Engineering Degree Offers Community Engagement at NUI Galway

Engineering Degree Offers Community Engagement at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 29 February 2008

Engineering students at NUI Galway have proposed solutions to over 30 practical problems encountered by older people and the physically impaired. These community-based projects were undertaken by third-year undergraduate students at NUI Galway as part of their studies in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering. The projects are part of a service-learning programme, designed to allow students apply academic knowledge for the benefit of others. Running since 2003, this is the only pioneering programme of its kind in Engineering across the country. Among the ideas developed by the students this year are: an orthopaedic schoolbag; a self-locking medicine cabinet; a collapsible walking aid; a device to help wheelchair users manoeuvre a wheelie bin; a ring-mounted panic alarm; and a machine for making peanut butter designed for an AIDS centre in Zimbabwe. Professor Abhay Pandit, Department of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering and co-ordinator of the module: "We call this a 'service-learning' module, whereby students identify a need in their locality and provide a service related to their discipline, with the input from the local community, towards assisting with that need. As a university we have a duty to engage students with the community and to create an ethos that involves understanding and supporting the wider world." In one of the projects, an outdoor exercise machine for the elderly has been created by modifying a bicycle and attaching it to a standard park bench. The device allows a person to sit comfortably on the bench, while exercising their lower limbs by pedalling. This idea was developed by Mary O'Shea from Moore, Roscommon, after consultation with older people in her neighbourhood. According to Mary, "Exercise facilities designed specifically for older people are quite common in countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan, but not so much here. Feedback so far from members of the community and physiotherapists I have spoken to indicate the benefits of exercising in an outdoor and social setting would be significant. In Ireland, with a design like this, customisation of park benches would be relatively easy to achieve". Prototypes for the some of the devices and ideas have been created and all have a descriptive poster which will be displayed in an exhibition entitled "Engineering in Society and Community Outreach". Each project and poster is assessed against rigorous criteria, based on the theoretical studies the students have already undertaken. The exhibition is being held in the Arts Millennium Building on campus. The module is supported by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative which supports civic engagement across campus and is now leading a national civic engagement network. Around a dozen other service-learning modules are on offer in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the disciplines including Law, Italian, Philosophy and Occupational Therapy. -ends-

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Aonach Gairmeacha Eolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh

Aonach Gairmeacha Eolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh-image

Friday, 29 February 2008

Beidh Aonach Gairmeacha Eolaíochta agus Teicneolaíochta á reáchtáil ag an Aonad Fobartha Gairmeacha in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Céadaoin, 5 Márta 2008 ó 4–6.30in, in Áras na Mac Léinn. Deis a bheidh san imeacht seo do mhic léinn agus do chéimithe teagmháil phearsanta a dhéanamh le heagraíochtaí atá i mbun feachtas earcaíochta sna réimsí eolaíochta, innealtóireachta, teicneolaíochta agus cúram sláinte. I measc na n-eagraíochtaí náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta eolaíochta agus teicneolaíochta a bheidh i láthair ag an aonach tá: Abbott Ireland Diagnostics; Intel Ireland; Science Recruitment Ireland; Stiefel Laboratories; Fidelity Investments; Servisource Recruitment; SAP; PharmaChemical Ireland; Realex Payments; Bord Iascaigh Réigiúnach an Iarthair; An Ghníomhaireacht um Chaomhnú Comhshaoil; Institute of Geologists; Suirbhéireacht Gheolaíochta na hÉireann; Engineer's Ireland; Schwartz Pharma Ltd/UCB; Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland; An tOspidéal Náisiúnta Athshlánúcháin; InterTradeIreland; Saint Michael's House; O&B Recruitment; Warwick Medical School; agus Gairmeacha Taighde, OÉ Gaillimh. Deir Angela Teahan, ón Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha in OÉ Gaillimh gur iontach an deis é do mhic léinn agus do chéimithe go bhfuil formhór na gcuideachtaí a bheidh ag freastal ar an aonach i mbun earcaíochta ar bhonn leanúnach. Lena chois sin, deir sí gur cheart do mhic léinn beagán taighde a dhéanamh ar na cuideachtaí a bheidh ag an aonach agus gur cheart dóibh CV atá cothrom le dáta a thabhairt leo. Dúirt sí gur cheart do mhic léinn labhairt le fostóirí agus le hionadaithe, agus iarracht a dhéanamh dul i bhfeidhm ar bhealach dearfach ar ionadaithe na gcuideachtaí éagsúla. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin imeacht seo le fáil ar láithreán gréasáin an Ionaid Forbartha Gairmeacha http://www.nuigalway.ie/careers/students/sciencefair.html nó is féidir glaoch ar Angela Teahan ag 091 492133. - críoch -

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A New Generation of Storytellers Entertain at NUI Galway

A New Generation of Storytellers Entertain at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

A group of sixth class pupils took up the ancient art of story telling in front of a packed audience at NUI Galway recently. The 11 and 12 year-olds had been developing their story telling abilities in special workshops for six weeks as part of an NUI Galway Access Office programme. The children represented three local schools: Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla; Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue; and St Michael's Boys School, Mervue. Parents, siblings, teachers and NUI Galway staff gathered for the performance and were treated to selection of stories ranging from the comical to the scary. Clare Murphy, who facilitated the workshops with fellow storyteller Rab Fulton, said, "By retelling old tales, and inventing their own, children engage their imagination and find confidence in their own innate storytelling abilities." The storytelling initiative is part of the NUI Galway Access Office's schools programme Uni 4 U. The three-year structured programme of activities aims to positively promote third level education to children and their communities. The programme is a combined sport and homework initiative that promotes third level education and the value of education itself, as well as improving sporting techniques and skills. Speaking at the event, Vice President for Strategic and External Affairs at NUI Galway, Professor Gerard Hurley, said "Storytelling is part of the Irish tradition that we want to encourage it in the next generation. We also want to encourage younger children to consider third level education and to feel comfortable in its environment." -ends-

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New Research Team at NUI Galway to Focus on Bioelectronics

New Research Team at NUI Galway to Focus on Bioelectronics-image

Monday, 25 February 2008

The National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway has launched a new Bioelectronics Research Cluster. With over 20 researchers, the Bioelectronics Research Cluster will focus on Electronic Engineering solutions to medical problems, several of which are associated with ageing. The research cluster draws on the full range of technical epertise at NUI Galway's Department of Electronic Engineering. The research group was officially launched by Harvard Medical School academic and Biomedical Engineer Professor Paolo Bonato. One of the key technologies to be developed by the Bioelectronics Research Cluster is known as 'Wearable Electronics for Health Management'. The team will develop a range of body-worn electronic devices to monitor a person's health status and transmit this information on an on-going basis to their health care providers. Patient trials are about to commence on a wearable muscle stimulation device, developed by the Bioelectronics Research Cluster, for the treatment of venous leg ulcers. Older people are particularly susceptible to venous leg ulcers if they have been immobilised for a sustained period. The Bioelectronics Research Cluster is also currently investigating wearable electronics systems for fall detection in the elderly, the management of diabetic foot, gait correction following stroke and mobility monitoring in the elderly. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Bioelectronics Research Cluster leader at the NCBES, NUI Galway, said "It is generally expected that a significantly increased use of electronic and other technologies will be required to provide an efficient healthcare delivery system in the face of ongoing demographic change. In 2001, 17% of the European Union (EU) was aged over 65, however it is estimated that by the year 2035 this figure will have reached 33%. Therefore healthcare delivery methods will need to be adapted to meet the challenges posed by these changing demographics, while constrained by limited resources." It is anticipated that this approach to healthcare management will facilitate elderly persons continuing to live in their own home, while having the sense of wellbeing associated with knowing that their health status is being automatically monitored on an on-going basis and that in the event of a medical emergency, assistance will be automatically sought by the system. The Bioelectronics Research Cluster at the NCBES also has a significant research activity in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Engineering for Cancer. -ends-

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GMIT and NUI Galway Collaborate On Driving Knowledge Region

GMIT and NUI Galway Collaborate On Driving Knowledge Region-image

Monday, 25 February 2008

NUI Galway and GMIT have formed a strategic alliance to develop Galway and surrounding areas into a recognised "Knowledge Region". Together they have secured funding of €824,000 under the Strategic Innovation Fund, which supports Higher Education reform. The funding will be used to stimulate economic development, provide a greater range of services to communities, business and industry, and enable people to avail of higher education in the region. This concerted collaborative approach to regional development will deliver greater benefits than could be achieved by implementing parallel programmes. Professor Jim Browne, Registrar and Deputy-President of NUI Galway, welcomed the announcement saying; "The concept of a 'Knowledge Region' is an emerging phenomenon involving the interaction of governmental agencies, knowledge based enterprises and third-level institutions to combine efforts and define common agendas to the benefit of the region. NUI Galway and GMIT, with their history of cooperation and interaction with industry, development agencies and social and cultural organisations in the Galway area, are well placed to act together as a catalyst for further development". Marion Coy, President of GMIT, said: "This strategic alliance is timely in view of the recent push to pour more investment into the eastern region, particularly as there is concern at the lack of focus, and a sense of urgency, around the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy." "Together we will seek to identify services we can offer, look at the expansion of our academic programmes and engage in the joint promotion of higher education in international markets which has potential in relation to the development of tourism. We will also seek to identify how we can promote the region as a centre for new business development and growth." "Developing a knowledge region is the only way to ensure that community life will continue to thrive. This approach harks back to the 'Meitheal' and the belief that we will all be stronger and more successful when we work together, share a vision and drive forward the good of the region," added the GMIT President. The NUI Galway and GMIT collaborative project is one of a range of proposals approved for SIF funding. GMIT was also approved SIF funding worth over €4m for two further projects, both of which will be led by the Institute - "Student-Led Learning" and "Curriculum Reform", which is also a joint collaborative project with NUI Galway. The Strategic Innovation Fund allocated a further €3 million to NUI Galway for the continuation of its academic reorganisation and the development of graduate schools. NUI Galway expects to be a major beneficiary of funds reserved under the SIF initiative for major IT systems development towards transforming the student experience in a cohesive and integrated manner. Professor Browne added that the funding provided to NUI Galway in support of its new academic structures and graduate education was evidence of the progress being made by the University in both areas. -ends-

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