Monday, 28 February 2011

The Student Enterprise Awards, a competition to encourage enterprise and innovation among students, has been launched at NUI Galway. The NUI Galway Students' Union initiative invites students across campus to put forward proposals for a project or business, with a prize of €15,000 for the overall winner. The competition embraces both the innovative and creative abilities of students to formulate a concept, with finalists being offered a chance to turn their idea into reality. The overall winner will not only receive €15,000 direct investment to launch their project, but also invaluable expert guidance and mentoring. Two runner-up prizes are also on offer with financial investment of €2,000. Peter Mannion, NUI Galway Students' Union President said: "We are acutely aware of the hardship being faced by students and their families in these difficult economic times. The Student Enterprise Awards provide an excellent opportunity for young people in particular to apply their skills and talents. By providing the initial financial boost and expert guidance, the Awards have the potential to launch several initiatives that could create much needed employment and investment." The Student Enterprise Awards aim to unlock the potential of NUI Galway students by providing financial support and expertise for students who wish to start a project in the areas of Business, Arts and Social Entrepreneurship. Damien Cosgrove, NUI Galway Students' Union Commercial Services CEO said: "Students' Union Commercial Services is delighted to be involved in this important competition. The University is full of innovative ideas, energetic people and a strong spirit of enterprise. Our company has always been hugely impressed with the culture of entrepreneurship amongst the NUI Galway students. Now, more than ever, students need to be encouraged and supported to turn this spirit of enterprise into real jobs." The Student Enterprise Awards are generously supported by NUI Galway Students' Union Commercial Services Ltd., NUI Galway and the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office. According to Neil Ferguson, Acting Director of the Technology Transfer Office: "This competition plays an important part in creating a culture of entrepreneurship within our University and is leveraging the huge capacity of our students from across all colleges. We have an excellent history and reputation for start ups and innovation on campus and it is hoped that this competition will add to this by successfully launching new powerful ideas and innovative start-ups which will benefit the Irish economy". The closing date for submissions is Friday, 8 April and applications are available from http://www.suenterpriseawards.com/. -Ends-

Monday, 28 February 2011

Philip Walton, Emeritus Professor of Physics at NUI Galway, and nationally-renowned nuclear energy expert, will lead a free public talk at the University on Wednesday, 9 March. 'Nuclear Power for Ireland: Facts and Fiction' will discuss all aspects of nuclear power as it relates to Ireland. Historically the Irish Government's policy has been firmly opposed to nuclear energy on the grounds of the risks it poses, yet some argue that nuclear energy is one of the cleanest, safest and economic forms of energy available to mankind today. Professor Walton will be joined by Professor Ian McAulay and Mr Denis Duff to explain why they believe Ireland should adopt nuclear energy as an important part of our energy mix. All three are members of the Better Environment with Nuclear Energy (BENE) group. According to Professor Walton, nuclear power has been employed successfully over the past 50 years by many countries yet Ireland continues to reject it. He says, "We cannot afford to continue to reject this power source out-of-hand, while we continue to rely on fossil fuel imports for most of our electricity production. This is simply untenable." He continues: "Wind energy will not be able to supply even 40 per cent of our electricity without major changes to our electricity system, and even then it is not certain if this can be achieved. What we can consider are modern safe reactors which would fit with little or no need for modifications to the National Grid. It would be possible to have a number of these plants providing jobs and safe, clean environments in a number of areas of Ireland. We would then have reliable energy, independent of dwindling fossil fuel supplies with their world price fluctuations. For the sake of homes and businesses in the future, the least we can do is to understand the fact from fiction in this whole debate." The event takes place at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, 9 March, in the Colm O'hEocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. To book a place at the event, contact Adam Beatty, Physics Society, NUI Galway, on 087 9055911 or physicsnuig@gmail.com -Ends-

Thursday, 24 February 2011

NUI Galway Soccer Club have reached the Collingwood 2011 Cup Final. The club had a convincing win over Limerick (6 – 1) on Tuesday and a tough victory over Jordanstown yesterday (2-1). NUI Galway will take on UCC who knocked holders UCD out in the semi final, later today. The game will be played in Trinity s College Park pitch at 2.30. NUI Galway have won the Collingwood Cup six times: 1955, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1995 and 1999. The Cup has been played for annually since 1914 apart from 1915 to1919 during World War One and on one other occasion in 1933/34. The tournament, played over four days, is an all island competition involving 13 Universities and this year's favourities and last year's winners UCD were the first winners in 1914 overcoming Queen's University, Belfast.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

A new book by an NUI Galway Professor of Zoology examines how evolution works by changing the course of embryonic and post-embryonic development. In Evolution: A Developmental Approach Professor Wallace Arthur asks questions like what separates humans from chimpanzees? Is it the genetics of our populations, or our different structures and behavioural capabilities? The book tackles key themes such as developmental repatterning, adaptation and coadaptation, the origins of evolutionary novelties, and evolutionary changes in the complexity of organisms. Together these themes explain how evolution works by changing the course of embryonic and post-embryonic development, providing a title influenced by the new approach of evolutionary developmental biology, 'evo-devo'. A key difference between Evolution: A Developmental Approach and other evolution textbooks is the integration of basic population-based evolutionary concepts with comparative developmental genetics. Organised on conceptual lines, with the themed chapters and case study examples, the book enables students to see the common principles underlying the evolution of different developmental pathways. Professor Arthur says, "There are many evolution texts 'out there', but there are none that cover the ground in the same way as this one. This book adopts a very specific approach to the evolution of animals and plants – an approach in which the central theme is how evolution works by altering the course of egg-to-adult development. This is a book about how evo-devo can be integrated with other approaches to evolutionary biology, giving us a more complete view of evolution than has ever been available before." Evolution: A Developmental Approach was launched yesterday at NUI Galway by NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

NUI Galway's Ryan Institute hosted Engineering for Communities family day in the Galway City Museum on Saturday, 19 February as part of National Engineers Week. Hundreds of visitors explored the various activities, each dedicated to engineering solutions for different community needs. Highlights included the Eco-House Design Challenge, a K'Nex Bridge Building Contest, Lego Mindstorms Robot Trials, Electronic Circuitry and Wastewater Treatment Demonstrations: great preparation for the next generation of young engineers

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Pulsars which are some of the most extreme and enigmatic objects in the known Universe, will be the subject of the second NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy public talks. Dr John McDonald, Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Centre for Astronomy, will discuss pulsars (neutron stars) on Wednesday, 2 March, at 7.30pm in the Larmor lecture theatre, NUI Galway. First observed serendipitously in the late 1960s by an Irish postgraduate student working in Cambridge, these objects have been intensely studied for more than 40 years, and yet much about these objects remains shrouded in mystery. The progeny of type II supernovae (the death of massive stars), neutron stars possess the mass of our entire Sun contained in an area the size of Galway, with immense electromagnetic and gravitational fields, spinning up to 650 times a second. Dr McDonald will explain the origins of these stars, starting right from the birth of normal stars, through their violent death, to their stunning rebirth. He will also discuss work being done by the Centre for Astronomy to expand our understanding of these fascinating stars. Speaking about the upcoming talk, Dr Andy Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy has been a world leader in optical pulsar studies for the past twenty years. In this time we have identified two of five known optical pulsars. Dr McDonald's talk will put this work in context show casing ground breaking research at NUI Galway." The talk is open to the public and might be of particular interest to transition year students and students thinking of doing science at University. More details about the series of talks can be found at http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach. -ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The first Babel Public Lecture Series entitled 'Exploring the Book' will come to a close with a lecture by Dr Kate Quinn on Tuesday, 1 March, at 6.30pm at Galway City Library. The Babel Public Lecture Series consists of six lectures and is an initiative of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway. The Babel Public Lecture Series began in November 2010 with the first lecture presented by Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, Scoil na Gaeilge at NUI Galway, entitled 'Three Great Connacht Manuscripts from circa AD 1400: the Books of Ballymote, Lecan and Uí Mhaine'. Professor Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa, German, NUI Galway provided the second lecture with a discussion on strolling through the 'Library of Babel: A short history of imaginary books'. Dr Mark Stansbury's lecture, entitled 'What is a Book', explored the development of book making from earliest times to hypertext and featured exhibits of papyrus and wax tablets for the audience to examine. Professor Paolo Bartoloni provided the fourth lecture, 'Joyce's Italian Book of Choice: Svevo's Zeno's Conscience'. The fifth lecture, 'Protestants, Pedants and Presses or What do you need for a Successful Book Trade?', was presented by Dr Catherine Emerson and centred on 16th century Lyon. The final lecture in the Series is titled 'Criminal Passions: The Perennial Appeal of Death and Detection' and will be delivered by Dr Kate Quinn, Spanish, NUI Galway. The lecture is open to members of the pubic and entrance is free. According to Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, "Dr Kate Quinn's enticingly 'noir' title manages to mention two of the great themes, passion and death, and promises to bring the first series to an appropriately intriguing completion. Her talk will deal with crime fiction and inform us about why it is we are so drawn by books in this genre." There will be a reception before this final lecture from 6.00pm to 6.30pm. The series will be formally closed by Dr Edward Herring, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, NUI Galway. Further information is available from Suzanne Gilsenan at suzanne.gilsenan@nuigalway.ie or 091 494037. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A rare and unusual concert will take place on Wednesday, 2 March at 6pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway as part of the module Medicine and the Arts featuring vocalist Susan Mc Keown (New York) and her band, Ryan Mc Giver on guitar; Eamon O Leary on bouzouki and banjo and Jason Sypher on bass. The concert is based on Grammy-winner Mc Keown's twelfth album Singing in the Dark, where she draws on lyrics from poets of the last thousand years who have written through the lens of depression, mania and addiction. This is a work of many moods, exploring creativity, suffering, and the pursuit of happiness. The album was inspired by the book Touched with Fire: (Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament), by psychiatrist and author Kay Jamison, who contributed an introductory essay to the album. Medicine and the Arts, now in its second year, is a unique and innovative development within the undergraduate Medical curriculum where students engage in a semester-long programme of structured exploration of the Arts across the broad areas of performance, the visual arts and literature. Susan's concert is the flagship event of this year s module and illustrates the commitment of the Medical School to bringing excellent and original work of artistic integrity, promoting the personal development of medical students as future practitioners of medicine and as healing doctors. The group project aspect of Medicine and the Arts - the hospital library, takes the form of a practical engagement with literature, the provision of a mobile library service to patients at University Hospital Galway. Last year Medicine and the Arts medical students carried out all of the research and development of the project and this year the students officially begin the process of engaging with the patients in St Anthony's ward providing books and reading to the patients. The central aim of the hospital library project is to address and relieve the sensory deprivation of patients in hospital wards and restore a greater sense of dignity and an opportunity to use literature to alleviate boredom and promote healing. The medical students also benefit in a meaningful way as they engage in the provision of a voluntary community service Tickets for Susan Mc Keown's concert are €10 and can be purchased at the door. You may also reserve seats with Therese Dixon, Clinical Science Institute at 091 494475/494671 or 524268. All are welcome. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Theatrical forces merge on campus this week for NUI Galway's Theatre Week. Now in its second year, the event showcases through theatre, literature and film, the many talents of NUI Galway students, societies and alumni. Theatre Week began last night (Monday, 21 February) with the Alumni Theatre and Literature Night. Writers and performers who originated from NUI Galway returned to tread the boards of the new Cube Theatre in Áras na Mac Léinn. The evening included writers such as Mary Mullen, Alan McMonagle, Ann Irwin, Rab Fulton and theatre groups involved are Fergoli, Mephisto, Colours Theatre, Side-Show Production as well as Fionnuala Gallagher and many more. The week will include the Jerome Hynes One Act Play Series, Alumni Theatre and Literature Night, the Nothing Specific Society Cardboard Battle, a joint BACon Soc and Dramsoc production of Fight Club, a Monologue Double Bill and workshops from make-up artists and Shakespeare experts. Throughout the week there will also be a series of Shakespeare film adaptations shown and these screenings are free to attend. The six winning Jerome Hynes One Act Plays run from Tuesday to Thursday encompassing life changing themes including death, love, sleep and a naked president. The plays include Sleep Skips my Heart by Sarah Griffin, The Key to Hell by Niamh Dennis, Remember December by David Kilgannon, A Presidential Crisis or People Drowning Everywhere by Michael Shiels and Death of a Movie Starby Thomas Dooley. The Nothing Specific Society will host their second annual battle in cardboard armour on the President's Lawn. This year they have made it an intervarsity event with battlers from all over Ireland attending. Cardboard Armour workshops will take place right throughout the week in preparation for the battle on Thursday at 12 noon. Digging Art by Thomas Dooley and A Pale Moon Rose by Neil Flynn are theatre week's chosen monologues. Digging Art won the Monologue Competition during Múscailt and A Pale Moon Rose, performed by Jerry Fitzgerald has been in various theatres around Cork and Kerry, this is its Galway premier. For more information on the week's events check out www.socs.nuigalway.ieor contact the socsbox on 091 492852. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

On Friday, 4 March, Dr Mathew Parkes, Natural History Museum Dublin, will present a public talk entitled Meteorites and Famous Irish Falls at NUI Galway. Hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy and the Galway Astronomy Club, this free event will take place at 8pm in the Dillon Theatre, NUI Galway, accompanied by a display of meteorites from the Irish collection of the Natural History Museum. Meteorites are natural objects from outer space that survived their impact on Earth and can be very large or very small. When they enter the Earth's atmosphere, impact pressure causes them to heat up forming a fireball or meteor. Meteorites recovered after being observed as they transited the atmosphere or impacted the Earth are called falls. At the event, members of the public will also get a rare chance to examine recently purchased rock fragments from Mars or the Moon, and others that have landed on Irish soil including the two which smashed through the roof of an RUC barracks in Northern Ireland in 1969, one that fell in Carlow in 1999 and the famous Limerick Meteorite of 1815. Professor Markus Woerner of the Galway Astronomy Club said: "Co-operation between professional and amateur astronomers in Galway and Ireland provides the general public with exciting 'hands-on' experience of the most recent research at the forefront of international research in Astronomy and Geophysics. Dr Parkes' lecture will prove it to everyone. Those in doubt will still be able to touch the objects made of material from which our Solar System is made." Dr Parkes is responsible for the Earth Science collections at the Natural History Museum. He is a contributor to the Geological Survey of Ireland and founder member of the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland. Dr Parkes has a long interest in exploring old mine sites as well as rocks originating in the Solar System. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is delighted to host this public lecture. Meteorites give us a unique insight into the type of material which made up the early solar system. From this we can understand how our planet evolved and importantly they can give clues as to how planets around other stars can evolve." For more information contact Professor Markus Woerner at markus.worner@nuigalway.ie or 091 553353, or Dr Andy Shearer at andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie or 091 493114. -Ends-

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Six NUI Galway students are among the winners of the transport industry's national Student Idea of the Year Awards. The awards are presented annually to the originators innovative ideas which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of transport in Ireland. The students from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics were presented with their awards by RTÉ s Duncan Stewart at a special ceremony organised by the Eastern Section of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland (CILT). NUI Galway students Olgierd Gosztowtt from Poland, Peter Istenes from Riverside, Galway, and Paul Jacobsen from Castlegar, Co Galway, won the Safety Category. Their project 'Galway Traffic Garden' was to design a leisure park where children can learn the rules of road in a safe environment. Targeted at primary school children, the park would allow a safe and practical environment to learn the rules of the road. As part of the activities in the park, children would drive go-carts, cycle bikes or act as pedestrians, while learning about all aspects of road safety. The prize in the Marine Category was awarded to NUI Galway students Cathal McCormack from Oranmore, Co Galway, Jason McDonagh from Moyola Park, Galway, and Kieran McDonnell, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Their project, 'Shock Mitigation Seating', seeks to improve suspension seating in boats in order to reduce the forces exerted along the body when a vessel hits a powerful wave at a high speed. Mary Dempsey, of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "I am very proud of our students. I believe that engineering and innovation are key to economic recovery. NUI Galway provides students with opportunity and a platform through which each of them can express their innovativeness. This output is reflected in the attainment of these prestigious awards." This is the fifteenth year in which NUI Galway students have taken home CILT awards, reflecting the University's strong reputation in engineering education. Over 1400 people study engineering at the University, and in recent years new undergraduate courses have been offered in Energy Engineering, Sports and Exercise Engineering, and Innovation Engineering. To serve the growing number of students, a new Engineering Building, which will be the largest School of Engineering in the country, opens in September 2011. -Ends-

Monday, 21 February 2011

Two Biomedical Engineering PhD Students at NUI Galway recently won prestigious research awards at both national and international level. Enda Dowling, third year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, is the 2011 winner of the Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal. Enda is the first ever NUI Galway student to win this award. This prestigious medal won by Enda, who is from Kilkenny, is awarded annually to a PhD student deemed to be making a significant contribution to the field of biomedical engineering research and at an advanced stage in their studies. The national competition attracted a record 40 entrants and is sponsored DePuy Orthopaedics. Engineers Ireland is a representative body for all sectors of engineering since 1835. Enda's winning paper was entitled Influence of Actin Cytoskeletal Remodelling on the Shear Resistance of Single Chondrocytes: A Computational and Experimental Investigation. It uncovers the role of active remodelling and contractility of chondrocyte cell substructures in response to shear deformation using experimental and computer modelling techniques. The winning paper was co-authored by Dr. Patrick McGarry and William Ronan of NUI Galway and collaborator Professor Kyriacos Athanasiou from UC Davis in California. Emer Feerick, third year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, was recently awarded the prize for Best Presentation at the 19th Annual Symposium on Computational Methods in Orthopaedic Biomechanics, held in Long Beach, California. It is the premier international forum on the use of a new breed of computer-based tools in orthopaedic biomechanics. This award is an acknowledgement of the internationally leading research being performed by Emer, who is from Milltown, Co Galway. Emer's winning paper was entitled Computational Investigation of Cortical Bone Failure Mechanisms during Screw Pullout. Advanced computer simulations were performed to uncover the process of bone failure due to stresses caused by orthopaedic fixation devices. The analysis techniques can be used to predict and prevent mechanical failure of orthopaedic devices and offers a powerful tool for future device design. Dr. Patrick McGarry, of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and PhD supervisor of both successful students says, "Emer's computational predictions of the mechanisms of bone failure can now be used to design improved orthopaedic devices and will be of significant relevance to the medical device industry. Enda's research improves our understanding of the role of mechanical loading in development of degenerative disease in cartilage. Both students demonstrate the high standard of research within the school of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway and the importance of continued support for such research." Both Enda and Emer are funded by Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) scholarships. Enda's work is also supported by Science Foundation Ireland (Research Frontiers Programme and a Short Term Travel Fellowship). Dr McGarry also acknowledges the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) for the provision of internationally leading computing resources, without which, such advanced computational modelling would not be possible. -Ends-

Monday, 21 February 2011

A new book, entitled Global Talent Management, by Professor Hugh Scullion and Dr David Collings at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, was recently launched by Jack Golden, Group HR Director of CRH. Published by Routledge, this is one of the first books published globally on this important topic and draws on contributions from leading scholars around the globe. In the context of the challenges emerging from the current global economic downturn, managers around the globe are increasingly looking to their key talent to ensure the survival and growth of their organisations. This text will provide some useful insights on how some of the best performing organisations around the globe engage with this challenge. Commenting on the book Professor John Slocum, Editor of the Journal of World Business, said, "Professor Scullion and Dr Collings have written the definitive book on global talent management. Their experience and compelling selection of articles written by renowned scholars create a delightful journey. Their masterpiece develops a mind-set for all managers who are concerned with designing practices for the war on global talent." 'The war for talent' is a battle cry frequently heard in corporate boardrooms around the globe. Organisations are in constant competition to attract and retain the best and the brightest talent. Indeed, Ireland's high quality workforce is an oft cited reason why key multinationals locate here. However, the relocation of this employment to developing economies particularly in the east, is a major challenge. Commenting on these trends, Dr David Collings, noted, "One of the key attractions of Ireland as a location for FDI is the quality of the workforce here. From excellent technical competence to superior managerial talent, Ireland has punched well about its weight in attracting top multinationals to locate here. Global Talent Management provides guidance to managers on how best to manage their talent systems to ensure the ongoing success and performance of their organisations in the global context." Jack Golden, Group HR Director of CRH, who launched Global Talent Management, is acutely aware of the challenges of managing global talent. CRH employs over 80,000 people across 35 countries with the vast majority employed outside of Ireland. Mr Golden commented on the timeliness of the book and the quality of the contributions in helping to frame the key issues which organisations faced with regard to managing talent on the global basis. He also commented on the resonance of many of the issues discussed in the contributions on talent management in the emerging economies of India, China and Eastern Europe in the context of CRH's growth in these regions. Professor Scullion and Dr Collings are considered to be two of the leading international experts in the area of global talent and global staffing more generally. Both have conducted extensive research in these areas and are working with leading international organisations on these issues. They are regular speakers at industry events including at the Danish Federation of Industry and the Global Mobility Summit London. -Ends-

Friday, 18 February 2011

An NUI Galway Professor is one of the key organisers at the Annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in Washington D.C recently. Professor of Applied Physics at NUI Galway, Christopher Dainty introduced a special symposium on the use of adaptive optics to produce sharper images in Astronomy, Microscopy and the human retina. Professor Dainty's meeting was entitled Sharper Images in Astronomy, Microscopy, and Vision Science Using Adaptive Optics. It examined how adaptive optics was developed originally to compensate for the turbulent effects of the atmosphere by using deformable mirrors that provide much sharper images from spy satellites and astronomical telescopes. The methods now are being applied to the microcosmos as well, giving high-resolution images of the human retina and promising unprecedented real-time imagery of fundamental processes within body tissues. The speakers described how phases of light can be manipulated to remove the distortions of an intervening medium, whether the upper atmosphere, the interior fluids of the eyeball or the cellular material in brain tissue. Speaking after the Annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, Professor Dainty said, "Adaptive Optics, more than 50 years after its invention, is finally entering the mainstream of research. This conference highlighted three of its most successful applications to date but there will be new applications in the future." For further information please contact Professor Christopher Dainty at 091 492826 or email chris.dainty@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The School of Education at NUI Galway will host a series of workshops as part of the University's new Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme for teachers. The workshops will focus on statistics, teaching and learning plans in Project Maths and GeoGebra. The events will take place on 1, 8 and 15 March in the Education Building in the University from 6 to 8.30 each evening. The three sessions will cover statistics, teaching and learning plans in Project Maths and GeoGebra, a free software tool developed for enhancing mathematics learning and teaching. GeoGebra is a principal technology of Project Maths. Project Maths involves the introduction of revised syllabuses for both Junior and Leaving Certificate Mathematics, introduced gradually on a strand basis with complete roll out expected by 2015. It involves changes to what students learn in mathematics, how they learn it and how they will be assessed. It aims to provide for an enhanced student learning experience and greater levels of achievement for all. Much greater emphasis will be placed on student understanding of mathematical concepts, with increased use of contexts and applications that will enable students to relate mathematics to everyday experience. The initiative will also focus on developing students' problem-solving skills. Assessment will reflect the different emphasis on understanding and skills in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The first two strands of project Maths were introduced for first and fifth year students in 2010. Dr Tony Hall, Assistant Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway says, "We hope these workshops, delivered as specialist input to NUI Galway's new flexible CPD framework for teachers, will support a community of practice in school mathematics, incorporating the new Project Maths syllabi and technologies, and involving our partner schools, teachers, the mathematics subject associations, the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning, University of Limerick, and the Project Maths Development Team. NUI Galway is delighted to play an important part in the process of promoting mathematics and applied mathematics education, in collaboration with our partners in education, regionally and nationally." Welcoming these workshops, NUI Galway President, Dr James Browne said: "Maths education is central to the development of Ireland s Knowledge economy. These vital skills must be at the core of our education system at all levels from primary to fourth-level. This initiative by the School of Education at NUI Galway, in partnership with Project Maths, will further enhance teachers skills and develop new strategies for the teaching of mathematics, which will ultimately benefit the Irish economy." NUI Galway's contribution to Project Maths highlights the University's commitment to changing the perception of Mathematics. In 2008, a new specialist BA in Mathematics and Education was introduced, which sees students pursuing a comprehensive degree programme offering two valuable qualifications including an honours degree in Mathematics and a post-primary teaching qualification. Graduates of the programme, which is offered jointly by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, and the School of Education will be specialist educators in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, trained to research-level standard in the mathematical sciences, and recognised by the Teaching Council of Ireland as qualified post-primary teachers of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics to honours Leaving Certificate level. Ends

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A book written by Dr Deirdre Byrnes, who teaches German in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, was launched in the Moore Institute on Thursday, 10 February. Rereading Monika Maron: Text, Counter-Text and Context was launched by Professor Hugh Ridley, Emeritus Professor of German, University College Dublin. Monika Maron's biography charts a complex relationship with the German Democratic Republic, from initial ideological identification with the state to sustained, radical rejection. In her book, Dr Byrnes charts the development of a number of seminal themes in Maron's work: the search for an authentic form of expression; the writing and the rewriting of history; memory transmission and generational forgetting; the rupture and the ultimate refashioning of biographies in a post-GDR age. According to Dr. Byrnes: "Monika Maron's writing articulates salient aspects of her generation's social and historical experience, in particular the caesura caused by the collapse of the GDR in 1989. In my book, I set out to demonstrate the significance of her contribution to contemporary German literature." Launching the book, Professor Hugh Ridley highlighted Monika Maron's "representative function for a whole generation" and described her work as being "focused on pain, the sense of loss, the need to face up to the world". Rereading Monika Maron: Text, Counter-Text and Context is published by Peter Lang in the series British and Irish Studies in German Language and Literature. It can be ordered at www.peterlang.com. Further information is available from Dr. Deirdre Byrnes at 091 492014 or deirdre.byrnes@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A new collection of essays, Crisis and Contemporary Poetry, edited by Anne Karhio, Seán Crosson and Charles I. Armstrong has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. This collection addresses poetic and critical responses to the various crises encountered by contemporary writers and our society. The essays included discuss a range of issues from the Holocaust, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and their aftermath and the war on terror to the ecological crisis, poetry's relationship to place and questions of cultural and national identity. The essays also ask the questions: "What are the means available to poetry to address the various crises it faces, and how can both poets and critics meet the challenges posed by society and the literary community?" "How can poetry justify its own role as a meaningful form of cultural and artistic practice?" The volume focuses on poetry from Britain, Ireland and the US, and many of the poets discussed in this volume are among the most acclaimed contemporary writers, including for example Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Louise Glück and Alice Oswald. Crisis and Contemporary Poetry will be launched by Professor Sean Ryder in the Moore Institute Seminar Room at NUI, Galway at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 1 March, 2011. More information on the collection is available at http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=399783. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Researchers at NUI Galway's School of Psychology and Centre for Pain Research have joined forces with health economists at Trinity College Dublin to establish the economic costs of chronic pain in Ireland. As part of the HRB and HSE funded PRIME Study (Prevalence, Impact and Cost of Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in Ireland), the researchers carried out in-depth interviews with 140 chronic pain patients to find out about direct costs such as medical treatments and indirect costs such as lost work productivity. Research Psychologist at NUI Galway, Miriam Raftery, said "we found that the average cost per chronic pain patient was €5,665 per year across all grades of pain severity". However, the annual costs increased according to the severity of pain, rising to €10,454 per patient for those with the highest level of pain and disability. A relatively small proportion of patients with the most severe level of pain accounted for a disproportionately large portion of the costs. Inpatient hospital treatment accounted for the highest proportion of overall costs. Professor of Health Policy and Management, Charles Normand and Research Assistant, Padhraig Ryan of the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College explained that "based on a 36% prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland, the total cost of chronic pain for all individuals aged 20 and above was estimated at €4.76 billion per year, or 2.55% of Irish GDP in 2008". The chief investigator of the PRIME study at NUI Galway, Dr. Brian McGuire suggested that "improved services for people in the early stages of chronic pain could reduce the long-term use of health services and increase the likelihood of getting back to paid work". He suggests this could reduce the sizeable economic burden of chronic pain in Ireland. The Irish research is consistent with data from other countries showing that chronic pain ranks as one of the most costly health conditions. -Ends-

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, Professor Francis Giles has been awarded the Annual Saint Luke's Silver Award by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. This is the highest honour bestowed by the Academy and Professor Giles is the first NUI Galway recipient. Professor Giles also delivered the 36th Saint Luke's Lecture entitled Optimising Ireland's Contribution to Curing Cancer, in Dublin this week. The Saint Luke's Lecture is sponsored by the Academy and Saint Luke's Hospital. This lecture is in the field of oncology. The lecturer is selected by an Academy/Saint Luke's committee and receives the silver medal and an honorarium. The Annual Saint Luke s Lecture has attracted a distinguished list of speakers over the years and its prestige is recognised by the award of the highest medal from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. Recipients must also submit a paper to the Irish Journal of Medical Science. Congratulating Professor Giles, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "This accolade is a wonderful tribute to Frank s work as a leading international researcher and clinician. It highlights the calibre of work underway at NUI Galway in the area of cancer research, as part of our strong translational focus in the area of biomedical engineering science." At the 36th Saint Luke's Lecture in Dublin, Professor Giles delivered his vision for stimulating Irish anti-cancer research. His lecture entitled Optimising Ireland's Contribution to Curing Cancer defined a path based on the US National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Center template. He highlighted recent relevant US activity including the creation of a National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) that will focus on early phase drug development. His key recommendations include increased emphasis on collaboration with other European early phase research sites through organisations like the Developmental Therapeutics Consortium. He summarised the high standard and broad scope of research being conducted by Irish investigators around the world. With the HRB Clinical Research Facilities in Cork, Dublin, and Galway as interdigitated hubs, he emphasised Ireland's strong position as a contributor to the global efforts to relieve the suffering associated with cancer and to cure those afflicted by it. Frank Giles is a Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. He was appointed Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway in September 2010. He also was appointed Consultant Haematologist at St James's Hospital, Dublin and Galway University Hospital. Professor Giles continues to be a Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio. An award-winning Professor, he has won the BioLink USA-Ireland Lifescience Award for 2007 and the NUI Galway Alumni Award for Health Care and Medical Science, 2007. Also at this year's Saint Luke's Lecture, NUI Galway graduate Dr Patricia McGowan was awarded the Saint Luke's Young Investigator Award. This is the eighth year of the award, which is sponsored on an annual basis by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and Saint Luke's Hospital. Applicants are normally in their early years of oncology research and would in normal circumstances be no more than five years post MD/PhD or equivalent level. Dr McGowan of the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science was awarded the Academy Bronze medal. -Ends-

Monday, 14 February 2011

NUI Galway Postgraduate Biomedical Engineering Students collectively won four research awards at the recent annual Bioengineering in Ireland Conference which was held in Galway showcasing the state-of-the-art research developments in biomedical engineering in Ireland. At the conference there were 120 presentations from researchers North and South of the border including postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, senior researchers and researchers from industry. Consistent with its research-focus in the area, NUI Galway enjoyed tremendous success in terms of presentation awards at the conference. All awards won by NUI Galway were by PhD students of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering within the College of Engineering and Informatics. James Grogan from Renmore, Galway, won the prestigious Bronze Medal of the Section of Bioengineering, presented by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI). The award was given for best overall paper at the conference. James is supervised by Professor Peter McHugh and Professor Sean Leen. His presentation was entitled Computational and Experimental Characterisation of Bioabsorbable Metallic Stent Performance. Caoimhe Sweeney from Barna, Galway, also supervised by the same researchers as James, won best First Year Postgraduate Student, followed closely by Fiona Weafer from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, who took second prize in the same category. Fiona was supervised by Dr Mark Bruzzi. Finally third place in the Senior Postgraduate Student category was awarded to William Ronan from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, supervised by Dr. Pat McGarry. According to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics; "We are very proud of the performance of our students at this conference. The number and range of awards won is clear evidence of the strength and quality of biomedical engineering teaching and research at NUI Galway, and this has very positive direct impacts for the international standing of NUI Galway and on the continued growth and development of the medical technology industry locally and nationally." ENDS

Monday, 14 February 2011

NUI Galway has recently launched an LL.M in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy, one of the first of its kind in the world. The area of Disability Law Reform and Policy is experiencing significant growth, with the introduction of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which in turn has resulted in the development of disability strategies at international, regional and national level. The LL.M. will be provided in the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, a research centre of excellence in the School of Law, NUI Galway. The Centre is dedicated to producing research that informs the debate on national and international disability law reform and is committed to producing high quality research to contribute to that process. The Centre already has a lively cohort of PhD students who will mix and interact and enhance the learning experience of future LL.M. students. The LL.M. in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy aims to have small classes to enrich the staff/ student experience. This builds on a long tradition of an open door policy to students developed and encouraged in the School of Law. Other positive aspects of the programme include the opportunity to participate in community-based learning with disability organisations at a local, national and international level, many of which have enjoyed a long relationship with the Centre. Professor Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway School of Law, says: "We are very keen to encourage clinical legal education, so that the students gain practical and hands on experience, and disability organisations gain good legal knowledge. 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." Programme Director of the LL.M, Shivaun Quinlivan says: "What we offer potential students is top-class teaching in an exciting learning environment and excellent research resources. Our lecturers are leading experts in their fields, and aim to provide an innovative and exciting programme dealing with the process of law reform in the field of disability. The programme also places an emphasis on developing students personal research, practical and professional skills for an increasingly competitive environment." The LL.M in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy is a one year programme, which runs from September to August. People can apply through www.pac.iePAC Code: GYL11 -Ends-

Monday, 14 February 2011

Galway based Irish dance troupe Mystic Force, which began as part of the Dance Society (Dansoc) in NUI Galway, have claimed their place among the 28 semi-finalists in the live shows of Sky One's Got to Dance. Mystic Force manager Mark McCole was part of the NUI Galway Dance Society from 2004 to 2006 along with other current members of the troupe including Sarah Clogher; David Healy; Josephine Chrystal; Sarah Jayne Mac Laverty; Katie Mac Laverty; Eanna Ryan; Aideen Ryan and Riona Durkan. What started out as a group of friends getting together as part of NUI Galway Dansoc has developed into a polished Irish dance troupe that hope to be crowned Britain and Ireland's next top dance act. Mystic Force have made it to the semi-finals and will represent the best of Irish Dancing on an international platform. Mystic Force will appear on a live show of Got to Dance on Sky One on Sunday, 20 February, where they will battle against stiff competition for their place in the live final the following week. Mystic Force has pledged to donate £50,000 sterling to cancer research in Ireland if they are crowned champions. Got to Dance Presenter Davina McCall and judges Kimberly Wyatt; Ashley Banjo and Adam Garcia, recently travelled throughout Ireland and Britain to deliver the fate of each of the acts. Worldwide sensation Kimberly Wyatt of the Pussycat Dolls delivered the good news in person to Mystic Force, in Aras na nGael, in Galway City, while the troupe were rehearsing for upcoming performances. Mystic Force manager Mark McCole said: "The whole experience is absolutely mind-blowing and it is an absolute privilege to be invited to be part of the Got to Dance live semi-finals in London. It is the biggest and best thing that has ever happened to Mystic Force and we are working harder than ever to deliver what has to be the performance of our lives on February 20. We just hope that Galway and the West get behind us for our semi-final and help get us through to the final of Got to Dance 2011". Follow Mystic Force on their journey through Got to Dance on the group's official website www.danceforlife.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 14 February 2011

NUI Galway Graduate Lieutenant General Seán McCann will be honoured at a Dinner to celebrate his appointment as Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces. The event will take place in the Officers Mess in McKee Barracks, Dublin 7 on 24 February 2011 at 7.30pm. The occasion will also celebrate more than 40 years of partnership between NUI Galway and the Defence Forces through the University Student Administrative Compliment (USAC), which has seen many officers pursue a large variety of qualifications at the University. Lieutenant General McCann holds a Bachelor of Commerce from NUI Galway which was conferred upon him in 1974. Mr J.B. Terrins, NUI Galway's Director of Alumni Relations says, "This will be a very special occasion, celebrating a relationship going back to 1969 when the first Defence Forces cadets and officers came through the gates of NUI Galway. The University is proud to count many distinguished Defence Forces officers amongst the ranks of its alumni – some still serving and others in key positions in business or other areas throughout the world. This dinner will see many of them reunited to honor Lieutenant General McCann, the first NUI Galway graduate to hold the position of Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces. In his appointment to the most senior position in the Defence Forces, Lt General McCann now leads the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps. Lt General McCann, who is 60 years of age, enlisted in the Defence Forces as an Officer Cadet in 1970. Following commissioning as an Officer in 1972, he served in various Cavalry units in Plunkett Barracks. He instructed in the Military College in both the Infantry School and the Command and Staff School. In more recent years he was Chief Instructor in the United Nations Training School in the Military College. Formerly Director of Cavalry and Commandant of the Combat Support College, he has also seen service in Defence Forces Headquarters as Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of Staff and as a Staff Officer in Operations Section. He was Director of Operations at Defence Forces Headquarters in 2007, and subsequently held the appointment of General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) from 2008 to 2009. He has been The Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations since 2009, with responsibility for all operational activities of the Defence Forces. Lt General McCann has extensive overseas experience. He served with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1981 and 1987. He was Senior Operations Officer with the United Nations Iraq Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) in 1991. He served in Sarajevo with the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in 2000; and in 2002 he was Chief of Observer Group Lebanon (OGL), part of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation (UNTSO). In 2003 he was appointed Chief Operations Officer with UNTSO. The event will be attended by President of NUI Galway Dr James J Browne, and is open to all graduates of NUI Galway, to join in a reception and dinner, to celebrate the Chief of Staff's appointment. -Ends-

Friday, 11 February 2011

A panel of experts from NUI Galway's Centre for Pain Research will participate in a conference entitled Recognising and Managing Chronic Pain - An Expert View 2011. Senator and Human Rights Activist David Norris, will also join the panel on Thursday, 17 February in The Salthill Hotel, Galway at 7.30pm. The event, which is being organised by Chronic Pain Ireland, will focus on managing chronic pain and is open to members of Chronic Pain Ireland, students, Chronic Pain sufferers and their families as well as healthcare professionals and members of the general public. A host of presentations will be followed by an open-forum question and answer session. Topics will include, understanding the causes of chronic pain, perceptions and misconceptions of the condition, the role of the General Practitioner, coping with chronic pain, and the experiences of those living with chronic pain Speakers at Recognising and Managing Chronic Pain - An Expert View 2011 will include David Norris, Gina Plunkett, Chairperson, Chronic Pain Ireland, Dr David Finn and Dr Brian McGuire Co-Directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, Dr David O'Gorman, Consultant Pain Specialist, University College Hospital. Dr Ray Doyle, General Practitioner in Galway will also make a presentation. The event will be opened by the Mayor of Galway, Cllr. Michael Crowe. Dr David Finn and Dr Brian McGuire, Co-Directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, say "Chronic pain is a major healthcare problem in Ireland today, a disease in its own right. The overarching aim of this event, which is being organised in conjunction with Chronic Pain Ireland, is to increase awareness and understanding of chronic pain amongst patients and the general public. Attendees will learn about recent advances in the understanding and management of chronic pain from pain experts working at NUI Galway, Galway University Hospital and in General Practice. It is a great opportunity to share knowledge and expertise in an important area of medicine and research, and we are delighted to be a part of it." Ongoing research in the Centre for Pain Research is supported by a variety of sources including Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, the Higher Education Authority, the Industrial Development Agency and the International Association for the Study of Pain. -Ends-

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A leading researcher at NUI Galway has helped to shape a new campaign that aspires to end loneliness amongst older people in Britain. The Campaign to End Loneliness, which was launched recently, aims to help people create and maintain personal connections in older age. Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, has been involved since the early stages of the Campaign. Working with some of Europe's leading researchers in the field of loneliness, Professor Scharf has helped to synthesise existing research relating to loneliness in later life. His main focus is on the ways in which loneliness relates to other forms of disadvantage that can affect people as they age, most notably low incomes and a lack of access to services. The Campaign aims to raise awareness of loneliness among older people, and build an evidence base of research into the area. A further component of the Campaign is to engage in actions to reduce and eradicate loneliness into the future and to inspire a vision for later life without loneliness for all older citizens. Professor Scharf says: "While the overwhelming majority of older people in countries like Ireland and Britain are not greatly affected by loneliness, it is important that society supports people whose life quality is severely reduced by feelings of loneliness. The Campaign to End Loneliness aims to provide some practical help and advice for people affected by loneliness in Britain. In time, I hope that this campaign might also extend to Ireland, where loneliness is an equally important issue." Professor Scharf continues: "Loneliness affects around one in ten older people, seriously limiting the quality of later life. Recent research even suggests that loneliness may be a greater threat to people's health than smoking." Information about the Campaign to End Loneliness, including details of key research findings on loneliness in later life, are available at: http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk/index.php. -Ends-

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

NUI Galway's Professor Peter McHugh from the Discipline of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, is the 2011 recipient of the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI). The coveted medal is awarded by the RAMI Section of Bioengineering for outstanding career contributions to the field of bioengineering. The Silver Medal was instituted by the Academy in 1995 and previous awardees include Professor Tony Keaveny, University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Frank Gannon, former Director of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The medal was awarded to Professor McHugh at the 17th annual Bioengineering in Ireland conference held in Galway, recently. At the conference, as is customary for the recipient, Professor McHugh delivered the annual Dr. Samuel Haughton lecture entitled Bioengineering: A Truly Grand Challenge for Engineers. Dr Samuel Haughton FRS, MRIA, 1820-1897, is regarded as the father of Irish Biomechanics. Professor McHugh is the Established Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, Director of the Micromechanics Research Unit at the University and Biomechanics Research Cluster Leader, at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). He is author of almost ninety international research journal papers in the field of Biomedical Engineering. According to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, "Receiving this award is a tremendous honour for Professor McHugh and for NUI Galway. It is a testament to Professor McHugh's significant achievements in biomedical engineering over almost two decades, and it also reflects the tremendous growth and strength in biomedical engineering research and teaching at NUI Galway which is recognised internationally and which is of critical value to the local and national medical technology industry." The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) was founded in 1882 through the amalgamation of the four main medical societies including, the Dublin Society of Surgeons, the Medical Society of the College of Physicians, the Pathological Society and the Dublin Obstetrical Society. At present there are 22 sections of the Academy covering many disciplines with over 1200 Fellows, Members and Associate Members. -Ends-

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Life Course Institute (LCI) at NUI Galway will host a pre-election debate entitled Future Policies: Older People, Children and Families, and Persons with Disabilities. The event, to be held in Aras Moyola on the North Campus of NUI Galway, will take place on Thursday 17 February at 8pm. The organisers of this event have invited the election candidates from the main political parties to set out their future policy plans for older people, children and families, and persons with disabilities. Each of these policy areas is central to the work of the LCI. Representing the political parties are Fidelma Healy Eames (Fine Gael); Michael D. Higgins (Labour); Niall Ó Brolcháin (Green); Trevor O'Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin); and Eamon O'Cuiv (Fianna Fáil). Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent at the Irish Times Newspaper will chair the proceedings. Donncha O'Connell, of the School of Law at NUI Galway, will act as Rapporteur. Each of the representatives will have the opportunity to outline their party position, followed by a question and answer session with representatives from a range of community groups and members of the public. Professor Pat Dolan, Academic Director of the Life Course Institute, said "the event will provide an opportunity for the stakeholder groups to engage in a discussion with the political parties on the proposed policies which are directly relevant to them. Scrutinising party policies in relation to children and families, persons with disabilities and older people is critically important, particularly in a time of limited resources." The Life Course Institute comprises a multidisciplinary facility which is intended to integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Child and Family Research Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. The aim of the Life Course Institute is to impact positively on future policies for children and families, persons with disabilities and older people through advancing an integrated approach to research, policy and services. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Life Course Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration - while retaining each centre's distinct identity. The Institute is funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and anyone wishing to attend must register online at www.conference.ie - when registering please notify the organisers if you have any special requirements. ENDS

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

An NUI Galway student has been named TG4 Young Musician of the Year at this year's TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2011 (Traditional Music Awards). Uilleann piper Pádraic Keane hails from Maree, Co Galway and was born into a great musical family in 1991. He is currently a second year student in NUI Galway pursuing a BA degree with Irish Studies. His father Tommy is a well known piper, originally from Waterford who was taught by the legendary piper Tommy Kearney. His mother Jacqueline McCarthy is a very respected concertina player and is the daughter of the late Tommy McCarthy from West Clare who was a multi-instrumentalist playing pipes, whistle and concertina. Jacqueline's sister Marion also plays pipes. Pádraic began learning the pipes at the age of eight under the guidance of his father. He also received tuition from many leading pipers at various summer schools including Robbie Hannan, Mick O'Brien, Emmett Gill, Jimmy O'Brien-Moran, Seán McKeon, Brian McNamara and Ronan Browne. His first pipes were a practice set borrowed from Na Píobairí Uilleann under their Pipes on Loan scheme. Since then Pádraic has inherited his grandfather's pipes – a concert pitch set made by Leo Rowsome. When playing solo he likes to perform on a flat set in C made by Geoff Wooff. He has performed at many events organised by Na Píobairí Uilleann, including recitals at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, NPU Annual Tionól, Session with the Pipers in The Cobblestone and Ceol sa Chlub, the latter in the company of his fiddle playing sisters – Siobhán and his twin Maisie-Kate. His music has been broadcast on Clare FM, Galway Bay FM, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio 1. He is a member of the traditional group Eamhain Mhacha – a group of musicians who became friends at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Scoil Acla. They competed in the Gael Linn Siansa competition, have appeared on RTÉ Television, played support to The Chieftains and performed at the Cooley Collins Festival in Gort. His piping comes from the style of Willie Clancy but other influences such as Seán McKiernan and Séamus Ennis are also discernable in the playing of a young man who is acutely aware of the tradition from which he stems and who displays a musical maturity and understanding way beyond his years. He in turn is now passing on his love for piping and has a number of fledgling pipers coming to him for tuition. -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The major national conference on biomedical engineering, Bioengineering in Ireland 17, was hosted by NUI Galway on 28 and 29 January, and attended by over 180 researchers from Universities, Institutes of Technology and industry in Ireland and overseas. Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering techniques to improve understanding of the human body in health and disease, and to develop new medical therapies and devices. Engineers and scientists at the conference discussed latest findings on topics as diverse as the design of new stents for treatment of arterial and heart disease, analysis of sport technique, and the forces experienced by cells in tissue-engineered constructs. Keynote speaker Mr. John Power, CEO of Galway-based Aerogen, spoke about the development of the company's innovative nebulisers, which are in use worldwide for the treatment of respiratory and other diseases. Another guest speaker, Dr. Kerem Pekkan of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, spoke about his research into the mechanics of blood flow and the implications for congenital heart disorders in new-born infants. Professor Peter McHugh of NUI Galway was presented with an award by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, in recognition of his career achievements in biomedical engineering. The conference organiser, Dr. Nathan Quinlan of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, commented "Biomedical engineers study the human body in terms of classical engineering concepts of force and motion, and design devices that work with the body's cells and organs, alongside medication and surgical procedures. We've seen lots of examples at this conference of engineers working closely with clinicians to solve some clinical problem. Often this work is done in close collaboration with the medical device industry, which is one of the most important employers in the country, particularly here in the West." In association with the conference, IMDA, the organisation of the medical device industry in Ireland, held an event in which researchers spoke to an industry audience about technology concepts which have emerged from their work in university laboratories. "More and more, we see biomedical engineers in Universities and ITs working closely with industry," said Dr. Quinlan. "Discoveries made in academic laboratories get translated into new products and better medical treatments." Bioengineering in Ireland 17 was sponsored by the Irish Medical Devices Association, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Zwick-Roell, KHPB Scientific, National Instruments, Stryker, Aerogen and IDAC. -Ends-

Monday, 7 February 2011

RTÉ Television and radio personality, Ryan Tubridy today officially launched a new student mental health web portal at NUI Galway. My Mind Matters (MMM) www.mymindmatters.ie is a student website which provides information, help, support and advice to college students around a range of topics that can affect mental health and well-being, such as anxiety, depression, exam stress and coping with the transition to college life. In some colleges, students can also apply for confidential online one-to-one counselling and other interactive supports. This new initiative is led by NUI Galway, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and Dundalk IT, and has attracted €1 million investment from government and college funds. This collaborative project from the four colleges will provide interactive, anonymous and confidential help and support for students. In the development of the project and to source quality mental health information, the colleges partnered with www.ReachOut.com, an online service that inspires young people to help themselves through tough times. The My Mind Matters website is the result of a Mental Health Portal Project in which students were central to making decisions about the type of service they wanted and needed. Focus groups of students were held in the four participating colleges to decide on the design of the site which included colours, font styles, images, interactive features, navigation and layout. There will be an ongoing feedback facility within the site to ensure that it continually caters for the needs of students. It is hoped that the web portal will become a national widely availed of service. Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil, Registrar and Deputy-President of NUI Galway says: "Our University is not concerned solely with the academic aspect of our students' lives but with their physical and mental well-being also. We are therefore particularly delighted to welcome this new and collaborative mental health support website which will provide a very valuable and confidential service to students." Ms. Bea Gavin, Head of Student Counselling in NUI Galway says," My Mind Matters is an online resource for an online population. These are tough times for students and their families. Extra stress is reflected in constantly increasing demand for reliable information and counselling. We hope that young men, in particular, who have sometimes been slow to seek help in the past, will turn to this exciting new facility." For further information please contact: Bea Gavin on 091 492427 or email bea.gavin@nuigalway.ie Log onto www.mymindmatters.ie ENDS