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Research Advises Against Screening Campaign for Chlamydia but Recommends National Action Plan to Promote Sexual Heal
Monday, 28 May 2012
Research also explores the attitudes, fears and preferences of young people towards chlamydia testing New research carried out by researchers from NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) has found that a national screening campaign for chlamydia in young people would not prove cost effective. The research also explored the attitudes, fears and preferences of young Irish men and women aged 18-29 years old towards accepting tests to detect chlamydia. The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study, which was funded by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and supported by the Health Research Board, looked at the feasibility of opportunistic screening in a general practice setting for chlamydia, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Like other countries, Ireland is experiencing a steady increase in the numbers of young women and men presenting to the health services with STIs; the annual numbers of cases of chlamydia rose from 1000 in 1997 to around 6000 in 2008-09. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STI in Ireland, with highest numbers reported among 20-29 year olds. More often than not it is silent and causes no symptoms – especially in women – but can cause serious complications such as infertility and ectopic pregnancies. Dr Emer O’Connell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine in the HSE presented study findings at Ireland’s first ever Sexual Health Awareness Week, which was officially launched in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland today. “Screening for chlamydia is available in many countries. However, some countries such as Australia are reviewing the effectiveness of this measure. In Ireland, due to our small population and the strain already on our health service, a screening programme for chlamydia would not be cost effective because it would be difficult to achieve the necessary coverage levels to reduce the level of infection.” The research found that the main barrier reported by young people to seeking or accepting an STI test was the stigma associated with chlamydia and other STIs. This stigma was greatest among women especially those from rural backgrounds and in urban working class areas who feared the consequences of being publicly exposed – to their families and peers –through asking for an STI test. Despite the stigma associated with an STI test, there was a high level of willingness among young men and women to take a chlamydia test if offered by a health professional. 95% said it would be acceptable to be offered the test and 75% of students said they would accept the test if offered. The research also found that 80% of those involved in the study said they would inform their current partner if they tested positive for chlamydia but this rate fell to 55-60% in the case of previous partners. Professor Ruairi Brugha, Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine, RCSI said: “While this study demonstrated that a national chlamydia screening programme would not be cost-effective in Ireland, it reports important positive findings. Young people are aware of the risks and are anxious that STI testing services be made accessible and acceptable. We also found that there are primary care providers who are willing to provide such services.” Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway said “The study findings provide evidence of how to protect the sexual health of young Irish people. Given these findings, a national sexual health plan should include primary prevention activities such as sex education, condom distribution and the provision of information on how to seek care for STIs. Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of primary care-delivered chlamydia detection and case management services as part of a national action plan to promote sexual health.” The research from The Chlamydia Screening in Ireland Pilot Study will be presented today during Ireland’s first ever national Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW). SHAW is being hosted by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI). A range of public meetings, debates and interactive workshops promoting sexual health awareness at a national leave are taking place in RCPI from 28 -31 May, all of which are free and open to the public. ENDS
Job search Boot Camp for NUI Galway Graduates
Monday, 28 May 2012
Due to unprecedented demand, NUI Galway has announced an additional date to the Summer Boot Camp diary for graduates who are seeking to gain employment. The first of these events, which will take place on Thursday, 24 May, is currently fully booked and a second date of the Thursday, 14 June has now been added. These graduate support ‘Boot Camps’, organised by NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, will focus on effective CVs, interview skills and using social media in the job search process. Interactive workshops facilitated by staff from the Career Development Centre and employers will challenge participants to review their current approach to job search and to apply the learning gained to enhance their job prospects. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre, NUI Galway: “This is a great opportunity for those seeking employment to boost their efforts. We look forward to working again with our recent graduates and strongly encourage those who are looking for new ways to market themselves to come along and get their career back on track.” Places are limited to ensure individual attention and graduates who are interested in attending on 14 June are encouraged to book a place through the online booking system ‘Career Connect’ via the Careers website www.nuigalway.ie/careers as soon as possible. For further details contact the NUI Galway Career Development Centre on 091 493589 or email email@example.com. -ENDS-
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Royal Irish Academy Honours Top NUI Galway Scholars
Monday, 28 May 2012
Two NUI Galway academics have been admitted as new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. Professor Steven Ellis and Professor Adrian Frazier were among only 22 academics in Ireland to achieve this highest academic distinction Steven Ellis is Professor of History at NUI Galway. His publications over three decades have made a major contribution to our understanding of the political, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Ireland, and have established him as an internationally recognised authority on the history of frontier societies. Adrian Frazier is Professor of English at NUI Galway. His work on modern Irish literature has opened up new fields of inquiry in territories often passed over: introducing new historicism to the study of Irish theatre; re-introducing George Moore to a world that had forgotten him; and bringing alive the story of Abbey actors working with John Ford in Hollywood. Congratulating the awardees, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of my colleagues, Professors Adrian Frazier and Steven Ellis recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland. It is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see the work of two of our finest humanities scholars honoured in this way”. RIA President, Professor Luke Drury, urged the government to make greater use of the resources available to it in the academic community, so that it can develop new and creative solutions and avoid the danger of ‘group think’, saying: “At a time when trust in public institutions has been greatly undermined, we need reassurance that government is receiving good advice on what it should do and how it should do it. The State can, and should, turn to the academic community for expert advice, at far less cost than commissioning expensive consultants, and thereby support genuinely independent and occasionally critical voices.” For 227 years, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 466 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. Members of the Academy include: Seamus Heaney, Frances Ruane (ESRI), Mary Robinson, Patrick Cunningham (ESOF Dublin 2012), Maurice Manning (NUI Chancellor), Patrick Honohan (Central Bank), Mary Canning (HEA) and writer and cartographer Tim Robinson. ENDS
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Irish and Korean Web Science Experts Sign Collaboration Agreement
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
A collaborative research agreement has been signed between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). The agreement will generate close collaborations between researchers at both institutes and is expected to lead to a number of funded projects. Work is already underway on a joint project in the area of semantic data integration and application. DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, with over 140 researchers. With its researchers of over 500 people, KISTI is specialised institute providing science technology and innovation services to promote national competitiveness. KISTI’s agenda is to develop and secure local and foreign information resources, strategic information analysis and advanced supercomputing and information infrastructure. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI at NUI Galway, which was established in 2003 with support from Science Foundation Ireland, says: “This agreement will boost world-class R&D in the field of semantic technologies as it makes possible a closer collaboration between two leading institutions. We were honoured to have been approached by KISTI regarding this agreement and glad to accept, while looking forward to the start of specific research projects.” Dr Won-Kyung Sung, Head of Information & Software Research Center of KISTI, says: “We expect that this Memorandum of Understanding will advance semantic web technology-based smart information service of KISTI and expand international collaboration in several R&D areas including semantic web.” Among the first specific projects that are included in the agreement is one related to DERI’s ‘web of data’ search engine Sindice. “Sindice represents a unique opportunity for researchers and companies to look at and start using infrastructures and concepts related to web-scale semantic data processing”, said Dr Giovanni Tummarello, head of the Data Intensive Infrastructure unit in DERI. “We are receiving more and more interest on this topic from enterprise and academic partners like KISTI”, added Dr Tummarello, “and there are solid prospects for Irish based job creation related to these activities in the near future.” -ends-
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Innovation Conference Explores Why Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation is Important
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
The 2012 Annual InterTradeIreland Innovation Conference will take place at NUI Galway from 12-13 June. The free event will focus on a theme highly pertinent in the currently economic climate ‘Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation: Why it Matters’. The Conference aims to provide practical insights into how businesses, academics and policy makers on the island of Ireland can best exploit industry-university research, development and innovation to best effect in context of our economic recovery. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy at NUI Galway states: “Innovation management is moving towards an open innovation model with industry, universities and governments collaborating to support scientific development and economic development. Over the last decade Ireland has increased its scientific capacity through public funding of science and technology. The open innovation model is being adopted by more industries and this poses significant strategic and operational challenges for companies, large and small. This Conference will explore how best companies can respond to these significant changes in research, development and innovation.” The Keynote Speaker is Professor Donald Siegel, Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Management at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. He has spent his career building knowledge and expertise on issues relating to university technology transfer and entrepreneurship, the effects of corporate governance on economic performance, productivity analysis, and corporate and environmental social responsibility. He serves as President of the Technology Transfer Society in the US and was recently ranked Number 2 in the world for academic research on university entrepreneurship. According to Professor Siegel: “In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the commercialization of intellectual property at universities. A concomitant trend has been a substantial rise in university-industry research partnerships, often with that same goal in mind. I will present some lessons learned for managers and policymakers who are interested in stimulating academic entrepreneurship and managing university-industry partnerships more effectively. If you are interested in learning about ‘best practices’ in university technology commercialization, you should attend this conference.” In the packed two-day conference programme, a number of business leaders and academic experts from both sides of the border will explore why the exploitation of industry and university-based research, development and innovation is crucial to the development of a sustainable economy. Delegates will also hear the results of cutting-edge research into innovation and entrepreneurship that is being undertaken in our third level institutions across the island. Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director for InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland’s focus is on SMEs and ensuring they can access all the resources needed to engage in innovation. Open innovation is often seen as the preserve of larger firms however, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can also adopt open innovation strategies through involvement in innovation partnerships and networks. Such companies need help to gain access to external knowledge, draw on alternative pathways to bring ideas to market, provide greater access to innovation capabilities and increase speed to market. This event provides those same businesses with these opportunities by allowing them to connect with a wider variety of relevant expertise both on the island and internationally.” The Conference will be of interest to business leaders and senior managers in businesses across all industry sectors including public, private and the third sector including anyone with a responsibility for the strategic development of a business or organisation. The first day of the Conference (12 June) will be of particular interest to academic researchers with an interest in tech transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Conference is part of the InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Innovation Programme which aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to Queen’s University Belfast, NUI Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, academics, students, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region via innovation conferences, lectures, seminars and master classes. The All-Island Innovation Programme is delivered in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For more information on the InterTradeIreland All Island Innovation Programme visit www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme The two-day Conference takes place at the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy, NUI Galway on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June 2012. For more information and to register online to attend this FREE event, visit www.conference.ie and follow the link to the InterTradeIreland Annual Innovation Conference. A Twitter Hashtag has been setup so that conference delegates can share their thoughts on the day: #aiiconf2012 -ends-
Galway Primary School Competition, ‘Know Your Council’, Winners Announced
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Galway City’s St Patrick’s National School were recently presented with the ‘Know Your Council’ Award at a special ceremony held in the Galway Council Chamber recently. This was a mayoral initiative by Galway City Mayor Hildegarde Naughton in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness among senior classes in primary schools about the workings of local government. Over 370 pupils took part in the initiative and were presented with a certificate of participation. Ten primary schools reaching the final held in City Hall and two pupils from each school presented their projects to an independent adjudicating panel from NUI Galway including: Lorraine McIlrath and Mary Bernard of CKI, Dr Gerard Turley, Lecturer with the School of Business and Economics, Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Fergal Landy, Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, and Conor Quinn, Student of Sociology and Politics. The pupils' work will form part of an information pack on local government which will be distributed to all city primary schools in September. Adjudicator Dr Gerard Turley said: “The adjudicating panel was very impressed with St Patrick’s critical analysis and ability to inform local policy.” The winner of the most creative poster was Scoil Iognáid, the winner of the best content poster was Scoil An linbh Íosa, the winner of the best presentation was Scoil Idé and the winner of the best project content was Scoil San Phroinsais. Co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s CKI, Lorraine McIlrath, said: “It has been a fantastic partnership between NUI Galway and Galway City Council, and this initiative is an excellent model of how institutions can collaborate in developing a culture of political literacy among our young people.” Speaking after the event Mayor Naughton said: “We had a fantastic response to the initiative and you could see that all the pupils really enjoyed researching and presenting their projects. The standard was very high and the pupils displayed an excellent understanding of their local council. This is a new initiative which could be rolled out on an annual basis not only in Galway but nationwide. It is important that we set up a programme nationally to continue this work to assist our young people in informing themselves on local government. I would like to thank all the schools who participated in this initiative and partners NUI Galway who administered and adjudicated the project.” The projects will be on display in City Hall for the next few weeks and they will form part of an information pack which will be distributed to all city primary schools. -ENDS-
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Wise Student Serves Up Cookery Book for End of Year Assignment
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Galway girl and NUI Galway student Móna Wise will launch her first book The Chef & I this Thursday, 31 May, in Cases Wine Warehouse, Galway. Part memoir, part cookery book, this heartwarming read, which began life as an assignment for Móna’s studies on the BA with Creative Writing Degree at NUI Galway, tells the story of Móna and her American husband, chef Ron, who she met while working in the US in the 1990s . A widely appealing story of love at first sight – and first bite – the book reminds readers to chase their dreams and enjoy delicious food on the journey. 75 pages of autobiography serve as an appetizer for 100 pages of recipes, with enticing images of food, family and fun scattered throughout the text. Parents to four children, Rory, Jack, Sam and Lulu, ranging in age from 10 to 6, the recipes in the book include family favorites such as the recipe for BBQ Ribs and coleslaw and the children's favourite birthday cake ‘Black Magic’. “I have had this story kicking around in my head ever since I saw the Chef’s tattered and torn recipe books, but it was not until I enrolled in my writing course that I felt I might have what it takes to write a book,” said Mona. “I knew, given the schedule and deadlines that if I had the opportunity to ‘live the life of a writer’ while still in college I would give it my best effort,” continued Mona. “Our story appeals to many readers because it is a true story showing how we built our family in a different way and recipes for all the fabulous food we have shared with friends over the years”. Returning from the US in 2008, where Móna and Ron ran a restaurant together, Móna took time out to write and enrolled on the 4-year BA with Creative Writing programme at NUI Galway, studying German and English Literature together with a specialism in Creative Writing. The book is her third-year ‘Independent Writing’ project, for which Eoin Purcell of New Island Press was commissioned as editor-mentor. Commenting on the book, the director of the BA with Creative Writing at NUI Galway, Dr John Kenny, said: “On our programme we are interested in how creative expression in itself can in turn be used to generate professional possibilities, and Móna is a prime example of what can be achieved when the opportunity for supervised self-directed learning is energetically grasped. With still a year to go to graduation, here she is with a weekly column in the Sunday Times, a widely admired blog, and now her first book – it's all a gratifying testament to her good will, hard work and downright gumption.” Móna’s work has recently attracted the attention of the national press and she has commenced writing her own lifestyle and food column for the Sunday Times Sunday Magazine. Móna’s blog wisewords.ie has now become well established and she is a familiar face at foodies’ gatherings. Her site has thousands of followers who log on for her regular restaurant reviews, wine writing, food-book reviews, recipes and child-rearing experiences. In addition to her column in the Sunday Times, readers can catch up with Móna on Twitter @WiseMona, Facebook Móna Wise or WiseWords or follow her Blog www.WiseWords.ie The Chef & I will be available from Kennys.ie from May 31st and retails at €25 and is also available at locally in Galway at Cases Wine Warehouse, Charlie Byrnes Bookshop, McCambridges, Sheridans Cheesemongers and the NUI Galway Bookshop. ENDS
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Lifestyle Survey Says Environmental Attitudes Hit Home
Thursday, 8 March 2012
68% say the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage 86% say they were concerned about the environment 89% say ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’ There has been a marked improvement in environmental awareness in Ireland over the past decade reveals the ConsEnSus Lifestyle Survey published today by NUI Galway and funded under the EPA’s STRIVE Research programme. The same survey reported that approximately one fifth of all survey respondents had changed their energy supplier to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years and a large percentage (almost 70%) of respondents stated that the re-introduction of water charges would lead to a change in water usage.The ConsEnSus (Consumption, Environment and Sustainability) Lifestyle Survey was carried out by researchers in the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway with 1,500 households nationwide between 2010 and 2011. The aim of this survey was to obtain an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The survey explored respondents’ household behaviours in the areas of mobility, food, water and energy use. The questionnaire also examined attitudes towards the environment, towards environmental responsibility as well as attitudes towards perceived levels of environmental control and perceptions of quality of life.According to the project manager Dr Frances Fahy, Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway: “The survey is the first of its kind in the island of Ireland and the results have produced a huge database on public attitudes and actions towards consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The respondents were asked questions that went further than how and when they undertook certain everyday activities – for example transport to work choices, water or energy conservation activities – focussing on why they undertake these activities. The results provide extremely useful data revealing underlying motivations for many consumption activities and lifestyle choices.”The ConsEnSus factsheets released today comprise some of the highlights and key findings from this the first national dataset on attitudes and behaviours towards sustainable household consumption and sustainable lifestyles across the island of Ireland.High levels of environmental concern across all age groupsThis study found encouragingly high levels of reported environmental concern (86% or 1,289 respondents stated that they were concern about the environment). Similar levels of environmental concern were recorded across all age cohorts; with slightly higher levels of concern noted amongst respondents in the 50-65 age category (88%) and also in the 65-79 age group (88%), in comparison to respondents in the younger 18-33 age categories (83%).Over half of the respondents (58%) felt that they needed ‘to behave in a more environmentally friendly way’ and 82% believed that their personal behaviour could make a difference to the environment.Impact of eco-labels on productsIn the Lifestyle Survey approximately two-thirds of all respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I trust eco-labels’. 66% of survey respondents stated that they pay attention to where and how the food they buy is produced.Concern about food wasteWithin the sustainable food movement, a particular concern is the large amount of waste occurring at every stage of the food chain. Many factors contribute to food waste and recent reports estimate that wasted food costs each Irish household approximately €700 annually (EPA, 2011). The findings highlight public attitudes and behaviour towards food waste in Irish households. A significant majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the statement ‘I try to reduce the amount of food waste my household produces’. The most common reasons for throwing food away are: ‘Too much is bought and it expires’ and ‘Food goes off because of a change in plans’. Just over a third of all participants claimed to never throw food away.Awareness of water usage and impact of proposed water charges With the cost of providing clean drinking water escalating, and with the proposed re-introduction of water charges for domestic dwellings, water and water conservation in particular, has become a very important issue for policy makers, businesses and consumers alike. The Lifestyle Survey found that a substantial number of respondents to the survey (40%) stated that they do not pay attention to the amount of water they use in their homes. Over one third of all respondents (34%) reported drinking bottled water on a daily basis.80% of all respondents surveyed across the island stated that there is ‘a need to save water’ with just 10% of respondents believing that there was no need to conserve water.Finally, 68% of survey respondents stated that the re-introduction of a water charge would change their water usage.Recent changeover to renewable energy suppliersJust over one fifth of respondents (21%) had changed to a renewable energy supplier in the past five years. Of these respondents; 65% stated ‘financial reasons’ as their rationale for this behaviour and only 9% reported ‘solely environmental reasons’. Respondents in the 34-49 age group were most likely to have changed to a renewable energy supplier.Public willingness to improve energy efficiency of homes, but little actionThe Lifestyle Survey found that although almost three quarters of all respondents (73%) stated that they would be willing to install insulation in their homes, less than one quarter of respondents (23%) had actually done so in the past five years.Prominence of private car use 71% of respondents who reported commuting to work, school or college stated that they usually drive a car. When respondents were asked what would encourage people to reduce their car journeys, 53% of the sample stated ‘improved, more affordable public transport’, 12% of the people reported ‘financial incentives to encourage walking and cycling’ and a further 12% citied ‘improved bike lanes, footpaths and pedestrian crossings’.Respondents who failed to use available public transport viewed it as ‘too restrictive’ (42%), ‘too unreliable’ (11%) and ‘too expensive’ (7%). 27% of urban dwellers who participated in the survey stated that there was no public transport available at all for their commute to work, school or college. The survey indicates that rural Ireland is particularly affected by gaps in public transport provision. Almost half of all rural respondents reported that there is no public transport for their commute to work, school or college.Marked improvement in environmental awareness over the past 10 years The results of this survey indicated that almost one third of all respondents reported not being well informed about the environmental impact of the products they used. However, this could be viewed as a positive finding when considered in light of the results of a previous national survey on attitudes and actions (Drury Research Study) conducted in Ireland in 2000, which indicated that over three quarters of the respondents were not well informed about environmental issues and stated that they wanted more information. In terms of reported levels of environmental awareness, the island is in line with many European countries; with 59% of the respondents in this study stating that they felt well informed of the environmental impacts of products in comparison to 55% of respondents in a recent Eurobarometer Study of European citizens (2009).In response to the establishment of this national database and launch of the preliminary findings Mr Kevin Woods, EPA said: “The establishment of this national database on sustainable consumption and lifestyles is significant and is an important step in moving towards sustainability in the key areas of water, energy, transport and consumer behaviour.”ENDS
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‘CodeNinjas’ Unmasked in App Competition for Galway Student Developers
Monday, 2 April 2012
Galway’s first app-oriented competition reveals talented coders among the NUI Galway and GMIT student population The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way. First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of ‘iSpeak’. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone’s accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app. The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential. Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: “We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway’s student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies.” Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said: “Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level.” Judging the competition were NUI Galway’s John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes. GMIT’s Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group. These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done. -ENDS- In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the individual category was ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. Pictured is its creator, GMIT Computer and Software Development Student at GMIT, Carles Sentis, who is originally from Barcelona. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the individual winner prize of an iPad went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal. The fourth-year Software Development student, created ‘iSpeak’, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based application which allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year Computer Science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and Administration & Informations Systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the first prize of €500 in the group category was given to ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Con Crowley and Mike Rockall, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. Both in their final year, Con is studying Mechanical Engineering, while Mike is studying Sports & Exercise Engineering.
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Biomedical Science Students Showcase their Community Knowledge Initiative Projects
Monday, 2 April 2012
NUI Galway biomedical science students recently held a presentation day, to showcase the projects which they completed as part of the community knowledge initiative (CKI) module. This module introduces students to the concept of service-learning* and aims to link classroom learning and community service to enrich learning experiences and emphasise civic responsibility. The module gives the opportunity for students to learn and develop through active participation in experiences that meet real community needs. The module is integrated into the students’ curriculum to provide structured time to think, talk and report on their activities, while also working as part of a team. The four main projects this academic year included: Off Bio Heart: The development of a smart phone application to deliver video-based footage of curriculum-based biology laboratory practicals to Leaving Certificate students. This project, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Lynn O’Connor, Biomedical Science, and Dr Des Chambers, Engineering, was in collaboration with MSc in Software Design and Development postgraduate students Janette Saunders, Mel Reynolds, Karen Staunton and Shane O’Sullivan. Awareness of Hypertension as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor in a Third-Level Educational Institution: This Croí/CKI Health Promotion Initiative was supervised by Dr Ger Flaherty, Medicine Lecturer at NUI Galway, with the group reaching over 150 staff and students at the University. Student Health Connect Mentors: Students acted as mentors both inside the University and in local schools, giving student-centred information about sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and nutrition. The project was supervised by NUI Galway Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Brian Stewart. Awareness day for the Irish Therapy Dogs Association: This voluntary body provides physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centres, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support. The students also researched the growing interest in the use of dogs in medicine focusing on functions distinct from the role of the therapy dogs, producing and distributed a calendar highlighting the current and expanding roles of dogs in diagnostic medicine. At the annual showcase, Dr Lynn O’Connor, module coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “These community experiences bring the curriculum alive to the students and we appreciate the commitment of our community partners for providing these rich learning experiences for our second year students.” Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of the Irish Therapy Dogs Associates, said: “Irish Therapy Dogs very much appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by the students of NUI Galway in increasing awareness about the benefits of pet therapy and the importance of the work that we do.” Programme Director, Dr Maura Grealy, added: “The programme has surpassed my expectations in promoting student development awareness of community needs, organisational skills and confidence; they have done great work and I am very proud of them.” This is the third year that the module has been offered to students of Biomedical Science and it has become a very positive aspect of the academic programme at NUI Galway. Over 40 degree programmes at NUI Galway include a service learning module. Engineering students find solutions to community problems, Occupational Therapy students roll out essential services to schools and hostels and Maths students work in second level schools and share their knowledge through a creative Maths curriculum. For further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cki and www.irishtherapydogs.ie. -ENDS-
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