Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Social services providing family support, child protection and out-of-home care, have developed significantly in recent years and there are now many models of good practice to be found in health board areas throughout the country. That's according to a new study carried out by the Western Health Board/NUI Galway Child and Family Research and Policy Unit. The report, entitled "Working with Children and Families – Exploring Good Practice," will be launched by Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children, with special responsibility for children, in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Oranmore, today (Tuesday). The report provides a snapshot of some of the models and approaches currently being implemented in child and family services throughout Ireland. Each Health Board was asked to nominate examples of good practice of service provision in their areas. The 26 profiles nominated and discussed in this report, will enable policy makers and practitioners to see examples of good work and learn from the experience of others. Dr Pat Dolan, one of the researchers on the project said: "The wide range of projects demonstrates that interventions with families can be effective in many different ways and across service settings from early years day care to residential care." He added that a number of the case studies "advocated greater partnership with children and families as key to good practice." The report shows that the most effective and successful services are those provided in consultation with the recipients, whether they are teenagers or parents of children at risk. Among the examples of best practice cited in the report are: Pre-school childcare services that combine provision of childcare with support for the parents, such as parenting skills courses and vocational educational programmes that enable the parents and children function better as a family. Drop-in Centres for teenagers where trained staff provide additional support for adolescents in difficulty. The young people are also involved in the design and set-up of the centre which gives them a sense of ownership of the project Community-based projects to assist children at risk of expulsion from school. The child-led model agrees steps with the parents, child, teachers and local youth workers and as it is the child who determines what is likely to work, there is a greater likelihood that the child will remain in school. Residential care model that keeps children in care in their own community, where they continue to attend their local school, have regular contact with their family and friends, thus retaining their social network Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health and Children said: "This Government is committed to strengthening policies and enhancing services to support families and children. I am confident that this report will prove to be of enormous benefit to both policy makers and practitioners and will play an important part in the ongoing quest to improve the quality of services provided for families and children." The report is not intended as an evaluation of services but focuses on strengths in child and family care practices which can be replicated nationally and internationally. The research was commissioned by the Child Care Policy Unit of the Department of Health and Children. Ends

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Two NUI Galway scientists, carrying out advanced research in Optics have become the first Ireland-based scientists to be elected to the principal organisations governing the activities of the Optics community worldwide. Both scientists are based in NUI Galway's Department of Experimental Physics. Professor Chris Dainty has been elected vice-president of the Optical Society of America, which has over 14,000 members in over 80 countries, while Professor Tom Glynn has been elected to the Board of Directors of SPIE, the Society for Optical Engineering, with over 18,000 members around the world. The appointments mark the first occasion that a single institution outside the US has been represented on the boards of these important optics organisations, dedicated to advancing Optics and Photonics. Each of the scientists was part of a short list presented to the membership, who voted to select governing boards for a 3-year period, beginning in January 2005. "This is a singular honour for our scientists and an indication of the reputations that the NUI Galway research groups have established in the lasers and optics communities worldwide," said Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. "The research strength of the University has been significantly increased in recent years through our success in the Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and research carried out in the University is achieving global recognition". Since October 2002, Professor Chris Dainty is Science Foundation Ireland Research Professor in the Department of Physics at NUI Galway, where his research group works in imaging, adaptive optics, and instrumentation for vision science. He is particularly interested in the applications of optics in the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions in the eye and in applying adaptive optics to the human eye, primarily to produce very high-resolution images of the retina in vivo. Professor Tom Glynn was recently appointed Professor of Experimental Physics in NUI Galway and is founder and current director of the National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA), also based in the Department of Physics. The laser group carries out research, training, prototyping, and technology transfer activities in the area of high-power lasers and their applications. The NCLA has extensive collaborations with industry partners in Ireland. Ends

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

Sports Scholarships amounting to €70,000 have been presented by University President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, to athletes who are the recipients of this year's NUI Galway's Sports Scholarships Scheme. This is the seventh year of the scheme, which supports athletes who excel in their respective sporting fields and are students of NUI Galway. The scholarship and bursary scheme assists these students financially through their time in University and this year's selection of athletes is representative of many sports, including Gaelic Games, Athletics, Rowing, Ladies Football, Hockey, Squash and Water Polo, and also includes a wide geographical spread. The scheme has been a phenomenal success over the past six years, with many recipients representing the University with distinction at national and international levels. A total of sixteen athletes, who are already on sports scholarships and are still studying at the University, have received €2,000 again this year. A further nine students have received scholarships (worth €2,000) for the first time, while an additional 36 students have benefited to the tune of €1,000 each, under the University's Bursary scheme. This year's Scholarship winners include Cormac Folan from Barna (Rowing), who was a silver medallist at the World Student Games 2004; David Horkan from Mayo (Soccer) a Harding Cup winner with NUI Galway in 2004; Geraldine Conneally, from Dunmore, Co. Galway (Ladies Gaelic Football), an all Ireland Senior Medallist with Galway 2004; and Sinéad Keane, from Kinvara (Camogie), current wing-back on the Galway Senior Camogie Team. Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway says the scheme shows the commitment of the University to supporting and facilitating sporting excellence in its students. "The scheme has been a huge success over the years enabling top calibre student athletes reach their full potential. This initiative shows NUI Galway's commitment to the promotion of sport which is so important in creating a balanced lifestyle for our students," he said. NUI Galway Sports Officer, Tony Regan says the Sports Scholarship Scheme initiative encourages students to participate at the highest levels in sport. "This scheme in a firm indication of our interest in supporting students to participate in all sports at the highest levels." he said. "Since the inception of the scheme, sports scholarship holders have successfully participated in a diverse range of sports at national and international levels right up to and including the Olympic Games". Ends

Thursday, 2 December 2004

Details have been announced of NUI Galway's sixth annual Gala Banquet, which will take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Saturday 5th March 2005. The theme of the 2005 Gala Banquet is the University's mission in international education. The Gala will focus on NUI Galway's role as an international force for change in improving educational opportunities for students from developing countries. To underline this global responsibility a major new initiative, the NUI Galway International Scholars programme has been announced. The NUI Galway International Scholars programme is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by Galway University Foundation who will be working with a range of donors to secure substantial new scholarship funds for postgraduate students from developing countries to study in NUI Galway. Income from the Gala Banquet itself will also contribute to this new initiative. One of the highlights of the evening is the presentation of seven Alumni Awards. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual excellence and achievements among the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide. The Alumni Awards are, Medtronic Vascular Award for Health Care and Medical Science; Seavite Award for Natural Science; Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce; Hewlett-Packard Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts; TBD Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics; Duais Hewlett-Packard don Ghaeilge and the NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government. Speaking at this week's reception, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The University's Gala Banquet has established itself as a premier national event and one of the key social occasions in the West of Ireland. This year the event will celebrate NUI Galway as an international centre of educational excellence. The establishment of the NUI Galway International Scholars programme, which will feature prominently at the Gala, is a major philanthropic initiative which will enable us to help students from developing countries to continue their studies at this University." Ticket for the banquet cost €150 each or a table of 10 for €1,500. For further information, please telephone 091 495266 or Email: gala@nuigalway.ie Ends

Friday, 31 January 2003

Release date: 30 January, 2003 Spring has sprung with Múscailt 03 NUI Galway's third annual Springtime Festival Múscailt 03 is sure to banish winter blues with its exciting programme of music, art, drama, dance and film. 'Múscailt', meaning to awaken, will take place from the 17-23 February 2003. All events are open to the public and take place in various venues throughout the campus. Sean McGinley, currently starring in the RTÉ series On Home Ground, will officially open the Festival on the 17 February. The theatrical highlight of the festival is Dublin-based Loose Canon Theatre Company's The Duchess of Malfi. This production of John Webster s Jacobean tragedy was critically acclaimed at the 2002 Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival. The musical highlight of Múscailt 03 is the Cole Porter favourite Anything Goes which includes such favourites as I Get a Kick Out of You, You're the Top! and Blow Gabriel Blow and will be presented at the Black Box Theatre. The comedy takes place on a ship bound for England from the United States, it includes an arranged marriage, mistaken identity, gangsters, Wall Street millionaires, stowaways, and nightclub singers. Music of a different kind can be heard in the Aula Maxima on Wed 19 Feb, when the superb concert harpist Máire Ní Chathasaigh who will perform with her husband virtuoso guitarist Chris Newman. Ní Chathasaigh has been a major influence on Irish harp playing and is one of Ireland's leading exponents of the instrument. Also on Wed 19 Feb, the NUI Galway Writers Group will host a special evening of prose and poetry. Guests include Jamie O'Neill, author of the acclaimed novel At Swim, Two Boys, Emily Cullen, former NUI Galway Arts Officer who will read excerpts from her poetry and Rab Fulton, who will read from his new e-novel, The Kiss. Poet, critic and editor of The Burning Bush, Michael S. Begnal, has chosen Múscailt 03 to launch his first collection, The Lakes of Coma. Begnal's work has been widely published and he is currently working on his next collection, Ancestor Worship. The 2003 edition of NUI Galway's own arts magazine Criterion, whose patron is Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, will be launched on Thursday 20 February at a literary evening, which will include readings from contributors to this year's publication. An event not to be missed is the double act of John Spillane and Louis de Paor on Thursday, 21 February. Spillane's voice has been described as "full of honesty, commitment and sensitivity". Poet Louis de Paor, currently the Director of Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has a string of awards to his credit. Their regular, successful collaborations, have been referred to by Spillane as the Gaelic Hit Factory'. A traditional music intervarsity, including workshops in uilleann pipes, sean-nós singing and traditional instruments, will take place throughout the weekend. NUI Galway has a particularly strong art collection of more than one hundred and fifty works representing Irish painting and sculpture across the 20th century. These include paintings by Walter Osborne, Mainie Jellet, Nathaniel Hone, Ann Madden and Robert Ballagh. An exhibition of selected works will be on view throughout the Festival in the University Gallery, Quadrangle. What amounts to a 'festival within a festival' will take place during Múscailt 03 when a film festival will run concurrently with Múscailt. The programme features Italian, American, French and Spanish film with a romantic theme. The Student Societies have a big involvement with this year s festival programme. "Without the vitality, creativity and commitment of the Societies, we wouldn't have such an ambitious and exciting programme" said Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway's Societies Officer. "They have done Trojan work in the last few months and we are confident that Múscailt 03 will be a memorable event." Tickets and Festival programmes are available by contacting: Festival Office at Tel. 091-512062. View programme on http://www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie/ Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. NUI Galway Tel. 091-750418

Tuesday, 28 January 2003

Release date: 27 January, 2003 NUI Galway establishes Huston Film School A Gala Banquet to be held in Los Angeles on May 2nd 2003 will mark the launch of a new school of film and digital media at National University of Ireland, Galway. The school will be known as the Huston School in tribute to John Huston, one of the 20th century's most respected directors who drew much of his inspiration from St Clerans, the family home in Galway. This major initiative represents a significant commitment by NUI Galway to the training of critically- and historically-informed screenwriters and filmmakers. The School will offer postgraduate training and education in aspects of film and digital media, with a special emphasis on the potential of new technologies for cinematic storytelling and documentary production. The ethos of the School is one that seeks to make a virtue of Ireland's special position as a potential 'contact zone' between the disparate traditions of American and European cinema, and will foster a critical awareness of both mainstream and alternative film traditions, including those of non-western cultures. The School will seek to promote excellence in Irish screenwriting, and to explore the creative possibilities of new technologies for storytelling and representation, especially the medium of digital video. It will benefit from synergy with other developments in the university and will establish links with the existing film and creative culture of the Galway region. The school will have a full time Director with support from Coca-Cola HBC. Programmes will commence in Autumn 2003. The Huston Gala at Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles will bring together those associated with the Hustons, the film industry, academia and the many people who celebrate the links between Ireland and Hollywood. Income from the Gala will generate scholarship support for students. Anjelica Huston, School Patron in welcoming the project, said that "this event recognises the deep relationships that bind Ireland and California, both past and present. St Cleran's was a major part of our family s life. The Huston School will ensure that Ireland continues to bring its many creative talents to a world audience. I am delighted to be associated with the new school and look forward to welcoming friends from all over the world for a terrific launch ceremony on May 2nd." Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said that "this is a wonderful project for the University. It is a natural for us and brings together cultural and commercial elements in a way that is highly relevant to Galway and to our world today. With the pace of change in modern technology, the University has an obligation to give a strong lead." ENDS Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile 087-2986592

Friday, 24 January 2003

Release date: 24 January 2003 Report from NUI Galway calls for new UN Treaty to protect people with Disabilities A major report launched today (Friday January 24th 2003) entitled "Human Rights and Disability: the current use and future potential of the United Nations human rights instruments in the context of disability" calls for a new UN Treaty on the rights of people with disabilities as the most effective way of guaranteeing those rights. The report was launched by Mr Tom Kitt T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and was carried out by a research team based in the Faculty of Law in NUI Galway, under the direction of Professor Gerard Quinn. The Report argues that a new UN treaty for peoples with disabilities would focus attention on disability and tailor general human rights norms to meet particular circumstances of persons with disabilities. It would add visibility to the disability issue within the human rights system and State parties would be clearer on their precise obligations in the disability field. Civil society would also be able to focus on one coherent set of norms rather than six different sets of norms. The Report also recommends that: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights actively considers the appointment of a special rapporteur on the human rights of persons with disabilities National human rights institutions form a forum or working group on disability and human rights NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) combine their resources to form an international Disability Human Rights Watch, to help raise levels of awareness and human rights capacities within the disability sector Donor countries fund human rights projects in the area of disability as part of their development, democratisation and human rights programmes in developing countries According to Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the NUI, Galway Law School, "The core problem in the field of disability is the relative invisibility of persons with disabilities, both in society and under the existing international human rights instruments. What people with disabilities aspire to most is to have access to the same rights – and civic responsibilities – as all other persons". Approximately 600 million people or 10% of the world's population have a disability of one form or another. More than four fifths of them live in developing countries. Only 2% of disabled children in the developing world receive any education or rehabilitation. "The link between disability and poverty and social exclusion is direct and strong throughout the world", says Professor Quinn. "However, a dramatic shift in perspective has taken place over the last two decades from an approach motivated by charity towards the disabled, to one based on rights". There are currently six UN Conventions, aspects of which are relevant to peoples with disabilities. These include treatment of prisoners, the rights of the child, discrimination against women, and treatment of racial and minority groups. However, the authors of the Report claim that the adoption of a thematic treaty on the rights of persons with disability would underpin rather than undermine the web of existing human rights treaties insofar as they relate to disability. The Report was commissioned by the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights and funding for the project came mainly through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

Monday, 20 January 2003

Release date: 20 January, 2003 Newly appointed Writers-in-Residence at NUI Galway Two new Writers-in-Residence have taken up their posts within the English and Irish Departments at NUI Galway. After a full appraisal of their residency schemes, the Arts Council has devised a new structure of long-term writer-in-residency University Partnerships of two to three years duration and NUI Galway is the first university to implement this new scheme under the Council s new Arts Plan. Mike McCormack and Pádraig Ó Cíobháin are the new writers-in-residence. Born in London, 1965, Mike McCormack has lived all his life in the west of Ireland. Educated in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, he took a degree in English and Philosophy in NUI Galway in 1988. In 1996 he published his first book, a collection of short stories, Getting It In the Head, which won the title of 'New York Times Book of the Year' and 'Guardian Book of the Year'. This was followed two years later by his first novel, Crowe's Requiem. Both books appeared in American and Norwegian editions. Mike lives in Galway city and is currently finishing his second novel. Novelist and short story writer, Pádraig Ó Cíobháin hails from the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht in Co. Kerry and is no stranger to NUI Galway having tutored previously at Scoil na Gaeilge on campus. A novelist and short story writer, Ó Ciobháin has won prizes at the Oireachtas and at Listowel Writers Week. The Arts Council and Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge awarded him a bursary to write a Galway-based novel entitled Ré an Charbaid. His other works include Le Gealaigh, Ar Gach Maoilinn Tá Síocháin, Tá Solas ná hÉagann Previous writers-in-residence at NUI Galway have included Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Rita Ann Higgins, John McGahern, Ré Ó Laighléis, Pat McCabe and Vincent Woods. The purpose of the residencies is interaction between the writer and student/staff population and the community, and development of the writer s own work. Watch out for details of creative writing workshops and special readings coming up soon. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418

Tuesday, 7 January 2003

Release date: 7 January, 2003 Environmental Conference at NUI Galway to explore wide-ranging programme of topics 'ENVIRON 2003', the 13th Irish Environmental Researchers Colloquium, will take place this week in NUI Galway, from 8th –10th January. The conference, which is hosted by the University's Environmental Change Institute (ECI), will address methods of environmental management as well as approaches being taken by those who have responsibility for environmental policy. Keynote speaker at the conference is the noted broadcaster and author, Mr Eamon de Buitléar who will give a talk on Wednesday, at 7.30 p.m., entitled "Life in the Wild". The conference, which will be officially opened by Professor James Browne, Registrar, NUI Galway, will look at all aspects of the environment including Agriculture and Forestry; Marine and Coastal Research; Ecosystem Management and Waste Management. More than 300 delegates are expected to attend the conference, which will also include contributions from environmental stakeholders in local government and industry. It will feature over 100 oral presentation and 80 poster presentations and bring together virtually all scientific disciplines engaged in environmental research in Ireland. The event is a unique forum for the exchange of new data, views and ideas between basic researchers and professionals engaged in environmental management and protection, as well as providing an opportunity to explore environmental issues in a broader societal and economic context. Some of the topics that will be addressed by the speakers include Public Attitudes towards Waste Management; Environmental Law in relation to Fisheries Policy; Environmental Monitoring and Analysis; and aspects of Ecosystem Management and Biodiversity. 'Environ 2003' is the annual meeting of the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI). Ends Information: Máire Mhic Uidhir. Press & Information Officer. Tel: 091 750418

Thursday, 20 February 2003

Press release: 3 February, 2003 NUI Galway announces Awards for Outstanding Graduates The NUI Galway Alumni Awards will be presented at the Fourth Annual Gala Banquet in the Radisson SAS Hotel, on Saturday, 1 March, 2003. Funds raised at the banquet will support the University's Access Programme, which has been developed to provide educational opportunities for those whose socio-economic backgrounds have prevented them from participating in third-level education. Awards will be presented in five categories to graduates who have made a distinctive contribution in their chosen careers. Through the awards programme, the University recognises individual excellence among the more than 43,000 graduates worldwide. Hewlett-Packard Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts Sean McGinley, Actor McGinley has an impressive list of credits in film, theatre and television. His portrayal of Charlo in the four part television series Family brought him both critical and popular acclaim. His film credits include John Boorman s The General, Neil Jordan s The Butcher Boy and Michael Collins; Jim Sheridan s The Field and Mel Gibson s Oscar winning Braveheart. His theatre performances have won him Best Actor Award for Whistle In The Dark, and The Shaughran. McGinely currently plays Fergal Collins in the RTÉ original drama On Home Ground. ntl: Award for Engineering, IT and Mathematics John McGowan, Vice President Technology and Manufacturing Group, and Director, Corporate Services of Intel Ireland An Engineering graduate of 1970, McGowan has occupied senior management positions in Intel for many years. He is a fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland, and a member of the Institute of Directors. The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland honoured him with the Engineer of the Year Award in 2000. Intel has a major wafer fabrication facility in Leixlip, designated Ireland Fab Operations (IFO). Bank of Ireland Award for Business and Commerce Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Owner, Managing Director of Aer Arann Express. Ó Céidigh first worked as an accountant and later taught for several years in Coláiste Iognáid, Galway. He studied law and started his own legal practice in Galway City. In 1994, he purchased Aer Arann with Eugene O'Kelly when it was merely a passenger service, operating up to 25 flights per day between Connemara Regional Airport and the Aran Islands. Under their ownership, Aer Arann, now called Aer Aran Express, has expanded to become the fastest growing regional airline in Europe. Pádraig was recently named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2002 in Ireland. Medtronic AVE Award for Health Care and Medical Science Professor Maurice Manning, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Medical College of Ohio. A Science graduate of 1957, Dr. Manning has been doing peptide hormone research since 1961 and has worked with two Nobel Prizewinners at Cornell University Medical College and at Rockefeller University. His lab supplies scientists with molecules that are used in the investigation of various subjects, including hypertension, cancer, kidney disease, memory and childbirth. He holds 12 patents and his lab designed the original molecules that contributed to the development of a new drug — currently undergoing clinical trials — to prevent premature birth. There also is a peptide named after him, the Manning Compound, which blocks the actions of vasopressin (the hormone that affects blood pressure and body fluids) on the receptors in blood vessels. NUI Galway Award for Law, Public Service and Government: HE Sean O'hUiginn, Ambassador - Embassy of Ireland, Berlin After graduating from NUI Galway in 1967 with an MA degree, Sean O'hUiginn entered the Department of Foreign Affairs as a Third Secretary and moved through the ranks of the Department in various positions both in Ireland and abroad. While serving in the Anglo-Irish Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, O'hUiginn was deeply instrumental in fostering the Irish peace process and the all-party negotiations in Northern Ireland that eventually resulted in the triumph of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As ambassador to the United States (1997-2002), he continued to be closely involved in the implementation of the agreement. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; Mobile: 087-2986592

Monday, 17 February 2003

Release date: 17 February, 2003 NUI Galway Symposium to explore Women's Voices in Islam The Women's Studies Centre at NUI Galway is hosting a Symposium entitled 'Exploring Islam: Women's Voices' at 10.00a.m. on Saturday 22 February 2003, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Panelists will include Professor Shaheen Ali (Warwick); Dr Fauzia Ahmad (Bristol); Dr Nancy Lindisfarne (London); Hebah Nashat (Galway); Nuria Dunne (Galway); and a representative from the Islamic Cultural Centre, Dublin. All are welcome to attend. The significant increase in the number of Muslims now living in Ireland has not been matched by an increase in an ability to comprehend the nature of the relationship between Muslims and their religion – particularly those living in non-Muslim countries – or the relationship between Muslims from different regions of the world. In the current political climate, in which there is an increasingly singular and homogeneous understanding of the usually negative differences between 'east' and 'west,' it seems more difficult than ever to explore the diversity of voices that make up the Islamic world. This diversity includes Islamic women who are often presented as having been silenced by their own belief systems, but who are, more often than not, actually silenced by misunderstanding and misinformation from non-Muslim sources. The Symposium is designed specifically to facilitate an exploration of the diversity of Muslim women's voices, and forms part of the Women's Studies Centre's commitment to promoting a better understanding of women and their relationship to the various societies in which they live. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418

Monday, 31 March 2003

Press Statement: 31 March, 2003 Flies may help curb one of Agriculture s greatest scourges It is a very serious problem for most farmers in the west of Ireland. Urban dwellers are familiar with it from radio advertisements promoting products for its eradication. What is it? It's liver fluke – often regarded as one of the world's greatest agricultural pests. However, scientists in NUI Galway, with the help of Mother Nature, are well on the way to arresting the scourge of liver fluke, thus saving the Irish and global economy millions of Euro each year. Scientists led by Dr. Mike Gormally at the Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) at the National University of Ireland, Galway have been investigating marsh fly biology. Research over the last three years by Rory Mc Donnell (PhD student) and Collette Mulkeen (Honours Environmental Science student), have produced encouraging results. It is possible that a humble group of insects called marsh flies might indeed prove to be the liver fluke's Nemesis. Liver fluke parasites live in the bile ducts of sheep, cattle, deer, rabbits and even humans. The eggs pass out of the host animal with its dung, hatch into a larvae and must then find a special type of snail, called a mud snail, in order to complete its development. After reproducing up to 600 times within the snail, new larvae emerge, crawl up blades of grass and form weather-resistant cysts, which are then ingested inadvertently by passing grazing animals. The immature flukes then penetrate the gut wall and make their way to the bile ducts causing extensive liver damage along the way. Enter the marsh fly! Dr. Mike Gormally and his team at NUI Galway have discovered that several Irish marsh fly species attack, kill and feed on the mud snail, which is so crucial to liver fluke development. Marsh flies, which are generally no bigger than a common house-fly, are yellowish-brown in colour and are found on all continents except the Antarctic. "In Ireland, we have 52 different kinds and they are usually found in marshy areas," explains Dr. Gormally. " If mud snail numbers can be reduced in an area by releasing these insects, then the incidences of liver fluke in livestock is also likely to decline." The NUI Galway research is aimed at gaining an understanding of the growth patterns, feeding behaviour and habitat requirements of these snail-killing flies. "This information is essential before we can release these insects into fluke-prone areas and expect them to do their job," says Rory McDonnell, who is currently finishing his Ph.D thesis. "We need to know the conditions they prefer, how long they feed on snails, how many snails they kill and which kinds they like most," he says. Results to date show that these insects are voracious predators that are easily reared under laboratory conditions for release into problem areas. The next step in the NUI Galway research is the release of marsh flies into areas where liver fluke is a problem and assessing their efficacy in the wild. This is a crucial stage as the marsh flies will have to deal with factors such as predation, competition, diseases and adverse weather conditions which they were not faced with in laboratory testing. It is perhaps difficult to see how such a small organism as liver fluke can be such a scourge to world agriculture but the statistics speak for themselves: · Liver fluke costs the global economy US$2,000 million (€1,850 million) annually. · 600 million animals are now infected worldwide. · 2.4 million people are now parasitised by liver fluke (the chief avenue of human infection is by eating watercress contaminated by liver fluke cysts). · In Ireland (where the disease is common in wet pastures), liver fluke cost our agricultural sector €25 million in 2001. "Traditional methods of keeping fluke at bay, such as land drainage, are no longer an option in most areas, now that many Irish wetlands are a priority habitat for conservation," says Collette Mulkeen. Modern control methods using drugs which target adult and immature flukes in livestock, were initially very successful but the development of resistance by flukes to many of these chemicals has now raised considerable concern. McDonnell points out that; "If the global economic loss due to liver fluke is reduced by a meagre 0.5% by using marsh flies, then the world will be US$10 million better off and it will be a lot less worrying having to eat a watercress salad"! Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

Thursday, 27 March 2003

Press statement: 27 March, 2003 Mandela to visit Galway The President of NUI Galway, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh announced today (27 March) that former President of South Africa and world statesman, Nelson Mandela, will be conferred with an Honorary Degree at the University, on Friday, 20 June, 2003. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

Wednesday, 19 March 2003

Release date: 13 March, 2003 Nobel Prize Winner to give public lecture at NUI Galway Professor Sir Paul Nurse, FRS, who with two colleagues, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, will deliver a public lecture entitled "Controlling the Cell Cycle," at 8.00 p.m., Friday 28 March 2003, in the O'Flaherty Theatre, NUI Galway. Director of Cancer Research UK, Paul Nurse, identified, cloned and characterized with genetic and molecular methods, one of the key regulators of the cell cycle, CDK (cyclin dependent kinase). CDK drives the cell through the cell cycle by chemical modification (phosphorylation) of other proteins. All organisms consist of cells that multiply through cell division. An adult human being has approximately 10,000 billion cells (or 10 trillion cells), all originating from a single cell, the fertilized egg cell. In adults there is also an enormous number of continuously dividing cells that replace dying cells. Before a cell can divide it has to grow in size, duplicate its chromosomes and separate the chromosomes for exact distribution between the two daughter cells. These different processes are coordinated in the cell cycle. Nurse and his colleagues, Timothy Hunt and American scientist, Leland Hartwell, made seminal discoveries concerning the control of the cell cycle. They identified key molecules that regulate the cell cycle in all eukaryotic organisms, including yeasts, plants and animals. These fundamental discoveries have a great impact on all aspects of cell growth. Defects in the regulation of the cell cycle may lead to the type of uncontrolled proliferation observed in cancer cells. Understanding this process may open new possibilities for cancer treatment. In October 2001, Nurse, Hunt and Leland were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discoveries of "Key Regulators of the Cell Cycle." Using yeast as a model system, Paul Nurse's 'eureka moment' came when he discovered the gene CDC2, which has a key function in the control of cell division. In 1987 Nurse isolated the corresponding gene in humans, and it was later given the name CDK1 (cyclin dependent kinase 1). Nurse showed that activation of CDK1 is dependent on reversible phosphorylation, i.e. that phosphate groups are linked to, or removed from, proteins. On the basis of these findings, half a dozen different CDK molecules have been found in humans. Nurse was not born with the proverbial 'silver spoon' in his mouth. Brought up in London, where his father worked as a mechanic and his mother as a part-time cleaner, he attended Harrow Grammar School where his classmates came from far more privileged backgrounds. Although naturally gifted at science subjects, Nurse failed O-Level French, thus preventing entry to University. However, an enlightened professor at Birmingham University recognised his talent and arranged entry for the brilliant young student to the School of Biology. "Apart from being a fantastic scientist, Paul has a tremendous sense of humour, which makes him great company", says Professor Noel Lowndes, of NUI Galway's Department of Biochemistry, who was a colleague of Nurse's for some years at Cancer Research, UK. " He is a child of the Sixties who threw himself into the radical student politics of the time." Even now, Nurse retains that spirit of adventure. The man, with a passing facial resemblance to the actor Robin Williams, can be seen in the environs of Cancer Research UK, weaving in and out of traffic on his 500cc gleaming Kawasaki, purchased with the proceeds of the Nobel Prize. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

Release date: 6 March, 2003 NUI Galway announces €250 million Strategic Plan HIGHLIGHTS: Seven strategic priorities outlined by University President to tackle issues and challenges facing NUI Galway in what will undoubtedly be challenging times for the third-level education sector as a whole Implementation of Plan will establish NUI Galway as a world class centre of learning and research Plan focuses on attraction of students, research capabilities, recruitment and retention of highly motivated staff, national and regional influence of the University, the Irish language, organisational structures and funding Initiatives to be undertaken in year one of Plan include: developing a new student cultural and recreational centre, an awards scheme to recognise teaching excellence, a proactive policy in relation to third-level education through Irish and a fundamental re-appraisal of the 1929 Act Targets and deadlines to be put in place on an annual basis to ensure strategy is implemented in full National University of Ireland, Galway today (Thursday 6 March 2003) publicly unveiled its strategic plan for the next five years. The Strategic Plan for NUI Galway 2003 – 2008, which will cost over €250m to implement, is a clear statement of the strategic direction and aims of the University over the next five years. Wide-ranging consultation with staff, students and other interested groups took place in the development of the Plan, to ensure their full involvement in the strategic planning process, and detailed background research was undertaken. Seven strategic priorities have been identified under the Plan which aim to: Enhance the relative attractiveness of the University for Irish and international students; Further strengthen the research reputation and ethos of the University; Attract and retain high-quality staff through recognition and reward; Maximise the University's contribution at national and regional levels; Promote the Irish language in the work of the University; Improve organisational structures and; Secure resources to implement the Strategic Plan. Commenting on the strategic planning process and the future direction of the University, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The Plan launched today builds on an era of development for NUI Galway. Since 1995, the University has had a number of successes in terms of building and enhancing upon its research and teaching experience. What we have set out to do with this Plan is to continue the momentum and build upon those successes, and in a real and practical way (and I can't over emphasise this enough) deal with, and overcome a range of challenges facing the third level sector as a whole. Make no mistake about it – this is not just another report – this is a blueprint for the future success of this institution, a blueprint that my management team and I are committed to over the coming years to ensure that it is implemented in full." Continuing he said, "Attraction of students in a declining population and an ever increasing competitive marketplace is a key priority. Under this plan a number of student-centred measures including the development of campus facilities, enhancement of teaching quality, student supports and services, will take place to ensure that increased numbers of traditional and, importantly, non traditional students will choose to study at NUI Galway. Our second priority is to strengthen our growing research reputation – so important to the University and the country as a whole. We see NUI Galway playing a leading role nationally and internationally in this field. Our strategic focus will look at new and innovative ways of recruiting and motivating staff – it will also look at new structures and approaches to support the sustainable development of the Irish language. This process will include a full review – completed by this summer - of the provisions of the 1929 Act". The NUI Galway Strategic Plan clearly sets out actions that will take place within the first year of the plan and actions to be carried out over the full period of the plan. Commenting on its implementation, President Ó Muircheartaigh stressed that the Plan was ambitious, but realistic. He maintained that the Plan would be revisited on an annual basis to review activity against pre-set action plans. "Each member of the management team, including myself, has taken responsibility for specific strategic priorities, to ensure that on an annual basis, plans and initiatives are being implemented," he said. Concluding he said: "Delivering on the seven key priorities will ensure that we retain the competitive edge which has established NUI Galway as a first-rank educational institution by international standards. While acknowledging and being fully cognisant of the particular challenges which the changing economic climate may present to NUI Galway and indeed the wider third level educational system, we look forward with enthusiasm to the next five years, confident on the basis of this Plan that NUI Galway will continue to show dynamic leadership in research, teaching and student support". Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press and Information Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091 750 418 =========================================== Preas ráiteas: 6ú Márta, 2003 Plean Straitéiseach €250 milliún Fógartha ag OÉ, Gaillimh BUAICPHOINTÍ: Seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha arna leagan amach ag Uachtarán na hOllscoile chun dul i ngleic le saincheisteanna agus le dúshláin atá i ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh agus d'earnáil an tríú leibhéal i gcoitinne. Ionad foghlama agus taighde ar chaighdeán domhanda a bheidh in OÉ, Gaillimh ach an Plean a chur i ngníomh Leagann an Plean béim ar mhic léinn a mhealladh, ar chumais taighde, ar earchú agus ar choinneáil foirne, ar thionchar náisiúnta agus réigiúnach na hOllscoile, ar an nGaeilge, ar struchtúir eagraíochtúla agus ar mhaoiniú Áirítear ar an tionscnaimh a dhéanfar i mbliain a haon den Phlean: pleananna críochnaithe d'ionad nua mac léinn; scéim dámhachtainí chun aitheantas a thabhairt do shártheagasc; polasaí gníomhach i leith oideachas triú leibhéil tré Ghaeilge agus athbhreithniú bunúsach ar fhorálacha Acht 1929 Spriocanna agus spriocdhátaí le leagan síos ar bhonn bliantúil d'fhonn cur i ngníomh iomlán na straitéise a chinntiú Nocht Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a plean straitéiseach do na cúig bliana amach romhainn inniu (Déardaoin, 6 Márta, 2003). Is ráiteas soiléir é Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh 2003 – 2008, a chosnóidh thart ar €250 milliún lena chur i ngníomh, faoi threo agus aidhmeanna straitéiseacha na hOllscoile do na cúig bliana amach romhainn. Déanadh comhchomhairle dhian leis an bhfoireann, le mic léinn agus le grúpaí eile i réiteach an phlean, d'fhonn a rannpháirtíocht iomlán sa phróiséis stráitéiseach a chinntiú. Tá seacht dtosaíocht straitéiseacha aitheanta faoin bPlean agus is iad seo a leanas na haidhmeanna atá acu: Tarraint na hOllscoile i measc mac léinn Éireannach agus idirnáisiúnta a mhéadú i gcomparáid le hOllscoileanna eile; Éiteas agus cáil taighde na hOllscoile a láidriú tuilleadh; -1- Foireann ar ardchaighdeán a mhealladh agus a choinneáil trí aitheantas agus luach saothair a thabhairt dóibh; An méid a dhéanann an Ollscoil ar leibhéal náisiúnta agus réigiúnacha a uasmhéadú; An Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn in obair na hOllscoile; Struchtúir eagraíochtúla a fheabhsú, agus; Acmhainní a fháil chun an Plean Straitéiseach a chur i bhfeidhm. Agus é ag labhairt faoin bpróiseas pleanála straitéisí agus faoi threo na hOllscoile amach anseo, is é a dúirt an Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Uachtarán na hOllscoile: "Tógann an Plean a seoladh inniu ar thréimhse forbartha in OÉ, Gaillimh. Ó 1995 i leith, d'éirigh go maith leis an Ollscoil ó thaobh taithí taighde agus teagaisc a threisiú agus a fheabhsú. Is é a chuireamar romhainn a dhéanamh leis an bPlean seo ná leanúint ar aghaidh leis an móiminteam agus tógáil ar an rathúlacht sin, agus déileáil ar bhealach réadúil agus praiticiúil (agus ní féidir liom an iomarca béim a chur air sin) leis an réimse dúshlán atá in ndán don earnáil tríú leibhéal ina hiomláine agus na dúshláin sin a shárú. Ná bíodh aon cheist agat faoi – ní gnáth-thuarascáil eile í seo – is gormphrionta í do rathúlacht an fhorais seo amach anseo, gormphrionta a mbeidh an fhoireann bainistíochta agamsa agus mé féin tiomanta dó sna blianta amach romhainn lena chinntiú go ndéanfar é a cur i ngníomh ina iomláine." Lean sé ar aghaidh agus dúirt sé: "Is príomhthosaíocht dúinne é mic léinn a mhealladh chugainn féin i ndaonra atá ag titim agus i margadh ina bhfuil an iomaíocht ag fáil níos géire de shíor. Faoin bPlean seo, cuirfear roinnt bearta dírithe ar mhic léinn i gcrích, lena n-áirítear saoráidí an champais a fhorbairt, caighdeán an teagaisc a fheabhsú, tacaíochtaí agus seirbhísí do mhic léinn a fheabhsú, lena chinntiú go roghnóidh níos mó agus níos mó mac léinn traidisiúnta agus mic léinn neamhtraidisiúnta, go háirithe, OÉ, Gaillimh. Is é an dara tosaíocht atá againn ná an cháil taighde atá orainn a threisiú – cáil atá fíorthábhachtach don Ollscoil agus don tír i gcoitinne. Chímid ról ceannróideach a bheith ag OÉ, Gaillimh sa réimse sin go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Féachaidh ár bhfócas straitéiseach ar bhealaí nua agus nuálacha maidir leis an bhfoireann a earcú agus a inspreagadh – féachaidh sé chomh maith ar struchtúr agus cuir chuige nua chun tacú le forbairt inmharthana na Gaeilge. Mar chuid den phróiseas sin déanfar athbhreithniú – a thabharfar chun críche faoin samhradh seo – ar fhorálacha Acht 1929." Leagann Plean Straitéiseach OÉ, Gaillimh gníomhartha amach go soiléir, gníomhartha a tharlóidh laistigh den chéad bhliain den Phlean agus gníomhartha a dhéanfar i rith thréimhse iomlán an phlean. Agus é ag labhairt faoi chur i ngníomh an phlean, dúirt an tUachtarán Ó Muircheartaigh go raibh an Plean uaillmhianach, ach réadúil san am céanna. Dhearbhaigh sé go bhféachfaí ar an bPlean ar bhonn bliantúil chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an ngníomhaíocht i bhfianaise riachtanas gnímh réamhshocraithe. "Tá gach ball den fhoireann bainistíochta, agus mé féin san áireamh, tar éis cúram a ghlacadh orainn féin as tosaíochtaí straitéiseacha ar leith, d'fhonn a chinntiú go bhfuiltear ag cur pleananna agus tionscnaimh i ngníomh ar bhonn bliantúil," a dúirt sé. Mar fhocal scoir, dúirt sé: "Má chomhlíontar na seacht dtosaíocht cinnteofar go mbeidh an lámh in uachtar againn san iomaíocht, lámh in uachtar atá bainte amach ag OÉ, Gaillimh mar fhoras oideachais den chéad ghrád de réir caighdeán idirnáisiúnta. Agus sinn ag aithint agus go hiomlán ar an eolas faoi na dúshláin shonracha a d'fhéadfadh a bheith in ndán do OÉ, Gaillimh de bharr an geilleagar a bheith ag athrú de shíor agus, go deimhin féin, an córas oideachais tríú leibhéal a bheith ag athrú, táimid ag súil go fonnmhar leis na cúig bliana amach romhainn, agus muinín againn de bharr an Phlean seo go leanfaidh OÉ, Gaillimh uirthi ag léiriú ceannaireacht dhinimiciúil i dtéarmaí taighde, teagaisc agus tacaíochta do mhic léinn." Críoch Eolas ó: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Oifigeach Eolais, OÉ, Gaillimh. Teil. 091-750418; 087-2986592

Tuesday, 11 March 2003

Release date: Tuesday 11 March, 2003 Frequent attenders to Irish Emergency Departments: they will always be with us Report shows high number of psychosocially vulnerable patients The problems of Irish Emergency Departments have received much publicity recently. An often-suggested solution is for frequent Emergency Department attenders to be encouraged to attend their general practitioner and other community based services. A paper just published by Irish researchers in the prestigious American Annals of Emergency Medicine shows this to be simplistic, as such patients are already frequent attenders to their general practitioner and other community services. In addition, the study confirms that these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group with multiple needs. This is the first study in Ireland to have followed such patients from the Emergency department (ED) to the community. The report found that frequent attenders to Emergency Departments: Made heavy use of other health services. They had visited their general practitioner more frequently and were more likely to have used public health nursing services, community welfare services, social work services, addiction counselling, and psychiatric services in the previous year compared to non-frequent ED attenders. Made more other hospital visits and had spent more nights in the hospital than non-frequent attenders. Had poorer psychological well-being, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire – 12 (QHQ 12), than non-frequent ED attenders. Reported lower levels of perceived social support. Were more likely to have presented with psychological problems Alcohol and drug use were much more frequently reported in the medical charts of ED frequent attenders compared to non-frequent ED attenders. The study was carried out in the ED of St James's Hospital Dublin, comparing a group of 100 frequent attenders to the ED with a group of 100 non-frequent attenders in terms of their general health service use and their clinical, psychological and social profiles. Patients were interviewed as they attended the ED, and patients' general practitioners were contacted to validate attendance data. Patients' medical charts were searched for evidence of psychological problems and alcohol or drug abuse. Ms Molly Byrne of NUI Galway said that 'this is further evidence that ED frequent attenders complement, rather than substitute, such heavy use of ED with heavy use of both primary and hospital services'. Mr Patrick K Plunkett, St. James's Hospital, noted that 'these patients are a psychosocially vulnerable group. It is important that service providers and policy makers take this vulnerable patient profile into account, as they endeavour to meet the service needs of these patients, as well as deal with resource problems in the country's Emergency Departments'. The study was carried out by Ms Molly Byrne and Prof Andrew Murphy of the Department of General Practice, NUI, Galway; Drs Patrick Plunkett and Alistair Murray, of the Department of Emergency Medicine, St James's Hospital, Dublin; Prof Hannah Mc Gee, of the Health Services Research Centre, Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Prof Gerry Bury, of the Department of General Practice, UCD. This study is published in the March issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine and is available on the Annals Web site (www.mosby.com/AnnEmergMed). Ends For further information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592 Ms Molly Byrne, Department of General Practice, NUI Galway. Tel. 091-512

Monday, 3 March 2003

Release date: 3 March, 2003 New EU Directive to insist on Employer-Employee Consultation A one-day conference taking place in NUI Galway on Friday, 7 March, will address the EU Directive on Information and Consultation, that all Irish companies will have to implement by 2005 (some smaller companies will have until 2007). Ireland is one of only two member states, the other being the UK, that do not have a permanent and statutory system for information and consultation. "The Directive is potentially the most significant piece of employment legislation to emerge from the European Union to date," according to Dr Tony Dundon, of NUI Galway's Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), which is hosting the conference. "It will give all employees, in organisations employing more than either 20 or 50 people, the right to be informed and consulted on matters currently affecting their jobs and those likely to impact on their future work life," says Dr Dundon. The NUI Galway conference will bring together a number of key experts in the field, including policy makers, academics and researchers, They will review the current situation in Ireland, in terms of how far companies are from the requirements of the Directive and also what the Irish Government may or may not do in drafting legislation for compliance. Stressing the importance of the Directive for Irish companies, Dr Dundon commented: "When implemented, this Directive will create a new legal framework for collective representation that marks a significant departure from the traditional voluntarist approach adopted in this country." Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 750418

Monday, 28 April 2003

Release date: Monday 28th April 2003 New Deep Sea Research Centre established at NUI Galway At some ten times the size of Ireland's land area, our seabed is a resource of major significance and there now exists a whole new body of knowledge that allows us to pursue biological and ecological studies in deeper water as never before. NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) has just announced the setting-up of an Irish Centre for Offshore Biological and Ecological Studies (ICOBES). The centre, in collaboration with national and international partners, will address the serious deficit of knowledge on the animals of the deep ocean floor and on their relationships with their environment. These animals constitute a highly important resource in their own right – ecologically and commercially. "Their presence determines in no small way the 'health' of the seafloor, and they play an important, as yet poorly understood, role in the food web of the deep sea", says Professor Brendan Keegan, Chairman of the new research centre. "This is extremely important when, with the decline of many traditional fisheries (e.g. the cod), our attention is being turned towards new food species from deeper waters." "If we are not to make the same mistakes again, we have, amongst other requirements, to be able to identify the diversity of animals in question. We must know their biology (e.g. when and how often do they reproduce) and their ecology (e.g. who eats whom and what other effects they have on their habitats)", says Professor Keegan. NUI, Galway has built up an international reputation in marine taxonomy - the identification of marine plant and animal species. Many of its graduates have endured with this interest in their own work places, such as the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Aqua Fact International Services Ltd. This survived the rising attractiveness of molecular taxonomy (identifying species on the basis of their genetic composition), which saw many institutions world wide turn away from the classical approach of identifying whole animals and plants on the basis of their "shape and make". "It was indeed very strange that, even in the face of widespread concern over the permanent loss of species, expert recognition of marine plants and animals continued to decline", observes Professor Keegan. " There is growing awareness of the urgent need to re-acquire these impoverished skills", he said. Ireland, as a whole, has had little marine taxonomic expertise beyond our shallow coastal waters. "This is regrettable, given the increasing interest in the offshore/deep sea area and its natural resources", says Professor Keegan. "However, the Seabed Survey commenced by the Geological Survey of Ireland in 2000 represents an extraordinary first effort to understand this resource". Under funding recently received from the Higher Education Authority, Galway's Martin Ryan Institute has formed and equipped a team of young graduates to carry out complementary studies of this kind. They will look to the Marine Institute for the use of its vessels, RV Celtic Voyager and RV Explorer and to the Geological Survey for its storehouse of newly won information on the sea floor. According to Professor Keegan, the new ICOBES centre will take the obvious next step in bringing together all interested parties, and through a pooling of expertise and equipment, optimise on these new research opportunities. All interested organisations are being invited to have a representative on an ICOBES Advisory Group. In addition to the actual researchers based in the Martin Ryan Institute, NUI Galway will also provide secretariat facilities, library, database and newsletter access. It will also maintain biological reference collections, in parallel with the National Museum and the Museum and Galleries of Wales and provide important technological support and training. "This is one instance where, given that Irish expertise is pretty thin on the 'sea-floor', the more cooks the better the broth", concluded Professor Keegan. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel. 091 750418; 087-2986592

Wednesday, 16 April 2003

Release date: Wednesday 16th April 2003 NUI Galway appoints Director to Huston School of Film and Digital Media NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Rod Stoneman to the post of Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at National University of Ireland, Galway. Mr Stoneman has been CEO of the Irish Film Board since its re-establishment ten years ago. Prior to that he was a Deputy Commissioning Editor for Channel Four television in the UK. The Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway will be launched by Angelica Huston at a Gala Banquet to be held in Los Angeles on May 2nd 2003. The school has been founded with the support of the Huston family, commemorating their long association with "St. Cleran's", John Huston's family home in Co. Galway. Additional support has been provided by Coca Cola HBC. "We are delighted to welcome the appointment of Mr Stoneman, as Director of the new Film School", said Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. "He brings wide industry experience and an international profile to this exciting and innovative project". The Huston School of Film and Digital Media has been founded with the ambition of training a new generation of filmmakers, making use of the latest digital technology. Its inaugural programme, beginning in September 2003 will be a Masters programme in Screenwriting. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer. NUI Galway. Tel. 091-750418; 087-2986592

Monday, 26 May 2003

NUI Galway Scientist wins Optical Society of America award The Optical Society of America (OSA) has announced that the recipient of its C. E. K. Mees Medal 2003 is Professor Christopher Dainty, of NUI Galway. The award recognizes his achievements in the field of Optics. The C. E. K. Mees Medal was established in 1961 in memory of C. E. K. Mees,who contributed much to the development of scientific photography, and acknowledges a recipient who exemplifies the thought that optics transcends all boundaries, interdisciplinary and international. Chris Dainty was chosen as the 2003 recipient for his contributions to the understanding and application of speckle phenomena and for leadership in the international optics community. Professor Dainty is Science Foundation Ireland Professor of Experimental Physics at NUI Galway and is President of the European Optical Society. His research has spanned a wide variety of topics in optical imaging, propagation and scattering. His early work focused on laser speckle and astronomical speckle interferometry. However, by the early 1980s, he became interested in measurement of atmospherically induced scintillation and phase fluctuations, as well as enhanced backscattering from rough surfaces. More recently, he has been involved in low-cost adaptive optics and its applications, and in the optics of the eye. His advanced research uses novel electronics, computer power and light-sensing devices to improve our view of the world. Known as "adaptive optics", the approach is already being used to enhance the images captured by earth-based telescopes. Adaptive optics is a technology developed by astronomers to compensate for the deleterious effects of atmospheric turbulence in astronomical imaging. Dainty is applying adaptive optics to the human eye, primarily to produce very high-resolution images of the retina in vivo. Reversing the optical system could provide "super-vision" that would enable people to see better than "20/20". In the same way that applied optics can clean up a telescope image, Dainty is using the technique to get a clearer view of the back of the retina. A cleaner image of retinal cells can help diagnose disease, but also opens the possibility of sharper vision, he says. Other applications include "line-of-sight" cable-free optical communication links that operate in all weathers, more powerful microscopes and CDs with greatly increased storage capacity. Dainty's research programme also includes basic and applied studies in the fields of smart optics, light scattering and propagation through random media. Smart optical systems are ones where both the optical elements and the detector are programmable, allowing complex tasks to be performed with potentially very low cost devices: consumer digital cameras are one product area that could benefit from smart optics. On a related theme, Professor Dainty is also coordinating an EU Research Training Network, "SHARP-EYE" from his base in NUI Galway. Ends

Friday, 23 May 2003

Release date: 23rd May 2003 SFI awards major Research Centre to NUI Galway Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has announced major funding for three new Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs) at NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons and UCC. The three successful centres received their awards against competition from 23 other applicants. The new Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway will receive €12m from SFI over the next five years (with a review for further funding after two years), with significant resource investment being contributed by Hewlett-Packard s European Software Centre in Galway. DERI will conduct basic and applied research on the Semantic Web and Semantic Web-enabled Web Services, and on the innovative implications of this emerging technology for industry and society. The importance of this research to business and the public alike is evidenced by the already enormous use of the Web as a tool for communication, accessing and distributing information and conducting business. Traditional Web technology has stimulated the development of entirely new methods of accessing markets, distributing product information and connecting dispersed commercial partners. However, the success of the Web has made it increasingly difficulty to find, sort, present and maintain the information distributed globally. Fortunately, the Semantic Web provides a way of handling this explosion of information and DERI will be at the forefront of this step into the second generation of Web technology. Conceived by the architects of the original web, the Semantic Web is still in its infancy, but when fully developed it will enable computers to talk meaningfully to each other. The new Institute will be directed by Prof. Dieter Fensel, a leading figure in Semantic Web research world-wide, and co-directed by a leading industrial researcher, who brings significant experience to DERI from the US. Prof. Fensel plans to build the number of research staff in DERI to over 60 post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers by 2008. DERI will be a rich collaboration between NUI Galway researchers from the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit, the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, the Departments of Information Technology and Electronic Engineering and key industrial researchers from HP's European Software Centre in Galway. In addition, DERI will attract world-class researchers from around the globe. While DERI will be based on the NUI Galway campus it will also have a laboratory at the HP European Software Centre, allowing easy physical and intellectual exchange of researchers between academia and industry. 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, and plans to foster an extensive researcher exchange programme with the Group. In a research area that demands team-work and global collaboration, this international sharing of ideas and personnel will greatly enhance the potential of DERI to establish itself as a world-leader in the Semantic Web. The involvement of Hewlett-Packard's European Software Centre in Galway is particularly important for DERI s mission to support the future development of indigenous Irish industry. In the commercial world, where software technologies for different parts of a business have not been based on a common foundation, there are serious problems with trying to connect these various data-handling applications. Semantic Web-enabled Web Services will allow the development of simple interfaces between these applications. With over 100 interconnected systems and interface technology ranging over 30 years, HP s European Software Centre represents an ideal 'real-life' laboratory in which the research carried out by DERI can be case-studied and applied. Ends

Thursday, 26 June 2003

Conferral underlines NUI Galway's global human rights activity The world's elder statesman, Nelson Mandela visits NUI Galway today (Friday 20 June 2003) to be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. The visit and conferral emphasises the work the University has, and continues to carry out, as a leading world-centre of research on global human rights issues. Commenting, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "As a university, NUI Galway is committed to the study and promotion of human rights and global humanitarian law. This is demonstrated through the ongoing work of the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. It is therefore a fitting and momentous occasion for NUI Galway to welcome Mr. Mandela to this University". He added, "While we honour Mr. Mandela with an honorary doctorate, it is actually he who honours us by his presence today at NUI Galway". Continuing he said: The values and beliefs that have shaped the life of Nelson Mandela continue to drive and shape reform, not only in South Africa and the African continent but throughout the world. His visit to NUI Galway underlines a genuine commitment and engagement on the part of this institution to those ideas of human rights, justice and equality for all. The visit and conferral of the Honorary Doctorate to Nelson Mandela can be viewed live via the University's website at: www.nuigalway.ie/mandela To mark the visit, the University has also organised an International Development Conference on Friday 20 June, which will focus on the key themes in economic development, human rights and development co-operation. It will look at opportunities for enhanced and innovative partnerships with African states, and consider in conjunction with Irish aid practitioners, the particular role Ireland can play in these areas. Speakers include Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Michael D Higgins, T.D.; Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and John O'Shea of Goal. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William Schabas said: "The main objective of the conference will be to honour Nelson Mandela's visit to NUI Galway, and his ongoing work on behalf of the disadvantaged. In addition, the conference will seek to inform the public debate on development issues and contribute to the dialogue in policy formulation, and to review and highlight key developing world priorities." Ends Issued on behalf of NUI Galway by Drury Communications, contact Orla Benson / Paddy Hughes at Tel: +353 1 260 5000 / +353 87 8033262 / +353 87 616 7811 For reference: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel: +353 91 750 418 / +353 87 298 6592

Monday, 16 June 2003

NUI Galway Conference on Economic Development, Human Rights and Aid A new partnership for Africa's Development – Ireland's Role To mark the visit of Nelson Mandela to NUI Galway, the University is organising an International Development Conference which will take place from 11.30 to 5.00 p.m., on Friday, 20 June, 2003, in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. The conference will focus on key themes in economic development, human rights and development co-operation. The proceedings will focus on the opportunities for enhanced and innovative partnerships with African states, and consider in conjunction with Irish aid practitioners, the particular role Ireland can play in these areas. Speakers at the conference will include Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Michael D. Higgins, T.D., Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and John O'Shea of Goal. The main objectives of the conference are to inform the public debate on development issues and contribute to the dialogue in policy formulation; to review and highlight key development priorities; and to honour Nelson Mandela's visit to NUI Galway and his ongoing work on behalf of the disadvantaged. Ends

Monday, 9 June 2003

Bank of Ireland Fellowship in International Human Rights Law to be established in honour of Nelson Mandela's visit to Galway Bank of Ireland has announced the establishment of a fellowship to be awarded to a distinguished scholar from a developing country studying at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The fellowship will be established to commemorate the visit of Nelson Mandela to the University to receive an honorary degree on June 20th. Hundreds of applicants are expected to apply for this prestigious fellowship. Applications will be considered by a special academic panel chaired by Professor William A. Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. "This important fellowship will make a most significant contribution to the academic research capacity of the Irish Centre for Human Rights", said Professor Schabas. "Since the Centre began activities in early 2000, it has quickly become the Irish think tank with respect to issues on the cutting edge of international human rights law. The fellowship will strengthen its international reputation for excellence and innovation." Professor Schabas went on to say that the requirement that the fellow comes from a developing country is particularly important. "Research from developing countries suffers from inadequate resources, and we believe a fellowship like this can help in a modest way to correct the imbalance," he said. Mike O Grady, Regional Manager Area Office West at Bank of Ireland said, "Nelson Mandela is a towering figure in human rights. We were glad to be able to recognise his historic visit to Galway by establishing a fellowship for a scholar from a developing country." Ends

Friday, 6 June 2003

From 7 – 10 June 2003 the Irish Centre for Human Rights will host the Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Over 150 delegates from throughout the world will participate in this prestigious international event. Genocide, often called "the crime of crimes", is defined by human rights law as the racist destruction of an entire group. The keynote address will be delivered by Gerald Gahima, the Attorney General of Rwanda. He will give an account of his experience in the pursuit for justice in post-genocide Rwanda. Other notable speakers include the Honorable Howard Wolpe, Former Congressman from Michigan and Special Presidential Envoy of the U.S. to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Ben Kiernan, Professor of History and Director of Genocide Studies Program, Yale University and Professor Israel Charny of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem. The Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and chair in human rights at the University, Professor William A. Schabas will discuss the implications for international law of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals. This conference will involve over forty panels discussing a variety of topics, including the genocide of indigenous peoples, the effects of genocide on survivors, prevention of genocide, the role of mass media, international law and genocide, the role of truth commissions and denial of genocides. Scholars from the numerous countries, including Canada, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States and Israel will participate in this event. The International Association of Genocide Scholars is at the forefront of research and study on the subject of genocide and the Irish Centre for Human Rights is honoured to be hosting this conference. Ends

Tuesday, 3 June 2003

Preparations well underway for visit of Nelson Mandela to NUI Galway Preparations are at an advanced stage for the impending visit of Nelson Mandela to NUI Galway. The Nobel Laureate and former Prime Minister of South Africa will be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws on Friday, 20 June 2003 at the University. It is expected that huge numbers of people will come on campus to welcome Mr Mandela on his historic visit to Galway. Mr Mandela will arrive on campus at 5.30 pm. Members of the public are invited to view the arrival and the colourful academic procession from the Quadrangle to the conferring hall at Áras na Mac Léinn/Student Centre. Designated Viewing Areas will provide excellent vantage points for the public. Details of these locations, which will be supervised for crowd safety by the Gardaí, will be published in due course. The ceremony will be relayed live to large screens in the Kirwan, Dillon and Larmor Theatres. Admission to these venues will be by ticket only. Tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis to members of the public and should be collected in person from Áras Fáilte, the University's Visitor and Information Centre, from Monday 9 June. To mark this historic event, NUI Galway and HEAnet will host the first-ever live webcast from the campus. This will enable alumni, staff and friends all over the globe to enjoy this auspicious occasion. In order to access the live video-stream, log-on to www.nuigalway.ie/mandela for instructions and test page to check you can view the webcast. "This is a momentous occasion for the University and for Galway," said Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway. " We are delighted to be able to facilitate public access to the event and look forward to making this a memorable and exciting occasion for as many people as possible. Now approaching his eighty fifth birthday, Nelson Mandela is one of the world's greatest statesmen and it is a singular honour for us to welcome him to Galway." Ends

Monday, 28 July 2003

The first custom-built facility to produce farmed marine finfish is being established in NUI Galway's MRI Laboratories in Carna, Connemara. With support from Údarás na Gaeltachta, the €600,000 facility will commence operation in the autumn (2003) with the pilot commercial scale production of juvenile cod in a research project funded by the Marine Institute. Wild cod stocks have been severely depleted in recent years resulting in the imposition of quotas and conservation measures. The combined landings of wild cod in the waters off Ireland and UK have plummeted from an average of 75,000 tonnes per annum to less than 25,000 tonnes of cod since the mid 1990s. "Cod is perhaps the best known species of white fish in the North Atlantic with a readymade market of millions of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", according to Declan Clarke, Development Manager at NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute. "There is a strong market opportunity for farmed cod in Ireland and other European countries. Technology developed for cod will also be readily transferable to other white fish species, including haddock, hake and halibut," he said. Research at the MRI Laboratories will support emerging commercial development in terms of Ireland's marine finfish brood stock programmes, live feed production and fish health. Micheál Corduff, Marine Project Executive, Údarás na Gaeltachta said, " This is a very exciting project with tremendous potential for sustainable development, commercial success, and job creation." This project is part of an inter-agency initiative to develop new species and technologies, which involves the Marine Institute, NUI Galway, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Department of the Marine. Ends

Thursday, 10 July 2003

The recently elected President of the International Criminal Court, Philippe Kirsch, will be the keynote speaker at a one-week course organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway from 19-26 July 2003 in Galway. Now in its fourth year, the one-week course provides students, diplomats, journalists and other interested professionals with a comprehensive introduction to the operational and political issues concerning the Court. President Kirsch headed the negotiations that resulted in the creation of the Court. He was elected a judge in February 2003, and President of the Court the following month. He will lecture on the establishment of the Court, including the 1998 Rome Conference and subsequent developments. Speakers at the course include Ambassador David Scheffer, who led the United States delegation at the Rome Conference and Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and author of Introduction to the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court became fully operational in June 2003, following the election of its judges, the Prosecutor and the Registrar. The Court is authorised to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 1 July 2002. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, founded in 2000, is based at NUI Galway, where it is affiliated to the Faculty of Law. Besides organising specialised courses on relevant themes, like the International Criminal Court course, it offers a degree programme of post-graduate studies in international human rights law and engages in a range of individual and contract research projects. Ends

Tuesday, 1 July 2003

Six distinguished individuals from Ireland and overseas were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today, (June 27th 2003). Professor Kader Asmal, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rev. Fr Andrew M. Greeley, Mr Joseph Higgins, Right Rev John RW Neill and Mrs Brίd Rodgers received honorary degrees from the University in recognition of the contribution they have each made in affecting fundamental, positive change for disenfranchised and minority groups and society as a whole. This conferring ceremony follows the conferring of Nelson Mandela last week and further underpins NUI Galway's commitment to the study and promotion of Human Rights and also its work in the area of development and social inclusion which has enhanced the lives of local communities in Ireland and fostered global links with institutions and organisations. The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "NUI Galway is proud to recognise the achievements of these individuals whose contributions to harmonisation in society has had a profound impact on the lives of so many. It is fitting that we honour these individuals at NUI Galway where our values and beliefs foster a culture and spirit of justice, equality and opportunity for all. Kadar Asmal who is currently Minister for Education in South Africa, has made an immense contribution to the establishment of an apartheid-free South Africa. His integrity and commitment to social change has touched the lives of many, including us in Ireland where he succeeded in drawing support for the Irish anti-apartheid movement by highlighting the plight of an oppressed people. Mayor Richard Daley has earned a national reputation in the United States for his work in developing innovative, community-based programmes to address education, public safety, neighbourhood development and other challenges unique to the urban setting. We are proud to honour him in NUI Galway today and to acknowledge his extraordinary achievements in improving the quality of life of the citizens of Chicago, many of whom are Irish. Fr Andrew Greeley is a rare combination of priest, politician and author. Imbued with a strong sense of social justice, he has improved the lives of many individuals through the provision of schools and churches, while creating a special place for the Irish people in Chicago. The best selling priest-novelist in the world, his books provide a unique and important insight into the history of the Irish in Chicago as an ethnic group and their integration into American society. It is fitting that we honour Joseph Higgins with an honorary degree. His entrepreneurial flair and dedication to driving indigenous industry has assisted in establishing Galway as an industrial and digital hub where local expertise achieves global success. We honour Archbishop John R Neill for his commitment to inclusiveness as exemplified in the ordination of women in the Church of Ireland. Archbishop Neill served on the NUI Galway Governing Authority for a number of years and demonstrated deep concern for issues of development in the West region. He has also been an active advocate of ecumenism in this country. Brίd Rodgers who is Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Northern Ireland Executive, has dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality and social justice. She is being honoured today for her tireless efforts in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland". Ends

Friday, 15 August 2003

Astronomers at NUI Galway have discovered and measured for the first time, a link between the intensity of optical light and the intensity of radio waves from a Pulsar. Their work, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, has important implications for our understanding of how these enigmatic objects work. Pulsars, which were first discovered by the Irish astronomer Jocelyn Bell in 1967, have defied a full theoretical understanding despite more than thirty years of study. What is a pulsar? Dr Andy Shearer who led the NUI Galway research team explains that when a large star dies its life ends with a large explosion - a supernova - one of the most energetic events in the universe. "Some supernovae can result in the formation of what is known as a neutron star," he says. When a neutron star is young (e.g., 100,000 years), it emits a flash or 'pulse of radiation every time it rotates - it is now known as a pulsar. According to Dr Shearer, explaining the pulse and hence the conditions around a neutron star has baffled astronomers for the past thirty years. "Understanding the pulsar phenomena remains one of the unsolved problems in astrophysics," he says. The focus of the NUI Galway team was the 'Crab' Pulsar, which rotates 33 times a second. The team took simultaneous observations of the Crab pulsar at both radio and optical wavelengths. The NUI Galway-built TRIFFID camera, using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, recorded the optical signals at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in La Palma and the radio signals were recorded using the Dutch radio observatory at Westerbork, Holland. "We observed over 10,000 Giant Radio Pulses and discovered, for the first time, that there is a link between the radio and optical signals from pulsars," said Dr. Shearer. In post analysis, the radio and optical arrival times were linked to better than a 10 millionth of a second despite the radio and optical observatories being over 2000 kilometres apart. The importance of this discovery lies in the fact that to date no convincing explanation describes all the possible observations of pulsars. "Our limited knowledge of the workings of a plasma in the extreme conditions around a pulsar has meant we do not know what causes the brief flashes of radio waves, light, X-ray and gamma ray signals that are characteristic of these enigmatic objects", says Dr. Shearer. Indeed most theoretical studies have looked at either the radio waves or the optical but not both. "Our observations have, for the first time, linked emission from these two parts of the electromagnetic spectrum - and in doing so ruled out some of the competing models," said Dr Shearer. "We hope that future observations - particularly of the polarisation of the radio and optical radiation will lead, finally, to a complete understanding of how pulsars work." Ends