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10 Risk Factors are Associated with 90% of Risk of Stroke
Friday, 18 June 2010
The INTERSTROKE study, published online and in an upcoming publication of medical journal Lancet, shows that a total of 10 risk factors (including high blood pressure, smoking, and waist-to-hip ratio) are associated with 90% of the risk of stroke. The international study, being presented today (Friday, 18 June) at The World Congress of Cardiology, Beijing, is written by Dr Martin O'Donnell of NUI Galway and formerly McMaster University and Dr Salim Yusuf, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, and colleagues for the INTERSTROKE investigators. The contribution of various risk factors to the burden of stroke worldwide is unknown, particularly in countries of low and middle income where the largest burden of stroke occurs. In the first phase of the INTERSTROKE study, the authors aimed to establish the association of known and emerging risk factors with stroke and its primary subtypes, assess the contribution of these risk factors to the burden of stroke, and explore the differences between risk factors for stroke and heart attack. The authors used data from 6,000 people (3,000 cases of stroke and 3,000 controls) in 22 countries* worldwide, covering the period March, 2007 to April, 2010. Cases were patients with a first acute stroke (within 5 days of symptoms onset and 72 h of hospital admission). Controls had no history of stroke, and were matched with cases for age and sex. All participants completed a structured questionnaire and a physical examination, and most provided blood and urine samples. The authors calculated the increased risk and population-attributable risks (PARs) for the association of all stroke, ischaemic stroke, and intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke with selected risk factors. The authors found the following 10 risk factors to be significantly associated with stroke: high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio (abdominal obesity), diet, physical activity, lipids (fats), diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake, stress and depression, and heart disorders. Collectively, these risk factors accounted for 90% of the PAR for all stroke. These risk factors were all significant for ischaemic stroke (caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain), whereas high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, diet, and alcohol intake were significant risk factors for intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain tissue). The ratio of bad to good blood lipids (apolipoproteins) was an important risk factor for ischemic stroke but not for haemorrhagic stroke. When looking at individual risk factors, the authors say it is important to note that the individual PARs for risk factors do not add up to the overall PAR for all risk factors combined. This is because many risk factors are inter-related. The study also addresses each risk factor independently, and found that high blood pressure was the most important for stroke, since it was associated with one-third of the risk of all stroke, and increased the risk of stroke more than two-and-a-half fold compared with no history of high blood pressure. Smokers were at double the risk of stroke compared with non-smokers, and smoking was associated with one in five strokes. Professor Martin O'Donnell, NUI Galway explained: "The INTERSTROKE study is the first large standardised case-control study of risk factors for stroke in which countries of low and middle income were included, and where all cases completed a brain scan (usually a CT scan). Our findings showed that five risk factors accounted for more than 80% of the global risk of all stroke (ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhagic): hypertension, current smoking, abdominal obesity, diet, and physical activity. With the addition of five other risk factors, including apolipoproteins, the PAR for all stroke rose to 90%." The authors highlight that nine of ten risk factors (not including cardiac disorders) in INTERSTROKE are the same as in INTERHEART (also led by Dr Yusuf) which looked at risk factors for heart attacks. The relative importance of many of these risk factors is different for stroke and heart attack. For example, blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke, while blood lipids (fats) are the most important risk factors for heart attack. However, the nine risk factors in INTERHEART covered 90% of the PAR for heart attacks. They add that this work proves that a large international epidemiological study of stroke that requires routine neuroimaging is feasible in countries of low and middle income, and conclude: "Targeted population-based interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the global burden of stroke." The investigators are currently undertaking Phase 2 of INTERSTROKE, which will include Ireland, aims to include 20,000 participants. This second phase will determine the importance of risk factors within different regions, different ethnic groups, and within ischemic stroke subtypes. In addition, the association between genetics and risk of stroke will be studied—this will require large sample sizes. In an accompanying Comment, Dr Jack V Tu, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, says: "Whilst hypertension is well established as the most important cause of stroke in high-income countries, INTERSTROKE confirms that it is also the most important risk factor for stroke in developing countries. This finding is particularly relevant because it highlights the need for health authorities in these regions to develop strategies to screen the general population for high blood pressure and, if necessary, offer affordable treatment to reduce the burden of stroke. It also provides an impetus to develop population-wide strategies to reduce the salt content in the diet of individuals in these countries." -Ends-
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NUI Galway Summer Conferring Ceremony
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Over 170 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies will be conferred by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 17 June). The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-eight Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty PhD students from across all disciplines. International students will also be well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait, who along with students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "Our research student numbers continue to grow, as do the numbers in our wide range of taught postgraduate programmes. We have significantly increased our number of Ph.D. graduates in recent years. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer almost 3 times that number annually. It is very encouraging to see the number of research degrees conferred across all Colleges at this conferring ceremony." President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 25 June. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Report Concludes Crimes Against Humanity Committed Against Rohingyas
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
The Rohingya minority group in Western Burma has been victim of human rights violations amounting tocrimes against humanity, according to a report released today (Thursday, 16 June) by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The report, entitled Crimes against Humanity in Western Burma: The Situation of the Rohingyas, was officially launched by Micheál Martin, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Iveagh House, Dublin. "For decades now, the Rohingya minority group has endured grave human rights violations in North Arakan State. Every day, more Rohingya men, women and children are leaving Burma, fleeing the human rights abuses in the hope of finding peace and security elsewhere," said Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The Report is based on extensive open-source research and on a fact-finding mission to Burma, Thailand and Bangladesh conducted by experts in international criminal investigation. As well as interviewing organisations working in the region, investigators met with Rohingya victims in and around refugee camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingyas' plight has been overlooked for years and the root causes of their situation still remain under-examined. The Irish Centre for Human Rights' Report identifies and discusses some of these causes. The Report examines whether the apparent cases of enslavement, rape and sexual violence, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and persecution against the Rohingyas may constitute crimes against humanity. "Describing the violations as crimes against humanity raises the possibility that cases against those Burmese officials who are responsible could be referred to the International Criminal Court", Professor Schabas explained. The Report affirms that people committing, allowing, aiding and abetting these crimes must be held accountable. The international community has a responsibility to protect the Rohingyas, to respond to the allegations of crimes against humanity and ensure that violations and impunity do not persist for another generation, concludes the report Speaking at the launch of the Report, Minister Martin commended the work of the NUI Galway research team, stating that they have presented "compelling evidence suggesting that crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by the Burmese authorities against the Rohingya minority group". Noting the recommendation in the Report that the Security Council establish a Commission of Inquiry to determine whether there is a prima facie case that crimes against humanity have been committed, as well as similar recent comments by UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, Minister Martin said that he fully supported these calls for all such alleged crimes to be formally investigated. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, is one of the world's leading university-based human rights research centres. The Centre, which marks its tenth anniversary this year, is dedicated to teaching, research and advocacy in the field of human rights. Report available at: www.nuigalway.ie/human_rights/projects/burma.html ENDS
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NUI Galway Wins Prestigious All-Ireland MBA Award
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
The NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) team was announced All-Ireland Champions after a historic win for the University at the recent MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge. Organised by the MBA Association of Ireland, the business strategy competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland. The NUI Galway Executive MBA team was announced champions after competing against teams from DCU, UCD, University of Ulster and Waterford IT. The final-year Executive MBA students strategically analysed a Harvard Business Case over four hours and then presented their findings to a judging panel chaired by Professor Patrick McNamee of the University of Ulster and member of the MBA Association of Ireland. In their winning presentation, the NUI Galway team demonstrated analytical rigour, effective teamwork, strategic and operational insights in outlining the future strategy for HTC Corp., the case study for this competition. Commenting on the win, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: "The NUI Galway Executive MBA curriculum has a very strong focus on strategy and prepares students to excel as business and strategy analysts. Winning the MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge reinforces the excellent teaching and learning standards available to NUI Galway MBA students". The leader of the NUI Galway Executive MBA team, Brian Molloy, added: "This is an immense and historic result for NUI Galway. The skill-set and toolkit necessary for us to deliver a winning strategic analysis in just four hours came from the two year MBA programme at NUI Galway. Whilst there was a team of five performing on the day, this win demonstrates the calibre and capacity to deliver that every graduate of the NUI Galway MBA programme possesses and that future students will acquire if they take on the challenge of the MBA. It must be very reassuring for employers in the West to know that the local University is producing such a talented pool of MBA graduates". The winning team included Niall Cunningham, Brian Molloy, Devin Mettler, Bríd Seoige and Declan Staunton from the Executive MBA programme. -Ends-
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International Historians of Science and Technology Convene at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
NUI Galway will host the Science and Technology in the European Periphery (STEP) conference commencing on Thursday, 17 June and running until 20 June. STEP is an international group of historians of science, medicine and technology and includes scholars from all over Europe. STEP meetings happen every two years with the purpose of exploring the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies on the periphery of Europe. STEP was founded in 1999 and Galway is the seventh European city to host the organisation. The group was previously hosted by Istanbul in 2008 and Menorca in 2006. The Galway meeting features 70 speakers from all over Europe, as well as the USA, Japan and Brazil. Some of the speakers will challenge traditional notions of the periphery of Europe, by examining the exchange of scientific information between Europe and the East Indies, and with the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas. The opening session will focus on Ireland's scientific heritage, particularly the institutions of science and medicine that emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subsequent sessions of the conference will focus on the popularisation of science and technology, the role of women in science, science and religion, the role of universities and of experts, and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The plenary lecture entitled "Some Historiographical Reflections on the Circulation of Science" will be delivered by Professor Nicholas Jardine, University of Cambridge. Dr Aileen Fyfe, Department of History at NUI Galway, says: "In our current climate, with so much emphasis on innovation, knowledge and the smart economy, it's crucial that we better understand the social and political contexts of science and technology. History of science is still a small discipline in Ireland, so it s great to have a big conference like STEP coming to town. It will put Galway on the map as the centre for the study of history of science and technology in Ireland; and will highlight the importance of collaboration with our European neighbours". Dr Faidra Papanelopoulou, University of Athens, says: "STEP celebrates its 10th anniversary in Galway. Valuable contributions from participants around the globe explore the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies in and beyond Europe. The meeting in Galway focuses on a variety of interesting topics, offering a useful range of perspectives in the field". Further information on STEP is available at www.cc.uoa.gr/step. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Develops Lasting Relationships with Universities in the Arab World
Monday, 14 June 2010
This week NUI Galway welcomes 40 educators from Jordan and Lebanon for a seven-day bespoke study tour. The study tour is part of a new EU TEMPUS funded project which aims to develop service learning and civic engagement partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon. The EU project entitled the 'Tawasol Project', commenced in January 2010 and will run over three years. The project brings together five universities in Jordan and the Lebanon with four European university partners including NUI Galway, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, University of Plovdiv in Bulgaria and University of Roehampton in London. Following on from the success of the NUI Galway Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in developing successful learning opportunities within community through service learning, the University was invited to collaborate with the other eight universities and create the Tawasol Project. While in Galway the group of educators will meet with over twenty members of the community who have been involve in service learning partnerships, including COPE Galway, the Gaf Youth Café and the Galway Traveller Movement. They will also meet over twenty NUI Galway lecturers and students who have developed innovative service learning partnerships. They will learn about how postgraduate IT students worked with the Gaf Youth café to help develop a youth centred website and up skilled staff in the use of new technologies. They will also meet with Philosophy students who examined through service leaning the ethical treatment of asylum seekers within the west of Ireland. Speaking at the first Tawasol Project meet in Amman, Jordan earlier this year, Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: "Working with universities in such a different cultural context makes our work in Ireland richer and more challenging as we are encouraged to look at the cultural implications of engaging student learning in communities within challenging circumstances. This project will bring together hundreds of students and academics in the next three years for intensive inter-cultural and civic engagement learning opportunities". On Tuesday, 15 June, the Tawasol Website will be launched by the NUI Galway's Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Jim Ward. The website, www.tawasol.org was designed and developed by a Galway based web design animation company, Starlight Solutions, who have used a system of social networking to bring the Tawasol Project members together through group sharing, interacting and engaging. -Ends-
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New Director for Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway
Monday, 14 June 2010
NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tom Scharf as the new director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG). Having previously directed a research centre at Keele University (UK) with a strong international reputation for its work on ageing, Professor Scharf is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to debates about ageing policy in Ireland. "Population ageing presents both opportunities and challenges for all nations. I am delighted to be taking up this post at a time when there is such an interest in issues arising from demographic change in Ireland. My aim is to ensure that NUI Galway continues to play a leading role in ensuring that public debates on ageing are well informed by research evidence," commented Professor Scharf. With a first degree in German and Politics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a doctorate in Political Science from Aston University, Professor Scharf comes to NUI Galway with more than 20 years' experience of conducting research on ageing. The quality and impact of this work was formally recognised in 2009 when Professor Scharf was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences – the body charged with promoting the social sciences in the UK for the public benefit. Professor Scharf's first post in gerontology was at Bangor University where he was researcher on an international study of ageing in rural communities. He moved to Keele University in 1992, initially as a lecturer in Modern German Studies. Professor Scharf spent two years as Visiting Professor of European Studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, Germany, before returning to Keele in 1998 to join its Centre for Social Gerontology. During his time at Keele, Professor Scharf initiated a major programme of research on aspects of disadvantage faced by older people. This included a path-breaking project which addressed issues relating to social exclusion and quality of life of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods. With a keen interest in public policy, Professor Scharf has subsequently conducted research for UK government departments, and for national organisations such as Help the Aged. He continues to be involved in a study of older people's participation in disadvantaged communities in Manchester, and a longitudinal study of ageing in a purpose-built retirement community. Professor Scharf takes over as ICSG director from Professor Eamon O'Shea. Professor O'Shea was instrumental in establishing ICSG in 2006 as a multidisciplinary research centre on ageing with a focus on research, education and training in the field of social gerontology in Ireland and internationally. In handing over to his successor, Professor O'Shea said: "The establishment of a new Chair in Social Gerontology at NUI Galway and Tom Scharf's appointment to the post puts Galway in a real leadership role in relation to ageing in Ireland and internationally". Professor Scharf welcomes the chance to build on the expertise that already exists at NUI Galway in relation to ageing issues. The first Centre of its kind in Ireland, ICSG offers research expertise and practical support to public, private and voluntary agencies involved in the formulation and implementation of public policy for older people at international, national, regional and local levels. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Scharf said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a positive contribution to research and education on a topic that should be at the top of everyone's agenda. I look forward to working with colleagues at NUI Galway to ensure that our work has a major impact on Irish society". -Ends-
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Memorandum of Understanding Signed with the Ocean University of China
Monday, 14 June 2010
A formal memorandum of understanding was signed today (Monday, 14 June, 2010) between NUI Galway and Ocean University of China (OUC), Qingdao. The agreement paves the way for student and faculty exchange and research collaboration. OUC is a comprehensive University renowned specifically for its disciplines in Oceanography and Fisheries and was the first University in China approved by the State as the base for fundamental scientific research and teaching staff training in Oceanography, Marine Chemistry and Life Science Technology. The University has over 20,000 registered students, including 4000 Doctoral or Masters degree students. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute to collaborate with such a prestigious Chinese University. We look forward to welcoming their students and providing our own students with the opportunity to spend time on OUC's campus".
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Irish Centre for Human Rights Hosts Summer Schools
Monday, 14 June 2010
The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway will today, (Monday, 14 June), open the first of two summer schools entitled, Minority Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Law. The event will take place from Monday 14 to Friday, 18 June 2010. During the following week, 20-24 June, the Centre will run a Summer School on the International Criminal Court. Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights said: "We held our first summer school in 2000, and the popularity and international reputation of both the International Criminal Court and Minority Rights programmes continues to grow". The 2010 Minority Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Law summer school will provide participants with an overview of the legal, political and philosophical issues pertaining to international human rights law and its relationship to minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. During the course participants seek to understand, assimilate and critically evaluate legal arguments with respect to the international minority rights regime and how it pertains to minorities and indigenous peoples. In addition they are encouraged to analyse the underlying philosophical basis of the subject and become familiar with current debates and cases with a special focus on issues such as the right to land, affirmative action policies, and effective political participation and restitution. The final day of the minority rights summer school will be dedicated to the issue of customary law and human rights, as part of a two day international conference being organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the United Nations University and other partner institutions, on June 18-19. Participants of the summer school will be invited to attend as observers at the second day of this event which takes the form of an international roundtable dialogue on Customary Law Traditional Knowledge and Human Rights. The dialogue is designed to provide a forum for in-depth examination of the challenges and opportunities for securing effective respect and recognition of customary law in the international regulation of access to genetic resources and benefit sharing and protection of traditional knowledge. Anthony Taubman, Director of Intellectual Property issues at the World Trade Organisation will be a keynote speaker among others from indigenous peoples organizations, international universities, non-governmental organizations and legal practitioners. The Summer School on the International Criminal Court at the Irish Centre for Human Rights which starts on June 20 is widely acknowledged to be the premier programme of its kind. The programme will consist of intensive lectures, delivered by leading specialists in the field. Students are provided with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction, immunities and the role of the victim. The International Criminal Court is arguably the most important new international institution since the establishment of the United Nations. The aim of the International Criminal Court is in combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability. During the summer school, a lecture by NUI Galway's Professor William Schabas "Reflections on the International Criminal Court Review Conference", on Monday, 21 June will be open to the public. Professor Schabas will reflect on his experience of the review conference, which he will attend in Uganda in the first two weeks in June. The review conference itself will evaluate the International Criminal Court, and make it more effective in prosecuting the world s worst atrocities. Delegates at the Review Conference will discuss the Court s past and future, and will propose changes to the Court s founding treaty, the Rome Statute. . -Ends-
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Ireland's Deep Oceans Offer New Opportunities
Friday, 11 June 2010
A team of researchers led by Chief Scientist Dr Louise Allcock and Project Leader Professor Mark Johnson from NUI Galway has just returned from a research mission to sample habitats on the edge of the continental shelf using the Marine Institute's vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer, and the deep water remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland I. The aim of this mission was to explore the little-studied habitats at the edge of the continental shelf, where the depth increases from approximately 400 m to over 3 km. Professor Mark Johnson of The Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute (MRI) at NUI Galway, said: "A feature of the continental margin is the presence of canyons, which increase the complexity of the margin and may be areas of high biodiversity. Up until quite recently, it has been difficult to sample canyons. Deep sea communities are normally sampled by sending down metal grabs or dredges. These methods do not work well in sloping complex habitats like canyons. In contrast, an ROV can manoeuvre to video and sample organisms with a high degree of precision". In addition to mapping sections of habitat, material sampled from the ROV and from cores was passed to taxonomists to help quantify the biodiversity and identify any species that may be new to science. Some sampled organisms will be frozen and returned to the biodiscovery laboratory hosted by the Marine Institute so that they can be made available to researchers looking for new compounds with pharmaceutical potential. Biodiscovery is the term used to describe the collection and analysis of organisms for the purpose of developing new products. Most of the new compounds derived from marine organisms have originated in warm water ecosystems such as coral reefs. To date, relatively little effort has been spent studying bioactivity in temperate waters and the deep sea, despite the abundance here of sponges and other groups known to have great potential for biodiscovery. Samples from the ROV were mostly collected on, or close to, underwater cliffs, some of which were over 100 m high. This sampling included the deepest dive to date with the Holland, to just short of 3000 m deep, twice the depth of the sea floor at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Organisms were collected using the robotic arms of the ROV, sometime using a suction hose to draw material into a collection box. On surfacing, the collected material was sorted, with material for biodiscovery frozen at minus 80 °C - the best way to preserve the molecules of interest. To make the best use of the mission, the scientific team was drawn from several institutes: NUI Galway, UCC, TCD and Queen's University Belfast. Scientists from UCC are interested in the biodiscovery potential of microorganisms from sponges. This work is complemented by microbiologists from NUI Galway working on the composition and function of microorganisms in the water column. The Trinity team are looking at the links between the canyon habitats and the cycling of nutrients. Queen's University Belfast researchers are interested in biodiversity, particularly the taxonomy of sponges. Links to the wider international research community have been made through associating this mission with the Census of Marine Life COMARGE project (http://www.ifremer.fr/comarge/en/index.html). This mission is partially supported by a Beaufort Marine Biodiscovery Research Award under the Sea Change Strategy and the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation (2006-2013). The Beaufort Award is a 7-year project linking NUI Galway, UCC and QUB. It provides the human capacity to support this mission, including PhD studentships and postdoctoral appointments. The overall aim of the Beaufort awards is to develop Irish research capacity in five key areas identified in Sea Change, including Marine Biodiscovery, Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management, Sensors and Communications Systems for the Marine Environment, Fish Population Genetics and Economic Research related to Development Dynamics of the Marine Sector in Ireland. These awards are managed and supported by the Marine Institute, and funded under the Marine Research Sub-Programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013. -Ends-
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