Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway today (Tuesday) launched a major fundraising initiative entitled the People & Place Campaign, to secure €50million in private support for the continued development of the University. At an event to launch the campaign, the President, gave details of 24 projects, which will require a total investment of €250million over five years. Commenting at the launch of the campaign, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said "We have facilities in this University that are in urgent need of investment and we require €250million to deliver on this development plan. NUI Galway is committed to delivering one-fifth of this investment from its own fundraising programme. Fundraising is not intended as a replacement for public funding but to provide seed capital for new areas of research and teaching and to make an often vital contribution toward major buildings and facilities," he said. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh also spoke about the need to remind people about the important role of philanthropy as an agent for change. "We have a job to do in Ireland to educate this generation to the benefits of philanthropy. We still lag behind the United States and other European countries in terms of our overall giving. In terms of this campaign, we are encouraging people to consider the private gain that comes from education and are in turn, urging them to give something back." The €250million development plan for NUI Galway is based on extensive consultation with faculty members and feedback from corporate and community partners. It includes major new buildings for engineering, business and law, as well as new research centres and student facilities. "This ambitious capital development plan can only be realised with financial support from Government and other sources", said Ó Muircheartaigh. New academic programmes to be funded include fine arts, film, music and a radical new initiative to provide recognition for student voluntarism. One of the major aims is to develop the Irish language centres in Gweedore, Carraroe and Carna. The People & Place Campaign will be led by Galway University Foundation (GUF) and will constitute an ongoing high profile outreach to graduates, friends and supporters worldwide. John McNamara, Chairman of GUF, said that a great deal of work had gone into planning the campaign and he was confident a strong team and mechanisms were in place to achieve the €50million goal. He extended an invitation to all who share an affection for Galway and who believe in a strong and vibrant University in the West of Ireland, to become involved in as meaningful a way as possible. Pledges and commitments totalling €27million, raised in the pre-launch phase of the campaign, were announced. Mr Gerry Hanley, Chairperson of the Alumni Association, said that graduates would be delighted to see the University drive forward in this way, as much of the physical infrastructure is in need of upgrading and investment. He invited the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide to participate themselves as donors. Tony McDonnell, President of the Students Union said that he was proud that the students (nearly 14,000 in total) had given their backing by endorsing in a recent referendum the payment of a levy which would help provide a key element of the financing for the new sports and cultural facilities. Further information is available on www.nuigalway.ie/foundation ends

Thursday, 4 March 2004

The Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), Department of Philosophy, NUI Galway, in association with the Irish Council of Bioethics, will hold a Symposium on Genetics and Disability in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway from the 10th-12th, March 2004. Internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of genetics and disability who will be speaking at the symposium include John Harris, Julian Savulescu, Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Tom Shakespeare and Jonathan Wolff. Each will give a public lecture. Lectures open to the public will be held at lunchtimes and early evenings throughout the symposium. It is hoped that there will be wide interest in the lectures, which will tackle important ethical questions to do with advances in genetic technologies and their relation to disability issues. "This is simply a world class event", commented COBRA s Director, Dr Richard Hull. "Many important ethical questions are raised given that advances in genetic technologies might affect how we respond to or treat impairment, both medically and as a society. They might even affect how we define disability to start with. We are delighted to have such an excellent line-up of speakers tackling this critical area of bioethical debate." Issues which will be addressed at the Conference include the following: How should society treat people with disabilities? How and to what effect should genetic technologies be employed in the future? Is there a moral obligation to eradicate disability where we can? Is it wrong to deliberately create a child with a disability where we could instead have created a different child without a disability? How should research on those with disabilities be properly conducted, if at all? Is it possible or desirable to define an acceptable range of human capability when considering the potential uses (or abuses) of genetic technology? Ends

Thursday, 29 April 2004

The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today (29th April 2004) announced plans to develop a new €16 million School of Business on campus at the University. An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, TD was present to officially turn the sod for the 4000 square metre facility which is due for completion by September 2005. The development of a new business school at NUI Galway has been made possible through a combination of PRTLI, EU and private funding, led by a €4.5 million donation by Atlantic Philanthropies. Additional funding is anticipated through further donations and expansion of the overseas visiting student programme, with increased numbers of students from the US and Europe. This new facility will be part of the Faculty of Commerce, which has grown rapidly in recent years to 1600 undergraduate and postgraduate students and over 50 full time staff. The business school is an important development for the West of Ireland and will add much needed support to local industry to drive innovation and change in the entire BMW region. The school will provide world-class business education and the infrastructure necessary to accelerate the development of a knowledge-based economy in the West. The new Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (CISC), which will be located at the business school, is responsible for examining science, technology and innovation processes that are central to the development of this knowledge-based economy. Commenting on the development of the new business school, the President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "This new business school is the key to realising the vision for world-class business education and research in the West of Ireland. Through its innovative approach to learning and research, the business school will enhance competitiveness in the West of Ireland. Infrastructure projects like these are necessary to transform the local economy into a knowledge-based economy which will accelerate development and growth in this region. Professor Roy Green, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce added, "The Faculty of Commerce at NUI Galway has long been recognised as one of the leading business faculties in the country, producing some of Ireland's leading business people and public administrators. We will work closely and collaborate with industry to provide programmes that will deliver the business leaders of the future, building on our well regarded Bachelor of Commerce, MBA, Masters in Technology Management and a range of other programmes. We also have an exciting programme of research that will consolidate NUI Galway's role as a centre of excellence in the understanding of innovation and the knowledge-based economy." The new business school facility will accommodate up to 500 postgraduate students, 120 undergraduate students in a new Business Information Systems degree and 100 researchers, significantly increasing current capacity. In collaboration with local industry, it is also expected that existing programmes will be expanded to suit specific industry requirements. Programmes under consideration include an MBA in Healthcare Management, a Masters in European Business and Policy and executive programmes through global university alliances. In a separate development at the University today, An Taoiseach also launched a new Webcasting service for communities throughout the West of Ireland and beyond. In line with the commitment of NUI Galway's strategic plan (2003-2008), the purpose of this service is to ensure that the University's programmes and events are available to individuals in geographically dispersed areas. The public element of the Webcasting Service is being developed as a strand of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which aims to promote greater civic engagement across the university and strengthen university-community links. NUI Galway is piloting the service with its CKI partner, IRD-Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, now able to exploit their broadband connectivity to avail of guest lectures, specialist events and particular course materials from the University. "The rural community will greatly benefit from this initiative. People will now be able to avail of a number of relevant academic programmes without leaving their own locality. Clearly this will help to keep people in their native area, thereby sustaining the social and economic fabric of these communities with a consequent impact on employment and improvement of the quality of life," said Joe Kelly, Chief Executive of IRD Kiltimagh Ltd. "NUI Galway has a long tradition in community and regional development," said University President, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. "We can now exploit the latest technology to deliver University programmes to remote areas and empower communities to equip themselves with the knowledge and expertise hitherto unavailable to them." While in NUI Galway, An Taoiseach was also briefed on plans for a new School of Engineering, which will consolidate the University's four engineering departments under one roof. The €53 million project is designed to provide the most modern facilities for teaching and research which will be a significant resource for the west region. The launch of web-casting facilities will be broadcast live on: http://www.nuigalway.ie/webcast Ends

Wednesday, 7 April 2004

What do we gain from hoaxes? Why do writers, artists and film-makers often set out to trick us? What is the precise nature of the relationship between seduction, deception and art? These are the kind of questions that will be tackled by some fifty international speakers at a bilingual French-English conference to take place in NUI Galway on the 16 and 17 April 2004. Members of the public are invited to attend the two keynote lectures of the conference, organised by the Department of French of the University. Both lectures will take place in Lecture Theatre IT-125, Information Technology Building. On Friday (April 16 at 9.30 a.m.), Jean-François Jeandillou, France's leading expert on literary hoaxes, will present a keynote lecture, 'La Supercherie littéraire en images', on the way in which fake portraits — paintings, photographs, even statues — have served, in the past, as supposed proofs of the existence of imaginary authors. Jeandillou also claims to be in the process of translating the Songs of Ossian into Swahili and to have been awarded the prestigious title of Honorary President of the International Association of Trickery Studies. However, conference organisers are reluctant either to confirm or deny these impressive assertions. The second keynote lecture will be delivered on Saturday (April 17th at 1.30 p.m.), by Malcolm Bowie, internationally renowned for his numerous publications on, among others, Lacan, Proust and Mallarmé. Bowie was awarded the Truman Capote prize for Literary Criticism in 2001 for his book Proust among the Stars (Cambridge University Press, 2001). The title of Bowie's paper will be 'Mallarmé, Psychoanalysis and "Mystery in Literature"'. Further details of the conference are available on the French Department's web site at (http://www.nuigalway.ie/french/trickery). Ends

Tuesday, 6 April 2004

eNable SME Workshop at NUI Galway A workshop designed to encourage and facilitate Irish businesses in the area of innovation, technology and eBusiness, will take place in NUI Galway, on Wednesday 19th May from 10.30 am until 4 pm. Hosted by the University's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), the workshop, which is free of charge, will take place in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) seminar room. A light lunch will be provided for participants. According to Ralf Burbach, CISC researcher, the purpose of the workshop is to present new technology solutions, purposely designed to advance SMEs to a full player in a virtual supply chain. "Interested representatives of SMEs and large enterprises alike are cordially invited to attend this workshop," he says. Presentations will be delivered under these headings: Human Resource Information Systems Audit Tools Stimulating Growth through Managed Innovation and Change - Online! A framework for e-business enablement. The demonstrations will allow participants to assess their own company's key business-to-business and human resource competences. This workshop is the culmination of a research project entitled "eNable SMEs", which comprises an internationally recognised team of researchers, all based at NUI Galway. This a non-commercial venture and has been funded by Enterprise Ireland with the specific objective of assisting Irish organisations. It includes the following components: Human Resource Information Systems led by the CISC; Cost effective internet-based solutions for project portfolio management, led by the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit (CIMRU); and Low cost digital virtual supply chain solutions, led by the Information Technology Department (ITD). If you would like to attend, please contact Ralf Burbach at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change by phone (091 512 413), or by e-mail: cisc@nuigalway.ie Ends

Monday, 31 May 2004

Scholars from all over the world will attend the Fourth Galway Conference on Colonialism, which will be held at NUI Galway, from 2-5 June 2004. The theme of this year's conference is 'India and Ireland' and the distinguished visitors will include established and emerging scholars from India as well as some of the outstanding scholars in the world of cultural and colonial studies from Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom and North America. The conference is dedicated to the memory of the late Edward Said, whose provocative and pioneering work in the area of colonial and post-colonial studies continues to inform the work of scholars working in those areas. Edward Said had close connections with NUI Galway and was honoured by the University when he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Literature in June 1999. According to Dr. Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies which is hosting the conference, "This event will bring together the most exciting scholars in the field of culture and colonialism". Topics to be addressed during the four-day conference include the role that Irish soldiers, administrators and civil servants played in the building of the Raj; the relationship between Irish republicanism and Indian nationalism; Irish religious missionaries and the notion of a 'spiritual empire'; Indian pariahs and Irish 'tinkers'; borders and partitions; newspapers and national identities; and India and the Brehon Laws. Distinguished guest speakers will include Aijaz Ahmad from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dipesh Chakrabarty from the University of Chicago, Luke Gibbons from the University of Notre Dame, and Joe Cleary from NUI Maynooth. Among the more intriguing titles in the conference programme are 'The "Pickled Earl": Richard Southwell Bourke, Earl of Mayo', 'Tea, Power, and the Colonial Body', 'Mother India/Mother Ireland', 'The Famine Queen Visits India', 'Shades of Difference: Towards an Analysis of the Resemblances Between the Orange and Saffron Orders in Northern Ireland and India', and 'Orientalism and Celticism Unplugged: The Suffering Indian Nun and the Drunken Irish Priest in Local Catholic Lore'. The conference proceedings will also include a reading by Cauvery Madhaven, author of Paddy Indian, at Galway Arts Centre, and the launch of a new book by Luke Gibbons entitled Gaelic Gothic, published by Arlen House for the Centre for Irish Studies. The conference programme is available at: www.nuigalway.ie/research/centre_irish_studies/india_ireland%20conf.htm Ends

Monday, 24 May 2004

Semantic web to revolutionise the way we do business by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies The National University of Ireland, Galway today (May 24th 2004) announced details of a major research programme into a new generation of web technology. This world leading research programme will be undertaken at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) already established within the University campus. The programme benefits from the close collaboration and substantial support of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited (HPGL). NUI Galway has received a €12m grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as part of the government led programme to develop a knowledge-based economy. The investment will establish NUI Galway as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the field of Semantic Web research. DERI will eventually involve over 70 full time researchers from both NUI Galway and Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited. HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. At an event in NUI Galway to officially launch DERI, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD, said, "This project brings together leading academic researchers with their counterparts in Hewlett Packard Galway in a globally competitive research cluster. I understand that in recommending funding for DERI, the site review panel of international experts stated that this activity has the potential to become the world's best in this field. This is one of the first SFI CSETs (Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology), which have been established by SFI to fund researchers who will build collaborative efforts that develop internationally competitive research programmes with researchers from industry. These awards, in linking academic researchers with industry partners, play a significant role in building Ireland's new knowledge-driven economy." The principle behind the Semantic Web research cluster is to afford easier and more accurate access to desired information for people than is possible with today's search engines and for computers to automatically process and integrate information available across the worldwide web. Related research presently being undertaken at DERI includes Semantic Web Services, Knowledge Management, Enterprise Application Integration and how the Semantic Web and related services can be applied to improve future eCommerce.* (See note to Editors). Commenting on this new generation of technology, Professor Dieter Fensel, Director of DERI said, "The development of the Semantic Web will be as revolutionary as the original development of the web itself. Although still in its infancy, research indicates that the Semantic Web will revolutionise the way we do business by delivering global cost savings and efficiencies. It is estimated that the time spent using web technology will be dramatically reduced within the next five years, resulting in significantly lower costs for users. It will also deliver greater choice and better pricing structures for consumers and business. "Our work at DERI will transform eCommerce over the web. When most people think of eCommerce, they think of B2C, in fact B2B accounts for a much larger proportion of revenue generated directly by eCommerce. Ultimately, consumers and businesses will be provided with a level of choice unimaginable years ago at much more competitive prices. For example, when making an inquiry into the purchase of a corporate business trip, the purchaser will not only get information on the best deal but also the best deal on all associated services such as car hire, accommodation, all at the touch of a button." The new technology will augment HTML based web language with languages such as XML, RDF, and OWL, which will involve tagging, eventually enabling purchasers to comparison shop across different websites. "This will eventually result in greater but more specific choice. It will enable consumers to get the best price and the best deal and will rank service offers according to the criteria a consumer has specified," says Fensel. Rory O'Connor, Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard Galway Limited, said, "We are now moving into a very exciting phase in the development of the Semantic Web, which is a vision for the future of the Internet. The collaboration of industry and academia provides an ideal platform for the development of this new technology. "The sharing of ideas and personnel will greatly enhance the potential of DERI as a world-class leader in the development of this web technology. This research is vital to the way we will manage the explosion of information on the internet and for Ireland to be pioneering research in this area is a significant development for the whole area of R&D in this country." DERI has also developed strong academic links with the Next Web Generation Group at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, through joint projects headed by Prof. Fensel. There are plans to foster an extensive researcher exchange programme with this Group. Further information available at www.deri.ie ends

Thursday, 20 May 2004

Considerable national resources have been invested in research, particularly in science and technology, in recent years, over €2 billion for the period of the current National Development Plan: but how do we evaluate the impacts of that research, on the economy and on society more generally? An international one-day conference on Research and the Knowledge-based Society will examine this important issue at NUI Galway, on Monday, 24 May 2004. The Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation highlighted the need "to disseminate information on, and the results of, indicators and evaluation techniques through publications and conferences" in its Statement 'Measuring the Contribution of Research' (2002). This conference is an essential implementation of this key ICSTI recommendation. Ireland will critically depend on the application of research and innovation in industry for continuing future success and the economic stability and growth that will benefit society. Research is essential for a high quality education system. Good evaluation is critical in balanced policy making, helping to optimise the use of taxpayers money. Governments and citizens naturally wish to see realistic returns on the public funds invested in research. The research community can benefit greatly from focussed evaluation of their own work, and the opportunity continually to learn from good practice. To explore these issues, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI) and Forfás, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (NUI Galway), are bringing together policy makers, researchers, technologists, industrialists, fund managers and professional evaluators for this one-day European conference to: Engage the research community in debate about evaluation Inform the research community about international practice amongst evaluators and Increase the awareness of policy makers about research evaluation and indicators. Dr Edward M Walsh, Chairman of Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated that "Global competition in the knowledge age is tougher than ever before. If Ireland is to build on its past success and prosper in the emerging knowledge age it must demonstrate a strong research competence. The recent major commitment of public funding to build such competence is a most important initiative and if Ireland is to fully benefit from the investment, appropriate systems that measure and evaluate the outcomes must be put in place". Speakers at the conference include the Chairperson of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Don Thornhill, and the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Bill Harris as well as a range of top international research evaluation experts. Conference details at: http://www.forfas.ie/icsti/mayevent.html Ends

Friday, 14 May 2004

The University outlines key achievements in the first year of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008) - Key Achievements 2003-2004 include: * A total of €68 million raised through PRTLI funding and €27million through CSETs to develop research programmes * SFI awards amounting to €11 million * Plans to develop €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre * Introduction of new structures to sustain Irish medium education * Alliance with IDP Australia to recruit international pool of students * Continued focus on access based initiatives including development of web based programmes Key Priorities 2004-2005: * Physical development and reorientation of Campus * Essential priority remains securing funding to develop a new €53m engineering facility * Completion of new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences Building by September 2005 * Development of innovative programmes to attract High Quality Irish and International Students One year on, following the launch by the National University of Ireland, Galway of its €250 million Strategic Plan (2003-2008), which outlined seven Strategic Priorities to form the strategic direction of the University and to tackle the challenges facing NUI Galway and the third level sector as a whole, The President of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, today, (May 14th 2004) updated on progress following the implementation of the priorities set out for completion in the first year of the plan. The most significant development has been made in enhancing the University's strengths in the Research area. NUI Galway is one of only three universities to have had success in all three cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). A total sum of €68 million has been awarded to the University under this initiative. In addition, NUI Galway is the only university in Ireland to have been awarded two CSETs. The first of €12 million was awarded to establish the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) and the second of €15 million, to establish the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Funding of €11 million has also been awarded in all other Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) programmes. The second priority in the first year of the Plan has been to introduce a number of initiatives to improve student life. Part of this involves the development of the Physical Infrastructure on campus. Developments are well advanced to commence the construction of a €35 million Sports and Cultural Centre and architects have been appointed to draw up plans. The student body has agreed a levy that will contribute towards the Centre while €18 million has already been raised towards the project through private philanthropy. Plans are also underway to reorientate the campus and to develop a new entrance to the University. A new €16 million business school and new Nursing, Health and Social Sciences building are due for completion by September 2005. Commenting on the developments to date, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, The President of NUI Galway said, "This has been a year of development for NUI Galway in what has been a very challenging time for the University sector as a whole. We have witnessed a year in which we have had to broaden our thinking and develop new ways to forge ahead with the implementation of this Strategic Plan. Despite these challenges, we have made significant progress in proceeding with our aims and objectives of developing a University which has, at its core, the ability to attract high quality Irish and international students and is also one of the leaders in the research field both in Ireland and internationally, as evidenced by the quality of the research programmes underway here. This Strategic Plan (2003-2008) is a blueprint for change. This management team will continue to meet the strategic aims of this University by responding to this changing landscape within the third level education sector in Ireland. We will witness, not just a changing physical infrastructure within this campus over the next number of years, but we will also be adapting by developing new and innovative ways to respond to a competitive marketplace both for students and research. Significant challenges lie ahead. We will attempt to face these head on by delivering on each of the seven strategic priorities outlined in this plan. Delivery of these will result in a University that is on the national and international radar for its accomplishments in the Research field and in the development of a University that is student focussed and is producing a calibre of student that is amongst the best in Ireland. Our key priority for next year will be to secure funding to develop an engineering facility to enable us to accommodate a growing number of students and retain our status as one of the leading engineering faculties in the country." The third priority for the first year of the Strategic Plan has been to introduce new structures for the sustainable development of Irish medium education. To this end, Acadamh na hOllscolaiochta Gaeilge has been established to develop University courses through the medium of Irish, both on campus and at the University's three Gaeltacht centres. Appointments to senior positions including those of CEO, Academic Co-ordinator of an tAcadamh and Head of Management, have been made. Amongst other achievements in the year under review include the establishment of an international office to coordinate admission of overseas students. In addition, NUI Galway has engaged the services of IDP Australia to recruit students from Asia, Middle East and South America. With these initiatives underway, it is hoped to increase the number of international students to 5% in 2005. Student retention has also been enhanced through the development of programmes in study skills, learning skills and time management. Ends

Friday, 25 June 2004

At a conferring ceremony in NUI Galway today (June 25th 2004), honorary degrees were conferred upon Professor Roy Foster, Lex Friedan, Philippe Kirsch and John Mannion. The individuals, who have been carefully considered and selected for conferring, have each made significant input to society either in the area of human rights or through their scholarly contribution to the area of humanities. NUI Galway is renowned for creating a research centre of excellence in both of these areas, through its Centre for Human Rights and Human Settlement and Historical Change. In recognising the accomplishments and contributions that each individual has made to society during their lifetime, The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said: "Each of these individuals in their own way, has made a significant contribution to society and to altering and enhancing the lives of many. This has been achieved through their work, views, beliefs and unfaltering commitment which has enabled them to achieve personal objectives which have been for the benefit of others. NUI Galway is a university which has long supported ideals which promote research excellence, both in the areas of Human Rights and Historical studies and for this reason, we are proud today to honour the work of all of these individuals." Judge Philippe Kirsch is the first president of the International Criminal Court. Established in 2003, the creation of the International Criminal Court is perhaps the most important new international organisation to be established since the United Nations. Philippe Kirsch directed the complex negotiations around the creation of the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that the Court will have initial jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford University and has a highly distinguished record in historical scholarship. Originally from Waterford, he is a graduate of TCD and has published many works on Irish history including his best-selling book Modern Ireland, 1600-1972. Lex Friedan is the Chairperson of US National Disability Council and senior Vice-President at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) at Houston, Texas. Friedan has been at the forefront of encouraging Governments across the world to become engaged in the drafting of the new United Nations treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. So much so, his work in this area resulted in a unique civil rights law in the field of disability in the Kennedy – Johnson Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing all forms of discrimination against persons with disability. He has held six different professorships in the fields of community medicine and rehabilitation. John Mannion of St. John's Memorial University, Newfoundland, has made it his life's work to document and study all aspects of the Irish migration to Newfoundland. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and University of Toronto where he completed his doctorate. His book, Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation is recognised as the principal scholarly monograph on the cultural heritage of the Irish in Newfoundland. The conferring of honorary degrees takes place today (Friday, 25th June 2004) at noon in Àras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. Ends

Friday, 18 June 2004

An internationally prestigious scientific workshop on 'Mechanisms of Genomic Integrity', hosted by the Genome Stability Cluster, NUI Galway, will take place in Glenlo Abbey, Galway, from June 21 to June 24. "This workshop, supported by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and Science Foundation Ireland, will bring together world leaders for the premiere international conference of the year in this field," said Professor Noel Lowndes, of NUI Galway's Genome Stability Laboratory. Genetic instability underlies numerous human diseases, most significantly cancer, as the alteration of the genome carries with it the possibility of generating proteins with the abnormal or uncontrolled functions characteristic of tumours. "This is a fast-moving field in modern biology, especially following the completion of the genome project," according to Dr Ciaran Morrison, Genome Stability Laboratory, NUI Galway. "A particular theme of the workshop is how cells deal with the DNA damage that results from sunlight, ionizing radiation or cancer causing chemicals." This is the first workshop supported by EMBO to be held in Ireland since 1995 and the first to be held in Galway. Hosting of such workshops is highly competitive and reflects the excellence of the scientific cast assembled for the event. The workshop is being organised by Professor Noel Lowndes, Dr. Ciaran Morrison, Dr. Michael Carty and Dr. Heinz-Peter Nasheuer from the Genome Stability Cluster in the Department of Biochemistry, NUI Galway, together with Dr. Tomas Lindahl, the deputy-director of Cancer Research UK and Dr. Maria Pia Longhese, of the University of Milan. Ends

Monday, 14 June 2004

A new publication of selected works from NUI Galway's art collection will be launched today (Monday), by Patrick T. Murphy Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy. "Imaging Ireland" contains fifty colour plates, selected and annotated by Sioban Piercey and Ger O'Brien and includes works by Mainie Jellett, Gerard Dillon, Grace Henry, Seamus Murphy, Charles Lamb, George Russell, Walter Osbourne, Norah McGuinness and many others. Exquisitely designed, Imaging Ireland features an introduction by Peter Murray, curator of the Crawford Municipal Gallery and a brief history of the collection by Ger O'Brien. The University's art collection is a result of bequests, donations, commissions and acquisitions over the last hundred years. Many interested parties including the Galway Art Gallery Committee, Corrib Art Society, Friends of the National Collections and The Haverty Trust, were instrumental in securing notable works. During the last three years, the University Art Collection has been re-appraised, restored, cleaned, photographed and documented. The results reveal a collection of national significance. A distinct pattern may be determined – the development of modern Irish Art alongside a sociological and historical portrait of the changing values in Ireland in the last century. The selection in Imaging Ireland reveals a journey from representationalism to abstraction with the most recent images showing a return to the landscape of the West of Ireland. The new acquisition policy will concentrate on artistic responses to the region but will include conceptualism, video, digital and photography as well as traditional painting. Imaging Ireland will be on sale in selected bookshops and galleries and from the Press and Information Office at Áras Failte, NUI Galway. This important endorsement and celebration of Visual Arts on campus has been made possible by a joint venture between Galway University Foundation and the University Arts Office. The publication coincides with several new initiatives set in place by Professor Jim Ward, Vice-President for Physical Resources, together with the Theatre and Arts Committee and the Arts Office. The University Art Gallery has been a hive of activity lately with two important young Irish artists, Sinead Aldridge and Cian Donnelly invited there to present new paintings and sculptural pieces during Galway Arts Festival 2004. A new, enlarged gallery is also planned to house permanent and temporary exhibits. Ends

Friday, 4 June 2004

An international Chemistry conference, which will be attended by 250 delegates from Europe, North America and elsewhere, will take place in NUI Galway from the 6-10 June, 2004. ESEAC 2004 is the 10th International Conference on Electroanalysis and themes to be addressed include Sensor Technology, Miniaturisation, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology. Electroanalytical Chemistry, a sub discipline of Analytical Science, deals with the development, understanding and applications of chemical measurements reliant on an electrochemical or electrical signal. Among the invited speakers are renowned experts in this area, including AJ Bard (Austin, Texas), HH Girault (Lausanne, Switzerland) and W Schuhmann (Bochum, Germany). The scientific programme will include two special Symposia, one of which is in memory of Harry Mark, an eminent American Electroanalytical Chemist who passed away in March 2003. The second symposium focuses on Nanotechnology: Surfaces, Sensors and Systems, with presentations at the cutting edge of electrochemical aspects of nanoscience and technology. "It is a significant honour for the University to host this event," says Dr Donal Leech of NUI Galway's Chemistry department and conference organiser. "NUI Galway was selected as the host venue by the international scientific committee for a number of reasons, including the strength of the University's research in the area of Electroanalytical Chemistry, as well as the unrivalled scenic, cultural and social aspects of Galway as a venue for an international conference." Ends

Monday, 19 July 2004

Authors and poets, John McGahern, John Montague, Patricia Burke Brogan, Eilis Ní Dhuibhne and Mike McCormack, will address the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL), which will take place in NUI Galway from 20th to 23rd July 2004. This major international association of scholars and enthusiasts of Irish writing has over 1,000 members worldwide, and numbers among its membership many prominent academics and writers. More than 250 people will attend this year s conference, which is being hosted by the Department of English in NUI Galway. As this is a year of literary centenaries and commemorations, themes to be addressed at the conference include the work of Patrick Kavanagh, James Joyce and the Abbey Theatre. There will also be a strong emphasis on work from writers associated with Galway. Dr. Riana O'Dwyer, of NUI Galway's English Department and conference organiser said, "It is a singular honour for both the University and Galway City to host this prestigious event. Previous venues for the conference have included New York, Barcelona, and Sao Paulo. The choice of NUI Galway as this year's venue illustrates the international status of the University among literary scholars worldwide." Ends

Monday, 12 July 2004

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and the United Nations University, Tokyo will host a two-day conference (15th – 16th July) on International Accountability and Justice. This conference will bring together international specialists in this field and will cover topics such as: Prosecutorial Strategy of International Criminal Tribunals and Courts Independence and impartiality of International Criminal Tribunals Obstacles to Accountability: Amnesties and Immunities Alternatives to Prosecution Several of the past and present international prosecutors will participate in this event, making it a major opportunity to reflect upon the development of international criminal accountability as well as consider future prospects. Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, who has over the past two years been serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone said: "The issues addressed during this conference are increasingly crucial in today's uncertain international climate, particularly given the ongoing controversy surrounding the trials of Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. The conference will make a significant contribution to the evolving debate on the pressing international issues of international justice." Professor Schabas continued: "With its focus on issues of independence and impartiality, and prosecutorial discretion, the conference will tackle questions where modern international tribunals have been most subject to criticism and dispute. For example, many have called into question whether Milosevic or Saddam Hussein can get a fair trial. This Conference will speak to these matters." Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be chairing the panel on Alternatives to Prosecution. Mrs. Robinson is currently based in New York, where she heads the Ethical Globalization Initiative. This panel is particularly topical given the current debate over whether or not truth commissions constitute an effective transitional justice mechanism. Other speakers include Judge Theodor Meron, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Maureen Harding Clark, Irish judge on the International Criminal Court, and David Crane, Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. ENDS

Monday, 5 July 2004

The Department of Health Promotion, NUI Galway is holding its eighth annual Conference on the 8th and 9th July 2004. This year, the conference will focus on 'European Perspectives on Promoting Health and Well-being". Health Promotion is a social model of health and well-being and is based on the principles of equity, participation, empowerment and social justice (WHO, Ottawa Charter, 1986). "The focus of this multidisciplinary area of study and practice is on enhancing the strengths and competencies of individuals and communities, thereby enabling people to increase control over and improve their health," says Margaret Barry, of NUI Galway's Department of Health Promotion. "Central to this endeavour is the role of citizen participation and empowerment in the larger socio-political context," she says. Conference presentations will discuss topics including the growing power and influence of the European Union (EU) institutions in health promotion, public health and higher education, especially following recent enlargement. The experience of the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion and European Masters in Health Promotion Training initiatives will also be addressed. The conference programme will also include workshops and a symposium on Professional Competencies in Health Promotion from a European perspective. Health Promotion experts from the UK, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Ireland will address the conference, which builds on the European Summer School on 'Strategies for Health in Europe' (28 June to 8th July), currently being hosted by the Department of Health Promotion. This postgraduate-level Summer School is jointly organised by the European Training Consortium in Public Health and Health Promotion (ETC-PHHP) and the European Masters Programme in Health Promotion (EUMAHP) consortium. Ends

Monday, 30 August 2004

Emerging Internet Technologies - the Semantic Web - has massive business,technology, and social applications. A research project at NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) entitled the Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project (http://www.foaf-project.org/), is a practical experiment designed to identify and solve social and business concerns arising from the next generation of web technology - the "semantic web". The first FOAF Workshop which takes place on 1-2 September at NUI Galway, will bring together people from all perspectives to discuss the issue. It will be attended by social, technical, legal, business and academic parties to try to shape and mould the evolution of these new social applications of internet technology with the budding semantic web. Online Social Networking sites and the Friend-of-a-Friend standard make it possible for communities to exist on the Internet and allow companies to build infrastructure to connect people and manage connections. FOAF and Online Social Networking also open significant business and usage opportunities. "The FOAF standard acts as a crystallization point for development of the Semantic Web", says Dr Decker. "People are extending the FOAF standard to manage their own personal and business information. Dr John Breslin, another organizer, and also a researcher at DERI, says: "Until recently, each site kept its own database of personal information. This meant that each time you visited a separate site you had to re-enter the same information. A similar thing happens each time you buy something off the Internet. Go to a different shopping site and you have to retype in the same information over again. The semantic web will allow your computer to do this automatically for you. The challenge is to enable your computer to "know" what information is appropriate to give out about you." There is a growing user and business interest in being able to transport relevant information between sites. This obviously raises big security issues. No one wants information that they enter for personal reasons to be available to marketers, spammers or fraudsters. FOAF is trying to reduce the need for data re-entry, while allowing users to control who sees what information about them. Topics to be discussed will include, among others Applications of online social networks; Trust Issues in social networks; Privacy, etiquette and best practice issues for aggregators; Exchange of social network information; Integration with desktop and mobile applications; Business Models for the Semantic Web (Life after banner advertisements). Ends

Thursday, 30 September 2004

- giving students greater insight into Arthur Shields and his contribution to the Irish Cultural Revival and Abbey Theatre- Collection includes: Unpublished letters of Yeats, Lady Gregory and O'Casey Rare first editions of books signed by the authors, including Pomes Penyeach (the 1927 Paris edition) by James Joyce Collection of Abbey plays from the 1920s onwards The National University of Ireland, Galway is delighted today (Thursday 30th September) to announce the gift to the Library and the University of the papers of the late Abbey actor Arthur Shields and those of the Shields Family (Barry Fitzgerald was a brother of Arthur Shields). The collection was presented to the President of the University, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, by Arthur Shields' daughter Christine Shields, at an event hosted in the James Hardiman Library. This extensive archive which includes posters, programmes, and playscripts - including annotated directors' playscripts of many Abbey productions from the 1920s and 1930s and material relating to the administration of those tours: press cuttings, photographs, correspondence, and financial accounts, will complement the Library's existing theatre archives. Commenting on the donation, The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, said: "Outside of the Abbey itself and the National Library, this archive is the strongest collection relating to the Abbey and will be of enormous benefit to the study of twentieth century Irish theatre in the University. This donation will give our students greater insight into the work and contribution of Arthur Shields. We are committed to the advancement of Film and Theatre Studies at this University and the growth of our theatre archive along with the progress of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media, demonstrates this commitment." Marie Reddan, Librarian at the James Hardiman Library added, "We are honoured to receive this outstanding donation which will enhance our Library's existing theatre archives which include those of Druid, Macnas, An Taibhdhearc, Galway Arts Festival, The O'Malley Lyric Theatre Belfast and also the John McGahern literary archive." The collection also comes with Arthur Shields' book collection, which includes many of the Abbey plays from the twenties onwards. Shields was from his youth, committed to the Irish cultural revival (he was one of the last fighters to remain in the GPO in Easter 1916), and he acquired a very complete library of Irish poems, plays, and stories of the period. This collection includes rare first editions with copies signed by the authors, such as a copy of Pomes Penyeach (the 1927 Paris edition) by James Joyce. The bequest resulted from the enthusiasm of Dr Adrian Frazier of the Department of English at National University of Ireland, Galway who in his research on Irish actors in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, (when Arthur Shields managed Abbey tours to America), became aware of the papers which were in the possession of Arthur Shields' daughter Christine, who lives in Oakland, California. Aware of Christine's desire to see the collection located in Ireland, Frazier signalled the particular interest of the National University of Ireland, Galway and in a relatively short time, the collection was donated to the University. Ends

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Dr Colin O'Dowd, NUI Galway, was the 2004 recipient of the Smoluchowski Award in Aerosol Science, awarded at the European Aerosol Conference, held at the Hungarian Academy of Science in Budapest this month. He is the first Irish recipient of this prestigious award. Aerosol Science is the study of airborne particles which range in size from nanometres (one thousand millionth of a meter) to millimetres and influences all aspects of our life from medical, industrial and environmental disciplines. This honour is awarded annually to a distinguished young scientist (under the age of 40) who has contributed outstanding research works to the field of Aerosol Science over the last 2-3 years. The award is in honour of the Polish physicists, Marian Smoluchowski (1872-1917), for pioneering works in aerosol physics. Dr O'Dowd's research focuses on the impact of atmospheric aerosols on climate change and air quality. Atmospheric aerosols are required to form clouds and consequently have an important impact on the global hydrological cycle. Also, both cloud and aerosol haze layers block the sun's heat and are predicted to partially reduce global warming from greenhouse gas emissions. O'Dowd has had 3 of his articles published in Nature – the world's premier scientific journal – over the last 2 years and has published more than 150 scientific articles over the last 14 years. The aerosol science award is open to competition from the fields of Fundamental Aerosol Physics, Medical Aerosols, Industrial Aerosols, Process Engineering, Combustion Aerosols, and Atmospheric Aerosol Science. Since its inception in 1986, there have been three awards in the field of Atmospheric Aerosols (one each for Finland, the UK and the US) and now Dr O'Dowd of Ireland. Ends

Monday, 27 September 2004

NUI Galway has been named as one of only seven European universities to be funded by the Hewlett Packard (HP) sponsored Mobile Technology for Teaching Grants Scheme. The award, worth $100,000, consists of 40 state-of-the-art wireless enabled laptops, tablet PC devices, and mobile computing network infrastructure. All second year B.Sc. (IT) students will have use of a laptop, and will have full access – using the on-campus mobile network - to internet-based software, virtual classrooms and collaborative working environments. The project, managed by the Department of Information Technology, was selected based on its innovation potential and its scope to enhance the learning of students on the accredited B.Sc. degree programme in Information Technology. This technology award will facilitate an enhancement of the project-based learning approach, widely used in the B.Sc. (IT), by enabling the class to work together as a team to design and build an industry-standard internet auction site. The project will also make use of the skills learned by students on both the business and language streams, and will be translated into European languages. Dr. Jim Duggan, Project Leader, and Lecturer at the IT department, says that the great benefit of this project is that B.Sc. (IT) students will gain a unique insight into the real-world complexities of internet software development. "They will appreciate the scale of these projects, get a chance to apply their technical, business and language skills, and experience the challenges and excitement of working as part of a large team,." The project will run for the entire academic year, and the laptop resources will be made available to future second year classes of the B.Sc. (IT). Ends

Friday, 24 September 2004

Global oil reserves will be fully depleted by the year 2030 and the introduction of alternative fuels must be a priority for governments across the globe, according to Professor John Simmie who was speaking at the official opening of the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at NUI Galway today (September 24th 2004). The Environmental Change Institute was officially opened by Jim Higgins MEP and has been established as a result of successful bids by NUI Galway to obtain funding (€10.62m) under Cycles II and III of the Irish Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). The research into biodiesel is a unique study by an Irish university into the uses and functionality of biodiesel which is the only alternative fuel that can be used directly in any existing, unmodified diesel engine. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel derived from vegetable oils and animal fats. It has a positive impact on global warming and can limit dependence on foreign-derived fuel supplies. Professor John Simmie of the Department of Chemistry and ECI at NUI Galway said, "With global oil reserves severely threatened, we must seek alternative methods of fuel production. The situation is extremely serious. Oil production has peaked in 52 out of 99 oil producing countries and it is estimated that oil will be depleted by 2030. Research into alternative methods of fuel is vital if we are to maintain energy levels going forward." Professor John Simmie also stated that the Irish Government must take immediate measures to curb the amount of carbon dioxide being discharged by Irish consumers and suggested that biodiesel represents a realistic alternative, producing approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions and almost 100% less sulphur dioxide. Based on tests, biodiesel also provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks. Biodiesel also replaces the smelly exhaust odour of petroleum diesel with the pleasant aroma of freshly-cooked popcorn or chips. While the research is at the initial stages, the Environmental Change Institute estimates that biodiesel could be a reality in Irish vehicles quite soon. Speaking at the official opening of the ECI, Professor Emer Colleran, Director of ECI added, "We are very excited about the wealth of research projects being undertaken at the Environmental Change Institute. We are working hard to make a significant and positive contribution to tackle global environmental issues and to the very challenging field of Environmental Change Research. The development of the ECI has been made possible through PRTLI funding which enables us to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to this research, where we can bring together a pool of experienced researchers and post-graduate students in a state of the art facility. NUI Galway is renowned for the quality of its work internationally and we look forward to the development of the ECI and the positive impact that the findings of the Institute's research will have on making significant environmental change across the globe." Professor John Simmie also called on the Irish Government to impose measures to curtail the purchase of SUVs and to reduce the size of car engines. "The rising level of affluence in Irish society is having detrimental affects on our environment especially with the introduction of larger engines and the growing attraction of sports utility vehicles (SUVs). The Irish government must curtail the purchase of SUVs which guzzle fuel and as a result are emitting twice as much carbon dioxide as ordinary cars." Other areas of research being undertaken at the ECI include a study by Dr Vincent O'Flaherty and student Niamh Breathnach into levels of contamination in Irish drinking water, which will result in recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency on how best to reduce the levels of contaminated drinking water. Research is also being undertaken into Marine Environmental Modelling by Dr Michael Hartnett, which is a study into the transport of pollutants discharged into the coastal waters and seas surrounding Ireland. Professor Emer Colleran, is also undertaking a study into reducing the effects of landfill gas emissions and the resulting effect on global warming. Ends

Monday, 20 September 2004

Phytoplankton research at the National Diagnostics Centre, NUI Galway New molecular tests to identify the presence of dangerous phytoplankton in Irish waters are being carried out by scientists at NUI Galway. Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms and a major plant life in the sea. A small proportion of these, known as harmful algal blooms, produce substances that are toxic to humans and can cause fish kills. This new research, being conducted by the National Diagnostics Centre in collaboration with the Martin Ryan Institute at the University, and funded by the Higher Education Authority is aimed at developing more automated tests than are currently in existence, to identify the presence of these harmful species and their toxins. The NUI Galway project is two-pronged and involves a range of experts at the National Diagnostics Centre and the Martin Ryan Institute. The first part of the project is exploiting a molecular technology, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in combination with DNA probes, short specific sequences of DNA, to identify HAB species. These tests will enable rapid detection of toxic species thereby providing an early warning system for their presence in shellfish production areas. The other part of the research programme at the NDC involves the production of antibodies specific for the algal toxins. The detection systems involving antibodies are not labour-intensive and relatively unskilled personnel can produce reliable and reproducible results. The two major stakeholders with an interest in such a research project are the consumer and the fish-farmer. The consumer requires good quality shellfish for consumption and the fish-farmer depends on this industry for a sustainable livelihood. When toxic phytoplankton are found in water, a decision has to be taken on the possible closure of various waters or bays in the vicinity, while follow-up examinations are carried out to ascertain if toxins are present. "Exports of Irish shellfish are currently worth €50 million annually to the Irish economy," says Dr Majella Maher, who is leading the molecular technology section of the three-year project, due to be completed next year. Dr Maher explains that one of the drawbacks of the existing visual method of identification is that it can be difficult to identify precisely some of the toxic phytoplankton species present in samples. "However, with specific molecular tests, we could identify all toxic species," she says. "As the procedure involves fully-automated instrumentation, results become available within a single working-day." Dr Marian Kane, Manager of the National Diagnostics Centre and one of the leaders of this project, says: "A variety of analytical methods is required for the detection and determination of algal toxins in shellfish to satisfy the requirements of both the commercial producers and the regulatory agencies". "Antibodies are versatile tools – they are cheap to produce on a large scale and can be used for fully-automated test systems, such as biomolecular interaction analysis (BIA) assays, or packaged into rapid detection systems that can be used at the point where they are needed, rather than sending samples to laboratories for toxin detection," says Dr Kane. This research is being carried out in collaboration with the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, and the National Marine Institute, now also based in Galway. Ends

Monday, 13 September 2004

The Arab-Israeli conflict is rarely absent from world news and the deep-seated problems associated with it often seem intractable. Educating young people on both sides to understand and respect each other's past is a positive contribution towards creating a long-term peaceful society in that troubled region. One such man who has done valuable work in this area is Dr Simon Lichman who will be in Galway this week, to give a talk entitled Using Culture and Folklore in Education to Build Bridges Between Arab and Jewish Children In Israel, in Room D 202, Education Technology Building, NUI Galway on Friday, 17 September at 12.00 noon. The talk is hosted by the University's Department of Education. Dr Simon Lichman, a graduate of Hebrew University and the University of Pennsylvania, has specialized in drama, folklore and the use of culture and traditions to better understand our past as a means to positively shape our future. He is the initiator and Director of the Traditional Creativity in the Schools Project. The Project works with Islamic Palestinian and Jewish Israeli children in twinned classes and schools and focuses on both the commonalities and the differences in their shared Semitic cultural backgrounds. It creates relationships, sometimes friendships and provides a basis amongst ordinary people for a peaceful co-existence. "There are clearly some parallels between the troubles in Northern Ireland and the situation in Israel/Palestine so as well as being of interest in its own right, the lecture will be of particular interest to an Irish audience for this reason," says Professor Keith Sullivan, Department of Education, NUI Galway. "Dr Lichman is an excellent speaker who provides an insight into how he and his colleagues in the Traditional Creativity in the Schools project have dealt with a difficult problem in a way that is both respectful towards and enabling for both cultures involved. The solutions provided will also provide useful insights for those who have an interest in multiethnic educational initiatives for an increasingly ethnically-mixed Ireland." The lecture should be of interest to teachers, from the primary, second and third level sectors, to University academics and to anyone interested in human rights issues in education. Ends

Thursday, 9 September 2004

The Disability Law & Policy Research Unit (based in the Law Faculty, NUI Galway) and the Equality Authority, are to co-host a major conference entitled Human Rights and Disability Discrimination: Exploring the Value Added by the ECHR and other sources of European Law, on Saturday 25th September from 9.00am-5.30pm in the Fottrell Theatre, Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. The conference is one of the first events to deal with the immediate implications of incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into Irish law for a particular category of persons and comes on the eve of publication of the long-awaited Disabilities Bill. It will be of interest to persons involved in disability discrimination litigation whether as litigants or lawyers as well as to those involved in public policy, service delivery and research. Speakers include: Niall Crowley and Eilis Barry of the Equality Authority; Professor Gerard Quinn, Donncha O'Connell, Shivaun Quinlivan, Mary Keys and Dr. Laurent Pech of the Law Faculty, NUI Galway; and Des Hogan of the Irish Human Rights Commission. The conference will also be addressed by two experts from the United Kingdom: Anna Lawson of the University of Leeds and David Ruebain, a solicitor specialising in disability discrimination litigation with a particular interest in the education rights of young persons with disabilities. The conference will be addressed by Alderman Catherine Connolly, Mayor of Galway at 5.00pm. There is no registration fee for participants who are, however, advised that advance registration is requested by the organisers. Ends

Monday, 6 September 2004

A renowned expert in cancer research will give the inaugural Annual Cancer Research Lecture in NUI Galway later this month. Professor Thanos Halazonetis's talk, "DNA Damage Checkpoints and Cancer" will take place at 1.00pm on Friday, 17 September 2004 in the McMunn Theatre. The lecture is being hosted by the University's Department of Biochemistry and supported by the Bank of Ireland, University Branch. Professor Thanos Halazonetis graduated from the Dental School in Athens and did a PhD degree in Genetics at Harvard University. He currently holds a research position at the Wistar Institute and a Professorship in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Halazonetis is researching how normal cells respond when the genetic material is damaged and how defects in these responses result in cancer. A particular focus is the DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway, which co-ordinates a range of cellular responses to DNA damage, ensuring efficient repair and therefore suppression of tumour formation. In particular, Professor Halazonetis has been studying various DNA damage response markers in a spectrum of lung lesions ranging from hyperplasia to invasive carcinoma. His findings indicate that even in its earliest stages, cancer is associated with activation of the DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway. Professor Halazonetis is coming to NUI Galway because of similar research to his being carried out by Professor Noel Lowndes and his team in the University's Genome Stability Laboratory. "We are privileged that Professor Halazonetis is coming to share his knowledge with us," said Professor Lowndes, whose research team is currently working on related genes in model systems more amenable to genetic studies. "We believe that the involvement of the DNA damage checkpoint Pathway in cancer requires that we understand this pathway at the molecular level. In fact, great strides have been made in recent years in research in this area and, with the recent establishment of the Genome Stability Cluster, NUI Galway is now contributing to the exciting progress being made. This understanding will lead to advances in the treatment of one of the most serious diseases of our time". Ends

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

NUI Galway has conferred honorary MA degrees on four individuals in recognition of their special contribution to their specific areas of activity. They are: Jim Lyons, former CEO of Co. Clare Vocational Education Committee for his immense achievements in many aspects of education in Co Clare, particularly in the area of Adult Education. During the 1980s, in partnership with NUI Galway he set up the first literacy tutor-training course in the region, and established a pioneering adult literacy programme within Clare VEC, which served as a model for other regions. He has also published two successful books on education, School in Action and School 2000. Sr Enda Ryan, for her immense achievements in many aspects of education in Malaysia, where she founded Assunta Secondary School which started with 84 students in 1958 and today has more than 2000 pupils. Since going to Malaysia, Sister Enda s contributions towards building that new nation have not gone unrecognised, as she has received numerous awards and honours recognising her achievements. Seán and Máire Stafford, for their outstanding contributions over many years to the activities of An Taibhdhearch Irish language theatre in Galway. Both have had long and distinguished acting and directing careers with the theatre. Hugo O'Neill, O'Neill of Clanaboy, descendant of the O'Neill Chiefs of Ulster, was honoured for his contribution to Ireland-Portugal relations. His forebears went to Portugal in the 1740s but retained strong links with Ireland. Ends

Monday, 18 October 2004

"The Government must continue to invest in the basic capital infrastructure of our Universities and in pioneering research programmes like the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in order to reach the goals established under the European Union's Lisbon Strategy," according to Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh was addressing graduates at the University's autumn conferral ceremonies which continue throughout the week when more than 3,000 students will be conferred with primary and higher degrees. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh stated that, "Investment in Irish universities is not an "option" – it is a necessity, a necessity which is supported by the findings of the recent OECD Report on third level education in Ireland." Welcoming the report which points the way forward for the sector and the country at a time when higher education is at a crossroads, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said that the Report requires "a comprehensive response from Government and should be acted on in a holistic and not a piecemeal way if it is to have a major impact on the country's development." Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh went on to say that in the context of the report, "We see NUI Galway as a university committed to providing a world-class education for its students, to significantly enhancing its research profile, to modernising its structures and engaging with its communities in support of economic, cultural and social development." He said that together with the other universities in Ireland, NUI Galway is more than ready to play its part in providing leadership for change. "To enable us to do this, however," he said, "it is essential that government adopt a funding policy for Higher Education which will support ambitious and progressive strategic plans, such as that of NUI Galway," Ends

Monday, 11 October 2004

An EU-funded research team lead by Professor Colin O'Dowd from the National University of Ireland, Galway and Dr. Maria Cristina Facchini from the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate has discovered a new and dominant source of aerosol particles over the ocean which can contribute, through the formation of haze and cloud layers, to the Earth's heat shield. This in turn can partially reduce global warming driven by the increase in greenhouse gases. These aerosol particles are mainly comprised of organic matter, produced by plankton, and concentrated at the ocean surface due to its surface-active properties. Through the formation and bursting of bubbles in oceanic whitecaps, this organic matter is ejected into the atmosphere in the form of sea-spray aerosol particles. The bubble bursting process produces sea-spray which is generally thought to comprise sea-salt (i.e. inorganic matter). However, this new research has demonstrated that during periods of plankton blooms, sea-spray comprises organic matter rather than inorganic sea-salt and that the addition of this organic matter can increase the availability of aerosol particles and cloud nuclei – both of which contribute to increasing the cooling effect of the Earth's heat shield. Previous research had linked algae and plankton to climate change through sulphur and iodine vapours forming aerosols. This new research which has been published in the most recent edition of Nature magazine, has shown that organic matter could in fact be the most important contributor to marine aerosols. However, this source of marine aerosol is currently lacking in state-of-the-art climate modelling studies. This breakthrough, linking the marine biosphere to climate change, is expected to have an important impact on the future prediction of the Earth's response to greenhouse-gas induced global warming. The research team is composed of scientists from the Environmental Change Institute of the National University of Ireland, Galway; the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, also in Italy. This work was funded by EC FP5 projects QUEST and PHOENICS. Ends

Monday, 4 October 2004

"Research – central to our economic progress"- Hanafin The Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, TD, today (October 4th 2004) opened a new €35 million biomedical research centre at NUI Galway which has the potential to revolutionise patient treatment, eliminate the need for organ transplant and improve the health and quality of life for millions of people worldwide. The National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) brings together a team of over 150 researchers who will also focus on developing treatments for diseases which are currently incurable. Speaking at the opening of the NCBES, Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, TD said, "It is an honour for me to be present for the opening of this facility which firmly places NUI Galway and Ireland at the frontier of international biomedical research. We look forward to the impact that this research will have on future generations around the globe. Ireland must remain internationally competitive and the development of world-class research across a range of disciplines in Irish universities is vital for us to fulfil this ambition. Scientific education and research is central to our economic progress". Commenting on the research ongoing at the new facility, Professor Terry Smith, Director of the NCBES said, "We are very excited about the development of this new facility and the extent of the research being undertaken here. The facility brings together a broad team of researchers from the disciplines of science, engineering and medicine, who will work together to develop new techniques which will revolutionise current processes. The NCBES is unique in Ireland and will work closely in collaboration with local industry involved in the biomedical field and with University College Hospital, Galway (UCHG). Through its interdisciplinary approach, the NCBES has established an international reputation for its research and is working with other similar institutes in Europe and the US to ensure that rapid advances are made in this exciting area of biomedical research." One of the specific areas of research currently ongoing is the development of materials that will minimise rejection of stents in the human body. Stents are implanted in the body for a variety of heart and other operations. The research involves the development of SMART materials, so called because they adapt to their environment in the human body by reacting to the body's temperature. The development of SMART materials is unique to an Irish university and involves the use of sophisticated modelling techniques. The material is inserted into the body as a fluid which then becomes a gel. A coating of the smart material on the stent also facilitates effective drug-release control. The main advantage of the use of these biomaterials is that they are biodegradable and can also be removed if necessary. Other research projects ongoing at the centre include tissue engineering which is a new field of biomedicine that unites science, engineering and medicine, to restore or replace tissues and organs that have been damaged by disease or injury. Ends

Tuesday, 30 November 2004

-President supports establishment of multimillion euro fund to drive reform in the University system- University Reform, identified as a key issue in the recently published OECD Report, is being successfully implemented in NUI Galway through widespread consultation with staff and in a collegiate spirit, according to NUI Galway President, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. The President was speaking at the University's final conferring ceremony of the year today (Tuesday). Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said that there appears to have been a widely-perceived implication in the media that because there have been major internal disagreements in other universities on these matters, those universities are perceived as being "the most advanced" in terms of reform. However, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh stated that substantial reforms have already been instituted at NUI Galway based on a strong consultative process and that NUI Galway is to the forefront among the Irish universities in terms of reforms actually implemented. He said: "For our part, we believe that reasoned dialogue and exchange of ideas are the essence of a university, and would suggest that because we have engaged in such debate and deliberation, we have managed to arrive at collegial positions on difficult issues, thus enabling reforms to be implemented relatively quickly and without rancour." In conjunction with this, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh also welcomed Minister Hanafin's proposal that a multimillion fund be established to support reforms in the university system but called for a process that is open and clear with measurable metrics. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said, "We would urge that, if such a fund is set up, whatever process is adopted for the allocation of this fund should be open and transparent, and that clear and measurable metrics be applied both in relation to what has already been achieved, and in relation to proposed further reforms. There is no doubt that our continuing reform can certainly be accelerated with financial support." Dr Ó Muircheartaigh went on to outline specific changes implemented in NUI Galway's academic programmes and structures: A number of departments have been successfully amalgamated to create larger academic units, and, as a matter of policy, are actively promoting this agenda. Two chairs and associated departments have been suppressed in areas where student demand did not justify the continuation of such departments. The University has semesterised and modularised all of its undergraduate academic programmes. The start of the academic year has successfully been brought forward to early September in order to support this modularisation and semesterisation. Again this has been achieved with the full support of all staff. A Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CELT) has been created and resourced in order to provide support for staff in their teaching activities, including active encouragement to use the most advanced technology available. NUI Galway has successfully competed in all PRTLI (Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions) cycles and has succeeded in embedding both the PRTLI-related research centres and the new structures funded by SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) into reformed academic structures. In particular, the University has developed new structures to integrate the teaching and research functions both within and across departments. The University's Quality Assessment function has succeeded in completing a full cycle of assessments of all academic departments, and, where appropriate, significant reforms – both structural and operational - have been instituted. With the support of academic staff, NUI Galway has successfully launched a Service Learning and Community Knowledge Programme in order to involve students more actively in the community. This programme actively encourages students to engage with communities on a volunteering basis – in Galway, throughout the region, nationally and internationally and NUI Galway has begun to integrate such activities into the University's formal academic structures. Ends