Secondary Schools Debate Topical Science Issues

Secondary Schools Debate Topical Science Issues-image

Monday, 6 April 2009

Secondary school students representing all the Provinces of Ireland participated in the final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition on Thursday, 2 April, at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. Students from St Mary's Secondary School in Macroom, Co. Cork emerged as the All-Ireland winners. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the debating competition is coordinated by NUI Galway's Regenerative Medicine Institute REMEDI, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), in conjunction with science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland. The All-Ireland final involved students debating the motion that 'Opposing evidence-based theories such as evolution damages all science'. Other national finalists included St Dominic's High School, Santa Sabina, Sutton, Co. Dublin, Belfast High School, Belfast City, and St Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo. DSI is a dynamic 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 a great opportunity for students to expand their communication and scientific skills. Debates in the national finals involved students defending their arguments on the scientific and ethical implications of both embryonic stem cell research and evolution theory. This All-Ireland competition is unique in involving a number of research centres and secondary schools from both the Republic and Northern Ireland; REMEDI, NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and TYNDALL Institute, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin and W5 in Belfast. Judges on the day included Lorcan O'Raghallaigh of Discover Science and Engineering; Dr John Denari of IRCSET; Bridget Kelly of CLARITY, UCD; Tom Ziessen, Public Engagement advisor of the Wellcome Trust; Dr Annie Curtis of SFI; Greg Smith of NUI Maynooth; Emily de Grae of the Irish Council for Bioethics; Dr Jennifer Ralph from SFI and Dr Charlotte Holland of DCU. Dr Annie Curtis, Scientific Programme Manager, SFI, commented: "This debate competition is an excellent example of the education and outreach programmes being carried out by the SFI CSETs. This collaborative approach to education and outreach is key to encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in science and engineering. It is important that we attract young people into careers in science and engineering as Ireland's future economic success is dependent on having this highly skilled workforce". Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway: "We hope that this collaborative outreach competition will be a useful tool in facilitating increased awareness of the important research taking place in Ireland among young people and the Irish public in general. It is imperative, however, that this is not one-way traffic. While it is important for research centres to communicate to the public, it is equally important for us, as scientists, to listen to what the public, including young people, think of our work. At a time when scientific research itself is taking so many different directions, it is critical that we open the doors for discussion so that we can ensure that everyone has their say on the societal and ethical implications of biomedical research". -Ends-

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NUI Galway's College of Science Invites Public to Research Day

NUI Galway's College of Science Invites Public to Research Day-image

Monday, 6 April 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway invites members of the public to a Science Research Day on campus on Monday, 20 April. Academics and researchers from the College of Science at NUI Galway will present their latest research in a series of short presentations throughout the day, from 9am to 5.30pm in room IT 125 of the IT Building. The event will showcase some of the cutting edge research being carried out by scientists across several diverse disciplines from chemical, mathematical and physical sciences to the biological sciences. Dr Fawaz Aldabbagh, Vice-Dean of Research, College of Science, NUI Galway, comments: "This is a special day in the University calendar, as scientists across all disciplines in our College will get together to present and debate their research in a forum that is open to the public. Talks will be topical and aimed at a lay-audience. The variety of topics to be discussed will include climate change, marine science, fighting cancer, evolution, genetics and stem cell research. Many of our scientists are leaders in their field and world-renowned. We welcome local industry and the general public to participate in this event". While presentations will take place in the IT Building, a simultaneous Postgraduate Poster Competition will be held in the foyer of the Orbsen Building. For further details and a running order of presentations, check the College of Science website www.nuigalway.ie/science/news or contact Claire Mitchell on 091 493700. Lá Taighde á reáchtáil ag Coláiste na hEolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh don Phobal (View in English) Ba bhreá le OÉ Gaillimh dá mbeadh an pobal in ann freastal ar Lá Taighde Eolaíochta a bheidh ar siúl ar an gcampas Dé Luain, 20 Aibreán. Tabharfaidh idir lucht acadúil agus thaighdeoirí ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh léargas ar an taighde is déanaí atá ar bun acu i bhfoirm láithreoireachtaí gairide a bheidh ar siúl idir 9am agus 5.30pm i seomra IT 125 san Fhoirgneamh IT. Tabharfar léargas don phobal ar an taighde ceannródaíoch atá ar bun ag eolaithe sna disciplíní éagsúla lena n-áirítear eolaíocht cheimiciúil, eolaíocht mhatamaiticiúil, eolaíocht fhisiceach agus eolaíocht bhitheolaíoch. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Dr Fawaz Aldabbagh, Leas-Uachtarán um Thaighde, Coláiste na hEolaíochta, OÉ Gaillimh: "Lá speisialta é seo i bhféilire na hOllscoile mar go dtugann sé deis d'eolaithe as na disciplíní ar fad sa Choláiste teacht le chéile chun an taighde atá ar bun acu a chur i láthair agus a phlé i bhfóram atá oscailte don phobal freisin. Ábhar iontach suimiúil a bheidh dírithe ar an bpobal a bheidh faoi chaibidil i gcaitheamh an lae. I measc na n-ábhar a bheidh faoi chaibidil beidh athrú aeráide, eolaíocht mhuirí, dul i ngleic le hailse, éabhlóid, géineolaíocht agus taighde gascheall. Is ceannródaithe ina réimse saineolais féin iad go leor dár n-eolaithe a bhfuil cáil dhomhanda bainte amach acu dóibh féin. Tá fáilte roimh lucht tionscail agus roimh an bpobal páirt a ghlacadh san imeacht seo". Cé go mbeidh na láithreoireachtaí ar siúl san Fhoirgneamh IT, beidh Comórtas Póstaer Iarchéime ar siúl san fhorhalla in Áras Oirbsean. Má theastaíonn tuilleadh eolais agus clár na n-imeachtaí uait, breathnaigh ar láithreán gréasáin Choláiste na hEolaíochta ag www.nuigalway.ie/science/news nó glaoigh ar Claire Mitchell ag 091 493700. -Críoch-

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First Irish Conference on Forensic Science and Human Rights

First Irish Conference on Forensic Science and Human Rights-image

Monday, 6 April 2009

State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, will open Ireland's first conference to examine the link between forensic science and human rights on Friday, April 24 at NUI Galway. During the two-day conference, experts on war crimes, sexual violence, human identification and forensic investigations will draw on examples from countries including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Burma. Entitled 'Human Rights and Forensic Science', the conference aims to explore the current and future applications of various disciplines of forensic science to the field of human rights. Taking an interdisciplinary approach speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds including law, medicine, science and human rights. The event is being co-hosted by NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee. Delegates will be addressed by a range of notable speakers and scholars in addition to State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy. There will be presentations by forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black, head of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, and Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Commenting on the upcoming event, Dr Ray Murphy, of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: "The investigation of war crimes and large scale violations of human rights poses significant challenges when compared to ordinary criminal investigations. Analysis of crime base evidence and human remains is a key component in such investigations. Linking remote perpetrators to specific crimes and crime scenes requires a multidisciplinary approach involving forensic science, anthropology, and law. International experts attending this conference will provide a unique insight into the role that each discipline plays in the investigation of atrocities". The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway supports the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. The Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification is part of the internationally acclaimed School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. The unit is the most experienced in the UK regarding human identification, forensic anthropology, facial identification and the study of the human body. 'Human Rights and Forensic Science' will be of interest to law enforcement, medical and legal professionals, as well as those with an interest in human rights. For further information or to book a place contact the organisers Ms Éadaoin O'Brien e.obrien9@nuigalway.ie or Ms Niamh Hayes niamh1@gmail.com at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Alternatively online registration is available at www.conference.ie. -ends-

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Mary Robinson Launches New Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway

Mary Robinson Launches New Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 3 April 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Former President of Ireland, Dr Mary Robinson will today (Friday, 3 April) launch a new Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway. The Centre is one of the first of its type in Europe and it is timely given the recent adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed. The primary purpose of the new Centre is to conduct research on best international practice to assist in the ongoing process of reform taking place here in Ireland and throughout the world. The launch will be followed by a Round Table discussion composed of a panel of distinguished international experts from China, the USA, Hungary, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Commission. The experts will discuss the current global challenges in the field of disability followed by commentary from Irish specialists. The advancement of the rights of persons with disabilities was one of the hallmarks of Dr Robinson's presidency and she also played a major role, in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in initiating the new UN Convention. According to Dr Robinson: "The Centre for Disability Law and Policy represents the best a university can offer in a democratic society by placing its research assets at the disposal of the process of change. This is nowhere more important than in the field of disability both here in Ireland and abroad". Dr Robinson praised the intention of the new Centre to benchmark Ireland against international best practice as well as for its wide international links, especially with the University of Syracuse and the Harvard Project on Disability. She also noted that the estimated 650 million persons with disabilities are now officially acknowledged as the world's largest minority and that the vast majority of them live in dire circumstances in developing countries. She commended the work done already by the Centre on development aid and disability and urged more efforts by Ireland and other countries in that regard. Dr Robinson gave specific mention to the role played by the Director of the Centre – Professor Gerard Quinn – in helping to negotiate the new Convention and for his longstanding work in this field. The President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the broad commitment of the University to 'civic engagement' which includes ensuring that its research prowess assists in the process of change by identifying innovative solutions. He noted that the new Centre will form part of a multi-disciplinary 'lifecycle research alliance' in NUI Galway, dealing with ageing at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and with families at the Child and Family Research Centre. It is envisaged that the three Centres will work collaboratively to bring their combined strengths to bear on lifecycle policy issues. Dr Browne acknowledged with special thanks the support of Atlantic Philanthropies in establishing the new Centre and indeed the two other Centres involved in the emerging 'lifecycle research alliance'. The current research programme of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy focuses on the individualisation of services as well as the development of a Baseline Study on the state of Irish disability law and policy. It holds important research contracts with the European Commission on eAccessibility for blind people on the internet as well as the mapping of the UN disability Convention in EU law and policy. The Centre already has a vibrant PhD programme and plans a dedicated LLM programme in 2010 as well as an annual Summer School. With its special emphasis on public policy analysis and law, the new Centre will also complement the excellent work of the National Institute on Intellectual Disability at TCD and the UCD Disability Studies Centre. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, says: "This Centre joins a handful around the world. Our aim is to generate research that marks a constructive contribution to the process of change. Ireland was a pioneer in the field of disability discrimination law and its National Disability Strategy shows great promise. Our hope is to make a constructive contribution to the implementation of that strategy to identify policy solutions to current challenges by drawing on a rich vein of comparative experience throughout the world. In this way we hope to enrich policy debates at home and expand the repertoire of policy options available to Government. We will work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders in Ireland and build our international links to ensure access to legislative and policy solutions that offer promise in Ireland". -ends- (View in English) Seolfaidh iar-Uachtarán na hÉireann, an Dr Mary Robinson, an tIonad Nua um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais in OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé hAoine, 3 Aibreán). Tá an tIonad seo ar an gcéad ionad dá leithéid san Eoraip agus tráthúil go leor tá an tIonad á sheoladh go gairid i ndiaidh d Éirinn Coinbhinsiún na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine faoi Mhíchumas a shíniú. Is é príomhchuspóir an Ionaid nua taighde a dhéanamh ar an gcleachtas idirnáisiúnta is fearr d fhonn cur leis an bpróiseas athchóirithe atá ar siúl anseo in Éirinn agus ar fud na cruinne. Reáchtálfar plé Comhchomhairle le painéal saineolaithe aitheanta idirnáisiúnta ón tSín, ó SAM, ón Ungáir, ó Oifig Ard-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine agus ón gCoimisiún Eorpach i ndiaidh sheoladh an Ionaid. Pléifidh na saineolaithe na dúshláin dhomhanda atá ann i láthair na huaire sa réimse míchumais agus ansin labhróidh saineolaithe ón tír seo faoin gceist. Ceann de bhuaicphointí uachtaránacht an Dr Robinson ba ea cearta daoine faoi mhíchumas a chur chun cinn agus bhí ról lárnach aici freisin, mar Ard-Choimisinéir na Náisiún Aontaithe um Chearta an Duine, i gCoinbhinsiún nua de chuid na Náisiún Aontaithe a bhunú. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Robinson: "Is ionann an tIonad um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais agus an iarracht is fearr is féidir le hollscoil ar bith a dhéanamh i sochaí dhaonlathach trí acmhainní taighde a dhíriú ar phróiseas seo an athraithe. Baineann an oiread tábhachta leis seo i réimse an mhíchumais anseo in Éirinn agus thar lear agus a bhaineann le réimse ar bith eile". Mhol an Dr Robinson an obair atá beartaithe ag an Ionad nua a dhéanamh, is é sin a chinntiú go bhfuil Éire ag cloí go docht le dea-chleachtas idirnáisiúnta mar aon le naisc idirnáisiúnta a chruthú, go háirithe le hOllscoil Syracuse agus Tionscadal Míchumais Harvard. Chomh maith leis sin, thagair an Dr Robinson don 650 milliún duine faoi mhíchumas ar fud na cruinne – an grúpa mionlaigh is mó ar domhan – agus don chúis náire go bhfuil formhór dóibh ag maireachtáil i gcúinsí mífheiliúnacha i dtíortha i mbéal forbartha. Mhol sí an obair atá déanta ag an Ionad go dtí seo ar chúnamh forbartha agus ar mhíchumas agus dúirt sí gur cheart d Éirinn agus do thíortha eile níos mó a dhéanamh sa réimse seo. Thagair an Dr Robinson don ról tábhachtach atá ag Stiúrthóir an Ionaid – an tOllamh Gerard Quinn – in idirbheartaíocht an Choinbhinsiúin nua agus don obair iontach atá déanta aige sa réimse seo. Labhair Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, ar thiomantas na hOllscoile do 'chomhpháirteachas poiblí' a chinntíonn go gcabhraíonn taighde ceannródaíoch atá ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh leis an bpróiseas athraithe trí réitigh nuálacha a aithint. Dúirt sé go n-áireofar an tIonad nua mar chuid de 'chomhfhiontar taighde' a bheidh dírithe ar aosú atá ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh – taighde atá ar bun ag Ionad Sheaneolaíocht Shóisialta na hÉireann i gcomhar le teaghlaigh san Ionad Taighde um Leanaí agus Teaghlaigh. Meastar go n-oibreoidh na trí Ionad i dteannta a chéile chun úsáid éifeachtach a bhaint as an saineolas atá acu maidir le ceisteanna beartais. Ghlac an Dr Browne buíochas as tacaíocht The Atlantic Philanthropies an tIonad nua a bhunú, agus ghlac sé buíochas leis an dá Ionad eile a bhfuil baint acu leis an gcomhfhiontar taighde nua. Tá clár taighde reatha an Ionaid dírithe ar indibhidiúlú seirbhísí mar aon le Staidéar Bonnlíne ar staid dhlí agus bheartas míchumais na hÉireann a fhorbairt. Tá conarthaí tábhachtacha taighde eAccessibility bunaithe ag an Ionad leis an gCoimisiún Eorpach do dhaoine dalla agus tá iniúchadh déanta ar Choinbhinsiún Míchumais na Náisiún Aontaithe mar atá i ndlí agus i mbeartas an Aontais Eorpaigh. Tá clár PhD forbartha ag an Ionad cheana féin agus tá sé beartaithe tús a chur le clár ainmnithe LLM in 2010 mar aon le Scoil Samhraidh bhliantúil. Díreoidh an tIonad nua go speisialta ar anailís a dhéanamh agus ar an dlí a bhaineann le beartas poiblí, ach chomh maith leis sin cuirfidh an tIonad nua leis an obair iontach atá ar bun ag an National Institute on Intellectual Disability i gColáiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath agus ag Ionad an Staidéir ar Mhíchumais sa Choláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Gerard Quinn, Stiúrthóir an Ionaid um Dhlí agus Beartas Míchumais: "Is beag Ionad den chineál seo atá bunaithe ar fud na cruinne go dtí seo. Is é atá mar aidhm againne taighde fiúntach a dhéanamh a chuirfidh le próiseas an athraithe. Ceannródaí ba ea Éire i réimse an dlí idirdhealaithe míchumais agus tuar dóchais a bhfuil scríofa sa Straitéis Náisiúnta Míchumais. Is é atá mar aidhm againn cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise sin a éascú agus réitigh bheartais a aithint le déileáil le dúshláin reatha trí leas a bhaint as taithí grúpaí eile ar fud an domhain. Ar an tslí seo, tá súil againn a bheith in ann cur le díospóireachtaí beartais in Éirinn agus na deiseanna beartais atá ar fáil don Rialtas a fhorbairt. Oibreoimid i gcomhar le páirtithe leasmhara in Éirinn agus cuirfimid lenár naisc idirnáisiúnta lena chinntiú gur féidir linn rochtain a fháil ar réitigh reachtacha agus bheartais a rachaidh chun tairbhe na hÉireann". -críoch-

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Acting US Ambassador visits NUI Galway to meet Fulbright Award Winner

Acting US Ambassador visits NUI Galway to meet Fulbright Award Winner -image

Friday, 3 April 2009

Pictured (centre) is the Acting Ambassador of the United States of America, Chargé d'affairs Mr Robert Faucher on a visit to NUI Galway with (left) President of NUI Galway, Dr James J Browne and Ms Jacqueline Hynes. Originally from Drum, Athlone, Co. Roscommon, Ms Hynes is a recent Science graduate from NUI Galway, specialising in anatomy, and recipient of the 2009-10 Fulbright International Science and Technology Award. The Award is one of the most valuable and prestigious in the State Department's scholarship portfolio. Ms Hynes will be on a fully-funded PhD program in neuroscience at one of the top institutions in the US. Since graduating in 2007, Jacqueline has acted a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Anatomy at NUI Galway. Jacqueline carries out her research with Dr Siobhan McMahon in collaborative projects with NUI Galway's Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and the Mayo Clinic of the US. She has presented her work in the area of spinal cord regeneration at a number of scientific meetings and has co-authored a number of recently submitted papers. Jacqueline also dedicates a large portion of her time to the teaching element of her job, where she assists in the education of medical and science students in a range of subjects, from cellular histology and neuroanatomy to microscopy techniques. She is also a registered learning disability worker for students of Anatomy at NUI Galway. The area of research that Jacqueline hopes to pursue for her doctoral studies is one that looks at the interface between the nature of the physical world and mind – human perception, awareness and attention. In the long-term, Jacqueline hopes that her work may also shed light on functional disorders such as Autism, ADD and Aspergers Syndrome. -Ends-

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