Thursday, 25 March 2010

The presentation of the third annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award is to take place on Thursday, 25 March at 11.30am in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway. The 2010 winner of the award is Eoin Ryan from Athlone, Co. Westmeath who achieved the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA Journalism. The presentation will be made by journalist, author and sportsman, Christy O' Connor. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna's achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The inaugural presentation of the award was made by Gay Byrne in 2008 and by Noirin Hegarty, Editor of the Sunday Tribune in 2009. Christy O' Connor is a journalism graduate of NUI Galway, a former inter county hurler with Clare and sports writer with The Sunday Times. He is also author of the critically acclaimed book on hurling Last Man Standing which was runner up in the Irish Sports Book of the Year Award 2005. He is currently working on a new book due out in October. The emphasis on sport at the presentation of the memorial award this year will highlight Donna's interest in sport as a Gaelic footballer for both NUI Galway and her home county of Fermanagh. Eoin Ryan graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours and now edits Ireland's most popular student website www.oxygen.ie, The Spanner satirical magazine, and also works as a freelance GAA reporter for national newspapers. Eoin also achieved first class honours in his final project entitled "The Birth of the GAA and its Founding Fathers". ENDS

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dr Alan Colman, a Principal Investigator in the A*STAR Institute of Medical Biology and Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Fundamental Stem Cell Biology with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. Neurodegenerative and premature aging disease comprise a major focus of Dr Colman's work. His research involves developing induced pluripotent stem-cell-based laboratory models of human central nervous system diseases. Induced pluripotent stem cells are derived from adult fibroblasts and can be induced to have the ability to become any cell type in the body. Stem cells are a focus of interest because of their predicted potential to treat diseases by cell transplantation therapy. They are useful as models to study development and disease, as stem cells carrying or induced to carry defective genes can be investigated in vitro to understand disease characteristics. Modified cell lines can also be employed for drug screening towards developing novel pharmacological therapies. As Adjunct Professor at NUI Galway Dr Colman's laboratory will train researchers at REMEDI to make human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) using as the starting material skin biopsy material or other tissues (e.g. blood) that are available from human patients and volunteers. These iPS cells share many, if not all, the properties of human embryonic stem cells but are less controversial. iPS can be made from patients suffering from most congenital diseases and can be exploited both to learn more about the disease process as well as providing a virtually inexhaustible source of desired cell types for drug screening and discovery. Professor Tim O'Brien, Director of REMEDI states that the appointment of Alan Colman to an Adjunct Professorship at NUI Galway is very important for the strategic development of stem cell biology in Ireland. "Dr Coleman has substantial experience in iPS technology and the use of patient derived stem cells to understand human disease pathophysiology. This will lead to a greater understanding of disease and thus identification of new therapies. In addition iPS technology can be used for drug screening and in the future in donor specific cell transplantation. We are delighted that Alan has agreed to take up this position and look forward to collaborative work with the Singapore Stem Cell Institute". A graduate of Oxford University with a degree in Biochemistry, Colman earned a PhD under John Gurdon, a pioneer of the field of nuclear transfer, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. Dr Colman held a series of academic appointments in Oxford and Warwick Universities before becoming a Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Birmingham. The focus of his academic career was the area of eukaryotic protein secretion, with a particular emphasis on the use of frog oocytes and eggs as in vivo test tubes. In 1987 he was elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. From 1987 until March 2002, he was research director of the company PPL Therapeutics in Edinburgh, UK. This company specialised in the production of transgenic livestock that produced human therapeutic proteins in their milk. PPL attracted considerable media attention because of its participation, together with the Roslin Institute, in the technique of somatic nuclear transfer. This work led to Dolly, the world s first sheep cloned from an adult somatic cell in1996. REMEDI researchers will be trained in Dr Colman's lab in Singapore where the technology is established. It is planned that researchers once trained will return to Ireland and via national collaborations will transfer the technology to Irish researchers. ENDS

Monday, 22 March 2010

Renowned author and academic, Professor Simon Chesterman, Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme will open a conference co-hosted by The Irish Centre for Human Rights and The Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. The event, entitled Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Humanitarian Law will take place from 9-10 April in the IT Building, NUI Galway. The conference aims to explore the extent to which International Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law and Criminal Law are adequate to deal with the role of businesses operating in conflict zones, given existing gaps in the law, evolving norms, and attempts in various fora to hold private sector actors accountable. Delegates will be addressed by a diverse range of prominent speakers, scholars and practitioners including: Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Professor Doug Cassel of The University of Notre Dame; Andrew Clapham, Director of The Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; Tricia Feeney, Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID); Seema Joshi, GlobalWitness; Dr Olga Martin Ortega, University of East London; Doug Brooks, President of The International Peace Operations Association (IPOA); Mark Taylor, FaFO; Professor Larissa van den Herik, Leiden University; and Professor Celia Wells, University of Bristol. Commenting on the upcoming event, Professor William Schabas, OC MRIA, and Director of the NUI Galway Irish Centre for Human Rights, said: "Businesses play an important but somewhat neglected role in human rights violations, and it is essential that new strategies be found to address the relevant issues. We are proud to host this conference, which brings together specialists who are at the cutting edge of research in this important field.' The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway supports the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law at undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level. Since its establishment in January 2000, the Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights conducts and promotes scientific research, organises training courses and expert meetings and provides legal expertise in the branches of international law relating to situations of armed conflicts. Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Humanitarian Law will be of interest to human rights practitioners, academics, legal professionals and those working in the private sector. For further information, contact the conference organiser, Alexis Bushnell in the Irish Centre for Human Rights at a.bushnell1@nuigalway.ie. To reserve a place please register online at www.conference.ie -Ends-

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will deliver her first public address in Ireland since becoming European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, at NUI Galway tomorrow (Friday, 19 March). Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will speak about the role that research, innovation and science policies are playing in supporting Irish and European Economic recovery. An invited audience of over 250 guests is expected, which will include University researchers, academics, students and alumni. According to Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn: "The European Union is playing a central role in supporting Irish economic recovery in a variety of different ways. The political portfolio of Research, Innovation and Science, which is my direct political responsibility within the European Commission, is implementing a number of initiatives which are positively developing the European and Irish economy". A native of Galway, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is a former Member of the Governing authority of NUI Galway. Speaking ahead of the event, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, praised the Commissioner's pioneering spirit: "Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is the European Commission's first Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Her work is central to the economic and social success of the José Manuel Barroso's commission's Strategy for Europe. From her native Carna, at the western edge of Europe, she is now operating at the very centre of Europe. I am certain that the pioneering spirit she has demonstrated throughout her political life will help chart the course ahead". This event will be streamed live and will be available to download as a podcast from www.nuigalway.ie -ends-

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

NUI Galway's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) will host an 'Interactive Showcase for Industry' on Wednesday, 24 March. This afternoon event is for companies who want to learn about new R&D opportunities, technology development, testing services and partner initiatives in biomedical technology. At the event, potential industrial collaborators can find out about NUI Galway's key technologies, capabilities and facilities, and the benefits that can be gained from partnership with the NCBES. Many of the successful existing partnerships will also be highlighted and talks by current industrial collaborators will feature Helen Ryan, CEO of Creganna Tactx Medical. Speakers from the NCBES will present information on key topics of interest and outline the ongoing research and opportunities that are relevant to industry and commercial application. These NUI Galway speakers will include: Professor Frank Barry, Director of NCBES; Professor Larry Egan, Acting Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway; Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials; and Professor Lokesh Joshi, Director of the Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster. Talks will be followed by guided tours of the facility where delegates will find out about NCBES's current research programmes and testing platforms, services and expertise in: Imaging Technology; Mechanical Testing; Materials Analysis; Flow Cytometry; GMP Manufacturing; and Glycobiology. "NUI Galway has a strong commitment to the development of partnerships and collaborative research initiatives with industry", comments Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES. "Through this event we hope to showcase new opportunities for enhanced cooperation and innovation". Galway is home to the largest medical device cluster in Europe, and the NCBES is Ireland's premier biomedical science and engineering research centre. As an interdisciplinary centre of research excellence, the NCBES brings together scientists, engineers, information technologists and clinicians in a team-based, problem-centred approach to research. The Centre's research is focused on innovative solutions to current medical challenges in cardiovascular disease, orthopaedics, infectious disease, and cancer. -ends-

Monday, 15 March 2010

Shannon Region to become Major Green Energy Hub with the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley Initiative The University of Limerick (UL), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway), Shannon Development, and Silicon Valley's Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) today announced the launch of the Shannon Energy Valley, a major renewable energy hub in Ireland's Shannon Region. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will create a national hub for Energy research and development, industry and commerce with a view to attracting international investment and generating high-end employment in the region. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the four partners that commits them to delivering a hub of excellence and innovation that will harness the natural resources of the region, as well as its highly skilled workforce and access to top class research and development expertise at UL and NUI Galway. Speaking at the launch of Shannon Energy Valley, which took place at the ITLG conference in Silicon Valley, California, today Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Vice-President Research UL said that the Shannon Energy Valley is the first step on the road towards energy self-sufficiency for Ireland while generating much needed employment opportunities and reducing costs for industry. "The European Wind Energy Association has estimated that the spending on importing energy in Ireland works out at almost €1,000 per annum for every man, woman and child. Ireland is surrounded by natural resources in the form of wind, wave, tidal, solar and local geothermal energy. This is a major opportunity for Ireland to become a leader in energy research while also maximising our resources and in turn creating sustainable green collar jobs." NUI Galway Vice-President for Research, Professor Terry Smith, said: "The Shannon Energy Valley concept seeks to provide a big-picture coherent ecosystem relating to energy. The main research partners, NUI Galway and UL, will combine their research efforts in a coherent way from the outset and will provide a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes right up to PhD level to provide the necessary human capital for the project. NUI Galway introduced a New B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering, integrating energy sources, energy conversion and energy utilisation in 2009, while UL has also commenced its BSc. Energy programme with the first cohort of students due to graduate in 2013. Both Universities have been to the forefront in Technology Transfer in recent years. This formal partnership, however, in the development of an Irish energy hub, in association with the other two partners, is the first major initiative in regional development to flow directly from the Strategic Alliance between NUI Galway and UL launched by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, on 18 February last , a groundbreaking strategy of combining the resources of the two Universities over a wide range of their operations in the interests of both the development of the region and their students". Speaking at the ITLG event, Dr Vincent Cunnane, Chief Executive, Shannon Development, said "The Shannon Energy Valley project brings together public and private sector organisations in a unique initiative that will lead to new opportunities and developments in the energy sector. The Shannon Energy Valley initiative will support the development, manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of wind, wave/tidal, biomass, solar, geothermal generation facilities and related infrastructure. A key component of the Shannon Energy Valley will be the development of an Energy and Environment Park which will host demonstrator projects in the area of renewable energy and will serve to showcase projects to ensure public awareness and community engagement." Mr John Hartnett, President and Founder of ITLG, and President and CEO of Silicon Valley based Solar Energy Company, G24 Innovations, said: "This initiative with the partners University of Limerick, NUI Galway, Shannon Development and the ITLG puts Ireland in a optimum position to become a leading innovator and developer of clean technologies". The MOU sets out the objectives of the four-way alliance between the Irish and US bodies as: The creation of a world-class cluster of sustainable energy-related activity to support job creation and business start-ups through national and international investment Reduction of Ireland's carbon footprint, energy generation costs, dependency on fossil fuel imports and helping the country meet environmental and emissions commitments Enhancing Ireland's capability in the sustainable energy sector by attracting world-class R&D energy expertise, realising its commercial benefits and enabling further, advanced R&D activities Growing Ireland's smart economy by developing additional education and training capability at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in specialised energy disciplines. Further information on Shannon Energy Valley at www.shannonenergyvalley.com. -Ends-

Monday, 15 March 2010

NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy and School of Physics has announced details of the final talk in their series of public Astronomy lectures. This free event will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 24 March, in the McMunn Theatre, Arts and Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, entitled 'The Very High Energy Universe', will be delivered by Dr Mark Lang, Head of the School of Physics at NUI Galway. Dr Lang will describe the latest results from two special telescopes, the VERITAS ground-based telescopes and the NASA s Fermi space telescope. VERITAS is an array of ground-based gamma-ray telescopes located in Southern Arizona. The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is a member of the international collaboration which operates the telescopes. NUI Galway post-graduate students have travelled to Arizona to help build the array and to use it to carry out observations. NASA s Fermi telescope is a space based telescope which can search the entire sky for sources of high energy gamma-radiation every three hours. It detects radiation which has slightly lower energies than that seen by VERITAS. Commenting on the lecture, Dr Lang said: "In the 'ordinary' Universe, stars shine because they are warm and we can see visible light from them with our eyes or through optical telescopes. But there is also an 'extraordinary' Universe in which exotic astrophysical objects produce very high energy radiation that we can detect using special telescopes. Sources include super-massive black holes at the centres of distant galaxies and the remains of nearby massive stars which have exploded as supernovae". The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Group at NUI Galway is part of the Centre for Astronomy and currently consists of Dr Gary Gillanders and Dr Mark Lang and postgraduate researchers Andrea Cesarini, Fr Michael Connolly and Dawn McMorrow. More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Electronic and Computer Engineering students win the XNA Ireland Challenge Colleges Cup Two second-year Electronic and Computer Engineering students from NUI Galway have won the annual XNA Ireland Challenges College Cup, which was held as part of the Games Fleadh event in Tipperary Institute yesterday (10 March, 2010). XNA is a games development platform from Microsoft, who were co-sponsors of the competition. The NUI Galway students, Finn Krewer from Tubber, Co. Clare, and Padraig Meaney from Cloghan, Co. Offaly, won the competition with their updated version of Pac-Man, the thirty-year old classic video game where the object is to gobble as many dots as possible while avoiding the roaming ghosts. Their game was entitled 'Pac-Man Unleashed', and featured four variants on the classic game including a multiplayer version, a limited visibility version, a 'ghost infection' version, and a combination of all three. The winning entry was commended by the judges - representatives from colleges and Irish-based gaming companies including PopCap, Jolt and DemonWare - for "having everything" in terms of coding, design, game play and music. As well as winning the overall award, the students won the individual award for 'Best in Game Play'. According to John Breslin, lecturer in the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway: "Ireland has a thriving computer games industry, as exemplified by Irish success stories such as Havok, DemonWare and Jolt Online. There are also various international gaming companies in Ireland such as PopCap Games and Gala Networks. This industry has huge growth potential in Ireland, and talented students such as Finn and Padraig bode well for its future success". Finn and Padraig are both enrolled in the Electronic and Computer Engineering degree course, a collaborative programme from the Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Information Technology disciplines at NUI Galway. Finn is a past student of Gort Community School, Co. Galway, and Padraig is a past student of Banagher College/Coláiste na Sionna, Co. Offaly. For more information, please visit http://www.eee.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Third Level Placements Awarded to Future Business Leaders Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD has awarded third level summer placements to the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The individual winner is Katie O Neill from Dominican College, Wicklow, Hannah Hayes, and Zubair Masod, Julianne O Connell, Seán Ó Rua, Andrej Pacher and Ben Rodgers of the DNA Tracer group won the overall group award. All participating students have received a certificate of achievement. The third level summer placements are organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprise of a one week placement divided between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick and a weeklong placement with University College Dublin. The placements are scheduled for June 2010. The students will be accommodated on campus and given the opportunity to work with some of Ireland's leading scientists and researchers. While the programmes will be tailored to meet their individual interests, they will also be exposed to all branches of science. In addition, the universities have extensive social programmes for the winners. Dr Mark Foley, Vice-Dean for Communication and Strategy in the College of Science and Lecturer in the School of Physics at NUI Galway, remarks: "We were delighted to hear that our joint NUI Galway- UL bid to host the BT Young Scientist winners was successful. This award will allow the winners to participate in our Science Experience Workshop from the 24– 25 June 2010. The students will have a unique opportunity to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across Ireland. This engaging programme will allow students to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students will participate in hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Throughout the programme, attendees will have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines". 2010 was the inaugural year of this pioneering business mentoring programme by BT, which culminated in 53 students presenting real-world case studies to a panel of judges from organisations including Microsoft, Enterprise Ireland and Engineers Ireland. Over the course of the programme the participating students have been trained by technology industry executive, Wendy Kennedy, and mentored by leading Irish business executives from organisations such as Bank of Ireland, Bombardier Aerospace, Bord Gáis Éireann, IBM and Intel. Chris Clark, CEO, BT, "We are proud to have worked with such inspirational and progressive leaders in designing and executing the BT Business of Science & Technology programme. Through close collaboration with the mentors and our partners we have produced a programme which, I am confident, has ignited entrepreneurial thinking in our younger generation. " "I would like to thank all the mentors, judges, facilitators, BT volunteers and trainer for making the programme such a great success. I would also like to thank Minister Batt O'Keefe and the HEA for providing these fantastic third level summer placements. I feel the students will benefit greatly from this experience and hopefully inspire their peers to take part in the 2011 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition," he added. The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, said: "The BT Business of Science & Technology programme will inspire students' creativity in business and reinforce the link between education and entrepreneurship. "The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition promotes scientific and technological endeavour among our young people. So it is fitting that, in an age of greater Government-backed collaboration between higher education institutions, BT, the Higher Education Authority and the universities provide experience and practical avenues for our young leaders in science and technology to develop their ideas. "I am pleased this year to be in a position to provide placements in higher education institutions because enhanced interaction between business, higher education and second-level education is essential in meeting the ambitious economic and social development goals that we now set ourselves." Michael Kelly, Chairman, HEA, said "I would like to acknowledge the great contribution that BT has made to these students' education. We feel our strategic objectives, in terms of the promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools, are very much aligned with BT and we hope we can continue to work with BT to turn these objectives into reality. The third level summer placements have been designed to maximize the learning experience of these students and following this fantastic opportunity we feel that the winners will be well equipped to enter the business world.' The BT Business of Science & Technology is an additional dimension to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. 53 students from 13 counties were invited to take part in the programme as they were the winners of the intermediate and senior categories, the overall top four performers and the winners of merit. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is open for entries from September 2010. For more information please visit http://www.btyoungscientist.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Recovery boost as Tánaiste announces €56 million research investment for 180 companies in nine transformational Competence Centres Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan T.D. today (10 March, 2010), provided a welcome €56m boost to companies determined to succeed and grow in the Smart Economy. Conceived by her Department as part of the Government's Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Competence Centres are being delivered jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. Clusters of companies will work together to overcome common research challenges and drive opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs. The Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining will be based in NUI Galway, and co-hosted by UL and UCD. Bioenergy is energy that is latent in plants and the Competence Centre for Bioenergy & Biorefining researchers will focus on ways to convert that energy into useful forms like heat, energy and fuels for transport. According to John Travers of AER Ltd., one of the Irish SMEs involved in the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Centre: "The value of international markets for bioenergy and biorefining is €40 billion and that's growing at 12% each year". There is an opportunity for Ireland to leverage its natural resources as according to Travers, we have some of the highest yields of grass in the world and we have prolific growth of algae and both of these are sustainable raw materials for producing the next generation of bioenergy and biorefining products. Launching the Competence Centres the Tánaiste said: "Today we are marking a departure from the traditional approach to R&D in favour of a collaborative system where companies that might ordinarily be competitors agree to share knowledge, risk and the rewards of pooling their research resources. The Competence Centres initiative offers Ireland the opportunity to excel in nine key sectors. These industry-led centres will convert the research undertaken into new products and services, leading to growth in export markets and jobs in Ireland". There will be 180 SMEs and multinational companies involved in nine centres, five of which are now established. Those established cover Bioenergy & Biorefining, IT Innovation, Applied Nanotechnology, Composite Materials and Microelectronics. Four more – Manufacturing Productivity, Energy Efficiency, Financial Services and E-learning - are at different stages of completion. Each centre will be based in a University with support from partner Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to deliver on the research needs of the companies. Enterprise Ireland has already ring-fenced €32 million in funding for the initial five centres and it anticipates investing a further €24 million over the next five years across the nine centres. Frank Ryan, CEO Enterprise Ireland said: "These centres are a radical step in enabling companies in Ireland to achieve the kind of transformational change that is required to re-boot our economy. We have chosen an industry-led Competence Centre model in partnership with IDA Ireland, as it is regarded as the most sophisticated R&D vehicle that currently exists internationally. The centres will dramatically increase the amount of intellectual property available to Irish companies that they might otherwise never get access to". Speaking about the benefits of participation to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies that are involved, Barry O'Leary, CEO IDA Ireland said: "Companies like Intel, Xilinx, Pfizer and Microsoft are engaged in these Competence Centres so they can access the collective expertise of Ireland's top Universities and work with Irish SMEs in partnership. This sort of collaboration is charting the direction of Ireland's Smart Economy and is a hugely welcome development amongst the FDI community here that rely so heavily on the generation of new products and services from research". There are currently six Universities involved: NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, UCD, UL, TCD (CRANN) and UCC (Tyndall) and more HEIs are expected to join. One of the key benefits to the HEIs involved is that they get access to industry and the real problems that they are facing. This will assist the HEIs to align their research agendas with what industry is looking for. The Competence Centres are expected to generate real impacts within five years including: Actively collaborating with a community of over 180 companies; Transferring at least 80 pieces of commercially viable intellectual property in the form of technology licences; Over 60 engineers and scientists directly employed in the centres working on industrially relevant research; A further 60-80 industry personnel working on centre research projects, maintaining the centre's market focus and driving a culture of innovation; Greater levels of R&D activity in Irish companies and overseas companies based in Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

CAO Preferences for NUI Galway up 7.1% Figures released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) today show another dramatic rise in demand for places at NUI Galway. First preference applications for undergraduate degrees at NUI Galway are up over 7% on last year, reflecting a substantial rise of more than 15% since 2008. With demand for places so high, NUI Galway will hold a Spring Open Day on Saturday, 24 April, for prospective students and their parents. Almost 3,000 people attended the event last year, which is designed to give a real insight in to university life and career options. Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, commented on the rising demand to study at the University: "We are seeing a phenomenal demand for places at NUI Galway. This is driven in part by the 20 new undergraduate courses which we have brought on stream over the last three years. There are also a range of new sports, arts and academic facilities on our state-of-the art campus. Another critical factor in attracting applicants is the University's commitment to providing our students with a learning experience that has relevance for the real world". Newer courses at NUI Galway include the extremely popular Energy Engineering, which was developed in direct response to calls from the energy sector for more energy engineers with the right combination of skills. Also popular is the new Engineering Innovation degree, combining traditional electronic engineering with business and entrepreneurship. The University also offers a Sports and Exercise Engineering degree, which is the first of its kind available in Ireland. NUI Galway has now brought eight BA Connect degrees on-stream, in a radical departure from traditional Arts degrees. These four-year degrees are designed to increase the employability of graduates by developing distinctive skills and creating connections with life beyond the campus. This year, a new BA Connect degree with Latin American Studies is also listed on the CAO form, alongside the existing BA Connect programmes with either Children s Studies, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Human Rights, Irish Studies, Women s Studies or Theatre and Performance. 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. NUI Galway is also offering the first Podiatry degree in Ireland, which will train healthcare professionals who specialises in the medicine of the foot and leg. For further details on the upcoming Open Day visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/open-days/. -Ends-

Monday, 8 March 2010

NUI Galway will mark International Women's Day on Friday, 12 March with a public talk by Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, at the University of East London. The free talk takes place at 2.30pm in Áras Moyola, NUI Galway and is followed by a reception. An expert in gender, nationalism, racism and identity Professor Yuval-Davis's talk is called 'Intersectionality in Transversal Politics'. According to Dr Nata Duvvury, Co-Director of Global Women s Studies at NUI Galway: "International Women s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women - past, present and future. It is important that we mark this important global occasion". Professor Yuval-Davis's talk will prove of interest to anyone working or studying in the areas of nationalism, gender, multiculturalism, racism and identity issues. As March is Women's History Month, NUI Galway's Global Women's Studies Programme and the Gender Research Cluster in the University's School of Political Science and Sociology, has organised two further free public talks. On 18 March, at 6pm, the guest speaker will be Professor Naila Kabeer, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies Sussex. Professor Kabeer is one of the world's leading feminist economists and her discussion will focus on 'Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy: Reconfigurations of Social and Economic Life'. On 14 April, at 6pm, Professor Naomi Goldenberg of the University of Ottawa, Canada, will speak about 'Gender and the Vestigial State of Religion'. A professor of Classics and Religious Studies, Professor Goldenberg is the author of the seminal work, The Changing of the Gods (1979). For further information visit www.nuigalway.ie/wsc/ or contact Gillian Browne on 091 49 3450 or wsc@nuigalway.ie. -ends-

Monday, 8 March 2010

NUI Galway 1-17 Waterford IT 1–16 (After extra- time) NUI Galway hurlers ended a 30 year wait this weekend for the return of the Fitzgibbon Cup after a sensational win against WIT in extra-time in Pearse Stadium. Hosting the event, NUI Galway battled hard to beat the Waterford side by a single point in their second extra-time in two days. The winning point by Clare hurler John Conlon in the 82nd minute secured the long awaited win for the local side. Friday's semi-final clash against Limerick IT, which was held in Dangan, saw the Galway students dig deep to overturn the favourites in a dramatic finish which also went to extra-time with a scoreline of 1-24 to 1-23. John Lee, Galway hurler and final medicine student at NUI Galway was particularly thrilled with the win having fought for six years to get his hands on the Fitzgibbon Cup. "I've been here for six years trying to win it, lost three semi-finals before this and one final. We were nine points down at one stage today and it looked impossible to get back. I was struggling myself to get into it but some of the lads showed unbelievable character. That's the thing about this team and they've shown it all year. "I'm delighted for selector and former head of Sport, Tony Regan as well, that was a big incentive for us today to win it, and he's given so much to hurling at NUI Galway. Whenever you go into the NUI Galway Sports Centre he'd make you read the plaque listing past NUI Galway winning teams with the likes of Joe Connolly and Conor Hayes. It's great Tony now finally has a reason to put us on it. After more than 30 years involved, this is his retirement present". -Ends-

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Lifecycle Institute, a major new €10 million initiative in the social sciences at NUI Galway, was announced by the University today (4 March, 2010). Funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Lifecycle Institute will advance an integrated approach to policy and services research for older people, children and families, and people with disabilities. Comprising a multidisciplinary facility in a state of the art new building, the Lifecycle Institute will integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway – the Child and Family Research Centre, the Disability Law and Policy Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Lifecycle Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration across research, teaching and training programmes – while retaining each centre's distinct identity. Conceptually, the Lifecycle Institute marks an innovative approach in the social sciences by establishing the lifecycle as the key framework of reference for understanding existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society. The aim of the Lifecycle Institute will be to impact positively on future policies for children, families, people with disabilities and older people. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The development of the Lifecycle Institute at NUI Galway reflects a shared commitment by researchers to work towards effective change in the lives of vulnerable populations. This will, we hope, lead to improved outcomes for children, families, older people and people with disabilities by influencing policy and decision making, whether emanating from the Irish Government, the EU or the UN". Operationally, the co-location of the three constituent centres will reflect a unique way of working that facilitates collaboration across disciplines and the sharing of resources, skills and perspectives. The Lifecycle Institute will also feature community engagement facilities which will forge links with stakeholders including statutory, voluntary and community organisations and their service users. Consultation with service users, whether they be children and young people, older people or people with disabilities, will be a strategic goal to advance research. Dr James J. Browne, added: "This is a major advancement in the field of social sciences in Ireland. The Lifecycle Institute has a vision which is to contribute theoretical, scientific and practical awareness of human capacity and potential. With this new institute, we are taking a holistic approach to research, education and policy development covering the life-span of every individual. Long-term, I see the Lifecycle Institute developing the next generation of policy entrepreneurs and advocates in the fields of ageing, children and families, and disabilities". -ends-

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), a business sector within IBEC, and NUI Galway's Applied Optics group, today hosted a seminar that focused the practical ways that optics can deliver scientific and technology solutions that enhance medical technology industry operations in Ireland. Speaking at the seminar, Sharon Higgins, director of IMDA said: "The medical technology sector in Ireland continues to grow. Exports of medical device and diagnostic products during the first three quarters of 2009 increased by more than 14% over the same period in 2008. This confirms Ireland as the second largest exporter of medical products in Europe, second only to Germany. The sector employs over 24,000 people, the highest per capita in Europe. Companies have adapted very successfully to changing economic circumstances, enhancing all aspects of their business models from R&D to manufacturing and commercialisation. "Our ability to engage with the academic and clinical community is critical to future growth. This collaboration with NUI Galway's Applied Optics group in developing today s programme will undoubtedly provide industry with opportunities to develop new ideas and contacts for the future." Keynote speaker at the event, Dr Alexander Knitsch, senior manager of international sales at TRUMPF Laser -und Systemtechnik GmbH Germany, applauded the IMDA and NUI Galway for their partnership. He said: "Optics is one of the key enabling technologies used to enhance medical device manufacturing and quality assurance processes. Ireland has a strong industry cluster and an internationally renowned optics group in NUI Galway. Together, I have no doubt that they will lead in adapting and developing these technologies to significantly enhance efficiencies." Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the opportunity to engage with industry, saying: "Our Applied Optics group focuses on addressing the needs of industry and transferring research outcomes from the lab bench to the market." -Ends-

Monday, 1 March 2010

Building and Maintaining International Industry Clusters: Galway's Medical Devices Cluster An expert panel of industry leaders, chaired by journalist and broadcaster Mark Little, will discuss the significance of building strong international industry clusters as a critical element in growing economic activity within regional and national economies, at NUI Galway. This open forum discussion, hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics on Thursday, 4 March, will focus on 'Building and Maintaining International Industry Clusters: Galway's Medical Devices Cluster'. The development of the medical device sector in Ireland and particularly the Galway cluster typifies the nature of economic growth that the country has experienced over the past two decades. With fifteen of the world's top twenty medical technology companies having significant international operations in Ireland combined with a smaller base of indigenous companies, they employ an estimated 24,000 people in approximately 140 companies. Research shows there is a significant regional dimension to the Irish medical devices sector with almost 40% of total employment in the sector in the West of Ireland. Panellists taking part in the discussion will include: Paraic Curtis, Managing Director and VP Operations, Boston Scientific (Galway); Mike Devane, Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce R&D Working Group and Partner, Quilly; Jim O'Hara, General Manager, Intel Ireland and VP Technology Manufacturing Group (TMG), Intel Corporation; and Helen Ryan, CEO Creganna Tactx Medical (Galway). Speaking in advance of the event, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: 'Being export driven with world class product development and manufacturing, combined with strong and vibrant university industry linkages, Galway's medical devices cluster has developed as an exemplar of modern high-tech regional clusters". Research conducted by the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway provides evidence that the Galway medical devices cluster is characterised primarily by trading linkages on a global scale. The local cluster is vibrant and dynamic with a clustering effect occurring through university-industry linkages, the development of a pool of skilled labour, knowledge transfers in the form of start-up firms, the growth of supplier firms and most significantly, the development of a regional and international reputation through the presence of Boston Scientific and Medtronic President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "This Expert Panel Discussion hosted by the School of Business and Economics is of real interest to national and international economic policy makers. The West of Ireland's biomedical device industry is a great example of successful industry clustering and the sector is now a vital element of our national economy. The collaborative efforts of Industry and University are key to generating the dynamic culture of innovation and commercialisation which distinguishes successful industry clusters. We, in the West of Ireland, are taking full advantage of the strengths in our region to build partnerships which will bring international competitive advantage". For further information or to register to attend this free event please visit http://www.conference.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 1 March 2010

The NUI Galway annual Teaching Careers Fair takes place on Thursday, 11 March, from 5-7pm in the Atrium of the Orbsen Building. The Fair will provide information on the different entry routes to teaching and the employment opportunities available. Over 20 exhibitors, including County Galway VEC, County Wicklow VEC, MPS Education, Uteach Recruitment and St Angela's Ursuline School will be on hand to showcase their employment opportunities. NUI Galway's School of Education exhibition stand will provide information on the Postgraduate Diploma in Education. This one-year programme provides the professional knowledge, understanding and pedagogical skills required to becoming a teacher at post-primary level in Ireland and abroad. Education providers from the UK, such as St Mary's University College in Twickenham, will also be on hand at the Fair to discuss vacancies on Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses in the UK. For graduates and current students, employers will be taking CVs at the Fair, as well as hosting interviews on campus on Friday, 12 March. For those considering undertaking a postgraduate teaching qualification, there will be presentations highlighting the different entry routes to a career in teaching from both an Irish and UK perspective. Information providers will also have a presence at the Fair with the Teaching Council, and ASTI, the secondary level teachers union, listed to attend. Louise McDermott, Employment Officer with NUI Galway's Career Development Centre, says: "This is an excellent opportunity for those considering undertaking a teaching qualification. For those already pursuing a teaching qualification, some of the employers will be taking CVs on the day, so we are advising people to come prepared". For a full list of exhibitors visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/careers. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

NUI Galway Surf Club have retained their title for the fifth consecutive year at the 2010 Irish Surfing Association Student Intervarsities hosted by the University in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. The competition, sponsored by Rip Curl, saw 120 competitors from 12 different Universities and Institutes of Technologies across Ireland, take part. The contest, the largest event of its kind in Ireland, was split into five different categories, Men's Open, Women's Open, Longboard, Body Board and Beginners. The beach in Strandhill was separated into two contest zones to allow the Beginners competition to take place at the same time as the main event. Over 43 beginners took part, making it one of the biggest competitions of the Intervarsities and the only beginner competition in the British Isles. NUI Galway dominated in the contests two main events, the Men's Open and Women's Open, with Ollie O'Flaherty clinching the Men's Open title. NUI Galway's Hugh Galloway and Rob Cahill took third and fourth place in the Men's Open respectively. NUI Galway's Rebecca Piggott took third place in the Women's Open with Elisha Hickey coming in fourth. NUI Galway also had a successful run in the Longboard category when Stephen Kelleher was awarded first place, and Baron Tomlinson came in second. Commenting on the success of NUI Galway students in the competition, Kathy Hynes, Development Officer for Clubs and Participation at NUI Galway, said: "The NUI Galway Surf Club has successfully, through their commitment to the sport, raised the profile of the club on a national and international basis. We are extremely proud of this dynamic group of students and the success they have brought to the University". The 2011 Irish Surfing Association Student Intervarsities will be held in Bundoran, and co-hosted by University of Ulster, Coleraine and NUI Galway. -Ends-

Monday, 22 February 2010

The finals of the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup third-level colleges senior hurling championship will be hosted by NUI Galway from 5-6 March, and was officially launched today at the University. The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Dangan, the NUI Galway Sports Grounds, along with the semi-finals of the Ryan Cup and the Fergal Maher Cups. The annual Fitzgibbon Cup dinner will take place on Friday, 5 March, in the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway, following the semi-final matches, with many local and national GAA personalities expected to attend. The final of the Fitzgibbon Cup, which will be broadcast live on TG4, takes place on Saturday, 6 March, in Pearse Stadium. The Puc Fada finals will be held at half time, with each college in the country invited to send a participant. In the history of the Fitzgibbon Cup, NUI Galway has won the title nine times, the last being 30 years ago in 1980. In the 2009 championship, University College Cork was crowned title holders after defeating the University of Limerick. Mary Immaculate Limerick beat Jordanstown in the Ryan Cup, and St. Mary's of Belfast clinched the Fergal Maher Cup from Napier of Scotland. Commenting on the upcoming championship, Michael O'Connor, NUI Galway Gaelic Games Officer, said: "NUI Galway is delighted to be entrusted with the honour of hosting the blue riband of third-level hurling. Like other years it should provide GAA supporters with some of the hurling moments of the year. The closeness in exchanges in the group games will ensure that all sides will be in with strong chances of ultimate success in their competition. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the University for its co-operation in making the hosting of this tournament an expected success". Brendan McDermott, Ulster Bank West Regional Director, commented: "Ulster Bank is delighted to be involved as sponsors of GAA Higher Education Gaelic Games, especially the blue riband event of college hurling, the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup. This is the fourth year of our association with Gaelic Games as sponsors of the Ulster Bank Fitzgibbon Cup, the Ulster Bank Ryan Cup and the Ulster Bank Fergal Maher Cup. Congratulations to the NUI Galway team for all their work in the build up to the finals weekend". Retired Head of Sport at NUI Galway, Tony Regan, is still heavily involved with sport at the University and is currently Chairperson of the NUI Galway Hurling Club. Tony has had much success on the Gaelic fields leading NUI Galway to win five Sigerson Cups, two Fitzgibbon Cup, Ashbourne Cup and countless games during his time at NUI Galway. Speaking in advance of the finals, Tony said: "As Chairman of the hurling club I would like to wish all semi finalists in their respective competitions the very best of luck and also thank all involved in the running of the weekend, sponsors, college staff and most of all the hurlers of the future". -Ends-

Thursday, 18 February 2010

- Direct support for key industry sectors and research strengths - Leading US University to play significant role in technology transfer - Launch of unique student exchange between institutions NUI Galway and the University of Limerick today (18 February, 2010) announced a Strategic Alliance which will support the development of the wider region to encourage indigenous enterprises and foreign direct investment, strengthen research and industry partnerships, and further a shared commitment to academic excellence. The Alliance will have an international dimension, through a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, in the exploitation of research from both Irish universities. At a ceremony in Dublin involving An Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and the Minister for Education and Science, the Alliance was announced to leaders from a wide range of community, public and political bodies as well as partners from academia and industry. Welcoming the announcement, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, T.D., said: "NUI Galway and the University of Limerick are demonstrating how working together means working smarter. This Alliance is an exciting new departure for two very progressive Universities. It represents a key building block for our Smart Economy project. And it promises to make a major contribution to economic and social development in this country, at both regional and national levels. The Government strongly supports increased collaboration between higher education institutions and between these institutions and industry. Our universities have a critical role to play as a dynamo energising our Smart Economy with new ideas and creativity. Increased collaboration among our universities - joining forces - greatly helps us to up our game in the intense ongoing global competition to come up with new ideas, new products and new services. The Government is very happy to see that Ireland s universities are coming up to the mark, moving from competition at home to collaboration in competing on the world stage". Key and immediate initiatives resulting from the Alliance include: Supporting key industry sectors Furthering research and education to serve Ireland's biomedical device industry – which employs 24,000 people. Joining forces on research initiatives to provide scientific and technological breakthroughs in the 'green tech' sector. Supporting Ireland as the biggest exporter of software solutions in Europe, by collaborating to remain at the forefront of software development and internet technology research. Technology Transfer Achieve economies of scale through jointly supporting technology transfer and commercialisation of research. Working to establish a translational research centre with Georgia Institute of Technology for technology transfer. Academic Excellence Furthering commitment to 4th Level Education through joint development of structured PhD programmes. Facilitating student exchange between the Universities on a modular or semester basis. Creating a new Medical Academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals. Planning to facilitate joint academic appointments to maximise student choice. Civic Engagement Promoting active citizenship through projects such as urban renewal and regeneration. Shared Services Optimising resources through shared services and focused use of research, teaching and academic support services. Professor Don Barry, President of the University of Limerick, said: "By forming this Strategic Alliance, we are collaborating in very real and immediate ways, driving scientific and economic progress with a specific focus on industry partnerships and research in the areas of Biomedicine, Energy, ICT and Civic Engagement. "UL and NUI Galway are hubs of educational excellence and research activity. By coming together with a shared vision for the future we will optimise our delivery of world-class research, innovative teaching and service to the community, while being responsive to the needs of our industry partners and to the social, cultural and economic needs of Ireland". Commenting on the new partnership, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "The aim of this Alliance is to better support the social and economic development of our wider region by combining the strengths of the two universities to enhance the service we provide to our students, to industry and business partners, and to enhance the international standing of both Universities. Together we can and will achieve more". President Browne added: "The fragmentation of Irish higher education prevents the achievement of critical mass, particularly in research, and slows down the drive towards internationalisation. The future of higher education in Ireland will be best served by a network of collaborating institutions, each of which develops international excellence in appropriate priority areas. The NUI Galway and UL Strategic Alliance is an important step in that direction". The institution-wide Alliance will work across all areas of activity at UL and NUI Galway including teaching, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. The Alliance allows for the facilitation of student exchange between the universities. The new Alliance will see NUI Galway and UL collaborate extensively in the area of teaching and learning. Exciting new initiatives include a unique 'Link to Learn' student exchange programme, which will enable students at either university to choose modules from the other institution as part of their programme. Other developments include the creation of a new joint Medical Academy at Portiuncula and Roscommon Hospitals, in addition to the development of a programme of activities to respond to the national objectives of building strong foundations in mathematics and science in primary and second level education. Speaking at the launch, Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O'Keefe, T.D., said: "The Framework for the development of a 'Smart Economy' highlighted the key role played by the higher education system in the development of an innovation culture and it set out a challenge to the sector to create new possibilities, through new alliances and new organisational arrangements, to advance our knowledge capacity and generate opportunities for new levels of efficiency, performance, innovation and growth. The Alliance is significant in that it spans all the key areas of activity in the universities including teaching, research, technology transfer, lifelong learning and the provision of services. We know that the quality of our higher education system is critical to Ireland's economic recovery. It is essential that we position the system to fully exploit its potential in producing the smart people and the smart ideas that are required for our smart economy ambitions. I applaud today's announcement by UL and NUI Galway as an important practical contribution to meeting that challenge and as recognition by the two universities of the nature of the response that Ireland needs from its higher education system". A focus of this Strategic Alliance will be industry collaborations in R&D, increased commercialisation and spinouts. UL and NUI Galway continue to exceed international benchmarks for delivery of commercial licences and spinouts per euro invested. In total, NUI Galway and UL have set up 21 spin-out companies over the past four years, with 72 licences and 121 patents filed. By 2015, the Alliance aims to deliver 40 spin-outs, with particular focus on commercialisation in the fields of ICT, Healthcare and Medical Technologies and Energy. Targets also include 450 invention disclosures, 110 licences and to have filed 200 patents. The ICT and Biomedical industries are currently worth €34.2bn annually to the Irish economy, while dependence on imported energy significantly impacts industry and the economy. A cooperative effort focused on these strategically vital areas aims to accelerate the delivery of viable solutions and sustainable industries. Speaking at the announcement, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, T.D., said: "This proactive and visionary arrangement illustrates the collective determination of both universities to further enhance the economic and social development of the region. I warmly welcome the Alliance as it will serve to encourage growth in indigenous enterprises and foreign direct investment, strengthen research and industry partnerships and further their commitment to academic excellence". "The objective of the Government's STI strategy is to harness the benefits of research collaboration for the benefit of the Irish economy. This is creating a strong cadre of indigenous firms and attracting and further embedding leading multi-national companies here. For example, last year 49% of the IDA's Foreign Direct Investment wins were Research, Development and Innovation related which were valued at €500m. Almost 45% of all enterprises are now engaged in innovation activities in Ireland", the Tánaiste added. The NUI Galway and UL Strategic Alliance is already forging relationships with international partners. Georgia Institute of Technology and the Alliance will work to establish a translational research institute to focus on technology commercialisation with industry partners. Together the three institutions will form a joint Translational Research Institute focused on the application of core technologies and expertise within the partner institutions. -Ends-

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Six students from NUI Galway's newest degree programme, Energy Systems Engineering, have scooped first and second prize in the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland Student Idea of the Year Awards. The winners were announced at a special ceremony in Dublin and presented by the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe T.D.. The awards are presented to the originators of the most innovative ideas which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of the transport industry in Ireland. NUI Galway also scooped the inaugural 'Lecturer of the Year' Award which was presented to Mary Dempsey of NUI Galway. The award recognises the work of a lecturer who aims to promote innovation and creativity in the areas of Logistics, Transport and Commerce. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: "The students' abilities to innovate are reflected in the attainment of these prestigious awards. I acknowledge the hard work, dedication and commitment that each student has made and their success reflects favourably on the new B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering". NUI Galway students Kane O'Shea from Cratloe, Co. Clare, John Mitchell from Blarney, Co. Cork, and Eoin Leonard from Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, were announced as the overall winners. Their innovative project was 'Electronic warnings on dangerous bends'. The runner-up prize was awarded to NUI Galway students Joseph Martyn from Kilrush, Co. Clare, Richie Walsh from Tramore, Co. Waterford, and Edward Tynan from Longford Town, for their project entitled 'Inter-vehicle communication system'. Professor Gerard Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "We are delighted that our students have featured so prominently in this year's Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Awards. As an island nation, the transport sector has a huge impact on Ireland's economic performance. These awards clearly demonstrate that university-based innovation can directly contribute to improved efficiency and safety standards for road freight hauliers. These awards also highlight the importance of industry/university collaboration for the successful development of Ireland as a 'Smart Economy'". The students are all part of the first cohort to undertake the B.E. in Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway, a multidisciplinary degree programme integrating energy sources, energy conversion and energy utilisation. All aspects of energy are covered in the programme, including renewable energy, power generation, buildings, transportation, information technology, smart grids and power systems. -ends-

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The next in a series of public talks organised by NUI Galway's Centre of Astronomy will focus on exoplanets. The free event takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday, 24 February, in the McMunn Lecture Theatre, Arts & Science Building, NUI Galway. The lecture, which will be presented by NUI Galway's Leon Harding, will concentrate on exploring and observing exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system. Since their initial discovery in 1995, the population of detected exoplanets, or extrasolar planets as they are also known, has increased significantly, with over 400 such planets being discovered to date. Initially, the majority of discoveries were giant planets, sometimes hundreds of times the size of Earth, but in recent years smaller exoplanets have been discovered. Speaking about the lecture, NUI Galway's Leon Harding, said: "Astronomical observations from the surface of the Earth will never be as precise as space based observations and it is via space telescopes that we hope to find true Earth-like planets that can sustain life. With the launch of the Kepler and CoRoT space telescopes in the last decade, which are dedicated to exoplanetary detection and research, astronomers expect to see a large number of discoveries in the coming years. A new telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched in June 2014, will expand the frontiers of discoveries beyond what is possible today". More details of all the talks can be found on http://astro.nuigalway.ie/outreach.php. -Ends-

Friday, 12 February 2010

NUI Galway's Professor Larry Egan, Interim Director of the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility, Galway today (February 12th 2010) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney TD that €7.5m in capital funding is being provided for the construction of a new Clinical Research Facility on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway is a joint venture between Galway University Hospitals and NUI Galway. The facility is supported by funding from the Health Research Board and has been operating since March of 2008. The purpose of the Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is to improve human health through the generation of new medical knowledge from patient based research. The guiding philosophy of the CRF is to stimulate, engage and support health care professionals from diverse areas of expertise to undertake high quality clinical research. Commenting Professor Egan said, "The benefits of this facility include the ability to provide access to cutting-edge clinical trials and access to novel therapies for patients in the West of Ireland. Clinical care provided in a research-intensive environment has been proven internationally to result in the best patient outcomes. With the development of the Clinical Research Facility in Galway, our ability to provide this level of service to our patients will be significantly enhanced. As a result, patient care will improve, and the ability of our hospital to attract and retain the very best medical and allied health staff would be improved. Moreover, the capabilities for investigation at this facility will provide an important and highly valuable opportunity for Irish companies operating in the biomedical research area such as pharmaceuticals and biomedical device companies to add value to their products through high quality clinical research". Professor Timothy O Brien, Consultant Endocrinologist at GUH, Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway and Director of the SFI-funded CSET Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) thanked the HRB for support for this initiative. "The Galway CRF will form part of an Irish Network of Clinical Research Facilities which will allow Irish patients access to state of the art clinical research. The Galway facility will also serve as the translational arm of REMEDI and will allow findings from basic research in stem cells, gene therapy, biomaterials and immunology to be brought to the clinic. The facility will have space specially designed for clinical research in regenerative medicine. It will also have important advantages for the progression of research and development in the Medical Device Industry which is so important to the economy of the West of Ireland". Mr. Pat Commins Acting General Manager Galway University Hospitals added, "The development of this Clinical Research Facility on the grounds of the Hospital is a very significant milestone which will allow staff to contribute to shaping advances in health care science, and to bring the benefits of those advances to patients at the earliest opportunity. The establishment of the CRF will further enhance our academic links with NUI Galway in line with our hospital strategy". The CRF will be built along with translational research laboratories funded by NUI Galway in a new, approximately 5000m² building on the campus of University Hospital Galway. This joint clinical and translational research facility will comprise state of the art facilities for patient-based research and for the processing and analysis of bio-specimens such as blood samples from those patients. Planning permission has been received and it is expected construction of the facility will begin shortly. Ends

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

An innovative programme connecting medical education and the arts has been launched by NUI Galway. The new Medicine in the Arts Programme is the first of its kind in Irish Universities, and has been introduced into the undergraduate curriculum of the University's School of Medicine. The launch featured a flagship lecture by Dr Jane Edwards, Director of the MA in Music Therapy in the University of Limerick, entitled 'History of Music in Medicine; including its use in hospitals 1980-1940'.The initiative is available to current First Year medical students, introducing a semester-long syllabus of structured engagement with literature, performance and visual arts. The programme will highlight the therapeutic clinical benefits for patients which the Arts can provide and focus on the personal development of students as future medical practitioners. Medicine and the Arts will consist of a series of events incorporating music, mime, and dance, which are offered in the wider Arts in Action programme provided to all students at NUI Galway. There will also be a rich range of bespoke events which focus on the Arts in therapeutic clinical settings for the particular needs of the medical student. Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of the Medical School at NUI Galway, said: "This is a valuable and important innovation which will benefit our students greatly. It will give them an appreciation of the richness which the Arts can bring to them as future doctors, to their patients and within the healthcare system generally. While this will undoubtedly be a very enjoyable experience for students, it also has a clear focus on student learning and self-development". -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2010

The new NUI Galway Water Research Facility at Tuam, Co. Galway was officially opened today by Michael Finneran, Minister for Housing & Local Services and TD for Roscommon-South Leitrim. Core funding to establish the facility was provided by the EPA through its STRIVE Research Programme, and by NUI Galway. Located on the site of Tuam Waste Water Treatment Plant the facility is a full-scale test-bed for novel waste water and water treatment technologies. There are already a range of NUI Galway research projects on new green technologies underway at the Water Research Facility. EPA Director, Laura Burke said: "With a rising population and increasing requirements for improved water quality, there is a real need to develop and optimise waste water treatment systems, especially for villages and small towns. I expect that this facility will play a strong role in developing new indigenous solutions to protect the environment and deliver economic growth." In order to minimise the environmental impact of sewage discharges, effective systems are required to treat waste water and ensure clean and safe waters. By using influent taken from Tuam town waste water, the facility provides researchers and manufacturers with opportunities to evaluate novel technologies under realistic conditions. Effluent from the research facility is returned to the main Tuam WWTP ensuring there is no risk to the environment from the development work. Operating at a scale equivalent to a village with a population of 400, this system offers high performance at low operating costs. It is estimated that this new technology will allow the plant to operate at approximately 25% of typical running costs for a conventional activated sludge plant of similar size. Speaking at the opening of the facility, Minister Finneran said: "Work funded through the EPA STRIVE Research programme is continuing to deliver new and innovative responses to environmental problems, while also making a significant contribution to the development of Ireland's Smart Economy. The Tuam Water Research Facility is an excellent example of this, employing solutions generated by Irish researchers to deliver high performance results at low operating costs. As work progresses at the facility, it will also contribute towards implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland." Commenting on the work carried out to date, Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, noted: "The Tuam Water Research Facility provides a world-class facility for carrying out collaborative cutting-edge research for research institutions and industry on full-scale, smart green technologies that purify water and wastewater. The Water Research Facility has great potential to give Irish companies an innovative advantage in increasing its share of the international environmental technologies market, worth €227 billion per year in the EU alone." Jim Cullen, Director of Service, Environment & Water Services Unit at Galway County Council explained: "This plant demonstrates the value of co-operation between researchers and government bodies working in the same area. By working closely with local researchers, Galway County Council is pleased to have supported the establishment of this impressive facility, which we expect to deliver working solutions that will assist us in meeting our water treatment needs." Whilst core funding was provided by the EPA and NUI Galway, additional critical support came from Galway County Council, who provided the site and carried out civil engineering works. A range of industrial partners, including the main contractors Response Group Ltd, also contributed resources and equipment. -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2010

Two eight foot tall, talking and dancing semi-animatronic Polar Bears will visit the Re-Energising Galway Family Day, organised by NUI Galway, on Saturday, 13 February. The campaigning bears are coming to Galway to highlight the importance of saving energy and cutting emissions, as part of the 10:10 national carbon reduction campaign tour to help cut Ireland's carbon footprint. The Re-Energising Galway Family Day will take place between 11am and 5pm in the Galway City Museum and all are welcome to attend this free event. At the event visitors will have a chance to explore the engineering behind renewable energy technologies, with different stands, each exploring sustainable energy from a different perspective, set up throughout the museum. Highlights of the event will include building model wind and wave turbines, playing Guzzler's Energy Challenge, and viewing demonstration models for renewable energy devices. Re-Energising Galway Family Day is organised by the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway with support from Junior Achievement, GMIT, and Sustainable Energy Ireland. The Family Day is part of national Engineers Week, from 8-13 February, which aims to showcase the diversity of engineering and to celebrate the role of engineers in Ireland. Speaking about the event, Dr Colin Brown, Director of the ECI at NUI Galway, said: "It will be a fun, free, family-friendly day out and will provide insight to the new era of low-carbon energy in Ireland – key knowledge for the next generation of Irish engineers". Re-Energising Galway Family Day is a free event that does not require tickets or advanced booking. For further information contact Lindsay Cody, Communications Officer, NCBES, NUI Galway at 091 495701 or email lindsay.cody@nuigalway.ie. For further information on events taking place during Engineers Week visit www.engineersweek.ie -Ends-

Monday, 8 February 2010

Múscailt, NUI Galway's week-long Spring Arts Festival, opened today (Monday, 8 February) and will run until Friday, 12 February. Now celebrating its 10th year, Múscailt will transform the campus with its vast programme of music, theatre, art exhibitions, film and live performances. Múscailt, which is organised by the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, will feature emerging artists and entertainers performing through the medium of Irish and English. Highlights of the Festival will include Galway University Musical Society's own version of the musical, The WIZ, and a Gaeilge night of rap and comedy in An Cheathrú Rua. Music will feature strongly during the Festival with a variety of performances from classical music from pianist James Lisney to traditional from the University's Traditional Irish Music Society. A selection of new performing art shows and visual art exhibitions will also be on offer throughout the week. Also featuring at the Festival will be Kathleen O'Rourke, writer and voice of Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, which has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category. Speaking about the Festival, Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer, NUI Galway, said: "The Arts Office is proud to have identified young artists who are breaking the mould in Ireland. Múscailt promises huge fun this year. Bubba Shakespeare and GMC will be charming the audience into thinking and feeling in Irish; Kathleen O Rourke will be making them laugh, as Gaeilge; and chameleon-like comedian John Colleary is like 20 comics rolled into one. Even Aideen Barry, visual artist, celebrates her obsessive-compulsive order in a humorous way". All events are open to the public and almost all are free, with the exception of the James Lisney piano recitals in the Aula Maxima (tel: 091 705962 / info@musicforgalway.ie) and The WIZ at the Black Box (tel: 091 569777 / www.tht.ie). For further details about the festival please visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie, or telephone the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office at 091 493766 for a brochure. -Ends-

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

NUI Galway's President, Dr James J. Browne, today opened the University's new Nursing and Midwifery Library (Wednesday, 3 February). The new library, which adjoins the James Hardiman Library on the main campus, has been open for business since July 2009. It provides a modern learning environment for over 700 nursing and midwifery students with group study rooms, computer suites, laptop-enabled study spaces, and wireless access to the University's networked services. The need for a new, purpose-built library was driven by changes in nursing education and the increase in student numbers, which resulted in greater pressure on space as well as a need for new types of learning resources. The new library has over 100 study places, and has been heavily used and much appreciated by students and staff since it opened. Over 700 Nursing and Midwifery students now have access to the full resources of the University Library, including a wide range of information sources and extensive opening hours, in a central location on campus. Previously, NUI Galway's Nursing Library was located on the site of the former Nurses' Home at University College Hospital and it relocated temporarily to the IDA Business Park in Dangan in 2004. Dr Browne noted: "The new Nursing and Midwifery Library represents a modern learning centre which provides access to all of the information, online and in print, needed to deliver high quality graduates". The Nursing and Midwifery Library was developed at a total cost of €2 million. Of this total, a sum of €1 million was provided by the Department of Health and Children. The balance has been provided from the University's own resources. The Nursing and Midwifery Library was designed by award-winning architects, Scott Tallon Walker, and the project was led by Mr Paul Mannion who is based at their Galway office. This 650square metre building, which was completed within a twelve month period, was built by Michael McNamara & Company. ENDS

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The NUI Galway Alumni Group will present Michael D. Higgins T.D., Labour Party President and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and NUI Galway graduate, in conversation with Harry McGee of The Irish Times. The event will take place on Friday, 12 February at 7.30pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, in aid of COPE Galway. The interview will give NUI Galway graduates and friends access to the life, passions, interests, and writings of Michael D. Higgins. Guests will enjoy recitals of his poetry chosen especially for this occasion. Among his many distinctions, Michael D. Higgins was honoured in 2003 by his alma mater with the NUI Galway AIB Award for Literature Communication and the Arts. In 2006 he was appointed Adjunct Professor to the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. He was also the inaugural winner of the McBride Peace Prize awarded by International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1991. The interview is open to all and entry is €10, with all proceeds to go to COPE Galway. COPE Galway provides services to the most isolated in the community including a refuge for women and children affected by domestic violence, accommodation for those experiencing homelessness and sustenance and social supports for older people at home. Booking for this event is essential, contact Justin or Bríd in COPE Galway on (091) 778750, or email fundraising@copegalway.ie. Early booking is advised. This is first event of the year for the NUI Galway Alumni Club following a highly successful calendar of events in 2009. For information on future events visit: www.nuigalway.ie/alumni/upcomingevents.html -ends-

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

NUI Galway, in partnership with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), has announced that the BITCI's Portrait Exhibition, entitled 'The Face of Corporate Responsibility, Ireland' will go on display at the University. The free photography exhibition will be open daily to the public, from 9-14 February, in the Orbsen Building at NUI Galway. The exhibition will be officially opened by the President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, and the Chief Executive of BITCI, Tina Roche on Tuesday, 9 February, at 2pm. The opening will also feature short talks by representatives from two of BITCI's local member companies, IBM and Boots. Each speaker will highlight the importance of corporate responsibility from their own perspectives, giving an interesting insight into the perception of socially responsible business practice from each sector. BITCI is a national non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting corporate responsibility in Ireland. A business driven network, with major social initiatives, membership is drawn from Ireland s most progressive companies. Corporate responsibility is about companies continually improving the impact they have on society, specifically in the community, environment, marketplace and workplace. The photo exhibition showcases employees from some of Ireland's largest companies who epitomise corporate responsibility in their day to day roles. The exhibition consists of unique portraits taken by photographer Kevin Fox in the studios of the National Gallery of Photography. Each portrait is accompanied by a caption explaining the reasons why this particular employee was nominated to take part in the exhibition. NUI Galway, through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), is committed to corporate responsibility whereby civic engagement opportunities are embedded into mainstream teaching and research activities. According to the Project Coordinator of CKI, Lorraine McIlrath: "To date over 25 degree programmes offer students a service learning experience whereby they use their knowledge to enhance the capacity of community. In addition, over 700 students volunteer every year in local, national and international communities through the NUI Galway ALIVE Student Volunteering Programme". Lorraine McIlrath added: "Through these activities NUI Galway strides to create civic minded graduates and professionals that will continue their commitment to community and society. The BITCI's exhibition further demonstrates the potential for students to maintain their civic engagement endeavours throughout their working lives". Speaking about the partnership on the exhibition with NUI Galway, Tina Roche, CEO for Business in the Community, Ireland said: "BITCI wants to show university graduates that a responsible attitude towards society and the environment can continue well after they have graduated. The exhibition, therefore, portrays to students and the community alike that extraordinary contributions to society can be made and are being made by thousands of employees nationwide". -ends-