Monday, 30 November 2009

The Western Development Commission (WDC) and the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway have called for the development of an integrated national strategy to develop the creative sector and drive the future of the smart economy. The call was made at a seminar entitled 'Creative Industries, Innovation & the Smart Economy' held at NUI Galway and attended by policymakers and practitioners from the creative sector. The Smart Economy Framework, launched by the Government in December 2008, specifically identifies the creative, cultural and arts sector as important for national recovery and building a more knowledge and innovation intensive economy. Speaking at the seminar Lisa McAllister, WDC Chief Executive, said: "Creativity should be firmly placed at the core of the smart economy where wealth creation will be increasingly driven by ideas, intangibles and the creative application of Information and Communications Technology. Although we are conscious of the current economic constraints, the WDC believes a national policy to develop the sector will deliver long term economic results for the Western Region and for the national economy. We also believe that future policy decisions should include investment in infrastructure so that the creative businesses who locate here can access international markets, both physically through air, road and rail links, and virtually by way of fast, cheap broadband to reduce any sense of peripherality". Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change at NUI Galway, said: "The nature and organisation of innovation activity is changing and the development of an internationally competitive creative industries sector complements and helps sustain private and public sector investment in research, development and innovation (RDI). Development of a national policy for creative industries would provide a focus for enabling action and a recognition of the importance of creative industries to Irish society and business". Dr Cunningham added: "Policy supports and investment in the development of creative industries would strengthen, deepen and broaden the skills and talents of individuals and organisations. This would also support, in a sustainable way, the broadening of innovation capability and capacity which is a critical element of building a smart economy". The seminar heard of research carried out by the WDC to investigate the size of the creative sector in the Western Region and to identify the key issues faced by people working in the sector. It estimated that in 2008 there were 4,779 creative businesses operating in the Western Region, directly employing over 11,000 people. This generated an annual turnover of €534m and directly contributed €270m to the Gross Value Added of the regional economy. The research also showed that creative businesses in the Western Region tend to be small scale and that there is a high level of entrepreneurship among creative people with 39% of them self-employed. The Western Region is predominantly rural with 68% of the population living in rural areas and the region having few large centres. Creative talent is seen as an asset in a rural region and the seminar heard calls for policies to retain and attract creative talent because creativity is one of the key areas for potential economic growth. Ms McAllister added: "The presence of a strong creative sector in a region can also drive creative thinking in other sectors as well as stimulating new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things". Professor Robert Huggins from the University of Wales and Director of the Centre for International Competitiveness presented international evidence of the links between competitiveness and creativity. He explained how competitiveness is increasingly being measured in terms of creativity, knowledge and environmental conditions, rather than purely on accumulated wealth and that creativity is not a purely urban phenomenon. The seminar heard that Creative Industries and the Smart Economy are relative newcomers to policy debates and that the old dichotomy that separated 'cultural industries' from 'economic industries' is waning, as research highlights the contribution of the innate creativity often found in rural areas to the economic performance of regions. -Ends-

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Almost 800 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway today (Wednesday, 25 November 2009) at the University s winter conferring ceremonies. John Lynch, musical director of the Kilfenora Ceilí Band and regional development activist Mr Tony Barrett, will also be honoured with a Master of Music (honoris causa) and Master of Arts (honoris causa) respectively. In awarding the Master of Music honoris causa on John Lynch, NUI Galway is honouring not just the current Kilfenora Céilí Band but all those renowned musicians of earlier decades, from Kilfenora itself and from elsewhere, who have created a century of outstanding musical tradition. In 2009, the Kilfenora Céilí Band, the country's oldest Céilí Band and an enduring icon at home and abroad of the traditional culture of Ireland, celebrates the centenary of its foundation. Tony Barrett, is being honored for his personal contribution to local and regional development across the region and the Gaeltacht, to the Irish Cooperative Movement, and to a range of University projects. Mr Barrett was a member of the first class of the Master's in Rural Development degree at NUI Galway, graduating in 1987. Speaking in advance of the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, commented: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. Today's honorary graduands - John Lynch and Tony Barrett - have made valuable and distinctive contributions in the areas of traditional music and community development. In very different ways they have added to the social and cultural life of Ireland and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Kilfenora Céilí Band band will play a short selection in the Aula Maxima at a private lunch following the conferring. This will be a repeat performance, as University archives show that the band played in the Aula Maxima in 1937 for the Sigerson Cup Céilí. In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating throughout the day from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Céimeanna Oinigh an Gheimhridh in OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnfar céim ar bhreis agus 800 mac léinn as cúig choláiste OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé Céadaoin, an 25 Samhain 2009) i searmanais bhronnadh céimeanna an gheimhridh san Ollscoil. Chomh maith leo sin, bronnfar Máistreacht sa Cheol (honoris causa) ar John Lynch, stiúrthóir ceoil Bhanna Céilí Chill Fhionnúrach agus Máistreacht sna Dána (honoris causa) ar an ngníomhaire d'fhorbairt réigiúnach, Tony Barrett. Agus Máistreacht (honoris causa) sa Cheol á bronnadh ar John Lynch, tá aitheantas á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do na ceoltóirí cáiliúla as Cill Fhionnúrach féin agus as áiteanna eile a bhí sa bhanna le blianta anuas agus a chruthaigh traidisiún ceoil an chéid. In 2009, tá Banna Céilí Chill Fhionnúrach, an banna céilí is sine sa tír agus a bhfuil clú agus cáil air i bhfad agus i gcéin, ag ceiliúradh céad bliain ó bunaíodh é. Tá aitheantas á fháil ag Tony Barrett as an obair atá déanta aige don fhorbairt réigiúnach agus áitiúil sa cheantar agus sa Ghaeltacht, do Ghluaiseacht na gComharchumann in Éirinn, agus do thograí éagsúla Ollscoile. Bhí an tUasal Barrett sa chéad rang Máistreachta i bhForbairt Tuaithe in OÉ Gaillimh agus bronnadh a chéim air i 1987. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, roimh an searmanas: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh ceangal a bheith aici leis an oiread sin céimithe oinigh den scoth ó bunaíodh í. Tá éacht déanta ag céimithe oinigh an lae inniu – John Lynch agus Tony Barrett – sa cheol traidisiúnta agus san fhorbairt pobail. Ar bhealaí atá an-éagsúil óna chéile, chuir siad beirt go mór le saol sóisialta agus cultúrtha na hÉireann agus tá ríméad ar OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo". Ag lón príobháideach i ndiaidh an tsearmanais, seinnfidh Banna Céilí Chill Fhionnúrach cúpla port san Aula Maxima. Ní hé seo an chéad uair ar tharla a leithéid. Léiríonn cartlann na hOllscoile gur sheinm an banna céilí san Aula Maxima i 1937 do Chéilí Chorn Sigerson. Beifear ag bronnadh céimeanna, ard-dioplómaí, Máistreachtaí agus PhDanna ar mhic léinn i rith an lae ó Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; ó Choláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí; ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta; agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Críoch

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Dr Aisling McCluskey from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Maths at NUI Galway has been awarded a National Teaching Award by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. The awards were presented at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle on behalf of the National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL). More than one hundred guests attended the ceremony on 18 November including Higher Education Authority representatives, senior management of many higher education institutes as well as family and friends of the award winners. Jennifer Murphy, Manager of the National Academy, welcomed the guests and highlighted the significance of the awards programme in recognising and rewarding teaching in Higher Education. Winners of the five Awards were nominated by senior managers within their institutions and selected by a committee which included international representatives as well as representatives of the Irish University Association, the Institutes of Technology Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland. The committee was chaired by Professor Áine Hyland, Chair of the Academy's international advisory board. Awards were also presented to Helena Lenihan, University of Limerick;; Amanda Gibney, University College Dublin; Susan Bergin NUI, Maynooth; and a team from the Dublin Institute of Technology - Michael Seery, Claire McDonnell, Christine O'Connor and Sarah Rawe. Bettie Higgs and Marian McCarthy from University College Cork received a Special Commendation. Despite the diversity of disciplines and Institutions represented, the award winners shared an enthusiasm for teaching that combines with their own research expertise to create an exciting learning environment for students. The Award comprised a crystal vase, a certificate and €5,000, which can be used for further professional development and enhancement of teaching. President McAleese presented the awards highlighting the significant role of integrating research, teaching and learning in the recovery of a sustainable economy. She encouraged teachers to lead by example and to provide innovative and creative teaching and learning opportunities in our higher education institutions. She added that the National Awards were a significant and welcome development in Irish Higher Education. Michael Kelly, Chairman of the HEA closed the ceremony, saying: "This morning I was inspired and inspiration runs throughout the approaches adopted by the award winners which make for attention grabbing teaching". Ends-

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Ms Áine Brady, T. D., Minister for Older People and Health Promotion today (25 November, 2009) launched a new report entitled 'Injuries in Ireland'. Injuries or accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in Ireland after cancers, diseases of the circulatory system and respiratory diseases, with an estimated 1,500 fatalities a year. Tripping and falling were one of the main causes of injuries among adults, according to the report, with the home being the most common location of injury. The report, which was commissioned by the Department of Health and Children, is part of a series from data collected for 'SLÁN 2007: Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland'. The research came out of collaborative work by NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Economic and Social Research Institute, and University College Cork. Key findings contained in the report include: Findings show that 9% of all adults and 43% of all school children reported one or more medically attended injuries in the previous 12 months. Injuries were more prevalent among men and boys, and among those in the age group 12-29 years. Of adults reporting an injury requiring medical treatment, 52% reported 3 or more days of lost activity. Activity loss due to injury was more common among those with lower income, unemployed and medical card holders. Among the adult population, the main locations where injuries occurred were in the home, at a sports facility and on the road. The main activities leading to injury were sports or physical activities, work-related injury and injury during work around the house. Among school children, the main locations where injuries occurred were in sport facilities, at home and in school, while the main activities leading to injury were sports or physical activity. Among the younger population, fall-related injuries were not likely to translate into hospitalisation and fatalities were very rare. Among the older population, fall-related injuries requiring hospitalisation were as common as self-reported fall-related injuries. Dr Michal Molcho of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway was lead author on the report: "This report provides the most comprehensive information to date on injuries in Ireland. The findings indicate that injuries are more common in young people and in the elderly, and that more severe injuries are more prevalent among those less well off. The findings also indicate the main locations and activity leading to an injury providing us with important information as to where we should target prevention efforts". The full report is available on line at www.dohc.ie or www.slan07.ie. -ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Professor Kevin Sullivan, Professor of Cell Biology, and Dr Lisa Prendergast, Postdoctoral Fellow at NUI Galway were recently crowned winners of the SFI Research Image Competition with their image – 'Troubled Cell Division'. This new competition offered Science Foundation Ireland-funded researchers the opportunity to submit digital images created during the course of their research. The winning image shows a dividing cell whose spindle has been disturbed by removing a single protein from the chromosome. The image was taken during research into what might cause a cancer cell to fail in cell division and die instead of multiplying. Professor Sullivan explained: "Our work is aimed at understanding how human cell division works. This knowledge can then be used in the discovery and validation of new drugs for cancer chemotherapy. The mechanism we're studying, the mitotic spindle in cell division, is already a proven target for effective chemotherapy drugs including Taxol and Vinblastine. The idea we're pursuing is that we can potentially lower the toxicity of spindle poisons or target them more specifically to cancer cells". Professor Sullivan's laboratory is in the Centre for Chromosome Biology within the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway. The Centre is a grouping of 11 independent research laboratories with over 80 researchers focused on understanding the functions of genetic material, and how this influences human diseases such as cancer, neurological and developmental disorders. Research in the Centre for Chromosome Biology is supported by funding bodies including Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, IRCSET, the European Union and the Irish Cancer Society. For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, please visit www.chromosome.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The fourth in a series of public talks organised by NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will focus on the dramatic stars known as Pulsars. The free event takes places at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 25 November, in Physics Room 220, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. Pulsars have been intensely studied for more than 40 years and ongoing research at NUI Galway is seeking to solve some of the many remaining mysteries that surround these stars. The death of massive stars, a phenomenon known as 'supernovae', brings into being the neutron stars that are Pulsars, but there is still much to be discovered about their properties. The lecture will be given by NUI Galway's Dr John Mc Donald who says: "Pulsars are one of the most fascinating stars in the universe. Although relatively small physically, they are like galactic lighthouses, emitting massive amounts of radiation. In an area the size of Galway, a neutron star can possess the equivalent mass of our entire Sun. All of this matter and energy is contained within truly immense electromagnetic and gravitational fields, which spin up to 650 times a second". During the talk, Dr Mc Donald will explain the origins of these stars, starting right from the birth of normal stars, through their violent death, to their stunning rebirth as some of the most extreme and enigmatic objects in the known Universe. His talk will also discuss what is known and yet to be discovered about Pulsars, and the research currently being undertaken at NUI Galway s Centre for Astronomy. The series of public talks co-incides with the International Year of Astronomy which takes place throughout 2009. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php -ends-

Monday, 16 November 2009

A public talk entitled 'Did Darwin Solve it all? – Evolution 150 years on' will be given by Professor Wallace Arthur, Professor of Zoology, at 7.30pm in the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway on Tuesday, 24 November. It is widely known that 2009 is 'Darwin Year' and exactly 150 years ago, on 24 November, 1859 Darwin's masterpiece The Origin of Species was published. This book forever changed the way we look at the entire living world, including the human species. Professor Arthur explains: "There was heated debate immediately after the publication of Darwin's book. Then, over the next few years, that debate gradually subsided as the evolutionists won the day. But what is the situation now regarding the theory of evolution? Did Darwin really solve it all? Or are there major gaps in the theory?". One famous present-day evolutionist – the English biologist Richard Dawkins – thinks that Charles Darwin (together with Alfred Russel Wallace) did indeed solve it all. He remarks at the start of one of his books: "Our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but it is a mystery no longer because it is solved. Darwin and Wallace solved it, though we shall continue to add footnotes to their solution for a while yet". However, many biologists do not agree with Dawkins, and NUI Galway's Professor Wallace Arthur is one of them. In this lecture, Professor Arthur will explain why he feels that current research into evolution is doing much more than 'adding footnotes' to Darwin's work. The talk is open to the public and refreshments will be served. Those interested should contact Anne Quinn, Zoology, Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway at 091-492323. Ends-

Monday, 16 November 2009

Editor of The Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, will be the lead participant at a Discourse on the 'Challenges to Press Freedom in the 21st Century' at NUI Galway on Thursday, 26 November at 6-8 pm. Also speaking will be Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, and there will be ample opportunity for interactive discussion with the audience after the formal presentations. The event will be chaired by University President, Dr James J. Browne. Speaking in advance of the event, Professor Nicholas Canny, Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway remarked: "The Discourse will provide an interesting blend of the opinions of a working journalist and editor who has had practical experience of being brought before the courts to uphold principles of press freedom, with those of an expert on the kinds of challenges to press freedom that present themselves in non-western societies". The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the IT Lecture Theatre 250, NUI Galway. Ends-

Friday, 13 November 2009

Two students from NUI Galway's J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics have beaten over 1,700 other candidates to make it to the final seven of Meteor's Apprentice competition. Meteor Mobile Communications is running the competition to mark their sponsorship of the award winning TV series, The Apprentice. The winner will serve an apprenticeship in the marketing department at Meteor next summer. Battling it out for the prize will be 21 year old Emma Curtis, a final Commerce student specialising in Spanish and Marketing. Emma, originally from Kinsale, Co. Cork, hopes to work in an International Corporate Events Company. Also in the final is 22 year old, Galway city native Senan Cronin. Senan is in his final year in Business Information Systems at the University. While the 12 candidates battle it out in the boardroom under self made millionaire and taskmaster Bill Cullen on the TV3 hit The Apprentice, candidates in the Meteor apprenticeship role will have to answer to Meteor s Head of Product Marketing, Bill Blake. Commenting on the search, Bill Blake, Meteor s Head of Product Marketing, said: "We're looking forward to seeing what the Meteor Apprentices are made of. There's a great opportunity here for the successful candidate who will spend next summer working within the marketing department. This extensive role will allow the winner to get a feel of the varying functions within marketing, from devising offers and choosing mobile phone ranges to retention and the exciting world of advertising. For the candidate s final week with Meteor, they get to choose which area they really want to focus on". Expressing her delight at Emma and Senan's success, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: "At the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics we are continuously challenging our students to achieve their potential. We are delighted that Emma and Senan will have an opportunity to showcase their skills to a worldwide audience". Each week the candidates will be given a specific task to complete and can be tracked and voted for by the public on the www.apprenticeunseen.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 13 November 2009

Professor Terry Eagleton, arguably one of the most influential of living literary critics, will deliver a public lecture at NUI Galway entitled 'On Evil' on Tuesday, 17 November, at 6pm in IT Lecture Theatre 250. Professor Eagleton is Adjunct Professor of Cultural Theory based at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway. Professor Eagleton's specialities are literary and cultural theory and the English-language literature and culture of Ireland, on which he has recently completed a trilogy of works. His forthcoming book, "On Evil" is on the topic of evil and its place in our contemporary world. A recent preview by Yale University Press states: "In a book that ranges from St. Augustine to alcoholism, Thomas Aquinas to Thomas Mann, Shakespeare to the Holocaust, Eagleton investigates the frightful plight of those doomed souls who apparently destroy for no reason. In the process, he poses a set of intriguing questions. Is evil really a kind of nothingness? Why should it appear so glamorous and seductive? Why does goodness seem so boring? Is it really possible for human beings to delight in destruction for no reason at all?" Professor Terry Eagleton is the author of many books, including "Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate". The event is free and open to the public. -Ends-

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

An in-depth comparison of health and well-being between children in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales reveals that childhood in Ireland is healthier and happier than in neighbouring countries. The survey, co-authored by NUI Galway was conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, includes information from more than 20,000 children aged 11-15 years. The 136-page report 'Young People's Health in Great Britain and Ireland' looks at issues like health, symptoms, well-being, eating patterns, physical activity, substance use, family and peer relationships and school life. Irish children are more likely than their UK counterparts to report high life satisfaction, and less likely to report feeling low or having poor body image. In this country, children are more likely to engage in physical activity and less likely to spend excessive time on computers or on games console use. They are also most likely to live with both parents and in bigger households, to report that they are able to talk to their fathers about things that bother them and to spend time with friends after school. The report also highlights the lack of data on sexual behaviour among Irish adolescents. "These patterns uncovered illustrate how we compare with our nearest neighbours" said Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway, one of the authors. "This report goes into greater depth on these issues than we have ever had before, showing differences between boys and girls, age groups and children from different family backgrounds". Dr Nic Gabhainn added: "It is important that we recognise the differences as well as the similarities between children in the UK and Ireland. This report suggests that it is important not just to borrow unquestioningly from UK policy and practice when we are trying to improve child health – but that we need to work out where we are similar and where we are not and be more selective in what we do". In the report, age, gender and inter-country differences are documented, as well as patterns in youth health and well-being by levels of family affluence. Copies of the document are available from hbsc@nuigalway.ie or download www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Two NUI Galway students have been awarded the Chicago Student Social Work Scholarships by the Chicago Immigrant Support Centre. First year MA in Social Work Programme students Marie Hoban from Liscarney, Co. Mayo and Bridget O'Hara from Salthill, Galway, will each receive a scholarship of $3,500. This is the second consecutive year that NUI Galway students from this programme have been awarded the scholarship. Starting in January 2010, Marie and Bridget will participate in a 14-week work placement with the Wellspring Personal Care Foundation and the Chicago Irish Project. The placement will see the students working with individuals, families and groups of the Irish immigrant community in Chicago. Marguerita McGovern, Practice Learning Co-ordinator of the MA in Social Work Programme at NUI Galway, said: "International placements are an important resource in the training of professional social workers. Students from the MA in Social Work programme at NUI Galway have the choice of a variety of worldwide placement sites. The student social worker can couple their International placement with an Irish statutory placement in their second year of study. This offers the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and values across the spectrum of this course. In this case we have partnered with the Chicago Irish Project and the students involved are given the opportunity to carry out their work placement in Chicago, supporting older Irish people". In 2007, the Chicago Immigrant Support Center, a non-profit organisation serving the needs of Irish Immigrants in Chicago, formed an alliance with Wellspring Personal Care Foundation. Establishing an initiative known as the 'Chicago Irish Project', the organisations have designed a program to identify service needs and improve the quality of life for Irish born older adults living in the Chicago metropolitan area. -ends-

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

NUI Galway will host a photography exhibition, EYE Spies, from 18 November to 15 December featuring images of performers and street entertainment from Galway City and the University. The display will be launched by NUI Galway Vice-President for Capital Projects, Keith Warnock, on Wednesday, 18 November, at 5pm. The exhibition, hosted by the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, will be open daily from 12 noon to 4pm in the University Art Gallery which is located in the Quadrangle. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. Galway resident and retired NUI Galway academic, Jim O'Donnell, will present his own tribute to Galway at the exhibition. His photographs will include summer festival shots of parades, buskers, and characters in Galway. According to Professor O'Donnell: "Galway has many charms, but its most engaging quality is its openness. The streets of Galway attract an extraordinary array of entertainers and artists. The citizens welcome and relish the free performances and the spontaneous happenings that feature in everyday life here". JuanJo Sierra Alcalá from Madrid will present an outsider's view of performers and happenings on campus during NUI Galway's annual Múscailt Festival, which takes place again next year from 8-12 February 2010. Images from local photographers including Joe O'Shaughnessy and Aengus McMahon, artists Kathy Murphy, Eva Muller, Alan Fitzpatrick, and NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office administrator Deirdre Lydon, will also feature in the EYE Spies exhibition. The exhibition will hold a special section so members of the public can add their own photographs of their own experience of live free entertainment in Galway. For more information contact the NUI Galway Arts & Theatre Office at 091-493766 or fionnuala.gallagher@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 9 November 2009

To celebrate the reopening of the newly refurbished student centre at NUI Galway, Áras na Mac Léinn, student societies have joined forces for the first ever Soc's Music Week. Kicking off on Monday, 16 November, the week will include a wide spectrum of events from all musical genres and includes concerts, dance performances and workshops with guest musicians. Soc's Music Week will commence with an international food fair and live bands in the newly refurbished Bailey Allen hall from 5pm on Monday, 16 November. Later that evening, at 7pm, a special collaborative concert will involve the NUI Galway Orchestra, Traditional Society and Choral Society. Other events during Soc's Music Week will include a charity busking day on Thursday, 19 November, in aid of the Western Alzheimer's Association. According to Ríona Hughes, Societies Officer at NUI Galway: "This is an opportunity to showcase the many talented musicians we have here on campus. For the general public, we invite you to join us during this week which promises to have something for everyone, whatever your musical tastes". Other features of the week will include a performance with Ancient Music Ireland and viewings of classic musicals in association with the Film Society. On Thursday, 19 November, the Rotaract Society will hold the annual Socs in the City fashion show, to raise money for Aware. The week will draw out the stars of NUI Galway with the NUI G's Got Talent Final, a competition which has been hotly contested during the heats. The general public are invited to all events, many of which are free. For a full listing visit www.socs.nuigalway.ie or call 091 49 2852. -Ends-

Monday, 9 November 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) To mark the 125th anniversary of the GAA, the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway will stage an exhibition that focuses on the University's involvement in GAA sports from the early twentieth century through to modern times. The exhibition opening will coincide with the official launch of the GAA commissioned book "The GAA: A People's History" in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 11 November by GAA President, Criostóir Ó Cuana. The exhibition will include a range of photographs of University football, hurling and camogie teams. The photographs include those of trophy winning teams in Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Ashbourne Cup tournaments. The NUI Galway library holds the archive of Michael Cusack, the founder of the GAA, and selections from this important collection will feature in the exhibition. The James Hardiman Library also provides digital access to around 2000 images taken by American collector George Pickow during his visit to Ireland in 1952-53. Images of GAA games from the Ritchie-Pickow archive will be on display. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, commented: "We are very excited to present this exhibition, highlighting as it does some of the University's rich archival material. We are also very grateful to current students and graduates of NUI Galway who have kindly donated memorabilia for display from their playing days". The GAA exhibition will be staged in the foyer of the James Hardiman Library from 12 November until 18 December. The library exhibition will be open to the public until 10pm weekdays and until 5.30pm at weekends. Taispeántas OÉ Gaillimh ag Ceiliúradh 125 Bliain ó bunaíodh CLG (View in English) Mar chomóradh ar 125 bliain a bheith caite ó bunaíodh CLG, beidh taispeántas i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin ina ndíreofar ar an mbaint a bhí ag an Ollscoil le spóirt CLG ó thús an fichiú haois i leith. Osclóidh an taispeántas nuair a sheolfaidh Uachtarán CLG, Criostóir Ó Cuana, an leabhar The GAA: A People's History, ar choimisiúnaigh CLG é, go hoifigiúil i Halla Bailey Allen, OÉ Gaillimh Dé Céadaoin, an 11 Samhain.. Beidh réimse grianghraf sa taispeántas d'fhoirne peile, iomána agus camógaíochta na hOllscoile. I measc na ngrianghraf sin tá grianghraif d'fhoirne buacacha thurnaimintí Chorn Sigerson, Chorn Fitzgibbon agus Chorn Ashbourne. Tá cartlann Mhichíl Uí Chíosóig, bunaitheoir CLG, i leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh, agus beidh samplaí a roghnaíodh as an gcartlann thábhachtach seo sa taispeántas. Tá fáil go digiteach i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin chomh maith ar thart ar 2000 íomhá a thóg an bailitheoir Meiriceánach George Pickow le linn a chuairte ar Éirinn i 1952-53. Beidh íomhánna ó chluichí CLG ó chartlann Ritchie-Pickow sa taispeántas chomh maith. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag John Cox, Leabharlannaí na hOllscoile in OÉ Gaillimh: "Táimid an-tógtha leis an taispeántas seo. Tarraingeoidh sé aird ar an sárábhar cartlainne atá san Ollscoil. Táimid buíoch chomh maith de na mic léinn reatha agus de chéimithe OÉ Gaillimh a thug cuimhneacháin óna dtréimhse imeartha féin dúinn". Beidh an taispeántas ar bun i bhforhalla Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin ón 12 Samhain go dtí an 18 Nollaig. Beidh cead isteach ag an bpobal ag an taispeántas sa Leabharlann go dtí 10pm i rith na seachtaine agus go dtí 5.30pm ag deireadh na seachtaine. -Críoch-

Friday, 6 November 2009

A spin-out company from NUI Galway, Analyze IQ Limited, is providing solutions for the more accurate analysis of complex mixtures such as illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals and contaminants. With technology licensed from NUI Galway, Analyze IQ Limited offers an innovative software suite for the analysis of the composition of mixtures, based on molecular spectroscopy data. Molecular spectroscopic techniques can effectively 'fingerprint' materials. This is done by assessing the manner in which laser light is scattered by the molecular structure of the gas, liquid or solid being tested. The company's products have applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing inspection, law enforcement, emergency services and the pharmaceutical industry. Analyze IQ sells its software suite directly to end users and through partnerships with manufacturers of spectroscopy instruments. The company has recently signed a partnership deal with Florida-based Ocean Optics, which is now marketing and selling the Analyze IQ software suite. Ocean Optics is a diversified photonics technology firm and a global leader in optical sensing with locations in the US, Europe and Asia. Analyze IQ has further partnerships in the pipeline. Analyze IQ Limited was established in 2008 as a spin-out company from NUI Galway. The company's technology is the result of a five-year research collaboration between analytical chemists with expertise in spectroscopic techniques and software engineers with expertise in data mining and machine learning. The research phase received substantial support from Enterprise Ireland. The founders of the Analyze IQ include Dr Michael Madden, who led the development of the technology within NUI Galway, while a lecturer in the College of Engineering and Informatics. According to Dr Madden, CEO of Analyze IQ: "The software suite has been designed to address the need for accurate analysis of spectroscopic data from mixtures of materials. For a wide range of real-world applications, it is essential to be able to work with mixtures to quickly and accurately assess the composition of their main components. Taking law enforcement as an example, it is extremely valuable in a drug seizure to be able to assess the composition of the drugs and cutting agents, as it provides is useful intelligence that indicates from where in the 'supply chain' the drugs have come". Testing has shown that the novel analysing techniques licensed to Analyze IQ are more accurate than standard chemometric-based methods, particularly when analysing complex mixtures. -ends-

Friday, 6 November 2009

The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be commemorated at 6.30pm on Monday, 9 November, at NUI Galway. Lecturers from NUI Galway will speak about their personal experience of the event and discuss its historical and political significance for Germany and Europe during a panel discussion. The event takes place on campus in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. Panel participants will include NUI Galway's Dr Róisín Healy, History; Dr Henrike Rau, Political Science and Sociology (originally from East Germany); and Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, German (originally from West Germany). The discussion will be chaired by lecturer in German, Rosaleen O'Neill, and will be followed by a reception. During the day, students of German at NUI Galway will erect a polystyrene version of the Berlin Wall in the Foyer of the Arts Millennium Building. All are invited to write a comment on it, before its fall is re-enacted around 6.15pm. According to Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, Head of German at NUI Galway: "On 9 November, 1989, a peaceful revolution in the German Democratic Republic swept away the Berlin Wall. This scandalous monument, that had divided the city into two halves since 1961, symbolised the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. Its fall changed the face of Europe more than anything else since the end of the Second World War, resulting in the reunification of a divided Germany and the integration of Eastern European countries into the European Union". NUI Galway will also host an exhibition produced by students of German which will feature rare original exhibits from the former GDR and include a wealth of original sources and a video installation. The exhibition will provide insights into life in the former German Democratic Republic and reflect upon the economic and ideological changes after the fall of the Wall. The bilingual exhibition Bruchzonen/Breaking Points will open at 5pm on Monday, 16 November 2009, in room 204 of the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. Also on Monday, 16 November, at 6.30pm in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, the documentary film My DDR T-Shirt by Ian Hawkins will be screened. The director will be present and will answer questions from the audience. The events are sponsored by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and the German Embassy, Dublin. All events are free and open to the public. For further information email h.schmidthannisa@nuigalway.ie or phone 091 492239. -ends-

Thursday, 5 November 2009

"Open Innovation – a new model for Research & Development" will be the topic of discussion at a special lecture at 6pm on Thursday, 12 November, in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. NUI Galway s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), as part of the InterTradeIreland All-island Innovation Programme, will host the forthcoming lecture by international expert Professor Henry Chesbrough, the Executive Director of the Centre for Innovation at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkley. Professor Chesbrough has a unique background as both a practitioner and researcher, having spent 10 years in senior product planning and strategic marketing positions in Silicon Valley. Chesbrough's book, Open Innovation, which articulates a new paradigm for organising and managing R&D, was named a Best Business Book by Strategy & Business magazine. Professor Chesbrough, says: "Useful knowledge is no longer concentrated in a few large organisations – business leaders must adopt a new, 'open' model of innovation". The concept of open innovation advocates that companies can no longer keep their own innovations secret. The key to success is creating an open platform around innovations so customers, employees and even competitors can build upon them. Only then will there be created an ongoing, evolving community of users, doers and creators. The open innovation concept goes against the traditional view of companies protecting their intellectual property and undertaking all of the R&D and market development of new products or services themselves. Professor Chesbrough, adds: "Today, in many industries, the logic that supports an internal and centralised approach to R&D has become obsolete. In the past, internal R&D was a valuable strategic asset, even a formidable barrier to entry by competitors in many markets. Today, the leading industrial enterprises of the past have been encountering remarkably strong competition from many upstarts". Dr James Cunningham, Director, CISC, NUI Galway, explains: "The new logic of open innovation embraces external ideas and knowledge in conjunction with internal R&D. In short, firms that can harness outside ideas to advance their own businesses, while leveraging their internal ideas outside their current operations, are likely to thrive in this new era of open innovation. Companies like Proctor & Gamble are embracing this open innovation approach". InterTradeIreland Strategy & Policy Director Aidan Gough said: "The theme of open innovation has a strong resonance with our own work in IInterTradeIreland. Through our programmes and initiatives InterTradeIreland is facilitating the development of an open innovation system between the two jurisdictions on this island to deliver not only a more efficient use of the two jurisdictions' knowledge resources, but also a more effective one as well". Professor Chesbrough's key note lecture at NUI Galway is part of the InterTradeIreland All-island Innovation Programme. The Programme, a partnership between InterTradeIreland, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and Queens University Belfast, aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. Those interested in attending should contact valerie.parker@nuigalway.ie and online at www.nuigalway.ie/cisc. Attendance is open to all and the event is free to attend. -ends-

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) At a special ceremony in the University on Monday, 2 November, 29 new recipients of NUI Galway student Sports Scholarships were presented by President, Dr James J. Browne. The recipients joined the existing 19 scholarship holders where NUI Galway supports high performing athletes in a wide range of sports through its Sports Scholarship programme. The Scholarship programme has been developed by the University to reward the students' ability and previous performances, and also to assist young athletes develop their sporting prowess hand-in-hand with their academic progress by putting in place the necessary supports. Recipients this year include six of the Clare U-21 hurling panel who won the County's first ever All-Ireland title this summer: Domhnall and Cormac O' Donovan (twins), Patrick Kelly, Caimin Morey, Donal Touhy and John Conlon (existing scholarship holder). Niall Burke and Joseph Cooney, members of the Galway All-Ireland Minor Hurling winning team, were presented with the hurling Scholarships and a further All-Ireland winner in Offaly's Michela Morkan received the Camogie Scholarship. Martin Conneely of Mervue United and NUI Galway Soccer clubs follows sibling and Irish U-21 International Seamus Conneely as a Sports Scholar. Also receiving a Soccer Scholarship was Donegal native Liam Grant, who was nominated for the 2008 FAI Intermediate player of the year. European Junior Athletics Finalist in 2009, Eilish Fitzpatrick of Cork and Gneveeguilla Club was the awarded the Athletics Scholarship while Galway's Aisling Harris and Cliona Hurst were the Rowing Scholarship recipients. Men's and Women's Gaelic Football scholarships were presented to Elanna Hackett (Monaghan ), Niamh Hegarty (Donegal), Sean Armstrong (Galway), John Connellan, David Duffy (Westmeath) and Shane Nally (Mayo). Moycullen's Dylan Cunningham and Oranmore Maree's Captain Darren Callanan were recipients of the new Basketball scholarships while Shane Casey and Conor Murphy took the Rugby honours. The Cycling Scholarship was presented to Charles Prendergast from Mayo. Irish Internationals, Katie Gallagher (Golf) and Carol Staunton (Rugby) from Mayo, Galway's Jessica Burke (Show Jumping) and Katie McAvena (Windsurfing) as well as promising Westmeath Boxer Daniel Foster will all receive support from the scheme in the coming year. Scholarship benefits include a subsistence grant, coaching, medical and physiotherapy support, performance nutrition and performance psychology, strength and conditioning as well as performance planning and mentoring. Each Scholarship is built around the individual's needs and their chosen sport. To assist these sportspeople in the pursuit of their twin sporting and academic goals, NUI Galway has recently appointed an Elite Sports development officer, former Olympic Sprinter Gary Ryan. Gary highlighted the plans for the Scholarship programme: "We are developing our scholarship scheme to the highest international standards to give outstanding talent the opportunity to develop. The Scholarship and high performance sports programme will create a performance environment for sport and study that encourages, challenges and supports each individual to reach their maximum potential". Also presented at the ceremony were two Gaelic Football Scholarships sponsored by Cadbury's for outstanding U-21 Footballers as part of their sponsorship of the U-21 Football Championship. This year's recipients are Mayo's Jason Doherty and Conor Doherty of Tuam, Co Galway. Tony Regan, Head of Sport, NUI Galway, said: "I wish to congratulate all of those that will receive Sports Scholarships and hope that they can make a significant contribution to the NUI Galway community over the coming years in the same way that many of our current and former students already have by their success in the sporting arena and how they have positively represented the University". 29 Scoláireacht nua Spóirt á mbronnadh ag OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Ag searmanas speisialta san Ollscoil Dé Luain, an 2 Samhain, bhronn an tUachtarán, an Dr James J. Browne Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh ar bhuaiteoirí nua na bliana seo. Cuirfear na buaiteoirí seo leis na 19 mac léinn eile a bhfuil scoláireacht spóirt ina seilbh acu trí chlár Scoláireachtaí Spóirt ina dtacaíonn OÉ Gaillimh le lúthchleasaithe den scoth i réimse leathan spórt. D'fhorbair an Ollscoil an clár Scoláireachtaí chun aitheantas a thabhairt do chumas na mac léinn agus dá fheabhas a bhí éirithe leo i mbun spóirt, agus le cuidiú le lúthchleasaithe óga a gcumas spóirt agus a gcumas léinn a fhorbairt in éineacht tríd an tacaíocht chuí a chur ar fáil. I measc bhuaiteoirí na bliana seo tá seisear de phainéal iomána faoi 21 an Chláir a bhuaigh a gcéad chraobh Uile-Éireann riamh an samhradh seo: Domhnall agus Cormac O' Donovan (cúpla), Patrick Kelly, Caimin Morey, Donal Touhy agus John Conlon (mac léinn a bhfuil scoláireacht aige cheana féin). Bronnadh Scoláireachtaí iomána ar Niall Burke agus Joseph Cooney, atá ar fhoireann bhuacach Mhionúr Iomána na Gaillimhe a bhain craobh na hÉireann, agus fuair curadh uile-Éireann eile, Michaela Morkan as Uíbh Fhailí, an Scoláireacht Chamógaíochta. Tá Martin Conneely atá ar fhoireann Mervue United agus ar fhoireann sacair OÉ Gaillimh ag fáil Scoláireachta Spóirt díreach mar a rinne a dheartháir Seamus, atá ar fhoireann idirnáisiúnta faoi 21 na hÉireann, roimhe. Fuair Liam Grant ó Thír Chonaill ó dhúchas, Imreoir Idirmheánach na bliana an FAI 2008, Scoláireacht Spóirt chomh maith. Bronnadh an Scoláireacht Lúthchleasaíochta ar Eilish Fitzpatrick ó Chumann Chorcaí agus Ghníomh go Leith agus is iad Aisling Harris agus Cliona Hurst a bhain na Scoláireachtaí Rámhaíochta. Bronnadh scoláireachtaí Pheil Ghaelach na mBan agus na bhFear ar Elanna Hackett (Muineachán), Niamh Hegarty (Dún na nGall), Sean Armstrong (Gaillimh), John Connellan, David Duffy (An Iarmhí) agus Shane Nally (Maigh Eo). Is iad Dylan Cunningham as Maigh Cuilinn agus Captaen fhoireann Órán Mór — Meáraí Darren Callanan a bhuaigh na scoláireachtaí nua Cispheile agus fuair Shane Casey agus Conor Murphy na gradaim Rugair. Bronnadh an Scoláireacht Rothaíochta ar Charles Prendergast as Maigh Eo. Gheobhaidh na lúthchleasaithe idirnáisiúnta as Éirinn Katie Gallagher (Galf) agus Carol Staunton (Rugar) as Maigh Eo, Jessica Burke as Gaillimh (Seómharcaíocht) agus Katie McAvena (Clársheoltóireacht) agus an Dornálaí bisiúil Daniel Foster as an Iarmhí tacaíocht ón scéim i mbliana. I measc na nithe a mbainfidh na buaiteoirí tairbhe astu leis na scoláireachtaí tá deontas cothabhála, oiliúnú, tacaíocht leighis agus fisiteiripe, comhairle faoin mbia agus faoin meon a chuirfidh lena gcumas spóirt, agus le neart agus le riocht a gcoirp i mbun a spóirt dóibh, agus comhairle ó thaobh pleanála agus meantóireachta a chuirfidh lena gcumas spóirt. Bíonn gach Scoláireacht bunaithe ar riachtanais an duine aonair agus ar riachtanais a rogha spóirt. Le cuidiú leis na lúthchleasaithe seo a gcuspóirí spóirt agus léinn a bhaint amach, d'fhostaigh OÉ Gaillimh an t-iar-reathaí ráibe Éireannach, Gary Ryan, mar oifigeach forbartha Spórt Éilíte. Labhair Gary faoi na pleananna atá ann don chlár Scoláireachtaí: "Táimid ag forbairt ár scéime scoláireachtaí chun go mbeidh sí ar an gcaighdeán is airde go hidirnáisiúnta le deis a thabhairt do dhaoine a bhfuil talann thar na bearta acu dul chun cinn a dhéanamh. Cruthóidh an clár Scoláireachtaí agus an clár spóirt ardchumais timpeallacht ardchumais don spórt agus don staidéar a spreagfaidh gach lúthchleasaí, a thabharfaidh a ndúshlán agus a chuideoidh leo barr feabhais a bhaint amach." Chomh maith leis sin bronnadh dhá Scoláireacht Peile Gaelaí a ndearna Cadbury's urraíocht orthu ar scothpheileadóirí faoi 21, mar chuid den urraíocht a rinne Cadbury's ar an gCraobhchomórtas Peile faoi 21. Ba iad Jason Doherty as Maigh Eo agus Conor Doherty as Tuaim, Co na Gaillimhe buaiteoirí na bliana seo. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Tony Regan, Ceann an Spóirt, OÉ Gaillimh: "Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leo sin ar fad a bhfuil Scoláireachtaí Spóirt faighte acu agus tá súil agam go gcuirfidh siad go fiúntach le pobal OÉ Gaillimh as seo go ceann cúpla bliain, díreach mar a rinne go leor dár mic léinn reatha agus dár n-iar-mhic léinn trína fheabhas a d'éirigh leo sa spórt agus ar an mbealach a ndearna siad ionadaíocht den scoth ar an Ollscoil". -Críoch-

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

NUI Galway and the University of Ulster have joined forces with HSE West and the Western Health and Social Care Trust to create a collaborative cross-border partnership on diabetes-related research. The "Atlantic - Alliance for Cooperation on Research into Diabetes" (Atlantic - ACORD) initiative brings together clinicians and researchers from the health service, academia and industry, and patients to develop innovative solutions to problems related to the growing problem of diabetes. Diabetes has been targeted because of its increasing prevalence and the associated health care costs. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 4-5%, and 1 in 10 pregnancies develop gestational diabetes. Participants will also include allied health professionals, including dieticians, podiatrists, diabetes specialist nurses, IT specialists and psychologists. Priority research areas for the partnership are health technologies, the use of geographical information systems in database analysis, diabetes in pregnancy, and beta cell engineering. These research themes represent some of the key needs for patients in the region and will form the initial focus of further collaborative research proposals. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: "Tackling diabetes has become an international healthcare priority in the western world. This new research alliance, Atlantic -ACORD, is all about joined-up thinking and pooling resources and expertise north and south of the border". The ultimate aim of the initiative is to enhance the quality of life for patients with diabetes mellitus, and to focus on prevention, treatment and management of the disease. The participant organisations are enthusiastic about the prospect of a formal cross-border initiative in diabetes research, helping tackle this disease, which is a both a growing problem in society and major healthcare service challenge. Professor Finbarr O'Harte of the University of Ulster, said: "The Atlantic - ACORD initiative is an exciting opportunity for us all to pool our expertise in the field of diabetes research for the benefit of diabetes sufferers. This cross-border cooperation should help bring real improvements in prevention, treatment and management of diabetes in this catchment area". Welcoming the initiative, Dr Maurice O'Kane, Head of Research and Development, Western Trust, and C-TRIC, said: "The establishment of Atlantic-ACORD is another significant step forward in putting in place strong systems for research into prevention and treatment of diabetes. This will help us engage even more widely with experts both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will lead to real benefits in how we understand and treat diabetes". It is planned to collaborate with other diabetes centres and work towards an all-island diabetes research network. -ends-

Monday, 2 November 2009

President Mary McAleese presented six inaugural Undergraduate Awards of Ireland to NUI Galway students on 20 October in the Royal Irish Academy where 41 of Ireland's most outstanding undergraduates received awards. Over 1,600 submissions were received and the winners were selected through an academic review process by 33 separate panels. The Undergraduate Awards of Ireland were established to recognise and reward Ireland's most innovative young knowledge creators, to catalyse the development of the brightest undergraduates, and to inspire all undergraduates to achieve. In congratulating these students on their success in the Undergraduate Awards of Ireland programme, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne commended them on receiving this distinction by a body which recognizes Ireland's brightest undergraduates. "Their success will undoubtedly add lustre to the students' academic development, as well as underscore NUI Galway s increasing profile as a centre of world-class research and teaching". He continued by wishing them continued success in their academic endeavours. NUI Galway winners and essay titles: Philomena Ní Fhlatharta - Irish "Cillíní Páistí: briseadh croí faoi rún" Russell Ó Ríagáin - Archaeology "The rectilinear houses of the Irish early neolithic: the introduction of new identities, ideologies and economies" Kayla Reed - Irish "Innéacs de bhailiúchán amhrán a rinne Cosslett Ó Cuinn i nGabhla, i dToraigh agus in Árainn Mhór" Geraldine Galand - Nursing and Midwifery "Define nursing and discuss what you consider to be the key components of nursing care" Caroline Maritin - Earth & Ocean Sciences "Early human settlement in the British Isles as a function of retreat and advance of Northern Hemisphere glaciations: Comparisons with other mammal fauns" Linda O'Connor - Chemistry "Catalytic Methods for the Destruction of Chemical Warfare Agents under Ambient Conditions" The awards are open to undergraduates across the island of Ireland's nine Universities. Submissions are drawn from the outstanding papers, essays and dissertations produced as a normal part of course work during each academic year. In addition to receiving a gold medal for their submissions each students winning essay will be published in an annual journal. -ends-

Monday, 2 November 2009

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has initiated a programme that gives students the opportunity to work in developing countries. Through the Service Learning programme, undergraduate civil engineering students can undertake community-based learning as part of their academic courses. Students will work on projects such as house building, research activities, engineering and science workshops, and literacy programmes. As part of the programme NUI Galway is investigating innovative sustainable construction technology in Zambia, through collaboration with University of Zambia, Good Earth Trust, and the Alan Kerins African Projects. The initial phase of this project entitled 'Cost-effective Sustainable Construction Technology for Zambia' was completed in June by four third-year civil engineering students. With the assistance of the University of Zambia, an extensive literature review and laboratory tests were carried out using interlocking compressed earth blocks, also known as stabilised soil blocks, that replicated those currently used in Western Zambia. If adopted, these blocks can make a significant contribution to poverty reduction, improving the local environment and reducing carbon emissions. The project also saw NUI Galway students, together with two qualified engineers, travel to Western Zambia in August on a 'fact-finding mission'. This visit was used to gather further information on materials available locally that could be used in the manufacture of cost-effective sustainable construction techniques. Further tests to develop innovative composite materials will involve two research projects at NUI Galway which will run in parallel until April 2010. NUI Galway engineering students also ran workshops for orphan children in the remote village of Kaoma. The workshops were developed in collaboration with the Irish engineering professional body, Engineers Ireland, and were designed to encourage the children to explore the world of science and engineering. Speaking on the new initiative Dr Jamie Goggins, Lecturer in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway said: "Working in developing countries is a great way to improve your technical skills, broaden your horizons and gain invaluable working experience. Getting a job in communities less fortunate than your own can be a very fulfilling experience. It is extremely rewarding to know that your efforts are helping others to help themselves and working towards alleviating inequality and poverty". NUI Galway Engineering students have also taken part in other volunteering projects in Africa. Over the summer, nine final-year engineering students volunteered for two months in Bahir Dar, in the north of Ethiopia, working on a house building project and helping with a literacy programme. -ends-

Monday, 2 November 2009

- Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun - A new report to be launched today (Monday, 2 November) looks at the future of a part of Galway City which, in recent years, has seen the highest population growth of any district outside of Dublin. The study was commissioned by a local community group, the Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun Planning and Strategy Committee. This major report into the communities of Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun was undertaken by NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office. The 'Profile, Needs Analysis and Action Plan' study highlights a number of very distinct traits of the area and points to developments which are urgently required to pave the way for the future. According to the report, a combination of facilities and development supports is crucial, given the area's youth, its multi-cultural mix, its high degree of transience and a perceptible rise in unemployment. In the past decade, the Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun (DRA) area in the East of Galway City has witnessed phenomenal population growth. The population has grown from around 200 people in the year 2000, to its present day figure of 7,280. The area is also notable for the exceptional youth of its population, more than a quarter of the area's population (26.6%) are children aged 15 or younger. In total, there are almost 2000 children living in the DRA area who are obliged to travel outside of the area in order to attend school, until new schools approved for the area open in 2012. Among much needed developments identified in the study, the most important are considered to be: the opening of the two approved schools; the development of a multi-purpose Neighbourhood Centre; an expansion of youth services; and the delivery of community development supports. More than two in five households (41.5%) are living in private rented accommodation in the DRA area, which is four times higher than the national average. The area is also markedly multi-cultural, with at least 33 different nationalities living in the area, with one in three (33.4%) of all residents being non-Irish nationals. Commenting about the Report, Seamus O'Grady, Director of Adult and Continuing Education, NUI Galway, said: "The report highlights the importance of local community action and collaboration with development agencies. It documents significant priority developments that need to be addressed in the Doughiska, Roscam and Ardaun areas. As a city, Galway has seen massive change over the last decade and elements of society need to come together to shape a successful future for our young people. The University is delighted to have played a role in progressing local needs through this research report. NUI Galway will continue to work in cooperation with DRA, Galway City Council and other local development interests in furthering the development capacity of the East side of Galway City". The report was funded by NUI Galway, Galway City Council, the Galway Diocese and McInerney's Properties. -ends-

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

In 2010 NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will continue its programme of open evenings at its Imbusch Astronomical Observatory. The Observatory provides state-of-the-art observing facilities for NUI Galway's Astrophysics students and the Open evenings are an opportunity for the general public to come in and visit. At 7pm on 20 January and 17 February, weather permitting, an informative hour-long lecture will be followed by a hands-on viewing of the sky by night. Numbers are limited to two per person and admission is strictly by ticket only, allocated on a first come first served basis. Bookings are by email and those interested should send requests to tara.shanahan@nuigalway.ie. NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy and School of Physics has also announced details of the next talk in their series of public lectures. Tickets are not limited for this free lecture, which will focus on Applied Physics. The lecture takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 13 January, in the McMunn Theatre, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. This lecture, presented by Dr Mark Foley, Lecturer with the NUI Galway School of Physics, will focus Medical and Laser Physics. Medical Physics is one of the fastest-growing areas of physics today, involving the application of physics and physical methods to problems in medicine. Medical physicists play an essential role in fields such as diagnostic imaging, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine and radiological safety. This lecture will focus on cutting-edge clinical technology and also on the fundamental principles behind the technologies used to diagnose and treat cancer patients. The second part of the lecture will be given by Dr Gerard O'Connor, also from the School of Physics, and will focus on Laser Physics. The lecture will introduce the concept of laser light, describe the applications of laser technology and look at the future of laser light. Commenting on the importance of Laser Physics, Dr O'Connor said: "Lasers are just 50 years old but their discovery has already transformed the way we live, work and play. From the application of laser technology in enabling the internet, creating new methods for manufacturing, developing new healthcare, new measurements and new entertainments, the photonics revolution based on laser technology is only beginning". After the lecture a tour will be given of the research facilities in the NUI Galway School of Physics. Although the lectures will be aimed at second level students, they will be of interest and open to the general public. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -ends-

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Acting teachers from around the world will visit NUI Galway in January as the University hosts a five-day workshop by the New York-based Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA). Michael Chekhov was the nephew of the playwright Anton Chekhov and was widely recognised as one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. He went on to teach the likes of Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Clint Eastwood, Anthony Quinn, Ingrid Bergman, Jack Palance and Yul Brynner. MICHA is training a new generation of practitioners in Michael Chekhov's acting technique, which is based in a psycho-physical approach to acting. Joanna Merlin and Fern Sloan, two master teachers, will lead classes at the workshop. Joanna, who is President of MICHA, studied with Michael Chekhov during the last five years of his life. She made her Broadway debut opposite Laurence Olivier in Becket and created the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. Her film credits include Invasion, staring Nicole Kidman and co-starring roles in City of Angles with Dennis Franz, Class Action with Gene Hackman, Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts, Fame, All That Jazz and The Killing Fields. Joanna was most recently on screen in The Wackness and has a recurring role as Judge Lena Petrovsky on Law and Order, Special Victims Unit. This is MICHA's first visit to Ireland and the workshop takes place from 4-8 January. -ends-

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

At the recent annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, ground breaking research from the Breast Cancer Research Group in NUI Galway was well received. The meeting is the biggest Breast Cancer Meeting in the world with more than 12,000 delegates and is a key step in the introduction of novel and new initiatives in breast cancer. The research from NUI Galway came from the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) funded Surgery programme on the role of MicroRNAs in breast cancer. For the first time, the work shows that MicroRNAs are measurable in the blood of breast cancer patients and the levels of mir95 in particular, suggests that it is a breast cancer specific tumour marker. The work was led by NUI Galway's Professor Michael Kerin, presented by Dr Helen Heneghan and co-authored by Dr Nicola Miller and Dr John Newell Dr Heneghan who is a Health Research Board funded Clinical Research Fellow, is currently two years into her PhD programme. Her work shows that microRNAs are measurable in the blood of breast cancer patients, that levels of certain miRNAs drop after breast tumours are surgically removed and that mir195 is likely to be a breast cancer specific tumour marker. The novelty involves a modification of standard techniques allowing these little molecules to be reliably measured in blood from breast cancer patients for the first time. Professor Kerin, Head of Surgery at NUI Galway, said that this work opens up many corridors of scientific questioning: "In particular, we may be able to trace tumour activity in breast cancer using these markers and a combination of microRNAs may function as screening tests for breast cancer allowing early detection to become the norm. This early work suggests that a combination of mir195 and Let7a are sensitive markers for the presence of breast cancer in over 90% of cases. This raises the possibility of their use in screening for breast cancer". Professor Kerin warned of the possibility of reading too much into this discovery as it is still 'early days': "Our initial work centres on 83 breast cancer patients and 44 controls. While it is clear that we can now measure microRNAs in blood, much more work has to be done. We have received amazing feedback however, from the major Breast Cancer Research Centres around the world and they want to collaborate with us to answer these questions. The fact that microRNAs are small, robust and act on multiple genes suggest that they may be very powerful factors in breast cancer propagation and development. In addition, we may be able to interfere with them and manipulate their expression which may allow cancers which are refractory to standard therapy to be made sensitive. This work is part of the ongoing Breast Cancer Research Programme in Surgery at NUI Galway which also looks at the role of stem cells in breast cancer. "We have some very exciting projects ongoing here and have several national and international partners. We receive funding from the Health Research Board, Molecular Medicine Ireland, the Royal College of Surgeons, the Irish Cancer Society as well as some European Funding", continued Professor Kerin. However, we could not manage without the help of the NCBRI, which is a voluntary body and over the years has raised more than €7 million to fund and equip the laboratory here. This research shows that we have the opportunity to deliver international-standard cancer research and give our world class medical students and junior doctors the opportunity to train and develop. I would like to thank the NBCRI volunteers and particularly our patients who have so kindly agreed to take part in the Research Programme". -ends-

Monday, 21 December 2009

NUI Galway PhD student in the School of Physics, Ann McDonagh, has just returned from participating in a US Department of Homeland Security study on the spread of airborne contaminants released in subway systems. The study measured the flow of gas and particles through tunnels and cars in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system. Ann's PhD work is supervised by Dr Miriam Byrne, Lecturer with the School of Physics at NUI Galway, and funded by the Radiological Institute of Ireland. Her work aims to develop a better understanding of how contaminant particles, especially those of a radioactive nature, might become redistributed in the environment, if a person or population group were contaminated during an accidental or terrorist-motivated release. Ann developed a relationship with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) through a visit funded under the NUI Galway/University of California Travel Scheme earlier this year. She has also been asked to participate as a LBNL guest scientist in two scientific missions, in Washington and Boston. This latest study ran from 5-11 December, and involved the release of common, harmless tracer gases used for indoor and outdoor air testing; an inert particle tracer tagged with a biologically inert, non-toxic organic dye used in medical imaging applications; and a common chemical often used as a brightening agent in laundry detergents and paper manufacturing. Particle and gas concentrations were sampled in more than 20 stations and in subway cars, but normal MBTA operations were not disrupted by the activities of the researchers. Regarding the study, Dr Miriam Byrne says: "It is a great achievement for Ann to be selected as a member of the international team for this high profile scientific mission. The results obtained will complement her PhD research, and advance our general understanding of toxic air pollution transport. As well as having applications in the control of accidental and terrorist releases, our knowledge of the spread mechanisms of airborne infectious diseases will also be enhanced". Joining LBNL scientists in the MBTA study were scientists from Argonne National Laboratory, ICx Technologies of Arlington, Virginia, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory of the United Kingdom, and the Chemistry Centre of Australia. -ends-

Monday, 21 December 2009

Pádraig Ó Céidigh, chairman of Aer Arann, one of the fastest growing regional airlines in the world with a turnover in excess of €100 million and annual passenger numbers of 1.2 million, has been appointed to the position of Adjunct Professor with NUI Galway's JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics. His first task as Adjunct Professor, which is an honorary three-year position, will involve the preparation, introduction and delivery of a new final year undergraduate module to business students, entitled 'Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise'. This module will demonstrate to students, real life innovative practice and foster the same in them in their final year prior to graduating and entering the workplace. A graduate of NUI Galway, Ó Céidigh was the 2002 recipient of the Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Business and Commerce for his significant achievements in the airline industry and his contribution to Irish society and economy. He has been a stalwart supporter of student mentoring and education through his position as Chief Executive in Residence with the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics. Speaking about his appointment, Ó Céidigh said: "It is a great privilege for me to be afforded an opportunity to contribute to my alma mater in this way. I believe with conviction in life-long education and I would hope that I can, as Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway, promote and help develop the excellent education programmes that are offered by the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics". Ó Céidigh is recognised nationally as a leading business figure and was named Ernst and Young Irish Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002. He went on to represent Ireland in the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo in 2003. He was named Galway Person of the Year in 2004 and is only one of three people to be honoured as honorary member of the MBA Association of Ireland. The Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, Professor Willie Golden speaking about Pádraig's appointment, said: "We are delighted to have Pádraig as part of the team, through his involvement students will gain extremely valuable insights into innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship". -Ends-

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

NUI Galway's new Strategic Plan 2009-2014 was officially launched in Galway today (Wednesday, 16 December) by the University's President Dr James J. Browne. Key elements of the plan include a major €130m construction plan, increased numbers of spin-out companies, and a rise in numbers of mature, international and PhD students. "We are the biggest employer in Galway City, a fast growing and dynamic University, and increasingly recognised internationally for our research and scholarship", President Browne said. "Our strategic plan enshrines not only our commitment to supporting the social, economic, industrial and cultural development of the region, but our national role in supporting economic recovery. The strategic plan also cements our research ambitions which will bring further international recognition in our priority areas of expertise". NUI Galway will be a major contributor to the economy through its ambitious €130m in construction activity, which will ramp up throughout 2010. Five new buildings will be constructed, potentially creating hundreds of jobs in Galway City. Over one third of the funds for construction will come from philanthropic sources, due to intensive and very successful fundraising activity by Galway University Foundation. President Browne said the plans are a significant short-term boost to the economy and also put in place the long-term infrastructure to produce the graduates who will fuel the economic recovery to a Smart Economy. "We will play our part in revitalising the economy and developing the Smart Economy. We will do this by taking advantage of the value now available in the building industry to address our capital deficit and put in place the infrastructure to grow our research effort and our graduate output. Given that in the case of the planned research buildings the University is able to provide close to half of the cost in private philanthropic funding, we are planning significant additions to the nation's vital infrastructure at a minimal cost to the Exchequer, and ensuring the creation or preservation of hundreds of jobs in the construction industry". The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region's vital medical devices industry. Infrastructure requirements are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers. In the area of student numbers, NUI Galway's Strategic Plan sets out a target of 200 PhD graduates per year by 2014. By this time, non-traditional students will account for 7.5% of the total student population, international students for 15%, and mature students for 27%. The Strategic Plan firmly commits NUI Galway to leading the Smart Economy in the region and to its becoming a centre of innovation and enterprise for industries. Targets of a four-fold increase in patent filings, a five-fold increase in licence agreements and an average of five spin-out companies per year have been set. Online version of the Strategic Plan is available at www.nuigalway.ie/strategicplan. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

An information booklet, entitled "Clinical Practices - Guidelines for the Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy", has been launched at University Hospital Galway. The booklet is intended for use by midwives, registered nurses, obstetricians, physicians and GPs responsible for the care of women with diabetes who are pregnant or who are intending a pregnancy and for women with gestational diabetes. The guidelines, which are authored by Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the School of Medicine, NUI Galway and the ATLANTIC DIP research group, aim to promote high quality care and service to women with diabetes to ensure that the outcome for mother and baby matches that of non-diabetic women. In this respect, it provides a common framework to all professionals involved in the care of pregnant women at risk of, or with, gestational diabetes and those with pre-existing diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Speaking at the launch, Professor Fidelma Dunne, said: "The guidelines are an aid for professionals who deliver care to women with diabetes before, during and after pregnancy. We hope to update them on a regular basis as new information through research appears through our own work and internationally. We are also developing a booklet for patients which will be available soon. All these tools will be available on the ATLANTIC DIP website early in 2010". Diabetes is the most common medical disorder of pregnancy and complicates 1 in 200 pregnancies in Ireland. Even with the recent improvements in diabetic and obstetric care, the risk of stillbirth is 5 times and perinatal mortality is 3.5 times greater than non diabetic pregnant women. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations remains twice the rate as for non-diabetic pregnancies. The number of women with established type 2 diabetes entering pregnancy is also on the increase and represents 25% of women with pre-gestational diabetes at antenatal clinics. Research through ATLANTIC DIP has identified that a further 1:10 women with no known diabetes, develops gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Some of the areas covered in the "Guidelines for the Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy" are: Preconceptual Care Gestational Diabetes Antenatal Care Management during Delivery Postnatal Care Care of the Newborn -Ends-