Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Adult and Continuing Education Office at NUI Galway will host an information evening in the Orbsen Building on Thursday, 6 May, from 6.30-8.30pm. Over 40 courses will be showcased at this public event which provides an opportunity for prospective students to meet with the coordinators of the various courses on offer. NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education part-time programmes are available from foundation level studies through to Masters level. The courses can be either classroom-based or delivered through distance learning for those unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. This year, a new part-time BA programme will be launched at the Open Evening,which will commence in September 2010. The BA in Early Childhood Studies and Practice is delivered via distance learning and aims to meet the needs of practitioners in the childcare sector who wish to pursue further education and training in a flexible manner. The new cycle of the Bachelor of Arts will be of interest to students wishing to pursue subjects in English, Spanish, Sociological and Political Studies. Both programmes are available over four years on a part-time basis. Nuala McGuinn, NUI Galway Adult Education Development Officer, explains: "Students are awarded a Diploma in Arts after two years and a full Bachelor of Arts on completion of the full four-year cycle". For prospective students seeking career advancement in a high-tech industry such as medical devices and pharmaceuticals, a BSc or a Diploma in Science and Technology Studies commences in August 2010. This programme is delivered on a part-time basis using blended learning. Course coordinator Dr Niamh Nolan, said: "For students wishing to retrain or update their skills in response to Ireland's Smart Economy objectives, a number of one-year diplomas also are available in Medical Device Science and Environmental Sustainability. With modules available on a standalone basis, students may select individual or groups of modules at their own pace and accumulate credits over a number of years to attain a diploma or degree award providing ultimate flexibility for the learner". For students who wish to pursue a shorter term award, diplomas are available in Geology, Gemmology, Social Gerontology, Irish Music Studies and in a number of European Languages. All diplomas are two-years in duration with classes taking place on campus one evening per week. Modular learning options are also available on a range of courses including the MSc Software Engineering and Database Technologies, MSc Technology Management, BA Training and Education. This option allows students to take isolated modules to meet their own continuing professional development and upskilling requirements. Students interested in this route are advised to contact programme coordinators for advice on modules and options available to them. Applications for all programmes are accepted from April. For further details on the information evening or on any of the Adult and Continuing Education programmes contact 091-492062, 091-495845 or adulteducation@nuigalway.ie. Full details on all courses are available at www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation -Ends-

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

NUI Galway student Danny MacEachmharcaigh from Gortahork, Co. Donegal has scooped an oxygen.ie National Student Media Award. The award was for Television production through Irish: Léiriúcháin Teilifíse i nGaeilge - Faisnéis & Drámaíocht. Danny, a student of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, was presented the award for the production, "Beans". The 10th Anniversary Oxygen.ie National Student Media Awards took place in the Mansion House in Dublin. It was attended by over 600 students from across the country and a host of national media personalities, including MCs for the event, Kathryn Thomas and Dáithí Ó Sé, broadcaster George Hook, Paul Williams of The News of the World, Samantha Libreri of RTÉ and 2Fm's DJ Ruth Scott. Judges for the awards included highly respected professionals within the media industry. Micheál Ó Meallaigh, Senior Commissioning Editor TG4, was the judge of the category; Léiriúcháin Teilifíse i nGaeilge - Faisnéis & Drámaíocht. Winner Danny MacEachmharcaigh, said; "It was a bit of a shock getting the award, a bit unexpected, but it was fantastic and a great night". Aodh Ó Coileáin, lecturer in communications at Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, said, "For a small organisation like the Acadamh, it is a great honour to receive nine nominations and to win one award at the event. It is great to have Irish language radio, television and print journalism from among the entries from all major colleges on this Island". Judge Eoin McVey, Managing Editor of The Irish Times, said: "The Smedias has very high standards and competition is very tight. Without a doubt, being involved in college based media is a tremendous training ground, and The Smedias are particularly useful for prospective employers in singling out the journalistic talent that is produced by Ireland's universities. We attach great importance to the Awards and value our annual involvement hugely". The Oxygen.ie National Student Media Awards recognise the brightest up and coming media talent in the country. They are aimed at full time third level students involved in any type of media work - print, online, broadcasting or creative arts. The awards are judged and presented by high profile media leaders and sponsored by national newspapers, broadcasters and media websites. There are 33 individual categories to be assessed each year, offering students a competitive outlet in which to showcase their talent before entering the media industry. -Ends-

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway and COPE Galway Senior Support Services are co-hosting a participatory conference on Life Enhancement for Older People across the areas of participation and civic engagement, empowerment and advocacy. The event will take place on Tuesday, 4 May, from 10.30-3.30pm in the Galway Bay Hotel. The conference is one of the first of this type in Ireland, aimed specifically at older people. It will have a special focus on how research can involve older people and how it can be used to benefit them and their community. The event will provide older people with the opportunity to give their opinions and discuss participation in society, empowerment and advocacy. The purpose of the conference is to present existing research on life enhancement for older people in an accessible format. It will also demonstrate how research knowledge can enhance the voice of older people and to support their participation in advocacy and lobbying activities. Eithne Carey, a member of the ICSG Consultative Committee and Conference Chair, said: "Older people are frequently involved in research and, as an older person, I am interested in finding out how research is used for the benefit of older people. I am also keen to know how we can use research ourselves as a tool in any advocacy situation which might arise. I feel that this conference will give us an insight into these matters". Speaking about the conference, Áine Ní Léime, Research and Civic Engagement Co-ordinator with the ICSG, commented: "Research completed on older people is all too often seen as detached from real life or seen as only for those who work in universities. What we want to do is demonstrate the importance of research for older people and how they can be active in the research process, and how they can use research to lobby for their own rights and entitlements. This conference is about more than just being presented with information. It is about asking older people what they think is important and how they think they should be involved in their communities, in research and in advocating for their own needs". Speakers for the conference will include Professor Eamon O'Shea and Dr Cathy Bailey from the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, Dr Una Lynch, Changing Ageing Partnership, Queen's University Belfast and Anne Watson, Newtownabbey Senior Citizen's Forum. For further information about the conference contact COPE Galway at 091-778750 or fundraising@copegalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 22 April 2010

-MacJannet Prize Awarded to Exceptional University Civic Engagement Programs- The Talloires Network and the MacJannet Foundation have announced that NUI Galway is among the winners of the second annual MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. The first time in history that an Irish education institution has been recognised for work in the area of civic engagement. The CAIRDE (Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly-Directed by Engineers) service learning module received second place in the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. Through CAIRDE all third-year Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering students apply academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs. Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway on the announcement of the prize, said: "Service learning has become a hallmark of the student experience at NUI Galway and offers real learning in a community context. It brings theory to life while improving the lives of those living in often challenging situations. This international recognition for such commitment to civic engagement and service learning is a tribute to those involved". The MacJannet Prize, which is administered by the Talloires Network, received 66 nominations from 54 universities in 27 countries around the world. The prize recognises exceptional student civic engagement initiatives based in Talloires Network member universities around the world and contributes financially to their ongoing public service efforts. The Network is led by Presidents from over 200 universities throughout the world and builds a global movement of civically engaged and socially responsible higher education institutions. NUI Galway, through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), became an active member of the Talloires Network in 2008. Since that time Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator became a Talloires Network Civic Engagement Expert and is sharing the work of NUI Galway through new partnerships forged in Jordan and the Lebanon to mention a few. McIlrath said that she is "absolutely delighted that NUI Galway's pioneering efforts in service learning have been recognised by such an esteemed organisation, placing Ireland on the map in terms of excellence and quality in service learning". Established in 2003 by Professor Abhay Pandit, and co-directed by Dimitrios Zeugolis, CAIRDE became an embedded part of the undergraduate Mechanical, Biomedical, and Electrical Engineering programmes as part of a required module that previously had been solely lecture-based. The emphasis is on interacting directly with intended beneficiaries of projects. Students have developed prototypes and projects that have created lasting change in communities beyond campus. Students at the University have shared their knowledge with children from disadvantaged communities through an annual scrapheap challenge; developed fold-up mobile wheelchair ramps; self-locking medicine cabinet; collapsible walking aid; device to help wheelchair users manoeuvre a wheelie bin. Professor Pandit said: "This award signifies to us that student engineers have a role to play in society and this role brings many benefits. Without doubt it has enabled our students to see their role as global engineers from challenging and engaging local experiences. The MacJannet Prize will help us shine a spotlight on this experience". Since the inception of the CKI, 50% of NUI Galway's course offerings have created a service learning component. The McJannet Prize will help nurture and further develop this pedagogy across Ireland. Other winners of the MacJannet Prize included first place winner PuentesUC (Bridges UC) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Joint second-place winners with NUI Galway are the HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program at University of Mines and Technology in Ghana and third-place prizes were also awarded to five additional outstanding programs from four continents: Community Builders, Wartburg College (USA); Humanity in Focus, University of Hong Kong (China); Student Leaders for Service, Portland State University (USA); Ubunye, University of Cape Town (South Africa); Vidas Móviles, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia). The geographic diversity of the winning programs demonstrates the global scope of the movement to incorporate civic engagement within higher education. In all regions of the world, higher education institutions are responding to pressing social issues, and students in particular are championing the idea of global citizenship. The MacJannet Prize recognizes the winning programs as models for universities worldwide and will continue to encourage community engagement within higher education. -Ends-

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Researchers at NUI Galway have revealed that the volcanic plume from Iceland has been observed by specialised instrumentation installed at strategic boundary locations around Ireland. The volcanic plume was at the west coast at the NUI Galway Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station on Monday. Experts from the School of Physics and the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies, NUI Galway, have monitored the development of the plume. By Monday afternoon the plume was observed to be about 200m thick over Mace Head, at 3km altitude but invisible to the naked eye. Through the night, the plume mixed into the surface level and continues to be observed through the day. The plume will have diluted significantly and is not likely to significantly impact on air quality. These episodes are only evident by contrast to the clean air which would be normally experienced at Mace Head. The most detailed information on the plume has been provided by the NUI Galway, Global Atmospheric Watch supersite, at Mace Head, on the west Galway coastline. Commenting on the observations, Professor Colin O'Dowd said: "The plume and its influences are clearly evident from a number of observations via real-time highly sophisticated in-situ instruments and remote sensing atmospheric profilers. At Mace Head we use some of the most advanced atmospheric instrumentation anywhere in the world. These instruments are designed to detect the pollutants from a range of events including volcanic eruptions". This is not the first volcanic emissions from Iceland that has been observed at Mace Head. "We last year published a paper on emission plumes from a non-erupting volcano event which occurred on 26 June, 2007 and, even more recently (10 days before the current eruption), we could detect volcanic plumes; however, the regional scale impact of the current plume is in a different league. Nevertheless, our atmospheric sampling capabilities demonstrate their critical usefulness in monitoring and event assessment" said Professor O'Dowd. Such observations along with modelling of the plume and regular forecasting of meteorological conditions are important contributions to decision making during the current circumstances. Professor O'Dowd added: "Even with precipitation, the vast majority of the volcanic pollution would be deposited to the surface and should not represent an air quality risk for the currently detected plume. The air pollution levels are well below the EU air pollution exceedence levels and do not represent a public health risk". The data from the Mace Head site on the west coast are strategically important for monitoring trans-boundary pollution and events such the current volcanic eruption. The value of data from such sites is clear during such occasions and helps us in assessment of how such events may impact on air quality". -Ends-

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway recently hosted the University's inaugural conference on Service Learning entitled, 'Creating Spaces for Civic Engagement - University and Community Perspectives'. Keynote speakers at the conference included Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Chairman of Aer Arann and Adjunct Professor with JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne. The Conference highlighted the importance of civic engagement within the curriculum through Service Learning. Over 12 service learning modules were showcased from the perspective of students, community and academics. Pádraig O Céidigh, Chairman of Aer Arann, challenged the conference participants to think what is the world with them, rather than without them. He stressed that we are part of one big wheel and we can sit comfortably within the centre of the wheel or move to the edge and take some risks with meaningful outcomes. He encouraged NUI Galway to continue developing service learning and civic engagement opportunities for students so that we can create a culture of community innovation. Siobhan Lynch, NUI Galway Nursing graduate, spoke about her experience of undertaking service leaning in the Ranchod Aids Hospice for the dying in Zambia. She explained how this experienced had a pivotal effect on her career as she followed a nursing career in London in the largest HIV Unit in Europe at the Kings College Hospital. Service Learning is a teaching tool that enables students to connect their learning to community needs and issues vital to society though the guidance of academic staff. Students learn from engaging with communities by active participation and reflection. The ultimate goal of the CKI is to create 'graduate citizens' who will continue to engage with community throughout their personal and professional lives. At NUI Galway, to date over thirty degree programmes now incorporate a service learning experience whereby 800 students each year engage their learning in a community context. Lorraine McIlrath, Conference Convenor and CKI Coordinator, highlighted "that higher education is no longer the sacred cow and needs to be poked and provoked so that students have an opportunity to apply their learning in a real world problem solving context". McIlrath added: "The implementation of service learning modules at NUI Galway has proven that this model works for our students as they have realised academic opportunities where they can problem solves in a real world community context". Third-year students completing degree programmes in Electronic and Electronic and Computer Engineering recently held a public poster exhibition highlighting innovation technology based solutions, which they have developed to address some daily challenges experienced by various groups with disabilities. This work was completed as part of a service learning project module undertaken by all third-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering students with support from Galway community organisations such as Enable Ireland, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland and DearHear.ie. Second-year BSc Biomedical Science students recently completed a new CKI module where students worked on six separate projects with different community groups including local secondary schools and the African community in Galway. Projects included a feasibility study designed to assist second level students with the concept, research and development of science projects suitable for inclusion in the "Young Scientist of the Year" competition. Another group worked with students in the Jesuit secondary school in a collaborative production of a docudrama on drug awareness while another initiative was the design of an educational awareness programme for visiting friends and relatives of the African community in Galway with respect to malaria prevention. The School of Geography and the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway recently organised a poster exhibition to reflect on and support the activities of a range of national and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). The exhibition was the outcome of a successful collaboration between Postgraduate Geography, Third Year Engineering and Third Year Project Management students jointly developing critiques of a number of NGOs with a view to assisting them to view their activities and strategies from a range of geographical and engineering perspectives. These reviews have led to the production of a set of evaluation reports, which aim to assist NGOs to view their activities and strategies from a range of geographical and engineering perspectives. This multi-disciplinary module, entitled 'Managing Development', involves 19 students from the School of Geography and Archaeology, and 150 students from the College of Engineering and Informatics. -Ends-

Monday, 19 April 2010

Four NUI Galway students were among a special group of young people presented with the Gaisce Gold Award by President Mary McAleese, Patron of Gaisce – the President's Award, at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle recently. The NUI Galway awardees were Anne Browne from Lifford, Co. Donegal, Fiona Gillespie from Naas, Co. Kildare, Jennifer Jones from Middleton, Co. Cork and Aideen Óg MacInerney from Taylor's Hill, Galway City. This year marks the 25th Silver Anniversary of Gaisce which is the National Challenge Award for young adults. The President's Award is the highest Award in Ireland for young adults and coming from the President it is the most prestigious. The Awards were presented to 50 young people from all over Ireland in honour of their work in communities, sports and adventurous pursuits. Ann Browne is a fourth year Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy student at NUI Galway. Ann joined the Gaisce Society on her arrival at the University where she acted as treasurer and organised fundraising events to support the society trip to Estonia. This trip involved the society working with underprivileged locals to help with the re-generation of their local park as well as teaching at the local primary school. PhD student Fiona Gillespie volunteered with the Writers Society at NUI Galway where she read stories to the patients in the Children's Unit at the University Hospital Galway. The society also encouraged the children to write their own poems and stories. As a member of the Writers Society Fiona was involved in the construction of a 'Poetry Wall' for the Galway Arts Festival. She is also a member of the NUI Galway Juggling Society and is now an instructor at events such as Oxygen and Electric Picnic. Jennifer Jones, a Medical student at NUI Galway, achieved her Bronze and Silver awards as a pupil at Christ King Girls Secondary School in Cork. As a volunteer with the NUI Galway Suas Society, Jennifer worked with the Galway Refugee Support Group for her community involvement challenge. This challenge involved planning and preparing weekly classes and activities for the home work club. Jennifer has used this experience working as a teaching assistant in India. Jennifer completed her Gaisce challenge by taking part in a community building project in Estonia. NUI Galway Bachelor of Arts student Aideen Óg MacInerney studies History and joined An Cumann Stair as part of her community involvement. She has helped to organise the NUI Galway Arts Society Ball and developed the society's web page. Aideen is a 10k runner and added the physical recreation section to her Gaisce Gold challenge. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "I am delighted to congratulate Fiona, Anne, Aideen Óg and Jennifer on their Gasice Gold Awards. At NUI Galway we encourage all students to prioritise civic engagement and volunteerism, so it is especially heartening to see four of our students receive their Gaisce Gold Awards for a wonderful range of community, sporting and civic contributions". -Ends-

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ms Merry Zacharias, a PhD student at NUI Galway in the Discipline of Botany and Plant Science within the School of Natural Sciences will represent the University at the National Science Speak Competition to be held in Dublin on 27 April 2010. Science Speak is an annual inter-varsity science communication event involving all seven Irish universities where postgraduate research students are challenged to present their research work to the general public in non-expert language. The talk on 'Marine Algae: the missing link to cloud formation? Investigations on the emission and exudation of organic compounds' won the local heat of the competition. Merry's PhD focuses on the responses of marine algae (seaweeds and microscopic phytoplankton) to environmental stresses and the key role algae play in climate change research. Algae release organic compounds into the air and seawater which can make a significant contribution to the formation of clouds over the oceans and thereby affect our climate. Merry is conducting her PhD in the Algal Research Group in Botany and Plant Science under the supervision of algal expert Dr Dagmar Stengel. Her research is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a larger interdisciplinary project on climate change entitled 'Exchange at the air-sea interface: air quality and climate impacts' at the Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change at NUI Galway. Before starting her PhD in Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, Merry completed an MSc in Environmental Science at Bharathidasan University in India and worked as a project assistant at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India). She was also employed as a research assistant at the Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway. Merry Zacharias is one of 20 PhD students currently conducting research within the Discipline of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway. ENDS

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

NUI Galway will hold its second Spring Open Day for students considering applying or those who have already applied to the University, and for their parents or guardians. The event will be held on Saturday, 24 April, from 10am to 3pm at the NUI Galway Campus. The inaugural Spring Open Day took place last year and over 3,000 students and their parents registered on the day. Lecturers and students will be on hand to provide information on a full range of programmes offered, as well as practical issues such as university accommodation, scholarships, and general support services available to students. Student ambassadors will also be on hand to answer all queries about student life at NUI Galway. A programme of taster sessions will also run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight in to university life including demos with the latest gadgets including X-boxes and Lego Mindstorm kits to interactive Science Experience workshops. Also highly recommended is the 'Student Life Talk' and the 'Focus on your Career Talk'. Caroline Loughnane, organiser of NUI Galway's Spring Open Day, emphasised the crucial role played by parents in helping students choose what to study at third-level: "Choosing a university is one of the most important decisions a student will ever make. Parents play a key role in supporting students as they take this important next step. Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents to ensure they have access to all of the information they need to support sons and daughters through their university career. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you". The range of courses available at NUI Galway is vast and varied and many are unique to the University. A new B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering started last September, in response to the identification of Ireland's future energy needs as a national priority. The four-year honours degree will produce professional accredited engineers, qualified to drive the emerging energy related industries. Engineering Innovation - Electronic is another new Engineering degree and provides graduates with specialised multi-disciplinary skills to start their own business, centered on the development of innovative, niche, market-led, electronic products. The Sports and Exercise Engineering degree is in its third year of accepting applicants and is the first course of its kind available in Ireland. With a radical departure from traditional Arts degrees, BA CONNECT offers eight four-year degrees designed to increase the employability of graduates by developing distinctive skills and creating connections with life beyond the campus. A new BA CONNECT degree in Latin American Studies is being offered for 2010. The traditional Commerce degree has also undergone a make over with an exciting new module on Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise introduced. Led by Aer Arann entrepreneur, Pádraig O'Céidigh, 22 local business and community leaders mentor Commerce students in business and enterprise skills, with the aim of developing a creative and innovative approach to business. 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. Podiatry is a healthcare profession that specialises in the management of disease and disorder of the foot, angle, knee, leg and hip. The only such course available in the Republic of Ireland, Podiatry as a career can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling and can give immense job satisfaction. Tours of the campus on the day will give an insight in to university life, and the top class facilities offered at NUI Galway, including the € 22 million Sports Complex. The Centre's facilities include an international standard swimming pool, a national league basketball arena, 100 piece cardiovascular gym, an elite training gym for professional athletes and a climbing wall. Tours of student accommodation will also be available to visitors on the day. If you would like to learn more, visitors can book a place at the Open Day and receive a programme in advance by logging on to www.nuigalway.ie/opendays. For further information contact 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

NUI Galway men's basketball team won their first intervarsity in twenty three years on Sunday with a dramatic last minute win over University of UIster Jordanstown (UUJ) in front of a packed house in the Kingfisher gym at the University. The NUI Galway side cruised to the semi-final with easy wins over UCC, CIT and DIT respectively, leaving them with a highly anticipated semi-final match-up against perennial powerhouses UCD, winners of three of the last four titles. It was in that contest that the home side truly emerged as legitimate contenders, winning with almost thirty points to spare and sending a warning to the clear favourites UUJ who emerged from their semi against DCU. The two teams served up a true classic in the final with NUI Galway shocking the odds and pulling off a memorable victory 61 points to 60, much to the delight of a raucous home support. With twenty eight seconds to go, Dylan Cunningham became the hero, hitting the all important free-throw to put the tribesmen ahead for the first time in the game. "To win it here in Galway is absolutely amazing, especially the way we did it. To be sixteen points down in the fourth quarter and then go on a run like we did, with the crowd getting behind us like that was just incredible" said team captain Cían Nihill. "It's great to be rewarded for all the hard work that has gone on this year, from the players, coaches and the sports staff at NUI Galway. It sounds a little stereotypical, but I really think we simply wanted it more than any other team down here". The win is a reflection of the current strength of Galway basketball with the panel for the final made up entirely of local players. Moycullen player James Loughnane won the final Most Valuable Player (MVP) with an inspirational 22 points. He also secured the overall tournament MVP, joining Garnett Griffin and Cían Nihill on the tournament All-Star team. Team Captain Cian Nihill also gave a special mention to the coach Puff Summers, who managed his team perfectly all weekend. "The UUJ outfit was comprised of five recruited post-graduates, including a professional American collegiate star in Dave Neal and Summers' game plan and rotation managed to neutralise their offence to a near halt. Those shrewd rotations meant that NUI Galway had the necessary reserves to hold UUJ scoreless in the last five minutes which gave them the opportunity to stage the miraculous comeback". -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

- Minister Announces Funding Scheme for Youth Cafés and Launches Youth Café Guide and Toolkit - Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD has announced details of a youth café funding scheme of €1.5m from dormant accounts funds and launched two publications: Youth Cafés in Ireland: A best practice guide and Youth Café Toolkit: how to set up and run a youth café in Ireland. The research on Youth Cafés in Ireland was commissioned by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) on behalf of the National Children's Advisory Council and conducted by the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. The aim of the research and publications is to contribute to the formation of a solid policy foundation for the support and development of the youth café model of intervention with children and young people in Ireland. Speaking at the launch Cormac Forkan of the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway and a co-author of both publications, said: "These two documents should assist those at various stages of involvement with youth cafés. The purpose of the work was to contribute to the formation of solid policy foundation for the support and development of youth cafés and to provide practical assistance to those who are running existing facilities or about to set up a new ones. Many common issues of concern can be identified from the shared experiences of all those who have already moved forward which can assist those who are about to become involved. The Child and Family Research Centre is indebted to the many young people nationwide who assisted us in our work". Speaking at the launch, Minister Andrews said: "In the National Recreation Policy for Young People, published by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2007, youth cafés were named as a key need by and for young people. The Government is now committed to the expanded provision of youth cafés on a phased basis around the country and to the support where possible of existing cafés". Minister Andrews added: "These developments respond to the repeated emphasis young people have placed on the need for such recreational spaces. They recognise the achievements already made by many groups in establishing youth cafés around the country and ensure a solid policy foundation for youth café development and the expansion of safe quality recreational spaces for young people". "I am delighted to announce this scheme and publish these practical guides, which will help young people and local communities in setting up and running youth cafés throughout the country,' continued the Minister. The Minister noted that many organisations have an interest and involvement in youth cafés and there are approximately 30 such cafés already up and running. 'Existing youth cafés have strong common features in that they provide a dedicated, quality meeting place which is determined by young people, for young people, in partnership with adults in the community. The guidance provided in the evidenced-based Best Practice Guide and Toolkit promotes and supports the importance of these features," added Minister Andrews. The Minister noted that the scheme will consist of a total of €1.5m dormant accounts funding to be allocated to both new and existing facilities. "The majority of the funding will be awarded to the setting up of new youth cafés, with approximately 22% of the funds going to the support of existing youth cafés that wish to improve or expand existing services or facilities," continued the Minister. Vicky Wall, a teenager who was a regular user of a youth café said: 'Squashy Couch to me was not just a youth café but was a great part of being a teen. Being able to just go into the café, chill out, have a good chat with friends and staff and have a cuppa tea was a huge escape from school and study. The events were always top class and the services were a great help. Being a volunteer now means I can give my time back to the café and help keep it going for teens today' concluded Vicky. -Ends-

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The 2010 Debating Science Issues (DSI) All- Ireland Finals will be held Thursday, 15 April, at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students representing the provinces of Connaught, Ulster, Leinster and Munster. The schools in the Final are St. Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, South Belfast, St. Mary's College, Rathmines, Co. Dublin, and Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork. St. Attracta's Community School successfully competed in three provincial rounds to reach the final. The school's speakers, John Kelly and Erin Fahey, were aided in their research by the rest of their Transition Year class and coached by science teacher, Ciara O'Shea. Ciara was a Secondary Teacher Assistant Researcher (STAR) teacher at REMEDI. The STARs initiative of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) gives secondary teachers the opportunity to conduct research with an SFI funded research team. The Connacht runners-up were from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. Fifty-six schools were involved the 2010 DSI competition, which encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Competition organiser and Outreach Officer at REMEDI, Danielle Nicholson, remarked: "The initial DSI workshops provided an open and impartial environment and challenged the students to think deeply about the ethical impact of biomedical research. This debate series reflects the interest and insight among 15-18 year olds in the field of biomedicine". This schools' biomedical science debate competition, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust for three consecutive years, was initiated by NUI Galway's REMEDI based on the success of local debates centring on stem cell research. As research, medical and science centres in Ireland research a wide range of topical sciences with associated ethical considerations, the DSI competition is the ideal way to educate young people on what is happening in their local university laboratories. Aside from stem cells, other topics debated include nanotechnology, genetically-modified (GM) foods, vaccinations, and health and self-testing kits. Other collaborators for the competition include the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), CLARITY, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Tyndall National Institute, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, W5 and Queen's University Belfast. Provincial trophies and prizes are sponsored by the College of Science at NUI Galway and Boston Scientific. The 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. For further information on the Debating Science Issues competition visit www.remedi.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 29 March 2010

ALIVE Certificate Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student's Commitment to Community A record breaking 880 NUI Galway Student volunteers have been awarded the ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering in a ceremony at the University. President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne and Galway City Mayor, Declan McDonnell attended the event, as well as community members, students and NUI Galway staff. Over 880 students received the ALIVE Certificate for Volunteering, congratulating each of them for their time spent volunteering within NUI Galway, the wider Galway community, and with national and international non-governmental organisations. Students have volunteered on campus within societies, clubs and student mentoring, and off campus with local youth and homework clubs, Ability West, the Gaf Youth Café, Amnesty International and Childline to name a few. "We are most grateful for diligent NUI Galway student volunteers who are always ready to help us out. They are fantastic," said Mary McGrath, Mercy Secondary School Homework Club coordinator. ALIVE - A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience – was established by the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that NUI Galway students make to Galway by volunteering. To date over 2500 students have been recognised for their volunteering commitment within a variety of pathways, enabling NUI Galway to become a role model in promoting skills related to democratic participation and civic engagement amongst the student body. "Student volunteering has grown significantly each year since NUI Galway established a dedicated innovative volunteer programme to enable and encourage student and community engagement. We now have over 1300 students volunteering annually in a variety of organisations and organised events, most notable was the tremendous voluntary effort for the Volvo Ocean Race, Galway Stopover. "The ALIVE Certificate Awards Ceremony is an important opportunity to recognise students for their volunteering, instilling in them a sense civic responsibility, while acknowledging NUI Galway's community partners" said Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway. Special guests at the ceremony this year were 6th Class Galway Educate Together. The pupils attended a series of Computer Skills Workshops hosted by student volunteers in the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics. "As a final year student facilitating the workshops for the pupils has been a great opportunity to enhance my experience, while the pupils learn important skills like creating presentations and posters," said student volunteer Owen Barrett, "We had loads of fun in the classroom as the facilities are interactive and I think the young people enjoyed meeting the volunteers". -Ends-

Friday, 26 March 2010

The NUI Galway 2010 Sports Awards were announced and presented at a special ceremony last night (Thursday, 25 March) in the Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway. It was a successful year for NUI Galway sport that included many International caps for students, a Fitzgibbon Cup win in Hurling and a narrow loss in the Collingwood Cup for Soccer. The individual award winners include Tipperary Hurler, Seamus Hennessy, Irish Women's Rugby back row from Mayo, Carol Staunton and Galway Footballer Gareth Bradshaw. Mary O Riordan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: "Each year NUI Galway recognises the outstanding contribution of individual student athletes across many diverse sporting disciplines for their achievements in sport. This year's awards ceremony has been extended to reflect not only the achievements of individual students but also the contribution of the sports clubs to campus life and the importance of participation by all students in sport and recreation". Sports Connect, a leadership programme which culminated in a partnership between Sports Clubs, NUI Galway Alumni Office, the Student Volunteering programme (ALIVE), the Career Development Service and Student Services, was also recognised at the ceremony. Sandra Butler chair of the Alumni Board presented the Award to the winners the Ladies Hockey Club. The guest of honour for the evening was the recently retired Head of Sport at NUI Galway, Tony Regan. Tony instigated the sports awards in 1983 and it was appropriate that his enormous contribution, dedication and enthusiasm for more than 30 years be recognised by the University. A former Roscommon footballer he has also been a leading coach and trainer, who supported the development of sport in NUI Galway as well as numerous successful sporting careers. In spite of his retirement Tony continues to provide support to sport in NUI Galway. He was a selector for the NUI Galway Hurling team that ended its 30 year wait for a Fitzgibbon Cup win and who won the team award in this years NUI Galway Sports awards. The Club Captains Award recognises the enormous contribution of individual students to the successful running of sports clubs. The first recipients of these awards were David O'Reilly-Healy, a third year Commerce student as Snow Sports Captain and Jose Ramirez who is a second year Arts student and Captain of the Muay Thai Club. Most Improved Sports Club Recognition was awarded to the Badminton Club who raised the profile of their club through increasing student numbers, evaluating training methods and providing that key element of fun in all their training sessions. Sporting life on campus is not just for the Elite performers and this is reflected in the Outstanding Recreational Participation Award which was awarded to Frank Quinn, a second year Science student for his outstanding contribution to the development of Futsal. The Outstanding Recreational Participation Team Award was received by a team of postgraduate students known as the Red Devils captained by Neil Mc Donald. This year's Sports Awards recipients are: Archery: Joe Gill, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Athletics: Eilish Fitzpatrick, Newmarket, Co. Cork (First year Biomedical Physics) Boxing: Colin Whitla, Barna, Co.Galway (First year Engineering) Camogie: Attracta McPeake, Lavey Co. Derry (Third year Speech and Language Therapy) Hurling: Seamus Hennessy, Cloughjordan Co. Tipperary (Second year Science) Ladies Gaelic Football: Sarah Conneely, Dunmore, Co. Galway (First year Arts) Men's Gaelic Football: Gareth Bradshaw, Moycullen Co.Galway (Third year Arts) Mountaineering: Louis Mulloy, Westport, Co. Mayo (First year Engineering) Men's Soccer: Martin Conneely, Casla Co. Galway Ladies Rugby: Carol Staunton, Westport, Co. Mayo (Postgraduate Arts) Surfing: Ollie Flaherty, Lahinch, Co. Clare (Second year Earth and Ocean Sciences) Windsurfing: Katie McAnena, Salthill, Galway (Medicine) Team Award: Senior Hurling Fitzgibbon Cup Team. Team Award: Sailing Participation Award: Frank Quinn Club Captains Award: David O Reilly Healy Snow Sports, Foxrock, Dublin (Third Commerce) Club Captains Award: Jose Ramirez Muay Thai, Scariff, Co.Clare Most Improved Club Award: Badminton Club ENDS

Friday, 26 March 2010

Oxford University Press has published The International Criminal Court: a Commentary on the Rome Statute, written by Professor William Schabas, OC MRIA, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The book consists of an article-by-article review of the Rome Statute, taking into account the case law of the Court up to 1 July 2009, including academic writing on the subject in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Professor Schabas is one of the world's leading experts on the International Criminal Court and has been studying the Court since the early 1990s. He has participated in several of the Preparatory Committee sessions, as well as the Rome Conference in 1998. Professor Schabas is also the author of the best-selling Introduction to the International Criminal Court published by Cambridge University Press and soon to be released in its fourth edition. The new Commentary is a larger (1,350 pages) book aimed to be used mainly as a reference book by academics and professionals in the field. As the Court moves into its second decade of existence, both books will be important resources to assist the Court. Professor Schabas teaches at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, which has become internationally recognised in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. This has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed MA programmes and doctoral research. Reflecting the growing interest in this field, the University has also now developed a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights. The book will be launched on Tuesday, 30 March at 6pm at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. Ends

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The presentation of the third annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award is to take place on Thursday, 25 March at 11.30am in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The 2010 winner of the award is Eoin Ryan from Athlone, Co. Westmeath who achieved the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA Journalism. The presentation will be made by journalist, author and sportsman, Christy O' Connor. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna's achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The inaugural presentation of the award was made by Gay Byrne in 2008 and by Noirin Hegarty, Editor of the Sunday Tribune in 2009. Christy O' Connor is a journalism graduate of NUI Galway, a former inter county hurler with Clare and sports writer with The Sunday Times. He is also author of the critically acclaimed book on hurling Last Man Standing which was runner up in the Irish Sports Book of the Year Award 2005. He is currently working on a new book due out in October. The emphasis on sport at the presentation of the memorial award this year will highlight Donna's interest in sport as a Gaelic footballer for both NUI Galway and her home county of Fermanagh. Eoin Ryan graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours and now edits Ireland's most popular student website www.oxygen.ie, The Spanner satirical magazine, and also works as a freelance GAA reporter for national newspapers. Eoin also achieved first class honours in his final project entitled "The Birth of the GAA and its Founding Fathers". ENDS

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dr Alan Colman, a Principal Investigator in the A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology and Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Fundamental Stem Cell Biology with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. Neurodegenerative and premature aging disease comprise a major focus of Dr Colman's work. His research involves developing induced pluripotent stem-cell-based laboratory models of human central nervous system diseases. Induced pluripotent stem cells are derived from adult fibroblasts and can be induced to have the ability to become any cell type in the body. Stem cells are a focus of interest because of their predicted potential to treat diseases by cell transplantation therapy. They are useful as models to study development and disease, as stem cells carrying or induced to carry defective genes can be investigated in vitro to understand disease characteristics. Modified cell lines can also be employed for drug screening towards developing novel pharmacological therapies. As Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway Dr Colman's laboratory will train researchers at REMEDI to make human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) using as the starting material skin biopsy material or other tissues (e.g. blood) that are available from human patients and volunteers. These iPS cells share many, if not all, the properties of human embryonic stem cells but are less controversial. iPS can be made from patients suffering from most congenital diseases and can be exploited both to learn more about the disease process as well as providing a virtually inexhaustible source of desired cell types for drug screening and discovery. Professor Tim O'Brien, Director of REMEDI states that the appointment of Alan Colman to an Adjunct Professorship at NUI Galway is very important for the strategic development of stem cell biology in Ireland. "Dr Coleman has substantial experience in iPS technology and the use of patient derived stem cells to understand human disease pathophysiology. This will lead to a greater understanding of disease and thus identification of new therapies. In addition iPS technology can be used for drug screening and in the future in donor specific cell transplantation. We are delighted that Alan has agreed to take up this position and look forward to collaborative work with the Singapore Stem Cell Institute". A graduate of Oxford University with a degree in Biochemistry, Colman earned a PhD under John Gurdon, a pioneer of the field of nuclear transfer, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. Dr Colman held a series of academic appointments in Oxford and Warwick Universities before becoming a Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Birmingham. The focus of his academic career was the area of eukaryotic protein secretion, with a particular emphasis on the use of frog oocytes and eggs as in vivo test tubes. In 1987 he was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. From 1987 until March 2002, he was research director of the company PPL Therapeutics in Edinburgh, UK. This company specialised in the production of transgenic livestock that produced human therapeutic proteins in their milk. PPL attracted considerable media attention because of its participation, together with the Roslin Institute, in the technique of somatic nuclear transfer. This work led to Dolly, the world s first sheep cloned from an adult somatic cell in1996. REMEDI researchers will be trained in Dr Colman's lab in Singapore where the technology is established. It is planned that researchers once trained will return to Ireland and via national collaborations will transfer the technology to Irish researchers. ENDS

Monday, 22 March 2010

Renowned author and academic, Professor Simon Chesterman, Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme will open a conference co-hosted by The Irish Centre for Human Rights and The Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. The event, entitled Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Humanitarian Law will take place from 9-10 April in the IT Building, NUI Galway. The conference aims to explore the extent to which International Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law and Criminal Law are adequate to deal with the role of businesses operating in conflict zones, given existing gaps in the law, evolving norms, and attempts in various fora to hold private sector actors accountable. Delegates will be addressed by a diverse range of prominent speakers, scholars and practitioners including: Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Professor Doug Cassel of The University of Notre Dame; Andrew Clapham, Director of The Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; Tricia Feeney, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID); Seema Joshi, GlobalWitness; Dr Olga Martin Ortega, University of East London; Doug Brooks, President of The International Peace Operations Association (IPOA); Mark Taylor, FaFO; Professor Larissa van den Herik, Leiden University; and Professor Celia Wells, University of Bristol. Commenting on the upcoming event, Professor William Schabas, OC MRIA, and Director of the NUI Galway Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: "Businesses play an important but somewhat neglected role in human rights violations, and it is essential that new strategies be found to address the relevant issues. We are proud to host this conference, which brings together specialists who are at the cutting edge of research in this important field.' The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway supports the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights conducts and promotes scientific research, organises training courses and expert meetings and provides legal expertise in the branches of international law relating to situations of armed conflicts. Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Humanitarian Law will be of interest to human rights practitioners, academics, legal professionals and those working in the private sector. For further information, contact the conference organiser, Alexis Bushnell in the Irish Centre for Human Rights at a.bushnell1@nuigalway.ie. To reserve a place please register online at www.conference.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will deliver her first public address in Ireland since becoming European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, at NUI Galway tomorrow (Friday, 19 March). Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will speak about the role that research, innovation and science policies are playing in supporting Irish and European Economic recovery. An invited audience of over 250 guests is expected, which will include University researchers, academics, students and alumni. According to Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn: "The European Union is playing a central role in supporting Irish economic recovery in a variety of different ways. The political portfolio of Research, Innovation and Science, which is my direct political responsibility within the European Commission, is implementing a number of initiatives which are positively developing the European and Irish economy". A native of Galway, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is a former Member of the Governing authority of NUI Galway. Speaking ahead of the event, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, praised the Commissioner's pioneering spirit: "Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is the European Commission's first Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Her work is central to the economic and social success of the José Manuel Barroso's commission's Strategy for Europe. From her native Carna, at the western edge of Europe, she is now operating at the very centre of Europe. I am certain that the pioneering spirit she has demonstrated throughout her political life will help chart the course ahead". This event will be streamed live and will be available to download as a podcast from www.nuigalway.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

NUI Galway's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) will host an 'Interactive Showcase for Industry' on Wednesday, 24 March. This afternoon event is for companies who want to learn about new R&D opportunities, technology development, testing services and partner initiatives in biomedical technology. At the event, potential industrial collaborators can find out about NUI Galway's key technologies, capabilities and facilities, and the benefits that can be gained from partnership with the NCBES. Many of the successful existing partnerships will also be highlighted and talks by current industrial collaborators will feature Helen Ryan, CEO of Creganna Tactx Medical. Speakers from the NCBES will present information on key topics of interest and outline the ongoing research and opportunities that are relevant to industry and commercial application. These NUI Galway speakers will include: Professor Frank Barry, Director of NCBES; Professor Larry Egan, Acting Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway; Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials; and Professor Lokesh Joshi, Director of the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster. Talks will be followed by guided tours of the facility where delegates will find out about NCBES's current research programmes and testing platforms, services and expertise in: Imaging Technology; Mechanical Testing; Materials Analysis; Flow Cytometry; GMP Manufacturing; and Glycobiology. "NUI Galway has a strong commitment to the development of partnerships and collaborative research initiatives with industry", comments Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES. "Through this event we hope to showcase new opportunities for enhanced cooperation and innovation". Galway is home to the largest medical device cluster in Europe, and the NCBES is Ireland's premier biomedical science and engineering research centre. As an interdisciplinary centre of research excellence, the NCBES brings together scientists, engineers, information technologists and clinicians in a team-based, problem-centred approach to research. The Centre's research is focused on innovative solutions to current medical challenges in cardiovascular disease, orthopaedics, infectious disease, and cancer. -ends-

Monday, 15 March 2010

Shannon Region to become Major Green Energy Hub with the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley Initiative The University of Limerick (UL), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway), Shannon Development, and Silicon Valley's Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) today announced the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley, a major renewable energy hub in Ireland's Shannon Region. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will create a national hub for Energy research and development, industry and commerce with a view to attracting international investment and generating high-end employment in the region. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the four partners that commits them to delivering a hub of excellence and innovation that will harness the natural resources of the region, as well as its highly skilled workforce and access to top class research and development expertise at UL and NUI Galway. Speaking at the launch of Shannon Energy Valley, which took place at the ITLG conference in Silicon Valley, California, today Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Vice-President Research UL said that the Shannon Energy Valley is the first step on the road towards energy self-sufficiency for Ireland while generating much needed employment opportunities and reducing costs for industry. "The European Wind Energy Association has estimated that the spending on importing energy in Ireland works out at almost €1,000 per annum for every man, woman and child. Ireland is surrounded by natural resources in the form of wind, wave, tidal, solar and local geothermal energy. This is a major opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in energy research while also maximising our resources and in turn creating sustainable green collar jobs." NUI Galway Vice-President for Research, Professor Terry Smith, said: "The Shannon Energy Valley concept seeks to provide a big-picture coherent ecosystem relating to energy. The main research partners, NUI Galway and UL, will combine their research efforts in a coherent way from the outset and will provide a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes right up to PhD level to provide the necessary human capital for the project. NUI Galway introduced a New B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering, integrating energy sources, energy conversion and energy utilisation in 2009, while UL has also commenced its BSc. Energy programme with the first cohort of students due to graduate in 2013. Both Universities have been to the forefront in Technology Transfer in recent years. This formal partnership, however, in the development of an Irish energy hub, in association with the other two partners, is the first major initiative in regional development to flow directly from the Strategic Alliance between NUI Galway and UL launched by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, on 18 February last , a groundbreaking strategy of combining the resources of the two Universities over a wide range of their operations in the interests of both the development of the region and their students". Speaking at the ITLG event, Dr Vincent Cunnane, Chief Executive, Shannon Development, said "The Shannon Energy Valley project brings together public and private sector organisations in a unique initiative that will lead to new opportunities and developments in the energy sector. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will support the development, manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of wind, wave/tidal, biomass, solar, geothermal generation facilities and related infrastructure. A key component of the Shannon Energy Valley will be the development of an Energy and Environment Park which will host demonstrator projects in the area of renewable energy and will serve to showcase projects to ensure public awareness and community engagement." Mr John Hartnett, President and Founder of ITLG, and President and CEO of Silicon Valley based Solar Energy Company, G24 Innovations, said: "This initiative with the partners University of Limerick, NUI Galway, Shannon Development and the ITLG puts Ireland in a optimum position to become a leading innovator and developer of clean technologies". The MOU sets out the objectives of the four-way alliance between the Irish and US bodies as: The creation of a world-class cluster of sustainable energy-related activity to support job creation and business start-ups through national and international investment Reduction of Ireland's carbon footprint, energy generation costs, dependency on fossil fuel imports and helping the country meet environmental and emissions commitments Enhancing Ireland's capability in the sustainable energy sector by attracting world-class R&D energy expertise, realising its commercial benefits and enabling further, advanced R&D activities Growing Ireland's smart economy by developing additional education and training capability at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in specialised energy disciplines. Further information on Shannon Energy Valley at www.shannonenergyvalley.com. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2010

NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy and School of Physics has announced details of the final talk in their series of public Astronomy lectures. This free event will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 24 March, in the McMunn Theatre, Arts and Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, entitled 'The Very High Energy Universe', will be delivered by Dr Mark Lang, Head of the School of Physics at NUI Galway. Dr Lang will describe the latest results from two special telescopes, the VERITAS ground-based telescopes and the NASA s Fermi space telescope. VERITAS is an array of ground-based gamma-ray telescopes located in Southern Arizona. The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is a member of the international collaboration which operates the telescopes. NUI Galway post-graduate students have travelled to Arizona to help build the array and to use it to carry out observations. NASA s Fermi telescope is a space based telescope which can search the entire sky for sources of high energy gamma-radiation every three hours. It detects radiation which has slightly lower energies than that seen by VERITAS. Commenting on the lecture, Dr Lang said: "In the 'ordinary' Universe, stars shine because they are warm and we can see visible light from them with our eyes or through optical telescopes. But there is also an 'extraordinary' Universe in which exotic astrophysical objects produce very high energy radiation that we can detect using special telescopes. Sources include super-massive black holes at the centres of distant galaxies and the remains of nearby massive stars which have exploded as supernovae". The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is part of the Centre for Astronomy and currently consists of Dr Gary Gillanders and Dr Mark Lang and postgraduate researchers Andrea Cesarini, Fr Michael Connolly and Dawn McMorrow. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Electronic and Computer Engineering students win the XNA Ireland Challenge Colleges Cup Two second-year Electronic and Computer Engineering students from NUI Galway have won the annual XNA Ireland Challenges College Cup, which was held as part of the Games Fleadh event in Tipperary Institute yesterday (10 March, 2010). XNA is a games development platform from Microsoft, who were co-sponsors of the competition. The NUI Galway students, Finn Krewer from Tubber, Co. Clare, and Padraig Meaney from Cloghan, Co. Offaly, won the competition with their updated version of Pac-Man, the thirty-year old classic video game where the object is to gobble as many dots as possible while avoiding the roaming ghosts. Their game was entitled 'Pac-Man Unleashed', and featured four variants on the classic game including a multiplayer version, a limited visibility version, a 'ghost infection' version, and a combination of all three. The winning entry was commended by the judges - representatives from colleges and Irish-based gaming companies including PopCap, Jolt and DemonWare - for "having everything" in terms of coding, design, game play and music. As well as winning the overall award, the students won the individual award for 'Best in Game Play'. According to John Breslin, lecturer in the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway: "Ireland has a thriving computer games industry, as exemplified by Irish success stories such as Havok, DemonWare and Jolt Online. There are also various international gaming companies in Ireland such as PopCap Games and Gala Networks. This industry has huge growth potential in Ireland, and talented students such as Finn and Padraig bode well for its future success". Finn and Padraig are both enrolled in the Electronic and Computer Engineering degree course, a collaborative programme from the Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Information Technology disciplines at NUI Galway. Finn is a past student of Gort Community School, Co. Galway, and Padraig is a past student of Banagher College/Coláiste na Sionna, Co. Offaly. For more information, please visit http://www.eee.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Third Level Placements Awarded to Future Business Leaders Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD has awarded third level summer placements to the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The individual winner is Katie O Neill from Dominican College, Wicklow, Hannah Hayes, and Zubair Masod, Julianne O Connell, Seán Ó Rua, Andrej Pacher and Ben Rodgers of the DNA Tracer group won the overall group award. All participating students have received a certificate of achievement. The third level summer placements are organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprise of a one week placement divided between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick and a weeklong placement with University College Dublin. The placements are scheduled for June 2010. The students will be accommodated on campus and given the opportunity to work with some of Ireland's leading scientists and researchers. While the programmes will be tailored to meet their individual interests, they will also be exposed to all branches of science. In addition, the universities have extensive social programmes for the winners. Dr Mark Foley, Vice-Dean for Communication and Strategy in the College of Science and Lecturer in the School of Physics at NUI Galway, remarks: "We were delighted to hear that our joint NUI Galway- UL bid to host the BT Young Scientist winners was successful. This award will allow the winners to participate in our Science Experience Workshop from the 24– 25 June 2010. The students will have a unique opportunity to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across Ireland. This engaging programme will allow students to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students will participate in hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Throughout the programme, attendees will have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines". 2010 was the inaugural year of this pioneering business mentoring programme by BT, which culminated in 53 students presenting real-world case studies to a panel of judges from organisations including Microsoft, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland. Over the course of the programme the participating students have been trained by technology industry executive, Wendy Kennedy, and mentored by leading Irish business executives from organisations such as Bank of Ireland, Bombardier Aerospace, Bord Gáis Éireann, IBM and Intel. Chris Clark, CEO, BT, "We are proud to have worked with such inspirational and progressive leaders in designing and executing the BT Business of Science & Technology programme. Through close collaboration with the mentors and our partners we have produced a programme which, I am confident, has ignited entrepreneurial thinking in our younger generation. " "I would like to thank all the mentors, judges, facilitators, BT volunteers and trainer for making the programme such a great success. I would also like to thank Minister Batt O'Keefe and the HEA for providing these fantastic third level summer placements. I feel the students will benefit greatly from this experience and hopefully inspire their peers to take part in the 2011 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition," he added. The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, said: "The BT Business of Science & Technology programme will inspire students' creativity in business and reinforce the link between education and entrepreneurship. "The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition promotes scientific and technological endeavour among our young people. So it is fitting that, in an age of greater Government-backed collaboration between higher education institutions, BT, the Higher Education Authority and the universities provide experience and practical avenues for our young leaders in science and technology to develop their ideas. "I am pleased this year to be in a position to provide placements in higher education institutions because enhanced interaction between business, higher education and second-level education is essential in meeting the ambitious economic and social development goals that we now set ourselves." Michael Kelly, Chairman, HEA, said "I would like to acknowledge the great contribution that BT has made to these students' education. We feel our strategic objectives, in terms of the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools, are very much aligned with BT and we hope we can continue to work with BT to turn these objectives into reality. The third level summer placements have been designed to maximize the learning experience of these students and following this fantastic opportunity we feel that the winners will be well equipped to enter the business world.' The BT Business of Science & Technology is an additional dimension to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. 53 students from 13 counties were invited to take part in the programme as they were the winners of the intermediate and senior categories, the overall top four performers and the winners of merit. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is open for entries from September 2010. For more information please visit http://www.btyoungscientist.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Recovery boost as Tánaiste announces €56 million research investment for 180 companies in nine transformational Competence Centres Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan T.D. today (10 March, 2010), provided a welcome €56m boost to companies determined to succeed and grow in the Smart Economy. Conceived by her Department as part of the Government's Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Competence Centres are being delivered jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Clusters of companies will work together to overcome common research challenges and drive opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs. The Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining will be based in NUI Galway, and co-hosted by UL and UCD. Bioenergy is energy that is latent in plants and the Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining researchers will focus on ways to convert that energy into useful forms like heat, energy and fuels for transport. According to John Travers of AER Ltd., one of the Irish SMEs involved in the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Centre: "The value of international markets for bioenergy and biorefining is €40 billion and that's growing at 12% each year". There is an opportunity for Ireland to leverage its natural resources as according to Travers, we have some of the highest yields of grass in the world and we have prolific growth of algae and both of these are sustainable raw materials for producing the next generation of bioenergy and biorefining products. Launching the Competence Centres the Tánaiste said: "Today we are marking a departure from the traditional approach to R&D in favour of a collaborative system where companies that might ordinarily be competitors agree to share knowledge, risk and the rewards of pooling their research resources. The Competence Centres initiative offers Ireland the opportunity to excel in nine key sectors. These industry-led centres will convert the research undertaken into new products and services, leading to growth in export markets and jobs in Ireland". There will be 180 SMEs and multinational companies involved in nine centres, five of which are now established. Those established cover Bioenergy & Biorefining, IT Innovation, Applied Nanotechnology, Composite Materials and Microelectronics. Four more – Manufacturing Productivity, Energy Efficiency, Financial Services and E-learning - are at different stages of completion. Each centre will be based in a University with support from partner Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to deliver on the research needs of the companies. Enterprise Ireland has already ring-fenced €32 million in funding for the initial five centres and it anticipates investing a further €24 million over the next five years across the nine centres. Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland said: "These centres are a radical step in enabling companies in Ireland to achieve the kind of transformational change that is required to re-boot our economy. We have chosen an industry-led Competence Centre model in partnership with IDA Ireland, as it is regarded as the most sophisticated R&D vehicle that currently exists internationally. The centres will dramatically increase the amount of intellectual property available to Irish companies that they might otherwise never get access to". Speaking about the benefits of participation to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies that are involved, Barry O'Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said: "Companies like Intel, Xilinx, Pfizer and Microsoft are engaged in these Competence Centres so they can access the collective expertise of Ireland's top Universities and work with Irish SMEs in partnership. This sort of collaboration is charting the direction of Ireland's Smart Economy and is a hugely welcome development amongst the FDI community here that rely so heavily on the generation of new products and services from research". There are currently six Universities involved: NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, UCD, UL, TCD (CRANN) and UCC (Tyndall) and more HEIs are expected to join. One of the key benefits to the HEIs involved is that they get access to industry and the real problems that they are facing. This will assist the HEIs to align their research agendas with what industry is looking for. The Competence Centres are expected to generate real impacts within five years including: Actively collaborating with a community of over 180 companies; Transferring at least 80 pieces of commercially viable intellectual property in the form of technology licences; Over 60 engineers and scientists directly employed in the centres working on industrially relevant research; A further 60-80 industry personnel working on centre research projects, maintaining the centre's market focus and driving a culture of innovation; Greater levels of R&D activity in Irish companies and overseas companies based in Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

CAO Preferences for NUI Galway up 7.1% Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) today show another dramatic rise in demand for places at NUI Galway. First preference applications for undergraduate degrees at NUI Galway are up over 7% on last year, reflecting a substantial rise of more than 15% since 2008. With demand for places so high, NUI Galway will hold a Spring Open Day on Saturday, 24 April, for prospective students and their parents. Almost 3,000 people attended the event last year, which is designed to give a real insight in to university life and career options. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, 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. NUI Galway has now 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 is also listed on the CAO form, 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. For further details on the upcoming Open Day visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/open-days/. -Ends-

Monday, 8 March 2010

NUI Galway will mark International Women's Day on Friday, 12 March with a public talk by Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, at the University of East London. The free talk takes place at 2.30pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway and is followed by a reception. An expert in gender, nationalism, racism and identity Professor Yuval-Davis's talk is called 'Intersectionality in Transversal Politics'. According to Dr Nata Duvvury, Co-Director of Global Women s Studies at NUI Galway: "International Women s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women - past, present and future. It is important that we mark this important global occasion". Professor Yuval-Davis's talk will prove of interest to anyone working or studying in the areas of nationalism, gender, multiculturalism, racism and identity issues. As March is Women's History Month, NUI Galway's Global Women's Studies Programme and the Gender Research Cluster in the University's School of Political Science and Sociology, has organised two further free public talks. On 18 March, at 6pm, the guest speaker will be Professor Naila Kabeer, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies Sussex. Professor Kabeer is one of the world's leading feminist economists and her discussion will focus on 'Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy: Reconfigurations of Social and Economic Life'. On 14 April, at 6pm, Professor Naomi Goldenberg of the University of Ottawa, Canada, will speak about 'Gender and the Vestigial State of Religion'. A professor of Classics and Religious Studies, Professor Goldenberg is the author of the seminal work, The Changing of the Gods (1979). For further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/wsc/ or contact Gillian Browne on 091 49 3450 or wsc@nuigalway.ie. -ends-

Monday, 8 March 2010

NUI Galway 1-17 Waterford IT 1–16 (After extra- time) NUI Galway hurlers ended a 30 year wait this weekend for the return of the Fitzgibbon Cup after a sensational win against WIT in extra-time in Pearse Stadium. Hosting the event, NUI Galway battled hard to beat the Waterford side by a single point in their second extra-time in two days. The winning point by Clare hurler John Conlon in the 82nd minute secured the long awaited win for the local side. Friday's semi-final clash against Limerick IT, which was held in Dangan, saw the Galway students dig deep to overturn the favourites in a dramatic finish which also went to extra-time with a scoreline of 1-24 to 1-23. John Lee, Galway hurler and final medicine student at NUI Galway was particularly thrilled with the win having fought for six years to get his hands on the Fitzgibbon Cup. "I've been here for six years trying to win it, lost three semi-finals before this and one final. We were nine points down at one stage today and it looked impossible to get back. I was struggling myself to get into it but some of the lads showed unbelievable character. That's the thing about this team and they've shown it all year. "I'm delighted for selector and former head of Sport, Tony Regan as well, that was a big incentive for us today to win it, and he's given so much to hurling at NUI Galway. Whenever you go into the NUI Galway Sports Centre he'd make you read the plaque listing past NUI Galway winning teams with the likes of Joe Connolly and Conor Hayes. It's great Tony now finally has a reason to put us on it. After more than 30 years involved, this is his retirement present". -Ends-

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Lifecycle Institute, a major new €10 million initiative in the social sciences at NUI Galway, was announced by the University today (4 March, 2010). Funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Lifecycle Institute will advance an integrated approach to policy and services research for older people, children and families, and people with disabilities. Comprising a multidisciplinary facility in a state of the art new building, the Lifecycle Institute will integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway – the Child and Family Research Centre, the Disability Law and Policy Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Lifecycle Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration across research, teaching and training programmes – while retaining each centre's distinct identity. Conceptually, the Lifecycle Institute marks an innovative approach in the social sciences by establishing the lifecycle as the key framework of reference for understanding existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society. The aim of the Lifecycle Institute will be to impact positively on future policies for children, families, people with disabilities and older people. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The development of the Lifecycle Institute at NUI Galway reflects a shared commitment by researchers to work towards effective change in the lives of vulnerable populations. This will, we hope, lead to improved outcomes for children, families, older people and people with disabilities by influencing policy and decision making, whether emanating from the Irish Government, the EU or the UN". Operationally, the co-location of the three constituent centres will reflect a unique way of working that facilitates collaboration across disciplines and the sharing of resources, skills and perspectives. The Lifecycle Institute will also feature community engagement facilities which will forge links with stakeholders including statutory, voluntary and community organisations and their service users. Consultation with service users, whether they be children and young people, older people or people with disabilities, will be a strategic goal to advance research. Dr James J. Browne, added: "This is a major advancement in the field of social sciences in Ireland. The Lifecycle Institute has a vision which is to contribute theoretical, scientific and practical awareness of human capacity and potential. With this new institute, we are taking a holistic approach to research, education and policy development covering the life-span of every individual. Long-term, I see the Lifecycle Institute developing the next generation of policy entrepreneurs and advocates in the fields of ageing, children and families, and disabilities". -ends-

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), a business sector within IBEC, and NUI Galway's Applied Optics group, today hosted a seminar that focused the practical ways that optics can deliver scientific and technology solutions that enhance medical technology industry operations in Ireland. Speaking at the seminar, Sharon Higgins, director of IMDA said: "The medical technology sector in Ireland continues to grow. Exports of medical device and diagnostic products during the first three quarters of 2009 increased by more than 14% over the same period in 2008. This confirms Ireland as the second largest exporter of medical products in Europe, second only to Germany. The sector employs over 24,000 people, the highest per capita in Europe. Companies have adapted very successfully to changing economic circumstances, enhancing all aspects of their business models from R&D to manufacturing and commercialisation. "Our ability to engage with the academic and clinical community is critical to future growth. This collaboration with NUI Galway's Applied Optics group in developing today s programme will undoubtedly provide industry with opportunities to develop new ideas and contacts for the future." Keynote speaker at the event, Dr Alexander Knitsch, senior manager of international sales at TRUMPF Laser -und Systemtechnik GmbH Germany, applauded the IMDA and NUI Galway for their partnership. He said: "Optics is one of the key enabling technologies used to enhance medical device manufacturing and quality assurance processes. Ireland has a strong industry cluster and an internationally renowned optics group in NUI Galway. Together, I have no doubt that they will lead in adapting and developing these technologies to significantly enhance efficiencies." Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the opportunity to engage with industry, saying: "Our Applied Optics group focuses on addressing the needs of industry and transferring research outcomes from the lab bench to the market." -Ends-