year. The staff team within the Discipline of Podiatry are delighted to announce this partnership with NYCPM and look forward to future collaborations and gaining from the vast experience within such a well established, and respected, centre for podiatry education.   -ENDS-   

Monday, 4 July 2011

Postgraduate students in Information Systems at NUI Galway recently showcased voluntary work that benefited local organisations in Galway. The showcase is the culmination of compulsory project work completed by the students as part of the MSc (Information Systems Management). The project component of the MSc requires students to analyse the operations of an organisation, focus in on a problem area, design a solution to that problem in consultation with the users, and develop and implement that solution. This year, a total of 11 projects were submitted, all involving a substantial amount of voluntary work where students applied their skills to address the needs of local organisations. The clients included Leitrim County Council, People with Disabilities in Ireland (PwDI), Cancer Care West, Western Care Association, Salthill Devon FC, COPE Galway, NUI Galway Rowing Club, and Tourmakeady Parish (Bliainiris Tuar Mhic Éadaigh) Co. Mayo. “The field of Business Information Systems is primarily about helping organisations to solve real problems and grasp opportunities,” explains MSc in Information Systems Management Programme Director Chris Barry. “Many people do not fully understand how innovative IT applications can be potentially very beneficial within their workplace, often because they are not aware of the capabilities of technology. This is where our postgraduate students can help.” The aim of the projects undertaken by students is to enable them apply the skills they learn on the programme, such as database design, user interface design, applications programming, Web development, business systems analysis, project management, security planning, and e-business strategic thinking, as well as skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communications, and presentation skills. It also affords the opportunity to be involved in civic engagement and volunteering. Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said “I was highly impressed to see the innovative capabilities of the students of the MSc in Information Systems Management producing such excellent and creative projects. NUI Galway places a high value on the importance of civic engagement and volunteering, and service learning is very much a core aspect of our teaching and learning strategy.” Support for NUI Galway’s service learning strategy is centrally provided by the office of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which also oversees the ALIVE student volunteering programme. Combining classroom theory with community practice, service learning is a teaching tool aimed at connecting students with their community through practical work and has given students the opportunity to see the impact that civic engagement has for the communities they work with, their own learning and the wider society. For further information contact Michael Lang, michael.lang@nuigalway.ie, Anatoli Nachev, anatoli.nachev@nuigalway.ie, or Lorraine Tansey, lorraine.tansey@nuigalway.ie.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The annual meeting of the European Chapter of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), which took place in Granada, Spain in June, showcased much of the innovative research undertaken by researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway. The NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration.  Last year’s TERMIS-EU meeting, which attracts leading researchers from academia, industry and clinical institutes, was hosted by the NFB in Galway.   At this year’s meetings, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB was invited to deliver a keynote address and eleven postdoctoral candidates and postgraduate students gave podium presentations.  In terms of conference abstracts, the NFB was one of the most prominent groups at the conference.  In addition, six conference sessions were chaired by Professor Pandit and NFB Principal Investigators Dr Wenxin Wang and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis.  These sessions are in the areas of Neural Tissue Engineering, Polymeric Transfection Vector, Injectable Scaffolds, Tendon Tissue Engineering, Modulation of the in vitro macro-environment and cell-based therapies.   Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis said “The fact that so many of our abstracts and submissions for conference sessions were approved by an international panel of experts in the field reflects the leading-edge nature of NFB research; this is hugely encouraging.  We always welcome the opportunity to interact and participate with the international scientific community”.  -ends-

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dr Neil Rowan, a lecturer and internationally recognised researcher at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway. Based at AIT’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Rowan has a strong history of collaborative research with leading medics, scientists and engineers at NUI Galway. Professor Rowan has collaborated with researchers in NUI Galway in the areas of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, water research, food safety microbiology, and bacteriology. Over his 20-year academic career, Professor Rowan has published some 70 papers in scientific and engineering journals, published five book chapters and delivered over 110 presentations at national and international conferences. He is delivering the keynote opening address at the 100th anniversary of the International Association of Food Protection Conference in Chicago this August. He has generated €8.6 million in research funding and holds fellowships of the Institute of Biology, Institutes of Food Science and Technology Ireland and UK. Professor Rowan frequently undertakes scholarly duties with the Food Standards Agency Scotland and the European Food Safety Authority, and is an expert evaluator for the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). Professor Rowan, a BSc in microbiology graduate from NUI Galway, said “I am humbled and honoured by this elevation and I very much look forward to facilitating further bridge-building in areas of research and teaching that are deemed of strategic importance to both AIT and NUI Galway.” The Academic Registrar at AIT, Dr Joseph Ryan, congratulated Professor Rowan on the appointment. “It is well deserved recognition for consistent endeavour that has contributed so much to enhancing the research profile of this Institute and in forging valuable collaboration with NUI Galway and other leading HEIs here and abroad. It also reflects positively on the standing of the Institute and for that, the Professor deserves special appreciation.” President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said “We are very pleased to welcome Dr Rowan as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine. The appointment is in recognition of his outstanding academic track record, his existing deep collaborative links with our School of Medicine which spans both research and teaching, and our desire to create a more formal basis for his future relationships with the School, to which we believe he will bring many further benefits.”   -Ends-  

Monday, 4 July 2011

The COLOURS Fringe Festival 2011 takes place from 1 to 8 July and features music, readings, exhibitions, films, and a parade. A number of the events are taking place in NUI Galway. TheatreThe Resolutionists, a new Galway based company, will present two Forum Theatre pieces based on Agusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Ye Are All the Fecking Same and Something is brewing in the Office will take place on Wednesday, 6 July at 1pm and 8pm in the Cube theatre, Aras na Mac Léinn NUI Galway. Side-Show Productions will present King Alfred - A Mystery Play, on Tuesday, July 5 and Friday, July 8 at 8pm Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway.     Footfalls by Samuel Beckett will take place on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, 8 July at 1pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway. Beckett's Footfalls will be performed by Unbound, Eilís Ward and Fionnuala Gallagher and will be directed by June Favre. ExhibitionsIn Print Exhibition will take place form 1 to 8 July from 12 to 4pm daily in the University Art Gallery. Fresh from the Fine Art Printmaking course at GMIT, ten artists will exhibit their work for the festival. The artists include Moira Comiskey, Tania Lee, Darragh Murray, Jonny Flynn, Stacey Power, Doris Vukovic, Ashling Gavin, Emily Real, Alan Clinton and Eric Bradley.A group exhibition entitled Galway Art Collective will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn from 1 to 8 July. Exhibitions will include: Simon Murphy - Making Space - in the strange and unknown; Marie-Jeanne Jacob - Wherever your feet may take you; Caroline Coleman - original paintings; Rachael Webb - The Happy Heart and Marina Wild - original paintings.   MusicLunar Echoes Music Night will take place on Thursday, 7 July at 8pm in the The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn. An infusion of folk, soul and traditional music, the concert will be performed by an eclectic group of musicians. A selection of music, dance, theatre and readings will also take place at a variety of locations around Galway City. For full details of all events at the festival visit www.coloursfringe.blogspot.com. Tickets are available from The Socs Box, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway at 091 492852.                                                               ENDS

Friday, 1 July 2011

Innovative research commissioned by the Western Development Commission (WDC) and carried out by researchers at NUIGalway has highlighted the potential for a doubling of the workforce employed in the Creative Sector over the next 10 years. Additionally this could lead to up to €150 million in additional exports per annum from the sector – a key area of growth identified. The report is a follow up to the WDC’s much heralded Creative West report published in February 2009, which in itself established the creative economy in the Western Region as being internationally significant with 4,775 businesses employing 11,000 people directly.   Today’s follow up analysis entitled –“Creative Sector in The Western Region – Future Growth Trajectories”, was published this week by the WDC. Complied by a research team led by Dr. Patrick Collins of NUI Galway’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) the report maps out the future growth scenarios for an industrial sector that has been bucking international trends in terms of growth.  “Internationally this sector has been outpacing others in terms of growth and this is a pattern that we see emerging in Ireland” according to Dr. Collins at CISC. “It is clear to us that a small number of policies, correctly implemented, have the potential to make a massive difference for the sector and the region” he continued.   Commenting on the research, Dr. James Cunningham, the Director of CISC maintained that "this work shows an area of potential for the whole of the west of Ireland, and in the current climate, all potential needs to be realised". Ian Brannigan Regional Development Manager at the WDC commented: “The WDC are delighted to welcome this analysis of how we create opportunities and employment from this indigenous and significant part of our economy. We have long realized the creative economy is a natural resource and we are now working with the sector to both highlight this and move ahead to grow the employment and export opportunities.” In particular the report focuses on the promotion of exports and increased collaboration between members of the sector as key steps in attaining this growth. The increasing international demand for the authentic and unique products characterized by this sector points to the growth potential for exporting, while the sharing of knowledge and innovation through collaboration also highlights the growth dynamic of this relatively new sector. The issues highlighted by the research are exceptionally relevant in light of the current economic climate and recent figures showing a rise in the numbers unemployed in the region. Ian also stated: “Of particular interest to us is the fact that in addition to the employment and revenue opportunities identified by the businesses themselves, the analysis shows us wider benefits in terms of option, educational and prestige values, which simply means that almost everyone benefits directly from the sector growth in some way or another” Gillian Buckley Acting CEO for the WDC stated: “Once again we are seeing that there is a real return on supporting our indigenous SME sector and that they form a key part in supporting the wider knowledge economy growth in the region and beyond. The WDC is happy to play a key role in helping make this happen in our communities.” This industry-involved analysis underpins an on-going series of initiatives that the WDC and its partners are undertaking to tangibly support the growth in market, revenue and employment opportunities within the burgeoning creative economy in the Western Region, the Creative West.  -ends-

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway is hosting its annual Research Open Day on Thursday, 9 June, from 2pm to 5.30pm. Short talks will address subjects of national and global importance such as the economics of marine energy and novel treatments of greenhouse gases. A meet and greet session and poster display highlighting ongoing research by some of the Institute’s 300+ researchers in areas such as Energy, Biodiversity, and Human Health will also take place. The free event is aimed at the general public and all are encouraged to attend. According to the Ryan Institute’s Director, Dr Colin Brown, “When NUI Galway’s Environmental Change and Martin Ryan Institutes merged in 2010 to form the Ryan Institute, it provided us with a great opportunity to further broaden the scope of our projects, and consider all aspects of our research from new angles.” He added, “Our Research Open Day provides us with the opportunity of sharing our work with the local community, and getting thoughts and insights from the people our research benefits.” According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute, “This Open Day should appeal to anyone who has an interest in how the world around us is being so severely affected by environmental and climate change. Everyone is welcome to attend. We invite all members of the public to come and join us on the day to find out what is going on in our local University that is leading to the development of new solutions to curb the damage caused by global environmental change. Anyone involved in eco-related business should not miss out on this event.” In one project that will be highlighted on the Research Day, Civil Engineers at the Ryan Institute are collaborating with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the National Roads Authority (NRA) to develop guidelines for a National Cycling Network (NCN) across Ireland. Postgraduate student Richard Manton is using the N59 Galway to Clifden route as a case study, and examining engineering, design, route considerations and cost benefit analyses. Principal Investigator Dr Eoghan Clifford tells us, “Ireland’s scenery is world renowned. The NCN presents an ideal opportunity to exploit our natural advantage in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. With the network in place, jobs can be created in the construction and maintenance of the cycle ways and local tourism will also benefit.” The Ryan Institute Research Open Day will be held on 9 June, from 2pm, with registration beginning at 1pm in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. The Research Day is free and open to all and pre-registration is not necessary. To RSVP or for more information visit www.ryaninstitute.ie or contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer on 091 495061 or sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie -Ends-