Growing What We Have - A Doubling of the Workforce

Growing What We Have - A Doubling of the Workforce-image

Friday, 1 July 2011

Innovative research commissioned by the Western Development Commission (WDC) and carried out by researchers at NUIGalway has highlighted the potential for a doubling of the workforce employed in the Creative Sector over the next 10 years. Additionally this could lead to up to €150 million in additional exports per annum from the sector – a key area of growth identified. The report is a follow up to the WDC’s much heralded Creative West report published in February 2009, which in itself established the creative economy in the Western Region as being internationally significant with 4,775 businesses employing 11,000 people directly.   Today’s follow up analysis entitled –“Creative Sector in The Western Region – Future Growth Trajectories”, was published this week by the WDC. Complied by a research team led by Dr. Patrick Collins of NUI Galway’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) the report maps out the future growth scenarios for an industrial sector that has been bucking international trends in terms of growth.  “Internationally this sector has been outpacing others in terms of growth and this is a pattern that we see emerging in Ireland” according to Dr. Collins at CISC. “It is clear to us that a small number of policies, correctly implemented, have the potential to make a massive difference for the sector and the region” he continued.   Commenting on the research, Dr. James Cunningham, the Director of CISC maintained that "this work shows an area of potential for the whole of the west of Ireland, and in the current climate, all potential needs to be realised". Ian Brannigan Regional Development Manager at the WDC commented: “The WDC are delighted to welcome this analysis of how we create opportunities and employment from this indigenous and significant part of our economy. We have long realized the creative economy is a natural resource and we are now working with the sector to both highlight this and move ahead to grow the employment and export opportunities.” In particular the report focuses on the promotion of exports and increased collaboration between members of the sector as key steps in attaining this growth. The increasing international demand for the authentic and unique products characterized by this sector points to the growth potential for exporting, while the sharing of knowledge and innovation through collaboration also highlights the growth dynamic of this relatively new sector. The issues highlighted by the research are exceptionally relevant in light of the current economic climate and recent figures showing a rise in the numbers unemployed in the region. Ian also stated: “Of particular interest to us is the fact that in addition to the employment and revenue opportunities identified by the businesses themselves, the analysis shows us wider benefits in terms of option, educational and prestige values, which simply means that almost everyone benefits directly from the sector growth in some way or another” Gillian Buckley Acting CEO for the WDC stated: “Once again we are seeing that there is a real return on supporting our indigenous SME sector and that they form a key part in supporting the wider knowledge economy growth in the region and beyond. The WDC is happy to play a key role in helping make this happen in our communities.” This industry-involved analysis underpins an on-going series of initiatives that the WDC and its partners are undertaking to tangibly support the growth in market, revenue and employment opportunities within the burgeoning creative economy in the Western Region, the Creative West.  -ends-

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Public Invited to Learn about Environmental Research at NUI Galway

Public Invited to Learn about Environmental Research at NUI Galway -image

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway is hosting its annual Research Open Day on Thursday, 9 June, from 2pm to 5.30pm. Short talks will address subjects of national and global importance such as the economics of marine energy and novel treatments of greenhouse gases. A meet and greet session and poster display highlighting ongoing research by some of the Institute’s 300+ researchers in areas such as Energy, Biodiversity, and Human Health will also take place. The free event is aimed at the general public and all are encouraged to attend. According to the Ryan Institute’s Director, Dr Colin Brown, “When NUI Galway’s Environmental Change and Martin Ryan Institutes merged in 2010 to form the Ryan Institute, it provided us with a great opportunity to further broaden the scope of our projects, and consider all aspects of our research from new angles.” He added, “Our Research Open Day provides us with the opportunity of sharing our work with the local community, and getting thoughts and insights from the people our research benefits.” According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute, “This Open Day should appeal to anyone who has an interest in how the world around us is being so severely affected by environmental and climate change. Everyone is welcome to attend. We invite all members of the public to come and join us on the day to find out what is going on in our local University that is leading to the development of new solutions to curb the damage caused by global environmental change. Anyone involved in eco-related business should not miss out on this event.” In one project that will be highlighted on the Research Day, Civil Engineers at the Ryan Institute are collaborating with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the National Roads Authority (NRA) to develop guidelines for a National Cycling Network (NCN) across Ireland. Postgraduate student Richard Manton is using the N59 Galway to Clifden route as a case study, and examining engineering, design, route considerations and cost benefit analyses. Principal Investigator Dr Eoghan Clifford tells us, “Ireland’s scenery is world renowned. The NCN presents an ideal opportunity to exploit our natural advantage in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. With the network in place, jobs can be created in the construction and maintenance of the cycle ways and local tourism will also benefit.” The Ryan Institute Research Open Day will be held on 9 June, from 2pm, with registration beginning at 1pm in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. The Research Day is free and open to all and pre-registration is not necessary. To RSVP or for more information visit www.ryaninstitute.ie or contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer on 091 495061 or sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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Cleaner Air but a Warmer Europe, Research Finds

Cleaner Air but a Warmer Europe, Research Finds-image

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

New research initiated jointly by NUI Galway and the University of Helsinki reveals the true rate of greenhouse gas induced global warming has been masked by atmospheric aerosols (otherwise known as Particulate Matter), through their formation of reflective haze and cloud layers leading to an aerosol cooling effect.   The new investigations show that the present-day aerosol cooling effect will be strongly reduced by 2030 as more stringent air pollution abatements are implemented both worldwide and at the European scale and as advanced environmental technologies are utilised. These actions are projected to increase the global temperature by 1°C and temperatures over Europe by up to 2-4°C depending on the severity of the action. This is one of the main research outcomes of the recently concluded EUCAARI (European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interaction) project funded by the European Commission.   The EUCAARI project, originally initiated by Professor Colin O’Dowd at NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, who resided on the project’s management team, and led by Professor Markku Kulmala of the University of Helsinki, has provided new understanding of the impacts of aerosols and trace gases on clouds and climate.   According to Professor O’Dowd:“The quantification of the effect of aerosols on the radiative balance (cooling or heating) of the planet has been one of the most urgent tasks to underpin more informed projections of future climate change. Now that we have this data we need to reinforce European political decision-making to develop new strategies and implementation plans for global air quality monitoring and to take Europe a leading role in developing and applying environmental technologies.  Furthermore, it is urgent that higher-resolution EU-scale projections are conducted using a new generation of regional models nested within the global models.”   EUCAARI has been the most extensive atmospheric aerosol research project in Europe so far. The total budget of the project was €15 million, of which €10 million was provided by the European Commission Framework Programme 6. In all, 48 research institutes from 24 countries participated in this project over the period 2007-2010. The project has led to significantly more information on the whole physics background related to aerosol formation and impacts at all scales; from nanoscale to global, and from milliseconds to centuries.   The project performed extensive studies from ground-based, aircraft and satellite platforms, not only in Europe, but also in China, South-Africa, Brazil and India (i.e. significant developing countries). These studies have improved the theoretical understanding of the aerosol life-cycle, enabling scientists to make major improvements in climate and air pollution models and present new air pollution scenarios over Europe.   Professor O’Dowd added: “The positive impacts of aerosols are partially off-setting global warming while the negative effects impact on public health. Abatement of the negative health impact is complicated due to the diversity of sources, even within Europe.”    EUCAARI found that the reduction in ammonia emissions is one of the most effective ways to reduce aerosol mass concentrations in Europe. Reduction in nitric oxides is also effective, but might lead to higher ozone levels, thereby leading to another negative impact on air quality. Reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions will reduce particulate air pollution especially in the Eastern Mediterranean area.   Reduction of organic aerosol concentrations is a lot more challenging and will require reductions of gas and aerosol emissions from transportation and biomass burning. Furthermore, it is now shown that a large fraction of organic aerosols in Europe is of modern origin (as opposed to fossil fuel origins), for which the main sources are biogenic secondary organic aerosol (boreal forests), biomass burning and primary biogenic aerosol particles.”   Professor O’Dowd concluded: “All these emission sources are expected to respond to climate change, although we are presently unable to gauge the strength of the multitude of feedback mechanisms involved.  The uncertainties in feedback highlight the need for improved Earth System Climate models to encapsulate feedback processes generally lacking in current projections.”   - ends – 

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NUI Galway Alumni Club Hosts Corrib Princess Cruise

NUI Galway Alumni Club Hosts Corrib Princess Cruise   -image

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The NUI Galway Alumni Club invites all graduates to the third annual cruise on the Corrib Princess on Thursday, 7 July. The Corrib Princess will depart from Woodquay at 7.00pm for a four hour cruise along Lough Corrib’s famous Steamers Line. A barbeque will be served on board and entertainment will be provided by Galway Bay FM’s Marc Roberts. “Catching up with old friends and fellow alumni on board the Corrib Princess is great way to spend a summer’s evening” says Emma Goode, Alumni Project Manager. “We encourage all graduates to come along, bring a friend and pass on the message to former classmates.” For further information and booking details please contact Colm O’Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends- 

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NUI Galway Honours Four Outstanding Individuals with Honorary Degrees

NUI Galway Honours Four Outstanding Individuals with Honorary Degrees-image

Friday, 24 June 2011

Four outstanding individuals were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today (Friday 24 June, 2011). Those conferred were Margaret Atwood, Seán O’Rourke, Professor Gio Wiederhold and Seán Campbell. Speaking at the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne 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. Each has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, youth affairs, journalism and computer science. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals”. Margaret Atwood was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). The Canadian author has published more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her newest novel, The Year of the Flood (2009) is, in the author’s words, “the meanwhile” or the “simultaneal” to her 2003 Giller Prize finalist, Oryx and Crake. Other books include the 2000 Booker Prize-winning, The Blind Assassin: Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada, The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Tent. Margaret has a strong connection with the West of Ireland and has contributed poetry to a collection edited by Des Lally in 2008 entitled Captivating Brightness: Ballynahinch. Profits from the book were donated to Cancer Care West. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson. Seán O’Rourke was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). A native of Portlaoise, Seán completed a BA in English, History and Legal Science at NUI Galway, graduating in 1977. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. He was Radio Journalist of the Year in 1997 and won PPI Awards for News Broadcaster of the year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Professor Gio Wiederhold was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Gio Wiederhold is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine at Stanford University, still teaching part-time. Gio Wiederhold was born in Italy and received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in Holland in 1957. In 1976 he obtained a PhD in Medical Information Science from the University of California at San Francisco and joined the Stanford faculty. Gio consulted with several computing enterprises in Europe and Asia. Professor Wiederhold is one of the pioneers in Computer Science who created the foundations for modern Web and information technology, which shaped society and the economy throughout the world. He is one of the founding fathers of Databases as a research field in Computer Science and has initiated Knowledge Base Research while at DARPA. During his career he has pioneered the combination of Database and Knowledge Bases. His research contributions are fundamental for the Semantic Web, which is the main research topic of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, (DERI) one of NUI Galway’s flagship research institutes. Seán Campbell was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Seán Campbell is Chief Executive Officer of Foróige, Ireland’s leading youth organisation and has worked for the organisation for over 25 years. A native of Dundalk, Co. Louth, Seán is a graduate of UCD and holds a BA and a Higher Diploma in Education. He volunteered for two years in Zambia. During his time at Foróige, Seán has played a pivotal role in the continuous and rapid development of Foróige and the youth work sector. One of Seán’s most notable achievements is bringing the Big Brother Big Sister youth mentoring programme to Ireland. Seán was a driving force in the development of Foróige’s relationship with the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway which, among other things, led to Foróige’s partner status in the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. Today’s graduands join the ranks of previous honorary conferees which include among many others Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, the late Merv Griffin, Anjelica Huston and Fionnuala Flanagan. -Ends-

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