NUI Galway Hosts Irish Social Science Platform Conference

NUI Galway Hosts Irish Social Science Platform Conference-image

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

- How social science and business research can better inform policy making - NUI Galway will today (Tuesday, 1 December) open the Irish Social Science Platform Annual Conference. The two-day event will focus on how and why social science and business research can better inform policy makers and the policy process. Conference keynotes and round table discussions will examine topics such as 'How should the Social Sciences relate to Public Policy?' and 'Social Science, Policy, and Partnership in Crisis'. Keynote speakers include Professor Diane Halpern of Claremont McKenna College, California, on A Cabinet-Level Office of Social Science Advisors: Mr Cowen and President Obama, Are you Listening? Dr Rory O'Donnell, Director of the National Economic and Social Council of Ireland (NESC) will speak about Social Science, Policy and Partnership in Crisis and Professor Paul Wyckoff of Hamilton College, New York will address Social Science and Public Policy: Bridging the 'Great Disconnect'. Commenting on the need to better link academic research and public policy, Professor Wyckoff of Hamilton College, notes: "Precious little of our hard-earned social science knowledge is used in actual policy debates. Instead, intuition, ideology and simplistic reasoning often drive decision-making". Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, NUI Galway, said: "Too often there is a gulf between the body of knowledge and information produced by social science researchers and the assumptions that motivate policy makers and public policy. One aim of the conference is to figure out ways to close this gap and improve public policy". In addition to invited international speakers and national policymakers, the event brings together faculty and Ph.D. students from various disciplines in eight third-level institutions. Most of the research presented will reflect the Irish Social Science Platform (ISSP) focus by investigating three broad themes of national importance – creating balanced development, sustaining communities, and building the knowledge economy. The ISSP programme is unique in that it integrates social science, business research and graduate training across multiple academic disciplines with the purpose of stimulating innovative social, cultural and economic transformations that will shape Ireland in the 21st century. The ISSP programme at NUI Galway, for example, brings together academics and Ph.D. students from The Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, the Centre for Child and Family Support, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the Centre for Research on Occupation and Life Stress, and the Irish Centre for Rural Transformation and Sustainability. For additional information and the conference programme please visit: www.conference.ieor contact Dr James Cunningham, at 091 493472 or email james.cunningham@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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Irish Cancer Society Research Fellowship for NUI Galway

Irish Cancer Society Research Fellowship for NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

- Irish Cancer Society commits €1 million to supporting career development for the next generation of cancer researchers in Ireland - Dr Eva Szegezdi of Biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway was one of three researchers to receive an Irish Cancer Society fellowship at a recent awards ceremony held in Dublin where President of Ireland, Mary McAleese presented six of Ireland's most gifted young cancer researchers with inaugural Irish Cancer Society's Research Scholarship Awards & Research Fellowship Awards. This new Scholarship award scheme is part of the Society's commitment to funding cancer research in Ireland, to cultivating the next generation of cancer researchers and rewarding exceptional people with outstanding research ideas in the area of cancer research. Dr Eva Szegezdi is studying a new anti-cancer therapy, called TRAIL, which is currently in phase II clinical trials. "TRAIL is effective at treating 50% of cancers, but does not work in the other 50%. My research is trying to find ways to make TRAIL more effective in these resistant cancers" explained Dr Szegezdi. Professor Afshin Samali, Head of Biochemistry at NUI Galway, said: "This is a major achievement for Dr Szegezdi and Biochemistry. Dr Szegezdi has achieved the highest level of scientific excellence and earlier this year was also awarded a Starter Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) for cancer research from Science Foundation Ireland". In 2008, the Irish Cancer Society established the Research Fellowship programme to assist cancer researchers to develop their research ideas and offer them the support they need to direct their own research teams. Following on from the success of this initiative, this year the Society established the Research Scholarship programme to fund young post graduate students starting out on a career in cancer research. The Scholarship programme aims to encourage the brightest and the best students in Ireland to complete PhDs in cancer research. Commenting on the Fellowship and Scholarship scheme, Professor Cliona O'Farrelly, Chairperson, Cancer Research Committee, Irish Cancer Society said, "We are delighted with this new scheme which has attracted huge numbers of applicants from dedicated and enthusiastic researchers who are keen to dedicate themselves to cancer research." "It was particularly challenging to select just six candidates to receive the awards, but we are optimistic that with additional funding we may be able to expand this scheme," continued Professor O'Farrelly. The Fellowship and Scholarship scheme is open to all scientific, medical and paramedical disciplines that are committed to cancer research. Each Fellowship award is up to the value of €75,000 per annum for up to three years and each Scholarship award is up to the value of€40,000 per annum for up to three years. The Irish Cancer Society is the single largest voluntary supporter of cancer research in Ireland and is responsible for evaluating grant applications from scientists and doctors conducting this research. This research focuses on identifying risk factors for various cancers so that the disease may be prevented, identifying the cellular mechanisms of cancer in order to unravel the mystery of why some cells behave normally and some become cancerous and identifying the most effective combination of therapies in treating cancer. The Health Research Board (HRB) through the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG) and the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) are acknowledged for their support in co-funding some of these research projects. The Irish Cancer Society is now inviting applications for the 2010 Fellowship and Scholarship Awards Scheme. Closing date for entries is Wednesday, 10 February, 2010. Applications must be submitted online at www.cri.cancer.ie. -Ends-

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Giant Telescopes Focus of NUI Galway Lecture

Giant Telescopes Focus of NUI Galway Lecture-image

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The next in a series of public talks organised by NUI Galway s Centre of Astronomy will explore the topic of Giant Telescopes. The free event takes places at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 9 December, in the McMunn Lecture Theatre, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, presented by NUI Galway?s Dr Alexander Goncharov, will focus on telescopes such as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Currently under construction, the E-ELT will provide European astronomers with the largest optical-infrared telescope in the world. With a mirror diameter of 42 meters, the E-ELT will be more than one hundred times more sensitive than the present-day largest optical telescopes. Ireland has a strong tradition in astronomy with one of the largest telescopes in the world being built in Co. Offaly in 1845. Known as ?The Leviathan of Parsonstown?, it was the largest telescope of its time and was built by the third Earl of Rosse, William Parsons. Speaking about the lecture, Dr Goncharov said: ?The high interest of astronomers in further development of new, powerful telescopes is shared by a large part of the general public. The lecture will give special emphasis to astronomical imaging with adaptive optics, a new technique that helps to overcome the limiting effects of the earth s turbulent atmosphere. Future giant telescopes will initiate and support a new era in observational astronomy?. The lecture will also cover observing the night sky with a naked eye, amateur telescopes and professional optical telescopes. Essential scientific challenges including the search for earth-like planets will also be discussed. The series of public talks co-incides with the International Year of Astronomy which takes place throughout 2009. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

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