Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The new Mayor of Galway city, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, has launched the O’Shaughnessy Bridge with Mr Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects at NUI Galway. The bridge, which crosses the Eglinton Canal, is a suspension bridge of about 50 metres and is designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists as part of a wider scheme to encourage sustainable travel in Galway City. Speaking at the launch, Mayor O’Flaherty said: “This joint initiative between Galway Transportation Unit and NUI Galway is a credit to all involved. In particular this bridge plays a significant role in the increase in walking and cycling in the City by providing a high quality channel by which pedestrians and cyclists alike can avail. It offers potential to reduce car dependency in key areas of the City by offering commuters and pedestrian travel options.” The project consisted of the design and construction of two bridges, the main one spanning the Eglinton Canal and a smaller one spanning a nearby mill race. It is part of the Smarter Travel initiative and provides a vital link between Fisheries Field and the NUI Galway Campus. The project was promoted on a partnership basis by NUI Galway and Galway City Council. On behalf of NUI Galway, Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects, said: “We in the University were pleased to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in Galway City Council to advance this very worthwhile project.” Mr Warnock thanked members of the design team and the employees of the contractors, all of whom had worked with NUI Galway staff to deliver the project very effectively. The consulting engineers were Ryan Hanley and L&M Keating were the main contractors. The structural steelwork for the bridge was manufactured in Galway by Pat Rynn (Engineering) Ltd. Landscape architects Mitchell & Associates worked on the area where the bridge now meets the campus. Finance for the €1million project came from the National Sustainable Travel Office in the Department of Transport, with some additional funds provided by Galway University Foundation and the University itself. Michael O'Shaughnessy (1864-1934), whom the bridge is named after, graduated in Civil Engineering from NUI Galway (then Queen's College Galway) in 1884. In 1912 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the City of San Francisco. He undertook the building of new infrastructure for the city after the disastrous earthquake and fires of 1906, including the construction of the Twin Peaks tunnel, the famous Seashore Wall, the streetcar (tramway) system and the San Francisco Water-Supply and Electric-Power project, involving dams, powerhouses and 160 miles of transmission towers, pipelines and tunnels the whole way to the City. As City Engineer, O'Shaughnessy commissioned the design and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. The O'Shaughnessy Dam was named in his honour and provides water and electricity to 2.4 million people in the city of San Francisco, San Mateo County, Alameda County, and the San Joaquin Valley. Prior to becoming Chief Engineer in San Francisco O’Shaughnessy worked as Engineer with the Southern Pacific Railroad and with the Sierra Valley and Mohawk Railroad; was Chief Engineer of the Mountain Copper Company, where he built 12 miles of narrow gauge mountain railroad; assisted in building an aggregate of about thirty miles of large irrigation conduit and some twenty miles of tunnel in Hawaii; and constructed the 260ft high Morena Dam and 13 miles of conduit with seventeen tunnels for the City of San Diego.  ENDS

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The First Annual Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize for a Postgraduate Research Paper in Microbiology at NUI Galway has been awarded to PhD student Kate Reddington.   A native of Westport, Co. Mayo, Kate won the award for her recent paper on tuberculosis testing. It is hoped that her research will contribute to the global effort to control tuberculosis (TB). The new diagnostic DNA test allows for the identification of the exact bacteria causing a patient’s TB which will give valuable information for their treatment.   The prize was given in memory of the late Anthony (Tony) Moran, who was Professor of Microbiology at NUI Galway until his death in 2010. His major research contribution to microbial biochemistry and glycobiology is widely recognised at both national and international levels. Professor Moran was also a Mayo native, originally from Westport.   This Professor Anthony P. Moran Prize is open to PhD or MSc students, currently registered at NUI Galway who, as lead author, publish a high-quality research paper on any aspect of the microbiology of prokaryotic or eukaryotic micro-organisms.   Kate’s article was published in the acclaimed scientific journal PLoS ONE, and was co-authored by NUI Galway’s Dr Thomas Barry and Dr Justin O’Grady.   -ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Local Galway City weather is now available on your smartphone via an android app.  The app arose from a collaboration between the disciplines of Information Technology and Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. The weather data is provided by the IRUSE research group at NUI Galway led by Dr Marcus Keane, Lecturer in Energy Systems Engineering at the University. Dr Hugh Melvin, Lecturer in Information Technology at NUI Galway, said: “Is Galway the wettest city in Ireland? We all know that the Irish love talking about the weather and that the Irish love their smartphones. Now you can combine these two with a free Android app and answer that question at the same time. This version won’t stop the rain or banish the clouds but we hope that the next one will, a practical example of cloud computing.” The app is free and can be found by searching ‘NUIG Weather’ on Android app store. The app provides live weather data (such as temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and atmospheric pressure) as well as graphs of archived data so that you can review trends in weather over last day or month. The weather data is also available via web browser from http://weather.nuigalway.ie. The app development was carried out by Ronan Everiss, an NUI Galway Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate under the supervision of Dr Hugh Melvin. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The coastal radar system run by Dr Mike Hartnett’s research group in the newly launched Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, made a last minute entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. It has been revealed that the radar, which measures currents and waves throughout Galway Bay on the hour, was instrumental to the success of the PUMA team in the in-port races. The radar is a sophisticated system, normally used for advanced marine research. The finale to the Volvo Ocean Race took place in Galway Bay on Saturday afternoon, with the Discover Ireland In-Port Race, with PUMA going into the race tied on the same points with CAMPER. On Friday afternoon, Dr Hartnett was contacted by Robert Hopkins Jnr., PUMA Ocean Racing performance coach, to see if the radar data could be provided to the crew of the PUMA boat. Maps of the currents in the bay over the past month were made available to PUMA and Dr Hartnett advised PUMA on their sailing strategy for the important race. As is now widely known, PUMA went on to win in great style and win the series by a one point margin. The win marked PUMA’s first trip to the top of the podium for an in-port race in this round of the Volvo Ocean Race. PUMA finished on the podium in nine of the 10 in-port races, collecting 45 total points to win the overall In-Port Race Series. The crew was tied with CAMPER going into the final race and won the series by one point.  PUMA’s Robert Hopkins Jnr was delighted and said: “Currents in Galway Bay were a big factor in the In-Port Race, where tides, wind and river outflow make it all very complicated. To prepare for the race, we looked for surface current patterns in hundreds hours of data from the NUI Galway radar, took on-the-water readings before the start, and data from Mar Mostro’s own Doppler velocity log supplied by Nortek AS. It worked and we won the race.” The NUI Galway radar data will soon be available online to the public, hopefully helping local sailors to improve their performance. Dr Hartnett acknowledged the assistance provided by two local businessmen in enabling this advanced technology: “The Spiddal radar site is sending its data back to the computers at NUI Galway via the broadband service of An Crúiscín Lán, thanks to the permission of owner John Foy. Similarly, Liam Twomey, General Manager of the National Aquarium of Ireland, Salthill, provided access to their broadband to courier the Mutton Island radar data back to NUI Galway.” -ends-

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Interim findings from the HRB-funded ‘Pain Disability Prevention Trial’, currently running at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, shows promising results for people with back pain.  The researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of an active rehabilitation programme which allows patients who are off work due to back pain, the opportunity to attend 10 free one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist trained in pain rehabilitation.  The aims of the sessions are to help patients to gradually increase their level of activity and return to work.   Sessions focus on a range of pacing techniques, cognitive therapy to identify any unhelpful thinking patterns and the development of activity goals, stretches and exercising to improve physical function. Miriam Raftery, researcher at the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, says “The initial trends show that those who took part in the rehabilitation sessions had improvements in overall level of functioning and activity levels as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety, compared to those who didn’t take part in the programme.  This suggests that the active rehabilitation programme may be beneficial in improving overall quality of life among those with back pain.” Sue, 54, from Limerick, who took part in the free sessions earlier this year, says:  “The sessions helped me to structure my day, and acknowledge completed tasks.  It helped me realise that prior to the sessions every day was more or less the same.  I am now back to full time employment after four years.  I think the programme really helped me with this.” Tom, 37, from Galway, says: “I found the programme very beneficial and was very helpful to have the set appointment every week.  I will miss the sessions enormously.” Researchers are still recruiting people to take part in this trial in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Limerick, Cork and Dublin.  All appointments take place locally in each region.  The researchers are interested in hearing from people who are unable to work or are on reduced work hours due to back pain. Lead researcher Dr Brian McGuire, NUI Galway, said: “We are very encouraged with the early results of this programme, it has made a significant difference in the activity levels of a number of people with chronic pain.” For further information about taking part, please contact Miriam Raftery, Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway, email Miriam.raftery@nuigalway.ie, phone 091 495 830 or see the trial website: www.nuigalway.ie/pdp.  General Practitioners and physiotherapists interested in referring patients to the trial are also invited to contact this number. ENDS

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A delegation from NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights will appear today before the Irish Parliamentary Committee on Africa, to make the case for a rights-based approach to development assistance. The group will call on Ireland to fulfil its international legal obligations by adopting an ethical investment strategy as a core principle of its foreign policy.    Peter Fitzmaurice, Josh Curtis and Michael Higgins will speak today at the Houses of the Oireachtais, at a specially convened meeting which is expected to be attended by large numbers of TDs and senators.  The gathering represents the Irish section of AWEPA (Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa), which has over 130 members in the Oireachtas and is regarded as one of the most active sections. AWEPA works in partnership with African parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe, and facilitate African-European parliamentary dialogue. Ireland is currently undertaking a review of its Development Programme, and the AWEPA committee in seeking to keep its members informed about development issues, invited the members from the Irish Centre for Human Rights to make their presentation.  Speaking before the Committee met, Michael Higgins, a graduate from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: “Ireland can be justifiably proud of its tradition of helping others, but it now risks losing this legacy. Ireland forms part of the Nordic Plus group, a set of countries universally acknowledged as the international development agencies that lead the way in terms of best practice, effectiveness and innovation. However, in recent years, while all the other members of the Nordic Plus group have shifted towards or adopted a rights-based approach, Ireland has remained behind.” “Other countries have realised that a rights-based approach offers an authoritative response to many questions posed both by the public and policy makers; how can we ensure our development assistance leads to recipient governments adopting pro-poor policies, how can we ensure development assistance is sustainable, how can we ensure the participation of the poorest and most vulnerable in decisions that affect their lives? Ireland should follow the example set by the other members of the Nordic Plus group.”    Josh Curtis, a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, suggested that the Irish Government must engage with the issue of Irish and EU investment policy if the developmental aims of the Irish Aid programme are to be realised and achieved with integrity. He noted that international trade and investment agreements often operate counter to the interests of developing countries, and are presently prejudicial to the rationale and aims of development assistance.  Peter Fitzmaurice, also a Doctoral Fellow at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, added that recent developments in international human rights law concerning the obligations of donor states and international cooperation mandates the realisation of a more just and equitable system of international economic governance. He indicated that donor states will increasingly contend with arguments from developing countries, civil society, and the public, that a re-orientation of donor investment and assistance policy is necessary as a matter of international law. ends

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The School of Law at NUI Galway has announced six new programmes, starting in September 2012. The new programmes will be offered on a part-time basis and aimed at applicants who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but are unable take on a full-time course. Building on the innovative Master’s degree in Law, Technology and Governance, the School is accepting applications for: LLM in Law, Technology and Governance (part-time) Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (full-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in E-Commerce Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology Law (part-time) This suite of programmes offers students an opportunity to explore in-depth substantive social issues and questions of law and governance as these mechanisms evolve to deal with ever-changing technology and rapid scientific advances. In addition, academics from other institutions and key figures in public service, private practice and national and international organisations regularly contribute to the programme and enrich the overall learning experience. NUI Galway’s School of Law offers an active and dynamic learning environment with significant interaction between students and staff. Its objective is to produce highly-skilled and competent graduates with a significant expertise in their chosen subjects. NUI Galway Lecturer in Law, Rónán Kennedy, said: “We have specifically designed these new programmes for those who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but cannot take on a full-time course. Successful completion of these programmes can open a number of career options. If you intend to become a solicitor or barrister, for example, or are already qualified and want to expand into new career pathways, the topics covered are all busy areas of practice and will open attractive options, both in Ireland and abroad. If you want to work in the public sector or public service, the focus on policy issues will give you a perspective which will be of considerable benefit.” The deadline for applications is Friday, 10 August and applications can be made through www.pac.ie/nuigalway. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

One of Ireland’s leading web science experts, Professor Stefan Decker, has been invited to attend the exclusive Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in the US this week. Professor Decker is Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, which was set up with funding from SFI in 2003, and has since grown to become the largest research institute of its kind in the world. The annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit unites academic researchers and educators with Microsoft researchers, product group engineers, and architects to explore new opportunities and challenges in computer science research. The event, involving 400 of the best academic investigators from around the world, takes place in Redmond, Washington, today and tomorrow. DERI’s work is focussed on bringing about networked knowledge, by developing and applying a range of web technologies and standards. According to Professor Decker: “New standards and technologies are changing the World Wide Web from a web of documents into a network of data and knowledge. A combination of technologies, known collectively as the Semantic Web, is making it possible to link that data together on the Web and to use it in new and exciting ways, and transform the Web into networked knowledge.” -ends-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The 2011 Census shows that more than two out of every five people aged 65 and over lives in a rural community. Surprisingly, relatively little is known about the situation of this important demographic group. The Rural Ageing Observatory at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is seeking to fill some of the gaps in knowledge on rural ageing. It recently launched the first two reports in a series that, in time, will provide vital information about the ageing population in rural Ireland. The first of the short reports focuses on key demographic trends and issues facing rural older people. The second report summarises evidence relating to income, poverty and deprivation of Ireland’s older rural population. Launching the reports, Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, said: “More than 200,000 people over the age of 65 live in rural communities across Ireland. In the autumn, the government will be launching its National Positive Ageing Strategy. It’s important that this is a strategy for older people wherever they live – in rural as well as in urban communities. Greater awareness of the circumstances of rural older people, in particular, is essential if the right policy measures are to be adopted.” Both reports are available online at www.icsg.ie. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Galway mum-of-two Ann Brehony launched her essential family holiday helper app called Ireland Are We There Yet? last October in the Apple App Store to rave reviews. The idea had come about while studying for her MA in Publishing at NUI Galway. As part of her course Ann completed a business plan for an innovative publishing venture, such was the positive reaction from course tutors that she set about getting the project funded. A mere nine months post graduation an international publishing deal was secured with American digital travel publisher Sutro Media. The app has now sold in over eighteen countries worldwide, feedback has been universally positive leading to a further release on the Android platform in early 2012. “The beauty of this product” explains Ann “is that it is like a living breathing organic publication, I constantly update the material which keeps everything fresh and vibrant”. The app is a 32-county guide to things to do and see with your kids in Ireland, rain or shine. The latest version, which is free to existing customers, has just hit the App Store and is already flying off the digital shelves! The new updated app is packed with over 70 additional entries with a new layout and improved search facilities. “Through the comments section in the App, I can enter into conversation with my customers and respond to their needs and experiences; initial feedback told me that people were looking for more things to occupy teens and older kids so I was able to create a whole new section easily searchable under the same tag. As a mother of two, one of whom has special needs, I know how hard it can be to keep the kids amused all summer, this app was born out of my own need so I do understand what my customers want.” Publishers Sutro Media say: “This app is like the local cousin you never knew you had! It has sussed the best ways to visit Ireland with kids so you don't have to do the legwork;  It's like having a bunch of native kids show you the best stuff to do in this magical country.” App highlights include: Packed with places kids will love to visit. Quirky car games to keep them amused and engaged with the trip along the way.  A full nationwide listing of free outdoor play areas. Scavenger hunts and car bingo will get you working as a team so you get the most of your family time together. Improved layout with Twitter and Facebook links to each entry. An introduction to the Faery World. Listings of nationwide fun activities like Diving, Surfing, Sailing, Whale and Dolphin Watching Horse Riding and Cycling Trails. A guide to famous film locations. Price: €2.39, £1.79, $2.99  Available on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ireland-are-we-there-yet/id464158415?mt=8 Available on Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sutromedia.android.guide.ireland.kids&hl=en  ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Higher Education Authority Chief Executive, Tom Boland recently launched a new book, Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Lorraine Mc Ilrath and Ann Lyons from the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teachingat NUI Galway and Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU, the new book was launched following a round-table discussion on how to move forward the civic engagement agenda in Irish higher education institutions. Welcoming the attendants, DCU President, Professor Brian Mc Craith, praised the publication of the book and supported the round-table discussion around how higher education could build civic engagement. The round table included contributions from Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, Dr Helen McQuillan, Manager of DCU in the Community and Madeleine Clark, Founder of Genio and Ashoka Entrepreneur. Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, said:“The Community Knowledge Initiative began at NUI Galway with external funding and then became embedded within the culture of the University. There are now many initiatives in the area of community based or service learning and around volunteering which are ‘making a difference’ in the lives of students and in the wider community. This work also led to the HEA funded Campus Engage network designed to promote civic engagement across the sector and ‘mainstream’ if possible.” Speaking at the launch Tom Boland outlined the new national higher education strategy and the important role of civic engagement within it. “It could contribute hugely to transforming research, teaching and the student experience. There is also a growing appreciation of the potential of higher education institutions to contribute to social equality and community development with much greater emphasis on principles of partnership, empowerment, participation and capacity building. Civic engagement would be promoted to drive this mission in a way which recognised diversity and distinctive ways of doing engagement and accepted that it could not be an add-on to normal business.” Dr Helen Mc Quillanspoke to the very real problems in driving civic engagement within the higher education sector based on the case of DCU in the Community which is based in Ballymun in North Dublin. These initiatives do have a very real impact on individuals and communities which have, for long, been excluded from higher education. But to be successful and sustainable a very real ‘culture shift’ would need to occur within the institutions of higher education. Madeleine Clark stressed the need to engage with wider social change and the creative ways in which profit-making and non-profit making organisations could work together to combat social exclusion through strategic people-oriented initiatives. She called for civic engagement ‘to become the developing mission of higher education’ and to become much more central in the work which universities to by offering a vision for social transformation. Roundtable Chair, Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU concluded that more needs to happen from debating civic engagement to implementing it: “Its potential to change the culture of higher education is clear as is its increased social relevance in a period of crisis. Campus Engage will be re-launched in the autumn to provide support for higher education institutions seeking to build a civic engagement mission and to create a vibrant network or community of practice. Civic engagement is here to stay, it’s not an add-on.” Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives is available through Campus Engage, www.campusengage.ie. ENDS

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

NUI Galway archaeologists and pollen analysts recently participated in a three-day specialist workshop at Kiel University on Neolithic landscapes in Sligo and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. During the workshop the latest results, generated during the course of a joint Kiel-NUI Galway four-year programme of research, were presented and discussed. The new results, based mainly on detailed investigations of lake cores, provide fresh insights into the earliest farming economies, the changing intensity of farming through time and impacts on the natural environment in both regions. NUI Galway participants included Dr Stefan Bergh and Professor Michael O’Connell, and PhD students Ed Danaher and Beatrice Ghilardi, who are working towards doctorates on various aspects of the Neolithic in Sligo. An overview of the archaeology of Sligo was provided by the Sligo archaeologist, Martin Timoney. According to Professor O’Connell, “The new research, funded by the German Science Foundation, Kiel University and NUI Galway, the results of which are already partly published, will ultimately provide one of the most detailed records of early farming available in these islands.” Pictured is Dr Ingo Feeser, who gained his doctorate at NUI Galway and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Kiel University, presenting his latest data on long-term environmental change at Lake Belau, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. More information is available from Professor Michael O’Connell, Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, on 086 3891444 or michael.oconnell@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Crews from NUI Galway were presented with a number of national titles at the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork at the weekend. NUI Galway, teaming up with the University’s graduate club, Gráinne Mhaol, won the Senior Eights Championship of Ireland. In a keenly contested showdown with Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol edged ahead at 1,250 meters into the race. With only 250 meters remaining Queen’s managed to close the gap but the NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol rowers found another couple of gears and crossed the finish line 1.78 seconds ahead of their rivals in a confident and powerful performance. For Dave Mannion and veteran cox Ruadhán Cooke, it was a fifth Senior Eights win. Four of the winning Eight rowing as Gráinne Mhaol took the Senior men’s Coxless Four title. The winning crew included James Wall, Cormac Folan, Alan Martin, Evin Donnelly, Robert O’Callaghan, Jason Wall, Dominic Burke, Dave Mannion and cox Ruadhán Cooke. Also winning at the Championships were the Novice Women’s Coxed Four of Mary Murphy, Michelle Arakgi, Chloe O’Flynn, Anna Power and Sandra Kelly and the Intermediate Men’s Coxless Pair of Conor Egan and club captain Richard Bennett. Commenting on the success at the weekend, Ruadhán Cooke, said: “Our performances show the vibrancy of the club with wins from Novice level right up to the premier event, including success for the men, women and the graduate members. We also have wonderful people involved on the coaching and organisational side without whose unheralded and voluntary contributions we would simply not exist. Tens of other club members competed with pride and distinction across a number of events and look forward to emulating their club mates in the seasons ahead. In a year which saw the untimely passing of our great friend and mentor Tom Tuohy, it was especially emotional and fitting to be able to dedicate these successes to his memory.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Researchers at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are hoping to enlist the help of the general public to gather a rare barnacle which occasionally washes up on Irish shores. The specimens will be used to advance scientific knowledge surrounding the adhesive properties of barnacles. Barnacles have an amazing ability to attach themselves to every surface imaginable – even non-stick frying pans – and researchers at NUI Galway are studying the glue that the barnacle produces. They hope that one day synthetic versions of this natural underwater super-glue will be available for use in applications such as surgery and dentistry. However, the species under study is the goose barnacle (Lepas anatifera), which is lives out at sea and is very difficult to find. In order to continue their research more goose barnacles are required and the research group has now launched a media campaign, including a facebook and twitter campaign, to encourage the public to help find them. A Zoology PhD student, Jaimie-Leigh Jonker, who is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Anne Marie Power, explains: “These large goose barnacles sporadically wash ashore along the Irish coast in a mostly unpredictable manner; while popular surfing beaches like Fanore and Doughmore Bay have proved fruitful in the past, these animals could wash up anywhere. When washed ashore they will die from exposure to heat, light and air, unless we find them first and bring them back to our aquarium.” Barnacles secrete a glue-like substance which consists of several proteins and somehow sticks to both the barnacle’s body and whatever surface it is on, where it hardens to form a very strong ‘cement’. “It might seem perfectly ordinary that a sea creature can stick to a surface, but if you stop to think about it you may realise that it’s actually quite an incredible innovation by nature, says Jaimie-Leigh. “We humans haven’t managed to create glues that can be used successfully in wet environments, but nature has done it over and over again.” The purpose of the current research at NUI Galway is to understand how the barnacle glue works, through examining both the glands inside the body that produce the glue and the proteins that make up the glue. “Eventually we hope to be able to create synthetic proteins with the same adhesive properties, which could be put to use as glues for surgery and dentistry”, explains Jaimie-Leigh. “Within just a decade or so the way that we practice surgery is likely to change greatly, with one of those changes being the replacement of sutures, staples and pins with adhesives copied from nature.” Jaimie-Leigh and her colleagues would love to hear from anybody that comes across goose barnacles on the Irish coast this summer. You can contact the barnacle research group at the Zoology in NUI Galway, on 091 493191 or through email (j.jonker1@nuigalway.ie), twitter (@BarnacleHunt) and facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheAmazingGooseBarnacle). -ENDS-

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fujitsu Ireland today announced that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, the global ICT giant, will begin a significant investment in a research programme with Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) based in NUI Galway. The research will be conducted in the area of Networked Knowledge, identifying new models and commercial opportunities for exploiting the vast quantities of static and dynamic data on the Internet, making it more valuable to end-users. The programme has been supported by the Government through IDA and Science Foundation Ireland.   Tatsuo Tomita, President of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., commenting on the announcement said, “Fujitsu aims to enable a ‘Human Centric Intelligent Society’ for which Fujitsu Laboratories conducts R&D of advanced technologies to generate value by linking individuals, things, and information, and will leverage such created value to conduct R&D of advanced technologies to offer inspiration, discovery, reliability, and growth. Big data will be the foundation for enabling such a society, and we at Fujitsu view as essential the data processing of big data - in other words, the gathering, semantic analysis, and categorisation of big data.  This joint research collaboration with DERI featuring large-scale research resources in the field of Semantic Web offers new R&D opportunities and represents a step forward toward the realization of a Human Centric Intelligent Society envisioned by Fujitsu.” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Key to the Government’s plan to get growth and jobs back into the economy again is a determination to ensure that we get a better commercial return from State-funded research. That is why the recent Research Prioritisation exercise focused on turning good ideas into good jobs by selecting a small number of areas where investment will be targeted. “Future networks is one of the areas selected, and today’s announcement that world-leading company Fujitsu is investing in industry-led research activity in this area shows what is possible. I commend IDA and Science Foundation Ireland on their work which has enabled today’s announcement. I am determined that, through continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, industry-led research in the priority areas will see more commercialisation and ultimately more jobs for Ireland.” Commenting on how this announcement will impact positively on Ireland, Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland said, “The aim of the research programme is to ensure that the results it delivers are the seeds for the innovation of commercial services and products right here in Ireland. If Ireland is to succeed in being a leader in technology innovation, investment in world-class research programmes such as this, here in Ireland, are critical. We cannot stand in the wings waiting for innovations elsewhere in the world to reach us, we need to demonstrate leadership.” The research will be led by Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway and one of the leading scientists in the Semantic Web field.  He and the research team will be investigating models and approaches for integrating and validating data available on the Internet with a view to enabling innovative applications and businesses to be designed and brought to the market across numerous industries. Professor Stefan Decker said:  "There was an immediate meeting of minds when we met with the team from Fujitsu. Their vision around human centric computing has great synergies with our research on the Semantic Web. This programme will create high-end research jobs in Ireland, adding to our team of scientists here. With a strong focus on innovation and research, we expect that more job opportunities will arise as the research progresses.” Welcoming the investment, Barry O’Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said “I would like to offer Fujitsu Ireland my congratulations on securing this important R&D investment from Fujitsu Laboratories.  The complexity of the project is a key endorsement of the calibre of personnel working in the Irish operation and further solidifies the company in Ireland.” This research programme with DERI will begin in July 2012.   -ends-

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Researchers Publish Results of an Iron Fertilisation Experiment in the Scientific Journal Nature Carbon can be transported to the bottom of the ocean, and stored there, by sinking microscopic phytoplankton following iron fertilization, according to a report co-authored by Professor Peter Croot, National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway in Nature this week. These findings are by no means a green light for using this approach to generate carbon offsets. The researchers note that further experiments are needed to evaluate the effects on ecology, climate and the processes that determine the composition of the environment. These results do however provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of the global carbon cycle. “These new data clearly shows that at the end of this phytoplankton bloom, a significant amount of the carbon was transported to the deep ocean over a relatively short time, a phenomenon which had not been observed in any great detail previously anywhere in the ocean” explained Dr Croot. Previous ocean iron fertilization experiments have failed to adequately demonstrate the fate of resulting phytoplankton population explosions and hence removal of carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean. Dr Peter Croot and colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, Germany, present multiple lines of evidence from the European Iron Fertilization Experiment in the Southern Ocean that suggest carbon is exported to the deep ocean as a result of iron fertilization. The ocean iron fertilization experiments induce phytoplankton blooms, and sinking particles are tracked from the surface to the ocean floor. Taken together, their data indicate that at least half of the bloom biomass sank to below 1,000 metres, where it could potentially be stored for centuries. The international team on board the research vessel Polarstern fertilized a part of the closed core of a stable eddy of the Southern Ocean with dissolved iron which stimulated the growth of unicellular algae (phytoplankton). The team followed the development of the phytoplankton bloom for five weeks from its start to its decline phase. The maximum biomass attained by the bloom was higher than that of blooms stimulated by the previous 12 iron fertilization experiments. According to Professor Dr Victor Smetacek and Dr Christine Klaas from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, this was all the more remarkable because the EIFEX bloom developed in a 100 metre deep mixed layer which is much deeper than hitherto believed to be the lower limit for bloom development.  The bloom was dominated by diatoms, a group of algae that require dissolved silicon to make their shells and are known to form large, slimy aggregates with high sinking rates at the end of their blooms. “We were able to prove that over 50 per cent of the plankton bloom sank below 1000 metre depth indicating that their carbon content can be stored in the deep ocean and in the underlying sediments for time scales of well over a century”, says Smetacek.  “These new findings highlight how differences between the species of phytoplankton that make up the community that formed the bloom can impact the sinking flux and transport of carbon as the bloom decays” adds Dr Croot. “This has implications for the biogeochemical cycling of other important elements in the ocean such as nitrogen, phosphorus and iron which are also part of the sinking material. In the context of Ireland’s marine areas, this work suggests a new area of focus for research targeting the end of phytoplankton blooms, rather than the traditional emphasis on the start of the spring bloom, in order to improve our overall understanding of how this economically important ecosystem functions.” Iron plays an important role in the climate system. It is involved in many biochemical processes such as photosynthesis and is hence an essential element for biological production in the oceans and, therefore, for CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. During past ice ages the air was cooler and drier than it is today and more iron-containing dust was transported from the continents to the ocean by the wind. The iron supply to marine phytoplankton was hence higher during the ice ages. This natural process is simulated in iron fertilisation experiments under controlled conditions. The EIFeX (European Iron Fertilisation Experiment) was a collaborative effort that involved representatives of 14 institutes and 3 companies from 7 European countries and the Republic of South Africa. -ends- http://www.nature.com/news/dumping-iron-at-sea-does-sink-carbon-1.11028

Monday, 23 July 2012

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is currently recruiting parents of young children to take part in an online education programme. The programme offers parents the opportunity to access information relating to the treatment of coughs and colds in their young children. It will focus on dispelling myths relating to over the counter treatments and provide instruction on how to cope with a sick child. The overall aim of the session is to inform and help parents.  Young children are at greatest risk of frequent colds, with children catching as many as seven to ten colds throughout the year, not just during the winter months. There are more than 200 different cold viruses, and signs and symptoms tend to vary greatly.  The online programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by Dr Jane Walsh, a lecturer in psychology at NUI Galway, and PhD student Teresa Corbett. Parents will be in with the chance to win one of two prizes worth €50 in return for their participation in this study. The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from parents of children aged 3-6 years of age.   Dr Walsh said: “We all hate to see our children suffer with the symptoms of a cough or cold, so it is important for parents of young children to take the time to learn what can be done to ease those symptoms appropriately. This project is hoping to establish if online education systems may be delivered effectively to help these individuals. Busy parents can simply log on and learn how a cold can be managed effectively.” “This online setting is particularly fitting for parents as it may be accessed at their convenience, fitting in with their hectic daily schedule”, added Dr Walsh. “The programme layout is easy to use and does not take long for busy individuals who would like to log on and learn more about these everyday symptoms in their child.”  The programme is designed to be accessible to all people who have a computer. GPs, friends and family are encouraged to refer interested individuals to participate. For further information, please contact Teresa Corbett, at t.corbett2@nuigalway.ie, or go to http://www.nuigalway.ie/psy/sub/coughsandcolds.html -ends-

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to support the 2012 Umbro Galway Cup which is now regarded as one of the leading underage soccer tournaments in Europe. Attracting teams from nine countries across the globe including Spain, Sweden, Canada, Finland Russia and Israel, the 2012 tournament is no exception with 49 teams competing. Almost 1,100 soccer players and officials will be in Galway for the four-day tournament running from 8-11 August. Matches will take place in Drom Soccer Park in Rahoon, while the teams will stay in NUI Galway’s campus accommodation, Corrib Village, and avail of the campus catering facilities in the University restaurants. Speaking at the launch of NUI Galway’s sponsorship of the 2012 Tournament, Dr Jim Browne said: “NUI Galway is delighted to support the Umbro Galway Cup which gives Irish players a chance to compete at the highest echelons in soccer at a young age. We have a distinguished tradition of sport on our campus and we recognise that participation in this competition is an enriching experience for young soccer players. I am delighted to see that over 30 Irish teams will compete and on a personal note I’m looking forward to welcoming Manchester City players and officials to campus as I’m a keen Man City supporter!” Salthill Devon Club Chairman, Ollie Daniels, said: “The participation of overseas teams including leading English, Spanish, Russian and Norwegian clubs is a reflection of the standard of the tournament. Obviously this presents a fantastic opportunity for young Irish players and as it exposes them to different styles of football and is a huge learning experience for all.” Established over eight years ago this annual tournament is going from strength to strength.  Corrib Village and other NUI Galway campus facilities have been used right from the start and this successful partnership has aided the development of the competition. Over 3,000 meals are served on campus on a daily basis through out the competition with a particular focus on healthy options. Former Ireland U15 and U16 Manager, Vincent Butler, said: “The Galway Cup is an excellent competition. Apart from the first class facilities and single location, which makes it so convenient to view, the standard has greatly improved each year. It’s an ideal situation to observe and discover talented aspiring young underage internationals, several of whom I have selected to play for Ireland.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pictured receiving the first of the Postgraduate Scholarships on offer from NUI Galway for 2012 are Kim Merrifield (left) and Richard Iyede (right) with NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President Nollaig Mac Congáil (centre). Kimberly has been awarded the Scholarship to take up the MA in Community Development, while Richard will start the MApplSc (Enterprise Systems) in September of this year.  NUI Galway announced details of the new scholarships scheme for postgraduate students for 2012 following cuts to maintenance grants for postgraduate students in Budget 2011. In total, 100 new scholarships will be awarded at €2,000 per student before the start of the new academic year. Deadline for scholarship applications is Friday, 10 August. The new initiative is open to postgraduate students, applying for a fulltime Taught Masters programme due to commence in autumn 2012. Scholarships will be awarded to students accepted on a fulltime taught masters and who fulfill the criteria as outlined by the University. Details of the new Postgraduate Scholarships include: 100 scholarships at €2,000 per student For students who have been accepted on to full-time Taught Masters programmes in 2012/13  Who have a First Class Honours undergraduate degree  And who were in receipt of a Local Authority Higher Education Grant for their undergraduate degree For more information on postgraduate programmes and the scholarships scheme visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate/scholarships or phone 091 492844 or email postgrad@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A study of the decision making processes fuelling changes to Wikipedia is underway at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. With almost four million articles, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers and is the sixth most visited site on the web today. DERI-based PhD researcher Jodi Schneider is investigating the decision factors and arguments used in the often-complex debates around article deletion. In recognition of this research, the New Jersey native has been awarded the prestigious Zipf fellowship with an accompanying cash award of $10,000. Sponsored by the US Council on Library and Information Resources, the award is given annually to acknowledge one outstanding postgraduate student who shows exceptional promise for leadership and technical achievement in information management. Jodi Schneider explains her work: “Under the calm exterior of the Wikipedia website lies a seething hive of activity where an average of 7,000 articles are deleted on a weekly basis. Deleting articles is beneficial as it helps to remove biased, irrelevant, and factually incorrect content from an encyclopedia where anyone can write anything. Significantly, around 500 of these deletions require community discussion. What interests me is how are these decisions made, and who makes them?” Schneider’s work will support Wikipedia editors in determining what content belongs on the site. Her research proposes the streamlining of 70% of debates on article deletion based on based on four factors: Notability, Sources, Maintenance, and Bias. According to Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway: “The focus of our research here at DERI is on networking the vast amounts of data and knowledge which exist in the online world, making it more accessible and understandable. Jodi’s work is a great example - Jodi is investigating the different ways how people argue online to achieve a consensus, enabling us to understand how people resolve arguments online. The Zipf fellowship and her work with Wikipedia are testament to her promising research.” DERI is one of the leading international web science research institutes interlinking technologies, information and people to advance business and benefit society.  Established in 2003 with funding from the Science Foundation Ireland, it is home to over 140 researchers, including 43 PhD students. -ends- ENDS

Thursday, 26 July 2012

NUI Galway law lecturer Tom O’Malley has been appointed by the Government to the Law Reform Commission. Donncha O Connell, also lecturer in law at the University, has been reappointed to the Commission. The Law Reform Commission is an independent, statutory body established under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975. Its purpose is to keep the law under review and to make recommendations for law reform in keeping with the changing nature of Irish society. Its scope was expanded in 2006 to include new projects on statute law restatement and the legislation directory. Tom O'Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Law and a practising barrister specialising in judicial review. He holds three first-class honours degrees from NUI Galway as well as the LL.M. degree from Yale University. He was a graduate fellow at Yale Law School in 1986-1987 and since then has taught at NUI Galway.  He was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminology in 1992-1993 and earlier this year was Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. He has taught many different law subjects to degree level over the past 25 years including Constitutional Law, Contract, Land Law, Equity, Criminal Law, Criminology, Administrative Law and Evidence.  He currently offers two courses on the LL.M. (Public Law) programme, one on sentencing and penal policy and the other on criminal process. His main research interests are in the area of criminal law and criminal justice and he is the author of leading Irish treatises on sex offences, sentencing and criminal procedure. He has served on several committees and working groups at national and international level and is at present a member of the Steering Committee for the Irish Sentencing Information System. O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law as well as teaching postgraduate students in Processes of Law Reform and Advocacy, Activism & Public Interest Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Legal Aid Board.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

London today welcomed the world to the Games of the 30th Olympiad. Among the 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events are NUI Galway student and alumnus, Paul Hession and Olive Loughnane. Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, commented: “We are delighted and honored to have students and alumni of NUI Galway representing Ireland on the world stage at the 2012 Olympic Games. Paul and Olive are world-class athletes of outstanding talent and are excellent representatives of the current generation of Irish sporting stars. On behalf of the University, I would like to wish them both the very best of luck and every success in London”. Paul Hession, Ireland’s fastest man is from Athenry and is a medicine student at NUI Galway. Twice a World Student Games medallist, Paul was awarded an NUI Galway Sports Scholarship for Athletics in 2000. Paul received the NUI Galway Sports Awards for Athletics four years in a row from 2002 – 2005.  At the Beijing Olympics, he narrowly missed out on a final place in the 200 metres and in 2010 made Irish athletics history as the first Irishman to make a 200m European sprint final. In early July he won the Irish 100m title and followed this with an excellent 20.54 for 200m in Lucerne - the fastest time by an Irishman this year. Olive Loughnane is from Loughrea, Co. Galway and is a graduate of NUI Galway.  Olive represented NUI Galway Athletic Club from 1993 to 1995 and was selected for a Sports Award in 1996. She also represented the Irish universities on numerous occasions and was a member of the National Race Walking Squad.  She became the first female Irish Walker to win a senior title at the British AAA’s Championship in Birmingham. A silver medal at the World Championship in 2009 and winning one of the rounds of the World Race Walking Challenge in 2011, Olive qualified for the Olympics by finishing first in Slovakia on a time of 1 hour 32 minutes and 40 seconds, a full minute ahead of her nearest rival. Her times have continuously improved over the years and this is her fourth Olympic Games. The London 2012 Olympic Games will commence today (Friday, 27 July) with the opening ceremony and will continue until 12 August, 2012. ENDS

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Researchers have uncovered how animals in Antarctica managed to survive glacial periods thousands of years ago when sea-ice encroached on their habitats. DNA evidence indicates that sea creatures used a variety of techniques, from surviving in the deep sea, to retreating into pools of unfrozen seawater. Scientists hope that by looking back in time it will help predict the likely impact of global warming on the Southern Ocean. Natural climate cycles have caused massive glaciations on 40,000 and 100,000 year cycles over the past five million years. At times of maximum glaciation, sea-ice extended out into the Southern Ocean blocking sunlight from the surface waters, preventing phytoplankton from photosynthesising and hence cutting the food chain off at its source. Additionally, massive glaciers and ice-sheets extended far out onto the continental shelf, scoring the sea-floor and destroying the habitat of many animals. Biologists have never understood how animals in the seas surrounding Antarctica survived these Pliocene-Pleistocene glacial cycles. Was all the fauna of the Southern Ocean destroyed? Were animals able to seek refuge in the deep sea and recolonise from there?  Or did marine animals seek refuge outside of the Southern Ocean and recolonise Antarctica from other Oceans? In a paper published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers at National University of Ireland Galway and LaTrobe University in Australia provide the answer. Dr Louise Allcock, a zoologist from National University of Ireland Galway’s Ryan Institute, explains. “We found the answer in the DNA of animals that are found in the Southern Ocean today. I’ve been studying Antarctic octopuses for many years and looking at the patterns of variation in their DNA.  As I looked at other people's research on other animals, to compare their findings to my own, I noticed that there were some consistent patterns.  One of the patterns we saw was that some animals had very limited variation, with large numbers of individuals having exactly the same DNA sequence at a given gene region.  This is consistent with a population bottleneck - i.e., a massive reduction in the number of individuals in a short space of time. We can tie this with the survival of a tiny population on the continental shelf during glacial maxima. And, in fact, there's evidence from glaciology and other physical sciences that 'polynyas' - small areas free of sea ice - did persist during glacial maxima.” This wasn’t the only pattern that researchers found however.  By examining all the available published research they were able to identify at least four different patterns, each one relating to a different survival and recolonisation strategy. This improved understanding of survival mechanisms and the interpretation of molecular data will help scientists predict the likely impact of global warming on the Southern Ocean. According to Dr Jan Strugnell, of the Department of Genetics, at La Trobe University: “There has been a recent marked increase in the number of studies using DNA to try and better understand the processes that have shaped the evolution of different animal groups that live in the Southern Ocean.  By looking at all of these studies together, and taking into account their life history characteristics, we were able to detect patterns which give clues to how animal lineages have survived glacial cycles in the Southern Ocean.  The different patterns give signatures for survival in ice free refugia on the continental shelf for some animal lineages and for survival in deep sea refugia in others.” ENDS

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Professor John Hinde, Statistics Group, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, has been elected as the next President of the International Biometric Society. The term of office will begin as incoming Vice-President in 2013, serving as President of the Society 2014-2015 and then a further year as outgoing Vice-President in 2016. The International Biometric Society is an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry, and allied disciplines. Originally founded in 1947 with Sir Ronald Fisher as President, the Society now has over 6,000 members in 30 different geographically defined regions across the world. It is responsible for publishing two major statistics journals and organises international and regional meetings. Professor Hinde has had a long association with the Society having served on the council for many years, and is the current President of the British and Irish Region. As International President, Professor Hinde will be responsible for both the governance of the Society and the promotion of its scientific and educational activities. He joins a distinguished list of biometricians who have served as President, but will be the first from an Irish University. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media To celebrate the end of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race which finishes in Galway on 3 July, Inmarsat , the race technology partner, and the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway will present a major lecture on the successful delivery of ‘extreme sailing brought to life 24/7’ by the cameraman onboard each boat. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 5 Julyin the Galway Race Village, at 12-2.30pm. Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race will open the lecture with a discussion of the technology involved to report on the world’s most connected yacht race. He will reveal that broadcasters had initially wanted to embed their own journalists, but first contact with the harsh sailing conditions had quickly ruled that out.  Frostad admits that Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband technology has been “truly transformational” and he is looking forward to the arrival of Global Xpress, Inmarsat’s 50mbps new Boeing Satellite fleet in time for the 2014 Race. Knut Frostad will talk about the 1996 race when he was onboard Intrum Justicia and how there was a heated debate on whether competitors should have to carry broadcast equipment. Says Frostad: “In the 1996 race the compromise was equipment - or 200kg of lead. The race winner, Toshiba skippered by Chris Dickson chose lead and limited media engagement.   On Intrum Justicia, we took the media kit and renowned yachting photographer, Rick Tomlinson. We won the media battle with Sony sponsored kit delivering the first ever media picture from a Whitbread boat as we rounded Cape Horn. It was global front-page news with just 9.6 kbps connectivity, via Inmarsat C. Today its half a megabit from Inmarsat FleetBroadband and it has changed our sport.” Also presenting will be one of the world’s leading extreme sports photographers Rick Deppe. Rick’s previous work includes the Emmy award-winning series ‘Deadliest Catch’ and he was the winner of the overall Inmarsat Media Crew Member prize for the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race. He will explain the different areas of the media crew member and their extreme media-gathering role. “A successful Media Crew Member” Rick says, “must be editor, producer, journalist, photographer and diplomat to get the stories off the boat. It is business as usual very day, wind or windless, 24/7 news demands feeding”. One vital aspect of the job is building trust with the professional sailors on board for the successful delivery of materials for all sponsors. The lecture will give those present a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht to deliver high quality, dramatic and gripping material that brings the race alive for fans, sponsors and the media during the nine months of the event. Broadcast quality reality TV/reporting is a business critical to the future of sport sponsorship and in particular to this race. The opportunities for a career in extreme sport videography/reporting are exciting and growing within sailing as a result of innovative technology like Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband. Inmarsat FleetBroadband allows audiences around to world to get about as close as one can get to the race action (with HDTV clarity) without being on a competing yacht, as those who have been following the race coverage on TG4 will be aware. TG4’s Sports Editor Rónán Ó Coisdealbha will also be contributing to the session and will outline the importance of sport and the Volvo Ocean Race to the broadcaster.  The event is co-hosted by the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway, one of Ireland’s leading film schools offering a range of innovative programmes, including in Film Studies, Production & Direction, Screenwriting and Digital Media. Director of the MA in Film Studies Programme at the Huston School, Seán Crosson, says, “This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in film and television, and particularly the filming of sport, to learn more about the processes involved in capturing one of world’s major sporting events from those directly involved. The lecture will expose young film-makers, media students, and interested members of the general public to the dynamic and exciting career of the Media Crew Member aboard the yachts participating in the Volvo Ocean Race as well as the endless opportunities that Inmarsat presents traveling media crews and film-makers in capturing and relaying footage and information in the most extreme conditions.”   NUI Galway, as education partners to Volvo Ocean Race Galway, will also bring considerable experience to the end of race events in the field of volunteering. Working with non-profit event organiser Let’s Do It Global, NUI Galway will help recruit and train over 1,200 volunteers required to run the nine-day festival.  While admission is free to the lecture, places are limited at this event so anyone interested in attending should contact Dee Quinn in advance at dee.quinn@nuigalway.ie or 091 495076 to book a place. ENDS   Deiseanna Gairme sa Ghrianghrafadóireacht Spórt Guaisbheartaíochta  Léacht Scannán Inmarsat i gcomhar le Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh Chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar dheireadh Rás Aigéin Volvo 2011-2012 a thiocfaidh go ceann céibhe i nGaillimh an 3 Iúil, tá Inmarsat, comhpháirtí teicneolaíochta an rása, agus Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston in OÉ Gaillimh chun oll-léacht a eagrú faoin tseoltóireacht ar a ndéanann na fir cheamara ar bord gach bád craoladh beo 24/7. Beidh an léacht ar siúl Déardaoin, an 5 Iúil i Sráidbhaile an Rása i nGaillimh, idir 12 agus 2.30pm. Is é Knut Frostad, Príomhfheidhmeannach Rás Aigéin Volvo, a chuirfidh tús leis an léacht le plé ar an teicneolaíocht a theastaíonn le tuairisciú ar an rás luamh is mó ceangal leis an teicneolaíocht ar domhan.  Inseoidh sé mar a bhí craoltóirí ag iarraidh a gcuid iriseoirí féin a chur ar na luaimh i dtús ama, ach nuair a tháinig siad i ngar do na cúinsí crua seoltóireachta nach raibh siad i bhfad ag athrú a n-intinn.  Admhaíonn Frostad go bhfuil teicneolaíocht FleetBroadband Inmarsat thar a bheith trasfhoirmeach, agus tá sé ag súil go mór le teacht Global Xpress, Satailít Boeing nua 50mbps de chuid Inmarsat, a bheidh réidh in am do Rás 2014. Labhróidh Knut Frostad faoi rás 1996 nuair a bhí sé féin ar bord Intrum Justicia agus mar a bhí plé teasaí maidir leis an gceist an mbeadh ar iomaitheoirí trealamh craolacháin a iompar nó nach mbeadh. Deir Frostad: “I rás 1996 bhí an rogha idir an trealamh nó 200kg luaidhe a iompar ar bord. Roghnaigh Toshiba, buaiteoir an rása faoi stiúir Chris Dickson, luaidhe agus beagán plé leis na meáin.   Ar Intrum Justicia, bhí an pacáiste meáin againn agus an grianghrafadóir clúiteach luaimh, Rick Tomlinson.  Is againn a bhí an lá i gcath na meán nuair a thóg an trealamh, a bhí urraithe ag Sony, an chéad ghrianghraf ó bhád Whitbread agus muid ag teacht timpeall Rinn an Choirn. Bhí sé ar an gcéad leathanach ar nuachtáin ar fud an domhain agus gan ach ceangal 9.6 kbps againn via Inmarsat C. Inniu is leath-mheigighiotán ó FleetBroadband Inmarsat atá in úsáid agus tá athrú ó bhonn déanta aige ar an spórt”. Déanfaidh Rick Deppe, duine de na grianghrafadóirí is clúití ar domhan ó thaobh an spóirt ghuaisbheartaíochta de, cur i láthair chomh maith. I measc na saothar atá curtha i gcrích ag Rick tá an tsraith ‘Deadliest Catch’, sraith a bhuaigh gradam Emmy, agus bhuaigh sé ollduais Inmarsat Ball de Chriú na Meán do Rás Aigéin Volvo 2008-9. Míneoidh sé na réimsí éagsúla a bhaineann le criú na meán agus an ról atá acu. Deir Rick, “le bheith i do Ball de Chriú na Meán (ball de chriú na meán) maith ní mór duit a bheith i d’eagarthóir, do léiritheoir, d’iriseoir, do ghrianghrafadóir agus i do thaidhleoir chun scéalta an bháid a roinnt leis an domhan mór. Bíonn obair le déanamh gach lá, is cuma má tá gaoth ann nó mura bhfuil, caithfear scéalta a choinneáil le nuacht 24/7.” Ar cheann de na gnéithe is tábhachtaí a bhaineann leis an jab tá muinín na seoltóirí gairmiúla a shaothrú ionas go mbeidh rath ar an tionscnamh do gach urraitheoir. Tabharfaidh an léacht léargas faoi leith ar céard is gá do thuairisceoir spórt guaisbheartaíochta a dhéanamh ar bord luamh rásaíochta ar fiú na milliúin dollar é chun ábhar ar ardchaighdeán, drámatúil agus spreagúil a chur ar fáil a dhéanfaidh an rás beo don lucht féachana, do na hurraitheoirí agus do na meáin ar feadh na naoi mí a bhíonn an t-imeacht ar siúl.  Beidh an-tábhacht ag baint le teilifís/tuairisciú réaltachta ar ardchaighdeán d’urraíocht spóirt amach anseo, go háirithe don rás seo. Tá na gairmeacha beatha a bhaineann le físghrafadóireacht/tuairisciú spóirt thar a bheith spéisiúil agus tá níos mó deiseanna anois ann i gcúrsaí seoltóireachta mar gheall ar theicneolaíocht nuálach cosúil le FleetBroadband Inmarsat. Tugann FleetBroadband Inmarsat deis do dhaoine ar fud an domhain a bheith chomh gar agus is féidir don rás (le soiléireacht HDTV) agus gan iad ar bord luaimh, mar atá feicthe acu siúd a bhíonn ag breathnú ar an rás ar TG4. Beidh Eagarthóir Spóirt TG4, Rónán Ó Coisdealbha ag labhairt ag an seisiún chomh maith agus déanfaidh sé cur síos ar a thábhachtaí is atá an spórt agus Rás Aigéin Volvo don chraoltóir.  Beidh an ócáid á comheagrú ag Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston, OÉ Gaillimh, ceann de na scoileanna scannán is mó cáil in Éirinn a chuireann réimse cláir nuálacha ar fáil lena n-áirítear Staidéar Scannán, Léiriú & Stiúradh, Scríbhneoireacht don Scáileán agus Meáin Dhigiteacha. Deir Seán Crosson, Stiúrthóir an MA sa Staidéar Scannán i Scoil Huston, “Is iontach an deis í seo do dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu i scannán agus i dteilifís, go háirithe scannánú ar spórt, chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi na próisis a úsáidtear chun ceann de na himeachtaí spóirt is mó ar domhan a chur ar scáileán, ón dream atá ina bhun. Tabharfaidh an léacht deis do lucht óg déanta scannán, do mhic léinn na meán agus don phobal eolas a fháil faoin ngairm dhinimiciúil agus shuimiúil a bhíonn ag Ball de Chriú na Meán ar bord na luamh a bhíonn páirteach i Rás Aigéin Volvo chomh maith leis na deiseanna iontacha atá ar fáil ó Inmarsat do chriúnna taistil meáin agus do lucht déanta scannán chun píosaí scannáin agus eolas a thaifead agus a chraoladh faoi na coinníollacha seo atá thar a bheith dian.”   Is comhpháirtí oideachais í OÉ Gaillimh le Rás Aigéin Volvo - Gaillimh, agus tá taithí ar leith aici ó thaobh imeachtaí deonacha de a chuirfidh go mór leis an staid deiridh seo den rás.  Beidh baint ag OÉ Gaillimh le hearcú agus le hoiliúint a chur ar breis agus 1200 oibrí deonach don fhéile naoi lá, i gcomhar le heagraí neamhbhrabúis na hócáide ‘Let’s Do It Galway’.  Tá sé saor in aisce freastal ar an léacht, ach tá líon na spásanna teoranta mar sin ba cheart do dhaoine ar spéis leo é teagmháil a dhéanamh le Dee Quinn roimh ré ag dee.quinn@nuigalway.ie nó 091 495076 chun áit a chur in áirithe. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NUI Galway is offering free German courses for children this summer. This new initiative combines learning and pleasure, giving children the opportunity to encounter German language and culture while having fun. The German summer school will be divided into two main parts, beginning with taster sessions taking place from 16-20 July, followed by a five-day intensive course from 23-27 July. The first week of the Summer School will consist of five one-day taster Sessions dedicated to expanding the children's knowledge of German language and culture. Children aged between 5 and 14 are invited to attend, with numbers restricted to 15 places per session. Each day will have a fun workshop on a different aspect of German language and involve a diverse creative activity, appealing to all age groups. Activities will include working with well-known German songs, producing a short film, and a treasure hunt which will take the attendees through a fictive Germany. During the second week of the Children's Summer School, NUI Galway is offering a five-day crash course for learning basic features of the German language. It is especially designed for children aged 10 to 12 (fourth, fifth and sixth class) who will soon be able to opt for a foreign language at secondary school. Students will be taught small groups where they will get an introduction to grammar, vocabulary and the structure of German by qualified native speakers. Tina-Karen Pusse, Lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at NUI Galway, said: “This is a fun, interactive course which imparts basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, using child friendly teaching methods with a lot of games and time for having fun in class. We are looking forward to meet many Galway kids here and we will show them how exciting it can be, to discover a new language.” As the teaching units are consecutive in the second week, students attend the course from Monday to Friday. The course is free to attend but there will be a €7 charge per day to cover lunch and course materials. For further information and registration please contact Tina-Karen.Pusse@nuigalway.ie or visit http://germanatnuig.blogspot.de -ENDS-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Irish Sea will experience a rise in sea levels of almost half a metre and significant changes in temperature according to new research published today by engineers at the National University of Ireland Galway’s Ryan Institute. The research suggests that by the end of the century the Irish Sea will be warmer with sea surface temperature increases of around 1.9 C. Such temperature increases may have significant impact on physical and transport processes within the Irish Sea, as well as implications for ecosystems and fishing. Researchers at the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway used the latest three-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling technologies to compute future changes. “The research presented in this paper is the first model-based projection of the Irish Sea future climate and in this regard it is the most comprehensive study of this region”, explains Dr Mike Hartnett of the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway. “The Irish Sea, being semi-enclosed, has a unique and complex geography, which influences its currents and our specific finding will help us better understand what lies ahead for these vital waters which link Ireland and the UK.” Warming in the deep channel in the western Irish Sea will be generally weaker with seasonal variability subdued due to a large heat storage capacity. The warming will be largely stored in the surface layer of the water column leading to strengthening of stratification and a considerable decrease in the thickness of the mixed layer. The consequences of this will be changes to water circulation, expected to be of particular relevance to fisheries, pollutant transport and the ecosystem. Dr Hartnett said: “Future changes to oceanographic parameters, flushing times and hydrodynamics of the Irish Sea are likely to alter the habitat and distribution of marine species; the finding of this research are therefore of great interest to ecologists and the fishery industry among others.” With potential sea level rises in the order of 0.47m coastal flooding due to storm surges is likely to be more severe in the future. Recent flooding events such as the 2009 flooding of Cork City illustrate the vulnerability of coastal communities. It is likely in the future that more extreme coastal urban flooding will occur. “This research confirms previous tentative estimates of sea level rise and also provides significant new detailed information regarding changes in temperature and water circulation patterns around our coast”, added Dr Hartnett. The research is published in this month’s edition of the science journal Continental Shelf Research. This research was carried out under funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland and the Higher Education Authority/Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions. -ends- 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Scientists at NUI Galway hope to develop a ‘bioartificial organ’ for the repair of spinal cord injuries. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at the University is leading an ambitious new €4.2 million European project, which someday may help people living with spinal cord injury. The aim is to create a polymer conduit infused with the stem cells and other supportive factors that will help heal patients with spinal cord injury. There are approximately 350,000 people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Europe today, and current treatment is highly limited. Most clinical effort is concentrated on rehabilitation and vast resources are directed to improving quality of life for these patients. “Put simply, bioartificial organs are those which are grown in a lab”, explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, a Science Foundation Ireland funded Strategic Research Cluster. “Around the world, researchers are trying to grow bladders, tissue or liver. With this particular project, we are looking to create a type of organ which would join-up a severed spine. This is frontier research, so we may be many years from success. However, our NeuroGraft consortium will bring together their synergistic expertise to develop cell seeded, functionalised bioartificial organs as valuable solutions towards spinal cord repair.” The novelty of the NeuroGraft proposal is that the functionalised multichannel conduit will provide physical, chemotropic, and neuroprotective cues which mimic the natural 3D cellular and molecular regenerative environment of the neural space. The NeuroGraft concept will be realised through the consortium, consisting of one academic and four industrial partners including groups from Vornia (Ireland), Stemmatters (Portugal), Biomatech SAS (France) and Obelis (Belgium). Regulatory advice is incorporated at an early stage in the development cycle, to facilitate the translation of the novel bioartificial devices to the market in as short a timeframe as possible. The NeuroGraft consortium will validate the safety, efficacy and biodistribution of the functionalised bioartificial organs developed in a pre-clinical model of spinal cord under GLP conditions. It is envisaged that these studies will facilitate progression to clinical trials of the technology (post project) and the development of a marketable product within six years of the completion of the NeuroGraft project. The project, called the “Development of Functionalised Cell Seeded Bioartificial Organ for Transplantation in Nerve Repair”, is funded by an EU-FP7 grant. Professor Pandit added: “We are delighted with the success of this proposal. This funding allows technology developed at NFB to be further developed so that it reaches the patients that have currently no such available treament. Over the years, we have established strong links with key industries and academic partners throughout Ireland, Europe and further afield that give us the capability to address tissue degenerative conditions or injuries through increasingly sophisticated biomaterial-based platforms, including those previously thought to be untreatable. This success is primarily due to the range of specialist expertise in biomaterials research that has been established under the Strategic Research Cluster programme funded by Science Foundation Ireland.”   -ends-  

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NUI Galway alumni and friends will celebrate the connection between James Joyce and Galway City with a pre-Bloomsday recital in Newman House, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin on Thursday, 14 June at 6.30pm. The recital is part of a series of  Bloomsweek recitals featuring Ireland’s leading classical guitarist, John Feeley, accompanied by NUI Galway graduate and James Joyce enthusiast, Professor Fran O’Rourke of UCD who will also be providing background information on Joyce. During the recital, Galway native John Feeley will be using will be James Joyce’s own guitar, which had been on display at the Joyce Tower Museum for the past 45 years. However, in the last year it has been carefully restored and it is now ready to be played again. The fact that Joyce studied in Newman House should also add extra resonance to the occasion. Professor O’Rourke said: “The guitar first features in Weiss’s iconic photograph of Joyce, taken in Zurich in 1915 and has been in the Joyce Tower Museum in Sandycove since 1967. Having heard a similar vintage guitar, it occurred to me that the Joyce guitar might be restored. I put the suggestion to Robert Nicholson, Curator of the Museum and with the expert work of Gary Southwell, it is now ready to be heard again.” Joyce was both an excellent singer and an accomplished musician, and music played a large part in his life and he incorporated it into almost all his works. Joyce’s major connection with Galway was through his wife Nora Barnacle from Bowling Green, just down from St. Nicholas’ Cathedral. Nora provided the inspiration in Joyce’s work for characters such as Molly Bloom, Greta Conroy and Anna Livia Plurabelle, among others. Joyce visited Galway and Nora’s family on several occasions and developed a deep interest and affection for the city and Joyce country which he maintained all his life. The recital is open to graduates and friends of NUI Galway. Tickets are €10 and are available online from NUI Galway Alumni Office, www.nuigalway.ie/alumni. For further information contact the Alumni Office at 091 492721. ENDS

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The first international conference in NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, entitled Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education (SFGE 2012), will take place from 4-6 July. SFGE 2012 is Ireland’s first major geo-engineering conference since the European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering held in Dublin in 1987. Geo-engineering (or geotechnical engineering) is the branch of civil engineering associated with the engineering behaviour of soil and rock and encompasses the design of building foundations, retaining walls, slopes, embankments, excavations and tunnels. The conference title is a pun on the fact that foundation design is a key part of the work of a geotechnical engineer. Dr Bryan McCabe, Lecturer in Civil Engineering and SFGE 2012 Chair, said: “This conference will explore key challenges, both technical and pedagogical, faced in the education and training of students of geotechnical engineering and related engineering disciplines. This will be achieved through a series of presentations and facilitated discussion workshops. Active engagement with the significant body of teaching and learning research, accumulated over many years, is what will set SFGE 2012 apart from previous international conferences of this type.” Renowned international keynote speakers include: Professor Paul Mayne, Georgia Tech; Professor Steve Ressler, US Military Academy at Westpoint; Professor John Atkinson, City University, London and Coffey Geotechnics; Dr Brian Simpson, Arup Geotechnics, London; and Professor Rich Felder, North Carolina State University. During the three day event, Professor John Burland, Imperial College London, will also be honoured with an award for his lifelong contribution to education in geo-engineering and will deliver a special invited lecture. Professor Burland is renowned for his role in stabilising the Leaning Tower of Pisa. SFGE 2012 will also incorporate a workshop of the popular ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) programme which will have an appeal beyond geo-engineering to academics and practitioners in science and engineering. Those interested in attending can register online at http://www.sfge2012.com. For further details on SFGE 2012 contact Dr Bryan McCabe at 091 492021 or bryan.mccabe@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-