Students Engage in Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise

Students Engage in Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise -image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

For the third consecutive year the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway has partnered with local businesses to provide students with the opportunity to learn real-life business through an 'Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise’(ICE) initiative. ICE is a module available to all final year students of Commerce and Business Information Systems programmes.  As part of their final year of studies, over 400 students are given the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of business and community enterprise with the support of 30 mentors from local business and community leaders.  The students engage in group-based projects requiring them to devise a unique enterprising idea.  Each of the mentors are assigned a project group and in turn required to advise the students with the development of each idea. Michael Campion, ICE Module Director at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: "The overall objective of the Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise course is to encourage self-confidence in students of business in their ability to be creative and innovative in whatever future business and/or community settings that they are working in." As a competitive part of the module, groups of students were required to present the innovation projects to mentors through a number of judging stages, resulting in the selection of five finalist groups who competed for a prize fund of €4,000, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The overall winners were Bruce Brady, Oranmore, Co. Galway; Gerard Harlow, Roscommon; Leszek Majewski, Galway and Kevin Moylan, Galway.  Their project 'On Time System’ – is a new mobile software application that alerts users to impending library fines. Commenting after the final, Norman Black of JFC Manufacturing and one of the final adjudicators, said:  “The calibre of presentations, research, innovation, entrepreneurial ability and presentation of business plans far exceeded my expectations.  Different teams excelled in presentations, market research, product concept and idea generation.  As a result it made the task of judging very difficult as there was so little to separate all of the finalists.” The Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise module is part of a wider initiative within the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, supported by funding from the NUI Galway Students Projects Fund, to focus on student personal development planning, and employability skill development. ENDS

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A University Experience for 10-year-olds

A University Experience for 10-year-olds-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A new Youth Academy begins at NUI Galway this weekend, giving a taste of university life to high ability primary school children. The aim of the academy is to support the children’s learning and academic development by providing them with new learning opportunities. Some 60 local children will study every Saturday morning until June, with their interest and enthusiasm for learning being fostered through a variety of new subjects. Subject choices include Italian, Philosophy, Psychology, Environmental Studies and Climate Studies. Welcoming the initiative, Lorraine McIlrath, who heads up NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative, said: “The Youth Academy is an important development which allows us to welcome children and their families into the University and enhances links with local schools.” The Youth Academy aims to inspire entry into third-level by introducing children and their families to University life. The Youth Academy is a collaboration between NUI Galway’s Mary Dempsey, School of Engineering & Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, and Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative, along with Dr Colm O’ Reilly, Centre for Talented Youth Ireland, DCU. The pilot project was successful in receiving funding from the Bright Ideas Initiative and was launched by the Vice-President for Performance and Innovation at NUI Galway, Professor Chris Curtin. -ends-

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Community Living Guru Delivers NUI Galway Public Lecture

Community Living Guru Delivers NUI Galway Public Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Lifecourse Institute at NUI Galway will host a public lecture featuring community living guru Dr Michael Kendrick. Entitled “Living Real Lives in the Community - Innovation in Services for Persons with Disabilities and Lessons for Families and Older Persons”, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 19 April, at 7pm, in room AC201 on the Concourse, NUI Galway. Dr Kendrick has worked with individuals, families and organisations in the fields of disability, mental health and older people across the globe to develop models of leadership, innovation and change.  Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the School of Law, said: “We are very privileged to have Dr Kendrick come and speak at the University. He is globally regarded as a pioneer in the field of community living.” Registration is required for this free public lecture and can be done by contacting Elaine at or 091 494270. The venue is accessible for wheelchair users but please give advance notice of further accessibility requirements. -ENDS-

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RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Presents Journalism Awards at NUI Galway

RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke Presents Journalism Awards at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

RTÉ news broadcaster Seán O’Rourke presented two awards to NUI Galway journalism graduates at the University today (Tuesday, 17 April) in the Huston School of Film and Digital Media. The Fifth Annual Donna Ferguson Memorial Award and the Connacht Tribune Medal were presented to the top achieving students in the MA Journalism class of 2011. Carla O’Brien received the Donna Ferguson Award for achieving the highest mark in the broadcasting module of the MA programme. The Connacht Tribune Medal was presented to Lisa Jackson who achieved the highest overall mark in the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway. Donna Ferguson was posthumously conferred with an MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, following her untimely death in a car accident in December 2006. The Donna Ferguson Memorial Award was initiated by her family and community in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, and commemorates Donna’s achievements while she was a student on the journalism programme in 2006. The Connacht Tribune Medal is an important recognition of student achievement at NUI Galway from one of Ireland’s premier regional newspapers. Its award will have a special poignancy this year as the paper’s former editor, John Cunningham, who was closely involved with the University’s MA in Journalism, passed away just recently.Seán O’Rourke graduated from what was then UCG in 1977 with a BA in English, History and Legal Science. Seán was awarded the 2006 NUI Galway Alumni AIB Award for Literature, Communications and the Arts, and is the founding chairperson of the Alumni Association’s Dublin Club. Seán was also conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 2011 by NUI Galway.He first joined RTÉ in 1982 as presenter/reporter in Radio News features. He was Political correspondent with the Irish Press between 1984 and 1989, when he returned to RTÉ as Programme Editor/Presenter, working on the News at One, Morning Ireland and This Week. Since 1995, Seán has been presenter of the News at One. In 2003, Seán began presenting The Week in Politics, a weekly review of political events on RTÉ One. Carla O’Brien is a native of Caledon, Co. Tyrone, and is now presenting and reporting for RTÉ news2day – a news programme for younger viewers.  Carla graduated from the MA in Journalism with first class honours. Lisa Jackson is from Ballina, Co. Mayo and studied Law in NUI Galway from 2001 to 2004. She also graduated with first class honours from the MA in Journalism and now works as a publishing assistant with publishing house Liberties Press in Dublin. Commenting on the awards, Dr John Kenny, Acting Director of the MA in Journalism at NUI Galway, said: “At a time when journalism is rapidly transforming, these awards are a testimony to the commitment and energy our students can bring to the profession. Their achievements since graduating further underline how important new skills and training are in meeting the challenge of change.” Ends

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Launch of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010

Launch of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010-image

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health has launched the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey 2010. The HBSC is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The survey runs every four years and in 2010 there were 43 participating countries and regions. The 2010 Irish HBSC survey, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is the fourth round of data collection. The study aims to increase our understanding of young people’s health and well-being, health behaviours and their social context.   A total of 16,060 children aged 9-18 from 256 schools across Ireland participated in the survey. Overall, 67% of invited schools and 85% of invited children participated.   In welcoming the report, Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly stated: “While I am encouraged by the reduction in smoking, alcohol and drug use and a decrease in injuries among school going children, much remains to be done. I am, however, very concerned at the statistics around exercise and physical activity and the number of children who still remain hungry either going to school or going to bed at night. I will be in discussion with my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald in relation to further examination of this and actions requires to address same.”   Commenting on the findings, Dr Colette Kelly of the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: “This report brings some good news about the health behaviours of children in Ireland with a decrease in smoking and alcohol use for example. Yet still more needs to be done to improve their health, in particular around nutrition and physical activity. Importantly, the majority of children in Ireland report to having high life satisfaction and being happy, a fundamental aspect of childhood, that we need to ensure continues.”   Food and Dietary Behaviour   Food consumption Overall, 20% of children report that they consume fruit more than once a day (19% in 2006) and 20% report eating vegetables more than once a day (18% in 2006). The proportion of children who report eating sweets daily or more often (37% in 2010 vs. 39% in 2006), and who report soft drink consumption daily or more often (21% in 2010 vs. 26% in 2006) have decreased from 2006.   Food behaviours Reports of never having breakfast on weekdays have not changed from 2006 (13% in 2010 vs. 14% in 2006). Children were asked to report how often they go to school or to bed hungry because there was not enough food at home. Overall, 21% of children report ever going to school or to bed hungry, an increase from 2006 (17%).   Exercise and physical activity There has been little change in reported frequency of exercise, physical activity and inactivity in HBSC 2010. Overall 51% of children report exercising four or more times a week.   General Findings   General Health The proportion of children who report excellent health (33%), feeling very happy (50%) and high life satisfaction (76%) remains stable from HBSC 2006.   Sexual Behaviour Overall, 27% of 15-17 year olds report that they have ever had sex. Of those who report ever having had sex, 93% report using a condom the last time they had sex and 59% report that they had used the birth control pill.   Substance use Overall, there is a decrease from 2006 in reports of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use among school children in Ireland.   ENDS

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NUI Galway Societies Excel at National Awards

NUI Galway Societies Excel at National Awards-image

Thursday, 19 April 2012

NUI Galway’s societies have been awarded four national awards at the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards held recently in Enfield. Over 300 students from 17 third-level colleges from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students. Presentations were made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. NUI Galway were awarded more prizes than any other college in attendance. The Feminist Society at NUI Galway was awarded the best Civic Contribution for their outstanding work in highlighting violence against women. The award for Best Society Individual was won by NUI Galway student, Lily McGarry from Whitechurch, Co. Dublin, for her dedication as conductor to the Choral society and her all round volunteering spirit. Lily this year has also won an NUI Galway Performance Bursary to attend a choral conducting summer school.   Best Society Fresher in Ireland went to Christopher Moran, a first year BA Connect Theatre and Performance student from Arklow, Co. Wicklow, for his contribution to NUI Galway’s Dramsoc, Musical Society and the Writers Society. Christopher has been involved in numerous productions during the year and was also very involved in promoting creative writing on campus. NUI Galway's final award of the evening was the Best Poster, which was presented to Dramsoc for their poster for the Hamlet production. The poster was designed by Matt Burke from Galway City. Since BICS was formed in 1999, NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 30 trophies. According to NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Executive member, Riona Hughes: “The two-day event was a major success and it was all about celebration. All of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the Societies calendar and afford them a fantastic opportunity to network and share ideas, we expect great things from them all again next year.  The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present augur well for the future of our country.” Full details of the BICS Awards is available at ENDS

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First PhD in Studio Art to be awarded at Burren College of Art Conferring

First PhD in Studio Art to be awarded at Burren College of Art Conferring-image

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Burren College of Art today (Wednesday, 18 April) reached a milestone in its development with the first conferring of a PhD in Studio Art by NUI Galway.  The recipient, Eileen Hutton, produced a body of work entitled ‘Being In the Land: A Sculptural Investigation of Ecology’ comprised of an exhibition of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. The awarding of the first PhD in Studio Art at Burren College of Art is not only a significant achievement for the recipient Eileen Hutton, but also for the college itself.  The location of the college has been integral to the focus of Eileen’s work, investigating reciprocal relationships between artists and the natural environment.  Her sculptural collaborations with the blue tits and honeybees in the Burren has not only strengthened their natural habitats but has provided valuable insight into the positive ways environmental art can impact on its surroundings.  President of the Burren College of Art, Mary Hawkes Greene said: “We are delighted that the first PhD studies conducted at the College have focused so specifically and benefitted immeasurably from the Burren itself, the very reason for the college’s existence.  The conferring of this award by the NUI Galway, underlines the academic rigour pursued at the College and further strengthens the important ties between these two academic institutions.” The PhD in Studio Art is one example of the so-called “practice-based” doctorates that began to emerge in art schools and university art departments twenty years ago.  They began in the UK, where Burren College of Art’s Dean was a pioneer.  All PhD projects lead to the development of new knowledge or a significant contribution to understanding in a particular subject, resulting from a process of enquiry, and in the case of Art this is achieved through studio-based creative process.  The significance of these PhDs for the larger world of higher education is that they require artists to develop an explicit rationale for their creativity and thereby dispel the mystique that often surrounds creative process. This clarity about creativity can enable the transfer of knowledge from art to PhD students in other disciplines.  Burren College of Art now provides courses in “creative difference” to PhD students at NUI Galway in disciplines ranging from Biochemistry to Law and Mathematics, as well as to the Executive MBA of the University.  At Burren College of Art PhDs are examined on the basis of the exhibition of a body of art work, supported by written material critically reviewing the field of enquiry and the process of the research project. In this respect the Burren PhD differs from many UK PhDs in prioritising the art over the text, a model that is fast gaining ground acrossEurope. Also receiving their degrees from NUI Galway in today’s ceremony were Master of Fine Art students Angelalynn Dunlop, Arianna Garcia Fialdini and Haynes Goodsell, while Andrew Nielsen receives his Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art. ENDS

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Three Talented Young Scientific Researchers from NUI Galway Part of Government’s €12.3 million announcement

Three Talented Young Scientific Researchers from NUI Galway Part of Government’s €12.3 million announcement-image

Friday, 20 April 2012

In a further drive to progress Ireland’s science research agenda, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Séan Sherlock TD, has today announced Government funding of €12.3 million for early-career scientific researchers to carry out pioneering work in Ireland. Administered through the Government’s science agency, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the ‘Starting Investigator Research Grant’ (SIRG) programme will support a total of 22 researchers, with three of those based at NUI Galway. Each SIRG award also encompasses funding for a postgraduate student who will provide an additional layer of support and facilitation towards excellence. The three award winners from NUI Galway are: Dr Manus Biggs works with NUI Galway’s Network for Functional Biomaterials, which pioneers new technologies to deliver therapeutic genes and other biomolecules to target specific sites within the body. His research focuses on engineering neuroelectrodes for deep brain stimulation through biomimetic conducting polymers.   Dr Cindy Smith works with NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, which advances environmental, marine and energy research. Her research focuses on the molecular microbial ecology of ammonia oxidation in coastal bay sediments.   Dr Martin O’Halloran is a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct lecturer with Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. His research work involves microwave imaging for the detection and classification of early-stage breast cancer.   Professor Terry Smith, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, praised the three award winners: “All three are strong examples of the innovative thinking our researchers are applying to science, to overcome real world scientific challenges. From tackling breast cancer with electronic engineering, to improving brain function using biomaterials, to better understanding our planet through by analyzing tiny microbes, Cindy, Manus and Martin are pushing the frontiers of science.”   Announcing the investment, Minister Sherlock said: “We are determined as a Government to ensure that the very best young scientific talent is given compelling reasons to either stay in Ireland or come from abroad and conduct research here. The SIRG Programme provides an opportunity for researchers at a pivotal juncture in their careers to propel themselves to the next level and realise their potential in their respective fields.”   The Minister added: ‘This round of SIRG awards marks the first co-funding arrangement with the international Marie Curie COFUND scheme, which aims to expand national research programmes and encourage greater transnational mobility. Such a partnership exemplifies the increasingly collaborative and international nature of research activity in Ireland today.”   Welcoming Minister Sherlock’s announcement, Dr Stephen Simpson, Director of Life Sciences at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The SIRG programme illustrates a strong and sustained commitment to nurturing the leading researchers of tomorrow. A dedicated ‘early intervention’ scheme such as this helps to pave the way for growing Irish-based, world-class research groups and progression towards commercialisation of ideas at a later stage in the researchers’ careers.” -ends-

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Renowned American Marine Biologist to Speak at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute

Renowned American Marine Biologist to Speak at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute-image

Monday, 23 April 2012

Marine Biologist conservationist, media producer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Dr Tierney Thys, will speak at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute on Thursday, 26 April at 1 pm, as part of the US Embassy’s Science Programme.  After receiving her PhD studying fish biomechanics, Dr Thys became enthralled with the power of film to teach science and convey conservation messages, and spent more than ten years making films for National Geographic Television. Leading and serving as an expert on numerous expeditions around the world from Alaska to Antarctica, Bali to Baja, Taiwan to South Africa, she is also the Founder of the Adopt a Sunfish Project, dedicated to researching and conserving the giant ocean sunfishes. Dr Thys’ work has been featured in numerous documentaries by National Geographic, NHK, BBC and German Television. Professor Mark Johnson, Deputy Director of the Ryan Institute and Leader of the Institute’s Biodiversity and Bioresources Research Cluster, said: “In the context of the demands and pressures on marine ecosystems, understanding marine biodiversity is now more important than ever.  In fact, right at this moment several of the Ryan Institute’s marine scientists are in the North Atlantic on a research cruise to describe the ecosystems of the continental margin (200 – 4000m deep). We are seeking to balance the potential economic benefits of prospecting for new drugs with the need to conserve our natural resources. Dr Thys is a scientist and communicator, committed to understanding and conserving the marine environment. She was a part of the global network working on the Census of Marine Life and has carried out fascinating work on the mysterious ocean sunfish. To hear from her about her research and experiences is a great opportunity for anyone working in, or interested in, the marine environment.” Dr Thys will give a short talk on her work for the Global Census of Marine Life, with a particular focus on the modern technologies for tagging and tracking marine wildlife such as the giant ocean sunfish.  The talk will be followed by a Q&A session. All are welcome to this free event which will take place in the Martin Ryan Annex Lecture Theatre. For more information please contact -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Career Information Evening for Students Interested in Studying Arts and Engineering

NUI Galway Career Information Evening for Students Interested in Studying Arts and Engineering -image

Monday, 23 April 2012

Future career routes is the focus of a careers evening for Leaving Certificate students, parents and guardians, in the new Engineering Building at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 9 May at 6pm. On completion of the Bachelor of Arts, a high proportion of NUI Galway graduates choose to specialise in a variety of professions by a doing a one-year Masters degree. Many of the University’s Arts graduates have gone on to careers in areas such as Business, Journalism, Social Work, Computer Science, Education and Law. John Hannon, Head of the Career Development Centre at NUI Galway, said: “In the current economic environment, one of the key attractions of studying Arts is the opportunity for students to choose their own unique combination of subjects, allowing them build a foundation for their future career, without limiting themselves to a particular field. Students can choose to continue studying subjects they enjoyed at school and/or take on new subject areas such as psychology, archaeology or economics. This a great opportunity for students and parents to get a better understanding of the career options possible from different degree programmes and to hear directly from graduates who are working in different industries.” Leaving Certificate students studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) in secondary school would especially have an interest in the Engineering section of the career evening. The evening will include presentations from the Dean of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Gerry Lyons, who will explore opportunities for future NUI Galway Engineering students. Industry representatives will also be on hand to direct students on how a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) from NUI Galway is the qualification to get you that job post-graduation. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Engineering affects almost everything we do in modern society. From the phones and automobiles we use to the medical devices and treatment methods we depend on and graduates with STEM qualifications are highly valued by employers across the world. A degree in Engineering or IT is a platform for career development in areas as diverse as Consulting, Management, Design, Creative Industries and Finance. It provides a professional recognised qualification and the flexibility to pursue many different career opportunities. This free event will give interested students an opportunity to learn about career opportunities in the field of engineering.” The career evening will feature a number of NUI Galway Arts and Engineering graduates giving an overview of their career path since graduating. They will also talk about how skills and knowledge gained in their degree programmes has benefited them in their careers. There will also be a Q&A session at the end of the evening and an opportunity to speak to staff and graduates on a one-to-one basis over refreshments. Visitors can just turn up on the night, arriving at the new Engineering Building for 6pm. There is no need to register in advance for this free event. For more information call 091 482814 or 495788. ENDS

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