HP Ireland announces the winners of the 2009 Innovation in Education Grant Initi

HP Ireland announces the winners of the 2009 Innovation in Education Grant Initi-image

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Today HP Ireland announced the 2009 Ireland winners of the Innovation in Education Grant Initiative, which rewards universities and secondary schools across EMEA for their innovative teaching and learning projects. This year's Ireland winners were NUI Galway and Coláiste Iognáid, Galway. Each institution will receive a mobile technology solution, such as tablet PCs, laptops, printers, access points, and a cash donation valued at approximately 100,000 USD HP list price (approximately 75,500 EUR). They will also be invited to join a network of educators around the world who are working to design the future of high-tech education through which they can share ideas and best practices in areas such as online learning, virtual worlds and simulations. "Innovation in education is vital to developing the next generation of high-tech innovators, and is central to the success of the smart economy in Ireland. Whenever possible, we feature HP technology in ways that support pioneering teaching and learning practices, especially to enhance achievements in math and science or other subjects essential to student success in IT careers. I'd like to congratulate both NUI Galway and Coláiste Iognáid on being selected for their enlightening approaches to innovative teaching and learning," said Martin Murphy, Managing Director, HP Ireland. Commenting, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "Here at NUI Galway, we are committed to the highest quality teaching and learning experience for our students and have strongly integrated this priority into the institutional agenda. The success of Dr James Cruickshank and his team in winning a HP innovation in Education Grant highlights this culture of innovation and learning excellence. I commend James and his colleagues for their work in finding new and innovative ways to improve the teaching of mathematics through this initiative, and others such as our new BA programme in Maths and Education which is educating a new generation of maths teachers. Improvement in the teaching of mathematics is key to Ireland's success as a smart economy, and we in NUI Galway are delighted to play our part in developing this vital element of national competitiveness". NUI Galway was selected for its project that plans to implement a SecondLife Maths Support space to deliver one of its courses in its Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Education degree programme. As part of the project, all participating students will use eLearning Platforms such as Tablet PCs in conjunction with virtual environments such as Blackboard and SecondLife to monitor their development and teach while off campus during their teaching practice in secondary schools in West of Ireland. Coláiste Iognáid located in Galway city with over 600 students was selected for its commitment to making practical usage of technology in delivering the school curriculum. The aim is to create a roaming computer suite which would afford the maximum number of students and teachers a unique opportunity to achieve computer literacy and equip them for participation in the knowledge economy. This platform will allow students to access digitally provided content in an efficient and cost effective manner. The HP Innovation in Education Grant Initiative supports institutions in the EMEA region in launching innovative pilot projects in math, technology and science fields. HP's ultimate objective is to foster future leaders in the disciplines vital to HP's business. This year's winners include 50 academic institutions from 15 countries across EMEA. The grants given to universities aims to specifically enhance the engineering, computer science and IT degree programmes, while for secondary schools the aim is to improve student achievement, by using technology to redesign the learning experience. The grant winners were selected from proposals submitted by secondary schools and universities as part of the request for proposal process initiated by HP earlier this year. A jury of HP and education experts from HP's partner ISTE evaluated the submissions and selected those that best integrated technology at the intersection of teaching and learning and fostered innovation in education. -ends-

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National Success for NUI Galway Engineering Student

National Success for NUI Galway Engineering Student-image

Monday, 22 June 2009

Kevin Burke from Athenry, Co. Galway, an Electronic and Computer Engineering student at NUI Galway, has won the Accenture Academic Innovation in Computing Award. Kevin's submission for the award was based on the use of mobile phone technology to monitor driver behaviour. He received €2000 and a commemorative trophy from Accenture. The award winning submission was based on the development of a system to remotely monitor driver behaviour using GPS and accelerometer functionality on off-the-shelf 3G mobile phone handsets. The prototype system is capable of detecting when and where drivers exceed driving speed limits and potentially to identify when they execute dangerous driving manoeuvres. The developed system, which was tested using handsets and network services sponsored by O2, also allows a user to monitor the occurrence of such events on an intuitive Google Map interface. Kevin's final year project supervisor, NUI Galway lecturer Liam Kilmartin, said: "What Kevin has very cleverly done is to capitalise on existing technology and take this functionality into another realm. The project is highly innovative and has great commercial potential. Kevin worked very closely with an Enterprise Ireland funded research team here at the College of Engineering and Informatics, so we are looking forward to seeing if and how this type of technology application can be developed further towards commercialisation". Kevin was one of eight short-listed national finalists in the competition which is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have developed an innovative software solution as part of their studies. The winning submission was based on Kevin's final year project as part of Electronic and Computer Engineering at NUI Galway. NUI Galway now offers over a dozen undergraduate degrees in Engineering and Informatics, including new programmes in Energy Systems Engineering and Engineering Innovation – Electronic. -ends-

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President of International Criminal Court to Visit NUI Galway

President of International Criminal Court to Visit NUI Galway-image

Friday, 19 June 2009

A five-day International Criminal Court Summer School at NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights opens tomorrow (Saturday, 21 June). The keynote address will be given on Sunday by Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Now in its 10th year, the summer school is established as one of the premier intensive courses offered internationally on the important subject of the ICC. An independent, permanent court, the ICC tries those accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. "After the United Nations, the International Criminal Court is one of the most important international institutions. It is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement of achieving accountability", commented Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Schabas will be among a number of prominent speakers to address the event, including Professor David Scheffer who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. During the summer school at NUI Galway, students are provided with a detailed knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures will also address related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction and immunities. The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway saw its other major summer school, on 'Minority Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Law', come to an end today. Over 50 participants were provided with an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues pertaining to international human rights law and its relationship to minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. Summer schools are one element of the work carried out by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway which, since its establishment in January 2000, has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. -Ends-

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NUI Galway academic Edits Book for Amnesty International

NUI Galway academic Edits Book for Amnesty International-image

Friday, 19 June 2009

Former Dean of Law at NUI Galway, Donncha O'Connell, has edited a book to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for Amnesty International. Donncha, who will be a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics for the next academic year, is the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advises the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna, and was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties from 1999-2002. The book will be launched in Dublin by broadcaster and Sunday Tribune columnist, Claire Byrne, on Tuesday 23 June. 60 Years, 30 Perspectives: Ireland and the UDHR, which is published by New Island Books, is a collection of essays by thirty influential social commentators examining the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to modern Irish society. It features, among others, Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, Sportsman Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, NUI Chancellor and President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dr Maurice Manning, Fr Peter McVerry, homelessness activist, Poet, Theo Dorgan as well as NUI Galway academics Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh and Dr Vinodh Jaichand of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The book also contains a photo essay by renowned Irish photographer Derek Speirs, and can be purchased in bookshops or ordered online at: www.amnesty.ie/60years Announcing the publication of the book Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said: "In the middle of an economic recession, political upheaval and distrust in the institutions of the past, this book offers a fresh and timely critique of modern Ireland. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its touchstone, the book challenges readers to question whether we have a free press in Ireland, why human trafficking is tolerated if slavery is not and why children and people living in poverty are still voiceless in our society". In his foreword to the book Donncha O'Connell wrote: "Cost-benefit analyses applied to something like the UDHR are certainly speculative and probably futile. The pro-human rights consensus evident in this collection of essays is probably not indicative of a wider societal compact other than one informed by indifference or shallow acceptance. Many of the ideas promoted in these essays and many of their underlying assumptions would be hotly contested by those who engage seriously and not so seriously with human rights debates". -Ends-

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Third Level Institutions Collaborate to Provide Major Boost to Research and Inno

Third Level Institutions Collaborate to Provide Major Boost to Research and Inno-image

Thursday, 18 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) A major agreement to boost research and innovation in the Border Midland and Western (BMW) region of the country has been signed in Athlone by the heads of seven higher education institutions. This is the first time that the third level sector has come together to adopt a BMW-wide approach to research and innovation. The institutes of technology in Athlone, Dundalk, Galway-Mayo, Letterkenny and Sligo, together with NUI Galway and St Angela's College, Sligo will combine their strengths under the auspices of Líonra, the higher education network in the region. The joint strategy will see collaboration taking place across a number of core areas, including: biomedical science and engineering; environment, marine and energy; software development and applications; health services research; social entrepreneurship; socioeconomic sciences and humanities; and food and agriculture. The Líonra agreement envisages research policy reflecting the socioeconomic needs of the region and responding to the expectations of the local economy. It also calls for collaboration between the academic partners and industry which will strengthen the ability of the sector to attract funding. Convenor of Líonra, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that the agreement will enable the BMW region to play a complete role within Ireland's knowledge economy. "This collaborative agreement multiplies the research strengths of our individual institutions for the betterment of the region. It will see the development of close relationships with enterprise and the market-facing sector. Through aligning our research strengths with their needs, it will give local companies a distinct competitive advantage. "We are putting a comprehensive commercialisation strategy in place which will enable the innovation and research ideas developed through this partnership to reach the marketplace. This is critical to the creation of a knowledge economy and to the restoration of sustainable, rewarding employment in the region", Professor Ó Catháin stated. According to President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, "This agreement creates the framework and rationale for collaboration. It also meets the future demands of Ireland's higher education system by offering a model of coordinated coherence, as called for recently by Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority. Líonra, as a network of seven higher education institutions, has created a system that is responsive to national needs and is delivering real value from complementary facilities. "The development of research clusters in strategic areas resonates with the requirements of key industries for this country," President Browne continued. "The medical device industry, for example, is concentrated in the BMW region with companies such as Élan, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. This research agreement has identified collaboration in the biomedical science and engineering domain as a thematic priority, which mirrors the industrial strength of the region. It pools our collective research capacity and capability to provide a coherent response to the priorities identified by Ibec and the Irish Medical Device Association". The Executive Director of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology (IRCSET), Martin Hynes, also welcomed the announcement. Mr Hynes commented that "Coherence in the higher education sector is vitally important. This is a critical development in ensuring visibility for this research and for making people aware of research career opportunities available in these domains". According to Enterprise Ireland's Regional Manager for Research and Development and Technology Transfer, P.J. O'Reilly, "Stimulating innovation, technology transfer and commercialisation is a central plank of the agreement and also reflects Enterprise Ireland's strategic objectives. This will involve collaborating with industry to understand their R&D needs to build close mutually beneficial relationships and to ensure that the results of research are transferred into the local socioeconomic fabric". To deliver these research goals, the seven institutions are committed to creating networks and clusters to provide common access and to make the optimum use of major equipment and R&D facilities. They will also establish centres that will concentrate on applied research and will create critical mass in leading edge technologies. The increased involvement of academic staff in research is core to the initiative, as is increasing the PhD output from the sector and providing supportive career paths for researchers. Líonra was established in 2001 to develop effective collaborative responses by the third level sector to the developmental needs of the BMW region. Institiúidí Tríú Leibhéal ag Comhoibriú lena chéile ar mhaithe le Taighde agus le Nuálaíocht a chur chun cinn i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair (View in English) Is i mBaile Átha Luain a shínigh ceann na seacht n-institiúid ardoideachais sa tír comhaontú suntasach a bhfuil sé mar aidhm leis borradh a chur faoin taighde agus faoin nuálaíocht i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Is é seo an chéad uair riamh a bhfuil an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag comhoibriú lena chéile agus é mar aidhm cur chuige éifeachtach i ndáil le taighde agus le nuálaíocht a fhorbairt agus a chur i bhfeidhm i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair trí chéile. Oibreoidh institiúidí teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Luain, Dhún Dealgan, na Gaillimhe-Mhaigh Eo, Leitir Ceanainn agus Shligigh i dteannta OÉ Gaillimh agus Coláiste San Aingeal, Sligeach faoi choimirce Líonra – líonra ardoideachais an réigiúin. Faoin gcomhstraitéis seo, beidh comhoibriú ar siúl i roinnt réimsí tábhachtacha lena n-áirítear: eolaíocht agus innealtóireacht bhithleighis; an timpeallacht, an fharraige agus fuinneamh; forbairt bogearraí agus feidhmchlár; taighde ar sheirbhísí sláinte; fiontraíocht shóisialta; eolaíochtaí socheacnamaíocha agus daonnachtaí; agus bia agus talmhaíocht. Tá sé mar aidhm le comhaontú Líonra beartas taighde a fhorbairt a bheidh bunaithe ar riachtanais shocheacnamaíocha an réigiúin agus a bheidh in ann déileáil go héifeachtach le hionchais an gheilleagair áitiúil. Gné eile den chomhaontú seo go mbeidh comhoibriú ar bun idir comhpháirtithe acadúla agus an tionscal, rud a chuirfidh go mór le cumas na hearnála maoiniú a fháil. Dúirt tionólaí Líonra, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó Catháin, go gcuirfidh an comhaontú ar chumas Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair ról iomaíoch a bheith aige i ngeilleagar eolasbhunaithe na hÉireann. "Cuirfidh an comhaontú seo go mór le cumas taighde ár n-institiúidí aonair rud a rachaidh chun tairbhe an réigiúin trí chéile. Cabhróidh an comhaontú seo le forbairt dlúthchaidrimh idir na hearnálacha fiontraíochta agus an margadh. Cruthófar buntáiste iomaíoch do chuideachtaí áitiúla trína láidreachtaí taighde a ailíniú lena gcuid riachtanas. Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tOllamh Ó Catháin go bhfuil sé "beartaithe straitéis tráchtálaithe chuimsitheach a chur i bhfeidhm a chinnteoidh go bhforbrófar nuálaíocht agus smaointe taighde tríd an gcomhpháirtíocht seo – nuálaíocht agus smaointe a rachaidh i bhfeidhm ar an margadh. Baineann fíorthábhacht leis seo i ndáil le geilleagar eolasbhunaithe a chruthú agus fostaíocht inbhuanaithe, fhiúntach a chothú sa réigiún". Deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, "Soláthróidh an comhaontú seo an creat agus an réasúnaíocht a theastaíonn chun comhoibriú a chur chun cinn. Chomh maith leis sin, freagraíonn sé do na héilimh a bheidh ar chóras ardoideachais na hÉireann amach anseo trí shamhail de chomhleanúnachas comhordaithe a chruthú, mar a bhí á éileamh ag Tom Boland, Príomhfheidhmeannach an Údaráis um Ard-Oideachas le déanaí. Tá córas cruthaithe ag Líonra – líonra de sheacht n-institiúid ardoideachais – a fhreagraíonn do riachtanais náisiúnta agus a thugann luach ar airgead trí úsáid a bhaint as áiseanna comhlántacha". Chomh maith leis sin, dúirt an tUachtarán Browne, go bhfuil "forbairt na ngrúpaí taighde i gceantair straitéiseacha ag teacht le riachtanais phríomhthionscail na tíre. Sampla amháin é tionscal na bhfeistí leighis de thionscal atá bunaithe i Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. Tá cuideachtaí ar nós Élan, Medtronic agus Boston Scientific ag dul i dtreis san earnáil seo. Tá deiseanna comhoibrithe aimsithe ag an gcomhaontú taighde seo in earnáil na heolaíochta agus na hinnealtóireachta bithleighis, ó tharla rath a bheith ar an earnáil áirithe seo sa réigiún. Deis atá ann ár gcumas agus ár n-acmhainn taighde a thabhairt le chéile ar mhaithe le freagairt go cinnte do na tosaíochtaí a d'aithin Ibec agus an Irish Medical Device Association". D'fháiltigh Martin Hynes, Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin Chomhairle Taighde na hÉireann don Eolaíocht, Innealtóireacht & Teicneolaíocht (IRCSET) roimh an scéala seo freisin. Dúirt an tUasal Hynes go mbaineann "fíorthábhacht le comhleanúnachas san earnáil ardoideachais. Forbairt thábhachtach é seo d'fhonn a chinntiú go dtugtar aird ar an taighde seo agus d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuil tuiscint ag daoine ar na deiseanna gairme atá ar fáil sna hearnálacha seo". Deir P.J. O'Reilly, Bainisteoir Réigiúnach (Taighde agus Forbairt agus Aistriú Teicneolaíochta) Fhiontraíocht Éireann go bhfuil "ról lárnach ag cruthú nuálaíochta, aistriú teicneolaíochta agus tráchtálú sa chomhaontú mar aon le léargas a thabhairt ar chuspóirí straitéiseacha Fhiontraíocht Éireann. I gceist san obair seo beidh comhoibriú leis an tionscal d'fhonn teacht ar thuiscint ar a gcuid riachtanas Taighde & Forbartha agus caidreamh a théann chun tairbhe gach páirtí a fhorbairt, mar aon lena chinntiú go dtéann torthaí an taighde i bhfeidhm ar an ngeilleagar socheacnamaíoch áitiúil". D'fhonn na spriocanna taighde seo a sheachadadh, tá na seacht n-institiúid tiomanta do líonraí agus do ghrúpaí a chruthú ionas go mbeidh deis acu an tairbhe agus an úsáid is fearr agus is féidir a bhaint as an bpríomhthrealamh agus as na háiseanna taighde agus forbartha atá ar fáil. Lena chois sin, bunófar ionaid a bheidh dírithe ar thaighde feidhmeach agus déanfar an-dul chun cinn i dteicneolaíochtaí nua. Tá ról lárnach ag rannpháirtíocht comhaltaí foirne acadúla sa tionscnamh seo, mar aon leis an líon PhD atá á bhronnadh san earnáil seo agus deiseanna gairme tacaíochta a sholáthar do thaighdeoirí. Bunaíodh Líonra in 2001 le cinntiú go mbeadh an earnáil tríú leibhéal ag freagairt go cuí do riachtanais forbartha Réigiún na Teorann, Lár na Tíre agus an Iarthair. -Críoch-

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