Minister For Education Presents Ria Gold Medals

Minister For Education Presents Ria Gold Medals-image

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, T.D., recently presented the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medals to the international human rights scholar Professor William Schabas and engineer Professor John O’Scanlan in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Social Sciences and the Engineering Sciences. The RIA Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The Gold Medals are awarded to two outstanding academics each year and are recognised as a truly national expression of celebration for scholarly achievement. The medals are sponsored by The Higher Education Authority and The Irish Independent. In presenting the medals, Minister Quinn said, “The Academy Gold Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The work of this year’s recipients illustrates Ireland’s high standing in the world of learning.” Professor William Schabas, Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, is one of the leading scholars in the field of international criminal law. His work is closely linked with a range of international judicial institutions including, the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court (ICC). His writings are regularly cited by international courts and tribunals, including the ICC and the European Court of Human Rights. Professor Schabas’ seminal book on the Genocide Convention was cited in the opinions of the ICC in the 2007 Bosnia v. Serbia judgement and clearly influenced the thinking of the court as a whole. Professor John O’Scanlan, UCD, is widely recognised as one of the leading international living circuit theorists who has made a fundamental contribution to the field of electronic engineering, including electronic circuit and system design, digital circuits and computing, communications and signal processing. Professor Scanlan has many awards and distinctions, a former President of the Royal Irish Academy (1993-1996); he is also a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. Welcoming this award NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to our colleague, Professor Schabas on receiving this wonderful distinction from the RIA.  This accolade will undoubtedly add lustre to his international academic standing, as well as underscore this University’s reputation as a centre of world-class research and teaching.”    -ENDS-

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New Competition Challenges Students to Build Super App

New Competition Challenges Students to Build Super App-image

Friday, 16 December 2011

GMIT AND NUI GALWAY LAUNCH CODE NINJA STUDENT COMPETITION A new competition ‘Code Ninja’ has been launched for students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and NUI Galway. Code Ninja is an App development competition, designed to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. The competition is open to all disciplines of students in NUI Galway and GMIT, either individuals or groups, who want to build a web or mobile App. Students who enter the competition will get all the skills required to build their own App, including training, workshops, design, web and mobile App building, coding with feedback and mentoring from App experts. A range of prizes includes an iPad, iPod Touch and cash awards. Code Ninja will foster students’ spirit of creativity and enable them to cultivate their own technology ideas. According to Dr Jim Duggan, NUI Galway, and Dr Sean Duignan, GMIT, “This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and GMIT students from any discipline to work on the leading edge of web technology. Students from any discipline can learn new skills, network with the technology entrepreneurs and academic experts with a view to fostering a culture of creativity, excitement as well as adding value to their curriculum vitae.”  Code Ninja demonstrates how NUI Galway and GMIT are fostering a culture of innovation across their respective campuses and this is supported by the local business community. Galway technology entrepreneurs Mike FitzGerald, CEO, OnepageCRM and Paul Killoran, CEO of Starlight.ie, agree that this is an opportunity which sows a seed to build on the blossoming tech start up culture that exists in Galway whilst building links with NUI Galway, GMIT and the Galway tech scene.  Code Ninja is supported by the Bright Ideas Initiative at NUI Galway, GMIT, ExOrdo for Academics and OnepageCRM. More information about the competition Code Ninja is available at http://codeninja.ie/   -ends-

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NUI GALWAY LAW LECTURER APPOINTED TO LEGAL AID BOARD

NUI GALWAY LAW LECTURER APPOINTED TO LEGAL AID BOARD-image

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway law lecturer, Donncha O’Connell, has been appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, to the new Legal Aid Board. Announcing the membership of the new Board yesterday, Mr Shatter said: “I am delighted to announce this new Legal Aid Board.  In the last four years there has been a considerable increase in demand for legal services and this coincides with the downturn in the economy.  Evidence internationally has pointed towards a greater need for access to legal services in areas such as family law, debt and employment during times of economic stress and Ireland appears no different in this regard.  This has inevitably created huge pressures for the Board and its capacity to deliver legal services within a reasonable period of time.  There are many challenges ahead for this new Board, including piloting, early in 2012, a somewhat different approach to the provision of legal services by way of an attempt to ensure that every applicant for legal aid gets an appointment within a period of three or four weeks. In November of this year, I also announced the formal integration of the Family Mediation Service with the Legal Aid Board and the functions of the Legal Aid Board have now been extended under Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to include a family mediation service.  The Board is also, in taking a range of other measures, keeping all of its services under review with a view to ensuring that its resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.  I am confident that the new Board members will all bring their considerable skills and expertise to the work of the Legal Aid Board and that their presence on the Board will ensure that it continues to operate as innovatively, efficiently and effectively as it has always done, in what is, a much more difficult economic environment than at any time in its history.” O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published annually by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of FLAC.   ENDS

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New E-Commerce Venture in Education

New E-Commerce Venture in Education-image

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NUI Galway has embarked on a new initiative with Transition Year students from the Presentation Secondary School in Galway City. The students have devised a new e-Commerce module which is facilitated by their business teacher Eleanor Fogarty. The project involves developing an e-Marketing strategy for an illustrated children’s book called Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds.  This children’s story was illustrated by Rebecca Kane, one of the Transition Year students in the Presentation School and written by Declan Clarke. Aimed at children between two and six years of age, Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds has already been launched on iTunes as an e-book for the iPad, and is *available to buy for €3.99. Dr Ann Torres, Lecturer in Marketing with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc Strategic Marketing cultivates students’ practical skills through the application of theory to real business situations, such as developing an e-marketing strategy for an e-book. It is this link between practice and theory that enhances the MSc. students’ capability to perform as an effective marketer. Further, NUI Galway’s involvement with the Presentation Secondary School is a valuable gateway in which secondary school students may gain an insight into the opportunities associated with third-level education.” Introducing the students to e-Commerce is essential as the world moves towards buying and selling online. Part of the Transition Year students’ project will be to devise an e-marketing campaign to promote the book and to expand the network of interest through Facebook. The students will gain a real-life understanding of the launch of the new book which will be an extremely valuable experience for them.   -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery

NUI Galway Appoints Ireland’s First Professor of Midwifery-image

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery. Professor Declan Devane, himself a midwife, is based at NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. With approximately 700 students, the School is at the forefront of nursing and midwifery education and research in Ireland. Over his 22-year career in nursing and midwifery, Professor Devane has established an international reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in his areas of expertise, which include the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of assessment of fetal wellbeing. While other institutions have Chairs in nursing and midwifery, this is the first university appointment of a Chair in Midwifery. This focus on the profession of midwifery reflects trends internationally that recognise the unique and important contribution midwifery makes to high quality maternity services. Professor Devane has taken up the Chair in Midwifery at a time when over 75,000 babies are born every year in Ireland. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Devane said that he was delighted and honoured to accept the new role: “My hope is that my appointment will enable me to work with those who seek a better service for childbearing women and their children. Most births take place against a backdrop of sub-optimal infrastructure, in large and aging hospitals with too few delivery suites. There are also concerns about operating theatres shared for childbirth and for other surgeries. This scenario is compacted by substantial understaffing of our maternity services in terms of both midwives and obstetricians, while our community maternity services are also terribly under resourced.” Commenting on the organisation of maternity services in Ireland, Professor Devane added: “Unlike some other areas of healthcare, there is no evidence to support that the centralisation of maternity services in large hospitals improves outcomes for women and their infants. On the contrary, there is substantial high-quality evidence demonstrating benefits for midwifery units in which the skills and expertise of midwives are used to their full potential. Common sense suggests, and scientific evidence demonstrates, that it doesn’t make clinical, social or economic sense for most women to give birth in large, centralised hospitals that are heaving at the seams. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. Midwives, obstetricians and GPs each have their place and their role in the provision of collaborative maternity care, and no one model of care, care-giver or birth setting should be advocated for all women. However, every woman should experience the best possible care from the most appropriate professional, chosen by her, to ensure the best outcomes for her and her baby. It is vital that we make these choices a reality for women. There is bound to be a lot of new challenges ahead but that’s part of the excitement of the job.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “Professor Devane has a proven record of excellence in teaching and research. Through his research work, his professional activities and his interest in developing international collaborations, Professor Devane will make a valuable contribution to the success of our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has established a growing research reputation.” Professor Devane qualified as a nurse in Galway and as a midwife in Bristol and Gloucestershire, where he worked before returning to Ireland to work in the Rotunda, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and in Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Expert Network of Research Advisors, a member of the Midwifery Committee of An Bord Altranais, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of both the UK Cochrane Centre and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Professor Devane is passionate about the care of children with serious illnesses, particularly those with life-limiting illness, and is a Director of the children’s cancer charity for the West, Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhand.ie). In 2009, combining fundraising activities for this charity with his love of scuba diving, he raised over €35,000 for charity and simultaneously set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest open saltwater SCUBA dive (cold water)’.   -ends-

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