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Central Bank of Ireland issues €15 silver proof collector coin
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
The Central Bank of Ireland today (12 December 2012) issued its latest collector coin, a €15 silver proof coin featuring the design of a wolfhound, at NUI Galway. The coin is the final in a series of three which pays tribute to the original 1928 coins designed by Percy Metcalfe and which featured iconic Irish animals including the Irish hunter horse and the salmon. The €15 coin features the design of a wolfhound alongside its pup and is the work of coin designer Emmet Mullins. Speaking at the launch, Governor Patrick Honohan said: ‘We are delighted to be in Galway today to mark the issue of the final €15 coin honouring Percy Metcalfe’s 1928 designs. Today’s coin launch coincides with a number of Central Bank events taking place in Galway including the first meeting of the Board of the Central Bank – the Central Bank Commission - outside of Dublin and a consumer protection road-show for retail intermediaries. I would like to thank Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway for hosting today’s events and for the warm welcome we have received. The collector coin has an issue limit of 8,000 units and is available to the public at a cost of €46 per coin. Each coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity specifying the quality of the coin and the limited issue. The coin can be purchased by downloading an order form from the Collector Coin section of our website or by calling 1890 307 607 (lo-call within Ireland) or (+353 1) 219 8000. It may also be purchased directly from the Central Bank’s premises in Dame Street, Dublin.
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New Way to Gather Views on EU Policy
Monday, 17 December 2012
Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway are leading a European Union, multi-million euro initiative aimed at government transparency and giving citizens a voice in creating policies. The project, entitled ‘Puzzled by Policy’ has now launched a new widget (http://join.puzzledbypolicy.eu) that provides a fun way for users to find out about immigration policy and become actively involved in the immigration policy-making process. Immigration is traditionally a highly contentious topic, but one that is relevant to all, including immigrants and citizens, employers and employees, NGOs and public-sector bodies. Immigration policy can impact on all aspects of life, from social welfare and housing, to education, employment and healthcare. This unique widget encourages users to explore their opinions on various immigration topics, as well as enabling them to see how their views compare to those of policy-makers, NGOs, and other immigration stakeholders. While the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ widget is customised for Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain, users from other countries may also participate at a European level. To facilitate wide and diverse participation, this innovative widget has been designed so that it can be embedded on any website, blog or Facebook page. This enables existing communities to become more informed on immigration policy, while becoming actively engaged on particular issues. NGOs, immigrant organizations, academic institutions and think-tanks are already successfully using the widget to engage their communities. DERI’s Deirdre Lee, who is leading the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ project, comments: “The Puzzled by Policy project aims to help end the detachment and disillusionment of citizens in the policy making process of the EU by improving information resources and tools. DERI is providing the models, technologies and tools for more effective and efficient public administration systems. This is all part of a larger move toward eGovernment, which embraces the world wide web for better governance.” Deirdre Lee added: “eGovernment offers the ability to transform not only the way in which most public services are delivered but also the fundamental relationship between government and citizen.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, established as a CSET in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. DERI’s researchers have a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge, which provides the framework to link information in a way that allows us to use, analyse and retrieve this information more efficiently. -ends-
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Neuroscience at NUI Galway Gains International Excellence Status
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
The Galway Neuroscience Cluster, based within the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway, last week gained the status of Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (COEN) after a national and international review process. By gaining COEN status, the Galway Neuroscience Cluster joins a select group of international centres that are entitled to apply for research funding that is awarded through this international initiative. Leader of the Neuroscience Cluster, NUI Galway’s Dr David Finn, said: “This is a very significant achievement by the Neuroscience Cluster and it represents international recognition and approval of the quantity and quality of our research over the past 5-10 years. I would like to acknowledge the efforts and support of all members of the Neuroscience Cluster and University which have contributed significantly to this exciting development.” The overall aim of the COEN initiative is to build collaborative research activity in neurodegeneration research across borders, focusing on critical mass and excellence. Congratulating those involved NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "NUI Galway’s designation as a Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration is a wonderful endorsement of the calibre of research underway at this University. It underscores the growing international reputation of our University and its researchers. This designation will enable the Galway Neuroscience Cluster to further develop and to join an elite group of international centres working on advancing new therapies for a range of medical conditions." The news came on the eve of the annual research meeting of the Galway Neuroscience Cluster last Thursday at NUI Galway. This meeting showcased the best of neuroscience research in the University. Attendees included undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as post-doctoral research scientists and academic members of staff from a number of different disciplines and research centers within university. The research presented encompassed a number of different areas within neuroscience. The presentations included the genetic approaches taken to improve the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, the potential use of marine products in neuroscience, the use of new delivery methods for therapies in Parkinson’s disease, the development of relevant models to study chronic pain as well as a keynote lecture given by Professor Ciaran Regan of UCD on the development of potential therapies for autism spectrum disorders. Awards for the best postgraduate oral and poster presentations at the meeting were also presented by Dr John Newell of the Clinical Research Facility in Galway who sponsored the meeting. The poster prize was won by Jason Ridge (Anatomy and Psychiatry, NUI Galway) whose work detailed the changes in size of certain brain regions in patients with schizophrenia. Ben Newland (Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, NUI Galway) won the oral presentation prize for presenting his work on the development of a new strategy to delivery genes for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Nikita Burke (Physiology and Centre for Pain Research) won the runner-up prize for her work on the effects of early life stress on the perception of pain. The mission of the Neuroscience Cluster is to develop Neuroscience in Galway through research, education and community initiatives. The Cluster is truly multidisciplinary in membership, bringing together researchers from a range of clinical and preclinical disciplines, which enable the investigation of nervous system disease at a number of levels. Cluster Leader Dr David Finn added: “I would like to congratulate the prizewinners and all those who presented and contributed to a fascinating meeting and I look forward to the continued growth and success of neuroscience at NUI Galway in 2013 and beyond.” ENDS
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Galway Has Potential to become Europe’s ‘Silicon Valley’ says Science Person of the Year
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
A well-known local science advocate believes that Galway should emulate its international status as an arts city by striving to become the European equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. Brendan Smith, Community Education and Outreach Officer for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway, was presented with the Science Person of the Year Award at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival. He was given the award for delivering a range of pioneering science and technology learning initiatives to schools, colleges and to communities. Brendan Smith believes passionately that the city possesses many of the key ingredients needed to transform the region into a leading global hub for smart technologies’ innovation and development. According to Brendan Smith: “Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest information technology corporations as well as thousands of small start-ups. These organisations have established a symbiotic relationship with third-level colleges in the vicinity that provide the stream of young enthusiastic inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists needed to sustain their existence and success. Brendan says Galway bears an uncanny resemblance to San Francisco possessing many of its main traits in abundance. Located on the west coast of the United States, the area is famed for its natural beauty that has engendered a quality of life ethos amongst the inhabitants. The city of San Francisco has also long being characterized by political, environmental and social liberalism; possessing a strong progressive artistic, music, cultural and community solidarity ethos with a youthful, student, cosmopolitan and outward-looking population. Many of the leading corporations in the biomedical and information technology sectors such as Avaya, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, Medtronic and SAP, are already based in Galway with established links to research institutes located in GMIT and NUI Galway such as DERI, Ryan Institute and REMEDI which are providing the scientific expertise to sustain their presence in Galway and underpin their status as leaders in cutting edge product development. There is also the presence locally of indigenous high-tech manufacturing and services industries comprising Irish-owned companies such as Creganna and Storm Technologies. Galway can rightly claim to be the country’s first and premier ‘Digital City’, building on an unbroken tradition of computing innovation that dates back to 1971 when Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), then the world’s largest minicomputer company, opened its first European manufacturing facility in Mervue. This proud technology heritage is exemplified by the fact that the ‘Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland’, which pays tribute amongst other things to the oftentimes hidden role of Ireland, women and youth in communications development, is based in the city at DERI in NUI Galway. “What is also an abiding feature of Galway is the deep sense of ‘community solidarity’ as well as the high level of volunteerism that exists amongst many of the prime ‘movers and shakers’ in the industrial, political, educational and local government sectors. These individuals have over the years collaborated under the auspices of the Galway Education Centre, Junior Achievement and the Galway Science and Technology Festival, to deliver important learning initiatives in schools and colleges across the Western region.” “In a modern industrial urban version of ‘Meitheal’ that was once the hallmark of traditional Irish rural community support, these visionaries have promoted and harnessed an army of young professional mentors from industry and third level colleges who give their time and energies to teach in primary and post-primary classrooms delivering science courses whilst acting as positive ‘role models’ for our young generation.” Such courses will equip our children with a range of skills, from using mathematics to fostering critical thinking, necessary for transforming Ireland from being a nation of ‘digital users’ into a nation of ‘digital creators’ that would export worldwide a series of beneficial Irish-made smart tech products and services. These formal learning programmes are now being complimented by the activities of electronic and computer coding volunteer clubs such as 091 Labs and Coderdojo which are often established by young people themselves to provide informal after-school digital maker’s environments where participants are encouraged to be creative and to experiment in new processes and ideas, writing software for instance for online games or to control the movements of robots. The success of these initiatives is best shown by the dramatic uptake by schools in these mentoring courses as well as by the tens of thousands that attend the science shows and exhibitions during the annual two week Galway Science and Technology Festival. -ends-
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NUI Galway Announces Date for Alumni Awards 2013
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
NUI Galway has announced that the 2013 Alumni Awards will be presented at the annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 9 March, 2013. The Gala Banquet will again be held in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 70,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 74 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O’Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: "Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University's more than 70,000 graduates worldwide and we look forward to announcing the award winners early in the New Year.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends ENDS
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American Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship to Study at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Robin Tipps, a Sociology-Criminology student from the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study Public Law at NUI Galway next September. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, funds one year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland to students who satisfy requirements for an Irish master's degree. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship honours the former U.S. senator's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and was established in 1999. This year 12 scholars representing a cross-section of American students have been awarded the scholarship on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. Among their achievements, they count breaking the cryptic code of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, tutoring underserved children and improving the performance of biofuels. Robin, a member of the Quapaw Tribe, was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma and will graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in sociology-criminology in 2013. He has been the Senior Vice-Chair of Investigations for his University’s Integrity Council and hopes to become a tribal attorney and the chairman of his tribe. His many service activities include work at the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital and as Collections Assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The son of a Quapaw mother and a Caucasian father, Robin has thought a great deal about Native American identity. He grew up 300 miles from tribal headquarters, and the annual ritual of Pow Wow took on great meaning for him, as it was the time when he could connect most easily with his Native American heritage. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public law at NUI Galway, express her delight that Robin had chosen the Public Law programme, the second winner of a prestigious Mitchell scholarship to do so in three years. “Robin will be a very welcome addition to the class and I hope he will find the many opportunities presented to students on the programme to attend conferences and engage with public bodies beneficial to his future career.” -ENDS-
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New Adjunct Professorship Appointed to NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Dr Patrick O’Brien, Group Director of Strategic Business and Marketing for Wood Group Kenny and a member of the Executive Management Team of MCS Kenny, has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Dr O'Brien, a chartered engineer with close to 30 years industry experience, was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Master of Engineering Science and PhD by NUI Galway. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Dr O'Brien plays an active role in a number of industry bodies and he is a board member of Subsea UK. Throughout his career, Dr O’Brien has gained extensive experience primarily in the design of compliant pipeline systems that connect from the seafloor to an offshore oil and gas floating platform. One of his major achievements is the development of the engineering algorithms for the world leading Flexcom riser analysis software. He is the author of many technical papers and he has chaired numerous industry conferences on riser technology. His specialties include: flexible pipe technology, riser mechanics, riser design, nonlinear structural analysis, subsea industry knowledge, strategic and creative thinking, and business networking. NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has had ongoing research links with MCS Kenny since it was first founded as a campus spin-off in the 1980s. Currently Dr O’Brien is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Annette Harte and Adrian Connaire, PhD researcher, on a project which aims to greatly increase the efficiency of the current approaches to modeling the mechanical response of highly compliant marine risers. This new appointment will mark the beginning of a new phase in the relationship between the University, MCS Kenny and the Wood Group Kenny in the field of research and development in the offshore arena. Commenting on his appointment, Dr O'Brien said: “There has been a long tradition of collaboration between the University and MCS Kenny, and this appointment greatly strengthens that link. The company is currently working on two joint research projects with the engineering school, and we will look to build on that going forward. I am honoured to accept this position, particularly as NUI Galway is my alma mater, and I look forward to contributing ongoing lectures which bring my company's extensive experience of the offshore oil and gas industry to the engineering school's students, a timely input given recent announcements of the oil and gas potential offshore Ireland.” -ENDS-
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Minister Sherlock Announces €2.1 Million to Detect Ash Clouds and Improve Ash Dispersion and Density predictions
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Sean Sherlock, Minister of State for Research and Innovation today (Wednesday) announced NUI Galway has secured funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) for a new ash cloud research project. ESA has invested €2.1 million in an ash cloud detection and forecasting system led by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) and involving NUI Galway and the Irish Aviation Authority Irish Aviation Authority’s Volcanic Ash Detection and Forecasting Initiative. The funding was secured with the aid of Enterprise Ireland, which is the co-ordinating body for ESA in Ireland. The project, which uses satellites and forecast models to detect ash clouds and forecast their movements, came about following the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption, which resulted in more than 100,000 flights being cancelled, affecting 10 million passenger journeys during the first week of the eruption alone. Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said; “The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 puts innovation and technology at the heart of enterprise and jobs policies and working with the European Space Agency is an integral part of driving innovation and research in Ireland.” “NUI Galway’s commitment to developing new environmental monitoring techniques is impressive. This is a significant win for NUI Galway and clearly indicates that Irish Research Institutes have the capability and expertise to significantly contribute to these pan European projects.” The Minister added 'Ireland's membership of the European Space Agency is having a direct and positive impact for the research and SME community. There are over 40 Irish companies that are active in ESA programmes. These companies, through their involvement with ESA Earth observation programmes, are also directly impacting on global threats such as climate change, ozone depletion, maritime surveillance, flooding and forest fires'. In addition to ash detection via satellite platforms, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), in collaboration with NUI Galway, is deploying an ash cloud detection network composed of four ground-based LIDARS (dust or haze RADARs) located strategically at north, south, east and west perimeters in Ireland. ESA have invested in NUI Galway’s School of Physics and Centre for Climate & Air Pollution studies to use the LIDAR data for ash detection. In total, ESA have invested €2.1 million in the Volcanic Ash Strategic-initiative Team (VAST). VAST is a consortium led by NILU and comprises teams from Finland, Austria and Ireland with NUI Galway being awarded €500,000 to further develop and evaluate their ash forecast model, to develop real-time ash detection software and techniques for the LIDAR network, and to conduct the validation of the detection and forecasting aspects of the project. Professor Colin O’Dowd, the Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies, based in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The VAST detection and forecasting system is especially designed to facilitate the aviation industry and represents a major technological step forward in combing space-borne and ground-based remote-sensing platforms with sophisticated ash forecasting models and will put Europe in poll position in terms of ash cloud detection and forecasting.” He went on to say “ESA’s investment in NUI Galway’s research and research support staff for the IAA’s LIDAR network is a reflection of how important ESA views the Irish contribution to ash cloud detection and prediction. The initiative will provide more accurate information to the aviation industry which is expected to result in reduced disruption of air travel as ‘fly’ or ‘no-fly’ decisions will be based on more accurate predictions of ash plume location and density.” Dr Barry Fennell of Enterprise Ireland and National Delegate to ESA’s Earth Observation Programme Board said “Ireland’s unique geographical position on the western fringes of Europe makes it an ideal and much sought after international partner when developing early detection environmental warning systems whether focused on the atmosphere, on land or on the marine environment. Many more business opportunities for Irish Industry will become available over the coming years through increased availability and access to data collected in-situ and from Earth Observation satellites.” “Ireland’s recent renewal of its membership to the ESA Earth Observation programme with a subscription of €5 million will secure the position of our SME’s, Academic and Public Sector institutes at the heart of the latest technological developments in this rapid advancing area of service development.” ENDS
NUI Galway Launch New Postgraduate Programme in Rural Sustainability
Thursday, 20 December 2012
NUI Galway has officially launched a new Masters Programme in Rural Sustainability. The full-time, one year postgraduate programme is being co-ordinated by the Discipline of Geography within the School of Geography and Archaeology, and it already has a full complement of students in place for the first year of its operation. The MA in Rural Sustainability has been devised in response to increasing attention nationally and internationally on the role and function of rural economies and societies. NUI Galway holds a distinguished tradition of rural research and teaching. As a European university that is itself situated in a rural and peripheral location, it seeks to continue its leadership role in rural affairs through providing a postgraduate career path in rural studies. The programme was officially launched by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc. This association with Teagasc, particularly with its own strong leadership in rural research, is an important component of the programme as it unites expertise in rural theory, research and practice, ultimately benefiting the student experience and future employability. Speaking at the launch, Professor Boyle said: “I congratulate NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography on this timely and appropriate Postgraduate programme. The programme is a clear response in a positive and proactive way by Geographers in NUI Galway to calls emanating regionally, nationally and internationally, which place rural issues high on current political agendas. This MA also allows for greater collaboration between NUI Galway and Teagasc and I am also delighted to announce, as part of this MA programme, the Teagasc sponsorship of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award.” The event also included the launch of the Dr Patrick Commins Rural Research Award for the best overall MA student performance. Sponsored by Teagasc, this award is valued at €3,000 per annum. The late Dr Commins was a leading academic and researcher in rural issues and had a long and distinguished career with Teagasc. His reputation as an expert on rural affairs extended well beyond Ireland, and his knowledge and experience was regarded as key to informing EU and wider international academic and policy debates. -ENDS-
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Global Mathematical Phenomenon at NUI Galway
Thursday, 20 December 2012
Professor Donal O’Regan of NUI Galway, who was honoured last year by being elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, has just written his 1,000th peer-reviewed mathematical article. He is now one of the most prolific authors in the history of Mathematics in the world. “The quality of his research is as impressive as the quantity”, says his colleague at NUI Galway, Professor Graham Ellis. “His publications appear in some of the world’s top ranking mathematics journals.” Professor O’Regan has been publishing an average of one mathematics paper per week and one mathematics book a year since he joined NUI Galway in 1990. “I’m not surprised Donal has managed to reach the millennium”, says Dr Ray Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics. "He might very well beat the record of Paul Erdös (1913-96) who wrote around 1,525 articles over a 60-year career. O’Regan is still a relative freshman with his 22 years of publishing.” “Donal is truly amazing”, says colleague and fellow mathematician Professor Michel Destrade. “His sheer output is unbelievable by any standard. He has also written twenty books. And he does it all on a 25 year old computer!” Over the 2002-2006 period, O’Regan authored an average of 56 articles per year according to MathSciNet, the most extensive database of mathematical works worldwide. To put this number in perspective, during that same period the whole Island of Ireland produced an average of 142 mathematical articles per year, according to the Forfás bibliometric report (Research Strengths in Ireland), putting his contribution at nearly 40% of the entire Irish output. “We are very privileged to have such a world-class academic on campus”, says Dr Ryan. “He is a one-man powerhouse.” -ends-
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