Seaweed Seen as Better Biofuel by NUI Galway Scientist

Seaweed Seen as Better Biofuel by NUI Galway Scientist-image

Monday, 23 June 2008

Scientists from the Irish Seaweed Centre at NUI Galway say Ireland could become a key player in the production of biofuel from seaweed. According to Dr. Stefan Kraan, Manager of the Irish Seaweed Centre, "With its rich, sustainable, seaweed resources, Ireland is poised to become an important player in the next generation of biofuel production." Dr. Kraan was speaking at the annual conference of the International Society for Applied Phycology opened this morning at NUI Galway, for which over 400 delegates have registered. Phycology, the scientific study of algae, will be discussed and debated at the event which has attracted engineers, manufacturers, contractors, scientists, researchers, students, economists, industry representatives and policymakers. Seaweed has long been investigated as a potential source of bioethanol, which is typically made from crops such as sugar cane and corn, but technological barriers remain to its commercial use. According to Kraan, "Algae do not have the negative image of terrestrial biomass resources, which are said to be responsible for higher food prices, impacting on water use, biodiversity and destruction of rain forest. This conference allows us to examine the current technologies available for the production of bioethanol from seaweed. We will examine the economic and social aspects of using brown seaweeds for bioethanol production, and views on the feasibility of biofuel production from macroalgae." The keynote address at the conference 'Algae and biofuels: Quo vadis?' was delivered by Professor Michael A. Borowitzka, from Murdoch University, Australia. According to Professor Borowitzka, "Compared to other bioenergy crops (e.g. rapeseed, canola, peanut, oil palm) there are a number of species of algae that have higher areal productivities, higher oil content and that can grow in saline waters. These apparently very favourable properties have generated a frenzy of interest and activities in the field of energy production using algae, both microalgae and seaweeds." He continued, "For biofuel production the algal biomass needs to be produced at a cost of around $US1 or less per kg. In order to achieve this ambitious goal there is the need for year-round reliable high productivity algal culture and all factors (e.g. algae strains, algae culture, harvesting and further downstream processing) need to be optimized and efficiently integrated." Ireland boasts 16 commercially useful seaweed species, with additional species being added as more research is carried out. Ireland's location as off Western Europe, surrounded by clean seas, is a major selling point to the world market. The current uses of seaweeds in Ireland are as foods and food supplements; fertilizers, liquid seaweed extracts, soil conditioners, animal feed supplements, raw material for seaweed polymers (alginates), cosmetics, body-care products, thalassotherapy (sea water and seaweed treatments), medical preparations, biotechnology and biomedicine. -ends-

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NUI Galway and Tourist Republic to Make Travelling Tailor-made

NUI Galway and Tourist Republic to Make Travelling Tailor-made-image

Monday, 23 June 2008

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is to develop a new intelligent trip planner in collaboration with Irish start-up Tourist Republic Ltd. The internet tool, TripPlanr, will allow travellers to plan more complex trips than existing technology allows, such as combining multiple destinations on a fixed budget and timeline. The cost of this initiative is €200,000 and has received support funding under Enterprise Ireland s Innovation Partnership programme. TripPlanr will be aimed at the more adventurous traveller who wants more than a weekend for two in one of Paris s main hotels. The technology will combine's traveller recommendations with information from airlines and accommodation providers, suggesting the most perfectly-attuned trip possible. Jan Blanchard, is CEO of Tourist Republic and sees huge benefits in the partnership, "We knew that to build the intelligent trip planner which we have in mind, we needed a team to rival the in-house expertise at Google or Yahoo! Through Enterprise Ireland we have this opportunity to bring our vision to reality with DERI, which is the largest Semantic Web research institute in the world". DERI's specialised expertise in Information Mining, the Semantic Web and Web 2.0 applications will allow TripPlanr to filter data and make recommendations based on the preferences of the traveller and their social network. Building on s existing destination review site, the new solution is expected to increase the probability of the traveller booking the targeted option suggested. According to Dr. John Breslin, Project Leader with DERI at NUI Galway, and founder of the popular online forum, "The pre-internet problem of information deficit has been replaced with the problem of information overload. We are faced with an overwhelming surfeit of similarly sounding destination descriptions and offers. We hope to make online trip planning much more personalised by enabling networked knowledge using the latest technologies developed here at DERI." The TripPlanr project has a skilled team in place to research and develop the application, and the project is currently recruiting for web developers to join this exciting work. TripPlanr is expected to be in beta testing by the end of the year. -ends-

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Ennis Education Options Broaden with NUI Galway Diploma Series

Ennis Education Options Broaden with NUI Galway Diploma Series-image

Friday, 20 June 2008

Multi-culturalism is the order of the day at the Clare Education Centre in Ennis which will host a Diploma Series offered by NUI Galway s college of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies in conjunction with the University's Adult and Continuing Education Office. Applications for the four programmes in Irish Music Studies, French, German and the Irish language are now invited from people seeking a new challenge or from those interested in brushing up on those rusty language skills. No previous knowledge of any of the subjects is required for the diplomas, which have proven to be a popular choice among adult learners over a long tradition of part-time programmes at NUI Galway. A rising interest in the Irish language has prompted the University to restructure its Diploma in Irish which is now offered at three levels, to cater for all abilities. Bríd Seoige of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta, which delivers the Diploma in Irish, said people who have never spoken a word of Irish before can now study the language to diploma level. "Previously some students found the diploma tough and many dropped out but now we are offering three levels of diploma, catering to those non-Irish students interested in the language, right up to competent Irish speakers who wish to strengthen their written and grammar skills," she said. While the diploma is popular with students of all capabilities, in recent years there has been increased demand for the course among mature students interested in pursuing a career in teaching. "We have had a lot of students who have taken up the diploma as a way of fulfilling the Irish requirement for primary school teaching," said Bríd. "There has also been a lot of interest in the course in the aftermath of the comedian Des Bishop s recent television series which has helped to enhance the Irish language s reputation especially among young adults." The Diploma in Irish Music Studies will strike a chord among the north Clare traditional music scene which is noted throughout the country for its historic musical culture. The course provides insights from music, dance, poetry, television and film into the ways in which Irish performers and writers have been actively involved in imagining and re-imagining Ireland from the 18th century to the present. Tim Collins, one of the course directors who will deliver the traditional Irish music and dance components of the programme, said it was suited to anyone with an interest in Irish culture. "Musical ability is not a requirement for students entering this course as the programme is mainly centred around the debate and discussion of the identity of Irish traditional music," he said. "Up to now our classes have included a diverse mix of students from doctors in Galway to musicians in Ennis so it really is a course that has broad appeal to a wide cross section of society." French and German are also popular course options for people in the region considering part-time education. Giving students the ability both to converse and comprehend a variety of everyday topics and situations in the languages, both courses also equip students with an introduction to the civilisations, cultures and societies of both countries. For further information on the Ennis Diploma Series contact the Adult and Continuing Education Office at 091 492062 or email -ends-

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Diverse Diplomas on Offer from NUI Galway

Diverse Diplomas on Offer from NUI Galway -image

Friday, 20 June 2008

NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office is expecting record numbers of applications this month for its Diploma series. There are over 15 two-year, part-time diplomas on offer. Usually classes are one evening a week and subjects vary from Archaeology to Women's Studies, or Italian to English Literature. One of the newer programmes available is the Diploma in Social Gerontology, which is the study of ageing. With today's population living longer, it is an area of increasing interest to both academics and society alike. Subjects covered in the diploma include the economics of ageing and public policy for dependent older people. Course director Áine Ní Léime said the programme was the first of its kind in Ireland, and that students of the current course ranged from carers and health professionals to members of active retirement groups and others interested in the area of ageing. "It's proving to be a popular course for people involved in voluntary work as well as people working within the HSE who have said it's been very useful in the course of their day-to-day work. "However, it's not just for the health worker. It is a second chance for people who may not have had third or even second level education but want to gain a qualification in something they are genuinely interested in." Among the languages available in the Diploma Series include Italian, French, German and Irish all of which cater for students interested in honing their language skills both for business and pleasure. The Diploma in German helps students develop skills to communicate effectively in the language as well as providing an insight into the intellectual, economic and cultural history of a country that is at the heart of Europe. Course director Gabi Behrens said the classes focused on communication with teaching through conversation and language exercises instead of an over-reliance on memorising text. With only one class a week, it is essential that students allocate time to the course during their own time. According to Gabi Behrens, "The students who get the most out of the course usually incorporate short but regular language practice sessions in their everyday routines, which can include listening to German tapes or keeping a diary in German." Another popular course offered is the Diploma in Irish Music Studies, which is aimed at anyone interested in Irish culture. The course provides insights from music, dance, poetry, television and film into the ways in which Irish performers and writers have been actively involved in imagining and re-imagining Ireland from the 18th century to the present. Tim Collins, one of the course directors who will deliver the traditional Irish music and dance components of the programme, said, "Musical ability is not a requirement for students entering this course as the programme is mainly centred around the debate and discussion of the identity of Irish traditional music". For further information on all courses available in the Diploma Series contact the Adult and Continuing Education Office at 091 492062 or email -ends-

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Éagothroime Shláinte i Measc Daoine Óga – Comparáid idir Leanaí na hÉireann agus

Éagothroime Shláinte i Measc Daoine Óga – Comparáid idir Leanaí na hÉireann agus-image

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Fógraíonn an tIonad Taighde um Chothú Sláinte in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tuarascáil nua na hEagraíochta Domhanda Sláinte dar teideal "Health Inequalities in Young People's Health". Seo an tuarascáil idirnáisiúnta is deireanaí faoin suirbhé HBSC ar Iompraíocht Sláinte i measc Leanaí ag Aois Scoile Tá torthaí le fáil sa tuarascáil seo maidir le bearta sláinte agus leasa daoine óga i 41 tír san Eoraip agus i Meiriceá Thuaidh. Chomh maith le patrúin thrasnáisiúnta, léiríonn an tuarascáil na hathruithe sláinte ag aoiseanna áirithe agus scrúdaítear an difríocht idir buachaillí agus cailíní agus an difríocht idir leanaí ó theaghlaigh bhoichte agus shaibhre. Bailíodh an t-eolas ó bhreis agus 200,000 dalta 11, 13 agus 15 bliana d'aois. Is é an chiall is leithne atá le sláinte sa tuarascáil i.e. leas fisiciúil, sóisialta agus mothúchánach. Tá torthaí le fáil sa tuarascáil chomh maith ar chomhthéacs sóisialta na sláinte cosúil le caidreamh piaraí agus teaghlaigh, an timpeallacht scoile agus deitéarmanaint shocheacnamaíocha. Ba í an Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, ón Ionad Taighde um Chothú Sláinte san Ollscoil a bhí mar Phríomh-Imscrúdaitheoir in Éirinn agus mar chomhúdar ar an tuarascáil. Dúirt an Dr. Nic Gabhainn, "Is é seo an chéad uair a rinneadh taifead córasach ar éagothroime i sláinte daoine óga agus aois, inscne, saibhreas agus tíreolaíocht curtha san áireamh san oiread seo tíortha – cloch mhíle atá ann sa tuiscint atá againn ar shláinte daoine óga. Tá an t-aoisghrúpa atá i gceist ar tí a bheith ina n-ógánaigh, agus athruithe fisiciúla agus mothúchánacha rompu, agus cinntí tábhachtacha saoil agus gairme le déanamh acu". I gcomparáid leis na 40 tír eile san Eoraip agus i Meiriceá Thuaidh, d'éirigh go maith le leanaí na hÉireann, ó thaobh gníomhaíocht fhisiciúil (an 10 is fearr) agus bricfeasta a ithe (an 10 is fearr) agus thuairiscigh siad leibhéal sách íseal tinnis (an 10 is ísle) agus gortaithe (an 10 is ísle). Tá leanaí na hÉireann sa chúig is fearr ó thaobh dlúthchairde agus an chaoi a n-éiríonn leis na haoisghrúpaí ar fad ag an scoil. Tá leanaí bunscoile (11 bhliain d'aois), in íochtar ó thaobh iompraíocht dhiúltach cosúil le troid (37ú háit) agus bulaíocht (33ú háit) agus tá Éire sa deich dtír is fearr ó thaobh sástacht saoil. Dúirt an Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, "Dea-scéal é seo don tír seo, táimid fós chun cinn ó thaobh gníomhaíocht fhisiciúil, agus tá feabhas tagtha orainn ó thaobh milseáin a ithe agus deochanna boga a ól, chomh maith le fiacla a ní, áit nach raibh ag éirí go maith linn i suirbhéanna trasnáisiúnta an HBSC roimhe seo". Tháinig laghdú ar líon na ndaoine a chaitheann agus a ólann ó staidéir HBSC roimhe seo i 1998 agus in 2002. Ag leibhéal ar an meán atá leanaí 15 bliana na hÉireann maidir le caitheamh tobac go seachtainiúil (19%, sa 16ú háit), agus a bheith ar meisce faoi dhó, ar a laghad, (33%, sa 20ú háit), agus beagán os cionn an mheáin maidir le cannabas a chaitheamh sna 30 lá roimh an suirbhé (9%, sa 12ú háit). San Eoraip agus Éire san áireamh, is léir go bhfuil éagothroime i measc leanaí bunaithe ar inscne agus saibhreas agus caithfear díriú air seo. Inscne: Tá difríochtaí móra inscne le sonrú, go háirithe sna haoisghrúpaí níos sine. Ag 15 bliana d'aois, is mó seans go n-íosfaidh buachaillí bricfeasta ná cailíní (70% vs. 57%), go ndéanfaidh said gníomhaíocht fhisiciúil (27% vs. 13%), gur úsáid said cannabas le gairid (11% vs. 7%) agus go raibh siad ag troid (19% vs. 7%). Is mó seans a bhí ann chomh maith gur chaith buachaillí am lena gcairde sa tráthnóna (43% vs. 33%), gur gortaíodh iad (50% vs. 34%) agus gur tharraing siad go maith lena n-aithreacha (66% vs. 50%). Aois: Ag 15 bliana déag, is mó seans go ndéarfadh cailín ná buachaill go raibh ag éirí go maith léi sa scoil (71% vs. 61%), go raibh tacaíocht aici óna comhghleacaithe sa rang (65% vs. 53%), ach gur bhraith sí faoi bhrú ag obair scoile (60% vs. 47%). Tuairiscíonn cailíní nó mó fadhbanna sláinte (40% vs. 25%) agus ceapann níos mó cailíní ná buachaillí go bhfuil siad ró-ramhar (45% vs. 22%). Maidir le hiompraíocht sláinte, is mó seans go n-íosfadh cailíní torthaí gach lá (39% vs. 29%), go nífidís a gcuid fiacla gach lá (76% vs. 52%) agus go mbeidís ar aiste bia (19% vs. 8%). Saibhreas Teaghlaigh: Bíonn patrúin itheacháin níos fearr ag leanaí ó theaghlaigh níos saibhre – is mó seans atá ann go n-íosfaidh siad bricfeasta agus torthaí agus is lú seans atá ann go n-ólfaidh siad deochanna boga. Is túisce go ndeir leanaí níos saibhre go dtarraingíonn siad go maith lena n-aithreacha agus lena gcairde agus go n-éiríonn go maith leo ar scoil. Is mó seans go mbeidh leanaí ó theaghlaigh níos boichte ag caitheamh tobac, ag fanacht amuigh san oíche le cairde agus ag breathnú ar an teilifís níos faide ná 2 uair an chloig mar a mholtar. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire do Chothú Sláinte agus Sábháilteacht Bia, Mary Wallace T.D., "Fearaim fáilte roimh an Tuarascáil Idirnáisiúnta ar Iompraíocht Sláinte i Measc Leanaí Scoile. Tá go leor sonraí sa Tuarascáil ar iompraíocht sláinte leanaí as 41 tír. D'éirigh go maith le leanaí na hÉireann i gcomparáid le sláinte agus leas na leanaí idirnáisiúnta. Léirítear sa staidéar go bhfuil dúshlán roimh gach tír maidir le hiompraíocht sláinte a n-ógánach ó thaobh aiste bia, caitheamh tobac, ól alcóil agus gníomhaíocht fhisiciúil. Cabhróidh na sonraí a foilsíodh inniu le beartas agus forbairt seirbhíse sna blianta beaga amach romhainn." Léiríonn na torthaí seo go bhfuil neart oibre le déanamh chun cothromaíocht a fháil do dhaoine óga in Éirinn agus san Eoraip. Beidh an t-eolas sa tuarascáil seo riachtanach don lucht déanta beartais, straitéise agsu cleachtais i sláinte na hóige. Leanfaidh an fhoireann HBSC in OÉ Gaillimh uirthi ag déanamh anailíse ar na patrúin seo ionas tuiscint a fháil orthu. - críoch -

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Summer Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway

Summer Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Almost 200 students will graduate from NUI Galway today during the Summer Conferring of Degrees and Diplomas. For these students, their academic efforts will culminate at the conferring ceremony today as they receive their parchments from Dr. Jim Browne, NUI Galway President. All Colleges of the University are represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, Faculty of Commerce; College of Engineering and Informatics: Faculty of Law; and College of Science. The largest cohorts of students to graduate today will be eighty-eight Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Dr. Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said, "The University congratulates our graduands and issues a warm welcome to their parents and families. Since it opened its doors in 1849, over 77,000 graduates have benefited from a higher education in this University, the quality of which is attested to by the eminent positions they held, and continue to hold, not only in Ireland but across the globe." Students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. These include twin brothers James and John McDonald from Ballylongford, Kerry, who will each receive a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the College of Science. International students are also well represented, with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait. The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 27 June, 2008. -ends-

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Mace Head Climate Research Station Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Mace Head Climate Research Station Celebrates 50th Anniversary-image

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

On Thursday, 19 June, NUI Galway will hold a symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, located on the west coast near Carna, Co. Galway. Beginning within the modest confines of a refurbished World War II coastal look-out post in 1958, Mace Head has grown to become one of the most important sites for atmospheric research in the Northern hemisphere. Data from Mace Head is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. As Mace Head is the globally acknowledged western European station for clean air data, it provides key baseline input for inter-comparison with levels elsewhere in Europe. Since 1994, Mace Head has been a baseline station for the Global Atmosphere Watch of the World Meteorological Organization (an agency of the UN). One of the first scientists to collect data at Mace Head in 1958, Dr. Thomas O Connor of the University's School of Physics, is very familiar with the development of the station. "Fifty years ago, global warming was not a household phrase. However, with Mace Head we were already following a scientific path which would put us centre stage when environmental change became a globally acknowledged issue. Mace Head has not only given us a unique legacy of data spanning half a century, but the station is poised to play a critical role over the next 50 years in understanding and tackling climate change". Mace Head station is widely used for numerous national and international projects and has served scientists from over 100 universities and institutions in 20 countries over the years. Mace Head also contributes, through ongoing climatic monitoring, to meeting Ireland's environmental commitments under international treaties. Data such as wind speed, wind direction, pressure, temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, rainfall as well as aerosol particulate parameters are continuously recorded and webcast in real time. Professor Gerard Jennings of NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute, believes the station is very special, "Mace Head is unique in European atmospheric research. Air masses arrive via the 'clean sector' spanning 110 degrees are ideal for carrying out background aerosol and trace gas measurements. The station has been the perfect setting for a series of scientific projects over the years, such as measuring chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) when their impact on the earth's ozone came to the fore in the 1980s. Now, Mace Head is involved in tackling the much greater challenge of global environmental change." At the symposium on 19 June, which takes place in the Cairnes Theatre at NUI Galway from 9am-6pm, principal leaders of scientific projects at Mace Head will outline the achievements of the work there and the importance of these results for policy makers in the area of global climate change, air quality and other environmental conditions in Ireland. The jubilee celebrations will continue on Friday, 20 June with an Open Day at the station. Operated by staff from the Department of Physics at NUI Galway, Mace Head is the main location of experimental research carried out by the University's Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies – a centre within NUI Galway's Environmental Change Institute. Led by one of Ireland's foremost environmental physics scientists, Dr. Colin O'Dowd, the group concentrates on the physical and chemical properties of aerosols, clouds, and gaseous species in the marine environment and their ultimate role in global climate change. According to Dr. O'Dowd, "Mace Head complements hugely to the strategic geographic importance of Ireland and our coupled atmosphere-marine environment in studying the dynamics of the impacts of climate change. It is a world class infrastructure research facility which is available to support Irish research groups in winning leading roles in high profile international research projects". For further information on the Mace Head visit on June 20th: -ends-

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Health Inequalities in Young People's Health – How do Ireland's children compare

Health Inequalities in Young People's Health – How do Ireland's children compare-image

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway announce the publication of a new World Health Organisation report "Health Inequalities in Young People's Health". This is the latest international report of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey: This report presents findings on key health and well-being measures in young people in 41 countries across Europe and North America. As well as cross-national patterns, it highlights transitions in health at certain ages and examines differences between boys and girls and between children from more and less affluent families. Information is presented from more than 200,000 students aged 11, 13 and 15 years. Health is considered in its broadest sense, as physical, social and emotional well-being. Findings on the social context of health such as peer and family relationships, the school environment and socio-economic determinants of health are also included in the report. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, from NUI Galway's Health Promotion Research Centre, was Principal Investigator for Ireland and co-author of the report. According to Dr. Nic Gabhainn, "This is the first time that inequalities in youth health have been systematically documented by age, gender, affluence and geography across so many countries – it is a landmark in our understanding of the health of young people. The age groups involved represent the onset of adolescence, a time when young people face the challenges of physical and emotional changes, and the years when important life and career decisions are beginning to be made". In comparison to the other 40 countries across Europe and North America, Irish children rank highly on many positive health indicators, including physical activity (top 10) and breakfast eating (top 10) and report relatively low levels of health complaints (bottom 10) and medically attended injuries (bottom 10). We are also in the top five for number of close friends and for perceived school performance in all age groups. Children in primary school (11 year olds) are near the bottom of the league, with relatively low levels for some negative behaviours such as fighting (37th) and being bullied (33rd) and are also in the top ten countries for reported high life satisfaction. Dr. Saoirse Nic Gabhainn says "This is good news for Ireland, we have held on to our position near the top of the physical activity league, and have improved on sweets and soft drink consumption, as well as tooth brushing, where we had performed poorly in previous cross-national HBSC surveys". Irish rates of smoking and drinking have decreased since previous HBSC studies in 1998 and 2002. Irish 15 year olds are average for smoking tobacco at least weekly (19%, rank 16th), and having been drunk at least twice (33%, rank 20th), and just above average for cannabis use in the last 30 days (9%, rank 12th). Across Europe, including Ireland, consistent inequalities between children based on gender and family affluence are evident and will require further attention. Gender: There are important gender differences, particularly in the older age groups. At age 15, boys are more likely than girls to eat breakfast (70% vs. 57%), undertake physical activity (27% vs. 13%), to have used cannabis recently (11% vs. 7%) and to have been fighting (19% vs. 7%). Boys are also more likely to spend time with friends in the evening (43% vs.33%), to have been injured (50% vs. 34%) and to get on well with their fathers (66% vs. 50%). Age: At age 15, girls are more likely than boys to report that they're doing well in school (71% vs. 61%), to feel supported by their classmates (65% vs. 53%), but to feel pressured by their schoolwork (60% vs. 47%). Girls report more health complaints (40% vs. 25%) and are more likely to think they are too fat (45% vs. 22%). In terms of health behaviours, girls are more likely than boys to eat fruit every day (39% vs. 29%), to brush their teeth at least daily (76% vs. 52%) and to diet (19% vs. 8%). Family Affluence: children from more affluent families have more positive eating patterns – they are more likely to eat breakfast, to eat fruit and less likely to consume soft drinks. More affluent children also report better relationships with their fathers and their friends and get on better in school. Those from less affluent families are more likely to smoke cigarettes, spend more time out at night with friends and watch more than the recommended 2 hours of television per day. Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety, Ms Mary Wallace T.D. said "I welcome the publication of the International Report on the Health Behaviours of School-Aged Children (HBSC) Survey. The International Report contains a wealth of data on the health behaviours of children across 41 countries. The health and well-being of Irish children compares very favourably internationally. The study shows that all countries face challenges in relation to the health behaviours of their young population in such areas as diet, smoking, drinking alcohol and physical activity. The data published today will continue to inform policy and service development in the coming years." These findings illustrate that there is much work to be done in creating a level playing field for young people in Ireland and across Europe. The information in this report will prove vital to those developing policy, strategy and practice in the area of youth health. The HBSC team in NUI Galway will continue to work on analysing and understanding these patterns. - ends -

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Investment Needed to Support Health Promotion Professionals

Investment Needed to Support Health Promotion Professionals-image

Monday, 16 June 2008

A leading Irish health promotion expert has today called for a significant investment in the training and education of health promotion practitioners, and other health workers. Professor Margaret Barry, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, was speaking at the opening of the first Consensus Meeting of international leaders from health promotion and population health, which takes place this week at NUI Galway. Professor Barry said, "Health promotion is a complex and challenging field. We need to make sure our professionals have the required competencies and skills to address complex health issues within rapidly changing social and political contexts. Government investment, international co-operation and consensus will be required to improve population health worldwide." The meeting's focus is the development of professional standards and accreditation for health promotion professionals globally. Participants include representatives from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE); the Society for Public Health Education, (SOPHE), USA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; American Association for Health Education; Council on Education for Public Health, USA; National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, USA; and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, UK. The outcome of the Consensus Meeting will be discussed at the 12th annual Health Promotion Conference which takes place later this week at NUI Galway, from 19-20 June 2008. The event, entitled "Capacity Building for the Future: Health Promotion Competencies and Professional Standards", will be opened by Minister Mary Wallace T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety. Speaking about the upcoming conference, Professor Barry said, "Capacity building to support the development and implementation of policy and best practice is key to the future growth and development of health promotion globally and nationally. Workforce development is critical to building capacity for the effective improvement of population health." Speakers at the conference include Professor David McQueen (CDC & IUHPE President), who will highlight the sense of urgency in the need for global capacity building for health promotion and Professor Maurice Mittelmark (University of Bergen & IUHPE Vice President for Communications), who will consider what we have and what we lack in infrastructural supports for the development of health promotion. Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway, is also presenting at the conference. The event will provide a unique opportunity for delegates to discuss and debate how the ideas from the consensus report can be used to strengthen health promotion practice and training in Ireland. Participants will include practitioners, managers, policy makers, academics and researchers from the fields of health promotion and population health. -ends-

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International Criminal Court Summer School Opens at NUI Galway

International Criminal Court Summer School Opens at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 16 June 2008

The International Criminal Court Summer School takes place at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, from 21-26 June. Now in its ninth year, the summer school has established itself as one of the premier intensive courses offered internationally on the important subject of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement of achieving accountability. During the five days of lectures, delivered by leading specialists in the field, students are provided with a detailed knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures will also address related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction and immunities. A host of key international experts in criminal law, including Judge Nsereko of the ICC, will address the International Criminal Court Summer School. Other prominent speakers include Professor David Scheffer who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, and Judge Richard Goldstone who served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda from 1994-1996. Commenting on the summer school, Dr. Ray Murphy, of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said, "The ICC is arguably one of the most important international institutions after the creation of the United Nations. This year the Summer School welcomes a number of the most well-respected experts in this field and we look forward to discussing some of the continuing challenges facing the ICC in countries including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic". Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will also address the school. The Summer School culminates in a simulated trial before the ICC. -ends-

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