Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway has issued the final call for applications to its 50 new Doctoral Research Fellowships. Fellowships are valued at between €15,000-20,000 per annum and will be awarded to 50 students undertaking research PhDs with the College in the autumn. Fellowships may be held across the full range of Humanities disciplines including Children's Studies, Creative Writing, Gaeilge, Global Women's Studies, Human Rights, Irish Studies, Film Studies and Rural Studies. Kevin Barry, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies at NUI Galway, commented, "NUI Galway has introduced new doctoral programmes with broad career opportunities. We wish to develop the tradition of research in the humanities, in modern languages, and in the social and behavioural sciences in order to graduate students at the highest level to serve Irish society." He added, "Our strategic support for PhD students reflects a determination on the part of the University to promote and support innovative research and high level training across a wide range of disciplines." The Fellowships are designed to enable students to work in cross-disciplinary projects. These small research clusters will allow students to collaborate and work together, encouraging and testing each other's work. Three of the Fellowships are named in memory of Lady Gregory, for her integration of the Arts and Humanities into regional and national life. For closing dates, terms and conditions, and applications forms contact Mairéad Ní Dhomhnaill on 091 493622 or email -ends-

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The new Engineering degree programme in Sports and Exercise Engineering (GY411) offered by the College of Engineering & Informatics in collaboration with the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at NUI Galway is now available through the CAO. The B.E./M.Eng.Sc. Sports and Exercise Engineering degree will take its first cohort of students in September 2008. Persons who have already applied to the CAO in 2008 can register a preference for GY411 through the CAO change-of-mind process (deadline 1 July, 2008 at 5:15pm). Persons who have not yet applied to the CAO in 2008 and who wish to register a preference for GY411 must make a late application to the CAO by 1 May, 2008 at 5:15pm. The programme will allow successful students to exit after 4 years with a level 8 B.E. degree or after 5 years with level 9 M.Eng.Sc., however the full benefits to the students of the programme will be achieved with the 5 year programme. This programme offering represents the first degree programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering on the island of Ireland. Professional sport is a worldwide multi-billion euro industry and plays a central role in most western societies. Today technology is used on a regular basis to improve sports performance in elite athletes. The new Sports and Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway will provide graduates with the skills and expertise to design systems and devices for the evaluation and execution of sport performance across a broad range of sports. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway, says, "This new degree programme represents an exciting venture for Engineering at NUI Galway. It is an excellent example of a focused interdisciplinary programme whereby some of the latest engineering techniques are meshed with medical and scientific concepts to train a cohort of students with a unique skillset. Thus, graduates of the programme will be able to address a range of highly relevant problems associated with sports and exercise". Professor B.G. Loftus, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway, says, "The evolving obesity epidemic reflects an imbalance between energy ingested and expended. The decline in levels of physical activity at all ages is, in large part, responsible for this epidemic, and also contributes to increased risk of many other illnesses. It is incumbent on us to remedy this at societal level through initiatives like this new Engineering programme, which will produce a new generation of engineers with the skills and expertise to design novel systems and devices to increase participation in exercise across the age groups." The programme will incorporate significant elements of Anatomy, Physiology, Mechanical Engineering and Sport and Exercise Engineering practice. A major input from Electronic Engineering will reflect a particular focus in the programme on the development of a range of ambulatory electronic devices for movement assessment in sport and exercise, ambulatory monitoring of human performance in sport & exercise and the design of systems and devices for the performance and assessment of exercise, rehabilitation and sport. Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Head of Electronic Engineering and course co-ordinator, says, "This programme will benefit from two major infrastructural developments on the NUI Galway campus: the completion of the €20 Million, 6,500 sq. meter Sports Centre by June 2008 and the expected completion of a €60 Million, 14,000 sq. meter New Engineering Building, which will feature state-of-the-art Engineering teaching and research laboratories, including a multi-purpose motion analysis laboratory, by September 2010." For further information on the new programme contact Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin at 087-6504801 or email: ENDS

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The President of UCD and IUA, Dr. Hugh Brady, today launched the Irish Universities Study. Using advanced internet survey techniques the longitudinal study will capture key information from undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers in our universities. Areas covered include the education experience, economic expectations, personal development and health. The sector-wide survey is a major innovation providing the universities with the ability to formulate policy for students and researchers based on sound evidence. Ultimately the results will play an important role in improving the standard of living for students in Irish universities and contributing to the development of university education in Ireland. The project will run for three years and is funded equally by the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund [SIF] and the seven universities. Speaking about the study Dr. Hugh Brady says: "This pioneering research programme will enable the universities to make strategic policy decisions and will inform the development of key resources including teaching and learning, quality assurance and students services, informed by student feedback". The study is being carried out by the Geary Institute in UCD on behalf of the Irish Universities Association [IUA]. Speaking today at the launch the Director of the UCD Geary Institute, Professor Colm Harmon said "The study is a particularly important and timely one. It will produce a fine set of academic publications, will be the foundation for creating a new higher education research capacity at UCD, but will also be firmly embedded into the planning process for the Irish higher education system". The keynote address was given by Professor Ronald Ehrenberg of Cornell University, one of the most prolific and well regarded labour economists of the last 30 years. Professor Ehrenberg stressed the economic and social value of education, the need to nurture this belief in secondary school, and the critical need to avoid underinvestment in fourth level areas. He emphasized the importance of carrying out research to gather information of the type the Irish Universities Study (IUS) will capture. This study will play a central role for the future development of higher education policy in Ireland. ends

Monday, 14 April 2008

NUI Galway has appointed Dr. Pat Morgan to the newly created position of Dean of Graduate Studies. Dr. Morgan has previously served as Dean of College of Science at the University (1998-2004) and more recently as Pre-clinical Vice-Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences. NUI Galway has some 3,500 postgraduate or 'fourth-level' students, and offers over 400 full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. With the number of postgraduate students expected to grow quickly in line with growth in research activity at the University, Dr. Morgan will focus on maintaining the high quality of PhD programmes. Dr. Morgan will also support the development of new Graduate Schools at NUI Galway. Alongside NUI Galway-based initiatives, there will be a focus on encouraging inter-institutional cooperation and in attracting high calibre international students to the programmes. Commenting on the appointment, NUI Galway President, Dr. Jim Browne, said, "The University is committed to the development and provision of high quality research and taught graduate programmes. Postgraduate programmes are based on the University's traditional areas of academic strength, and increasingly draw on our well-established Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering Science, Human Rights, Film & Digital Media, Regenerative Medicine and Marine Science." Speaking about her appointment, Dr. Morgan said, "Ireland has seen rapid growth in the number of students studying at fourth-level. What is critical is that such growth does not compromise the student experience and that we provide the range of skills and training that a fully-rounded graduate student needs." Working with the 'fourth-level' theme, NUI Galway's graduate education opportunities are now under the banner go4th™. An online prospectus of all that is on offer at NUI Galway is available at -ends-

Monday, 14 April 2008

Tá an Dr. Pat Morgan ceaptha ag OÉ Gaillimh sa phost nua – Déan Staidéir Iarchéime. Roimhe seo bhí an Dr. Morgan ag obair mar Dhéan ar Choláiste na hEolaíochta san Ollscoil (1998-2004) agus le píosa anuas bhí sí ag obair mar Leas-Déan Réamhchliniciúil i gColáiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte. Tá 3,500 mac léinn iarchéime nó 'ceathrú leibhéal' in OÉ Gaillimh, agus tá os cionn 400 clár iarchéime lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha á tairiscint aici, lena n-áirítear cláir mháistreachta theagaisc agus thaighde agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta. Táthar ag súil go dtiocfaidh méadú ar an líon mac léinn iarchéime ar aon dul leis an méadú i ngníomhaíocht taighde na hOllscoile, agus díreoidh an Dr. Morgan ar chláir Ph.D. ar ardchaighdeán a sholáthar. Chomh maith leis sin, tacóidh an Dr. Morgan le forbairt na Scoileanna Iarchéime nua in OÉ Gaillimh. Le cois tionscnaimh bunaithe in OÉ Gaillimh, cuirfear béim ar chomhoibriú idir institiúidí agus ar mhic léinn idirnáisiúnta ar ardchaighdeán a mhealladh le dul i mbun clár anseo. Le linn don Dr. Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, a bheith ag labhairt faoin gceapachán dúirt sé go bhfuil "an Ollscoil tiomanta do chláir thaighde agus theagaisc iarchéime ar ardchaighdeán a fhorbairt agus a chur ar fáil. Tá cláir iarchéime bunaithe ar réimsí láidre acadúla na hOllscoile agus béim go háirithe ar ár nIonaid Taighde atá bunaithe le fada, agus réimsí ar nós Eolaíocht Innealtóireachta Bithmhíochaine, Cearta Daonna, Scannáin & na Meáin Dhigiteacha, Leigheas Athghiniúnach agus Muireolaíocht." Le linn don Dr. Morgan a bheith ag labhairt faoina ceapachán dúirt sí go bhfuil "méadú as cuimse tagtha ar an líon mac léinn atá ag staidéar ag an gceathrú leibhéal. Is é an rud is tábhachtaí nach gciallaíonn an fás as cuimse seo go mbeidh taithí na mac léinn thíos leis dá bharr, agus a chinntiú go gcuirimid an raon scileanna agus oiliúna ar fáil le freastal ar riachtanais mac léinn iarchéime." Bunaithe ar an téama 'ceathrú leibhéal', tá deiseanna iarchéime OÉ Gaillimh anois á bpoibliú faoi go4th™. Tá réamheolaire ar líne maidir leis na cúrsaí ar fad atá ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh le fáil ag - críoch -

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Seven Irish Olympic Heavyweight Rowing team were in training on the Corrib recently during a break between training camps in Southern France. Head Coach Harald Jarling requested the use of the NUI Galway Boat Club facilities and the assistance of some extra personnel to complete an eight-man team. Three members of the Olympic team are NUI Galway rowers, Alan Martin (Salthill), Cormac Folan (Barna) and James Wall (Limerick). For the weekend's training, they were joined by Evin Donnelly and Ruadhán Cooke, of NUI Galway Boat Club. Ruadhán Cooke, NUI Galway Boat Club, said, "We had a wonderful if exhausting two-day training session. The Galway based squad members thoroughly enjoyed being back on their home patch for a few days. Evin Donnelly and I really appreciated the opportunity of linking up with our club mates and experiencing training at this level". Head Coach Harald Jarling, himself a double Olympic Gold Medallist with the former East Germany, was very pleased with the mini-camp during which the squad clocked up over 120 kilometres on the Corrib. The Irish rowers have already qualified a Heavyweight Coxless Four for Beijing and currently train in a Four, Pair and Single Scull. The squad is striving to also qualify the Pair and the Single Scull at the final Olympic selection regatta in Poland in late June. The squad were welcomed to NUI Galway by Vice-President for Physical Resources Keith Warnock, Club Captain Matthew Carroll and Coach Tom Tuohy. Also present to meet the Olympic team were sponsors of NUI Galway's fleet of top-class boats, Tom Forde of the Bank of Ireland and Paul Brennan of Michael McNamara & Company. The eight-man boat used by the squad on the Corrib is sponsored by Seán Stewart of the JSL / Stewart Group. -ends-

Friday, 11 April 2008

Over 100 pupils from primary schools across Galway will be honoured by RTÉ sports commentator Tracy Piggott at a special ceremony at 7pm on Wednesday, 16 April, for their participation in NUI Galway's 'Uni 4 U 2008' programme. The children will receive medals and certificates from the TV personality in recognition of their involvement in the three-year programme which promotes education, school attendance and personal development through sporting, cultural and academic activities on the University campus. 'Uni 4 U' is developed and delivered by NUI Galway's Access Office in partnership with Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla; Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue; and St Michael's Boys School, Mervue. Now in its eighth year, the programme includes a homework and sports club which is run on campus in conjunction with Áras na Mac Léinn. The children are helped by undergraduate volunteers for two hours a week in completing their homework and playing sports. Explaining the significance of the programme for those involved, Imelda Byrne, NUI Galway's Access Officer, said, "Specifically, this programme aims to help students by building their self esteem, confidence, communication skills and social behaviour through team games and sports activities. In addition, there is a focus on their educational attainment, especially improvement in numeric and literacy skills". Brenda Foy, Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator with Holy Trinity Girls School, Mervue, commented, "The Uni 4 U programme is an excellent introduction to the University for the pupils of Mervue. They can enjoy the atmosphere and develop serious aspirations for continuing their education onto third-level. Not alone does it benefit the children but it also involved their parents, many of whom might never have stepped onto the University grounds. The Uni 4 U programme has made third-level education a given for our children and look forward to it continuing in the future". Easter and Summer camps facilitated by university staff volunteers have introduced the children to topics in science, engineering, languages and the humanities. This enables the children to get a feel for their subject choices in secondary school and encourage them to participate more actively in their own learning. New initiatives in 'Uni 4 U' during 2008 included a storytelling course and performance where the children told stories they had created themselves in seanchaí style. The programmes' success includes the participation of parents with their children in the study skill and homework support workshops run by the Access Office. -ends-

Friday, 11 April 2008

The NUI Galway Society Awards took place on Wednesday, 9 April, in the Galway Bay Hotel. Seventeen awards were presented at the gala event which celebrated the contribution over 80 Societies make both to the University and the wider community. President of NUI Galway, Dr. Jim Browne, in his speech, congratulated the Societies on their outstanding achievements, the calibre of the events which they organise and the man hours that they contribute through volunteering as part of the Societies he said, "This year alone the hours volunteered by members of Societies' committees is the equivalent of the number hours worked by 53 full time workers in one year. In the last five years the Societies have raised over €900,000 for charity". The winners on the night will represent the University at the BICS National Society Awards in Dundalk IT on 17 April, 2008. The coveted Best Society of the Year Award went to the 'Business Society' for the professionalism they brought to their numerous and varied events during the year. In 2006 they won best new Society in Ireland at the BICS Awards. Best Improved Society went to the 'Musical Society' (GUMS), for their busy year which saw the society branch out into new directions. In addition to their 'Back to the 80's' musical they also organised the 'NUI Galway Schools Musical Awards' which took place in NUI Galway recently with the top prize going to Ballinrobe Community School for 'The Wiz'. Best New Society went to the 'Nothing Specific Society' whose main aim is to bring fun and foolishness to campus, their next event will be 'Meal or no Meal'. Best Society Individual went to Law student Laura Freyne from Knock, Co. Mayo, for her contribution to campus life through her leadership of the International Students Society. Best Fresher went to Nora Ní Dhomhnaill from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, who is studying first-year Denominated History, Nora is a committee member of An Cumann Starr and the Literary and Debating Society. Best Event went to the Rotaract Society for their 'Socs in the City Fashion Show' which raised over €12,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. The other awards on the night were: Best Departmental Society: Law Society; Best Poster: The Musical Society for their 'Back to the 80's' Poster; Best Website to Cumann Satire (History Society) for; Best Charity Event: Art Society Rag Week Fundraisers; Best Cultural Contribution: Malaysian Society for 'Malaysian Cultural Week'; Best Small Publication: International Students Society Pirate Treasure Hunt booklet; and Best Multi Media/ Large Publication: Business Society for the 'Cairnes Review'; Best Photograph to the Chess Society. Two Múscailt prizes were also presented to the Orchestra and Dansoc and the best contribution to Múscailt Arts Festival award went to Lit & Deb and Law Soc for their Trials of Oscar Wilde and Barn Dance. Ends

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Molecular scientists at NUI Galway will play a leading role in the newly formed GlycoScience Ireland group launched today (Tuesday, 8 April). Glycoscience is the study of the glycans (complex sugars) that surround all cells including human cells. GlycoScience Ireland brings together scientists working in this field in order to apply their expertise to the Biopharmaceutical and Food industries. GlycoScience Ireland will encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration between glycoscientists, biologists, chemists, engineers, information scientists and clinicians. The Group will also provide a forum for communication and interaction between Irish glycoscientists and industry representatives for the translation of glycoscience discoveries into commercial realities. NUI Galway' s involvement is being led by Professor Lokesh Joshi, who recently joined the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering as Stokes Professor of Glycosciences. Professor Joshi explained "Glycans play crucial roles in almost all biological interactions at molecular and cellular levels, including fertilization, immune regulation, cancer and infectious diseases. Despite their underpinning role in biological processes, study in this area has lagged behind genomics and proteomics. With the global competition in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical research continually shifting, Ireland needs to harness the synergy of existing skills to remain in the leadership position in this emerging research frontier". GlycoScience Ireland Launch is being co-sponsored by The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) and the Centre for BioAnalytical Sciences (CBAS), of which Professor Joshi is Associate Director. For further information visit -ends-

Monday, 7 April 2008

Students from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway have secured two out of four prestigious awards from The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT). The annual CILT awards were announced recently by Mr. John Murphy, Assistant Secretary from the Department of Transport at a special awards ceremony. The awards are presented to the originators of ideas which judges consider to be the most innovative and which could make the most significant contribution to some aspect of transport in Ireland. The NUI Galway winners were Industrial Engineering students Therese O'Meara from Toomevara, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, who won the Safety & Environment Category and Ciarán Coughlan of Belmont, Co. Offaly who was the winner in the Rail Category. Professor Padraic O'Donoghue, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: "This continued success in national level competitions is indicative of the high standards of our degree programmes in Engineering and Informatics. I would like to congratulate Therese and Kieran on their awards and I acknowledge the dedication of their project supervisors in Industrial Engineering." Ms Mary Dempsey, Industrial Engineering NUI Galway, said: "The engineering students' innovations are reflected in their success in winning prestigious awards from CILT. I am extremely proud of Therese and Ciarán and acknowledge their dedication and commitment to the logistics project. Indeed, the safety and environment project has been requested by Mr. Noel Brett, Road Safety Authority as the RSA would like to see such devices utilised by professional drivers. - Ends –

Monday, 7 April 2008

Academics and industry professionals working in the field of photonics (light and laser technology) will meet on 17 April for NUI Galway's annual LightFORUM conference. The conference theme is 'Skills & Knowledge Development - Photonics in New Products and Manufacture'. The event will feature case-study presentations from industry representatives as well as speakers from state agencies on support for upskilling in industry. This year, the keynote speaker will be Eugene Arthurs, Executive Director of SPIE, the international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light, with more than 17,500 members globally. The annual meeting is organised by LightFORUM, the outreach activity of the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA) and Applied Optics Groups at NUI Galway. LightFORUM provides a framework in which scientists and professionals in industry can explore and develop interactions of mutual interest. Tony Flaherty of the NCLA explained, "Photonics has long been a fundamental technology for manufacturing and is now commonplace in a range of applications developed by Irish-based industry. The strength of NUI Galway's photonics research and expertise is supporting this development. The University is home to the largest group of laser and optics scientists and engineers in the country, with total of 50 staff in this area. This annual meeting is an important opportunity for bringing together industry and the photonics research community." Attendance at the event is free to professionals in Irish industry. For more information or to reserve a place, contact Tony Flaherty by email: or tel: +353 91 493 595. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A public lecture entitled 'The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – New Dawn or False Hopes?' will be given by Professor Jerome Bickenbach at NUI Galway on Monday, 14 April, at 7pm. Professor Bickenbach will talk about the concept of equality that underpins the new UN Disability Convention. His lecture will be of interest to persons with disabilities, their representative organisations, families, carers and service providers. Originally from Canada, Professor Bickenbach is one of the foremost international authorities on ethical, philosophical, and legal issues in disability policy. Working recently with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, he played a central role in drafting its International Classification of Functioning, a framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. During his visit to Ireland, Professor Bickenbach will be a guest of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law in NUI Galway. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of Centre, said: "We are delighted to welcome such a highly engaging speaker. Jerome helped WHO completely rethink its understanding of disability and steered it away from an excessive reliance on 'medical approaches' toward a more 'socialised approach'. This approach places the problems of disability on the barriers confronting the person – rather than on the individual person. This 'social approach' to disability had a dramatic effect in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland has signed and is due to ratify". All members of the public are welcome to attend this free event. The lecture will take place at 7pm in NUI Galway (Áras Moyola, ground floor, Room 127, North Campus). Refreshments will be served afterwards. Those wishing to attend or those with special requirements can contact 087 6660634 or email: For further information, visit website: -ends-

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Two of the foremost jurists in the area of Family and Child Law, The Right Honourable Baroness Hale of Richmond and Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness, will jointly deliver the Annual Distinguished Lecture 2008 hosted by the Faculty of Law at NUI Galway on Friday, 11 April at 7pm. The event will take place in the main lecture theatre of Áras Moyola, NUI Galway, on the north campus beside St. Anthony's. The title of the lecture is Family Law in Ireland and the United Kingdom: Common Threads and Divergent Perspectives. The joint lecture will focus on three broad themes: the division of assets and the question of 'proper provision' upon divorce, the position of children, and the role of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in family law. Both speakers bring a wealth of experience and insight to the topic. Baroness Hale became the first woman 'Lord of Appeal in Ordinary' in January 2004 after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer and judge. She is recognised internationally as one of the most distinguished judicial experts in the area of family and child law. Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness was a member of the Irish Supreme Court from 2000 to 2006 and is now the President of the Law Reform Commission and Adjunct Professor of Law at NUI Galway. Prior to becoming a judge she was a member of Seanad Éireann and is widely known for her work on the Kilkenny Incest Investigation, the Employment Equality Agency and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. Announcing the event, Donncha O'Connell, Dean of Law, said: "This is the fourth Annual Distinguished Lecture organised by the Law Faculty and, this year, we are especially honoured to have the two most distinguished women judges on these islands as our speakers on a topic of enduring controversy and acute importance." The lecture will be introduced by President of NUI Galway, Dr. Jim Browne, and chaired by family law expert and graduate of NUI Galway, Geoffrey Shannon. It will be followed by a reception (sponsored by the NUI Galway Alumni Association) in the foyer of Áras Moyola at which it will be possible to meet with the speakers. ENDS

Friday, 30 May 2008

Two NUI Galway Law students will spend the summer immersed in the atmosphere of the imminent US Presidential election as they undertake internships in Washington DC. Second Year Corporate Law student Peter Mannion will work with Senator Barack Obama, while fourth year Corporate Law student Chris Joyce joins the office of Congressman Peter King. Peter Mannion, from Tuam, County Galway, is excited about joining the Obama campaign, "This summer presents precious opportunities with an election looming, and Washington in full campaign mode. It will certainly be an interesting place to be and working in the Obama office will be a chance to watch history in the making. This really is an incredible opportunity - I can barely believe my luck. I used to live life in a West Wing fantasy so this is bringing it one step closer to reality!" Chris Joyce from Renmore, is a Galway Titans National League Basketball player. His interest in the Northern Ireland Peace Process makes his internship a perfect fit. He explains, "It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the political life of Washington DC. I will be working at Congressman Peter King's office, a long time supporter of the Northern Ireland Peace process. Even before he was sworn-in as Congressman in 1992, King flew to Belfast to meet with Gerry Adams to help initiate peace talks. He also doesn't appear to be afraid to speak his mind on a number of controversial issues so it should a very interesting summer." The internships are part of the Washington-Ireland Program – an organisation designed to give Irish students a rich insight into America's professional and social culture, through a two-month internship and an intensive course in leadership and service training, all in the heart of Washington DC. According to Donncha O Connell, Dean of Law at NUI Galway, "This is a great opportunity for the two Law students involved. The coming months are probably going to be one of the most interesting times, politically, in the US. An internship abroad at anytime is an experience which can bring huge benefits, adding a whole new dimension to a Law student s education." The Washington-Ireland Program programme aims to pick young, promising individuals, from the North and South of Ireland, who will ultimately use their unique talents in leadership and service to contribute back to their home communities and their country. This summer a total of twenty-six Irish students will have the opportunity to partake in the programme. -ends-

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Jeff Halper, one of the leading figures in the Israeli peace movement, will speak at a public seminar at 7pm, on Wednesday, 4 June, at Nun's Island Theatre, Galway City. The event is part of a speaking tour jointly organised by Trócaire, NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights, and Amnesty International Irish Section. An activist for over 30 years, Jeff Halper is credited with pioneering the use of non-violent action and civil disobedience to resist the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and mobilising international support to rebuild these houses. Halper has just published a new book, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel. Halper was Co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions which has protested the demolition of 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1969 in the Occupied Territories, in violation of international law. Speaking about the upcoming event, Dr. Vinodh Jaichand, Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, commented, "Jeff Halper is a warrior for peace in a region so torn by violence. Many who work for peace there rarely get the attention they deserve. Along with his colleagues he has chosen to stand shoulder to shoulder with oppressed Palestinian communities in the name of human rights and equality. His visit to Ireland is an opportunity for us to hear the viewpoint of Israelis who are opposing their government's actions." For further information about the evening contact Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International, on 091 533 637. -ends-

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Hundreds of NUI Galway graduates are expected to attend a special annual reunion during the weekend 6-8 June. The University has issued a worldwide invitation to the classes of 1958, 1968, 1978, 1983, 1988, and 1998 who attended UCG/NUI Galway. Highlights include a 50 Year Club dinner on the Friday and a BBQ for all six classes by the River Corrib on Saturday night. The reunion celebrations begin on Friday afternoon when the 50 Year Club/Cumann Caoga Bliain are welcomed back to campus for a luncheon in the Aula Maxima in the Quadrangle. Following lunch, a presentation of "1958 - the year that was" will be made by local historian Peadar O'Dowd, focussing on some of the highlights of that year, locally and nationally. The 50 Year Club will then be taken on a bus tour of the campus which will showcase the many new developments on campus since the 1950s. NUI Galway has grown dramatically since 1958 when there were 175 graduates. The equivalent number this year will be in the region of 4,700. The day will culminate with a reception and celebration dinner at the Galway Bay Hotel. On Saturday, 7 June at 7pm, the Annual Reunion BBQ for those celebrating 50, 40, 30, 25, 20 and 10 years since graduation takes place in the Students' Union Bar and Áras na Mac Léinn, overlooking the River Corrib. Mr. JB Terrins, Director of Alumni Relations, encourages graduates to come along, "The reunion is a wonderful opportunity to revisit the University, renew old acquaintances and see how NUI Galway has developed over the years. Many people have already booked their places with graduates returning to Galway from across the globe for this event. This annual event is driven by demand from our alumni, who want the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends." Reunion weekend comes to a close for the Class of 1958 on Sunday, 8 June, with a mass held in memory of deceased graduates in the Chapel of St. Columbanus on campus. This is followed by a farewell lunch in the Quadrangle. For further information please contact Sheila Gorham in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email or visit the reunion -ends-

Monday, 26 May 2008

A record number of over 400 students from 13 Galway secondary schools participated in this years' NUI Galway First Year Schools Competition. The art competition is part of the University Trail Access Programme designed to encourage an interest in third-level education among students in selected Secondary Schools in Galway City, County and Gaeltacht regions. The programme is supported by the HEA targeted funding for special initiatives. For the competition, the students are asked to express through the media of Art, Music, Drama and Writing why they would like to study at NUI Galway, what it would mean for them and how it would change their future. Ashla Ward, of NUI Galway's Access Office, commented, "This competition is designed primarily to start the student thinking about their future, linking their current learning status to a long-term goal and sensitising them to the whole notion of third level attainment. The competition has proved very successful over the last six years. Teachers and students have worked diligently to produce wonderful pieces of Art for the competition". At second level, NUI Galway's University Trail starts with the First Year School Competition and continues in second, third, fifth and on to the Leaving Certificate year, with a series of activities such as campus tours, mentoring and Study Skills Workshops. The main objective of the Trail is to promote regular interaction with the University and the students. The effectiveness of this initiative has been greatly enhanced with the ongoing support of management and staff in the participating schools.

Monday, 26 May 2008

An extensive research project by a team of European scientists could help develop methods of treating cancers with less toxicity than drugs currently in clinical use. The research, just published as the cover story in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology, was led by Professor Corrado Santocanale in Italy at Nerviano Medical Sciences-Oncology. Professor Santocanale is now based in Ireland with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES) at NUI Galway as Chair of Molecular Medicine. The research project was aimed at identifying protein kinase inhibitors for development into new anticancer drugs. The finding showed that a small-molecule inhibitor of Cdc7 kinase prevents DNA synthesis with a novel molecular mechanism and has anti-tumour activity. According to Professor Santocanale, "The search for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of a wide range of cancers is a key field of investigation. In this work we demonstrate for the first time the pharmacological inhibition of the Cdc7 kinase (a protein that acts as a switch to initiate DNA replication) kills tumours cells including those that have become resistant to some of the most common anticancer drugs. He continued, "Importantly we found that the treatment with a small molecule Cdc7 inhibitor lead to tumour growth inhibition in animal models. Clinical studies investigating this novel generation of drugs for the treatment of human cancers will be soon initiated and the expectation is that they will offer a novel therapeutic option to cancer patients." Professor Santocanale is currently establishing core research related to new drug targets for cancer therapy. Santocanale also aims to implement a translational research programme linking come of the basic research of the NCBES and the clinical research based in University College Hospital, Galway, with the goal of identifying potential targets for drug discovery. For Santocanale, "The most interesting part of the research process is to start with ideas originated from basic biological discoveries and see it develop into a drug that has the potential to improve the outcome of cancer patients". Professor Santocanale brings huge expertise to NUI Galway from his collaboration with Nerviano Medical Sciences, the largest pharmaceutical R&D facility in Italy, and one of the largest Oncology-focused, integrated discovery and development companies in Europe. -ends-

Monday, 26 May 2008

Ghlac an líon is mó daltaí riamh – os cionn 400 dalta – as 13 mheánscoil ar fud na Gaillimhe páirt i gComórtas Ealaíne OÉ Gaillimh do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana. Is cuid de Chlár Rochtana Conair na hOllscoile é an comórtas ealaíne atá deartha le spéis a spreagadh san oideachas tríú leibhéal i measc daltaí as Scoileanna roghnaithe i gContae, Cathair agus ceantair Ghaeltachta na Gaillimhe. Tá an tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas ag tacú leis an gclár trí spriocmhaoiniú do thionscnaimh speisialta. Fiafraíodh de dhaltaí iad féin a chur in iúl trí mheán na hEalaíne, an Cheoil, na Drámaíochta agus na Scríbhneoireachta agus léargas a thabhairt ar an gcúis ar mhaith leo freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh, céard a chiallódh sé agus cén tionchar a bheadh aige ar a dtodhchaí. Dúirt Ashla Ward, ó Oifig Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil "an comórtas seo deartha ar mhaithe le daltaí a spreagadh tosú ag smaoineamh ar a dtodhchaí, a stádas reatha foghlama a nascadh le sprioc fhadtréimhseach agus machnamh a dhéanamh ar a bheith ag staidéar ag an tríú leibhéal. D'éirigh thar cionn leis an gcomórtas seo le sé bliana anuas. Tá an-obair déanta ag múinteoirí agus ag daltaí chun píosaí ealaíne den scoth a chruthú don chomórtas". Ag an dara leibhéal, tosaíonn Clár Rochtana Conair OÉ Gaillimh le Comórtas Scoile do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana agus leantar leis an gcomórtas do dhaltaí sa dara, sa tríú, sa chúigiú bliain agus i mbliain na hArdteistiméireachta, le sraith gníomhaíochtaí cosúil le turas mórthimpeall ar an gcampas, meantóireacht agus Ceardlanna Scileanna Staidéir. Is é an príomhchuspóir a bhaineann le Conair idirghníomhaíocht rialta leis an Ollscoil agus leis na daltaí a spreagadh. Cuireadh go mór le héifeachtacht an tionscnaimh seo bunaithe ar thacaíocht leanúnach lucht bainistíochta agus comhaltaí foirne sna scoileanna rannpháirteacha. - críoch -

Friday, 23 May 2008

Science and nature education in the classroom moves into virtual territory with the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden by NUI Galway. The habitats and features of local visitor attraction, Brigit's Garden, have been digitally recreated in a 3D virtual space. The first public demonstration of the interactive Brigit's Virtual Garden takes place on Wednesday, 28 May, at 3pm in Brigit's Garden, Rosscahill, Co. Galway. Brigit's Virtual Garden is an educational tool, alive with virtual versions of the insects and plants of the 'real' garden. The user navigates the virtual space by controlling the movements of 'Rua' the fox who takes them on an interactive tour of the 3D garden. The virtual garden was designed as part of a project called the Digital Hedge School (DHS), which is a collaborative effort between Brigit's Garden and several partners from NUI Galway including the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), and the Education Department. The DHS project team have been working together for two years to create intergenerational programmes for primary, secondary, and third level students, by exploring the potential of novel technologies to enhance children's environmental education. This year's participants in the DHS project were 4th and 5th class students from St. Patrick's National School, and transition year students from the Presentation Secondary School. Students from both the Galway City schools completed an eight-week training programme in environmental peer education. The students involved in the Digital Hedge School Project spent time in Brigit's Garden taking digital photographs and drawings insects, water bugs, flowers and trees. The students were then shown how to upload their work into the virtual garden. Access to Brigit's Virtual Garden will be available to teachers involved in the project, for use in the classroom as a tool for supporting the educational experience of students visiting Brigit's Garden. "Incorporating technology into environmental education is the way forward in terms of relating to younger generations", says Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway. "The creators of Brigit's Virtual Garden have been very successful in providing a technology that stimulates children's interest in the natural environment and encourages them to step outside the classroom and explore the world around them." The collaborators look forward to celebrating the success of the hard work of all of the students involved at the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden, which is free and open to all. For more information on the project or the launch event please contact Dr. Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer for the Environmental Change Institute, on 091 495061. -ends-

Friday, 23 May 2008

NUI Galway is to hold an international conference on 5-6 June entitled 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities'. The event aims to raise fundamental questions regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by universities and other providers of higher education in Ireland and beyond. At this two day event, a range of distinguished experts will deliver presentations on issues including higher education management and policy, globalisation, linking teaching and research, and fostering civic engagement. According to Dr. Kelly Coate, Lecturer in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and conference convener, NUI Galway, "This symposium will bring together key commentators on higher education in order to pose a fundamental question: what is the purpose of universities in the 21st Century? How is this purpose changing, and what are the drivers of change? Does the university as such have a distinctive role to play in society? We want to spark debates and raise some provocative questions, and we have chosen a diverse range of high-profile plenary speakers who will give contrasting perspectives." The Symposium will be opened by Michael Kelly, Chairman, Higher Education Authority Ireland and Dr. James Browne, President, NUI Galway. In addition, there will be keynotes from Professor Mary Evans, Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics, and author of the book Killing Thinking: The Death of the Universities; and Michael Shattock, author of the OECD Review of Higher Education in Ireland and the book Managing Successful Universities. Dr. Coate added, "Some of the speakers will be quite critical of recent trends in higher education, whereas others will be advocating that certain changes are necessary. Given that some of the speakers are at the forefront of implementing these changes, we think this will be a very good opportunity to hear what they have to say and put questions to them. Participants will also get the chance to discuss some of the key issues in higher education today through workshop sessions facilitated by experts in the field." 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities' commences on Thursday, 5 June at 9am and continues on Friday 6 June, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information or to book a place visit -ends-

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A young Irish filmmaker and graduate of NUI Galway's Huston School of Film & Digital Media is among the winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. The winners were announced by Spike Lee at a ceremony during the Cannes Film Festival. The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first of its kind, and provides a unique distribution opportunity for the newest filmmaking talent. Brian Deane (29), originally from Glanmire in Cork, was awarded the Babelgum Social/Environment Award for his first movie, the short film Without Words. Along with winners from six other categories, Brian received a cheque for €20,000. Over a thousand entries from 86 countries were uploaded for this, the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. Visitors to the Babelgum website decided the competition shortlist, which was then judged by the festival jury, led by renowned director Spike Lee. The other jurors consist of film experts from across the globe, including directors of established film festivals. Last autumn, Brian graduated with an MA in Production and Direction from the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway. Commenting on Brian's win, Rod Stoneman, Director of the School, said, "Without Words is a marvellous example of an imaginative film based on an issue from Public Advocacy. With its memorable symmetrical form it focuses on the tragedy of non-communication between two friends." Founded in 2003, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media offers a range of one-year postgraduate courses in Film Studies; Screenwriting; Production and Direction; Arts Policy and Practice; Public Advocacy and Activism; and Digital Media. In autumn of 2008, the first undergraduate course offered through the CAO system will come on stream, the BA with Film Studies. Brian Deane's Without Words can be viewed on the School's website -ends-

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as Members of the Royal Irish Academy. Election to the Royal Irish Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland. Professor Nicholas Canny, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said "It is a testament to Ireland's formidable position in the academic world that the Royal Irish Academy is able to honour such a variety of exceptional scholars in the Sciences and Humanities. Ireland can be proud of these brilliant women and men who are universally recognised as leaders in the world of learning." The two new Members are Professor Christopher Dainty and Professor William Spillane. Christopher Dainty is Professor of Applied Physics. In 2007 he was awarded a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) grant to research applied optical techniques, focused on improving diagnostic methods which would lead to early diagnosis of disease in the eye and prevention of blindness in old age. William Spillane is Professor of Chemistry. His research is focused on consumer perceptions of sweet taste in food, how this affects our sensory evaluation of taste, and how to optimise taste. The criterion for election to membership is a significant contribution to scholarly or scientific research as shown in the candidate's published academic work. Membership of the Academy, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to those scientists and scholars normally resident in Ireland. The Royal Irish Academy is an all-Ireland, independent, academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is the principal learned society in Ireland. For 223 years membership of the Royal Irish Academy has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 404 Members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation MRIA after their name. Among the membership of the Academy are many of Ireland s leading scholars, the best known of whom include: Professor Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate; Dr Garret FitzGerald, economist and former Taoiseach; Dr. Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway; and Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The Academy has also more than 50 distinguished honorary Members, who in the past have included J.W. Von Goethe, Maria Edgeworth, Albert Einstein and Max Born. Today the Honorary Members include Nobel Laureates, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Sir Andrew Huxley. Further information can be found on -ENDS-

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Academic Councils of the four Universities with undergraduate medical schools, NUI Galway, TCD, UCC and UCD together with the RCSI have given their approval for new selection criteria for undergraduate entry to Medicine which adds a new test dimension to the traditional Leaving Certificate entry route. The Minister for Education and Science Batt O'Keefe TD welcomed the introduction of the new arrangements. The admission test for entry in 2009 will take place on Saturday 14 February in test centres in Cork, Dublin, Galway, the North-West and the South-East at a cost of approximately €95 per candidate. An information brochure outlining the details of the new selection criteria is being sent to all secondary schools during May 2008. Further details are available from any of the University or RCSI admissions offices. The new proposals represent the implementation of key recommendations of the Fottrell report which was approved by Government in 2006, for the reform of medical education. Under the new arrangements, students will sit a separate admissions test and their results will be combined with their Leaving Certificate Examination to create a new admission route to undergraduate medicine for 2009. As well as the mandatory subjects, a threshold of 480 points in the same sitting of the Leaving Certificate will be required to be eligible. Leaving Certificate points up to 550 will count as normal and above this level, each band of 5 points will be given 1 point extra only. For example, a student with 555 points will be credited with 551 points, a student with 560 points will be credited with 552 points. The maximum Leaving Certificate point score will translate to 560. The new admissions test is called HPAT- Ireland (Health Professions Admission Test – Ireland). The test will have a maximum score of 300. The students' marks will be combined to a total maximum achievable mark of 860. Commenting, on behalf of the Irish Medical Schools, on the new admission route Professor Bill Powderly, stressed the importance of the design of the new test. "A crucial element of the test is that it measures the student's ability rather than prepared learning and this avoids a situation whereby scores could be improved through repeated testing and grind courses." The HPAT – Ireland test which was chosen through an international tender process will be independently administered by ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research). HPAT- Ireland examines mental ability, reasoning, personal skills and professional attributes. Following the Fottrell Report (2006) Medical Education in Ireland: A New Direction, Report of the Working Group on Undergraduate Medical Education and Training, the cap on undergraduate medical places for EU students was raised from 305 to 480, spread across the four university medical schools and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. When both the undergraduate and graduate entry routes come fully on stream the annual intake to medicine for EU students will be 720. The Universities and RCSI fully support the principles of the reform outlined in the Fottrell Report and the combination of additional places and the new selection criteria for entry is good news for those competing for entry to undergraduate medicine. -ends-

Friday, 16 May 2008

Part-time degree programmes at NUI Galway will be showcased at a special information evening on Thursday, 22 May at 7pm, in the J.E. Cairnes Business School, Upper Newcastle Road, Galway. Lecturers involved in delivering the Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Commerce programmes will be on hand to offer prospective students detailed information about the courses. All three degree programmes are offered on a part-time basis and in the case of the Bachelor of Commerce and in BSc Science and Technology, via blended learning which allows for a more flexible approach to course delivery. NUI Galway has revised its Bachelor of Arts programme to offer an interesting mix of specialist subjects including English, History, French and Information Technology. Delivered by the University's College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, in association with the Adult and Continuing Education Office, the programme is available over four years with classes offered in the evenings. Students are awarded a Diploma in Arts after two years with a Bachelor of Arts conferred on completion of the full four-year cycle. The Bachelor of Commerce programme is also a joint venture between the Adult and Continuing Education Office and the Faculty of Commerce. It can be pursued either to a Diploma in Management over two years, or to a full Bachelor of Commerce degree after four years study. "The BSc Science and Technology is designed for students who cannot afford to leave the workplace to pursue full time education", explains programme co-ordinator Niamh Nolan of NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office. "The diploma consists of 20 modules that must be completed between two and four years. Following successful completion of the diploma, students can continue to degree level which requires the completion of a further 20 modules that must be completed between two and four years". According to Nuala McGuinn at the Adult and Continuing Education Office, NUI Galway, "The information evening will outline each programme's content, the structure of each course and teaching timetable. There will also be time set aside for a question and answer session in what is an hour-long lecture event. Lecturers will also be available to meet with students following the event to answer any other questions relevant to the programmes". For further details on the Information Evening contact the Adult and Continuing Education Office at NUI Galway on 091 492062 or 091493746 or visit -ends-

Thursday, 15 May 2008

A Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator grant of €3.5 million has been awarded to NUI Galway's Professor Noel Lowndes for his research into the biology of cancer. Professor Lowndes is Head of the Department of Biochemistry at NUI Galway and founding Director of the Genome Stability Cluster, which is part of the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). The Genome Stability Cluster (GSC) is an international assembly of independent cancer biology laboratories, unique within Ireland, all working on basic cellular mechanisms involved in the development of cancer. Currently, it employs more than 40 researchers who are focused on increasing our understanding of cell cycle control and cellular responses to DNA damage. With this most recent award, the GSC has now been funded to the tune of €15 million since 2002. According to Professor Lowndes, this level of funding has followed the rapid establishment of ten independent laboratories within the Genome Stability Cluster at NUI Galway, giving Ireland an international presence in this field, "The Genome Stability Cluster is an NUI Galway initiative that firmly puts Ireland on the map in an area of science of fundamental importance to cancer. We have achieved the essential critical mass to make a real impact in this field and the future promises important strides in our understanding of this major killer." As a disease, cancer is characterised by abnormally elevated levels of genome instability. The latest grant will finance a team of ten researchers on a five-year research programme focusing on the fundamental biological response of genes and proteins to DNA damage. Professor Lowndes continued, "A detailed understanding of the many biochemical pathways that regulate genome stability will significantly enhance our knowledge of cancer and will lead to both better diagnosis of cancer and better prognosis of their outcomes. Importantly, it will also lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic interventions and the next generation of cancer therapies that target specific cancers at the molecular level. All cancers have defects in genome stability pathways and knowledge of the status of these pathways in patients will also impact on cancer prevention and pre-emptive treatments." The work will be performed in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Flaus, NCBES, NUI Galway, and world renowned scientists from the USA and Japan, including: Professor Don Hunt, Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, USA; Professor, Shunichi Takeda, Department of Radiation Genetics, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan; and Professor Eva Nogales, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Berkeley, USA. The establishment of the GSC would not have been possible without funding from Science Foundation Ireland, which has so far awarded major programme grants to six members of the cluster. Significant funding has also been obtained from the Health Research Board, the Higher Education authority and the European Union, with smaller amounts from Cancer Research Ireland, the Wellcome Trust (UK) and the National Institute of Health (USA). The GSC complements two other multidisciplinary research clusters at the NCBES, which are focused on Apoptosis (cell death) and Breast Cancer. All are working to understand the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer, and to develop new and better cancer therapies. -ends-

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and Leitrim County Council have announced that the second John McGahern International Seminar will take place from 24-26 July, 2008, to commemorate the work and literary achievements of one of Ireland's best known and internationally respected modern writers. The first International Seminar was held in County Leitrim in 2007 and was attended by more than 100 participants from Ireland and overseas. Speakers at the 2008 International Seminar and Summer School will include eminent writers, critics and academics as well as local contributors. The keynote address - John McGahern's Irelands - will be delivered by Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh of NUI Galway. Other speakers will include Professor Christopher Murray, UCD; Professor David Malcolm, University of Gdansk, Poland; Dr Patrick Gilligan, dramatist; Irish writer Claire Keegan; and the Argentinean poet and translator, Gerardo Gambolini, who has just finished translating McGahern's stories into Spanish. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern's own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture. In addition to this years Seminar, NUI Galway has organised an intensive one week International Summer School on John McGahern's work and its contexts. This summer programme will form part of the 25th International Summer School in Irish Studies at NUI Galway. The John McGahern International Summer School is designed for advanced level students and researchers who are interested in the writings of John McGahern and his life and times in 20th Century Ireland. The Summer School will take place at the County Library, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, the week after the Seminar. Contributors to the Summer School, directed by Dr. John Kenny of NUI Galway, will include Ms Belinda McKeon of Columbia University, New York; Dr James Whyte, author of History, Myth and Ritual in the Fiction of John McGahern; and Dr. Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies, Liverpool. Speaking at the announcement of the 2008 International Seminar and Summer School, Damien Brennan, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, said, "Last year, the first International Seminar was a great success, both in its own right, but also in terms of laying foundations for the future. In this second year, it is wonderful to see the programme develop to incorporate The John McGahern Summer School in Ballinamore. Between the International Seminar and the Summer School, we now have the opportunity to facilitate both academic and general readers to engage richly with the work of John McGahern." John McGahern had a long association with University College Galway, now NUI Galway. For over 30 years he contributed to courses at the University, including the University's International Summer School. He directed the National Writers' Workshop in Galway in 1979 and 1989. His extensive archive is now held in the James Hardiman Library at the University. Speaking at the announcement of the Second International Seminar and Summer School, President of NUI Galway, Dr. James Browne, said, "On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to support the expansion and development of the John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School. Leitrim and the North-West of Ireland form a unique and important backdrop to the McGahern canon. At NUI Galway we share in this geography, and by being the repository for the papers of John McGahern we feel that our University is holding in trust a treasure for the world of literary scholarship." "Through initiatives such as the International Seminar and Summer School we are working to broaden access to the University s literary scholarship and archival treasures, by sharing these with a wider audience in Leitrim and the West of Ireland. I wish the McGahern International Summer School and Seminar every success and I welcome the continued partnership of Leitrim County Council in this culturally important endeavour." This year's Seminar will also see the launch of the first number of The John McGahern Yearbook. Speaking at the announcement of the publication, Dr John Kenny, Editor, said, "In close relation with the Seminar and Summer School, this new annual publication will be a regular testament to NUI Galway's commitment to the work of John McGahern and to the University's McGahern Archive. The Yearbook will link the local, the national and the international in the study of John McGahern and will combine accessibility with serious scholarship". For further details on The John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School contact 091-495442 or visit ENDS

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Secondary school students from all over Ireland participated in the inaugural final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition on Friday, 9 May, at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland. After several closely fought debates, Ballincollig Community School, Co. Cork, emerged victorious to become the first ever Debating Science Issues winners. Other national finalists included Gort Community College, Co. Galway, St Colman's College Newry, and St Mary's Academy CBS Carlow Town. DSI is a dynamic debating competition, which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides a great opportunity for students to expand their communication and scientific skills. This All-Ireland competition is unique in involving a number of research centres and secondary schools throughout the country; REMEDI, NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; CRANN in Trinity College Dublin; RCSI, Dublin and W5 in Belfast. Judges on the day included Frank Gannon, SFI; Brian Trench, Head of School of Communications, DCU; Dick Ahlstrom, Science Editor, The Irish Times; Siobhan O' Sullivan, The Irish Council for Bioethics; Tom Kennedy, Editor of Science Spin; Oonagh Meighan, Discover Science and Engineering and Cormac Sheridan, Science Journalist. "We hope that this collaborative outreach competition will be a useful tool in facilitating increased awareness of the important research taking place in Ireland among young people and the Irish public in general", said Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI. "It is imperative, however, that this is not one-way traffic. While it is important for research centres to communicate to the public, it is equally important for us, as scientists, to listen to what the public, including young people, think of our work. At a time when scientific research itself is taking so many different directions, it is critical that we open the doors for discussion so that we can ensure that everyone has their say on the societal and ethical implications of biomedical research". -ends-

Monday, 12 May 2008

NUI Galway will celebrate 20 years of success in biodiagnostics research and development on Saturday, 17 May, with a symposium reflecting on the University's leadership in supporting and collaborating with Ireland's BioIndustry. The University is a world leader in molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases. Molecular diagnostic technologies have been licensed to companies who are market leaders in this area. Recently, NUI Galway launched a four year R&D partnership with Beckman Coulter Inc. to develop molecular diagnostic products for the clinical sector. NUI Galway has worked with industry to develop new, breakthrough biodiagnostic technologies which have successfully entered the marketplace. The University has trained graduates in industry-relevant skills, in particular immunoassay* and molecular diagnostics technologies providing skilled scientists to meet Irish BioIndustry work-force needs. "Over the past 20 years biodiagnostics expertise at NUI Galway has been instrumental in spawning a number of indigenous diagnostics companies and, because of the availability of trained personnel, in the attraction of major multinational diagnostic companies to Ireland," says Dr. Jim Walsh, CEO, Stokes Bio. According to Professor Terry Smith, Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), "The last 20 years has seen huge advances in the fields of bio-science and biodiagnostics which has been reflected in the growth of the industry in Ireland. The University has kept pace with these advances amassing critically relevant expertise in these areas as well as broadening the R&D base to include new research areas such as glycosciences, biosensors and nanotechnology. NUI Galway will continue to work closely with Ireland's BioIndustry to support and contribute to the development of world-class BioIndustries in Ireland." Special guests at the symposium will include Professor Frank Gannon, Science Foundation Ireland; Dr. Jim Walsh, Stokes Bio; Dr. Patrick Cunningham, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government; and Dr. Bruce Wallace, Beckman Coulter Inc. The meeting will be chaired by Feargal Ó Móráin from Enterprise Ireland who will be addressing issues including the importance of industry and academic collaborative interaction and the role NUI Galway has played in the development of the Irish BioIndustry sector. The event takes place on Saturday at the Salthill Hotel, Galway from 2-5pm, for further information contact Dr. Marian Kane (Tel. 091-492071 or e-mail -ends-

Monday, 12 May 2008

An Information Evening about part-time courses offered by NUI Galway takes place on Tuesday, 20 May from 7.30–8.30pm at the Clare Education Centre, Kilrush Road, Ennis. Full details will be available about Diplomas the University delivers in Ennis, and also the range of distance learning courses which combine on-line materials with face-to-face seminars. The four Diplomas which make up the 'Ennis Diploma Series' 2008/09 run on a part-time basis over two years and require class attendance one evening per week. Students can undertake the following courses: Diploma in French; Diploma in German; Diploma in Irish Music Studies; or a Diploma in Irish. For the language courses, even those with no previous knowledge of the language are invited to apply. A tuition fee of €1,025 applies for 2008/09 entry and the deadline for applications is 27 June. Nuala McGuinn of NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office comments, "Whether you feel passionate about Irish music and language, are keen to improve your French or German, or you just want to take a course for your own interest and enjoyment - it is well worth exploring the Diploma programmes on offer in the Ennis Diploma Series". NUI Galway also offers a range of flexible, part-time distance learning programmes at a variety of tutorial centres in the west of Ireland. These programmes, which can be studied at foundation level through to Masters, are designed so that individuals can study at their own pace. The courses are delivered using a combination of online materials, tutorials and seminars. Courses available through distance learning include: Commerce; Community and Family Studies; Innovation Management; Social Care; Science and Technology Studies; and Software and Information Systems. Tutors for these courses will be available at the information evening to provide further information and answer any questions from prospective students. Nuala McGuinn added, "Our message on 20 May is that NUI Galway is bringing more and more courses to Clare and surrounding counties. We have had huge demand and success in the past with the Ennis Diploma Series. The next step is combining use of the internet with local tutorial centers to literally take third-level education to everyone's doorstep". For further details on the Information Evening or to obtain a copy of the new prospectus from the Adult and Continuing Education Programme, contact 091-492062 or visit -ends-