Monday, 3 November 2008

Protecting the rights of the world's 650 million persons with disabilities was the focus of a conference on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York which was addressed Professor Gerard Quinn of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. The conference followed on from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, which entered into force on 3 May 2008. It was composed of States that have ratified the convention and was the first time they met as a Conference of States Parties. In his presentation, Professor Quinn underscored that the Convention's success would be determined by whether it could ignite a new dynamic of change at a national level, cautioning that people must "resist the temptation of its elegance", and not allow it to substitute for the hard work that would be needed to change domestic laws. Professor Quinn was joined by a distinguished panel by invitation of the Chair of the Conference of States to reflect on implementation. The Conference will meet annually to share experiences and make recommendations with respect to the implementation of the treaty. Members of the new UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be elected today. The Committee will monitor compliance with the convention. Professor Quinn said: "It is an honour to be asked to address the first formal gathering of States that have ratified the treaty. We all hope and expect that Ireland will ratify soon. Unfortunately, since Ireland has not yet ratified, it will not be able to take part in the election to the new UN Committee. This does not diminish the importance of the event for the 'world's largest minority'. Several of our students have participated in the drafting of the treaty and our PhD programme in disability law follows relevant events closely". The Convention, one of the fastest treaties ever negotiated at the United Nations, and one of the fastest to enter into force, has been hailed as a landmark achievement. While the Convention itself does not create any new rights for persons with disabilities worldwide, it ensures that their existing rights are promoted, protected and ensured. The first new human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, it has been signed by 136 countries since 30 March 2007, and ratified by 41. The Optional Protocol has gathered 79 signatures and 25 ratifications so far. This would allow individuals and Groups to lodge complaints against their Governments in the new UN Committee. -ends-

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan T.D., has announced substantial awards totalling €45.7 million over five years, through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). This investment provides second term funding for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway as well as two other world-class research Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs). Funding will be supplemented by an additional contribution from industry of €14.5 million, bringing the overall investment to over €60 million. At NUI Galway, DERI is researching technologies that will underpin the next generation of the World Wide Web – the Semantic Web. Announcing the awards, the Tánaiste said: "From its inception, the SFI CSET programme has been designed to facilitate the creation of internationally-competitive, large-scale research centres that support high-quality collaborations between higher education institutes and industry-based researchers. All three centres have been playing a pivotal role in contributing to the Government's goal of building a world-class research base in Ireland, and developing our human capital to support economic competitiveness. Today is an endorsement of this achievement to date, and marks the beginning of the next chapter for each individual researcher and their respective teams". Michael Turley, CEO, DERI, said at the announcement: "The receipt of this second term funding from SFI will enable DERI to execute on its strategies. These include world class research and the creation of fourth level human capital for Ireland s knowledge economy. This funding will give DERI the opportunity to exploit the commercialisation and job creation opportunities that will arise through DERI s industry partnerships and NUI Galway's technology transfer programmes. The University's education and outreach programme with schools and communities will also play a vital part in attracting third level students to the Engineering and Science disciplines". DERI's industry partners include: Nortel Networks (Ireland) Ltd, Cisco Systems Internetworking (Ireland) Ltd, FISC-Ireland Ltd, L M Ericsson Ltd, Storm Technology Ltd, Celtrak Ltd, Cyntelix Corporation Ltd, OpenLink Software (UK) Ltd. Stefan Decker, Scientific Director, DERI, NUI Galway, said: "DERI s mission is to create the foundation for interlinking the worlds knowledge. We are not only aiming for academic excellence, but together with our industry partners we want to change the way how people interact with the computers when using the Web or Desktop software. Starting from a basis of strength enabled by SFI s funding, we are confident that we are able to help shape Ireland s future." Also attending the announcement, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins T.D. said: "A total of 12 distinct indigenous and multinational companies will partner with these CSETs, and SFI funding will be bolstered by these industry partners' contribution of an additional €14.5 million in the form of funding, personnel and equipment. The funding announced today will directly support almost 200 researchers, graduate students and others in a well-structured and wholly-collaborative environment between now and 2013". The two other funding awards under the SFI CSET Programme announced today are for: Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) based at University College Cork which is focusing on research in gastrointestinal health; Director: Professor Fergus Shanahan, Industry Partners: GlaxoSmithKline and Alimentary Health. Other Partners: Teagasc CRANN, the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices which is hosted by Trinity College Dublin and is working in the area of Nanotechnology; Director: Professor John Boland Industry Partners: Hewlett-Packard and Intel Commenting on the awards, Professor Frank Gannon, Director-General of SFI stated: "SFI CSETs have led our portfolio of initiatives that are steadily moving Ireland towards a truly knowledge-based economy. These CSETs have been independently verified as playing an important role in building a world-class research system in Ireland, as well as linking successfully with major multinational companies and providing an attractor for multinational investment in research in Ireland. Funding for the three CSETs announced today was approved by the SFI Board following a rigorous, multi-faceted assessment process. This encompassed international scientific peer review, 31 international experts participated in the postal review process and 28 international experts participated in the four on-site reviews. In addition, a 'Strategic Value to Ireland' assessment was performed by key Government agency stakeholders, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Forfás, the Higher Education Authority and the Health Research Board. Ends

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Dr Martin Mansergh T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works has announced broadcast details of this year's Winter Solstice at Newgrange, County Meath. Minister Mansergh said: "Last year, for the first time ever, the Office of Public Works (OPW) broadcast a live internet web stream of the iconic sunrise in the 5,000 year old chamber at Newgrange, County Meath. Many thousands of people all around the world tuned in to enjoy coverage and I am delighted, this year, to announce that we are providing a similar live stream of the event on our Heritage Ireland website, www.heritageireland.ie. In addition, Free to Air coverage will be available to any television outlets who wish to broadcast the event". The Minister continued: "This year also sees an exciting collaboration between my Office and the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). Ireland will be the first country in the world to mark the start of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 with this special event and we are happy to work in partnership with IYA2009, Discover Science & Engineering and NUI Galway, the main sponsoring bodies of the Irish node of IYA2009". The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) is a global celebration of astronomy and its entirely peaceful contribution to society and culture. 2009 is the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo, in reality the beginning of the modern age in astronomy. The aim of IYA2009 is to stimulate a worldwide interest and encourage participation in astronomy and in science amongst students at all levels, and among the general public. In Ireland, a programme of events for IYA2009 is being organised by the Irish Node of IYA2009, headed by Professor Michael Redfern, Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway. According to Professor Redfern, who lectures in Astrophysics, the Newgrange event is the perfect way to mark the coming year: "The Solar new year actually begins with the winter solstice, so in terms of astrophysics we will already be entering 2009. Newgrange is an extraordinary structure, demonstrating what a deep understanding of astronomy and what great precision in building the passage tomb was shown by our Irish ancestors, some 5000 years ago. It is a most moving event to witness for oneself the first rays of sunlight entering and lighting up the inner chamber where they placed the cremated remains of their ancestors, as it must have been for them. The hope for 2009 is that initiatives throughout the year will encourage participation in science, will provide a modern gender-balanced view of science and scientists, and will encourage cooperation between astronomers in the developed and developing world. We are very grateful to the Office of Public works for the opportunity to work in partnership with them on this world-renowned event". In order to see the live webcast, viewers should log onto www.astronomy2009.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway has announced the winners of a competition run in conjunction with boards.ie. The competition brief was to produce an interesting creation based on a data set reflecting ten years of Irish online life from boards.ie, Ireland's largest discussion forum website. boards.ie is one of Ireland's busiest websites, with 1.7 million unique visitors a month. The site has recently won a Golden Spider Award for Best Social Networking or Community Site, and Irish Web Awards for both Best Discussion Forum and the Grand Prix. The most popular discussion areas are 'after hours', soccer, motors, poker and computers. Popular topic threads include: a virtual pub (over 4000 pages); member discussions (2800 pages); poker stories (1800 pages); Liverpool rumours (1250 pages); recruitment in the Gardaí (800 pages long); and a freebie list (250 pages). For the competition, the data from boards.ie (approximately 9 million documents) was represented in the Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC) open data format developed by DERI. Dr John Breslin, a researcher with DERI and co-founder of the boards.ie site said: "The competition had about sixty registrants and there were eight final submissions of very high quality that demonstrated really interesting usages of the Semantic Web data. There has been huge interest in the winning entries from many communities (developers, researchers, designers) and the winners have agreed to release the code for others to use". The winning submission was entitled "SIOC.ME: A Real-Time Interactive Visualisation of boards.ie Semantic Data within a 3-D Space". The entry illustrated how 3-D visualisations may be harnessed to not only provide an interactive means of presenting or browsing data but also to create useful data analysis tools, especially for manipulating the "semantic" (meaningful) data from online communities and social networking sites. Submitted by Darren Geraghty, a user interface and interaction designer from Co. Galway, the entry was praised by the judges for the huge amount of effort that went into creating it. In second place was a visualisation application called "boardsview" by Stephen Dolan of Trinity College Dublin. This interactive, real-time animation where one can watch the historical content from many discussion forums changing in real or compressed time. In the application, viewers can zoom into a particular forum to see individual users posting messages or to see threads being created and destroyed. Third prize was awarded to the "Forum Activity Graph" by Drew Perttula from California. This entry was a visualisation showing the popularity of forums on boards.ie as represented by coloured rivers of information, which were then rendered and displayed using Google Maps. The competition was judged by an independent panel of three experts: Ian Davis, Chief Technology Officer with Talis; Harry Halpin, researcher at the University of Edinburgh and chair of the W3C GRDDL working group; and Peter Mika, researcher at Yahoo! Research Barcelona and author of the book Social Networks and the Semantic Web. First prize was an Amazon voucher worth $4000, with a second third prize work $2000 and $1000 respectively. -ends-

Monday, 15 December 2008

NUI Galway today formally launched its new Energy Research Centre. The newly established Centre has already attracted significant research funding in the region of €5 million, and plans to fill up to 20 new research and development positions in 2009. External participants include indigenous and multi-national industries, researchers from Teagasc, the Marine Institute, partner Universities and other international collaborators. The Energy Research Centre will take a holistic approach by focusing not only on cutting-edge research, but also on education and outreach. The first of its kind with such wide-ranging scope, it will build on NUI Galway's strong reputation in areas such as bioenergy, energy efficient technologies, renewable resources and energy policy. The aim is for the Centre to become an international centre of excellence, as well as a central hub for energy research in Ireland. According to Professor Vincent O'Flaherty, Director of the Energy Research Centre, "From electricity-producing micro-organisms to smarter wind power, there are possibilities for new approaches to energy generation all around us. The challenge is to integrate science-driven understanding with engineering-based implementation and, to do this, Ireland needs a holistic approach to energy research. For future economic growth, this is one of the few areas where a positive outlook is guaranteed. If we can upscale our energy research and take a more co-coordinated approach nationally, there is a clear opportunity for Ireland to take a leadership role in this critical field". At NUI Galway, the Energy Research Centre is being hosted by the University's Environmental Change Institute. Over 100 researchers from NUI Galway's Colleges of Science; Engineering and Informatics; Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; Law; and Commerce are affiliated with the Centre. -ends-

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe T.D. last night announced that the Government has given the go-ahead for NUI Galway to commence work on a new €50 million Engineering Building on the Galway city campus. Leagan Gaeilge Speaking at NUI Galway, Minister O'Keefe said: "I am glad to be able to announce that the Government has sanctioned tendering for the development of a new Engineering School for NUI Galway. The new Engineering Building will be funded through a combination of exchequer funding under the National Development Plan 2007-2013, resources realised by NUI Galway, as well as donor funding". This 14,200 square metre building will accommodate the College of Engineering and Informatics, which is currently spread across 13 separate locations, both on and off-campus. It will include 'green-building' initiatives, and will itself be utilised as a teaching tool for the students. The building will house 110 staff and approximately 1100 students. Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement: "This is fantastic news for the future of Engineering at NUI Galway. We have always had a strong reputation for the quality of our Engineering programmes and this new development will transform the facilities and the quality of experience on offer to our students. The new building will also bring benefits to Galway city and the surrounding region - not only will it create jobs in the short term, it will enable us to continue to produce top quality Engineering graduates for the future". Designed by award-winning architects RMJM (Scotland) in partnership with Taylor Architects of Castlebar, Co Mayo this building will be the largest building constructed in one development on the NUI Galway city campus and will be situated to the north of the Quincentennial Bridge. The building contract will go to tender on Friday, 12 December, with a view to commencing construction in April 2009 and completing the project in March 2011. During peak construction period up to 300 people will be employed on the project. Minister O'Keeffe added: "Institutions such as NUI Galway have an essential part to play in enabling the State to face these demands and challenges as we move closer to realising our vision of a knowledge economy". ENDS

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

D'fhógair an tAire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta, Batt O'Keeffe T.D. aréir go bhfuil cead tugtha ag an Rialtas do OÉ Gaillimh tús a chur leis an obair ar an bhFoirgneamh Innealtóireachta nua ar champas Chathair na Gaillimhe – foirgneamh a chosnóidh €50 milliún. View in English Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire O'Keeffe le linn dó a bheith ar cuairt ar OÉ Gaillimh: "Cúis áthais dom a fhógairt go bhfuil cead tugtha ag an Rialtas do OÉ Gaillimh Scoil Innealtóireachta nua a fhorbairt. Maoineofar an Foirgneamh Innealtóireachta nua trí mheascán de mhaoiniú státchiste faoi Phlean Forbartha Náisiúnta 2007-2013, cistí airgid a bhaileoidh OÉ Gaillimh, mar aon le maoiniú ó dheontóirí". Beidh achar 14,200 méadar cearnach san fhoirgneamh seo ina mbeidh Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na Faisnéisíochta; coláiste atá scaipthe i 13 fhoirgneamh éagsúla i láthair na huaire, idir fhoirgnimh ar an gcampas agus fhoirgnimh lasmuigh den champas. Áireofar tionscnaimh 'ghlasa' i dtógáil an fhoirgnimh seo, tionscnaimh a úsáidfear mar uirlis teagaisc amach anseo freisin. Beidh thart ar 110 comhalta foirne ag obair san fhoirgneamh nua seo agus beidh áiseanna ann do thart ar 1100 mac léinn. D'fháiltigh an Dr James Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, roimh an dea-scéala: "Cabhróidh an foirgneamh nua seo go mór le cur chun cinn na hInnealtóireachta anseo in OÉ Gaillimh sna blianta amach romhainn. Tá dea-cháil orainn le blianta fada anuas as caighdeán ár gclár Innealtóireachta agus cinnteoidh an fhorbairt nua seo go dtiocfaidh athrú iomlán ar áiseanna agus ar chaighdeán na gclár a bheidh á dtairiscint againn dár mic léinn. Bainfidh cathair na Gaillimhe agus an ceantar máguaird tairbhe as an bhfoirgneamh seo freisin – ní hamháin go gcruthófar poist sa ghearrthéarma, cuirfidh sé ar ár gcumas céimithe Innealtóireachta den chéad scoth a fhorbairt". Is iad na hailtirí clúiteacha RMJM (Albain) i gcomhar le Taylor Architects, Caisleán an Bharraigh, Co. Mhaigh Eo a dhear an foirgneamh seo – an foirgneamh is mó a thógfar mar chuid d'aon fhorbairt amháin ar champas na hOllscoile i nGaillimh agus is ó thuaidh de Dhroichead na gCúig Chéad a bheidh an foirgneamh suite. Cuirfear an conradh tógála amach ar tairiscint Dé hAoine, 12 Nollaig. Tá sé beartaithe tús a chur leis an tógáil i mí Aibreáin 2009 agus an tionscadal a thabhairt chun críche in 2011. I rith na tógála fostófar 300 duine ar an tionscadal seo. Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tAire O'Keeffe go mbeidh "ról lárnach ag institiúidí cosúil le OÉ Gaillimh i gcabhrú leis an Stát déileáil leis na héilimh agus na dúshláin a bheidh le sárú mar chuid den iarracht geilleagar eolasbhunaithe a chruthú". CRÍOCH

Monday, 8 December 2008

NUI Galway is to offer a new Electronic Engineering degree, via the CAO, called the B.E. in Engineering Innovation – Electronic. The new four-year course, with the option of a fifth year to achieve a Masters, will deliver graduates with the skills and capabilities to start up their own company to design niche electronic products for world-wide markets. Established companies will also benefit from the availability of a new type of Electronic Engineer who has the capability to stimulate and support innovation and growth in those organisations. The multi-disciplinary programme will educate and train students in three distinct areas: Electronic Engineering, Business & Finance, and Design & Innovation. While innovation and entrepreneurship are traditionally seen as innate skills, Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, says a cross-disciplinary approach to education can provide a massive boost. Professor Ó Laighin, said: "At NUI Galway, we are constantly seeking new ways to expand the horizons of our engineering graduates. The new course will ensure that in designing new electronic systems and devices, engineers will be equipped to consider both the technical and financial considerations associated with successful product design. This multidisciplinary aspect of the programme will create adaptable engineers with a new skills set capable of anticipating market demands and of responding to the developing needs of our changing society". Modern day electronic engineering solutions are integral to a wide range of devices including laptops, MP3 players, pacemaker devices, life-support systems, sustainable energy devices, automotive electronics, mobile phones, robotics, etc. At NUI Galway, Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin is confident that graduates from this new programme will be key contributors in the design of the next wave of niche electronic devices, creating new Irish companies in the process. "The current economic climate heralds in a new age of the indigenous entrepreneur, particularly the technologically savvy entrepreneur. Ireland's economic future requires the creation of Irish owned companies led by engineers who can who through invention and innovation will create economic success". For admission to the BE/MEngSc in Engineering Innovation - Electronic, applicants must satisfy the Matriculation requirements of NUI Galway in six subjects including Irish, English, Mathematics and a Laboratory Science subject. The minimum requirements are the same as for the other engineering degree programmes at NUI Galway and include at least a C3 in Higher Level Mathematics, or a pass in the NUI Galway Special Entrance Examination in Mathematics. -Ends-

Sunday, 7 December 2008

An NUI Galway student could expect to save over €400 a year thanks to a home-made device he invented which measures domestic power use. Gerard Gallagher, a student of the new programme in Science and Technology Studies, was awarded the Project Prize for his idea entitled 'Domestic Energy Monitoring'. Using off-the-shelf components, he created a device which revealed a considerable wastage of power, particularly overnight. Originally from Easky, Co. Sligo, Gerard says the idea of the domestic energy monitor arose from the need to be able to monitor real-time energy usage in the home. He wanted to examine the hypothesis that, in doing so, energy wastage can be identified and eradicated. According to Gerard, "A facility is already in place in the form of the ESB meter, but this only measures cumulative rather than real-time usage. The prototype measures current usage, and with the aid of a microprocessor, formats and displays results on an LCD display, and also outputs results to a serial port for PC or network connection. This allows a monitoring station to log and save both real-time and historical usage which can be further processed or examined as required". He added: "If I can pinpoint the potential energy saving it could contribute to a significant decrease in domestic carbon emissions, not to mention ESB bills. My current estimate for savings is €409 for the household per annum". Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, the Science and Technology Studies programme co-ordinator, Dr Niamh Nolan, complemented Gerard on the originality and relevance of his project: "The judges were exceptionally impressed with the overall standard of the projects and noted that this bodes well for the success of the programme and its future graduates". The modular programme in Science and Technology is a new programme targeted at working adults and delivered under the auspices of the Atlantic University Alliance; a collaboration between NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork. The blended delivery of the programme enables participants to adjust study times to suit their lifestyle and to spread the programme out over a suitable time frame. Participants engage with the programme through custom written course books, online and at Saturday tutorials. The project module provides participants with an opportunity to actively apply their learning and skills to a particular work or life scenario under the supervision of a programme tutor. The prize was generously donated by ULearning Skillnet, a network of industry representatives and academics dedicated to providing flexible programmes of benefit to enterprise and enterprising individuals. For more information on the programme please visit www.modularbsc.ie -ends-

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Climate change will transform Ireland sooner than we think according to a new book by NUI Galway's Dr Kieran Hickey. Aimed at the everyday reader, Five Minutes to Midnight? Ireland and Climate Change sets out the causes of climate change and its implications for Ireland. According to the author "this book is meant to be wake-up call for the average Irish person and for our politicians". The book describes some disturbing scenarios for Ireland by the end of this century and beyond, depending on how we respond to climate change. Based on the careful projection of current trends, and up-to-date climatological research, Ireland's future might well contain scorching summers, parched lawns, water rationing, escalating rates of skin cancer, mosquitoes and great white sharks off in our seas. Winters will be muggy and wet, with flooded streets and sodden lawns due to some 15% more rainfall. Ireland will see fewer, but bigger and more deadly storms. With a changing climate, many native plants and animals will be lost. Salmon will disappear from our rivers, cod from our seas and potatoes from our fields. Exotic new crops and species will replace them. Rising sea-levels will lead to beleaguered and uninsurable seaside villages. City centres, perhaps even parts of Dublin, may have to be abandoned. Beaches, farms and golf links will be swept away as large swathes of the coastline taken over by rising seas. According to Dr Hickey: "The reference to five minutes to midnight means that its crunch time for climate change in Ireland. By 2080, within our children's lifetimes, Ireland will be vastly changed. Our forty shades of green will have given way to forty shades of yellow. Combating climate change is a global issue, but we cannot throw our hands in the air and wait for the US or China to take steps to save the day. Like charity, combating climate change begins at home". Dr Hickey added: "The first step is for each and every citizen to make it their responsibility to understand what is happening to the climate and to our country. We must comprehend the legacy we are leaving for our children and grandchildren and give ourselves a harsh wake-up call. As citizens, we can then shape political will and manage our country's future. We can influence events. But if we are to do so we must act decisively, and act now". The book has praise for some of the ways in which Irish industry has adapted to the carbon economy, which is likely to be worth 500 billion dollars annually by 2050, and will create tens of thousands of new Irish jobs. The book also examines 'doomsday scenarios' which include runaway global warming, runaway sea-level rise, and the 'turning off' of the Gulf Stream. Dr Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway. His book Five Minutes to Midnight? Ireland and Climate Change is available in most book shops and is published by White Row Press, Belfast. For further information, visit www.whiterowpress.com -ends-

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Wednesday, 10 December, with a series of events on campus. Film screenings, a public lecture, a photography exhibition and a concert, will mark the signing in 1948 of one of the most prominent and enduring foundational documents of international human rights law. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains the most important document of modern international human rights law", said Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. "Although it is now 60 years old, it remains fresh and inspiring, and speaks to the world as if it was written yesterday. It stands as a monument to the common values of people around the world, and to their commitment to equality, freedom, justice and peace". To begin the day of celebration, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will screen a film created by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The film, Stories on Human Rights by Filmmakers, Artists and Writers, consists of 20 short movies from filmmakers around the world poignantly reflecting the many themes contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this, the final seminar in a lecture series examining the European Union as a force for the promotion of human rights, will feature Dr. Georges Christou from the University of Warwick. The focus of Dr Christou's research to date has been on the EU as a conflict resolution mechanism, and in the lecture he will address this broad issue in the specific context of the Cyprus conflict. His seminar is entitled 'The European Union and the Cyprus Conflict: Towards Open Frontiers?'. In the evening, a photography exhibition created by the first cohort of students undertaking NUI Galway's new BA Connect with Human Rights will officially open. The exhibition will contain images taken by the class which reflect the meaning and place of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their own lives and in the lives of people around the world today. To conclude the day of celebration and commemoration, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will hold a live music session with Philip Fogarty and his band playing an eclectic mix of rock, pop, dance, alternative, classical and traditional music. The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one of the world's premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy, which has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed Masters programmes and to build a thriving community of doctoral researchers and undergraduate students. Admission to all events on 10 December is free of charge. For a full programme of events click here, call Tara Smith on 091 493798, or email T.Smith2@nuigalway.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

30 January 2007 The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is pleased to announce a seminar by leading human rights lawyer Bryan A. Stevenson on Tuesday, 6 February, at 1.00pm at the centre in Earls' Island. Mr Stevenson, who represents disadvantaged people and death row prisoners in America, is in Ireland as part of a week-long nationwide tour in conjunction with Amnesty International. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Professor William Schabas welcomed Mr Stevenson to Galway, describing him as "one of the most iconic figures in the US campaign against capital punishment." "Bryan Stevenson is one of the pre-eminent lawyers in the United States whose work is devoted to challenging the death penalty," said Prof. Schabas. "His work takes on heroic proportions, as he battles to defend those subject to execution at trial and in post-conviction proceedings. His visit to the Irish Centre for Human Rights gives us an occasion to reaffirm our own, and Ireland s, opposition to capital punishment. He is also a fabulous role model for young human rights activists contemplating careers in the field. For some people, meeting Bryan Stevenson and hearing him speak will transform their lives." Prof. Schabas will speak alongside Mr Stevenson at a public session in the Galway City Library, St Augustine Street, later on Tuesday evening. A Professor of Law at New York University and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, Mr Stevenson and his staff have been successful in overturning dozens of capital murder cases and death sentences where disadvantaged people have been unconstitutionally convicted or sentenced. He has been recognised as one of the top public interest lawyers in the US and his efforts to confront bias against the poor and people of colour in the criminal justice system have earned him dozens of awards. A spokesperson for Amnesty International, which campaigns for an end to executions and the abolition of the death penalty everywhere, said; "The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment - it violates the right to life. It is irrevocable, can be inflicted on the innocent and has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments. Progress has been dramatic. In 1977, only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Today the figure stands at 88." Mr Stevenson will visit Limerick, Galway, Cork and Dublin as part of the Amnesty International tour. -ENDS- For further information please contact Jacqueline Hogge, Press Office, NUI GalwayTel: 00353 91493361

Monday, 29 January 2007

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Micheál Ó Cuaig to the position of Sean-Nós Singer in Residence for the current year. A native of Cill Chiaráin, Micheál qualified as a primary school teacher in 1970 and was principal of Scoil Naomh Ciarán for sixteen years before his retirement last year. Throughout his teaching career, he organised classes and workshops in sean-nós singing for his pupils. Having fallen under the spell of Joe Heaney at a young age, he has organised an annual festival, Féile Joe Éinniú, which celebrates Heaney's legacy, for the past fifteen years. In order to further commemorate Heaney's contribution to Irish music, Micheál recently presented a copy of the Joe Heaney Archive held at Washington University, Seattle to NUI Galway and that material is now located at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna. Micheál Ó Cuaig is also the author of two highly regarded collections of poetry in Irish Uchtóga (1985) and Clocha Reatha (1986) which critics have applauded for their emotional delicacy and scrupulous use of language. He is married to Mairéad Ní Chonghaile and they have seven children. During the period of his residency, Micheál will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. He will also record his own work and that of other singers. The workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies will commence at 7.00pm on Tuesday 13 February . This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. For further details, contact Samantha Williams: Tel: 091 49 2051; email: samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 29 January 2007

Doctors in Galway are to benefit from a new guide on treating asylum seekers and refugees compiled by the HSE, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. The forty-five page 'Information Pack for GPs in Galway on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees', offers information on the broad range of health needs of asylum seekers and refugees, and a comprehensive list of local support organizations and services. The document also provides relevant information on issues such as women's health, male circumcision, torture, communicable disease assessment and immunisation. GPs will also have a template and guide for completing medico-legal reports used in the asylum determination process in supporting a history of physical or mental abuse or torture. If it proves successful, the guide may be adapted for use nationally. The guide was launched by Priya Prendergast, Local Health Manager HSE West, at a recent conference in Galway, entitled 'Participation of Ethnic Minority Communities in Primary Care Service Design, Planning and Delivery'. Its author, Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper is a Fellow in Asylum Seeker and Refugee Healthcare, a position funded by HSE Western Area Primary Care Department in partnership with the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. Speaking at the launch Priya Prendergast said: "This document provides a wealth of useful information and templates for specialist services. It also provides contact details of support organisations and useful templates for specialist services. By providing brief, practical and useful information, GPs will find this a useful tool for caring for asylum seekers and refugees. We will be interested in finding out how Galway GPs find and use the guide". Dr. Pieper has worked extensively with asylum seekers and refugees as a General Practitioner. "GPs need more support in their care for asylum seekers and refugees who present a broad range of health needs requiring specific specialist skills and information," he said. "There is support out there for doctors in the form of translation agencies and support organisations but often we are not aware. This new guide will bring this information to the doctors' fingertips". It is envisaged to update the guide regularly and, if it proves to be successful, to encourage adapting the guide to local needs in other parts of the country with a view of disseminating it nationally as an example of good practice. It is planned to evaluate the use of the guide at a later stage of 2007. Further information can be obtained from Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper on ho.pieper@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 29 January 2007

Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, go bhfuil Micheál Ó Cuaig, as Aill de Brún i leathpharóiste Chill Chiaráin, ceaptha mar Amhránaí Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach as seo go ceann bliana. Tá cuid mhór dá shaol caite ag Micheál le múinteoireacht ó bhain sé céim amach i gColáiste Phádraig, Droim Conrach i 1970. Bhí sé ina Phríomh-oide ar Scoil Naomh Ciarán ar feadh 16 bliain nó gur éirigh sé as an múinteoireacht anuraidh. Tá cáil air chomh maith mar fhile agus go leor duaiseanna Oireachtais bronnta air. D'fhoilsigh sé dhá chnuasach filíochta Uchtóga (1985) agus Clocha Reatha (1985) atá molta go hard ag léirmheastóirí as an meascán de mhothú leochaileach agus de mháistreacht teangan atá iontu. Is é Joe Éinniú ba mhó a spreag a shuim sa sean-nós agus tá Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú a reachtáil aige ó cuireadh ar bun í i 1985. Cúpla bliain ó shin fuair sé cóip de bhailiúchán Joe Éinniú in Ollscoil Washington, Seattle agus tá an bailiúchán sin lonnaithe anois in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim i gCarna. Bhí sean-nós á theagasc agus á chur chun cinn aige sna scoileanna tráth nach raibh an oiread ranganna ar fáil is atá anois. Chomh maith leis sin tá coirmeacha ceoil agus ceardlanna amhránaíochta eagraithe aige in Éirinn agus in Albain. Uair sa bhliain, tugann sé ceoltóirí ar ardchaighdeán chuig bunscoileanna Iorras Aithnigh. Tá sé pósta le Mairéad Ní Chonghaile is tá seachtar clainne orthu. Chomh maith le taifeadadh a dhéanamh ar a stór féin amhrán agus saothair a bhailiú ó amhránaithe eile, beidh ceardlanna agus seisiúin amhránaíochta á reachtáil ag Micheál san Ollscoil féin agus in áiteanna éagsúla ar fud Chonamara as seo go ceann bliana. Beidh an tsraith cheardlann in Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh ag tosnú ag 7.00in Dé Máirt 13 Feabhra. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaíon i bpáirt le hIonad an Léinn Éireannaigh atá ag maoiniú an togra seo. Tuilleadh eolais: Samantha Williams, Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh. Guthán: 091 49 2051. Ríomhphost: samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie Críoch

Friday, 26 January 2007

26 January 2007: A national conference focusing on the provision of healthcare to ethnic minorities in Ireland takes place today in the Galway Bay Hotel, Galway. The inter-agency conference, entitled 'Participation of Ethnic Minorities in the Design, Planning and Delivery of Primary Care Services,' is being organised by the Primary Care Department, HSE West in partnership with the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. Tríona Nic Giolla Choille and Kelly Jipé, Galway Refugee Support Group, says, "There is a need to address the social factors impacting on the health of asylum seekers and refugees. These include the system of Direct Provision, whereby people seeking asylum are accommodated for long periods in hostels, the prohibition on the right to work with its direct consequences on people's health and well being as well as the consequences in terms of poverty and social exclusion." The conference will investigate the participation of ethnic minorities in the development of appropriate primary care services. It highlights that representatives from ethnic minority communities should have a 'voice' in the shaping of primary care because they are 'experts' of their own experiences. They can bring information and insights to those responsible for designing and delivery healthcare services and policies which can inform the organisation and delivery of services. This will help reduce health inequalities between ethnic minority groups and the indigenous Irish population because culturally appropriate health services can be developed. The conference proceedings will contribute to the development of a new National Intercultural Health Strategy, which will be the subject of the keynote presentation by Alice O'Flynn, National Care Group Manager for Social Inclusion at the HSE. Mr. Frank Murphy, Local Health Manager, Roscommon, HSE West when launching the conference congratulated the Steering Committee from the HSE, University and Galway Refugee Support Group for organising the conference. He said that it is a forum to address the issues in relation to Health Services for Ethnic Minorities. Mr. Murphy stated that participation and involvement of ethnic minorities in the design, planning and delivery of services is the only way forward if services are to be culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs of service users. Other highlights of the conference include a workshop on new research into language barriers in primary care, from the Department of General Practice at NUI Galway, which found significant discrepancies in perception between doctors and patients. NUI Galway's Anne MacFarlane led the research which was carried out among Serb-Croat and Russian speaking refugee and asylum seeking patients and GPs in Galway city According to Anne MacFarlane "The cornerstone of good medicine is good communication. However, our research shows that while GPs feel that communication problems with refugees and asylum seekers have settled down over time – for asylum seekers and refugees - speaking to and understanding their doctors is a major difficulty. According to the results, with no formal interpretation services available, the patients relied mainly on interpretation by friends and family including children. Patients also had to rely on gestures and miming or the use of dictionaries and phrase books. They find that these are inadequate solutions, often leaving them confused or ill-informed on leaving the surgery." Dr. Anne MacFarlane continued, "Refugees and asylum seekers have complex health needs that may relate to the aftermath of torture, sexual violence and mental health issues. They should not have to rely on these informal methods because they do not feel that communication in their consultations is successful. It is hard to for them to trust advice and treatment from their GPs. These are some of the healthcare issues which this important conference will address and move towards resolving." The conference is attended by policy makers, service planners, primary care professional organisations, service providers, academic and community researchers, community development workers and ethnic minority community representatives. -ends-

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

NUI Galway is pleased to announce a visit by US Supreme Court Judge Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the University on Wednesday 31st January 2007. Justice Ginsburg will meet with NUI Galway President Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh before addressing the University's Law Society in a special session, An Evening with Justice Ginsburg, at the O'Flaherty Theatre at 8.00pm. Justice Ginsburg's visit continues the strong relationship the Law Society at NUI Galway has developed with the judiciary of the most powerful court in the United States. Welcoming her to the University, Donncha O'Connell, Dean of Law says: "It is a tremendous credit to our students that they succeeded in securing a visit from a US judge of such eminence as Justice Ginsburg. The Faculty of Law is honoured by her visit to NUI Galway and we look forward with great interest and enthusiasm to learning from her unique insights as a distinguished member of, arguably, the most important court in the world." The event will be hosted by Today FM broadcaster and practicing barrister Ted Harding, who will interview Justice Ginsburg. The audience will then be invited to take part in a Question and Answer session with the Supreme Court judge. The Brooklyn-born judge became only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court when nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Her refusal during confirmation hearings to answer questions regarding her personal views on issues such as abortion, gay rights or hypothetical situations as a Supreme Court Justice became known as the Ginsburg Precedent. Among her most notable judgements is her dissenting opinion in the infamous Bush v Gore case which effectively decided the 2000 US Presidential election. She also challenged the Bush administration in the Guantanamo detainee case, Hamdi v Rumsfeld, by voting against the majority when the court allowed the President to declare an American citizen an enemy combatant. An Evening with Justice Ginsburg is open to the public and those wishing to secure tickets should contact the NUI Galway Societies Box Office on 091 492852. -ends- For further information contact: Jacqueline Hogge, NUI Galway Press Office Email: jacqueline.hogge@nuigalway.ie Tel: 00353 91 493361

Monday, 22 January 2007

22 January 2007: Twenty-one NUI Galway student volunteers have been selected to travel to Ghana in May to help local people build their own homes. The students will spend two weeks in the western African country working and living on the construction site with the homeowners' families. On Thursday, at NUI Galway, Mayor of Galway Niall Ó Brolcháin will announce the names of the chosen volunteers and formally launch the fund-raising efforts to finance the trip. The trip is being organised by the NUI Galway Chaplaincy, part of the University's Student Services, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity Ghana, which has already built over 4,000 homes in Ghana. According to Habitat for Humanity Ghana, despite a high per capita output, the majority of Ghanaians live in overcrowded rooms with the attendant health problems. Response to the project from the University community has been huge with well over 250 people attending a preliminary information evening and over 110 people applying for places on the team. According to one of the team leaders, Sr. Avril O'Regan from NUI Galway's chaplaincy; "The group of volunteers is comprised of enthusiastic students who, having been afforded the opportunities of a university education in Ireland, wish to give something back to those less well off. This is a unique opportunity to become active partners with people of another culture and help build homes and hope." Sister Avril continued, "Enthusiasm and volunteers are assets we have in abundance for this exciting and challenging project but we require material and financial support. Sending a team abroad entails significant cost which the team must fund entirely. Money raised goes to cover personal costs e.g. travel, insurance, food and water, as well as project costs including a substantial contribution towards the construction of the houses. In total the team seeks to raise in excess of €60,000." The NUI Galway group comprises 24 people, including three team leaders. The 21 students chosen for the team are drawn from a variety of Faculties and counties. The team leaders are Sr. Avril O'Regan (Dean of Residence/Chaplain NUI Galway), Mr Peter Mannion (Students' Union Education Officer NUI Galway) and Fr. Gabriel Kinahan (Franciscan, The Abbey). Parties interested in supporting this work may make a donation by sending it to Habitat for Humanity, c/o Sr. Avril O'Regan, Dean of Residence, NUI Galway. All monies received will go directly to this project. Further information can be obtained from Sr. Avril O'Regan on 091 492168 (avril.oregan@nuigalway.ie), from Peter Mannion on 091 493707 (peter.mannion@nuigalway.ie) or by visiting www.habitatireland.ie. - ends – Notes to Editors: How Habitat for Humanity (HFH) works: HFH builds and renovates simple, decent homes with the help of homeowner families, through volunteer labour and donations of money and materials. HFH works to make homes available to all people regardless of race, faith, gender or age. HFH build houses throughout the world, including Ireland, where the first four homes were built in Ballymun in 2005. In Ghana they build more than 400 houses a year and recently celebrated the dedication of their 4000th house. HFH homes are sold to low-income families at no profit and are financed through affordable long-term loans. Mortgage length varies between 7 – 30 years. All mortgage payments, combined with donations, are used to build more homes around the world through a revolving fund. In addition, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labour building their own homes and the homes of others. Among other benefits, this reduces the cost of the homes, increases the pride of home ownership and builds communities.

Monday, 22 January 2007

NUI Galway's seventh Springtime Arts Festival Múscailt (meaning 'to awaken/inspire/celebrate) will officially open on Monday, 5 February at 1.00pm in the Aula Maxima. This year the festival has joined forces with the Celtic Fleadh Imboilg for a new and exciting programme that will see the campus come alive with concerts, theatre, dance, exhibitions, storytelling, film and live performances. Múscailt Fleadh Imboilg '07 will open the week-long programme with No Crows, a band with a global repertoire, including Traditional and Eastern Music. This year's festival, running until Friday, 9 February, celebrates the Celtic Fertility Festival meeting Chinese New Year. Everyone is welcome to attend a programme of mainly free events featuring a wealth of talent from global and local artists. The Fleadh Imboilg is the ancient Celtic celebration for the start of spring. Established by the NUI Galway History Society last year, this traditional festival of renewal and hope is focused on organising fun events while also raising money for charity. This year's programme includes a trip to Gairdín Bhríde in Connemara, which reflects ancient Irish Celtic spirituality, and Spraoi Bhríde, a fund-raising drive in Galway city. NUI Galway Arts Officer, Fionnuala Gallagher, says: "Múscailt Fleadh Imboilg 2007 is a culture fest, where East meets West and Old meets New, celebrating diverse art forms, often together. Traditional arts such as storytelling, circus and juggling meet experimental performance and visual arts. It aims to bring people together in an act of celebration. The brief is to change the spaces that we study and work in for one week, to do a Spring clean, excite all our senses and most of all, enjoy." Highlights of this year's festival include: No Crows, featuring former Waterboys' rock fiddler Steve Wickham, Anna Heuston on the cello/mandolin, Felip Carbonell, on flamenco/manouche guitar and Eddie Lee on double bass. The band will be joined by special guests including Salit, a Malaysian Martial art/dance act; Cry of the Celt, a rollicking Irish dance troupe and a performance by ensemble-in-residence, ConTempo, who have arranged a piece specially for the occasion. A production of South Pacific by the Galway University Musical Society. The society's annual production runs from 6 – 10 February 2007 in the Black Box Theatre. Further information and tickets are available at www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie or by contacting the info/ticket desk at 091-492852; email:socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. A commission of art pieces on 'Transparency and Body' will exhibit in various buildings across the campus. Site specific works by 14 students from the Burren College of Art, Múscailt Bóirne, will adorn glass corridors throughout the University and Martina Hynan's new work Liminal Being will be on display in Áras Moyola. Original theatre featuring in this year's programme includes the One Act Play Series competing for the Jerome Hynes Best Production Award. Other theatrical highlights include the premier of 'Living with Johnny Depp', by Toot and Coo, and Taxi Rank by Janēva Dance Company, which arrives fresh from a successful run at Project '06. Múscailt Fleadh Imboilg '07 presents the perfect opportunity to take part in the cultural life of NUI Galway. The festival is supported by Galway University Foundation, AIB and NUI Galway Arts Office. -ends- For more information check: www.nuigalway.ie/arts_office/ Tel. Arts Office: 091 512062

Monday, 22 January 2007

22 January 2007: Alan Kerins, organiser of the Alan Kerins African Projects, will speak at NUI Galway on 25 January at 1.00pm about his ongoing charity work, and the importance of volunteering to the community. Tickets for the free event, entitled 'A Little Goes a Long Way', will be available to the public, but must be booked in advance. Mr. Kerins will speak as part of a keynote seminar series hosted and sponsored by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. Focusing on themes related to civic engagement and active citizenship, this keynote series is being offered as a response to the impact that volunteering has in today's communities. The African Project began after Alan's visit to the Cheshire Home for Physically Disabled Children, in Mongu, western Zambia in 2005. What he saw triggered a fundraising campaign that has raised over a quarter of a million Euro for AIDS Orphans, water schemes, food aid, school building, housing development, childcare and rehabilitation. Mr. Kerin's works as a physiotherapist and plays on the Galway County Hurling Team. He was the winner of the Irish People of The Year Award 2006 as well as winning the Rehab Galway Person of the Year 2006 for his work with the African Project. Lorraine McIlrath, Project Coordinator, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway said "We are delighted to have Alan participate in our Keynote Seminar Series as he represents a generation of young people who have a huge propensity for giving of their time and energy to benefit the community. We are witness to this here on campus where our students actively participate in service-learning programmes and join our ALIVE volunteering project." Dr. Garret FitzGerald was the first to speak as part of the Keynote Seminar Series in November 2006 and other speakers lined up for the coming months include Mary Davis, Chair of the Taskforce on Active Citizenship; Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian; Maurice Mullard, University of Hull, Reader in Social Policy; and Caroline Casey, The Aisling Foundation. The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) is a project at NUI Galway that promotes partnership with communities and endeavours to enhance social commitment within communities. Funded by philanthropic donations, the CKI hopes to reinvigorate the civic mission of higher education in Ireland, putting communities at the centre of debate. For tickets, please contact Mary Bernard at the Community Knowledge Initiative at mary.bernard@nuigalway.ie or on 091 493823. -ends – For further information contact Lorraine McIlrath, Project Coordinator, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway. Phone 091 495234

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

This year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition saw Leaving Cert student Paul Kelliher of the Intermediate College in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, receive top prize in an exciting national science essay competition organised by NUI Galway. Paul, who won a laptop, crystal trophy and €500 science bursary for his school, received his prizes from the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin T.D., on the Science Foundation Ireland booth at the festival. The competition, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, and sponsored by Medtronic, is now in its second year. Over 250 essays were received from across the country on the theme of "The Quest for Immortality: Who wants to live forever?" Presenting the prizes for the second year in a row, Minister Hanafin described the competition as an initiative worth acknowledging and described writing about science as something that "enables us to spread our ideas all over the world." Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director at REMEDI and competition judge, thanked all the students who participated in the competition, highlighting that "There are many attributes which are necessary to become a successful scientist. Two of those are the ability to ask big questions and also the ability to communicate clearly the results of these efforts and I think that we have a very talented pool of students that have excellent writing skills in the sciences." Professor Frank Barry also thanked Medtronic and SFI for their work in supporting science education. Paul's essay was selected from a top-ten shortlist by a high profile panel of judges including Leo Enright (Chair of the Discover Science & Engineering Steering Committee), Tom Kennedy (Editor of Science Spin Magazine), Professor Frank Barry (Scientific Director, REMEDI) and Cormac Sheridan (Freelance Science Journalist) who met at REMEDI in November 2006 to choose a winner. Commenting on Paul's essay, competition judge Cormac Sheridan said "Paul's essay crackles with ideas and are expressed with great verve. He is a writer with real intellectual energy and genuine potential." The runner up prize of a video iPOD, crystal trophy and €250 school science bursary went to transition year student Sarah Grace, of the Loreto Abbey Secondary School in Dalkey, Co. Dublin. Organised as part of a joint REMEDI and NCBES secondary school outreach programme called GRO (Galway Regional Outreach), the aim of this annual competition is to hear young people's views on contemporary scientific questions and to encourage students to consider studying science in third level. Last year's competition winner, Laura Bree, is now studying biomedical engineering at NUI Galway. REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) located at NUI Galway. To read the winning essays or for additional information on REMEDI and NCBES outreach programmes, visit www.remedi.ie and www.ncbes.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

16 Eanáir 2007: Díreofar aird ar raon cúrsaí iarchéime agus iardhochtúireachta OÉ Gaillimh ag Aonach Bliantúil Léinn do Chéimithe, aonach a reáchtálfar ar an gcampas in Áras na Mac Léinn ó 1.30i.n. go dtí 5.00i.n., Dé Luain, an 5 Feabhra. Deis iontach a bheidh san Aonach seo do mhic léinn a bhfuil bunchéimeanna bainte amach acu níos mó eolais a fháil ar chúrsaí iarchéime. Tá 400 clár á thairiscint ag an Ollscoil, mar aon le roghanna taighde lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha, do bhreis agus 3,000 mac léinn iarchéime. Táthar ag súil go bhfreastalóidh 2,500 duine ar an Aonach atá ag fáil tacaíochta ó Bhanc na hÉireann. Beidh os cionn 70 seastáin ó OÉ Gaillimh agus institiúidí eile ó thimpeall na tíre ag an Aonach le heolas a thabhairt agus comhairle a chur ar mhic léinn. Beidh cur i láthair agus seimineáir faoi roghanna taighde, maoiniú agus deiseanna gairme ar fáil freisin. Le blianta beaga anuas, tá tús áite tugtha ag an Rialtas d'oideachas iarchéime atá tiomanta don taighde, nó oideachas 'ceathrú leibhéal', ar mhaithe le freastal ar an éileamh atá ann d'fhostaithe ardoilte le tacú le fás geilleagrach. I bhfad ó shin, ghlac OÉ Gaillimh leis an dúshlán oideachas ceathrú leibhéal den scoth a chur ar fáil, agus tá na seanréimsí acadúla feabhsaithe againn chun Ionaid Taighde nuálaíocha agus cheannródaíocha a chruthú i réimsí éagsúla cosúil le hEolaíocht Innealtóireachta Bithmhíochaine, Cearta Daonna, Athrú Comhshaoil agus Léann na hÉireann. Seo a leanas a bhí le rá ag John Hannon, Comhairleoir Sinsearach Gairme, Seirbhís Gairme OÉ Gaillimh, "Cuireann staidéar iarchéime go mór le hionchais ghairme na mac léinn. In OÉ Gaillimh tá réimse leathan iarchéimeanna forbartha againn, lena n-áirítear cúrsaí Máistreachta múinte agus taighde agus cláir thaighde Dochtúireachta den scoth. Tagann mic léinn as gach cearn den domhan chuig OÉ Gaillimh gach aon bhliain chun iarchéim a dhéanamh, agus ag an am gcéanna tá an dea-cháil atá orainn ag dul ó neart go neart." I measc na gcúrsaí múinte iarchéime a cuireadh ar fáil as an nua tá: MeconSc agus MA i Múnlú Eacnamaíoch & Comhshaoil MEconSc in Airgeadas Idirnáisiúnta Máistreacht sa Mhargaíocht MA in Ardscileanna Teanga Anailís Fheidhmeach Iompraíochta Na Meáin Dhigiteacha Stair na Meánaoise Léirú agus Stiúradh Abhcóideacht agus Gníomhaíochas Pobail Drámaíocht Scileanna Raidió Léann an Aistriúcháin Modheolaíochtaí do Theagasc Teangacha Riachtanais Speisialta Oideachais Céim Mháistir Dlí (Dlí Poiblí) Altranas – lena n-áirítear Dioplómaí Iarchéime sa tSeaneolaíocht, Cúram Maolaitheach, Meabhairshláinte, Ortaipéidic, Sláinte Phoiblí, Oinceolaíocht Eolaíocht Bhithleighis Biteicneolaíocht Fisic Mhatamaiticiúil Bunaithe ar théama an 'cheathrú leibhéal', tá branda nua roghnaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh le déanaí dá deiseanna oideachais iarchéime, branda ar a dtugtar go4th™. Ar an láithreán gréasáin nua, www.go4th.ie tá léargas le fáil ar na deiseanna iarchéime atá san Ollscoil mar aon le réamheolaire ar líne. Chomh maith leis sin is féidir iarratais ar líne a dhéanamh tríd an láithreán gréasáin www.go4th.ie. Is féidir dul i dteagmháil leis an tSeirbhís Gairme ag (091) 493589 chun sonraí a fháil faoin Aonach Léinn. - críoch –

Monday, 15 January 2007

15 January 2007: NUI Galway's array of postgraduate and postdoctoral courses will be under the spotlight at the annual Graduate Studies Fair, which takes place on campus in Áras na Mac Léinn from 1.30pm to 5.00pm, on Monday, 5 February. It is the perfect opportunity for those with a primary degree to find out more about taking the next step in their education. The University offers 400 programmes, as well as full-time and part-time research options, to over 3,000 postgraduate students. Some 2,500 people are expected to attend the fair which is supported by Bank of Ireland. Over 70 stands from NUI Galway and other institutions throughout Ireland will provide attendees with information and advice. Presentations and seminars on research options, funding and career opportunities will also be offered. In recent years the government has prioritised postgraduate research-driven education, or 'fourth level' education, to meet the demand for highly skilled employees to support economic growth. NUI Galway has long-embraced the challenge to deliver world-class fourth level education and has built on traditional areas of academic strength to create innovative and cutting-edge Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering Science, Human Rights, Environmental Change and Irish Studies. According to John Hannon, Senior Careers Adviser, NUI Galway Careers Service, "Studying at post-graduate level is of huge benefit to career prospects. At NUI Galway we have developed an extensive range of postgraduate degrees, including taught and research Master degree courses and excellent Doctoral research programmes. Students from all over the world travel to NUI Galway every year for their postgraduate studies as our reputation goes from strength to strength." Taught postgraduate programmes that have recently become available include: MEconSc and MA in Economic & Environmental Modelling MEconSc in International Finance Master of Marketing MA Advanced Language Skills Applied Behaviour Analysis Digital Media Medieval Studies Production and Direction Public Advocacy and Activism Drámaíocht Scileanna Raidió Léann and Aistriúcháin Modheolaíochta do Theagasc Teangacha Special Educational Needs Master of Laws (Public Law) Nursing – including Postgraduate Diplomas in Gerontology, Palliative Care, Mental Health, Orthopedics, Public Health, Oncology Biomedical Science Biotechnology Mathematical Physics Working with the 'fourth-level' theme, NUI Galway has recently re-branded its graduate education opportunities under the banner go4th™. The new website, www.go4th.ie showcases postgraduate opportunities at the University and provides an online prospectus as well as facilitating online applications. Contact the Careers Service at (091) 493589 for details of the Graduate Studies Fair. -ends-

Monday, 15 January 2007

15 January 2007: A new report published by the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway calls on European environmental researchers and policy makers to agree an integrated approach to tackling both air quality and climate change. Traditionally, air quality and climate change have been addressed separately. However, solutions to one problem - if carefully devised - can also be an efficient solution to the other, according to the authors of the report. Dr. Colin O'Dowd, Department of Experimental Physics and Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway, who is editor of the report, says: "A critical motivation to have an integrated scientific and technical analysis of key air quality and climate change issues is to better support policy development. The aim is to optimise cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of abatement and mitigation strategies, which have win-win scenarios for air quality and climate change. "Not all areas of air quality and climate change are closely linked, partly due to their different impacts over different time scales. However, there is significant opportunity to develop synergistic research work in key common areas. "With increasing economic activity, pollutant emissions impact more and more on air quality and climate change. For example, methane - a global greenhouse gas, is also a source of ozone which is a local pollutant. Therefore, reductions in methane emissions can lead to a reduction in ozone levels. Similar common issues exist with the impact of atmospheric aerosols (or Particulate Matter) on air quality and climate." The report is a strategic output document from the European (FP6) funded ACCENT (Atmospheric Composition Change – A European Network) Network of Excellence. It brings together the views of leading researchers and policy contributors in Europe and the US, and highlights the common research and policy issues relating to air quality and climate change for the future. In addition, the position statement and recommendations report outlines strategies for harmonising research in support of policy development for the future in terms of common issues between air quality and climate change. The target audience is national and European Policy makers such as the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Environment and departments in other EU member states, DG Environment and the European Environmental Agency as well as research funding bodies. The report is expected to have an important impact on and contribute to improved understanding of important environmental issues and support the development of solutions to such human induced environmental change. More information can be found on http://www.accent-network.org. -ends-

Monday, 8 January 2007

08 January 2007: A number of innovative awards designed to encourage entrepreneurial awareness among students have been presented in NUI Galway. The annual awards are presented to students who participate in the Introduction to Business Module that has been running at NUI Galway for the past 17 years. The module is designed to foster an awareness of businesses and how they operate. The overall objective is to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of Marketing, Management and Accountancy and to examine their application in Irish and international business situations. Students who participated in the module were required to develop a business plan for a start-up enterprise related to their primary area of study, which includes community development, biotechnology, microbiology, biomedical science, biochemistry and chemistry. The prizes are sponsored by Bank of Ireland, and are awarded to the best overall business plan for a start-up enterprise, 2nd and 3rd runner up, and "the most bankable business plan" as chosen by Bank or Ireland. Bank of Ireland, Most Bankable Business Plan – Advanced Ocular Clinic MSc. in Biomedical Science students Evan Brick, Martin Canavan, Aisling Donoghue and Norah O'Brien planned to establish a clinic specialising in corrective eye surgery. The Advanced Ocular Clinic (AOC) would use the innovative technology of intra-ocular lenses (IOLs) to restore good vision acuity to its prospective patients with a minimally invasive procedure carried out on an out-patient basis. 1st Place DOGene Laboratories Ltd. MSc. in Biotechnology students Sinead Darcy, Andrew Douglas, and Ann Smyth aimed to provide a DNA profiling service to the canine industry. Their company intended to initially target the pedigree dog market and the greyhound industry for DNA profiling and in the long term conduct genetic testing for hereditary diseases in dogs. 2nd Place SOUPlus+ SOUPlus+, backed by MSc. in Biomedical Science students Karly Burke, Joan Fitzgibbon, Elaine Gleeson and Louise Lilly identified a gap in the market for a fresh ready-to-serve soup that contained an added bonus of vitamins and dietary supplements to boost the immune system. They planned to base their business in Galway, source the vegetables for their product locally, and sell in farmers markets and independent grocery stores. 3rd Place Biogum Ltd. BSc. in Biotechnology students Julie Collins, Rebecca Finn, Hannah O'Keefe and James O'Malley planned to launch a symbiotic chewing gum. The sugar-free gum which would be fortified with vitamin C and calcium would be available in a range of flavours and combines the features of a regular chewing gum with added nutritional benefits. The Introduction to Business Module was developed to respond to an increasing demand for entrepreneurial awareness among students in various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Currently, the module facilitates over seventy students, in seven academic programmes. -ends-

Monday, 8 January 2007

08 January 2007: NUI Galway has been awarded over €2 million for bio-fuel research under a seven year programme from the prestigious Charles Parsons Research Funding Awards scheme, announced by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Noel Dempsey, T.D.. This injection of funding will enable the University to put highly skilled fourth level graduates to work at addressing some of the most pressing energy issues facing Ireland today. Following the award, the Microbial Bioenergy Group at the NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute will recruit twenty new researchers at postgraduate and postdoctoral level. The team will aim to produce improved bio-fuels from organic wastes such as domestic sewage. It will also research highly novel microbial and bio-fuel cells, which produce electricity through the action of naturally occurring bacteria. These new technologies have the potential to accomplish both large-scale wastewater treatment and electricity generation, with sanitation and energy benefits for both developed and developing countries. The Microbial Bioenergy research group is jointly led by Dr. Vincent O'Flaherty and Dr. Dónal Leech, from the Departments of Microbiology and Chemistry, respectively. The project coordinator, Dr. O'Flaherty said, "The Charles Parsons Award will help NUI Galway to develop and deploy new energy technologies which are essential to deliver security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness to Ireland. There is a particular and urgent need for research into producing viable alternative energy sources to tackle Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels". The Charles Parsons Research Funding Awards scheme was named after Irishman Charles Parsons (1854-1931) who, in 1884, invented the steam turbine, which made affordable electricity readily available for the first time. The competition was open to institutes and groups from all thirty-two counties and applicants were evaluated by an international panel of experts, as part of the highly competitive process in which only seven awards were made nationally to cutting-edge research groups. -ends- Notes to editors: About Microbial Fuel Cells Microbial fuel cells (MFC) produce electricity through the action of naturally occurring bacteria that drive power production by breaking down organic substrates in, for example, wastewater and then transporting electrons from their cell surface to the anode, the negative electrode of a fuel cell. The electrons flow from the anode through a wire to a cathode, the positive electrode of a fuel cell, where they generate electrical potential and combine with oxygen to form water. An added benefit of the approach is that as the bacteria generate electricity, pollutants are also removed, cleaning the wastewater. The power outputs reported thus far from MFC are usually small, but this is expected to change in the coming years as research continues. In addition, MFCs can be used to produce hydrogen directly from organic wastes for use as an alternative vehicle fuel. The project team leader, Dr. Vincent O'Flaherty, noted that "there is real potential for MFCs to accomplish both wastewater treatment and electricity generation at large-scale in the future, with sanitation and energy benefits for both developed and developing countries".

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

NUI Galway is to host its largest Science and Technology Careers Fair on Wednesday, March 7th 2007, at Áras na Mac Léinn from 4.00pm to 6.30 pm. Students and graduates are invited to avail of valuable career opportunities with a host of national and international companies, which will be actively recruiting on the day. Among those exhibiting at the fair are: Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Aquafact International, Berkley Pharmaceutical, Boston Scientific, Environmental Change Institute, Intel, SAP SSC (Ireland) Ltd, Schwarz Pharma Ltd., Science Recruitment Ireland, Stiefel Laboratories (Irl) Ltd, The Western Regional Fisheries Board, O' Neill & Brennan Recruitment Specialists, PharmaChemical Ireland, Irish Medical Devices Association, Oracle Corporation, Health Service Executive, St. Michael's House, Medical Recruitment Specialists, The National Rehabilitation Hospital, Fás, IntertradeIreland (Fusion) & Valent (an IBM company). This year's fair is a unique opportunity for students and graduates to explore job opportunities in the Science, Technology & Health Science sectors. According to research conducted by the University's Careers Service, over 89% of 2005 science graduates were in employment or further study by 2006. The survey also found that the science fair proved to be a key link in matching many 2005 Science students with their employers. Angela Teahan, Careers Adviser at NUI Galway said, "In order to fully maximise use of the Science & Technology Fair, it is important to arrive well prepared for the event. Decide on the companies you wish to target in advance and crucially research the ones that are of interest to you. Be focused and know your objectives." This year the Careers Service is providing a C.V. seminar geared specifically for students and graduates of the Science and Technology sector. The seminar is given by Human Resources professionals and it is an ideal forum to find out what an employer looks for in an application or Curriculum Vitae. Ms Teahen also advises: "Be ready to network with employers and endeavour to make a positive and lasting impression! Employers are looking for a wide range of skills as well as a strong academic background hence the importance of presenting the employer with an impressive CV." Other exhibitors to attend the fair include The Institute of Geologists and The Geological Survey of Ireland. - ENDS - Further information: Angela Teahan, Careers Service, NUI Galway Tel: 091 492133 www.nuigalway.ie/careers/events.html

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The Huston School for Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway is to hold a public workshop to help local campaigners become even more successful in their public advocacy endeavours. The free workshop is being hosted in conjunction with the London based campaigners' charity, the Sheila McKechnie Foundation on Saturday, 10 March at Earl's Island from 10.00am to 3.00pm. The workshop will feature political, media and campaign experts, who will give direct feedback on how to influence TDs, get the most from the media and adopt the most suitable tactics to achieve an outcome. Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media says: "Since we introduced the new Masters Degree in Public Advocacy and Activism last year, we have seen first hand how involved Galway is in the public advocacy arena. "The workshop we have developed with the Sheila McKechnie Foundation will provide intensive training for those who may not be available to take a Masters programme but would like to improve and hone their skills. I also think this is a great networking opportunity and will further strengthen the solidarity of campaigners in Galway." Claire McMaster, Chief Executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation says: "Great campaigns have enabled us to close the gap between the powerful and the powerless, to fight injustice at a local, national and global level. We are delighted to work in partnership with the Huston School of Film and Digital Media and admire their creative and innovative approach." If you are currently involved in or wish to become involved in public advocacy, the Galway Campaign Skills Workshop will help you create effective, successful campaigns. Spaces are limited to a maximum of 25 people and will be allocated on a first come, first served. For more information and to register, email Emily Buchanan at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, emily.buchanan@sheilamckechnie.org.uk or call 0044.207.7707822 -ENDS- Notes to the Editor The Huston School of Film & Digital Media The Huston School of Film & Digital Media offers a unique suite of courses with a single starting point – the centrality of cultural creativity. Well recognised as a education authority on production, direction and screenwriting, the school pioneers both creative and academic courses alike. Last year the school introduced a new Masters Degree in Public Advocacy and Activism. This programme is designed specifically for those working, or intending to work, in international or local advocacy; including community organization, development, labour, rights, health, and environment. The development of this innovative new masters degree was prompted by the realisation that while there are many Management, Communications, and Public Relations courses, none offers a focus on the issues and skills central to the role of those working in organisations which seek to shift attitudes and understandings in order to initiate change. For more information, please visit www.filmschool.ie , telephone +353 (0)91 512 469 | or email info@filmschool.ie The Sheila McKechnie Foundation The Sheila McKechnie Foundation is a new charity, established in 2005. The Foundation exists to equip campaigners with the skills they need to make a greater impact. It was formed in memory of Scottish Campaigner Sheila McKechnie, the former head of Shelter and Consumers' Association, who died in January 2004. More information about the Foundation's work can be found at www.sheilamckechnie.org.uk. The Foundation is currently being incubated in the London-based offices of Which? (formerly the Consumers' Association). The Chief Executive Claire McMaster has a long history of high profile campaigning from the Anti-Apartheid Movement, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Commission for Racial Equality. Patrons include Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Alan Grant, Lord Howe of Aberavon, Baroness Morgan of Drefelin and Jon Snow. For more information of the Foundation please email emily.buchanan@sheilamckechnie.org.uk

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Site works have commenced at NUI Galway, on a €21 million, 6,500sqm Sports Centre Complex. When completed the new sport and recreation complex will include a 25m, 6-lane swimming pool, gym, weights room, handball and squash courts, climbing wall, sports hall with three basketball courts, an aerobics/dance studio and multi-purpose activity spaces. Commenting on the new development, President of NUI Galway Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "Sports and recreation play a major role in improving the quality of campus life, and as such we are committed to providing top-class sports facilities. The University's Sports Complex, will serve a broad range of competitive and recreational sport and active leisure pursuits for the University and the region." The Sports Centre Complex is part of a major €400 million "Campus of the Future" programme project, announced by NUI Galway last December. The capital investment programme project will see almost 20 large infrastructural projects undertaken on the 260-acre campus, continuing the dramatic re-orientation of the campus to face the River Corrib. Galway-based building works firm Glenman Corporation have commenced work on the Sports Centre and are currently on-schedule to complete this landmark project in April 2008. Project managers KSNPM lead the internationally renowned architectural firm Faulkner Brown Ltd, in partnership with Holohan Architects on this project. -ENDS- Further information: Jacqueline Hogge, Press Office, NUI Galway Tel: 00353 91 493361 Email: jacqueline.hogge@nuigalway.ie

Monday, 26 February 2007

The Law Faculty at NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Gerard Quinn to two prestigious committees in recognition of his work on international disability law. Professor Quinn, who is a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission, has been made the 'focal point' for the work of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on disability. NHRIs are composed of human rights commissions or similar bodies from around the world and are co-ordinated by an International Coordinating Committee based in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. In his new capacity, Professor Quinn has already convened a major conference of human rights commissions from four continents at Harvard Law School to discuss how commissions can step up their collaboration in ensuring proper implementation of the new UN disability treaty around the world. Professor Quinn was also recently appointed to the prestigious Advisory Council of the London-based NGO Interights which specialises in mounting test cases around the world on discrimination issues. He joins former President Mary Robinson, Lord Anthony Lester QC, Dean Harold Koh (Yale) and Professor Philip Alston (NYU) among others on the incoming Council. Professor Quinn said: "This is an honour for me but also for the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway. For some time now we have been developing and encouraging socially useful research as well as orienting students toward public interest law. I intend to use these new openings to advance my own interests in disability law and social justice but also to mentor younger colleagues to open up more public interest outlets in their careers". -ENDS-