Tuesday, 20 July 2010

NUI Galway's Boat Club successfully defended its senior titles and status as kingpins at the Irish National Rowing Championships last weekend in Cork. On Saturday afternoon, the NUI Galway rowers snatched victory in the main event, the Men's Senior Eights, claiming the 'Big Pot' by just 3 feet (0.19 seconds) from Queens University, Belfast who were hotly tipped to topple the reigning champions after a very successful season both at home and abroad. In an almost exact repeat of last year s epic showdown, NUI Galway came from behind to once again win on the line by the narrowest of margins. This year s victory was a more polished and confident performance from a very experienced and much-decorated group of athletes, who after this latest win boasts a staggering total of 75 Irish Senior Championship titles between them. The winning crew was Eddie Mullarkey, Jason Wall, Dave Mannion, Paul Giblin, Evin Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan, James Wall and Ruadhán Cooke. The crew was coached by club stalwart Tom Tuohy. Four of the winning Eight had already retained their own Senior Fours Championship the previous day with an impressive display over an in-form UCD crew, recently victorious at Henley Royal Regatta. Male and female crews in the Novice and Intermediate grades represented the club with distinction and can draw inspiration from the success of the senior men for future campaigns. Speaking of the Boat Club s success, Gary Ryan, Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway, said: "It is a fantastic achievement for the crews and their coach to win the two most prestigious men s events at the Irish National Rowing Championships. All of the rowers and coaches across the club deserve enormous credit for their work in making the NUI Galway Boat Club consistently one of the strongest clubs in Ireland and one which we are very proud of". -Ends-

Friday, 16 July 2010

NUI Galway named in top 3 universities to secure research funding Over €60m granted in capital and research programmes 3 new buildings funded at a cost of €50m 14 NUI Galway projects funded in total NUI Galway was named in the top three big winners, securing over € 60 million in research funding under PRTLI Cycle 5 - the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, announced today (Friday, July 16), by An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen T.D. The NUI Galway projects funded today include three new world-class research facilities, an Arts Humanities Social Sciences Research Building and two buildings dedicated to Biomedical Science Research, with a combined cost of €50m. The Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Research Building will provide a unique research environment to transform Galway's rich cultural resources into social and economic opportunity. The new facility will be a national and international resource that integrates research and training in the Humanities, Digital Cultures, Creative Industries, Business, Social Sciences, Rights, Advocacy, and Public Policy. Funded under the theme of 'Advancing Medicine through Discovery', two new buildings for medical science research will enable NUI Galway to build on its existing strength in the biomedical sciences area, established through its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). The proposed infrastructure consists of two new facilities, a Biosciences Research Building on the main campus, and a Translational Research Facility, which will house basic, translational and clinical research teams on the site of Galway University Hospital. Today's result is of both regional and national significance as it enhances the infrastructure of the biomedical sciences research hub at NUI Galway, which is located at the centre of the medical device and healthcare industries in Ireland. The new facility will enhance the national capacity and international standing of Ireland in the biomedical sciences arena. In a major boost to graduate education, NUI Galway also received funding to lead two new structured PhD programmes, with a combined cost of €7m. A new Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine graduate education programme, which includes international and Medical Devices industry partners, will train graduates to be R&D and product development leaders in industry. A second PhD programme in clinical and translational biomedical research will focus on patient and disease oriented research and aims to produce scientists trained to translate discoveries into clinical and commercial application. NUI Galway is also a partner in several other funded projects including a Digital Arts and Humanities structured PhD programme which is linked to the new Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Research Building. Welcoming the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "I am delighted to welcome this very substantial investment, which is a strong endorsement of NUI Galway's research activities. It is also a recognition of the work of the University's Foundation and its donors, who have provided very significant match funding for the major projects funded today. It is particularly gratifying to note the broad spread of the funding across projects in the Medical Sciences and in the Humanities and Social Sciences." "This is great news for NUI Galway, as well as for the broader higher education sector and for Irish industry. Today's announcement is a clear signal of the Government's commitment to delivering the knowledge economy. The investment in research infrastructure right across the country will have an immediate benefit in bringing much-needed jobs to the construction industry. Concentrating resources on biomedical science and arts, humanities and social sciences research at NUI Galway will have a major impact on the medical technologies and the creative arts industries in the West of Ireland. We have the opportunity now to provide two distinct Irish industry sectors with relevant, world-class research solutions, transforming national leadership into global competitiveness." Ends

Thursday, 15 July 2010

This week sees see the return for the fifth consecutive year of Whizzkids Summer Camps to NUI Galway. The summer camps offer fun and varied multimedia training to children and teenagers aged 8-15 years. The camps take place over two weeks, the first began on Monday, 12 July, and the second on will start on Monday, July 19. Children can engage in these hi-tech camps that cover web-design desktop publishing, movie-making and a host of hi-tech challenges in their "Spy Academy". Designed for children of all abilities, the week-long camp mixes indoor and outdoor action, with sports, stop-motion video, video game programming, code breaking and Crime Scene Investigation (CSI). The structured programme combines education and entertainment in way that allows children to explore the creative side of technology while acquiring valuable skills along the way. Participants of each camp have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment that is normally only available to third level students. Each child has access to their own computer and get hands on time with mobile technologies such as digital cameras, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA s) and Blackberrys. The "Spy Academy" has proven a very popular facet of the summer programme during which children go on "missions" using digital cameras and hand held computers. Throughout the camp, attendees will learn to design their own website. They will also create a movie by putting together a storyboard, shooting the scenes on campus and editing the film. The videos are premiered at the end of the week on the big screen and each Whizzkid receives a copy of their video on CD along with their website as a keepsake. Garry Lowe, General Manager of Whizzkids Summer Camps, says "NUI Galway is the ideal setting for our hi-tech summer camp. The computing facilities are first class and the beautiful campus has a range of old and modern buildings that we can use for backdrops to our movies which range anything from a Harry Potter spoof to Espionage thrillers." Classes in the camp are broken up by age and those attending are supervised at all times by fully qualified teachers. There is a maximum of 60 places per week of camp and these are broken into three groups of 20. Full day camps are offered to 9-15 year olds from 9.30-3.30 each day. Half day camps are available for 8-ll year olds from 9.30 to 1.00 each day. For further information contact: 061 339178 or visit www.whizzkids.ie Ends

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Researchers at NUI Galway, developing innovative orthopaedic implants for hip and knee replacements, have been awarded an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Technology Development Grant. The new implants will be more effective for patients with decreased bone stock in the joint, particularly those who are receiving an implant for the second time and have lost bone from surgery to remove the first implant. Dr Pat McDonnell and Dr Noel Harrison, based in the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) in NUI Galway, were awarded €400,000 to build on work completed from a previous Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Technology Proof of Concept grant. The award will also see the continuation of a successful collaboration with orthopaedic consultant surgeon Bill Curtin of Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway. The implants will be made from titanium and will be designed to give better bone in-growth into the implant to improve the lifespan. Over 3,000 hip replacements are performed in the public sector in Ireland each year. Professor Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES, said: "The use of new engineering approaches to develop orthopaedic implants with enhanced properties is a central part of the NCBES research effort. I am delighted to see that this exciting and innovative project will be initiated in the near future". The project will run for two years where world-class biomechanical engineering facilities will allow the researchers to carry out detailed design, mechanical testing and histological analysis of the new implants, in order to validate the technology to attract potential industry partners and investors. The goal of the project will be to develop the technology to a stage where a partner orthopaedics company can be identified to bring the new implants through to clinical trials. This will be achieved with the support of the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway. Professor Peter McHugh, Head of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, said: "This project demonstrates the wonderful synergy that can be achieved by integrating engineering, biology and clinical applications; this approach has been the cornerstone of NUI Galway's international achievements in biomedical engineering and of the development of the crucially important medical technology industry sector in the West of Ireland". Dr McDonnell and Dr Harrison both completed their PhD theses in the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department while based in the NCBES in recent years, and their success in achieving this grant demonstrates the progression from fundamental research to innovative product development that is crucial for the enhancement of the knowledge economy in the West of Ireland. -Ends-

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

CAO First Preferences for NUI Galway increase by 18% in 2 years Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) following the Change of Mind deadline of 1 July show another dramatic rise in demand for places at NUI Galway. First preference applications for undergraduate degrees at NUI Galway have increased by almost 18% in the last two years, as the University's popularity continues to soar. The current Sunday Times University of the Year, NUI Galway's share of the University sector's first preference applications now stands at 14.3%. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, commented on the rising demand to study at the University: "We are seeing a phenomenal demand for places at NUI Galway. This is driven in part by the 20 new undergraduate courses which we have brought on stream over the last three years. There are also a range of new sports, arts and academic facilities on our state-of-the art campus. Another critical factor in attracting applicants is the University's commitment to providing our students with a learning experience that has relevance for the real world". Newer courses at NUI Galway include the extremely popular Energy Engineering, which was developed in direct response to calls from the energy sector for more energy engineers with the right combination of skills. Also popular is the new Engineering Innovation degree, combining traditional electronic engineering with business and entrepreneurship. The University also offers a Sports and Exercise Engineering degree, which is the first of its kind available in Ireland, and new students can look forward to the opening of a stunning new €40 million Engineering Building next year, which will be the largest School of Engineering in the country. Of the University's traditional courses, the Commerce degree has seen a huge increase in popularity, with a 25% increase in applications in recent months. Much of this success is due to innovative programme developments over the last year, including the addition of an industry-led module on innovation, creativity and enterprise where students are mentored by business leaders. The latest figures also show a dramatic increase of more than 60% in first preference applications to the Computer Science and Information Technology programme at NUI Galway. NUI Galway has also brought eight BA Connect degrees on-stream, in a radical departure from traditional Arts degrees. These four-year degrees are designed to increase the employability of graduates by developing distinctive skills and creating connections with life beyond the campus. This year, a new BA Connect degree with Latin American Studies was introduced, alongside the existing BA Connect programmes with either Children s Studies, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Human Rights, Irish Studies, Women s Studies or Theatre and Performance. At present, NUI Galway is the only Irish university offering a denominated degree in marine science and it now has the highest concentration of marine scientists of any institution in Ireland. This degree also offers training on board national training vessels in the third year of study. NUI Galway is also offering the first Podiatry degree in Ireland, which will train healthcare professionals who specialises in the medicine of the foot and leg. -Ends-

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Researchers at NUI Galway have made a discovery that could lead to the development of more effective treatments for a number of diseases. They have shown that a protein produced when cells are stressed interacts with a stress sensor allowing cells to survive conditions of intense stress. Understanding this interaction may help scientists interfere with cancer cells so they can no longer survive exposure to stressful conditions. These findings are published next week in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology. Healthy cells are not usually under stress, but unhealthy cells, such as cancer cells, are often under considerable stress because they grow rapidly in places where they are not supposed to grow. When a cell is under these stressful conditions, the stress protein Hsp70 is activated to help the cell. Professor Afshin Samali, lead author of the publication and head of the Department of Biochemistry at NUI Galway, and his team have discovered that under cell stress conditions Hsp70 interacts with a receptor in the cell, activating survival mechanisms and preventing apoptosis, the normal cell death mechanism. By understanding more about Hsp70 and the way it functions, scientists can learn how to block its function, allowing unhealthy cells to succumb to stress and die . This could have significant implications in the development of new cancer drugs, which would block the protein to encourage tumor cell death. In contrast in diseases where there is too much cell death such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and Diabetes, increasing the levels of Hsp70 could potentially be used to help these cells to survive stressful conditions. Professor Samali added: "Our results have identified a novel protein-protein interaction that helps cancer cells to survive stressful growth conditions. By interfering with this interaction we hope to develop a new class of anticancer drugs. This work was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and will have a significant impact on cancer research and drug design". -Ends-

Monday, 5 July 2010

Eleven NUI Galway research students were recently awarded Summer Student Scholarships by the Health Research Board (HRB). The aim of the HRB Summer Student Scholarships is to encourage an interest in health research and to give students an opportunity to become familiar with the research process, research techniques and methodologies through conducting a summer project. Nine of the NUI Galway awardees are from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway: Catherine O'Connor from Dunmore, Co. Galway; Maria Costello from Grattan Road, Galway; Blathnaid Murphy from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath; Caitriona Fahy from Loughrea, Co. Galway; Bríd Reale from Murroe, Limerick; Kate Fitzpatrick from Clonmel, Co. Waterford; Ruairí Irwin from Castlebar, Co. Mayo; Nicola Kavanagh from Arklow, Co. Wicklow; and Andrew Carroll from Knocknacarra, Galway. Also included in the scholarships were John Birrane from Ballina, Co. Mayo and Noreen Lenihan from Knocknagoshel, Co. Kerry, from the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. The Scholarship scheme is open to undergraduate students who are studying in a health-related discipline in a university in Ireland and who are not in the final year of their degree course. The research project must be in one of the following research areas: applied biomedical research, clinical research, health services research and population health sciences research. The Scholarship will support the students' participation in research over the summer and they will receive €250 per week for a maximum of eight weeks. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: "The School of Medicine is delighted and proud of our medical students who have been awarded Summer Research Scholarships from the HRB. These awards are highly competitive and reflect the calibre of our students and supervisors. The strategic plan for the School of Medicine aims to embed research as an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum and encourage all students to become research active. These awards will promote this aim". -Ends-

Monday, 5 July 2010

NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2010/11. NUI Galway has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Friday, 30 July. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services. The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Through the Sports Scholarship Scheme some 50 students were supported in sports such as Athletics, Basketball, Gaelic Football and Hurling, Cycling, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming and Tennis. Applicants for sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Gary Ryan is Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway: "The Sports Scholarship at NUI Galway is aimed at helping our athletes get better at their sport while they are succeeding academically at university, it is not just a reward for what you have achieved in the past it is an award to help you get better in the future". A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway sports scholarships: "Our efforts in developing a high performance sports environment in NUI Galway have already shown significant success with a large number of our Sports Scholarship students representing national teams and the success of our Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby teams amongst others in the past year. All of these achievements have been secured by students who are also receiving a world class education, and being supported by the scheme to meet the challenges of these dual goals" For the Scholarships, students who meet the University's entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/student-life/campus-activities/sports.html-Ends-

Monday, 5 July 2010

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council have announced that the fourth John McGahern International Seminar commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, will take place from 22-24 July in Co. Leitrim. Last year's International Seminar attracted more than 150 participants from Ireland and overseas. The theme of the seminar is 'Literature and Education', and the keynote lecture will be given by Fintan O'Toole of The Irish Times. Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway says: "It is particularly exciting this year to have Fintan O'Toole as our keynote speaker. Not only is Fintan one of the foremost journalists in the analysis of modern Irish society and politics, as he demonstrates again in his recent book Ship of Fools, but he has also long been one of our most astute cultural and literary critics. His lecture promises to be an ideal combination of attention to McGahern's own work and the context of education in Ireland today". Other speakers at the event will include Dr Stanley van der Ziel of University College Dublin; Professor Joan Dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway; and the American short story writer, David Means. Dr John Kenny added: "This year's theme is especially appropriate at a time when Irish education at all levels is experiencing enormous challenges. As the son of a teacher and as a trained primary teacher himself, McGahern had a natural lifelong interest in education and this is deeply reflected in his fiction. He was an articulate exponent of the key role of reading and imaginative development in education – again and again in his essays and lectures he extolled the virtues of literary study". There will also be a viewing of the screen adaptation of McGahern's major novel, Amongst Women, after which the screenwriter, Adrian Hodges, will give a talk and discuss his encounter with McGahern's work. The Seminar will include guided visits to John McGahern's home places in Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill in Co. Leitrim, and Cootehall in Co. Roscommon. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern's own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture. This year's Seminar will also see the publication of volume 3 of The John McGahern Yearbook, edited by Dr John Kenny. The Yearbook is a lavishly illustrated hardback and it includes proceedings of the 2009 Seminar as well as a range of articles by writers and critics. The book will be launched on the opening night by Professor Seán Ryder, Head of English at NUI Galway. In addition to the public seminar, NUI Galway has organised the third intensive International Summer School on McGahern's work and its contexts which will form part of the University's 27th International Summer School in Irish Studies. The Summer School is designed for advanced level students and researchers who are interested in the writings of John McGahern and his life and times in 20th Century Ireland. The Summer School incorporates the International Seminar and continues at the County Library, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim the week after the Seminar. The 2009 Summer School was attended by students from Italy and the United States as well as Ireland. Contributors to this year's Summer School, directed by Dr John Kenny, will include David Means; Denis Sampson, author of Outstaring Nature's Eye: The Fiction of John McGahern; Irish authors Kevin Barry and Mike McCormack; Dr Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool and Belinda McKeon of Columbia University, New York. Special guest writers will discuss the creative and local contexts of McGahern's life and work. Announcing the McGahern events, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "Through the John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School NUI Galway is working to broaden access to the study of the craft of writing. We are delighted to share the riches of the McGahern archive with the widest possible audience. In holding this important archive in the West of Ireland, we hold in trust a treasure for the world of literary scholarship; for the Irish nation and especially for this region which we have served for over 160 years. I wish the 2010 McGahern International Seminar & Summer School every success and I welcome the continued partnership of Leitrim County Council in this culturally important endeavour". Speaking at the launch of the 2010 programme, Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, said: "Leitrim County Council is delighted to work in partnership with NUI Galway in organising the fourth International Seminar and Summer School. The Seminar is now an important part of Ireland's literary calendar and presents an excellent opportunity for both academic and general readers to engage richly with the work of John McGahern". For further details on The John McGahern International Seminar & Summer School contact 091-495442 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/iss -Ends-

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The University of Limerick and NUI Galway today (Thursday, 1 July) launched a new four-year structured PhD in New Media and Film. This development is one of the initiatives to come out of the NUI Galway-UL Alliance recently launched by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D and will start in September 2010. Also announced at the launch was a Fellowship initiative to support the joint PhD through the award of a Doctoral Scholarship to the value of €15,000, to a student of the programme at each institution. The Scholarships are tenable for a maximum of four years. This structured doctoral programme is run jointly by the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway and the School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication at University of Limerick. It aims to promote research that integrates theoretical discourses on the impact of digital media on cultural and social expression with practical concerns and the media industries. Dean of UL's Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, Professor Pat O'Connor, welcomed the announcement: "This exciting development at fourth level exemplifies the way in which cross institutional collaboration can advance the Arts and Humanities in an innovative medium. The collaboration demonstrates that the combined strengths of universities can create innovative teaching programmes and move research to a higher level". Professor Pat O'Connor added: "The issues this new research initiative promises to address are of great significance for the art of cinema and for culture. The impact of digital technologies on the way audio visual works is produced and, importantly, how they are received and understood by audiences, will be at the centre of media research for some time". Dr Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, said: "Access to a wider range of complementary courses in a neighbouring university will enhance the possibilities for research in both institutions and build on our strengths". Contemporary work in this area is at the leading edge of study linking digital media to the traditions of narrative and image making. Whilst academically strong, the research should also lead to new concepts that are applicable to practice. It is based on the complementary nature of developed areas of teaching and research at both institutions. Dr David Coughlan, of UL's School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication: "Recent recognition of Irish achievements in film and visual effects shows that Ireland can compete internationally in the fields of new media and film, combining artistic brilliance with technical excellence. In the context of a media industry constantly seeking technical innovation and original vision, this unique programme, the result of UL's alliance with NUI Galway, represents an important investment in, and commitment to, Ireland's creative future." The NUI Galway-UL Alliance is an institution-wide alliance across all areas of activity including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. The new Alliance will see NUI Galway and UL collaborate extensively in the area of teaching and learning. Exciting new initiatives include a unique 'Link to Learn' student exchange programme, which will enable students at either university to choose modules from the other institution as part of their programme. Other developments include the creation of a new joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals, in addition to the development of a programme of activities to respond to the national objectives of building strong foundations in mathematics and science in primary and second level education. -Ends-

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A new book entitled The Criminal Process by Tom O'Malley, Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway, provides a detailed analysis of all the key elements of the criminal process. Among the topics covered are the essential ingredients of a fair trial, the allocation of criminal jurisdiction, arrest and detention, investigation and search powers, prosecution and indictment, bail, the trial process, summary procedure, prejudicial publicity, delay, disclosure and preservation of evidence, confessions and the right to silence, the jury, sentencing principles, judicial review and other post-conviction remedies. While primarily devoted to Irish law and the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, it also draws extensively for comparative purposes on case law from other common-law jurisdictions such as England and Wales, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This text, published by the leading international publishers Thomson Reuters, runs to 1,200 pages and is the only comprehensive legal text to deal with recently enacted legislation including the Criminal Justice Acts 2006 and 2007, the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. In the Preface to his book, Mr O'Malley highlights the need for more parliamentary scrutiny of criminal legislation before enactment; the desirability of monitoring the operation and implementation of legislation once it comes into force; and the urgent need for a systematic consolidation of existing criminal justice legislation. "The Criminal Process is set to establish itself as the leading text for criminal lawyers and is our best-selling law book for Round Hall this year. It has been extremely well received by criminal law practitioners" says Catherine Dolan, Commercial Manager at Round Hall, a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters. Tom O'Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway and a practising barrister. He has served on several law reform bodies, including a committee established to review the qualifications for appointment to the High Court and Supreme Court judiciary. He is currently a member of a steering committee appointed by the Courts Service to consider the establishment of a sentencing information system. He is the author of the leading Irish treatises on sentencing, sexual offences and sources of law, and has published many law journal articles. The Criminal Process is available to buy from Round Hall, www.roundhall.ie or 01 662 5301. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2010

NUI Galway, through the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility and the University's College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, recently announced the launch of a new graduate programme in Clinical Research. Medical research is an area of increasing focus within the Irish health sector, and the proposed MSc in Clinical Research will be the first of its kind in Ireland. The MSc in Clinical Research will begin this September and will provide training for the next generation of healthcare workers in research design, biostatistics and administration. Specifically, the course targets individuals who wish to become Principal Investigators or pursue a career in the operation, monitoring and control of clinical research. Initial intake will be restricted to ten places and will involve blended learning through a combination of didactic lectures, problem-based learning and distance learning and will be provided on a full-time or a part-time capacity. Course contributors include senior academics and medical professionals, who are actively engaged in clinical research from NUI Galway, Galway University Hospitals and McMaster University Canada. Commenting on the new course, Professor Larry Egan, Vice-Dean of Research, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway and Interim Director, HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway said: "The absence of a graduate programme in Clinical Research has been a deficit in Irish education and healthcare. We welcome the MSc in Clinical Research, which will support our research activity at the HRB-Clinical Research Facility". "This innovative course will train a new generation of Clinician Scientists to the highest level. It addresses an important unmet need in medical education. We are especially excited about the association with McMaster University, a world-leader in clinical research" said Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine at NUI Galway. Aimed at individuals employed in the healthcare sector, this course has been developed to meet the needs of working graduates who wish to up-skill, specialise or change career direction. Course directors for the MSc in Clinical Research are Professor Martin O'Donnell and Dr John Newell of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway, and Dr Aideen O'Doherty, National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. NUI Galway welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney TD earlier this year that € 7.5m in capital funding is being provided for the construction of a new Clinical Research Facility on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway is a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals and NUI Galway. The facility is supported by funding from the Health Research Board and has been operating since March of 2008. The purpose of the Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is to improve human health through the generation of new medical knowledge from patient based research. The guiding philosophy of the CRF is to stimulate, engage and support health care professionals from diverse areas of expertise to undertake high quality clinical research. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 15 July. For further details on the course visit www.crfg.ieor www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/clinical-research.html. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2010

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan T.D. officially launched the B.E. Programme in Energy Systems Engineering today (Monday, 28 June) at NUI Galway. The new course, which will be based in the new Engineering Building currently under construction at NUI Galway, has been developed in partnership with key members of the Energy industry including; ESB, GE Energy, Airtricity, Bord Gáis, Wavebob, a wave energy technology company, and ARUPS and RPS, two consulting engineers' practices. Speaking at the launch, Minister Ryan said: "The Government has set out ambitious plans for energy, and particularly renewable energy over the next ten years. In order for these plans to come to fruition, we must seek to build on our technical expertise, and continue to add to the highly-skilled energy workforce in this country. These are the skills we need to move from our current level of 15% renewable electricity to 40% by 2020 and to develop this industry to its full potential. It is in developing a strong academic platform, with practical, on-site experience that our future successes will be guaranteed. I must commend NUI Galway and its industry partners for their foresight in developing this course, which I'm sure, will be in great demand". The strong links with industry provides the degree programme with very practical routes. The partnership will also support innovation and technology transfer, working with a cluster of energy companies in the West of Ireland including Wavebob, Eirecomposties, Enerit, and C&F Engineering. The Energy Systems Engineering programme will incorporate aspects of traditional civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, with emphasis on energy policy, economics, environmental issues and a strong focus on informatics. The programme will include a range of additional optional modules which will provide students with maximum flexibility to choose from diverse career paths. The multidisciplinary programme will culminate in integrated design projects that address the sourcing, conversion and utilisation of energy. Subjects on offer will also include strong elements of civic engagement and service learning, with, for example, student volunteers travelling to India and Africa to install solar systems. Students are also required to study a broad range of related subjects, including Economics, Sociology and Politics, and Law and Science. The current National Development Plan and Programme for Government have placed a strong focus addressing energy issues. The new course on offer has been developed to meet a range of requirements of the 'Green Tech' sector and will play a key role in the furthering the Government's Smart Economy agenda. Additionally, the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation listed energy as a research priority. The course will enhance and further support the strong energy research activity that already exists on the NUI Galway campus. Graduates of the programme will be multidisciplinary engineers equipped to solve problems across the whole spectrum of energy systems. The new degree programme can be applied for through the CAO as change of mind option. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says; "The B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway is designed to meet Ireland's future demand for graduates in the emerging energy sectors. The new programme builds on a strong tradition of engineering in the University going back more than 150 years. These energy graduates are critical to Ireland's recovery and can play a crucial role in the emerging fields of renewable energy and smart grids". Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented on the new course: "NUI Galway is well positioned to deliver such an engineering programme in energy, as it has a strong range of all relevant engineering disciplines within its College of Engineering and Informatics. The new Engineering Building on campus, due for completion next summer, incorporates many sustainable energy and environmentally friendly features. In itself, the building will provide a real-life experimental environment for students of the new programme". -Ends-

Friday, 25 June 2010

Four outstanding individuals were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today, Friday 25 June, 2010. Those honoured were Bernard Collins, Anne Maria Dennison, John Killeen and Seán Ó hUiginn. Speaking at the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne said: "NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals. In different ways, they represent and exemplify the talents and achievements of modern Ireland in the fields of business, engineering, international relations and social and cultural development. We are delighted to honour them individually as well as the groups they represent". Bernard Collins – Doctor of Laws Bernard Collins is a seasoned businessman with 30 years international management experience. Mr Collins is an investor, chairman and non-executive director of several medical device companies, six of whom are based in Galway. One of the highlights of his career was bringing Boston Scientific Corporation to Ireland and establishing Lifemed, to promote growth and partnership in lifescience companies. He is a non-executive director of IDA Ireland, Creganna, Irish Life & Permanent and Arc Royal and a board member of IDA Ireland. He also holds the position of chairman of Vhi Healthcare, Heartsine Inc USA, Haptica, AnsaMed, Proxy Biomedical, Aerogen Ireland Ltd / Aerosurge Ireland Ltd, Vysera, Vivasure Medical and Creagh Medical. He is Chairman of Cancer Care West, the largest cancer patient support centre in Ireland which in 2007 opened Inis Aoibhinn, a residence for patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment at University Hospital Galway. Anne Maria Dennison – Doctor of Arts Anne Maria Dennison is National President of the Irish Countrywomen s Association (ICA) which celebrates its centenary in 2010. A native of Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, she joined the ICA in 1989 and over the past 21 years she has held leadership roles at every level of the ICA, the largest women's organisation in Ireland,. Anne Maria has represented ICA, on Limerick County Community and Voluntary Forum and has been Honorary Secretary of its Executive Committee. She has been a member of Limerick County Council Cultural Action Group, with responsibility for organising a programme of events in Limerick County during Seachtain na Gaeilge. She participated in the National Economic Social Forum on Child Literacy and Social Inclusion Project and is currently a member of the Teagasc Education and Training Forum. John Killeen – Doctor of Laws Born in Roscommon, John Killeen, began his career with structural engineering firm, Stanislaus Kenny & Partners in Dublin where he worked as assistant project manager on Ireland's first large scale tunnel project, the Grand Canal Scheme. Mr Killeen is CEO of the Colas Group (Cold Chon) and Chairman of the Galway Docklands Redevelopment Committee. Mr Killeen is a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers in London, the Insitute of Engineers of Ireland (now Engineers Ireland) and the Academy of Engineers of Ireland. He is former President of the Institute of Engineers in Ireland and former Chairman of Engineers Ireland, West Region. In 1997 he was Founding President of the Academy of Engineering in Ireland. As Chairman of 'Let s Do It Galway' he led the effort that brought the Volvo Ocean Race to Galway. In May this year he was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Galway for his work in promoting the development of Galways docklands for bringing successive international festivals to Galway as part of the last and next Volvo Ocean Race. Seán Ó hUiginn – Doctor of Laws NUI Galway graduate and Mayo native, Seán Ó hUiginn, has held a succession of key roles in the Department of Foreign Affairs including Secretary to the Irish Embassy in Berne, Deputy Head of the Irish Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Consul General of Ireland in New York, Irish Ambassador to Saudia Arabia, Joint Secretary of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, Ambassador to Denmark and headed the Anglo-Irish Division of the Department as Second Secretary. Mr Ó hUiginn was appointed Irish Ambassador to the United States in 1997 and served as Irish Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from 2002 to 2006 and from then to retirement in 2009 as Irish Ambassador to Italy. He holds honorary doctorates from several American universities and was appointed Grand Officer of the order Della Stella della Solidarita Italiana by the Italian Government. Today's graduands join the ranks of previous honorary conferees which include among many others Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Sean Purcell, the late Merv Griffin, Anjelica Huston and Fionnuala Flanagan. -Ends-

Thursday, 24 June 2010

NUI Galway will host the Irish Conference of Medievalists from 25–27 June 2010. More than 70 medievalists from Ireland, Australia, Finland, Germany, the US and the UK will come together for the 24th annual gathering to attend a series of 15 sessions covering the latest research in history, literature and archaeology. The keynote address on Friday 25 June, will be given by Professor Thomas Charles-Edwards and is entitled 'Wales and the Irish, 400–700,' Professor Charles-Edwards is the author of the acclaimed study Early Christian Ireland (Cambridge 2007), which the journal History described as 'THE definitive book on Ireland between the fourth and ninth centuries.' Further sessions of the conference will cover a range of subjects from crowd control in sixth-century Clonmacnoise to sheela-na-gigs (often obscene female figures found on the walls of medieval churches). Two areas of special emphasis will be panels on the Amrae Coluimb Chille, the Old Irish lament for St Columba, and reports on the latest work done by the Discovery programme, the public institution set up to pursue advanced research in Irish archaeology. NUI Galway's Dr Jacopo Bisagni, chair of the Galway organising committee, said, 'The Irish Conference of Medievalists is one of the largest medieval conferences in Ireland, so it's a real privilege for us to host it this year. All of us in Galway are looking forward to three days of interesting papers and good craic.' -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

NUI Galway, in collaboration with St Vincent de Paul, Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre and Galway Community College, yesterday (Tuesday, 22 June) launched a new community model of Intergenerational Learning, adapting the University's current Living Scenes Intergenerational Programme, which has been operating in Irish Secondary Schools for the last ten years. The current school-based model of Living Scenes is a groundbreaking educational programme, the first of its kind in Ireland and Europe, possibly even worldwide. The innovative programme was first piloted in Galway City's Presentation Secondary School in 1999, and quickly became established as part of its Transition Year. Living Scenes has since developed and expanded through partnerships between NUI Galway and five further secondary schools: Calasanctius College, Oranmore, Co. Galway; Millstreet Community School, Millstreet, Co. Cork; St Flannan's College, Ennis, Co. Clare; St Joseph's Secondary School, Charlestown, Co. Mayo; and St Joseph's Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare. NUI Galway's Director of the Living Scenes Programme, Dr Mary Surlis, contends that: "At a time when there is a serious erosion of social fabric evident in Irish Society, Living Scenes aims to respond to the growing need for communication and trust in local communities, regenerating relationships between the older and younger generations is crucial in responding to the challenge currently facing our society. Working with Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre and the Galway Community College provides an ideal opportunity to extend the current remit of the programme to a wider target group and the University is delighted to be involved in this collaboration". The Living Scenes Community Programme is a collaborative education initiative which will target teenagers and retired older adults. This model will be based in Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre (St. Vincent's de Paul), participants will take part in a weekly structured curriculum over a 30 week period. The programme will focus on positively impacting on the lives of both groups through empowering, enabling and relationship building in a specifically designed learning environment which allows both groups to develop, bond and form new relationships and friendships. Commenting on the potential for the programme Loretta Needham, Centre Manager, Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre, said: "This new programme, assisted by the Maureen O'Connell Fund of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, offers an exciting opportunity for us to link with NUI Galway and to be involved in piloting a community model of Intergenerational Learning which will benefit a wide spectrum of our participants throughout Galway City and County and further afield". Rita Duffy, Principal Galway Community College, comments: "It is heartening for us to see NUI Galway reach out to young people who have no tradition of third-level education in their families or communities. Society is losing a wealth of talent and creativity because the gifts of these young people remain under-developed. Our students, like all teenagers, invest heavily in relationships. We are delighted that they will have an opportunity to work with and benefit from the wisdom of people who have faced and overcome many of life s challenges. We welcome the opportunity for our students to engage in learning that is meaningful, relevant and attainable. Galway Community College is particularly grateful to Dr Mary Surlis for this exciting new initiative and to Loretta Needham for investing in the education and welfare of our students". President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne: "NUI Galway is committed to a strong ethos of civic engagement. We develop this by fostering a sense of social responsibility and citizenship amongst students and by working to share the knowledge resources of the University with the wider community. The Living Scenes programme of intergenerational learning is the embodiment of that ethos - reaching from the University into the heart of the community to work in an intergenerational capacity with younger and older people. As President, I am proud of the unique and pioneering work which NUI Galway has led, through Living Scenes, in building social cohesion in Ireland". -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

NUI Galway has become the first university outside North America to form a University Course Curriculum partnership with the American Council on Exercise® (ACE®). This partnership will provide NUI Galway with access to the ACE curriculum specifically designed for universities. ACE has formed similar partnerships with a range of prestigious North American universities including Stanford, Duke and Purdue. NUI Galway will initially use the ACE curriculum in the University's BE/MEngSc Sports & Exercise Engineering (SEE) programme. The partnership means that Sports & Exercise Engineering students at NUI Galway, by successfully completing the SEE programme, will have covered the curriculum for the ACE Personal Trainer and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist programmes, and thus will have the option of taking the exams for certification on both ACE programmes. Such certification has worldwide acceptance, providing additional opportunities for graduates to make meaningful and positive contributions to the health and fitness industry. Founded in 1985, ACE is a recognised leader in the field of physical fitness and has more than 50,000 certified health and fitness professionals in 110 countries. ACE is a non-profit organisation committed to enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity. ACE sets itself the goal of protecting all segments of society against ineffective fitness products, programmes and trends through its ongoing public education, outreach and research. ACE further protects the public by setting certification and continuing education standards for fitness professionals. Speaking about the new partnership, Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and SEE Course Director, said: "This is a very exciting development for NUI Galway as it aligns us with the United States' premier exercise promotion and training body and provides us with the opportunity to deliver the ACE curriculum to our student over the course of the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme". "We are pleased to share our leading curriculum with NUI Galway", said Scott Goudeseune, ACE's President and Chief Operating Officer. "It's exciting to see ACE's certification programs provide students on a global scale with enhanced credibility and the opportunity to educate, motivate, inspire and train others. We are confident that this partnership will help students make a difference in the fitness industry". The NUI Galway BE/MEngSc Sports and Exercise Engineering programme is a professional Engineering programme whose graduates will design systems for monitoring, performing and improving sport and exercise performance. The Sports and Exercise Engineering programme has four elements to the education of its graduates: Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Sports Science and Health Science. This development occurs as NUI Galway add a suite of Sports Science modules to the SEE programme, including Applied Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology of Human Movement, Sports and Exercise Psychology, and Exercise Prescription and Programming in the second semester of third year. The addition of these modules to the programme will provide students with a strong grounding in the science of sports and exercise and prepare the students for work in the sports and exercise industries. Electrical & Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway has also appointed Ted Vickey as Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme to advise the University on the further development of the SEE programme. Mr Vickey is President of FitWell LLC. He served as Executive Director of the White House Athletic Center from 1994 to 2005 for the George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. From 2001 to 2007, he was Vice-President of Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. "It is an honor to serve as Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Sports and Exercise Engineering programme," said Vickey. "As a champion of ACE and the important work this organization does in North America, I look forward to promoting ACE's mission within NUI Galway and educating students on the importance of enriching quality of life through safe and effective exercise and physical activity". Commenting on the new developments in the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics said "I am delighted to see these important new developments in the Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway and particularly welcome the new partnership with the American Council on Exercise, which will provide international input into the SEE programme. At NUI Galway we are particularly proud to be the first university outside North America to form a university partnership with ACE". For further information on the NUI Galway Sports and Exercise Engineering programme visit http://www.eee.nuigalway.ie/Courses/see_gy411.html. To learn more about ACE visit www.acefitness.org. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway is part of a new EuroStemCell project which connects European citizens with stem cell research. The ambitious four-year project unites more than 90 European stem cell and regenerative medicine research laboratories in a coordinated effort to engage with the public about their science. The project's main component is a website www.EuroStemCell.org which acts as a multi-lingual portal composed by researchers. It explores stem cell research and maps where stem cell research stands for the different countries involved in the project. All countries in Europe are not at the same point in development of stem cell research. The website aims to dispel myths surrounding stem cell research, and give clear, accessible and comprehensive information and knowledge to the public. Programme Manager at REMEDI, Kieran Ryan says: "REMEDI are extremely proud to be leading a strand of the European Union FP7-funded EuroStemCell project. The quality and pedigree of the other partners involved in this project reflects very strongly on the achievements of REMEDI and NUI Galway in this emerging scientific area. Our involvement in EuroStemCell will ensure that Ireland is at the heart of the European discourse on regenerative medicine and we are very excited about contributing to this valuable endeavour". The EuroStemCell consortium of scientists, clinicians, specialist communicators, science museums and educators will work together to develop the EuroStemCell.org website into a dynamic, multilingual information hub. The site will provide current analyses of the latest scientific developments, ethical issues and regulations. It will also develop and act as a central repository for stem cell resources, teaching tools and activities. Project participants, including REMEDI, gathered in Edinburgh earlier this year to kick-start their collaborative effort. Representatives from REMEDI will be involved in all aspects of the project, from contributing to the website, to the collation and development of resources for public engagement for educators and evaluation of those resources. EuroStemCell.org arose out of a previous stem cell research project and has since been actively supported by scientists. The current project has been awarded €830,000 by the EU's Framework 7 programme. The website already provides information and educational tools from short films to frequently asked questions, news pieces and teaching materials. Dr Clare Blackburn, University of Edinburgh the Project's Coordinator, said: "We want to provide accurate information, but also to encourage real dialogue between scientists and the public. The goal is to enable people to understand, question and form opinions on the science they read about in the newspapers, learn about at school and that will impact future healthcare". REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry funded research centre located at NUI Galway. Scientists and doctors at REMEDI are working together to combine the technologies of gene therapy and adult stem cell therapy to repair and replace damaged tissue. REMEDI research teams are looking at heart disease, arthritis, and neurological diseases, to research and develop medical therapies that enable repair of damaged and diseased tissue using living cells and genes. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Campus Spin-Out Company Qpercom Awarded Contract from University of Leuven in Belgium Qpercom, a spin-out campus company at NUI Galway has been contracted to supply a performance and competence assessment tool for medical students to the University of Leuven in Belgium. The software packages developed at NUI Galway have improved educational decision making in NUI Galway's School of Medicine for the last year. Using the programmes Assessment Management Information Systems (AMIS) and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), critical medical skills of students can be assessed using real life situations, eradicating the need for laborious paper trails. The tools are being used in clinical assessments across all years of study in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing at NUI Galway. Clinical examinations for medical students consist of practical tasks which must be assessed. Traditionally the results of assessment of these different tasks, such as taking blood pressure for example, are recorded on paper. Examiners then have a large paper trail to contend with and it is very difficult to consolidate information. Each individual element of clinical examination is added together to get an aggregate pass mark. Qpercom's products enable assessors to have all information to hand on a specialised computer programme, allowing for more efficient assessment and a greater results analysis. The breakdown of assessments is easily available to determine where student skills may be lacking. The software also has features to enable examiners to create tailor-made assessment forms allowing for greater flexibility and transparency. This newly awarded contract with the Leuven University is a validation for the company. The Belgian University trains 450 medical students annually in clinical skill laboratories. Qpercom's product AMIS is already being used by a Dutch safety training and assessment company In Tense Safety and was recently nominated for the Ronald Harden Innovation in Medical Education Award in Kuala Lumpur. Professor Andrew Murphy of the discipline of General Practice in NUI Galway, said: "The new software product has exceeded our expectations - it is completely reliable, easy to use and has introduced substantial administrative economies. It has significantly enhanced our ability to validly determine competence". NUI Galway's Dr Thomas Kropmans, senior lecturer in Medical Informatics and Medical Education and CEO of Qpercom, said: "Spinning out is a very challenging experience in the current economic climate. Sales cycles are long and universities cut down their expenses. Leuven's school of medicine recognised the twofold benefit of eliminating the paper trail reducing cost and the advantage of immediate access to highly valuable information that has serious implication for patient and clinician safety". -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

NUI Galway will host International Conference and Workshops of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH) from 27 June until 2 July 2010. The focus of the event will be on Environmental Quality and Human Health. This conference and workshops, organised by NUI Galway's School of Geography and Archaeology, Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) provide an internationally leading forum for interaction between scientists, consultants, and public servants engaged in the multi-disciplinary areas of environment and health. Participants of the conference represent expertise in a diverse range of scientific fields, including: biology, engineering, geology, hydrology, epidemiology, chemistry, medicine, nutrition, and toxicology, as well as regulatory and industrial communities. The theme of SEGH 2010 "Environmental Quality and Human Health" is one of the most challenging issues that human beings are currently facing. Human activities have impacted our environment at an increasing speed, leading to changes in the quality of air, water, soil and food. More and more questions regarding the relationship between environmental quality and human health remain to be answered. A wide range of topics will be explored throughout the conference, encompassing technical aspects of geochemistry ,biochemistry, environmental impacts of climate change and human activities and, as well as the perception and communication of environmental health risks and social inequality. Keynote speakers at the conference include: Professor Iain Thornton, Former SEGH Chair, Imperial College and Imperial College Consultants London, who will receive a lifetime achievement award at SEGH 2010. Professor Shu Tao, Peking University, China, Dr Olle Selinus, Sweden, and Professor Luke Clancy, Director General, Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society will also speak. There is an organized conference session on "House Dust", which aims to explore the health implications associated with house dust. There will also be two workshops of MULTITUDE (Multiple Links Towards Integrating Teams for Understanding of Disease and Environment) and "Vapour Behaviour and Assessment at Contaminated Sites-Risks Posed to Human Health", running in parallel with the conference sessions. NUI Galway's Dr Chaosheng Zhang, SEGH 2010 Chair, says: "Ireland is traditionally an agricultural country, but we still cannot escape from environmental pollution and its potential danger to our health. Without exception, in Ireland we are facing pressing problems of air pollution, water pollution, agricultural pollution and traffic pollution. The legacy issues of contaminated land in Ireland have recently been highlighted, such as South Park in Galway, Silvermines in Tipperary, and Haulbowline Island in Cork. Specifically South Park and Silvermines have been chosen as the conference fieldtrip sites. "This is a valuable opportunity for Irish colleagues working in the field of environment and health to foster, develop and strengthen international links and collaborations. I hope this conference will help to raise both research and management in environment and health in Ireland to a new level" Dr Zhang added. The conference is sponsored by the Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency, Fáilte Ireland, Environmental Health Officers' Association, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Canadian Shield Research and National Roads Authority (NRA). -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

NUI Galway will host its sixth Conference on Colonialism entitled "Education and Empire" from 24-26 June 2010. The aim of this interdisciplinary event is to explore the role of education in shaping, promoting, and challenging imperial and colonial ideologies, institutions and processes throughout the modern world. The 2010 conference, organised in co-operation with TCD and the IRCHSS-sponsored inter-university research project, 'Ireland, Empire and Education', continues the prestigious tradition of a highly successful series of conferences, which has created an expanding network of international associations between Galway and institutions and individuals in continents across the world. The role of higher education in Ireland's colonial history and postcolonial present will be specifically addressed, as well as the relationship between these institutions and colonial power structures. Topics to be discussed at the conference range from missionary education to museums, from school stories to penal colonies, and from universities in the settler colonies to decolonization through education. Keynote speakers include; Professor John Coolahan, Emeritus, NUI Maynooth, Professor Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, New York and Professor Sanjay Seth, Goldsmiths, University of London. The "Ireland, Empire and Education" research project was established to examine the complex relationships which developed between Irish universities and higher educational institutes and the British Empire, 1840-1940. This project draws on the existing interests of staff in the TCD School of Histories and Humanities as well as those of collaborators in NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast. Dr Muireann O'Cinnéide, Director of the MA in Culture and Colonialism at NUI Galway, says: "It is particularly interesting to host this conference in NUI Galway as it allows us to consider the relationship between Ireland's rich educational tradition and its colonial history in the context of a wealth of different international perspectives and histories. The conference holds great relevance to academic programmes offered at NUI Galway and it promises to be a stimulating and challenging three days". Further information is available via www.conference.ie or from educationandempire@nuigalway.ie Ends

Monday, 21 June 2010

A partnership between NUI Galway's UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement at the Child and Family Research Centre, Foróige, the National Youth Development Organisation and Alan Kerins Projects, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) will be launched today, Monday, 21 June, 2010, in NUI Galway by the Minister of State with special responsibility for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D. Through the work of NUI Galway's Professor Pat Dolan, the UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement at the Child and Family Research Centre, the overarching aim of this partnership is to further the long standing commitment of UNESCO to address the challenges facing youth and to foster young people's participation in the development of their societies, with an initial focus on Zambia where each organization has well-established links. As a first step the partnership intends to initiate a pilot project in the Kaoma district in the Western Province of Zambia targeting youth affected by HIV/AIDS. The partnership will encompass activities across the core areas of the Chair's work which includes: research, teaching, policy, advocacy and programme development. The partnership is currently developing a model for a youth centre, which integrates youth work and sport. Using sport as the initial medium to reach out to young people, the proposed youth centre will provide a forum for youth to actively participate in a range of activities that extend beyond sport, including active citizenship and youth leadership programmes and life skills training. The partnership will also work closely with the University of Zambia to further facilitate access, sharing and adaption of knowledge between the two regions. The NUI Galway UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement through dedication to practice and policy orientated research on youth, along with its partners, Foróige, Alan Kerins Projects, an NGO working directly with children and young people in Zambia investing in health, education and sports services, are well placed to work in partnership towards furthering UNESCO's goals. Established in 2009, the UNESCO Chair is engaged in forming alliances between academic institutions and non-governmental organizations, youth work professionals and UN System agencies with a shared interest in promoting civic engagement for children and youth. The associated programme of work promotes the educational value of civic engagement and highlights its potential as a means of fostering resilience and enhancing social support networks for disadvantaged children and youth. Increasing access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes and promoting youth participation and leadership are key areas employed by governments and civic society organizations working with youth at risk. As part of its ethos, NUI Galway has a specific commitment to embracing community and civic engagement as a core part of its mission. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said "We look forward to fruitful co-operation with our partners on the ground in Zambia and to building new structures for co-operation with universities and NGOs through an exchange of research, training and policy initiatives." Speaking at the launch today, Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, T.D., said: "I am delighted to launch this partnership between the Alan Kerins Project, the UNESCO Chair of Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Foróige. It is a clear demonstration of the commitment and enthusiasm within Ireland to find new and dynamic ways to assist those living in poverty and to end suffering in the developing world". "All of us gathered here today share a deep interest in Zambia, which is a priority country for Irish Aid, the Government's programme for overseas development. The key aim of Ireland's long-term development programme in Zambia is the reduction of chronic poverty and inequality. To this end, we work with in partnership with the Government of Zambia and other donors", the Minister added. "The Irish Aid programme in Zambia is focused on improving the quality of and access to education; reducing poverty in a coordinated and effective manner; tackling the scourge of HIV and AIDS and building good governance in order to ensure that the Zambian people are fully informed of and engaged in their country's development. "I know that we share many of the same goals and look forward to learning more about the experiences and successes of this innovative partnership over the months and years to come", concluded Minister Power. According to Alan Kerins, "All of us involved with the Alan Kerins Projects are embracing this new initiative with all our resolve and efforts. In welcoming our new strategic partners, UNESCO and Foróige, I am confident that our focus on Youth and Civic Engagement will continue to inspire us in supporting our friends in Zambia through concrete plans and programmes. The world would otherwise have forgotten these communities were it not by chance that I visited them in 2005. I witnessed firsthand their severe daily challenges and promised to help their plight. We are indebted and welcome this new initiative through genuine friendship which will help us all grow our activities for the betterment of our brothers and sisters". -Ends-

Monday, 21 June 2010

Life in Burren villages before, during and after the Famine An Archaeology Open Day and Public Talk has been announced by a team of Irish and US archaeologists who have started survey work at Lios an Rú, a 19th century deserted village on the hill above Newtown castle, Co. Clare. The Open Day, which will take place from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, 27 June will conclude with a talk on 'Lios An Rú and 19th century deserted villages around Ballyvaughan' at 7.30pm in the Burren College of Art in Newtown. All events are free and open to the public and sponsored by NUI Galway. The archaeologists involved are from NUI Galway and the State Museum of the University of New York State. Their work is part of an exciting new initiative at NUI Galway to investigate the daily lives and work of women, children and men in the Burren before, during and after the Famine. The project will have a number of elements including research, education and community archaeology. The distinguished US Professor, Charles Orser is co-directing the project with NUI Galway archaeologist Maggie Ronayne. He is distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University, Curator of Historical Archaeology at the New York State Museum and an adjunct professor at NUI Galway. Professor Orser is a historical archaeologist and uses anthropology and archaeology to investigate the lives of men and women ignored by official, written history and their interactions with people of power. For over a decade his field research has focused on the west of Ireland in the 19th century. Commenting on the Open Day, Maggie Ronayne of NUI Galway invited inputs from the public: "We are looking forward to hearing everyone's views. A lot of people have a great knowledge of how communities like these tenant villages in the Burren survived and what they accomplished before, during and after the famine. If your family came from these villages or you have information about their history, if you know of other deserted villages, have any questions or are just interested to know more, we'd love to meet you!" Anyone wishing to become involved in a community archaeology project related to the investigations is invited to come along and meet the archaeologists during the Open Day. -Ends-

Friday, 18 June 2010

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D. will today, (Friday, 18 June, 2010), unveil a unique partnership between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick with the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA to develop a joint Translational Research Institute. This development is one of the first initiatives to come out of the NUI Galway-UL Alliance launched earlier this year. The Translational Research Institute will focus on the development and synergy of core technologies and expertise within the partner institutions, to provide Irish industries with relevant and world-class research solutions. Welcoming the Initiative, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, said: "I would like to commend all involved in establishing this Institute. It is exactly the type of development which the Government is trying to encourage. I believe it can help us achieve our goals for increasing collaboration between higher education institutions, establishing better linkages between higher education and industry, and delivering the economic growth and job creation we need in the years ahead." The Translational Research Institute has a very significant strategic importance nationally. There is now an increasing emphasis in Ireland on research that can have more immediate industrial and economic benefits, in order to build the 'smart economy' and a knowledge society. The proposed Translational Research Institute, with the backing of the Georgia Institute of Technology's long-standing and extensive track record of industry-focused research and technology development, will play a leadership role in this area. President of Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr G.P. "Bud" Peterson explained how the new partnership will also make it easier for Georgia Tech to conduct many large-scale applied research programs and will provide additional real-world research opportunities for Georgia Tech students. "Georgia Tech is building upon a successful working relationship with both universities that has already produced important research in such areas as use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in medical inventory management and energy management for buildings, and in-home care of aging populations. Georgia Tech remains committed to research efforts in Ireland, and we feel the synergy with our Irish partners will be a pathway to long-term successful operations" he said. Both NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have strong track records in technology development and commercialisation, in addition to having international reputations for collaborating successfully with industry partners. This strong record of industry collaboration and world-class research in fields such as Biomedicine (the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway), Biomaterials (the Materials and Surface Science Institute at UL), renewable energy (at both Universities), internet technologies (Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway), and software development (the Lero Institute at UL), support the national focus on innovation, and technology commercialisation for economic growth and development. These strengths and experience will benefit significantly from the long-standing track record and reputation for delivery in translational research enjoyed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and its associated applied research arm, the Georgia Tech Research Institute. The Institute will apply technologies developed within its partner institutions in the Healthcare and Sustainable Energy market segments. President of the University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry, said: "The Translational Research Institute is a very exciting development for the UL-NUI Galway Alliance. In this current environment, it is absolutely vital that we work together to form new partnerships and in turn deliver real results with real projects leading to the delivery of high value jobs. This Institute will champion the application of research to drive scientific and economic progress in our regions." The new Translational Research Institute will be a national centre of excellence in translational research, technology development and exploitation in key strategic areas of Science, Engineering, and Technology. It will create a unique translational facility in Ireland and will significantly enhance the capacity and expertise available to the broad higher education sector and Irish industry, providing a distinct competitive advantage for indigenous SMEs and Irish-based FDI industries, thus helping to establish Ireland as a global centre of excellence for technology development, innovation and commercialisation. Speaking at the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "Our partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology underlines the fact that both universities are working with the strengths and needs of our region, in the interest of the Irish economy and to the highest international standards. Georgia Institute of Technology have a longstanding and successful track record in bringing academic research to bear on problems facing industry and government. They have a record of success in translating academic research into products, processes and services which serve industry and generate economic wealth. We are proud that this new Translational Research Institute, Georgia Tech Ireland will bring this model to Irish Higher Education." -Ends-

Friday, 18 June 2010

The INTERSTROKE study, published online and in an upcoming publication of medical journal Lancet, shows that a total of 10 risk factors (including high blood pressure, smoking, and waist-to-hip ratio) are associated with 90% of the risk of stroke. The international study, being presented today (Friday, 18 June) at The World Congress of Cardiology, Beijing, is written by Dr Martin O'Donnell of NUI Galway and formerly McMaster University and Dr Salim Yusuf, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, and colleagues for the INTERSTROKE investigators. The contribution of various risk factors to the burden of stroke worldwide is unknown, particularly in countries of low and middle income where the largest burden of stroke occurs. In the first phase of the INTERSTROKE study, the authors aimed to establish the association of known and emerging risk factors with stroke and its primary subtypes, assess the contribution of these risk factors to the burden of stroke, and explore the differences between risk factors for stroke and heart attack. The authors used data from 6,000 people (3,000 cases of stroke and 3,000 controls) in 22 countries* worldwide, covering the period March, 2007 to April, 2010. Cases were patients with a first acute stroke (within 5 days of symptoms onset and 72 h of hospital admission). Controls had no history of stroke, and were matched with cases for age and sex. All participants completed a structured questionnaire and a physical examination, and most provided blood and urine samples. The authors calculated the increased risk and population-attributable risks (PARs) for the association of all stroke, ischaemic stroke, and intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke with selected risk factors. The authors found the following 10 risk factors to be significantly associated with stroke: high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio (abdominal obesity), diet, physical activity, lipids (fats), diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake, stress and depression, and heart disorders. Collectively, these risk factors accounted for 90% of the PAR for all stroke. These risk factors were all significant for ischaemic stroke (caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain), whereas high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, diet, and alcohol intake were significant risk factors for intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain tissue). The ratio of bad to good blood lipids (apolipoproteins) was an important risk factor for ischemic stroke but not for haemorrhagic stroke. When looking at individual risk factors, the authors say it is important to note that the individual PARs for risk factors do not add up to the overall PAR for all risk factors combined. This is because many risk factors are inter-related. The study also addresses each risk factor independently, and found that high blood pressure was the most important for stroke, since it was associated with one-third of the risk of all stroke, and increased the risk of stroke more than two-and-a-half fold compared with no history of high blood pressure. Smokers were at double the risk of stroke compared with non-smokers, and smoking was associated with one in five strokes. Professor Martin O'Donnell, NUI Galway explained: "The INTERSTROKE study is the first large standardised case-control study of risk factors for stroke in which countries of low and middle income were included, and where all cases completed a brain scan (usually a CT scan). Our findings showed that five risk factors accounted for more than 80% of the global risk of all stroke (ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhagic): hypertension, current smoking, abdominal obesity, diet, and physical activity. With the addition of five other risk factors, including apolipoproteins, the PAR for all stroke rose to 90%." The authors highlight that nine of ten risk factors (not including cardiac disorders) in INTERSTROKE are the same as in INTERHEART (also led by Dr Yusuf) which looked at risk factors for heart attacks. The relative importance of many of these risk factors is different for stroke and heart attack. For example, blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke, while blood lipids (fats) are the most important risk factors for heart attack. However, the nine risk factors in INTERHEART covered 90% of the PAR for heart attacks. They add that this work proves that a large international epidemiological study of stroke that requires routine neuroimaging is feasible in countries of low and middle income, and conclude: "Targeted population-based interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the global burden of stroke." The investigators are currently undertaking Phase 2 of INTERSTROKE, which will include Ireland, aims to include 20,000 participants. This second phase will determine the importance of risk factors within different regions, different ethnic groups, and within ischemic stroke subtypes. In addition, the association between genetics and risk of stroke will be studied—this will require large sample sizes. In an accompanying Comment, Dr Jack V Tu, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, says: "Whilst hypertension is well established as the most important cause of stroke in high-income countries, INTERSTROKE confirms that it is also the most important risk factor for stroke in developing countries. This finding is particularly relevant because it highlights the need for health authorities in these regions to develop strategies to screen the general population for high blood pressure and, if necessary, offer affordable treatment to reduce the burden of stroke. It also provides an impetus to develop population-wide strategies to reduce the salt content in the diet of individuals in these countries." -Ends-

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Over 170 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies will be conferred by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 17 June). The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-eight Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty PhD students from across all disciplines. International students will also be well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait, who along with students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "Our research student numbers continue to grow, as do the numbers in our wide range of taught postgraduate programmes. We have significantly increased our number of Ph.D. graduates in recent years. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer almost 3 times that number annually. It is very encouraging to see the number of research degrees conferred across all Colleges at this conferring ceremony." President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 25 June. -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Rohingya minority group in Western Burma has been victim of human rights violations amounting tocrimes against humanity, according to a report released today (Thursday, 16 June) by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The report, entitled Crimes against Humanity in Western Burma: The Situation of the Rohingyas, was officially launched by Micheál Martin, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Iveagh House, Dublin. "For decades now, the Rohingya minority group has endured grave human rights violations in North Arakan State. Every day, more Rohingya men, women and children are leaving Burma, fleeing the human rights abuses in the hope of finding peace and security elsewhere," said Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The Report is based on extensive open-source research and on a fact-finding mission to Burma, Thailand and Bangladesh conducted by experts in international criminal investigation. As well as interviewing organisations working in the region, investigators met with Rohingya victims in and around refugee camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingyas' plight has been overlooked for years and the root causes of their situation still remain under-examined. The Irish Centre for Human Rights' Report identifies and discusses some of these causes. The Report examines whether the apparent cases of enslavement, rape and sexual violence, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and persecution against the Rohingyas may constitute crimes against humanity. "Describing the violations as crimes against humanity raises the possibility that cases against those Burmese officials who are responsible could be referred to the International Criminal Court", Professor Schabas explained. The Report affirms that people committing, allowing, aiding and abetting these crimes must be held accountable. The international community has a responsibility to protect the Rohingyas, to respond to the allegations of crimes against humanity and ensure that violations and impunity do not persist for another generation, concludes the report Speaking at the launch of the Report, Minister Martin commended the work of the NUI Galway research team, stating that they have presented "compelling evidence suggesting that crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by the Burmese authorities against the Rohingya minority group". Noting the recommendation in the Report that the Security Council establish a Commission of Inquiry to determine whether there is a prima facie case that crimes against humanity have been committed, as well as similar recent comments by UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, Minister Martin said that he fully supported these calls for all such alleged crimes to be formally investigated. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, is one of the world's leading university-based human rights research centres. The Centre, which marks its tenth anniversary this year, is dedicated to teaching, research and advocacy in the field of human rights. Report available at: www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights/projects/burma.html ENDS

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) team was announced All-Ireland Champions after a historic win for the University at the recent MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge. Organised by the MBA Association of Ireland, the business strategy competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland. The NUI Galway Executive MBA team was announced champions after competing against teams from DCU, UCD, University of Ulster and Waterford IT. The final-year Executive MBA students strategically analysed a Harvard Business Case over four hours and then presented their findings to a judging panel chaired by Professor Patrick McNamee of the University of Ulster and member of the MBA Association of Ireland. In their winning presentation, the NUI Galway team demonstrated analytical rigour, effective teamwork, strategic and operational insights in outlining the future strategy for HTC Corp., the case study for this competition. Commenting on the win, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: "The NUI Galway Executive MBA curriculum has a very strong focus on strategy and prepares students to excel as business and strategy analysts. Winning the MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge reinforces the excellent teaching and learning standards available to NUI Galway MBA students". The leader of the NUI Galway Executive MBA team, Brian Molloy, added: "This is an immense and historic result for NUI Galway. The skill-set and toolkit necessary for us to deliver a winning strategic analysis in just four hours came from the two year MBA programme at NUI Galway. Whilst there was a team of five performing on the day, this win demonstrates the calibre and capacity to deliver that every graduate of the NUI Galway MBA programme possesses and that future students will acquire if they take on the challenge of the MBA. It must be very reassuring for employers in the West to know that the local University is producing such a talented pool of MBA graduates". The winning team included Niall Cunningham, Brian Molloy, Devin Mettler, Bríd Seoige and Declan Staunton from the Executive MBA programme. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

NUI Galway will host the Science and Technology in the European Periphery (STEP) conference commencing on Thursday, 17 June and running until 20 June. STEP is an international group of historians of science, medicine and technology and includes scholars from all over Europe. STEP meetings happen every two years with the purpose of exploring the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies on the periphery of Europe. STEP was founded in 1999 and Galway is the seventh European city to host the organisation. The group was previously hosted by Istanbul in 2008 and Menorca in 2006. The Galway meeting features 70 speakers from all over Europe, as well as the USA, Japan and Brazil. Some of the speakers will challenge traditional notions of the periphery of Europe, by examining the exchange of scientific information between Europe and the East Indies, and with the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas. The opening session will focus on Ireland's scientific heritage, particularly the institutions of science and medicine that emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subsequent sessions of the conference will focus on the popularisation of science and technology, the role of women in science, science and religion, the role of universities and of experts, and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The plenary lecture entitled "Some Historiographical Reflections on the Circulation of Science" will be delivered by Professor Nicholas Jardine, University of Cambridge. Dr Aileen Fyfe, Department of History at NUI Galway, says: "In our current climate, with so much emphasis on innovation, knowledge and the smart economy, it's crucial that we better understand the social and political contexts of science and technology. History of science is still a small discipline in Ireland, so it s great to have a big conference like STEP coming to town. It will put Galway on the map as the centre for the study of history of science and technology in Ireland; and will highlight the importance of collaboration with our European neighbours". Dr Faidra Papanelopoulou, University of Athens, says: "STEP celebrates its 10th anniversary in Galway. Valuable contributions from participants around the globe explore the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies in and beyond Europe. The meeting in Galway focuses on a variety of interesting topics, offering a useful range of perspectives in the field". Further information on STEP is available at www.cc.uoa.gr/step. -Ends-

Monday, 14 June 2010

This week NUI Galway welcomes 40 educators from Jordan and Lebanon for a seven-day bespoke study tour. The study tour is part of a new EU TEMPUS funded project which aims to develop service learning and civic engagement partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon. The EU project entitled the 'Tawasol Project', commenced in January 2010 and will run over three years. The project brings together five universities in Jordan and the Lebanon with four European university partners including NUI Galway, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, University of Plovdiv in Bulgaria and University of Roehampton in London. Following on from the success of the NUI Galway Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in developing successful learning opportunities within community through service learning, the University was invited to collaborate with the other eight universities and create the Tawasol Project. While in Galway the group of educators will meet with over twenty members of the community who have been involve in service learning partnerships, including COPE Galway, the Gaf Youth Café and the Galway Traveller Movement. They will also meet over twenty NUI Galway lecturers and students who have developed innovative service learning partnerships. They will learn about how postgraduate IT students worked with the Gaf Youth café to help develop a youth centred website and up skilled staff in the use of new technologies. They will also meet with Philosophy students who examined through service leaning the ethical treatment of asylum seekers within the west of Ireland. Speaking at the first Tawasol Project meet in Amman, Jordan earlier this year, Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: "Working with universities in such a different cultural context makes our work in Ireland richer and more challenging as we are encouraged to look at the cultural implications of engaging student learning in communities within challenging circumstances. This project will bring together hundreds of students and academics in the next three years for intensive inter-cultural and civic engagement learning opportunities". On Tuesday, 15 June, the Tawasol Website will be launched by the NUI Galway's Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Jim Ward. The website, www.tawasol.org was designed and developed by a Galway based web design animation company, Starlight Solutions, who have used a system of social networking to bring the Tawasol Project members together through group sharing, interacting and engaging. -Ends-