Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Global Women's Studies Programme at NUI Galway will host a series of public lectures a part of the international 16 Days campaign against Gender Violence. NUI Galway joins over 3,700 organisations, in over 164 different countries, to pay recognition to the ongoing problem of violence against women. This year, the 16 Days campaign runs from 25 November to 10 December. The campaign provides an opportunity to reflect on violence against women as one of the most pervasive human rights abuses worldwide, and to consider the particular challenges faced in ensuring women's rights in Ireland and abroad. This year's programme links the national to the international with presentations on domestic violence and the recession, the experiences of Refugee and Asylum seeking women in Ireland, the establishment of the Galway Sexual Assault Treatment Unit and the experiences of Iranian women's rights activists. On Tuesday, 29 November, Sheelan Yousefidezah, Women's Right's Activists at Trinity Community Initiative Fund and Secretary of Amnesty Iran group at Amnesty International Ireland, will host a lecture entitled ‘Keeping Iran's Heart Beating - documenting the experiences of Iranian Women's Rights Activists’. The lecture will take place at 12pm in MY129, Áras Moyola. Niamh Bonner, Galway Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, will deliver a lecture on ‘Sexual Assault Treatment Services in Ireland’ on Thursday, 1 December, in MY123 - Seminar Room 1, Áras Moyola at 1pm. This seminar is supported by the NUI Galway Feminist Society. State Violence Against Refugee and Asylum Seeking Women and Community Responses in a local Irish context will be the focus for the third lecture. Delivered by participants from the Galway Refugee Support Group, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 8 December, in CA101 - Lecture Hall 2, Cairnes Building, from 1-2pm. This seminar is also supported by the NUI Galway Feminist Society. The final lecture in this series, ‘Just Another Day - Responding to domestic violence in the Recession’ will take place on Friday, 9 December. Sharon O'Halloran, Director of SAFE Ireland, will deliver the lecture in CA101 - Lecture Hall 2, Cairnes Building, at 1pm. Following this lecture, The European Women's Studies Class will show their photographic exhibition on 'Gender and Poverty in Galway'. All the lectures are open to the public. For more information contact Dr Stacey Scriver in NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, at 091 494116 or stacey.scriver@nuigalway.ie. Further information is also available at http://www.facebook.com/pages/16-Days-of-Activism-to-End-Violence-Against-Women-at-NUIG/280584008649176?v=info   -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Documents highlighting the secrecy and tension involved in communication and negotiation between the British government and the IRA throughout ‘the Troubles’ were today (Tuesday, 22 November) unveiled in NUI Galway at the launch of the Brendan Duddy Archive on campus.   The selected documents include Brendan Duddy’s hand written records of negotiations during the hunger strike and a letter from the IRA to the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.   Speaking at the launch and on behalf of the Duddy family, Larry Duddy, said: “The family are delighted that the private papers have been donated to NUI Galway. They hope that analysis of these papers will assist current and future generations to understand however complex and how ever long a conflict has gone on with the dedication and commitment shown by Brendan Duddy a resolution can always be found.”   The symposium Negotiating Peace, organised in association with the launch of the private papers of Brendan Duddy, brought together prominent figures from the worlds of academia and diplomacy to explore key questions surrounding the negotiated settlement of violent conflicts, drawing in particular on the experience of negotiation in the Irish peace process.   Symposium speakers inlcuded Seán Ó hUiginn, former senior Irish diplomat who was deeply involved in the Irish government contribution to the peace process; former senior British government official Michael Oatley, a key British official involved in back-channel communication with the Republican leadership over many years; and Professor Paul Arthur, Honorary Associate at the International Conflict Research Centre (INCORE), former Professor of Politics and Director of the Graduate Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ulster.   Speaking at NUI Galway, Michael Oatley emphasised the need to understand and differentiate between the motivation for differing instances of political violence, and the importance of seeking to establish dialogue. He applauded Brendan Duddy's work as an extraordinary example of what could be achieved by a brave and determined private individual.   The archive holds documents from the three main periods during which Brendan Duddy secretly acted as an intermediary between the British government and the IRA. The first was in the early and mid 1970s when Duddy acted as intermediary during a series of contacts over the release of hostages and the ending of hunger strikes. This contact culminated in the long IRA ceasefire of 1975 during which British government and Provisional Republican representatives held a series of formal meetings in Duddy’s house in Derry. The archive includes his diaries of negotiation in 1975 and 1976 as well as many handwritten and typed messages exchanged between the two sides.   In 1980 and 1981 Duddy acted again as intermediary during the Republican hunger strikes. In July 1981 he began to record these contacts, conducted mainly by telephone, in a red hardbound notebook, the ‘Red book’. The handwritten formal messages that were dictated to Duddy over the phone are interspersed with sparse personal comments and notations indicating how these contacts sometimes stretched through the night and indicating the intensity of the tensions at this negotiating intersection.   Between 1990 and 1993 Duddy was again active at this intersection after a new Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Sir Peter Brooke, made the decision to try to incorporate the Provisionals in a political settlement, an effort continued by his successor Sir Patrick Mayhew. Duddy was called upon again to take up the role of intermediary and his archive includes the messages passed between the two sides as well as his own contemporary ‘narrative’ of the intense contacts of 1993.   Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Politics at NUI Galway explained: “These papers add significantly to our understanding of this crucial interface between the British state and the IRA. The papers show Brendan Duddy’s persistence and determination in pursuing the goal of a peace settlement and an end to the violence over a period of decades.”   Deposited at NUI Galway in 2009, the archive contains over 700 descriptive items of paper and sound archives which have been catalogued by the Library's Special Collections staff and will be available to scholars and bona fide researchers from January 2012.  The archive includes coded diaries of contact as well as messages exchanged between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership.   The Duddy papers are directly related to the papers of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, former President of Sinn Féin, which are also held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Together these archives constitute one of the most important sources for understanding the attempts to resolve conflict in Ireland that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.   President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “We all remember the horror of so much of the news emanating from Northern Ireland throughout the 1970s, '80s and '90s.  All through that difficult period Brendan Duddy maintained a steadfast conviction that the conflict could only be ended through a negotiated settlement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for that steadfast commitment to peace.  I would especially like to thank him, on behalf of NUI Galway, for making his Archive available to scholarship, so that others might be inspired and encouraged in the unrelenting work of peace-building, in similar situations internationally."   Research on the papers involves collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology and the University of Ulster’s International Conflict Research Centre (INCORE) and both institutions will collaborate to make a selection of primary documents from the collection freely available online through CAIN (the University of Ulster¹s Conflict Archive on the Internet) and NUI Galway’s library website.   John Cox, Librarian at NUI Galway: "Clearly this is a collection with huge research potential and I can see us welcoming scholars from far and wide to Galway to work on the archive."   The donation will be held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, home to a range of theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Players theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy; the Huston Archive and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'.   ENDS

Monday, 21 November 2011

Over 1,600 students will graduate from across the five colleges at NUI Galway at the University's winter conferring ceremonies, which take place from 23 to 25 November. Liam Ferrie will also be conferred with an honorary Master of Commerce degree.   A native of Scotland, Liam is now living in Menlo, Co. Galway. In 1987 he founded the Irish Emigrant, a weekly online newsletter covering Irish news, and has been working as Editor and writer of the publication since then. He is also Founder of Irish Emigrant Publications, Ireland's longest-established Internet publishing company, producing online publications such as Professional Ireland, BookView Ireland, Arts Ireland and Sports Ireland.   Speaking in advance of the ceremonies, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. Today we are proud to honour Liam Ferrie for his contribution to the Irish diaspora. As founder and publisher of the Irish Emigrant he has fostered a sense of community among the global Irish diaspora, by delivering news from Ireland through his weekly online publication, the Irish Emigrant newsletter.”    In addition, degrees, higher diplomas, Masters and PhDs will be awarded to students graduating over the three days from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; College of Engineering and Informatics; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies.   -ENDS-

Monday, 21 November 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Cork on Thursday, 1 December. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Silver Spring Moran Hotel in Cork City.   The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students.   The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers.   Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012.   “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Cork, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Cork is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway.   To find out more about the information evening in Cork, contact NUI Celine O’Donovan, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 239 1219 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends-

Monday, 21 November 2011

The College of Science at NUI Galway recently showcased PhD research in its various disciplines in a ‘Research Horizons’ evening.  Invited speakers from Queen’s University Belfast, Oxford University and University College Dublin gave detailed talks on their work and with students from all Schools in the College of Science presenting their work in a competition that was judged by the three invited speakers.   The winner of the competition was Claire Concannon, a Biochemistry student from Tralee, Co. Kerry, who spoke on ‘The role of the proteasome in triplet repeat DNA expansions’.  Second place was presented toPharmacology and Therapeutics student Sandra O’Brien from Galway City, who spoke on ‘Early life fluoxetine exposure: Behavioural effects in adulthood’. Third place was awarded to Biochemistry student, Lynda O’Leary from Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, who described her work on ‘An alternative TRAIL to killing cancer’.   The external speakers included: Professor A.P. de Silva, Queen's University Belfast who delivered a talk on ‘2011: A small space odyssey with luminescent molecules’; Professor Alain Goriely, Oxford University, spoke on ‘The mathematical mind of Professor Moriarty: all the mathematics you will not see in the new Sherlock Holmes movie’; and Dr Emma Teeling, University College Dublin, who described ‘What bats can tell us about the evolution of sensory perception in mammals’.   The ‘Research Horizons’ event presented a broad and exciting range of cutting-edge research at NUI Galway and should help inspire other students to consider a career in scientific research.   -ENDS-

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sentencing: Towards a Coherent System by Tom O’Malley, a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway, has just been published by leading law publishers, Thomson Reuters.   As prison populations in Ireland and elsewhere reach record levels, governments are being forced to rethink many of the policies which held sway in recent decades, especially in regard to the use of mandatory sentences and rigid sentencing guidelines.   This book provides a detailed analysis of the nature of judicial discretion and claims that a just and effective sentencing system can be devised by retaining this discretion provided it is accompanied by various judicial support systems. It includes a survey of measures adopted internationally since the early 1980s to structure judicial sentencing discretion and argues that, in small jurisdictions in particular, a reasonable balance between flexibility and consistency can be achieved without resort to some of the more drastic measures introduced in the United States and elsewhere.   The book also includes a substantial foreword by Chief Justice Susan Denham who, prior to her appointment as Chief Justice, had chaired the Irish Sentencing Information system project (of which Mr O’Malley was a member) and also the committee which recommended the establishment of a permanent Court of Appeal. In her foreword she notes that a permanent court of appeal would be required if some of the recommendations made in this book were to be implemented.   The author, NUI Galway’s Tom O’Malley, said: “This book is not intended as an analysis of existing sentencing law. Instead, it treats sentencing as an important aspect of public policy which carries heavy social and economic costs. In many cases, those costs are justified but we must always strive to develop and refine policies which will make the system as socially productive and cost-effective as possible. Our School of Law is now part of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, and I hope that this book will enhance our contribution to public policy discourse, nationally and internationally.”   Mr O’Malley is already the author of leading Irish treatises on criminal law, criminal procedure and sentencing law, and he has recently been invited to deliver a postgraduate course on comparative criminology at the University of Leiden Law School in the Netherlands in spring 2012.    -ends-

Monday, 21 November 2011

The 14th annual Galway Science and Technology Festival which is part of National Science Week will run until Sunday, 27 November. The two-week free event has provided shows, demonstrations and activities to 130 primary and secondary schools encompassing 22,000 students and will culminate with a fantastic family day out at the Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November at NUI Galway. The Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people by taking shows to primary and secondary schools throughoutGalwaycity and county. The free Festival Exhibition on Sunday, 27 November, will be attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and will take place from 10am-6pm at the Bailey Allen Hall, Orbsen and IT Buildings at NUI Galway and other campus venues. There will be hundreds of scientists, engineers and business innovators showcasing their work at 78 interactive stands representing areas including research, education, industry and the environment and visitors will be able to participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and discuss ideas with researchers. Different exhibits will allow the public to learn more about topics such as life-saving medical devices, renewable energy, a Cloud Computing presentation by 6th class students fromBriarhillSchool, IT in the future, Kitchen Chemistry, and 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. Visitors can experience 78 exciting interactive exhibition stands from severalGalwaybased science and technology companies. A free Park and Ride service atCorribVillage,Newcastle,Galwaywill be in operation on the day. This year a booking system is in place through www.galwayscience.eventbrite.com to help people plan their day. Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented: “The Festival Exhibition has become a calendar highlight for families and educators with over 20,000 visitors to last year’s exhibition. We are very thankful to NUI Galway for providing facilities on campus to host the 78 interactive exhibitions this year. The Board of Galway Science and Technology Festival would also like to express their gratitude to main sponsor Medtronic and to all of the other sponsors including The Galway Enterprise Board, Discover Science & Engineering and Boston Scientific – Avaya, SAP, GMIT, Cisco, IDA Ireland, HP, Covidien, Merit Medical,LakeRegion,EnterpriseIreland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute and Transitions Optical. All of these companies in their own way help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.” Last week students enjoyed school shows like the K’NEX Roadshow which fosters an interest in science and robotics, an explosive Dr Thompson’s Laboratory and the Mad Science Air Blast Show. This week schools can look forward to shows like Magic Mathworks, Sue McGrath’s Chemistry Show, Cosmic Explorer’s with Robert Hill, Blackrock Castle Observatory’s StarDome and Mr Bug with Matt Lewis. Gerard Kilcommins, VP Global Operations & General Manager Medtronic commented: “In 2001, Medtronic became the main sponsor of the Galway Science and Technology Festival and, while we had no doubt in our minds about the importance of the initiative locally, we could not have imagined it would develop into such a successful event and highlight in the calendars of the educational and science communities. Now, more than ever, harnessing the power of science and technology, and engaging our younger generation in this area so that we can produce high-calibre scientists and engineers in the future, is pivotal toIreland's economic destiny.” 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 newEngineeringBuildingand a talk for students, parents and teachers on Cyberbullying.  The Zoology andGeologyMuseumwill be open for tours along withIreland’s onlyComputer & CommunicationsMuseum.  President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, 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 buildIreland's capacity in technology, research and innovation.  We are delighted to work closely with the Festival as it gives us in the University a chance to open our doors, so that we can share the boundless possibilities and the sheer fun of science!” GMIT will host tours of all facilities including science, technology and engineering laboratories. There are also various interesting workshops for students including Modern Medicines, The Chemistry of Smoking Addiction and NicotinePatches and a Forensic Investigation. This year a Mentoring Program by local engineers is available to senior cycle students looking for career advice. Galway Senior Hurler and Enginner at Medtronic, Damien Joyce is one such mentor. Engineers from over 11 different companies participating in this initiative will visit schools and talk to the students about their subject choices, give practical career advice and share their work experience. To book shows visit galwayscience.events@gmail.com. The 2011 Programme of events and School Booking Forms are available at www.galwayscience.ie   -ends-

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce the appointment of Róisín Ní Mhainín, a native of Rosmuc, as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2012.  Recognised as one of the first generation of female sean-nós dancers to gain widespread popularity, Róisín has developed a distinctive style of dancing and is acknowledged by her peers as a leading exponent of sean-nós dance in the new millennium.  Her success at An tOireachtas further demonstrates her leading role among sean-nós dancers and within the wider traditional arts community.  Róisín has performed extensively in stage productions such as ‘Between the Jigs and the Reels’ and ‘The Well’ in Vicar St and further afield at the Milwaukee Festival.  At the reception to mark her appointment, Róisín captivated family, friends and admirers with her performance. Treasa Ní Mhiolláin, the outgoing Sean-nós Singer in Residence for 2011 described the first time that she saw Róisín perform as a skilful young dancer, and was particularly pleased to pass on the artist in residency baton to Róisín for 2012.  In announcing her appointment, Professor Gearóid Denvir observed that Róisín drew from the wellspring of traditional culture in Connemara through her steps and her appointment as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence emphasises the University’s commitment to, and recognition of, the value of that tradition. As part of her residency, Róisín will participate in a series of performances throughout the year and also importantly, will give a series of sean-nós dance workshops at NUI Galway. The workshops will be open to the public and commence in January 2012. In addition to the Centre for Irish Studies, this scheme is supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon. ENDS

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wellcome Trust, the largest independent charity in the United Kingdom, has announced that it will support the Debating Science Issues (DSI) project for a fifth consecutive year.  Co-ordinated by Danielle Nicholson, Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, this All-Ireland competition encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Schools taking part initially receive a three-hour biomedical, bioethical workshop to facilitate discussion on the ethical issues raised by stem cell research, genetically modified food, nanotechnology, health and self-testing kits or flu vaccinations. School students then carry out research further in preparation for the debate. DSI is a cross border schools science debating competition involving nine collaborating partners:  the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway; W5 in Belfast; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland; CRANN at TCD; CLARITY at UCD; the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh; Cork Institute of Technology; and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC.  Commenting on the announcement, NUI Galway’s Danielle Nicholson said: “Next year 48 schools will be involved and organisers will create a new topic surrounding the funding allocation made to develop treatments and research rare diseases.  A new dedicated DSI website is also being developed.” Boston Scientific, Abbott Ireland, Merck-Millipore and Pfizer Ireland are sponsors of the provincial trophies and prizes.    -ENDS-

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

From 24-26 of November, NUI Galway’s Dramsoc are performing Tom Murphy's The Morning After Optimism in the Druid Lane Theatre. The performance is being facilitated as part of the NUI Galway partnership with Druid Theatre Co. Three of four members of the cast are currently studying on the BA CONNECT Theatre & Performance programme at NUI Galway, while the production team includes engineering, maths, creative writing and Irish language students. Darren Coppinger, an engineering PhD student in NUI Galway, directs the production. He says: “The producer and I discovered this play about two years ago, in the Abbey Theatre bookshop. It jumped out at me immediately and I wanted to put it on. The play had its first run last year, in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway. Thereafter, we felt the play had a huge amount to offer and we are lucky enough to be able to stage it in Druid – home of Tom Murphy - for a second run this year.” He continues, “It’s a play about James and Rosie – the pimp and the whore. In the course of the play, they discover their better selves, as well as idealized lovers in Edmund and Anastasia, a prince and a maiden. It’s a play of opposites: on one side you have the sinners and on the other, the saints. Murphy places them in a surreal forest, as a means of exploring these contrasts and assessing whether they can survive in the one space. In the play, James, the pimp talks about his indoctrination in the form and the language of fairytale. To me, the play is a dialogue about false hopes. It looks at the demise of our childhood illusions, which tend to inhibit us from dealing with harsh reality. The work has universal appeal and although first performed in 1971, it feels contemporary. The concept of fairytales of the past clashing with the cold reality of modernity corresponds, I think to conflicting feelings about where we are as a society. Like James and Rosie, we are asked to confront our illusions and decide where we want to go next.” The play is heavily influenced by on the music of Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique). It deploys dashes of colour, unusual props, expressive gesture and movement to create its own unique world. Unlike most of Murphy’s works, The Morning After Optimism uses little Irish dialect. He concocts a new vernacular of storybook clichés, rediscovered vocabulary, proverbs, manic imagery and phrases from songs. Thomas Kilroy wrote of it that it ‘exists between the rabid, spilling language of the streets and the language of fairytale. Great lunatic monologues in which these two realities clash and mix and outrage one another’. This production is the second occasion on which NUI Galway Dramsoc has performed in Druid Lane Theatre. Last year, the society hosted the Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Festival, and used the theatre as one of its main venues. The Festival itself went on to win the prestigious title of ‘Event of the Year’ in NUI Galway, winning Dramsoc the title of ‘Society of the Year’ at the NUI Galway Society Awards. Darren continues: “The University and Druid formalized their relationship by means of an academic partnership last year. This production, we hope will be the first of many Dramsoc plays to be performed in this iconic theatre. The society is one of the largest on campus, and produces more than 25 productions annually. It is great to see Druid supporting Dramsoc and NUI Galway – already, students are benefitting from the relationship and long may it continue.” The NUI Galway Dramsoc’s production of the play, The Morning After Optimism, by Tom Murphy runs in Druid Lane Theatre from November 24-26. Shows start at 8pm, and tickets are €5/€8, from the Socs Box in Áras na Mac Léinn. Reservations can also be made by emailing themorningafteroptimismnuig@gmail.com or phoning 086 1632868.   -ends-

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Many common infections that were once a scourge, such as typhoid and cholera, have been almost forgotten in Europe.  This is largely because of improved water supply and sanitation but also because we have had safe antibiotic treatments that work to treat serious infections for the last 50 years. A lot of this progress is at risk now because bacteria that can resist antibiotic treatment are becoming more common, according to Martin Cormican, Professor of Bacteriology at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine. Friday, 18 November, is European Antibiotic Awareness Day. It is a reminder of how much the discovery of antibiotics has helped us all to live longer and healthier lives, but also of how much is at stake if we do not act to save antibiotics.  According to Professor Cormican: “As bacteria become resistant to all the older antibiotics, we know that drug companies are finding very few new antibiotics. If we do not have antibiotics that work, certain types of surgery and cancer treatments will become almost impossible do safely because the risk of infection in patients will be too great.”   NUI Galway scientists and doctors in the School of Medicine are working with others in Ireland and Europe to track the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in Ireland and on finding better ways to cut down on overuse of antibiotics. “Our work at NUI Galway shows that bacteria can change their genes and even swap genes with other bacteria very quickly. Some genes can give bacteria the power to smash the antibiotics into pieces before they have a chance to work. The more often we use antibiotics, the better the chance that a bacteria with a gene that breaks down the antibiotic will develop and spread. Every time drug companies manufacture a new antibiotic we see the same thing happen within months or years. Right now we are working with people around the country to track the latest big antibiotic-resistant problem which is called CPE. These CPE bacteria have now been found in seven different labs in Ireland – there are many different kinds of CPE and many of these bacteria are resistant to almost all of the antibiotics that we have to treat infection.” For Professor Cormican, there are some very simple things that can be done to slow down the advance of resistant bacteria. “We need to use less antibiotics, and we can do this safely if we all stop using antibiotics when there is no need for them. Antibiotics are prescribed by a doctor and so part of our research with the Discipline of General Practice and funded by the Health Research Board is to look at ways to help doctors use antibiotics in better ways.” He also points out that many people still think that they should get antibiotics from the doctors for colds, coughs and sore throats and other minor infections. Many minor infections do not need antibiotics and many are caused by a virus and antibiotics do not help even a little bit for infection with virus. However, it is also important to know that taking antibiotics you don’t need, will kill your good bacteria and can cause diarrhoea and thrush. “So keep your good bacteria safe by taking antibiotics only when you really need them,” says Professor Cormican. The Environmental Protection Agency has also supported the work at NUI Galway, which found that some antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria escape from places including hospitals into the environment. “We do not know yet how much this adds to our problems but there is reason to believe it could make things worse”, explains Professor Cormican. “We also need to be careful if we have left-over antibiotics. Do not pour them down the sink or the toilet, do not put them in the bin as they might eventually get back into rivers, lakes and drinking water. We can only dispose of them safely by taking them back to the pharmacy.” Professor Cormican concluded: “If we all work together on this we can help to keep antibiotics that work for our children and grandchildren.” -ends-

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dr Michael Keeney, a PhD graduate of NUI Galway, has been awarded the prestigious European Doctoral Award for his PhD studies. The award is made annually by the European Society for Biomaterials and confers added value to the Doctoral Degree already gained by Dr Keeney, who is originally from Donegal Town.  The award is complementary to the PhD degree, and recognises the European or international dimension of work, acting as a proof of quality.  The award also acknowledges the PhD supervisor, in Michael’s case, Professor Abhay Pandit of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway, proving the integration of their research at an international level. This is the first European Doctoral Award in the field of Biomaterials won by an Irish student or University. Michael completed his Doctoral Degree at NUI Galway having graduated in 2010. His research, funded by IRCSET and SFI, was undertaken at the NFB and involved tissue regeneration of bone defects; the thesis was entitled “Design and Functionalisation of Collagen/Calcium Phosphate Scaffolds for Non-Viral Gene Delivery in Bone Tissue Engineering”. In order to qualify for the award, Michael spent time at the Jansen Laboratory, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he performed in-vivo studies on bone formation, a placement that was supported by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. After a brief period working as a research assistant at NUI Galway, Michael was offered a postdoctoral research fellowship at Stanford University in the United States.  At Stanford, Michael currently works on tissue engineering and drug delivery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Speaking about his receipt of this award, Michael said: “It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award from the European Society of Biomaterials and it is a credit to all the hard work being performed at the NFB.” -ends-

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An information evening for prospective mature students will take place at NUI Galway on Thursday, 24 November. The event will take place from 7 to 9pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. The information evening is designed for people aged 23 and over who are considering embarking on full-time undergraduate degree programmes in NUI Galway in the 2012/2013 academic year. Information will be provided at this session on the programmes available to mature students across each of the University’s five Colleges: College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies; College of Business, Public Policy and Law; College of Science; College of Engineering and Informatics; and College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Studies. Sessions will also cover topics such as entry requirements, application and selection procedures, financial queries and other support systems available within NUI Galway.  NUI Galway’s Mature Students Officer, Trish Hoare, said: “NUI Galway is very proud of our mature students and all of their accomplishments. We value their experience and dedication to their studies.” Applications for third-level are done mostly through the CAO, which has a deadline of the 1 February, 2012.  To qualify as a mature student you must be 23, or over, on or before 1 January, 2012. Mature applicants for programmes in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies degrees at NUI Galway are also required to register prior to 1 February, 2012, for the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) exam which takes place on Saturday, 18 February, 2012. For more information on the information evening contact Trish Hoare at 091 492695 or email maturestudents@nuigalway.ie.  A Mature Students Guidebook is also available with further information at www.nuigalway.ie/mature.   -ENDS-

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dr Zoë Popper, a lecturer in Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, is the national organiser for the first ever European Fascination of Plants Day which will be held on 18 May, 2012. Plants, by accumulating sunlight into sugars, are the primary producers of biomass providing animals and mankind with food and feed. 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 and biologists estimate the total number of plant species to be about 250,000. Launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO - www.epsoweb.org),Brussels, a special day for plants shall take place on 18 May, 2012. This coordinated activity will plant virtual and constantly germinating seeds in the collective mind of the European and World Public recalling that plant science is of critical significance to the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future. The ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ has been already adopted by more than 25 countries worldwide and the number is growing. All information about this initiative can be accessed via www.plantday12.eu and is supported by a network of national coordinators who volunteer their time to promote and disseminate the activity within their countries. More than 60 scientific institutions, universities, botanical gardens, and museums, together with farmers and companies, have already announced that they will open their doors, with a variety of plant-based events for all interested people from toddlers to grandparents. Anyone who would like to contribute to the Fascination of Plants Day is welcome to join in. For more information regarding events at a Global, European and national level please visit the website www.plantday12.eu.     -ends-

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The next talk in the NUI Galway public talk series on ‘Sports Technology’ will take place on Tuesday, 22 November, at 6pm. The talk is entitled ‘Competitive Cycling – Pushing the Boundaries of Engineering’. Cycling is a sport which pushes not only athletes but also engineers to the limit. From accommodating increasingly complex, lightweight yet strong gearing systems to the development of new battery technology to enable electronic gear shifters; from leading developments in human power measurement and engineering smart responsive clothing materials, to developing methods for monitoring human performance in real-time and with wireless data transfer. The talk will be delivered by Dr Eoghan Clifford, a lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway. His main areas of research are sustainable technology development in environmental engineering, water and wastewater treatment, sustainable transport and sustainability in the built environment. According to Dr Clifford: “When describing new and exciting developments in engineering, the term ‘Space Age Engineering’ is often used. However, it can be argued that in some ways Space Age Engineering takes its lead from engineering in bicycling. The modern professional cyclist rides a carbon fibre bicycle frame often weighing less than 1kg, attached to a pair of wheels weighing as little as 1.3kg. These aerodynamic, lightweight frames and wheels slip through the air, minimising resistance, yet are capable of supporting cyclists weighing up to 90kg travelling at 60kph over cobblestones. Meanwhile, helmets weighing 200g can save a cyclists life, be aerodynamic and also allow adequate air flow for cooling.” In addition to his academic career and achievements, Dr Clifford has a distinguished record in competitive cycling and for a number of years has been racing as an A1 level cyclist, (the top category in Ireland when not a full time professional). His first competitive cycling results came with a second placing in the intervarsity’s road race in 2001 and since then he has competed extensively in Ireland and internationally. He has successfully competed in most of the major stage and one day races in Ireland. He was Connacht Road Race Champion in 2008 and 2009 and has competed in countries including France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Norway.   The series of Sports Technology talks are organised by Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Course Director of NUI Galway’s degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering. This degree programme enables students with the skills and expertise to design innovative sports systems and devices. This talk will take place in ENG-2003 in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway and is open to the public. For more information on the Sports Technology talks, which are supported by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, visit www.ExerciseEngineering.com or call 091 492728.   -ENDS-

Monday, 14 November 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Donegal on Thursday, 24 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Donegal, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Letterkenny is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Donegal, contact Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office at NUI Galway, on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 14 November 2011

NUI Galway Lecturer in English and Vice-Dean (Learning and Assessment), Dr Frances McCormack, was among give third-level teachers recognised as exemplifying excellence in teaching at the annual National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) awards ceremony in Dublin recently. At a time when Higher Education Institutions are being challenged to achieve ever higher standards, the National Awards for Excellence in Teaching symbolise the outstanding quality of teaching which many Irish students already experience. In particular, these awards value and celebrate successful efforts at integrating research, teaching and learning. The five winners represent disciplines as diverse as anatomy, Education, English and Law and were nominated by senior staff in their institution to go forward for the highly competitive award. Minister Ruairí Quinn presented the awards at this prestigious ceremony and noted that the awardees were “Teachers who never cease in their own learning, cultivating the potential in their students, making each and every student feel recognised and valued.” John Hennessy, Chairman of the HEA, stressed the benefit of a national awards scheme stating that “The award recipients bear testimony to the quality of imagination and commitment that characterises the Higher Education community.” The NAIRTL Awards recognise higher education teachers who demonstrate outstanding dedication to their teaching and have made an exceptional impact on student learning and the five winners are: Dr Frances McCormack, Lecturer and Vice-Dean (Learning and Assessment), NUI Galway. Dr Thomas Farrell, Anatomy Department, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Dr Kathleen Horgan, Lecturer and Coordinator of Microteaching, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Dr Marion Palmer, Head of Department of Learning Sciences, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Jennifer Schweppe, School of Law, University of Limerick Regardless of disciplinary background, these teachers show a common purpose and mastery of teaching. This award ceremony recognises their subject based expertise as well as their passion and interest in cultivating the potential in their students. NAIRTL was established in 2007, and its vision is one where research and teaching go hand in hand. This is the fourth year of the Awards for Excellence in Teaching and the award winners were chosen from thirty-six detailed submissions from seventeen different HEIs across Ireland. They will each receive a €5,000 award which can be used to support their teaching and research activities.    -Ends

Monday, 14 November 2011

Irish cinema has enjoyed unprecedented commercial and critical success over the past ten years, including Oscar nominated and winning films and box office hits internationally. A new book, Contemporary Irish Film: New Perspectives on a National Cinema, co-edited by Seán Crosson of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway with Werner Huber of the University of Austria, brings together scholars from Ireland and abroad to provide insiders’ as well as outsiders’ perspectives on the situation of Irish film in a period of a socio-economic sea change: the years of the so-called Celtic Tiger.   According to Seán Crosson: “The unprecedented economic growth and immigration that Ireland experienced between 1995 and 2007 did not only challenge national but also ethnic, social and gender identities. The contributions to this volume explore how films tackle these challenges and help to make sense of Ireland’s altered position in a globalised world.”   Included in the collection are contributions from leading and emerging researchers of Irish film, including: Ruth Barton, TCD; Tony Tracy, Huston School of Film & Digital Media; NUI Galway, Díóg O’Connell, Institute of Art, Design, Technology, Dun Laoghaire; and Eduardo Barros Grela University A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. The book is completed by an interview with award-winning director Lenny Abrahamson, and his collaborator, screenwriter and actor Mark O’Halloran.   Among the films discussed in the publication are some of the most successful Irish films of recent years, from Oscar winning and box office success Once (2006), to critically acclaimed works such as Adam & Paul (2004), Garage (2007), and The Secret of Kells (2009). The volume also includes a consideration of the work of Oscar-winning director and writer Neil Jordan.   Contemporary Irish Film: New Perspectives on a National Cinema will be launched by Lenny Abrahamson and Mark O’Halloran on Thursday, 24 November at 5pm in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway, and all are welcome.   ENDS

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Launch of the Brendan Duddy Collection and Symposium on ‘Negotiating Peace’ During three extended periods between 1973 and 1993 the British government was involved in intensive secret contact with the IRA leadership through the same intermediary, Brendan Duddy, a businessman from Derry. During the first period Duddy’s home was the venue for a series of secret meetings in 1975 between the IRA leadership and senior British officials. During the second period, in 1980-81, Duddy was at the centre of intricate negotiations aimed at resolving the hunger strikes, and between 1990 and 1993 he was intensely active in contacts between the British government and the IRA. The launch of the Brendan Duddy Archive will take place on Tuesday, 22 November at NUI Galway following a half-day symposium Negotiating Peace.   Deposited at NUI Galway in 2009, the papers of Brendan Duddy provide a unique insight into the resolution of the ‘Troubles’. The archive includes coded diaries of contact as well as messages exchanged between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership.   The Duddy papers are directly related to the papers of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, former President of Sinn Féin, which are also held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway. Together these archives constitute one of the most important sources for understanding the attempts to resolve conflict in Ireland that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.   Speaking about the Brendan Duddy Collection, Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Politics at NUI Galway, said: “The papers of Brendan Duddy provide a unique insight into the resolution of the 'Troubles'. At a time when there is intense public debate on the value of negotiation with armed opponents in situations such as Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine, the Duddy papers provide a rare insight into the dynamics of back-channel negotiation that can help us to understand the role of secret negotiation in efforts to resolve conflict in other situations.”   The archive also includes several hours of filmed footage of interviews with Brendan Duddy by Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh. The interviews cover the key historical events in which Brendan Duddy was involved. A series of articles published recently by Dr Ó Dochartaigh analyse the character of this secret communication and illustrate how the Duddy papers shed new light on key events in the Northern Ireland conflict and the peace process. They include articles recently published or shortly to be published in international academic journals including the Journal of Peace Research, International Journal of Conflict Management and Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict as well as the Field Day Review of Irish Studies.   Dr Ó Dochartaigh added: “The papers illustrate the extraordinary pressures operating at this pivotal intersection between the British Government and the Provisional Republican leadership. They show the remarkable persistence and consistency of Brendan Duddy’s conviction that the conflict could only be ended through a negotiated settlement that included the Provisionals. From the early 1970s Brendan Duddy worked determinedly and in complete secrecy to try to draw the two sides closer together, a lifetime’s work that eventually came to fruition in the negotiated settlement of the late 1990s.”   The symposium Negotiating Peace, organised in association with the launch of the private papers of Brendan Duddy, brings together prominent figures from the worlds of academia, diplomacy and the media to explore key questions surrounding the negotiated settlement of violent conflicts, drawing in particular on the experience of negotiation in the Irish peace process.   Speaking at the symposium will be BBC investigative reporter Peter Taylor, one of the most experienced and respected journalists to have reported on Northern Ireland; Seán Ó hUiginn, a former senior Irish diplomat who was deeply involved in the Irish government contribution to the peace process; former senior British government official Michael Oatley, a central figure involved in attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Northern Ireland conflict; and Professor Paul Arthur, Honorary Associate at the International Conflict Research Centre (INCORE), former Professor of Politics and Director of the Graduate Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ulster.   Research on the papers involves collaboration between NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology and the University of Ulster’s International Conflict Research Centre (INCORE) and both institutions will collaborate to make a selection of primary documents from the collection freely available online through CAIN (the University of Ulster’s Conflict Archive on the Internet) and NUI Galway’s library website.   John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, commented: “The deposit of the papers at NUI Galway is thanks to the generosity and kindness of Brendan Duddy and his family who placed a great deal of trust in the University and its archive services to take care of the papers. This is a very significant addition to our archival collections and we are delighted to make it available to researchers following a detailed process to organise and list the collection. We will ensure the safe keeping of Brendan Duddy’s papers for future generations of scholars and researchers.”   The donation will be held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, home to a range of theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Players theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy; the Huston Archive and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'.   To register for the symposium see www.conference.ie     ENDS

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

RTÉ Broadcaster Sean O’Rourke and NUI Galway have joined forces for a new University initiative to re-establish contact with its graduates.  The University is using a novel combination of web video and text messaging to reach out to its alumni and highlight the benefits of keeping in touch.  O’Rourke has recorded a short web video appeal which will feature on www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends/get-in-touch explaining how easy it is to get back in touch with the University, and asking those who see it to pass on the message.  Graduates, he explains, are simply being asked to text the word GRAD, followed by a space, and the year of their graduation, to 51000.  “The Alumni office in NUI Galway”, says O’Rourke, “will then get in touch and re-establish contact.” A native of Portlaoise who grew up in Galway, Seán completed a BA in English, History and Legal Science at NUI Galway, graduating in 1977. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. He was Radio Journalist of the Year in 1997 and won PPI Awards for News Broadcaster of the year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Seán was also conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) earlier this year by NUI Galway. O’Rourke himself believes maintaining contact with the college is worthwhile, “I am involved with the Dublin branch of the NUI Galway Alumni” he said, “and it is a terrific way to stay connected.  We have different events, talks, evenings at the theatre, concerts, and we would simply like as many people as possible to enjoy the wonderful sense of connection and camaraderie that involvement with the Alumni association brings.”  O’Rourke explained that there are Alumni branches around the country as well as abroad and that graduates of all ages are made welcome. He added that those who spread the word would be entered into a draw the win the latest iPad on offer or a weekend away at the g Hotel.   ENDS

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Only two tattered copies remain of the original Zoology Museum catalogue, published in 1911 by UCG, now known as NUI Galway. One hundred years later, Éamon de Buitléar has officially launched a completely new version of the booklet at a special ceremony on campus.   The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum is housed in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and currently has over 500 specimens on display from a broad range of animal groups. Specimens include native animals as well as more exotic creatures, including stuffed monkeys, koalas, kiwis and the intriguing kangaroo rat.   The museum’s origins go back to the formation of the University in 1849, with many of the specimens coming from the Zoological Society of London. By 1899 it was among the best working museums of its kind to be found in any university of the time. The previous information booklet, called ‘A Catalogue of the Specimens’ was produced by Professor R. J. Anderson in 1911.   Speaking at the special ceremony on campus this week, the well-known wildlife filmmaker, Éamon de Buitléar, said: “To see this fine museum and launch this booklet is an absolute pleasure.  For many of us, the way we lead our lives today means we are getting further and further away from nature. This museum is a valuable resource and portal into our past, and an introduction into the wonders of nature.” One of the highlights of the museum is its possession of four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that were purchased from the Zoological Society of London. These consist of three mammal specimens: a grison, a cavy and an Azara’s fox; and one bird specimen, a guira cuckoo. All four specimens are native South American species and were collected on Charles Darwin’s trip aboard HMS Beagle from 1831-1836. Another special collection housed in the museum consists of over 100 ‘Blaschka models’. The father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka produced beautiful, intricate glass representations of marine animals, originally developed as educational models. They are now considered to be works of art, with a value that makes them irreplaceable. “Our museum is a time capsule taking us back to the days of Darwin and other great adventurers who travelled the world collecting exotic species” said Wallace Arthur, Professor of Zoology. “This museum is part of the University, but also belongs very much to Galway and the public. We welcome visitors and encourage them to spend as much time as they wish studying the specimens in whatever way is appropriate for their needs – very different needs for different groups, for example biologists, artists and laypeople.” Free and open to the public daily, the museum attracts large numbers of visitors, ranging from the general public to school parties to visiting researchers and academics.   The museum collection is used extensively in practical classes for Zoology students. The material allows the students to examine characteristic features of species and broader taxonomic groupings at first hand.   -ends-

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Highest international standards for business and management education    NUI Galway has been awarded EPAS* accreditation for its Business and Information Systems Programme. Awarded by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), this accreditation confirms that the BSc in Business Information Systems (BIS) meets the highest international standards for business and management education.  Achieving the accreditation is a major feat for the course, being only one of eight European undergraduate programmes to receive the five-year award.   Speaking at the formal launch of the EPAS accreditation in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, President of the NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This is a tremendous endorsement of the activities of our Business School.  As one of only eight European universities to receive this quality mark, we in NUI Galway are proud of this acknowledgement of the quality of our business education programmes, and in particular the BIS degree programme.”   Business Information Systems is a four-year undergraduate degree that explores the use of technology in the modern business environment.  Incorporating skills development in technology, business and technology management through individual, team and virtual team project work combined with global learning and industry engagement initiatives.  Martin Hughes, Programme Director of the BSc BIS highlighted: “The BSc. BIS degree provides students with the ideal platform for a successful career in business - over 70% of the 2011 class were in career employment by graduation.”   Dr Chris Coughlan, Head of Cloud Computing Innovation Centre, Hewlett-Packard Galway, in welcoming the five-year accreditation, said: “The input of industry into the development and design of the programme has really paid off and the interaction between local and national employers and the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics was particularly well received by the international peer review team. The practical effect of this interaction with industry and business is that it ensures that BIS at NUIG is ahead of the curve not only meeting their current needs but anticipating their future needs.”   NUI Galway staff, students and various industry figures attended the EPAS launch, recognising that the award signifies the quality of BIS programme graduates and their career progression globally.  The accreditation now recognises and reinforces, on an international stage, the strength of the programme and the esteem with which it is held in industry.   ENDS

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The School of Law in association with the Employment Law Association of Ireland will host the inaugural conference for the new LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, entitled ‘Employment Law and Mental Health’, on Saturday, 12 November.    The conference, organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy and the Clinical Legal Education programme in conjunction with the Employment Lawyers Association of Ireland will address the issue of Employment Law and Mental Health in Ireland while also addressing the topic from a legal and medical perspective.    Shivaun Quinlivan, Director of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, says: “This interdisciplinary approach will assist each discipline in gaining a broader understanding of the important issues that need to be addressed, which is indicative of the holistic philosophy at the core of this new LLM programme.”   The conference is aimed at legal practitioners, medical practitioners, academics, researchers, NGO’s and those involved in mental health and disability issues.    Mental Health can cover numerous issues from work related stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, or mental health problems including, for example, depression.  Employers have legal obligations and requirements in respect of these employees, and it is important to understand the various issues, both legal and medical that arise in this context.   The conference will be chaired by Dr Mary Keys of the School of Law, NUI Galway, who is the public representative on the Mental Health Commission. The conference will bring together nationally renowned experts in their respective fields, including Marguerite Bolger Senior Counsel, and Dr Ann Jeffers Consultant psychiatrist.     The conference will take place in MY243 Theatre, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway and will commence at 10am. There will be Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points available to those who are eligible and a Certificate of Attendance will be provided after the Conference.   For further information, including the conference programme, registration and a list of speakers, see www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/events.html.   ENDS  

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tipperary on Thursday, 17 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programme, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies which is brand new for 2012. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Thurles is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Tipperary, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Siobhán Dorman, Schools Liaison Office on 086 042 1591 or siobhan.dorman@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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-