Student Scoops €10,000 with Smart Conferencing Technology at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards

Student Scoops €10,000 with Smart Conferencing Technology at NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards-image

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Niall O’Connor, an MSc student in Enterprise Systems at NUI Galway from Sligo, has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards held recently for his Smart conferencing technology package SonorPlex. The creator of SonorPlex was presented with his prize by Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly. Niall’s product SonorPlex seeks to deliver services which enhance the learning and interactive experience of delegates at conferences, using 'smart' devices such as tablets and smartphones. SonorPlex will unify these services using a cloud-based system to store, and manage access to conference content and data. Judges were greatly impressed with SonorPlex and its potential to draw investment to the domestic economy. Eight teams contested the final of the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards in anticipation of securing an investment of €10,000 for the winning project. The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway and has the goal of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the students of the University. The competition successfully attracted entrants from across all of the colleges and schools of the University, from which eight ideas were chosen to progress to the final stage. The two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to Tunes in the Church and An Mheitheal Rothar. Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, hails from a traditional musical family in West-Kerry and is currently in his final year of a PhD in Psychology.  His project, Tunes in the Church, presents traditional Irish music concerts in churches around the country and has already been run in St. Nicholas Church in Galway. An Mheitheal Rothar (The Bicycle Gang) team hopes to set up a free, student-run bicycle workshop at NUI Galway to promote and support the benefits of bicycling. An Mheitheal Rothar is Paul O' Donnell an Arts Student from Galway, Mary Green a Geography Student also from Galway, Sarit O'Donovan, Environmental Science Student from Kerry and Senan Mac Aoidh an Arts Student from Monaghan. As part of the final assessment of their entries, students received an investment of €500 for their projects, and also received the assistance of specialised workshops from a team of experts, which was comprised of a combination of members of the academic staff of the University and members of the local business community. Bobby Kerr from RTÉ1 show Dragon’s Den, who presented the winning team with their prize said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” ENDS

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Marine Scientists to Explore Whittard Canyon for Biodiversity

Marine Scientists to Explore Whittard Canyon for Biodiversity-image

Friday, 13 April 2012

A team of Scientists led by Dr. Louise Allcock, NUI Galway set sail onboard the RV Celtic Explorer 13th April 2012 to investigate biodiversity on the Whittard Canyon System. Whittard Canyon is a huge canyon system that spans Irish, UK and French waters along the Atlantic margin. This survey will take place in the Irish territory where the Continental shelf drops down to depths beyond 3000 m. The Marine Institute’s  Holland 1  Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be deployed to explore the steep canyon walls where biodiversity is greatest because of the fast currents there. Whittard has been explored before, but the system is so vast that some areas are still unsurveyed. The multidisciplinary team on board will be looking for corals and sponges, which can be found in extensive reefs at some depths.  A feature of species growing attached to the seafloor is the production of chemicals, thought to deter grazing and overgrowth by other animals.  There is significant scientific and commercial interest in the novelty of these chemicals for medical applications. Material previously collected for the Irish Marine Biodiscovery Programme has shown activity against some cancer cell lines, the first step in potentially developing new treatments. Material collected on this cruise will be examined in antibacterial and anti-cancer assays as part of the National Marine Biodiscovery Programme in NUI Galway, UCC and the Marine Institute. The survey will also carry out detailed surveys of the canyon system in collaboration with onboard taxonomists from across Europe, who are experts in identifying deep sea marine organisms. Biogeochemists from Trinity College Dublin will study the processing of material in the benthic ecosystem, with oceanographers from Galway following the transport of sediment and planktonic production to deeper waters. These studies will improve the understanding of the canyon ecosystem and the links between surface and deep waters. The scientists will be blogging throughout the survey and you can follow their progress at http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com This research survey and the Beaufort Marine Research Award are carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. The Beaufort award in Marine Biodiscovery is a consortium between NUI Galway, UCC and Queen’s University Belfast. The Ship-Time Programme provides access to the National Research Vessels (Celtic Explorer / Celtic Voyager) for research organisations based in Ireland. Ends.

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NUI Galway Launches Ireland’s First Online Diploma in Italian

NUI Galway Launches Ireland’s First Online Diploma in Italian -image

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

NUI Galway is delighted to announce the launch of an online Diploma in Italian. Organised by the Discipline of Italian Studies at NUI Galway this unique programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and will be begin in September 2012. The Diploma is specifically tailored to suit the requirements of students who need flexibility in their time and mode of study and are not available to attend lecturers on campus. The course concentrates on all four main language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and provides a gradual introduction to the structures and functions of the language. In addition, a module on oral and intercultural skills will introduce various aspects of Italian life from an intercultural perspective. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian, NUI Galway, said: “The online Diploma in Italian is a groundbreaking experience employing the latest skills in e-learning and will enable learners to study Italian in their own time, wherever they are, and as part of a community of e-learners.” Dr Laura McLoughlin, Applied Language Teacher with Italian Studies at NUI Galway, who coordinates the new initiative in collaboration with E-Learning expert, NUI Galway’s Dr Silvia Bernabei, said: “Unlike many distance learning programmes designed for independent learning, the diploma course is based on a collaborative, communicative approach and students are encouraged to participate in virtual class activities with their peers and e-tutors.” In order to facilitate interaction and create a supportive learning environment, face-to-face on campus sessions will take place as part of the course. A practical introductory session in the use of computers will also be given at the beginning of the course to ensure that all students have basic computer skills. The Diploma in Italian is open to everybody and is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of the language. Closing date for applications is Friday, 13 July and full details is available at www.nuigalway.ie/italian/onlinediploma.html. Further information is available from Dr Laura McLoughlin at 091 492240 or laura.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-  

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NUI Galway Support First Student Entry in 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race

NUI Galway Support First Student Entry in 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race-image

Monday, 16 April 2012

A crew of NUI Galway students and graduates are, for the first time ever, entering this year’s Round Ireland sailing race. The race is a 1400km non-stop circumnaviagtion of Ireland by sea. The NUI Galway crew, ten in total, is one of the youngest teams to ever compete in the event. The Round Ireland race is held every two years and considered one of Europe’s top offshore races.  This year, the start gun goes at 12:00 on Sunday, 24 June and the boats will finish from four to six days later, depending on weather conditions. The race begins and ends in Wicklow Bay. The NUI Galway crew is made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce. Sailing together in the NUI Galway sailing club over the past few years has built up the trust and camaraderie which will be relied upon during the race. The team have chartered a 38-ft racing yacht for the race. Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “The University actively promotes leadership and team building skills and is delighted to support this crew to further develop these attributes as they compete in the Round Ireland Race. Their determination and drive, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews is to be admired. We wish them fair winds and following seas.” One of the main aims of this project is to promote the home-grown sailing talent in Galway. Boat skipper, Cathal Clarke says: “The vision of this project is to prove the wealth of sailing talent here on the west coast and to encourage the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors to get out there and get sailing. We aim to inspire other sailors from the region to undertake such projects in the future.” Cathal added: “A busy few months lie ahead for us, with training on and off the water, safety courses and coaching lined up. But the aims of this campaign are high, with a lot of experienced sailors on board, we will certainly be looking for good results.” Encouraging the students was Cillian McGovern, project manager of Green Dragon who says: "The camaraderie and team work displayed by this young team is to be admired. What an opportunity to freshen up the sailing circuit in Ireland.” ENDS

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NUI Galway Conference and Dance Festival Weekend

NUI Galway Conference and Dance Festival Weekend-image

Monday, 16 April 2012

NUI Galway has announced details of an upcoming traditional music and dancing conference and festival. Based on the Rambling House, or cuairteoireacht, tradition in which neighbours used to gather at a local house for music, dancing and merriment, the event will take this weekend, 19-21 April. The international conference, entitled Mapping Spectral Traces V, and the festival, Dancing Days, will explore the connections between how we inhabit such everyday spaces and how the traces of the past have shaped and moulded the places in which we live today. Highlights of the weekend will be launched at 7pm Thursday, 19 April at the Black Box Theatre and will be followed by the world premiere of Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Néill’s FRAME, produced by Richard Wakely.  Irish and international dancers, visual artists, writers, musicians and academics will gather in Galway throughout the weekend of specially commissioned performances and academic sessions that are free and open to the public. There will also be a pop-up art exhibition in the Black Box Theatre and the launch of a new essay collection, Irish Contemporary Landscapes in Literature and the Arts, in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Traditional artforms will include the Straw Boys, a house céilí and sean-nós dance, who will join traditional with contemporary, site-specific dance works, installations and artworks to create a night in which the audience members are vital players. The audience for the final event will be ferried from Galway city centre to a mystery location in Connemara by bus to experience a cuairteoireacht of the past but that is housed very much in the present moment. This particular event seeks to open up discussions as to how Ireland’s landscape changed from being the ‘céilí at the crossroads’ to the ‘chaos at the crossroads’ in recent years. Dr Nessa Cronin, Lecturer with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, said: “This is an exciting line-up of free events and public lectures by Irish and international artists, dancers, musicians, architects and scholars who are all concerned with re-thinking how our lives are shaped by the spaces in which we live today. From an Irish perspective in particular, the construction and de-construction of places has been in the fore with discussions of NAMA and Ghost Estates in recent times, and issues such as these will be discussed over the course of the three days in Galway.” The event is organised by Dr Nessa Cronin and Tim Collins based at NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies, Dr Karen Till of NUI Maynooth, and Galway Dancer-in-Residence, Ríonach Ní Neill. Mapping Spectral Traces V is supported by the IRCHSS, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and the Mapping Spectral Traces International Network. Dancing Days is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, the Arts Council, Galway County and City Councils, and the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. Conference events at NUI Galway are free and open to the public, and tickets for Dancing Days are available from the Town Hall Theatre at www.tht.ie  and 091 569 777. For further information contact irishstudies@nuigalway.ie and www.nuigalway.ie/centre_irish_studies.   ENDS

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NUI Galway to Host Irish Human Computer Interaction Conference

NUI Galway to Host Irish Human Computer Interaction Conference -image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

NUI Galway has announced it will host the sixth Irish Human Computer Interaction (iHCI) Conference in June, 2012. The conference theme ‘Poetics of Design, Narratives of Use’will focus on the role that different artefacts, perspectives, methods and tools play in the design of new technologies. 2012 marks the sixth year of the iHCI conference, and the first time it will be hosted in the west of Ireland. The particular emphasis of this year’s conference will be to look at the broad range of methods used to design, implement and evaluate technology, and to share stories of the design, deployment and evaluation of computing in context. Keynote speaker will be Professor Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUI Galway. Dr Tony Hall, School of Education and Programme Co-Chair iHCI 2012, said: “The iHCI Conference brings together researchers, technologists, academics, designers, artists and those with an interest in the development of technology for use by people. The conference invites submissions - papers, posters, demos and showcases – on a diverse array of technologies and topics ranging from mobile and smart telephony, and Cloud Computing and social networking, to wearable computers, novel sensors and computer-augmented educational, living and work environments. Dr Hall added: “In 2012, as we mark the sad passing of Steve Jobs, the da Vinci of the Digital Age, and celebrate Alan Turing Year, commemorating one of the pioneers of the modern computer, the conference promises to be an exciting event showcasing the design of personal and social technologies for today’s highly mediated and networked world.” iHCI 2012: ‘Poetics of Design, Narratives of Use’ will take place at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 20 and Thursday, 21 June. For further information please visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=180 ENDS

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Students Engage in Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise

Students Engage in Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise -image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

For the third consecutive year the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has partnered with local businesses to provide students with the opportunity to learn real-life business through an 'Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise’(ICE) initiative. ICE is a module available to all final year students of Commerce and Business Information Systems programmes.  As part of their final year of studies, over 400 students are given the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of business and community enterprise with the support of 30 mentors from local business and community leaders.  The students engage in group-based projects requiring them to devise a unique enterprising idea.  Each of the mentors are assigned a project group and in turn required to advise the students with the development of each idea. Michael Campion, ICE Module Director at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: "The overall objective of the Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise course is to encourage self-confidence in students of business in their ability to be creative and innovative in whatever future business and/or community settings that they are working in." As a competitive part of the module, groups of students were required to present the innovation projects to mentors through a number of judging stages, resulting in the selection of five finalist groups who competed for a prize fund of €4,000, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The overall winners were Bruce Brady, Oranmore, Co. Galway; Gerard Harlow, Roscommon; Leszek Majewski, Galway and Kevin Moylan, Galway.  Their project 'On Time System’ – is a new mobile software application that alerts users to impending library fines. Commenting after the final, Norman Black of JFC Manufacturing and one of the final adjudicators, said:  “The calibre of presentations, research, innovation, entrepreneurial ability and presentation of business plans far exceeded my expectations.  Different teams excelled in presentations, market research, product concept and idea generation.  As a result it made the task of judging very difficult as there was so little to separate all of the finalists.” The Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module is part of a wider initiative within the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, supported by funding from the NUI Galway Students Projects Fund, to focus on student personal development planning, and employability skill development. ENDS

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A University Experience for 10-year-olds

A University Experience for 10-year-olds-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A new Youth Academy begins at NUI Galway this weekend, giving a taste of university life to high ability primary school children. The aim of the academy is to support the children’s learning and academic development by providing them with new learning opportunities. Some 60 local children will study every Saturday morning until June, with their interest and enthusiasm for learning being fostered through a variety of new subjects. Subject choices include Italian, Philosophy, Psychology, Environmental Studies and Climate Studies. Welcoming the initiative, Lorraine McIlrath, who heads up NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative, said: “The Youth Academy is an important development which allows us to welcome children and their families into the University and enhances links with local schools.” The Youth Academy aims to inspire entry into third-level by introducing children and their families to University life. The Youth Academy is a collaboration between NUI Galway’s Mary Dempsey, School of Engineering & Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, and Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, along with Dr Colm O’ Reilly, Centre for Talented Youth Ireland, DCU. The pilot project was successful in receiving funding from the Bright Ideas Initiative and was launched by the Vice-President for Performance and Innovation at NUI Galway, Professor Chris Curtin. -ends-

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Community Living Guru Delivers NUI Galway Public Lecture

Community Living Guru Delivers NUI Galway Public Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway will host a public lecture featuring community living guru Dr Michael Kendrick. Entitled “Living Real Lives in the Community - Innovation in Services for Persons with Disabilities and Lessons for Families and Older Persons”, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 19 April, at 7pm, in room AC201 on the Concourse, NUI Galway. Dr Kendrick has worked with individuals, families and organisations in the fields of disability, mental health and older people across the globe to develop models of leadership, innovation and change.  Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the School of Law, said: “We are very privileged to have Dr Kendrick come and speak at the University. He is globally regarded as a pioneer in the field of community living.” Registration is required for this free public lecture and can be done by contacting Elaine at info.cdlp@nuigalway.ie or 091 494270. The venue is accessible for wheelchair users but please give advance notice of further accessibility requirements. -ENDS-

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RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Presents Journalism Awards at NUI Galway

RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Presents Journalism Awards at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

RTÉ news broadcaster Seán O’Rourke presented two awards to NUI Galway journalism graduates at the University today (Tuesday, 17 April) in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. The Fifth Annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award and the Connacht Tribune Medal were presented to the top achieving students in the MA Journalism class of 2011. Carla O’Brien received the Donna Ferguson Award for achieving the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA programme. The Connacht Tribune Medal was presented to Lisa Jackson who achieved the highest overall mark in the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna’s achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The Connacht Tribune Medal is an important recognition of student achievement at NUI Galway from one of Ireland’s premier regional newspapers. Its award will have a special poignancy this year as the paper’s former editor, John Cunningham, who was closely involved with the University’s MA in Journalism, passed away just recently.Seán O’Rourke graduated from what was then UCG in 1977 with a BA in English, History and Legal Science. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. Seán was also conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2011 by NUI Galway.He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. Carla O’Brien is a native of Caledon, Co. Tyrone, and is now presenting and reporting for RTÉ news2day – a news programme for younger viewers.  Carla graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours. Lisa Jackson is from Ballina, Co. Mayo and studied Law in NUI Galway from 2001 to 2004. She also graduated with first class honours from the MA in Journalism and now works as a publishing assistant with publishing house Liberties Press in Dublin. Commenting on the awards, Dr John Kenny, Acting Director of the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, said: “At a time when journalism is rapidly transforming, these awards are a testimony to the commitment and energy our students can bring to the profession. Their achievements since graduating further underline how important new skills and training are in meeting the challenge of change.” Ends

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