Brain Freeze Find Might Help Solve Migraine Mysteries

Brain Freeze Find Might Help Solve Migraine Mysteries-image

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scientists have explained why eating ice cream too quickly can cause a painful headache, commonly known as brain freeze. It is hoped the discovery can be used to develop new treatments for migraine. In experiments carried by researchers at Harvard Medical School and NUI Galway, a team of 13 healthy volunteers deliberately induced the brain freeze so the headache effects associated with it could be studied. It was found that the headache pain was brought on by a rapid increase in blood flow through a major blood vessel in the brain, the anterior cerebral artery. The ache subsided again once blood flow was restricted. The experimental work, led by Professor Jorge Serrador and carried out at the Cardiovascular Electronics Laboratory in the School of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway, enabled brain blood flow to be measured during the controlled onset and offset of a headache. The controlled ‘production’ of a headache was achieved by the volunteers drinking iced water. Using this technique, the researchers were able to study a headache from beginning to end, without the need for drugs that would mask the causes and symptoms of the pain. The volunteers drank iced water through a straw that was pressed against their palate and then followed by drinking water at room temperature. Blood flow in the brain was monitored using a hand held device. It was found that the anterior cerebral artery dilated rapidly and flooded the brain with blood when the volunteers felt the painful headache, soon after this dilation occurred, the same vessel constricted reducing blood flow, corresponding to the volunteers’ pain receding. The findings were presented at the meeting Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego yesterday (Sunday, 22 April, 2012). Presenting the findings, lead-author Professor Jorge Serrador, Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Electronics at NUI Galway, and also of the Harvard Medical School and the War Related Illness and Injury Study Centre of the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, said: “The brain is fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilatation might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm.”Dr Serrador explained that because the skull is a closed structure, the sudden influx of blood could raise pressure and induce pain. By constricting the blood vessel again the body could be acting to reduce the pressure before it reaches dangerous levels. Similar alterations in blood flow could be at work in migraines, post traumatic headaches, and other headache types.If further research confirms these suspicions, then finding ways to control blood flow could offer new treatments for these conditions. Drugs that block sudden vasodilatation or target channels involved specifically in the vasodilatation of headaches could be one way of changing headaches’ course. -ENDS-

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Reach New Heights with a Part-time Programme at NUI Galway

Reach New Heights with a Part-time Programme at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 23 April 2012

NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education Office will hold an information evening for students interested in broadening their horizons or defining a new career path. With a wide range of part-time study opportunities available, all of the programmes offer flexible study routes and accreditation at certificate and diploma level, while a large number of programmes are now available to degree and masters level. The information evening will take place on Thursday, 3May from 6pm in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. Degree courses on offer, beginning in September 2012, include: Bachelor of Commerce; Bachelor of Arts in Community and Family Studies; Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Arts in Training and Education; and a Bachelor of Arts with specialist combinations in History, English, French and Sociological and Political Studies.  One of the newer part-time courses on offer at the University is the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and Practice, which focuses on the training needs of childcare practitioners and provides a formal professional education programme for workers in this sector. Nuala McGuinn, Acting Director of NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education, said: “Courses on offer are delivered either by classroom-based teaching mode or through blended and online learning, offering flexibility and choice to students. For those not necessarily interested in pursuing a course to degree level, there is also a range of two-year diploma programmes available.” Diploma programmes include Business, Science and Technology Studies, Social Gerontology (the study of ageing), Psychology of Counselling and programmes in the area of Scientific Studies such as Geology.  Diploma options are also available in traditional subjects such as French, German, Italian, English Literature, Gaeilge, Spanish, History and Archaeology.  These two-year programmes offer students an opportunity to up-skill in an area of personal and professional interest over a manageable timeframe and require attendance at class on one evening per week. With a focus on employability and the emerging skills needs of the workplace, a range of one-year diplomas are also available, such as Medical Device Science, Lean and Quality Systems, Innovation Management, Software Engineering, International Business and many others.  These programmes are designed with adaptability in mind, are offered via blended learning and allow students to fit study around their busy working lives. They are equally suitable for students who are actively seeking employment, but require a part-time programme which allows them to combine study and job seeking in a flexible manner. For further details and closing dates for application contact the Adult & Continuing Education Office on 091 492062 or visit -ENDS-  

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Changing Generations Seminar in NUI Galway

Changing Generations Seminar in NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

‘What can my generation contribute to the future of Ireland?’ The key question arising from the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 Family is a central, and in some cases, the most important shock absorber for those affected by the recession according to findings from a new research study entitled Changing Generations. Interest group members from throughout Ireland gathered in Galway today to attend the Changing Generations seminar to discuss how solidarity between generations helps in coping with and overcoming the recession. Facilitated by Dr Gemma Carney, NUI Galway and Dr Catherine Conlon, Trinity College Dublin, the event brings to the public domain insights from interviews with 100 ordinary people, from all walks of life and every age group. This two-year study highlights that: - There is strong solidarity between the younger and the older generations in Irish society. Older research participants advocate enhanced supports for younger people, especially educational investment into children from disadvantaged backgrounds and better access to health care for families. Younger participants are strongly supportive of maintaining or even enhancing supports for older people. - Family is a central, and in some cases the most important, shock absorber for those affected by the recession. For instance, the project data gives insights into practices of 'quick loans' between family members. Three-generational households and adult children moving back into parental homes also feature in project data.  Those without a family network find imagining a positive future for themselves more difficult. - There is widespread distrust in the ability of Irish policy-makers to rectify unfairness in how resources are currently allocated. There is a widely shared perception that 'insiders' and politicians are out-of-touch with the lives of ordinary people in Ireland. An informed public discussion on the importance of solidarity between the generations to the future of Ireland is long overdue. This event offers citizens from all walks of life and of all ages an opportunity to engage with a positive programme of work for Ireland’s future. Leading expert Professor Virpi Timonen, Director of the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin, commented: “This event is of great importance in initiating a future-oriented discussion on what sustains us in this deep recession, and what will get us out of it. For most people, family is the central resource that helps them to cope. This is a strength of Irish society, but it also places people in very different positions as some families are under huge pressure, while others are better resourced to give support in the form of time, advice and money. This reliance on the family is therefore also a source of inequality in Irish society”. The project data corroborates and gives in-depth illustration of many of the findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), which has provided evidence on extensive exchanges of help and support  between older and younger family members in Ireland. The Changing Generations research project is part of an increasingly important area of scientific research that explores relations between Ireland’s generations. Designed as a longitudinal study, the research aims to build the evidence base necessary to inform public opinion on solidarity between the generations. Professor Tom Scharf of NUI Galway is an expert on ageing and the social policy of later life. His work takes a life-course perspective, which calls on policy-makers to start planning now for the future needs of children born today, and to consider the past experiences of older people when legislating for today’s ageing populations. “The preliminary findings from this research show that we need to start thinking about how policy can be developed with inter-generational transfers in mind, taking account of the role of family and community in providing social protection throughout our lives” said Professor Scharf. As part of our commitment to raise public awareness around solidarity between generations, the Changing Generations research team has invited all members of Irish society with a stake in its future to take part in a citizen deliberation in NUI Galway today (Tuesday, 24 April). Participants include Youthwork Ireland, National Youth Council of Ireland, Active Retirement Ireland, Living Scenes intergenerational project, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and many others who are not representing any organisation but who wish to take part in this important discussion. The guest speaker is Vicki Titterington, from the Beth Johnson Foundation, UK-based organisation that has been leading the way in promoting intergenerational practice for forty years ( Vicki runs the Linking Generations project in Northern Ireland and will speak about the importance of intergenerational work before the deliberations begin. The event will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, between 12pm and 4pm. The event is free. Registration is open from 11.30am when a light lunch will be served. To find out more about the Changing Generations event log onto   ENDS

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Clonakilty Community College Scoops the Debating Science Issues Title

Clonakilty Community College Scoops the Debating Science Issues Title-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Secondary school students from all ofIreland participated in the fifth All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition. The final took place on Thursday, 19 April, in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin. After several closely contested debates, Clonakilty Community College, Co.Cork emerged victorious to become the 2012 Debating Science Issues winners, with St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal awarded second place. Other 2012 finalists included AbbeyVocational School,Donegal Town and St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co.Dublin. DSI is a dynamic, cross border debating competition which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides an opportunity for students to expand their research, communication and scientific skills with forty schools initially entered in the competition. Through preliminary debates about stem cell research, nanotechnology, immunology practices, self-diagnostic tests, rare disease research funding, and genetically modified foods, the field narrowed to the four schools represented at the finals. Danielle Nicholson, DSI Coordinator and Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: “We hope that this collaborative outreach project is a useful tool in facilitating increased awareness of the important research taking place inIrelandamong young people and the Irish public in general. It is imperative that dialogue surrounding advances in science occurs and continues. While it is important for research centres to communicate to the public, it is equally important for researchers and academics to listen to what the public, including young people, think of this work. At a time when scientific research itself is taking so many different directions, it is critical that the doors for discussion remain open so that we can ensure that everyone has their say on the societal and ethical implications of biomedical research.” Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop series and debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with eight science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland including: REMEDI, NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; CRANN in Trinity College Dublin; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; W5 in Belfast; Clarity at UCD; Centre for Cross Border Studies, Armagh; and Cork Institute of Technology. Judges for the final included: Cynthia Coleman, REMEDI, NUI Galway; Heike Felzmann, NUI Galway; Marion Boland, SFI; Sylvia Leatham, Scibernia; Dónal O’Mathúna, DCU; Terry McWade, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Janice Murtagh, SFI; Danielle Barron, Irish Medical News; and Sally Montgomery of W5. Full information on the DSI competition is available at, or contact Danielle Nicholson, Outreach officer, REMEDI at NUI Galway, on 091 49 5259 or -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4

NUI Galway Appointee to Board of TG4-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

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

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Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help

Arthritis Researchers Ask for General Public’s Help-image

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

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

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The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar

The 2012 International John McGahern Seminar-image

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

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

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Award-Winning Technology Could Help Enhance Road Safety for Pedestrians

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

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

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

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

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

Thursday, 26 April 2012

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

>> Read full story about US Government Joins the Dots with Irish ‘Linked Data’ Technologies

NUI Galway Summer Schools for Second Level Students

NUI Galway Summer Schools for Second Level Students-image

Monday, 30 April 2012

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

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