NUI Galway Hosts Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup

NUI Galway Hosts Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup-image

Monday, 22 February 2010

The finals of the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup third-level colleges senior hurling championship will be hosted by NUI Galway from 5-6 March, and was officially launched today at the University. The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Dangan, the NUI Galway Sports Grounds, along with the semi-finals of the Ryan Cup and the Fergal Maher Cups. The annual Fitzgibbon Cup dinner will take place on Friday, 5 March, in the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway, following the semi-final matches, with many local and national GAA personalities expected to attend. The final of the Fitzgibbon Cup, which will be broadcast live on TG4, takes place on Saturday, 6 March, in Pearse Stadium. The Puc Fada finals will be held at half time, with each college in the country invited to send a participant. In the history of the Fitzgibbon Cup, NUI Galway has won the title nine times, the last being 30 years ago in 1980. In the 2009 championship, University College Cork was crowned title holders after defeating the University of Limerick. Mary Immaculate Limerick beat Jordanstown in the Ryan Cup, and St. Mary's of Belfast clinched the Fergal Maher Cup from Napier of Scotland. Commenting on the upcoming championship, Michael O'Connor, NUI Galway Gaelic Games Officer, said: "NUI Galway is delighted to be entrusted with the honour of hosting the blue riband of third-level hurling. Like other years it should provide GAA supporters with some of the hurling moments of the year. The closeness in exchanges in the group games will ensure that all sides will be in with strong chances of ultimate success in their competition. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the University for its co-operation in making the hosting of this tournament an expected success". Brendan McDermott, Ulster Bank West Regional Director, commented: "Ulster Bank is delighted to be involved as sponsors of GAA Higher Education Gaelic Games, especially the blue riband event of college hurling, the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup. This is the fourth year of our association with Gaelic Games as sponsors of the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup, the Ulster Bank Ryan Cup and the Ulster Bank Fergal Maher Cup. Congratulations to the NUI Galway team for all their work in the build up to the finals weekend". Retired Head of Sport at NUI Galway, Tony Regan, is still heavily involved with sport at the University and is currently Chairperson of the NUI Galway Hurling Club. Tony has had much success on the Gaelic fields leading NUI Galway to win five Sigerson Cups, two Fitzgibbon Cup, Ashbourne Cup and countless games during his time at NUI Galway. Speaking in advance of the finals, Tony said: "As Chairman of the hurling club I would like to wish all semi finalists in their respective competitions the very best of luck and also thank all involved in the running of the weekend, sponsors, college staff and most of all the hurlers of the future". -Ends-

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NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance to Drive Vital Research and Academic Excellence

NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance to Drive Vital Research and Academic Excellence-image

Thursday, 18 February 2010

- Direct support for key industry sectors and research strengths - Leading US University to play significant role in technology transfer - Launch of unique student exchange between institutions NUI Galway and the University of Limerick today (18 February, 2010) announced a Strategic Alliance which will support the development of the wider region to encourage indigenous enterprises and foreign direct investment, strengthen research and industry partnerships, and further a shared commitment to academic excellence. The Alliance will have an international dimension, through a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, in the exploitation of research from both Irish universities. At a ceremony in Dublin involving An Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and the Minister for Education and Science, the Alliance was announced to leaders from a wide range of community, public and political bodies as well as partners from academia and industry. Welcoming the announcement, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, T.D., said: "NUI Galway and the University of Limerick are demonstrating how working together means working smarter. This Alliance is an exciting new departure for two very progressive Universities. It represents a key building block for our Smart Economy project. And it promises to make a major contribution to economic and social development in this country, at both regional and national levels. The Government strongly supports increased collaboration between higher education institutions and between these institutions and industry. Our universities have a critical role to play as a dynamo energising our Smart Economy with new ideas and creativity. Increased collaboration among our universities - joining forces - greatly helps us to up our game in the intense ongoing global competition to come up with new ideas, new products and new services. The Government is very happy to see that Ireland s universities are coming up to the mark, moving from competition at home to collaboration in competing on the world stage". Key and immediate initiatives resulting from the Alliance include: Supporting key industry sectors Furthering research and education to serve Ireland's biomedical device industry – which employs 24,000 people. Joining forces on research initiatives to provide scientific and technological breakthroughs in the 'green tech' sector. Supporting Ireland as the biggest exporter of software solutions in Europe, by collaborating to remain at the forefront of software development and internet technology research. Technology Transfer Achieve economies of scale through jointly supporting technology transfer and commercialisation of research. Working to establish a translational research centre with Georgia Institute of Technology for technology transfer. Academic Excellence Furthering commitment to 4th Level Education through joint development of structured PhD programmes. Facilitating student exchange between the Universities on a modular or semester basis. Creating a new Medical Academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals. Planning to facilitate joint academic appointments to maximise student choice. Civic Engagement Promoting active citizenship through projects such as urban renewal and regeneration. Shared Services Optimising resources through shared services and focused use of research, teaching and academic support services. Professor Don Barry, President of the University of Limerick, said: "By forming this Strategic Alliance, we are collaborating in very real and immediate ways, driving scientific and economic progress with a specific focus on industry partnerships and research in the areas of Biomedicine, Energy, ICT and Civic Engagement. "UL and NUI Galway are hubs of educational excellence and research activity. By coming together with a shared vision for the future we will optimise our delivery of world-class research, innovative teaching and service to the community, while being responsive to the needs of our industry partners and to the social, cultural and economic needs of Ireland". Commenting on the new partnership, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The aim of this Alliance is to better support the social and economic development of our wider region by combining the strengths of the two universities to enhance the service we provide to our students, to industry and business partners, and to enhance the international standing of both Universities. Together we can and will achieve more". President Browne added: "The fragmentation of Irish higher education prevents the achievement of critical mass, particularly in research, and slows down the drive towards internationalisation. The future of higher education in Ireland will be best served by a network of collaborating institutions, each of which develops international excellence in appropriate priority areas. The NUI Galway and UL Strategic Alliance is an important step in that direction". The institution-wide Alliance will work across all areas of activity at UL and NUI Galway including teaching, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. The Alliance allows for the facilitation of student exchange between the universities. The new Alliance will see NUI Galway and UL collaborate extensively in the area of teaching and learning. Exciting new initiatives include a unique 'Link to Learn' student exchange programme, which will enable students at either university to choose modules from the other institution as part of their programme. Other developments include the creation of a new joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals, in addition to the development of a programme of activities to respond to the national objectives of building strong foundations in mathematics and science in primary and second level education. Speaking at the launch, Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O'Keefe, T.D., said: "The Framework for the development of a 'Smart Economy' highlighted the key role played by the higher education system in the development of an innovation culture and it set out a challenge to the sector to create new possibilities, through new alliances and new organisational arrangements, to advance our knowledge capacity and generate opportunities for new levels of efficiency, performance, innovation and growth. The Alliance is significant in that it spans all the key areas of activity in the universities including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. We know that the quality of our higher education system is critical to Ireland's economic recovery. It is essential that we position the system to fully exploit its potential in producing the smart people and the smart ideas that are required for our smart economy ambitions. I applaud today's announcement by UL and NUI Galway as an important practical contribution to meeting that challenge and as recognition by the two universities of the nature of the response that Ireland needs from its higher education system". A focus of this Strategic Alliance will be industry collaborations in R&D, increased commercialisation and spinouts. UL and NUI Galway continue to exceed international benchmarks for delivery of commercial licences and spinouts per euro invested. In total, NUI Galway and UL have set up 21 spin-out companies over the past four years, with 72 licences and 121 patents filed. By 2015, the Alliance aims to deliver 40 spin-outs, with particular focus on commercialisation in the fields of ICT, Healthcare and Medical Technologies and Energy. Targets also include 450 invention disclosures, 110 licences and to have filed 200 patents. The ICT and Biomedical industries are currently worth €34.2bn annually to the Irish economy, while dependence on imported energy significantly impacts industry and the economy. A cooperative effort focused on these strategically vital areas aims to accelerate the delivery of viable solutions and sustainable industries. Speaking at the announcement, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, T.D., said: "This proactive and visionary arrangement illustrates the collective determination of both universities to further enhance the economic and social development of the region. I warmly welcome the Alliance as it will serve to encourage growth in indigenous enterprises and foreign direct investment, strengthen research and industry partnerships and further their commitment to academic excellence". "The objective of the Government's STI strategy is to harness the benefits of research collaboration for the benefit of the Irish economy. This is creating a strong cadre of indigenous firms and attracting and further embedding leading multi-national companies here. For example, last year 49% of the IDA's Foreign Direct Investment wins were Research, Development and Innovation related which were valued at €500m. Almost 45% of all enterprises are now engaged in innovation activities in Ireland", the Tánaiste added. The NUI Galway and UL Strategic Alliance is already forging relationships with international partners. Georgia Institute of Technology and the Alliance will work to establish a translational research institute to focus on technology commercialisation with industry partners. Together the three institutions will form a joint Translational Research Institute focused on the application of core technologies and expertise within the partner institutions. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students and Lecturer Win Prestigious National Award

NUI Galway Students and Lecturer Win Prestigious National Award-image

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Six students from NUI Galway's newest degree programme, Energy Systems Engineering, have scooped first and second prize in the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland Student Idea of the Year Awards. The winners were announced at a special ceremony in Dublin and presented by the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe T.D.. The awards are presented to the originators of the most innovative ideas which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of the transport industry in Ireland. NUI Galway also scooped the inaugural 'Lecturer of the Year' Award which was presented to Mary Dempsey of NUI Galway. The award recognises the work of a lecturer who aims to promote innovation and creativity in the areas of Logistics, Transport and Commerce. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: "The students' abilities to innovate are reflected in the attainment of these prestigious awards. I acknowledge the hard work, dedication and commitment that each student has made and their success reflects favourably on the new B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering". NUI Galway students Kane O'Shea from Cratloe, Co. Clare, John Mitchell from Blarney, Co. Cork, and Eoin Leonard from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, were announced as the overall winners. Their innovative project was 'Electronic warnings on dangerous bends'. The runner-up prize was awarded to NUI Galway students Joseph Martyn from Kilrush, Co. Clare, Richie Walsh from Tramore, Co. Waterford, and Edward Tynan from Longford Town, for their project entitled 'Inter-vehicle communication system'. Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "We are delighted that our students have featured so prominently in this year's Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Awards. As an island nation, the transport sector has a huge impact on Ireland's economic performance. These awards clearly demonstrate that university-based innovation can directly contribute to improved efficiency and safety standards for road freight hauliers. These awards also highlight the importance of industry/university collaboration for the successful development of Ireland as a 'Smart Economy'". The students are all part of the first cohort to undertake the B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway, a multidisciplinary degree programme integrating energy sources, energy conversion and energy utilisation. All aspects of energy are covered in the programme, including renewable energy, power generation, buildings, transportation, information technology, smart grids and power systems. -ends-

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Exoplanets Focus of NUI Galway's Astronomy Lecture

Exoplanets Focus of NUI Galway's Astronomy Lecture-image

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The next in a series of public talks organised by NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will focus on exoplanets. The free event takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 24 February, in the McMunn Lecture Theatre, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, which will be presented by NUI Galway's Leon Harding, will concentrate on exploring and observing exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system. Since their initial discovery in 1995, the population of detected exoplanets, or extrasolar planets as they are also known, has increased significantly, with over 400 such planets being discovered to date. Initially, the majority of discoveries were giant planets, sometimes hundreds of times the size of Earth, but in recent years smaller exoplanets have been discovered. Speaking about the lecture, NUI Galway's Leon Harding, said: "Astronomical observations from the surface of the Earth will never be as precise as space based observations and it is via space telescopes that we hope to find true Earth-like planets that can sustain life. With the launch of the Kepler and CoRoT space telescopes in the last decade, which are dedicated to exoplanetary detection and research, astronomers expect to see a large number of discoveries in the coming years. A new telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched in June 2014, will expand the frontiers of discoveries beyond what is possible today". More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

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€7.5million funding for new Clinical Research Facility

€7.5million funding for new Clinical Research Facility-image

Friday, 12 February 2010

NUI Galway's Professor Larry Egan, Interim Director of the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility, Galway today (February 12th 2010) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney TD that €7.5m in capital funding is being provided for the construction of a new Clinical Research Facility on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway is a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals and NUI Galway. The facility is supported by funding from the Health Research Board and has been operating since March of 2008. The purpose of the Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is to improve human health through the generation of new medical knowledge from patient based research. The guiding philosophy of the CRF is to stimulate, engage and support health care professionals from diverse areas of expertise to undertake high quality clinical research. Commenting Professor Egan said, "The benefits of this facility include the ability to provide access to cutting-edge clinical trials and access to novel therapies for patients in the West of Ireland. Clinical care provided in a research-intensive environment has been proven internationally to result in the best patient outcomes. With the development of the Clinical Research Facility in Galway, our ability to provide this level of service to our patients will be significantly enhanced. As a result, patient care will improve, and the ability of our hospital to attract and retain the very best medical and allied health staff would be improved. Moreover, the capabilities for investigation at this facility will provide an important and highly valuable opportunity for Irish companies operating in the biomedical research area such as pharmaceuticals and biomedical device companies to add value to their products through high quality clinical research". Professor Timothy O Brien, Consultant Endocrinologist at GUH, Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway and Director of the SFI-funded CSET Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) thanked the HRB for support for this initiative. "The Galway CRF will form part of an Irish Network of Clinical Research Facilities which will allow Irish patients access to state of the art clinical research. The Galway facility will also serve as the translational arm of REMEDI and will allow findings from basic research in stem cells, gene therapy, biomaterials and immunology to be brought to the clinic. The facility will have space specially designed for clinical research in regenerative medicine. It will also have important advantages for the progression of research and development in the Medical Device Industry which is so important to the economy of the West of Ireland". Mr. Pat Commins Acting General Manager Galway University Hospitals added, "The development of this Clinical Research Facility on the grounds of the Hospital is a very significant milestone which will allow staff to contribute to shaping advances in health care science, and to bring the benefits of those advances to patients at the earliest opportunity. The establishment of the CRF will further enhance our academic links with NUI Galway in line with our hospital strategy". The CRF will be built along with translational research laboratories funded by NUI Galway in a new, approximately 5000m² building on the campus of University Hospital Galway. This joint clinical and translational research facility will comprise state of the art facilities for patient-based research and for the processing and analysis of bio-specimens such as blood samples from those patients. Planning permission has been received and it is expected construction of the facility will begin shortly. Ends

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