Monday, 18 July 2011

A group of engineers at NUI Galway and the University of Ulster are developing bio-inspired integrated circuit technology which mimics the neuron structure and operation of the brain. One key goal of the research is the application of the electronic neural device, called a hardware spiking neural network, to the control of autonomous robots which can operate independently in remote, unsupervised environments, such as remote search and rescue applications, and in space exploration. According to Dr Fearghal Morgan, Director of the Bio-Inspired Electronics and Reconfigurable Computing (BIRC) research group, at NUI Galway: “Electronic neurons, implemented using silicon integrated circuit technology, cannot exactly replicate the complexity of neurons found in the human brain, or the massive number of connections between neurons. However, inspired by the operation and structure of the brain, we have successfully developed a hardware spiking neural network and have used this device for robotics control. The electronic device interprets the state of the robot’s environment through signals received from sensing devices such as cameras and ultrasonic sensors, which act as the eyes and ears of the robot. The neural network then modifies the behaviour of the robot accordingly, by sending signals to the robot’s limbs to enable activity such as walking, grasping and obstacle avoidance.” Dr Morgan explains: “Our research is focussed on mimicking evolution in nature. The latest hardware neural network currently in development will contain thousands of small electronic neuron-like devices which interoperate concurrently, in a similar way to neurons in the biological brain. The device can be trained to perform a particular function, and can be retrained many times for various applications. The training process resembles the training of the brain, by making, strengthening and weakening the links between neurons and defining the conditions which cause a neuron to fire, sending signals to all of the attached neurons. As in the brain, the collection of interconnected neurons makes decisions on incoming data to cause an action in the controlled system.” “Until now, the robotics arena has focused on electronic controllers which incorporate one or more microprocessors, which typically execute instructions in sequence and, while performing tasks quickly, are limited by the instruction processing speed. Power is also a consideration. While the human brain on average only requires 10 watts of power, a typical PC requires 300 watts. We believe that a small embedded hardware neural network device has the potential to perform effective robotics control, at low power, while also incorporating fault detection and self-repair behaviour. Our aim is to develop a robust, intelligent hardware neural network robotics controller which can autonomously maintain robot behaviour, even when its environment changes or a fault occurs within the robotics system.” Dr Jim Harkin, from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, University of Ulster (Magee Campus), comments: “The constant miniaturisation of silicon technology to increase performance introduces inherent reliability issues which must be overcome. Ultimately, the hardware neural network or robot ‘brain’ will be able to detect and overcome electronic faults that occur within itself, and continue to function effectively without human intervention.” The research project is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET), the International Centre for Graduate Education in Micro- and Nano-Engineering (ICGEE), the Xilinx University Programme, the University of Ulster’s Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, and the SFI National Access Programme.   ENDS

Friday, 15 July 2011

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, was in NUI Galway today to officially open NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, the largest of its kind in Ireland. The world-class teaching and research facility ushers in a new era for Engineering at the University, which has an excellent reputation in Engineering education. The building has been designed to be a teaching tool in itself, with exposed construction techniques and an array of ecological building methods. From September, the four-storey architectural gem and its 400 rooms will accommodate some 1,100 students and 110 staff. The 14,250 sqm building will support an emerging generation of engineers, engaged in a new wave of technologies, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship. According to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who studied at the University in the mid-70s: “Engineering has a long and proud tradition at NUI Galway and this magnificent new building is a fine example of how the University is responding to the changing needs in today’s world. This new building begins a new era for engineering students here inGalwayand will have far reaching impacts at local, national and international level. The work going on here will further develop NUI Galway’s reputation as a major international research centre in the field of engineering. I want to wish all the students, researchers, lecturers and other staff who will work here in the years to come every success in all their endeavours.” The building was developed at a cost of approximately €40 million, funded through Government funds, University sources and the generous support of individual donors and companies by way of the Galway University Foundation. Situated on the banks of the River Corrib, the building was designed by award-winning architects RMJM from Scotland in partnership with Mayo-based Taylor Architects, to complement the curves ofGalway’s most famous river.  A Living LaboratoryDesigned as a ‘living laboratory’ theEngineeringBuildingwill serve as an interactive teaching tool for students. Live data from numerous sensors will measure the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and will be used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Students will also be able to view sections of the foundation and structure which have been deliberately made visible, so that basic concepts can be taught in a real life setting. Also, services are exposed with pipes and ducting labelled in corridors and rooms as a ‘gross anatomy’ lesson of sorts for engineering students. Green CredentialsNUI Galway offers a degree in Energy Systems Engineering, and has a significant focus on research into environmental technologies. TheEngineeringBuildingitself contains a range of such ‘green’ technologies which will add to the hands-on learning experience for students. There is largescale rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, low-embodied energy materials such as zinc, grass roofs for water attenuation, heat exchangers and many other cutting-edge technologies. The structure is among the first inIrelandto employ the use of voided slab systems. The innovation introduces ‘plastic bubbles’ into the concrete, reducing the weight and quantity of concrete used. Areas of the building such as the plant room will be accessible to showcase to students the industrial biomass boiler and Combined Heat and Power Unit at work. A Landmark DaySpeaking at the opening ceremony today, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said: “This is a landmark day in the University’s history.  The opening of theEngineeringBuildingbrings to fruition the efforts of many individuals to bring the highest quality facilities for Engineering education and research to NUI Galway.  This facility will be a national asset, providing the best resources forIreland’s engineers.  Our engineering graduates and researchers will shapeIreland’s future by building our national competitiveness, driving innovation and research and supporting indigenous and multinational industry.” Dean of theCollegeofEngineeringand Informatics at NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Lyons commented: “Completion of this world-class facility confirms NUI Galway’s position as one of the premier Engineering Schools in the country. This shows great confidence in the role of Engineering and Technology in the economic development of the West of Ireland and we look forward to contributing significantly to the future success of our region. We now have the physical environment to match our first-class range of degree programmes and leading-edge research.” Further information about the Engineering Building is also available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-engineering-building/ ENDS

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway will fund a new scholarship open to all applicants and students accepted to the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of a competition, with the recipient of the scholarship awarded the tuition for one year of the programme.    The LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway offers students an innovative and internationally focused programme, dealing with the process of law reform and policy in the field of disability.  This area of law is undergoing significant change as a result of the introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.   The purpose of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy scholarship is to provide the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained through the programme to advance the rights and interests of persons with disabilities.  To be eligible to enter for the scholarship, candidates must first apply for the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. Only candidates who are offered a place on this programme will be considered for the scholarship. Candidates who have been offered a place, subject to degree results, are also eligible to apply. Applications for the LLM can be made online at www.pac.ie Shivaun Quinlivan, Director of the LLM International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, said “Our ethos is change. This new programme aims to equip students not just with knowledge and insights, but also with the skills and motivation to help transform the lives of the 650 million persons with disabilities in the world. It is one of the first of its kind in the world.” The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Sunday, 31 July, 2011.  Full application and selections details are available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/llm/news.html and applications should be sent to llmdisability@nuigalway.ie. Applications will not be assessed if they are incomplete or have been received after the advertised closing date. ENDS

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Joint Mission to Film Marine Life at Three Kilometres DepthUndiscovered ‘alien’ life forms that thrive without sunlight in temperatures approaching boiling point may soon come to light thanks to a groundbreaking Irish-led marine research mission aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer. In collaboration with scientists from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, the researchers are due to sail from Galway for the mid-Atlantic Ridge today (Wednesday 13th July).  The voyage is being filmed for the National Geographic Channel for inclusion in an upcoming series about the ocean. The mission, led by Dr. Andy Wheeler of University College, Cork (UCC), will be investigating life at 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea on the ‘45o North MAR hydrothermal vent field’ using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland 1. These vents, which spew mineral rich seawater heated to boiling point by volcanic material in the earth’s crust below, are home to a rich variety of marine life that thrives in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals. Patrick Collins from NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute will lead Ireland's marine biological team investigating this unique ecosystem, which could tell us not only about how life might have evolved on other planets, but may also be a rich source of new biochemical processes with valuable medical and industrial applications. “This expedition offers us the first opportunity to investigate mineral deposits and vent animals in this unexplored and important part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,” said Dr. Bramley Murton of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), who first discovered the location of the vents on an expedition aboard the UK research vessel RRS James Cook in 2008, and who is now leading the mineralisation study on the expedition. “Nothing is known about the hydrothermal vents, their mineral deposits or the life they support on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the islands of the Azores to the south andIceland to the north. Because this part of the ridge is trapped between these islands, vent animals may have evolved in isolation and be quite unique from elsewhere.” Patrick Collins, in collaboration with Jon Copley of the NCOS, will catalogue and characterise the species found at the vents.  According to Patrick, “We hope to find a whole community of previously unknown species, increasing our understanding of deep sea biogeography. There is potential here to putIreland on the global map as a serious player in deep sea science. This is all the more timely with the exploitation of deep sea and hydrothermal vents for precious metals and rare earth minerals now a reality.” Another objective of the mission is to investigate the rich deposits of deepwater corals on the Porcupine Bank’s ‘Moira Mound’, which has already been designated as a Special Area of Conservation.  These corals, which are very delicate and grow extremely slowly, are highly susceptible to damage by deepwater trawling and mineral dredging operations. Dr. Andy Wheeler, Chief Scientist of the Expedition, is a veteran of four previous ROV surveys to coldwater coral mounds. This mission is supported by the Marine Institute under the 2011 Ship-Time Programme of the National Development Plan. “This project is a perfect example of how strategic funding can pump-prime world-class marine research led fromIrelandinto new and exciting areas with tremendous potential for future sustainable development,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of the Marine Institute. The research is also supported by the National Geographic Society. The mission carries geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, marine geneticists and technicians from Irelandand the UKas well as a three-person TV crew from National Geographic. They will spend 25 days at sea and will be posting a regular blog on http://scientistsatsea.blogspot.com ENDS

Monday, 11 July 2011

NUI Galway and COPE Galway have been collaborating successfully for a number of years across a wide and varied range of projects. The partnership was formally ratified in December 2009 where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Professor James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, and John Concannon, Chairman of COPE Galway. Since then, the staff, students and service users across both organisations have been immersed in projects which have been hugely beneficial to the both partners and ultimately the community of Galway. A celebratory lunch was hosted recently by COPE Galway’s award winning Community Catering service, to celebrate this ongoing partnership. A snapshot of some of the projects gives an idea of the range and benefit involved: Occupational Therapy students became involved in COPE Galway’s Sonas Day centre for older people, in Mervue. One project undertaken was to set up a community website where the students worked with older people to identify interests and hobbies and custom built an easy to use website for the service. Links to regional newspapers, GAA and the CSO were set up to enable clients to have quick access to sites of interest. A second project focused on joint protection and had three elements; group work with older people demonstrating exercises, lifting techniques and information in relation to protecting the joints. The second part was a staff information session and third element saw the students organise a community Gizmo and Gadgets session where people could try out equipment and aids, learn a few simple exercises and talk to the students about the issue. Another occupational therapy student worked with two groups of older people over an eight week period to introduce them to the art of Tai Chi and to examine the effects of Tai Chi on the fear of falling. A group of NUI Galway final year psychology students conducted a survey on the volunteers of COPE Galway’s Community Catering service. Community Catering provides daily nutritious meals to over 180 older people in Galway, and the service could not be provided without the invaluable assistance of over 150 volunteers. The survey sought to provide feedback to COPE Galway in relation to the motives, experiences and outcomes for Community Catering volunteers. This was a very useful piece of work and one which will help in the future in relation to providing adequate supports to volunteers. Other projects included postgraduate students from the Management Information Systems course building a new Website for COPE Galway to improve ability to access and use a range of Social Media opportunities. This can be seen on www.copegalway.ie; a joint conference with the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) took place and a PhD study is on-going with the ICSG and the discipline of Marketing in NUI Galway, examining the role of community meals into the future. It is clear, says Jacquie Horan, CEO of COPE Galway, that COPE Galway has benefitted in so many ways from this partnership. “Our clients, our staff, our systems have all progressed positively from our close association with NUI Galway and we look forward to continuing this productive partnership where new and exciting projects and opportunities are already being discussed and planned” she said.Speaking at the lunch, President of NUI Galway, Professor James J. Browne said, “I am delighted that our organisations are working so well together, in a range of ways, to deepen civic engagement in the community.  Through this partnership, COPE Galway and NUI Galway are deepening student understanding of issues relating to the marginalised in society including homelessness, domestic violence and the elderly and our students are contributing to COPE Galway’s work programme.  Our organisations have co-hosted a number of conferences, including one with the University’s Centre for Social Gerontology in 2010, and we are continuing to work on research and research opportunities appropriate to our common objectives through final year projects, PhD research and individual academic research. On behalf of NUI Galway I am proud of this collaboration, which enables us to put our stated commitment to civic engagement into practice with COPE Galway.”  ENDS

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Web Science Doctoral Summer School, bringing together an international group of 50 postgraduate students, continues this week at NUI Galway. Organised by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), the Summer School attendees will learn analytical techniques to study the complex social and economic forces driving the evolution of the Web. Sixteen leading international authorities in Web Science such as Professor Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Dr Marc Smith, a sociologist specialising in social media, will deliver lectures and seminars on state-of-the-art Web Science research. Also featuring at the event is Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, who comments: “Research and study in the field of Web Science is made all the more challenging through the sheer complexity of social and economic forces driving its evolution. This Summer School provides a unique cross-disciplinary grounding in techniques for Web analysis. A mix of national and international contributors will delve into the dynamics and dimensions of the Web, providing an opportunity to explore ways and means of undertaking this research challenge.” A Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), supported by Government through Science Foundation Ireland funding, DERI was established in 2003. It has become an internationally-renowned Web Science research centre, providing the technology which underpins intelligent services on the Internet. Current research results include semantic search engines, novel collaboration and social media as well as sensor network technologies. This, the second annual Web Science Doctoral Summer School organised by DERI, commenced on 6 July runs until 13July. A Reasoning Web Summer School is planned for 28-30 August. -ENDS- 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway has formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with New York College of Podiatric Medicine (NYCPM), one of the leading institutes in podiatric medical education in the USA. Speaking at the signing, Dr Caroline McIntosh, Head of Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway, said: “This agreement facilitates the establishment of student and staff exchanges, research collaborations and the co-development of innovative developments in podiatric education which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications.” Since its establishment, NYCPM has built up a significant reputation in excellence in podiatric education.  Dr Michael J. Trepal, DPM, Vice-President, Academic Affairs, and Academic Dean with NYCPM, said: “I look forward to the potential that this agreement offers to both institutions. It will without question enhance podiatric medical education, patient care and research. We are delighted to partner with such a prestigious university.” The Discipline of Podiatry at NUI Galway was established in 2008. Podiatry is a healthcare profession that specialises in the management of disease and disorder of the lower limb and foot. NUI Galway offers the only BSc (Honours) Podiatry programme in the Republic of Ireland. The development of this popular new course has increased the opportunities for Irish people to undertake training in podiatry and qualify as professionally accredited podiatrists in Ireland. The course has 25 places available for students per year. In contrast NYCPM is one of the most established colleges for podiatric medical education. The College is currently celebrating its centennial year. The staff team within the Discipline of Podiatry are delighted to announce this partnership with NYCPM and look forward to future collaborations and gaining from the vast experience within such a well established, and respected, centre for podiatry education.   -ENDS-   

Monday, 4 July 2011

Postgraduate students in Information Systems at NUI Galway recently showcased voluntary work that benefited local organisations in Galway. The showcase is the culmination of compulsory project work completed by the students as part of the MSc (Information Systems Management). The project component of the MSc requires students to analyse the operations of an organisation, focus in on a problem area, design a solution to that problem in consultation with the users, and develop and implement that solution. This year, a total of 11 projects were submitted, all involving a substantial amount of voluntary work where students applied their skills to address the needs of local organisations. The clients included Leitrim County Council, People with Disabilities in Ireland (PwDI), Cancer Care West, Western Care Association, Salthill Devon FC, COPE Galway, NUI Galway Rowing Club, and Tourmakeady Parish (Bliainiris Tuar Mhic Éadaigh) Co. Mayo. “The field of Business Information Systems is primarily about helping organisations to solve real problems and grasp opportunities,” explains MSc in Information Systems Management Programme Director Chris Barry. “Many people do not fully understand how innovative IT applications can be potentially very beneficial within their workplace, often because they are not aware of the capabilities of technology. This is where our postgraduate students can help.” The aim of the projects undertaken by students is to enable them apply the skills they learn on the programme, such as database design, user interface design, applications programming, Web development, business systems analysis, project management, security planning, and e-business strategic thinking, as well as skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communications, and presentation skills. It also affords the opportunity to be involved in civic engagement and volunteering. Professor Willie Golden, Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said “I was highly impressed to see the innovative capabilities of the students of the MSc in Information Systems Management producing such excellent and creative projects. NUI Galway places a high value on the importance of civic engagement and volunteering, and service learning is very much a core aspect of our teaching and learning strategy.” Support for NUI Galway’s service learning strategy is centrally provided by the office of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which also oversees the ALIVE student volunteering programme. Combining classroom theory with community practice, service learning is a teaching tool aimed at connecting students with their community through practical work and has given students the opportunity to see the impact that civic engagement has for the communities they work with, their own learning and the wider society. For further information contact Michael Lang, michael.lang@nuigalway.ie, Anatoli Nachev, anatoli.nachev@nuigalway.ie, or Lorraine Tansey, lorraine.tansey@nuigalway.ie.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The annual meeting of the European Chapter of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), which took place in Granada, Spain in June, showcased much of the innovative research undertaken by researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway. The NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration.  Last year’s TERMIS-EU meeting, which attracts leading researchers from academia, industry and clinical institutes, was hosted by the NFB in Galway.   At this year’s meetings, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB was invited to deliver a keynote address and eleven postdoctoral candidates and postgraduate students gave podium presentations.  In terms of conference abstracts, the NFB was one of the most prominent groups at the conference.  In addition, six conference sessions were chaired by Professor Pandit and NFB Principal Investigators Dr Wenxin Wang and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis.  These sessions are in the areas of Neural Tissue Engineering, Polymeric Transfection Vector, Injectable Scaffolds, Tendon Tissue Engineering, Modulation of the in vitro macro-environment and cell-based therapies.   Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis said “The fact that so many of our abstracts and submissions for conference sessions were approved by an international panel of experts in the field reflects the leading-edge nature of NFB research; this is hugely encouraging.  We always welcome the opportunity to interact and participate with the international scientific community”.  -ends-

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dr Neil Rowan, a lecturer and internationally recognised researcher at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway. Based at AIT’s Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Rowan has a strong history of collaborative research with leading medics, scientists and engineers at NUI Galway. Professor Rowan has collaborated with researchers in NUI Galway in the areas of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, water research, food safety microbiology, and bacteriology. Over his 20-year academic career, Professor Rowan has published some 70 papers in scientific and engineering journals, published five book chapters and delivered over 110 presentations at national and international conferences. He is delivering the keynote opening address at the 100th anniversary of the International Association of Food Protection Conference in Chicago this August. He has generated €8.6 million in research funding and holds fellowships of the Institute of Biology, Institutes of Food Science and Technology Ireland and UK. Professor Rowan frequently undertakes scholarly duties with the Food Standards Agency Scotland and the European Food Safety Authority, and is an expert evaluator for the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). Professor Rowan, a BSc in microbiology graduate from NUI Galway, said “I am humbled and honoured by this elevation and I very much look forward to facilitating further bridge-building in areas of research and teaching that are deemed of strategic importance to both AIT and NUI Galway.” The Academic Registrar at AIT, Dr Joseph Ryan, congratulated Professor Rowan on the appointment. “It is well deserved recognition for consistent endeavour that has contributed so much to enhancing the research profile of this Institute and in forging valuable collaboration with NUI Galway and other leading HEIs here and abroad. It also reflects positively on the standing of the Institute and for that, the Professor deserves special appreciation.” President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said “We are very pleased to welcome Dr Rowan as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine. The appointment is in recognition of his outstanding academic track record, his existing deep collaborative links with our School of Medicine which spans both research and teaching, and our desire to create a more formal basis for his future relationships with the School, to which we believe he will bring many further benefits.”   -Ends-  

Monday, 4 July 2011

The COLOURS Fringe Festival 2011 takes place from 1 to 8 July and features music, readings, exhibitions, films, and a parade. A number of the events are taking place in NUI Galway. TheatreThe Resolutionists, a new Galway based company, will present two Forum Theatre pieces based on Agusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Ye Are All the Fecking Same and Something is brewing in the Office will take place on Wednesday, 6 July at 1pm and 8pm in the Cube theatre, Aras na Mac Léinn NUI Galway. Side-Show Productions will present King Alfred - A Mystery Play, on Tuesday, July 5 and Friday, July 8 at 8pm Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway.     Footfalls by Samuel Beckett will take place on Thursday, July 7 and Friday, 8 July at 1pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway. Beckett's Footfalls will be performed by Unbound, Eilís Ward and Fionnuala Gallagher and will be directed by June Favre. ExhibitionsIn Print Exhibition will take place form 1 to 8 July from 12 to 4pm daily in the University Art Gallery. Fresh from the Fine Art Printmaking course at GMIT, ten artists will exhibit their work for the festival. The artists include Moira Comiskey, Tania Lee, Darragh Murray, Jonny Flynn, Stacey Power, Doris Vukovic, Ashling Gavin, Emily Real, Alan Clinton and Eric Bradley.A group exhibition entitled Galway Art Collective will take place in Áras na Mac Léinn from 1 to 8 July. Exhibitions will include: Simon Murphy - Making Space - in the strange and unknown; Marie-Jeanne Jacob - Wherever your feet may take you; Caroline Coleman - original paintings; Rachael Webb - The Happy Heart and Marina Wild - original paintings.   MusicLunar Echoes Music Night will take place on Thursday, 7 July at 8pm in the The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn. An infusion of folk, soul and traditional music, the concert will be performed by an eclectic group of musicians. A selection of music, dance, theatre and readings will also take place at a variety of locations around Galway City. For full details of all events at the festival visit www.coloursfringe.blogspot.com. Tickets are available from The Socs Box, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway at 091 492852.                                                               ENDS

Friday, 1 July 2011

Innovative research commissioned by the Western Development Commission (WDC) and carried out by researchers at NUIGalway has highlighted the potential for a doubling of the workforce employed in the Creative Sector over the next 10 years. Additionally this could lead to up to €150 million in additional exports per annum from the sector – a key area of growth identified. The report is a follow up to the WDC’s much heralded Creative West report published in February 2009, which in itself established the creative economy in the Western Region as being internationally significant with 4,775 businesses employing 11,000 people directly.   Today’s follow up analysis entitled –“Creative Sector in The Western Region – Future Growth Trajectories”, was published this week by the WDC. Complied by a research team led by Dr. Patrick Collins of NUI Galway’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC) the report maps out the future growth scenarios for an industrial sector that has been bucking international trends in terms of growth.  “Internationally this sector has been outpacing others in terms of growth and this is a pattern that we see emerging in Ireland” according to Dr. Collins at CISC. “It is clear to us that a small number of policies, correctly implemented, have the potential to make a massive difference for the sector and the region” he continued.   Commenting on the research, Dr. James Cunningham, the Director of CISC maintained that "this work shows an area of potential for the whole of the west of Ireland, and in the current climate, all potential needs to be realised". Ian Brannigan Regional Development Manager at the WDC commented: “The WDC are delighted to welcome this analysis of how we create opportunities and employment from this indigenous and significant part of our economy. We have long realized the creative economy is a natural resource and we are now working with the sector to both highlight this and move ahead to grow the employment and export opportunities.” In particular the report focuses on the promotion of exports and increased collaboration between members of the sector as key steps in attaining this growth. The increasing international demand for the authentic and unique products characterized by this sector points to the growth potential for exporting, while the sharing of knowledge and innovation through collaboration also highlights the growth dynamic of this relatively new sector. The issues highlighted by the research are exceptionally relevant in light of the current economic climate and recent figures showing a rise in the numbers unemployed in the region. Ian also stated: “Of particular interest to us is the fact that in addition to the employment and revenue opportunities identified by the businesses themselves, the analysis shows us wider benefits in terms of option, educational and prestige values, which simply means that almost everyone benefits directly from the sector growth in some way or another” Gillian Buckley Acting CEO for the WDC stated: “Once again we are seeing that there is a real return on supporting our indigenous SME sector and that they form a key part in supporting the wider knowledge economy growth in the region and beyond. The WDC is happy to play a key role in helping make this happen in our communities.” This industry-involved analysis underpins an on-going series of initiatives that the WDC and its partners are undertaking to tangibly support the growth in market, revenue and employment opportunities within the burgeoning creative economy in the Western Region, the Creative West.  -ends-

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research at NUI Galway is hosting its annual Research Open Day on Thursday, 9 June, from 2pm to 5.30pm. Short talks will address subjects of national and global importance such as the economics of marine energy and novel treatments of greenhouse gases. A meet and greet session and poster display highlighting ongoing research by some of the Institute’s 300+ researchers in areas such as Energy, Biodiversity, and Human Health will also take place. The free event is aimed at the general public and all are encouraged to attend. According to the Ryan Institute’s Director, Dr Colin Brown, “When NUI Galway’s Environmental Change and Martin Ryan Institutes merged in 2010 to form the Ryan Institute, it provided us with a great opportunity to further broaden the scope of our projects, and consider all aspects of our research from new angles.” He added, “Our Research Open Day provides us with the opportunity of sharing our work with the local community, and getting thoughts and insights from the people our research benefits.” According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Strategic Development Manager of the Ryan Institute, “This Open Day should appeal to anyone who has an interest in how the world around us is being so severely affected by environmental and climate change. Everyone is welcome to attend. We invite all members of the public to come and join us on the day to find out what is going on in our local University that is leading to the development of new solutions to curb the damage caused by global environmental change. Anyone involved in eco-related business should not miss out on this event.” In one project that will be highlighted on the Research Day, Civil Engineers at the Ryan Institute are collaborating with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the National Roads Authority (NRA) to develop guidelines for a National Cycling Network (NCN) across Ireland. Postgraduate student Richard Manton is using the N59 Galway to Clifden route as a case study, and examining engineering, design, route considerations and cost benefit analyses. Principal Investigator Dr Eoghan Clifford tells us, “Ireland’s scenery is world renowned. The NCN presents an ideal opportunity to exploit our natural advantage in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. With the network in place, jobs can be created in the construction and maintenance of the cycle ways and local tourism will also benefit.” The Ryan Institute Research Open Day will be held on 9 June, from 2pm, with registration beginning at 1pm in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. The Research Day is free and open to all and pre-registration is not necessary. To RSVP or for more information visit www.ryaninstitute.ie or contact Dr Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer on 091 495061 or sarah.knight@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

New research initiated jointly by NUI Galway and the University of Helsinki reveals the true rate of greenhouse gas induced global warming has been masked by atmospheric aerosols (otherwise known as Particulate Matter), through their formation of reflective haze and cloud layers leading to an aerosol cooling effect.   The new investigations show that the present-day aerosol cooling effect will be strongly reduced by 2030 as more stringent air pollution abatements are implemented both worldwide and at the European scale and as advanced environmental technologies are utilised. These actions are projected to increase the global temperature by 1°C and temperatures over Europe by up to 2-4°C depending on the severity of the action. This is one of the main research outcomes of the recently concluded EUCAARI (European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interaction) project funded by the European Commission.   The EUCAARI project, originally initiated by Professor Colin O’Dowd at NUI Galway’s Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, who resided on the project’s management team, and led by Professor Markku Kulmala of the University of Helsinki, has provided new understanding of the impacts of aerosols and trace gases on clouds and climate.   According to Professor O’Dowd:“The quantification of the effect of aerosols on the radiative balance (cooling or heating) of the planet has been one of the most urgent tasks to underpin more informed projections of future climate change. Now that we have this data we need to reinforce European political decision-making to develop new strategies and implementation plans for global air quality monitoring and to take Europe a leading role in developing and applying environmental technologies.  Furthermore, it is urgent that higher-resolution EU-scale projections are conducted using a new generation of regional models nested within the global models.”   EUCAARI has been the most extensive atmospheric aerosol research project in Europe so far. The total budget of the project was €15 million, of which €10 million was provided by the European Commission Framework Programme 6. In all, 48 research institutes from 24 countries participated in this project over the period 2007-2010. The project has led to significantly more information on the whole physics background related to aerosol formation and impacts at all scales; from nanoscale to global, and from milliseconds to centuries.   The project performed extensive studies from ground-based, aircraft and satellite platforms, not only in Europe, but also in China, South-Africa, Brazil and India (i.e. significant developing countries). These studies have improved the theoretical understanding of the aerosol life-cycle, enabling scientists to make major improvements in climate and air pollution models and present new air pollution scenarios over Europe.   Professor O’Dowd added: “The positive impacts of aerosols are partially off-setting global warming while the negative effects impact on public health. Abatement of the negative health impact is complicated due to the diversity of sources, even within Europe.”    EUCAARI found that the reduction in ammonia emissions is one of the most effective ways to reduce aerosol mass concentrations in Europe. Reduction in nitric oxides is also effective, but might lead to higher ozone levels, thereby leading to another negative impact on air quality. Reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions will reduce particulate air pollution especially in the Eastern Mediterranean area.   Reduction of organic aerosol concentrations is a lot more challenging and will require reductions of gas and aerosol emissions from transportation and biomass burning. Furthermore, it is now shown that a large fraction of organic aerosols in Europe is of modern origin (as opposed to fossil fuel origins), for which the main sources are biogenic secondary organic aerosol (boreal forests), biomass burning and primary biogenic aerosol particles.”   Professor O’Dowd concluded: “All these emission sources are expected to respond to climate change, although we are presently unable to gauge the strength of the multitude of feedback mechanisms involved.  The uncertainties in feedback highlight the need for improved Earth System Climate models to encapsulate feedback processes generally lacking in current projections.”   - ends – 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The NUI Galway Alumni Club invites all graduates to the third annual cruise on the Corrib Princess on Thursday, 7 July. The Corrib Princess will depart from Woodquay at 7.00pm for a four hour cruise along Lough Corrib’s famous Steamers Line. A barbeque will be served on board and entertainment will be provided by Galway Bay FM’s Marc Roberts. “Catching up with old friends and fellow alumni on board the Corrib Princess is great way to spend a summer’s evening” says Emma Goode, Alumni Project Manager. “We encourage all graduates to come along, bring a friend and pass on the message to former classmates.” For further information and booking details please contact Colm O’Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends- 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Four outstanding individuals were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today (Friday 24 June, 2011). Those conferred were Margaret Atwood, Seán O’Rourke, Professor Gio Wiederhold and Seán Campbell. Speaking at the conferring ceremony, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, youth affairs, journalism and computer science. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals”. Margaret Atwood was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). The Canadian author has published more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her newest novel, The Year of the Flood (2009) is, in the author’s words, “the meanwhile” or the “simultaneal” to her 2003 Giller Prize finalist, Oryx and Crake. Other books include the 2000 Booker Prize-winning, The Blind Assassin: Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada, The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Tent. Margaret has a strong connection with the West of Ireland and has contributed poetry to a collection edited by Des Lally in 2008 entitled Captivating Brightness: Ballynahinch. Profits from the book were donated to Cancer Care West. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson. Seán O’Rourke was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). A native of Portlaoise, 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. Professor Gio Wiederhold was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Gio Wiederhold is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine at Stanford University, still teaching part-time. Gio Wiederhold was born in Italy and received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in Holland in 1957. In 1976 he obtained a PhD in Medical Information Science from the University of California at San Francisco and joined the Stanford faculty. Gio consulted with several computing enterprises in Europe and Asia. Professor Wiederhold is one of the pioneers in Computer Science who created the foundations for modern Web and information technology, which shaped society and the economy throughout the world. He is one of the founding fathers of Databases as a research field in Computer Science and has initiated Knowledge Base Research while at DARPA. During his career he has pioneered the combination of Database and Knowledge Bases. His research contributions are fundamental for the Semantic Web, which is the main research topic of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, (DERI) one of NUI Galway’s flagship research institutes. Seán Campbell was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Seán Campbell is Chief Executive Officer of Foróige, Ireland’s leading youth organisation and has worked for the organisation for over 25 years. A native of Dundalk, Co. Louth, Seán is a graduate of UCD and holds a BA and a Higher Diploma in Education. He volunteered for two years in Zambia. During his time at Foróige, Seán has played a pivotal role in the continuous and rapid development of Foróige and the youth work sector. One of Seán’s most notable achievements is bringing the Big Brother Big Sister youth mentoring programme to Ireland. Seán was a driving force in the development of Foróige’s relationship with the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway which, among other things, led to Foróige’s partner status in the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. Today’s graduands join the ranks of previous honorary conferees which include among many others Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, the late Merv Griffin, Anjelica Huston and Fionnuala Flanagan. -Ends-

Monday, 27 June 2011

Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway this morning announced details of a new partnership. The University will support the 34th Galway Arts Festival through development of the Festival’s Volunteer Programme and Selected, a new artist development strand of the Festival for emerging artists and producers. Galway Arts Festival takes place from July 11-24 and features an international programme of artists from Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe with a strong focus on Irish work and home-grown productions. NUI Galway has provided a breeding ground for the development of artistic talent in successive generations of students. Flagship programmes in Theatre, Performance and Creative Writing at undergraduate level, together with Masters Programmes in Drama and Theatre Studies and Writings, have established NUI Galway’s reputation in the Creative Arts field. Now, through this partnership NUI Galway and Galway Arts Festival are coming together to form a partnership that supports the development of the Performance Arts of the region. The SELECTED strand will see five NUI Galway students and graduates join five other artists in this unique initiative which will allow them full access to every aspect of the Festival. This ’two-week academy’ will offer students the opportunity to see how a Festival of this magnitude is put together while also attending shows, post-show talks and getting a hands-on experience from performers and organisers. Commenting on the new partnership, NUI Galway President James J. Browne said, “NUI Galway is delighted to be involved with this well-established, international Festival. The Volunteering aspect of the partnership re-enforces our place at the forefront of pioneering models for civic engagement. The SELECTED strand will provide our Theatre and Performance students an excellent opportunity to develop their careers.” Festival CEO John Crumlish added, “NUI Galway have been at the forefront of developing volunteerism at 3rd level in Ireland through its Community Knowledge Initiative and the partnership with the longstanding Festival programme will introduce a new generation of volunteers to the Festival experience while also helping shape that experience for the future. Volunteerism plays a key role in Galway Arts Festival and has been hugely important in the success of the event and provides volunteers with the opportunity to engage with many aspects of staging a large Festival, from involvement with the Macnas Festival Parade, the Festival Big Top, and the Festival’s online television channel, GAFTV. These elements are very varied and provide hugely positive experiences for those who partake.” Both Paul Fahy and John Crumlish recalled their initial experience with the Festival as volunteers in the late 1980s and the Festival continues to play a leading advocacy role in the advancement of careers in the arts. 2011 is also the European Year of the Volunteer. Commenting on the Selected Programme, Galway Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy said, “Selected is a really exciting development for the Festival in partnership with NUI Galway. Selected will allow participants immerse themselves in all aspects of Galway Arts Festival and will benefit NUI Galway’s MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and BA Connect in Theatre and Performance in addition to a number of individual artists living and working in Galway. Selected will offer participants free access to key elements of the Festival Programme facilitated by a wide variety of international and Irish arts professionals.” Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator for NUI Galway’s volunteer programme, ALIVE says the new partnership will enhance the University’s excellent volunteering reputation, “The Arts Festival is an incredible volunteer opportunity for NUI Galway students who are seeking to give their energy and enthusiasm while gaining valuable experience and skills from engaging with the city’s creative, fun and vibrant community.” The James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway is home to the Galway Arts Festival Archive. The archive contains an excellent collection of materials from the Galway Arts Festivals since 1980. NUI Galway’s impressive archival collection was enhanced in the last year with the addition of two collections which will provide a rich source of research material. The archive of director, writer and actor John Huston’s papers and recordings and the Thomas Kilroy Archive. The James Hardiman Library is home to a range of other theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern; and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland ’Troubles’. Applicants interested in applying for the Volunteer Programme can contact Susan McKenna, Galway Arts Festival Volunteer Programme Manager volunteers@galwayartsfestival.com. -Ends-

Monday, 27 June 2011

SEEN, NUI Galway’s student enterprise support service, has launched a hot-desk facility for the summer of 2011. SEEN provides NUI Galway students who want to progress their business ideas the benefit of networking with like-minded students and on-campus support and resources.  The hot-desk facility is being managed by the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and SEEN. SEEN is a student run network which encourages entrepreneurship among the student populace. Since January 2011, SEEN has worked with students to bring their business and social concepts and ideas to a commercial reality.  Paddy Melia from the SEEN team adds, “We are delighted at the possibilities of this new facility. This space will act as a springboard for students with ideas and demonstrates how NUI Galway is leading the way in developing a culture for ’studentpreneurs’ on campus.”  SEEN have also launched their website, www.seen.ie, which is a first point of contact for students. The site provides NUI Galway students with the latest news, opportunities, and connections as well as details on how to access the hot-desk facility.  The website and hot-desk facility demonstrate NUI Galway’s commitment to entrepreneurship and enterprising students on campus. With the announcement of this additional support available to students, Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation & Performance says, "We are preparing the students of NUI Galway to drive forward the society and economy of the future."

Thursday, 23 June 2011

NUI Galway today conferred over 200 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. The largest cohort of students to graduate were 97 Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating were 54 PhD students from across all disciplines. International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait, who along with students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. It is very encouraging to see the number of research and graduate degrees which we are conferring today. These graduate numbers continue to grow and we have doubled the number of PhD degrees awarded each year since the start of the decade.” President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: “Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous.” The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees tomorrow, Friday, 24 June. -Ends-

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

NUI Galway’s contribution to Galway’s Bike Week Festival was a huge success with many opting to cycle to work as part of the University’s Cycle to Campus Day. Galway s Bike Week Festival runs from 18 to 26, June 2011. This year, the week was launched in Galway with a mass cycle, a bike village and many other events around the city. As part of NUI Galway s contribution to the Festival, the Green Campus Committee organised a University-wide Cycle to Campus Day today (Wednesday, 22 June, 2011). The Cycle to Campus Day aims to encourage staff and students to cycle to campus and to reward those who do so regularly. All members of the NUI Galway community were welcome to participate - whether dedicated commuters or first-time cyclists. "The Cycle to Campus event is another sign of the growing popularity of bicycling in NUI Galway", says Pierre Ludwick of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI). Over half of all researchers in DERI regularly cycle to work, and Kevin O Sullivan, a Design Engineer with the Buildings Office at the University is working on a project to install additional secure and covered bike parking, to the direct benefit of this group. The University is boosting bicycling even further with a number of improvements, including the development of a Travel Plan and the provision of new bike parking spaces. Additional covered bicycle racks have been installed in several places around campus, as part of on-going improvements to cycle facilities. "We look forward to making it even easier and safer to ride a bike to work for all employees", says Greg Power, Planning and Projects Officer at NUI Galway. "Cycling has many benefits for staff and students - we now need to keep the momentum and culture change with more and better incentives to cycling ". The Cycle to Work Scheme has also been hugely popular on campus, and is open to all employees, with over 300 staff availing of the scheme since 2009. This scheme encourages more people to cycle to and from work, by gaining a tax saving on procuring a bicycle where it is used by the employee mainly for qualifying journeys. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The CAO s latest figures for third level applications show that NUI Galway’s popularity amongst Leaving Certificate students as their first choice for University continues to grow for the third consecutive year. The University has seen a further almost 10 per cent increase in the number of students selecting NUI Galway as their first choice institution through the change of mind and late application process. NUI Galway is now in the top two Universities for growth in first preference applications through both application processes. Over the past three years, first preference applications for undergraduate degrees at NUI Galway have increased significantly as the University’s popularity continues to soar. The most popular courses for students to date are Biomedical Science and as Galway is one of four global hubs for Biomedicine and has the largest concentration of Biomedical device companies in the country, career prospects for NUI Galway s Biomedical Science graduates are excellent. At present, NUI Galway is the only Irish University offering a denominated degree in Marine Science and it now has the highest concentration of marine scientists of any institution in Ireland. This degree also offers training on board national training vessels in the third year of study. This is a course that has excellent career prospects for graduates. The University s new BA CONNECT degrees, especially the Theatre and Performance, Creative Writing, Human Rights, Film Studies options, are hugely popular. Science and Engineering courses have also seen a jump in popularity this year with NUI Galway out performing the national trend in both, but especially in Engineering where the opening of a new Engineering Building in September is a big draw for CAO applicants. Medicine at NUI Galway is always very popular and an additional 18 places have being allocated this year. Director of Marketing & Communications at NUI Galway, Caroline Loughnane has this advice for students: “Always follow your interests. Consider an Arts degree that connects specialist learning with practical opportunities, like the new BA CONNECT courses with specialist learning in Film Studies, Human Rights, Creative Writing, Theatre & Performance, Children’s Studies, Latin American Studies, Global Women’s Studies, or Irish Studies. If you have an interest in Engineering, we are about to open the largest School of Engineering in the country, the building itself is a ’living laboratory’ and an architectural gem.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building was the venue today for the official launch of the University’s Engineering Innovation (Electronic) degree. The four-year course will deliver graduates with business and innovation skills alongside traditional engineering capabilities. The programme was officially launched by Mike Conroy, General Manager of Cisco’s Global Product Research and Development in Galway. Cisco is a $40 billon global leader in internet, corporate and consumer information technologies. Speaking at the event, Mike Conroy said: “An innovation culture is imperative for building new start-ups and attracting FDI inward investment into Ireland. Innovation is driven by the intersection of talented engineers and visibility to key business problems and opportunities. Cross-disciplinary education in technology and innovation, like in this NUI Galway programme, is a great example of this as innovation needs to be at the heart of everything we do at all levels of education. I expect all graduates from this programme to have excellent prospects.” The multi-disciplinary Engineering Innovation (Electronic) degree came on stream at NUI Galway in 2009, and its students are being educated and trained in core Electronic Engineering areas in parallel with modules in Business & Finance, and Design & Innovation. Graduates from this new programme may choose to go the entrepreneurial route and set up their own innovative electronic businesses, or to leverage their business skills in an existing engineering SME or multinational company. Electronic engineering solutions are integral to a wide range of devices including laptops and internet tablets, media players and mobiles, pacemakers and life-support systems, automotive electronics and environment monitoring solutions. The NUI Galway programme will ensure that in designing new electronic systems and devices for worldwide markets, engineers will be equipped to consider both the technical and financial considerations associated with successful product design. NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin, course director said, “Industry feedback has told us that a multi-disciplinary approach to engineering education can provide a massive boost to job prospects. The Higher Education Authority also says that there is a need for greater emphasis on critical thinking, capacity for analysis and entrepreneurial perspectives in Irish engineering courses.” He added: “The figures regarding employment in the technology sector are very encouraging for current and future students. 5000 jobs have been created in this sector since 2010, according to the Director General of Engineers Ireland, and the Director of ICT Ireland recently stated that there are about 3500 open jobs within the information and communications technology sector at present.” For admission to the BE in Engineering Innovation (Electronic), applicants must satisfy the Matriculation requirements of NUI Galway in six subjects including Irish, English, Mathematics and a Laboratory Science subject. The minimum requirements are the same as for the other Engineering Degree programmes at NUI Galway and include at least a C3 in Higher Level Mathematics, or a pass in the NUI Galway Special Entrance Examination in Mathematics. There is also the option of a fifth year of study to achieve a Masters qualification. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny will officially open NUI Galway’s state-of-the-art Engineering Building in July. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway has announced the launch of its Industry Day at the forthcoming 24th European Conference on Biomaterials. Hosted by NFB, the Conference is the annual meeting of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) and is taking place in the Dublin Convention Centre from 4 to 9 September, 2011. The ESB is a non-profit organisation whose key objective is to encourage, foster, promote and develop research and provide information concerning the science of biomaterials in Europe. Industry Day, 5 September, 2011 will focus on Translating Biomaterials and Combination Products. The event is specifically designed to bring together the leading organisations in the medical device sector, multi-national corporations, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurial academics who will share their experiences in taking innovative biomaterials concepts to both the clinic and to market. Presentations on the day will see opinions offered from experts in the field of biomaterials and will examine the current market and the regulatory and funding opportunities and issues facing new biomaterial and combination products. Industry Day speakers will focus on the benefits and limitations of combining biomaterials with active components for applications in the medical technology sector. The day will also see perspectives given from key industry players, academics, those involved in regulatory affairs, and venture capital stakeholders, amongst others. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB and Chair of the event, commented, “Industry Day at the ESB Conference represents an unequalled opportunity to demonstrate the innovative work that is being done in translating biomaterials and combination products. As economies decline, future growth will be driven by the emergence of these new technologies in the medical devices market as they aim to better the quality of human life. The day will showcase the strength of research being carried out in the industry and will also present a valuable forum for academics and industry figures to network and gain valuable contacts.” Co-sponsored and co-organised by Covidien, Industry Day and the European Conference on Biomaterials is one of Ireland’s most prestigious conferences in 2011 as it is the first time in the Conference’s 24 year history that it is taking place in Ireland. A vast range sponsorship and exhibitor packages of are available for those wishing to support the event. For further information please contact Vidoja Kovaèeviæ at 091 494146 or email vidoja.kovacevic@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The deadline for students interested in taking part in NUI Galway’s Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2011/12 is Sunday, 31 July, 2011. NUI Galway has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. In the current academic year, student athletes at NUI Galway received significant financial and professional support services. The scholarships aim to help aspiring young sportspeople to continue to develop their sporting prowess. Through the Sports Scholarship Scheme, more than 50 students were supported in sports such as Athletics, Basketball, Gaelic Football and Hurling, Cycling, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming and Tennis. Outstanding sportspeople from all sports are considered. Applicants for Sports Scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner. Elite Sports Development Officer at NUI Galway, Gary Ryan says, “The Sports Scholarship at NUI Galway is aimed at helping our athletes improve at their sport while they are succeeding academically at University, it is not just a reward for what you have achieved in the past, it is an award to help you succeed in the future.” A former Irish Olympian and record-breaking sprinter, Gary Ryan sees a bright future for the NUI Galway Sports Scholarships, “Our efforts in developing a high performance sports environment in NUI Galway have already shown significant success with a large number of our Sports Scholarship students representing national teams and the success of our Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby teams amongst others in the past year. All of these achievements have been secured by students who are also receiving a world class education, and being supported by the scheme to meet the challenges of these dual goals.” For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the Scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html or by calling the Sport and Recreation Unit at NUI Galway on 091 493482. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Computer Science Expert from Stanford University to present’The value of software and where in the world the value is realized’ The effect of Ireland’s corporation tax in a worldwide setting will be among the topics discussed in an exclusive public lecture at NUI Galway on Thursday by a leading computer science expert from Stanford University. Professor Gio Wiederhold will deliver a talk on How to Value Software in a Business and Where might the Value Go? The presentation is intended to provide an understanding of how software products are valued in the marketplace and will provide insights into many areas of high-tech product design, resource acquisition, production, marketing, selection of business structures, outsourcing, and the impact of taxation policies in various countries. Speaking ahead of Thursday’s lecture, the Stanford academic, who is currently writing a book entitled How Multinationals Avoid Taxes, said: “Ireland is facing dilemmas surrounding its corporate tax rate, but just lowering taxes does not necessarily equate to more jobs in the long term. The intellectual property, which generates taxes, can be allocated anywhere, using countries that are willing to provide financial intermediate services, so that the profits, and future investments, occur in places that provide even better incentives.” Professor Gio Wiederhold suggests that few computer professionals are aware of the economic value and exploitation of their products, as the topic is rarely addressed in computer science education. Instead, the assessment of the value of their work is left to business experts, economists, lawyers, and promoters. The lack of understanding hinders rational decision-making for tradeoffs in software design and implementation, market timing, and choosing business models, and allows financial wizards to move the benefits of intellectual work across the globe. The event is being hosted by the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (CISC), both of which are based at NUI Galway, along with the University’s Discipline of IT. The lecture takes place at 11am on Thursday, 23 June in room CA 118 of the Cairnes Building. Gio Wiederhold is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine at Stanford University, still teaching part-time on software economics and consulting for government entities. On Friday, 24 June, he will receive an honorary Degree of Doctor of Science at NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 20 June 2011

Research by five NUI Galway Researchers, who are part of the Governments € 44 million SFI ’Principal Investigator’ (PI) programme announced last month, was highlighted at a showcase last week attended by Mr Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister for Research and Innovation. The PI showcase follows on from the announcement in early May by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D., of a range of measures to support innovation in Ireland, chief among them a € 44 million investment for 44 PI research teams, directly supporting close to 300 high-quality jobs over the next five years. The five NUI Galway Researchers are Professor Robert Lahue, Dr David Finn, Professor Malini Olivo, Dr Wexnin Wang and Dr Ciaran Morrison. Professor Robert Lahue’s research centres investigating the genetic mutation that underlies Huntington’s disease and 14 other inherited neurological diseases on DNA triplet repeat expansions and neurological disease. The aim of the research is to understand the basic science behind the relentless nature of the HD mutation, and to identify possible drug targets to slow or minimise the impact of the disease. Dr David Finn’s research will investigate whether the body’s own marijuana-like chemicals, so-called endocannabinoids, play a critical role in two levels of stress-induced regulation of pain. Professor Malini Olivo’s research centres on cancer of the oral cavity. This type of cancer is among the most common malignancies worldwide with a growing incidence among smokers. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is critical for patient survival. Over-expression of a specific protein in oral cancer cells called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) makes it a suitable target to detect and monitor in oral cancer. Prof Malini Olivo proposes two novel antibody targeted nanogold photosensitizers (nanosensitizers) as specific oral cancer optical probes. Dr Wexnin Wang’s research centres on In situ formed Stem Cell Biological Dressing for Wound Healing. Hard-to-heal chronic wounds affect millions of patients each year. The goal of the proposed research is to develop an advanced biomimetic dressing system based on a unique smart dendrtic polymer system combining stem cells and therapeutic biomolecules to address challenging wound healing and regenerative clinical targets. Dr Ciaran Morrison’s research centres on Centrosomes, the structure which controls the division of cells. Dividing cells have two centrosomes that act as anchors to the fibres that pull chromosomes apart when cells divide. Cancer cells have multiple centrosomes, causing uneven cell division. Centrosomal problems also play roles in developmental disorders. The research aims to disrupt the genes that code for key elements of the individual parts of the centrosomes and then examine how cells divide, form centrosomes, manage their chromosomes and carry out activities that maintain genome stability. These experiments will give new insights into how the different parts of the centrosome combine to ensure normal centrosomal functioning. The 2011 PI Awards will directly support close to 300 top-class researcher positions in a broad range of scientific areas such as cancer, early diagnosis of the childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, lung disease, investigation of therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, improved crop and plant cell productivity, graphics for gaming, resource management in data centres, advanced telecoms networks, autonomic management of smart cities, wave energy, and energy conversion and storage devices. Thus far over 20 industry partners are connected to the successful projects in some shape or form, amongst them Inercept Pharma Ltd., Pevion Biotech Ltd, Sigmoid Pharma (Ireland), Nestle, Kerry Group, Alimentary Health, Intel Labs Europe, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent/BLI, Aquamarine Power (Edinburgh), Infineon, Disney Research, ESBI, France Telecom, Howard Science (UK), and a host of others. -Ends-

Monday, 20 June 2011

Dr. Anne MacFarlane, lecturer in Primary Care in the Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, has been awarded an EU-FP7 grant worth € 3 million to lead a large collaborative research project known as RESTORE (REsearch into implementation STrategies to support patients of different ORigins and language background in a variety of European primary care settings). Dr. MacFarlane explains why this research is so important, “In Ireland and other parts of Europe, service users from migrant communities who have limited English and their general practitioners face significant challenges on a daily basis in their consultations together because they do not have a shared language or cultural background. This results in frequent misunderstandings and communication breakdowns which is distressing and frustrating for all concerned. RESTORE focuses on implementing evidence-based solutions to this problem in primary care consultations.” RESTORE is being funded under the EU-FP7 Health -2010 Theme which focuses on better understanding of dissemination and implementation strategies and aims to address ’gaps’ in the translation of research evidence into day-to-day clinical settings. The RESTORE consortium includes partners from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece, countries which have different patterns of migration and a range of experiences of intercultural health policy and service development. This means that the scope for transnational learning and development is very significant. For RESTORE, each partner will develop academic-community partnerships and will use Participatory Learning & Action (PLA) research methods, making RESTORE a very innovative primary care research project nationally and internationally. Mary O’Reilly-de Brún and Tomas de Brún, co-founders and directors of the Centre for Participatory Strategies (CPS), Galway, were instrumental in the co-design and development of the proposal and are now involved as Senior Researchers in the Discipline of General Practice for the RESTORE project. “As cultural anthropologists, who specialise in PLA approaches and techniques for academic-community based research, we are excited by the prospect of exploring, with our European partners, the application of PLA across culturally-diverse research settings; a participatory approach is capable of giving service users from migrant communities a genuine voice alongside other key stakeholders in the assessment of implementation strategies to support communication in cross-cultural consultations.” Vice President for Research at NUI Galway Terry Smith said, “NUI Galway is delighted to be part of this investment by the EU for research to be led by Dr. Anne MacFarlane. It is an affirmation of the quality of community engaged research conducted at NUI Galway and promises to further our commitment to academic-community partnerships for research and development projects.” Welcoming this funding success, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne said, "This is a very significant funding development for NUI Galway and it highlights the quality of research being conducted at the University in the areas of general practice, clinical care, health policy and promotion. I congratulate Dr MacFarlane and her team on their success to date and look forward to the outcomes of this project." For further information please contact Dr. MacFarlane on 091 495194 -Ends-

Monday, 20 June 2011

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will officially launch NUI Galway’s European Alumni Club in Brussels tomorrow, Tuesday, 21 June, 2011. This is the first NUI Galway Alumni Club established in Europe by the University’s Alumni Association and NUI Galway alumni based in Brussels and throughout Europe will be given an opportunity to reconnect with fellow graduates and their alma mater. Future alumni events are planned for other cities across Europe. The launch reception will be hosted by Irish Ambassador Tom Hanney at The Embassy of Ireland, Chaussee d’Etterbeek/Etterbeeksesteenweg 180, Brussels 1040 from 6:00pm on Tuesday June 21st. Speaking ahead of the launch, NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said, “NUI Galway is proud of its more that 90,000 alumni worldwide. The establishment of a European Alumni Chapter is an opportunity for these alumni to network together, while maintaining a vibrant link with their alma mater. I look forward to the development of an active group, based in Brussels, and to working with this group in their activities to support NUI Galway.” EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “It is with pleasure and pride that I will launch the NUI Galway European Alumni Club, and I very much look forward to seeing it flourish and grow in the coming years. Irish graduates have a well deserved reputation for excellence at all levels within the European institutions and in academia and industry worldwide, and this club will offer its members the opportunity to create synergies through the NUI Galway network. Graduates will make new connections and reignite old ones. They will benefit from each others experiences and expertise, welcome new Galway graduates to this part of Europe and help them build networks with other young Europeans. Irish graduates, whether at home or abroad will be key to our economic recovery, and I very much welcome this positive move to bring together the brightest and best from my home county and beyond, right here at the heart of Europe.” Host for the evening Irish Ambassador Tom Hanney said: "I m delighted to host the launch of the Belgium Chapter of NUI Galway. Ireland s graduates are known as innovators in their fields and leaders in their communities. Alumni Associations provide the opportunity not merely to revisit fond memories with fellow graduates, but importantly, are sources of support and exchange of knowledge and experience, forums for engagement with one another to build and strengthen professional and social futures while showcasing Ireland and NUI Galway in particular as a leader in education.” Graduates who are interested in becoming involved in the European Alumni Club or who would like to attend the launch can contact the Alumni Office via their website: www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends. -Ends-

Monday, 20 June 2011

Dr James Reilly, Minister for Health, will open the 15th Annual Health Promotion conference on Mainstreaming Health Promotion: Promoting Health Across Sectors at NUI Galway. The conference, which commences at 9.30am on Thursday, 30 June, takes place in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. This year’s conference addresses strategies for placing health promotion at the centre of public health policy and strengthening work across sectors to promote the health and wellbeing of all population groups in society. Dr Reilly will deliver his talk on the Government’s commitment to place the health of the population high on its agenda. The Minister said, “The Government is making health an essential component of a programme for recovery for a vibrant and dynamic society.” Dr Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Department of Health and Children, will address this meeting on the development of a new National Public Health Policy Framework 2010-2020. Speaking ahead of the meeting Dr Holohan said, “At a time of major health reform, this framework recognises the importance of ensuring that the public health function is supported, maintained and strengthened. The framework will set out how the public health function will operate over the coming years in order to achieve this vision.” The conference delegates will be engaged in a consultation on the development of the national public health policy during this meeting and will hear from health promotion specialists in statutory and voluntary agencies on their experience and successes in building capacity for health promotion across different sectors. The meeting will be addressed by leading international speakers including; Dr Gauden Galea, Director, Non-communicable Diseases and Health Promotion, WHO Regional Office for Europe and Clive Needle, Director, EuroHealthNet who will address the WHO and European policy perspectives on responding to health promotion and disease prevention challenges in Europe. Professor Margaret Barry of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway commented, “This year’s meeting brings an important focus on how health can be promoted across all sectors in society and builds on the growing evidence that supports a population approach to improving health, and the economic and social benefits that accrue from effective health promotion strategies.” -Ends-

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ms. Justice Catherine McGuinness will chair a seminar entitled Equality Through the Ages which examines key gender equality issues from birth to old age. The seminar is part of the NUI Galway - University of Limerick Strategic Alliance and will take place on Friday, 24 June at 10.00am in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. “Looking at gender equality from birth to old age makes a lot of sense from a legal perspective”, said Ms. Justice McGuinness. “Women have particular experiences at certain life stages. The legal framework must ensure that women can enjoy full and equal rights throughout their lives,” Ms. Justice McGuinness added. The seminar, an initiative of women academics at the two Universities and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, is expected to draw a large number of academics and practitioners. Lead convenors of the event, Dr. Lucy-Ann Buckley, Law School, NUI Galway, and Dr. Patricia Conlan, UL, stress the continuing significance of gender equality issues for women, young and old, and also for men. “Despite the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, young girls, mothers of young children and older women are still particularly vulnerable to direct and indirect discrimination,” remarked Dr. Buckley. Drawing on the holistic approaches to policy planning and legal reform identified by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the day begins with issues affecting the girl child. Legal protection of young girls from cultural practices such as circumcision and the particular educational experiences of children of working class mothers are identified as key gender equality issues in early life. “Legal and practical protection of the girl-child from practices of cultural circumcision in Ireland and abroad must be robust if Irish law is to meet international standards,” remarked speaker Anne Marlborough, Law School, NUI Galway, who will be evaluating current attempts to legislate in this area. Experts on the impact of family life and work in Ireland highlight gender equality issues for men, particularly the issue of fathers’ rights in the family law courts. Dr. Anne Egan, Law School, NUI Galway is joined by Dr. Patricia Conlan, UL and renowned anti-discrimination legal practitioner and academic, Professor Klaus Michael Alenfelder to discuss gender discrimination in work and family life. Professor Alenfelder shares his extensive knowledge of both European and German law, providing a practitioner’s insight on gender discrimination in mid-life. UK barrister and former Fulbright scholar Yvette Budé leads the programme on the third age. Law and policy can have particular implications for women in later life, as explained by Dr. Gemma Carney, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, who will also speak at the event. “When it comes to old age, many women have accumulated disadvantage over the life course. As populations age, a life course perspective will become central to policy planning, otherwise, a combination of gender and age discrimination could lead to compounded inequalities for older women,” the policy specialist added. The event will be closed by eminent activist, Ms. Sylvia Meehan, whose vision of women’s equality has led to her being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Limerick in 1997 and the prestigious ’Person of the Year Award’ in 2009, also the year of her 80th birthday. “If we have achieved legal rights it is essential that we insist on their being delivered. The younger generation of women, who have many of the same pressures of work and family life as I had, are taking up the baton for future generations. I fully support the efforts of the strategic alliance and the Gender ARC now and in the future,” Ms. Meehan concluded. For more information on this free event, contact Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley, School of Law, NUI Galway on 087-2245761 or email lucy-ann.buckley@nuigalway.ie -Ends-