Friday, 15 August 2003

Astronomers at NUI Galway have discovered and measured for the first time, a link between the intensity of optical light and the intensity of radio waves from a Pulsar. Their work, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, has important implications for our understanding of how these enigmatic objects work. Pulsars, which were first discovered by the Irish astronomer Jocelyn Bell in 1967, have defied a full theoretical understanding despite more than thirty years of study. What is a pulsar? Dr Andy Shearer who led the NUI Galway research team explains that when a large star dies its life ends with a large explosion - a supernova - one of the most energetic events in the universe. "Some supernovae can result in the formation of what is known as a neutron star," he says. When a neutron star is young (e.g., 100,000 years), it emits a flash or 'pulse of radiation every time it rotates - it is now known as a pulsar. According to Dr Shearer, explaining the pulse and hence the conditions around a neutron star has baffled astronomers for the past thirty years. "Understanding the pulsar phenomena remains one of the unsolved problems in astrophysics," he says. The focus of the NUI Galway team was the 'Crab' Pulsar, which rotates 33 times a second. The team took simultaneous observations of the Crab pulsar at both radio and optical wavelengths. The NUI Galway-built TRIFFID camera, using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, recorded the optical signals at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in La Palma and the radio signals were recorded using the Dutch radio observatory at Westerbork, Holland. "We observed over 10,000 Giant Radio Pulses and discovered, for the first time, that there is a link between the radio and optical signals from pulsars," said Dr. Shearer. In post analysis, the radio and optical arrival times were linked to better than a 10 millionth of a second despite the radio and optical observatories being over 2000 kilometres apart. The importance of this discovery lies in the fact that to date no convincing explanation describes all the possible observations of pulsars. "Our limited knowledge of the workings of a plasma in the extreme conditions around a pulsar has meant we do not know what causes the brief flashes of radio waves, light, X-ray and gamma ray signals that are characteristic of these enigmatic objects", says Dr. Shearer. Indeed most theoretical studies have looked at either the radio waves or the optical but not both. "Our observations have, for the first time, linked emission from these two parts of the electromagnetic spectrum - and in doing so ruled out some of the competing models," said Dr Shearer. "We hope that future observations - particularly of the polarisation of the radio and optical radiation will lead, finally, to a complete understanding of how pulsars work." Ends

Monday, 29 September 2003

The recently formed Human Rights for Change organisation will hold a one-day conference in the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, on Saturday October 4th, 2003. The conference, entitled 'Global Trade and the Implications for Human Rights,' aims to provide an academic platform at which the various aspects of trade liberalisation as pursued by the international community, may be critically examined and discussed in the light of their implications for human rights. While the most serious impact of globalisation has been on the economic, social and cultural rights of people and peoples in the Third World, both academia and civil society in western countries have consistently focused on the enforcement of civil and political rights. This imbalance in study, research and lobbying has resulted in either an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the nature of economic, social and cultural rights throughout the First World. Some of the main issues that will be discussed at the conference include Accountability and Responsibility of Multi-National Corporations; Human Rights Implications of Development policy; the Impact of International Trade on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Global Arms Trade; Trade and the Environment; Women's Rights and Children's Rights. Speakers at the conference will include Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; Jim Loughran, Amnesty International; Angela Hegarty, University of Ulster and Dr. Eleanor Doyle, University College Cork. Ends

Friday, 26 September 2003

The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) acknowledges that a programme leading to a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy has commenced in NUI Galway and that the process of accreditation is now in train. While formal approval to proceed with the programme is awaited, the AOTI and the University have committed themselves to a process which will lead to such approval, subject to the accreditation procedures of AOTI. NUI Galway is very happy with the outcome and looks forward to continuing cooperation with the AOTI. Ends

Monday, 1 September 2003

Professor Gerard Quinn, Faculty of Law, NUI Galway, has been nominated by Rehabilitation International (RI) as its representative on a new United Nations Working Group to draft a treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. RI is a global conglomerate of disability NGOs and is chaired by Lex Freiden who is also chair of the US National Council on Disability. The new UN Working Group which is composed of States as well as independent experts, will meet in January and aims to produce the first working draft of a treaty. Professor Quinn co-authored a leading Study for the United Nations on the treaty in 2002 and is academic co-ordinator of an EU Network of Disability Legal Specialists. "It is an honour to be part of the Working Group. Its work will be truly historic and exciting," said Professor Quinn. " A legally binding treaty will hopefully make a big difference to the 600 million persons with disability who live mostly in developing countries. It will reinforce the reform process at home and will help to engender reform where it currently does not exist. I am proud that NUI Galway can play its part in the treaty drafting process, which has a truly global significance. It shows that quality research can make a positive difference in the policy process," he said. Ends

Monday, 20 October 2003

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway has described the Government's decision, to 'pause' capital spending under the Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) for 2003, as a cause of very serious concern to the Third-Level sector, and urged the Government to honour its commitment to Third Level Education in the interests of making Ireland more competitive in a global context. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh's comments were conveyed at a conferring ceremony today (Monday 20 October 2003) in the University, where he also referred to the Government's current approach to PRTLI capital programme as potentially disastrous from both an institutional and a national point of view. He emphasised that NUI Galway and other universities were working to maximise income from all sources, including private fundraising and revenue generating activities. "The Universities and private philanthropy are playing their part in strengthening the education sector. I call on Government to honour its commitment to higher education in the interests of making Ireland more competitive," he said. Continuing, "Irish universities not only provide the innovation capable of stimulating new production, they also generate a skilled and flexible workforce which is vital in meeting the challenges of the 21st century". Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh outlined that the construction of a new engineering facility was a capital project priority for NUI Galway and that to meet the demand for engineers across all sectors, undergraduate numbers at the University at the very least need to be maintained. However, this would be impossible without adequate Government funding to build a new facility. "The existence of a flagship Engineering building will play a decisive role in attracting further direct inward investment to the region as it has done in the biomedical and other sectors," he said. Praising the Government's record in state support for research over the last four years with initiatives such as Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) & Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI), he described the need for continued research and capital funding of education as being of national strategic importance. His comments were made in a week when NUI Galway will confer degrees and diplomas on over 3,247 graduates in 17 conferring ceremonies throughout the week. These remarks follow the announcement last week of a donation of €18 million from Atlantic Philanthropies for three new projects on campus - the largest single gift in the University's history. Ends

Thursday, 16 October 2003

National University of Ireland Galway has announced the immediate development of three new capital projects totalling €80 million, as part of the first phase of a development programme contained in the University's recently adopted Strategic Plan 2003 - 2008. The projects, to be started immediately, include a new Graduate School of Business, a new Engineering Building, and a major new Sports Centre and Cultural Facilities for the University's 13,800 students, as well as associated essential infrastructural developments. Announcing this initiative, University President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh stated "We in NUI Galway have been very deliberate about our planned development over the next 5 years. These three projects reflect key components of the strategic plan, and I am delighted that we can now proceed towards their completion. This decision would not have been possible without the support for these projects of Atlantic Philanthropies, who recently confirmed a donation of €18m to the University. This represents the largest single gift to the University in its history." The announcement of this donation coincides with the public launch of the University's fundraising campaign - entitled The People & Place Campaign – which has a target of €50m from private sources. The campaign is part of a projected overall €250 million investment in seventeen new buildings, academic programmes and student facilities at the University. John MacNamara, Chairman of Galway University Foundation welcomed the announcement. "With support from Atlantic Philanthropies and other donors The People and Place Campaign is now over half-way to its target. This is a great endorsement of NUI Galway's vision, and I hope friends and graduates of the University will become involved with the Campaign in order to ensure we meet these ambitious targets." The People & Place Campaign has grouped its seventeen projects around eight themes. Further information is available on www.nuigalway.ie/foundation President Ó Muircheartaigh said that he hoped that the University's efforts to fundraise from the private sector would "highlight to Government that we intend to maximise income from all sources" and went on to call on Government, for its part, to continue its policy of investment in education in order to accelerate Ireland's development as a leading "knowledge economy". Student leaders also welcomed the announcement. Tony McDonnell, Student's Union President, said that these developments "would greatly enhance the sports and cultural dimension of student life on campus, as well as provide much-needed academic facilities in engineering and business." Ends

Monday, 13 October 2003

Honorary Master degrees will be conferred on five individuals during the October conferring ceremonies which take place next week from the 20 – 24 October, 2003. Those conferred include the following: · Jim Callery (M.A) A native of Elphin, Co. Roscommon, Mr. Callery, a successful businessman, has an abiding interest in local history. In 1979, he purchased Strokestown House with the intention of retaining the land and selling on the house. However, he decided that the house was a vital part of our national heritage and embarked on the most significant private restoration project in Ireland. The house, which dates back to the 1600s was restored and opened to the public in 1987. The Irish National Famine Museum was built in the stable yards of the house and opened in 1994. · Frank Canavan (M.Ed.) Former headmaster of Coláiste Iognáid, Galway, Mr. Canavan continues his commitment to professional development through membership of the Curriculum Development Association, Education Committee, ASTI, membership of and attendance at Congresses of Heads of European Jesuit Schools. · Brendan Flynn (M.Ed) Vice-Principal of Clifden Community School, Mr. Flynn has been closely associated with Clifden Arts Festival which began in 1977. He has been Director of the Festival for the last 26 years. He was appointed to the Arts Council in 1998 and has edited the 'Clifden Anthology 1' and the 'Clifden Anthologe 2', which include submissions from literary figures who have been associated with the Festival through the years. · Tom Connolly (M.R.D) From Clifden, Co. Galway, Mr. Connolly is a leader in local and community development in West Connemara. He is Chairman of the Clifden and District Community Council and Director and Chairman of the Western Regional Tourism Organisation. · Pádraig Mac Gréine (M.A.) Born in 1900 in Co. Longford, this 103-year old is still active as a teacher and scholar. He is best known for his work with the Irish Folklore Commission. He has collected stories, fables and descriptions of customs, in particular those of the travelling community. He collected most of the material for the collection "To shorten the Road: Traveller Folktales of Ireland," and his work is also included in "The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing." Ends

Monday, 13 October 2003

An initiative which encourages students to combine learning with volunteer work is commencing at NUI Galway this week. Known as "ALIVE" or "A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience," the course, which has been established under the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), is an effort to recognise the potential support students can make to various communities. The initiative is based on service learning: a pedagogy of action and reflection, which is fairly new to Ireland. "Service Learning is a form of experiential learning where students apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to address genuine community needs," explains CKI Project Manager Jacinta Barrins. "It enables students to bring their knowledge base to the benefit of a wide range of organisations and to take their learning from that experience back to the classroom, where the analysis becomes a significant part of their education." The proposed course builds on the strong tradition in some faculties of staff involvement in community activities and on student-initiated and student led volunteer activities currently underway at NUI Galway. The course, which is available to all NUI Galway students, combines 12 hours of lectures with an additional 45 hours of volunteering over two semesters. The student chooses a not-for-profit organisation to work with from partnerships developed by CKI which include a number of organisations under the umbrella group of Galway Volunteering Network, IRD, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, and Galway Leader Companies. According to Jacinta Barrins, "NUI, Galway is currently promoting the development of student-led projects on campus. We hope that students will create their own student initiated and led volunteering projects on campus," The aim of this initiative is to develop various characteristics among students, with a positive spin-off for the community. The course will develop university-community interaction, civic responsibility and self development in students." There are various positive outcomes for students who participate in the project. Participating in the course could assist in enhancing your employability skills, particularly as employers are now looking for the more 'holistic' employee," she says. Most organisations who are involved in the ALIVE partnership provide basic training. In addition, the ALIVE course provides training in a number of areas including Personal Development Planning, Communication Skills, Civic Engagement Issues, Teamwork and Self Management. Ends

Monday, 6 October 2003

At a reception in NUI Galway today (October 6th 2003) John McGahern, the most accomplished and acclaimed writer of Ireland's living fiction writers, officially handed over his literary archive to the President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. The archive will be housed in the James Hardiman Library alongside other renowned literary works. The extensive archive is enormously rich in content and consists of forty years of writings, personal papers, novella and short stories, correspondence and the manuscript of a novel, which although accepted for publication was subsequently withdrawn by Mr McGahern. The collection includes the manuscripts of earliest works including The Dark and The Barracks, Amongst Women and his latest novel - That they may face the Rising Sun. Importantly, all future work will also be part of the archive and will include John McGahern's memoirs on which he continues to work. Commenting on the importance of the acquisition of the archive, the President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "We are honoured that John McGahern is with us here today as we take into our possession this outstanding and extensive literary archive. His influence on Irish literature of this era has been immense, as he captures the narratives of our changing society and the transition from rural values to the alternative challenges of urban living and economic modernisation. This is a significant achievement for this University and an enormous enhancement of our literary and Irish Studies resource base. It firmly enhances NUI Galway as a centre of excellence for national and international scholars. We look forward to the new research possibilities that have been made possible as a result of this acquisition." Ms. Marie Reddan, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway said, "The acquisition of this archive greatly enhances NUI Galway, as a location of research into generations of Irish tradition and complements existing library strengths collected over centuries. Balancing our archival and preservation skills with our ability to exploit such collections using 21st century technology, will ensure access to this unique and highly valuable primary research resource for the benefit of both international scholars and McGahern's own regional community." Dr Riana O'Dwyer, Department of English, NUI Galway added, "John McGahern's reputation as a consummate stylist and master of fiction extends throughout the English-speaking world and he is particularly appreciated in North America. The setting of these texts ranges from the rural west of Ireland, to Dublin and abroad, but returns always to the fulcrum of lived experience: the inland fields and lakes and bogs of Connaught and the lives of people rooted there. John McGahern is arguably the most important Irish novelist since James Joyce. Today we are honoured with his presence at NUI Galway." Professor Ger Hurley, Dean of Research, at NUI Galway said, "Having the original papers of John McGahern is a tremendous research resource for the University and will be eagerly sought after by literary scholars inside and outside the University." Dr. Louis de Paor, Director of NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies, where John McGahern has been Adjunct Professor since 2001 added, "This archive will provide a unique insight into the working methods and technical development of one of the most meticulous and scrupulous Irish writers of our time. It will be an invaluable resource for generations of literary and cultural scholars." Professor Chris Curtin, Department of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway concluded, "John McGahern's work provides a deep and exceptionally insightful view of rural life in Ireland. His books represent a major source of information for a range of social sciences but for sociologists in particular." Other works housed at the James Hardiman library include the Douglas Hyde manuscripts, O Tuairisc papers and the O Domhnalláin papers with an excellent collection of Theatre archives – Druid, An Taibhdhearc, Galway Arts Festival, Macnas and the archive of the early years of the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Ends

Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Professor Noel Lowndes of NUI Galway's Department of Biochemistry has become a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). He is just one of three Irish-based scientists elected to the prestigious organisation which includes 36 Nobel Prize laureates among its members. Professor Lowndes, who has established an international reputation in cellular responses to DNA damage, leads Ireland s first Genome Stability Cluster at NUI Galway. His research team is studying how normal cells respond when the genetic material is damaged and how defects in these responses result in cancer. DNA damage is caused by diverse agents ranging from sunlight and cigarette smoke to ionising radiation from either natural sources or from nuclear power plants. Responding to the news of his appointment to EMBO, Professor Lowndes said, "This is a great honour for me personally but is also recognition of the recently established Genome Stability Cluster at NUI Galway. This cluster, a team of four distinct laboratories working on related aspects of the biological responses to DNA damage, is unique in Ireland and has exciting potential for our understanding of the underlying causes of cancer." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said the University was proud of the depth and strength of research being carried out across all disciplines. "The election of Professor Lowndes to EMBO is an endorsement of his ground-breaking research and its potential to alleviate suffering caused by cancer. He and his team of international scientists bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their work," he said. Professor Frank Gannon, Executive Director, EMBO said, "Election to EMBO is based on the votes of the EMBO members. It is an honour that is much sought after and the inclusion of Noel Lowndes in this elite group sends a very positive message about his research reputation and the growing recognition of the quality of science in Galway and Ireland." EMBO, established by leading scientists in 1964, promotes biosciences in Europe. The organization raised the standards in this area of science through the establishment of a specialist laboratory (EMBL), the provision of training through practical courses and workshops and by stimulating mobility through its Fellowship Programme. Today EMBO has 1200 elected members in 24 countries. Ends

Monday, 17 November 2003

Thousands of second-level students from all over the country are set to attend NUI Galway's annual Open Day which will take place from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., on Tuesday, 2 December, 2003. The event is an ideal opportunity for both second-level and mature students to get information on the academic programmes provided by the University. Academic staff from the University's fifty-two departments will be available at the exhibition stands to answer queries and provide detailed subject and course information. With seven Faculties and 13,800 students, NUI Galway is the first choice option for many students when completing their CAO forms. "Given the huge range of courses on offer, it is often confusing and difficult for Leaving Cert students to decide on the options best suited to them," according to Mary Coyle, NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer. "However, Open Day provides an ideal opportunity to discuss courses with academic staff and students at the various stands." On their arrival at NUI Galway on the 2 December, students are requested to come to the assembly point in the Quadrangle, where they will be given directions to introductory lectures and exhibition areas. Guided tours of the campus will be provided throughout the day. These will include visits to the Clinical Science Institute (Medical School), the Martin Ryan Institute, the Arts Millennium Building, Áras na Gaeilge and the Student Accommodation and Sports Facilities. There will also be laboratory demonstrations in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Information Technology Labs. and the University Applied Languages Centre. NUI Galway is constantly improving facilities for its students and recently announced the injection of €80 million towards the development of a new Graduate Business School, a new Engineering Building and new Sports and Cultural facilities, all of which will be constructed over the next five years. Ends

Monday, 17 November 2003

Professor Noel Lowndes of NUI Galway's Department of Biochemistry has become a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). He is just one of three Irish-based scientists elected to the prestigious organisation which includes 36 Nobel Prize laureates among its members. Professor Lowndes, who has established an international reputation in cellular responses to DNA damage, leads Ireland s first Genome Stability Cluster at NUI Galway. His research team is studying how normal cells respond when the genetic material is damaged and how defects in these responses result in cancer. DNA damage is caused by diverse agents ranging from sunlight and cigarette smoke to ionising radiation from either natural sources or from nuclear power plants. Responding to the news of his appointment to EMBO, Professor Lowndes said, "This is a great honour for me personally but is also recognition of the recently established Genome Stability Cluster at NUI Galway. This cluster, a team of four distinct laboratories working on related aspects of the biological responses to DNA damage, is unique in Ireland and has exciting potential for our understanding of the underlying causes of cancer." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said the University was proud of the depth and strength of research being carried out across all disciplines. "The election of Professor Lowndes to EMBO is an endorsement of his ground-breaking research and its potential to alleviate suffering caused by cancer. He and his team of international scientists bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their work," he said. Professor Frank Gannon, Executive Director, EMBO said, "Election to EMBO is based on the votes of the EMBO members. It is an honour that is much sought after and the inclusion of Noel Lowndes in this elite group sends a very positive message about his research reputation and the growing recognition of the quality of science in Galway and Ireland." EMBO, established by leading scientists in 1964, promotes biosciences in Europe. The organization raised the standards in this area of science through the establishment of a specialist laboratory (EMBL), the provision of training through practical courses and workshops and by stimulating mobility through its Fellowship Programme. Today EMBO has 1200 elected members in 24 countries. Ends

Monday, 3 November 2003

English Version Fáiltíonn an Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh roimh fhógra an Aire Éamon Ó Cúiv T.D., Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta inniu (Dé Luain, 3 Samhain), go bhfuil deontas €1 milliún thar trí bliana ar fáil don Ollscoil ar mhaithe le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge atá bunaithe ag an Ollscoil, a fhorbairt. Tá an tAcadamh á bhunú le cúrsaí trí mheán an Gaeilge a chur ar fáil ar an gcampus féin agus in ionaid eile taobh amuigh den champus. Is é Uachtarán na hOllscoile atá ainmnithe mar Reachtaire an Acadaimh faoi láthair agus tá Peadar Mac an Iomaire ainmnithe mar Phríomhfheidhmeannach an Acadaimh. Tá Oifig na Gaeilge Labhartha agus gníomhaíochtaí na nIonad Gaeltachta ag teacht faoi scáth an Acadaimh. Tá 40 post lánaimseartha san Acadamh faoi láthair agus beifear ag cur le líon na bpost sin de réir mar a bheidh cúrsaí nua léinn, cláir taighde agus gníomhaíochtaí comhairleoireachta an Acadaimh á bhforbairt. Tá 12 post fógraithe faoi scáth an Acadaimh agus cuid mhaith acu líonta. Fógrófar roinnt post eile sna míonna beaga seo romhainn. Táthar ag bunú Bord Stiúrtha agus Bord Acadúil ar an Acadamh faoi láthair. Ag glacadh buíochais leis an Aire, dúirt an Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh, "Is cúis áthais dom féin agus d'Údarás na hOllscoile go bhfuil tacaíocht láidir an Rialtais ag Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Is slánchuid de Phlean Straitéiseach agus de Phlean Acadúil na hOllscoile áit shuntasach a thabhairt don Ghaeilge agus don léann trí Ghaeilge faoi scáth na hOllscoile." Tógadh céim eile sa treo sin ag cruinniú Údarás na hOllscoile ar an 16 Deireadh Fómhair 2003, trí threoir a thabhairt do bhainistíocht na hOllscoile campas eiseamláireach dhátheangach a bheith san Ollscoil. "Beidh an campas seo ina dhea-shampla d'ollscoileanna atá ag freastal ar phobail mionlaigh agus ar phobail mionteangacha ar fud na cruinne", a dúirt an Dr. O Muircheartaigh. Is cúis áthais don Uachtarán a fhógairt go bhfuil 73 duine ag freastal ar chúrsaí Ollscoile go hiomlán trí Ghaeilge i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill den chéad uair i mbliana agus 53 duine in ionaid eile i gCúige Uladh. Tá cúrsaí faoi lán tseoil chomh maith ag an Ollscoil i gCarna agus ar an gCeathrú Rua. Creideann Údarás na hOllscoile go bhfuil na struchtúir á mbunú ag an Ollscoil anois a chuirfidh forbairt na hOllscolaíochta trí Ghaeilge ar bhonn sláintiúil agus gur forbairtí iad a bhfuil éileamh orthu ó phobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta. "Is éard atá sa ngníomhaíocht cheannródaíoch atá déanta ag an Ollscoil, feidhmiú an choincheap a bhí taobh thiar de bhunú Acht 1929 agus d'ainmniú Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh mar ollscoil a dhéanfadh cúram den Ollscolaíocht trí Gheilge", a dúirt an Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh. "Is gá Acht 1929 a leasú le go mbeidh an dea-obair cheannródaíoch atá á feidhmiú ag an Ollscoil anois in ann bláthú. Tá glactha ag Údarás na hOllscoile d'aonghuth leis an ngéarghá atá leis an leasú sin." Ends

Monday, 3 November 2003

Leathan Gaeilge Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway welcomed the announcement today (Monday 3 November), by Eamon Ó Cúiv, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, of funding of €I million over three years, to support the special Academy being established by the University for teaching through Irish. The Academy, known as Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is being set up by NUI Galway to develop University courses through the medium of Irish, both on campus at NUI Galway and at the University's centres in the Gaeltacht. The University Authority founded the Acadamh and has appointed President Ó Muircheartaigh as Rector (Reachtaire) and Mr. Peadar Mac an Iomaire, Director of the Office of Spoken Irish, as Chief Executive. The complete work of the Office of Spoken Irish and the activities of the University's three Gaeltacht Centres will now be taken over by an tAcadamh. This currently constitutes 40 full time posts but this number will be built on as academic courses, research programmes and the advisory services of an tAcadamh flourish over the coming years. Some 12 posts have already been advertised under the auspices of an tAcadamh and many of these positions have now been filled. More posts will be advertised over the coming months. Arrangements are currently being made to appoint an tAcadamh's Board of Directors and Academic Board. Thanking the Minister for Government support, President Ó Muircheartaigh said, "The Governing Authority and I are delighted with the support shown by Government for an tAcadamh. Securing the role of the Irish Language in third-level education is an intrinsic part of the University's Strategic and Academic Plans." Another important step was taken in the development of these policies earlier last month (October '03) when the University Authority provided guidelines for University management to develop an exemplary bilingual campus at NUI Galway. "This campus will be a role model for all universities serving minority communities and lesser-used language communities throughout the world," said Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh. Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh was also pleased to announce that 73 students are attending NUI Galway courses through the medium of Irish at the University's Centre, An Chrannóg, in the Donegal Gaeltacht for the first time this year. A further 53 students have enrolled on courses being run by An Chrannóg in other locations in Ulster. Courses are now well founded at the Gaeltacht centres in Connamara: Áras Shorcha Ni Ghuairim, Carna agus Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain, An Cheathrú Rua. The University Authorities believe that the structural developments currently being undertaken will secure the future for third level education through the medium of Irish. They are also strongly of the opinion that these developments are meeting the needs of the Irish speaking community, both within and outside the Gaeltacht. "These latest groundbreaking steps taken by the University are activating a concept which was laid down by the University Act of 1929. This Act named National University of Ireland, Galway as the third level Institute which would lead third level education through Irish," said Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh. "It is now necessary to amend this act in order to facilitate the growth and development of an tAcadamh. The University Authority has unanimously accepted the need for this amendment." Ends

Tuesday, 15 January 2002

Release date: 14 January, 2002 NUI Galway leads Research to benefit African Communities Africa, often associated with poverty and deprivation, has access to a huge natural resource, which, if properly developed and exploited, could dramatically change the lives of its coastal peoples. This has been shown spectacularly in Tanzania where scientific advice and know-how have provided coastal communities with substantial revenue for food, healthcare and education. Seaweed is available in huge quantities and incredible diversity on the African coast but because of a lack of access to information on location, type and potential commercial usage, the full potential of this natural resource is left largely untapped, a situation which is mirrored in remote communities in Europe, including areas like the west of Ireland. This is now about to change however, with the commencement of a major three-year EU-funded project, headed by the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI, Galway to compile a definitive database of commercially important seaweeds from the EU and Africa. For the first time, this information will be easily accessible internationally via both the Internet and a specially produced information pack including a CD-ROM version of the database which will be distributed free of charge to potential users of the information. The Department of Botany, NUI, Galway AlgaeBase team will host the first meeting of the project partners in NUI, Galway from the 14 -17 January organised by Eilís Nic Dhonncha and Professor Michael Guiry. Participating countries include Kenya, South Africa and Namibia from Africa; and Ireland, Portugal and Sweden from the EU. The AlgaeBase team point out that a major foreign policy aim of the EU is to foster the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries. The SeaweedAfrica part of AlgaeBase will provide information on resource distribution, uses and potential uses, current resource yields, ecology, aquaculture and harvesting. "The innovative features of this database are twofold" explains Ms. Nic Dhonncha. "Initially, via the internet, it will provide biological information on the economically-important seaweeds to the initiators of community-based development projects to help them to choose the species upon which they should concentrate and the technical information to aid them in choosing strategies and methods that have been successful elsewhere. The second major objective is to provide the relevant information to policy makers in the form of an easy-to-access tool to allow them to establish that development taking place is carried out in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner." Despite its burgeoning coastline and maritime populations, Africa has not seen major developments of a seaweed industry except in Tanzania, South Africa, and, more recently, Mozambique. There is a lack of local knowledge of seaweeds, despite the incredible biodiversity, which is particularly high on the east coast. In some areas, such as Namibia and the west coast of South Africa, upwelling of cold water shows enormous potential for maricultural development if the right algae and management techniques can be found. It is intended that SeaweedAfrica will go a long way towards achieving that. The current first-sale annual value of the Irish seaweed industry is about Euro 8.8 million and the industry employs nearly 700 people on either a full-time or seasonal basis in remote rural areas of the west coast, primarily within the Gaeltacht. Compared to the world seaweed production - in excess of 7.5 million tonnes in an industry worth US $4 billion - the Irish industry is small, processing 45,000 tonnes annually. However, the seemingly small size of the industry masks the huge socio-economic impacts that it has on rural coastal communities with few other sustainable sources of income. Seaweed and its extracts are used extensively in industries such as agriculture, soap, skin care and snack food and food ingredients. Selected species are also being increasingly used in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. Professor Michael Guiry, Director of NUI Galway s Martin Ryan Institute, the leading academic marine research institution in Ireland, has been involved in seaweed research for many years and is recognised as a world expert in this area. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 14 January 2002

Release date: 15 January, 2002 NUI Galway academic elected Chairperson of Research Association Dr. Donal Leech, of the Department of Chemistry, NUI, Galway, was elected Chairperson of the Irish Research Scientists Association (IRSA) for the year 2002 at the association s annual general meeting in Dublin recently. The IRSA exists to promote excellence in scientific research in Ireland, a greater awareness of the role of research in our lives, and Ireland s scientific heritage. The IRSA was established in 1993 in response to the then Government policy of eliminating expenditure on fundamental research. IRSA was successful in reversing that decision and the association continues to campaign for improved research funding policies, mechanisms and resources today. IRSA is a voluntary association of individuals and organisations interested in its aims and currently has a membership of over 700, composed of academic and industrial researchers, teachers, journalists, politicians and civil servants from within Ireland and abroad. More information on IRSA is available on the association s web-site (www.irsa.ie) or by contacting Dr. Leech (donal.leech@nuigalway.ie) Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 7 January 2002

Date released: 21 December, 2001 NUI Galway awarded £29 million by HEA The National University of Ireland, Galway has been awarded £29 million (€36.57m) from the Higher Education Authority under the National Development Plan. The University plans to use this allocation of funds to advance key research and development projects. Two main beneficiaries of the funding are the marine research facility and a proposed Centre for Innovation and Structural Change. President of NUI, Galway Dr. Iognáid Ó'Muircheartaigh commented "This funding award from the HEA is highly significant for NUI, Galway. Firstly it allows the University to become a major international centre for marine research and establishes us as the main source of marine knowledge in Ireland and secondly, the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change will be central to in-depth analysis of the Irish economy in a way that has not been widely researched in the past." As well as these projects, the HEA funding will also fund substantial research into three additional areas: biomedical engineering science, human settlement and historical and environmental change. According to NUI Galway's Dean of Research, Professor Ger Hurley, the five projects, when combined, will transform the university. "We will become a research-led institution," he says. "All of this will put us into a different league." Marine Research The HEA funding will allow for the radical expansion of the university's marine research resources, which will be allocated £15.1 million (€19.17m) of the overall award. When combined with the imminent relocation of the national Marine Institute from Dublin to Galway, it makes for exciting times in marine circles. "It's spectacular," says Professor Michael Guiry, director of NUI Galway's existing marine facility, the Martin Ryan Institute. "It will give our work an amazing dimension and depth and we're more than ready for it. We have a very enthusiastic and aggressive research agenda." Centre for Innovation and Structural Change The university also plans to use £2.2 million (€2.79m) of its HEA allocation to establish a Centre for Innovation and Structural Change – a place where the vagaries and patterns of Irish economic behaviour will be explored and analysed, and the results made publicly available. Resident innovation policy guru, Professor Roy Green says that this data could offer an understanding of the Irish economy that has never before been available to policymakers. It could even reveal the aspects of economic behaviour that need to be in place for prosperity. "To what extent is knowledge-based activity now sustainable within the Irish economy? How do we measure the extent to which it has become part of the landscape? What are the ingredients for growth? Does the slowdown mean that we're back to square one? That's what this centre is designed to research," says Professor Green. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Tuesday, 12 February 2002

Release date: 12 February, 2001 John McGahern at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has announced the appointment of novelist and short-story writer, John McGahern, to the position of Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies for a period of three years. Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, welcomed the appointment which, he said, was appropriate recognition for a lifetime of creative achievement at the highest level. 'Its a considerable honour for the University and the Centre for Irish Studies in particular, that a writer of John McGahern's achievement and international distinction should be affiliated with us in this way,' said de Paor. 'It is crucial to our work here that we should acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of our pre-eminent artists and writers in this way and forge a more dynamic relationship between the creative and performing arts and the academic community at NUI, Galway.' John McGahern has had a long and productive relationship with NUI, Galway as a regular contributor to the Summer School, and recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Literature in 1994. In his position as Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies, he will give a number of readings each year and conduct seminars on aspects of Irish life and culture under the auspices of the Centre for Irish Studies. Critics have hailed his latest novel, That They May Face the Rising Sun, as a masterpiece by Ireland's finest living novelist with one commentator being moved to declare himself envious of anyone who had yet to read it for the first time. John McGahern will launch a new series of Public Lectures in Irish Studies at NUI, Galway with a reading from the novel on Tuesday 19 February. The reading will take place in the Ó hEocha Theatre in the Millennium Arts Building and will begin at 8.00pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 11 February 2002

Release date: 11 February, 2002 Awards for Outstanding Graduates to be presented The NUI, Galway Alumni Awards will be presented at a Gala Banquet in the Radisson Hotel, on Saturday, 2 March. Awards will be presented in four categories to graduates who have made a distinctive contribution in their chosen careers. Through the awards programme, the University recognises individual excellence among its 43,000 graduates. The ntl Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics will be presented to Áine Brazil, from Salthill, a Managing Principal at Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York. Throughout her 24 years experience she has been responsible for the design and construction of high-rise offices, hotels, air-rights projects with long span transfer systems, hospitals and sports arenas. In recent years Áine has been responsible for the structural design of several high profile high-rise projects in the New York City area, which include three commercial buildings on Times Square ranging from 550 ft to 850 ft tall. Also high on the list of her accomplishments is the role she played in leading the structural engineering team for the design of the 850,000 square feet expansion of New York Hospital spanning over the FDR highway. In 1999 Ms. Brazil was named one of "New York's 100 Most Influential Women in Business" by Crain's New York Business. Last month she was featured in a New York Times article entitled "More Engineers in Hard Hats and Heels," which explored the hurdles she overcame as a woman in the construction industry. In May 2001, Ms. Brazil was honoured by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) in their Salute to Women of Achievement. The Medtronic AVE Award for Health Care and Medical Science will be presented to Dr Luke Clancy, a consultant respiratory physician at St James's Hospital in Dublin. Originally from Salthill, Dr Clancy first graduated from NUI, Galway in 1963 with a BSc and again in 1966 as a medical doctor. He is Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine at Trinity College Dublin and has conducted remarkable research into respiratorial conditions such as asthma, and why it is on the increase in Ireland. He is a member of the Euro TB advisory committee, an organisation that carries out surveillance of tuberculosis in Europe, as well as being involved with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. This work also includes a study of air pollution trends and its associations with adverse health effects, comparing Northern Ireland and the Republic. Dr Clancy is a long-time anti-smoking campaigner and in his former capacity as Chairman of ASH Ireland, has worked tirelessly, and continues to do so, to combat the dangers involved with smoking in this country. Dr Clancy is also a former Director of the William Stokes Post Graduate Centre at St James's Hospital. The Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce, will be presented to Hugh Friel, who graduated from NUI, Galway with a B.Comm degree in 1966. Hugh is currently the Managing Director of the Kerry Group plc. A native of Donegal, he previously worked with Aer Lingus in New York, Mobil Oil Corp. in London and Erin Foods in Ireland. In 1972 he was appointed Financial Controller of North Kerry Milk Products Limited, the forerunner of Kerry Co-op and now Kerry Group plc. Kerry Group today is a leader in global food ingredients markets and a leading consumer foods processing and marketing organisation in selected EU markets. In less than 30 years, from the commissioning of its first manufacturing plant in Listowel, the Kerry organisation has grown to become a highly successful public company, having achieved sustained profitable growth with current annualised sales in excess of €2.6 billion. Listed on the Dublin and London Stock markets, Kerry has established over 80 manufacturing facilities across four continents and provides over 10,000 food and ingredient products through its network of international sales and technical centres to a wide customer base in 80 countries. The Compaq Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts will be presented to Eddie Lenihan, County Clare based seanchaí and author who graduated from NUI, Galway in 1973 with a BA, again in 1975 with a HDip in Education and in 1978 with an MA. A historian, folklorist and until recently a teacher, he has been collecting Irish lore from the elders of Ireland for the past twenty-seven years, and now possesses probably the largest tape-archive held in private hands in Ireland today. Well known in Ireland and beyond as a seanchaí (who has been called 'Ireland's greatest living storyteller'), Eddie has published sixteen books, eleven audio-tapes, a double CD and a video on Irish culture and folklore, and his television programmes Storyteller and Ten Minute Tales ran for three consecutive years on RTÉ. His most recent audio programme, The Good People, a collection of authentic Irish fairy stories for all ages, was published in the USA in 2001. Meeting The Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, co-edited with Carolyn E. Green, and due for publication in 2003, will be Lenihan's definitive collection of 'real' fairy stories from Ireland, to be followed by Tales from the Táin, Foreign Irish Tales for Children (No. 8 in his 15-book Fionn Mac Cumhail saga). Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Release date: 4 February, 2002 Minister launches Technology Transfer Initiative Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minster of State at the Department of Education and Science, launched the Atlantic University Alliance / Technology Transfer Initiative, today (Monday, 4 February at 2.30 p.m.), in National University of Ireland, Galway. The Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) is an inter-regional University collaboration involving UCC (University College Cork), NUI, Galway (National University of Ireland, Galway) and UL (University of Limerick) and was formally launched in May 1999. The Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) programme is the first project to be carried out under the aegis of the AUA and is intended to provide an innovative support structure for Irish indigenous companies and act as a gateway for Irish companies into the universities. It will also facilitate the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology within the universities and between industry and university. The TTI programme has now been funded for three years by Enterprise Ireland to the value of €1.12 million. The main objectives of the Technology Transfer Initiative are: To develop the capability of indigenous industry in the target regions To make available to Irish companies the combined research resources and expertise of the three universities To encourage and facilitate interaction between industry-industry and academia and industry. To facilitate regional and inter-regional "technology transfer" To encourage companies to engage in R&D projects which will ultimately enhance their competitiveness. Critical to the success of the Technology Transfer Initiative is the need for the project to be industry led and that the companies are involved in every aspect of the programme. Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries and other Irish firms is the key to the progression of the project together with the provision of an easy-to-access entry point to the resources and expertise within the three universities. As a prime source of knowledge, universities have a significant role in the process of technology transfer to Irish Industry. The Technology Transfer Initiative will target the four industrial sectors that represent the main growth sectors within the Atlantic seaboard region: Information Communications Technology (ICT), Engineering, Biomedical-Healthcare and Food. The aim is to build strong relationships with these sectors and to apply new knowledge and technologies within them for the economic benefit of the region. It is intended to increase the number of indigenous companies in the target regions that are technology literate and to encourage these companies, where possible, to include a research and development dimension in their operation. Companies can receive financial assistance to undertake R&D projects. Currently within Enterprise Ireland a number of support schemes operate - Feasibility Study funding, Innovation Partnerships, Research Innovation fund to support Industry- University Collaboration. Assistance is provided to university researchers to undertake collaborative research and development projects between networks of companies and universities. During its pilot phase, Technology Transfer Programme promoters have found that by accessing network structures they are better able to propose, develop and implement technology transfer actions between AUA and industry. Establishment of inter-regional market driven technology networks is also being used as a means to identify industry needs and communicate relevant information to key company employees. A catalogue of expertise and resources (across the three universities) that are relevant to industrial needs is also being established as part of the TTI programme. Dedicated TTI Programme staff have been appointed on each of the three university campuses. They will provide the necessary links and facilitate contact between indigenous industry with academic staff in the AUA universities to implement the objectives of the TTI. They also act as catalysts for the development of the sectoral networks and facilitate access to R&D opportunities. The TTI team will achieve their objectives by engaging in the following activities: Focusing on the technological needs of small and medium sized companies by creating a cadre of academic scientists and engineers with strong links to Irish companies who are willing and capable to contribute to their technological development. Bringing together clusters of companies to identify common constraints to their development. Using the networks of companies to allow interchange of knowledge to occur between firms with a strong technical base and those who wish to learn to apply technology. Enterprise Ireland is committed to working with the TTI to identify appropriate companies, capable of benefiting from such interaction. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Tuesday, 5 February 2002

Release date: 5 February, 2002 NUI Galway s Múscailt 02 Spring Festival From creative dance to classical music, provocative drama to poetry and story telling - all this and more will be featured in Múscailt 02, NUI, Galway s Spring Festival, which will take place from the 18Th to the 22nd of February, 2002. An apt title for this original and innovative festival, múscailt means to awaken, inspire, celebrate. John McGahern, Finghin Collins, Mick Lally and Joe Steve Ó Neachtain will be participating in the festival, which aims to showcase and celebrate the artistic achievements of the University Community – the students, staff and graduates on and off campus – as well as those of internationally renowned artists. The student societies have a significant role in the festival s programme. Focus 2002 is a photographic exhibition presented by the Photographic Society. While the Music Society is tapping into the diverse musical energy on campus with Witless , a contemporary bands mini-festival, the University's relatively new Chamber Orchestra will also be performing. The musical, Fiddler on the Roof involves the collective talents of six of the largest college societies and is sure to play to packed audiences in the Black Box Theatre. One of Ireland s most popular writers, John McGahern will read from his new novel, That the May face the Rising Sun on the 19 February. Mick Lally will read a selection of poems on festival opening day, while other poetry readings featuring University Writer-in-residence, Trevor Joyce, Patrick Carton and Peter Jankowski will take place throughout the week. The theatrical highlight of the festival is Inis Theatre Company's critically acclaimed presentation of Jane Austen s only novel-of -letters, Lady Susan. This hour long rollercoaster ride through a world of machinations, secrets and illicit liaisons was a sell out show in the 2001 Dublin Fringe Festival and is touring to Galway especially for Múscailt 02. Garry Hynes will perform the relaunch of the Literary and Debating Society s Criterion magazine on 21 February. A journal of new writing of both the students of NUI, Galway and local writers, Criterion was published by the Arts Society on and off between 1953 and 1991. Among those formerly involved in its production were Michael D. Higgins, Gerald Dawe and Ian Kilroy, while writers for it included Rita Ann Higgins, Julian Gough, Caitlin Maude, John McGahern, and Fred Johnston. Galway based theatre company, Catastrophe, returns to their alma mater as a part of Muscailt to perform Falling Pianos. Following the lives of two self-reflexive characters controlled by an unknown author, the play ranges in style from slapstick comedy to thoughtful drama and satirizes themes including religion, friendship, death and the woman sitting in the second row! "Múscailt 02 is a 'don't miss' event," says Emily Cullen, NUI, Galway s Arts Officer and festival Co-ordinator, "not only because the students have invested it with so much energy and enthusiasm but also because the quality programme we have put together is guaranteed to appeal to a wide variety of tastes." Muscáilt 02 is supported by funds raised from NUI, Galway graduates through the Alumni Annual Fund and Kombucha is the festival's product sponsor. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Release date: 27 March 2002 Irish Universities Unite to Encourage Students to Study Science A pioneering web site to encourage students to study science devised by all seven Irish university science faculties was launched today (Wednesday 27 March) in Dublin Castle by Mr. Noel Treacy, TD, Minister for Science, Technology and Commerce. Conscious of the declining interest in schools and universities in many areas of basic science, the group 'Irish Universities Promoting Science', consisting of the Deans of Science and Science Faculty Administrative Officers, has worked together for the past three years with the aim of furthering science and science education nationally and internationally and attracting students to the wide range of teaching programmes on offer. Activities have included schools liaison and collaboration in activities that popularise science such as the ESAT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Minister Treacy said, "This is an exciting initiative undertaken by the Deans and Faculties of our seven Irish universities This Inter-University website will provide quick and efficient access to reliable information not only to students interested in studying science, but also to students and researchers in other countries who wish to inform themselves about the excellent work being carried out in Irish universities. By doing so, it helps to make both Ireland and Europe a more attractive research environment, and ultimately contributes to the EU goal of having, by 2010, the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world." "I am delighted to formally launch the Joint Inter-University Science Website – www.universityscience.ie - and I congratulate the universities on their use of technology as a means of positively impacting on science and science education at all levels," Minister Treacy added. The web site provides information on scientific disciplines, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in each university and careers and research opportunities in science. It may be viewed at http://www.universityscience.ie Ends For further information, please contact: Fidelma Haffey, Science Faculty Administrator, TCD. Tel: 01 – 608 2024 Mairéad Loughman, Administrator Officer, Faculty of Science, UCC. Tel: 021 490 2800 / 087 620 1812

Tuesday, 12 March 2002

Release date: 12 March, 2002 Minister announces Inaugural Science Awards at NUI Galway A new awards scheme funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and aimed at attracting international researchers to Ireland for a period of up to one year will be announced in NUI, Galway this evening (6.30 p.m., Tuesday, 12 March), by Mr. Noel Treacy, T.D., Minister for Science and Technology and Commerce. The Walton Visitor Awards are named in honour of Ernest T. S. Walton, who with his colleague, John Cockcroft, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951. Walton s son, Professor Philip Walton, is Professor of Applied Physics at NUI, Galway. In making the announcement, Minister Treacy will be joined by Dr. William C. Harris, SFI director general, Professor Walton, and members of the Walton family. Dr. Harris called the Walton Visitor Awards "a new bridge between Ireland and the international scientific community". He pledged that SFI would fund each Walton Visitor Award with up to €200,000 per year, including salary and laboratory and moving expenses. When Walton and Cockcroft split the atom in 1932, it ushered in a new era in scientific research and is regarded as one of the great landmarks in the history of science. SFI's decision to name the new awards after Ireland s greatest 20th century scientist is an appropriate way of fostering research and collaborative links with the International scientific community. The specific aims of the Walton Visitor Awards are: To bring international researchers to Ireland for periods normally ranging up to one year To strengthen Ireland s connections to and collaborations with the international research community To enhance Ireland s reputation and culture as a home of first-class research To foster the recruitment of excellent undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students The Walton Visitor Awards programme is one of a number of new initiatives from Science Foundation Ireland to support a strong scientific research base and attract and retain excellent researchers to create a critical mass of world-class research excellence in niche areas of Information Communication Technologies and Biotechnology. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Friday, 8 March 2002

Release date: 25 February, 2002 Understandings of Rural Development challenged in new book by NUI Galway expert Irish rural society has an image of being isolated, poverty-stricken and marginalised. However, the nature of rural areas, and particularly that of rural development, is being "rethought" and "redefined" throughout Europe. A new book by NUI, Galway expert, Dr John McDonagh, Renegotiating Rural Development in Ireland, explores this "redefining" of rural development and the implications this has for the future sustainability of rural communities in Ireland. The book, which was officially launched today (Monday, 25 February), in NUI, Galway by Eamon Ó Cúiv TD, Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, challenges different perceptions about rural life while deconstructing current processes and practices utilised in this complex arena. Dr McDonagh states that a new form of governance is required in order to achieve a collective benefit that is unobtainable through current practices of groups acting either independently or in isolation. Dr McDonagh states: "The premise of this book is that rural Ireland does not have a democratic ethos under which it can develop greater self-reliance … where local communities can participate genuinely in the decision-making process." Throughout the book Dr McDonagh suggests that current methods need to be drastically overhauled in order for rural communities to survive. He argues that there has been a perception that EU-funded initiatives such as LEADER have been the driving force behind development but in reality these programmes often do not get to the core of what is required. As such, there is a need for a renegotiation of the methods of funding and implementation of rural development projects, as well as a need for greater input and influence from the rural communities affected by, and involved in, these projects. In particular the book argues for new methods of rural management that are more than merely partnerships between governmental and non-governmental groups fulfilling a set of funding criteria. "While there has been a perceptible shift in recent years from the top down policy to a more bottom-up partnership approach," says Dr McDonagh, "rural communities in Ireland still have only limited influence on the development process." He argues that the reluctance of successive Irish governments to alter the administrative and institutional capacities of the state has given rise to the perception that these programmes are effective. However, in many cases these programmes and projects are not meeting the requirements of rural people and this goal is only attainable through the integration of government and EU programmes with the input and needs of rural communities. Dr McDonagh further argues that there is a need for greater understanding of what rural development is all about; "what people want from rural areas; whether people will accept trade-offs between rural and urban living and whether problems in rural areas can be dealt with exclusively through some specific rural development strategy or rural-oriented planning". Ends Information: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091 750418

Monday, 4 March 2002

Release date: 1 March, 2002 Taoiseach launches new Research Centre in NUI Galway An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, T.D., today (Friday, 1 March), launched the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI, Galway. CISC has been awarded competitive funding of €2.8 million under the Irish Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). Professor Roy Green has been leading NUI Galway's innovation policy work since he arrived from the University of Newcastle in Australia a few years ago. He has already fostered links with institutions of excellence abroad, including MIT in the US and the University of Cambridge in England. "Research in CISC will be undertaken in areas including spatial strategy, internationally-traded services and industry clustering", he said. "Our research will help inform economic and structural policy in what I believe are three areas of "weakness" in the Irish economy: a dependence on foreign investment, low levels of research and development and a geographical imbalance in economic activity". Since innovation policy is not widely studied in Ireland at the moment, he believes that the data produced by the new centre will fill a void in international terms as well as in a regional or national sense. "All of our research will produce publicly available results which we'll post on a website. Since there's no comprehensive source of data on the area at the moment, it will be especially useful in contributing to EU and OECD data collection," according to Professor Green. A number of smaller-scale projects in the innovation area are already underway, including a survey which will map the innovation structure of the Galway/Limerick/Shannon region, or the "Atlantic Technology Corridor". This work involves the development of statistical categories designed specifically to identify trends such as levels of research work among companies in the region or connections between business and the local community. Speaking at the launch of the new research centre, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway said, "The University is proud of its excellence in research and the contribution that its research activity makes to national and international policy-making. The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change is a significant and exciting development in an important area of business strategy". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Thursday, 18 April 2002

Release date: 19 April, 2002 NUI Galway joins Burren College of Art to deliver first Irish Master of Fine Art The spectacular beauty of the Burren in Co. Clare has for long been a source of inspiration for artists, writers and poets. Amid this startling landscape of megalithic tombs, caverns and castles, craggy lunar-like rocks and Arctic and Mediterranean flora stands the 16th century Newtown Castle. In its courtyard stands the Burren College of Art (BCA), which was founded in 1994 and has since achieved an international reputation for the quality of the courses it provides. In a significant development, National University of Ireland, Galway has now joined BCA to deliver the first Irish Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme. Ms. Síle de Valera, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, will officially launch the programme in the Burren College of Art at 3.00 p.m, on 19 April, 2002. MFA students will be based in the Burren College of Art, which provides state-of-the-art facilities including modern studios, lecture theatre, library, dark room and photographic facilities and sculpture workshop. Students will be enabled to express their art in a variety of traditional and non traditional media including but not limited to painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, site-specific work, land art and text-based work. Tuition will be provided by resident faculty as well as international, cutting-edge visiting artists from The Royal College of Art in London, -the number one graduate school of art & design in the UK and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), which has been consistently ranked the number one graduate school of fine arts in the U.S. Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector of the Royal College of Art in London, said 'The new MFA at the Burren College of Art is a major step forward for a school which has already made its mark on the art education scene. The MFA will enable it, through specialisation, to make an even more distinctive contribution'. Both Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling and Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SAIC will speak at the launch. Carol Becker said "The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has worked closely with the Burren College of Art since its inception. We have watched it become a first rate art school deeply wedded to its locality but also well positioned within a larger global world of art and art making. We are very excited to be part of this new initiative. It will harness a breadth of intellectual and creative energy from the institutions involved and provide a rich, creative experience for all who enter into the programme as students." Elective studies of the MFA programme will take place at NUI, Galway. This will enable the students to broaden their field of knowledge and also to study intercultural aspects of visual media. Opportunities for co-operative work in areas such as performance art, text and image and writing will be facilitated. "The undertaking of this MFA programme, the first such programme in Ireland, in association with the Burren College of Art, marks a further significant development in NUI Galway s strategic commitment to expanding the higher education opportunities both in Clare and throughout the Western region," said Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway. "We look forward to a very fruitful and mutually enriching partnership with an institution which has already established its credentials in the field of art education at home and abroad . Mary Hawkes-Greene, President of the Burren College of Art said Just as the Burren reflects an interplay of a macrocosm of giant boulders with a microcosm of unique plants, the MFA programme I envisage combines the resources of a large university and international associates with the creative space and individuality of a small college. It synthesises diverse elements of tradition and cutting edge, the local and the global, placing students at the interface of artistic currents. The two-year, full-time postgraduate programme, which will commence in September 2003, will enable graduates to Produce a final exhibition, the quality of which will demonstrate that they have acquired the confidence, skills and maturity necessary to function as successful artists Be able to critically evaluate their own work and that of their peers, informed by contemporary fine art practice Exhibit strong expressive and communicative Display increased intellectual capabilities and more advanced understanding of the philosophical and cultural concerns shared by contemporary fine artists Ends Information from: Eleanor Franklin, Director of Communications Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. T. 065-7077200 /F. 065-7077201 Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway T. 091-750418 / mobile 087-2986592 Note for Editors: Burren College of Art Established in 1994 against the backdrop of Newtown Castle with its fully restored minstrel's gallery and its striking circular rooms All College amenities are newly constructed providing state-of-the art facilities for students Situated 3km from Ballyvaughan and 40 minutes from Galway city Provides study programmes in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, which are incorporated into the following: Four year Bachelor of Fine Arts Residency Programme Two 15-week BFA Semester Programmes Annual Summer Schools Hosts Annual Spring Conference and Burren Law School (theme for May 2002: "Identity and the Law"). National University of Ireland Galway Founded in 1845 Seven Faculties: Arts, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science Student population: 12,000 Arts Postgraduate Programmes include: MA in Theatre Studies; MA in Publishing; MA in Conquest and Colonialism Consistently promoting the Arts in the West of Ireland by hosting a Writer-in-Residence twice annually in both the Irish and English languages; Organising Public Lecture series in Art and Literature; and hosting the only Ensemble-in-Residence in the West of Ireland Academic excellence and cosmopolitan atmosphere encourage creativity and experimentation in music, drama and literature. Carol Becker is Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of numerous articles and several books including: The Invisible Drama: Women and The Anxiety of Change; The Subversive Imagination: Artist, Society, and Social Responsibility; Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions, Gender and Anxiety; and, most recently Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformation and the Changing Politics of Art. Prof. Sir Christopher Frayling Rector of Royal College of Art in London, and Professor of Cultural History there. Established pioneering postgraduate courses in the history of design, modern cultural theory and the conservation of artefacts and visual arts administration. On New Year's Eve 2000 he was knighted for ''services to art and design and education''. An historian, a critic and a broadcaster he is well known for his work on BBC Radio and Television. His '6 part television series ' The Art of Persuasion' about advertising, won a Gold medal at the New York Film & Television Festival. Other broadcasts have won awards and critical acclaim. He has publiushed over a dozen books and numerous articles on visual culture, design and history, over the last 25 years. Sir Frayling was the longest serving member of the Arts Council of England. Sir Huw Wheldon once called him ''the Kenneth Clark of the popular arts'' –Kenneth Clark of Civilisation fame, that is …

Tuesday, 9 April 2002

Release date: 9 April, 2002 Minister Treacy announces major conference in Photonics for Galway in September SPIE, a worldwide organisation of engineers and scientists working in the field of Optical Engineering and Photonics, will hold their first regional conference outside of North America in Galway, on 5-6 September, 2002. Announcing this major conference on Opto-electronics, Photonics, and Optical Imaging in NUI, Galway, Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minister for Science, Technology and Commerce, welcomed the goal that had been set down for the meeting by the organisers –  to promote photonics-based industries in Ireland and Europe, and to showcase the world-class companies, universities, and research programmes within Ireland. Minister Treacy indicated that "this goal matches very well with the strategies of our Department for the promotion of Photonics in Ireland". The conference – called OPTO-Ireland - will be hosted by the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA) in NUI, Galway and its director, Professor Tom Glynn, is the conference chairman. The annual conference of the Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing (IMVIP) group will also form part of the International conference and will be chaired by Dr. Andy Shearer of the Information Technology Department in NUI, Galway. Papers are invited under 10 separate themes and the conference will have three parallel sessions for two days. The conference is expected to attract about 400 participants and about 75 exhibits. Courses aimed at both academics and industrial personnel will run in parallel with both the conference and exhibition. Minister Treacy pointed out that "national funding and support agencies are currently targeting photonics for further support and development as a national strategy. It is certain that the communications networks of the future will use all-optical signalling to replace the mixed optical-electronic systems now in place. Multinational telecoms companies in Ireland are now being joined in this area by several Irish start-up companies – the fruits of long-term investment in university research." Laser technology is also being widely used in other fields and is now an important part of equipment testing, chip manufacturing, automation, and quality control. Nowhere said Minister Treacy " is this more evident than in the medical device industry in Ireland and particularly in the West, where in a remarkably short time span lasers have moved centre stage in the manufacturing process and are now widely used for cutting, welding, marking, and in various metrology applications ". Many of these developments have been facilitated through joint research and development projects with the NCLA, and with support from Enterprise Ireland. Concluding, Minister Treacy congratulated the organisers of OPTO-Ireland, emphasising that "this international conference represents a significant opportunity for the researchers and companies using lasers and optical instrumentation in Ireland and these, along with the growing number of start-up companies, will oversee the next phase of expansion of photonics technologies in Ireland". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. (091) 759418 ncla@nuigalway.ie www.wpie.org/conferences/calls/02/ire/ www.physics.nuigalway.ie/ncla/

Thursday, 30 May 2002

Release date: 28 May, 2002 New Report Highlights Needs of the Dependent Elderly A report, written by Dr. Eamon O'Shea of the Department of Economics, NUI Galway for the Council of Europe on "Improving the Quality of Life of Elderly Persons in Situations of Dependency", highlights the need for a socially functioning society as opposed to an economically functioning society, in terms of care of the elderly. The report, introduced at the World Assembly on Aging in Madrid in April 2002, will be formally presented to Governments at the European Conference on Aging in September 2002. It is predicted that the number of over-65s will double in the next thirty years and, within the elderly population, the oldest age categories are the fastest growing. Dependency, the report states, is likely to increase in line with the general ageing of the population in Europe, particularly dementia-related dependency, which is an increasing function of age. "It is important in light of these facts," says Dr. O'Shea "to look at the well-being and quality of life of all people as they grow older, including people with lifelong disabilities". The report gives a number of recommendations for improving the quality of life of dependent elderly people: The autonomy, integrity and dignity of elderly people must be taken into consideration at all times and participation and independence must be encouraged; Primary healthcare should be coordinated with social care and secondary care and delivered by appropriately trained staff; Home-based care for dependent elderly people should be delivered locally in a flexible manner within the framework of an integrated health and social care system; Day care centre and respite care provision should be expanded for all dependent elderly people, including people with dementia; People with dementia should receive services in appropriately designed environments from people who are specifically trained to deliver such care. The report places great emphasis on the importance of a social focus on care of dependent elderly people in later life. Therefore, an area of particular importance is that of family care. Family carers have a very important role to play in the care of dependent elderly people but, from a social viewpoint, they cannot be assumed to be a free resource. The report recommends that the needs of family carers be explicitly recognised through the granting of legislatively-based rights and the provision of appropriate information, training, respite and other support services. Other recommendations include special attention given to the development of a variety of geriatric medicine facilities including: day hospitals which cater to the individual needs of the dependent elderly; assessment and rehabilitation services; and high quality long-stay care in a variety of settings staffed by trained personnel. "At the heart of this report" said Dr. Eamon O'Shea, "is the recommendation that the prevention of dependency for elderly people should be a central tenet of health, social care and environmental policy throughout life. Overcoming ageist attitudes within society, for example, is a way of working towards preventing dependency in later life. What is important is that elderly people are treated as citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as younger people." The report concludes with the key message that full citizenship rights for all dependent elderly persons is crucial and these rights should be guaranteed by law. Solidarity must be collective and public if the full potential of elderly people with disabilities and their carers is to be realised. "This solidarity must be maintained and enhanced through dialogue and discussion amongst all of the social partners," said Dr. O'Shea " and these discussions should include the elderly themselves." --ENDS-- For further information:Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway 091-750418

Tuesday, 21 May 2002

Release date: 21 May, 2002 Galway Research Team leads the way in Car Recycling Drive When it comes to recycling, Galway has led the country in recent years. Now, a Galway research team is leading the world in the recycling of cars. A new EU directive, set to come into force this month, will mean that cars will have to be recycled when they reach the end of their lives. The European End of Life Vehicle Directive aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill when cars are disposed of. A research group in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit (CIMRU) in NUI, Galway, is working on a project to develop the most efficient methods of recycling cars. The CIMRU team is working on the basis that there is a hierarchy of options for dealing with old cars. The most preferable option is to reuse parts. Material and recycling comes next with disposal in landfill being the least preferred option. Currently, some 75% of the weight of cars is recycled with the remaining 25% sent to landfill. This waste accounts for 10% of all hazardous waste generated yearly in the EU. The disposal of fluids such as oil, brake fluid and petrol can cause serious pollution unless disposed of properly. Other materials including foam, plastics and wiring also qualify as hazardous waste which may have detrimental effects on the environment. The EU End of Life Directive aims to reduce the amount of hazardous waste being sent to landfill to 15% by 2006 and to 5% by 2015. To achieve this, car manufacturers will be encouraged to use more reusable and recyclable materials in their cars and also to design products that will be easier to recycle when they reach the end of their lives. The team in CIMRU will help by coming up with computerised methods of tracking these materials throughout the lifetime of the car. The Directive also proposes that all cars be depolluted before being recycled. This involves removing all oil, petrol, brake fluid and other such dangerous materials. Currently, there are between eight and nine million cars disposed of annually in Europe and 150,000 in Ireland. About 7% of these are illegally dumped as abandoned wrecks. In addition to coming up with a system that will deal with all these aspects of car recycling, the tools being developed in CIMRU can also be applied in other areas, such as in the disposal of hospital waste. According to Neil Ferguson, the project manager at CIMRU: "we, together with our Irish and European partners, will come up with systems that are primarily aimed at car recycling and hospital waste treatment. However, we will be developing methodologies that can also be applied to other areas. We are developing a suite of tools that can be used for end of life recovery across all sectors". ENDS Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091-750418

Monday, 20 May 2002

Release date: 20 May, 2002 NUI Galway Professor appointed to Sierre Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Professor William A. Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway, has been appointed by the President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, as a member of the country s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission, which will begin its fifteen-month mandate on 1 June 2002, is to create an impartial historical record of Sierra Leone s brutal civil war during the 1990s. The Commission is modelled on similar efforts in South Africa and Guatemala. It is also required to address the needs of victims and to promote reconciliation in the country. "Sierra Leone s Truth Commission is somewhat unique, in that it will operate in parallel with criminal prosecutions of the most serious offenders by the newly created Special Court", Professor Schabas explained. The Special Court was established in January by an agreement between Sierra Leone and the United Nations. "Truth commissions are increasingly recognised as useful and effective mechanisms to promote peace and reconciliation in societies emerging from conflict, and to combat impunity", said Professor Schabas. "They can ensure accountability where the more traditional approach of criminal prosecution is not possible. They are particularly effective in providing a voice for victims and in establishing what really took place." The Sierra Leone Truth Commission is made up of seven commissioners, four of them nationals of Sierra Leone, and three of them non-nationals who were nominated by Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In addition to Professor Schabas, the other non-nationals are Yasmin Louise Sooka, a former member of the South African Truth Commission, and Satang Ajaaraton Jow, former Gambian Minister of Education. During 2002 and 2003, Professor Schabas will travel regularly to Sierra Leone in order to carry out his functions as a commissioner. William Schabas is an internationally recognised specialist in international human rights law, with a particular expertise in the area of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. A prolific author, he has published twelve books on human rights subjects of which the most recent, An Introduction to the International Criminal Court, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2001. His work as a human rights monitor and investigator has taken him to such countries as Rwanda, Cambodia, Kosovo, Chechnya, the Sudan and El Salvador. A national of Canada, Professor Schabas has lived in Ireland since January 2000, when he took up the chair in human rights law at the National University of Ireland, Galway. For more information on the Truth Commission, see: http://www.sierra-leone.org/trc.html. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418