Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Music and medicine will come together at NUI Galway on Tuesday, 22 March when the Medical Orchestra is unveiled at the Arts in Action Traditional Concert. The School of Medicine at NUI Galway is the first to launch this exciting initiative which is giving its multi-talented medical students an opportunity to showcase their musical skills. The 25-piece orchestra will open the concert, which is being headlined by renowned traditional musician Mairtin O'Connor and his five-piece band. Preparations are well underway for the orchestra's first concert under the guidance of Mary McPartlan, Professional Singer and Creative Director of the Medicine and the Arts Module at NUI Galway and Musical Director Carl Hession, a music teacher at Colaiste Iognaid in Galway City. Many of the students who volunteer their time are accomplished musicians who are thrilled to work together under the guidance of Mary McPartlan and Carl Hession, who has composed and arranged the music for their performance. The students have been rehearsing on a regular basis and have been joined by a recent medical graduate, Dr Lisa McAnena, who will be the soloist when the orchestra first performs in public. Third-year Medical student, 22-year-old Julianne Harte is looking forward to the concert. The Loughrea student began learning the viola when she was seven. She has also played with the National Youth Orchestra and the Galway Youth Orchestra. "I am really looking forward to it. It is an interesting project to be part of," she said. One of the highlights of their performance will be an arrangement for the uileann pipes, which will be played by second year Medical student, 20-year-old Elvin Moynagh. Elvin, from South Dublin, has grown up listening and playing traditional music. "My mum plays the button accordion and my father plays the banjo. Traditional music has always been a part of life at home." The Medical School hopes to receive support to invest in a piano and music stands, which would greatly facilitate the orchestra's rehearsals. Dr. Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway, and Chairperson of the Medical School's new Arts committee, said: "Patients benefit greatly from music as they try to cope with and recover from illness. I firmly believe that music can be the medicine of the mind. Our new orchestra will showcase the wonderful, but sometimes hidden talents of our medical students, and bring some joy to the wider community through their public performances. We are indebted to both Mary McPartlan and to Carl Hession for bringing this idea to life. Both School Administrator, Therese Dixon, and College Director of Strategic Development, Declan Ashe, have provided tremendous support to the project from the outset." Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, has been strongly supportive of the integration of the arts into the undergraduate medical curriculum. Her daughter, Jennifer Scott, will play violin in the new orchestra. The concert promises to be an exciting evening for lovers of music. Following the first performance of the Medical Orchestra, Mairtin O'Connor and his band (Jimmy Higgins on percussion, Steve Hanks on saxophone, Seamie O'Dowd on guitar, Cathal Hayden on fiddle and banjo and Gary O'Briain on mando cello and piano) will take to the stage. The concert takes place on Tuesday March 22 at 8pm (Doors open at 7.30pm) in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. Tickets for this concert are available from the Societies Box at Aras na Mac Leinn, NUI Galway or by calling 091 492852/ 091 492088. Tickets are €10, €5 for students. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The series of public lectures by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy will continue with a free lecture, entitled 'Cosmology', taking place on Wednesday, 16 March, in the Larmor Lecture Theatre at NUI Galway at 7.30pm. The lecture will be given by Dr Iain MacLaren, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at NUI Galway. During his lecture, Dr MacLaren will give an overview of what we know about the origin and structure of the universe, describing a number of key observations and discoveries that led to the standard Big Bang model and highlighting some of the areas which dominate modern cosmological research. The talk will be suitable all and particularly for students thinking of studying Physics at University. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "One of the most fundamental questions we can ask is where does the universe come from? How did it start? Dr MacLaren's lecture will illustrate our current understanding of coslmology." For more information contact Dr Andy Shearer in the Centre of Astronomy at andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie or 091 493114. -Ends-

Monday, 7 March 2011

Neuroscience researchers at NUI Galway will host a public event during Brain Awareness Week on Thursday, 10 March from 10am to 4pm. The event will give participants the opportunity to learn about the workings of the human brain and about specific neuroscience research that is underway in NUI Galway. Throughout the day, participants will be able to test their hand-eye coordination and challenge their brain with mirror writing which highlights the processes of cognitive functioning. There will be a variety of exhibits, questionnaires and images on display in the museum, depicting the benefits of research for aspects of neuroscience such as brain injury, brain disease and the effects of aging on the brain. Brain Awareness Week was founded and is coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives in the US and European Dana Alliance for the Brain. Since 1996, more than 2,600 groups have staged events aimed at making the public more aware of the benefits and promises of brain research. Dr Una FitzGerald, Event Coordinator and member of the Neuroscience Research Cluster of the National Centre for Biomedical Science and Engineering at NUI Galway says: "People of all ages are naturally interested in how the brain functions and what can go wrong during brain injury, disease, or through aging. This event will have a broad appeal and it will be interesting fun and interactive. With a wide variety of exhibits, there will be an opportunity for everyone to learn something new about themselves and about the brain in general, and we are very proud to play our part in an important international campaign." The Galway Neuroscience Group is made up of researchers from the NCBES, Pharmacology, Anatomy, Psychology, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Physiology. Diseases and disorders being investigated include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, pain, depression, spinal cord injury and bi-polar disorder. Researchers have contributed materials for this event and are delighted to have the chance to share their enthusiasm for brain research and all topics related to the brain, with the public. -Ends-

Monday, 7 March 2011

The next generation of theatrical talent has arrived in Galway for the Irish Student Drama Association Festival, which runs until 12 March. This is the largest event ever in the festival's 63 year history, with NUI Galway Dramsoc hosting 45 events over nine days. The festival productions are a combination of the work of emerging student writers as well as works by the likes of Brian Friel, William Shakespeare, Tom Murphy, Conor McPherson, Martin McDonagh and Harold Pinter. The Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) is the umbrella organisation of Ireland's third-level drama societies. Featuring 25 plays from 13 colleges around the country, the event has daily performances in the Druid Theatre, Nun's Island Theatre, and the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. Since 1947, the ISDA festival has hosted the finest works of student drama and launched the careers of leading figures such as Garry Hynes, Conor McPherson, Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. Outstanding performers have included Pauline McLynn, Marie Mullen, Fiona Shaw and Brendan Gleeson. Festival organiser Neasa O'Callaghan, who is studying BA Connect with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, says the event has a fantastic pedigree: "For those who were involved in drama societies or groups at college, mention of ISDA will revive fond memories. Stimulating, diverse, great training grounds and terrific fun, college and university drama societies have long been the seedbed for people who go on to make their careers in performance arts". As a result of the recently announced partnership between NUI Galway and Druid Theatre Company, the Druid Lane Theatre will serve as a main venue for the festival, with plays being performed at 8pm each evening. Neasa O'Callaghan adds: "Druid Lane has never been an ISDA Festival venue before, and its inclusion in the Festival reflects the company's commitment to promoting drama in the University. Moreover, Thomas Conway, Literary Officer for Druid also served as an Internal Adjudicator for the Drama Society this year - as a means of selecting the three plays which will represent NUI Galway at the Festival this year. He has been very supportive of the society as a whole and is always willing to give advice and feedback to students, which is invaluable." As well as the 25 main shows, there is also an ISDA Fringe Festival, running concurrently with the main festival, featuring daily comedic and musical performances. Moreover, newly written plays from NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Maynooth will be performed daily at 1pm in Kelly's Bar, as part of the Fringe Festival. Workshops in Juggling, Stage-combat, stand-up comedy, and acting will be held at 6pm in various venues in the city. The ISDA Festival is supported by the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway Advertiser, Galway City Council, NUI Galway, Kelly's Bar, NUI Galway College Bar, Tigh Neachtain's and Barnacles. The 2011 ISDA Festival, began on the 4 March and runs until 12 March. For full information, please visit www.isdafestival.ie-Ends-

Monday, 7 March 2011

A celebration of the achievements of NUI Galway's alumni took place in the Bailey Allen Hall on campus Saturday night. Over 450 people gathered for the 11th Annual Gala Banquet, a glamorous occasion hosted by RTE's Siún Nic Gearailt. Among the guests were alumni, staff, students and friends of the University. The feature of the night was the presentation of the Annual Alumni Awards to: • Gabriel D'Arcy, CEO Bord na Móna, who received the Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law • Michael Conroy, General Manager, Cisco Product Group, Ireland who received the Bank of Ireland Award for Engineering and Informatics • Dr Gerald Farrell, Managing Director of Eli Lilly (ROI) and former President of Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) who received the Seavite Alumni Award for Science • John Walshe, Education Editor, Irish Independent who received the AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies • Dr Brian Griffin, Cleveland Clinic, USA, Director, Cardiovascular Disease Training Programme and The John and Rosemary Brown Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine; US Associate Editor, Heart who received the Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and • Colm Murray, RTÉ Sports Presenter who received the Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership Addressing the assembled guests, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The people we honour tonight have made a difference. They have distinguished themselves as individuals and in doing so they add lustre to the reputation of NUI Galway". A special message from former NUI Galway student, Enda Kenny T.D., was also read out to the guests, citing how "education is at the very heart of Irish society" and how the evening "highlights the importance and indeed the calibre of Irish graduates". Reflecting the cultural focus of the Bailey Allen Hall venue, entertainment was provided by internationally recognised mezzo soprano, Imelda Drumm, and by Youth Ballet West, a registered charity offering young dancers in the West of Ireland the opportunity to perform in professionally choreographed ballets. The Annual Alumni Awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University's more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. -Ends-

Monday, 7 March 2011

A digital media exhibition will be held on Thursday, 10 March, to showcase projects from NUI Galway's MA in Digital Media programme. The MA in Digital Media was shortlisted for the 'gradireland postgraduate course of the year' in 2010. It attracts bright, creative and students with a strong sense of identity and individuality from a variety of undergraduate disciplines. In recent years, a number of projects have gone on to win national Digital Media awards. The categories and projects to be exhibited are in e-learning, interactive media and animation. In the e-learning section, student Claire McNelis, has created a website called SpellingRules.ie that teaches spelling in a dyslexia-friendly way. Aengus Bates has created heritagetreehunt.ie, an interactive map of heritage trees in Ireland, which is part of a larger Tree Council of Ireland survey. These and many more diverse and innovative projects will be showcased. In the animation category, four short animated films explore themes including conflict in Israel, a sci-fi dystopian future, computer gaming and nature. The MA programme is run by the Huston School of Film and Digital Media in conjunction with the discipline of Information Technology, and the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI). The exhibition is part of the NUI Galway Arts in Action 2010-2011 initiative, which aims to cultivate awareness of the creative arts across campus. According to Mary McPartlan, Director of the Arts in Action Programme at NUI Galway: "It is vitally important that students at NUI Galway are aware of the benefits of Arts in Action and attend free events like the Digital Media Exhibition on Thursday. It affords them the opportunity to explore the high professional quality of knowledge and skills generated within the university." The exhibition will open from 2pm at The View in Áras na MacLéinn, NUI Galway. At 6pm Paul Cummins, CEO of Telegael, will launch the event and show some award winning pieces produced by his company. From 7 to 8pm, the animation section of the Digital Media exhibition will be screened followed by a reception and an opportunity to network. Admission is free and all are welcome. For further information contact Valerie.Butler@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Friday, 4 March 2011

An online visibility tracking website created by postgraduate student of NUI Galway, David Dolphin, has shown that the fifteen independent candidates elected to the 31st Dáil, topped web visibility rankings in their constituencies, highlighting the importance of having a web presence during the recent General Election. The website td2011.com monitored the number of news articles, blog posts and websites which mentioned each candidate's name in the week running up to the election. According to the results, twelve of the elected independents were the most visible independent candidate in their constituency, while three others had the second most visible web presence. All elected independents were one of the top five most visible candidates in their constituency. In order to determine candidates positions, David wrote an algorithm to rank all 566 candidates based their web presence. Web visibility then was monitored for the candidates from 1 February until the day before the election Thursday, 24 February. David Dolphin, creator of td2011.com says: "The results extracted from the website show that the internet is a useful tool independents can use to inform the electorate of the issues they stand for. It highlights the growing role of internet presence as a factor in Irish elections. The Web is particularly important for independent candidates as it gives them a voice when they don't have the brand recognition that comes with party membership." Full rankings for all independent candidates can be found online at: http://www.td2011.com/indy. -ends-

Friday, 4 March 2011

The folklore and philosophy of the West of Ireland was explored by NUI Galway's Dr Tom Duddy in Castlebar yesterday (3 March). In a free, public talk, Dr Duddy spoke about 'From Folklore to Philosophy: the life and work of William Larminie of Castlebar'. William Larminie was born in Castlebar in 1849. A poet and collector of folklore, he also translated the work of the great Irish-born philosopher, John Scottus Eriugena. The talk, which took place in the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar, gave an account of Larminie's own life and discussed his contribution to Irish cultural life. Dr Duddy's lecture was part of the 'Humanities in the West' series of talks, sponsored by the School of Humanities at NUI Galway. Throughout this series, University lecturers visit different regional centres (Castlebar, Roscommon and Sligo) to lecture on a range of topics from philosophy to Gaelic games to ideas of space and mobility in contemporary Ireland. 'Humanities in the West' is an initiative of the Civic Engagement Committee in the School of Humanities and is one of a number of annual initiatives designed to publicise the teaching and research that takes place in Humanities at NUI Galway. Further talks are planned in Roscommon on 29 March, where Dr Seán Crosson of NUI Galway's Huston School of Film & Digital Media, will discuss 'Representing the Nation through Sport: The National Film Institute's Gaelic Games Films, 1948 – 1968'. His presentation will consider a series of films made in Ireland during the period that were centrally concerned with representing and promoting the nation through sport. The talk, which will include rare highlights footage of Roscommon competing in the all-Ireland football finals of 1943, 1946 and 1962, takes place in the Roscommon Arts Centre at 8pm. In Sligo on 5 April, Dr Nessa Cronin of the Centre for Irish Studies, will talk about 'Haunted Landscapes: Place, Space and Mobility in 21st Century Ireland'. This illustrated talk will look at the changing face of the Irish landscape from 1993 to the present day. In particular, it will focus on issues relating to the legacy of urban sprawl and rural 'development' in contemporary Ireland and how such changes have been represented in the Irish literary sphere. Of interest to a wide audience, from local community development groups to individuals interested in Irish heritage and contemporary literature, the talk takes place in The Model, Sligo, at 8pm. Further information is available from Karen Walsh 091 495689. For more information on the work of the School of Humanities (including podcasted lectures), visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/humanities/. -Ends-

Thursday, 3 March 2011

NUI Galway researchers have won a prestigious award for their work on the development of guidelines to support communication in cross-cultural general practice consultations. Dr. Anne MacFarlane, Lecturer in Primary Care, Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine has led the Health Research Board Partnership Award with colleagues Mary O'Reilly-de Brún and Tomas de Brún, Directors of the Centre for Participatory Strategies (CPS), Galway and Alice O'Flynn and Diane Nurse of the HSE Social Inclusion Unit. This research has used innovative participatory research methods to enable the meaningful involvement of health service users from the migrant community and health service providers in the development of a guideline to support communication in cross-cultural general practice consultations. This research was recently awarded the Professor James McCormack medal for best research presentation at the Association of University Departments of General Practice Annual Scientific Meeting. This is important research for service users with limited English and their general practitioners who face significant challenges on a daily basis in their consultations because they do not have a shared language or cultural background which results in frequent misunderstandings and communication breakdowns. According to Dr. MacFarlane; "A key finding from the research is that all those involved with the research do not think the current status quo of using family members including children and friends as interpreters, is acceptable. They wish to have access to formal, trained interpreters who are monitored and evaluated in practice." Members of the migrant community from Polish, Russian, Portuguese, Urdu, French Congolese speaking and Nigerian communities in the Galway region, who participated in the research last April, were invited back to the University recently to hear details of the key findings and to provide feedback about the emerging content of the guideline to the research team. Seven representatives of the migrant community have formed a research team with academic researchers. The Service User Peer Researchers (SUPERS) are Khalid Ahmed, Jean Samuel Bonsenge Bokanga, Maria Manuela De Almeida Silva, Aga Mierzejewska, Lovina Nnadi, Florence Ogbebor and Katya Okonkwo. They trained in participatory research methods with the Centre for Participatory Strategies, Galway and this training enabled them to give members of their wider communities an opportunity to 'have a voice' in the development of the guideline, working in their own languages and with SUPERS from their own cultural backgrounds. As one SUPER (Florence Ogbebor) remarked, "This type of research actually brought the voices of the people upstream to the policy makers, where their voices could be heard". The use of participatory research approaches for research based on academic-community partnerships is very innovative in Irish primary care and the involvement of the Centre for Participatory Strategies has been instrumental in the design and delivery of the project. Directors of the Centre for Participatory Strategies (CPS), Mary O'Reilly-de Brún and Tomas de Brún said, "In this research project, we found it very exciting to experience the enthusiasm and creativity of the SUPERS. Together, we co-designed the research process, and culture-proofed all the research materials - this ensured that no migrant participants would be offended by the visual images we use with groups where not everyone readily reads and writes. This is one of the strengths of the participatory approach used, no one is disenfranchised and everyone's voice counts." -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The general public are invited on a trip down theatrical memory lane at NUI Galway, as images from the archive of the Abbey Theatre actor Arthur Shields (1896-1970) are exhibited. The selection of photographs from the Shields Family Archive will be on display in the foyer of the James Hardiman Library until 18 March with many more images featuring in a powerpoint display. John Cox, Librarian at James Hardiman Library, says this is a fascinating display: "As well as photographs, visitors will also be able to view correspondence and publicity material from the Abbey Theatre's tours of North America, which were managed by Arthur Shields in the 1930s. As an interesting footnote, in Easter 1916, Arthur Shields fought with the Citizen Army in the GPO when he was just 19 years old, and several items relating to the uprising are on display." The exhibition is just part of the Shields Family Archive collection which is housed at the James Hardiman Library, and includes posters, programmes and playscripts. In addition, there is a large audio-visual collection of tapes and video, including around fifty hours of interviews with Abbey players recorded in the 1970s. Also in the Archive are the papers of Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur's brother. Both brothers had successful acting careers in Hollywood, each appearing in more than fifty films, beginning with John Ford's production of The Plough and Stars in 1936. The exhibition takes place in the foyer of the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway until 18 March (closed on 17 March). The Library is open until 10pm Monday to Friday, and until 5.30pm at weekends. Admission to the exhibition is free. The University has also made over 150 images from the Shields Family Archive available online at http://archives.library.nuigalway.ie/shields. -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

NUI Galway's Professor Pat Dolan will participate in the United Nations Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on 'Dialogue and Mutual Understanding across Generations' in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday, 8 and Wednesday, 9 March. The purpose of the meeting is to provide the UN Member States and the UN Secretariat with expert opinion on dialogue and mutual understanding as it relates to generations. In doing so, it seeks to explore the family structure as a framework for enhancing intergenerational dialogue between younger and older persons and exploring its impact in a broader context including, community, education and the workplace. The event will endeavour to review the existing policies and good practices in the area of intergenerational dialogue. It will develop recommendations on how strategic investment in activities and initiatives aimed at promoting intergenerational dialogue can help further youth development and social integration policies. Professor Dolan, who is UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research at NUI Galway, was invited to participate in the meeting by the United Nations on the Family and the United Nations Programme on Youth, in the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Professor Dolan's address will focus on "lessons learnt from existing approaches to promote dialogue and understanding and enhance youth involvement". Professor Dolan adds, "Civic engagement ranging from community based charity work to social justice/cause led action, enables new friendships and coping capacity for youth in need in Ireland and globally. This UN Forum will explore how Ireland can help move this from a vision to a reality." The meeting is being convened in observance of the International Year of Youth 2010 to 2011 and as part of the preparations for the Twentieth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, which will take place in 2014. The event is being held in cooperation with Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIIFSD). -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day on Tuesday, 8 March, will be marked by a series of events at NUI Galway. International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911, when more than one million women and men attended rallies around the world campaigning for women's rights. Now a well established worldwide event, International Women's Day has become an annual fixture at NUI Galway. The Global Women's Studies Programme at NUI Galway will be co-hosting a series of events throughout the week of 7 to 11 March. According to Dr Niamh Reilly, of the Global Women's Studies Programme at NUI Galway: "Over the last hundred years many gains have been made that have transformed the position of women in Ireland and around the world. However, there remain persistent and serious gender gaps that must be addressed before we can say that gender equality has been truly achieved. On average male workers and professionals continue to enjoy higher earnings and to occupy more senior positions in both the private and public sectors than women do. In Ireland especially, women are severely under-represented in formal politics and decision making positions, women continue to carry an unfair burden of responsibility for unpaid caring work in the home, and women are many times more likely than men to be subjected to domestic violence, rape and sexual exploitation." Events at NUI Galway will begin on Monday, 7 March, at 12.30pm in Áras Moyola with a seminar by Inez McCormack, women's and human rights activist, first female President of the Irish Congress of Trade Union and Chair of the Participation and Practice of Rights project, on 'Women, Power and Powerlessness'. On Tuesday, 8 March, at 8pm in the O Flaherty Theatre, the Galway Film Society will screen 'Women without Men'. The film brings together, on screen, the personal and the political in the story of four women and the way their lives are affected by the turbulence of the anti-Mossadeq coup in Iran. Directed by Shirin Neshat, it was the winner of Best Director Silver Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival 2009, and will be preceded by an introduction from NUI Galway's Niamh Reilly. A celebration of the life and work of Diana Leonard (1941-2010), Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Education and Gender at the University of London, and founder of the Centre for Research on Education and Gender, takes place on Wednesday, 9 March, at 12.30pm in the Arts Millennium Building. Finally, on Friday, 11 March, a public seminar of the Gender Arc Research Alliance, which is part of the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, will examine Historical Perspectives on International Women's Day. Speakers will include Caitríona Clear, Senior Lecturer in History, NUI Galway and Bernadette Whelan, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Limerick. This event takes place at 1pm in Áras Moyola. Dr Nata Duvvury, also with Global Women's Studies Programme, notes that: "Persistent underlying patterns of discrimination against women in most societies make women and girls disproportionately vulnerable to an array of harms from extreme poverty and wartime sexual violence to human trafficking and exposure to HIV/AIDS. Thankfully, there are many men and women the world over who are ardent defenders of women's human rights and gender equality. The centenary of International Women's Day offers a welcome opportunity to celebrate their successful efforts to challenge inequalities to date and to remind ourselves that no country yet can boast a perfect record on achievement of genuine gender equality for all groups of women and for sexual minorities." The events at NUI Galway are hosted by the Global Women's Studies Programme in conjunction with the Galway Film Society, the Gender Arc Research Alliance (NUI Galway-UL), and NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights, and Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. All are welcome to these free events, for further information contact Gillian Browne at gillian.browne@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 28 February 2011

The Student Enterprise Awards, a competition to encourage enterprise and innovation among students, has been launched at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway Students' Union initiative invites students across campus to put forward proposals for a project or business, with a prize of €15,000 for the overall winner. The competition embraces both the innovative and creative abilities of students to formulate a concept, with finalists being offered a chance to turn their idea into reality. The overall winner will not only receive €15,000 direct investment to launch their project, but also invaluable expert guidance and mentoring. Two runner-up prizes are also on offer with financial investment of €2,000. Peter Mannion, NUI Galway Students' Union President said: "We are acutely aware of the hardship being faced by students and their families in these difficult economic times. The Student Enterprise Awards provide an excellent opportunity for young people in particular to apply their skills and talents. By providing the initial financial boost and expert guidance, the Awards have the potential to launch several initiatives that could create much needed employment and investment." The Student Enterprise Awards aim to unlock the potential of NUI Galway students by providing financial support and expertise for students who wish to start a project in the areas of Business, Arts and Social Entrepreneurship. Damien Cosgrove, NUI Galway Students' Union Commercial Services CEO said: "Students' Union Commercial Services is delighted to be involved in this important competition. The University is full of innovative ideas, energetic people and a strong spirit of enterprise. Our company has always been hugely impressed with the culture of entrepreneurship amongst the NUI Galway students. Now, more than ever, students need to be encouraged and supported to turn this spirit of enterprise into real jobs." The Student Enterprise Awards are generously supported by NUI Galway Students' Union Commercial Services Ltd., NUI Galway and the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office. According to Neil Ferguson, Acting Director of the Technology Transfer Office: "This competition plays an important part in creating a culture of entrepreneurship within our University and is leveraging the huge capacity of our students from across all colleges. We have an excellent history and reputation for start ups and innovation on campus and it is hoped that this competition will add to this by successfully launching new powerful ideas and innovative start-ups which will benefit the Irish economy". The closing date for submissions is Friday, 8 April and applications are available from http://www.suenterpriseawards.com/. -Ends-

Monday, 28 February 2011

Philip Walton, Emeritus Professor of Physics at NUI Galway, and nationally-renowned nuclear energy expert, will lead a free public talk at the University on Wednesday, 9 March. 'Nuclear Power for Ireland: Facts and Fiction' will discuss all aspects of nuclear power as it relates to Ireland. Historically the Irish Government's policy has been firmly opposed to nuclear energy on the grounds of the risks it poses, yet some argue that nuclear energy is one of the cleanest, safest and economic forms of energy available to mankind today. Professor Walton will be joined by Professor Ian McAulay and Mr Denis Duff to explain why they believe Ireland should adopt nuclear energy as an important part of our energy mix. All three are members of the Better Environment with Nuclear Energy (BENE) group. According to Professor Walton, nuclear power has been employed successfully over the past 50 years by many countries yet Ireland continues to reject it. He says, "We cannot afford to continue to reject this power source out-of-hand, while we continue to rely on fossil fuel imports for most of our electricity production. This is simply untenable." He continues: "Wind energy will not be able to supply even 40 per cent of our electricity without major changes to our electricity system, and even then it is not certain if this can be achieved. What we can consider are modern safe reactors which would fit with little or no need for modifications to the National Grid. It would be possible to have a number of these plants providing jobs and safe, clean environments in a number of areas of Ireland. We would then have reliable energy, independent of dwindling fossil fuel supplies with their world price fluctuations. For the sake of homes and businesses in the future, the least we can do is to understand the fact from fiction in this whole debate." The event takes place at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, 9 March, in the Colm O'hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. To book a place at the event, contact Adam Beatty, Physics Society, NUI Galway, on 087 9055911 or physicsnuig@gmail.com -Ends-

Thursday, 24 February 2011

NUI Galway Soccer Club have reached the Collingwood 2011 Cup Final. The club had a convincing win over Limerick (6 – 1) on Tuesday and a tough victory over Jordanstown yesterday (2-1). NUI Galway will take on UCC who knocked holders UCD out in the semi final, later today. The game will be played in Trinity s College Park pitch at 2.30. NUI Galway have won the Collingwood Cup six times: 1955, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1995 and 1999. The Cup has been played for annually since 1914 apart from 1915 to1919 during World War One and on one other occasion in 1933/34. The tournament, played over four days, is an all island competition involving 13 Universities and this year's favourities and last year's winners UCD were the first winners in 1914 overcoming Queen's University, Belfast.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

A new book by an NUI Galway Professor of Zoology examines how evolution works by changing the course of embryonic and post-embryonic development. In Evolution: A Developmental Approach Professor Wallace Arthur asks questions like what separates humans from chimpanzees? Is it the genetics of our populations, or our different structures and behavioural capabilities? The book tackles key themes such as developmental repatterning, adaptation and coadaptation, the origins of evolutionary novelties, and evolutionary changes in the complexity of organisms. Together these themes explain how evolution works by changing the course of embryonic and post-embryonic development, providing a title influenced by the new approach of evolutionary developmental biology, 'evo-devo'. A key difference between Evolution: A Developmental Approach and other evolution textbooks is the integration of basic population-based evolutionary concepts with comparative developmental genetics. Organised on conceptual lines, with the themed chapters and case study examples, the book enables students to see the common principles underlying the evolution of different developmental pathways. Professor Arthur says, "There are many evolution texts 'out there', but there are none that cover the ground in the same way as this one. This book adopts a very specific approach to the evolution of animals and plants – an approach in which the central theme is how evolution works by altering the course of egg-to-adult development. This is a book about how evo-devo can be integrated with other approaches to evolutionary biology, giving us a more complete view of evolution than has ever been available before." Evolution: A Developmental Approach was launched yesterday at NUI Galway by NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

NUI Galway's Ryan Institute hosted Engineering for Communities family day in the Galway City Museum on Saturday, 19 February as part of National Engineers Week. Hundreds of visitors explored the various activities, each dedicated to engineering solutions for different community needs. Highlights included the Eco-House Design Challenge, a K'Nex Bridge Building Contest, Lego Mindstorms Robot Trials, Electronic Circuitry and Wastewater Treatment Demonstrations: great preparation for the next generation of young engineers

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Pulsars which are some of the most extreme and enigmatic objects in the known Universe, will be the subject of the second NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy public talks. Dr John McDonald, Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Centre for Astronomy, will discuss pulsars (neutron stars) on Wednesday, 2 March, at 7.30pm in the Larmor lecture theatre, NUI Galway. First observed serendipitously in the late 1960s by an Irish postgraduate student working in Cambridge, these objects have been intensely studied for more than 40 years, and yet much about these objects remains shrouded in mystery. The progeny of type II supernovae (the death of massive stars), neutron stars possess the mass of our entire Sun contained in an area the size of Galway, with immense electromagnetic and gravitational fields, spinning up to 650 times a second. Dr McDonald will explain the origins of these stars, starting right from the birth of normal stars, through their violent death, to their stunning rebirth. He will also discuss work being done by the Centre for Astronomy to expand our understanding of these fascinating stars. Speaking about the upcoming talk, Dr Andy Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy has been a world leader in optical pulsar studies for the past twenty years. In this time we have identified two of five known optical pulsars. Dr McDonald's talk will put this work in context show casing ground breaking research at NUI Galway." The talk is open to the public and might be of particular interest to transition year students and students thinking of doing science at University. More details about the series of talks can be found at http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach. -ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The first Babel Public Lecture Series entitled 'Exploring the Book' will come to a close with a lecture by Dr Kate Quinn on Tuesday, 1 March, at 6.30pm at Galway City Library. The Babel Public Lecture Series consists of six lectures and is an initiative of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway. The Babel Public Lecture Series began in November 2010 with the first lecture presented by Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Scoil na Gaeilge at NUI Galway, entitled 'Three Great Connacht Manuscripts from circa AD 1400: the Books of Ballymote, Lecan and Uí Mhaine'. Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, German, NUI Galway provided the second lecture with a discussion on strolling through the 'Library of Babel: A short history of imaginary books'. Dr Mark Stansbury's lecture, entitled 'What is a Book', explored the development of book making from earliest times to hypertext and featured exhibits of papyrus and wax tablets for the audience to examine. Professor Paolo Bartoloni provided the fourth lecture, 'Joyce's Italian Book of Choice: Svevo's Zeno's Conscience'. The fifth lecture, 'Protestants, Pedants and Presses or What do you need for a Successful Book Trade?', was presented by Dr Catherine Emerson and centred on 16th century Lyon. The final lecture in the Series is titled 'Criminal Passions: The Perennial Appeal of Death and Detection' and will be delivered by Dr Kate Quinn, Spanish, NUI Galway. The lecture is open to members of the pubic and entrance is free. According to Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, "Dr Kate Quinn's enticingly 'noir' title manages to mention two of the great themes, passion and death, and promises to bring the first series to an appropriately intriguing completion. Her talk will deal with crime fiction and inform us about why it is we are so drawn by books in this genre." There will be a reception before this final lecture from 6.00pm to 6.30pm. The series will be formally closed by Dr Edward Herring, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, NUI Galway. Further information is available from Suzanne Gilsenan at suzanne.gilsenan@nuigalway.ie or 091 494037. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A rare and unusual concert will take place on Wednesday, 2 March at 6pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway as part of the module Medicine and the Arts featuring vocalist Susan Mc Keown (New York) and her band, Ryan Mc Giver on guitar; Eamon O Leary on bouzouki and banjo and Jason Sypher on bass. The concert is based on Grammy-winner Mc Keown's twelfth album Singing in the Dark, where she draws on lyrics from poets of the last thousand years who have written through the lens of depression, mania and addiction. This is a work of many moods, exploring creativity, suffering, and the pursuit of happiness. The album was inspired by the book Touched with Fire: (Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament), by psychiatrist and author Kay Jamison, who contributed an introductory essay to the album. Medicine and the Arts, now in its second year, is a unique and innovative development within the undergraduate Medical curriculum where students engage in a semester-long programme of structured exploration of the Arts across the broad areas of performance, the visual arts and literature. Susan's concert is the flagship event of this year s module and illustrates the commitment of the Medical School to bringing excellent and original work of artistic integrity, promoting the personal development of medical students as future practitioners of medicine and as healing doctors. The group project aspect of Medicine and the Arts - the hospital library, takes the form of a practical engagement with literature, the provision of a mobile library service to patients at University Hospital Galway. Last year Medicine and the Arts medical students carried out all of the research and development of the project and this year the students officially begin the process of engaging with the patients in St Anthony's ward providing books and reading to the patients. The central aim of the hospital library project is to address and relieve the sensory deprivation of patients in hospital wards and restore a greater sense of dignity and an opportunity to use literature to alleviate boredom and promote healing. The medical students also benefit in a meaningful way as they engage in the provision of a voluntary community service Tickets for Susan Mc Keown's concert are €10 and can be purchased at the door. You may also reserve seats with Therese Dixon, Clinical Science Institute at 091 494475/494671 or 524268. All are welcome. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Theatrical forces merge on campus this week for NUI Galway's Theatre Week. Now in its second year, the event showcases through theatre, literature and film, the many talents of NUI Galway students, societies and alumni. Theatre Week began last night (Monday, 21 February) with the Alumni Theatre and Literature Night. Writers and performers who originated from NUI Galway returned to tread the boards of the new Cube Theatre in Áras na Mac Léinn. The evening included writers such as Mary Mullen, Alan McMonagle, Ann Irwin, Rab Fulton and theatre groups involved are Fergoli, Mephisto, Colours Theatre, Side-Show Production as well as Fionnuala Gallagher and many more. The week will include the Jerome Hynes One Act Play Series, Alumni Theatre and Literature Night, the Nothing Specific Society Cardboard Battle, a joint BACon Soc and Dramsoc production of Fight Club, a Monologue Double Bill and workshops from make-up artists and Shakespeare experts. Throughout the week there will also be a series of Shakespeare film adaptations shown and these screenings are free to attend. The six winning Jerome Hynes One Act Plays run from Tuesday to Thursday encompassing life changing themes including death, love, sleep and a naked president. The plays include Sleep Skips my Heart by Sarah Griffin, The Key to Hell by Niamh Dennis, Remember December by David Kilgannon, A Presidential Crisis or People Drowning Everywhere by Michael Shiels and Death of a Movie Starby Thomas Dooley. The Nothing Specific Society will host their second annual battle in cardboard armour on the President's Lawn. This year they have made it an intervarsity event with battlers from all over Ireland attending. Cardboard Armour workshops will take place right throughout the week in preparation for the battle on Thursday at 12 noon. Digging Art by Thomas Dooley and A Pale Moon Rose by Neil Flynn are theatre week's chosen monologues. Digging Art won the Monologue Competition during Múscailt and A Pale Moon Rose, performed by Jerry Fitzgerald has been in various theatres around Cork and Kerry, this is its Galway premier. For more information on the week's events check out www.socs.nuigalway.ieor contact the socsbox on 091 492852. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

On Friday, 4 March, Dr Mathew Parkes, Natural History Museum Dublin, will present a public talk entitled Meteorites and Famous Irish Falls at NUI Galway. Hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy and the Galway Astronomy Club, this free event will take place at 8pm in the Dillon Theatre, NUI Galway, accompanied by a display of meteorites from the Irish collection of the Natural History Museum. Meteorites are natural objects from outer space that survived their impact on Earth and can be very large or very small. When they enter the Earth's atmosphere, impact pressure causes them to heat up forming a fireball or meteor. Meteorites recovered after being observed as they transited the atmosphere or impacted the Earth are called falls. At the event, members of the public will also get a rare chance to examine recently purchased rock fragments from Mars or the Moon, and others that have landed on Irish soil including the two which smashed through the roof of an RUC barracks in Northern Ireland in 1969, one that fell in Carlow in 1999 and the famous Limerick Meteorite of 1815. Professor Markus Woerner of the Galway Astronomy Club said: "Co-operation between professional and amateur astronomers in Galway and Ireland provides the general public with exciting 'hands-on' experience of the most recent research at the forefront of international research in Astronomy and Geophysics. Dr Parkes' lecture will prove it to everyone. Those in doubt will still be able to touch the objects made of material from which our Solar System is made." Dr Parkes is responsible for the Earth Science collections at the Natural History Museum. He is a contributor to the Geological Survey of Ireland and founder member of the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland. Dr Parkes has a long interest in exploring old mine sites as well as rocks originating in the Solar System. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is delighted to host this public lecture. Meteorites give us a unique insight into the type of material which made up the early solar system. From this we can understand how our planet evolved and importantly they can give clues as to how planets around other stars can evolve." For more information contact Professor Markus Woerner at markus.worner@nuigalway.ie or 091 553353, or Dr Andy Shearer at andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie or 091 493114. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Six NUI Galway students are among the winners of the transport industry's national Student Idea of the Year Awards. The awards are presented annually to the originators innovative ideas which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of transport in Ireland. The students from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics were presented with their awards by RTÉ s Duncan Stewart at a special ceremony organised by the Eastern Section of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland (CILT). NUI Galway students Olgierd Gosztowtt from Poland, Peter Istenes from Riverside, Galway, and Paul Jacobsen from Castlegar, Co Galway, won the Safety Category. Their project 'Galway Traffic Garden' was to design a leisure park where children can learn the rules of road in a safe environment. Targeted at primary school children, the park would allow a safe and practical environment to learn the rules of the road. As part of the activities in the park, children would drive go-carts, cycle bikes or act as pedestrians, while learning about all aspects of road safety. The prize in the Marine Category was awarded to NUI Galway students Cathal McCormack from Oranmore, Co Galway, Jason McDonagh from Moyola Park, Galway, and Kieran McDonnell, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Their project, 'Shock Mitigation Seating', seeks to improve suspension seating in boats in order to reduce the forces exerted along the body when a vessel hits a powerful wave at a high speed. Mary Dempsey, of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "I am very proud of our students. I believe that engineering and innovation are key to economic recovery. NUI Galway provides students with opportunity and a platform through which each of them can express their innovativeness. This output is reflected in the attainment of these prestigious awards." This is the fifteenth year in which NUI Galway students have taken home CILT awards, reflecting the University's strong reputation in engineering education. Over 1400 people study engineering at the University, and in recent years new undergraduate courses have been offered in Energy Engineering, Sports and Exercise Engineering, and Innovation Engineering. To serve the growing number of students, a new Engineering Building, which will be the largest School of Engineering in the country, opens in September 2011. -Ends-

Monday, 21 February 2011

Two Biomedical Engineering PhD Students at NUI Galway recently won prestigious research awards at both national and international level. Enda Dowling, third year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, is the 2011 winner of the Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal. Enda is the first ever NUI Galway student to win this award. This prestigious medal won by Enda, who is from Kilkenny, is awarded annually to a PhD student deemed to be making a significant contribution to the field of biomedical engineering research and at an advanced stage in their studies. The national competition attracted a record 40 entrants and is sponsored DePuy Orthopaedics. Engineers Ireland is a representative body for all sectors of engineering since 1835. Enda's winning paper was entitled Influence of Actin Cytoskeletal Remodelling on the Shear Resistance of Single Chondrocytes: A Computational and Experimental Investigation. It uncovers the role of active remodelling and contractility of chondrocyte cell substructures in response to shear deformation using experimental and computer modelling techniques. The winning paper was co-authored by Dr. Patrick McGarry and William Ronan of NUI Galway and collaborator Professor Kyriacos Athanasiou from UC Davis in California. Emer Feerick, third year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, was recently awarded the prize for Best Presentation at the 19th Annual Symposium on Computational Methods in Orthopaedic Biomechanics, held in Long Beach, California. It is the premier international forum on the use of a new breed of computer-based tools in orthopaedic biomechanics. This award is an acknowledgement of the internationally leading research being performed by Emer, who is from Milltown, Co Galway. Emer's winning paper was entitled Computational Investigation of Cortical Bone Failure Mechanisms during Screw Pullout. Advanced computer simulations were performed to uncover the process of bone failure due to stresses caused by orthopaedic fixation devices. The analysis techniques can be used to predict and prevent mechanical failure of orthopaedic devices and offers a powerful tool for future device design. Dr. Patrick McGarry, of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and PhD supervisor of both successful students says, "Emer's computational predictions of the mechanisms of bone failure can now be used to design improved orthopaedic devices and will be of significant relevance to the medical device industry. Enda's research improves our understanding of the role of mechanical loading in development of degenerative disease in cartilage. Both students demonstrate the high standard of research within the school of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and the importance of continued support for such research." Both Enda and Emer are funded by Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) scholarships. Enda's work is also supported by Science Foundation Ireland (Research Frontiers Programme and a Short Term Travel Fellowship). Dr McGarry also acknowledges the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) for the provision of internationally leading computing resources, without which, such advanced computational modelling would not be possible. -Ends-

Monday, 21 February 2011

A new book, entitled Global Talent Management, by Professor Hugh Scullion and Dr David Collings at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, was recently launched by Jack Golden, Group HR Director of CRH. Published by Routledge, this is one of the first books published globally on this important topic and draws on contributions from leading scholars around the globe. In the context of the challenges emerging from the current global economic downturn, managers around the globe are increasingly looking to their key talent to ensure the survival and growth of their organisations. This text will provide some useful insights on how some of the best performing organisations around the globe engage with this challenge. Commenting on the book Professor John Slocum, Editor of the Journal of World Business, said, "Professor Scullion and Dr Collings have written the definitive book on global talent management. Their experience and compelling selection of articles written by renowned scholars create a delightful journey. Their masterpiece develops a mind-set for all managers who are concerned with designing practices for the war on global talent." 'The war for talent' is a battle cry frequently heard in corporate boardrooms around the globe. Organisations are in constant competition to attract and retain the best and the brightest talent. Indeed, Ireland's high quality workforce is an oft cited reason why key multinationals locate here. However, the relocation of this employment to developing economies particularly in the east, is a major challenge. Commenting on these trends, Dr David Collings, noted, "One of the key attractions of Ireland as a location for FDI is the quality of the workforce here. From excellent technical competence to superior managerial talent, Ireland has punched well about its weight in attracting top multinationals to locate here. Global Talent Management provides guidance to managers on how best to manage their talent systems to ensure the ongoing success and performance of their organisations in the global context." Jack Golden, Group HR Director of CRH, who launched Global Talent Management, is acutely aware of the challenges of managing global talent. CRH employs over 80,000 people across 35 countries with the vast majority employed outside of Ireland. Mr Golden commented on the timeliness of the book and the quality of the contributions in helping to frame the key issues which organisations faced with regard to managing talent on the global basis. He also commented on the resonance of many of the issues discussed in the contributions on talent management in the emerging economies of India, China and Eastern Europe in the context of CRH's growth in these regions. Professor Scullion and Dr Collings are considered to be two of the leading international experts in the area of global talent and global staffing more generally. Both have conducted extensive research in these areas and are working with leading international organisations on these issues. They are regular speakers at industry events including at the Danish Federation of Industry and the Global Mobility Summit London. -Ends-

Friday, 18 February 2011

An NUI Galway Professor is one of the key organisers at the Annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in Washington D.C recently. Professor of Applied Physics at NUI Galway, Christopher Dainty introduced a special symposium on the use of adaptive optics to produce sharper images in Astronomy, Microscopy and the human retina. Professor Dainty's meeting was entitled Sharper Images in Astronomy, Microscopy, and Vision Science Using Adaptive Optics. It examined how adaptive optics was developed originally to compensate for the turbulent effects of the atmosphere by using deformable mirrors that provide much sharper images from spy satellites and astronomical telescopes. The methods now are being applied to the microcosmos as well, giving high-resolution images of the human retina and promising unprecedented real-time imagery of fundamental processes within body tissues. The speakers described how phases of light can be manipulated to remove the distortions of an intervening medium, whether the upper atmosphere, the interior fluids of the eyeball or the cellular material in brain tissue. Speaking after the Annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, Professor Dainty said, "Adaptive Optics, more than 50 years after its invention, is finally entering the mainstream of research. This conference highlighted three of its most successful applications to date but there will be new applications in the future." For further information please contact Professor Christopher Dainty at 091 492826 or email chris.dainty@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The School of Education at NUI Galway will host a series of workshops as part of the University's new Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme for teachers. The workshops will focus on statistics, teaching and learning plans in Project Maths and GeoGebra. The events will take place on 1, 8 and 15 March in the Education Building in the University from 6 to 8.30 each evening. The three sessions will cover statistics, teaching and learning plans in Project Maths and GeoGebra, a free software tool developed for enhancing mathematics learning and teaching. GeoGebra is a principal technology of Project Maths. Project Maths involves the introduction of revised syllabuses for both Junior and Leaving Certificate Mathematics, introduced gradually on a strand basis with complete roll out expected by 2015. It involves changes to what students learn in mathematics, how they learn it and how they will be assessed. It aims to provide for an enhanced student learning experience and greater levels of achievement for all. Much greater emphasis will be placed on student understanding of mathematical concepts, with increased use of contexts and applications that will enable students to relate mathematics to everyday experience. The initiative will also focus on developing students' problem-solving skills. Assessment will reflect the different emphasis on understanding and skills in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The first two strands of project Maths were introduced for first and fifth year students in 2010. Dr Tony Hall, Assistant Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway says, "We hope these workshops, delivered as specialist input to NUI Galway's new flexible CPD framework for teachers, will support a community of practice in school mathematics, incorporating the new Project Maths syllabi and technologies, and involving our partner schools, teachers, the mathematics subject associations, the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick, and the Project Maths Development Team. NUI Galway is delighted to play an important part in the process of promoting mathematics and applied mathematics education, in collaboration with our partners in education, regionally and nationally." Welcoming these workshops, NUI Galway President, Dr James Browne said: "Maths education is central to the development of Ireland s Knowledge economy. These vital skills must be at the core of our education system at all levels from primary to fourth-level. This initiative by the School of Education at NUI Galway, in partnership with Project Maths, will further enhance teachers skills and develop new strategies for the teaching of mathematics, which will ultimately benefit the Irish economy." NUI Galway's contribution to Project Maths highlights the University's commitment to changing the perception of Mathematics. In 2008, a new specialist BA in Mathematics and Education was introduced, which sees students pursuing a comprehensive degree programme offering two valuable qualifications including an honours degree in Mathematics and a post-primary teaching qualification. Graduates of the programme, which is offered jointly by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, and the School of Education will be specialist educators in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, trained to research-level standard in the mathematical sciences, and recognised by the Teaching Council of Ireland as qualified post-primary teachers of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics to honours Leaving Certificate level. Ends

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A book written by Dr Deirdre Byrnes, who teaches German in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, was launched in the Moore Institute on Thursday, 10 February. Rereading Monika Maron: Text, Counter-Text and Context was launched by Professor Hugh Ridley, Emeritus Professor of German, University College Dublin. Monika Maron's biography charts a complex relationship with the German Democratic Republic, from initial ideological identification with the state to sustained, radical rejection. In her book, Dr Byrnes charts the development of a number of seminal themes in Maron's work: the search for an authentic form of expression; the writing and the rewriting of history; memory transmission and generational forgetting; the rupture and the ultimate refashioning of biographies in a post-GDR age. According to Dr. Byrnes: "Monika Maron's writing articulates salient aspects of her generation's social and historical experience, in particular the caesura caused by the collapse of the GDR in 1989. In my book, I set out to demonstrate the significance of her contribution to contemporary German literature." Launching the book, Professor Hugh Ridley highlighted Monika Maron's "representative function for a whole generation" and described her work as being "focused on pain, the sense of loss, the need to face up to the world". Rereading Monika Maron: Text, Counter-Text and Context is published by Peter Lang in the series British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature. It can be ordered at www.peterlang.com. Further information is available from Dr. Deirdre Byrnes at 091 492014 or deirdre.byrnes@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A new collection of essays, Crisis and Contemporary Poetry, edited by Anne Karhio, Seán Crosson and Charles I. Armstrong has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. This collection addresses poetic and critical responses to the various crises encountered by contemporary writers and our society. The essays included discuss a range of issues from the Holocaust, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and their aftermath and the war on terror to the ecological crisis, poetry's relationship to place and questions of cultural and national identity. The essays also ask the questions: "What are the means available to poetry to address the various crises it faces, and how can both poets and critics meet the challenges posed by society and the literary community?" "How can poetry justify its own role as a meaningful form of cultural and artistic practice?" The volume focuses on poetry from Britain, Ireland and the US, and many of the poets discussed in this volume are among the most acclaimed contemporary writers, including for example Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Louise Glück and Alice Oswald. Crisis and Contemporary Poetry will be launched by Professor Sean Ryder in the Moore Institute Seminar Room at NUI, Galway at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 1 March, 2011. More information on the collection is available at http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=399783. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Researchers at NUI Galway's School of Psychology and Centre for Pain Research have joined forces with health economists at Trinity College Dublin to establish the economic costs of chronic pain in Ireland. As part of the HRB and HSE funded PRIME Study (Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in Ireland), the researchers carried out in-depth interviews with 140 chronic pain patients to find out about direct costs such as medical treatments and indirect costs such as lost work productivity. Research Psychologist at NUI Galway, Miriam Raftery, said "we found that the average cost per chronic pain patient was €5,665 per year across all grades of pain severity". However, the annual costs increased according to the severity of pain, rising to €10,454 per patient for those with the highest level of pain and disability. A relatively small proportion of patients with the most severe level of pain accounted for a disproportionately large portion of the costs. Inpatient hospital treatment accounted for the highest proportion of overall costs. Professor of Health Policy and Management, Charles Normand and Research Assistant, Padhraig Ryan of the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College explained that "based on a 36% prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland, the total cost of chronic pain for all individuals aged 20 and above was estimated at €4.76 billion per year, or 2.55% of Irish GDP in 2008". The chief investigator of the PRIME study at NUI Galway, Dr. Brian McGuire suggested that "improved services for people in the early stages of chronic pain could reduce the long-term use of health services and increase the likelihood of getting back to paid work". He suggests this could reduce the sizeable economic burden of chronic pain in Ireland. The Irish research is consistent with data from other countries showing that chronic pain ranks as one of the most costly health conditions. -Ends-