Tuesday, 8 November 2011

NUI Galway Applied Mathematics student, Fionnuala Connolly, was recently awarded a 2011 Hamilton Award in Mathematics by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Awards were presented to students of Mathematics in nine of the higher education institutions in Ireland. Fionnuala from Knocknackarra, Galway, is currently in her final year of study for the Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and was assessed along with all third-year students in all mathematical degrees taught in NUI Galway. She was judged to be the most outstanding candidate, based on her examination results in her mathematics courses. Congratulating Fionnuala on the award, Professor Michel Destrade, Head of Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted that Fionnuala won the Award this year. It was well deserved because she was indeed an exceptional student, not only in Applied Maths but also in Pure Maths. We were also impressed that seven of the nine Hamilton awardees were female students. This reflects well on studies which show that in general girls perform better than boys in secondary school Maths, although only a minority of them choose to pursue a Degree in Mathematics, Physics, or Engineering.” The recipients of the Hamilton Award in Mathematics received a scroll presented by Fields Medallist Professor Howard Witten from the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies, who then delivered the 2011 Hamilton Lecture. The announcement of the awards formed part of Hamilton Day activities at the RIA which celebrate Hamilton's life and contribution to mathematics, on the day after the anniversary of his famed ‘Quaternion walk’.   -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

At a special ceremony in the University last night (Monday, 7 November), 32 new recipients of NUI Galway student Sports Scholarships were presented by President, Dr Jim Browne.  This brings the total number of students receiving sports scholarships at NUI Galway to 60. Recipients this year include Jennifer Byrne who was part of the Irish Women’s soccer team that reached the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup this summer in Trinidad and Tobago. Mervue United Goalkeeper, Gerard Hanley is among those to receive a Soccer Scholarship. Gerard was recently called up the Irish U21 squad, and his sister Marion is a past recipient of a Tennis Scholarship at NUI Galway. Dean Higgins and Billy Lane, members of the Galway All-Ireland Minor Hurling winning team, were among those presented with hurling Scholarships, while Joss Moore was part of the U21 Football Galway team that took this years All-Ireland title. European Junior Silver medallist in Kickboxing, Desmond Leonard will be preparing for the World Championships later this year, while Heather Cary will be lining out for the Connacht and NUI Galway Ladies Rugby teams. A number of the new scholarship holders will be targeting the 2016 and 2020 Olympics in their careers such as Kevin McGlade and Ruairí McGeever from Swimming, Freddie Timmins, Hockey and Archer Darren Wallace. Also presented at the ceremony were two Gaelic Football Scholarships sponsored by Cadbury’s for outstanding U21 Footballers as part of their sponsorship of the U21 Football Championship.  This year’s recipients are Gary Sweeney and Éinne Ó hEochaidh. NUI Galway Elite Sports Development Officer, former Olympic Sprinter and former Director of Coaching for Athletics Ireland, Gary Ryan, said:  “The NUI Galway Sports Scholarship scheme has a broad range of extremely talented young athletes and over the past number of years we have put in place excellent supports that have helped many of our students improve their performance significantly and to attain enormous success both in their sporting career and at the same time receiving an excellent education. Receiving this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for these students as they will have access to some of the best people working in sport in Ireland.” Scholarship benefits include a subsistence grant, coaching, medical and physiotherapy support, performance nutrition and performance psychology, strength and conditioning as well as performance planning and mentoring.  Each Scholarship is built around the individuals needs and their chosen sport. NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees: Rugby: Heather Cary from Ontario, Canada Soccer: Gerard Cheevers from Carnmore, Co. Galway Soccer: Jennifer Byrne from Athlone, Co. Westmeath Soccer: Gerard Hanley from Barna, Co. Galway Soccer: Joe Woods from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Soccer: Brian Gaffney from Salthill, Galway city Soccer: Cian McBrien from Knocknacarra, Galway city Soccer: Cian Fadden from Knocknacarra, Galway city Gaelic Football: Eilish Ward from Mountcharles, Co. Donegal Golf: Enda Cradock from Gort, Co. Galway Hockey: Freddie Timmins from Circular Road, Galway city Kickboxing: Desmond Leonard from Riverstown, Co. Sligo Swimming: Kevin McGlade from Knocknacarra, Galway city Swimming: Ruairí McGeever from Derrycastle, Co. Tipperary Basketball: James Brophy from Knocknacarra, Galway city Basketball: Kenneth Hansberry from Tuam, Co. Galway Basketball: Eabhnait Scanlon from Listowel, Co. Kerry Camogie: Chloe Morey from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare Gaelic Football: Jason Doherty from Newport, Co. Mayo Gaelic Football: Greg Higgins from Tuam, Co. Galway Gaelic Football: Joss Moore from Mountbellew, Co. Galway Gaelic Football: Sean Moran from Claregalway, Co. Galway Hurling: Gerard O’Donoghue from Gort, Co. Galway Hurling: Colm Galvin from Clonlara, Co. Clare Hurling: Dean Higgins from Castlegar, Co. Galway Hurling: Billy Lane from Kilcolgan, Co. Galway Rowing: Sean O’Connor from Daingean, Co. Offaly Rowing: Cliona Hurst from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Rowing: Richard Bennett from Renmore, Galway city Archery: Darren Wallace from Portlaoise, Co. Laois Cadburys/ GAA U21 Football Scholarship Gary Sweeney from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway Éinne Ó hEochaidh from Spiddal, Co. Galway   -ENDS-

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Volunteers are being sought to support the 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, a free, family-oriented event taking place at NUI Galway on Sunday, 27 November. The organising committee and NUI Galway are looking for 100 volunteers to help out on the day. At the event, hundreds of scientists, engineers and business innovators will showcase their work at over 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. Visitors to the Exhibition will be able to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations, and discuss ideas with researchers from NUI Galway and GMIT as well as industry representatives from the festival’s main sponsor Medtronic and others such as Boston Scientific, CISCO, Hewlett Packard, Avaya, Covidien, SAP, Lake Region and Creganna. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about topics such as life-saving medical devices, renewable energy, IT in the future, kitchen chemistry, and much, much more. NUI Galway’s museums will all be open on the day, and the popular 3D tour of the universe makes a welcome return. Dean of Science at NUI Galway, Professor Tom Sherry, commented: “We are delighted to have the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition returning to the grounds of NUI Galway for the second year in a row. Last year’s event was a huge success, and this year the main area that we have been working hard on improving is in better dealing with the large numbers of visitors that we are expecting. For this purpose, we are inviting anyone who is interested to volunteer some of their time on the 27th, to help us get people around to all of the different activities that will be spread across the NUI Galway campus.” “We eagerly look forward to the active participation of the NUI Galway volunteers force to making this an outstanding success again”, said Tom Hyland Galway Science and Technology Festival Chairman. A science and technology background is not required to volunteer as information and training will be given in advance of the event. To sign up for volunteering please contact william.brennan@nuigalway.ie . For general information on the Festival see www.galwayscience.ie and to pre-book the shows for the Exhibition visit www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com Ends

Monday, 7 November 2011

Recent flooding events in Dublin will form a significant part of an ongoing research project in Geography, at NUI Galway. The research project entitled ‘Flood Risk Management in Ireland: The role of public participation’, is an ongoing project which started in September 2009 and is due to be completed in September 2013.   The research is based on two main case studies in Gort, Co. Galway and the River Dodder Catchment area in Dublin. The project is currently being undertaken by PhD student Alexandra Revez and supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Marie Mahon and Dr Frances Fahy. The main aims of the study are to provide a unique detailed study of flood management in Ireland from a social science perspective and explore the potential benefits of enhancing the role of public participation in this area. The research hopes to contribute to the development of institutional capacities in order to meet the growing challenges of flood management in Ireland and the increased vulnerability of communities both in urban and rural Ireland. The studies seek to engage with the many stakeholders implicated in flood management in order to unearth the different experiences and understandings of flooding in Ireland and identify the localised political and contextual influences guiding the management of floods in Ireland. It also aims to improve our understanding of the social and political implications of flood management strategies. To date, the research has produced an original study of flood management in Ireland which, according to Alexandra Revez: “Explores the knowledge frameworks chosen to devise national and local management strategies, and it is also unique in providing alternative approaches which look at the potential benefits of public participation.”   The research is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). If anyone is interested in any further information about the study or wishes to share their different experiences of flooding events please contact a.limarevez1@nuigalway.ie   -ends-

Monday, 7 November 2011

The NUI Galway campus will be alive with music during the Societies Office dedicated music week running from 14 to 18 November. Music Week is a showcase of all the musical talent on the University campus, along with special guests.  There are a variety of concerts and sessions throughout the week as well as many music based events.   Organised by the NUI Galway Societies Office, Music Week will be launched with musical Munchie Monday which combines an international food fair with performances from the Orchestra Society, Music and Entertainment Society, Dansoc, DJ Soc and GUMS Musical Society. The launch will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, on Monday 14 November at 6pm.   Highlights include the final of NUI Galway’s Got Talent on Tuesday, 15 November, in the Bailey Allen Hall, with €1,000 prize for the winner. The Student Union session, also on Tuesday, features Gavin James and the Problematics an up and coming original three piece Dublin based band.    On Thursday, 17 November, the Juggling Society will present Gentleman Juggler Oliver Caignart who, in addition to mesmerising us with his manipulation of everyday objects, will tell the history of juggling. Choral Soc, Trad Soc and Rock Soc will team up with a concert to display their various musical skills. Two ‘Arts in Action’ lunchtime concerts will also feature. Tower of Song featuring Jimmy Monaghan of ‘Dead Birds’ joined by Cian Finn and Rory Bowens will take place on Thursday and on Friday in the Bailey Allen Hall, a traditional concert with Frankie Gavin, Máirtin O’Connor and Carl Hession will be held supported by NUI Galway Traditional Music Society.   Music  Bingo, Blind Date, Open Mic, JPop/J Rock, DJ Birthday party, movies and a Dramsoc play ‘Rewind’ told through music will also feature throughout the week. On campus busking for Voices for Galway and a musical themed photographic exhibition will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn.    Most events are free and open to the public. For full information on all the events are available at www.socs.nuigalway.ie. Information available at 091 492088, socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Tickets available from the SocsBox in Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway.   -Ends-

Monday, 7 November 2011

Legume genome sequence to improve livelihoods of poorer smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics in Africa and Asia A global scientific team, including Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded scientists from the Plant and AgriBiosciences Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway, have succeeded in sequencing the entire DNA genome of a legume crop of the poor called pigeonpea.   Pigeonpea is a staple food for millions of the world’s poorest people who live in semi-arid regions where only drought-tolerant crops such as pigeonpea can be cultivated. Pigeonpea, grown on about 5 million hectares in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South-Central America, is known as the ‘poor people’s meat’ because of its high protein content, it provides a well-balanced diet when accompanied with cereals. An improved understanding of the pigeonpea genome will have a major impact on improved crop productivity, tackling pests and disease constraints in production, and improved resistance to harsh environments and the future variable climate.   The international initiative to sequence the pigeonpea genome was led by Dr Rajeev Varshney from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and harnessed the research capacity of research labs from India, China, USA and Ireland. Professor Charles Spillane, Dr Mark Donoghue and PhD student Reetu Tuteja from the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosicences Centre (PABC) were scientific partners involved in the international initiative leading to the research breakthrough.   Professor Charles Spillane, Head of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, highlights that: “Pigeonpea is a staple food crop of millions of poorer smallholder farmers in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. While crops such as pigeonpea are essential to food and livelihood security in developing countries, such crops of the world’s poorest peoples are considered orphan crops as there is limited scientific research applied to the development of improved higher productivity varieties due to a lack of commercial incentives. Crop improvement research on such crops is predominantly financed as a public good, through the efforts of non-profit humanitarian scientific institutions such as ICRISAT. Here in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosicences Centre we are working closely with ICRISAT, and a range of other agricultural research for development partners, to help advance pro-poor plant and agribiosciences research.  Our activities aim to support the goals of Irish Aid in relation to the Hunger Task Force recommendations to improve smallholder productivity and reduce malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.”   Professor Spillane, further adds that: “Plant and agribiosciences research for sustainable development will play an increasingly important role in helping to meet future food and livelihood security needs of the ‘bottom billion’ currently suffering from undernutrition and fragile livelihoods. Of the 7 billion people currently on the planet, the food security needs of over 1 billion people are not being met.  Rapidly increasing demand for food and other agriculture derived resources will necessitate major increases in crop productivity (yield per unit hectare) if food production is to double by 2050 to meet projected demand. This will require increased and accelerated public-sector investment in pro-poor crop improvement research to meet the needs of the 1 billion poor whose livelihoods are dependent on staple crops such as pigeonpea.”   The completed genome sequence of pigeonpea is being published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, which is the highest ranked international journal in the area of biotechnology. The paper provides an overview of the structure and function of all of the 48,860 genes that define what makes a pigeonpea plant. It also reveals valuable clues on how the genome sequence can be harnessed to accelerate crop improvement for sustainable food production particularly in the marginal environments of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, a couple of hundred of these genes were found to be unique to the crop in terms of drought tolerance, an important trait that can be harnessed for other similar legume crops like soybean, cowpea or common bean. At present, it can take 6-10 years of crop genetics research to breed a new variety of pigeonpea. With the use of this new genome sequence data, in the future, it should be possible to develop improved pigeonpea varieties for smallholder farmers within 3 years.   NUI Galway has recently entered into a Research Alliance with ICRISAT to combine efforts, expertise and capacity in order to advance Plant and AgriBiosciences research for poverty reduction in developing countries in the semi-arid tropics (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa). Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land across 55 countries, the semi-arid tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through crop and agricultural research.   “The mapping of the pigeonpea genome is a breakthrough that could not have come at a better time. Now that the world is faced with hunger and famine particularly in the Horn of Africa brought about by the worst drought of the decades, science-based, sustainable agricultural development solutions are vital in extricating vulnerable dryland communities out of poverty and hunger for good,” says ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar, who visited Galway earlier this year to meet with the President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne.   “Modern crop improvement technologies for smallholder farmer crops such as pigeonpea will be crucial to speed up the development of improved varieties that can provide high yields and improved livelihoods, and at the same time meet the challenges of marginal environments and the threat of climate change and scarce natural resources," adds Dar.   Pigeonpea is the first ‘orphan crop’, the first ‘non-industrial crop’ and the second food legume (after soybean) for which plant scientists have succeeded in sequencing the genome. The sequencing was accomplished by a global research partnership, the International Initiative for Pigeonpea Genomics (IIPG), led by ICRISAT with plant genome research partners such as BGI – Shenzhen (China), the National University of Ireland Galway, US research laboratories like University of Georgia, University of California-Davis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and National Centre for Genome Resources, and also support from the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme based in Mexico.   -ends-

Monday, 7 November 2011

Five original performers will bring their fusion of music, song, sean-nós singing and contemporary dance for a special one-off free performance at lunch time in NUI Galway this week.   On Friday, 11 November, from 1-2pm, five performers, two of which are original Riverdance musicians, will perform in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. This is a unique occasion as these performers come from diverse backgrounds and will fuse their amazing talents together to bring a show worthy of national acclaim.   Piper Ronan Browne, contemporary dancer Cindy Cummings, singer Seán Tyrrell, sean-nós singer Róisín Elsafty and bodhrán player Tommy Hayes will grace the stage of the Bailey Allen for the next instalment of great music on Friday November 11. This performance is part of Arts in Action, NUI Galway’s concert series which brings a wealth of new and established acts to the campus during the term. So far this year, multi award winning pianist Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and emerging new writer Kevin Barry are just two of the acts that have wowed audiences. Ronan Browne is the original piper with Riverdance. Since his rise to international stages across the globe, he has composed for film and television, has seen huge success with the groups Elsafty Armstrong Browne and Tyrrell Glackin Browne. As well as uilleann pipes, he plays concert flute, whistle and sings.   Róisín Elsafty comes from Connemara, and also grew up in a musical family. Her mother, well-known singer Treasa Ní Cheannabháin, inspired Róisín to learn ‘old-style singing’ from an early age. Róisín has travelled widely with her art, performing, demonstrating and teaching sean-nós.   American born contemporary dancer Cindy Cummings studied Dance and Theatre at the University of Oregon, and in New York City. As a choreographer, performer and improviser, her work is an adventurous mix of contemporary and traditional dance techniques from around the world, the majority of which are collaborations in a diverse range of mediums and settings.   Seán Tyrrell’s musical journey is truly noteworthy and charts the success of a singer whose talents came to the surface after singing in the US. In 1999 he released his much anticipated album, ‘The Orchard’. The album was met with critical acclaim, as Seán was voted Best Overall Folk Act and the album was voted Best Folk Album by the readers of Irish Music Magazine.   Making up the quintet is Tommy Hayes who has been at the forefront of traditional Irish music for over 30 years. He was a member of Stockton’s Wing from the band’s inception in 1977 to 1983. He then moved to the United States where he toured for five years and recorded one album on Windham Hill Records. Returning to Ireland in 1989, Tommy was the original percussionist for Riverdance and performed with the shows in Dublin, London, Washington DC and Belfast.   With such fine musical minds coming together for a one off event, NUI Galway’s Arts in Action has managed to bring something very special to audiences both on and off campus. The event is free and the concert will kick off at 1pm on Friday, 11 November. For further information, contact 091 493958.  -ends-

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will co-host a conference with the Burton Blatt Institute entitled ‘Genetic Discrimination – Transatlantic Perspectives on the Case for a European Level Legal Response’. The one-day conference will take place on Saturday, 19 November, in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. The purpose of this conference is to examine the case for a European level legal and policy response to protect the privacy of genetic information and to prevent genetic discrimination, particularly in the employment and insurance contexts.  The science of genetic testing and related technology is in the process of advancing.  Among other things, genetic testing technology may well offer the prospect of being able to detect the onset of future disabilities.  The technology is becoming more prevalent and is being used increasingly in both the employment context and the insurance context. If insufficient protections are not in place to prohibit the misuse or discriminatory use of that information by third parties like employers, insurance companies, educational facilities, then such a legislative and policy vacuum could further setback the inclusion of persons with disabilities and older people into the community.  To date, there is no European level regulation protecting the privacy of such information or protecting against the discriminatory use of such information. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “This conference is exciting because it looks forward and not backward.  It looks to the positive potential of new genetic information technology in detecting future disabilities.  And it also looks at the need for appropriate regulation to ensure personal genetic information is not misused.  It seeks to learn from good transatlantic developments in the US and seeks ways of ensuring that information privacy is respected in Europe and Ireland.  I recommend it to anyone interested in new technology and disability.” For further information, or to register, contact Aisling de Paor in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at 091 494017 or aisling.depaor@nuigalway.ie.   -ENDS-

Friday, 4 November 2011

Graduates and students of NUI Galway featured prominently at the annual NUI Awards ceremony which took place this week in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham taking home an impressive 34 awards. Five NUI Travelling Studentships in the Humanities and the Social Sciences and in the Sciences were awarded to NUI Galway graduates: Bríd Ní Ghráinne, Law; Fiona Morrissey, Law; Ciara Kyne, Chemistry; Eimear Dolan, Engineering; and Niamh Fahy, Orthobiology/Regenerative Medicine. Other scholarships and awards include the Dr Mary L Thornton NUI Scholarship in Education which was awarded to NUI Galway’s Hannagh McGinley. The Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary scholarships and prizes were awarded to: Niall Culligan, English; Síle Dolan, Gaeilge; John Mooney, German; Shaun Murphy, Latin; and Rebecca, Spanish. The French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Proficiency in French was awarded to Philip Morrow. The scoláireacht agus Duais Chiste Theach an Ardmhéara/Mansion House Fund Scholarship and prizes went to Dara Folan, for a Scoláireacht Gaeilge and an Irish History prize and to Colm Ó Cuaig for a Gaeilge prize.A total of nineteen Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and Prizes were awarded to NUI Galway’s School of Medicine. The award recipients were Cillian McNamara and Karen McNamara, Biochemistry; Danielle Anstett and Julianne O’Shea, General Practice; Larissa Higgins and Teresa O’Dowd, Gynaecology and Obstetrics; Cliona Small, Medical Microbiology; Siobhan Eccles, Midwifery; Ester Afolalu and Laura M Coyne, Nursing; Orla Ní Ghríofa and Mairead Crowley, Occupational Therapy;  Larissa Higgins, Paediatrics; Miroslawa Gorecka, Pathology; Elaine Fallon, Public Health; Laura Tobin, Speech and Language Therapy; Yasir Loai, Pharmacology; Matthew Smyth, Physiology; and Gerard Healy MB BCH BAO Hons, Surgery. Speaking on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates, President Jim Browne, said: “This clearly highlights the high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate each of the Award recipients on their achievement, which will add to their academic reputation. I commend the Award recipients and I pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting students and helping them to achieve such high standards.” At the ceremony, the Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning presented Travelling Studentships, scholarships and other awards to over one hundred students and graduates of the NUI Constituent Universities and Recognised Colleges. The total value of NUI Awards in 2011 was almost €700,000. In 2011, over one hundred students and graduates from the constituent universities and recognised colleges of the federal university received awards. UCD, UCC, NUI Maynooth, NUI Galway, RCSI and NCAD were represented in the award winners. Ends

Friday, 4 November 2011

Interactive Policy Simulators for Urban Dynamics, Web Visualisation of Weather Station Data, Smartphone systems to help you get your morning or afternoon coffee without queues! These are just some of the new technologies that graduates of the Information Technology discipline at NUI Galway have won awards for this week. Prizes were awarded to students who excelled in their projects, which span a wide range of topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology.  Terry Lyons from Circular Road, Galway, a graduate of the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology developed a software system that involved the design and implementation of a computer game to model an urban environment. The key contributions included a mathematical modelling engine encompassing continuous and Markov equations and a Game Engine architecture based on Microsoft XNA technology. Terry was awarded the Best Project in the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco Systems. On a completely different type of application, Colin Divily from Corofin, Co Galway and Naomi Ono, originally from Japan, both students of the HDip / MSc in Software Design and Development, implemented a website visualising the current weather conditions in Galway using real-time weather data collected by a weather station setup by the Informatics Research Unit for Sustainable Energy (IRUSE) who were collaborators on the project. The two students were awarded the Best Project in the HDip / MSc in Software Design and Development, also sponsored by Cisco Systems. For those with an interest in classical and vintage cars, Patrick O’Toole from Moycullen, Co. Galway and Mark Shaw from Tuam, Co. Galway, both graduates of the BA in Information Technology created a Classic Car website. This includes a database that provides information on various manufacturers of classic cars and the various models available. In addition, users can place cars for sale and view cars already available on the website. Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services.  At NUI Galway, students of the BSc in Information Technology study professional skills and business planning as part of their core academic work. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded for the students who produce the best business plan. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to John Farrell from Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, Luke Potter from Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway and Ernestas Lisauska from Galway, for their “Hey Expresso” system. This system comprises a smartphone application and related server that allows users to pre-order and pre-pay for their morning coffee and therefore avoid the queues! Gerry Lyons, Professor of Information Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway welcomed Cisco Systems as the corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes: “We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on final year project work. These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work.” ENDS

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

NUI Galway is pleased to announce a series of public talks on Sports Technology, commencing on Tuesday, 8 November at 6pm. In recent years a clear trend has developed in sport toward the increased use of technology to monitor and enhance elite sports performance. The series of talks, which are free and open to the general public, will cover a broad range of sports from elite cycling, running, swimming, to Gaelic games, as well as referring to the casual exerciser. The first event, which takes place in room 2002 of the new Engineering Building, is called ‘The Age of the Virtual Trainer’. NUI Galway’s Shane Lowe will focus on the emergence of new exercise monitoring technologies in the world of exercise and fitness. Whether the goal is to manage weight, maintain health or to improve fitness or sport performance, increasing physical activity has multiple health benefits. A significant challenge for most people is to adhere to an exercise regime. Keeping track of how well you are progressing with your exercise programme is one way to increase adherence to the programme and to also enhance the outcomes. Shane Lowe is currently in the third year of his PhD studies in the Bioelectronics research cluster of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI Galway. The focus of his research is on the development of wearable electronics for the monitoring of everyday physical activity and specifically its application with older adults. “In the past, detailed monitoring of exercise performance was reserved for those who obtained the services of a personal trainer. However, with the availability of smart phones and low cost sensing technologies, a new era in exercise monitoring has begun. Exercise technologies now allow close monitoring of performance including changes in heart rate, running speed, adherence to your recommended training zone etc.” The range of these technologies now available will be discussed and compared and Shane Lowe will comment on how he sees these systems evolving in the future.The series of Sports Technology talks is being organised by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Course Director of NUI Galway’s degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering. His students are being given the skills and expertise to design innovative sports systems and devices. According to Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin: “Sport plays a central role in Irish life - it brings joy to us as we celebrate our teams’ success and perhaps brings despair at their failings! Sport brings communities together, can galvanise a nation to overcome its difficulties and provides endless material for lengthy discussion and debate. A new wave of technologies is transforming sports performance, training and preparation. We welcome all with an interest in these developments to come to our series of talks to learn more.” For more information on the Sports Technology talks, which are supported by the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers, visit www.ExerciseEngineering.com or call 091 492728.   -ends-

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, has recently returned from Taiwan, where he delivered a plenary lecture at the 2011 International Symposium on Recent Advances in Pluripotent Stem Cells. The lecture took place at Taipei Medical University, and coincided with the 7thAnnual Meeting of the Taiwan Society for Stem Cell Research.  Professor Pandit’s wealth of experience and international reputation in functionalised biomaterials, particularly in delivery of stem cells, led to the invitation from the Taiwan Society for Stem Cell Research. Speaking at the opening session of the symposium, Professor Pandit’s lecture, entitled ‘A functionalised scaffold for modulation of inflammation to permit stem cell survival in myocardial infarction’ drew on his research results achieved at the NFB, NUI Galway.  The NFB is an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster, focused on developing the next generation of biomaterials while developing collaborations with industrial partners at a regional, national and international level. These collaborations have now placed NFB research in a global context.  Speaking about the invitation, Professor Pandit said “I was very pleased to receive the invitation to give a plenary lecture in Taiwan. Asia is the major emerging market in the biomedical sector, so all opportunities to showcase Irish research there should be welcomed.”   -ends-

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

NUI Galway student, Trevor Glavey, has been named as one of the 23 winners of the Undergraduate Awards, an awards programme open to undergraduate students on the island of Ireland and, recently, the USA. Trevor, originally from Dunblaney, Dunmore,  Co. Galway, was awarded the Oscar Wilde Gold Medal for academic excellence by Guest of Honour, President Mary McAleese, at the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony that was held at Dublin Castle on Friday, 28 October. As the winner of the Undergraduate Awards Law category, Trevor was awarded for his essay entitled “Enforcement of EU Competition Law and Respect for Human Rights”. Having graduated top in his class from Corporate Law at NUI Galway, Trevor credited his lecturer, Dr Laurent Pech, from the School of Law for his Undergraduate Award win and cited the University as “a fantastic place to study, full of great people doing tremendous work.” There were 2,381 submissions to the 2011 Undergraduate Awards programme, of which 237 were shortlisted. Of these 237, 23 winners were selected.  NUI Galway had 11 students in the shortlist.   --ENDS—

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Mayor of Galway, Hildgarde Naughton, will officially launch ‘Zambian Perspectives’ photographic exhibition in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 23 November at 6.30pm. The images on display are part of a collection taken by Research Fellow with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, Sheila McArdle, as part of her research study.  The study contributes to the ongoing work of the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement held by Professor Pat Dolan.   In 2009, Sheila travelled to Zambia, Central Africa, to complete research fieldwork in six different communities. Photographs of everyday scenes were taken to provide a visual backdrop to the information provided by young people (12-14 year olds) and adults (18 years plus).  The exhibition images provide an opportunity to glimpse at the reality of Zambian daily life. The images are accompanied by direct quotes from some of the participants to provide a sense of what Zambian young people want for the future.     Whilst in Zambia, Sheila became seriously ill and was cared for by a Tipperary nun, Sister Molly Moloney, a qualified nurse who has lived and worked in Kaoma, Zambia for over thirty years.  Sister Moloney, with her team, operates a number of enterprise projects and orphanages, which care for infants, children and teenagers and are invaluable in the community. The team are hoping to establish a dairy farm in the community which will create employment, provide fresh milk for the orphanages and contribute to the sustainability of the community.  Contributions from the exhibition will go to Sister Moloney and her team to continue their work in Zambia.   The exhibition contributes to the UNESCO Chair partnership endeavours with Foróige and The Alan Kearns African Projects to promote positive child and youth outcomes.  The exhibition should appeal to a wide audience anyone interested in youth, gender issues, anthropology, photography, or a desire to assist projects to support young people, families and communities to become sustainable are sure to enjoy the event.   Tickets for this event are €10 per person, including light refreshments and entertainment.  Further information is available from Sheila McArdle at s.mcardle3@nuigalway.ie or 087 918 7224.   -Ends-

Saturday, 29 October 2011

For more information on Michael D and NUI Galway click Michael D. Higgins, Adjunct Professor with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, has been elected the ninth president ofIreland. Michael D. has been associated with NUI Galway for almost 50 years, entering the University as a mature student in 1962; serving as President of the Student Council; and going on to become a highly regarded lecturer in Sociology & Politics for many years. He has served as Adjunct Professor at the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights since 2006. His impressive record in defense of human rights made his role with the Irish Centre of Human Rights a natural enhancement of his long association with the University.  Speaking after the election results were announced, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said of Michael D.: “The Office of President has been increasingly to the fore in national life in recent years. Michael D.’s talent and integrity, along with his commitment to service in public life, will ensure that he will be an inspirational and visionary President, following those who have held that office with great distinction and honour. On behalf of the University, I congratulate him on the unique leadership role which he has played to date in shapingIreland's future. I wish him every success and fulfilment in writing the next chapter ofIreland’s history.” Amongst his many distinctions, Michael D. Higgins was honoured in 2003 by his alma mater with the NUI Galway AIB Award for Literature, Communication and the Arts.  He graduated with a BA in 1965 and a BComm in 1966 from what was then UCG. Michael D. was most recently on campus during an impromptu visit on the eve of the election, when staff and student well-wishers turned out to lend their support. NUI Galway takes pride in the success of its alumni, many of whom have distinguished themselves as leaders in various fields of endeavour inIrelandand abroad. The current administration boasts a number of former University students including: An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore; Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; Minister for Research & Innovation, Seán Sherlock; and numerous deputies and senators.  -ends- Is é Michael D. Higgins ó OÉ Gaillimh an Naoú Uachtarán ar Éirinn Táthar tar éis Michael D. Higgins, Ollamh Cúnta san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine in OÉ Gaillimh, a thoghadh ina naoú uachtarán ar Éirinn.    Tá baint ag Michael D. le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh le beagnach 50 bliain, ó tháinig sé chun na hOllscoile mar mhac léinn lánfhásta i 1962; bhí sé ina Uachtarán ar Chomhairle na Mac Léinn; agus ina dhiaidh sin bhí sé ina léachtóir le Socheolaíocht agus Polaitíocht ar feadh na mblianta.   Tá sé ina Ollamh Cúnta san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine, OÉ Gaillimh, ó 2006.   Chaith sé na blianta ag cosaint chearta an duine agus rinne an ról a bhí aige san Ionad Éireannach um Chearta an Duine an ceangal a bhí aige le fada leis an Ollscoil a neartú.     Ag labhairt dó nuair a fógraíodh torthaí an toghcháin, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne faoi Michael D.: “Ta ról níos larnaí ag an Uachtaránacht i saol na hÉireann le blianta beaga anuas.Cinnteoidh na buanna ar leith atá ag Michael D., a ionracas agus a dhílseacht don saol poiblí, gur sár-Uachtarán a bheidh ann agus go mbeidh fís aige, díreach mar a bhí ag na daoine a tháinig roimhe. Thar ceann na hOllscoile, ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis as an obair cheannaireachta ar leith atá déanta aige go dtí seo le cruth níos fearr a chur ar Éirinn san am atá le teacht. Guím gach rath air agus é ag tabhairt faoin gcéad chaibidil eile a chur le stair na hÉireann.” Is iomaí gradam a bronnadh air agus orthu sin bhí Gradam AIB OÉ Gaillimh don Litríocht, an Chumarsáid agus na hEalaíona a bhronn a alma mater air sa bhliain 2003.   Bhain sé céim BA amach i 1965 agus BComm i 1966 ó COG, mar a thugtaí uirthi an uair sin. Bhí Michael D. ar an gcampas go deireanach an oíche roimh an toghchán nuair a thug sé turas gan choinne orainn. Tháinig idir fhoireann agus mhic léinn amach lena dtacaíocht a léiriú dó. Tá OÉ Gaillimh an-bhródúil as na héachtaí atá déanta ag alumni na hOllscoile. Tá go leor acu ina gceannairí i réimsí éagsúla den saol in Éirinn agus thar lear.   Tá cúpla iar-mhac léinn de chuid na hOllscoile sa rialtas faoi láthair:  An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny; An tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála, Eamon Gilmore; An tAire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha,PatRabbitte; An tArd-Aighne, Máire Whelan; An tAire Taighde & Nuálaíochta, Seán Sherlock; agus Teachtaí Dála agus Seanadóirí go leor. -críoch-

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway have just deployed a sophisticated coastal radar system in Galway Bay. The system transmits maps of the surface currents and also provides details of the height and direction of waves from the shoreline directly to the Institute. The cutting edge technology has many potential uses for research and for the local community, and this is the first time it is being used in North Atlantic European waters. The Modelling and Informatics Group in the Ryan Institute, led by Dr Mike Hartnett, develops models to forecast marine conditions such as tidal currents, storm surges and wave heights. The group are currently carrying out research, in collaboration with IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre, Dublin, to improve model forecasts using the radar data and meteorological data. According to Dr Hartnett, “We are using data from the radars to improve model forecasts in ways previously not possible. It is relatively difficult to develop an accurate marine forecast model for Galway Bay, as water movement within the bay is mainly due to wind, while the patterns of incoming tides are complicated due to the flow of water around the Aran Islands. Data from the radar is helping us to overcome some of those challenges.” The radar system will also benefit the local community. When the research is completed all of the radar maps of surface currents, along with model forecasts will be made available freely online to the public through the Galway Bay Coastal Observing System (GalCOS). This information can then be used by sailors, fishermen and tourists alike. It will also be of use to local authorities and others who discharge effluent into the bay, by helping them to decide on the best time to release effluent and minimize environmental consequences. The research will be of considerable benefit to the search and rescue activities of the Irish Coast Guard. There are also plans to produce high-resolution maps of Galway Bay on CD, which will be of particular benefit to sailors as reference material and will provide significantly improved knowledge of tidal and wind induced currents.  Dr Hartnett explains how the technology works: “The system consists of two antennae, one located on Mutton Island in inner Galway Bay, and the other located at Spiddal. Every half hour the radars remotely sense the surface of the bay using acoustic techniques. Wireless radio communications are used to enable the system transmit maps of the surface currents in the bay back to NUI Galway. This is high resolution data, providing information on surface currents every 300m. Also, the radars provide wave height and direction data at selected locations within the bay.” “This sophisticated new sensing infrastructure will produce vast amounts of data requiring continuous analysis and assimilation with other data to improve our ability to understand and forecast conditions in the bay,” says Dr Lisa Amini, Director, Smarter Cities Technology Centre. “This type of predictive modelling is critical to our Smarter Cities agenda, and the findings can be widely applied to protect coastal cities and their environments. IBM Research and Development - Ireland is happy to apply our expertise in real-time streaming processing, statistical modelling, and robust optimisation and control, in collaboration with NUI Galway, to this challenge.” Previously, the NUI Galway Group have worked in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive West applying models to assist with managing the retention of the blue flag beach status at Salthill. The new radar system can now contribute significantly to the environmental management and protection of Galway Bay and assisting with compliance of EU Directives, such as the Water Framework Directive. The results from this infrastructure are also being made available to a new research project just commencing in Galway Bay, SmartBay - a collaborative research project including researchers from NUI Galway and other Irish institutes of higher education. Dr Harnett adds: “In the future it is planned that the radar system will be moved and used to map most of the major bays and estuaries around Ireland. This research will result in the most detailed charts of surface currents every developed for Irish waters. In the longer term results from the system will be used to assess trends of climate change in Irish coastal waters.” The radar system has been funded by Higher Education Authority under Cycle IV of its Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes. ENDS

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Arts in Action programme continues on a weekly basis at NUI Galway with an international flavour on Thursday, 3 November, with a specific focus on language and classical music. The CUBE theatre is the venue for a lunchtime concert at 1pm- 2pm featuring Berlin based soprano Doerthe Maria Sandmann.  Doerthe is one of the leading and most charismatic soprano singers of her generation in Berlin. She studied as an opera singer and vocalist at the renowned Hans-Eisler academy of music in Berlin and is now teaching at the Berlin University of Arts.  In the course of her international career she has collaborated with numerous ensembles and orchestras, performing in Salzburg, Vienna, Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Milan, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Singapore.Doerthe’s repertoire is immensely versatile and encompasses opera roles, a wide range of lieder and other vocal music. It includes works by Monteverdi, Händel, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, and many others. During her studies she discovered the treasures of Early music and Baroque songs, many of which form a central part of her repertoire. She has recorded numerous CDs, three alone in 2011.In Galway, Doerthe will be accompanied by two colleagues from the Berlin University of Arts, pianist Akiko Yamashita and clarinettist (and musicologist) Cordula Heymann-Wentzel. Her Galway programme includes two masterpieces from German Romanticism: Robert Schumann's Woman's Love and Life, op.42 and Franz Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock, D. 965.   This concert will be presented by the newly appointed Honorary Consul of the German Federal Republic, Professor of German at NUI Galway, Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa.   Admission is free and open to the public. ENDS

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway Western Region Schools Quiz took place recently in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Thirteen schools, with a total of 26 teams took part and competed from all over the west, to determine who would represent the region in the National Finals in March. The table quiz was held for Junior Certificate students of Business Studies. Brian Duffy, Chairperson CIMA West of Ireland Branch, said: “At CIMA our relationships with education providers have always been crucial.  We are delighted to have a leading role in this quiz which showcased the talents of second level business students in the West of Ireland.” Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway works closely with its regional hinterland and this is nowhere more evident that in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics. A defining part of all our student courses is the engagement with the local community. Working with the BSTAI and CIMA allows us to engage with second level students and foster their interest in business studies. I have no doubt that many of these students attending the event, will be amongst our leaders of the future.” Mary O’Sullivan, Honorary President of the BSTAI, commented: “It is great to see the high level of interest from students and teachers in the region. Events such as these showcase the extracurricular effort that is the hallmark of the teaching profession.” The winners on the night were St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea, Co. Galway, who took first place. This was followed closely in second place by CBS Roscommon. Third place went to St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The top three teams from the regional final will now go on to compete in the National Finals, which will take place in LIT Tipperary in March.   -ENDS-

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Two decades of gathering information on wolves by NUI Galway lecturer Kieran Hickey has resulted in a fascinating new book, Wolves in Ireland.  In this book, Kieran Hickey examines a vast array of sources relating to wolves in Ireland. The author considers archaeological remains, name evidence (place and person, both in Irish and in English) and folklore. He also provides an account of wolf attacks on livestock, and more rarely people, and describes how the extermination of wolves took place. The last wolf was killed, most likely in 1786.  According to NUI Galway’s Kieran Hickey: “An iconic symbol of the untamed and wild, the wolf, as Ireland’s last great predator, has always provoked, fear, excitement and wonder. This book explores all aspects of the wolf in Ireland including the archaeological name and folklore evidence, the historical records, its demise and its possible re-introduction.” The causes of extermination are discussed in detail, including legislation, the role of bounties and professional wolf hunters and deforestation. The book closes by assessing whether the Irish wolf could have been a unique sub-species and considers the controversial possibility of re-introduction. Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway and author of Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009–2010. He is also a regular media commentator on climate and geography.  The author will be signing copies of Wolves in Ireland at the book launch in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway at 6pm on Thursday, 27 October. Wolves in Ireland is published by Open Air, an imprint of Four Courts Press, and is available in book stores across the country.   ENDS

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Representatives from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, regarded as one of the top four hospitals in the US, visited NUI Galway this week as part of the BioInnovate Ireland initiative. Intent on driving medical device innovation, BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training programme modelled on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. The Fellowship programme, which commenced last August, has recruited two elite multi-disciplinary teams, each of four high-calibre Fellows, which includes experienced medical, engineering, business, technology and law graduates. “NUI Galway and BioInnovate Ireland are delighted to receive representatives from the Cleveland Clinic and Senior Executives from the US Medical Devices Sector to NUI Galway. This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and the Galway med tech community to bring together clinical, academic and industrial leaders to discuss the capabilities for the emergence of a world centre for medical device innovation within Ireland”, said the Programme Director, NUI Galway’s Dr Mark Bruzzi, It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The two teams are undertaking an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout a 10-month period, they will avail of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation.The key benefits of the programme is the establishment of a network of clinical, academic and industrial leaders focused on medical device innovation and to contribute to the future of the medical device technologies sector in Ireland.  The primary output from this programme is the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skilled graduates from the BioInnovate class. BioInnovate Ireland is being offered by: NUI Galway, DCU, UCC, UL and RCSI, with the support of the IMDA, SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Medtronic, Creganna, Steripak, Lake Region Medical and a team of clinicians nationally. Recruitment for the Fellowship year 2012 will start in November 2011 with an expression of interest form available for download from www.bioinnovate.ie   ENDS

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

On Friday 4 November, the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly and the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway will host a major conference on the contribution of regional innovation to regional and national economic development. The conference entitled Regional Innovation – A Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Growth in the BMW Region will address how the BMW Region can build on its knowledge-based capabilities to stimulate growth and employment in high value sectors. It will focus upon demonstrating why the Irish Government needs to support regions differently, as stated by the OECD in May 2011 “regions are not countries and (Governments) cannot simply replicate national policies at a regional scale”. The conference will be of enormous interest to key policy makers, enterprise agencies, academic researchers and industry representatives who wish to engage with the issue of creating an effective regional innovation system. Research recently carried out by the BMW Regional Assembly and by CISC at NUI Galway  on regional innovation and competitiveness will be presented at the event. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr Gerhard Fuchs, University of Stuttgart, who is an international expert on Regional Innovation Systems. Peter Reilly, Research and Development Director at Valeo Vision Systems will provide an industry perspective on academic business linkages. Valeo Vision Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems, with a base in Tuam, Co. Galway. The outcomes of a major study completed this year by the BMW Regional Assembly on the innovation performance of the BMW Region will be presented by Dr Kieran Moylan. The report ‘An Audit of Innovation in the BMW Region: An Evaluation of a Regional Knowledge Economy’ sets out the key challenges and opportunities for job creation and economic growth in a range of emerging high value economic sectors.  It recommends that a more explicit regional dimension should be expressed in national innovation policy and argues that regional innovation strategies can form a more effective level of implementation at the regional and local level, e.g., in the medical devices sector in the Western region. Mr Gerry Finn, Director of the BMW Regional Assembly stated that: “There is now a much greater appreciation and understanding of the important role that effective regional innovation strategies can play as a catalyst in driving regional and national competitiveness, for the benefit of the entire economy.” Speaking in advance of the conference, Dr James Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “The West of Ireland region has unique advantages which offer rich potential. Recent work carried out by researchers at CISC highlights the innate competencies of the region and points out how a focus on creative and innovative pursuits has the potential for significant jobs growth in the region. This is a timely conference that will help us better define our own path towards economic and social sustainability”.  The conference takes place in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway on Friday, 4 November and further information is available at www.conference.ie and www.bmwassembly.ie ENDS

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

His Excellency, Luo Linquan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China, will officially open a one month photo exhibition on the changes of China through the century entitled “A Century of Change” on Friday, 28 October. The exhibition, organised by the Irish Chinese Society Galway and the NUI Galway Arts Office, will take place from 28 October to 28 November, in the atrium of the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway.   This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 in China which ended 2000 years of feudal autocratic monarchies and founded the first republic in Chinese history. China has had a glorious history of continuous civilization for 5,000 years but with many trials and triumphs. Over the past three decades, the world has witnessed the rapid development of a prosperous new China. Today the Chinese are still working hard in the pursuit of world peace, sustainable development, human welfare and dignity so that its people can enjoy a decent life in a harmonious and stable society.   The exhibition evokes the past century with the instants of Chinese people from historical figures to ordinary Chinese with a highlight of the achievements of China during the past 30 years since the opening of China to the outside world.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.   -ENDS-

Monday, 24 October 2011

Seeing the Positive in the Negative: The Closure of Dell’s Manufacturing Operation and Ireland’s Movement up the Value Chain The Midwest of Ireland was dealt a serious blow when, in 2009, Dell announced the relocation of its manufacturing operation to Lodz in Poland with the loss of 1,900 jobs. New research carried out by Dr Patrick Collins and Professor Seamus Grimes of the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway, has attempted to uncover the fallout of this decision and ask what it has meant for the competitive positioning of Ireland more generally. “Dell’s decision was led by many factors including consumer demand and changing tastes, but much of the media pointed to the fact that Ireland had ‘priced itself out of the market’ and had become uncompetitive”, said Dr Collins. “The reality is that the Dell closed only its manufacturing operation in Limerick, it continues to employ many more in other higher end functions there.” The research shows the Dell case to be something of a microcosm for Ireland’s long term relationship with foreign direct investment. This is a relationship that has been evolving over the past 50 years that has seen lower value added jobs being replaced by higher valued added ones. “In its most simplistic form it’s a case of services replacing manufacturing, however, the picture is considerably more complex, some manufacturing techniques employed by the multinationals are highly evolved and quiet sustainable”, added Dr Collins. The research has been published in an article entitled ‘Cost-competitive places: shifting fortunes and the closure of Dell's manufacturing facility in Ireland’ in the international peer-reviewed journal European Urban and Regional Studies. This work tries to place Ireland in a global context in an era of economic turmoil. The article equates Ireland to a developed country and notes that, like many of its neighbours in Western Europe, it has been losing jobs to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. The research focuses on what it terms a ‘grim’ period for Ireland’s job market in early 2009. In a matter of months the technology sector haemorrhaged nearly 10,000 jobs, over 80% of which were relocated to other countries. However, the positive is noted by the fact that the same period of time saw over 6,000 jobs announced for the same sector. “Taking the positive from the negative here is that the jobs we are gaining are significantly higher paid and more sustainable ones with brighter prospects to the ones we are losing”, Dr Collins noted. ENDS

Monday, 24 October 2011

Over 60 medical students at NUI Galway have completed summer research projects into a range of areas such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, stem cell technologies, diabetes and arthritis. 40 medical and scientific faculty from both within the School of Medicine and Science, NUI Galway and the affiliated hospitals (i.e. Sligo General and Letterkenny) provided supervision for these projects. The prize for best overall research project went to second-year medical student Mr Alan Jacobsen, from Castlegar, Co. Galway. Over the summer Alan explored new treatments for leukaemia. Students applied for external competitive funding from grant agencies such as the HRB and Wellcome Trust. In 2011, 18 students within the programme secured funding from sources external to NUI Galway. In addition, internal competitive funding in the form of Curriculum Innovation Fund and Research Support Fund stipends (13 in total) were offered to students.  Finding from the projects were presented recently on campus, at the School of Medicine Undergraduate Open Day. “This focus on research at undergraduate level is designed to develop high calibre doctors with enormous research potential. Furthermore, it may encourage the development of the next generation of physician-scientists”, commented Dr Richard Flavin, Chairman of the School of Medicine Undergraduate Research Committee. The Undergraduate Research Day was opened by Dr Armand Keating, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto and President-Elect of the American Society of Hematology. The day also incorporated a lecture by Professor Jozef Bartunek, Consultant Cardiologist, OLV Hospital, Belgium who discussed his work with stem cells. Closing the event was the John D. Kennedy Lecture, given by Dr Ramona McLoughlin, Consultant Gastroenterologist, UCHG. “Some students have succeeded in drafting research articles based on their work, which is a phenomenal achievement given the time constraints they are under. The general feedback from the summer scheme has been very positive and it is inspiring to see so many hardworking, inquisitive and dedicated research-orientated medical students. Many students will know present their findings at both national and international meetings”, said Dr Flavin. The focus on research at undergraduate level is part of an overall ethos at the School of Medicine to provide a holistic, involved and real educational experience. With its strong links to hospitals in Galway, Sligo, Donegal and Mayo, medical students at NUI Galway are brought into contact with patients from the earliest stages of their training. In addition, special study modules allow students to study extra modules such as Medial Electronics, sign language, sports psychology or teenage mental health promotion.  ENDS

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The 14thannual Galway Science and Technology Festival was launched today at a function in the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway, by Mr Gerry Kilcommins, VP Global Operations and General Manager Medtronic. A full two weeks of events was announced, which includes shows, demonstrations and activities for primary and secondary school students and a fantastic family day out at Final Day Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, at NUI Galway. The Festival in its aim to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people, runs from 14_27November, and will culminate with the Festival Exhibition to be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.  There is a great programme of events this year to choose from including Robert Hill's ‘Celestia and Stellarium Workshops’, Mr Bug returns with his snakes, cockroaches and tarantulas while Sue McGrath’s show will be full of pops, bangs and fizzing craziness. NUI Galway is running many interesting shows and events to stimulate the mind including ‘Computer Game Programming with Kinect’, an invitation to senior cycle Physics students to the new Engineering Building and a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyber Bullying.  The Zoology and Geology Museum will be open for tours along with Ireland’s only Computer and Communications Museum.  GMIT is having an open day on Wednesday, 16 November, and tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories will be available. There are also various interesting workshops for students including ‘Modern Medicines’, ‘The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and Nicotine Patches’ and a ‘Forensic Investigation’. This year a ‘Mentoring Program’ by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Engineers from over 11 different companies are participating in this initiative and will visit schools and talk to the students about subject choices they made and give practical career advice, details available on the website. Plans have been put in place to expand the 2011 Exhibition on 27 November, with more shows and exhibition stands. There will be up to 60 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment. This year a booking system is in place through www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day.The Galway Science Festival is a fantastic collaboration of education, industry and government and showcasing Galway as a leader in Medical Devices and ICT.  Festival Chairman Tom Hyland said today: “On behalf of the Board of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, I would like to thank all our sponsors for their participation in the 2011 Festival – great thanks must go to Medtronic for their 10 years of outstanding commitment to this event and to the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific who help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the City and County.”  Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “For many years, Galway Science and Technology Festival has generated real excitement for young people about the wonders of science and technology.  As a University, NUI Galway shares this belief in the importance of making science and technology attractive to the next generation. Why? Because never before has Irish industry and society depended so much on bright, talented graduates to build Ireland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  This Festival allows us in the University to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!”The 2011 Programme of events is available at www.galwayscience.ie and the exhibition will open at 10am on Sunday, 27 November, 2011.  ENDS.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ireland’s two UNESCO Chair holders came together today to launch an innovative and exciting programme dedicated to improving the rights and well being of children and young people across Ireland. The Children and Youth Programme is an independent academic collaboration between Professor Alan Smith at the University of Ulster and Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway. In the coming months the Programme will initiate a debate on two key points – the value of a rights-based approach to the planning and provision of children’s services in both parts of the island, and the need for both governments to incorporate a stronger commitment to children’s rights in legislation.  Speaking today on United Nations Day, Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education for Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Ulster stated: “As the two UNESCO Chairs on the island of Ireland we believe that the academic programme we are launching today will help to reinforce the notion that a strong commitment to children’s rights will have better outcomes for children and families across the island. As we see on a daily basis the most difficult part of any economic downturn is the fact that it is the poorest and the vulnerable who are usually most affected by financial cut backs. Consequently it is the children of those hardest hit by job losses and cutbacks to children and family services who suffer most. We only need to look at the stark predictions being made by those who work in the front line services to see that this is the case. For example,  the impact of welfare and budget cuts on increased poverty levels in Northern Ireland or the fact that today in Ireland, 18.6% of children now live in risk of poverty, and 8.7% already live in consistent poverty. A rights based approach provides stability and certainty of resource allocation and protection for the most vulnerable in times of financial constraint and cutback. As a constant it also requires that all government decisions take account of the rights of children, ensuring that no one falls through the gaps in monitoring processes or becomes a victim of shifting political priorities.” Professor Dolan is Director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, and holds the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement: “We believe that there are clear signals the administrations on both sides of the border can send, not only to the international community, but to the next generation on this island, that they will be protected and nurtured, with certainty in policy making and reliability in service provision. The Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to pass legislation which will require every government department to take account of children’s rights in all policy decisions, as the Welsh Assembly has already done. Incorporating the UN Convention and the Rights of the Child and developing a rights-based approach to policy development could be one of the greatest single legislative acts undertaken by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive since its formation. Likewise, the prospect of a referendum in Ireland to include a clear and binding commitment to children’s rights in the constitution is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity. Common sense concern for children and families should encourage everyone to support such a referendum.” Professor Dolan added: “Over the next year we want to initiate a debate on how services for children and young people can be provided on the basis of rights.  We hope to show that it is an approach underpinned by clear and consistent obligations that will cherish all children equally.” -ends-

Friday, 21 October 2011

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students who received a total €102,000 in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Entrance Scholarships, 60 students received €1,700 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. The presentations were made at a special ceremony which included teachers and parents on Thursday, 20 October, 2011. Entrance Scholarships are given annually to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. In Medicine 10 Scholarships were awarded, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). Designed to attract the best students to NUI Galway and reward their academic excellence, the awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's extensive Sports Scholarship Scheme. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these outstanding 60 individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway strives constantly to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their contribution to such success.” This year Entrance Scholarships were awarded to students from 38 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 16 counties including Carlow, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Westmeath. -ENDS-

Friday, 21 October 2011

Over 3,600 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 21-28 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Peadar O’Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers Tuthill and Martin Ward. Peadar O’Dowd - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Local historian, author, contributor to local media and tour guide of Galway city, Peadar, a graduate of NUI Galway, is a retired lecturer in Business Studies from GMIT. He has worked tirelessly for the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and a range of other voluntary and community organisations. Stan Shields - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Retired staff photographer for the Connacht Tribune, Stan is a chronicler in photographers of Galway city and county life through the decades to the present day, including the 1963 visit of US President John F. Kennedy to Galway when Stan famously climbed into the presidential car to get the best images. William Henry - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Prolific author and columnist with local newspapers on Galway’s civic traditions and its military heritage. William is also a committee member of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: A native of Clifden, Co. Galway, Kathleen has published five books on the history of Connemara, West Galway and Alexander Nimmo. Her historical work and assistance in voluntary and community organisations has been recognised by Galway County Council, who presented her with Heritage Awards on two occasions. Martin Ward - Honorary Masters in Rural Development honoris causa: A leader in community development in Glinsk, Co. Galway for the last 40 years, Martin has been involved in the establishment of a Community Council and Centre, and a Heritage Group and Centre. Martin is also the Principal of the local primary school. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Peadar O'Dowd, Stan Shields, William Henry, Kathleen Villiers-Tuthill and Martin Ward.  Each of these honorees share a passion for the West of Ireland and its heritage.  Their diverse contributions in chronicling and recording the past have fostered a respect for the local history and heritage of our region and its development. They are particularly worthy individuals and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 1,000 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. ENDS

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Two NUI Galway campus restaurants, An Bhialann and Moffetts have been shortlisted for the Institutional Caterers Award at the upcoming Hotel and Catering Review Gold Medal Awards ceremony. Organised by Hotel and Catering Review, the Gold Medal Awards recognise excellence within the hospitality industry, rewarding food service operations that have been outstanding.  Applicants are judged across a wide range of criteria including excellence in food standards, customer service, culinary creativity and innovation. Catering in An Bhialann is provided by ARAMARK Ireland’s Food Services division who have provided catering services there since 1992. In 2010, a €3.5m investment resulted in a complete redesign of this 800 seat restaurant which now boasts a modern interior, new entrances and extended seating. An Bhialann also houses a brand new kitchen which incorporates the latest in equipment and services, all designed to deliver a wide choice of top quality and  value for money  dishes. Global coffee house Starbucks and the popular sandwich chain Subway are also located in An Bhialann which caters for over 16,000 customers on a weekly basis. Moffetts the 120 seat staff restaurant, operated by Masterchefs is nominated for the second year in a row.  Moffetts is beautifully situated overlooking the River Corrib and provides an extensive range of self–service and table service meals and is also available for private bookings.  Masterchefs has an excellent reputation in the hospitality business having catered for numerous high profile prestigious events both on campus at NUI Galway and elsewhere. Conference and Catering Manager at NUI Galway, Ann Duggan said: “We are delighted that our restaurants have been nominated for these prestigious hospitality awards and it is a fitting recognition of the excellent standards within the University catering sector.” -Ends-

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The 2011 Tulca Festival of Visual Arts opens on Friday, 4 November, in galleries and other spaces across Galway. This year’s festival, entitled ‘After the Fall’, will take place from 4 to 20 November. Curated by Megs Morley, a number of events will be held in association with NUI Galway. Highlights for the festival will include renowned Romanian artist Lia Perjovschi’s creation of an installation in the foyer of The James Hardiman Library in NUI Galway. One of Romania’s leading artists, Lia’s work focuses on the activities of collecting, archiving, structuring, distributing and mediating a variety of knowledge about society, politics and art which had been inaccessible to Romania until after 1989. Perjovschi has exhibited all over the world, and her life under the Ceausescu dictatorship has greatly influenced her work and mode of artistic expression, which always includes some political relevance. The James Hardiman Library will be open to the public for the duration of the festival. On Saturday, 5 November, Perjovschi will present a talk on her practice in the James Hardiman Library Browsing Room at 3pm. On Saturday, November 12, ‘Fugitive Papers’, an artistic research project examining art and art-writing as a public and critical activity will take place in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn,  NUI Galway at 3pm. It will be presented by Michaele Cutaya, James Merrigan and Fiona Woods. On Thursday, 17 November, a collaborative NUI Galway and GMIT presentation and workshop by Frances Whitehead ‘The Embedded Artist Project: Strategies for Civic Engagement. What do Artists Know?’ will be held in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at the University. The session will discuss the strategy of ‘embedding’ practising artists at local government level, bridging policy and practice in order to bring new perspectives and innovative approaches to addressing the challenges in planning the city’s future. The event is free to attend but spaces must be booked in advance through Dee Quinn in the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media at dee.quinn@nuigalway.ie. Ann Lyons of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway, said: “This connection to the visual arts through Tulca is a valuable aspect of NUI Galway’s commitment to the arts in Galway. Its participation in Tulca also provides an opportunity for collaboration between NUI Galway and GMIT, developing stronger links between the two third-level institutions in the city. We are very pleased to be associated with Tulca and welcome everyone to the University to experience this exciting festival of visual art.” Tulca Festival of Visual Arts includes a further programme of workshops, talks and events and brings the work of a range of international and Irish artists to Galway. Full programme details are available at www.tulca.ie. -ENDS-