Monday, 3 March 2008

NUI Galway has launched the new Ignite Technology Transfer Office (formerly TTO NUI Galway) to provide expertise and guidance to researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs in the western region. The 15 members of the Ignite TTO team will offer a range of programmes and services to support Intellectual Property Management and new Enterprise Development. The team will build on existing technology transfer activities at the University, with a focus on the early stage identification and protection of intellectual property (IP), technology marketing, technology valuation and technology commercialisation. The new entrepreneurial forum, enhancing spin-out formation, technology licensing & business mentoring and the expansion of support services, such as the business incubation space, will add to enterprise support that Ignite TTO provides. Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Consultant Advisor, Ignite TTO, said "NUI Galway's investment in research and technology commercialisation exceeded €46m in 2007. When people think of Ignite TTO we want them to equate it with the birth of new technologies, the emergence of new breakthroughs, an endless source of innovation, a fountain of future commercial prospects. It will excite the imagination and attract entrepreneurs to our sandbox of commercially viable offerings. In time it will represent a place of excellent research giving way to excellent technologies and thereafter to commercial success. " NUI Galway has a long standing involvement with the promotion of indigenous enterprise and the direct provision of services to locally based industry. More than 40 collaborative projects with industry were secured in 2007, generating over €2.3m, as well as the establishment of a new entrepreneurial forum with a view to providing researchers and emerging entrepreneurs the fundamental knowledge and skill set required in the pursuit of enterprise development. Ignite TTO has a strong focus on market assessment and delivery of tailored solutions and technology offerings to market on time. During the last year, following licensing of technologies and intellectual property, a number of start-up companies were formed from NUI Galway including Eirzyme Ltd, Theta Chemicals Ltd. and Syncrophi Ltd. Numerous other spin-out companies are at late stage negotiation. Summary of Some Key Achievements in 2007: 1. €46M spent on research in 2007 2. Twenty four Option & License Agreements executed in 2007 3. Thirty patent applications 4. Four spin-out companies in past 12 months 5. 40 collaborative projects with industry (start-ups, SMEs and MNCs) 6. Six bio-incubation labs and a core equipment lab for Life Science companies created 7. Launch of Campus Commercialization Program and Start-up-Solutions to promote enterprise development 8. Funding for new graduate programmes in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Dr Neil Ferguson, Ignite TTO Commercialisation Officer, said, "There is a real sense of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation among businesses in the west of Ireland, matched by the cutting-edge research taking place on campus. The encouragement of our future entrepreneurs is critical to the sustained economic prosperity. The Ignite TTO team is there to lend a helping hand to entrepreneurs in our University and region as they take the first steps in bringing their technology concepts to commercial reality". This is a vibrant and stimulating time to be part of Ignite TTO where National University of Ireland, Galway has developed an attractive portfolio of technologies suitable for licensing, spread across life sciences, biotechnology, medical devices, ICT, engineering and many more. For further information please visit Ignite TTO at www.nuigalway.ie/tto or contact the TTO team on 091-492147 ENDS

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety, Mr. Pat The Cope Gallagher, T.D. has published the results from the latest National Health and Lifestyle Survey (SLÁN 2007). SLÁN 07, which is the third in a series of lifestyle and behaviour studies of the Irish population, was commissioned by the Department of Health and Children and was carried out by a consortium involving NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and University College Cork. The study involved face-to-face interviews with 10,364 adults along with a sub-study on body size of 967 younger adults (18-44 years old) and a more detailed physical examination of 1,207 adults aged 45 and over. The research team from NUI Galway was led by Professor Margaret Barry, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre, and included Dr. Michal Molcho and Mr. Eric Van Lente, also from the Health Promotion Research Centre. Professor Barry, on behalf of the team, said, "We are delighted as a cross-institutional team to deliver SLÁN 2007, the largest national health and lifestyle survey of adults undertaken in Ireland to date. It builds on two previous surveys, also carried out at NUI Galway, to provide a profile of health since 1998. For the first time, the SLÁN survey includes information on the mental health and social wellbeing of the Irish population and national level data on injuries. The findings for the survey give vital direction for policy and service developments in the coming decade." Key results emerging from the Survey The survey contains a wealth of data on lifestyle behaviours of the Irish adult population including smoking, alcohol consumption, mental health, diet and physical activity. Some of the key facts to emerge are: • Half the population recorded self-rated health as 'excellent' or very 'good' and that this has increased since the last SLÁN survey in 2002. Similarly, there is a reported increase in the number of respondents who described their quality of life as good or very good. • There was a decrease from 2002 to 2007 in the percentage of respondents who reported consuming 6 or more standard drinks ('risky drinking') at least once a week. • Overall, 65% reported consuming the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. One third either always or usually added salt to food at the table. Half reported snacking between meals, most commonly on biscuits and cakes. • 29% of the population smoked, with higher rates amongst young people. Almost half of both male and female smokers reported attempting to quit within the previous 12 months; younger smokers were more likely to report attempting to quit. • Younger men reported higher levels of physical activity, reducing with increasing age. This contrasts with the relatively low level of physical activity in women across all age groups. Of concern was the fact that respondents who reported that they were physically inactive gave their main reason as 'no time'. • Over half of respondents (55%) reported being involved in community activities, compared to 59% in 2002. • The results that emerged from the physical examination of the population sample over 45 years of age point to the prevalence of raised cholesterol and high blood pressure in this population group. In relation to body weight, 39% of those examined (ages 18+) were medically overweight with a further 25% classified as obese. "The SLÁN 2007 study provides invaluable data for policy development and programme planning on a range of lifestyle related health behaviours in the Irish population. More importantly, SLÁN 2007 allows us to identify trends and monitor changes in population behaviours thus better informing our priority setting decisions at national level. While people make their own lifestyle choices, it is only through more and better information that we can better understand the health behaviours of the population and provide the necessary advice and support to them," Minister Gallagher said. The lifestyle choices of individuals have a direct impact on their physical and mental well-being. These choices relate to what they eat, if they smoke, the amount of alcohol they consume and if they take regular exercise. While individuals can make their own lifestyle choices, policy makers need to develop and target effective health promotion policies and initiatives in order to inform and influence people to make healthier choices. It is crucial, therefore, that the information on which these policies are developed is accurate and up to date. The Survey Report is available on line at www.dohc.ie or at www.slan07.ie -ends-

Monday, 28 April 2008

Two students from Gort Community School will represent Connacht in the first ever 'Debating Science Issues' competition in Dublin on Friday, 9 May. This prestigious new Wellcome Trust-funded debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland. Open to senior cycle secondary school students, the 'Debating Science Issues' competition invites young people to take an active interest in biomedical science and to engage with contemporary research. Dominique Twomey and Shane Croake from Gort CS will represent Connacht, having recently won the regional final hosted by REMEDI at NUI Galway. Students Ailish Ní Choisteabhla and Caitríona Walsh, from Coláiste Chroí Mhuire, An Spidéal, came second in the regional final. The competition invites students to explore topics such Stem Cell Research, Genetically Modified Food, Nanotechnology, Health and Self Testing, Vaccinations, and Animal Testing. 'Debating Science Issues' is an extension of a regional debating series originally initiated by REMEDI among Galway schools in 2005. With support from Wellcome Trust, the competition has now expanded to involve secondary schools north and south of the border. Organisers hope that debating will facilitate discussion among young people on the advances in the biomedical field and the societal and ethical impact of this research. According to Dr. Kieran Ryan, Programme Manager at REMEDI, "Ultimately, we hope to stimulate young people to think differently about biomedical science as they discover the immense impact it has on society, and consider a career or education in this field. An impassioned discussion can really allow students and teachers explore issues surrounding these fascinating areas of science". The final of the competition take place at the Science Gallery, TCD, on Friday 9 May. Competition prizes will include laptops, iPODs and school trophies. For more information contact Breda Kyne, Outreach Officer at REMEDI, at breda.kyne@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Friday, 25 April 2008

NUI Galway MSc student Margaret McCallig has won the 2008 Occupational Hygiene Society of Ireland (OHSI) student prize. The objective of the OHSI student scheme is to encourage research and promote occupational hygiene as a profession in Ireland. Occupational Hygiene is a specialised discipline within the broad area of Occupational Safety and Health and is concerned with the prevention of ill health caused by exposure to poor work environments. NUI Galway offers one undergraduate and two taught postgraduate programmes in Occupational Health and Safety, and also offers the option to complete an MSc or PhD by research in the area. Margaret, originally from Dunkineely, Co. Donegal, is currently undertaking a research Masters in Occupational Hygiene in the Physics Department at NUI Galway, funded by the Health and Safety Unit of The Office of Public Works. Her research is looking specifically at exposure to vibration among construction workers when using powered equipment such as angle grinders, excavators, jack hammers and chain saws. This data will then be used to develop an exposure management system which will aid in the selection of 'low risk' equipment, and will also help schedule work activities so as to minimise worker exposure so that industry can comply with the regulations. According to Dr. Marie Coggins, Lecturer in Occupational Hygiene at NUI Galway said, "Regular exposure to high levels of hand arm and whole body transmitted vibration can result in a range of permanent adverse health conditions including the development of the occupational disease, vibration white finger. The introduction of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Control of Vibration at Work) Regulations in 2006 has presented challenges for the engineering and construction sectors in terms of vibration exposure assessment and management." Margaret has a BSc (Honours) degree in Health and Safety Systems from NUI Galway in 2006. -ends-

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Third level colleges in Dublin, Cork and Galway join forces to strengthen Ireland s profile in health research and announce fellowship programme to train clinician scientists. NUI Galway has been awarded five fellowships through the newly launched company, Molecular Medicine Ireland (MMI) which will coordinate health research activities in Ireland. The company will strengthen Ireland s profile in health research by combining and building on the biomedical research strengths of institutions involved: NUI Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College and Royal College of Surgeons. MMI will accelerate the translation of recent rapid advances in science into new ways of understanding disease and new diagnostics, drugs and devices to treat illness and protect the health of people in Ireland. Each of the newly appointed fellows will undertake a PhD in one of the five member institutions, the first 19 Fellows were recently selected through a rigorous process led by Molecular Medicine Ireland and will begin their studies next July. Dr. Ruth Barrington, Chief Executive of Molecular Medicine Ireland said that Molecular Medicine Ireland had taken the initiative, with its member institutions, to train tomorrow s leaders in health research. With funding of €10m awarded by the Higher Education Authority, Molecular Medicine Ireland has put a fellowship programme in place to train medical graduates as clinician scientists. Clinician scientists are trained in both the clinical care of patients and in the biological sciences that are revolutionising the practice of medicine. Professor of Medicine and Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, Professor Tim O Brien, said, "The establishment of MMI with funding from the HEA will allow Galway to play a major role in developing the next cadre of clinician scientists. We are developing a patient centred academic medical centre as a partnership between NUI Galway and the HSE and training clinician scientists who will have protected time for research is a key part of that strategy. The HSE and the HRB have already funded a clinical research facility in Galway which will play a major role in training these clinicians. The Galway facility is part of a network of such facilities in Ireland which has formed the Irish clinical research infrastructure network which will allow new treatments to be developed and ultimately enhance patient care in this country. We are enthusiastic about the structured research education for clinician scientists to be provided through MMI, and in partnership with other medical schools MMI will work towards the development of a unified programme in translational medicine for the benefit of the nation's health." Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Education and Science launched Molecular Medicine Ireland recently in Dublin. Welcoming the formation of Molecular Medicine Ireland, Minister Hanafin praised the foresight of the heads of the five institutions in taking this important step towards developing a world-class system in health research in Ireland. "Molecular Medicine Ireland will assist the institutions build a sustainable system of world class teams in biomedical research, which is a key goal of Government science and technology policy," said Minister Hanafin. Commenting on the announcement, Professor Terry Smith, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway, said, "The MMI-coordinated clinician scientist fellowship programme is an exciting new development which will significantly enhance NUI Galway's Biomedical Science and Engineering research programme. This initiative promises to train clinician scientists of the highest international calibre, and to contribute to the development of innovative therapeutic solutions to current medical challenges. I have no doubt that through MMI, novel insights will be gained in our understanding of the underlying basis of disease including, cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, reproductive disorders, and neuro-degenerative diseases." -ends-

Monday, 21 April 2008

Over 300 cyclists to participate in Kellogg's Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge Details of Ireland's largest amateur four-day cycling event, the Kellogg's Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge, have been announced. Over 300 riders accompanied by 60 support staff will travel over 500 miles through the four provinces of Ireland. All proceeds from the event will go towards the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. The Challenge starts in Lisburn, Co Down on Friday 9th May and finishes in Lucan, Co. Dublin on Monday 12th May. 2008 is the second year that NUI Galway has hosted the Kellogg's Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge, with the official finish line of stage 2 of the event located at the Aula Maxima (Quadrangle) in the University's grounds on Saturday 10th May. The grounds of the 163 year old University are a magnificent platform for the end of the Cavan to Galway stage of the Kellogg's Tour of Ireland. Participants will embark on stage 3 of the challenge from NUI Galway on Sunday 11th May. The public are invited to come out and cheer on the cyclists and enjoy the great spectacle. Last year's inaugural Challenge was a great success and this year's promises to be bigger and better. In 2007, 125 cyclists entered and the 2007 challenge was voted the best organised event of its type by the international cycling community. The Challenge encourages people to exercise and participate in healthy sporting activities. It complements NUI Galway's commitment to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. This commitment is evidenced by its flagship new sports complex which is opening this year. Event Director, Marc Barr said: "2007 was a lot of hard work and we achieved much more than we had expected. The numbers already entered this year underscore the great reaction we have had from the international cycling community. Thank you to our partner NUI Galway for the great efforts put in by everyone to make the event a success. The Kellogg's Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge is all about promoting healthy activity for all in an enjoyable and fun way. This fits very well with NUI Galway's commitment to sporting activities. We very much appreciate their association and look forward to working with them again this year." Stephen Twaddell, Managing Director of Kellogg's said: "We are delighted to support this event which is an important part of our Let's Get Active initiative – a community-based programme of events, designed to help people in Ireland get active and have fun while raising money for a good cause. As the Tour snakes its way across Ireland next month, we hope it will inspire people to get on their own bikes and discover the pleasure of getting active. We congratulate the organisers for what looks like being another world-class event and we send a big thank you to local communities who embrace the event as it passes through their own county." The Kellogg's Tour of Ireland is a cycle challenge open to all amateur cyclists. It attracts entrants from all over the island of Ireland and overseas. It is a non-competitive challenge whereby each participant competes against the elements and their own levels of fitness and endurance. It consists of four stages: 9th May: Stage 1 Lisburn to Cavan 115 miles 10th May: Stage 2 Cavan to Galway 124 miles 11th May: Stage 3 start at 8am NUI Galway, Galway to Kilkenny 140 miles 12th May: Stage 4 Kilkenny to Dublin 123 miles The Kellogg's Tour of Ireland event organisers Joe and Marc Barr, are both well-known cyclists. Joe has competed for Ireland and N. Ireland as a professional and has put together the four stages. Marc is the logistics expert and ensures that everything is in place to ensure a safe, exciting and enjoyable event. Further details on the event can be found at www.tourofireland.eu For information on Kellogg's Let's Get Active programme visit www.letsgetactive.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 21 April 2008

Hollywood writer and producer Evan Goldberg is to teach at NUI Galway as part of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media Writers in Residence Programme. Goldberg has worked on films Superbad and Knocked Up, starring Katherine Heigl, and the TV comedy Da Ali G Show. On Thursday 24 April, Goldberg will attend a special public screening of Superbad followed by a question and answer session. Goldberg's Huston School of Film & Digital Media Residence Programme at NUI Galway will last from 22 April to 7 May. During that time he will deliver workshops to students on Screenwriting, Production and Direction. Previous participants in the Writers Residence Programme have included John Huston's son Tony Huston and documentary maker George Stoney. Writer Allegra Huston, daughter of the late John Huston, has also visited the school with her writing salon. According to Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway, "Together with Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, Evan Goldberg is part of the new royal family of comedy in Hollywood. Goldberg is writer of Superbad and Executive Producer of Knocked Up, two landmark comedy films which have thrown the mainstream Hollywood comedy rule book out the window. These films out gross the gross-out comedy and yet are inflected with a warmth, humanity and truth that is rare anywhere in mainstream contemporary cinema." Founded in 2003, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media offers a range of one-year postgraduate courses in Film Studies; Screenwriting; Production and Direction; Arts Policy and Practice; Public Advocacy and Activism; and Digital Media. In autumn of 2008, the first undergraduate course offered through the CAO system will come on stream, the BA with Film Studies. For further information on the public session with Evan Goldberg on 24 April, or to reserve a place, contact Derval McCormack 091 495076. -ends-

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway has issued the final call for applications to its 50 new Doctoral Research Fellowships. Fellowships are valued at between €15,000-20,000 per annum and will be awarded to 50 students undertaking research PhDs with the College in the autumn. Fellowships may be held across the full range of Humanities disciplines including Children's Studies, Creative Writing, Gaeilge, Global Women's Studies, Human Rights, Irish Studies, Film Studies and Rural Studies. Kevin Barry, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, commented, "NUI Galway has introduced new doctoral programmes with broad career opportunities. We wish to develop the tradition of research in the humanities, in modern languages, and in the social and behavioural sciences in order to graduate students at the highest level to serve Irish society." He added, "Our strategic support for PhD students reflects a determination on the part of the University to promote and support innovative research and high level training across a wide range of disciplines." The Fellowships are designed to enable students to work in cross-disciplinary projects. These small research clusters will allow students to collaborate and work together, encouraging and testing each other's work. Three of the Fellowships are named in memory of Lady Gregory, for her integration of the Arts and Humanities into regional and national life. For closing dates, terms and conditions, and applications forms contact Mairéad Ní Dhomhnaill on 091 493622 or email fellowshipsfifty@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The new Engineering degree programme in Sports and Exercise Engineering (GY411) offered by the College of Engineering & Informatics in collaboration with the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at NUI Galway is now available through the CAO. The B.E./M.Eng.Sc. Sports and Exercise Engineering degree will take its first cohort of students in September 2008. Persons who have already applied to the CAO in 2008 can register a preference for GY411 through the CAO change-of-mind process (deadline 1 July, 2008 at 5:15pm). Persons who have not yet applied to the CAO in 2008 and who wish to register a preference for GY411 must make a late application to the CAO by 1 May, 2008 at 5:15pm. The programme will allow successful students to exit after 4 years with a level 8 B.E. degree or after 5 years with level 9 M.Eng.Sc., however the full benefits to the students of the programme will be achieved with the 5 year programme. This programme offering represents the first degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering on the island of Ireland. Professional sport is a worldwide multi-billion euro industry and plays a central role in most western societies. Today technology is used on a regular basis to improve sports performance in elite athletes. The new Sports and Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway will provide graduates with the skills and expertise to design systems and devices for the evaluation and execution of sport performance across a broad range of sports. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, says, "This new degree programme represents an exciting venture for Engineering at NUI Galway. It is an excellent example of a focused interdisciplinary programme whereby some of the latest engineering techniques are meshed with medical and scientific concepts to train a cohort of students with a unique skillset. Thus, graduates of the programme will be able to address a range of highly relevant problems associated with sports and exercise". Professor B.G. Loftus, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway, says, "The evolving obesity epidemic reflects an imbalance between energy ingested and expended. The decline in levels of physical activity at all ages is, in large part, responsible for this epidemic, and also contributes to increased risk of many other illnesses. It is incumbent on us to remedy this at societal level through initiatives like this new Engineering programme, which will produce a new generation of engineers with the skills and expertise to design novel systems and devices to increase participation in exercise across the age groups." The programme will incorporate significant elements of Anatomy, Physiology, Mechanical Engineering and Sport and Exercise Engineering practice. A major input from Electronic Engineering will reflect a particular focus in the programme on the development of a range of ambulatory electronic devices for movement assessment in sport and exercise, ambulatory monitoring of human performance in sport & exercise and the design of systems and devices for the performance and assessment of exercise, rehabilitation and sport. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electronic Engineering and course co-ordinator, says, "This programme will benefit from two major infrastructural developments on the NUI Galway campus: the completion of the €20 Million, 6,500 sq. meter Sports Centre by June 2008 and the expected completion of a €60 Million, 14,000 sq. meter New Engineering Building, which will feature state-of-the-art Engineering teaching and research laboratories, including a multi-purpose motion analysis laboratory, by September 2010." For further information on the new programme contact Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin at 087-6504801 or email: gearoid.olaighin@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The President of UCD and IUA, Dr. Hugh Brady, today launched the Irish Universities Study. Using advanced internet survey techniques the longitudinal study will capture key information from undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in our universities. Areas covered include the education experience, economic expectations, personal development and health. The sector-wide survey is a major innovation providing the universities with the ability to formulate policy for students and researchers based on sound evidence. Ultimately the results will play an important role in improving the standard of living for students in Irish universities and contributing to the development of university education in Ireland. The project will run for three years and is funded equally by the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund [SIF] and the seven universities. Speaking about the study Dr. Hugh Brady says: "This pioneering research programme will enable the universities to make strategic policy decisions and will inform the development of key resources including teaching and learning, quality assurance and students services, informed by student feedback". The study is being carried out by the Geary Institute in UCD on behalf of the Irish Universities Association [IUA]. Speaking today at the launch the Director of the UCD Geary Institute, Professor Colm Harmon said "The study is a particularly important and timely one. It will produce a fine set of academic publications, will be the foundation for creating a new higher education research capacity at UCD, but will also be firmly embedded into the planning process for the Irish higher education system". The keynote address was given by Professor Ronald Ehrenberg of Cornell University, one of the most prolific and well regarded labour economists of the last 30 years. Professor Ehrenberg stressed the economic and social value of education, the need to nurture this belief in secondary school, and the critical need to avoid underinvestment in fourth level areas. He emphasized the importance of carrying out research to gather information of the type the Irish Universities Study (IUS) will capture. This study will play a central role for the future development of higher education policy in Ireland. ends

Monday, 14 April 2008

NUI Galway has appointed Dr. Pat Morgan to the newly created position of Dean of Graduate Studies. Dr. Morgan has previously served as Dean of College of Science at the University (1998-2004) and more recently as Pre-clinical Vice-Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences. NUI Galway has some 3,500 postgraduate or 'fourth-level' students, and offers over 400 full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. With the number of postgraduate students expected to grow quickly in line with growth in research activity at the University, Dr. Morgan will focus on maintaining the high quality of PhD programmes. Dr. Morgan will also support the development of new Graduate Schools at NUI Galway. Alongside NUI Galway-based initiatives, there will be a focus on encouraging inter-institutional cooperation and in attracting high calibre international students to the programmes. Commenting on the appointment, NUI Galway President, Dr. Jim Browne, said, "The University is committed to the development and provision of high quality research and taught graduate programmes. Postgraduate programmes are based on the University's traditional areas of academic strength, and increasingly draw on our well-established Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering Science, Human Rights, Film & Digital Media, Regenerative Medicine and Marine Science." Speaking about her appointment, Dr. Morgan said, "Ireland has seen rapid growth in the number of students studying at fourth-level. What is critical is that such growth does not compromise the student experience and that we provide the range of skills and training that a fully-rounded graduate student needs." Working with the 'fourth-level' theme, NUI Galway's graduate education opportunities are now under the banner go4th™. An online prospectus of all that is on offer at NUI Galway is available at www.go4th.ie -ends-

Monday, 14 April 2008

Tá an Dr. Pat Morgan ceaptha ag OÉ Gaillimh sa phost nua – Déan Staidéir Iarchéime. Roimhe seo bhí an Dr. Morgan ag obair mar Dhéan ar Choláiste na hEolaíochta san Ollscoil (1998-2004) agus le píosa anuas bhí sí ag obair mar Leas-Déan Réamhchliniciúil i gColáiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte. Tá 3,500 mac léinn iarchéime nó 'ceathrú leibhéal' in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tá os cionn 400 clár iarchéime lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha á tairiscint aici, lena n-áirítear cláir mháistreachta theagaisc agus thaighde agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta. Táthar ag súil go dtiocfaidh méadú ar an líon mac léinn iarchéime ar aon dul leis an méadú i ngníomhaíocht taighde na hOllscoile, agus díreoidh an Dr. Morgan ar chláir Ph.D. ar ardchaighdeán a sholáthar. Chomh maith leis sin, tacóidh an Dr. Morgan le forbairt na Scoileanna Iarchéime nua in OÉ Gaillimh. Le cois tionscnaimh bunaithe in OÉ Gaillimh, cuirfear béim ar chomhoibriú idir institiúidí agus ar mhic léinn idirnáisiúnta ar ardchaighdeán a mhealladh le dul i mbun clár anseo. Le linn don Dr. Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, a bheith ag labhairt faoin gceapachán dúirt sé go bhfuil "an Ollscoil tiomanta do chláir thaighde agus theagaisc iarchéime ar ardchaighdeán a fhorbairt agus a chur ar fáil. Tá cláir iarchéime bunaithe ar réimsí láidre acadúla na hOllscoile agus béim go háirithe ar ár nIonaid Taighde atá bunaithe le fada, agus réimsí ar nós Eolaíocht Innealtóireachta Bithmhíochaine, Cearta Daonna, Scannáin & na Meáin Dhigiteacha, Leigheas Athghiniúnach agus Muireolaíocht." Le linn don Dr. Morgan a bheith ag labhairt faoina ceapachán dúirt sí go bhfuil "méadú as cuimse tagtha ar an líon mac léinn atá ag staidéar ag an gceathrú leibhéal. Is é an rud is tábhachtaí nach gciallaíonn an fás as cuimse seo go mbeidh taithí na mac léinn thíos leis dá bharr, agus a chinntiú go gcuirimid an raon scileanna agus oiliúna ar fáil le freastal ar riachtanais mac léinn iarchéime." Bunaithe ar an téama 'ceathrú leibhéal', tá deiseanna iarchéime OÉ Gaillimh anois á bpoibliú faoi go4th™. Tá réamheolaire ar líne maidir leis na cúrsaí ar fad atá ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh le fáil ag www.go4th.ie - críoch -

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Seven Irish Olympic Heavyweight Rowing team were in training on the Corrib recently during a break between training camps in Southern France. Head Coach Harald Jarling requested the use of the NUI Galway Boat Club facilities and the assistance of some extra personnel to complete an eight-man team. Three members of the Olympic team are NUI Galway rowers, Alan Martin (Salthill), Cormac Folan (Barna) and James Wall (Limerick). For the weekend's training, they were joined by Evin Donnelly and Ruadhán Cooke, of NUI Galway Boat Club. Ruadhán Cooke, NUI Galway Boat Club, said, "We had a wonderful if exhausting two-day training session. The Galway based squad members thoroughly enjoyed being back on their home patch for a few days. Evin Donnelly and I really appreciated the opportunity of linking up with our club mates and experiencing training at this level". Head Coach Harald Jarling, himself a double Olympic Gold Medallist with the former East Germany, was very pleased with the mini-camp during which the squad clocked up over 120 kilometres on the Corrib. The Irish rowers have already qualified a Heavyweight Coxless Four for Beijing and currently train in a Four, Pair and Single Scull. The squad is striving to also qualify the Pair and the Single Scull at the final Olympic selection regatta in Poland in late June. The squad were welcomed to NUI Galway by Vice-President for Physical Resources Keith Warnock, Club Captain Matthew Carroll and Coach Tom Tuohy. Also present to meet the Olympic team were sponsors of NUI Galway's fleet of top-class boats, Tom Forde of the Bank of Ireland and Paul Brennan of Michael McNamara & Company. The eight-man boat used by the squad on the Corrib is sponsored by Seán Stewart of the JSL / Stewart Group. -ends-

Friday, 11 April 2008

Over 100 pupils from primary schools across Galway will be honoured by RTÉ sports commentator Tracy Piggott at a special ceremony at 7pm on Wednesday, 16 April, for their participation in NUI Galway's 'Uni 4 U 2008' programme. The children will receive medals and certificates from the TV personality in recognition of their involvement in the three-year programme which promotes education, school attendance and personal development through sporting, cultural and academic activities on the University campus. 'Uni 4 U' is developed and delivered by NUI Galway's Access Office in partnership with Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla; Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue; and St Michael's Boys School, Mervue. Now in its eighth year, the programme includes a homework and sports club which is run on campus in conjunction with Áras na Mac Léinn. The children are helped by undergraduate volunteers for two hours a week in completing their homework and playing sports. Explaining the significance of the programme for those involved, Imelda Byrne, NUI Galway's Access Officer, said, "Specifically, this programme aims to help students by building their self esteem, confidence, communication skills and social behaviour through team games and sports activities. In addition, there is a focus on their educational attainment, especially improvement in numeric and literacy skills". Brenda Foy, Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator with Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue, commented, "The Uni 4 U programme is an excellent introduction to the University for the pupils of Mervue. They can enjoy the atmosphere and develop serious aspirations for continuing their education onto third-level. Not alone does it benefit the children but it also involved their parents, many of whom might never have stepped onto the University grounds. The Uni 4 U programme has made third-level education a given for our children and look forward to it continuing in the future". Easter and Summer camps facilitated by university staff volunteers have introduced the children to topics in science, engineering, languages and the humanities. This enables the children to get a feel for their subject choices in secondary school and encourage them to participate more actively in their own learning. New initiatives in 'Uni 4 U' during 2008 included a storytelling course and performance where the children told stories they had created themselves in seanchaí style. The programmes' success includes the participation of parents with their children in the study skill and homework support workshops run by the Access Office. -ends-

Friday, 11 April 2008

The NUI Galway Society Awards took place on Wednesday, 9 April, in the Galway Bay Hotel. Seventeen awards were presented at the gala event which celebrated the contribution over 80 Societies make both to the University and the wider community. President of NUI Galway, Dr. Jim Browne, in his speech, congratulated the Societies on their outstanding achievements, the calibre of the events which they organise and the man hours that they contribute through volunteering as part of the Societies he said, "This year alone the hours volunteered by members of Societies' committees is the equivalent of the number hours worked by 53 full time workers in one year. In the last five years the Societies have raised over €900,000 for charity". The winners on the night will represent the University at the BICS National Society Awards in Dundalk IT on 17 April, 2008. The coveted Best Society of the Year Award went to the 'Business Society' for the professionalism they brought to their numerous and varied events during the year. In 2006 they won best new Society in Ireland at the BICS Awards. Best Improved Society went to the 'Musical Society' (GUMS), for their busy year which saw the society branch out into new directions. In addition to their 'Back to the 80's' musical they also organised the 'NUI Galway Schools Musical Awards' which took place in NUI Galway recently with the top prize going to Ballinrobe Community School for 'The Wiz'. Best New Society went to the 'Nothing Specific Society' whose main aim is to bring fun and foolishness to campus, their next event will be 'Meal or no Meal'. Best Society Individual went to Law student Laura Freyne from Knock, Co. Mayo, for her contribution to campus life through her leadership of the International Students Society. Best Fresher went to Nora Ní Dhomhnaill from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, who is studying first-year Denominated History, Nora is a committee member of An Cumann Starr and the Literary and Debating Society. Best Event went to the Rotaract Society for their 'Socs in the City Fashion Show' which raised over €12,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. The other awards on the night were: Best Departmental Society: Law Society; Best Poster: The Musical Society for their 'Back to the 80's' Poster; Best Website to Cumann Satire (History Society) for http://www.cumannstaire.oegaillimh.ie/; Best Charity Event: Art Society Rag Week Fundraisers; Best Cultural Contribution: Malaysian Society for 'Malaysian Cultural Week'; Best Small Publication: International Students Society Pirate Treasure Hunt booklet; and Best Multi Media/ Large Publication: Business Society for the 'Cairnes Review'; Best Photograph to the Chess Society. Two Múscailt prizes were also presented to the Orchestra and Dansoc and the best contribution to Múscailt Arts Festival award went to Lit & Deb and Law Soc for their Trials of Oscar Wilde and Barn Dance. Ends

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Molecular scientists at NUI Galway will play a leading role in the newly formed GlycoScience Ireland group launched today (Tuesday, 8 April). Glycoscience is the study of the glycans (complex sugars) that surround all cells including human cells. GlycoScience Ireland brings together scientists working in this field in order to apply their expertise to the Biopharmaceutical and Food industries. GlycoScience Ireland will encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration between glycoscientists, biologists, chemists, engineers, information scientists and clinicians. The Group will also provide a forum for communication and interaction between Irish glycoscientists and industry representatives for the translation of glycoscience discoveries into commercial realities. NUI Galway' s involvement is being led by Professor Lokesh Joshi, who recently joined the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering as Stokes Professor of Glycosciences. Professor Joshi explained "Glycans play crucial roles in almost all biological interactions at molecular and cellular levels, including fertilization, immune regulation, cancer and infectious diseases. Despite their underpinning role in biological processes, study in this area has lagged behind genomics and proteomics. With the global competition in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical research continually shifting, Ireland needs to harness the synergy of existing skills to remain in the leadership position in this emerging research frontier". GlycoScience Ireland Launch is being co-sponsored by The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) and the Centre for BioAnalytical Sciences (CBAS), of which Professor Joshi is Associate Director. For further information visit http://www.glycoscienceireland.ie/ -ends-

Monday, 7 April 2008

Students from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway have secured two out of four prestigious awards from The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT). The annual CILT awards were announced recently by Mr. John Murphy, Assistant Secretary from the Department of Transport at a special awards ceremony. The awards are presented to the originators of ideas which judges consider to be the most innovative and which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of transport in Ireland. The NUI Galway winners were Industrial Engineering students Therese O'Meara from Toomevara, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, who won the Safety & Environment Category and Ciarán Coughlan of Belmont, Co. Offaly who was the winner in the Rail Category. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "This continued success in national level competitions is indicative of the high standards of our degree programmes in Engineering and Informatics. I would like to congratulate Therese and Kieran on their awards and I acknowledge the dedication of their project supervisors in Industrial Engineering." Ms Mary Dempsey, Industrial Engineering NUI Galway, said: "The engineering students' innovations are reflected in their success in winning prestigious awards from CILT. I am extremely proud of Therese and Ciarán and acknowledge their dedication and commitment to the logistics project. Indeed, the safety and environment project has been requested by Mr. Noel Brett, Road Safety Authority as the RSA would like to see such devices utilised by professional drivers. - Ends –

Monday, 7 April 2008

Academics and industry professionals working in the field of photonics (light and laser technology) will meet on 17 April for NUI Galway's annual LightFORUM conference. The conference theme is 'Skills & Knowledge Development - Photonics in New Products and Manufacture'. The event will feature case-study presentations from industry representatives as well as speakers from state agencies on support for upskilling in industry. This year, the keynote speaker will be Eugene Arthurs, Executive Director of SPIE, the international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light, with more than 17,500 members globally. The annual meeting is organised by LightFORUM, the outreach activity of the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA) and Applied Optics Groups at NUI Galway. LightFORUM provides a framework in which scientists and professionals in industry can explore and develop interactions of mutual interest. Tony Flaherty of the NCLA explained, "Photonics has long been a fundamental technology for manufacturing and is now commonplace in a range of applications developed by Irish-based industry. The strength of NUI Galway's photonics research and expertise is supporting this development. The University is home to the largest group of laser and optics scientists and engineers in the country, with total of 50 staff in this area. This annual meeting is an important opportunity for bringing together industry and the photonics research community." Attendance at the event is free to professionals in Irish industry. For more information or to reserve a place, contact Tony Flaherty by email: tony.flaherty@nuigalway.ie or tel: +353 91 493 595. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A public lecture entitled 'The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – New Dawn or False Hopes?' will be given by Professor Jerome Bickenbach at NUI Galway on Monday, 14 April, at 7pm. Professor Bickenbach will talk about the concept of equality that underpins the new UN Disability Convention. His lecture will be of interest to persons with disabilities, their representative organisations, families, carers and service providers. Originally from Canada, Professor Bickenbach is one of the foremost international authorities on ethical, philosophical, and legal issues in disability policy. Working recently with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, he played a central role in drafting its International Classification of Functioning, a framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. During his visit to Ireland, Professor Bickenbach will be a guest of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law in NUI Galway. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of Centre, said: "We are delighted to welcome such a highly engaging speaker. Jerome helped WHO completely rethink its understanding of disability and steered it away from an excessive reliance on 'medical approaches' toward a more 'socialised approach'. This approach places the problems of disability on the barriers confronting the person – rather than on the individual person. This 'social approach' to disability had a dramatic effect in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed and is due to ratify". All members of the public are welcome to attend this free event. The lecture will take place at 7pm in NUI Galway (Áras Moyola, ground floor, Room 127, North Campus). Refreshments will be served afterwards. Those wishing to attend or those with special requirements can contact 087 6660634 or email: disability@nuigalway.ie. For further information, visit website: www.nuigalway.ie/law/news.html -ends-

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Two of the foremost jurists in the area of Family and Child Law, The Right Honourable Baroness Hale of Richmond and Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness, will jointly deliver the Annual Distinguished Lecture 2008 hosted by the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway on Friday, 11 April at 7pm. The event will take place in the main lecture theatre of Áras Moyola, NUI Galway, on the north campus beside St. Anthony's. The title of the lecture is Family Law in Ireland and the United Kingdom: Common Threads and Divergent Perspectives. The joint lecture will focus on three broad themes: the division of assets and the question of 'proper provision' upon divorce, the position of children, and the role of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in family law. Both speakers bring a wealth of experience and insight to the topic. Baroness Hale became the first woman 'Lord of Appeal in Ordinary' in January 2004 after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer and judge. She is recognised internationally as one of the most distinguished judicial experts in the area of family and child law. Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness was a member of the Irish Supreme Court from 2000 to 2006 and is now the President of the Law Reform Commission and Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway. Prior to becoming a judge she was a member of Seanad Éireann and is widely known for her work on the Kilkenny Incest Investigation, the Employment Equality Agency and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. Announcing the event, Donncha O'Connell, Dean of Law, said: "This is the fourth Annual Distinguished Lecture organised by the Law Faculty and, this year, we are especially honoured to have the two most distinguished women judges on these islands as our speakers on a topic of enduring controversy and acute importance." The lecture will be introduced by President of NUI Galway, Dr. Jim Browne, and chaired by family law expert and graduate of NUI Galway, Geoffrey Shannon. It will be followed by a reception (sponsored by the NUI Galway Alumni Association) in the foyer of Áras Moyola at which it will be possible to meet with the speakers. ENDS

Friday, 30 May 2008

Two NUI Galway Law students will spend the summer immersed in the atmosphere of the imminent US Presidential election as they undertake internships in Washington DC. Second Year Corporate Law student Peter Mannion will work with Senator Barack Obama, while fourth year Corporate Law student Chris Joyce joins the office of Congressman Peter King. Peter Mannion, from Tuam, County Galway, is excited about joining the Obama campaign, "This summer presents precious opportunities with an election looming, and Washington in full campaign mode. It will certainly be an interesting place to be and working in the Obama office will be a chance to watch history in the making. This really is an incredible opportunity - I can barely believe my luck. I used to live life in a West Wing fantasy so this is bringing it one step closer to reality!" Chris Joyce from Renmore, is a Galway Titans National League Basketball player. His interest in the Northern Ireland Peace Process makes his internship a perfect fit. He explains, "It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the political life of Washington DC. I will be working at Congressman Peter King's office, a long time supporter of the Northern Ireland Peace process. Even before he was sworn-in as Congressman in 1992, King flew to Belfast to meet with Gerry Adams to help initiate peace talks. He also doesn't appear to be afraid to speak his mind on a number of controversial issues so it should a very interesting summer." The internships are part of the Washington-Ireland Program – an organisation designed to give Irish students a rich insight into America's professional and social culture, through a two-month internship and an intensive course in leadership and service training, all in the heart of Washington DC. According to Donncha O Connell, Dean of Law at NUI Galway, "This is a great opportunity for the two Law students involved. The coming months are probably going to be one of the most interesting times, politically, in the US. An internship abroad at anytime is an experience which can bring huge benefits, adding a whole new dimension to a Law student s education." The Washington-Ireland Program programme aims to pick young, promising individuals, from the North and South of Ireland, who will ultimately use their unique talents in leadership and service to contribute back to their home communities and their country. This summer a total of twenty-six Irish students will have the opportunity to partake in the programme. -ends-

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Jeff Halper, one of the leading figures in the Israeli peace movement, will speak at a public seminar at 7pm, on Wednesday, 4 June, at Nun's Island Theatre, Galway City. The event is part of a speaking tour jointly organised by Trócaire, NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights, and Amnesty International Irish Section. An activist for over 30 years, Jeff Halper is credited with pioneering the use of non-violent action and civil disobedience to resist the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and mobilising international support to rebuild these houses. Halper has just published a new book, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel. Halper was Co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions which has protested the demolition of 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1969 in the Occupied Territories, in violation of international law. Speaking about the upcoming event, Dr. Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, commented, "Jeff Halper is a warrior for peace in a region so torn by violence. Many who work for peace there rarely get the attention they deserve. Along with his colleagues he has chosen to stand shoulder to shoulder with oppressed Palestinian communities in the name of human rights and equality. His visit to Ireland is an opportunity for us to hear the viewpoint of Israelis who are opposing their government's actions." For further information about the evening contact Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International, on 091 533 637. -ends-

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Hundreds of NUI Galway graduates are expected to attend a special annual reunion during the weekend 6-8 June. The University has issued a worldwide invitation to the classes of 1958, 1968, 1978, 1983, 1988, and 1998 who attended UCG/NUI Galway. Highlights include a 50 Year Club dinner on the Friday and a BBQ for all six classes by the River Corrib on Saturday night. The reunion celebrations begin on Friday afternoon when the 50 Year Club/Cumann Caoga Bliain are welcomed back to campus for a luncheon in the Aula Maxima in the Quadrangle. Following lunch, a presentation of "1958 - the year that was" will be made by local historian Peadar O'Dowd, focussing on some of the highlights of that year, locally and nationally. The 50 Year Club will then be taken on a bus tour of the campus which will showcase the many new developments on campus since the 1950s. NUI Galway has grown dramatically since 1958 when there were 175 graduates. The equivalent number this year will be in the region of 4,700. The day will culminate with a reception and celebration dinner at the Galway Bay Hotel. On Saturday, 7 June at 7pm, the Annual Reunion BBQ for those celebrating 50, 40, 30, 25, 20 and 10 years since graduation takes place in the Students' Union Bar and Áras na Mac Léinn, overlooking the River Corrib. Mr. JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations, encourages graduates to come along, "The reunion is a wonderful opportunity to revisit the University, renew old acquaintances and see how NUI Galway has developed over the years. Many people have already booked their places with graduates returning to Galway from across the globe for this event. This annual event is driven by demand from our alumni, who want the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends." Reunion weekend comes to a close for the Class of 1958 on Sunday, 8 June, with a mass held in memory of deceased graduates in the Chapel of St. Columbanus on campus. This is followed by a farewell lunch in the Quadrangle. For further information please contact Sheila Gorham in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie or visit the reunion www.nuigalway.ie/alumni/reunion2008 -ends-

Monday, 26 May 2008

A record number of over 400 students from 13 Galway secondary schools participated in this years' NUI Galway First Year Schools Competition. The art competition is part of the University Trail Access Programme designed to encourage an interest in third-level education among students in selected Secondary Schools in Galway City, County and Gaeltacht regions. The programme is supported by the HEA targeted funding for special initiatives. For the competition, the students are asked to express through the media of Art, Music, Drama and Writing why they would like to study at NUI Galway, what it would mean for them and how it would change their future. Ashla Ward, of NUI Galway's Access Office, commented, "This competition is designed primarily to start the student thinking about their future, linking their current learning status to a long-term goal and sensitising them to the whole notion of third level attainment. The competition has proved very successful over the last six years. Teachers and students have worked diligently to produce wonderful pieces of Art for the competition". At second level, NUI Galway's University Trail starts with the First Year School Competition and continues in second, third, fifth and on to the Leaving Certificate year, with a series of activities such as campus tours, mentoring and Study Skills Workshops. The main objective of the Trail is to promote regular interaction with the University and the students. The effectiveness of this initiative has been greatly enhanced with the ongoing support of management and staff in the participating schools.

Monday, 26 May 2008

An extensive research project by a team of European scientists could help develop methods of treating cancers with less toxicity than drugs currently in clinical use. The research, just published as the cover story in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology, was led by Professor Corrado Santocanale in Italy at Nerviano Medical Sciences-Oncology. Professor Santocanale is now based in Ireland with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES) at NUI Galway as Chair of Molecular Medicine. The research project was aimed at identifying protein kinase inhibitors for development into new anticancer drugs. The finding showed that a small-molecule inhibitor of Cdc7 kinase prevents DNA synthesis with a novel molecular mechanism and has anti-tumour activity. According to Professor Santocanale, "The search for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of a wide range of cancers is a key field of investigation. In this work we demonstrate for the first time the pharmacological inhibition of the Cdc7 kinase (a protein that acts as a switch to initiate DNA replication) kills tumours cells including those that have become resistant to some of the most common anticancer drugs. He continued, "Importantly we found that the treatment with a small molecule Cdc7 inhibitor lead to tumour growth inhibition in animal models. Clinical studies investigating this novel generation of drugs for the treatment of human cancers will be soon initiated and the expectation is that they will offer a novel therapeutic option to cancer patients." Professor Santocanale is currently establishing core research related to new drug targets for cancer therapy. Santocanale also aims to implement a translational research programme linking come of the basic research of the NCBES and the clinical research based in University College Hospital, Galway, with the goal of identifying potential targets for drug discovery. For Santocanale, "The most interesting part of the research process is to start with ideas originated from basic biological discoveries and see it develop into a drug that has the potential to improve the outcome of cancer patients". Professor Santocanale brings huge expertise to NUI Galway from his collaboration with Nerviano Medical Sciences, the largest pharmaceutical R&D facility in Italy, and one of the largest Oncology-focused, integrated discovery and development companies in Europe. -ends-

Monday, 26 May 2008

Ghlac an líon is mó daltaí riamh – os cionn 400 dalta – as 13 mheánscoil ar fud na Gaillimhe páirt i gComórtas Ealaíne OÉ Gaillimh do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana. Is cuid de Chlár Rochtana Conair na hOllscoile é an comórtas ealaíne atá deartha le spéis a spreagadh san oideachas tríú leibhéal i measc daltaí as Scoileanna roghnaithe i gContae, Cathair agus ceantair Ghaeltachta na Gaillimhe. Tá an tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas ag tacú leis an gclár trí spriocmhaoiniú do thionscnaimh speisialta. Fiafraíodh de dhaltaí iad féin a chur in iúl trí mheán na hEalaíne, an Cheoil, na Drámaíochta agus na Scríbhneoireachta agus léargas a thabhairt ar an gcúis ar mhaith leo freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh, céard a chiallódh sé agus cén tionchar a bheadh aige ar a dtodhchaí. Dúirt Ashla Ward, ó Oifig Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil "an comórtas seo deartha ar mhaithe le daltaí a spreagadh tosú ag smaoineamh ar a dtodhchaí, a stádas reatha foghlama a nascadh le sprioc fhadtréimhseach agus machnamh a dhéanamh ar a bheith ag staidéar ag an tríú leibhéal. D'éirigh thar cionn leis an gcomórtas seo le sé bliana anuas. Tá an-obair déanta ag múinteoirí agus ag daltaí chun píosaí ealaíne den scoth a chruthú don chomórtas". Ag an dara leibhéal, tosaíonn Clár Rochtana Conair OÉ Gaillimh le Comórtas Scoile do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana agus leantar leis an gcomórtas do dhaltaí sa dara, sa tríú, sa chúigiú bliain agus i mbliain na hArdteistiméireachta, le sraith gníomhaíochtaí cosúil le turas mórthimpeall ar an gcampas, meantóireacht agus Ceardlanna Scileanna Staidéir. Is é an príomhchuspóir a bhaineann le Conair idirghníomhaíocht rialta leis an Ollscoil agus leis na daltaí a spreagadh. Cuireadh go mór le héifeachtacht an tionscnaimh seo bunaithe ar thacaíocht leanúnach lucht bainistíochta agus comhaltaí foirne sna scoileanna rannpháirteacha. - críoch -

Friday, 23 May 2008

Science and nature education in the classroom moves into virtual territory with the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden by NUI Galway. The habitats and features of local visitor attraction, Brigit's Garden, have been digitally recreated in a 3D virtual space. The first public demonstration of the interactive Brigit's Virtual Garden takes place on Wednesday, 28 May, at 3pm in Brigit's Garden, Rosscahill, Co. Galway. Brigit's Virtual Garden is an educational tool, alive with virtual versions of the insects and plants of the 'real' garden. The user navigates the virtual space by controlling the movements of 'Rua' the fox who takes them on an interactive tour of the 3D garden. The virtual garden was designed as part of a project called the Digital Hedge School (DHS), which is a collaborative effort between Brigit's Garden and several partners from NUI Galway including the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), and the Education Department. The DHS project team have been working together for two years to create intergenerational programmes for primary, secondary, and third level students, by exploring the potential of novel technologies to enhance children's environmental education. This year's participants in the DHS project were 4th and 5th class students from St. Patrick's National School, and transition year students from the Presentation Secondary School. Students from both the Galway City schools completed an eight-week training programme in environmental peer education. The students involved in the Digital Hedge School Project spent time in Brigit's Garden taking digital photographs and drawings insects, water bugs, flowers and trees. The students were then shown how to upload their work into the virtual garden. Access to Brigit's Virtual Garden will be available to teachers involved in the project, for use in the classroom as a tool for supporting the educational experience of students visiting Brigit's Garden. "Incorporating technology into environmental education is the way forward in terms of relating to younger generations", says Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway. "The creators of Brigit's Virtual Garden have been very successful in providing a technology that stimulates children's interest in the natural environment and encourages them to step outside the classroom and explore the world around them." The collaborators look forward to celebrating the success of the hard work of all of the students involved at the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden, which is free and open to all. For more information on the project or the launch event please contact Dr. Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer for the Environmental Change Institute, on 091 495061. -ends-

Friday, 23 May 2008

NUI Galway is to hold an international conference on 5-6 June entitled 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities'. The event aims to raise fundamental questions regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by universities and other providers of higher education in Ireland and beyond. At this two day event, a range of distinguished experts will deliver presentations on issues including higher education management and policy, globalisation, linking teaching and research, and fostering civic engagement. According to Dr. Kelly Coate, Lecturer in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and conference convener, NUI Galway, "This symposium will bring together key commentators on higher education in order to pose a fundamental question: what is the purpose of universities in the 21st Century? How is this purpose changing, and what are the drivers of change? Does the university as such have a distinctive role to play in society? We want to spark debates and raise some provocative questions, and we have chosen a diverse range of high-profile plenary speakers who will give contrasting perspectives." The Symposium will be opened by Michael Kelly, Chairman, Higher Education Authority Ireland and Dr. James Browne, President, NUI Galway. In addition, there will be keynotes from Professor Mary Evans, Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics, and author of the book Killing Thinking: The Death of the Universities; and Michael Shattock, author of the OECD Review of Higher Education in Ireland and the book Managing Successful Universities. Dr. Coate added, "Some of the speakers will be quite critical of recent trends in higher education, whereas others will be advocating that certain changes are necessary. Given that some of the speakers are at the forefront of implementing these changes, we think this will be a very good opportunity to hear what they have to say and put questions to them. Participants will also get the chance to discuss some of the key issues in higher education today through workshop sessions facilitated by experts in the field." 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities' commences on Thursday, 5 June at 9am and continues on Friday 6 June, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information or to book a place visit www.conference.ie. -ends-

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A young Irish filmmaker and graduate of NUI Galway's Huston School of Film & Digital Media is among the winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. The winners were announced by Spike Lee at a ceremony during the Cannes Film Festival. The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first of its kind, and provides a unique distribution opportunity for the newest filmmaking talent. Brian Deane (29), originally from Glanmire in Cork, was awarded the Babelgum Social/Environment Award for his first movie, the short film Without Words. Along with winners from six other categories, Brian received a cheque for €20,000. Over a thousand entries from 86 countries were uploaded for this, the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. Visitors to the Babelgum website decided the competition shortlist, which was then judged by the festival jury, led by renowned director Spike Lee. The other jurors consist of film experts from across the globe, including directors of established film festivals. Last autumn, Brian graduated with an MA in Production and Direction from the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway. Commenting on Brian's win, Rod Stoneman, Director of the School, said, "Without Words is a marvellous example of an imaginative film based on an issue from Public Advocacy. With its memorable symmetrical form it focuses on the tragedy of non-communication between two friends." Founded in 2003, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media offers a range of one-year postgraduate courses in Film Studies; Screenwriting; Production and Direction; Arts Policy and Practice; Public Advocacy and Activism; and Digital Media. In autumn of 2008, the first undergraduate course offered through the CAO system will come on stream, the BA with Film Studies. Brian Deane's Without Words can be viewed on the School's website www.filmschool.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as Members of the Royal Irish Academy. Election to the Royal Irish Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland. Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said "It is a testament to Ireland's formidable position in the academic world that the Royal Irish Academy is able to honour such a variety of exceptional scholars in the Sciences and Humanities. Ireland can be proud of these brilliant women and men who are universally recognised as leaders in the world of learning." The two new Members are Professor Christopher Dainty and Professor William Spillane. Christopher Dainty is Professor of Applied Physics. In 2007 he was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) grant to research applied optical techniques, focused on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age. William Spillane is Professor of Chemistry. His research is focused on consumer perceptions of sweet taste in food, how this affects our sensory evaluation of taste, and how to optimise taste. The criterion for election to membership is a significant contribution to scholarly or scientific research as shown in the candidate's published academic work. Membership of the Academy, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to those scientists and scholars normally resident in Ireland. The Royal Irish Academy is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is the principal learned society in Ireland. For 223 years membership of the Royal Irish Academy has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 404 Members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation MRIA after their name. Among the membership of the Academy are many of Ireland s leading scholars, the best known of whom include: Professor Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate; Dr Garret FitzGerald, economist and former Taoiseach; Dr. Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway; and Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The Academy has also more than 50 distinguished honorary Members, who in the past have included J.W. Von Goethe, Maria Edgeworth, Albert Einstein and Max Born. Today the Honorary Members include Nobel Laureates, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Sir Andrew Huxley. Further information can be found on www.ria.ie -ENDS-