Taoiseach launches new Research Centre in NUI Galway

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

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NUI Galway joins Burren College of Art to deliver first Irish Master of Fine Art

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 …

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Minister Treacy announces major conference in Photonics for Galway in September

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/

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New Report Highlights Needs of the Dependent Elderly

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

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Galway Research Team leads the way in Car Recycling Drive

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

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