NUI Galway Leads UNESCO Study to learn from Youth in Zambia

NUI Galway Leads UNESCO Study to learn from Youth in Zambia-image

Friday, 23 October 2009

The UNESCO Child, Youth and Civic Engagement team, based at the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, is to partake in an international collaborative research project regarding civic engagement, youth and gender in Zambia. The research project will see NUI Galway partner with the University of Zambia, the Alan Kerins African Projects and the Lifestart Project Mazabuka, Zambia. The aim is to progress a participatory research project to form a holistic picture of civic engagement opportunities provided by communities in rural and urban settings in Zambia. NUI Galway's Sheila McArdle, a Research Fellow, will travel to Zambia at the end of October to undertake fieldwork. Over a seven month period, she will gather the perspectives of young people aged 12-14 years of age, parents and guardians, and representatives of statutory and non-statutory organisations. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, said: "Just as we seek ways to support vulnerable children and youth in Irish society, similarly, we have much to learn from youth and girls in particular in urban and rural Zambia – all with a view to their civic engagement, safety and mental wellbeing". This project in Zambia will contribute to the fulfilment of the UNESCO Chair's overall strategy, fitting in under the research strand, but designed to compliment the work of the other three strands, advocacy, teaching and programme development. In addition, the research findings will also be linked into the International Resilience Project, a study that initially worked with 14 communities based in 11 different countries. The International Resilience Project seeks to understand how youth around the world effectively cope with the adversities that they face in life. This knowledge may inform the development of policy to design and create child and family services that are sensitive to cultural difference. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Secure €1.7m in New Starter Investigator Research Awards

NUI Galway Researchers Secure €1.7m in New Starter Investigator Research Awards-image

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Three NUI Galway postgraduate researchers will benefit from the New Starter Investigator Research Awards announced yesterday by the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D.. "It is vital that we have in Ireland the mechanism to keep and attract to Ireland highly skilled, early-stage career researchers," Minister Lenihan said as he announced Government funding of €7.9million under a new Science Foundation Ireland initiative that will help 15 highly-talented researchers at an early stage in their profession to progress towards a fully independent academic research career. NUI Galway Awardees: Dr Kimon-Andreas Karatzas, Microbiology, College of Science Title: Elucidating the Role of g-Aminobutyric Acid Metabolism in Stress Resistance and Virulence of Listeria monocytogenes Synopsis: Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterial causative agent of Listeria, a serious disease associated with significant mortality in humans. The development of disease by L. monocytogenes, the causative agent of Listeria, is thought to involve the novel gene lmo0913, a component of the GABA metabolic pathway. Dr Karatzas proposes to establish the existence of this pathway in the listeria pathogen and elucidate its contribution to acid tolerance and invasion. Dr Hongyun Tai, Network of Excellence for Functional Materials (NFB) Title: Minimally Invasive Tissue Engineering Scaffolds for Repair of the Nucleus Pulposus of an Intervertebral Disc Synopsis: Degenerated intervertebral discs (DIVD), a cause of lower back pain, is associated with significant socioeconomic costs. Therapeutic restoration of degenerated intervertebral discs presents a tissue engineering challenge to develop materials with suitable properties. Dr Tai proposes to optimise and test a candidate material which she has developed as a novel injectable scaffold system to restore damaged discs. Eva Szegezdi, Biochemistry, College of Science Title: Novel ratiometric approach to identify decisive molecular interactions of the TRAIL apoptotic machinery Synopsis: Despite extensive research, the average five year survival rate for the 20 most common cancers is still below 50%. Survival rates of tumours typically detected late (e.g. lung cancer) or difficult to remove by surgery (e.g. brain tumours) are the lowest and have only marginally increased over the last 20 years. Targeting the abnormal molecular pathways with drugs can be the key to eradicate such tumours. Resistance to cancer chemotherapy is a major public health issue with both social and economical effects. Dr Szegezdi's research aims to generate a predictive formula to determine the likelihood of a tumour's ability to respond to particular anti-cancer therapies. Announcing the first SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) awards, Minister Lenihan said: "These 15 outstanding individuals are among the brightest working in Irish laboratories today, and SIRG provides them with the necessary support to enable the transition from team member to independent and accomplished innovator in their respective fields. It will also allow them to recruit 15 postgraduate students". The Minister added: "SIRG is the instrument to ensure that the best trained post doctoral scientists can be both attracted to and retained in Ireland which is central to our overall national aim of building a sustainable world-class research system. SIRG not only provides financial backing but crucially also provides structured support and expert advice to these highly capable early-career researchers as they navigate through this critical period in their careers. The research of these successful awardees will focus on strategic areas such as renewable energy, cancer research, genetics and telecommunications that will benefit both society and the economy," the Minister concluded. The 15 award recipients are based in the following seven Higher Education Institutions: Tyndall National Institute, Cork (4 awards); Trinity College Dublin (4 awards); NUI Galway (3 awards); Dublin Institute of Technology (1 award); University College Cork (1 award); University College Dublin (1 award); and Waterford Institute of Technology (1 award). -Ends-

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Intercultural Health Fair at NUI Galway

Intercultural Health Fair at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 22 October 2009

NUI Galway together with the Galway Refugee Support Group (GRSG) are organising a 2nd Intercultural Health Fair to promote healthy living and equal access to health services among staff, students and all cultural communities living in Galway. The Fair will be held in Áras na Mac Léinn (Bailey Allen Hall), NUI Galway from 12 noon to 3pm on Wednesday, 4 November. Some 50 different health-related organisations will attend to provide information on services available to people living in Galway City and county. Groups in attendance will include the Rape Crisis Network, COPE, Mental Health Ireland, Cancer Care West, Bodywhys and Peer Health Workers for Asylum Seekers. Information on a range of topics will be available including mental health, sexual health and complementary health, as well as fitness, health checks and health screening. Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Officer with Student Services at NUI Galway, explained: "Our goal is to promote healthy living among the Galway community by raising awareness, providing multilingual and intercultural health information to new residents and networking to increase inter-agency referrals and resource and expertise sharing". She also expressed hope "that this event will meet the needs of students, locals and people who have just moved to the area. Personal health is very much about being informed and making the right choices. This is a great opportunity to visit a 'one-stop shop' for health information and to find out about the kinds of services and supports available on your doorstep". For a number of years GRSG has been involved in building the capacity of the refugee and asylum seeker populations to identify and advocate their health needs and concerns as part of a long-term integration strategy. Helen Bartlett, Community Development Worker with GRSG, said: "The Intercultural Health Fair is significant as it will bring together education providers, health service providers, health advocacy organisations and health service users. Many people living locally, especially those new to the area, may be unfamiliar with all the health services and health advocacy organisations available in Galway". This is a free event open to students, staff and the general public. People new to Galway are particularly welcome. There will be language assistants speaking 30 languages present to assist non-English speakers. This event is supported by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative. For further information contact lorraine.tansey@nuigalway.ie or Helen Bartlett at healthfair@grsg.ie -ends-

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Education is Theme of the 2009 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture

Education is Theme of the 2009 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture-image

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The 2009 Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture, entitled Education for the Modern World: Science and Culture, will be delivered by Professor (Emeritus) Eugene Galanter, at 8pm on Thursday, 29 October, in the Cairnes Theatre, NUI Galway. Formerly director of the Psychophysics Laboratory at Columbia University, New York, Professor Galanter is founder of Children's Progress Inc., one of the fastest growing* companies in the US. The technology company specialises in developing computer programmes for young children that help educators pinpoint how to best challenge and support each child. Considered a pioneer educator and scientist in the field of technology in education, Professor Galanter's influence on the wider discipline of psychology has been profound. His book, co-authored and published in 1960, Plans and the Structure of Behavior, is generally held to have sparked the cognitive revolution in the psychological sciences with very significant influence upon the development of modern computerised technology. The book has been cited on over 2,500 occasions. Speaking in advance of his lecture, Professor Galanter said: "Building a new, modern architecture for contemporary education requires that we revamp the psychological foundations and much of the philosophy of education. During my lecture, I will introduce the audience to a novel description of mental growth, and a new theory of mental development known as Children's Progress". Professor Galanter has authored more than 150 books and articles on psychophysics, perception, motivation, memory, early learning, and computer-related pedagogy. His publications on education include The Ideal Teacher, The Mechanization of Teaching, and Two Models of a Student. According to NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne: "The Monsignor Pádraig De Brún lecture honours a former University president who was a renowned polymath with keen interest in the arts, the sciences and the culture of his day. Eminent psychologist, Professor Galanter will address the topic of Education for a Modern World, focusing on an area of interest shared by Monsignor De Brún. Professor Galanter's lecture is one which will interest many in Ireland today, looking at ways in which new techniques in education can address important societal issues". Professor Galanter is not only a distinguished scientist, but he served in the US Army Infantry during World War II from 1943 to 1946 for which, amongst many decorations he was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. He has been a licensed pilot since 1959 and won a trans-continental single engine airplane speed record in 1968 flying his Beechcraft Bonanza. The Monsignor Pádraig de Brún Memorial Lecture commemorates the former University President Monsignor Pádraig de Brún who was President of UCG in 1945 - 1959. Upon retirement from UCG, he became Chairman of the Arts Council, a position he held until his death in June 1960. The public lecture is organised by the President's Office, NUI Galway. Admission is free, for further information contact 091 493431. Professor Galanter is also participating in the Silver Anniversary meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics (ISP) which will be held from today until Saturday in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel. The meeting brings together scientists from around the world and commemorates the founding of psychophysics in 1850 by physicist and philosopher Gustav-Theodor Fechner. Psychophysics is the foundational discipline in the psychological sciences. Oideachas an Téama a bheas ag Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún 2009 (View in English) Tabharfaidh an tOllamh (Emeritus) Eugene Galanter, Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún, dar teideal Education for the Modern World: Science and Culture ag 8pm Déardaoin, an 29 Deireadh Fómhair, san Cairnes Theatre, OÉ Gaillimh. Bhí an tOllamh Galanter ina stiúrthóir ar an tSaotharlann Sícifisice in Ollscoil Columbia, Nua-Eabhrac, agus is é a bhunaigh Children's Progress Inc., ceann de na cuideachtaí is sciobtha fáis* sna Stáit Aontaithe. Déanann an chuideachta seo ríomhchláir do ghasúir óga a chuidíonn le hoideachasóirí a fháil amach cad a thugann dúshlán gach linbh agus cad a thacaíonn le gach leanbh. Feictear an tOllamh Galanter mar cheannródaí i réimse an oideachais agus mar eolaí i réimse na teicneolaíochta san oideachas, agus is mór an tionchar atá aige ar réimse na síceolaíochta. Meastar gurbh é an leabhar a raibh sé ina chomhúdar air agus a foilsíodh i 1960, Plans and the Structure of Behavior, an chúis a bhí leis an réabhlóid chognaíoch sna síceolaíochtaí agus go raibh an-tionchar aige ar fhorbairt na nuatheicneolaíochta i ríomhairí. Tá tagairtí as an leabhar úsáidte breis agus 2,500 babhta. Mhínigh an tOllamh Galanter an méid a bheadh á rá aige sa léacht. Dúirt sé go dteastaíonn athrú ó bhun ar an tsíceolaíocht agus ar fhormhór d'fhealsúnacht an oideachais chun struchtúr nua-aimseartha a fhorbairt don oideachas comhaimseartha. Dúirt sé go ndéanfadh sé cur síos sa léacht ar fhás intinne, agus ar theoiric nua na forbartha intinne ar a dtugtar Dul Chun Cinn na Leanaí (Children's Progress). Tá breis agus 150 leabhar agus alt scríofa ag an Ollamh Galanter ar shícifisic, mothúchán, inspreagadh, cuimhne, luathfhoghlaim, agus oideolaíocht ríomhaireachta. I measc a chuid foilseachán ar an oideachas tá The Ideal Teacher, The Mechanization of Teaching, agus Two Models of a Student. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, An Dr James J. Browne: "Déanann Léacht an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún comóradh ar iar-Uachtarán na hOllscoile a raibh cáil air mar ileolaí agus a raibh an-suim aige sna healaíona, sna heolaíochtaí agus sa chultúr comhaimseartha. Labhróidh an síceolaí mór le rá, an tOllamh Galanter, faoin Oideachas sa Saol Nua-Aimseartha, agus beidh an-bhéim aige ar réimse a raibh an-suim ag an Moinsíneoir de Brún ann. Beidh suim ag go leor de mhuintir na tíre seo sa mhéid a bheas le rá ag an Ollamh Galanter, ag breathnú ar an gcaoi a bhféadfadh teicnící nua san oideachas aghaidh a thabhairt ar cheisteanna móra sa tsochaí". Ní hamháin gur eolaí cáiliúil an tOllamh Galanter, ach bhí sé in Arm Mheiriceá i rith an Dara Cogadh Domhanda idir 1943 agus 1946. Bronnadh oirnéalta go leor air as a sheirbhís san arm, ceann díobh sin an Croix de Guerre. Tá ceadúnas píolóta aige ó 1959 agus bhuaigh sé curiarracht luais tras-ilchríochach in eitleán inneall aonair i 1968 agus é ag eitilt in Beechcraft Bonanza. Déanann Léacht Chuimhneacháin an Mhoinsíneora Pádraig de Brún comóradh ar iar-Uachtarán na hOllscoile an Moinsíneoir Pádraig de Brún a bhí ina Uachtarán idir 1945 agus 1959. Nuair a chuaigh sé ar scor ón Ollscoil ceapadh ina Chathaoirleach ar an gComhairle Ealaíon é, agus bhí an post sin aige gur bhásaigh sé i mí an Mheithimh 1960. Eagraíonn Oifig an Uachtaráin, OÉ Gaillimh an léacht phoiblí seo. Níl aon táille le híoc. Tá eolas breise le fáil ach glaoch ar 091 493431. -Críoch-

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Research Project is Questioning Consumption

Research Project is Questioning Consumption-image

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Researchers from the disciplines of Geography and Sociology with NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute, and Trinity College Dublin, have recently begun a four-year research project to examine household consumption. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the project is the first of its kind to look at sustainable consumption in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The research is seeking to address the difficult questions that remain regarding how a shift towards more sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed. Sustainable consumption describes the use of goods and services that meet people's needs while also minimising the impact on the environment. The project, entitled ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability), will examine behaviour around four key areas of household consumption - transport, energy, water and food. According to ConsEnSus project co-ordinator, NUI Galway's Dr Jessica Pape: "In these times of peak oil and potential water charges and carbon taxes, never before has the question of sustainability been so important for every individual. A key output of the ConsEnSus project will be to make recommendations for local and national programmes concerning sustainable consumption policies. This will provide a platform which supports the consumer to make choices which support the environment". Dr Martina Prendergast, Development Manager of the Environmental Change Institute, said: "The Institute is delighted to support this novel project because research in the field of sustainable consumption is still in its infancy in Ireland, both North and South. While strides are being made in the area of calculating the cost to the environment of manufacturing and transporting products for consumer use, it's very early days". The research project will include face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,500 households across counties Galway, Dublin and Derry. The aim is to investigate public attitudes and awareness of the environmental impact of their consumer behaviour and the factors which influence household consumption. Dr Pape added: "In the coming months, in selected regions of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, you may just find us knocking on your door. We are really hopeful about the public's co-operation as this project is about jointly supporting individuals and the environment. The aim is to enable individuals and policy makers to make sustainable choices and take sustainable actions. So, to make it work, we need people and their input". The ConsEnSus project is funded through the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme. For more information visit www.consensus.ie -ends-

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