Friday, 11 May 2012

International experts on children’s rights will gather at NUI Galway on Monday, 14 May, for a symposium on a new UN protocol to strengthen the rights of children. In December, the UN General Assembly approved a Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, which will allow for individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention. The Convention was the last of the major UN human rights treaties to adopt such a mechanism and the Protocol is a major achievement for the protection of children’s rights. The event is being hosted by the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway.  According to the Centre’s Professor Ray Murphy: “Access to justice for children has traditionally proven challenging due to the invisibility of children, children’s lack of maturity and experience, as well as conflicts between children’s interests and those of adults. Cases taken by children have been rare and are overwhelming heard from the perspective of parents, as it is they who most frequently take the relevant cases.” The different needs of children have also been lost in the complaints mechanisms of the mainstream human rights instruments. The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hear cases with the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in mind- the right to be heard, the best interest principle, non-discrimination and the right to life survival and development.” It is thought the new protocol will have wide-ranging implications for custodial issues, child slavery, education rights and discrimination issues. The Symposium, ‘Complaints to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – Opportunities for Ireland’, will hear from a number of speakers with experience in the field of children’s rights including Dr Maria Herczog, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Veronica Yates, Child Rights International Network; Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur to the Irish Government on Child Protection; Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance; Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International and Dr Aoife Daly, University of Essex. Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives on the nature of the Protocol and the opportunities which it provides across the spectrum of children’s rights- in the areas of child protection, economic as well as civil and political rights. Professor Murphy added: “Ensuring widespread ratification of the Third Optional Protocol will be a challenge. This symposium aims to consider the relevance of the Protocol and opportunities for Ireland to lead in the ratification process. It aims to raise awareness of the Protocol amongst non-governmental organisations, academics and Government, and will culminate in a Call for Ratification of the Protocol which attendees are welcome to sign if they so wish. It is expected that this symposium will be just one part of a number of activities around the Protocol, raising awareness and encouraging ratification.” -ends-

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Centre for the Study of Nationalism and Organised Violence (CSNOV) at NUI Galway is pleased to announce two upcoming seminars.  ‘Talking Peace: A seminar on communication, contact and dialogue aimed at reducing or ending violence in Northern Ireland’ will take place on Wednesday, 16 May between 10am - 5pm in the Moore Institute at the University.  ‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ will take place on Friday,18 May from  9am - 5pm in the Aula Maxima. ‘Talking Peace’ willbring together key actors with direct experience of mediation, negotiation and decision-making in the Irish peace process, including Sir Kenneth Bloomfield; Larry and Shauna Duddy; Dr Maurice Hayes; Jim Gibney; Dr Harold Good; Rev. Chris Hudson and Dr Martin Mansergh.  Professor Brendan O’Leary,University of Pennsylvania, will act as respondent. The symposium brings participants together with leading academics working on the politics of conflict and peace in Northern Ireland, including Professor James McAuley(University of Huddersfield); Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh (NUI Galway); Dr Graham Spencer (University of Portsmouth); Dr  Katy Hayward(Queen’s University Belfast); Professor Jonathan Tonge (University of Liverpool); Professor  Robert White(Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis). ‘Armed Conflict in Comparative Perspective’ is a multidisciplinary conference bringing  together leading scholars working on aspects of armed conflict from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It will address key issues of concern to sociologists, political scientists and historians studying inter-state wars, civil wars, armed conflicts, urban violence and insurgencies. Speaking about the Talking Peace seminar, Dr Niall O’Dochartaigh, NUI Galway, said: “Communication through intermediaries and mediators was crucial to the peace settlement in the North but this important aspect of the peace process remains little understood, partly because it was shrouded in secrecy. It is an urgent matter to understand how such communication might play a role in resolving other situations of conflict today. “It is particularly appropriate that the seminar is taking place in Galway because the west of Ireland provided the setting for some very important encounters aimed at ending conflict in the North, such as the meeting between Protestant clergymen and the IRA leadership in Feakle Co. Clare that paved the way for the IRA ceasefire of 1975. It was a setting where people could talk at some distance from the centres of power and media attention in Dublin  and Belfast.” Dr O’Dochartaigh added: “The Talking Peace seminar explores this issue through a conversation between those with direct experience of the workings of government and of mediation during the conflict in the North and academics studying the conflict. The witness seminar format provides a unique historical methodology for exploring difficult historical topics of this kind through a kind of group interview where participants in historical events share, discuss and sometimes challenge each others' recollections. We are running the seminar in partnership with colleagues from King’s College London where the Institute of Contemporary British History has organised numerous witness seminars over many years and has built up extensive expertise in this method.” These events are supported by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Moore Institute, the School of Political Science and Sociology and the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway. These events are open to all but seating is limited. For registration please contact: Stacey.scriver@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is accepting delegates for its 2012 summer school on the International Criminal Court to be held 18-22 June in Galway. The summer school on the International Criminal Court (ICC) offered by the Centre is widely acknowledged to be the premier programme of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. During the five days of intensive lectures, delivered by leading specialist 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 victims. According to Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway: “The ICC is arguably the most important international institution to have been established since the creation of the United Nations. Its aim is combating impunity for atrocities, and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability and justice around the world. Only last month, it reached a milestone in convicting the first former head of state since the Nuremburg trials.” Professor Murphy added: “While the trial and ultimate conviction of Liberia's former president Charles Taylor garnered international headlines for tales of supermodels and diamonds, the true headline is the championing of accountability in respect of international crimes.” During the summer school on the International Criminal Court, expert presentations will be delivered by Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University and Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights; Professor Siobhan Mullally, UCC; Dr Shane Darcy, Lecturer and Professor Ray Murphy, Irish Centre for Human Rights; Mr. John McManus, Department of Justice, Canada; Dr Mohamed M. El Zeidy and Ms Miriam Spittler, the International Criminal Court; Dr Nadia Bernaz, University of Middlesex; and Dr Annyssa Bellal, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the Irish Centre for Human Rights. To register, visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=16 or email iccsummerschool@gmail.com for more information. -ends-

Monday, 14 May 2012

Public lectures at NUI Galway on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May, will look at our throwaway culture, and ask what a future with everyone living more sustainably might look like. Philosopher Kate Soper, from London Metropolitan University will provide a public lecture entitled Towards an alternative prosperity? Irish “belatedness” and the politics of consumption on Friday 18 May, from 4.30-5.30pm in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway.Author of the book The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently, Soper believes that we need to rethink how we live in the light of impending environmental catastrophe. Her core argument is that alternative ways of living can be more enjoyable than consumerism and this leads to her notion of alternative hedonism. A second public lecture on the topical issue of sustainable consumption will be delivered at 12 noon on Saturday, 18 May, in the Engineering Building by Elizabeth Shove, Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. Professor Shove’s area of expertise is the relationship between consumption, everyday life, sustainability and ordinary technology. She is co-author of the book The Design of Everyday Life which looks at the design of common household products through to their use in the home. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion by a group of top US and European academics on the futures of sustainable consumption research. This panel discussion will take place from 2pm until 4pm on Saturday afternoon in the same venue. These lectures are part of an international conference, ‘Challenging Consumption: Pathways to a More Sustainable Future’ which NUI Galway is hosting from 18-20 May. The event brings together leading researchers to discuss current practices, challenges and futures for research in the area of sustainable consumption. The conference is part of the Consensus project, a four-year research project involving collaboration between NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. Funded by the EPA STRIVE Programme, the project is the first of its kind to look at sustainable consumption on the island of Ireland. The Consensus project focuses on four key areas of household consumption that impact negatively on the environment: transport, energy, water and food. This research is exploring how a shift towards more sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed. Therefore, one of the key outputs of this research is to make recommendations for local and national programmes concerning sustainable consumption policies. According to the Consensus project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “Our conference is intended to explore opportunities for future research collaborations and facilitate exchange between currently existing sustainable consumption networks. All conference participants at this event are active members of US and European sustainable consumption research communities. The public lectures and panel discussion will provide an opportunity to discuss household consumption and the various ways in which it impacts negatively on the environment as well as to explore how a shift towards more sustainable consumption might be encouraged, measured and governed.” During the three-day event, academics will discuss their research in the area of sustainable consumption; exploring a variety of themes that range from sustainable transport to premature product obsolescence. Keynote speakers include: Maurie Cohen, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA; Tim Cooper, Nottingham Trent University, UK; Mike Goodman, King’s College London; Inge Ropke, Technical University of Denmark as well as members of the Consensus project team from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. For more information email consensus@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bronnadh Gradam Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ar an gCainéal iTunes U-GOGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta) ag searmanas i gCaisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath le gairid. Is ar champas Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge i gCarna a rinneadh an obair fhorbartha agus is í COGG a rinne maoiniú ar an tionscadal. Toradh é ar chomhpháirtíocht idir COGG agus Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh. “Údar mór áthais d’Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh gur bhain an Cainéal iTunes U-COGG gradam eRialtais amach le gairid. Tugann an gradam aitheantas don saineolas atá á shaothrú sna daonnachtaí digiteacha san Acadamh trí chéile ach go háirithe in Ionad na hOllscoile i gCarna.  Bhí ról lárnach ag an gcomhpháirtíocht le RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta sa tionscadal mar gur forbraíodh acmhainní foghlama bunscolaíochta an Chainéil ó bhunábhar i gCartlann shabhair RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus ó Chartlanna OÉ Gaillimh féin.”, a deir Niall Mac Uidhilin, feidhmeannach ríomhaireachta le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Cuimsíonn an Cainéal iTunes U–COGG acmhainní físe agus fuaime ar mhaithe le sealbhú agus saibhriú na Gaeilge i mbunscoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge. Forbraíodh 300 mír fhoghlama nua dírithe go háirithe ar dhaltaí Rang 5 agus 6 sna bunscoileanna. Áiríonn na míreanna foghlama amhráin, dánta, scéalta, faisnéis, tomhasanna, agus míreanna staire. Tá na míreanna á gcur i láthair i gcanúintí éagsúla a roghnaíodh ó bhunábhar i gcartlanna saibhre RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta agus OÉ Gaillimh.  Chuathas i gcomhairle le saineolaithe ábhar: Máire Uí Dhufaigh, Inis Oírr agus Bairbre Ní Thuairisg, Scoil Náisiúnta Chamuis, a scríobh na moltaí foghlama le dul in éineacht leis na míreanna. Lárnach sa bpróiseas forbartha freisin bhí Anna Ní Chartúir, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mucú agus Mairéad Ní Chualáin, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mealláin, beirt mhúinteoirí a bhfuil sárthuiscint acu ar riachtanais fhoghlama teanga scoláirí sna spriocscoileanna. Roinn an bheirt a gcuid ama ar an tionscnamh go fial flaithiúil agus ar bhonn deonach. Inniúlacht Cartlainne Meán a rinne an obair theicniúil agus dearaidh ar an gcainéal.  Tá an cainéal ar fáil ar itunes.cogg.ie. Tá treoirlínte faoin mbealach le theacht ar an gCainéal le fáil ar www.acadamh.ie -CRÍOCH-   Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilgeand COGG win National e-Government Award A project developed in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge at NUI Galway was presented with an Ireland eGovernment Award at a ceremony in Dublin Castle recently. The iTunes U–COGG channel was developed with with funding provided by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG). The iTunes U–COGG channel, which won the in the Irish language category award, comprises of video and sound resources to promote the acquisition and enrichment of the Irish language in all-Irish schools both within and outside the Gaeltacht. In this initial stage of the project, three hundred media clips have been carefully selected and are aimed at 5th and 6th classes. These learning clips cover genres such as song, poetry, stories, factual, puzzles and historic. The clips are presented in different dialects selected from the rich archive materials of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and NUI Galway.  Niall Mac Uidhilin, Computer Executive with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, said: “We at NUI Galway are delighted that the iTunes U-COGG channel has received this eGovernment award. This award recognises the expertise that the Acadamh has accumulated in the digital humanities, and particularly in the centre in Carna. The partnership with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta played a central role in the project as the channel’s digital learning resoures for national schools were developed from the rich archive materials and resources of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta as well as from the archives of NUI Galway. The project builds on the digitisation work that was previously done on the archive on the campus in An Cheathrú Rua.” A panel of experts were consulted for the project including Máire Uí Dhufaigh, Scoil Náisiúnta Inis Oírr and Bairbre Ní Thuairisg, Scoil Náisiúnta Chamuis who wrote the learning guides to be included with the clips. Anna Ní Chartúir, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mucú and Mairéad Ní Chualáin, Scoil Náisiúnta Leitir Mealláin, were also central to the development of the project. Both have an acute understanding of the language learning requirements of national school children in the target schools and gave freely and voluntarily of their time to forward the project. Inniúlacht Cartlainne Meán were responsible for the technical and design work on the channel.  The channel is available at  itunes.cogg.ie. Guidelines on how to access the channel can be found at  www.acadamh.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 14 May 2012

NUI Galway will lead Ireland’s involvement in the first ever international Fascination of Plants Day which will be held on Friday, 18 May. The Fascination of Plants Day will be celebrated by 39 countries worldwide, with the common goal getting people enthused by the importance of plant science. A photography and art exhibition celebrating ‘Our Fascinating Flora’ will officially open at the NUI Galway Art Gallery on Friday, 18 May at 2pm and run until Wednesday, 23 May. Featured exhibits willinclude works from botanical artist Margareta Pertl, and artists Miriam de Burca, Alan Crowley and Peter Sherry. Ceramic art will include exhibits from Veronika Straberger, Anna Pielach and Louise Browne, and wood turning from Ambrose and Bríd O’Halloran. Winners of the national Fascination of Plants Day photography competition will also feature. Stories, all featuring the theme of plants, will be told by renowned storyteller Rab Fulton in the Art Gallery on Friday, 18 May at 11am and by Dr Maria Tuohy and members of Biochemistry at 3pm.  Another feature of the celebration of plants will be a tree climbing session, on Wednesday, 23 May outside Áras de Brún, near the Quadrangle Building, with Keith Browne and experts from NUI Galway Mountaineering Club. Volunteers from the club will help the public get up into the trees using harnesses and ropes, to see what goes on at canopy level. Dr Zoë Popper, Lecturer in Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, said: “Plants are fascinating, and beautiful.  Having the ability to directly synthesise their own food has enabled plants to successfully colonise, adapt to, and diversify within almost every niche on the planet.  There are over 250,000 plant species and they are vital for us in terms of agriculture, food, horticulture and forestry. Plants also play a role in non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals.” Other themed events are taking place around the country, with participation by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, National Botanic Gardens, Trinity College Dublin and Burrenbeo. For more information regarding events in Ireland visit http://www.plantday12.eu/ireland.htm# and http://fascinationofplants.blogspot.com -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mar chuid de cheiliúradh ceathracha bliain RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, reáchtáilfear seimineár poiblí,  i gcomhar le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh, Dé Sathairn 19 Bealtaine le scrúdú a dhéanamh ar fhís agus feidhm RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta ó bunaíodh é.   Déanfar an seimineár a reáchtáil i Seanscoil Sailearna, Indreabhán, Contae na Gaillimhe idir 10am agus 4pm Dé Sathairn 19 Bealtaine agus beidh fáilte roimh an bpobal freastal ar an ócáid.   Le linn seisiúin na maidine, scrúdóidh seisear léachtóirí ó ollscoileanna éagsúla in Éirinn gnéithe éagsúla de chraoladh an stáisiúin agus an tionchar atá ag an tseirbhís ar phobal na Gaeltachta agus na Gaeilge.   Déanfaidh painéal eile scagadh ar a bhfuil bainte amach ag Raidió na Gaeltachta agus pléifear na dúshláin atá roimh an tseirbhís le linn imeachtaí an tráthnóna. Beidh deis ag an bpobal a bheith rannpháirteach sa phlé i gcaitheamh an lae.   I measc na n-ábhar a phléifear i gcaitheamh na maidine, beidh:   An ceol dúchais agus an chraoltóireacht – Róisín Nic Dhonncha Ról an Raidió i gcruthú pobail – Steve Coleman Teanga an Raidió, teanga an phobail – Siobhán Ní Laoire Féiniúlacht agus féinmhuinín agus ár bpobal féin – Rosemary Day Raidió na Gaeltachta agus scaipeadh na téarmaíochta – Gearóid Ó Cleircín Leas na Gaeilge, an náisiún-stát agus an t-iltíreachas – Iarfhlaith Watson   Beidh plé ón urlár tráthnóna agus caibidil ar fhís agus feidhm an Raidió i gcuideachta na gcainteoirí:   Dónall Mac an tSíthigh Máire Mhic Niallais Joe Steve Ó Neachtain Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí   Déanfar imeachtaí an tseimineáir a thaifeadadh agus a chraoladh ar Raidió na Gaeltachta amach anseo. Tá an seimineár seo á reáchtáil i gcomhar le hAcadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge agus le cúnamh urraíochta ón Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta.   --CRÍOCH--   A Public Seminar celebrating 40 years of Raidió na Gaeltachta                                                                            The vision and role of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will be critically examined and discussed at a public seminar on Saturday 19 May as part of the station’s calendar of events to mark the foundation of the service in 1972. The seminar, jointly organised with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, will take place in Seanscoil Sailearna, Indreabhán, in the heart of the Galway Gaeltacht from 10am-4pm on Saturday, 19May and the event will be open to the public.   Six academics from various Irish universities will analyse aspects of the station’s output and its influence on the Irish language community nationally and particularly in the Gaeltacht:   Broadcasting and traditional music – Róisín Nic Dhonncha, Mary Immaculate College, UL RnaG and the creation of community– Steve Coleman, NUIM A community and broadcasting medium – Siobhán Ní Laoire, DIT Identity, self-confidence and our own community – Rosemary Day, Mary Immaculate College, UL Raidió na Gaeltachta and terminological dissemination – Gearóid Ó Cleircín, DCU Which most benefits the Irish language: cosmopolitanism or the nation-state? – Iarfhlaith Watson, UCD   The founding vision of the station and contemporary challenges facing the service will also be discussed by a panel of speakers who broadly represent the diversity of the RnaG audience with a view to an open, general discussion among seminar participants about future directions for Raidió na Gaeltachta. Invited speakers during the afternoon session include:   Dónall Mac an tSíthigh Máire Mhic Niallais Joe Steve Ó Neachtain Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí   The talks and discussions at the seminar will be recorded and broadcast on Raidió na Gaeltachta later this year. This seminar is being jointly organised with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway and with sponsorship from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. --ENDS--

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

NUI Galway student Eve-Marie Costello has been awarded The Outstanding Young Person of Ireland award from Junior Chamber International (JCI), and has been put forward as a candidate for the Outstanding Young Persons of the World title, which will be announced in Taiwan later this year. Originally from Ballyglunin, Athenry, Co. Galway, Eva Marie is a third-year Science student at the University. NUI Galway’s Lorraine Tansey, ALIVE Volunteer Coordinator, and Riona Hughes, Societies Officer, nominated Eva-Marie for the coveted award in recognition of her significant achievement in the area of contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights. According to Riona Hughes: “Students like Eva-Marie and Melanie Hennessey, our most recent winner of the world title in 2010, who set up an orphanage and brought medical support to Nepal through her society Draíocht, show the impact that one person can make to bringing about positive change which impacts so profoundly on the students who they support and inspire to volunteer.” Eva-Marie began her volunteering in India during transition year in secondary school and has built on this by setting up the Ashirbad Society in NUI Galway. The Ashirbad Society focuses on sending NUI Galway students to India during the summer months to volunteer in areas of need including education, medical and agricultural. It also hopes to raise awareness of the needs of the people in the emerging sub-continent of India and to fundraise in order to improve the living and educational conditions for the under-privileged children of Kalimpong, West Bengal. Since 2007, Eva-Marie has travelled to India each year to work with the Cluny Sisters in Kalimpong, India. Eva-Marie now acts as a project instigator with the Sisters and is currently in the process of fundraising and planning for the development of the Declan Resource and Research Centre. She also volunteered at an Aids Centre run by the nuns, and was instrumental in producing an annual musical with the children and students. With her fellow volunteers they have raised over €45,000 in the last four years. Eva-Marie volunteered with SUAS homework club and has also been a key player in the NUI Galway musical society since she started at the University. Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, said; “What sets Eva-Marie apart is her vision and commitment for the future, not only volunteering herself, but setting in place a structure which will see NUI Galway students into the future work with the Cluny Sisters on their great work in Kalimpong, and through this experience learning and growing as active citizens of the world. We are delighted to support JCI as they seek to recognise the valuable contribution volunteers make to society and congratulate Eva-Marie on exemplifying the NUI Galway civic graduate.” At the Regional JCI Top Outstanding Young Person of the Year awards, NUI Galway final year Occupational Therapy student Méabh Healy won the Regional Award in the Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment category. From Mount Talbot, Co. Roscommon, Méabh was presented with her award for her two year research programmes with Enable Ireland. The Outstanding Young Persons program of Junior Chamber International serves to recognise up to ten individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who exemplify the best attributes of the world’s young people. NUI Galway students have previously won The Outstanding Young Persons of the World award in 2007 and again in 2010. -ENDS-

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Over 100 delegates attended a one-day conference on Planning for Smart Cities and Regions of the Future hosted by NUI Galway last week. The conference, opened by Galway City Mayor, Hildegard Naughton, focussed on describing advanced technologies and highlighting how they can be used to make informed decisions during planning and day-to-day living. Attendees at the conference comprised of a cross-section of interest groups including: public and private sector planners; decision makers; engineers; technology entrepreneurs; and owners of small and medium enterprises.  Speakers included engineers, IT specialists, geographers, policy makers and industry specialists. Keynote speaker, Dr Emanuele Ragnoli from IBM, highlighted the worldwide growth of urbanisation and gave a preview of likely problems facing planners in the areas of traffic congestion, water security and energy security. He described how IBM's Smarter Cities research centre in Dublin is using advanced computer models to enable them to plan the cities of the future in a sustainable way. Presentations included talks on the use of computer models which could be used to advise bathers of water quality at Blackrock beach in Salthill through the use of electronic signage along the prom. Other discussions focused on models which could be used operationally to forecast coastal flooding events and help with emergency response planning. A presentation by NUI Galway’s Dr Jim Duggan described how computer modelling can be applied to human habitation behaviour illustrating how a city can plan for social integration during periods of increased growth and diversity. Chaired by Professor Gerry Lyons, NUI Galway’s Dean College of Engineering and Informatics, the aim of the conference was to stimulate debate on the future of our region and how technology and infrastructure will help shape the future.  Dr Mike Hartnett, Vice-Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics and one of the conference organisers, said:  “The conference has shown the depth of expertise that exists between NUI Galway and the local community in the area of sustainable and efficient planning of our region and of Galway City. It is likely that over the next 20 years or so Galway City will expand relatively fast. It is our intention to increase our activities in the area of sustainable planning and development. We are keen to develop greater links between the regional partners and NUI Galway to improve the quality of life for the people living in this region.” -ENDS-

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The tenth Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway from 7-8 June in Áras Moyola. The two day symposium, entitled The Written Word: Writing, Publishing and Communication in Higher Education, will be comprised of papers, short presentations, workshops, panel discussions and posters. Essays, reports, papers, books, journals, and even blogs are all at the heart of higher education, and the ability to write clearly and intelligently is deemed a hallmark of a successful graduate. For those working in academia, the need to publish journal papers, monographs and other emerging media forms is vital, with performance metrics based on output and citations. To navigate the complex world of the ‘information age’, powers of discrimination and judgement are essential to the enterprise of sense-making. Academics increasingly need to be able to communicate with a wider audience, to reach out and share their passion and expertise with the public and engage with debate and critique in educational, scientific, cultural and political spheres. The focus of the symposium will be on nurturing the skills of writing amongst students and fine-tuning our own approaches and adapt to new media and new audiences. Questions such as what can we do to challenge the increasing costs of publication, journal subscription charges and the ‘paywalls’ that block access to knowledge, and how can we weave together the skills of communication, critical thinking and public engagement, will also be discussed.   Keynote speakers will include: Professor Adrian Frazier, NUI Galway; Dr Brian Hughes,Senior Lecturer in Psychology, NUI Galway; Catherine Cronin, Academic Coordinator on eLearning programmes at NUI Galway, and advocate of social and digital media for learning; Dr Adam Rutherford, writer and broadcaster; William St. Clair, Senior Research Fellow, Universities of London, Cambridge and Harvard, and Chairman of Open Book Publishers; Dr Mary R. Lea, Reader at the Institute  of Educational Technology and researcher on academic literacies, Open University; andDr Aileen Fyfe, University of St. Andrews and author of Steam-Powered Knowledge. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of CELT said: “It is vital that graduates have high levels of writing skills, and the ability to share, critique and communicate knowledge and ideas to a wide range of potential audiences is at the heart of higher education.” Registration for the event is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/conference/conference12.html -ENDS-

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

On the weekend of June 8-10, the largest group of quilts ever to be assembled in the history of Ireland will be on display on the campus of NUI Galway, as the first annual International Quilt Festival of Ireland creates a “Quilter’s Village” atmosphere and welcomes thousands of international visitors to Ireland. Over two hundred and eighty quilts will be on display at NUI Galway, in addition to Irish craft workshops, quilt classes, entertainment and activities being offered throughout the weekend.  A silent auction will be held each day during the weekend, benefiting the ISPCC, Console and NBCRI. Also the Make a Wish Foundation will receive €1 per wish that is written and placed on the ‘Giving Tree’ in the exhibit My Quilted Garden. Award winning set designer and artists Dara McGee and Daniel O’Sullivan have even constructed a façade to be placed in front of some of the University buildings to create a replica of a 17th century Irish village. According to managing director of the festival, Jim West, this Disneyland atmosphere of the Quilter’s Village will impress everyone who comes to enjoy the ground-breaking endeavour: “We are inviting everyone who lives in Ireland to come to NUI Galway to see this extraordinary event, and families especially are invited on Sunday, June 10th, where we will offer free admission to children and providing all kinds of craft activities and workshops for everyone to enjoy! It is history in the making, and is something that has never been seen or done before inIreland.” For more information on the quilt festival visit www.IQFOI.com NUI Galway Conference Centre, set in 230 acres of picturesque grounds, offers the very best that the Ireland has to offer event organisers with a stunning and varied range of facilities and amenities available. ENDS

Friday, 18 May 2012

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, officially launched The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 by Pat Finnegan last night (Thursday, 17 June). Pat Finnegan is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at NUI Galway and a retired consultant physician, University Hospital Galway. Published by Four Courts Press, The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85examines the wrongful conviction of Patrick Finnegan and RIC Constable Michael Muldowney. At the height of the Land War in 1881, a dispute over land led to the shooting dead of a young man called Peter Doherty near Craughwell, Co. Galway. Intense police investigations discovered two informers whose perjured testimony before packed juries resulted in the conviction of two innocent men, Patrick Finnegan and Constable Muldowney. This book features a forensic analysis of the trials that resulted in such a grave miscarriage of justice. Original research in primary sources has uncovered the role of informers, payments made to them and their eventual ‘disposal’ by the Dublin Castle authorities. Following commutation of the death sentences, each of the prisoners served a term of twenty years penal servitude and became known as the ‘Craughwell prisoners’. The experiences of the prisoners in Mountjoy and Maryborough jails are revealed from the prison files, which also contain their heartfelt pleas for release and pardon and affirmations of their innocence. The case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879–85 is available to purchase at the NUI Galway Bookstore or at www.fourcourtspress.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 21 May 2012

Plans for a new device to help interventional radiologists  improve  vessel embolisation was one of 40 ’unmet clinical needs’ discussed at a biomedical symposium at NUI Galway today. Colin Forde, Product Development Engineer and Wayne Allen, Business Development Manager, 2011 BioInnovate Ireland Fellows, plan to commercialise a new medical technology designed to permanently close blood vessels, targeted at an existing surgical procedure termed embolisation. The idea for their technology was developed while observing surgery in St James Hospital and University Hospital Galway; where it was noticed that multiple devices were required to close the vessel, which was time intensive, costly and posed risk. Colin and Wayne plan to commercialise a one-shot device that will immediately occlude any vessel.  Launched last year, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training and collaboration programme in medical device innovation. It is modelled on Stanford University’s prestigious Biodesign Programme. These top 40 'unmet clinical needs' have been processed by the first cohort of BioInnovate fellows, who have participated in an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout a 10-month period, they have availed of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with national and international clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation. The BioInnovate Ireland Symposium heard a keynote address by Stanford University’s Professor Jack Linehan, a leading expert in the US on innovation and the biomedical sector.  In his address Professor Linehan said: “BioInnovate is already serving as an effective connector between universities (faculty and students) and indigenous and global medical device companies in Ireland. Universities are neutral grounds for business, clinical and academic players to meet and share ideas. I fully expect these connections to grow and flourish following in the steps of the successful Stanford Biodesign programme.” Ireland’s medical technology sector has evolved into one of the leading clusters for medical device and diagnostic products globally. The sector employs more than 25,000 people, which makes the country, per capita, the biggest medical technology employer in European Union. With exports of €7.3 billion in 2011, Ireland is now confirmed among the largest exporters of medical technology products in Europe. 11 of the world's top 13 manufacturing companies manufacturing here, the medical device and diagnostic industry in Ireland is a vibrant growth sector and a cornerstone of the Irish economy. The sector consists of 250 companies involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a diverse range of products and services; from disposable plastic and wound care products to precision metal implants including pacemakers to micro-electronic devices, orthopaedic implants, diagnostics, contact lenses and stents. Approximately 50% of these companies are indigenous. According to Sharon Higgins, Director, IMDA: “Ireland is centrally placed to capitalise on the growing global market for medical technology products and services. We see BioInnovate Ireland as a critical mechanism in continuing to develop and integrate the broad range of strategic competencies and support systems that will enable this island to compete as a mature, high value added economy, with innovation at its core.” The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme is delivered by a consortium of four Higher Education Institutions which include NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Dublin City University and University College Cork. This initiative has received funding and support from Enterprise Ireland and several key medical device players including: Medtronic, Creganna-Tactx Medical, Lake Region Medical, Boston Scientific and SteriPack. Speaking about the programme, the Fellowship Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, said: “BioInnovate Ireland has successfully brought together industry, academic and clinical leaders to support a training environment for innovation in the medical device sector. Through this network and with the support of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Medical Device Association and BioInnovate industry sponsors, a platform has been established that enables the next generation of medical device leaders to emerge. BioInnovate has captured the imagination of industry, clinicians and academics in believing that through collaboration, Ireland has an immense opportunity to emerge as a global place of choice for medical technology start-ups.” -ends-

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The annual meeting of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI), Section of Biomedical Sciences, will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway on Thursday, 14 June. This annual meeting is the premier Biomedical Science meeting in Ireland and provides a platform to showcase novel biomedical research. The meeting will feature a high calibre scientific programme covering biomedical research currently ongoing around Ireland. Submissions in any area of Biomedical Sciences are welcome and the meeting represents a particularly good forum for PhD students, undergraduate students and early career post-doctorate researchers to present their work in oral or poster form. Authors will have the option of having their abstracts published in the Irish Journal of Medical Sciences, and there will be a number of prize presentations throughout the meeting. First time presenters are eligible to apply for The Donegan Medal Competition, while the Barcroft Medal competition is open to presentations from early post-doctoral researchers.  The annual Conway Review Lecture will be delivered by Dr John O’Connor, Conway Institute at UCD, who will present a lecture entitled ‘Targeting TNF in hypoxia and synaptic signalling’. During the meeting Dr O’Connor will also be presented with the annual Conway medal. Founded in 1882, the Section of Biomedical Science of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland presents the Conway medal in commemoration of Edward J. Conway, F.R.S., one time Professor of Biochemistry in University College Dublin. The medal is awarded annually to an outstanding scholar in the biomedical sciences and the recipient is given the opportunity to present a lecture on their research. The conference is being organised by NUI Galway academics and researchers including: Dr Michelle Roche, Physiology and NCBES Centre of Pain Research; Dr Jill McMahon, NCBES; and Dr David Finn, Pharmacology and NCBES Centre of Pain Research. Speaking about the upcoming meeting, Dr Michelle Roche said: “We expect this to be one of the best attended and most vibrant RAMI Biomedical Sciences Section conferences in recent years. The conference will bring together researchers from across the full spectrum of the biomedical sciences and provide a forum for the sharing of ideas and knowledge. It is appropriate that the conference is being held at NUI Galway at this time, where biomedical sciences has been identified as a major priority area of research for the University.” For full details, registration and abstract submission visit http://www.eventelephant.com/RAMI_BMS_2012 . -ENDS- 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

His Excellency, the Ambassador of Italy, Dr Maurizio Zanini, recently launched a new online Diploma in Italian at NUI Galway, first university in Ireland to launch such a programme. Run by the Discipline of Italian Studies at the University, the new course will commence in September and is open to students all over the world. Speaking at the launch, Ambassador Zanini, highlighted the importance of thinking of Europe as the coming together of multiple cultures and languages, “Studying Italian will enhance the knowledge and understanding of Europe as a whole, and will make individuals more competent European citizens.” The course concentrates on all four main language skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing, and provides a gradual introduction to the structures and functions of the language. In addition, a module on oral and intercultural skills will introduce various aspects of Italian life from an intercultural perspective. Unlike many distance learning programmes designed for independent learning, this new course is based on a collaborative, communicative approach and students are encouraged to participate in virtual class activities with their peers and e-tutors. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The online Diploma in Italian is a groundbreaking experience employing the latest skills in e-learning and will enable learners to study Italian in their own time, wherever they are, and as part of a community of e-learners.” The online course has been designed and developed by Dr Laura McLoughlin and recently graduated PhD student Dr Silvia Bernabei. Dr McLoughlin is the winner of prestigious European Awards for innovation in the teaching of languages, and has a particular expertise in the area of technology enhanced pedagogical approaches. The new course has been tailored to suit the requirements of students who need flexibility in their time and mode of study, and/ or who do not live in Galway. The Diploma in Italian is open to everybody and is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of the language. In order to facilitate interaction and create a supportive learning environment, face-to-face on campus sessions will take place as part of the course. A practical introductory session in the use of computers will also be given at the beginning of the course to ensure that all students have basic computer skills. Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “Learning a new language will provide invaluable skills. There is no doubt that the profile of the professional of the future will be that of a person who can adapt quickly and effectively to new situations and environments, who speaks more than one language, and who is at home in more than one country. Language students will be mobile, cosmopolitan, and ready and happy to embrace and negotiate different cultures and traditions.” Closing date for applications is Friday, 13 July and full details of the online Diploma in Italian are available on www.nuigalway.ie/italian/onlinediploma.html. For further information or queries contact the Course Director, Dr Laura McLoughlin, at 091 492240 or laura.mcloughlin@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) comes to Ireland for the first time, bringing with it keynote speakers from Google, Twitter, the University of Oxford and other top research groups from around the globe. 300 of the world's top social media researchers will descend on Dublin from 4-7 June to attend a series of workshops, tutorials, invited talks and top accepted research papers from an interdisciplinary mix of computer science and social science research. The event is being organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), which is based at NUI Galway. Andrew Tomkins, Engineering Director at Google, will speak about the first year of Google's social networking and identity service Google+. Robin Dunbar, Head of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, will present one of the keynote addresses in a talk titled 'Why Facebook Won't Get You Any More Friends'. Professor Dunbar is the originator of Dunbar's number, a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. Lada Adamic, University of Michigan and award-winning researcher, will present on 'The Information Life of Social'. As part of the conference, ICWSM will host an industry and commercialisation event designed to bring delegates from local and international industry and academia together. The event will consist of two focused discussion panels interleaved with a coffee and stands session where industrial delegates can present their business or service, seek business and recruitment opportunities and exchange ideas with a national and international audience. The first panel on business networking and enterprise collaboration will be entitled 'I Want to (Net)work with You, But I Don't Know What/Where/Who You Are'. Speakers include Connor Murphy, CEO and co-founder of Datahug, Stuart McRae, Executive Collaboration and Social Business Evangelist with IBM, and Keith Griffin, Principal Engineer in Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group. The second panel on news and social media will focus on 'News Generation and Consumption through Social Media'. Speakers include: Howard Mortman, Communications Director and member of the executive leadership team at C-SPAN; Gavin Sheridan, Innovation Director with Storyful; Paul Quigley, founder of NewsWhip; Hugh Linehan, Online Editor of The Irish Times; and Hannah Waldram, Community Coordinator with The Guardian. This year's conference papers cover both old and new ground, from the advancement of techniques to extract, summarize, and detect information from social streams, to understanding phenomena in society by how they are reflected in and shaped by social media. Some of the social media research work that will be presented at ICWSM include: An analysis of the YouTube social network will show how it differs from traditional social networking sites but bears some resemblance to Twitter in terms of its network properties. In a very large study of browsing behaviours, web histories for a quarter of a million anonymised individuals are paired with user-level demographics to examine behaviour change over time online, to revisit notions of the digital divide, and to show that user attributes may be inferred from browsing histories and potentially used for ad targeting. A method that can identify experts in social question-and-answer sites through evolutionary pattern detection will be presented. A framework that accurately identifies sick individuals from the content of online communication will be presented and evaluated based on a large Twitter dataset. Research on the World of Warcraft multiplayer system will describe how destructive group dynamics can be predicted with medium-to-high accuracy. A model for studying the structure and composition of a city, based on the social media its residents generate, will be described and tested using 18 million check-ins collected from a location-based online social network.         Tutorial sessions at ICWSM will cover how to analyze a massive social network; how to map networks found on social media sites and in email collections; how to design an online community using evidence-based social design principles; and how to carry out sentiment mining and extract relevant information from user-generated content. Workshops are in the areas of social media visualisation, the news media industry, real-time mining of social streams, and when the city meets the citizen. According to the General Chair, Dr John Breslin who is a social media expert and researcher with DERI at NUI Galway: “Whatever the future may hold for online social media, there are sure to be hints embedded in this year's topically-diverse set of research papers. We're truly honoured to have such a high-calibre set of speakers, from research and academia but also from industry and media companies.” ICWSM is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, Google, Bing / Microsoft Research, Fáilte Ireland / Meet in Ireland, Tawlk, Knoesis at Wright State University, Yahoo! Research, IBM, and Church & Duncan Group. The local organisers are John Breslin, NUI Galway, Conor Hayes, DERI at NUI Galway, and Derek Greene, UCD.  ICWSM will be held in Dublin at the Trinity Bio Sciences Institute from 4-7 June 2012, for further information visit www.icwsm.org. Ends

Friday, 25 May 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor of Midwifery, Declan Devane, will deliver his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Friday, 8 June at 6pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Hosted by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, Professor Devane’s lecture entitled Evidence Based Midwifery: Its Heritage, Our Future, will focus on the contribution of evidence, and in particular research based evidence, to the provision of high quality maternity care. By considering the historical context of maternity care and by examining key pieces of research and aspects of clincial practice, Professor Devane will examine how the application of what we know can prevent and minimise some of the widespread problems we face in maternity care. The opening address will be delivered by NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. The guest lecture, Implications of the Birthplace in England Research Programme: Adding to the Evidence Jigsaw about High Quality and Safe Maternity Care, will be presented by Professor Jane Sandall, Professor of Women’s Health and Programme Director at Kings College, London. Speaking ahead of the lecture, Professor Devane said: “Evidence based practice involves the explicit use of best evidence, clinical expertise and the preferences and perspectives of those accessing our health services. Over the past 20 years, research has moved from being marginal to practice to transforming the care women and their infants receive by providing high quality evidence to inform healthcare decisions. The implementation of evidence based practice is not, however, without its challenges. If practice is to be based on high quality evidence then not only is research evidence needed but it needs to be disseminated and implemented. To RSVP for the lecture please contact Mari Moran, School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, at 091 493740 or mari.moran@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Friday, 25 May 2012

Programme is part of the Government’s strategy to improve the teaching and learning of maths  The Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today officially launched the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, which is aimed at ‘out-of-field’ teachers of maths. The programme is aimed at improving the skills of maths teachers at post- primary level. It covers mathematical content and knowledge, and teaching and learning strategies/approaches relevant to the Project Maths syllabi, which are being rolled out in schools.    Under the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, a team from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway has worked closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL, UL) to develop the new professional mathematics education programme. Speaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway, said: “This new programme constitutes a significant and historic development in the enhancement of post-primary mathematics in Irish education. The principal focus of this unique new course is to enhance teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and their understanding of the subject of mathematics.” Dr Hall added:  “Now, this unique, specialist professional mathematics education programme at graduate level will facilitate upskilling of the mathematical subject knowledge of teachers in schools, helping to support the wider national reforms currently taking place in mathematics education in Ireland.” Jointly accredited and designed by NUI Galway and UL, the programme will be delivered nationwide, free of charge through a national consortium of higher education institutions and the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland. The course will be a blended learning programme based on a part-time (2 year) university accredited professional diploma, delivered locally and through online modules. Google will support the flexible online delivery of the programme as the chief technology partner in the NUI Galway-UL, Alliance-led consortium. The new programme is aligned with the national curriculum reform, Project Maths (2008-2015); the requirements of the Teaching Council as the statutory body for teaching in Ireland; and latest developments in innovative educational technology and mathematics education research. There will be specific provision for teachers in Irish-medium schools through a Dioplóma Gairmiúil sa Mhatamaitic don Mhúinteoireacht, supported by NUI Galway and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Gaillimh. The BA Mathematics and Education was introduced by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway in 2008 specifically to address the demonstrated need for excellent mathematics teaching in Irish schools. It was at the time the first, and only specialist teaching programme of its kind in the Irish State, focusing to honours university level on the mathematical sciences, within a full, concurrent, four-year initial teacher education degree. The BA Mathematics and Education will graduate its first cohort of specialist mathematics and applied mathematics teachers in autumn 2012. Commenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D.,  said: “The provision of this course provides further evidence of my personal commitment, and that of my Government colleagues, to supporting maths teaching in post primary schools. We are providing over €2million to fund this course, and are making it available at locations across the country and free of change, to maximise accessibility and participation.” Minister Sherlock said “The teaching community has shown significant interest in this course since my announcement last September. I am pleased that the course will facilitate teachers who are working during the day, with convenient local and online access.” John Herlihy, VP and Head of Google in Ireland said; “Government, industry and academia all agree on the need for more students to study Maths, Science and Engineering subjects at third level and on the need to produce graduates with strong analytical and problem solving skills. The introduction of a Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching is an important step in augmenting how we teach maths in our secondary schools. I believe that providing ‘out of field’ teachers with the specialised skills to teach maths in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable way will be a catalyst for more students pursuing maths based subjects at third level.” ENDS

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, will hold its first conference in Ireland in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on Saturday, 9 June. The papers presented during the conference will focus considerable attention on the migration of Sudanese doctors, its impact and the many opportunities for collaboration between Sudan and Ireland. Delegates will include health policy makers in Ireland and Sudan, health care professionals, and academics to discuss issues related to the migration of medical professionals and analyse the whole issue of health workers migration in local and global contexts. The conference will be addressed by the Republic of Sudan’s Federal Minister of Health, along with keynote speakers from NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the Irish Forum for Global Health. Speakers will address and examine the overall impact of migration of health care professionals on the Irish health system.  Dr Abobakr Shadad, Lecturer at the Discipline of Medicine at NUI Galway and Deputy President of the Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, said: “This conference will provide an opportunity for participants from Ireland, Sudan and the UK to meet, network and examine opportunities of joint work.The Sudanese Medical Association was established a result of our awareness of the many opportunities available for us as Irish Sudanese and British Sudanese to be an agent of change and a voice of reason both in Ireland, UK as well as in our home country Sudan.” NUI Galway will be represented at the conference by: Professor Martin Cormican, Professor of Bacteriology; Dr Sean Dinneen, Senior Lecturer in Medicine; and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer and Vice-Dean for Internationalisation, who will be participating in the conference activities and chairing the sessions as well as in the post conference activities. This is the fourth International Conference for the Sudanese Medical Association, UK and Ireland, since its inception in 2010. The conference program is available at https://www.eventelephant.com/ee/images/event/14573/SMA_program(1).pdf. For more info on the conference visit https://www.eventelephant.com/SMA -END-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sebastian Barry, Maureen Dowd, Irial Finan, The Honourable James Flaherty PC, MP NUI Galway today (Monday, 28 May) announced the recipients of the 2012 Honorary Degrees. The four individuals to be conferred on Friday, 29 June are playwright and novelist, Sebastian Barry; The New York Times opinion columnist, Maureen Dowd; Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan; and Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James Flaherty PC, MP. Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim 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 one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, journalism, business, public administration and government. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Sebastian Barry will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). Born in Dublin in 1955, he began to write in 1977, publishing a number of books of fiction and poetry, and in 1986 became increasingly involved in theatre work. He published a novel The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), followed by Annie Dunne (2002) and then two Man Booker Prize shortlisted books – A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). The latter earned him the Costa Book of the Year award, the Independent Booksellers’ Prize, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, among others. Barry’s most recent novel, On Canaan’s Side, was also longlisted for the Booker, and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, the Irish Book Awards and the Galaxy International Author of the Year. He has written twelve plays, among them the award-winning The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007). He won the Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1997. He has been Writer in Association at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and was Heimbold Visiting Professor at Villanova University in 2006. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia in 2010, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His work is translated into more than thirty-five languages. Maureen Dowd will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). She is a 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner, in the commentary category, for her “unsparing columns on the hypocrisies involved in the Lewinsky affair and the effort to impeach President Clinton”. She was appointed a columnist of The New York Times’s Op-Ed page in January 1995 (where she joined in 1983). Previously, she served as a correspondent in its Washington bureau since August 1986. There, she covered two Presidential campaigns and served as White House correspondent, gaining a wide following of admirers and imitators for her witty, incisive and acerbic portraits of the powerful. She also wrote a column, "On Washington", for The New York Times Magazine. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for the Washington Star where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter, and feature writer. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting in 1992, Ms Dowd received the Breakthrough Award from ‘Women, Men and Media’ at Columbia University in 1991 and a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications in 1994. She was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year for 1996 and won the Damon Runyon award in 2000 for outstanding contributions to journalism. Dowd is the author of two bestselling books Bushworld:  Enter at Your Own Risk (2004) and Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide (2005). Born in Washington, D.C., on January 14, 1952, Miss Dowd received a BA degree in English from Catholic University (Washington) in 1973. Irian Finan will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President of Bottling Investments responsible for managing a multi-billion dollar bottling business, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), which has operations on four continents (South America, Europe, Africa and Asia), with revenues of over $8 billion and employs over 85,000 people. Additionally, he is responsible for stewarding The Company’s Equity Investments and leading Global Supply Chain. Irial has over 29 years experience in The Coca-Cola System. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola HBC, during which time he managed the merger integration of Coca-Cola Beverages plc and Hellenic Bottling SA, and led the combined company's operations in 26 countries. Irial joined the Coca-Cola Company in 2004 as President, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain and was named Executive Vice President of the Company in October 2004. From 1995 to 1999, he was managing director of Molino Beverages, with responsibility for expanding markets, including the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Romania, Moldova, Russia and Nigeria. Prior to that role, Irial worked in several markets across Europe. From 1991 to 1993 he served as managing director of Coca-Cola Bottlers Ulster, Ltd., based in Belfast. He was finance director, Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Ltd., based in Dublin from 1984 to 1990. Irial serves on the board of directors of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola Central Japan, the Supervisory Board of CCE AG (Germany), Smurfit Kappa Group, and the American Ireland Fund. He also serves as a non-executive director for Co-operation Ireland and NUI Galway Foundation. Irial holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from NUI Galway and is an Associate (later Fellow) of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. The Honourable James Flaherty PC, MP will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is a third-term Member of Parliament for Whitby–Oshawa (Ontario). He serves as Canada’s Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area. He is a Governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. As Minister of Finance he is an ex-officio member of all Cabinet Committees. Minister Flaherty was recently awarded Euromoney Magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year award. Euromoney credited him with enhancing Canada’s reputation for sound fiscal policy while taking full account of social justice and overseeing a strong regulatory regime that has kept the financial sector out of chaos. He has also been described as a pillar in both the G-7 and the G-20. In 2010, Minister Flaherty was chair of the G-7 Finance Ministers and chair of the annual Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. Previously, for more than 10 years, he served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby–Ajax (Ontario). He served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Attorney General and Minister of Labour. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude and then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario with honours and practised law for more than 20 years before being elected to public office. These four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood. For more information on this year's recipients click -ends-   Céimithe Oinigh 2012 Fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh Sebastian Barry, Maureen Dowd, Irial Finan, an Uasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh inniu na daoine a mbronnfar Céimeanna Oinigh 2012 orthu. Is iad an ceathrar a gheobhaidh céim oinigh Dé hAoine, an 29 Meitheamh an drámadóir agus úrscéalaí, Sebastian Barry; colúnaí tuairimíochta an New York Times, Maureen Dowd; Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin, The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan; agus Aire Airgeadais Cheanada, An tUasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP. Ag labhairt dó faoin bhfógra, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne:  “Tá an t-ádh le OÉ Gaillimh céimithe oinigh den scoth a bheith aici in imeacht na mblianta ach is eisceacht céimithe oinigh na bliana seo. Tá a c(h)ion féin déanta ag gach céimí oinigh daoibh i réimsí éagsúla na litríochta, na hiriseoireachta, an ghnó agus an riaracháin phoiblí agus an rialtais. Tá an-áthas ar OÉ Gaillimh a bheith in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo.” Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Litríocht (honoris causa) ar Sebastian Barry. Rugadh é i mBaile Átha Cliath i 1955, agus chuir sé peann le pár den chéad uair i 1977. D’fhoilsigh sé cúpla leabhar ficsin agus filíochta, agus i 1986 thosaigh sé ag díriú ar an amharclannaíocht. D’fhoilsigh sé na húrscéalta The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), agus Annie Dunne (2002) agus ansin dhá leabhar a cuireadh ar ghearrliosta do Dhuais Man Booker – A Long Long Way (2005) agus The Secret Scripture (2008). Bhuaigh The Secret Scripture an duais Costa Book of the Year, Duais na nDíoltóirí Neamhspleácha Leabhar, agus Duais Chuimhneacháin James Tait Black, i measc duaiseanna eile. Cuireadh an t-úrscéal is deireanaí a scríobh Barry, On Canaan’s Side, ar an liosta fada do dhuais Booker, agus ar an ngearrliosta do dhuais Walter Scott, Duaiseanna Leabhar na hÉireann agus Duais Galaxy d’Údar Idirnáisiúnta na Bliana. Tá dhá dhráma dhéag scríofa aige, ina measc The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), agus The Pride of Parnell Street (2007) a bhfuil duaiseanna buaite acu. Bhuaigh sé Duais Litearthachta Chiste na hÉireann i 1997. Bhí sé ina Scríbhneoir i gCompántas in Amharclann na Mainistreach i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ina Ollamh Heimbold ar Cuairt in Ollscoil Villanova in 2006. Fuair sé dochtúireacht oinigh ón Ollscoil in East Anglia in 2010, agus rinneadh Comhalta den Royal Society of Literature de. Tá a shaothar aistrithe go breis agus tríocha cúig teanga. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Litríocht (honoris causa) ar Maureen Dowd. Bhuaigh sí Duais Pulitzer i 1999, sa chatagóir tráchtaireachta, mar gheall ar a "unsparing columns on the hypocrisies involved in the Lewinsky affair and the effort to impeach President Clinton." Ceapadh ina colúnaí í ar an leathanach trasna ón eagarfhocal sa New York Times in Eanáir 1995 (áit ar thosaigh sí i 1983). Roimhe sin, d’oibrigh sí mar chomhfhreagraí i mbiúró Washington ó Lúnasa 1986. Bhí sí ina comhfhreagraí ar dhá fheachtas Uachtaránachta agus ina comhfhreagraí sa Teach Bán, áit a raibh lucht leanúna mór aici mar gheall go ndéanfadh sí cur síos barúil, gonta agus searbhasach orthu siúd a bhí i gcumhacht. Scríobh sí an colún, "On Washington," don New York Times Magazine. Thosaigh sí ag obair i 1974 mar chúntóir eagarthóireachta don Washington Star agus ina dhiaidh sin bhí sí ina colúnaí spóirt, ina tuairisceoir cathrach, agus ina scríbhneoir gné-alt leis an bpáipéar céanna. Bhí Maureen Dowd san iomaíocht do Dhuais Pulitzer as tuairisciú náisiúnta i 1992, bhuaigh sí an Breakthrough Award ó "Women, Men and Media" in Ollscoil Columbia i 1991 agus an Matrix Award ó New York Women in Communications i 1994. D’ainmnigh Glamour í ar dhuine de Mhná na Bliana i 1996 agus bhuaigh sí duais Damon Runyon in 2000 as a cuid oibre i saol na hiriseoireachta. Tá dhá leabhar sárdhíola scríofa ag Dowd Bushworld:  Enter at Your Own Rish (2004) agus Are Men Necessary?  When Sexes Collide (2005). Rugadh Maureen Dowd in Washington, D.C., an 14 Eanáir 1952. Bhain sí céim BA amach sa Bhéarla ó Catholic University (Washington) i 1973. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar Irian Finan. Tá sé ina Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin ar The Coca-Cola Company agus ina Uachtarán ar Bottling Investments áit a bhfuil sé freagrach as gnó Buidéalaithe ar fiú na billiúin dollar é, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), a bhainistiú. Tá BIG ag feidhmiú i 4 mhór-roinn (Meiriceá Theas, an Eoraip, an Afraic agus an Áise), agus ioncam os cionn $8 billiún aige agus fostaíonn sé os cionn 85,000 duine. Chomh maith leis sin, tá Irian freagrach as Infheistíochtaí Cothromais agus Slabhra Soláthair Domhanda na cuideachta a mhaoirsiú. Tá breis agus 29 bliain taithí ag Irial i gcóras Coca-Cola. Ó 2001 go 2003, bhí sé ina Phríomhoifigeach Feidhmiúcháin ar Coca-Cola HBC. I rith an ama sin bhainistigh sé comhcheangal Coca-Cola Beverages plc agus Hellenic Bottling SA, agus bhí sé i gceannas ar obair na cuideachta i sé tír agus fiche. Thosaigh Irial ag obair sa Coca-Cola Company in 2004 mar Uachtarán ar Infheistíochtaí Buidéalaithe agus Slabhra Soláthair agus ainmníodh é mar Leas-Uachtarán Feidhmiúcháin na Cuideachta i nDeireadh Fómhair 2004. Idir 1995 agus 1999, bhí sé ina stiúrthóir bainistíochta ar Molino Beverages, agus é freagrach as margaí a leathnú, fiú i bPoblacht na hÉireann, i dTuaisceart Éireann, sa Rómáin, sa Mholdóiv, sa Rúis agus sa Nigéir. Roimhe sin, d’oibrigh Irial i margaí éagsúla ar fud na hEorpa. Idir 1991 agus 1993 d’oibrigh sé mar stiúrthóir bainistíochta ar Coca-Cola Bottlers Ulster, Ltd., lonnaithe i mBéal Feirste. Bhí sé ina stiúrthóir airgeadais ar Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Ltd., lonnaithe i mBaile Átha Cliath idir 1984 agus 1990. Tá Irial ar bhord stiúrthóirí Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola Central Japan, Bord Maoirseachta CCE AG (sa Ghearmáin), Smurfit Kappa Group, agus Ciste Mheiriceá na hÉireann. Tá sé ina stiúrthóir neamhfheidhmiúcháin chomh maith ar Co-operation Ireland agus ar Fhondúireacht OÉ Gaillimh. Tá céim Tráchtála ag Irial ó OÉ Gaillimh agus tá sé ina Chomhpháirtí (Comhalta ina dhiaidh sin) d’Institiúid na gCuntasóirí Bainistíochta Cairte. Bronnfar Céim Dhochtúireachta le Dlíthe (honoris causa) ar an Uasal Onórach James Flaherty PC, MP. Is é seo an tríú téarma aige mar Theachta Parlaiminte do Whitby–Oshawa (Ontario). Is é Aire Airgeadais Cheanada é agus is é an tAire Freagrach as Mórcheantar Toronto é. Tá sé ina Rialtóir ar an mBanc Domhanda agus ar an gCiste Airgeadaíochta Idirnáisiúnta. Mar Aire Airgeadais tá sé ina chomhalta de bhrí oifige ar gach Coiste Comh-Aireachta. Bhronn an tIris Euromoney an gradam Aire Airgeadais na Bliana ar an Aire Flaherty le gairid. Deir Euromoney go bhfuil cáil Cheanada maidir le dea-bheartas fioscach feabhsaithe aige agus ag an am céanna go bhfuil ceartas sóisialta curtha san áireamh aige chomh maith le réim rialála láidir tugtha isteach aige agus go bhfuil an earnáil airgeadais coinnithe as anord aige dá bharr. Cuireadh síos air mar chrann taca sa G-7 agus sa G-20. In 2010, bhí an tAire Flaherty ina chathaoirleach ar Airí Airgeadais an G-7 agus ina chathaoirleach ar chruinniú bliantúil Airí Airgeadais an Chomhlathais. Ar feadh breis agus deich mbliana roimhe sin, bhí sé ina chomhalta den Pharlaimint Réigiúnach do Whitby–Ajax (Ontario). Bhí sé ina Leas-Cheannaire Rialtais agus ina Aire Airgeadais, ina Ard-Aighne agus ina Aire Saothair. Bhain sé a chéim amach ó Ollscoil Princeton le honóracha agus ansin ó Scoil Dlí Osgoode Hall. Cháiligh sé mar dhlíodóir le honóracha in Ontario agus bhí sé i mbun an dlí ar feadh breis agus scór bliain sular toghadh chuig oifig é. Beidh an ceathrar seo anois i measc céimithe oinigh mór le rá roimhe seo cosúil le Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Sinsear agus Sóisear, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan agus Margaret Atwood. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Research also explores the attitudes, fears and preferences of young people towards chlamydia testing New research carried out by researchers from NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has found that a national screening campaign for chlamydia in young people would not prove cost effective.  The research also explored the attitudes, fears and preferences of young Irish men and women aged 18-29 years old towards accepting tests to detect chlamydia. The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study, which was funded by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and supported by the Health Research Board, looked at the feasibility of opportunistic screening in a general practice setting for chlamydia, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Like other countries, Ireland is experiencing a steady increase in the numbers of young women and men presenting to the health services with STIs; the annual numbers of cases of chlamydia rose from 1000 in 1997 to around 6000 in 2008-09. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STI in Ireland, with highest numbers reported among 20-29 year olds. More often than not it is silent and causes no symptoms – especially in women – but can cause serious complications such as infertility and ectopic pregnancies. Dr Emer O’Connell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine in the HSE presented study findings at Ireland’s first ever Sexual Health Awareness Week, which was officially launched in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland today. “Screening for chlamydia is available in many countries. However, some countries such as Australia are reviewing the effectiveness of this measure. In Ireland, due to our small population and the strain already on our health service, a screening programme for chlamydia would not be cost effective because it would be difficult to achieve the necessary coverage levels to reduce the level of infection.” The research found that the main barrier reported by young people to seeking or accepting an STI test was the stigma associated with chlamydia and other STIs.  This stigma was greatest among women especially those from rural backgrounds and in urban working class areas who feared the consequences of being publicly exposed – to their families and peers –through asking for an STI test. Despite the stigma associated with an STI test, there was a high level of willingness among young men and women to take a chlamydia test if offered by a health professional. 95% said it would be acceptable to be offered the test and 75% of students said they would accept the test if offered. The research also found that 80% of those involved in the study said they would inform their current partner if they tested positive for chlamydia but this rate fell to 55-60% in the case of previous partners. Professor Ruairi Brugha, Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine, RCSI said: “While this study demonstrated that a national chlamydia screening programme would not be cost-effective in Ireland, it reports important positive findings. Young people are aware of the risks and are anxious that STI testing services be made accessible and acceptable.  We also found that there are primary care providers who are willing to provide such services.”  Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway said “The study findings provide evidence of how to protect the sexual health of young Irish people.  Given these findings, a national sexual health plan should include primary prevention activities such as sex education, condom distribution and the provision of information on how to seek care for STIs. Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of primary care-delivered chlamydia detection and case management services as part of a national action plan to promote sexual health.” The research from The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study will be presented today during Ireland’s first ever national Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW). SHAW is being hosted by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI). A range of public meetings, debates and interactive workshops promoting sexual health awareness at a national leave are taking place in RCPI from 28 -31 May, all of which are free and open to the public. ENDS

Monday, 28 May 2012

Due to unprecedented demand, NUI Galway has announced an additional date to the Summer Boot Camp diary for graduates who are seeking to gain employment. The first of these events, which will take place on Thursday, 24 May, is currently fully booked and a second date of the Thursday, 14 June has now been added. These graduate support ‘Boot Camps’, organised by NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre,  will focus on effective CVs, interview skills and using social media in the job search process. Interactive workshops facilitated by staff from the Career Development Centre and employers will challenge participants to review their current approach to job search and to apply the learning gained to enhance their job prospects. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway: “This is a great opportunity for those seeking employment to boost their efforts. We look forward to working again with our recent graduates and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and get their career back on track.” Places are limited to ensure individual attention and graduates who are interested in attending on 14 June are encouraged to book a place through the online booking system ‘Career Connect’ via the Careers website www.nuigalway.ie/careers as soon as possible. For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email pamela.devins@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Monday, 28 May 2012

Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. Professor Steven Ellis and Professor Adrian Frazier were among only 22 academics in Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction Steven Ellis is Professor of History at NUI Galway.  His publications over three decades have made a major contribution to our understanding of the political, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Ireland, and have established him as an internationally recognised  authority on the history of  frontier societies. Adrian Frazier is Professor of English at NUI Galway. His work on modern Irish literature has opened up new fields of inquiry in territories often passed over: introducing new historicism to the study of Irish theatre; re-introducing George Moore to a world that had forgotten him; and bringing alive the story of Abbey actors working with John Ford in Hollywood.    Congratulating the awardees, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of my colleagues, Professors Adrian Frazier and Steven Ellis recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland.  It is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see the work of two of our finest humanities scholars honoured in this way”. RIA President, Professor Luke Drury, urged the government to make greater use of the resources available to it in the academic community, so that it can develop new and creative solutions and avoid the danger of ‘group think’, saying: “At a time when trust in public institutions has been greatly undermined, we need reassurance that government is receiving good advice on what it should do and how it should do it. The State can, and should, turn to the academic community for expert advice, at far less cost than commissioning expensive consultants, and thereby support genuinely independent and occasionally critical voices.” For 227 years, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 466 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. Members of the Academy include: Seamus Heaney, Frances Ruane (ESRI), Mary Robinson, Patrick Cunningham (ESOF Dublin 2012), Maurice Manning (NUI Chancellor), Patrick Honohan (Central Bank), Mary Canning (HEA) and writer and cartographer Tim Robinson. ENDS

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A collaborative research agreement has been signed between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). The agreement will generate close collaborations between researchers at both institutes and is expected to lead to a number of funded projects. Work is already underway on a joint project in the area of semantic data integration and application. DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, with over 140 researchers. With its researchers of over 500 people, KISTI is specialised institute providing science technology and innovation services to promote national competitiveness. KISTI’s agenda is to develop and secure local and foreign information resources, strategic information analysis and advanced supercomputing and information infrastructure. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, which was established in 2003 with support from Science Foundation Ireland, says: “This agreement will boost world-class R&D in the field of semantic technologies as it makes possible a closer collaboration between two leading institutions. We were honoured to have been approached by KISTI regarding this agreement and glad to accept, while looking forward to the start of specific research projects.” Dr Won-Kyung Sung, Head of Information & Software Research Center of KISTI, says: “We expect that this Memorandum of Understanding will advance semantic web technology-based smart information service of KISTI and expand international collaboration in several R&D areas including semantic web.” Among the first specific projects that are included in the agreement is one related to DERI’s ‘web of data’ search engine Sindice. “Sindice represents a unique opportunity for researchers and companies to look at and start using infrastructures and concepts related to web-scale semantic data processing”, said Dr Giovanni Tummarello, head of the Data Intensive Infrastructure unit in DERI. “We are receiving more and more interest on this topic from enterprise and academic partners like KISTI”, added Dr Tummarello, “and there are solid prospects for Irish based job creation related to these activities in the near future.” -ends-

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The 2012 Annual InterTradeIreland Innovation Conference will take place at NUI Galway from 12-13 June. The free event will focus on a theme highly pertinent in the currently economic climate ‘Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation: Why it Matters’. The Conference aims to provide practical insights into how businesses, academics and policy makers on the island of Ireland can best exploit industry-university research, development and innovation to best effect in context of our economic recovery.   Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway states: “Innovation management is moving towards an open innovation model with industry, universities and governments collaborating to support scientific development and economic development. Over the last decade Ireland has increased its scientific capacity through public funding of science and technology. The open innovation model is being adopted by more industries and this poses significant strategic and operational challenges for companies, large and small. This Conference will explore how best companies can respond to these significant changes in research, development and innovation.”   The Keynote Speaker is Professor Donald Siegel, Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Management at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. He has spent his career building knowledge and expertise on issues relating to university technology transfer and entrepreneurship, the effects of corporate governance on economic performance, productivity analysis, and corporate and environmental social responsibility. He serves as President of the Technology Transfer Society in the US and was recently ranked Number 2 in the world for academic research on university entrepreneurship.   According to Professor Siegel: “In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the commercialization of intellectual property at universities. A concomitant trend has been a substantial rise in university-industry research partnerships, often with that same goal in mind. I will present some lessons learned for managers and policymakers who are interested in stimulating academic entrepreneurship and managing university-industry partnerships more effectively.  If you are interested in learning about ‘best practices’ in university technology commercialization, you should attend this conference.”   In the packed two-day conference programme, a number of business leaders and academic experts from both sides of the border will explore why the exploitation of industry and university-based research, development and innovation is crucial to the development of a sustainable economy. Delegates will also hear the results of cutting-edge research into innovation and entrepreneurship that is being undertaken in our third level institutions across the island.   Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director for InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland’s focus is on SMEs and ensuring they can access all the resources needed to engage in innovation. Open innovation is often seen as the preserve of larger firms however, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also adopt open innovation strategies through involvement in innovation partnerships and networks. Such companies need help to gain access to external knowledge, draw on alternative pathways to bring ideas to market, provide greater access to innovation capabilities and increase speed to market. This event provides those same businesses with these opportunities by allowing them to connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise both on the island and internationally.”    The Conference will be of interest to business leaders and senior managers in businesses across all industry sectors including public, private and the third sector including anyone with a responsibility for the strategic development of a business or organisation. The first day of the Conference (12 June) will be of particular interest to academic researchers with an interest in tech transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship.   The Conference is part of the InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Innovation Programme which aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, academics, students, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region via innovation conferences, lectures, seminars and master classes. The All-Island Innovation Programme is delivered in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For more information on the InterTradeIreland All Island Innovation Programme visit www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme   The two-day Conference takes place at the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2012. For more information and to register online to attend this FREE event, visit www.conference.ie and follow the link to the InterTradeIreland Annual Innovation Conference.   A Twitter Hashtag has been setup so that conference delegates can share their thoughts on the day: #aiiconf2012   -ends-  

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Galway City’s St Patrick’s National School were recently presented with the ‘Know Your Council’ Award at a special ceremony held in the Galway Council Chamber recently. This was a mayoral initiative by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness among senior classes in primary schools about the workings of local government. Over 370 pupils took part in the initiative and were presented with a certificate of participation. Ten primary schools reaching the final held in City Hall and two pupils from each school presented their projects to an independent adjudicating panel from NUI Galway including: Lorraine McIlrath and Mary Bernard of CKI, Dr Gerard Turley, Lecturer with the School of Business and Economics, Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Fergal Landy, Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and Conor Quinn, Student of Sociology and Politics. The pupils' work will form part of an information pack on local government which will be distributed to all city primary schools in September. Adjudicator Dr Gerard Turley said: “The adjudicating panel was very impressed with St Patrick’s critical analysis and ability to inform local policy.” The winner of the most creative poster was Scoil Iognáid, the winner of the best content poster was Scoil An linbh Íosa, the winner of the best presentation was Scoil Idé and the winner of the best project content was Scoil San Phroinsais. Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, Lorraine McIlrath, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between NUI Galway and Galway City Council, and this initiative is an excellent model of how institutions can collaborate in developing a culture of political literacy among our young people.” Speaking after the event Mayor Naughton said: “We had a fantastic response to the initiative and you could see that all the pupils really enjoyed researching and presenting their projects. The standard was very high and the pupils displayed an excellent understanding of their local council. This is a new initiative which could be rolled out on an annual basis not only in Galway but nationwide. It is important that we set up a programme nationally to continue this work to assist our young people in informing themselves on local government. I would like to thank all the schools who participated in this initiative and partners NUI Galway who administered and adjudicated the project.” The projects will be on display in City Hall for the next few weeks and they will form part of an information pack which will be distributed to all city primary schools. -ENDS-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Galway girl and NUI Galway student Móna Wise will launch her first book The Chef & I this Thursday, 31 May, in Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway. Part memoir, part cookery book, this heartwarming read, which began life as an assignment for Móna’s studies on the BA with Creative Writing Degree at NUI Galway, tells the story of Móna and her American husband, chef Ron, who she met while working in the US in the 1990s . A widely appealing story of love at first sight – and first bite – the book reminds readers to chase their dreams and enjoy delicious food on the journey. 75 pages of autobiography serve as an appetizer for 100 pages of recipes, with enticing images of food, family and fun scattered throughout the text. Parents to four children, Rory, Jack, Sam and Lulu, ranging in age from 10 to 6, the recipes in the book include family favorites such as the recipe for BBQ Ribs and coleslaw and the children's favourite birthday cake ‘Black Magic’. “I have had this story kicking around in my head ever since I saw the Chef’s tattered and torn recipe books, but it was not until I enrolled in my writing course that I felt I might have what it takes to write a book,” said Mona. “I knew, given the schedule and deadlines that if I had the opportunity to ‘live the life of a writer’ while still in college I would give it my best effort,” continued Mona. “Our story appeals to many readers because it is a true story showing how we built our family in a different way and recipes for all the fabulous food we have shared with friends over the years”. Returning from the US in 2008, where Móna and Ron ran a restaurant together, Móna took time out to write and enrolled on the 4-year BA with Creative Writing programme at NUI Galway, studying German and English Literature together with a specialism in Creative Writing. The book is her third-year ‘Independent Writing’ project, for which Eoin Purcell of New Island Press was commissioned as editor-mentor. Commenting on the book, the director of the BA with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, Dr John Kenny, said: “On our programme we are interested in how creative expression in itself can in turn be used to generate professional possibilities, and Móna is a prime example of what can be achieved when the opportunity for supervised self-directed learning is energetically grasped. With still a year to go to graduation, here she is with a weekly column in the Sunday Times, a widely admired blog, and now her first book – it's all a gratifying testament to her good will, hard work and downright gumption.” Móna’s work has recently attracted the attention of the national press and she has commenced writing her own lifestyle and food column for the Sunday Times Sunday Magazine. Móna’s blog wisewords.ie has now become well established and she is a familiar face at foodies’ gatherings. Her site has thousands of followers who log on for her regular restaurant reviews, wine writing, food-book reviews, recipes and child-rearing experiences. In addition to her column in the Sunday Times, readers can catch up with Móna on Twitter @WiseMona, Facebook  Móna Wise or WiseWords or follow her Blog www.WiseWords.ie The Chef & I will be available from Kennys.ie from May 31st and retails at €25 and is also available at locally in Galway at Cases Wine Warehouse, Charlie Byrnes Bookshop, McCambridges, Sheridans Cheesemongers and the NUI Galway Bookshop. ENDS

Thursday, 8 March 2012

68% say the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage 86% say they were concerned about the environment 89% say ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’ There has been a marked improvement in environmental awareness in Ireland over the past decade reveals the ConsEnSus Lifestyle Survey published today by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research programme. The same survey reported that approximately one fifth of all survey respondents had changed their energy supplier to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years and a large percentage (almost 70%) of respondents stated that the re-introduction of water charges would lead to a change in water usage.The ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability) Lifestyle Survey was carried out by researchers in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway with 1,500 households nationwide between 2010 and 2011. The aim of this survey was to obtain an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The survey explored respondents’ household behaviours in the areas of mobility, food, water and energy use. The questionnaire also examined attitudes towards the environment, towards environmental responsibility as well as attitudes towards perceived levels of environmental control and perceptions of quality of life.According to the project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “The survey is the first of its kind in the island of Ireland and the results have produced a huge database on public attitudes and actions towards consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The respondents were asked questions that went further than how and when they undertook certain everyday activities – for example transport to work choices, water or energy conservation activities – focussing on why they undertake these activities. The results provide extremely useful data revealing underlying motivations for many consumption activities and lifestyle choices.”The ConsEnSus factsheets released today comprise some of the highlights and key findings from this the first national dataset on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles across the island of Ireland.High levels of environmental concern across all age groupsThis study found encouragingly high levels of reported environmental concern (86% or 1,289 respondents stated that they were concern about the environment). Similar levels of environmental concern were recorded across all age cohorts; with slightly higher levels of concern noted amongst respondents in the 50-65 age category (88%) and also in the 65-79 age group (88%), in comparison to respondents in the younger 18-33 age categories (83%).Over half of the respondents (58%) felt that they needed ‘to behave in a more environmentally friendly way’ and 82% believed that their personal behaviour could make a difference to the environment.Impact of eco-labels on productsIn the Lifestyle Survey approximately two-thirds of all respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I trust eco-labels’. 66% of survey respondents stated that they pay attention to where and how the food they buy is produced.Concern about food wasteWithin the sustainable food movement, a particular concern is the large amount of waste occurring at every stage of the food chain. Many factors contribute to food waste and recent reports estimate that wasted food costs each Irish household approximately €700 annually (EPA, 2011). The findings highlight public attitudes and behaviour towards food waste in Irish households. A significant majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the statement ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’. The most common reasons for throwing food away are: ‘Too much is bought and it expires’ and ‘Food goes off because of a change in plans’. Just over a third of all participants claimed to never throw food away.Awareness of water usage and impact of proposed water charges With the cost of providing clean drinking water escalating, and with the proposed re-introduction of water charges for domestic dwellings, water and water conservation in particular, has become a very important issue for policy makers, businesses and consumers alike. The Lifestyle Survey found that a substantial number of respondents to the survey (40%) stated that they do not pay attention to the amount of water they use in their homes. Over one third of all respondents (34%) reported drinking bottled water on a daily basis.80% of all respondents surveyed across the island stated that there is ‘a need to save water’ with just 10% of respondents believing that there was no need to conserve water.Finally, 68% of survey respondents stated that the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage.Recent changeover to renewable energy suppliersJust over one fifth of respondents (21%) had changed to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years. Of these respondents; 65% stated ‘financial reasons’ as their rationale for this behaviour and only 9% reported ‘solely environmental reasons’. Respondents in the 34-49 age group were most likely to have changed to a renewable energy supplier.Public willingness to improve energy efficiency of homes, but little actionThe Lifestyle Survey found that although almost three quarters of all respondents (73%) stated that they would be willing to install insulation in their homes, less than one quarter of respondents (23%) had actually done so in the past five years.Prominence of private car use 71% of respondents who reported commuting to work, school or college stated that they usually drive a car. When respondents were asked what would encourage people to reduce their car journeys, 53% of the sample stated ‘improved, more affordable public transport’, 12% of the people reported ‘financial incentives to encourage walking and cycling’ and a further 12% citied ‘improved bike lanes, footpaths and pedestrian crossings’.Respondents who failed to use available public transport viewed it as ‘too restrictive’ (42%), ‘too unreliable’ (11%) and ‘too expensive’ (7%). 27% of urban dwellers who participated in the survey stated that there was no public transport available at all for their commute to work, school or college. The survey indicates that rural Ireland is particularly affected by gaps in public transport provision. Almost half of all rural respondents reported that there is no public transport for their commute to work, school or college.Marked improvement in environmental awareness over the past 10 years The results of this survey indicated that almost one third of all respondents reported not being well informed about the environmental impact of the products they used. However, this could be viewed as a positive finding when considered in light of the results of a previous national survey on attitudes and actions (Drury Research Study) conducted in Ireland in 2000, which indicated that over three quarters of the respondents were not well informed about environmental issues and stated that they wanted more information. In terms of reported levels of environmental awareness, the island is in line with many European countries; with 59% of the respondents in this study stating that they felt well informed of the environmental impacts of products in comparison to 55% of respondents in a recent Eurobarometer Study of European citizens (2009).In response to the establishment of this national database and launch of the preliminary findings Mr Kevin Woods, EPA said: “The establishment of this national database on sustainable consumption and lifestyles is significant and is an important step in moving towards sustainability in the key areas of water, energy, transport and consumer behaviour.”ENDS

Monday, 2 April 2012

Galway’s first app-oriented competition reveals talented coders among the NUI Galway and GMIT student population The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way. First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of ‘iSpeak’. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone’s accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app. The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential. Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: “We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway’s student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies.” Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said: “Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level.” Judging the competition were NUI Galway’s John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes. GMIT’s Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group. These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done. -ENDS- In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the individual category was ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. Pictured is its creator, GMIT Computer and Software Development Student at GMIT, Carles Sentis, who is originally from Barcelona. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the individual winner prize of an iPad went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal.  The fourth-year Software Development student, created ‘iSpeak’, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based application which allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year Computer Science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and Administration & Informations Systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the first prize of €500 in the group category was given to ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Con Crowley and Mike Rockall, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. Both in their final year, Con is studying Mechanical Engineering, while Mike is studying Sports & Exercise Engineering.

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway biomedical science students recently held a presentation day, to showcase the projects which they completed as part of the community knowledge initiative (CKI) module. This module introduces students to the concept of service-learning* and aims to link classroom learning and community service to enrich learning experiences and emphasise civic responsibility. The module gives the opportunity for students to learn and develop through active participation in experiences that meet real community needs. The module is integrated into the students’ curriculum to provide structured time to think, talk and report on their activities, while also working as part of a team. The four main projects this academic year included: Off Bio Heart: The development of a smart phone application to deliver video-based footage of curriculum-based biology laboratory practicals to Leaving Certificate students. This project, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Lynn O’Connor, Biomedical Science, and Dr Des Chambers, Engineering, was in collaboration with MSc in Software Design and Development postgraduate students Janette Saunders, Mel Reynolds, Karen Staunton and Shane O’Sullivan. Awareness of Hypertension as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor in a Third-Level Educational Institution: This Croí/CKI Health Promotion Initiative was supervised by Dr Ger Flaherty, Medicine Lecturer at NUI Galway, with the group reaching over 150 staff and students at the University.  Student Health Connect Mentors: Students acted as mentors both inside the University and in local schools, giving student-centred information about sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and nutrition. The project was supervised by NUI Galway Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Brian Stewart. Awareness day for the Irish Therapy Dogs Association:  This voluntary body provides physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centres, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support. The students also researched the growing interest in the use of dogs in medicine focusing on functions distinct from the role of the therapy dogs, producing and distributed a calendar highlighting the current and expanding roles of dogs in diagnostic medicine. At the annual showcase, Dr Lynn O’Connor, module coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “These community experiences bring the curriculum alive to the students and we appreciate the commitment of our community partners for providing these rich learning experiences for our second year students.”  Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of the Irish Therapy Dogs Associates, said: “Irish Therapy Dogs very much appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by the students of NUI Galway in increasing awareness about the benefits of pet therapy and the importance of the work that we do.” Programme Director, Dr Maura Grealy, added: “The programme has surpassed my expectations in promoting student development awareness of community needs, organisational skills and confidence; they have done great work and I am very proud of them.” This is the third year that the module has been offered to students of Biomedical Science and it has become a very positive aspect of the academic programme at NUI Galway. Over 40 degree programmes at NUI Galway include a service learning module. Engineering students find solutions to community problems, Occupational Therapy students roll out essential services to schools and hostels and Maths students work in second level schools and share their knowledge through a creative Maths curriculum. For further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cki and www.irishtherapydogs.ie. -ENDS-