Monday, 24 May 2010

At a recent event in Dublin hosted by the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of the Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), the Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, launched a new scholarly review, Irish Human Rights Law Review (IHRLR), to be published on an annual basis by Clarus Press. The IHRLR is edited by Donncha O'Connell of the School of Law, NUI Galway who is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics. The inaugural edition of the Review contains articles and case notes by, among others: Hon. Justice Michael Kirby of the Australian High Court, Professor Rick Lawson of the University of Leiden, Colm Ó Cinnéide of University College London, Siobhan Cummiskey, Solicitor, Senator Alex White, BL and Dr Alpha Connelly, former CEO of the Irish Human Rights Commission. There are also contributions from NUI Galway academics Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement as well as Marie McGonagle, Ciara Smyth, Dr Padraic Kenna, Dr Laurent Pech and Emer Meeneghan of the School of Law. The Review, which should be of interest to academics, students, practitioners and activists working in the field of human rights, will focus on the domestic application of international human rights law and the critical analysis of human rights standards and processes. Opening the event, Michael Farrell, Solicitor for FLAC and member of the Irish Human Rights Commission, said: "At a time when the human rights of many vulnerable people are under attack as a result of the economic crisis, and the state s human rights and equality infrastructure has been undermined by disproportionate budget cuts, the launch of the Irish Human Rights Law Review is particularly timely." In her speech the Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, said: "Reading through the contributions in the IHRLR, I note that human rights activists, academics and lawyers are at times sensitive - rightly or wrongly - to a certain allergic reaction at the mention of human rights and this needs to be addressed by all sides in the human rights debate so that too many heels are not dug in to the detriment of the citizen. I see the annual publication of the Irish Human Rights Law Review as an important step in that process. More particularly, in the aftermath of Colm McCarthy s report and his recommendations to turn back the tide on the proliferation of single-function state agencies, I also think we all need to look at the intersections rather than the divergences in the work that we do. Human rights are principally about changing mindsets rather than the legalistic application of a set of rules. Perhaps if we thought about it also as the shared public values that enhance the life of every citizen, we can improve the chances of the realisation of those shared values in visibly tangible ways. Changing mindsets involves cultural change and through the investigation of complaints, a public sector ombudsman is uniquely placed to facilitate good public administration which is based on human rights principles." Responding to the Ombudsman, the Editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review, Donncha O'Connell, said: "It must surely now be time to consider further the question of 'constitutionalising' the office of Ombudsman, a matter that was raised by the Constitution Review Group in 1996. As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1937 Constitution in 2012, and as the Labour Party embarks on its innovative constitutional convention in the run-up to the 1916 Centenary, it is time to look more radically at how the Irish Constitution distributes power in the state. I would suggest that the following issues of potential constitutional reform are in need of serious analysis: The reorganisation of various statutory bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights and equality under a 'constitutionalised' office of Ombudsman with a clear and strong nexus to Parliament (akin to that of the Comptroller & Auditor General); The consequential reform of the office of Attorney General to remove the potential for conflict in the role of that office as notional guardian of the public interest and legal adviser to the Government. This would have the benefit of protecting the essential infrastructure for human rights and equality in the state from political interference; and appropriate provision could be made, by means of the Constitution, for guaranteeing the independence and effectiveness of such a reconfigured framework institution." He went on to say that he hoped that subsequent issues of the Irish Human Rights Law Review would provide a platform for the rigorous discussion of this and other matters connected to human rights. The Review can be ordered on www.claruspress.ie which contains a sample of contents and the inaugural editorial. ENDS

Monday, 24 May 2010

Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis, Professor of Health and Exercise Psychology in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Canada will give a lecture at NUI Galway on "Innovations in the Study and Promotion of Physical Activity among People with Spinal Cord Injury" as part of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, in the NCBES Seminar Room at 3pm. Professor Martin Ginis' research program focuses on psychosocial influences and consequences of physical activity participation. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1996 and completed postdoctoral training at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She received the Early Distinguished Career Award from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and holds a CIHR New Investigator Award. She has published over 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters, and is a co-author of The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice. Researchers in the NCBES at NUI Galway are currently investigating a range of potential therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. Glycoscience researchers are examining the role of glycans, or sugars, in the spinal cord and the role that those sugars play, both positive and negative, in spinal cord repair. Regenerative Medicine researchers are using gene therapy techniques to promote the regeneration of nerves damaged by spinal cord injury. Following acute trauma to the spinal cord a scar develops at the site of injury. This scar tissue inhibits the regrowth of nerves and prevents regeneration at the site of injury. Work is underway to understand the complex biology of scar formation and to develop therapeutic approaches that will prevent or reverse its development. Professor Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES, NUI Galway, said: "Researchers at the NCBES are focused on the development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to spinal cord injury and our multidisciplinary approach is essential in addressing complex challenges in medicine and health. We appreciate the importance of alternative approaches when dealing with devastating and intractable medical problems and Dr Martin Ginis' lecture will present that alternative perspective which is both insightful and influential". Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Bioelectronics lead at the NCBES noted that the development of systems to support ambient assisted living is one of the themes of Bioelectronics at the NCBES, particularly those systems that encourage physical activity. "It is well established that exercise plays a central role in a healthy lifestyle. Professor Martin Ginis is an international expert in exercise psychology. As engineers attempt to develop more effective systems and devices to support physical activity, they will need to work with Health and Exercise Psychology experts like Professor Martin-Ginis to ensure that new developments incorporate the latest principles in exercise psychology". Professor Martin Ginis will also speak following the launch of 'The Jacinta O'Brien Collection' at the University's James Hardiman Library on Tuesday, 25 May at 4pm in the Martin Ryan Institute Annex Theatre. ENDS

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On Wednesday, 19 May at 7pm RTÉ's Nationwide will visit the great plain of Rathcroghan, celebrated pre-Christian ritual capital and seat of the kings of Connacht. A team of Archaeologists and Geophysicists based at NUI Galway have been carrying out intensive fieldwork in this area for the past 12 years, building on Professor John Waddell's research of Rathcroghan over the course of three decades. A book detailing the extraordinary results of this work, Rathcroghan: Archaeological and Geophysical Survey in a Ritual Landscape, by Kevin Barton and NUI Galway's Professor John Waddell and Joe Fenwick, was published in 2009. The programme will also look at how the community in Tulsk has interpreted this historic landscape and developed the Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre to help us to understand the history of one of the most important royal sites in Europe. To view the Nationwide programme visit http://www.rte.ie/news/nationwide/. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The College of Science at NUI Galway is delighted to announce that for the second year running it will host Science Experience Workshops for second-level students. The workshops will take place on 24 and 25 June and students will have the opportunity to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students, limited to just 100 in total, will take part in unique hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Some of the institutes open to the students will include Applied Optics, the Environmental Change Institute, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. These centres are focused on a wide range of world class research activities such as stem cell research, climate modelling (including volcanic ash dispersion forecasting and assessment), next generation lens solutions, and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to biomedical challenges. Throughout the workshop, attendees also have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines. Dr Mark Foley, Vice Dean of Communications and Strategy, College of Science, NUI Galway, says: "The Science Experience Workshop provides an excellent forum whereby students get information on the diverse range of science activity at NUI Galway. Participants have the chance to see the state-of-the-art teaching, research and sporting facilities while they will also get the chance to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across the country". This year's event will include participation from the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The third-level summer placements are funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). For further information on the College of Science or future Science Experience Workshops, call 091-492182 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/science/news.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Three NUI Galway researchers were among the recipients of the €8.5 million for 47 cutting-edge research projects announced today by Batt O'Keeffe T.D., Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. Dr Patrick McGarry and Dr Mark Bruzzi from Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and Dr Peter Crowley from the School of Chemistry were awarded €539,500 for research projects which will create new jobs for the smart economy. Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Lecturer Dr McGarry's research, 'An experimental and computational investigation of the effect of strain rate on stress fibre remodelling, nuclear deformation and gene expression in cells', examines the effects of continuously changing forces within our bodies on the shape of our cells. This collaborative project also involves other researchers from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway and UCD and is of interest to the medical device sector in the region. Dr Mark Bruzzi's project, 'Deformation and Fracture of Small Nitinol Structures', investigates the fundamental behaviour of nitinol through the use of both experimental testing and analytical methods. Quantifying how nitinol fundamentally behaves will allow the design and development of better and safer medical devices in Ireland. NUI Galway Chemistry Lecturer, Dr Crowley's research, 'Protein Probes: From Self-Assembly to In Vivo Trafficking', focuses on proteins which are large molecules that enable cells to grow and divide. This project will develop new tools to stick proteins together and develop our knowledge of how proteins get inside cells. The research will contribute to progress in the area of therapeutics. Minister O'Keeffe said the research areas are "profoundly linked to our health and wellbeing and the researchers' work will generate high-value downstream jobs". "The €8.5 million investment will create jobs and training opportunities for 105 researchers, mainly PhD students, and their work will in turn generate new jobs down the line which will have significant implications for our well-being as a nation," said Minister O'Keeffe. The 47 research projects are being funded under Science Foundation Ireland's Research Frontiers Programme. The programme supports internationally-competitive, high-quality exploratory research in higher education across the science, maths and engineering disciplines. "By helping researchers at a relatively early stage in their work, the programme is targeting our most promising scientists in building their research teams and track records and enhancing our competitiveness," said Minister O'Keeffe. Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Frank Gannon, said: "The Government's goal of becoming a hub for international research is further advanced by this Research Frontiers Programme investment. "Ireland's performance in the fields of scientific and engineering research is directly linked to our future competitiveness and our quest for a measurable transformation to the smart economy. Last year, the Research Frontiers Programme resulted in many notable outcomes such as 88 collaborations with 83 companies, 715 academic collaborations, and 537 scientific papers. "The programme has contributed to Ireland's rapid ascent in the ranking of scientific output, rising from 36th place in 2003 to recently breaking into the top 20. Ireland has joined countries such as Finland, Germany and the US in the scientific output stakes," Professor Gannon concluded. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Important Research conducted at NUI Galway published by Royal Society A European project involving Irish scientists from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast has found that recently introduced seaweed types from areas such as Japan and California are spreading more rapidly in Europe than ever before. Professor Mark Johnson with The Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) at NUI Galway is the corresponding author on a paper which has gone online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The essence of this paper denotes how particular species of seaweed introduced to Europe have spread. This includes an increasing rate of spread in recent years. There are over 500 seaweed types in Ireland, and some 126 non-native species from Asia and the US have been recorded in Europe over the past century. The research paper published by the Royal Society (Fronts, Jumps and Secondary Introductions Suggested as Different Invasion Patterns in Marine Species, with an Increase in Spread Rates Over Time) is one of the outputs from a project known as ALIENS (Algal Introductions to European Shores). The research ran over four years and focused on the ecology, spread and impacts of introduced seaweeds. Professor Johnson remarked, "Research of this nature has relevance for marine and aquaculture policy into the future. This involves continuing with existing approaches to educate boat owners to clean their boats in order to stop the spread of invasive species of seaweed and protect native varieties. There are also efforts to control the spread with restrictions throughout the aquaculture industry. At present, some invasive species of seaweed can crowd out or displace native plants. It is important that we continue to protect our native species." PhD student Frederic Mineur, who worked with Professor Johnson on the project reconstructed the historical spread of seaweed dating as far back as 200 years ago. Species of seaweed introduced to a region often spread out from the point of introduction at a relatively even rate. However, other patterns can also occur. Most seaweeds introduced to Europe appear to have been introduced at more than one point or have unpredictable long range dispersal. Looking at the spread patterns over time, the rate of spread appears to be increasing for more recent introductions. This could be because there are more opportunities for seaweeds to associate with carriers like shipping or aquaculture. Another possibility is that the resistance of coastal environments to novel species' introductions is declining. This current study is complete but there are plans to extend the work to understand more about the dispersal of introduced species. There may be particular routes that more than one species has travelled by within Europe and conversely there may be barriers within Europe to the spread of species. To access the article featured in the Royal Society, follow the link below. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/04/20/rspb.2010.0494.abstract -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

NUI Galway charity Voluntary Services Abroad (VSA) have embarked on a final "bed push" from University College Hospital in Galway to Limerick city. A team of twenty NUI Galway medical students took to the streets of Galway, Ennis and Limerick, at the weekend pushing a hospital bed, with the aim of raising funds for the charity. Volunteers have fundraised over €70,000 in the past eight months by tirelessly holding events throughout the west. It is hoped that this final marathon event brings them closure to reaching their target of €100,000 before volunteers leave in June. "Where possible we spend money locally, in order to reduce transport costs and maximise the benefit the local economy" said auditor of VSA, Tadhg Sullivan. This summer, 37 medical student volunteers will travel to eight partner hospitals in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, providing financial and practical support in an increasingly difficult financial environment within the African healthcare system. VSA was founded in 1977 by Galway doctor, Dom Colbert, and is run by fourth year medical students, it raises funds for health care facilities in developing countries. Volunteers travel to hospitals and clinics abroad, personally funding their own travel and accommodation expenses, so that all funds raised can go towards the purchase of medical supplies and equipment. ENDS

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

NUI Galway is looking for new companies to join its successful Business Innovation Centre on campus. The centre offers office and research facilities and is ideally suited for start-up and early stage technology and creative businesses. Also on offer is access to creative facilities, equipment and know-how across the University, with additional support available from NUI Galway's Ignite Technology Transfer Office. NUI Galway consistently performs strongly when it comes to technology transfer activities, having formed seven spin-out companies in 2009, signing 17 license agreements and filing 48 patent applications. This commercialisation expertise is brought by the Ignite Technology Transfer Office team to the companies based in the Business Innovation Centre. Dr Neil Ferguson from NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office, says: "The aim of the incubation centre is to create an environment, which promotes entrepreneurship and new business growth. It also offers suitable incubation space and support services for new knowledge intensive companies in sectors such as biotechnology, biomedical, ICT and Engineering. Companies currently based at NUI Galway have gone from strength to strength, despite the difficult economic climate". Some of the companies currently based at NUI Galway include network monitoring solutions company Netfort Technologies, Medical Device company Zuresa, learning solutions company Learn Skills, 3D content company RealSim, online accounting solutions provider SwiftAccounts.ie, and software company DSX Ltd. It is the energy, drive and commitment shown by these companies which will drive Ireland's Smart Economy forward with successes such as; Netfort Technologies increased profitability in 2009, Learn Skills launching SEEK Academy, RealSim awarded High Potential Start Up status by Enterprise Ireland, Zerusa recently received both the CE mark and FDA clearance for its innovative Next Generation Guardian II Hemostasis Valve and SwiftAccounts.ie on target to go live this summer Shane Hayes from DSX Ltd, which has been based at the University since its inception in 2006: "NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre is a great place to do business, because of the workspace suitability for start-ups, the technical infrastructure, the atmosphere of innovation and co-operation as well as having research and industry located together". With the potential to house 24 companies, as well as hot-desking and a bio lab facility, the Business Innovation Centre has many advantages for start-up companies such as: competitive rates for fully fitted space; access to expertise and specialists in the all sectors, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment; and strong support structures for new business development. For more information on how to get started in NUI Galway Business Innovations Centre please contact technologytransfer@nuigalway.ie or 091-492147. ENDS

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dr Edward Curry, an eBusiness Researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway will join senior executives from around the world as a featured panellist at the 2010 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, the premier international event for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and senior IT executives to become better business leaders. Dr Curry will be speaking about Enterprise 3.0 and is one of more than 50 presenters from a wide range of industries, as well as leading academics from the MIT Sloan School of Management. As a technology driven event the Symposium informs technology vision and discussion on better ways to advance technology leadership and enhance business performance for enterprises. As the volumes of data generated by the enterprise increases, so too must the organization s ability to link, acquire and decipher all the information to optimize performance. For many CIOs, Enterprise 3.0, a system of effective knowledge management, provides new services through more effective data integration. However, it also presents new challenges, particularly in the areas of solution's technology adoption and its integration into existing business units. According to Dr Curry, "Enterprise 3.0 is about breaking down barriers that stop or slow information flows within or between companies. Linked data technology, a cornerstone of Enterprise 3.0, is having a significant impact by simplifying the way businesses share and reuse their data assets". In the Enterprise 3.0 panel, experts on the Web of Data and Linked Data will discuss emerging approaches to Enterprise 3.0. The discussion will provide CIOs with more insights into upcoming approaches surrounding the global IT market and how these concepts can better serve a company. Edward Curry investigates the impact and adoption trends of emerging technologies within industry. His specific focus for the last number of years has been how linked data technology and the web of data are changing the way business work and interact with information. Dr Curry added: "The fundamental concept of linked data is that data is created with the mindset that it will be shared and reused by others. Linked data can empower employees to be creative and innovative when working with data, to combine, manipulate and analyse it to find unexpected reuses beyond its original intended purpose." "Our attendance remains high because we attract key academic contributors such as Dr Edward Curry," said Graham G. Rong, the 2010 CIO Symposium Chair. "By bringing together innovative leaders, we foster an environment where attendees gain great insight about how to drive growth and be successful in these challenging times." Sean O'Riain, eBusiness Unit at DERI comments that "DERI s core research theme is Enabling a Network of Knowledge and we are now experiencing significant uptake of technologies such as linked data a major step in the realisation of this goal". The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is the premier global event for CIOs and senior IT executives to improve business leadership. In one day, CIOs and senior IT executives receive actionable information that enables them to meet the challenges of today s changing global economy. The annual event offers a day of interactive learning and thought-provoking discourse on the future of technology, best practices, and business that is not available anywhere else. The event attracts CIOs, senior business executives, senior IT decision makers and thought leaders from academia. Ends

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

NUI Galway Student Psychological Research Yields Interesting Findings New research suggests that reminding young male drivers of their own mortality through 'fear appeals', such as those used in many road safety campaigns, may actually increase their intentions to take driving risks. The research was carried out by Psychology student Ms Rachel Carey and Dr Kiran Sarma at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. The study investigated how awareness of death among young male drivers, together with personality factors, can influence intentions to take driving risks. Findings suggest that many young males perceive 'fast driving' as central to who they are and when told that they should not drive fast because of the carnage that can ensue, they rebel against the message with intent to take more driving risks. The research also showed that high impulsivity was linked to risky driving. The research has implications for road safety campaigns that target young males through messages that portray the consequences of fast or dangerous driving. The NUI Galway study suggests that young drivers exposed to dangerous driving facts report a greater intention to drive fast after exposure than had they been presented with neutral facts. 80 male university students (aged between 17 and 24, all of whom were in possession of a full driver's license) were recruited on the campus at NUI Galway and asked to complete a questionnaire. This questionnaire first assessed the relevance of driving for participants' self-esteem. Half of the participants were then exposed to images of car crashes and facts about the potential death-related consequences of driving, such as "17 to 24 year old males account for over 1 in 5 driver deaths". The other half of the participants were presented with neutral driving facts. Participants then completed a personality inventory which measured impulsivity. Finally, they reported their intentions to take driving risks in real-life scenarios. "It would appear that young Irish males can view fast driving as part of their personal identity – who they are", says Rachel Carey who is currently completing her final year of a BA in Psychology at NUI Galway. "Driving is tied up in their self-concept and telling them not to drive fast because they might die, or they may kill others, is perceived as being an assault on their self-esteem. They react defensively by reporting a more marked intention to drive fast because, for many, doing so bolsters their self-esteem", she says. Rachel, from Headford, Co. Galway, recently received the highest undergraduate award for research at the annual Congress of Psychology Students of Ireland. The congress is supported by the Psychological Society of Ireland and the Northern Irish branch of the British Psychological Society. Ms Carey will now present her research to both professional bodies. Dr Kiran Sarma of the School of Psychology at NUI Galway who supervised the research said: "The research was designed in consultation with international experts and supports findings reported aboard. While conducted within the limitations of undergraduate research of this nature, its unique value is that it looks beyond the concept of self-esteem to personality factors and suggests that impulsivity may interact with self-esteem in predicting greater intention to take driving risks. Further research can explore these relationships with greater specificity and inform the design and content of deterrence information campaigns". The BA in Psychology at NUI Galway is a three or four-year accredited undergraduate degree that provides graduate basis for registration as a psychologist. The School of Psychology educates more than 1000 students in both undergraduate courses and post-graduate professional training in clinical psychology, health psychology and applied behaviour analysis. More information on the School can be accessed at www.nuigalway.ie/psychology. -Ends-

Monday, 10 May 2010

NUI Galway researchers have developed Ireland's own capability of Icelandic plume dispersion forecasting and assessment. In a first for Ireland, and one of only a few in Europe, the forecasting system is expected to be one of the most sophisticated in Europe after further refinement over the coming weeks. The four-day forecasts of plume density and dispersion are produced at least twice a day currently and over the next week will increase to six-day forecasts four-times daily (www.macehead.org). Professor Colin O'Dowd, Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies at NUI Galway, which is behind this major development, stated: "The rapid development of the volcanic plume forecasting model to provide Ireland's own capability of assessment and prediction is an not only an excellent example of national collaboration and solidarity amongst key scientific partners in times of national need but also of innovation and a capacity for rapid response in a crisis. The combined skill of NUI Galway in atmospheric physics and air pollution research, Met Éireann in weather and climate research, and the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) in computational science, was the perfect recipe for the rapid success". Professor O'Dowd added: "The ICHEC supercomputers have been critical to accommodating the daily influx of terabytes of model initialisation data and the number crunching of these data in highly complex regional climate and weather forecasting models used in the prediction facility. Essential to the success was the ability of ICHEC to contribute computational research scientists to the demanding challenge of optimising computer code for parallel supercomputing, involving 2,500 parallel processors, necessary to address complex problems. The underlying research funding that enabled this significant achievement was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)". While the initial aim is not to replace the official London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre for aviation decisions, it certainly provides an additional informative tool for potential air travellers and allows them the capability of making more informed travel decisions based on additional information. -Ends-

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD today launched a report on the lives of young carers in Ireland at the National Conference of the Carers Association in Croke Park. Speaking at the launch, Minister Andrews said: "Study of Young Cares in the Irish Population was commissioned by my Office and undertaken by the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. It is the first national qualitative study of young carers in Ireland and gives an insight into the lives of children and young people, who provide care in the home and uncovers the reality of their situation". "While the report is preliminary and exploratory, it does mark an important milestone in improving our understanding of the positive and negative impacts for children who are involved in caring and makes a positive contribution to policy development and debate on this issue", stated Minister Andrews. "It is encouraging that the report notes that many of the young carers or their households received supports, which they found helpful", added the Minister. Minister Andrews noted that in 2010, HSE funding of approximately €210 million will provide nearly 12 million Home Help hours in respect of an estimated 54,500 clients. Home Help support is generally provided for people with needs, over the age of 65 years. "However, the service is flexible and the remaining 15% of the budget supports clients under the age of 65 years. This service represents an important indirect support for young carers. In addition, young carers who are over 16 may be eligible for the Respite Care Grant if they are providing full time care, which is administered by the Department of Social Protection" added the Minister. "My Office will help to raise the profile of young carers by disseminating and making available, an attractive six page briefing note highlighting this study's key messages" concluded Minister Andrews. Dr Allyn Fives, a co-author of the report, from the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, presented the study's key findings. Dr Fives explained that young carers who took part in this study performed such tasks as helping with domestic chores, general care including help with feeding, medication and mobility. "Some young carers also provided psychological or emotional support or provided intimate care, involving toileting, dressing and bathing. Looking after siblings was also identified as a way in which some young people took on a caring role. Other types of care included seeking support from service providers, translating and interpreting information, helping with paying bills, post or telephone calls" he continued. Dr Fives noted that both positive and negative impacts of caring were identified in the study. "Caring for a family member can have positive impacts for young people. It can lead to greater maturity and compassion as well as closeness to the person cared for by the young person. However, for some young people there can be negative impacts, including absence from or distraction while at school, feeling socially isolated, becoming ill, and experiencing feelings of boredom, worry and resentment" added Dr Fives. "It is important to differentiate between a level of caring that has largely positive consequences and a level of physical or emotional caring that impairs the child's health, development or welfare" he concluded. -Ends-

Monday, 10 May 2010

NUI Galway is inviting graduates from the classes of 2000 and 2005 to attend its Reunion BBQ on Saturday, 5 June. The Reunion BBQ will begin at 7pm in the Students' Union Bar, Áras na Mac Léinn, overlooking the River Corrib. The Reunion will bring together those classes celebrating their 10th and 5th reunions for a fun, informal evening on campus. Entertainment will be provided by a band and DJ playing music from the late 90s and 2000s. JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations, encourages alumni to come along, "Reunion is that perfect excuse to put the date in your diary and say 'Right, that's the day we'll all get together again'. Busy lives mean that old friends fall out of touch and we're told regularly that graduates look for these occasions to pull out the stops. Many alumni from the classes of 2000 and 2005 have already booked their places and they never regret making the effort. You never know who'll be there". The Alumni Association serves over 70,000 alumni worldwide with an extensive range of programmes administered by the Alumni Office. These include Alumni Clubs, both national and international, Alumni Publications, Reunions and Alumni Awards. Graduates who are interested in getting involved with any of the above programmes are encouraged to contact the Alumni Office for further details. Register at http://www.nuigalway.ie/alumni/reunion10.htmlor for further information contact Colm O'Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 6 May 2010

NUI Galway has announced the graduands to be conferred with Honorary Degrees on Friday, 25 June 2010. Bernard Collins, Chairman VHI; Board member IDA Ireland and Cancer Care West; former senior executive Boston Scientific Corporation. Anne Maria Dennison, National President, Irish Countrywomen s Association (ICA), the largest women's organization in Ireland. The ICA celebrates its Centenary in 2010. John Killeen, CEO of the Colas Group (Cold Chon); Chairman of the Galway Docklands Redevelopment Committee; Chairman, Let's do it Ireland (Galway Volvo Ocean Race Stopover); former President of The Academy of Engineering and The Institution of Engineers of Ireland. Seán Ó hUiginn, Irish Diplomat, former Ambassador to United States and Germany. Commenting on the announcement of this year s graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history; and those being honoured this year form a very distinguished group. In different ways, they represent and exemplify the talents and achievements of modern Ireland in the fields of business, engineering, international relations and social and cultural development. We are delighted to honor them individually as well as the groups they represent." -Ends-

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Human Rights of Children and Families: Prevention, Intervention and Support in Times of Crisis NUI Galway will host the first event in a dialogue series for 2010, organised by the Fair Ireland Forum, on the topic of 'The Human Rights of Children and Families: prevention, intervention and support in times of crisis'. The event will take place on Tuesday, 11 May at 7pm, in the Bank of Ireland Theatre at Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. The dialogue will be between Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chairholder of Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, and Fiona Neary, Director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland The topic of this dialogue is one of great significance in light of the proposed Children's Rights Referendum, which would create a constitutional framework for the rights of children. There have been calls for the Government to set a date for the referendum. Continuing revelations of child abuse within the family home and reports of a recent increase in domestic violence also pose threats to human rights. The response of government, policy makers and support workers to these challenges, and how they create and implement prevention and intervention strategies and provide for survivors of abuse and neglect, particularly in times of economic recession, will impact generations of Irish citizens and residents. Fiona Neary and Professor Dolan bring a combined experience of over 35 years of scholarship, support and frontline work in defending the rights of children, adolescents and women and will discuss the opportunities and challenges of protecting and supporting children and families in times of crisis. Fergal Landy, a researcher at the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: "This event and the Fair Ireland Forum initiative is a contribution to the national conversation about the current challenges we face and the type of society we want to have, now and in the future. We are delighted to launch this series of events with a dialogue between two eminent individuals who have demonstrated leadership skills in their respective fields and we welcome all the people of Galway to come to the University and to participate fully in the event and future events". The Fair Ireland Forum is an initiative of members of the NUI Galway academic community that aims to create space for the University and the wider community to participate in and make concrete contributions to public debates on the current challenges facing Ireland – grounded in principles of fairness, social inclusion, democratic governance, accountability and respect for human rights. The 2010 Dialogue series will deal with topics of immediate and critical concern to Ireland featuring a host of distinguished academics and members of civil society. The inaugural discussion will be facilitated by Dr Lionel Pilkington of the School of Humanities, NUI Galway, and is free and open to the public. There will be a public discussion/question- and-answer period following the dialogue. Further information can be attained by contacting stacy.furlong@nuigalway.ie or visiting the website, www.fairirelandforum.org. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Four NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the fourth national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2010. The award winners will be announced on Thursday, 20 May, at a reception in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin. The two NUI Galway courses shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business Award are the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Practice and MSc in Corporate Strategy and People Management. The MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media and MSc in Neuropharmacology have been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Science and Engineering Award. NUI Galway is the only university from the Republic of Ireland to have been shortlisted for this category in the 2010 awards. This is the first year of the Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards, which recognise excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses will be judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course's quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges will also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. The Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Practice course at NUI Galway is a one-year specialised and innovative full-time postgraduate programme which was specifically designed to provide Irish business graduates with professional marketing experience early in their careers, while allowing Irish companies to develop and enhance their marketing capabilities. The one-year full-time MSc in Corporate Strategy and People Management provides students with a deep and analytical understanding of strategic management and people development in the knowledge-based economy. The programme focuses equally on both fields and on their various interfaces. The MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media teaches technological tools and techniques to enable students to express themselves creatively using both traditional and unconventional technologies. It seeks to marry creative potential, technical possibilities and business prospects. It offers professional education at graduate level in digital technology, creative thinking, applied design and entrepreneurial approaches to building a business. The Discipline of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway has been actively engaged in neuropharmacological research for over 30 years. In 1998, it introduced the MSc in Neuropharmacology to provide students with the skills necessary to develop a career in this area of research. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, said: "We are delighted to make the shortlist for these inaugural awards; it's great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged. The four courses in question are still accepting applications now so those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie". NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attend NUI Galway with many of them traveling from overseas. For further information on any of the Postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-492844 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgrad. Ends

Friday, 30 April 2010

All graduates currently struggling to gain employment should come along to a unique graduate support event in NUI Galway on Thursday, 13 May, from 10am to 4pm in IT 125 in the Information Technology Building. This free event, organised by the Career Development Centre and the Alumni Office, is targeted at NUI Galway graduates, but all are welcome to attend. Information on emerging employment areas, innovative job search strategies and tips on how to stay motivated, are just some of the topics that will be covered by a panel of experts. Attendees are also encouraged to bring along their CVs for individual review with Career Development Centre staff and alumni. The Career Development Centre have this year partnered with the NUI Galway Alumni Office to provide a unique opportunity for attendees to get one-to-one advice on their interview technique from past graduates who have extensive interviewing experience. A limited number of NUI Galway Graduates will also be given the opportunity to avail of the support of a Graduate Guide from experienced members of the Alumni Association who will provide follow up coaching and support. There will also be a networking lunch with a variety of professional bodies including IBEC/Gradlink, Engineers Ireland and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, all of whom have continuous professional development options and initiatives to support unemployed members. "We look forward to continuing our support to alumni through this unique event and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and get their career back on track" said John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway. Details of the full programme are available on www.nuigalway.ie/careers. For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email josephine.walsh@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 29 April 2010

- Launch of Colman Doyle Photography Exhibition at NUI Galway - The James Hardiman Library is delighted to announce that it will host an exhibition of the photographs of Irish photographer Colman Doyle. The exhibition will be launched by John Quinn, writer and former broadcaster with RTÉ, on Wednesday, 5 May, 2010 at 5.30pm in the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway. The exhibition of over 80 photographs is on loan from the National Library of Ireland, where Colman Doyle's large photographic collection is to be found. The collection of photographs includes portraits of politicians such as Charles J. Haughey, Jack Lynch and Eamon de Valera, and visiting dignitaries and heads of state including John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Colman Doyle is widely acknowledged as one of the most important Irish photographers of the twentieth century. He was probably Ireland's first documentary style photographer, noted for his portraits of political leaders and literary figures, as well as for his photographs of ordinary people throughout the country. As a sports photographer, he acquired a huge reputation for his action shots of GAA matches and horse races. John Quinn, who will launch the exhibition, is a well-known broadcaster who worked in RTÉ for 25 years and won various prestigious awards throughout that time. He collaborated with Colman Doyle on the book All Changed: Fifty Years of Photographing Ireland, in which they individually chronicled life in Ireland over 50 years in words and images respectively. The photographs on exhibition will also include fascinating vignettes of Irish life from the 1950s to the 1990s, covering topics such as changes in daily life in Ireland and on the Blasket Islands. Doyle also recorded daily life in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s, a period during which he photographed behind-the-scenes images of political meetings and street violence. An added feature of the exhibition will be the film Colman Doyle Ábhar Machnaimh, first broadcast on TG4 in 2006. The film follows the photographer as he returns to capture images in West Kerry, reconnecting with his earliest work as a press photographer, and looks back at the astonishing collection of photographs taken by Colman Doyle over the decades. John Cox, NUI Galway Librarian, welcomed the exhibition: "This is a wonderful exhibition, with fascinating insights into Ireland's last five decades. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity afforded by the National Library of Ireland to exhibit these photographs in Galway". Cox added: "The photographs in the exhibition cover 50 years of Irish life and we have many resources in the Library that connect to the era from a political, social, economic and historical point of view. These are all realms touched on in this comprehensive photographic exhibition". Following the launch the exhibition will run until Friday, 25 June on the ground floor of the James Hardiman Library and admission is free. Library opening hours are available to view at www.library.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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-