Minister launches Technology Transfer Initiative

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

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NUI Galway's Múscailt 02 Spring Festival

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

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Irish Universities Unite to Encourage Students to Study Science

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

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Minister announces Inaugural Science Awards at NUI Galway

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

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Understandings of Rural Development challenged in new book by NUI Galway expert

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

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