NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4

NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has announced the appointment of eight members to the Board of TG4 including a new chairperson for the Board. Among the appointees is Press & Information Officer at NUI Galway, Michelle Ní Chróinín. TG4 is the national Irish language television service, a public service broadcaster, established by statute and publicly funded to deliver a full range of high quality Irish language content to audiences at home and abroad. Originally from the West Cork Gaeltacht of Baile Bhuirne, Michelle is also an elected representative of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority since 2009. Michelle has over 15 years experience in communications, project management, event management, public administration as well as working with the media and in public relations. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Music from UCC; a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration from NUI Galway; and a Higher Diploma in Public Relations from the PRII. She most recently completed a Masters degree in Irish Media Studies from UL/Mary Immaculate College. Michelle is also trained in Television and Video production and has produced and broadcast her own documentary for TG4 in 1998 entitled Bess Mo Shin Sheanmháthair. Commenting on the appointments, Minister Rabbitte said that the Government was committed to continuing its support of the Irish language broadcasting sector and was extremely happy with the calibre of and credentials of those who have accepted appointment. “With Digital Switchover due to take place in six months time, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the new board every success with the opportunities and challenges ahead,” the Minister added. In nominating the successful candidates, the Minister also had regard to the recommended nominees of the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC). Joe Connolly has been re-appointed to the Board and will continue to serve with Pól Ó Gallchóir, Concubhar Ó Liatháin and Rónán Ó Coisdealbha. The Minister is awaiting one further nominee from the Joint Oireachtas Committee. The Minister also expressed his thanks to the outgoing chairman and Board members, whose term of office has expired, for their contribution. The newly appointed Board members of TG4, whose term will be for five years, are as follows: Siún Ní Raghallaigh (Chair) Des Geraghty Michelle Ní Chróinín Micheál Seoighe Mairéad Ní Cheoinín Andréa Ní hÉalaithe Mairéad Nic Suibhne ENDS Comhaltaí Boird Nua TG4 Fógartha ag an Aire Ó Coinín D’fhógair an tAire Cumarsáide, Pádraic Ó Coinín go bhfuil ochtar comhaltaí ceaptha ar Bhord TG4, lena n-áirítear cathaoirleach nua ar an mBord. San áireamh tá Michelle Ní Chróinín, Oifigeach Preasa & Faisnéise in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Craoltóir seirbhíse poiblí is ea TG4, an tseirbhís náisiúnta teilifíse Ghaeilge, a bunaíodh le reacht agus a mhaoinítear le hairgead poiblí d’fhonn raon leathan ábhair ardchaighdeáin a sholáthar i nGaeilge don lucht féachana in Éirinn agus thar lear. Tagann Michelle ó Bhaile Bhuirne i nGaeltacht Mhúscraí ó dhúchas agus ó 2009, tá Michelle mar bhall tofa ar Údarás na hOllscoile, OÉ Gaillimh. Tá taithí breis is 15 bliain ag Michelle ar bhainistíocht imeachtaí agus tionscadal, i riarachán poiblí agus ar ndóigh i gcaidreamh poiblí agus ag déileáil leis na meáin. Is céimí de chuid Ollscoil Chorcaí sa cheol í Michelle agus bhain sí Ard-Dioplóma i Riarachán na nEalaíon amach in OÉ Gaillimh. Chomh maith leis sin tá Ard-Dioplóma i gCaidreamh Poiblí ó Acadamh Caidrimh Phoiblí na hÉireann bainte amach aici agus le déanaí Máistreacht sna Meáin Éireannacha ó Ollscoil Luimnigh agus Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál. Tá Michelle cáilithe freisin mar chúntóir léiriúcháin teilifíse agus rinne sí a léiriúchán féin i 1998 le coimisiúin bronnta uirthi ó TG4, Bess Mo Shin sheanmháthair. Agus é ag tagairt do na ceapacháin, dúirt an tAire Ó Coinín go raibh an Rialtas tiomanta leanúint leis an tacaíocht atá á tabhairt d’earnáil na craoltóireachta Gaeilge agus go raibh sé féin an-sásta ar fad le caighdeán agus dintiúir na ndaoine sin a ghlac lena gceapacháin. “Agus an t-athrú go dtí an tSeirbhís Dhigiteach le tarlú i gceann sé mhí, ba mhaith liom an deis seo a thapú chun gach rath a ghuí ar an mbord nua maidir leis na deiseanna agus na dúshláin atá amach rompu”, a dúirt an tAire. Agus na hiarratasóirí rathúla á n-ainmniú aige, bhí aird ag an Aire freisin ar ainmnithigh an Chomhchoiste Oireachtais (CCO). Tá Joe Connolly athcheaptha chun an bhoird agus leanfaidh sé de bheith ag fónamh mar aon le Pól Ó Gallchóir, Conchubhar Ó Liatháin agus Rónán Ó Coisdealbha. Tá an tAire ag fanacht le hainmniúchán amháin eile a fháil ón gComhchoiste Oireachtais.   Ghabh an tAire buíochas freisin leis an iar-chathaoirleach agus na comhaltaí Boird a bhfuil a dtéarma oifige istigh, agus atá ag dul as oifig, as a gcion a dhéanamh. Is iad seo a leanas comhaltaí Boird nuacheaptha TG4, a chuirfidh téarma oifige cúig bliana isteach: Siún Ní Raghallaigh (an Cathaoirleach) Des Geraghty Michelle Ní Chróinín Micheál Seoighe Mairéad Ní Cheoinín Andréa Ní Éalaithe Mairéad Nic Suibhne

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Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help

Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The general public is being invited to engage with scientists at NUI Galway to provide their opinions on stem cells and gene therapy. Scientists hope to explore public opinion on these and other cutting-edge biomedical solutions under development, and learn what the public’s point of view is. As part of the EU-funded GAMBA project, the University is specifically looking for people who would like to learn about adult stem cell and gene therapy approaches, and who are willing to evaluate theses approaches from a lay person’s point of view. No technical or scientific knowledge is needed, just a willingness to participate over two weekends in May and June 2012. Ideally, participants should be resident in Galway or the neighbouring counties and must be at least 18 years old. The closing date for application is Friday, 4 May. The specific focus of the research associated with this project is osteoarthritis and the opinion of the people suffering from this debilitating disease was already sought in a very successful patient panel which was held in March this year. For the public consultation project, which is organised by the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, participants will be introduced to the topics of innovative basic research into a novel osteoarthritis therapy based on gene therapy, stem cell research and nanomedicine. “We are really hoping to engage with people who are broadly interested in stem cell or gene therapy generally and the potential use of these technologies for treating diseases in the future. What risks and ethical aspects are associated with such visions? How should such therapies be regulated? Should these therapies be available in Ireland? These are just some of the questions we want to discuss”, said Dr Mary Murphy, REMEDI, NUI Galway. Dr Murphy added: “New therapy approaches usually don’t come to the attention of patients and society until they are tested in clinical trials or once the products are launched on the market. This project is taking a very innovative approach by involving the general public at a very early stage. We as scientists need to stop and listen to what the everyday person has to say, and we can learn from their insights. We learnt so much from our earlier session with arthritis suffers and I hope members of the general public will be able to help this time round by giving of their time.” All the sessions will be supported by an experienced team of moderators, who will ensure that the information supplied is comprehensible. Importantly, the reports generated by the patients and citizens themselves at the end of the four-day process will be published and disseminated to the relevant authorities, researchers and politicians. As part of the GAMBA project (Gene Activated Matrices for Bone and Cartilage Regeneration in Arthritis) researchers at REMEDI are involved in developing new methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In collaboration with nine partner institutions from Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, researchers in REMEDI hope it might be possible to heal diseased joints in 10 to 20 years. This would be done by introducing a combination of biomaterials, stem cells harvested from the patient, gene vectors and nanoparticles directly into the diseased tissue. “Our hope is”, explains Dr Murphy, “that these enriched biomaterials could make a regeneration of the joints possible.” Participants will be given a gratuity of €50 and are invited to apply before Friday, 4 May. The application form and further information are available online http://www.gamba-project.eu/panels  or can be requested on 091 494276.  The main website for the project is http://gamba-project.eu   ENDS

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The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar

The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar-image

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council have announced that the sixth International John McGahern Seminar, commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, will take place from 24-26 May in Co. Leitrim. “The literary, historical and environmental aspects of McGahern’s work will be the focus this year, and the keynote lecture will be given by Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin and a regular broadcaster on RTÉ television and radio,” explains NUI Galway’s Dr John Kenny, Academic Director of the Seminar. The Seminar includes a rich variety of lectures, open discussions, readings, tours and book launches. The Chinese-American writer, Yiyun Li, will talk about McGahern’s work and will discuss and read from her own fiction. Winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2005, Li made a special recording of one of McGahern’s masterpiece stories, ‘The Wine Breath’, for The New Yorker in 2009, a podcast of which can be listened to at www.newyorker.com. Other speakers at the event will include Professor Joe Cleary of NUI Maynooth and Yale University, Professor Eamonn Wall of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and author and former Irish Times journalist, Paddy Woodworth, who will give a talk about McGahern and the relationship between landscape and literature.   The preeminent scholar of McGahern’s work, Denis Sampson, will be giving a public interview about his new book, Young John McGahern: Becoming a Novelist, recently published by Oxford University Press, and another established McGahern scholar, Dr Stanley van der Ziel, will be providing the talk for the Seminar launch of the book. Dr Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool will give a lecture about the influence of James Joyce on John McGahern and will also be launching his new book, Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival, for which Professor Emeritus in History at NUI Galway, Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, will provide the talk. The Seminar will also include a feature discussion by Cormac O’Malley about his father, Ernie O’Malley, whose writing was much admired by McGahern. There will be visits, guided by local historian Dr Frank Brennan, to places around Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill important to the author’s life and works, and also a boat trip to Cootehall in Co. Roscommon where writers and readers groups from the region will give public readings from McGahern’s autobiography, Memoir. The archaeologist Chris Read will follow his talk about the landscape around Fenagh, where McGahern lived, with a field trip to a number of significant archaeological sites in South Leitrim. Announcing the McGahern events, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Through the International John McGahern Seminar, we at NUI Galway are working to broaden access to literary scholarship and to share the riches of the McGahern archive with the widest possible audience. In holding this valuable archive in the West of Ireland, we feel that the University is holding in trust a treasure for the world of literary scholarship, for the Irish nation and most especially for this region which we have served for more than 160 years. I wish the 2012 International McGahern Seminar every success and I welcome the continued partnership of Leitrim County Council in this culturally important endeavour.” Speaking at the launch of the 2012 programme, Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, said: “Leitrim County Council views the John McGahern Seminar as an important part of the county’s and indeed Ireland’s literary calendar which presents an excellent opportunity for both academic and general readers to engage richly with the work of John McGahern and we are delighted to continue to work in partnership with NUI Galway in organising this sixth International Seminar.”  As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature, culture society and history. NUI Galway is providing five Scholarships to assist students to attend the Seminar and visit the McGahern Archive, which is held at the University in the James Hardiman Library. Scholarships are valued at €500 each and interested students should apply directly to the Academic Director, Dr John Kenny, at john.kenny@nuigalway.ie. For further details and to book for the 2012 International John McGahern Seminar contact Christine at 071 9621694, email arts@leitrimcoco.ie or visit www.leitrimarts.ie ENDS

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Award-Winning Technology Could Help Enhance Road Safety for Pedestrians

Award-Winning Technology Could Help Enhance Road Safety for Pedestrians-image

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

New technology being developed in NUI Galway could help enhance pedestrian safety by allowing them to be ‘seen’ by cars – thus avoiding collisions and saving lives. NUI Galway researcher Anthony Winterlich has been awarded a Gold Medal at the Young European Arena of Research 2012 competition by the EU Commission for his work on systems for pedestrian identification, a key challenge to enhance road safety. The award was presented at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) conference which is taking place this week in Athens.  The competition, supported by the European Union, provides visibility to promising young researchers specialising in surface transport (road, rail, waterborne). Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science awarded Anthony and five others for their outstanding work. The winners represent universities from France, UK, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. Anthony carries out his work with the Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group (www.car.nuigalway.ie) in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, which is focused on pursuing research in several areas of driver assistance and communications in the automotive environment. This research builds on several years of existing research within the CAR Group in the area of automotive vision systems development, much of it sponsored by Valeo Vision Systems in Tuam, Co. Galway, a world leader in this area. According to Anthony, who is a native of Tuam, County Galway: “My research involves the development of mathematical techniques which can be used to measure the quality of images produced by the various safety-related cameras found in the majority of modern cars. Once we can describe image and video quality by means of a ‘number’ we can then develop and evaluate techniques which will improve image quality by compensating for distortions that occur due to slight imperfections in the cameras or due to compression of the video images as they are being transported around the vehicle. This is a topic of increasing importance in the automotive industry due to the growing use of car-mounted camera systems for driver assistance and other applications such as automatic pedestrian detection, and the results of my research will have a significant impact on the development of automotive camera products in the coming years.” Financial support for Anthony’s research is provided by Valeo Vision Systems and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) through the Enterprise Partnership Scheme. His work is supervised by Edward Jones, Martin Glavin and Liam Kilmartin within the Electrical & Electronic Engineering discipline at NUI Galway. ENDS

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US Government Joins the Dots with Irish ‘Linked Data’ Technologies

US Government Joins the Dots with Irish ‘Linked Data’ Technologies-image

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Agencies in the US Government have adopted a set of web tools and standards developed in Ireland by researchers at NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI). DERI’s technologies are being utilised by Data.gov, a portal developed to bring an unprecedented level of transparency to the US Government. DERI’s research, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, focuses on enabling networked knowledge, using the latest Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies. Its technologies allow related data that was not previously linked to be connected together, so that a person or computer can see the bigger picture through interlinked datasets. Data.gov allows the linking of open government data from agency publishers to contributions from other public and private organisations. DERI’s Dr John Breslin, who also lectures in Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, explains: “I recently saw a universal toy adaptor that allowed you to connect plastic building blocks to wooden construction sets. Linked Data is a bit like that – it’s based on a universal data format that allows you to bring datasets from different realms together, making them more useful as a whole. Your planning applications could be linked to your broadband penetration rates or your traffic congestion data to help identify issues and trends.” Among the DERI outputs being used by Data.gov and the related Healthdata.gov site are Neologism and the GRefine RDF Extension. Neologism is a new tool which allows for the easy creation of ‘vocabularies’ needed to link data and is built on the powerful open source content management platform Drupal. One such vocabulary that is listed in vocab.data.gov is the Vocabulary of Interlinked Datasets (VOID), which was co-created by DERI researchers. The second technology in use, the RDF Extension for Google Refine, is a graphical user interface for exporting data from Google Refine (a tool for working with messy data) as interlinked Semantic Web data. George Thomas, Enterprise Architect with the US Health and Human Services Administration, has said: “More behind the scenes work that routinely benefits from substantial DERI engagement includes an ongoing contribution to the creation and promulgation of open standards related to open government data catalogs and communities. But DERI doesn’t stop there, they put these new standards into practice through enhancements to Drupal 7 core, helping make it an even more powerful publishing and visualization tool for the emerging Web of Data.” He added: “We hope to leverage all of these features and capabilities in our current and ongoing Healthdata.gov modernization efforts. They also create lots of other useful tools and pen helpful blog posts that promote the proper use and integration of standards. Furthermore, DERI folks are active in many other efforts to promote structured data using open standards and help to clarify best practices that will ultimately lead to better integration of international government statistics.” Joint work between DERI and Mr. Thomas’ team on Patient Controlled Privacy (using Linked Health Data) will be presented at the Semantic Technologies Conference in San Francisco in June, that makes use of the Privacy Preference Ontology and related privacy management web applications from DERI’s Social Software Unit. Data.gov is part of a global initiative referred to as the Open Data movement, with the goal to motivate governments to make public information freely available and easily accessible online. Others examples include data.gov.uk and data.london.gov.uk from the UK, and data.fingal.ie and dublinked.ie from Ireland. Researchers at DERI in NUI Galway are in the vanguard of this new technology space. The largest research organisation of its kind in the world, DERI with its 140 researchers, it is collaborating with industry and governments to revolutionise the utilisation of data. Today, more than 200 regions and countries are publishing their government data online. Three years ago, DERI announced the adoption of its SIOC data format by a website in the Obama administration. The SIOC format is one of the Open Data formats being produced by a number of US Government websites that use the latest Drupal platform, including energy.gov (the US Energy Department), policy.house.gov (the Republican Policy committee), lsc.gov (the civil legal aid program), and oag.ca.gov (the California Attorney General). The DCAT vocabulary from DERI is also used by various government sites for describing government datasets and data catalogs. DERI also collaborates with the European Commission on common semantic vocabularies, such as the Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS). Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, says that while we are seeing Open Data being used to improve public services and promote more transparent and effective government - that is only part of the story. “Open Data has been described recently by the UK’s Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude as the raw material of a ‘new industrial revolution’. Making more data freely available is resulting in people using it to build new businesses and grow existing ones, creating jobs. In Ireland, the Open Data movement is being pioneered by the likes of Fingal County Council, the Dublinked consortium and the National Cross-Industry Working Group on Open Data. DERI participates at a national and international level through the provision of best practices, standards and technologies. Open Data is key to supporting a truly transparent and participatory democratic system.” In Ireland, DERI collaborates closely with local and the Local Government Computer Services Board, as well as the National Cross-Industry Working Group on Open Data to promote Open Data. Professor Decker concluded: “These are exciting times and a true spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship is engulfing the IT world as networked knowledge begins to come into its own. Undoubtedly, ten years from now when we look back, we will wonder how we managed with the volumes of unconnected data we have now.” DERI was founded in 2003 at NUI Galway with support from the Irish Government’s Science Foundation Ireland, as part of a strategic investment in Semantic Web research and business development. -ends-

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NUI Galway Summer Schools for Second Level Students

NUI Galway Summer Schools for Second Level Students-image

Monday, 30 April 2012

NUI Galway is offering secondary school students the choice of four separate Summer Schools in May and June, across the disciplines of Nursing, Computing, Engineering and Science. Aimed at students in transition, fifth and sixth year, the summer schools are specially designed to give interested students a real taste of University life through a wide range of hands-on practical and interactive activities. On Tuesday, 29 May, the first NUI Galway Nursing Summer School will take place. This pilot initiative is open to Transition Year students, who will be given the opportunity to learn more about studying Nursing and the careers available to them upon graduation. Activities at the Summer School will focus on lifesaving skills include CPR, recognising vital signs and hand hygiene. Spaces for this Summer School are limited to 32 students and are on a first-come, first-served basis. NUI Galway’s IT and Computing Summer Camp introduces computing in a novel, fun and interactive way. Students, from first to sixth year, will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of digitally-inspired topics including Digital Media, Games, Robotics, Programming and Animation. Participants will have the opportunity to use leading-edge technologies, from constructing and controlling robots that can interact with their environment, to directing a virtual 'mini-movie' that can be uploaded to a website and shared with friends. Due to popular demand, NUI Galway will hold two of the week-long sessions to facilitate the numbers interested, 11 to 15 June, or 18 to 22 June. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. From Thursday 21 to Friday 22 June, the Science Experience Summer Event will offer students two whole days to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines in world class research facilities and institutes. The workshop will feature all disciplines of the College of Science including Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. Prospective students will get a taste of life as a scientist with the opportunity to gain a closer view of the research facilities with tours, to take part in lab experiments and demonstrations and to speak to the lecturers and the scientists at NUI Galway about the latest discoveries and inventions. Registration deadline for this particular Summer School is 20 May. Students interested in the Engineering Summer School have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 28 June, or Friday, 29 June. Housed in the University’s new Engineering Building, the Summer School will offer a taste of experiences as wide-ranging as controlling a wastewater treatment plant remotely, robo-soccer games, building and testing pacemaker circuits, designing an eco-house, and for future Formula 1 engineers, designing a go-kart. There will also be a 'Frankenstein Design’ feature on how bioengineers make new body parts. The closing date for applications for the Engineering Summer School is Thursday, 31 May. Caroline Loughnane, Director for Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, says: “This is our third year of summer schools and they are proving hugely popular. Not only are summer schools a great opportunity to experience University life, but they also help participants to really find out what subjects and courses they will be best suited to in college. We recommend that secondary school students choose subjects they enjoy for their CAO options, and these summer schools are a great way of helping students to discover where their interests lie.” Spaces for all Summer Schools are limited so early booking is advised. To find out more about the NUI Galway Summer Schools or for applications visit www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Announce Pat Sheeran Scholarship for MA in Film Studies

NUI Galway Announce Pat Sheeran Scholarship for MA in Film Studies -image

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway has launched the Pat Sheeran MA in Film Studies Scholarship. All students applying to the MA in Film Studies programme in the coming year will be considered for this scholarship, valued at €2000, based on their application and supporting documentation. The scholarship has been established to mark the substantial contribution of the late Professor Sheeran to the development of Film Studies in NUI Galway and the establishment of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media. A vital and inspirational member of the English department, Professor Sheeran’s publications included a seminal study of the John Ford classic, The Informer (1935), published by Cork University Press shortly after his untimely passing in 2001. He was also co-writer of the Irish feature film The Fifth Province (1997) and initiated the Galway Film Project that laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Huston School in 2003. According to MA in Film Studies Programme Director, Dr Seán Crosson: “This scholarship provides a great opportunity for students interested in furthering their knowledge and employment prospects in a wide range of film-related careers or in enhancing their potential for undertaking further research at PhD level through the completion of our MA in Film Studies. It is also an opportunity for us to recognise the huge contribution Professor Sheeran made to students and colleagues in NUI Galway before his untimely death.” The MA in Film Studies (Film, Culture and Society) emphasises the relationship between film and society while viewing the medium as a unique point of contact between culture, politics and social life. The programme is taught by leading film studies academics who have made substantial contributions to film studies inIrelandand internationally. Core modules in film history and theory examine fundamental issues in film while options allow students to focus on specific areas, including Irish film, Film in the Digital Age, and Gender & Sexuality in Cinema. Previous graduates of the programme have acquired positions in an array of film-connected areas, including lecturing, teaching, programming and exhibition, curatorial work, and arts journalism. Former Film Studies graduate and current Galway Film Fleadh programmer, Gar O’Brien, says: “Any expectations I might have had would have proven insufficient for the breadth and scope of the MA in Film Studies programme at Huston. I found myself in a class of like-minded individuals where we were guided, supported and encouraged by the staff there, not only to learn about everything from genre and the auteur theory to the relationship between situationist politics and art cinema, but to find our own voice and outlet for our passion for cinema. This had a profound effect on me and, without any hyperbole, it is fair to say that this course represented a major turning point in my life.” A unique aspect of the Huston Schoo is the pioneering suite of postgraduate programmes the school offers, including in Screenwriting, Production and Direction, and Digital Media, as well as Film Studies, and the connections the school encourages between students in each of these areas. This includes the sharing of modules and also the impressive array of world renowned visitors and guest lecturers, open to all programmes, during the year. Previous visitors and/or guest lecturers have included Roddy Doyle, Laura Mulvey, Fionnula Flanagan, Lenny Abrahamson, Diane Negra, James Cromwell, John Boorman, Evan Goldberg, Gabriel Byrne, John Carney, Patrick McGilligan, Noel Burch, Mike Figgis, Brian Winston, Christopher Frayling and Victor Perkins. Building on the success of TG4 and Irish-language film production over the past ten years, the programme also includes an Irish-language option module (the first of its type on an MA in Film Studies programme in Ireland), ‘Scéalta Scáileáin na Gaeilge’, which focuses on the history of screen production in the Irish language and expands students’ employment prospects in the growing area of Irish- and English-language film and television. All applications to the MA in Film Studies should be made online at www.pac.ie/nuigalway Further Information on the MA in Film Studies is available at http://www.filmschool.ie/courses.php?id=3 ENDS

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‘Scouting’ Molecules Give New Direction for Drug Development

‘Scouting’ Molecules Give New Direction for Drug Development-image

Monday, 30 April 2012

New insights into the behaviour of molecules could have major implications for the design of drugs that block protein interactions. A team of researchers led by Dr Peter Crowley at the National University of Ireland Galway has revealed in intricate detail how a drug-like molecule can explore the surface of a protein. The pioneering work was published by Nature Chemistry online (Sunday, 29 April) and will appear in the June issue of the journal. It was found that molecules scout around the protein surface, moving from one location to another constantly examining their surroundings. For the past thirty years, drug design has been dominated by the search for small molecules that fit perfectly into a protein’s active site and modify its activity. Recently, the focus of attention has shifted to molecules that recognise and bind to the protein surface. Such molecules can camouflage the protein and prevent it binding to other proteins. Knowledge of these interactions is essential to the development of therapies that target undesirable protein interactions such as occur in Alzheimer’s disease. “Inside every cell thousands of different proteins work together, like the parts in a machine, to sustain life. How proteins stick to one another and to other molecules is a crucial piece in the complicated puzzle of biochemistry and often the key to effective drugs”, explains Dr Crowley. The researchers chose a negatively charged molecule called calixarene and a protein with lots of lysine amino acids, which are positive. The opposite charges cause a force of attraction between them. Using sophisticated analytical methods, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, Dr Crowley and colleagues were able to visualise how the calixarene sticks to the protein surface. “Another feature of the calixarene is its bowl-shape. Lysine can fit snugly inside the calixarene, which ensures that an interaction takes place”, adds Dr Crowley. “It turns out that the calixarene binds to several different lysines and explores the protein surface by hopping from one lysine to another. The result is exciting because it adds a new dimension to our understanding and provides drug designers with an alternative strategy.” Dr Crowley emphasised the importance of funding basic research and acknowledged the support of the National University of Ireland Galway and Science Foundation Ireland. The project was a collaborative effort that involved the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and Dr Amir Khan at Trinity College Dublin. To view the video on the research click here -ends-

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NUI Galway's Intergenerational Learning Programme to Represent Ireland in Major EU Competition

NUI Galway's Intergenerational Learning Programme to Represent Ireland in Major EU Competition-image

Monday, 30 April 2012

The ‘Living Scenes’ intergenerational learning programme at NUI Galway has been selected to represent Ireland in a European Commission Intergenerational Competition. The generations@school Project is organised by the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and is about engaging pupils and seniors in intergenerational dialogue. Since 2009, Europe has celebrated a European Day of Solidarity between Generations on 29 April. In 2012, the focus is on bringing together pupils and older people to engage in a conversation about what it means to get older and how older and younger people can collaborate for a better life.  To coincide with this event, the EU Commission will host a competition to award the best project in each EU Member States and one overall European winner. Through weekly art, music, drama and creative writing workshops, NUI Galway’s Living Scenes allows teenagers and older adults to learn together, share experiences and build bonds of mutual respect and understanding. A strong emphasis is placed on the holistic development of the participants, promoting equality, personal development and confidence building in both the younger and older adults. NUI Galway's Dr Mary Surlis is the Living Scenes Programme Director, and has been involved since its inception: “We are delighted to be the only Irish school-based programme of intergenerational learning to participate in this European competition.  Living Scenes is about adopting an open, inclusive and consultative approach to learning. It is currently in seven secondary schools throughout Ireland, and is embedded in the transition year in each school. To date 1,478 participants have taken part in our programme, the highest of any intergenerational learning initiative of its kind across Ireland, or even Europe.” Dr Surlis added: "At a time when there is a serious erosion of social fabric evident in Irish society, Living Scenes aims to respond to the growing need for communication and trust in both the school and in the local community. What we are trying to do is to regenerate relationships both in schools and communities and, perhaps more importantly, between our older and our younger generations.” The intergenerational focus of the Living Scenes programme seeks to create a climate in which the participants will develop interpersonal skills, self-realisation, character building skills and cross-generational awareness and respect. Psychologist, acclaimed writer, and most recent winner of Listowel Originals Short Story Award, Hedy Gibbons has been facilitating creative writing modules in the Living Scenes Programme for some years, and observes that:  “The overall beneficial outcomes of the Living Scenes Programme are not confined to the strictly educational.  Focusing on tasks that encourage creativity also seems to increase appreciation and understanding between age groups and cultures of their life experiences. Feedback from participants suggests enhanced psychological well-being through shared learning in a social educational setting. This surely will have positive spin- off in reducing isolation and increasing understanding in the context of generational and social exclusion.” ENDS         

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March 2012

NUI Galway Students Hold ‘Soup for Life’ Fundraiser

NUI Galway Students Hold ‘Soup for Life’ Fundraiser-image

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Geography students at NUI Galway will hold a ‘Soup for Life’ event on 5 - 6 March as part of National Soup Week. ‘Soup for Life’ is run in association with the University’s campus restaurant, An Bhialann, which is operated by ARAMARK Ireland, Gorta - The Freedom from Hunger Council of Ireland, NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and the University’s Volunteering Programme ALIVE. Organised by students from the MA in Environment, Society and Development programme at NUI Galway, this is the first time a third-level institution has hosted the ‘Soup for Life’ campaign. For each bowl of soup sold by An Bhialann, €1 will be donated to Gorta. Funds raised will be put to work fighting hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Gorta is an independent, international development NGO who aim to contribute to the eradication of the causes of hunger and extreme thirst in the world. Gorta supports agricultural activities including livestock rearing, irrigation schemes and other water-based projects, as well as the support of education, healthcare initiatives and income-generating activities in communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr John McDonagh, Head of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “The Geography Department is delighted to support this initiative and the fantastic work that Gorta does.  In particular we are delighted to see Geography students contributing in such a meaningful and beneficial way to this campaign and its positive contribution to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.” Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “NUI Galway students have a deep social consciousness and are committed to connecting the curriculum to real world social problems. The ‘Soup for Life’ campaign demonstrates the forging of successful partnerships with communities and business through student initiative and the support of ARAMARK on this project is much appreciated.” National Soup Week runs from 5 to 11 March with many establishments nationwide participating including including the Avoca Group, Cornucopia, Wagamama and the Insomnia Coffee Company in Dublin and Café Paradiso, Blair’s Inn, Amicus and The Cornstore in Cork. ‘Soup for Life’ is also supported by Cork’s food entrepreneurs Cully & Sully, who will donate 5c per carton of soup sold throughout the week. For more information visit www.soupforlife.ie -ENDS-

>> Read full story about NUI Galway Students Hold ‘Soup for Life’ Fundraiser

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