NUI Galway Law School Launches New Part-Time Programmes

NUI Galway Law School Launches New Part-Time Programmes-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The School of Law at NUI Galway has announced six new programmes, starting in September 2012. The new programmes will be offered on a part-time basis and aimed at applicants who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but are unable take on a full-time course. Building on the innovative Master’s degree in Law, Technology and Governance, the School is accepting applications for: LLM in Law, Technology and Governance (part-time) Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (full-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Commercial Regulation and Compliance (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in E-Commerce Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law (part-time) Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology Law (part-time) This suite of programmes offers students an opportunity to explore in-depth substantive social issues and questions of law and governance as these mechanisms evolve to deal with ever-changing technology and rapid scientific advances. In addition, academics from other institutions and key figures in public service, private practice and national and international organisations regularly contribute to the programme and enrich the overall learning experience. NUI Galway’s School of Law offers an active and dynamic learning environment with significant interaction between students and staff. Its objective is to produce highly-skilled and competent graduates with a significant expertise in their chosen subjects. NUI Galway Lecturer in Law, Rónán Kennedy, said: “We have specifically designed these new programmes for those who want to upgrade or refresh their legal skills but cannot take on a full-time course. Successful completion of these programmes can open a number of career options. If you intend to become a solicitor or barrister, for example, or are already qualified and want to expand into new career pathways, the topics covered are all busy areas of practice and will open attractive options, both in Ireland and abroad. If you want to work in the public sector or public service, the focus on policy issues will give you a perspective which will be of considerable benefit.” The deadline for applications is Friday, 10 August and applications can be made through ENDS

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Microsoft Invitation for NUI Galway Professor

Microsoft Invitation for NUI Galway Professor-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

One of Ireland’s leading web science experts, Professor Stefan Decker, has been invited to attend the exclusive Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in the US this week. Professor Decker is Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway, which was set up with funding from SFI in 2003, and has since grown to become the largest research institute of its kind in the world. The annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit unites academic researchers and educators with Microsoft researchers, product group engineers, and architects to explore new opportunities and challenges in computer science research. The event, involving 400 of the best academic investigators from around the world, takes place in Redmond, Washington, today and tomorrow. DERI’s work is focussed on bringing about networked knowledge, by developing and applying a range of web technologies and standards. According to Professor Decker: “New standards and technologies are changing the World Wide Web from a web of documents into a network of data and knowledge. A combination of technologies, known collectively as the Semantic Web, is making it possible to link that data together on the Web and to use it in new and exciting ways, and transform the Web into networked knowledge.” -ends-

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Irish Centre for Social Gerontology Launches New Report Series

Irish Centre for Social Gerontology Launches New Report Series-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The 2011 Census shows that more than two out of every five people aged 65 and over lives in a rural community. Surprisingly, relatively little is known about the situation of this important demographic group. The Rural Ageing Observatory at NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is seeking to fill some of the gaps in knowledge on rural ageing. It recently launched the first two reports in a series that, in time, will provide vital information about the ageing population in rural Ireland. The first of the short reports focuses on key demographic trends and issues facing rural older people. The second report summarises evidence relating to income, poverty and deprivation of Ireland’s older rural population. Launching the reports, Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, said: “More than 200,000 people over the age of 65 live in rural communities across Ireland. In the autumn, the government will be launching its National Positive Ageing Strategy. It’s important that this is a strategy for older people wherever they live – in rural as well as in urban communities. Greater awareness of the circumstances of rural older people, in particular, is essential if the right policy measures are to be adopted.” Both reports are available online at -ends-

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NUI Galway MA helps Galway Mum Achieve Global Sales for App

NUI Galway MA helps Galway Mum Achieve Global Sales for App-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Galway mum-of-two Ann Brehony launched her essential family holiday helper app called Ireland Are We There Yet? last October in the Apple App Store to rave reviews. The idea had come about while studying for her MA in Publishing at NUI Galway. As part of her course Ann completed a business plan for an innovative publishing venture, such was the positive reaction from course tutors that she set about getting the project funded. A mere nine months post graduation an international publishing deal was secured with American digital travel publisher Sutro Media. The app has now sold in over eighteen countries worldwide, feedback has been universally positive leading to a further release on the Android platform in early 2012. “The beauty of this product” explains Ann “is that it is like a living breathing organic publication, I constantly update the material which keeps everything fresh and vibrant”. The app is a 32-county guide to things to do and see with your kids in Ireland, rain or shine. The latest version, which is free to existing customers, has just hit the App Store and is already flying off the digital shelves! The new updated app is packed with over 70 additional entries with a new layout and improved search facilities. “Through the comments section in the App, I can enter into conversation with my customers and respond to their needs and experiences; initial feedback told me that people were looking for more things to occupy teens and older kids so I was able to create a whole new section easily searchable under the same tag. As a mother of two, one of whom has special needs, I know how hard it can be to keep the kids amused all summer, this app was born out of my own need so I do understand what my customers want.” Publishers Sutro Media say: “This app is like the local cousin you never knew you had! It has sussed the best ways to visit Ireland with kids so you don't have to do the legwork;  It's like having a bunch of native kids show you the best stuff to do in this magical country.” App highlights include: Packed with places kids will love to visit. Quirky car games to keep them amused and engaged with the trip along the way.  A full nationwide listing of free outdoor play areas. Scavenger hunts and car bingo will get you working as a team so you get the most of your family time together. Improved layout with Twitter and Facebook links to each entry. An introduction to the Faery World. Listings of nationwide fun activities like Diving, Surfing, Sailing, Whale and Dolphin Watching Horse Riding and Cycling Trails. A guide to famous film locations. Price: €2.39, £1.79, $2.99  Available on iTunes Available on Android  ENDS

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New Book on Higher Education and Civic Engagement

New Book on Higher Education and Civic Engagement-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Higher Education Authority Chief Executive, Tom Boland recently launched a new book, Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Lorraine Mc Ilrath and Ann Lyons from the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teachingat NUI Galway and Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU, the new book was launched following a round-table discussion on how to move forward the civic engagement agenda in Irish higher education institutions. Welcoming the attendants, DCU President, Professor Brian Mc Craith, praised the publication of the book and supported the round-table discussion around how higher education could build civic engagement. The round table included contributions from Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, Dr Helen McQuillan, Manager of DCU in the Community and Madeleine Clark, Founder of Genio and Ashoka Entrepreneur. Lorraine Mc Ilrath, Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway, said:“The Community Knowledge Initiative began at NUI Galway with external funding and then became embedded within the culture of the University. There are now many initiatives in the area of community based or service learning and around volunteering which are ‘making a difference’ in the lives of students and in the wider community. This work also led to the HEA funded Campus Engage network designed to promote civic engagement across the sector and ‘mainstream’ if possible.” Speaking at the launch Tom Boland outlined the new national higher education strategy and the important role of civic engagement within it. “It could contribute hugely to transforming research, teaching and the student experience. There is also a growing appreciation of the potential of higher education institutions to contribute to social equality and community development with much greater emphasis on principles of partnership, empowerment, participation and capacity building. Civic engagement would be promoted to drive this mission in a way which recognised diversity and distinctive ways of doing engagement and accepted that it could not be an add-on to normal business.” Dr Helen Mc Quillanspoke to the very real problems in driving civic engagement within the higher education sector based on the case of DCU in the Community which is based in Ballymun in North Dublin. These initiatives do have a very real impact on individuals and communities which have, for long, been excluded from higher education. But to be successful and sustainable a very real ‘culture shift’ would need to occur within the institutions of higher education. Madeleine Clark stressed the need to engage with wider social change and the creative ways in which profit-making and non-profit making organisations could work together to combat social exclusion through strategic people-oriented initiatives. She called for civic engagement ‘to become the developing mission of higher education’ and to become much more central in the work which universities to by offering a vision for social transformation. Roundtable Chair, Professor Ronnie Munck, Head of Civic Engagement at DCU concluded that more needs to happen from debating civic engagement to implementing it: “Its potential to change the culture of higher education is clear as is its increased social relevance in a period of crisis. Campus Engage will be re-launched in the autumn to provide support for higher education institutions seeking to build a civic engagement mission and to create a vibrant network or community of practice. Civic engagement is here to stay, it’s not an add-on.” Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives is available through Campus Engage, ENDS

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NUI Galway Workshop on Earliest Farming in Sligo and Germany

NUI Galway Workshop on Earliest Farming in Sligo and Germany-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

NUI Galway archaeologists and pollen analysts recently participated in a three-day specialist workshop at Kiel University on Neolithic landscapes in Sligo and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. During the workshop the latest results, generated during the course of a joint Kiel-NUI Galway four-year programme of research, were presented and discussed. The new results, based mainly on detailed investigations of lake cores, provide fresh insights into the earliest farming economies, the changing intensity of farming through time and impacts on the natural environment in both regions. NUI Galway participants included Dr Stefan Bergh and Professor Michael O’Connell, and PhD students Ed Danaher and Beatrice Ghilardi, who are working towards doctorates on various aspects of the Neolithic in Sligo. An overview of the archaeology of Sligo was provided by the Sligo archaeologist, Martin Timoney. According to Professor O’Connell, “The new research, funded by the German Science Foundation, Kiel University and NUI Galway, the results of which are already partly published, will ultimately provide one of the most detailed records of early farming available in these islands.” Pictured is Dr Ingo Feeser, who gained his doctorate at NUI Galway and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Kiel University, presenting his latest data on long-term environmental change at Lake Belau, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. More information is available from Professor Michael O’Connell, Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, on 086 3891444 or -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Rowers Win National Titles at Irish Rowing Championships

NUI Galway Rowers Win National Titles at Irish Rowing Championships-image

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Crews from NUI Galway were presented with a number of national titles at the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork at the weekend. NUI Galway, teaming up with the University’s graduate club, Gráinne Mhaol, won the Senior Eights Championship of Ireland. In a keenly contested showdown with Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol edged ahead at 1,250 meters into the race. With only 250 meters remaining Queen’s managed to close the gap but the NUI Galway/Gráinne Mhaol rowers found another couple of gears and crossed the finish line 1.78 seconds ahead of their rivals in a confident and powerful performance. For Dave Mannion and veteran cox Ruadhán Cooke, it was a fifth Senior Eights win. Four of the winning Eight rowing as Gráinne Mhaol took the Senior men’s Coxless Four title. The winning crew included James Wall, Cormac Folan, Alan Martin, Evin Donnelly, Robert O’Callaghan, Jason Wall, Dominic Burke, Dave Mannion and cox Ruadhán Cooke. Also winning at the Championships were the Novice Women’s Coxed Four of Mary Murphy, Michelle Arakgi, Chloe O’Flynn, Anna Power and Sandra Kelly and the Intermediate Men’s Coxless Pair of Conor Egan and club captain Richard Bennett. Commenting on the success at the weekend, Ruadhán Cooke, said: “Our performances show the vibrancy of the club with wins from Novice level right up to the premier event, including success for the men, women and the graduate members. We also have wonderful people involved on the coaching and organisational side without whose unheralded and voluntary contributions we would simply not exist. Tens of other club members competed with pride and distinction across a number of events and look forward to emulating their club mates in the seasons ahead. In a year which saw the untimely passing of our great friend and mentor Tom Tuohy, it was especially emotional and fitting to be able to dedicate these successes to his memory.” -ENDS-

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Scientists Seek Sticky Barnacles with Social Media Campaign

Scientists Seek Sticky Barnacles with Social Media Campaign-image

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Researchers at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway are hoping to enlist the help of the general public to gather a rare barnacle which occasionally washes up on Irish shores. The specimens will be used to advance scientific knowledge surrounding the adhesive properties of barnacles. Barnacles have an amazing ability to attach themselves to every surface imaginable – even non-stick frying pans – and researchers at NUI Galway are studying the glue that the barnacle produces. They hope that one day synthetic versions of this natural underwater super-glue will be available for use in applications such as surgery and dentistry. However, the species under study is the goose barnacle (Lepas anatifera), which is lives out at sea and is very difficult to find. In order to continue their research more goose barnacles are required and the research group has now launched a media campaign, including a facebook and twitter campaign, to encourage the public to help find them. A Zoology PhD student, Jaimie-Leigh Jonker, who is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Anne Marie Power, explains: “These large goose barnacles sporadically wash ashore along the Irish coast in a mostly unpredictable manner; while popular surfing beaches like Fanore and Doughmore Bay have proved fruitful in the past, these animals could wash up anywhere. When washed ashore they will die from exposure to heat, light and air, unless we find them first and bring them back to our aquarium.” Barnacles secrete a glue-like substance which consists of several proteins and somehow sticks to both the barnacle’s body and whatever surface it is on, where it hardens to form a very strong ‘cement’. “It might seem perfectly ordinary that a sea creature can stick to a surface, but if you stop to think about it you may realise that it’s actually quite an incredible innovation by nature, says Jaimie-Leigh. “We humans haven’t managed to create glues that can be used successfully in wet environments, but nature has done it over and over again.” The purpose of the current research at NUI Galway is to understand how the barnacle glue works, through examining both the glands inside the body that produce the glue and the proteins that make up the glue. “Eventually we hope to be able to create synthetic proteins with the same adhesive properties, which could be put to use as glues for surgery and dentistry”, explains Jaimie-Leigh. “Within just a decade or so the way that we practice surgery is likely to change greatly, with one of those changes being the replacement of sutures, staples and pins with adhesives copied from nature.” Jaimie-Leigh and her colleagues would love to hear from anybody that comes across goose barnacles on the Irish coast this summer. You can contact the barnacle research group at the Zoology in NUI Galway, on 091 493191 or through email (, twitter (@BarnacleHunt) and facebook ( -ENDS-

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Fujitsu Announces Significant Research Programme with DERI at NUI Galway

Fujitsu Announces Significant Research Programme with DERI at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fujitsu Ireland today announced that Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, the global ICT giant, will begin a significant investment in a research programme with Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) based in NUI Galway. The research will be conducted in the area of Networked Knowledge, identifying new models and commercial opportunities for exploiting the vast quantities of static and dynamic data on the Internet, making it more valuable to end-users. The programme has been supported by the Government through IDA and Science Foundation Ireland.   Tatsuo Tomita, President of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., commenting on the announcement said, “Fujitsu aims to enable a ‘Human Centric Intelligent Society’ for which Fujitsu Laboratories conducts R&D of advanced technologies to generate value by linking individuals, things, and information, and will leverage such created value to conduct R&D of advanced technologies to offer inspiration, discovery, reliability, and growth. Big data will be the foundation for enabling such a society, and we at Fujitsu view as essential the data processing of big data - in other words, the gathering, semantic analysis, and categorisation of big data.  This joint research collaboration with DERI featuring large-scale research resources in the field of Semantic Web offers new R&D opportunities and represents a step forward toward the realization of a Human Centric Intelligent Society envisioned by Fujitsu.” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Key to the Government’s plan to get growth and jobs back into the economy again is a determination to ensure that we get a better commercial return from State-funded research. That is why the recent Research Prioritisation exercise focused on turning good ideas into good jobs by selecting a small number of areas where investment will be targeted. “Future networks is one of the areas selected, and today’s announcement that world-leading company Fujitsu is investing in industry-led research activity in this area shows what is possible. I commend IDA and Science Foundation Ireland on their work which has enabled today’s announcement. I am determined that, through continued implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, industry-led research in the priority areas will see more commercialisation and ultimately more jobs for Ireland.” Commenting on how this announcement will impact positively on Ireland, Regina Moran, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland said, “The aim of the research programme is to ensure that the results it delivers are the seeds for the innovation of commercial services and products right here in Ireland. If Ireland is to succeed in being a leader in technology innovation, investment in world-class research programmes such as this, here in Ireland, are critical. We cannot stand in the wings waiting for innovations elsewhere in the world to reach us, we need to demonstrate leadership.” The research will be led by Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway and one of the leading scientists in the Semantic Web field.  He and the research team will be investigating models and approaches for integrating and validating data available on the Internet with a view to enabling innovative applications and businesses to be designed and brought to the market across numerous industries. Professor Stefan Decker said:  "There was an immediate meeting of minds when we met with the team from Fujitsu. Their vision around human centric computing has great synergies with our research on the Semantic Web. This programme will create high-end research jobs in Ireland, adding to our team of scientists here. With a strong focus on innovation and research, we expect that more job opportunities will arise as the research progresses.” Welcoming the investment, Barry O’Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said “I would like to offer Fujitsu Ireland my congratulations on securing this important R&D investment from Fujitsu Laboratories.  The complexity of the project is a key endorsement of the calibre of personnel working in the Irish operation and further solidifies the company in Ireland.” This research programme with DERI will begin in July 2012.   -ends-

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Phytoplankton Blooms May Remove Atmospheric Carbon

Phytoplankton Blooms May Remove Atmospheric Carbon-image

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Researchers Publish Results of an Iron Fertilisation Experiment in the Scientific Journal Nature Carbon can be transported to the bottom of the ocean, and stored there, by sinking microscopic phytoplankton following iron fertilization, according to a report co-authored by Professor Peter Croot, National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway in Nature this week. These findings are by no means a green light for using this approach to generate carbon offsets. The researchers note that further experiments are needed to evaluate the effects on ecology, climate and the processes that determine the composition of the environment. These results do however provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of the global carbon cycle. “These new data clearly shows that at the end of this phytoplankton bloom, a significant amount of the carbon was transported to the deep ocean over a relatively short time, a phenomenon which had not been observed in any great detail previously anywhere in the ocean” explained Dr Croot. Previous ocean iron fertilization experiments have failed to adequately demonstrate the fate of resulting phytoplankton population explosions and hence removal of carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean. Dr Peter Croot and colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, Germany, present multiple lines of evidence from the European Iron Fertilization Experiment in the Southern Ocean that suggest carbon is exported to the deep ocean as a result of iron fertilization. The ocean iron fertilization experiments induce phytoplankton blooms, and sinking particles are tracked from the surface to the ocean floor. Taken together, their data indicate that at least half of the bloom biomass sank to below 1,000 metres, where it could potentially be stored for centuries. The international team on board the research vessel Polarstern fertilized a part of the closed core of a stable eddy of the Southern Ocean with dissolved iron which stimulated the growth of unicellular algae (phytoplankton). The team followed the development of the phytoplankton bloom for five weeks from its start to its decline phase. The maximum biomass attained by the bloom was higher than that of blooms stimulated by the previous 12 iron fertilization experiments. According to Professor Dr Victor Smetacek and Dr Christine Klaas from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, this was all the more remarkable because the EIFEX bloom developed in a 100 metre deep mixed layer which is much deeper than hitherto believed to be the lower limit for bloom development.  The bloom was dominated by diatoms, a group of algae that require dissolved silicon to make their shells and are known to form large, slimy aggregates with high sinking rates at the end of their blooms. “We were able to prove that over 50 per cent of the plankton bloom sank below 1000 metre depth indicating that their carbon content can be stored in the deep ocean and in the underlying sediments for time scales of well over a century”, says Smetacek.  “These new findings highlight how differences between the species of phytoplankton that make up the community that formed the bloom can impact the sinking flux and transport of carbon as the bloom decays” adds Dr Croot. “This has implications for the biogeochemical cycling of other important elements in the ocean such as nitrogen, phosphorus and iron which are also part of the sinking material. In the context of Ireland’s marine areas, this work suggests a new area of focus for research targeting the end of phytoplankton blooms, rather than the traditional emphasis on the start of the spring bloom, in order to improve our overall understanding of how this economically important ecosystem functions.” Iron plays an important role in the climate system. It is involved in many biochemical processes such as photosynthesis and is hence an essential element for biological production in the oceans and, therefore, for CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. During past ice ages the air was cooler and drier than it is today and more iron-containing dust was transported from the continents to the ocean by the wind. The iron supply to marine phytoplankton was hence higher during the ice ages. This natural process is simulated in iron fertilisation experiments under controlled conditions. The EIFeX (European Iron Fertilisation Experiment) was a collaborative effort that involved representatives of 14 institutes and 3 companies from 7 European countries and the Republic of South Africa. -ends-

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