Thursday, 20 January 2011

NUI Galway Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) are leading a European Union, multi-million euro initiative aimed at government transparency and giving citizens a voice in creating policies. The project is entitled 'Puzzled by Policy, Helping you to be part of the EU'. The project aims to help end the detachment and disillusionment of citizens in the policy making process of the EU by improving information resources and tools. Current ways of informing citizens and allowing them to participate can be difficult to access, time consuming to use and yield little results. By providing citizens with an engaging and easy-to-use platform, where they can learn about and engage with policy issues, the initiative hopes to make participation in EU policy much easier. Many Governments today recognise that to deliver effective public policy they need to enhance citizen and community involvement in the policy making process. Unfortunately, many citizens and communities feel that policy development is a process that they do not understand and have little control over. Policy making can be seen by many as an elitist process, taking place only amongst government and the more influential members of society; this project aims to dispel this belief. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI says "New Web technologies can support our democratic systems. They not only make government more cost effective, but also more transparent. Research and development out of Ireland is leading the way." The project combines advanced eParticipation methods with new Web 2.0, social networking and mobile technologies, in order to reduce the complexity of policy-making and legislative processes of EU and national governments and to pro-actively engage citizens in the policy-making process. 'Puzzled by Policy' is funded by the European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) – ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) with a total budget of €3.89 million. It has a consortium consisting of 12 partners from nine European Countries (Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom). The project began in October 2010 and will run for 3 years. For further information, contact Deirdre Lee, Project Coordinator at DERI on 091 495336, email: deirdre.lee@deri.org or log onto www.puzzledbypolicy.eu. -Ends-

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The fourth annual NUI Galway Green Week will take place on campus from 24 to 27 January. As part of the annual event NUI Galway will hold a Green Fair on Tuesday, 25 January, in the Bailey Allen Hall. The Fair will feature activities and awareness stands organised by various NUI Galway societies and by the Buildings Office, NUI Galway, and will focus strongly on fashion and the environment. Students of the Galway Technical Institute (GTI) training in Business Fashion Retail are collaborating with NUI Galway students and staff to organise a bring-and-buy sale of pre-loved clothes. This re-use of clothes is a highly effective way for one person to clear out their wardrobe while someone else benefits from a new or 'nearly-new' piece. According to NUI Galway's Environmental Manager, Dr Aoife Collins, "All financial donations received from the clothes sale will be given to the St. Vincent de Paul, Galway. The GTI students will also give demonstrations on how to turn jaded outfits into fashion gems which otherwise may be sent to landfill. They will also create an eye-catching shop-window display of mannequins wearing recycled materials." Anyone wishing to donate clothes, accessories or old mobile phones for the Green Fair can leave them into the Socs Box office in Áras na Mac Léinn up until Monday, 24 January. During Green Week the Galway Market Traders will be stationed outside Áras na Mac Léinn from 25 to 26 January. In addition, a major fact-based panel discussion titled Averting a Future Irish Energy Crisis will take place at 7pm in the O Flaherty Lecture Theatre, located on the main Concourse on Wednesday, 26 January. The discussion will bring together experts in the fields of energy technology, policy, innovation and business and is organised by the Chemistry, Energy and Physics Societies at NUI Galway. For further information please contact Dr Aoife Collins, Environmental Manager, NUI Galway at 091 495944 or aoife.collins@nuigalway.ie or visit www.socs.nuigalway.ie Ends

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2011 Alumni Awards to be presented at the eleventh annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 5 March, 2011 at the University. Following a successful Gala last year, the Gala Banquet will again be held in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Leinn. The event will be hosted by RTÉ newsreader Siún Nic Gearailt, a graduate of NUI Galway. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University's more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 68 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O'Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2011: Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law Gabriel D'Arcy BSc 1981, CEO Bord na Móna Bank of Ireland Award for Engineering and Informatics Michael Conroy BE 1984, General Manager, Cisco Product Group, Ireland Seavite Alumni Award for Science Dr Gerald Farrell BSc 1981, HDip Ed 1982, Managing Director of Eli Lilly (ROI) & former President of Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies John Walshe BA 1968, HDip Ed 1969 Education Editor, Irish Independent Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Dr Brian Griffin MB, BCh, BAO 1979, Cleveland Clinic, USA - Director, Cardiovascular Disease Training Programme & The John and Rosemary Brown Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine; US Associate Editor, Heart Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership Colm Murray BA 1972, RTÉ Sports Presenter Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne said: "Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These 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. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March." For booking information contact Emma Goode on 091 492721 or email emma.goode@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends. ENDS

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The European Commission has appointed Professor Nicholas Canny of NUI Galway to the governing body of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC). The ERC is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. Professor Canny is the first person from Ireland to be appointed a member of the Scientific Council, the ERC's governing body. The ERC Scientific Council was established by the European Commission in 2005 and is composed of 22 distinguished scientists and scholars from all over Europe, including some Nobel Prize winners. With a budget of € 7.5 billion to spend on scientific research, the ERC defines the scientific funding strategy and methodologies for Europe, and acts on behalf of the scientific community to promote creativity and innovative research. Speaking about his appointment, Professor Canny said: "I am surprised and delighted by the invitation to be the first person from Ireland to serve on the 22 person governing board of the European Research Council. While I am a little daunted by the challenge, I consider it an honour for myself personally, for NUI Galway and the Royal Irish Academy with which I have been associated for so long, and for the entire research community in Ireland. I am particularly pleased that the selection committee decided in favour of somebody from Ireland to represent the interests and perspectives of European researchers in Humanities and Social Science disciplines" Professor Nicholas Canny is Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities at NUI Galway and President of the Royal Academy. His 1976 study The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: a Pattern Established, 1565-76 brought him to international attention. It was awarded the Irish Historical Research prize, as was his more recent work on Irish History Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001). He has also published extensively on Europe's relations with the wider world, and edited the first volume of The Oxford History of the British Empire. His next book the Oxford Handbook of Atlantic History, c1450-c1840, which he has co-edited with Philip Morgan of Johns Hopkins University, will be published March 2011. Nicholas Canny was educated at University College, Galway (now NUI Galway), and at the University of Pennsylvania, and has held post-doctoral appointments at Harvard and Yale Universities, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. He served in spring 2005 as professeur invité at the École des Hautes Études, Paris and in 2005-2006 was Parnell Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College Cambridge. Internationally renowned as a scholar, Nicholas Canny is the only Irish person to share with Séamus Heaney the distinction of being both a Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Commenting on the appointment, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said, "The appointment of Professor Canny to the European Research Council is a great personal honour and brings great prestige to the Moore Institute, and to NUI Galway. As the only Irish representative and the only historian on the Council, he will bring a unique perspective to the work of the Research Council. I have no doubt but that his knowledge and expertise will make him a very valuable member of the ERC." -Ends-

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Múscailt Spring Festival is coming. From 7 to 12 February 2011, NUI Galway will host a superb line-up of opera, music, performance, sculpture and visual art with many free events to which the public are welcome. The theme this year is Exploration (in all its senses). Múscailt has invited special guest artists to create new work on campus, linking art and science. There is the Irish premiére of a new opera, a new children's show, original drama, new writing and an abundance of music. Alongside special guests, local artists, staff and students have also created work specifically for Múscailt and annual events including the musical and performances by the orchestra and choir are present as always. Continuing the success of Múscáilt, music will feature strongly in this year's programme with the Festival hosting the Irish premiére of Gatto Marte's (Cats from Mars) new Opera , Colombo Tutto Tondo, (Colombus, the world is round). In association with Music for Galway RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet will perform two concerts celebrating Beethoven's late quartets. NUI Galway Chamber Orchestra will perform movements from Mendelssohn's Italian symphony and Weber's clarinet concerto featuring special guest Robert Solyon and GUMS -NUI Galway Musical Society will perform the rock musical, The Wedding Singer, a comic tale of a Wedding Singer whose fortunes change when he is jilted at the altar. During the festival Dermot Healy, celebrated Irish writer of poetry, novels, plays, memoir and screenplays will read from his forthcoming book, Writing in the Sky and emerging writer Rab Swannock Fulton will introduce his new sci-fi 'blog novel 'in progress, Marcus Marcus and the Hurting Heart. Ana Perez Pereda, renowned Spanish Sculptor, and Artist José María Molina will spend three weeks on campus and create hanging sculptures in a project linking Art and Science. Titled 'Jovian Sequences', the sculptures are inspired by Jove's moon's movements, showing time dancing around the orbits, drawing spiral lines, in a visual game incorporating the three dimensions of the orbits within the space, and the spiral development, which shows the fourth dimension, time. The two artists will also host interventions in Physics and Astronomy in conjunction with the Centre for Astronomy and local art colleges, GMIT, GTI and LIT. Fred Robeson, artist from Holland, will transpose 50 individual prints on to the lift shaft on the balcony of Áras na Mac Léinn, to produce a giant artwork entitled 'Nature Versus the City'. He will be working on it from mid-January and will unveil the work during the festival. The Artsoc's annual show, this year entitled Black Hole Paradise, will consist of drawings, paintings, textiles and sculpture. This year, writer/storyteller Rab Swannock Fulton and artist, Marina Wild, have joined forces to create a new show for children up to 10 years of age, Pirates, Dragons and Moon Monsters, involving performances of rhyming poems, in the surrounds of original paintings, all on the theme of exploration. The Red Apple Tree, a new dance theatre piece, will be presented by The Colours Theatre Company. A new, modern-day, drama entitled NOT FOR OSCAR by Shane Daly-Hughes will be performed by the recently formed University College Players and Dramsoc will play The Lime-Tree Bower by Conor McPherson. Commenting on this year's line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer says, "This year Múscailt celebrates 'Exploration' offering an escape into the world of fantasy, astronomy and history. We will experience Jove's moons, through sculpture; recreate Columbus' journey through song and music and watch Dermot Healy's barnacle geese 'writing in the sky'. Belts may be tightened but the creative world is very rich in 2011 and Múscailt is in full swing." All exhibitions are open throughout the week. The programme includes many more events by Comedysoc, Dramsoc, Juggling Soc, Comic Soc, Anime Manga soc, Filmsoc, individual artists and new dramatic monologues by staff and students in a SOLOS Show. A comic market-place with chill-out zones is also on offer. For full details, see website www.muscailt.ie. For a copy of the programme and more info, contact the Arts Office at 493766 or 495098 or Fionnuala Gallagher at fionnuala.gallagher@nuigalway.ie. Tickets for events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. For more info on society events see www.socs.nuigalway.ie. Flirt FM 101.3 will provide daily updates. All ages are extended an invitation to come on campus and enjoy the events, shows and exhibitions on offer from 7 to 12 February. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The 6th annual Teddy Bear Hospital, the largest ever in Ireland, will take place at NUI Galway from 27 to 28 January. Organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, the event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their owners, 1,300 primary school children between the ages of three and seven. Up to 200 students from NUI Galway will volunteer to diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help the children feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Event Organiser, Bryan Reidy, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and a member of Sláinte Society, said: "This year 1,300 ill teddies and their concerned owners will visit the Teddy Bear Hospital over two days. We hope to build on the successes of previous years and show that going to the doctor isn't so scary after all." This year, 32 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the 'waiting room'. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them and decide if Teddy needs to visit the specially designed Teddy X-ray or MRI Machine. A Teddy Pharmacy will also feature, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce along with medical supplies from Boots to help Teddy recover. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance, sponsored by Medisource. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by NUI Galway's Juggling Society and face painters. Recently, the Medical School at NUI Galway announced that it has been allocated additional places on its flagship undergraduate Medical programme. Students applying to study medicine this February for a September 2011 start, will see an additional 19 places made available, bringing the total number of Medicine places at NUI Galway to 118, making it the second largest Medical School for undergraduate Irish and EU students in the country. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway's Societies Officer, said: "The Teddy Bear hospital is now established as the NUI Galway societies major community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. It is wonderful to invite the children and their teddies on to campus for such a great reason and it is a fantastic opportunity for the students to engage in a meaningful way with the Galway City and County schools." -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Asylum seekers experiences' of Ireland's Direct Provision System NUI Galway will host the second event in the Fair Ireland Forum dialogue series on Thursday, 27 January at 7pm. The dialogue will explore asylum seekers' experiences of Ireland's direct provision system. The perception of asylum seekers themselves will form the central focus of the dialogue with additional contributions from a legal and NGO perspective. The event will be held in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The Fair Ireland Forum is an initiative of members of NUI Galway staff that aims to create space for the NUI Galway community to make concrete contributions to public debates on the current challenges facing Ireland – grounded in principles of fairness, social inclusion, democratic governance, accountability and respect for human rights. Fergal Landy, a member of the Fair Ireland Forum steering group at NUI Galway says: "The inaugural Fair Ireland Forum event in May 2010 was a great success and explored the human rights of children and families in Ireland, a dialogue that broadly took place in the aftermath of the Ryan Report on institutional abuse. The upcoming event is crucial to encourage this generation to show leadership in scrutinising the direct provision system now, rather than leaving it to subsequent generations saying we never knew what was going on." Participating in the dialogue will be Director of Galway Refugee Support Group, Triona Nic Giolla Choille, Albert Llussà i Torra, Solicitor with Daly Lynch Crowe and Morris and Vice-Chair of the Irish Refugee Council, and representatives of the asylum seeking community in Galway. Dr Vinodh Jaichand, the Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will facilitate the dialogue on the evening. There will be an opportunity for a public discussion/question and answer period. As part of this event there will also be a slide-show photography exhibition entitled New Bridges: a collection of photographs and stories by people living in direct provision. This exhibition is the result of a four-month collaboration in 2010 between visual ethnographer Zoë O'Reilly (NUI Maynooth) and eight individuals seeking asylum in Ireland and living in the direct provision system. The work is part of a doctoral research project, aiming to explore and to create better understandings of asylum and direct provision in Ireland, from the experiences of those living within this system. All photographs and texts were created by the participants of the project. The event is free and open to the public. This dialogue series is supported by the Social Sciences Research Centre (SSRC). ENDS

Monday, 17 January 2011

The discipline of Occupational Therapy at NUI Galway will host an equipment expo on Friday, 28 January from 10am to 4pm.The Expo will focus on equipment for adults and children with physical disabilities. The event will take place in the School of Health Sciences, Áras Moyola in the University, and is open to everybody, including disability service providers, students, health professionals and service users. A wide range of equipment will be exhibited on the day from daily living aids, to hoists to beds, to adapted toys. With regard to seating; wheelchairs, shower chairs, comfort chairs and specialised buggies will all be on display. These buggies and wheelchairs, when carefully chosen, may enable a person to move and socialise independently, while other specialised seating may prevent further disability and maximise the person's posture while they are eating, drinking or working. A range of hoists will also be on display, including those with active sensory products and pressure care systems. Appropriately recommended equipment such as hoists and slings can make a carer's job of moving a person with specific care needs safer and easier. There will also be multi-sensory handwriting programmes, adapted scissors and colourful educational games that can assist in motivating a child to succeed at school. Adapted toys can also enable children with limited use of their hands to play age appropriate games, and these will also be exhibited. Equipment will be on display from a variety of companies from all over Ireland. Hazel Killeen of Occupational Therapy at NUI Galway says: "The goal of health care is to enable a person participate to their fullest potential in everyday life. This includes providing an environment to make people more independent so they can dress, wash, eat, communicate and move freely in their community. A health professional can recommend equipment that can mean the difference between dependence and independence for a person and we at NUI Galway are delighted to play our part in informing all parties of the products and services available to them." -Ends-

Monday, 17 January 2011

NUI Galway will host a Drop-in-Day for Mature Students on Thursday, 27 January in AM205, the Arts Millennium Building in the University. The event is open to anyone who would like information on the Mature Student application process from 10am until 4pm. The primary purpose of the Drop-in-Day is to provide potential Mature Students with information prior to important application closing dates for CAO Applications and MSAP exams registration on 1 February 2011. NUI Galway invites mature students to apply through the CAO system, which has a deadline for applications of the 1 February 2011. In order to qualify as a Mature Student, applicants need to be 23 years or over and must wish to pursue a full time degree programme. Mature Applicants for programmes in The College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees at NUI Galway are also required to register prior to the 1 February 2011 for the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) exam which takes place on 19 February 2011. This exam will consist of a two hour paper designed to determine the candidate s verbal reasoning; candidates will also be required to complete two short essays. The MSAP is independently administered by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research). Details on registration and MSAP exam tips are available at http://www.msap.acer.edu.au/. Trish Hoare, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway says "We welcome Mature Students at NUI Galway and recognise the contribution they make to each course with their wealth of experience and passion for learning. The economic climate has made many people consider new careers and to retrain in new professions, so we want to ensure that applicants have all the information they need and that they are aware of the important deadlines for applications. The Drop-in-Day will allow potential students find answers to questions and concerns they may have about becoming a Mature Student." For further information please contact: Trish Hoare, Mature Students Officer at NUI Galway on 091 492695 or email maturestudents@nuigalway.ie or visit www.nuigalway.ie/mature. -Ends-

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Two Postgraduate Researchers at Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) in NUI Galway recently won awards for presentations related to their ongoing projects. Andrew English won the Best Poster Award at the Surface Science of Biologically Important Interfaces (SSBII) conference which was hosted by Ulster University, Belfast. Bill Daly, was awarded the Best Podium Presentation at the Neuroscience Research Day meeting in Galway recently. This is the second award Bill has won for this particular project. His first award was for the Best Podium Presentation at the European Society of Biomaterials in Finland in September. Both students are supported by Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis and Professor Abhay Pandit at the NFB. Professor Pandit who is Director of the NFB says, "These awards demonstrate the quality of research conducted at NFB and the high calibre of training we are providing researchers." Andrew English's award-winning poster demonstrated an ongoing project entitled, "Topographical Cues for Cellular Guidance". During the project Andrew is producing synthetic nano-textured scaffolds for cells, through incorporation of spatiotemporal and biological signals, aiming to favourably control cellular functions. Creating tissue-engineered structures or scaffolds that mimic the complex architectures of native tissues could potentially be used as therapy for injured or degenerated tissues. In order to promote functional neo-tissue formation, these scaffolds should support cellular attachment and proliferation, maintain cell phenotype and facilitate directional growth. This work is conducted in co-operation with Proxy Biomedical Ltd, a leading biomaterials manufacturer and Research and Development service provider based at Spiddal, Co Galway. Proxy Biomedical's involvement in this project ensures immediate translation of the work from the lab-bench to clinic. Bill Daly is developing a biomaterials-based technology in the area of peripheral nerve regeneration. The project aims to improve current clinically approved conduit systems to repair critical nerve gap damage in peripheral nerves. A critical nerve gap injury is one where the distance is too great for the nerve to reconnect naturally, preventing regeneration. Bill is developing an implantable system which not only physically bridges this gap but will also provide stimulatory support. An additional interesting component of this work is his focus on the molecular interactions during the regeneration process. The information obtained can provide improved treatments and better patient recovery in peripheral nerve repair operations in the future. Systems currently available do not repair injuries beyond this critical gap. -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Top experts from the fields of energy technology, policy, innovation and business will come together in NUI Galway on Wednesday, 26 January, 2011 to discuss the future of energy in Ireland. The Energy Night has been organised by the Chemistry, Energy and Physics Societies at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway Energy Night will open at 5:30pm in the Orbsen Building Foyer with a showcase of the rich and varied range of cutting-edge energy research currently underway at the University. With presenters working in areas from bio fuels to wave energy, and smart buildings to smart grids, the showcase will provide attendees and researchers alike with the opportunity to meet, learn and exchange ideas on the future of energy in Ireland. Following this, a major fact-based panel discussion entitled Averting a Future Irish Energy Crisis will be held at 7pm in the O Flaherty Lecture Theatre, located on the main Concourse. RTE's Environmental Editor Paul Cunningham will moderate the discussion. Panel participants include Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Paul Lynam, Chief Executive of Siemens Ireland, Emeritus Professor at the Combustion Chemistry Centre NUI Galway and acclaimed fuels researcher John Simmie, Neil Walker, Head of the Energy and Environment Unit at the Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), and Philip Walton, Emeritus Professor of Physics at NUI Galway and nationally-renowned nuclear energy expert. NUI Galway Energy Night is an entirely student and postdoctoral organised event, being jointly undertaken by the Chemistry, Energy and Physics Societies at NUI Galway. This is the first time that a broad section of students have come together at NUI Galway or any other Irish University to organise such an event, and it reflects the seriousness with which the students regard the future of energy supply, demand, cost and security in Ireland. It is their hope that the NUI Galway Energy Night will be a spark that ignites enhanced understanding, interaction and collaboration between energy stakeholders in the policy, business, technological and academic spheres as well as the public. The event is made possible by the generosity of sponsors Enerit Ltd., the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and SEAI. The entire event is open to all members of the public. If you are interested in attending the panel discussion please email nuigenergy@gmail.com as space in the lecture theatre is limited. More information on NUI Galway Energy Night is available on the facebook page – NUIG Energy Night or by contacting Rory Monaghan at rory.monaghan@nuigalway.ie or 085 1509336 or http://sites.google.com/site/nuigenergynight2011/ -Ends-

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A book by a senior lecturer in Women s Studies at the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway has been selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2010 by the American Library Association/CHOICE. Dr. Niamh Reilly s Women s Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalising Age (Polity Press) explores the emergence of transnational, UN-oriented, feminist advocacy for women's human rights, especially over the past three decades. It identifies the main feminist influences that have shaped the movement and exposes how the Western, legalist, state-centric, and liberal biases of mainstream human rights discourse impede the realisation of human rights in women's lives everywhere. Ultimately, the book reaffirms a commitment to critically reinterpreted universal human rights principles and demonstrates the vital role that bottom-up, transnational movements play in making them a reality in women's lives. Every year the American Library Association/CHOICE editors single out the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in CHOICE during the previous calendar year. Appearing annually in CHOICE's January issue, this prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles and attracts extraordinary attention from the academic library community. In publishing the Outstanding Academic Titles feature, CHOICE acknowledges and honours the authors, editors, and publishers of these works for their vital contribution to the scholarly endeavour. Dr. Reilly says she is delighted with the selection, "It is a wonderful endorsement, not only of the book itself but of women's human rights as an important field of research and teaching." Along with Women s Human Rights: Seeking Gender Justice in a Globalising Age, Dr. Niamh Reilly has authored, co-authored, and edited a number of other books, including Women Testify: A Planning Guide for Popular Tribunals and Hearings (2005), State Accountability for Women s Human Rights in Ireland (1997), Without Reservation: The Beijing Tribunal on Accountability for Women's Human Rights (1996), and Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women s Human Rights (1994). She has over 20 years experience of teaching, research, publishing and advocacy in the field of women s human rights at various institutions in Ireland and the United States and has worked with the United Nations and with a number of international and national women s and human rights NGOs. For further information please contact Dr Niamh Reilly at 091 495403 or niamh.reilly@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

NUI Galway will hold an Information Evening from 7 to 9pm on Thursday, 20 January in the Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co Clare. This event is for students who are considering applying to NUI Galway and for their parents or guardians. The Information Evening will commence with a series of short talks about NUI Galway and the courses on offer. Current students and representatives from the five colleges of the University will be on hand at information stands to answer any questions visitors may have. "This is an excellent opportunity to talk to representatives from all of NUI Galway's Colleges about the subjects of interest. It is also a chance to find out about practical issues like accommodation, fees, scholarships and new programmes on offer", said Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. Ms Loughnane added: "Choosing a University is one of the most important decisions in a young person's life, and we offer a University with a strong reputation for top quality teaching and a proven track record in producing graduates with the right mix of skills and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly uncertain job market." NUI Galway continues to increase its number of undergraduate applications with an increase in the order of 18 per cent in CAO first preference applications over the last two years. NUI Galway's increased popularity is in part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree, eight BA CONNECT programmes and a Math and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. To find out more about the Information Evening in Ennis, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Celine O Donovan, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2391219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway will host a series of Sean-Nós Singing workshops from late January until the end of March. The workshops will be led by Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, who has an international reputation in the sean-nós song tradition, and in 1996 won the prestigious Sean-nós Cois Life award and has twice won the coveted Corn Uí Riada award. The workshops will take place at the Centre for Irish Studies on Distillery Road at 7pm each Tuesday, beginning on 25 January. The workshops are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For further details, contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

The official launch of NUI Galway's Medical Academy at Letterkenny General Hospital took place last week. Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) has been chosen as a step-out clinical site for the education of Medical Students from NUI Galway. From last week, 20 third year Medical Students will carry out one full year of their training at the hospital, studying the same curriculum as their classmates based on the campus of Galway University Hospitals (GUH). Both GUH and LGH will use Internet and video-conferencing facilities to facilitate linkages between the centres including multidisciplinary meetings, joint lectures, tutorials and discussion groups. In September, 40 medical students in their 4th and 5th years of training will be based at Letterkenny General Hospital. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine, NUI Galway carried out the official opening of the academy as part of the induction day for the students and members of the Medical Academy. The medical students and multidisciplinary staff attended the event from the hospital. Short presentations were made by the Directors of Medical Education at LGH, Dr Joanne Kearney and Dr Brian Callaghan. Also by Sean Murphy, General Manager, LGH and Barry O Callaghan, Medical Student. The arrival of the students provides Letterkenny General Hospital with an opportunity to forge a permanent relationship with a University, which offers advantages for patient care due to the sharing of resources in the areas of research and education training. Dr Joanne Kearney commented, "This is a very welcome development and I believe the relationship will be beneficial also in ultimately attracting doctors of the highest calibre to seek permanent positions at the hospital. I look forward to enhancing the links with NUI Galway in the future". Dr Brian Callaghan said, "This is a new and historic journey for the hospital which has been transformed into a University teaching hospital; the Medical Academy is a catalyst for future development of medical education in the hospital". ENDS

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Business German in Ireland Working Group has been announced as the winner of the Kuratorium Award for 2010. The group includes three NUI Galway lecturers, Doris Devilly, lecturer and coordinator of the B.Comm (German) programme at NUI Galway; Dr. Deirdre Byrnes (Law and German) and Aine Ryan (German). This award is presented annually by the Kuratorium (Board of Trustees) of the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce to groups, individuals or organisations that have made a special contribution to the furthering of German-Irish relations in Ireland. This year's recipients are a group of third level teachers of Business German with representatives from most Irish universities (including NUI Galway), institutes of technology and other third level colleges as well as the Goethe Institute. They were presented with the award for their ongoing work of promoting German in Ireland and the importance of language learning in such an export dependent economy. Doris Devilly, lecturer and coordinator of the B.Comm (German) programme in NUI Galway and one of the founding members of the Business German in Ireland Working Group, added: "Graduates who have completed a combined degree programme with Commerce and German are highly employable, even in the current job market. In the larger European context it is clear that high quality graduates with an excellent knowledge of German language and business culture can make significant contribution to German-Irish relations and are essential to Ireland's economic recovery." According to one graduate of NUI Galway's Commerce and German degree: "Germany is the economic powerhouse within the EU and plays an important part in the Irish economy. I feel that having studied Commerce with German, I now have a greater professional scope and more career opportunities than general Commerce graduates. German is currently one of the most wanted business languages internationally and by being able to speak it a greater variety of job offers is now available to me. I am more than happy to have chosen Commerce with German and would advise any business student with an interest in a language to consider the same course." The Business German in Ireland Working Group was founded in 2001 and will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. To coincide with this anniversary, it will be launching a website which will contain material for teachers, students and business people as well as advertising opportunities for student bursaries. -Ends-

Monday, 10 January 2011

NUI Galway will launch the Going to College Project, an inclusive education initiative to support the civic engagement of persons with intellectual disabilities, on Monday, 17 January 2011. Registrar and Deputy-President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil will officially launch the project which will take place at 11am in the Bailey Allen Hall on campus. Conor Pope, TV Presenter, journalist with The Irish Times and NUI Galway graduate, will be Master of Ceremonies for the event. Through a University/community partnership, the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies are leading this innovative project. The project is also supported by the HSE. The aim of the two-year project is to support the civic engagement of persons with an intellectual disability through access to inclusive higher education at NUI Galway. Students with an intellectual disability will chose to study particular subjects (or subject modules) they are interested in and will be individually supported to participate in classes with their peers in the University. Students will also be supported to volunteer in their own community, get involved in community activities and community projects, experience internships in departments at NUI Galway, undertake external work placements linked with their area of study and participate and engage in college clubs and societies. There will be a flexible accreditation process to acknowledge each student's individual achievement, resulting in a Certificate in Arts and Civic Studies. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway explained: "This pilot will provide an opportunity for the students to fully engage with college life, develop social connections with their peers and harness the knowledge and skills to determine their own future." The project will also include collaborations with other Universities both nationally and internationally. Bruce Uditsky and E.Anne Hughson from the Alberta Association of Community Living (AACL) /University of Calgary will attend the launch. AACL have been involved in the development of inclusive higher education for persons with intellectual disabilities for over 20 years in Alberta, Canada. As part of their visit, they will provide workshops for academic staff at NUI Galway, for parents and families and for service providers. The project will also be supported by a number of community and employer patrons including Mary O'Malley, poet and writer; Padraig O'Ceidigh, CEO Aer Arann and Tina Roche, CEO Business in the Community. Conor Pope will also be patron of the project. Recruitment and selection for the Going to College pilot programme will take place during February/March/April 2011. ENDS

Monday, 10 January 2011

There is good news for CAO applicants this week as the Medical School at NUI Galway has been allocated additional places on its flagship undergraduate Medical programme. Students applying to study medicine this February for a September 2011 start, will see an additional 19 places made available, bringing the total number of Medicine places at NUI Galway to 118, making it the second largest Medical School for undergraduate Irish and EU students in the country. Beginning with a base of 55 students, the Medical School at NUI Galway has seen unprecedented growth in its undergraduate provision, with numbers more than doubling since 2006. This growth in undergraduate numbers also reflects a decision on behalf of the University not to offer a Graduate Medicine programme, but to concentrate its efforts on undergraduate Medicine. Working with its strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, NUI Galway will provide undergraduate medical education for the West and Mid-West regions, and beyond, while the University of Limerick will provide Graduate Medicine opportunities for those with a first degree who are interested in studying Medicine. NUI Galway's denominated Biomedical Science degree, as well as its undenominated Science programme, provide an excellent first degree for students who may be considering the Graduate Medicine programme in the future. Speaking about this shared approach to the provision of medical education, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne said: "We are delighted to be working with our strategic alliance partner, the University of Limerick, to expand the provision of top class medical education in the West and mid-West regions. With the cooperation of all of the public Medical Schools and the Higher Education Authority, we will focus on providing an excellent undergraduate Medical programme while UL concentrates on the Graduate Medicine market". The quality of students studying Medicine at NUI Galway remains among the highest in the country with students outperforming competitors in national prizes and awards. NUI Galway's medical students recently featured prominently in the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Awards, winning 14 out of a possible 39 medals in this competition. The Henry Hutchinson Stewart Awards is a national, annual competition open to all NUI universities in Ireland. Top performing students in each subject area of Medicine are selected by their Professors and put forward for the Awards. Commenting on the increase in places on the Medicine programme, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway said: "This is great news not just for the Medical School at NUI Galway, but also for CAO applicants considering applying to medicine. We are delighted to be able to provide more opportunities for the country's future doctors, without compromising on the exceptional quality of medical education we have been providing for many years now. Recent investments in staffing and new infrastructure, including three new buildings for medical research, as well as ground-breaking developments in our research activities, have positioned the Medical School as one of the top Schools in the country. Recent success in a number of Science Foundation Ireland Awards confirms the calibre of staff from all over the world who have been attracted to the Medical School, and ensures that our teaching is informed by high quality research." Much of the success of NUI Galway's medical students is attributed to innovative curriculum development and the commitment of the Medical School to the holistic development of its students, with the aim of producing well-grounded and well-rounded doctors of the future. One popular initiative on the Medical programme has been the development of Special Study Modules (SSM), which give students the opportunity to study a specialist area of interest in detail, with a wide range of areas to choose from, including Medicine and the Arts, Sports Psychology and Malaysian Culture and Eastern Medicine. Other recent initiatives include the setting up of a network of regional Medical Academies to cater for the increased number of clinical medical students at the University. The Sligo Academy was set up in 2009 and now has 40 students on clinical placement at Sligo Hospital, while the Letterkenny Academy commenced last week. As well as bringing clinical benefits to the patients of Sligo and Letterkenny Hospitals, the University hopes to commence capital developments on both hospital sites this year. An Academy will begin at Castlebar Hospital in 2012, while a joint Academy, shared with the University of Limerick, based at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe and Roscommon Hospital accepted its first UL students in 2010. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

NUI Galway Graduate Professor Chun Chang Huang, was recently presented with the prestigious 'Excellent Scientist of China' Award in China. Chun Chang Huang is a Professor at the Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China. In the period 1990 to 1994, Chun Chang Huang carried out research in the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit at NUI Galway, under the supervision of Professor Michael O'Connell. Huang's research involved reconstructing various aspects of environmental change in western Ireland during the last 15,000 years, i.e. during the final stages of the last Ice Age and the present warm period. For this research, he was awarded a PhD degree in 1994 and subsequently published his main findings in international scientific journals. After his studies in NUI Galway, he returned to his native city, Xi'an, where he resumed lecturing and leading research into post-glacial environmental change — climate, hydrology, soil erosion, land-use history — in the Yellow River basin, including the Loess Plateau, northern China. As well as publishing books and many research papers in international and Chinese scientific journals, he has also been much involved with administration, both as Professor and Dean of the Faculty. Professor Chun Chang Huang says he is delighted with the award of 'Excellent Scientist of China' and that his experience at NUI Galway continues to mean a lot to him. Congratulating Professor Chun Chang Huang, NUI Galway's Professor Michael O'Connell of the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit said, "We are delighted that this highly prestigious award has been accorded to a former graduate student of NUI Galway for his contributions towards improved understanding of long-term climate change and human impact in both China and Ireland." ENDS

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Postgraduate research project recently completed in the School of Physics focusing on noise levels at Irish traditional music and Irish rock performances, has shown high levels of noise exposure among musicians and the potential for increased risks to hearing. This study also highlights the need for increased awareness training in relation to the harmful effects of repeated high noise exposure among musicians. Some of the results exceeded the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work. The data from the project shows that personal noise exposures of all the rock/pop musicians sampled exceed the 87dB(A) exposure limit value as detailed in the 2007 regulations and half of the traditional Irish musicians sampled exceeded the 87dB(A) exposure limit value. To obtain these results, Helena O'Sullivan, an MSc student with Dr Marie Coggins at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, measured noise levels at static monitoring points on the stage during the music performance, and ranged from 85 to 90 dB(A) during traditional Irish music performances and from 101 – 107 dB(A) during Irish rock/pop music performances. The personal noise exposure level of one band member (either the singer or the drummer) was also measured, and they ranged from 100 to 102 dB(A) for members of the Irish rock/pop bands and 88 - 95 dB(A) for members of the Traditional Irish music bands. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 relating to the control of noise at work, sets out an exposure action value of 85dB(A) and an exposure limit value of 87dB(A) for a daily or weekly personal exposure. These limits apply to people working in a noisy environment and do not apply to the general public. Workers who are regularly exposed to noise levels of 85dB (A) have an increased risk of noise induced hearing loss. Dr Marie Coggins, Director of the MSc in Occupational Health and Safety Programme at NUI Galway says: "The harmful effects of repeated exposure to high sound levels, have long been recognised, and much progress has been made in reducing noise exposures in many work environments. However, high noise levels and exposure to noise continues to be an issue for the entertainment sector. This project highlights the need for further investigation in the area." Using the data collected in the study, an estimate for the eight hour equivalent noise dose for comparison with the recommended guidelines in the 2007 regulations, was calculated. This estimate does not take into consideration other sources of noise exposure that the band members may have received at another point in their day, and so may be underestimating the risk. Results from a questionnaire survey, as part of the research, detailing experiences musicians report in relation to noise exposure show that 52% of respondents regularly experience a ringing sensation in their ears after a performance, and 60% reported that they do not use hearing protection. Helena O'Sullivan has just completed a one year taught MSc programme in Occupational Health and Safety at NUI Galway.   <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nFxrdWybJt8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> -Ends-

Thursday, 16 December 2010

An NUI Galway Researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Dr Alexandre Passant, recently won a Research Award granted by Google to work on the next generation of mobile social networking applications. The grant will fund a team for a year, enabling them to combine theoretical research and implementation, which will make the product directly usable by end-users and advance the state of the art in the domain of social networking applications. A key element of the research will be the protection of privacy for users. In this recent round of funding, Google distributed 112 awards, for a total of more than six million dollars, and 29 percent of the funding was awarded to Universities outside the U.S.A including NUI Galway. Most social network applications are closed worlds, where you have to give your data to a provider such as Facebook in order to share this data with friends and the user cannot interact with friends on other social networks. Researchers at DERI have been working on SMOB, a microblogging framework as an alternative that enables semantic and distributed social networks. The result is that the user does not rely on a third-party provider, but owns their data and can share it with whomever they want. In the SMOB framework, distributed hubs communicate with each other to exchange the microblog posts and subscriptions in order to follow particular blogs or have others follow an individual blog, belonging to another user. Each user installs their own hub and the communication spreads from there. Dr Alexandre Passant, Unit Leader at DERI and Principal Investigator for the project, explains "With this Google Research Award, we will push the boundaries of this research to make such distributed networks as SMOB communicate directly between mobile phones, with a special focus on privacy. Our goal is to make users really control who they want to share content with, based on dynamic and in-the-cloud identification of people belonging to particular groups, for instance colleagues or family members, without having to subscribe to a service that will own your data. We will in particular rely on Google s PubSubHubbub protocol to do so, combined with our expertise in Social Networks and Semantic Web technologies." Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI says "The grant from Google shows the quality and relevance of Irish research, attracting more and more commercial interest. Our responsibility is to create the environment that makes it possible for the research to also transition into commercial reality, improving the lives of people, instead of staying solely in academia." -Ends-

Monday, 13 December 2010

The XL Students Union Shop on the campus of NUI Galway has won the national prize for best Stationary Offering at Shelflife C-Store Awards 2010, held last week in Dublin. The shop was one of 23 outlets to pick up an award from amongst hundreds of local convenience store entrants from across Ireland. This is the second year in a row the shop has won this prestigious award. John Moane, Managing Director of BWG Foods Wholesale Division says, "It is confirmation of how well they understand their customer s needs. The team is very deserving of this industry accolade and they should take pride in displaying it alongside their other awards." Students' Union Shop Manager Liam Buckley says, "The staff and I are delighted to have won this award two years running. There is a huge effort in keeping the standards high in the shop and it is a great achievement by all that this has been recognised at a national level by winning the most sought after accolade in the retail industry." The ShelfLife C-Store Awards, now running for 11 years, were set up to recognise retailers and retail outlets that set the highest standards in the retail industry. ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's 11th Annual Alumni Awards Gala, which will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall on Saturday, 5 March, 2011. Proceeds from the event will support the expansion of NUI Galway's Archives through the acquisition of new collections and the development of humanities programming for the Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Building. One of the highlights of the evening, which has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland, is the presentation of the Annual Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievement among the University's more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. Six alumni awards will be presented on the night. They include: Aer Arann Alumni Award for Sports Achievement and Leadership; AIB Award for Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; Bank of Ireland Award for Business, Public Policy and Law; Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Engineering and Informatics; Medtronic Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Seavite Alumni Award for Science. For ticket enquiries, contact Emma Goode in the Alumni Office on 091 493750, emma.goode@nuigalway.ie. Tickets cost €100 per person. For further information on the event please contact JB Terrins, Director, Alumni Relations, NUI Galway. 091 495411 ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

Work carried out by the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway have found that intensive farming practices have definitive effects on local biodiversity – where biodiversity includes all living organisms in, and their interactions with and within, an environment. At a recent talk held in NUI Galway, Dr. Mike Gormally of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research spoke of the challenges facing the unique biodiversity in the West of Ireland. The talk followed a significant breakthrough in negotiations in Nagoya, Japan at the end of October, when almost 190 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met to discuss a new global strategic plan for protecting biodiversity. Focusing on the effects of farming on peatlands and turloughs (disappearing lakes) in the West of Ireland, Dr. Gormally explained that sustainable farming practices are intrinsic to the protection of biodiversity, and that many native plant and insect species would suffer if sustainable agricultural practices ceased. Some of these species are found only in the West of Ireland and are a fundamental part of intricate regional food webs and cycles of life. Identifying climate change as another threat, Dr. Gormally stated that there would be "winners and losers" in Irish biodiversity if the effects of climate change were to continue in their current trend. "The Nagoya Agreement, recently adopted by the CBD, outlines 20 goals for 2020, to protect threatened habitats and to halt the disturbing rate of extinction of plant and animal species." explains Dr. Gormally. He adds, "In the west of Ireland, where we have really special habitats such as turloughs, peatlands, and the karst limestone found in the Burren, the biodiversity is unique and complex, and there is still so much to be understood and explored. We desperately need for loss of biodiversity to be globally recognised as a threat as potentially damaging for human health and welfare as climate change. Hopefully the protocol adopted at Nagoya will go some way to make that happen." Dr. Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway's Ryan Institute, says "The work of Dr. Gormally and members of his Applied Ecology Unit play an important role in assisting Ireland to address the targets outlined by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Climate change, urbanisation, misuse of our resources, and some modern agricultural practices can threaten biodiversity. With a better understanding of the interactions between flora, fauna and landscape, we could manage our land and resources in a way that maintains a healthy ecosystem while supporting a wide range of human activities." For more information contact: Dr. Michael Gormally, 091 493334 www.nuigalway.ie email: mike.gormally@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 13 December 2010

The West of Ireland has always been renowned for the central role played by the creative arts and NUI Galway has provided a breeding ground for the development of artistic talent in successive generations of students. Now, in a groundbreaking initiative, NUI Galway and Druid are coming together to form a partnership that will be crucial in maintaining and developing the performance arts of the region into the future. In an exciting new collaboration, NUI Galway will contribute to the development of Druid's next major theatre event (to be produced in 2012/13) while Druid, in turn, will develop a range of practice-led workshops and seminars including a series of Master classes for BA and MA students. In addition, in a move that highlights the new initiative, a Druid Director-in-Residence will be appointed who will co-ordinate the joint Master classes and workshops and offer classes and mentoring in various aspects of directing and stagecraft to NUI Galway students. These contributions will enhance two successful NUI Galway academic programmes: the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and BA Connect in Theatre and Performance. The relationship between NUI Galway and Druid is a long and fruitful one. The company was founded on campus in 1975 by graduates Mick Lally, Marie Mullen and Garry Hynes. Through the years the two organisations have collaborated at various times including notably the housing of the Druid archive at the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway and the establishment of a playwriting award in memory of the late Jerome Hynes who was General Manager of Druid at a formative stage in the company's development. The three founders, as well as being graduates, have all been awarded Honorary Degrees by the University. Commenting on the new partnership, NUI Galway President James J. Browne said, "We are very excited by this new and innovative partnership with Druid, which, I believe, holds wonderful opportunities for both organisations. For the University it represents a new creative thrust for our academic programmes in theatre and drama, which will be enriched by the talent and experience of a world leading professional theatre company. In turn we are able to play a role in Druid's ability to continue to present first class theatre for stages both here in Ireland and abroad." Garry Hynes commented that, "Back in 1975 NUI Galway helped Druid launch into the world with the provision of various facilities and continued to help us informally through the years. Now 35 years later we are at the beginning of a new and very exciting partnership. Without NUI Galway, and other partners, Druid simply would not be able to produce these major projects that have become such central events for our actors and our audience alike. Just as I - informally - took my first steps in the theatre in NUI Galway, I am now, through this programme looking forward to helping the emergence of the next generation of theatre makers from my alma mater." Druid would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Arts Council in funding the company's work and also the support of Culture Ireland in funding its international touring programme. ENDS

Thursday, 9 December 2010

"An Age Old Problem - Where Now for Rural Services" The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway is hosting a seminar on rural ageing and the recession, in conjunction with the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), Irish Rural Link and the Rural Community Network Northern Ireland. The seminar, which is part of CARDI's Older People and the Recession Series, is taking place today, Thursday, 9 December and tomorrow, Friday, 10 December in the Martin Ryan Institute (Annex) at NUI Galway. This event will focus on ageing in rural Ireland, North and South, and will examine crucial issues of concern for researchers, policymakers and older people themselves about the impact of the recession. The keynote address will be given by Professor Norah Keating, Co-Director of Research on Aging, Policies and Practice, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Canada. It will also feature contributions from national experts in the fields of ageing research, policy and practice and will showcase findings from two CARDI funded research projects relating to ageing in a rural context. Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), says the event is particularly timely: "At a time when everyone is facing up to the new realities of economic uncertainty, it is useful to reflect on what works and what doesn't work in meeting the needs and aspirations of older citizens living in rural communities across Ireland. This seminar brings together some of the country's best people to help shape the future of rural services for a growing proportion of our population." Dr Roger O'Sullivan, Director of CARDI says, "Older people make up a significant part of the rural population of Ireland, North and South. This seminar not only addresses the particular issues facing older people in terms of accessing transport and other services but also takes a closer look at the positive contribution older people make to rural communities. The CARDI funded research projects which will be launched at the event underline the importance of listening to older people's voices when making decisions on rural policy and services in Ireland, North and South. Recognising the value of rural communities and older people who live in them will be especially important in the context of the difficult decisions about public spending that lie ahead." Dr Kieran Walsh, NUI Galway, will present findings from a CARDI funded project entitled 'Older people in Rural Communities: Exploring Attachment, Contribution and Diversity in Rural Ireland and Northern Ireland' focusing on case studies of the experiences of older people. The report, which was written in collaboration with colleagues at NUI Galway, Queens University, the Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack, is a part of a larger programme of work on rural ageing being pursued by the Healthy Ageing in Rural Communities (HARC) research network. Dr Aoife Ahern, University College Dublin, will also present a project exploring the issue of rural transport for older people. -Ends-

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The NUI Galway Alumni Association invites all graduates, returning to Galway for Christmas, to the annual Alumni Christmas Gathering. Now in its sixth year, the Christmas Gathering is a great reason to return to campus and catch up with old friends over a glass of mulled wine and some mince pies. To ensure a festive atmosphere, the Orbsen Choir will be on hand singing carols to get everyone in the mood for Christmas. "Coming back to NUI Galway at this time of year is a wonderful experience, especially as a graduate. Unlike your time spent here as a student, there are no exams to worry about, and you never know who you'll bump into" says Mairin Gilvarry, Chairperson of the Alumni Association Board. "We encourage all graduates to come along, bring a friend and pass on the message to former classmates." The Christmas Gathering, a free event, will take place on Friday, 17 December, in the Quadrangle from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Please RSVP to Colm O'Dwyer, Alumni Office, on 091 493 750 or alumni@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway has been awarded an EU Framework 7 grant worth €3.7 million to develop and lead a Pan-European doctoral research project over four years. The focus of the research will be to find practical ways of making the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities a reality in the daily lives of people with disabilities in the EU. The FP7 grant will enable the Centre to lead a network of six other leading disability policy research Centres across Europe (including the Netherlands, UK, Norway, Spain, and Iceland). Several leading disability research institutes in the world will also contribute to its work including the Harvard Project in Disability. The project – called DREAM (Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets) – is premised on the idea that smart EU policy initiatives on disability are not just good for people with disabilities, but also help expand markets and increase overall levels of economic activity. Digital Europe, the main umbrella body for European software and hardware manufactures and services, acts as a key commercial partner. All of the researchers will also have the opportunity to gain invaluable and funded work experience with leading European civil society groups such as Interights (London), Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (Budapest), the European Disability Forum (Brussels) and the European Group of Human Rights Commissions. This will help sharpen their analysis and lead to policy recommendations that are well grounded in experience. The Centre, which is based in the School of Law at the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, is part of the emerging Lifecourse Institute at the University which combines the research strengths of three NUI Galway Centres on ageing, children and families as well as disability. Director of The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Quinn says, "This places the Centre at the very forefront of research that points the way toward better European law and policy on disability. It will train a new breed of policy entrepreneur in the disability field. This is the vital bridge to creating better living conditions for the over 60 million Europeans with disabilities. We are honoured to have been chosen to lead on this project which has European level significance. The researchers will have unrivalled access to world authorities on disability from Australia to Harvard." NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne says, "This is great news for the University and indeed for Ireland. It is a good example of university research that is both socially responsible and that also aims at increasing economic activity. I understand it is the single largest FP7 grant given to a research Centre at an Irish Law School. It augurs well for the new Lifecourse Institute at the University of which this Centre is a part". ENDS

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Galway community space 091 Labs co-hosted the only Irish Open Data Hackathon on December 4 2010. The event led to the creation of useful websites and software applications which improve citizens' access to public data and services and knowledge and understanding of work of governments. A piece of data is described as open if people are free to use and redistribute it, subject only to the requirement to attribute and share-alike. The goal of the one day Hackathon event was to encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world s local, regional and national governments. Open Data policies increase government transparency, spur the digital economy, and improve civic participation. Applications created on the day in Galway included a website that helps citizens track the latest planning applications submitted to Galway City Council, and an integrated online bus schedule for all Galway-Dublin coach connections. Another website allows users to utilise an improved way of accessing Dublin Bus schedules. A team produced an online visual report that shows where Arts Council funding goes. A new application showing all the public toilets in Galway city including wheelchair accessible toilets was created. The NUI Galway based Hackathon was part of a global series of events, ranging from Bangalore to Los Angeles and from Brasilia to Thailand, celebrating and highlighting the use of Open Data for citizens. More than 1000 people in over 73 cities on five continents dedicated time to helping foster both a local and international community of open data hackers, advocates and citizens. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI Galway, said: "DERI's participation in the Open Data Day shows that Irish researchers do not only publish academic papers, but are actively involved in shaping their community. To maximise the value I would like to encourage local and national governments to make their data available." Declan Elliott, founder of 091 Labs in Galway, said: "Open Data is a grassroots effort. In times when politics cannot solve major problems, collaborative community spaces like 091Labs in Galway encourage public participation. This fosters creativity which in turn produces value by creating new ideas which enable entrepreneurs and spur economic growth." ENDS

Monday, 6 December 2010

Students from NUI Galway recently attended 'Building a Voice for Student Volunteering', a National Conference where students from over 15 colleges across the island of Ireland gathered in anticipation of the EU Year of the Volunteer in 2011, to share experiences and ideas on the impact of third level student volunteering. It was sponsored by Campus Engage, the HEA funded network to support civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. The conference provided a space for student volunteers to meet together for the first time with an opportunity to share effective practice and create 'how to guides on student volunteering. The forum took the approach that the experts in student volunteering are the student volunteers themselves and addresses were delivered by students for students. Richard Manton, Student Volunteer in NUI Galway says: "I found the conference to be thoroughly enjoyable and informative. From the outset, the informal and open nature of the event was clear - emphasis was placed on the pooling of ideas by those actively involved in student volunteering, rather than a series of lectures. I found that I was able to draw from my own volunteering experience and discuss with others the best ways to build a voice for student volunteering in Ireland." In the last seven years there has been an upsurge in student volunteering activities across the third level sector with the ALIVE Volunteer Programme at NUI Galway, Trinity Volunteer Opportunities Forum and Dean of Students Roll of Honour, the Uaneen Programme at DCU, DIT's volunteer programme, President's Award for Volunteering at UL and GIVE at LIT. All of these recognise diverse activities that students undertake as volunteers within a community that ultimately gives them an extra edge on graduation. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at the University says: "NUI Galway has built of its rich history of student engagement and activism to lead at the forefront of pioneering student volunteering programmes across higher education in Ireland. Our students benefit enormously from national opportunities to meet fellow student volunteers and highlight their contribution to society." This event is the first in a series of Campus Engage sponsored events that will harness and recognise the positive contribution that students make through volunteering to community. During 2011, the We Volunteer! mobile exhibition showcasing images of diverse student volunteering contributions will travel across Ireland and Europe. -Ends-