NUI Galway’s Computing Summer Camp

NUI Galway’s Computing Summer Camp -image

Monday, 25 June 2012

NUI Galway recently held their third annual Computing Summer Camp. Due to the high demand for places, this year the Computing Summer Camp ran over a two-week period with 80 students participating. Students ranged in age from 13 to 17, and came from secondary schools across Galway City and County, as well as from Clare and Donegal. Throughout the camp students participated in a number of activities including writing computer games, creating web animations, building and programming autonomous robots, and making 3D computer models. Students were also awarded prizes for their work throughout the camp. For the robotics competition, students have to design and program a robot to shoot or knock over paper aliens as quickly as possible. Dr Michael Madden, Head of the Information Technology Discipline at NUI Galway, said: “We are very impressed with the high quality of students’ projects at the Computing Summer Camp this year, and the speed at which they are able to pick up new technologies. It appears that recent initiatives such as CoderDojo are having a positive effect on young people’s digital literacy. The huge interest in this year’s Computing Summer Camp is mirrored by the increasing number of applications for computing degree programmes, such as the BSc in Computer Science and Information Technology at NUI Galway.” Dr Madden is also involved in an initiative to introduce computer science as a secondary school subject, through a pilot programme for short courses in the Junior Cycle that being run by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Several schools, led by Gairmscoil Mhuire Vocational School in Athenry, are preparing to offer for a Short Course in Computer Science, to begin in September 2012. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway MBA Wins Prestigious National Competition

NUI Galway MBA Wins Prestigious National Competition-image

Monday, 25 June 2012

A team from the NUI Galway Executive MBA class were announced All-Ireland Champions of the MBA Association of Ireland National Strategy Competition 2012, held at the weekend. Organised by the MBA Association of Ireland, the competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland. The win follows NUI Galway’s success in 2010, when it last entered the competition.  The winning team included: Myles McHugh and Suzanne Ryan from Galway City; Mike Parkinson from Ardrahan, Co. Galway; Ashwin Kher from Balla, Co. Mayo; and Roger Sweetman from Galway City. “This excellent achievement is testament to the quality of teaching on the programme and I would like to congratulate all involved in teaching the 2010-2012 MBA class”, said Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway.  Many of the best business schools across Ireland took part in the competition including UCC and the Smurfit Graduate School at UCD. The competition required the team to prepare a strategic analysis and presentation on a Harvard Business Case (eBay, Inc and over four hours and then present to a panel of judges.  Commenting on the win Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway Executive MBA curriculum has a very strong focus on strategy and prepares students to excel as business and strategy analysts. Winning the MBAAI National Strategy Forum Competition 2012 reinforces the excellent teaching and learning standards provided to students on our programme.” Further information on the Executive MBA at NUI Galway is available at ENDS

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NUI Galway's DERI Launches the Official Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway App

NUI Galway's DERI Launches the Official Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway App -image

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

While the Quadrangle is relocated for the nine-day festival The official ‘Volvo Ocean Race Festival Galway’ App is now available for download. The free app is a must for all visitors to Galway during the festival which begins on 30 June, providing maps, a full festival programme and lots of visitor information about Galway City. The app has been created by a team of experts based at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway. The app also includes a number of DERI’s research technologies; ‘Connect and Chat’ allows users to connect with other app users and chat, ‘Galway Compass’ provides users with the locations of key amenities and services near them, ‘Tweet Cliques’ analyses the twittersphere and presents the user with a list of the most relevant tweets relating to the festival. Also, there is a list of live webcams from around Galway that can let the user check for themselves where is busy around the city and docks. With tens of thousands of visitors expected over the nine-day festival, the app will allow individuals to make the most of the experience, while able to track their friends and network with groups. Professor Manfred Hauswirth, Vice-Director of DERI at NUI Galway, said: “This app demonstrates the leading role of DERI in cyber-physical systems. DERI technology makes real-world sensor input easy to use in any application.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, but were thrilled to get behind this local project as Professor Hauswirth explains: “We really embraced the whole concept of ‘get onboard’ for the festival, so developed this unique app which is a must for every visitor.” The app is available for free from the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Android store. The app will be updated and improved as new information becomes available so please check for updates during the festival. NUI Galway is also the official education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway’s volunteering programme, and will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event to recruit the ‘small army’ of volunteers needed to support the overall festival. NUI Galway Quadrangle Relocated to the Global Village NUI Galway has also created a partial replica of its iconic Quadrangle building, which will be a feature of the Global Village at the Volvo Ocean Race. The Global Village is a free exhibition arena, open for the duration of the festival, located in South Park. The NUI Galway pavilion will be a central attraction, recreating a sense of the University’s iconic Quadrangle building, which dates back to 1845. Inside, the NUI Galway pavilion will look to the future, with interactive demonstrations and exhibitions showcasing the cutting-edge innovation and research for which the University has a world-wide reputation. “This is the largest sporting event in Ireland this year, and a wonderful opportunity to promote all that is great about Galway”, said NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. “The event had almost 100,000 visitors to the City last time round, over half of whom came from abroad, with significant international media reach also. Our whole-hearted involvement, in the volunteering aspects of this event and in the exhibitions, is a reflection of the importance of reaching such a world-wide audience.” The NUI Galway pavilion will feature four zones and an ideas lab, highlights will include: Ideas Lab: This self-contained room within the pavilion will feature a daily 3D Tour of the Universe at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. Also a series of short talks will cover: Goal-line Technology; Wind and Ocean Energy; Car Technology; Breast Cancer Detection Techniques; Smartphone Technology; and Computer Modelling of Coastal Waters. Exploration Zone: Interactive demos and exhibitions including footage from underwater expeditions, marine creatures in touch tanks, a fun seaweed exploration station and a display of oceanographic equipment. Innovation Zone: Exhibits and displays on the latest Medical Technologies; Information Technology; Energy and the Environment; and Engineering the Future. Creativity Zone: Fun creativity exhibits including film sets and films from the Huston Film School; archive exhibits and drama. Go Global Zone: Try the Global Business Simulation Game; Navigate your way around our Interactive Volvo Ocean Race map; see fun Business and Law exhibits; Explore our 3D Campus Map simulator and more. Activities also include an Alumni Family Day to which all NUI Galway graduates are invited on 8 July. Innovation and Marine Pavilions NUI Galway will also have a presence in the Innovation and Marine Pillars at the Global Village, while a separate Speaker Session pavilion in the Global Village will feature some of NUI Galway’s experts. The Innovation Hub will feature the ‘Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland’ which is being re-located from DERI at NUI Galway to the Global Village. This unique science heritage facility tells the fascinating story of key moments in the development of communications and computing technology from ancient hieroglyphics to today’s Internet. The array of electronic artefacts on display includes such iconic computers as the DEC PDP11, Apple II, Macintosh, IBM PC, ZX81 & Commodore Vic-20. There are also exhibits dedicated to Youth & Innovation, Women in Technology, Radio, Irish Computing & a vintage video games section that  includes the legendary ‘Pacman’, ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroids’. The hub will also have an array of science and engineering activities that should appeal to all ages including K’nex modelling, CoderDojo workshops and the local 091Labs electronic makers club. It will also be a starting point for the Galway Simon Treasure Hunt.  In addition, the Inmarsat Film Lecture in association with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film & Digital Media takes place on Thursday, 5 July in the Galway Race Village, and will present a unique sense of what is required of an extreme sports reporter onboard a multi-million dollar round the world racing yacht. Find out more about the University’s involvement at -ends-   Seolann DERI in OÉ Gaillimh Aip Oifigiúil Fhéile Rás Aigéin Volvo na Gaillimhe  Fad is a bheidh an Chearnóg á hathlonnú ar feadh 9 lá na féile   Tá Aip oifigiúil Fhéile Rás Aigéin Volvo na Gaillimhe ar fáil anois le híoslódáil. Tá an aip seo saor in aisce agus beidh sé thar a bheith úsáideach do chuairteoirí a bheidh i nGaillimh don fhéile a thosóidh an 30 Meitheamh. Tá léarscáileanna, clár iomlán na féile agus neart eolais faoi chathair na Gaillimhe ar fáil ann. Foireann saineolaithe atá lonnaithe san Institiúid Taighde um Fhiontraíocht Dhigiteach (DERI) in OÉ Gaillimh a chruthaigh an aip. Tá cuid de theicneolaíochtaí taighde DERI ar an aip seo chomh maith; tugann ‘Connect and Chat’ deis d’úsáideoirí ceangal le húsáideoirí eile na haipe agus comhrá a dhéanamh leo, tugann ‘Galway Compass’ eolas d’úsáideoirí ar na hionaid ina bhfuil seirbhísí agus áiseanna tábhachtacha i ngar dóibh, déanann ‘Tweet Cliques’ anailís ar a bhfuil ag tarlú i ndomhan Twitter agus taispeánann sé na tuíteanna is ábhartha a bhaineann leis an bhféile don úsáideoir. Ina theannta sin, tá liosta de na ceamaraí beo gréasáin atá ar fud na Gaillimhe san aip agus bíonn an t-úsáideoir in ann eolas a bheith acu cén áit a bhfuil gnóthach ar fud na cathrach agus na nduganna. Táthar ag súil leis na mílte cuairteoir ag an bhféile naoi lá, agus tabharfaidh an aip deis do dhaoine an méid is mó a dhéanamh den fhéile, agus iad ag seiceáil céard atá ar siúl ag a gcuid cairde agus ceangal a dhéanamh le grúpaí eile. Deir an tOllamh Manfred Hauswirth, Leas-Stiúrthóir DERI: “Léiríonn an aip seo ról ceannródaíoch DERI i gcórais chibear-fhisiciúla. Le cúnamh ó theicneolaíocht DERI tá ionchur réadach braiteora éasca le húsáid in aon fheidhmchlár.” Tá os cionn 140 taighdeoir ag obair le DERI agus tá sí ar an institiúid eolaíocht ghréasáin is mó ar domhan, ach bhí an-áthas orthu a bheith bainteach leis an tionscadal áitiúil seo mar a mhíníonn an tOllamh Hauswirth:  “Bhíomar go láidir taobh thiar den mhanna ‘tar ar bord’ don fhéile, agus d’fhorbraíomar an aip uathúil seo agus beidh gach cuairteoir ag iarraidh go mbeidh sí acu.” Tá an aip ar fáil saor in aisce ón Apple App Store agus ón Google Play Android Store. Déanfar an aip a nuashonrú agus a fheabhsú de réir mar a thagann eolas nua chugainn, bí ag faire amach do na nuashonrúcháin seo le linn na féile. Is í OÉ Gaillimh an comhpháirtí oifigiúil oideachais do chlár oibrithe deonacha Rás Aigéin Volvo, agus roinnfidh sí a taithí ar leith ó thaobh imeachtaí deonacha agus rannpháirtíocht pobail de chun oibrithe deonacha a earcú chun tacú leis an bhféile trí chéile. Cearnóg OÉ Gaillimh á hAthlonnú chuig an Sráidbhaile Domhanda Tá páirt-mhacasamhail cruthaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh d’fhoirgneamh cáiliúil na Cearnóige, agus beidh sé le feiceáil sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda ag Rás Aigéin Volvo. Is áit taispeántais saor in aisce atá sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda, agus beidh sé oscailte fad is a bheidh Féile Rás Aigéin Volvo ar siúl. Tá sé suite ar an bPáirc Theas. Beidh puball OÉ Gaillimh i lár an aonaigh, agus foirgneamh íocónach na hOllscoille, An Chearnóg, mar chroílár den taispeántas, foirgneamh a tógadh i 1845. Laistigh de phuball OÉ Gaillimh beifear ag breathnú ar an todhchaí, agus beidh cur i láthair agus taispeántais idirghníomhacha ar siúl ag léiriú nuálaíocht agus taighde ceannródaíoch a bhfuil cáil idirnáisiúnta bainte amach ag an Ollscoil ina leith. “Is é seo an imeacht spóirt is mó in Éirinn i mbliana, agus is deis iontach atá ann gach a bhfuil go maith faoi Ghaillimh a chur chun cinn”, a deir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne. “Tháinig beagnach 100,000 cuairteoir chun na Cathrach an uair dheiridh a raibh Rás Aigéin Volvo anseo, bhí os cionn leath acu sin a tháinig as thar lear, agus bhí go leor de na meáin idirnáisiúnta anseo chomh maith. Léiríonn an rannpháirtíocht ollmhór atá againn sna gnéithe deonacha den imeacht agus sna taispeántais, an tábhacht a bhaineann le dul i gcion ar an lucht féachana domhanda a bheidh againn.” Beidh ceithre zón i bpuball OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith le saotharlann na smaointe, áit a mbeidh: Saotharlann na Smaointe:  Seomra as féin sa phuball é seo áit a mbeidh an seó 3D View of the Universe ar siúl gach lá ag 11am, 1pm, 3pm agus 5pm.  Beidh sraith cainteanna gearra ar siúl a bhaineann le: Teicneolaíocht Chúl-líne; Fuinneamh Gaoithe agus Aigéin; Teicneolaíocht Carranna; Teicnící chun Ailse Brollaigh a aimsiú; Teicneolaíocht an Fhóin Chliste; agus Múnlú Ríomhaireachta ar Uiscí an Chósta. An Zón Taiscéalaíochta: Beidh taispeántais idirghníomhacha ar siúl anseo lena n-áirítear, píosaí scannáin ó thurais faoi uisce; ainmhithe mara agus a gcuid tancanna; stáisiún feamainne; taispeántas ar threalamh aigéaneolaíochta. An Zón Nuálaíochta: Beidh taispeántais anseo ar na Teicneolaíochtaí Leighis is nuaí; Teicneolaíocht na Faisnéise; Fuinneamh agus Comhshaol; agus Innealtóireacht na Todhchaí. An Zón Cruthaitheachta: Beidh taispeántais chruthaitheacha, spraíúla anseo lena n-áirítear seiteanna scannáin agus scannáin ó Scoil Scannáin Huston; taispeántais agus drámaí ón gcartlann. An Zón Domhanda: Bain triail as an gCluiche Domhanda Dearbhshamhlach Gnó; Déan do bhealach thart ar an léarscáil Idirghníomhach de Rás Aigéin Volvo; féach ar thaispeántais mhaithe a bhaineann le Gnó agus le Dlí; Bain sult as an dearbhshamhail de Léarscáil 3D an Champais agus neart eile nach hiad. Beidh Lá Teaghlaigh an Alumni ar siúl an 8 Iúil, agus tá cuireadh ag gach céimí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a bheith i láthair. An Puball Nuálaíochta, Mara agus Glas Beidh OÉ Gaillimh i láthair i gColún na Nuálaíochta agus i gColún na Mara sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda, agus chomh maith leis sin beidh saineolaithe as OÉ Gaillimh le cloisteáil i bpuball na gCainteoirí atá lonnaithe sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda. Beidh Músaem Ríomhairí agus Cumarsáide na hÉireann á aistriú ó DERI in OÉ Gaillimh chuig an Mol Nuálaíochta sa Sráidbhaile Domhanda. Is áis oidhreachta eolaíochta í seo ina bhfeictear an t-iontas a bhaineann le forbairt na teicneolaíochta cumarsáide agus ríomhaireachta ag dul siar go dtí iairiglifí seanda ar aghaidh go dtí Idirlíon an lae inniu. I measc na nithe leictreonacha ar taispeáint tá ríomhairí íocónacha cosúil leis an DEC PDP11, Apple II, Macintosh, IBM PC, ZX81 & Commodore Vic-20. Tá taispeántais ann chomh maith dírithe ar an Óige & an Nuálaíocht, Mná sa Teicneolaíocht, Raidió, Ríomhaireacht Éireannach & limistéar dírithe ar sheanchluichí físeáin lena n-áirítear ‘Pacman’, ‘Space Invaders’ agus ‘Asteroids’. Beidh réimse gníomhaíochtaí eolaíochta agus innealtóireachta ar siúl sa mhol chomh maith a mbainfidh daoine as gach aoisghrúpa tairbhe astu. Ina measc beidh múnlú K’nex, ceardlanna CoderDojo agus club áitiúil na ndéantóirí leictreonacha 091Labs. Is sa mhol a chuirfear tús chomh maith le Tóraíocht Taisce Chlann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe.  Chomh maith leis sin beidh Léacht Scannán Inmarsat i gcomhar le Scoil Scannán & Meán Digiteach Huston OÉ Gaillimh ar siúl Déardaoin, an 5 Iúil i Sráidbhaile an Rása, áit a dtabharfar léargas ar a bhfuil i gceist le bheith i do thuairisceoir spórt guaisbheartaíochta ar bord luamh rásaíochta ar fiú na milliúin dollar é. Faigh tuilleadh eolais faoi rannpháirtíocht na hOllscoile ag   -críoch-

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Finance Ministers from Ireland and Canada Address Financial Forum at NUI Galway

Finance Ministers from Ireland and Canada Address Financial Forum at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Financial Crisis: International and National Perspectives Today at NUI Galway (Thursday, 28 June) Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD, and Canadian Minister for Finance Jim Flaherty MP, addressed a forum entitled ‘Financial Crisis: International and National Perspectives’. The forum was also addressed by Dr Alan Ahearne of NUI Galway and moderated by Professor John McHale. The event coincides with the awarding of an honorary degree on Minster Flaherty on Friday, 29 June, as well as a meeting of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council on campus. This event is being held at a critical time in the financial crisis in Europe, with markets focused on new proposals for a revamped eurozone to be discussed at the EU Summit in Brussels. This forum brings expert opinion into the public domain on where the global financial system and the euro currently stand and on what it all means for the Irish economy.  The event also marks the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Irish Economic Policy at NUI Galway. On speaking about the crisis in the euro and implications for the Irish economy, Dr Ahearne, Director of the new Centre said: “The US is a proper fully-fledged monetary union, as is Canada. But the eurozone is not; it is a collection of distinct sovereign political and financial systems that share a common currency and a crucial underlying cause of the crisis in the euro is the lack a banking union in Europe, which has resulted in a toxic interrelationship between State finances and the banking sector.” Dr Ahearne added: "EU leaders need to put an end to this terrible game of dominos that has gone from Greece to Ireland to Portugal to Spain and this week to Cyprus. The euro area as a whole is currently solvent, but unless growth resumes then the euro area is heading toward insolvency." Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD: “The Centre for the Study of Irish Economic Policy at NUI Galway is very welcome addition to the Irish academic landscape and I have no doubt that the Centre will play an important role in informing the policy debate in key policy areas for Ireland. The Irish Economy has returned to growth in 2011 with continued growth forecast for 2012, our public finances are under control and our banks are recapitalized and restructured to focus on lending into the real economy. The financial crisis has severely impacted on Ireland and the Irish people have made huge sacrifices to bring our public finances under control and return the economy to growth. We must continue to take the necessary steps to position the economy so that we can take advantage of global recovery as it emerges.” The Minister added: “However, significant challenges remain and the ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone is weighing heavily on Ireland’s economic recovery. Decisive action is needed to solve the current crisis and to restore stability and investor confidence in Europe.” Speaking on the Irish economy, Dr Ahearne, said: “The Government is right to argue that not all the proceeds from the sale of state assets should go to paying down debt. A judicious use of some of these proceeds to incentivise private investment in certain sectors and regions of the country will help boost the domestic economy.” In his remarks, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted Ireland and Canada share the same constituency at the IMF and World Bank so the two countries work together closely and look forward to continuing to do so. He highlighted Canada's record and the long term Economic Action Plan it continues to implement to create jobs, growth and long term prosperity. He noted, however, that Canada is part of the world economy, and many obstacles to global recovery remain. “I am convinced that the countries of the eurozone understand fully the kind of measures that need to be taken, and I urge them to adopt these as quickly as possible,” he said. “In spite of serious challenges, however, I believe that, given the political will, the necessary decisions will be made, the major difficulties will be resolved and the global recovery will strengthen.” ENDS

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New DNA Test to Help in Global Effort to Control TB

New DNA Test to Help in Global Effort to Control TB-image

Friday, 29 June 2012

A new diagnostic DNA test has been developed by a team at the National University of Ireland Galway to help in the global effort to control tuberculosis (TB). The rapid laboratory test allows for the identification of the exact bacteria causing a patient’s TB which will give valuable information for their treatment. According to World Health Organisation data, tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2010, 8.8 million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died from TB, with over 95% of cases and deaths in developing countries. In humans, TB is caused by a group of eight bacteria collectively known as the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). National University of Ireland Galway’s Molecular Diagnostics Research Group has developed and validated a new assay or laboratory test called SeekTB to identify all members of the MTC. Dr Thomas Barry at the University, along with his colleagues Dr Justin O’Grady and Dr Kate Reddington, realised there was a need to rapidly and accurately detect and identify each member of the MTC for better treatment of TB. “The optimal patient treatment can be different, depending which of the eight bacteria are causing the TB, as some of these bacteria are naturally resistant to a commonly used anti-TB drugs”, explains Dr Barry. The new test, called SeekTB, could also prove useful to centralised clinical reference labs for the purposes of tracking and conducting epidemiological studies on the various mycobacterium species comprising the complex. “Identifying the specific member of the MTC is currently not routinely performed in testing laboratories and therefore it is unknown what the true impact each member of the MTC has on the global TB epidemic,” says Dr Barry, who lectures in Microbiology at National University of Ireland Galway. The advance in what is a global battle against TB, is the result of international co-operation. The novel technology was initially validated by testing a large number of previously isolated MTC bacteria provided by Professor Dick van Soolingen,  Bilthoven in the Netherlands and Dr Stefan Niemann, Borstel in Germany. Subsequently, through collaborations with Professor Alimuddin Zumla and Dr Matthew Bates at University College London, SeekTB was used to successfully analyse patient samples from Lusaka in Zambia to demonstrate the technology’s suitability. The results of this analysis demonstrated the rapidity, the test only takes 1.5-3 hours to perform, validity and robustness of SeekTB. In its current format, SeekTB is likely to be predominantly used in central testing laboratories, in Africa for example, on culture positive TB patient samples to guide appropriate treatment and control measures. “Ideally, in the future, SeekTB could be used directly on patient samples with the test configured onto a handheld machine for use at point-of-care in resource poor settings. This could be a huge benefit to medical care provision in remote areas, however, it will likely take years of research and development to achieve such a goal,” concluded Dr Barry who acknowledged National University of Ireland Galway and the Thomas Crawford Hayes award for funding this work. The research has recently been published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and PLoS ONE. -ends-

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NUI Galway Honours Four Outstanding Individuals with Honorary Degrees

NUI Galway Honours Four Outstanding Individuals with Honorary Degrees-image

Friday, 29 June 2012

Four outstanding individuals were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today (Friday, 29 June). Those honoured were playwright and novelist, Sebastian Barry; The New York Times opinion columnist, Maureen Dowd; Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company, Irial Finan; and Canadian Finance Minister,  Jim Flaherty MP. Speaking on the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said:  “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each one has made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the diverse fields of literature, journalism, business, public administration and government. NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals.” Sebastian Barry was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). Born in Dublin in 1955, he began to write in 1977, publishing a number of books of fiction and poetry, and in 1986 became increasingly involved in theatre work. He published a novel The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), followed by Annie Dunne (2002) and then two Man Booker Prize shortlisted books – A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). The latter earned him the Costa Book of the Year award, the Independent Booksellers’ Prize, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, among others. Barry’s most recent novel, On Canaan’s Side, was also longlisted for the Booker, and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize, the Irish Book Awards and the Galaxy International Author of the Year. He has written twelve plays, among them the award-winning The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007). He won the Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1997. He has been Writer in Association at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and was Heimbold Visiting Professor at Villanova University in 2006. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia in 2010, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His work is translated into more than thirty-five languages. Maureen Dowd was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa). She is a 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner, in the commentary category, for her “unsparing columns on the hypocrisies involved in the Lewinsky affair and the effort to impeach President Clinton”. She was appointed a columnist of The New York Times’s Op-Ed page in January 1995 (where she joined in 1983). Previously, she served as a correspondent in its Washington bureau since August 1986. There, she covered two Presidential campaigns and served as White House correspondent, gaining a wide following of admirers and imitators for her witty, incisive and acerbic portraits of the powerful. She also wrote a column, "On Washington”, for The New York Times Magazine. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for the Washington Star where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter, and feature writer. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting in 1992, Ms Dowd received the Breakthrough Award from ‘Women, Men and Media’ at Columbia University in 1991 and a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications in 1994. She was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year for 1996 and won the Damon Runyon award in 2000 for outstanding contributions to journalism. Dowd is the author of two bestselling books Bushworld:  Enter at Your Own Risk (2004) and Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide (2005) Born in Washington, D.C., on 14 January, 1952, Miss Dowd received a BA degree in English from Catholic University (Washington) in 1973. Irian Finan was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is Executive Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President of Bottling Investments responsible for managing a multi-billion dollar bottling business, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), which has operations on four continents (South America, Europe, Africa and Asia), with revenues of over $8 billion and employs over 85,000 people. Additionally, he is responsible for stewarding The Company’s Equity Investments and leading Global Supply Chain. Irial has over 29 years experience in The Coca-Cola System. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola HBC, during which time he managed the merger integration of Coca-Cola Beverages plc and Hellenic Bottling SA, and led the combined company's operations in 26 countries. Irial joined the Coca-Cola Company in 2004 as President, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain and was named Executive Vice President of the Company in October 2004. From 1995 to 1999, he was managing director of Molino Beverages, with responsibility for expanding markets, including the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Romania, Moldova, Russia and Nigeria. Prior to that role, Irial worked in several markets across Europe. From 1991 to 1993 he served as managing director of Coca-Cola Bottlers Ulster, Ltd., based in Belfast. He was finance director, Coca-Cola Bottlers Ireland, Ltd., based in Dublin from 1984 to 1990. Irial serves on the board of directors of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola Central Japan, the Supervisory Board of CCE AG (Germany), Smurfit Kappa Group, and the American Ireland Fund. He also serves as a non-executive director for Co-operation Ireland and NUI Galway Foundation. Irial holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from NUI Galway and is an Associate (later Fellow) of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. Minister Jim Flaherty MP was conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). He is a third-term Member of Parliament for Whitby–Oshawa (Ontario). He serves as Canada’s Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area. He is a Governor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. As Minister of Finance he is an ex-officio member of all Cabinet Committees. Minister Flaherty was recently awarded Euromoney Magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year award. Euromoney credited him with enhancing Canada’s reputation for sound fiscal policy while taking full account of social justice and overseeing a strong regulatory regime that has kept the financial sector out of chaos. He has also been described as a pillar in both the G-7 and the G-20. In 2010, Minister Flaherty was chair of the G-7 Finance Ministers and chair of the annual Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. Previously, for more than 10 years, he served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby–Ajax (Ontario). He served as Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Attorney General and Minister of Labour. He graduated from Princeton University cum laude and then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the Bar in Ontario with honours and practised law for more than 20 years before being elected to public office. These four graduands join the ranks of previous honorary alumni which include, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O’Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Anjelica Huston, Fionnuala Flanagan and Margaret Atwood. For more information and a video on the Honorary Conferrings click -ends-

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Immortal Marine Invertebrate Helps Stem Cell Scientist

Immortal Marine Invertebrate Helps Stem Cell Scientist-image

Friday, 29 June 2012

Dr Uri Frank announced as a recipient of SFI Principal Investigator Programme Award A leading stem cell scientist at NUI Galway, Dr Uri Frank, was today announced as a recipient of an SFI Principal Investigator Programme Award by Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. A native Irish marine invertebrate, with amazing powers of regeneration, is the focus of Dr Frank’s research with NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Hydractinia echinata has the power to regenerate any lost body part throughout its life, can clone itself, does not age biologically, and in theory – lives forever. A relative of jellyfish, sea anemones and corals, this tiny creature is perfect for understanding the role of stem cells in development, ageing and disease. “Hydractinia has some stem cells which remain at an embryonic-like stage throughout its life, so the potential for research is immense”, explains Dr Frank. “Not only that, but it is small and translucent and so enables the observation of experimentally labelled stem cells in the living animal.” Dr Frank and his team have already made a discovery which may have important implications in understanding normal development, congenital defects and cancer biology. “Recently, we have been able to demonstrate a hitherto unknown link between heat shock proteins and Wnt signalling in Hydractinia stem cells. These two cellular signalling mechanisms are known to play important roles in development and disease, so they have been widely, though separately, studied. We have shown that they talk to each other, providing a new perspective for all scientists in this field,” says Dr Frank. Also of interest to Dr Frank’s research team is the evolution of animals and humankind. Scientists believe that all animals living today, including invertebrates and humans, are the descendants of a single common ancestor that lived hundreds of millions of years before the times of the dinosaurs. Therefore, invertebrate stem cells should be very similar to their human counterparts and studying them may provide information on human stem cells. “It sounds gruesome, but if Hydractina has its head bitten off, it simply grows another one within a few days using its embryonic or ‘pluripotent’ stem cells. So why don’t humans keep their pluripotent cells as adults? Why do we lose them when we age?”, asks Dr Frank. Dr Frank’s SFI-funded project is an example of how basic research on model organisms can contribute to human health. By discovering things that are difficult to study in more complex animals, it complements work done on mammals, is informative, cheap and free of ethical considerations. ENDS   Photo by Dr Yuki Katsukura

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May 2012

The Miracle of the Parish: Máire Mhac an tSaoi Symposium at NUI Galway

The Miracle of the Parish: Máire Mhac an tSaoi Symposium at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway is delighted to announce a symposium on the work of Máire Mhac an tSaoi, one of the most significant Irish poets of the twentieth century, and the most important living poet in Irish. The event will take place on Wednesday, 23 May in the Moore Institute at 9.00am With Máirtín Ó Direáin and Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máire Mhac an tSaoi revolutionised the practice of poetry in Irish in the 1940s and 50s and paved the way for a new generation of women poets who emerged in Irish and in English in the 1970s and 80s. A generation before Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eavan Boland, and in more difficult circumstances, Máire Mhac an tSaoi gave voice to the intimate and subversive aspects of women’s experience in poems that challenged the moral orthodoxies of the time. “Although her work and influence is acknowledged by poets and critics alike,” according to Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, “this is the first such event dedicated entirely to her work and includes contributions from some of the finest scholars and critics of poetry in Irish. Given her connection with the University where she was appointed Honorary Professor of Irish Studies in 2004, and her uncle Monsignor Pádraig de Brún, served with such distinction as president, we are delighted to recognise her unique contribution to Irish writing.” Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s autobiography The Same Age as the State, published in 2003, was described by Seamus Heaney as ‘thrilling and exemplary’ and a bilingual selection of her poems An Paróiste Míorúilteach/The Miraculous Parish was launched by Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre, at a gala event inDublinCastle in November 2011. Invited speakers to the NUI Galway symposium include Micheál Mac Craith, Margaret Mac Curtain, Máire Ní Annracháin, Máirín Nic Eoin, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Ríóna Ní Fhrighil, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Patricia Coughlan, and the proceedings will be recorded by RTÉ radio for broadcast later in the year. Admission to all sessions is free and everyone is welcome to attend.  For further details, contact Samantha Williams at or 091 492051 ENDS

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Government Must Ensure Businesses Respect Human Rights

Government Must Ensure Businesses Respect Human Rights-image

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A new report calls on the Government to ensure that companies respect human rights and to provide guidance to businesses on the requirements of human rights due diligence, including when operating overseas. Such due diligence should be a mandatory requirement underpinned by legislation, according to the report’s authors at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway. ‘Business and Human Rights in Ireland’ aims to contribute to policy, practice and law on business and human rights in Ireland. The report will be officially launched this evening by Professor Michael O’Flaherty, who is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Illustrative examples of business negatively impacting on human rights provide a context for the report. Prominent examples mentioned in the report include Irish technology companies implicated in Syrian censorship, the Corrib gas dispute involving Shell and Statoil, the working conditions of migrant workers engaged in mushroom picking, the treatment of GAMA construction workers, and the working conditions in the supply chain for Penneys/Primark. Multinational companies headquartered in Ireland, such as Apple, are also relevant according to the report authors, as they have been criticised for their human rights record. In 2011, the United Nations adopted Professor John Ruggie’s Framework for Business and Human Rights, which emphasises a state duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to strengthen remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. This UN framework provides guidance for States such as Ireland, although aspects of its practical impacts on issues such as Irish businesses operating abroad have yet to be put into practice. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. “State representatives frequently assert Ireland’s commitment to the United Nations and human rights, although the Government has yet to issue a comprehensive policy document on business and human rights,” explained Dr Shane Darcy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. In the context of an open export-led economy reliant on foreign direct investment with numerous multinational corporations present in Ireland, extraterritorial jurisdiction is particularly could prove of considerable relevance here. “The concept of extraterritorial jurisdiction as a means of ensuring the State protects against human rights violations by business when acting outside of its territory is particularly relevant in the context of a globalised economy and the transnational nature of many business activities. Ireland provides for some limited oversight or adjudication of extraterritorial activities of Irish companies, but it remains underutilised as a means of ensuring compliance with the State duty to protect human rights in the context of business. Another recommendation of the report is that there be requirement of human rights compliance and reporting by business for public procurement contracts, State investment or listing on the Irish Stock Exchange. A full copy of the report is available at -ends-

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Clinical Trial Targets Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome with Cholesterol Drug

Clinical Trial Targets Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome with Cholesterol Drug-image

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast are leading a clinical trial to investigate the possibility that statins, a drug commonly used to combat cholesterol, might help patients with acute severe respiratory failure. Some 150 patients have been recruited into the trial, which is being run in collaboration with the Irish Critical Care Trials Group, across multiple intensive care units on the island of Ireland, and in England and Scotland, with a target number of 540 patients. The research is being funded by the Health Research Board, and the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme which is funded by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, and is managed by the NIHR. When people become critically ill, for various reasons including major surgery or following injury in a road traffic accident, or infections such as H1N1 influenza, their lungs often fail, which is termed ‘Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome’. This condition, which is primarily caused by the body’s immune system response to the injury, is common, can affect any age group, and is often fatal. Furthermore, even after recovery from lung injury, patients subsequently experience a poorer quality of life. Many survivors of this condition are unable to return to work or look after themselves. “Unfortunately, to date there is no effective treatment for this lung injury”, said Professor John Laffey who is Professor of Anaesthesia at NUI Galway and Consultant Anaesthetist at Galway University Hospitals. “We are investigating if the drug simvastatin, commonly used to treat high cholesterol, is safe and effective in the treatment of this lung injury. A unique feature of this study is that it is a study generated from Irish research efforts, and is an Irish-led multi-national study, being conducted across the island of Ireland, and also in intensive care units in England and Scotland.” Professor Laffey continued: “This study builds on a series of studies using simvastatin, including a smaller clinical trial funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division, Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland and REVIVE, carried out by Professor Danny McAuley and his team in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who are our partners in this study. These studies offer considerable hope that simvastatin might help sufferers from this devastating disease. The study may take up to five years to complete, but if simvastatin is effective, it would help save the lives of these sufferers, improving the quality of life of survivors and potentially reduce costs, by reducing time spent in intensive care units.” The study team comprises experts in study design based at the HRB Galway Clinical Research Facility and at the Clinical Research Support Centre in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, as well as senior doctors who work in critical care units, and experts in acute lung injury. Professor Danny McAuley, who is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast and Consultant Intensivist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, explained: “We will also take blood samples to measure markers of inflammation which will allow us to determine if simvastatin can reduce the immune response which causes the lung injury. In addition, we will determine how severe the damage to the patients’ lungs is, and how fast they recover.” People will be randomly divided into two groups; one group will be given the active drug and the other a placebo. This design means that any difference in the experience of patients will be due to whether or not they received simvastatin and not to any other difference that could influence the outcome of treatment. Frank Giles, who is Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at NUI Galway, is also Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway, which is helping co-ordinate the clinical trial in Ireland: “Participants in this trial are helping address a vital and difficult medical problem. This study is typical of an increasing number of multi-center trials that are possible because of increasing collaboration between Ireland’s HRB-funded Clinical Research Facilities. The studies involve patients with a very broad spectrum of health challenges. The conduct of these studies, which involve our patients and their families, community health-care staff, hospitals, research institutes and industry partners, improves health care and ensures that Ireland continues to make a significant increasing contribution to global medical progress.” ends

>> Read full story about Clinical Trial Targets Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome with Cholesterol Drug

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