Irish Scientists Central to Protecting International Shellfish Industry

Irish Scientists Central to Protecting International Shellfish Industry-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) Marine scientists at NUI Galway have been successful in securing €1.6 million in EU funding to advance testing technologies in the shellfish industry. The University's Martin Ryan Institute will collaborate with European colleagues to test a new, rapid methodology for the local analysis of algal toxins in shellfish. The funding comes from the EU Northern Periphery Programme and the project will be led by Dr Robin Raine at NUI Galway. According to Dr Robin Raine, "Caused by toxin producing plankton, harmful algal blooms are a serious environmental problem worldwide. One of the significant consequences is that these toxins accumulate in shellfish and, whilst harmless to the shellfish, can cause a variety of very serious gastrointestinal and neurological disorders when contaminated mussels, oysters, etc., are eaten by humans". The threat to human health is so great that, under EU directives, all coastal Member States are required to monitor the presence of toxin producing plankton in coastal waters as well as toxin levels in shellfish. In Ireland, this monitoring is carried out by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources' Marine Institute, in their new laboratories at Rinville, Co. Galway. Through the €1.6 million project, rapid testing methods will be advanced for remote fisheries in countries such as Scotland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The hope is that new technologies will allow the shellfish industries to test their produce for toxins locally, rather than sending samples to laboratories elsewhere. NUI Galway is also working with international experts on predicting harmful algal blooms in the marine environment, the root cause of contaminated shellfish. This week (15-19 June) the University hosts a training workshop for 60 international delegates under the auspices of GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) which is the UNESCO sponsored project on this subject. According to Dr Raine, predicting the occurrence of these harmful algal blooms is important so that their damaging economic effects to the aquaculture industry can be substantially reduced. Taking Ireland as an example, the shellfish aquaculture industry is currently valued at €63 million per annum. However, annual losses sustained through the contamination of shellfish with algal toxins, combined with the cost of monitoring the presence of these toxins amounts to over €3 million. "This is a huge financial burden on what is an intrinsically sustainable industry. We really need to focus on predicting the blooms and where they will manifest; something like a blight warning system for the sea. This will go some way to reducing the costs for the aquaculture industry in Ireland and around the world", said Dr Raine. Eolaithe Éireannacha chun an Tionscal Sliogéisc Idirnáisiúnta a Chosaint (View in English) Tá eolaithe mara in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh maoiniú €1.6 milliún a fháil ón AE chun teicneolaíocht tástála a fheabhsú sa tionscal sliogéisc. Oibreoidh Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gcomhar le comhghleacaithe san Eoraip chun modheolaíocht nua, sciobtha a thástáil chun anailís áitiúil a dhéanamh ar thocsainí algacha i sliogiasc. Tá an maoiniú ag teacht as Clár Fhorimeall Thuaidh an AE agus beidh an Dr Robin Raine as OÉ Gaillimh i gceannas ar an tionscadal. Deir an Dr Robin Raine, "Táirgeann planctón tocsain, agus cuireann blás algach dochrach isteach go mór ar an gcomhshaol ar fud an domhain. An rud is measa go mbailíonn na tocsainí seo i sliogiasc agus, cé nach ndéanann siad aon dochar don sliogiasc féin, d'fhéadfaí an-dochar a dhéanamh do shláinte an duine má itear diúilicíní, oisrí etc. a bhfuil an tocsain iontu. Cruthaíonn an tocsain neamhoird ghastraistéigeacha agus néareolaíocha atá thar a bheith dainséarach". Tá an tocsain chomh contúirteach do dhaoine go gcaithfidh Ballstáit ar an gcósta, faoi threoracha an AE, súil a choinneáil ar phlanctón a tháirgeann tocsain ar an gcósta agus an leibhéal tocsaine i sliogiasc. In Éirinn, déanann Foras na Mara sa Roinn Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha an obair seo sa tsaotharlann nua i Rinn Mhíl, Co. na Gaillimhe. Faoin tionscadal €1.6 milliún, forbrófar modhanna tástála sciobtha d'iascaigh iargúlta i dtíortha cosúil leis an Albain, an Iorua agus Oileáin Fharó. Is é aidhm na teicneolaíochta nua seo go mbeidh an tionscal sliogéisc in ann tástáil tocsaine a dhéanamh ar a dtáirgí go háitiúil seachas samplaí a sheoladh chuig saotharlanna i bhfad ó bhaile. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag oibriú i gcomhar le saineolaithe idirnáisiúnta chun blás algach dochrach a aimsiú san uisce, is é an blás seo a mhilleann an sliogiasc. An tseachtain seo (15-19 Meitheamh) beidh ceardlann oiliúna ar siúl san Ollscoil do 60 toscaire idirnáisiúnta faoi choimirce GEOHAB (Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms), tionscadal atá urraithe ag UNESCO ar an ábhar seo. Deir an Dr Raine, go bhfuil sé tábhachtach an blás algach dochrach seo a aimsiú chun go bhféadfar an damáiste a dhéanann sé don tionscal dobharshaothraithe a mhaolú. Is fiú €63 milliún sa bhliain an tionscal sliogéisc in Éirinn faoi láthair. Cailltear os cionn €3 mhilliún sa bhliain nuair a mhilleann na tocsainí algacha an sliogiasc agus tríd an monatóireacht a dhéantar ar na tocsainí. "Is mór an costas é sin ar thionscal atá inmharthana ann féin. Caithfear a chinntiú go n-aimseofar an blás; teastaíonn córas rabhaidh uainn. Laghdóidh sé seo an costas ar an tionscal in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain", a dúirt an Dr Raine. -Críoch-

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Environmental Research on Display at NUI Galway

Environmental Research on Display at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway is opening its doors to the public on Wednesday, 24 June from 2 to 5.30pm, for its third annual 'ECI Research OPEN Day'. There will be a series of short talks addressing subjects of local, national, and global significance such as: sea level change in Galway Bay, biological contamination of Irish drinking water supplies, renewable energy, and sustainable development. Poster presentations will take place throughout the afternoon from over 50 ECI researchers, highlighting the work currently underway in areas such as Climate Change, Energy, Biodiversity, Environment and Health, Environmental Technologies, Environmental Informatics, and the Social and Economic Impacts of Environmental Change. Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the ECI, says: "Galway is home to a Research Institute of national importance in the field of Environmental Change, and at the ECI we are always looking to involve the local community in the work that we do here. We had a huge public response to our Explorers Stand at the Volvo Ocean Race where we showcased the latest findings from our cold water coral reefs research. A recent deep-water expedition, led by Dr Anthony Grehan, confirmed the existence of a major new coral reef province on the southern end of the Porcupine Bank off the west coast of Ireland. These corals reach up to 100m in height and are immaculate, healthy growing specimens harbouring a remarkable diversity of reef animals". Dr Martina Prendergast, ECI Development Manager, says: "We hope members of the public will attend to hear about the latest innovative research being carried out by our 240 affiliated researchers and we welcome input from the public on their perception of the value of our research to the Western region. The ECI has grown fast over the years and we look forward to celebrating our ten year anniversary in 2010". Its location on the North Western periphery of Europe, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, places NUI Galway's ECI in a unique position to facilitate national and international collaborative research on atmospheric processes and climate change. The variety of pristine terrestrial and aquatic habitats, recognised as having European and global value, allow research of issues such as biodiversity and ecological interactions in unique environments. While much of the work of ECI takes place on campus, there are also several research projects happening around the country. Off-site facilities include the Carron Research Station in the Burren, County Clare and the Atmospheric Research Station, Mace Head, Carna, County Galway. For more information on the ECI please visit www.nuigalway.ie/eci, and if you wish to attend the ECI Research Open Day please contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer at the ECI, at sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie or on 091 495061. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Expert Appointed as Senior Fellow by the UK's Higher Education Academ

NUI Galway Expert Appointed as Senior Fellow by the UK's Higher Education Academ-image

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Higher Education Academy, a prestigious institution in the UK, today (Thursday, 11 June) announced that NUI Galway's Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn has become a Senior Fellow. The Academy's Senior Fellowship awards recognise outstanding champions of teaching and learning in higher education. Dr Mac Labhrainn is the founding Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at NUI Galway. He holds a BSc and PhD in Astrophysics from the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham and was a Lecturer and Reader at the University of the West of Scotland, prior to moving to Ireland in 2002. Professor Paul Ramsden, CEO of the Higher Education Academy, commented: "The experience and expertise of Senior Fellows is highly valued by the Academy. We believe that excellent teaching should be recognised and rewarded in the sector - good teaching is one of the most important aspects of the student experience. As an organisation we also benefit greatly from the input of our Senior Fellows into various aspects of our work". The announcement by the Higher Education Academy coincided with the opening of NUI Galway's 7th Annual Symposium on Higher Education which is hosted by CELT and runs until Friday, 12 June. Speaking at the opening of the conference, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "As demonstrated by this event's agenda, teaching at higher level is an ever changing and evolving practice. The way we engage with our students and assess their performance is an ongoing and developing process, in Ireland and internationally. Today, we must also congratulate Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn who has been announced as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. This award recognises the reputation for innovation and dynamism which NUI Galway's Center for Learning and Teaching has gained under Iain's stewardship". Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Dr Mac Labhrainn's interests include the civic role of higher education, the use of learning technologies in addressing issues of intellectual engagement and higher education policy in general. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Announce Honorary Doctorates 2009

NUI Galway Announce Honorary Doctorates 2009-image

Thursday, 11 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway has announced the five graduands to be conferred with Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June 2009. Liam Connellan has had a deep involvement in the engineering profession for over forty years and has served as President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; was a founding member of the Irish Academy of Engineering and has served as President of the Academy. He also served as the first Chairman of the National Roads Authority from 1994 to 2001, and was President of the Royal Dublin Society from 1995 to1998. Liam has been Chairman of companies within the Veolia Environment Group in Ireland and is Chairman of the Energy Institute in the Republic of Ireland. He is a member of the Board of the Peter McVerry Trust which assists homeless young people. Pádraic MacKernan joined the Department of External Affairs in 1964. He was Vice-Consul of Ireland in Boston from 1965 to 1968 and Deputy Consul-General in New York from 1968 to 1974. Pádraic was successively Counsellor, Assistant Secretary and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and a regular member of the Irish Delegation to the United Nations until his appointment as Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Mexico in 1985. Pádraic was appointed Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels in 1991 and returned to Dublin as Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1995. He became Ambassador to France in 2001, a post he held until his retirement in 2005. Anna Ó Coinne is a local business woman who has led the growth of Galway and District Business and Professional Women's Club and was elected President of Club in 1996. Along with her husband Liam, she formed Connaught Security Group Limited in 1978. This business became the largest privately owned security organisation in Ireland and was sold to Chubb in 1999. From 1996 to 2006 Anna served two terms as a director of Galway Harbour Company. In 1989 she became involved in raising funds to finance research into Breast Cancer being pioneered by Professor Fred Given at the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) in Galway. Working with a voluntary group, Anna became chairperson of the Finance and Planning Committee of the NBCRI. This fund raising group has raised over €12 million for the NBCRI. These funds are uniquely focussed on research and education in breast cancer with a strong emphasis on improved patient outcomes. During 2010 the Institute will move to a new purpose built Translational Research Centre being constructed by NUI Galway on the grounds of University College Hospital. This project is being financed by major philanthropic donations and includes a major contribution from NBCRI. Professor Philip O'Leary is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts where he is currently Professor of English on the Irish Studies Program at Boston College. He has directed the Boston College / Abbey Theatre Summer Program in Dublin, and from 1991 to 2005 he directed the College's MA program in Irish literature and culture. Professor O'Leary has been an Andrew J. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures at Harvard, an Irish-American Cultural Institute Fellow at NUI Galway, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Irish Language and Literature at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to dozens of articles and reviews on Irish literature from the medieval period to the present, he has written numerous books and won many awards on the topic. Brian Joyce began his business training with Ford UK before returning to Ireland to hold senior accounting positions with RTÉ and Bord Bainne. From 1978, for eleven years, he was Managing Director of the Irish Dairy Board. In 1989, Mr Joyce retired from full-time executive work and developed a portfolio of Directorships and Chairmanships on the boards of some of Ireland's best known companies. In addition to his non-executive roles, Brian is presently Chairman of Clancourt Holdings and a director of Kingspan. He is a Fellow and former President of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Commenting on the announcement of this year s graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history, and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Their contributions in many spheres – engineering, business, public service, philanthropy and education – have been outstanding, and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Céimeanna Dochtúireachta Oinigh 2009 OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Tá ainmneacha an chúigir a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh orthu Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh 2009 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh. Tá breis agus 40 bliain caite ag Liam Connellan ag plé le gairm na hinnealtóireachta agus i rith an ama sin ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann; bhí sé i measc bhunaitheoirí Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann agus chomh maith leis sin chaith sé seal ag feidhmiú mar Uachtarán ar Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann. Ba é an chéad Chathaoirleach é a ceapadh ar an Údarás um Bóithre Náisiúnta idir 1994 agus 2001, agus ba é a bhí ina Uachtarán ar Chumann Ríoga Bhaile Átha Cliath idir 1995 agus 1998. D'oibrigh sé mar Chathaoirleach ar chuideachtaí éagsúla sa Veolia Environment Group in Éirinn agus tá sé ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar an Institiúid Fuinnimh i bPoblacht na hÉireann faoi láthair. Is ball é de Bhord Iontaobhas Peter McVerry a chabhraíonn le daoine óga atá gan dídean. Chuir Pádraic MacKernan tús lena shaol oibre sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha i 1964. D'oibrigh sé mar Leaschonsal na hÉireann i mBostún idir 1965 agus 1968 agus mar Leaschonsal-Ginearálta i Nua-Eabhrac idir 1968 agus 1974. Áirítear i measc na ról a bhí ag Pádraic sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha Comhairleoir, Rúnaí Cúnta agus Stiúrthóir Polaitiúil agus bhí sé ina bhall rialta de Thoscaireacht na hÉireann chun na Náisiún Aontaithe go dtí gur ceapadh mar Ambasadóir na hÉireann do na Stáit Aontaithe agus do Mheicsiceo é i 1985. Sa bhliain 1991 ceapadh Pádraic mar Bhuan-Ionadaí an Aontais Eorpaigh sa Bhruiséil agus i 1995 d'fhill sé ar Bhaile Átha Cliath mar Ard-Rúnaí sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Ceapadh é mar Ambasadóir na Fraince in 2001, post a bhí aige go dtí go ndeachaigh sé ar scor in 2005. Bean ghnó áitiúil í Anna Ó Coinne a raibh an-bhaint aici le fás agus le forbairt Chlub Ban Gnó agus Gairmiúil Dhúiche na Gaillimhe agus toghadh í mar Uachtarán ar an gClub i 1996. Bhunaigh Anna agus a fear céile, Liam, Connaught Security Group Limited i 1978. Tháinig fás agus forbairt ar an ngnó agus ba é an eagraíocht slándála ba mhó faoi úinéireacht phríobháideach in Éirinn a bhí ann ag tráth amháin. Díoladh an chuideachta le Chubb i 1999. Idir 1996 agus 2006 chaith Anna dhá théarma mar stiúrthóir ar an Galway Harbour Company. Sa bhliain 1989 thosaigh sí ag bailiú airgid chun an taighde a bhí ar bun ag an Ollamh Fred Given ar Ailse Chíche san Institiúid Taighde Náisiúnta ar Ailse Chíche (NBCRI) a mhaoiniú. Le linn di a bheith ag obair le grúpa deonach, ceapadh í ina Cathaoirleach ar Choiste Airgeadais agus Pleanála NBCRI. Tá breis agus €12 milliún bailithe ag an ngrúpa seo don NBCRI. Úsáidtear an t-airgead ar fad a bhailítear ar mhaithe le taighde agus le hoideachas sa réimse ailse chíche agus cuirtear béim faoi leith ar réitigh níos fearr a aimsiú d'othair. Am éigin i rith 2010 bunófar an Institiúid in Ionad Taighde Aistritheach nua atá á thógáil ag OÉ Gaillimh i láthair na huaire ar thailte Ospidéal Choláiste na hOllscoile. Tá an tionscadal seo á mhaoiniú trí shíntiúis dhaonchairdiúla agus trí infheistíocht shuntasach ón NBCRI féin. Fear de bhunadh Worcester, Massachusetts é an tOllamh Philip O'Leary áit a bhfuil sé ag obair mar Ollamh le Béarla ar Chlár Léann na hÉireann in Boston College. D'oibrigh sé mar stiúrthóir ar Chlár Samhraidh Boston College / Amharclann na Mainistreach i mBaile Átha Cliath, agus idir 1991 agus 2005 ba é a stiúir clár MA i Litríocht agus i gCultúr na hÉireann in Boston College. Ceapadh é mar Chomhalta Dáimhe Andrew J. Mellon i Roinn na dTeangacha Ceilteacha agus na Litríochtaí i Harvard, Comhalta Institiúide Cultúrtha Éireannach-Meiriceánach in OÉ Gaillimh, agus Ollamh Léannta ar Cuairt le Teanga agus le Litríocht na hÉireann in Ollscoil Notre Dame. Le cois an iliomad alt agus léirmheasanna atá scríofa aige faoi litríocht na hÉireann, idir ré na meánaoise agus an t-am i láthair, tá neart leabhar scríofa aige agus neart duaiseanna faighte aige freisin. Chuir Brian Joyce tús lena oiliúint ghnó le Ford UK sular fhill sé ar Éirinn áit ar ghlac sé le poist chuntasaíochta shinsearacha le RTÉ agus leis an mBord Bainne. Chaith sé 11 bhliain ó 1978 i leith ag obair mar Stiúrthóir Bainistíochta an Bhoird Bainne. Sa bhliain 1989, d'éirigh an tUasal Joyce as an obair feidhmiúcháin lánaimseartha a bhí ar bun aige agus d'fhorbair sé portfóilió Stiúrthóireachtaí agus Cathaoirleachtaí ar bhoird cuid de na cuideachtaí is mó cáil in Éirinn. Le cois na ról neamhfheidhmiúcháin a bhí aige, tá Brian anois ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar Clancourt Holdings agus mar Stiúrthóir ar Kingspan. Is Comhalta agus iar-Uachtarán ar Institiúid Chairte na gCuntasóirí Bainistíochta é Brian freisin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna oinigh bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth le blianta fada anuas, agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad an cúigear atá roghnaithe i mbliana. Tá an t-uafás oibre déanta acu san iliomad réimsí – innealtóireacht, gnó, seirbhís phoiblí, daonchairdeas agus oideachas – agus cúis áthais dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas a thabhairt don tsárobair atá déanta ag na daoine seo". -Críoch

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Conference Responds to Health Inequalities Among Children

Conference Responds to Health Inequalities Among Children-image

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Health inequalities among children is the focus of NUI Galway's 13th Annual Health Promotion Research Centre conference which opens today (Thursday, 11 June). Up to 200 academics, policymakers, practitioners and young people will attend the conference entitled 'Closing the Gap in Child and Adolescent Health: the Settings Approach'. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: "Research has shown that there are startling differences in health among young people in this country. Factors such as gender, socio-economic background, nationality and disability have dramatic effects. The conference promises to be an important landmark in our understanding of how to improve young people's health and reduce child health inequalities". During the conference, delegates will discuss how to promote health and well-being in various settings such as families, communities, hospitals, schools and pre-schools. The conference will also provide an opportunity to listen to the voices of Irish young people, aged between 10-25 years, who will showcase their work on children's health and well-being. Topics to be addressed are varied and include mental health services, public transport, intercultural integration and involvement of young people in their communities. Dr Nic Gabhainn added: "Governments across Europe are charged with addressing health inequalities, and it is important that we share what we know about improving the lives of all children". -ends-

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