NUI Galway Gives Students a Chance to Name Sea Creature

NUI Galway Gives Students a Chance to Name Sea Creature -image

Monday, 16 May 2011

This summer, as part of the Vents & Reefs (VENTuRE) expedition, Marine Scientists from NUI Galway and University College Cork (UCC), are amongst a team that are heading out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to check out a newly discovered hydrothermal vent ecosystem. Here, on the mid-Atlantic ridge at a depth of almost 3000 metres, the Marine Institute’s Holland I ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) will be sending images to scientists at the surface of a whole new world. This new ecosystem is such an exciting discovery that National Geographic Television will be there to film the whole experience. Patrick Collins, a researcher with the Benthic Ecology Unit at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, is the lead Marine Biologist with the Vents & Reefs campaign, and has organised a very exciting competition for second level students in Ireland. Over the course of the three week cruise, he will be collecting and identifying many previously undiscovered animals. As part of this competition one of these could end up with a students name on it. Patrick Collins says “This is an extremely important discovery, and one that we think people will be very excited about. We are asking for secondary school students across Ireland to use their imaginations and understanding of the sea to design their own deep sea hydrothermal vent creature. We’d like to see carefully thought out illustrations along with a description of the creature’s habitat, diet, life and evolutionary history, and whatever else you think is important. One lucky winner will actually have one of the new species that we discover at the vents named after them. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!” This competition is open to all secondary school students across Ireland and the UK. Entries must contain at least one clearly labelled, hand-drawn or computer illustration accompanied by a separate A4 page (max 400 words) containing a comprehensive description of the creature’s name, its habitat, diet, etc. Completed entries should be posted to: Sarah Knight, Ryan Institute, Orbsen Building, NUI Galway. Competition deadline is June 15, 2011, and the winner will be announced after the Celtic Explorer returns to Ireland in August. Full competition details are available at http://www.ryaninstitute.ie/education-outreach/outreach/vents-reefs-competition/. The team are very grateful to the Marine Institute who are funding the cruise, and to National Geographic Television, who will be documenting the cruise, for their involvement and additional funding support. -Ends-

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2011 International Seminar on John McGahern Announced

2011 International Seminar on John McGahern Announced-image

Monday, 16 May 2011

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council have announced that the fifth International Seminar on John McGahern, commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, will take place from 21 to 23 July in Co. Leitrim. Last year’s International Seminar attracted more than 150 participants from Ireland and overseas. The theme of the seminar this year is McGahern and Creativity, and the keynote lecture will be given by Colm Tóibín, whose novel Brooklyn has just been shortlisted for this year’s International Impac Dublin Literary Award. Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, says: “The role of creativity in all areas of innovative thinking is increasingly recognised, from the sciences to the arts and the economic endeavours linked with these. We should of course be careful about a catch-all or reductive approach to creativity, but we should also be suspicious about the sort of romantic approach that sees creativity as something indefinably ’special’, as if all a writer like McGahern had to do was walk the lanes of Leitrim waiting for beautiful thoughts to strike him. It is a familiar but vital truth that the creation of literature is at least as much about regular perspiration at the desk as it is about any kind of dreamy inspiration, and McGahern’s devotion to his craft provides an ideal context for the exploration of this idea. Our seminar promises to be an exciting investigation of how McGahern’s own talent and creative force of personality was formidably combined with the clever hard work required to become one of the greats.” Other speakers at the event will include the poets Gerald Dawe, Paula Meehan and Bernard O’Donoghue. The short-story writer Ēilis Ní Dhuibhne and the poet John McAuliffe will be reading their new work from volume 4 of The John McGahern Yearbook, edited by John Kenny, which will be launched at the Seminar. The Yearbook is a lavishly illustrated hardback and includes proceedings of the 2010 Seminar as well as a range of articles by writers and critics. The Seminar will also include a feature presentation by educator Michael Lally titled Zen McGahern, and the architectural historian Seán Rothery will be giving a talk on the nature of McGahern’s small towns. There will also be a viewing of McGahern’s screenplay, The Rockingham Shoot, after which a closing plenary lecture will be delivered by Professor Luke Gibbons. The Seminar will involve guided visits to John McGahern’s home places in Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill in Co. Leitrim, and also to Cootehall in Co. Roscommon where a public discussion of McGahern’s first novel, The Barracks, will be held. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture. In addition to the public seminar, NUI Galway has organised the fourth intensive International Summer School on McGahern’s work and its contexts which will form part of the University’s 28th International Summer School in Irish Studies. The Summer School is designed for advanced level students and researchers who are interested in the writings of John McGahern, his life and times in 20th-century Ireland, and related areas of creative writing. The Summer School incorporates the International Seminar and continues at the County Library, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim the week after the Seminar. The 2010 Summer School was attended by students from Britain and the United States as well as Ireland. Contributors to this year’s Summer School, directed by Dr John Kenny, will include Professor Denis Sampson, author of Outstaring Nature’s Eye: The Fiction of John McGahern; Dr Stanley van der Ziel, editor of McGahern’s Love of the World: Essays; and Dr Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. Guest writers, including Kevin Barry, Martin Dyar, Mike McCormack and Belinda McKeon, will discuss the creative as well as critical implications of McGahern’s legacy. Historian Liam Kelly will give a feature talk on the local dimensions of McGahern’s thought and work. There will also be an opportunity at the Summer School to experience local social and cultural events. Announcing the McGahern events, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “The University is pleased to collaborate with Leitrim County Council in the Fifth International Seminar on John Mcgahern, which is designed to recognise and promote the work of John McGahern among scholars and readers of his work. The Seminar location in the heart of McGahern country in Leitrim, provides an unique opportunity to explore and engage with McGahern’s exceptional understanding and literary portrayal of Irish rural life”. Speaking about the 2011 programme, Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, said: “Leitrim County Council is delighted to be again working in partnership with NUI Galway in organising the fifth International Seminar and Summer School. The Seminar is an important part of Ireland’s literary calendar and presents a wonderful opportunity for people to engage richly with the work of John McGahern in the heartland of Leitrim”. For further details on the International Seminar & Summer School on John McGahern contact 091 495442 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/iss. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

Two NUI Galway researchers, Professor Abhay Pandit, Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and Professor Rhodri Ceredig of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (Remedi) were among five awardees funded under an innovative new research programme funded by the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) this week. The research projects, all in the biomedical sphere, were launched by the Minister for Research and Innovation Mr Sean Sherlock TD. The Healthcare Innovation Programme Award (HIPA), which was established by SFI with the support of COSAT is aimed at encouraging biomedical exploration in the specific areas of immune-modulated inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, graft-vs-host disease, psoriasis, lung disease, renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Speaking about the significance of the programme, Minister Sherlock said “Given that inflammatory disorders are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, there is now an urgency in expediting the discovery of novel therapeutic targets in inflammation, in developing new treatment approaches and in moving to translate these developments to clinical applications.” The Minister added “This timely partnership identifies Irish based researchers who will help accelerate the translation of basic research into therapies useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases” Professor Pandit, in collaboration with Professor John Laffey, Department of Anaesthesia, NUI Galway will conduct a study on a novel treatment for acute lung injury. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI) constitute the leading cause of death in paediatric and adult critical care; it is a devastating disease process for which no therapy exists. This study will use biomaterial-based nanospheres to deliver the optimal dosage of the SOD gene, to the lung using a nebulizer. This is a non-invasive approach, which will ensure translation to the clinical setting. Speaking about the award, Professor Pandit said “We are delighted, and very grateful, to receive this grant supporting our research. We at the NFB are keen to translate our research to the clinical setting and this award supports that ambition.” Professor Ceredig in collaboration with Professor Benjamin Bradley of the Institute of Technology, Tralee will conduct a drug discovery programme using by-products obtained from processing of natural materials. Some of these products have been shown to have immune-modulatory activity. Using a screening assay whereby whole blood is incubated in the presence of these materials, the funds will be used to identify novel immune-modulatory drugs from these natural sources. There are so many examples where novel drugs, such as aspirin and penicillin have been discovered from natural sources. Speaking about the award, Professor Ceredig said “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award for a collaborative venture between NUI Galway and the Institute of Technology, Tralee. We are hopeful that this form of collaboration will result in the discovery and development of novel therapies for immune and inflammatory diseases.” -Ends-

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New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched

New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

We the Citizens is a new, national, independent initiative to show how Ireland could benefit by citizens coming together in new ways of public decision-making. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and endorsed by the IUA, the main objective of the new initiative is to renew trust in politics at this time of social and economic crisis in Ireland. A number of citizen information events will take place throughout Ireland in May and June and these will culminate in a national citizens assembly at the end of June. Cork - Wednesday, 18 May at 7pm in the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City Galway - Tuesday, 24 May at 7pm in the Radisson, Lough Atalia Road, Galway Blanchardstown - Tuesday, 31 May at 7pm in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 Tallaght - Wednesday, 1 June at 7pm in the Maldron Hotel Tallaght, Whitestown Way, Tallaght Donegal - Tuesday, 7 June at 7pm in the Radisson, Paddy Harte Road, Letterkennny, Co Donegal Athlone - Tuesday, 14 June at 7pm in the Sheraton, Gleeson St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Each event will close with a political comedy performance and Gary Cooke and Barry Murphy of Après Match fame are among some of the special guests lined up. To secure your place, or for further information, visit www.wethecitizens.ie or call 01 6706362. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships -image

Monday, 9 May 2011

Six NUI Galway Researchers have been awarded Fellowships by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). Over € 3.3 million will be made available under the IRCSET Empower scheme to support a total of 37 researchers who will carry out a research and professional development programme over the next two years. The NUI Galway recipients include Dr Fiona Brennan, Dr Olivier LeRoux, Biology; Dr Rory Coffey, Dr James Murphy, Earth/Environmental Sciences; Dr Alexander Rahm, Mathematics and Dr Micheal Scanlon, Chemistry. IRCSET programmes are aimed at knowledge creation within Ireland for the future benefit of society and the smart economy. The EMPOWER Scheme is targeted at developing the country s international reputation as an important location in which to carry out world class research, so that Ireland retains and attracts the highest level Research and Development capabilities for the future. The scheme was open to applicants worldwide who wish to carry out research in Ireland. Announcing the posts, Martin Hynes, Director of IRCSET commented: “Now in its ninth year, the EMPOWER Scheme continues to assist in building the strong Irish research system by facilitating talented young researchers to develop their careers in Ireland. These individuals both contribute to and gain from the experience of established research teams, developing the necessary skills to equip them for successful careers in a wide range of employment sectors. The scheme also facilitates international mobility within the research community by attracting researchers from other countries to Ireland. Each year it attracts a large number of applications from very high-quality candidates worldwide, and the scheme’s international assessment committee continue to be impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of the successful candidates.” Congratulating the six NUI Galway researchers, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway Professor Terry Smith said; “The IRCSET Empower scheme is an important scheme which gives our researchers at an early stage of their research career the opportunity to build upon and broaden their research and professional skills, which contribute to the excellent research being undertaken at NUI Galway.” All applications to this highly competitive scheme were subject to assessment, strictly on merit, by international assessment committees who are specialist in each domain. The decision to grant funding is based on research career to date, project description, proposed research environment and references from recognised research leaders. Further details are available at www.ircset.ie. -Ends-

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